It’s a pretty wild thing that three different versions of the North London derby happened this week. Shoutout to Spurs’ U17 boys’ team, who did what the senior teams couldn’t and beat Arsenal.
Ramble of the Day
I have been sitting on this thought for a few months now — not for any particular reason, I just hadn’t gotten around to sharing. Anyway, here goes: The current state of FC Barcelona is objectively hilarious.
I’m not just speaking about yesterday’s 3-0 loss to Benfica, which is inherently funny because a perceived giant lost a match by a huge margin. I also don’t think Barcelona’s off the field chaos naturally has humor baked into it — it’s more about the manner in which the club has handled its problems.
Much of this stems from financial difficulty, which for years was public knowledge but was hilariously mismanaged. It was mostly the small moves that carried the humor — Lionel Messi’s move away was shocking, but not necessarily funny. It was pretty funny to watch the powers that be at Barcelona continue to add to the wage bill in somewhat small moves that were always going to be costly, as if they were pretending the problem wasn’t there.
The situation has now turned into the most passive-aggressive war of words, which is also pretty funny. President Joan Laporta and manager Ronald Koeman have been trading quotes that serve as the most subtle assertions of power publicly, which again leans into Barcelona’s new and particular brand of humor through small measures.
My personal favorite event in this saga, though, was a statement Barcelona made in July about receiving “a stable triple B negative credit rating.” There’s only one reason to share that — they were the definition of desperate for more money. It’s natural, but the desperation is truly funny.
Please lend us money! We are stably teetering on the brink of financial ruin according to one debt rating agency. Talk about confidence. pic.twitter.com/3elbfJxmsw— Ken Bensinger (@kenbensinger) July 28, 2021
I don’t know if I would go so far to call them the funniest club in the game right now — after all, I haven’t done enough research to make a declaration one way or another. The situation at Barcelona, to me, is an example of how denial and pettiness can make even the largest issues a little bit funnier than they have to be.
tl;dr: I don’t find the prospect of financial ruin funny, but the small decisions Barcelona has made to get to its current place have been pretty amusing.
Stay informed, read this: Camoghne Felix profiles gymnast Simone Biles on her choice to prioritize her mental health at the Tokyo Olympics for the Cut
Links of the Day
The Premier League said only seven clubs have more than 50% of its players vaccinated against COVID-19.
Stadiums hosting La Liga matches can return to full capacity beginning this weekend.
Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka will be out for three months with a knee ligament injury.
The fate of Saudi Arabia’s takeover of Newcastle United will be decided through arbitration between the club and the Premier League in January.
A longer read: Molly Hensley-Clancy on the end of the NWSL’s investigation into the Washington Spirit, and reported breaches of league protocols by the club’s leaders for The Washington Post