Giant on the move
Argentine journalists were startled to learn that their team would be playing a match against Siberia at the Olympic football tournament. At least, that is what the official translation said.
Coach Sergio Batista, speaking ahead of a game against Serbia, looked on it utter bewilderment as one interpreter attempted to translate his answers from Spanish into Chinese and another then tried to translate the Chinese version of his answer into English.
Unsurprisingly, the final version invariably bore no relation whatsoever to the original, rending the whole exercise a waste of time.
The procedure went like this:
Argentine journalist asks question. Batista answers. The first interpreter translates the question from Spanish into Chinese. The second translates from Chinese into English. Then the first interpreter translates the answer from Spanish to Chinese. Then the second translates from Chinese into English.
Ronaldinho’s two-goal performance against New Zealand in Sunday’s Olympic Games has already been hailed as some sort of revival after his miserable last season with Barcelona.
The former World Player of the Year showed flashes of his best form in the 5-0 win with plenty of cheeky flicks, shimmies and stepovers. And, of course, he grinned.
Argentina could yet pay a heavy price for the deal which has allowed Lionel Messi to play at the Olympic Games.
A lengthy tug-of-war with Barcelona for Messi’s services ended with the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling that Barcelona were not obliged to release him for the Olympics.
If there was an Olympic gold medal for whingeing then Dunga, coach of the Brazilian soccer team, would be among the early contenders.
The 1994 World Cup winning captain, who as a player was an example of resilience and dedication to the cause, is not a happy camper.
Spanish clubs are often cast as villains in South America. One minute they are refusing to release players to play for their respective national teams, the next they are accused of exploiting loopholes in transfer regulations to poach young talent without paying a penny.
Earlier this year, Vasco da Gama angrily accused Real Madrid of trying to make an offer to 15-year-old Philippe Coutinho behind their back. The club said that Real had offered a job to the player’s father and the chance to live abroad.
News just out that the Court of Arbitration for Sport has ruled in favour of Barcelona and decided they will not have to release Argentine forward Lionel Messi for the Olympics.
Assuming Barcelona do not have a change of heart, it means one of the biggest-name athletes at the Games will not be taking part. Brazilians Diego and Rafinha, of Werder Bremen and Schalke 04, will now also presumably be going home.