Thursday, August 7, 2008

Rafinha & Diego Will Play in Olympics - UPDATE

German clubs Werder Bremen and Schalke 04 have cleared Diego and Rafinha to play in the Beijing 2008 Olympics. And they wont be calling back.

With Leo Messi it’s even more complicated. He didn’t meet up with the Argentina squad until Sepp Blatter made it known that - in his eyes at least - clubs had to release players. Now Messi’s stuck between a rock and hard place.

Argentina’s first Olympic game is against Cote d’Ivoire and kicks off tomorrow. Argentina coach Sergio Batista expects Messi to stay and play: “Messi will be on the start list for tomorrow from the beginning and I am sure he can be here with us for the rest of the competition.”
Barcelona won’t like that. They want Messi back in time for the Champions League Third Qualifying Round game against either Beitar Jerusalem or Wisla Krakow on August 12th and now they have CAS on their side.

This whole thing has gotten ridiculous now, and been left far too late (seriously, why make a ruling the day before the tournament starts?) And the bigger problem than what’s mandatory and what isn’t is the short term selfishness shown by the clubs, which has now been approved by CAS.

The reason the release of U-23 players was “customary” is because clubs had been happy to go along with it, to respect the wish of their players and to respect the Olympic tournament. Now clubs are flexing their muscles.

Here’s what Barca President Joan Laporta told “We are simply trying to protect our interests. That is all.”

But do Barcelona really need Leo Messi to beat Beitar Jerusalem or Wisla Krakow? I’m sure Eto’o, Xavi, Iniesta, Henry and co can take care of it.
But where as Bremen and Schalke dosent want to spoil their relationship with the players.

Honestly, I think Barcelona are making a huge mistake, which could potentially ruin the affection Messi has with the club. I know they pay these players’ million-dollar wages and consider them huge investment property, but still, to be so adamant that a player who has already given them so much in his few years of top-flight football cannot participate in a dream tournament of his seems like it can only cause irreparable damage.

Next step put the Olympics Tournament in the FIFA dates.

CAS sided with the clubs precisely because FIFA failed to so to put Olympics Football in FIFA book. FIFA failed to show the Olympic spirit and failed to make any definitive rules, for which FIFA had plenty of time ahead of the tournament.

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