Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pep Guardiola and Stale Solbakken almost come to blows

I love my manager - one of the classiest and humble perfectionists on the planet, who always takes the high road and never gets mired in the childlike banter many managers employ. However last night, Guardiola's patience reached its breaking point as the Barcelona manager confronted FC Copengan's Stale Solbakken in a very heated exchange that almost got physical. Apparently, Guardiola was pissed at Solbakken for attempting to infringe on the Barcelona man's unflappable sense of style - shaved head and stubble, scarf, tapered coat, tie, and vest. It is a look that sends shivers down my spine every time I see Pep on the sideline. However, the Copenhagen man wears it with a little less class and sets an extremely bad example for that look...

Okay, I only wish that was the issue at hand. But in all seriousness, Solbakken had made a number of remarks before the match in reference to José Manuel Pinto, the Barcelona keeper suspended two matches by UEFA for unsportsmanlike conduct after he imitated the referee's whistle to stop a Copenhagen player from advancing on a break-away, who thought the ref blew for offsides and stopped playing. In an unprecedented scene in the career of one of the quieter managers, Pep stood up for his man.

(Details of the exchange and the video after the jump)

"Ask him (Solbakken) what happened, he knows how to manipulate the media very well," Guardiola barked after the incident. "I think he has behaved very badly in this situation."

Before the match, Solbakken made comments to the extent that Pinto's suspension was not enough.

"What he cannot do is ask for a four-match ban for Pinto and say that Pinto is a bad apple," Guardiola said.

"Pinto is a player who goes in for fair play and he's an important part of our dressing room...I don't think a coach should do something like that."

The Copenhagen manager, on the other hand, tried to douse the flames by saying everything was taken out of context, and that his remarks were simply bad humor.

"I don't care if Pinto is sitting on the bench or on the sofa at home. We wanted to protect Cesar because he looked stupid and had a bad time after that."

"After we had shaken hands he started to say something about UEFA and I think he meant the whistling incident," said Solbakken.

"I said that he (Pinto) should have got five games, that was just a bad Norwegian joke...Maybe he doesn't understand Norwegian humour, I'll have to take that on me...I really respect Guardiola, he's one of the finest coaches but I think he was told something wrong."

Norwegian humor my ass. At least stand behind what you said. But as for Guardiola, watching that video should put an huge smile on any Barcelona supporter's face. Not that we ever doubted his passion and obsession with winning. But it's always nice to see the man in charge lose his cool (finally!) and confront an opponent in defense of his players.


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