Saturday, August 29, 2009

Gourcuff, Bordeaux headline dangerous Group A

Prevailing media will usually cling to its most profitable darlings. They supply what is demanded: the whats-what on Man United, the latest bickering between managers, polls about Ronaldo, anything to breed divide between Barcelona and Real Madrid, what Rafa said, arguing if Arsenal can win with youth, and occasionally even talking about Inter.

But as the group stage was announced Tuesday for the 2010 Champions League season, the most footballing significance lies with Bordeaux in Group A.

France's Ligue 1 may be unfashionable to the more centrist sensationalsits, but the presence of Yoann Gourcuff alone at Bordeaux should bring relevance to a group not even on English media's radar.

Not to mention the in-form French side is matched up against European superclubs Bayern and Juventus, creating what you'd assume the arbitrators of news content would love to label and fanaticize as a "Group of Death".

However, both and Espn's perfunctorily reported on the English teams matchups and promoted the grudge match between Barcelona and Inter. made no mention of Bayern, Juventus, and Bordeaux completely.

The pick of the ties sees Barcelona face Inter in Group F, where Samuel Eto'o and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are set for immediate returns to their former clubs. Elsewhere, Manchester United face some long away trips while AC Milan and Real Madrid will tangle in a glamour tie [in Group C].

Espn followed suit, preferring to feature their own EPL teams and the melodrama between Barca and Inter.

Samuel Eto'o and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be back at their old clubs as Inter and Barcelona were drawn together in the Champions League...The other big draw is Real Madrid, many people's favourites for the title, against AC Milan... Manchester Utd face tough trips...with Liverpool also given a tough test..Chelsea will be happy with their draw...while Arsenal are also sitting pretty as they face Dutch champions AZ Alkmaar, Olympiakos and Belgian side Standard Liege.

It's bewildering that a group containing Bordeaux by itself doesn't get any play online.

Laurent Blanc's side is barnstorming, winning 14 matches in a row dating back to last season, a Ligue 1 record.

Twenty-three year-old Gourcuff led Bordeaux last season to end Lyon's eight year monopoly on the French trophy, being rightly named Ligue 1 Player of the Year in the process, and yet, he's still the most underrated player in Europe.

Four-time European champion Bayern have the two best wingers in the and one of the very best attacks in Europe. Two-time champ Juventus have Del Piero.

In other words: WTF?

Espn may get a pass; they broadcast Spanish and English Premier League games. It's cynical--isn't it?--to begrudge a broadcasting conglomerate promoting its own interests first? Business is business, at a clear detriment to pure sport. simply panders to the come-lately fans who want to debate Messi v. Ronaldo ad infintum and are so subjectively linked to their favorite and most fashionable club their view of the broader game itself is obfuscated through bifocles tinted in the club's colors.

Was each synopsis derived from the same associated press release? Why the omission of Group A in both and Soccernet?

The best football will be played in this group. Probably by Bordeaux, orchestrated by Gourcuff, leading to one of the competitions historical giants to fall aside, as the play-maker finishes his ascent he started last year into the fine, finite group of footballing elite.

The liberty to make such a declaration is afforded to those above the knowledge gap in European football consumption, while most web sites will cater to the majority below it.

Drowned out by plebian forum trolls and Man Yoo fanboys in the short term, those of us care about the game's future can only hope substance prevails in the long term.

From one fan whose passion borders on addiction, which manifested itself in hundreds of match videos a year, and thousands of articles read, heed this advice:

Watch Gourcuff this season. Youtube is only a click away. He will rival Messi to be the greatest player of his generation.

You might not know otherwise, but it's not your fault.

1 comment:

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