Sunday, 6 June 2010

Barrios: The proud (Argentinian) Paraguyan/ Kaka's not panicking

Lucas Barrios has been in justifying mood over the weekend, giving an interview to Germany's Bild am Sonntag about why he chose Paraguay over (his native) Argentina. Not sure why everyone is so surprised - it seems to happen all the time in every sport. Kevin Pietersen is South African but he plays cricket for England. There's a whole host of New Zealand rugby players who have discovered an English, Welsh or Scottish grandmother so they could play international rugby.

These are the facts regarding Barrios as I see them. You can make up your own mind:

Barrios was born in Argentina. He played his football in Argentina. He is 25. He only applied for Paraguayan citizenship in March of this year. There were no signs that Maradona was going to pick him for Argentina. There is a World Cup this year. Barrios wants to play in South Africa. All being well he will.

Club football is great because the manager has the opportunity to assemble a star-studded international team. We all like to see the Galaticos line up for Read Madrid. International football is great because it isn't club football. It would have been a delight to see George Best or Ryan Giggs play in a World Cup. But not for England.

Anwyay here's what Barrios, linked with a transfer to AC Milan after the tournament, had to say:

'I am not angry with Maradona for not giving me a chance. Anyway, I took the first steps towards being able to play for Paraguay in October 2009.

'I am proud to be Paraguayan, thanks to my mother who was born in Asuncion. But I also have an Argentinian passport.

'It was not a tough choice at all - it is a pleasure! I am very happy to be in the squad and there is nothing more beautiful than that, and I am thankful to everybody who has supported me.'

Kaka, meanwhile, gave an interview to the Observer newspaper. He's ready to take on the role of elder statesman in the team. He's not panicking:

'I do not panic when I think of my role in the current side. It is quite natural that my experience in two World Cups leads to people seeing me in a more prominent position, especially now that a lot of guys from the 2002 and 2006 teams are not with us any more. But I am not the only guy around who can be a reference for the younger guys and the team as a whole. We have a group that has been working together for four years and shown that the collective effort is more important than one player or another.'

Hopefully the injury curse that has already hit some of the biggest World Cup names, Drogba, Ferdinand, Robben for starters, will steer clear of Kaka. He's hopeful and definitely not PANICKING. Gulp.

'I had problems with the groin injury but then there were muscle problems, something natural when a player spends more than a month out of the game. I am getting better every day and there is enough time for me to start the World Cup in good condition. There is no reason for panic.'

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