Thursday, August 30, 2007

Eto'o is injured, and a sad week for football

Looking at the squad assembled this season by Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard, the question on everyone's lips was how on earth he was going to manage those talents and egos, giving each superstar the playing time he'd insist on having, not to mention developing some of the up-and-coming talent. But last season Barca faltered, and long stretches of injuries and/or poor form from Messi, Ronaldinho, and Eto'o were significant factors. The other day I predicted (not here, just yammering away about football as usual) that at least one of the formidable stars would suffer an injury and we'd be glad of the depth. Sure enough, it appears Samuel Eto'o will be out for at least two months, following an injury suffered during the Joan Gamper trophy match yesterday.

The Joan Gamper trophy is a traditional season opener friendly for Barcelona, heavily shadowed this year by the tragic death of Sevilla's Antonio Puerta. Over at the beautiful game, Linda has put together a nice photo essay of the match, which honored both Puerta and a former Barca vice-president, Nicolau Casaus, who died 8 August.

It's been a horrific week for the untimely loss of young footballers: in addition to Puerta, former Zambia international Chaswe Nsofwa collapsed and died Wednesday of heart failure while practicing with his Israeli squad, while promising QPR striker Ray Jones perished in a car accident on Saturday. In better news, Leicester striker Clive Clarke, whose heart attack stopped a Carling Cup match on Wednesday against Nottingham Forest, seems to be recovering. Apparently the recent tragedies have led to calls for routine cardiac testing as part of medical clearances for footballers; I must admit I assumed such testing would be routine and I'm surprised to learn otherwise. It's also my understanding, though, that some fatal cardiac irregularities can be difficult or impossible to detect.

I don't really have a neat end for this post. It's been a sad week.

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