The Warm-Up: Sarri fumes at Scrap(u) in Baku
Happy Europa League final day! Ben Snowball digests THAT squabble in the Chelsea camp, while there’s a chilling sequel to ‘Jamie Carragher spat on my daughter’. Sort of.
WEDNESDAY'S BIG STORIES
Sarri versus Hat
"Laaadies and gentlemen.. all 60 of you.. welcome to tonight's main event in Azerbaijan.
"In the blue corner, weighing in at 198 pounds, Gonzalo Higuain!
"And in the, err.. also in the blue corner, weighing in at 198 pounds, David Luiz!"
Have we overhyped an innocuous squabble? Are we desperately praying for some actual football to write about? Absolutely (x2). But what The Warm-Up is dubbing Scrap(u) in Baku still had more drama than your average Showtime fight - and without the added frustration of searching for a stream, failing and forking out 10% of your life's savings to watch.
OK, technically the main drama on fight night came on the undercard: Maurizio Sarri versus Chelsea merchandise. But what a battle it was. The Italian proved the old adage ‘If at first you don’t succeed…’ by successfully raging all the way into the changing room after his near-miss at Wembley Stadium, where he reluctantly returned to the dugout as Kepa Arrizabalaga’s assistant.
Given the poise he displayed dribbling his cap off the training pitch – and given that the Blues are likely without N’Golo Kante, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Antonio Rudiger, Callum Hudson-Odoi – he must be considering a final F-you to the club and naming himself among the substitutes for the Europa League final.
Yes, we know this can’t really happen. Pipe down.
Football + match fixing + arrests = good headline, sad news
It’s up there with pitch invaders in the ‘Pretend To Be Upset, But Deep Down It’s Fascinating’ realm of stories.
Of course, we should stress that none of the players arrested or being investigated in Spain’s top two leagues – reportedly featuring former Real Madrid ‘ace’ Raul Bravo and Leeds United’s Samuel Saiz – have been found guilty of being in a criminal organisation dedicated to making money off fixed matches, as is alleged.
Still, don’t pretend you don’t find it secretly exciting.
Xavi LOVES Qatar
"The idea is to start as a coach in Qatar, where there is less pressure, to test myself and get some experience."
Don’t you love it when aging superstars sacrifice their ego and drop down the football pyramid to stay involved in the beautiful game? Xavi’s the latest to follow this career trend, spending his last three seasons before retirement at Qatar side Al Sadd.
And now? The combination of his prestige and his love for his adopted country has led to Al Sadd handing him the manager gig.
What a noble, selfless and altruistic individ… what… he’s getting paid how much?! Ignore everything above.
IN OTHER NEWS
Jamie Carragher is at it again
"Jamie Carragher spat on my daughter" has a chilling sequel.
The exceptionally neutral pundit was responsible for a poor bloke receiving 50,000 WhatsApp messages. FIFTY. THOUSAND. Why? Because he posted a random number on Twitter, all to provoke Gary Neville after he did a miss in a football match.
"Part of me is annoyed but part of me can see the funny side," Forsyth told the BBC diplomatically. Carragher is yet to apologise, obviously.
HEROES & ZEROES
Hero: Marcelo Bielsa
Purely because he’s sticking around at Leeds United for another season. (Yes, we know it’s because Xavi’s friends are about to pour petroleum dollars into the club. We’re hypocrites, move on)
Zero: Sergio Ramos
Sergio Ramos has asked to leave Real Madrid for nothing. Obviously, that’s been rejected. Here’s how the rest of the saga unfolds:
- June 10: Manchester United target Sergio Ramos ‘considering transfer request’
- June 12: United representatives ‘make contact with Ramos agent’
- June 13: Ramos ‘DEMANDS Real sell him to United’
- June 15: BREAKING: Ramos ‘agrees terms with United as clubs agree fee’
- June 16: Ramos signs new deal at Real Madrid
IN THE CHANNELS
It’s Roger Federer with a fan! So funny.
Incidentally, the Swiss maestro is in action at today's French Open. Do check him out on Eurosport and Eurosport Player, you know the drill.
Thirteen years ago, Middlesbrough were defeated in the UEFA Cup final. But rather than dish out a clip of a routine 4-0 win for Sevilla, we’ve got something far better – their epic Massimo Maccarone-inspired comeback against Steaua Bucharest in the semi-finals.
THE EUROPAAA! OK, it doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as the elder sibling’s banger, but it still promises to be a belter as Arsenal meet a Sarri-less Chelsea in front of a fervent three-figure crowd in Azerbaijan.
Jack Lang has asked to leave the Warm-Up on a free transfer. We all know he's just pushing for a bigger contract, so expect him here tomorrow.