Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
'El Conejo' Makes Nou Camp Return
The Guardian, September 25th, 2006 3:46PM

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

You'd be forgiven for forgetting that Javier Saviola is still a Barcelona player, but last night, during Barca's thrilling 1-1 draw at home to Valencia, Saviola made his first official appearance for the Catalan club in 854 days. That's after 28 months and two loan spells, one to Monaco in France in 2004 and the other to Sevilla in Spain in 2005. In his absence, Barcelona won two league titles and the Champions League last year. Most thought the diminutive Argentine, who was nicknamed "El Conejo" (the Rabbit), would leave in the offseason, but Saviola had no takers this year, so he's had to stay and fight for his place this season. As The Guardian's Sid Lowe points out, Saviola's warm welcome at the Nou Camp Sunday night felt as if he had never left. There were just six minutes left in the hard-fought match, and Saviola was being brought on to replace fellow Argentine Leo Messi, arguably the game's most outstanding player, but instead of booing Coach Frank Rijkaard's decision, Barcelona's fans gave Saviola a rousing ovation as his name was announced. By any measure, Saviola has been a disappointment for Barcelona: he cost the club $42 million in transfer fees plus bonuses when he arrived from River Plate in 2001, $3.8 million per year for five seasons, and a whopping $7.6 million for his agent. Despite the fact that management never thought the player was good enough for its team (he failed to score more than 17 goals in each of the three seasons he actually finished with the Catalan team), the fans never lost their appreciation for "El Conejo." And while management and Rijkaard all told the player he should look for another club this season, Saviola dug his little heels in, turning down 14 offers to stay with Barcelona. Last night, then, was a mark of perseverance more than anything else. And while management might not appreciate that, the fans do, anyhow. Read the original story...


No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Section 2 Around the Net
Dick Advocaat Takes Serbia Helm    
Dutchman Dick Advocaat, whose resume includes stints as coach of the Netherlands, South Korea, PSV Eindhoven ...
Arsenal Buys Teen Defender for $27 million    
Arsenal has signed England U-19 defender Calum Chambers from Southampton for about $27 million. The 19-year-old ...
Schweinsteiger Says Sorry for Insulting Song    
World Cup winner and Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has apologized after the a video appeared ...
Lionel Messi Not Clear of Tax Trouble    
Despite the prosecutor arguing in June that his father Jorge was responsible for the family's finances ...
Ranieri Named Greece Coach     
Claudio Ranieri on Friday signed a two-year deal to manage Greece. The 62-year-old Italian replaces Fernando ...
West Ham's Carroll to Miss Four Months    
West Ham striker Andy Carroll is set to miss up to four months after suffering ankle ...
Pinto Quits Costa Rica     
Jorge Luis Pinto, who guided Costa Rica to a surprise quarterfinal finish at the World Cup ...
Cech to Fight for Chelsea Place    
Petr Cech has vowed to stay and fight for his place as his decade-long reign as ...
Mourinho: Drogba 'Belongs' to Chelsea    
Jose Mourinho on Friday admitted that he is considering re-signing Chelsea legend Didier Drogba, who is ...
Maradona Blasts Argentina's Coaching Decisions    
Former Argentina captain Diego Maradona, who famously inspired the Albiceleste to World Cup glory at the ...
>> Section 2 Around the Net Archives