The Fiver | The nocturnal activities of notoriously reclusive former Barcelona players
PEP GUARDIOLA'S HOLISTIC DETECTIVE AGENCY
It was about eleven o'clock in the morning, mid-October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills. I was wearing my powder-blue suit, with dark blue shirt, tie and display handkerchief, black brogues, black wool socks with dark blue clocks on them. I was neat, clean, shaved, and sober, and I didn't care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be. I was watching Gerard Piqué.
Admirers of the Fiver's influential hard-boiled style of tea-timely scribbling will know that our influence on other writers has spread far and wide, in one instance even travelling back through time, where it was outragerously plagiarised by Chicago-born pulp fiction hack Raymond Chandler.
Now dead and therefore unable to sue us for libel, the author made a lot of money adapting the Fiver's style for his successful novels, but would have made a whole lot more if, instead of having his wise-cracking, hard-drinking, tough-guy private detective Philip Marlowe based in Hollywood solving cases involving blackmail, murder and kidnapped bottlenose dolphins, he'd sent him to Barcelona to snoop on assorted footballers on behalf of the not at all paranoid Pep Guardiola. For in one of the more bizarre stories to get the Fiver's antennae twitching in recent times, Spanish website El Confidencial has reported that this Spanish detective agency was regularly hired by the former Barcelona manager and club suit Manuel Estiarte to spy on players they suspected of "leading an unhealthy lifestyle".
With their philosophy of "going where nobody has ever been; to see what remains hidden for other people; to sum up, to reach the truth", Metodo 3 are reported to have first been approached to investigate the nocturnal activities of notoriously reclusive former Barcelona players Samuel Eto'o, Ronaldinho and Deco (Nightclub Patrick had left the club four years previously) and by startling coincidence, the submission of their findings coincided with the departure of Messrs Deco and Ronaldinho from the Catalan club around the same time Guardiola was appointed manager, with Eto'o following them out the exit door a year later.
More recently, Guardiola is said to have hired the PIs to put Barça centre-half Gerard Piqué under surveillance, when it emerged that the lucky sod was consorting with Shakira, a popular Colombian beat music performer best known for her truth-telling hips, among other heart-warming physical attributes, who has since presented her boyfriend with a son, Milan, who was born just over a month ago and is emphatically not named after an Italian football club.
Quite what Piqué will make of the news that his employers allegedly hired detectives to follow him and his girlfriend remains to be seen, but if the evidence of the less-than-revelatory dossier they are purported to have presented to Guardiola is anything to go by, chances are he'll be mildly peeved for a few hours, possibly go to his favourite cocktail bar to visit friends and then pass a breathalyser test when stopped by the Guardia Civil on his way home for an early night with a good book. Of course with his paranoid former manager no longer at Barcelona and off to Bayern Munich during the summer, the presence of that unmarked white van parked outside Franck Ribéry's house has taken on a whole new significance. The Frenchman might as well start clearing his locker now; his departure from the Bundesliga club this summer is unlikely to involve a long goodbye.
On the way downtown I stopped at a bar and had a couple of double Scotches. They didn't do me any good. All they did was make me think of Shakira, and I never saw her again.
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"We want old, $hit players and we want them to stay until their golden wedding anniversaries" – Cologne manager Holger Stanislawski outlines a player recruitment policy to rival that of Fulham.
"Speaking of comparing things from the world of film with those from football (yesterday's Fiver), recently I noticed a remarkable number of similarities between Gollum and the Fiver. Both are a shadow of their former selves after years of decay, both set their hearts on a grasping, faltering quest for something elusive (humour, in the Fiver's case), and both appeal to middle-aged, balding IT techs. We are yet to see the Fiver's alter ego equivalent of Sméagol, however; presumably that's the one with all the funny lines" – Matthew Sharpe.
"Re: Jennifer Lawrence as Swansea and the Big Four hegemony of Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, Sigourney Weaver or Charlize Theron (yesterday's Fiver). I'd say Meryl is Manchester United, for retaining a certain thespian swagger from her early-90s heyday despite turning a tad more commercial of late; Mirren is City for upgrading from ITV to the big screen; Weaver is Chelsea because of Avatar; and Charlize Theron Arsenal for her turn in Arrested Development and its terrible rendition of what an English accent (or football squad) should be like" – Asher Klein.
"May I be the first of 1,057 popcorn-stuffing, cola-slurping, movie-going pedants to point out that you didn't paraphrase Tony Mendez in Argo after all in yesterday's Fiver? It was Bryan Cranston's character (no, I can't be bothered to look up his name) who stated that this was the best bad idea they had, by far" – Thomas Gilliland.
"Re: Andrew James pondering if a tree falls in the woods and there's nobody around to hear it, does it riff on what music football teams sound like and notable Aston Villa fans (yesterday's Fiver letters)? Andrew needs to remember that there are likely to be 1,057 nobodies present, not only to hear, but also to pick fault with the sound the tree made while falling" – Michael Hitchen.
"One of my work chums bought a Panasonic Viera TV this week, leading us to wonder if there were other footballer-named sets. The best we could come up with would be the Philips Senderos. Do I win the prizeless letter of the day?" – Keith Brown.
• Send your letters to email@example.com. Also, if you've nothing better to do you can also tweet the Fiver. And to placate certain readers, the Fiver awards prizeless Fiver letter o' the day to: Matthew Sharpe.
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BITS AND BOBS
Manchester City keeper Joe Hart isn't letting a silly little thing like basic maths get in the way of talking up his side's title defence. "Even if there is one game to go and we are 12 points behind, we'll still believe. We've got to," he perplexed.
What could possibly go wrong dept: Newcastle United have announced plans to install slides at the Metro stations near St James' Park. Yep. "It will give people a laugh and what value do you put on that?" mused Mark Jenson, editor of Toon fanzine, The Mag.
Shecond Shoish Shteve has left FC Twente. "Twente is too big in my heart to stand in the way of its progress," said Shteve, who had been standing in the way of the club's progress for the past six winless games.
Rafa Benítez, who holds about as much weight around Stamford Bridge as the steward who looks after the Nigel Spackman entrance, has openly criticised his players' performance at Manchester City in a training-ground row. "It was very brief exchange of ideas," parped Rafa.
Lazio may have to play their remaining Big Vase matches behind closed doors after Uefa charged the club for the 'r@cist behaviour' of fans, the 'throwing of missiles and or fireworks' and the slightly less serious-sounding 'insufficient organisation'.
In other slap-on-the-wrist news, Inter have been fined £43,000 for their fans' r@cist abuse of Mario Balotelli in the Milan derby.
And John Still has left his role as Dagenham & Redbridge boss to take up the job with Conference Premier outfit Luton.
Cheers to the keeper for this one …
STILL WANT MORE?
Manchester United's Anderson stars as the Predator, an England bowler and a very hungry midfielder in this week's Gallery.
José Mourinho has eight days to define his legacy at Real Madrid before he does one, reckons Sid Lowe.
The Bundesliga, La Liga and the Merseyside Christian League Division Three can swivel. League One is the best competition in Europe, trumpets Rob Bagchi.
Dimwits such as the Fiver thought Gareth Bale was doing well because he runs fast and shoots hard, but according to floating brain in a tank Jonathan Wilson it's all to do with diminishing space, shuffling lines and Brad Friedel's absence.
And Paul Campbell invites you to pick your most likable footballing XI. He just about scraped together a team. Can you?
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Filed under: Euro 2012
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