Mid-Day Ticker: Di Matteo’s fate up in the air, Barcelona defends Messi & more

Di Matteo (Getty)

If preparing to manage the Champions League final wasn't creating enough pressure for Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo, perhaps doing so with his job status up in the air will.

Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay has told the interim manager that no decision on his fate will be made until after the May 19 final against Bayern Munich. Since taking over for Andre Villas-Boas in March, Di Matteo has helped the club claim the FA Cup and make a remarkable Champions League run, knocking out defending champion Barcelona in the process.

"The club said from day one when he came in as interim manager that we would assess things at the end of the season," Gourlay said. "We have not changed our approach.

Here are some more stories to keep your Thursday rolling:

BARCELONA DEFENDS MESSI AGAINST RACISM CLAIMS

Barcelona has officially come to Lionel Messi's defense after the prolific forward was accused of making racist remarks by Dutch midfielder Royston Drenthe, who is on loan to Everton from Real Madrid.

"The player has always shown a maximum respect and sportsmanship towards his rivals, something which has been recognized by his fellow professionals many times, and we are sure that any accusations to the contrary are well wide of the mark," a club spokesman said. "His behavior throughout his career has always been exemplary."

ADVOCAAT NAMED PSV BOSS

PSV Eindhoven has signed Dick Advocaat to a one-year contract to helm the club once he leaves his post in charge of the Russia national team following Euro 2012.

The 64-year-old Dutchman led the club from 1995 to 1998, winning the league in 1997 and Dutch Cup in 1996. PSV missed out on a Champions League berth this past season after finishing third in the Eredivisie.

BILIC TO LEAVE CROATIA JOB

Slaven Bilic, who has lead the Croatia national team since 2006, will step down from his post after Euro 2012 this summer. Croatia has been drawn into a brutal group for the opening round of the tournament, during which it will face Spain, Italy and Ireland.

''This is my last championship in charge,'' Bilic said. ''I leave a great team that has spent five years in the top 10, a squad that has been rejuvenated and one that could last for a long time."

ARSENAL NO. 2 RICE TO RETIRE

After four decades with the club, Arsenal assistant Pat Rice is stepping away from the game at season's end. Youth coach Steve Bould, a former Arsenal defender, will take over his position.

Arsene Wenger's long-serving No. 2, Rice first joined the club as a youth player in 1964 before ultimately making 528 senior appearances. Rice then became a youth coach with the Gunners in 1984 before being elevated to his current post in 1996.

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Should Chelsea keep Di Matteo as manager regardless of what happens in the Champions League final? What do you think of Barcelona defending Messi against Drenthe's racism accusations? Is Advocaat the right man to lead PSV Eindhoven?

Share your thoughts below.

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42 Responses to Mid-Day Ticker: Di Matteo’s fate up in the air, Barcelona defends Messi & more

  1. Mike says:

    This is in poor taste, but “D*ck Advocaat” is a hilarious name.

  2. evan says:

    not as funny as D*ck Avocado

  3. The Imperative Voice says:

    Some of the recent poor results like Newcastle have probably not helped but it would be very Abramovich to keep fiddling with CFC management.

  4. Mig22 says:

    The Di Matteo thing is not news whatever Fox Sports wants to put on their website. It is the exact same position the team has taken since the beginning. There is no more pressure on Di Matteo at this point than there has been since hired.

  5. d says:

    Di Matteo deserves the job already. However after they fired Grant for taking them to the only Final ever I won’t be surprised when they fire Di Matteo for the same.

    Perhaps they can start a club together called

  6. Gnarls says:

    No, D*ck Advocaat is definitely funnier, assuming you pronounce it “advocate”.

  7. Gnarls says:

    The worst thing about Chelsea, other than John Terry, is Roman Abramovich. He’s a fickle megalomaniac who demands more than perfection.

  8. Old School says:

    The allure of a big name isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, if you’re rebuilding.

    I understand soccer is different than most sports in terms of being able to rapidly rebuild (especially for wealthy clubs) but with the “old guard” of Terry, Drogba, Lampard not going anywhere for the next few years, a new voice and new direction is rather irrelevant.

    Di Matteo could be a great placeholder and eventually become the ideal person to lead Chelsea past the older names associated with the club. Either way, a new “big name” manager won’t change the faces in the locker room without experiencing the same lumps Villas Boas experienced.

  9. Joe+G says:

    And it means “lawyer”.

  10. ballzgasmic says:

    Obama is now officially a d*ck on d*ck advocate.

  11. justin says:

    Such a big difference in how European clubs respond to racism, they always deny and support their player.

  12. Tom says:

    Maybe Ives has firsthand knowledge of this, but maybe Suarez wasn’t full of it, and Latinos really don’t consider Negro or Black, to be a racist way of addressing someone?

    If so, sounds like they need to be more aware that non-Latin black people will take offense.

  13. shane says:

    They are aware of what it mean in other cultures. Messi’s traveled all over the world. Come on

  14. Schmeeboo says:

    I wonder what other players call Messi (hobbit, imp, etc…)?

  15. Gnarls says:

    Let’s be real here. Even if “negro” had zero pejorative meaning or connotation whatsoever in Spanish, it still means black. Why would Suarez or Messi or anyone speak to a player while referring to the color of his or her skin? It’s either a spectacularly unnecessary part of speech or a slur. Nothing else.

  16. Alexandria says:

    Wow grow the hell up. Its not funny its personal to some people and shouldn’t be made fun of on a soccer blog.

  17. 99 says:

    …God?

  18. Mike says:

    That’s not cool.

    Who cares what people do in private. If what you took from that was d*ck on d*ck than I’m sorry for you.

    It was about acknowledging the civil rights of our fellow people.

  19. Tom says:

    Spectacularly unnecessary? That’s the definition of “other cultures.” Hell, the entire Spanish language is “spectacularly unnecessary” to me. The question, however, is, in their culture, is it considered racist to address someone by a word denoting skin color? I keep hearing stories of S. Americans doing that within biracial families, mothers doing that with their biracial daughters. Drenthe also said every Argentinian player he seemingly ever played with did that.

  20. Kevin_Amold says:

    Tired of all the politics in here.

  21. Kevin_Amold says:

    I lived in South America for a couple years. Yes, I heard people addressed by physical features, including skin color. Not only was using skin color not offensive, it was a term of endearment. Wife to husband. Friend to friend. Etc.

    I’m NOT saying that it can’t be used as an insult, even though I don’t recall an instance when it was. All I’m saying is that it was so common to be used in an almost friendly way that, at first, it surprised me.

  22. Kevin_Amold says:

    He’s called the flea (la pulga) on television, clearly referring to his smaller size.

  23. bryan says:

    yeah, this is clearly a case of South American culture vs. European culture (and USA). although, here in the US we tend to be ok being called gringos.

  24. Annelid Gustator says:

    Close. It’s “Goddamitnotagain”

  25. marco says:

    I know “black” is the preferred term in the USA by African Americans. I am led to believe that “negro” is the preferred term in Mexico, Central and South America. Royston Drenthe like Evra cannot make a case that the word is derogatory by itself, when it is preferred. He must make a case that the usage was intended to insult him.

  26. Herb says:

    Maybe not. I wonder if the special one is available?

  27. RadCool says:

    Actually in some places (PR) negro is aterm if endearment

  28. Old School says:

    So, how many times have you heard someone great an African American/Black person by saying, “Hello Black.” as Messi has done according to Drenthe during handshakes.

    In the case of Evra/Suarez, how many times have you heard an athlete, in the heat of the moment, refer to an African American/Black player as “Blackie”?

    They aren’t comprable. Being South American doesn’t mean you’re inherently ignorant.

  29. The Imperative Voice says:

    Hmmm……on one hand I agree that the Old Guard is holding back the team now. However, under AVB and others a handful of decent players like Mata, Cahill, Sturridge, and Ivanovic were secured that I believe should form the new core of the team going forward. This new core has already achieved FA Cup winners status and the final of the UEFA CL, if not the week to week consistency necessary to win the EPL. At which point you have to reconcile tournament success versus continued league gaffes and decide whether that merely reflects a lack of quality depth that shouldn’t reflect on diMatteo — he just needs to recycle more Lampards into Matas and away we go — or whether it instead reflects that diMatteo is as sketchy as AVB as a weekly manager, in which case get the hook. Considering the tournament success I don’t think they can simply say mphhh, it’s the old guard, let him rebuild. Because as is it’s already enough to win trophies…the question thus becoming whether diMatteo is a solid week to week manager, or will have the eyeto pick more Matas.

    That being said, the process should not follow the usual Abramovich process of willingness to submit/ name recognition/ etc.

  30. Big Ben says:

    Thats because gringo doesn’t mean white. Not sure how that came about, because you can be black and still be a gringo.

  31. Judging Amy says:

    As someone who is actually from South America, it is not as simple as “in south america its okay its a term of endearment”. And I know that’s not exactly what you’re saying, but basically Suarez and Messi (if what is alleged is true) should know better.

  32. Judging Amy says:

    Exactly. Some Americans think racism only exists in the US and excuse everything abroad with this twisted moral relativism. Its kinda funny.

  33. Judging Amy says:

    this post is hilarious. please tell me you often wear fanny packs and send your kids to those “arsenal in the usa” soccer academies that charge like 6 grand a summer.

  34. someAhole says:

    Well,like most Argentines Messi is of Italian descent. I guess they could hurl an Italian ethnic slur at him if they wanted insult him…

  35. Kevin_Amold says:

    Well, I know what I know. It’s possible we experienced different things in the parts we were in.

    I’m just saying that judging other cultures based on our own values, for lack of a better word, is tricky.

  36. Tom says:

    So thanks to those who confirmed it. Clearly some people here who can’t comprehend the question. We’re not talking “moral relativism.” Unless white mothers use racist slurs against their biracial (US translation: black) daughters.

  37. marco says:

    Not an overwhelming argument unless you the receiver feel blacks are inferior, and why would Messi know that, unless told by Drenthe. The context that he greeted Drenthe with ‘hola negro’ is not racist or derogatory by itself. A white player on a Nigerian team referred to as white would need to tell his teammates he is sensitive to that term without calling them racists.

  38. marco says:

    I’m told ‘hola negro’ is quite common in South America, so Drenthe has no case against Messi.
    The FA found that Suarez did use the comment in a derogatory way. Way too many white people feel ‘black’ by itself has negative connotations without any context, very sad.

  39. Lane says:

    I agree with both of those assertions. I would love to see him get the job but i don’t want to see him get sacked half way through the season like everybody else has. And its seriously time to give somebody else the arm band.

  40. Northzax says:

    Maybe in Argentina, but Messi has lived in Barcelona since he was what, 12? How much time has he spent in Argentina over the past 12 years? A year total? Maybe? He’s a product of FC Barcelona, to think he doesn’t know European cultural norma is ridiculous.

    If this is true (and what does Denthe claim by saying it?) It seems to me he’s using diminutives to get into players heads, the choice of which, after the Suarez incident was pretty dumb.

  41. RK says:

    Let’s not forget that Drenthe is a malcontent — there’s a reason that RM continually ships him off, and he talked his way off of Hercules last year.

  42. marco says:

    Drenthe’s criticism is without merit unless he can add context which shows Messi intended to insult him. Drenthe will get more support in the USA because saying ‘black’ in any context is considered by many here as racist. They are taught that ‘black’ is inferior and to be color-blind one must see blacks as not black, and certainly not call anyone black. Comedians of all colors mock this willful blindness of prejudice, with deserved ridicule and humor.