Hirshey: Down And Out In Barcelona

David Hirshey writes regularly about soccer for Deadspin.

What did I do to deserve this? Were the soccer gods finally fed up with my shameless pimping for a certain team from North London that played such pretty soccer Giselle Bundchen offered to pull a train in their locker room? (OK, she appeared in an ad with the team) Or perhaps I wrote unduly harshly of their esteemed rivals, particularly those preening greedheads from Chelsea?

How else to explain that for the past 24 hours, I've had to endure an endless video loop of Senor Henry taking his medical exam (the doctors seemed to focus a bit too obsessively on his groin, which he conveniently strained last season as soon as Arsenal was eliminated from all competitions) and then being paraded in front of 30,000 suddenly worshipful Barca fans who, only a year ago in the Champions League final, wanted nothing more than for their thuggish Mexican defender Marquez to put a boot up the Frenchman's derriere. (He obliged to the point where after the match Henry, even then a target of Barca's carpetbaggers, pledged his lifelong allegiance to the Gunners.)

Did I mention that I've been vacationing in Barcelona, a city that has 12 newspapers devoted solely to sports, which is to say FC Barcelona. Imagine my surprise when I arrived there last Friday to see Henry on the front page of each paper, flanked by Barca's Murderer's Row of Ronaldinho (or "Ronnie," as Thierry now calls him; he returns the favor by calling Thierry "Titi"), Messi and Eto'o. Still, I held out hope because the Spanish tabloids are usually as reliable as the Planet Mambo Gazette. But then the next day I went out to the Nou Camp, Barca's 120,000 seat stadium for a prearranged tour and was taunted by a gaggle of teenagers shouting "Viva Henry."

How did they know? It wasn't as if I was wearing my vintage Bergkamp jersey. Maybe they overheard me ask the tour guide "Henry y Barca? Ditte que eso es una mierda?" ("Please tell me this is bullshit.") The guide laughed and I knew it was true: Thierry Henry, the greatest player in Arsenal history, had va va va voomed out of the club that made him the money-grubbing woman he is today.

I had only one more question for my tour guide: Donde pueclo ir a toa ar algo? Which roughly translates to: Where's the nearest place to get shit-hammered drunk?