(Jerusalem, August 3) Barcelona FC have arrived in the Middle East to replace Tony Blair as the Quartet peace envoy.
“Blair tried his best, but he is not a natural striker. Besides, this is a tough challenge and 11 people are better than one,” Barcelona President Sandro Rossell told reporters on arrival at Ben-Gurion airport.
“Spain has a rich history of persecuting both Jews and Muslims, so we are perfectly positioned to mediate in the Middle East,” he added.
The team began shuttling between Tel Aviv and Ramallah on Saturday. They hope to inject new life into the peace process by carrying out all their negotiations with under-16s on both sides, and keeping all the talks in the open air.
“We are focusing on the next generation,” said Barcelona star Lionel Messi. “They want to get out of the meeting-rooms onto the pitch and work on their dribbling. We can help with that.”
Messi said the team would do better than Miguel Moratinos, the last Spaniard to act as Quartet envoy.
“His defensive work was OK but his passing was terrible,” said Messi.
“As for the Palestinians, a lot of their attacks led to own goals,” Messi added.
The team travelled straight to Dura stadium near Hebron where Gerard Pique addressed an enthusiastic crowd.
“The Israeli defence is good but we can help you get around that wall,” declared Pique. “We will also be working on shooting skills.”
Jibril Rajoub, president of the Palestinian Football Association, said Barcelona would breathe new life into the Middle East peace process.
“This is a land of two halves,” said Rajoub.
UPDATE: Qatar says “We are proud to own them both.” (HT @JSchanzer)