One of the guarantees of international breaks is that players unhappy with their current lot at club level will use the opportunity afforded in interviews conducted in another language to voice their strife and dangle themselves before any potential suitors - it is the batting of eyelids rather than the more customary batting away of questions.
"Spanish radio" is usually the chosen medium for such caviling, but Swiss international Xherdan Shaqiri has found a different outlet for his concerns. The Stoke City attacker has given interviews in his native Switzerland in which he has rubbished the quality of his teammates and made it clear that he will not reckon with the Championship next season, regardless of how this season plays out.
In comments that prove Shaqiri's neck is as thick as his thighs, Shaqiri said that Ronaldinho couldn't improve the present Potters team. (Given that Ronnie is currently reckoning with politics in Brazil for a party more used to the right-wing than Shaqiri, we're not surprised).
The feeling that even a Ronaldinho could do little in this team is sobering.
I had to realise that it's a bit different when you have players like Ribéry and Thiago at Bayern or Icardi and Kovacic at Inter.
Here at Stoke I can not exert too much influence, simply because there is a lack of quality around me.
The Swiss international insisted he won't down tools over the final few weeks of the season, but did add that he and Stoke may part ways in May.
I cannot just down tools but it would take something extreme from Stoke in the transfer market this summer to revive my enthusiasm.
The quotes were translated by the Stoke Sentinel which you can read here.
See Also: Watch: Aiden McGeady Was Not Bothered By Scott Carson's Mind-Games