Official: Fabregas is in

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It is official, Francesc Fabregas, 24-year-old midfielder, has formally been transferred from Arsenal back to the club he grew up with, ending one of the most acrimonious, long-winded, frustrating, and stupefying transfer sagas in recent history. FC Barcelona announced the transfer just after halftime of the Supercopa first leg today, possibly in an attempt to troll the entire world, and if so, I say good on ya. I’m sorry for the lack of a zippy title, but all the analogies seemed redundant at this point, especially since they have all been used a dozen times and calling him the prodigal son rings too hollow for me anyway, and that story is stupid at even a skin deep glance.Pep has said in the presser following the first leg of the Supercopa that “we’ll see” if Cesc will play Wednesday.

The transfer is, in my opinion, a positive one. As I will be outlining more in my squad preview coming soon, I believe Cesc provides a number of positives including depth at all 3 midfield positions, yes, even the DM, because he can play there, though he’s not as solid as a defender as Busi or Masch. He’s also a proven playmaker and goalscorer as well as a player who knows the system, has a on field relationship with Pique, Puyol, Busi, Iniesta, Xavi, Villa, Pedro, and Valdes. Not to mention that he is very close friends with many of these players and will likely have little issue settling in or taking a role off the bench, which he has to know is coming.

The money is a question mark at this point and I know there are those who think the club overpaid, but I am of a different mind. Paying 29m up front for the best midfielder, or as close to it as we get, in the Barclay’s Premier League is a great deal. Even better when he is only 24 and can legitimately fit into the squad with very little issue. I see this as a very positive transfer providing depth and talent, while still not paying a huge premium for a player of his caliber. And I know the familiar refrain, that the team already has Xavi, and Iniesta, and Thiago, so why would it need Fabregas. Well, the simple fact is that Thiago and Cesc can, and likely will in almost every game, play different positions on the field, Iniesta has a long and storied history of injuries, and Xavi has the troubling concern of his achilles, an injury that if it is aggravated or torn would basically mean the end of his playing career. Not to mention Xavi’s age. So yes, I am happy with the move.

Fabregas has scored 57 goals while at Arsenal and has been a part of Spain’s European and World Cup championship teams. In the coming days Linda will have a post on the whole Cesc transfer saga, Euler will be posting on what we can expect tactically from Cesc, and I will be throwing up a preview of the squad itself, replete with possible lineups, changes, and the like. Isaiah will also be along with a season preview, so we’ve got you covered.

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122 Comments

  1. Víctor
    August 14, 2011

    People are gonna say that Arsenal were taken advantage of. I say that “no”… surely Barça paid the right price for the player. And, let’s be honest, he didn’t want to stay one more season in there.

    • barca4eva
      August 15, 2011

      Totally agree with you. The price was a coup by Barca. No team will buy Fab for less than 50mil pounds.

  2. mom4
    August 14, 2011

    Tomorrow, the obligatory thumbs up picture in front of the crest and then I believe Jnice will be a little poorer 🙂 Can’t remember who he bet.

    • Luke
      August 14, 2011

      Some debts have already been settled.

    • blitzen
      August 14, 2011

      Oh, yes, he owes me a month’s subscription to Megaupload or similar. It’s OK, Jnice, I”m happy with just a moral victory.

      Just promise me you will never doubt me again. 😛

      • Jnice
        August 14, 2011

        Haha, which host would you like me to activate premium on?

        • blitzen
          August 14, 2011

          I’ll let you know once we have the official “thumbs-up in front of the crest” pic.
          😉

  3. August 14, 2011

    29m cash + 5m +5m from Cesc?! OMG what a bargain! As much as Rosell is hated, he did excellently from start to finish.

  4. justsayin
    August 14, 2011

    Well, after this long, overdrawn build up let’s see if it was all worth it. I have a sneaky suspicion that the expectation is so high now, that not matter how well he does, it might seem a disappointment. In any case, I wish him well and welcome back!

  5. ciaran
    August 14, 2011

    Welcome Cesc, differing opinions on the timing of the transfer but it should be a very positive move.
    Gives us a lot of options tactically and should fit in very well.

  6. August 14, 2011

    Seriously if we only paid 29M plus variables, that is an incredibly good deal. I was worried about Rosell for most of the transfer window and don’t like him on principle but he really handled this well, getting great deals for two expensive players and selling others at good value.

  7. jamesloizou
    August 14, 2011

    you have no class. you pressured a deal using your players and media to the extent of football law and have absolutely NO nobility. we’ll face you again, perhaps this time with a ref who has eyes and a brain and get our own back.

    enjoy Cesc, ruin his career, and think nothing of it like you always so.
    35 million?!!! jokers. cheapskate monkeys. come on ETA!!!!

    • Humphrey Bogart
      August 14, 2011

      Ah, ETA is connected to the Basque country and out of business since a cease fire in the summer and has nothing tto do with Catalunia, But I suppose Spanish history is not your strong point

    • Helge
      August 14, 2011

      LOL 😀

      If you want to face us, better do so this season. Because I seriously doubt that Arsenal will play in the CL next year, especially if you also lose Nasri…

      • jamesloizou
        August 14, 2011

        just come to the 12 pins in finsbury park ask for james and we can discuss it…

        • August 14, 2011

          Call me Ishmael. Some years ago — never mind how long precisely — having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen, and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off — then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.

          There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes, belted round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs — commerce surrounds it with her surf. Right and left, the streets take you waterward. Its extreme down-town is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves, and cooled by breezes, which a few hours previous were out of sight of land. Look at the crowds of water-gazers there.

          Circumambulate the city of a dreamy Sabbath afternoon. Go from Corlears Hook to Coenties Slip, and from thence, by Whitehall northward. What do you see? — Posted like silent sentinels all around the town, stand thousands upon thousands of mortal men fixed in ocean reveries. Some leaning against the spiles; some seated upon the pier-heads; some looking over the bulwarks

          of ships from China; some high aloft in the rigging, as if striving to get a still better seaward peep. But these are all landsmen; of week days pent up in lath and plaster — tied to counters, nailed to benches, clinched to desks. How then is this? Are the green fields gone? What do they here?

          But look! here come more crowds, pacing straight for the water, and seemingly bound for a dive. Strange! Nothing will content them but the extremest limit of the land; loitering under the shady lee of yonder warehouses will not suffice. No. They must get just as nigh the water as they possibly can without falling in. And there they stand — miles of them — leagues. Inlanders all, they come from lanes and alleys, streets and avenues, — north, east, south, and west. Yet here they all unite. Tell me, does the magnetic virtue of the needles of the compasses of all those ships attract them thither?

          Once more. Say, you are in the country; in some high land of lakes. Take almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down in a dale, and leaves you there by a pool in the stream. There is magic in it. Let the most absent- minded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries — stand that man on his legs, set his feet a-going, and he will infallibly lead you to water, if water there be in all that region. Should you ever be athirst in the great American desert, try this experiment, if your caravan happen to be supplied with a metaphysical professor. Yes, as every one knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever.

          But here is an artist. He desires to paint you the dreamiest, shadiest, quietest, most enchanting bit of romantic landscape in all the valley of the Saco. What is the chief element he employs? There stand his trees, each with a hollow trunk, as if a hermit and a crucifix were within; and here sleeps his meadow, and there sleep his cattle; and up from yonder cottage goes a sleepy smoke. Deep into distant woodlands winds a mazy way, reaching to overlapping spurs of mountains bathed in their hill-side blue. But though the picture lies thus tranced, and though this pine-tree shakes down its sighs like leaves upon this shepherd’s head, yet all were vain, unless the shepherd’s eye were fixed upon the magic stream before him. Go visit the Prairies in June.

        • BarcaGirl_Indo
          August 14, 2011

          😆

          c’mon, if you wanna troll us, at least do a decent troll, don’t make us laugh at you…

  8. August 14, 2011

    variables:
    Rosell to Cesc:
    1) If you wanna wear number 4 shirt, you pay 1m.
    2) I will keep most of your wage from now until next year, when you need pocket money, ask me.
    3) Change twitter background picture to blaugrana ASAP or you pay all 5m.
    4) Delete Wenger from your email list.
    5) Speak Catalan from now on.

  9. Helge
    August 14, 2011

    Can’t wait for all the various posts about Cesc and the season preview 🙂

    And even though I’m not the biggest fan of Cesc’s homecoming:
    Benvingut, Cesc Fàbregas i Soler!

  10. NS Gooner
    August 14, 2011

    Arsenal fan here, and while I’m sad to see him go, it was so inevitable in the end that I’m just happy it’s over. I have no love for the Barcelona hierarchy for how this was handled over the last few years, but I admit their tactics were very effective, as what you got him for is an absolute steal. Best case scenario is that Cesc plays his heart out and and relegates Xavi to the bench. Honestly, the arrogance of some of his comments was staggering over the past two years.

    • mom4
      August 14, 2011

      Arsenal fan here too. Well, Barca first Arsenal second. Glad it’s over too. You need to read Xavi’s interviews and get context of what he says rather than rely on snippets of quotes that the sensationalist press uses to provoke people before you call him arrogant.

    • Ryan
      August 14, 2011

      I’d say Xavi is entitled to some confidence, considering he’s won everything.

      • NS Gooner
        August 14, 2011

        It’s not his recent quotes that bother me (the ones Wenger reacted to), but ones from last summer. “It is criminal for a player of Cesc’s quality not to be winning the biggest prizes in football, he really has no choice but to leave.” I find this incredibly disrespectful, regardless of any truth in it. It wasn’t so long ago that Barcelona went a few years without a trophy if you remember, so by his argument he himself should have left Barcelona for a ‘better’ club. And Ryan, while Xavi is a fabulous player and maybe does deserve to say what he wants, it never hurts to have a little class. Not saying all Arsenal players do (they don’t), but it’s refreshing to see someone extremely talented and extremely respectful.

        • Lou
          August 14, 2011

          NS Gooner, I’m not sure what interview you are referring too but most of the really offensive quotes about Fabregas (and Torres… and one about Leo Messi wanting to teach Cheryl Cole to tango) in the English press last summer were fabrications mostly from someone writing for the Daily Star.

          An Arsenal and Barcelona fan named Anne wrote a good review of the fake quotes saga: http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/archives/12733

          Even this summer there have been a number of fake quotes in the Star and the Sun. Dani Alves was reported in the Sun (I think) to have said that Arsenal is “economy class” a few weeks ago, and afterwards tweeted that he had never spoken to them. But in today’s media environment, quotes get passed on and retweeted and soon no one knows what the original source was.

          Xavi is an opinionated guy and he clearly wanted Cesc to return to Barca, but most (perhaps all?) of the really offensive quotes reported are fictional.

    • Srini
      August 15, 2011

      Gooner, if you want to hear out the real Xavi and not the made up one from the phone tapping, yellow journalist British press, you should read that interview of him by Sid Lowe and some other guy and which was published in the Guardian.

      Xavi, is what he confesses to be a, football romantic who does not mince his words. He was unabashed about Cesc’s transfer to Barcelona, not because Arsenal was a bad team or anything like that which was made out to be, but because he wanted to play with similar talent in the pitch. He was very respectful about Arsenal’s way of play, thrilled about them in fact. And his choice of players from the Premier League whom he admired, must actually warm a Gooner fan’s heart, for they played the same way, Arsene Wenger would have wanted his wards to – Paul Scholes, Matt Le Tissier, etc.

      Xavi is an ideologue of a certain way that he thinks football should be played. And he does not just talk, he walks the talk. He hardly commits a foul, he is cerebral to the extent of epitomising a brainy footballer and asks us football lovers to enjoy the portions of the game that is tactically drawn and skillfully exhibited. In that way, he makes us feel that we are not just some spectators at a gladiator show in the Coliseum but are like what Umberto Eco would say, “participating” actors in the aesthetic game called football. Maybe I am blabbering, but it is the Xavi effect.

  11. Jackieboy
    August 14, 2011

    Good deal after all. When(if) we get fully fit, a bench of Cesc, Alexis, Afellay, Thiago, Mascherano, Fontas/Adriano, Pinto. Overkill. Especially seeing how Thiago, even though he had a good game tonight, failed to take control of it in that Xavi-esque way, something which I believe Cesc would be able to do. I sense a great season coming.

  12. Srini
    August 14, 2011

    Cesc On!

    I have never been so comfortable with Thiago replacing Xavi. With Cesc in (and on), Barca is building a dynasty succession. If that video posted by Paradigma Guardiola (thanks Kari!) of the Puyol, Busquets, Pique, Xavi, Iniesta, Cesc, Villa combination in the World Cup, holds as a standard, then Cesc’s entry is going to make Barca a formidable squad.

    Aside – does anyone know when our Captain Caveman is going to play? I like what Mascherano is doing, but Abidal for some reason was very crap today and I now want us to win the Supercopa.

    • August 14, 2011

      Allow me to defend of Abidal, because really, his partners were worse: Mascherano and Keita.

      Abidal found himself passing to Adriano, and then Valdes, and then had to dribble SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much just to relieve the pressure from Madrid.

      Keita failed to fill the void between offense and defense, Mascherano didn’t realize Abidal’s difficulties because he lacks CB sense for us, resulted clearance after clearance.

      But all these responsibility talks are useless until our engine is back ON!

      Wednesday is too little time to get back to normal, but in Camp Nou, we can do it!

    • August 14, 2011

      The was a lot of really poor play by Barca today. Poor passes, poor trapping, and sub-par touches across the board. Plus, plenty of standing around. Barca are still not quite at full speed for the season, which doesn’t surprise me. Some nice individual play salvaged the game, and I hope this leg of the Super Cup helped wake the players back up for another season.

    • The__K__Man
      August 14, 2011

      BTW Srini don’t bother with the “other” blog if you know what I mean..I used to post there too but that guy with the OZIL avatar is really an a**hole..my posts usually started out like yours only to end by him having a fight and calling me a troll. Since then I just go read as I like their writers but I’ve stopped commenting..it ain’t worth it!

      • Srini
        August 15, 2011

        Thanks, kman. You are right. I should avoid rmfb. I liked bassam and that biased but level headed kid kaushik. But it is as bad as the real (pun intended) world. So you are right.

  13. BarcaGirl_Indo
    August 14, 2011

    Messi, Villa, Pedro, Alexis, Fabregas, Thiago, and Afellay to do the damage and net the goals.

    CRAZIE.

  14. Vj
    August 14, 2011

    I asked this in the previous thread not knowing I was being brutally blagged (Hectored)

    So what changes after 2 days?

    I hope Xavi, Busi and Pique are fit enough to start.

    If not, will we struggle again?

    • Srini
      August 14, 2011

      I expect Xavi and Pique to be back. Thiago is still not ready for me. Busquets could possibly not be there and that means more trouble, but I think this should be mitigated by Xavi/Pique’s presence.

      • Vj
        August 14, 2011

        They are not going to have a chance at the Nou Camp

        In the EE forum. Heh. Takes courage to reply to trolls. Keep it up. Though the name-calling can be toned down a bit..

    • August 14, 2011

      I think the biggest change is that we shake off the cobwebs and tighten up the play. Crisper passing, better control, and solid touches would make a big difference. We gifted Madrid plenty of chances by our sloppy play. If we don’t hand them those gifts, we will be in much better shape. Especially when you factor in the home field advantage and the away goals.

      • Vj
        August 14, 2011

        Apparently, we played anti-football according to the EEistas. They are pretty confident they’d win here, because both our goals were flukes..

        Lets see the case come Wednesday..

        • BTTFCule
          August 14, 2011

          Wow and they call Zidane’s goal a work of art ? I think classico’s should be banned for 2 years. I have had enough 🙂

  15. PhepheSa
    August 14, 2011

    I don’t really like RoSell but must say guy is a LEGEND. Can’t believe he kept his promise of not paying 40m for fabregas. Welcome Fabregas, still can’t believe it’s over i can’t even get excited i’m just relieved i’m never going through crazy silly season again.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      August 14, 2011

      Indeed. Negotiator wizard, I must say.

      • Vj
        August 14, 2011

        Don’t forget the Jose Angel f***up. He’s not that good..

        • blitzen
          August 14, 2011

          It’s not a f*** up if we didn’t really want him in the first place. I don’t think Pep was ever that intere4sted, TBH, or it would have happened.

          • PhepheSa
            August 14, 2011

            Agree, I believe what Pep wants Pep gets. RoSell messed up by selling Chiggy without Pep’s consent but now he only buys the players the coach needs(atleast that’s what I think). If Pep desperately wanted Jose Angel he would have got him whatever the price.

          • Vj
            August 14, 2011

            If Pep weren’t interested, why would we put a bid in the first place?

          • Vj
            August 14, 2011

            IIRC, Pep said that he’d look from within after we got rebuffed from Sporting. Rosell completely screwed it up. He applied the same strategy that got us Cesc and Sanchez, but here’s the thing – They wanted a move only to Barca.

            Sporting said fine, we’ll wait till a decent offer comes in and Roma pounced. Pep saved their faces with the promotion remark..

  16. Humphrey Bogart
    August 14, 2011

    Who gives a f**** shit about this Mickey Mouse cup? Fabregas is back in the house!!!!!

    I think today showed that Thiago for all his talent is not ready, yet, to lead in the really big games, so I am happy that Cesc is here.
    I am still very, very concerned about Xavi and his fitness level, it seems stange that he hardly played these days, so Cesc is more than welcome

  17. mom4
    August 14, 2011

    Geez, Luke, I just saw 108 readers. Didja have to go and use the “F” word in the title and provoke the trolls 🙂

    A little English-subbed Crackovia to celebrate(even though I was iffy on this transfer):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfd7-4jCGfU

  18. Roz
    August 14, 2011

    What an exausting game. Really glad its over. No way Madrid can win at the Camp so Cup is in the bag. For me Sanchez really didnt have a good game but with time he will just be crazy good. Valdes MOTM

    • The__K__Man
      August 14, 2011

      I think he had a very decent one for a guy who is debuting in el Bernabeu..he had a few amazing moments with Messi..I just now already he’ll be awesome for us!

  19. messi_fan
    August 14, 2011

    Despite what others are saying, I thought Sanchez had an excellent game. First game EVER with Barcelona. Regularly beating Marcelo. Looking comfortable on the ball. Working his butt off. Helping out in defense. Against the most expensive side ever assembled. Yes he had a few positional issues. But I don’t know what else you could ask for.

    • blitzen
      August 14, 2011

      I completely agree. For a player who has only been training with the first team for a few days, he fit right in. Give him a couple of months and he will be unstoppable.

    • Xingxian
      August 14, 2011

      Yeah, I thought Marcelo would put up more of a fight from what I’ve seen of him in Brazil/Clasico/RM matches. Wow. Sanchez is DANCEY.

  20. The__K__Man
    August 14, 2011

    If you compare the price of Cesc to Nasri’s reported one, you’ll see how awesome of a deal Rosell got us…29 compared to 27.. Cesc is double the player and has 3 years on his contract..Nasri has only one and is going for almost the same price.

  21. Camero
    August 14, 2011

    From Barcastuff:
    Guardiola: “The ball didn’t benefit any of the two teams, it was half a football, half a beach ball.

    Did anyone else notice this. At first I thought it was a Mourinho tactic, but even so how was this possible. Aren’t all the balls checked and regulation, or this the new season’s ball? I hope the league isn;t now using those funny jubalanis

    • PhepheSa
      August 14, 2011

      My thoughts exactly. La liga has been using nike balls i don’t know since when. Hopefully it’s only for the supercopa because Xavi didn’t like these balls at the world cup.

  22. blitzen
    August 14, 2011

    Because it is worth reposting every time we get a new influx of trolls, feast your eyes on this classic from SoccerMom. It’s nutritious and delicious:

    http://www.barcelonafootballblog.com/4345/travellin-trollway-1/

    Sorry, jamesloizou, NS Gooner, et al, it’s all been done before, and better, and there will never ever be a more perfect response than SoMa’s. Behold her genius and marvel.

  23. ciaran
    August 14, 2011

    I thought that the most disappointing player in tonight’s match was Keita.
    I know he is not a DM but he was poor tonight.
    I feel that currently, DM is a more important position in our system than CB so when Busquets isn’t there and Masch has to play CB our ball movement is extremely lacking.
    A trio of Xavi, Cesc & Iniesta would retain that ball movement and in tonight’s match we would have had much much better possession and control in this situation.
    I am concerned that Keita is now the least important starter in our system as he isn’t first or second choice for any position on the pitch.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      August 14, 2011

      true.

      I hope for home leg we’ll have Pique-Abidal as CB and Masch/Busi as DM.

      no more Keita in DM position. bad, just bad.

    • Brosep
      August 14, 2011

      I can’t help but feel Busquets at DM would have been the difference maker in this game. Keita drifts and distributes in ways wholly unlike Busi, and Barca needs an anchor to set a pace. Apart from that game against Valencia last season (and even then, only in the first half), Guardiola has never seen his team so totally controlled, including the semifinal against Inter.

      Valdes was an easy MOTM pick for me. He has been essentially flawless for two years now, and after tonight’s performance I am further convinced he may simply be the best, period.

      Full credit to Madrid, though. They came out with their strongest lineup (if they have such a thing? seemed it to me) and put on a fantastic performance.

      • Cam
        August 14, 2011

        I thought a better sub would have been Pique for Keita, pushing Mascherano up to DM. Keita drifted out of the center way too often and is really uncomfortable pivoting the ball with the defense at his back. I can see that Pep wants to find another way to get him on the pitch given that he now has Cesc and Thiago to share midfield time but it is just not his game to play DM.

  24. just listenin
    August 14, 2011

    Today was an excellent example of why despite the hype, promise and true potential of Thiago, he is not ready yet. I have been saying this for some time. He can’t carry the midfield he is 2-3 years from that, by carrying us against the bottom of the table and subbing in top tier matches, he will be ready soon. I’m glad we didn’t wait on Fabregas… Hopefully he steps in as planned, he will be needed.

  25. simple_barcafan
    August 14, 2011

    Can anyone please tell me how much we have paid for Cesc..I heard 29+5+5..But am not sure why 5+5…why not just say 29 + 10 m ?

    • mom4
      August 14, 2011

      I think that the last 5M was bonuses and salary that Cesc is giving up to fascilitate the transfer.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      August 14, 2011

      I thought it was 29m cash upfront + 5m (1 m every year from Cesc salary) + 6m variables?

  26. blitzen
    August 14, 2011

    Apparently a lightbulb exploded above Guardiola’s head during the post-match conference. The sheer force of his brilliance cannot be contained in earthly vessels!

  27. blitzen
    August 14, 2011

    Oh, and sadly, this from Graham Hunter:

    #clasico yet again the Bernabéu crowd make monkey noise. SCANDALOUS AND CONSTANT

  28. August 14, 2011

    Ryan. You lucky, lucky man. Get to be at the return leg at Camp Nou. I’m so jealous! Enjoy it, man.

    …And carry a BFB sign! 😀

    • Ryan
      August 14, 2011

      You know it! Any idea for a clever sign though? 😆

  29. BarcaGirl_Indo
    August 14, 2011

    Rosell’s comment about Cesc (on official website) :

    The other big story of the day is that an agreement in principle has been reached with Arsenal for the transfer of Cesc Fàbregas. “Cesc is one of us and I’m happy that he’s coming back home”, said Rosell. “His arrival makes the group stronger.” On the negotiations, he said “we have paid what we wanted to pay. No more no less”. 😆

    this picture says it all…
    http://images.memegenerator.net/instances/500x/9386002.jpg

  30. August 14, 2011

    I just skimmed the match, so expect someone else to do a review, if one is coming at all. This match has about all the weight of a feather for me, and the Fabregas news will be overtaking all for the next few days.

    –The abuse of Keita is unwarranted. He was an immense physical presence in the middle, particularly doing the battleship thing with Pepe. Yes, he was clunky and no, he isn’t a DM. But he handled his business. The whole side was off today, from top to bottom, save Valdes.

    –Sanchez had a good match. Took him a while to work his way in, had a bright period, then got tired. Serie A not as intense as this match, but few matches are as intense as El Clasics. But that play in which he controlled the ball, hurdled a tackle and kept on rolling tells us a lot about this player.

    –Apparently, Messi was puking at halftime. Whether from the effort, an illness or whatever, that fact that he was kicking butt and taking names …. dude’s huge. And what a goal.

    –Speaking of goals, VILLA! Let’s hope that is a sign of things to come.

    –Mascherano not a full-on CB, but anyone who doesn’t give him credit for a man-sized match is only looking for bad things to say about him. As with everyone, some good, some bad. But his physical presence was huge. Abidal, Alves looked out of sorts. Badly.

    –Xavi (sighhhhh ….)

    –Thiago is brilliant. He made EE player after EE player look silly with his skill. He’s still too casual with the ball, but that will come with time.

    –Away goals rule in SuperCopa, right? So we should be in good shape for Wednesday, if we just play it tight. They won’t be as crazy-aggressive away from home, either, and we can’t play much worse.

    –Guardiola is all class, all the time. His Fabregas comments in particular. And Mourinho didn’t even show up.

    I’ll give the match a real viewing and maybe come back later with a report of sorts, if someone hasn’t already done so. But really, for me, this was just more pre-season action.

    –Lest I forget, full credit to EE, who owned our asses all over the pitch today. And TB is looking like he wants to be a complete player this season. He was impressive as hell.

    • blitzen
      August 14, 2011

      Oooh! Oooh! I feel some blitzen awards coming on! Unless maybe not. But for tonight I want to emphasize how happy I am with certain players named Villa and Sanchez and what an excellent effort they put in.

      And, yes, Benz, CRonaldo, and Ozil were great. We need to figure out how to stop them.

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        August 14, 2011

        it’s gonna be a bloody season…
        EE players have found their chemistry and they were indeed great…

        but I believe a fully fit FC Barcelona starting XI (including Busquets, Alves-Pique-Puyol-Abidal as our defensive line) can cope with them…

        they owned our asses in Bernabeu, played better, yet we got 2-2 scoreline, I’m happy with that…
        especially with Valdes, Alexis, and Villa’s performance…

        • htMillBay
          August 14, 2011

          Two street ball goals from Villa and Messi. VV on form already. Barca was able to save a draw on pure individual talent despite being less fit, less ready and less coordinated than Madrid. I was expecting a draw but worried of Busi absence/Keita fill-in at DM yet we survived.

          It’s going to be a long-term problem though as Euler has pointed out if neither Busi and Smasch can play DM we’re missing a vital cog in the wheel.

          Fontas has played DM before. I say why not try him out (albeit not at a classico). Is there anyone out there we can still sign as a 3rd DM bec. much as I like Keita over-all this is not going to cut it?

          We’re going for the win and the silver at Camp Nou. Pep had a lot of balls debuting Alexis at Bernabeau. Worried about Xavi, is his condition worse than they’re letting on? If so, the Cesc deal has gone from good to great.

  31. August 14, 2011

    Brazil defeat Spain on penalties (after drawing 2-2) in the U20 World Cup. Meet Mexico in the semis.

    • August 14, 2011

      S’okay. Sergi and Bartra scored their pens. Did not need to zoom in on Bartra crying tho. Not cool.

      That coach is an absolute tool. He doesn’t deserve the cup, simple as that. Benches Sergi, plays Koke… Nope. Don’t feel bad.

      That being said, pobre Bartra and Sergi. 🙁

    • jordi™
      August 14, 2011

      Two Pericos missed their penalties.Some things never change :D.To be fair to Vazquez though he scored 5 goals and Lopetegui left him on the bench every game.

      Oriol is amazing, its scary to believe he’ll get better like Pique did, aerially and physically, in England. We can re-sign a monster in 2 years for 10 million.Could be a bargain once Keita leaves.

      • Ryan
        August 15, 2011

        And one of the Brazil PKs was very lucky to go in after bouncing off the post. Ah well, it would’ve been sweet to win absolutely everything, but it gives them something to shoot for!

  32. Anonymous_69
    August 14, 2011

    I really hope Pique and Busquets are ready to start on Wednesday. With them in the lineup, we will be able to play the ball out more instead of hoofing it upfield. If Pique and Busquets are fit, I wonder what defense will Pep use: Alves-Pique-Abidal-Adriano OR Alves-Mascherano-Pique-Abidal?

    Was Messi really puking during half time? That’s insane. If that is true, he shouldn’t start against Madrid on Wednesday. Pedro looked very impressive after coming on (he obviously isn’t ready to give up his starting spot), a Sanchez-Villa-Pedro lineup, with Messi as a supersub, is good to me. Puked, ffs!

    Am I the only one who thought Ronaldo was NOT that great? I mean, he keeps getting better physically, but he lost the ball cheaply a lot, and he didn’t manage to create danger when he was in good positions. He would recieve the ball in space inside the box, and he would wait too long and the Barca players would close out the danger. His most dangerous moments were when he sprinted past everyone down the wing.

    Ozil’s vision was much more dangerous. Ozil is freaking amazing I think. One of the best out there. His goals wouldn’t have happened today if Mascherano was playing DM, but he was terrific still. Is Ozil a better player than Cesc Fabregas? I don’t know. I think Ozil has better off the ball movement, Cesc has better scoring abilities, and both are pretty equal with their vision.

    I would like to see another CB signed, but I think we are fine. Maxwell isn’t great, but he is solid enough for another season. Adriano and Mascherano will be better than last season. If Puyol regains form after his injury, we will be very solid. Milito never played last season because Pep never trusted him. With Fontas, a decent defender right now who Pep trusts, we pretty much have one more CB than last season. I think Montoya is ready to play games against lower table clubs. Botia will be bought back next season and he is a great defender. Montoya might be good enough for full promotion next summer, along with one of Bartra, Muniesa, or Sergi Gomez. Gomez is terrific, and I see him as Pique’s future CB partner.

    I would really love to see a good Striker signed, but it isn’t happening. And I find it ridiculous how we apparently don’t want to promote Soriano. I love our attack, but it sometimes gets annoying watching Messi or Iniesta (or Sanchez today at times) get into a terrific position after a good pass/dribble, and not have anyone to play it to in the box.

  33. The__K__Man
    August 14, 2011

    There are actually people on you-know-whose-blog who are actually debating whether or not Barca had their full team lined up today. Could these guys be any more delusional? They actually believe the owned the “real” Barça!

    • Jnice
      August 14, 2011

      I skimmed through their liveblog for a sec… big mistake. I saw things like “anti-football” “Sanchez sucks”, “Barça announced the signing of Cesc at halftime, how classless,” etc. I also saw someone say Xavi wouldn’t have made a difference in the first half.

      We were dominated, but geez, anti-football? My goodness. They get a little confident and a whole bunch of ridiculous things are being spewed. Imagine if they won 3 La Ligas and 2 CL’s in the past 3 years. They talk about us being cocky, but there’s no doubt in my mind they would be 5x worse. They’re usually cocky even after not winning anything.

        • August 14, 2011

          Pride is one thing but idiocy is something else. Also I hope their players think JUST that when they go to Camp Nou if they play the same, we’ll have a W for sure.

        • Jnice
          August 14, 2011

          I can understand pride, but statements like “Xavi is overrated”, “Love the anti-football being played by Barça today” are full on delusions. We didn’t dominate the game, but why mention anti-football. I’m sorry, but I can’t give stuff like that a pass. And please, I don’t want anyone from there coming over here with b.s. diplomatic statements. Thanks.

          • jordi™
            August 14, 2011

            The Xavi thing grinds my gears.Last month there was a post in the comments going into detail about Xavi not being in the top 10 midfielders of the decade and how he only passes sideways and his game is not difficult etc.I read it like 4 times in one day and I had to show a lot of restraint not to jump in with my teeth baring.

          • jordi™
            August 14, 2011

            Oh and Ozil should have been in the Uefa award ahead of Xavi and iniesta.Apparently it was insulting and another clear sign Uefa is biased to us.

        • August 14, 2011

          I don’t know what it is about the RM official site, but it has reverted to the most base viewpoints in the last few months.

          And yes, blogs are full of fans, though many of them are good to view if only for the discussion they engage in. Some, like the one mentioned above, have comments section that just feel like an ogre pit. I just want to read some classic literature after reading so much juvenile spew.

          And allow me to go on a rant that everyone here can ignore:

          but it doesnt help ONE BIT that many ” regulars ” write all their messages like this !!!!!!! i understand having a hard time wit the language ( i would understand if that the case ) but it is lacking COMMON COURTESY to rite a message with such odd use of punctuation AND capitalization especially long ones, if you want to […]

          Note: I don’t mean to be mean or offend anyone here. I am just saying that a little bit of effort when typing out comments goes a long way. English is my second language as well, so I don’t mean it to be poor language use per se, just continually incorrect use of capitalization, commas, parentheses, spaces, exclamation marks, and so on.

          • August 14, 2011

            Uh-oh! I just re-read my message and, if it isn’t clear, I don’t mean any of the regulars here at all. That’s not who I was thinking of when writing my silly rant.

        • August 14, 2011

          “Football is unfair when you deserve to win”? wow, as if they are the gods of football to decide who should win. Geez, are they seriously thinking they just overtook us with that 2-2 draw? With Leo puked on the pitch, and everyone kinda not fit?

          We will tell them the unfairness is not from football, but the difference of talent when our team hits top gear.

          Talk about unfairness, RM kicked our players off the ball more than 3 times without being called. Marcelo kicked Messi, Pedro and Sanchez when they were running into space, and those kicks could have caused bad injuries.
          That must be said.

    • Jnice
      August 14, 2011

      Come to think of it, I actually saw when he was bent over during the first half. At first I thought he was injured, but then it just looked like he was doing something with his hands. I didn’t understand at the time.

      • August 14, 2011

        I saw that too, but I didn’t think something like that happened.

        /fangirls him even harder.

  34. Cam
    August 14, 2011

    Things I learned from this match:

    1. EE’s gold stripe/collar kit makes them look like blackjack dealers in a low budget Las Vegas casino.

    2. Callejon has a haircut that would embarrass a 10-year-old boy.

    3. Fabio Coentrao has a haircut that makes Guti look like Don Draper.

    4. The fact that ¿Por Qué? didn’t put TB on the left up against Dani Alves in the Champion’s League proves that he isn’t as smart as he thinks. That was an obvious place to attack Barca with angled balls and also the threat of TB pushed Alves back and limited our attacking options on the right.

    5. The yellow kit made Casillas look like a giant banana.

    6. If ¿Por Qué? wants to finish matches against Barca with 11 players, his squad needs to dial back the physical play. Once again there were a considerable number of overly aggressive challenges.

    • August 14, 2011

      Re: kits

      Ours don’t look much better. The vertical stripes just do not work with cursive lettering! But yeah, the gold on white is quite gaudy. Like Donald Trump’s idea of classy. 😛

    • August 14, 2011

      I wanted to cry when our new kits came out. 3rd division-ish. With logos and sponsors that don’t match the design. It doesn’t even seem like a football jersey…

    • just listenin
      August 15, 2011

      Jersey Smershy – spot on about dialing back the violence of challenges. While we are playing futbol they are in a gang fight. Overly aggressive challenges? We win this match 4/5-1 if we are not protecting ourselves ( the season) against a deliberate attempt to gain advantage by inuring our first team.

  35. August 14, 2011

    http://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/blog/dirty-tackle/post/A-sinister-moment-between-Guardiola-and-Mourinho?urn=sow-wp4132

    Re: Pep and Mou’s handshake

    Just before the first leg of the Supercopa, which ended in 2-2 draw, Guardiola and Mourinho made quick, yet agonizing work of their obligatory pre-match handshake. Pep, dressed like a Miami based Mormon recruiter, gave Mourinho a death stare while Jose, wearing Darth Vader’s golf outfit, refused to make eye contact so as not to succumb to his thinly veiled urge to slap his rival in his bald head until his hands fall off.

    • nzm
      August 15, 2011

      And the unicorns are dead. Hilarious!

  36. Lou
    August 14, 2011

    So I really enjoyed tonight’s game. It was tense, open and had great goals from both teams, Alexis making his debut (what a game to debut in!) and Valdes tripping Ronaldo. (I actually don’t hate CR, but I imagine that most goal keepers in Spain would dearly love to trip him and get away with it).

    Yes there were the characteristic horrible tackles that got nowhere near the ball from Pepe, and at least one “my leg has been severed!!” overacting episode from Dani, but compared to the April classicos there didn’t seems to be quite so much poisonous hatred.

    Oh and Valdes is amazing. I can’t believe Barca managed to get a draw given how much pressure they were under. If Pinto played this would have been a loss. Not that Pinto is a bad keeper, but he doesn’t have Valdes’ super-human qualities.

    The defense was shaky although I attribute that to not having enough of a preseason to train properly. Thiago was not too bad, in fact he had some great moments, but the midfield just looked so much more stable when Xavi replaced him.

  37. paxtonpale
    August 17, 2011

    Personally for me, Barcelona needed a centre back but I can’t stand another season with the same old news that Barcelona are still trying to get Fabregas. Next season we desperately need a centre back otherwise where gonners especially if Pep will go (which I don’t want him to.) Cesc will mainly be a substitute for Xavi or will be starting and then be substituted. I also want to see Thiago playing reguraly as he will be a future product for Brcelona. I am greatful that he has come and I hope he does do well for Barcelona for the rest of his soccer life

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