News of the Day: Oct 7, 2009

A defender caught between them would be vaporized.
A defender caught between them would be vaporized.

Well, yesterday was a very busy day here on the blog, with a poll, a tactical discussion, and a State of the Liga post. There’s never a time like International Break to sit back and soak up the crazy, so we did it. Today’s news is what you’ve been hearing for a little while, but with a couple of added twists.

Carles Puyol is reportedly a target for Arsenal this coming summer, as his current contract is expiring. That would mean a free transfer for Wenger, but also a 32-year old defender who wouldn’t come on the cheap. I find it difficult to believe that Puyol wants anything other than a contract with Barรงa, as he is the captain and the soul of the club. He is being ably replaced by Piquenbauer and Dima, but it hardly seems fitting to Puyol’s career that, in his final moments, he would go anywhere other than to the training ground as an assistant. Whatever his decisions, of course, I support him as a player, and I support the club in making sound financial and sporting moves. The same is true for Rafa Marquez, whose contract is also up at the end of the season. I would resign both of them, but we are not privy to the discussions or the euro amounts they’re asking for, so it is hard to make a truly sound judgment on their particular cases. I still thing Puyi would resign for some paella and the rights to polishing all of our silverware in the museum.

After his man-up at the end of the CL semis and in the CL final caused him the worst summer of his life, Andres Iniesta, has claimed that despite the risk to his leg he ran by playing in those matches, he would gladly do it again. That’s fairly awesome of him, but understandable if he wouldn’t risk his career by playing in a couple of matches; it’s hard, of course, to judge either way, but it’s his life and his money-maker, so he should be allowed to judge for himself what the risks are without anyone else judging him negatively if he decides that he’s too injured to play. The competitiveness that his required to be a professional athlete wouldn’t have allowed him not to be prepared for a CL final, though, so it’s a battle against what is right for your mind and what is right for your body. Not to take this too far off topic, but Tim Tebow is in just such a situation, having suffered a concussion two weeks ago against Kentucky–now he’s back and wants to play against LSU on Saturday, but under no circumstance should be allowed to. Setting examples really is important and that Iniesta fought back and won a CL final because he was able to put up with the pain for a whil is encouraging in one sense, but discouraging in others. Obviously a leg injury and a brain injury are very different, but we should all be aware of the tremendous pressure put on athletes to perform even when they’re not only not at their peak, but when they could potentially ruin their careers because of that pressure.

Apparently he of the Judas persuasion, Luis Figo, wants to see Lionel Messi in interista colors. Okay, so I guess you can add Internazionale de Milano to the list of teams that would like to have Messi. So that leaves who, exactly, that doesn’t want him? The Basque teams that only play with locals, right? (and mad props to them for that!) Obviously I put about as much stock in that sort of a report as I do in all the Messi-to-[insert club] reports that we see. I just don’t see it happening until 2016 or so at the earliest since he’s got a โ‚ฌ250million buy-out clause.

The Cesc Fabregas and Robinho rumors aren’t really dying, but it’s international break, so I wouldn’t take these things too seriously. The January window is a long way off and I don’t find it worthwhile to discuss all the rumors. Instead of revisiting those tawdry rumors, let’s revisit something that always makes me laugh:

Categorized as Team News

By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater Philadelphia area.


    1. To answer my own question, not in a million years. Isaiah: “He is being ably replaced by Piquenbauer and Dima.” Really? Is he really though?

    2. I suppose that was bad wording, but I meant “replaced” in the longer-term sense. I still want him around, of course, because no one is able to be our captain yet, but Pique is actually very close. Just like 30 years younger.

    3. I think the reason Pique has developed from caterpillar to beautiful, beautiful butterfly in such a short period of time is partly BECAUSE he is playing alongside Puyol. Dima has potential… I still am on the fence about whether or not he was worth his transfer fee… but I think he can develop just as much as Pique if he gets more time with El Capitan. It’s a funny way of thinking about it, but if we expect Pique to replace Puyol down the line then Puyol needs to stay.

  1. Does anyone notice the cliques in la seccion Espanola? Fabregas is always surrounded by Puyi, Piquenbauer, Busquets, Xavi and Iniesta.

    1. well that’s because they are catalans and stuff and stuff… nothing to do with politics but they are from the same ‘country/nation/region’

    2. Plus, Pique, Busquets and Mata are the youngest, and weren’t part of the Euro 08 team. It makes sense they would gravitate towards each other while the veterans remember the ‘good ol’ times.’

  2. ok that was a lousy comment.

    On another hand, FIFA 10 just came out for EU and AU ๐Ÿ™
    Have to wait like 2 weeks for the release in US! hate that!

  3. Isaiah – Are you Catalan? just curious Im trying to learn the language any suggestions? also Im visitng Barcelona in Feb any suggestions on bars, nightclubs? places where I kinda find hot catalan chicks?

    1. This package is excellent:

      I’m using it myself. You can learn/study at your own pace, and you find that you pick things up quite rapidly, often without realizing it. It isn’t that expensive, either.

      I’ll be in Barcelona for 10 days around El Clasico. I’ve been there a number of times before, but am not a clubber, being an old married guy. ๐Ÿ˜€

    2. I’m not Catalan. You should come down to Nevada Smiths for a game (I should be there for the Valencia match on Sat Oct 17).

      I can’t really suggest too many places other than just “las ramblas” because I’m not a club goer. I like bars and beer, but not clubs. I never really made it off the main drag at night simply because that’s where we all were and it’s easy to have a good time there rather than somewhere else.

      To catch a game I think you just have to find anywhere in Barcelona and it’ll be on.

    3. Hey! Isaiah are you really going?
      If so then i’ll go, i live in Queens but i’ll manage to get to nevada for the game.

      Let me know next week if you are.

  4. Hey, regarding the Arsenal being interested in Puyol news, should we find a Gunners board and go say mean things about them tapping up Puyol? ๐Ÿ˜€

    Marquez, I have to admit, I wouldn’t be sorry to see go. Sorry, but it’s true. Botia will be coming home soon. I’m more worried about a quality right back surrogate.

    Puyol has to stay, but if he wants to leave, I understand. A player wants to start, and be a permanent part of the starting XI. No way in hell will he have that guarantee after this season ends. Not if Guardiola is thinking right. His agent can plant all the press rumors that he wants, but my starting back line for next season is Alves/Pique/Txigrinski/Abidal. Sorry, Captain Caveman.

    Yes, I think that with Guardiola’s platooning system, Puyol will get plenty of quality minutes. And I think that he deserves to retire with the club. I think we should re-sign him, and off we go. But he cannot hold his future services and fan affections hostage by threatening, through his agent, to leave because his “place in the side is uncertain.” It isn’t uncertain at all. He’s a 32-year-old central defender with diminishing pace, playing for a demanding coach who wants constant competition at key positions …. like central defender.

    It’s as simple as that.

    1. And here’s me remembering that I was going to include the rumors about Emmanuel Eboue coming here. I even tweeted about it. D’oh.

      Supposedly Eboue is a target and that could be involved with a Cesc deal, sort of like we also got Hleb along with Henry and Maxwell along with Ibra. I mean, whatever, it’s all speculation, but I meant to include it.

      The obvious “Cesc deal is the same as Ibra deal, except Puyol is the Eto’o” is kinda silly to me…more like Marquez would be the Eto’o piece of the puzzle.

    2. thats it! lets troll the arsenal boards! just kidding.

      damn isaiah! you trying to get us killed (in a spamming a blog kind of way) by dangling the eboue bait?


      we also got alves and keita as a package

    3. Eboue? Oh HELL NO. I thought we already discussed that? With his famous dive, static defending, poor ball movement…etc etc etc. Here’s an idea, let’s get FloFlo for Prez and buy ALL of Arsenal, minus Eboue, then impeach/fire/banish FloFlo and sell them all at half cost to “local” MLS teams and “weak” Dutch Eridivise teams. I’m all for Cesc playing for Miami FC. Hell yea

    4. As one of the few remaining “still not blown away by Txigrinski” people in this blog community, I have to say I would feel much more comfortable with Puyol splitting, or having the majority of the starts, with Dima next season. I don’t think Txigrinksi has really proven himself in La Liga yet (not very many minutes against some pretty crappy teams), plus, he won’t get any CL experience this season, either. As defending league and CL champs (ah, I will never get tired of saying that), I think you want the most capable AND experienced players out on the pitch. And as of right now, that’s Puyol. Granted, next season I may feel completely different. Puyol will be slower, and hopefully Dima will have secured us another Cope del Rey. But since contract negotiations begin now, Puyol’s signing just has to happen.

    1. Word. I think the Arsenal fans are gathering with pitchforks and lit torches to banish him from the Emirates. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Maybe he would be a makeweight to salve the Fabregas deal, as in “We know you don’t want to lose him, but how ’bout if we take Eboue off your hands, as well?”

      He isn’t quality, and he’s a static Premiership defender who has all the marking skills of a dried-out highlighter.

      The skills that have impressed me about Txigrinski, SC, are the Piquenbauer-like control and distribution. I don’t know how he’d do in one of the fire drill situations that Puyol does so well in, tis true. But I don’t know if Puyol does so well in those situations any longer.

      I think that we all want Captain Caveman to retire with the club. If he decides to leave, the decision would be all his. But I can’t blame the club for saying “Hey, you gonna stay, or what?” It could affect what we might need to do in the January transfer window.

    2. Word. I definitely see the Piquenbaur potential with him and if that back line develops, we’re set for at least 5 years. Believe me, I want it to happen!

  5. Chyg’n’sky, in the couple of games he played for barca that I have seen, is worth his money in Barca colors. He had very good positional sense as a defender, started attacking moves, long range and short range passes, ball retrieval including sliding tackles. He will be ready by the end of the season to take over Puyol’s reign’s. It is because of this, and his ego, of being just a bit part in our team, that the contract is not being signed at the current moment.
    I think that the negotiations could end up going south. Case in point: Eto’o. Could anybody in their right mind have thought after the current season that Eto’o could be offloaded.

    1. Yes. Me. I thought that Eto’o was ripe for sale for the same sporting/contract reasons that might affect the Puyol talks. I’m just not sure that the club is all that intense about Marquez.

      Puyol on the other hand, would have fans up in arms if he departed.

      The distressing thing about football played at the level of our ambition and execution is that it will, at times, be bloodless. If a club wants to keep winning championships, it has to sometimes make hard decisions. Guardiola wants competition, and player turnover once someone can’t cut it in the automatic starting XI any longer. We’ll see some of that with Henry this season, I think. Pedro has been compelling in his appearances, when he calms the hell down and plays football.

      Puyol is a lion in the center of defense, and seeing his sweat-soaked mane flying around must inspire everyone and their mamas. He needs to be in the club. But what if he isn’t? We might have to ask that question sooner rather than later.

    2. Puyol could do a Maldini(and I am all for it), but I believe if Puyol leaves next year he will always be a legend for Barca. From next year on it would be a slippery slope for Puyol… legend or fall from grace. By the time Maldini left Milan …. he had fallen from grace among many Rossoneri faithful, including myself – god I cannot believe what has become of AC Milan at the current moment.

  6. I actually live in VA but I was raised in the BX, Kevin I try learnin gby reading El Mundo Deportivo and Sport in Catalan and hearing catalan you tube videos and etc . . . I plan on being in Barcelona Feb 3rd – 9th and I will be catching the Getafe game on the 7th I will be staying at a guest house near las ramblas and I plan on visiting a couple bars and nightclubs. I will def go to a couple Penyas in barcelona and hit up “La Jarra” to check out the environment. BTW I like this site I originally started posting on fox however im avoiding all the EPL idiots. Keep up the good job Cules

    Visca el Barca

    1. Be sure to hit La Fonda for dinner, and Patagonia for dessert (gelato). Both are right off La Rambla.

  7. “Obviously a leg injury and a brain injury are very different, but we should all be aware of the tremendous pressure put on athletes to perform even when theyโ€™re not only not at their peak, but when they could potentially ruin their careers because of that pressure.”

    Kind a reminds me of the fate that the real Ronaldo had to deal with. Imagine what would have become of him if there hadn’t been that much pressure from his sponsors, they destroyed his career and still, he became the most succesful World Cup goal scorer of all time!
    But Iniesta is different, he’s not one of those guys who are attractive to the ad industry. So I don’t think that he has ever and will ever be pushed by his sponsors or something, when he plays for our club despite injuries, it’s only due to his devotion. Great guy!

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