That’s My Team.

[Note: Written before Rayo game. And sometime after the Getafe snafu]


You see that guy over there? The one with the shaven head who daydreams Bob Marley? That’s our goalkeeper. Lately, he’s been letting balls he’d normally chase go out. Someday, if he’s not careful, someone might score when he’s got his back turned.

But that’s our goalkeeper.

Take a gander at the dude over on the right. No, not your right, my right. Yeah, that guy with the baby curls. He’s our rightback. And winger. Or something. He doesn’t run from deep much anymore. He gets fouled. A lot. Or not, so it’s a good thing he’s got dem carbon fibre shin-pads.

And the man beside him — the one shaped like a beanpole who may or may not smell like Shakira’s latest perfume — that’s one half of our central defense. Sometimes he gets momentarily disoriented and thinks he’s a striker (or maybe he does it on purpose) and he likes his super long, killer balls that end up giving possession back to the other team. Other times he spontaneously bleeds for no apparent reason.

The Tarzan caveman-like individual screaming at him? That’s our captain. No, actually, the one with the buck teeth is Argentina’s captain. Well, former captain. In any case, a good 70+ % of Earth may be covered by water, but the rest is covered by them.  They both eat nails for their breakfast. Go near them and they’ll slide tackle you like you wouldn’t believe. While getting all ball. Just because. Sometimes they’re so crazed with passion, they read I, Zlatan. On weekdays. Just to stay motivated.

You know who else stays motivated? The King of Kings. No, his name is not Joffrey. He’s a cancer survivor. He kicked it’s, and H1N1’s, butt. And manned a flank in a Champions League final. Sure, he’s a bit iffy sometimes, but he’s still awesome.

Like the rest of our defense.

You see the man over there? Yep, the one with the Bambi legs. That’s our defensive midfielder. Well, one of two. Maybe three. Anyway, he’s a little (or tall, whatever) punk. The Earth’s gravitational pull tends to be stronger whenever he loses the ball and he tippy tappies, err, tiki takas, his way everywhere instead of crashing that box. Sure, it’s not really his job, but if he wants to get an A, he has to exceed expectations and standards and all that jazz. And he’s a punk.

…Who? Oh, you mean him? That’s our cerebral dictator. He has chameleon eyes. Or was it kaleidoscope. Well, he’s got both. And a cowlick. That means that our attack goes through him too much. Sometimes. I know, right? How can something occasionally detrimental be so good?

The bro with the lost look on his face? Our all-purpose player. You know, like all-purpose flour except football specific. No-one’s really sure what exactly he brings to the table (except real buffs like Jonathan Wilson) and he has this look on his face like he just saw someone body slam a seal. Or something.

The fearless boy with major swag? This year’s wunderkid. Great, ain’t he? Sure, he’s still a bit rough around the edges — a legend in progress — but by God is he good.

And I could say the same for the rest of our midfield.

Ah, the gelled up hombre is our striker, left wing, part time defender man. He got infected with a Bojanglesesque confidence crisis and is in a bit of a rut. His emo hair gives him magical anti-offside powers, but it was deemed too unpredictable by the Spanish FA, so he’s not allowed to style it like that anymore. A pity.

The dude in the middle is our best player. He’s perfect. Except when he’s tired, then he’s just perfectly flawless.

…Nope. That’s not a Cabbage Patch Kid. He’s one half, or third depending on your view, of our new signings. He’s a bit tentative, like the new kid that just moved in and wants to be your friend. Slipping is his favoured move of late, but he’ll come good eventually.

As our offense always does.

On the touchline is our mister. The boss, the p*to jefe, the Coldplay diehard*. He sometimes has too much belief in his players, and starts weird lineups, and gesticulates a lot. Pepsimism is his favorite state of being most of the time in press conferences (unless he has to attack his arch rival, in which case beast mode is turned on).

*Michael Jackson in his younger days.

They’ve bled, they’ve sweat, they’ve got their eye poked.

They’ve ran, they’ve walked, they’ve vomited on the pitch.

They’ve celebrated, they’ve high fived each other, they’ve been left hanging.

Sometimes we Hleb others.

Other times we’ve been Hlebbed.

Three Ligas,

Two Champtions Leagues,

Two European SuperCups,

12 out of 15 possible trophies.

That’s my team.

Sure, they’re not perfect, but I love ‘em anyway.

Categorized as Barcelona

By Kari

Just your neighbourhood Barca fanatic


  1. wonderful piece Kari. Nice read to start my day. You should post this right after the Getafe match 🙂

  2. Brilliant, Kari! Just brilliant!

    But what about ghostface? Surely our Saint of SB deserves a paragraph.

  3. my kari is back! Kari what do you think about the La liga, El clasico, and my dear villa’s form?

    1. Actually, I’m still going to be out for a while longer, but this sort of wrote itself…

      Villa’s been alright. He had a good game today, not his fault others couldn’t take advantage. Confidence is slowly building, which is great.

      As for the Clasico, we’ll see. 3-5-2 has me really excited, and I say we use it.

      I still think we’ll win the Liga. Two draw and a loss, and that’s 7pts lost for EE. If we beat them and they draw twice, we regain the lead.

      Naturally, we’d have to have the mother of all winning streaks, but we’ve done it before.

  4. You left out Iniesta. 👿

    I’m halfway through watching the game and he is so good he is making me cry. For real.

  5. Oi!

    Before people (read: blitzen, mom4) kill me, let me explain myself!

    I didn’t leave poor Andresito out. He isn’t here because he was injured when I was writing this. If you saw the note about the post, it was written after the Getafe match == it was supposed to be the starting 11. (Puyol/Masche are included because I wanted to use those cheesy lines and include the imagery of them breaking people. Couldn’t resist.).

    I would have totally included him if he even remotely played a part of course. He was a monster today.

    1. OK I forgive you.

      So for Blitzen’s sake I will try my hand at writing the Ghostface paragraph:

      See that midget over there…no wait…here, put these sunglasses on, it will help with the glare. He’s our illlusionista. He ghosts through defenders like they aren’t even there and scores only the most important goals of all. He is Puyol’s nightlight, Pep’s clasico bodyguard, and the yin to Xavi’s Yang.

    2. I love it! :mrgreen:

      That can be people’s contribution to this: write your own Iniesta paragraph. It’d be tough to beat SoMa4’s, but what the hey, eh?

  6. I missed the first 20mins. Thank God it was when we haven’t dominated yet.

    -Did you guys notice Messi ignoring an open VIlla and instead turned right to pass to Alves who instead of shooting or squaring, passed it back, into the defender?

    That moment can easily bring up the subject of Messi-Villa rifts again by the press 🙂

    -I’m pretty pissed at Pep for not taking Messi out. Really unnecessary.

    -Thiago lost the ball in the first 5 times he touched it.

    -I really like Rayo’s shirt!

    -Why are Cesc & Busi out so frequently? They never get a proper run of games.

    -I read in the previous post that many wanted Oriol back. He is very good but I don’t really see him being more creative than Busi. I would very much like to have him back though but just can’t see him giving what Busi can’t.

    1. At some moments, I thought Thiago was still too casual with the ball. He has great ball keeping talent, but trying impress or show up the trick/back heel/casual flick in the real match was unnnecessary. Just keep it simple.

  7. My English commentators insisted that Xavi didn’t mean to make that backheel that led to Alexis’ second goal. It looked like a split-second deliberate decision to me.

    What do you all think?

    1. That Messi move made my jaws drop to the floor. The funny thing was that I already suspected he was gonna do that before the ball reached him. I’m so gonna try that out.

    2. Amazing move, and if he hadn’t had his shirt tugged which held him back for a split-second, his timing would have spot-on to score.

    3. Haha no….It was accidental. It made two contacts with both his heels. I’m sure you’re thinking of something similar to manita don’t you?

    4. I thought it looked deliberate that he tried to flick it over. If not deliberate to Alexis then he intended it for himself and it just got all out of control and landed on Alexis. Which would put it in the semi-deliberate category. I’m with you, not completely accidental.

    5. I think it was deliberate, just as it was when he flicked it over himself last year today vs. Casillas. I don’t think it works every time he tries it, but look at where his face immediately turns to show that he was at least attempting to send it to the open player (he will only shoot if that’s the last option).

  8. Managed to watch this game LIVE at the camp. A few comments:

    1. Dani’s passing was off. but he created width. He was playing right in front of me. And i could see the impact in the tentativeness of defenders. And whenever messi/thiago came his side, it became even more difficult for defenders to read the moves.

    2. Masch. Unbelievable. He reads the game so so well! Amazing. Somehow he also has an amazing blend of urgency and calmness in his game. When he runs after a ball with a striker behind him, how quickly he sees it and starts running full-steam is a sight to watch. And then when he gets closer to the ball, he’s much calmer, not to mention a fantastic passer. I am beginning to see him as indispensable in defense (esp. in 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 system).

    3. Keita – this man was everywhere. Solid solid performance.

    4. Was also surprised by the low decibel levels in the stadium. I know its a weekday and no classico, but I kinda expected more.

    The last match i saw was vs. almeria w/ eto/messi/henry. That ended 6-2. This was 4-0. I think i should stay here till the classico.. 🙂

    1. don’t go anywhere, stay where you are! 😀

      how lucky you were to watch Barça LIVE …

    2. I agree with the assessment of Keita and sMash. They were both unbelievable in the match.

      Also the problem of width on the left is solved, it was an unbelievable game from Alexis. The dude is totally worth his price tag and much more.

    3. Yeah – we were there too.

      The stadium is becoming quieter and quieter. The band behind the south goal is rarely there nowadays.

      A lot of the die-hard season ticket-holders were not there – lots of empty seats in their areas. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I’m beginning to think that there’s some sort of silent closed-rank protest going on against Rosell’s board by people not attending matches.

      Plus, since the no-smoking policy came into effect, this has ruined a lot of the enjoyment for the older men who used to come along to watch and chatter, and suck on their cigars whilst passing observations on the match, or listening to the radio match broadcast.

      Ajeficito: Barca has never lost a match for all the times that we’ve been at the games. They did draw a Champions League match 0-0 against Chelsea in 08/09, but we all know how that ended in the return match at Stamford Bridge! 🙂

    4. Plus, since the no-smoking policy came into effect, this has ruined a lot of the enjoyment for the older men who used to come along to watch and chatter, and suck on their cigars whilst passing observations on the match, or listening to the radio match broadcast.

      I will never get a chance to be one of these old men. So sad.

  9. Oh Kari, what a brilliantly written article, a lot of heart in this words.
    I loved this lines (among others):
    “In any case, a good 70+ % of Earth may be covered by water, but the rest is covered by them.” (Puyi-Masche)
    “The King of Kings. No, his name is not Joffrey”
    Are you also a die hard fan of “a song of ice and fire” series? or maybe hbo’s game of thrones? Still, if you are, the reference to Joffrey is fun, Joffrey Baratheon (most likely Lanister, the bastard).
    This team seems to be a great bunch of down to earth, good-intentioned people. This is why I also love this team/club.

  10. Kari, this article is perfect. just perfect. glad to have you back!

    that gif when Leo hlebbed Thong Boy and Ikerchu?
    one of the best. gif. ever.

    1. correction : *almost perfect, since you missed our Papa Valeria, so it’s not perfect. 😛

  11. apparently today”s attendance at Camp Nou was second worst since Pep is our coach: 54.000 (after the Barcelona-Numancia one)…

    because it wasn’t weekend? or it was so cold in Catalunya? or because we are 6 points behind EE?

    1. I believe this game was moved around a lot. Initial it was to be played on Wednesday(today).Being a midweek game that isn’t a Champions League game, I guess many people stayed home and watched it on tv.

    2. I looked around the stadium and thought, “Rosell is gonna sh*t himself at the low attendance earnings.” 😉

      Weekday games have been well-supported in the past, so that’s not an issue, and it wasn’t that cold. We’ve been at the stadium in the cold AND wet with more people in attendance for games against similar-ranked opponents.

      As I commented in an earlier reply above, I’ve noticed less and less of the season ticket holders turning up for matches on a regular basis.

      It was also televised on a pay channel Gol TV, so this could have been a factor that kept people away.

      Plus, I believe that a lot of people simply cannot afford to attend matches on a whim anymore. With Christmas coming up, the pressure on people’s budgets is growing.

    3. I believe there is something called “socio abonado”, that means someone that in top of being a soci has payed a “bono”, a fee for every game in the season played in CampNou. (I don’t know if it means for every game in Laliga, champions, and CopadelRey) Most sits are owned this way, when a soci can’t show up, they “free” their sit letting the club sell it to another person, but this soci gains something of that sell, it is call “Seient lliure”. So when so many people miss a Liga game, I think that is because most of this abonados didn’t show up.

    4. I also think that it has something to do with the fact that Rosell would not let the season ticket holders into the Gamper game for free – he made them pay for their tickets which, I believe, was free for them in the past.

      Not everyone nominates their seats for “seient lliure”. It’s up to the season ticket holder to inform the club if their seat is not going to be used so that it can be re-sold. I think that most Catalan season ticket holders are of the opinion that they pay for seat, so it’s theirs!

      But even if you factor out the number of season ticket holders that weren’t there last night, the stadium was still only slightly above half full. That’s pretty poor attendance to watch what is one of the best teams in the world.

      FCB is concentrating all their marketing efforts abroad which is fine, but little is being done to fill the stadium at a local level, and get people to the games.

      This will have a trickle-down effect. Soon the TMB (bus and metro company) will recognise that it’s no longer viable to keep their bus, tram and train services running for longer than usual on match nights to get people home after the games.

  12. just watched last year manita video this morning. it’s so epic performance from Barca. It brought me into tears. What a great moment of Barca history that we are experiencing now. Remind me how much joy this team has given.

    This season will be a long race, full throttle ahead from now on. I am still optimistic and hv all the faith that we can win laliga.

    Classico will be hell of a game, cant wait any longer :p.

  13. Amen, Kari!

    That was a wonderful read, and you once again proved yourself as ‘goddess of the gifs’ 🙂

    So what to make of Piqué’s yellow card?
    I personally believe that he got the card deliberately, and I have read before the match that in such a case, the suspension can be extended to 2 matches. I honestly like this rule, and in my opinion, Piqué should not be eligible for el Clasico.
    Didn’t the UEFA also extend yellow card suspensions in the CL, last season???

    1. You mean the debacle during the Madrid-Ajax game where players were ordered to receive yellow cards?

      No – they received monetary fines, and the original suspensions stood, but weren’t increased.

      Mourinho received a 2 match ban which was reduced to a 1 match ban and the other deferred with a probationary 3 year period.

      It was all a slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket, to be honest.

      Unless the governing bodies decide to place heavy and meaningful penalties on such behaviour, clubs, players and managers will continue to abuse and provoke the system.

      It will just be Barca’s luck that this will start with Pique.

    2. Looks like MD is reporting a competition committee special meeting to discuss Pique’s intent via twitter? Put up the tent, march in the elephants, get your clown shoes on, – let the circus begin, it’s Clasico time

    3. lol 😀

      So an official LFP or RFEF committee wants to discuss the topic via twitter? This is getting ugly…

    4. Haha, via twitter as the source of course….poorly worded.
      But limiting these kinds of committee meetings to a 140 characters isn’t a bad idea. 😉

    1. Mmh… that’s bad news.
      But if it’s really just 5 days, he should be fit to face Borisov. In my calculation, 5 days out equals back on Monday. Although the official site says he’ll miss the BATE match.

      I’d love to see a very B-ish, if not C-ish, line-up for that CL match.
      But unfortunately, only the 23 players who have been called up for the CL in september are allowed to play, right?
      So probably no Montoya, no Deulofeu, no Soriano etc. :/

  14. Wonderfully written. Went well with my morning coffee 🙂

    And I wonder what took me so long to find this blog?
    I was a clueless Cule before I came here at BFB.
    Now I’m kewwl 😛

    Great stuffs all over here…

  15. Great stuff, Kari, thnx for starting my day with a smile 🙂

    Regarding 3-5-2. A decent showing against Rayo does little to convince me that it would be a good plan against Madrid, but hey, who knows. Dani and Alexis would have to play perfect games, positionally.

    As for Xavi’s assist, the only player who could have made me believe that was deliberate would have been Ronnie, may he P.I.P. (Party In Peace).

    1. I couldn’t watch the match due to internet breakdown, but from what I’ve read in reviews and seen in the highlights, the defensive performance was far from ‘decent’. Could easily have been 2 or 3 goals for Rayo.

    2. I’d agree with that, Helge. I thought it was another great performance effort wise and a terrific result. They are really up for it but atm it’s all hard work rather than flowing and it’s hard to watch. Some signs of things getting better but I wasn’t at all convinced by the defence. Abidal was left marking two and sometimes three men on the back post. Pique and Masch went ball hunting big time leaving gaps.

      I’ll say it again – that defence is immeasurably better with Puyol at its heart. Just my opinion but we need a back four of Alves, Puyol, Pique and Abidal for reasons of leadership ( the main one), positioning, height . . .you name it.

  16. Eto’o (ex barca): “For me Barça must always be at the podium of the Golden Ball and occupy the first three places. I would put Messi, Iniesta & Xavi at the top 3 of the Golden Ball. They not only keep winning everything but are the best players”

    Nice words from Eto’o.

  17. fcblive @FCB_LJ Live
    “I’ve got 99 problems but a misplaced pass ain’t one.” – @FCBarcelona

    Nice wordplay for Xavi, taken from Jay-Z though.

  18. love it, absolutely love it.

    all the gifs and links add the icing on the top to bring out the fanboy inside me. although our jersey is ugly, president is a jackass, hamstrings have been cescually infected and we have not been winning away games. BUT THATS MY T-E-A-M!

  19. Sitting in a coffee shop following the progress of a Spanish footballer’s haircut on twitter.

    Technology has either made my life really cool or really sad. Can’t decide which.

    1. I liked this part:

      I admit that you have to hold your breath and hope for the best when you offer constructive criticism of a man who has won 12 of his past possible 15 tournaments, but perhaps if Guardiola wasn’t monkeying about with his defensive lineups quite so much, then draws in San Sebastian, Valencia and Bilbao might have been wins, and the defeat away to Getafe might have been a draw. Might — I say might.

      Coordination comes from consistency; consistency is a habit; habits are formed from doing the same or similar things over and again — and doing them well. Guardiola is a revolutionary football thinker. Hard-working, visionary, imaginative, bold and smart. However, these talents don’t mean that he is flawless. Perhaps a small move back to the drawing board as far as consistency of defensive selection might close the gap between stats of 34-0 goals for and against at home and 8-7 in the same category on the road.

    2. I like the idea that visionary Goatskin are preparing the team to be peaking at Dec, where the real deciding match looming (classico and club WC).

  20. Intensive pressure in a high defensive line, is not something we see everyday against Barça. Only the bold have attempted this strategy, and EE with their 350M euros squad. I have just read an article expressing concern about high pressing on the bernabeu game, with Benzema and Divemaria marking our central defenders, Cristiano and Lass against Abidal and Alves (Assuming a 4-3-3 in our part). Khedira on Busi, Alonso and Pepe over the interiores (Xaviniesta). With a pressing like that Valdes would be forced to clear the ball past the half way line, against players with an average height of about 1.8m. Something to think about. I’m sure Pep has seen this months ago. I remember EE playing with a high pressure line in the Supercopa. Obviously it wasn’t that effective for their interests. 🙂

    1. Very interesting to see how Pep reacts to that inevitable approach EE are going to be using.

      I could see him playing Keita and asking him to get into midfield and ask Valdes to target him with long balls if all other options are marked…

      So glad I’m not Pep…

    2. Keita with Busi in the middle might provide more aerial holding on the midfield. Even Cuenca, that kid is tall for my standards (really short standards). But I don’t see Cuenca starting in his first Clasico at Bernabeu, I remember Thiago, who in my opinion is a hell of a player, to have a low-rated performance in Madrid in the Supercopa.
      About the lack of width lately, I have always thought it was somekind of strategy from Pep in order to surprise Mourinho with a lot of width on december the 10th.

    3. I also think Mou will lay the same approach on Dec 10th classico ie high line pressure. It was effective in the supercopa where our usual passing movement was not working accordingly. If their plan to make us using aerial ball, which I honestly admit we’re not good enough compare with EE.

      So I’m waiting for the tactical surprise that Pep will apply

  21. assuming all are available, why not go with what has already worked against EE. our best eleven, which crushed them last year 5-0. the only questions for me would be do you replace puyi with masch, and do you replace pedro with alexis.

    other than that you have VV, alves, pique, abidal, busi, iniesta, xavi, messi, villa.

    we have not played this lineup this year (i mean, including puyol and pedro), mostly due to injuries, but im also thinking it’s just pep’s shell game. but cmon, we know where the pea is.

    1. What has already worked in the manita wasnt not working perfectly on the last 4 classico due to different approach from EE.

      I expect Pep play Messi- Villa and Alexis up front and Puyol must be there in war like this

  22. I think it kind of seems early to talk about the looming Clasico but hell with the thought!

    I’m looking for ways in which we can beat EE and at the same time, surpass the last years 5-0 or the 6-2 (which could have been 7/8-2 had there been some injury time, if I’m not wrong) in terms of general aesthetics. However, I don’t think I’ll ever see anything as flawless as that manita. But there is always hope!

    Here is how the game (or a fragment of my day dream) might evolve: NO SPOILERS HERE!

    We’ll start off with the classic/vintage 4-3-3
    with VMS-SIX-DPPA

    (Not favoring Masche due to the aerial threat)

    And stick to it till about 35 mins.

    If scores are level,

    Switch to a 3-5-2. With Sanchez and Dani spreading the play more, in their respective ways.
    Assuming EE would look to end the first half/game with a draw, so playing three at the back wouldn’t be risky at that period between 35-45 mins..And Alvez would be likely to play a key role for a probable goal, especially with his quality timed runs than the crosses.

    If ahead, stick with formation and play rondo with their CMs (kaka/ozil/alonso) and tire them out as an investment for later. Sanchez can play on the same flank as Cronaldo to take pressure off Alvez/Abidal.

    In the 2nd half, regardless of the score line, re-shape to 4 at the back, since we are always vulnerable in the first 5-10 mins after restart.

    Cesc comes in for Busi at around the 65 min, regardless of the scoreline. Xavi drops deep.

    If the score is level OR we trail, Pedro comes in for Villa.
    And perhaps Mascherano for Puyol/Abi.

    Otherwise, the usual possession /tiki taka game.

    If we are ahead by 2 goals, then bring on Thiago/Keita for Puyol and switch to a 3-4-3 and end the game.

    If ahead by 3-4 goals, we play with 10 men and look for a manita while Alvez/Pedro receives imaginary medical treatment out of the pitch. That would take Mou’s ‘10men’ excuse away for good 3:}

    Every body/formations gets good minutes in a prestigious Clasico and all Cules would be ecstatic except one. Who?
    It’s Pep! As he would be thinking about the next game already

    Some minor do’s and dont’s:

    1. Should avoid scissor tackles near the end of the game. Staying off injuries is way more important than teasing Marcelo and co.
    2. Must keep Pinto in the bench for any unwanted brawls/bro-down!
    3. To the Barca coaching staffs – Wear head masks/abdominal guards, just in case.

    That’s all Folks! (for now)
    Barca forever 🙂

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