Anims Guaje: David Villa Breaks His Left Tibia [Update x2]

Terrible news out of Japan today as our Guaje David Villa broke his left shinbone (tibia). At time of writing, he is at a local hospital undergoing tests. The fear is 6 months out, but it’s been confirmed to be 4-5 months. Images show his protruding bone (not for the squeamish).

[UPDATE]: Pep has confirmed Villa had a stress fracture for some time and had been playing through pain. He will fly back to Barcelona immediately for surgery.

Pep: “Villa will be out for a long time. This kind of loss makes you sick. It gives you no sense of joy.” [@fcblive]

“[the] huge effort [Villa] has been making to play for a number of months with a stress fracture in the tibia is a factor.” [Sid Lowe in The Guardian]

“The locker room is very empathetic. Villa is very dear to us.” [@fcblive]

“Signing substitute for Villa? Let’s show some respect. Someone got injured and will have surgery. We can talk about that later.” [@barcastuff]

Other updates: “Masche has some bruise and Alexis has a bit of muscle discomfort. We will do tests tomorrow to see what they are.” [@fcblive]

Video below (via allasFCB2):

Make no mistake, this is a huge blow, for everyone, but none more than David himself.

Anims Guaje.

[Update] Villa’s message on Facebook:

Hi everyone! Thank you so much for your support!!! The injury is very bad news, but I’m sure I’m going to get over [it] as soon as possible. [Now I’m] focusing on playing the final in Munich (I know my mates will get me there) and on the UEFA Euro 2012. I’m going to work hard to get there. I want them to count on me! I’ll be on Spain tomorrow. A big hug!

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  1. nzm
    December 15, 2011

    With some of the best medical and sports care on the Barca staff and at the Barca hospital, Villa will have a lot of excellent help on his side as he recovers.

    The support of his team-mates and management team will also be critcal, and I’m sure that they will all be there for him in this time.

    Recover well, David.

  2. Dani_el
    December 15, 2011

    El pasado 8 de noviembre, en la rueda de prensa previa al partido de Copa del Rey contra L’Hospitalet, Pep Guardiola ya reconoció que “David Villa tiene una pequeña cosita en la tibia”, aunque no especificó en que pierna tenía el problema. Y el 4 de noviembre, SPORT ya adelantaba que “Villa tiene una fisura en la tibia” y por ello no había jugado el partido de Champions ante el Viktoria Pilsen.

    Last november the 8th, in the presser pre game for Copa del Rey against L’Hospitalet, Pep acknowledged that “David had a little problem with the tibia”. On november the 4th, Sport reported: Villa has a little crack on the tibia, and that was why he didn’t played against Viktoria in the champions league.

    He did play both games in international games for Spain I believe. I hope he recovers soon.
    Sport also reports that Sanchez was subbed because of problems with the abductor muscle. It doesn’t seem serious. But it’s too soon to tell. I haven’t heard anything about Masche.
    Ánims David Villa!

    • Dani_el
      December 15, 2011

      “Me encuentro bien, pero es verdad que en las últimas semanas tengo unos dolores en la tibia. Eso no quiere decir que no me permitan jugar, pero sí que me molestan. Espero que desaparezcan en breve”, explicó el asturiano antes de la visita a Wembley.

      Villa’s quote before the international game against England: “I feel fine, but it is true that in the last few weeks I feel pain on the tibia. This doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to play, but it is a problem. I hope the pain goes away soon.”

  3. mom4
    December 15, 2011

    This was a VERY expensive win.

    Any word on Masch?

    • December 15, 2011

      Masche is fine. Alexis was subbed as a precaution after feeling discomfort in his left hamstring. Oy vey.

      CWC is not worth the injuries tbh.

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        December 15, 2011

        CWC is not worth the injuries tbh.

        but now, we really need to win this tournament. we must not let Villa’s injury happened for nothing.

  4. Megster
    December 15, 2011

    With Villa’s history, I think he has a stress fracture. Though his fracture would heal 6-8 weeks, he has to undergo extensive rehab to be in good shape. Hopefully in 4 months, he’ll be able to play again.

  5. BarcaGirl_Indo
    December 15, 2011

    I’m so sad right now. he could miss Euro 2012. 😥

  6. barca96
    December 15, 2011


    I do find it pointless to tire Messi when we’re 2-0 up and Al Sadd didn’t look like they were going to make a comeback at all.

    2ndly, look what happened to Villa & Alexis (touchwood). Isn’t it better to rest Messi instead of tiring him when we might need him more in the future?
    Now he has unnecessarily played 90mins when on Sunday he needs to do it all with Pedro up front.

    Pep might be the best coach in the world but he is not the best in managing Messi’s fitness.

    I thought that Villa looked like a player who just came back from injury. He was hella slow and way too predictable and he looked like he was just trying to find his passing range back.
    Of course he wasn’t injured but he looked like he jsut came back and now he really is injured. I feel guilty for shouting at him during the match.

    I love you Villa.

    • PhepheSa
      December 15, 2011

      I don’t think that’s fair. Messi’s fitness has been at its best under Pep. I know you are frustrated but that really isn’t fair on Pep. Sure he might take him out every now and then, but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t worry about Messi getting injured. I’m sure that’s one thing he gets sleepless nights about the most.

      Anyways, i know you just worried because you love the club. My day is ruined now with all that’s happened to Villa, hope he recovers in time for the Euros.

    • mom4
      December 15, 2011

      Silly cule, you just used the words Messi and rest in the same sentence. 🙂

      Yeah, I feel you but I think Pep is on top of this one. Messi is a different situation because Messi is…Messi.

  7. Megster
    December 15, 2011

    “Villa will be out for a long time. This kind of loss make you sick, it gives you no sense of joy.” -Pep


  8. Gogah
    December 15, 2011

    Its just so sad and pointless. I also feel Pep has a small part to play in this. Villa was rested against Bate and didnt play much against Madrid. He was probably far from being match fit. It just sucks to lose one of my favorite players in the team. But with Cesc’s goal scoring and Alexis adapting quickly and the recent rumours,
    Have we seen the last of el guaje in blaugrana colors?

    • December 15, 2011


      I hope he comes back like Abi to hoist the CL Trophy..

  9. blitzen
    December 15, 2011

    This is terrible news to wake up to! I am so sad for him and the team. 😥

    At least he will be in the care of the best sports doctors and physios in the world.

    Anims Guaje.

  10. BarcaGirl_Indo
    December 15, 2011

    c’mon, lads… win this and dedicate it to David Villa!

  11. messifan
    December 15, 2011

    Villa will bounce back!!!! When he was a kid, he broke one of his legs and learned to play with the other. He’s a fighter!!!

    • Lev
      December 15, 2011

      That was when he was a kid. Now he is a 30 yr striker who was arguably in decline before this injury. Very bad luck for Barça.

  12. Megster
    December 15, 2011

    Villa has told his family that he can make it to Euros after hearing the initial prognosis that it’ll be less than 6mos. via @juanmacastano

  13. Lev
    December 15, 2011

    Anim Villa! Really bad news. First Ibi and now David 🙁

    As for two posts ago, I didn’t get the chance to reply to the responses at my usual politically not-so-correct self.

    “It’s so Barcagirl_Indo and all the other Asians can laugh at us suffering the pain they suffer on a regular basis.”
    “muahahahaha… how happy I am just to know you guys will suffer for once in a while like us”

    @Kari and Barcagirl_Indo – yeah you are right of course,lol! Barcagirl, is that “Indo” as in Indonesia? My granddad is from there and it is possibly the most beautiful country that I have had the privilege of visiting. I would love to go back some day. Not during the football season, of course :p

    “So you differentiate between real football fans and asians?
    I hope you didn’t ’cause otherwise your post smarks of a firstworldproblems meme”

    @K-Legit First world problems? I will leave those to you. I have enough 3rd world problems to worry about 😉
    As do the fans of Santos, a historic team with a huuuge following, a lot of whom might not be able to watch the games because of the money-grabbing Fifa execs.
    I’m not saying Asians can’t be real football fans, though obviously my comment could easily have been interpreted as such. What I am saying is that it is hugely disrespectful to show these games, especially such an important game as the World Championship Final, in a time zone so far removed from Europe and South America that the majority of fans fanatic of their teams cannot see the game. It’s our teams in the final. Not FC Tokyo.

    “Lev, I am sure you got nothing against Asians, coz your dumb head is shallow enough not to have any idea about anything on earth.”

    @NEEL Probably better not to reply to you. Just wanted to show your post again in which you are personally insulting another commenter 😉

    • mom4
      December 15, 2011

      Lev, I think most of us knew you were joking.

      Someone really has to invent a sarcasm font.


    • December 15, 2011

      Barca has a lot, and I mean a lot of fans in these parts as well. It’s not even being shown at an unearthly time there. Its only South Americans, especially Santos’ supporters who should really be complaining. But by this logic, you’re essentially saying to the other teams that even though you are going through the extra effort of qualifying for the SFs, we’d rather focus on the two traditional heavyweights who are usually the finalist. Thanks for coming.

      It’s our teams in the final.

      Our? How can you justify that before the matches are being played?
      Last year the team from Africa played the final. Not some hacks from [insert generic South American team] ..

      • Lev
        December 15, 2011

        And Africa’s time zone? Right 🙂

    • Neel
      December 16, 2011

      Well, after re-reading your posts again, I really can see that you already have a well knit idea about Asia as far as footy is concerned. And it makes sense. But posting blunty is not insulting??? However, your above comments again show that you have not see world out of the south and north American continents or maybe Europe and that there are many things which are considered while choosing venue and time. I really do not have the time or urge to have a discussion on a thing, which I do not see leading anywhere in any case. I think I make a very bad Barca friend :D, maybe the second or third time , I am seeing dissent from my comments… no more attempts at commenting by me :)..cheer up

  14. mani
    December 15, 2011

    Oh dear. This is terrible news. I hope he recovers quick and as mentioned above, lifts the CL trophy for us.

  15. mom4
    December 15, 2011

    Bad for Villa. Bad for the club. Bad for the cules. Bad for the NT. Just bad. Anims!

    There’s been some talk bantered about calling for replacements. In my experience, anything done in haste usually doesn’t work out so well. Thank goodness for the emergence of Cuenca, and the signings of Cesc and Alexis. Pedro is healthy now and showing signs that the old P!! is in there somewhere. We have a B team upon which to draw. I bet Adriano can play winger well in a pinch. Cesc and (I can’t believe I’m saying thing ’cause I hate it when he plays there) Iniesta can play on the wings. Dani could if desparate. Not a good thing to rush into anything. Rumors that we want Torres? Laughable imo!

    Guardiola: “Signing substitute for Villa? Let’s show some respect. Someone got injured and will have surgery. We can talk about that later.”
    1 hour ago

    Can’t believe he’s been asked already!

  16. Barcaleya
    December 15, 2011


    I feel so bad. I love David.

    Hope he recovers soon.

    This is such horrible news.

  17. December 15, 2011

    I will say a few things about this:

    –We have debated Villa and his place in the team before, none of which dilutes the affection that so many of us have for a kind, kind man. Let the record show that.

    Nobody is to blame for this. Speaking as an athlete myself, trust me …. stuff just happens. Recall the difficulties that Djibril Cisse had with tibia fractures. He broke his leg during the simple act of running during one match.

    Who knows why these things happen, or the incredible stresses that are placed up athlete bodies. It’s I always cringe when Messi or Iniesta take the kinds of tackles that they do. You can see them riding the challenges, or hopping at the last instant to make sure the cleats don’t get stuck. Unreal.

    But nobody is to blame for this injury. Not Guardiola, not the team physios, not Villa’s mother for not making him drink enough milk to build strong bones. Nobody.

    It was an accident, a freak occurrence of the kind that happens in athletics. Now, we wish him the best and move on with the soldiers that we have.

  18. Let’s be honest. I think this is a huge blow for Spanish National team than to Barca. He was an integral part of our success last season, but this season he has been just more than a regular squad player. But for Spain he is kind of irreplaceable. With Torres in such stellar form , they may have not have anyone to replace his experience and class. He wasn’t that critical in Pep’s plans off late and he will not be that missed, unless another injury happens to our strikers.

  19. blitzen
    December 15, 2011

    OK, let’s take a look at where David’s injury leaves us in terms of forwards. We have Messi, Pedro, Alexis. Cuenca will be staying with the first team, pretty obviously. Iniesta can play up front, although we hate that. Dani too if needed. Didn’t Pep try Adriano on the wing earlier this year? That didn’t go too well. And there is Cesc, whose position is more undefined. Flyboy could possibly be back in a couple of months, but I wouldn’t want to bet on it.

    Options from the B team are Soriano and Tello, who are both good, but are they good enough? Deulofeu is too young. Can’t see either Rodri or Kiko getting a look-in with their current form. We could sure use some Nolito right about now.

    The other question is, will we buy Neymar someone, and if so, who? The club doesn’t have a lot of extra cash at the moment, and there are few affordable players who could slot into Barça’s system. I don’t think the club will be in a rush to buy anyone.

    If it were up to me, I would officially promote Cuenca in January (so he can get his new contract negotiated asap), and borrow Soriano on a per-game basis (the B team needs him too badly to take him permanently). If Soriano performs to first team standards he could be promoted at the end of the season.

    Also, congrats to Adriano for tripling his number of goals scored this season, and to Maxwell & Keita as well. We obviously don’t even need strikers to score goals for us. 🙂

  20. December 15, 2011

    Horrific news. Villa is a thoroughly decent and hardworking guy. Anyone who thinks this won’t affect us is severely underestimating how important he is to our team. We will really, really miss him and his goals. That’s 20 goals we have to make up.

    As for Spain, they can forget it. With almost no friendlies between now and the Euros, they won’t really have the time to introduce a new type of attacking play (which they will need to do if they bring in, say, Llorente in place of Villa).

    I hope Villa recovers soon. I really like him.

  21. barca96
    December 15, 2011

    This is terrible news to wake up to! I am so sad for him and the team

    So….you didn’t wake up early in the morning to watch the match….Shame on you!! :p

    I actually prefer watching the match at 3-6am. I’m jsut so used to it.Watching a football match at 6pm is just so weird. I’m so used to watching it peacefully at night when everyone is fast asleep.

    So I don’t really envy you guys (but I do when the next time I need to wake up at 3am :p ).

    I also feel Pep has a small part to play in this. Villa was rested against Bate and didnt play much against Madrid. He was probably far from being match fit.

    No. It’s not Pep’s fault at all. Every player is ready to play otherwise he won’t even travel with the squad. He wasn’t playing because there were other players who were performing better than him. It’s as simple as that.

    On the match.
    Cuenca looked terribly scared of his marker. Me & my little brother were having a joke that the marker was calling him a skinny boy, taunting him along that line. Cuenca feared him so much, only tried to beat him the in his first move of the match and the last one in the dying seconds 😆

    NZM, please feed him something 🙂

    Man….I still can’t get over how Pep didn’t feel the need to rest Messi. 5-6 hours after the match I felt that I was kinda harsh on Pep but thinking about it, I stand by my view. Now Villa is out for the season and Alexis is doubtful for the next match. This just shows how important it is to keep Messi fresh and healthy cause there are times when we need him more than ever like;
    1) when the rest of the guys are static and we need a spark
    2) other attackers are off-form
    3) other attackers are injured

    • blitzen
      December 15, 2011

      So….you didn’t wake up early in the morning to watch the match….Shame on you!! :p

      It’s not waking up early that is the problem. I am up every weekday by 6 am anyway. But I leave the house at 6:30–no point getting up early to watch only half of a match, right?

  22. BarcaGirl_Indo
    December 15, 2011

    yes Lev, I am from Indonesia.
    wow, thanks for your compliment to my country! what city you were visiting?

    you were probably just joking back then, or serious. lol, Idk.

    one thing you should know, in my country we do care about football, very very much. hell, we go to a cafe/pub/restaurant at 03:00AM just to watch football together with other fans.

    and I agree with what Vj said before me.

    • Lev
      December 15, 2011

      Well if you will forgive my inevitable spelling mistakes. I have visited Djakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta and Bali. I would like to visit Sumatra – my dad was born in Medan. Where are you from? You guys should emigrate more so that the rest of the world can get to know your food, it’s awesome!

      I’m actually upset with VJ ( :p ) because he says that it is “only” South Americans who can complain. I think with all that South America has given to football, the likelyhood that a South American team will be in the final and the fact that people bleed football here it is a disgrace for us to get shafted.

      • December 15, 2011

        Shafted as in made to wake up late for a couple of days? Its what we here are gladly willing to endure, just to see good footy. I’m not/would never be belittling your continent’s gifts to football..

        Wait for a couple of years. It’s gonna be hosted in Morocco in ’13 and ’14..

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        December 15, 2011

        your spelled them right, except it’s Jakarta, not Djakarta 😉
        my big family lives in Bandung, I was born there, but I live in Borneo for years now.

        haha. I wish the world know how awesome our foods are! 😛

        If I’m not mistaken, you’re a Dutch? there’s a lot of Dutch-Indonesians here.

  23. Momo
    December 15, 2011

    Horrible news…
    Get well soon ElGuaje

  24. G6O
    December 15, 2011

    In real time it didn’t look like a fracture so I hope it is just a crack. And it has to be a very bad crack for him to be out for 6 months, people have come back in 9 months after fracturing both bones. I hope he will be back soon, otherwise it really sucks for him – he wasn’t in his best condition, rumors are circulating that he has fallen out of favor (true or not, it is not nice to hear that kind of talk), and now this…

  25. BarcaGirl_Indo
    December 15, 2011

    Even if no one gets injured, we will miss David Villa. He is a hard worker, talented, and ambitious striker. We also need him for rotation. And I’m afraid this won’t be the last time our striker hit by injuries.

    I wonder if this horrific injury will change the club’s plan for January transfer.

    and if Pep feels we need to buy Villa’s replacement, who it’ll be? Neymar? obviously it’s not Hleb.

    • G6O
      December 15, 2011

      Neymar is an obvious choice, with the big if of whether he will be willing to subjugate his game to the system. If you read his interviews and the way he talk about Barca, there is hope he would be able to do that and it would be really nice if that could happen and work out – we could finally have that Messi-like threat on the wing that was lost once Messi was moved in the center.

      • mom4
        December 15, 2011

        Avoid toxic locker rooms at all costs!

        • mom4
          December 15, 2011

          Really though, we have so much talent on the bench and on the B team. We have Messi, Sanchez, P trying to earn his !! back, Cuenca(how huge does his emergence seem now?), Cesc, Iniesta (hyperventilates at the thought of him on the wing instead of mid), Adriano thinks he is a winger as does Alves, and this could be Pique’s big chance to shine as a CF (NO!).

          for the final:
          Pique, Mascherano, Abi
          Alves, Xavi, Busi, Ini, Cesc
          Messi, P or Sanchez if well
          and ALL goals should be dedicated to El Guape

    • yana
      December 15, 2011

      We have Pep’s choice already, it’s Cuenca. As someone mentioned above, it’ll probably be like Fontas last year when Abi and Puyi were out long term and Fontas was called up for the duration.

      I like to think — supported by his “show some respect” comments — that Pep would now dig in his heels about not bringing in anyone new, no matter where Villa was in the pecking order, no matter where any supposed negotiations with Neymar were (nowhere, please!). Knee-jerk purchases seem counter to everything in his approach to building the team.

  26. December 15, 2011

    Man, this sucks. 🙁 6 months out! I prefer not winning the CWC than to lose Villa. He’s pretty much done till the end of the season isn’t he? I hope he “does an Abi” like Vj said.


  27. yana
    December 15, 2011

    How horrible for Villa. Connecting all the dots with the “tibia issues” and “has been playing with pain for a few weeks” back in early November (so, playing injured for two months at this point?), I could only wish he had been put on the full injury list before an actual break happened. He’ll have full rest and care now, I hope he gets to hear the Camp Nou chant his name again soon.

    I wonder if we’ll see “Animo Guaje” shirts around the Liga, this weekend? The other teams don’t have to give a fig about Barca, but what Villa means to the NT, and personally to many players across Spain… I hope so.

    • blitzen
      December 15, 2011

      Sporting Gijon (his old club) has already said that their players will wear shirts for Villa when they play their next game. I suspect Valencia will do the same.

      • yana
        December 15, 2011

        Yes, I would think Valencia would definitely do something.

        (Hee, blitz, that you have to specify Villa’s old club. Villa’s love for Sporting is so famously documented every year, anyone who doesn’t know that should be assigned to study the Villa corner of tumblr-world. Well, maybe I wouldn’t subject anyone to tumblr-fandom…)

        • blitzen
          December 15, 2011

          There were some people on this very blog right here who didn’t know that Villa always refuses to celebrate his goals against Sporting Gijon, so I’m not going to assume anything about anyone’s level of knowledge/ignorance.

          • blitzen
            December 15, 2011

            I meant, people on here last season. Typing fail.

  28. mom4
    December 15, 2011

    Dang! I just thought of something. That’s an awfully long flight from Japan to Barcelona. Hope they give him some really great pain meds.

  29. December 15, 2011

    This is just terrible news. But immediately – when he went down you could just tell that he may have broken something. It just wasn’t at all the usual reaction players have to regular knocks in a match.

    Winning La Liga and the CL just became more difficult.

    I know he’s had his difficulties this year and hasn’t contributed – but in a small squad, to lose that caliber of player is very difficult.

    It now means that Barca cannot afford any injuries to either Messi or Alexis and that Alexis is going to have to develop rapidly and integrate this season. And it means Alexis is going to have to get used to playing as a central striker when needed – a position he’s rarely had to play.

    And there’s of course the concern Alexis has had with his hamstring.

    The good part of all of this has been Cuenca’s emergence. Were it not for him – the club would honestly be in trouble right now with Villa and Afellay out.

    A B team player is going to have to step up. They are going to need one of them to contribute. Could be Soriano. Could be Tello. Don’t know.

    As far as the match goes – the thing that I liked most about it – all of the goals came from the players who were given the most space on the pitch.

    Barca basically made the opposition pay for overplaying the central advanced attackers.

    Adriano’s two goals in particular were terrific exactly because he was the most advanced player who was given the most amount of space and time on the ball.

    • G6O
      December 15, 2011

      Soriano can not play for the first team if I am not mistaken because he is above the age limit for that.

  30. mom4
    December 15, 2011

    OK so the full injury rundown is thus:

    1. David Villa- broken tibia, somewhere around 6 months

    2. barcastuff barcastuff :
    Mascherano got hit today. Guardiola said they’ll see tomorrow how the bruise has evolved. The player said he’ll be fine for Sunday.

    3. barcastuff barcastuff
    Official: Alexis was subbed out of precaution. He had some problems at his left hamstrings

    This was a very expensive victory!

      • mom4
        December 15, 2011

        Exactly Mr SAT word smartie pants 🙂 !

        And even though this cup isn’t worth this. We had better win it now!

  31. December 15, 2011

    They cannot afford any injuries to Alexis. And it unfortunately seems like that hamstring is a problem.

    Even a slight problem in a hamstring can easily turn into a major team and do so quickly.

    They probably shouldn’t play him in the finals. But I’d guess that they will to try to win the trophy.

    The problem w/ losing Villa is that most of Barca’s depth in the front line is on the flanks not the center. I’m still not convinced with Cesc as a false 9.

    • Lev
      December 15, 2011

      I think that if Villa would have continued playing as he has started this year (and lest people forget has played for a big part last year) we could not afford any injuries to Alexis to begin with.

      The problem is depth, period, and the fact that the few forwards we have will need to play a lot more minutes this season. Especially taking into account the loss of Ibi at the start of the season also.

      • blitzen
        December 15, 2011

        Every time there is an injury people start squawking about how the team doesn’t have enough depth. But every year players leave because they can’t get enough playing time (Bojan, Milito, Jeffren, even Ibra to a degree).

        People complain that Pep doesn’t rotate his squad enough. Then he experiments with new combinations of players…and still people complain. Y’all should make up your damned minds.

        The fact is no player worth the money is going to want to sit on Barça’s bench. And Pep doesn’t like benching players, even when he has to (Bojan). So he keeps the squad small and lean and hungry. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

  32. December 15, 2011

    The problem is depth, period,

    This I completely agree with. The team had very minimal depth to begin with entering the season.

    Then Afellay gets injured.

    Afellay’s injury was thankfully addressed to some degree by Cuenca’s emergence.

    But now they are really being pressed for depth. I don’t know if there’s anyone on the B team who can contribute substantively. And I really don’t know if there’s anyone who plays central.

    The club has never seemed convinced by Soriano.

    • blitzen
      December 15, 2011

      The one good thing if they do promote Soriano is that he would be perfectly happy sitting on the bench. He has a great attitude is would be grateful for any chance the club gives him.

      • December 15, 2011

        Yes. This is a real plus. He has a wonderful attitude. You just get the sense that the club doesn’t believe in his talent. But he is a wonderful team player.

        Has had a huge impact again on the B team. He’s too good to be playing at that level. Should at least be with a smaller European side contributing. Which he probably will be this summer.

        But right now – his contribution to the first team will be important.

        • jordi™
          December 15, 2011

          Well Jonathan cant play as a wide forward and if he plays a single minute in the primera he cant play again with the B team for the rest of the season*. I personally think the more versatile young players that can alternate between both divisions will be the ones to get a chance.

          *He cant play two divisions because of age restrictions

          • December 15, 2011

            I forgot about this. Thanks for pointing it out.

            Makes it very difficult. His value to the club may be greater staying on the B team given how young they are and how little he may play with the first team.

  33. blitzen
    December 15, 2011

    From Villa’s facebook:

    Hi everyone! Thank you so much for your support!!! That injury are very bad news, but I’m sure I’m going to get over as soon as possible, thinking on playing the final at Munich (I know my mates will bring me to it) and on the UEFA Euro 2012. I’m going to work hardly to get it. I want them to count with me! I’ll be on Spain tomorrow. A big hug!

    At least now he’ll have lots of time to work hardly in his English skills. 😆

    • December 15, 2011

      Illa illa illa! Villa Maravilla!!

      #getGuajetoMunich #GuajefortheEuro

    • December 15, 2011

      I like seeing small mistakes because it means it really is him writing them, not a publicist or whoever. Me gusta!

      • mani
        December 15, 2011

        Maybe his publicist doesn’t speak English very well either 😉

        Though yes, I agree, I like seeing the little mistakes here and there. More of a chance that it really is them. That’s why I hate TB’s tweets. Always perfectly capitalized and punctuated. He’s no profesor de ingles that’s for sure.

    • Ryan
      December 15, 2011

      Just added him – I didn’t know he had a FB page! Those pictures with him in a cast look brutal; it’s his whole leg!

      • blitzen
        December 15, 2011

        That was probably just to keep it stable for the trip home. Once he has had his surgery I’m sure he will have one of those walking boot cast things.

  34. Gogah
    December 15, 2011

    I really do hope Villa can come back for our CL final.

    And score!
    Nothing would make me happier.
    As Pep said it is a bit disrespectful to start contemplating the Neymars and Hazards, and we certainly shouldn’t buy someone as it would only make Villa feel worse.
    I think Soriano or Rafinha should be given some minutes. I haven’t seen Tello, is he good? Its also a good time for Pep to tell Alexis to also modify his game a little and not exert himself too much. We don’t want to aggravate that sensitive hamstring situation.

  35. Gogah
    December 15, 2011

    or we go to Galliani and tell him to either cough up the damn cash or send the karate ninja to shut it and play on loan for us for 5 months.
    We own his lazy ass anyway.

  36. Dani_el
    December 15, 2011

    Cristian Pulina (Barça journalist/blogger for Eurosport):

    Marca’s writer Sergio García on Twitter:
    “Dear God, I need to go do an optometrist check-up. It was the number 10. The 10, not the 7. [Messi, not Villa] “Ya te vale” (It’s an idiom that means “How could you do this to me”).
    And then Mr. Rosell forces our player to pick-up the Marca awards. I have said it many times, one thing is to have “seny” and another is to laugh with people that insults you everyday, that’s not being a gentleman, is being a “pagafantas” (being the BFF of the girl of your dreams). Let’s keep letting us get insulted, taking up difamation, being provoked, but when we lose if we talk it will be too late, the central lechera will get an easy time calling us “cry babys and paranoids”. It’s time to do something now, like when they accused us of dopping. React!

    I share his feelings against Marca, but it’s a controversial subject, cause the message of Pep has always being to stay focused on the game. But in my opinion, it’s the job of the presi to stand-up for our players and our interests, as with Laporta. Rosell is not doing such a god job in that matter.

    • Dani_el
      December 15, 2011

      I forgot to mention that Pulina refers to the meaning of Marca’s journalist that it would have been better to him, if Messi got injured that badly, instead of Villa.

        • Dani_el
          December 15, 2011

          Sadly is not that surprising coming from Marca.
          First I felt indignation, then I thought that they must be really desperate to wish something like that to Messi.
          Rossel should do something, for starters not making players to receive Marca awards next year, we all know that even their awards are biased. Even Pep before Villa’s injury said something hard but true about them: Marca lies.

  37. colinpf
    December 15, 2011

    I like how some reporters are already speculating barca bringing in fernando torres. My friend pointed out why this is actually a great idea. He would fit in great at barca b for whoever we promote to replace david.

  38. nzm
    December 15, 2011

    Relax everyone – I have the perfect answer.

    We’ll play Hleb in midfield and bring back Ibra.


        • blitzen
          December 15, 2011

          Raul is looking for a new club. We could probably get him for cheap, and just imagine the meltdown Tomas Roncero would have! 😈

          • BarcaGirl_Indo
            December 15, 2011

            steal The Prince of Madrid! 😈

          • Chiu
            December 15, 2011

            Raul will just perfect. He could be our Larsson, even better 🙂

          • BarcaGirl_Indo
            December 15, 2011

            sit him down alongside Hleb!

  39. Huckleberry
    December 15, 2011

    Sometimes it is really funny with the antirosellism in this blog. Villa breaks his bone. Who is to blame? Rosell.

    • December 15, 2011

      I can find no reference in this thread or the last that mentions Rosell as having any role with regard to Villa’s injury.

      Not sure what you are referencing.

      In fact, the only reference I can find at all to Rosell is the prior comment about the Marca awards. Which has nothing to do with anything other than the stupidity of Marca.

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        December 15, 2011

        ^what Euler said.

        there’s no one in this blog blame Rosell for Villa’s injury.

        we can dislike Rosell and using our senses at the same time.

    • Dani_el
      December 16, 2011

      If you refer to my comment I’m guessing you didn’t get my meaning.
      I was stating the fact that Marca’s journalist was not only biased, but insensitive with a serious injury sustained by one of our players, wishing that same injury to Messi.
      And that in my opinion, Rosell shouldn’t force our players to make time for receiving Marca’s awards.
      It is my view also, that Laporta defended this club and this team in a more public and effective manner
      than Rosell against the offenses of the central lechera (Madrid’s media) and EE (if you find this to be
      untrue you could always review the news cycle about the dopping denounce against us and Uefa supposedly
      doing us favors with the referees). I prefer sometimes his no-confrontative style, but sometimes I believe we need to react more assertively.
      But in no way I was blaming Rosell for Villa’s injury. I wouldn’t know how even if I wanted to.

  40. ooga aga
    December 15, 2011

    when i broke my tibia playing futbol i also dislocated my ankle. dislocating the ankle was worse than breaking the tibia. i didnt play for like 4-5 months.

    i listened to fats waller throughout my recovery and i highly recommend this treatment.

  41. blitzen
    December 15, 2011

    Pep on Villa’s injury:

    “There’s a lad flying back to Barcelona with an injury, and I think he’ll be out of action for quite a long time. Let’s not talk about substitutes … David is a very popular person, and a sensitive lad. The players are upset. These losses leave you sick, unhappy, empty. Everybody puts themselves in his shoes and knows how much he’s going to suffer. Now he’s going to fly back to Barcelona with a doctor and someone else, just when the team is fighting to be the best in the world. I’m so sorry, and we have to cheer him up. I want him to know that we’re waiting for him.”

    I teared up at those last two lines. 😥

    • messifan
      December 15, 2011

      I hope he doesn’t get too depressed. During his playing career, he’s proven to be a very talented footballer but has never been the main attraction for a big club. I read somewhere that Sporting didn’t think he was good enough and he had to prove himself again and again. Even on an international stage, he was very important to the team but in decisive moments someone else took the spotlights. Wishing him well, and here to seeing David helping his teams in May, June and beyond 🙂

      Also, my faith in the club will be slightly diminished if they sell Villa in the summer, because that would be morally unfair.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      December 15, 2011

      yup. those last two lines. tears in my eyes. 😥

  42. K_legit in Oz
    December 15, 2011

    There is probably not a popular footballer in Spain than Villa, maybe Iniesta is one and Cazorla is the other…

    Anims Guaje, nosaltres t’estimem i per favor no és desesperi..
    El mundial del clubs, nosaltres guanyarem per a tu..
    Visca Guaje!

    i hope my grammar’s alright

    • Chiu
      December 16, 2011

      Last time i read in this forum, we have sell grammar without buyback clause to segunda team 🙂

  43. Neel
    December 15, 2011

    Villa will be back, make no mistakes about that, his message on facebook itself speaks volumes of his determination and calmness (especially if hes himself put it on) , simply great…this is the worst time for him to get injured, just when he had to fight for his place. It would surely be difficult for him to be back to starting 11, but then Barca has no fixed starting 11 at the moment, we have Messi, Xavi, Andres, Dani, Victor and 6 (depending on formation and tactics).
    Heal Fast, Heal Well Villa

  44. December 15, 2011

    Well we may be seeing an Abidal 2.0 here. Not to say that a broken bone comes close to a cancerous growth, but seriously, a quick surgery, ‘intensive rehab with the second best medical team in Europe (Milan is 1st), maybe he gets 20 min in the semis, plays a game or 2 in the league and CDR, then comes on as an impact sub to score the winner in Munich in May.

    Now, I know this may not be popular, but this frees up a starting role for Cesc, and cements Alexis as the #2 for the foreseeable future. It suck cause now we need to bring Villa back next year so he can prove he has value before we sell him.

    Do we go for a Neymar or Rossi? Another scoring winger? Nilmar? Messi, Sanchez and someone we bring in in January or in the summer (must be young) and that is our saturating 3 for the future. While Cuenca and P!! become the best super subs in the world.

    • barca96
      December 15, 2011

      Why do you think that Milan has the best med team?

      Bringing in someone in January is a knee jerk reaction.

      Only in the summer we should talk about it. My wish is Hazard or Munaian.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      December 16, 2011

      Milan? why do you think Milan has the best medical team?

      as a Milan fan, I had a lot of discussion with other Milan fans about our concerns with Milan Lab. they used to be the best IMO, but lately they are not. Pato get injured for 5-6 (or even more) every season.

      and do you know they sent Inzaghi to Barcelona last season to cure him?

  45. We cannot afford anymore injuries to front line. Most here are worried about Sanchez getting injured. That’s least of my worries. My worry is with Messi. If we have to rest Messi for couple of crucial matches, who is going to be in the centre. If Sanchez gets injured we have some options. Iniesta can go upfront, Cuenca can play that role a bit etc. But now it makes very important to protect Messi all the time. He cannot miss crucial matches. Forget the Pichichi. Just rest him whenever we you can.

  46. K_legit in Oz
    December 16, 2011

    in tune with the shite year 2011 has been, Christopher Hitchens has just passed away

  47. Yup I should feel sad about passing away fo a write who called Mother Teresa “The pope beatifies Mother Teresa, a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud.”

    • K_legit in Oz
      December 16, 2011

      I could tell you what I think about that but that would lead us into a whole different direction than Barça..suffice to say let us agree to disagree

  48. barca96
    December 16, 2011

    A comment from Sid Lowe’s article on the Guardian which I thought was spot on!

    15 December 2011 5:20PM

    Spain’s biggest problem is carrying Alonso, not losing Villa.

    Oooh and another one by Felix123;

    – I agree that Alsonso’s continued presence in the midfield is a mystery, he’s just not technically good enough. Give him the ball in a tight spot and he loses it or miscontrols it. If VDB trusted a midfield of Busquets, Xavi and Iniesta the fluency of the team would increase and they’d struggle less against teams that only defend – you don’t need two holding players when the opposition is playing for a draw (a la Switzerland / Holland / England) Alonso would do better in fast counter-attacking teams like Real / Germany / Brazil where long passes are valued higher and posession valued lower.

    • December 16, 2011

      Hmmm, while i agree with the general idea, I don’t buy into Alonso’s lack of technique. The biggest problem isn’t Alonso, it’s the double pivot. Busi and Alonso are doing very similar jobs (Busi more defensive and short pass style, Alonso more leadership and long pass range). You can play Busi or Alonso with any pivot next to him and still get the same problem.

      While i don’t think a double pivot is the way to go (especially with Arbeloa at RB who offers little going forward), here are some of the rationalizations that i can think of for his inclusion. His long pass range and more directness into getting the ball forward might be something that VDB likes. If you look at the midfield for spain (and Barcelona), it is very short pass oriented. Alonso adds another dimension in terms of long range passing. For Barcelona that’s not much of a problem due to the presence of Messi, who can drop deep and dribble the ball forward faster than you can pass it. While against teams that park the bus that won’t matter much, but when teams are forced to go out of their comfort zone and attack, this ability becomes vital. Transitioning the ball from back to front men by one pass is very nice ability to have on your team.

      With Puyol less of a fixture at the back line for Spain due to age and fitness, Alonso helps compensate for that leadership the back line is losing. Pique, Alba, Ramos and Arbeloa are not born leaders like Iker, Puyol and Xavi are. Alonso can fill in that gap. (I know he used to play even when Puyol was there, but you get the point).

      I understand why people would interpret Alonso’s ability to work in tight spots as not up to par, considering when he plays against Barcelona (a team that offers little space to operate especially since they mark Alonso closely), I think people miss an important point. The reason why Alonso struggles so much in tight spaces against Barcelona isn’t because he lacks technique, but rather a system error in Real Madrid. Khedira offers very little in terms of an outlet to pass to in midfield. Ozil is way too high up the pitch as well. This leaves Alonso stranded in the middle with very little options to pass to. With Spain, i don’t see that as a problem. With Busi and Xavi there, Alonso always has more than one viable option to pass to when in midfield. Something he rarely has at Real Madrid and an issue in our system that needs serious addressing (That’s why I agree with Euler that Alonso and Ozil can’t be on the pitch at the same time against Barcelona).

      Again, I’m not a fan of the double pivot, but these are some of the rationalizations that i can think of for Alonso starting. I have noticed here that Alonso is a very under-appreciated player here. Don’t really know why, as he is a brilliant tactical player. A lot of people compare him with Xavi, which is awfully off. Completely different styles and positions on the field.

      • Srini
        December 16, 2011

        Xabi Alonso is a very good player for Spain, no doubt. He has scored some important goals for Spain as well and is a goal scoring threat for them as much as their forward line is.

        But I don’t buy your logic that his long passing is essential for Spain’s alternative direct play. I think Xabi fits a lineup which includes very wide players like Jesus Navas to ping the ball to the corners and take it forward. But he is completely redundant in a midfield which features Xavi and Busquets.

        The problem is that when Xabi plays, he pushes Iniesta to his more ineffectual left wing and Cesc to the bench, almost taking out two very important players for Spain. I remember the world cup final, when Spain looked much more fluent and threatening when the foursome of Xavi, Busquets, Cesc and Iniesta were on the field. I think the 4-3-3 gels well when the forward line of Pedro, Silva and Villa combine with Iniesta, Xavi and Busquets. Now that Villa is presumably out for sometime, I think Spain should bring in Cuenca (or Cazorla) and play him with Silva and Pedro with Silva playing a Messi kinda role. I am not sure why Del Bosque plays Cazorla centrally rather than Right Inside FW.

        The results so far for Spain (the Czech game for e.g.) shows how fluent Spain are without Alonso in the middle.

        • December 16, 2011

          Again, it’s not because Alonso that they aren’t fluid, it’s because of the double pivot that they are not fluent. Big difference.

          I also don’t see Cesc, Iniesta, Xavi and Busi as a good solution. I understand why you would think that since you’ve seen them with Barcelona. But those are 4 very narrow players. In that sense Silva or a Mata (or Pedro or Navas) would be a much better option than Cesc in terms that they are much more comfortable playing in wider positions and have more pace to them.

          Thing is, players like Cazorla, Mata and Silva, who all used to play wide positions a year or two ago have been transformed into central players. In england, they lack technical central players, so Silva and Mata have been converted to play more centrally. Believe it or not, that is taking it’s toll on the NT in terms of how the team is inclined to go narrow.

          I am not doubting the fact that an Alonso less Spain is more fluent, I’m just pointing out that it’s not the player, but the system. Take out Busi and put Alonso and you will get more fluent play (before someone attacks me and my mother, I’m not saying that should happen). Not as strong defensively, but still more fluent.

          • Srini
            December 16, 2011

            I don’t disagree with your logic that it is the double pivot that is at fault, but I don’t agree with you that either of Busquets or Alonso can be removed and things will be more fluent. For I think Busquets is a more accurate short passer than Alonso is (possibly the best short passer in the planet barring Xavi) and daresay I, a better defender.

            I didn’t say Spain needs a Cesc, Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta diamond, but I said for the 4-3-3 to function well, they needed Xavi, Busquets and Iniesta in midfield and Pedro, Silva, Cuenca/Cazorla/Mata in the forwardline. Preferably Cuenca or Cazorla instead of Mata for their ability to play wide and if need be, as wingers.

            And I don’t quite think that Xabi’s presence as a leader is so vital to a squad that has Xavi, Iniesta, Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Silva, Pique and Cesc. Not to mention, the lionheart Carles Puyol.

          • December 16, 2011

            I think Alonso is quality. I think, as Bassam says, a double pivot ruins Spain considerably compared to, for example, the Euro 2008 side where they had one DM and could play another creative forward player a la Silva.

            I think Busquets would be a better lone DM than Alonso- Busi+Alonso less fluent than just Alonso less fluent/defensively solid than just Busquets in DM.

            So in terms of personnel, Alonso for all his talent would be better replaced by someone who plays much more forward and offers a more direct and wide threat, imo. Namely Silva, who is like a more flamboyant Iniesta playing on the right the way Iniesta is on the left, as in someone who can make telling passes as well as leave three or four players behind off the dribble, do well in tight spaces, and offer more creativity up front. Or even someone like Pedro for natural width, or even Silva replacements like Mata or Cesc up front in the centre as a goalscorer/creator alongside the other forward.

            Don’t get me wrong, Alonso is a fantastic dictator of play. He makes perfect 60-yard passes that can be jaw-dropping. But with Xavi handling the metronome duties and Busquets having proved himself as a lone DM in a three-man midfield with Barcelona, as opposed to say back in 2010 when Spain first switched to double pivot when he was still extremely inexperienced and prone to moments of slackness, and with Spain needing more thrust up front and less central play, Alonso seems like someone who should only be metronome backup in THIS Spain side rather than start.

        • phunky
          December 16, 2011

          You also have to consider that Spain don’t press like we the Barca front line does, atleast not as much. So as a result they have to be really good at defending without the ball. Alonso + Busi provides Spain with that extra bit of protection.

    • phunky
      December 16, 2011

      I think it’s unfair to say that Alonso is not good technically. He plays a little differently than Busi, mostly coz he was in the Premier League for quite a while.

      He’s a good player and Spain biggest problem is definitely losing Villa. They just don’t have anyone else who can offer the movement and goals that he can, consistently.

  49. December 16, 2011

    Animo Villa! Before i saw the actual picture of the break, I didn’t really notice what happened. Very awful though. Will be interesting to see how his body copes with such an injury. He is old, so his bodies self repair ability isn’t at an optimal level. Also, it will be interesting to see how he recovers in terms of fitness once he comes back.

    Hope he gets back for the CL final and plays part in Barcelona’s eventual 1-0 loss to RM due to a header in extra time 😛

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      December 16, 2011

      a header in extra time in CL final?

      that’s not a victory for football!

    • Chiu
      December 16, 2011

      haha, good jk Bassam 🙂

      Thanks for coming by

    • Srini
      December 16, 2011

      How about Villa coming back and Puyol handing the trophy for him to lift a la Abidal? That is a more sentimental and ideal dream!

      • Gogah
        December 16, 2011

        i dont think puyol, for all his magnanimity, will pass the chance to lift a CL for the third time by giving it to another teammate for the second time.

  50. Chiu
    December 16, 2011

    Alexis Sanchez has a little overburdening of his left hamstrings and he could miss final of club world cup vs Santos. #fcblive – from twitter

    if its true, then i think our frontline for final would be: Messi – Pedro – Cesc

  51. BarcaOwl
    December 16, 2011

    It’s bad enough that I couldn’t join in the liveblog thanks to a temporarily dead internet. I had to miss a good chunk of the game thanks to a sudden dinner invitation. I could still follow the game via twitter though and I’m pretty sure I got weird looks from the other patrons in the restaurant when I reacted to the news about Villa. I’m so not going back there. Flipping embarassing, it was.

    Hope Villa gets well soon.

    By the way, were the commentators on the tv station here the only ones who can’t tell the difference between Maxwell and Cuenca? They kept calling Cuenca ‘Maxwell’. :/

    • mom4
      December 16, 2011

      Owl, try watching the game on a non-GOLTV American channel. The announcers kept calling Puyi “Charlie Puyol” !

      • BarcaOwl
        December 16, 2011

        ‘Charlie’ ? Ugh. Do not want! Can’t they just stick with ‘Puyol’ and leave it at that?

  52. K_legit in Oz
    December 16, 2011

    When’s this draw being made?

  53. culegirl3
    December 16, 2011

    Hooray for an easy draw! Looking forward to Chelsea vs Napoli…that’s going to be interesting.

      • mom4
        December 16, 2011

        Alas for Arsenal, my poor second team. Should be a fun watch though!

  54. K_legit in Oz
    December 16, 2011

    Underestimating Leuverkeusen is not wise

  55. Jafri
    December 16, 2011

    Wait, so if we get past Leverkuesen we’ll face Madrid in the quarterfinals?

    • K_legit in Oz
      December 16, 2011

      There’ll be another draw no?

      • Helge
        December 16, 2011

        Yes, after the round of 16, there’ll be a final draw which determines the rest of the tournament.

      • Gogah
        December 16, 2011

        i think that’s it with the draws. jafri may be right, not sure.
        but if its madrid for QF, it might be more of a good thing than bad.

  56. Helge
    December 16, 2011

    So, here’s my prediction:
    Lyon < APOEL
    Napoli < Chelsea
    Milan > Arsenal
    Basel < Bayern
    L’kusen < Barcelona
    CSKA < EE
    Zenit > Benfica
    Marseille < Inter

    • blitzen
      December 16, 2011

      You think Inter will beat Marseille? I wouldn’t be so sure about that. I also think Napoli is a very tough draw for Chelsea.

      • Helge
        December 16, 2011

        Actually, the only matches where I am sure about, i.e. where I would put my money on if I was still a ‘bettor’, are Bayern, Barca and Real.

        I would love to see Napoli beat Chelsea, but Chelsea has improved lately. I think Chelsea will win it in two tight matches, probably with Napoli having more big goal opportunities. Just like outerspacedout said, the poor Big Teams often win against the good Smaller Teams. Albeit not being any better -.-

        Milan – Arsenal is also close, but I want the EPL to fail. And Chelsea are much better in winning matches despite playing worse than the opponent, so I went for Chelsea, and against Arsenal (I also believe that Milan is actually a bit stronger than Arsenal).

        Lyon-APOEL is my outsider prediction. And Zenit – Benfica can also go either way. The first match in St. Petersburg will be tough due to the climate, though. And whereas some people say Benfica is really strong this season, I don’t see it yet^^

        Inter beating Marseille is the same story as Chelsea beating Napoli, imo. Experience and ugliness (in their stlye of play) prevails 😀

  57. K_legit in Oz
    December 16, 2011

    Wonder if Ek will bite the bullet and travel to Germany to see the game 😀

  58. December 16, 2011

    I’m definitely watching that Valencia game hahahah especially the away leg. As for people wondering, there’ll be another draw after this round. Until the R16 clubs from the same country are still separated. From QF on, seeing as the number of clubs that can qualify are limited to eight which could include up to four from any country limits the draw far too much, another random draw is made for the QFs, which also sets up the semis and path to the final. So we don’t know who we’ll meet beyond this round yet.

  59. Humphrey Bogart
    December 16, 2011

    Hallo guys,

    I am in desperate need for your help. It is christmas time and I plan to gift my dad a weekend in Bilbao and football action. Now the problem: I can not get tickets via their web site. Has anybody any idea how to get tickets for a Bilbao game? I have seen different sites offering tickets but are wary if they are trustworthy.

  60. K_legit in Oz
    December 16, 2011

    Montoya aka the future has renewed his contract with Barcelona.

    Official: FC Barcelona have reached an agreement with Barca B RB Martin Montoya until 2013-14. Buyout clause: 12M for 11-12, 20M for 12-14.

  61. K_legit in Oz
    December 16, 2011

    Sylvinho (ex barca): “I believe that the best team is Barcelona, even if Santos win 3-0.”

    awww Uncle Sylvinho….

  62. BarcaGirl_Indo
    December 16, 2011

    not underestimating Leverkusen here, but I’m happy it’s not Napoli or CSKA..

  63. mom4
    December 16, 2011

    Soooooo, anybody know anything about Leuverkeusen?

  64. December 16, 2011

    Afellay is almost back, right? He was out for six months but he’s been out this season so far so he should be back soon enough. He wasn’t expensive yeah but I do think he’s Barca quality. In no way just us filling up the squad with a budget buy, which we haven’t ever done before even with other cheaply available quality players under Pep and there have been plenty. He was signed cos he’s quality. And he’s been wonderful whenever he plays the focal point role for arguably the third best NT in the world in Holland, completely dominating games and ripping defenses to shreds. I don’t feel one bit let down by having someone of that quality playing a lot more for us now.

    I’ve loved Villa since his Valencia days and I absolutely hate him being out for a few months, but I’m not worried for our prospects for the season from this. Cuenca has really convinced me, Sanchez is great, Cesc has defied expectations, Pedro is returning, and Afellay is quality. We beat Madrid 3-1 so I’m convinced we can still beat CL sides even with those guys playing in the side. We’ll miss his quality but I’m still optimistic of our chances to win the big trophies this year. Hopefully Villa can return for the CL final and score a lovely curler against Bayern (yes, I don’t want Madrid in the final, and I don’t think the other teams are as good as Bayern, and I don’t think Bayern are near as good as us).

    • Helge
      December 16, 2011

      Well, I’ve read that Afellay will be out till the end of March, i.e. he would return about 6 weeks earlier than Villa.
      Still leaves us 3 whole months with only Pedro, Messi, Sanchez and Cuenca. Maybe Cesc will play more offensive during that time?

      • December 16, 2011

        He’s already playing very offensive, isn’t he? I count him as a forward three player already. Maybe this also means that some of the younger players will get runouts more often than they would have gotten to if there had been senior players ahead of them in the pecking order.

        Which could have an upside- until March we don’t have any big-big games, the kind of games where the absolute top level quality decide it, like a Clasico or CL quarters or semis. We just have lots of games where we need to be hungry, decisive, and not complacent. Amid the dozens of brilliant games the seniors play they occasionally have collective off-days where they are very below-par against very beatable opponents, a la Getafe. Games where we’ve all felt the desire and freshness of B-team players would have won it, because we weren’t lacking for quality. If Rafinha, Deulofeu and co get more runouts in those minor games where we’ll still be comfortably higher level in quality even with younguns on the pitch but just have a collective funk day, maybe their energy will be useful. And they’ll get experience. I have confidence our B-teamers can cover until March.

        • Helge
          December 16, 2011

          I certainly trust the B teamers against weaker opponents. The danger lies in Sanchez’ susceptibility to hamstring injuries.
          As long as the current strikers stay fit, I don’t see a big problem. They can sometimes get rested thanks to Cuenca or Cesc, or (if he is allowed to play) Soriano.
          Rafinha is not really a replacement for the front three, imo.
          And Deulofeu might be too young – plus he has not shone recently – to cover in the league matches (even if the opponents are not that strong, dropping any points WILL be deadly).

          Oh, and I have checked it. Afellay tore his cruciate ligament on Sept, 22. That means he’ll miss another 3 months. Really sucks, we could have needed him now!

  65. Huckleberry
    December 16, 2011

    Last year we had to pray for the health of the defenders still able to play, this year for the health of the attackers still able to play… We got used to it and Pep likes such challenges.

  66. December 16, 2011

    My predictions would be:

    Lyon vs APOEL – I’ll predict a win for APOEL, there is always an upset in the R16 and Lyon aren’t as good as previous years.

    Napoli vs Chelsea – No idea, game could go both ways. Napoli are very very good. But then I have the sneaking suspicion that, as often happens, even a poor Big Team playing against a quality Smaller Team always manages to pull a result out of the hat somehow (read: United all the time, Chelsea against the Lyons and Valencias of the world in earlier seasons- probably experience, comparatively smaller teams often just choke, Valencia keeps on frustrating me in the CL by dominating but choking majorly in must-win CL games). Then again, Napoli have barely ever choked before. I’d say lucky, close win for Chelsea.

    Milan vs Arsenal – Arsenal win. Milan have better names on paper and quality all over the pitch, Silva, Nesta, Ibrahimovic et al are world-class, but I think Arsenal’s style is the kind Milan are weakest against.

    Basel vs Bayern – Bayern are probably the best side in the competition Barca aside, along with Real. Comfortable win with Schweinsteiger back in the side.

    Leverkusen vs Barcelona – Three-goal win at home.

    CSKA vs Madrid – Madrid wiping the floor with CSKA, sadly.

    Zenit vs Benfica – Benfica. They’re very very good. Zenit scraped through in a crappy group while being thoroughly mediocre.

    Marseille vs Inter – Inter are complete rubbish, Marseille have been below par. I’d say Marseille, but aforementioned Big Team somehow finding a way to beat Small Team issue makes me really think Inter will somehow scrape through like they did last season. And get humiliated in the QFs, like they did last season… That said, I think Inter’s luck has run out. Marseille.

  67. Blau-Grenade
    December 16, 2011

    Firstly, very very sad for David Villa.

    Secondly, it is great to have Leverkusen as our opponents in CL next round.

    Germans play open attacking football. That will make it a very entertaining two match affair.

    I have been to Germany many times and the atmosphere at matches is phenomenal. Look forward to two great matches.

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