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!

Categorized as Team News

By Kari

Just your neighbourhood Barca fanatic


    1. 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

  1. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. 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.

    6. 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.

    7. 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.

  2. 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 😛

    1. 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!

    2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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’. :/

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

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

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

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

    2. 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.

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

    1. 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.

    2. 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 😀

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

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

    awww Uncle Sylvinho….

  11. 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).

    1. 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?

    2. 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.

    3. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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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