News of the day, Oct. 23, 2009

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–In the “great news!” category, Carles Puyol has reached an agreement in principle for a renewal until 2013. Final details are yet to be hammered out but as you can imagine, his negotiating position was immensely enhanced by Marquez’ performance against Rubin Kazan.

But even before that, this dude deserves to retire with the club. He started here, he grew up here, and any notions that he would be happy anywhere else, or that any self-respecting cule would be happy seeing him somewhere else are the purest insanity.

Everybody and their mamas gave our Capitan a standing ovation at word of the news, as do I.

Danny? Really? The Portuguese member of the all-potential team is said to be on our transfer docket, via loan with option, in January. He’s recovering from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament injury, so the hope is that he will be able to get through El Prat without the aid of a wheelchair. (Just kidding.) When on form, the midfielder is a bigger crack than J. Lo. He’s presently with Zenit, and is looking to get some new life for his career. We could be just the thing for this talented attacking midfielder.

Txignasty is in the house, as our latest acquisition was given the green light from our medical staff to play this weekend. And not a moment too soon, as Captain Caveman will slide over to right back, to replace the injured Dani Alves. When reached for comment, Txigrinski said “I will smash. I will smash them all.”

In other news of the knocked, Thierry Henry practiced normally, and could be included in Sunday’s lineup, one that will, by the by, be seen in glorious HD on ESPN2. Yay!

–Oh, yeah …. rumors. January pushes are being claimed for Cesc Fabregas and Franck Ribery. This despite the other rumor, propagated just the other day, that we have all but given up on Fabregas. Who knows, who cares? Oh, and EMD says that Flo-Flo is looking to steal Fabregas right from under our noses. And you can see that, right? After all, the EE needs midfielders, right?

Flo-Flo is said to be talking directly to Fabregas’ family, telling them things like “Of course I will sit Kaka in favor of your son. No question. I only signed the Brazilian to keep his spot warm. Perhaps Cesc would like the sangria concession at the Bernabeu? We can arrange that. And by the by, I have in this box the souls of the last men who tried to refuse me my wishes. I am just saying. That’s all.”

–What I do care about is that Jonathan dos Santos will be offered a real deal by us in January. Negotiations are all but done, and Johnny Two-Time should be part of our squad for some time to come. This makes me so happy, as what we have seen of the kid is that he is the definite business, maybe even more so than the highly touted Gai Assulin.

–Finally, the players are doing good by being bad. The club donated the almost 25,000 Euros raised in fines from various player transgressions, to Sant Joan de Deu hospital. The funds will go toward research and development.

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In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. Boat Forever
    October 23, 2009

    Well Més que un club & Puyol is surely Més que un player 🙂

  2. Helge
    October 23, 2009

    YES!!! Best news since a veeeery long time.

    Long live and stay Captain Caveman.

  3. diarmuid lenihan
    October 23, 2009

    Yes I couldn’t agree more Marqeuz must go. He is shockingly brutal and if you ask me was never good enough to play for the mighty Barca. Valdes and Marquez should have been let go and not offered new contracts every opposition coach knows they are the weak links in the team. And what about Alaves taking free kicks and shots from anywhere on the pitch he’s no good at them and Pep should put a stop to it now.

    • BA
      October 23, 2009

      Rafa isn’t that bad. early last season he had a long spell as our best defender, and his partnership with Pique for much of the latter part of the season was our most effective. he’s been injured alot over the summer through to this season and was thrown back in against Rubin before he was fully sharp; that’s largely Pep’s fault, not his. Rafa isn’t a GREAT defender the way, say, Nesta is or Pique could very well develop into, but he has a skillset (passing range, positional sense, aptitude in the air) that works very well with our team and his inclusion, while fit and focused, does bring something new and important to our back line.

      i think we can all agree that Dani needs to work on his free kicks, and that possibly adding a bit more weight to a potential transfers’ free kick prowess would be helpful if we dip into the market, considering how many of them we draw in good areas that go wanting.

      • SC
        October 23, 2009

        Word. And, I will also ignore the Valdes as a weak link comment. 🙂

        • Miguel
          October 23, 2009

          i’m sick of sounding like a battered wife defending marquez all the time. “but he really isn’t that bad!”

          uh, yeah, hello? you not watch the valencia game last week lenihan?

    • Andrew M.
      October 24, 2009

      wow i used to be the biggest valdes critic out there, especially after the 07/08 season, but man he has stepped up this season and io think he is playing better than cassillas. look at casillas vs ac milan then nnoitice some of puyols saves against valencia

      • Boat Forever
        October 24, 2009

        Oh you mean VV by Puyol I suppose!!!

  4. Boat Forever
    October 23, 2009

    The Yaya is AGAIN! negotiating a contract!? Didn’t he get a one-year extension during summer!? Not that he doesn’t deserve…

  5. diarmuid lenihan
    October 23, 2009

    And ya great news about Puyol too. Iniesta next hopefully and never the dreaded Marquez.

  6. BarcaFan(BiH)
    October 23, 2009

    So, how serious are these allegations by EMD that Perez is going after Cesc? Does anyone know whether that is just a baseless rumor or is Perez’s alleged sinister plan a potential reality? And how likely will it be that he will succeed?
    If Fabregas only thinks about going there, we should seriously consider not buying him as his heart may not be 100% with us and if you are a cule and that is not the case, then I don’t think that you should return to us.
    I think that these days it’s harder to snatch a player away from our club than it was during Figo’s transfer because now we have more money and can compete financially with the wealthiest teams out there. That wasn’t the case 10 years ago.

    I always knew that Puyol would never leave us for another club and never doubted that he would renew and retire with us. I think that the fact that he is the first cule to retire in many years is another sign that shows that things are different these days and that our club is more prestigious and healthier than it was at any time before. I want to see Iniesta, Pique, Xavi, Messi all retire with us. If we can pull that off, it would be something that no other club can claim to be able to do. It would set us apart from all other clubs. Wouldn’t that be amazing?

    • BA
      October 23, 2009

      Madrid aren’t going to buy Cesc and Cesc knows if he went there he could never go back to Catalonia. it’s just a rumour to destabilize our efforts to keep him on the line, or to pressure us into trying harder to sign him. his inclusion doesn’t even make sense in Real’s squad.

  7. Ramzi
    October 23, 2009

    Valdes is a weak link?
    Puyol renew was eventual. Beside, Imagine during the election year, the current board offloading Puyol. Laporta might be able to run, but not to hide.

    – We must not push Henry to play till he is completely fit. I prefer starting some tired legs if needed instead of starting him to rest someone else. His qualities to play both on the flank and as a striker make him the key for the offense depth as he can cover Ibra absence as well.

    Both Cesc Fabregas and Franck Ribery? It feels sometimes Catalan journalists get confused between their “internal sources” and their “Football Manager game”, they play at night and publish the following day.

    • Kxevin
      October 23, 2009


      True that, Ramzi.

      Nobody really knows how true any of this Flo-Flo/Fabregas stuff is. I consider everything related to this so patently absurd that I can’t even begin to express it.

      No …. wait a minute …. yes, I can.

      We have Xavi, and we have Iniesta, the two guys who are fundamental reason that Fabregas isn’t starting for Spain. Both have another 4 years at least in their busy legs. And by the time that Xavi is ready to go, Iniesta will be ready to slide into his role.

      At that same time, the likes of Assulin or JDS will be ready to slide into Iniesta’s role. So. We pony up the 50m+ that Arsenal will be holding us up for, and what do we get, apart from the World’s Most Expensive Benchwarmer?

      Valid question. Here’s another valid question: Is Fabregas ready to dump the Premiership and its well-managed star-making qualities for the Liga, which is run by a bunch of pigs brandishing copies of “Effing Shit Up For Dummies?” And on a club at which he is The Man?

      He would do it for championships, sure. But how long would his ego deal with that? Henry made the swap, but left wing was a gaping maw, waiting for him to slide into it. We’re richer than Croesus in the midfield.

      So. Do I want to spend 50m+ for a platoon player for Xavi or Iniesta? Nope. 20m is more like it.

      • BA
        October 23, 2009

        all that rightly said, i’d still take Franck Ribery for €40m in a heartbeat.

        • Kxevin
          October 23, 2009

          Yep, but Ribery is a very different kind of player, I think. He’d be perfect for the left wing. Just can’t see Bayern taking anything less than crazy-ass money for him, Ibrahimovic kind of money. And he isn’t that kind of a difference maker, though I suspect the market next summer will argue differently.

          • Miguel
            October 23, 2009

            he’s too much like iniesta. i think ramzi used the term “cannibalizing” each others’ space on the pitch. i think that’s why henry + iniesta worked so well last year. they both knew their place on the pitch. even when iniesta plays lw he usually ends up drop drop dropping down and helping out the midfield.

      • BarcaFan(BiH)
        October 23, 2009

        Kxevin, I like all of your points, but I don’t think that Xavi has another 4 years left to play at the level he has since the Euro 2008 or earlier. He’s almost 30, so I think that after the world cup, we will see his form start to diminish steadily. Once players turn 30, they start a downward decline, so I think that it would be great to get Fabregas either after the World Cup or in Summer ’11.
        Also, Iniesta may fill Xavi’s role but if we had Cesc replace Xavi, then it would be a natural continuation of what we currently have in midfield.
        … to be continued.

  8. iBlau
    October 23, 2009

    Congratz to all Barca fans as well as Puyol. He deserves to retire with this club after everything he has given to it. Well done Laporta and well done Puyol. Roots before Money!

    Marquez must go end of story. Have people been reading the stories about the FIFA Virus? Thought I should just mention it because this post just went up on another blog and I found it very intriguing to pass it on as it discusses very suggestive points that are so true.

  9. Kxevin
    October 23, 2009

    Oh. The Yaya. The most recent contract that he signed secured his immediate future with the club. This sweetening is the “Yes, we know you’re the best DM in the world. Here’s some more money.”

    It’s like Messi’s sweetenings, only not as lucrative.

  10. Maximus
    October 23, 2009

    I sometimes wonder why I love Barcelona so much, backing one club is against my creed in that I respect good football and who ever is playing the best football in the world deserves to be praised. So why one club? Then I read about all those player fines the press tried to play up as cracks in the foundation last year going towards charity and I go *DOH*…thats why…Barcelona is more than a club.

  11. lovelymofo
    October 23, 2009

    Yay, good news about Puyol! I generally like Marquez, but he has been playing atrociously. So, yeah, I’ll leave it at that.

    Also happy to hear about JDS getting offered a deal. I’m looking forward to seeing his development and after what happened with his brother, I’m pretty confident that he’s more likely to buckle down and work hard to earn himself an eventual spot on the team. (And ofcourse, this is also a YAY! for the Mexican national team.)

  12. SC
    October 23, 2009

    HUGE sigh of relief (and goosebumps) hearing about Puyol’s likelihood of retiring at the Club. it gives creedence to the saying, “you get what you deserve,” even though we all know that’s not always the case in footy.

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