1. January 26, 2012

    Euler – a correction though – Messi earned the free kick which paved way for the second goal.

    YOu mention the team didnt really use Xavi in this game. But if you look at how we did not use some of the excellent counter attack opportunities we had in this game, Xavi was the culprit here. If I watch again, I can say exactly. But more than 2 times, when there was a counter attacking possibility, you could see the ball being played back to Xavi.
    Compare this with the Malaga game, almost all the time Messi got the ball after the c.circle, he turned around and made attacking movements.
    Just a thought from me, could be wrong.

    • January 26, 2012

      By penalty I was referring to the penalty that earned the free kick. I’ve clarified that.

      Were there counters the team could have made better use of? Sure. The biggest one was the 2 v 1 that Fabregas ruined with his awful pass behind Messi.

      But on the whole part of the point I was trying to make was that the team was rushing its play, trying to orient the dynamics too vertically and too fast. Their game was too direct when it really needed composure and possession.

      So I more than understand why Xavi may not have wanted to push the ball hard every time. I’m sure he knew play was being rushed.

      That creates a tempo that strongly favors madrid. Barcelona fell into that and it was one of the single major reasons why they couldn’t hold the lead.

      • January 26, 2012

        Sure I agree Euler.
        Our style is always controlling the ball and thereby the tempo of the game to suit us. We were really poor in that. But there were times, I felt (as I said I can the exact moments only after watching it again) the team could have continued on a counter as we had numerical advantage (I didnt mean about the moment when Cesc made that terrible pass at all).

        Overall, we played our worst match this season and made Madrid made look better than us. We played the game to their tempo, not ours. I would say the whole team had a bad day and that includes XAvi, who is instrumental in keeping our tempo.

        I just feel bad, the whole media is taking it as a Mourinho success. The moment Alves made that back pass for a free shot for Higuain, I felt we were not in. And then like many other time this season, we went complascent after the 2 goal lead.

        Thank you for your excellent review.

        • barca96
          January 26, 2012

          I also felt that they were rushing, even when not under great pressure.

          • Jim
            January 26, 2012

            Xavi is essential in ensuring that we play to our tempo rather than Madrid’s. If we speed up the game too much it becomes end to end and gives them more of a chance. If we hold on to it we gradually get to them but didn’t do that so they finished strongly. Imo, the major factor here was Iniesta’s absence as he is entirely in tune with Xavi and both have the skills to hold the ball in ridiculously tight situations which only Messi apart from them has.

    • Jafri
      January 26, 2012

      Just when I thought the days of the 2-2 draw were behind us.

  2. January 26, 2012

    As mentioned before the game, the fact that RM will play(ed) this clasico using an anti-mourinho approach makes it more difficult by default. The pressure from players, media, etc… meant that they will play up to their best, and they did. A team like RM cant play conservative with ultimate tactical indiscipline, when they have quality world class players capable of making their own decisions on the field beyond the “Master plan”. Add that to the “nothing to lose, lot to gain” attitude made RM the team we saw in this game. Without denying that it was not easy for Barcelona players to be at their best after a very calming result on the road, being favorites for the game and especially after scoring twice.

    That, more than any other element played the deciding role for what we saw.

    I disagree that RM revolved their game around Özil this time – for the first time. In fact, I think for the first time, this was not the case. Whenever Özil played before, he had very rigid midfield behind him for defensive roles and very high offense in front of him and he was supposed to link and lead bu shuffling the buildup on his own from defense to offense – which made it easier for Barca’s midfield to close him down and dominate. In this game, all RM players played close to each other and Özil had less responsibilities as he became just another element in a teamwork process rather than “the one”. And he did much better than he used to.

    Saying so, It was a bit strange that Pep didnt switch to 4-4-2 during the first half. And it is worrisome that Pique is causing troubles almost in each and every game lately. Puyol cant save him all the time.

    The rest of the team, as individuals they were all alright -maybe beside Cesc. But the passing was horrendous. I have absolutely no answer about why the passing was that bad, especially that some of the very open easy and elementary passes went the wrong way.

    Injuries hurt the team way too much so far and still it does. Not only we miss indispensable players all the time, which makes a thin squad thinner, but this also lower the injured players form and condition even after they are back, and consume more energy from the fit players to overcome the absence of teammates.

    In anyway, the team qualifies. Mission accomplished. Long way to go…

    • barca96
      January 26, 2012

      Hey thanks for dropping a comment.

      I can only comment on the injuries. Our strikeforce has been reduced to Messi. Pedro is not a goal scoring threat this season for some reason although I do regard him as a starter, I know he can bring back his form.
      But based on the past 6-7months, he didn’t look good.

      Now only have Messi as a regular goal scorer and Cesc who is a hybrid and Pedro who’s trying to regain form. Really really tough.

      I don’t like knee jerk reactions but I would sign Forlan. Or maybe Drogba. Or Chamakh.

      • January 26, 2012

        Or would’ve loaned Henry. Or… would loan Tevez? Did I just…

      • Jim
        January 26, 2012

        Maybe a decent run is what Pedro needs to get back to form rather than being in and out of the side. I’m maybe imagining things but I think he has got his speed back and I’m seeing signs of his touch returning. What isn’t is his old failing of “chicken without a head” syndrome. He just seems excitable at times.

        Just pray Messi and Xavi stay fit. Btw, what happened to the Xavi is finished due to injuries line of thought from last season? 🙂 Pretty much the same as the Puyol is finished due to injuries line of thought from earlier this season. Too many knee jerk reactions from us at times as has been said. Likewise with the Madrid has worked us out theory. It’s still all about us – and how we play – not them when we meet and that’s a good position to be in.

  3. January 26, 2012

    Euler, do you think Xavi and /or Cesc was specifically asked to stay in the midfield, and was not required to help the defence and busquests in bringing out the ball. We saw in one of those past games, Xavi do that, didnt we?
    Or was it up to Xavi or Cesc to decide by themselves that the backline needed help? Normally, our players are very intelligent and make slight adjustments as required.

    I was wondering why one of them went closer to the defence and the other could have stayed in the center to use the space ahead.

    • January 27, 2012

      I think it was probably a combination. Pep likely sets a tactical outline and then the players need to read the game. Their instincts are to find space.

      I think there was also some problems between Cesc and Xavi coordinating their play and who would support build up and when.

  4. January 26, 2012

    I know it wasn’t a pleasure to re-watch this match and write about it, Euler.. like you said to Kxevin, brutal rewatching.. so thank you..

    @Sidlowe Stats from last night (via Marca/EMD): posses FCB 59 RM 41, shots FCB 9(4) RM 14 (5), fouls FCB 19 RM 29, corners FCB 3 RM 5

    When we only had 59% possession at Camp Nou, you know there was something terribly wrong there..

    for the next El Clasico, whether it’s CL or La Liga, I think we know that Mou will built a system around Ozil again, because he knows now that it worked.. this must be something that Guardiola could see too..

  5. Judas Pissed
    January 26, 2012

    For all the paper talk, comments & web chat this morning you would have thought we got knocked out & EE went through! It’s like in England when a small team ALMOST knocks a bigger team out of the FA Cup – praise all round for the samll team, but the bigger & better team is through to the next round.

    Typical spiteful comments from EE though – no ‘well done Barca’ to be found ANYWHERE lol…

    • barca96
      January 26, 2012

      Exactly. I find it so funny that they treat it as if Madrid actually won the game.

      It is such a big achievement for them to have more shots on target than us. Getafe beat us but it wasn’t this big of a deal 🙂
      This makes the defeat or actually the draw feel a lot better 😆

  6. barca96
    January 26, 2012

    It must’ve been really difficult for you to write a review of this match Euler. It was a match to forget. I can’t imagine having to sit through it again and then spending a few hours to analyse it and then a few more hours writing about it.


    Why didn’t Ramos protest at all when he received the red card? It looked like a bad call to me. It didn’t deserve a yellow card but then why didn’t he protest at all?

    And why did Mourinho had to be in the limelight again by going to the byline to whisper something into Ramos’ ears?

    Was it to show the world that they’re cool again?

    Where is JNice? I would love to hear his take on this.
    I have a question for you (Jnice).
    Do you feel the same as the one at the Emirates in 2010 when we were 2-0 up and then the players let Arsenal get into the game and eventually drew the match?

    • January 26, 2012

      you should just check his twitter, cause he probably won’t write here, he wrote everything on twitter.. 😉


      • barca96
        January 26, 2012

        Oh I see. He’s too cool for BFB now? 🙁

        Could you please ask him the question that I wanted to ask him?
        About the similarities to the 2-2 at the Emirates 2 seasons ago.

    • Jnice
      January 26, 2012

      I felt a similar feeling, but I think I was more pissed at the Arsenal draw because it was Champions League.

      The thing with this game is that I saw it coming. I didn’t like how we were playing in the 1st half, but then we still scored 2 great goals. At halftime, I was happy for the lead, but I stressed that we should still be wary.

      And once I saw us passing the ball around midfield without any real desire to go and grab another goal (especially w/ all that space Madrid were giving us), I knew we were in trouble. Once they scored the first, it was only a matter time before the 2nd went in because once we get into that state, we can’t seem to recover & play at a higher level.

      But yea, I usually get the same feeling when we play like this and let leads slip. The worst feeling being when we lost at Emirates last season.

  7. January 26, 2012

    @OpinionCule posted a full interview with Cesc..

    my Spanish is very very bad, but this is what I think Cesc said about his performance, I just take some points:

    “I’m not happy about the match I did yesterday, I should improve a lot.”
    “I am the first to demand the best, the first to say that yesterday I did not playing well”
    “I lack of patience that Xavi, Iniesta, and Busquets have”

    well, he knows he had a bad game.. with Pep, Tito and other players’ help, I’m sure he’ll improve, hopefully very soon..

  8. barca96
    January 26, 2012

    Hopefully it won’t be under moderation for the whole day this time.

    Now that I’m a bit free, I’m reading past articles and found these;

    JL3 • Indianapolis, Indiana • 2 days 7 hours ago

    RayRay is the best color guy out there. Magesterial! “he took the stars and Earth’s gravitational pull into account on that one!” Best lines ever! Check out Barcelona Football Blog or The Run of Play for fantastic blogs about football and the topics surrounding the beautiful game.

    That guy gave us a shout out! Anyone with a Yahoo a/c, please like his comment and thank him.
    The article is here.


    And I also found this horrendous error on Yahoo.

    Abidal is no longer an automatic first-choice selection at Barcelona and looked set to leave the club recently before he surprisingly signed a new contract that runs until June 2013. One of the contacts Yahoo! Sports spoke to revealed that Abidal’s spirit and popularity within the locker room was a significant factor in the club offering him a new deal.

    From http://ca.sports.yahoo.com/soccer/news?slug=ro-rogers_eric_abidal_cancer_rolex_teenager_012312

    And some Pepe moments of the match.

    -Pepe tried to stamp on Alves this time;


    -Pepe throwing himself to the ground after a screen by Puyol. I actually started to feel sorry for him because I don’t categorize him as a sane person anymore.


    I wish somebody would upload the incident where Pepe acted as if he was shot after a soft tackle by Cesc I think.

  9. January 26, 2012

    Xavi: “We suffered against a superteam. After the 2-0 we disconnected a bit. But in the end, if it’s difficult, you enjoy it even more.”

    Haha he enjoyed it. ‘Is that all you got?’ He wants more! Kimcelona I think got that right..

  10. BarcaOwl
    January 26, 2012

    Thank you very much for the review, Euler. Another excellent piece of work,in my opinion.

  11. Reaper
    January 26, 2012

    wow! this is a stunning piece Euler

  12. Reaper
    January 26, 2012

    Separately, would anyone have a link to an English documentary or clipping about La Masia and how Pep handles his forces? A friend of mine wants to use Barca as a motivational tool for his employees.. Let me know. Thanks in advance.

    • blitzen
      January 26, 2012

      I;m sure Graham Hunter’s new book will have lots of stuff like that. Ebook available from Backpage Press on Jan 30, and book book due out Feb 17 I think.

  13. Josep
    January 26, 2012

    I stopped reading at “Xavi may only complete 50/100 passes.” I mean, that’s not even a possible hypothetical situation.

    P.S. who is Oezil?

    • nzm
      January 26, 2012

      Oezil is how you spell it if you don’t have an umlaut to spell it as Özil.

  14. blitzen
    January 26, 2012

    I’ll have more to say later, but for now: Mourinho actually waited by the referee’s car just so he could insult him??? Classy. In England he would get a sanction for that.

    • Laurentiu88
      January 26, 2012

      how is that left unpunished i have no idea! especially from a recidivist…

      i hope that referees will take note of this behavior; and of RM’s players – maybe they will stop tolerating it?

      • blitzen
        January 26, 2012

        You see that word “Arbitre” there above the cars, Josep? It means “referee”.

        • Josep
          January 26, 2012

          I see what it says, and I’m saying its EMD so…

          But it appears its true and I already forgot the quote for whcih he said.

          Btw we have the same ref for the Villarreal match this weekend.

      • January 26, 2012

        Hahaha that picture is great. What a ref bully Mourinho. I mean WHO DOES THAT? Not a normal man.

        • Megster
          January 26, 2012

          Well, it’s because he is the Special One! LOL.

    • Chiu
      January 26, 2012

      WOW, Mou was just very cheap in accepting defeat.

      • Jafri
        January 26, 2012

        Haha, name one instance where he’s actually been magnanimous.

        • January 26, 2012

          After we beat Inter 2-0 at the Camp Nou in the 09-10 CL group stages.

          • Chiu
            January 26, 2012

            I don’t understand why coach with Mou caliber acting childish as such. I consider he’s not mature enough in controlling his obsessive feeling to beat Barca. This obsession has caused “blind hearted” and inability to accept defeat graciously. Finding ways to complain and moaning about everything that sounds silly to provide evidence he always deserved to win against us, just because lots of reasons he couldn’t. Mature person usually could interpret a situation clearly; have perspective from both sides of coin and analyse the thing open-mindedly. He just faking doesn’t remember he could lose this tie from the same officiating basis (referee punish Pepe and Coentrao for their unsportsman violence, Lass red carded, penalty for Alexis, and so on). He must learn how to act like man. Too pathetic. /end rant

  15. Laurentiu88
    January 26, 2012

    Really smart observation on the significance that can be drawn from the latest game. It does seem that the team came on without sufficient concentration; it was mesmerizing seeing two huge chances in the first two minutes; i hope the right lessons can be drawn from this episode!

    How pathetic was Pepe acting after Messi’s hit? It was really appalling and reveals a sad mindset.

    I wonder how long will Iniesta be out?

    • blitzen
      January 26, 2012

      Iniesta out for 3 weeks. official. 🙁

      • Megster
        January 26, 2012

        Same with Alexis, who’ll be out for 1-2 weeks.

  16. January 26, 2012

    3 weeks for Iniesta, 1-2 for Sanchez. Time for others to step up.

  17. January 26, 2012

    The opponent inflated the importance of this match. It was a quarterfinal in a tertiary competition. Did the players realize this, deep down, which contributed to some of the poor quality? We’ll never know, because they will never say, but it’s a simple thing, really:

    Uncharacteristically poor passing by us led to chances for them, all of which were not capitalized upon. They played a very good match, in part because we passed so poorly. Between that, and the Abidal “What do I do with this squid” complexities, stuff happens. And that’s football.

    • January 26, 2012

      “The opponent inflated the importance of this match.” they tied the best team in History, Espanyol also celebrated their tie accordingly.

  18. Calvin
    January 26, 2012

    The Jersey Shore analogy of this matchup would be Ronnie and the Situation fighting over Snookie. Neither of them really care all that much about the prize, they are only concerned with getting one over the other person.

    • Jafri
      January 26, 2012

      And Sergio Ramos dropped Snooki under the bus last year.

  19. MiZa
    January 26, 2012

    Someone, somewhere, made a comment that Madrid’s 4-4-2 was not unlike Man U’s tactics in the Champions League final.

    A final that we absolutely dominated, after an initial period of shakiness from the pressure, of course.

    I think if Madrid play the same way again, we’re going to annihilate them.

    First of all, because we will dominate possession better next time. Second of all, because their players really should’ve been sent off–and that’s going to happen in the Champions League in a way that wouldn’t happen with these intimidated Spanish referees.

  20. messifan
    January 26, 2012

    OT: Wow! Messi in on the cover of Time Magazine. Huge! Maybe SI cover next??
    Haven’t seen the match yet but I guess we didn’t play so well.
    The aftermath of this match is crazy. I’m glad that Barca are not involved with the war of words. RM can do whatever they want, but I know sensible people will see them through their viciousness. So unprofessional! To quote something on the radio this morning: “Don’t hate, just congratulate!”

  21. flyzowee
    January 26, 2012

    Im I the only one worried about all this talk about Cesc learning to be patient and slower and less direct etc?

    I mean, I really enjoy that part of his game. He is not a particularly great dribbler so easing up on his direct play i feel has the danger of just reducing him to a more advanced facilitator of play which is a waste considering that he is playing ahead of busi, xavi, Ini and sometimes even Messi.

    The only thing I think he should be improving on IMO is how to position himself in pockets of space to avoid getting lost during general gameplay.

    His workrate on the other hand has admittedly been fantastic.

    • Jafri
      January 26, 2012

      It’s more about the balance I’d say. He needs to work on keeping possession when it’s required, while being able to be direct when needed. Really difficult what we’ve asked of him, but it’s Cesc. Full faith in him getting it right 🙂

  22. January 26, 2012


    RT @barcastuff Teixeira Vitienes (ref, to Pepe during game): “Please stop diving, act like a professional.” [via cuatro]

  23. jclemmons
    January 26, 2012

    Look at how many comments around the web are quick to point out that Guardiola is slipping, that Madrid, who had been handily beaten in the previous two Clasicos, has suddenly “found its touch.” Based on what? An inspired second-half performance? A change of formation that Guardiola will not be able to scheme for in future games? I’ve been around this fixture way too long to know that individual performances, no matter how impressive, never trump patterns and overall trends.

    Sure, let’s give credit where credit is due: Madrid played outstanding. Had they been more clinical with their finishing, they might have progressed. But can’t the same be said for Barcelona in the first leg? Regardless, Mourinho is still in a tight spot. Think of it this way: he’s asking his team to try a litany of tactics and playing styles that are so different from one another (high block; low block; 4-3-3; 4-4-2; 4-2-3-1) and which requires an incredible degree of flexibility from his players. That’s taxing.

    As discussed on here before, this is much easier for a team like Barcelona. They play a multitude of formations but rarely change their playing style. They have specific attributes that differ from formation to formation (Sanchez playing as a striker, for example), but they rarely change HOW the play. As such, they constantly reinforce their talent. Mourinho, on the other hand, is asking somewhat of the opposite. He’s having moderate success with a variety of formations (at Inter against Barcelona it was a low block — solved; at Madrid in ‘11 it was the 4-2-3-1 — solved; then the 4-3-3 — solved) but eventually these are planned for, unlocked, and discarded. One game’s minor success is another game’s foil. We’ve seen this before, haven’t we?

    At best, I think within the current parameters of the Real Madrid team the best way forward is to play Barcelona in “phases.” Perhaps even to do what Guardiola did in the December fixture: disguise your formation, play flexible midfielders/forwards, and play the game in a series of “minor games,” attempting to either win 2/3 or win one of those phases so handily that the other two can be barely lost. Again, this is difficult because you’re asking your team to constantly play away from it’s “hub,” away from the way it probably does in 98% of the league fixtures…but it’s probably the only way to beat this Barcelona team, which is indeed the best ever.

  24. Josep
    January 26, 2012

    We have the same ref at the weekend for Villarreal’s match. Great.

    Time for JDS to step up in midfield as more of a rotation role, Adriano to get some time at LW, Cuenca more time, and Rafinha to see some time? Maybe? Very versatile..

  25. adopted cule
    January 26, 2012

    The main point of the prologue is well taken: that this game represents Madrid playing near the top of their range and Barcelona playing near the bottom of their range. This probably occurred because this game was not played in isolation. The scoreline to open the game was essentially 3-1 and Barcelona showed all the focus and precision of a team that probably felt the tie was already won.

    There is a popular misconception that because a team is effective in pressing Barcelona, coupled with Barcelona having an off day, this somehow translates into the other team ‘dominating’ Barcelona. Despite some very poor passing and movement in the face of a great Madrid press, Barcelona was still far the better team on the day. One of the reasons that people conclude that Madrid was dominant for stretches of this game is the fact that they created so many scoring chances off of their press. A lot of what ifs pop up with regard to those chances: What if Higuain scores in the first 15 seconds? What if they convert the scintillating free kick from Alonso? Basically, the what ifs boil down to Madrid not finishing very well.

    However, the what ifs are not a one way street. Despite the disparity of chances created in the first half, the two teams differing styles of play create completely different sets of what ifs and a seemingly lopsided difference in goal scoring chances, yet when watched with a more discerning eye, it is clear that Barcelona was on the verge of routing Madrid in this game if not for a plethora of poor final passes that would have sprung players on goal. Barcelona, while having trouble moving the ball up from defense, still could have punished Madrid repeatedly when they did get the ball into the gaping interior space had their final pass been more accurate on the day.

    What also seems to be forgotten in the conclusion that Madrid somehow get a moral victory out of this and that they ‘outplayed’ Barcelona in this game is that Madrid are still heavily relying on the darker arts of football just to try to scratch and claw their way into contention. If the referee had done his job and sent off the players deserving of being sent off, then we wouldn’t have been biting our nails at the end of this one. Why players are only given yellow when bringing down Messi from behind with only one player to beat is a mystery. What Madrid does, far too often, is outright cheating and they are allowed to get away with it.

    To conclude from a 2-2 scoreline in which they created many chances that Madrid are somehow playing anywhere near the same quality of football as Barcelona is a mistake we should really too smart to make. Madrid is still a world away from being on equal footing with this fantastic Barcelona team.

  26. Barcathegreatestever
    January 26, 2012

    Madrid put one of their very best efforts yesterday, which made for a very exciting game. By de facto, if they play at the top of their potential, we will have less success, not because we are playing badly. Even then, they took huge risks defensively which we were unable to capitalize on. On another day they are sliced to pieces, and down to 9 men. Barcas left flank has given up goals to strong counter attacking teams for years, not new because of Ozil. Arsenal, Inter Di Maria, now Ozil have had success there. Still at 4-1 aggregate Barca was afforded a lesson for free. I think its fine for Pep to take the noble road with the refs. It can backfire and often doesn’t do any good and its a dirty job. But someone has to do it. If not Rosell someone high up. Barca could have lost more than a trophy yesterday, they could have lost a season or more. Madrid is showing the league how to get away with playing dirty. It is all out war and Barcas management are whistling in the dark. The players deserve our undying support and they are being butchered in front our eyes and no one is doing anything about it.

  27. kinukinu
    January 26, 2012

    Magisterial review Euler!

    If you’ll please indulge a few amateur observations, I’d like to know your thoughts:

    Barca’s possession game has generally been defined by passing, off the ball movement, and regaining possession by pressing in numbers. This season, I’ve noticed a distinct lack of emphasis on the third element.

    Barca have been criticised for being less accurate in their passing this season–yet the possession stats have not gone down as much as this would suggest. Yes, the passes are not as sharp as in the past, but I think there is also an increased perception of less accuracy, because of what happens when Barca give up possession this season. Last season every turnover was followed by an immediate and aggressive campaign in the opponent’s half to get the ball back. This season, I’ve noticed more and more that as soon as the ball is given away, there is more of a tendency of the entire team to retreat to prepare for a counter-attack. Inevitably, this puts them on the back foot and allows more dangerous situations in our half than before. I remember so many moments in matches last season where we briefly gave up possession, but the opposing team was lucky if they could string two passes together before we got the ball back. I remember feeling sorry for the opposing teams, who just weren’t given a chance to build any sort of attack. This season, it seems to happen a lot less. In fact, I find myself feeling panicked the second we turn the ball over because it almost always results in a break.

    Why do you think this is happening? I understand the need to diversify attacking style and mix in occasional direct attacks from the likes of Cesc and Alexis. But it seems there is too much of a departure from the trademark style that makes Barca truly impenetrable in the long run. Also, the departures from the norm take up so much energy for such short shelf-life–the element of surprise is so short-lived. The long balls over the top to Cesc in the beginning of the season worked two or three times before opponents started catching on and preventing it. It seems a lot more energy has been placed on developing tricks and plays (like Puyol’s set piece goal in the first leg of the Clasico) which only work a few times before you have to come up with a new one.

    I get that the team has to evolve in order to keep opponents guessing, but too much of a departure also seems to take Barcelona away from using their greatest strengths.

    Am I way off?

    • January 27, 2012

      This is a very interesting point. I really believe its who Barca presses which forms the foundation for their game. Or rather there is a intimate connection between the pressure defense and possession. You can’t really have one without the other.

      I think you are on to something here. The press is working differently in certain ways. Though I don’t think it’s just that they are trying to win the ball back high up the pitch.

      Much of what you’re seeing is influenced by the team playing new, even more fluid set of formations.

      For example, playing 3 at the back has definitely changed the way the team presses because the distribution of players on the pitch is different. The backline plays somewhat more cautiously for example. Before for instance, with a 2 CB pairing one CB could step up to pressure the ball while the other stayed deeper to cover. That’s more difficult with 3 at the back.

      3 at the back also puts more pressure on Busquets to have to read the game and drop deep to cover. So he also has a different role. Review Santa Cruz’s goal in the Betis match for example.

      The full backs are also in different positions now. And the team is still trying to fit new players in with Alexis and Cesc.

      Barca has essentially not played with two of their key pressing players from last season – villa and pedro. Coupled with the change in the way the backline operates and the full backs in particular – how Barca presses in wide areas has changed significantly.

      The injuries have changed the nature of the press. Different players are on the pitch from game to game breaking up continuity.

      A coordinated press is extremely complicated. Its very hard to do. If you watch the B team one of the things you’ll notice is that their pressing isn’t nearly as good as the first teams. I point that out not to criticize the younger players – just to suggest how difficult it is. And that’s something the new players have to figure out. And given the changes in formation its also something the established players need to adjust to.

  28. Jafri
    January 26, 2012

    Great review Euler. Pep really needs to read the bit about Oezil you’ve written.

    Full credit to Real for putting up a fight, but they weren’t able to get past us when we were in sleepwalking mode. Missed chances and contentious decisions and luck aside, it says a lot that we still managed to hold on, without even changing our formation (Pep could have had five at the back but when Masch subbed on, Dani went up the pitch).

    I don’t understand the hype before every Clasico regarding Madrid and their perceived progress; hype that’s almost always forgotten after the match. I can remember confident predictions that Madrid were going to win back in November 2010. People said that it was a Mourinho team, they even had a long run of unbeaten matches then and were first in the league. What happened then? 5-0. And the post game analysis became ‘oh they simply weren’t good enough’

    They won the Copa finals last year and there were articles everywhere saying Mourinho had the measure of Barcelona. That Madrid were going to beat us in the Champion’s League, that our tiki taka had been ‘figured out’. That the gap was closing… We won the first 2-0, allowing us to cruise through the second. Madrid were knocked out and the press said oh didn’t you know? Barcelona were always superior.

    The Supercup. Madrid were supposed to have a great preseason. Barcelona a horrible one. THIS, it was said, was when Mourinho showed us that we were number two. His second season. Where he always wins. Madrid in phenomenal form. The gap, closing. They came out all guns blazing. It was close but we still prevailed.

    Then they went on a record tying winning streak in La Liga and we were predicted to be blown away in the December Clasico. Mourinho had figured us out, it was said. The gap was closing. Madrid was way superior in pace, form, athleticism. We were going down hard, it was said. But we showed once again that we could win. Not only that, but that we could dominate them.

    We were good last week. Fairly abject this week. But we got past them. But because we took our foot off the pedal this match is being viewed as the one where we’ve been caught out. That Madrid matched us blow for blow, even had the measure of us. That next time we meet, they’ll have us figured out. That they’ll beat us.

    Sound familiar?

    Like Euler said, it’s a continuum of matches; a series where you need to observe the trend rather than get lost in the specifics. But the thing that stands out for me is this: They’ve tried to beat us. They’ve tried pressing high. They’ve tried dropping deep. They’ve tried every formation under the Sun. And yet they haven’t beaten us in normal time even once. Every match has been hyped up to be a clash for the ages in which they show us our place.

    We were miserable this week. But the fact remains that they couldn’t get past us when we played one of the worst matches we’ve ever played under Guardiola.

    The next Clasico will be slated to be the closest one yet. People will say that the gap is closing. That Mourinho will beat us this time. That we’ve been figured out.

    And you know what we’ll do?

    We’ll go out there and show the world that we know how to play. That we know how to win. That regardless of what anyone says, when the mood takes us, we can dominate every single team out there.

    Because that’s what Champions do.

  29. justsayin
    January 26, 2012

    First off, I don’t think Madrid played a great game as has been suggested. I think if you have to commit the high number of fouls on Barca to have a chance of winning the game, we are giving Madrid too much credit. Their game is about destroying play. This is neither great nor legal, at times.
    Secondly, I think our main issue besides being tired and not up for this game as much as RM, is that the link up between our advancing midfield and our forwards was missing. The reason for the long balls were twofold; first because there was a big gap between the midfielders (Cesc, Xavi) and the forward – Alexis. And secondly, because when Barca is having a poor passing game and RM is pressing, we are forced to give up our tiki-taka game for a more chaotic, long ball game.
    Barca did what they had to do but 5 more minutes and it might of been a different result. RM really wanted this game and played for pride (using dirty tactics), Barca came in with home field advantage and an away win, and they hadn’t lost to RM in the last 6 games. All I can say is that you could really tell.

  30. January 26, 2012

    By the way, check out @youngcules on twitter. Just posted another set of possible kits for next season. They are pretty darn awesome! Pretty please let these be the real deal.

    Love the black away kit. Looks a lot like the Catalan NT shirt.

    • blitzen
      January 26, 2012

      Those are “fantasy” kits. Someone made them up because they didn’t like the Nike designs.

      • January 26, 2012

        Crap. These are so much better than the supposed real ones. Sigh. Would have definitely ordered the home and black away.

        • January 26, 2012

          way Better!! Here is link:


  31. Lev
    January 26, 2012

    The general consensus seems to be that we took the foot off the peddle in the 2nd half, but ummmm we never put the foot on it.

    This might come out to bite us in our blaugrana backsides later on. After very, very, very luckily being up 2-0 we should have killed them in the 2nd half. After a week in which M*drid was on the road to implosion it would have provided the external pressure to make their cooker go BOOM. Mourinho might very well have been fired had we not let them back in. More importantly, they would have zero, well ok, zero point five, confidence for our next encounters. I do believe we will meet in the CL, which to me this season is more important than the league. A lot of people still think the great Milan side of Sacchi is better than the current Barcelona team because of their back to back CL titles but they forget that they lost the league one of those seasons.

    Also, I agree with above sentiments that it is a disgrace that time upon time Mourinho’s M*drid is allowed to kick our players off of the park. I am getting fed up with M*dridistas complaining about the ref afterwards. I for one watched the game with a M*dridista who at least had the decency to count 3 yellow cards for Ramos…before he got the ridiculous one that got him expelled!
    However, however, however…Most of the first 35 minutes of the game the ref made no mistakes…and M*drid played us off the park (minus the goal). We kinda sucked last night! Big time!

  32. K_legit in Oz
    January 26, 2012

    Haha the camp nou crowd is awesome..apparently at parts in the game they were singing, “Nosotros te queremos, Mourinho, Quédate!” 😀

    • Lev
      January 26, 2012

      yeah well that would have been awesome were it not for the comeback

  33. January 26, 2012

    Great comments on here. Well done, BFB readers! It’s what makes this site awesome. Proud. :mrgreen:

  34. providence
    January 26, 2012

    hi its been a longtym, hw is everybody?

  35. providence
    January 26, 2012

    did any one notice the rating Goal.com gave to Busquets after d game? 5.0 with the explanation dat he lost too many ball.but busi didnt loose too many,ive followed their post match analysis for a longtime and anytime they give busi lower ratings which pains me

    • Ryan
      January 26, 2012

      Busi, to some people, will never recover the damage done to his reputation after the Inter and EE semi-finals theatrics. Shoot, on the podcast The Football Ramble, they were saying that Pepe and Busquets were equally bad in the Copa matches!

      At least we know his great worth to the team (and luckily Pep and Del Bosque do too!)

  36. zashaw
    January 26, 2012

    Euler, thanks for another excellent and illuminating review of the match. I did notice that Oezil (thanks for spelling it correctly, btw) seemed to have much more of an impact, but now I have a better idea why.

    One thing: my understanding of the game is far less than yours, but I was impressed with Thiago in this game. Somehow, he was usually in the right place all over the pitch breaking up Madrid attacks, and helping Barca to settle. I had wondered if there was some tactic that led to this, or if he was just reading plays well — or if my take on his performance is more optimism than reality.

    Also, your consideration of statistics makes me think you might know something I’ve wondered about. I often look at betting sites (like bet365.com) to see what odds they give, but I’m not clear how they come up with the odds. I kind of feel they’re relatively objective estimates of probabilities, because the goal is to make money, but it kind of depends on how the odds are derived.

    Option 1: They have experts who figure out how likely each outcome is, and come up with odds that reflect their estimate of the probabilities.

    Option 2: Alternately, do they just start out at 1:1 odds, and adjust the odds as people place bets, using the odds to balance out bets.

    For example, suppose Zaragoza plays Barca and for some reason 100 people bet on Zaragoza, while only 1 bets on Barca winning. Do they simply stick with say 1:20 odds for Barca winning because they’ve calculated that that’s likely and there’s probably a bunch of wacky betters (Option 1), or do they go with 100:1 odds for Barca to balance their payouts, since 100 people bet on Zaragoza.
    (It’s a bit more complicated in reality, since people make bets at fixed odds, but hopefully this gives the idea. There’s also a hybrid option where they start out with their best guess like Option 1, but then start modifying the odds as soon as people start betting like in Option 2.)

    Anyone know what the bookies do?

    • January 27, 2012

      I thought Thiago played well given the circumstances. That is just about as hard a match as there is for a substitute to try to enter and get integrated into, especially for a young player.

      The match was so intense, so fast paced – to come in cold off the bench is just really hard to do.

      He’s really become and excellent defender. Outstanding. His reading of the game is also terrific. I think he’s learning how to use his understanding of attack to make himself a better reader of the game when he’s defending.

      The issue about the betting odds. This is a bit complicated but here goes.

      The odds you see on betting sites depend on only one thing – making sure there’s equal wagering going on on both sides of the bet. That’s all the odds are designed to do.

      The use of statistics in gambling is strange. Those odds really aren’t designed to reflect how “good” either team is or their probability of winning. That’s the main thing you have to keep in mind.

      Those odds are developed to make sure that half the people wagering bet on one side and the other half bets on the other side. That’s it. If that happens the gambling house is basically guaranteed of making money. The only way they can lose money is if there isn’t equal action on both sides of the wager. If that happens – that’s when they can lose money – potentially a lot of money.

      The odds or the “money line” is exclusively set up to prevent that kind of imbalance from taking place.

      So what the odds makers are really doing is trying to estimate psychology. At what level should I set the odds so that I’ll get equal action? What odds do I need to set in order to get half the money wagered on one side half on the other?

      For example, let’s say a very popular team is playing a less popular team. Let’s say the less popular team is actually better than the more popular team. For example, in the EPL let’s say Spurs are playing Liverpool.

      Many people will bet on Liverpool just because they support them or because they’ve heard of them or because they have a perception of them.

      At the same time, Spurs are the better side this year.

      So what the odds makers will do is to set the line so that there’s a balance of these factors and half will bet for each side.

      The odds are about perception first and foremost.

      As long the money flows half-half the gambling sites will make money.

  37. Lev
    January 26, 2012

    Could somebody please explain to me why the correct spelling for Özil is Oezil?

    As for as I know the “oe” combination does not exist in Turkish. Or German for that matter.

    And the pronunciation of “ö” does not exist in the English language. So who came up with Oezil?

    • Helge
      January 26, 2012

      No, the correct spelling of his name, in Turkish, is Mesut Özil.

      But it’s easier to write Oezil, I often write Barca although I know the correct spelling is Barça. In the past, the umlaut ö was written as an o with a small e above it. The ‘e’ was than replaced with a horizontal double point. But oe is pretty much equivalent to ö.
      Correct form is Özil, but you don’t do much wrong when calling him Oezil (unlike writing Barca instead of Barça…).

      • kinukinu
        January 26, 2012

        He may be a German footballer, but his name is Turkish. And in Turkey, we don’t use alternate spellings to reflect phonetic pronunciation. So, to a Turk, the correct spelling would always be Ozil.

        (Germans may use “oe” to indicate the umlaut, but Turks don’t)

      • K_legit in Oz
        January 26, 2012

        Then it would be better to write “Barsa” no?
        Also TIL the keyboard shortcut for the ce-trancada is press alt and type 135 on the number pad

        • kinukinu
          January 26, 2012

          Exactly–by that logic it would be a Clasico played by Barsa vs Reeyal Madreed in Camp Noo.

          Our squad would be Peento, Abeedoll, Pooyol, Peeckay, Alvez, Javee, Eenie-esta, Booskets, Sesk, Messy, and Sanchez.

          Theirs would be Casiyas, Cowentra-oh, Ramos, Pepay, Arbelowa, Loss, Jobby Alonso; Cry Baby, Cawcaw, Oezil, and EEgwayeen.

          • K_legit in Oz
            January 26, 2012

            I suggest that this is the way everyone in the world types!
            Like right now!

          • BarcaOwl
            January 26, 2012

            *cracks up* Oh, I can just hear some commentators pronouncing the names just like that.

          • blitzen
            January 27, 2012

            “Jobby Alonso” 😆

            Also, I have to admit when I see Kaka’s name, in my head I hear it like the cry of a crow: Caw CAW! Caw CAW!

          • Barcaleya
            January 27, 2012

            Hahaha! This is funny. I like it.

            We can all start writing their names this way :p

    • K_legit in Oz
      January 26, 2012

      Its in the pronounciation..the umlaut on the o gives it a ‘oe’ kind of sound..(Thanks german language class :D)

  38. January 26, 2012

    Wow, you guys are on fire! great comments!
    this is why I consider this blog is the best cules community on the internet.. 8)

    so this is our Hlebbruary schedule with 14 players, (too much Unai Emery in one month) :

    Villarreal v Barcelona (La Liga) Jan 28
    Valencia v Barcelona (CdR) 1 Feb
    Barcelona v Real Sociedad (La Liga) 4 Feb
    Barcelona v Valencia (CdR) 8 Feb
    Osasuna v Barcelona (La Liga) 11 Feb
    Bayer Leverkusen v Barcelona (CL) 14 Feb
    Barcelona v Valencia (La Liga) 19 Feb
    Atlético Madrid v Barcelona (La Liga) 26 Feb

    God, have mercy… 😯

    • Helge
      January 26, 2012

      After seeing this schedule, and knowing about our injuries, our away form, our point deficit towards to EE…
      I hereby proclaim:
      If we win la Liga this season, I’ll consider it as a bigger achievement than any title before. 🙂

      • January 26, 2012

        deficit 5 points, horrible away form, injuries, small squad, tough schedule, inconsistency, and don’t forget we must survive one of the worst refereeing in the world.. brutal..

        I still have high hope for CdR and CL though.. 😉

    • culegirl3
      January 27, 2012

      Wow..and I had thought that was some absurd joke when I first heard about it. Not only does Mou wait by the ref’s car ready to spew insults but now that club goes and does this. So now every time a referee doesn’t make calls in their favor they’re going to stamp their feet, and throw hissy fits like a bunch of toddlers so that the officials who don’t fall into their bullying tactics can’t officiate anymore of their games. I don’t think there are words to describe how incredibly pathetic that is..no matter how much of a crappy ref this guy was.

  39. simple_barcafan
    January 26, 2012

    Florez (judge ESP federation): “Pepe not punished? If they’d have amputed two of Messi’s fingers, the committee might have intervened” [ona]
    well i neva..

      • barca96
        January 26, 2012

        My Enlish comprehension is below average at best. What did the guy meant?
        That something like that (Messi amputated his fingers) for the FA to take action?

    • nzm
      January 27, 2012

      That’s gold! 😀

      About 6 months ago, I bookmarked the original video and I watch it often. I hope that those kids’ values never change, and that they on and do great things.

  40. Anonymous_69
    January 26, 2012

    With so many forwards out, Pep insisting on playing a 9 ahead of Messi, and Pique being so inconsistent at CB, I think it’s as good a time as any to try Pique out at CF. Either that or in a box-to-box position. Almost every single time Pique ventures forward, we get a good chance.

    A Thiago/Pedro-Pique-Messi forward line can be great for now. It will allow Mascherano the chance to start more at CB, where he is currently playing at a much higher level than Pique. Pep is insisting on playing a central attacker to push the opponents’ CBs back.

    However, when Pique does go forward and create danger, it is usually a result of running in from a deep position. So that’s why I think a box-to-box role will suit him well too. Both ways will have good impacts.

    Pique at CF means we have someone who can hold the ball high up the field. This is especially important now as teams are starting to pressure us higher. Normally we can get passes this with super quick circulation. But with the squad getting thinner and form becoming much more inconsistent, this isn’t working as much. A long ball for our CF to bring down and hold is just as effective and can save us a big amount of energy.

    Pique playing box-to-box will probably provide a stronger attack. Pique breaking into the attack creates danger almost every time. Him playing in a position where he can do it consistently throughout a game can be amazing. Besides obviously providing more defensive stability, having this type of midfielder goes a VERY long way into breaking a team’s defensive shape.

    Really, at least just once, I want to see a Sanchez-Pique-Messi forward line this season. Pique occupying the fullbacks means one of Messi or Sanchez will be left only single-marked by a defender, which can be catastrophic either way considering Sanchez and Messi’s talent to beat their players. Sanchez playing a very direct game and running straight to goal will naturally force the team’s defense to drop deeper. But they will want to stay higher to keep Pique out of the box and kill the aerial threat.

    Whichever they do will directly give Barcelona one advantage or another. Also, Pique at CF will force teams to defend wider to block out crosses, which will open up spaces. To go along with that, I would want Barcelona to play two attacking fullbacks who will go wide and cross. Sanchez and Messi won’t be responsible for creating width and can cut inside. Playing two attacking fullbacks won’t work against a stronger team unless we play a double pivot, which will mean dropping Iniesta or Xavi. I would like to see it against a weaker team thought:


    • barca96
      January 26, 2012

      I would love that too!
      Whenever Pique goes up, chaos follows.
      But sadly, most of the times, they ignored him and then he uncomfortably jogs back.

  41. blitzen
    January 26, 2012

    Alright. I watched the game again (yes, I am a masochist, why do you ask?). It wasn’t as bad as you think. If I had been a neutral I would have thought that was one of the best games I had seen all season. Except for all the fouling. I have just a few blitzen awards for you:

    Trollhattan Memorial TOTM Award: The referee, obviously. He trolled us all. Special Runner Up Special One Award for Mourinho going out of his way to wait for the ref in the parking lot just so he could insult him. (I wonder if he stole the ref’s lunch money too?) Good try, Mou, but we’re still not letting you past the city gates!

    Why You Never Listen To Me? Award: Before the game I tweeted Cesc, Pique and Puyol and asked them to make Iniesta play in of these kits: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIl45f6i1PU Did they listen, NOOOOO! And look what happened!

    Who’s Got Swagga? Award: Pinto gets a lot of stick around here. We all know he is nowhere near Victor Valdes’ level. But this game showed that he is still a very good keeper as well as being an asset to the dressing room. He made several really key saves when it counted and is my joint MOTM along with Messi. #WMelimperio!

    Skeleton Staff Award: Maxwell, come back! You can have minutes, lots of lovely minutes! Soriano, we’re sorry we snubbed you. Come back and be promoted! We need you! Umm…Hleb? You, um…doing anything right now? Maybe we could…hang out?

    Sound And Fury Award: I have to hand it to Iker Casillas. He did exactly what a captain is supposed to do–protect his player. When he charged the referee after Lass Diarra’s dangerous foul on Messi, he made such a fuss that he successfully deflected the ref’s attention from Lass and took a card himself for dissent. He tried to make it look like he was breaking up a fight, but actually he was shoving Barça players away from the ref to stop them from demanding Lass be sent off. Well done.

    Kiss Of Judas Award:Sergio Ramos, whose pregame smooching ritual included not only members of his own team, but Barça players as well, including a very unenthusiastic Busquets. Someone must have slipped him some pieces of silver before his cowardly attempt to get Messi booked by taking a free kick early from the wrong spot and shooting it onto Messi’s boot. And they accuse Barça players of gamesmanship? Luckily that was one call the ref got right.

    Messi Is Not A Chair Award: And he’s not a frisbee, either, Lass, so quit throwing him around! I honestly don’t know how Messi has escaped a major injury this year.

    Heart In My Mouth Award: That moment when Andres sat down on the pitch and gestured for the medical staff to come for him. He looked devastated. You knew it was serious because no one was near him at the time. Until the ROUS decided to stick his nose in with his hands on hips and a “what are you whining about NOW?” expression on his face. SMH.

    Oh, and who knew Kaka was still a good player? Best game I have seen from him in a long time (injuries aside). He can have a Participaction Award. (Canadian content FTW!)

    • Chiu
      January 26, 2012

      Messi escaping injury is miracle blitz. If someone could make video compilation on all tackles he got, that would be one of the best rugby video 🙂 What amaze me also, he was emotionally stable and not reacting excessively everytime he was fouled.

  42. 505
    January 27, 2012

    the more i think about how full our schedule is, the more i’m convinced that i’d rather not see our boys with the spanish nt. there’s so many of them called up at any one time, and it makes them tired and more prone to injuries… and for what? to play for a captain who treats them like crap when they go back to their clubs? sometimes i wish puyi or xavi would just put their foot down and tell iker, no, what you’re doing to us is not ok. it really irks me that they’re all okay after. it’s the professional thing to do, and i’m proud that our boys are always diplomatic, but still. i’d like them to have a “puto amo” moment and just say enough is enough. let’s face it, the seleccion would be rubbish without the barca boys.

    what irks me even more is why there’s no reaction from the other teams. how come they can get all up in arms about the tv schedule, but not about how badly rm is manipulating the sport and how crappy the rfef is? do they not realize they’re all affected? and the refs, geez. why allow your profession to be maligned week in and week out? i’m tempted to write to them and encourage a full-on boycott. no ref for rm, no match for rm, right?

    anyway. sorry for the rant. it may just be my knee-jerk reaction to the game. i’ve watched many clasicos before, but i don’t remember the intensity of it being this tangible before. i remember the likes of ronaldo (the real ronaldo) and figo losing 3-0 at the camp nou — but losing gracefully and with dignity. now that seems like a distant possibility. ever since mourinho arrived, he’s had a terrible influence on the game. suddenly “morbo” seems like too weak a word to describe how things are.

    • January 27, 2012

      Yeah sometimes I whish that too. And what Ramos said about Busi theatrics is NASTY and clearly shows that between r.madrid and spanish national team he is choosing the first. Busi DID NOT do theatrics on Ramos elbow hit, he got up in like 10 secs unlike Ramos compatriot who took an even lesser hit by Pique and stayed down for like 1 minute. Not only that but Ramos even says on his twitter that he didn’t touch Busi?? Thats beyond ridiculous because an elbow DEFINETLY hit Busi in the face http://www.tubechop.com/watch/267581
      don’t think it was a yellow card but many others were and they didn’t get them.
      To conclude Busi is still 23 years old and I think that this year he has already improved greatly his on pitch behavior and he very rarely over reacts now…Can Ramos say the same about his teamates?can he say the same about Pepe who is becoming worse by the age?

      • 505
        January 27, 2012

        yeah i was totally pissed about ramos too… to think he had me fooled with his “respecto al arbitro” line… shouldve expected that he’d follow it up with the usual nonsense, fanning the flames…wouldn’t want to be del bosque now 🙁

        i often wonder how our new signings must feel when they’re thrust into this mess. last year, villa, masche, adriano and ibi didn’t seem too affected. i guess villa and adriano were used to it already. but this year, alexis and cesc seem much less willing to just take all the abuse in stride. their tempers flare on the pitch, and i get the impression they’re not going to turn the other cheek. which makes me happy in a way, knowing that there’s that kind of balance in the squad

  43. K_legit in Oz
    January 27, 2012

    Wow..just wow

    Mourinho’s spokesperson – “What’s changed since he [Dani Alves] came to Spain. He’s undergone surgery on his ears, they’ve become smaller. And he’s wearing glasses like an intellectual. However, a donkey with small ears and glasses is not all of a sudden a doctor, he’s still a donkey,” Parames said on Twitter.

    “I’ve already said it before. When Barcelona play well, they’re winning. If their opponents play better than them, the referee will help them to win.”

    Parames than went on to reveal what Jose Mourinho said to referee Teixeira Vitienes in the parking area after Wednesday’s game.

    “You have no respect for professionals. You’re going to smoke a cigar now and have a good laugh, you b*****d,” Mourinho said, according to his spokesman.

    • K_legit in Oz
      January 27, 2012

      And here I put my 2 cents..
      ‘Mourinho, you are a cunt. Not only have you tried to question the upbringing of a guy like Alves who grew up in poverty and only with his ability to play has made it so far but you are also insulting his appearance?
      I love it when we beat you and will continue to beat you because cunts like you deserved to get spanked again and again and again..
      You will end up where you deserved to end..An afterthought, an also-ran, a deleted file in the recycle bin of football history.
      You are ruining the game I love with your macchiavellian attitude, your callous disregard for decent human behaviour and you total lack of respect for anything sacrosanct. Your idolatry will lead you to self-destruction and I hope you unravel. Then finally the world will see you as you are. You are the psychotic girlfriend that got dumped and in the desperation to win your once paramour back you will strip yourself down and douse everyone and anyone around you in flames. You, and your enormous ego have convinced you that you not coaching Barça is somehow a loss for us, as if it is!
      I have zero respect for you, a indiscriminate waste of protoplasm”

      • K_legit in Oz
        January 27, 2012

        *you through your representatives*

      • K_legit in Oz
        January 27, 2012

        Dani Alves ( response to Mourinho’s spokesman’s ) : “It’s true I come from a poor background, but my heart is noble, that’s how God made me!!”

        I love this guy..a true professional and one hell of a footballer!

        • zitux
          January 27, 2012

          visca Dani!
          always simple word from heart is. the best!

      • January 27, 2012

        Wow K_legit!10000+
        Thanks for putting all this rage and disgust I’m feeling these last two days into words!
        This guy is messing with my psyche…I cannot even laugh about it anymore, its not funny, its not amusing…Its utterly disturbing, a demented mind finding demented followers…
        I just cannot and will not ever accept this type of behavior by any human being…unless they’re undergoing therapy

        “…You are ruining the game I love with your macchiavellian attitude, your callous disregard for decent human behaviour and you total lack of respect for anything sacrosanct…”

        K_legit for me you just turned K_legend

    • 505
      January 27, 2012

      curious to know what madridistas think of this… then again, after the “mou, your finger shows us the way” thing, i dont want to find out 🙁

      but kudos to dani for such a dignified response

      kind of disappointed that the other guys haven’t tweeted anything in support… being called a donkey shouldn’t be taken lightly

      • January 27, 2012

        I’m sure his teammates gave him the greatest support..
        they can do it privately, no need to join the twitter war.. 🙂

        • 505
          January 27, 2012

          yeah i know you’re right… these days it’s just so hard to figure out where to draw the line 🙁

        • zitux
          January 27, 2012

          is Mou also say Rijjkard has conpiration with referee when that man (who say himself special) coaching Chelsea?

          if yes, that man (who say himself special) is never change, constant (not football) tactic

    • blitzen
      January 27, 2012

      It seems that coward has now deleted his account, at least I couldn’t find it. Can anyone confirm?

      • January 27, 2012

        no, it’s @realeladio

        I can’t even find a word to describe how I feel about Mou.. this human is so digusting.. oh, wait, he’s not even good enough to be called “human”..

      • K_legit in Oz
        January 27, 2012


        como esta diferente daniel alves desde que chegou a espanha. Foi operado as orelhas, que estao mais pequenas,usa oculos de intelectual…
        mas um burro mesmo de orelhas pequenas e de oculos nao passa a ser um doutor, continua a ser um burro!

  44. Nav
    January 27, 2012

    Looks like Madrid is now outwardly run by a bunch of twats. Hope the fans are appreciating this.

    • January 27, 2012

      oh, I think they are.. thanks to Mourinho now every referee in Spain will be afraid to make a call against Madrid, beacuse they could lose their job.. great job, RFEF..

      • Laurentiu88
        January 27, 2012

        i am curious how will referees respond to the fact that they have in JM a guy who follows them out of the stadium…

    • January 27, 2012

      Please don’t use that kind of language here. I understand you’re upset Nav but we take the culture of the site seriously.

      How we communicate is critical to making sure this site remains what it is.

  45. Laurentiu88
    January 27, 2012

    Franco’s team at their best…

    What is happening is simply unbelievable. I am sure nothing will be done to reign in such behavior. Looks like Franco’s team is back to their true origins. They do have an identity!

    I guess this is a tactical choice from JM, seek to unite the team again – they are under attack from the referees, from Unicef and so on…

  46. Lev
    January 27, 2012

    Mourinho is a cancer that has spread to most of his players. Unfortunately it seems that EE is a long way from chemotherapy.

  47. zitux
    January 27, 2012

    whatever Barca hater say , Mou and Madrid doing

    Barca will still play total football to entertaint football fan

    a team with classic total football phylosophy want to play fotball with thropy

    a team want thropy with everything altough it is dirty tackle , big mouth etc

    football will win
    anti football will lose
    because this is football
    not kungfu

    Visca Barca!
    som hi Barca!
    Visca Barca!

  48. Srini
    January 27, 2012

    It is indeed disappointing and ugly as to what Real Madrid under Jose Mourinho is doing outside the field, apart from what they are doing on the field whenever they face Barcelona.

    But I think the best response to all this is to ignore and give up all the indignation and instead appreciate what Barcelona is achieving so far. After all, we have won the Copa tie and have eliminated the title holders.

    I think in the long run and in the longer perspective, Real Madrid’s despicable behavior is only helping shore up the support base for Barcelona, beyond what is already being added to by the Blaugrana’s wizardry on the pitch.

    There is still quite a tall order to overcome for this Barcelona team this season. They have a very difficult schedule even as their squad has thinned because of injuries; they still have a 5 point (not much but still daunting) lead to overcome; and they have to work hard to retain the Champions League during this difficult phase.

    Trying to engage in the Mourinho inflicted mind games and the dirtiness from Madrid will distract Barcelona from achieving that tall order – which, if achieved could very well cement this squad as among the best ever team assembled and that performed ever in not just football, but all of sport.

    And if indeed Barcelona overcome the likes of Valencia, Bilbao (and perhaps little Mirandes) to win the Copa; erase the 5 point lead by continuing to put away the games that their talent ought to and keep up the pressure on Madrid enough to see them slip which is inevitable in the La Liga; show the versatility and variety to tactically and strategically overcome the disparate teams in the Champions League – that would be the slap on Madrid’s “Mr Hyde and Mr Hyde – under Mourinho” face. And the ultimate thwack on perhaps the most pathetic individual in all sport today – Jose Mourinho.

  49. barca96
    January 27, 2012

    I wonder what the likes of Hierro, Raul, Guti & Zidane thinks about this.
    Because I think even Casillas has been brainwashed.
    I’m not even counting on S. Ramos. That guy is gone.

    • Lev
      January 27, 2012

      Well, Zidane was defending Pepe after he stepped on Messi’s hand, so…

  50. Calvin
    January 27, 2012

    This is completely off topic, but does anyone know of a single source or a group of sources where I can get information on net transfer spending by clubs from the top 3-4 leagues over the past 10 years?

  51. Boamcule
    January 27, 2012

    so when is villareal tie, Sunday or saturday?

  52. Barcaleya
    January 27, 2012

    Can i tweet this realeladio guy and tell him he’s THE donkey. Que burra! is that stooping to his level?!

    i hate these kinds of people…

  53. Salia
    January 27, 2012

    Here is a very stupid comment for you from some idiot on bleacher report who still cant recognise the brilliance that guardiola brings to Barca. It is laughable from first word to last. Completely ignores the Tactical genius of Pep to move messi to False 9, the strikerless formation and not to mention the most obvious tactical adjusment that Pep has made THE 3-4-3

    I have said it before, and here it is again: Guardiola is the most fortunate and OVERRATED coach in the world. He is ZERO when it comes to tactics, which includes transfer needs also.

    At 2-0, in the first 20 minutes of the second half Real were lost. Completely lost in the field. What did Barca do, Xavi and co started to play these meaningless, stupid passing in the midfield just to entertain the crowd instead of going on the killing the match. What did Mourinho do? he did the right subs and he controlled the match until the last minute.

    I hate Mourinho because to me he is a barbarian, he represents every thing disgusting about human beings. But he sure can put some tactics. Guardiola only has Plan A which was already set before he even coaches Barca. A coach that just cannot do a single change to a preset plan is not a coach.

    I am a Barca fan, but here it is: Real will win Liga very easily. And the next time these two teams meet in the Champions League, Real will come up victorious.

    And on top of all this he ‘claims’ he is a barca fan

    • Jafri
      January 27, 2012

      You should see the Real Madrid Football Blog. People over there named stuff like Captain Puyol etc posting things like, oh you guys were so superior, oh you’ll totally win la liga, barca is much worse than real i see now.

      Obvious trolls pretending to be barca fans.

    • G6O
      January 27, 2012

      To be fair, in the first 20 minutes of the second half, Real were indeed completely lost and we indeed weren’t looking to score the third goal the way we should have and instead played passes sideways and back even in situations in which there was more than enough space to build a dangerous attack into.

      I guess we were both tired and afraid that if the score becomes really embarrassing for Real, Real players would have gone really mad and there would have really been serious injuries this time. But fact is we could have killed the game and we didn’t.

  54. kinukinu
    January 27, 2012

    Yay Quenck-uh promoted to the first team!!!

  55. Jafri
    January 27, 2012

    Seriously, can’t some action be taken against Mourinho and his spokesperson. He’s admitted to badmouthing the referee. And to call Dani a donkey. It’s atrocious. Can’t he be sued or sanctioned?

    • kinukinu
      January 27, 2012

      Apparently the Shamans have a different view on the Donkey–I think it describes Dani pretty accurately (even explains the ears 🙂

      From http://www.shamanicjourney.com/article/6136/donkey-power-animal-symbol-of-intelligence-dedication

      “Donkey, Power Animal, Symbol of Intelligence, Dedication

      By Ina Woolcott

      Donkey is symbolic of versatility, intelligence, eager worker, determination, stubbornness, spiritual dedication, undying faith in the creative force, willingness to take onboard the responsibilities and burdens of others (beast of burden)….

      …The donkey is an indefatigable worker and personifies the qualities of determination and service to others. They have a deep dedication to the universe/All That Is. Donkeys are willing to take on the responsibilities and burdens of others….

      …Donkey have big, funnel like ears that can pick up sound a long way off. They know the messages held within each sound, showing us how to listen and awaken our clairvoyant abilities….

      • Jafri
        January 27, 2012

        So do you think Mourinho was referring to Dani’s indomitable spirit and responsible nature or just calling him an ass? Considering Mou’s track record…

        • kinukinu
          January 27, 2012

          Yeah–he was definitely calling him an ass. I was just trying to make lemonade. In grade school, if someone called you a jerk, the clever comeback was:

          A jerk is a tug
          A tug is a boat
          A boat goes on water
          Water is nature
          Nature is beautiful
          Thank you for the compliment!

          In conclusion, one Mou’s Ass is another cule’s “Ruc Catala”


          Dat’s all I’m sayin’

  56. January 27, 2012

    BFB Community,

    Just getting caught up as I got busy with work. Thanks for all of the wonderful, thoughtful comments in this thread. Really insightful posts.

  57. Barcaguy
    January 29, 2012

    Euler, really wonderful analysis, thanks.
    Very little tika in our taka by the end of the game.
    I teach my boys that Barcaball has four elements, total technical command of the ball, situational awareness and a common tactical idea, rapid ball circulation, and constant movement off the ball. In the second half of the second half Barca seemed to have none of these, which is very strange.
    A clue for me that something is going wrong is when the ball is not played back and forth between the same two players. I think this serves to reboot the tactical thinking while keeping the ball moving and players engaged with one another.
    For me the problem this season is often Cesc. I think he was at Arsenal for too long. He’s static alot. He does make great plays, and score key goals, but too often he uncouples the series of chain reactions that is tika taka Barca style.

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