Xanatos Gambit: The Fan Edition

XANATOS!!!!

Going with what Kxevin was saying the previous post, I am temporarily back from obscurity to bring the quality of the site down the site to greater passions….?

Anyway.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while but I never had enough free time to actually go about doing. Do you know about TV tropes? No? That’s okay. You can Google it.

[To save you time, it is a wiki that “catalogs the tricks of the trade for writing fiction” (their words, not mine).]

The inspiration of this post is the absolutely brilliant Xanatos Gambit. Have you watched the cartoon Gargoyles before? No? That’s not okay. Watch it on YouTube or some obscure website that is totally legal and doesn’t have viruses.

The basis of the Xanatos Gambit is the strategy you choose is such that all paths lead to your victory.

The namesake of the trope David Xanatos is quite possibly the most badass antagonist in cartoon history. Revel in his suave villainy below.

So anyway, I wanted make a Xanatos Gambit for football. It would have been very amusing and very fun to write up.

But then I realized that football is a very broad subject that divided into a lot of parts: managers, fans, players, even journalists. Which actually wouldn’t have been that difficult; there were more options for me to take. The problem, however, is you can even divide those parts into more parts; for example, fans can be divided into Barcelona fans, Arsenal fans, Roma fans, etc.

The players can also be divided into either ‘stereotypes’ or roles; The Quiet Genius (Messi, Iniesta), the Magnificent Bastard (subjective; Xavi for Madridistas), the Self-proclaimed Rich and Handsome Bastard (Cristiano Ronaldo), Respectable Veteran (Seedorf), etc.

The managers are most interesting I find. You can have the classy winner archetype (Pep, Pelligrini), the no-so-classy winner (Mourinho). But you could also have the perpetual failure (insert your own here), so-close-yet-so-far (Ranieri), how-the-hell-do-you-keep-getting-a-job (too many to name).

Interesting, indeed.

However, like I said I had no time to pursue this endeavor so I ended up putting the idea on the back burner. Until today.

I had some free time (thank you Family Day) so I went to MS Paint and drew up a crappy Xanatos Gambit for fans internet warriors.

The idea: “no matter what the outcome of the game is, I still win the pointless argument online battle.”

(If I find more time, I’ll do one for managers).

/shuffles back into obscurity.

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183 Comments

  1. February 21, 2012

    Tough crowd.

    But it’s all good; my genius is generally difficult to understand so I don’t blame you.

    • February 21, 2012

      We’re used to the Barça version.

      Play in a decisive game:
      -> Barça wins -> I win
      -> Barça loses -> It’s an honor just to watch this team play -> I win

    • Messiah10
      February 23, 2012

      I understand your genius rationally and w/a fever that most don’t. Your F.D. activity was absolutley mind blowing and inconceivable at the same time. That takes a special kind of talent. Don’t worry about these cules that can’t put a sentence together. Do your thing!

  2. February 21, 2012

    Upon reading this for the third time, I have observed that EEistas/PL fans have their own Xanatos Gambit: Ignore all Logic, put blind faith in Mou/PL. Hmm, this seems familiar elsewhere too..

  3. BarcaOwl
    February 21, 2012

    Very nice, Kari. That was fun. 😀

  4. simple_barcafan
    February 21, 2012

    Now look at the chaos Kxevin’s post is generating…

  5. February 21, 2012

    I’m still processing what are you trying to say, Kari.. hard to understand your genius.. lol

  6. February 21, 2012

    Do so many people really not understand TV tropes? Surprising and completely unacceptable, lol. They’re everywhere; like memes but better. I’ll have to properly introduce them to you all sometime.

    • February 22, 2012

      Its not that people don’t understand, its more probable that they don’t care for them much..

      • blitzen
        February 22, 2012

        Yeah, pretty much this. I try to limit my consumption of popular media, and analyzing tropes is a step in the wrong direction for me.

        Although, I did love that Gargoyles cartoon. Kari FTW!

        • February 22, 2012

          I adore tropes. They put a name to everything one would normally have to describe to someone. (Like Busi is so a Combat Pragmatist.)

          I wouldn’t be analyzing them. I would intro tropes by using them to describe Barça players. But if no one is interested I guess I won’t bore you with it…

          • bhed
            February 22, 2012

            Just checked, Busi is indeed a Combat Pragmatist.

  7. Roberto Senyera
    February 21, 2012

    trope
     
    Pronunciation: /trəʊp/
    noun
    a figurative or metaphorical use of a word or expression:
    both clothes and illness became tropes for new attitudes toward the self
    my sense that philosophy has become barren is a recurrent trope of modern philosophy
    perhaps it is a mistake to use tropes and parallels in this eminently unpoetic age
    a significant or recurrent theme; a motif:
    she uses the Eucharist as a pictorial trope

    Origin:
    mid 16th century: via Latin from Greek tropos ‘turn, way, trope’, from trepein ‘to turn’

  8. Roberto Senyera
    February 21, 2012

    TV Tropes, also known as Television Tropes and Idioms, is a wiki[1] which collects and expands on various conventions and devices (tropes) found within creative works. Since its establishment in 2004, the site has gone from covering only television and film tropes to also covering those in a number of other media such as literature, comics, video-games, and even things such as advertisements and toys.[2][3] It is known for approaching topics in a casual tone[4] — cyberpunk author Bruce Sterling once described its style as a “wry fanfic analysis.”[5]

    Okay, I’m back to the Shiraz now …

  9. Barcaleya
    February 21, 2012

    Kari – i love this!!!!

    I will now look up this Xanatos Gambit thing. I do love strategies.

    Especially when they all lead to the one road. Of victory 😀

    I feel bad I’ve been so busy the past six months I haven’t been commenting here as much as I want to.

    I wanted to say something on Kxevin’s post about fans’ sense of entitlement to victories, about posters comments on his ratings, etc. Just haven’t had the time. I don’t even get to see the games anymore!

    But I’m going to look this thing up.

    Thanks to all of you (Kari, Kxevin, Euler, Soma, Isaiah, everyone else I may have forgotten) who have given so much precious time to regale us with your wonderful posts, by the way. I’m sure that the new format of topics of passion will make this site even more interesting and awesome.

    Visca BFB!!!

    • February 22, 2012

      Thanks a lot! I love strategies with victorious outcomes, that’s why the Xanatos Gambit is so awesome!

  10. February 22, 2012

    Oh Kari hahaha you just introduced a large number of people the the Black Hole of the internet. TVTropes is best known for being a site you go to ‘just look at one trope’ but then you click three links on it and click more and click more and before you know it you’ve spent six hours reading about The Rule of Three and Gender-Savvy and whatnot.

    You are directly responsible for at least 200 hours[1] of lost productivity taking into account the readership of this blog.

  11. Chiu
    February 22, 2012

    Some mixed things:

    – CSKA put a good clash and leveled the score line on the dying minutes in the chilly Moscow. For EE, 1 away goal was just an OK result and they’re still the favorite. But for CSKA, the draw kept their breath for QF pretty alive and is a confident booster heading to Bernabeu.

    – I think CSKA could have small shot for QF if they could solidify their defence and pick up on the counter. I hope they could nick 1 away goal first in order to complicate the tie for EE. With the absence Xabi and probably Benzema due to suspension and injury, respectively; it perhaps help a bit if Slutsky could find way to exploit on. As the Russian league would resume early March, CSKA would be much prepared physically and game-fit measure up to last night performance. Just saying.

    – Chelsea is on the brink of elimination from CL and the countdown for AVB is starting. I think Abramovich never imagine his team would be kicked out by some Italian middle team named Napoli. What a CL campaign for Napoli? They beat Manchester City, held Bayern Munich and now potentially cruise to the QF. Cavani and Lavezzi would definitely be a hot commodity in the upcoming summer transfer window.

    – Regarding Kxevin last post, I fully appreciate that this blog is a labor of love and you guys (writers/moderators) have more important thing on your private life, too. I agree it’s not fun anymore if that love transforming into an obligation. I think BFB site have some similarities to our current Barcelona team. The expectation from the readers/visitors is high because you guys are so amazing in running this blog. I support whatever format you guys choose to maintain this site as a fun place and a quality space for every stakeholders to discuss about our beloved team. Visca Barca e Visca BFB!

    • Helge
      February 22, 2012

      Goal.com released a very good article about the fall and rise of Napoli during the last 20 years:
      http://www.goal.com/en/news/1717/editorial/2012/02/21/2917446/this-is-how-to-build-a-legacy-roman-what-chelsea-can-learn

      It sounds like a fairy tale, since the new president took over. He has a real plan, doesn’t just throw money down the drain. The fans are so passionate, the football that they play is very un-Italian – it’s hard to not like this team 🙂
      The article also suggests that Napoli is focusing on the CL this season, and if you see how strong they played vs City or Chelsea, you almost have to believe it. They’ll be happy if they reach 3rd place in the end, thus ensuring CL qualification.

  12. just listenin
    February 22, 2012

    Yeah, huh? Interesting…

    Sorry I missed Kxevin’s post yesterday. Was travelling and life is like that with obligations and conflicts, who couldn’t understand what he was talking about, right?

    I also think it makes a point of the disagreement we were all having a couple of posts ago that seemed to perhaps prompt some of this. That from time to time, things need to be recalibrated; expectations, commitment… Even ratings.

    Where we seemed to be debating whether or not we understood Kxevin’s methodology for ratings (which was perfectly clear and didn’t need explanation, player’s level against their personal best, not relative to other players) I think what many of us were trying to say was, Messi’s all time personal best wasn’t a fair point of reference for performance the other day, that the scale needed recalibration given the current context of where we are now…. Ironic. The last post suggests the BFB team is doing the same thing. So if we were to rate whatever match reviews (if any, I hope still some) of the future against match reviews of then past, they might only get a 7. But if you accept the new context that’s been explained, and find them really good given where we are, you’d have to recalibrate your scale and accept them for what they are for a while in the “new reality” and start making your comparisons after you see a few and compare the next against the last, not last year’s or two years ago, assess and adapt to the new context. Maybe still a 10, or an 8… Whatever.

    Keep up the good work BFB Team, you are very much appreciated, and any football fan who doesn’t love a little controversy, can’t be a true football fan 😉 Cheers

    • February 22, 2012

      As I noted in a rather lengthy comment at the bottom of the previous post, the review had me ready to quit. Not because of the disagreement. I’ve had far worse ones. But the time it all takes. So Isaiah and I revisited a discussion we’d been having for some time now about how to keep this thing going without killing it.

      No offense to anyone, but I’d rather be having dinner with my wife than writing a match review. At any rate, the rest is over there.

      • just listenin
        February 22, 2012

        I read it… and who can blame you? Simplify, more is less sometimes – who would fault you. You might be holding yourself… and Messi 😉 …to too high a standard. Thanks for your hard work, I for one, really appreciate what you do. But from time to time, something has to give. Thanks for the place to share the passion. May be time to start bringing up some B team players to help the first team squad. All the best to you. I mean that sincerely.

        Knowing this crowd, I don’t think a post needs to be more than a scoreline and a “what did you think?” and we can take it from there usually…

        • Chiu
          February 22, 2012

          second this. a simple post is enough if you guys hv another taxing thing to do first. we can keep the discussion alive from the comments.

      • Roberto Senyera
        February 23, 2012

        In some instances you may just consider having a headline & open thread and let the BFB community take it from there (eg “Barça 5-1 Valencia — Open Thread).

  13. barca96
    February 22, 2012

    EPL teams are either in Europa League or crashing out of CL hahaha
    Strongest league. Strongest teams. Best players. Kiss my a** SKY!

    • February 22, 2012

      Even their “best players” are all non-English other than Rooney. Van Persie, Silva, Mata, Aguero, Yaya to name a few.

      Liga’s best stars are mostly Spaniards. Germany’s best mostly Germans. Even Italy.

  14. Peterj
    February 22, 2012

    Lets kill atletico madrid on saturday

    • Roberto Senyera
      February 23, 2012

      The match is Sunday @ 15:30 EST. Pathetico have a match Thursday in the UEL and the Spanish FA isn’t so cruel to force them to play two matches in 48 hours.

  15. February 22, 2012

    I try to avoid hyper-pop culturalism, and TV tropes fall into that category.

    On a different topic I watched a replay of the Chelski – Napoli game last night. Verdict: I hope we avoid Napoli in the Champions League.

    Chelsea is undoubtedly in a transition period and isn’t anywhere near as strong (they looked particularly vulnerable on defense last night) as they have been in past season.

    However, Napoli plays some nice football. They have been struggling in Serie A since they have to focus on both the league and in Europe this season. They like to defend fairly deep and invite pressure before countering at speed. They play a lot of long balls out of the back to either Lavezzi or Cavani. Their front three (the two mentioned and Hamsik) interchange well and move laterally across the pitch to take advantage of space on the flanks and behind the fullbacks. Maggio was up and down the flank all night – looking like an Italian Alves.

    In short, Napoli is a team built to cause Barcelona trouble. They are one of the 2 or 3 teams I’m truly worried about in the Champions League this season.

    Side note – both Cavani and Lavezzi played great yesterday. I wouldn’t be mad if the club cast an eye on either of these players with the thought of signing a forward next season.

    • February 22, 2012

      But again, the danger is signing a player based on what he does for another team. Is Cavani any better a striker than Ibrahimovic who, even before he transmogrified into an immense asshat, was struggling mightily with a system in which the littlest sprite of all is the linchpin. It is going to make squad additions on the offensive side rather complex. As Sanchez begins to make himself more prominent on the pitch, you can already see the beginnings of the “hey, wouldn’t Messi have ….” moments. Time will tell us how that’s going to turn out.

      I love the way that Napoli play, and don’t want any part of them in any CL knockout stage. Cavani and Lavezzi are the business. But again, when I think about where they might fit in our system, I struggle.

      • February 22, 2012

        Was thinking the exact same thing watching the match last night. They are quite successful in playing the long ball in to Cavani or Lavezzi. Chelsea may defend poorly but they are usually pretty solid in the air with sizeable CBs. Barca, on the other hand, are not.

        Napoli would certainly give us all sorts of trouble. Would make for an entertaining game for neutrals though. They are winning over a lot of new fans with the way they’ve played in Europe this season. It’s hurt them considerably in the Serie A but they are fun to watch. So different from the traditional Italian game. Refreshing.

        Hopefully they’ll draw Madrid next.

        • messifan
          February 22, 2012

          I saw the game last night and I thought both teams’ midfield players were average. Chelsea’s passing game was poor, even Mata’s goal was from a bad pass. No doubt, Napoli’s attacking players are very talented but I think their game will suit us as well. Barca like to control and dictate the game from midfield, an area that Napoli like to concede. If Barca face Napoli, the team would have a lot of possession and eventually force Napoli to err. As much as I like watching Napoli attacking at speed, I don’t think that’s enough to stop Barcelona. All that being said, I don’t want Barca (if they qualify to the next stage)to face Napoli either.

      • February 22, 2012

        “Is Cavani any better a striker than Ibrahimovic”

        Before I start my ramble I should note I haven’t watched Napoli more than 2-3 times all season – just a caveat.

        There are some differences between Ibrahimovic and Cavani as far as I can tell. Cavani is more mobile on the field – interchanging with Lavezzi and Hamsik and moving out to the wings to overload fullbacks and drag defenders out of position. Ibrahimovic was never really that mobile, and seemed less mobile in our system for some reason.

        Ibrahimovic also needs to have a system based around him – he wants to have the ball and take a couple touches and be the focal point of the attack. Cavani is currently the focal point of Napoli’s attack, but from what I’ve seen he doesn’t need to have the ball at his feet to be effective. He makes intelligent runs off the ball and often plays the ball after one or two touches – important points in our system which prioritizes movement off the ball over dribbling ability for our forwards (other than Messi).

        Cavani’s pressing could certainly use work. Overall I think he’s a different player than Ibrahimovic. From what I’ve seen I think there’s a more than decent chance he would fit into the system and maintain his own individual flair.

        One of the cool aspect’s of his match yesterday was how happy and excited he looked on the pitch – an infectious attitude.

        Lavezzi is a whole other story, and so my comment doesn’t go on forever he reminds me of Pedro, except twice as good.

        Again – I haven’t seen Napoli a whole bunch, so if anyone knows more than me let’s hear it

        • ooga aga
          February 22, 2012

          not that this should be the litmus test, but didnt we crush them 5-0 in the gamper? using half of our B-team?

          • blitzen
            February 22, 2012

            Yes, but the Gamper is mostly a jumped-up friendly, and that was almost 7 months ago. Napoli has been very good this season.

          • Roberto Senyera
            February 23, 2012

            And if my memory serves me, Napoli played most of their top guns in that exhibition match.

            I have no worries facing Napoli whatsoever. Their back three is ponderous and all three of their goals were the direct result of Chelsea woeful schoolboy defending. I wouldn’t sweat Napoli much.

            The only true worry I would have in the UCL this year, assuming we don’t have any more injuries, is facing the LWBs in the one off Final. I’m not even sweating facing them over two legs as we all should know the outcome of that by now (of course publicly we must be humble).

          • Chiu
            February 23, 2012

            agree with you roberto, on who am i sweating to play against in CL.

            btw BFB is not so public space, it’s cules only here, so bragging a bit is still fine hahaha..

      • Bill
        February 22, 2012

        The Ibra signing was ill conceived and was never going to work.
        The danger now is to apply that mistake in every other signing. It’s like (not to get political-just as an example) an ill conceived US war with Iraq, and then applying that experience to any future war that may be necessary. No one in the US will have a stomach for that. Thats usually the danger of making the initial mistake…it clouds your judgement for future decisions.

        Cavani is good. He is mobile, has strength and balance + power. He also knows how to move into great positions and knows exactly what to do with the ball when he gets it inside the 18.

        Having said that, he wouldn’t fit in Barcelona right now, because we use Messi as a false 9. No one is more effective than him. What we need is players that can strike, but also handle the wings very well. Thats not cavani.

        And Napoli WILL NOT give Barcelona a hard time. How will long balls or quick counters work when you don’t have the ball? How do you constantly swith positions when all of you are completely out of position by the time you get the ball back?. If madrid haven’t been able to answer that one, no one else can.

        • February 22, 2012

          Leaving Cavani aside for a moment, you bring up a good point about Messi playing as the false nine and how that affects any hypothetical signings we make in this space.

          Messi has carved out such a significant role in the team that changing his position to accommodate a new striker is unfathomable. However, Guardiola does like to use strikers in the wide striker roles. Henry dominated the left wing his first year, and Villa was recruited as a striker to play a wide role. Some people have even been noting Sanchez has been reminding them of Etoo. As you note all of these players had been knowing for exploiting space on the flanks before they moved to Barcelona, although each in their own way. I think there is definitely a role for strikers to play in our system with Messi as long as they are mobile, read the game well, and make intelligence runs.

          Back to Cavani for a second. I mentioned above that Cavani moved very well laterally to find space on the flanks, especially early in the buildup. In my mind that says he might be able to start wide in our system, and finish moves in the penalty box – sort of what Villa is supposed to do.

          This season has seen the emergence of Cuenca, who is more of a typical winger than we are used to seeing in this team. Adriano has also seen time up front. I wonder if Pep doesn’t think it is necessary to balance having a striker-type forward (Sanchez or Villa) with a player who maintains width and naturally stretches the defense.

          • Bill
            February 22, 2012

            “early in the build up” is the key word here. I like what he does in those circumstances.

            But what about late in the build up? When the defense has put 9 men around the box? Does he know how to intelligently create width, wait for the fullback to come along, work with him and the midfielders, then time his run to break the offside trap? Is he quick enough to create space, with two defenders around him, for a shot?

            I don’t know enough about him, and haven’t seen enough of his game to judge if he can. Maybe you can help me out here.

        • Roberto Senyera
          February 23, 2012

          Agreed about both Napoli and Cavani. What we could use in the summer is a winger that can score goals. I don’t see Cavani, top CF that he is, playing as a winger for us. Messi is our false nine. Cesc can also play the false nine for us and I can even see Thiago doing a good job there, if needed.

          Out of Napoli’s front three, I see Levezzi as the best fit for our system but I don’t think we will go after him.

          Just my opinion.

      • Messiah10
        February 23, 2012

        Completely agree w/u Kxevin. If you look at a player to bring in to the side you have to look at how his 1st touch is, possesion under pressure, ability to make diagnol cuts and cut backs, track back when possesion is lost, defend and press. Most players only fit a specific role on a team and have a specific skill set. We have a team with players that can play ANY position. Granted, you don’t want Xavi or Ghostface holding down central defense, but just look what Pep has done w/Mach! Dude was a TOP, TOP, TOP DMF in the world! Pep looked and said, ummm, he can serve us best at CB or LB. I honestly never want him out of the line up. For me, Pique has lost his spot. It’s Mach’s to lose now. I just don’t see him losing it anytime soon.

  16. Brosep
    February 22, 2012

    -Over the summer, Italy lost one of its Champions League places to Germany, making it the “Fourth Best” league in Europe. Was anyone else thrilled to see the remaining two English teams in the CL thrashed by Italian teams?

    -On some intuitive level, Cavani appeals to me a lot more than Ibrahimovic, and I think it’s for the Kxevin workrate factor. I watched bits and pieces of Napoli’s game against Chelsea last night and Cavani runs like a horse. He has a hunger. Ibrahimovic is sublimely skilled, but Cavani has a refreshing passion. Not sure if I’d want him for Barca, though, as I don’t think he has the necessary ball control/touch skills.

    -Not at all worried about drawing Napoli in the CL. Barca’s system thrives against teams that stick to their own style rather than adopting to Barca’s – we saw that with Valencia over the weekend. From facing Chelsea, Napoli would need a different organization to cope with Barca’s circulation. I don’t know much about their team, but watching the game yesterday (and the 5-0 Gamper match) has assuaged my fears. EE is the only opponent I would want to avoid in the QF, even with our awesome record against them.

    -Finally “A FIFA expert panel chaired by German legend Franz Beckenbauer has recommended that players should shake hands on the field more in order to improve the game’s image.” Those men and their integrity!

  17. Jafri
    February 22, 2012

    But Kari, this is exactly what Mourinho does! That’s the first thing that popped into my head when I saw this. When he wins he says he was superior, but when he loses he pulls out that whole catalogue of excuses that you’ve detailed above – the pitch was shit, the officials favored the other team – these are all his words. He refuses to accept responsibility for anything, instead shifting the blame onto the refs, the pitch, UNICEF, everything.

    Aaand quite frankly, it makes him seem like a whiny bit*h.

    I much prefer Pep’s moral high ground way, the algorithm for which would be something like:

    1) We win – it was a good team performance, and kudos to the other team for taking the match to us (even if we thrashed them)

    2) We draw or lose – Congratulations to the other team for the result; we’ll go back and see what we need to do to improve.

    And for those still unsure, a tv trope is a plot or action that happens in a lot of tv series; like the nerdy guy helps the hot chick and wins her affection, or that everyone has an annoying neighbour, or that some long lost relative bequeaths the family a lot of money and they lose it all by the end of the episode. Or that Captain Planet can never win if he comes in the middle of the episode – he always gets dirt on him and goes to recharge, but will always win at the end (I got so irritated when I figured that out. Ruined the suspense of the show for me!)

    • February 22, 2012

      I know! I was hoping people would catch the link I was trying to make….

      Looking back at my comments, I think I made people terribly misunderstand tropes. They’re not just on TV. I called them “tv tropes” because I thought that would make them easier to understand. They are in books/ novels (where it is actually most seen) even in real life too. I tried to put a funny spin on them, and they are generally very fun, but they aren’t childish at all. You can actually study tropes through a literary lens in school (university/college/high school in some cases). Not pop culture at all (IMO) and totally not what I was going for. So I totally failed in that respect.

      But anyway, learning experience and all that.

    • Roberto Senyera
      February 23, 2012

      Hate to say it but that Xanatos cartoon dude reminded me too much of a Mourinho/Abramovich hybrid. First time I’ve seen that cartoon dude btw.

  18. Nav
    February 22, 2012

    Whoa, what’s up with the TV snobbery.

    Kari, loved the post and friggin loved The Gargoyles growing up.

    • February 22, 2012

      Thanks!

      It’s probably my fault. Think I’ve made a lot of people misunderstand.

      • messifan
        February 22, 2012

        Don’t be sorry, Kari! Thanks for the post. I enjoyed it and I was clueless about tropes before 🙂

        • February 22, 2012

          Thanks, messifan! :mrgreen: You’ll get hooked on them pretty quick, lol.

  19. Bill
    February 22, 2012

    Kxevin, I read the last two posts. I can imagine how hard it is to write those reviews. Such pieces must take time to write and I have always been amazed at how fast you put them up. Most articles that go up that fast are usually half-assed and are put up more to summarize the game than to analyze. Not yours. They are detailed and vivid,they ebb and flow and capture emotions and are great reads. Understandable if you can’t do them all the time, but don’t stop (we know you will miss them too if you stopped!)

    Having said that, the problem with some of your ratings is that some seem to be soo out of place (as you put it, they are outliers of the range most will give). It’s like listening to a great mozart piece then hearing a scratch ( a Dj remix) in the middle of the piece. That will be very jarring to the ear (with regards to the rating-our eyes), and ends up being the conversation piece. The rest of the music, and your articles are just great!

    I rewatched that game again. Messi was simply great. You can clearly see what soccermom said about watching Messi. He was quietly moving into great positions, he was making extremely well timed runs into the box and was always out in the midfield when needed to provide a release valve for his teammates when pressure was high and giving great passes. Yes, maybe he could hussle more on defense, but that was the only thing you could say about him.

    Alexis on the other hand, was hustling very well. But he was missing some great chances when one on one with the goalkeeper, and was making some pretty poor passes/decisions on occassion. He was also not running into position in many of those chances when messi was. Alexis was ball watching. Don’t get me wrong, I love his game, his skills and his strength, but on this occasion, no way he gets a higher rating than Messi.

    Now, if Messi got a 9 rating, along with those criticisms, thats fair, but a 7? Thats the proverbial scratch to a beethoven piece.

    • Bill
      February 22, 2012

      Not to mention pumping four goals past a goalkeeper who everyone thought had Messi’s number…what a response!

      • Roberto Senyera
        February 23, 2012

        And it was Messi’s first four goal performance in La Liga.

        However, I do agree that Kxevin’s writing is top class and do appreciate all of his efforts even if I don’t agree with his rating system (which is a minor disagreement in the large scheme of things). Keep up the great work Kxevin — when you can, of course.

    • February 22, 2012

      “Yes, maybe he could hussle more on defense, but that was the only thing you could say about him.”

      In fact, it isn’t, even if it is a significant thing on a team in which everyone should be hustling for everything. What if Abidal didn’t hustle as much as he could in getting into position to make that cross to Messi for one of his goals? You could also cite passes that he didn’t make that he should have, passes that could have resulted in goals for other players. You could also cite errant passes that left their recipients in difficult positions.

      It’s why I watch. And re-watch. And slo-mo. And focus on a particular player. You could look at everything that Messi does and justify giving him a 10 for every match. But what about what he doesn’t do? He gets a pass for the latter. Not from me.

      My ratings aren’t any more scientific than any subjective evaluator. But ask yourself if it would be okay if Pique “could hustle more on defense.” Or Abidal. On a team in which everyone does everything, is it really okay when a player takes time off? Yes if it’s Messi? Not for me. Hence, a 7.

      Yes, the 7 is “controversial” if you, as you added, mention pumping four goals past Alves. And as I said elsewhere, what about the people whose work set those goals up? Those weren’t Messiesque runs. The only Messiesque run resulted in a goal for Xavi, right?

      It’s why I say that everyone can argue about my ratings until they’re blue in the face, and I’d say we’re approaching a lovely cerulean at present, but it won’t change how I graded him, and the things that went into that grade. Never.

      • Jafri
        February 22, 2012

        You should probably add a scale on which everyone’s rated on a scal of 0 to Messi. That’ll show all the complainers!

        *By Messi, I mean the hattrick against Madrid Messi, or the four goals against Arsenal Messi, or whatever excellent matches you judged him and gave him seven on.

      • Bill
        February 22, 2012

        Hustling on defense is Pique’s and Abidals job. While it is also part of the forwards responsibility, their main job is to win games for the team. Messi hustled on defense too. One occasion when Valencia attempted to launch a counter attack from an errant Barcelona corner kick comes to mind. Messi ran all the way back to help out.

        Messi received plenty of errant passes in this game, but he hustled and made something of them (especially the 1st goal). Like I said, his runs when it mattered most were brilliant.

        Alexis made plenty of errant passes too besides the one on ones. There was the one that frustrated Messi because it was a counter, messi gave him the ball and expected it back, Alexis passed it straight to the defenders. On another occasion, Thiago expected a 1-2 when running into the box, Alexis opted to take a weak shot off target. He tried two back-heels that went nowhere, and a couple of poor decisions like I mentioned. He gets a 9 and messi a 7?

        Busquets gave that errant pass that resulted in Valencias first goal. He gets a higher rating than Messi?

        If you played soccer alot like I did in my younger days, you would know somethings gotta give. If you hustle too much on defense, you wont have the energy and concentration to be effective on offense. Your speed suffers, your touch goes, and you cant ran into great positions constantly. Ask Pedro and Henry. Ibrahimovich hustled much less!

        • February 22, 2012

          Now, make those same “didn’t do” observations for Messi and you’re onto something. That is my sole point. Make the same “do” and “didn’t do” observations for every player, not for one player, to make a point in support of your contention that I am incorrect in how Messi’s performance was weighted.

          You don’t have to have played football to understand it and how to watch it. It can help understanding, but it can also breed empathy, right? Further, understand that I am not some fatass sitting in a chair. I comprehend athletics and effort. Someone else could say “kick a soccer ball, and….” I would say “make a track bicycle go 45 mph, then….” Athletes understand effort, and apportionment thereof. Hence the question about Abidal deciding to apportion his effort, rather than going all out to get to that pass, and make that cross. What if Sanchez hadn’t hustled back to make the interception to feed Busquets that led to the pass for a Messi goal.

          Essentially, the whole point of my having these discussions is, just as I understand where people are coming from, they should make an effort to understand where I am coming from.

          Finally, hustling, all the time, is everyone’s job in our system. There is less of it this season, which accounts for where we are in the table. And it ain’t just Messi.

          • mom4
            February 22, 2012

            I’ll save you Kxevin…

            As exiting as the games were yesterday, both Basel/ Bayern and Marseille/Inter are both stuck at 0-0 in the 80 somethingth minute…yawn…

            oops Basel just scored 1-0 that’s a little unexpected.

          • nzm
            February 22, 2012

            Wash yer mouth out, mom4 – the Basel-Bayern match was awesome to watch, despite the score.

            Tactically in defence, Basel was enormous. Zonal marking anyone? Watch Basel. No panic – everyone knew what to do – double-teaming on Ribery – outstanding results.

            And both games finished with goals, BTW!

          • nzm
            February 22, 2012

            Luckily, we’ve met, so that you know what the tone of my last comment would be if I was saying it to you! 😀

          • mom4
            February 22, 2012

            see comment below, nzm

            recording it in a few minutes, not my fault what FSC does

            🙂

          • Jim
            February 22, 2012

            It’d be interesting to see how far each player has run in the course of a game. Is there such a site? I’m guessing, just from my own playing of the game that the midfield would run most as they have to support both defence and attack. It’d probably also be fair to say that our CBs run the least certainly in our side ( apart from when Puyol goes wild of course).

            I suppose carrying the ball at speed would have to be an additional factor in assessing effort put in. I think Messi is pressing a little less than before but it’s maybe a trade off Pep has insisted on for letting him play every match.

        • Roberto Senyera
          February 23, 2012

          Agree entirely with this post. If Piqué or Abidal don’t hustle, as defenders, they are on the bench. I know that all XI have to defend as a team and that forwards are the first line of defence but if the back four (whose first priority is defending) do not hustle then they most certainly will be spectators — on the bench or in the stands.

          Kxevin, if you were to rate Messi so harshly/overly-critically on a consistent basis going forward and he were to get wind of it he may just want to submit a transfer request. None of us would wish for that to happen 😉

  20. hammeronmessi
    February 22, 2012

    i never cared bout KRS,but if i were to debate bout messis kr in the valencia match this would be my response.brilliant metaphor,bill.i may be slated for this but i think it is to generate more passionate debate.

    • Bill
      February 22, 2012

      Thank you. You got what I was trying to say about Messi.

  21. nzm
    February 22, 2012

    Anyone watching the Basel-Bayern match?

    It’s brilliant!

    Basel is putting on the best display of zonal marking that I’ve ever seen – Barca take note!

    Their midfield sucks, but wow are they playing with heart and guts!

    I won’t spoil it by mentioning ths score, but if anyone wants to pass comments about how superior Bayern is – watch this match.

    As time ticks down, Bayern become more vicious with their fouling.

      • Roberto Senyera
        February 23, 2012

        He’s a top class shot stopper.

    • mom4
      February 22, 2012

      FSC doesn’t show that one until 5:00 EST. Guess I should set the DVR. Problem is, I’ve been peeking at scores.

      • nzm
        February 22, 2012

        You commented above about how boring the game was, and you were only looking at the scores??? Hahahaha! 😀

        Watch the game – despite the score and the unexpected result, it’s a lesson in how to do things right in defence. Now if only Basel can get a decent midfield, it would be wonderful to see a Barca – Basel matchup.

        • mom4
          February 22, 2012

          In my defense I was trying to save Kxevin.

          Have no interest in any of the teams today so I was gonna skip it but saw your comment and decided to DVR Basel.

          Just saw the other score too. Things that make you want to say, ‘Hmmm….”

          Oooo, Basel wears Blaugrana.

          • Huckleberry
            February 22, 2012

            The Swiss Gamper was a player at FC Basel before he founded FC Barcelona and brought the colors with him…

          • Roberto Senyera
            February 23, 2012

            FC Basel founded in 1893.
            FC Barcelona founded in 1899.
            Basel are like our brothers and I wish to avoid them in the draw based solely on family grounds alone. That being said, you’d still have to favour Bayern in the tie and, based on the stats from the first leg, don’t be surprised if Bayern administer a big old ass-spanking in Munchen.

        • mom4
          February 22, 2012

          And now it’s your fault that my productivity today will be further diminished 🙂

          • nzm
            February 22, 2012

            Yeah, yeah – blame me from afar! ;.)

        • Roberto Senyera
          February 23, 2012

          If only Arsenal could learn to defend like Basel …

  22. February 22, 2012

    I watched the Bayern – Basel match. Not much to say on my end, except Bayern really doesnt look like anything special

    • nzm
      February 22, 2012

      Yup – fairly average, I reckon!

      And the Bayern guys have been building up the injured Schweinsteiger all week, saying how he’s better than Xavi and Iniesta. Tonight one of them went one better and added Busquets to that list! Next they’ll be saying that he’s better than Valdes..

      Can’t understand why Mueller wasn’t brought on earlier, but then he got a yellow almost upon introduction!

      Maybe Bayern isn’t used to playing on a very dry potato field.

    • vivaespana
      February 23, 2012

      By one of the recent posts about some distribution theory, you have to realise that it would be wrong to judge a team based on a few games that you have seen in a season. So although Bayern were average against Basel, and seem to be underpar overall this season based on their league standing (3rd place, 4pts behind the leaders), you have to realise in the Champions League they have to be good only over 180 minutes. And everyone knows they have the squad and players to do that. I am sure if a Bayern fan had seen Barcelona’s performances against Getafe or Osasuna, they wouldn’t see anything ‘special’ either.

      Bayern have underperformed this season (and the last), but the fact that I am calling it underperformed means that they are supposed to be better. I see them as one of the genuine contenders for the Champions League alongside RM and Barca.

      I do believe Bayern and Inter both will get the right results in the second leg (although not as confident with the Italians given their recent form) and we could easily have an AC-Inter QF and Bayern-Barca.

      • Roberto Senyera
        February 23, 2012

        Agreed and well said.

        There is a good reason why the bookies have Bayern as the third favourites to win this season’s UCL behind us and the LWBs, respectively. Personally, I would be astronomically astonished if any other team besides the above mentioned three would win the trophy with the big ears this year. So much so, that if it were to come to fruition I most certainly will become a monk.

  23. simple_barcafan
    February 22, 2012

    two things worth noting:
    Basel defense
    Napoli offense …

    • nzm
      February 23, 2012

      I know nothing about the journalist – he’s on Twitter as Elwood White.

      The whole thing is entirely plausible. I’ve seen it before in a big film company that I used to work in which recently filed for Chapter 11. You put accountants into the top positions and they only have eyes for reducing costs and growing the bottom line which means that they have no time for social niceties such as making staff feel valued, planning for the future based on humanity and human resources, or working to a Code of Honour where things are done as promised. A promise is only an deferred lie. The numbers speak for themselves is their reasoning.

      This is why Pep Guardiola has never signed a contract for more than a season at a time. Laporta only had a year left on his Presidency when Pep came in, so it suited him to put the yearly renewal in place at the time, not knowing how the next board would behave. He knows that if he does renew long term, his bosses will become complacent; take him for granted and will attempt to steamroll him with policy-making and budget cuts. And they wouldn’t think twice about changing the rules to suit themselves.

      This year, Pep’s holding out for total control, and if he doesn’t get it, he’s going to walk. After the last pre-season fiasco, he’s determined that it won’t happen again while he’s manager – he was furious after the US tour. All Rosell can think of is turning the team into show ponies playing in front of sponsors and potential money machines.

      Last season, Pep was a little untouchable – given that it was Rosell’s first year and he didn’t want to rock the boat too much. Luis Enrique took the flak. This year, it’s Oscar Garcia – turned down for the Barca B job in favour of Eusebio; doing wonders with Juvenil A and then stabbed in the back again when it looked as if Eusebio wasn’t going to work but was then renewed. Eusebio will have no doubt sold his soul to get the renewal. Little wonder that Garcia is going.

      I’m not at all confident that Pep is going to renew, because I’m not sure if Rosell and co are willing to hand over that much power – à la Perez to Mourinho. However, if he does renew, he’ll have made certain that he will get his own way 100%. He’s just requested Puyol’s renewal which includes a contract for the capità that will see him working for the club when he retires. In the meantime, just as Pep is holding out on renewal, the board is “gently threatening” him with “leaked” contingency plans about alternative coaches to take his place.

      It’s rather ugly and will most likely get worse. I’d wager that we’re only hearing about 10% of what’s really happening.

      • Gogah
        February 23, 2012

        that disturbing news indeed.
        hope sandro gives him everything he wants.

      • Roberto Senyera
        February 23, 2012

        It would be unthinkable not to renew Pep for another year.

        What do you think the calendar deadline to sign Pep is?

        • nzm
          February 23, 2012

          Not sure, Roberto.

          All I know is that it’s a fine line that all parties are playing.

          If Pep leaves it too late, there may be a legal case where Barca can cancel his contract, or simply choose not to renew him.

          The longer that Pep leaves it the more desperate the club will become to either re-sign him or want to look for someone else ASAP.

          Pep may be gambling on this – thinking that the later he leaves it, the more the board will capitulate to his demands.

          It’s very thin ice because we’re dealing with Catalans and egos here. 🙂 Added to the mix is a huge resolve to save face however they can, and sometimes the outcome is not beneficial to any concerned parties.

          If Pep leaves, I doubt that Tito will hang around. A deal for Pep from any club will most likely include Tito as his assistant manager – if Tito wants it.

          • blitzen
            February 23, 2012

            Pretty sure Tito follows anywhere Pep goes, unless his health problems flare up.

      • blitzen
        February 23, 2012

        Great comment, Mich. Thanks.

        I really hope they give Pep what he wants. Rosell cannot be allowed to ruin this club.

      • blitzen
        February 23, 2012

        Eusebio was quoted on rac1 saying that his renewal has not been signed. Probably just blowing smoke, though.

  24. February 23, 2012

    Just wanted to chime in on the conversation about Cavani from earlier in this thread.

    Cavani is a fantastic footballer. In many ways his game is actually limited by the way Napoli play. The system confines him.

    His skill set is richer than the role he plays for Napoli.

    Don’t know if there’s any interest, but he would be an enormously interesting addition to Barca. He’s a very different player from Ibrahimovic or even a Llorente. He is much more mobile and diverse in his positioning.

    And what makes him particularly interesting is that he has significant experience playing towards the right/ right-center. He played on the right as a younger player in Uruguay. He played on the right for Palermo. And he continues to play frequently on the right for Uruguay – including in the South American Cup this past summer prior to getting injured.

    Now the counter argument is that Cavani never realized his potential until he came to Napoli and was moved off the right.

    But his game is expanding. And I think he would potentially do very well at Barca in a right-center role due to Alves’s presence. He wouldn’t need to stay very wide as Alves would provide the width. Cavani would move from right-center to the center when Messi dropped deep (which is very often).

    One of Cavani’s biggest potential contributions would be as a response to the high pressure teams are now routinely playing against Barca. He could expand the nature of how the team maintains possession and attacks against that system of defense.

    Extremely impressed by his game and its growth.

    • Roberto Senyera
      February 23, 2012

      I’m concerned with his foot speed, defensive capabilities (wrt our pressing game), and one touch/give-and-go skills. I think they are all relative weaknesses in his game and would not mesh well in our system. At least not as well as other possibilities in the market.

      I think we need to pursue a real speed demon & proven goal scorer that, along with Alexis, has the ability to stretch a defence vertical and put the fear of God into them because of their pace.

      Cavani is a fantastic player but I just don’t see him being the answer. I could be wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time. I just don’t see him as a winger in our system.

      • Ron Mexico
        February 23, 2012

        One thing is for sure: if Cavani were purchased he would enter the Barca team a much more proven goal scorer than Alexis was at that similar benchmark.

        People, I think, don’t give Cavani enough credit. His movement is wonderful for a #9. He’s constantly dragging center backs around the pitch, thereby opening up space for the wide players to make runs into. Not only that, but he shows great awareness on the ball, regardless of his position on the field, and is excellent in link up play. He also has a real knack for goal and is great in the air. That last point maybe crucial with the type of winger La Masia is producing: both Tello and Cuenca have been whipping in crosses since they got to La Liga.

        The main point is, he shows amazing awareness and has experience working in wide areas. I think he could absolutely play on the wing in a Villa-esque role. Napoli is constantly rotating their forward line, not unlike Barca. Now I’m not saying they’re going to buy the guy, but there would definitely be worse purchases and I couldn’t think of too many better ones.

        • blitzen
          February 23, 2012

          if Cavani were purchased he would enter the Barca team a much more proven goal scorer than Alexis was at that similar benchmark.

          So did Ibrahimovic. How did that work out, again?

          • blitzen
            February 23, 2012

            Well you know what we do with Straw Men around here. BURN THEM!

            😈

  25. Chiu
    February 23, 2012

    After the first leg done, here’s my bet for CL quarter finalist:

    – Barcelona (for sure)
    – LWB (crossing finger CSKA would do some miracle though)
    – AC Milan (99% exit door for Arsenal)
    – Benfica (2 away goals would prove decisive at the end)
    – Bayern Munich (too good for not being able to turnaround the 1-0 at Allianz Arena)
    – Inter Milan (same reason as Bayern)
    – Napoli
    – Lyon

    • Gogah
      February 23, 2012

      let me go one step further and predict the semi finalists.

      Milan
      Napoli
      Bayern
      Barca

      • Roberto Senyera
        February 23, 2012

        We must have been matched up with the LWBs in the QFs in your hypothetical draw after the R16 …

      • Roberto Senyera
        February 23, 2012

        To me, it is a futile effort picking the SF participants until the QF/SF draw is made.

        • Gogah
          February 23, 2012

          futile or not, its no big effort.
          just a feeling, and some wishful thinking 😀

    • Helge
      February 23, 2012

      I’m not so sure about Bayern Munich, and even less about Inter.

      But independent of the outcome, I think there has never (at least since I follow CL) been an easier way to the final. The competition density seems very low.
      Obviously there’s us and them, but apart from that there is no team which I think can threaten our mission to defend the CL title.

      Bayern Munich were, until yesterday, still the 3rd favourites to win the CL. Napoli and Milan played good football, but I would rate both Manchester clubs above them (yah, I know that ManCity has been eliminated thanks to Napoli, but if you see ManCity in the PL or also in their matches against Porto – they are definitely Champions League class).

  26. y2k156
    February 23, 2012

    I would say AC Milan are the third favorites. They gave two good games to us. Though we were better, they gave us enough problems. They have pedigree and are very solid. Bayern are good but tbh, i do not see them defeating either us or EE.

    Napoli, if they get through, might give us trouble. They would sit really deep and they have fast counter attacking style. These are the things that we are not comfortable against. I would say Napoli and ACM would be our two trickiest opponents.

    • Chiu
      February 23, 2012

      Nice observation about Cavani celebration 🙂

      But it think players celebrating the goal by running outside the field toward the crowd is pretty common in Serie A because typical stadium in Italy that have big gap between the seat and the field. Totti and Del Piero frequently doing this in Olimpico and Delle Alpi, though we know both of them are pretty much a team player.

    • Ryan
      February 23, 2012

      I recall Messi running to the fans and even kicking a microphone after scoring in the CL final. Considering this is Napoli we’re talking about, this is a comparably big game for them and it’s fine for a little celebration! I for one liked how he was always smiling and working hard, but I’m happy with the forward lineup we’ll have once Ibi and Villa are back.

    • nzm
      February 23, 2012

      When you watch Cavani after he scores at home – he runs onto the running track, flapping his arms down around his sides.

      Now imagine what the zapping program here in Spain does to that image – they have chickens running in front of Cavani, as if he’s chasing them along!

      Truly funny.

      • Chiu
        February 23, 2012

        you have good imagination nzm 🙂

        • nzm
          February 24, 2012

          Not me, Chiu – it’s Spanish TV’s zapping programme that did it!

  27. mom4
    February 23, 2012

    Pictures from practice. Is it me or would 90% of these be a gold mine for capture this?

      • Chiu
        February 23, 2012

        I personally don’t like this new gold training kit. Please somebody pick the better colour. Btw the dream team used this color too, so it’s kind of nostalgic every time i saw the training capture.

        • blitzen
          February 23, 2012

          Really? I love this colour. I would consider buying one of those tops if I had any extra cash.

          • barca96
            February 23, 2012

            I loveee that color. So Oranje!
            The only thing I dont like is the lack of design at the back.
            They should’ve included the FCB like they did with the previous training tops.

            The design department always somehow screws it up.

        • nzm
          February 23, 2012

          What’s interesting is that since the new orange kit was introduced, all the GKs (Valdes, Pinto and whoever trains with them out of Barca B) have still retained the old yellow kit.

          Must be a superstition thing going on with the GKs!

  28. barca96
    February 23, 2012

    I dreamed about something really funny last night.
    Messi was subbed off during a match. We were leading 3-0.
    It was either on the 59th or 69th minute of the match.
    It was such a bizarre dream until I woke up from my sleep, you know how you sometimes wake up after having a nightmare.

    I guess my wish for Messi to rest is so great until it actually is a nightmarish thing. Sigh. I guess I should stop wishing for it to happen (Pep resting him).

    • blitzen
      February 23, 2012

      Our players have a whole week with no games. Can we please stop talking about resting Messi? He doesn’t need it right now.

  29. mega_tajh
    February 23, 2012

    In other news they say Villa may comeback in April, which would be a big boast IMO!

    We never got to see a Villa-Messi-Alexis front line fully, especially with the 3-4-3 Pep has in mind.

    • Lev
      February 23, 2012

      Idk. I defended Villa throughout the whole of last season, but instead of improving the 2nd half of that last season he went into a huge slump. Then this season he played even worse.

      Ibi is training already. I have more hope for him to give us a boost than from Villa.

      • mega_tajh
        February 23, 2012

        Remember this would’ve been Villa’s all important “second year”. I strongly believe him playing through injury is what hampered his performance early this season.

        He still have around 9 goals scored this season right? Form is temporary class is permanent. He would’ve gotten better as team.

      • ooga aga
        February 23, 2012

        he was playing with a fractured lower leg. that might have something to do with him not being 100%.

  30. Huckleberry
    February 23, 2012

    About Maradonas “Barcelona makes a bad goalkeeper look good.”
    That’s right for some time now.
    Maradona just mistakes the opposite coalkeeper with Valdes…

  31. blitzen
    February 23, 2012

    Valencia is through. That should finally end the “could Messi do it on a cold wet night at the Britannia?” question.

    • mega_tajh
      February 23, 2012

      And so is Bilbao!! Need Atl. Madrid now and its congrats to Spanish Clubs.

  32. mom4
    February 23, 2012

    Either the Basques or the Catalans will be celebrating in Madrid in May. Kinda funny when you think about it. Kudos to Atletico Madrid for their class.

    barcastuff ‏ @barcastuff
    The Spanish cup final will be played on Friday 25 May at Atletico Madrid’s Vicente Calderon stadium #fcblive #copafcb [tv3]

    • nzm
      February 23, 2012

      Wow – gives the Coldplay roadies 4 days to break down the stage from the concert on the night of the 20th, and the Atletico ground staff to prepare the ground – after a concert…..

      Good news is that we all know how much Pep likes Coldplay! 😀

    • February 23, 2012

      I have a question, and excuse my lack of knowledge in this as I have been out of the loop on this, but was there an official request from the RFEF to play the game at the SB and an official no from the club? Or was it all just rumors? Because from what I’ve read, There was no official no. But i might be wrong.

      • messifan
        February 23, 2012

        Not sure what you mean by “official”? If official means publicly submitting a request and RM publicly rejecting it, then probably not. But it’s obvious from the start that RM don’t want the final to be played in their stadium and have made clear of their decision through what has been widely reported in the media. The RFEF tried to put some pressure (delaying the announcement) on Madrid, but it didn’t work. So no point in “officially” asking for the stadium.

        • February 24, 2012

          AND, I believe the RFEF spokesman said this is the first time a club rejected a CdR final to be hold in their stadium. Heh.

  33. nzm
    February 23, 2012

    This is amazing.

    After the Bayern defeat at the hands of Basel, there was a dinner with the Bayern players and selected VIP Bayern fans and supporters.

    At the dinner, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (former German and Bayern player) gave a speech which included the message that if Bayern couldn’t win, then they had to “get evil” on the pitch. In other words, play dirty!

    Well – they did try that to a degree last night as the match wore on, but it didn’t work.

    Speech here for those who understand deutsch:
    http://www.kicker.de/news/video/1180375/video_rummenigges-brandrede_ihr-muesst-boese-werden.html

    • Helge
      February 24, 2012

      So you can speak German?

      If I remember correctly, you are from New Zealand, living in Barcelona. So can I add a third language to your profile? 🙂

  34. February 23, 2012

    Laporta did a 30 min sit down interview on A Solas/shown on Gol TV…

    Hilights:

    First segment is full of talking shit about Rosell. But makes a single good point.

    “Rosell was very a important part of my term, when our team went from average to unprecedented success, he was a peer of that, but instead of enjoying it, and being happy to be part of our successful term, he has lied about me, trying to tear me down.

    Second segment:

    Pep was scared to take the job, cause he had never been a big time manager, the tabloids wanted Mouhrino, but we wanted Pep and it turned out well.

    Real madrid are a collection of good players, but Barca is a system, philosophy and a team. Our home grown talent shows that. Madrid has to always buy players, every year to try to make their team better.

    Flo: Good President, very serious, has Madrid’s best in his heart.

    Mou: Great Manager, likes to counterattack, and lacks that offensive strike.

    Madrid team: Ronaldo is a killer, that is all. Casillas is a great keeper. Only one player on Madrid is a Barcelona quality player, and that is Ozil, he is amazing. The other players are great, but lack greatness in the team concept.

    Maradona: He is a great and funny guy, he always spoke with pep about playing Messi when he was with the national team.

    Best professional moment. Wembley 92 as well as other CL titles, as well as when he became Barca President.

  35. February 23, 2012

    Also currently making a living as a lawyer in Barcelona and is a part of the Catalonia parliament.

  36. ooga aga
    February 23, 2012

    congrats to bilbao, atletico and valencia

    so spain and holland have the most reps in europa, 3 each

    • Chiu
      February 23, 2012

      looking forward to watch bilbao vs man united match. am rooting for bilbao. Go basque!

    • Ryan
      February 23, 2012

      So did Spain keep all its teams in Europe besides Villarreal? Looking good, Liga!

      • messifan
        February 23, 2012

        Hmmm… so which one would satisfy Cules more, RM not going to the next round or all remaining liga teams advancing to the next stage?
        I’ve been thinking about this and still cannot decide.

        • February 24, 2012

          Haha how is that even a question? Obviously EE getting eliminated, removes our biggest rival to the CL trophy and puts a big damper on any Mourinho worship if he as expected wins the league.

        • February 24, 2012

          What? I don’t even care if they were the only la liga team left in European competition.. I wish them all the worst..

        • February 24, 2012

          If it meant EE getting spanked by a midtable EPL side and inviting a truckload of trolls still better.

        • Roberto Senyera
          February 24, 2012

          Simple. LWB elimination. Each. And. Every. Time. And I wish for locusts to decend upon the Bernebeu 👿

  37. February 23, 2012

    Couple points:

    1. Bayern being written off way too early. Bayern with Schweinsteiger and without is a very different proposition. Before he got injured they had won almost every game but the first in the league on the trot, broken defensive records without conceding for what almost any games at all, completely dominated every game they played. Once he got injured their defensive record and win percentage plummeted.

    It’s not simply them getting ‘found out’ as the season progressed, the before and after was stark enough to attribute that to Schweinsteiger’s absence. I consider Schweinsteiger the best centre-midfielder in the world outside of our own duo, personally.

    And talent-wise and fitness-wise they’re still far and away better than Milan, especially in midfield and attacking midfield. There’s no other team in the world with as many players with the ability to get a game at Barcelona- Mueller, Ribery, Robben, Schweinsteiger, Neuer could all get games at Barca and Gomez only wouldn’t because his skill set doesn’t fit our system not cos he’s not good enough.

    If they get past Basel they’re still hands-down third favorites. I don’t think they can beat us but they’re much better than Milan or any of the others left in the tournament.

    2. Inter are rubbish, I highly doubt they’re gonna reverse the tie against Marseille let alone challenge almost anyone in the competition. They’ve been really awful for over a year now.

    3. Cavani isn’t a typical big-man centre forward. He played on the wing at Palermo (where he scored about a goal every three games) before being the centre-forward at Napoli (and now scoring about two goals every three games), actually, and he plays wide for Uruguay as well. He’s very very unlike Ibrahimovic in style, maybe they just get cos they’re both 6’3 and tearing up Italy.

    Ibrahimovic was trequartista and focal point and goalscorer and everything ran through him in Inter, an otherwise defensive team gave him the ball and he worked magic with it. Cavani plays in a fluid, rotating front line with him and Lavezzi switching positions and running into the gaps the other creates, he occupies defenders but he also works hard and is very mobile.

    I’d always thought a non-insane (in a good way to me except in terms of team spirit for Barca and whatever) Balotelli would’ve been awesome playing for us, one of the few tall physical forwards I could see who was comfortable playing wide or deeper as well (he plays on the wings or even occasionally as trequartista for Inter too, and he’s fast). Cavani not having that personality issue would be pretty awesome, I’d love if he came in and I think he’d fit into the team perfectly even though I don’t think he’s necessary. Because I’m quite happy with the current team and youth. I can’t think of many better forward signings that would be affordable, though.

    • Roberto Senyera
      February 24, 2012

      Agreed about Bayern and AC Milan. Everybody is biggin’ Milan up at the moment because of what they did to Arsenal at the San Siro. One large caveat that most are overlooking — it was done against the Arsenal defence.

      Milan is an aging team that includes old boys such as Seedorf, van Bommel, and Nesta.

      I believe Bayern would take care of them without much fuss if the two of them get matched up together in the next round.

    • Roberto Senyera
      February 24, 2012

      I think Cavani will end up at either Man City or Chelsea next season. Those two teams have a greater need for him, he’s a better fit in their systems, and both those clubs will much more highly motivated to obtain his services after the damage he has caused their organizations (which is a typical footy trope, btw 😉 ).

  38. messifan
    February 23, 2012

    Does anyone know why Cruyff and Rosell don’t get along? I can see why Rosell and co. want to consolidate their power, but I just hope they don’t go too far.

    I think Pep will renew but it will probably be his last. I don’t see him as the type who would walkaway from this club abruptly. But I agree, that politics and motivation will be the key for him staying at Barca. What’s interesting is that the English press seems to ignore the political part, and some are already saying that Pep is selfish :/

    • nzm
      February 24, 2012

      Because Cruyff was close to Laporta.

  39. February 24, 2012

    I’m really bored so I’ll see you guys’ views on a thought experiment Norman Hubbard tried out on Soccernet, where he tried to attempt making a title-challenging team first XI that combined would cost no more than Torres at 50mil, with a bench that combined would cost no less than Caroll at 35mil. In his article he only included EPL players and sides, and the caveat is that only transfers made in the past five windows (so past two and a half seasons) would count, at the value used then.

    So since we’re not EPL, I’d like to see you guys’ views on the best first XI you can come up with that cost less than 50mil over the past five windows only (so no Masia and no Pique, for example) from over Europe. I don’t remember enough centreback signings to come up with a bench so I’ll leave that be for now.

    Here’s two rather similar ones I came up with, for 50mil and 48mil respectively:

    Diego Alves (Valencia, 3mil); Armero (Udinese, 1mil), Adil Rami (Valencia, 6mil), Andre Dias (Lazio, 2.6mil), Caceres (Juventus, 4.5mil); Pirlo (Juventus, free), Afellay (Barcelona, 3mil), Boateng (Milan, 3mil); Shaqiri (Bayern, 10mil), Kagawa (Dortmund, 350k); Cavani (Napoli, 17mil)

    Diego Alves (Valencia, 3mil); Armero (Udinese, 1mil), Adil Rami (Valencia, 6mil), Andre Dias (Lazio, 2.6mil), Caceres (Juventus, 4.5mil); Afellay (Barcelona, 3mil), Sahin (Madrid, 10mil), Boateng (Milan, 3mil); Oezil (Madrid, 15mil), Kagawa (Dortmund, 350k); Ba (Newcastle, free)

    I can’t think up a whole bench cos I remember so few centre-back transfers so I’ll just say I’ll put Stekelenburg (Roma, 6mil), Nagatomo (Inter, 6mil), Rafa van der Vaart (5.5mil), Piatti (8mil), Chicharito (6.5mil), Tiote (Newcastle, 4mil) and a couple defenders there to round out 35mil bench budget I figure…

    • Chiu
      February 24, 2012

      I would buy all the Barcelona B team members and allocate the rest of the budget to hire Pep 🙂 LOL. Anyone agree with me?

      • February 24, 2012

        Well the rules for it was that you could only list transfers made within the past five windows at that price, so since none of them have been transfered within the past five years they’d be ineligible…

  40. Roberto Senyera
    February 24, 2012

    Can somebody clue me into the connection between Leo and Lego? I never did get that one. Thanks.

    • Chiu
      February 24, 2012

      I dont know exactly as well, but I started to connect Messi and Lego after a post in BFB that showed lego picture of Messi and CR7. I assume people just consider him as a little kid, then relate him with the famaous toys for kid Lego, no.

    • Roberto Senyera
      February 24, 2012

      I mean, is Messi such an ideal professional that in his spare time he stays at home and plays with Lego so as to pass the time away until his next match or training? If that’s true, at least he keeps his nose clean & out of trouble unlike Rooney, Balotelli, Carroll, etc.

    • blitzen
      February 24, 2012

      It’s something Brooks Peck from Dirty Tackle made up. It’s just meant to highlight Messi’s childlike joy in playing football. As far as we know, Leo doesn’t really play with Lego. 🙂

      • February 24, 2012

        Yes, but its so easy to picture him doing so. Like Bobo sleeping cuddling a teddy bear etc. The media portrays him being so childlike and its odd for me because Messi is older than me..

      • Roberto Senyera
        February 29, 2012

        Thank you blitz. That makes some sense to me now.

      • Roberto Senyera
        February 29, 2012

        Chewee, you’re a good man. My English team is the Arsenal. Barça’s nemesis is RM and Arsenal’s is ‘the Spuds’. Notice, if you will, that both of those teams wear white — hence, the LWBs (in both cases — it can’t be a coincidence).

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