blitzen awards, the bloated luxury liner edition.

A special edition of blitzen awards for you today. See if you can identify the theme! 😉

All Hands On Deck Award: This was a team that came out right from the kickoff looking like they meant business. They were all over the ball and all over the field—Puyol was playing so far forward at times he was the only one in the opposing box! A true team effort.

That Sinking Feeling Award: Real Madrid, who will be going into today’s match with Atletico Madrid with a slim one-point lead in the Liga race and one eye looking over their shoulder at a rampant Barça who are coming very close to taking it off them. Realistically I don’t expect RM to drop points against Pathetico today, but the psychological pressure the meringue players are under right now could lead them to make uncharacteristic errors. Here’s hoping!

The Band Played On Award: Messi just keeps making his sweet, sweet music on the field. Yesterday’s goal put him at 61 for the season, with plenty more goal scoring opportunities to go. Will he crack 70 this year? Maybe not, but he will surely come close. So sit down, Pele! That’s enough out of you.

He’s The King Of The World! Award: If you didn’t tear up when the crowd gave Rey Abidal an ovation in the 22nd minute, you are a heartless beast. First indications (via Rosell and Abi’s wife on his Facebook account) are that the operation went well and both patients are in good condition. Such a relief!

Unsinkable Molly Brown Memorial Award: Ibrahim Afellay, who has today been declared medically fit and available for the team after the better part of 7 months out. Congratulations and welcome back! I am really looking forward to seeing what he can contribute to this team in its current incarnation (did he ever get to play with Cesc or Alexis before he got injured?). Maybe he will even get a few minutes against Levante this weekend?

Full Steam A Head Award: Pedro’s head, that is. What a fantastic header from one of the shortest guys on the team! And from a set piece! Who says we can’t beat Stoke now, eh? Eh?

White Star (Goal)Line Award: To the linesman who disallowed Xavi’s goal after failing to see that at least 75% of the ball had crossed the line. Boo! An Injustice for Football!

SOS (Signs Of Sentiment) Award: I absolutely adore it when Iniesta launches himself into Messi’s arms like that. Like a shot of pure joy to the heart. And after that same goal Pep sought out Tito specially for a big hug as well. This must be the huggiest team in the world. 😀

Stretching The Metaphor Past Its Snapping Point Award: Um, something about Puyol & Mascherano being like icebergs that other teams run into and sink? Yes.

And a special Feliz Cumpleaños to Thiago Alcantara, who is celebrating his 21st birthday today! A round of manitas for all!

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Written by:

Canadian, cule, corporate wage slave. Came late to the beautiful game, but fell under FCB's spell in 2006 and never looked back.

185 Comments

  1. Salia
    April 12, 2012

    For the first time as a Barcelona Supporter In am backing Javier Clemente. Doubt that sporting will get anything from the game though, but you just never know EE could rest players for their CL game against Bayern and Sporting were the team last season that ended Mourinho’s record of home consecutive wins and EE tend to lose against teams that you never would expect them to.

    That said though we shouldnt rely on other teams, we should do our own job first. This is the biggest hope I can give Sporting but I fully expect EE’s lead to be 7 points by the time we kick off against Levante.

    I give Sporting a 10% chance to get anything from this game

    • Ryan
      April 12, 2012

      Alonso is suspended after his yellow card vs. Patetico, so there’s a tiny glimmer of hope…

    • blitzen
      April 12, 2012

      10% is generous. Sporting is awful right now. I would give them a 5% chance of a draw and 1% chance of a win.

    • nzm
      April 12, 2012

      Clemente is feeling the pressure right now from the Gijon homecrowd. The last home game showed large banners in the stands wanting Preciado back. He’ll be wanting something extraordinary to win the backing of the fans.

    • G6O
      April 12, 2012

      We have no choice but to rely on other teams, we are 4 points down

  2. nzm
    April 12, 2012

    FYI for those interested:

    Anseves is a YouTube poster who puts up interviews from Spain’s Canal+’s Informe Robinson programme. Hosted by Michael Robinson (a former Rep. of Ireland International rep), each monthly episode interviews footballers.

    There are some interesting ones about some of the Barca team.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2nqhhyygSw&feature=relmfu

    All in Castellano but, even if you don’t understand the commentary, the pics are interesting enough.

    • ooga aga
      April 12, 2012

      good stuff, thanks for the link.

    • Chiu
      April 12, 2012

      awesome video analysis. love the innovative thinking from Pep.

  3. ooga aga
    April 12, 2012

    just watched the highlights from the madrid “derby” . watching TB’s celebrations…what an utter D.B… such an unlikable, arrogant figure. how anybody can support a team with him as their star and leader…scratching my head.

    • April 12, 2012

      It’s a joke between him and Adan….

  4. Clouseau
    April 12, 2012

    well written piece, blitzen!wholeheartly enjoyed it esspecially the sos award :-))

    loads of good news were released yesterday! glad to hear ibi has been declared fit! must have been tough for him but yeah now he can do what he loves to do…
    wonder if the club consider him as keita’s short term successor? i’m curious to see him start as a b2b centralmidfielder.

    seems that pep’s stubborness comes to fruition since the club decided that next preseason taking place at europe.
    wise decision! would have loved to see rosell’s annoyed face^^
    so in order to fullfill the contract agreement for alexis i guess udinese calcio is a sureshot.
    all after all it is a very beneficial decision for the team since there is a lot of work waiting for pep.

    • Jafri
      April 13, 2012

      Haha, that was pretty funny 🙂

  5. Salia
    April 13, 2012

    You gotta love Maradona. Just makes ripping Pele look too easy.

    This time he’s said that, “My God what a stupid thing to say. Maybe Neymar is the best in the world because Messi is from another planet.”

    Too Funny

  6. Salia
    April 13, 2012

    Puyol Celebrates his 34th Birthday today. Happy Birthday Capita. tryly the heart and soul of FC Barcelona

    • mega_tajh
      April 13, 2012

      Wow look how time flies. When I started supporting Barca he was 28 now he’s 34….

  7. Gogah
    April 13, 2012

    Got Hunter’s Barca book a couple of days back.
    I have designed and applied my own cover on top of it.
    on page 135 now and prolonging the reading as much as possible.

    on another note, happy birthday to Puyol, one of my top 2 favorite players in Barca! May you stay forever young!

    • April 13, 2012

      Can we have a picture of said cover? 🙂

      I agree, the cover could have been a lot better.

    • Gogah
      April 14, 2012

      sure.
      will upload some pictures for y’all to see soon.

  8. Jafri
    April 13, 2012

    Happy birthday Captain!

  9. sd
    April 13, 2012

    Poor De Rossi. What a horrible year he has had. First, he almost joined Barcelona but that did not happen. Then the start Villareal had was just disastrous. Then he tore a ligament in his knee and needed surgery. Started training again and now he tore his ACL (same one or another I am not sure) and is out again for another 6 months. Poor guy. I hope he can continue to play afterwards but 2 knee surgeries will slow a person down. No way can he come back to the same level.

    • mega_tajh
      April 13, 2012

      Was confused at first when you said De Rossi and almost joining Barca in the same sentence, only to read on about about Rossi.

      Such a shame, was hitting his peak also from what I saw of him last season. Would’ve been a hit at the Euros this year, hope he comes back, stronger but 2 ACL tears on the same knee can leave a player mentally scared.

      • barca96
        April 13, 2012

        Man….. And I was on his camp last summer.
        What a poor guy.
        Reminds me a bit of Ronaldo last time.
        Just came back from an injury and bammm another one, the same one!
        Out another year.

        Anims…

      • sd
        April 13, 2012

        Ah yes. My bad. I am not too great with names. Dale Carnegie would be disappointed with me.

  10. VermontAve
    April 13, 2012

    In other news, Giuseppi Rossi tore his ACL AGAIN, in training right as he was about to come back. Completely terrible for the player, but I have to say we dodged a bullet in choosing Alexis over him.

    • April 13, 2012

      🙁

    • Ryan
      April 13, 2012

      Man, he really can’t catch a break. A shame too because he looked so good last year, both for club and country. From scoring goals for fun and being close to joining Barcelona, to not playing any soccer for a full year… that must be rough.

      Still wish he would have chosen USA over Italy though. Shoot, I’d take him, hobbled legs and all, over the forwards we have now!

  11. barca96
    April 13, 2012

    Courtesy of Barcastuff

    Barcelona want to sign a top player this summer. Bale, Van Persie, Javi Martinez and Muniain are the main names on the list

    &

    Barcelona representatives have met a second time with the representative of Atletico forward Adrian (24), who was offered by his agent.

    Is Adrian better than Muniain? Haven’t seen much of Adrian but from what I’ve seen of Muniain since last season, he is on top of my list to replace Villa.

    I haven’t seen much of Thiago Silva either but people keep on saying that he is young but he is already 27 for goodness sake! He is no spring chicken!

    I wouldn’t mind having Javi Martinez playing CB for us and especially since his natural position is DM. He can always switch with Busi.

    So I would love to raid Athletic Bilbao this season. If we don’t buy them, EE will. So why should we have sympathy?! We need to improve our squad. Let EE take Llorente.

    CB – 1)Javi Martinez 2)Thiago Silva
    LB – Jordi Alba
    Attacker – Muniain

    That’s all in my wish list.

    – Barca girl Indo, you alright over there? Where are you? Jakarta? Any tremors there?

  12. barca96
    April 13, 2012

    I don’t understand how EE fans are trying to justify CR7’s goal celebration that it’s an inside joke. If it’s an inside joke, why show it to the world?
    And twice in a week? Twice in a succesion? Twice after scoring goals from distance? Too much of a coincidence.

    It looks more like he is trying to show to the world how he got that much power, from his unproportionate thighs 😆 Right thigh bigger than the left.

    People get booked for pulling up a shirt to show a message in the under shirt but why is it okay to pull up shorts to show skin?
    “Feliz cumpleano Mummy vs thighs”

    • April 13, 2012

      Well, he’s arrogant, everyone (incl. him) knows that. Sure, his celebrations are over the top “ME ME ME”, but who really cares. That’s who he is, and if he scores golazos (which those goals were), he has every right to celebrate in any manner he chooses.

      I mean if he scored a golazo, and then went about celebrating politely, I’d be more surprised.

      • April 13, 2012

        Players who celebrate goals do them in all sorts of ways that would be considered asshatish to opposing fans, or neutrals. Messi mugged for the camera after scoring against Getafe. Alves does a samba. He and Abidal have a little choreographed dance. It’s all part of the game. Do players care how it looks? Nope. Should they? Another story. Is it better that they all just stand there and glower, like someone just spit tobacco on their puppy, a la Balotelli? Nope. That’s bullshit as well.

        More offensive to me isn’t the leg showing, but the face made after the goal, the “Of COURSE I’m that good, beeyotches,” look that makes people admit that he’s a fantastic player, but also a giant douche.

      • Jnice
        April 13, 2012

        The thing I like about our team is that, even when players wanted to do an individual celebration (Alves dance or Messi pointing to the camera). they do it AFTER a gigantic group hug.

        As for celebrations, players can do what they want, but the one thing that bothers me (I’ve mentioned this before), is when someone does all the work for the goal & the goalscorer basically taps it in, but instead of going to give credit to the person that gave them the ball, they go run off on their own or whatever. Can’t stand that. Ronaldinho always used to give credit to those who assisted him & that’s part of the reason I loved him so much.

      • blitzen
        April 13, 2012

        ^ What he said.

        The first, first, thing most of our boys do after scoring a goal is turn around and point at the guy who set it up for him. I love that.

        Then a big group hug, and then there can be silliness like Pique’s 2-2 thing or Abidal running backwards. (One of my favourite goal celebrations from last season was Pedro’s moustache gesture in honour of Manuel Preciado!)

        I remember when David Villa scored his first couple of goals for the club–he did his slide into the corner and pointing to his own number. Maybe someone had a word with him or maybe he just noticed it wasn’t really the done thing at Barça, because it wasn’t long before he made his celebrations more about the team than himself.

        Anyway, I really don’t care if CRonaldo wants to show off his pretty legs. He’s entitled. But it makes me feel a warm glow when I think that the last time Messi pointed to his legs to celebrate a goal, it was in honour of a disabled child. <3

      • kinukinu
        April 14, 2012

        “But it makes me feel a warm glow when I think that the last time Messi pointed to his legs to celebrate a goal, it was in honour of a disabled child. <3"

        ^^^^THIS x1000!

        It's so redundant when TB's celebrations say "look at me" when everyone's already looking at him. His antics make me forget the goal and get dizzy from rolling my eyes and shaking my head.

    • jordi™
      April 13, 2012

      Its not the leg thing, its him imaginary wanking to his own goals.I mean how crass is that, yet a message under a shirt is a card.

    • Jnice
      April 13, 2012

      Downloaded that a few months ago. Pretty interesting.

    • Huckleberry
      April 13, 2012

      Messi would outclass both 😉

    • nzm
      April 13, 2012

      I really enjoyed that – never thought that I would say that about watching Cristiano! 😀

      His power is amazing and the freekick balls are superlative.

      I would still say that he’s missing a mental edge for the big games – no matter what the commentators said about that. He gets psyched out too easily, and it’s all very much in his head. He has ability and skills in abundance to do the job.

      Had to have a wee chuckle about the comments re his running style – I’ve always thought that he runs like a duck. 😀

      • providence
        April 13, 2012

        stop saying good things aba thong boy, we r catalans!

      • nzm
        April 13, 2012

        Credit where credit is due: that’s how I roll.

        I may live in Catalunya but I’ll always be fair. 😀

      • Momo
        April 13, 2012

        Totally agree. Barca fan or not you gotta admit TB will go down as one of the finest pure athletes this game has seen.

      • providence
        April 13, 2012

        jux kiddn… i was jux try to say messi rules

        marca will nt say messi is the best though

        and if its fairness i dun think karanka wud say tb is the best and pele wud say neymar better past messi.

        but still jux kiddnvit makes the blog fun

  13. providence
    April 13, 2012

    where can i get english website of el mundo deportivo or EE’s Marca

    • blitzen
      April 13, 2012

      You can’t. Google Translate is your friend. 😛

  14. sd
    April 13, 2012

    Wenger (stolen from Barcastuff): “The defense is Barca’s weak point. Chelsea’s direct play, free-kicks and corners can cause them problems”

    I am tired of people saying Barcelona’s defense is weak. Sure it isn’t as great as the attack but by no means is it weak. Comparing it to one of the best attacks the world of football has ever seen is completely invalid. No one says Madrid’s defense (which is very good) is weak even though Barca has conceded less goals in them. Apparently having a defense and keeper that have won the Zamora three years in a row and looking strong to get a fourth in a row with having allowed less than 0.8 goals/game (guesstimate since Barca hasn’t allowed more than a goal under Guardiola and allowed more than 0.5) is weak. Apparently you win two Champions League in three years while losing in the semis one year with a weak defense. Apparently being able to play with 3 defenders and outclass most teams is having a weak defense. This is only true when you say the defense is the defenders only but that is completely nonsense. Defense comes from the team. Sure in a conventional defensive sense Barca might not be the best but its not as if everytime Barca concede a corner or free kick its a goal. Even if you look at it from defenders being the defense then having the best RB, two of the best CB, two of the best DMs, and one of the best LBs (when he was able to play) is by no means a weak defense. Equating defense to height and being able to play physically is complete nonsense. Positional awareness, timing and situational control and awareness are far more important. Just like tiki-taka is not the only way to play attacking football (I know! I know! Blasphemy) being able to absorb pressure while conceding space and possession is not the only way to defend. Barca’s defense is rooted in their posession of the ball. Even with very direct teams its not as if Barca are poor. In fact I would wager that were Barca’s defenders asked to play in a conventional defensive system they would be just as successful. Saying Barca’s defense is weak the equivalent to saying that Dani Alves is not good defensively. Its completely bogus.

    My rant for the day. Thank you. Have a good day.

    • nzm
      April 13, 2012

      Maybe so…but I still get butterflies when the opposition gets the ball past half-way, and I have always have to peep at the TV through my fingers as corner kicks are taken against Barca.

      It’s the unpredictability that gets to me. If Alves or Pique aren’t at the top of their game, or Busquets gets his head on the ball to send it any which way except away from the goal, my heart is jumping out of my chest. 😀

      • sd
        April 13, 2012

        I know what you mean. But the rate Barca conceded goals at are probably the same as the other top defensive teams if not lower. Plus I like to think Barca gift those goals to make the games more interesting.:D

      • barca96
        April 14, 2012

        I also think that our defence is pretty weak. Just think about it, the goals conceded rate is pretty high if you take the number of times we are being attacked.

        In a lot of the matches, the opposition score from less than 5 shots.

      • Srini
        April 14, 2012

        “pretty weak”!!

        If the number of times you are being attacked is low, you are doing a fantastic job at defense. Note that possession stats include touches by defenders and their involvement in the scheme of things. It is not as if Puyol, Alves, Pique, Masche, Abidal, Adriano were standing idle when the midfield and the forwardline was controlling the ball.

      • April 14, 2012

        Umm the whole point of a good defense is not allowing shots to happen. The best goalkeeping performances against us may have been when we pepper the goal with shots but they go on forcefield mode, sure, but the great defensive teams don’t allow shots and shots on goal to happen. Chelsea kept us to maybe a couple shots and a single shot on goal at Stamford Bridge, that was an incredible defensive performance. Inter kept us to just a handful of shots, that’s an incredible defensive performance. Blocking and stealing the ball and tackling and positional sense to cut out an attack and all the things that count as defending pretty much, aside from last ditch blocks or clearing off the line, is about not allowing shots to fly towards the goal. Once a shot is released then if it’s accurate it’s up to the goalkeeper, not the defender, mostly.

      • sd
        April 14, 2012

        I think Srini and Outer are making my point than I am. The whole point of the defense is to avoid goal scoring chances.

        I will asume by 5 shots you mean 5 goal scoring opportunities. If Barca are facing 5 good goal scoring opportunities then Barca’s defensive system is not working. This means that the forwards are not pressing well, the midfielders are not holding possession and the defenders are out of position to defend properly. This means that the other team is getting very high quality chances on which they are expected to score on. Even when Barcelona are attacked its not as if they don’t know what to do. Even if it is free-kicks and corners. They get it right just as much as the best defensive teams. Yes I get nervous at corners and free-kicks but thats more because of being a fan. I think if one were to put Puyol, Abidal, Mache, Pique, Busquets in any team their defense would be improved.

        As for Chelsea picking out our defense that may be so but I think Barca will pick theirs out much more easily. I haven’t seen them too much in the last couple weeks but this is what I think will happen. Luiz and Cahill even if they play deep will make it too easy for Barca’s midfield runners to get into the box. With Messi dropping deep and Alexis dragging their defenders their defense which is usually already all over the place (not a straight line, often a slanted line) will be even more spread. With Messi, Xavi, Fabregas, Iniesta the chances for one of them to pick out the other with passes will be high. Unless Chelsea’s midfield drops back to help and crowd the area to take out the angles Chelsea will find it very difficult which is why keeping players wide (the theme this season) will be important for Barca. Pushing their midfield back will also greatly reduce their direct play as long as Masche is sweeping and Busquets is having a good game. I think thats what will happen but what the hell do I know. Either way in Pep I trust and I am sure he will come up with something.

  15. mega_tajh
    April 13, 2012

    Madrid will drop some points 2moro!! I dreamed it and I don’t usually dream about football!!!

  16. TITO
    April 14, 2012

    Interesting stat from EMD:
    RM have gone 12 months, i.e. 36 league games in a row without having a penalty awarded against them!!!!

  17. April 14, 2012

    We need a new post..

    • Ryan
      April 14, 2012

      Right, even just a filler one for the Levante match would be nice. I’m looking forward to see how we deal with them, considering they’re still doing well at 5th place. Ballesteros the man mountain vs. Alexis in fine form should be a fun match up!

  18. April 14, 2012

    Edit: Link removed for content.

    Another footballer died on football field… RIP Piermario Morosini 🙁

    • messifan
      April 14, 2012

      Oh no! 🙁

      Is this link showing the incident? If so, can someone remove it from here? I don’t want to watch it.

      • blitzen
        April 14, 2012

        Done.

  19. hansh
    April 14, 2012

    Hey, hey, guys, I can’t watch the game live today. You know why? I’m going to support my local MLS team instead! So excited 😀

    Also ESPN decided to show this Barca game when they haven’t shown one in forever, so I can watch it recorded! Today is a good day!

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