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!

Categorized as Barcelona

By blitzen

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


  1. Forgive me for posting a link to a story on, but:

    “Former referee Iturralde Gonzalez has hit out at Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho for his ongoing criticism of referees and added that the Portuguese coach has a similarly poor reputation in the countries where he previously worked.

    Gonzalez recently hung up his whistle and the former Uefa referee has not wasted any time to voice his dismay with the Portuguese coach’s behaviour.

    “He has a lengthy history of criticising referees. Just look at how he behaved in England when he was at Chelsea, in Italy during his spell with Inter, or in Portugal with Porto,” Gonzalez said to Ona FM.

    “If you talk to the referees in England and Italy, you know how they all think about Mourinho. Just look at his behaviour there and you’ll realise that what he’s doing now is nothing new.”

    The 45-year-old Gonzalez officiated La Liga matches from 1995 until 2012, but retired earlier this year after a dispute with the Spanish football association.”

    Is anyone surprised? Me neither.

    1. Awwww, I liked Iturralde. He’s gone now? Dang? Will miss his curly top.
      Dispute with the Spanish FA? Did he expect competance or something?

    2. The last game that he reffed was the Madrid-Betis game, and he left the field at halftime with an injury and continued as a sideline judge.

      Struck me as weird at the time. I know that referees can get injured, but still. This event was quickly followed by his retirement.

    3. That blows that he retired. He was the best. He looked like Nick Tortelli from The tv show Cheers, Carlas boyfriend. He cracked me up every time I saw him. Barcas record with him was great. Sorry to see him go.

  2. This run in is shaping up to be the best time of the season, Abidal is fine, Afellay is back, the team is winning, EE is bleeding points and Blitzen awards to have some fun, I’m lovin it.

  3. Firstly, I hope that all our BFBers and family thereof who live in Indonesia are safe. Seems the Tsunami threat is over.

    Yay, Abi and his cousin! May they continue to recover well!

    Yay, Blizen awards!
    “Who says we can’t beat Stoke now, eh? Eh?”
    So does this mean we should sign Rory Delap for throw-ins?

    “This must be the huggiest team in the world”
    I simply adore our hugginess!!!

    Also, I’m so sorry for the BFBers who thought their team was coming to them on tour. BUT, this is absolutely the sanest thing I’ve seen the “powers that be” at Barca do in a while.

    1. I now have a very disturbing image in my head of Iniesta wearing a diaper. I hate you.

    2. Also, a sign that Pep is finally getting his way and Rosell is conceding revenue streams for him so that he’ll stay. Rosell realizes the backlash from Cules worldwide if he was responsible for Pep’s exit.

  4. Chiu,

    Regarding barca’s formation in the last match – very complicated.

    Functionally it was almost a 2-2-3-3. But that doesn’t really do it justice as it was so fluid. Often times it was a 2-4-4. At others a 1-2-3-4 in attack or even a 1-2-2-5.

    I’d say the main take home point on the formation was this:

    There are basically three types of roles in Pep’s system now. Players that provide system structure, players that provide dyanmics and players that mix both.

    The structure in the system yesterday was provided by three players. The key was Masche. He functionally played as a sweeper – but Barca mostly played two deep at the back to make sure they had a 2 vs. 1 against the lone striker.

    The interesting thing is that Masche’s partner in the 2 man deep formation was constantly changing. That was almost a generic spot that other players would need to read and react into moving in. Often it was Adriano which was surprising as Puyol pushed forward so high.

    The other very structural roles in the system were the two wingers who created tactical width.

    Within that 3 player structure – tremendous dynamism, especially between Messi and Sanchez.

    1. “The key was Masche. He functionally played as a sweeper – but Barca mostly played two deep at the back to make sure they had a 2 vs. 1 against the lone striker.”

      Yes. No matter the fluid system FCB played against Getafe, who basically played a 4-5-1, the key was that they played ten men behind the ball. And Pep said, fine, everybody else join the attack. Two to cover their lone attacker. Simple. Don’t waste defenders covering space that’s not occupied by the other team’s attackers. We didn’t need more than two deep lying defenders in that match because of the way the other team decided to play against us.

      I’ve never seen Puyol play so high up the pitch.

  5. Montpellier! Beat Marseille today to return to the top of the table. This is a club that I fell for back in their Ligue 2 days, when I used to go the Stade Mosson when I was in the region on vacay, just because. There weren’t a lot of fans, but the fans that were there were vocal, and committed to their side. It was awesome.

    After promotion, they have been fast improving, and had some sniffs of the top of table last season. This year they have come together very, very nicely, and are looking good to finish top, which would be awesome x12.

    Here’s the third goal:

    1. Ah the French League…

      It was a good game – I did watch it because it was live here in Spain on Gol Television.

      I am watching PSG because of Maxwell. He still has good hair, albeit shorter than he wore it at Barca. 😀

    1. Also, Iniesta as Tintin:

      Oiga, yo les construyo esta pasarela hasta la portería contraria, pero no le digan a nadie que fui yo; digan que fue casualidad, que yo solo pasaba por allí..

      Hey, I will build this gateway to the opposing goal, but do not tell anyone it was me, say it was a coincidence, I just walked by ..

    2. I loved his references about Messi and Oliver Aton. I don’t know if it was as popular in north america as it was in south america, but that cartoon (anime) rocked! It was about a little guy, as little as it gets, from Japan, that loves to play football, and he’s technical and most of the times he beats a big, tall, physical type kind of guy. Here I leave you the first chapter:

      Mind you, it’s for kids, I actually saw it when I was little in the 90’s but it seems like Messi.

      Thanks for the article, Perarnau rocks! When he does one of those unforgettable articles I’ll be sure of translate it and post it here!

    3. Just as a point of interest, “Oliver” is one of the nicknames the other Spanish NT players call David Villa.

    4. It’s after the same “Oliver y Benji” anime that Dani_el is talking about. It was very popular in Spain.

  6. Anyone watching Dortmund – Bayern ?

    Hummels looks the deal. I saw him making atleast 3 crazy ass runs Beckenbaur style

    1. I’m watching, have to say its not up to the hype so far.

    2. Bayern are 3 points behind Dortmund, they need to win, but they are not attacking with full force, the better chances were to Dortmund, generally I’m Anti-Bayern except for next week of course.

    3. Schweinsteiger just subbed n 4 Muller. I like Basten a lot but more of a defensive minded player. Maybe thinking they need to control midfield in order to move forward instead of the supply Muller can provide as well as goals(although less this year)

    4. I love Dortmund. Anytime they’re on GolTv I watch them over any other games on FSC. I think their coach is top notch and should Pep ever leave, he’d be a good fit. Kagawa is the real deal. To bad he just signed extension. His vision is on par w/Xavi & Messi. I’m not exagerating. He has the Vision and touch and makes some jaw dropping passes and thru balls. I’m really a big fan of his.

    5. Announcer said he was signed for 350,000 and is now estimated to be worth 17,000,000. That is an amazing upturn on Dortmund’s behalf, regardless of whether he’s sold or kept to help the team win trophies next year.

    6. Wow. Didn’t realize he’d been signed for so little. What a return indeed. I thought he’d stay. Dortmund have quite a team and their CL form was on par with their early season form. They started slow and it showed in CL. They’ll certainly take experience from it and definitely give a better showing next year. Expect them to get out of group stage for sure. The “German Messi’s” been injured most of year as well.

    7. His vision on par with xavi and messi?haha i think some fans just underrate our players with words like this

    8. His vision on par with xavi and messi?u know u are levelling him with them,right? Why dont u rate him with players of his level like ozil,silva,mata e.t.c..IS HE BETTER THAN THEM?

    9. Have you watched most of his games this year? He has tremendous potential. I’m not under rating Xavi or Messi. I think they’re the best in the world. However, I’ve watched a lot of Kigawa and when he’s in form his vision is as good as both of them. He slips perfectly weighted balls through 3 defenders JUST like Messi and Xavi. I don’t see Silva & Matad oing that. Maybe Ozil when he’s on form. I like Silva a lot but I think his brilliance is his movement w/the ball and lulling defenders to sleep to slip a thru ball past 1 or 2 defenders. He’s not splitting a whole back line. I would take Kagawa based on upside potential then Mata or Silva. He can score more goals and looks to make threatening runs. Ozil is a hard one. Can’t say I would.

    10. Was great flick! No offside I could see. Penalty a killer! WOWWWWW Save. What a game!

    11. Didn’t like Subotic getting in Robbin’s face. Not very sportmanslike. Don’t think he dived. Really tough to tell on replay.

    12. Yeah, I was being harsh on Robben. But Ribery earlier was definitely trying his best DiMaria impression.

  7. Real Madrid want Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic, 28, after the Serbian’s outstanding campaign.

    Full story: Daily Mirror

    I pulled this from BBC Sport/Football Gossip section. First thought? OF COURSE they do! Especially after his haymaker punch to the back of Wigan player over the weekend. Can you imagine Pepe & Ivanovic both on EE. Scary. They could end someone’s career.

    1. I wouldn’t say that. Dortmund are a hell of a team. Barca would have trouble with them. We’d control possession as usual but their counter attacking is SO quick and passing is great. We’d be in for a game

  8. C’mon Pathetico!!! Get that 1st win in 13 years. 13 is their lucky #. Hey, it’s the 13th this Fri.!!! Good Omen

    1. Messiah10.. your reasoning might make Sherlock Holmes proud if Pathetico win..genius i must say..

    1. Ronaldo.. his free kicks are really awesome though he hasn’t scored much this season…

    2. He has scored only 1 this season. At least now he has a 0.025% conversion rate for freekicks…

    3. maths check: this would mean he has converted 1 in 4000 free kicks. oh, i guess that sounds right. 🙂

    1. Commentator Juan Pablo Varsky: “And Coentrao hides from the play saying, “oh no look who’s coming”, and protects himself leaving Falcao alone with an aggresive header”

  9. el tigre equalizes.I dont understand how the hell alonso doesnt ever get yellows.How is it legal to body check the opponent?

  10. It was a penalty in my view. He bundled him over and pushed in his back. That’s a penalty 100%. Was it kinda/sorta soft? Sure. But it was a penalty.

  11. Told you guys to not get your hope up. We have Levante on the weekend a far sterner test. We should focus on that!

    We should only do our part, the best way we can. Depending on teams like Pathetico is too desperate, even for me.

    BTW, great Blitzen awards!

    1. EE needed some absolute stunning goals to break down Atleti, to be fair. At 1-1 the stadium was loud, the players were pumped, and anything could have happened. TB was up to the challenge this time, unfortunately.

  12. 3 goals and 1 assist for TB. He showed up when his team needed him nothing more to say really. 4points as we knew it would’ve.

  13. Tito’s son on twitter:

    Adria Vilanova‏@AdriaVilanova:
    Otro año mas , patetico de madrid , el sporting les gana ajajaj , Bonanit!

    LOL The BlaugranaDNA is too strong in that one.

  14. I don’t know why Atletico even bother playing EE each season – just had them the 6 points every year & save everyone the bother…

  15. After watching the Bayern game, i think they are going to be torn apart by EE. Ribbery + Robben, ie Robbery, were not that good today. Ribbery is such a diver, he makes Di Diver look good.

    1. Well, to be honest, EE was not that good either. Chaotic defending, especially in the first half.

      But even when Atleti didn’t play that bad in their recent matches against EE, they still lost. I think it’s also a mental problem. Last win is like 13 years and 23 matches ago!

      Bayern Munich does not have this mental blockade, plus they might now focus solely on the CL. I am actually more optimistic about Bayern kicking EE out of the CL than us winning the league.
      Because apart from Athletic Bilbao, there is no potentially dangerous match left. And the thing with Bilbao is that they have shown very subdued performances in la Liga, since they outplayed ManUtd I somehow believe they only focus on the EL.

    2. as long as heynckes don’t solve the problem with robbery/gomez they will suffer not progress! robben tendency to always cut inside is nothing new for mourinho and as well his lack of effort to help defencewise gonna be play in for josés plans.
      i fear that lahm gonna have to deal with marcelo and penaldo on his own.

      would wish them to progress but minds says it’s highly unlikely..

  16. Courtois’ positioning is really meh. You would think after being surprised by Messi’s freekick he would stop gambling to one side but hes continued and it cost them again today.Thats the price when your goalkeeper is 19 I suppose.Madrid don’t drop points in the obvious games because of their individual brilliance, so it will take another surprise by a Sporting or Granada to give us a chance because Athletic will dominate the game and lose to a 40 yard goal or a counter attack.

    1. Look back at the freekick. The ball moves so much in the air. It was headed right to the GK but dips right towards the end.

    2. It does. That said Courtois was not well positioned with respect to where he set up his wall. He could have done better but that’s what happens when you play a 19 year old keeper even one as talented as Courtois.

      The movement on the ball was a bigger factor on that second strike, IMO. Courtois was actually positioned to stop it but the pace and movement saw him just miss the ball over his head.

  17. What a packed day of football. So much going on. Dortmund wins an enormous match vs. Bayern that really may have locked in their second straight Bundesliga title.

    Brilliant piece of skill from Lewandowski to score the only goal. Wonderful heel flick.

    Watching that match I was thinking how unfortunate it is that the Clascio’s no longer reach that level of play and how marred they are with violence now.

    Montpellier played just an absolutely wonderful match to pull 3 pts clear of PSG in league one. They are such an entertaining side. Kevin posted the highlight above – but their third goal is just fantastic and Belhanda’s finish was phenomenal. Take a look at that entire move and goal if you can.

    Juve beat a Lazio team that’s been playing very well to move back to the top of the table after Milan’s win yesterday over Chievo.

    And give RM credit. Given recent history, Atleti played fairly well for most the match but then just collapsed after Madrid scored that second goal reverting back to pathetico form.

    Nonetheless-league race is still on. I know people are always wary of Madrid ever dropping points but they have and I don’t think they’ll win out in every non-clasico match left. If they do they will have earned the title.

  18. I didn’t hope much from Atletico for obvious reason.
    And I’m not sure EE will drop any points other than in El Clasico. Sure Bilbao is such an amazing team, but their focus is on EL.

    However, that’s what I thought when they were leading 10 points, that they won’t drop too many points. But football is full of surprise, we never know.

  19. I had hope in Pathetico today. I really did.

    Falcao was beautiful on 55′. Then it all turned sideways.

    We must give credit to TB. His free kick and his strike from open play were extremely sublime. That was the difference. Those were far from ugly strikes. And nobody could ever call TB ugly … at least superficially. Subdermally is another matter.

    However, the same cannot be said of Ozil. He’s not Avatar Eyes as Ray Ray says. Nope. The man is Fish Eyes.

    And dive Maria is a bridge beyond that.

    However, I’m sure those two are beautiful under the skin. And, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    Visca Barça!!

  20. much hopes on the Bilbao- Madrid game. It seems for some reason, everyone thinks thats gonna be a decider. I think there will be more barcelona fans watching than the Madrid – Bilbao fans combined !! 😛

    1. I don’t want to put any hopes up because since last season, when we expect teams to give EE trouble, it will be a walkover.

  21. Here’s yet, another excellent article from Martí Perarnau’s blog. This time written by a third division “10”, and how he learned to run less, to make more damage when it matters, prevent injuries, and learn when to run to prolong his career. Pretty practical:

    It also explains, why the player can resist all of those games, and how the technical staff manages to put him on field without much danger.

  22. And to continue with more worthy football stories, there are some interesting articles in Issue Four of the Blizzard. It’s a magazine that you can digitally subscribe for about $5/quarterly. I definitely recommend this to anyone who’s interested. Plus once you subscribe, you can access previous issues for free.

    This issue has a Barcelona section featuring three articles. One is about Xavi (an extract from Hunter’s book). The other one written by David Winner comparing tiki-taka to bullfighting and today’s political context associated with La Roja and Catalunya. The last article is a brief history of the rivalry between Athletic and Barcelona in the 80s featuring Clemente, Maradona and Menotti (plus political background in Argentina and the Basque Country).

    Other interesting articles include football in Egyptian politics, and a conservation between Didier Deschamps and Jean-Claude Suaudeau on modern attacking football. That dialogue was published in France Football and translated for the Blizzard. They discussed trends in football, specifically on the roles of space, movement and midfield, using Barcelona as an example. Quiet philosophical. There are so many more articles but I haven’t finished reading all of them yet.

    Anyway, I think it’s a good publication and just want to spread more awareness of its existence.

    My favorite article so far is one written by Simon Kuper and David Winner comparing Apple and Oranje a.k.a the Beatles and Johan Cruyff. Sounds fun? Y’all should check it out. Cheers!

  23. Yeah we noticed it too that our bench love to hug.
    It’s like a goal=trophy 😆

    A few days ago I read that many people were writing Chelsea off. I would never do that. It was the same case wit Liverpool last time. They always lose points vs. the smaller teams but when they play the big 4 especially Chelsea, all of a sudden they are unbeatable.

    Same applies to Chelsea and Arsenal. They lose focus vs the small teams but are very strong against the strong teams.

    1. Chelsea has looked bad even when they won this year though, so it’s not just about the losses. I’ve seen them seven or eight times this year and they never looked good.

  24. Let’s not be to harsh on Atletico or regret our hopes for the game. In truth they did put in a fight and dominated some sections of the game. First goal came totally against the run of play and if second goal would have came later a bit maybe Atleti could have scored. At 1-1 the game was very much in the balance. The penalty? I guess correct, but Higuain looked for it and the defender was unwise to offer it: what was the danger in Hig. going to the sidelines there?… I guess they beg for a penalty for so long :))

  25. Are u dortmund fan? they could not even beat arsenal,poor marseille…Fact is they re a poor team,but they ve just been consistent in the bundesliga

    1. Dortmund is a talented team full of young players, much like Bilbao only with less international experience.

      For most of the squad, this season’s CL experience was the first so I didn’t expect much from them.

      If Klopp stays, and if they manage to retain their key squad members (without them being sold for profit or lured away by other clubs), they will develop into a great team.

      They have the talent: they just need the continuity of winning results and more understanding of each other on the pitch as a unit.

      Last night in the dying minutes, they put themselves under pressure by continually giving Bayern back the ball from long kicks, instead of taking it to midfield and passing it around.

      As they mature, both in age and as players, that type of play will decrease and I think that they will be an awesome team in the future.

      The biggest problem as I see it, is that Borussia Dortmund is a publically traded company on the stockmarket which means that there are a lot of shareholders to satisfy. Hopefully, the majority of them are invested into the club as a passion, and not for quick profits.

    2. i read your comment from yesterday, nzm ^^
      sympathisizing with schalke and bvb is pretty uniqué combination! very cool:-)

      as far as i know those stockmarket shareholders do not interfere in all sportive decisions thanks to the 50+1 rule which makes Dortmund the main shareholder. keeping most of their players will be tough but as long as they continue their scoutingrecord and their youth policy they won’t suffer much.
      it’s amazing how r.rauball and h.j.watzke improved their financial positions in short time.
      bvb reminds me of sevilla fc’s past with the only exception that they have gathered more fans uproad and a higher revenuesrate.

    3. Clouseau: thanks for your comments.

      Yes – Schalke and Dortmund is an interesting mix, considering their rivalry – we like to live dangerously! 😀

      That’s really good to know about the BVB share distribution.

      I love Klopp as a coach (also followed him at Mainz) and what he’s doing at BVB.

      Thanks again for the info.

    4. you’re welcome :))

      defo an interesting combo. hehe,can’t wait to hear your opinion about their game on saturday 😉

      following him since his mainz tenure? it keeps getting better and better 😀
      i like klopp too! very lovly intelligent and passionate modern coach! he has chosen his reference wisly..
      i’m very happy for his successes in Dortmund since he was often ridiculed for his time in the”karnevalsverein” and his extroverted behavior/openly mind. now he get’s the recognition he deserved.

    5. Clouseau: Saturday’s match is going to be a humdinger! 😀

      The experience of Schalke vs. the youthfulness of Dortmund! The Dortmund defence will have to keep their wits about them around Raul and Huntelaar. I have a hunch that Schalke may edge Dortmund – given the latter’s big mid-week game vs. Bayern AND that Schalke have the huge advantage of a very vocal and passionate homecrowd. But if Dortmund gets the win, I’d safely say that the season’s Bundesliga Trophy is theirs.

      Yes – as one half of my household is German (thus, I have German in-laws!) and I lived in Berlin for a year, I grew to love Kloppy’s passion and demonstrations on the sidelines at Mainz. So much better than the stiffness of all the other German coaches! Kind of like Pep, Klopp lives and breathes what he does – although I think that he has more fun doing it than Pep who is under so much more pressure to perform well at mythical FCB.

      Messiah10: let’s hope that Dortmund can find a way to keep everything together so that we can share the excitement in the coming years! 🙂

    6. Clouseau,

      Thanks for that info. I’m a big fan of Dortmund. I really like Klopp as a coach and rate him well. Like I said way above, if Pep ever left I wouldn’t mind seeing him at FCB.
      Couldn’t have said it better. They are SO young. Great analogy to Bilbao. IF they stay together I like their odds in the CL over the next few seasons. That’s a big if. So many young talented players with so much potential. Hard to imagine they won’t sell 1 or 2 of them. Makes me wish for old school days when teams stayed together, but then I wouldn’t no a thing about Dortmund b/c they wouldn’t be televised in the states. The globalization of football has some definte down points but more positives from my point of view.

    7. Messiah10: let’s hope that Dortmund can find a way to keep everything together so that we can share the excitement in the coming years! 🙂

  26. Damn Atletico. But at least they kept hopes alive for over an hour. That was beyond my expectations. Way beyond expectations was a 4 point deficit before the clasico, after osasuna game. Glad we’re on our way to that. No room for errors (as usual) vs Levante!

    Say we win the clasico, get to CL final. My question is, would the “end of cycle”, “three year rule” narratives be dead by then, irrespective of whatever happens after the CL 2nd leg vs medieval empire? Or is it over already for most BFBers?

    Cheers to Blitzen awards. Enjoyable as always!
    To add more to SOS:

    I had this comforting dream (or im probably making this up), which went like-

    Its dejavu at Stamford Bridge. Yesss!!! An iniestazo!! I throw a deadly air punch and kill billion air molecules instantly. Got no details of how the goal actually happened. I wait for the replay while Ray Ray screams something like, “Magistraterrestrial!!”

    Meanwhile The pale knight rides to the corner, thumb out of the amber scabbard, in usual action. He does not dedicate goal to Valeria this time, but to the baby boom that just exploded.
    Xavi being closest to Iniesta when the goal happened, leads and the rest follows in pursuit of a group huddle. Suddenly they all stop. Crowd gasps in shock! How on earth??!!!

    A bear! Yes that bear (from the ad) crashes into the field!!! and gives Iniesta a hug! The rest then hugs the bear. Alvez jumps onto the bear but he doesn’t mind. Almost in tears i say, “AWwwwwww” but then the stupid ref sends off the bear. I wake up….

  27. Couple things:

    – The gap with the top spot back to 4 points with 6 games remaining. EE restored the comfy cushion heading into classico next week. I think EE would visit Camp Nou with 4 points advantage given the tiny dot of hope we could place on Sporting Gijon to seize points in Bernabeu.

    – The win in Levante is a precondition for a meaningful classico. We must keep the gap stay 4 points before classico kick off. If we drop points, the significance of 21st April match would diminish considerably.

    – Perhaps now is a bit premature, but allow me to comment about the classico because I’m in classico fever already. With the predicted point difference (4 points), the game plan for Barca would be an easy guess i.e. play to win with our usual style (attack and possession) because there’s simply no other choice either. We must win the classico to increase our probability to triumph in liga. The objective is to slash the gap to a mere single point. With EE having the 4 points lead, they basically can afford a draw. The pragmatic way to achieve that; is by playing defensive, perhaps ultra defensive. I’m sure Mou wouldn’t play open game as long as they don’t require to. Leaving the Camp Nou without losing any points advantage is a huge step closer to end their liga drought. My biased prediction and my objective calculation speak the same; we win the classico!

    – So EE hypothetically would continue the liga race with only 1 point lead. Their very next games would be Sevilla (at home) and away to San Mames. It’s a “silent consensus” among Cules that we put a huge hope Bilbao would take some points off from EE. And then we unseat them from the top in that respective jornada. The capability of current Bilbao and the antagonism of the venue shore up the relevance of this notion. Besides, I’m echoing Cruffy statement; Bilbao need to ensure the qualification for EL next season. They would be eligible if they finish the liga in 5th/6th rank or they win the domestic cup (CDR) or they win this season Europa League. One of the easiest ways as a guarantee is “helping” Barcelona win the liga. So if they lose the CDR final against us, they will still participate in EL next season, regardless the result of this season EL and their final position in liga. By helping Barcelona win the liga, Bilbao will tangentially smooth their passage. And they have opportunity to profoundly influence their own fate by winning or held EE a draw. This would be a win win situation for Barcelona and Bilbao if that scenario materialized.

    – If EE finally win at San Mames and they still lead the table by 1 point, perhaps the only thing we could do is waiting for a miracle. Realistically speaking, hard for me to imagine EE would let the title slip off with only two matches remaining. Though at least we could take this competition alive until the very final minutes, which is the situation we wouldn’t dream could happen when we were 10 points behind. Keep hope Cules! It’s still miles away from over.

    Visca BARCA!

    1. Regardless of the point difference heading into the Clasico, it diminishes nothing for me. We still need to get by Levante which is no easy task. If we do drop points with a draw or god forbid a loss I will say well done EE. You won the league. However, we are still going to give you a beat down because we are better then you. Are players are better footballers. Not only better footballers but better human beings. WE are a family. Are philosphy is superior to yours. We don’t need to buy every big name on the market in hopes of beating you. Our players are genetically instilled w/Barca DNA and no matter if you win the Liga, you will not win the battle for best team on the planet. So let your coach whine and cry and prep the officials before the game. Let your players dive and kick us w/out retribution. That’s the point. WE play OUR football and you CAN”T stop us. Go to sleep thinking of us and have your nighmares.

  28. why is it that Espanyol consistently gives us a better fight than Atletico gives EE?

    1. nothing strange about that it’s still a (true) derby afterall! péricos are both mentally and tactically better prepared always eager to get a result at the end of day they give all they got to get a result or at least to upset barça. they always play their best game against barça

      constrastly to atléti who always get bettered loosíng their hopes from the first minute..

    2. It’s that weird, elusive, difficult-to-define thing called morbo. ATM vs EE just doesn’t have it, while us vs Espanyol has it in bucketloads. Iniesta’s Dani Jarque gesture didn’t do all that much to ameliorate the hatred. They just hate Iniesta a lot less.

    3. Vis-a-vis this game, Atletico actually gave a pretty decent fight in the first half, before being outdone by some Cristiano individual brilliance in the second.

      Espanyol is more fiercer against Barcelona than Atleti against EE because there is an angst among the Pericos that Barcelona has monopolised Catalanism for itself despite Espanyol’s presence in the Barcelona metropolis.

      For years, Espanyol represented those who were comfortable with the integrationist idea as opposed to the Catalan nationalism espoused by Barca. Ideology wise, this is a more conflictual relationship than that exists between Atleti and EE.

      Atleti and EE are differentiated more by their respective managements than by “ideological outlooks” (even in the case of Espanyol vs Barca, it is now overrated). Atleti has forever been the club of the lumpen proletariat in Madrid in some sense and whose ownership has been a symbol of corrupt populism. Although such generalisations are too easy in one sense as well. EE on the other hand is seen to represent the business and professional elite of Madrid with ties with the centralist polity. The “morbo” therefore is not quite there here as compared to the more ideological differences between Espanyol and Barca.

  29. a lot of people thinking different situations where they might loose point apart from the classic .

    dont bother if we win the remaining 6 games we will be the champions.

    The question is can we do it?very much an impossibility. But this team can do it and i know it.

    Thong boy those goals are rockets.

  30. it never fails to surprise me how full of shit actually are. They change their opinion so easily and quickly its not even funny anyomore.

    After the 3-1 clasico when we beat EE in the bernabeu, they were the first ones to come out and say that Ronaldo is a no show in the big games and showed his record to everyone against us so why now is the same writer saying that Ronaldo is deadly in the big games like the Derbies when not even 6 months ago they were saying that he is a Big game flop

  31. So happy about Afellay returning now, we have almost got a fully fit squad , apart from villa who is nearly fit and poor old fontas. Im really looking forward to his directness. Would love to see him a twenty minute run out against Levante , not ready for a start yet methinks. Once he is fully integrated can you imagine the pace and explosiveness of our front line when fully fit
    Lexus Messi Afellay

    Never forget that cross against EE
    Here it is again from Total Barca

  32. i thought that the ball has to cross 100% the goal line in order to be a valid goal, not just 75%…

    so, 5 games left for EE… what hope is left there? let’s see the sporting game, even if is not likely to see them slip it still does not look like a simple walk.

    if we do win the classic my hope is that the result itself would add to their stress! more than ever we need a convincing win!! and i think our players are willing to show who’s still the best!!

    1. Yeah I read that somewher but not on Probably still crying about how we battered Santos in the Club World Cup or he has probably stopped taking his medicine like Pele. Old age you see or like Pele he’s probably jealous and then have the nerve to criticise our Youth system because we lost to some Brazillian team. How would the Youth ever learn if they have never tasted defeat. Thats why people like Pele and this lad are filling up the kids heads and making them arrogant (Neymar) before theyve even achieved anything. Atleast our youth arent finished at 28 like all Brazillians and then return to Brazil

      Oh and how I would love it if Messi won the world cup in Brazil and Pele has to hand him the trophy to lift since he’s captain nowadays

    2. Wow…

      The team has been very successful for the last 2 decades, Messi, Xavi & Iniesta are just the latest products of the system. We won 2 CL trophies, one when they were kids and one with other people leading the team, plus one Cup Winners’ Cup in that period and we won more La Liga titles than Madrid between 1991 and 2008. That’s not successful?

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