Barca 2, Chelsea 2 (2-3 agg), aka “What now?”

In thinking of images that would lead off this post, which will be short, this one strikes as perfect. Because here it is:

Support your club. I know. You already do. Go deeper. Dig like the players did to bring us so much happiness.

When you signed up to be a cule, irrespective of when you signed up, you signed up for this, the same thing that every football fan in the world signs up for: That time when your beloved club just can’t get it done.

And you know what? It’s that time, more than any other time, that your club needs you the most.

You bet the bandwagon is going to get a bit lighter. Next season, there aren’t going to be celebrities sitting in the posh seats, rock stars visiting rock stars. There is going to be a club that didn’t, for the first time in three seasons, win major silverware. And no disrespect meant to the Copa del Reig, but it isn’t major. Not like Liga or Champions League major.

So sit for a moment and think about when you were down, when you were thinking “Man, life sucks,” and the value of a support network. Yes, the players have home lives, friends, spouses, etc that they will go home and mope around. But they also have us. You wonder what this mes que un club business is about. It isn’t about piousness, as some allege, or about this notion held by outsiders that we are somehow more special. It references history, struggle, the club’s place in Catalanisme, the cules who love and support it and the socis who, in effect, own it. It’s a proud, beating heart like that of every club, but with something more. And that’s not just if you ask me. History says that.

And it’s that pride that makes it easy to say that Chelsea played brilliantly over the two legs, just like EE played brilliantly on the weekend. And in both cases, even not at our best, we almost got it done. But it just didn’t happen. And that’s that. So NOW what? It seems weird not contemplating next steps this season, doesn’t it? To be playing out the string, giving young players a run out and exhausted veterans rest, but there it is. Second place is secure, assuming nothing catastrophic happens to EE and we don’t vault our way to the top.

And wouldn’t that be crazy.

So it’s time for rest, time to consider an off season in which moves are going to be made, players are going to come and players are going to go, and we will spend hours and hours debating the value of moves, rumors and other business, how much someone costs and whether that player is worth it. And yes, it’s time, for those that choose, to battle trolls and haters, to remind people that you know what — we didn’t get it done this year. But for three years, we did. And how. That nothing, no matter how much hate someone spouts or bile they can muster, will change that.

For me, I just have a little something for now, about a turning point. I don’t know about anyone else, but somehow, weirdly, it seems right that this club didn’t win major silver without Eric Abidal there to hoist the trophy. Last season, on the Champions League podium, the moment was so indescribably beautiful and poetic, that anybody who got through it dry-eyed is far, far stronger than I am.

Last season was about redemption and unprecedented success. Abidal beat the big beast, or so we thought. Little did we know at the time that he was just delaying payment of the piper, that the club would renew him even as it knew that he would never again prowl that side of the pitch like an ebony gazelle, owning, shutting down and being Le Roi Eric.

When I heard about the transplant surgery, I didn’t think “Shit, now what about the left back slot?” I thought “I hope he doesn’t die. I hope that he beats this, goes home to his family to watch Barca matches on TV, able to actually fulfill his wish to retire with the club that he loves.”

So in a weird way, this season that has taught us so much about humanity, with Abidal, Fabrice Muamba, Piermario Morosini, the incidents that reminded us that life is life, that a game is a game, it’s somehow correct that the most enduring recent memory of this club should be of a player whose struggle and comeback became the story of last season, hoisting the trophy on the biggest club stage in the game and roaring in exultation.

It’s also an elegant bookend to a sequence of amazing, unprecedented successes. So when I think about last season, and this season’s ending, I can’t be anything except proud and joyful to have witnessed this all. We forced the absolute best out of each opponent who laid us low this year. Chelsea defended like lions, took their chances when they had them and had to turn themselves inside out to beat us. And the strength, the power of this club is that we weren’t at our best, its best players weren’t at their best, a key link in the game plan carted off to the hospital after an ugly-looking collision in our box.

We danced, we played our game, we threatened, spurned chances as usual, yes. And what we are left with are memories of glory, and a current feeling of love and pride.

But when I think about the turning point of this season, for me it was when we knew that Eric Abidal wasn’t going to playing left back for us. Emotionally, it was brutal. I cried. Couldn’t help it. The human side of it was awful, even as we are now buoyed by the knowledge that the operation was a success. He loved this club so much that he practiced with the first team, right up until the day of his surgery.

And tactically, returning to the field of battle, a player who wasn’t at all liked when he arrived, reminded with his absence that he is one of the most important players on the club. When he was gone, Puyol had to run more, Mascherano had to run more, spaces were open, danger was more present and holes were found where previously, they were rare. Was Abidal underrated by a lot of cules? I’d say yes, even as I say that he is the best left back on the planet, and not just the best left back for our system.

So physically and from a human aspect, that was the turning point for me. I Tweeted that the season didn’t mean as much for me at that time, that I was reminded of humanity, and life and wanting nothing more than for him to be home with his family. So I can’t be sad about this outcome of the season.

From a broader sense, I can’t be sad because of the absolute, immense joy that this club has brought me, has brought us all. So when you sit, maybe or maybe not daring to watch this match again via digital means, as if there will somehow be a different, happier outcome, think of Abidal, and the teammates who worked like dogs, fought like lions to bring glory to the colors that so many of us wear with pride. Think of a coach who wrung the best from them, until finally, the vast reservoir of genius, magic and tika-taka, was empty.

Think of all that, and don’t be sad. Support your club, and be proud.

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Written by:

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

327 Comments

  1. Xingxian
    April 24, 2012

    On a possibly extremely tangential note, it is painful to think how Valdes must feel after injuring Pique like that.

    A hit like that can easily take a little something away from you forever.

    • nia
      April 24, 2012

      He should feel bad. He should have gave a shout out to Pique that he got it. It’s called COMMUNICATION. Last year he knocked out N’doye from Copenhagen with a similar type of play and both players could have ended up seriously hurt. Good thing that Pique is not hurt and as for VV he needs a little competition coz he’s becoming complacent and has been awful for the past few weeks. I still think he is a good keeper but, i’ve seen him in a differnt light lately. He should have come out sooner for Torres’s goal and he could have sacrified him self for the team and take Torres out for a fk near the halfway mark. He would have got a red but oh well.

      • Richzorz
        April 25, 2012

        All that would have done is show him and the club in a bad light, leave him suspended for next season’s first game and allow Chelsea to progress on the away goals rule instead of by 3 goals to 2…

      • April 25, 2012

        Agree that Valdes needs competition. He’s the right keeper for Barca but he needs competition so he doesn’t get complacent. And let’s be honest, Pinto is nowhere near being proper competition for Valdes.

  2. drexler
    April 24, 2012

    What a game! As a Liverpool fan, you Barca fans have witnessed a truly great team steamroll all for the past 3 years. This defeat is just one of those that’s written in the stars and glaringly where you fell short was where Fate hamstrung the team: Lethal finishing from inside and crucially, outside the box(David Villa) and a calm defender capable of reading the play on the left( Eric Abidal). It’s no coincidence that Drobga, Ronaldo & Ramires all scored streaking down the left. It was often said the the space behind Alves was often the one to be exploited but now it’s both flanks.
    When Messi hit the bar for the second time, i knew the game was up. Another hour more wouldn’t have changed it. Sometimes, it’s just not your day. Tomorrow, i’ll be rooting for Bayern just to stop Jose and co. We Liverpludians haven’t forgiven him yet for telling us to shut up from 2005. A Madrid win will take his ego to unbearable levels.

    • messifan
      April 24, 2012

      Thanks! When I was a kid, the first club team I supported was Liverpool. Don’t follow them much now, but always have an emotional attachment for them regardless of other negative stuff recently.

  3. dean
    April 24, 2012

    Great post, Perspective is so important for fans.
    Posts claiming Pep’s time has come and sell x are really getting old and tiresome.
    Clubs don’t normally go around winning 3 league titles like its nobodies business or making five Cl semifinals and easily becoming the first team to defend the CL. At the end of the day we are expecting a performance from a dynasty, not from a team who is tired, missing key players and while Barcelona has become a fottballing dynasty under Guardiola the burden of expectation has surpassed whats healthy for a team. These two losses have not made destroyed our season, they have just stopped a great otherwise season, from becoming a legendary one.
    We should be grateful for Pep and all of the players for the performance they came up with despite so many injuries. The level they played leading to the classico was nigh unbeleivable, they made what would be a meaningless the title decider.Their performance in the Cl has also been amazing there were so many times in the first leg at the bridge where an ounce of luck would have meant that this 2nd leg would have been elementary.
    But that’s football and sometimes teams like Chelsea can put on a defensive performance that will be talked about for ages, just sometimes messi will miss a penalty that would make Chelsea advancing an unprobable statistic and just sometimes we need to support our team though losses and celebrate there acheivements nonetheless.

    Oh and Calvin pls keep doing liveblobs =(

  4. cuqui
    April 24, 2012

    Wonderful piece, Kxevin, elegantly written and hitting all the right notes. Thank you for enriching all of us.

  5. nia
    April 24, 2012

    What now, i say we regroup, get back to the basics and start again next year. Pep surely owes us now for the poor end to the season, he simply has to renew now and go out on a high. I applaud him for trying new things and trying to evolve the team but, even he has to admit it didn’t work out well. Players were over played, Messi was fatigued. Sometimes too many rotations and sometimes none. Barca played well tonight, got a bit excited after going 2-0 up, should have closed up until ht and regroup so as to force Chelsea to come out in the 2nd half. Things happen for a reason, somehow i was more upset after the clasico than today tbh. Maybe Pep will realise that soo many midfielders at one time in a game needing strikers is not such a good idea.
    On VV, these two legs were the worst he’s played and the play on Pique was just negligent on his part the club should fine him. Pique could have been seriously hurt and VV should have a shout to the defender to move. I would say he’s the best keeper for us but, he’s been dodgy lately. As for Messi, poor Messi, was in tears at the end after missing that pk. This Messi dependency has to stop and has hurt the team a lot this yr. Both Pep and Messi should realise that he can’t play every game. It’s seems they wait for him to do his magic and when it doesn’t work out, the team doesn’t know what to do. I’ve never seen a Barca backline panic like that before, OMG. Oh well we move on. I also have a feeling Barca became a bit cocky and got caught up in the worlds best thing. I say Barca definately need a new CB, LB and a striker and Messi has to get along with them wether he likes it or not. VISCA BARCA!!

  6. VermontAve
    April 24, 2012

    Thank you Kxevin. What this game reminded me the most (after the inevitable cursing/head-banging/throwing things) is how much joy the club has brought me in the last 4 seasons since the ran began. I can make a legitimate argument that they were the best years of my life, and I must attribute at least some portion of it to the weekly (and often by-weekly) displays of beauty we were lucky enough to witness.

    Regardless of today’s outcome, this team isn’t going anywhere, and if anything (as a lifelong Redskins fan) it helped me appreciate what I’ve had. Cue Joni Mitchell ‘Big Yellow Taxi’

    Visca el Barca!

  7. rohitv16
    April 24, 2012

    Gutted just like everyone else here. But, a team with everyone but 4 of the squad members injured at some point during the season.. making it to the Semi-Final of the Champion’s League is just unreal! I think some of us were spoilt by the success of this team and took things for granted. I for one took Abidal’s defending for granted during most part of the past 2 3 seasons. Now that he isn’t around it is striking how much of a difference and how huge of an effect Abidal was to our side.

    Losses are always heartbreaking but we will come back stronger.
    Visca Barca!

  8. Messiah10
    April 24, 2012

    Well said Kxevin. I noticed a trend in my posts on comments section of the live blog. In real time I was typing what I was feeling at the time. After the game I was reacting to comments from other Cules and to my own sick feeling. Now I comment reflecting on a few hours of watching my son play footie and reading Death In The Afternoon. It is funny b/c I turned on the tube when I got home and there were 20 secs left in extra time of the 1st half. We all know what happened next. I watched that play again. My real time posts were anger and frustration over letting Chelsea score a goal before the half. Now I can only feel empathy. I critisized Xavi for forcing a pass, for not tracking back on Ramieres. Now I see he was hurting, no where near his top form and unable to close down on Ramieres before he slipped the pass to Ivanovic. Perspective is everything. In the heat of battle I think a good many Cules let their hurt and frustration come out on comments. I’m one of them. I don’t think it’s an over reaction or being to harsh. It’s not being a bandwagon fan or only caring about silverware. Just a moment of madness one feels from time to time.

  9. tutomate
    April 24, 2012

    Great post Kxevin so true.
    Love this club no matter what.

  10. April 24, 2012

    There’s a lot of ways such a loss can be good:

    1. Can force Pep to renew, since he won’t want to leave on a “low.
    2. Force the team to realize changes are needed; evolution doesn’t happen without losing.
    3. Relieves the mental pressure on our players of having to win every game for the last 4 years. I for one am a little happy the last month of this season is basically meaningless aside from the CdR.
    4. Give a new motivation to players like Xavi, Iniesta and Puyol, who’ve literally won everything there is to win in football.

  11. messifan
    April 24, 2012

    Thanks Kevin for the post.

    At the beginning of the season, I was excited; looking forward to seeing what we could do. We got Cesc and Alexis, both are great players who could offer tactical varieties.

    We started our pre-season with less than a week preparation. The first game against an Eastern European team ended up in a draw. Then we played in the Audi Cup, we did not play well against a Internacional or Bayern. But we won the friendly cup. Then the team came to the U.S. Their first training session was cancelled because they couldn’t practice behind the White House’s lawn. Then more practice cancellations. Then we lost a few friendlies before winning our last match. During that time, we had Pique, Xavi and Afellay injured. The South American crew did not join us. That preseason mirrored our season so well.

    We got off to a bad start and couldn’t recover from it. Does this mean the end of an era? I don’t know. Next season is a test to determine that. However, I think it’s fair to have constructive inputs regarding this team. Pep has made mistakes, players have a few lapses of concentrations. Like Xavi, FCB is unconditional for me, but we must not make losing a habit! Not with a team this talented, not with a team that has the highest wage bill in the world.

    Lastly, I just want thanks the kids, Tello, Cuenca, Sergi Roberto, Montoya, Bartra and others for helping the first team. We would not get this far without them.

  12. April 24, 2012

    For me, no way in hell is this the end of an era? a) what does that mean, anyhow, in the ebbs and flows of a sporting franchise and b) how can it be?

    a) That would mean everyone is old, and about to move on. The only one meeting that standard is …. maybe Puyol? Keita might be sold, but that’s about it. The nucleus, the bulk of this club is intact, but in desperate need of rest/recovery. Euros are coming at a baaaad time.

    b) Not only is the core intact, but there are new parts ready to integrate or be reintegrated, in Fabregas, Villa, Cuenca, Tello, Muniesa, other acquisitions.

    This “end of an era” talk is madness. We are simply hitting the reset button. As long as Guardiola stays, and the stay-home preseason tells me that he will, this club is fully capable of doing the treble next season, provided its key players get the rest and recuperation that they need.

    Remember what happened the last time this club went without major silver in an off season, right? Just checking.

    • elacule
      April 24, 2012

      agreed about the madness of “end of era” blather.

      so much can happen in integration and development of the team into the next version – some things take time and difficulty to refine.

      it seems an evolutionary moment – there is a creative opportunity for them to sort out. i am looking forward to seeing what pep and the boys come up with!

  13. April 24, 2012

    BTW one thing I would like to dispute: the allegation that Pep tinkered too much. There’s two aspects to this, personnel and tactics.

    On personnel, we’ve had so many injuries that I would say Pep didn’t tinker enough. In a health season, Fabregas would not have played when he was clearly tired, Alexis wouldn’t have played half fit, Messi wouldn’t have played every single game, etc etc. So if Pep was forced to play players a bit more or less than ideal, it was because of injuries.

    On the tactics, a lot of people argued against 3 at the back and yes it gave us issues (though I didn’t see anyone complaining when we were beating Villareal 5-0 with 10 midfielders or Madrid 3-1 at the Bernabeu) but if you look at all the great teams in the past, they got figured out and died a natural death (Ajax, Milan etc). Pep was trying to guard against that by staying one step ahead of his rivals. In 2008-09, he introduced pressing to our game, in 09-10 he introduced Messi as a full time false 9, in 10-11 he made Busi a half DM/half CB and pushed Alves even further forward, and this year he tried playing with 3 at the back. Ok we can quibble with the execution but I am completely behind his tinkering because it means he’s thinking about the future and not just resting on his laurels.

    • messifan
      April 24, 2012

      Agreed that we have to tinker and not letting others catching up. Agreed on the personnel problems. However, at some point the experimentation should stop. I don’t want to repeat myself from prior posts. But Pep doesn’t have infinite time. In my opinion, yes we should experiment, but try to find a formula before a crucial moment of this season. We didn’t find that this season irrespective of other issues.

    • messifan
      April 24, 2012

      I’m listening to your music right now. Thanks!

      I guess tonight, FCB is taking over my life.

  14. elacule
    April 24, 2012

    thank you, kxevin,

    very well said.

    it’s been on my mind, too, that the loss of Abidal on the pitch and in the dressing room has been having a very layered, important effect on the team.

    i feel sad for the players who work so hard and well to win in a context that ends up demanding almost the impossible from them. it must be hard to come into that kind of pressure day – after week after month after year after year (…) but they have done it so consistently and beautifully that some people didn’t even know it could possibly be different. pep’s comment to them (“welcome to the club” with a smile) was so perfect.

    frankly, i’m amazed by them. so thankful for the joy, entertainment, inspiration and healing i’ve experienced from watching them live so passionately on the pitch.

    the last several years i’ve had a neuro-immune illness that makes me pretty much housebound. after losing home, job, independence, the ability to participate in life, and most of the time feeling really awful (pain, cognitive problems,fever for 3+ years, etc.), it was hard to find much to celebrate. never any kind of sports fan, it was kind of strange when i first saw barcelona play, and became so attracted to their style and grace. getting the hang of the different competitions, learning to find streaming matches because we don’t have La Liga on tv, starting to read about the players, the process, tactics, etc., it brought me back into the world gradually.
    this is the first time “my barca” has lost significantly. it makes me appreciate them all the more. tomorrow my life will still be constrained by this illness, but it will still be enriched by this “mes que un club”

    i’m still gonna watch the last few matches of the season. just love to see them play.

    hoping their hearts aren’t too broken, and that the announcers can pull back from endlessly discussing the end of an era.

    it was nice that torres said “This is the end of an era for Barcelona? No, this team can continue to win for 15 more years.” and some other respectful words. it made me consider that maybe his months of drought have made him more humble and interesting as a person.

    well, i know this is kind of rambling, and it’s just one more person’s story of connecting with barca. not really remarkable, but my heart feels in it for good.

    hope everyone gets some rest and enjoys what else life brings ~
    good night.

    • April 24, 2012

      Hey, I said that I wasn’t going to cry today. Stop that! 😀

      Thank you so much for sharing, elacule. It’s always difficult to know what will bring a disparate group together in a way that can facilitate not only bonding, but bonding in a way that makes you feel as though you know the people, even though you have never met. It is this group that elicits those kinds of feelings, and I think (hope) is one reason that the family keeps growing.

      I have only had occasion to meet a few of you, and those occasions have been like picking up a friendship in person, particularly with Isaiah, whom I spent a night with at a women’s roller derby meet (no, I’m NOT kidding).

      Sport can elevate, it can give meaning to something that sometimes doesn’t make a lick of sense. Or it can simply take our minds off of whatever might be going on in our lives.

      Your comment isn’t rambling. Not at all. It’s heartfelt, and makes me so happy that anything we do in this space can bring you joy. Thanks for being part of the family.

      • elacule
        April 24, 2012

        (i’m a bit teary, too.)

        thank you for your kindness and welcome.

        the consideration expressed by folks here is easy to appreciate – not as much of the knee-jerk stuff, although those folks show up some, too.

        btw, roller derby sounds like an excellent way to spend a night if you’re not watching Barça! why not? it’s exciting and fun.

        you’re right about sport – after a lifetime of being an anarchist, farmer, chef, scientist, & whirling dervish, it still surprises me how much i didn’t “get” about life in the world that’s really well delivered through the experience of sport.

        seems pretty cool how much life can bring us, if we can be open to it showing up as it will.

    • April 24, 2012

      Thanks so much for sharing, elacule. It’s the first time I’ve seen you comment so allow me to welcome you to the BFB family!

      Sports are so fascinating. They can make you feeling like you can fly one day then make you feel like sobbing the next. We’ve been so lucky to have a team that’s given us the feeling of the former so many times.

      Now it’s our turn to stick by them. And why not? It took crippling injury and injury to just contain them. We’ll be back next year!

      • elacule
        April 24, 2012

        thank you for the welcome, Kari, and for your kind words. you’re spot on about sticking with them – they would have a hard time getting rid of me, that’s for sure!

        do you all sometimes wish for a way to do something lovely for them – to reflect appreciation for all the joy they’ve brought so many people? a post card seems kind of silly. 🙂

        ~with best regards

    • tiaali
      April 24, 2012

      Your story has touched me, elacule, and it is remarkable. I wish you well with your illness (my sister has MS, so I know a little of what you might go through).

      I’m identifying mostly because when I discovered Barça I was barely ‘waking up’ to life, after a lifetime of living with a mild depression that I didn’t even know I had. I’ve had to work hard to overcome it, to discover myself and to start getting in ‘touch’ with my feelings, some of which I didn’t even know existed or that I was able to feel. These past 3 Barça years have also been the years of my emotional awakening, and what a ride it has been! Barça has been an important part of it. I never imagined that I could love a sports team, and that I could be interested in football tactics, stats, players, etc.., and that I could be anxiously waiting for August to arrive so that the season could start. Who could have imagined? To make a long story short, there have been a lot of things that have enriched my life in these past 3 years, and Barça has been one of them. I, too, will keep following them because I am now a culé, a new one, yes, but a culé through and through now. I knew that already, and today, after the match ended it, I confirmed it.

      Best of luck to you and Visca el Barça.

      • elacule
        April 24, 2012

        thank you so much, and greetings to you, tiaali ~
        what i have is much like MS, so you do have a good idea, i’m guessing.

        thank you for sharing your story, too. this club is so much more, and has a special way of interacting with people on the journey of life. the way they treat each other, other teams, the fans, the public through their charitable focus, their focus on the strength of catalan culture – it’s really amazing, isn’t it, that we can even connect with that energy and feel the healing power of it.

        when people get mad at the players, it always surprises me – because i feel like they are giving so much and showing things all the time about being alive. they don’t need to be perfect for me to deeply enjoy and appreciate them. how can anyone not be affected by these people?

        truly, visca el barça!

        i’m so glad to be here with you all.

        • tiaali
          April 24, 2012

          Sorry! Don’t mean to take over this blog, but I have a quick story to share related to what you say, how ‘this club has a special way of interacting with people on the journey of life’. I was very blessed to have been able to go to Spain this past November and was at the Camp Nou at the match vs Zaragoza (was also at the one vs Getafe, in Getafe, but who wants to remember that one!). I felt kind of intimidated before we got there because, after all, the people at the stadium are ‘true’ culés, people who have been socís all their lives, right? Well, I bet half the people there were just like me, people from all corners of the world who just wanted a chance to see this phenomenon at work, and to experience this magic at least once in their lives. I couldn’t have felt more proud. The atmosphere at the stadium was festive, but more than that, it was one of respect. When the hymn played, when they announced the players, clapping respectfully when someone did a good play, the Messi chant when he scored or shouting at the refs, or at the other team, but always in a sort-of subdued, respectful kind of way; never rowdy or wild. When we visited the museum and the mega-store it was the same. Everyone was helpful and, if not warm, at least very courteous (something which I cannot honestly say about most people in Madrid). I know a lot of people do not identify with this philosophy, but I do, and it gives me great pride to identify myself with a team with those values, which go way beyond winning and losing.

          Good night all!

          • elacule
            April 25, 2012

            tiaali ~

            i’m so glad you got to have that beautiful experience, and that you could share it with others there, and with us now. thank you for telling the story, and for sharing yourself and what is meaningful. best wishes in your continued embrace of life!

    • messifan
      April 24, 2012

      Beautiful story! Thank you for sharing.

      Messi pulled me into this team and the rest has convinced me to stay.

      For this fan’s selfish reason, Pep has to stay because I’m going to see Pep’s team play next season at the Camp Nou.

    • rajg
      April 24, 2012

      Thank you for sharing your feeling elacule. It makes me more proud of following this club when I come across fan like you.

    • jordi™
      April 24, 2012

      :’)Thanks for sharing and can I just say that I think you are an inspiration with your outlook on life.

    • Dani_el
      April 24, 2012

      Thanks for sharing this Elacule. Truly inspiring your love for our club. I believe that this club gets together people with similar values and attitudes about life. Your strenght is truly remarcable. I hope you get better soon, and a lot of “fuerzas” from Peru. Best of luck.

    • Puppet
      April 25, 2012

      You’re wrong about one thing, elacule. Your story IS remarkable, as the multiple responses can attest. Again, thank you for sharing something so heartfelt and personal, and reminding me what this wonderful club can bring.

      And a heartfelt thanks to the team for giving us such a good season. Not perfect, but filled with beautiful moments and performances that won’t be forgotten. Here’s to a few more good showings as the season comes to close, and another season that sees us continuing our fight for glory.

      Visca Barca

    • Blau-Grenade
      April 25, 2012

      Elacule, Thanks for putting a different perspective on the loss. Great to read your comments! Look forward to reading more of your comments.

  15. tiaali
    April 24, 2012

    I started following Barcelona because of their brilliant style of play, but I became a culé because I quickly realized Barça is ‘més que un club’. This post sums up exactly what that means.

    Let there not be any doubt: We will be back. With Abi always in our hearts, with the new players, hopefully with Pep & Tito, maybe without some of the players that have already made history and surely without a lot of the band-wagoners, but we will be back stronger and wiser than ever, because we are exactly that: ‘Més que un club’.

    Thank you, Kxevin.

    Visca el Barça!

  16. April 24, 2012

    I said in last season’s review that no matter what happens this season, I’d just remember Abi lifting the trophy after a monster match on the left and all the negative feelings would go away with a poof. I mean, what could possibly top that?

    But I’m not gonna lie, I’m gutted. So, so close. If only we were fitter, concentrated for a couple of minutes longer…. we’d have a shot at being the first team to win b2b titles. But if I’m that sad just imagine how the players feel. CrushiCrushing I guess it just isn’t right to get to a final with a battered by injury squad missing key players like Abi, Villa, Piqué….having Messi carry us all the way to the final.

    The team owes us nothing. Bandwagoners will be hopping over to Madrid or Munich (good riddance!). We’ve become human again. Expectations will be lower. We can just enjoy a game instead of being spoiled brats obsessed with results….

    But forgive me for still being disappointed. 🙁

    It’ll take me a bit to get over this. Too competitive for my own good.

    One caveat : we won the World Club Cup, officially becoming The Best Team in the World(TM), and that matters. To me anyway.

  17. Humphrey Bogart
    April 24, 2012

    Thanks Kxvin nobody can put things into perspective like you, in encouring, but als hard way. Still remember your aka after we did go out against Inter and you said you are happy that we did not go through after what happened to Busi, A hard, but fair stance at the right time.

    and today again, the right words to give peace to all the cules heart in disray

    Most important thing is now pep and his decision. Either way there must be an end to the uncertainty, therefore we can start to plan the next season and then we wil be back

  18. jordi™
    April 24, 2012

    I approve of this post.It definitely hurts, not to go out, but the manner we did. However when the dust settles we realise that for even a season like this most fans of other teams would bite off our hands to experience these highs and lows.

    We’re in the 5% of clubs that compete at the top and play an aesthetically pleasing style to boot.The day will definitely come when we wish we were in the mix for European glory in late April and May.We lost our first two finals in devastating manner, took 14 years to reach another final, after finally winning one in 1992 and now we appear in the final every other year.That level of growth is incredible.

    It can get better or worse.Since I don’t set limit for this club, Ill lean towards the better always, but even if not it will always be our Barca.

  19. James08771
    April 24, 2012

    First of all, I just wanted to thank you Kxevin for being a leader in this lovely BFB community. This post definitely summarizes our feelings and you never fail to put things in perspective. Thank you, sir.

    I also wanted to thank everyone here, even those who just read the posts (like myself), for making this community what is. In my social circle, I am the only football fan so I literally have no one else or no where else to learn more about our club. Although I don’t post often, it’s only because there are so many knowledgeable Culés out there who make outstanding arguments and comments here that I can’t help but to read and absorb. You guys are amazing and I’m so grateful that we’re all so proud of our club. Together, you guys have made the best community for FC Barcelona fans.

    It’s funny, when I watch a match, I’m so filled with emotion. I scream, swear, cheer out loud, do celebratory fist-pumps, etc. Although a lot of that has to do with beer consumption, I really should ease up on the theatrics as I’m the only one watching the matches in my tiny downtown Ottawa pub. But after the last two matches, I just didn’t say a word. To be honest, I felt so bad for the players. They have gone through such a tumultuous season, with grave illnesses, long-term injuries to key players, not to mention almost everyone suffering an injury at some point. It really is remarkable that they have gone this far to be within a shout of another historic treble season. I really don’t think any club in the world would get this far given the circumstances we’ve been forced to endure.

    Looking back, while the season isn’t exactly finished yet, I’m so thankful for the great moments and memories this season has given us. Seriously, I’m never going to forget that we went into the Bernabeu twice this season and came out victorious. I especially loved the 1st leg of the CDR quarter-finals. Those goals from Puyol and Abidal were legendary! Remember the Gijon match at the Camp Nou we played without Messi? Each goal we scored was crucial and amazing. How about Messi’s 4-goal night at Camp Nou against Valencia? How amazing was that match considering that we were actually losing 0-1? How about the wacky 5-3 against Granada when Messi broke the club’s all-time goal record? It was an incredible match filled with pride and emotion. And of course, my favourite memory of this season, the CL rubber match against BATE Borisov when we gave our kids a run-out and they replied with a thrashing that garnered applause from the entire first-team. What other club can boast such an achievement?

    We have so much to be proud of. We have a group of players who have accomplished an absurd amount of success in the last 4 years. Even if the bandwagoners abandon them, I know we all certainly will not. Let’s continue supporting these living legends, because that’s what they are. Let’s continue enjoying each match and discussing it in the LiveBlogs and comment sections. Let’s continue to cherish every special moment this club gives with their unrivaled dedication to hard work and adhering to the club’s philosophy. While the club hasn’t achieved the season’s objectives, I know that as Culés, we certainly have. We supported this club through everything and we are still proud. To all of you, all I can say is, Molt Gracies!

      • James08771
        April 25, 2012

        Thank you for coming on to share your Barça experience with the community. I love hearing how people made their decision to join this journey, as Blitzen puts it. I’m so happy to know that this club brings you joy amidst circumstances I couldn’t even begin to understand. Thank you again, elacule. I look forward to reading more of your contributions.

  20. rajg
    April 24, 2012

    Thanks Kxevin for writing such a beautiful piece. After reading it I really felt better 🙂

  21. blitzen
    April 24, 2012

    Kxevin, you idiot. You made me cry. Dammit. 😥

    Pep said it best: “What do I say against the Barça fans who cry for the first time tonight? Welcome to the club…”

    You want to be cule, you sign up for the heartbreak as well as the glory. And oh, was there heartbreak tonight. Poor Leo will be crying over that PK miss for some time to come.

    All I can say about this club: After such a season full of injuries, setbacks, and immense fatigue, they still gave everything they had in every competition. Playing every 3 days for 4 years (and more for many) has taken its toll. No one can win everything forever.

    Tomorrow the deluge of “end of an era” opinion pieces will hit, but it won’t make a difference to me. This is a historic team that given us something incredibly beautiful and a lasting legacy. Their story isn’t over, just evolving. They have much much more to give us in the future. I look forward to the journey.

    Like I said on twitter: Barça today. Barça tomorrow. Barça for the rest of my life.

    • Humphrey Bogart
      April 24, 2012

      you know what: I can not wait that all those “experts” write us off like they did after Inter. We did come back stronger and we will come back stronger again.

      Once Barca, always Barca

  22. nia
    April 24, 2012

    What i’m also proud of, is how the fans kept faith with the team and how after torres scored and they knew that we were definately eliminated, screamed and cheered the team even louder. Brought tears in my eyes it did. I think now we can appreciate Barca even more and the effort it took last 4 yrs to play like they did.

  23. Ah, I like this page much better than the previous one..
    Too many absurd comments back then, though it’s understandable because people wrote right after the final whistle.. plus some ugly trolls..

    And I have to say thank you, Kxevin, for put things into perspective. It’s beautiful, honest, and sad at the same time.
    Like a wise cule said :
    Disappointment is a part of life. Discouragement is a choice.

    Sad, hurt, disappointed, gutted. Yes. If you love this club, that’s how you feel.
    But if you’re a football fan for a long time, you should’ve known from a long time ago that in sport you win some, and you lose some. Doesn’t matter how great you are, you’re still gonna lose some. If you know how to win, then you should know how to lose.
    I’ve made a promise to myself last year, that I will never let a football result take happiness and health from my life.

    Nothing’s change for me, I still say : ser del Barça es, el millor que hi ha.
    Being a Barça fan, is the best there is. Never ever I regretted my decision to support this club.

    I want Pep Guardiola to stay for many years to come.
    I love our coach, our players, our club, with all my heart, no matter what.
    And how fantastic the Camp Nou crowd last night? So proud of them.

  24. Dani_el
    April 24, 2012

    Thanks for this post Kxevin.
    Well this had to happen sometime. You can’t always win everything. Football is all about details, says Pep most of the time. A couple of “palos”, a good call on offside. It happens. Still, like Cesc said, we died with our philosophy, which doesn’t mean we can’t get a plan “b” for next season, as Ramzi points out.
    I only wish for Abi, Villa, Ibi, Fontas and Pique to recover and stay healthy. For this space for us to keep growing. Thank you all for this, to be able to share our love and pride for this team is awesome.
    I hope Pep can realize he has much to offer yet to the club, and renews soon. And I really expect Rosell gives him whatever he needs. He’s vital for our club.
    This was tough, but #nos levantaremos (#we will rise up from this).
    I know so.

    Visca el Barça!

  25. messifan
    April 24, 2012

    OFF TOPIC!!!

    Some are criticizing Valdes for the last few games, how did he play today? I don’t have the heart to watch this match yet, but I heard that he and Pique got into a collision that resulted in Gerard staying in the hospital.

    He’s been inconsistent compared to last season. Some have said it was due to us not controlling the game, thus putting more pressure on our backline and Valdes. But I’m wondering if the new first team’s goalkeeping coach has anything to do with VV’s performance? The last few years, Busi’s dad was the coach, now he’s with the B-team.

    And speaking of Busi, he scored his first goal of the season!!! (IIRC). Congrats to him.

    Now, I’m interested to see how we approach Sunday’s match against Rayo. Their stadium is the smallest in La Liga and their fans are fantastic. It should be an interesting match. Maybe Leo will get a rest at last along with Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets and Puyi. But can we afford to play kids after losing three straight matches?

    • April 24, 2012

      I think Pep should play a full-strengh team. Ok right now it LOOKS as if La Liga is over, but it’s not over. Real Madrid C.F. is highly unlikely not to pick up the six points it needs from its remaining 4 games, but it’s not impossible. Imagine how horrible it would be from a Barca point of view if Real Madrid C.F. actually dropped points but Barca didn’t take advantage? Until the Liga is mathematically decided, you should play your full strength team because you never know.

  26. April 24, 2012

    Another top article from kxevin. I heard that after the match, some reporter asked Guardiola what he would say to a young Barca fan crying over a major-trophy-less Barca season for the first time in their short life (seeing as how Barca have been winning everything for the past few seasons). And he said something like “Welcome to the club. You will cry more. No team keeps winning forever.”

    Therein lies the reality for Cules, especially the millions who jumped the bandwagon in recent years. After this season, your club will lose a lot of bandwagon fans. Some will jump on the Real Madrid bandwagon. But look around you, now and during the offseason, look at those people who don’t desert the club. On this blog and elsewhere. And you will know who the true fans are. Remember them. Failures like this season have a purpose; it is to seperate the true fans from the rest. Right now this might sound trivial to you as all you wanted was to win trophies. But this is an opportunity.

    When I comment here I often relate your current predicament to my experiences as a Real Madrid supporter. After the 2003 Liga when we didn’t win anything for a while, we lost a LOT of bandwagon fans. I’m glad we did, because it was then that I learned which of my Madridista friends were actual Madridistas, and which ones were glory-hunters. That time has now come for Barca.

    On an unrelated note, I wish you would stop referring to my team as the Evil Empire. At least as a mark of respect. You don’t have to like us, you have every right to hate us if you want to, but you can try and respect us. Over at RMFB, yes we have some commenters who use terms like UEFALona etc., but our writers and regular commenters refer to Barcelona as… well, Barcelona. Or Barca. It’s a sign of respect.

    Otherwise, I generally agree with what people have been saying here. Your team has had a sublime run, but it has had some weaknesses exposed. You need to find a solution to your Messi-dependencia, just as we at Real Madrid C.F. need to find a solution to Xabi-dependencia. You need to reconsider the small-squad philosophy, as it’s something that only works when you have good fortune with injuries. And generally Pep needs to find a Plan B – yes yes I know this has been overstated and overanalyzed… but that’s because it’s true.

    Anyway you guys have had a fantastic, unbelievable run and this Barca team has cemented its place as one of the top 3 club teams of all time. That’s a ridiculous achievement when you think about it. When you feel sad or down, think about the fans of all those proud teams that never win anything. Valencia, Atleti, Bilbao, etc. etc. You don’t have it that bad. It’s not like your entire team forgot how to play. They failed this season that’s all. It seems like the end of the world now, but come next season you’ll be joint-favourites to win La Liga and the CL again. Cheer up, it’s not that bad.

    • Humphrey Bogart
      April 24, 2012

      might reconsider the term EE, but only after a certain Sauron leaves his tower in Bernabeu, and a true Gent like Pellegrini or VdB return.

      • April 24, 2012

        Mourinho is not Real Madrid, and Real Madrid is not Mourinho. I love him as a coach and I like his outspoken, honest nature… but like any other Madridista I’m sometimes ashamed by his words and actions.

        You can’t brand an entire club (“club” includes players and fans) based on the coach’s behaviour. If I were to brand Barca based on the antics of Busquets or Alves, it would certainly be something derogatory. But while I hate those two players, I prefer to think of PUYOL, Iniesta or Xavi as being representative of what Barca stands for. Positive thinking, even when it comes to your biggest rival.

        • Humphrey Bogart
          April 24, 2012

          You are right, but for me Mou did go to far when he said that Barca is not good enough to win anything by its own merit. That was so disrespectful. Does Barca benefit from ref calls sometimes? Sure. Is it the only team? are you kidding me. Just 3 weeks ago CFC did beat Wigan by 2 blatant offside goals, was it conspiracy, no just dodgy decision.
          But due to Mou every game FCB wins is only down to refs, when RM had it’s own share of decisions going their way

  27. The worst part of last night that from the hour mark, you feared this would happen. The team was a bit guily over playing passes from minutes 50-75. But then that kind of things happen.

    “End of an ERA” talks are nonsense. Next season would be good – Mascherano, Messi, Sanchez, Alves etc will get their deserved rest in the summer. But I am a bit worried about the Spanish stars. I think Xavi should skip Euro because he is seriously struggling with that injury.

    What the last match showed was the value of Abidal ina three man defense. His pace would have been essential in the last three match.

    • April 24, 2012

      “End of an era” talk is certainly nonsense. If you suitably reinforce your squad next season, you’ll be perfectly fine. It will be more difficult for Barca to win than in previous seasons because Real Madrid have a very young squad that is developing chemistry and becoming better, and after this season will also develop belief that it can beat anyone anywhere. But Barca already have all these things, all you need is a few strategic transfers and a bit of flexibility in your playing style.

      There’s no “end of era” business because Barca hasn’t suddenly become a bad team. Where R.M. are concerned, they have caught up with Barca after a few years of being well behind. But next season, if you make the right transfers, our teams will start on an even footing.

  28. This was a gutting loss, and it’s perfectly natural to feel sad about it, to roll through a series of what if’s “What if we’d had … Villa, Abidal, Afellay, Piqué for the whole game?” “What if Messi hits the PK?” “What if just one of those missed chances at Stamford Bridge goes in?” Trust me, as a Cleveland and Seattle sports fan, I’ve been down this road many times.

    But there’s a difference here. The glow from all the triumphs of the last 3 years dulls the sting of this defeat. No amount of “Fin Del Ciclo” bloviating from English and Madridista wankers can take those 13 trophies or Barça’s place in the Pantheon of all-time greats away from us.

    It’s natural to wonder and worry about such things, but we must try to resist the temptation. The nucleus of the team remains strong, with Puyol and Xavi the only key outfield players over 30 (and since Xavi doesn’t rely on raw speed and athleticism, it’s realistic to think he could make like Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes and still be great well into his 30s.) And of course there’s the veritable mountain of young talent on its way from La Masia.

    Adjustments need to be made this offseason, but they are just that, adjustments. Not full-scale overhauls of the roster of the system. A genuine Etoo-esque goal scorer, a left back to replace at least some of what Abidal provided (unless some Abidal clone exists somewhere), maybe another center half for depth? These tweaks won’t be a a slam dunk, mind you, but neither is the team in shambles.

    A better preseason, more and better squad rotation, hopefully better luck with injuries… chin up. 2012-13 is a new day.

  29. Humphrey Bogart
    April 24, 2012

    torres: Barca best team of the world. Sorry I am not a friend of that kind of backhanded compliment and media phrase. If you do not think so, best say nothing at all

    • messifan
      April 25, 2012

      Hmmm…I always think of him as genuine person. So I’m inclined to believe that he meant what he said. Watching him struggle since the World Cup and seeing him bounce back makes me happy. Yes, he’s a millionaire, but it’s very rare nowadays to see someone who’s been very professional and never complained about anything despite a lot of obstacles. A player like him will always have my respect.

    • jordi™
      April 25, 2012

      Hes praised us since the last years tbf.Plus he won the world cup and euros with many of our players.He knows what its like to be playing with the side trying to break down 10 men behind the ball so I dont think he was being disingenuous.

    • hansh
      April 25, 2012

      Although I haven’t seen/read any of Torres’s post match quotes, I’m guessing that he sincerely thinks Barca is the best team in the world. Sure, his team beat Barca, but there is a difference between being a better team overall and being the better team on the day (or two days), and I’m sure Torres knows that well.

  30. April 25, 2012

    Some numbers/facts:

    CL 2006-07 group stage:
    CFC 1 – 0 FCB
    FCB 2 – 2 CFC (CFC equalized in injury time)

    CL 2011-12 semis:
    CFC 1 – 0 FCB
    FCB 2 – 2 CFC (CFC equalized in injury time)

    Struck the post 4 times over the 2 legs.

    Have had a player (opposition & us) sent off in each of the 4 CL semis since Pep took over.

    Record in CL since 07-08:
    07-08: Knocked out in Semis
    08-09: Won
    09-10: Knocked out in Semis
    10-11: Won
    11-12: Knocked out in Semis

    For the 7th time this season, we’ve drawn 2-2. (EE x2, RSOC, ACM, VAL, ATH, CFC) – the season’s most common scoreline (mode in statistical terms).

    For the 5th time this season we’ve conceded a 2 goal lead. (RSOC, EE, BET, GRA, CFC).

  31. DumbOx
    April 25, 2012

    Thank you, Kxevin. What a poignant and inspiring post. As every one have said, you pretty much summed up what every true cule is feeling right now. And how wonderful it is to read so many touching stories on this blog — that’s what makes this community special. Like many others, I feel less compelled to post because so many intelligent comments make me pause and think deeply and think again. For many of us, we seek solace and companionship on this blog. My family loves football, but is not as passionate as I am with Barca; I consider myself lucky to have their support for putting up with my high highs and low lows. This community has been my companion throughout the years and will forever remain grateful for that sense of kinship, camaraderie and brotherhood I feel whenever I read all the comments. I may not be a frequent commenter but have always been a faithful reader and follower.
    Tonight, it’s hard to swallow the bitter pill of defeat. But this team has touched so many people’s hearts and have inspired the young and the proud. At my daughter’s 5th grade class, the kids were agitated and could not concentrate when the kickoff began. Barca fever is as stronger than ever in the US and has taken over Asia and the world.
    Be proud to wear your team colors. Be proud to be a cule. Visca Barca!

    • hansh
      April 25, 2012

      Thanks for the link. I like the song and it’s certainly relevant right now for cules!

  32. subhamoy
    April 25, 2012

    have been a regular follower of this blog as an ardent cule…but this is my first comment here…feeling extremely dejected…not for the loss but for the manner of the loss…this barca is being tipped by many as one of the greatest teams to have ever played the game…..for such a team to surrender at a juncture while leading by 2 goals with the onus of scoring on the opposition (to qualify)…playing against 10 men for nearly an hour…just doesn’t go down well…

    anyways….the past week is probably a lesson for all of us…to take defeat gracefully…just as we have taken the sweet victories in the past…a new season beckons….with new hope…but with same vigour from cules backing the team…we will be back…

    visca barca…

  33. mintmocha
    April 25, 2012

    Everyone is proud of their team when they win, but I feel even more proud of this team after the loss. They’ve been nothing short of brilliant these past 4 years, and yet, they still know how to be down-to-earth and lose gracefully. I can’t ask for a better team to support.

  34. Judas Pissed
    April 25, 2012

    Since I started supporting Barca in 1996 we won cock all in 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007 & 2008 – that’s 6 trophyless years out of the 16 years I’ve followed them so far – so don’t tell me the Copa Del Rey isn’t a major trophy.

    ON TO MADRID!

    • Humphrey Bogart
      April 25, 2012

      Good point, I mean last year every RM fan would declare how important the CdR is, therefore we will gladly take over

      • April 25, 2012

        It is an important trophy, and was especially so for us because we hadn’t won it in around 15 years. Raul never won the Copa del Rey in his entire career, how ridiculous is that?

  35. Gogah
    April 25, 2012

    You can’t understand the value of light without darkness.
    The same can be said about winning and losing.
    I’m just extremely proud and happy to have supported this team and I’ll continue to do so, no matter what, there is no falling out of love.

    Back to the game itself, I kept having a strange sensation that It just wasn’t meant to be. That Chelsea were going to inflict the same kind of heart break Iniesta did to them. Ever since Terry’s penalty miss in the Moscow final, I’ve actually wanted them to win it sometime. I hope that time is now.
    Further, this game constantly reminded me of the inter semi final.
    In both cases the we went down to an aggregate score of 3-2.
    In both cases the opponent wore blue and then white.
    In both cases, there was a strange red card for the opponent in the 1st half of the second leg. and in both cases we couldn’t prevail against a 10 man side at home. Congrats to Chelsea. I’ll even say that they deserved it.

    Don’t want to dwell in the past and ‘what ifs’, but I’ve never seen Messi like that. Pushing lampard, frustrated with himself..

    I have a good feeling about next season. Hope pep stays and makes us cry more.

  36. Srini
    April 25, 2012

    Too late to comment now.

    But while this was hugely disappointing.. and a complete downer..

    This is no end of an era. Barca will come up strong again next year. Their talent base is still there and they will have reinforcements next year. If Pep returns and there is a 99% chance IMO that he is coming back, then Barca will still be with a chance to win it all again next year. They are still the best team in the world. All they require is some reinforcements, squad (and injury) management, some healing of tired, fatigued folks.. and they will contend for everything again.

    And the Copa Del Rey final is going to be a huge final between two superb teams. May football win.

    • Helge
      April 25, 2012

      In the CdR final, the winner will be football. It may be a much more entertaining and beautiful match than the CL final.
      Far less important, but more joy!

  37. y2k156
    April 25, 2012

    Well written Kevin.

    It was a cruel match or set of matches. We played true to our style and created so many chances that it was amazing. For performance, it was way better than any semi we have played in Pep era. For results, it was obviously not. Luck was not with us, so many balls hitting the frame. And what hurt us really bad was lack of threat from wide players. Chelsea crowded Messi pretty thoroughly and our wide players were simply not good enough. And with their age and experience, they are not supposed to be that good. As Al Pacino says, its game of inches and we lost too many of those. Hard luck.

    Who knows what will happen in future but we have a a good team and more importantly it is my team. So i will continue to support them.

    In England, the team i support since ages is Southhampton. They have never been anywhere but hell, they are the team i support and that’s that.

    At the end of the day, its sports. There will be another year and there will be other matches.

  38. mohit
    April 25, 2012

    Chelsea is officially Barca’s bogey team in Europe. They were the ‘La Bestia Negra’ tonight. An epic rivalry already. I wish and look forward to witness many more European nights with Chelsea in the future. And hopefully, Barca set the records straight then.

    Overall, what a game that was. Edge of the seat stuff! Except for the Torres goal. I was already off the seat and on the floor by then. It’s hard to digest that Barca didn’t go through. To the future now!

  39. April 25, 2012

    Great post putting some perspective to everything.
    The moment Pique went down, I wasn’t thinking of anything else but just being worried about him. He looked terrible.
    It was a terrible end to a terrible season, mainly because of the personal issues involved(Abidal, Tito) but it made me even more proud of the team and proved what a special group of players we have.
    Hats off to everyone! Som i Serem!

    • zashaw
      April 25, 2012

      Agreed, but BTW it’s _not_ the end of the season. There’s still some Liga games, and a Copa final. The Copa might be a relatively minor trophy, but it’s a trophy, and I expect a good game given Athletic’s performances this season.

  40. AJ_10
    April 25, 2012

    Been a lurker here for over a year. Read every comment,post and attended nearly all liveblogs. I decided its about time I joined the family.

    Living in an Asian community in Saudi Arabia I was not exposed to international football.Loved the game though, but supported a local club. However a common question by my school mates then (back in 2005) was “What’s your favourite club? Man U Or RM?” I just didn’t like this fawning over the clubs, especially since half of the ‘fans’ didn’t know more than 4 people at their clubs. Anyway I love Ronaldinho’s play and declared myself a barca fan. However I rarely watched games, just highlights or finals( I was only 13 then). I started watching regularly from 2009 and, boy, was I amazed. The team was literally out of this world.They defined football.Etoo & Ronaldinho ripping & waltzing around defences while a young star was developing. Three years from then it was Messi running through defences like they were not there, Xavi bossing the midfeild, Iniesta ghosting past defenders and gliding along the pitch.And puyol just being puyol.The joy this club gave me was immense.

    This past week was the worst as a fan and i watched the game with a bunch of friends who enjoyed rubbing it in.They rarely get any chance to.It was one of those games. We played well, just lacked clinical finishing. NO team can be expected to win everytime. The best team in the world does not diminsh after one game. We lost the league to a team that we humiliated for the past 3 years, a team that spent 300 million just to keep up with us & probably the second best team in the world. We were eliminated from the CL by a team that parked the bus and are praised(rightly so) for their tactical and defensive discipline, but we created chance after chance even under these circumstances. Football is like that.The best team may not always win. This team has been through injuries, sickness, accusations, provocations but always held their honour and stayed true to their philosophy.
    I love this team.I joined in the glory years, not for the trophies but for what this team embodies ,what this team stands for and the way they play the beautiful game. Mes que un club. I will always be a cule.
    And a brilliant job done by the BFB writers as well as the commenters.The diversity plus the love for the club makes this the best Barca blog on the net.May BFB reach new heights, just as a our team will.
    Through losses and victory,a proud cule till the end. Visca Barca!!

  41. Megster
    April 25, 2012

    I’d like to share a comment from what I read in totalBarca website:

    “The game taught us many things. First, nothing is permanent but we could always strive for perfection next season. Second, especially after the Clasico and defeat to Chelsea we as a community were brought together; there appears to be unity and solidarity that had never existed before. Thus, the benefit of having a community such as TotalBarca is that we can share our fear, disappointment, sadness amongst one another = less pain.”

    I’m very happy to have known this community. We may have different opinions but what’s important is we only share one passion. Thank you Kxevin for putting a lot of perspective to all of these. Losing really sucks but that’s life. You cannot always be on the top. But I always believe in this team. I always and will admire the quality and attitude of our team. I also believe in this community that no matter what happens, win or lose, will never waver our support for Barca.

    We still have four games +CdR final and I hope the results last night won’t dampen our spirits in watching these games. I’m really sad that we lost. But let’s just forget the sad and disappointing faces. Let’s just remember the most poignant moment of the game: the fans at Camp Nou cheering and singing the anthem during the last few minutes of the game. At that, I couldn’t be prouder of our team.

    Mes que un club!

  42. Richzorz
    April 25, 2012

    “What now?” you ask? I put down my thoughts in semi-rambling fashion…

    What Barca need to do to improve next season:

    1) Replace Abidal – MASSIVE loss to the team in terms of height, defensive ability, balanced formations, quality, character, etc. It would be great if he manages to come back to the same level but the main hope is that he goes on to live a long and healthy life. Jordi Alba has been mentioned and could work, although he’s more a left-sided Dani Alves and lacks the physique and defensive quality to be a true replacement. Bale would be a similar prospect, though taller and stronger, but would also be a lot more expensive and again isn’t a great defender.
    Another Abi (amazing at both LB and CB) would be the ideal. Perhaps there’s someone else out there or Munesia will step up his game after being promoted to the first team (Grimaldo has shown potential but is still very young!)

    2) Get David Villa back to full fitness – and hope that he is the same player as before his leg fracture, apart from Messi, Barca have looked largely impotent up front this season, with opposition teams not having to worry too much about anyone but our number 10 being given a great deal of time or space with the ball. It’s been far too easy for sides to pack the middle of their defence, and while Cesc had a purple patch and Sanchez has looked dangerous if inconsistent, both will hopefully improve in their second season.
    Repeated minor injuries have been a problem for Pedro and Alexis, amongst others; hopefully with a good (i.e. not a $$$-tour of the US/Asia) pre-season this, along with the apparent fatigue shown by most of the squad can be eradicated, although with the Euros arriving it doesn’t look like the Spanish contingent will get a great deal of rest…

    3) Away Form – has to be improved! For me the key reason for the drop in success this season has been the away form, with the key reason for that being the jungles that constitute the opposition pitches. The injuries, fatigue/loss of form and tactical experimentation have played some role, especially with teams being able to play a packed, narrow defence, but there has been a noticeable degradation in the quality of playing surfaces.
    Whether through a lack of water, length of grass, uneven surfaces or even a lack of grass altogether, the footballing world has realised that Barca are nowhere near as effective if they can’t move the ball quickly and accurately along the ground. Whether or not the Spanish FA/UEFA decides that they want to impose any standards when it comes to playing surface, the team need to expand their game to be capable of getting a result on any pitch.
    Perhaps in this sense there IS a need for a “Plan B” after all (even if it isn’t a tempermental Swede..) or perhaps the team needs to forgo some possession in exchange for a slightly more direct approach (although increased solidarity in defence would have to accompany this), something for Pep to think about I’m sure.

    4) Xavi and Puyol – both have missed games through injury and although both are still performing at the highest level this can’t be expected to continue for too much longer, especially not in every game. With Thiago, Fabregas, Busquets, Iniesta and even Messi already in the first team, Xavi’s midfield role looks to be secure but with the lapses and injuries of Pique and some backup at the back is certainly required, Fontas will return, Munesia and Bartra are both being promoted, I haven’t seen enough of them to be able to judge whether they can provide the answers but it’s possible. Perhaps Puyol’s potential international retirement after the Euros will help him ‘do a Maldini’ and play on at a high level for a few more years?

    5) Pep’s renewal! So long as he has the motivation and is healthy I don’t think there’s any better coach for this Barca team. As such an obsessive thinker it’s quite probable that he’s already been coming up with ways in which the team can improve in the future and the lack of success this season is in no way comparable to the end of the Rikjaard era.
    The fans have been spoilt with trophies over the last 3 years, finishing 2nd in the league to one of the most expensively-assembled and greatest Madrid sides ever (not forgetting they’ve still had a few ‘lucky’ results against Rayo, Betis, etc) with the injuries is not a “crisis” or the “end of an era”, similarly losing in the CL semi’s despite dominating play is just the way football is sometimes.

    6) “Something something learn more from losses” – not winning the league or CL has some benefits, any complacency or lack of hunger within the squad can hopefully be eradicated, the pressure of being the “greatest team in the world” may lessen slightly (perhaps even other clubs will face more teams playing for a 0-0!), less jealousy-induced hate from other clubs’ fans (although I don’t hold out too much hope there…), “fairweather fans” can go support the latest fashionable (or trophy-winning) side, perhaps even the character of some players and staff can be developed by the experience of not winning everything!

    • barca96
      April 25, 2012

      What we missed the most from Abidal is his pace and calmness on the ball.

      We didn’t really benefit from his height from all those years.

      • Richzorz
        April 25, 2012

        Agreed but I think it would have been less of a mis-match compared to Adriano marking Pepe for the first Madrid goal on Saturday, I guess by “height” I meant his all round physical and aerial ability 🙂

  43. TITO
    April 25, 2012

    Guardiola:
    “After we were 2-0 up, i told them to attack more” (something like that).
    Isn’t that a little naive coming from a coach of his caliber?

      • TITO
        April 25, 2012

        Of course is tricky, but every experienced coach would calm down his players in the last minutes of the game to go at half time with a 2 goals lead and try to score in the second half.
        I think it was the general euphoria among the players and the coaching stuff that it was a moment for the third,
        Sure it was easy for me to watch it on my TV and scream at them to calm down and dont do anything stupid those last minutes, but…

        • Jim
          April 25, 2012

          Can’t help but agree with this. We’re going through as it stands, they face the prospect of going in at half time downcast and having to come out in the second half and open up a bit more to get back into it. What do we do? Lose our shape in a totally unnecessary way. Tbh, I can’t believe that statement attributed to Pep. That would be naive in the extreme.

  44. elcapitan
    April 25, 2012

    today>>>>>>.tommorow>>all the days of my life….come rain,come shine..win lose draw or bust>>>>>>>>>>>>>>BARCA TILL I GO SIX FEET!!!!!!!!!!! OLUFESTUS SAID IT

  45. Rittick_cule
    April 25, 2012

    Long time reader of this wonderful blog but commenting for the first time. I am extremely sad that we went out of cl but at the same time immensely proud of my team as well!!! Lovely to see such solidarity amongst culés… This team will be back again next year and will continue mesmerizing the whole world. This hasnt been a good week for this team but surely 1 bad week in 4 years should not be a cause for serious concern and certainly doesnt merit “end of an era” discussions. Wonderful piece by kevin and i would like to congratulate the bfb team for the wonderful work they are doing. Cheers
    Visca El Barça

  46. In a positive Note:

    1) We are by far still the best team in the world and by some distance. Even the Madrid fans will concede that as their team which was assembled at a cost of 500 million also parked the bus to get the favourable result.

    2) Since the disappointment of the result has died down a bit, I would say I was pretty impressed by the performance of our boys in teh two semi legs. Usually against a Park the bus teams we used to struggle to create serious chances. This one was different, we created enough but never took any of those. So atleast that’s a good positive sign.

    3) The result of last two weeks indicate how important is Abidal in the system. his pace is one thing we cannot afford to lose. A close look at the flank from where we conceded decisive goals will testify for that. Having said that it is not yet clear how Abidal will progress from the injury. Alba is a good option and we need to buy his especially with Maxwell already sold. But the most importnat move should be to give Muniesa more playing time. It is good that he will be promoted to the first eleven, but Guardiola should not do a Fontas on him. He needs to be played more especially in home matches. He is quick and I think he is the future.

    4) The position where we should be looking seriously is the holding midfielder. we have been lucky that Busquets usually does not get injured. But in case he gets injured, we will be left with no choice.

    5) If you look why we lost against Chelsea and RM, we could see that we gave away the initiative at crucial time. We went behind Real by a huge margin so early that it was an enormous catching up that was needed. I know some Real Madrid fans claiming that they have finally got on parity with us, but for me that’s utter non-sense. We still have a 4-1 record against them when seen at the end of the season. But then why they did better than us – they were critical in away matches and we were stupid to handover the initiative after the La Liga victory at bernebeu. So we need to improve our away record, not only in La Liga but also in Europe. For that Guardiola need sto restrict experiments mostly into home matches. Even if you want to try it in away matches, please don’t do it at stadiums like Mestella etc.

    6) I am confident that our team will do really well next season. One reason is that if Guardiola stay(now he cannot leave) he has laready done all the fine print interms of tatcics this season. So next season our boys will be more used to the tactics. Second the Latin American group Messi, Sanchez, Mascherano, Alves etc will all get some serious rest in the summer. Also we will have Villa and hopefully Abidal back in full flow(hope fans here stop demanding that Villa should play like a winger). Third in even years we get really lucky with avoiding injuries to crucial players.

  47. A very disappointing night for Barcelona.

    Place the two games into context. 47 attempts at goal by Barca against 11 by Chelsea. 82% possesion last night also.

    Its the small margins which make the difference.

    I have a couple of articles up on my blog about the game and the potential future of Pep and the club if anyone wants to check them out.

    http://www.chalkontheboots.wordpress.com

  48. MemoryLane
    April 25, 2012

    “Chelsea lost their captain, went a man down, conceded a penalty but yet we can’t beat them.
    What did our players do in the whole of 2nd half? Pass the ball side to side, side to side. They probably thought it was a game of keeping the ball.
    Take a bloody shot you asses..”

    This pretty much sums up my feelings.
    Thoroughly disgusted, sorry I’d accept losing to any other team but from England and those brutes Chelsea, disgusted.

    • April 25, 2012

      Sorry, but I can’t get behind that sentiment. Chelsea played their butts off last night. There is talk of “anti-football” and the like, but defense and counterattack are part of football as well.

      Did Terry have a stupid moment? You bet. But it is a credit to how they played that we were reduced to passing the ball around, looking for a way in. We had our chances, and didn’t take them. They had their chances, and did. And that’s that.

      • Jim
        April 25, 2012

        I like to think of it as them earning a draw but not deserving it. As Gullit memorably said in last year’s CL about Barca’s opponents “It’s easier to destroy a house than build it”. He made it clear he has little time for teams who pack their defence and hope for the best. He added it was a tribute to Barca that even great teams felt they had to do that.

        I’ve no problem with the way Chelsea played last night away from home. However, they should be ashamed of their tactics at home for a huge European club. It does make me proud that we would never stoop to that. I just wish we would temper it a little when we are actually winning 🙂

  49. mom4
    April 25, 2012

    For cules, this is the end of an era.

    Hopefully this is the start of a new era in which wins and silver aren’t dismissed as expected, God-given birth rights and are celebrated, appreciated, and respected as the miraculous achievements that they are.

    Both my Ravens and my Barca made it to the semis this year. So…
    what time is it? (game time)
    what time is it? (game time)
    any dogs in the house? (woof, woof, woof, woof)
    any dogs in the house? (woof, woof, woof, woof)(Ravens chant)
    AND
    O le le, O la la, ser del Barça és el millor que hi ha!

    Will bleed purple and blaugrana for ever!

  50. Sheena
    April 25, 2012

    Thanks for that, Kevin.

    I know this has been repeated here several times, but there’s something extremely comforting about knowing that despite the sinking feeling that comes when matches aren’t going great, there’s going to be a community of cules over here feeling exactly the same way, ready to respectfully trade opinions about the game.

  51. Manish
    April 25, 2012

    Finally i have accepted the fact that we are out of the two most important trophies of the season..and I don’t feel bad at all.. This had to come someday..

    What i feel bad is when I look at Pep, Puyol,Xavi, Messi, Iniesta.. the whole team..

    Finally I get a chance to look at the human side of things…

    Our players, managers everyone been under tremendous pressure all the time.. Pep has aged so quickly in the last few years.. I now wonder now, will Xavi be haunted by his miss in the El Classico and Messi be bogged down by his penalty miss.. there is so much of emotions involved ..it hurts to think about their pain.

    Our players toiled so hard .. sweat blood and tears.. all for our dear club.. and now it’s the time for the fans..

    I hope and pray our team gets over the emotional scars of this season.. and come back refreshed..stronger and faster.

    Visca Barca !

    PS: Hope we get to see the !!! in P 😀

  52. MemoryLane
    April 25, 2012

    And the way Ramires sped past Busquets in both legs like he wasn’t there… Had we kept Yaya Toure, yeah that never would have happened.
    I’m sorry but every time they got at the defense we was looking shaky.

    Also the lofted ball over the top continuously, we don’t have Falcao, Lorente, Cavani so why?

    The first goal which Cuenca slid the ball across the goal… Why not do that and let midfield run into the penalty area?

    Fabregas you would have thought would make up for his dismal showing in the first leg but anonymous this false 9 role isn’t working and he can’t play with Xavi…

    Did anyone hear the commentary from the British broadcast (G Neville.)
    It’s disgusting.

    And Keita, we got Pedro, Tiagho and even Adri but Keita I just don’t understand Pep sometimes.

    • April 25, 2012

      Um, The Yaya is a player who has grown in legend. He wasn’t that fast. He was big and quick, but he wasn’t that fast. Nor was he as careful with the ball as Busquets, or as capable of integrating as neatly into the system that Guardiola wanted to play. I’d rather be where we are with Busquets, than where Citeh is with The Yaya.

      This isn’t the time for recriminations, or “Why?” The simple answer to the “Why” question, is because “That’s football.” For me, it isn’t about negative emotions at a time like this. You can think “Dang, why didn’t Messi have a better match, why did he hit the post twice,” but then you look at him at the end of the match, shirt over his face to hide the tears, and all you can feel is grateful.

      When I am tired, I drop stuff, lose stuff, my fine motor skills go all to hell. I can’t imagine being as bone-crushingly fatigued as our players must have been. It’s something to think about when you ask yourself “Why.” Because fatigue makes you not as good. You can’t help it. Your brain makes all the right calculations, but the body doesn’t cooperate, and you hit the post with a move/shot that in December, is a goal.

      Because ultimately, that’s football.

      • Jim
        April 25, 2012

        Agreed as far as Yaya is concerned. I was one who lamented his going but Busi has proved his worth time and again. I also didn’t actually see Ramirez speeding past Busi particularly in either leg. He is speedy and he does get forward quickly. However, with only Drogba up front there is more than one player looking to break forward – it’s not always Busi’s fault if he’s not there.

  53. PhepheSa
    April 25, 2012

    Amazing all of you guys. I also don’t comment much but read this blog all the time. Kxevin and all the writers here, you guys have been doing a great job ever since I started reading bfb in 2010 and you continue to do so win or lose. Last night was the first time I felt unbelievable pain over a Barca loss & that was only because of the pain I saw on the players. It was just amazing to see them like that even after all they’ve given for the club and us fans.

    I wish there was something I could do to show them how grateful I am for every goal they score because it gives me such incredible joy. Also amazing what the camp nou crowd did supporting them till the end.

    Again thank you bfb for everthing and let’s support the boys until the copa final. Visca Barca! Visca BFB!

  54. messifan
    April 25, 2012

    Okay, now I feel worse than yesterday.

    For me, it feels like the end of an era, or the beginning of an end. This is Pep’s team and in my view, he will not stay beyond next season. Does this mean we won’t win anything? No. But I think Pep’s era is coming to a close soon 🙁

  55. Ray Hudson
    April 25, 2012

    When you walk through a storm
    Keep your chin up high
    And don’t be afraid of the dark.
    At he end of the storm
    Is a golden sky
    And the sweet silver song of a lark.

    Walk on through the wind,
    Walk on through the rain,
    Tho’ your dreams be tossed and blown.Walk on, walk on
    With hope in your heart
    And you’ll never walk alone,
    You’ll never walk alone.

    • messifan
      April 25, 2012

      Best name ever!!!
      Can I add an “arrrrrrrrgh” at the end?
      🙂

      • mom4
        April 25, 2012

        Messifan,
        Ray Hudson had read BFB and given us TV shoutouts. It could really be him.

    • mom4
      April 25, 2012

      Didn’t cry a single tear ’til now.

  56. Chiu
    April 25, 2012

    – Congratulations for Chelsea. They’re free to choose whatever style they want to play and I don’t want to quibble further on their approach. We should respect their achievement. Period

    – Thanks Kxevin for this brilliant piece. A “veteran cules” like Kxevin could always bring the things into perspective. Losing is always hurt and will always be. But as repetitive as it may sounds, we don’t know how to appreciate victory and value the endeavor this team has put if we never lose. Let’s accept it as part of football, move on and try to be better next season. And the most important thing we can do as a Cules now is keep supporting our team, unwaveringly. This moment would be the litmus test whether you’re true Blaugrana or just bandwagoners. Last night, the cheering and chanting from Camp Nou crowd after Torres scored was a demonstration of a true Blaugrana spirit. Just proud!

    – Last night elimination was so painful. It’s déjà-vu of Inter 2010 and the distraught emotion was repeated. But if I remember our loss to AC Milan in 1994 CL final in Athens, last night was just feeling better. Barcelona and Milan were the two best teams in the world at that time. In 1994, Milan played without Van Basten, Lentini (the most expensive player at that moment), Baresi and Costacurta. If we make analogy with current settings, it’s like a CL final against Real Madrid that will play without Benzema, CR, Pepe and Sergio Ramos. So we’re heavily favourite. But the final score 4-0 was truly heartbreaking and devastated for all Cules. I think that’s the most painful defeat in Barcelona CL history. Not trying to be nostalgic. I just want to recommend that we save this hard moment secretly in the small box of our memory, then re-open it when we win trophy again in the future. Your joyfulness would be exponentially augmented in savoring that victor.

    Visca BARCA!

    • messifan
      April 25, 2012

      And ignore the comment section too.

      • April 25, 2012

        Goes without saying. Never, since the beginning of newspaper online comment sections, has “ignore the comment section” not been sound advice.

        Because here’s the thing: Success, particularly extended success, breeds envy. And the byproduct of envy is usually hate. And it’s kind of to be expected, when you really think about it. What fan wouldn’t want his club to win 13 of 16 trophies, and have the best player on the planet playing for it? Hate and envy make it easy, even acceptable to spout bile, because for that one successful team, there are so many other less successful ones. Fans rarely celebrate the excellence of another franchise. Usually they want to rip it down, praying for the day that it will fall to their level or even better, when their club can rise while that other club falls. People here muttered about EE getting more penalties than us, or about calls that we didn’t get. Nobody is immune.

        Sustained success also breeds resentment, which spawns conspiracy theories, because it simply can’t be that one club is that good. That isn’t possible, because it’s outside the sporting template of most fans, whose expectations of success are more modest. It happens, and it’s best to ignore it all, as it’s all part of being a fan.

    • Blau-Grenade
      April 25, 2012

      Lovely article, Thanks for sharing Kxevin.

  57. blitzen
    April 25, 2012

    Difficult as it is, we have to look ahead to the rest of the season. We still have one trophy to play for. Maybe it’s not the biggest one, or that important in the grand scheme of things, but it would make a nice consolation prize at the end of such a difficult season. And we still have four league games left to play.

    The good news is we can’t do worse than second in the league now, so we can afford to rest some of the grown-ups like Puyol, Xavi, & Iniesta (as well as Pique, who will be out for at least a week) and play people who could really use the time: Afellay, Montoya, Bartra, Muniesa, and Pedro. With nothing on the line, these players can relax, enjoy playing, and improve their rusty skills. I can’t wait to see Afellay playing again!

  58. messifan
    April 25, 2012

    So what now?

    These are financial conditions we’re facing:
    1) FFP
    2) Debt (I believe Deloitte’s audit report to be accurate)
    3) Highest wage bill in Europe
    4) Spain’s economy in decline
    5) Eurozone crisis and weak global economy —> less consumer spending—> less investment—> reduced growth—> potential downward spiral

    The right balance is to maintain sporting success and financial sustainability. I know that Barca is “too big to fail” but we should not fall into the moral hazard trap. So every investment made is crucial.

  59. mom4
    April 25, 2012

    Made the mistake of turning on the Bayern game just now. Turned it right off again.

    • sd
      April 25, 2012

      You can turn it back on now. Watch it for the football. Its fun that way.

    • elacule
      April 25, 2012

      i just did the same thing.

      an announcer was talking about pepe committing fouls and getting away with it. deja vu all over again.

      score was 2 – 1, with aggregate 3-3. (end of first half) description was that run of play was favoring bayern at the moment. (CR7 scored both goals for madrid, Robben for bayern)

      it’s sort of like a scab or something – i can’t want to watch it, but also feel compelled.

      the champions league song always sounds to me like they’re singing about “baarrrr-cccaaaaa” – so it’s a little tender to hear that this time.

      • sd
        April 25, 2012

        “the champions league song always sounds to me like they’re singing about “baarrrr-cccaaaaa” – so it’s a little tender to hear that this time.”

        Me too…
        Baaaaarrrr-ccccaaaa, they aaaare the chaaaaaaaaampions

        • elacule
          April 25, 2012

          sounds like we’re singing the same tune!
          😉

  60. Momo
    April 25, 2012

    Bayern-Real game is awesome, CL at its best, anyone can take it…

    • Ron Mexico
      April 25, 2012

      Seriously. This has match of the year potential.

    • jordi™
      April 25, 2012

      Its so end to end.I can only imagine what we would do with the acres of space im witnessing.

      • elacule
        April 25, 2012

        seriously – it’s like a different game altogether!

    • jordi™
      April 25, 2012

      Cristiano was offside, Pepe made a clearer handball than Alaba.Unicef!

    • elacule
      April 25, 2012

      we need some live-blob, erm, love-blog, um, … chatting to watch this one with.

      i don’t need popcorn, i need fellow culés!

    • mom4
      April 25, 2012

      Oh dear, now I feel compelled to watch it. Literally watched it before for 15 seconds and then bam!, TB’s goal. And I couldn’t handle watching his celebration. I’ll try again but I blame y’all for my mental breakdown. 🙂

  61. rocherto
    April 25, 2012

    Long time reader first time commenting, so hello all you faithful brothers and sisters. Thank you!!! Just really wanted to say one thing. I may have cried tears of sorrow yesterday and man it hurt but I have cried so many tears of joy throughout the last few years.
    THANK YOU BARCA!!!

  62. Clouseau
    April 25, 2012

    once again a wonderfull article kxkevin! read your el clásico fiasco article but this one edge it to me 🙂
    and yeah all the thoughtsfull and great comments here had cheered me up 🙂

    yesterday, unfortunatly we have experienced the crazy,cruel side of football the one forcing you to change your emotions from upside to down..well that’s football it can happen.
    but what i know is that this amazing mixture of great players and technical staff will not bow down so easily they will search for solutions and deliver their answer on the pitch again.

    i think right now i feel it’s not the time to discuss about changing players and transfers etc. let’s leave this to the silly season. now we have 4 final league games to play! i wish that muniesa and barta get some precious minutes and start their preseason earlier. for these guys as well as the returnees these games gonna be crucial.

    before i forget it! hat’s off to the camp nou crowd!they were (wrongly) always called the ungratefull ones but in those two games they were amazing. chapeau.

  63. elacule
    April 25, 2012

    kxevin,

    what a moment. you’ve brought so many folks into the fold with this post.

    it’s amazing to keep reading from more people who’ve been following this blog, and just now starting to comment. maybe it is the natural response to such a big emotion, looking to connect with others who really understand. it’s quite a community you’ve built here.

    like many of the other “first-time post-ers” i appreciate the atmosphere and writing here quite a lot. the mixture of analysis, humanity, and humor end up creating quite a good matrix for engagement. sorry this sounds so formal. not much sleep last night, so my brain gets “starchy.” –

    to rajg, jordi, barcagirl_indo, dani_el, puppet, blau-grenade, and james-08771 (and of course anyone else i hadn’t already made a note to directly-) ~ your comments and warmth are so meaningful and touching. thank you so much for your welcome, acknowledgement, and encouragement. what a gift to find your responses! i was really surprised and moved.

    SO much more than a club, this Barça.

    thanks again BFB, for creating a place to be with others who feel the love.

    • mom4
      April 25, 2012

      It’s a joy to have you and the other “newbies” here,
      and a pleasure to hear all the new stories and perspectives.
      Tots units fem força!

  64. April 25, 2012

    In the “good news” file, I’m happy to say that it looks like I’m wrong on Abidal. Just read this document over, and don’t see any reason to rule out our French Greyhound for next season:

    http://www.ucsfhealth.org/pdf/liver_transplant_manual.pdf

    Mind you, I’m no medical professional, but was curious. There have also been a few athletes who have returned to the top level after a liver transplant, including a snowboarder. Not sure if he had to flak jacket the affected area, or if the risk diminishes as you reach full fitness and health.

    But encouraging news on that front, I report with hope.

    • mom4
      April 25, 2012

      As much as I miss him, I don’t want any chance of him getting hurt. How ’bout Abi the coach?

  65. Megster
    April 25, 2012

    On a lighter note:

    – Pep hugged all the players on the locker room. He was teary eyed while he was addressing the whole team inside the locker room.

    – He will be also singing with Lluis Llach and Silvia Perez Cruz for a benefit concert on June 8.

    Tootles! 🙂

      • blitzen
        April 25, 2012

        You only get to say then if Barça is playing. 😉

        • elacule
          April 25, 2012

          i like this alaba fellow!
          (he made the first penalty)

          neuer saved CR7’s penalty!!!

    • culegirl3
      April 25, 2012

      Guess el pirata has been attending DiMaria’s “diving 101” class.

  66. Dani_el
    April 25, 2012

    Penalties! 1-0 Bayern!!

    RONALDO MISSED IT!!!!
    !!!!!!!

  67. Dani_el
    April 25, 2012

    NEUUUUUUUUUUUUUUEEEEEEEEEEERrrr!!!
    Bayern 2 EE 0

    3 to go

    • Dani_el
      April 25, 2012

      There is justice in the world after all..!
      Great Bayern! I hope they win the CL!

    • elacule
      April 25, 2012

      mou on his knees. ramos kicks it to the stands

  68. elacule
    April 25, 2012

    oh my god. the hugest smile i’ve had in 24 and a half hours!

    • rocherto
      April 25, 2012

      Fist in the air standing on my bed in the hotel.
      ALL SMILES!!!

  69. sd
    April 25, 2012

    Unlucky Madrid. Too bad. It happens.

    Bassam – if you are reading this. I send you a virtual hug. We can have a Classico final next year.

  70. culegirl3
    April 25, 2012

    I’m so happy!! Yay Bayern 🙂

    • culegirl3
      April 25, 2012

      I’m so going to watch Punto Pelota..I will take pleasure in seeing a defeated Tomas Roncero 😀
      Quiero ver esa cara triste y larga!

  71. Judas Pissed
    April 25, 2012

    A little joy in this week of sh*te!

  72. Momo
    April 25, 2012

    I LOVE YOU BAYERNNNNNNNNNNN

    OH and we should buy Neur

    • Laurentiu88
      April 25, 2012

      true that !!!

      buy him, loving bayern.

      looked like RM were outplayed today 🙂 not to say anything more about all that diving.

  73. Clouseau
    April 25, 2012

    crazy!can’t believe it bayern really edged it…via penalty typicall german way *lol*
    i feel glad that they proofed me wrong.

    great match, lots of dramas..

    hat’s off to helge,messiah10 etc. they got their prediction right *lol*

    • Messiah10
      April 25, 2012

      Clouseau,

      😉

      I’m going to cut, paste, and print your post out. Then frame it and stick it on my wall! lol. So happy my wish did come true. I think I predicted they’d win at the time of 11:11 a.m.

  74. Momo
    April 25, 2012

    I hope they destroy the filth that is Chelsea.

    I want a 3-0 route

  75. April 25, 2012

    Okay, that was crazy. But Bayern and Chelsea in the Champions League final, as the two “best club in the world” watch at home. Wow.

    • Laurentiu88
      April 25, 2012

      hey, we mostly played like one too 🙂

  76. K_legit in Oz
    April 25, 2012

    Hasta el final..oh wait you done fucked up Real..

  77. ciaran
    April 25, 2012

    Would you really face Germans in a penalty shootout… God bless them

  78. Rittick_cule
    April 25, 2012

    At last some joy for a culé this week!!! Happy for bayern, they had more clear cut chances than EE…. Well there was talk in some sections and forums that a new era will start as barça were beaten by EE last week. So with that rationale their era got over even before it started…:D

  79. Ryan
    April 25, 2012

    The futbol gods give us a modicum of good fortune after the crappy week we’ve had. 🙂

    Neuer is an absolute beast of a keeper, eh? Not sure about his distribution, but otherwise he’s pretty scary.

  80. nzm
    April 25, 2012

    Suddenly, the sun shines through again in the cule world!!!

    This is so good for Spain for the Euros – the Barca and RM players can go through united.

    Messi can smile again because he has another crack at the Balon D’Or.

    La Liga is still the game in town! 😀

    • nzm
      April 25, 2012

      The rockets were going off in Barcelona, and people were cheering on their balconies.

      I hope that I see those Madridistas on their balcony again this weekend while playing padel, ‘cos we’re going to sing the Bayern chants.

      Evil us! ;D

      • Helge
        April 25, 2012

        haha, brilliant! I wish I was there.

        But here the party is also going on, from all the Bayern fans (I’m living in Germany, for those who forgot^^)

        • nzm
          April 25, 2012

          Helge – this may be the ONLY time that I have ever cheered for Bayern.

          Hell may have just frozen over! 😀

          • BarcaOwl
            April 25, 2012

            Just once, I’ll cheer for Bayern too.

          • Helge
            April 25, 2012

            Mmh… but you don’t have anything against them in particular?

            I mean, Bayern is la Bestia Negra of Real Madrid, they are a club in a very solid financial / economical situation, probably one of the most professional and best run clubs of the world.
            I don’t see an obvious reason to dislike them (obvious reasons to me are: Being new-rich, playing defensive, playing dirty or being renowned for gamesmaship, a ‘philosophy’ based on buying star players instead of nurturing your own talents etc. – none of these matches FC Bayern Munich)

          • nzm
            April 26, 2012

            That’s exactly why I don’t like Bayern – they are too much like Madrid – arrogant.

            I can’t stand Uli Hoeness. He’s like Mourinho.

            Dortmund is my Bundesliga team – I love Kloppy and his values. The little, young team that could.

    • Ryan
      April 25, 2012

      Just as long as Ramos doesn’t ever take a penalty for Spain!

  81. sd
    April 25, 2012

    This is why we watch football regardless of the team you support. Barca getting knocked out, Madrid getting knocked out. What fun it is watching upsets, for neutrals. This is why football and sport are awesome. What a CL season it has been thus far. APOEL, Chelsea, Munchen, 5 goal Messi, penalty misses. Excellent season. Enjoy it for the football too and not just through smoke filled goggles to watch your team.

  82. nzm
    April 25, 2012

    Second time that Ronaldo has missed a crucial penalty in CL.

    The first time, his team mates bailed him out for Man U to win in Moscow.

    This time, there was no salvation.

    • nzm
      April 25, 2012

      Or rather, John Terry helped him out in Moscow!

      And now, Terry’s missing the game in Munich. Oooof!

    • sd
      April 25, 2012

      Well that and Karma was out to get Terry for being a horrible person and deny him the CL. Are you telling me the ground just magically moves and there isn’t more to it as HE takes the kick after 9 people have just done that? The universe takes care of things sometimes. Ronaldo missing though is just choking again. It wasnt a great penalty. BUT Ramos…man that was some penalty. Beautiful.

      • Ryan
        April 25, 2012

        He would fit right in with Brazil’s penalty takers. 😆

        I can’t say I’ve ever seen him take one for Spain and now I know why!

      • April 25, 2012

        Wouldn’t say that Ronaldo choked.. he scored two goals today and had an assist in the 1st leg, and that gave us a fighting chance to make the final even though Bayern were better over two legs. He didn’t choke on his shootout kick, Neuer guessed right. You could say Ramos choked as he blazed over the bar, but Ronaldo didn’t choke.. he’s just an easy target.

        • nzm
          April 26, 2012

          Yeah – but you’d have to agree that usually Ronaldo blasts those penalty shots through the back of the net.

          Maybe tiredness had a play in his slower shot, but that was not the stroke of genius.

  83. April 25, 2012

    Note that the two clubs who were effectively out of league competition and could rest key players, advanced. El Clasic was like a duel in which both antagonists shoot each other in the heart.

    This game never ceases to amaze, astound and just plain knock you on your bum.

    • ciaran
      April 25, 2012

      It’s a pity that Madrid dropped points before the Classico so we couldn’t rest players before it

    • Skipper5
      April 25, 2012

      would the classico be what they call a pyrrhic victory (for RM)

  84. messifan
    April 25, 2012

    Wow!!!

    For me, a mix of sadness because we were in the same position yesterday so I feel for their fans, but happiness because Mourinho’s team lost.

  85. Helge
    April 25, 2012

    Haha, was watching with a Real Madrid fan, not a true Madridista but at least a fan.

    He said before CR took his penalty in the shoot-out that he will fail, just like he did vs Chelsea with ManUtd.
    Too much pressure on him.

    Anyway, I’m extremely happy that Real failed, that Ronaldo failed. It eases the pain of our own failure quite a bit.

    With Ramires, Terry and Ivanovic suspended, we have opened up the way for Bayern Munich to win the final. They should do it against Chelsea, because now Chelsea cannot defend as much as they’d probably like to.
    Through Bayern Munich, the spirit of offensive football continues to enrich the CL. They are not us, but definitely the closest team of all the others. Their possession, their mentality and their whole game-plan / playing style is a lot like ours.

    So, in 3 words:
    THANK YOU BAYERN!!!

    • April 25, 2012

      Well said! I have been licking my wounds since yesterday but this has made me feel a whole lot better!! Seeing Ronaldo miss that penalty felt soo good, almost as good as winning… is that wrong?

      Bayern deserve to be in the final and I hope they win it, but Madrid were pathetic tonight. Its one thing to play defensively against a team that are clearly better than you (us) but to do so at home vs a team that on paper are not quite as good is just awful. Puts into perspective our loss a bit. Would much rather go out the way we did than the way Madrid did.

      • Helge
        April 25, 2012

        And even though they tried to play it rather safe and defensive, it was a very poor showing from them. I never saw them so vulnerable in defense for a long time. Over the two legs, Bayern thoroughly deserved to beat them.

  86. Gogah
    April 25, 2012

    There is justice in football after all.
    our penalty was way too soft and messi missed it. Justice.
    Today the 1st penalty was really harsh and Penaldo’s goal was offside. Penaldo goes on to miss a more crucial penalty. Justice.

    Thank you Neuer! You truly are a beast!
    Our season just got a little better.

  87. jordi™
    April 25, 2012

    Alaba is my new favorite non Barca player after these two games. Its a travesty he wont play the final for that soft handball called against him.

    • ciaran
      April 25, 2012

      I genuinely think that you shouldn’t be suspended for any final unless its a red.

      • Skipper5
        April 25, 2012

        i disagree, that would reward time wasting and those ‘small’ misdemeanors. the appeal process is there if a yellow card was handed unjustly.

    • messifan
      April 25, 2012

      Mine too! I’ve been very impressed with him.

    • nzm
      April 25, 2012

      I would love to see him at Barca. He’s very impressive, and only 19.

      A good man to stand in Abidal’s shoes and, with Abi still around, he’d have the best mentor.

      He’s Austrian by nationality, (Filipina mother and Austrian father), but speaks German with a really broad Bavarian accent. It sounds totally weird coming from him!

    • Barcaleya
      April 25, 2012

      Oooh…I’m proud that there is a (half) Filipino doing well in the footie world. Well done, Alaba!!!

      Too bad he’s missing the finals.

      I am of course rooting for the Germans.

    • BarcaRoja
      April 25, 2012

      I am very much impressed with Alaba… at 19, it’s rare to see such composure in high intensity and crucial game. Happy to know that he’s half filipino, maybe there’s a bit of Paulino Alcantara in him 🙂

  88. Gogah
    April 25, 2012

    irrespective of the result, bayern were always going to go to munich

  89. K_legit in Oz
    April 25, 2012

    To all my Cule friends who are busy ripping on Madrid, remember this, we could and should be in the final and we were unable to do so..Madrid losing does not make the pain of Barça losing magically vanish..

    • nzm
      April 25, 2012

      No, but it eases it somewhat, wouldn’t you agree?

      1. The Barca and Madrid players can go forward as equals into the Euros. Better unity.
      2. Messi has a chance at a 4th Balon D’Or.
      3. RM is down to 1 trophy for the season.
      4. Barca has the chance to finish the season on a high by winning the last trophy to be played for – the CdR.

      Certainly, there were a lot of people in Barcelona celebrating tonight.

        • nzm
          April 25, 2012

          Not sure what’s included as criteria for voting, because there doesn’t seem to be any info on it that I can find.

          But if Champions League is included, then Messi is over Ronaldo on that one.

          It will all depend on how they go in the remaining 4 Liga matches, I think.

          • April 25, 2012

            Well Messi has four more goals in the Champions League but Ronaldo will win La Liga. So ultimately at the end of the season Ronaldo will have a major trophy and Messi won’t. So I’d think he would stand a much better chance, because winning major trophies is a major criterion in deciding the Ballon d’Or.

          • nzm
            April 26, 2012

            Umm…….Club World Cup, European Super Copa, Spanish Super Copa….

            Not to mention 63 (?) goals right now. Another 4 and he’s equalled Mueller’s record from 1972. Another 5 and he’s broken it.

    • Ryan
      April 25, 2012

      Seeing another great player miss a penalty does help the pain sting less. They’re still going to win the league anyways, but I’m glad Bayern lived up to the game’s billing.

  90. y2k156
    April 25, 2012

    I am kinda sorry that RM missed out. I am happy that Mourinho missed out though.

    Finally i can put our exit behind because of this result and just for that, thanks Bayern and may you win the final and whoop Chelsea. At least Bayern played football.

  91. April 25, 2012

    I just can’t take any joy in them losing. We aren’t there, which is plenty for me to deal with. I know that makes me weird, but there it is.

    • mom4
      April 25, 2012

      I can. I’m a bitter, mean old woman.

      • mom4
        April 25, 2012

        Now that I’m home and not typing on that blasted droid, I can elaborate. I take no joy in the fact that some good Madridistas (especially Bassam, Kaushik, and Rahul Madrid) are feeling the pain we felt last night, but I love that their club won’t be raising that trophy. The thought of one more reason for Mou to gloat, one more reason for the Spanish press to taunt us was too much. The weirdest thing is, and I know it’s not even considered one of the major trophies, it would have hurt for me to watch them lift the Club World Cup, the one that Mou said was won by practice games for us. I’m also glad for the tiny bit of pressure it might take off of Messi–TB missing the winner the day after he did.

    • I can. The images of RM and Mou lifting a trophy has been vanished from my head, I don’t like to have those images in my head.

    • blitzen
      April 25, 2012

      Knowing that Mou won’t get his 4th CL trophy this year makes the pain of yesterday just that bit better.

      • Chiu
        April 25, 2012

        He only hv 2 CL trophy blitz, same with Pep and Fergie

        • April 25, 2012

          But he won with a Porto that hadn’t won it in 20 years and an Inter Milan that hadn’t won in 45 years.

          Personally I think Fergie is over-rated. Yes, I said it. Two Champions League titles in around 25 years of managing Man U.

          Sigh, if only we let Del Bosque manage Real Madrid for 25 years who knows how many Champions League titles he would’ve picked up, seeing as how he managed two in four seasons :S

          • Richzorz
            April 26, 2012

            I think it may be more to do with English sides having to adapt to the “European game”, fouls more easily called, diving, etc, you only have to look at how the EPL has changed in that sense over the last 15 years.

            Two CL titles in 25 years isn’t great but it could’ve been 4 were it not for a fantastic Barca side.

            For the number of teams he’s built that are more than the sum of their parts, the league titles, the philosophy of attacking football despite perhaps not being a ‘tactical genius’, mental strength during ‘squeaky bum times’ I think he’s done alright…

            Agreed on Del Bosque though!

        • nzm
          April 26, 2012

          Pep has 3 CL trophies – 1 as a player and 2 as a coach. The player one is something that Mourinho will never have.

  92. nzm
    April 25, 2012

    Wow – it’s going to be some final with key defence players missing from both sides.

  93. K_legit in Oz
    April 25, 2012

    Mario Gomez for Ballon D’Or?

  94. Dave
    April 25, 2012

    I am a sick person, I feel so much better than last night.

    Just because of all the diving and general Mourinho influence, I am happy(And petty yes). The Mendes crew are utter dirt (and add that toe rag Marcelo)

    Some thoughts
    Brilliant Bayern. I know, I know their basically the Madrid of Germany with their big pockets but WOW, they have done incredible work at youth level, Kroos, Alaba etc
    Real ethos of Bavarian brilliance there

    Scweni is an awesome player, real leader, reminds me of a mixture of Xavi and Roy Keane.

    Lahm is also exceptional. Brilliant brain. So composed.

    Alaba brilliant looks like an Abidal replacement? Just joking, want to see a strong Bayern.

    Neuer is the world’s best. What were Man u thinking?

    Now imagine if they had a striker who took his chances.

    Happy for Robben, hes had little luck and was awesome for Real.

    PS Uefa should allow everyone play except Terry. Pure Mule.

  95. Dani_el
    April 25, 2012

    Mou: “Cristiano tenía que fallar algún día. No quiero ser tan radical diciendo que este o el otro es el mejor. No quiero ir por ahí. Hablamos de Messi y Cristiano, dos jugadores únicos. Pero esta temporada Cristiano ha sido el mejor y con diferencia. Si Barça y nosotros no hemos llegado a la final es por culpa de los dos. Después de dos horas de trabajo hasta el límite ir a los penaltis no es fácil. La suerte ha sido para ellos”.
    “Cristiano had to fail something someday. I don’t want to be too radical saying this one or the other is better. I don’t want to go that way. But we’re talking about Messi and Cristiano, unique players. But this season Cristiano has been better by far. If Barça and we didn’t make it to the final it’s the fault of both of them. After 2 hours of work to the limit, going to the penalties is not an easy task. Luck was on their side.”

    • elacule
      April 25, 2012

      mou seems a few sandwiches short of a picnic

    • Messiah10
      April 25, 2012

      And…this is why I hate the man. Seriously. I mean, can’t he give credit where it’s due? Bayern battled so courageously. They fought and clawed their way back after 2 nil down and shut down the most prolific goal scoring team in the world this season. Why is it luck? I don’t use the world “hate” at all. However, I have such disdain for this guy. He is truely classless. I’m going to be a pyschiatrist and say he suffers from a major superiority complex, bordering on parnoid pyschosis. I’m sure it’s now going to be a conspiracy b/c Bayern weren’t going to be denied playing at home and he’s personally made enemies of UEFA, so their out to get him. Nothing to do with heart, determination, skill. How has CR been better by far when Messi has more goals? Please answer that for me? Please? CR has genuine goal scoring threats for teammates. Messi has played by himself the whole season. Expected to do everthing. Put them in and set them up. Argggh

    • Ryan
      April 25, 2012

      And Villa had 5 in the few minutes he played this season. A true champ and I’m sure a healthy Guaje will be competing right up there with the big guys!

      (Seriously, I miss seeing Villa, his soul patch, and even his offsides!)

      • nzm
        April 25, 2012

        I’ve commented before that the difference between Villa and Ibra being offside, is that Villa is often caught “just” offside as he’s running forwards, but Ibra was often offside standing still or walking back. 😀

        Be so good to see Villa on the pitch again next season.

  96. cuqui
    April 25, 2012

    I can’t help it, saw this on the Guardian comments page and am still laughing:

    “S***, I lost tv service during the last penalty; I think Sergio Ramos hit my satellite.”

    What an amazing 9 days of football. Even though little turned out the way I hoped. Hard to beat the ups and down we’ve seen.

  97. htMillBay
    April 25, 2012

    Happy that Mou lost. I like a number of RM players including the Spanish ones and even CR7, and I have mostly admired them over the years, not as an RM fan, but as a football fan of the last 45 years.
    Mou is a very good coach, without question, but he is a bad person. Bad character and personality. Someone you would not want your children to grow up admiring no matter the professional success.
    I think RM played the way they did at Camp Nou the last weekend despite Mou because the Spanish players insisted on it.
    I think the Munich front trio of Gomez, Robben and Ribery are second to none today, and without Villa, I would even rank higher than Barca’s.
    Barca’s midfield and Messi are the strengths.
    Glad to see that at least one attacking side will be in the Final. We could see some beautiful football especially since it will be at their stadium.
    If RM had made it, I think Mou would again have held back their attacking instincts.

  98. sd
    April 25, 2012

    Does anyone else wonder if Ramos is secretly a cule?

    First he drops the cup and breaks it. Then he hits his penalty into orbit. At least Ronaldo and Kaka forced a save from Neuer. Its almost as if he is trying to undo the pain Barca fans are suffering.

    • messifan
      April 25, 2012

      Well, I’m gonna use “Duncan Castles Logic,” so here we go:

      Ramos is from Andalusia, the Spanish Socialist Party has a majority in the region’s government. Who was the PSOE’s former leader? José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero…and he supports Barcelona. You can connect the dots, right?
      🙂

      • Ryan
        April 25, 2012

        And do you know the actor from Crackovia who plays Puyol, our fearless leader? Do you know who else he plays? You guessed it – Sergio Ramos!

        • April 25, 2012

          Must admit this is pretty funny. But it’s actually my fault for wearing my Ramos jersey during the game and jinxing everything.

  99. Nav
    April 25, 2012

    This Madrid loss doesn’t make me feel any better. I’m still shattered. 🙁

    • Messiah10
      April 25, 2012

      The EE loss makes me feel a lot better. I’m happy for Bayern. Imagine how special it will be for them to play at home for the CL Final! Amazing. There weren’t a lot of people who gave them a chance. I definitely beleived they could do it. Neuer is an absolute stud. He is so confident and just commands his backline and demands the balls in the box. VV should def take a page. Iker was so close to saving that penalty in 1st half. Maybe 3-5 years ago he would’ve. He still has cat like reflexes but has def lost a step in quickness, but man is he good. I find it ironic that CR & Kaka both missed their penalties. The 2 that usher in a new era w/Galacticos 2.0 cost their team big. However, CR did score 2 so team wouldn’t have been there if not for him. Strangely, I think Messi lost the Ballon D’or in 1 day and then won it back the next. Had CR converted, he wouldn’t have got it back. I really don’t care if Messiah wins or not. I stated that yesterday. Still would be amazing to win 4 straight. End of era talk is absolute nonsense. Why? Where are we going? Same team back next year and probably few new faces to integrate. I don’t get it? It is crazy to me that the 2 best teams in the world didn’t make the Final. It’s why I love the game. Even if it hurts me.

    • rajg
      April 25, 2012

      After last 3 games and realizing the hard way that winning does matter at the end, even I feel that if Barca has to win against ” Anti-Football” clubs, they have to adapt and evolve but by not compromising on their tiki-taka. Winner always overcome the adversaries by evolving and making themselves even better. I guess Guardiola will take a notice of it and evolve our club into a even better team by closing this loop hole. Hope he renew his contract 🙂

  100. messifan
    April 25, 2012

    Hey rahul_madrid,

    Sorry for your loss. I’m curious why did Ramos take the penalty and not Higuain? Was it the player’s decision or the coaching staff?
    BTW, Casillas did an excellent job.

    • sd
      April 25, 2012

      I am not entirely sure about this but Higuain might have been taking the last penalty. Madrid only took 4 penalties. The fifth one even if they scored would not have mattered. I think their five penalty takers were fine. Who would have thought that both Ronaldo and Kaka would have their penalties saved? Ozil, Benzema, Di Maria had all been taken off. The only other player I can think of who could have replaced Ramos was Granero. Otherwise the remaining penalty takers are Casillas, Pepe, Arbeloa, Marcelo and Khedira. Between these 6 Ramos would seem to be just as good a bet as any.

    • April 25, 2012

      Thanks for the condolences. And yes, I’m so proud of Iker, words can’t begin to describe how fortunate we are to have him as our goalkeeper for over a decade and our club captain. He almost saved Robben’s penalty and he saved two in the shoot-out under high pressure, the second save was special.

      Ramos has a great deal of confidence in himself, and it’s well known in football that when it comes to a penalty shoot-out, your most confident players should be the ones that step up. Ramos scored a very good penalty kick for us last season. Ultimately tonight, the pressure was too much and he flopped. But it has happened to better penalty kick takers in the past and it will happen again in the future.

      As for Higuain, he would’ve been taking the last penalty. So the penalty kick taker selection was fine, that wasn’t why we lost. We conceded a 90th minute away goal in Munich, and that ultimately is why we lost this.

  101. Lie
    April 25, 2012

    I’ve heard a lot of rubbish from Barca fans about parking the bus and not playing football the right way and such, but this supercilious rubbish only detracts from identifying your faults.

    Firstly, Pep has to realize that you need squad depth. You can’t play football at this level for extended periods of time without a good bench.

    Secondly, and more seriously, you can’t defend. Why was torres left unmarked for his goal? You can’t be offside in your own half. What defender does not know that? Being so poor at the back only puts extra pressure on your attack to perform. If even a passing thought of defending entered Pep’s mind, you would have won at 2-0 up. You didn’t even have to sacrifice your attacking mentality, but only not be so reckless. But Pep seems to think that all ails can be solved by attacking. This team is devastatingly brilliant at one thing (the movement in the attack, the runs, the passing — just amazing), and Pep seems to think that being so good at this one thing means he can neglect everything else. Wrong. Nobody, anywhere, for anything, ever, is so good that (s)he is above challenge from a skilled opponent. Every style of football has a counter, and Pep has to realize that he’s being naive. I hope he learns from this to become a more catholic manager. Then he will be truly great.

    • rajg
      April 25, 2012

      Lie

      I do agree to your point of poor defense of Barcelona in the entire season except couple of matches. But point about torres goal is not valid. Chelsea was winning irrespective of Torres goal and Mascherano sacrificed defense at the last minute. Torres scored his goal in 90+1 minute.

      And yah this club has to evolve to defeat ” Anti-Football” club

      • April 25, 2012

        Finish your chances and one can beat any and every club there is..

        • rajg
          April 25, 2012

          VJ

          I agree to it but along with that Barca has to make itself even better if teams like chelsea ( who has put even their striker Drogba on defense) and Madrid has to be beaten. If we are not able to convert it because of a bad day we should be atleast in a position to stop the opponent from scoring too. What happened yesterday is not justified but history will cherish opportunistic/coward Chelsea.

      • Lie
        April 25, 2012

        Sacrificing defence, yes, but gifting them a goal is different. I’ve never seen anyone do that before, even when teams are desperate for a goal at the end of the match. It was like playing Russian roulette with a semi-automatic. Stupid, dangerous, and inevitable. One kick upfield and you’ve definitely lost. If just one person had marked him he wouldn’t have scored and you’d of had maybe a minute of more attacking. Maybe there wouldn’t have been a goal if you had another hour even, but there was still a chance. It just smacks of lack of defensive brains in the team. I mean, if it’s the last minutes of the game and you’re sacrificing defence, then why not send Valdes up too? Because the result would have been the same: one kick upfield and your dead.

        • rajg
          April 25, 2012

          I wont mind sending Valdes too if it had made us win :). We fight for winning and even if we loose we do it by fighting to win, till the end. I guess players in this club are matured and experienced enough to understand the risk they have taken at the end. It didn’t payoff but it make us all proud of the team’s attitude. And I am sure, Barcelona will focus on strengthening their defense in the next season. Pep is aware of it and we are hunting for defenders.

    • April 25, 2012

      More catholic manager

      You should know this is the strangest term related to football I’ve ever read.

      To us, our attacking mentality is our soul. Sure, hindsight is 20/20, we should’ve done this/that but the fact of the matter is all that we’ve achieved, everything that has been won, can be put down to the ‘filosofia’.

      Sure managers like to take their foot off the pedal and start out with a defensive approach once ahead with say, a 2 goal lead. But how many of them can take comfort with the fact of beating your most bitterest rival 5-0, who is being coached by a manager that has 2 CLs under his belt and who always embraces the philosophy you are asking for. (It didn’t work out for him today too BTW)

      And if you think achieving 13 out of 16 trophies during one’s time as coach doesn’t make you great, well what can I say, pull your head out of your….

      I’ll gladly sacrifice 1 CL for the for the philosophy, only because I know it’ll help me win again and again and again..

      • Lie
        April 25, 2012

        You should know this is the strangest term related to football I’ve ever read.

        I know it sounds strange, but “catholic” comes from the Greek, “katholikos”, meaning broad, eclectic, or wide ranging. It’s the primary meaning of the word. The Catholic church (note the capital letter — it’s a proper noun) named itself after the word to give the impression that it was the all embracing church. It’s a good word to know.

        Anyway, betraying your attacking principles and defending are not the same thing. If Pep played four at the back at 2-0 but still threw everything at them, would that be a betrayal? If he then played a DM infront of that four but still allowed him to fuel the attacks, would that be a betrayal? Don’t get confused: it’s only betrayal of that particular style of attacking, but NOT a betrayal of your attacking impetus.

        You’ll be surprised how easily 13 trophies out of 16 is forgotten. Fergusen, Sacchi, Paisley, Herrera, Shankley, Jock Stein — these are all great managers. Pep’s done well, and maybe he is already great, but he has to go on and do more.

    • ciaran
      April 25, 2012

      Pep and Naivety are not words that should be in the same sentence.
      Pep and a complete and irrepressible faith in the system employed by Barcelona, introduced by Michels/Cryuff and perfected over time.
      If football rewarded only the best team, Barca and Madrid would be playing each other in the final, this and most recent years and Barca would be collecting their 4th Champions League in a row as well as the league trophy.
      Football is a sport and is unpredictable.

      To blame Pep for not learning is to ignore the statistics of the two matches that put us out of the Champions League. Rarely does a team hit the post/crossbar, rarer still to do both in a match. Then to replicate that in both legs of a semi-final is incredibly bad luck, if you believe in it. Add to that a missed penalty and it is either terrible luck or an incredible coincidence.

      Statistically, also, Barca has the best defense in the entire league. One result doesn’t change what the team has achieved, and I for one don’t want this team to change it’s system over this result. I am proud of this team.

      • Lie
        April 25, 2012

        You were unlucky, sure. But if you calmed down a little at 2-0 and then mopped up Chelsea as they looked for another goal you would have destroyed them. I’m not blaming Pep for anything at all. I’ll blame if he doesn’t learn from this though. Hpefully he will and nobody can ever say he is not one of the greatest managers ever.

    • nzm
      April 25, 2012

      First off, as rajg states, the Torres goal can’t be included in analysis because Barca was giving it all to try to score another goal to win. Defence was sacrificed in the last minute for attack.

      But if you want to analyse the Chelsea goals just before halftime in each of the 2 legs, plus the Ronaldo winner in the clasico, then that’s another story. 🙂

      With a healthy team, Barca has the depth, but with so many injuries and illnesses, there have not been many weeks this season where Pep has had a full squad at his disposal.

      I listed this the other day, and I’ll repeat it here.

      Injured this season:
      VV – no
      Alves – yes
      Pique – yes
      Cesc – yes
      Puyol – yes
      Xavi – yes
      Villa – yes longterm
      Iniesta – yes
      Sanchez – yes more than once
      Messi – no
      Thiago – yes
      Pinto – no
      Mascherano – no
      Keita – yes
      Busquets – yes
      Pedro – yes
      Maxwell – yes and he left in January
      Afellay – yes longterm
      Adriano – yes more than once
      Abidal – yes longterm
      Cuenca – no and he arrived fulltime in Dec/Jan
      Fontas – yes – longterm

      5 out of 22 players not injured during the season, and 2 of those are Goalkeepers. 4 longterm injuries and a spate of hamstrings that kept snapping like tired elastic keeping key players out for 2-3 weeks at a time.

      Add to that the stresses caused by Villa’s injury, Abidal’s liver woes, Tito’s throat surgery and Keita being away for about 4 weeks playing in the African Cup.

      Pep did what he could with what he had. If he renews, it’s going to be a different game next year – and with a proper pre-season to start it rolling.

      • rajg
        April 25, 2012

        nzm

        U have put it down beautifully. But I believe in this club and will believe forever because of its greatness, attitude, ethics, integrity and perseverance. Till now it has done everything to go in the record books as the greatest club of all time. Being said that, greatness is achieved by overcoming adversaries like what happened this season. And, one thing I love about Pep and if I remember correctly about all players is that they have not given injury as an excuse this season. It is the media or others who have interpreted it. And because of that attitude we have been winning everything till the last 3 games and would have won everything if those games would have gone well. We have to evolve ourselves to be even better than what we are today esp. to beat teams who put everything on their defense and close the gaps as Chelsea did after 65 minutes and less chances were created compared to 1st half and earlier in 2nd half.

      • Lie
        April 25, 2012

        But surely Pep wanted a small squad, didn’t he? He was happy with it. Am I wrong? That’s what I thought. If those stats are correct, that’s incredible, but it’s a positive feedback loop isn’t it. If you have a small squad, then any injuries mean that the remaining players have to play more, meaning they’ll be more likely to get injured too. It can be a vicious cycle. Like I said, Pep must increase the size of his squad. If he truely did not have a hand in it, then I can’t blame him for it and I retract that criticism, but still he should be privately banging on about it incessantly during the summer to the board and directors.

        • rajg
          April 25, 2012

          It is not a choice Barcelona makes to keep a small squad if it seems to be. In this club player wages are highest among all the clubs. Added to it is the UEFA Financial Fair Play regulation. Rules for it state that clubs cannot spend more than their accumulated revenue on player transfers and wages. If it is not followed then team won’t be able to participate in champions league.Barcelona was on debt of 21 million euros in Fiscal year 2010. Even with the debt they brought Fabregas and Alexis last summer. They might have to sell players to buy new and follow UEFA regulations.

          • Lie
            April 25, 2012

            Yeah the wage bill is a big problem. I can’t believe how high it is. Ridiculously high, in my opinion. Criplingly high, in fact. Offensively high. OK, you get the idea…

            Part of this particular problem is the wasteful transfers. Ibra and Chygryinyychszky in particular. There has to be wiser investment in up-and-coming players.

      • April 25, 2012

        I’m sorry but this is no excuse and doesn’t justify having a small squad. The injury list you’ve drawn up is common for most teams. In recent years Barca have been lucky to not suffer more injuries. Part of it is the playing style which ensures that the ball does a lot of the work and players don’t have to sprint all the time. And part of it is luck.

        The injuries Barca have suffered this season are not extraordinary, they are in fact quite normal. Pep knew before the season that his squad had only one centre-forward. He knew Keita would be gone for 4 weeks.

        Barca really do need a slightly bigger squad and this season has proven that.

        • jordi™
          April 25, 2012

          Well we lost our starting leftback to Cancer so its hardly been that normal.

          • April 25, 2012

            Ok I agree, I don’t mean to be insensitive as I have the greatest respect for Abidal as a player and a person.

            But Abidal’s unfortunate illness is not new, it was known last season. And he returned in heroic fashion to lift the CL trophy. But my point is going into this season, Pep knew he was ill and still chose not to get a back-up.

            That’s basically what I mean. Losing your LB to cancer is hardly normal, but neither is choosing not to purchase a back-up when you know King Eric is ill.

            Even more than that, I’m astounded by Pep’s decision to begin the season with only one centre-forward in Villa. I know Barca fans won’t tolerate any criticism of Pep, but I think his squad planning shows his inexperience as a coach. He probably figured that ok if Villa gets injured we’ll just readjust and shuffle Messi, Cesc, Alexis, etc. around to make up for the lack of a true striker. But I think this season he’s learned that you can never replace a true striker. And regardless of your style of play, you can’t begin a season with only one centre forwad in your entire squad.

        • nzm
          April 26, 2012

          This isn’t a small squad. We have 2 less than Real Madrid. A liga team can only have 25 squad members. There is a limit to the number of players that can be listed in the A team.

  102. blitzen
    April 25, 2012

    To any of our friendly madridistas who happen to check in:

    I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t want your team to lose because that would be hypocritical. I wanted them to lose and laughed when they did.

    Having said that, believe me I understand your pain and I feel bad for you as fans. That was an excruciating way to lose. You can at least be proud that your team played very well over both legs and have had a fantastic season.

    Football is a harsh mistress sometimes. Cheers.

    • April 25, 2012

      Hey blitzen, thanks for the honesty. Even though I wanted a Clasico final, I was a bit happy inside when Chelsea won. I wouldn’t say I laughed when Barca lost, but it made me happy.

      Thanks for understanding our pain. We may support different teams but the pain we feel when our teams lose is quite the same.

      I’m not satisfied with our performance over two legs because Bayern were better in both games. But I will take plenty of consolation from the Liga; the fact that we finally beat Barca at Camp Nou for the first time since 2007 or 2008, and the fact that we have broken the all-time La Liga goalscoring record despite some people calling us a defensive team.

      Tonight I will be sad over our heartbreaking penalty kick defeat. And the fact that we now look forward to a Bayern – Chelsea final instead of Madrid – Barca. But that’s futbol. The great thing about futbol? There’s always next season.

  103. drexler
    April 25, 2012

    I think Abidal’s replacement has been found: David Alaba. For a 19 year to have that level of confidence and poise to take the first penalty knowing he wont play in the final…what a talent.

    • nzm
      April 25, 2012

      Agreed. Have said it a couple of times that I’d love to see him at Barca with Abi as his mentor, and providing some strength for some left wing forward play.

    • Messiah10
      April 25, 2012

      He’s definitely showed a lot int he CL this season. I haven’t watched much of him in Bundesliga b/c I watch Dortmund whem I can. However, I’m still not sure a 19 year old LB is the way to go. He would have to learn an incredibly different system and also switch an entirely different culture. The expectations on him could be enormous. Filling King Eric’s shoes will be a chore. I think we can go w/a more seasoned(23-25) LB if there’s one available

    • jordi™
      April 25, 2012

      Well its ‘found’ but only to look at admiringly from a distance.Bayern are wealthy enough that Hoeness will just tell us where we can stick our money.They dont sell players they want to keep, if you leave its on a free transfer after the contract is up.Just see Ballack, van Bommel, Lucio, Demichelis etc.Remember they were quite content to let Ribery run down his contract before he signed a new one.100 millions was their price,Its just principle and I respect it.

    • April 25, 2012

      He’s not Abidal’s replacement because there is no way that Bayern will sell him. They developed him. They’re a perennial Champions League contender, and I don’t see why Alaba would want to leave.

  104. messifan
    April 25, 2012

    Pep talked to Tito yesterday (different timezone?), could meet Rosell today to make a final decision. He wants to tell the players on Friday and then the club will issue an official statement (from MD via @barcastuff.

    Now, I’m worried.

    • Messiah10
      April 25, 2012

      Nah, he’s coming back for sure. No way will he leave us like this. He is a Cule & Soci from the bottom of his heart. Can’t see it happening.

  105. K_legit in Oz
    April 25, 2012

    To be perfectly honest, I will not be overly surprised if Pep doesn’t renew..

  106. April 25, 2012

    Not sure what to think about Guardiola. Reports say that he and RoSELL met, then RoSELL met with ZubiZa. And now comes the word of the meet with Vilanova, and his wanting to tell the players befire any official announcement is made. None of that leads me to believe that he is staying

    The individual meetings are the worst for me.

    But we will know very soon

    • mom4
      April 25, 2012

      I’m thinking he’s going. I also think, despite the fact that he’s well compensated, it would be unfair of us to think any less of him if he didn’t. It’s obviously the job from hell.

        • April 25, 2012

          If he leaves, who do you Cules think will replace him? Bielsa is a fantastic coach, known to be one of Guardiola’s coaching mentors. Or will it be someone from inside the club?

          • mom4
            April 25, 2012

            I’d like Lucho, but he has another year left on his contract at Roma.

          • Anonymous_69
            April 25, 2012

            Oscar Garca is being touted as the next Pep Guardiola (that’s funny, we’re talking about “the next…” but with managers :p), but he needs more experience before he is ready. Which is probably why he is leaving the Juvenil A team this summer.

            Luis Enrique is a good coach, but not great, and I see him as only a single-season coach for us, until something better comes along. Right now, there aren’t many good coaches available. Luis Enrique wouldn’t take long to adapt and get to know our players. He can fill in well and keep things together for a year, but with him, I don’t see us playing at our best.

            Bielsa is a dream, and if he is available, then get him. But he isn’t available. At the very least, not for another year.

            I like Aston Vilas-Boas a lot, and I see him doing well here. But for obvious reasons, he won’t be a popular guy to hire. Still, besides being a very intelligent coach, he is usually humble and polite (nothing on Pep’s level, but still way better than Mourinho in this regard). And there’s also the obvious thing: he plays our style. Better yet, he plays a more direct variation of our style, which is exactly what we need. We need to become more direct, which is why I favor getting guys like Bielsa and AVB.

            I used to favor Laurent Blanc, not so much anymore. Joachim Löw is an awesome coach, but there’s no way he will be available any time soon, unless Germany absolutely fail at the Euros.

            The absolute best option? Pep Guardiola, the best coach in the world. Hope he renews, and renews for a long time. Best case scenario, he stays for two more years. Most likely, only one more season. Worst thing that can happen is for Pep to leave now. I really really hope he doesn’t. At least for two years, when Bielsa will be easier to acquire, or Oscar Garcia will have more experience.

          • messifan
            April 25, 2012

            I like Jorge Sampaoli, La U coach (Official name: Club Universidad de Chile).

            He’s Argentinian, got his start at Newell’s (that place produces a lot of good people 🙂 ). Also, he’s a Bielsa follower and believes in progressive style.

            Maybe, he’s a bit of an unknown quantity, but I think having a non-EU experienced coach can be a good thing.

          • sd
            April 25, 2012

            I would like Tito Vilanova to take the reigns and Oscar Garcia to become his assistant. It would ensure continuity and groom Oscar Garcia as well.

            If Pep is serious that he’ll do whats best for the club then in my opinion whats best for the club is that he stays. I hope he sees it that way too but often visionaries see things much earlier than us common folk do.

    • Ryan
      April 25, 2012

      Is it time to reuse Kari’s “We are going to die” gif? 😆

      In either case, Pep has given us an amazing 4 years. I’d obviously love for him to stay, but it’s also clear how badly this job is affecting him physically.

    • April 25, 2012

      I wouldn’t try to make too many inferences from these leaked half-reports. No one knows what’s going on, least of all these papers.

      I think he’s staying but that’s just a hunch and I really wouldn’t be surprised to see him not renew.

    • I don’t think Guardiola will leave. Had he won one of the big trophies this season he would have left. But no now. Atleast I believe so. He knows clearly this seasonw as all about his tactical innovations and I think he would love to refine it more with some grand succes once more.

    • April 25, 2012

      Meh… whatever makes you happy bro 😛 Have to agree the purchase of Kaka was in hindsight not a good decision. Ronaldo and Alonso? Don’t worry, they will both win the Champions League with Real Madrid. Marcelo and Higuain are also in that photo but they were bought for pocket change in late 2006

  107. mom4
    April 25, 2012

    Can we have Alaba for a silly season present? Please?

  108. messifan
    April 25, 2012

    So someone from ZM mentioned that Drogba is FREE this summer. Is he a good fit for us? The thought of having Drogba occupying the box will make defenders think twice. He’s 34 and probably wants to find a retirement club that is willing to pay him big.

    But just a thought…

    • April 25, 2012

      Drogba for Barca.. hmm well obviously he would add value, but I think you’d be better off with Llorente.

      • messifan
        April 25, 2012

        Not a Llorente’s fan, but he has the CdR and Euro to convince me.

        In my view, we can’t afford to spend a lot on transfers, which leaves me confused with reports of us getting Neymar for 60 million euros.

        I think we have about 50 million for summer spending, but the club has to take into account wages. Our payroll is high, which includes both football and non-football activities.

        Barca has a multi-tier system. Tier 1 is Messi (though he is not the highest paid player in the world). Tier 2 includes Xavi, Iniesta, Villa, Alves and Puyi(?). Tier 3: Pique, Busi, Valdes, Abidal and Pedro (?). Tier 4- the rest. I think Alexis and Cesc might fall under Tier 3. These are well known players, so I’m assuming their wages and incentives are fairly high.

        Then, there’s La Masia players. Since our youth teams are well regarded, scouts are coming in more. Youth players with potential have more leverage. That’s why we see Bartra, Montoya, and others being promoted per contract agreement. So this forces the club to offer them more incentives, such as higher wages and first team opportunities(note: this is my speculation).

        FCB also has other activities- Basketball, Hockey, Futsal, etc…The cost of running these departments is small relative to its football operation. But if the football side has an annual budget of 400 million, and say other budget is 20% of that, the number is about 80 million (note: I’m making this up). The point is the cost of running this club is high. And our non-football activities don’t generate profits.

        Add to that is our debt. At this point, I’m against the club borrowing more to cover transfer fees and wages.

        I’m not sure what FFP will do to the transfer market, it might force teams to look outside of major EU leagues. I just hope there’s a midpoint equilibrium between supply and demand.

        I think we should look more to Asian and Eastern European markets for players. The J-League might be a good start.

        • Ryan
          April 25, 2012

          Are you looking at just wage earnings, or total money taken in when it comes to Messi? I recall reading an article a little while ago that had Messi as the #1 best paid soccer player for 2011, with Beckham as #2, and TB as #3. If he isn’t earning the highest salary, who is?

          • messifan
            April 25, 2012

            Wage earning. He’s #1 total including commercial activities. I think CR is first for wage earned.

          • messifan
            April 25, 2012

            Or…it’s Eto’o. Not sure, but Messi is not the highest.

      • Anonymous_69
        April 25, 2012

        Drogba I think Drogba would be the perfect player for Barcelona – if he was 8 years younger. But 8 years ago, we got another certain African who goes by the name of Samuel Eto’o. And I am not at all mad about missing out on any other potential Striker… Honestly speaking, I am a huge admirer of Drogba (despite some of his antics). I think he is one of the greatest Striker I have ever seen, and I do think his qualities would have been perfect for Barcelona. And if he IS free (really doubt that) in the summer, then yes, I still want Barcelona to snatch him up (and still go for another top CF like Cavani or Llorente).

        Seriously though, I am a huge fan of Llorente and he is one of my top targets for Barcelona.

        • No he is not. We did the same mistake with Ibra. Drogba will be a great addition to have a PLAN B but as we saw in case of Ibra(who actually is technically more suited than Drogba), he will take a lot from out of PLAN A. If you want a striker to really give yourself a Plan B, then you have to go for a mediocre striker who is ready to sit in the bench but also can offer some physical strength when needed. The problem is that our Plan A is so refined that we cannot afford to mess with that.

          Secondly I am with Biesla on this Plan B stuff. he clearly said that we don’t need a plan B. Take a moment and think even with our Plan A , which was not supposed to work against team which park the bus in the box we created enough chances. So in my opinion our Plan A itself is getting evolved to tackle these kind of situation. Have faith, they just need to play a bit faster than they did in the second half to break the BUS.

          Also where are the teams with Plan B in place in Champions League. Bayern plays in only one way whether they are at home or away from home. And this Chelsea is also playing this way(may not park the bus, but they still are defending against the likes of Wigan etc). What happened to Real madrid’s supposedly Plan B? Where is ManU, Milan, Inter etc? In football nothing guarantees success. So why not stick with something which has worked for us.

          • Anonymous_69
            April 26, 2012

            Plan B isn’t what I’m talking about. I just think Drogba is awesome and would be good for any team.

            Ibra didn’t fit in because of his mentality and personality, not because he messed up our plan A. He suffered a dip in form and got injured, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t fitting in. The potential there was huge, but Zlatan’s ego was gigantic…

            I agree that we need to improve our plan A, not get a plan B. And part of improving that plan A is incorporating a CF. “why not stick with something which has worked for us.” As Ramzi says, the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality isn’t optimal. Why wait until something is broken before you start fixing the flaws? Like Bielsa, no plan B, just improve plan A. And he does that with a powerful CF like Llorente. Bilbao play a similar style to Barcelona, and Llorente is a key part of that. Llorente can be just as important for tiki taka and possessional play as Cesc. Besides the “HE STEALS MESSI’S SPACE, MESSI NEEDS TO BE FALSE 9!” argument, can you give me an actual reason as to why a CF wouldn’t be a good option for us? Because if I remember, we only started using the false 9 permanently last season. And this season, Pep has already been trying to change that, by playing Sanchez as a CF.

          • Reply to Anonymous_69 post below. For some reason the reply button is not there for me.

            Llorente is a good option but will we be able to afford him. And here is another issue, we have a CF who will return most probably this or next month. What you suggest to do with him?

      • nzm
        April 26, 2012

        Nope – not Llorente. The guy can’t dribble a ball to save his life. I don’t think that he would be happy merely being a substitute impact player for his headers.

  109. paxtonpale
    April 25, 2012

    This game has shown us what losing means. We experience too much wins and well we never really experience the true impact of losing. You saw Messi, he was gutted. Chelsea played well and really we didn’t act right. Cuenca in the side?? I mean, this guy is renown for his crossing but is there any need of his crossers if 98% of the time its going to go into a head of a Chelsea defender? Fabregas in my opinion, was the key and his link up play had to be precise. Messi and Fab link up was good and Messi stuffed up a great opportunity that he hit at Cech. Overall, what do we do now? Well now, we start resting players (Xavi, Puyol, Messi, Mascherano) and start rotating and introducing the promoted players and other B team players. THis players are going to be playing for us next season so why not get some extra experience and play them in the remaining rounds? Pinto also needs to go in goals as he will surely be in goals for CDR and well we need him to be on his best game otherwise we will lose that troph as well. Afellay needs to start playing because he has been fit, fresh and ready for a long time. Play him otherwise sell him!

  110. Ahmad
    April 25, 2012

    Hey guys, do you think Messi will once again win the Ballon D’or after Real Madrid got knocked out of the CL?

    • K_legit in Oz
      April 26, 2012

      I think Mario Gomez is a serious contender with RvP, Messi and Ronaldo

      • nzm
        April 26, 2012

        So far:

        RvP: 34 goals and no trophies
        Gomez: 40 goals and 2 trophies to play for (Pokal and CL)
        Ronaldo: 56 goals and La Liga trophy
        Messi: 63 goals; Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup, Liga Supa Copa and 1 trophy to play for (Copa del Rey)

        If Messi equals or betters Gerd Mueller’s 1972 record of 67 goals in a season, then he should have the advantage.

        If Ronaldo has a good Euro Cup run, then he may have the edge.

        If Gomez scores in CL and has a good Euro Cup, then he may be a strong outside contender.

    • Richzorz
      April 26, 2012

      I think Messi is a contender but perhaps it may go to an outstanding performer from the Euros (or maybe even one of Bayern’s top players if they win the CL and perform well in the summer)

  111. The way RM played in their home, I felt more proud of our boys. Our boys gave it all and went out. RM was the home team and had atleast 500 Million+ talent on the field. Had they showed a bit of intent to attack they would have gone past the Germans. But Mourinho can’t help it! He set them for counter, the Germans were clever they never rushed for that goal and never exposed themselves to heavy counter. Their midfield was so effective that they plucked out all the danger. For the majority of the match Bayern looked like the home team. Mario Gomez is quite a player. He was so good in harrassing Pepe and Ramos but wasted atleast three clear cut chances. As the second half went to a close it was clear that RM cannot afford to attack more since the away goal rule was against them. but they should have done that atleast properly in the first half. apart from the first ten minutes they never looked to seize the initiative, that too against a Bayern team whose defense looked more doubtful than Real’s.

    It is suicidal to play for penalties against Germans. They always win those. And Spanish teams record with penalties is not that great either to hold on. I always like the way German teams(especially the national team) go about in Penalty shoot-out. The first one is taken always by a less fancied person and the second one by the premier striker. In contrast Ronaldo who is Real’s premier player went to take the penalty and missed.

  112. Also I know what is the music lyrics that is ringing on Mourinho’s head right now – “be careful for what you wish for, you just might get it all” What he wished?

    He famously said that he is sure that Real Madrid and Chelsea will never meet(aiming a swipe at us) in the final. Careful for what you wish for….. Yahoooooooooooooooooooo

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