Barcelona – Espanyol Liveblog

It’s Pep’s final home match. It’s a derby. Who said there was nothing left to play for?

Starting XI: Pinto, Montoya, Puyol, Mascherano, Adriano, Keita, Busquets, Thiago, Pedro, Messi, Iniesta

Bench: Valdes, Bartra, Alves, Fabregas, Xavi, Afellay, Tello

Match starts at 3:00 PM EST

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78 Comments

  1. Momo
    May 5, 2012

    I predict a solid manita to send Pep off the right way.

  2. Messiah10
    May 5, 2012

    No goals from CR or EE for that matter. C’mon Granada. They are actually playing lovely footie.

  3. Messiah10
    May 5, 2012

    HAT TRICK! MESSI! You are a GOD! Omg! 4! Unreal! What a way to send Pep off.

  4. Messiah10
    May 5, 2012

    Is it to much to ask Messi for 1 more??? Then a brace in the last game for a nice round 75 for the year? lol. Greatest ever! No question. All haters recognize true world class brilliance! CR got one off a weird penalty that looked like he took a swipe/swing at Granada player who went underneath it and then tackled him in the box. Weird play. I hope they draw so the 100 pts escapes them!

  5. G6O
    May 5, 2012

    Well, on Wednesday, I was wondering whether Messi can score twice in each of the last two games and get 50. He scored 4 in the first of them 🙂

    Also, why weren’t we getting the same kind of penalty calls before the leagues was decided???

    P.S. Watching the post-game now, Pep is crying…

  6. Dani_el
    May 5, 2012

    This was really exciting. I can’t hold back the emotion. Gracies Pep, I have never seen a team to celebrate a person like today. He didn’t want to but I thank Puyol and his character for making him receive the hugs and the ronda.

    I can’t express enough how I love a team and a club that does a homage like this to someone. Mès que un club.

  7. Laurentiu88
    May 5, 2012

    if only i would’t have had to listen to Salgado commenting all along those moments …. 🙁

      • messifan
        May 5, 2012

        And Salgado just mentioned Eusebio 🙁 Por que?

      • Laurentiu88
        May 5, 2012

        not enough to make him Heidi Klum… 🙂

        not to mention he had to mention in those moments how piques has to go … or that Zidane had a better touch than Messi.

    • Jim
      May 6, 2012

      Agreed. There are moments when you should just leave us watching the pictures and not ruin them with someone babbling over them. That scene was perfect television, even not understanding what Pep was saying.

  8. nzm
    May 5, 2012

    Argh – short and sweet at Camp Nou for Pep’s send-off. Just as he liked it.

    Loved Messi’s run to Pep after the 4th goal. Falling out? I don’t think so.

    Pique looked a bit serious though – not like him at all.

  9. blitzen
    May 5, 2012

    Yup, Pep has lost the dressing room all right. Those players are clearly happy to see the back of him.

    *little something in my eye* 😥

  10. messifan
    May 5, 2012

    That was a beautiful tribute for Pep. Short and sweet!
    Thank you, Mister.

  11. olbucky
    May 5, 2012

    Why no Alvie’s today? Was this fallout from the dance or did he have a bruise?

    • olbucky
      May 5, 2012

      Sorry Alves. Typing on a phone is tough…

  12. hansh
    May 5, 2012

    Messi scores the sublime third goal in his hat trick and jogs past all his teammates so he can celebrate with his coach first. They start out with a classic handshake, and quickly embrace each other like family. The other players crowd in. You have to think that Pep was taken back to his playing days, even as he was amazed by, and proud of, his players.

    That ceremony after the game is beautiful. First the tribute video (from the club itself?). I can’t wait to get an English/Spanish translation of Pep’s speech. Then the whole team walks out to meet him, Pep is arguing, Puyi is insisting, Pep pretends to throw a punch at Puyi (looooool). Finally the players get their way and they all toss Pep a few times. The crowd goes wild each time.

    They form a circle and dance a little. I think Pep is next to Tito. Then Pep stands alone in the very center of the pitch and waves goodbye to everyone. My God, is the Camp Nou loud. The players form a pasillo and Pep walks through, down the tunnel, and away. He disappears.

    _________

    I just needed to synthesize that I little. I needed to break it down and really appreciate just how much all culés – fans and players – love Pep Guardiola. I’m going to miss him, but I’ll comfort myself by how much happier he has looked lately, now that he has a huge weight taken off of him. To Pep, thank you and good luck in whatever comes in your future.

    _________

    Finally, this game was just a little bit insane, wasn’t it? A derby in which Espanyol didn’t fight tooth and nail, two soft penalty calls and oodles of yellow cards, El Ilusionista fully present and ignoring the concept of “positions”, Mascherano making last ditch saves because Pinto is 25 yards of the goal line. What fun!

    • Jafri
      May 5, 2012

      Oh yeah, the clearance from Masch was simply epic. Reminded me of that Puyol vs EE video that was posted here some time back. (And that mother of all brain farts from Pinto who seemed to be trying to get to the halfway line as quickly as he could. Thank God VV is our regular ‘keeper.)

    • mom4
      May 5, 2012

      Thanks for taking the time to type the details. I’m at work upset about mssing it.

        • hansh
          May 5, 2012

          No problem, mom4! Like I said, I very much needed to write that. It was simple but cathartic. And I’m sorry you missed the game/ceremony. 🙁

          Thank you for the links, blitzen! I’m so happy to hear what Pep had to say. One remark in particular stood out to me – “My seatbelt was a bit uncomfortable, so I take that off, but I ask you my dears to keep them fastened, because you will continue to have fun.” I find it very interesting that he remembers and chooses to reference something he said in the past. It shows that he chooses his words carefully and means the things he says.

          Also, “See you soon, because I’ll never be far away.” Oh Pep, I’m going to cry!

          • nzm
            May 6, 2012

            The video compilation, which was shown on the Camp Nou big screens before Pep speaking, started with his “fasten your seatbelts” introductory speech on the pitch when he was presented as the manager.

            He then continued the theme for his closing speech.

            The man is all about tradition and continuity!

          • hansh
            May 6, 2012

            Ok nzm, thanks for the info. I missed the beginning of the video as I was frantically switching streams as mine shut down.

  13. Jafri
    May 5, 2012

    That was a beautiful game, and a fitting send off for the Mister.

    50 goals in a league season was icing on the cake 🙂

    Oh Pep… We’ll miss you… Loved the way he faked a punch at Puyol to try and get out of getting bumps. What a guy.

  14. nzm
    May 5, 2012

    Interesting that goal.com (I know, I know) has run an article that Joan Laporta is blaming the board for Pep’s departure and that the board is trying to eradicate all that Cruyff and co set up within the club.

    At the end of the article is the most interesting bit: Laporta is perhaps going to run for FCB President again.

    He won’t win…or will he?

    What if Pep backs Laporta’s campaign and promises to return to the club?

    Watch this space! 😛

    • Jafri
      May 5, 2012

      I’m surprised they didn’t use the word slam in the title. They’re great ones for having people slamming each other all the time.

      Gossip-mongerers!

  15. May 5, 2012

    Still shedding some tears for Pep…:(
    I missed him already.
    This is a really an emotional day.
    Gràcies Pep!

  16. ciaran
    May 5, 2012

    So Messi has scored 72 goals so far this season, with 2 more games to go… and has assisted 28 more totalling 100 goals in 58 matches for Barca. Unbelievable.
    Tito, if you can get the same out of Messi next season you will be doing well.

    • ciaran
      May 5, 2012

      Karanka wants Madrid to help Ronaldo to win the Pichichi.
      So expect Ronaldo to score 2 hattricks next week… yeah right.

  17. nzm
    May 5, 2012

    Watching TV3, and Pep and his whole family are out on the pitch – about 20 of them. So sweet to see him sitting on the bench with his daughter in his arms.

  18. ciaran
    May 5, 2012

    God help Konami, Sports Interactive and EA Sports trying to recreate Messi’s attributes for next seasons games.

    • Momo
      May 5, 2012

      I hope his attributes aren’t created realistically. The game would be broken.
      Messi is essentially a real life cheat code.

  19. May 5, 2012

    That Messi kid will be pretty good someday, eh? It’s been said before but bears repeating: Guardiola has changed everything about this club and its fans. It’s crazy. It’s almost like they aren’t real cules anymore.

    It’s impossible to explain how absurd 72 goals is to someone who doesn’t understand the game. But that is just ctazy. The stories about Messi possibly playing Chelsea and EE hurt gain credence when we see how he’s been these last few matches. Lordy!

    I commented about the Pique face on Twitter. Gkad I wasn’t the only one to see it. I’m going to assume emotion, as he owes Guardiola so much. I refuse to think that tbe last time I saw someone with a face like that during a celebration was The Yaya, right before he was sold. Because Pique isn’t going anywhere.

    It was a beautiful, emotionally overwhelming day. The Messi goal celebration with Guardiola was so touching. What a team, what a club.

    • blitzen
      May 5, 2012

      Guardiola has changed everything about this club and its fans. It’s crazy. It’s almost like they aren’t real cules anymore.

      This is what I think:

      FCB says it is mes que un club, but Guardiola has been the one who really makes people believe that. People see in him the embodiment of the values that Barça professes: humility, respectfulness, hard work, generosity, loyalty & dedication to an ideal. They identify with him because he is what they aspire to be. He is what they think Barça is, & therefore he has become what every Barça fa aspires to be.

  20. Helge
    May 5, 2012

    What a well deserved goodbye-match for Pep!

    I cannot express my gratitude in words, but to put it short: Thanks Pep for giving me the best years of my life – although I cancelled studies, failed to achieve my personal aims, lost lots of money in betting etc. – all of this was more than compensated by the beauty of ‘the Style (you/)we Believe’.

    Farewell!

  21. messifan
    May 5, 2012

    Here’s a picture of Pep and his family soaking in the peaceful and quiet moment at the Camp Nou.

    Such a beautiful photograph that captures a lot of feelings.
    The enormous size of that stadium and the “mes que un club” enclosing the space around him and his loved ones.

    https://p.twimg.com/AsKrIqxCIAATaQl.jpg:large
    (via @barcastuff)

  22. mom4
    May 5, 2012

    Messi, Pep, Masche saves, sad Pericos, tears, smiles, hugs, broken records, gratitude, a Xavi cameo, and love. What more can you ask of a game?

    • nzm
      May 6, 2012

      After their “Thank you Chelsea” banner at Cornella el Prat the other day, I’m really happy that there are sad pericos.

  23. Judas Pissed
    May 6, 2012

    Not only has Messi beaten Gerd Muller’s European record for most goals in a single season, he’s now beaten Archie Stark’s WORLD record of 70 goals in a single season – set for Bethlehem Steel in 1924-25..!

    • nzm
      May 6, 2012

      He’s also demolished Dudu Georgescu’s record of 47 goals in one season, in league games only, which he set while playing for Dinamo Bucharest in 76-77.

      Messi is destroying records that have stood from years long before he was born!

  24. Laurentiu88
    May 6, 2012

    the most powerful moment of the night was Messi’s hug. It looked so sincere and so desperate… like a son hugging his father … when we think of the character the little boy has this whole thing becomes so much more meaningful. what a family they managed to be there…

    i wonder how do they look at Tito and how will he manage the transition?

  25. Gogah
    May 6, 2012

    Can’t begin to imagine how much Catalunya and Barcelona love Pep.

    • blitzen
      May 6, 2012

      I *just* came here to post that! It’s pretty special. Watch out for Pep’s son imitating his sideline gestures.

      Pep’s brother looks a lot like him, doesn’t he? And his older girl is just stuck to Pep’s side like glue. <3

      • mega_tajh
        May 6, 2012

        To think when Pep was first appointed, his youngest daughter there was only 2months old, now look at her running around the Camp Nou, oh how time has flown……

  26. nzm
    May 6, 2012

    Yaya is single-handedly demolishing Newcastle in the closing minutes.

    • Ryan
      May 6, 2012

      Yaya really turned up the heat in the 2nd half – He could’ve pulled a Messi and scored 4 or 5 goals!

    • aaron88
      May 6, 2012

      its a shame that YAYA didn’t score on that one on one. he was fantastic.

      • Messiah10
        May 6, 2012

        Yaya could’ve and did once in a while for us, but he was used as our holding mid during his time at FCB. He was used this way in the 1st half but then was able to move forward once De Song came on and you see the end result. He’s always been great at curling the ball in the net from 15-20 yards out. Newcastle had some chances early and should’ve capitalized. Cisse didn’t look on form at all and Ben Arfa was over matched by the back line and wasn’t able to penetrate deep enough. Great game though. The best of the weekend in the PL for me was Arsenal vs Norwich City. End to end action from the whistle. Unreal. If RVP stays and Arsenal pick up some defenders, they could be dangerous with the addition of Podolski. I really like him. He’s been great this year for a team in relegation. I bet his ratio of shots on goal to shots made is phenominal. I can’t wait for next season. I hate summer! Guess the Euros will fix my jones! lol

  27. K_legit in Oz
    May 6, 2012

    One of the biggest regrets of mine in the Guardiola era is the transfer of Yaya Toure to Man City and today he shows yet again why I regret it so much…what a player!

    • nzm
      May 6, 2012

      I miss him because of what it meant for Messi (and the other forwards) when Yaya was on the pitch.

      The big man would take the ball forward, draw 2-3 defenders and take the heat off the forwards, and then slot the pass/assist. Messi scored a few in this way from the link-up with Yaya.

      It’s something that Busquets does not have which I’m pretty sure that Tito will try to develop with him – the attack mentality. He’s so used to passing to Xavi/Iniesta/Messi for them to make the decision when sometimes the decision needs to come from Busi.

      If Tito set the team for Rayo, we saw a bit of this in that game. Busi was out of his comfort zone because there was no Iniesta or Xavi. He had to take the ball up and, on most occasions, the ball was taken off him by Rayo because he couldn’t think fast enough to deliver the decisive pass.

      It’s not a bad thing, but if Busi could develop an attacking side to his skills, he’ll become a more rounded, and more valuable, midfielder.

      • Laurentiu88
        May 6, 2012

        i think even with Espanyol he attempted a few assists – the one where Messi miss-controlled comes to mind. Yaya is an amazing player but we are not so bad with Masche either. Besides from what i remember we could not guarantee a starting place for him…

    • Oil_Can
      May 6, 2012

      Back then A Yaya and Busquets midfield looked so promising. They weren’t as deadily as Xaviesta but those two would have bossed any Parked Bus or plane. But unfortunately Yaya wanted a guaranteed starting spot, where there is nothing wrong with that.

      Lets not take anything away from Cesc and Thiago, they both are just as good of players as Yaya. Cesc showed his assets against Chelsea and the WC finals. Thiago has that Flair which we will see more often in the future.

  28. messifan
    May 6, 2012

    OT: Unai Emery is leaving Valencia. I hope he’ll find a team that wants him. La Liga will miss him and good luck Unai 🙁

    • blitzen
      May 6, 2012

      I’ve read that one before, thanks. Although I’m not a basketball fan so it doesn’t resonate with me the same way a comparison to, say, Wayne Gretzky would.

    • nzm
      May 6, 2012

      Valenciennes vs. PSG isn’t bad either. Maxwell scored!

    • nzm
      May 6, 2012

      Juventus wins Serie A with Martin Caceres providing the assist for the second goal as they beat Cagliari, and Milan goes down to Inter.

      PSG wins 4-3 against Valenciennes to top the Ligue 1 table on goal difference in France, with Maxwell scoring.

      Yaya scores 2 for the Man City win vs. Newcastle and they have to win their last game to win Premier League.

      Happy that ex-Barca players are doing well with their new teams!

      • Momo
        May 6, 2012

        Wow!!! I just made that point to my friend earlier today!!

        • Laurentiu88
          May 6, 2012

          how are the La Masia players doing? My guess is not that great…

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