blitzen awards, the antepenultimate edition!

You didn’t think I could let this game pass without handing out a few awards, did you? Only two more games to go this season, though. I’m going into withdrawal mode already.

Pintocalypse Award: Javier Mascherano, for his brilliant headed save in the box after Pinto got caught out metres outside his box. Yet another reason why Masche has been worth every cent they paid for him.

Barça DNA Award: It’s always good to see former players doing well. Victor Sanchez has played for a few clubs since leaving Barça, first on loan in 2009, then permanently in 2011. He joined Espanyol in January 2012 after being released from the disastrous Swiss club Neuchatel Xamax. He knew Guardiola well from his days as part of his B team, and I’m sure he appreciated the sendoff Pep was given. He had a cute moment during the game when, after picking up a yellow card for barrelling into Iniesta, he trotted over to pat him on the head in apology. Because everyone loves Iniesta.

Room For Improvement Award: Speaking of Iniesta, he takes free kicks now. Because he needed to be even more awesome than he already is. This is one of the (many) reasons I love this team: No one rests on their laurels. Everyone can still learn things, can still get better. That’s what Pep brought to the club, and what I expect to see continued under Tito.

Perpetual Motion Machine Award: Pedro, who is darned close to earning back his punctuation, and had another excellent game with full windmill action activated. See, he just needed some consistent playing time to get his groove back! Sadly, he will likely miss out on going to the Euros as VDB has plenty of other options to choose from, and these last few games may not have been enough to get him back in the running. I think Pep actually feels a little guilty about that, as he mentioned something in a recent press conference that he thinks he could have played Pedro more. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Keita Face Award: Huh? What?

Closing The Barn Door After The Horse Has Bolted Award: Four Penalties in 2 games? Little late to start getting those calls now, guys. I’m waiting for Marca to break the story that we are bribing the refs to get penalty kicks now just to drive up Messi’s pichichi stats. I’m sure that’s what they are thinking. (And on a serious note, something has to be done about these ridiculous handball penalty calls. Whether for us or against us, there have been so many bad calls where it was a clear case of unavoidable ball-to-hand. It’s madness.)

Resistance Is Futile Award: Pep, pretending to throw a punch at Puyol in an effort to avoid being given the bumps. Trust me, if Puyol wants to throw you in the air it’s going to happen. Just resign yourself and enjoy the ride!

Next Generation Award: Marius Guardiola i Serra, who has already been practicing his coaching technique on the sidelines of Camp Nou. Future head coach? Watch this space!

Cast A Giant Shadow Award: What do they do with those giant banners after the game is finished? Put it in the museum, I suppose. I would love to buy that Gracies Pep banner and just drape it over my house. It would keep the sun off in the summer and retain heat in the winter. Most importantly, I could continue to live under Pep’s beatific gaze and pretend nothing has changed. Nothing at all. 😀

Never Gonna Give You Up Award: Messi, for That Hug. The hug that wasn’t only a sign of personal affection, but a public acknowledgement of just how important Pep has been to Leo as a player. Messi would probably still be the best in the world under any coach, but it was Pep (and Tito!) who guided his genius, found out how to get the best out of him, and allowed him to develop into the absolute monster he is now. 72 goals. In one season. Messi isn’t stupid. He knows exactly what Pep has done for him, and for the game he loves to play. Oh, and also? You have all just been Rick Rolled. 😈

By blitzen

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


    1. Oh dear. I’m glad that as a woman I will never feel that exact type of pain! Think he got the message? 😛

    2. Can’t excuse the slur, but that was awful. Red card all day! Answering ignorance, even the worst kind of ignorance, with violence is a recipe for some pretty serious, potential to spiral out of control crap.

    3. Then again, as my one sons is fond of saying:

      “Two wrongs don’t make a right…but three lefts do.”

    4. Good for him, next time he won’t use those racist words to Zokora and i’m sure a handshake will make it all even with no hard feelings. As Sep if you don’t believe me.

  1. Im quite disappointed that Barcelona only has the 2nd highest stadium attendance at 80+k/match. Dortmund is in the first place. Amazing considering that Barcelona has much more tourists. Perhaps the people in Dortmund have deeper pockets.

    -We might play Ajax. Superb! 2 historical teams. My 2 teams!!

    -Keita is already in talks with Malaga Why? We need you!
    Just when he has mastered the DM position he might leave.
    If it was last season I wouldn’t really mind but now he is our 2nd best DM.

    1. Don’t believe everything that you read. Keita’s agent is quoted directly as saying that they have spoken to no one, and will not until after the Copa final, when Vilanova will be their first meeting. After that, Keita will make a decision about his future.

      There are many complexities involved in getting a match ticket for Barca matches. Many of those empty seats are season ticket holders who decided to stay home, and didn’t use the Seient Lliure system to put their seats back in the sales pool.

      This season, fan support has been extraordinary, and extraordinarily vocal. Let’s hope that it continues.

    2. Not sure why you’re disappointed. Think the attendance figures at Camp Nou are impressive-especially compared to Dortmund.

      Comparatively, the Bundesliga has extremely low prices for tickets. Tickets in the Bundesliga can go for around 20-25 euro. That’s a key reason for why attendance overall is so high in the bundesliga.

      On top of that Germany has perhaps the best economy in europe right now while Spain amongst the worst. Spain’s unemployment rate is near 25% while Germany’s is a fraction of that.

      With respect to Dortmund in particular-Dortmund supporters are some of the most passionate in all of Europe. Their home matches are unbelievable.

    3. I wrote this in reply to your similar comment on the previous post, so I’ll repeat it here:

      It’s too freaking expensive to go on a regular basis. When we first arrived here (08/09 season), the tickets for games against clubs such as Villareal, Malaga etc were about Eur40 for good seats in the lower rows of the upper tier. Now they hover around Eur60-70 for the same level games. It’s ridiculous.

      What really annoys me is that when we look at booking tickets on the club site, it nearly always shows that the stadium is full, and even finding 2 seats together for a decent price is impossible. Then, when the match is broadcast on TV, the stadium’s barely half-full. They’re not all season ticket-holder seats.

      Also – German fans live for their football and match tickets are cheaper. They are die-hard fans. Vacations and time off work are planned around their club’s schedule so that they can travel to as many games as possible, and because of the Bundesliga organisation, fans know well in advance what the dates and times of matches are going to be.

      RFEF in Spain, on the other hand, couldn’t organise themselves out of a clear plastic bag. Sometimes the match times aren’t confirmed until 2 weeks before the matches, and that goes for the dates as well on some occasions.

      Ask mom4 about the problems she had when trying to organise her trip to Spain to coincide with games in different cities!

  2. nice ones blitzen
    How about
    ‘THE BLINDED BY A NOSTRIL AWARD’ to some of those audience under that huge banner who surely must have been thinking “wtf, i came to soak in my last dose of pep, but not this close i can’t see him”

    ‘THE PERKY KID IN THE CLUB AWARD’ to Fabregas who was caught blatantly exposing his terrible man crush for the Boss throughout every opportunity

    And since there were so many memorable images and banenrs during the match…

    ‘THE CHE GUARDIOLA & PEP CORLEONE AWARD’ to our manager for being a revolutionary and a full on BOSS!

    ‘BEST BANNER AWARD’ to that one which simply read WE (barca) Pep

    1. Haha…Cesc did look really happy out there. Maybe, he’s just a happy kid.

  3. Rumourland is starting to fill up.
    Poor Keita has been sold to half a dozen clubs so far.
    Afellay is similar and today we’ve offloaded Adriano now too. Apparently we’ve offered all of them and bucketloads of money to Milan for Thiago Silva.
    We’re being linked with Jan Vertonghen too, which I don’t mind because he is a decent defender but he can easily play leftback or DM too which is nice. Most importantly, he scores at set pieces because he is very aggressive at winning the ball.

    The most important thing for this summer is to balance continuity with support for Tito’s vision. If it is true that Tito is more attacking and also more tactically consistent than Pep then we will need to strengthen our substitutes bench.

    It’s interesting to think about timing of announcements in Spain.
    Madrid beat us in the league and Chelsea dump us out of Europe, then comes the Pep announcement and that takes all of the press coverage.
    I’m sure if we win the Copa Del Rey, Madrid will announce a big signing within a day or two. If we lose, you can foresee us making a signing.

    1. Vertonghen would indeed be nice, especially for the price, but he is not comfortable at left back. He plays there for the Belgian NT, but has stated several times that he doesn’t like that position. Maybe he could take on the LB/CB role in our 3-4-3.

  4. To touch on the handball calls. I heard a stat on 5 Live World Football Phone-in where handball calls were totaled for each of the big domestic leagues in Europe. Spain was nearly 4-5 times higher than every other league. That was a couple of months ago, so maybe it’s leveled a bit out. I highly doubt it. Sorry I don’t have the stats. In no mood to look them up right now either. I trust the source b/c the BBC doesn’t have respected journalists on 5 live to make up stats. I don’t understand the reason. Ball to hand is in the rule book. It doesn’t have to be called. Crazy

    1. The distribution is ridiculous. Every other major league has had something like 25-40 calls for cards this season. In Spain it was over 130.

      Refs in Spain just make this call in an entirely different fashion than anywhere else in Europe’s major leagues.

  5. Raining bucketloads at Blackburn v Wigan. Fun little game. Still 0-0. Go Wigan, stay in the EPL!

    Sorry, have a soft spot for my little underdog team, Wigan. Dunno why.

    1. i have a soft spot for them, too. and martinez seems like an interesting fellow.

  6. Great match from Montpellier winning 0-2 at Rennes and doing so with their best player Younnes Belhanda suspended due to a red card last week.

    What an amazing story Montpellier has been. If they’re able to hold off PSG and take the championship-that’ll be one of the great stories of the season.

  7. Fun post! Thanks, Blitzen.

    Wonder what he’s going to do next? Taking the kids to school every day? Read Catalan poetry and visiting Bielsa more often? 🙂

    I’m campaigning for him to have his own weekly newspaper column.

  8. Funny post Blitzen. You forgot one more, the Barca are still popular than EE even in defeat award. Ever since Pep announced his departure, EE title celebrations have been secondary to Pep. Hell i even forgot that we lost the title. Even Marca have been dedicating most of their time to Pep. As for CR, the boy can’t even be enjoying his liga win coz of Messi. It must bother him that he’s in the little Argie’s shadow once more.

  9. Thanks for the awards blitzen! Great fun as always.

    Here’s an excellent 360 degree view of the Camp Nou from Saturday: The Gol Norte view shows the boys tossing Pep post-game, and the Gol Sud shows a piece of the action. See if you can spot the two Mascheranos! 😀 (Iniesta is missing as far as I can tell 🙁 )

    If you want a new background image, the square to the right of the arrows brings you to fullscreen view.

    1. Iniesta is not missing. He is el Illusionista, that’s why you can’t spot him!

    2. I find the disembodied pair of legs much more disturbing than Iniesta’s (and Pedro’s) absence!

    3. Good observations, you too. Also, Espanyol is playing with five men on the field – which is actually illegal!

    4. Love the ball hovering, over Pinto, in the South Goal image!

      That’s the problem with this technology – it’s great until something moves, and then you need a digital artist to retouch out or add back in what’s missing. Obviously not done in this situation!

  10. Blitzen is a woman? never knew thought he was a guy im was also thinking same for our great Kari(who left like Guardiola).
    big ups Blitzen nice post

    1. Nope, y’all, not doin’ the list of Barca girls again. Not gonna happen. Delegates task to providence.

      There are a lot of us girls here. providence.

  11. 13 hours ago
    Roma wants Barcelona to buy back Bojan Krkic (21) this summer. The clubs agreed before Barcelona has to buy him back in 2013 for 13M [sport]

    2 hours ago:
    Roma want to sign Bojan Krkic (21) permanently. Now still buy-back clauses. Roma and Bojan have almost deal. Clubs will talk later. [as ona]

    When do Isaiah and Kxevin give out our supply of Hector pills?

  12. Lovely blitzen awards. Thanks a lot, Blitzen. 🙂 you won’t be the only one suffering from withdrawal once the season ends.

  13. great awards! 🙂 i guess the refs award could also have been ‘for those who were blind and now can see’ and should also be awarded to those of us who did not ‘believe’ in the refs…who were thinking this is just chance and the law of probability. it’s time they believe in A higher power.

  14. OT: This is a really interesting podcast by Andy May and Sid Lowe on last week’s liga actions.

    It’s about 30 minutes.

    – Messi’s scoring record (Not that insightful)
    – Pep’s home farewell (sort of interesting)
    – Relegation battle (Really interesting). Rayo vs Granada this weekend should be a good match because both are fighting for survival. There are five teams in danger of getting relegated. Racing is already down. Imo, Sid Lowe jinxed Rayo because of that article he wrote!
    – Liga financial mess, especially for smaller teams (interesting)
    – European spots, including third-party investments (really interesting and kinda sad)
    – Europa League is this Wednesday between Athletic and Atletico
    – Perception and conspiracy (VERY interesting). Basically, Sid talked about the referee who officiated the Granada match last week. This ref was from Zaragoza, and the president of Granada suggested that the ref had something to do with them losing in order to ensure that Zaragoza is safe. The game itself was officiated fairly, but the problem is that the League organizer doesn’t know how to handle public relations. They should have appointed someone “neutral” to officiate that match to avoid this conspiracy talk. And, it’s “alarming” that people can throw out wild accusations without severe punishment by the league. With so much conspiracy talk throughout the season, there’s a risk that Spanish football is perceived to be dishonest.

    It’s really disappointing to see such an incompetent league doing absolutely nothing to preserve its reputation. One thing I really like about the EPL and Bundesliga is how their FAs manage to apply rules of sportsmanship without fear of backlash from big or small teams.

  15. Via barcastuff
    Puyol has a knee injury. He would have to undergo surgery and would then miss the cup final and the Euro. Further tests later today. [md]

    1. Bad news for la furia roja. But I think it’s better he undergo the surgery now instead of being forced to play in euro carrying injury,maybe. Good for barca if puyol can start next season in fit condition.

      So possibly del bosque would pair ramos and pique in cb. Who’s the) then? Arbeola is the safe bet? And probably montoya would get called up as backup rb.

    2. Damnit. 🙁

      This is exactly how his season ended last year when he was operated on in July and didn’t come back until mid-September.

    3. Exactly. Who knows how long it will take pack for our El Capitan to come back? He’s 34 now. Played non stop football for essentially a decade. It’s not just his ability as a footballer that I’m worried about losing. It’s his leadership, work ethic, & commitment. You can’t replace that. He sets the tone for everything we do as a club. He leads, we follow. I wish him healthy and speedy recovery. I am so sorry for him that he’ll miss out on the Euro’s and a chance to defend his title and do what no other team has. Euro, WC, Euro trifecta

    4. Well, that might be the end of Puyol wearing la Roja. This might mean he can prolong his Barca career though, if he can retire from the NT and get rest during the international breaks.

    5. Ugh. Terrible news to wake up to. At least it has happened at the end of the season. Pique and Mascherano should be able to handle the CdR final between them. Or maybe we could use that extra Mascherano from the Camp Nou pic mentioned above. 😉

      Sad for his sake that he won’t get to go to the Euros. La Roja relies on his leadership and presence in the dressing room, so they will miss him a lot.

      This does mean Javi Martinez will be playing as CB, I expect, along with Sergio Ramos. That worries me.

    6. I don’t think Martinez will play alongside ramos. I do think Pique would start if fit!! I know he has had a poor season but i do think he’ll pick up his game again!! Would love to see Iraola start for spain!

  16. Brainiest Kid in the Class Award: Blitzen, for using (and spelling) the word “antepenultimate” in a BFB post. Especially appreciated by Spanish grammar teachers throughout the world, who spend at least an entire class hour practicing the pronunciation of “antepenúltima” during the inevitable “How to Use Accent Marks” lesson. I hereby vote Blitzen Most Likely to Succeed in Spanish class!

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