Categorized | Thoughts

Of meteors, fandom and Yoda

A quick one, on migration, from casual viewer, to fan, to lover, to cule. I can imagine some long-time FCB fans, making this speech that Yoda made as he dismissed a young Luke Skywalker:

Ready are you? What know you of ready? For eight hundred years have I trained Cules. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained. A Cule must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away … to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Hmph. Adventure. Heh. Excitement. Heh. A Cule craves not these things. You are reckless.

If, tomorrow, your local news program said that a meteor was going to be visible, streaking across the night sky, what would you do? Damn right, you would. You’d get yourself to the best observation point, and watch that once-in-a-lifetime sucker, gawking at it like the marvel that it is. Now imagine this Barcelona team as that meteor.

Not only here at BFB but in the world at large, we fans are many, spanning a range from “They lost. Whatevs,” to “They lost. I’ll be in my room with a pillow over my head.”

And constantly, whatever the sport, long-time fans scoff at bandwagon fans, as if they are these silly Johnny Come Latelys, who have no right to discuss or enjoy a team. But you know what? Many years and a pile of soci cards ago, I too was a newbie, stumbling across a highlight of a wonder goal and thinking “Boy, what the hell was that!”

Today, I love my club. Over everything. Players, presidents, boards, sponsorships, comings and goings. It is always, and always will be, the club. Does that make me any more of a fan than the person who saw that meteor streaking across the footballing sky, and said “I’m in!” No. Many of us, at the end of this season, have said “Well, the bandwagon will be a little lighter, now,” and we’ve said it for different reasons. I wrote a while back that you know you’re a true fan when a team can break your heart. And I believe that. But you can still be a fan.

Further, the glory that is Barca isn’t diminished because people are flocking to it because suddenly, our club is all the rage. It’s pretty funny to go from wearing a Barca shirt and having nobody react, to having strangers scream “Meessssiiiii,” at you, or give you the thumbs up. And that’s good funny, because casual fans become devoted fans become cules become (if someone decides to undo what RoSELL did) socis. And the club’s beating global heart continues to get stronger.

There is a certain arrogance endemic to sport, contained in the “Oh yeah? Well I’ve been a fan since even before the club was born. When the Big Bang was about to happen and that first piece of matter split, I was a fan. Neener!”

I have a seatmate at work who is a crazed Chicago White Sox fan. She has followed the club her entire life, as has her husband. One part of me wouldn’t be surprised if it was a condition of marriage. Her three children are all Sox fans. She has had a season ticket for decades, and bought a townhome in the shadow of the ballpark, as soon as they went on offer. In 2005, the White Sox won the World Series, and they did it in a swashbuckling, home run-bashing way that for many, was as captivating as our Barca is for casual baseball viewers. And she said of those casual fans, “Good! Bring them on. Even if they don’t become real fans, the team that I love deserves the attention.”

And it’s true, even as it runs deeper. Every now and again, during a particularly heated battle with a Premiership club, we will get some of those divine fans, who say “Hmph, how can you be a fan of Barca. You don’t even go to matches and probably don’t live in Barcelona! Hmph!”

As if that freakin’ matters. This season was the first in some time that I didn’t have a chance to get to Barcelona for a vacation, and matches. Life, circumstance all conspired to deprive me of the singular joy of clutching that ticket in my hand, sliding it under the scanner and having my heart leap as it beeps and goes green, even now, as if this is somehow a dream that can be snatched away — the scanner will buzz, flash red and I will wake up from my nightmare. And you walk into the Camp Nou …. and even when it’s empty, you swear you can hear things …. screams, bellows of rage, echoes of long-gone joy and sorrow. I didn’t go, and I miss it so.

None of which makes me a damn bit better than a Barca fan who lives in Canada, or India, or Nigeria, who might never get to a match, who follows matches on a craptastic Web feed and would say “Gesundheit!” if someone walked up to them and said “Benvingut!”

This place is extraordinary, in that there is none of that institutional arrogance. A fan who just decided to follow the club this season is as welcomed by the family as those who watched Gaspart grow up. And this is as it should be. Because nobody owns a meteor. It’s there for the world to look at, marvel at and discuss for years to come. The more the merrier. Welcome. Ain’t it pretty?

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239 Responses to “Of meteors, fandom and Yoda”

  1. Kxevin says:

    First Puyol, and now this, Tweeted by @barcastuff:

    Abidal continues to recover from liver transplant. Club think he won’t be back next season and plan season without him. #animsabidal [sport]

    • blitzen says:

      Well we didn’t seriously expect him back that soon anyway, did we? Even with a full summer of rest that’s a big ask. I would like to think he could still come back, but…more likely than not, he won’t. I’ll just keep my fingers crossed and a light burning in the window for him.

    • nia says:

      Milan don’t plan to sell centre back Thiago Silva (27) for less than 40M, although they might accept a bit of around 20M plus Keita. [as]. Wonder how true this is. It would be a good trade considering that Keita is not worth more than $15 mil

    • Chiu says:

      I feel it’s much better if Abidal retire from football. It’s highly unlikely he could bring the same level of playing after such major surgery.

      Go enjoy your life with yr family Abi. Forget about football.

  2. blitzen says:

    *Breaks into a chorus of We Are Family!*

    Beautifully put, Kxevin! There’s room on this here rollercoaster ride for all of us fans—old, new, idealists, realists, optopessimists and all! 😀

  3. blitzen says:

    The relegation situation, as stolen from Sid Lowe’s latest Guardian piece:

    Granada 42; Villarreal 41; Rayo 40; Zaragoza 40; Sporting 37.

    Rayo and Granada face each other, Villarreal go to Champions League-chasing Atlético, Zaragoza travel to nothing-to play-for Getafe and Sporting go to Malaga, who are also chasing a Champions League.

    If Sporting, Rayo and Zaragoza all end on 40 points, Sporting survive. If Rayo, Zaragoza and Villarreal end on 41 points. Rayo go down. If Rayo and Villarreal end on 41 points, Rayo go down. If Villarreal and Zaragoza both end on 41 points, Villarreal go down. If Rayo and Zaragoza both end on 41 points, Zaragoza go down. If there is a tie on 42 points between Granada and Villarreal, Granada go down.


    This makes my brain hurt. Ideally I want Rayo to beat Granada and stay up, but then Villarreal would either need to beat Atletico (unlikely), draw (more likely) or hope Zaragoza lose to Getafe (unlikely). I will cry big fat yellow tears if the Submarine go down. :(

    • nzm says:

      Good grief, my head’s spinning!

      If At. Madrid wins Europa League tomorrow night, they mightn’t care about the game against Villarreal, so that may work in the Yellow Sub’s favour, although ATM will want to win to perhaps beat Malaga to the 4th CL spot. Malaga must win.

      Mallorca will also be hoping for a big game against RM to keep alive their Europa chances.

      It’s a pretty exciting finish for the table below 3rd-placed Valencia as teams battle it out for that 4th CL position and EL places.

      • Messiah10 says:

        After witnessing the fans sing all game and the roof tops filled, I certainly don’t want Rayo to go down. I heard a football fan from Ireland talk about his epic trip across Espana and how he went to 12 matches in 14 days(lower leagues included obviously). He said his favorite stadium and most exciting atmosphere he’d ever seen was the Rayo vs Barca game. I was so jealous he was at a 0-7 game whos home fans never stopped singing and loving their team! It was such a sight. I mentioned in another post on another blog that Rayo’s stadium reminded me of Wrigley Field in Chicago. I’m a Cubs fan and have been since birth. My Great Uncle played minor league baseball for the club. It was written in the stars far before I was thought on the radar of my parents. I didn’t have that opportunity with FCB. Sadly, football was hardly broadcast in the States for the majority of my childhood and early adolescents. The ’94 World Cup was, but not every game. There just wasn’t an opportunity to learn the game and appreciate it unless your grandparents were involved and your parents learned from them. My parents are at the age when there were no Football(soccer) organizations around to participate when they were children. There was nothing to pass on to their(me)children. With the globalization of the game and T.V. packages allowing a far broader audience to watch, clubs are going to attract fans who may never leave their country, state, territory, province, town, city, district, etc. This is in no way a bad thing. I am thrilled because I can see that one day(a long way away), one day, the U.S. WILL win a World Cup. Maybe that sentence sounds absurd to many on this blog, but not to me. Because I believe. I’m don’t believe because I’m in denial. No. I believe because I see it everyday. I see young kids wearing Messi, CR7, Rooney, Dempsey, Donovan kits. This was unheard of 10 years ago. Even 5 years ago in some places. It’s amazing. I never thought I’d see the day when I walk into a pub in downtown Springfield(Simpsons) and see a packed house there to watch a Liga or Premier League game. I love it. When I became serious about footie and decided I’d had enough of American sports in general with the commercials, start & stop of the game, t.v. timeouts, cheerleaders, half time shows, & kiss cams I started really looking for a club I could support. I chose Barca. Not because they were winning everything, because they weren’t. I enjoyed their footie the most. Then Rijkaard came and my life changed forever. Now another chapter in my life is beginning to end. The Pep chapter. What an amazing story it was. I still don’t want to keep on reading, hoping to prolong the book. However, I know it has to end. In 2 games it will. Then I’ll turn the page and start the fresh chapter of Tito and see what exciting adventures he’ll bring. Maybe there will be some sadness & grief written as well. Definitely, some inevitable drama. That’s what make me feel a part of a family, a club, a cule. I would be proud of this team and think they played the best football in the world even if there was no silverware to prove it. I love this club and this team. They are special and deservce all the attention(as a White Sux friend said to Kxevin).

        • Messiah10 says:

          Wow, sorry for the long post! I just started typing about relegation and then I thought of how much I don’t like the White Sux and that made me think of my Cubbies. Anyhow, I really think it’s boring and obtuse when someone mentions how long they’ve been a fan of a club or team and trying to minimize someone elses fandom or love for the same. I think it’s born out of ignorance, ego, and inferiority complex. What is is. Not because someone defines it. It’s not able to be defined. To many variables. To some it’s one thing. To others it’s not. I felt like a 3 year old child who’d had his top scoop of ice cream fall from the cone and onto the street when Bara lost to EE and Chelsea. I wanted to kick and scream and was depressed for a couple of days. Does that make someone who doesn’t feel that less of a fan? No. Is someone more of a fan because they felt that way longer? No. To each their own. I find it hard to define my love and support. I shouldn’t have to.

          • SoccerMom says:

            Well, Messiah10, if it’s any comfort to you, I’ve been trying to convince my 6 yr. old to start his “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” song at the First-Grade Spring Concert with “All right! Lemme hear ya! A-one! A-two! A-three!” Mr. Music Teacher is not amused, but I’m not giving in.

            Anyone who is a fan of a Chicago sports teams for more than 10 years has suffered enough in my book. The true test of a Chicago sports fan is you wept and sang and gnashed your teeth even though they always … always … finished last. I have a deep-seated suspicion, not only of fans of winning Chicago teams, but of *winning* Chicago teams. A “pennant” is some cheap felt thing you hang in your room, not something your team actually wins, or even aspires to.

            But then again, I grew up in the unfriendly confines of the old Chicago Stadium, where the floor was sticky and the walls were brick and the music was from an organ and the “ushers” were (as we were informed before the whistle) “off-duty Chicago police officers” and no one wore helmets or masks or had teeth (including us fans).

            I humbly admit, though, that my Wrigley visits were primarily made to: 1. get sunburn; 2. drink cheap beer; 3. go to cubby bear and drink more cheap beer.

            So I’m really out of my class league watching this Barcelona stuff.

  4. barca96 says:

    Speaking of Yoda, where is our very own Skywalker (Luke)? Why did he pull a Hector on us??

    Or is he in fact Hector?

    A question for the BFB veterans, are their writing styles similar?

  5. messifan says:

    Kevin, thank you for writing all these articles. Keep up the good work :)

  6. nzm says:

    Awesome, Kevin.

    Your description of the mix of fanbase is very much reflected in the crowds at Camp Nou games.

    Stalwart culés and long-time socis; mixed in with recent fans and old-time admirers; new visitors about to become fans or perhaps simply there because one of their travelling friends is a fan.

    There’s room for everyone at Camp Nou and at FCB.

    • Kxevin says:

      That’s what always strikes me about matches. That, and the many, many different languages that I hear there. I’ve sat in many spots, but always have the most fun on the Lateral side (as referenced on the tickets) rather than the Tribuna, where the Richie Riches hang out.

      I always wonder what the old, cap-wearing men who like to hold forth do now that there is a smoking ban in the Camp.

      • mom4 says:

        Um, there’s a smoking ban but as of January, when we were there, there was still smoking. In fact, at HT they played that sense fum commercial on the big screen and the little girl in front of us chastized her mom for smoking. Did not go well for said little girl.

        We were on the Tribuna first tier. Tickets cost 95 Euros but I didn’t know any better it was part of the package. I was worried because I had always heard I’d do better in the the nosebleeds with the “real” cules but this was where the travel agent put us. Awesome view, but more importantly, we seemed to be in with all foreigners, foreign real cules. Maybe those were the seats that are easy for travel agents to get. These particular foreigners were from all over. They knew the chants. They knew the cant. A couple of minutes into the game a foul occured and hubby asked me, “who’s down?”
        “Who else, Busi,” I replied. And the lovely Swedish woman next to me started to chuckle at that. We had a great time on the Tribuna. Maybe it’s different this year.

  7. James08771 says:

    Good day all,

    Here’s a question regarding tickets to matches. I’m planning on going to Barcelona for a few weeks in September/October. I know that for most Liga matches you can just go to Camp Nou at an earlier time to purchase tickets. Is the same ticketing format applied for Champions League matches or are they available through the website only? Hopefully I’ll be lucky enough to witness the Champions League anthem as well as the usual Barça anthem and songs.

    Thanks again!

    • Kxevin says:

      Same deal for Champions League, which for group stage matches are actually easier to get than league matches.

      • James08771 says:

        Thanks Kxevin. Why are they easier to get? Is it because they’re weekday matches?

        By the way, great article. It’s easy to tell you were inspired this morning :)

        • Kxevin says:

          Different rules for season ticket holders. For league matches, the majority of the seats are season ticket holders, who either come, don’t come and make them available for re-sale, or just don’t come.

          Of course, with any big match, tickets are quite difficult.

          And thanks for the compliment. I’m inspired most days, but it’s awfully hard to find time. Pieces such as this one though, don’t really take very long. People would be appalled if they knew how little time they actually take me. Writing is weird for me. It comes to my fingers like dictation. I don’t really sit and figure out what to say like so many writers. I just have a thought, sit down and start typing, and out comes the stuff. It’s kinda weird.

  8. Gogah says:

    Didn’t Puyol a year or sometime back say something about retiring from the national team to help prolong his club career? What happened then? He has won a WC and a Euro medal now and the pride of knowing that spain will also remember his bullet, the only strike in a match in which Germany was determined to not let anything pass to the final. He only needs another game for that #100, but I think after that he should retire from the national team with the honor he deserves, so he can save the rest of his experience, energy and legs for his first country.
    nice article kevin and i can identify with your friend’s view on new fans too. This Barca is too good to be owned, or not be shared.

  9. mom4 says:

    Thanks, Kxevin. Always good to hear something other than the more common new = bandwagon thing. And yes, it is pretty!

    @ providence
    Here is the old list. Had a good time scanning old posts to find it.
    BFBers who are ladies:
    Humphrey Bogart
    Hansh chimed in as being one too last thread. We should add Xavi_purr from LB.

    Have at it, y’all. I’m soooooooo not doing it again.

  10. Dani_el says:

    Thanks for the article Kxevin.
    Sad to hear about Puyol and Abi’s postponed comeback. I still hope he will come back.
    Here’s a good scouting for leftback, central defender, and striker by Rafael Leon:

    Long story short, Thiago Silva would be a good signing for a central defender tall and with a good handling of the ball but the price would be too great and maybe he wouldn’t start always as we have Masche/Puyi/Pique.
    Thiago Silva
    Age: 27
    Height: 1,83
    Position: Defence – Centre Back
    Foot: right
    Market value: 32.000.000 €

    Javi Martínez would be an excellent signing, he can cover both positions, central defender and holding midfield, in case Keita goes, and he can also be a box to box I have heard. Mind his age and height too.
    Javi Martínez
    Age: 23
    Height: 1,90
    Position: Midfield – Central Midfield
    Foot: right
    Market value: 22.000.000 €

    Jordi Alba is a Masia graduate. We have all seen him. He can be a good attacking left defender. He’s kinda short though.
    Jordi Alba
    Age: 23
    Height: 1,72
    Position: Defence – Fullback, left
    Foot: left
    Market value: 10.000.000 €

    For the striker positions, Rafael Leon give us this two possibilities:

    Adrián López from Atleti. Asturian as Villa he can play on the right wing and as a central striker. He has scored 19 goals in all competitions this season.
    Adrián López age :24
    Height: 1,82
    Position: Striker – Centre Forward
    Foot: right
    Market value: 10.000.000 €

    Robin van Persie, we all know him. He has scored 37 goals and 13 assists making this his best season yet. He has a friendship with Cesc and his contract ends next year, so if Arsenal wants money for him they will have to sell him know. Mind his age, he will be 29 for next season. I think it would be a Henry type of signing.
    Robin van Persie
    Age: 28
    Height: 1,86
    Position: Striker – Centre Forward
    Foot: left
    Market value: 45.000.000 €

    I took all the stats and prices from Transfermarkt. This a scouting made for the MartiPerarnau Magazine.

    Do tell your opinions about this guys..

    • Kxevin says:

      If I were an advocate of buying in attack (I’m not) I’d take that 45m and go for Edinson Cavani. Talent, mobility, excellent on wing, size and a tremendous up side. He has somewhere to go. Van Persie is only going down, not up. My other issue with Van Persie is temperament. And I think Cavani has better pace.

      As far as defenders, Martinez and Alba. All day. I think that Thiago Silva is overpriced/overrated.

      • mom4 says:

        Martinez and Alba would be brilliant signings! Cavani would be good, too. Great hair! Really, Drogba would be pretty cool to have on the bench as a plan B. He’s free after this year, right?

        • Chiu says:

          Drogba? the first time he get into the dressing room would be awkward one I think, after the f**cking disgrace gesture in 2009 and the 3 minutes professional diving performance in Bridge recently

    • ciaran says:

      There’s going to be a lot revealed when we make our first purchase.
      There is going to be a maximum of 1 expensive signing in the summer with potentially another 2 or 3 more on a much more tight budget.
      For those hoping for Thiago Silva, Gareth Bale and Van Persie altogether you’ll be fairly disappointed

    • mega_tajh says:

      My Choice: A CB(anyone). Alba.

      Also for some reason our current coaching staff loves Thiago Silva, so we should trust them right?

      To Note Adrián López was just a free agent this summer gone, why are we now rumored to be interested in him. He was gem with Depor when they went down.
      Buying a striker also all depends on Villa’s recovery and his Euro12 performance.

      If we trust rumors we may very well just end up with T.Silva and Alba, which I will be fine with, since with Villa, Afellay, Pedro, Cuenca, Alexis, Messi and sometimes Cesc, options in front of goal are plentiful.

      Potently all of Villa, Pedro, Alexis and Cesc can give us at least 15 goals next season along with Messi and his usually high total. See no need for a striker right now with everyone being fit, baring any foreseen long-term injuries.

    • Blau-Grenade says:

      I like this striker Papiss Demba Cissé who plays for Newcastle United, or Van Persie.

  11. mom4 says:

    Is it terribly vindictive of me to ne enjoying Liverpool v Chelsea right now?

  12. mom4 says:

    Messi offered Mascherano to take the second penalty on Saturday because the latter didn’t yet score since he’s at Barcelona. [canal+ via as]

    awwwwwww, i love us even more

    • ciaran says:

      Mascherano was our most important defender for the season. Abidal was immense while he was playing but obviously missed the final run in.
      From the looks of it, Abidal won’t be playing next season, or at least for the vast majority of it. Add to that, the fact that Puyol is unlikely to start the season and will be a year older and a year slower than he was this season.

      It is unfortunate that Fontas missed most of the season as you never know how players will return from any long term injury so it is very likely that we will need a CB in the summer.

      • blitzen says:

        Why do you say Puyol is unlikely to start next season? He will have surgery this weekend. His recovery time is estimated as 6-8 weeks. That leaves another whole 6 weeks for him to regain his fitness.

        • ciaran says:

          It was the same last season. He will miss the Euro’s and from there you’d imagine miss a big chunk of the preseason. With the likelihood of a slower return due to his age I’m guessing it will be a few weeks into the new season before he is 100%

          Now saying that, all sentimentality aside, I don’t think that Puyol will be in our first XI next season, assuming that the real Pique shows up so it may not be as important

          • Jim says:

            I think it’ll depend on exactly what work is needed on his knee. 6 weeks recovery doesn’t suggest anything major.

      • nzm says:

        Puyol’s surgery this year will be arthroscopic surgery to his right knee, whereas last year it was full surgery to his left knee in order to remove some loose cartilage.

        The recovery from the op and back into fitness should be shorter and much easier on him this time around.

  13. Dani_el says:

    I like Cavani too. He’s tall, he has good a good header, he has stamina and speed, he drops back and he can play on the wing. He’s supposed to be a hard-worker and be humble enough for us.
    Édinson Cavani scored 33 goals in season 10/11 and he scored 32 goals this season (5 in CL, 23 in Serie A, 4 in Copa Italia), he also has 7 assists (2 in CL, 4 in Serie A, 1 in Copa Italia). He has played 3967 minutes this season. According to TM, he only has been injured once from 28.09.2011 to 06.10.2011. He hasn’t been sent off this season.
    Age: 25
    Height: 1,84
    Nationality: Uruguay
    Position: Striker – Centre Forward
    Foot: right
    Market value: 28.000.000 €

    This is a recent quote from him: ”I like spanish football, there’s more free spaces on field that I can take advantage, something ideal to my game where I like to move a lot. I would love to play there.” 14/12/2011

    Having Javi Martinez, Jordi Alba and Cavani would be awesome for this season. If Villa gets back ok, maybe with just the first two guys we would be ok. It depends on who leaves also. I Keita leaves we do need Javi Martinez. I hope Adriano stays on. Fontas and Bartra may need an experience outside the club. Montoya and Alves should stay too.

    • ciaran says:

      The problem will be finances Dani_el.
      If Napoli don’t get into the champions league then Cavani could become available but we wouldn’t be the only ones looking at a player of that caliber and we can’t really enter a bidding war.
      Where we could have an advantage is similar to Alexis Sanchez’ situation last summer is that players will actively want to come here. We f**ked up with the Cesc situation where we showed how desperate we were to sign him.

      Assuming that we have the usual €40million ish to spend, you wouldn’t really be able to bank on signing anyone over €25million. I could see the €15million to sign Alba but even Javi Martinez of Athletic could command €25million with today’s inflated transfer market.

      • Dani_el says:

        If we have 50 million to spend each year as Rosell promised we could sign Alba for 10-12M (he ends his contract next year), even that price can be a little too much for a player that will want to come back to Barça.
        We could sign Javi Martínez (if he express his desire of coming to our club) for about 25M. And if we sign Cavani we will have to sell some of our strikers: Tello, Cuenca, Villa or Pedro. My bet is on Villa because of his age we would receive more than 30M for him. So we would have 40M more or less for Cavani.
        But still, if Villa comes back healthy we wouldnt have a dire need of signing Cavani. And if Javi Martinez comes back, we would have about 10M from the likely sell of Keita. I just hope that Pedro, Cuenca, Tello and Alves stay on.
        I really don’t know what will happen with Ibi Afellay, he just got called for Netherlands for the euro. He used to play as a 4 in his old club by the way…

        • Messiah10 says:

          I don’t see us getting 30+M for Villa. His age, injury, & recent form will play a big roll in his tranfer fee. We have the advantage of years left on contract. I would be happy w/20-25M. Cavanni could fit well. Think of how many more opportunities he’d have. Serie A is allegedly a defensive, slow paced, counter attacking league. His last 2 seasons have been brilliant. I’d be happy w/Villa coming back for a year if we can get 20+ goals out of him. Take a look at the breakdown of our goals per player. Then take a look at EE. Cavanni and Alba would be great signings. We need depth in D and another striker. We need to keep Keita and Alves. I don’t want to sell anyone, but if we do, I’d prefer Villa b/c of fee we could get.

  14. Dave says:


    Keita (I’m a fan but I think he will go)
    Cuenca or tello ( buyback included)

    Think that while the club will sell Alves for the right offer, if he stays it should have the affect of Pep saying he wanted Eto out- motivate him

  15. Dani_el says:

    Interesting posts by Barçastuff:
    Villa has been training with the ball for several weeks now, he’ll soon join the group. The club kept it quiet not to put pressure. [puntor]

    Milan don’t plan to sell centre back Thiago Silva (27) for less than 40M, although they might accept a bit of around 20M plus Keita. [as]

    Yaya Toure (Man City): “Barça is the club of my life and I love the city. It would be wonderful to return, you never know what can happen.

    Yaya Toure (Manchester City): “I always watch Barça’s games, I’m following Catalan television channels… I can’t forget Barça.” [rac1]

    Yaya Toure (Man City): “I want to end my career at Barça. I’ll anyway be there soon to visit my brother Abidal.” #animsabidal [rac1]

    Cesc scored 9 Liga goals in the first half of the season (14 games), while he didn’t score in the second half (14 games) [via @javierjotah]

    • Dani_el says:

      Yaya has a market pvalue of 35M, so unless he comes back for free I don’t see him on the team anytime soon.
      Thiago Silva for 20M plus Keita would be a pretty good deal. That is if we sign Javi Martínez before.

    • messifan says:

      Those quotes from Yaya seem to good to be true. Is Yaya aiming for a better deal with City?

  16. messifan says:

    Personally, I’m against us spending 30M+ on a defender or striker.

    Re. Martinez and Llorente: Besides their market values, I don’t want these two because I want Bielsa to complete his project and give us and RM a real challenge next season. This season Athletic have not been playing well in the league because of the new era and the short squad. Next season, hopefully they can strengthen and target a CL spot or even challenge the big two for the title.

    Re. upcoming silly season: Barca and other European clubs will have to consider how FFP affects the market. Gone are the days when a club can spend 50M+ on a player.

    My preference would be for us to find players in smaller leagues and integrate them slowly. We don’t need a complete overhaul, just some minor changes. Pep said in a commercial that, what he’s looking for in a player are techniques, positional understanding and intelligence. These qualities can be found in many places, irrespective of league reputation. And I trust our scouts to do their job well.

    Though, certain problems will arise when we move in for particular targets because selling clubs can use the Barca name to claim that their players are of top quality. I think Alexis’ case last season was a good example of that. He’s a top quality player, but the fact that we showed interest gave Udinese leverage to increase his market value. Luckily for us, Alexis wanted to join the club. Another case is that goalkeeper from Lanus whom we’ve been following for years. I suspect because we’re interested in him, his club is resisting, knowing that a Barca interest signals a quality player.

    Also, I think we’ll see more clubs using stats to take advantage of any arbitrage in the market. But there’ll be enough clubs doing so that any price misalignment will be corrected. Hopefully, the equilibrium transfer market price is somewhere in the early 20m range.

  17. barca96 says:

    via barcastuff

    Yaya Toure (Man City): “I want to end my career at Barça. I’ll anyway be there soon to visit my brother Abidal.

    I always watch Barça’s games, I’m following Catalan television channels… I can’t forget Barça”

    Wow. Yaya seems so sure that he will be back and I didn’t know that he loves Barca so much until he so openly talks about it while he is at another club.

    Barcelona informed the ESP federation that Thiago’s brother Rafinha (19) prefers to play for BRA. ESP decided not to call him anymore. [sy]

    I must say I much preferred him to choose Spain.

    1) No long hours on a plane
    2) Better team = better chance at winning trophies
    3) Thiago already plays for Spain NT
    4) Will have a lot of team mates in Spain NT

    • nzm says:

      I think that Rafinha knows that he’s not going to progress much further than where he is now. Watching him play in the Barca B games, he’s not nearly as talented as Thiago and flubs more chances than he should. (This is coming from a person who is also yet to be convinced about Thiago too!)

      I think that if Rafinha gets to play in the first team at some stage, it will only be to increase his exposure to other clubs before he’s offered for sale or loan.

      He’s setting his own path – he doesn’t want to be compared to Thiago at every step of the way.

      • blitzen says:

        Wow, Michele, I completely disagree about Rafinha. Granted he hasn’t had a standout season with Barcelona B, but no one on that team has, and there are reasons for that that have nothing to do with his raw talent. There have also been plenty of games where he was clearly the best player on the pitch. He definitely needs a couple more years to mature (he’s only 18 and this is his first season with the B team), but I see him as being potentially as good as or even better than Thiago.

        • nzm says:

          The best player on the pitch in a team of mediocres doesn’t make him world class.

          I hope that I get proven wrong, but so far I’m less than impressed.

  18. Oil_Can says:

    Given our last two transfer windows, Rosell tends to go for the big stature signings first and then we sign the rest based on the remaining budget. But also keep in mind that Villa was a Laporta signing and not Rosell’s, but again our last window dragged on for a while especially Cesc’s which may have partly been influenced by Alexis’s price tag.

    So keeping this in mind, I expect us to try and sign a CB first because as of now that looks like our priority. Given that Thiago Silva and Javi Martinez look to be the major candidates. Javi Martinez profile wise fits our squad perfectly, But Thaigo Silva can possibly be cheaper if we can add Keita into the bid. The good thing about these two players is that they can both play in midfield as a secondary role.

    I don’t expect a big signing LB, Even though Gareth seems high on the list, He is certainly not our biggest priority for us. So I expect Jordi Alba or another player with a similar price tag.

    An Attacking player is our least priority in my eyes because we already have atleast two players per position in our forward line:

    Afellay/Cuenca Messi/Sanchez Pedro/Villa

    *these are not fixed positions but you get my drift

    On top of that, we have Alvez and Adriano who can proxy as wingers, and in worst case scenarios we can opt with Midfield players and B-team players.

    I don’t see us signing an attacking player for the sake of it, unless we still have remaining transfer money or we end up selling one of our major playersthen I can see us opting for an attacking player.

    • hansh says:

      Great analysis. I agree that we most likely won’t sign an attacker (or midfielder). In defense I would expect Alba over Bale, but maybe not either as Adriano is a solid player (and I personally think it would be silly to sell Alves – take him out of the 3-4-3 and he’s fine).

      What we really need is a centerback. Sound familiar anyone? I’d personally prefer Javi Martinez because he is younger and I’d hate to give up Keita for Thiago Silva.

  19. Gogah says:

    Can someone provide a scouting report on David Luiz? How good is he really? I haven’t ever watched him, so can’t tell. My perception is that he is good with the ball at his feet and his head, as a Brazilian should be, but quite poor defensively, which we definitely don’t want to deal with. Due to the way we play – vulnerability in defense being almost by design, imo we need a rock solid defender first (like masch, puyol, abidal) any other attacking skills is a welcome bonus.

    Also am i the only one who doesn’t want Thiago Silva? the guy would be very expensive and is approaching his 30s.

    • barca96 says:

      A lot of fans here and other Barca blogs keep on saying that we should buy a young defender like Thiago Silva.

      I am confused, is 27 considered young? T. Silva in my books is old but he isn’t a spring chicken either.

    • nzm says:

      I don’t like Luiz. I was hoping that they’d play him against Barca because he does make some awful defensive mistakes.

      I think that you only hear his name bandied around by those who look at his hair and think that it makes him an ideal Puyol replacement. 😀

      Not keen on Silva either. Age, injury (which because of his age could become a recurring concern) and there are better ones that we could get who are younger and will provide more years of service to the club. If the younger ones don’t work out, they can always be sold, but Thiago would have to be given away if he didn’t work out at FCB.

      • mom4 says:

        Seen Luis play. Not impressed. Dude’s a defensive train wreck looking for a place to happen.

        Silva is awesome. No doubt about that. Too expensive. A bit too old.

        Javi Martinez would be so perfect. A CB who can play DM or DM who can play CB. Native speaker. Already used to playing with us from the NT. Is Basque so he can get his morbo going as needed. Very young long-term investment. Cheaper than Silva. I don’t like stealing from Athletic. I think I’d get over it quickly.

        Hate typing on droid. I blame it for all typos today.

    • Messiah10 says:

      I watch a lot of EPL. I have not understood the Luiz rumours. He has been suspect at best with a few exceptional games sprinkled in between. Not a fan. It must be his agent or the papers starting those rumours. If not, and it ends up true, I’ll be truely disappointed in our scouting dept. He did start to put together a few games before he got injured, but I’ve seen nothing in him that says he’s capable of playing w/the ball at his feet or that he’d be comfortable in our system.

  20. barca96 says:

    How many of you still count on Villa next season?

    As painful as it is to say because he was my favorite non-Barca player but I don’t count on him. Not in our system no.
    He is still very much useful in any other team but the demands of our system will be too much for him.

    He already had a hard time before the injury and after a lengthy spell out, it will be much tougher.

    He will lose a step due to the injury and his age.

    • nzm says:

      You don’t know how Tito intends to use him if Villa stays. He’s certainly an impact striker who can start a game, be effective and then be subbed off, or he can be subbed in to change a game. In that respect, he has an effect on play that can be used as a tactical advantage.

    • Oil_Can says:

      Villa defensively works a lot harder than the majority of our attacking players. He won’t have a solid starting role, but Tito will very likely want to keep him.

      • Jim says:

        To me, Villa walks back into the team, although he probably only has another two seasons in him at this level. His injury is one of the biggest reasons we didn’t end up winning more this season. We need at least two strikers who can guarantee us over 20 goals a season, preferably three. The bigger doubts are Pedro, Alexis, Cuenca and Tello. They may not all be here next season, imo. I do think we need another striker who can guarantee us that number of goals but I can’t even begin to think who can do that and fit into our system.

  21. Jafri says:

    Puyol’s not retiring from the NT just yet…

  22. Laurentiu88 says:

    haha, Bilbao’s and Athletico’s supporters are singing together in the streets of Bucharest ‘Sergio Ramos! Donde esta el balon?’ :))))))

  23. Srinivas says:

    Did anybody see Drenthe quotes on Messi?

    Via NUsport

    Drenthe(Ex hercules , Ex Madrid, Everton) : I played against him many times and we always have problems with each other .

    Drenthe(Ex hercules , Ex Madrid, Everton) : You know what bothers me ? That tone with which he always says “negro, negro “I understand that using negro in South America is very common, but i can not stand it.

    Drenthe(Ex hercules , Ex Madrid, Everton) : Mahamadou Diarra, my teammate at Real, would explode if N-word was said to him. The Gabriel Heinze and Gonzalo Higuain used it initially at real madrid , but they are stopped after it does not bode well with Diarra

    It seems either Messi,Higuain are pricks or just a clash of cultures.But even as a Asian who never been to europe before,i know that using N-word would be really offensive. Then how could Messi/Higuain who lives there for some time doesn’t come to know about repercussions of it.

    Also Kevin,as a Afro-American,Whats your take on it? Do you believe it is all down to Culture or all down to Personnel?

    • Kxevin says:

      I think the context is the thing, as we saw from the Suarez incident. I don’t begin to know how to frame another culture’s complexities, but it would seem that you can use the word in a way that is demeaning, or as a simple descriptive. Without knowing how Messi is using the word, I can’t judge the situation.

      Drenthe even explains that use of the word is common in South America, but he hates the use of it.

      For me, as a black person in America, it’s very different. “Negro” was an ethnic designator, never a slang term that fell into common usage. And because America is significantly more tense/stupid about matters racial, any use of any color-based descriptors in any situation is, immediately, bad. But it’s clearly a very, very different thing in those parts. So it wouldn’t be at all right for me to judge.

      It sounds like it’s a term in common usage, and Drenthe just doesn’t like it, rather than Messi using it in a derogatory manner.

      • blitzen says:

        From the Daily Mail story:

        He gave me a hand in the match and again said a few times, “hola negro”.’

        That doesn’t exactly sound pejorative. IF it’s true and if Drenthe was offended he had every opportunity to make a complaint. He didn’t. So what are we supposed to do about it now?

        Read more:

        • Kxevin says:

          The story first broke in Helden, a rather good Dutch magazine. Then the BritPress picked up on the story, probably in a gleeful attempt to cast aspersions on Messi.

          • blitzen says:

            Doesn’t really matter where the story broke. No one is doubting what Drenthe actually said. Just questioning why he would wait two years to bring this up if it was something that he really found that offensive. There is no purpose to it now other than taking a jab at someone who can’t defend himself.

          • Kxevin says:

            Well, I think that it keeps Drenthe’s name in the press, as well.

          • nzm says:

            It’s possibly an attempt to discredit Messi before the Ballon D’Or votes are cast. Wouldn’t put it past RM to try things like this to put Cristiano in a better light.

      • blitzen says:

        One last point on the “cultural context”: We already know that words have different meanings, uses, and associations in different cultures. The word “negro” has much more force in the Netherlands than many other places. The publisher I work for recently had this exact issue with the Dutch edition of Lawrence Hill’s award-winning novel, The Book of Negroes, which tells the story of one African woman’s journey from the slave trade of West Africa to the United States and eventually to Canada. The title is based on the name of an actual historical ledger documenting loyalist blacks who were evacuated to Nova Scotia after the Revolutionary War. The Dutch translation of the title is very literal: Het Negerboek. Without reading the book or taking into account the historical basis, one advocate group denounced it as disgraceful and threatened to burn copies of the book. You can read about it here:

        It’s worth noting that the US couldn’t handle the title either, and changed it. Point is, words are just words. Context is everything.

        • Laurentiu88 says:

          apparently they did go deep into this issue with the Suarez case, inviting linguists and co. and still decided that the use of the term was derogatory. i was actually curious for how they justified that, as my first impression was that this was down to some cultural confusion. (as other South Am. players would use it too)

          • blitzen says:

            Because Suarez used the word in the context of an aggressive confrontation, as opposed to a friendly greeting. He meant it to be insulting, so it was taken that way.

  24. Kxevin says:

    Word is apparently that Luis Enrique will announce that he is leaving Roma at the end of the season. Is he coming home?

    • blitzen says:

      I’m conflicted. I love Lucho and would be thrilled to see him back in Spain, maybe even back at Barça. On the other hand I would hate to see him have to leave Roma after only one year. He has the skills and the ambition to succeed there if only the players and the fans will back him. I’m sure it would be a big blow to him.

      If he comes back to Spain…people have been throwing his name around as a candidate for Tito’s assistant, but I don’t see it. Lucho has a very strong personality and his own way of doing things that might tend to usurp Tito’s authority without meaning to. I really think Lucho needs to be in charge of his own team. I see him a future first team coach for Barça, but not for a while. In the short term I would like to see him at Villarreal. He could be just the man to overhaul that club.

  25. ooga aga says:

    from official FCB site, interview with Thiago:

    Respecto a las diferencias en cuanto a sus funciones entre Guardiola y Vilanova hasta el momento, Thiago ha apuntado que” el ‘míster’ se encarga más de la parte psicológica, mientras que Tito nos ha guiado más en el sentido táctico”.

    Regarding the differences with respect to the functions of Guardiola and Vilanova up to the moment, Thiago has pointed out that “el ‘mister’ [pep] is in charge more of the psychological part, while Tito has guided us more in the tactical sense.”

  26. olbucky says:

    This is a great story! Ya Ya would be a perfect fit in this team. He could take Abidals place. It’s great to read that he wants to return.'s-yaya-toure-wants-barca-return?cc=5901

    • blitzen says:

      How could he take Abi’s place? They don’t play the same positions.

      • olbucky says:

        He could play there.

        • Laurentiu88 says:

          man this is just silly, Yaya was simply being polite with the Spanish public and players always reiterate how nice his former club was, that he may ‘retire’ there one day, and so on. IT is simply ridiculous that City will let him go or that Barca has the money to buy him back. He choose to be gracious with us and we should not try to take it like that.

          He was a great player but I am quite happy with our Busi too.

          • Kxevin says:

            The Yaya was sold for a reason. The progression of the team and the way it plays has made that reason even more clear. If he returned, he would have the same issues with playing time, where he wanted to play and how much he played. He’s much better off where he is.

          • Messiah10 says:

            My 1st thought when I read it earlier this morning was, Of course. Take some parting shots at Pep and now he’s leaving you want to come back. I like Yaya a lot as a player. Even seems like a nice guy, but his comments about Pep were out of line and probably born of frustration at not staying and getting time on the pitch.

  27. nzm says:

    Europa League Final about to start. The stadium is full of red and white!

    Bielsa has dressed up for the occasion – he’s wearing his best tracksuit. 😀

  28. nzm says:

    Wow – the youngsters of Bilbao are quite overwhelmed by the occasion, I think.

    A couple of bad calls, and they’ve lost a bit of composure.

    Need to refocus if they’re going to come back.

  29. Laurentiu88 says:

    martinez not looking too strong there ..

  30. blitzen says:

    Let the Falcao-to-Barça rumours begin in 3…2…1…NOW!

  31. Dave says:

    Falcao will never be at Barca while Jorge Mendes is his agent. That guy is slimy

  32. Blau-Grenade says:

    I have not seen Llorente touch the ball in the second half. No tracking back, no attempts to win the ball. Definitely not Barca material.

  33. Blau-Grenade says:

    Wow Falcao!!!

  34. Ryan says:

    3-0, que pena.

    Think that resting most of his team was part of the problem for Athletic?

    • nzm says:

      The occasion got to them – I think that it was stage fright.

      Age and experience > youth and talent.

      Atleti Madrid knew when to apply the pressure and were so persistent that Bilbao didn’t have an answer.

      Plus, Falcao worked his ass off for his second Europa Cup in a row. He wanted it more.

  35. Blau-Grenade says:

    Wow Diego!!! Thats done and dusted. Atletico Madrid Europa champions. The main difference has been the dynamic nature of Falcao at one end, causing chaos in the Atletico Defence, always moving, always being open, versus the static nature of Llorente, who has been easy to contain.

  36. Blau-Grenade says:

    I can only imagine Barca with a striker like Falcao!!! Would be like having Eto’o back!!!

    • Blau-Grenade says:

      Great with the ball on his feet, not afraid to take on defenders, can faint(wrong foot defenders) and shoot, always open, I can’t imagine a better striker for Barca.

  37. Gogah says:

    Without the copa, bilbao aren’t gonna have anything to show in terms of silver for a season in which they’ve played quite brilliantly.
    It can be concerning that they’re gonna be really fired up for the final, but guess what, so will we.

  38. AJ_10 says:

    Feel gutted for Muniain. He worked his socks off.
    Btw, why is there no interest for him? One of the best youngsters out there.

    • nzm says:

      Attitude? Chip on his shoulder the size of the moon.

      • blitzen says:

        I’m getting the feeling you don’t like the young cocky ones, nzm. 😛

        Muniain may not be bursting with humbility, but give him his due, the kid is mad talented and works his butt off for his team every single game. He’s not a selfish player either.

        Personally, I love him, but I want him to stay with Bilbao for a long time.

        • barca96 says:

          Im interested in him for the past 2 seasons :)

          Love him a lot! But he is not a goal scorer but I believe we could change him. But I still would not expect him to be a 20 goal-a-season player but man…. He would be a great addition on the wings.

          • nzm says:

            He’s not a winger – he’s a midfielder and, like Iniesta, put little Muniain on the wing and he’s going to be too easily knocked off the ball.

            Also like, Iniesta, his skillset is best when he plays inside the winger and can come to the goal from a slight angle or from directly in front of it.

        • nzm says:

          Nope AJ_10 asked why no one was interested in Muniain – not what I thought of him as a player.

          As a player, he’s pretty good – but last night as we saw, put him in a cauldron and he couldn’t make a difference. Psychologically and mentally, he folded.

          Can Barca afford to have a player like that when every game that the team plays is important, must-win and played on a world stage? No.

          The pressures on a Barca player are far, far greater than the pressures on a Bilbao player, so whoever plays for Barca must have the right mental attitude.

          Ibra didn’t; Caceres didn’t; Eto’o didn’t for where Pep wanted the team to be. Just because you’re a great player doesn’t mean that ypu’ll fit into Barca.

          Muniain has the skills – he’s a street fighter on the pitch. But he also has some bad traits – he dives and he strikes out in frustration at other players when they outplay him on the ball.

          He just generally needs to grow up and start thinking about what he can do with his talent.

          That’s the difference between a good player and a great player. A good player has natural talent; a great player knows what he can do with it.

          • AJ_10 says:

            Thanks for the info nzm. However, I do feel that he is still young & can be refined. I mean,” But he also has some bad traits – he dives and he strikes out in frustration at other players when they outplay him on the ball”+ more, sounds like a hotshot Portuguese we all know and even he matured from his ManU days.
            I think putting him in the best club in the world surrounded by top class teammates and people , he might grow out of his impudent behaviour.
            However, I think your midfielder point is probably the reason. His role is too similar to Iniesta. We don’t need all the talented players out there. Let’s hope Beisla has the same squad for a few more years. It will make the 3rd place battle really interesting. Good luck for the future Bilbao, well, after the CDR final anyway.

          • barca96 says:

            Every time I watched Bilbao play Muniain will operate from the left wing area. So even though he is not a winger now I think we can convert him.

            Like how Henry was converted from a winger to a striker.

  39. Humphrey Bogart says:

    I must say that I did not feel so heartbrocken after we went out of the CL as I did tonight for Athletic. this morning I come back from Bilbao, nobody can imagine how this city did embrace the EPL and this team, there were flags on every balcony, pictures in every shop, Athletic Pintxos and cakes, waiteres wearing Athletic kits, everybody only talking about the finale.
    to see the players and their dispair tonight, I really did break my heart

  40. Judas Pissed says:

    Regarding what Drenthe said – what a load of b*ll*x. Just a useless footballer who no club wants trying to keep himself in the spotlight.

    • nzm says:

      Or paid to say it.

      Ballon D’Or voting is coming up…looks like it’s going to be waged at a gutter level because others can’t compete with Messi on the pitch.

      • Bassam says:

        I might be wrong here, but are you suggesting Drenthe was paid by CR or someone CR related to say these things and tarnish Messi’s reputation? I really hope I’m wrong.

        • Judas Pissed says:

          I don’t believe that. I believe Drenthe is a frustrated footballer whose career is going nowhere just trying to keep himself famous. Besides, he also said that Higuain & Heinze called Diarra ‘negro’ – so its not just Messi he’s accusing. The guy is a lowlife.

        • nzm says:

          Bassam: why is this coming out now? Why didn’t Drenthe deal with this when it happened and was still at RM?

          Plus – I didn’t mention CR – you did.

          • Bassam says:

            I mention CR because it seems you implied CR. The competitors for Messi in the Ballon D’or that are outside of Barca are CR. Not sure anyone else comes close.

            Why did it come out now is a good question. But assuming that this is a propaganda thing against Messi also seems a tad far fetched and conspiracy theory esque. I see the Mourinho in you, Michelle!

            Drenthe, btw, hates RM. When he left to Everton at the start of the season he said that he never wants to be back at Real Madrid because he felt like he didn’t get the chance he deserves. He also said he disliked Di Stefano because Di Stefano told him after the game to think less of his hair and earnings and more on how to control the ball well.

            Around 2 or 3 months ago, Drenthe also made some comments about Ronaldo and how he “shows off in training” among other things. So it seems to me that Drenthe is just keeping himself in the spot light. Is it true or not? Well it’s one players word against the other.

          • nzm says:

            Bassam – FYI, my name is Michele.

            And no, since you don’t know me, you can’t see anything in me.

            I’ll state again, I implied nothing about CR – it’s you who read that into what I write. Why would you think that about CR? Why would you think he’s involved in this? He may know nothing at all about what’s going on. Granted he’s a contender for Ballon D’Or, but there are others such as Gomez who could have a shot at it as well, if he has a good Euro.

            As a Real Madrid fan, you must admit that the tone of Real Madrid has been somewhat tainted by Mourinho’s antics over the past season, although most of the fans are probably in denial about that because he’s finally winning, so you’ll ignore, forgive or even admire his transgressions. I wonder if you’d all think the same way if he did all that he has done as the manager of FC Barcelona? 😀

            Heard of tall poppy syndrome? I wondered how long it would be before the knives would be sharpened against Messi. This will probably be just the start, as they start to dig around in whatever dirt they can find. I hope that Messi and Co. deal with this accusation and clear it away.

            Drenthe may hate Madrid, but he’s still under contract to them – he’s only on loan to Everton as of this moment.

            As far as answering my question as to why now, you haven’t done anything to answer that except to cast me as a conspiracy theorist which is usually the answer when no one can give a better one. Good try, but no score for you.

            However, I have come up with another reason for Drenthe’s accusation though – maybe he’s simply still pissed off that this happened:


        • K_legit in Oz says:

          Bassam you already support Real Madrid, I really doubt you could get more ‘wrong’ than that..

          • nzm says:

            This comment is uncalled for. Bassam came here to discuss a point, and I don’t think that your comment contributes to the conversation.

            Bassam and other Madrid supporters, who respect this space, are welcome here – and we should be reciprocating the respect, not trying to score cheap points with comments like these.

      • Richzorz says:

        Drenthe IS still under contract at Madrid right…? ;p

  41. Barcaleya says:

    Those Falcao goals are amazing.

    I know we need defenders more. And I don’t really want to sell any of our players.

    But can we also have him please? Please? 😀

    • Huckleberry says:

      Don’t know. He was excellent on the break. But does he fit in a possession oriented team without space in front of the goal?

      • barca96 says:

        He didn’t have much space for his 2 goals either. He turned his marker.

      • Barcaleya says:

        Huckleberry – I don’t watch much of Falcao to know how good he is with one-touch passing and control and if he can play the way we do. But those two goals, he created the space himself and was able to shoot the ball away from the goalie and into the net. And I think that we need someone who can do that.

        With the way we play, we are mostly able to find the space for someone to run to the ball with those slide-rule passes and who would be generally freed from his markers because of the passer finding that space that’s free. The only thing most of our players need to do is control and not shoot the ball directly onto the keeper. By the time we get into a goal-scoring chance, we already have space in front of goal. Which is the difference in the Falcao goals. He was well-marked. He ran, feinted, turned, etc to create that space for himself. And he was able to find that area away from the keeper and slot the ball into the net.

        We need that kind of skill.

        • Kxevin says:

          Actually, we have someone who can do that. Three someones. The complexity is freeing up the system so that Messi, Sanchez and Villa can do their improvisational thing.

          Never forget that no team would EVER play against us the way that Bilbao played against ATM. Nevah. The space, the marking …. um …. inconsistencies, we just don’t see that kind of play.

          Falcao could do what he did because he had the space to do it. It is space he wouldn’t get if he were wearing our colors. It’s the same with Chelsea. People watched Chelsea get obliterated by Liverpool on the weekend and thought, “How could that team have beaten us?” Because they played in a very, very different way. Our quality reduces every side to a Segunda club, in that they play to not get killed, and try to nick one off the break.

          Huckleberry’s initial question is a very good one, and one that should be asked before people start adding Falcao to our off-season shopping list.

          I will also note that Llorente was exposed yesterday. Size ain’t everything, right?

          • Barcaleya says:

            Agree totally that size isn’t everything. But deep in my heart, I wish it was. It would be an easy solution to our problems 😀

            And yes – Messi, Sanchez and Villa can do what Falcao did. I just didn’t include Messi anymore because it’s obvious and in my mind, I wanted to relieve him of his duties and burden of trying to score practically all the goals in our team. I am sure that had Villa not been injured, we would have won the Liga. As you know, I am a huge Villa fan. I just thought that for the most part, he had difficulty getting his shots off when the defenders are as close to him as the defenders were to Falcao in the EL final. And mostly, he shoots straight at the goalkeeper. I always assumed that he started overthinking when he went to Barca instead of doing it instinctively as he did at Valencia. So his timing was a bit off.

            I also admire Sanchez and know that he can do all that Falcao did and more.

            My comment was based purely within the context of that AB-AM finals and assuming that Falcao does what he did regularly and consistently. And I was impressed because in fact I thought he did NOT have space. That he had enough guile and skill to create it himself. Different from a system like ours (excepting Messi and Iniesta) where space is created by the system, by the person who passes, who had the vision to see the empty space.

            Anyway, of course I agree that most teams play differently against us and they just try to strangle us. I didn’t watch many times and at many angles – but I thought what Falcao did was precisely to score while being marked by multiple men and to create the space to do so himself. So….i liked that 😀 But you are right of course in asking whether he would fit a possession-based team. I dont see him enough to know whether he can or not.

            Ugh – I’m not even asking why Chelsea beat us. We were unlucky with the goalpost/bar and all. Ugh. I just hope they do NOT win the CL. I am supporting Bayern Munich all the way especially since they also have David Alaba (who is half-Filipino, yay!). Too bad he’s suspended for the finals.

            I’m sure Tito will be ironing out the kinks in our system. He’s had enough time to see where we went wrong, what we need, who we need and how we could be better. That’s the good part about him being chosen as Pep’s replacement. He’s been thinking about all these things in the past 4 years.

            Visca Barca!!!

          • Barcaleya says:

            **I wish it were** ugh

          • Kxevin says:

            But again, note the space that Falcao had to even get into the box. Villa has scored some similar golazos from a burst to get free, then a quick shot, most notably against EE.

            Falcao notched 23 goals this season. I wouldn’t consider that statistic all that jaw-dropping. That’s the norm for a healthy Villa, by way of example. And not to beat a dead horse, but I think that if sides played ATM the way they play us, you wouldn’t see him with that many goals.

          • Messiah10 says:

            Llorente is similar to Andy Caroll. A big man needs service into the box. Caroll’s biggest problem is that he gets no service and is set up with his back to goal when he does. Liverpool haven’t used him effectively. If Llorente came to Barca he’d be lost. He’s not skillful enough to control the ball w/his feet and play our possession game. He needs crosses coming in from the wings and we don’t do much of that. Alves did in 08/09 and even the last couple of years, but this year it was non existent. I’d rather see him stay at Athletic or move to a team where his skill set is utilized to maximize his potential.

          • Barcaleya says:

            Hmm. Okay, I guess….that he wouldn’t even be where he started his moves if all those teams play the way they play us.

            Then, as you said, it is a question of solving that problem. We should assume that all teams will play differently against us and we have to be able to win our way against that. I hope Tito has his ideas already.

            I guess we also really just missed Villa.

            I’m excited for him to come back. I seriously believe that had he not been away for so long, we would have won the Liga. His goals definitely would have made the difference.

  42. msayoufi says:

    Nice piece Kxevin, but i must disagree with you. Being a fan means sticking with the team no matter what: in good and bad, joy and misery; life or death! it is like marriage, you can’t love your spouse one day and the next day you dislike them and a few days later you love them again. It becomes obvious that your second half is in it for something else.

    I have been a Barca fan for 24 years (I was 13 years old) when Luis Aragonés was their coach became the biggest fan when Cruyff took over the team. I saw the magic of Guardiola, Bakero, Begiristain, Koeman, Laudrup, Romário, and Stoichkov. And i also saw the bad era of the late 90s and early 2000s. My love for barca never waivered and i consider myself a lifetime Culé who would never question my devotion and commitment to FC Barcelona. And yes, you are right, i now live in the US and i have never been to a game in Camp Nou (but i will visit this summer). One day, i will watch a Baca Vs the EE, but now, i am satisfied with my TV subscription watching every game, including the one this weekend against Betis.

    I have seen the “seasonal fans” who “love” the team when we are beating the EE 2-6, and i don’t need those fans to tell the world how great Barca is. Real fans do because we speak from the heart and Barca is not only for entertainment, it is Més que un club – a way of life! For some, it is a religion!

    Visca Barca!

    • Kxevin says:

      Not if you view being a fan as something temporary, like acquaintance vs friend. Most people have lots of acquaintances, but very few friends. So it is with clubs. Moving from fan to cule is a long process. It is only at the end of that process that you reach the state that so many of us have achieved.

      There’s room for everybody.

    • nzm says:

      You see, grasshopper, before one becomes a culé, one must master the art of being a culé, and being in a state of blaugrana in the zen of culédom. 😀

  43. blitzen says:

    From the Guardian, FCB have issued a statement in support of Messi after Drenthe’s accusations:

    “The player has always shown a maximum respect and sportsmanship towards his rivals, something which has been recognised by his fellow professionals many times, and we are sure that any accusations to the contrary are well wide of the mark. His behaviour throughout his career has always been exemplary.”

    Would have been nice if the club had responded as promptly to the Busquets situation last year.

    • blitzen says:

      I’m sure Leo’s people were all over this and part of the reason for the club’s quick response.

      • Kxevin says:

        See, I was just thinking the exact same thing re: the Busquets situation last season.

        • blitzen says:

          Busi’s people aren’t as powerful or media-savvy as Messi’s people, methinks.

          • Laurentiu88 says:

            i guess the club itself recognized that there is more at stake in Messi’s case than with Busi… or maybe they just learned from previous one and from the Suarez fiasco.

          • Eklavya says:

            But the club responded fairly quickly to the Busi issue when it was “officially” reported by Marca (I believe) after accused FCB directly. Because, before that it just Internet blog gossip.

    • Barcaleya says:

      Maybe because this is easier to respond to. Someone said something about what someone said. A player, Drenthe, said that another player, Messi, said this. That’s pretty straightforward. So either Messi did say it or not. And if he did, it would next be a question of context and intent.

      Whereas the Busi thing was absurd. It started with people trying to infer racial slur from a slow-mo of a video clip. When there were enough accusation built around it, by the very nature of its vagueness, RM co-opted the video and put it in their site. But Marcelo himself didnt say that Busi said anything, in fact he denied it. So….it was totally absurd. That was my point then. What has Barcelona have to respond to? They would respond to a ghost speculation. It was atrocious. Atrocious.

    • blitzen says:

      More detailed version from the BBC:

      The last time the players met, Drenthe claims Messi also refused to shake his hand at the end of the match.

      On Thursday, the Spanish Primera Liga said it was not planning to take action against Messi.

  44. Dave says:

    Drenthe comments against Messi have ‘smear campaign’ written all over them

    Lets see, who does smear campaigns against Barca usually?
    The racist allegations against Busi and the allegations from Cope. Who were behind those?

    Can anyone think of their source?

  45. Ryan says:

    Interesting… Barca’s official Facebook page just switched its cover to a dramatic photo of Dani Alves. I wonder if there’s anything to read into that? Before that picture they had a pretty epic image of Puyol.

  46. blitzen says:

    Superagent and general sleazeball Jorge Mendes is under investigation over the signing of Bebe by Manchester United:

    I find this bit especially interesting:

    He (Bebe) played in just six pre-season friendlies for Vitória when a story appeared in Marca, the Spanish football newspaper, that Real Madrid, managed by José Mourinho, a client of Mendes, were suddenly interested in signing him. United have always said they then moved rapidly to sign him, on the recommendation of Queiroz, who is also represented by Mendes.

    According to Reis’s official complaint, on 9 August, 2010 he received a letter from Bébé, dated 5 August, in which Bébé sacked Reis as his agent. Two days later, on 11 August, Bébé was transferred to United, who paid €9m to Guimarães for him, and gave the player a three-year full professional contract on wages Reis believes are €63,000 a month, net of tax. It emerged subsequently that Mendes had become the agent and owner of 30% of Bébé’s economic rights, too, and made €3.6m from the United deal.

    So a friendly source at RM feeds the story to Marca on Mendes’ behalf. Queiroz, coach of the Portugal national team & a former assistant of SAF, points to the story and says, “Hey, old pal, you should snap him up before Mourinho does!”. Mendes laughs all the way to the bank.

    • Dave says:

      What a slug that Mendes

      • Messiah10 says:

        I really have a deep seeded disdain for agents as well. They are lawyers who’ve managed to wiggle their way into sports b/c of the globalization of the game. I think players deserve the best possible contract because their the ones who entertain us, but they should be able to do that without the help of slime like Medes. Bebe is a joke. It was the biggest con job I’ve ever seen. No one had heard of Bebe b/4 Medes apparently leaked that story. He was a nobody from nowheresville. That is fraudulent and I hope he gets dealt with properly. Blackball him. Then his clients would have to drop him. Anyone suprised Mou has him as an agent. Their probably best friends! lol

  47. Dave says:

    Dani Benitez banned for three months. Pepe gets off for stamping on Messi and Mourinho gets away with attacking a fellow manager. Tito really missed an opportunity to lay one on Mourinho if he was going to get away with it

    Not justifying what Benitez did but honestly you have to wonder if it was Granada vs anyone else would it be 3 months.

    • Laurentiu88 says:

      i think the high suspension is due to the fact that he hit the ref. he would’t have received 3 months for hitting CR.

      otherwise it is remarkable when you think with what both JM and Pepe got away with. these are just the blatant calls they got in their favor, without even considering the games itself.

      at least next season our club will be far more careful at how the refs act.

      • nzm says:

        i think the high suspension is due to the fact that he hit the ref. he would’t have received 3 months for hitting CR.

        Which makes it even more ludicrous that a referee is protected more than the players. It should all be equally dealt with.

  48. Messiah10 says:

    Is someone going to post a new blog soon? I’m getting hungry! Had a craving for a while. This one’s close to 200 comments. Amazing. How bout a Family Guy spoof blog. Mou as Stewie would be awesome. Evil baby! haha. Pique as Quagmire. Gigity gigity. That’s all I’ve come up with. I need something from you guys and gals.

  49. ciaran says:

    You can’t be a potential Barca Left Back unless you have L & B in your name.

  50. Laurentiu88 says:

    probably you all have seen this in the guardian but what do you think of these possible innovations talked about there:

    “Retrospective punishment for diving

    Diving does not cause as much damage as a punch in the face but somehow it feels dirtier. At least physical brutality has a blue-collar honesty about it, whereas simulation is a despicable white collar crime, an administrative slight of hand or foot. Public opprobrium has done nothing to dissuade divers for the very good reason that diving pays. Only firm action can eradicate it: technology can help – if suspected fraud on the field of play is reviewed by a panel consisting of, say, a referee, a former player and a preening Hollywood diva, and a ban is dished out to anyone found guilty, then players may get to thinking that it is not worth diving. On the other hand, we could just claim that cheating is a skill and those who do it well deserve to get away with it.

    Change the penalty law

    Not all fouls in the box are serious enough for a penalty to be a proportionate punishment. A free-kick would suffice. Similarly, many fouls that are committed outside the box deny a clear goal-scoring chance but the wronged team is only compensated with a free-kick outside the area, for which the guilty team gets to erect a wall and reorganise. Sure, the aggressor may also be sent off but that is not always a suitable sanction – especially if the foul occurs in the last few minutes, giving the wronged team little time to make use of their numerical advantage, meaning the aggressor has effectively exploited a loophole in the law. To close that loophole and apply proper justice, referees should be allowed to award penalties if they consider that a foul has sabotaged a clear goal-scoring chance, regardless of where it took place.”

    can you imagine how la liga would be if they had to give sanctions for diving :)) not to mention even more vague criteria for penalty? psss don’t even wish to imagine :)

    • Hajar12 says:

      Completely agree, especially with the no diving rule, that would be something wouldn’t it? :)
      Furthermore, something needs to be done about the handball rule, it’s getting extremely ridiculous. The second penalty against Espanyol shouldn’t have been called, that was a bad call, and we sure had our share of bad calls as well.
      Maybe this is just wishful thinking from our part but who knows, maybe there is good somewhere in La Liga!

      • Barcaleya says:

        Second the handball rule. The Alaba one was terrible, thus ruling him out of the finals. And di Maria pumping his fist in triumph was doubly annoying.

    • Huckleberry says:

      I would support both ideas!

    • nzm says:

      Yes – I like it.

      I’d also like to see players, who deliberately try to kick a ball into the opposition players’ hands/arms, retrospectively pinged for their actions.

  51. mom4 says:

    The Messi thing, rivals, and the media?
    I don’t like people very much right now.
    Good thing the Bible only tells me I gotta love them. Nowhere does it say I gotta like ’em. Generally speaking, people are not very likeable, the media and EE cast offs even less so.
    And I’m grumpy ’cause I’m not over this blasted sinus infection yet.
    Hafta order pizza ’cause I don’t feel well enough to cook. My kids are ecstatic about the pizza.
    So no, I don’t like people right now.
    I guess I still like most of y’all.
    I especially like Barcaleya for recognizing the need for the subjunctive mood above. Good on ya, girl!

    I’ll go crawl back into the hole from which I emerged and pretend I remember what it feels like to be able to breathe. Need a giant vat of Vic’s Vapo Rub.

    • Barcaleya says:

      Oh, thank you mom! I like you too! 😀

      I usually write here in a stream of consciousness mode and don’t bother too much to correct my grammar. But was for were was just unacceptable. I couldn’t leave that mistake under my authorship. Haha

      Hope you get well soon! Vic’s vaporub works for me as well.

  52. footballtreat says:

    Drenthe accuses Messi of racism. I really can’t imagine that.

  53. Benj says:

    Hey fellow Cules, Id love to know opinions on this article:
    Just an editors blog on the most popular rumours for the transfer window. I really like his breakdown of the rumours actually and its funny reading peoples comments.
    He has backed the signings of Jordi Alba and Javi Martinez as well as ‘maybes’ for Llorente and Adil Rami. The vast majority of commentors have rubbished this saying that David Luis, Van Persie and Gareth Bale are the most needed, and that Valdes has to be replaced.
    This upsets me, as I honestly think our attacking line is doing just fine as it is without the likes of RVP, our wings are fine without Bale and Rami would be a cheaper, and in my opinion better option than Luiz.
    People playing way too much FM/FIFA methinks?
    Anyway, happy to be commenting again. Love to you all from Oz.

  54. Gogah says:

    Cavani or Hulk for Barca’s forward line?

  55. nzm says:

    Bummer – Pinto out of the Betis match with a sprained ankle.

    And that Alexis chap had better get his injury-prone self in better health next season, otherwise I’ll have to go to Camp Nou and have stern words with him.

  56. blitzen says:

    So it’s confirmed. Lucho has left Roma, apparently against the wishes of the management:

    “His work was good. At a certain point it wore him out and he felt the need to stop,” general director Franco Baldini told Sky. “He won’t be training anywhere next season.

    “We invited him to take all the time he needed to decide, hoping right until the end that he would stay.”

    Such a shame. I have no doubt at all that Lucho has what it takes to be a brilliant coach, but it seems that he felt the pressure from the media and the fans were undermining him and causing too much conflict. Maybe Italy was just the wrong country for him.

    • nzm says:

      Wow – him and Pep both worn out. Wonder if we’ll find them on the same beach? :)

    • nzm says:

      And talk about ageing – he’s put on about 8 years just from a year at Roma.

    • Clouseau says:

      worrysome and sad development in football. pressure stake is getting out of hand nowadays. i fear an increase of burn-out syndroms affected coaches…

      sad for lucho! his italian-job adventure deserved a better ending.
      but he defo made his stamp on roma’s further coach will benefit of his work.

      • Jim says:

        I’m finding this hard to understand. These are young men. They maybe need to take a leaf out of some of the gnarled old EPL managers’ books. :)

  57. Larm says:

    i came across the article at espn, its about concussion in soccer. mainly it deals with MLS players but it got me thinking about pique. that poor boy has had his brain rattled a few times. i hope la liga is doing something or at least the teams take the initiative themselves.

  58. nzm says:

    FYI – the Barca women are destroying Espanyol right now. With 15 mins left, they are 6-0 in the Miniestadi.

    After the nerves settled, they have actually put together some decent combinations.

    They need another 4 points from their last 2 games to win the league.

  59. mom4 says:

    Is anyone else having problems with replies? It works, but it’s different?

  60. Laurentiu88 says:

    hmm, can it be possible that Pep didn’t know about Tito’s appointment? maybe he just didn’t know the decision but gave the recommendation? or he jus said i don’t care who you put in my place; he didnt even talk to Tito before quitting?….too many questions…

    • KEVpitt says:

      Hey you think Pep will return after one year and they placed TITO in as an interim? He did say he will be back!

    • Clouseau says:

      highly unlikely since he had without a doubt his hand’s on tito’s promotion always made sure that not only his contract’s were extendet but also titos&staff..
      looking back to it the whole years it sounded like a promotion campain by pep who always talked about tito’s significant role in his success.

      pretty sure the board prefered a more prominent coach as pep’s heir but pep changed their opinion.

      all after all it is all typical media talk. by telling that he decreases his influence and appleases rosell camp by making sure it was their idea from the start :).

  61. Messiah10 says:

    Fantastic homage to Barca! Run of Play is my other favorite blog I have. Brilliant writing.

    If you check it out, you can also check out homage to Pep which I posted a few blogs back. Really good stuff. Enjoy the homages and enjoy the weekend!

  62. Vj says:

    Anyone know where I can get my fix of Hector pills? Its May already..

    • ciaran says:

      Hector pills are needed but transfer rumours are so funny.
      Marca announced today that we have sewn up the transfer of Gareth Bale, unfortunately no one told Harry Redknapp.
      We also have signed Jordi Alba and forgot to tell Gareth Bale… awkward.

  63. AJ_10 says:

    I am all for signing just one Lb (Jordi Alba) and no one else (considering we don’t sell anyone). I’m confident that with Villa , Afellay, Cuenca, Tello, Pedro and Sanchez slotting into the two positions upfront, we will have the right set of personnel for various differnet game-plans i.e width, pace, poacher, combination play etc. I mean its not like Pedro, Afellay, Sanchez & Villa are going to injure themselves at the same time right?

    In other news….
    Looks like RVP is also considered in addition to Neymar, Tevez, Cavani, Forlan, Llorente & Torres. Sigh.
    I am new here so where do I signup for my share of Hector pills?

    • Kxevin says:

      Sorry. No Hector Pills for newbies. You have to take it along with your humble mods, who will be, at various times of the off season, snarking about this rumor or that. Particularly the funniest ones.

    • ciaran says:

      Robin van Persie is a cut above all of the others strikers that have been mentioned. His only problem historically has been the tendency for niggling injuries but he has played around 30-40 games this and last season so hopefully he is over his problems.
      If there were the slightest possibility that he would leave Arsenal, there would be no one better to lineup alongside Messi, Alexis and the like.
      He is genuinely a world class striker, great at set pieces, a leader & captain. He has single-handedly dragged Arsenal into contention for a Champions League place.

      I’m not the biggest fan of courting other teams’ players but I’d love van Persie.

      • Kxevin says:

        I’m not the biggest fan of his temperament. There have been too many manifestations this season of that. Apparently there’s also a salary complexity, if you believe the rumors that such things have been explored.

        One report has him being offered, but that his salary is an issue. I call BS on all of it. It’s not like Wenger is going to say “Hey, I think I want to sell my best player, because Gervinho, Bendtner, etc, etc, have all been so convincing.”

        • ciaran says:

          If Arsenal don’t make it into the Champions League then he definitely is going to want to move on.
          In regards to his temperament, he is aggressive and passionate but I think that temperament is Arsenal’s problem, not enough of their players are aggressive.

          Saying all that, when your look at first XI for next season, left back is the biggest question mark, followed by a DM & CB backup.

      • AJ_10 says:

        I agree that RVP is the best out of the strikers I mentioned but I don’t think he’s worth it(high wages + injuries + not much game time). I’d go for him if we didn’t have a certain Asturian striker who goes by El Guaje. I know that we can’t expect him to be 100 percent but I think he deserves a shot.

        Re: Kxevin
        Noooooooo!!! But ,but….
        Been a lurker for over a year. I think I’m entitled to a paltry amount? at least a sample?

        Just in case I didn’t mention it before , or it got lost within the other comments (on an earlier post), Keep up the good job Mods. The Mods + commenters make this THE Best barca blog on the net.(NOT sucking up for pills……..yet :-D)

      • blitzen says:

        No to Van Persie. Among other things, he goes selectively deaf in the Camp Nou. No good for a Barça player. 😛


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