The Kids Are Not All Right, or, What Hath Eusebio Wrought?

It’s been a while since our last look at the Barcelona B team, so let’s check in and see how their season is going, shall we? With 38 games played, the team currently sits in 9th position (out of 22 teams) with 53 points (for reference, the leader is Deportivo de la Coruna with 82 points). They have recorded 14 wins, 13 losses and 11 draws. There are 4 games still left to play. Barring some disastrous occurrence, I expect the B team will finish the season comfortably mid-table. If you had told me at the beginning of the season that would be the result, I would have been pleased with that. After all, no one expected the team to reproduce the fantastic result of last season, coming in 3rd and only being denied the chance to be promoted because of their status as a reserve team. Several key players of that team (Romeu, Nolito, Soriano, Thiago) have moved up or out, and the team has had to accommodate quite a few new players. Also, due to injuries in the first team, senior players like Bartra, Montoya, Muniesa & Tello have been called up and unavailable for quite a few recent games. Most importantly, of course, the coach responsible for taking the team to that level of success left to take a job at Roma. In my opinion the departure of Luis Enrique and the appointment of Eusebio Sacristan has had an enormous effect on the B team, and not for the better.

It may seem churlish to be unhappy with the B team’s performance given all the factors I have listed above, but if you have been watching the games over the last few years, you will have noticed that this season there has been a marked difference in the style of play. One of the fundamental tenets that Johan Cruyff introduced to the youth system at Barcelona is that all teams at all levels should play the same style of possession-based attacking football. This enables youths to move seamlessly from one level to another so by the time they “graduate” they will already know the system the first team plays. Not every La Masia product will be good enough or find a spot in the first team, of course, but the skills they have learned will serve them well wherever they end up. As Kari so eloquently ranted summed it up in a recent email:

“Barça B is meant to be a place where talented youngsters can learn the style, hone their skills, better learn things like positioning, patience and being team players.”

The primary function of a B team is to develop young players and many of us feel that Eusebio has sacrificed this development for results. The B team has played their way to a decent set of results this season, but how have they done it? Sloppily, for the most part. Undisciplined. Loose balls, lost possession, long balls from the back. Watching this B team at times this season you felt they were…well, a bunch of kids playing a park game, not the well-disciplined tactical squad Lucho molded them into last year. Partly this may be due to Euesbio having a less-talented pool of players to choose from to begin with (Kiko & Rodri being prime examples). It is also true that the constant absence of key players due to first-team call-ups has left the B team defense particularly frail and reliant on less experienced youth. With abundant playing time, however, and constant drilling in the components of the Barcelona style, one would expect to see those players improve over the course of the season and gel into a competent, if not always brilliant, team. This has not happened.

I’m not as tactically astute as some, but even I can see that the way this B team plays under Eusebio is lacking in, well, tactics. They may initially line up in the familiar 4-3-3 formation we would expect to see, but that is where the resemblance to the first team ends. The lack of pressing for the ball is the first difference you notice. If the opponent gets the ball there should be a swarm of angry Barça players snapping at his heels to make him give it up. Instead a lone player may run at the opponent, while the rest hold back and hope for the best. Big chunks of precious game time are spent sitting deep in our own half absorbing pressure from the opponent and hoping to make a break on the counterattack. When an attack is mounted, it seems to largely bypass the midfield in favour of simply lumping the ball up to one of the boys up front. Now and then you will see a spell of possession or breathtaking bit of teamwork that reminds us why we are watching this team in the first place, but by and large it is apparent that Eusebio has abandoned the fundamental principles of the Barcelona-style of football. These talented young players (and most of them are very talented or they wouldn’t still be here) are simply not being encouraged to develop the skills that would (should!) make them future prospects for the first team. In fact, some players in most need of playing time to further their development (Espinosa, Sergi Gomez) are consistently being passed over in favour of older, less technical players (Carmona, Armando) whose main purpose seems to be to add some “muscle” to the team. And not much else. From the outside looking in, one can’t help but feel that Eusebio is sacrificing the opportunity to develop youth players in order to win games by any means necessary. Yes, winning games is important, and avoiding relegation is crucial, but sacrificing talent in favour of expediency is a betrayal of the principles the Barcelona youth system is built on and a failure in the core aspect of managing a B team.

Sadly, Rosell and the Barcelona board don’t see things the same way and have renewed Eusebio’s contract for another season. We may be in for more of the same next year unless someone intervenes. This is one reason why I am very happy that Tito Vilanova will be the first team coach next year-I believe that he is just as committed to the idea of bringing players up through the system as Pep is, and will continue to give these boys opportunities to train and play with the first team. These opportunities are crucial for the development of these players as they can learn from the best. Playing with the first team forces them to raise their level correspondingly and play up to expectations. You will have noticed that when given the chance to play in a CdR, Primera, or CL game, the B players have impressed in a way rarely seen during their regular season. Partly this is because of the level of the other players on the field, but it is also because they were being coached by someone committed to the Barça system and capable of bringing out the best in them.

This is the other area where I feel Eusebio is lacking and that has made him a poor choice to coach a team at this level. To me (and do remember that I say this from the perspective of a home viewer with no actual knowledge of the man), Eusebio does not have the strength of character to be a true leader for the team. Even a mediocre coach can make up for multiple failings if he or she is blessed with a charismatic personality that can inspire a team to exceed their expectations. Players need a coach that believes in them 100% and makes the players believe in themselves. That is something Lucho gave them in spades. Compare the self-confident way Lucho’s B team carried themselves on the field last year to the disjointed, almost desperate air the team gives off currently. This is not a team that believes they are the best. It’s not even a team that believes they could be the best. Eusebio is not a hands-on sort of coach. You rarely see him shouting encouragement or instructions from the sidelines. You could say that’s just his style, and maybe so, but remember that these are young kids. They are still learning. If things aren’t going to plan they need a coach willing to jump in and correct them. To teach them, inspire them, berate them if necessary. How are they ever going to be good enough to get into the first team (which is, remember, the ultimate goal even if only 5% of them actually make it) if they don’t have a coach that pushes them to excel?

The most frustrating aspect of this season has been watching the regression of talented players who were expected to keep performing at a high level. Marc Bartra is a good example. This is his third season with Barcelona B, and he has been a linchpin of the central defense. Last year when a lack of defenders prompted Guardiola to call up Andreu Fontas to the first team for the remainder of the season, there were many who thought Bartra would have been a better choice. Last summer he was the captain of the Spain U20 side that made it to the quarterfinals of the World Cup. The leadership and confidence he showed in that tournament were those of a much older player. Watching him now when he plays with the B team he seems completely different. That confidence is gone. The communication and control at the back is rarely there. Rafinha has also not progressed as expected under Eusebio’s management. Thiago’s younger brother is incredibly talented and was supposed to be the Next Big Thing on the B team. He has definitely been a key player this season, but aside from a handful of first-rate games, has not been quite the game-changer that he should be. This may be partly due to Eusebio tinkering with his position, moving him from attacking midfielder to false 9 and back again, so that he has not been able to make any single position his own.

Won't someone think of the children?

So, having said all that, what of the prospects for the future? There are some rays of light. Several of the most talented players are due to be formally promoted at the end of the season (Muniesa, Montoya, Bartra & Jonathan Dos Santos). Nothing has been said about Tello’s situation, but it would be difficult to send him back to the B team at this point. Sergi Roberto is not being promoted this year, or at least we haven’t heard anything, and will likely be the heart of the midfield next season.

Gerard Deulofeu is another reason to be optimistic. The young striker has been touted for years as the “next Messi” to come out of La Masia. He is certainly not there yet and may never be (he is a different sort of player), but he has cemented his place in the B team and his future looks very bright indeed. He had a slow start this season, not getting many minutes, being benched in favour of Tello, Rodri, & later Soriano. When he did play, he often looked “off”. Ungainly, a little pudgy, not comfortable in his skin or in his position on the field. In the second half of the season he improved rapidly. With Tello and Soriano gone he has had plenty of starts, and he has lost weight and looks physically much more confident. He has lost much of the selfishness on the pitch that used to earn him criticism, and is one of the few players this season that presses relentlessly for the ball. Rumour is that Kiko Femenia may not be staying, and Juvenil A wunderkind Dongou will be formally promoted, so our main forward line next year could be Deulofeu – Rodri (yeah, well) – Dongou. There should be some goals in there! With Riverola leaving for Bologna, we can hope to see Espinosa get a lot more playing time in the midfield, as well as Ilie, who is finally back from a long-term injury. Well, we can hope.

OK, this turned out a lot longer than I expected and much rantier. I’ll stop now. Your turn.

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171 Responses to “The Kids Are Not All Right, or, What Hath Eusebio Wrought?”

  1. Anonymous_69 says:

    So Bartra won’t be part of the B team next season? I can’t see him being part of the first team either (unless Muniesa is loaned out). I really REALLY think Jonathan Dos Santos is a great talent, and honestly would make a great addition to our midfield in the first team. Unfortunately, there are no spots open. I think he will be sold or used as a bargaining chip for another player. Riverola is a decent player who offers something different, but he isn’t quite talented enough, and I don’t mind him leaving tbh. Especially if it means more minutes for Espinosa. Armando and Carmona should also both be leaving. Ideally Rodri will also leave, in place for a better CF. Dongou is young, but he plays way beyond his years, and I like the idea of pushing him early and making him the leader of the B team’s front line, flanked by Deulofeu and Rafinha/Kiko. If Bartra leaves (I prefer him staying one more season), then I guess Ayala or Oriol Rosell will become starters. I think Grimaldo should be promoted, but Planas should remain the first choice starter:

    Mino
    Balliu – Gomez – Rosell – Planas
    Sergi Roberto – Ilie – Espinosa
    Rafinha – Dongou – Deulofeu

    This team really is too young though. It looks like more a Juvenil A team. I suspect a new CB, DM, and maybe a new attacker will be bought for the B team. Last season, the B team could have used a defense of Montoya-Bartra-Fontas-Muniesa… Now that’s a defense that could play in La Liga no problem. Then there’s also the obvious depth problems the team might face. Eusebio and the board will address those problems. All I want is to see Balliu, Sergi Gomez, Espinosa, Deulofeu, Rafinha, and hopefully Dongou as automatic starters, with Grimaldo and Ilie getting frequent minutes.

    Like you said, the team has stopped pressuring completely and has become a defensive counter attacking team in the last few matches. But it hasn’t been like that all season, and I am sure there are reasons for the drastic change (the team has been sloppy, yes, but earlier in the year, they were pressuring and attempting possession football). I trust that things will be back to normal by next season.

    A bigger issue I think is developing a good forward line, positional-wise and talent-wise. Last season, we had the Golito-Scoriano combo, with Tello or someone else on the right providing an outlet. Great attack. This season? Deulofeu-Rodri-Kiko has been our most used attack. Deulofeu is very talented and is playing at a level similar to that of Nolito from last season. But Rodri is no Scoriano, and Kiko, although I like him, has struggled immensely (although credit to him, he’s been improving, and should remain next season).

    Mainly, the team has to figure out Rafinha’s role. He’s such a big talent, but the coach doesn’t know how to use him. That’s one of the reasons why Oscar Garcia simply had to be given the job (why the hell wasn’t he?). Anyways, Rafinha is someone who reminds me a lot of Messi from Pep’s first year. Espinosa and Sergi Roberto are better midfielders, Rafinha needs to stay in the forward line. Basically, I think there are two clear options.

    Option 1: Use a forward line similar-positionally to that of the 08/09 season. Deulofeu playing the Henry role. Staying very high up the LW, constantly cutting into the middle, making diagonal runs, being a very direct goal threat, almost playing like a second striker. Dongou playing the mobile CF role. Rafinha playing the more withdrawn RW Messi role. When the team is attacking, Rafinha stays up top, naturally moving in centrally (he’s naturally a central player), allowing the RB to overlap. When not in possession, he tracks the opposition’s LB. When Barca regain possession deep, Rafinha, just like Messi loves to do, drops deeper to give the midfield an extra man and make transitions easier. And just like Messi, when Rafinha receives the ball deeper, he will immediately turn and start sprinting forward with it (Rafinha is great at running at defenders at full flight). This allows Rafinha to be a creator, while also giving him the license to play his normal direct, offensive style.

    Option two: Similar, except permanently change the forward line so that Dongou is the CF, Deulofeu is also central and roaming around the attack, and Rafinha is in the hole behind them, playing as a 10. This would make it easier for Rafinha, easier for Dongou, and it will also teach Deulofeu some very important skills. But it lacks width, and it might make it even harder when it comes time switch to the first team. Option 1 is much more likely.

    • barca96 says:

      I like your ideas.

      And whoa, that was a pretty long comment. I had to scroll up to see if it was an extension of blitzen’s post :-)

    • blitzen says:

      Thanks for your thoughts, Anonymous_69! I pretty much agree with you, although I’m not quite so enamored of JDS as you are. I do think he will be loaned out for at least one season, and probably one of Bartra or Muniesa as well. I would prefer to see Bartra stay with the first team, but Tito will have to decide. Montoya definitely stays.

      I don’t know exactly what happened with Oscar Garcia. Maybe our resident Barcelona mod nzm can provide some insight there. It does seem that he was hoping or expecting to get the B team job and when he found out Eusebio was staying he left the club rather than remain with Juvenil A. Lots of people, me included, would have loved for him to take over the B team. I find it very difficult to accept that the current board is happy with Eusebio’s performance this year. I suspect there are background politics we are not aware of.

      • nzm says:

        Oscar Garcia is leaving the club on June 30th, but I would dearly love to see him as Tito’s assistant.

        Shaktar Donetsk is interested in him, but I don’t believe that he’s confirmed where he’s going.

        Garcia joined Barca as part of Cruyff’s coaching team, and he still remains as Cruyff’s assistant when coaching the Catalunya Team.

        He was passed up for the Barca B team after doing fantastically well with Juvenil A. The team reached the semi-finals of the NextGen Series (Champions League for young up and comers) playing against boys who were sometimes 2-3 years older. In the semis, they came up against a well-drilled and more mature Ajax team, but not before seeing off teams from Celtic, Marseille and Man City.

        Word is that the current board believes that he is too “Cruyff-like” for their tastes, therefore he was passed over for the Barca B job.

        Talk about cutting off noses to save faces.

  2. Judas Pissed says:

    The team is comfortable in the Segunda mid table and Tello, Cuenca, Montoya, Dos Santos, Muniesa & Bartra are expected to be first team players next season. Also Delefou, Rafinha, Sergi Roberto & Dongou are expected to become explosive talents next season, whilst at the same time the team is developing a ‘Plan B’ style of play which the first XI sorely lacked last season?

    Sounds like Sacristan is doing ok to me…

    • Nik says:

      A Plan B is useless when they can’t carry out Plan A, no?

      • Nik says:

        Also, sitting back deep without pressuring the ball and hoping to catch them on the counter-attack should never be a Plan B for us. Like Pep said multiple times, we’re horrible without the ball. That sort of plan would be suicidal for us.

        • blitzen says:

          Exactly. Like I said in the post, the results this season have been OK, but it should never just be about results for a Barcelona team. This club has a clear philosophy that should be followed at all levels, and that is where the B team has been going off the rails. It’s a real shame.

          • blitzen says:

            And also, “Just OK” is never OK. Not for this club.

          • Nik says:

            Yup. And as multiple people have said on twitter, including Kxevin and Euler, Barca B’s priority isn’t to win games and stay in Segunda. It’s to develop the next generation of Barca players. If they can win games while doing so and stay in the Segunda, great. But development should never be compromised for results.

          • Judas Pissed says:

            I disagree. Barca need a plan B. Remember the rampaging counter attacks of Ronaldinho, Eto’o etc? We can play tiki-taka all night sometimes & not look like scoring. Imagine the fear in opposing teams if we played possession/pressing AND counter attacked at times!?

          • Nik says:

            Quick, vertical play isn’t a “Plan B”. It’s another option as part of the main system. Press intensely as soon as you lose the ball, dispossess the opponent in an advantageous location, and send the ball to the open outlet. We may not have varied up our play enough this season, but we have scored goals using quick counters playing our regular system.

            What Barca B is playing is not the Barca system, and that is ultimately the problem. They can work on developing a “Plan B” once they nail the “Plan A”.

  3. barca96 says:

    Every time I read your post Blitzen, I have a picture of Robin Shrebatsky from How I met your mother on my mind :-)

    A cool Canadian girl who loves sport, football for you and ice-hockey in Robin’s case.

  4. mangut says:

    From what I remember reading earlier this season, Bartra, Montoya, Sergio Gomez and Muniesa were promised first team play next year as part of their contract renewals. Nobody I read is taking these supposed additions when making their senior team projections for next season with their possible players sold and dream signings.?!

    • messifan says:

      Really? Too many people in that ad. The Iniesta and Pique part was nice though.

    • Messiah10 says:

      Kevin,

      Thanks for posting that! Simply brilliant. M’villa is the real deal. I hope Barca take a long look at him. I’ve been watching a lot more of Neymar since the rumors started. He is simply sensational. His speed, touch, ball skill, awareness, etc. I could go on and on. I really hope he comes this summer. Some of his runs are breathtaking. I am in no way comparing him to Messi. He has a long long way to go, but he could be something really special if he has 1/2 the desire he has talent.

    • nzm says:

      I am never sure whether Cristiano has a good sense of humour about his vanity, or whether these ad-makers take the mickey out of him without him realising it!

  5. Kxevin says:

    From @barcastuff via Twitter: Abidal, recovering from liver transplant, has accepted he won’t play again. He plans to continue to live in Barcelona. #animsabidal [md]

    • mega_tajh says:

      And then there’s this Barcastuff: The entourage of Eric Abidal, recovering from a liver transplant, denies the report saying he wants to retire as a player.

  6. Kxevin says:

    And FYI, everyone’s U.S. footy world is about to change. It remains to be seen if it’s for the better.

    http://www.multichannel.com/article/484698-Al_Jazeera_to_Kick_Off_Pair_of_Soccer_Channels_in_U_S_this_August.php

    Prima facie, probably no more Ray Ray, look for the abundance of free footy to diminish, and who knows what cable/satellite provider will be carrying this stuff. U.S. viewers might be streaming matches just like folks in the rest of the world. I can’t see Fox Soccer losing the Prem, but the La Liga stuff is huge, and affects Copa, SuperCopa as well.

    • messifan says:

      NOOOOOOO!!!!! I want Ray Ray!

    • olbucky says:

      That absolutely sucks! So what now, will we have to stream the games via our computers? This is really not a great way for Barca to spread the brand stateside. They are nt making it easy to spread the gospel!!!!!!!

    • Messiah10 says:

      This is ridiculous. We may have to find a new provider? I shouldn’t have to switch satellite providers because some obscure cable network will be covering the games now. I bet ESPN is one of the providers that are in negotiations. I hope. They are covered by every format that I know of. The scary thing is that they mention they won’t have full coverage beginning Aug. 1st. but will fulfill their quota. Well, good for you. I’m glad you’ll be o.k. at the expense of the viewer who isn’t!!! ARGHHHH!

    • swamidigital says:

      Bleh that sucks. >.<

  7. Kari says:

    Absolutely fantastic post, blitz! Great stuff. :D

    I really haven’t had the time to comment but I have to get this off my chest so my two cents are below. Probably exceeds to normal length of a comment, but here goes:

    Okay, to give a bit of from last season context for those unawares:

    —As some of you know, the B-team finished third last season with Jonathan Soriano scoring an unprecedented amount of goals and earning the Segunda Pichichi. What gets lost in the hype, however, was that Soriano was effectively carrying the team offensively along with Nolito. The rest of the forwards, with the exception of Tello (the “third best forward”, but that wasn’t saying much when you consider the rest), were, simply put, dead weight. (Edu Oriol, Saul, Benja…) It came as no surprise they were let go at the end of the season.

    – The team was lacking a DM – as Romeu got a long term injury, his ‘backup’ Ilie also got injured.

    – The two shining stars of the b-team, Thiago and Fontas, were repeatedly called up during the season (although the former was sent back to the B-team towards the end. Why? Because B-team needed him and he wasn’t going to play as much with the first team. (Foreshadowing statement….) With the defender crisis in the first team at the time, Fontas stayed).

    – On the defender crisis, Bartra, Muniesa, and occasionally Montoya, were called up sporadically to the first team, leaving the team with…

    – Armando. And Carmona. If you have never seen these two players play in a Barca shirt, congratulations. You have saved yourself a truly horrifying experience.

    – But, as expected of a B-team coach, Lucho made do with what he had and used his squad effectively to mitigate the loss of the aforementioned players. When you run a reserve team, you know your best players will constantly be called up.

    – They finished third, but it was really an unprecedented achievement. No utterly surprising, they were in the Top 10 for most of the season (methinks), but the probability of it happening again were low. If you were to graph the results of all the seasons, consider this as an outlier.

    – Meanwhile, in the level below Barca B, was a Juvenil A side kicking some butt. They had been doing alright in the season, but the major tactical highlight was then-coach Oscar Garcia moving Rafa Alcantara to the false 9 position where he fit hand to glove. Forward Mauro Icardi (Sampdoria) and Gael “The next Eto’o” Etock were casualties in the move. (He excelled).

    – Sergi Gomez, a rock in the back, Gerard Deulofeu, Javi Espinosa, and Rafa were the star players in that team that ended up winning the treble. Too good for their age group. (Under 19s).

    The aftermath

    Barca B – achievement: 3rd place in Segunda

    Lucho decided to go to Roma for a challenge (B-team can never be promoted to the Primera)

    Nolito ended up signing with Benfica.

    Jonathan Soriano got injured during the American preseason.

    Oriol Romeu left to Chelsea

    Thiago and Fontas were permanently promoted.

    Saul, Benja, Edu Oriol, Abraham and some others were let go. (going off the top of my head so…)

    Juvenil A – achievement: Treble.

    – Deulofeu, Rafa, Espinosa, Gomez and four others, for a total of eight, were promoted to the B-team.

    – Dongou, Grimaldo, Sergi Samper stayed or were promoted to/with Juvenil A.

    Okay, so given the above: a couple of issues for the incoming B-team coach.

    1) Need to find adequate replacements for Nolito and Soriano. Not just offensively, because they were also the “the experienced” twentysomethings that the B-team must have (for leadership).

    2) Similar to above, fill gap left by Thiago (midfield) and Fontas (defense).

    3) The DM situation. Romeu gone, Ilie out with a long term injury

    4) Deal with the influx of Juvenil A players, who are too good for their age group, but still not experienced enough to be thrust into the Senguda too quickly.

    5) Find ways to re-motivate the ‘left behind’ players who may rest on their laurels after such a great season.
    6) U-20 World Cup in Colombia has some of your key players (Bartra, Montoya, Tello, Sergi Roberto, etc) exhausted.

    7) Deal with 1-6 while also keeping the style of Barca intact.

    I would have added: “Prepare for your best players to be called up at any moment”, but that’s to be expected.

    Let me make something clear here; as blitz said above: in the b-team the results are secondary. Yes, you should always go in with a winning mentality and to win is the best way to gain confidence. But you must, I repeat must, do it with a certain style of play. That’s the point of having a B-team is so players have learn, hone, and develop their skills so if they ever play with the first team the transition is seamless. Even if you don’t win, you still go down never changing the style.

    Positional sense, team work, dealing with disappointment, those kinds of things… The kids must learn that. This is not just any old Segunda side – this is a team full of talented, up and coming footballers who need to learn these thing. The team is bolstered, supported, by experience players, but by and large it’s these kids that need to play.

    To me, the best person to have dealt with that (to still deal with that) was and is Oscar Garcia. That hasn’t happened.

    Well, okay. I’m not the one making the decisions.

    So enter Eusebio. He’s got ties to Barca; played 200+ games with us, was Frank Rijkaard’s number two, and managed a Celta Vigo side that got relegated. But hey, that could have just been an unfortunate consequence of things out of his control.

    Coaches don’t have it easy. When stuff goes wrong it’s always them that gets blamed. They deserve patience and a season to really flesh out their ideas. I’ve always thought so.

    We know the problems, Eusebio should know the problems, let’s see how he deals with it.

    Kiko and Rodri get signed! Okay, so there are the supposed Nolito and Soriano replacements. Great news! He’s got Cuenca back from Sabadell! That’s one more forward.

    We win the first game 4-0 away from home! Wow!

    Slow disintegration of positional play. Carmona, Kiko, Rodri, Armando constantly in the starting XL. Cuenca, Deulofeu, Espinosa, Rafa on the bench.

    Well okay. It’s rough. He needs time to settle. The kids can’t start right away. Relax. It’s alright.

    Oh! Forward crisis in first team! Bye Cuenca (not that you were playing anyway)! Bye Tello!

    [see blitz’s post]

    Deulofeu gets a chance! But only because Eusebio’s gots no forwardz! Rafa plays! But he doesn’t really know what he’s supposed to do exactly.

    It’s the 88th minute! Oh boy! Maybe we’ll see Espinosa!

    Wait, no, no. That’s impossible. …Ah, there’s Carmona.

    Thought so.

    Forgive the catty sarcasm, but it really does annoy me to see what has happened to the team. I could care less about results, it’s just difficult to see how differently this B-team plays than any other Barca team. It’s astonishing and not in a good way.
    You have a casual glance at the B-team and think we’re doing alright. A pensive Eusebio crouching down in his hipster jeans, sleeves rolled up, looking like a constipated Marcelo Bielsa, 9th in the table, Dongou called up. But it really isn’t.

    He’s our B-team coach. I agree that abusing him leads to nowhere. It’s not his fault Kiko took so long to become somewhat useful. It’s not his fault Rodri was an abject failure. But legit criticism isn’t abuse. If you’re not going to play certain players, alright, send them back to Juvenil A. It’s a blow to them, but hey. You’re the coach and they have to deal.

    Don’t let them rot on the bench.

    His approach makes me think he has his best interests at heart. He’s using the B-team as a way to get another job in the Segunda.
    I think that because there’s no way he’ll get the first team job the way he is now.

    Thinking long and hard about it, the b-team isn’t the best place to get a job with the first team. Why? Because it’s difficult to show your competency when your best players are constantly called up. To manage the B-team you must really have the Club and the kids’ best interest at heart. As a manager, it’s a difficult job.

    In general, Eusebio has a very difficult job. I don’t think his approach (results first) will fly in the B-team long term.
    But then again, since he’s signed a renewal, I guess it will.

    • messifan says:

      Very detailed comment!

      So now what? What should the club do with Eusebio since he is staying next season?

    • blitzen says:

      Gee, Kari, I thought you weren’t interested in writing about football anymore. :P

      Excellent comment, thanks for that. Put in a lot of background stuff for those who don’t follow the B team as closely as we do. Much appreciated!

      This here:

      …as expected of a B-team coach, Lucho made do with what he had and used his squad effectively to mitigate the loss of the aforementioned players. When you run a reserve team, you know your best players will constantly be called up.

      Is exactly the point, and why Lucho’s achievement was so remarkable. He never knew from one week to the next exactly which players he would have available. Didn’t matter, he made every single player work hard and feel they were a crucial component in his squad. Every time I hear people say, “Cut Eusebio a break, he didn’t have the best players/had injuries/first-team call-ups/the kids were too young,” I think: “So? He should have made the ones he had work harder, want it more, and learn how to be better.”

    • Messiah10 says:

      Yeah!!! Kari’s back! ;)

  8. jordi™ says:

    Cruyff believes its better for youth to struggle and suffer than dominate as long as they are learning the fundamentals.The thing is right now they aren’t, it would be ok if we were struggling but sticking to our philosophy but Eusebio isn’t even attempting to. Ten men behind the ball and Gerard as a pacey outlet is not really going to prepare them for first team football, at least not at this club.

    The only saving grace is that most of the players with projection to the first team have been part of la masia since they were about ten so thankfully its impossible for them un-learn every that is hard wired into them by now.Unfortunately this is supposed to be the stage they get polished just before they graduate but Eusebio’s ‘tutelage’ is having the opposite effect.

    When was the last time they looked like they enjoyed the game? and I don’t mean when they scrape a goal or a win.His young Celta team looked just as boring and uninspiring as he currently has Barca B. Celta sacked him before he took them down, I hope it doesn’t get to that stage for us next year but all the signs point to more of the same.

  9. Cesc Blanc says:

    thanks for the update. I haven’t been a fan of Eusebio as a coach from the beginning since his previous coaching stints and results were simply terrible. His performance as an assistant to Rijkaard wasn’t excellent either but he has been a disaster anywhere he went as a coach. Further, we had a brilliant young coach in Oscar Garcia waiting to get the position as B coach but we let him go now and it’s a huge loss for us. Him relying more on individual skills of a few than the team has been a pattern through the games. Terrible for the development as an example of a talented but a bit too cocky kid like Deloufeu.

  10. nzm says:

    Great comments by everyone.

    I’ve written this before about the B Team, and I’ll repeat it here, because it’s relevant:

    It is vitally important that the B Team does well, gets results and wins.

    Why?

    Because it’s a stepping stone for every La Masia kid who makes it though the grades.

    If the B Team isn’t doing well, there isn’t anything for the younger kids to strive for.

    If the B team isn’t doing well, and doesn’t stay in the Liga Adelante, what incentive is there for the La Masia kids to stay past the age of 16-17? The good ones can get signed by English clubs at that age – before Barca can even legally sign professional contracts with them.

    The B Team is that last plateau before the pinnacle that is the first team. It’s the showcase for future talent, because if you excel in the B Team, there’s a very good chance that you’ll be called up to play in the first team.

    In the overall picture of the players’ progression, the B Team is a vital step for the La Masia boys to transition between amateur and professional status.

    Guardiola and Lucho understood that. Guardiola brought them back into Liga Adelante, and Lucho continued the progress. That’s why the B team needs someone who gets the La Masia system and will work within it.

    With Eusebio in charge of the B Team, their playing style is tragic, and certainly not conforming to the Barca way.

    It’s almost unbearable to watch them play during some matches as they become like any other team in Adelante – hoof the ball from the back-line to the front and hope that someone latches onto it and scores. All that mid-field flow, and play the ball from the back to the front understanding that is ingrained in the La Masia kids from a very early age, is non-existent in the B Team play.

    It’s little wonder that the B team boys did so well against BATE Borisov when they played last year at Camp Nou – they were back in familiar territory and doing what they’ve been trained to do.

  11. jnelson says:

    Counterattacking is not a “Plan B”. Mira, when people were screaming for a “Plan B” against Chelsea, what was Chelsea doing? Lining 10 disciplined, rugged defenders in front of goal. Where was the space for a counterattack? The entire second half they were just hoofing the ball up field to well no one! There was no space to exploit and no attack to counter. Pep tried a Plan B by inserting Keita as a forward, but that killed our chances. With Cesc on the field, at least Messi had someone to play wall passes and 1-2’s with to continue to to try squeeze through the Chelsea Bus… I think we all know the only “Plan B” would be a giant or two to head home Dani’s wayward crosses. (See “Ibra” and “no sirve”)

  12. hansh says:

    Aw, blitzen, I haven’t watched Barca B this year and your post made me depressed on a Friday :(. Thanks for the excellent info, though, and here’s to Eusebio leaving soon!

    ______

    In happier news! Maybe you saw some other comment about my upcoming trip to Spain – I’m doing an exchange trip to Zaragoza next April. Well, we just got the names and contact info for our exchange partners! I sent my partner an email and I’m literally bouncing around my house in joy. I’m so so so excited :D. Still hoping to see Real Zaragoza live.

  13. Messiah10 says:

    Is there any chance in hell that Pep wanted the B team to play a more counter attacking system? I know how many were claiming it’d have been great to give Chelski more possession so when we trapped them and won the ball back we’d have more room to attack and Chelski would be farther down the pitch. Maybe Eusebio was told to play this way and it was a disaster b/c our kids didn’t know what to do since they are so well schooled in tiki taka? I don’t know. Just thinking of some reason, any reason, why the B team could abandon THE philosophy and the coach get a contract extension. Doesn’t make sense.

  14. blitzen says:

    And if anyone is wondering why I keep referring to Lucho as the model coach for the B team, you need to read this interview he did last year. This is the kind of inspiration the youth players need:

    “I think my players are better than those in the first team. I think they could beat the first team… Some people will say that that’s impossible nonsense, but I really want my players to think that, that the coach has blind faith in his players, that’s basic for me, with confidence you can do anything. I won’t accept any player not being ambitious, who doesn’t try their hardest, because they’re kidding themselves, not me. I think a player grows more with demands, needs and confidence. That’s what I’ve always thought anyway. It is so easy to train with players like these. I have tried to give every player what I think they need to perform to their best. The idea is to help. That’s why psychologist Joaquín Valdés has been so important, he’s done an incredible job”.

    I cannot imagine Eusebio saying or even thinking any of this, and it is such a loss to the club.

    http://arxiu.fcbarcelona.cat/web/english/noticies/futbol_b/temporada10-11/05/31/n110531117806.html

    • Dani_el says:

      Wow. Luis Enrique has some Pep..ish communicating and motivational skills.
      I don’t know what’s going on in Barcelona. Press is running crazy with demands that Pep talks about Tito once more. It’s like our motto is once again: “we’re all gonna die”. I don’t get it. Zubi presents his decision of Tito getting the job and the press is all: “yeah this is a good call, the continuity of the sports model”. What changed since that? Apart from Laporta putting his foot and half his knee on his mouth?

      • nzm says:

        Did you read this? Megster linked to it in the previous blog post:

        http://deportes.elpais.com/deportes/2012/05/17/actualidad/1337282591_330094.html

        I haven’t made my mind up as to whether or not this is a planted post by the club to put the onus on Pep!

        • Dani_el says:

          I actually did! Thanks to Megster and you for that one.

          It seems you’re right, yesterday Sport said that Pep find out in january that Tito would be the next coach if he didn’t accept. Pep said he found out the same day he announced he wouldn’t renew. I know MD is the administration’s newspaper, but Sport is making an effort to favour Rosell.I also know for a fact that Pep doesn’t lie. I read sometime ago that some directives weren’t so happy with Pep because he had too much power within the club..

          • nzm says:

            Even more interesting!

            For sure that Pep has power at the club – he’s been a thorn in Rosell’s side since Day 1.

  15. Dani_el says:

    And this by Ruben Uría:

    “And there’s people that say that Laporta is coherent. Looking back at the newspapers, they reveal in black ink, another argument. Here we have 3 examples:

    My mission is to help when help is required. This is the way is supposed to be. Not to disturb must be the first obligation of an ex president.(Joan Laporta, 15.06.2010)
    I’m not gonna play the oposition, I’m not gonna bring up difficulties for the new administration, as they tried to do to me. (Laporta, 15.06.2010)
    We must help Sandro Rosell. It won’t be easy for him. We have to be supportive because we have made wining and everyday thing, and you can’t always win, it won´t be easy to keep up this quality of victories and success.(Laporta, 15.06.2010)

    I’t is possible that Sandro Rosell won’t be a perfect president, and that he has made clear mistakes, and maybe he’s not the most coherent guy on earth. But Laporta’s quote, after some time, reveal what is happening today in the club. As long as Barça kept winning he kept his mouth shut. Now, two years later, Laporta, the guy that was so offended by the entorno, has become the entorno. Only 25 months later, he, that wasnt gonna give difficulties, has begun a verbal intifada against the current administration. Maybe he meant to uphold his own quotes from before, but the newspaper and periodicals library don’t lie. Laporta’s time in politics have become handy. He has become an artist when he has to not uphold his own promises.”

  16. Eklavya says:

    Am I the only one who thinks Muniesa has been promoted a season too early?

    • Laurentiu88 says:

      i for one dont even remember him playing to much. By that token you may have a point.

    • nzm says:

      They all were, IMO – except for Montoya. Even Thiago could have benefited from another year with Barca B under the right coach.

      But that’s the bugbear – Eusebio isn’t doing it for where these guys need to be, right now. He needs to be priming them for their next step up by making them into the best players that they can be in Liga Adelante, but the players are either stagnating or regressing because the style of play is not what they’ve been drilled to do during their La Masia days. And I don’t think that Eusebio is motivated enough himself to be in a position to be motivating the team.

      Some of these guys (the La Masia grads) are playing pro-football for the first time in their careers. After all the investment that FC Barcelona has put into their training and education, the Barca B coach needs to be someone exceptional who can motivate the players and bring their play up to higher levels if they are to succeed in top-class football anywhere.

      To be promoted early into any first team – say when they reach the age of 20-21 – players have to be exceptional footballers who can run rings around their peers and opponents in terms of talent and skills for their given positions on the pitch, as well as the ability to coherently play in a team environment, AND consistently perform at a high level every day of every week.

      I’m just not seeing that in any of the B team – no one is standing out on an individual basis. No one has the stand-out qualities of a Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Puyol or Busquets. They may be good, but are they good enough to be in the Barca first team?

      • Jim says:

        Agree that most of the B team are promoted too early. I suppose it might be easier for a defender than a forward as there is usually little pressure on our defence. I’ve liked Montoya this year and always liked the look of Muniesa. To me he has the quick feet needed and a calm air about him for a youngster.

        On a previous topic it appears we have made a profit of around 40m Euros this year? Not sure why that would be as I can’t think of any great wage reductions and we didn’t win the league or CL – was this something to do with Ibra’s transfer?

        • Kimcelona says:

          Maybe its cause we havent had to pay bonuses, incentives and a few other minor costs we would have had to incur from achieving CL and La Liga success?

        • nzm says:

          Jim: looks like the shirt sponsorship saved the day. :D

          The club budgets on Barca reaching at least the quarter-finals of Champions League. Every stage after that is bonus money.

          Just on the accounts, FCB is in a unique situation that many clubs don’t have when it comes to declaring their assets. Most clubs can claim a book value for their players because they know how much they paid to buy them, so that can be enetered onto the books under the Assets less depreciation.

          Most of the Barca players are home-grown, therefore they don’t have a known book value. This includes Messi, Valdes, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta and everyone else who went through La Masia and never left the club.

          In theory, this means that all these players would be entered as having a value of 0.01c and FCB has an under-valued assets list. :)

    • blitzen says:

      The club had no option but to promote him, as well as Montoya, Bartra, and JDS. It was in the terms of their contracts. That doesn’t mean they automatically become member of the first-team squad, though. That is up to the coach. The club can and probably will choose to send them out on loan for a year or two to gain experience (except for Montoya. 100% he is staying.). Or they can sell them with or without a buyback option.

      • nzm says:

        Unfortunately they have to put this into their terms of contract, otherwise these kids would leave Barcelona for EPL clubs that can contract them at an earlier age, before FCB is ready to let them go.

        So the club offers this to the players who are the pick of the bunch. Still doesn’t mean that they’re first team material, though. In fact, it could dilute the first team quite a bit if newly promoted players take up too many places (in the 25 players which are allowed on a La Liga team), and their wages and position don’t allow the club to buy someone more talented.

  17. blitzen says:

    Watching Infantil A playing Vitesse right now. The passing, the pressing, the hunger to win. It’s lovely. Hopefully Eusebio will be long gone by the time these boys make it to Barça B.

    And Lee Seung Woo has all the makings of a world-class striker. Hope he keeps it up!

  18. AJ_10 says:

    I should have been a nervous wreck by now, abandoning all thoughts of studying for my exam in two days and watching Barca videos while humming cant del barca. Instead I’m quietly revising while sporadically checking bbc live commentary.

    If only a the balance of fortune went our way a bit. Shit. I’m all depressed again.
    Ah, might as well watch THE manita. It always cheers me up.

  19. Messiah10 says:

    Just wanted 2 post from my smart phone. Blog pops up nicely and when I double tap screen the font size is perfect. Love it. I’m a BFB junkie!

  20. Jim says:

    Not usually this motivated when we’re not playing but I hope Bayern skelp Chelsea’s backsides (old Scottish expression) :)

    • Kimcelona says:

      I’m a purist. I hope Bayern wins and proves there is a football God. So channelling my Xavi, I hope football wins today and Bayern gives Chelsea a footballing lesson!

    • messifan says:

      Chelsea has a lot to lose from this match. Not winning means a loss of 30mil or so in revenue next season. And with FFP being introduced next year, Chelsea might not bounce back.

      Also, they have lady luck with them this CL campaign. Beating Napoli and Barca is an incredible achievement. Plus, for their aging star players, this is their last chance of getting that Cup with big ears.

      I’m sort of neutral regarding today’s match, but I dislike the English media soooo much.

  21. Kimcelona says:

    Wow I really love this blog and glad I found it. I get to read some very imformative, well thought-out pieces about all the Barca teams and sometimes the comments are just as..profound. lol

    I have been following the B team loosely for about 4 years now but there are still a few things I wasnt sure of. Great posts Blitzen and Kari, I totally agree for the most part.

    As for club politics, I’ve always said it has been and always will be the greatest weakness of FC Barcelona. Can’t stand the hoopla. And I dont really understand the overwhelming hate for Rosell…from what I’ve seen, heard and read he’s been a decent President.

  22. mom4 says:

    Does Bayern remind you of anybody right now? How many chances are going wasted!

    • Kimcelona says:

      Yep…they seem like Barca part 2. Seems Chelsea’s luck will last them for ages..I despise them..

      • mom4 says:

        Despise is such a strong word…but as I can’t think of a better one…

        And if Chelsea win, Tottenham doesn’t get to play in the CL, right? Don’t care too much about Tottenham but it’s so unfair. Well, at least the Nike commercial was fun.

    • blitzen says:

      Somewhere in Terrassa, Xavi is clutching a football and rocking back and forth with silent tears running down his cheeks, muttering “football is suffering” over and over again.

  23. messifan says:

    Pep is in this ad to promote La Masia. It sure is more entertaining than the CL final right now.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXvUtOZ6yOA&feature=youtu.be

  24. culegirl3 says:

    This game isn’t as eventful as I expected it to be. I’m still hoping Bayern can pull out some miracle but the missed chances are driving me nuts.

  25. Jim says:

    Might have known :(

    • culegirl3 says:

      Leave it to the blues for a last minute goal. Call me bitter but it bugs me more that Drogba scored the equalizer..I seriously dislike him.

  26. Judas Pissed says:

    Messi will be Champs League top scorer for 4th year running at least.

    • Jim says:

      Some consolation I suppose but this Chelsea team will be the worst ever footballing side to win a CL title imo. They have contributed little or nothing to both SF ties and this final.

      • Kimcelona says:

        I have partially given up hope on football.

        • Judas Pissed says:

          This is partly Barca’s fault I’m afraid. Our football meant that anti-football HAD to be created..!

          • swamidigital says:

            That kind of anti-football has been around for too long, I’m afraid you can’t credit it as a response to us.

      • Messiah10 says:

        Jim,

        I was logging on to make that comment. They are the worst CL winners ever. I look at Napoli, Barca, and now Bayern as losing these games. Chelsea certainly did what they had to do to advance, but I’ve never seen a side win so many games they had no business winning. Usually, over 2 legs, a team like Chelsea get their just due. Hasn’t happened this year. Amazing. I’m more upset b/c Tottenham won’t be in CL next season. They fully deserved to go and play an attractive brand of football. I’m sure Bale, Modric, and others will leave for CL football. It will kill their team and they don’t deserve it. Even as the champions Chelski should be left out next year. No one wants to watch them play 11 behind the ball and hoof it up the field. Disgusted. The only positive to them winning and Tottenham missing out on CL is that Barca may pick up Bale. I was on the fence with him b/c not sure he has the ball skills to work in our system. However, I’ve changed my opinion b/c his upside and blazing speed is just to much to pass on. Tito, sign him up!

  27. blitzen says:

    On an altar in Stamford Bridge lies a disemboweled football covered in chicken blood and candle wax. :evil:

  28. culegirl3 says:

    Anti-football somehow weasels their way to the top. Guess this is a reminder that the best team doesn’t always win. So devastating :-(

  29. messifan says:

    Wow!!! After watching this game, I’m so thankful that the CdR final will feature two attacking sides. Can’t wait for Barca vs. Athletic.

  30. Kimcelona says:

    Aww man I feel it for Bastian and Bayern..it just wasnt to be I guess.

    I wonder how Xavi’s doing? Shoauld we be worried? Suicide watch?

    • messifan says:

      Xavi is crying and so am I.

      Bayern lost that game, Chelsea didn’t win it. The amount of chances BM created, it was just cruel to lose like that.

      Chelsea defending at times was horrendous. I don’t mind if they were playing defensive football i.e. actually making tackles and positioning well, but they didn’t. Their strategy was to build a fortress in the penalty box and hoof the ball. No imagination whatsoever. It’s like playing chess or checker. When all your opponent did was to build a parameter and move inside to kill time.

      Yes, I’m bitter. Nothing about that game inspired me.

  31. TITO says:

    I have never seen a luckier football side than this Chelsea side. Probably this was just a prize for what they missed the previous seasons when they were partially better than this season and unlucky not to win it.
    But i think they have just spent their next 5 years of luck. Like some said, they totally didn’t deserved it, but they did earned it.
    Glad for Drogba, and more than that, GLAD that Loser with a big L Robben didn’t won it. I disliked it him when he was with Chelsea, and later with RM and that goes to Bayern for letting him shoot the penalty knowing how bad he is in doing that.

  32. nzm says:

    Wow – antifootball won the day.

    One corner in the whole first 90′ for Chelsea and one goal from it to equalise, and then lucky penalties.

    Huge tactical error from Bayern taking Mueller off. What were they thinking?

    • Barcaleya says:

      I don’t know why for some reason I knew Bayern was going to lose when Mueller was subbed off after his goal and with Bayern only one goal up.

      It was deja vu.

      Reminded me so vividly of the time Riquleme was subbed out of the game, at 1-0, against Germany. Then it went to penalties. Then Argentina loses.

      I told my friend this when Mueller was taken out.

      True enough, same thing happened.

      Crap

      • nzm says:

        Yeah – as he was coming off, I was saying the same thing. Why Mueller? I’d have taken off useless Gomez and stacked the defence. They only had 8+ minutes to hang in there, and they blew it!

        • Barcaleya says:

          Exactly. Gomez was completely useless.

          Argh. Too late.

          More than Chelsea winning, what I hate most is that I have to see them again next year. Arrrgghhh! I dislike them so much.

          After playing abysmally all season and ending 6th in the league, they just had to be lucky enough to win CL and guarantee a spot next year.

          What absolute crap.

  33. Jafri says:

    Sigh. Sat in their own half and fluked their way to a CL cup. Depressing stuff.

  34. jordi™ says:

    All thats left is for England or Portugal to win the Euros to make it the ultimate year of annoyance :/.

  35. simple_barcafan says:

    What is the point of this?

    Was it entertaining? No
    Was it football? No
    Does it indicate they are the best team in Europe? No
    Did we gain/learn anything by watching it? No

    • icemel says:

      Ah but we did learn something. Members of the righteous forces of football better drive the stake in all the way in with finishing or those anti-football vampires are going to rise from the crypt…everytime.

      Horror is usually not my cup of tea but I found this flick weirdly entertaining and actually weirdly happy for Drogba, Terry and company.

      The vampires gotta win sometimes…

      • Humphrey Bogart says:

        drogba maybe, Torres and Mata, but Terry???

        • icemel says:

          An indirect result of hating penalty shootouts almost as much as anti-football and that CL slip against ManU was just footy-god-wrong. Plus his work rate has always impressed me. Gotta admire the hollow-eyed concentration of these un-dead.
          ..but yeah he’s a chump.

  36. Humphrey Bogart says:

    sorry, but if this is the future of football, then I must look for a new passion. Will that be the future: 2 teamps, each camped in their own half, waiting for the other to attack and putting all their hope on a set piece?

    • icemel says:

      :) Soembody with FIFI game and video editing skills should mock up a Chelsea vs. Chelsea game where the ball just sits on the center circle while two 11-man busses stare each other down till the final whistle.

  37. Kimcelona says:

    I am more bitter than I thought I would be. I didnt even feel this bad when Inter won a couple years ago..Chelsea absolutely do NOT deserve it. Its not even about their so-called tactics, its the fact that Bayern worked hard, did everything they could and the luck just missed them in finishing their million chances.

    Chelsea have got to be the luckiest team I’ve ever seen.
    I hate to see this type of football rewarded.

    I dont really care who says I am on a high horse. Chelsea had not played football anywhere deserving of ANY CL in the last couple months, so the fact they won it now thanks to camping in their box and luck makes me seriously consider why I love this game.

    BUT..I just have to go watch last season’s CL Final and my BARCA win for me to hold on to that little bit of hope that maybe, just maybe football still lives..

    • jordi™ says:

      In addition to this,John Terry in his shirt like if he played sickened me more than it should but I cant help it.In the end its our fault though.We had every thing we needed and found a way not to win.It wasn’t the final though so at least there is that silver lining.

  38. messifan says:

    Maybe I’m the only one who feels sorry for Robben. I didn’t really care about him all that much, until I read this article about him recently. And now I’m beginning to understand him as a player a little bit more.

    http://miostadium.com/opinions/simon-kuper/robbens-man-mission

  39. hansh says:

    Don’t feel bad Bastian, “Schweinsteiger” is still far and away the best name in world football. You’re still my favorite! Along with Manuel Neuer, who hilariously didn’t know it was his turn to take the penalty but then made it anyway.

    It was exhausting listening to Gary Neville say again and again that this win was “written in the stars” for Chelsea, but I guess he’s right. After all, nothing they were doing on the pitch made them look particularly worthy of winning.

    Congrats to Chelsea, and let’s give a shout out to Petr Cech for being awesome no matter what team you’re a fan of.

  40. Lie says:

    Chelsea absolutely deserved it, and I’m glad the older players finally got one. For so many years they were really unlucky not to even get to the final when they were a genuinely good team. Maybe some people here haven’t been watching football for long enough to remember how strong the Mourinho-era team was. Good for them. Commiserations to Bayern, though. They played well and I hope they get one soon too.

    • blitzen says:

      You really think they deserved to win playing the kind of football they did tonight? UGH.

      • Lie says:

        It may be ugly, but it’s neither technically nor morally wrong. I enjoy attacking football as EVERYONE does, but a team that digs in a defends for their life, I think, deserves some respect. I didn’t hate Greece for it in 2004, I don’t hate (many) Italian clubs over the years for it, and I don’t hate Chelsea for it.

        I saw tears and heartbroken faces over many years. In answer to your question: yes. Absolutely.

        • Humphrey Bogart says:

          Sorry, but Greece had to play within their mean, Chelsea is a team where 900 Mio. were invested, they had a striker on the bench which did cost nearly as much as the whole FCB team starting the 2nd leg.
          Your argument would be valid if we are talking about Apoel, with regards to CFC I take what di Stefano once said: they played like mice, not like men

          • Lie says:

            Come on! Torres was massively overpriced and Drogba is getting on, as the whole team are. Terry, Lampard, Essien and co. are all on or very near the way down. Every team in the world has to play defensively against Barca! You can’t begrudge them for that. I didn’t see the Napoli games, but they didn’t park the bus for them did they? Against Bayern they should have played better, but with so many people suspended and Ribery and Robben breathing down your neck, you, probably again, have to play defensively. They played defensively when they had to.

    • Kimcelona says:

      Now I really think you’re trying to “take the mickey out of every post” LOL

      They didnt deserve it. But what can I do they already won it…it sucks.

      • Lie says:

        Yeah, at least there’s a whole summer to look forward too though. Euros and Olympics. Hopefully the Euros don’t turn out to be a defending masterclass, but the past few ones have been pretty unspectacular and boring (except for the odd games, of course). I remember Euro ’96. God that one was brilliant.

        • Nik says:

          Idk, I enjoyed Euro ’08. WC2010 was a borefest though.

          • Lie says:

            I don’t know. It was Spain versus a bunch of rubbish teams. It was the footballing equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel. Then again, I was in Germany at the time and could only watch the games on a small screen with German commentary, which I can’t speak, so maybe that had an effect…

            WC 2010 was massively boring wasn’t it? Germany-England was good but that was about it (or at least, I can’t remember any other good games). Uruguay-Ghana was Ok, I guess, but only because of all of the intrigue.

            I can’t remember Euro 2008 for some reason. At all. I guess it must have been boring.

            Germany 2006 was good though. Italy unexpectedly pulling it out of the bag really gave us some good games; but there were other good games too. I was in Geneva at the time having a hell of a good time, so maybe that has rose-tainted some of my judgement, though.

            France ’98 was the best tournament I’ve ever seen. Maybe because I was a kid and it was my first real world cup, but it was just so awesome.

            I can’t say I’m looking forward to a good tournament this summer, though. I think Spain will saunter to it and the rest will just play cautiously. Hopefully Brazil in 2014 will give us a good tournament: European teams will be up against it in S. America’s back yard, and it should even things up a bit where Spain are concerned.

            I’m going to finish this on this though: football aside, I’ll be thinking of democracy and justice in Ukraine, of the plight of the poor in Brazil, and hoping for some democracy and human rights in Russia (2018).

    • Barcaleya says:

      There was never a time when they were a “genuinely good team” during the Abramovich era relative to real genuinely good teams and given the massive amount of money ploughed in and having bought excellent players within that period.

      I have watched enough Chelsea games during the Mourinho era which you refer as the time when they were “genuinely good” to know that they won most of their games through a Lampard (or some other) deflection. He kicks the ball from all over the place and somehow it hits someone and it gets deflected in. I should give Chelsea/Lampard credit for trying to kick cause maybe luck favors the person and the team who tries. Ergo – the wins.

      Add to that is Drogba, Robben and everyone else diving all over the place to get the penalties. And that is why I hated Mourinho at Chelsea and why I disliked that Chelsea team. I liked them enough during the Zola era. (I have liked many teams in the course of over a decade who play well even when I didn’t support them. Including Real Madrid. There was a time when they were really good and really classy).

      But luck is luck and so Chelsea won the league a couple of times. And somehow they’ve managed to win this CL.

      Although I would say that Drogba (for all his diving) is a massively talented athlete, Chelsea was not then and is not now a genuinely good team. Again I qualify – relative to the the players they have or able to acquire, with all the money they have. They were never inspiring to watch nor did any of their players elicited genuine admiration (except perhaps for Drogba).

      It is a disservice to Greece to be compared to Chelsea because as mentioned above, Greece played within their means. They didn’t have the best players to utilize and didnt have the talent that Chelsea supposedly have to play a modicum of football that intellectually, athletically and aesthetically is good and pleasing.

      So please, Chelsea fans rightfully should celebrate this success, but I rightfully object to being told this team absolutely deserves this win and that I/we haven’t watched enough of their games to know that they do so.

      • Lie says:

        All I’m going to say is that some people’s attitude on here stinks. Absolutely horrendous. You may not be a child, but some on here must be because it’s all so puerile.

        Don’t get me wrong: I don’t like Chelsea all that much, especially the Mourinho team; but, won most games through a deflection, did they? Did you watch any of the games properly or just highlights? Chelsea were boring, yes — to the point that they took the “only win games 1-0″ flack from the old Arsenal team, but they won their games with skill: going ahead and choking the opposition out of the game. They kept the ball well and were always dangerous.

        Remind me, how many goals in the Mourinho-Rijkard games? In the Liverpool-Chelsea games in the CL? Boring were they?

        Your metric on “greatness” also seems to be nonsensical. You are good if you can beat your peers. Style is a (very welcome) bonus at the end of the day. That may be sad, but that is just how it is. Chelsea probably, at least once, beat every top team in Europe over the course of the Mourinho-era team. I don’t especially like to say it, but they were a good team.

        But, enough! I don’t care. Fine, Chelsea were always rubbish. Life’s too short to be spent hating.

        • Lie says:

          On that note: my thoughts are with the Italians right now. First the bombing and now this earthquake. So sad.

        • Barcaleya says:

          This post has been hectored but will respond nevertheless.

          Are you saying the attitude here is bad because people disagree with your opinions?

          We mostly disagree with each other here but always in good spirit. Each one’s opinion is as valid as the next. I have never read anyone here accusing another of bad attitude because someone disagreed with his opinion. We also assume that each one here is as avid a futbol fan as the other. They watch as much games as they can and comment upon what they’ve seen, watched, read, know of and believe. We do not go around saying that one’s opinion is formed by just watching highlights even if perhaps that were the case. (In my case, I have watched many full Chelsea games because my best friends are ardent Chelsea supporters and I wake up at 230am to watch the games as nothing excites me more than to discuss with my friends afterwards). If that is what you think, then I suggest you examine your self and your purpose in being here.

          Now on to the discussion for discussion’s sake:

          1. Boring. I never used the word in my commentary to describe Chelsea. You did. Many people think Barcelona is boring. They pass the ball up, down, left, right, around, over and over – to some, that is boring. But this particular style shows their peculiar skills and to most, it is nothing short of amazing. It may be boring to some but it shows so much skill and intelligence and it is not the boredom borne out of watching men stay in their half, without the ball, without any kind of off-ball movement. I don’t know to which kind of boredom Chelsea falls because I did not use the word. You decide since by your account and admission, they are.

          2. Defensive. Is Barcelona defensive? You bet. Their high rate of possession is their means of defense. Since they possess the ball all the time, it means they are very defensive. But is this bad and deplorable? No. Why? Because not only do they show incredible skill in possessing said ball, they are also always probing and trying to find a way to score goals. This style of play is meant to offset their physical inferiority. Thus, they play within their means. And how they do it. Do they just stand in space, in front of their goal, defending with their lives, waiting for manna to fall from heaven for a counter-attacking opportunity? No. That’s the sad, dire way of playing. If you were a poor team with no money to spend on buying the best footballers, coach and paying outrageous salaries, is that bad and deplorable? No. And even poor teams don’t play that way. Take Real Betis, for example. But if you had the best players that money can buy, is that bad and deplorable? Yes.

          3. Great, Good, Genuinely/Very Good. “Great” to me means a team that has technically excellent players, is effective (scores goals and wins consistently), is beautiful to watch, elevates the level of the game and is transcendental, sometimes. There are very few great teams. This Barcelona team is.

          “Good” by your definition is a team that can beat its peers. I will not quibble with the word peers but let’s assume all teams are “peers.” I will concede that Chelsea is good, because they beat most of their “peers.”

          But “genuinely good”? I qualified my comment that given the players they have and the amount of money at their disposal, they are not “genuinely good.” Because with the kind of resources they have, their quality of game, on a scale where great is on one end and good on the other, should be closer to “great” and not to “good.” As it is, they are just good and far from great.

          So yes, Chelsea is good by your definition. I agree. But are they genuinely good? No. Are they great? Most certainly not.

          Is my metric of “greatness” still nonsensical to you?

          • Lie says:

            Great, I do love a good discussion. Let’s have at it then!

            I try my sincerest not to rail against anyone simply because they disagree with me. My attack on attitude was borne on the insistence on personal attacks against Chelsea and their players. Actually, not even that: it was the insistence on it. Why? From supporters of such a great club as this, with an unrivalled supremacy over the last, say, decade. What’s the point? Childish. (This was not an attack against you personally, mind you, but against others in here.) I hoped that what I had said would remind others here to not care what befalls them in the past or to other teams past, present, or future, but only to look at this club and its future. Yet, people still insist on attacking other clubs in such a demeaning way to the respectability of this club. Now, whilst some on here may be quite young to the sport (which is perfectly fine), that should not excuse them from being corrected by others who are more experienced and seen the ups and downs of football and instead look to the uniting power of this game.

            I apologize if I offended you on my remark about highlights. I think it’s a valid critique, but the manner in which it was said was elitist, so, again, I apologize.

            Still, I was annoyed by your lazy attacks on a fellow team. Describing them as only winning games through deflected goals was unnecessary. And hating teams because they have players who dive is hypocritical. Do you hate this team because some people at this club, who you must know of, dive also? I guess not. So how can you hate Chelsea because some of their players dive? There must be something else to it than that, or else you simply hate them for being a competitor, which is undignified.

            Now, on to your points. Firstly, we’ll deal with the minor one: I put the complaint “boring” into your mouth as a synonym for not-great, for often the two a closely related. If they play cowardly — shall we say? — then aren’t they being boring when they could be exciting? But this is a minor objection of semantics: let’s leave it shall we? and move on to what we really mean.

            A huge amount of money was spent on Chelsea to make them play unimaginatively, shall we say? I won’t say “defensive” because, as you rightly point out, there are many ways to be defensive. On this I think we both agree. Now, I take it that you think this is a dire way to play the game. I disagree. Mourinho built a team to be technically solid, and I think he spent a lot of money on defensive players as much as he did on attacking ones (at least, corrected for the price difference between comparable attackers and defenders). He bought defensive midfielders who were there to break attacks just as much as they were there to fuel them. He bought Ashley Cole who was a phenomenal attacking fullback at Arsenal and curbed his attacks and made him into a defensive player. Having done so, why was that dire? It’s not entertaining, but their mandate is to win games not to crash and yet burn spectacularly. There is satisfaction in watching your team win, even if they do so in an uninspired way (although, perhaps only for a short while).

            Is your metric on “greatness” still nonsensical to me? Yes, essentially. Your definition of “great” is subjective, which is no sensible way to define a thing if it can be avoided. If I spent 200 million on defenders and defensive midfielders and then won European and domestic titles playing catenaccio, then my team wouldn’t be great? You say “beautiful to watch” and “elevates the level of the game and is transcendental” but that is all by your count, and so is, quite frankly, an elitism.

            History will judge this Barca team to be great, I don’t doubt that much even if it is still very early of us to say, but I never said the same of Chelsea. I said “genuinely good”, which means: good, as judged by historicity. Isn’t that exactly what you are saying? Only good but not great? I only disagree with you in saying that I think they played as they were intended to, having been built with as many defensive players as there were attacking ones.

          • Lie says:

            Maybe we should continue this on the latest article? Reply to where I’ve spoken there.

  41. Lie says:

    Also, there was a real tug on my heartstrings watching Drogba bear hug Robben. Beautiful moment.

  42. nzm says:

    We can take some consolation in this:
    http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/news/newsid=1795767.html

    Leo Messi has broken records again:
    ~ top scorer in this season’s CL.
    ~ equals top score of 14. (shares record with AC Milan’s José Altafini who scored his in 1962/63.)
    ~ new record of 4 years for consecutive high scores in CL – 2009, 10, 11 & 12. [Did share 3 previously with Gerd Müller (1973,74 & 75) and Jean-Pierre Papin (1990, 91 & 92)]

    Yay for Messi! :D

    • Kimcelona says:

      Woohoo!! There’s a silverlining! Messi!

      Also, maybe we can take consolation in the fact that we have lost semifinals to the eventual winners for the past 6 years (?). :D

      Its either Barca or the team that beats them..
      Next year a win for us to continue the pattern?

  43. Messiah10 says:

    Anyone who thinks Chelsea deserve to defend their title at the expense of Spurs can meet me in the playground after school. Utterly devastating for Spurs players, coaches, fans, and club. They were brilliant all year until Arry started being mentioned w/the 3 Lions position. Once Hodge was appointed, they went back to thrilling, attacking, lovely footie. Sigh. Now done talking about it.

    What I want to bring up are the CL rules. 1st: How bout the yellow card rule and the suspensions for tonight’s game? There’s no reason a captain of a team or any other player should miss a final because of yellow cards. Making it to a final should automatically wipe the slate clean. You earn that much.

    2nd: Away goals – Why? I’ve never been a fan of away goals counting more then home goals. The game is played and whoever has more goals in the 2 legs advances. Period.

    3rd: Penalty Shoot-outs – Absolutely against the spirit of the game. Just add additional extra time. Teams play their hearts out for 120 minutes. They leave it all on the field. For what? For penalty shots? Sickening. Let them decide it on the pitch. If you have penalty shoot-outs in Cup competitions, why not have them in league games? Because it’s not in the spirit of the game. That’s why. If 2 teams play each other and they both give it their all and a 0-0 or 1-1 draw is what comes of it, then hats off to both teams. In Cup competitions there has to be a winner. Ok. So let them play it out on the pitch to determine the winner.

    • Lie says:

      Can’t argue against that. A few stupid results and third place thrown away. Football can be brutal sometimes. Chelsea getting into next years Champions League IS a travesty. Thank Liverpool and 2005 for that.

      Away goals are good thing. Before it the games were all about who scored the most at home: they encourage teams to attack away from home.

      I like penalties. Crude and cruel though they are, they are secret pleasure. Your whole heart pounding for one kick to go in or one save to made as if you’ve gambled your entire existence on the thing. If there was ever humanity expressed in one thing, then I think it’s there. I’ve made promises to God that I’m still bound to because of them. Good promises, though.

  44. blitzen says:

    I have the antidote to anti-football. It’s right here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BFvStLasCg

    Off to watch last year’s CL final…

  45. nzm says:

    Call me superstitious, but whenever something foreboding has happened to Barca this year, it’s rained cats and dogs in a city which usually doesn’t get much rain.

    It’s rained, or howled a gale, in most tense matches at Camp Nou this past season (barring the Betis draw at Camp Nou), and just now, there’s an amazing thunder and lightning storm, with heavy rain, hitting the city.

    The football gods are displeased. :D

  46. Ron Mexico says:

    This idea that Chelsea didn’t “deserve” to win the CL final is, in my mind, a very strange one.

    Bayern could have, and probably should have, won it in before the shootout but didn’t take their chances. Gomez missed 3 good chances. Robben couldn’t convert his penalty. Bayern couldn’t defend Drogba on the corner. It’s hard to say they deserved it more.

    On the other hand, Cech, the defense, and Mikel all played really well. The amount of blocks and tackles they converted was more important than whatever luck people ascribe to them. And to play like that without 3 of your first choice defenders is a testament to those replacements. People talk about Chelsea’s tactics like its an easy thing to stop Barcelona and Bayern attack.

    Would I prefer teams to play more proactively? Of course. However, its a manager’s job to set up his team to play in a manner that ensures it the best odds of success. I think Di Matteo did a fantastic job of analyzing his squad and giving it a fighting chance in the late stages of the CL. In the context of that team’s season, that is no small miracle, regardless of money spent.

    People can say that Chelsea didn’t deserve it, or were just plain lucky, or that they didn’t enjoy the game. It’s your right. But what I saw was an extremely exciting cup final, won by a team that was set up to compete in a hostile environment with largely inferior players.

    I don’t particularly like Chelsea, but what they’ve managed in the CL is extraordinary. Whether they deserved it or not, to me, is arbitrary. They won.

    • Kimcelona says:

      Oh please. Bayern had players out too..so lets not ascribe heroism to Chelscum. Bayern had a DM as one of their CBs and a guy at RB who’d never played in CL. So spare me the Chelsea had sooo many players missing crap.

      People talk about teams like Barcelona and the like cause its much HARDER to build a house than to tear it down. Setting up attacks, re-adjusting, working hard to keep the ball and execute attacks, score goals..you know actually PLAY football is no easy feat. The team that takes the initiative to play football worked much harder, IMO.

      Putting ten men (who happen to amount to almost a billion worth of transfers) in the box and flinging bodies all over the place..yes that is soo suberb and takes so much talent. Sarcasm/ *roll eyes*

      • mega_tajh says:

        Agreed, that Alaba guy was really missed for Bayern. His linking up with Ribery is what I really noticed in the Semi-finals against Madrid.

        • Barcaleya says:

          Noticed the same thing.

          I believe that with his skill and pace, he could have brought the ball upfield and created a goal-scoring chance before the rest of the Chelsea contingent gets to their goal area (on the rare occasion that they weren’t all parked there to begin with) to block a shot on goal.

      • Ron Mexico says:

        Of course it’s harder to play the way that Barcelona and to a lesser extent Bayern play. However, that doesn’t mean that is the only way to play. If Chelsea had set out differently than they did they likely would have been slaughtered. As it was, they caught some breaks and ended up winning. It seems to me some of you are taking personal offense to this game because of some misguided idea of there being a “right way” to play the game.

        My first love the was Brasil ’70. I came to be a Barcelona supporter because my favorite player was Rivaldo. I was an attacking midfielder in high school and college. I love attacking football. But that is only one way to play. I have respect for the defense Chelsea has played and the chances they’ve taken. They’ve been huge underdogs in the Semi’s and Final and fought extremely hard to win one of the most unlikely titles in the past few years. Why do you find it so hard to at least respect the effort?

        • Kimcelona says:

          “If Chelsea had set out differently than they did they likely would have been slaughtered.”

          How do you know?
          They never even tried to play so purely speculation on your part…

          Not to be rude, but could you please spare me the background of your football support..I dont respect Chelsea’s way of playing and I never will, has nothing to do with having any belief of a “right way” of playing. Chelsea werent even playing..

          I could care less if they were underdogs to some..the fact is that they had the resources at their disposal afforded to them from spending close to a billion dollars over the years..so they are not “underdogs” to me..

          • Ron Mexico says:

            I didn’t say I knew. I said, “they likely would have been”. It’s a percentage thing. I know that not everyone here is into tactics, but it was pretty widely assumed by the tactical punditry that Chelsea’s best shot at winning was parking the proverbial bus and hitting out on the counter. That is an underdog tactic, and one that requires enormous grit and determination to pull off. You, personally, can believe whatever you’d like. However, this is one of the more shocking Cup results in awhile (arguably since Liverpool in 05 or Greece in 04) and it is precisely because of the underdog factor, which combined with the amount of money Abramovich has spent, is one of the more shocking (and slightly hilarious) developments of modern football IMO.

          • messifan says:

            Not in this game. But under AVB, they played offensive football and it got AVB sacked, e.g. Chelsea 3 vs. Arsenal 5 at the beginning of the season.

        • Barcaleya says:

          I, for one, am not saying that the only way to play is the Barcelona way. If all teams knew to play that way, they wouldn’t be as lauded as they are now. What they do, individually and as a team, is exceptionally difficult and there are few, if any, able to match that.

          Each team, of course, must play to their strength and must have their own ways and strategies, but play they must. To play is to try to win the ball and score goals, not necessarily on the rush or on the offensive all the time, but slowing down should be a matter of keeping the tempo slow or altering the rhythm, not necessarily standing unbudging in front of the goal and all 11 staying in one’s half for 90 percent of the match. You should not stand as mere tokens on the field, relying on hope or luck for the opponent to make mistakes, misplace a pass, hit crossbars, sky the shot, so that you will have your chance at glory.

          I do not disrespect their effort whatsoever, if there was any kind of real athletic/technical effort. (I love Mata and Torres so it isn’t as if I just dislike Chelsea for no reason) They do have the strength and the height for a solid defense so long as they keep their discipline, which they did. If Bayern cannot convert their chances, then they have to lose for without goals or more goals to show for their effort, they have to.

          But I disagree that between Chelsea and Bayern, the former has largely inferior players. And I am only referring to these two teams as that is what you mentioned. And then I will refer to first choice starting eleven and not just the players who played today, as you suggested.

          Better players from Bayern are Neuer, Lahm, Alaba, Ribery, Schweinsteiger, Kroos, Robben and Gomes. Better players from Chelsea are Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Essien, Mata, Lampard, Ramires, Drogba, Torres. Looking at this list, nowhere do I see individual superiority of Bayern. Nowhere.

          And if Chelsea finished 6th in the league, it’s because the team has played crappily and not because they didnt have the players to win games.

          Finally, I became a Barca supporter also because Rivaldo was my favorite player when I started watching club futbol in earnest.

          And I liked many Italian teams in the past and I always admire heart and courage and passion. But this billion-dollar Chelsea who won most of their games during Mourinho’s era with deflected shots (mainly Lampard’s) and penalties from diving (Drogba, Robben) and who are mostly dire to watch earns none of my admiration or respect. With the composition of the team, they could play better but they don’t. If they were lucky as they were today (although I must give them credit for taking their penalties well) – then I congratulate them for that. But having the trophy doesn’t mean they’re suddenly good or best. (You didn’t say this, don’t worry. I’m just adding it in response to others) They’re not.

          • Ron Mexico says:

            Your last point is the one that particularly interests me. Of course they’re not the best. Just like no one claimed Greece was the best when they won the Euros. But isn’t that unpredictability one of the factors that makes these sort of events so enjoyable?

            If the team that deserved to win actually won it each time, well where’s the fun in that? Sure, there’s no harm in pointing it out, but I feel like people are taking it a little far. A little more grace in defeat, I suppose.

    • Barcaleya says:

      I’m sorry, did you just say that Chelsea was a team of “largely inferior players”???

      How in God’s name did a team who have a spent a billion pounds during the Abramovich era buying all the best players in every position from all the teams who were willing to sell (and that’s 99% of all) have a team of largely inferior players?

      Really????

      • Ron Mexico says:

        Sure Chelsea has spent a lot in the past few years, but have they really spent wisely? Coupled with the aging of Mourinho’s players I think its fair to ask how many of their players are really world class? Despite all the money spent they were 6th in the Premier League and huge underdogs in the latter stages of the CL for a reason. Their first choice starting 11 is hardly anything to get excited about in the context of the top, top levels of European football.

        You can’t tell me that looking at the two teams put out by the two coaches (or even their first choice 11s) you wouldn’t take Bayern’s 10 times out of 10.

        • Ron Mexico says:

          Especially if you want to play the proactive football people here crave.

          Look, last winter Man City, by every account a superior team than Chelsea, went to Munich, tried to play with Bayern and was convincingly beaten 2-0.

          If Di Matteo had played his team as some of you seem to want he would have been shelled. He was definitely lucky, but the winner always is.

          Still wish AVB had been a success, as I do respect his style much more than Chelsea’s recent defensive iteration, but that’s life.

  47. K_legit in Oz says:

    Reaction of the CL trophy after it realised Chelsea won: http://youtu.be/yg2u_De8j5o

    Reaction of every Chelsea fan: http://youtu.be/4WGHeQw49ws

  48. Laurentiu88 says:

    Such a boring game!!!! I watched the game with friends and we talked more about Barca’s finals than the current game …

    Did Chelsea deserved it? NO WAY !! Yes they did won, yes there is not only one type of football, there is also determination in defense and so on, but by just that feature alone does not make you a worthy champion! Anyways I dont think many people will have this game in their memory for long!

    Can you imagine JM now? Chelsea winning by his methods :)if only e could play 10 pl behind the ball at RM!!! :))

  49. barca96 says:

    Some consolation I suppose but this Chelsea team will be the worst ever footballing side to win a CL title imo

    Dortmund still takes that title for me in 1997.

    Chelsea scored from their only corner?
    How many shots did Chelsea had?

  50. mom4 says:

    Two things to like from last night (courtesy of FCB_LJ LIVE):

    http://a5.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/403385_10150955135641180_39988866179_11589850_1322561899_n.jpg

    It’s not much but…

  51. blitzen says:

    I couldn’t get up at 4 am after all, but:

    FC Barcelona Infantil A are crowned Champions of Lennart Johansson Academy Trophy after a 2-0 win over Red Star in the final.

    FC Barcelona Infantil A became the only team in the entire tournament all age groups not to let in a single goal total goal difference 17-0.

    (via @TotalBarça)

    That’s awesome.

    • blitzen says:

      Meanwhile, Barça B lost 3-0 to Numancia. Shocking. (Although to be fair they had neither Deulofeu nor Dongou available for this game.)

      And Juvenil A beat Athletic Bilbao 2-0 (both goals by Dongou). This puts them in the quarterfinals for their CdR, I think.

      So basically, all the Barcelona youth sides are doing really well in their divisions except for Barça B. Thanks, Eusebio.

    • nzm says:

      I couldn’t get up at 10am – lol!

      Awesome result for Infantil A and to do it in such style too.

      The kids are doing really well at all levels. I spent yesterday watching their games on Barca TV. Such a joy to see them winning and playing that distinctive style. Most of the teams have won their leagues too, or come second. There are some brilliant youngsters coming through the ranks.

      Esport 3 also played the full ’92 CL game at Wembley yesterday. It was the first time that I’d seen the whole game. Mancini was terrible with his freekicks for Sampdoria!

  52. providence says:

    who is the best right back? Dani alves vs Philip Lahm???

    • Laurentiu88 says:

      i do atletico manage to keep him and build a team around him! 37 goals this season is quite something at a team like AM.

      how spooked are people now that MD has a cover with a swap of Alcantara for T Silva :) pure nonsense.

      • ciaran says:

        MD are saying €10million plus Thiago Alcantara for Thiago Silva.
        It’s nonsensical.
        Apparently Valencia are trying to sign Siquera for left back, I wonder why? Could it be because Jordi Alba is about to sign for us?
        Gareth Bale rumours are about to pick up more steam now that Spurs are in the Europa instead of the CL after Chelsea’s win. Sickening for them.

        • Laurentiu88 says:

          Alba looks almost certain for me, last year of contract and a La Masia kid… I am sure Tito will not hesitate.

          I am less sure about Bale; we don’t have the money (thou’ maybe some deal can still be reached for Tot. too not to see him go to a rival) – but I am less sure how he will integrate in our team. Maybe Tito will consider how much he can actually improve keep growing! I guess we’ll concentrate on Bale if we dont try to sign some forward like Neymar…

          How about the rumor with Aguero to RM! for 60! that will be some transfer…

  53. blitzen says:

    This may be old news for some of you, but Jonathan Soriano has won the Austrian league with his new team Red Bull Salzburg! Very happy to see him doing so well. :D

  54. lyd says:

    OT: annular eclipse is on in an hour and half. The shadow of the moon starts near southern China , goes through southern Japan (currently), Pacific Ocean and ends up in the USA. But only a selected portion of the Western USA gets to see.

    Unfortunately i cant see it from where i am but will look for live feed.

    Those of you can, depending on where you are, have fun observing the “ring of fire” show. It would be a great way to take our mind off things, especially the late season footballing fiasco.

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