Categorized | Champions League

Champions League Reactions

Didier Drogba won it with a well-taken penalty and you could basically hear the collective groan from around the world. Let’s get this straight first, though: there is nothing wrong whatsoever with Chelsea winning the Champions League. It’s their first such trophy, it was won the same way everyone else wins trophies–by winning a final–and the likes of Juan Mata, Drogba, and Solomon Kalou (to pick 3 pretty much at random) certainly deserved to win it as much as any other player in the game.

And yet.

From a fairly neutral perspective–I’ve no love for either of the teams in the final and was rooting for Bayern mostly because I don’t like John Terry as a player more than I don’t like Bayern’s players–it was one of the worst games I’ve ever seen. One team wanted to play, the other wanted to go to penalties as soon as the opening whistle went off. Sometime early in the second half, Gary Neville, commentating on the channel I was watching, said that it was a fabulous game. It was, in fact, the exact opposite of that. Chelsea were sitting deep and kicking the ball as far as they could in hopes that Drogba would either get on the end of it and score a solo goal or at least make Bayern reset their offense and come through bank-upon-bank of defenders. Parking the bus, in short, and hoping for a goal against the run of play. Bayern didn’t score (somehow) and we were back in that situation where Chelsea were maybe going to run out winners because their opponent screwed up rather than because any actual outplaying came from the CFC side.

Tweeting after the match, I asked the twitheads out there whether it was the worst CL final ever or if that was just my boredom from one day overwhelming my memory of past encounters. The reply was pretty unanimous: it’s at least the worst final since the last time Chelsea was in it (that’s 2008, fyi). I cited the Juventus-Milan match from 2003, which I remember as a decidedly dull game (0-0 after 120 minutes). I have little faith in my memories before that (did I even see Bayern-Valencia in 2000? I can’t recall it at all), so I can’t cite anything else.

I’m sad I didn’t make good on my promise to not watch the final. I happened to be invited to a party that I wanted to attend so I could see everyone who would be there and I happened to finish what I was doing before that just in time to go for the game. In retrospect, I saw it coming. I knew not to go. I knew to do something else outside in the gorgeous weather. I knew to go day drinking and get text updates from friends bored out of their minds wherever they chose to watch it. And that’s an awful feeling. I wasn’t a fan of the Bayern-Inter match in 2010, but that was at least something of a interesting match to watch.

Mourinho’s teams may not be my cup of tea, but they’re at least capable of playing fluid football when called upon to do so. They’re not always called upon to do so, such as last year’s Madrid team when facing Barça (I mean 2010-11), but they, Inter, and even Chelsea under Jose were capable of passing, attacking nicely, and creating a host of chances while remaining defensively solid. This year’s Chelsea, on the other hand, while containing a slew of players capable of doing exactly that, was under strict orders to look like crap.

In the end, it doesn’t much matter whether it was a Champions League final or a Division 18 league match between Joe’s Pub and Bill’s Bikes. It was boring. But that brings up the question of whether I’m not just a spoiled FCBrat; are we, the products of the last few years of Guardiola’s Tiki-Taka Revolution, simply holding everyone to a standard that can’t be met without €300m in transfer fees each year or an academy that has gone perilously close to establishing itself as a local religious institution?

My response would be Swansea, first and foremost. Real Betis springs to mind as well. No, they didn’t win anything this year, but they stayed up and looked excellent while doing so. More than can be said for Blackburn or Villarreal. My response would also be the difference between Montpellier and PSG (the factoid of the moment is that Javier Pastore cost more than all of Montpellier put together). Bayern were not swashbuckling attackers throughout the year, but they were at least adventurous against Real Madrid and Chelsea. Napoli may be counterattack-oriented, but they do it with some style; they beat Juventus 2-0 today with a very nice Hamsik goal. Benfica too was fun in the CL. I won’t act like I watch enough other teams to really know, but there are definitely teams out there that are enjoyable for neutrals (my team could probably line up with players from my co-ed league in a 10-0-0 and I’d cheer vociferously for them) and that’s reassuring.

Manchester City have often been fairly enjoyable this past season and they ended up winning the title (and how!), which is nice in a lot of ways. I’ll probably always support Arsenal in neutral games simply because they’ve tried to stick to their free-flowing guns as much as possible (and shot Wenger in the foot repeatedly with financial decisions related to their stadium); Athletic Bilbao made the Europa League and Copa del Rey finals with a pleasing-to-the-eye style that, from all accounts, is about as physically taxing as you can get.

Chelsea plays the footballing equivalent of rope-a-dope, not some “manly,” back-breaking style that can only be emulated by means of tough resolve and total fearlessness in the face of certain doom. They’re defensively gifted and incredibly capable of concentration; in short, they’re good footballers. But like rope-a-dope fighters, I find them boring. I find them to squeeze the life out of a game and that is precisely the opposite of why I watch. Winning, to me, isn’t everything—I want Barça to win, but I want them to win by being better, by not sitting back and employing a very talented forward as nothing but the steel point to a battering ram. And when I’m not even remotely interested in who wins the game, it matters all the more how they go about winning it. Chelsea isn’t anti-football by any means; they’re simply boring football.

Congratulations to them and congratulations to their fans, who have waited literally for their entire fan lives for a CL trophy. Kudos and may your next one be a better game for us neutrals.

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99 Responses to “Champions League Reactions”

  1. nia says:

    I agree with all you’ve said. That was the dullest final other than a few matches in the WC 2010. Just before the match, i told a friend that Bayern are going to be unfortunate enough to lose to two bus parking teams in two years. I was right with the exception that when Inter countered, they were good at it. I’m probably hating but, they didn’t even celebrate right either. That the most disorganised trophy raising i’ve ever seen :). Chelsea were fortunate that Bayern had the bug Barca caught of not puting away their chances coz on a different day, it would be a different story.
    I can’t be mad at Chelsea for playing to their strength and i’m not even upset they won, i’m just upset at the circumstances at which they won it. They were terrible, no ambition what so ever except for the equalizer when they new they had to score.
    The commentators on sportsnet where saying possession playing teams need to rethink their appraoch coz the bus parking teams are winning and is the new trend, seriously? Surely if this is the way England are going to play in the euro’s, then they might as well put their name on the trophy. They didn’t have the decency to let Platini hand them the trophy right. Now we are going to hear Mou go on and on about his Chelsea boys, bla bla bla (something he couldn’t do) being the best in the world.
    Oh well, i must move on coz we can’t change anything but, dang!!! It just doesn’t feel right watching Terry celebrating.

    • ptrlng says:

      I remember the commentators saying possession based teams should rethink their approach. I don’t see why they should. We’ve witnessed two possession based teams, Barca and Bayern, create chance after chance after chance. Your footballing philosophy shouldn’t be based on hoping the other team misses all of the chances they create.

  2. blitzen says:

    This year’s Chelsea, on the other hand, while containing a slew of players capable of doing exactly that, was under strict orders to look like crap.

    Worst. CL. Winners. Ever.

    And I’m not even saying that because I’m bitter about Barça being knocked out (although I am). The first 80 minutes of this game were incredibly boring. Chelsea weren’t even trying to play football.

  3. Barcaleya says:

    This was my response to a comment in the previous post but might as well post some excerpts again because I actually referred to “boring” and “possession-based/defensive” football.

    (I’m removing some sentences from the exact one posted to make it more relevant for this post. And sentences within asterisks are added thoughts)

    —————————-

    1. BORING. 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.

    *Chelsea, in this CL finals, is the second kind of boring [and I don't think the first kind is]*

    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 one 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.

    * Which is what this Chelsea team is.*

    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.

    *If the definition of “good” is a team that can beat its peers (will not quibble anymore with the meaning of peers), then I will concede that Chelsea is good.

    But “genuinely good”? 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. But are they genuinely good? No. Are they great? Most certainly not.

    ————————————–

    So…argh, anyway…I agree with your points, Isaiah. Very well said.

    Not all games can be beautiful as most of our games are. That is why I love our team and am very proud to support them, win or lose.

    Barca should not listen to those commentators saying we should throw our possession-based football away. They want to make us doubt our philosophy so they’ll have a better chance of defeating us. Ugh.

    On to next year! Visca Barca!

    • nia says:

      I agree Barca should not stop their possession footy coz that’s what defines them. What i do think is that, according to what kind of bus is parked, they should also relinquish possession a little so they can draw the other team out. It gets tedious and frustrating watching Barca kick the ball around and around, then back to VV when we are needing a goal coz most teams now don’t even bother with the counter but settle for the draw.

      Yes Barca parks the bus sometimes, but our bus moves and has a view. The only thing i might ask from Barca’s play is, to be a little more direct sometimes and shoot more often from outside the box. Other than that, our tiki taka ball possession is ‘puto spectacular’ and changing it too much would not benefit the team.

      • Barcaleya says:

        Agree.

        That’s why we keep talking about a Plan B. What that plan is exactly, we don’t really know. I’m confident though that Tito will somehow find a way since he’s the master tactician and strategist.

        I hope we buy the right players this year. I don’t really want any of our current players to leave. I love them all.

        I’m sure we will win all again next year! *from my mouth to God’s ears*

  4. Ave11 says:

    Thanks for your thoughts Isaiah I have a few things I,d like to add, being a Chelsea fan and all that.I agree for the neutral it was not a pretty game. I can totally understand why you are not fond of Chelsea, if I was a Barca fan I wouldn’t be either. What you seem not to have realized ( Benfica and Bayern too) is that the old core of this side, the Mourinho players, knew that this was their absolute last chance. When they were the best in Europe events conspired against them, this was make or break and I reckon they decided they were just not going to be beaten come hell or high water. I would have loved for us to have done them 5-0 with swashbuckling football but to get a monkey off our backs I,m more than happy with the way we did it and you have to give them great credit for some truly amazing backs against the wall performances
    Looking forward to our game next year already.

    • messifan says:

      For me, it was not a beautiful game, but you guys did what you had to do to win. I saw Chelsea played under AVB and it was disastrous, so I understood that a defensive style of play was more conducive to getting the win. So congrats for getting that ultimate trophy!

      Question for you: do you think Di Matteo should get the job full-time?

  5. Kimcelona says:

    I was waiting for this, thanks Isaiah!

    I already poured my bitterness out in the other post but its something to think about when everywhere I turn in the media (except most English media) is saying Chelsea were undeserving winners. German media (of all people lol!) called them anti-footballers. Hahahaha. Bayern’s misses did make for some jokes though..so that was atleast entertainment but other than that a pretty stale final.

    Chelsea fans and a few other English fans are the only ones genuinely happy for them.

    I’m glad some can be the bigger men but I can’t congratulate them…

    Poor Spurs..worked hard all season to fight for a CL spot only to have it taken away by a team that f**ked around in the league to rebel against their young manager for majority of the season, then lucked out in the CL to win and steal their spot!

  6. Barcaleya says:

    Poor Bayern. They tried.

    But when they kept missing their chances, I told my friends I have to step out and stop watching the game because I was about to say “at this rate, Chelsea will deserve to win if they manage to score a goal or score more than BM.” And it’s terrible to say that Chelsea “deserved to win” with the kind of display they showed.

    But what can you do?

    One team must necessarily win. And if the supposedly “better” team cannot convert its chances, then one can only feel sorry.

    Winning does not also make a mediocre team good or great. They just won, that’s it. Sigh. Poor Bayern.

    • nia says:

      I actually blame Gomez for the lose. He was in so many good positions and had good chances and he couldn’t get his feet right or he just fluffed tue chance. He is aweful. I now know why Shaka says that Gomez is lucky and is tye worst striker.

  7. Srinivas says:

    Also as a neutral,i feel really sorry for schweinsteiger.Anybody saw the puyolesque play in the ET where he gave everything in order to keep the ball in .What a loyal servant for his club! Like Sid lowe said on the twitter ,It always happens to the wrong guy.Also i wish Germany wins the Euro and spain to get knocked out in the Group stages! Then Barca players would have some time to rest and get the hunger back.

    What is with the rumor that keita could leave for free? I thought he has contract with us until 2014.

  8. yassir (Formerly Extreme barca fan) says:

    A few Points:

    - Since Barca were not playing, i couldnt care less who wins, i watched the match, but was totally emotionally de-attached.

    - To me the worst final was the Milan – Juve in 2003, i slept while watching

    - Are Chelsea deserving winners or not, they most difinitely are. they beat Bayern, Barca, Benfica and Napoli to win this comeptition, so to me they deserve it as much as we deserve any title we ever won.

    • Laurentiu88 says:

      the thing is that no one believes Chelsea is the best team, not this year in Europe, not even in one of the games mentioned, not even in some parts of the games mentioned… Still great achievement..

  9. Laurentiu88 says:

    So I guess Chelsea winning will stop any conspiracy rumors, until next year that is…

  10. Sethys says:

    I get it when most teams play like that against us, because after all with barcelona it is not a question of losing as much as of being humiliated, but come on this is Bayern, a team that lost the german cup to an admittedly great dortmund 5-2. To accept inferiority to a team like that and decide to not even try and build an attack, considering some of the talent in Chelski, is shameful in my opinion.
    Yes, they had a lot riding on this match, but did they really play like they wanted to win it? If there is a lot riding on a match you should at least THINK about TRYING to win the game, in stead of deciding to take it to penalties and leaving everything on chance.
    Interesting question,
    when Abramovich claimed he wanted to see his team to play like barca, he did mean within this life time did’nt he?

  11. K_legit in Oz says:

    Montpellier!!! That is all…

  12. Gogah says:

    This was my takeaway from the CL final.

    - One team came to play football. The other came to disrupt, frustrate, defend and hopefully score against the run of play.

    - I’m not biased against chelsea. in fact, in a way i am happy they got that elusive CL trophy after heartbreaks (from moscow, stamford bridge, etc) and spending a whole lot of cash.

    - But here’s my main problem. The game needs to change, minor new rules have to be brought in to make sure the game evolves in to a fair game where the winner always deserves the victory. this is important. let me explain.

    - in all sports, as a kid i, like many others have always wondered how to work around the rules to give oneself an advantage. for example, in basketball i used to ask, why can’t someone just tap the ball as its about to go in? (especially since the game is played in the air and everyone is invariably super tall). But thats an illegal action. It is called GOAL TENDING. the custodians of the game probably figured it out at some point and installed that rule to make the game more interesting, more proactive.

    Similarly in cricket, a batsman cannot stand in front of the stumps (wicket) completely covering it.

    In football too, as everyone knows, there was a time without offsides and what not, when i can imagine the game being mostly played around the goal posts. Certain rules were installed to make the game more holistic, more testing, more proactive and more interesting.

    - now coming back to the CL final, what chelsea did may have been within the rules of the game. but if such tactics are proving to be, not only successful but terribly boring and betraying to the game and the viewers, then some changes must be brought in.
    in fact what they were playing was not a game, not football. If all the old fashioned people say, this is what makes football so emotional, so dramatic, then i have nothing to say. It just isn’t fair. not to the people coming to watch or the other team trying to play the game of football.

    - we can sugar coat it and analyze it and theorize about it, but the fact remains that it is a strategy that stems from anti-football. it stems from a thinking that ‘ what we are playing is not a game, but a war that we need to win at all costs ‘

    • Tarik says:

      This is the type of comment I would expect from someone who just recently, in the last few years, started watching football. Although perhaps that is not true in your case, but it what I have heard from friends who recently started enjoying the game.

      This comment does frustrate me though. I would never consider myself “old fashioned”, but I must say that I admire the dynamic nature of football. Defensive styles can sometimes overtake attacking styles. The pendulum often swings in interesting directions. In this case, to a supreme underdog.

      Barcelona play beautiful football and it has taken them to victory over and over. However, there is no “right of passage” because you are playing beautiful footie. Chelsea, with a weakened squad, played to their strengths and pulled out a win. It is difficult to understand what else they were supposed to do in this situation. Bayern have themselves to blame ultimately, just as we do. In a final, where a winner is necessary, anti-football criticisms just seem ridiculous if what you are gunning for is lifting a trophy at the end of 90 minutes (or 120 or PKs).

      For me, this final was great, not for the match itself, but for what it says about the sport. A team in 6th place in the EPL won the trophy, knocking out two of the giants of the sport with disciplined defense and a plan they put into play nearly flawlessly. Also, one cannot discredit the performances of Drogba & Cech specifically, who deserved to win outright with their ferocity and intelligence. It might not be what you define as “football”, but defining how one should play is comical at best and dangerous for a sport with such variety. I can’t help but think that “evolution” is the wrong word you are looking for.

      • Gogah says:

        this is the type of comment I’d expect from someone who thinks he owns the patent of the game owing to the amount of time invested in the same, someone who may not have played the game itself, someone who is uncomfortable with change or just prejudiced into thinking the game is what it is because it must be. of course this may or may not be true in your case.

        I may have started watching the game only recently (7-8 years), but that doesn’t mean such a person can’t see things a football arm chair veteran of 30 years couldn’t. I consider myself a sports person and sports fan first and after playing and following many sports and various teams, i landed on football and THEN barca.

        To make things clear, I am not suggesting that football has to be played in a certain way at all. I am only suggesting that the game of football has to be played. You might call it variety in the game, dynamic nature and what not. I might call it exploiting the loopholes to scrape out victories.

        I am not comfortable with the fact that the rules of the game allow one team to take all the initiative, be creative and proactive, be responsible to entertain, create a multitude of scoring chances only for the other team to walk away with a cheeky win after a pathetic display of diving, feigning injuries, time wasting and coming out on top in lucky penalties.

        Now iam not saying that chelsea did this.
        But the rules of the game allow one to.

        and what more, some people are pig headed enough to insist that it is the way the game must be.

      • Humphrey Bogart says:

        the way you write one could think CFC is APOEL, they are a team, which was invested in 900 Mio. They are more valuable than FCB, then Bayern, Benfica, but they choose to play like underdogs even if they have the more expensive players in their squad. If Greece play like they did, I have no problem with that, because they were real underdogs. but a team with a 60 Mio striker, rotting on the bench playing like 3rd division playing againt Barca and Bayern with much less valuable squads and less expensive teams is nothing more than cowardice or like di Stefano once said: they played like mice, not like men

      • Messiah10 says:

        Agree. Also, Barca and Bayern had their chances and didn’t take them. It’s not like Chelski denied any and all goal scoring opportunities. Messi missed a penalty. Robben missed a penalty. If you think about the chances of those 2 missing and the other glorious chances both teams missed and Chelsea taking their chances with so few opportunities it’s sickening. That’s the game. I don’t feel Chelski are “deserved” winners based on my philosophy of “how” football should be played, but they did what they had to do. There’s no way FIFA or UEFA or even the FA’s could implement rules to govern that a team attacks. How? Impossible. The rule book has been around for over a century. There have been changes or additions such as off-sides, but the core of the game is the same. Put the ball in the back of the net without the use of your arms in 90 minutes. Trying to dictate how a team sets up or plays is authoritarian and against most principles I hold dear.

    • Laurentiu88 says:

      can it be possible that this year the game had higher audiences than Barca-ManU? thou’ I guess the penalty shot-out had to do with it… explains why no rules like ones you invoke will be introduced any time soon.

  13. barca96 says:

    “Spanish media reports that Barcelona’s star Gerard Piqueand Bar Refaeli executives in recent months a secret affair behind the back of Pique’s girlfriend, Shakira.”

    “The newspaper “La Razon” reports that Refaeli (27) having an affair in recent months with Barcelona’s star, Gerard Pique (25), and that’s why she came to watch a few games of his team.”

    “It was reported that Shakira began to suspect her boyfriend after seeing the phone number of the mobile device of Bar Refaeli saved in Pique’s phone.

    If this is true, I’d be really pissed at him. Tito needs to start practicing his shooting boots to kick a boot to Pique’s face.

    There are many footballers who didn’t reach their true potential because of their inability to cope with the off-the field issues like media attention, money, fame etc.

    I hope Pique will realize this and change for the better.

    • Messiah10 says:

      I don’t want to judge Pique for something that may be true. If it were, I still wouldn’t. I have no idea what goes on in his relationship and the dynamics of it. Players are human. Humans have so many variables in the relationships. It’s not my place to say whether it’s right or wrong b/c I don’t know the circumstances. If it’s true.

      • barca96 says:

        I know but look at the drastic drop of his form over the last year. It seems that all this media business is getting into him. He is a professional footballer first and foremost.

  14. barca96 says:

    Regarding the CL.

    Dortmund and Chelsea are the most undeserving CL winners to me.
    At least Inter played football in the final.

  15. barca96 says:

    It is because of teams like Chelsea aka defensive teams that makes me prefer spending 3 hours watching NBA. NBA still is more exciting than football (non-Barca related of course!).

  16. Peterj says:

    Why the heck are some chelski fan on a barca blog? huh

  17. just listenin says:

    One word, meh.

    Glad they won though so that they can be in the competition next year, and please football gods let us have another go at it, in the name of football justice, please.

  18. blitzen says:

    And now for some good news:

    @barcastuff: Official: Eric Abidal, recovering from a liver transplant, has been allowed to leave the hospital today”

    <3

  19. Kxevin says:

    A few things, after my (mostly) media-less weekend:

    PIQUE WAS CHEATING ON SHAKIRA!!?? That rumor can’t be true. And if it is, we should sell him because he’s clearly inSANE, and shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a football pitch. If I were dating Shakira, I wouldn’t even leave the house. “You can’t work from home AGAIN! It’s been 9 months!” Damn, yo.

    –#animsabi

    –I knew that Chelsea was going to win the final as soon as Mario Gomez did precisely what we did at Stamford Bridge. It takes luck to win championships. Chelsea has had a staggering amount of it. Same game plan: get gutted, have your opponent hose off finishing, cop a late goal off one of your only chances, win.

    Say what you want about Drogba, but that mo-fo is ice cold money.

    I don’t believe in the “anti-football” crap that people are spewing. There are different styles. Had Chelsea played pretty, attacking football against us, we’d probably still be gushing about how great it was that our Champions League win sent Guardiola off on the right note. They won the way they had to, and won they did.

    And Drogba announced to his teammates that he was leaving the club on Sunday. (Yes, I would.)

    –Fernando Torres is a whiny prat. Assume everyone saw his Guillem Balague interview transcripts. Sorry, dude, but you can’t suck for like, eternity and then because of a wee return to form, expect the heavens to part and everyone to treat you as the best striker on the planet that you clearly think that you are. Jeeeeez!

    MONTPELLIER!!!! I remember, years and years ago, going to watch MHSC Foot in a wee, dingy Stade de la Mosson that was also hard to find. Then as now, their play was characterized by honest effort, energy and headless chicken moments. And now they are champions of France on, typical of this season, a crazy final day in Ligue 1, when Montpellier’s match with Auxerre, who was fighting to stay up, was delayed by fan protets, as tennis balls become the new pig’s head.

    You’ve come a long way, baby, and I confess to never having considered, even for an instant, that they would get to such a remarkable point. It should also be said that, as fond as I am of them and the region, if they draw us in Champions League, I will spit on their grave.

    • blitzen says:

      Can we just not speculate on players’ private lives based on media rumours? Thanks.

    • messifan says:

      Re. Torres: I disagree with your assessment of him based on that interview.

      This is an excerpt from Guillem Balague’s website:

      “G – When you were brought on, you got involved, you ran for every ball.

      FT – It´s contradictory because I feel like I´m at a peak moment in my career, with more desire and hunger than I´ve felt in a long time, but I´ve had to spend the final on the bench. It was a huge disappointment when I saw the line-up, perhaps the biggest disappointment in my life. I thought I would play in this game and I couldn´t imagine not doing so. But in the end I could participate and offer the team something. I´m really happy.

      G – What have you learned this season?

      FT – This season I have felt things that I never had before. I´ve felt like they treated me in a way that I didn´t expect, not in the way that was spoken of when they signed me. We´ve had a lot of talks and we´ll talk about my future at the end of the season because the role I´ve had this season is not for me, nor is it the one I expected to play when I came here. I´m not comfortable. A victory like this one against Munich does compensate, but I want them to tell me what is going to happen in the future. Football has been fair on us, on me. Now I do feel like football is worth it but I´ve been through a difficult time. The worst in my career. And I don´t want to go through it again.

      G – And what does it depend on?

      FT – I don´t know. There have been a lot of ups and downs, there´s been many times when I´ve felt lost, I wasn´t sure what to do. I felt like I didn´t know where I belonged. I´m eternally grateful to my family who have been by my side and also for the support of the owners who have stuck by me. And especially to the fans, if it hadn´t been for them this season I would have given up.

      G – So, what would be the ideal situation for you next season?

      FT – For someone to tell me what is going to happen and what sort of role I will have within the team, what my duties are, what they expect of me and then judge whether it is worth it.”

      Sure, he’s struggled this season but before this interview, he hadn’t spoken about his situation at Chelsea at all. I don’t get any “whiny prat” attitude from this interview. It’s more like him making it clear that he wants a bigger role at the club, esp. with Drogba’s situation still unresolved. If not, they should let him go.

      Anyway, I’m happy he gets a call up for the Euro. Hopefully, he will play a bigger role this summer.

      • Kxevin says:

        For me, Torees should be grateful that he wasn’t sold in the January window because he was terrible. Any and all disappointments are firmly in his lap. Come to training camp, work hard and fight for your place on the team, just like any other player. Does anyone think that players such as Keita plan “talks with the coach” about their future and their future role in the club? No. You come to camp, work hard and get it done. YOU define your future.

        For me, the remarks sound as though he feels he was hard done by in some way, which isn’t true. He got chance after chance after chance after chance.

        • messifan says:

          No, he didn’t get chance after chance after chance. He started showing signs of improvement, then got benched. They should have stuck with him from the beginning of the season. But results didn’t go their way, so the club had to change.

          I guess, you’re seeing this from the club’s perspective and I view it from Torres’. Just different interpretations of the interview.

          • Kxevin says:

            No, I’m viewing it from the perspective of results. I can’t think of the last player who had a website devoted to his not scoring, i.e. hasfernandotorresscoredforchelsea.com.

            He was benched because he wasn’t scoring, which is his job. Drogba was. So he played. Nobody’s fault except Torres. It’s like Ibrahimovic blaming Guardiola for playing Krkic when he went off the boil. Not Guardiola’s or Krkic’s fault.

          • messifan says:

            And for Chelsea, results matter.

            Sure, Torres has to take responsibility for his form. But Chelsea’s style did not help Torres scored goals. He has 12 assists this season (I think it’s one of the highest). When your goal scorer has more assists than goals, that does say something about the style of play.

            That website you brought in doesn’t add anything to this argument. If I go and make a website about Messi not scoring against Chelsea, does it say anything about Messi’s performance? Is it Messi’s fault then that he hasn’t scored against them?

            Re. Pep and Ibra: we don’t know the whole story to say that Pep is blameless.

  20. K_legit in Oz says:

    Shakira? Bar Refaeli? Damn Geri you get some fine women..

    • Barcaleya says:

      True. I thought Gomes and everyone else were rushing their shots as if they thought they won’t get another chance.

      Agree that the ball should be given to the bus parker. And the attacking side should be ready to steal the ball and launch counter when they’ve seen most of the parkers out of their own field.

      Interesting….

    • Laurentiu88 says:

      doesn’t say too much.

      what is interesting is how the psychological momentum develops when one team parks the bus while the other has most of the ball. when the defending team gets successful it simply grows in confidence while the attacking team starts to panic. as it usually the case, the attacking team needs to score more than the others. if they manage to score too then the team grows more, they are determined as it seems that with every new attack diverted they become more and more in control. one must imagine that the effort in coordination in attacking are more demanding – and teams often simply panic and start trowing the ball inside the area, be it what it may. this was basically City’s tactic, that they won so dramatic should be a lesson in how close to impossible it is to win like this.from my experience old players are the best in this situations; their experience in reading the game and in following the tactics is key.

      then again, the question is, when you have the fastest player the most technical ones shouldn’t they be able to beat the best defensive? maybe. most of the time. but I guess that if u can limit them at a few important chances – and they miss them or your goalkeeper has a pact with the devil – then things look better.

      • Kxevin says:

        That’s exactly the point that the piece makes. The growing pressure on the attacking club as the match progresses, which is why bus-parking teams usually score late in matches, after the attacking team is psychologically broken down. You and the article make essentially the same point.

        • Laurentiu88 says:

          i thought the underline was on the fact that attacking teams enjoying too much possession stop playing instinctively, have to much time to think plays and over complicate them. that they tend to have the ball outside of any dangerous area.

  21. Kxevin says:

    Iniesta, again with the truth:

    Iniesta: “We cannot pretend that Tito is another Pep, that would be wrong, Tito is his own man.”

  22. Dani_el says:

    Agree with almost everything you’ve said Isaiah. It was the most boring CL final I can remember. Second place would be the one on 10′ and 3erd place the one on 08′. Coincidentally, 2 of them with Mou’s teams. Parking the bus to me is anti-football, it bores the s*** out of my mind. It means a lot when the best team or whatever, wins. It matters HOW you win too. This is why I support our club. There’s a word in spanish for only thinking about objectives. Being “resultadista”. Those were the people that supported Mou coming on 08′.
    I hope we stay true to our style and our values.
    I also hope Oscar Garcia doesn’t leave the club.

  23. Laurentiu88 says:

    i don’t know.. it seems correct to infer that football is not just attacking – some teams defend (tactic or necessity). still football. some prefer Renascence painting others modern. still both are art? isn’t it? :)

    • just listenin says:

      Following your analogy some “art” lacks a certain creativity, expression and other qualities to make it deserving of the classification. Pretty subjective, but there are some pieces of art, that are clearly pieces of something else by most reasonable standards to most people. When it is only nearly as difficult to score through 11 free kick mannequins placed tightly compacted in front of the goal as it is your team, you might be lacking certain qualities as well.

      • Laurentiu88 says:

        true, but if our desire is to find some objective standard, to do more than express our affiliations …

        so far I would adventure to say that we do recognize – objectively as being the best, superior the team that can attack while also defend (and the score should reflect that). as Bielsa said, the way to approach a game is to try and be the best. that is why for some smaller teams winning by parking the bus is usually seen as a virtue – ‘they managed the impossible, this poor team stood up to ..’ clearly we do not expect, in such cases, for such a team to try and ‘be the best’.

        now, as in Chelsea’s case, this can also be a strategy! and when efficient it seems we have some sort of paradox – the score and the play say different things. but no, as JM said, it takes team effort, devotion, concentration – other and equally essential things of the game – to defend as well. we too have left other teams have the ball and come to score. yes long ago, but we did it :) are these cases where the win is not deserved? in the spirit of the game?

        it is clearly easier to defend than to attack. it is not handball or basketball. in a game of football the majority of the attacks fail. that is why the best player in the world is usually a forward. plus, this can easily be tested: if Chelsea were to play an amateur team – should we expect them to park the bus? No, because they are ‘better’.

        I don’t know, maybe this is the beauty of the football, that it is not always the best team that wins. That tactics permit weaker sides to triumph as well. Winners must have some merits, no matter.

        • just listenin says:

          Been a long time since I’ve read the Art of War, but if I remember the general gist, you attack from strength to win, and take a defensive strategy from weakness in order to not lose… I don’t have a lot of admiration for teams that play to not lose. I understand it, can even, almost respect it. But it’s usually pretty clear what it says about the team’s opinion of themselves versus their opponents and it has to leave the victory a little hollow, in that you walk away saying we survived, not that we won. That other problem I have with it is that if everybody played this way, teams could just sit back in their own end kicking long balls back and forth never crossing the midfield line, in the extreme it’s absurd in the context of this game…in war, maybe different, in football?…

          • Laurentiu88 says:

            i guess this was pretty much how most games where before victories started to be rewarded with 3 points in stead of 2.

  24. Lev says:

    I didn’t think the final was boring at all. Bayern played very attacking football. Juve-Milan for example were against two teams who did not want to win. Chelsea-Man U the teams evened each other out so much that neither was able to create more than one or two opportunities over 120 minutes.

    In comparison Bayern, like Barça before them, could have scored a goal every 10 minutes and this made the game quite exciting. The extra time was boring though cause Bayern had little energy left.

    What I will say is this – I do not remember a team SO UNDESERVING of winning the CL. They shouldn’t have been in the final, let alone win it. They shouldn’t even have been in the semis because Benfica outplayed them.

    I am tired of a lot of people telling me how well they defended against Bayern and Barça – they didn’t defend well at all they were just luck their opponents missed so many chances :(

  25. Judas Pissed says:

    COPA DEL REY!!

  26. Salia says:

    Apparently we are interested in Sebastian Giovinco and have made him offer quite recently according to his agent

    Giovinco who is co owned by Juventus has scored 16 goals this season (15 of them in Serie A) and also has 11 assists in 38 matches. He can play either as an attacking midfielder or forward. He has 25 caps for Italy scoring 5 goals in about 5 or 6 starts. He is currently playing for Parma.

    Personally I dont think we need him because he looks quite similar to Alexis. Like his close control though

  27. blitzen says:

    From Abidal’s facebook page:

    Bonjour à tous,
    Je vous confirme que je suis sorti aujourd’hui de l’hôpital : je voulais que vous en soyez les premiers informés !
    Je vous donnerai plus de nouvelles demain dans la journée.
    Gérard (mon cousin) se joint à moi pour vous remercier tous pour vos nombreux témoignages de soutien !

    Hi everybody,
    I confirm you that I went out of the hospital today: I wanted to give you first, this information.
    I will give you more news tomorrow.
    Gérard (my cousin) joins me to thank all of you for your numerous messages of support!

    Hola a todos,
    Confirmo que he salido del hospital hoy en día: yo quería que ustedes fueran los primeros en saberlo!
    Le daré más noticias mañana durante la jornada.
    Gerard (mi primo) se une a mí para dar las gracias a todos por sus numerosas expresiones de apoyo!

    https://www.facebook.com/Eric.Abidal.Officiel/posts/407194172637017

    :D :D :D

  28. Salia says:

    http://www.barcablaugranes.com/2012/5/20/3032128/mystery

    Interesting read about how when teams first played against our tiki take how they were confused and didnt know who would go where and who to mark. This was a mystery and the longer that a mystery lasts the more successful you are. The writer isnt jumping on the plan B bandwagon but he is just explaining how we have make tweaks every year to keep the opposition guessing and how Tito will do exactly that.

    The writer talks about an IPL match wher a bowler called Sunil Narine made the little mastet Sachin Tendulkar suffer with his unique mystery bowling approach and this lad is quite young and his style is new. The writer says that when this mystery get solved it success rate will decline and wont be as effective. Similarly that is what he is saying about us, we just have to keep adding new little tweaks (mysteries) to our mystery (tiki taka)

  29. Lie says:

    Firstly, for this club, who cares about that game? It should not perturb anyone here how they or anyone else performs or wants to play, let alone elicit talk about changing how Barca play their game, at least not yet, if ever.

    Chelsea can play however they like. If they felt they needed to “park the bus” (a snide derogatory phrase most of the time, in my opinion) then so be it. They had more important players out, were reeling from a horrible season for them, and had a squad of ageing players: it’s not pretty, but they did what they thought they had to in order to win. Good for them.

    • Humphrey Bogart says:

      the most people here do not only love FCB but football in general. What will be the future when even Top teams play like Greece did in 2004? CFC playing a victim/underdog role which is laughable.

      When CFC played against FCB the teamm that started the 2nd leg had a value of around 100 Mio. that is Torres+Mata togehter, From that point of view FCB would have been the underdog.

      Everybody can play the way he wants but please stop to excuse it with this underdog shit. CFC has a much more valuable team than Bayern or Barca

      • Lie says:

        Torres was worth £50m was he then? And besides, two players make a team do they? If “from that point of view FCB would have been the underdog” then doesn’t that tell you your premise is flawed?

        Chelsea were the underdogs. That’s a perfect excuse. In such a massive game why should they have been suicidal? What is the point you’re trying to make here?

        • Humphrey Bogart says:

          Of course he was worth 50, because that is what was payed for him. and a team is more than 2 men, I just used Torres+Mata to underline how flawed that underdog argument is: if 2 players are nearly as valuable as the 11 ohter players who can the team with that 2 players be the underdog?

          • Lie says:

            I think my definition of “worth” is different to yours! I meant worth as meaning true worth not market price, which I thought was pretty clear from the context. How do you know Torres and Mata are worth more than the whole Barca/Bayern team? How much are Xavi and Messi worth? Robben and Ribery?

            Fine, forget “worth” — let’s talk of ability instead then. How many goals has Torres scored then, if he’s a 50m striker? How many games have Chelsea won? Who’s form has been better? Whose form has been better at home? Who were, in fact, playing at home? By what measure were Chelsea not the underdogs? Because their players used to be very good? Because they’ve signed a few expensive players? Mata has had a pretty disappointing season, don’t you know? Torres, too, as I’m sure you know.

  30. Calvin says:

    Had a quick interchange with Kxevin over twitter on what to do with the promoted players next year, here are my thoughts:

    Dos Santos: If Keita leaves I think he will have a big role to play in the midfield next season. With that said at the age of 22 he is rapidly approaching (or has reached) the point where he needs to make the first team, or be sold. A loan is an option, but in recent years players have rarely come back to the first team after being on loan. Decision: Sell if Keita stays, first team if Keita leaves.

    Montoya: He’s unfortunate to find himself behind Alves at RB, but he put in some promising performances this season. He should be promoted and given as much playing time as possible, and he should get some experience playing LB with the huge hole Abidal’s condition leaves in the team.

    Muniesa: Still fairly young and promising, he could use another season with Barcelona B, with the occasional call up to the first team. Sure his contract says he is being promoted, but sit him down and explain it would be best for him and I don’t see any issues (other than the B team’s playing style, of course).

    Bartra: A hard one to judge. I think he has a future with the team, but it’s hard to see him getting too much playing time next season after we (hopefully) buy a new center back. Add in that he will be competing with Fontas for last defender on the bench and it’s hard to know what will happen for him. I’d probably keep him with the first team, but I wouldn’t mind seeing him out on loan either (preferably somewhere like Ajax!)

    Tello: This one depends on whether we spring for a forward this summer or not. I think Cuenca adds more diversity to the team than Tello, so I’d rather see Cuenca stay and Tello get a season out on loan, preferably to a low level EPL team.

    • ciaran says:

      I’m concerned about JDS. He doesn’t seem to be progressing much and hasn’t been trusted much thus far.
      I do think that if we sell Keita then we should be taking a serious look at Bruno Soriano from Villarreal. For the DM position, experience counts for a lot and I’d prefer to trust a player with over 150 La Liga games, and Villarreal play a style similar to ours. Obviously they got relegated this season but there’s a dozen reasons for that rather than individual talent.

      Montoya is a definite first teamer next season, although if Dani Alves is actually sold I imagine we will buy a starter and rotate them with Montoya. Maybe a van der Wiel type. Zabaleta was rumoured today but I couldn’t see City leaving him go.

      Tello, I have a lot of faith in, due to the fact that he is so direct and hasn’t had any length of time training with the first team.
      Bartra and Muniesa will probably both stay with the B team with us buying a centreback in all likelihood.

    • blitzen says:

      Sure his contract says he is being promoted, but sit him down and explain it would be best for him and I don’t see any issues (other than the B team’s playing style, of course).

      You’re dreaming, boy. The club has already announced his promotion. There is no going back. I see him being loaned out for a year or so. Or staying, if Bartra gets loaned. They won’t both stay.

      • ciaran says:

        When were they officially promoted?

      • Calvin says:

        Well someone is in a pleasant mood tonight.

        I’m discussing my opinion on what I think should happen. Loaning out young players is not a good option if we think they will ever have a role to play in the first team. When was the last time we loaned out a youth player and they returned and made the squad? (Only one of the current youth products in the first team).

        I don’t think Muniesa is ready for the first team. I think it would be a bad idea to send him out on loan. His contract says he’s being promoted but I think someone at the club should take him aside and chat with him about his future and why another B year would be good for his development. I don’t think the club should let the contract get in the way of the best course for the future of the team.

        Keita is able to leave June 30 on a free, because he didn’t meet the minimum playing time clause in his contract. Do you see that happening?

        • ciaran says:

          He made like 40 appearances this season including playing at the ACN. Where did you see that he can leave on a free?
          I don’t think that he would leave on a free anyway as I can see him wanting us to get some fee for him

  31. TITO says:

    Personally i hate everything the Special Five is attached to, so to some extent Chelsea takes part in my hatred.
    I don’t care how they won it, what means they had and how undeserving they were.
    I care about my team and how we play. When i watched the final i couldn’t but cry at the teams playing the final. We are sooooooo much better than them, we can give them manita every time we want to, why? Because we have the talent, the skills, the intelligence, the players to do it. It’s just wasn’t meant to be, not this year.
    That’s why i am so harsh on our players. They are unique (most of them), they have this golden era to simply win a trophy after trophy and maybe, just maybe called the best in history. We don’t know whether we will have this kind of a talent group in the future, or maybe the luck won’t be on our side for long periods, as it was in the past. That’s why we have to seize the moment and take advantage of it.
    We have to be up there with RM or Milan regarding the CL trophies, simply because we deserve it throughout our history. What counts in the end, is the success, that is the measure for greatness. We are lucky that our team combines great play (most fans agree) with success.
    I’m looking forward to our new season. I’m sure Tito will give us something new and exciting. Let’s just wait and see.
    I still have not unfasten my seat belt.

  32. Humphrey Bogart says:

    Well the value of Messi/Xavi/Iniesta is 0, that is how they accounted in the books. How do I know that Torres/Mata are more worth than Bayern/FCB? Well you just have to check the transfer value, no big secret to that.

  33. culegirl3 says:

    I can’t find it within myself to congratulate a non-deserving team so I guess I am a bitter sore loser.

    I’ll never understand how a park the bus team made it to the end let alone making it past the quarter finals.

    As far as Fernando Torres goes with his pitty party about not being treated right..he should thank his lucky stars that he’s still getting called up for the national team and that he hasn’t been sold to some 2nd division team in the middle of nowhere. He screwed himself over by not proving his worth like he should have, there’s nobody to blame but himself. The only reason VdB still calls him up is for sentimental reasons, Torres is like an old relic that people can’t dispose of because of the sentimentality behind it. FT is a shadow of his former self..I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

  34. messifan says:

    So…is anyone excited for the official presentation of the new kits tomorrow?

    According to barcastuff, the presentation is at 12pm (Barcelona time? Then it’s around 6 am EST) at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona.

    Can’t wait to see those kits close up :D

  35. Bill says:

    I laugh at Torres because of the way he abandoned Liverpool. I don’t get players who quit their teams because the team is not winning, but the players themselves were part of the problem. Players like Torres and Nasri irk me.

    Torres cheated on Shakira with Rafaeli? #winning!

    Blitzen, lighten up….

  36. Gogah says:

    I know we’ve been seeing the leaked images of the next kits for a while now, for some reason i didn’t want to believe the ugly gradient tool was Nike’s big idea for our players next season, now its official.
    sigh.

  37. lea_terzi says:

    Call me crazy, but I love the away kit. The return to wild bright colors should help our away form :)

    Not sure about the home shirt, looks a bit like PSG and too little like Barca to me. But I’m sure it will grow on me when players are wearing it on the pitch. Happens every year. I just love this team, questionable fashion choices or not.

  38. Laurentiu88 says:

    seems City are after Silva as well and they are reporting that Milan want 40 mil for him, having rejected 32 from us!

    Seems we must focus on a younger CD, one that we can hope will grow and adapt here. I don’t know how we can compete with these rich clubs…

  39. mwatanabe51 says:

    I just want to point out that this year proves the fact that the road to Champions League glory goes through Camp Nou. In 6 of the last 7 years, either Barcelona has won, or the eventual winner has barely beaten them in the semifinals (Man U, Inter, and Chelsea all won by 1 on aggregate).

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