OFFICIAL: Tito Vilanova agrees a 2-year deal as coach of Barcelona Football Club

I can see the future. A future with less hair.

We have known for a while now that Tito is the new head coach of Barça, but now it is officially official. The club has announced that on Friday June 15, Francesc “Tito” Vilanova will sign his contract and be presented at the Camp Nou’s Sala Paris. A press conference with President Sandro Rosell, Fottball Director Andoni Zubizarreta, and Tito is scheduled for 13:00 CET (7 AM EST).

From the official site:

Tito Vilanova, who was born in Bellacaire d’Empordà on September 17 in 1969, is a La Masia graduate. The Azulgrana manager joined Barça’s youth system in 1984. After making the jump to Barça B and featuring in three first-team friendlies, his career took him to Figueres, Celta, Badajoz, Mallorca, Lleida, Elche and Gramenet. Once he hung up his boots, he started his managerial career with FC Barcelona’s Cadete B (U15) team in the 2001/02 season. In 2007, after managing other teams, Vilanova returned to the Club where he started to train the reserve side with Guardiola. Five years later, he’s officially been named FC Barcelona’s head manager.

Now that I have (sort of) gotten over Pep’s departure, I am very much looking forward to what Tito has planned for the team. The players are unanimous in saying that they think he is the best choice possible for the job, and they all say that Tito is very tactically-minded and that he was the source of many of Pep’s ideas. He has a somewhat reserved public personality, but I suspect he may be even more adventurous than Pep on the pitch. He has also signed up for two years, unlike Pep’s year-by-year preference, so we know he has some long-term goals for the team. Finally, he is just as devoted to youth development as Pep, so we can expect to see more B team players get opportunities to train and play with the first team. No word yet on what his plans are for the four players who have just been promoted, but my expectation is that he will include them in his preseason and make final decisions on their futures later in the summer.

Welcome, Tito! We look forward to the journey!

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Written by:

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

106 Comments

  1. June 14, 2012

    I can see the future. A future with less hair.

    Teehee!

    Is it confirmed that Jourdi Roura will be assisting Tito?

    The King is gone. Long Live the King!

    • June 14, 2012

      No, Tito hasn’t announced his staff yet. Maybe at the presser tomorrow.

      The other good news is that Zubi has also renewed his contract as Football Director until 2014 (with option for 2016). Not only does this provide more continuity, but he is also well-liked and trusted by the coaching staff and players. As the public face of the football division, he has been an excellent choice.

  2. nzm
    June 14, 2012

    Can we expect Tito to be the Prince of Bellacaire, with no hair?

    Time will tell… 😀

    • mom4
      June 14, 2012

      Now this is a story all about how
      My life got flipped-turned upside down
      And I liked to take a minute just sit down
      there
      And tell you how I became the prince of
      a town called Bellacaire.

          • nzm
            June 14, 2012

            Who remember when Will Smith was a rapper before he became a Scientologist. 😀

  3. hammeronmessi
    June 14, 2012

    may be kevin said “messi is less talented then ronaldo”in the previous post.

    can you share why do you think that?

    ronaldo sure as hell, a talented player but athleticism plays a big big part in his playing style and career.

    he is clearly the stronger,faster player among the two.he can shoot in both foot,can head,can run like a sprinting dog,can unleash some tomahawks.

    but is he more talented?

    not even close.

    just swap messi for ronaldo in the portugal team and swap ron for messi in the portugal team.

    which team you will bet on?

    • barca96
      June 14, 2012

      My reply to Kxevin was;

      Even though Ronaldo maximizes his true talent, potential, he will not be a better player than Messi. And I think CR7 is already at 99% of his potential.

      • Jim
        June 14, 2012

        Ronaldo doesn’t have a fraction of the talent that Messi has. He can’t score the sort of goals Messi can and he isn’t even a great dribbler imo. Can’t remember the last great goal he scored. What he is is fast and strong with a powerful shot but as Brazil could point out from a few World Cups ago David Narey of Scotland also has a powerful shot but if it’s a toe ender it isn’t really class.

      • mom4
        June 14, 2012

        Messi is pure soccer talent. Ronaldo is is blessed with athleticism and trains very hard.
        Ronaldo could have excelled at any almost sport given enough training.
        Messi was born to play soccer and make cules happy.
        IMHO

  4. barca96
    June 14, 2012

    I’ve never expected Holland to beat Germany. It’s not based on skills but I’ve always noticed that the Dutch have a mental block against the Germans. They feel inferior to them. And with theses sets of players, the Germans simply have a better mentality.

    The Germans didn’t even play great. They just let the Dutch have the ball.

    Ah well, hopefully we’ll beat Portugal by 2 goals and make sure Ronaldo doesn’t score again

  5. June 14, 2012

    Yay!!! Great news! Finally, we’ll get to see Tito in a suit with skinny tie. Or he can go casual with nice dark colored skinny jeans, a collar t-shirt and a dark blue blazer 😀

    • nzm
      June 14, 2012

      Nope – he and Bielsa are going head-to-head in who can wear a tracksuit with more style.

  6. barca96
    June 14, 2012

    No matter how hard Ireland will try to imitate their.neighbours bus parking tactics, Spain will beat them by a 3 goal margin.

  7. Blau-Grenade
    June 14, 2012

    Love this dude Mario Mandžukić. Scoring goals, playing winger, holding up ball, tracking back, winning the ball….

  8. mom4
    June 14, 2012

    Dear God in Heaven Arbeloas’s starting again. And Torres too! I had this awful, awful feeling yesterday about Spain pulling a Netherlands.

    OT, Ballack has pretty eyes. Just sayin’.

      • Blau-Grenade
        June 14, 2012

        I’m a big fan of Torres. Glad to see him getting a goal.

        • Jim
          June 14, 2012

          You have to feel that playing with Xavi and Iniesta he will never have a better chance to play his way out of this slump. I’m liking his movement.

  9. swamidigital
    June 14, 2012

    lol espn commentators criticizing spain, and the play caller says ‘recent evidence suggests it works’ (ie. last euro and wc) to this the color comentator says ‘maybe’

    …Really? I don’t like british commentators, they only understand direct football.

    • Blau-Grenade
      June 14, 2012

      The tone of the commentators has changed after 4 goals.

  10. Blau-Grenade
    June 14, 2012

    Love the Spanish national team movement, passing and ball retrieval. They should bring in Jesus Navas for Silva. Silva sometimes ends up in the same position as Torres. That will kill the Irish.

      • Blau-Grenade
        June 14, 2012

        How could I forget Pedro!!! Yes want some Pedro 🙂

    • mom4
      June 14, 2012

      Despite the goal, Silva hasn’t impressed me for the past 2 games. Wonder what’s up with him.

      • Messiah10
        June 14, 2012

        Hasn’t impressed? 1st game he was 2nd best player behind Iniesta. He gave the sublime pass to Cesc for the equalizer. I don’t understand why all the press in Spain were praising Cesc for the goal when anyone could have finished that shot. Silva is pure class. I wanted him before he left for Citeh. I’ll be gutted if he goes to EE

        • nzm
          June 15, 2012

          So – who are you going to drop for Silva – Messi or Pedro? Because Silva won’t come to play second string.

          He plays in the same space as them and simply isn’t as effective with the ball at his feet. He’s a finisher latching onto the ball to score. He doesn’t create much at all.

          Pedro can do that – and Pedro’s movement off the ball is so much better than Silva’s to make space for the ball carrier. Plus, he’s quicker than Silva to get to the loose ball and create something with it.

          I’d choose Pedro any day because his defence is far superior to Silva’s. He tracks back and constantly hounds his marks.

          Silva is over-rated in my opinion.

      • nia
        June 14, 2012

        Thank you. A lot of people are giving praise to Silva, but honestly, he hasn’t impressed me either. I guess we are all used to Barca’s standards that everyone else seems not up to our standards. That said, i also feel that Cesc is also weaker than his Barca team mates.

    • Blau-Grenade
      June 14, 2012

      What a goal from Cesc, and that was a beautiful game to watch.
      Not so impressed with Italy today.

  11. nzm
    June 14, 2012

    I really wanted a manita so that the RM players could get to experience what that feels like. 😀

    • Blau-Grenade
      June 14, 2012

      Lol, you are funny. I wanted the manita as well, but not for that reason.

    • Ryan
      June 15, 2012

      Well, considering they scored even more than we did, I think they know what it feels like to dole them out!

      That Xavi shot really should’ve gone in. He merited a goal and that would have completed the manita!

  12. Helge
    June 14, 2012

    This.is.football! 🙂

    I think Jordi Alba is a very good choice for us, if Valencia does not sell him under 15mio, then we shall pay it. He’s worth it.

    Bizarre statistic over Cesc Fabregas:
    He did not score for Barca since the beginning of February, but scored twice for Spain in about 90min :/
    Hope he keeps up the Spanish scoring ratio for Barca’s next season!

  13. ciaran
    June 14, 2012

    As an Irishman I have to say I’m proud of the desire but we were dominated for the entire match.
    Our fans were an absolute credit to the country, singing at 4-0

    • June 14, 2012

      Yep, the fans were great. Having fun, supporting their team, and not abusing the opposition. Well done.

  14. olbucky
    June 14, 2012

    Here’s my breakdown of the game. I know most people will think I’m crazy here …but. Torres had a couple moments of brilliance but other than that he slowed the play and wasn’t a big part of the game. Easy opportunities like that wont come against Germany. For the second game in a row Xabi Alonso was completely useless. It. Makes no sense to have him in there with Busquets. VDB is playing politics. Iniesta should be in that role and Llorente should be the striker. He plays total football and would do great being fed by Xavi and Iniesta. Once Alonso and. Torres left the game Spain stepped their level of play up several notches. I felt like I was watching Barca at their best at one point. If you the watch the game you’ll notice that Alonso was constantly out of the camera shot as he was outside of play. None of his shots were on target again. He always has that I have to shit look on my face. This team should easily win it but VDB might just as easily screw things up. He needs to use Pedro, take advantage of the years of chemistry between the Barca connection. Bottom line it wins trophys.

    I was happy to see Alba improving but I still don’t see him as a dominating force. On the other hand Javier Martinez may just have the chops to attempt to fill King Eric’s shoes. I liked what I saw today a lot! Iniesta does things that nobody else can do, I wonder why nobody’s ever tried him as a number nine. The same philosophy Pep had with Messi in that you want him closer to the goal and he will score more. If you’re gonna play Cesc there why not Iniesta?

    • nia
      June 14, 2012

      Though Alonso wasn’t that good, i still think Arbeloa was the worst. So many times he was found with so much acreage on the right with no one close to him and he failed to make a single positive contribution. Not one cross or pass into the box. By playing him, they lost good attacking play on the right. They would have been better of playing Juan Fran or eve Pedro.

      • vivaespana
        June 15, 2012

        I thought Arbeloa had a good game. Was a constant threat on the right flank, feeding halls into the centre for Torres and Silva, both of whom failed to capitalise. At the back Arbeloa wasn’t tested but when he was he put in good tackles. Good thing about Arbeloa is that he is a RB who can defend.

        • June 15, 2012

          I agree. Lord knows I’m no fan of Arbeloa, but he was more than decent in this game. Of course he had hardly anything to do at the back, so that helped.

  15. nzm
    June 14, 2012

    Alonso played more balls to the Irish players than he did to his own team-mates. Won’t be able to get away with that when playing Croatia.

    Apart from their goals, Silva and Torres couldn’t play even if the ball was superglued to their boots.

    How many times do we have to endure Iniesta out on the left? Why can’t these managers see that he’s not being used properly out there? He was desperately needed closer to Xavi – you could see Xavi tracking over to be closer to Ini, but then both of them ended up too far over on the left to be effective.

    Busquets really does have to become more decisive and make more choices other than to pass the ball to Xavi or Ini or Alonso. He can do it – just needs to do it more often. And teach him how to shoot goals, for goodness’ sake!

    Love Xavi, but tonight he was a lot slower than usual, and those back passes were annoying me. He wasn’t seeing the forward runs as well as he usually does – but that may have been because of the rain. Play the ball faster and don’t hold it up – especially when the defence is scrambling to get back. The team still needs him though – he’s the leader up the front.

    Still not sure about Alba. If he comes to Barcelona at the expense of Adriano, we’ll still be short of good LBs. (And an RB which Adriano can also play really well.)

    Arbeloa was not too bad tonight, but he couldn’t hit a barn door with his attempts on goal. Unbelievable.

    Ramos and Pique were solid tonight – I thought that Pique had a great game. He so desperately wanted to score to flash his 2-2 sign for Shakira!

    Did Casillas manage to stay awake for the whole game? 😀 He did make some good saves though.

    I hope that Pedro does manage to get some minutes somewhere.

  16. nzm
    June 14, 2012

    Xavi broke Koeman’s European Championship passing record tonight.

    Koeman’s record was 117 in 1992 vs. Denmark. Tonight Xavi completed 127 out of 136.

    La Roja also took the record for most passes – 860 tonight against Ireland.

  17. ciaran
    June 14, 2012

    It’s easy to improve that Spain side, but it won’t happen.
    Arbeloa needs to be dropped, Ramos moved to RB and Martinez to CB.
    Alonso dropped and an extra attacker played.

    Ramos – Pique – Martinez – Alba
    Xavi – Busquets – Iniesta
    Silva – Cesc
    Torres

    • Richzorz
      June 15, 2012

      Drop HALF of the RM players are you crazy?!?!? :p

    • nzm
      June 15, 2012

      Put Pedro in there instead of Silva and it’s a better team. Pedro is much better at tracking back to help with defence when needed.

    • June 15, 2012

      Is J. Martinez good at CB? I barely watched any Athletic games to decide if he’s good or not. We have to keep in mind that Pique is slow, so having Ramos as a partner complements Pique’s playing style. Against Italy, the partnership was used for the first time in a high-level competitive game. Against Ireland, those two didn’t really have a lot to deal with. Croatia will be a good test for them two. I think Ramos has the potential to replace Puyi b/c he has aggression and speed, but he needs to cut out his stupidity and recklessness (That Balotelli moment was kind of funny). In short, I prefer Pique-Ramos partnership more than the unknown (Pique-Martinez), esp. in a potential 6-game competition.

      That means Arbeloa will stay at left back. I can’t judge him based on that Ireland game b/c Ireland barely attacked. But Cuatro Deportes did a segment on Spain defense against Italy, and the Arbeloa highlights were really cringe-worthy. He needs to be careful with his tackling.

      Alba has been average so far. His height is going to be an issue for Spain and possibly for Barca. I’ve seen some crosses that he can’t intercept. But he certainly has potential.

      Based on the two games they played, the only standout in Spain defense is Pique. His touches and positional sense were excellent (Note: everyone should watch Cuatro Deportes highlight of the Italy game to appreciate Pique’s game).

      In midfield, I think the use of Busi and Xabi will be situational-based. For a high pressing game, having two holding DMs provide relief outlets for their defense. Keep in mind that Casillas, Ramos and Arbeloa are not used to building play from the back while facing pressure from their opponents. Against Italy, double-pivot was a good choice b/c it allowed them to gain midfield superiority since Italy fielded 5 players in that area, and helped alleviate pressure from their defense.

      Against Ireland, a double pivot wasn’t needed, but it was hard to decide if Spain was really that good since Ireland was really lacking.

      My preferred Spain’s line-up against Croatia:

      ——-Casillas———-
      Arbeloa-Pique-Ramos-Alba
      —–Busi-Alonso——-
      ——–Xavi———-
      Pedro——–Iniesta
      ——–Torres——-

      I think Croatia has players to challenge Spain in midfield. Croatia will play counter attacking but their system will be a combo of pressing and playing on the wings. Obviously they are not going to see a lot of possession but they will be more dangerous than Ireland.

      Pedro provides width and work rate. He and Arbeloa will have to coordinate when to overlap. Same with Ini and Alba partnership.
      I would love to see Cesc in that lineup. I think he offers something different, a vertical thrust that Spain doesn’t have in all their playmakers. Alonso can also do long passes, esp. if Torres play up front.

      But knowing del Bosque’s style, he’ll most likely go for 6 midfielders and narrowness. Forced exhaustion on their opponents, and BAM(!) 1-0 to Spain. The end 😀

  18. June 15, 2012

    Some quotes from Tito’s press conference, courtesy of @barcastuff:

    “Vilanova: “The four players who will promote from the B-team because of their contract will have to prove themselves in pre-season.”

    “Vilanova: “Reaction to constant provocations and attacks from Madrid? I deal well with it. I’m very calm, don’t get nervous easily (smiles)”

    Vilanova: “Alves will stay, that’s obvious. Don’t understand the rumours. He has been of the best transfers of the last years.”

    Vilanova: “With Keita the same.: if he wants, he will stay.”

    Vilanova: “We don’t plan to sign any forward. Just hope to have less injuries. Cuenca and Tello are there too, we have enough attackers.”

    Vilanova: “As I said, I’m not worried about the comparisons with Pep. I lose them all anyway.”

    I’m happy. 😀

    • June 15, 2012

      And these:

      Vilanova: “Pep and I never had bad words, no bad gesture, think no marriage in the world has been as solid as our relation.”

      Vilanova: “If Pep would have joined another team this summer, I probably wouldn’t be here now.”

      Awwww!!!!

      • barca96
        June 15, 2012

        Doesn’t really sound that he is too happy that the 4 babies are promoted because of their contract and not because of their merit.

        I for one think it was arrogant on the player’s part to include that in the contract.

        • June 15, 2012

          It’s a pretty standard clause for a B team player. After a certain number of years the player must be either promoted or released. Everyone understands there is no guarantee that they will actually join the first team. Thiago had the same thing in his youth contract, only in his case there was no question he had the chops, as Pep had already incorporated him into the first team. It’s not arrogance, just business. It’s a way the players have of raising their price if the club decides to sell them.

          • June 15, 2012

            I heard a rumor that Chelsea wants Sergi Roberto. I hope it’s not true, but it will be difficult for him to find a spot in the first team (he’s not promoted next season).

  19. June 15, 2012

    Whew! Been on media lockdown for a day. Lots of riding, racing and catching up with matches late. Another good day in the tournament, though apparently the Croatian fans aren’t the ones to invite to parties, between booing anthems and throwing a banana onto the pitch at Balotelli. Way to make a scumbag into a sympathetic character.

    –Seems I got some bloomers in a bunch by having the temerity to suggest that Wrongaldo is more talented than Messi. Sorry, but he is. It doesn’t mean that he is, or ever will be a better football player than Messi. The two are very, very different things.

    But if you look at talent, which for me is the potentialities suggested by the aggregation of physical attributes, Wrongaldo is more talented. He might be a better player were he in fact less talented, because he’d have to learn things such as nuance, feel for a match and the like, rather that just overpowering things with pace and/or power of shot.

    It takes nothing away from the excellence of Messi for someone to say that Wrongaldo is more talented, in view of my definition. I’m not kicking puppies or anything.

    The other question becomes maximization of the possibilities presented by talent. It is here that Messi leaves him in the shade. It must also be noted that the two players are differently talented, but if you were to build your prototypical footballer, he would look more like Wrongaldo than Messi.

    To be sure, it’s easy to let events cloud a bloodless assessment. If Messi had a shot like Wrongaldo’s, he’d probably have had 100 goals last season. But he doesn’t. Messi is quick, his counterpart is fast. It’s fascinating that the two best players on the planet have physical attributes that are so different, yet both so well-suited to make them dominant.

    Anyhow ….

    • June 15, 2012

      I think it is your definition of “talent” that people are disagreeing with. You are focusing only on the physical side. For me, “talent” includes all the mental abilities as well–game intelligence, ability to predict the movement of the ball & players, finding solutions to problems presented on the pitch. These are all areas for which Messi has a natural talent and in which he outclasses Ronaldo by a large margin.

      Anyway, we all know you are a biased idiot and a Messi-hater. 😉

      • June 15, 2012

        Is the brain not part of the body? Not sure why people often separate the brain from the body when it comes to evaluating athletes. “He’s such a smart player” is almost seen as an euphemism for “He isn’t as physically gifted.”

        For me, both players are physically gifted in their own way. If Wrongaldo worked as hard at the game as Messi, if he were raised in a system that worked on thought and speed of thought with the ball at your feet, in a system focused on making the TEAM better, it would be interesting to see the kind of player that he might have turned into.

        As for your comment about in-game problem solving, note my comment about Wrongaldo being better were he less talented physically. At some point, somebody will say something other than “Messi shits rainbows,” and people will evaluate the statement rather than saying “Hey, how dare he?”

        It’s a discussion that was very interesting on Twitter (until Ramzi dug his heels in).

        • mom4
          June 15, 2012

          It’s a little unfair to simplify opposing arguments into the ‘Messi shits rainbows’ statement.

          • June 15, 2012

            Not doing that at all. Just characterizing the reaction that comes when anything evaluative is offered about Messi. I understand that people love him. He’s a dazzling player. But he’s also a phenomenon that for me, is endlessly fascinating, from my last Messi post to the Twitter discussion about talent, that was sparked by a comment that Wrongaldo was more “made” than talented. I, like many others, had the “Are you crazy?” reaction, because the dude is crazy talented. Then we started defining talent, etc, etc, and things got very good.

        • Ryan
          June 15, 2012

          “Is the brain not part of the body?”

          Well, the idea of dualism, that there’s a distinction between mind and body, would argue otherwise.

        • Messiah10
          June 15, 2012

          Have to disagree that Wrongaldo wasn’t brought up in a system that incorporates team work. Sir Alex emphasizes team over individual. It may not be the quick passing, reaction based, philosophy of tiki-taka, but certainly not void of fundamentals and team work. I think the 2 are such different players and yet both so gifted. Could you imagine scoring 60 goals in a season and be the 2nd best player on the planet? That would suck! He’s not even the best player in his league. Again. Suck. I’m still not convinced Wrongaldo made the best move for his career by leaving Man. U. It’ll be interesting to see how the coming season progresses. Will he be obsessed with outscoring Messi to the detriment of his team? I think he will. While Messi will continue to flourish in tiki-taka and take what’s given him, Wrongaldo will alienate his teammates and become even more selfish.

    • Ryan
      June 15, 2012

      Interesting that you’re making this argument, as it seems a universally agreed point that Ronaldo is the better athlete but Messi is the more talented. Look at how Messi played when he was 5 years old; it’s exactly how he plays now. Ronaldo, on the other hand, has had to work his butt off to get where he is today. He apparently is the hardest worker in every training, last to leave, etc. The Japanese have several stories that highlight this distinction between natural geniuses and hard-working, success stories.

      I think you have to decouple talent from physical gifts. Very few of our squad are physically gifted, but all of them are quite talented.

    • Helge
      June 15, 2012

      Seems I got some bloomers in a bunch by having the temerity to suggest that Wrongaldo is more talented than Messi. Sorry, but he is. It doesn’t mean that he is, or ever will be a better football player than Messi.

      Well, interesting point of view. I have a completely different understanding of talent in mind.

      For me, talent is something that cannot be learned or trained (i.e. not physical attributes, because those can be trained), you either got it or you don’t.
      I associate something very abstract with talent, that ccannot be seen from the outside. Ronaldo has a lot more muscles, power, strebgth than Messi or almost any other player, nonetheless Messi is the better footballer. Ronaldo is effort, work ethic and physical attributes, Messi is sheer talent. The talent to anticipate player’s runs, i.e. knowing when and where to pass, and the incredibly close ball control, even dwhile changing direction (which cannot be directly attributed to physical aspects) are the two main things that make Messi stand above the others.
      The vision of Xavi is also a talent, imo. You can improve your vision, but you will not get to the level of Xavi’s reading and directing of a match.

      What would make me wonder, if I said CR is more talented than Messi, how do you explain that he is not the better player, although all his coaches praise him for his professionalism and never before seen work ethic during (and after) offical training sessions?
      If the more talented player who is flawless in his interpretation of his job is not the best, what is the reason why that other dude is the best? ‘Cuz he lacks talent? Doesn’t make sense to me.

    • Kimcelona
      June 15, 2012

      See this is where I KNOW you say alot of stuff to stir up controversy or to get a rise out of people. LOL

      Cristiano is more talented than Messi? Thats the most laughable thing I’ve heard in a while…

      Seems you have a different definition of talent than everybody else.

      I think Klaas Huntelaar puts it best, “Messi can dribble someone on a square metre, while Ronaldo needs more space. It’s talent against training.”
      Its that simple really.

      That does not mean that Cristiano isnt a great player but Messi is a genius…A NATURAL TALENT..a once in a lifetime kind of talent. CR may be more physically appealing but he does not have the football knowledge, technique of Messi. Messi looks like he was born to play football. I’ve seen tapes of a little Messi dribbling everyone around him..he knew when to accelerate, when to use different moves to get by players..just a natural footballer.

      CR is about training to get things right, he’s a perfectionist..things that come naturally to Messi, CR trains to get right AND he has the physical attributes to obtain.
      I think you sound like the typical sports fan that only sees the physical..CR is built nice, has a powerful shot, blah, blah, thats not even half of what football is about..CR maximizes his talent every game he plays..he’s physical, he’s fast, he heads, shoots with both feet..what else should or do you think he’s not doing? Please enlighten me.

    • nzm
      June 15, 2012

      No – that’s Pepe Costa. He’s part of the Barca training team and Messi’s minder. That’s why he walked up the stairs with Messi. You don’t want to mess with that guy. 😀

  20. barca96
    June 15, 2012

    Mourinho, even though the numbers are balanced but none of the 5 guys from your team has much influence on how the Spain NT play.

    Casillas is a GK, Ramos is at CB. All the attacks go through Xavi and Iniesta.

  21. providence
    June 15, 2012

    how far with Busquets injury? is he playing against Croatia?

  22. providence
    June 15, 2012

    Vilanova: “If Pep would have joined another team this
    summer, I probably wouldn’t be here now.

  23. providence
    June 15, 2012

    Vilanova: “If Pep would have joined another team this
    summer, I probably wouldn’t be here now.

    so what does this mean? I guess pep will take a national team instead of a club

    • nzm
      June 15, 2012

      No – I think that it means that Pep is having the rest that he said that he was going to take.

      If he was going to another team, Tito would have gone with him. That’s the way in which management teams work – they generally move from club to club together.

      For example, Mourinho has a whole management team that followed him from Inter and beyond to RM. Cost the club about 100 million euros to bring them all onboard. Karanka is just a RM Spanish figurehead/puppet representative to keep the RM fans happy in the belief that the Spanish still have some say in the team.

      • June 15, 2012

        I think the fact that Vilanova signed a two-year deal is interesting. I wonder if he will bolt with Guardiola to whatever place he lands at, and if the length of Vilanova’s tenure has any indication as to the length of Guardiola’s sabbatical?

        • nzm
          June 15, 2012

          I’m sure they would have talked about it. Could be that Pep will be out for 2 seasons.

          Would that tie in with the next club elections? 😀 I’m not sure, without going off to check it out, but I do know that Rosell and Co are floating the idea of extending the number of years between elections. I wonder why?

          It’s a smart move for Tito, because if it all goes pear-shaped this season and the board decides to oust him, they need to pay him out of his remaining contract.

          So, if Pep does take on another project next season, then Tito will be free to join him, but if Pep stays out for another season, Tito is covered for income – if he stays or goes.

          • Cy
            June 16, 2012

            Interesting if Tito still willing to be anybody’s #2 after being Barca’s #1. Hence interesting who will be Pep’s next #2 when he returns to coaching. 🙂

      • providence
        June 15, 2012

        NZM how did u do the cancelling in the word head “figure head puppet” please teach me

        • Blau-Grenade
          June 15, 2012

          use the s and /s tags.
          strike tag
          More details at *http://www.w3schools.com/tags/tag_strike.asp

          • nzm
            June 15, 2012

            Yes – and just remember to close the strike tag, otherwise everything, and every comment, after yours will be struck out!

  24. June 15, 2012

    Les Bleus! It took a while, but they benefited from a more open match.

    • nzm
      June 15, 2012

      Wow – that was some storm which stopped the game. Amazing lightning and rain.

  25. simple_barcafan
    June 15, 2012

    well…Hope some of the people (gals esp) are satisfied. Now we know how Tito looks like with a suit..I am surprised that there are no reactions here.. 🙂

    • June 15, 2012

      Oh, don’t worry! The first thing I did this morning was checking those pictures. Not bad at all 😀

    • nzm
      June 15, 2012

      He scrubs up very, very well!

      Not sure that he and Rosell are that tight, though – judging from the Tito faces with the Rosell hug.

      But then, it must be hard for Tito or anyone to be excited about hugging a fish.

    • simple_barcafan
      June 15, 2012

      The assistant coach looks tough!…Well One thing I am pretty sure of is Mou will think twice before poking him in the eye…

      • nia
        June 15, 2012

        Even the players will think twice before questioning him, lol. Next time Messi is told to rest, he’ll rest for for sure.

  26. providence
    June 15, 2012

    Busquets set to face
    Croatia. from sky sports.

    thank you Blau – Grenade and NZM

  27. nzm
    June 15, 2012

    Holy moley – England under duress right now. 2-1 to Sweden with 30mins to go.

    • Ryan
      June 15, 2012

      As someone who wants Ukraine to advance, this is a great result. I think they’d advance with a tie vs. England if this score holds!

    • Ryan
      June 15, 2012

      Nice goal by Welbeck there. The young guns are doing pretty well, eh?

      • nzm
        June 15, 2012

        Maybe it’s time for Rooney to retire!

      • June 15, 2012

        Not an England fan, but I’m happy for Roy. He seems like a cute grandpa 🙂

        My bold predictions are looking good. All we need now is a Pepe red card and a few other things 😉

  28. providence
    June 15, 2012

    england will dfinitely meet spain. but I’m afraid of counter attack and set pieces.

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