Barcelona B news post

We interrupt your regularly scheduled Euros, with a bit of team news:

The B team has started to take shape for the next season. The club has confirmed that the following players have been officially promoted from Juvenil A:

Miguel Bañuz (GK), Sergio Ayala (D), Alejandro Grimaldo (LB), Miguel Angel Sainz-Maza (F), Jordi Quintilla (MF), Patric Gabarron (MF) and Jean-Marie Dongou (F).

Players confirmed as leaving Barcelona B so far are Armando, Riverola, & Miño. There are rumours that Carmona and Lobato will be leaving as well, but no confirmation as yet. The futures of Kiko and Rodri have also not been determined. If they do go, the club will need to sign another couple of forwards, and lots of names have been bandied about.

Tello will definitely not form part of the B team next season, but the club is still deciding on his future with the first team or a possible loan/sale.

Several current Barça B players have received offers from other teams. In particular, Sergi Roberto has been linked with Chelsea, but sources say the player prefers to stay at Barcelona in the hope of opportunities to play with the first team (and eventual promotion).

Last year’s Juvenil A team was fantastic, so I am very much looking forward to seeing their best players incorporated into Barcelona B. Dongou has already proved a key player in his appearances last season, and you may remember Grimaldo debuting with Barça B last September as a left-back—at 15 the youngest to ever play in the Segunda. The future looks very bright indeed!

By blitzen

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

298 comments

  1. Thanks for that. As the future is the future for every level of the club, these posts are so valuable in keeping us up on the young’uns. Tello is going to be a quandary. Something tells me the pressure on him this summer during exhibition season is going to be huge, with a capital H. Same for 3M, though I think the long-term Cuenca knock will relieve some of the pressure on him. We’ll see.

    –The burning question: Les Bleus all the way. I don’t care a whit about Spain, except as much as it makes Barca players happy. Les Bleus are in my heart. IF they lose (lord, that back line) it will bum me out.

    Have the only boring matches involved England? I’m glad they aren’t playing Italy, or they might drop the ball, and they and Italy would stare at each other across the pitch for 90 minutes, then go to penalties. As for the Ibrahimovic goal, sure, why not? Hell of goal. It didn’t matter for anything except his ego and YouTube lore, but what the hell.

    1. Yep, Tello is the big question. I am certain that both Afellay and Cuenca are staying. They have different skill sets and can help the team in different ways. Tello is a more direct sort of player, which is a good thing, but harder to fit in with both Messi and a healthy Villa in the team. He has had some excellent performances, but will need consistent playing time to improve his adaptability and keep playing at a high level. I don’t think the club is interested in selling him outright, although there are lots of clubs that would take him. I think if the player is willing, and I think he will be, a loan would be the best thing. Somewhere like Betis or Valencia would be good. He can always be recalled in January if he is needed. I wouldn’t mind keeping him at Barça either, personally, but that would mean a lot of bench time for him.

  2. Next season will be very challenging for Barca B. On one side, lot of extremely talented youth will feed the squad some of whom I have my bets on. In the other hand, the team will miss the experience needed to hold the team together. We saw the impact of Thiago and co departure last season. Many players will leave this summer and I feel JDS will be one of them, if not Roberto as well (at least for loan). Keep in mind there is already a traffic jam in first team’s midfield and it is highly unlikely that any youth midfielder will have an inch of space there in the coming two seasons.

    Bartra, Montoya, and Muniesa were supposedly promoted for next season, then they were moved to “we’ll see about it” category. That’s the defense line for you. It was a mistake to promise promotion then back, and I think the mentioned players should either be promoted or loaned out. I doubt they will have the moral to develop more in the B team.

    All what I hope for, is that we strengthen the B-team with players in a way that make more sense than what we’ve seen last summer. But it is not like the first team will have it easier with transfers.

    I’m not convinced by any of the names linked to Barcelona so far this summer (for the first team). Alba is ok, but for the price rumored he is not a mouthwatering hunt anymore. My rule is that with all the youth you have in hand and all the quality already available in the first team, you should not buy a player whom you cant trust as a starter in a champions league final. That’s how I evaluate transfers.

    That’s why, if you can’t get a left back who is way better than Adriano, and you can’t get a CB who is a CL final starter, and you are not willing to get a striker with qualities you don’t have at all in your team, then better buy no one.

    Instead of a paid risk with lots of uncertainties, instead of buying players good enough against Betis but not an option against Real Madrid. Take the risk that is cheaper and bring a more certain long-term outcome. Use Mascherano-Bartra against Betis, and Use Montoya/Fontas/Muniesa against Rayo Valicano. This is enough depth for the Puyols to rest a bit before Real Madrid’s match.

    At the end of next season, do some clearance depend on performance, add this year’s budget to next years budget plus transfer income, and rejuvenate the squad properly rather than picking other teams leftovers or gambling on what will be at best “not that bad”.

    Maybe, more youth will bloom this way…

    1. lot of extremely talented youth will feed the squad some of whom I have my bets on

      Who are these that you think will come into the 1st team?

      My rule is that with all the youth you have in hand and all the quality already available in the first team, you should not buy a player whom you cant trust as a starter in a champions league final. That’s how I evaluate transfers.

      I agree to a certain extent but the gap between e.g. Adriano and B team LB Muniesa? is too big. I would rather have Adriano & Alba slug it out for 1 position rather relying on Muniesa.

      Same goes for CB, Bartra is the B team option.

      I certainly would’ve given Bartra/Montoya some game time against lowly ranked team over the course of the season especially before a big match to give Puyol/Alves a rest but Pep is either stubborn or he really thinks that Bartra/Montoya isn’t even good enough to play against a low ranked team.

      Therefore we need to find players who does have experience and better than what we have from the B team. Obviously Pep & Tito doesn’t trust them enough.

      I gave Bartra & Montoya as an example because they are the closest to making it into the first team and they are the ones that I think should’ve had more minutes last season.

    2. Grimaldo (mainly) and Dongou are obvious bets. Ayala is also good, though I’m not sure uet between him and Gomez. Rafinha’s problem is finding the perfect role for him as he is yet in a grey area. Some other players can develop to good squad options to add depth.

      But then again, who would’ve guessed that Busquets will become the player he is and Bojan…oh Bojan…

      As for transfers, I see it from the long term perspective. First how much we will really REALLY invest this summer on transfers (without the acrobatic accounting moves). 35 M? If you spend 15 M on Alba I can tell you for sure you will not get a CB for 20 M who is more reliable than Busquets as a CB or less risky than starting Bartra. Especially when it is proven that any player who is not a Franco baresi, will crush under the demands of the fans who won’t tollerate anything less than perfection. Caceres? Chergrenski or so it is written? You name it.

      Let’s keep in mind we have three quality options already in Puyol, Mascherano, and Pique. And I won’t count out Abidal yet till it is official. Will a 20M buy do better as a CB than Alves? If not, then use Alves there in emergency situation and start Montoya on the right.

      I mentioned it long ago, and VDB pointed it out last week. Pedro can play as a fullback. Is he better than Alba? Try him.

      If the transfer budget is not big enough to buy quality now, and will not be enough next summer to buy quality (which is more concerning), this “buy with the money you have every summer” approach will start pulling the overall quality down gradually. We will need to buy big next summer. Remember this statement. And that need should be considered while playing the cards of this summer.

    3. You’ve got some of your facts wrong there, Ramzi.

      JDS, Bartra, Montoya, and Muniesa have all been officially promoted. They are no longer B team players, and there is no prospect of them playing for the B team next year. I don’t know why so many people seem to be confused by this. The only “we’ll see about it” is whether Tito will incorporate them into his squad or whether the club will loan them out or sell them. They will have to work hard in the preseason to impress Tito and then he will make his decisions.*

      I didn’t mention JDS in my post above, but I think I have said before that I expect him to be loaned out. There really isn’t much room in the squad for him right now, and our priority for the first team is defenders. A year or two away and then a reassessment of his progress would be the best thing. Sergi Roberto is a favourite of mine and I would like to see him in the first team eventually, but right now he seems happy enough to stay and be the senior anchor of the B team’s midfield, even though he could get first-team action somewhere else. I don’t know the terms of his contract, but he possibly has a promotion clause as well for next year? Or he is just very determined to make it at barça.

      *Perhaps people are confused by the difference between “promotion to the first team” and “member of the first-team squad”. The club is allowed to own senior players who do not make up part of the 23-man first-team squad. Hleb is a good example of that. He was only a member of Pep’s squad for one season, but the club itself didn’t get rid of him until this last January. These four players mentioned above were promoted according to the terms of their contracts, but all parties recognize that does not guarantee them to be in Tito’s squad. They must earn that.

    4. “You are promoted to first team, but we are not promising you will stay”. Thats for me is in the “We’ll see about it category”. Were they promoted because their contracts dictate so? Yes. And that’s the kind of contracts I opposed since Thiago signed one. But I didnt want to go that far back in time in the comment. And this is one of the reasons why the B-team door was closed behind them and now there is no choice but offloading them or using them in 1st team.

      Players were promoted to first team unofficially. They were told they will be promoted for next season. They celebrated it on twitter if you remember. I am sure they didnt celebrate getting loaned out. There should have been contract condition in the first place, and then no -forced- announcement at all afterward. During preseason, test them. Then sit with them and tell them who will stay with first team and who will be loaned out, and who will be needed in B-team. After all, this contract condition doesnt protect the club benefits by any mean. So it makes no sense.

    5. It makes sense for the players in the event that the club decides to sell them. “Barcelona B youth player Muniesa” is not going to command as high a price on the transfer market as “Barcelona player Muniesa”. It’s just business. They all have hopes of making it to the Barça first team, but the reality is that they need to raise their profiles if those dreams don’t work out. They can’t all be Busquets’.

    6. The only “we’ll see about it” is whether Tito will incorporate them into his squad or whether the club will loan them out or sell them

      That is definitely what the B players had in mind. They thought that by having that clause in the contract, they could walk right in.

      I’d say sell them with a buy back clause or loan them out.

      I understand why they wanted that to have a guarantee of promotion. They want to move on to bigger things but this is Barca.

      They need to have something special like Busi, Pedro, Thiago, Cuenca or have some patience like Iniesta. At the end of the day they have to look out after themselves so that is the reason why they want to have that clause. How many years do they want to be stuck in the B team and play in the Segunda like JDS?

    7. Barcelona B youth player Muniesa” is not going to command as high a price on the transfer market as “Barcelona player Muniesa

      Yes. This benefits both the club and player.

    8. It makes sense for the players in the event that the club decides to sell them. “Barcelona B youth player Muniesa” is not going to command as high a price on the transfer market as “Barcelona player Muniesa”.

      First, even though market is crazy, but I dont think this virtual change in terminology can make any change on the player’s market value what so ever. In fact, a player in your reserve whom you might promote can bring you a better amount of money than when you get the same player to 1st team and decide to offload him straightforward. As you will be in a more exposed negotiation position.

      But if that is true, then it is actually against the player interest. If the team doesnt want to keep the player then it is BETTER for the player that his price will be cheaper. He’ll not get anything out of the price anyway and if the price is cheaper, he might get better signing on fee as the over all transfer cost for the buying team will still make sense.

      The reason why such contracts are made is Agents’ pressure. Agents do not want their players to be committed and prefer short contracts, the club prefer long term contracts, so there you get the compromise. A one that only fit the agent/player.

      Example: if JDS signs for one year and his contract expires this summer. (A) If Barcelona promise him first team football, why will he leave? (B) If not he will. Now if there is a condition that the club renew automatically the contract if they promote JDS. They promote him. If they want to keep him, you get the same outcome of (A). If they don’t want to keep him, he can still refuse to leave and then the club will either have to release him (paying all his salary for contract duration or reach a compromise to pay him some). At best, he will be generous to leave for free or move to another team straightforward.

      That’s why they club should stay unmoved by such pressure. When you accept such contracts for one player, others will demand same. Proven. Instead have a standard contract with no nonsense. Players who do not like it, can leave. They need the club more than the club needs them.

    9. That last paragraph is for spare-parts in case you needed some words or letters. Just forget it (where is the edit option?)

    1. Didn’t even recognize him first time I saw the photo.

      I’m used to him looking serious or scowling.

      Does look rather pretty with a smile.

    2. That dolphin looks adorable; her eyes are fixed toward the camera, not on “God Made Him” 😀

      Geri looks slightly chubby.

  3. As it stands the squad for next year
    Goalkeepers
    Valdes, Pinto

    Defenders
    Montoya, Alves
    Pique, Puyol, Mascherano,Bartra(?)
    Adriano, Abidal(?)

    Midfielders
    Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Cesc, Thiago and Keita(?)

    Forwards
    Messi, Villa,Alexis, Pedro, Cuenca, Afellay and Tello(?)

    Some points to consider

    This season follows a major international tournament where the national players will be tired. Iniesta, Xavi, Busi and Pique are playing alot

    Xavi can now only play around 30 games a season, Puyol same.
    Villa and Afellay are only returning from injuries which leaves them vulnerable to further injuries.

    I hope Abidal returns as a healthy person first, as a footballer second. The club should make the necessary preparations incase the latter fails to happen.

    Some of the stress on Messi must be reduced. We’ve been fortunate so far.
    The squad was already small last season before injuries.

    Imo squad needs 3 players to alleviate the fatigue that will come from competing with a squad as physically fit as Madrid.

  4. I hope for a Javi Martinez deal. But it seems a really long shot. About Jordi Alba, if we pay under 13.5M (Adriano’s price I believe), it would be a pretty good deal. He is a Spanish NT starter, and he seems to understand well with Iniesta. Javi Martinez could cover both positions, making Masche our first CB.
    Looking forward to see Dongou on the B-team!

  5. If going for Javi Martinez doesnt work, MD well known for their connections for Rosell reports about Barça’s interest for:
    Étienne Capoue (he could be reconverted as Masche to cover the defense).

    Date of birth: 11.07.1988
    Age: 23
    Height: 1,89
    Nationality: France Guadeloupe
    Position: Midfield – Defensive Midfield
    Foot: right
    Market value: 12.000.000 €

    POSITION
    Main position: Defensive Midfield
    Secondary positions: Centre Back
    Central Midfield
    Contract until:
    30.06.2015

    http://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/en/tienne-capoue/profil/spieler_63494.html

    1. Thanks for all the info. You’ve done it with a few players now.

      I actually watched Capoue play 2 seasons ago when we were heavily rumored to be interested in him due to the imminent departure of YaYa. I was impressed after 3 matches but don’t really think that he will suit us as we’ve moved on from Yaya type of DM to a Busi type.

      What I do like is that I see a potential in transforming him into a CB like sMasch, Yaya and Busi.

      But the hybrid that we need is a LB/CB. Do you have anyone in mind? I prefer someone from France, of African heritage, similar to Abidal.

    2. Sakho. And Abidal is far removed from his African heritage, he’s closer to the Martinique which is near where Capoue’s heritage is, in Guadeloupe in the Caribbean. But if you just mean black then yes I agree, an Abidal clone would be ideal. Rare though

    3. Me too. If there’s an Abi clone out there, please sign him.
      We maybe going for an outlet on the left, combining with Iniesta, and providing width for Villa or Sanchez doing diagonals in. In that scenario we would have Adriano and Alba, with Montoya and Alves and Puyol even, prodivind cover on the right. If that’s the idea, we may convert a good DM as a centerback. Javi might to the trick. A good defense/Dm, and Alba, and I’m happy. That is if they don’t sell anyone else…They might loan Muniesa though.

    1. Thanks for sharing!

      It’s so nice to reminisce our fun moments. Those were truly wonderful goals 😀

      What a team!

  6. Zinedine Zidane (Ballon d’Or 1998): “Everything Iniesta does impresses me. He could even play as goalkeeper. He’s magical.Iniesta has a big influence on Spain’s game. He reminds me of myself, but then paler.[cadena cope] from barcastuff

    Nice words from Zidane, one of my fav player too.

    1. “He could even play as goalkeeper.’

      And with that, Victor and Pepe’s hopes of ever getting a meaningful cap are dashed.

      But would he be better at it than Leo?

    2. Ghostface would be better than Leo b/c of his size! A little extra length to cover the posts. If he’s our 2nd choice goal keeper then we can let Pinto go and give his salary to another defender!

    3. Iniesta’s 1cm taller than Messi – is that really going to make a difference? 😀

      Depends on their arm span, I suppose!

    4. Have to see a pic of Iniesta making a diving mid air save to make a judgement on that 🙂

    1. He scored a similar goal when he was at Inter.
      One with his right and left foot each in each half of one match!
      Spectacular.

  7. Some.one should tell him.that Ballon d’or is not won with 2 goals against Divided (Holland) team and 1 goal against a. 4- 1 beaten. Czech side. its funny how people want to exaggerrate. things.

  8. ON-TOPIC: Tena (coach Olympic MEX): “Jonathan was on the list, but he asked not to go because he wants to do the pre-season at Barcelona.”

    Tena: “It was a surprise because Jonathan had said before he wanted to be at the Games, but we always respect the wish of the player.”

    (via @barcastuff)

    Interesting. So JDS voluntarily gives up going to the Olympics to play the preseason with Barça. He must be serious about wanting to impress Tito and get into the first team squad. We’ll see what happens.

    1. He’s asking for a chance. I once read from Perarnau, that JDS resemble more a Xavi, and Thiago more of an Iniesta…Hope the dream comes true.

    2. JDS is being sensible, and part of that is to be serious about his intentions. The time is now to secure his future if he wants to stay at the club. He doesn’t want to go the same way as Gio without showing what he’s got.

      Olympic games can come later. It’s a good move, and trust that it comes to something positive for him.

      He’s a good player – solid and dependable. Less showy than Thiago. He can read a game well too, but is not always backed up by his team-mates at Barca B. That’s what Perneau sees in him – that Xavi likeness. Hope that he also has Xavi’s vision!

    3. Yes, I’m actually impressed that he was mature enough to make this decision, especially since his BFF Thiago will likely be at the games for Spain. I’m sure he knows this is his last real chance to make the step up to the first team.

      I have never been quite as convinced about JDS as some. He obviously has oodles of talent, but I only rarely see that spark of brilliance that a Barcelona player needs. He got badly outplayed many times with the B team last season. On the other hand, when he has had the opportunity to play with the first team, he has stepped up and been very impressive (leaving aside Pep’s experiment with him as RB last preseason). He has also been consistently good with the Mexican NT (apart from when he was being naughty with hookers. Bad Jona!).

      Pep always seemed to have a lot of faith that he would live up to his potential, so I look forward to seeing what he can do under Tito.

  9. Edgar Ié and Agostinho Cá. Anyone tell me anything about these two the club is close to signing for the b team

    1. From my short research, Edgar is a center-back, and Agostinho is a midfielder. Both are 18 years old, from Guinea Bissau (former Portuguese colony), and currently playing for Sporting Lisbon.

      They are joining us as part of Jeffren’s direct transfer payment and Gael Etock’s indirect transfer from Chelsea to Sporting. Source: sport.es

      http://www.sport.es/es/noticias/barca/jeffren-etock-pagaran-traspaso-1956661

      I’ve been hearing that Barca is going around signing youngsters from other famous academies, e.g. recent issues with some kids from Espanyol and Valencia.

    2. Not Espanyol. They vetoed the move because they hate us so much.

      So Etock is off to Lisbob huh? It looks like he is on a similar case to Gai.

      When will these youngsters learn? I understand that they want more money but career wise, slim chance of succeeding.

    3. Etock left a while ago. He lost his place in the starting 11 to a younger and much more talented Dongou. He made the smart and logical decision. It would have been a mistake to stay.

  10. So Messi, Victor, and possibly Pique are all pregnant having babies. There be something in the water in the Camp Nou…

    1. Pinto’s baby is gonna be full of swag 😀
      Yay, Barca Babies!!! The future is very bright 😉
      Watch out, world! Barca Domination ain’t going nowhere!

  11. so Laporta said he will run again for barca’s presidency and he has already made few statements as our newspapers report… just another great news for a new season with a new coach…

  12. I’m really looking forward to watching Spain v. France.

    France has been underwhelming thus far. Now, we’re hearing that there are problems in the French camp with Nasri against the team, and the lack of leadership on the pitch, etc.

    Spain will have the usual problems, no width and lack vertical threats.

    Another thing I’ve noticed while watching Spain is their defensive dynamic, esp. the Pique-Ramos partnership. I’ve seen Ramos’s tackling a lot more, driving the ball from the back, and in general more active than Pique. Is there a reason? I heard Sid Lowe said that, theoretically Pique has defensive skills to lead the backline in the absence of Puyol, but there’s a resistance – conscious or not – to not allow that to happen on the pitch.

    I hope Cesc starts in place of Silva. Cesc has had a good tournament so far. He, Iniesta and the wide player (Navas or Pedro) will be the key for Spain to retain the trophy.

    1. I’m really excited too. If Puyol and Villa were there, I’d be much more confident of them avenging the 2006 WC loss. But this Spain isn’t looking all that assured… who knows, maybe Del Bosque’s super caution will prevail yet again.

      Cesc does really well as a super-sub for Spain, so I’m not too against him starting on the bench. He actually made the Euro08 team of the tournament as a sub! I think Cazorla’s long range ability would be nice to see, if we’re going for a slightly changed lineup.

    2. Cazorla would be a good choice too. For some reasons, I think he can dribble, which is a must for penetration.

      Alba, Arbeloa, Alonso and Torres are on yellow. Yellow cards still carry through to the semis, right? If that so and for selfish reason, I want all of them to get yellow cards but win, so I can see Pedro at left-back, Busquets as a lone DM, Martinez as a CB and Llorente as a striker. This is our only hope for a single pivot and see how Pedro does as a wing-back.

    3. If they get a second yellow this game, they’re out for the semis. But all cards are removed after this game; they don’t want people suspended for the final.

      I’m not sure about having Pedro as a full back, with the quality Portugal has on the wings. But at least we know Spain has quality replacements in case the other guys with yellows get carded tonight.

      The big thing about having Cazorla play is that he offers a threat outside the box. That’s how Germany finally broke down the Greek defense late in the first half. And I’d love to see him take Spain’s direct free kicks. 🙂

    4. Ramos played well tonight but is still a liability in my eyes. He should be allowed to lead. He’s too thick for one thing and too rash Balotelli shrugged him off like a rag doll vs Italy

  13. Abidal did not travel to see today’s game, btw, on doctor’s advice. he will watch the game at home.

    Hope he’s doing OK. 🙁

  14. No Nasri or Torres on the field, but Cesc gets the start! I don’t either team will have someone in the opponent’s box for much of the game.

  15. France giving acres of space to Arbeloa because they know he can’t do anything with it… but who cares, Alonso scores!!

    1. To paraphrase Kxevin, you can’t teach pace. Both goals were thanks to Spain’s quick players, Alba and Pedro. So glad to see Pedro get a chance and do well!

    2. That was a nice step over skill from Pedro. I have seen him do the move a few times. Most Spanish defenders know about that move.

      The blogger ‘NZM’ already called for Pedro’s inclusion several times. I can clearly see why now.

    3. What I like about Pedro is his “aliveness” and his movement, and he’s not afraid to get into the penalty box and hustle. That’s why the penalty came.

      Silva does not do that – not many of Spain’s players do. By the time Torres makes it into the box with a ball at his feet that he’s not able to fully control, there are 3 players around him to close him down. Silva sits too far out on the right, occupying Arbeloa’s space.

      Our man Xavi is just not in form right now. His passes are not accurate enough and he’s just not able to put through those defence-cutting passes that we’re used to seeing from him.

      Last night, I would have taken off Xavi for Cazorla, Silva for Pedro and brought in Cesc off the bench for a starting Negredo (Still lamenting that Soldado missed out over Negredo though.) But then Del Bosque wouldn’t be so bold!

  16. Well done Spain. Xavi and Iniesta looked pretty tired I thought.

    How Torres continues to be ahead of Llorente is shocking.

    Pedro did very well and made Spain alot more vertical.

    And now for Les Bleus. Laurent Blanc will be critised for not starting Nasri but to be fair he didn’t set the world alight when he came on.

    Some of the French players are an utter disgrace and should not be allowed to wear the jersey. Malouda, Ribery, Evra, Nasri should be booted out pronto. Too troublesome.

    Blanc was too forgiving after everything that happened in South Africa. The French public dont even like this team. They lack character and pride for their country

    Along with the Dutch they have been a circus.

    1. Was Evra even playing? I agree with your criticism on Malouda though. Pretty useless.

      Ribery and Nasri at least tried.

    2. I know he didn’t play but he should be kicked out of the squad.
      Nasri caused nothing but disharmony in this tournament. Ribery has long been a poisonous influence. Arguably Ribery is the one to keep, but its a balancing act, do you put up with ego etc just for the sake of the team.

    3. I’ll have to disagree with you about Torres. He’s played really well in the Euro’s. He makes fantastic runs to get behind the wall that most Spanish players don’t make. Pedro being an exemption. As mentioned earlier, by nzm, I think, when Torres has received the ball in the box or around the box, he’s been double marked and even tripled marked. No one’s made any runs to help him out or even attempt to find space he so he can distribute the ball. Granted, a lot of the time he receives the ball are on his runs and no one’s up field to help out, but I don’t see anyone making an effort to move up field after he has it.

    4. The main problem with Torres, as I see it, is that he needs a proper winger to set up crosses for him. He should be playing with Pedro or Navas, not Silva. When he receives passes from the midfield it takes him too long to control the ball and he gets shut down. If they passed to Pedro instead, Torres would have that extra time to be ready for the ball when it comes.

      Just my view from the sidelines, anyway.

    5. We were commenting on this phenomenon tonight, while watching the wastes of space that are Balotelli and Carroll.

      There seems to be this propensity for teams to buy these “specialist players” like the above, and we also identified Torres, Ibrahimovic, Llorente and Silva as being part of this group.

      None of them are playmakers, and they’re all virtually useless at contolling a ball to dribble it. They just can’t do it.

      They require the “perfect ball” to land at their feet to put away on the first touch, or the breakaway ball where they only have the GK and perhaps only 1 defender between them and the goal.

      If you have someone in the team like this, you have to play to their strengths. Italy wasn’t achieving that with Balotelli, and neither was England with Carroll.

      I haven’t been impressed by any of the matches in this Euro competition. I believe that there are too many very tired players after a long club season.

      Pleased that Italy won tonight. They were the only side actually playing football, so they deserved to go through.

      Pirlo is Italy’s Puyol – he was the only man on that pitch playing with heart and for his country. 🙂

    6. Pirlo is the man. He looks like he’s 50 years old! His penalty shot shows he has ice water running through his veins. What a deft chip! Took a lot of steel to do that. I could not keep the grin off my face when it went in. Unbelievable.

  17. sorry Mr Kxevin. Big boss better luck next time. you guys hv sat on our happiness for too long.

    Alba!!!!!

  18. A nice comment from odn1 over at Guardian;

    1- Spain have had more shots on target, more offsides, more corners, and equal number of shots off target and have scored 1 fewer goal than excitement machine Germany, they have also had more shots on and off target combined, more goals, more offsides and 2 fewer corners than next opponents Portugal

    2- Xavi Hernandez has now reached the semi finals of every single cup competition for Barcelona and Spain (Copa del Rey, Champions League, World Cup, European Championships, Confederations Cup, FIFA Club World Cup) since 2007 except for 1. The 2009-2010 Copa del Rey. That makes 16 cup competitions out of 17 that he has made the semi finals of in the past 5 years. Staggering Statistic. Surely amongst the greatest midfielders of all time

    1. But boy did you have to wade through a lot of “Spain is boring” comments to get to that one!

    2. Ryan, it’s hilarious isn’t it? The new “sexy” speech is that Spain & Barca are “anti-football” b/c they make other teams play “anti-football” by parking the bus! It’s insane how some people justify their club & country’s play. I also love the comments that say Messi wouldn’t do well in the PL or that if he didn’t have Xavi & Iniesta he’d score half as much, only to have a intelligent person comment that Xavi & Iniesta only assisted Messi 5 times the whole season. It’s amazing how lazy people are. They read something and believe it, instead of researching to make sure it’s true.

    3. Yeah, they’re either repeating trite observations or just basing their ideas off one game years ago. I really don’t think the English will ever forget or forgive Busi’s theatrics vs. Inter, although you never hear them talk about Drogba’s dives!

  19. Thoughts on England vs Italia? Could be a very boring game, but I think Italy will take it to England. If they do, England will be able to counter. I hope England play Ox on the wing to provide some pace in the game. However, I’m sure Hodge will play safe and start Milner instead to lumber down the flanks and play defensively!

    1. Well, with Balotelli starting, there’s always the chance for fireworks.

      I think Pirlo will be too much for the English and give them a comfortable lead. But with the pace England has on the wings, who knows? Italy’s defense looked bad coping with Torres’ runs.

    2. Can someone please rid me of this overhyped English team and their media? That is all . . .

    1. I thought Italy and England were good at defending.

      This game is “exciting” and certainly lacks “control” 😉

    2. After 80 min, it was 23(14)-6(2) attempts(on target).

      Guess which team is Italy, which team is playing the Chelsea blueprint…?
      It already reminds me a bit of the last 3 CL matches with Chelseaa *cough*

    1. That was a boring game tbh. Not my cup of tea. Italy deserved to win b/c they were better, and England didn’t have technical players aside from Rooney on that pitch. But Italy was too vertical. When they got the ball, the immediate action was driving the ball up the pitch and shoot. No patience. If Spain was too horizontal, Italy was too vertical.

      …and contrary to popular opinion, I think Pirlo’s hair is overrated; too dry, needs more volume 😉

    2. ha – if Pirlo had more curls, he’d be Puyol’s twin.

      They play with the same intensity and heart!

    3. Pirlo was what made watching the match worth it. He always had so much time and space on the ball. It was simply a joy.

    4. I suppose if I were a fan of either team, I’d at least have been nervous. That can make it exciting, if still frustrating to watch.

      I was hoping to see some more Pirlo expertise at free kicks, but it seems that he has to compete with Balotelli for the direct ones! You’d think his great FK in the second round would be enough reason to give him more attempts at recreating another goal like that.

    5. I dare anyone who criticize Spain for being boring to tell me that that Italy- England game was exciting (except for a 5 min stretch when Hart saved a great long-range shot, then Buffon also saved from close-range on the other end).

      If it weren’t for the pleasure of watching Pirlo who was exceptional all 120 mins, I would have fallen asleep.

      England did absolutely nothing with the ball. They defended with their lives so credit for that. But standing in the field purely to throw your body in the way of the ball is not football to me.

      And Italy was wasteful. I admired Pirlo for creating chance after chance for his team mates, who wasted every single one of them, and not get frustrated. Even had the gall to do that Panenka. The total height of cool.

      And Nooooooo – his hair is NOT overhyped.

      He has rockstar hair!!! The layers. The fringes. That curl and flip just the right way here and there. 21st century rockstar hair combined with the sombre look of a 16th century monk. I see him totally at home in friar robes and hood.

    6. Barcaleya, if you look closely at his hair, you’ll see it’s a little flat. The layers are ok, but those ones sticking out near his neck don’t suit the whole look. You can tell I was bored yesterday b/c midway through I was googling Pirlo’s hair style instead of paying close attention to the game 😀

      But he’s an incredible player, no doubt. Very elegant, almost ballerina-like. Brian Phillips wrote this piece 5 years ago, and it still applies today.

      http://www.runofplay.com/2007/11/27/the-tuesday-portrait-andrea-pirlo/

      You can substitute the name Pirlo for Ozil, Xavi or Iniesta, and it perfectly describes them as well.

    7. Hullo! But it’s actuallt those wisps sticking from the neck area that I like! Haha. I just totally love his hair style so nevermind me 😀

      Yeah, I’ve read that article. Good one! He is truly, truly elegant. And he also carries himself in a very regal manner, which I find very sexy. It’s that combination of utter skill and confidence but in a silent, subtle way. I love that he evokes menace even without words or dirty looks. You just know he can kill you with a pass.

      And did you see the way he kept the balls? He would just stand square over it…and somehow…ball kept with him. Even when the ball seems open to be kicked, the England players beside him, who would normally kick anything in their paths, couldnt/wouldn’t do so. Rather amazing.

      I don’t think Ozil has reached this level. Getting there, but no.

      Xavi and Iniesta, yes.

  20. I would never have thought that I would ever congratulate Italia, but what a well deserved victory. The Chelsea blueprint has failed, Grazie Mille, Italia! 🙂

    1. Ha! I never cheer for Italy either, but I was desperate for them to win today. By far the better team, should have won by 3 goals or more. I admit the English defense was excellent, but their offense had NO shots on goal in extra time. None. Horrible.

      At HT I said to my roommate that it would go to penalties and the smart money would be on Buffon. He has 10+ years of experience over Hart and balls of steel.

      I’m happy with the final four, even Portugal–I hate them but they took their chances and deserve their place.

    1. Hahahahaha!!! Using “Duncan Castles Logic,” Pinto> Pirlo => Pinto is Euro 2012 Man of the Tournament => Pinto deserves the Ballon D’Or?

      I love reading some people’s reactions after each knock-out game.
      Day 1: Portugal wins, this is CR’s Euro. Day 2: Germany wins, this is Ozil’s Euro. Day 3: Spain wins, Spain is boring but Iniesta is man of the tournament. Day 4: Italy wins, Pirlo for Ballon D’Or.

      I’m not hating on these players; they are wonderfully gifted but I’m having a laugh at us all 😀

      …and speaking of talented players, Happy Birthday, Leo Messi! For me, he is a genius, the best!

      p.s. I swear Ryan, I’m not stalking every comment of yours 😉

    2. Mehhh…I take one thing back, I’m don’t like CR (too much hair gel, self-tanning and stinky attitude on the pitch).

    3. The one good thing about learning last week that spray tanning may cause cancer is that thong boy is now at an increased risk.

    4. Oh man, what was that whole deal with Duncan Castles? I remember it was insane to the point of hilarity, but I can’t for the life of me remember what topic he was writing about…

    5. But the connections are obvious! Barca has UNICEF on their shirts, referees at their games, and they are part of UEFA! Conspiracy!!

    6. Haha, no worries, Messifan! I always check out BFB during football matches, so it’s nice that it isn’t just me posting things!

      It is interesting that each semifinalist seems to have a main man pulling his team forward. I wonder how it works out with 3 being midfielders and one being a winger/striker/whatever you call TB.

  21. People.didn’t wish leo happy birthday here…lol. I personally think there should have been a Post for.King Leo on his birthday….

    “EVeN Messi..” thong boy. the guy knows his compartriot is the best in the world. Penaldo

    1. Yeah, we probably should have made a post, but there were two big “Messi” posts not long ago, so I guess no one really had anything additional to say.

  22. Grrrr…This Alba deal is getting too tedious. Barca really likes to drag things and I wish they would stop yapping to the press.

    1. I hope it does drag out and kills the deal. I seriously don’t want him and don’t think he’s a game changer. He’ll add depth to the roster but I don’t see him starting over Adriano. Adriano is better with the ball and I believe a couple of inches taller. I don’t think Alba is terrible, but he hasn’t impressed me much over the Euro’s. He seemed absent in the final games of the season for Valencia. Maybe it’s just fatigue, but that will translate to this season because of the Euro’s. If we could pick him up for $10-15 million then do it. Any more than that and I’d kill the deal.

    2. Better to have Alba (depth) than no back up to LB at all. Don’t tell me that you prefer Fontas at LB eh? Hehe

  23. Spare a moment for the family and loved ones of Miki Roque, who lost his battle with pelvic cancer, at age 25. This tragic, tragic season that seems hell-bent to teach us that his game is precious little more THAN a game, continues apace.

    1. 23, actually. Not that it makes a difference, but he was just two weeks shy of his 24th birthday.

      Our very own Carles Puyol had been covering the expense of his treatment.

    2. This saddens me so much.

      What must our Captain be feeling? He must be so shattered.

      DEP, Miki.

  24. In other news, we might smack Dani Alves on the wrist for playing in the Messi & Friends game, without medical clearance from the club.

    –Keita, even though he didn’t meet the required number of minutes and could have left on a free, has told the club that as far as he is concerned, they should act as though he did meet that requirement. That man exudes class.

    –We nabbed a couple of youth players from Valencia, who say it won’t affect the Alba deal. Club presidents, including RoSELL, always snuffle indignantly when another club comes in and grabs some talented kids. But everyone does it.

    1. No ticket price hikes, either. Imagine that! The club’s Catalan press stream must be funky, as I can’t believe they wouldn’t hike prices.

      –Two additional friendlies on the 8th and 11th of August. Freixa says opponents TBD, but we know that PSG is in Paris on the 8th.

    2. No word about whether they have revamped the effing official site so the server doesn’t crash as every Soci on the planet tries to log in to get match tickets on the first day of member sales.

    3. Freixa also called BS on the press “reports” that the club was considering sanctioning Alves for playing in the Messi friendly without medical clearance.

    1. Thanks for that. Even better than that blog is the Neymar one linked at the bottom. The blogger advocating the need for Neymar to move on. Hey Neymar! Barca’s waiting. Come and bring your new daddy skillz with you. The Barca nursery will be full and one more won’t hurt!

    2. That was a great piece, thanks for posting. The English just don’t get it and hiring Roy Hodgson wasn’t the answer. The rationale was maybe we will get lucky and go on a defensive run and that was the play. And the expectations of the English fans are so low it’s really sad. They are just complacent to sit back and play that way, they’ve just come to expect it. The rest of the world has just left English football in the dust and the gap is widening. It’s a shame because the are some good players that could be set loose and can play an up tempo game but the old guard just won’t do it. English Football is like the debt crisis, you wonder what it will take to fix it?? The solution seems obvious but it’s hard to change direction when you’ve been doing something a certain way for a long time.

    3. olbucky,

      Have to disagree. England DON’T have the players to play any other way. Do you honestly think Hodge would set up like that if he had the players to attack? When you watch a English player receive the ball it’s as if it’s his enemy and he wants to kick it away asap. Watching other nations players receiving the ball is like watching them receive a “friend”. They aren’t afraid of it. They can protect it and use it to advance. England don’t have that. Jack Wilshere could potentially be that player, but he was injured. Expectations were low b/c the English fans knew what they would get. That’s why the blogger says he’s relieved. Most fans don’t want to see their team play parked in front of goal. Until the English start developing the futsal technique that other countries have they’ll continue to be overrun in the midfield. Gerrad & Parker are good players, but at their age they don’t have the stamina to play a 4-4-2 and constantly close down an extra midfielder 4 straight games. The English have made strides to change. They just finished their National Football Center and are trying to change the coaching philosophies at youth level. It just takes time. Ask Germany

    4. Good to hear folks from England being rational about their NT squad. They actually have some decent defenders, maybe with Wilshere back for WC14 and some actual verve they can put in a better effort than they usually do. I have a feeling Brazil ’14 is going to be the Messi Show though, so what other teams do is pretty inconsequential! 🙂

    5. British knew exactly what their NT’s shortcomings were and they were looking forward to a miracle like Chelsea. But if a miracle repeats twice in short time, it wouldn’t have been called a miracle. So it didn’t happen to England.

    1. Haha,well he obv. knows how to keep in touch with the rythm of the music.That band are Localheroes of his Hometown “Köln”.

      I for one can’t wait to see his first after match Interviews in English 🙂

    1. This whole thing has left me in tears.

      The sad, sad death of a young, talented, likeable fellow.

      The kindness of people like Puyol, and institution like Barca in allowing him to train with them, treating him as one of their own, being Catalan.

      Gives one perspective on so many things.

  25. According to Rosell, Barca has an annual transfer budget of 40 mil. euros. Is this good or bad? J. Mart., Hummels and other top class CBs won’t come cheap. That means the team might have to settle for a not-well-known CB. Euro 2012 sort of delays transfer activities, but I wish the club would do their business a bit soon after the tournament is over, so new signings can integrate during pre-season. And pre-season starts mid-July. So soon 🙂

    1. I’m not sure why this chat of Hummels continues.

      Before he left for the Euros, Hummels signed an extension with BVB until 2017.

      Even if he was on the club’s radar – he ain’t coming. As much as I would also have loved him to be a Barca player.

    2. Wow! He looks stunning in that picture. Ok, no Hummels…how about David Luiz?…jk 😛

      Serious notes: we have Bartra, Fontas and Muniesa; maybe one of them will shine next season, similar to what Pique did in his first year with us.

      But Bartra and Muniesa might go to the Olympics and our Euro participants most likely won’t start pre-season with the team. I’m not sure how I feel about the lack of a complete squad for the start of pre-season. On top of that, the team will play 7 or 8 games in one month more or less, before the official start of La Liga. And we don’t know liga schedules yet, do we? :/

    3. This.If only we had signed him instead of Chiggy,Henrique..^^
      But nevermind.

      Interesting how quickly he – not specifically here on BFB – won on popularity among female Cules. Of course only for “football reasons” 😉

  26. Why has it been so quiet here for the past few weeks?

    Kxevin, do a match review with low ratings!

    1. There’s been little to report on lately, with the Euros taking up most of the attention.

      Plus, with the silly season and Euros, there’d be less chance of readers actually appreciating any articles with serious content right now. The comments sections quickly go off-topic with people wanting to get their own news and viewpoints across, without any real reference to the article contents!

      Good indepth articles take a long time to write. 😀

    2. Yeah it would be a pity for the author to have the commentors commenting on the game instead.

      Or why not a match comments post?

    3. That’s basically what these posts are, that are going up. Nothing too complicated so that the Euros can be discussed in the comments.

      They are craftily disguised match comments posts. 😀

  27. First Rosell presser I liked. Here some of his quotes:

    About the season: “excellent, thrilling and a record season”.
    About Pep: “Gracies Pep, and considering he moved up from being
    a recogepelotas (a ball boy in campnou), I would vote for him for
    president of Barça”.
    About everything else: “We are all with Tito”. “We love Abi”. “First time since I have memory of being in camp nou, I saw the crowd cheering the team, despite our loss with Chelsea”. “We ended this cycle with 17 titles, and this season with 40 millions of benefits”.”We will defend the club with facts, not with words”.
    “We will not allow our coach’s agressor to walk free. If we didn’t react last season, it is because of an agreement in all the club, including the dressing room” (Here it seems that Pep asked Rosell to keep a low profile, to keep the teams concentration high maybe).
    “Camp nou’s remodelation is not viable economically yet. But we have to start thinking about doing something, with the approval of the socis” (He may call a referendum for that purpose.
    About Laporta: “It takes two to start a fight, and I don’t want to”.

    1. And it finally puts those accusations (that Rosell was nowhere to be found when he was supposed to be vocal during the many accusations to the team last season) to bed.

      I wonder why Rosell never gets the benefit of the doubt to the Cules here.

    2. Nuh uh.

      He doesn’t say that the club kept quiet because of a request from the dressing room – he says that the whole club, including the dressing room, agreed to keep quiet.

      From that, you cannot determine from which direction the edict came – from top down, or from the dressing room.

      Judging from some of the comments made by individual players in the days and weeks after the event, I doubt that the whole dressing room was exactly thrilled about the lack of official response.

    3. Why should he get the benefit of the doubt? Nobody should.

      –He called the Ibrahimovic transfer the worst in the club’s history. I’d rate Overmars pretty highly in that department. His effort to slag Laporta also has Guardiola as collateral damage, since he asked for the player.

      –He bragged about record profits, but they were achieved by selling something of immense value (for less than he could have). Any fool could have done that.

      –As for his “it takes two to start a fight” comment, he has already started it. To snuffle indignantly and take the moral high ground at this point is hypocritical. Hardly anything is known about the court case that he instigated against Laporta is going, but given that Laporta is crowing about running for president again, I’d guess it isn’t going well for the Rosell forces. That, and the sudden revelation that Laporta boondoggled the club into paying for part of his home’s renovation, makes you think they need to get some new dirt going. Or not. Who knows?

      –He says we won’t allow our coach’s aggressor to walk free. If that isn’t defending with words, what is? There is nothing we can do except get indignant. It’s up to the RFEF to decide what, if any sanctions will come down. So he can stand before a podium and huff and puff, but it’s pretty pointless.

      –I also thought the notation that we saved 12m in bonuses by not winning Liga and Champions League struck the wrong chord with many who heard or read those words.

      His presser was all platitudes and nonsense. He could just as easily have not had it. And I’m told that in the FCB Museu, an exhibit about the year of six trophies has pictures of Rosell, but not Laporta. Go figure.

      I know that many think I don’t have any respect or love for Rosell, and they’re right. But it isn’t groundless. Does this mean I want Laporta to be president again? No. Everybody has their own opinion. For me, Rosell ain’t my cuppa.

    1. “Duncan Castles” and “reporting” should never be used in the same sentence. “Wildly speculating” would be more appropriate.

    2. And this piece seems to have been written before the league has even ended.

      Recycled news.

    3. BS.com is reporting that Mario Mandzukic is going to Bayern. It’d be nice to hear someone going to us! A defender, perhaps? 🙂

  28. Spain’s right side worries me v Portugal.
    Arbeloa won’t be able to cope v CR. Busi and Pique will be busy putting out his fires.
    Come to think of it, Alba won’t be going forward too often because of Nani.
    It’s Pedro time.

    Oh dear, one of the neighbors is blasting country music. Must go close windows pronto.

    1. It really depends how Spain can contain TB and control the midfield. That friendly loss to Portugal where they scored 4 goals was an absolute disaster, but the 1-0 win was pretty measured, although pretty close. Any of Alba’s runs forward will mean more risk, but it’s not like Arbeloa will be surging forward.

      The main thing I’m worried about is pace. Only Alba in the Spain starting 11 has any, yet Portugal seems to have speedy players throughout the front line.

    2. Busi’s gonna be a busy boy.

      Sorry, I could say in Pep we trust.
      Don’t have the same feelings about VdB.
      I fear he will start the usuals and Spain will have no pace, no width, and no tracking back. I’d feel more confident of Ramos containing CR on the right if he were to play as RB (Javi Martinez at CB). But if Arbeloa plays, and you know he will, I’d love to see Pedro as RW so he can track back and help. Fairly confident of Alba on Nani. You’re right, must control the midfield.

    3. I am not worried about Spanish defence against Ronald. Mainly because of the double pivot of Busi and Alonso that Spain play. He will always two if not three people who know his game very very well, marking him all the time. He would first have to go through Busi and Alonso, to get tot the back line. Then he would have to beat Pique and/or Sergio Ramos, and finally Casillas.

  29. In other new, seems UEFA can’t be bothered with a minute of silence for Miki. Classless.

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