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!

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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. nzm
    June 27, 2012

    Warning: Link is NSFW and contains nudity.

    How some English fans tried to distract the Italians during the penalty kicks: A Prick Behind the Goal

    Apparently the guy is a millionaire and lives next door to John Terry. Says it all, really.

    • barca96
      June 27, 2012

      I saw that too. How is that even allowed by the security is beyond me.

      I remember in Euro 2000 after Jaap Stam did a-Ramos in the PK shoot out. We (Dutch) joked that some Italian behind the goal was giving J. Stam the middle finger and he decided to aim that fan instead of the goal.

  2. barca96
    June 27, 2012

    Didn’t Ramos accumulate 2 yellow cards?
    One in the group match and one in the QF?
    So by right he should be suspended for this match right?
    They are in a big trouble if it’s really the case.

    Spain has to treat this match like a Barca vs. Madrid match.
    Just cut the supply to Ronaldo and everything will be fine.
    Busquets will take care of him if Arbeloa needs help which he clearly needs.

    That said, before Ronaldo started scoring they did have others to do the job for him.

  3. June 27, 2012

    According to reports via @barcastuff, Negredo is rumored to start. *Massive Keita face* I did not see that coming, and what does Llorente have to do to get a start????

    • Ryan
      June 27, 2012

      I just saw that on FB! What the heck?

    • June 27, 2012

      From Sid Lowe, on the Twitters:

      What does Negredo give you? Combination, power, technique, closing down of centre-backs, aggression, finishing.

    • Ryan
      June 27, 2012

      I’d prefer Llorente for those attributes. But at least it isn’t Torres!

    • June 27, 2012

      I know. Maybe, VdB is a troll in disguise 🙂
      It will be interesting to see how Pique deals with CR b/c Pique plays on the right side. I’m hoping Geri will have a good game. So far, he’s been meh for me. Or perhaps Ramos will switch with Pique?

    • nzm
      June 27, 2012

      In that case, I hope that he’s playing 2 genuine wingers who can support Negredo in the middle, but I suppose that we’ll see Iniesta on the left wing again.

    • mom4
      June 27, 2012

      Iker
      Arbeloa, Pique, Ramos, Alba
      Busi, Alonso, Xavi
      Silva, Negredo, Ini
      .
      .
      .
      *******sigh********

      Because the semi-finals is a great time to experiment.

    • June 27, 2012

      Think positive, Mom4. You could potentially see plenty of Iker’s face and Arbeloa acting like a fool 🙂 Win-Win?

    • mom4
      June 27, 2012

      Busi gonna be busy.

    • Helge
      June 27, 2012

      I don’t think they’ll play a 4-3-3

      This will be a more clear 4-2-3-1 than it has been with Cesc in the line-up.

      I honestly dislike Negredo and never understood how on earth he was even included in the 23 man squad. Soldado where?!?
      Llorente is twice as good as Negredo, in EVERY aspect of the game.
      Coaching-wise, Loew and Prandelli have convinced me a lot more than VdB this Euro. VdB’s choice of line-up, subtitutions (and timing of them) has always been quite disappointing to me.

    • mom4
      June 27, 2012

      Ditto.

    • June 27, 2012

      Nope, no wingers. Same lineup minus Torres/Cesc.

  4. olbucky
    June 27, 2012

    VDB not so sure on the Negredo move. Would have much rather seen Torres or Cesc. I would feel more comfortable with Javi Martinez in Arbeola’s spot to cover Ronaldo. VDB, the world is watching today, make the right moves!

    • Ryan
      June 27, 2012

      Has Martinez ever played as a full back though? Torres has been pretty bad against parked buses, so it makes sense that he wants to try something different.

    • mom4
      June 27, 2012

      Maybe olbucky meant Javi starts instead of Arbeloa, plays CB, and Teh Ramos plays RB?

    • olbucky
      June 27, 2012

      Javi is so athletic, I just want him to help in defense. I’m afraid that Arbeloa is gonna get eaten alive on the right side today and it could be our downfall.

    • nzm
      June 27, 2012

      Put a newbie into the RB role against CR in a Euro semifinal?

      Not gonna happen. Especially with the bad blood between Javi and CR. Testosterone will rule any common sense.

    • Messiah10
      June 27, 2012

      I think VDB will take off Cesc or Silva and put on Pedro come 60 min mark if 1st half proves unproductive. I think adding Negredo or any striker will allow Spain to get behind the center backs and make them defend and drop deeper. Therefore, allowing Iniesta to do his thing!!!

    • mom4
      June 27, 2012

      Messiah10 wins the optimism award.
      Are you sure you’re a cule? I thought optimism wasn’t allowed. 🙂

    • nzm
      June 27, 2012

      Cesc isn’t starting.

  5. Messiah10
    June 27, 2012

    I wonder if Loew will keep Reus in the line-up instead of Muller. I would. I’m a big fan. He had a stellar game vs Greece and Muller’s been off form and injured most of the season for Bayern. Gomez should get the nod ahead of Grandpa Klose.

  6. mom4
    June 27, 2012

    CR signing anthem. o_0

    Respect messages. Listen up fans at the stadium.

    • mom4
      June 27, 2012

      Singing not signing.

  7. mom4
    June 27, 2012

    That’s some bench they just listed. Just sayin’.

  8. culegirl3
    June 27, 2012

    Is it me or is Spain looking a bit off in this match?

  9. Ryan
    June 27, 2012

    How many great plays has Silva killed? 3 so far?

    • nzm
      June 27, 2012

      He’s.lost about 12 balls. Awful/

  10. Blau-Grenade
    June 27, 2012

    Firstly, all of the Spanish players look tired.

    Negredo has no off the ball movement at all. It is like Spain has been playing with one less player.

    Silva is not supporting Arbeloa’s forward runs. Arbeloa keeps getting stranded when he goes forward.

    • Blau-Grenade
      June 27, 2012

      This Spanish side can rip the Portugese defence apart with Torres, mainly because they are pressing with 4 players up front. There is so much space between the lines, exactly where Messi likes to play. If Torres runs at the defenders they are dead meat.

      This game needs Torres and Navas at the current moment the way the game has lined up.

  11. Jim
    June 27, 2012

    for me, Negredo off and Torres on – at least he moves. Silva off and Pedro on. We need some pace. I’d also have been tempted to move Ramos to right back but after a booking that’s not a good idea.

  12. nzm
    June 27, 2012

    I’d put on Pedro for Silva and Cazorla for Negredo. We need movement forwards. Not seeing it.

    • Blau-Grenade
      June 27, 2012

      Del Bosque is so stubborn. He has not made any substitutions.

  13. Ryan
    June 27, 2012

    The extra 2 days’ rest is showing, as Portugal are pressing really well and Spain just aren’t sharp enough to pass through it. But even with those factors, Spain could be ahead if Iniesta’s shots had been on target or if Silva were more accurate with his passes.

  14. Dave
    June 27, 2012

    Arbeloa has absolutely no technique.

    Negredo(What is Del Bosque doing?)is rubbish.

    We’re seeing the difference between the Barca and Real players and the gap in technique

    Also the lack of pressing is also evident.

    Pedro in, Silva out

    Torres in(Cesc in) Negredo out.

    Could maybe lose a dm aswell.

    PS the Portuguese booing are a low breed.

    • Dave
      June 27, 2012

      Alonso does not think fast enoungh Cesc in
      Negredo- Cesc
      Pedro-Silva

  15. culegirl3
    June 27, 2012

    What is it going to take for VDB to make a substitution? This game is going nowhere.

  16. Blau-Grenade
    June 27, 2012

    Fab coming!!!

    • Blau-Grenade
      June 27, 2012

      Running and pulling defenders out of position right away. That is much better.

  17. jordi™
    June 27, 2012

    How many freekicks has alvaro given away 🙄

  18. Ryan
    June 27, 2012

    So many yellows to Portuguese defenders; will they be able to survive another 30 minutes without getting sent off?

  19. Ryan
    June 27, 2012

    Pedro will get 30 minutes to play, but a shame that Xavi was sacrificed for him.

  20. jordi™
    June 27, 2012

    Pedro, Iniesta, ALba linking up next year :drool

    • Helge
      June 27, 2012

      Yap, they look very strong together. Pedro should have played more. With Pedro, Alba and Iniesta, the left side of Spain was unstoppaböe!

      Now it’s the lottery of a penalty shoot-out :-/

    • nzm
      June 27, 2012

      With Villa in the middle and Messi on the right?

  21. Helge
    June 27, 2012

    What a shame.

    Great work by Pedro, leading to a pass from Alonso(?) to Alba who overruns the defense, plays a perfect pass to Iniesta – who fails to beat the keeper from 7 yars out. Would have been a screamer!
    Tbh, Iniesta must have scored there!

    We’re gonna have a lot of fun with Alba next season. Great match on both ends of the pitch.

  22. Ryan
    June 27, 2012

    It took Del Bosque so long to get Spain attacking… what a waste! Now it’s up to the lottery of penalties, ugh.

    Pedro and Alba were looking great out there though.

    • jordi™
      June 27, 2012

      Pedro should definitely have started.

  23. jordi™
    June 27, 2012

    Spain owned the extra time. I guess we know how this ends 🙁

  24. Dave
    June 27, 2012

    Del Bosque made a disastrous decision with Negredo

    • Blau-Grenade
      June 27, 2012

      Totally agree with that.

  25. Blau-Grenade
    June 27, 2012

    Penalties….

    • Blau-Grenade
      June 27, 2012

      Yay for Spain. Ronaldo should have taken the first penalty. This was a let off for Del Bosque. He got away by putting in a bad lineup.

  26. jordi™
    June 27, 2012

    Xabi 🙁 🙁 🙁

  27. jordi™
    June 27, 2012

    TOMA!

  28. nzm
    June 27, 2012

    Fantastic!

    Cristiano was too chicken to take a shot!!! 😀

    • Blau-Grenade
      June 27, 2012

      I would agree with you.

    • jordi™
      June 27, 2012

      😀 Probably figured Iker knows him. Too bad !

    • nzm
      June 27, 2012

      Either that, or he was going for glory – waiting to be the saviour to win with the last goal!

    • Blau-Grenade
      June 27, 2012

      If he was a true leader, he would take the first shot. The first penalty is always taken by the best player in the team and in that order. So if that logic goes we can see where he rates himself.

  29. nzm
    June 27, 2012

    And where was Cristiano at this time this year?

    Do you know? Well, do you?

    He was going out in the semis of the Euro 2012!

    (Cristiano’s words about Messi come back to bite him!)

    • Blau-Grenade
      June 27, 2012

      Hahahahaha. You are hilarious.

  30. jordi™
    June 27, 2012

    BTW. Sergio Ramos.Big stones to do that.Hero!

    • Blau-Grenade
      June 27, 2012

      What Iniesta did also required balls of steel. There was no power in that shot. It was just mind play to send the keeper the wrong way.

    • G6O
      June 27, 2012

      And it wasn’t directed anywhere outside of the keeper’s range either – had he guess it right it’s a save 99% of the time

  31. Ryan
    June 27, 2012

    Praise the soccer gods! To have been defeated after being so close to scoring the last 15 minutes…

    Cesc has now won two penalty shootouts for Spain!

    • Blau-Grenade
      June 27, 2012

      Yes, Cesc won the Italy shoot out last time.

  32. nzm
    June 27, 2012

    German TV had a lip-reader interpret what Cristiano said when Cesc’s goal went in.

    He said, “That’s not fair!” 😀

    • Blau-Grenade
      June 27, 2012

      That is too cool.

  33. Ryan
    June 27, 2012

    Messi took the first penalty for Uruguay, and scored it. That’s what Portugal needed from Ronaldo tonight, but he didn’t do it. I think Portugal edged out the first 90 minutes, but Spain looked so close to a goal when they had Pedro and Alba connecting in the last 15 or so.

    • nzm
      June 27, 2012

      I hope that VdB drops Silva and puts Pedro on the right for the final. The guy wasn’t even playing in his preferred position and look at the danger that he created.

    • Blau-Grenade
      June 27, 2012

      Based on tonight’s play, Pedro deserves to be ahead of Silva in Spain lineup.

    • Ryan
      June 27, 2012

      I really hope that’s true. He doesn’t dribble as well as Silva, but his link-up play, defensive contribution, and pace are all better.

    • nzm
      June 27, 2012

      Ummm…Silva lost so many balls tonight that, even if he is superior to Pedro with his dribbling, the advantage is moot!

    • Ryan
      June 27, 2012

      Yeah, Silva’s poor final ball was really frustrating. I would’ve loved to see Pedro take a few shots though!

    • Jim
      June 27, 2012

      Not sure in what sense Portugal edged the first 90. Not in terms of chances or possession I don’t think. What they did very well was press high up making Spain’s life difficult.

    • Ryan
      June 27, 2012

      Well, they seemed more dangerous. Their pressing was good, TB was giving their striker decent chances, and the Spanish chances at goal were pretty rare. Nobody ever beats the Spanish in possession. 😉

    • G6O
      June 27, 2012

      To be fair, both philosophies have their adherents. A lot of people operate under the assumption that there will be only a single miss in a PK shootout, therefore having you best player take the first penalty and convert it is a good strategy to set the team on the right path. But in practice, most of the time there are multiple misses so the first penalty is not that crucial – then the 5th often becomes extremely important so putting your best player 5th on the sheet makes some sense. Except if there is no 5th penalty, of course. It’s too harsh to blame him for that.

  34. Helge
    June 27, 2012

    So who will be playing as the central offensive man in the final?

    I got a feeling that Torres will start. Anyway, hopefully Pedro gets more minutes. He’s been quite superb today.

    Pedro, Iniesta, Alba – should that be Barca’s left side for next season? I mean as first choice in the bigger matches?
    Alexis Sanchez on the right, Messi in the center. That sounds like a lot of trouble for the opponents 🙂
    Hopefully they all stay fit next season.

    • nzm
      June 27, 2012

      Villa?

    • Helge
      June 27, 2012

      Villa is a substitute player for me. As long as Messi doesn’t switch his role, we don’t need a central striker. And on the left wing, I prefer Pedro over Villa on any day!

    • June 28, 2012

      Villa needs to be played on the center of the pitch. The false 9 stuff should be played something like a surprise, not often like we did last season. Also Villa and Messi will switch position anyways. What I am missing the most last season was the crazy linking between Messi and Alves on the right. Sanchez on the right does not link well with Alves. Sanchez has been excellent with his physical presence, but with whatever I saw last season especially toward the end, he has a major problem inside the box. His first touch has been always the problem. His first touch takes the ball to close to him, which result him needing one more touch before shooting(remember the Cesc pass against Chelsea). Maybe we can even try Villa on the right and see how he works. If David Villa is going to be a majorly substitute player, then we should put him on the market. At 40 Million he is too expensive for the bench. Manchester City will be very much interested. but using Villa as a substitute player is kind of crazy.

  35. nzm
    June 27, 2012

    Somewhere in South America, a little flea should have a big grin all over his face, right now.

    CR will now be remembered as the captain who didn’t stand up for his country when he was most needed.

    • Jim
      June 27, 2012

      I don’t like him but I’m not thinking at all that he wouldn’t take one. He was just waiting for glory – and it never came. Couldn’t have turned out better , other than him missing one.

    • swamidigital
      June 27, 2012

      Doesn’t help his reputation as a personal glory-hunter. I was pretty surprised he didn’t take the first penalty.

    • nzm
      June 27, 2012

      Yeah – that’s what I debated in earlier comments, above.

    • Dave
      June 27, 2012

      Doubt it. Messi doesn’t have the insecurities of Cr

    • nzm
      June 27, 2012

      Ah come on – it just did Messi’s Ballon D’Or prospects the world of good. If that doesn’t raise a smile, what could?

    • G6O
      June 27, 2012

      Doubt it too – Messi has never said anything bad about him while we have all seen the kind of things CR has said about Messi… Messi is definitely gotten in his head, but the opposite is not true

    • nzm
      June 28, 2012

      You guys have taken my comment in the wrong light, and it’s partly because I didn’t explain it properly.

      I didn’t mean that Messi would be gloating about it, because I know that’s not him.

      But the fact that Cristiano didn’t do his Ballon D’Or hopes any good last night has to make him a wee bit content.

      Make no mistake about it – Messi is highly competitive. If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t have been so upset about the CL loss to Chelsea; he wouldn’t have yelled at his team-mates in the dressing room after the loss to RM at Camp Nou; he wouldn’t be coming more assertive on the pitch and demanding that the ball gets played to him. You don’t think that some of those post-goals gestures of his were aimed at Cristiano? ha.

      He wants to win – and a 4th Ballon D’Or in a row would put him so far out front, that it would be impossible to beat. He wants it – and with Cristiano out of the Euros, it just increased his chances of getting it.

    • mom4
      June 27, 2012

      Oooooo good, I like happy fleas. Now it’s back to work for me. Waiting to watch HT-
      PKs DVRd.

  36. Gogah
    June 27, 2012

    Pedro! is officially back with his exclamation. VdB really leaves me baffled sometimes. like the negredo stunt he pulled today.

    if ronaldo concentrates more on the shot and less on keeping up with the hilarious routine of taking those steps back, spreading his legs and blowing, he can be a real threat.

    how many freekicks were there? i lost count.
    germany spain or italy spain, it’ll be a good final! And I’m totally cool with any winner.

    • swamidigital
      June 27, 2012

      Yeah we can be assured of an entertaining final!

    • G6O
      June 27, 2012

      He is not that great at free kicks actually – he relies on the knuckle ball and from time to time he gets it to fool the keeper combined with the power of his shots, but that’s it really. Can he place it with consistency in the top corner? No evidence for that. Can he consistently curl it above the wall in the near, undefended by the keeper, corner? No evidence for that either. Those are the skills that are a mark of a great free kick master. He has scored some goals in this away but the majority of his free kicks are somewhere in the middle of the goal or towards the far post, 80% of the time above the post… Messi is actually a better free kick taker than him, he just doesn’t take that many.

      Great player otherwise but highly overrated in the department. BTW, his dribbling is highly overrated too which is also deeply ironic because the stepovers and the freekicks are the two things he is most known for. But the truth is that he often keeps the ball meters away from his legs and relies on his speed and acceleration to get to it first. Which is actually quite easy to defend either with some good help defense or with some good anticipation. There is a reason why he has never been able to walk through the defense against top teams the way he often does against the minnows. A really good dribbler keeps the ball glued to his feet, at very close distance so that he can either quickly put his leg or body between it and the defender or so that he can quickly change direction while still in control of it. This is what allows Messi to be so devastating with the ball in his feet despite never really doing anything fancy in terms of stepovers, elasticos, and other trickery, and only really relying on two or three moves to get past a defender.

  37. simple_barcafan
    June 27, 2012

    When some one questions VdB tactics, we have the counter argument made that Spain is winning so his tactics are right…well, I would like to ask, are Spain winning because of VdB’s clever tactics or INSPITE of his not-so-good tactics (since they are such a good team)?

    • simple_barcafan
      June 27, 2012

      I would tend to side with the latter assumption…

    • G6O
      June 27, 2012

      VdB is primarily known for his man-managing skills, not for his tactical competence. Both are needed, but very few are those who have both in equal measure and at a very high level. But that he is better at the former than the latter does not mean he is such a poor tactician that he can’t see what the consensus among the tactical gurus has been for a long time – that Spain should be playing a different formation, ditch the double pivot, play with true winger and/or a real striker, because otherwise they become too horizontal and predictable. He must be aware of this, but we don’t know all the consideration that go into his decisions making.

      There is also a third major factor that’s affecting Spain’s game – it is not just VdB’s tactics and player’s skills, player’s condition also matter a lot. Barca players are totally drained after 4 years of almost non-stop football and a very difficult seasons, Real players also played a lot of game (Mourinho had a bigger squad and rotated more but those who are in the NT still played 50+ games each), Puyol and Villa are missing and Puyol especially is a really really big loss because few defenders are capable of providing the kind of cover he is (or was) capable of and we don’t know whether Pique has fully healed – it may be that VdB is concerned about opening the side too much which can lead to rapid counterattacks which they at present can not defend well against. We saw that today just once but had the pass to Ronaldo come sooner and ahead of him instead of slightly behind him, this may have been a goal. And against the Germans this will be even more of a concern. Anyway, these are just guesses, we don’t have all the information that VdB has and it is safe to say none of us understands the game as well as he does so we are not in a position to judge his decision-making.

  38. Dave
    June 27, 2012

    Worried for Xavi and Barca

    • nzm
      June 27, 2012

      Yup – we may see Cesc coming on more for Xavi this season.

  39. Huckleberry
    June 27, 2012

    What a shame was that Spain performance for football. Spain are the new Greeks…
    It is a honour to be subbed in this game plan! Like Xavi!
    Hope that Spain will be destroyed in the final. I so not care by whom!

    • nzm
      June 27, 2012

      Thanks for sharing. Hope that you feel better now.

  40. Jim
    June 27, 2012

    Apparently, xavi was just tired not injured. Not surprising considering the minutes he has played this season his passing stats in this competition. I wouldn’t worry about him yet. We will, however, get an inkling this year of what Tito sees the future of our midfield as being. I’m curious to see how he rates Thiago and where he sees him playing. Also, we need to decide on Fabregas’ position. It’s not fair to him to play him all over the place. Definitely looking forward to seeing Iniesta back in the middle with Xavi though.

    • Dave
      June 27, 2012

      Don’t see Cesc as the heir of Xavi, though I’d have difficulty seeing anyone filling that great man’s boot’s

    • G6O
      June 27, 2012

      We should probably move away from looking for a one-to-one substitute for Xavi – there isn’t anyone right now who is that one-to-one replacement just as there wasn’t anyone before him. He is the heir to Guardiola but he is not the same player that Guardiola was, they played a different role and did things slightly differently. Instead, the system will have to evolve according to the players available as it has in the past. It’s the natural way of things. A lot of people assume that La Masia can just produce exactly the same kind of player again and again but it doesn’t work that way, every player develops differently and has his own style, even if he has raised within a great system as ours. Players who are exactly the same as other players tend to be not that good – there are a great many big strong lads playing as central defenders or central forwards on the British Isles, and they are mostly interchangeable in a one-to-one replacement mode, but that is also the reason why they aren’t that great, if you see what I am saying.

    • mom4
      June 27, 2012

      Xavi started his sub-par playing this spring while he was playing hurt. We talk about Messi always wanting to play but the play time for Xavi, who is 8 years older and carrying a chronic injury, is pretty high up there too. The man must sit more this year, play less to play better, come out when we’re up by 2 goals, ride the bench when we are plying third division teams in the copa and lesser teams in the CL group stages. The only problem I see with sitting Xavi is that whenever he is rested, Messi always drops so deep to compensate.

    • mom4
      June 27, 2012

      Maybe I shouldn’t have said “the only problem”. I should have said “one problem” The most important problem is that I would miss seeing him play.

      We have one more day than the Germans (or the Italians) before the final. That extra rest should help everyone.

  41. K_legit in Oz
    June 27, 2012

    Hey Thong Boy. at least Messi had the stones to take the first penalty for Argentina in the Copa..you stood back with your hands on hip muttering “Injustice’
    Always, Messi>Ronaldo

  42. June 27, 2012

    A really nice write-up on Cesc as the ultimate tournament player by Ben Lyttleton for SI.com.

    Fabregas wasn’t sure of his place on the team at the onset of this tournament, and he certainly had not played his best football for Barcelona as the season ended. But something happens to Fabregas when he plays for his country. Quite simply, he is an unbelievable tournament player. It’s been that way ever since he was top scorer — and was named Player of the Tournament — at the 2003 Under-17 World Cup in Finland in which Spain lost to Brazil in the final.

    One year later, Fabregas was named Player of the Tournament at the 2004 European Championships (Spain was again runner-up). When Luis Aragones provided him with his senior debut in March 2006, Fabregas was 18 and the youngest capped Spaniard for 70 years — and he set up a goal in Spain’s 3-2 victory over Ivory Coast. Two years later, he became the youngest player to reach 50 appearances, celebrating the occasion with another goal in Spain’s 6-0 rout of Poland.

    But it was at Euro 2008 when Fabregas’ true tournament value shone through. He scored his first competitive international goal in Spain’s 4-1 group win over Russia, and then came off the bench to score the winning penalty in the quarterfinal shootout win over Italy. That was the key victory en route to the trophy, something that Xavi later admitted. “The Italians always used to beat us, and even when the penalties were going on, we could see them relaxed and laughing as if they had already won,” Xavi said.

    Fabregas, 21 at the time, came off the bench to replace the injured David Villa in the semifinal against Russia. He set up two goals in the 3-0 win and cemented his place for the final, in which Spain topped Germany 1-0. He played the role of second striker alongside Fernando Torres as if he had been playing there his entire life, and he secured a place on the UEFA Team of the Tournament.

    At the World Cup, Fabregas came off the bench four times in seven matches, and his last appearance was the most significant: It was his slide-rule pass that set up Andres Iniesta for the winning goal in the final. And against Portugal on Wednesday, he again showed his class. He was brilliant in extra time, delivering a clever through ball that released Pedro and Navas on the flanks, and stepped up to take the decisive fifth penalty. Just like against Italy four years earlier, he mumbled some words of encouragement before slotting the ball in off the post. It was close, but it was in.

    “Cesc is Xavi, Iniesta and Xabi Alonso all in one, a striker when needed, a holder at other times, a young man with the football wisdom of a veteran,” El Mundo Deportivo’s Cordula Reinhardt told me before the game. And the best may be yet to come. Cesc is only 25, already has 69 appearances to his name and is surely a Spanish captain of the future.

    I did not know he had such an impressive record at youth levels.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/ben_lyttleton/06/27/euro-2012-spain-portugal-semifinal/index.html?sct=sc_t11_a0

    • mom4
      June 27, 2012

      lol, I was thinking the same thing.

    • Ryan
      June 27, 2012

      Don’t most folks do that after work?

    • sd
      June 28, 2012

      well, how else do you expect him to create another baby boom?

  43. June 27, 2012

    Just finished watching the match. Imo, it was Spain’s worst performance in this Euro. I don’t mind watching endless passes, but the tiki-taka was way off today. Probably a combo of less rest, Portugal pressing well, heat factor, etc.

    I thought Portugal did alright, but they were one quality striker away from being a top top contender.

    Nothing against Spain, but I enjoy watching Argentina so much more. Their attacking prowess in the form of Messi-Higuain-Aguero-di Maria is truly amazing, and of course, their defense gives me plenty of near heart attack moments.

    • nzm
      June 28, 2012

      I know, right?

      Pass the ball – sideways, backwards, any way but forwards – lose the ball, get back the ball, rinse and repeat.

      Yikes. I really hope that there’s a better gameplan than that for the final.

  44. Gogah
    June 28, 2012

    VdB, for the final, Please drop Xabi and Silva for Fabregas and Pedro

    • June 28, 2012

      Xabi played really well and will not be dropped. What VdB must do is drop Silva and bring on Pedro. Then shift Iniesta to the right and allow Pedro and Alba to link in the left. Those two are having brilliant understanding. Anyways Iniesta eventuall has to play a floater role and shift to left linking with Pedro and Alba.

  45. barca96
    June 28, 2012

    Gotta say for an antimadridista there can be few better things to watch than Real Madrid players beating the shit out of each other

  46. barca96
    June 28, 2012

    Hilarious that they seemed to have planned for CRon to score the winner and he doesn’t even get to participate – Give the boy the Ballon d’Or already – He might only be the second best goalscorer of the season, but he’s the unchallenged King of Shots Off Target, as he proved again tonight

    Tonight I watched the best player in the world.

    Then I closed YouTube and watched Spain beat Portugal.

    MESSI! MESSI! MESSI!

    “You know where he was at this time ? Do you know? He was being eliminated in the Euro, chickened out before the penalty. I think that’s worse, no?”

    For all you people bored with watching Spain, I suggest you watch England, much more exciting ,they give the ball back to the opposition!!

    There are 3 guys who are serious trollers on Guardian blogs by the name of Tommoman, DCharlie and EnigmaX. The kind of stuff that they say… And of course they are hardcore anti-Barca/Spain.

  47. lyd
    June 28, 2012

    Can we have a separate post to shower praises on VDB’s double pivot and other cool stuffs like Navas’s attempts at crossing?

  48. June 28, 2012

    Points to be taken note of from the Euro so far:

    1) Not even a single Spanish player(who played in Euro) should feature in any of the preseason stuffs. They all should be rested unconditionally.

    2) Xavi should see more rest this season. Thiago and Cesc(even though he may not fit into Xavi role) should play more giving Xavi rest. Also Tito should at least try Jonathan Dos Santos in that role. I always believed he is much better to adapt to Xavi role than Thiago.

    3) Pedro is back, and that’s a hell of a relief. And if we are able to sign Alba, then it could be a sweet partnership in the left between Pedro, Iniesta and Alba. That shouldn’t mean that Muniesa is not given chance.

    4) Busquets may need a bit of rest. Lately he looks a bit tired and that is a worrying sign for us.

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