News of the Day: November 23, 2009

This one is going to be a quickie, folks, because I have the preview to write as well, so apologies in advance if I miss anything of importance in the FCB news world.

Dammit, Leo, you're not Crynaldo, get up!
Dammit, Leo, you're not Crynaldo, get up! (Denis Doyle/Getty Images Europe)

-First, Messi. You’re all probably interested in whether or not our little Messias will be able to play tomorrow against Inter. At first glance, the answer is no, since he’s still supposedly suffering from a slight tear in his left leg (“a 1st degree injury in the adductor of his left thigh”). Marca has begun their fear campaign, claiming that if Messi plays either the Inter match or el clásico, he’s putting his leg at risk for the whole year, perhaps for his whole career. However, after reading in Sport that he’s not necessarily out, I visited the official site and got the previous quote from this article. It appears that the Marca fear-mongering is merely that: fear-mongering. Guardiola would never risk Messi if he were seriously injured or incapable of playing at the top level. It’s as simple as that. Given that he didn’t play Henry in Russia under similar circumstances, it would be folly to think he would play Messi for two matches if it meant losing Messi for the whole year. So, basically, Marca, you’re pure trash and you’ve proven yourself to be so once again. Congratulations.

Joan Laporta, our very own mostly insane dictator-for-life-or-at-least-until-2010, has come out saying that the Inter match is far and away more important than the RM match. There are two ways of thinking about this and I’ve mentioned them before: 1) you think that qualifying to the CL knockout stage now and garnering at least 2 additional matches and the prize money involved is more important than the three points potentially earned from beating our arch-rivals or 2) you think there’s nothing except el clásico in the entire world and nothing–but nothing–is more important.

If you’re a proponent of the first idea, you can point out to proponents of the second idea that in a catastrophe, we’d be at most 4 points behind Madrid with 26 matches (78 points) remaining. However, if we lose to Inter, we’re down to hoping Rubin Kazan loses both of their final matches, meaning we don’t control our own destiny. Believers of the second idea really just throw this out there: It’s Real Madrid, it’s el clásico, don’t tell me it’s not important. Because it is important and it is el clásico. I’m more in the second camp than I am in the first, but that’s because I’d willingly trade any chances of European success for assured trouncings of RM every time we met them. Meaning, yeah, we’d never win another Big Ears trophy, but at least every year we could snicker about how RM would never be kings of Spain again.

Of course, under Guardiola, we can have our cake and eat it too. So ha.

-Did anyone else watch the MLS Cup final last night? All I want to say is: shove it, Beckham; good on you, Real Salt Lake. Next time, though, could you put away your chances in regulation so I don’t have to stay up for PKs?

-It looks like Ibrahimovic will be fit for Inter, which is a welcome addition to the squad. Abidal and The Yaya appear to be recovering from The Swine, but it’s unclear whether the Ivorian be fit for tomorrow or not. Abidal is KO’d through the weekend, I’m pretty sure and certainly for tomorrow. Márquez apparently didn’t have The Swine, despite earlier reports and he should be ready to go for Inter, though the likelihood of him starting over Pique and Puyol is pretty low. Like, if they’re healthy, they’re starting and not Rafa low. That kind of low.

-Speaking of Inter, they’re supposedly in town or something. I dunno. Sammy Who’o?

Much more in the preview, folks, which should be up in a few hours.

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.


  1. Helge
    November 23, 2009

    Abidal is still injured anyway. I think he picked up an injury during the first leg of Ireland-France benching him for ~15 days.

    I hope that Pep trusts in Pedro for the match against Inter, Pedro on right wing and Henry on left wing. How many times did we have our beloved midfield duo of Xavi and Iniesta this season? Too few times, imo.

    • Achraf
      November 23, 2009

      I believe you are forgetting possibly the most important player in our midfield especially with the YAYA missing… Keiteee. SO basically if Yaya is out don’t even think of a xavi-iniesta midfield. Iniesta or pedro on the wing That is the question. Ibra-Henry-Iniesta
      Hmm possibilities.
      This however
      busquets-xavi-keita is just untouchable in our current injury crisis

  2. pck
    November 23, 2009

    I say keep Messi on the bench and let the two kids (Pedro!, Bojan) get their CL shot. Hell, Pedro!’s been on a tear lately – you know that kid is itching to get another shot at Inter. Besides, Messi just hasn’t been and damagingly effective as he was earlier this year, last year. Rest will do him well and show inter a new look, besides forcing us to, I don’t know, play as a freakin’ team.

  3. Carles P
    November 23, 2009

    I agree with pck. Last time I saw our team play the fluid-tiki taka style that we were palying last year was during the CDR (Copa), and although that was a 3rd division team, we looked dangerous and more importantly COHESIVE.

    Pedro started for Messi that game, and I think that helped balance the right side. Pedro get’s it done and more importantly passes a lot more than Messi has been doing lately.

    Don’t know about Bojan starting against the Inter D. They are strong, tall, and well…tested. Bojan does not do that well against defenders like that.

    I also do not think Marquez should start. A sub (and an early one Pep, PLEASE), would work probably for Puyol because we will need him for EE. Would also like to see more subs PERIOD, and early one’s at that.

  4. Stephen
    November 23, 2009

    Not much to say, you are pretty right. but yeah…

    Marca can suck it !

  5. Kxevin
    November 23, 2009

    Laporta is right. We canNOT lose tomorrow. We can maybe get points back in the Liga, particularly once we start playing as we should. But if we’re out of theCL, we can’t show our mojo.

    Hey,Barca TV is a full-time channel up here. They’re showing the Inter practice right now.

  6. Kxevin
    November 23, 2009

    Some dude flew in from Tulsa, and doesn’t have tickets! Turns out he was on my flight, and came walking up, asking where he could get a ticket for Inter or EE. I explained the value of being a aoci, and wished him luck.

  7. Jose45
    November 23, 2009

    Real Salt Lake!! As a recently become Utahn, this was great news to hear: my moving into a town and seeing their soccer club win it all! 😛

    Sure Real Salt Lake might have a partnership with Real Madrid… but they play possession-based football, don’t have any galacticos (*ahem* Beckham), and have Barca-like colors, haha.

  8. jordi
    November 23, 2009

    This is ramzi’s lineup

    Alves, Puyol, Pique, Maxwell
    Xavi, Yaya, Keita
    Iniesta, Ibra, Henry

    busi plaing if yaya cant make it.I have to say i like it.Last time iniesta played out there he was majorly awesome against sevilla.I hope pep gives him a chance out there.He played in a zidane roll from that side last time and it couldnt hurt to try him there again.

    • Kxevin
      November 23, 2009

      What does Ramzi have a spokesman now? 😀

      • jordi
        November 23, 2009

        Just spreading ideas from the offside 😀

    • drew
      November 23, 2009

      that is the line up i wanna see. jordi is right. last time iniesta played on the right we kicked ass, and he scored a golazo!

  9. Soto
    November 23, 2009

    As to the MLS championship match: I was right their with you, Isaiah, wanting someone, anyone, to score before the overtime was over. I am a Galaxy fan, but at the end I was cheering for Salt Lake to score. They deserved the win, and, more importantly, they could have avoided the penalty kick nightmare.

  10. November 23, 2009

    Ok my thoughts on the whole “which game do we actually play to win”

    1) we can win both easily – we will have ibra in the lineup against inter, who in my opinion is much more dangerous against inter than messi would be. (this does not take away from messi being God’s current gift to soccer and my favorite player). there is no way we lose to inter, we at least tie, unless our defense gets caught on a counter. that’s the only way we get scored on these days. I see at the very least with Ibra and a solid defense, and messi as perhaps a super sub, we will at least tie, if not win. Now I know a tie doesn’t do much in terms of painting a clear destination, but it’s way better than a loss.

    2) there is NO way Madrid can beat us. This is a team that BARELY just beat Racing Satander with a 1-0 scoreline. This is a team that was knocked out of Copa del Rey by ALCORCON! To think they can come into our stadium and beat us (even though we’re not on top form, we are still the best team in the world) is just ludicrous. Sevilla beat them with ease and style. Once again, at the very least we tie, but I just don’t see that happening.

    I admit it was much a victim of the fear mongering on Saturday when Messi’s injury speculation started. Regardless, we must remain confident in the fact we are the best team in the world, even when we don’t play like it. VISCA BARÇA!

  11. Alex
    November 23, 2009

    Messi and Ibra just went out to train sais RAC1. Messi is more doubtful than Ibra.

  12. Kxevin
    November 23, 2009

    Just watched the Guardiola press conference. He said the only guys definitely out are The Yaya, due to “la gripe.” Not sure what that means.

    Watching us practice right now. Marquez and Ibra are out taking full part in drills, along with Milito. Messi is running limp-free laps with a coach. Don’t see Abidal, however. He’s probably in iso with The Yaya.

    • Alex
      November 23, 2009

      Ya, you prob have better updates than RAC 1, I bet we start with Ibra, Pedro, and Henry tomorrow, with Keita, Iniesta, Xavi in Mid. Messi super sub if needed.

    • Alex
      November 23, 2009

      You go to “Bar Thomas” yet? If you go anywhere mentioned in my email, go there and feast on those patatas bravas. The ferrocariles from passeig de gracia should leave you really close by if you get off on the Sarria stop. Ask anyone around their and they’ll know.

  13. Kxevin
    November 23, 2009

    Not yet, Alex. Just finished my hour-plus indoor workout. Now for dinner.

    To clarify, I know what “la gripe” is, but I have no idea why only The Yaya was on the definitely out list, which should also have included Marquez and Abidal.

    Messi and Ibra weren’t practicing like dudes who were doubtful. Both looked fine to, especially Ibra, who was kidding around and not looking at all like a dude who is injuted. Messi was also running juat fine. So we’ll see.

    • cliveee
      November 24, 2009

      I think Guardiola is ready to play The Yaya in El Clasico. As for Marquez and Abidal, they will not play anyway.

      I’d say just play The Yaya and spread the swine all over to Inter (oops, and to ourselves…) . He will dominate everywhere he go. 😛

    • Kevo
      November 23, 2009

      nice but that Essien is a monster! what a shot!

  14. November 23, 2009

    Not only is Ibra a “welcome addition to the squad,” but also if he were out, we would be royally f****ed. Now when all else fails and we can’t get out passing together (which always happens, be it for a short or long time), we can dish it to him.

  15. Jim
    November 23, 2009

    I’m in the CL more important at the moment camp. RM are going to drop points this season.

    I quite like Ramzi’s starting selection with Iniesta playing RW only because I worry abut Messi from the start and he is one of the few who can make an impact from the bench. However, playing Keita and Busi in midfield asks a lot from Xavi as they aren’t close to being in Iniesta or Xavi’s class in the middle.

    Btw, Kxevin, you sure know how to hurt us left behind – “Watching us practice right now” 🙁

  16. Roja-N
    November 24, 2009


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