Arrogance, mere mortals, money and Barca, aka “The unfriendly friendly”

If picky press were like actual black eyes, Our Beloved Club would look like it had gone 20 rounds with Mike Tyson, all because of perception, which is often 9/10ths of reality. Let’s have a gander at how a friendly has become a mess, and national pride’s dictates aren’t quite what they seem.

Two incidents, the Hamburg friendly and the SuperCopa Catalunya have, in many quarters of the world, caused the cries of “money-centered arrogance” to rain down from the skies. Cules, of course, circle the wagons and say, “To hell with ’em, we aren’t risking our big boys for a mere friendly.”

Event organizers, irrespective of the result, say that the team wasn’t up to snuff because paying friendlies are about faces and stars. Hamburg supporters didn’t pony up to see FCB, they ponied up to see Messi, Xavi, Iniesta and tika-taka. It’s a consequence of the fame that precedes us. Prima-facie it’s silly, as every club-level team knows how big clubs operate. They know that right after a big summer competition, everybody goes on vacation until August. So if you schedule a friendly for July in a Euros year, who are you kidding? Expect the biggest stars and instead you’ll get the twins, No and Hell No.

But the complexity here is injury. Messi got dinged in practice, the club took a EUR400,000 precautionary measure and that’s that. We all know had it been a real match instead of a money grab, Messi would have played. And there’s the rub: Hamburg knows that, as well.

More than this is the perception, rooted in part in the way that our club has been governed since our current president took over. “No color copies, Laporta lied about finances, we’re in dire straits, we managed to eke out a wee profit, but will have to sell the shirt, record profits, yay for us, money, money, money, money.” Then we play friendlies, again, for money. No, everything isn’t about money, but you can certainly forgive someone for thinking that it might be. It’s kinda all that our leaders talk about. We could have jetted about the globe and hoovered up lots more dollars, they said over the winter, which would have helped the bottom line. Instead we’re poncing around in Europe, for comparative chump change.

Perceptionally, that’s the wrong message that is being sent out, one that reduces friendly opponents to ATM machines. Does it spit in the face of the clubs we are competing against? Depends on who you ask. But again, to outsiders, it isn’t about a friendly competition that helps both clubs get into match shape. Nope. “Pay me, here’s a kickabout with our Barca Babies, and I’m gone.”

And now comes the Copa Catalunya debacle, in which the Catalan Football Federation has canceled the tourney, because we were going to send a B team. But we’ve always sent a B team. What’s the problem here? Again, there are many levels. Ambition, for one. It’s now the SuperCopa Catalunya, and discussions were held in an effort to make sure that the two big Catalan clubs, Espanyol and us, didn’t treat this thing like what it is. The CFF worked with us and Espanyol to rejigger the competition and the rules so that both teams would be able to sent the “best sides possible.” RoSELL said we’d send the best side possible. Aye, and there’s the rub. With players staggering back from vacation, rocking deep tropical tans and about zero match fitness, the B team is the best side available.

On a deeper level, if FCB is the bright, shining face of Catalan pride, the nominal national team of Catalunya…. Our hearts should fill to the bursting with pride and joy at battling other Catalan teams for the Copa, now the SuperCopa, a name change that came about as part of the “best team possible” rules change. Shouldn’t the Catalan Kings take this all a bit more seriously?

But as with Hamburg, it’s about money. If it wasn’t about money, we’d just practice and scrimmage all summer. But a stronger Barca side brings more ticket sales, which brings more money, which makes the CFF happy. The glamor boys are in town. Wheeeee!

Meanwhile the CFF has scoffed, Espanyol has pooh-poohed us, saying “Hey, we were ready with our best side, blame the fancy boys from the city,” and we have two incidents in which we look like arrogant prigs who don’t have time for lesser clubs, unless we are being paid. Remember that interpretation is 9/10ths of perception, or how people envision a situation. And that perception irritates the hell out of me. Seems like a few conversations could have alleviated hurt feelings. And yet ….

Here’s some reality:

–We aren’t going to risk our best players in meaningless matches. No club with real ambition will.
–Those players will get a better match in the practice scrimmages than against a club such as Hamburg.
–Thinking big picture, it would suck to high heaven if a player such as Messi was injured in a friendly, right?
–The SuperCopa Catalunya, gussied-up name aside, is still a tertiary trophy. At best. We have won 4 of 18 Copa Catalunyas. If we take it seriously …. we didn’t even count the Copa Catalunya as a near-miss in the Year of the Six Cups.
–We are a club with big ambitions, that has hopefully learned lessons from last season about player management and the value of preseason preparation.

So. Reality vs perception. Reality makes us seem arrogant. It’s unavoidable. If the club is hoisting big, giant silver in May, will anyone care? No. Because remember, it’s all about money and success.

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Written by:

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. July 27, 2012

    “To hell with ‘em, we aren’t risking our big boys for a mere friendly.”

    I think that sentence sums it up.

  2. July 27, 2012

    I’ll probably have a longer response tomorrow, but like I said on twitter (you’re not following me? Why? You should be following me. It’s cool.):

    Barça is basically guilty of giving their players too much vacation time & trying to avoid injuries. I’m OK with that.

  3. elcapitan
    July 28, 2012

    (Formerly olufestus)….funny espanyol,☺kA̶̲̥̅̊Ɣ, they want xavIniestAbidaLeo to feature right… us £40m for the sale of J.martinez and you will have or no deal?? Lol

  4. mom4
    July 28, 2012

    Villa, Puyol, Cuencas, Thiago’s injuries were known in May, Spain was a faovorite to win the Euros so it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise that they went to the final and needed to vacation this long. So if you schedule something this early, prepare to be disappointed. We don’t play the guys we do because we’re mean but because those are the guys we have available.

    Do y’all realize that we will have the Spanish players back for less than 2 weeks before we have to let them go away with their NT? Glad they got their month off because it’s the last break they’ll get for the next 60 odd games.

    BTW, Am I reading this right? The friendly today is being played at 6:00 EST which means it starts at midnight BCN time.

    • July 28, 2012

      Yeah, midnight. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect the lateness of the game has to do with it being Ramadan. The sun doesn’t set until 7:30 pm local time, then people will need to eat, pray, ect.

      Any of our Muslim readers can comment on this?

      • nzm
        July 28, 2012

        The game starts at 10pm Morocco time which is midnight in Barcelona.

        Morocco is usually 1 hour behind but with daylight saving time (which Morocco doesn’t follow), it’s now 2 hours behind.

        It’s weird travelling on the ferry across the Gib Strait and having to alter time in what is technically the same time zone, and then lose an hour travelling back the other way.

        • barca96
          July 28, 2012

          NZM, is it normal for the matches in Morocco to be played that late?

          I do hope that it is for Ramadan’s sake. Otherwise they will be having an excuse for losing. Not that they have a chance though =p

          I can’t imagine those Muslims at the Olympics though. And it is the worst time to perform fasting since it’s summer time. Longer fasting hours than usual. 10 years ago breaking fast time was around 5pm and now it’s 9pm.

          Best time to be right now is in Australia. It’s winter time there this time of the year so sun sets early 🙂

          • nzm
            July 28, 2012

            10pm’s not that late – some of the La Liga games start at that time.

            It’s also quite humid in Morocco, right now, during the day, so hopefully it will have cooled off a little in Tangier by then. The nights can be much cooler.

            Muslims travelling and/or playing sport can receive special permission to not fast during the Ramadan days. This is “legally” gained through the permission of their imam, but I would hope that most use common sense, and realise that their performance is dependent on the correct hydration and nutrition.

          • Messiah10
            July 28, 2012

            Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon fasted during Ramadan while playing in the NBA for well over a decade. He seemed to do alright. 🙂 It’s all a matter of practice and regiment. He had it down to a art form. I think the Olympic athletes will be alright.

  5. Richzorz
    July 28, 2012

    Presumably it’s only non-Barca fans that think it’s in any way a bad thing the the first team wouldn’t be put out in every pre-season friendly and especially the Copa Catalunya. To be fair Barca haven’t even played their full first team in the SSC games even when facing Madrid…!

  6. elcapitan
    July 28, 2012

    of cause barca doesnt respect Espanyol, because they
    always bent over to get *****d in the **** by real
    madrid everytime they meet in laliga, whilst playing
    vs us like its the CL final!!
    They are ma because thats the only trophy they have
    chance of winning,

  7. What the heck is our Management doing? The PR strategy is a disaster. If seriously we are worried about the injuries then why don’t we cancel all teh friendlies. The Gamper trophy would be more than enough to warm up these guys. Everyone knows one thing that after 4 years of non-stop football these guys need rest more than anything.

    The Hamburg match was a disaster as the management never realized what the occasion was. Now the Catatlunya thing is also going to be a PR mess. We all know that every other club would have done something similar to what we did. But then none of them have to live up to a reputation of “More than a Club”. And we all everytime usues that to argue with other club fans, don’t we?

    • Oil_Can
      July 28, 2012

      tbh, the media always digs into us every year about us fielding the b-team for the copa catalunya, its not that big of an issue.

      The positive thing is that it was only one friendly, a few people were disappointed and they’ll get over it, and it’ll be all forgotten. If however all these friendlies start to affect our footballing then it becomes a problem.

  8. barca96
    July 28, 2012

    -The hotel the players are staying it is beautiful. Well not the hotel actually but the location.

    -What do you guys think of Chelsea? Ok, the old guard won them the CL but these new youngsters are an exciting bunch. They’ve gone for flair now.

    Oscar, Hazard (my fav young player!), Marin, Lukaku, Romeu, Sturridge and possibly Hulk, Azcupulitta(sp?), Willian & Cavani.

    That’s some exciting young bunch of players. Now it doesn’t mean that they will gel and directly have a chemistry but I hope the old guard does make way.

    I however don’t think Di Matteo has a say in these transfers at all. I just can’t seem to think that they see him as a long term coach. So why buy all these players when the next coach won’t even want them.

    It will become like Man City with Hughes a few years back.

    • mom4
      July 28, 2012

      “What do you guys think of Chelsea?”

      I try really hard not to. 😉

      • July 28, 2012

        Doesn’t someone in your family support them? Or was it Arsenal?

        • mom4
          July 28, 2012

          Was hubby’s EPL team in the infancy of our football fanhood. He’s over it now. We like Arsenal, like to watch Everton and root for poor little Wigan. Eldest kid likes Man U. But really, hubby and I consider and EPL games something to pass the time on Saturday morning until the good La Liga games come on.

          • July 28, 2012

            I use EPL games to make fall asleep. Never failed as yet..

    • Messiah10
      July 28, 2012

      Completely agree barca96. I’m sure AVB is thinking “WTF” Why didn’t I get to bring in those players?! I really like Chelski’s transfers this summer. It pains me to say it! 🙂

  9. Salia
    July 28, 2012

    What time does the match kick off UK time?

    • Xingxian
      July 28, 2012

      I was really happy with Cheney. And all the girls, really.

    • Messiah10
      July 28, 2012

      She was B.A. today! That goal was world class and her thru ball was brilliant. I really like the way the U.S. team is playing.

  10. ciaran
    July 28, 2012

    Hat trick from Messi and a brace so far from Alexis. A nice half

  11. mom4
    July 28, 2012

    Things learned from the first half…
    1. Sanchez-Messi connection should be cool this season.
    2. You asked for starters and Messi, you got starters and Messi. Be careful what you wish for…you just might get it.
    3. Bartra seems ready. Liking Sergi Roberto. Unsure about JDS.
    4. Pinto’s near Pintocalypse upon Mascherano scared the crap outta me. Love the guy but I think he’s a few fries short of a happy meal.
    5. There is no such thing as a friendly when a weaker team has something to prove. Some scary stuff happening.
    6. The village can come collect its idiot. He’s at the friendly shining lasers upon the players.
    7. Ibi deserves a chance this season.
    8. First half manita. Now get those first teamers outta there before Muniesa becomes the least of our worries.
    9. Don’t understand why the feed I have has English commentary during the game but Arabic? during the halftime???

    • replayed
      July 28, 2012

      “Don’t understand why the feed I have has English commentary during the game but Arabic? during the halftime???”

      The feed is from the Al-Jazeera Sports Network. I gather some local station is subbing the (mediocre) English commentary but doesn’t have the wherewithal to pony up for a studio and pundits at halftime.

      Sigh, it’s no nice to watch the team playing against opponents who aren’t parking the bus. It hardly ever happens in the regular season nowadays.

      I caught a glimpse of Montoya during the Olympics opening ceremony. That one’s going to be a heartbreaker.

    • chal
      July 28, 2012

      It’s Al-Jazeera an Arabic sports channel (Qatari monopolizing almost all the the importants leagues in Europe, Africa and middle-east) , they have English commentators just during the match.

      I watched Afellay during Euros and in this match, he is doing good, he’s worthing a place in Barcelona !

  12. July 28, 2012

    When Xavi and Iniesta talk about half-touch, I think Javi Espinosa has it. He’s so good at close control and knowing instinctively when and where to release the ball while facing pressure. Also, it was a lovely gesture from Messi to give his jersey to that fan in wheelchair 😀 Overall, it was a good game and very happy for our BBs.

  13. Judas Pissed
    July 29, 2012

    Maybe Bartra IS ready – and my increasing panic at the lack of a centre half signing is all for nothing…

  14. Leckan1
    July 29, 2012

    Why did we sell Oriol Romeu again? This summer could have been done by now.

    I like him but Jonathan is not a natural DM. He has a tendency to overcomplicate it and not looking up sometimes. This leads him too losing the ball needlessly.

    We also knew Keita could leave due to his contractual situation and age.

    Oh well, we’ll see I guess.

  15. JDS once again is getting a raw deal. Why does everyone try to play him as a DM. Try him in a usual midfielder role and then only we can see what h really is.

  16. Oil_Can
    July 29, 2012

    we’ll see how things go for JDS over time, hes making mistakes but its only game 2 of the pre-season. Keita was given all of last pre-season and more to get used to the DM role, now JDS prob won’t fit in as easily as Keita did, but it is too early to make judgements/decisions on JDS’s future.

    Bartra is looking good, but again he hasn’t yet been really tested.

  17. Blau-Grenade
    July 29, 2012

    No words for Messi. Dude could have had a double hat trick on a good day.

    Very impressed by Bartra and Espinosa. Given the right direction these people can become regular first teamers.

    Not so impressed by Johathan Dos Santos. This is the second game where he has lost several balls in dangerous positions.

  18. bhed
    July 29, 2012

    Sorry for being off-topic, but with the switch from GolTV to BeIn, I want to plan ahead to make sure I don’t miss any matches this season. Besides, isn’t there another site that posts Barca matches for download? I can’t stand pixellated streams and would rather burn matches on to DVD to watch on the big screen after the fact. Pretty sure I remember someone mentioning just such a site on BFB before.

    U.S. Direct TV subscribers, how are you going to get your fix this season? Are you going to keep Fox Soccer for Champions League?

    Thanks for any info!

    • Ryan
      July 29, 2012

      rojadirecta is the other site, I think. At least, that’s the one I like to go to for getting matches without spoiling the results.

    • Momo
      July 29, 2012

      Pakman’s fppty blog is perfect for that… I use it all the time, no spoilers.

  19. Clouseau
    July 29, 2012

    Spain 1:0 behind against Honduras at HT now.Spains midfield lacking controll and proper buildup play.Neither Koke nor Isco are capable of controll..Thiago desperatly missed.

    Very good chances to get Alba and Montoya earlier than expected back.

    • Ryan
      July 29, 2012

      I wasn’t a fan of Milla’s coaching before this, and this tournament didn’t help at all! I feel like he’s been cruising on the team’s collective talent, but now that Thiago is unavailable he’s been shown up for when better tactics were needed. At least Alba will get some rest now.

      • Clouseau
        July 29, 2012

        Agree wholeheartly.Never impressed me his decision to choose Koke over Ander was costly like it showed later on..
        Now he obviously will point out the sheer unluckieness of Spain but the Team looked like a bunch of individuells rather than a Team.

        I’d be surprised if he still be coaching the current U21/U20 Teams.

    • lyd
      July 29, 2012

      No true center midfielder. Shame!
      On the hindsight, Cazorla should’ve been there instead of Mata.

      But Montoya was impressive. So was Alba. And Tello had a good 10 mins on the right.

      Now bring back the boys home 🙂

      • jordi™
        July 29, 2012

        Beñat would have been ideal.Best midfielder outside the top four teams this season. Every other team used their over age slots to call …over age players in the mid to late 20’s. Milla wasted his on the likes of Botia.

        • Clouseau
          July 29, 2012

          Either him or Borja Valero as Villarreal at their current stage wouldn’t make a fuss losing him.

          Can’t believe how bad Botía has become.Shame.

          Tello even started with beeing booked yellow *lol*

          Cazorla would have been great but then again Mata played an essential part to make it possible for Spain to start on Olympics.

          • lyd
            July 29, 2012

            Since Thiago was injured, Spain needed a proper centre midfielder, someone who could control the tempo and rub off the necessary composure to others. In order to preserve the system, sacrificing Mata for Cazorla (due to the age limit thingy) could have been wise. Santi is fit amnd fresh (compared to Bilbao players, for example), world class (compared to Benat and Valero) and Malaga is in a mess. Thats why i felt things could have worked well for all parties with the inclusion of Santi. Then again, hindsight is 20/20.

            and Tellow got a yello? :p didn notice amidst the chaos and other yellows that were flashed. Remember he had superb left footed shot plus he combined well with Muniain, in the little time and space that was available. Its good to see him on the right for a change. Adds options.

    • hansh
      July 30, 2012

      Now that he’s not at GolTV, does anyone know where Ray Ray will be commentating in the future? I hope I get to hear more of him somewhere!

      True story: I had watched a few Barca games and liked the team before this, but at some point GolTV was showing the 5-0 clásico basically on a loop. I was flipping through channels and caught some of it when I noticed the insane color commentator. I left the game on to hear him and his crazy metaphors, and in the process I got to see some beautiful, breathtaking soccer. It was one of the moments that turned my casual appreciation for Barca into an obsession, and all thanks to Ray Ray!

      • July 30, 2012

        Word is that he is thisclose to being on board at BeIN NoLiga, joining Phil Schoen.

  20. providence
    July 29, 2012

    Spain is out…thank God…give me back My Alba…give me back my Tello n Montoya….it’ll b full pre – season now

  21. July 29, 2012

    So Spain is out. What this shows is how completely dependent this team was on Thiago. He was the absolute lynchpin of the midfield, and without him they could not control the match.

    Muniain has been a shadow of himself for months. Mata and Alba worked hard but could not compensate for the defects of the team as a whole. Javi Martinez was very disappointing.

    The goal was ridiculous. Alba did his best to challenge for the ball while everyone else stood around with their hands in their pockets. De Gea had ONE thing to do this match and was caught out.

    Spain was unlucky not to score in the second half, but I can’t blame Honduras for camping out in their own box and repelling all comers. I honestly think Luis Milla made some poor choices in his lineup and coaching decisions.

  22. barca96
    July 29, 2012

    Watched the last 15mins of the Brazil match. Was not so impressed with Neymar. He tries to over do it at times when he can already release a shot.
    According to my little brother who kept an eye on Neymar and Oscar, Neymar had an average match. Even when I tuned it he was okay okay. He did beat a few defenders but they were pretty comical.

    But he made up for it in the last goal. I was praying he would notice Oscar making a run and make a back heal and he did it.

    I stood up and jumped in the air. It was really matured of him.

  23. July 29, 2012

    It’s a simple reminder that this Olympic squad isn’t the real La Roja, underscoring the value of FCB players.

    –To hell with Neymar for merely being brilliant, instead of being a selfish, preening little nit. How are we supposed to be annoyed by him when he won’t cooperate?

    • garry
      July 30, 2012

      Would the early exit of spain help bring down Javi Martinez’s price?

      Since, roSELL is determined to buy u-know-who from Santos, hoping that some sense gets hammered in him and he continues being ‘unselfish’.

  24. Gogah
    July 30, 2012

    quite glad that spain got kicked out. now alba, tello and montoya get more time with the first team.
    Can we please sign a damn central defender now?

  25. July 30, 2012

    OFFICIAL: Puyol has received the medical green light and is available to play with the first team.

    Wonderful news! The beating heart of the team is back in action. How I have missed him. 😀

    • nzm
      July 31, 2012

      And Villa is back as well, as of today!

  26. July 30, 2012

    Daniel Agger. No. For so many reasons.

    –Is he quality? Yes. Barca quality? I happen to think so.
    –But nothing has indicated that he wants to leave Liverpool.
    –If he does leave Liverpool, it isn’t going to be for 15+5.
    –On the up side, the club might need a certified tattoo artist.

    • nzm
      July 30, 2012

      They do have an unofficial tattoo artist who seems to be popular – even tattoed Hleb’s wife.

      Take a look through this slideshow and you might see a few familiar faces.

      • July 30, 2012

        Oh My Cruyff, Michele, that shot of Lucho almost killed me! Give a girl some warning.

        • nzm
          July 31, 2012

          Heh – it shocked me too!

          I’m sorry, blitz – I’m the caring, sharing type! 😀

          • July 31, 2012

            “Shocked” isn’t the word I would have used. It’s saved to my hard drive for further perusal. 😉

          • nzm
            July 31, 2012

            Ha! I was more shocked to see him in there at all – didn’t really take him as a tattoo type, if there is one.

            The only thing that would have been more surprising would have been to see Pep or Tito in there!

          • nzm
            July 31, 2012

            Just noticed – is that a plaster cast on Lucho’s left arm?

            Did you look that far? 😆

          • July 31, 2012

            It does seem to be. Don’t know when that pic was taken, probably a while ago.

    • hansh
      July 30, 2012

      Is it weird that I like her because she’s just regular skinny, not supermodel/unnatural skinny? Also, yay for a happy Xavi!

  27. July 30, 2012

    So the Catalan FA reschedules the Catalan SUPER cup to September, but if we field B-team players, what will happen then? Another reschedule? I don’t get why this tournament is such big issue this year :/

    • nzm
      July 30, 2012

      Because they changed the format this year, so that Espanyol and Barca play for the Catalunya Super Cup, and the other teams fight it out for the Catalunya Cup which is what all the teams used to play for.

      Essentially, they’ve recognised that FCB and Espanyol are streets ahead of the other teams in Catalunya, and have removed the necessity for them to play several games in a competition – it’s now just one game for FCB, vs. Espanyol.

      The issue becomes more political and heated if Barca doesn’t show up to play with its top team because of everything that they purport to stand for – truth, justice and the Catalunyan way.

      For them to show disregard for a trophy series against other Catalunyan teams goes against the values upon which the club bases its ethics, and the constant historical reminders of how the club stood as a Catalan bastion during the Franco years.

      Visca Barca i Visca Catalunya – but the latter is increasingly becoming “only if it suits us”.

      The Espanyol and L’Hospi Presidents have been very quick to jump all over this.

      • July 30, 2012

        Hmmm… But the benefit goes both ways. Barcelona, the global brand, has brought a lot of tourist dollars and name recognition to the region. Being global doesn’t mean we have to abandon local identity. I think the fact that the club continues to use Catalan as an official club language transmits a powerful message to rest of the world. If this is a matter of regional solidarity, maybe they should have planned it in advance. I think it’s a bit unfair to force the club to a corner, especially in a time of transition.

        And the issue seems a bit trivial to air so publicly. The competition reemerged in the late 1980s, and I’m guessing that between then and now, FCB has used reserved team with little uproar. Why reformatting the competition now and making such a big deal all of the sudden? Is it because Laporta, the Catalan parliamentarian, exerts his influence on this matter? Or the crisis in Spain has heightened a sense of nationalistic ownership? Or is it because FA people hate Rosell and don’t value Tito as much as they value Pep? Don’t know but I’m very annoyed.

        • nzm
          July 31, 2012

          It’s got nothing to do with Laporta as far as I can see or hear around here – he hasn’t said tickety-boo about this, and he’s usually in boots-and-all if he can score some points. He can’t really say anything about this, because the club did the same when he was Pres.

          The fact that FCB is in one of the more beautiful cities in the world also helps the club’s identity too. Barcelona has been on the must-see European cities list for much longer than Barca has been supported by a international fanbase.

          Just as an example, do people choose to go to Manchester for a vacation and then decide when they’re there that they’ll visit Man U or City? (No offence meant to any Mancunians is intended by this!) This is what happens here.

          The city certainly pulls in far more people than just Barca fans, and the club benefits from this because the tourist guides and bus tours all push the stadium tour as a must-see. We’ve met, (and taken to the stadium), so many people who aren’t football fans, yet still have been impressed by what they’ve seen. Do they all become Barca fans? No – not likely, but at Eur18.00 per head for the stadium visits, spur-of-the-moment match tickets and merchandise sales, the club does very well out of being situated in a major tourist city.

          The club must expect the pressure to come on them – and it will come on them more and more. They are now in an exalted position – one that they’ve worked for and won.

          On the scale of the Barca Foundation, the club does not a lot for the local community – a few charities supported now and then; a few players rock up to events and a couple of open days for fans.

          Most of the money goes to overseas projects – Africa, South America, unesco, unicef, Bill Gates Foundation etc.

          In a tightened economy, Catalans are starting to see the money that they give to the club go elsewhere – offshore and of no direct benefit to their community. That’s starting to rankle. All this is on top of a club who won’t front up to play with a First Team in what is a Provincial competition.

          The re-jigging of the contest (into a Supacopa and Copa events) was an effort to bring Barca and Espanyol into the competition with their top players.

          When the club doesn’t respond in kind, it doesn’t go down well. Instead of approaching the CFA and saying that the date didn’t suit them and was there a possibility of a new date, they instead broadcast that the Barca B team would play.

          The club’s PR is appalling when it comes to handling matters such as this. The situation then required an emergency reconvening of the CFA and all the member clubs, who all wasted a day in Barcelona hashing out a compromise.

          It’s little wonder that the attacks start coming. Not all clubs are hugely funded like FCB and yet they can’t even play ball within their own community, so to speak.

          • July 31, 2012

            I’m sure the club located in a beautiful city has helped us a lot, but regular tourists visiting the city don’t necessarily spend money on club-related business, while non local Barca fans going to the Camp Nou will certainly spend money on food, hotel, transportation, etc… All of which benefit local businesses and tax collectors. On top of that, a massive club tend to employ more local people.

            Ideally, I would love to see Barcelona competing against local Catalan clubs to promote region solidarity, but realistically it’s not viable at the moment.

  28. July 31, 2012

    Muniesa surgery went well. They discovered that in addition to blowing out the ACL, he also ruptured his meniscus at the same time. That. Is. Nasty.

    • July 31, 2012

      To be honest it’s not as nasty as it sounds. Approximately half of ACL ruptures come packaged with a meniscus tear or two (medial or lateral).

      In fact, it’s so common to tear multiple ligaments during a knee injury that we often see what’s called “The Unhappy Triad” – tearing all three of the ACL, MCL, and medial meniscus.

      The take home point here is – the meniscal rupture isn’t likely to add more healing time than Muniesa was already going to need from the ACL tear.

      • July 31, 2012

        Damn. Never knew that. Still, if not for bad luck, Muniesa would have no luck at all.

        • July 31, 2012

          That’s the truth. He is a shining example of the dangers of hyping youth players too early. Injuries have been devastating him.

          • nzm
            July 31, 2012

            As well as being directly red-carded out of his first-ever first team game.

            I think that we have a replacement for Helb the jinx.

          • Clouseau
            August 1, 2012

            Wouldn’t say so. He is no Mario Rosas in that sense that he’ll never fullfilled his potential nor would i put him up to likes of Gai and Gio.

            He is an example of Injuries hampering ones career but looking at Van Persie example sometimes patiency pays off.
            Club needs to find a solution for his constantly Injuries.

            I feel sorry for the lad everytime he is on the brink to shine for the first Team something awfully happen.

    • nzm
      July 31, 2012

      Ouch- adding insult to injury!

      First he runs over his own foot which put him out of the Camp Nou Copa and Liga games against Barca last season, and now this!

      It appears as though the Valencia players do quite well for themselves with Ferraris and Porsches.

    • Clouseau
      August 1, 2012

      haha, he sold his last car and replaced it with that one only to experience another shock 🙂

    • Ryan
      August 1, 2012

      Wow, that was nuts! I was expecting a few flames, but that looked bad…

  29. ciaran
    July 31, 2012

    There are far too many Neymar rumours for my liking, not that I don’t like the kid, but if we continue telling everyone how broke we are we can’t exactly go out and spend €50million on him.
    Financially, it might make sense due to the commercial aspects of it and I would certainly like Neymar, Messi and Alexis for Football Manager but other than that I’m not so sure.

    • July 31, 2012

      I’m not excited about this potential deal either. Who would Neymar replace, Pedro, Villa, Alexis or a future player from La Masia? I like Neymar if we can get him below 25m. Anything above that is ridiculous. The commercial potential argument doesn’t convince me. We are essentially betting that with Neymar the club will monopolize the Brazilian market, thus increasing more corporate commercial revenues. But what if there are a few more rising Brazilian stars in the near future who can outshine Neymar, then what? Like Oscar, Ramires and David Luiz for Chelsea. If anything, Chelsea has a better chance of dominating the Brazilian market. On top of that how would Neymar fit with the club’s brand image. In my opinion, the image of Barca is La Masia– locally produced players. Adding a potential super star just seems so excessive, especially to a position that we don’t need cover at the moment. I just want a center back.

      • barca96
        July 31, 2012

        On top of that how would Neymar fit with the club’s brand image. In my opinion, the image of Barca is La Masia– locally produced players. Adding a potential super star just seems so excessive

        It is nothing new that we sign a superstar. Barca has always been signing superstars each summer. In fact, we do need superstars besides the La Masia talents. We can’t rely on the young kids alone.

        I don’t think that we need Neymar especially for above 30mill but your statement is a bit off the mark.

        • August 1, 2012

          Maybe I should have added “current” image. Of course, there’s nothing new with the club signing super stars. But the current marketing methods have been about promoting La Masia players. If you think of the current Barcelona side, you’ll think of Pep/Tito, Messi, Xavi, Iniesta and La Masia. The club has done a lot of work promoting that image. Opening FCB camps all over the world, Nike commercials, boasting about playing local eleven, making a big deal about La Masia at every opportunity etc…

          Zubi himself said that the club will always look to fill its needs from within before finding other sources, so to buy an outside player that we don’t need seems a bit disingenuous. We bought Alexis because we needed an attacker at that time. We could justify buying Cesc because he has “Barca DNA”. I can’t justify buying Neymar for 25mil+ over promoting youth. The player I fear will suffer the most if this deal follows through is Pedro :/

    • August 1, 2012

      We’ve heard more “news” about Cesc for three years before he finally arrived (one year too early). It makes no sense whatsoever to get Neymar now. He need to develop a bit more before he make this big move, and while he is not as “freestyle player” now as he used to be (which seems like a decline in quality), he is actually maturing and doing more for less – but not yet enough. One more season in Brazil where he can play many more games than at Barcelona, and then he’ll be ready to move on – to Barca or any other club in Europe. Till then, we have Alexis and Messi (both are much better players at the moment). Villa will be ready soon and Pedro will hopefully get back to form this season. So what Neymar does is already covered for now.

      Financially, if his contract expires in 2014 (not sure but so I read), then next summer you can get him -if you want him- for half the price you will have to pay now. AND his commercial value in Brazil may increase as he plays one more season there.

      So all in all, I can’t see a reason to get him now. Even for Rosell, if this is the big transfer of his reign, then it is better to make it closer to the re-election day.

      • barca96
        August 1, 2012

        Also getting him in January is a no-no for him. He is not just coming from a different league but different continent. He really needs a good pre-season.

  30. Gogah
    August 1, 2012

    Time is passing fast, like smoke through a keyhole and very soon, transfer season will have shut without barca acting swiftly.

    Is the club worried at all about making do without the massive defensive presence and tactical intelligence of Eric Abidal and Seydou Keita? or are we just going to promote some masia youngsters and hope that they slot in seamlessly?
    however famed the academy might be, it doesn’t always work to replace seasoned and experienced professionals with fresh blood who are eager to impress.

    • Ryan
      August 1, 2012

      In previous seasons, a lack of rumors sometimes meant we were working behind the scenes on getting a player. Adriano comes to mind. Hopefully that is the case this summer, as I’m worried about our back line as well.

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