Quick Reactions to the Champions League draw

Group G (for Guardiola) is set and it’s

Barcelona
SL Benfica
Spartak Moskva
Celtic

This isn’t a particularly tough group, but it does involve some really solid teams. It will not be a walk in the (Celtic) park.

Celtic won the Scottish Premier League by 10 points (20 officially since Rangers were deducted 10 points). That’s hardly shocking given that no team has won the Scottish Premier League other than Celtic or Rangers since, uh, Alex Ferguson was coach of Aberdeen. Celtic is, however, really solid. Their squad isn’t full of world beaters, but they’ll give us a handful. Georgios Samaras could cause our aerial blundering to prove all the more fatal in games. Lump it over the top and have him run onto it, hair streaming in the wind.

Benfica came in second in the Primeira Liga to Porto by 6 points. I admit I know little about them because they play in Portugal and I don’t happen to watch the Primeira Liga. The same is true of the Scottish and Russian leagues, actually, but for some reason I find ways to watch even less Portuguese domestic football than basically any other European country. I’ve literally seen more Guatemalan first division soccer in the last3 years than I have Portuguese teams. Still, I know some of the people on their squad: Pablito Aimar, El Payaso, who is now 32 (he is simultaneously way too young to be 32 and way too old to only be 32–and no, I have no idea how that is possible either); the Brazilian central defender Luisão is the captain–can you believe Luisão is younger than Aimar? Can you believe Pablo Aimar is older than Luisão? Unfathomable!; Argentine Real Madrid reject Ezequiel Garay is actually really solid; and NOOOLIIIITOOOOO. Nolito plays for Benfica! Oh man! I love that kid.

Heading to Russia is never fun, but going to play Футбольный клуб Спартак Москва will not be any kind of a walk in the park. Let’s hope global warming is real, eh? While I don’t want Iniesta to get a sunburn, I hope it’s 70 degrees and cloudless the day we play them. Also that their sprinklers work just fine. That’s not how it’ll be as Hurricane ICE AND SNOW will probably smite the team bus and then the team will have to jog to the stadium in negative 800 degree weather. We will lose Isaac Cuenca to frostbite. Also maybe wolves. The movie The Day After Tomorrow was actually just filmed without special effects in winter in Russia. Beyond the wall in A Song of Ice and Fire is set in Russia. Bears from Russia go to the North Pole for the warmth. It is really cold sometimes. Also the team has The Star of Euro 2012 Who Didn’t Turn Out to Be a Star Aiden McGeady. Remember Espanyol defender Nicolás Pareja? He’s now Spartak defender Nicolás Pareja. Remember Barcelona forward Javier Saviola? Perhaps you have erased his name from your list of people who exist for his move to Real Madrid, but he is now Spartak forward Javier Saviola. He is, interestingly enough, also ex-Benfica forward Javier Saviola. At least he’s consistent with his name. Chad Johnson could learn a thing or two from him about that. And probably like 80 other things too.

So yeah, it’s going to be tough, but we’re going to finish 1st in the group and move on to the knockout stages.

Also, congratulations to Andres Iniesta for winning the European player of the year award! You did it, little buddy! You beat Lionel Messi to an individual award in a team sport! Hooray! Exclamation points!

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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.

203 Comments

  1. August 30, 2012

    Pablo Aimarrrr. The scourge of Valencia. Always played well against us. Its gonna be memorable having him back at Camp Nou..

    • August 30, 2012

      Gold. Ronaldo plays the role of villain so perfectly. Its like he was created for Barca fans enjoyment.

      • nzm
        August 30, 2012

        Yes – he really should stop promoting himself to be so great, because all he ends up doing is disappointing himself. 😀

    • G6O
      August 31, 2012

      This is so unreal that one is tempted to think it’s photoshopped…

      That said, I have wondered for a while what the actual relation between the two is. There are a few very short moments in each game when they are near each other and the interaction usually looks very distanced – the handshake that was posted the other day was a good example.

      But during these award ceremonies of which there have been about a dozen, they are forced to spend quite a bit of time close to each other, one can’t help but wonder what (and if) they are talking about 🙂 It’s quite a unique situation – there haven’t really been two so dominant players at the peak of their game at the same time in the history of football, let alone the two of them playing for perhaps the two bitterest rivals in the world. There have been cases of somewhat similar rivalries in American sports, but there things are a lot more professional as the history and politics that make the El Classico so charged are absent.

  2. Helge
    August 30, 2012

    And Group D (for Death) is definitely the most exciting one 🙂

    Can’t wait for the Borussia Dortmund matches, I smell a little surprise here (no, not a failure by EE but by City). Hope there’ll be public viewing, it’s impossible for non-members to get tickets, but Dortmund is just 90min away from my home, so I’ll go there and try my luck^^

    Anybody knows when we will have to travel to Moscow?

  3. elacule
    August 30, 2012

    Hooray for Andres! looks like the votes were close – 19 for !n!esta, 17 each for Leo and TB. My sense is that !n! took on about half who would have voted for Messi, by being so stellar in the Euro. Great job. He deserves to be recognized and to receive tons of appreciation! Glad some came his way.

    are comments about EE and their group allowed? if not, please delete my post.

    i’m happy that this year EE will have to actually work a little bit to get through their group, & was particularly disgusted by TB repeatedly lauding that EE/Portugal only got beaten on penalties, or they would have won everything, because they’re the champions of Spain and better than Barcelona. … i know i’m conflating it, but it was so like him, and so why i don’t like him. and really? he thinks that hairstyle looks good? jeebus.

    i like the group stages – it’s like footy sight-seeing. (we don’t get to see the foreign climes and museums or taste the food where they go, but at least see some different players, skills, strategies, etc.)

  4. _Lily
    August 30, 2012

    Congrats to Iniesta! He deserved it. 🙂

    No CL group is going to be easy – to get into it at all, you need to be a halfway decent team. However, it could be much worse, IMO. And, as an added bonus, two of the teams (Benfica and Celtic) are pretty much next door, which is a nice change from the last few seasons, where it’s seemed like there’s a lot of travel involved.

    Valencia and Malaga also got decent groups that they should have a fighting chance in, which is nice to see. The group of death will be something, though. Crossing my fingers for Ajax and Dortmund to come through it…

  5. August 30, 2012

    Medical clearance for Thiago, Alves doubtful. Nothing serious, just a deep thigh muscle bruise.

    • Helge
      August 30, 2012

      It’ll be interesting to see, if Alves cannnot play against Valencia, whether he gives Montoya the start or not.
      Or maybe there is no other option because the red card of Adriano also counts for la Liga?

      • Humphrey Bogart
        August 30, 2012

        even if adriano would be availabe, i want never to see him again as RB

        • August 30, 2012

          Folks need to just calm down. The wheels came off in the first half yesterday. It happens. Adriano has turned in very good performances at right back before, and will do so again. If you look at the play, things broke down to a degree where (also as with Mascherano and Pique) one of our defenders was 1-v-1 with an attacker. Never mind Adriano, but you put any defender in the world 1-v-1 with Wrongaldo, give him a head start with a through ball, and see what’s going to happen.

          • Josep
            August 30, 2012

            “Never mind Adriano, but you put any defender in the world 1-v-1 with Wrongaldo”

            Montoya seemed to handle it well.

            Anyways, Adriano at RB is not nearly as good as at LB.

          • August 31, 2012

            Excerpt the whole quote, which includes “give him a head start with a through ball, and see …” Montoya was never in that situation.

      • Richzorz
        August 30, 2012

        Would like to see Montoya regardless, Alves is world-class but Martín has impressed me a lot so far and could have a break-out season!

    • August 30, 2012

      Puyol will more likely than not miss the Valencia game as well. He is having some pain in his back.

  6. Richzorz
    August 30, 2012

    A trip to Russia is always a worry, hopefully the team won’t need to rely on those games to top the group and won’t have to push too hard in harsh conditions!
    Delighted for Iniesta, not quite the Ballon D’Or but he deserves to break the Cristiano/Messi (well, mostly the latter…) dominance of award ceremonies! 🙂

  7. nia
    August 30, 2012

    I think we have a good group and group of death is a must see. I hope Citeh can make it. And what has Ajax done to uefa? every single yr they get EE.
    Congrats to Iniesta, CR and myself didn’t see that coming. TB’s face when he lost after giving a long speech about how he deserves it. That face made up for yesterdays lose. 🙂

  8. Helge
    August 30, 2012

    Tw Pique: “Congratulations to the journalist who represented Spain and who did NOT vote for ! #welldoneson”

    I guess he means a MARCA journalist who didn’t vote for Iniesta? Typical, but still pathetic from that dude!

    • August 30, 2012

      @barcastuff: note: the spanish journalist who voted was francisco justicia from madrid paper marca, who always claim(s) to support the spanish cause

      Marca once accused Blatter/Platini of being Anti-Spanish and colluding to prevent any Spaniard from getting the Balon D’Or..

  9. Peterj
    August 30, 2012

    Is the uefa best player award based on just the EURO championship,or the players whole season? kinda confusing

    • Helge
      August 30, 2012

      It is supposed to be based on the whole club and international season 2011/12.

      The UEFA Euro 2012 Player of the Tournament award was also Iniesta’s (he received it straight after the Euro has ended).

  10. simple_barcafan
    August 30, 2012

    Some country representatives who voted for Inesta:

    England
    France
    Germany
    Greece
    Italy
    Netherlands
    Russia

    Says something doesn’t it?

  11. Helge
    August 30, 2012

    Isaiah, you can leave out Javier Saviola from the list of former Barca players that’ll celebtrate a reunion in the Camp Nou. At least with regards to the CL 🙂

    Javier Saviola and Roque Santa Cruz have just been signed by Malaga. Very good transfers, imo. And it seems like the sheikh still has some interest in his toy, otherwise I don’t know what promise Malaga CF made to convince Roque and Javier of their project.

    • Josep
      August 30, 2012

      Yeah I don’t know where he got Spartak signing Saviola from hmm. Also Malaga signing Fontas.

    • jordi™
      August 30, 2012

      Iker says the same thing then votes for Ronaldo anyway even though now its possible to vote for your countryman in the FIFA player award. Since Ronaldo cant vote for himself, Portugal names a new captain specifically for the Fifa voting.

  12. Jim
    August 30, 2012

    Can’t begin to say how happy I am for Iniesta. Recognition for his unbelievable skill and all the better for the superb role model. We need to start a Europe wide campaign for Xavi next year 🙂

    • August 30, 2012

      AHAHAHA!!!! Rosell is SO awkward toasting him! And the bit where Andres gets off the plane with the trophy and is like, “Do I just take this thing with me or what?”

      😆

    • August 31, 2012

      The trophy looks slightly different from last year. It has more human shape to it, but still ugly.

      Anna looks so happy and cute. Iniesta’s mom is so pale 😉 And D&G must like suede a lot. They seem to incorporate that texture in almost every suit that Messi has worn over the past three years.

  13. nzm
    August 30, 2012

    You people do know who the manager of Spartak Moscow is, right?

    It’s this guy!

    They’ve had a good start to the season. May not be the walk in the park that everyone is predicting.

    • Blau-Grenade
      August 30, 2012

      This guy knows exactly how to play Barca. I am expecting this to be the toughest encounter for Barca in the group stages.

    • _Lily
      August 31, 2012

      I forgot Unai Emery went there… oh dear, this could be tricky. He’s got a great record against us.

  14. Group G for Guardiola
    Ah nice, it’s a sign that we’re totally gonna win this trophy 😛

    And I’m so happy for Don Andres Iniesta. Congrats, Ghost-Face!

    • Blau-Grenade
      August 30, 2012

      Dude was awesome. I know there is only one of them, but he reminded me of The Yaya.

    • G6O
      August 31, 2012

      I was very pleasantly surprised by the way Song played – I was expecting him to look a bit lost but he was very comfortable and he even almost set up the equalizer. Of course, 15 minutes is no a sufficient basis for judging a player but there are reason to be hopeful…

  15. Roberto Senyera
    August 30, 2012

    Did anyone catch the Liverpool v Hearts Europa League match today? Did ya see Pepe Reina’s howler?

    La Masia:
    1) A football academy that produces the world’s greatest outfield players bar none 🙂
    2) A football academy which also produces goal keepers that create jaw dropping howlers 🙁

    • August 31, 2012

      I think you jinxed him the other day by writing he was better than Valdes 😉

  16. ooga aga
    August 30, 2012

    gah! we travel to russia near the end of november! brrrr!

    CL group schedule
    19/9 – FC Barcelona – Spartak
    2/10 – Benfica – FC Barcelona
    23/10 – FC Barcelona – Celtic
    7/11 – Celtic – FC Barcelona
    20/11 – Spartak – FC Barcelona
    5/12 – FC Barcelona-Benfica

    • G6O
      August 31, 2012

      Yeah, that’s bad. But it should be a wrap by then, so it shouldn’t that big of a problem

  17. barca96
    August 30, 2012

    Barcastuff is down. My life is over…….. 🙁

  18. Ronaldo – What a Jerk!

    CL group schedule
    19/9 – FC Barcelona – Spartak
    2/10 – Benfica – FC Barcelona
    23/10 – FC Barcelona – Celtic
    7/11 – Celtic – FC Barcelona
    20/11 – Spartak – FC Barcelona
    5/12 – FC Barcelona-Benfica

    Actually the Group and schedule is very kind to us. Yup, I know going to Moscow in late November is pretty scary. But ideally we should wrap up the qualification by the time we visit Celtic. So Moscow visit may not matter at all.

    As for RM’s group, I think Manchester City this time has a pretty good schedule. If they can manage not to lose at Santiago Bernebeu and win against Dortmund at home, then they could wrap it up against Ajax(who is the weak link) on the 3 and 4th match day.

    • August 31, 2012

      If we win the first four games (and qualify to the next stage), maybe by then we don’t have to worry about the cold in Moscow too much.

  19. August 31, 2012

    Hallelujah! Last day of Silly Season 😀

    -Afellay is going to Germany.
    -Fontas might leave on loan.
    -Dos Santos seems to refuse to go anywhere. Wonder why?

    One new thing I’ve learned about this transfer season is the rise of fake transfer news on twitter. I’m not sure if I like that.

    • Alexinho
      August 31, 2012

      Quite disappointed at this. It makes me think that Staff is more concerned about the lingering effects of his injury than I expected. He’s such a talent, and was looking good in pre-season. I can’t help thinking he could have been valuable this season.

      Though it’s a loan, I am inclined to call this “perma-loan” and think he will not likely return to play a significant role with the first team.

  20. elcapitan
    August 31, 2012

    ok lets say its a uefa award right, FOR BEST PLAYER
    IN EUROPE; iniesta led spain to euro 2012 gold,
    being the MVP, messi scored 14 champions league
    goals(record), scored 5 in one game(record), messi
    won the european golden shoe with 50 goals, all in
    europe competiton. and ronaldo did exactly what in
    europe?

    • _Lily
      August 31, 2012

      To be fair, Portugal got to the SFs of the Euro and were knocked out on penalties. Ditto Madrid in the CL. I personally didn’t think he really did much in the Euro, but his teams did do well this year. I think it says something about Messi that his CL performance was apparently enough that even players who did well in the Euro couldn’t match him.

  21. barca96
    August 31, 2012

    -For some reason I couldn’t access Barcastuff. I thought they quit.

    Btw, a few weeks ago when they responded to the Arsenal fans, it was still the old team. The new team is not in yet as last week or so they were still looking.

    -Didn’t Madrid players walk off and not stay back for the Supercopa ceremony in the past? I can’t seem to find anything on Google.

    -So nice of Iniesta to win but I hope Messi wins the Ballon Do’or. He just deserves it. Phenomenal year with many records!!

    • G6O
      August 31, 2012

      Given that he has already scored 6 goals in 4 games and he has not been looking like he’s 100%, there are good reasons to think the Fall will be a repeat of the Spring in terms of goal scoring. This should pretty much guarantee him the historic fourth award

    • nzm
      August 31, 2012

      -Didn’t Madrid players walk off and not stay back for the Supercopa ceremony in the past? I can’t seem to find anything on Google.

      They walked off last season at Camp Nou. Apparently they were “advised by security” that it may not be safe for them to stay on the pitch. 😆

      • barca96
        August 31, 2012

        Thanks Nzm. It seemed so long ago.

  22. barca96
    August 31, 2012

    @Kxevin

    VV didn’t save us from losing 5 or 6-1. 4 max. But isn’t that what a keeper supposed to do? Save shots…

    You said that in your eyes, he is your MOtM?
    So every keeper that saves 5-6 shots are automatically MOtM?

    He didn’t have a bad match but he certainly wasn’t having a great match either. Recall the number of times the boots the ball up instead of playing it safely. Yes, many times EE were pressuring but some times he had options as well but decided to hoof it.

    I notice that you are overly defensive in these players; sMasch, Keita and Ibra.

    sMasch saved us big time time and time again even in this match but you gotta question his positioning. Those sliding tackles looks cool at first but then I ask, why was that x EE player in that position in the first place? How come sMasch let him get away.

    • If a GK is supposed to save shots, the isn’t it a strikers job not to miss golden chances. Why don’t we blame Messi then? At 3-1 in the first leg, he could have made it 4-1 and killed the leg there itself. Had the score became 4-1, no blunder from Valdes would have taken place nor the crap defending in second leg.

      As far as Mascherano is concerned, he is a midfielder playing in the central defense. Whatever you do, he will still think as amidfielder. That’s why we see him intercepting more attacks and all. So playing him at defense has a trade-off and when the defense is rattled the trade off becomes sometimes costly.

      • August 31, 2012

        THIS!!!! Messi always gets a pass, and it isn’t fair. There is no such thing as more equal. Everyone rushes to blame a safe target. Everyone has a job. Keepers stop shots. They don’t always. Attackers score goals. They don’t always.

        • barca96
          August 31, 2012

          Why Messi alway gets a pass? Because he is an outfield player. Goalkeepers are crucial. There is no point in scoring goals when your goalkeeper gives goals away like VV did.

          I don’t know why you brought Messi up in the first place because him missing a chance is not like it gave a goal away. And he or any other outfield player can always score again but a goalkeeper can’t cancel out the goal that he has gifted.

          • August 31, 2012

            So, a goalkeeper is expected to save a string of 1v1s after making a mistake, but its OK if a striker misses because he can always score again?

            Sounds right..

    • _Lily
      August 31, 2012

      Personally, I thought that Valdes was booting the ball upfield because he didn’t trust the defenders to deal with it properly. Given how they were playing, I don’t blame him.

  23. Gogah
    August 31, 2012

    Quite happy with the draw.
    How great would it be if Dortmund and City make it out of the group onto the knockout stages. That would be almost as sweet as Barca making the finals.

    • _Lily
      August 31, 2012

      Dortmund have a poor CL record, but given how well German teams seem to navigate groups of death lately (Munich last year, Germany in the Euro), I’m crossing my fingers for an upset.

      I’d love to see Ajax move on with Dortmund, though. Won’t happen, but I would love to see it.

      • nzm
        August 31, 2012

        They had a very young, inexperienced team last year who didn’t really start playing well until later in the sesaon, so I’m hoping that with another season now, that they will be more competitive.

        But they are without Kagawa and Barrios now, but I still think that they will do better.

    • nzm
      August 31, 2012

      Hope he impresses the hell out of everyone, scores long range goals and has a great season.

    • nzm
      August 31, 2012

      Just read that he’s been left out of the Dutch team for the next round of friendlies. Must be a mixed emotions day for the guy.

      • Helge
        August 31, 2012

        So is van der Vaart and De Jong, seems like players who switch the club are left out by the new Dutch coach^^

        I would not read too much into it.

        • nzm
          August 31, 2012

          Good call, Helge. Seems as though most NT coaches are being sensible this time around and giving the new transfers more time to settle into their new clubs.

  24. mom4
    August 31, 2012

    Barcelona players called up for ESP games against KSA and GEO next week: Valdes, Pique, Alba, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Cesc, Pedro, Villa
    Barcastuff

    Wow, this list does not include Puyol due to injury. It does not include Thiago who just came off an injury. Strange to think that soon the selecion could boast 11 Barca players…could field an entirely blaugrana team.

    • nzm
      August 31, 2012

      If Montoya continues to impress, I doubt that it will be long before we see him in the ranks – at least as an understudy to Arbeloa. That’s if VdB could withstand the pressure, as a Madrid player would need to give way to yet another Barca player!

    • August 31, 2012

      Very happy for Villa, I know he is thrilled to be called up again.

      Kind of wish Xavi hadn’t been called up, but I suppose there is no particular reason for VDB to leave him out this time.

      And Pedro looks to be a regular again! Good for him.

      • I think Pedro is one of VDB’s favorite. he couldn’t take him to Euro as he was having not much playing time and was playing pretty badly. Where are these games held?

    • August 31, 2012

      VDB also didn’t call up Mata, Llorente, or Javi Martinez. Interesting.

      • mom4
        August 31, 2012

        Llorente and Martinez I get. They need time to recover from transfer drama. They don’t play much anyway. Mata’s a surprise. But there are so many AMs and wingers from which VdB must choose. I hope Silva isn’t an automatic start. Didn’t impress at all in the Euros, imo.

        • lyd
          August 31, 2012

          Two of them featured in the Olympics. I guess VDB dont want to stress players out with international duties.

  25. Ryan
    August 31, 2012

    So many transfer to wrap my head around. But hooray for Gio being back in la Liga! I’m not too sure about Mallorca, but their home record is pretty respectable.

    • It doesn’t matter. He just needed to play. At Mallorca there won’t be much pressure to produce result from start. So he can take some time to settle.

    • _Lily
      August 31, 2012

      Mallorca actually crept up and almost made it into Europe last season. If not for the abysmal linesman in their home game against Madrid, they would have tied Levante for points and beaten them out for Europa on head-to-head. They’re pretty solid.

  26. ooga aga
    August 31, 2012

    to be clear, the afellay deal to Schalke is a LOAN. one year. until June 30 2013.

    go Ibi.

  27. no clue cule
    August 31, 2012

    What’s hapening with barcastuff? Does anyone know if they’ve been hacked or they just stoped twitting.

    • August 31, 2012

      They’ve just tweeted 4 mins ago. Are you following them?

      • no clue cule
        August 31, 2012

        I had to sign up my twitter account. Now is working fine.
        Until today I could read their tweets without having a twitter account.

  28. barca96
    August 31, 2012

    Yeah I couldn’t access it 16 hours ago and now too.

    • no clue cule
      August 31, 2012

      You’ll have to sign up your twitter account.

    • mom4
      August 31, 2012

      THAT just became my laptop’s background picture for the next few days.

  29. mom4
    August 31, 2012

    Chelsea v At. Madrid in a few minutes. Go Atletico Madrid!

    2:45 on FSC in the US.

    • Ahmad
      August 31, 2012

      Let’s go Atletico!
      If anyone is going to avenge us, it’s you!

  30. Blau-Grenade
    August 31, 2012

    FalcaoooooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  31. Jafri
    August 31, 2012

    Falcao – Brace in 19 minutes, Atletico 2, Chelsea 0!!!

    • Blau-Grenade
      August 31, 2012

      He should have had a hat trick, if his header would have gone in.

  32. Blau-Grenade
    August 31, 2012

    Falcaooooo HatTrick. This is the best striker in the world.

  33. mom4
    August 31, 2012

    Falcao with a first half hat trick. Chelsea’s back line hopeless.

  34. Ahmad
    August 31, 2012

    Best striker in the world, no questions asked.

  35. nzm
    August 31, 2012

    Unbelievable performance from At. Madrid. Chelsea are dumbstruck.

    Torres can only stand and stare at how his former club is playing!

  36. mom4
    August 31, 2012

    Zubi???
    Can I have a Falcao for Christmas???
    Please???

      • mom4
        August 31, 2012

        It worked?

        No really, I have that power? I’m that good? Wow! 80

        Oh Zubi, You’re too good to me!

        and Hi messifan 😉

  37. TITO
    August 31, 2012

    Actually we still have time till 12 midnight.

  38. August 31, 2012

    Wow. Falcao really is something else. Easily the best striker in the world.. pace, power, good in the air, can shoot with both feet, great on the ball, great movement off the ball. I mean seriously, how is every club in the world not clamouring for this guy. Forget Neymar, this is who we should be signing.

      • Ryan
        August 31, 2012

        It certainly is!

        “Me cago en la puta” is a popular one too. 🙂

        Shouldn’t be too much of a surprise if you’ve seen caganers on Christmas, haha.

        • Roberto Senyera
          August 31, 2012

          Does anyone know the Catalan translation to this:

          “Me cago en tu leche.”

          And what does “puta” translate to into English?

          Mucho gracias.

          • Ryan
            August 31, 2012

            You know, I’ve never heard my family in Barcelona use the phrase in Catalan! Maybe someone else can chip in?

            “Puta” is, ahem, a “lady of the night” to put it in gentle terms.

            To help round out the use of the phrase, you can also cagar on someone’s mother (me cago en tu madre) or on the other person itself (me cago en ti).

            Pretty colorful language, isn’t it? 😉

          • Roberto Senyera
            August 31, 2012

            Thank you Ryan. Very educational 🙂

  39. Roberto Senyera
    August 31, 2012

    I love watching the Chavs getting ripped a new one by a Spanish side. Ole!

  40. Roberto Senyera
    August 31, 2012

    Stats geek alert: When was the last time we got beat by more than one goal? Hercules at home?

    Chelsea and LWBs on occasion get pumped. We never do. Even when you account for our back fives’s brain farts. Never.

    Visca Barça!!

    • lea_terzi
      August 31, 2012

      Betis and Hercules come to mind, but that was a while ago 🙂

  41. Roberto Senyera
    August 31, 2012

    Falcao anyone? Unos, dos, tres 🙂

  42. Roberto Senyera
    August 31, 2012

    Chelsea got ripped a new one. Properly. Love it. Ole.

    Chelsea: Me cago en tu leche.

  43. nzm
    August 31, 2012

    Only 1 Yellow card in the whole match. Amazing.

  44. Roberto Senyera
    August 31, 2012

    It looks like Chel$ki will have to revert to parking the bus to be successful in Europe this year …

    • August 31, 2012

      After all they’ve spent in the transfer market. And they still won’t be successful..

    • nzm
      August 31, 2012

      They tried that in this match. It didn’t work. At. Madrid kept moving around inside the Chelsea lines and creating gaps for them to slide into.

      That was something that Barca failed to do. At. Madrid players were constantly on the move – our guys were too static last season.

      • jordi™
        August 31, 2012

        How many chances like this would Aleti create on a small shitty pitch like Stamford Bridge?

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-gq7zqpFLY

        Probably not many more. Its just that Falcao would have taken one of them. So would an inform healthy Villa 🙁

        • August 31, 2012

          This game was played at the Stade Louis II in Monaco, whihc is no great shakes, either. Although it did look in better shape than when we played there last year.

        • nzm
          August 31, 2012

          Camp Nou: 105 x 68m
          Stamford Bridge: 105 x 68m
          Stade Louis II (Monaco): 105 x 67m

      • Roberto Senyera
        August 31, 2012

        Last year we needed guys like Alves (and now Alba) and Tello to go all the way to the end line past the parked bus defence of Chel$ki and cut the ball back into the box. Alves repeatedly failed to do so.

  45. August 31, 2012

    It’s official:

    Chelsea: Worst. Champions League Winners. Ever.

    And also, they have ruined Mata.

    • Helge
      August 31, 2012

      Compared to Chelsea, one almost has to admire the skill of Inter during their CL win 2010.
      Chelsea is the most pathetic team ever to win the title, incredible amount of luck (Not only vs us and Bayern, they were akready inferior to Lisbon the round before).

      Tbh, the whole club of Chelsea shall burn in hell, for eternity.

  46. Jafri
    August 31, 2012

    This team won this CL?

    Wait – THIS team beat us??

    I really really hope we get another crack at them this season. VENGEANCE.

    • mom4
      August 31, 2012

      I remember when some of the silly season talk linked us with David Luiz. So g

      • mom4
        August 31, 2012

        OK, laptop froze up so badly I had to Ctrl-Alt-Del my way out.
        😡
        I remember when some of the silly season talk linked us to David Luiz. So glad it wasn’t true.

        • Roberto Senyera
          August 31, 2012

          Good going forward. Not so much defending. Typical Brasilian. We need defenders that are anti-Luis. We need defenders that can defend. Usually they do. But this past Spanish Super Copa we had many defensive cock-ups (and I’m still on a 48 hour Pepto Bismol bender because of it):

          1) VV doing his Exxon bit at the end of Leg 1 (that alone cost us the tiny trophy)
          2) Mascherano’s momentary blindness precluding him from kicking clear a ball when nobody was challenging him
          3) Piqué’s failure to clear the ball before the Portuguese Princess got to it
          4) Adriano’s lack of judgement in receiving his red card (just let the man try his luck scoring 1 v 1 instead of putting your team down a man while you’re already losing — this team can bring that game back 11 v 11 but not with 10 men when we can’t press them. Stupid Adriano. Stupid).

          Right then. I’m finished venting. Back to the Pepto Bismol bombs. Bottoms up!!!!

          • August 31, 2012

            Don’t forget Sanchez flopping, the complete lack of midfield control that allowed then unfettered runs at our defense and two excellent scoring chances spurned by Messi. Team success, team failure.

          • Roberto Senyera
            August 31, 2012

            We totally gifted that piece of silverware to them K. The did not win it. We gifted it to them. Better now than when it counts more — that would be the positive spin.

  47. Ryan
    August 31, 2012

    I don’t really get the Essien move to EE. Is he going to get any minutes on such a deep squad? I haven’t been too impressed with him lately, but back in 2009 he was pretty good. Just as long as he doesn’t save his wonder goals for when he plays against us. 🙂

  48. ooga aga
    August 31, 2012

    if essien is anything like he used to be, i dont like his going to EE. he used to strike fear in me. even before his wonder goal that almost put us out of the CL.

    • ooga aga
      August 31, 2012

      meanwhile, EE will have to deal with maicon, who has gone to Man City.

  49. ooga aga
    August 31, 2012

    so from what i can gather ronaldos sourpuss face might be due to the fact that iniesta ignored him on stage…only shaking hands or otherwise acknowledging messi. dont know, but this is what i am reading. so now, iniesta is a bad person. according to some people.

    • August 31, 2012

      Oh, don’t be ridiculous. Iniesta was so stunned he could barely get his thoughts together to make a thank you speech.

      • ooga aga
        September 1, 2012

        hey you! i was just reporting what i had been reading on the web. wanted others’ thoughts. i didnt see the gala/presentation. believe me, i love iniesta no less…

  50. simple_barcafan
    August 31, 2012

    Essien to RM. Luka, Ozil, Khedira, Essien, Alonso, Kaka, DiMaria, Lass (assuming he is not sold).Their midfield looks intimidating..Can Tito counter this?..hmmm..

    • mom4
      August 31, 2012

      Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, Thiago, Cesc, Song, Masche- countered.

    • Roberto Senyera
      August 31, 2012

      Don’t worry about old man Essien. Broken down old horse.

      I did love him before all his injuries and despite the fact that he played for the Chavs.

    • Roberto Senyera
      August 31, 2012

      The same Essien who couldn’t get a game at Chelsea ahead of the likes of Mikel and old man Lampard? Okay then. My knees are beginning to shake.

      • Roberto Senyera
        August 31, 2012

        If there were two more Essiens circa 2012 I’d give them to the LWBs for free. Happily.

  51. Roberto Senyera
    August 31, 2012

    If Essien were a horse he’d have already been sent to the glue factory. Just sayin’.

  52. Roberto Senyera
    August 31, 2012

    On another note … I bought my home and away jerseys yesterday so I’m pretty stoked about that. They even have the Catalan television badge on one of the sleeves. That’s a first here in Kanadian shops. I guess I’m one of the few who likes the tequila sunrise away tops. It’s miles better than the old pink/salmon abomination. That’s one I’ll never buy based on aesthetic principles.

    Mind you, I didn’t buy the goalkeeper jersey either as I don’t want to make inexplicable drops of my lunch, groceries, laptop, etc. 😉

    • August 31, 2012

      What shop did you buy them in? I’m in Canada, but I always buy my stuff from the online shop.

  53. August 31, 2012

    Essien is a very intelligent move, similar to what I wouldn’t have minded seeing us do a few years back with Marcos Senna. He adds depth, and in the limited role he will be asked to play, he will do very well. He isn’t the man he once was, but is still a formidable option for Mou Mou.

    They have gone for quality depth, choosing numbers over absolute quality. The season should be interesting.

    • Alexinho
      August 31, 2012

      It’s a shame what injuries have done to Essien–the man was a tank in the midfield once upon a time, world class. With a resume including Chelsea and Real Madrid, I am unfortunately obliged to dislike him forever.

    • Roberto Senyera
      August 31, 2012

      The LWBs offloaded a 25 year old Granero to QPR for a well past it multiple ACL injured Essien. Wise move M*drid. More of the same please. I rejoice in schadenfreude.

  54. Roberto Senyera
    August 31, 2012

    Within the space of 24 hours the Kanadian GolTV website schedule went from displaying Messi and TB to Beckham and Frings. Talk about a massive swap to a lower rental neighbourhood. It also says a lot about GolTV’s (Canada) chances of broadcasting La Liga this season.

    Choppy inconsistent streams it is then.

  55. Roberto Senyera
    August 31, 2012

    Personally, I’m glad Essien went to the LWBs and Maicon went to Man City and not the other way around. Maicon has got to be an upgrade on Arbeloa as long as Maicon doesn’t face Maicon kryptonite (Bale).

    Funny how on deadline day managers are opting to snag their former players. Not funny really. More like predictable.

    • simple_barcafan
      September 1, 2012

      I know EE..but what does LWB stand for? Little Whining Brats? Lost White Boys? Love Without Boundaries 😛 ?

      • September 1, 2012

        I have also wondered this for quite a while but always forget to ask. Thanks for doing that so I remembered haha.

        • Jim
          September 1, 2012

          I believe it might be “lucky White B*****ds although it’s not an expression I would use myself ( while reserving the right to agree with the sentiments !)

  56. lyd
    September 1, 2012

    All the best to Ibi. Schalke vs Arsenal would be fun!

    Disappointed with JDS (Just Doesn’t Sign?) and Fontas tbh. Secretly I was hoping Laudrup would want to get the two on loan, or Spurs/Malaga. If I was JDS or Fontas, I’d pick a quality/stable club (qualified for CL or the Europa league, even better) unlike Chelsea, where there’d be enough playing time. So that I can come back stronger as a player at Barca.

  57. September 1, 2012

    City made some brilliant business in the transfer window. It seems popular for people to talk of all their buys as being gluttony and just buying for the sake of buying, but it was actually all very clever. Mancini’s always been good with transfers and well City being City have to pay premiums but not counting the transfers Hughes made the ones since Mancini came have been good and this season was no exception.

    They got Rodwell, who is pretty much a definite upgrade on Barry. Then they splashed for Garcia and sold De Jong, which makes for a more creative midfield (even though De Jong wasn’t a guaranteed starter, like for like options-wise). They got rid of Adebayor and Santa Cruz and got rid of their one transfer flop last season Savic off to Italy while getting a hot young defensive prospect in return.

    And they got Maicon who has plenty of CL experience and can still be class if he doesn’t have to play regularly (which he won’t, with Zabaleta and Richards in the side) for just 3 million to add depth, got a backup backup goalkeeper for next to nothing. And sold Adam Johnson who wasn’t getting any game time apparently for slowing down play by being over-elaborate with dribbles and lacking defensively and got another young player Sinclair for that role.

    So they didn’t bloat their squad further, they cut some deadweight who kept on getting loaned out, upgraded a few positions, and added depth for peanuts.

    I still think Madrid will qualify out of their group with comfort enough to irritate me massively but I’m still hoping City can give them problems (knowing how games involving Madrid and other sides always play out, hoping is often bad). But City are good with possession, have a very solid defense, and are physically massive even compared to Madrid players (Joe Hart, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov, Javi Garcia, Rodwell, Yaya, Balotelli, Dzeko are all 6’2 or taller and mostly built like brick houses while Khedira is the only Madrid player over 6’2, and Maicon, Richards etc are almost as tall too- apart from Silva, Nasri, Aguero and Tevez the whole team is enormous, but then like Bayern I think we can outmatch City in possession and midfield considerably so I’m not super worried about meeting them though our midgets will have a hard time there). Madrid have struggled the rare occasions they did struggle against sides that were energetic, kept possession better and defended solidly (namely us, Bayern). I think City are still too green but still let’s hope they can beat Madrid.

    And I hope Borussia qualify too and hopefully beat Madrid once at least on the way because even aside from wanting Real to go out of the CL asap Borussia are way too good for it to be fair for them to get knocked out again and it’s terrible luck that their sophomore campaign has to be in such a difficult group.

  58. andres ito
    September 1, 2012

    thanks for the summary on mancity transfer biz..very smart-looking indeed..

    whenever i hear about city..i always think of yaya..what a rollercoaster ride it must be to play there..for me..yaya is kind of the rock..

  59. just listenin
    September 1, 2012

    CL draw looks fine for us.

    On Andres win, it is so good to see a player in a game that depends so much on what happens when you don’t have the ball, who has an absolutely brilliant read of the game, and who often makes the pass or penetrating dribble that leads to the pass that leads to the goal, and can makes the killer pass himself, or come up with the occasional but decisive goal get ten recognition he deserves. Simply, there are no Messis or Ronaldos without the Iniestas of the world, and at the moment he’s the best of his class of players.

  60. September 1, 2012

    Tito on JDS:

    ““He has decided to stay here. The fact that he’s continuing will imply leaving other players out”.

    Sounds kind of pissed off to me. Jonathan is not only insisting on taking up space on the Barça bench, he is actively impeding the progress of others (Sergi Roberto, to be frank). I don’t know what he thinks he is going to gain from this. There is fighting for your place, and there is tilting at windmills. He is acting like a petulant child, not a professional football player. He was always one of Pep’s “pets” (yes, he had them), and it seems to me that he just can’t accept that he isn’t “special” anymore. Kind of like Bojan. I’ve never been a huge fan of JDS, but I’m now starting to actively dislike him. Can’t remember the last time I felt this way about one of our players….oh, yeah. Ibra.

    Fontas will also be staying, at least for the short-term, but his case is different. He was willing to leave but a deal couldn’t be found that was acceptable (seems Barça wasn’t willing to cover enough of his wages for whatever club they sent him to). I suspect a club will be found for him in January.

    • September 1, 2012

      JDS will also be taking playing time away from his best bud Thiago. And standing in the way of his other best bud Rafinha getting call-ups. Yep.

    • Lou
      September 1, 2012

      I disagree. JDS has a contract which means he is perfectly with in his rights to stay. If Barcelona didn’t want him to continue they shouldn’t have offered him a renewal. But they did, probably because they wanted to make money from selling him. That’s fine too but the player has to agree to a sale.

      At the same time Tito has every right to park JDS in the stands if he wants to call up Sergi Roberto or Rafinha, so I’m not sure I really understand how it will limit their playing time if Tito prefers them.

      I don’t think this is the best decision for JDS’s career, but it is his choice to make.

    • ooga aga
      September 1, 2012

      hold on, blitzen, my friend. the quote given on the official site is: “El hecho de que continúen implica dejar más jugadores fuera” or “The fact that they stay implies leaving other players out.” plural. referring to both JDS and Fontas. not just JDS.

      • September 1, 2012

        I took my quote from the English translation on the official site.

        The Catalan has “ell ha decidit quedar-se aquí”, which is singular.

        And the French has “Concernant Dos Santos il a décidé de rester. Cela fait des joueurs en plus a écarter les jours de matchs”. That seems pretty clear to me.

    • simple_barcafan
      September 1, 2012

      Legally, he is within his rights to stay…I for some reason believe this will provide him added motivation to do better and prove himself..Remember how Eto’o responded when Pep had mentioned publicly that he was not in his plans..

  61. replayed
    September 1, 2012

    It may be an odd sentiment for Tito to express, but I think I can follow his reasoning here.

    It’s not as if he really has the option to “park JDS in the stands” full time. After all, JDS is still valuable club property that must be tended to lest it become devalued. That means trying to find playing time for him somewhere, somehow. It’s just one more variable for the team to have to juggle.

    While it’s true that JDS is well within his rights, he can’t exactly be commended for doing something that appears to help neither him nor the club.

    He may well have other, more personal, reasons to resist a move away. But otherwise, the expression “cutting off your nose to spite your face” comes to mind.

    • Lou
      September 1, 2012

      Right but leaving out JDS the midfield has much more depth than last year. Between Xavi, Iniesta, Busi, Cesc, Song, Thiago there wouldn’t be a lot of opportunities for the likes of Rafinha and Sergi Roberto to get game time anyway at least in La Liga.

      I suspect JDS like those two will get time in the Copa and late Champion’s League games when qualification is assured so I’m not sure how much this will take away opportunities from promising B teamers.

      With the squad depth this year it is going to be hard for JDS to get a seat on the bench let alone playing time. It’s a big gamble and probably not the choice I would have made but it is his career to risk I suppose.

      • Lou
        September 1, 2012

        Sorry, I just realized that my list has the same number of midfielders as last year (-Keita +Song), less if you count Afellay as a midfielder. It is still pretty deep though and with Cesc and Thiago better integrated this year I don’t think there will be a lot of time in La Liga games for B Team midfielders or JDS barring serious injuries (hopefully this season won’t be quite so injury ravaged).

  62. Lev
    September 1, 2012

    Then again…Tito should not have made that comment in public, imo…

  63. nzm
    September 1, 2012

    Anyone watch the Zaragoza vs. Malaga match?

    The Zaragoza pitch was downright hazardous. It had so much sand in it that I wouldn’t have been surprised to see the odd Bedouin camel train pass through.

    There’s pitch doctoring and then there’s pitch mismanagement. This was the latter. Luckily our guys don’t play there until next year when I’ll pray that it will be in better condition.

  64. Bill
    September 1, 2012

    JDS witnessed first hand what happened to his brother when he left Barca, so who can blame him? He might leave for a team that’s going to bench him and he won’t learn anything, or he can stay and keep learning from the likes of Xavi. I think after what happened to his brother, he would prefer to stock around and fight for his place. Besides, if 2 or 3 of the midfielders end up not playing either because of injuries or suspensions, he might get his chances. I can’t blame him for deciding to stay and patiently wait for his chance.

  65. andres ito
    September 1, 2012

    yeah-that field at zaragoza l..it looked like they were playing on a beach..i was shocked at the poor condition..

    watching milan now..hoping to see a bojan debut:>

    • ooga aga
      September 1, 2012

      he played came on as a sub in the 67th minute but i did not see. they scored 2 while he was on the field, though he wasnt involved…

  66. lyd
    September 1, 2012

    There is the January transfer window for JDS. Take it easy ppl 😛 Besides, more midfielders in training is always better.

    Potential suitors @ winter transfer and reasons:
    1. Sevilla.
    2. Schalke – Ibi starts blazing with all guns and Schalke management thinks JDS would reinforce things.
    3. Mallorca- Same ^ Just replace Ibi with GDS.
    4. Man City – They discovers soon that Javi Garcia is crap.
    5. PSG – Just for the sake of spending.
    6. Chelsea – To have the sadistic pleasure of having JDS watch Romeu ruin his career and vice versa.
    7. Swansea – Because Laudrup is cool!

  67. mom4
    September 1, 2012

    Again, it won’t be ’til Monday when I can watch the game. Working and then downloading. Soooooo, here’s my linup:
    VV
    Monti, Pique, Masche, Alba
    Xaviniesta, Busi (Song sub 60 min)
    Pedro, Messi, Villa
    99.9% sure Villa will start—it’s Valencia, after all.

    Oh, and hooray! New Doctor Who episode tonight! #happygeekymom

    • hansh
      September 2, 2012

      So many people have told me that Doctor Who is really good, so I started watching it last Friday. I’ve watched a season and a half already! I’m too busy for there to be addicting TV in my life!

  68. September 1, 2012

    Word from Comcast is that BeIN gets added in SD to the Latino Multi packages next week, with English version to come later.

    So by next weekend, folks like me with the Comcast Spanish language pack will be streaming no more.

    • Ben
      September 2, 2012

      I thought it was going to get added to the sports tier as well. Did you hear anything about that happening?

      • September 2, 2012

        No specifics. Got info from the Xfinity page on Facebook, posted by a Comcast rep. Was going to dig deeper, but was put off by the xenophobic comments from people who still don’t realize that the Spanish-language market drives footy programming for Comcast. The English vs Latin viewership stats for GolTV showed a staggering disparity.

        Not that such things stop anyone from snarking about “America’s first language,” etc.

  69. Judas Pissed
    September 2, 2012

    Victor Valdes is fast becoming Spain’s second-choice keeper, simply by Pepe Reina’s ‘goal-keeping’ this week…

  70. replayed
    September 2, 2012

    Uh-oh.

    Modric is looking like brilliant for Madrid right now in the Ozil slot. I know he’s a superb player, but I didn’t expect him to settle in so beautifully and so quickly at Madrid.

    He’s putting in his bid to be considered their best signing since Ronaldo.

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