The Art of Yelling at Friends

If I were to retype the exact words said between my teammates in my last pickup game, I would probably be banned from the Internet. Suffice to say that they were of the aggressive sort. And that was during a pickup game. The clean version: get there, get the ball it’s that round thing the other guy just put between your legs, why didn’t you shoot, you’re so lazy, it’s called passing maybe you’ve heard of it, he’s obviously never heard of it, if you’re not going to play defense at least play some offense, you were just beaten by a 10 year old!

Here we are, looking at highly-paid athletes and wondering if the world is going to crumble in upon itself because Lionel Messi yelled at David Villa during a tense match. Messi was unhappy with a lot of things on Saturday, but he very pointedly called Villa out for having, it would appear thanks to hand gestures, failed to deliver a picture-perfect pass at the right moment. Villa retorted something and they jawed up the field, gesturing and pointing like they were doing Guardiola reenactments.

And the cule world freaked. They’re fighting! They hate each other! Terrible leadership skills! Villa is just returning from injury, poor him, how can Messi be so cruel? Villa should always pass to Messi!

But on the field, where there had been vociferous discussion, there was now silence as the two players in question closed down a ball together on defense, harried their opponent, got to work. The very next time Messi got the ball, only a few seconds later, he looked directly for Villa. The pass was errant (and not the best of ideas, actually), but it didn’t matter. While Twitter reacted with its typical grace, the players were suddenly working together better, were slightly more energized.

It’s a thin line between love and hate and as teammates you must tread that line every day. It’s not about how happy so-and-so is when they have the ball, it’s about winning. It’s about playing the way you should be playing. The way your teammates know you can, the way you know your teammates can. I used to play in a corporate league at my old job and one of the players was an extremely gifted dribbler. He could squirt between any number of players and suddenly be 1v1 with the goalie. More often than not he scored on those runs, but once he cut the ball back unnecessarily and failed to find me, wide open on the back post for a tap in, and instead lost the ball for a goal kick as the defenders recovered.

“Pass!” I screamed. He glared at me. I glared at him, pointed to the ground beneath me to show him where I was. The next time he had the ball, I made the same run and the ball was at my feet.

A good friend of mine was on that team and he definitely screamed at me constantly. Get back, defend, where are you running to, what are you even aiming at? That sort of thing. I returned fire, of course, and it kept us communicating, kept us from going into a lull where we lost track of each other on the field. Most importantly, though, it took care of the aggression you feel whenever you play a competitive match. It doesn’t happen when you’re up 5-0 and it doesn’t usually happen when you’re down 0-5. In those moments you’re either clicking and there’s nothing to say or you’re internalizing how much you want to stab the opposing striker in the eye for that hat trick. But when it’s 0-0 and it’s been a physical match, you can direct your ire towards a teammate and that will get both of you working harder. “I just yelled at him, I better make sure I don’t screw up again” “Why is he yelling at me? I’ll show him who doesn’t know how to pass.”

It would be a weird night in the Camp Nou if someone didn’t yell at someone. Maybe Messi was just making up for Puyol’s absence? Whatever it was, it worked. That or Xavi subbing on worked.

By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater New York City area with his wife and daughter.


  1. You know the website is awesome when two contributors write opposing points of view and you agree with both of ’em ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I agree that the whole incident was blown way out of proportion, and that anyone who’s played team sports at any level knows exactly how small a deal it really was.

    HOWEVER, if you take the incident as one data point, I would argue that Messi’s disposition and attitude seems to have taken a turn for the worse this year. One of the reasons he was so popular from an early age (and why he was given the Good Guy role and Ronaldo the Bad Guy role, like in wrestling) was that he was a happy-go-lucky dude who was always smiling and never pouted and never complained about rough tackles. Whether it’s age, impending fatherhood, bigger ego, pressure of carrying a flawed front line, whatever, it has changed.

    Now one may argue that such a change doesn’t matter per se, and that Messi being more of a “normal” superstar athlete is fine. That’s a separate argument about the consequences of this change. But there has been a change, at least in my view.

    1. I don’t know if going from being less of a “happy-go-lucky dude” is necessarily a “turn for the worse.” We don’t usually think of team leaders or team captains being happy-go-lucky, always smiling guys. Messi has become the Argentina national team captain, and from all I read has grown into the role and it seems to have helped the national team for their best and most important player to become a team leader as well.
      I don’t have any special insight in what Messi is thinking or feeling this year, or how big is ego is compared to last year. But as a general matter, I think that the same changes in Messi’s demeanor on the field that some people are considering negative, are the changes you would see if Messi was assuming more responsibility for becoming a team leader.
      I mean for the last 2 or 3 years Messi has been our best and most valuable player on our team (and the world). He started out very young and shy, but why wouldn’t we be thrilled if he can also become the a real team leader like Puyol or maybe Maradona?

  3. here in seattle used to play in a league, captain/organizer of my team was this intense irish dude with glasses and eyes that looked like they were slightly bugging out, really smart dude who is now teaching int’l political science at a university. had a good mind for football also, at least more than others on our team i mean it was just a rec league but some of us got rather serious. especially him, he would often cuss me out and definitely was always ordering me what to do (he was midfield by the way, me a classic 9) and he would spit spittle as he talked. fact is though i didnt mind it a bit and usually if he got upset it was cos i screwed up or didnt have the vision. important things are: he wasnt arbitrary, he knew was he was talking about (i might have been a better pure footballer but he was a better worker and thinker), it was done in heat of the moment, and outside of this setting he was a likeable guy. given all that, the yelling wasnt a problem, and sometimes it was even good.

  4. Is it the fact that it was Villa being yelled at, what got people talking? Messi yells at everyone in the attacking half except for Xavi and Iniesta. Yesterday alone, he yelled at Thiago as well but, noone noticed that. Tello has probably become a better player in part after being got at a few times by Leo, now he actually looks up and makes better decisions. I’ve seen Xavi rip into people and need i point out how poor Pique has been yelled at every single time he has played with Puyol for the last 5 yrs.

    I have no problem as long as it benefits the team or as long as it doesn’t get violent or make the team divided. This is not the first time it has happened with Messi and Villa and it’s not the last time either. People and media need to take a chill pill.

  5. Well, we remain just 8 points ahead. 0-2 at the Vallecas. Benz in the ’13 and the sad one from the spot.

  6. I feel like I should point out that Pep Guardiola was the king of berating his teammates for sloppy passes, inattentiveness and dangerous play. His standards were sky-high and his teammates respected him for it. The only thing I blame Messi for is drawing it out a bit too long when he should have put his head down and gotten straight back into the game.

  7. Two questions, both worth thinking about:

    1. People are saying “Oh, he was just demanding more.” But was it the demanding more, or the shouting match that got the attention of folks?

    2. What would the reaction be if a less-popular player fomented the same incident? Can anyone imagine what might happen had the likes of, say, Ibrahimovic, done the same thing?

  8. I dont get it when people think that if you criticize Messi you automatically hate him, or god forbidden you have made the biggest sin that is there to make.
    You cannot compare Messi with Jordan, no way. Jordan was always the leader, even in his beginnings, he had that charisma and leadership that i haven’t seen it in some other team player. He was f.cking Michael Jordan.
    Messi, well, we still think of him like that little kid from his early years when he was playing for fun and smiling most of the time. Maybe it’s just me, exaggerating, but he is not having the same joy as then. Now it’s all about trophies and personal glory.
    Now let me be crucified about blasphemy.
    One more thing, this is not an issue of this particular game, is an issue dragged since the start of the season, at least for me.

    1. I liked it better when the semi dread locks or tips went straight up in the air and were a darker yellow on the tips. There wasn’t much off the back either. Just my personal preference though.

  9. The 0-0 score line in the game was a huge factor for sure. Also that Villa is a senior player, it wasn’t just a message to him but the whole team. You didn’t see him unload on the juniors or the guys that are struggling to find their best form yet. It had been going on all game and it took Xavi and Tello to finally put unrelenting pressure on their goal. Thiago especially had a poor performance playing too slow and not putting passes into dangerous areas. Alexis was covered up like a wet blanket, Cesc playing freestyle and unable to create consistently . So yeah Messi had every right to serve notice for everyone to pull their head out of their ass and start playing with the discipline and intensity required. Second half was tons better so hats off to Messi. Someone had to take charge and he did it.

    1. The second half wasn’t “tons better” until the introduction of Xavi and Pedro. I can recall from my Twitter timeline, just before Xavi came in, saying “This smells like a draw, but it might be my wife’s stinky coffee.”

    2. By the way, the 2 league games Xavi didn’t start this season?

      Osasuna and Granada, in both of which we sucked until he came on :s

  10. What I find interesting about this yelling-gate is how divided the cules are. Some, me included, don’t really think it’s a big deal. It’s in heat of the moment. It was a physical game, the score was 0-0 until the 87mins, and everyone was frustrated. Messi yelled at Villa and Villa yelled back, and that was that.

    Then there’s another camp, those who like to analyze this incident and connect it to a larger pattern. Ooooooh, maybe he’s exhibiting diva behavior, or feeling the pressure of carrying the team, or this could be a sign of some conflicts in the future.

    There really is no right or wrong. It’s just your or my interpretation of the event. And for me, it’s kind of an interesting observation of the fandom.

  11. I also want to note that Xavis lateral movement and work rate was the difference. He always works square to the ball giving himself space to look forward. Thiago is trotting round like a Tennessee Walker always in a straight line and Cesc is lumbering all over the pitch instead of staying in the center of the formation. I don’t understand that they havent learned this from Xavi and Iniesta by now. These guys are the worlds best on and off the ball . Thiago and Cesc need to step it up. They are fully capable but their heads aren’t registering why they are so ineffective.

  12. Okie folks.. this is a lot over the top.. every person who’s played a bit of competitive “team” sport would at some point done that.. but everybody has their “opinion” which is totally fair.. but yeah.. enjoy the moments when everybody can berate Messi.. over and over again.. over the same silly thing..

    This incident is not even a case for discussion.. unless the “Media” props it up..

  13. wow..we now have an entire post of Messi-10-sec-temper-flare-up…I would love to join, but to keep beating a dead horse, is kinda boring…

  14. I’m just happy that the players can’t hear through the TV what I yell at them during the matches. ๐Ÿ˜†

    1. Ha! I like Villa’s response to Messi there:

      “Dude, I gave you the ball. You just couldn’t control it!”

      Thanks for the link and hooray for lip readers!

  15. I tend to agree with your take, especially since so many people seem to be conveniently forgetting how often Puyol, Xavi, and Valdes in particular yell at the team. For that matter, I’ve seen Villa himself yelling at his teammates before. Messi has never seemed to me to be exempt from their yelling when he’s playing poorly, though on that I could be wrong.

    At any rate: it happens. IMO it’s getting so much attention right now because Messi did it, and many people hold Messi to this impossibly high standard that isn’t realistic. He’s not a sweet little boy who always has a sunny disposition, and that’s okay. He can get frustrated, and he can do what pretty much everyone else on the team does occasionally. Even Madridistas don’t make a huge deal out of it when Casillas does it, and he’s their golden boy.

    The other thing for me is that honestly, I think that sometimes you need someone there to yell at you and make you focus, and with no Xavi and no Iniesta Messi was the most senior player on that part of the field and also probably the closest to becoming one of the captains. If he wants to yell a little, he can yell a little. Villa is a big boy. He’s been playing professionally for over a decade. 30 seconds of Messi yelling at him and him yelling back and Messi responding is not going to harm him any more than Pep yelling from the sidelines did.

    1. That’s a very good point – Puyol always yells at his teammates and we usually praise him for his leadership qualities. Xavi also constantly points out his teammates’ mistakes, both when he plays for Barca and when he plays for the Spanish NT (I still have one moment from the Euros fresh in mind, when Arbeloa was not positioned correctly and Xavi yelled at him in a quite unpleasant manner); we praise him for his ability to make things click.

      With no Puyol, no Xavi, and no Iniesta, the next in line are Valdes and Messi. Valdes can and does yell at the defense, but he’s on the other side of the pitch so it is on Messi to put the offense in order with some harsh words if that’s needed as the most senior (measured in how long he’s been at the club) outfield player on the pitch.

      Nothing to worry about.

  16. Somebody had to yell at Cesc for playing like the way he did. So Messi used Villa. Think of it as a “false yell” tactic. ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes Thiago had a poor game as well, but I felt the onus was on Cesc to keep the midfield compact as he comparatively was in a better form, played more recently.

    Yet to see him impressively drag players in tight spaces, in the midfield. Instead he keeps playing those first time (safe) passes and then disappears into the final third/comfort zone (a false CM? lqtm). But this particular game demanded a more reserved/responsible role. Yes, he himself said that he lacks the “pause”/dark arts of Xaviesta but there is no real harm in trying stuffs while he’s still an understudy. In the lower half/midfield, he does move into good spaces (world class player after all!), but his body angle and velocity gives a vibe that he isn’t ready to receive a pass. Another problem is his tendency to leave “good” spaces once he occupies them. Always roaming, playing first time balls, changing flanks without necessity – not good enough at the “dream team” level. Im sorry!

  17. Thanks for this Isaiah!

    I was waiting for an article I completely agreed with ๐Ÿ˜‰

    It seems the problem is that MESSI cannot and should not show any form of other emotion that doesnt involve giggles and smiles.

    Messi is STILL a happy go lucky dude. Instances of anger, annoyance, frustration are normal human emotions that even, believe it or not, happy-go-lucky people experience. LOL
    Saying Messi has supposedly changed for the worse because he got frustrated (I’ve seen him get angry before in previous seasons btw) is like saying someone is not a good person cause they lied about missing work once.

    Anyway, let the overanalysis continue..

  18. I believe that if Messi would’ve said his piece and leave it be, there wouldn’t be this “yell-gate.” Instead, Messi went on and on and also threw his arms up several times. I believe that’s what caught most people’s attention. We’ve seen Valdes, Puyol, and Xavi yelling too, but I can’t recall a time when their’s lasted as long as Messi’s.

    I’ve also noticed that this past year Messi does seem a bit “bitchy”. Anybody think it’s related with him being national team captain? Some leaders lead by example, but even they need to be somewhat vocal. Perhaps Messi is figuring out how vocal he can or should be?

    BTW, is it true that Villa waited for Messi after the game and they brugged it out?

  19. This is a must read. Again, sorry for not having time to translate it. But Perarnau tells us about the many questions Tito hasn’t answered, and about the team not controlling the game, about Valdez throwing the ball away much more than before, about Alves long passes, about Xavi being restless looking at this from the bench, and about lack of pressure in out first line of attack and so on. Tito is trying, though he’s succeding in results, not so much in the way of playing. I hope you can check it out, NZM, Kxevin, Blitzen, might give you a better summary than me ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thank you for this link. Marti Perarnau picks up the right buttons to push. Frustration from the likes of Messi & co. is more to do with the fact that there seems to be a dissonance in Barca’s play now, even when they are winning. From the slowness of passing to the lack of adequate build up from behind to some issues with combination play in the front; there seems to be a lot that is work in progress/ not in tune in Barca’s play. I suppose Tito’s hands will be full when he looks at these as areas for improvement.

      The redeeming factors have been Xavi’s return to superlative play; Messi’s consistent targetsmanship; return from injury of Villa; Pedro’s renaissance; and the quicker integration of new pieces like Song & Alba. Tito has been lucky that the unvarnished edges in Barca’s play are showing up at a moment where they are otherwise winning and are in a healthy position generally.

  20. Nice that a more sensible article appeared here. Just like how a newspaper first go for a sensationalising write up and then follows up with a more intelligent one. These kinds of flares are just normal. Just that the players at the two ends were Messi and the man back from injury , Villa, have made it sensitive.

    We should be rather worried about our poor displays, than such issues.
    We look nowhere near our 2010-11 forms or the first half of last season. The intelligent build ups and one touch passes are all missing. Knowing the hunger of players like Messi and Xavi, it is understandable that they are all frustrated.

    1. Define “sensible.” In the context you use it, “sensible” seems to mean “because it hews to my worldview.” For me, that defines “affirmation.”

      I disagree with this post because it oversimplifies the situation. Hence my query above, about whether it was the yelling or the ensuing shouting match that raised eyebrows and further, whether the player who was the catalyzing influence had as much to do with reactions to the matter.

      Still waiting for answers ….

    2. For me, the first yell was alright but to go on for another 2 rounds is wrong.

      Something has been bothering him since the start of the match. He’s taken it out constantly on his mates and on the opponent’s players.

      I remember once at the byline where the Granada player won in a 50-50 and the ball went over the line for a goal kick and that player offered his hand to Messi but instead of being grateful he got into a heated argument when it there was totally nothing wrong with the challenge.

      Another play was at the edge of the Granada box when he was claiming a foul when he (Messi) was the one who had his foot very high up. He held his hand up and the commentator like me thought that he did that to apologize but it was the opposite. He got into another heated discussion with the Granada player.

      He seems to be on short fuse nowadays.

  21. may be this is high profile cause it involved a megastar and a superstar.
    both of them are humble in their personal life(AFAIK)and extremely popular in the cule verse,moreover there is no rumored factions in the barca team for the last 5 yes its a high profile.

    if it involved pique and dani then there would be no fuss,which happened exactly in the previous season.

    to me this became a big fuss cause of messi’s continuation of the yelling.

    @Kxevin,if it involved ibra.

    scene 1: if ibra was in messi’s place.
    reaction from the culeverse :ibra is a fucking egotist.(which is true btw.)

    scene 2:if ibra was in villa’s place.
    reaction from the culeverse : messi did what he had to do,what a fucking lazy player(which is also true about ibra IMO).

    in any scene ibra is doomed.

    i still dont get why did we buy IBRA?fantastic fantastic player with a poor attitude,humongous ego and a history of bottling in European games.

    guardiola wanted to change the template but that was spectacular failure from barca

    1. i still remember the zaragoza game not because of messi but his gesture of letting ibra take the penalty

    2. Your answer would have been more effective without the residual bile, but I get your point. Though I will add that Arsenal that season certainly wished that the Ibrahimovic reputation of European match bottler was in fact true. Thankfully for us it wasn’t then.

    3. @Kxevin

      Oh god here you got again with the Arsenal match. Only 1 decent performance in a KO match in his whole career (+-10 years) still qualifies as a big game bottler for me.

  22. Wanna yell at friends and get away with it? Start with ‘SELL’ and the rest won’t matter.

    The only thing I want from the team in addition to the current serving is for them to take their chances in front of goal in the coming games. That is what made the difference last year..

  23. I missed the last game. Anyone know how to download it? I went to Pakmanns Blog but couldn’t figure it out. Please help.

    1. When I was BeIN deprived, I just Googled “barca vs x match download,” and got plenty of forum links. Then it was just a matter of finding one that matched my preferred downloading service. Because without a sevice (Rapidshare, Rapidgator, what have you) downloading a match in HQ can take eons.

  24. I wonder if we’re missing the bigger picture by focusing on Messi & Villa only. Messi was frustrated throughout the entire match and vented at Thiago, Alexis & Granada’s defenders. The way he celebrated Xavi’s goal by yelling & shaking the goal net and then the 2nd goal more with air of ‘job done’ rather than the sheer joy we are used to seeing suggest he was playing with a lot of tension which only got released after securing the 3 points. (this video illustrate above points

    It is unusual to see Messi NOT enjoying himself in a match (contrast it to this video where he was smiling genially on and off the pitch, something must be bothering him in the Granada match. I am frankly more interested about what is bothering him than speculating whether Messi has turn into a ‘diva’.

    What could be bothering Leo? My guesses are:

    – Messi is finding it harder & harder to score solo goals as opposition defend him en masse. Though I don’t discount when on song he will still dribble through everyone and score ridiculous goals that make Ray Hudson screams, he does need to find other means to score to be effective, e.g. free kicks (his deliberate attempt to improve in this area is apparent) or more importantly combination plays with his team mates. Messi has explicitly stated several times his joy in playing with Iniesta & Aguero, players who combine marvellously with him. He seldom manifests it but I can fully understand his frustration when playing with players on different wavelengths. I’m hopeful that Tello, Alexis, Villa will gradually get in tune with Messi, if not I hope Tito brings in someone that could, Neymar?? Pedro actually combines pretty well with Messi and I’ve not seen him yell at Pedro. Alves & Fabregas (for a while) used to combine beautifully with Messi but the wonderful 1-2s have been absent since latter half of last season, I wonder why??

    – Barca (bar Xavi & Busquets) is under performing. Comment above by Dani_el & Srini linking to Marti Perarnau’s article alludes to team losing its identity judging by the way they are playing now. Perarnau speculates that this worries Xavi though personally I give Tito benefit of the doubt as I think our identity needs a bit of ‘shakeup’ as teams might have figured us out. That said, finding a new identity is akin to time in transition, and transitions are not without stress.

    – Has Messi’s false 9 role been figured out? Is Tito working on ‘re-inventing’ Messi’s role? (actually hope so) Is Messi reacting well to this? (who knows?)

    – Messi is expected to almost single handedly carry the Argentinian national team, is he now expected to carry Barca too if his team mates can’t score? Coupled with the fact that he is becoming a first time father come October and moving to new house, some stressful stuff for ‘normal’ people. Then there is the guilt of missing that penalty against Chelsea, of losing recent Supercopa to RM (who knows if the little guy is beating himself up?). All this background pressure could surface when you’re trying to find that 1st goal against a stubborn defence, 3 days after a CL opening match, whilst still adjusting to jet lag effects, whilst worrying about the other team scoring against your makeshift defense, whilst being one of the most senior member on the field…boy were you happy when Xavi came on!

    – Is Messi missing Pep?? Am sure Messi respects Tito but Pep was likely ‘more than a coach’ and responsible for bringing best out of him.

    Messi is a once in a lifetime football genius and quite lucky for his fans he’s a very well behaved sport man too. But he’s still maturing, he will eventually learn not to vent publicly when under stress (remember this?, EVEN when under immense pressure because I’m sure he wants his fans to think best of him, else he won’t explain himself on Barca TV immediately after match. Good thing he has such exemplary role models in Puyol, Xavi & Mascherano to learn from.

    As an optimistic cule, I am excited to see how Tito refine our identity and brings out the best in Messi, Tello, Cesc etc. ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. I find this entire outrage over the top to be honest. Especially those who are questioning Messi shouting at some one. All captains and leaders do it. We value Puyol so much for that.

    Messi is growing up as leader on field. He is now captain of Argentina and growing into the role in Barcelona. He shouts and so he should. Others should do the same when he is in the wrong.

    Only the TV cameras kept on for a time and thats why everyone feels that it lasted longer. The tv cameras kept longer because he is Messi. Am pretty sure that any arguments between players if captured for longer time by tv cams will end up looking quite similar.

    In general though, i am happy with the way Messi is growing up. Would look quite silly if he was to behave at 30 as he would have at 18. Of course he will lose the sweetness and maybe become more cynical. That’s the part of growing up which escapes only those who lack something. His growth is maybe not as visible at Barca but really visible when he plays for Argentina. And his effectiveness (he was always fantastic player for them) has also increased for Argentina.

    I do think Messi has few average matches. But in this match, i saw tha guy trying his hardest even in injury time and creating a goal out of not a lot. With a loads of skills. And all the people focus their attention on something that was storm in a tea cup.

  26. I wished Pep was there to shake em all at the neck!!

    …although Cesc ain’t the same since he shook him ๐Ÿ˜‰

  27. Sport reporting that when PSG asked about Neymar, they were told that he is already signed, sealed, soon to be delivered to us. Hmph!

    –Some radio sources are reporting that RoSELL is part of a group that favors building a new stadium. No surprise there. Think of the millions to be had from sale of the naming rights! “Estadio Qatar-Lunya?” (A favorite from Twitter).

    –In the “like a boss” file, some hater Tweeted a wish to Puyol that he damage his other cheekbone. Our Capita calmly corrected the person’s grammar/language usage. The

    1. At this point it looks like we can really use Neymar. No information on when the move will be made though. I wouldn’t mind if it’s January, would be best for him and for us, especially given that Santos probably won’t qualify for Libertadores next year – in that case he will have to spend 6 months playing against the likes Mogi Mirim and XV de Piracicaba, hardly an ideal situation for him.

    2. I don’t get why we’d need to build a new stadium for naming rights? In the states you can change the name of your stadium/ballpark/arena any damn time the contract runs out. Also, Newcastle United changed their name from St. James Park to some corporate sponsor last season, so what would be the reason we couldn’t rename Camp Nou something else or with a add on like: BFB Camp Nou? I WOULD NOT want that to happen EVER, but just wondering why a new stadium would have to be built?

    3. Of course we can change the name of the stadium (of course, it would still be call Camp Nou by everyone not required to call it whatever they decided to call it).

      But that’s not the only reason to build a new stadium – the reason that’s usually given is that old stadiums can not be easily fitted with corporate suites and other revenue-generating features of the sort, so a new stadium is needed to increase revenue. I don’t see how a 600 million euros can be recouped in any reasonable amount of time from corporate suites, and it’s not as if need a new stadium for any other reason – we have the biggest one in Europe and it’s rarely completely full; it is true that limited stadium capacity has really hurt some teams (compare Liverpool’s fortunes with their small stadium over the last 20 years to those of Man United who expanded theirs in the 90s to twice that capacity) but that’s not a concern for us. But what do I know, I’m just a fan…

    4. Good point. I also don’t see spending 600 million Euros in Spain’s economy at this point. The economy may change, but it’s going to take time. A new stadium may work, however, to reference your Liverpool point, Fenway Sports Group just announced that they are putting the stadium issue to rest. They will renovate Anfield to 60,000 capacity instead of build a new stadium. I know renovation is tricky, especially with corporate boxes, however, I’d rather renovate Camp Nou than build a new stadium. Has location ever been discussed? NZM, you are local right? Where are the prospective locations for a new stadium?

  28. well said y2k..

    my actual 1st thought after this occurrence was–

    wow–why the hell did they just show that over and over again??

    then–of course they have to yell-they’re standing 15 meters apart!

  29. I would just like to make a distinction between Messi’s yelling and Puyol’s. When Caveman yells it is to tell Pique or another one of his teammates to get their collective heads in the game, and quite frankly I think sometimes that is very much necessary. While Messi might have yelled too, for me it was more to vent his frustration, not that there’s anything wrong with that, as the writer states sometimes it is better if teammates yell at each other rather than stay mum.

    Also about the ‘Say it was Ibrahimovich’ issue, I think here the relation shared by the 2 players is also important, Messi and Villa, all media reports to the contrary are mates, and between friends yelling or a minor discord is not as harmful for the group dynamic as say messi calling Ibra a lazy lout, then getting karate chopped. What I’m trying to say is that messi expects a lot from Villa (not unfairly) and villa probably half knows that coming from messi it is not a vitriolic attack of his abilities rather just an expression of his frustration at not being able to score, something he probably feels too.

  30. Yelling at an ex-captain (Valencia) and a much older player and also for an unreasonable demand is wrong for me too.

    Villa is not a youngster like Tello, Thiago or Alexis. The man is the nation’s highest goal scorer. Sure it is fine to scold but not for so long.

    I had the match on DVR, Villa had a tiny window of space to pass to Messi so it wasn’t like Villa went solo instead of passing to Messi who has an open goal at his mercy.

    It was totally uncalled for.

    1. So what you’re saying is that some people should get special treatment and are above criticism?

      I’m not trying to be excessively argumentative – I’m just pointing out that the shoe fits both ways. By the logic you’re using, I feel like it would be exactly as unacceptable for almost anyone to yell at Messi as for Messi to yell at Villa, and I don’t like either idea one bit. Players blow off steam on the field, and the idea of there being a clear rank between players when most of them are quite accomplished is a little disturbing to me.

      Can Xavi yell at Iniesta, because Xavi’s older and has gotten third in the Ballon d’Or three times in a row, or does Iniesta getting second one year and winning ‘Best Player in Europe’ this year rank him above Xavi?

      Busquets is four years younger than Mascherano, and Mascherano used to be the captain of Argentina. Does that mean that Mascherano is above yelling from Busquets, or does Busquets’s experience on the team along with winning many trophies with both Barcelona and Spain override that?

      It’s a slippery slope.

  31. And so now Messi is fairly even with CR7 in my eyes. Whenever CR7 complains when he didn’t get a pass from his Madrid mates, us, Cules, berate him for being such an ass of a player.

    1. Oh come on. CR7 has a lot of previous here. How many times can you point to of Messi behaving in this way? This is getting way out of hand. How often have you seen Messi’s crumpled face close to tears when he doesn’t get a free kick? He laughs it off. Look at the joy on his face as Xavi scores the winner. Look at his effort till the last minute which brought us another goal. Look at his appearance on Barca tv to clear the situation.

      This is a nothing till it happens again, imo.

    2. You know, even if it does happen again, I’m not sure that I see what the issue is. I didn’t feel like Messi was yelling because Villa didn’t pass *to him* – I felt like he was yelling because Villa didn’t make a pass that could resulted in a goal that would put them up. I honestly don’t think his reaction would have been any different if Villa hadn’t passed to Sanchez rather than him. As long as the yelling doesn’t get abusive or based in somebody’s ego, I’m not convinced it’s a big deal.

    3. Actually, I think that people usually berate Ronaldo for having a huge ego and being petulant and constantly diving. (IMO, he’s actually not the worst on Madrid in either respect by a long shot, but that’s besides the point.)

      I certainly don’t berate Ronaldo every time he yells at a teammate, especially when the teammate isn’t performing well. If you do, I can’t help but wonder what you think of Puyol and Xavi.

    4. I’d still say Cristiano has the extra ‘move’ of sitting on the floor pouting and waving/slamming his hands down when things don’t go his way…

  32. via Barรงa stuff

    President Rosell will today have supper with
    Barcelona’s fan club in New York. Guardiola
    and ex-players Marquez and Henry also
    invited. [md]

    Any BFB’ers in the NY Barรงa fan club?

  33. via Barcastuff

    Barcelona are closely following
    Montpellier centre back Mapou
    Yanga-Mbiwa (23), who was born in
    Central African Republic. [md]

    Any comments on this player Kxevin? If I’m not mistaken you’re a fan of this team right?

  34. Hey, how about we talk about the referendum for a new stadium? What are the pros and cons, etc…? Would like hear cules’ opinions on that? ๐Ÿ˜€

    Didn’t they just have an annual assembly to discuss about this issue and last year’s finance? Any news from that meeting?

    I’ve never been to the Camp Nou, so I don’t know anything about its condition or atmosphere. But it looks like the current board is pushing for a new stadium and more than likely with a naming right. I heard Athletic Bilbao got some financial assistance from their City to build the new San Mames. Can FCB ask for something similar? Or maybe with the current crisis, there’s no money for that?

    I’m in favor of a new stadium actually, after we get a center back or two ๐Ÿ˜›

  35. Not sure where the evidence for selling the naming rights comes from apart from a feeling among some that Rosell can’t wait to sell anything that’s not nailed down.

    Article in Sport on the Total Barca site claiming that it won’t be renamed. Fwiw, if its a new stadium for me it can have a new name – if still on the same site it’ll always be known as the Camp Nou no matter what they call it. Money for old rope.

  36. Dude, I think his attitude on the field might just be simple reflection of gonna-to-be-a-father symptoms. I remember last season Messi didn’t perform well for 3 or 4 matches and soon later his girlfriend 3-month pregnancy was all over the news. Now he is gonna to be a dad in a month. If you have ever been a new dad before, you will understand this is a very anxious period for men. The responsibility to your wife/partner and child sometimes could be overwhelming for somebody young as Messi. I am predicting he is gonna be like this for a few more months because of all the new dad duty. His family and his money will definitely help him out but the psychological pressure will be the same.

    Just look at Xavi–he doesn’t even have a girlfriend. I remember from an interview Xavi thought a relationship can affect his performance on the field so he decided not to start a new relationship when he broke up with his ex. His stable performance in all these years definitely have something to do with his simple though boring life.

  37. Messi is a lucky guy. Barca captains always have good influence on him. I heard rumors that Puyol and Xavi urged messi to apologize to Villa in the locker room and promise not to do this again on the field. And Messi did follow their suggestions. In the national team, Mascherano also helps him a lot in terms of being a leader and dealing with relationship with teammates. Mascherano was the first one on the field to calm Messi down after he shouted at Villa and told him everybody was watching him. So good company is important for young people.

  38. Barca are reportedly close to extending Xavi’s deal which currently runs through 2014 or 15. It currently runs for 2 more years, but not sure if that includes this year. Great news

  39. OT: watched a snipet of revista and according to Ballague, some senior members think that Messi might be getting too big for the team and there might be a bigger issue brewing behind closed doors. I might be in denial but, i think Ballague kinda exaggerates sometimes when he comes to Barca news. He might be the superstar on the team but, i feel if he starts getting too big, the club will tell him to calm down and i’m sure Xavi will have a talk to him as well.
    Impending fatherhood rattled his nerves maybe or, the fear of losing again to EE, terrifies the living daylights out of him.

    1. Take Ballague, an Espanyol fan with a load of salt.

      If anything, almost every Barca team member knows that Messi is their lynchpin and they are lucky to have the best player in the world. I am sure that there is no issue “brewing” in the dressing room.

      I think the views of Perarnau are what that counts. I think Messi is showing a slightly undue degree of frayed body language because of some jinks in Barca’s play of late. As someone pointed out, Messi’s yelling only reminds us of Puyol’s exhortations at Pique or Xavi’s or anyone else’s who is showing some degree of authority on the field.

      Barca’s footballers are a mature lot. I think they know where the frustration in their best footballer is coming from and it is a non-issue.

    2. This is what I’m worried about. I can seemingly see a trend with him. I hope it doesn’t get to the point where there is animosity within the team. The chemistry will disappear. Like I said in a previous comment, it is up to Xavi and Puyol to talk to him.

  40. I noticed something else watching Revista tonight.

    I had been thinking of Barca’s 15 points as coming against the 3rd place team in the league last year and in two fixtures where points were dropped last year.

    But looking at the current table I suddenly noticed that those 15 points were earned against the teams that are currently 14th, 15th, 17th, 18th and 20th in the league. (I can’t believe that Osasuna is dead last even though they’ve arguably given Barca the hardest time so far.)

    Sure, it’s nice that Barca got 5 more points than RM managed to against three of those 5 teams. But it’s also true that Barca’s next opponent, Sevilla who are tied on points for 2nd place, have earned their 11 points playing against teams that include the current 7th, 8th and 10th in the league. So, er, fasten your seat belts.

    1. The beginning of the season is always deceiving, though, and it’s not really a coincidence that the teams we got 3 points from are lower in the table – that’s 3 points that they didn’t get. Five teams remain undefeated so far this season, and not surprisingly, they occupy the top five spots in the table. That tends to be the way it works early on. So much depends on your first few fixtures.

      I mean, Valencia are in 15th. I will be stunned if they are not in the top 6 at the end of the season. I also don’t see Getafe getting relegated – they’re not great, but they tend to be mid-table.

      What I find more interesting is that Barcelona and Madrid share a lot of the same early fixtures – Valencia and Granada at home and Getafe and Sevilla away. We’ll see how Sevilla go, but right there are five points Madrid dropped that we didn’t from the exact same fixtures.

      I don’t want to be a pessimist, but I suspect that we will drop points in Sevilla. Our defense is so sketchy right now.

    2. No doubt the league table will look very different by the end of the season, but then, the table is never more accurate as a barometer of current form than it is early in the season. It just so happens that Barcelona began the season against teams that are generally not in form right now, even allowing for the 3 points lost to Barca.

      Oh, and Barca / Madrid won’t just be sharing early fixtures. Their schedules are in lockstep throughout the season. Barca is playing identical fixtures to Madrid exactly two jornadas later. This is consistent until the end of the cycle when Madrid will play Real Sociedad and Osasuna, the first two teams Barca faced.

      In fact, the entire league is in that kind of lockstep as you’ll notice if you compare any two teams’ schedules.

    3. Eh, not sure I agree. A couple poor calls and one poor day or just poor luck can be the difference between 16th and 7th. Valencia are probably the best example of this – they were awful against Mallorca, but starting out with Barca-Depor-Madrid was pretty much the worst possible start they could have gotten, since the big two are always hard, especially away, and it was their first time facing Depor since knocking them down to Segunda two seasons ago. Even with that, they should have gotten 3 points from Madrid rather than 1 (Soldado’s second goal should have stood), and on another day another linesman might have let the equalizer against Barcelona stand.

      But I digress. When teams haven’t played the same fixtures, it’s hard to draw comparisons, IMO, especially since two of the teams we’ve faced had already dropped points to Madrid.

      As far as your second point goes – I just reread my post, and I’m sorry, I wasn’t clear. It’s not the lockstep that I was pointing out (although that’ll be interesting all on its own, since the last time this happened was a decade ago). You were talking about Madrid dropping points/Barcelona beating the same teams being nice and all but not necessarily all that significant. I tend to disagree – I think the fact that they weren’t just the same teams but the same fixtures does say something about Madrid’s start to this season, at least. Yes, that will be the case all season (other than with Depor), but all season hasn’t happened yet. These matches have.

      *shrug* It’s really not that important – I just think that it’s interesting to look at.

    4. “When teams havenโ€™t played the same fixtures, itโ€™s hard to draw comparisons”

      Given that teams won’t have played the same fixtures until the final game of the season, the choice is to wait until then, or to find other ways to have fun before then.

      Ranking teams based on the relative strength of their opposition is a pretty standard approach to comparing teams that don’t play in a closed loop league.

      I like the idea of applying the same technique to a league as it plays itself out. So I took a (VERY) rough stab at the current Liga table.

      For every team, I computed the strength of their opposition thus far as the percentage of points said opposition has earned from all points available to them. I then multiplied that number by the number of points earned by each team to arrive at an adjusted points total. The resulting league table is interesting:

      Team Points Opp Strength Adj Pts
      A Madrid 13 0.45 5.89
      Malaga 11 0.47 5.13
      Vallecano 7 0.56 3.92
      R Betis 9 0.43 3.84
      Sevilla 11 0.35 3.81
      Barcelona 15 0.24 3.6
      Sociedad 6 0.6 3.6
      Mallorca 11 0.32 3.52
      Levante 7 0.49 3.45
      Valladolid 6 0.53 3.2
      Valencia 5 0.6 3
      R Madrid 7 0.39 2.71
      A Bilbao 5 0.53 2.67
      Getafe 4 0.6 2.4
      Celta V 6 0.36 2.16
      Zaragoza 6 0.33 2
      La Coruna 6 0.31 1.84
      Granada 2 0.61 1.23
      Osasuna 1 0.59 0.59
      Espanol 1 0.51 0.51

      By the end of the season, this table will match the league table, but until the season is much further along, it’s a fun way to speculate about teams’ prospects. Atletico Madrid are clearly kicking butt while Real Sociedad might not be as hapless as they looked against Barcelona.

      What’s also clear is that Barcelona have had the easiest schedule in the league so far, even allowing that they hurt their opposition’s strength numbers.

      I’m looking forward to updating the spreadsheet weekly.

    5. @ replayed – I didn’t say it was impossible to draw comparisons, nor did I say that there was no point in speculation or analysis.

      My point was that comparing teams that have faced us and teams that haven’t automatically leaves teams we’ve beaten at a 3 point disadvantage. Sociedad have gotten 6 points so far, where Levante have gotten 7 – but maybe if Sociedad hadn’t been facing Barcelona, they’d be up at 7 or 9.

      It’s kind of like Malaga looking at their CL group and saying, “Well, that’s not very impressive, our win is against the team in last place,” or Valencia saying, “Well, third place, we’ve got an awful start to the group stage.”

      It’s also worth pointing out that 7th to 14th place is separated by a single point. Kind of par for the course for La Liga, but still. This week’s 7th could be next week’s 15th.

      Look, is it interesting to speculate and analyze? Absolutely. Is the table you’ve drawn up food for thought? Yes, without a doubt, and thank you for doing it – it makes me feel better to know that I’m not the only one who obsesses about statistics. (At one point a couple seasons ago I went through the last five years of CL KO matches to see who really played a man up the most and calculated out the last five years. I jotted down the last two decades as a fun fact. I blame my degree. For anyone who’s curious, if you calculate using percentages and taking time spent with a man down into account, Barcelona were fifth behind Shakhtar Donestk, Schalke, Liverpool, and Bayern Munich.)

      My only point was that saying, “Well, we’ve only beaten teams that are lower in the standings right now” wasn’t entirely fair. If we’d beaten any of the teams in European positions right now, they wouldn’t be in European positions.

      At any rate, I think at this point we’re just talking past each other. Thank you for the table – it’s definitely interesting.

  41. The Messi-Villa shouting horse is probably beaten to death, but I just want to add one more point.

    Barca has been relying a lot on Messi scoring, this is a problem that I hope/trust Tito will eventually fix. But for the moment it’s still a fact of life. Yet the defence around Messi is getting tougher & tougher to crack. Though when on song La Pulga can still dribble through the entire opposition’s defense and score ridiculous goals that make Ray Hudson screams, Messi does need to find other effective means to score, e.g. free kicks (his deliberate attempt to improve in this area is apparent) or even more importantly, combination plays with his team mates.

    Combination plays & 1-2s are not really new in Messi’s plays but their importance is more pronounced now in cracking stubborn defenses.

    Messi has explicitly stated several times his joy in playing with Iniesta & Aguero, players who combine marvellously with him. On the other hand, though he seldom manifests it, I can fully understand his frustration when playing with players on different wavelengths. Unfortunately I think Villa is one of the players that is at this stage still at somewhat different wavelengths with our #10. Pedro on the other hand combines much better with Messi.

    That said, Iโ€™m hopeful that Tello, Alexis and even Villa will gradually get in tune with Messi. Alves & Fabregas (for a while) used to combine beautifully with Messi too but their telepathic plays has gone missing since latter half of last season, I wonder why?? I actually think Neymar-Messi could potentially be a lethal pairing, we’ll see.

    Anyways I have good faith in Tito. I view 2012/2013 as a season in transition, and rejoice in improvements to our system rather than winning silvers. Although Messi might disagree as I suspect he is still beating himself up over missing the Chelsea penalty and his ‘edginess’ is due to extreme urge/ultra competitiveness to win us big titles.

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