Fan support, aka “There’s no ‘me’ in ‘affirmation'”

“No, it isn’t THAT finger …. but it could be!”

Fan (fan) n.: A person who has a strong interest in or admiration for a particular sport, art or entertainment form, or famous person.

During Sunday’s brilliant, almostthisclosetoawin El Classic, I Tweeted that I had heretofore thought it impossible for me to hate Wrongaldo more, but I was wrong. It wasn’t just the repeat of the “calm down” gesture that he made after scoring their first, or the way he grinned and winked at the camera. It the “Oh, my poor widdle shoulder” bollocks, etc. Argh!

Now. To RM supporters, his gestures were brilliant, those of a great player making opposing fans understand exactly what the deal was, and they were genuinely concerned about his shoulder.

Ah, perception.

Recently, as the entire world knows, even folks living under assorted and sundry rocks, Lionel Messi had a shouting match with David Villa. No, this piece isn’t about that long-forgotten hooraw. But some of its roots exist in an adjunct that has been turning over in my fevered little brain, that found its voice in the form of a question: “What if we still had Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and he was the one screaming at David Villa?” And further, does like/dislike color perception? Seems obvious that it does, or does it? Can we ever get beyond how we feel about a player as a fan?

I didn’t get many responses to my “What if Ibrahimovic?” question, but the few that I received admitted that he would, of course, have been scorned, vilified and all of that business that fans do to an “unpopular” player. Recall that Messi’s outburst was attributed to his drive, his striving for perfection and frustration at the efforts of mere mortals as they fall short of those standards. Yea, verily, his screaming at Villa was good said many, including our very own Isaiah, in a much-lauded post.

Yet Ibrahimovic would bring about a very different reaction. So all of this and a great many other things got me thinking about the nature of fan support, and the short journey from fan to “fanatic.”

There have been incidents in the news recently that have tested, and brought to light fan support, and not just the Messi/Villa incident. The John Terry verdict is another example. For the unfamiliar, during a match between Chelsea and Queen’s Park Rangers, Terry and black player Anton Ferdinand got into a verbal altercation. Terry called Ferdinand a “black c***.” The case went to actual trial, in which Terry was acquitted.

Then the FA got involved, held another hearing on the incident in which Terry was found guilty, receiving a punishment of a 4-match ban/220k-Pound fine. And people leapt to Terry’s defense. Why? Was it the seeming unfairness of the decision after a real court found him not guilty, or an admiration for the player, a stalwart for club and country? And why is that support sufficient, prima facie, to override what was in fact an awful incident?

The USADA recently released its evidence against 7-time Tour de France winner (right now) Lance Armstrong. It was impossible for me to not dance a mambo of joy. They got him! Yay! Others still rally to his support, using terms such as “witch hunt, railroading” and the like. Armstrong and his LiveStrong foundation have done wondrous things for cancer support and research, none of which in any way dilutes the outpouring of bile and disdain for the cyclist, who is, rather inescapably, a cheat. All 7 of them. Booooo, right? Even in this case, which appears to be as cut-and-dry as anything, it depends on what side of the saddle you sit.

Bringing matters closer to home, in the recent match vs Sevilla, neutrals or supporters of other Spanish clubs said that we got a gift, that Sevilla was playing against a 12th man in the match referee. Further, that because Fabregas unsportingly exaggerated the hell out of that brush from Medel, he was sent off. Cules say no way, that no gifts were given, that we earned that win. Further, Medel was stupid in lashing out at Fabregas and earning the straight red that sent his side down to 10, facilitating the freedom of play that allowed us to come back for the win.

Now recall that the very next day Di Maria earned a penalty for his club, and the same people who defended Barça labeled Di Maria a dive and a cheat. Is this deal really as simple as us vs them, as fans band together in that tribal way that is reminiscent of warring nations? “Our country, right or wrong,” saith the devoted fan. Di Maria is a diver, Fabregas isn’t. Old Busquets was a “gamer,” who would do anything to win. Pepe is a cheat and a thug. Or Busquets is a chet and Pepe the “gamer” would would do anything to win. All depends.

But it isn’t just country. WithIN a country, there are popular and unpopular states. The tourism board in the State of Alves has just hired a new public relations consultant. The State of Song isn’t a very good place to be right now. The State of Puyol is and always will be. The State of Busquets made a gift to the other warring nation of Sevilla, which successfully assaulted the States of Song and Valdes. Damn those two. Why can’t they secede from the Union of Barça, or go to watch from someplace where they can’t damage the efforts of our glorious warriors?

Perception colors reality. Errors morph into excess zeal that is to be forgiven, which morphs into “that’s what great players do. If they didn’t try, they wouldn’t be great.” It all depends upon who did what.

So Ibrahimovic, in yelling at Villa, would be a douchebag of the highest order. Some could say that he has the same drive for success that Messi has, is the same kind of supremely talented player that must coexist with mere mortals in order to show off his greatness. But his lack of popularity doesn’t give him that same “right” to actually demand excellence.

In other words, fans aren’t very rational, even as their behavior makes perfect sense in the context of what they believe, and its tribal nature.

Going deeper into this notion, what about fan perception of certain players also affecting popularity, i.e. Messi can do no wrong because people love him, where Ronaldo is a vain, preening git. Messi scores a goal, makes the sign of the cross to say “This one’s for you, grandma,” then runs to hug his teammates. Ronaldo scores a goal, strikes a post and sticks out his chest, waiting for his teammates to come to him to begin the celebration …. unless he is “sad,” then there is no celebration. And yet, there are people who have nicknamed Messi “Troglodyte,” who suggest that the post-goal gesture, once heartfelt, has simply become a rote expression every bit as vain and empty as Ronaldo flexing his thigh muscles. It all depends on what side of the aisle you sit. I confess that it pains my very soul to admit, through teeth gritted so hard that calcium dust is the result that he is an excellent footballer, because of my views of him as an FCB supporter. Is that wrong?

At the time of the Messi/Villa incident I noted that Ronaldo probably smiled a little bit, as just a sliver of the aggressiveness that makes superstars what they are, shot through Messi’s controlled exterior. Little did Ronaldo know that it would be perceived as something different, because this was Messi. He was popular, and therefore, like the angelic little brother who would break a glass then point to a sibling, him doing wrong is beyond the comprehension of his fans. So there are many, many other reasons, and people find ways to note that this yelling is good and right and healthy.

The beauty of being a fan is that you/we/they are right. Because right is a subjective evaluator in fandom. 2+2=4. This is objectively right. But it’s subjectivity that makes things fun.

Would Messi be as popular if his personality were more like Ronaldo’s? Or Neymar’s? Look at Neymar, who is beloved in Brazil, even as he fights, impregnates, refuses to pass balls and gets coaches fired. “He is ours. You don’t understand.” Would cules be saying the same thing about Messi were his demanding, aggressive superstar side even more on display, and forgiving him everything?

I love FC Barcelona. The players, for me, are instruments to the club’s glory. Messi scored 70+ goals? So what, if those goals came without the club winning major silver. When I do match evaluations, and rate Messi as something other than a being that strode down from Olympus, I invariably get stick, which I am more than used to, because I understand. How can some scribe criticize an icon? I see him running at 4 defenders and ignoring the open man, while the Messi fan sees that had he been able to beat that last defender, he would have been in on goal, and almost certainly have scored. So close!

It’s what makes evaluations of players such as Messi almost pointless. In my day job, I am music editor (among other hats) at the Chicago Tribune. In discussing a Bruce Springsteen concert review and whether we should send a writer (no-brainer), I suggested that there wouldn’t be much point, because Springsteen is review-proof. That is, it doesn’t matter what he does or how he is. His fans love him, and that’s that. The same is true of Messi, just as it is true of John Terry, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo. And those qualities color what we do, and how we accept the actions of our heroes.

Is this right or wrong? Neither. It just is. Being a supporter feeds a need for passion that people have. It uplifts, exhilarates, depresses, saddens then repeats that cycle. It’s a beautiful thing. But the next time something happens to someone, ask yourself …. “How would I react if it were Messi, or Iniesta, or Xavi, or Ronaldo, or Ibrahimovic?” If you take a real look at that question, the ensuing discussion inside your own head could be a lot of fun.

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Written by:

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


  1. Josep
    October 11, 2012

    Hmm, must be an international week.

      • October 11, 2012

        Yes, which means that if VdB wasn’t kidding, we get to watch Busquets play CB. But it’s against Belarus. But still.

    • garry
      October 13, 2012

      Hey, i m a longtime lurker. I would like to put on record my appreciation for all the effort which u mods ( blitzen, soma, kari, linda, isaiah, luke, calvin, euler and esp., kevin….hope i haven’t missed out anybody.) put into this blog and make it such a special space on the internet.

      Also, as im a barca noob, cud u suggest some good barca sites/blogs to follow. I do follow totalbarca and the offside blog though.

      (maybe we cud have a links section on the blog, just a suggestion…)

      • garry
        October 13, 2012

        Damn, meant to post it as a seperate comment!

  2. Roberto Senyera
    October 11, 2012

    International weeks suck. I just caught some of Brasil 6-0 Iraq in an international friendly to line the coffers of the CBF.

    • Roberto Senyera
      October 11, 2012

      Edited … wow. Not surprised.

      If I misspell can you elites edit that too?

  3. KevinO
    October 11, 2012

    Andd in somewhat related news, apparently the ref for the Sevilla game has been suspended by the RFEF; not really unexpected but, smh…

    • Roberto Senyera
      October 11, 2012

      Sevilla v us? Details please.

    • October 11, 2012

      Yes, he was pretty awful, but universally so. I still think, Medel’s idiocy aside, it wasn’t a straight red. Thanks for the news, KevinO.

  4. Roberto Senyera
    October 11, 2012

    Bad day for Lance Armstrong and his deception of the public for more than a decade.

    • yana
      October 11, 2012

      You know, I have no objections to expression of differing fan opinions. I have no objections to expressions of differing political opinions. However, in previous posts our moderators — who spend much time and effort creating and enriching this community — requested that you not bring U.S. electoral politics into this space. I find your continuing to do so very disrespectful to our hosts.

        • Roberto Senyera
          October 11, 2012

          Wait … edited for content.

        • yana
          October 12, 2012

          Of course I remember the Busquets – Marcelo incident. There were very many opinions about it, yours and Kxevin’s included. I agreed with many points, on both sides. Perception, as this very post explores, is not absolute.

          The point is, however, that exhaustive and even contentious discussion of that issue was encouraged in this space, because this is a blog about FCB and all of its issues. But it is not a blog and community devoted to U.S. electoral politics, and free speech has nothing to do with it. As was pointed out previously, there are many, many other places where you many freely speechify on the topic. I may even be an active participant in such places. But to persist in throwing out commentary *here* when our hosts have requested otherwise, is rude.

  5. Roberto Senyera
    October 11, 2012

    The rest of your article is pretty innocuous, Kx. Thanks for writing it. You can’t be so bad if you love Barça.

    As for Lance Armstrong he is both a cheat and an inspiration to millions. Humans are complicated. He’s an example of a shade of grey. As an athletes he is a proven cheat and should have his Olympic medals and Tour titles vacated. As a champion of fighting against a remorseless disease that kills millions he is a legend. He is both good and bad. As many of us are. Only he magnifies the issue to the extreme.

  6. October 11, 2012

    Your humble mods are at work. Rest assured that comments not adhering to the tone of the space will be dealt with. Best not to respond, because when comments are deleted, all associated comments go along with them. Thanks.

    • SoccerMom
      October 11, 2012

      Send ME to see Bruce, Chief! Me me me!!!

    • Roberto Senyera
      October 11, 2012

      I’ve seen many write about non FCB topics on this site before. For instance, what do the Chicago Bulls have to do with this site? A female mod wrote about them in a partisan manner. It was timely, yes. But it had absolutely nothing to do with FCB.

      Just saying. Slippery slope sir. Slippery.

  7. Archie
    October 11, 2012

    Dear BFBers,

    I have not succeeded in finding a way to watch the recent Classico. Would anyone share a link for a download?

    Many thanks,


    • October 11, 2012

      I don’t have my link(s) any longer, and many of them get whack-a-moled. But Google “barcelona madrid clasico download,” and all sorts of cool stuff should come up. I grabbed Canal + (on recommendation of JNice, and GolTV HD feed).

      Download also depends on what file hosting service you have. Without a hosting service, downloading a full match can take the better part of an adult lifetime.

      Hope that’s (semi) helpful.

  8. mom4
    October 11, 2012

    “aka, There’s no ‘me’ in ‘affirmation’

    But there is an “I”. Just sayin’. 😎

    • October 11, 2012

      And NOW you know why I used “me” instead of “I,” smarty pants. You two Moms are going to have to put on lockdown.

  9. October 11, 2012

    From the Twitters (@barcastuff): Montes (agent Dos Santos): “He doesn’t plan to leave. He’s a patient boy and thinks his chance will come when he keeps on working hard” [ed]

    • barca96
      October 11, 2012

      Oh god. Why doesn’t he get it. Sigh. The best thing he can do now rather than getting a free seat in the stands, is to demote back to the B-team and help them.

    • October 12, 2012

      It’s getting kind of pathetic now. He hasn’t even made the bench once this season ahead of Sergi Roberto, who is still a B team player. I can’t even feel sorry for him, because he is doing this to himself.

      • October 12, 2012

        Speaking of Sergi Roberto:

        Mascherano: “Youth player who sticks out? Personally, I like Sergi Roberto a lot. I think he will be a really great player” [mundodeportivo]

  10. Obii
    October 11, 2012

    Kxevin, I agree with your article wholeheartedly except for one minor caveat. While it may be a very good practice to evaluate every incident objectively and without the preconceived notions you may have of a certain player, it is also in fact impossible to separate the previous history of a player from the matter at hand. The problem arises when you try to simplify it as just an incident being analyzed in complete isolation. For example, with your Ibra question, if Ibra wasn’t such an asshat maybe we would have thought the same of him as we did of Messi, were he in the same situation.

  11. Roberto Senyera
    October 11, 2012

    Wait … this just in … I’m edited for content.

    Good day.

    • K_legit in Oz
      October 12, 2012

      Well if it was just restricted to politics related to Barça I suppose it should be welcomed but not about the ones you have been referring to. I know there are many more blogs for that kind of conversation on the web!

      • ooga aga
        October 12, 2012

        bobbert, i dont hear anyone complaining that your comments are getting edited, because nobody wants to read them

  12. Roberto Senyera
    October 12, 2012

    Oh. And one final thing. A ‘journalist’ from the Chicago Tribune that’s not well versed in the 1st Amendment. That’s an indictment on the Chicago Tribune 🙁

    • Obii
      October 12, 2012

      You moan too much. Boohoo i’m being targeted for being an insufferable cretin, who is always looking for confrontation. Get over it.

      • October 12, 2012

        There is the mistaken notion that 1st Amendment rights are universal, and apply to all areas of life, public and private. Not true. 1st Amendment right is one of the more misused phrases, particularly in the context of a controlled, moderated space.

        The request has been stated very clearly: No U.S. politics on this board. And yet you persist. So you are being edited, because your comments do not follow said guidelines. As I said previously, there are other spaces you can visit to discuss U.S. pklitics. This space is about FC Barcelona, and related topics, which include Catalan politics. So yes, the Chicago Bulls, particularly as Michael Jordan might or might not be analogous to Lionel Messi, or the championship runs/behavior of that team might be pertinent to a discussion of FCB, is perfectly fine. Discussions stray off topic frequently. But. No U.S. politics, I don’t care who anyone supports.

        The First Amendment proper deals with legislative bodies and attempts to muzzle or otherwise hinder assembly, the press, or religion. It is very clear in its intent.

        It is most often misued by people who don’t understand why thay can’t shout “fire” in a crowded theatre, or call their boss a turd, and wonder why they were fired.

        Before you cite the Amendment, and assert that your rights, pursuant to said Amendment, are being violated, read it first. I’ve copied it here:

        Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

        • October 12, 2012

          Good point, Kxevin. People tend to equate “free speech” with “the right to say anything at any time anywhere”, which is not the same thing at all, and in fact cheapens the whole idea behind the First Amendment.

          We don’t debate US politics in this space for the same reasons we don’t debate religion, child-rearing methods, or which is better, Star Trek or Dr. Who: 1) They have nothing to do with FCB, and 2) They are deeply personal choices that can lead to divisive and acrimonious discussions.

          And just to be clear, all of the mods are in agreement with this policy, even if we haven’t been in on the discussion in this thread.

          )Although personally I wouldn’t mind if we banned discussion of the Chicago Bulls and anything related to bouncieball as well. 😉 )

    • swamidigital
      October 12, 2012

      The comments section of a blog is a PRIVATE space not public.

  13. Srini
    October 12, 2012

    Kxevin’s article on “Fan perceptions” and aggression/passion they evoke at “spectator sport” — it is well worth reading up on Umberto Eco’s “Faith in Fakes: Travels in Hyperreality”, where he critiques “spectator sport” with gusto. “Fans”, are no longer in a world of sport as active participants in the rational affair of community building, physical exercise etc, but more into the “irrational” sphere of competition that is either hyper-nationalistic, ultra-passionate and the likes.

    What liberates spectator sport from its inherent problems is when sport transcends itself into an art-form. And that is why I think I am a fervent “spectator supporter” of Barcelona. Their play on the field, the past decade, has risen over nominal “like for the institution”, but for the way they play. And that I suppose should be an endeavor of every sporting club everywhere in the world.

    I have had some “run-ins” with one of the moderators here in this blog, but they have been superb in their regular updation of content and keeping the community chugging with some sane and interesting conversations related to the subject matter of FCB and everything related to it.

    I therefore endorse the editing out of the “Nonsenseyera” views.

    • replayed
      October 12, 2012

      Well said about football as an art form.

      The time I now spend watching and following Barcelona and the Spanish NT is time that I would have once spent watching movies, reading, listening to music, going to museums, etc. But I feel the football these teams are playing is some of the greatest art being created by this generation and more than worthy of the time I devote to it.

  14. Jim
    October 12, 2012

    I haven’t understood a word you’ve said but I agree with the last sentence – unless I’ve not understood that either 🙂

  15. Jim
    October 12, 2012

    Two little snippets which warmed my heart.

    The first pertains to what Kxevin was saying about if Ibra had fallen out with Villa and sums up my view that he is so far out ahead in the asshat stakes i cut him no slack whatsoever

    (from Total Barca)

    When asked about the possible transfer of Mario Balotelli to Real Madrid, the outspoken Swedish striker replied: “Balotelli to Madrid? I don’t get it, he seems better suited to Barcelona. Mediocre team; mediocre player.” 🙂

    The second from Barcastuff is in the you’ve gotta love this club category.

    Barcelona plan to renew the contracts of Puyol (2013) and Xavi (2014+2) and want both players to decide themselves when they retire.

    • October 12, 2012

      Oh, Zlatan …. I wonder if we are more or less mediocre without our philosopher?

    • Obii
      October 12, 2012

      Is he bi-polar? I thought he loved Messi? I would love to round-house kick him in the face.

      • barca96
        October 12, 2012

        “Balotelli to Madrid? I don’t get it, he seems better suited to Barcelona. Mediocre team; mediocre player.”

        He seriously said that? Was the interview in English? It must’ve been taken out of context. I can’t believe that he would say such a thing. Just a few months ago he said positive things about Barca.

        • apanchippo
          October 14, 2012


          What is the source for this statement? Well, its the Honduran website Really trustworthy, don’t you think?

  16. Obii
    October 12, 2012

    Also Kxevin, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for being so active on this site. Even though I don’t always agree with you, your work ethic and your dedication to this blog is something to be admired. The amount of articles you churn out and the amount of work you put into reviews is truly commendable.

    /tip of the hat to you, good sir.

    • October 12, 2012

      Aw, shucks. Appreciate it, but it’s the community that makes all of us mods go the extra mile. And now that hard training season has started for my cycling passion, you’ll almost certainly be seeing less of me, and probably more of the other folks. Our lives wax and wane, allowing us more or less time, we hope in a way that manages to keep someone in the house on a fairly regular basis.

      Again, your kind words are much appreciated.

      • barca96
        October 12, 2012

        Damn it. It’s that time of the year again. But why does the cycling season start in autumn for you? Isn’t it the other way around to the pro’s who start in Spring?

        • October 12, 2012

          Well, racing season runs roughly from May-September. Then we take some time off before starting preparations for the following season:

          Riding (drugs)
          Weight training (drugs)
          Hard interval work (drugs)
          Drugs (drugs)

          And before you know it it’s March, when we take two weeks and head off for training camp in California, where we ride (drugs), eat and make like it’s a vacation, instead of 10 days where the easiest day sees a 2,000-calorie burn.

          I love my sport.

  17. Josep
    October 12, 2012

    wait who is this robert senyera guy?


  18. October 12, 2012

    And in the “this is how you do it, JDS” category, we have these tweets (via @barcastuff):

    Muniesa: “I talked with Ajax this summer, it was a good option, I was open to it. Similar style as Barcelona, Champions League…” [rac1]

    Muniesa: “Although I’m a first team player, it wouldn’t be any problem to play with B-team to get into the rhythm after my recovery.” [rac1]

    I’m still on the fence as to whether Muniesa can play at a consistently high enough level to fit in to the first team, but he gets an A++ for attitude.

    • Josep
      October 12, 2012

      If Jonathan isn’t willing to join a team who have an exception to sign him NOW. A team which features his brother. A team he’d be in the 18 for, to try to make it with a team he hasn’t made the bench once for? He’s an idiot.

  19. Humphrey Bogart
    October 12, 2012

    good article, got me thinking about something and that is the perception, in particular among RM fans, that messi did only win the Ballon d’or due to his (perceived) down to earth personality and therefore getting courted by the media. i think nothing could be more afar from the truth. I think Messi is the type of guy the media hates because he does not deliever what they crave most: headlines. He does hardly something controversial nor says something controversial.

    the media does not love guyes like messi they love the mourinhos and CR of these world because they give them what they want: a story and something to write about

  20. October 12, 2012

    While it’s true enough that fans judge sometimes irrationally based on their prejudices, you entirely miss the point of precedent. Opinions are formed based on past actions and they colour the judgement passed.

    Classic case is your Messi/Ibra comparison: Who do you trust to have the teams interest at heart? The kid who smiles and shares in victories or the guy who kicks teammates and is famous for his ego?

    To judge based on precedent is entirely logical and rational.

    • October 12, 2012

      Oh, no judgment on the judgment (if that makes sense). Just putting the question out there. Tenure counts for a lot with how we perceive action. My editing decisions, for example, carry more weight now that I am the tenured jackass rather than the upstart jackass. Same decisions, different newsroom perception.

  21. October 12, 2012

    Oh and continuing from the last thread: I wonder what you meant about the boixos linking. I was merely inquiring rather than accusing. I don’t feel its a link that should be banned, it may be controversial but it’s not porn or some such thing.

    I was merely asking since I’ve come across a few misguided youths associating with the Boixos and to be honest not all Boixos should be painted with the same brush. You might remember they were one of the largest support groups back in the day and while they were associated with skinheads not all (not even close) were skinheads. Alot of them got caught in the crossfire.

    Though the combination of Ultra in his name and Boixos raises a few red flags.

    BTW Quite appropriate to the fan/fanatic topic isn’t it?

    • October 12, 2012

      As you say, a red flag was raised, that’s all. The Boixos Nois have deserved the reputation they have and were banned from the Camp Nou for a reason. The mods of this site do not support the Boixos Nois in any way. While not all of their supporters share those tendencies, someone calling themselves “Ultra” and linking to that site would merit monitoring. We are committed to keeping this space inclusive and respectful.

      • October 12, 2012

        Yes. The discussion was just that. I think that Ultras tend to start one way, and sometimes things get funky. The Boixos had their difficulties, and the just-dumped proposal for the Grada d’Animacio assuredly had roots in those past complexities.

        The Boixos haven’t been in the news of late. Whether that is due to Laporta sticking his neck out or other things, is beyond me. Perhaps they very well have returned to simply being Ultras, with some of the more unsavory elements being kicked out.

        What I do know is that for me, a link such as that should be discussed, not only among mods but among the family, so to speak. Some will say leave it, that knowledge is power and it’s best the people know what kind of stuff is out there. Others worry about an implied consent by virtue of its presence.

        And yes, this thread is the perfect spot. For sure. Thanks for bringing it up.

  22. Jafri
    October 12, 2012

    Busquets in defense, Cesc up front, and Cazorla gets a game!

    VdB mixing it up:

    Casillas; Arbeloa, Ramos, Busquets, Alba; Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Cazorla; Silva, Fabregas, Pedro

    • mom4
      October 12, 2012

      They’re playing some really pretty football so far.

  23. swamidigital
    October 12, 2012

    Pedro! put his scoring boots on today! Some great assists on the last two goals from Xavi and from Cesc!

    • swamidigital
      October 12, 2012

      Villa hits the crossbar and Pedro! misses on the volley.

    • swamidigital
      October 12, 2012

      Pedro’s finishing has been great, as we all know he is capable of. Bodes well for his performance with us!

  24. October 12, 2012

    I appreciate the effort and patience that the mods have put into maintaining the high standards of this blog. Personally, and I know it isn’t right, I’d go about dealing with trolls in a manners similar to this..

    • simple_barcafan
      October 12, 2012

      That was a hilarious movie..haha..

  25. K_legit in Oz
    October 12, 2012

    Messi scores for Argentina against Uruguay..assist Di Maria

  26. K_legit in Oz
    October 12, 2012

    Messi to Di Maria to Aguero goal!

  27. K_legit in Oz
    October 12, 2012

    Messi..another direct freekick! under the wall a-la Ronaldinho!
    He’s in frightening form!

  28. Blau-Grenade
    October 12, 2012

    Two goals and an assist. This guy has single handedly dismantled Uruguay.

    • Blau-Grenade
      October 12, 2012

      I can see from the way the game has panned out that Sabella has built this squad to play and protect Messi.

  29. Ryan
    October 12, 2012

    Nice Messi free kick that went underneath the wall, considering everyone has seen him go for the top corner. Looks like he can hit the bottom corner too!

  30. alpinegroove
    October 12, 2012

    One of Messi’s best matches in a long time. Nice to see him thrive in the NT.

  31. barca96
    October 12, 2012

    If Messi is best on planet,
    Ronaldo is best in universe
    – José Mourinho

    I didn’t know that just by scoring goals alone you can be regarded as the best in the universe. In that case, he would have to consider Falcao as well.

    But I ask: if the
    two are on the same level, is it normal that
    one wins four and the other one? It is not.”

    I just don’t understand the logic in this.

    “One [Messi] plays as a No9 and roams
    around in those 50 square metres where
    the distance to goal is smaller and defence
    less intense. The other [Ronaldo] plays as a
    winger. How does a winger score as many
    goals as a No9? Besides, Ronaldo is a
    player who is not protected by anyone

    He clearly doesn’t follow Barça. He would’ve known that Messi drops deep mostly of the time.

    And look at the subliminal pot shot he’s taking claiming that Messi is protected.

    • Richzorz
      October 13, 2012

      Lol *obviously* Messi faces “less intense” defence than Cristiano, and hey who can blame the rest of the Madrid players if they don’t feel the need to protect Mr “rich talented and famous”…

      To be fair, Mourinho has to back his own man, it’s a shame he has to do it by trying to demean the ability/achievements of others (por que Jose?), then again if Pepe doesn’t see the hilarity in accusing other players of theatrics then perhaps there’s just something in the water in Madrid…

      • Helge
        October 13, 2012

        Yeah, and after CR was play-acting against Belarus (about 30th min), Pepe went immediately to defend his teammate, although that was real play-acting from Crynaldo… 😀

    • Helge
      October 13, 2012

      lol, I especially like his quote about the 50 m² box (that is roughly 7m x 7m), while Messi starts most of his attacks, goals and assists from 25 to 35m away from the opponents goal 🙂

      It’s also one of the most ridiculous comments that the defense in the center would be less intense than on the wings. The center, especially in matches against us, is always flooded with defenders!
      Mourinho, Pepe and Crynaldo – I doubt there will ever be a trio in football that is more easy (and also more fun in their failings^^) to disdain!

      • Richzorz
        October 14, 2012

        He’s been at it again…

        “Our results speak for themselves and show that in just over two years we have got closer and closer to Barcelona and now we are up there with them and have won the THREE major trophies in Spanish football in that time”

        Apparently the Super Cup isn’t so meaningless this season..?
        Alongside Mourinho not having noticed that Pepe (from what I’ve read elsewhere) has conceded less fouls and been booked less lately compared to previously in his Madrid career:

        “It’s funny because now Pepe is in a situation where he gets booked in every game, even if he just commits one foul.”

  32. nia
    October 13, 2012

    LOL, Marca has all the world cup qualifier results including the South America ones but, no news about Messi and Argentina. They did mention Falcoa though, 😉

  33. Srini
    October 13, 2012

    What a game by Messi against Uruguay. Dominant!

    And what a most intelligent free kick, slotting the ball through the legs of the wall.

    Messi keeps outplaying himself again and again into the history books. And the bitchy Mourinho still plays the “el puto amo in the mediaroom” game. Some habits and some curmudgeons die hard.

  34. TITO
    October 13, 2012

    He’s going mental, that’s for sure. I’m talking about the Special Five.

    • Helge
      October 13, 2012

      no that record is from Gerd Müller, 82 goals. Messi is still 17 (or 15, dunno if I read it before or after the Clásico) goals away from it.

      • Helge
        October 13, 2012

        ‘Just’ (well, it took me some while) checked it: Müller scored 84 goals in 1972, having played 61 matches. I don’t know what about Pele’s stats, though (they are even harder to find and confirm).

        • Helge
          October 13, 2012

          PS: Messi is at 67 goals right now. So 17 to go, in 14+1 matches. That’s a challenge, even for Messi 😉

  35. nzm
    October 13, 2012

    The Belarus – Spain game was not televised in Spain because the TV rights holders wanted 1.3 million Euros for the feed, and the Spanish companies said that in light of the economy, they could not pay that because the advertising wouldn’t cover the costs.

    Even after reducing the fee to 800,000 the Spaniish TV companies refused to pay.

    So, no live coverage of the game last night in Spain. Increible.

    • October 13, 2012

      I am praying that the U.S. remains a football backwater, so that I can get, basically, everything on that is available from Gol, Fox Soccer, ESPN and BeIN for my $5.99 per month Sports Tier.

      • yassir (Formerly Extreme barca fan)
        October 13, 2012

        I’m paying a 100US$ per year (for AL JAZEERA SPORT)and i thought i was under paying.
        However my only regret is that some of that money IN-DIRECTLY goes to EE.

      • October 13, 2012

        Seeing it on TVE, ESPN2 in the States. Means somebody ponied up.

  36. hammeronmessi
    October 13, 2012

    off topic.

    finally joined in twitterverse.

    so all of you, who in this blog are using twitter,give me the address.

    i will follow barcastuff. what other should i follow

    • October 13, 2012

      My handle is @blitzen13

      Other mods:
      @fcbfootballblog (Isaiah)
      @blackwhitengrey (Linda)

      A few other essentials for you:
      @FCBarcelona (official twitter)
      @YoungCules (youth team stuff)
      @OpinionCule (Spanish/Catalan language)
      @CanalBarca (also Spanish/Catalan)

      @BumperGraham (Graham Hunter)
      @LaLigaLoca (Tim Stannard)

      • hammeronmessi
        October 13, 2012

        lets see.

        already following u,kevin,euler,isaiah and linda.
        following youngcules

        and already following the 3 journalists.

        thank u.
        mine is @clawofwolverine.

        twitter is repeatedly suggesting me to follow gaga,perry and bieber.dont know know why?

        • October 13, 2012

          I’m @kevvwill. Would also recommend, for those looking to keep track of the Catalan news in English, @lizcastro.

  37. garry
    October 13, 2012

    Hey, i m a longtime lurker. I would like to put on record my appreciation for all the effort which u mods ( blitzen, soma, kari, linda, isaiah, luke, calvin, euler and esp., kevin….hope i haven’t missed out anybody.) put into this blog and make it such a special space on the internet.

    Also, as a barca noob, cud u suggest some good barca sites/blogs to follow. I do follow totalbarca and the offside blog though.

    (maybe we cud have a links section on the blog, just a suggestion)

    • October 13, 2012

      There’s also Barca Blaugranes, despite the past plagarism complexities that we had with their fan posts section. Very good original content, lots of analysis. NewsNow Barca is an excellent aggregator of headlines, stories and other content, though it isn’t really vetted, so you never know what you’re going to get.

      I do think that between us, TotalBarca and BarcaBlaugranes, then following the folks listed above on Twitter, your English-language FCB world is pretty complete.

  38. Judas Pissed
    October 13, 2012 makes me laugh with their bias & then retractions. This morning their headline was ‘Jordi Alba – I don’t care if my goal was offside’. A quick rewrite from the sub-editor later on & the headline is ‘Jordi Alba delighted with Spain goal’. If you don’t want your writers to be biased – DON’T employ biased writers..!

    • October 13, 2012

      That goal wasn’t just offside. You need a whole new definition for that sucka. But you play to the whistle. Super-slick backheel from Pedro!, as well, who for the first match since his return from the injury, looks like the 20+ goal Pedro! that he was prior to getting knocked.

  39. Manish
    October 14, 2012

    What’s this sports tier stuff.. i have taken dish.. as that was the only thing available..and it costs be $48 pm for me.. the package i am in..

    • October 14, 2012

      Coentrao has a groin injury, as well. So maybe it’s not just us, it’s the actual position of left back that is cursed!

    • Ryan
      October 14, 2012

      Wowsa, do they even have a third choice? DiMaria to become a fullback?

      • Richzorz
        October 14, 2012

        Arbeloa has played there before, who knows perhaps there’s even someone in the youth team who’ll get a chance!

        Other news, Cameroon fail to qualify for ACON! Feel kinda guilty about being pleased that Song won’t go missing for a few weeks in January…

        • October 14, 2012

          I know. And you know that you aren’t really supposed to, because every player wants to play for his country and all that, but yeah, the selfish part of me is pleased that his assimilation and training will continue. Something tells me that he will be needed, since it seems that this season will be similar to the last in terms in knocks and whatnot.

    • ciaran
      October 14, 2012

      With Coentrao and Marcelo out it would be simple enough for them to move Arbeloa to left back and Ramos to right back. Varane and Pepe in central defense.
      It’s awkward at most but nothing big. Mourinho played Varane and Pepe as a partnership on a number of occasions and Ramos is a world class right back.
      They have a lot more depth defensively than we do.

      • Ryan
        October 14, 2012

        Yes, but arbeloa has no offensive output. So now they only have Ramos to provide that, and a rookie center back partnering Pepe.

          • Ryan
            October 14, 2012

            I think Mou rates Varane above him.

        • Srini
          October 14, 2012

          For one, Varane is an excellent CB. He hasn’t played against Barca as yet (or has he, but I don’t recollect), but whenever he has played, he has hardly made a mistake, is very composed for his young age, has a towering presence physically and looks like one of the best young CBs in the world. In fact, this gives Mourinho the opportunity to field him even more without having to worry about annoying Ramos (Pepe, howmuchsoever we hate him is a strong starter and possibly among the first on the team sheet everytime it is filled up).

          Ramos will slot into RB and Arbeloa in LB, but I suspect Marcelo/Coentrao’s absence will be felt by Tristiano up front as the latter benefits from the former’s build up and passing. Arbeloa will be far more defensive and adding to a compact line in defense. Lets see if Madrid try something radical. If they move Di Maria, they lose some effectiveness in the front 3 and if they play Arbeloa/Albiol/whoever at LB, there will be imbalance because Tristiano never tracks back or plays effective defense and any side with a good, strong Right side attack can actually exploit Madrid’s weakness there.

    • October 14, 2012

      Finding a replacement isn’t the issue, as we have options in both the first team (Arbeloa at left back, Ramos/Essein at right back) or youth team (Casado is having a great season and Nacho has played there in preseason and in La Liga several times). The issue is how much our game plan will be affected.

      Marcelo is a very very bad defender. But what he offers in attack is par non. Over 40% of our play goes from the left flank, and that doesn’t only have to do with Ronaldo being there, but because Marcelo is too damn good attacking there. If Mourinho has to keep the system running, he might have to risk Di Maria at left back.

      My hope would be for Di Maria to go to left back and for Mourinho to finally try and system with both Modric and Ozil playing ahead of Khedira and Alonso.

      • Helge
        October 14, 2012

        My hope is that BVB plays Reus on the left, Götze on the right in the 1st leg CL group match against your team 🙂

        Reus is in the best shape of his life so far, and Götze could give Arbeloa or whoever plays at leftback a hard time, too (I suppose Mourinho will use Ramos against Reus on, anything else would be very naive).

        I just want Dortmund to survive the groupstage, and a draw would already be a good result for them. Although a loss for your team wouldn’t do them much harm either, they will go through for sure.
        Wouldn’t you also prefer Dortmunmd instead of City as runners-up in your group? 🙂

  40. nia
    October 14, 2012

    “(Jose) Mourinho has everything to make this time the winner is Ronaldo,” Beckenbauer said the coach of Real Madrid. However, the former captain of the German team said “Messi is the best chance to win their fourth trophy followed by world’s best player.” “Although Ronaldo, if only for his ability to score goals, also he deserves,” added the “Kaiser”.

    Doesn’t Mou and CR realise it’s only them and RM fan boys who think CR is better than Messi.

    • Momo
      October 14, 2012

      That quote was a nightmare to read nia… Gave me a headache
      Google translate I assume?

      • nia
        October 14, 2012

        ha ha, yep. Me too but, i pretty much go what he wanted to say.

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