Adeu, Andreu Fontas. Alas, we hardly knew ye ….

“All systems go. Ready for launch, Mission Control.”

Players come, and players go. The club announced today that Andreu Fontas, last seen sitting in the stands next to Jonathan dos Santos, giggling, is going on loan to Mallorca until season’s end. As many of you know, in the case of a serious injury, a club can be granted an exception to the normal transfer window.

Will Fontas return? Good question. Botia didn’t. And nobody speaks of Oriol Romeu any longer. But it seemed that Fontas had the stuff. On the other hand, a club without two healthy defenders to rub together, wouldn’t be sending him away if he had the stuff, right? So who knows.

Fontas officially featured in 16 games for the club, and we wish him well, until we play Mallorca. At that time, we hope he will become a sieve, and allow in as many goals as possible.

In other news

Yes, Xavi is talking crap again, saying in effect that Mourinho’s RM “will not go down in history,” and that their style of football is not what we want, which is true. I just don’t see much point in saying it, but that’s our Xavi. (Quote here.)

“Admiro el Barça i sóc un enamorat del seu joc, i Mourinho no encaixaria en el joc del Barça. Li tinc afecte perquè va ser aquí tres anys, però el seu futbol no és el que nosaltres volem. El seu és més d’especular, i per això penso que no passarà a la història”.

He also said, in a radio interview, that he misses Guardiola (Duh!), and can admit that without taking anything away from Vilanova, who he says is the business. As if results didn’t already make that clear.

Pinto, according to his agent, would like to continue with the club for another season. Hell, who wouldn’t, when all you essentially have to do is play a few Copa matches, and glad-hand on the bench? (Okay, humor aside.) The club and player are talking, but I do believe it is time for the club to have a backup keeper who will make Victor Valdes look in his rear-view mirror, the qualities of Pinto aside.

Jonathan dos Santos was last seen in the Camp Nou basement, whispering to building personnel “You didn’t see me!” Brief talks were held with Mallorca concerning the player, but Johnny Two-Time’s agent said that Dos Santos isn’t, like the proverbial cat who came back of childhood song fame, going anywhere. He still thinks that if he works hard, and shows the right qualities, he will earn a first team spot. And I could see this happening. Let’s assume that pterodactyls are real, and they have a fondness for wee midfielders wearing stripes. And some swoop down to carry away Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas and Thiago. Or some fall prey to those living descendants of the giant prehistoric birds, while the others are kidnapped by aliens, who have seen FCB matches on their planet, and would like to make a full-size board game, called Tika Taka.

Then it’s “come on down, Jonathan.” So shame on you, who are scoffing at his hope.

By Kxevin

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. This is a good move for Fontas, and I’m glad it got worked out. I feel a bit bad for him, as he never really got a chance to prove himself with the first team, but the fact is that Bartra has overtaken him in the mind of the coach and is a better “fit” in terms of his skills. Kudos to the kid for keeping a good attitude and knowing what is in his best interest.

    As for JDS…*sigh*.

    1. I really don’t know what to make out of him. It’s like he doesn’t know that it’s high time for him to move on. But the thing that baffles me the most is that it’s just a loan move. Not a transfer. Why doesn’t he at least want to gain experience and playing time and prove to Tito that he has what it takes. Rather than just in training.

    2. You make a fantastic point. It’s just a LOAN move! What is the problem. I think he may just be bitter and hateful and trying to take it out on the club b/c he blames us for some reason. Who knows. I know Fontas now has an opportunity to prove himself at a very good club in Liga. That is fantastic.

  2. OT: Kinda: What has bothered me in the past when Mou makes these asinine comments about Barca and Messi is that there is no response from us. Particularly a response from the Top of the club. Mou is campaigning for Thong Boy year round for him to win the Ballon d’Or. I think Mou’s comments justify a response from Tito or Sandro. We need to publicly back our player. I don’t want the standard politically correct support either. I want to see something along the lines of,”Thong boy, better? How many assists did he have last season? How many goals were scored when EE were already winning? Messi is simply the best player on the planet because he can create as many chances as he finishes. There’s no comparison. His vision, creativity, teamwork, sportsmanship, and brilliance make him a Ballon d’Or winner hands down. Look, I feel sorry for Thong Boy. I really do. He happens to play when the greatest player in the world is playing. It’s unfortunate for him. What can he do? If he were playing in another era, perhaps, he would win. But he isn’t. This is the Messi era. It’s like Jordan/Drexler/Barkley/etc. etc., Woods/Michelson, Nicklaus/anyone else, Gretzky/anyone else.” – Tito

    That’s what I’d love to see said. I don’t see us taking a moral high road and looking better than EE. I perceive it as a lack of spine and support for the greatest asset we have at this club.

    1. I think after the last game Tito made some comment along the lines of “obviously everyone knows Messi is the greatest player in the world”, get the feeling that Mourinho/etc might just be digging themselves a hole by campaigning so heavily…not sure about the guys who’ll be doing the voting but I’d be turned off by the whole “Cristiano DESERVES the award it will be a crime if he doesn’t receive it” etc..

      Saying that, I wouldn’t mind Iniesta or Casillas giving Messi a year off Ballon D’Or duty!! ;p

    2. Good point. Maybe I’m not giving the voters enough credit. I guess I’m finally losing it with Mou’s last spouting off. I’m tired of it too. Hopefully your right and the voters(people who count) are as well. Seriously, do they need to campaign this hard? Is it why Thong Boy was sad? Maybe that’s why Mou said it. To placate a egocentric, spoiled, whining, superstar. I hope that’s the reason, however, I find it hard to swallow with his history of ridiculous comments that Mourinhophiles seem to love. How can anyone like that guy? People in England love him. Every blog I view has posters adoring him. I don’t get it. I try to look at it objectively and think that even if I weren’t a supporter of FCB would I hate him as much as I do? YES

    3. Apparently Cristiano has 50 million “likes” on Facebook, 10 million more than Messi!!!

      Luckily, last time I checked it wasn’t teenage girls voting for the awards… 😉

  3. Hey I was completely unaware of this rule where you can sign a player if another gets seriously injured.

    How come nobody brought this up for consideration when Abi suffered a huge one and so did Villa? Yes we do have fall back options unlike a club like mallorca, but i don’t remember anyone even bringing it up.

    1. not sure Messi himself would be happy / comfortable with that…

      back on topic: good article! Bye bye Fontas!

    2. I’ve only ever heard of the “emergency loan” being used for GKs, though I guess it would be difficult to get a player on loan to replace world-class players like Abidal and Villa (as they’d no doubt already be first choice at their own club…) :s

    3. Permission for an emergency loan is granted at the discretion of the local governing body, in this case the RFEF. I suppose one would have to make the case to them that not being able to sign a player would severely hamper the club’s ability to field a full team. A team like Barcelona, while definitely suffering from injuries last season, can always call on players from Barcelona B. Not sure if Mallorca has the same quality in its youth sides. Mallorca has 4 of their players currently out with long-term injuries, including their captain, so they could make a good case.

      I see someone has already updated Mallorca’s Wikipedia page to include Fontas, but they have him listed as a forward! 😛

    4. The reason Fontas was orginally promoted was because the club decided that they were not going to buy an emergency CB when Abidal was diagnosed, but that they would instead rely on the Cantera.

  4. It’s always a shame when talented and likeable players from the B team don’t succeed with the first team, but the fact is there are only so many spaces available, and even a club like FCB that prioritizes youth development can’t use all the players it creates. There are several players in the current Barcelona B side that look almost certain to be promoted to the first team in the future, but who knows which, if any, of them will actually succeed? My picks for eventual promotion would be:

    Tello (already de facto promoted)
    Sergi Roberto (Tito seems to like him a lot, and both Xavi and Mascherano have complimented him.)
    Rafinha (give him another couple of years with the B team, though)
    Deulofeu (loads of talent, but still a question mark. Could be the next Pedro…or the next Jeffren.)
    Dongou (the kid is going to be a star, just hope he is patient enough to complete his development at Barça B. Ripe for being poached.)
    Grimaldo (still very young, but give him another 3 years and I think he could make it.)

  5. This article includes the following references ; aliens, dinosaurs and previously Star Wars references. Sometimes I have to check whether I’m on a football site 🙂

    What time did you wake up to write this Kxevin? I noticed that you released this post at around 8am Chi-town time. I thought that you would be busy with cycling. Not that I’m complaining that you’re still here.

    Speaking of cycling, are you on Armstrong’s side or the other side? I read an article on Independent I think where it says that most Americans are still in denial and on his side.

    If it is true that he is into doping, can you imagine what he had done? He had ruined other rider’s future by being the #1 rider on his team. By being a leader, the 2nd best rider would have to forego their own ambition in order to protect their leaders yellow jersey ambition. His team mates (who didn’t dope with him) are the biggest victim imo. They could’ve been the star and won medals but instead they had to do the dirty work of catching break away groups, head the peloton etc.

    1. Well I’m a Yank and I don’t side with Armstrong. As Kevin mentioned in a previous post, Armstrong has done a tremendous amount of good for Cancer research and giving others “hope”. I admire him for that. For using his “fame” to better others lives. However, he appears to have done that by cheating. It’s a shame because he has built a great foundation for Cancer. I hope it doesn’t ruin that bodies work. I’m not in denial about his guilt or giving him a pass. His titles should be stripped and he should not be held on a pedestal. Doping in cycling is like steroids in baseball and football. Everyone is doing it or did do it. In baseball many of our great players resisted using steroids until their own insercurities about being surpassed by “cheats” who weren’t getting caught led them to cheat as well. The public in the States has been quick to forgive those cheaters who were caught and apologized. Those who denied their guilt even with overwhelming evidence to the contrary have been marginalized in some way. Football(NFL) on the other hand is crazy. All you have to do is look at the players. Their size, speed, etc., to know it goes on. Former players have admitted to a “culture” of it existing. Current players have been caught and received 4 game bans. Yet, there’s no publicity of it like baseball. It doesn’t make sense, but that’s how it is.

    2. I have been saying that Armstrong was doping for years. But I don’t feel any particular joy in the vindication.

      The Armstrong Effect:

      –Outdoor Life Network became Versus became a colossus that could afford to buy the TV rights to the NHL. All this on the back of the Tour de France coverage.

      –Bob Roll went from a granola-headed weirdo to a household name.

      –Trek bicycles, particularly at the high end with the Madone, enjoyed a remarkable renaissance.

      –Cycling/road cycling exploded in the U.S., as people bought their replica yellow jerseys and hit the road.

      –LiveStrong grew into an extraordinary foundation that, it should be noted, helps with cancer awareness rather than research, while also serving to immensely benefit families and individuals with cancer, with fiscal help, applying for protocols, etc.

      For this, many people are willing to forgive the doping transgression, since “everybody was doing it.” Everybody was, but nobody was going it like the Armstrong programs. It’s a beautiful house, built on a rotten foundation. Does it negate the good that his fame has accomplished? Of course not. But it disgusts me as a bicycle racer and as an American.

      People spout blather such as “witch hunt,” etc. The USADA prosecuted hundreds of athletes, none as aggressively sanctimonious as Armstrong, it must also be noted.

      He was juicing. He will say that it hasn’t been proven, as he still has never tested positive, even though that technically isn’t true. And the people who advised him to walk away from the charges are geniuses. He remains the martyr to many.

      To me, he’s a cheat who relied on omerta to preserve his now-tainted legacy. When people who were There fessed up, that all went away. His lawyer is calling them all liars and serial accusers. Way to throw lifelong friends under the bus, which is another character point against him. Disgusting.

  6. Interesting that a few weeks ago we had a discussion on twitter in which you defended Pinto as a good back up keeper and capable of challenging Valdes where I just said he’s kept because of his good club house skills and likeability. But now you seem to believe he should move on.

    1. Both are true, Josep. I believe that Pinto is a quality keeper. I also believe that at his age, it’s time for him to step aside for a young lion who can eventually step up. Two different points there, if that makes sense.

  7. Maybe……just maybe Jds believes that its better to train with Xavi, Messi etc. than to play for a relegation side.

    “Better to learn tiki taka from the masters than to play long ball with a bottom table side whose only option is to park the bus and counter”

    Just sayin…

    1. 1. Mallorca is currently sitting in 6th place in the league, tied on points with Real Madrid (behind on goal differential). They are hardly bottom-dwellers.

      2. Mallorca is also playing some pretty nice football under Caparros. No, it’s not Barça-style tiki-taka, but neither is it Segunda-style longball. They have some pretty talented players, including Jonathan’s own brother Gio. And don’t forget that Caparros is the coach who made Dani Alves into the kind of player Barcelona was desperate to snap up.

      3. Training with Xavinesquets, Messi and the rest must be a fantastic learning experience. But training is not playing, and a player needs to play to develop properly. There are aspects of the game that can only be improved with actual experience—decision-making, positional awareness, how to deal with different kinds of opponents and the tactics they use. No amount of training can replace actual game experience.

      4. Comments like this are why fans of other teams call cules arrogant. Just sayin’.

    2. Why did the kid stay for pre-season (training) sessions instead of Olympics (playing/game experience), then? *refers to point3.

      Not like he was hoping to impress Tito and get consistent first team action ahead of Busi.

    3. He was expecting to get playing time in the pre-season games, & he likely would have if he hadn’t gotten injured right away. He was hoping to impress Tito and at least get a seat on the bench.

    4. 4.Didn’t Kxevin make similar arguments regarding Ibi? That it would be better for his development if he trained with the likes of Xavi/Ini/Messi rather than say, play for Sevilla? #justsayin

    5. And I’m pretty certain in any case that Kxevin didn’t make disparaging remarks about relegation fodder and bus-parking with regards to say, Sevilla.

    6. Sorry cleareyes, but as I noted in another thread, the amount of development that he should see on the practice pitch will be even better than match play. Playing against our starting XI on the practice pitch beats hell out of starting against Gijon, Getafe or somebody, I say.

      From here.

      Note that the comment was in response to a a Sevillista, and he did say against, and not for Gijon/Getafe.

      Hopefully I’m way off track about this and the big man clarifies..

    7. Scratch that. Also in the thread,

      “And I hope you don’t construe my “he’s better off practicing with us” comments as arrogance. I truly do believe that sometimes, it’s better for a young player to develop in the shadow of talent in practice, than starting with a lesser club.”

      He backs it up with his reasons there.

      Forget about playing long ball and counter, if Sevilla isn’t good enough..

    8. I made no comments about relegation sides and bus parking, only the value of training and working with excellence, in the case of a player such as Afellay who was still learning the system, and trying to assimilate.

      Conversely, Dos Santos grew up in the system, and is a different case to my view. I think that regular, real-match playing time will help him grow as a player, and he isn’t going to get it with Barca. I think that Afellay and Dos Santos are two very different situations. I also assumed that the club wanted to keep Afellay, which further underscored the value of staying and fully assimilating the system.

      Fontas is still another matter, closer to Dos Santos in that he probably knows his time has already passed him by. But he has the good sense to understand that if he goes on loan, works his butt off and improves, he could very well return — rather than simply refusing to leave. Even if I think he is about as likely to return as Botia.

      Or that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

      P.S. I do think that Afellay has a chance of coming back if he develops into the kind of player he has the potential to, and Tello/Cuenca stagnate, suffer long-term injury, etc.

    9. Sorry, i didn’t mean to say that Mallorca, or any other team for that matter, are relegation fodder or play only long ball.

      Wat i meant to say was,” jds thinks that its better to train with barca than to get playing time with team x.” I chose the wrong words to convey it.

      I don’t believe that training with Messi, xavi etc. is better than getting playing time. BUT I was just trying to figure out the player’s thought process behind rejecting a move. This what Jds MIGHT be thinking.


  8. “Chile, then, will field a makeshift defensive unit against opponents who are well able to take advantage. Argentina played some breathtaking football in Friday’s 3-0 win over Uruguay. Lionel Messi is now showing club from for his country, linking up well with Fernando Gago behind him and exchanging passes at bewildering speed with Sergio Aguero in front of him.

    Messi, Aguero and Angel Di Maria combined beautifully, and the team are developing an interesting variation – Messi drops deeper, pulling the opposition with him and creating space for the long ball over the top for Aguero.” Tim Vickery, Venezuela profit without kicking a ball.

    Sound familiar? 🙂 Anyone who hasn’t read Tim Vickery should check him out on the BBC Sport Football web site. He does a weekly South American blog. Great stuff. I always anticipate his weekly release.

  9. Hope Fontas will do well at Mallorca, it’s a quite likeable club.

    But I don’t understand JDS, in particular since I just figured out his brother is already playing for RCD Mallorca. That would have been a nice reunion.
    I respect his belief that hard work is leading to a regular place in the first team, but it seems a bit naive. Sergi Roberto is clearly ahead of him, Tito already implicitly told him (and Fontas) that he doesn’t plan with them anymore. The difference is that JDS doesn’t play for Barca B either, right?

    1. Holy crap! I just responded to an article through my little brother’s facebook saying that Messi is Iniesta in terms of creativity and penetrating runs, Xavi as in the passer and brains and Ronaldo in being a lethal finisher.

    1. Fantastic article. I did not know he sold most of his cars and donated the proceeds to children’s hospitals and foundations. What a legend!


    Good Graham Hunter piece on Dongou and La Masia finally raising a for-real forward. Also an interesting sentence in there that makes a lot make sense, about him viewing Ibrahimovic as a goal-scoring 10, rather than a true 9. Explains a lot of why he began to chafe in a world with Messi. We already HAVE a goal-scoring 10, and he’s pretty good at it.

    1. I enjoyed the part about Dongou, but I think analysts get too hung up on pinning numbers on players. I mean, to talk about whether Barça need a “classic” 9, you first have to define what that is. Fine, but then you take that definition and try to find a player that fits it perfectly. And no one is going to, because every player is slightly different and can also play differently depending on the situation, the opponent, his teammates, ect.

      So then you have “true” 9s, atypical 9s, false 9s, goal-scoring 10’s (what does that even mean? Most 10s score goals.), ect. Then what? 9.5s? False 10s? 9’s with 7-ish characteristics? At a certain point it just gets silly.

    2. True, but what I think Hunter meant was Ibrahimovic, vs a Torres, Drogba or Llorente. Or Falcao. Those players are at the terminus of the build-up, but don’t participate in it as fluently and fully as do the likes of Messi or Ibrahimovic.

    3. For being a piece by Graham Hunter it was filled with grammatical errors in the first few paragraphs. Wouldn’t someone edit his work before it’s posted to a web site? I’m curious because if I were a writer I wouldn’t want my work to go up unless it was completely error free. Thoughts?

    4. I think it was Capello that made this observation first. He said somehting to the effect of Ibrahimovic was the closest thing to Van Basten he had ever seen, but that where the Dutchman was a natural finisher, the Swede was a natural dribbler.

    1. Only saw the last fifteen so can’t say but in those fifteen Xavi was about all Spain had imo. Cesc didn’t look great. Cazorla looked a bit static for me.

  11. Thanks, Lea.

    Watched the last 15 minutes or so. Have to say Spain looked awful. The goal they lost in injury time was a howler. couldn’t see who tried to dribble in midfield and lost the ball but whoever it was wants shooting. It was suicide. (hopes it was Ramos but couldn’t see clearly).

    Spain just didn’t seem to be able to keep the ball. No Iniesta? Was he on earlier and subbed?

    Anyway, now watching Portugal and they are losing to northern Ireland. CR7 looking pretty poor but its early days.

    1. Spain was lucky to draw as the French pressure in the second half was immense.

      Busquets played in the back line and he was missed in the center because of it. He did play well, but he is just too slow for that position.

      Iniesta played, but was subbed off just before you started watching.

      Cesc missed a penalty shot…..

      Cazorla ran around like a chicken, and the play was too bunched up on the left wing. At one stage, I counted 5 Spain players over there playing tika taka. Hardly any play came through the right.

      Arbeloa came off injured which will not help Madrid’s current back-line issues if it’s a longterm thing, and Benezema also came off with an injured knee from the looks of it.

      Torres couldn’t control a ball if it was super-glued to his foot.

      1-1 in the Portugal – NI match with about 5mins to play – hoping that they hang on. Awful rainy conditions suiting the Irish, but the Portuguese pressure is huge. NI doing well, and GK Carroll is having a game of his life.

    2. That’s great news. Arbeloa came off injured? With Marcelo out for 3 months that would be a another huge loss. Benezema isn’t as big a loss because they have Higuain to step up. He only scored 26 goals last season!

    3. Spain was lucky to get a draw? Did you watch the match? Cesc missed a deserved penalty decision and dominated possession.

      Please watch before commenting in the future.

    4. Yes – I watched it. Dominant possession? Sure. 1 goal from it. It’s not about the possession, it’s what they did with it – totally wasted.

      France was the better team in the second half.

    5. Check the stats. Spain dominated and gave away a late equalizer. Not much different than many of our games last year.

    6. I wouldn’t go so far to say that Spain was lucky to draw. Lloris made some great saves in the first half, although the one that stopped Cesc’s penalty wasn’t even one of them. It’s a shame that VDB was forced to make two injury-related subs, as he’s usually great at reacting to a game’s development. But boy did Juanfran have a howler. Bad at defending and his attacking product was bad too. He had one clever pass that would’ve resulted in a goal if Cesc wasn’t so slow, but other than that it didn’t make up for the loss of defensive solidity that Arbeloa provides. Calling up a player in his late 20s when he’s had a handful of caps is always a risky thing, but I don’t think the risk paid off. Montoya next time, please!

    7. Ryan’s right. If the Fabregas pen isn’t saved by Lloris, not to mention that other amazing double save, that match is done and dusted by halftime. Looks like Casillas wasn’t the only “Saint” on the pitch yesterday.

  12. The only thing that save France was Lloris …. and Fabregas. Benzema dud his part to screw the pooch for Les Bleus. The sub for Giroud should have come much sooner.

    1. You can add Sergio Ramos to the mix. His give away caused France to counter, which resulted in the goal. Dude wanted to take the ball all the way from Defense to the front line; when he had five players to pass the ball from where he had it, to the point where he lost it.

      Fabregas should have supported Xavi more in the midfield after Iniesta was substituted. He, Pedro and Torres were upfront filing their nails, looking pretty, while rest of the team were battling the French attacks.

      I wouldn’t blame Fabregas. He had no spade to play. The French defending lines were pretty compressed. It was not so much that Fabregas missed the penalty(generally a miss is when the ball goes outside the confines of the goal posts, and a save is when it is within and the goal keeper saves it), it was more like Lloris saved it.

    2. Juanfran was the one that gave away the ball. He had a terrible time from the minute he came on. Montoya should be getting regular call-ups soon.

      I agree about Febregas. He was basically invisible for much of the first and second half. He didnt support Xavi but neither did Xabi Alonso. He’s supposed to be holding midfielder/DM yet Spain’s midfield was like a sieve to France’s water (attack). France was able to run through it at will at one point in the match. Xavi couldnt hold down the fort on his own. He was probably knackered after this game, given how much he had to be all over midefield trying to gain some kind of control (when Iniesta came off).

      And Torres, who I agree was bad, was the only one stuck up top, “filing nails” as you say. Pedro was running around, working his butt off as usual. He was left, right, midfield and I even saw him back in RB at one point.

      While Spain played badly in the second half, I think that was mostly due to France’s game plan and their intensity. Lloris kept France in it the first half and then they improved drastically in the second, to take the game to Spain.

      Deserved draw, imo.

    3. I missed the last 10 minutes (care to lecture me R.S.?), but my biggest takeaway was that that Alba kid is the business!

  13. Alexis Sanchez is trying some of his diving against Argentina. Mascherano doesn’t seem to entertained…

  14. Really nasty scenes in Serbia tonight. England’s U21 squad was racially abused and assaulted with coins, stones, and chairs. The crowd stormed the pitch after the end of the game and were threatening the England players. The assistant coach of England was attacked by Serbia’s trainers and fans. Incredible. Here’s a link. I hope Serbia have an extremely lengthy ban.

    1. Absolutely disgraceful. Hopefully Fifa does something more in terms of punishment that just wheeling Blatter out to tell everyone how racism can be simply cured with a handshake…

    2. Now, now …. not just a handshake. The players also wear “respect” patches on their shoulders. There. All better.

      It’s as I’ve been saying all along: The game can’t control what its fans believe. Even in England, where they have cameras, and security, etc, etc, you can control behavior to a certain extent, but you can’t control what someone has in their heart and mind.

      Those scenes were appalling. This is where we see if FIFA really is committed to cleaning up the game. On the one hand, you can’t penalize the players for the actions of fans, but in this Serbia case, it isn’t just the fans.

      A broader question is how did the crowd even get onto the pitch? I know it’s a U21 match, but standards should be no different as regards player security, which is another thing for UEFA to consider.

    1. Stop being ignorant? You’re not making any argument here based on logic. You’re just basically declaring your dislike for President Obama on a FOOTBALL website, that too one for the fanbase of a team that’s not even based in the US! So basically take your nonsense off this site.


    You doing that is pretty much inserting yourself into a community space and is irritating and offensive. It’s basically the equivalent of going to a party to just walk around and throw dog poop out of a basket everywhere- a lack of respect for the space and everyone else in that space, a disregard for what this is fricking supposed to be, and really fricking annoying so don’t be surprised if someone calls the police and gets you kicked out of the premises.

    Holy crap honestly is it that hard? The internet is a vast place full of billions of websites. Probably a couple hundred thousand of them at the very least have to do with the American elections and have people willing to hear opinions (no matter how distastefully presented, probably) on American politics. Stop walking around with your dick out and saying it’s your First Amendment rights. Honest to God.

    WE DO NOT CARE TO HEAR ABOUT IT HERE. There is such a thing as a time and a place and an appropriate venue, if you can’t understand that I wonder how you cope in real life.

    1. Especially if you’re going to be such a massive dick and so incredibly persistent about it. Bringing up an extraneous topic in conversation is one thing, disregarding any response or lack of interest by people here in the topic being plastered all over a blog they read for football news and then being a confrontational a*****e about it is pathetic. Go away.

    2. Yes please ban this guy. It’s one thing to be contentious about football. We all are! But it’s another thing to bring up political bs over and over after being warned for it more than once.

    3. I would like to think Roberto would be gracious enough to leave this site and never come back. I’m not sure why he chooses a fantastic blog such as BFB to voice his political opinions. No one cares about that on this site. If we do, we’d go to another site where that is the main topic of conversation. That’s the logical step to take when one’s wishing to discuss a topic that has little to do with this site. After being repeatedly asked to stop posting political thoughts, questions, concerns on BFB, because it is against blog rules ….

  16. Messi scored another goal today against Chile. What an amazing year he is having. I am just lucky to born in the same era and following football at this age and time. We are witnessing possibly the best ever footballer ever.

    As for Spain v France, I think Del Bosque deserves some benefit of doubt. We had forever skewered his double pivot saying that it was stifling midfield play and Spain’s attacking instincts. Turns out, when the opposing side shows some enterprise and takes on the midfield, the double pivot was a very safe insurance policy and helped Spain control the game far more effectively.

    In any case, it turns out, without Busquets at DM in a 3 man midfield, the passing and orchestration was not smooth enough for Spain. I expect Spain to bounce back once Pique (or Puyol) returns. This adds a lot more balance to the Spain squad by helping the midfield retain the best passers (and tacklers) and having the best CBs.

    The only player who, I think is out of place but has generally remained functionally effective is Arbeloa. I suppose when Montoya shows his wares a little bit more for Barca (in Alves’ absence for now), he will be in consideration for the Spain squad.

    1. I didn’t watch the France match, though I might when I have some time. Would you say it highlighted how important having Busquets as DM is to asserting midfield control?

    2. Indeed. Actually the French players pressed the Spain midfielders -Xavi in particular, very well. I thought if Busquets was played in midfield, he would have been a great outlet for Xavi and would have complemented him better than Xabi Alonso did. Xabi Alonso as the pivot clearly did not work. In other words, Alonso could not act both as the defensive pivot as well as the giver of the pass at the right time.

      France was impressive in playing a very disciplined game – constantly moving and pressing and maintaining banks of lines in defense as well. They did indeed deserve the draw, even though Cesc missed his penalty.

      They identified Spain’s weakness after Arbeloa’s departure and hurt them by inducing a mistake out of Juanfran. Wouldn’t have been possible if Spain had fielded a similar XI as in the Euros though.

    3. I’m by no means saying Arbeloa is the best right back in the world, but….

      Why do you mention that he seems out of place? You watched the game, and I watched the game. Arbeloa had a very good game defending against Ribery, a very pacy winger. And he didn’t even have the protection of a double pivot. In fact, Ribery found it much easier to attack Spain’s right side when the more disciplined Arbeloa had to leave the field injured and Juanfran came in instead.

    4. Bassam, I said that Arbeloa is functionally effective as a tactically defensive right back. I based my assessment on Arbeloa not being the best fit for the Spain squad not on this game alone. I think that Arbeloa only has a limiting effect in the Spain squad and the right side seems ineffective in attack when he plays (considering that Silva also doesn’t necessarily provide width and Del Bosque has had to frequently bring in a true winger like Navas on that end).

      And that is why I believe someone like Montoya, who in his limited opportunities for Barca (and ample opportunities for the U-21 squad) seems to have more thrust in him both in defense and in attack, will be a more ideal RB for Spain than Arbeloa is. Arbeloa, for me, is a good squad player, but I don’t think he is an effective starting RB for Spain.

    5. Ramos was a brilliant RB for Spain. He’s defensively solid and provided attacking thrust. He’s a great CB for Spain too but as it is Arbeloa feels like the player that is not world-class from the starting 15 or so players in the Spain side.

    6. Be interesting to see whether Ramos is switched back to the right if/when Puyol (did he ever actually retire from the NT?) and Pique are available for selection!

    7. Arbeloa is sneaky, ankle biting and cynical in his ‘tackling’..How he gets away with it is beyond me. He makes up for his obvious inequities as a footballer by being a cyincally fouling, ‘who? not me’ expression wearing, hackjob ‘artiste’.
      Come on Montoya!

    8. Word.

      Arbeloa & Alonso are both the same. They can’t defend without fouling. Arbeloa plays his victim role the best. Throw himself on the ground when he needs to. Ref always buy his acting. It’s beyond believe.


    9. Arbeloa might be a one-dimensional fullback, but he is disciplined and safe and very experienced at stopping world-class attackers. I hated to see him injured yesterday. I think Montoya has a bright future ahead of him, and I can’t wait for him to make the Spain right-back spot his own, but experience in the top flight counts for a lot in a defender.

    1. A few of the faces you’ll see in this match: Pep Guardiola, Luis Figo, Luis Enrique, Bobby Robson, Jose Mourinho, de la Peña, Ronaldo, Leonardo….

  17. Morning, everyone. The space has been tidied. As far as bans, that is something that our admin has the mojo to do. I have presented matters to him and the rest of the team, regarding Mr. Senyera.

    The best thing to do is not respond, which I know is difficult. But comments such as that are made to incite, and replying just helps said comments reach their goals. Rest assured, the mess will be cleaned up.

    Thanks for everyone’s patience as this matter is resolved.

    1. Sorry, Kxevin. I replied to said gentleman above before reading your comment here. Feel free to delete the reply. Thanks for dealing with this.

    2. No probs, Jim. I understand, believe me. We’re working on the situation. I guess it means we’re grown-up when we have a resident dissident.

      P.S. Hell of a reply. Calm and measured.

    3. Thanks for the cleanup work! The comment section is such a huge strength of BFB, so it’s great to see it moderated on the rare occassions that it’s needed.

  18. So my biggest hope from internationals is that no FCB players picked up knocks, and that they bring that attitudes they showed for their NTs back home (except for you, Fabregas). That first Messi goal last night was absolutely bonkers, more so than the Higuain goal, which was also top class.

    Messi, with defenders all around him, just stopped, let the chaos ensue then calmly poked the ball home. When people talk about time moving more slowly for gifted players, this is what they mean. I will never, EVER forget when the Chicago Blackhawks were playing the Edmonton Oilers in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Edmonton was on a rush, and a Blackhawks defender was all set up to stop the attack by stopping Gretzky, who just stopped, pivoted and flicked a perfect behind-the-back pass to Kurri, who scored. It was game over, psychologically.

    That Messi goal was equivalent. How many players have the ability and vision to think “The best thing to do here is stop.” It’s anticipation, thought and, frankly, courage. He has scored more spectacular goals, but rarely has he scored more impressive ones.

    1. I hope the players come back in form as well. Historically, during Pep’s reign we played like Shat after International breaks. I hope that trend is broken by Tito.

    2. I thought you hated bad first touches? Messi’s first touch should have put the ball in his stride. The Kxevin I know would have focused on that…and even give Messi a rating of 2 for that! 🙂

  19. Not buying Botia back is still quite shocking to me. He has been one of the best defenders for the past few years, especially during his time with Gijon. But he is still 23, wherever he goes, he will always come back to us when we call him. Alba made his return after such a long time and we make good use of him. So, there is still hope.

    As for Fontas, I don’t know. Like Kxevin said, if he has the stuff, he wouldn’t be loaned out when we have 2 best CBs injured. Time will tell if he would make the cut. If he could be as impressive as Botia, it will be good for us in the long run.

    I hope Bartra is as ready as possible to help us.

  20. Roberto Mancini has identified Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets, 24, as Manchester City’s next big-name signing and wants to reunite the Spain World Cup winner with Yaya Toure. – BBC Sport Gossip Section

    I don’t think Busi would go. I hope not, but a huge contract and a new challenge could appeal to him.

    1. lol, looks like all of that oil money being spend on youth development and scouting hasn’t paid off just yet!!

      de Rossi is also ‘rumoured’ to be moving to City in January – personally I can’t wait until the owners get bored or the FFP regulations destroy their “buy everyone and triple the average wage” approach…

    2. That would make little sense, considering Busquets was the reason Yaya couldn’t retain his starting spot on the team. Why cause that friction again, even if Busquets is pretty amazing?

  21. Anyone care to comment on what a beast our new left back is? I can’t believe I was the only one watching the France match and thinking “that kid is everywhere! Great takeaway by Ramos, wait, that was #18!” I am psyched for both Barca and Spain when it comes to Alba.

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