In the aftermath of Internationals, a brief news update

So, our boys scattered hither and yon to take care of International business, and um, this happened:

And that ain’t all.

The best news of all is, NO INJURIES! Even Adriano, who played a full match for Brazil, is coming back whole. Pedro! had a bit of discomfort, but is fine. That’s more than can be said for our cross-country rival, who have 5 or 6 players banged up in the wake of the break. Hell, even Bartra’s boys are okay now, and he’s back in practice (he missed with a testicular contusion).

The other day, Jonathan Dos Santos was practicing by himself on the pitch, which must have made for one hell of a rondo. For realz.

Everyone is back except for the South American folks, who are private jetting it back and Alex Song, whose passport was stolen. Next match is this weekend, vs Deportivo. It’s worth noting that David Villa has a field day against them, and the trainers say he’s ready for 90 minutes. Seems like the perfect time to start him, given some tired players returning from duty for their countries. Villa didn’t play against France.

Eric Abidal is doing recovery work in the gym with the other healing folks who are working their way back toward full fitness, Some are speculating that he could start doing some exercises with the group in a short while. We’ll see.

Andres Iniesta is raising hackles with his comment that he is “Spanish, but also feels Catalan.” What’s remarkable is that he is getting stick from both sides. He is Spanish, but essentially grew up in Catalunya. The bifurcated feelings shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. He’s also the rare player who has spoken out on a movement that is gathering steam. Exhibit 3,922 on Why Players Don’t Speak Their Minds.

Manchester City issued a statement saying that it has no interest in Sergio Busquets, Cesc Fabregas or any other FCB players. So there. The best part about it was that Sandro RoSELL got to evince some sky-high dudgeon in EMD, saying “Manchester City want to remove our players and want to destabilise us.”

Lee Roden has an excellent piece for El Centrocampista about FC Girona, who could (assuming Espanyol pulls itself up by the bootstraps and avoids relegation) make it another Catalan side joining the big show. They even (as did Valencia, in a particularly boss example) had their Catalan shirts before Barça, not that anyone has noticed in the hooraw over Independencia and FCB. Nice read.

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. Thief! Thief! I was going to make an injury update post. Way to steal my thunder! 😛

    Pique trained on the pitch today, but not with the group, which means he most likely won’t be ready for this weekend’s game.

    Puyol has an estimated 6 weeks left in his recovery, but knowing our capita will be pushing to shorten that. He is out of the plaster and currently sporting a bionic articulated flexible cast.

    Cuenca is in the last stages of recovery from his knee operation but not expected to train with the team this month. (via twitter)

    No updates on Thiago or Dani, but they haven’t been training on the pitch yet, so I doubt they will be available this weekend.

    Villa didn’t play against France.

    Which surprises me, since VDB was quoted as saying the other day that Villa is ready to play 90 minutes, and from my TL I understood that Cesc sucked ass in that game and Silva not much better. I really hope Tito starts him against Deportivo, as well as Pedro.

    I also really hope Bartra gets to play this weekend, assuming he has fully recovered!

    1. I’d hate for VdB’s reasoning to be purely sentimental, but it sure did seem that he used his one non-injury sub to give Torres his long awaited return to the Vicente Calderon.

    1. No you’re not, I thought he played very well. Interesting to see masch complain to the ref about his diving though…

    2. Yes, compared to what we see from him in Barca, Alexis was extraordinary against Argentina. Even if he gets 80% of that form for us, it would be excellent for us. I just hope somebody give him a straight talk on standing on his feet. He looks so strong but goes down like CR7, even with a sniff of opposition player.

      That was one hell of a match. Sabella is finally proving that he is a coach who knows what he is doing. Surprised how Argentina managed the brilliant attack of Chile, without panicking. Masche was excellent too. We could see that Barca has just improved his defensive work.

    3. The reason Sanchez was so dynamic against Argentina was the same reason he was so dynamic for Udinese: He is allowed to be Messi. For us, we already have one of those, so his role is significantly more constricted. That’s what I think he’s struggling with.

      Note that Chile also plays a very different, track meet style compared to us, that allows Sanchez to get the ball and run like crazy, where with us, we get the ball and begin the patient build up. Two very different situations.

  2. Our president also decided to include Arsenal in his rant, stating they buy up all our young players. As you could imagine, that hasn’t gone down all that well with Gunner fans. What on earth was he thinking? Sky Sports article is already spewing hate from the comments section. “Pot calling Kettle black” tyraids.

    1. Alexis, probably. If Pique isn’t fit, Mascherano will have to play, with either Bartra or Song. Messi…who knows? Hope so. I’d like to see a front line of Tello, Villa, Pedro. Or Cesc instead of Tello.

  3. Greetings,
    I have a hindsight judgement of the choice of third sub in the Spain v France game. Wouldn’t Spain have been much better served by bringing in Albiol at CB for Fabregas and moving Busquets next to Alonso? Torres was unnecessary with a lead and a tired looking midfield.

    1. Also, does anyone have knowledge of the current Spainish center backs? It seems as if,here are so many potential national team players in Spain, but very few get a chance.

    2. PS I feel for Juan Fran. My fantasy is if he played first 30 mins of game, Spain gets at least another goal from two sided attack threat and so much possession.

    3. I feel for Juanfran too. He’s getting all the heat for that equalizer, but at least two other players screwed up in the build-up to that goal before and after Juanfran.

      Santi Cazorla lost the ball when he chose to dribble instead of passing to Xavi who was standing a couple of meters away when all Spain needed to do was to kill off the game from the corner kick they earned with seconds left on the clock.

      Then after Juanfran gave the ball away while stifling the ensuing French counter, Ramos completely lost track of Giroud and allowed him to peel away in the penalty box to present a free target for Ribery’s cross.

      I understand that everyone was tired after having to chase the ball in the second half more than they’re accustomed to. But Spain more than deserved to be punished for such compounded errors.

      Oh, and I couldn’t help but notice that none of those three players play for Barcelona.

    1. Before everyone gets their hopes up, that does not mean he will be fit enough to play any time soon. He is joining the group because he doesn’t have a specific injury training regimen and needs to build up his stamina & work on his ball-skills and reflexes. It’s a major milestone, but not a Great Leap Forward.

    2. It’s a Great Leap Forward for me, given his circumstances. It isn’t about playing for me, but about the steps he is taking toward regaining a normal life. This one is huge.

    3. Agreed. What a miraculous recovery he’s made so far. I can’t believe he was climbing mountains a week ago. He’s an amazing physical specimen. Most people who had a liver transplant are happy to be getting on with the rest of their life. Abi is trying to get back to competing on the highest level of professional football at one of the greatest clubs. That’s insane!

    4. yeah, Abi is really making me think i should be trying harder… at life. what an inspiration.

  4. we play Alaves in the copa, beginning halloween.

    here are copa matchups

    Los emparejamientos de los dieciseisavos de final han quedado de la siguiente manera:

    Alcoyano-Real Madrid
    Alavés-FC Barcelona
    Eibar-Athletic Club
    Jaén-Atlético de Madrid
    Vencedor de Las Palmas – Racing – Rayo Vallecano
    Córdoba-Real Sociedad

    If we pass alaves, we play cordoba or sociedad (octavos). if we get past that, we will play Eibar / Athletic Club – Cacereño / Málaga (quarters, which would be in january)

    so, we might have to go through the two basque teams just to get to the semis. yikes!

  5. Gotta say, Neymar’s goal was something pretty special, PLUS he seems to have got rid of the silly hairstyle! His possible move to Barca is becoming more and more palatable by each passing day…

  6. Ha ha someone at Barca claim to have a video of Pepe’s violent indiscretions 🙂 I don’t think it’s so much secrete, youtube have thousands of them, they don’t have to look far.

  7. The best part about it was that Sandro RoSELL got to evince some sky-high dudgeon in EMD, saying “Manchester City want to remove our players and want to destabilise us.”

    Well, he would – given that ex-Barca VP Ferran Soriano (who served on Laporta’s board) is now the CEO of Manchester City. 😀

    He could have just rung Soriano and talked de hombre a hombre but, no, we’ll just continue with the kindergarten behaviour.

  8. Pique out of tomorrow’s game. Wasn’t he supposed to be out for 3 weeks only?

    Also, JdS included in the squad! Patience pays off huh? 😛

    1. Hilarious, isn’t it? He’s probably thinking that he’s one step closer to staying, rather than one step closer to the shop window.

    1. Nice article, the part on net transfer spend should be required reading for those Real fans that like to think Barca spend just as much as Madrid!

      Would have been interesting to speculate on which of the two clubs would fare best should a collective TV deal come into place, although I suspect it wouldn’t be too dissimilar to the current situation..

    2. The almost identical wage bills also make you realize how lucky we are to have fostered the growth of La Masia, and to have so carefully reaped the talent benefits. A once-in-a-lifetime team has its core as a home-grown unit. The club couldn’t possibly, in any way, shape or form, afford to buy the team that it has. Hell, Messi alone would exhaust even a big club’s transfer budget.

  9. Will it be possible for us to (at some theoretical point) play the Barca babies in the Copa Del Ray?

  10. Vilanova presser today, where he continues to roll like a boss. Among other things, he called the PeePee-specific video a “lie,” and said that Bartra will play when Vilanova thinks Bartra is ready, that he knows the player better than anyone. And that takes care of that ….

  11. Speaking of being ready, I was highly amused by the following random quote from Arsene Wenger:

    “It’s incredible Villa still hasn’t returned! They were already talking about his comeback before the Euro.”

    I don’t know if this was some sort of subtle attempt at tapping/tempering, or a genuine puzzlement, but I nodded vigorously in approval.

    If Villa doesn’t start this weekend against a team he’s feasted on, after an international break during which he was largely idle why everyone else put in two full shifts including time on other continents, then I’ll have to put on my conspiracy theorist hat…

    1. I’d take that with a grain of salt. Arsenal has so often rushed injured players back and then seen them injured all over again. Didn’t Cesc even talk about that?

    2. It’s looking like we’re well pass the point of “rushing” Villa back.

      Or at least, a few people seem to think so. For example, Marca: “If he doesn’t play more before the end of the year, Villa wants to talk with Vilanova to discuss a possible transfer in January.”

      Even if this is just Marca trying to stir sh*t up while Real Madrid lick their numerous international wounds, people are beginning to talk about the Villa situation.

    1. Usually in a loan, the club that takes the player on loan covers the wages of the player. There are also deals where there is payment given to clubs for the loan. Not sure what the terms are for the Fontas loan. This will only be fully clear only when the club releases its annual statement.

  12. Mou said we should stop talking about Barca, instead, RM and Chelsea. The oly two teams who won anything of note. So Tito remined him that Barca are curently World Club Champions and that trumps everyone else, lol.
    I like Tito’s replys 😉

    1. If anyone should stop talking about Barça it’s him. He has been obsessed with us ever since he coached Chelsea…

  13. That Messi goal is incredible. He is the only player I know you often have to watch replays in slow motion to fully understand what he did.

    His left leg pulled the ball back and redirected it in one motion after the defender had passed through. But the incredible thing about that move is that while his leg was still in the air, his right leg shifted from a pivot position into a forward launch position. The space to slot that shot closed down very quickly afterwards. Speed and efficiency of movement. It’s why he is different from most.

    It reminds me of that Santos goal, where he used his left leg to punch the ball into the ground so it could bounce up and over the goalkeepers sweeping leg, all the while using that same leg to not only launch himself over the keeper, but to also change direction towards the ball. Amazing.

    1. Yeah and its often the same way trying to see what Iniesta did with the ball. That kind of artistry of motion is just amazing when you see it. Wish someone would record them on phantom cams so we could see the moves in high resolution slow motion. I’ve watched some NBA sequences like this and it’s just beautiful.

  14. I don’t know how true this is but, i think Villa has a right to know where he stands within the club. He worked so hard to get back now, he’s being treated like Bojan. I understand there are players at a higher fitness level but, he sure is more of a goal threat than Alexis or Cesc. At least give him a start or play him more than 15mins at a time.

    If he doesn’t play more before the end of the year, Villa wants to talk with Vilanova to discuss a possible transfer in January. [marca]

    1. I think that we should be extremely careful not to a) believe junk published in the RM house rag, b) endow Villa with power that he doesn’t warrant and c) overstate the matter.

      Marca publishes dross. That publication loves to stir things up. Villa knows where he stands with the club, just as every other player did, even the ones who claimed they didn’t. Vilanova is the coach of that club. He knows his players, he knows who he wants to use, and how ready they are to meet the demands of how he wants to attack the game.

      Villa, or anybody on the roster should be just another player. The comparison to Krkic doesn’t hold up for me. Krkic couldn’t cut it. That’s why he didn’t play. Then he left, and now he is whining, even though he has been mediocre to poor at every place he has landed. Villa is a far, far cry from Krkic.

      Don’t let MARCA do its crap. Buzz is that Villa starts tomorrow. We’ll see if that’s true. Just like the phrase “in Pep we trust” came up, we should trust Vilanova, who hasn’t done too badly until now.

    2. Exactly.

      If Tito Vilanova is to be blame for the cautious return of Villa on to the field, then how different is Vicente Del Bosque’s approach?

      Villa is a very important player for Barca. He has come off a very serious injury and is no spring chicken at near 30 either. It is only right that the club brings him back to form and onto the field in a managed manner.

      To Villa’s credit, he has been excellent in front of goal in the limited minutes he has played. As time goes by, the Villa of old, or atleast close to him, will be back.

    3. after the amount of time out villa has had he would almost certainly have picked up subsidiary injuries if he had been put back into playing whole matches, imo. i think the club has been pretty canny in the way they have handled him. I do think that once he gets into the starting eleven life will get awkward for Alexis. it’ll be either start providing more of a threat or get used to sitting. No way will Alexis match Villa for goals so it’ll have to be done through more assists.

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