Córdoba vs. Barça: Back to Andalucia

 
Just as the green and white stripes of Betis were fading in front of our eyes, it’s time to face the green and white of Córdoba.  In fact, Barça faces a slew of striped strips for seven successive sorties until the middle of January.

With the Córdoba – Atlético – Valldolid – Espanyol – Córdoba – Málaga – Real Sociedad games to be played, the Blaugrana will be seeing stripes for some weeks to come.

Córdoba has a reputation for giving Primera League teams a hard time in Copa del Rey encounters.  Last season in January’s Round of 16, they almost dispatched Espanyol winning at home 2-1 before losing 4-2 at Cornellà-El Prat.  Just one more goal would have done it.

 

This Copa del Rey for Córdoba
Coming into the competion in Round 2, Córdoba defeated Elche 1-0 in extra time before doing the same to Sabadell in Round 3.

Their Round of 32 games were against Primera club Real Sociedad, and Los Califas knocked Sociedad out of the competition winning 2-0 at home and drawing 2-2 in San Sebastian.

Las Palmas (beat Rayo Vallecano) and Córdoba are the remaining Segunda División clubs left in the competition, other than Segunda B club Eibar that is playing the postponed second leg of the last round’s matches against Bilbao tonight.  The clubs drew 0-0 in the first game, so it will be a tense affair to see if Athletic can at least stay up in this competition after bombing out of the Europa League, or whether Eibar will be the giant-killing Segunda B representative.

 

A Mutual Famous Coach
In 1999 during Barça’s centennial celebrations, fans voted Hungarian exile László Kubala Stecz as the greatest player ever to play for the club.  A commemorative statue to him stands in the grounds of Camp Nou between the stadium and the shop.

Kubala played for quite a few clubs in his time, but as a coach he managed many more, including stints at FC Barcelona with both the B and First Teams.

He also managed Córdoba for a season (1968/69) before taking over as the Spanish National coach for a lengthy 11 year tenure.

If you’ve never seen the man in action, check out old rubber legs himself, playing at Barça’s Camp de Les Corts in the pre-Camp Nou days:

 

Current Coach
A product of Córdoba’s youth system, Rafael Berges Martín was also a Spanish International around the time of the 1992 Olympics held in Barcelona.  He was a first choice member of the squad and scored twice during the tournament – the most noteworthy goal in the 2-0 semi-final win against Ghana.

After coaching some obscure Spanish clubs, Berges returned to coach Córdoba’s B Team, but at the beginning of the season he was named as the First Team coach to replace Paco who went to Rayo Vallecano. And I’ve used “coach” too many times in this paragraph, but no one’s going to read it anyway.

 

Notable Players
Within the Blanquiverdes ranks lies one former Barcelona youth.  First choice Goal-keeper, Alberto Garcia, had a 2 season La Masia stay beginning when he was 16 (2001-03).  However, we’re likely to see second choice GK Mikel Saizar who has the CdR duties, unless Berges decides that the occasion merits putting out their #1.

18 year old youth player, Fede Vico, may be one to watch in the mid-field.  Vico is also a member of Spain’s U20 squad.

If they play, big 21yo French import, John-Christophe Ayina, could prove to be a powerful force up the front, especially if he’s paired with Joselu who is on loan from Villarreal.

Javier Patiño is the forward who has had most of the CdR game-time.  Born in Madrid, the half-filipino is looking to gain Philippines citizenship so that he can play internationally for the country.

On-loan from Lorient, Argentine Forward Sebastián Dubarbier could also provide some fireworks.

 

How’s Córdoba doing?
In Second Division, the team’s last win was on 11/11 when they played an away game vs. Ponferradina and won 3-5.  Since then they’ve recorded 2 losses and 2 draws.  Let’s hope that they don’t decide that their next win should be on 12/12.

The team currently sits in 11th position with 4 points less than Barça B who are in 6th, although Córdoba did beat Barcelona B (2-1 at home) when they played in October.

When looking at the team’s Copa del Rey stats, not many of the forwards (apart from Patiño and Dubarbier) have had much playing time with the coach preferring to use his mid-fielders.  There also appears to be no main goal scorer within the team for the Copa del Rey matches, with several players sharing the spoils on 1 goal each which could indicate that the whole team is dangerous in front of the goal.

In La Liga, Italian Forward Vincenzo Rennella (on loan from Genoa) is the leading scorer with 5 goals but, again, the rest of the goals are shared among the mid-fielders who appear to be the driving force within the team.  Hmmm…that sounds familiar!

Córdoba’s last season in the Primera Liga was 40 years ago, but there is no doubt that they will rise to the occasion of hosting FC Barcelona in their stadium and give it all that they’ve got.

The home team is without Defender Cristian Ramos through suspension, while Captain Gaspar Gálvez and fellow Defender José Fernández are both one card away from being missing the next match.  Sounds like the back-line might be filled with a whole lot of tough guys.

 

The Stadium
The Estadio Nuevo Arcángel was built in 1993 and was not a hit with the fans.  It had a running track around the perimeter of the pitch which isolated the fans and the players from each other.  Nice in some respects, but not good when fan engagement is paramount.

In 2007 a revamp saw the running track removed, with stands built over it on the goal ends.  The pitch was also moved closer to the main stand and the stadium became a dedicated football arena.

Plans to replace the West Stand have been shelved.  This would have increased the seating capacity to 25,000, but the stadium can currently hold just over 18,000 spectators and should be jam-packed for this game which will be the highlight of the season.

Don’t expect much from the pitch, unless the club has risen to the occasion and laid new turf, but I doubt that.

 

The Barça Boys
Tito has rested Iniesta, preferring that he’s fit and at 100% for the weekend’s match vs. Atlético de Madrid.  Valdés and Adriano will also not travel.

The squad is:  Pinto, Oier, Alves, Montoya, Piqué, Bartra, Puyol, Mascherano, Alba, Xavi, Thiago, Dos Santos, Busquets, Song, Pedro, Alexis, Messi, Villa and Tello.

Piqué, Xavi, Messi, Pedro and Alba have yet to play in the CdR this season.

My favoured line-up would be something like this:
Pinto, Alves, Piqué, Masch, Alba, Thiago, Busquets, Song, Alexis, Villa and Tello.

Yes, I want to see Ye Olde Double Pivot.

All going well, subs would be Bartra for Piqué, Dos Santos for Busquets and Pedro for Alexis/Villa. All not going well, Puyol, Xavi and Messi may get some game time.

 

The game starts tonight at an early (for Spain) 8:00pm CET.

Click here to convert the match time to your timezone: Córdoba CF vs. FC Barcelona

Streams for the match are usually found here, here and here.

 

Just in case you haven’t yet seen it, here are Kobe and Messi with a cute tyke in an ad for Turkish Airlines:

 

 

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134 Comments

  1. mom4
    December 11, 2012

    From last thread:

    nzm says:

    December 11, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    New post up: Cordoba vs. Barcelona Preview

    Girl, it’s 3:00 am where you are. Don’t you ever sleep?

    And…you want to see the double what??? OK, I admit that a couple of times this year I thought it would be good to experiment with this. Just ’cause our defense has been a bit porous. But I think Busi rests for the big Athleti game. If Messi plays, I hope he starts and then is subbed off rather than being subbed in.

    Pinto
    Alves, Pique, Bartra, Montoya
    Song, Thiago, Masche,
    MVP (yep, P played poorly last game, Villa sucked 2 games ago. Let’s see if this good, old-fashioned front line kick starts their form). Also think the squirrel should rest. Let’s get an away goal or two.

    • nzm
      December 12, 2012

      Sleep? What’s that? 😀

      I do the previews after J goes to bed, otherwise there are too many interruptions when I’m trying to get data in the right order and correct, and timelines sorted in my head!

      As it was, I just corrected a couple of errors that I made!

      I almost left our Energizer Squirrel out, but didn’t he have some rest not long ago? Not sure if playing 2 defenders coming back from injury is such a good idea, but bringing in one of them as a sub would work.

      If Messi starts and doesn’t score, no way will he be happy coming off. Better to sub him in and make him hungry and all that. Even better not to play him at all.

      I thought that this game would be a good trial for the double pivot. I tried to leave Busi out, but couldn’t without also leaving Xavi out, and Xavi needs the rest more than Busi does.

      Besides, they’re all going to get a big break over Christmas and New Year, so the young ones can rest then!

  2. December 11, 2012

    Hope our boys watched that Bradford/Arsenal match today. Lesson to be learned for every big club facing a minnow, as well as minnows deemed not to have a chance.

    • yassir
      December 12, 2012

      Arsenal are a big club in terms of history, financial power, stadium etc…, but on current form they are nothing. (hope we get them in the last 16 of the CL)

    • nia
      December 12, 2012

      I think Alcocorn is still fresh in every players mind between Barca and RM 😉

  3. Sangoku
    December 12, 2012

    Your previews are absolute delight! The research, attention to details… You’re a football encyclopaedia, great work!

    • nzm
      December 12, 2012

      Thanks. Not as much an encyclopaedia as I am a researcher. I learn a lot too! 🙂

  4. barca96
    December 12, 2012

    The song that you’re after is sung by my all-time favourite, Ella Fitzgerald, and it’s called “The Greatest There Is”

    Thank you very much Nzm and Kxevin, Blitz, Messiah!!

    Unfortunately I couldn’t find it on Youtube. At first I thought that there could be another name for the song but then I found the song on the playlist here;
    http://www.bookzap.com/product_p/bestof_ella.htm

    When I check her discography, it seems that she sang that song in 1952 in New York for Decca Records.

  5. ooga aga
    December 12, 2012

    nice alliteration in the second sentence.

    • barca96
      December 12, 2012

      In fact, Barça faces a slew of striped strips for seven successive sorties until the middle of January.

      With the Córdoba – Atlético – Valldolid – Espanyol – Córdoba – Málaga – Real Sociedad games to be played, the Blaugrana will be seeing stripes for some weeks to come.

  6. nia
    December 12, 2012

    Interesting stats today on revista. Seems like every one always gives Barca flack about how they defend set pieces and corners (including me) so today. Guillem and co showd how many set piece goals each team has conceeded in the liga so far:

    1…. RM 58% of their goals conceeded from set pieces.
    .
    .
    .
    13…. Barca 13% of goals conceeded through set pieces.

    I was suprised given the height of the team or lack of it.

    • December 12, 2012

      Goes to show that what people have come to accept as “fact” is worth questioning. We concede most of our goals from the bust-out or broken play.

    • December 12, 2012

      I suspected as much. Real Madrid have been terrible at defending set pieces–last season as well, remember the big fracas after Marcos Senna scored against them from a FK, and some other team scored from a corner & Casillas reamed out Sergio Ramos afterwards?

      Not that Barça has been good at defending set pieces, mind you. I think we have had some very lucky escapes. But the team isn’t quite as terrible at it as we have been led to believe.

    • December 12, 2012

      Also, at least a couple of the goals Barça has conceded from CK’s have been own goals, haven’t they?

    • nzm
      December 12, 2012

      Yes – I watched Revista last night for the first time in ages.

      Guillem Balague needs to stop bleating about Messi needing his team – especially when asked for his favourite Messi goal of the 86, and he chooses the amazing run and shot into the corner against Brazil in NJ. Where was his team for that one? 😉

      • barca96
        December 12, 2012

        @nzm

        Yeah Guillem kept on repeating the same thing at half time and after the Betis match. Obviously Messi and every other player needs his team mates. It’s a team sport. Oh well. I guess he doesn’t understand it as he’s not an ex footballer.

        • nzm
          December 12, 2012

          Have you seen his website? It’s shocking!

  7. Messiah10
    December 12, 2012

    Kubala was definitely a baller! He loved the step on ball/draw back move. I saw a couple of crossover’s in there as well. The back heel was cheeky. He threw his whole body into that one. 🙂 Watching those highlights gives one the contrast between yesteryear’s game and today’s game. The speed at which footballer’s play today is amazing. The leather ball back then was SO heavy. I couldn’t imagine kicking that thing about. You’d be lucky not to break your toes!

    • nzm
      December 12, 2012

      I used to play netball (Commonwealth country sport) with a heavy leather ball. Trying to heave that through the hoop was an effort.

      Also played football with leather balls and bare feet every lunch hour at school. Toughened up our feet!

      • nzm
        December 12, 2012

        Although it could explain my knee problem nowadays!

  8. alpinegroove
    December 12, 2012

    So it seems that the Villa issue is gaining momentum.

    The front page of Sport today: Villa – Transfer or Contract Renewal.

    El Pais: “Villa’s patience has limits.”

    Del Bosque in AS: “I don’t know what’s going on with Villa. I have no idea.”

    • December 12, 2012

      What’s going on with Villa is that Vilanova isn’t playing him because the club and its system have begun to evolve away from Villa. Someone asked me why the club subbed in Sanchez instead of Villa, and my simple response was “because Sanchez plays the entire pitch.” I don’t think it’s much more complex than that.

      Villa does track back at times, but he doesn’t do it with the verve and commitment that Sanchez and Pedro do. And if you’re going to allow one attacker (Messi) to not track back all the time, you can’t have two. That totally screws the pooch.

      That is without even getting into his rather lackluster performances of late. Teams and systems evolve, and sometimes a player who was great for a system a season ago, doesn’t work as well later. That’s the biggest reason Toure Yaya was sold. Guardiola had a vision of a system in which he wasn’t going to fit.

      Nothing personal, fair or unfair with Villa. It just happens. Villa is gone in the summer, if he makes it past January.

      • alpinegroove
        December 12, 2012

        What do you make of the contract renewal talks mentioned in Sport, then?

        And I agree, it looks like he is on his way out.

        Let’s also remember that he was really struggling before his injury last year, and everyone was talking about him leaving in January of last year, or last summer.

      • Messiah10
        December 13, 2012

        Absolutely agree Kxevin. It’s as simple as you put it. If he could DO the things Pedro and Alexis DO than he’d be on the pitch. He can’t. I don’t even think that it’s won’t. I just think he isn’t capable of high pressing, relentless pursuit of opponents when they have possession, and always tracking back. That’s not his game and never has been.

  9. barca96
    December 12, 2012

    Hold on. So Messi isn’t the highest goal scorer in a calender year. It belongs to a Zambian footballer who scored 107 goals in 1972.

    Or so he says….

    My question is, why only bring the matter up now?

    m.guardiannews.com/football/2012/dec/12/lionel-messi-godfrey-chitalu-zambia

  10. barca96
    December 12, 2012

    Somebody is grumpy 🙂

    Courtesy of barcastuff:

    Casillas (Madrid): “I remember Barça
    playing with 11 foreign players, so they
    shouldn’t talk too much about their
    homegrown 11 now.” [sexta]

    Not so gentleman is he now?

  11. barca96
    December 12, 2012

    Another one from barcastuff. A more important one.

    Faus (vice-president): “Barcelona will not
    have a sponsor on their shirt starting 2016
    except if assembly decides to make a new
    contract.”

    Great news..

    • nzm
      December 12, 2012

      What make you think that the GA can’t be persuaded to vote in favour of another sponsor?? 🙂

      • December 12, 2012

        Egg-sactly. Or some trumped-up one that RoSELL sits through some nefarious means ….

        • December 12, 2012

          “Good news! From 2016 our shirts will exclusively carry only the UNICEF logo!”

          “Oh, did I say UNICEF? I meant UNIBET. My bad. Too late now, the shirts are already printed.”

          • nzm
            December 12, 2012

            And in B&W because we can’t afford coloured shirts.

    • simple_barcafan
      December 12, 2012

      you forget the “except” part…By now we should be accustomed to Rosell
      “We wont have a shirt sponsor in 2016. I offer to hold a vote in this regard”**
      .
      .
      **Terms and conditions apply. Offer restricted to people who are in favor of the shirt sponsorship.

  12. mom4
    December 12, 2012

    barcastuff‏@barcastuff

    Line-up Barcelona (official): Pinto – Alves Pique Mascherano Alba – Xavi Song Thiago – Pedro Messi Villa #fcblive

    • mom4
      December 12, 2012

      Got my MVP front line. Show me what you got V and P. We rest Iniesta but Xavi plays? Huh? Trust me, you need to rest after a certain age (that would be after 29, right? 😉 )

      • nzm
        December 12, 2012

        Damn – Tito didn’t go for my Double Pivot experiment.

        But he did take my backline advice!

        (Don’t worry about packing your dinosaur club when you come over – I have a spare.) 😆

        • mom4
          December 12, 2012

          Pinto
          Alves, Pique, Alba
          Song Masche
          Xavi, Messi, Thiago
          P,V
          There’s your double pivot. 🙂 Remember, the only place it ever looks like a 4-3-3 is on paper.

          Dinomom says ug!

  13. nzm
    December 12, 2012

    Boys are warming up. You can watch it on those above links that I gave.

    • nzm
      December 12, 2012

      Ooooh – I fear for knees and ankles. The pitch in front of the goals is terrible. Looks like cows have trodden all over it in the wet.

  14. ooga aga
    December 12, 2012

    ? im getting news on that channel you linked NZM!

  15. mom4
    December 12, 2012

    I’m liking this Cordoba team.

    Now, beat them!

  16. nzm
    December 12, 2012

    Looks as though we’re trying to spot Cordoba their first goal!

  17. replayed
    December 12, 2012

    I guess the team is still not practicing its crossing.

    Cordoba definitely subscribes to the “Hit ’em hard and quick” school of how-to-play-Barca…

  18. mom4
    December 12, 2012

    That was nice. But what’s up with the woodwork?

  19. replayed
    December 12, 2012

    Wasn’t offside by much. They deserved to score that.

    • mom4
      December 12, 2012

      They deserve a goal for the way they’re playing us, but not for that play. Offside is offside.

  20. alpinegroove
    December 12, 2012

    Not the kind of game we need mid-week before ATM.

  21. nzm
    December 12, 2012

    How do we solve a problem called Pedrito?

    • K_legit in Oz
      December 12, 2012

      Poor P cannot purchase a goal atm!

      • alpinegroove
        December 12, 2012

        Did anyone expect such a difficult match? This seems more challenging than most La Liga ties.

        • nzm
          December 12, 2012

          It’s a shit pitch. I’ll be happy for our guys to come away still walking, quite frankly.

          • alpinegroove
            December 12, 2012

            Alexis is going to score today…

    • nzm
      December 12, 2012

      All I can say is thank goodness for Pique at the back tonight.

      My MotM so far.

      • alpinegroove
        December 12, 2012

        He is also one of our best players up front today.

  22. nzm
    December 12, 2012

    That Alexis and Messi pairing is sublime.

    • replayed
      December 12, 2012

      This brace thing is getting ridiculous. It’s a quality problem, I know, but I don’t want him to start fearing that he’s doomed to score braces forever. 😉

    • nzm
      December 12, 2012

      Not sure, but from the replays, there are many things that could potentially be wrong!

      • mom4
        December 12, 2012

        I get up for a few minutes and now both of our fullbacks are off hobbling! Dang!

        • replayed
          December 12, 2012

          What is this? Trip Up A Squirrel day?

    • replayed
      December 12, 2012

      Villa is finding out what it’s like to have to earn his place in the starting lineup. No doubt a major head space adjustment.

  23. Jafri
    December 12, 2012

    I’m unable to watch the match, but from the Goal.com commentary it appears that the referee is making a determined assault on the record for most wrong calls in a game.

    • nzm
      December 12, 2012

      I don’t think it’s that bad – few questionable calls, but not game-changing.

      • replayed
        December 12, 2012

        Yeah, he’s kept a good flow going. Not bad at all, especially by Liga standards.

  24. K_legit in Oz
    December 12, 2012

    Man that is one fast squirrel!

  25. nzm
    December 12, 2012

    Eibar has scored – looks like Bilbao is out!

  26. nzm
    December 12, 2012

    Wowowowow – the At. Madrid vs. Getafe match about to get underway, and the Calderon is almost empty.

    But then it is 3degC/37degF in Madrid tonight!

  27. mom4
    December 12, 2012

    Pepe is captain and Carvalho is playing. What? Carvalho is still on EE? Why haven’t I turned off the TV?

    • nzm
      December 12, 2012

      Because the bad guys are always the most irresistible? 😆

      We’re watching the At. Madrid – Getafe match because it’s the only one that’s on TV.

      • mom4
        December 12, 2012

        Your bad guys are losing!

        Honestly, I almost choked on my curried tuna salad sandwich to scream, “Yes!” It was purty!

        • stefan2k
          December 12, 2012

          Anybody heard Meeeesssi!!! @Celta de Vigo? 🙂

  28. simple_barcafan
    December 12, 2012

    Rumors everywhere indicate that Pep’s representatives have informed Arsenal that they are his preferred destination. Does abyone know if it true?
    If so, it seems this is the first time Pep is talking about his future…

  29. December 12, 2012

    Haven’t seen the match yet, but I did a little research on the match ball, since both Tito and Dani Alves complained about it after the match, calling it a “beach ball”.

    It appears to be a new ball, the Adidas Cafuso, which is supposed to be the official ball of the 2013 Confederations Cup. Guess they are giving it a trial run in the CDR. It doesn’t seem like our team had a chance to train with it before the match, at least judging from the last set of pics on the official website, where they were using what looks like the Tango.

  30. nzm
    December 12, 2012

    Bizarre scenes at the final of the Copa Sudamericana.

    The match has been abandoned at half-time and the championship has been awarded to Sao Paulo who were leading 2-0.

    CA Tigre refused to come back onto the pitch after claiming that they had been beaten by over-zealous security personnel (either on their way to, or) in their dressing room.

    Luis Fabiano, ex-Sevilla, now plays for Sao Paulo, but he was sent off in the first leg so wasn’t playing tonight.

  31. KEVINO17
    December 12, 2012

    Pep to Arsenal does make a lot of sense. They are a stable club which may do well under the new fair-play rules???, they have a good squad (which can be made a lot better with a few spanish imports) and, most importantly, because they haven’t been a title contender for a while it’s all upside for him.
    Why didn’t I see that?

    • barca96
      December 12, 2012

      I like that too. But the problem is that Pep shouldn’t expect to win trophies with them for the first 2-3 seasons as they simply don’t have the players capable of. He would need to work with the current squad and some of the promising youngsters there.

  32. barca96
    December 12, 2012

    Was the match that tough until Messi had to play the full match?

    Based on the match stats, Cordoba had a lot of chances but at least when we’re 2-0 up, it is safe to bring Messi off.

    Why do our players and us fans always have to admire the other team’ fans and atmostphere? Why can’t the Camp Nou be like this? I pity our players. They always have to deal with loud fans on their travels but back home they can’t get it.

    • simple_barcafan
      December 13, 2012

      A lot of it has to to do with how our stadium structure is..Camp Nou is kind of a huge open structure..It is tough to generate a loud noise with such a huge stadium even if it is filled to the maximum.

      I think nzm can give you a better idea of why generating a lot of noise in Camp Nou is difficult..

      • nzm
        December 13, 2012

        Yes – I’ve commented on this before.

        Camp Nou is a huge open-air 99,000 seat stadium in need of a revamp.

        Any noise quickly disappears. A roof over the seating would definitely help, plus some new technology which is being introduced into some stadiums which revolves around sound-generating and noise enhancement.

        The Catalan fans are also different. They analyse the game a lot more – so they sit there quietly and watch all the movements, murmuring approval or silently swallowing their dissent! Clasicos and derbies are the games where everything gets more vocal.

        • December 13, 2012

          Of course a loud supportive crowd is always nice for the players…but I have to admit I love it when our players execute a particularly gorgeous bit of skill or teamwork and you can hear the Camp Nou faithful gasping in appreciation and clapping their approval. Because they pay attention to things like that.

          • barca96
            December 13, 2012

            Yes, I asked our dearest nzm that question before so I know already it’s because of the openess of the stadium.

            But from the images on tv, we can clearly see noone is bothered to stand up. It looks like they’re watching cinema at times 🙂 which I somehow can understand.

            I hardly see a section of youth fans banging the drums or singing club anthems during a match. It’s not like any other stadiums I’ve ever seen in my 17 years of watching football on a weekly basis.

            Again it could be due to their fascination of the game before their eyes.

            Are tourists who make up the majority of the fans in the stadium nzm?

            Has Catalunya have an aging population issue? Or don’t the youths go to the stadiums anymore due to the high unemployment rate among the youths?

            But other stadiums in Spain you’ll see a lot of youths in the stadium who sing, stomp and generally create an atmostphere and spur the team on.

          • nzm
            December 13, 2012

            A lot of the Catalan season ticket fans are older, or go to the games as families with young kids.

            Behind the goals in the ground floor and 1st floor seating is where you usually find the louder groups of fans, but they have been missing in recent games. Behind the south goal (the one to the right on TV), there used to be a group who would bang drums and lead the chants, but they’re hardly there anymore.

            I’m not sure why – I wouldn’t think that the club no longer allows them to be there, so maybe it’s just that no one can afford to go to the games as much as they used to do.

            No matter what the current board says, the ticket prices have risen. Insane to be paying the same prices now for the very top tier that we used to pay for the closer 2nd and 3rd tiers.

            Tourists do make up a large percentage of the crowd, but really only during the warmer months within the season – Sept/Oct and Apr/May/June. In the other months, you’ll get fans coming specifically for games, but in the tourist season there are more visitors who will decide to attend a game in spur-of-the-moment decisions.

    • Richzorz
      December 13, 2012

      Hard to tell whether it was intentional or not, although the typical lack of Pepe noticing or apologising for stamping on/kicking another player doesn’t do him too many favours…

    • barca96
      December 13, 2012

      Yet some people can claim it was unintentional. I hope the FA will look into this matter cause this has been happening too many times.

    • nzm
      December 13, 2012

      I was watching it – see my above comment.

      Truly bizarre. Tigre players refused to come back out, so the match and championship was awarded to Sao Paulo.

      The prizegiving ceremony was a fiasco. The only highlight was the Sao Paulo GK captain giving his armband to Lucas so that he could lift the trophy. Lucas is on his way to PSG.

  33. December 13, 2012

    With absolutely no fanfare, BeIN English materialized on my channel dial last night. My footy sources are now:

    BeIN English
    BeIN Spanish
    Fox Soccer
    Fox Deportes
    ESPN
    ESPN Deportes
    TVE
    TV5/Monde
    GolTV
    GolTV Spanish

    If there is a match on somewhere in the world and I can’t watch it, something is terribly wrong.

    • nzm
      December 13, 2012

      Lucky man. Guess you’ll be up for more reviews then!

    • Messiah10
      December 13, 2012

      That’s unreal. I only have FSC, GolTv, & ESPN2. ESPN rarely shows games. It’s rather depressing. I’m tired of streaming and I don’t mind going to the bar to watch a game, but I have to hassle with getting my own t.v. a lot of the time and no volume because PL is every other t.v. The staff act like it’s a chore to set up tables in the back room & put the t.v. on. It is nice though because I usually have the room to myself or with a couple, Bianca & Colin. Bianca’s mother and family are from Barcelona. They go there frequently. I’m trying to sponge off a trip! 🙂

  34. December 13, 2012

    Tello’s renewal finally appears to be done. Was rumored to be completed “next week”, “soon” etc for months-dating back to last season.

    But it’s a rather mixed renewal. His buyout is only 10M. There some clause evidently where it goes up if his salary increases. But that’s still extremely low.

    Looking at this whole picture-the amount of time it took Tello to finally renew and the low buyout-seems to me Tello is likely looking to keep his options open with other clubs.

    A 10M isn’t in Barca’s best interest and it’s very unlikely the club would aim for it. Tello used his leverage from his contract running down and interest from other clubs to negotiate a very small buyout that will enable him to leave relatively easily if he wants.

    He probably looked at all of the competition on the flanks both now and in the near term future and felt uncertain about his own future.

    Also-just a hunch-I’d guess there’s a good chance that neither the club nor Tito are thrilled with Tello’s negotiations. He put the club in a relatively poor spot.

    Unfortunate for the club. To lose him for only 10M would be a poor transaction for Barca. He’s worth significantly more on the market.

    • December 13, 2012

      Josep said the holdup was the buyout clause amount. My guess is that Tello wanted it low and the club wanted it high.

      • December 13, 2012

        That sounds reasonable and I’d guess that was the issue. Tello likely wanted to keep his options open to leave. Interesting how much leverage a young player could develop so quickly after so few games played.

        • nzm
          December 13, 2012

          If Neymar does come, then I guess that Tello could potentially see less game time coming up, and he wasn’t going to be happy going out on loan.

          If it comes to it, he’ll cut his losses and go to where he can play and make a go of it for himself.

          Can’t blame him – it’s a good attitude and shows that he’s putting his career before glory. Better than sitting on a bench hoping to be tossed a crumb given a game every now and then.

    • December 13, 2012

      Why would Tito care? As long as Tello is available to him as a player, which he is, he has nothing to do with contract negotiations or buyout clauses. He should be happy that Tello is looking at his future in a realistic way, unlike, say JDS or Bojan. We’ve all been talking about whether there is room for Tello in the team long-term, especially with Cuenca coming back, and whether the club should sell or loan him. Tito certainly takes those things into account as well.

    • December 13, 2012

      Also I think €10 million is an entirely reasonable price for a very young player who has only just been officially promoted to the first team and has had limited minutes. We only paid €14 million for Jordi Alba.

      • replayed
        December 13, 2012

        €14 million for Jordi Alba.

        A steal at twice that.

      • December 13, 2012

        The most likely destination for Tello is the EPL. And his buyout clause should have reflected the that scale of prices that are paid for young talent there.

        The buyout should’ve been 15M or so. Preferably 20M. That at least gives the club leverage to negotiate to 12-13M or so if Tello does in fact want to leave.

        How often does the club ever play hard ball to try to force a young player to stay? If Tello wanted to leave the club would’ve facilitated it. However, it would’ve been a positive for the club to negotiate from some position of strength.

        Just compare how quickly and easily Cuenca’s renewal got done compared to Tello’s. Cuenca’s deal got done very quickly with a buyout of 20M.

        The club clearly didn’t want Tello’s buyout to be so low. Tello isn’t a player who like JDS or Bojan the club has evaluated at his current level for several seasons. His prior injuries precluded that. The situations aren’t the same.

        And while Alba was sold at an undermarket price due to his contract running out one can draw up a list that goes on and on of extravagant sums being paid in the EPL for younger players. Jordan Henderson, etc., etc. We’ll see it again for Zaha.

        Tello had leverage and used it. That’s his right. But no I don’t think the club is likely thrilled about his buyout clause being half of what Cuenca’s was nor that his negotiations went on for an extended period.

        • replayed
          December 13, 2012

          The most likely destination for Tello is the EPL.

          I suspect Tello has been thinking that for a while.

          I also suspect that his negotiating stance was a reflection of how valued he felt by the club. If it’s been clear to me since last year that Cuenca was well ahead of him in the pecking order, I doubt that was lost on Tello and his people. And his playing time since Cuenca’s injury hasn’t apparently improved their — or, frankly, the club’s — estimation of his long term first team prospects.

          It seems to me that the club was honest with Tello, and that Tello’s representatives acted in their client’s best interest with no particular gratitude to a club where Tello feels he has no future.

        • December 13, 2012

          Just because EPL teams might be willing to overpay for him is no reason for Tello to set an unrealistic evaluation on himself. Keeping his buyout low will ensure he gets offers from lots of different clubs so he will have plenty of options to choose from, if it comes to it. Sorry, but I’m on the player’s side on this one.

        • Messiah10
          December 14, 2012

          I agree that the EPL teams over pay for young talent, but that talent is mostly English. It gets talked a lot about on BBC blogs. For some reason if a player is English is value is twice that of a foreign player. Zaha will probably go for at least $20 million because he’s under contract for another 2 or 3 years. He hasn’t played a game in the EPL. Tello by my estimation is a better prospect than Zaha because he’s proven himself in Liga. It’s the insanity of the EPL.

  35. alpinegroove
    December 13, 2012

    Two questions about Tello and Cuenca:

    1. How do you compare their skills, development, and contribution at this point? Tello seems more direct and looks for goal whereas I remember Cuenca as being more interested is staying wide and making fruitful crosses into the box.

    2. What can we expect if Tello leaves? What is the track record of academy players who leave? Do they usually do well? Is Alba the only example of a player who did really well and we wanted back? How did Pique due at MU?

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