News of the Day: December 14, 2009

There’s not much to report at the moment, to be honest, plus some of the persona life is taking up my time (damn you, personal life!), so here’s just a really fast discussion and comment thread for you guys:

-Barรงa are now in Abu Dhabi, preparing for Wednesday’s match against Atlante FC of Mexico. It should be a good game–perhaps a lot closer than many out there expect at this point–but will not feature Leo Messi, who has not trained with the group yet. My personal desire is to see him sit out the entire tournament (2 matches) and come back to us completely healed in January. That includes not playing for Argentina against Catalunya.

-The team is talking up the need to take this tournament seriously, with Pique, Puyol, and even Chygrynskiy getting in on the “We gotta show up and do our thing as if it’s a real match” train. Chygnasty points out that this would be his first trophy with the team since he wasn’t around for the Super Cups.

-Speaking of the previously mentioned Catalunya-Argentina match on December 22, Johan Cruyff, Catalunya’s new manager, has called up Valdes, Xavi, Puyol, Pique, Busi, and Bojan from Barรงa along with Cesc and Oleguer. My question is whether or not any of those players will show up to play, what with Barรงa having scheduled a friendly with Kazma Sporting Club in Kuwait for December 21. Little Banjo Crickets should get the start at the top, of course, and score some goals to get his confidence up.

Have at it and tune in tomorrow for the preview of the Atlante match.

Categorized as Team News

By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater Philadelphia area.


  1. Yeah, I have to agree Isaiah, I’d rather see Messi sit out both games to get him ready for the second half. Sevilla three times in one month, we’re going to need La Pulga to bring his A-game. Club World Cup would be nice, but getting Messi back in the groove would be nicer.

  2. Why are Valdes and Xavi in bold and not Puyol and Pique when you are talking about who Cryuff called up?

  3. You guys remember Alejandro ‘Chori’ Dominguez? The Rubin Kazan player who named his daughter “Barcelona” ? Well Alejandro ‘Chori’ Dominguez is now a Valencia player.


    1. actually it was sergi semak that names his daughter barcelona not dominguez, but a cool piece of news nevertheless.

  4. Messi will play for various reasons if we make it to the final if he is healthy:
    First, for South Americans the tournament is bigger than for anyone else. Although Messi grew up in Europe for most of his life, because he would most probably play against Estudiantes in the final, for various reasons, like to shut the Argentinian press up, he will play.
    Second, the trophy is the one missing. If we win this, we’re among the clubs who have won everything, while Madrid as an example hasn’t(Cup Winners Cup..Aberdeen..haha).

    So, he will play no matter what.

  5. In other news the B team won 4-0 this weekend taking them to 36pts after 17games, 2nd behind Sant Andreu on 38pts. Soriano scored again to take his tally to 8 goals, Thiago also netted though I have no clue how many he has scored for the season.

    That is 8 consecutive wins for the B team, Luis Enrique seems to be doing a great job.

    1. No. They must always be at least one division behind the A team. So if we got relegated and they were in the Segunda, they’d have to go to the Segunda B. I think RM B once did get into promotion position in the Segunda and had to forfeit the right because RM was obviously in the top flight already.

  6. Damn… this stupid friendly against Kazma followed by an “international” really pisses me off!

    I hope none of our Barcelona players will play against Argentina, and as far as Messi is concerned, I totally agree with your desire.

    Cesc also won’t play for Catalunya, so does this match still make any sense at all? Why not postpone it 1 week?

  7. Confirmed: Luis Suarez wants to play for Barca.


    Iโ€™m still hoping for Silva thoughโ€ฆ

    1. Can’t Suarez double as a CF? I figure that would be handy after Henry goes. Sid Lowe was saying that Barca won’t be dipping into the Winter transfer market (or at least not for Robinho) so I dunno how much him wanting to come matters.

    2. Read the awful translation, that he doesn’t want to come in winter is also good I guess. Maybe Barca is going to wait on him?

  8. I don’t like that Valencia move. If Dominguez is all that he appears, they get stronger in a crucial area, particularly given the fragility of Silva.

    But you know what I really hate? The hate that is being directed at our club and Xavi because of the ref’s decision on Sunday. It’s not like we get penalty calls all the time, like EE. That was our first of the season, a refreshing alternative from getting kicked off the pitch to the approval of the ref, by every club in the league, including Espanyol. As if we deserve bad things, because people claim that we hold ourselves up as paragaons of footballing virtue, etc, etc.

    The press does that for us. We just play the games, and win the matches however in the hell we can. (rant over)

    1. I think people are more pissed about this call because it was the only gol scored. If we had later buried two or three more gols, the penalty would be a non-issue. I thought it was a bad call until I saw the video from the last post showing the clear shirt grab as Xavi is leaning back, which is key, then the Espanyol player lets go, causing Xavi to lose his balance. NOT A DIVE AT ALL.

    2. C’mon, Kxevin. When a team gets a awarded a questionable penalty that ends up determining the outcome of the match, people are going to jump all over it. I wouldn’t even call it ‘hate,’ opining ‘outrage’ as more appropriate.

      My own opinion on the matter is basically the same as Alex’s above me. Most of the readers who visit this forum know how I feel about Xavi, and my feelings haven’t changed a bit. An example of class, humility and supreme vision and talent (shame he’s Blaugrana!).

      And lastly, as an emissary from Real Madrid’s Offside (this blogs former Barcelona perch) I think our readers have been relatively fair, tempering some of the initial reactions and (with some exception) seeing the situation for what it was. Most of us RM fans know that when your a team of Real’s (and Barcelona’s) caliber and profile, the world will be watching and waiting to scream injustice on behalf of the ‘smaller’ clubs.

      Personally, I’m glad it’s so. There’s no doubt that the scales are usually tipped in favor of the top two – and even if you disagree with that you’d have to agree they don’t need any extra help. I’m all for holding the most favored clubs to higher standards, and I’m not one to look away when my club gets awarded unduly.

      Thanks for bearing with me on this, those who did.

  9. Hey! Whoa! It was Howard Webb in charge of Arsenal/Liverpool on Sunday.

    Man, I don’t want Liverpool’s fate to ever befall us. And I’m not even sure how it happened, not being a follower of the club, but heading toward mid-table faster than you’re heading for the top four must be brutal.

  10. Also, RAC1 was interviweing a few Atlante players and they all said they were going to take the game to Barca and attack all the time. They specifically mentioned that they were not going to play how most teams play us (i.e. park the bus). Great news, should be a corker.

    1. Yeah, but they all say that before the match. Then they watch footage of the last time somebody tried it, and reconsider. ๐Ÿ˜€

  11. John, as usual with the reason. ๐Ÿ˜€

    It is what it is. Technically it was one but it was an unduly harsh one. Think of all the shirt pulling going on during each corner kick. To be honest, I would have been pissed if it was against us. However, like John said, when you are a big club everybody holds you under a microscope and is ready to pounce. It comes with the territory. If the boys wanted to avoid controversy then Maxwell and Henry should have put away their chances in the first half and the whole team should not have gotten a case of the shits during the second half. Full credit to Poche though. Like I said in the Review, his high pressure scheme was risky, brave, and damn near paid off. It was on us to make him pay for it and we didn’t. No excuses.

    The Villarato bullshit is the madridista equivalent of the “Caverna Mediatica” bullshit. It cuts both ways except maybe the Madrid press has somewhat more pull. As a cule since the Van Gaal/Master of Terror (ask Luca Toni and Ribery about him ๐Ÿ˜€ ) years, I know what it is like to have a persecution complex. Its just excuses and self pity/justification. If anything we should be proud that there is a certain “Barcelonitis” among the Madrid press that was not present before. It shows how far we’ve come in the 2000’s compared to the years of yore. The Catalan press still has “Madriditis” but that has been the case for a while. The almost reciprocal “Barcelonitis” however, is a sign of how the tide has in a sense turned over this closing decade. We’ll see how the next one plays out.

    1. well i wouldnt really say that this is case of the madrid press having a “barcelonisti” even during those years you’re mentioning our press blasted barcelona everytime they could , and this one was just too good to pass up
      and frankly its not only the madrid press thats making a fuss about this , everyone who isnt a barca fan thought it wasnt a legit call

      also the espanyol guy today denied that admitted to xavi that he fouled him , basically saying … ” Why would I say that to Xavi if I did nothing to him?”
      and “Is there anyone who thinks that was a penalty? that’s unbelievable”
      so that got the newspapers going again

  12. Good thoughts, John. I think we all agree that it was a very, very soft call. But in real time, it looked more than it was. I would have called bullshit on it had it been called on us, so I don’t see why I wouldn’t call bullshit on it because it was called. It’s why the review calls it the “penalty that wasn’t.”

    If Henry or Ibra gets that treatment, nothing gets called. Guaranteed. I think that Xavi got a reputations call, frankly. Because he never does that kind of stuff, something must have happened. I think he got a little shirt tug, was looking up for the ball and got his feet tangled up a bit. He goes down, it looks bad, the call gets made. Shit happens.

    But the vituperation in some spaces about how Xavi is a big cheat, and we hold ourselves up as icons of footballing virtue, and we get all these favorable calls, is just nonsense. As I said to one person, we get kicked 5 times and the ref calls one. Because if he calls all 5, the match takes about a year to play. Teams spread out fouls and cards, in a deliberately disruptive tactic. That’s fine. Whatever they think works.

    So when people say that we get ref favoritism, it gets a little hard to stomach, watching Messi and Iniesta get kicked more than the ball they’re playing with. It’s nice to see Ibrahimovic giving some back in the form of physical play. He could have (many say should have) gotten a red for the wayward elbow, but I think in the context of the match, it was pretty much par for the course. With a harsher ref, we’re playing 10 on 9, as they lose two guys and we lose one to reds.

  13. This is the kind of crap that makes my ass hurt. Over at ESPN Soccernet, some gent has thrown up a story that chronicles the 10 biggest stories of the decade in our beautiful game.

    They are:

    1. The Galacticos era begins
    2. England’s 5-1 win over Germany in 2001
    3. Keane sent home from World Cup
    4. The sudden death of Marc Vivien-Foe
    5. Greece’s ’04 Euros win
    6. Liverpool’s ’05 Champions League win
    7. Calciopoli
    8. Beckham signing for the Galaxy
    9. Citeh gets big pockets
    10. EE signs Thong Boy

    Now, there is the absence of a certain record-setting, unprecedented event that I can’t help but notice. Many commenters as well, are saying “Um, there was this team, see, that won three championships, a treble or some such, that was kind of a big deal.”

    Wow. Biggest stories of the decade? Really? You’ll search in vain for a head-butting Algerian who played midfield for France, to note another notable absence. I also can’t help but notice the (as usual) Prem-myopic. England winning 5-1 over Germany? Really?

    Oh, well.

    1. Anger and shame on that list. It was silly to try to focus each story on a particular year. The Calciopoli scandal was definitely one of the top 10 football event of the decade, and should be up there. But so should Zidane’s shenanigans.

      The Cristiano Ronaldo signing is, lol, in no way a bigger event than Barca winning the Treble. For Real Madrid, in fact, it was fairly typical, and the big number thrown up for that transfer will soon be broken.

    2. That List IS a joke.

      I don’t really like the Prem, but common… Istanbul has to be #1 on the list…

      Hell, even now in soccer crowds, 4 years after it happened, when someone says “Istanbul” the mind automatically goes to Liverpool comming back from 3-0 to win it. The city formerly known as Constantinople has become that word’s second definition.

      Well… This was the first Champion’s Leauge match i had ever seen, so, maybe thats why it is so important.

      How bout these moments:

      1. The Invinsibles (Arsenal go an entire season without losing)
      2. Ronaldinho gets standing ovation from (gasp) Madrid fans at the Bernabeu
      2. Three words: Iniesta. Stanford. Bridge.
      3. Messi dribbles past 12 of Getafe’s players and scores in CDR
      4. England fail to qualify to Euro (how could they forget that one?)
      5. erm… 6-2… yeah… that one.
      6. And, oh yeah… that whole Historic Treble thing.

      yeah, that list was not a great one.

    3. 3. Messi dribbles past 12 of Getafeโ€™s players and scores in CDR
      4! …And then Getafe, in the second year EVER of top flight football, beat the pants off Barcelona 4-0 in the second leg to advance. AUPA GETA!

      (just couldn’t resist!)

    4. ummm… how many years of top flight football have Alcorcon played ?

      wait… i know! NONE!

      (sorry dude, i coudn’t resist too!)

      p.s. this should be on that list too! ๐Ÿ˜€

    5. Them signing Figo itself is far bigger an event than the Thong-boy signing imo… let alone the treble!!

  14. Will there be a preview for the Atlante match?

    I think the match might not be as easy as many suppose. If we have a bad day tomorrow, I’m quite sure Atlante will kick us out of the tournament. They are no nobodies. They surpassed CF Amรฉrica, Guadalajara etc. which – for me – are good teams, judged from what I’ve seen during the pre-season matches in the US. Plus I suppose that they are very eager to win and they’ll play with loads of passion.
    Still, we SHOULD win this, actually with a 3 goals margin, but if we have a not so good day, it won’t be an easy task. I’m hoping for a strong performance that’ll allow us to bench Messi for the complete 90 minutes.

    1. Just generic shit talking, about we shouldn’t respect them on the pitch, they can be beaten, blah, blah, blah.

  15. With regard to the penalty decision it’s plain to see that we attribute it to be a “harsh decision” purely on the accepted norms of how the rules are applied based on past experience.

    But what really annoys me is that an unintentional tackle in which the opposing player may be going for the ball is considered a significantly greater offense than a player intentionally cheating by pulling another player or his shirt etc.

    Regarding the case that it was a dive, I doubt it’s quite that easy to keep your balance running backwards following an aerial object while having your shirt pulled.

  16. Forget Xavi falling down! The very fact that his shirt was pulled, which is obstruction to play, is a penalty.

  17. Er!! Guys concerning this current FIFA player of the year i thought of 2 things and i will like to know what u guys think

    1.Make the ceremony like the Swearing in of a President or like the Initiation of a new member into a Brotherhood.

    2.Include a Golden crown as part of the Award whereby the former Player of the year bestowes the crown to the new player of the year and if he retains the award the next year he will wear the crown by Himself.

    1. Screw Messi. Somebody who lives in Barcelona has to get me one of the boss-ass down jackets that Sport has on offer. ๐Ÿ˜€ You’ll see it on the main page. Then I can go outside and frolic with dogs and stuff like they’re doing in that video. I know that the wusstastic residents are rocking winter coats when it’s 50 degrees F, but whatevah.

      Oh, and one of those Barca books. But that’s all. ๐Ÿ˜€

    2. Talking about those Barca books, does anybody know some news about it??? They are supposed to be on sale since ~ 1.5 weeks and I told my sister that this is my only christmas wish but she doesn’t want to wait until it is out and may present me with something else… so the printing office better gets going NOW ๐Ÿ™‚

    3. I know at first I thought it was another one of SPORT’s
      sunday issues with the topless women, albeit a less hot one but not by much.

    4. They are out, and very cool by all reports. It came out the freakin’ weekend after I left. I could have just bopped over to the Botiga and nabbed one. Casa del Llibro isn’t carrying it (on Psg. Gracia). Kitbag says they will try to get it in January.

      All because my beloved club, in the one shitty thing that it does, won’t ship from the main online store to the U.S., because they want me to support the shit-tastic, which I won’t, because my modifier says it all. That site is a joke. A joke, I tell you.

    5. What’s so bad about it? It’s also an official FC Barcelona store, isn’t it?

      They’ve got a different collection than the European shop, but I couldn’t find the book on either site.

    6. Ill be back in Barca on the 24th, where can i find that book? I know of a bunch of team store locations but its sounding like i won’t be able to find it there, please help Kevin!!!

    1. About….

      –The state of the world?
      –Messi in a Speedo?
      –Guardiola’s vest?
      –The Catalan independence vote?

    2. – Pep’s leather tie?
      – Pique’s fur jackets?
      – Cuddly Toy’s cuddliness?
      – Messi’s diaper (its closer to that than a speedo)?
      – Iniesta gangsta-ness?

  18. Anyone catching the other CWC semifinal?

    Pohang Steelers scores to cut the lead and make it 1-2 to Estudiantes on one of the most egregiously offsides goals I’ve seen in years (seriously, the guy was meters offside), then a Steelers defender immediately afterward tries to cut down an Estudiantes player and gets a second yellow = ejected and Pohang Steelers are down to NINE men.

    Nucking Futs.

    (What a run-on ๐Ÿ˜› )

    1. Pohang Steelers down to EIGHT cause the KEEPER pulled some dumb-assedness!

      What kind of futbol are they playing in Korea??????

    2. Full time: Pohang Steelers 1×2 Estudiantes. Yeah, a three man advantage and they didn’t even bother going for another goal.

      As expected, if we get to the final it’ll be the South American team.

    1. Dude…

      And I though Argentinean teams were rough. This is ridiculous. THREE red cards and according to the play by play description on Spain, they (Pohang) won’t stop kicking Estudiantes players. It’s like they’re saying “well, we’re screwed anyways so lets make them remember us by the black and blue marks we leave on their legs.

      I’m definitely glad we likely won’t have to face those psychos.

  19. lol, I only watched the first half and Pohang was actually the better side ๐Ÿ˜€

    But now it seems certain that we’ll face Estudiantes. Estudianted played a really fair match (in the first half, can’t tell about the 2nd), I hope they will also use this non-physical approach against us (or Atlante) in the final!

  20. Wheew…

    EIGHT yellows including two double’s (which resulted in reds) and a direct red card and according to the play by play the ref should have handed out more.

    Holy Rino Gatusso! Somebody cue the Mortal Kombat theme song. Its fairly obvious they got their name (Pohang Steelers) from the Pittsburgh Steelers because those are American football numbers.

    I’m so relieved we don’t have to play them.

  21. here’s a funny comic from elmundo


    can’t wait for tommorrow, I graduated from college yesterday and I can finally drink during the games.

  22. Ethan, I’ll only tell you if you promise to buy and ship one for me. ๐Ÿ˜€

    You should be able to get it at the main Botiga at the Camp Nou. I know that there are a few smaller shops around Barcelona that might also carry it.

    And yes, I’m serious about you getting one for me. I could PayPal you the dosh, or whatever.

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