A nuestra liga damos: predictions for 2013


1. Lionel Messi will win his fourth consecutive ballon d’or and Don Andrés will come in second. To the glee of viewers worldwide a certain no.7, expected to smile for the camera and shake the winner’s hand, will not manage to do so. Instead he’ll throw a hissy fit, throw a chair at the camera and storm off the set with tears streaming down his cheeks, crying “this is not justice”, and “eu sou o milhor”. Simon Cowell will purchase the production rights for the 2014 edition.

2. After we are forced to buy back Bojan Krkic for 13 million euros, Milan will loan him for the next five seasons, paying 50% of his salary over ten years. Milan’s coach will be happy with that deal, saying Bojan is so good he is ‘unplayable’. We will be happy too, because Bojan is unplayable.

3.  Atlético will be in 2nd place until the last game of the season, on which they will have the epic meltdown usually reserved for their seventh game of the season in which Falcao roars his way to a hat trick before their nerves get the best of them and they concede four second half goals. The Tiger’s sold to the London Zoo where his new trainer will make constant remarks to the press that Messi is too tame to be considered the best player in the world.

4. In an effort to please the Catalan independence movement Rosell will banish Spanish as a second language at the Camp Nou. In order to consolodate his Qatari dependence movement he will replace it with Arabic.

5. Injury will get Puyolled, as our fearless captain is found running laps around the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper a mere two days after breaking his left leg. He then kills training ground visitor Chuck Norris with a round house kick to the face. The judge gives himself life without parole, just for thinking about sentencing Carles Puyol.

6. Sport and El Mundo Deportivo will honor Xavi for having broken the all-time record for passes completed in a calendar year. AS will start a campaign placing doubt upon the validity of such record while Marca will claim only passes to players in white shirts should count as completed.

7. Jonathan Dos Santos will sign a new contract that will have him at the club for five more years. In a statement released to the press he reiterates his desire to retire at Barcelona: “I will never give up on my dream. I believe I have the quality to sit in the stands of the Camp Nou for the remainder of my career.”

8. Pedro will score another goal.

9. We will play eight clásicos in 2013.  Everybody will be fed up after the second one, which won’t stop anyone from frantically anticipating the next six games. Valdes will make a howler in at least one of them, and Mascherano in another. Jordi Alba will continue the fine tradition of Barcelona players scoring against Madrid in their debut season. Ronaldo’s streak of gesturing to orgasmic admirers to calm down will finally come to an end.

10. Tito and Abidal will shine again for F.C. Barcelona, both for many years to come.


I wish you all a New Year filled with health, love and Barça golazos!

By Levon

Culé since way before football boots were of the neon yellow and lizard green variety, Levon is a deep thinker with increasingly shallow thoughts. He lives in Barcelona with his gorgeous wife and daughter. The lucky bastard...


  1. 11. Lionel Messi will break another slew of records every time he gets up in the morning. Hipsters everywhere declare they are “so over him.” Pele sulks.

    12. After Real Madrid gets dumped out of the Champions’ League, Mourinho will pull an increasingly bizarre series of stunts in a bid to get himself fired and walk away with a huge severance package. Perez will refuse to be drawn and forces him to see out the season before Mou finally quits in despair.

  2. 14. Although the ugly Qatar is bound to stay, we’ll get the stripes back on our shirts! Blaugrana for home & Senyera for away! Yayyyy 😀

  3. So BeIN Sport is showing a couple of Barça-related programs, a “Pep Special” and a “Messi Special.” Neither is worth your time, in my estimation.

    The Guardiola show is stuff that nobody doesn’t know, with a smattering of some nice historic footage.

    The Messi show is simply a recounting of the goals he has scored this year, with various talking heads blathering about how brilliant he is. Again, duh.

    Also caught a Cruijff “Legends” show that did little more than show how arrogant he is. Again, no surprises there.

    The Guardiola and Cruijff shows would be worth seeing for those not as up to date on club background and history, so if you meet those specifications, they’re worth seeking out. The Messi show, however, I can’t recommend for any reason whatsoever.

    1. Goals messi has scored last year you mean. I have mAde that mistake a couple if times already.
      My country is playing catalonia today! Tiki taka vs african strenght. Looking forward to it.

    2. BeIN is showing that friendly at 12:55 EST. I suppose that barcastuff will have some streams listed closer to the kickoff.

    1. Fantastic news! That is great to hear Tito’s able to get out and make it to training after his treatment. I hope he doesn’t over due it and sticks to his doctors suggestions.

  4. 16.Real Madrid will finish 25 points behind us in the league, Mou will blame Casillas as his “dream had come true”
    17.Abidal and tito will lift the UCL in wembley, and mou will blame UEFA for allowing abidal who didn’t participate in the group stage to lift the trophy
    18.Madrid will get knocked out in the round of 16 from a last minute Ashley Young strike, Florentino Perez will sign him for £45million, saying he reminds him of David Beckham

  5. well, puyol just went off in the 43rd minute of the 1st half, replaced by Montoya. what happened? i didnt see. worried he picked up a knock.

  6. Bartra has obviously done something to his hamstring. Yet he’s being kept in the game. Hamstring injuries are notoriously easy to aggravate. I can’t believe he’s being risked in this way.

    1. Yup – clutched the top back of his leg, but when he came to the side, he chatted with Cruyff and looked like he was sure of being kept on. Either that, or they’ve run out of backs!

      Tello and Soriano have both missed very decent chances in this half. Yeesh.

    2. Yeah, they were probably short at the back.

      That Tello miss is hard to forgive. For me anyway.

  7. So we have:
    ~ Puyol with a cut head
    ~ Bartra with a possible hamstring aggravation
    ~ VV who injured his foot and pulled out of the game
    ~ Pique who went down clutching his foot that he injured previously.

    And an unmemorable, meaningless game to show for it.

    1. 1. He’s fine.
      2. He’s fine.
      3. His injury is nothing to do with the match, he didn’t even train for it. It’s something that builds up over time.
      4. He’s fine, too.
      5. The game may be meaningless in a football sense, but I’m pretty sure it carried quite a bit of meaning to the people in attendance waving Catalan flags. Our players are proud to play this fixture, so there’s no use moaning about it.

    2. Keeping with the numerized postings recently –

      6. The players that played will be helped by regaining the match fitness they lost over the break. Ten or twelve days off without training (other than their usual to stay in shape) at this level with the standards Barca demands are huge.

    3. During the break, the players were under strict team orders to maintain fitness – it was one of the stipulations when the longer break was decided upon. Running was the preferred exercise to be done.

      If Tito and the training team hadn’t thought that the rest would do the team good, then they would have returned earlier. It’s the first time in a long time that the whole team has had so much time off over Christmas – usually it’s just Messi who has it. Perhaps it will help to avoid Hlebruary this season. Time will tell!

    4. Not moaning at all – just stating my POV. Funny how it can be interpreted as moaning.

      And if it wasn’t meaningless, the stadium wouldn’t have had so many empty seats – even if it had only been an opportunity to bay for independence.

  8. Visiting here after a long while. Happy 2013 to all cules and BFBites.
    The signs look good.

  9. Villa linked to Liverpool and Spurs for a fee of 16 mil Euros. Any info on this story anyone?

    1. Tottenham have joined the race to sign Barcelona striker David Villa, the Daily Mail reports. Liverpool’s request to acquire Villa on a loan deal was rejected earlier this week and it now seems Spurs and Arsenal are in a two-horse race for the Spaniard. Barca are only willing to sell Villa for an estimated fee of around £16 million. Chelsea are no longer in the hunt for the 31-year-old after signing Ba and the Catalan giants will only accept major offers for Villa to depart Camp Nou in January.

      Pinch of salt from espn soccenet

    2. Villa isn’t going anywhere until the summer, and that’s assuming the Neymar deal happens. If it doesn’t, you could see him renewing with the club and staying one more season, even.

    1. I applaud the stance Allegri has taken! I think every team should do this and it would solve a lot of the problems there have been. I also would like to see Fifa ban teams whose fans hurl racist abuse for multiple year periods for tournaments, closed game attendance, and or dropping league divisions. This would stamp out racism quickly. Fifa’s latest handling over the England/Serbia game was a absolute disgrace and debacle. Serbia should’ve been given a 5-10 year ban in competitions.

  10. My Spanish isn’t great, I’m afraid. I can make out (I think !) that he is discussing how Alexis’ future at the club may be in jeopardy because of injuries and lack of confidence and that he is defending him because of his tireless movement off the ball. Is there anything else I’m missing ?

    1. I got a kick out of the part where he says something like the team could get more out of Alexis if it changed the way it plays a little to better accommodate his particular strengths.

      To which I pictured David Villa — and a few other players not named Messi — muttering, “No sh*t Sherlock.”

    2. a bit unfair to single out Messi for Alexis’ trouble with adapting.

      the author of the piece is right when he says that confidence and injuries are temporary issues…and that those can spell the end of his career at Barça.

      I really hope he will stay because he brings a lot to the table. I would have liked to see him improve upon last season though, not regress…

    3. a bit unfair to single out Messi for Alexis’ trouble with adapting.

      Might well be. However, I don’t believe I did that.

    4. ah ok i guess you were referring to the difficulty for non Masia players, especially forwards, to adapt to our style.

      i actually like Alexis more than Pedro right now…

    1. Our ratio to players playing for us, as opposed to La Masia graduates who have moved on, is lower than I would have thought.

      Also, Ajax is last? That’s shocking!

    2. A great advert for La Liga. 4 of the top 10 teams are Liga based and 5 of the top 15 are. I think it shows in technical quality and intelligence in the footballers being trained in Spain. Interestingly enough, but certainly no surprise, it looks like Ligue 1 takes next honors for top 10 leagues producing top talent. I’ve always though Ligue 1 was a great scouting market that we should tap into more often when looking for a potential top class play maker. The Bundesliga will rise through this study in the next decade because they’re starting to produce some World Class young talent.

  11. O.T but how is that gerard pique seems to get ito thw world eleen selection every year?
    He was horrible for large parts of last season and still a bit shaky in the euros….oh well

    1. Eh, maybe because he wasn’t horrible for large parts of last season ?

      Fed up defending him when I shouldn’t need to so here’s Graham Hunter’s take on it from ESPN. Couldn’t have put it better myself 🙂

      “Pep Guardiola misjudged when to reinstall the now-fit Pique to the first team, and Barça paid a heavy price. It’s not a coincidence, in my view, that the Blaugrana lost really sloppy goals to Chelsea away and Real Madrid at home in the 2-1 Liga defeat when Pique was relegated to the bench. Nor that Chelsea didn’t score either of their goals in the 2-2 semifinal second-leg draw which eliminated the holders until Pique was off the pitch with a horrible concussion.

      His summer at the European championships was exceptional, his partnership with Sergio Ramos awesomely athletic, smart, quick and powerful. (Please note that Spain’s surprise home draw with France recently also came when Pique was missing. He’s a vital part of both of his teams).

      Right now, he’s in the absolute peak of form and, what’s more, head-over-heels in love with Shakira. Good luck to them both.”

    2. Saw that in the Hunter piece. It’s funny how a purple patch begins to define a player, when that shouldn’t happen. Yes, Pique went on walkabout for a bit last season, and had some injury problems. But dude wasn’t as bad as legend has it.

      Of course, few Barça players are.

  12. Anybody know anything about Samuel Umtiti (Lyon)? A tweet on Barcastuff said we’re interested. I wonder if they’re thinking winter or summer?

  13. A piece from Graham Hunter on why he’s backing Messi to take away the Ballon D’Or on Monday. (He also backs Del Bosque for Manager of the Year.)

    Good summary with some nice intelligent Mascherano quotes, as well as what Cristiano said to Messi after the latter won his first Ballon D’Or: What’s Left for Messi?

    1. Love that piece! Although Hunter will be bashed and hated on for being a Barcelona supporter and Messi sycophant, he clearly writes objectively and with profound respect for CR. It’s just not close when it comes to who is the best on the planet. I feel Messi will take home is 4 Ballon d’Or too, but if not, it means nothing, because he’ll be there again and again and again.

  14. Slightly (OK, very) off-topic. It seems like the Camp Nou only has a couple of snack bars. If so, I imagine it’s a nightmare trying to get something during halftime or before kickoff. Is that the case? Is it common to bring in food from outside (100 Montadilos, perhaps)? How about drinks? Do roaming vendors sell them in the stands like in the U.S.? Anything hot?

    Camp Nou veterans – what have done about food and drink at the games?

    1. They have more food bars than that which are placed around the access walkways to the seating areas, but it is a free-for-all.

      Getting food and drink before kick-off is much easier than getting it at half-time when it’s best to go down 10 minutes before the end of play – if you can tear yourself away from the play.

      Food is generally boccadillos (sandwiches in French bread) and bagged potato chips. Soft drinks, water and non-alcoholic beer are also sold.

      You can take food in, but drinks are limited (in size and type). Don’t try taking in any alcohol or drink bottles over 500ml in size. Glass containers are prohibited.

      Depending on the time of the game, eat beforehand or afterwards – you’re there for less than 3 hours tops.

      By the FC Botiga which is between the Camp Nou stadium and the Palau Blaugrana stadium in the FCB grounds, you’ll find some cafes (Pans etc) and concession stores, so you can get some food from them.

    2. Thanks as usual! 1st week of April – a small thermos of coffee might be just the ticket. It’ll be our last night in Barcelona, so staying up late celebrating (or commiserating) sounds pretty good.

    3. A tip – if you want to do the stadium tour, do it on the day before the match as the pitch, visitors’ changing room and press areas will still be open, whereas on match days the access to these areas is restricted or prohibited.

    4. Excellent! I DO want to do the stadium tour. So Thurs or Fri would also work? I’ve heard about a good flea market (Mercat Del Encants) on Sat I want to check out.

    5. Any day before the game is the best option.

      Yeah – if you go into the Encants Market DO NOT take photos anywhere without permission, unless you want to be accosted by angry store holders. In other words, some of their goods have possibly been obtained via nefarious methods, and they don’t like having their goods, or their faces, recorded for posterity! 😀

      There’s a new Encants marketplace currently under construction between the National Theatre and the Glories Tram stop, but I’m not sure when that will be in operation. Looks like there are still some months of building left to do. It will be a great space though – lots of reflective materials being used on the ceiling areas.

    6. Tip for you. Don’t try to lean on the press box window. It’s a mile up and there’s no glass in the window – as I discovered when my good lady tried to take a photo !

    7. I don’t know how those guys survive up there without any wind protection. Seems weird that they wouldn’t glass it in, but I guess that it would isolate the reporters from the stadium atmosphere. Also, there would probably be too much reflection in the glass from lights and computer screens.

  15. Ha ha.. what a start to the year for me.. got a MESSI 10 fcb jersey as a b’day gift.. so so awesome..

  16. There will be a piece on the club on “60 Minutes” this Sunday, for the folks who get that CBS newsmagazine show. This. Is. Huge.

    The beautiful game has been nibbling at the edges of mainstreaming for some time now, as the MLS grows in popularity, and more European teams find U.S. followers. But I don’t know that “60 Minutes” has ever chronicled a football club before, which speaks to a lot of things, most notably the global profile of FCB.

    “60 Minutes” does more human interest stories. As near as I can glean from an excerpt I saw at the club site, focus will be on La Masia and how the club trains for success. Should be cool.

    1. Grrrrr *for old folks

      But I would totally watch this interview online on Monday 😀
      Anderson Cooper interviewed Beckham once, and last year Bob Simon did a piece on the State of Qatar. If you’re interested, youtube it.

    2. I know it’s cool to scoff at stuff, but do some research before you do. The New York Times did. “60 Minutes” has a younger-trending demographic, and its ratings are climbing. Between 13-15 million people who have never seen anything about FC Barcelona but who watch the show religiously, will be getting a taste of what we all find so moving. Yep.


    3. You clearly have no idea what your talking about. 60 minutes is a hard biting news show that seeks to get to the truth of a lot of globally important events, ideas, etc. It takes a obtuse view of the world to think that it’s anything but an extremely important and insightful show.

    4. Your comment says more about the “young folks'” lack of attention span than it does about the quality and content of 60 Minutes. 😀

    5. AWESOME! Thanks Kxevin. For those of you not familiar with 60 Minutes, it is the #1 night time in depth news reporting television program in North America and has been for over 35 years. They provide such interesting angles to news stories ranging from political, environmental, athletic, economical, etc. I am super excited to see this. I wonder which reporter is doing the piece.

    6. Guys, my comment was not meant to be taken too seriously, hence the wink. The “Grrr” part is for the missing word I forgot to include. Relax 😀 Old folks are more patient and wiser like NZM alluded to.

      Messiah10 — FYI, I do watch the show regularly , albeit online nowadays. If you do watch the program yourself, you will know what I’m talking about regarding Cooper and Simon. One is a contributor and the other is a long time reporter for the program and they did interview Beckham a few years ago, and did a piece on the State of Qatar last season. Your assumption about me not knowing the existence of 60 Minutes is just…a bit off.
      P.S. The program is turning 46 years old as of 2013. and it’s not without its fair share of controversies and scandals. Remember 60 Mintues II?

      @Kxevin — I already read that article when it was published last year. By and large the program is still dominated by older viewers; look at the current ratings data. It has in the past few years trying to attract younger viewers by bringing Cooper and then Lara Logan as contributors to the show. It also has a very odd schedule because American football tends to cut into its airing time at the beginning, so the show tends to run late and cuts into CBS’s 8 O’clock program which is the Amazing Race. So viewing data might be skewed. Is this a good enough research for you? 😉

      Anyway, Messi on 60 Mintues is a big deal for us soccer fans, but probably not that big of a deal for others. His interview is probably about 14 minutes (60 Minutes does 3 stories for the hour). I’m guessing it will have generic introduction about his life, Argentina, illness, ect…things Barca fans are familiar with.

  17. Man, Afellay just can’t catch a break. First, he’s out for weeks with a hamstring and now he injures his ankle during team training in Qatar.

    What’s with Qatar and training camps? Munich, Schalke and PSG among the teams to be in Qatar in the last weeks!

    1. Nzm, The arabian gulf is the best place to make a winter camp during the months of Dec, Jan and Feb, great weather now in this part of the world, warm, low humidity and world class infrastructure, before qatar German clubs used to go to Dubai for thier winter camps.

    2. Yes – I lived in Dubai for 4 years. We’re going back for a week on our way to New Zealand, the first week of April. Can’t wait to catch up with all of our friends there.

  18. If it was PSG, Barca, Malaga I would say because they are either owned or have big sponsors from Qatar but they’re not.

    If it’s PSG, Arsenal, Hamburger and Milan it would be because of Emirates but then it would be in Dubai instead.

    1. I’d say that it was most likely that Qatar is offering to pay all expenses!

      The Qatari Aspire Sports Academy likely gets some benefit by having big teams around from which their youngsters can learn.

      Back in 2007/08, Leo Messi was the face of Aspire in all their advertising around the world: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_IruTa3fQE

  19. Oh my, incredible goal by RVP. You get the feeling he’s going to win something for united this season. They do seem overly dependent on him though…. Robin-dependencia?

    1. Nice touch for sure, but that ball by Giggs was out of this world! 60 yard across the pitch on a half volley right to RVP’s left inside foot. Not many people can make that pass. Luckily, we have some of the players who can!

  20. Time to get excited again!

    My team for the first half of the season:
    Adriano Pique Puyol Alba
    Xavi Busquets Cesc
    Pedro Messi Iniesta

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