Catalunya v Argentina, a.k.a “Who’s playing this thing, anyway?” 1:30 p.m. CT, GolTV

I'm ready to do something else ... hmmm.  (Getty Images)
I'm ready to do something else ... hmmm. (Getty Images)

It’s Go Time.

Sort of.

See, Catalunya and Argentina are playing a friendly, as newly installed coach Johann Cruijff gets a pretty high-profile introduction to the international coaching world. It’s playing legends square off as coaches, Johann vs Maradumber, for bragging rights at the next legends banquet or awards dinner they both show up at.

It’s par for the course (yes, pun intended) as Catalunya plays a high-profile friendly every year, but this one is pretty damned high.

Catalunya and Argentina squared off in 2008, resulting in a 0-1 result, and in 2004, which led to a 0-3 thrashing. So you can say things are improving. What’s different about this time is that Cruijff has a high-profile squad to call upon, with the likes of Victor Valdes, Xavi, Puyol, Fabregas, Krkic, Busquets, etc, etc. Notice anything interesting about that squad list?

Ding! You win a prize. It’s mostly Barca players, who will be facing an interesting quandary: Cruijff is a club legend, a man who almost directly led to the greatness of the current squad with his belief in a system of total football. He’s a new coach, and he has called up for this friendly, a roster of players that would make most international coaches salivate with glee.

Valdes, Jordi Codina, Bruno Saltor, Juan Capdevila, Pique, Puyol, Alberto Lopo, Fernando Navarro, Oleguer, Busquets, Fabergas, Xavi, Sergio Gonzales, Verdu, Moises Hurtado, Gabri Garcia, Oscar Serrano, Krkic, Sergio Garcia and Ferran Corominas.

Argentina has also called up a pretty strong squad, but with notables such as Mascherano (knee injury) and Lionel Messi (beer call) due to not play in the match. But Argentina still has a pretty power-packed lineup to call upon.

This ain’t no ordinary friendly

On Dec. 13, a referendum was held, on the matter of Catalan independence. Of the people that turned out to vote, some 96 percent of them said “Si, get us outta Spain.” It is, however, worth noting that the referendum was held in strongholds of Catalan independence, and that naysayers are saying that the slightly more than 30 percent of eligible voters that turned out points to a general apathy on the matter.

But in an autonomous region (legal status of Catalunya) in which Barca has always been its national footballing side, it’s difficult not to imagine Catalan hearts swelling with pride as the Catalan club rolls onto the pitch to face real competition.

Some also say that by deciding to play Catalunya, Argentina is taking a public stand, saying that yes, Catalunya is a nation. Hogwash. Prima facie, they are playing a tune-up friendly that should be very good-natured, since many of the opposing players are friends and in some cases, team mates, and it isn’t as if Argentina have to send a World Cup message or anything, since Catalunya’s official status precludes it being able to send a club to the Cup, since it isn’t recognized by FIFA or anything.

So what is it

A bit of fun, and a high-profile turnout for a very high-profile coach. This is the perfect job for Cruijff, who wants to be able to mess about in the game and make pronouncements and stuff. But with that, he now has a living, breathing group of players on which to test his coaching theories and notions. And it’s all in good fun.

I’ll be rocking the Catalunya home kit tomorrow in honor of the match, which will be played at the Camp Nou (where else, right?).

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. well i guess most of them havent played since the 19th…they didnt play in kuwait…. but they just travelled…i dunno. i especiially dont see xavi playing .

  2. oleguer, on the other, will lay his fucking life on the line in this match. even if he doesnt play.

  3. so, did anyone see that in the celebration after the game on saturday, how when puyol lifted the trophy, yaya grabbed onto it and wouldnt let go, and then puyol looked back at him, it was kinda weird, then the camera shot changed and it was hard to see what happened. you should watch it and tell me what u think.

    1. There was another odd moment when a pogoing The Yaya almost knocked Puyol off the platform, and Puyol shot him some more eye daggers. Wonder if he was just cranky for some reason?

    2. Dude, The Yaya is like a giant polar bear in a sandbox full of 2 year olds…Puyol is just protecting the youngins from the cantankerous giant, who could accidentally hurt them while being boisterous.

    3. i think that was part of the same scene. as soon as puyol hoists the trophy in celebration, yaya grabs onto it. yaya almost falls and knocks over puyol in his intent to keep hold of the trophy, that’s when puyi looks back at him. “yo soy el capitan, guey”

  4. Fabregas won’t play, right? Either he’s still injured or he won’t be allowed to thanks to Arsenal.

    Whatever, the goalkeeper, the defense and the midfield of Catalunya are simply world class. The only part of the team that lacks some quality is the attack. Maybe Bojan can make up for it today.

    1. How can an invalid vote occur? Are there multiple possibilities or just that he maybe voted for himself or someone that wasn’t nominated? Explain someone please.

  5. Not really sure who will feature. The Cruijff coaching debut and his bonafides, add a whole layer of compulsion to the mix, right?

    On a bummer note, up to 5 weeks out for Jeffren.

  6. Aw fuck 5 weeks for Jeffren? GAHH who did this to him i’ll get that bastard

    Anyway, this friendly sounds interesting. I’ll probably watch it but to be honest, I am worried about Cruijff being in the same country as maradona. That’s how the stupid spreads.

    1. It wasn’t anyone in particular. Jeffren just stepped wrong or whatever and his hammie went. There was no contact, as he was juking a player really hard and went down in a heap.

  7. did anyone notice this on the released list of fifa player of the year votes:

    Maradona: 1. Drogba 2. Rooney 3. Ibra

    WTF??????? messi isn’t even in your top 3?????????

    1. My understanding is that national team coaches aren’t allowed to vote for anyone from the country they coach….

  8. Henry voted for: Messi, Eto’o and Xavi
    Eto’o voted for: Messi, Iniesta and Xavi

    In general, many captains voted for team-mates or at least people playing in the same league. Maybe one should change the rules, so that you can neither vote for your countrymen nor for your teammates on club level (right now, the captains and coaches of each team cannot vote for their countrymen, BUT if the national coach is from a different country – as it is the case for Republic of Ireland, for instance – you are allowed to vote for your own countryman. That’s how Gigi Buffon also reached 1st place by one coach. This is a rather stupid rule).

    If you want to know who voted for which player, take a look at this:

  9. I know someone mentioned this already but Hleb actually Hlebed himself.
    He probably voted for himself.

  10. quiz time: what is wrong with this news article? **

    1. I see two things that are wrong. First Soccernet trying to write about football second they have a picture of JDS instead of FF.

    2. I commented earlier today but they seem not to bother reading comments or editing mistakes, one of the two.

    3. interestingly, at, they have a picture of JDS instead of jeffren as well, even though the article is about jeffren. clueless fucks.

  11. is that today? somebody run over to my pad and dvr this for me. shit!

    apt picture. i was golfing w/my boss @ his club yesterday which is why i totally zoned out on this. i didn’t even think this was going to be on tv. :v/

  12. i hate fucking maradumba. did you see after lionel won the Balon D’Or, there were videos of lots of people wishing Messi congrats, maradona was the only one who managed to turn the 15 seconds into praise for himself. “el esta intentando de superar lo que yo hice.” how can someone so idiotic as to say such a thing actually be a NT coach?

  13. Is there a way that the liveblog will be up and running for the game today??? Im stuck at lax for 7 hours till my flight to barcelona for christmas, thankfully i have a game to watch, but getting through these dreadful 7 hours would be much easier with the liveblog…

    1. *

      not for another hour though

  14. //


    1. me either. i heard dudes anounce argentina’s on the pregame show but i can’t find anybody else w/that info.

    2. Kind a disappointing that neither nor EMD has got a leading article about the match.
      I couldn’t find somethin’ on neither…

    1. “of the world”, in catalan, I suppose.

      Kind a few spectators so far… I would have expected at least 60.000!

  15. Unfortunately, no LiveBlog. I am toiling, The I is on vacation, and Hector is absorbing Knowledge. But I’ll throw up a comments post.

  16. Anybody catch the Stuttgart match from this weekend? It’s on ESPN Deportes right now. The field looks absolutely abysmal, perhaps the worst I’ve seen since that sludgefest in Malaga last season. Absolutely absurdly horrible pitch.

    Also, Hleb totally hlebbed the shit out of a Stuttgart move. It made me smile/frown.

  17. from Sport
    lineup: Valdes in goal, Bruno, Puyol, Capdevila and defense Oleguer, Xavi, Busquets and Pique in midfield and a front
    formed by Bojan, Verdú and Sergio García.

    Argentina: Well, Cristian, Otamendi, Demichelis and Pope, Di Maria, Gago, Bolatti and Pastore, Higuain and

Comments are closed.