Barça 0 – Bayern 7, as the aggregate score speaks volumes

Horror at the Camp Nou
Horror at the Camp Nou


So we’re out of the Champion’s League. And there are probably a myriad of ways of looking at this result.

I’m certainly more angry at, and frustrated with, the team. We lacked desire and effort tonight. Today’s match reminded me of the movie Gladiator.. the last fight…where he just fights like a sissy…Distressing and disgraceful. These players aren’t playing for free, as a hobby. We have one of the highest wage bills in Europe – I just woke up at 3 o’clock this morning only to find out I got betrayed by my beloved team. Only one team fought with everything they had to make the final, and it wasn’t us by a long shot. Seeing RM players running and trying everything they had to overcome or at least win the game, and comparing that to “this” game tonight was embarrassing. Pissed off doesn’t come close to describe what I’m feel right now.

Now I hope we start getting rid of dead weight in all areas this summer. It is time to clean house and it needs to start with Tito. Let’s see our record against big teams under Vilanova. Tito seems like he is out of his depth on the European stage. He actually has no idea. I don’t want a coach who takes out Xavi and Iniesta when we are desperately seeking a goal. Being cancer-free has fuck-all to do with football.

Sanchez, Song and Cesc are not good enough. In what way does the purchase of Cesc Fabregas benefit this team? Alway too slow and caught up unaware and disposessed easily. Pedro has looked like a chicken running around the field. There is a growing problem with Alves’ use of the ball. Xavi is half the player he was 2 years ago. We might have the slowest midfield in the universe. I hate it, I really do, when nobody criticizes Iniesta. Sell Messi!


Stop me if you recognize yourself. Of course, there are a myriad ways of feeling about this result.

I feel disappointed because I really hate to see us lose. I feel embarrassed because we did not manage to score a single goal.

I also feel proud. When the sun rose this morning I wrote that I love our club, because it is the most beautiful club in the world. This is as true now as it was then. We have a coach who played in Barça’s youth teams, which was possibly before any of us became culé. He was Pep’s assistant when they led our B-team to promotion and he was there during the most successful four years of our club’s history.

We all loved Tito when he led our team to its best league start ever. We all praised him for his tactical acumen. We respected the humble yet confident manner in which he handles himself in the press conferences. His game-changing substitions made us all wonder how come Pep didn’t listen to him more in the previous four years. Before his relapse occurred he had won 85% of his games. For months he observed training sessions through a webcam. And we are still winning a league in which we are up against the most expensive collection of soccer players in the history of the game.

So pride, disappointment and embarrassment. The only thing I did not feel was surprise. Up until Robben’s goal I believed a comeback was possible, but we all knew it would take just one goal to kill that hope. Piqué saved us three or four times with last ditch tackles in the first half. Nobody should be surprised that we lost again. We did so in Munich. And in Milan. And against M*drid, three times this season.

And every time we lost, what came out of the Barça camp was, “you know, we had one bad game but we are still a great team”. Well, you can’t hide behind a 7-0 ass-whupping over two legs, regardless of the opponent. As a matter of fact, we should be happy, because this aggregate score forces the club, technical staff and players to take a long, hard look in the mirror. 


When a great team like this F.C. Barcelona does lose 7-0 on aggregate, it becomes a merely very good team. And its fans go wild.

 And then there is also this:

So I am a first time poster. Reading forums sometimes is very difficult. Because of the impulsiveness. And the emotions. But I frequent this blog over others because the conversations seems to be more intelligent. 

But I am dismayed at what I am seeing now. All this nonsense about sacking Tito. Don’t forget who you are. You are a supporter of one of the most successful teams to ever grace the planet. You are a supporter of a team about to win the league by double digit points. Abidal is cancer-free. Tito is cancer-free. And yet all this crap. Because we lost to a team that is quite simply better than us. Don’t ever tell me the players don’t give it their all. Because they do. They live for it. They bleed for it. The same way we do. It is more than a club for a reason.

Going into next season adjustments need to be made. Personel-wise and tactically. But it does not start with firing a manager who is about to win La Liga by a historic margin. Don’t forget who you are, cules. Dont forget your identity. We support this club because it means more to us than wins and losses. Don’t ruin what makes it so special.

Som un equip. Visca!


Thank you, xdsm, for your beautiful comment, and welcome to our family, so to speak. You weren’t the only one but today you were the most eloquent. That does not mean we all have to agree with you, of course. Big lossess bring out big emotions, and everybody is welcome to express their opinions. Thank all of you who have provided me with my opening paragraphs. Keep reading, keep commenting. I am as much a BfB fan as a contributor and you, commenters, are a big part of what makes this space so special. I am very much looking forward to our future discussions about the changes that need to be made this summer. But let’s look forward to winning the league first. Congratulations to Bayern Munich, and Visca Barça!


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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. Ok, If I have to blame someone I would prefer to blame Tito. First of all since all this time we don’t have a strategy when Messi is absent. False-9 stuff works only with Messi and it is ridiculous to see Cesc being slotted into that position.

    The big margin of defeat showed us only one thing – that we didn’t deserved to be in the semi-finals. And the reason why we are in semis can be described in one word – Messi. Yup, it turned out to be rather Messy now.

    The great record of Tito Vilanova in the first half of the season is always highlighted when questions are raised about his managerial skills. But in honesty, how many big teams did he manage to beat in that time. We were pretty much second best in the matches against RM. The match against Atletico was turned around by an individual goal from Adriano. Against Sevilla we were lucky to get a red card and then went on to win. Messi was the reason why we were getting brilliant response in the first half. What is his record against big teams in Europe? Milan return leg was the only positive thing, even that happened with Roura in charge.

    “But I am dismayed at what I am seeing now. All this nonsense about sacking Tito. Don’t forget who you are. You are a supporter of one of the most successful teams to ever grace the planet. You are a supporter of a team about to win the league by double digit points. Abidal is cancer-free. Tito is cancer-free. And yet all this crap. Because we lost to a team that is quite simply better than us. Don’t ever tell me the players don’t give it their all. Because they do. They live for it. They bleed for it. The same way we do. It is more than a club for a reason.”
    – what is the point of this statement. We lost to a better team, agreed. At what margin? 7-0. We have the highest wage bill in Europe for Christ’s sake. Don’t give me the usual rhetoric “they gave it all”. They didn’t give a shit. Watch the match again – it was Bartra and Pique who was trying to go forward and make thing happen at times. We are happy that Abidal and Tito has beaten cancer. But here is the big question – what does beating cancer do with coaching? Ever time someone raise questions Vilanova, immediately Cancer is thrown at their face. After that every one keeps quiet. What we saw in the second half of season specially(there was enough evidence of these same in first half whenever we played better teams) has nothing to do with him beating cancer. It showed how clueless at times he is.

    Big overhaul is needed. But it has to start with Vilanova as far as I am concerned.

    • KEVINO17
      May 2, 2013

      The fundamental question is whether Tito is (as part of the Barca system) too close to some of the old guard players. It is a problem as old as team sports. So maybe they need to bring someone in from outside who can be quite ruthless. Not necessarily better, but ruthless.

      • ooga aga
        May 2, 2013

        whatever…this season’s was a record breaking barcelona team before Tito got sick. not only that, but he was arguably the technician behind Pep’s 4 years of success. people looking to blame him sound like spoiled children. sorry, my opinion.

        and dont obsess over the 7-0. it looks bad but we are not actually that far away from bayern. we are a fit messi and a healthy defense from almost being at parity with them. i said almost…cos i think we might do some shopping this summer.

    • jclemmons
      May 2, 2013

      I disagree. As Zonal Marking said in his very good piece on last night’s match-up, “…while Vilanova has returned to the bench in the last few weeks, the long-term effect of the three-month period Barcelona spent without him shouldn’t be underestimated. Management is about more than instructing players immediately before, and during, individual matches, and any side’s season would suffer without their coach emphasising important principles day in, day out for such an extended period.”

      Simply, put. We should give him another season. Give him some money, some new signings, a chance to reflect on what exactly is happening to the direction of our football, and go from there. Any utterly new direction, might ultimately risk a kind of player rebellion reminiscent of Madrid.

      • Our problem this season was very much there even in the initial period of the season. People suddenly look and say that we miss a defense and all. The fact was that we were struggling to keep clean sheet with even Puyol, Pique, Alves and Alba played in defense. The fundamental problem why which we struggle in attack and defense this season is the lack of pressing. That arise from the fact that we weren’t compressing the pitch and because of that our three lines(attack, midfield and defense) remain far apart from each other. That issue was very much there from the beginning. What did Tito did this much time to solve it? Simple answer is, he has no idea to solve it.

        Don’t obsess about 7-0? I will give more results to obsess about. Remember the 3-1 defeat against RM at home, where basically we were praying for them not to score for the last 20 minutes. Remember the La Liga clash at Bernebeu where we looked absolutely pathetic against a RM side which missed major players. I know, it was all about some inches! Remember the 1st Leg against Milan. Remember the Sevilla clash in first half of season. Remember the two legged tie against PSG.

        • chop
          May 2, 2013

          “The fact was that we were struggling to keep clean sheet with even Puyol, Pique, Alves and Alba played in defense.”

          Is that supposed to be a formidable defensive line?

          Puyol virtually always has a knock on him and is extremely old. He’s lost his pace and his vertical jumping ability. That was 2 years ago.

          Pique’s form also dropped a long time ago which is why Pep went with Puyol-Masch over him in the CL final against Manchester United. That also happened 2 years ago.

          Alves and Alba are both top fullbacks but together they are way too offensive and lack height leaving the defense ridiculously overexposed. This is just obvious. Is there any other top club that has such an offensive combination of fullbacks? When Abidal was in there, the balance was great but as much as people like to talk about his return I think they must be joking. He’s past 30 and had more than a year lay off due to the cancer. You cannot come back to flight football after that. It just doesn’t happen.

          Meanwhile Barca keep on adding midfielders.

          The starting midfield is Xavi/Iniesta/Busquets.

          The backup midfield that gets precious few minutes because Barca hates resting players is extremely good and far more talented than almost any other club’s Mascherano/Fabregas/Thiago.

          That’s 6 top midfielders.

          On top of that, you can always drop Messi back to be an attacking midfielder, e.g. the 5-0 against Real Madrid and let’s not forget Keita who was perfect as a last resort midfielder.

          Yet Barca goes and purchases Song, another top midfielder who could start for almost any Champions League club, to rot on the bench while leaving the CB pairing woefully inadequate.

          As for the lack of pressing, I think it has to do with Xavi, Villa, Alves, Messi, and Iniesta. None of those players press like they do. Xavi and Villa are simply too old. Alves still has lots of energy but he’s not quite the Tasmanian Devil he used to be. Messi is goal hunting a bit and plays way too many meaningless minutes. Iniesta, I don’t know. Maybe he’s just lost his hunger a bit.

          • May 2, 2013

            Pique and Masch started the CL final vs. Man UTD. Puyol was on the bench.

        • I agree with you on many points, even if I dont want to blame Tito at all. He should get one more season to prove himselves, in which he is absolutely healthy.

          However, I am shocked at Tito’s response in one factor – How much I hate Mourinho, but I liked the way he reacted after the first leg against BD saying we will die on the pitch and he made his players fight fully for the second leg. I am a bit disappointed with Tito in this respect. It would have been nice if the team showed some fighting spirit y’day. Especially after a good first half, when our defence looked excellent, how can they go down like that.

          We have too much space between our three lines – is something that I have been feeling for a long time. When this gap is too big, we suffer and it is Messi who saved us.

          Yday, in the first half our defence looked excellent Pique was on form and Bartra – I felt sorry for him that he didnt get enough time before, and even Song was good. But what happened in the second half.

          Our midfield maestros – especially Iniesta and Xavi were very poor yday. In the absence of Messi, these are guys whom the team look upto, but they were really poor.

          I am hoping we just learn from our mistakes and come back stronger next season.

    • “But in honesty, how many big teams did he manage to beat in that time.”
      How many did we actually play? He can’t prove himself against big teams if he doesn’t play them.

      “We were pretty much second best in the matches against RM.”
      That’s not how I recall it.

      In the Super Cup, we were definitely the better side in the first leg, and showed heart in the second leg despite going down a man early on. In the first league match, we managed a draw with Madrid despite having a defense absolutely decimated with injuries – IIRC, Alba was the only normal starter. I don’t recall him being around for the other three, which were very poor performances.

      “The match against Atletico was turned around by an individual goal from Adriano.”

      It most certainly was not. Adriano did score the equalizer in that game, but we went on to win 4-1. I’m pretty sure you’re thinking about the first Valencia match, which was a narrow 1-0 win with a goal from Adriano. It happens sometimes, especially against good teams. You can’t win every game decisively.

      “Against Sevilla we were lucky to get a red card and then went on to win.”
      We were lucky to get the red card, but we didn’t win because of it. We won because of Vilanova’s substitutions and because the team showed great heart.

      “Messi was the reason why we were getting brilliant response in the first half.”
      It actually wasn’t. Messi’s goals and assists were not responsible for every win by a long shot. The brilliance in the first half of the season was down to Vilanova’s tweaking the system, making great substitutions, and making the players feel fire they lacked last season.

      “What is his record against big teams in Europe?”
      Very limited and filled with caveats.

      He had only just returned before PSG, and he hasn’t been back for very long right now, either. He didn’t just take a vacation – he was off being treated for cancer, and it’s also clear that the players have suffered without his leadership. It’s difficult to turn all of that around in a few weeks, and against PSG he didn’t even have that.

      I would personally prefer not to draw conclusions based on such an unusual situation.

  2. KEVINO17
    May 2, 2013

    Sorry, but stopped reading when you said that Song isn’t good enough. He’s the best holding midfielder in the world (much better than Busquets) and he’s the only thing that held Barca together against Munich.
    The real problem at Barca is that there are two many players who play on reputation and keep out players like Song. The fact that he has sat on the bench for most of the season is pretty telling. But, fortunately, after a game like this there will be an overhaul (as you say). It would be nuts though to make Song part of that overhaul.

    • ooga aga
      May 2, 2013

      kevin017 you need to read the whole post before commenting.

      • KEVINO17
        May 2, 2013

        Nope – if Song isn’t good enough for Barca, then nobody is.

        • ooga aga
          May 2, 2013

          dude, hello, Levon was saying that sarcastically. you dont get the sarcasm if you only read the beginning of the post. which is why you should read it.

        • barca96
          May 2, 2013

          Kevin, are you related to Song by any chance? 🙂 Your support of him is incredible.

    • May 2, 2013

      Song is a good player, and certainly more physical than Busquets.

      Better? not even close.

    • Blau-Grenade
      May 2, 2013

      Song was the best Barca player last night. He played at a level above Busi by a long yard.
      Not only was Song left on the bench, but also players like Bartra/Thiago/Cesc/Montoya/Tello. These are the youth, the future of the team. The youth should be given a bigger chance over players like Villa/Xavi/Puyol who are clearly in their decline.
      The defeat is entirely the fault of the Coaching staff for not using the right tactics. They should have played more defensively.

    • Jim
      May 2, 2013

      You keep saying that he is the best holding mid in the world as if it were a fact. He’s not. I thought he was great last night but that’s the first time I’ve thought so and even then he lost the ball in silly situations. Those players you disparage are regarded the world over as the best midfielders anywhere. You can disagree as much as you like but Song is nowhere near them in public regard, not just at Barca.

  3. Barcaman
    May 2, 2013

    Thanks for your post/review Levon.Got Hectored. But here is my comment from the previous post:

    First time poster – but an avid follower of the blog. I was a general football fan with no affiliations or love for one club until I was captivated by Pep’s Barca in 08/09 season and since then, I’ve been in love with this club. I am no statistician nor that good at analyzing tactics and other aspects of the game but it is obvious that we’ve been on a downward trajectory for the last couple of years due to a dynamic interplay of many factors – cancer issues, adaptation of other teams on how to play us, negative effects of messidependecia, slow counter-reaction by our team to the barca antidote etc. But today, we lacked a cutting edge and incision. We’ve got huge amounts of talent – if the players really wanted it that bad then we could have seen a couple of goals, a comeback may be a stretch but a goal or two shouldn’t be too much to ask. Don’t tell me a determined Iniesta cannot create some magic that could give David Villa, Cesc or whoever a decent chance on goal. However good Javi Martinez is at marking him, Ini could daze him if he really wanted. But the collective didn’t have it in them, and for whatever reason, the team (and also the individual players) never tried hard enough.Back to the drawing board. Yes, we need change, but I don’t think firing Tito or selling players and getting rid Rosell (could we donate him to Madrid? jk)is the automatic answer.It’s not that simple. And this result hurts, but blaming this individual or that helps anything. What makes BFB unique is usually the intelligence of the conversations, usually backed up by logical reasons. But for some reason, we’re just casting stones at the management/players. Give credit where it is due, then really explain why you believe getting rid of Tito (and getting who?) is the best option for us – keep in mind all the factors that come into play (the continuity issue, keeping up with the Barca tradition, adjustment issues – being a wonderful manager for some other team doesn’t necessarily imply the same case with Barca – ask Mourinho, Villas Boaz, Benitez etc). I think Tito deserves another season to make his case – then we can judge him properly. And the way we were toothless without Messi, Neymar would be welcome, and of course we ought to shore up our defence + Gk. But come on folks, this is an embarrassing result but we’re acting too spoiled based on our reactions. At the beginning of the season, our mods were super-pessimistic, so were most of the readers, winning La Liga should be a consolation. Although we whimpered out of Europe (really painful), we can rise up and learn from this. Let us just not make clarion calls for extreme changes, so to speak. Some chill pill fellas! Kxevin, Euler, Blitzen, Levon, NZM et al …what are your thoughts on the game/semis and our weaknesses/proposed changes to this team?

  4. It’s so surprising to see we play the same system even when Messi is absent. We don’t adapt the system at all to fit other players. We have a coach who believe that Cesc or someone is capable of doing what Messi does. If it is true, then why people keep on referring him as the Best Player ever.

    We needed a system where we could get the maximum out of Iniesta when Messi is absent. Yesterday the game called for someone at an advanced role to just run at the Bayern defense for so much time. The only one who could do that was Iniesta, but he was brilliantly marshaled and kept away from back line by Martinez. At least after the first goal we could have moved Iniesta further up and played the two striker combination of Villa and Sanchez in front of him. But Vilanova took everyone off and made sure that we end up with another humiliation.

    Also why was Tello given a chance yesterday. He could have at least show some pace.

    • chop
      May 2, 2013

      Agree completely. The funny thing is the Barcelona’s obsession with the whole false 9 thing was made specifically for Messi. Remember Pep’s comment about wasting him a bit by playing him as a winger.

      Also, when Barca was at its best, they never played Messi as False 9 every single game. There was a lot of variation with Eto sometimes playing as a striker and Messi as a winger. Also remember matches like against RM and Man Utd when Messi played as an extra midfielder.

      Now Barcelona has forgot how to play any other way. Messi only plays as a false 9 and even when he’s absent, they force DM, Fabregas, to take his place.

      The team has gotten too dependent on Messi for goal scoring and their deference to him is hurting things.

      It’s perhaps time to transition Messi from false 9 into the attacking midfielder role that everyone said he would eventually move into and which he already performs for Argentina.

    • May 2, 2013

      We continue to play the same system even with Messi absent because the breadth of skill sets on the team has been shrinking rapidly and we don’t have the players to play a more traditional 4-3-3 like in ’09 or a 3-4-3 like last season.

      The template of the team became almost holy this season – the one match where it was changed – Milan second leg we looked excellent.

      The fact remains that we need to expand the template this summer, and to do that certain purchases (specifically a true Striker) are needed.

  5. rg23
    May 2, 2013

    I am just as bummed as the next cule for the loss. But I am kind of glad that the defeat came in such a huge margin. Not a single scored in the tie… Down 0-7.

    I prefer that score a lot more than us attempting the remontada, getting close and then going out anyways by only being a goal down. Then we would have swept our problems under the rug and justified the result as just a minor glitch decided by one bad away leg. Our problems are obviously far more than “just one bad away leg”. So in a way I am glad we also faced a huge defeat at home. Yes it hurts real bad as a cule… But sometimes you need that bitter medicine to fix yourself.

    A defeat this big serve as that bitter medicine.
    The board, coaching staff, and players will all need to look at this and know that changes need to be done. This isn’t about luck anymore, or about refereeing decisions.

    This is about a club finding where it really stands in Europe. We shouldn’t have to throw in a Messi in a wheelchair just to narrowly beat PSG. Or require massive remontadas against Milan. We shouldn’t be comprehensively beaten by Madrid everytime we play them.
    That still makes us one heck of a good team, but not the best team in the world.
    It makes us as good as a Milan and a PSG. But behind Bayern and Madrid.
    Yes I know we are winning the league, but we did get owned in the head to head games multiple times.
    That’s where we stand today. We need to get this notion of “best club in the world” out of our heads and get to work. And then reclaim that title just like we did when Pep walked in.
    Hard work, desire, intelligence and tactical innovation. We will be there again. I am sure. Visca!

  6. jclemmons
    May 2, 2013

    I’m a bit confused by the Gladiator reference, for as I recall he fought the last fight after having been surreptitiously stabbed by the emperor. (Or are you saying we’re the Emperor? Or that we’ve been metaphorically “stabbed” by injuries/cancers/child births all season? Come to think, wasn’t it the movie Gladiator that Pep used as motivation before the 2009 CL Final?)

    Anyway, the game. More disappointing than last week, in my opinion. We knew the occasion was big, the injuries large, and yet we came out playing as if we hadn’t learned a lesson from the first leg. Seriously, why do we persist with a Messi-less “False 9” format that couldn’t even muster up a goal against the mighty Paris Saint German? Were Pedro and Villa our best options against a stout Bayern defense? For a team praised for its ingenuity and formlessness, Barcelona has increasingly become rather predictable.

    But what’s even scarier (to me at least) is that this Champions League campaign feels less like an unfortunate matter of getting tactics and team selection wrong, but rather something disconcertingly deeper. I’m even willing to discard the issues about fitness and rotation that many others will and have brought up–not that they are anything to brush over, of course. Rather, plainly put: this particular Barcelona Project has seemed to gone a bit far up its own arse, that is hurtling itself towards a kind of shimmering ideal that requires an absolute perfection of player and form to achieve proper functioning. Fortunately, our players have been able to do that time and time again, but even the slightest of dropping off and we seem to produce…well, this.

    Just look at the ease at which Bayern creates. The second goal: one through-ball to Ribery and a goal. For us? Sixteen backheels and inch-perfect balls in a six-meter square and a barn-storming Messi shot. Somewhere down the line of YouTube rondos and cringeworthy “tiki taka” pronunciations, Barcelona became less of an evolutionary project than a routinized ideal. You can blame Rossell. You can blame Guardiola. You can blame the players. Whoever. But it’s painfully obvious. I know this sounds like overreaction for a team that seems to have little trouble on the domestic front (although, that’s more of Madrid’s doing than anything–IMO) and probably has only a half-dozen serious competitors in Europe, but the trend won’t get any better.

    • Eric THE EYE Wynalda
      May 2, 2013

      Vilanova strikes me as a pragmatist. Although the standards of player versatility and integration are so high, I’m compelled – for whatever reason – to believe Vilanova will address it. I doubt he prefers to steward Pep’s design; rather, he’d like to win with his own style. Things will change this summer, let’s get excited.

      • Agreed. I saw a pragmatist in the first half of the season, and I’m excited to see him again next season and in the summer transfer window.

  7. xdxm
    May 2, 2013


    You’re right. Beating cancer does have nothing to do with coaching. It’s no excuse by any means. But it gives you some perspective about what is important. I agree that the team needs to reassess itself. But we need to reassess ourselves as fans. Because our expectations have become absurdly high.

    • ooga aga
      May 2, 2013

      yes. judging by the comments here, we are entitled, apparently, to being the best team in the world.

      winning the league isnt good enough. and no excuse that several of our best players were injured! what! another team better than us? im going to barcelona right now to tell Tito what an ass he is!

      that not a fan, thats a spoiled brat.

    • Seriously! Have your expectation touched rock bottom? It looks like many here does not even appreciate the extend of defeat. Yup, may be I have a higher expectation about this team. I have an expectation that the team will not get beaten 7-0. I have an expectation that we will create some chances of interest. Now if that means that I have an unfair expectation from the team, then so be it.

      • Momo
        May 2, 2013

        Agreed the 7-0 is the really shocking part. Even with all the injuries, a club like barca should not lose by that margin and look so toothless. Embarrassing really, we looked like Arsenal light.

        Pointing out the obvious doesn’t make you a spoiled fan.

        • Barcaman
          May 2, 2013

          I don’t think anyone is trying to overlook the embarrassing loss. Our team is definitely better than that and should be held to higher standards, but calling for an axing of the manager or massive exits of some players is overstating the problem. Yes, we do need change, but not to the extent being implied here…and that’s being spoiled fans.We have to appreciate the underlying issues, reflect on them and then make calls for the right changes, not just crying for the manager’s head because we lost by such a margin – which is not to say we can’t question him. My 5cts

          • Completely agree.

            I think the problem is that people are looking for scapegoats, when unfortunately the situation is more complicated than that. It’s nice to see that not everyone is having that kneejerk reaction, though.

  8. ooga aga
    May 2, 2013

    De esta manera, el técnico ha explicado los motivos de los cambios de Xavi e Iniesta: “Teníamos que remontar seis goles y creía que en ese momento no se podía remontar. Xavi ha estado durante este tiempo con molestias y he pensado que el domingo tenemos un partido importantísimo”.

    “we had to score 6 goals and at that moment i was believing that we could not score them. xavi has had discomfort all along and i decided that we have a very important game on sunday.”

    glad this guy is in charge rather than some of the armchair QBs posting here…

    • Tsivoman
      May 2, 2013

      “glad this guy is in charge rather than some of the armchair QBs posting here…”
      This statement seems to suggest we are not suppose to express our opinions because we are not professional coaches, which then defeats the purpose of having a blog with a comments section doesn’t it?

      If “Xavi had a discomfort all along” then why was he on the pitch in the first place? Such revelations are what’s causing these questions be asked of Tito.

      We are not asking for Tito to be sacked.

      It just bothers me that a blog is written with a comment section and yet we are some how suppose so agree with it with no objections.
      If “armchair QBs” as you point out are not needed here, then why have a comments section?

      • barca96
        May 2, 2013

        Ooga aaga, get off your high horse buddy. It’s been going on for quite some time now. You feel that you’re such a good fan that doesn’t complain and doesn’t have high expectations, that’s fine to me. But Don’t come and try to tell to tell people not to post or trying go create rivalry with Jim>BA type of comment.

        Why do you even need to create that type of division? It doesn’t feel nice even if I’m not BA.

        And aren’t we all armchair fans? Or do you feel that you’re better than us here who doesn’t have a chance to watch the team live?

    • Oh boy, here comes the perfect fan. If Xavi was carrying a knock all the time what the f@ck was he doing starting against Bilbao.

  9. georgjorge
    May 2, 2013

    Amen, Levon.

    I stopped reading yesterday’s comments because very upset people often don’t make for interesting reading (myself included). But I think in a few days’ time it will get a lot more interesting around here. Myself, can’t wait to see how players and management are going to respond to this defeat – if I judge them correctly, next season they might just surprise us (in a positive way!) with “the new and improved Barca”.

  10. xdxm
    May 2, 2013

    I have an expectation to win just as much as anyone else. We are a supremely talented team. Of course we should always win. Or we should damned sure at least compete. But once Robben scored that first goal the game was over. Whether you like it or not.

    I understand your pride is hurt. But there are other things at stake. That is if La Liga still means anything to you. Which clearly it doesn’t. Suggesting to me that club is bigger than the league itself. If that is the perception maybe that is what we should be talking about.

  11. stefan2k
    May 2, 2013

    Fuck! 0-7 … Pique should have never shaved his head!!


    Seriously, we will soon be back…

    • KEVINO17
      May 2, 2013

      Yes, sometimes it’s the very simple explanations (smiley – I don’t know how to generate one)

  12. Gogah
    May 2, 2013

    Well, well.. What a beating that was!
    Apparently we last lost a European game at home over 3 years back 1-0 to Rubin Kazan. Ever since, the Camp Nou has been an impenetrable fortress. Here’s more, we last suffered a similar defeat (7 goals) in 1946 – 67 years back! It’s safe to say that this tie was one of the worst defeats in our history!

    But, the bigger you are, the harder you fall.

    Next year, we will be back guys. Hopefully some of y’all will still be fans then. We will not be the best by default. But we can compete once again without a sense of entitlement and with the sort of “lightness” and “want” we had in ’09.

  13. Rittick_cule
    May 2, 2013

    Well I’m gutted about the result… Yes 7-0 is appalling!!! But against a strong bayern side the injuries and accumulated fatigue has taken its toll!!! People hav every right to criticize the team but they should not just brush aside our league title as mere”m*drid lost it”.. That is wrong!!! I can say if we hadnt had the injuries and had we had a fit first 11 there no way bayern with all there talent cud beat us!!! But that wud be disservice to bayern. We may not be the best anymr but we can agn become the best!!! I’m sure we’ll be back hungrier and better next season

  14. Wow. Reading the comments here, and in the previous thread makes me wonder if Barca aren’t better served by scrolling through these blogs and picking up coaching tips. There are so many emotions and all completely understandable. But take a minute to think it over, wait a day or two for it to sink in, and then objectively judge where you stand on this team.

    I don’t think people appreciate the task that was presented to this side when the draw was made in Nyon. They have been playing non stop, high intensity, WORLD CLASS football for 5 years now. FIVE YEARS. Take a moment to really understand that. And when i say “World Class” I mean, “possibly the best the World has EVER seen – Class”. Starting with Euro 2008, the core of this team has played every tournament there is, and progressed to the latter stages of each and every one of them, winning most. Then, they come up against the one team that comes close to being as technically sound and cohesive as they themselves are. Except, they are also physically far more robust. They walk all over us. If both teams were coming into this one fresh and at full strength, this would still have been a herculean challenge. As it happened, Barca are weary and tired. Tired of beating off their ultra-motivated opponents with a stick over the last five years in order to maintain their incredible domination of the sport. Weary from the travels that success naturally begets. Talent does not dry up over night. Technique does not leave you when your’e not looking. But it doesn’t matter how much money you throw at a human being, he will get tired one day. It doesn’t matter that he’s shitting quarters, he will grow old over time, and this is as tough on the mind as it is on the body. When this happens, no matter how hard you try, you will not achieve your goal, especially if there’s an adversary of the quality of the Bavarians in your way.

    Don’t berate this team for not trying. You don’t know that they did, but you don’t know that they didn’t either. Based on the last five years, I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

    So, does this absolve them of all blame? No. Does this mean that a vacation in Hawaii will mean a treble next season? Maybe not(But we’ll never know because this team flies off to Asia soon after returning from Brazil having played the Confederations Cup. Rest? What’s that?). What it does mean however, is that this team now gets to start from scratch. We get to be just another competitor again. The target we had painted on our backs is now fading. The expectations will be lowered. Many ‘fans’ will leave. This extraordinary team, having reached stratospheric heights will now be able to return to Earth and refuel. Allow them to do that and watch in wonder as they take flight again next season.

    P.S. – If you think Tito Vilanova, the coach, doesn’t deserve another season because he’s clueless, then your’e clueless. If anything, he will be a better coach next season. He was with Pep every step of the way and probably never got the credit due to him when we won what we did under Pep. If after *those* 4 years with Pep and 1 year where he won the League is not enough to convince you, then I don’t know what will, because your’e right, the mental strength and fortitude that you gain by beating Cancer, twice, has nothing to do with leading a group of men to victory.

    P.P.S – This is not meant to justify or romanticize this cataclysmic loss. It is just to provide some perspective, which seems to have been lost by some cules. I’m not judging though, we’re all entitled to our reactions after the beat down we just suffered.

    Visca Barca!

  15. KEVINO17
    May 2, 2013

    If you want a pretty good explanation for Barca’s present predicament, just look at the barrage of criticism on this blog and elsewhere at players (Song, Sanchez et al) who didn’t come from La Masia and are therefore somehow inferior, even when they’re not.

    • ooga aga
      May 2, 2013

      right. the fact that some people on this fan blog may or may not have an anti-masia bias actually explains whether or not the team can beat Bayern Munich.

  16. May 2, 2013

    song was by all means our best performer on the night only tightly contested by pique. song shouldnt be mentioned in thesame breath as pedro, pedro is a flop so is tito.

    tito needs to get his head examined, i thought the only reason we conceded four at allainz arena was because bartra was playing, how come bartra started a game we need to score four and not concede one? i dont understand it, bartra is no where near top prospect and he wont be getting games at stoke or anywhere else in epl.

    who ever wrote this post is a song and sanchez hater and i hate you for it, song played his heart out and sanchez cant possibly turn a game of this magnitude on its heads alone.

    however, iniesta wasnt his usual self as was xavi but i really think valdes should have done better atleast for the second goal. its true we need massive clearance tito has to be number 1, pedro has to go too, villa and valdes are already set to go and bartra should go on a two year loan spell anywhere else but in our team. song should be having equal games as busi not playing second fiddle to busquets all year.

    dont want to sound like a troll buh song has more xavi attributes than cesc and i think mildfield of song, busi and iniesta really looks flexible.

    a lot of you have different ways of handling this loss, the above is how i’m handling mine. how i’m i doing?

    • KEVINO17
      May 2, 2013

      Agee totally. Song would absolutely boss the central midfield, just ahead of Busquets.

    • aditya@barcelona
      May 2, 2013

      Adding to kess.. indeed song played impresive given the lack of chances he gets to play regularly bt in same breath bosquets has his own indispensabilty given the style of play brac follows.. i have certain few and very basic things to point out which shallcover the reason n remedies..

      1)barca dosnt hav single player who can take shots from long range…cmon if u hav money y nt go aftr players like kroos,ba etc..
      2) the tikki-tikka has become a fad.. bt lets not start it with our own goalkeepr ( its horror to c game going bak to keepr most of the time when u r 4-0 down in the tie)
      3)almost evri team on earth know on earth how to score against barca by now.. its simple.. play airball or countr atack…. DUDE bring some tall ,burly defndrs like luiz,bruno-alves,cahill etc)
      4) messi is no doubt central to barca bt lets not forget messi is not barca.. barca must hav plans on how to succed wihtout him..)
      n yeah i may be doubtful abt othrs bt this BATRA lad must nt play for barca atleast not in A team..

  17. Nick
    May 2, 2013

    Rest alone will not help. We do need a shuffle. Why don’t you guys create a poll with names of all current players and those who have been linked with our club? Just to change the usual posting format once in a while.

    • True. Its not just about rest. But the lack of it results in not being able to execute the system optimally. I’m still not entirely convinced that the problems are systemic. We played a great first half(again, when fresher) and I dare say if a fit Messi had played, we might even have scored. The problem is we need another focal point for the system. Rest and a new threat should go a long way in improving this team.

  18. Nick
    May 2, 2013

    Here’s an excerpt from MD on players being whistled by the crowd.

    “Anoche, tras el 0-1, al final de una pesada digestión, el Camp Nou silbó a Cesc, le retiró el crédito y le señaló como uno de los responsables de este descenso evidente del Barça, antes finalista de la Champions y ahora barrido en las semifinales.

    Recobrado el aliento, también Villa se llevó pitos, Alexis salió y jugó en medio de la más absoluta indiferencia, casi como a Pedro, el alma del equipo en otros tiempos muy lejanos. De Valdés ya existe hace meses la sensación de que no juega para este equipo.”

    • TITO
      May 2, 2013

      You should show this to one of the posters here, who clearly wasn’t listening well last evening although he was there watching the game.

      • icemel
        May 2, 2013

        @fotobirajesh a humble translation attempt:

        “Last night, after the 0-1, it was at last indigestible, Camp Nou whistled Cesc, withdrew their benefit of the doubt and pointed him out as one of those responsible for this apparent decline of Barca, from previous ‘Champions League Finalist’ to now ‘swept in the semifinals.’

        Regaining his breath, Villa also took whistles, Alexis came out and played in the midst of it with absolute indifference, almost as did Pedro, the soul of the team in other very distant times. With Valdes the feeling has existed for months that he does not play for this team.”

  19. Roberto Senyera
    May 2, 2013

    Disappointed that the team and club capitulated. First time that I can say that about Barcelona. It’s as bizarre as it is perplexing.

    The league is basically done and dusted — 11 points up with 15 points left to play for. Messi doesn’t start but is on the bench after playing 20 minutes and scoring on Saturday. Xavi and Iniesta are subbed off when the game on the night is still in the balance. It’s one thing to lose a tie. It’s another giving up in front of your own fans in a CL SF. What exactly are Messi, Xavi, and Iniesta resting for?

    At least try and win the match on the evening. At least score a goal. That’s what a great team and a great club should do. That’s what that other team from Spain did the night before. The white team fought to the bitter end. It pains me to say it and I take no pleasure in doing so. That’s what we lacked yesterday. For all the joy this club, and especially this team, have given me throughout the years it was the first time they have truly disappointed me. They capitulated. Where were those red peppers/cajones/onions last night? It’s one thing to lose. It’s another to lose big. But to do so waving the white flag isn’t acceptable. Not from where I sit.

    Those are my two cents.

    Adios Big Ears (this year).

    Reload in the summer. Do some shopping. Get a world class CB (with pace), GK, and winger (with pace) that can be relied on to score consistently to take some of the load off Messi. That is the bare minimum. Give Tito another season. If it goes tits up then bring in a guy like Bielsa.

    That’s my five cents.

    Visca Barça.

    • barca96
      May 2, 2013

      Your 2nd and 3rd paragraph is exactly what I’ve been saying last night!

      But some people doesn’t seem to understand the difference in the criticism.

      It’s fine to me to lose a match. But it’s not fine to me to wave the white flag after going 1-0 down. I get that we lost the tie but at least try to win or at least draw. Show some belief to the 90k fans. Show that you lose trying.

        • Roberto Senyera
          May 2, 2013

          Some fans, I’m sure, even travelled and paid not only for tickets, but flight costs, hotel costs, souvenirs, etc.

  20. bedhead
    May 2, 2013

    This team proved itself to be the best in spain and in the top 4 in all of europe. Not good enough, huh? I can appreciate that some might say that some tweeking needs to be done, but you don’t fire a coach for that record EVER. Are you kidding me, people? Illogical. We can’t always be the best even jif we spend the most money (ask madrid how that worked out for them). Most times you simply can’t win if you meet a team on a high when you’re on a low. Did anyone seriously think we had a chance? Yesterdays Barca did try their best, collectively our makeshift players plus our tired stars put on the best they could. Sheesh. Whats so hard to understand? No messi, Puyol, Alba, Busquets, an injured xavi, coach who has been missing due to illness against a very healthy, physical, hungry Munich. No contest. Let’s discuss some tweeks and lets stop acting like chicken little. You cant win them all and sometimes you lose big because the discrepancy was large at this time. But, as ankther poster said, we were a few players away from winning

    • Are we really the best team in Spain? We were best team in Spain like Madrid was last season. We met them many times last season and always had the upper hand barring the last encounter. We lost that league title. The same thing happened with Real this side. They stumbled in the beginning and we never allowed them to recover. But every time we played them we came second, at least in most matches. Then came the humiliation – 3-1 at our home and then a 2-1 away with their second string side. In all those matches if we look at the number of chances we created, we will understand the problem. But then we had Messi doing things to cover up for that.

      Even with Puyol in defense we looked absolutely confused at times this season. So I am not going to buy the argument Puyol’s presence would have changed that.

      “Did anyone seriously think we had a chance?”
      Nope . Everyone hoped for something to happen. At least produce a display which could make us proud. What we saw was total shame. But still many has been happy here because of our past performances. A 7-0 is a total humiliation, however you dress it up. And the truth was that it could have been worse than that. And at no point we looked interested or remotely close in scoring also.

      Look at what RM did they fought till the end. But then it’s too much to ask, because if we ask you will call as Spoiled Brats.

  21. TITO
    May 2, 2013

    I think most of us are saying that we don’t want to see Tito go, including me. What surprises me is his reactions during the first half of the season and this second part.
    At least to me it looks like he was more focused in what he was doing those 3 and a half months. Resting players, rotating, making the right subs etc.
    Another thing, did they give their best or not, we will not know that, but surely to a lot of people it looked like they surrendered when there was no need for it.
    And if they did tried their best…with the players in our disposal (which most of Europe can only dream about it) and that’s not enough to beat a team (be it Bayern – regardless) than there’s something to think about

  22. chillipod
    May 2, 2013

    Well, we’re all glad that’s over. I’m not sure the belief was truly there in all 11 starters although I took some satisfaction from the performance of Bartra and Pique, who looked up for the challenge.
    Not sure how many others would receive pass marks on the night. Offensively it was all rather lacklustre and somewhat disjointed. The mythical “x factor” flow deserted us and it was hard to watch Iniesta/Pedro/Cesc and Villa just burrow into a seemingly impenetrable German wall play after play after play.
    I’ve just been asked by a Chelsea season ticket holding friend whether Pep saw this coming. I’ve mulled it over and replied that it’s entirely probable. The high energy ‘playstation’ (copyright Mr A. Wenger) football that we have been treated to/spoiled with in the last few years is akin to a Formula 1 car, it’s exciting, on the edge,breathtaking and unstoppable but yet utterly dependent on a huge number of variables coming together and working in perfect harmony. Vettel’s Red Bull doesn’t win every race, FCB don’t win every game. In a season that started so brightly (Pep who?) we have, like the aforementioned car, developed issues of varying degrees of seriousness that now require attention. Finger pointing is a natural reaction by some and is to be expected but when we eventually cross the finishing line in la Liga the hard work will commence (daresay it’s well underway).
    Defensively there is surgery to be done, we’re all agreed on that. A new GK given VV’s apparent determination to stretch his wings, and I would suggest 2 x CBs (even if Abi continues his age and health count against him and nature now has the upper hand on our beloved Capi’s battle weary suit of armour too. Personally, 2 x CBs would (for me) then allow us to move Masche back into his natural role. Graeme Souness made a terrific point last night on TV, he said that Centre Backs that slide in all the time tell him that their reading of the game is poor and whilst I think Masche has been a more than adequate defender I feel his bite would be more useful in the middle of the pitch.
    In the midfield we must first decide on how we want to play next season, the “Cesc conundrum” must be solved, definitively, without unbalancing the ship. Either we integrate him properly or we will continue to see these varying levels of performance.
    Xavi’s days are sadly numbered, age and injury (plus game volume) count against him too and although he remains a demigod we must (through gritted teeth and red eyes) accept that he is not the future. I’m not qualified to decide whether it’s Cesc, Thiago or a.n.other who will pick up that baton, but I know it needs to be decided.
    At the top of the pitch it seems Neymar is coming, that will lighten the load on Messi considerably. Which means we have a group of highly skilled, paid and dedicated employees who must support them. Most clubs would love to have the problem we do, but the Lexus/Pedro/Villa/Tello situation IS a problem and once again a solution must be found, for some it will be via the exit door.
    As if that wasn’t difficult enough…critical to the above is how we fare in the selling stakes. There isn’t a massive trunk of euros waiting to be emptied and Neymar is gonna swallow up most (all) of the currently available funds. I would suggest that we need to generate 30m euros at least because (a) Teams know what we need (b) when Barca come a knocking prices go a rocketing.
    An interesting summer lies ahead. It’s been a season of highs and lows and I’m onboard for the next one.
    Visca Barca!

  23. May 2, 2013

    “Sorry, but stopped reading when you said that Song isn’t good enough.”

    Kevin, how are you gonna comment on an article without reading it? Imagine people would ignore your comments the moment you write something that does not fit their worldview. Plenty of people around who do not believe that Song is the second coming of Christ on earth. I agree he’s a good player, though, which should not be any news to our regular readers.

    “I’m a bit confused by the Gladiator reference”

    I think that we are the emperor in the Gladiator reference.

    Thing is, and I’ll put this in capital letters not to yell at people but for these words to jump out clearly:


    I usually don’t read the comment section before writing a review, but I had a feeling that there would be a lot of strong reactions yesterday. I copy-pasted phrases from the comments and used them for the first three paragraphs.

    Does that mean that I think all the people I copy-pasted are asses? No, not at all. The words are yours, but I put them in a stronger context.

    Some things I agree with (“There is a growing problem with Alves’ use of the ball”) and some I don’t (“Sell Messi” being an obvious example). As for Tito I understand and share some of the criticism but I don’t think to fire him this summer is the best course of action.

  24. mom4
    May 2, 2013

    Rise up this mornin’,
    Smiled with the risin’ sun,
    Three little birds
    Pitch by my doorstep
    Singin’ sweet songs
    Of melodies pure and true,
    Sayin’,”This is my message to you-ou-ou:”

    Don’t worry about a thing,
    ‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.

    One of my kids is a Man U. fan (yeah I know, don’t get me started). Out of the CL at the round of 16. Out of the domestic cups. But they won the league. Success. Joy.

    Let’s enjoy the rest of the season and be happy with the league title. It IS a big deal.

    THEN, let’s make some WELL THOUGHT OUT changes. Buy some defenders who, hey, may actually be defenders, and some put-gut-retching-fear-in-the-heart-of-the-opponent’s-defense type forwards (notice the distict lack of buy midfielders here).

    Also, re-evaluate some rotation practices. You know you’ll be needing your depth eventually so give them some reps earlier. Xavi should not play as many games as he does and I hate that we know of at least one game where he tried to play with pain shots. Players carrying injuries need time to heal. Rushing Messi back last week was disastrous (although I understand why the gamble was taken, 90 minutes was ridiculous). This summer some need to go, some need to stay, and some need to join. I think the problem is that we have, as a club, a more sentimental than practical way of going about the leaving and staying part.

    My 2 cents.

    Visca Barca

    • May 2, 2013

      Rotation is key. Bartra should have been integrated earlier this season and Messi should not have played against Celta da Vigo after coming back from the WC-qualifiers. Dani Alves should not have played fifteen straight matches.

      I really don’t understand why Tito (and Roura) rotated so little, especially since they seemed to rotate more at the beginning of the season.

    • Roberto Senyera
      May 2, 2013

      Sad to see Xavi play yesterday as if he was the second coming of Gareth Barry. In his defense, he has been playing with pain for a long while now but that should have been managed better by our coaching staff throughout the season with a better rotation policy. He was used far too much this season in games he really wasn’t needed in. Especially considering his age and injury record.

      One wet dream signing would be Bale to play as an inverted RW. His pace and finishing is exactly what we need. His transfer price, sadly, is something we cannot/won’t pay. Assuming Neymar comes after the World Cup, a front line of Neymar, Messi, and Bale should solve our current lack of bite up front. Realistically though, it’s never going to happen as those two transfer fees would be steep for us. One is realistic though. A boy can still dream.

        • Roberto Senyera
          May 2, 2013

          Or Kun Aguero then. He’s Messi’s little Argentine friend.

  25. Anyways…, so lets wait for the liga celebration.

    Was very happy to see how Pique, Bartra and Song played, especially in the first half

    Was very sad to see, we were negative even before the game started
    Was very sad to see Xavi and Iniesta looking so ordinary
    Was very sad to see Tito throwing the game away, even as we lost the first leg – (compared to the reaction of Mourinnho who said his players will die on the pitch)

    But I am hoping this big defeat will initiate a probe deep into everything and Tito will come with something better. We will be back to our best next season.

    Please, dont sell Song.

    • May 2, 2013

      “Was very sad to see Tito throwing the game away”

      M*drid needed three goals, Barça needed six. We have a tough stretch of games including away at Espanyol and Atletico and Málaga at home.

      For better or worse, Tito is very dispassionate. When he saw it was literally impossible to reach the final, he decided to save some of the players for the games ahead. The league became that much more important.

      • lala10
        May 2, 2013

        Important games for what is basically a league won? Come on we deserve better than that. If we are to down lets at least go down fighting. For the honour of the club and fans

      • Sorry Levon, cant agree with you here (may be I wasnt clear too)
        At the end of first leg, we needed 4 goals to square. But the reactions of coaching staff after the match didnt look any positive. Compare this with what Mourinnho said – I say this all my dislike for that man, but as a coach that was important.

        The comments after the match – makes it clear now, that they had surrendered it even before the match began y’day. At least thats what I felt.

        But I still have faith in this coach. We will judge him after he had a full healthy season.

          • May 2, 2013

            No need to apologize.
            You are always free to disagree with me, although in this case, I didn’t take a standpoint either way. Note that I said “for better or worse”.

            I both understand Tito’s decision and the arguments against it.

  26. lala10
    May 2, 2013

    Come on guys this defeat has been coming for a long time now. To me there are some critical issues involved:
    1)Erosion of all things by time.
    2)Injuries to players.
    3)Bad transfer business.

    Iknow it may be harsh but the largest contributory factor has been Tito. I know most of us cules are sentimental where he is concerned. I know most us think he was the bedrock on which the Guardiola era was built on. I also think most of us are mistaken about him and the qualities he brings to the table. Here is why i think why? If you dare consider these past games:

    a) In the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup by how many goals did we deserveto lose? Be honest folks. Was there any tactical coherence in that game. In contrast go back to the Copa del Rey we lost to EE in extra time at the Metstalla. Contrast the first and second halves of that game? Guardiola reacted and changed things mid match in tandem with real game situations developing in front of him. Tito by comparison seems clueless.

    b) In this years Second leg of the Del Rey by how many goals did we deserve to lose? Be honest folks? What were the excuses?

    c) Do we need to catologue the PSG debacle or the very embarassing Bayern ties.

    I feel for many cules who think that winning the league should heal the wounds of our humiliating exit.It will be difficult to because Barca were nolonger measured by such a yardstick. Ultimately they have outgrown it.

    This summer we need to change things. If we are honest in our assessment the least this great club deserves is for Tito to be thoroughly examined. On his own merits. Not because he was part and parcel when Guardiola was winning all those trophies.

  27. Chiu
    May 2, 2013

    My opinion for next season:

    – a forward (neymar) that have ability to share responsibility as main goal sources and top CB

    – some tactical innovation. Our competitors hv found the antidote for false nine tactic. Time to come up with major modification to make system can still work without or with messi. I dont know how, we hv to learn to maximise iniesta role and perhaps neymar if he coming. The talent of iniesta should be utilised like zidane did with france or juventus.

    – give tito another season. This season is not a complete failure, at all. We hv laliga that showed our consistency throughout, regardless the opinion that RM was shit in liga.

    – make a plan how to phase off our game wihtout xavi and puyol. I love both of them but age factor couldnt lie. Time for structured transition to younger players. Xavi and puyol could play like SAF did to manage with giggs and scholes in manchester united, for example

  28. Archie
    May 2, 2013

    OK, so Bouquets, Xavi and Messi have injuries and Alba has removed himself from the challenge:



    This line up has:
    defensive left back covered by winger who can keep track of Lam, attacking right back with winger who covers whole field and allows chance of overloading Alaba if Ribbery doesn’t track back, two best players from Arsenal in their best positions, Iniesta far enough forward to make final passes, striker who is faster than the defenders and is used to playing in the middle (B team.)

    BTW, can we get a post on the bizarre resuscitation of Gerard Pique. He was awesome.


  29. May 2, 2013

    First, a lot of people are ignoring that this team basically played without Tito for most of the second half of the season. This had some detrimental effects:

    1. There was less rotation. Not sure if this was Roura or Tito, but it seemed that while Tito was away the “best XI” started almost every match and that lead to tired legs. Ultimately this meant that our best players weren’t in good condition for the Champions League knockout matches, and it showed in all of them.
    2. Tactical stagnation. While Tito was out there were virtually no tactical alterations. People often say Barca forces other teams to adapt to them, but Pep was very good at making small tactical tweaks for each opponent, and altering the tactics during the match. The tactical stagnation while Tito was gone really hurt the evolution of the team.

    This season and the 7-0 have to be evaluated in light of the loss of continuity at the most important part of the season.

    This is also the reason Tito should be allowed to continue for another season. He was on the right track in the first half of the season, and it is difficult to judge him from this entire season due to the continuity issues.

    People have argued that Tito was the mastermind behind Pep, and people have argued that Tito is awful and deserves to be sacked. I think the truth is somewhere in the middle – he is a pretty good manager, but certainly not elite. However he needs another season before we can truly evaluate him.

    • About less rotation – Marti Pararnau wrote an article a while ago, saying that due to the uncertainty surrounding Tito’s illness, the coaching staff decided to push for the league title earlier than usual by playing starters a lot more. We did push them to the limit.

      • barca96
        May 2, 2013


        I am glad that we wrapped the league up quickly but there were many instances where they had the chance to take key players out to rest them after cruising but they never did.


        I also called him not a great manager last week but I never wanted him to be sacked. He definitely deserves one more season to show his true colors and this time, I pray, that he won’t leave us halfway due to an illness.

        He showed great promise in the first half of this season. But he could’ve at least tried something during the matches (like at Bayern), but he didn’t. That doesn’t have anything to do with him being away midway through the season though.

  30. PrinceYuvi
    May 2, 2013

    Hey. What players should we buy next season ?

  31. TITO
    May 2, 2013

    Do u know Cristiano’s jersey number?!!

    If u don’t then ask Barca!!!

    They know it well!

  32. bhed
    May 2, 2013

    From Sid Lowe’s most recent –
    Barcelona, admitting Xavi and Dani Alves, were “justito” – running on empty. “I am sure that if we had been at 100% we would have competed better” Vilanova said.

    We have Montoya (and sometimes Adriano), and Thiago. There is NO excuse for having those players in that condition for a CL semi, especially when the league is basically won. That is Tito all the way. The rotation this year has been horrible. If Bartra really was our plan B in the absence of Thiago Silva, where were his minutes this year?

    That’s all for now.

    • May 2, 2013

      Agreed. I couldn’t fathom why both Xavi and Alves started against Bilbao last weekend. The league was basically wrapped up and with a huge match midweek, Bilbao was a match we could afford to lose.

      Regarding Bartra – He was terribly misused this season. To give him barely any minutes, and none in more difficult matches – and then use him both legs against Bayern is madness. This is the sort of mishandling that can hurt a young players’ career instead of advancing it.

  33. barca96
    May 2, 2013

    To those that are acting as if it is a wrong thing to criticize and be pissed off at the performance last night.

    We lost 7-0 on aggregate in a semi-final. I have played and watched football (Barca in 95 and officially a fan in 96) since 1995 . I am passionate about football. There is nothing wrong in being very upset after losing 7-0. I don’t know how passionate some of you guys are, but to me, this was downright embarrassing and painful.

    There is nothing wrong in me and a lot others getting pissed off. And the things that were suggested by me and some others were not the kind of reactions that were extreme or knee jerk reactions. Try to go to other blogs and see the difference.

    Do understand that it is not just about losing this match. It was;

    1) Worst crime to me. Waving the white flag after going 1-0 down. I feel betrayed. Any other passionate fan would. Imagine how those fans in the stadium felt.

    I fully understand that it’s impossible to win the tie and go to Wembley but we could at least try to win or at least draw to save our pride and entertain the fans.

    Giving up when it was still possible to get something from this match is simply unacceptable.

    And yes I understand that the players feel dejected but Tito as a coach should spur them on. Motivate them. Instruct them from the sideline. Push them on. Make some noise. The players clearly needed a manager to help push them but they didn’t have one unfortunately.

    Last night I blamed the players for not fighting till the end but now I feel that Tito should get the most of the blame for his inability to help the team, at least mentally.

    If Tito’s excuse is to focus on the league, somebody needs to remind him that it is nearly impossible for Madrid to catch up. The league is ours! I mean seriously, who believes that Madrid have a chance to catch up?

    2) How ill prepared we were in the 1st and 2nd leg. By that I mean no game plan. No homework done by the coaching staff!

    3) Tito’s inability to make in game changes or spur the players on. He is the leader, he should’ve showed more character and leadership skill rather than just standing at the sideline for the whole match (last week) or hiding in the dug out.

    4) Tito could’ve learned from the Milan & PSG matches but he clearly didn’t. Me, an armchair fan, felt that Tito should’ve gone with 2 DM’s against Bayern in Germany. I mean, didn’t Tito do a homework on Bayern? Didn’t he see in what kind of form they were in? And what kind of form we are in.

    Homework, homework homework!!

    *All the above had nothing to do with him being away for months.

    5) Lack of rotation during the course of the season. There were numerous times when we were cruising but Tito still plays our key players like Messi, Iniesta, Xavi, Alves, Song, Pique, etc. for the whole match when we have players (Cesc, Villa, Tello, Song, Thiago, MOntoya, Bartra) who could’ve filled in their places and get crucial playing time to get them ready for future.

    What will happen when they are run into the ground before the business end of the season? Loss of form, fatigue or worse, injuries.

    *This could’ve been avoided too even when Tito was away in NYC. We all know that Tito was the one making the decisions via Skype & whatsapp. We were proud of the players and coaching staff for handling their business in that manner so don’t give me excuses that he couldn’t handled this better because he was away.

    6) By not resting Messi more earlier in the season when Tito had the chances to, he is not giving the players an opportunity to sort it out without Messi.

    • bhed
      May 2, 2013

      Yes, yes, and yes. I would add that the lack lack of rotation led to our inability/unwillingness to maintain the aggressive high press which is so important to our strategy.

      • May 2, 2013

        I would also add that Bayern is a very, very good team. When we pressed Milan at the Camp Nou they lost the ball. When we pressed Bayern they created space with clever passes.

        • bhed
          May 2, 2013

          True that, but I was referring to the second half of the season in general.

  34. barca96
    May 2, 2013


    Don’t forget who you are. You are a supporter of one of the most successful teams to ever grace the planet. You are a supporter of a team about to win the league by double digit points.

    Why is there a need for you to ask us to remind who we are?

    Yes it’s nice to win the league and we were quite lucky in the sense that Madrid didn’t push us in the first half when we were racking up points.

    And yes it’s is great that we reached the semi final of CL. But you have to understand that that is not the reason why many of us are angry. It’s the manner in which we lost and how unconvincing we’ve been against top teams all season long.

    Don’t ever tell me the players don’t give it their all. Because they do. They live for it. They bleed for it. The same way we do. It is more than a club for a reason.

    You’re really buying into that mes que un club huh? So we’re more that a club because of those things you mentioned? Doesn’t any other club and player do the same thing?

    Welcome btw!

    • May 2, 2013

      Barca96, read the first three paragraphs of the article again. They are not my words, but direct quotes from yesterday’s comment thread. That is what xdsm was replying to.

      You can be angry all you want. Some of the points you make are very valid. But in light of what this same team have given us over the last five years, the team and our coach deserve some credit.

      • barca96
        May 3, 2013

        Haha Levon. I even added a @.. to make sure that you know that it’s not directed to thr author of the post.

        I saw the new member’s comment when he posted it but I was too sleepy to reply and when I woke up, your post was up. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

  35. May 2, 2013

    Some thoughts on where to go from here:

    1. Buy players that expand the skill set of the current team – specifically power, pace, and strength. We have overemphasized technique over physicality. However, one or two players can make the difference (for example, losing Abidal really threw the team over the edge on this point).

    2. Pay the prices necessary for the right players. Simple.

    3. Time to rethink tactics. Guardiola was constantly altering the tactics, evolving the team. This season for whatever reason we got stuck in the false-nine 4-3-3. Our best match of the season came when Villa played as a forward in front of Messi (and Villa didn’t even play that well). It’s time for a serious discussion on whether Messi should have a “9” in front of him. There are other issues as well, such as poor attacking shape leaving us vulnerable to counterattacks…

    4. Transfer the workload from older players (Xavi, Alves, Puyol, Villa) to younger players (Thiago, Montoya, Bartra, Tello). Especially in Liga matches.

    • May 2, 2013

      1. Agreed!
      2. We need to sell to buy, and at a good price.
      3. I wonder what the effect was of Tito’s prolonged absence regarding this very issue
      4. I agree again. I think it is incredible that Bartra and Montoya have not gotten more time over the course of the season. I have read, however, that Roura simply started the best line-up he had available in order to secure the league asap, what with all the uncertainty regarding Tito and all.

      • May 2, 2013

        Re: #3. I think Tito’s absence had a major effect on the lack of evolution in the tactics. One of the reasons we continued to concede so many goals was that Roura/Tito/whoever could not find a proper balance during Tito’s absence.

        However, I think another reason the team didn’t evolve with a “9” in front of Messi is the team simply doesn’t have a player who can excel at that role. Thats why a striker is a much higher priority for me this summer than Neymar.

        PS – I think Neymar is an upgrade in the wing position, but he won’t expand the teams tactical options anywhere near as much as a world class striker will.

        • May 2, 2013

          Yes, that is a good point.

          I was thinking about this yesterday, and came to the following conclusions…

          1. Neymar is pretty much decided on
          2. We also need a tall and athletic defender
          3. We might not have the money for both
          4. So where do we get the money for a no.9 also?
          5. We will sell Villa who is the last striker we have

        • KEVINO17
          May 2, 2013

          The striker needs to be a Big Bad Boy like Mario Gomez who can stomp on people like Ramos and Pepe in the tightest area of the pitch.

  36. As far as signing is concerned, i would say don’t waste money on Neymar. Instead go and splash the cash on Reues. He is so good with his dribbling in tight spaces, he is tough and does his defending well.
    As far as Hummels is concerned, he may be a bit slow but makes me up forthat with his exceptional positioning and decision making. Also he is a monster in air.

    • May 2, 2013

      Hummels does not convince me. I don’t see him as a good complementary player for Piqué and, apart from his blunder in Dortmund, I thought his attempt at blocking Ramos’ goal was very weak.

      • Roberto Senyera
        May 2, 2013

        Agreed. We need a top class CB with pace. Hummels doesn’t have the requisite pace.

  37. May 2, 2013

    Very loosely translated:

    “Nobody can be the best forever. Mistakes are not sins – they are just error and we all commit plenty. The thing is not to avoid mistakes, but to fix them and for this we need reflection and correction.”

    Marti Perarnau

  38. May 2, 2013

    Calm down. Some of the stuff that I am reading isn’t surprising, even as it is appalling. We got our asses beat by Bayern. Historic. It happens.

    –We didn’t belong there.
    –Give Vilanova one more year

    Let’s be clear about what happened yesterday: a team depleted by injuries, mental and physical fatigue ran into an excellent, fit side at the top to its form. Twice. Of course a beating was going to happen. Bayern are deserved winners. We got hammered. Now what?

    Stop being asses and support your club. Do I have some thoughts? Sure.

    –Any player who can’t be relied upon in a big CL match shouldn’t be on the roster.
    –Messidependencia has to end
    –The core of this team is rock-solid, including our coach. Who in the hell do people think was a big part of that all-conquering side? Oh, wait ….it was Guardiola and some elves. Respect the man.

    Understand that the treble side didn’t just have extraordinary luck with injuries. It also had a killer front three, a world wholly unprepared for what was about to hit it, and more luck. The next season? Look at what a damaged Henry caused, never mind the eventual Ibtahimovic mess.

    Following season we benefitted from Villa in form, along with the rest of the team, and excellent injury luck. Last season? Blammo. And it only got worse from there. Add a healthy Messi, Puyol, Busquets and Xavi to that lineup and tell me it loses, much less 7-0. Hell no. So stop it. Now.

    Is there blame? Start with the team’s own excellence, which forced all of Europe to raise its game. Continue with the fear that sapped the willingness to take risks, to keep playing Messi, etc match after match after match. Some said rest him. They were called haters and chiurls. The best player in the world can manage himself. No. He can’t.

    If Thiago and Bartra aren’t good enough, sell them. If they are, trust them. Easy. But the insane, incessant pressure of expectations made everyone tight, from players to cules. Things only seem logical now that the result is clear.

    Did the club try to hang on too long? In hindsight, yes. But why fix what isn’t broken? “If Messi scored 73 last season, he will score 90 this season.” Sighhh ….

    And now where are we? Standing around helping people kick dirt on a corpse that is still alive and kicking. Stop it. A few changes and a commitment to rotation, REAL rotation, has this club right back at the top of everything, not “just” La Liga. I said that injuries, mental and physical fatigue would ensure that we won no trophies this season. The team made a liar out of me. Be proud of that club.

    You want to know what being a real cule feels like? It starts now. It doesn’t start with victory parades and manitas, and people saying we’re the best ever. Anybody can do that. The question is what the hell do you do NOW, that people far and wide are lining up to kick us.

    Now you are a cule. You celebrate the Liga when it comes, put on the colors and honor this club that has been at the top of world football for the last five seasons. THAT is what you do. Wanna be a cule? Start there.

    • bhed
      May 2, 2013

      Deserved criticism is not the same as abandoning your club when it’s down. Why did Alves play 9 games straight? Why did Messi play vs. Bilbao?

      I’ll still wear the colors, next season, even if they lose every game, but sports fans criticize their team when they screw up, that’s how it is. When the LWB leave it all on the field, and we don’t, hell yeah I’m pissed. I’ve never been a my country right or wrong kinda guy. Maybe you are, great, but let people vent.

    • bhed
      May 2, 2013

      Clarification – I don’t think the players didn’t try, but coaching decisions made it difficult for them to play to their potential. Think we still would have lost at 100%, Bayern are monsters right now, but definitely not 0-7.

    • ”Continue with the fear that sapped the willingness to take risks, to keep playing Messi, etc match after match after match. Some said rest him. They were called haters and chiurls. The best player in the world can manage himself. No. He can’t.” – I dont remember anybody calling anybody here Messi hater, for just asking Messi to be rested. Some disagreed with the constant nit pickings on Messi, and it was assumed some here were Messi haters.

      Any regular reader here will agree that, the major arguement here was that we didnt had any defensive problems and any player in place of Messi will score our routine system goals.
      It is nice now that these Bayern matches proved we have a terrible defence and we need to get rid of Messidependencia, inspite of our confidence to have system goals.
      (am still happy with the performance of our defence in the first half, second leg though)

      There is also no point in talking how the treble team fared – we were not facing any parked bus week in week out that season (and when they finally faced – Chelsea – we had to advance on away goal, remember), and we had started pressing hard only that season. They have had 5 years of heavy pressing, with same players, which is terribly tiring and we saw the effects this season.
      We must also see that Barca supplies 7-8 players to Spain, who kept playing regularly too and the Bolivia match for Messi and Mascherrano had some effect too.
      Even this Bayern side, will get tired from their pressing – like they did to us now – if all the players remain same for the next 2/3 years.

  39. May 2, 2013

    “Understand that the treble side didn’t just have extraordinary luck with injuries. It also had a killer front three, a world wholly unprepared for what was about to hit it, and more luck.”

    Right. In the treble season semi-final against a very physical Chelsea we looked just as miserable as we did in Munich last week. If I am not mistaken the Iniestazo was our only shot on goal that day.

    “You want to know what being a real cule feels like? It starts now. It doesn’t start with victory parades and manitas, and people saying we’re the best ever.”


  40. providence
    May 2, 2013

    The reality is that the squad has been insufficient and the
    physical problems of Puyol, Mascherano, Adriano, Busquets and
    Messi, together with the illnesses of Tito and Abidal, have
    made Barça’s end-of-season a living hell.

  41. Gogah
    May 2, 2013

    My only concern is this – The causes attributed to this beating are painfully familiar, and not unique to this season. If my memory serves me, during the last few years too, we have succumbed to fatigue and incessant injuries. But year after year the club insisted on the same gas: small squad, pre season tours, weird fitness regime, reluctance to address needs and buying marquee signings.
    Here’s the concerning part. None of this shit seems about to change.
    We’re going to have yet another small squad hoping all will be well. We’re going to tour Asia. We’re going to buy Neymar.
    There you have it.
    Of course this seven frickin nil might push the club to sign a CB finally, but its extremely important to really think where the club wants the team to go. Knee jerk reactionary signings and stupid careless decisions (track record) cannot be accepted especially for a team loaded with so much talent. Time for some smart management Ro$ell. As for Tito, he obviously needs to continue, ‘continuity’ being the key reason for his appointment. But I keep thinking if motivational skills are something you can learn or inculcate. Or Ruthlessness.

  42. lyd
    May 2, 2013

    Just buying new players wouldn’t help our cause. Better address the PRESSING and DEFENSIVE issues asap.

    and proper Rotation is the order of the next season!

    a. Rotation of players:
    1. Valdes, Pinto – GK (2 players for 1 spot.)
    2. Abidal, Puyol, Pique, Mascherano, Bartra – CB (5 players for 2 spots)
    3. Dani, Alba, Montoya, Adriano – FB (4 players for 2 spots)
    4. Busi, Song – DM (2 players for 1 spot)
    5. Xavi, Iniesta, Thiago – CM (3 players for 2 spots)
    6. Messi, Pedro, Alexis, Villa, Tello, Cesc – Front 3 (6 players for 3 spots)

    b. Rotation of tactics:
    1. Introduce variations (Pep’s approach last season). Play 3 CB+ 2FB +Messi as no.10 behind Villa/Alexis. Rotate Bartra (Camp Nou) and Mascherano (away) in the sweeper role. Heck might even play a double pivot with Song and Busi- a 4-2-3-1-ish with Messi behind Villa/Alexis. Or experiment with Pique as a conservative RB, where he would occasionally overlap to be a temporal no9- I dont mind! Just rotate, experiment with ideas for fun so that we can morph our formations, tactics against quality opponents during games.
    2. Rotate style of pressing (cautious, intense), if possible. Or re-learn it.
    3. Experiment with a Messi-less system at Copa. Make it more Iniesta/Thiago centric.
    4. Bring Messi as a Super Sub at away liga games, against weaker opponents. Minimize his playing time to maximize collective grooming.
    5. Handle Fifa Virus with care.


    As far as transfers, if it was up to me I’d get

    1. Willy
    2. Demichellis
    3. Isco
    4. Neymar

    and offload:

    1. Valdes (leaving)
    2. Adriano (Injury prone)
    3. Cesc (Counter productive)
    4. Either Pedro or Villa or both. (lack of playing time)
    5. Tello (loan)

    • Chiu
      May 2, 2013

      agree with your point regarding to use Copa as training for Messi-less system. We have another huge talent and serious contender for Bdor if it wasnt messi era. iniesta is at his peak age (28 yr) and perhaps stil have 2 or 3 more season at the highest level of his career. we have to utilise iniesta-centric system that as an alternative tactics. adn Copa is the best venue to do it.

    • chop
      May 2, 2013

      Masch is a DM. Was considered a top 5 one until he came to Barca.

      Fabregas is a midfielder as well.

  43. May 2, 2013


    Thank you for reading and welcome to the site! sorry your very first comment got hectored, lol

    As for your question I think some changes are necessary, but who comes in will depend on who goes out and for how much. However we will have plenty of time to discuss all that. The way forward right now is to win the league – the season is not finished yet!

  44. TITO
    May 2, 2013

    Valdes 12 / 13 passing accuracy: 63.4 % (267 / 421)
    Valdes 11 / 12 passing accuracy: 80.5 % (480 / 596)

    Just a stat i ran into.

    Of course, nobody can replace him, as some posters suggest.

    • May 2, 2013

      That’s a damning statistic, and I think it’s more indicative of tactics than Valdes.

      It’s been obvious for some time that Valdes is playing the ball long much more often this season. My guess is that it’s a tactical decision – it fits in to Tito’s more direct philosophy. However it is counterproductive, because when Valdes plays it long we don’t have the right personnel to win the ball and we lose possession.

      • May 2, 2013

        I can’t imagine that Valdes playing it long is part of Tito’s more direct philosophy/experiment. Where did you get those stats from, TITO?

        • TITO
          May 2, 2013

          From another forum. One of posters wrote that, i don’t know where did he get it.

      • Jim
        May 2, 2013

        Quite simply teams are pressing much higher up than they used to. Thy close off the two CBs forcing VV to go for one of the wider FBs knowing that the ball is in the air for longer and going to a diminutive person.

        The most interesting thing about those stats is that at a time when our defence is supposedly poorer VV has less to do.

        • May 2, 2013

          “Quite simply teams are pressing much higher up than they used to.”

          Hit the nail on the head…

          • htMillBay
            May 2, 2013

            Which means that opposing teams also make them self more vulnerable in theory from runners behind the lines or Barca counters.

            From 08-11, our forwards and midfield made teams pay whenever they went out thus the classic parked bus.

            However in 12-13, our forwards apart from Messi lost their bite, and our mid-field became too old, too tired, injured or too cautious, perhaps in part because they lost confidence in the forwards.

            People who say we don’t need Neymar because we need a CB are wrong. The main weakness of our defense is because now the front six lose the ball whenever they try to attack. Ball possession stats still look good when passing side to side but it looks like good shots on goal are down when facing the other top CL teams. RM, Milan, PSG, Bayern whenever they recover the ball they just launch it over our midgets and bypass our press which of course is also not what it used to be.

            Even better than a Neymar is if we can get a Lewandowski. Reports are that Higuain is available. We can probably afford to get both Neymar and Higuain after selling players. That would get tremendous tactical flexibility. Then the coaches just have to trust Fabregas, Thiago and Song more and rotate with Xaviniesta Busquets instead of playing injured players while perfectly good ones rot on the bench.

            Get a decent CB, retire Puyol, sell Valdez, get a decent GK and we’re all set.

          • BA
            May 2, 2013

            yes but teams are pressing us higher as a result of weaknesses they see in the speed and precision of our play out of the back. in previous years they wouldn’t have dared to press us that high, because we were moving the ball so much faster and more effectively we would have torn those teams to ribbons.

          • chop
            May 2, 2013

            Sounds about right. The club’s counterattack is toothless. Even Messi doesn’t seem to counter much anymore.

            Neymar would do wonders for that.

            Higuain is an interesting proposition. He is a great counterattack player.

        • KEVINO17
          May 2, 2013

          Teams have realised that the most difficult and dangerous phase of Barca’s possession game is when they start moving the ball out from the back. For them, it’s low risk (we are still a long way from their goal) but high reward (we are very close to ours if dispossessed).
          However, I don’t think “quicker transitions” is quite the answer because they usually only press high when the ball goes back to the keeper (rather than when there is broken play).
          I think that, in that situation, the best approach is to drop lots of players back behind the ball (so there is lots of defensive cover) and then try to triangle forward until a long-ball option presents itself. But getting impatient and trying to transition too fast is very dangerous.

          • KEVINO17
            May 2, 2013

            Oh, and the double pivot would be an excellent tactic against the high press.

    • May 3, 2013

      Also interesting how he has been passsing (or trying to at least) much more this season and the previous one. 175 extra passes (and the season hasn’t ended).

  45. TITO
    May 2, 2013

    To me it says that every decent GK can learn what Valdes has learn throughout the years, i.e. how to work with his feet.
    I brought this into attention just as a reminder that it wont be the end of the world when he leaves.
    And add his ridiculous statement in the middle of the season for the departure to the factors which did not do us any favors in the second part of the season.

  46. Jim
    May 2, 2013

    If we’re looking for reasons why our defence sometimes don’t seem to know what day it is …

    Barcelona yesterday used the 32nd different back four this season, in 55 official games the team has played (from Barcastuff )

    That is just plain crazy.

    • BA
      May 2, 2013

      a team can’t defend without settled defenders.

      i’ve never bought the charge of “arrogance” from supporters of other clubs leveled at Barça, but our club choosing to overlook some very basic tenets of the game is bordering on that. not necessarily an orthodox “back 4” (we haven’t had one of those in a VERY long time), but a settled, cohesive back line is absolutely essential if we’re going to compete with the best teams in Europe.

      • Ryan
        May 2, 2013

        It’s crazy to think how worried we were when in the 09 CL final we had to use a back four of Puyol, Pique, Yaya and Sylvinho, and years later what was once a defensive crisis is now a situation we face nearly ever week!

        • flyzowee
          May 3, 2013

          Call me crazy, but Id be willing to bet good money that a backline of Puyol-Pique-Yaya-Sylvinho would not concede 7 goals over two legs.

  47. nia
    May 2, 2013

    I for one, think we are paying for Pep’s fetish with mid-fielders and it seems Tito also fell into that trans and failed to buy well in last summers transfer window. Seems no coincidence our best season was when we played everyone in their best positions under Pep. That and poor rotations eventually caught up with us.

    We don’t need a major overhaul either despite what most think. Just stronger, taller and faster, as well as everyone to play in their best positions will do us just fine. The way Barca plays, take a huge toll on the players legs. I’m surprised we’ve managed to stay competitive for so long with the same players playing so many games for club and country. Bayern play the modern version tiki taka. Fast, athletic and to the point. Unfortunately, Barca are not athletic compared to other top teams, where it’s evident during a counter attack for or against. It’s either we can’t catch up or, the other team catches up pretty quickly, very painful to watch. Hopefully this forces the board and Tito to re-adjust their plans for next season and make smart buys because if they don’t learn from this experience, they never will.
    That defeat was not only humiliating but, also humbling for the team. Brought them back down to earth and made them see that they can’t always win on past merit. I think Pep saw this coming and fish tailed out of there. Poor Tito looked out of his depth in all the high profile games all season long tbh, not just the semi’s but, I still think he deserves a full season for his project. He’ll probably win us the liga and I don’t even see why he’s been attacked so much, hell, the so called ‘only one’ who has much more experience also failed to deliver the big ear cup. It’s not as easy as it looks.

    Also want to know how other teams can scout good cheap players and take risks on them yet Barca scouts poor, buys poor and doesn’t like risking their defenders especially?

  48. Chiu
    May 2, 2013

    – If RM sell Higuain, think that’s a good option for true striker. Neymar would surely come and cost big euros. But Higuain could come with cheaper fee I think. He link up very well with Messi and could play in the wing too. Not the best solution, but the affordable one considering our tight budget and hv potential to be great signing

    what do you guys think?

    • Momo
      May 2, 2013

      Higuain moving straight to Barca from Madrid would never happen.

      • Roberto Senyera
        May 3, 2013

        Agreed. That just won’t be allowed to happen. Also, he doesn’t have the pace we need on the wing.

          • Roberto Senyera
            May 3, 2013

            Right. M*drid don’t want him anymore because he’s not clinical enough. Our board would be clinical if we pick him up.

  49. KEVINO17
    May 2, 2013

    We need the Easter Island statue on legs – Mario Gomez

    • Roberto Senyera
      May 3, 2013

      Frankenstein is the last guy we need. Too slow with both feet and mind. He’s no where near what we need and isn’t close to Barça quality, for me. He’s be a total waste of money.

  50. Lets buy Torres. He will solve everything.
    See, everyone’s feeling better already. 🙂

    • Roberto Senyera
      May 3, 2013

      Phantom of the Opera Man. I’m still not certain that’s Torres under that mask, you know.

  51. Just throwing some names (other than Hummels and Silva) in the hat for CB options – Jerome Boateng (Bayern), Kompany (City), Inigo Martinez (La Real) and Varane (…)

    Although I thought Bartra showed over the two legs that he’s definitely capable of stepping up, given the chance. He has decent height (6ft), and the bulk can be gained. Under the tutelage of Pique, Puyol and whoever comes in, he could develop into a great player.

    • Bartra looked good and he got some heart for fight also. But the management cannot treat him like the way they did this season. he has to get regular playing time.

      • Yes. It is strange that the minutes for Montoya and Bartra in particular really dried up. But as was pointed out earlier, in Tito’s absence, we basically just rolled out our best XI on most days. I expect that to change next season.

  52. Gogah
    May 3, 2013

    My ideal signings : GK, CB, FB/CB, ST
    GK : Guaita / Ter Stegen / Willy (but he’s old)
    CB : Hummels / Inigo Martinez + another defender who can play full back or in the center.
    If Neymar comes, fine. But If Villa goes, we should sign a forward like Lewandowski. Highly unlikely we’ll get BVB’s 2 best players after losing Gotze, but if Ro$ell can pull it off, Bayern & Pep, be very scared.

  53. Just to remind everybody at this point, we have Cuenca, Fontas and Affellay returning from loan. What do we think about Fontas? He hasn’t really had too much playing time at Mallorca as far as I know, which says he’s probably not good enough.

    • Chiu
      May 3, 2013

      they are all to be sold this summer. md reported (via barcastuff tweet) that all loaned players wouldnt make it to first squad next season.

  54. Srini
    May 3, 2013

    * First of all, many congrats to “Blau Granade” for accurately predicting that Bayern will be superior to Barca over the two legs. The poster’s views were pooh-poohed then, but everything that the poster read turned out to be true.

    * One must realise that it was merely a personnel related loss for Barca, but a system related one. Except that the system related loss was due to its best practitioners coming up really short – Xavi, Cesc, Villa, Alves, (and Messi and Busquets out due to injury). In other words, Barca’s normal game was well adjusted to by Bayern, which specifically prepared its squad for it, while Barca didn’t even play its normal game, because its normal practitioners were either out of form, too old, injured or had perhaps run their course.

    * Poster “Ramzi” had in the beginning of the season pointed out that the reliance on the false nine 4-3-3 was beginning to yield diminishing returns. For, even though, it didn’t Barca that bad in the Liga, the better teams and the stronger ones adjusted to this system far better, leaving Barca unable to impose a truly Plan B without sufficient alternates systemically and personnel-wise. Could they have prospered better if Messi had a target man in front of him, someone with pace, ball holding ability, physicality and finishing abilities? (Villa, Sanchez, Pedro, Tello only offered a few of those characteristics and came up short). Ramzi turned out to be right as well.

    * In many ways therefore, Barca has got to go through change and transformation. But that change has to be “organic” and not for the sake of it. Barca’s greatest attribute has been the team’s ability to impose a philosophy and work on it contextually. I do feel that the philosophy – attacking football based on possession, rapid ball circulation, pressing defense, quick silver finishing, and sturdy goal keeping – has to be intact. What it needs is a steel refurbishing, a dose of physicality, a mending at the edges and some tightening of personnel.

    * Therefore, if Barca must progress from here and challenge Bayern next season, they have to get more physical, a little bit more taller and more flexible in the final third.

    * That means, they have to replace David Villa with a strong centre forward – Radamel Falcao like. I am not sure Neymar will solve the woes created by teams playing narrow and packing the defense. Perhaps he will take on defenders better and open up space for Messi and that should warrant his selection, but Messi definitely needs a target man in front. And dont be surprised when I say that Gonzalo Higuain could fit that bill if he is indeed available for the cheap.

    * As for the defense, the use of “zonal marking” by Barca to the extreme to tide over its “height challenge” has been a bane against teams like Bayern. Two full backs who are very similar – very aggressive going forward, but defensively fragile and challenged by height -put too much pressure on the CB front. By all means, Barca needs to find a replacement for Puyol (and perhaps Abidal). The quest for someone like Thiago Silva is therefore an ideal one.

    * Barca must be aggressive in the transfer market to recoup enough money for their other purchases. I would recommend that they jettison David Villa, Dani Alves (Montoya and Adriano are more than capable replacements), Jonathan Dos Santos, the loanees (Krkic, Cuenca, Fontas, Romeu, Afellay) and perhaps even some from the B team such as Rafinha.

    * In return if they get a combination of Thiago Silva, (a healthy and returned Abidal), Neymar (who seems fait accompli now) and someone like Higuain/Lewandowski(?) to provide for the plan B in attack, they can definitely challenge Bayern next season with the rest of the personnel intact. And by rest of the personnel, the Barca brains trust should actually give more responsibility to Montoya, Bartra, Thiago and Sergi Roberto over the course of the next season.

    * Barca have been presented with a new challenge, just as Bayern did to Cruyff’s Total Football team. Remains to be seen, how they tackle it.

    * Lastly, Barca must jettison one more thing – the “emotional/ nationalist purity” agenda driven by its current president Sandro Rosell and his obsession with fielding an all-Catalan outfit/ all La-Masia outfit. As Graham Hunter points out, let that be the cherry on the cake and not be the cake itself.

    • I am very excited about Higuain too, if this can happen. Higuain is much better for Argentina than he is for RM. One reason is because he has to adjust for CR, who takes up the most important position on the box always, inspite of not being the Cf. He doesnt have that problem with Messi for Argentina and they are building a nice understanding between them. Higuain also will be eager to show a finger to RM for all the ill treating they have done to him.
      But I doubt if RM will sell him to us. If rumours are true, they are even blocking Garay’s move to us, so no way for Higuain.

      • Chiu
        May 3, 2013

        – Higuain deserve some credit and respect that he dont get in RM. He is a common scapegoat if RM get bad result. lots of madridista dislike him as well. He score a lot for Argie and link well with messi, kun or di maria. But not in the club. The reason you mentioned above are somewhat valid too. He is not played in his best position perhaps

        – I never heard we were interested in Garay? Besides, Higuain are not on the bracket of RM wannabe legend (raul,iker, hiero) so i think the chance is still open to get him if Rm want to negotiate. So it wont hurt madridista too much if he change blaugrana, imo.

        • Garay – I read that on barcastuff.
          Apparently, RM has some clause or something that prevents Garay move to Barca.

    • Blau-Grenade
      May 3, 2013

      Thanks for the mention Srini. It is amazing that there are readers in this blog who read everybody’s posts and know their handle names.

      Your post is very well written, and I agree with all your points.

      I only want to mention that the striker at the current moment that I would want for Barca is Jackson Martinez. Its not so much that I like him because of his youtube video’s. It is more his technique, his balance on his feet, his finishing with both left and right feet, his heading capabilities, and his physical presence to hold the ball up. His name has been mentioned by Barcastuff in relation to his transfer to Barca, and by his agent that Barca were interested in him. I certainly hope so.

      Yes, to be competitive next year in champions league, Barca will need a mobile(interchange positions with Messi) central striker and a target man like Jackson Martinez. Barca will need not one, but two of these. Like Mandzukic/Muller pair, or a Rooney/Van Persie pair. I hope they learnt from the Messi injury. Barca need to be able to give somebody like Jackson Martinez a break from playing two games a week, and have a plan B in case the striker is injured.

      Barca will also need one more forward lying player who can take on defenders like Messi. And that would be Neymar.

      Some of the responsibility of the current squad should be shared by the Board as mentioned by you, and the coaching staff has to take responsibility for the Bayern debacle. I hope they learn from it. The summer transfer window will tell if they learnt something from the semi-final exit of the competition.

      Barca will have to invest in somebody like Thiago Silva for the backline. But Bartra’s performance has given me hope. His performance against Bayern at Camp Nou was at a very high level. He almost scored a 10 out of 10, but for the number of goals conceded. So he gets a 9 out of 10. None of the goals were his fault. For the first goal Adriano got turned inside out, the other two were on Pique.

    • Blau-Grenade
      May 3, 2013

      On a brighter note, I am a fan of football, the beautiful game, and it does not matter who plays beautiful and winning football, I appreciate it. Bayern played great football. That is all there is to it. They have a fantastic backline, an unbelievable midfield of Schweinsteiger, Javi Martinez, Kroos, Gustavo….; and a very enviable front line of Ribery, Robben, Mandzukic, Muller, Pizarro.

      Here is a video of Jackson Martinez. *
      Watch him take his penalties… he takes them with his right foot. But watch most of his goals…. they are scored by his left foot. I defend based on the foot that will take the shot. It is almost impossible for me to defend this guy, and I believe every defender will feel this way not knowing which foot he will turn on and take the shot. At 4:30 seconds, watch as Jackson climbs in the air, holds steadies himself, and punches the ball with his head in the air. That is balance and technique. None of the Barca players have that at the current moment. Barca need to incorporate that into their play and add to the tiki-taka style that they have. After minute 6:30 watch how he turns his defenders and takes the ball towards the goal. This skill is missing in all the forwards that Barca have at the current moment, besides Messi of course. I am a very big fan of this guy. No matter which club he is at, I will try to find some time to watch the games he is involved with. Watching him gives me the same kind of excitement Ronaldinho’s play used to give me.

  55. Chiu
    May 3, 2013

    – We shouldnt count on Abidal and Puyol any longer for CB position. Abidal could take role on club managerial level (Barca ambassador or kind of). Puyol is just too old now, but could stay for mentoring reason. One or two seasons before he fully retired would be good for younger players. So two world class CB to company Pique and Masche througout the season is compulsory, imo. Its become a “habit” now for the last 5-6 years, we were short of defenders approaching end of season (kinda weird). I would pick Thiago Silva as priority, next in line if budget allowed, we could hunt Hummels or Vidic.

    – Valdes seems certain will be sold. Valencia GK (Guaita) or De Gea are rumoured as replacement. A good young keepers that if adapting well with Barca system, could provide continuity in that post for years to go.

    – Our midfield doesnt need new signing. We are so damngood with Ini and Busi as a sure starters and selective game from Xavi. Thiago, cesc and Song are all quality bench. And please dont sell Song. Bayern game showed what a quality player he is. Wiht limited play time, he’s more than ready to feature on big european game. Am not worried at all to rest Busi as long as Song is available.

    – Neymar and a true nine to add physicality and a spacemaker for Messi is priority as well. Not sure who’s striker available with our color tone budget. Some folks here suggest Lewandowski or Gomez, but i just think they both are not suit with our style. South american style strikers should be potentially better bet perhaps.

    – So, two CB, two FW and a GK for this summer shopping list. And we are ready to compete for CL. And Tito deserve another full season in charge to show his managerial and tactical ability. We are no different to Chelsea if we sacked Tito, instant success is very rare if you dont hv petrol money. And this season is not even close to be labelled failed season, too. Tito is certainly my coach for next season

  56. TITO
    May 3, 2013

    I wouldn’t mind getting Dzeko from City. Same attributes like Lewandovski just cheaper.

  57. KEVINO17
    May 3, 2013

    Higuan is just another little guy, like Villa, like Sanchez, like, yawn. Barca needs a big guy who can really throw his weight around in the middle of the penalty area – a big target man. Like I said, Mr Easter Island Statue. The little guys will deliver, and he will clobber anyone in his way and score. Time Barca stopped getting outmuscled in the penalty area and started imposing itself. As for the claim he’s slow, the slower the better. We just need bulk, not mobility. We are not a counter-attacking side. We conduct seige warfare against packed defences. That’s why we need a big battering ram.

  58. Chiu
    May 3, 2013

    – Re Iniesta-centric idea, I think we could try to use 4-3-1-2 formation ala Italian club to maximise Iniesta contribution. Iniesta in playmaker positiion with Messi and aanother striker. Busi, Xavi and Thiago/Cesc behind him. More or less like:

    Alves – Pique – Masche – Alba
    Busi- Xavi – Cesc/Thiago
    Messi – another striker.

    iniesta would have more control on the game. most of the attack would flow through him. He is alone will invite markers, free up some space for the two forwards If am not mistaken, Zidane play this role in Juventus. Kaka play this role in AC milan. Why not try Iniesta?

    – Another alternative, we could imitate 4-2-3-1 ala Del Bosque spain or current Bayern formation.

    Alves – Pique – Masch – Alba
    Busi – Song
    Messi – Iniesta – Neymar
    New striker

    This could be another option to play without Xavi. And most of the spanish international have expereience to play like this and won major trophy using this.

    • sujat
      May 3, 2013

      why not we use macherano as a destroyer against more counter attacking side…..he has been absolutely monster with that position in Argentina……so if we face a side like byern in away matches we place a 3-5-2 with midfield of mache-song-busi-xavi-iniesta and in upfront messi and and a true number 9

  59. May 3, 2013

    Two things:

    1. You guys do know that to buy two forwards and two central defenders, we actually need money, don’t you? Not exactly saying we are poor, but still.

    Also, for those thinking about two world-class backs: world-class backs like to play football, occasionally.

    2. About formations and all…

    Barça have been playing 4-3-3 since Cruijff came back.
    It is the formation in which all our academy players learn to play, one that is based on forming triangles on the pitch.

    This philosphy has netted us four Champions Leagues with three different teams and has given us an identity of attacking football based on quick passing and clever positioning. NO OTHER CLUB has been as successful in Europe since Wembley 92.

    Y’all wanna throw that away? Because after an unprecedented period of world domination we are no longer on top?

    We must tweek and improve, and address our weaknesses. We don’t need to overhaul our system and abandon our identity.

    • flyzowee
      May 3, 2013


      I don’t think anyone here is saying that we should throw the 4-3-3 away. Personally, i just think that we should be more open to adjusting our tactics to cater for what the opposition is bringing to the table.

      Look at all the teams that have given us hell this season
      1. Malaga
      2. Real Madrid
      3. AC Milan
      4. PSG
      5. Bayern Munich…etc

      What do these teams have in common?
      A 4-2-3-1 formation. Each team has its own version but the common attributes they all possess are pace, power, athleticism and in some cases extremely good technical ability.

      Now from a layman’s perspective the number 1 reason why we look so vulnerable against 4-2-3-1 set-ups is because sergio busquets is being numerically overwhelmed by the 3 attacking midfielders deployed by the opposition.

      Take Ronaldo-Ozil-Di Maria for example.
      This line of AMs features two inverted wingers who drive right into the space that Busquets is supposed to be covering. Now this normally wouldnt be a problem but mesut ozil, being the extremely mobile player that he is drags busquets all over the pitch from flank to flank given the other fowards direct access to our defence with acres of space to exploit.

      This very same situation that I have described above occured in our game against PSG with Lucas doing the dragging this time and also (albeit to a lessar extent) against Bayern with Ribery-Kroos-Robben creating chaos.

      These observations I have made are not ground-breaking revelations and are things even an untrained eye like mine can spot. It therefore baffles me why our technical team seem reluctant to provide more defensive stability.

      This very same problem (of overloading the area in front of our back four) has been a question that opposition teams have asked of us time and time again this season and they will continue to do so next season.

      The way I see it there are 2 obvious ways to deal with this. We either:
      1. Form our very own variation of the 4-2-3-1 which will provide the double pivot that many have suggested we attempt or

      2. Diversify the skillset of our current midfield three to include a player with box to box abilities to support busquets in covering space during counters. Something that an aging xavi can no longer consistently provide.

      Maintaining our identity is fine but we must also open our minds to all possibilities IMO. Remember, we do not play football in isolation. We have to account for what the opposition are bringing to the table as well.

      • G6O
        May 3, 2013

        4-2-3-1 is just another version of 4-3-3. The distinction between 3-line systems and 4-line systems really exists only between the flat 4-4-2 and 4-2-3-1. We have actually been playing anything among these 4-1-2-3, 4-3-1-2, 4-1-2-1-2, 3-2-3-2, and many others. And it worked against, and most of the time it worked against 4-2-3-1 systems as that’s what everybody has been playing for the last almost a decade. It’s not the system that’s the problem, it’s the personnel and execution

    • Roberto Senyera
      May 3, 2013

      Exactly. Well said. Especially regarding our philosophy.

      We don’t have the money for two world class CBs. Get one world class CB & if we are lucky get a younger one that’s not too costly (like Inigo Martinez or Marquinhos).

    • bhed
      May 3, 2013

      Good read. Thanks for the link!

      I’d venture to say that this … denial(?) on the part of the club is the cause of much of the consternation we’re seeing here and elsewhere.

      A few posts back I put out a possible squad list for next year, that didn’t call for a wholesale house cleaning, but did look at a tall and fast CB, a tall defensive minded RB to complement the more attack minded Alba, and a more direct forward (don’t sell Tello!). Also much more squad rotation during the season (fresh legs and the ability to press), including for Messi, and a bit more tactical variation (NOT a change in philosophy).

      It’s nice to see people who know a lot more than me also see it this way.

  60. providence
    May 3, 2013

    Mundo Deportivo has already sold Valdez, Alexis and Villa,….

    Marca has already sold Di Maria, Contrao, Pepe, Higuian and Kaka

    • Momo
      May 3, 2013

      As much as I dislike him, Di maria would fit in very nicely at Barca. His pace, physicality, and vision would be perfect for the right wing.

      • TITO
        May 3, 2013

        Don’t forget his diving ability. He will surely find some friends among our players.

  61. Nick
    May 3, 2013

    Too much Cesc hate here. Is Thiago capable of playing all matches? He’s only 22 but it’s football and injuries do happen (God forbid).

    In general, as some have pointed out, we are too slow now.

    • Momo
      May 3, 2013

      Selling Cesc would be a huge mistake. He’s being played out of position all too often. Give him his CM spot back, now that xavi is slowing down and give him some positional consistency and watch how well he’ll do. Remember Xavi wasn’t the xavi we know at 25.

      • May 3, 2013

        In my view, Cesc’s worst matches have been when he plays in CM.

        That said, he is here to stay (at least for the next couple of years). It’s essential the team finds a way to get the best out of him. The big hurdle is that his best position (where he excelled for Arsenal) is currently played by Messi.

        Cesc is one of the reasons Pep tried the much maligned 3-4-3. In this formation Cesc could play at the tip of the triangle (his best position) and interact with Messi more often. His best matches for Barca have come in this formation

        • bhed
          May 3, 2013

          Could the 3-4-3 work better with a more solid CB and a tall fast RB holding down the fort? What would be the trade-offs?

          • May 3, 2013

            The trade-offs are that without playing with wing-backs (a 3-5-2) the 3 man defense is very easily unsettled by opposition wingers – we saw that again and again during ’11-’12.

            But if we play with a 3-5-2 we have negated the advantage of trying to play with another midfielder (there is no space for the special Cesc, tip of the diamond position).

            Ultimately I think our best formation will be a return to something similar to the 4-3-3 with one marauding wing back and one defense full back. It’s not worth altering our whole formation just to accommodate Cesc.

          • barca96
            May 3, 2013

            It’s true that he hasn’t looked that good yet but he never had a constant run of games in that position. It is not possible for him to master it.

            We should gradually give either Iniesta or Cesc into Xavi’s position or basically leaving Xavi out more to give Iniesta, Cesc and Thiago playing time so that we can see who can run the team.

  62. barca96
    May 3, 2013

    Stop being asses and support your club…who in the hell do people think was a big part of that all-conquering side..Add a healthy Messi, Puyol, Busquets and Xavi to that lineup and tell me it loses, much less 7-0. Hell no

    Criticizing the team doesn’t equal abandoning the club.

    Yes, Tito was the coach of that all conquering side if you are referring to the 1st half of the season but during that period, there were no crunch matches, yet such as CL KO.

    Why do we need to use that as an excuse? Every other team has injury problems as well. There is a reason why there are >20 players in each team.

    Once again, criticizing the performance doesn’t mean we are not fans. We criticize because we love the club and we know the potential.

  63. barca96
    May 3, 2013

    I find Cuenca being not ambitious enough. If he wants to prove himself on the big stage, the Eredivisie is not the place. I understand that Ajax shares the same style and all but it is not a place where he can progress. Look at our past players who went there; Oleguer, Gabri. They disappeared from the map after that.

    If Cuenca really wants to progress, he should come back and fight for a place or go to a bigger league such as Bundesliga, EPL, Ligue 1 or Seria A.

  64. barca96
    May 3, 2013

    I notice that a lot of people on the Guardian like Thomas Muller but I still haven’t noticed what’s so great about him. He does seem to score quite a lot but I don’t really understand what he does before scoring that makes him an exciting player.

    Now Reus, that is an exciting player. I was heavily impressed by him in the 1st leg and although he wasn’t as good in the Bernabeu, he’s still good enough for me to want to replace him with Pedro/Alexis.

    • barca96
      May 3, 2013

      And I find him annoying to boot. I guess he is our Busi to the non Barca fans 🙂

  65. barca96
    May 3, 2013

    On Hummels, he would definitely improve our defense, you can’t deny that he would add height, good reading of the game, physicality and good tackles, he is not fast. We need both height and pace.

    Unfortunately Hummels doesn’t meet the last criteria.

  66. barca96
    May 3, 2013

    I don’t understand why we are still linked with T. Silva. He just joined them last summer. That is still possible. Even if a player just renewed a contract a year ago would be possible but he joined a buying club, the new kids on the block team. It doesn’t make sense for them to sell him now.

    I would really like to apply for the scout position for Barca. I’ll take minimum salary 🙂

    Where is nzm btw? Kinda worrying that she’s been missing for so long.

    • mom4
      May 3, 2013

      Fret not about nzm. She is recovering from a long, fun trip to half way ’round the world.

  67. barca96
    May 3, 2013

    Oh ya, I find it strange that an ex-player like Neville kept on saying how he finds it weird that Messi could play last Saturday but not against Munchen. There are 3-4 days in between in which they have training sessions. There is always a chance for a player to get injured during training.

    • ooga aga
      May 4, 2013

      this has been in the news a bit and im surprised no one has mentioned it, unless i missed it in this epic thread…messi felt discomfort at the end of the match in Bilbao, and there was fear of an injury relapse, and even the day of the Bayern match he still felt uncomfortable, so they didnt risk it. tito said hewould have only risked it if we were very close to overcoming the deficit and we just needed a bit of messi. well, as soon as Bayern got the first goal, that idea went out the window.

      visca barca! love this team.

  68. Cule
    May 3, 2013

    I say, let’s stuff in 30 million and buy Cavani, we need a complete striker, who, most importantly, can head the ball. I’m amazed this guy is not being chased by big clubs, he is IMO in the top 5 forwards, behind only falcao (maybe not even).

    • May 3, 2013

      I like Cavani, too. Unfortunately he has been linked with M*drid for quite some time, now.

    • G6O
      May 3, 2013

      The problem with buying any striker of the Cavani type is that this means Messi moving either back to the wing or to a classic number 10 position. I think either one would be a good idea, but how it could happen in practice is not clear

    • Ryan
      May 3, 2013

      That was wonderful. 🙂 And poor turtle/Barcelona!

  69. TITO
    May 3, 2013

    The Special Five being Special:

    From the Guardian:

    “It is my fault: I have won so, so, so much that it is hard to live up to those expectations. But the points record in the league is mine and no one can take that away. Madrid had gone 20 years without a Copa del Rey success and we won that, so maybe it’s not so easy. No one can take that away. We also reached three semi-finals. That does not satisfy me and I am not happy to ‘nearly’ do it, but it is not easy either,” he added, unfolding a piece of paper and reading a list of former Madrid managers.

    “John Toshack, Di Stéfano, Antic, Beenhakker, Floro, Arsenio, Capello, Heynckes, Hiddink, Del Bosque, Queiroz, Camacho, García Remón, López Caro, Vanderlei Luxemburgo, Capello again, Ramos, Schuster, Pellegrini …” he read. “Eighteen coaches in 21 years, five semi-finals. Meanwhile, that rubbish Mourinho [got to] three in three years. Three in three after five in 21 years? That shows that it is not easy. I repeat: I don’t want to ‘nearly’ get there, nearly is nothing to me. But that league record is mine.”

    😀 😀 😀

    • Roberto Senyera
      May 3, 2013

      An icon of humility. He should demand a statue of himself outside the Bernebeu. Especially for that rather meaningless La Liga points record (100). A record we could tie, by the way, if we run the table. Not that that’s important. It’s more important for a club like ours to play cantera players after the league is officially won than to get a rather meaningless points record.

  70. lyd
    May 3, 2013

    Martin Demichelis:

    Age: 32 (Younger than Puyol and Abidal)
    Height: 6ft. (Improves average Barca height)
    Position: CB (converted from DM by Ottmar Hitzfeld in 07/08)
    Market value: 3.5M (Real-cheap compared to T.Silva, M.Hummels)
    Contract until: 30.06.2013 (!)
    Last injury: 06.08.2009 – 05.10.2009. Torn Ankle Joint Ligament.
    Last international game: 11.11.2011. (Immune to Fifa Virus)

    He already played 42 matches this season. 3584 minutes and running. Picked up 14 yellow and 1 red.


    //stats via

    • Momo
      May 3, 2013

      If you think pique has been terrible these past couple of weeks you havent seen demichelles play. I cringe everytime he attempts to positions himself. Theres a reason he doesnt play for his national team. Even song would be a better option at cb.

        • lyd
          May 3, 2013

          Lets say Pique has not been in his majestic self without Puyol and Abidal by his side. This season, some of his weaknesses were exposed, due to collective defensive failure.

          He’ll surely come back stronger. Brilliant player! And because class is permanent.

      • lyd
        May 3, 2013

        I only watched Demi vs Barca+Dortmund this season. Felt he did a decent job in almost all the games. At times I was impressive with how he dealt with Messi.

        Momo, you are right to question his positional sense. I too have doubts in that aspect of his game plus the occasional lapses in concentration. Pace has slowed down over time.

        However, the positives are there. Otherwise a tactician like Pellegrini wouldn’t play him consistently.

        I doubt we can convince players like Hummels, T.Silva and other promising CBs (not many out there that fits Barca) to arrive here. Either clubs wont be willing to sell, or players would be expensive and demand more playing time.

        That’s why I’m looking for a short term, low budget fix.

    • Roberto Senyera
      May 3, 2013

      He was discarded years ago by Bayern Munich. He’s definitely not what we need at the moment, IMO. Old and slow.

  71. TITO
    May 3, 2013

    Just as a back up, nowhere near the first line-up.

  72. htMillBay
    May 3, 2013

    Alves or Alba?
    If one buys into the notion that having two all-out attacking fullbacks leave us too vulnerable and we need more height, we can’t have both Alves and Alba as automatic starters. I think neither one can be a bench player and we’ve all seen how Abidal’s absence has subtly but effectively weakened our defense.
    Either one would bring good money in a sale to use for the essential signings that we have to do in the summer.
    Alba is younger and we have Montoya as a potential RB heir apparent. Though it worries me that Montoya hardly got any burn this season which implies he may not be that good after all.

  73. KEVINO17
    May 3, 2013

    Oh, yes, and another reason why Barca should get Gomez: when teams press high against Barca it’s usually when the ball has gone back to the keeper. Then Valdes often pumps it forward to … no-one. Why not have the Easter Island Statue, Mr Brick-with-Eyes, upfield to knock the ball down to the on-rushing little guys, and launch the counter from only thirty metres out.
    Teams will think twice about pressing high with Gomez as an upfield target.
    None of the little guys you talk about as striker offer any of that. They certainly don’t offer anything for when Barca conduct siege warfare against a parked bus. Just more little guys getting outmuscled.

    • Ryan
      May 3, 2013

      Gomez is only 2 inches taller than Higuain (6’2 vs 6’0), and we’ve already seen how much el Pipita scores with Messi for Argentina.

      • KEVINO17
        May 3, 2013

        Gomez is two inches taller (which is a lot) and nine kilos heavier (which is vital in any aerial contest). Higuan goesn’t play against parked buses for Argentina (not the South American style). Though I note that Real has played a lot against packed defences this year and higuan hasn’t been scoring much at all.

    • Roberto Senyera
      May 4, 2013

      Frankenstein would be perfect for Stoke City or West Ham United. Not for Barcelona, ever. Especially this FCB with Messi as a false nine. I don’t envision our team changing philosophy, start playing the 4-4-2, and hiring Sam Allardyce or Tony Pulis (and bringing in a couple of specialty long throw-in players) any time soon.

      And Frank Gomez couldn’t finish his dinner.

      • KEVINO17
        May 4, 2013

        Who said we will play like stoke? We often play with a traditional CF now (Villa and Sanchez alternating standing next to the CBs) – because the era of the false nine is dead and buried. So why not do it with someone who can outmuscle the CBs and provide our wingers with a decent target? Gomez wouldn’t destroy Barca’s philosophy. In fact, he just might save it, because, right now it doesn’t have much of a future because we can’t man up in the most important part of the pitch (just in front of goal) and are getting crushed as a result.
        Further, Gomez would be wonderful at the other end defending set pieces, etc etc.
        The Barca players said that Bayern outmuscled them. You saying nothing should be done about it?

        • Roberto Senyera
          May 4, 2013

          The out muscling statements are beside the point and an excuse from the players. A red herring. The team needs a top class CB that is fast and strong in the air. With that new CB, Piqué, and Busquets we should have enough height to deal with set pieces. We don’t need the German guy with the Spanish name slowing our game down. Isn’t that what Zlatan did? And Frankenstein can’t polish Zlatan’s boots. Did you see Gomez in last season’s UCL final against Chelsea or the Euros last summer? The man can’t finish his dinner.

          I’d rather have forwards to complement Messi in the form of ones we’ve had in the past. Guys that had pace, could finish, and could take players on. Guys like Eto’o, Henry, and Ronnie. We had some fierce front threes back then.

          I also don’t think we need a tall stay at home RB or LB. I like the fact that both backs are overlapping wingbacks with great motors. I just don’t like it when they both go up at the same time. They have to have the discipline to know that if one breaks the other stays at home for that foray. It shouldn’t be hard. But that should be rule #1 for both.

          Just my opinion.

        • Roberto Senyera
          May 4, 2013

          False 9 dead and buried? Whenever Messi played this season that’s the position he played. And after the past few seasons with all the goals and ballon d’Ors, I cannot see the staff putting him back on the wing or Messi wanting to do so.

          When guys like Villa and Alexis were occupying the CBs they were just tucking in from wide positions. That’s the way I saw it. Messi was still playing as a false 9.

          I think the system is fine. It’s some of the parts that need replacing because they’re either old or defective.

          • KEVINO17
            May 4, 2013

            When Messi plays with Villa or Alexis in front of him (as he usually does) he is not playing as a false nine. Indeed, Messi has said he has more space with Villa in front of him. Ergo, era of the false nine is over.
            P.S. Zlatan and Gomez are totally different players.

  74. Something that no one seems to be mentioning in all of this is how awful Bayern Munich’s season ended last year. They lost out on the league for the second year in a row by a pretty big margin, were beaten by BVB in every game they played (including a 5-2 slaughter in the DFB-Pokal final), and ended up losing to a far inferior team in the UCL final on penalties. It was an awful, painful, humiliating season, and they ended it without a single trophy.

    And this season, they’ve come back stronger and better than ever. They have done so without firing their coach and without transferring a dozen players. That at least should show people that we are not finished and that this is not mission impossible.

    • Roberto Senyera
      May 4, 2013

      Exactly. We just need a couple of targeted buys this summer and proper rotation next year.

      Funny how Bayern locked up Pep before Christmas. Bayern could win the first treble in the history of German football. Their best season ever. Why do they really need Pep? They wanted to bring in Pep to vanquish BVB and get them over the last hurdle in Europe. That could very well occur a lot sooner than anyone at Bayern could ever imagine.

      I wonder how Heynkes really feels about all this? It doesn’t look like he was treated with the upmost class by Bayern. Those Germans were very ruthless wrt him. Jupp shouldn’t retire. I think he’s got a lot more to offer the game and he’s far classier than that other elder statesman coach over at Manchester United.

      I also wonder how Pep, deep down inside, cannot be rooting for anything other than a BVB victory at Wembley (or, less so and dependent on the UCL final result, Stuttgart in the German Cup Final). I cannot see Pep ever outdoing this season at Bayern if they end up winning the treble. No matter how good a manager he is. And Pep will always be judged at Bayern against this season’s Bayern.

      Pep thought his timing was perfect. It may be the exact opposite. Time will tell.

      Jupp may have the last laugh. Yep.

      • htMillBay
        May 4, 2013

        How about Jupp as FCB coach then? He already said he knew Barca better than he knew his own team. Was he subtly positioning himself for a job interview?

  75. Roberto Senyera
    May 3, 2013

    Did you fine folks notice that we travel to play Bayern Munich in a friendly on, or about, July 23 during our preseason? I hope they’re friendlier than last time 😉

  76. May 4, 2013

    Demichelis? Is it April Fools? Mario Gomez? Was no one around during the Ibra season? Yikes…

    • Roberto Senyera
      May 4, 2013

      Either some of us hit the booze hard, had their calendars back about a month (as you suggest), or they were wearing that Halloween mask in the picture from the top of the page. Scary stuff 🙁

      An ass whupping can do that. The sky is falling and throw the baby out with the bath water type of reactions.

      The good thing with this ass whupping versus going out narrowly is that it will force the board to act this summer. No papering over the cracks with half measure buys (like bringing in Song to play as a DM/CB since we missed out on Thiago Silva). I still don’t understand that purchase. He’s a decent player and he’s here now. But he should never have been bought in the first place. I’ll think of him as a replacement for Keita.

      That ass whupping will serve the same purpose that Arsenal not getting a top four spot in England will do. It will signal, even to the most myopic, that real long term changes need to be implemented. Not just papering over the cracks.

      • Nick
        May 4, 2013

        I always thought of Song as Yaya’s replacement.

        • Roberto Senyera
          May 4, 2013

          Maybe. But Yaya actually could play CB with power and pace. He’s also proven to be a fierce force going forward in the EPL. Along with the Ibra for Eto’o + €40M losing Yaya was another mistake Pep made. Obviously, Pep didn’t make many. Man, I really miss Yaya. How we could use him now.

          • ilie
            May 4, 2013

            He wanted more money and a larger role which he wouldn’t have got with this team.

            He also likes playing the attacking midfielder role, he wouldn’t have been happy playing CB more than the odd finals game

  77. May 4, 2013

    first of all i think its great that we can move on from the bashing.
    i see a lot more constructive comments and actually some ideas on how fc barca can recover from midweek.

    with the liga pretty much sealed im very interested as to how the youngsters will be treated in the remaining games, the transfer window, and next year.
    tito, hasnt really been utilizing our youngsters very well this season. bartra went from barely getting any first team minutes to playing two semi final legs against a great in form german side.
    why does dani alves need to play every single game? montoya has been pretty consistentt when given the chance. if theyre not good enough for the first team then sell them. but dont keep them around for a whole year and hardly give them playing time.
    also, when last year ended, i thought this was going to be thiagos season to shine. turns out hes played less minutes than last season.
    now we have cuenca coming back from loan. fontas also. then we have some b teamers knocking on the first team door. tito has a massive project on his hands.

    Question: Who do you think will be loaned, sold, or kept next season.
    I hope we keep bartra, tello, and thiago
    sell dos santos, fontas, valdes, afellay, pedro (wont happen tho)

    • Nick
      May 4, 2013

      Pedro no longer creates any danger and this has been true for quite some time now. His regress reminds me that of Bojan’s. Pedro will stay though. He holds a club record for goals scored in all competitions after all.

      I’d also like to see Alba go but Rossell’s nationalistic mood will not allow this to happen. I appreciate that he was probably our best signing last year but Alba’s behaviour does not fit the club’s values.

      • Roberto Senyera
        May 4, 2013

        You’d get rid of Alba because of his yellow card from the first leg/second leg suspension? Or is there more regarding his behaviour?

        Personally, I’d keep both Pedro and Alba and cannot see the club offloading them.

        Montoya should have played far more La Liga matches in the second half of the season (Thiago too). Alves was out of petrol against Bayern and it showed.

        Thiago and Cesc should have been rotated far more often for Xavi and Casper (the friendly ghost). I hope we do so next year and have learnt from this one.

      • stefan2k
        May 4, 2013

        Just because he gave Robben what he deserved and kisses Messi a bit too much?? 🙂

        Seriously… come on Alba is one hell of a left back

  78. Roberto Senyera
    May 4, 2013

    Thinking outside the box. If we are to get two forwards in this window then the second (economical) forward which should be considered is Benteke from Aston Villa. He’s strong, has pace, can finish, and has a nice touch. He could even be a plan B type CF when/if needed. He could play on the left cutting inside (much like, I think, Cavani could do for us). He’d be a lot more affordable than Cavani too.

    One problem with this is that LW is where Neymar would play and that looks like a done deal.

    Maybe Cavani and/or Benteke can play RW?


  79. PrinceYuvi
    May 4, 2013

    Ter stegen,
    Inigo Martinez,
    Kun aguero.

    For a cheek, get torres, for couple millions.

  80. Roberto Senyera
    May 4, 2013

    The front of EMD has us getting Pepe Reina as a two year stop gap measure. If that’s true then this board will never learn. That’s exactly the wrong thing to do at this point. In my bones I know they’re gonna do it though. He’s Catalan. He’ll come in. Bloody hell. It’s as predictable as rain in England.

    Get a real long term GK this summer using proceeds from a VV sale. It’s not rocket science.

    How do you say, “howler” in Catalan??

    • jordi™
      May 4, 2013

      But Reina isn’t Catalan, only an ex canterano.

  81. TITO
    May 4, 2013

    Sport is indicating that we have agreed Hummels for 25 mill.

  82. stefan2k
    May 4, 2013

    Barcastuff frightens me at the moment! Everybody and everything seems to be sold/bought … it’s getting RM’ish here

    • Roberto Senyera
      May 4, 2013

      Silly season has started early and with increased vigor.

      • BA
        May 4, 2013

        “silly season” is actually an invaluable time of the year for us, with greater importance this year than most. we’d all do well to follow it more closely this year than last summer, when we signed Jordi Alba and Alex Song and thought our squad was complete.

        that said, i have almost zero confidence in this administration’s ability to get us the players the squad needs to compete. Rosell is too busy trying to compete with Joan Laporta’s ghost to sign flashy players (Neymar) but not wanting to pay for less flashy but far more vital ones (Silva, Martinez).

        • barca96
          May 4, 2013

          BA, what do you consider a flashy signing?

          Want over need?

          Martinez wasn’t needed as wr would never use 2 DM’s and he was costly too. German record transfer remember.

          T. Silva was probably the player who could’ve imporved us the most but he was costly too. In hindsight we should’ve splashed the cash for him.

          But you gotta remember, it didn’t matter how much we offered Milan because PSG was his only decision. So we can’t blame everyone’s punching bag Rosell for this one 🙂

          Neymar is the best scoring winger atm. He ticks all the boxes for the monent.

          • BA
            May 4, 2013

            Martinez is a powerful holding midfielder who can also play at center-back. the kind of player we bought Alex Song to be, but actually good enough to challenge for a start at DM and highly useful at center-back.

            we offered half what Bayern did, and didn’t push the issue when his agent gave us the option to counter. i think we could have gotten him for 35m-ish, which is what we spent on the thus-far-underwhelming Fabregas in a position where we actually have depth.

            but those 3 players aren’t the whole story. no attempt was made last summer to strengthen the center-back position; it was simply assumed we could get by with Song and a few random kids. that assumption was wildly out of touch with reality, and we’ve paid for it.

    • KEVINO17
      May 4, 2013

      Yup, I seriously do, because:
      1. We need a big unit forward who can dominate the penalty area. Pace is much less importantcthan size and height, because we are not a counterattacking side. We usually spend most games breaking down parked buses. So Gomez is really made for a side like Barca. His presence alone should open up space for players like Messi.
      2. We’re started playing with a CF anyway, so why not make him a proper one rather than a makeshft one.
      3 Big CF would help at set pieces at BOTH ends.
      4. Give Barca a big target upfield when playing long ball out of defence.
      The way i see it, the little guys play the Barca system until it’s time for Gomez to put the ball in the back on the net.
      Or of course, we could go out and buy some more little guys to join the other little guys. Why bother.

      • Momo
        May 4, 2013

        Gomez sounds amazing in theory. But so did Zlatan, alexis, and Cesc and they’ve been very meh compared to what was expected.

        Would Messi have to play as a 10? Would he move back to the wing? If so do we have to play a double pivot?

        • KEVINO17
          May 4, 2013

          Neymar sounds amazing in theory too! Come to think of it, if we play with Neymar (who won’t defend) and Messi (who doesn’t defend much these days) we will probably have to play a double pivot next year. I think Song is going to get a lot of games.

      • May 4, 2013

        1. The CF we buy absolutely needs to be mobile. One of the problems with our front line is that the positions are too static – we need to regain some fluency. The CF needs to be always moving the CBs around to make space, moving to the wing to take advantage of space there, and have the ability to get in behind if teams start to play a higher block. Gomez does none of those things.
        2. We haven’t started to play with a CF, not yet.
        3. You don’t buy a forward based on their ability to contribute on defensive set pieces. And to score offensive corners it takes more than one big guy.
        4. I shudder to think we will be choosing a forward that will allow us to play boom ball. That’s not my Barca.

        • KEVINO17
          May 4, 2013

          But we do play with a CF although the role is often divided between Alexis/Villa sliding across and playing back to goal. Gomez in the middle should occupy two CBs and actually create more space for everyone else.
          Messi is really playing as a 10 right now.
          Valdes plays boom ball at the moment when under pressure, except now we always lose the ball because we have such little guys upfield.
          Its a bit obtuse to say that, at set pieces there will only be one Gomez. He will give us another big option, making everybody harder to defend.
          I see Gomez as rescuIng the Barca system, not destroying it.
          I dont see why Zlatan’s name keeps getting raised as a bogeyman everytime there is talk about getting a big player. Different time and completely different player. Zlatan, dspite his height really played like a small guy.
          Gomez would probably take us further away from a douBle pivot because we would have to maintain the creativity on the rest of the park.

          • chop
            May 5, 2013

            I think your reasoning is good.

            We aren’t a counterattacking team. We move the ball up slowly and play against bunkers 90% of the time.

            Also, the new GK will most likely play even more long balls than Valdes since there really aren’t any GK’s that are as good with the ball at their feet as Valdes and they’ll be new at this.

            A third tall player is huge in set piece defense. You really only need 3 tbh.

            Ibra wasn’t as bad as people say. 75% of it was due to personality conflict. Gomez is definitely a team player.

            Everyone expected Messi to move to a #10 position eventually and I suspect he’ll be less goal hungry next year since he’s done about all he can there and won’t care to lead the line so much.

  83. barca96
    May 4, 2013

    Any chance of Chris Paul joining the Lakers?

    Kxevin, or anyone who is an avid NBA follower. Why doesn’t Michael Jordan ever joins a game as a pundit? A lot of ex greats and good players do. Magic Johnson, Shaq, etc. I would love to hear the GOAT’s opinion.

  84. Rivaldo
    May 4, 2013

    It seems we are linked to “everyone and their grandmother”. I really hope that we make the right decisions however tough they maybe.

    Can you tell me why i would be hearing about 2 goal keepers if we already extended Pinto’s contract. And why would Ter Stegen’s price be too high but according to [MD] we are considering Reina and then signing a new young promising goal keeper for 2014 when Pinto’s contract is up. To me makes no sense. Why not just buy the young top goalie who has had some of the best scouting reports [again according to MD] let him play, acclimatize and promote one of those many young ones.


    My opinion of what we need (I’ll put some names where I can. I really cant say who yet, have to do some serious research):

    – of course a goalie (Ter Stegen possibly)

    – 2 CBs (top quality with height and pace; robust) and ( I like Inigo Martinez)… this means Puyi retires and Masch would not be and auto matic CB but would alternate between CB and CDM… Also why the hell did we sell Caceres (RB,CB,LB… pace and agression; can leap…I’m venting here)…

    Note: If we purchase only one CB (top quality with height and pace and a strong tackle)my option is for Abidal, if able, to play that Puyol/experience role.. pace, height, calmness, i dont know if I can still add strength to this list.

    – No midfielders. (play Thiago more… has anybody considered thst JDS plays the most like Xavi… this is based on whenever I’ve seen him play; simplicity and good movement, offering and outlet always; he also has a powerful shot… used to think him and Thiago were the new Iniesta and Xavi).

    – I am suggesting 2 forwards: a goal scorer/poacher/getter/whatever as long as he is a consistent scorer and it seems Neymar is coming…so him as well.

    There are my 4-5 signings.

    Of course this is my my perfect world. …. to be continued

    • Rivaldo
      May 4, 2013

      Oh.. I like Inigo Martinez for his versatility he’s not a neccessity for me.

      • KEVINO17
        May 4, 2013

        I would play Song at CM, just in front of Busquets, in the Keita role.

  85. Rivaldo
    May 4, 2013

    I also want to pose a question:

    Which players should go? and please give a reason why…. this isn’t going to be one of those “Pep feelings” things.
    Thus also name your squad of 22-23 players including your 4-5 buys.

    I’ll finish up my list and post it later.

  86. KEVINO17
    May 4, 2013

    Perhaps the most interesting question will be what they do with Alexis. If I was him, I would want to go and be a playmaker in another team. Barca might also want to ship him out because he’s definitely worth something. But on the other hand he ticks so many boxes (I really don’t think Barca would find better in his role), and if he goes, who’s going to defend up front, except Pedro?
    My guess is that if someone offers 20 mill, he’s gone.

    • Momo
      May 4, 2013

      I would take 20 mill in a heartbeat for alexis, he’s pretty much an advanced full back in our system. No real threat at all. Trouble with him is as soon as he joins another team and gets positional freedom he’ll be that player that we thought we were getting from udinese and we’ll regret selling him. Unfortunately he will probably never reach his potential in this limited role he has in our system.

      • May 5, 2013

        If the club takes 20m for Sanchez, it will be because people have been feeding drugs into the board room’s ventilation system. He apparently just bought a big, fancy, expensive apartment in a glitzy area of Barcelona. Not really the action of a player who believes that there is uncertainty in his future.

        Sanchez is most useful with another scorer around. Expecting him to score goals is a fool’s errand. Expecting him to account for goals with movement and passing, and helping to prevent them with defense is more like reality.

        If there is anything to the rumors, I would be very interested in seeing a front line of Sanchez/Neymar/Messi.

  87. KEVINO17
    May 4, 2013

    agree. I would definitely pay 20 mill for him. But are there many players out there who can play his limited but important role as well? Have my doubts. Still, I would rather see him get to express himself in another team.

  88. Nick
    May 5, 2013

    It is astounding how most of our latest signings have been misused. Why get them in the first place?

  89. May 5, 2013

    Regarding transfer rumors, trust nothing, nobody, nowhere. @barcastuff isn’t what it used to be, even as it is a very effective and useful aggregator for information. The account simply distributes information/rumors. It’s up to people to evaluate them. My usual transfer rumor policy is until the player is in the Camp Nou doing the song and dance and kissing the crest, believe nothing.

    As for the immense list of signings here, the biggest signing I would like to make is Luck. I have no idea what her transfer fee is, but I would gladly pay it to keep the number of injuries to key players that have been happening, from happening. Then we’d start from there.

    I like the chatter, but people are assigning people and dollar amounts in an attempt to fix a problem that isn’t really player-related. I mean it is in that they are broken, and theoretically not used to the best of their ability, but let’s not forget that a healthy team ran away and hid in the Liga standings from its nearest rivals. Look at this starting XI, fit and healthy:

    Alves Pique Puyol Alba
    Busquets Xavi Iniesta
    Sanchez Messi Villa

    Who wouldn’t go to war with that team? But what happened this year? Villa took forever to get back to his old self, and now his head is somewhere else. Sanchez is erratic, Xavi is hobbled, Messi is hobbled, Busquets is hobbled, Puyol has a knee injury as does the player most like him, Mascherano. Alba is a mental mess right now, while Pique needs EVERYONE functioning to be of his best. He isn’t your Stopper, or best defender. He’s the augmentation and height in a fully functioning back line.

    Instead there are names flying about as the solution. X player or Y player. I want to sign Lady Luck. I know that the competition for her services is fierce, but if we go from no color copies to no copies at all, we should just be able to swing it.

    Are there positional needs that the club has, based on how it wants to play and the physical changes happening to certain players? Yep. The club isn’t signing a CB because it thinks that our current ones suck. It’s signing one because finally, someone in the board room recognizes that Puyol isn’t magic, that he can’t be our lion forever.

    We’re signing an attacker because we NEED one in the context of how Vilanova wants to attack the game, and the changes in how teams are defending us. People continue to insist that Neymar is useless, or a luxury purchase. I would contend that he is the kind of player who is every bit as important as a CB or keeper.

    We’re buying a keeper because Valdes is leaving, and his No. 2 is closer to 40 than 30. Simple.

    Vilanova is right in that the club doesn’t need an overhaul. I would rather imagine when he looks in the mirror, he asks himself what might have happened had he committed to real rotation, but as noted previously, winning makes you tight, and you roll the dice. You look down the bench when making that starting XI, and there’s Xavi. Who wouldn’t choose him over Thiago? Sitting in Vilanova’s seat, I wager that none of us would. Hell, even Guardiola the Saint got a really, really short lineup and eschewed rotation. Recall how we all bellowed about that when it was happening.

    Let’s look at what the club actually has right now:

    Keepers: Valdes, Pinto
    Defenders: Alves, Alba, Abidal, Mascherano, Pique, Puyol, Adriano, Montoya, Bartra
    Midfielders: Thiago, Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas, Song, Dos Santos (counting him because he is on the roster)
    Attackers: Villa, Tello, Messi, Sanchez, Pedro

    If anything I would suggest that we need more attacking diversity and rotation more than anything else, including back line additions. Only Puyol and Abidal are on their way out, and both should be excellent in limited roles next season.

    So I am going to suggest calm assessment of what we really have, and what really happened. What really happened can’t be fixed with any signings, unless there is a signing that could have kept Puyol, Mascherano, Messi AND Busquets from being injured at the same time, that could have staved off the mental fatigue and pressure of having been the best club in world football for 5 years, an absurd run of form.

    The defender names come out: Varane, Thiago Silva, Javi Martinez, etc, etc. Anyone who thinks that any of them would have been any different as part of a “oh, shit here they come!” two-man back line is kidding themselves.

    So we have what we have right now, and will make intelligent additions in the summer. Who? Who knows. All sorts of names are out there. One of the more interesting that came from a writer with good sources is Gary Caldwell, currently playing at Wigan. But again, it’s just another rumor/bit of twaddle, until it becomes reality.

    • Jim
      May 5, 2013

      Don’t have a huge opinion on most of the names, Kxevin, although I can’t believe the negativity from some surrounding Neymar. He could turn a team’s fortunes on his own, never mind being exactly what we have lacked in attack this year; someone with attacking instincts who can pass really well, beat a man and more importantly give us 20+ a season.

      But trust me , as a Scot, that the nearest Caldwell should get to the pitch of he Camp Nou is on his holidays on a stadium tour.

    • 86ed
      May 5, 2013

      Yes but Kevin no team can rely on luck. You sign the players you need and you rotate more intelligently. I think many here were saying maybe Villanova should have tried Bartra in more games in the first half of the season. Villanova said he wasn’t ready, which was fine, as he knows best. But then to just throw Bartra against the best team in the world and expect results when he has hardly played all season seemed to me irrational and not the mark of a capable coach. Is that unfair? Martinez and T. Silva were available this summer. Instead the club goes for Alex Song, and I can only assume it does so with Villanova’s blessing. He did say before the season begun that Song would surprise a lot of people. The signal I got from that move is that Barcelona would rather spend $25m on a player they have no confidence to start key games, rather than spend $40m on a player who would have been perfect, like Martinez.

      I think the sun has set on their Barca time for 6 of those players in your starting XI; maybe even on Pique. Probably even for the coach, who doesn’t seem, to me, capable to take the needed measures. Barcelona in its current shape and even with most of its crew fit and healthy simply doesn’t scare the big opponents anymore. The number of games drawn and lost in big games this year tells us that. Therefore the only way forward is a massive purge of starting personnel. Unfortunately too many resources were wasted in 2011 and 2012, so that’s impossible.

      Also we need to abandon the dogma of the 4-3-3

      • May 5, 2013

        @Jim: That’s funny about Caldwell. Some crazy behind-the-scenes stuff going on, apparently. Schisms between board/staff/etc. Sighhh ….

        @86ed: You don’t rely on luck, but you need it to succeed at the highest levels. Unavoidable. And I repeat: If Javi Martinez is part of a two-man back line, goals would have been conceded and people would have been snarking about how stupid it was to spend 40m on a CB, and still give up goals. The player you don’t have is always the player that you need. It’s the life of a fan.

        • 86ed
          May 5, 2013

          I would have signed Martinez and used him alongside Busquests in a 4-2-3-1, not in defense. Two holding midfielders and two central defenders. It would have meant sacrificing Xavi and Iniesta. Song was signed but to my recollection he was never used like that.
          Look at what Bayern did. They signed Martinez and Dante. The result? Zero goals against the best team in Italy and the best team ever. Morale? Sort our your defense by signing capable players and important things will happen.
          I realize I’m pinning my argument on something that never happened, and you’re right to say it’s the life of the fan. But what else can I do? It’s frustrating to see this team treated like this at the end of its best years.

    • Rivaldo
      May 5, 2013

      I am one that really doesn’t believe in this thing called luck. Where I’m from it’s either God’s blessings and you work hard to achieve what it is you want; or both.

      Yes the players we already have are great but do not be fooled we need to make chances. We needed the chances last year and the year before that.

      I really hope that coaching staff has the balls to do so. Why are we so dependent on Puyol at this stage of his career (without him the defense isn’t the same… that being said with him it still idn’t great)? Did Alves really have to play all those successive games? I was really impressed with Montoya’s poise (likewise Bartra)… and other such questions can be asked.

      Should Xavi be still playing on injury (or not fully fit)? No. This is partly one of the reasons we heard for buying Cesc when many said he was not needed…. and then there’s Thiago.

      Should this side look so dismal without Messi? (that PSG home tie left a bad taste in my mouth… I’m a Barca fan not a player fan; we should be more competent)

      Add to all this, I still don’t think 100% fit players would’ve gotten us through this Bayern tie because our players haven’t shown for awhile 100% form, and this wasn’t just down to fitness ( a few of our players aren’t the same… meaning they have diminished). Bayern were great and deserved their victory. I think we should quash this thing about the “best in the world” and seek to come alive again; evolve.

      P.S. I also think Alexis should stay. If we want to get rid of a player not scoring and dimishing in return (over the same time period as Alexis) then Pedro should go… deal with it. I’m not Catalan but I’m Barca.
      Bring on Neymar. they might not be scared of him yet in eroupe but we’ve seen the destabalizing effect fast tricky players have in Eroupe on defenses. Let him dribble his man twice in quick succession and 2 different dribbles and the Camp Nou (Nou Camp) will remember their Ronnie and fear will develop.

  90. Huckleberry
    May 5, 2013

    But remember: expensive are the mediocre players, not the best.

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