Yeah, so, uhmm… as in, who’s your daddy?

You know because it is all quiet and all, and because despite our love and dedication to writing articles for you to discuss we are all busy people with families and jobs… Some of us have lives, even… and oh yeah, also because what the following father had to say is so bad-ass, I thought I would put it in a post rather than a comment:

 

“[My son] said that he won his balon d’or a long time ago by being humble and by giving so much statisfaction to others.”

 

“Mourinho knows neither respect nor shame… What he’s doing to a person with such human qualities as Iker, a leading figure in Spanish football and Real M*drid, is unprecedented.”

 

“He wants to end his career at Barça, but in such a competitive sport the time will come when your level drops – that will be the moment in which he will have to leave Barça.”

 

 

padre-de-iniesta

 

So, whose dad has been speaking the truth on Radio MARCA?

Once you have answered, carry on as usual. And pardon my interruption. That last quote was my favorite, by the way.

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selfie barça Written by:

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...

117 Comments

  1. Sorry Off topic:

    I am sure all here would have read the special discussion with one Mr. Jan on barcastuff.

    I now understand better that Villanova too might not be happy with Rossell and co. He was forced to cede in last season too, on the CB issue.

    I have always thought, one reason for Pep to leave was Rossell.

    I hope at least they will decide something soon on Abidal. No issues with him at least, please.

    • selfie barça
      May 9, 2013

      I haven’t read it but am doing so now…. Ok, read it.

      I wonder what this guy’s sources are.

      I think most of us here agree Hummels would be a big mistake, but if he comes against the wishes of the coach then we are really in trouble.

      Also if true, questions should be asked whose interests would be served by forcing transfer – you would say that Rosell and the board watch enough football to understand Tito’s reasoning wanting a different type of defender.

      As for Abidal, I don’t think we should let anybody pressure us on making a decision before the league is finished. Quite frankly, to do so before seeing him play a couple of more competitive matches would be ridiculous. Again, if these stories are true I don’t think it very classy of Abidal to pressure us now that we have stood by him all this time.

      • I would like to beleive this guy is more believable than the general press – sure I could be wrong.

        May be even Song came against coach’s wishes – possible right – nothing else worked to the wish of coach last season, so to just pretend that they made a defensive signing they bought him. Whatever I like him now.

        Abidal’s situation is quite perplexing though. it is important that it end in a way good for either party.

        • selfie barça
          May 9, 2013

          “Whatever I like him now”

          I like Song also but that transfer did not address the team’s needs. At all.

      • May 9, 2013

        I’d refrain from sweeping generalizations such as “most of us agree Hummels would be a big mistake.” Fact of the matter is that what most of us know about football, compared to what our coaching staff knows, would just about fill a thimble.

        If the technical staff decides that Hummels is it, then Hummels is it. Fact of the matter is that our defense starts long before a ball ever gets to the defense. If something isn’t done about that part, it won’t matter who is on the back line — Javi Martinez, Thiago Silva, Varane, take your pick — the team is going to concede goals.

        As for Song, if the technical staff thought “Hey, wouldn’t it be nice to have a guy so that Busquets didn’t have to play every match so that we didn’t run him into the ground like Xavi,” then he did indeed address one of the team’s needs, right? As Song plays more and better in that role, his future with the club becomes clearer. And maybe, just maybe, we won’t have to face the prospect of a tired, hobbled Busquets sashaying around because that’s all that he can do, trying to play because the team needs him to play.

        • May 9, 2013

          I agree with refraining from the broad generalizations. Have heard lots of people calling for Hummels.

          Don’t agree that we should just accept the decisions of the coaching staff/technical staff/board/whoever is making the decisions. I was all about “In Pep we trust” because Pep had earned that trust. No one in the current organization inspires that trust, and certain parties inspire distrust.

  2. May 9, 2013

    It will be a real shame if the club doesn’t re-sign Abidal and then signs Hummels.

    All of our CBs will then be in the same mold, except an aging Puyol.

    • Roberto Senyera
      May 9, 2013

      I’m of the opinion that Abidal can give us 2 more years as a CB. That’s assuming he doesn’t suffer another relapse.

      We still need to get at least one top CB this summer though.

  3. PrinceYuvi
    May 9, 2013

    Mou is going, Oh yeah !
    Fergie is going, Oh No !
    Irrelevant, but still…..
    Pepe Reina ? Oh so No.

  4. May 9, 2013

    It’s Iniesta’s daddy, of course. And I hate that last quote. Iniesta must never ever leave. 👿

    • selfie barça
      May 9, 2013

      Thank you Blitzen for reading my post hahahahaha!

      I love that last quote.

      Like I said in the last thread, I would prefer Puyol to move to another club at some time in the future. I understand that people would hate to see him in other colors, but personally it would give me more of a heartache to see him play badly because of old age in our colors.

      I also love the quote because it gives us an excellent insight as to where Iniesta gets his humility from. Very atypical, coming from a soccer dad…

  5. May 9, 2013

    @Lev – The impression I’ve been getting is that Abidal’s camp is upset that the board hasn’t even really sat down with them to discuss whether or not his contract will be renewed.

    Think waiting until the end of the season is an acceptable plan, but sit down with Abidal and talk to him about the situation as a sign that you respect the player and don’t just leave him hanging until the board or whoever makes up their mind.

    • Eric THE EYE Wynalda
      May 9, 2013

      That doesn’t bode well. If I remember correctly, Eto’o was put in exactly the same situation. No one would discuss his future with him, he did not feel informed about the club’s plans for him, etc. If that example is anything to go by, Abidal is gone.

      Remember Eto’o? Has the smile of any other footballer been so happy?

  6. Gogah
    May 9, 2013

    Of course, the talk every summer must be about reinforcing positions, not adding players. But have we functioned that way the past few years? If we had, a CB or two would have been bought, not one but 2/3 years back. That said, Gundogan is the best name I’ve heard so far. Not Silva, Neymar, Kompany, Reina etc. I wouldn’t mind letting Cesc go for an Isco or Ilkay. In terms of upgrading positions, even for the near future, we need not one, but 2 GKs (valdes quitting, pinto 37ing), 2 CBs and proper center forward. People say we need goal scoring wingers, but I say we already have enough of those in Tello, Pedro, Lexus, Deulofeu, etc.

    Now.. On Mou, I’m actually glad he’s talking all this trash before leaving. Thank god he wasn’t dignified and respectful and all that. Because even his record at ee is not as bad as I would have liked.

    On Sir Alex retiring.
    Man..Some serious shit is about to happen this summer. Lots of activity, lots of upheavals and lots of people & managers moving. I just hope we don’t lose our head. This summer will be a great chance to truly analyze how financially shrewd and austere Ro$ell’s transfer policies are and how effective the board is in addressing glaring technical needs.

  7. BA
    May 9, 2013

    you can bet one thing: if there’s a way to F up our transfer policy in the cause of saving or making more money, Rosell’s administration will do it.

  8. Roberto Senyera
    May 9, 2013

    David Moyes gets a 6 year contract at ManU? Wow! That’s a long term commitment for a decent, but unremarkable, manager. No UCL group stage experience, no silverware at Everton over ten years, hasn’t won at a top four side’s ground over that time, and ideologically transfixed to the 4-4-2.

    Good luck with that ManU. Expect your fortunes to change … dramatically.

    Great last couple of days for folks who don’t have a soft spot for the red side of Manchester.

    Schadenfreude lives 😉

    • Jim
      May 9, 2013

      I think Moyes is one of the best managers in England and what he has done with Everton doesn’t mean it’s what he will do with Man U. He will use the best formation for the players he has. Tactically at least he’s every bit as good as Fergie. Only unknown for me is man management of the biggest stars. Don’t know by their fortunes should change although Rooney’s decline is a worry for them.

    • Eric THE EYE Wynalda
      May 9, 2013

      I agree with Jim, but there’s also something to be said in favor of that commitment to the long-ball style: it can work. Against anyone. Barcelona invented a new model of play (imitated to some extent in England by Arsenal, Swansea, maybe Wigan), Bayern have adapted the strengths of that model into their own system, and everyone has seen that England’s quality is suffering. Moyes is a British manager who plays a British style for a British club. Perfect for United, who have always done the same.

  9. Roberto Senyera
    May 9, 2013

    “Mourinho knows neither respect nor shame… What he’s doing to a person with such human qualities as Iker, a leading figure in Spanish football and Real M*drid, is unprecedented.”

    Casper’s dad sounds like a top shelf man. A proper gentleman you can share a bottle of wine with.

    • Ryan
      May 9, 2013

      If memory serves, the Iniestas indeed own a vineyard, so there would be plenty of wine to share!

  10. BA
    May 9, 2013

    news is: instead of resting our clearly exhausted players, many of whom have been playing for years with only a few weeks of rest in between, we’ll instead be flying them all the way around the world this summer, during the monsoon season, to play against a Malaysian XI and the Thailand national team at least. why? for money.

    another wildly stupid, greedy, self-defeating decision.

    • Roberto Senyera
      May 9, 2013

      We’re no different to almost all the top clubs in that regard: do preseason tours to far away places whilst selling our souls for the almighty dollar. Strengthening the brand, marketing, Ro$ell kinda stuff, etc.

      • BA
        May 9, 2013

        i understand that all clubs do it; i’m just pointing out that due to the preponderance of Spanish national team players in our squad, and it’s small size, we’re at greater risk for fatigue than all the other top clubs. i think that fatigue has been pretty obvious to anyone who’s been watching our games towards the end of this season, and think next season would be far better served by allowing players to rest and settle longstanding injuries than a few more million dollars on the club’s books.

        • May 9, 2013

          But that would be bucking a marketing culture that is deeply embedded in the game. United and Chelsea at Yankee Stadium, Messi and Friends in Chicago, etc. It’s an easy way to pick up a few million.

          Besides, says the cynical part of me, tired players don’t win Champions Leagues, so you don’t have to pay out big bonuses. Thought I saw some math somewhere that said fiscally, once a team reaches the semis, it doesn’t matter in terms of monetary gain, whether it then reaches the final. All that final can do is add millions to the payroll in player bonuses. /cynicalmodeoff

          I am sure that Guardiola and Vilanova worked some mojo in having the all-European friendly schedule last offseason. And look at the result, until poor player management and bad luck reared their heads. Flying to Copenhagen is a lot easier than flying to Malaysia.

          • Jim
            May 9, 2013

            The other way to look at it though is that the easier schedule didnt make a blind bit of difference by the end of the season.

    • Eric THE EYE Wynalda
      May 9, 2013

      I remember the preseason from whenever Chivas defeated Barcelona 4-0 somewhere in the USA. It had some definite downsides – exhaustion, namely, but also had some brilliant positives, specifically Thiago and Cuenca. Since players like Bartra, Montoya, Dos Santos, get little enough playing time in the regular season, I pray to god that the pre-season is time for them to get some minutes. I’d watch.

  11. barca96
    May 9, 2013

    -I suspect that it is Puyol’s Dad since there are rumors about him leaving. Am I right?

    -Hummels wouldn’t be the best option but he would definitely improve on what we currently have.

    -Seen Gundogan early in the season but thought that he was careless. Watched him closely in the semi final, better but I still don’t rate him highly. Very aggressive yes but we already have 3 CB’s. To be fair to him, he would not be the last in the pecking order. He would be 3rd. He should be better than sMasch now since the latter hasn’t played DM for 3 seasons now. Still, it would be a waste of money.

    -I hope it’s not true that Abidal is disappointed. He should give the board the benefit of the doubt. They stuck by him for so long, give them some time. I would love to have him at least 1 more season.

    -Puyol is still our 2nd best CB. It seems that a couple of mistakes = gone. Nope. Not to me. Especially when people make judgements after the slip when he was chasing di Maria.

    -Reus is the player that I want. Can you imagine having Tello and Reus on each wing?!

    Reus is in a perfect stage to make the jump unlike Neymar who is coming from a much poorer league. I prefer young players who has had some European exposure like Ronaldo, Ronaldinho before jumping to a big team.

    • Tsivoman
      May 9, 2013

      Agree with you 100% on the last paragraph.

      If it was up to me, I would take Reus over Neymar any day of the week.

      • barca96
        May 10, 2013

        I wouldn’t go as far as any dad of the week but perhaps on some days when I’m tight on budget, I’ll take the cheaper and safer option, Reus.

        I wish we could have them both though. Both excellent talents. Perhaps thus year Neymar and next year Reus if Pedro is still in a funk. Hopefully Cuenca gets playing time in CL as he has a hard time even getting in the match squad.

    • KEVpitt
      May 9, 2013

      Ronnie has lost some weight and looks quicker honestly!

  12. barca96
    May 9, 2013

    Kxevin now that you’re back, who doesn’t Jordan do punditry work like Magic?

    • BA
      May 9, 2013

      as a native Illinoisan, i’d say it’s because:

      1. it wouldn’t make for great television. Jordan is the best player to ever play; it would just seem petty for Michelangelo to go down and critique a college art class.

      2. Jordan also, for all his greatness, has a gigantic ego (which in my view is perfectly warranted). that colours his analysis and impels him to stay “above it all”. coexisting with that part of his personality is a strong inclination towards privacy. unlike Magic or Barkley, he’s just not particularly personable.

      3. he doesn’t need the money (or ESPN can’t afford what he’d charge them) or notoriety, he’s already arguably one of the most famous people on the planet and one of the wealthiest athletes.

    • May 9, 2013

      Dunno. Have to ask him. I suspect that he doesn’t need the limelight as much, and has gobs more money. So he can just frolic with his Brazilian supermodel wife, play golf and not worry about anything even remotely resembling work.

      • KEVpitt
        May 9, 2013

        I wonder how Hanes afforded him!!!!!?????

    • selfie barça
      May 9, 2013

      @kxevin
      With Abidal still recovering from a liver transplant and Puyol aging and crocked up half the time our needs were obvious. So obvious that we were repeatedly told that the shiny new DM we bought could cover as a CB also.

      I agree that Song plays well, very well sometimes, but I still don’t think it was the right move. They could have gotten a CB and have Masch or Thiago play DM every now and then for Busi relief.

      As far as the idea that the coaching staff knows a lot more about soccer than we, that’s true, and not just Barça’s technical staff either. Still doesn’t stop a lot of idiot transfer deals from happening throughout Europe every summer. And though we trusted in Pep his track record has not been all that great either: Hleb, Chiggy, Ibra, Keirrison (although that might have been Txiki’s call, idk)…Heck, even Villa only really worked out well for one season and Cesc and Lexus still haven’t lived up to their full potential either (which, given the chance, I hope they will)

      @calvin
      mmm yeah, I agree with you that they should talk to Abi. Then again, who knows what goes on behind closed doors.

      @gogah
      2 goalkeepers? I guess that as a backup Pepe Reina makes sense, which is one of the arguments they are using right now (that after 2 yrs he will become our backup). I shudder at the thought of him being our first GK, though. We should try to convince VV to stay for the remainder of his contract.

      @barca96
      It was not Puyol’s dad. Speaking of which, right now Masch is probably a better defender than Puyol. Age and injuries, man, age and injuries. Then again Masch will never be able to replace Puyol’s defensive prowess.

      As for your b-ball Q, maybe Jordan ain’t even interested in being on TV. And even if he were, Magic’s lovable while Mike is not even likable. imho

      • May 9, 2013

        @barca96
        Puyol’s father died in…I want to say 2006. I know Rijkaard was the one who had to tell him as the team was on the road at the time.

      • May 9, 2013

        Perhaps you don’t think the Song transfer was the right move, but his value in relieving Busquets is clear. And for me it isn’t a question of relief, but rather a question of regular rotation.

        Could Mascherano shuttle back and forth? Not if the team thinks of him as a first-choice CB. Because then that means moving a player from one slot to another. If rotation is the question, then relief for Busquets was necessary. Song is that kind of player. It isn’t about a CB in specific, as many seem to quite mistakenly think that it is. So he has failed because he can’t play CB. Go back and watch Song at CB and tell me he was more or less stopgap than Adriano. No. And no, Thiago canNOT play DM. In that case, why not Iniesta at DM?

        Regarding CBs, had there not been the injury problems and real player rotation, nobody would be saying a word. So Bartra gets time, Puyol isn’t broken and Mascherano doesn’t have the freak knee injury. People are saying the team failed for not being able to anticipate a tornado. With Pique, Puyol, Mascherano, Bartra and the versatile Adriano, 5 players for 2 CB slots should have been sufficient. Should the team carry 6 CBs? 7? Then almost a third of the roster spots are being occupied by CBs, in case of what? And if everyone stays healthy, then what? People are saying “Hmph, we could have spent some of that CB money on an attacker.”

        As for the Guardiola transfer record, Hleb was good until he got injured and then became an attitude problem. Same for Ibrahimovic, who many forget was a big part of the reason we won Liga that season. Txigrinski didn’t get ANY time. Then he was sold against Guardiola’s wishes. It takes more than one season at the club to be able to reasonably evaluate a player.

        Keirrison was not Guardiola’s call. It was a risk that didn’t pay off, taking a chance on a young player. That happens all the time (Dos Santos, Assulin, Nolito, etc.).

        As for Fabregas and Sanchez living up to their “full potential,” has any player on the roster? Villa didn’t have any potential. He was what he was, and that’s what we bought. He broke his leg, and that was that. Busquets is running in place, Xavi is aging, Messi is a less complete player even as he is scoring more, etc. Iniesta? Sure, as long as you don’t want goals. So the “potential” argument as a transfer evaluator doesn’t wash with me. It’s just a stick with which to beat on unpopular players.

        • May 9, 2013

          That’s the thing, I don’t think Mascherano should be thought of as a first choice center back. He has done much better than I thought he would, but his true role in the team should be to rotate with both Busquets and the center backs.

          With the cast of CBs we have it is quite obvious that we miss a specific profile of CB – Puyol has that profile but expecting him to be healthy for more than half the matches a season is just being unrealistic at this point. Pique, Bartra, and even Mascherano to some extent have similar skill sets. The team lacks a foil to these type of centerbacks – and has since Abidal’s injury.

          No offense meant to Song (I think he should be playing more often, but higher up the pitch instead of at CB), but the team would be more balanced if we had brought in a sweeper type CB last summer.

          As for the injury argument – we have had problems at the end of the season with injuries to the back line almost every year since ’08-’09. It is not an anomaly when it happens that often.

          • selfie barça
            May 9, 2013

            I agree with Calvin. People were complaining about Mascherano long before he got injured. For me he would be a great defender were he a bit taller. Now he is a sometimes very good defender and a part of the Barcelona height problem.

            As for the transfers, you are right that Keirrison was not Pep’s call. Was still a failure, though.

            I never understood why we would get an Iniesta-lite (Hleb) and apart from the fact that Eto’o and a ridiculous amount of money was not worth it, Ibra’s attitude problems were the world’s worst kept secret.

            Chiggy seemed like a very nice guy and he remained classy to the end. I think he was one of the worst buys ever.

            Also unlike Cesc and Alexis, we have seen a lot of other players live up to their full potential and on a more consistent level, although not always this season. With Cesc and Alexis we keep seeing their potential and we hope they will live up to it.

          • May 9, 2013

            For me it is about this season, not past seasons. Yes, we had injuries in the Treble season, but not to the extent nor timing that we had this season, not to mention the other stuff that went on this year. I just think that there is a decided lack of perspective on this season.

            We agree on the damage that Abidal’s loss has caused. But those very same CBs were fine and dandy before that loss. But if people had mentioned selling the likes of Puyol and Pique and replacing them with more traditional CBs, people would have flipped their flops.

            And just because people were complaining about Mascherano doesn’t mean that his play lent any credence to those complaints. Sell Alba? He just got here and needs time to jel and improve, right? Then what about the other players who are “failures” after a season in the colors?

            Nobody is arguing that Keirrison is a failed transfer. My sole point was that it wasn’t Guardiola’s call. As for Txigrinski being the worst buy ever, we will have to agree to disagree. His positional sense was improving, and we haven’t had a CB who could deliver a long pass like that since Marquez. I know that the memories of a player are always established by the failures and never the successes, but I can’t be the only geek with DVDs full of Barça highlights to put the lie to the notions of total failure.

            Hleb is another one to whom history has been unkind. Watch video of him before the injury. Excellent possession player, very good passer and intelligent with the ball. Not an Iniesta Lite. Just Hleb. I know it’s always “compare signings to current players,” but that simply ensures that they NEVER get to stand on their own feet.

            Then the team stepped on the gas and Hleb was left behind. Then he became a failed transfer. We will never know what would have happened had he done what he was supposed to do (language, assimilation) or not gotten injured.

            Perspective. Everyone argues against something that isn’t the sainted thing (Messi, Guardiola, etc.) instead of looking at what happened, didn’t happen and figuring out what the complexity was. So we’re selling everybody and their mamas, Vilanova should be on a short leash. Madness.

        • BA
          May 9, 2013

          we’ve not had more than 2 center-backs since Abidal was diagnosed with cancer: Pique and Puyol. whatever anybody says, Mascherano is not a center-back; he’s a defensive midfielder being played at center-back. Adriano is even less. hell i’m sure if given the choice between that and not playing, Messi would play center-back. does that make him one? no.

          i like Mascherano and Adriano in our squad, and the former has done a yeoman’s job in a position not his own. but they are not trained central defenders. period. and you can’t compete at the highest level without trained central defenders. period. i would have thought the lessons of this season has made that painfully obvious.

  13. Dave
    May 9, 2013

    I have some random thoughts and would appreciate any input,

    Gundogsn is fantastic and would be a great statement from the board. Xavi still has the brain but the legs have gone. Gundogan can dictate the tempo and is also physical and aggressive enough to press. Tbh I don’t think Cesc will ever be the player to dictate play and to press and harry. He simply lacks the discipline and athleticism. He a luxury player in the way Riquelme was. We cannot afford to grant Cesc that privilege.
    I also think that several of the current squad lack the bitterness and singularity of purpose to win. Cesc,Pique and Sanchez need some work with a sports psychologist. For me they lack the drive and aggression to ever become captains/leaders. Compare Puyol, Eto, Xavi and Masch . Part of the problem ould be the mild mannered Roura and Tito. We lack Pep’s no nonsense or even Henk ten Cate’s bullishness.

    Defense is the priority but its too simple to put down all to the defenses mistakes. We simply lack the athleticism and hunger to press further up the field.

    Pace at the back is essential and sure Hummmel’s won’t offer that. But he is fantastic in the air, excellent with the ball and really good at anticipating situations which can often negate pace.
    To cap it off he strikes me as having real leadership qualities.

    Another name mentioned today is Mathieu. Personally I think hes a fine player and in conjunction with Alba often gave Barca a torrid time. He’s 6’3 and good in the air. Very athletic. At 29 and 8million I would take it. Similar role to Abidal Lb/LCB. Hard to find a player that can do both. Only Vertonghen springs to mind.

    Sorry for being long winded

    • BA
      May 9, 2013

      i like the idea of Gundogan; he’s an extremely sharp, solid, hardworking player. he reminds me a bit of Deco, in fact, and i think we’ve missed a player like Deco’s willingness, versatility and tenacity at times, particularly this season. Hummels should be brought in not as a partner for Pique but as a competitor for his spot in conjunction with at least 1 more center-back; in that respect i think he’d be vital.

      almost seems a shame to break up this Dortmund team even more than they already will be, though.

      Mathieu is a good player, but i don’t think he’s Barça quality and is getting a bit old for a stopgap; he also plays in Jordi Alba’s position though i suppose we could move the Atomic Squirrel up to play on the left wing (boy i’d love to see that 3-1-3-3….). Vertonghen is a better player, younger, and more capable as a center-back; but i’d take some convincing to see if he’s up to our standard either. frankly i’m just not aware of any players (barring Thiago Silva) that obviously fit our needs in Europe at this time.

    • selfie barça
      May 9, 2013

      Don’t apologize. Excellent post.

      I honestly haven’t seen enough of Dortmund to opine one way or the other, but if we buy Gundogan I would be tempted to sell Cesc.

      What I have seen of Hummels does not convince me, though. Mathieu could be a very good option indeed.

      • Dave
        May 9, 2013

        The club needs about 5 players. 3 starters.

        And I think we can forget about Vertonghen. Levy is impossible to negotiate with.

        Def agree on the idea of Hummels competing with Pique. Pique hasn’t done enough for me to guarantee automatic starts.

        • Eric THE EYE Wynalda
          May 9, 2013

          For sure, if there’s anything we can learn from Tottenha over the past few years: they will not sell for a penny less than you will pay. Forget Vertonghen, Bale, or…well…anyone else of quality? Dembele? Anyway, forget ’em

          • Eric THE EYE Wynalda
            May 9, 2013

            The notion Hummels would be brought in not to partner Pique but compete with him is strongly supported by Tito’s comments about Pique, when Pique spoke of necessary changes. Pep felt Pique’s er..lifestyle? Something affected him to complacency. Buy Hummels, force Pique to up his game, and if he doesn’t surpass Hummels then Pique can probably land a lot of money.

            All of that said, and all of this speculation considered, Barcelona’s transfer policy – if it can be called a policy – is more baffling than that of any other team. We’ll probably end up with Eden Hazard in a swap deal for Sanchez and Thiago and van Buyten for 40 million

    • May 9, 2013

      Good points on Hummels, who would be better than Pique, from what I have seen of him, once he adjusted to the system, which is difficult. The question would be whether he could adjust before cules wrote him off for his struggles, as they did with other transfers. Dunno.

      Gundogan is a risk, as is any transfer. There is also what the intentions are of Vilanova as regards what system he is going to play next season.

      As for the mental side of things, it isn’t just Fabregas, Pique and Sanchez. You can add many others to that list. And that isn’t a coaching issue. Guardiola wasn’t a deity. He was a coach who came along at the right time, to coach hungry players. As the hunger diminished, so did the results. That, as much as any back room machinations, points to why he left. He always said that he would leave when the players stopped being effective under him. If so, last season was the perfect time to go.

      Vilanova has done better this year than Guardiola did last year in terms of results, and he spent half the season battling cancer.

      Not sure why pace at the back is so essential in a CB. Puyol and Pique were more than fast enough, when the system worked. It isn’t working now, so their deficiencies are more evident. And not having Abidal there to clean up mistakes is the biggest part of that equation. Yet nobody has said we should be looking for a rangy, pacy LB with calmness and killer ball skills. No, Alba ain’t it, but that kind of player would help the back line more than ANY CB we could purchase on the transfer market.

      • May 9, 2013

        “Vilanova has done better this year than Guardiola did last year in terms of results, and he spent half the season battling cancer.”

        Fair. But the football was so much more… enticing and exciting last season

        • Messiah10
          May 9, 2013

          I’ll have to disagree. Last year we had no options and looked rather stale for most of the season. This year we were very direct in the beginning of the season. People seem to forget we went 18 games unbeaten and had 3 amazing comebacks. Those games were much more exciting to me then last years: pass around the box and not have any movement or ability to change game plan.

          • May 9, 2013

            I can understand preferring this season’s style, but there is no way last season was stale. It was probably the most adventurous and tactically heterogeneous of the Pep years. This season by contrast has been tactically stagnant even if you prefer the more attacking, less control style.

            I also think last years team was better when it was at its best.

      • selfie barça
        May 9, 2013

        I think the reason a pacy LB hasn’t been mentioned (well, apart from Mathieu) is that we just bought Alba last year. His form (read: attitude) left a lot to be desired over the last couple of months, but still, I think he will improve.

        I hate to admit it, but it might make more sense to get an athletic RB and sell Dani Alves now that he can still command a decent transfer fee.

        I don’t know who would replace him though, since another reason nobody is talking about replacing Abidal with another full back is that there don’t seem to be any fashionable names on the market right now…

        • Roberto Senyera
          May 9, 2013

          Please don’t touch my Dani, my Dani Alves,
          He makes me happy when skies are grey,
          You’ll never know how much I love my Dani,
          Please don’t take my Dani away 🙂

      • Dave
        May 9, 2013

        Great posts.
        With regards hunger I hope the Tito moves out those who lack it. Pep did it in 2009 removing the sacred calf’s Deco and R10
        Pace at the back is essential. It allows us to press high and recover balls over our defense. The loss of Abidal was catastrophic to the overall. He was able to cover the pace decencies of a sluggish Pique and an aging Puyol ( who despite his age was still no slouch).

        The key is balance- Alves attacks excellently but inevitably gets caught up field ( not his fault, he often covers the wing alone) Abidal as we know excelled as a left sweeper which balanced all. And make no mistake he was a monster of an athlete.

        I think the club has condensed the philosophy of the club far too much. I mean what year over the past decade best represents the style of Barca. 2006, 2009 2011 ??
        For me 2009 and yes hindsight is brilliant but that squad perfectly blended Rikarrd’s directness and individual quality with Pep’s teamwork possession and pressing. It was a happy medium
        Pep last year was stale and turgid for me, possession for the sake of it. I think Bayern 2012 and Barca 2009 are similar

        OR maybe the club has narrowed the type of player down too much they think will suit the system (failed transfers make influence this)- technique over athleticism. Why not adjust to suit players?

        Maybe a more aggressive style Cb like a stopper similar to Puyol would be better. Kompany ,Subotic

    • Eric THE EYE Wynalda
      May 9, 2013

      I agree with you on Gundogan 100%. The guy was key to the success Dortmund has achieved this season, and I think he would definitely improve our midfield. Specifically, he fills the Keita box-to-box duties, and he’s elegant on the ball and intelligent to boot. But…Song was signed to fill the Keita shaped hole. I have faith in Song, he’s a high quality player, but the state of his development is critical to the need for a Gundogan style player.

      Hummels makes sense to me, in a certain light. Our CB list is short and the names on it all slow. Hummels is no different. What this suggests is not that our defense will continue to suffer from lack of pace, BUT RATHER that the style of the team will compensate for lack at the back. Either the line will sit deeper (a la RM) we’ll play a CB as a sweeper (Piquenbauer, anyone?), or the Full backs won’t attack as aggressively.

      Matthieu is a wonderful player, always surprised me he was never recruited by Chelsea or someone. Would love to have him at Barca.

  14. Messiah10
    May 9, 2013

    I would take Hummels in a heart beat. I don’t get all the question marks over him? Dude’s been the core of a CB tandem to win 2 consecutive Bundesliga titles and get his team into a CL Final. His team came 1st in the Group of Death. He helped shut down Shaktar and EE who are 2 above average attacking teams with tons of speed. He would start above Puyol & Pique if I were managing. I’d also like to have Silva. I think Hummels & Silva would be amazing for us. Time for Dani, Villa, & Cesc to go. Villa would still command a decent transfer fee for a team really needing a striker, but not wanting to splash $30 million on one. Dani would go for at least $18-20 million. Hopefully, we could recoup Cesc’s transfer fee and reinvest all of that into Hummels & Silva. It’s a dream and I’m allowed to have wishful thinking.

  15. Huckleberry
    May 9, 2013

    boys and girls, these are all rumours! It does not make a rumour true, if it fits in your picture 😉

  16. nia
    May 9, 2013

    If Barcelona cannot sign PSG centre back Thiago Silva (29), Vilanova doesn’t rule out to not sign any centre back this summer. [el9].

    Surely Tito cant go another season playing converted mids at CB.

  17. ciaran
    May 9, 2013

    I don’t know why some of you think that we should be considering selling Cesc. He has been the second most productive player this season. HE IS NOT REPLACING XAVI, and no he’s not meant to. He is an alternative to Iniesta, not Xavi. Thiago is the only one who can keep our tempo up in the absence of Xavi and he will be the one replacing him over the next few seasons.
    I watch a lot of Dortmund, and Gundogan is a good player but saying that he is Xavi or Deco is way off the mark. Dortmund are a much more direct team that we are, a very different style.
    Hummels is fantastic. He is big, strong, quick enough and reads the game like he has seen it before.

    • Momo
      May 9, 2013

      Agreed, people need to understand that there is no replacing Xavi. He’s a once in a generation player and his level of consistency at completely dominating games will likely not be matched by anyone anytime soon. Gundogan would be a silly purchase with the midfielders we have sitting on the bench trying to get a game. Our problem is some physicality and finishing upfront and an actual defender in the back.

  18. simple_barcafan
    May 9, 2013

    Silva is 29..I cannot understand the point of spending 40+M (Might be a bit less 35M?) on a defender who can give a maximum of 3 years before age catches up. As far as I understand, Tito and many here prefer him over Hummels because of his speed (there might be other factors, but this seems the main reason). So if his speed decreases in a 2-3years, is it worth spending so much, given that he is injury prone?

    (P.S. Also remember he is a Brazilian. They usually go downhill after 30..I am not saying Silva will, but…)

  19. ibbe
    May 10, 2013

    I think the problem with Pique is that he doesn’t really have any competition for his place. If we do get Hummels then he should start ahead of Pique. If Pique still has the champion mentality that he ones had, then he will improve and they can eventually form a great partnership together.

    Now about T. Silva, it’s true that his age is a problem, but do you remember his proformance against us? It was a one-man defence, without him we would’ve won the tie more comfortably, and he is a natural leader at the back, we could use one of those IMO..

    • selfie barça
      May 10, 2013

      Wow. I didn’t know Karanka had an alter ego…Full of surprises, that guy!

      • barca96
        May 10, 2013

        Levon why are you talking about Karanka? I couldn’t find any relation between the article and Karanka.

        What does Mourinho mean by structural problem? Besides players like Iker, who else was he referring to? I thought it was just Iker and Ramos but it seems that all is well with Ramos since he said that Ramos Varane is the future.

        I always fret whenever it’s Duncans Castles doing the commentary. Very easy to fall asleep listening to him at 3 am. Luckily this season, I get Skyline more often.

  20. May 10, 2013

    Abidal and Mascherano trained with the group today. That would be my Sunday CB combo.

    Also a nasty rumor floating around that Deulofeu will be promoted. Maybe the club jas decided that he is in that too good for B but not reaaly ready for A, theybwant to keep him from learning even more bad habits.

    Personally I would do a Tello, where he trains and travels with A and has the occasional match experience, but no full promotion.

    • selfie barça
      May 10, 2013

      You might be right about Deulofeu, but I think the problem is as you say, although he is not yet ready for Barça A he is simply too good for Barça B. A player like that is hard to hold back.

      I personally don’t like him all that much, but he will have plenty of chances to prove me wrong.

      • barca96
        May 10, 2013

        At this moment, Tell is miles ahead button it will be quite unfair to compare them. Why I used Tello is that Seulofeu will most likely compete with Tello.

    • Jim
      May 10, 2013

      No objection to that pairing really apart from the fact that there isn’t a lot of recent playing time there. I’d rather win the league this week then we can have a look at various players. I think Abidal in particular needs a couple of games so that any decision can be a footballing one.

  21. selfie barça
    May 10, 2013

    I get the argument of more competition for Pique, really I do, but consider this:

    Gerard is the only defender – no scratch that – the only player with a rel aerial presence to defend against corners and free kicks. And that is the CB people want to replace?

    • barca96
      May 10, 2013

      I don’t know how others feel but I thought we will buy him to be the 2nd CB. Why should it be Pique or Hummels and the other sMasch?

    • ciaran
      May 10, 2013

      I like the idea of signing Hummels, Thiago Silva or any another STARTING centre back with an aerial presence. Pique is decent in the air an is our only defender who wins anything in the air. If it doesn’t land on his head the it’s generally the opposition that win the ball. Busquets is tall but doesn’t have the aggression in the air that ever Puyol has.

      Trying to look objectively at our squad:

      If the club decide to sell Valdes this summer then it is up to them but I personally would probably keep him unless we get €10+ million for him.
      Marc Andre Ter Stegen has been consistenly linked to him and in terms of goalkeeping usuals he is outstanding. Not sure about his ball playing abilities however. Other rumours are linking us to Pepe Reina which is also viable although he isn’t young either.

      Pique should be a starting centreback
      Puyol isn’t first choice anymore, is too old and gets too many injuries
      Mascherano should be first sub or an alternative to rest either of the two first choice centrebacks against smaller teams
      Bartra isn’t good enough yet and it’s always difficult to progress for a young centreback without regular minutes

      For me, we need 5 centrebacks in our squad considering Puyol’s fitness and Mascherano should be our 3rd choice not 2nd against the elite teams.

      At full back, I like our mix of Dani, Montoya, Adriano & Alba however it does leave us a little light defensively and short at set pieces. Rumours are that we are looking to pick up 29yr old Jeremy Mathieu from Valencia for around €5-8million which I think is sensible thinking because of his physique.

  22. barca96
    May 10, 2013

    I bet to guys already know about Tito only wanting Thiago Silva or nobody. And that jenis forced to sign Hummels by Rosell.

    I’m with Rosell on thus one. It would be really arrogant on Tito’s behalf if he thinks that Hummels wouldn’t improve. You can’t always have what you want. Every manager has to settle for option B sometimes.

    It would be really foolish to have a Silva or nobody attitude. He’s getting 30 soon. His performance might drop. The worst aspects of this deal would be his transfer fee and wages.

    Of course I would prefer Silva too but it’s nearly impossible. Why not settle for 2nd best who is probably in the top 5 CB’s in the world?

    I think it is understandable for Rosell to offer Hummels since he knows that it’s impossible to get Silva.

    Who’s side are you guys on?

    • Jim
      May 10, 2013

      I’d rather we left any decision on Hummels till after the CL final. I haven’t seen a lot of him but I wasn’t particularly impressed. We’ll know more when we see him against Bayern as that’s the sort of opposition we’d need him for. Remember, it’s not Dortmund’s back four he’ll be playing in, it’s ours. A LOT more quick important positioning decisions to be made.

      • selfie barça
        May 10, 2013

        Same here, Jim.

        We all saw him give up a goal at home in the semis and I was quite frankly baffled by the manner in which he tried to block Ramos’s goal in the Bernabeu http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqr3hJegFGg

        As for as “Silva or nobody” goes that’s just ridiculous. If Tito wants us to splash more than 40M on a central defender it’s because we need one.

        • ciaran
          May 10, 2013

          It was Subotic not Hummels that tried to block Ramos’ goal by the way

          • selfie barça
            May 10, 2013

            Aaaaaah… So Hummels didn’t even try to block Ramos’ shot – that’s even worse! (just kidding)

            Dudes do look alike but I if anything he should have noticed the number on his back. Either way, thanks for pointing it out to me.

          • May 10, 2013

            So? Pique gave up an own goal. Should he be on probation, like Hummels, or maybe, just maybe, players are human and make mistakes, like every last one of our players have this season.

            We are lambasting players who are doing nothing more than what our players also did. Slack marking? Covered. Silly defensive errors? Covered. Hey, maybe we want Hummels because he will fit right in.

            Hummels is quality. Who knows if the rumors are true, but we would do well to land him.

        • ilie
          May 12, 2013

          He was injured before and then rushed into that game.. of course he would be a little rusty

          And other than that mistake, he bossed that game

      • selfie barça
        May 10, 2013

        Not saying that players aren’t human, but like the comment I was replying to I haven’t seen a lot of him and one of the few times I did see a live game with him he gave up the goal.

        Time might very well prove you right, though.

    • Clouseau
      May 10, 2013

      Can understand both sides of View but leaning more to Tito for other reasons..

      Indeed Hummels and Piqué are the similar in many aspects on their game but then again we had a functional defense with Marquéz and Piqué playing some jawdropping football together…

      Team has homongenous so it makes sense to add some different flavour to the roster but to be honest i’m surprised Tito opinion re Thiago S. don’t see many differences between him and Mats.

      Can’t see BVB letting Mats leave anyway not after loosing two pillars to Bayern…

      • May 10, 2013

        The “Silva or nothing” stuff is just journalist nonsense. They don’t know any more than we do. Notice that the speculative stories have been even wilder under the Vilanova reign? Can’t see his staff being very chatty with the media, not that Guardiola’s was, either.

        Journalists are reaching for stuff just like we do here, and hoping that something will stick. Thiago Silva’s price tag is the same as it was last season, and we thought it was too high last season. You can stop making copies altogether and hire monkeys to draw copies of pictures. Still won’t cover his 45m freight.

        As for Silva vs Hummels, it’s 24 vs 29, and Hummels, from what I have seen, fits the profile of the foot skills/passing Barça CB a lot more than Silva does.

        Hummels is on record as saying that he loves Dortmund, but if we came calling, that’s about the only team that he would pack his bags for.

        • Ultraculé
          May 11, 2013

          Completely agree. Hummels may not be Usain Bolt but he is a real leader at the back with great character, the best available replacement for the irreplaceable Puyol. He also wants to play for Barca. We must move fast instead of screwing around and make some crap transfers towards the end of the transfer season out of desperation. Every summer quality players like Ozil, Vertonghen, Gotze, Silva etc have expressed their dream to play for us only for the club to ignore them completely and see them kick ass for another club. We must act fast. If these rumours about Tito’s assessment on Hummels has any truth to it, I really can’t tell what he’s thinking.

  23. barca96
    May 10, 2013

    I wouldn’t go as far as any dad of the week but perhaps on some days when I’m tight on budget, I’ll take the cheaper and safer option, Reus.

    I wish we could have them both though. Both excellent talents. Perhaps thus year Neymar and next year Reus if Pedro is still in a funk. Hopefully Cuenca gets playing time in CL as he has a hard time even getting in the match squad.

  24. Ultraculé
    May 10, 2013

    Imagine the summer acquisitions being
    Hummels + Mathieu / Agger for CB, LB
    Gundogan / Isco in, Cesc out for MF
    Ter Stegen in, Valdes out for GK
    Neymar in
    Lewandowski / Jackson Martinez in, Villa out for CF
    .
    .. I know, Won’t happen, but a boy is allowed dream..Right?

    • ciaran
      May 10, 2013

      I don’t think all of that would be an improvement. I’m sorry because I know there’s a lot of people here that dislike Cesc but there’s no way that Gundogan or Isco are better than Thiago, not to mention Cesc. Gundogan has played 50+ games for Dortmund and is functional for them. Isco has played 60+ games for Malaga and looks decent too. Thiago has played 60+ games for FC Barcelona and is undoubtedly better than either.
      Cesc has played over 250 games for both Arsenal and Barcelona and is a world class footballer whether people like him or not.

      • Messiah10
        May 11, 2013

        I don’t think a lot of people dislike Cesc. As for me, I definitely don’t dislike him, I just don’t see where he helps our team. We have to move to of our best players out of position to fit him into the starting 11. He’s not as gifted a passer as I thought he was. He certainly doesn’t have the precision or vision of a world class midfielder. To many easy turnovers for me. He also lacks pace and strength. For me, it’s about wages and not changing Iniesta’s position.

        • Ultraculé
          May 12, 2013

          Couldn’t agree more. Its not about disliking Cesc but about analyzing how he contributes to this team.

  25. barca96
    May 11, 2013

    Great news. The club thinks that Silva’s salary is a stumbling block and they’re looking into Reus. I guess some of the coaching staff has been following BFB 🙂

    • PrinceYuvi
      May 11, 2013

      Reus ?
      AWESOME.
      MAKE IT HAPPEN PLEASE.

  26. May 11, 2013

    Valdes and Abidal were training normally with the squad. Now both are out for tomorrow’s match. Calf AND foot, and calf, respectively.

    • selfie barça
      May 11, 2013

      Bummer. Abidal really needs to play a couple of games so that we can see how he holds up.

      As it stands, we might not get another chance of seeing either one of those players represent our team, at least not out on the pitch…

  27. May 11, 2013

    @barcastuff:

    Vilanova: “Medical tests in New York this week? It was perfect, we are very happy about how things are going.”

    Not all the medical news is bad! 😀

  28. Whalz_pi
    May 11, 2013

    We cules talked about how perfect we were at the start of the season, how more direct we were, the great comebacks, perfectly timed sub. If you think thts was a perfect start, I outrightly disagree. What I saw against grananda, osasuna, sevilla, valencia. Did not define what a perfect game is, I remembered how we strugle for possession, and how we talk about messi sleep walking, how cesc and iniesta are incompatible due to iniesta/xavi/cesc rotation. Things only got back to normal when the rotation stoped i.e cesc iniesta and xavi became starters.

    We talked about how last season was stale, lack of plan b, more about possession, lack of perfect time sub. I can tell u we were more direct last season than this season but just unlucky. I have never seen us so toothless like this season especially in d big games, e.g Ac milan (1 shot) against beryan (0 shot), i mean its rediculus. Cheak out chelsea v barca last season, u can see the hunger and the zeal, so many attempt. we were just unlucky. But this season was just woeful. Sorry to say. Last season we played better IMO..
    Visca barca

    • mic
      May 11, 2013

      Well said, I have the same feeling. Last season in la Liga we had more dominant wins and we had less luck in close matches. This season we were able to pull off some close wins but were less dominant overall.

      Last season almost everybody was parking a bus against us, but still we were able to score 114 goals. This season so far we have scored 105 goals.

  29. samarth-culé
    May 11, 2013

    Oh God! These rumors have got everybody talking… Here’s my take-

    Thiago Silva is a world class CB. But c’mon guys, we are talking about buying a player from an oil-cash-rich club called PSG. These people bought him just a year ago on a mammoth salary and a truck load of transfer money. I don’t think he would come for anything less than 45M since our club rarely has any leverage in transfers. And with him being 29, he can commit no more than 3-4 good years of service until he shows signs of slowing down. And with 45M and a huge salary, I don’t think we should settle for anything less than 5 great years of service.

    Mats Hummels seems to be a reasonable option. He is no less than world class. Not very pacy though but he makes up for it in a lot of other aspects. Out of Dortmund, he only wants to play for us which hints aptly at his commitment.

    Gundogan seems highly unlikely to me. We are a team of midfielders. 3-7-0 anyone? No doubt, he will improve the play to a little extent but even Thiago is struggling to get playing time. Sergi Roberto is waiting in the ranks.

    Cesc Fabregas is going to stay. Whether you like it or not. The club didn’t just buy him after his long transfer saga from Arsenal, on Pep and Tito’s strong demand, for nothing. He is a suitable successor to Xavi. And the only way he is leaving is if he has a bad spat within the team or some sheikh/oligarch comes knocking with a blank cheque, both of which are highly unlikely.

    Alexis Sanchez has not lived up to his transfer fee. But then neither has he been played at the position where he excels the most! He has been largely discussed. I have nothing much to add except that even after his rough patch, I believe that the staff values his commitment and have faith in him. One more season for him unless the club receives an irresistible bid.

  30. samarth-culé
    May 11, 2013

    Eric Abidal’s situation has put the club in a tricky situation. While I worship him, whenever I try to think rationally there is a conflict here. As much of the playing time he wants, the club is in no place to guarantee him any of that since such a decision has to be made after a comprehensive analysis which takes time. I hope he has recovers well enough to play with us for a season or two.

    • selfie barça
      May 11, 2013

      For perhaps the first time in my life I am not happy that M*drid are losing. I would prefer to play for the title at the Calderon instead of to win it before kicking off…

      • Momo
        May 11, 2013

        Well you got your wish haha, Modric to Higuain 🙁

        It would be more epic to win emphatically at the Calderon and wrap up la liga there.

  31. TITO
    May 11, 2013

    i don’t care at all how we win it really.
    We just did it!!!

  32. nia
    May 11, 2013

    Campeones, campeones oe oe oe!! Well done Barca. Leaders from start to finish. We also get a passillo in Madrid tomorrow.

  33. selfie barça
    May 11, 2013

    There’s a post up. I’m sure deeper thoughts will be forthcoming.

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