Preview: FC Barcelona vs. Real Valladolid


Barça heads into the penultimate home game for the season against Castile and León side Real Valladolid but, for the home press, all focus appears to be on the after-match celebrations in which the Liga Trophy will be presented to the team by RFEF President Ángel María Villar.

Just who will lift the trophy remains to be seen. Mutterings abound that should Puyol raise it above his head, factions of the crowd will whistle their disapproval of his decision to have his operation just before the critical CL games. Not sure what else he could have done if the guy was in too much “discomfort” to play.

Another option would be Víctor Valdés, playing his last season for his team, yet again the murmurings are that he too could be whistled for opting to leave the team. How inane and unappreciative that would be.

Xavi Hernández or Andrés Iniesta would be safe bets as 2nd and 3rd captains; maybe Messi?

Another could be Éric Abidal – maybe particularly poignant, given his return from a liver transplant only to receive an offer from the club that doesn’t include playing time, as he wants. This could see him leaving the club for the next year or so, before perhaps returning to take up an administrative/ambassadorial role.

My favourite pick would be El Mister – Tito Vilanova – flanked by Jordi Roura, Aureli Altimira and Jose Ramón de la Fuente.

We shall see who gets the honour, after the game.

The after-match festivities will be livestreamed on the club’s website, via Barça TV.

Oh yeah – the game.

Bit of a non-event, really, apart from the fact that Tito and the team are seemingly chasing the 100 points tally and wanting to score as many goals as possible.  In his latest press conference, Vilanova said, “We owe it to our fans, we have to finish strong.”


The visitors currently sit mid-table-ish in the equivalent of No Man’s Land: safe from relegation but not close enough to compete for a Europe spot.

Like Tito, Valladolid’s Coach, Miroslav Đukić, also wants his team to finish strongly, “to prove that they can compete with everyone.”

Missing will be 2 key players: Serbian Antonio Rukavina is suspended after accumulating 5 Yellow cards, and Patrick Ebert, who has the flu, misses playing Barcelona for the second time this season. In December he missed the game due to injury.

Valladolid’s travelling squad is: Jaime, Dani Hernández, Valiente, Sereno, Rueda, Peña, Balenziaga, Sastre, Álvaro Rubio, Baraja, Víctor Pérez, Rama, Larsson, Bueno, Óscar, Omar, Manucho y Guerra.

The team’s last Away Win came in February with a 1-2 result vs. Rayo Vallecano. They’ve lost 3 and drawn 2 on the road since then.

Their game against Real Madrid a couple of weeks ago was a tight affair which they lost 4-3, so the team has plenty of goals in them.


Good news in the camp is that Valdés and Mascherano received medical green-for-go lights and are eligible for selection. Only Puyol and Messi remain on the casualty list.

If Tito doesn’t field some of the lesser-played team members for this game, I fear that Twitter will explode an hour before the game when the team is announced.


The game kicks off at 21:00 CET on Sunday 19th May

Click here to convert the match time to your timezone: FC Barcelona vs. Real Valladolid

Streams for the match are usually found on First Row, Roja Directa and Bar TV.




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  1. May 18, 2013

    Why on earth would they whistle Puyol? If he was in that much discomfort he wouldn’t have been able to play anyway. Or did they want him to permanently cripple himself trying to play games we would have lost anyway? Because if Bayern ran roughshod over a fit Pique, they would have destroyed an unfit Puyol. Ridiculous so-called “fans”.

    • The__K__Man
      May 18, 2013

      Correct me if I am wrong but I read somewhere a while ago that the fact that he didn’t inform anyone about the operation until he was done with it and did it right after not being played in the Milan remuntada is what lead people to believe that he did it as an act of showing he wasn’t pleased with the way he was treated. Not that I believe Puyol would ever do this after all those years. I am just stating what I read.

  2. mom4
    May 18, 2013

    They’d really whistle Puyol?

    I want to enjoy these last 3 games. 3 more games until Barca withdrawal begins. Wanna get to 100 points. We can’t let RM alone have that distincton.

    For US viewers, beIN (the Spanish language one) is showing both the game and the celebration after it. Don’t know why the English beIN isn’t showing them.

  3. olbucky
    May 18, 2013

    The English bein feed isn’t even live. It’s not on until sunday night.

    • olbucky
      May 18, 2013

      Also where has Ray Hutson been? He’s been out for at least two weeks. I hope the guy is ok.

      • mom4
        May 19, 2013

        As I said above, it’s live on the Spanish beIN. Enjoy in Spanish or set your TV to get it in English. I’ve wondered why Ray hasn’t been around lately, too.

        • mom4
          May 19, 2013

          Setting your TV to a different language involves something caled SAP. Dunno how but the geeks in my household were able to do it. Good luck.

      • nzm
        May 19, 2013

        Ray’s father has been ill, and he’s taken time off to be with his dad.

        • mom4
          May 19, 2013

          Thanks, nzm. That’s sweet that he’s doing that but sad that his dad is ill.

  4. ian_percival
    May 19, 2013

    in my opinion i think all signings have to be tall players,
    thats our real weakness , we saw how madrid and bayern
    only trashed us because of that advantage if you think
    otherwise you dont know much about football. WE saw
    how barca players were afraid of corner kicks as if they
    were penalties because the only two tall pplayers we got were bartra and pique who are both weak in the air,
    we need players good in the air to cover that problem
    thats, how madrid and bayern trashed and they used
    that weakness, we dont get hurt much in la liga because
    most players in la liga are short too so no big deal but
    when you play in champions league, germans or british players they will trash you no matter how good you
    play. I d rather get a player like Lewa and some tall
    strikers in the back or good in the air like silva and
    hummels, neymar is short too and will only improve the
    tiki taka which is already ok

    • Jim
      May 19, 2013

      Well, I may not know much about football but I do know enough to know here was a lot more to it than that. We gubbed Man U in finals and they were tall enough. Bayern were also quicker than us and their forwards carried a lot more threat than ours. And thats without going into tactics. It was a bit of a spanking all round actually.

      The only good thing about it was they cant play any better and we can’t play any worse 🙂

      • Jim
        May 19, 2013

        And that’s without rising to the bait about Pique being weak in the air……. 🙂

    • May 19, 2013

      Many people here will agree with your assertion that our team lack height , but like Jim said, it was far from the only reason that we got spanked by Bayern.

      Also, please try to refrain from writing things like “if you do not agree with me you don’t know much about football”. I am paraphrasing you for effect, but those kind of statements make people defensive and set a confrontational tone in the comment thread which we usually try to avoid.

    • May 19, 2013

      My old man always told me “to play football you only need to be tall enough so your feet touch the ground.”

      Bayern trashed us for a lot of reasons. They were better than us in all phases, including when the ball was on the ground. Their height really helped them there eh?

      • May 19, 2013

        Remember when we played Porto in the Supercup? They were giants! And Shaktar Donetsk were no midgets either. Height ain’t everything.

        • mom4
          May 19, 2013

          Porto looked like a freakin’ rugby team.

      • stefan2k
        May 19, 2013

        Good point!

        I remember one particular scene from the away match I think…
        we had the ball and probably Alves tried to advance on the field when Ribery came back in full sprint to support Alaba.

        It seemed as they wanted it much more

    • PrinceYuvi
      May 19, 2013

      Barca exerts more pressure on Superior Technique, Ball control, Better reading of the game than sheer physicality. & tiki-taka is not just okay, It’s the most difficult kind of football ever played.

  5. stefan2k
    May 19, 2013

    Adriano *sigh* … the man of glass

  6. nzm
    May 19, 2013

    Alves, Adriano and Abidal join Messi & Puyol in the stands.

    Jeez, looks like Masch might have to play unless they go with Monty, Bartra, Pique & Alba.

    I wonder if Tito will be tempted to go with an all La Masia lineup? 🙂

    • May 19, 2013

      If Bartra can’t start a game when the league is already won, then what is he even doing here? Guess we’ll see.

  7. Ultraculé
    May 19, 2013

    Here’s one more to add to your respository of funny Penaldo GIFs.

    A crying Penaldo always sets my world right..

  8. May 19, 2013

    I will be hosting a liveblog today. Come for the game, stay for celebrations! Get in early, spaces are limited.

  9. Clouseau
    May 19, 2013

    Positively surprised by Valladolids season so far didn’t expect them avoiding relegation.

    Team deserves a great farewell shame if two great servants of the club get booed for such triviality.

    Looking forward for a cracking game and an even better league celebration.

  10. barca96
    May 19, 2013

    I really prefer Tito to play squad players who they aren’t sure to keep or sell so that they can make a decision.

    Montoya and Bartra must take part in this match to test them out. There is no better to try these type of players out besides Copa del Rey matches.

    • barca96
      May 19, 2013

      Thiago, Tello, Pedro & Alexis must start too. This is their time to shine.

  11. barca96
    May 19, 2013

    Tito said he wants to get 100 points for the fans, well I am not one who gets impressed by that type of stats

    I don’t care about 100 points. I’d rather Tito use this opportunity to prepare for the future rather than going after a meaningless milestone.

    • Jim
      May 19, 2013

      You still need a balance of experience and youth. No point in putting out a young team that stutters and you don’t learn much. We have enough experience unavailable tonight to ensure it will still be a balance anyway.

      Personally I’d like the 100 points . If only to stuff it to mourinho again.

  12. May 19, 2013

    Sounds like we want to make a loan arrangement with Girona. Vilanova said it would be nice if they got promoted, so that we could loan players there. The subject has come up before how effective it would be to have a club to which we could send players for grooming, such as the arrangement that Udinese has with the Liga side whose name escapes me.

    • barca96
      May 19, 2013

      At the top of my head Granada? Or it was some team that just got promoted 2 recently.

      Anyways but I don’t understand why there is an emphasis on the location of the team. Shouldn’t we send the players out to a good team that will give them playing time instead of choosing a team based on it’s location?

    • Jim
      May 19, 2013

      Agreed. We don’t have a lot of meaningless games in the first half of the season for all the young players we want to try.

  13. Jim
    May 19, 2013

    From Barcastuff :
    Barcelona line-up (official): Valdes – Montoya Pique Mascherano Alba – Xavi Busquets Iniesta – Pedro Cesc Villa

    Looks like we’re going for it …

  14. mei
    May 19, 2013

    Wow what a stupid line up in such a meaningless game. Where the hell is thiago,tello and bartra . If that’s a sign to come(for his planning in the summer) I’d prefer a new coach with fresh ideas. Jesus

    • Jim
      May 19, 2013

      Quite an important game for Cesc I’d say. I’ll be interested to see where he plays – unless of course it’s Iniesta on the wing 🙁

      • mei
        May 19, 2013

        Important why? Even if he scores 10 goals the title will not be any closer and his worth will not be any more proven in such a game

        • Jim
          May 19, 2013

          There are question marks over him and tonight it looks like he’ll be playing the link role in the way Messi does. He’s not looked like he can hold a genuine midfield place so far so he badly needs a niche somewhere in the team imo.

          It’s nothing to do with titles and everything to do with what’s going on in tito’s mind.

          • mei
            May 19, 2013

            Not the place or time for him to answer such questions. During summer when the new strategy is drawn , he will have from that point and forward plenty of time to fit in.
            Thiago and Tello on the other hand need these kind of matches.It’s not as if they are not reliable also, they have performed good during season, and more match time is crucial for their development.

            And how about MASCHERANO being named in the starting line up , immediately after him getting the green light after a semi long injury. Madness.

  15. yana
    May 19, 2013

    On one hand, I agree we don’t need the 100 points. On the other, depriving Mou of being about to tout that as one of his (few) achievements with EE would be icing on the cake. With all the nastiness they’ve endured over the last three years, I wouldn’t be surprised if the team finds that very motivating over the final three matches.

    • He said that to just blow up his claims for RM, and also to cause some trouble with Madrid. Still it felt good to hear him say that.

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