Pick Your Team: A Silly Game for a Silly Season

"Red Rover, Red Rover, we call Xavi over!"
“Red Rover, Red Rover, we call Xavi over!”

Since it’s silly season (almost), and we’ve got no serious posts lined up right now, let’s play a little game! I posed this question a couple of years ago, but we’ve got a lot of new people around the blog since then, so I think this would be a good time to ask again:

What is your best Barcelona XI, including any or all past players?

To make the game more challenging, a few simple rules:

1. You may not pick Messi. Unfair, I know, but it will make the selections a lot more interesting, don’t you think?

2. You may pick XI players corresponding to a typical Barça-style 4-3-3 OR 3-4-3 formation (plus GK!), one coach, and up to five subs (one of whom does not have to be another GK).

3. You can’t play someone out of position unless he actually played there on occasion. So you could play Iniesta on the LW, but not Eto’o at RB, for example.

4. Possibly future Neymars players are not allowed. Players must have actually played for the first team.

5. Do not complain about the rules. My game, my rules. 😉

6. Your best XI is almost certainly not someone else’s best XI. Vigorous discussion is encouraged, belittlement of others’ choices is not. Just pretend we’re all down the pub having a good session.

I won’t post my own picks right now, as I haven’t thought them through since last time and I may want to make some changes. I’ll add them to this header later.

Ready? GO!

UPDATE: Here are my picks!

OK, here are my picks! And I’m also going with the 3-4-3 lineup. We just have had too many brilliant midfielders!

Dani Alves — Puyol — Gio Van Bronckhorst
Xavi — Laudrup — Iniesta
Cruyff — Ronaldo — Ronaldinho

Bench: Pep, Luis Enrique, Koeman, Eto’o, Rivaldo

Coach: Pep & Cruyff will duke it out, but I’ll put Pep in charge as player/coach.

I almost went for Zubi instead of Valdes, but Valdes really is perfect for the Barcelona system and is much better with his feet than Zubi ever was. No contest, really.

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Written by:

Canadian, cule, corporate wage slave. Came late to the beautiful game, but fell under FCB's spell in 2006 and never looked back.


  1. May 22, 2013

    Going with a 3-4-3:

    Koeman, Puyol, Migueli
    Xavi, Schuster
    Crujff, Romario, Ronaldinho

    Thought about leaving out Schuster for Kubala (and dropping Crujff and Laudrup deeper) but I felt this team was slightly better balanced.

    Hurts to leave out players like Iniesta, Eto’o, etc.

    Want to give some love to Paulino Alcantara, but he’s just too far before my time.

  2. May 22, 2013

    Honestly, I’ve long felt that the 2010 squad was a legitimate choice for the best squad including past players too. So I’ll start there and just replace the forwards.

    Alves – Puyol – Pique – Abidal
    Xavi – Busquets – Iniesta
    Rivaldo – Cruyff – Ronaldinho

    Bench: Pep, Romario, Laudrup, Sergi, Ronaldo

    • May 22, 2013

      I was wondering how long it would be before someone picked Busquets over Pep. Not sure I could do It myself now, but in a couple years might have to seriously reconsider

      • May 22, 2013

        Yeah. Tiebreaker for me is that I don’t think anything can beat an on-form Xavi-Iniesta-Busquets trio.

        Bench is indeed tough. Lots of good players to leave off. Especially if you’re trying to cover all aspects of defense and offense.

        Also, no idea who to coach this since picking Pep as a player and a coach seems wrong to me.

    • barca96
      May 22, 2013

      I like this line up! I would add Eto’o as a sub too.

      • May 22, 2013

        In place of who though? I already feel like I picked too many forwards and should swap another midfielder in there.

    • Saleh
      May 25, 2013

      I could be wrong but I think Pique is AVERAGE at best . I don’t think he belongs !!

  3. Ultraculé
    May 22, 2013

    My team manager : Pep Guardiola
    My team formation : 3-4-3
    Starting Lineup :

    Koeman – Puyol – Migueli
    Pep Guardiola (yes, he is self coached)
    Xavi – Iniesta – Laudrup
    Cruyff – Kubala – Ronaldinho

    Substitutes : Eto’o, Romario, Valdes, Busquets, Dani Alves

    Yup. That’d be it.

    • I’m imagining Pep & Cruyff waving their arms about and trying to coach on the field and Puyol coming in and shouting at them to pay attention. 😆

  4. ciaran
    May 22, 2013

    hmmmm…. interesting

    Puyol – Koeman – Nadal – Abidal
    Laudrup – Xavi – Cruyff
    Stoichkov – Ronaldo – Rivaldo

    Ramallets – Alexanko – Guardiola – Luis Enrique – Ronaldinho

    So defensively it would be very solid, Sergi Barjuan just missed out on the left back position because I was playing without a true DM. Puyol and Abidal give us stability, Nadal gives us that bite and Koeman was absolute class on the pitch.
    In midfield, lots of chances would be created and possession should be guaranteed however if they lost the ball, the defense should cover it. Xavi would play as a 4 and Laudrup and Cruyff would have more freedom.
    Up front, Stoichkov is probably my all time favourite Barca player and the player that originally made me support them when I was a kid. He could both bang in the goals and get stuck into opposition at the same time. Ronaldo was a true phenomenon when he was with us and while Romario, Eto’o, Kluivert and others all had good scoring records, the only one who could match Messi was the real Ronaldo in his solitary season with us. Rivaldo is responsible for some of my favourite moments in Barca’s history like THAT bicycle kick and the hattrick against Milan.

    Ramallets is our second most successful goalkeeper and while I have memories of other keepers like Zubi I have to go with stats for a keeper.
    Alexanko only missed out on the starting CB role due to the love I had for Nadal & Koeman but was very successful in his own right. Guardiola was an obvious option as a slightly more defensive midfielder however I also loved Yaya Toure.
    Luis Enrique could play anywhere on the pitch and was a threat whenever he played further forward.
    Ronaldinho could have made the starting left wing spot ahead of Rivaldo and if I spend time thinking about it I’ll end up going crazy cos I love both of them.

    • May 22, 2013

      Well now I’m watching Rivaldo highlights, there goes my day.

      Like the inclusion of Enrique of a sub for the reasons you mentioned.

    • ciaran
      May 22, 2013

      Forgot to pick a coach.
      As Cruyff and Guardiola are both suited up I’d have to go with Frank Rijkaard. He got Barca to play incredibly beautiful football.

          • ciaran
            May 22, 2013

            Couldn’t pick Van Gaal with Ronaldo in my team, add to that Nadal, both of whom left because of Van Gaal.
            Rijkaard was great at Barca while we went through our worst period in recent history with Van Gaal.
            I was contemplating Sir Bobby Robson, the most attack minded coach we have ever had in my opinion

  5. Sorry for the hijack, was going to post something else but will post a rough analysis of data from transfermarkt for Thiago: Spreadsheet

    As you can see on the overall sheet, if you adjust the matches and minutes simply for his knee injury he would have better playing time than last year. If I remember correctly last year we were happy with the time both Cesc and Thiago got, right? We didn’t even have to play Song then. In the Detail sheet you can see that post injury/recovery he has been played fairly consistently and it’s not unreasonable to assume he would’ve gotten consistent time in the first half too if he were fit.

    A point to remember is that at the start of the season Thiago was injured as well with a Shinbone injury (swelling in his right tibia) that kept him out of the Olympic team as well as miss presason given the greenlight just before the Valencia match. Then the Knee injury took him out for two months

    Season from to Injury
    12/13 29.09.2012 24.11.2012 Knee injury
    12/13 24.05.2012 01.08.2012 Shinbone injury

    Taking all that into account, I would say Thiago has played a fair amount. He should’ve played more yes, but there were other factors as well. Blaming Tito for not playing him is absurd esp. in comparison to last season.

    As Kxevin would say Lies, damned lies, and statistics
    Ofcourse you if look at the detail sheet deeply you will find that Thiago played very little in the CL and in bigger matches (malaga/atleti/rm etc.) Thiago is already competent enough against your average Liga side and we need to get him experience against the tougher ones. This is where the gap exists.

    • May 22, 2013

      Interesting analysis. I had forgotten he started the season injured.

      And well put in your last paragraph.

  6. BA
    May 22, 2013

    -Puyol-Koeman-van Bronckhorst-

    subs: Migueli, F. de Boer, Guardiola, Xavi, Laudrup.

    manager: Cruyff.

    Brazilian attacking trio! super combative holding midfield! hurts me so bad to leave out the Mad Bulgarian, but he’s just not pretty enough.

    great thought exercise, but man picking a team has made it SO apparent how much we’ve utilized/relied on Dutch players over the years. we’re so beholden to that style.

    • BA
      May 22, 2013

      yeah, i’m self-replying to add to that last point.

      damn we’re an amazing club. look at our squads or a list of players who’ve worn the shirt. we’ve basically taken most of the best players from Spain, The Netherlands and Brazil; the 3 countries who’ve done the most to shape the game into something really beautiful and cerebral and expressive, in an attempt to make our team play in a way congruent with such values. that CONSISTENT commitment to entertainment and indeed art is such a big reason why we’re all fans, even if we don’t recognize it on a day-to-day basis.

      love it.

  7. May 22, 2013

    Damn Blitzen, I was gonna stay away form the comment section at least for a while but this is just too much fun!!!

    I love Calvin’s original line-up. Very well balanced, but I am going to tweek it.

    Coach: Pep Guardiola

    Puyol – Koeman – Abidal
    Xavi – Schuster
    Cruijff – Ronaldo – Ronaldinho


    The omission of Romario is not due to football reasons. He simply never loved us enough to be part of our all time XI. Same for Maradona. Rivaldo is left out because I could not find a spot for him in our starting 11 and off the bench I like Stoichkov’s and Eto’o’s energy better.

    Alright that’s it. Y’all can consider me on leave 😉

  8. Ultraculé
    May 22, 2013

    Can I just ask something, wanted to, in the last post, but here it is.

    Why are people being so damn dramatic? and so touchy? Is it that time of the month? Why are disagreements being taken so personally? Are the mods so insecure? Why are there so many declarations of self banishment?

    Look as it is, this is a small place and a relatively small community. Lets make it a happy place. And an insightful and informative space. We don’t need more people to get pissed off and go on self imposed exiles. 😀 you’re anyway going to lurk around 😀 So you might as well contribute. You also know you want to. This is the best fan blog in the internet for me. But its regularly becoming a drama series.

    • May 22, 2013

      Ok since you call me out, I will answer you but on the previous thread, so as not to spoil this one. This thread is just too much fun!

  9. Jackieboy
    May 22, 2013

    Puyol – Nadal – F. de Boer
    Xavi – Iniesta
    Cruijff – Ronaldo – Ronaldinho

    Bench: Abidal, Guardiola, Luis Enrique, Laudrup, Eto’o
    Guardiola would be a player/manager.

    Couldn’t get myself to break up our midfield trio to include Pep.
    Rivaldo vs. Laudrup and Ronaldo vs. Eto’o were some hard choices.
    Also hurts me deeply to leave Stoichkov and Overmars out 🙁

  10. georgjorge
    May 22, 2013

    So, Adriano’s contract has been renewed until 2017, when he will be 32. I guess whether I’m happy or not will depend on the other choices that will be made this transfer season – I’m all for having him as a backup right back or left back, but have a small fear he will be considered a backup CB as well…again.

    There is also a worrying amount of news about the possibility of Thiago leaving for some big club, and I just hope it’s the usual “connect everyone to every club”-game and not based on his actual dissatisfaction with the amount of playing time he has gotten (thanks to Triplo Volanti for the data by the way).

    • Alexinho
      May 22, 2013

      So happy Adriano has renewed.

      Does anyone buy the Thiago rumors?

      The sooner Neymar gets wrapped up the better. Not sure what this means for our forward line. It feels like Neymar’s position in the team would make Alexis’ untenable; on the other hand if both he and Villa leave, the forward line feels suddenly thin.

      The sooner Neymar gets wrapped up, the sooner the powers that be will focus on a GK/CB. I don’t know what to make of the rumors about the situation there. Primary rumors seem to be 1) talk Valdes into staying, 2) Thiago Silva–both seem unfavorable to me.

      • BA
        May 22, 2013

        very pleased to hear about Adriano’s renewal, we need him in the squad.

        bit confused by the $90m buyout clause though; surely even if he super-performs say, 2 seasons from now (gets 15 goals or something) and a club wants to take him, they’d never pay $90m for him. so why not set it at something like $30m, a price that some rich clubs could afford but would still be great business for us? pleased as i am with his renewal, if say PSG or Man City offered us $30m for Adriano i’d rip their hand off taking the cash. so why not make it tempting, rather than totally unrealistic?

        • ElJefe
          May 23, 2013

          Congrats to Adriano. Well deserved, he plays his heart out and team first player. We need to start backfilling heart with Puyol’s journey coming to an end…we may need to sign 10,000 players to fill that void.

  11. TITO
    May 22, 2013


    Oleguer Anderson Chygrynskiy Caceres

    Geovanni Rochemback Hleb

    Quaresma Saviola Simao

    They don’t need a coach, they look perfect.

    • Jackieboy
      May 22, 2013

      Haha. But Ezquerro or Alfonso for Saviola (he was pretty good in the beginning, two 20 goals seasons).

      • TITO
        May 22, 2013

        They were brought as subs, while he was the next Messiah.

    • BA
      May 22, 2013

      i wouldn’t include Saviola in that list either, he’s a bright little player. Caceres, let’s remember, was a part of the Juventus defense that went unbeaten for like 18 months straight. some of these players went on to pretty successful careers at other clubs, we should take that to signify just how high the standards to succeed with THIS club are.

      poor Ricardo Quaresma though, brilliantly skillful player, he just never found the right motivation to stay in shape and push him to excel. and lay off Riquelme entirely, he’s an Inca god of a player. not his fault he got played way out on the wing so far from his natural habitat as an enganche!

    • Chiu
      May 22, 2013

      hahaha this is joke of the day. agree with jackieboy, ezquero would make it better in saviola place. saviola was just a bit too good for this team. Maybe we can consider Gudjohsen as super sub 🙂

      re quaresma, one thing I only remember about him is too much unnecessary stepover ala denilson (betis, anyone remeber him?)

    • Chiu
      May 22, 2013

      maxi lopez and dani garcia could be considered too hahahhaa

  12. Xavi6
    May 22, 2013

    Coach : J.Cruijff

    Starting XI :
    D.Alves – Puyol – Koeman – Sergi
    Xavi – Yaya Toure’ – Iniesta
    Romario Ronaldo

    Subs :
    F.De Boer

  13. May 22, 2013

    My top model starting eleven 😆

    Adriano Pique Marquez Abidal
    Xavi Figo
    Alexis Cruyff Henry

    Coach: Pep

    Reason: Just look at them 😉

    Still thinking about the subs 😛

    • May 22, 2013

      I was wondering if anyone would dare to include Figo. You’re a brave, brave man.

  14. May 22, 2013

    Nice to see Laudrup getting so much love in this thread. One of my all-time favourite players, and one of the few who made the jump from Barça to Real Madrid without a lasting legacy of hatred. Helps that he’s not Spanish, I suppose.

  15. The__K__Man
    May 22, 2013

    Well, I am going to add a rule just for me. I am going to choose from players I’ve personally watched, which would be right around the Van Gaal era. Let’s face it most of us haven’t watched Migueli, Schuster, Cruyff and co.

    Puyol Abidal
    Xavi Deco
    Rivaldo Ronaldinho

    Subs: Kluivert (my fave player pre- Rijkard era) Luis Enrique, Stoichkov, THE YAYA and Alves (from 2 seasons ago)

    Notable omissions:
    Ronaldo: only 1 season with us. Legendary season but I prefer players who gave us more than that.
    Figo: JUDAS!!!

    • barca96
      May 23, 2013

      Kluivert, Ronaldo and Henry were my dream attacking trio in the late 90’s and early 00’s. I liked Henry since the first time I saw him play for Monaco in Champions League. He was bloody fast!

    • G6O
      May 23, 2013

      It is worth remembering that Brazil never lost a game in which both Romario and Ronaldo played, and won most of those games quite convincingly. So those two would be automatic starters in any lineup in which they could be put together, even if they only played a combined two and a half seasons for us. We’ve never had better better strikers than them

      • barca96
        May 23, 2013

        And yet Romario was mysteriously left out of the squad in 98 for the World Cup, for Bebeto.

        • G6O
          May 23, 2013

          It wasn’t mysteriously – he got injured in the spring of the year, and although he made a recovery on time for the WC, the coaching staff felt he would not be 100% and left him out. With disastrous consequences.

          The Brazil team from 1997 is one of the best national teams in the history of the game, but it never got a chance to shine in the WC because the WC was a year later and Romario was missing. The two of them had great chemistry and were simply unstoppable.

  16. Ivan Milicevic
    May 23, 2013

    Alves Puyol Alba
    Busquets Pep
    Xavi Iniesta

    Cruyff Ronaldo Ronaldinho

    Coach: Pep 🙂

    F.De Boer

  17. Valdes
    Puyol Koeman Abidal
    Busquests, Xavi, Laudrup, Iniesta

    Maradona – he deserves the first team, but owing to the short period with us

    Coach – Guardiola
    Asst. coach – Mourinho – you suffer there, eye poker

    • May 23, 2013

      Too many subs! Your team has been disqualified! Mourinho screams at the referee and gets himself banned. 😛

      • Oh s…, at work, I didnt count the subs.
        No I have a different plan for Mou.
        Pep takes a week end off, and Mou is the coach and he is there at the press conference. He would ask POURQUE – Why Pep, I am more older, more experienced, bla bla.
        Barca is angry and fires him.
        May be the first asst. coach to be fired!!!!

  18. May 23, 2013

    Montoya, Bartra, Tello, MUNIESA and Thiago have all been called up for the U21 Euros taking place in Israel next month. YES!

  19. Sangoku
    May 23, 2013

    Great post, Blitzen! Although I didn’t know that so much fun could prove to be a headache too. Been struggling for a half hour to decide who to leave out. But here goes:

    Valdes – D.Alves – Koeman – Puyol – Abidal – Busquets – Xavi – Iniesta – Stoichkov – Cruyff – Ronaldinho

    Subs: Zubizaretta – Nadal – Sergi – Guardiola – Rivaldo

  20. KEVpitt
    May 23, 2013

    Antoni Ramallets

    Joan Segarra Carles Puyol Ronald Koeman Abidal

    Josep Guardiola

    Xaxi Hernandez Johan Cruyff

    Cesar Rodriguez Laszlo Kubala


    Iniesta, Ronaldo, Laudrup, Busquets,Rivaldo


  21. Archie
    May 23, 2013

    Not silly! Excellent chance to think about what makes a great FC Barça outside the emotions of the past month. Not qualified to respond to original question!

  22. simple_barcafan
    May 23, 2013

    This is an impossible task blitzen…

  23. Kimcelona
    May 23, 2013

    VV- Dani- Puyi- Koeman- Gio- Busi- Xavi- Iniesta- Rivaldo-Eto’o-Dinhoooo

    Subs: Pep, Lucho, Zubi, Ronaldo, Deco, Stoichkov

    Coach: Cruyff


  24. Roberto Senyera
    May 23, 2013

    —————- Ramallets —————–
    Puyol ——– Koeman ————- GvB
    —————- Busquets ——————
    ——— Xavi ———— Casper ——–
    —————- Maradona —————–
    Cruyff ——— Kubala ——— Ronnie

    Subs: Alves, Pep, Stoichkov, Romario, Ronaldo

    Formation: 3-4-3
    Coach: Sir Bobby Robson
    Translator: The Special Translator (of course, who else)

    There’s a lot of innovative minds in this squad and an equal amount of cajones too. I’m of the opinion that a player/manager is not a good thing so that precludes both Cruyff and Pep as manager.

    Kubala has to be in the team. A golden rule for any team is that if a player has a statue outside the stadium he has to be included. It doesn’t hurt that he’s Hungarian either 😉

    Fun exercise. Not exactly easy either and would definitely be a great way to spend the night debating about at a pub over copious amounts of wobbly pops.

  25. Dani_el
    May 23, 2013

    Victor Valdes
    Puyol, Migueli, Koeman
    Xavi Maradona Iniesta
    Cruyff Romario Ronaldinho
    Formation: 3-4-3
    Coach: Guardiola (as player/coach)
    Subs: Alves, Luis Enrique, Laudrup, Sotil, Kubala
    I had in mind Guardiola in a player/coach position, but I decided on this one. I chose Sotil because he’s a peruvian legend and because I saw him in old videos do magic with Cruyff. They actually were good friends, and Sotil named his son (also a football player) Johan, like Cruyff.
    I so enjoyed this exercise! We should do it on this decade alone, and with future signings as well.

    On another matter, press says that we stucked on our 23M offer for Neymar and they called back our negotiatior. I don’t if it is just a strategy, or they’re gonna force them to accept. Though I don’t think it will be easy for Neymar to adapt to our way of playing, if he gets signed I think it would be best that it’s not for 50M, that would be a lot of pressure on the kid.

    Thanks Blitzen!

  26. Barcalbiceleste
    May 23, 2013

    Mine would be:

    Puyol, Koeman, Sergi
    Xavi, Laudrup, Iniesta
    Kubala, Eto’o, Ronaldinho

    Subs: Zubi, Alves, Busquets, Stoichkov, Rivaldo, Romario

    Coach: Cruyff

  27. tutomate
    May 23, 2013

    Hleb-Motta-Riquelme-Gerard Lopez

    Coach- Antic

    I win. We can stop playing now.

    • Roberto Senyera
      May 23, 2013

      Notice how two of those players you listed were ex Arsenal players? I fear that when we do this exercise in a few years time your list will include Song.

    • barca96
      May 24, 2013

      If I am not wrong, you’re trying to put the flop team.

      I would like to take Bonano out and put Rustu in his position.

      I still have no idea what Rijkaar saw in Gudjohnsen because I don’t find him to have any ball skills at all. But I don’t think that he is that big of a flop.

      Riquelme should’ve been given more time, same with G. Lopez and Hleb. These players have talent but just didn’t suit our system. Even though I am not a fan of Overmars (and Jesus Navas, Lennon etc.) type of football he wasn’t really a flop too.

  28. IamXavi6
    May 23, 2013

    I am deeply disturbed at the lack of one Georghe Hagi listed in a lot of comments here. People people…do you not recognise that mans’ greatness?!!

    • G6O
      May 23, 2013

      He was great indeed, But not for us. Also we have had Maradona in his position at some point in our history

  29. chewy49er
    May 24, 2013

    Hallo all! Newbie here

    ———————— Valdes ————————–

    Alves ———– Puyol ———-R.Koeman————— Abidal

    ———————– Toure —————————–

    ——— Xavi ———————— Iniesta ————-

    —— Romario ———- Ronaldo —————– Ronaldinho

    Subs: Zubi, Cryuff, Eto’o, GVB, Busquets
    Coach: Pep
    * Assuming all players in their prime – simply chose Yaya over Busi to give a more physical presence. Front 3 would devastate any defensive unit.

  30. barca96
    May 24, 2013

    It looks like VV is gone 🙁

    It seems that the rumors on Thiago is a valid one given that he had a clause in his contract.

    Now before someone wants to jump in and accuse me, surely Tito should’ve known that Thiago had a clause and therefore shoul’ve given him more playing time which he deserves. To not give him a start last week and in turn play an already tired Xavi and Iniesta who has been playing a hell lot and this with Tito knowing that Thiago needs a start in order to keep him motivated and more importantly show him that he has a future here.

    • Roberto Senyera
      May 24, 2013

      I agree with you. It would be a travesty if we lose Thiago because of a lack of playing time. The kid is ready and is definitely a key player in our midfield of the future.

      If the coaching staff were totally unaware of the clause in his contract then they’ve really dropped the ball on this one. Especially when you consider he has such an uppity father.

      Silly season, and time, will tell.

      • georgjorge
        May 25, 2013

        I’m one who thinks that Thiago should get a lot more minutes than what he’s getting now, but I feel the main responsibilities of the head coach are putting out a team that wins the game while developing the abilities of players. Catering to a contract clause like the one of Thiago is somewhere in these responsibilities but it’s pretty far down on the list as far as I’m concerned.

  31. barca96
    May 24, 2013

    via Barcastuff

    If Barcelona can’t sign PSG centre back Thiago Silva, Vilanova’s “plan B” is using Barcelona full back Adriano as centre back. [sport]

    For Vilanova, PSG’s Thiago Silva is the only centre back option. Transfer almost impossible, but Barcelona monitoring events at PSG.

    • Roberto Senyera
      May 24, 2013

      If that is the case and we don’t sign T. Silva nor any other top CB this summer transfer window then I cannot see Tito being long for the job. In that case, we’ll be looking for a new coach this time next summer.

      PSG isn’t a selling club and unless T. Silva pushes for the move I don’t see that transfer happening this summer. That boat sailed last summer. The horse left the barn last summer. Insert your analogy here.

    • 86ed
      May 24, 2013

      I’m not sure Villanova knows what he’s doing in the transfer market. If no defenders are signed at all this summer, he won’t be in charge by X-Mas.

  32. Dani_el
    May 24, 2013

    Eusebio will not renew his contract to coach the B team next season?

    Oscar Garcia just resign to his israeli club for “personal reasons”. I would like to see him in charge of the B team. Another possibility is Lluis Carreras from Sabadell. I didn’t like Eusebio much, I prefered Luis Enrique, and I believe that it was a mistake from Rosell not to offer the B team to Garcia, some say because of his Cruyffist background…

  33. TITO
    May 24, 2013

    Well, we should have faith in our management, right?
    They know what they are doing.

  34. ciaran
    May 24, 2013

    I can’t imagine that we wouldn’t sign anyone if Thiago Silva isn’t available because next year he would be 29 and no longer a long term replacement. Now it would be different if Abidal was his old self to play there but Adriano is not good enough to rely on for a full season, and more importantly has a history of injuries that means that he wouldn’t be considered our first choice.
    I actually wouldn’t mind him starting over Dani Alves in some of the big matches because he is better defensively at times.

    Maybe David Luiz might be a reasonable solution if we can’t get Thiago Silva or Mats Hummels.

    • KEVINO17
      May 24, 2013

      If Adriano manages to stay fit (big “if”) I think he is the perfect CB for barca. He is jack-rabbit quick and can dribble the ball forward into spaces. No way Barca should spend 40 mill on Thiago Silva when they’ve got Adriano.
      True, he’s not as good with crosses. But if Barca play their A Game, crosses shouldn’t be a big problem.

  35. ilie
    May 24, 2013

    Santo ‏@Zizouology 3m
    BREAKING: Neymar’s transfer to Barcelona now just need confirmation. Reported transfer fee is ‘around’ €30M with a salary of €7M per-year.

  36. ilie
    May 24, 2013

    BREAKING: Neymar completes his transfer to Barça. Fee: €23M. [€30M if Barça win Champions League in next 3 years] Salary: €7M per-year.

  37. KEVINO17
    May 24, 2013

    What a shocking indictment of RM and the mess they are in that they couldn’t persuade Neymar to join them with a truck-load of money

    • G6O
      May 25, 2013

      Nobody in their right mind would want to join Madrid. This is especially true for coaches, but it applies to players too. The expectations are basically impossible to meet and you simply can’t do anything right. And if you are a highly hyped young player from South America, that’s almost a death sentence for your career. We’ve seen that scenario play out with Robinho and others in the past.

  38. Dani_el
    May 25, 2013

    It is something to be proud about and it’s the happiest moment on my life. I’m going to think with affection these 2 proposals. I’m going to decide with my famiy. I’m not in a hurry. I may decide in 5 minutes, half an hour or 3 days”. Neymar.

    If this is true, I don’t like any of it.

    • barca96
      May 25, 2013

      Sounds like LeBron’s the Decision 🙂

  39. May 25, 2013

    If Neymar accepts Madrid 35M offer (which he won’t), wouldn’t Santos have to pay us the 40M penalty, making it a 5M loss for them? (Or a 5M profit if you count the 10M pre-deal Barca paid for).

  40. Messiah10
    May 25, 2013

    The Neymar deal is done. There’s nothing for him to decide. It’s over. We have him and for far less than I thought we’d have to pay!!

  41. ooga aga
    May 25, 2013

    im sorry, im not believing anything until it shows up on the official site. though, it is on the cover of the sports dailies in barcelona…

    still, the day is at an end in barcelona and it still isnt on the official site…

    • barca96
      May 25, 2013

      Same here. I hate these endless rumors. I’m always telling my teenage brother to stop mentioning Neymar and to stop getting excited whenever he reads Neymar related news on barcastuff.

    • ciaran
      May 25, 2013

      The only thing that makes me believe it is that his agent said something like ‘if he was my son I’d like him to play for Real Madrid but he’s my client’ suggesting that he isn’t particularly happy with the decision.
      Still, I’m cautious until I see an official announcement from Barca, Santos or Neymar.

      Assuming he gets the number 11 jersey like he had for Santos & Brazil I hope Thiago gets Villa’s 7 if he’s sold cos I don’t want Thiago feeling any less loved

  42. barca96
    May 25, 2013

    Predictions for the final guys?

    I’m going for a Bayern win even though I prefer Dortmund. 3-1.

    • Bill
      May 25, 2013

      Im with Dortmund too. Those two goalkeeprs are excellent so far.

  43. Jim
    May 25, 2013

    Just sitting watching the final and thinking to myself this Bayern team will drive Pep demented. They are not good at keeping the ball. I remember thinking that against us as well but they were doing so well it didnt matter. You also have to say that both Robben and Ribery have no more than a season left in them.

    Having said all that a set piece for them looks dangerous.

    • Bill
      May 25, 2013

      But that’s precisely the area pep will help them. Their passing isn’t that bad. I’ve seen worse!

    • replayed
      May 25, 2013

      Do give some credit to Klopp’s tactics. He’s shown that Bayern can be handled.

      On the other hand, Hummels is having a bit of a nightmare. Again.

      • Jim
        May 25, 2013

        Yep. Not my sort of player. They are being handled mainly by Dortmund’s defence keeping their shape and numbers behind the ball. Makes you wonder how Bayern will cope with the parked buses coming their way. I do like Dortmund’ ability to move at speed and keep possession. It’s a shame they’re probably gonna get broken up.

        • replayed
          May 25, 2013

          Klopp is also outnumbering Bayern in the midfield and restricting them to wing play and long, hopeful balls over the top (which Hummels is making meals of).

  44. ciaran
    May 25, 2013

    Poor ol’ Robben is having another choking final so far. Poor guy.

    • G6O
      May 25, 2013

      That goal was not well taken at all – another millimeter or two and he would have mishit the ball so badly, it would not have made it to the goal. But he got lucky this time

  45. Jim
    May 25, 2013

    Loved the commentator on ITV that “we’re finally gonna get the chance to see a German team lose at Wembley!”

  46. ciaran
    May 25, 2013

    Congrats to Bayern Munich but they were lucky. Dante surely should have got a second yellow when he gave away the penalty and the match would have been very different if that had happened.

    • Jim
      May 25, 2013

      You have to say they probably deserve it for their performances throughout the CL but they’re not very likeable for me.

      That winning goal was a disaster for the Dortmund defence and Hummels sleepwalked through it ending up trying to tackle, Chiggy style, with the wrong foot. We need a quicker thinking, quicker moving CB for me.

    • Carter
      May 25, 2013

      Definitely a kick to the chest is almost allow a yellow. I know the ref is hesitant to send off players in a final, but the referee drastically impacted the game keeping him in on an obvious yellow. Props to Bayern though. I wish Dortmund could’ve gotten this one. This year was their best chance with Gotze leaving and possible others. Bayern I’m guessing will get another soon

      • Jim
        May 25, 2013

        I’m not so sure. There are major parts of that team starting the slow decline on the wrong side of 28. A lot will depend on who Pep buys and his record in the transfer market isn’t great. There’ll also be a tension between the way he wants to play and the players he has at his disposal. It’s gonna be interesting.

        • Jim
          May 25, 2013

          Impressed by Dortmund’s Gundogan tonight.

      • G6O
        May 25, 2013

        I was definitely rooting for Dortmund – what Bayern are doing to the other German clubs (robbing them of their best players every year) is just wrong. Obviously, we’ve done that too, but we at least have the excuse of having to compete with Nadrid and having a higher proportion of homegrown talent in our team

  47. Messiah10
    May 25, 2013

    The shame of the match and Bayern winning is that Robben scored the winner. I have a serious dislike for that egomaniac. Both keepers were fantastic. It was a good neutral’s game. I was really hoping Dortmund would pull it off. Sadly, I now see Lewandoski and a few others leaving. Hopefully, with the Goetz fee and soon to be others they can reinforce again and promote from the youth ranks.

    • Doug
      May 25, 2013

      Didn’t it seem that the Bayern players flopped a lot?

      I didn’t realize Ribery and Mueller dove and complained so much.

      Not a like able team at all.

      • Nav
        May 25, 2013

        Muller is the biggest twat on the pitch.

  48. nia
    May 25, 2013

    I think it’s a little clear why Tito is not keen on Hummels. He is a little too Pique, no? One is enough. I never used to get why he didn’t push to buy him but, now I do. I still hope he gets one a CB though even if we can’t get Thiago Silva. Instead of relying on Adriano.

    • K_legit in Oz
      May 25, 2013

      Should be 40mill euros give or take.

  49. lyd
    May 26, 2013

    Pique, Puyol, Abidal
    Xavi, Iniesta
    Cruyff Ronaldinho

    Starting formation: 3-4-3

    Subs: Pep Guardiola, Guillermo Amor, Ronald Koeman, Ludovic Giuly, Daniel Alvez, Lionel Andres Messi (18 yr old)

    Coach: Frank Rijkaard.


    Sorry Blitzen for breaking a few house rules (6 subs with Messi). At first, instead of the 18 year old Messi, I wanted to pick Zlatan and make him sit beside Pep in the bench so Zlatan could (re)discover Pep’s personality and patch up. 🙂

    Laudrup, Ronaldo came really close to make it to the starting XI, but couldn’t due to association with EE.

    Thought of Adriano Correia as well for the bench, but he was, you know, broken!

    • lyd
      May 27, 2013

      One change from the bench. I’d replace Albert Ferrer with Dani Alvez.
      Had Messi started, then Dani would’ve made it.

  50. shangauri
    May 27, 2013









  51. culeasacucumber
    May 28, 2013

    Mine is a mixture of players who made me fall in love with the club (early to mid nineties)and those that I have loved purely as individuals since then for their artistry/uniqueness/entertainment value…

    ——–Puyol – Nadal – Koeman———
    Ronaldinho – Xavi – Guardiola – Rivaldo
    —–Ronaldo – Romario – Stoichkov—–

    Subs: Zubizarreta, Frank de Boer, Bakero, Iniesta, Laudrup, Eto’o, Alfonso*

    *Alfonso is admittedly a very strange choice but I was convinced that there really was magic in those white boots.

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