The Neymar deal is done, so now what, aka “Give hair a chance”

"They paid HOW much? Wuuut?!"
“They paid HOW much? Wuuut?!”

It is very safe to say that not since the arrival of Ronaldinho has a player come with so much weight.

As many of you know, then-president Joan Laporta was running on the “bring Beckham” platform, even as that deal never had a chance of happening. Ronaldinho was the one, and boy, did that work out. And now we have another Brazilian, who is describing a very different path from Ronaldinho, one fraught with complexity.

The question now is, what does that path mean, and what does it mean for the club?

Ronaldinho spent some time at Paris St. Germain, a bridge club, if you will, to give him a taste of European football without going full immersion. So when he came to Barça, it was already clear that he was going to be able to cut it against top European sides. He had a complete package of skills, that was only enhanced by his time at PSG.

Neymar, while a bridge club would have been preferable, is coming straight to us from Santos. The last time a heralded Brazilian came directly from Brazil to a big Spanish club was Robinho. And while certainly, people scoff at the Neymar notion, saying he might be the next Robinho, that player’s years with RM weren’t exactly a disaster, even as they didn’t approach what his talent promised. Why not is a question for another day, a question that we hope we never have to ask about our star Brazilian signing.

So let’s break it down a little bit, from my own personal worldview:


Santos has stated that there is a confidentiality agreement in place, so no numbers about the deal are going to be released. RM-centric media outlets have the price as high as a deal totaling 100m. Sid Lowe, in a piece for the Guardian, echoed something approaching those numbers

Barça-centric media outlets are reporting that we paid 28m for the player, exclusive of any pot-sweeteners such as signing bonuses, agents’ fees, etc, etc. And barring a president that comes in demanding that the deal be exposed, or some very astute reading of the tea leaves that is the club’s annual report, the real numbers might never become clear, which leads to another question:

Do the numbers matter? The price is what the price was, and the player is ours. Numbers can be used to pillory or buttress, as in “We paid X for him? Nice bit of business,” or “We paid X for him? That’s just stupid. He isn’t worth that.” But “worth” is a difficult thing to describe, define and assess. What we do know is that we have an exceptionally marketable player, something that could not have been lost on the marketing-focused Sandro Rosell, in the acquisition of a player that is going to define his presidency.

Properly used, Neymar can easily make back his transfer fee just in marketing proceeds, over the life of his five-year contract. This doesn’t even take into account shirt sales. Yes, Brazil will always, like most countries, be a hotbed of counterfeit shirts. But I daresay that suddenly, a market that didn’t really exist for us now has life as Brazil’s best and brightest light signed for us. Nothing makes new supporters like making that kind of a move.



Some observers have been noticing that Neymar’s hair is an indication of his maturity level. He has gone from full My Little Pony, to something that would fit in on our bench, populated as it is by the likes of football hair from people such as Song, Pinto and Alves. But there have been dire predictions of what is going to happen when Neymar comes. Johan Cruijff bluntly said that we already have Messi, and you can’t have two chiefs. Prediction or admonition?

In watching Neymar play with the Brazilian NT and Ronaldinho in particular, it’s hard to know how the player is going to behave. In this situation, he is humble, and conforms to the general tone of play, passing, playing bright, associative football and contributing to the whole joga bonito business. This is unlike at Santos, where he is clearly The Man. But even in those situations, of which I admittedly haven’t seen enough to make a definitive call one way or the other, it strikes me that he behaves (recently, in the mature phase) not much differently than Messi. The team is on his shoulders, and he acts like it, running the show, taking the shots and taking the responsibility for making the team go.

At Barça, he is coming to a group featuring the best player in the world, backed by a passel of world-class players, many of whom boast World Cup and other global silverware in their trophy cases. We’re in wait-and-see mode, but nothing that I have seen from the player makes me believe that he will come in and be a disruptive, ball-hogging force. Not only won’t Vilanova allow it, but the players won’t allow it.

We should have spent money on defense

We did.

In the absence of a real threat at left wing, which we haven’t had since Thierry Henry left, we have been trying a number of things, all having to do with diluting our approach on other parts of the pitch.

–First Abidal was trying to add offense to his game.
–Iniesta was used on the left side.
–Villa was sent out there.
–Most recently, Alba is now a left-sided Alves, to the detriment of the team during counters and attacks.

In Neymar, whose usual position is LW, we solve a number of complexities: Alba doesn’t need to bomb around, which makes him revert to being a full-time defender, rather than part-time left winger. We also gain passing and ball control because of Neymar’s Barça-quality close control and comfort in tight spaces.

So, instead of that gaping maw on the left as Alba is caught up the pitch, something exploited by opponent after opponent this season, we have a left back AND a left winger, and one who contributes on defense as he does with Brazil, at that crucial time of when the opponent first gets the ball and starts building the attack.

Theoretically, offense and defense have improved with this acquisition.

None of which means that the need for a CB purchase is negated. But to my view, this club had more than a few tactical problems to solve. Closing the opponents preferred attack route on the left was one, and getting a credible goalscoring threat on the left wing from an actual winger was another. We didn’t have that with Villa, and it’s too early to tell with Tello.

Speaking of goals

In 4 seasons at Santos, Neymar has 118 goals (from 229 shots on target; 338 shots total)/31 assists (based on some rather casual math at ESPN SoccerNet), in 165 matches for his club over four seasons. Unless my math is crazy, that’s a conversion rate approaching an absurd 50+% of shots on target, and a 30+% conversion rate of total shots, which puts him in the Messi/Falcao efficiency bracket. That is also more goals than Robinho has in a career twice as long, counting club AND country. But is Neymar a goal scorer? Good question. In 5 years with Barça, Samuel Eto’o, a man nobody can suggest isn’t a goal scorer, had something like 125 goals for the club. So statistically, Neymar IS a goal scorer, right?

Wrong. He is a creative player who can score goals, as with Ronaldinho. As with other signings, a note of caution: In looking at what Neymar has done with Santos, as people concluded when they looked at what Henry did with Arsenal and figured he would do more with us, you would be wrong to assume that buckets of goals will be the result. It would also be wrong to draw any correlation between price tag and goal production, and not only because the game is measured in more than goals.

So what will happen on the pitch?

Man, is that complex. For me, I don’t think it will be a middle ground. Neymar will either be spectacular, or a bust. Given his talent, I just don’t see him settling into a Robinho level, but if he doesn’t make the grade it will be because of something silly and cataclysmic (see Ibrahimovic) and RoSELL will be selling jamon Iberico from a street corner cart the following season. So ….

Ideal world

Iniesta on the left wing, that can score goals. Put down those knives. No, I am not saying Neymar is as good as Iniesta, or should even be compared to Iniesta. What I am saying is that in terms of skill set — dribbling ability, ability to beat defenders and get into the box, unusual ability to ghost past defenders using ball tricks, ability to set up teammates with incisive passes — Neymar has qualities that are Iniestaesque. Plus he can score goals.

He can also lead or finish a fast break, which becomes a real possibility with he, Messi and Sanchez on the front line, as all are runners. Presently, we don’t have a fast break. The defense gets the ball, and nobody is running. Messi and Villa are already at the other end, surrounded by the defense. If Sanchez is in he is running, but the defenders usually play the ball to a midfielder, to begin the process.

But recall when we had Messi/Henry/Eto’o, and how many goals came from bust-outs, turned possession and a defender feeding a streaking forward. I do. That becomes a possibility with Neymar.

In that ideal world, the result will be more goals for, and fewer goals against because our fullbacks will be more like fullbacks, rather than wingers tracking back. And our attackers will be getting at defenses before they have a chance to set up. How ’bout that?

Crappy world

Neymar is a ball-hogging, Riverdancing clown who tries tricks that fail, takes shots when he should be passing, doesn’t track back and makes Messi want to kill him in his sleep. He loses the ball, creating opposition counters that threaten our defense and its new keeper. And he is sold in two seasons. This is what many cules envision, and I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t a viable possibility. Ego does strange things to human beings.

So what about Messi?

When Neymar joins us, he will have to assimilate, a daunting task. Alexis Sanchez said it has been like learning to play football all over again. But as with any player, the team will also have to learn to play with him, Messi included. No, this doesn’t mean, as some have suggested when I have written this in the past, that Messi will have to kowtow in any way to Neymar. Far from it. But Messi will have a new world of possibilities at his disposal, along with a player who will relieve some of the immense pressure that is on his shoulders.

How Messi plays and interacts with Neymar will be crucial, and will depend on how Neymar approaches blending into his new team. What I don’t think Neymar should do is vanish into a void of assimilation so deeply that he doesn’t become himself or becomes indecisive, as the Sanchez example. The challenge will be not being The Man, but rather being a player on the best team in the world, playing with the best player in the world. That, more than anything ON the pitch, will be the most difficult part of playing for Barça for Neymar.

But like all great players who are The Man, Messi will also have to adjust to accommodate Neymar and his talents, because they are different, and we haven’t had them in a while. Messi isn’t ego-less. Far from it. But in no way do I perceive that the ego will be a problem, because Messi wants to win championships more than he wants to win scoring titles. So as long as Neymar does the work, unlike Crujff, I can’t see any difficulties with having he and Messi on the same club.

And now, we wait. Presentation is in early June, along with a busy summer for our players with Confederations Cup, etc. And there’s also that Bayern friendly, which I rather imagine is circled on a few calendars.

For now, this is all just speculation. None of it could happen, or all of it could happen. We will read stories that say he is going to be a disaster, and here’s why. We will also read stories that say he is going to be a wonder, and here’s why. But nobody can predict the future, only offer speculation based on what is known and frankly, what is hoped will be, whether the piece is calling for success or failure.

But the biggest thing that I am craving is for cules to accept Neymar as a Barça player, rather than an absurd price tag and a haircut. Yes, it’s hard getting away from the IDEA of Neymar (La Neymarrrr!), and finding that vexing. I agree. Fully. And for sure, he will screw up, which doesn’t mean that he is a failed transfer or not Barça quality. It just means that he is a young player trying to fit into the best club in the world, playing with the best players in the world.

Give the dude a chance, and let’s see what happens.


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Written by:

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. May 27, 2013

    Alba is not going to revert to a more defensive fullback ala Abidal pre cancer. First of all Neymar is unlikely to be hugging the touch line (if he is it will be a waste) and so he will need support on the overlap when moves inside. That’s Alba.

    Secondly, it would be a bit ridiculous to ask Alba to play an exclusively offensive role. His best skills are his explosiveness down the wing and asking him to play a defensive role ala Abidal mitigates his strengths.

    • G6O
      May 27, 2013

      I don’t think that’s what Kxevin meant, i.e. Alba always staying back. He will still overlap when needed, but it will be more balanced than what it was this season.

      • May 27, 2013

        Don’t think Neymar helps that unbalance at all. An Alves and Alba duo is just sort of naturally unbalanced, key long term is to find a fullback who can better provide that balance due to their more defense oriented skill set

        • Srini
          May 27, 2013

          I agree. At best, Neymar would shift the Alves-Messi association from right to the new Neymar-Messi association in the left.

          Best if we get someone to play the right-wing Abidal. Montoya wouldn’t be so bad at all.

        • Roberto Senyera
          May 28, 2013

          This is a footy theory that I always find bizarre, at best. I’d rather have two fullbacks that are capable of threatening overlapping runs which destabilize the opposition than just one of them. We have two. One on each flank. Either have the skill set to jet down their respective flanks and the opposition doesn’t know which side will be more threatening. The key is to not have both of them going at the same time (same counter). One stays. One goes.

          Bayern have two FBs that can bomb forward and it works. The key is that they don’t do it at the same time.

          To me, it’s akin to wishing we had one winger that can score and is the offensive winger while the other winger is selected for his defensive abilities.

          Alba and Alves all day long. Just a smart Alba and Alves. And more of it please.

          • May 28, 2013

            So you think Alba and Alves is just as naturally balanced as Abidal -Alves was? You don’t see any difference in how those players balance each other, and how the team’s defense functioned as a result?

          • Roberto Senyera
            May 28, 2013

            No. I don’t. You’re making a mythical assumption

            Both Alves and Alba can defend very well. I’ve seen Dani do a job on CR7 and put him in his pocket (and that guy ain’t bad). I’ve also seen Alba defend brilliantly (v Milan). And both have the engines and skill sets to bomb down the flank. Again, the key is that they don’t both roam forward during any single attack. One stays at home when the attack begins on the opposite flank.

            I’d rather have a RB and a LB that are multidimensional in that respect than having one back that does not pose a danger going forward.

          • Completely Agree. The Alba-Alves balance will come with time. The need is for one to stay while the other goes. We must remember, this was Alba’s first season back, and that too curtailed by the absence of Tito to provide clear instruction/progress within the system. He was pretty good this season, and will get better next.

          • Jomateix
            May 29, 2013

            I wish you were right, Roberto… sadly that’s not how it works. Alba is too short and lightweight to work deep, his place is that of a short attacking fullback, nothing else. As soon as he tries to face the likes of Mario Gomez in the Barcelona area, he’s brushed away easily.

            Alves a good defender? Too indisciplined for that. He likes moving up front, and that’s what he’s good at. For every good defensive match from any of the two, you can find a dozen where they come way too short, particularly this season.

            You really think that the managerial staff are dumb? Shifting from offense to defense is really hard, doing it constantly is impossible. All you would get from a system where you tell any of our fullbacks to stay back for any period of time is losing an excellent attacking fullback and getting a mediocre defender.

    • Alexinho
      May 28, 2013

      That comment stuck out to me, too, Calvin. The day Alba stops bombing up the wing is the day Alves stops bombing up the wing. You cover up the holes presented by two-in-the-back by having one fullback that will play three-in-the-back, not by bringing in a more dynamic wide-forward.

      Thinking about this makes me look at last summer and wonder if it’s only an Alex Song sale away from a bust. Anyone buying into those rumors?

  2. nzm
    May 27, 2013

    Think that I’ll go and buy a couple of packets of nasal strips to throw onto the pitch at Neymar’s presentation.

    Can’t wait to see Blaugrana Neymar nasal strips sold in the Botiga.

    • mom4
      May 27, 2013

      So we make the money back with jersey sales and a new joint venture with Glaxosmithkline? Rosell is a genius?

  3. Bill
    May 27, 2013

    Good points. You just forgot to mention Eto’o was injured more than half a season for two straight seasons! 🙂

    What has been overlooked in all these transfer saga is the real effect of the Mourinho vs Guardiola eras.

    It used to be that if Madrid and Barca wanted a player, Madrid won that competition. Right now, there are fewer talented and creative young players who would choose Madrid over Barca. Young kids under 18 watching classicos where Mourinho set his team up to play on the counter, play dirty and kick would have been turned off by the idea of playing for them.

    Players coming to Barcelona are coming at much cheaper prices than the market would dictate simply because the players themselves state unequivocally that it’s Barca or bust.

    So thank you Pep for that one!

  4. Ultraculé
    May 27, 2013

    Buying Shmeymar is fine and all.
    But we still need goalkeeper, center backs and a striker.

  5. ooga aga
    May 27, 2013

    why ‘La’ Neymar? since he is male, should it not be “El” Neymar? Im opne minded, but just wondering your reason for the feminization.

    • May 28, 2013

      Yeah, I don’t get it either. Even if it’s French, it should be “Le”.

      I’m just going to call him “El Gallo”, myself.

  6. flyzowee
    May 27, 2013

    Please to those who have watched Neymar. What is he?
    Is he an inverted left winger?
    Is he a 20goal a season striker aka former pedro?

    As a cule who doestnt know too much about him, what can I realistically expect from him?

    • lea_terzi
      May 27, 2013

      What we’re hoping for is a creative force who can destabilize defences with close control, dribbling, ball fakes, passing and shooting. He is a lightweight and hasn’t really played against top tier European defences, so we don’t really know. However, this past season in Brazil he was frequently shadowed by a defender (or two or three) breathing down his neck, a la Messi, and dealt with the pressure admirably. In ideal scenario, he and Messi drag the defences all over the place and share the spoils.

  7. lea_terzi
    May 27, 2013

    Haven’t posted here in a while, but for some reason (cough Neymar cough) I’m excited about this summer’s activity. After Neymar put pen to paper, we’re just a goal keeper and central defender (or two) away from a very solid and balanced (and relatively young!) squad.

    What would really kill me is if Alexis and/or Thiago leave. Young flair players who are able to play within the system should be our building blocks for the future, and Thiago’s contract debacle is a shame.
    Villa is a legend and my favourite player ever, but his time with the club seems to be winding down. He and Barca should thank each other for that 5-trophy season and do what’s best for both (cash in – get a starting position elsewhere, unless he’s ready for a full time bench role)
    Now, about Fabregas, I’m not so sure. He can fill the stat sheet with goals and assists, but for me he’s never found that consistency of a Barca starter, drifting in and out of matches, disappearing in the Champions league, taking time away from younger players who can still get better. Problem is, if he leaves, we will miss him when Xavi retires. He’s not close, but who else is out there to build a midfield around?
    Having several good players for each position puts enormous pressure on the coaching staff to come up with winnig combinations, balancing minutes, egos and situations. Anyone could win with these players? Ha!

    And onto the topic of signings. Defence, defence, defence. I’ve been following Roma since Luis Enrique’s stint there, and Marquinhos seems to be the real deal. He’s super-quick, mobile, learns on the fly and has amazing instincts for a 19-year old. Also, he is Brazilian, versatile (played as in a CB pairing, as central and lateral defender in a back 3, and as a right back) and can pass. If we sign him, it would probably mean a loan for Bartra, and wouldn’t completely solve our defensive woes. An established defender would still be needed. Ditto Ter Stegen – you don’t put a juggernaut of Barca’s proportions, with defensive issues to boot, on the shoulders of a 21-yer old.
    So, exciting times and decisions to come. Bring on the silly season!

    • May 27, 2013

      Team still needs someone who can play striker, especially if Villa leaves

      • Jim
        May 27, 2013

        Yeah, we kinda need to address that. Unless we have someone occupying the two CBs we will struggle.

      • lea_terzi
        May 27, 2013

        A Barca striker has to either have an alternative position where he plays the bulk of his minutes (like Villa, Cesc), or be ready for serious bench time. Because, you know, Messi is not moving to the wing and I don’t see us switching to a two-striker formation. As things stand, there are no m

        • lea_terzi
          May 27, 2013

          No more than 1000 striker minutes available per year, if even that.

        • May 27, 2013

          I’m arguing that the team needs to evolveso that there is room for a full time striker. Messi as a false 9 with no one in front of him to stretch the defense had largely been found out. Even he said this season his job was a lot easier and the team was more effective when Villa played in front of him during the Milan Remontada.

          The tactical structure of the team is in serious need of a little evolution, and if it doesn’t get it (my preferred way is through the addition of a striker) the. It won’t matter who we sign as the basic structural problems will persist

          • Roberto Senyera
            May 28, 2013

            So you’re suggesting that we change formation?

            I agree with lea_terzi. I don’t see Messi moving from a false nine position and I don’t see us changing from a 4-3-3. In that Milan game, from what I saw, we had Alba on orders to stay back, Alves played as a right winger without defensive responsibilities, and Villa tucked in centrally. Messi was still playing as a false nine, for me. Just everything was shifted in that match.

            And I don’t buy this theory that we’ve been sussed out and that the formation doesn’t work anymore. We just have to do things better (offensively speaking; I won’t get into our defensive issues now). Being less dependent on Messi for goals will help a long way for us doing what we do better. This season we didn’t get enough goal production from our wingers. With Neymar that problem should be abated somewhat. Hopefully, by a significant degree. Fingers crossed 😉

            And after this Neymar deal I don’t believe we’ll have oodles of funds left to make another significant signing this summer on another forward. Funds should be focused on CB & GK now, IMO.

          • May 28, 2013

            “everything was shifted in that match”

            Pretty much what I’m arguing for, right? Just permanently. Not looking to go 4-4-2 all of a sudden.

            You don’t think the false nine 4-3-3 has been figured out? Messi himself said the team was a lot more effective in the Milan game where Villa was in front of him occupying the CBs.

            Name 1 match beside the Milan match where Barca played convincingly against a top team.

            Actually, watch any knockout CL match from this year, then watch the Milan Remontada. If that can’t convince you that tactical change is needed nothing can.

        • flyzowee
          May 28, 2013

          Why is Messi definitely not moving to the wings? If it will benefit the team in the long run and the technical team see it as a viable option, he has NO choice. He is an employee

      • providence
        May 27, 2013

        Striker? take back Your Bojan from. Milan

    • lea_terzi
      May 28, 2013

      What I could see happening, with the right personnel, is a fluid attacking formation where one of the wingers or attacking midfielders could switch positions with Messi during the course of a match, and occupy defenses in front of him. Alexis/Cesc could be that guy, if they keep the scoring up enough to appear a threat. Or we could buy a guy who could play two positions (AM/Fwd, Wing/Fwd), an Aguero type, and offload one or both of Alexis/Cesc. Don’t forget that current formation brought us unprecedented success, all of Masia plays some of it, and there’s the Messi thing. It would take a really brave guy to overhaul a position that brought so many goals, shiny pots and Ballon D’Ors. Tito ain’t that guy, I think.
      So, someone who can play striker, yes. A pure striker would be a waste unless he’s really young or really old.

  8. Archie
    May 27, 2013





    ——–Lewandovski/Jackson M./Soldado/Cavani

    Sell: Villa, Cesc, Song, JDS
    Loan: Tello, Bartra, Cuenca, Montoya, Delofou, Roberto
    Buy: 1or 2 GKs, 2 CBs, Jackson M./Lewandovski/Soldado/Cavani, Modric/Illaramendi,?

    • Archie
      May 27, 2013

      P.S. Can anyone explain how Barça play a 4-3-3? I can’t make it that simple when I watch them play.

    • Archie
      May 27, 2013

      P.S.S. two players at a position, plus 3 GKs.

    • K_legit in Oz
      May 28, 2013

      Jay-sus sell both Cesc and Song? Wow man!

  9. Bill
    May 27, 2013

    Why this fascination with a traditional striker? You guys sound like that dude who insists on the importance of a typewriter in this day and age. Messi has scored an average of 55 goals a season for 5 seasons! You guys want someone in that position that will give you 22-30 goals? Unbelievable.

    The teams problems was lack of effective wing contribution to the goals. Neymar and Tello will fix that.

    • Archie
      May 27, 2013

      Hi Bill,

      For me, the decline of Xavi’s domination of the pace of games and the transition of Messi to a less defensive player results in him receiving the ball with the opposing defense in their chosen shape; usually a box around Messi. In the 4-0 Milan game, Messi commented that he had more space because Villa played as a striker.

      I hear a positive attitude in your comment that I would like to emulate. Barca can score without a Striker, and if they hire one, they will lose their numerical advantage of passing players. How do you think this alternative will play out? What players will step into the Guardiola system and be able to retain the ball and get it back when it is lost? I prefer your plan, but I am concerned without a Xavi replacement, the strategy breaks down. More to say.


      • Ryan
        May 27, 2013

        And that’s the thing, there won’t ever really be a Xavi replacement, because he’s been such a phenomenon in what he does at controlling games and alternating tempo with his passes. The system will have to adjust to different kinds of players like Cesc and Thiago – better to have them be 1st-rate Cesc and Thiago rather than 2nd-rate Xavis!

      • Bill
        May 28, 2013

        Archie, I strongly believe the decline of Xavi has been greatly exaggerated. Exactly how has he declined? His pass completion rate is still high, he is not losing more balls and I don’t believe he covers significantly less ground. His game was never about running speed nor was it ever about beating people of the dribble. That hasn’t changed.

        The dirty little secret about controlling the game is that your teammates have to be on the same page. Xavi didn’t suddenly become world class when Guardiola arrived, he always was. It’s just that Guardiola made sure everyone understood he was the reference point.

        Of you watched recent games, you would notice everyone trying long passes to the forwards, the wings or from side to side, completely bypassing Xavi. Pique and Mascherano particularly frustrate me on this issue. Not much Xavi can do about that unless the coach re-emphasizes the use of Xavi and Iniesta as reference points.

        • Archie
          May 28, 2013

          Hi Bill,

          This point about a change in team play away from Xavi-control is very interesting to me. Everyone talks about Tito changing the passing game to a more vertical one, and that it resulted in more goals in the first half of the season. You seem to be suggesting that there is a greater tactical question that is open and waiting to be answered this summer, beyond the transfer market mania. You also seem to be saying that acquiring ab striker with a different skill set than the seven current strikers (counting Delofou and Neymar) does not address this question. That conversation sounds interesting. I don’t care whether Barca buys Lewandovski. I just want a creative problem solving team that makes me smile. Barca can buy passing CBs and some more midfielders, too, and I would love it if it created more chaos and teeth gnashing for J. Mour, and other bus parkers.


      • Alexinho
        May 28, 2013

        Right there! Great point.

        On the other hand, if Tito thinks like Kxevin and is looking for fast breaks, which is plausible given the team’s vertical orientation this year, I can see a Neymar/Messi/Pedro or Alexis combo working. Henry was a “traditional” striker, but not to be confused with a “central” striker in the Guardiola system, which is what Villa was last year at times to free-up space for Messi. He was always a secondary striker, well wide left of and behind Messi and Eto’o, who rotated more often.

        One reason it worked is because Henry had a history in this role. Yes, he was a much more conservative player than he was for Arsenal, and at Arsenal, he was more often a CF. But he always, always had a role at Arsenal that BEGAN on the wide left of midfield, and ended in front of goal. This gets me excited about Neymar’s highlights, because just based on the positioning, I know this is a guy that can start on the left and gather pace. Unless you’re counting Iniesta, who I think will just be dropped deeper into midfield (where he belongs if you ask me), I don’t see him crowding anyone’s styles.

        What we may lose when Villa leaves is the possibility of the kind of shape we saw this year, i.e. Villa central in front of Messi to provide space. If it survives, it could be because Alexis moves into that role. Possibly this is a better positiion for him. More likely, unless a second striker is brought in, which isn’t inconceivable at all, we will do without it this year.

        Quick last point about Xavi. I don’t think you mean here that Xavi’s dominance is declining, but that Barca’s dominance is declining because Xavi’s role in the squad will be diminishing. It feels like it already is, even though he played more minutes than last year, because we’ve seen several games in which he did not take part, and the difference was stark. It is more of a concern for me that any midfield combination that has Fabregas or Thiago involved instead of Xavi lacks the cohesion and possession that Xavi brings. However, we’ve always said that Xavi is a once-in-a-lifetime player; maybe it’ll be proven that that cohesion and possession is also once-in-a-lifetime once he ages out, and we’ll have to adapt to that.

        • Archie
          May 28, 2013

          Yes, thanks for helping express the real issue that Xavi will be the defining player in fewer games in the future. I also wanted to express that someone else must be given some role that begins to replace what Xavi has been doing. Iniesta has the brain and skill if maybe not the body. Xavi’s wide shoulders help shield the ball and provide leverage when turning a defender, and he’s much quicker than Bousquets. Does Thiago have the brain/personality? Cesc has many positives, but Cesc and Bousquets sounds too slow to take up that much room in the middle…

    • Roberto Senyera
      May 28, 2013

      Bill, you are bang on!

      Are we going to get more goals by moving Messi to the wing? Or behind a CF? As if he hasn’t been scoring sufficiently these past number of years playing as a false nine.

      If we had Eto’o in his prime (note: that cat was one hell of a mobile CF that had a nose for goal) and either Ronnie or Henry in their prime then that discussion might be feasible. Might.

      We’ve got the best player of all time, winning an unprecedented four WPOY awards, in his prime, scoring a record number of goals, and doing so from the false nine position. And some people want to move him from that position just because we got beaten by a team from Bavaria when we were significantly injured and not at our best?

      C’mon people. Let’s have a little perspective. Please.

    • May 28, 2013

      I want a better built team that can win the CL. I don’t care how many goals Messi scores in the process.

      Pep wanted a striker to play in front of Messi. Just because Ibrahimovic failed doesn’t mean the idea was wrong.

  10. “Theoretically, offense and defense have improved with this acquisition.” – Has to be the Joke of the Year. Agreed that his presence on the left will make the opposition stay back. But that’s not going to improve the defense. And secondly with him doing not much tracking back we have two players upfront who does minimal defensive duty – Messi and Neymar. So if Oppositions are good enough to park the bus and counter, his lack oif defensive work could prove crucial against us.

    “But the biggest thing that I am craving is for cules to accept Neymar as a Barça player, rather than an absurd price tag and a haircut.” – When you pay 60 Million odd for a player then you can’t ask that the price should not be taken into consideration while judging him. If you buy a car at Ferrari’s price, you will always judge it with a Ferrari. One may argue that the player has nothing to do with the price being set so high. But that’s life.

    The whole piece is been written to justify this acquisition. You may be a fan boy of him, but that doesn’t means that everyone have to agree with this. I believe that this signing could be detrimental. I may be proven wrong, I will pray to be proven wrong. But that’s how I feel. I haven’t watched much of him playing for Santos. But I have watched a bit of him playing for Brazil against better teams. whatever I saw in those convince me that we paid way too much.

    • Momo
      May 28, 2013

      Surely you can make a point without coming of as an ass… Sheesh

    • Jim
      May 28, 2013

      I think Kxevin was suggesting that the need for Alba to bomb forward quite so often won’t be there if Neymar presents a bigger threat in terms of taking people on but yeah, pretty much what Momo says there are ways to put your point over without antagonising others.

          • Jim
            May 28, 2013

            No, I don’t think he would be bothered at all as it is someone’s opinion, puts forward reasons for the views and footballers have to put up with all sorts of comments about them. If he were though, I would hope he would have enough manners about him not to make his point by suggesting that the opposition view is so lacking in merit as to be laughable.

      • ^ This.

        A Ferrari is sold with the GUARANTEE that it will perform like a Ferrari. If you decide to buy a lesser car for the price of a Ferrari based on your assessment that it will do just as well if not better, then that’s on you, not the car. You may be wrong, but you may also be right.

    • lea_terzi
      May 28, 2013

      The fan boy part was unnecessary. If you’ve read Kxevin’s previous pieces on the kid, the overall impression is more like “I’m not a fan, and this could go south real quick, but he’s our guy now, an exciting talent to boot, so let’s give him a chance”. Which is a worthy sentiment for a fan.

      I mean, our club just signed the brightest Brazilian talent of a generation, for what many think is a bargain (especially if you factor in his marketing potential). Some excitement is justified, no?

  11. Roberto Senyera
    May 28, 2013

    I’m excited by our new signing and all the possibilities/beautiful footy which should bestow upon cules.

    Has any club side ever had the best Brasilian and the best Argentine concurrently? This should be fun folks. Fasten your seatbelts.

    • Roberto Senyera
      May 28, 2013

      And the best Chilean too 😉

    • Roberto Senyera
      May 28, 2013

      We’ve cornered the South American market. Brilliant from a marketing point of view, at least.

  12. Ultraculé
    May 28, 2013

    As for Nicknames, My little pony is decent and I like Peacock more.
    But when I see Neymar, I see this..
    with the teeth and hair of the velociraptor.

  13. rf2013
    May 28, 2013

    Great post Kxevin. I’ve been reading this website daily, and though I don’t comment, I really appreciate the work that you and the other mods put in – to provide us cules with the most interesting and informative thoughts and updates from FCB. You are by far one of my favorite writers and a breath of fresh air among the panicky pessimistic population of cules. You tell it like it is and have a sense of rationalism that make each of your articles (including the erstwhile ratings) truly enjoyable…Please do keep it up for the benefit of this space and its patrons…Thank you.

    • Roberto Senyera
      May 28, 2013


      Don’t go into exile Kxevin. Every space needs a contrarian, or two. It was nice to see you write a couple of posts recently. I guess our new acquisition has inspired you.

  14. CuleToon
    May 28, 2013


    I watched the two legs of the Paulista Championship final —two-three weeks ago— just to see Neymar’s current play, and I have some comments to share:

    – He got brutally fouled from minute 1, and I mean real nasty kicks (yellow cards here; not there, it seems), and he just went on, and on, and on…
    – Santos is a shockingly awful team, perhaps because it’s lost a lot of good players recently. In the first leg, away at Corinthians stadium, Santos only crossed the midfield line a couple of times and with long shots in the first half. In the second half, Neymar was the only one trying to do some play —trying to carry the team on his soulders, yes— but he was pitifully alone.
    – at the end of the first part, on one of those two occasions when Santos was on Corinthians half, Neymar tracked back 50 m to steal a ball from an attacker: it was a repetition of Messi’s famous trackback to steal the ball from Agüero a couple of seasons ago. Glad to watch this, frankly…

    Let’s wait for the second leg at home, I said to myself. So… It was the same: Santos played as bad as in the first leg, Neymar was brutally fouled again and, again, he was the only one trying to play. Though I had recorded the match, I didn’t watch the second half. Had had enough. BUT I Iiked Neymar: no fancy-stupid-bicycle tricks, no showing off… just trying to play with no one apparently capable of helping him.

    A couple comments on other comments:

    – Apart from Messi, I think the best replacement for Xavi at this moment is Busi; now, I don’t know who the best replacement for Busi is…
    – As far as I’m concerned, Thiago can leave as soon as he wishes. If he doesn’t have patience to wait and, above all, to improve, I will not miss him, nor his fancy passing tricks, nor his lost balls, nor his lack of hard work. I haven’t seen nothing in him that would make me regret his departure.

    Thta all. Have a nice day!

    • lea_terzi
      May 28, 2013

      I was just saying above that this year Neymar has really had to deal with a lot of defensive attention (man-marking, being surrounded, tactical fouls), with not much support from his team. His work ethic and production under the circumstances are impressive. Having Messi at his side would really make life easier for him, if he can make the psychological switch.

  15. When I heard that we got him for around 28M, I just applauded the club. But later read Sid Lowe and am not so sure now about the exact deal/money involved. Anyways, if he is a success, it doesnt matter.
    Like some others here, I dont think he will improve our defense. I wonder how he can – I have seen many Brazil matches and the CWC final against us, only?
    But if he can do at least 50% of what Messi is able to, then we will frighten every team. Messi,Neymar, Alexis on form – thats scary. And that is what I am hoping for.

  16. Messiah10
    May 28, 2013

    Whatever we paid for Neymar is pittance to what we will gain in kit sales and merchandise sales. Not to mention the global appeal he has in S. America and Asia. Our marketing revenue will double! Also, we now own him outright! No more 3rd parties that own 40% of him. He total transfer fee, when he decides to leave or the club decide to sell him, will be enough to recoup our initial investment. So, regardless of his play, this is a win win. However, I believe he’ll be a star and prove his worth making this transfer a win, win, win.

  17. Gogah
    May 28, 2013

    After having been away from Internet for long, I come back with a bit of disbelief at the events that have transpired during then – Fergie & Becks’ retirement, Bayern’s European conquest, Mourinho’s firing, Falcao’s move, Atletico’s Copa win and finally our acquisition of Neymar.

    Although I have vehemently argued against his purchase (one that is not based on need, much like the Cesc purchase), I can see why this could just be the best incoming transfer for Barca (IF it works).

    I know there are many who believe Henry was great for Barca. But I mostly have memories of watching him with frustration. He was a great player for Arsenal, but he had a frustratingly limited set of moves in the LW for Barca. I believe that his name did more to instill fear in our opponents than his actual abilities. I also believe that we tend to look at a (glorious) past with fondness for Everyone which is probably why he is remembered in our colors with great fondness. Truth is that he had 2 shit seasons and one good one.

    Now, the reason I believe the Neymar acquisition could be great is that, We haven’t had an explosive Danger man in the LW since Ronaldinho! If we can shore up our defensive problems, we might just have, come August, the best Barcelona Team ever, on paper, provided we manage to retain the services of Thiago, Song and Alexis Sanchez. Exciting!

    • ooga aga
      May 28, 2013

      agree on henry. if neymar on the LW isnt as good as or better than an aging Henry i will consider this transfer a major Fail.

  18. Archie
    May 28, 2013

    And from the comments by Stjohnthegamber:

    From a Bayern perspective (and thus successful perspective), the key this season has been a greater emphasis on defensive work, especially by the wingers and strikers. Toni Kroos has always been good defensively for a #10, but this year, Ribery, Robben and Mandzukic provided pressure on the opponent’s players that allowed for quick regain of possession and transition into offense.
    Very similar to Dortmund.
    To me this is the main “trend” if you want to call it that. Teams that want to win anything next year (and not borrow the Chelsea bus) will have to put similar amount of work in, though I reckon Dortmund and Bayern will slow down a bit, because it takes real dedication to play like this every match.
    Klopp’s certainly the manager to instill this sort of motivation, but I fear Bayern might get lazy after this year’s successes.
    Another crucial factor for Bayern and teams in general is the quality of the defensive midfielder, who is probably the most important player in modern football. Bayern had by far the best this season in Javi Martinez, who, in the final, had a whopping 100% completed passes despite the ferocious Dortmund pressing, offered countless interceptions and shut down possible passes by brilliant positioning. He also wins most headers in the league (76%) and has the best rate of tackles won of any European midfielder (62%). If you look around Europe, there are only a few players of this calibre, like Vidal, Busquets and Toure.
    That this position is vitally important should be known since the days of Claude Makele, but few obviously still can recognize class when it’s not fancy goals and dribblings.
    Martinez got an astonishingly bad 6/10 in the Guardian’s player ratings.

    • Roberto Senyera
      May 28, 2013

      Expect to see Javi Martinez partner Busquets at next summer’s WC for ESP. He’s better than Xabi Alonso already.

  19. barca96
    May 28, 2013

    I’m sorry if it has been asked above but why didn’t Sid Lowe simply use the transfer fee? Why is there a need to put the total cost? It’s misleading.

    • May 28, 2013

      Sid Lowe is guessing, just like everybody else. Neither club have said how much the transfer is worth and since there is a confidentiality clause I doubt that either ever will. Any talk of actual numbers is pure speculation. Could have have cost us 28M or 100M, we will never know for sure.

      What we do know is that Neymar is a Barca player and I for one am extremely excited! As with any young player there is the risk that he flops but his level of ability and flair hasn’t been seen since Ronaldinho and his goal scoring/assist stats are outrageous for a player his age, even in Brazil. Santos are not a great team so if he can manage it there just imagine what he can do surrounded by the likes of Iniesta, Messi, Xavi, Alexis and Co.

      Now that this transfer is out of the way nice and early we can focus on the really important signings which are going to be CB and GK.

      I don’t see Silva or Kompany as realistic options for CB. I do however like the look of Marquinos at Roma who we have been linked with. Young, fast, athletic, just what we need.

      As for GK. I like the ides of signing two keepers, one older experience keeper and a younger one for the future. The combination of Reina/Ter Stegen could be ideal given our situation.

    • CuleToon
      May 28, 2013

      Sid has always leaned towards RM. Just look at the general tone of his article; in fact, the original title of this article (which still can be seen today on the «Football» general page) was «Neymar arrival prompts concern».

      As for Neymar’s price, Sid’s following the cue of RM media (Marca, As, «national» TV’s) of raising it by the hour including travel and meal expenses if needed. As of today, Neymar’s price is about 150 million euros according to them.

      By the way, RM president, Mr. Florentino Pérez, said yesterday night that they finally rejected Neymar because it would cost them exactly those 150 Mill., conveniently trying to make madridistas forget that Santos president said publicly that the club had acepted Madrid and Barça offers and that the final decision was in the hands of the player. Apparently, merengues have the memory of a fish because it seems to be working…

      Well, the fact is that Rosell is expected to explain all the monetary details when Neymar is «presented» to the fans (perhaps next Monday). He also promised, (the, for me, sad day) when he was elected, that he would act with complete transparency. We’ll see.

      In the meantime, I thinks it’s better to shut our ears and eyes to RM’s resentful propaganda.

      Oh, the wisdom of the Ancients:

      The fox who longed for grapes, beholds with pain
      The tempting clusters were too high to gain;
      Grieved in his heart he forced a careless smile,
      And cried ,«They’re sharp and hardly worth my while».

    • Roberto Senyera
      May 28, 2013

      Because Sid Lowe has a Madrid bias. Plain and simple. He’s a brilliant journalist and he will deny his bias. But he’s most certainly as biased as we know the sun will rise in the morning.

      Do you think he would have dissected the total cost of the deal for Neymar over the term of his contract if the LWBs secured the transfer? It wouldn’t happen. He’d mention the cost of the transfer and try to minimalize it while at the same time emphasizing the revenue streams accruing to M*drid and what good business the deal is for the club.

      • May 28, 2013

        Plenty of merengues who accuse him of being biased towards Barça.

        He openly supports Real Oviedo, although of course that has little to with favoring Barça or M*drid.

        One of my students is a baseball journalist. Sometimes he is sent to cover the team he supported as a boy. He told me he honestly does not care who wins or loses. He just wants the game to be over so that he can go home.

      • Roberto Senyera
        May 28, 2013

        He lives in M*drid and I believe he’s greatly influenced by his environment. I’ve heard him on many podcasts and have read many of his articles. It just my opinion and he’s denied it any time the issue is posed to him.

        And another thing. I’ve heard his dog barking in the background on many podcasts. That dog is certainly a M*dridista ❗

        • Disagree with the notion that Sid Lowe is biased. The sure-fire method to know that he neutral to both clubs is by the fact that he’s accused of this by both sets of supporters.

          Either that, or he’s Really Really good at pissing off both fans.

  20. May 28, 2013


    I’ll be brief. Isaiah has quit. He and I, as well as the other mods, have been discussing how the space has changed, and the complexities of continuing things in the current environment. I have struggled with it, but none more than the man whose space it is. So he has left the ranks.

    It wasn’t a surprise to me, but it probably is to many of you, particularly the old-timers (from The Offside days) who might still be around. The quality and passion of his writing inspired me to try my hand at blogging many years ago, so I won’t be shy about saying that the news has really bummed me out.

    Nobody is quite sure what is going to happen to/with the space, or if it will even continue. But in the interest of full disclosure, there you go. Anyone who has questions for me, you can reach out to me at, and I will try to answer them. Thanks.

    • Dani_el
      May 28, 2013

      I’m sorry to hear that. Everyone here will miss his posts. I found this place after the offside late on the 08/09 season, and it’s the only place where I can share my favourite obsession. I miss Kari’s and Euler’s posts, and I realize that the time and effort you put into this place is remarcable, I just hope that it doesn’t dissapear. I truly appreciate your efforts.
      Anything we can do…

    • Flippy
      May 28, 2013

      whaaat? 🙁 Isaiah has been one of my favorite writers on here since The Offside days, when I was just a mere lurker. His previews always made me laugh, and he always had an uplifting presence around here. He will be missed!

    • Roberto Senyera
      May 28, 2013

      Sorry to hear the bad news. He will be missed.

    • Bill
      May 29, 2013

      I kept finding Isaiah and Kxevin’s articles in 07 at a time when a was craving Barca articles. They were unlike any other barcacentic articles online. The previews were informative, entertaining, quirky and interesting. The reviews were insightful, vivid and captured moments no other pieces on the net did. I was Hooked.

      Since then, I’ve seen new mods come, and they have also surprised me with the quality of their articles and styles. So thank you all that contribute and I wish Isaiah the best.

  21. At the risk of sounding presumptuous, I’d like to point out something.

    With the now seemingly popular opinion that Barca’s cycle has ended, the number of bandwagoners/pseudo-fans will probably (hopefully, if I’m being honest) decrease. This might just help with the environment in this space (Not that it needs any drastic improvement imho). I’m not referring to anyone specific, just generally.

    Maybe the mods can stick it out just a little bit longer to see they’re satisfied. I’d hate for this blog to be defunct when Messi Neymar and Iniesta are picking up the Balon D’or as Top 3 in the World some time in the near future. 😉

  22. Ultraculé
    May 29, 2013

    I’d like to ask something and would love an honest response from the mods.

    If Isaiah and other mods want to quit and are declaring so because of commitments at work, life or relationships, that is totally understandable. Because we must do what we must do. Football and blogging is completely secondary. But Kxevin says Isaiah is quitting because the space is not what it used to be and the environment sucks.
    Whose fault is that? Is that comment meant to make us readers and commenters feel responsible? Because it does make us feel like shit. I thought the mods had all the power to steer the space in the way they felt fit. In fact that is the role of leaders in any space. People like Blitzen and Levon are newly appointed mods. And they in addition to the older mods are the ones responsible for quality control, isn’t it? But it is a fact that the quality of posts have also dipped greatly compared to the past. Whose fault is that? When posts are half assed ones (that say “discuss people”) intelligent discussions will become a rarity. All I am saying is that I love this space and I hate to see (quality) people go. And I hate it more when they do it citing external factors (people who inhabit the space).
    If the space has become shit, the people who steer the ship are first to blame, then come the ’employees’ performance’ so to speak.
    It is easier to quit than to stay and correct things.
    Of course is it worth your while? good question. And if the real reason (for people quitting or blog discontinuing) is life commitments, then I understand and you can ignore this comment. But if its not entirely that (and I suspect that it definitely isn’t) then I’d love for an honest response.
    Visca BFB!

    • May 29, 2013

      My understanding is that the issues are more time related and lack of passion related. Both of those seem fair. Other than that I’ll let Isaiah explain it…

    • May 29, 2013

      I’m not sure why you single out Levon and myself in your comment, but since you have addressed me I will respond. You seem to be saying that the level of conversation has dropped because the level of posts has dropped. In fact, it is the other way around. All of the mods have their own areas of interest or expertise, things they enjoy writing about or that they feel are important to discuss. None of us get paid to write for this space, and all of us have real lives with jobs and responsibilities as well. We do this in our spare time, because we love this football team, and we enjoy discussing all subjects surrounding it (even the silly ones!). We—all of the mods—are tired. We are tired of spending hours, sometimes days, on writing a post on something we feel is important, or just interesting or funny, only to have the bulk of the content ignored in favour of yet another discussion of everything that is wrong with this team and why Tito is a rubbish coach and player X needs to be sold asap. It’s very disheartening, and it makes us not want to put in as much effort. When we speak of the negative attitude in this space, we mean towards the team, not to ourselves. All of us are adults and can take a little criticism. But writing about football is supposed to be fun. The near-constant level of negativity and even hostility towards the team we love makes many of us feel uncomfortable. I know you don’t see that or feel it is a problem, but the fact that many of our long-term commenters have either expressed their feelings on this our just outright left this space, speaks volumes to me.

      Anyway, we are in discussions about what the future may hold for BFB.

      • Ultraculé
        May 29, 2013

        Ok, I knew that was going to be misunderstood. Thanks for responding articulately though. I did not mean the level of conversation dipped because of the posts. sigh.
        ok, just for conversation’s sake, take the Blitzen awards only for example. Yes we can go on talking about how [insert someplayer’s name]’s hair was funnier than [insert clever analogy] throughout the comments section, but as fans of Barca, its hard not to stop the whole ‘message board’ thing from happening to the space. Partially. I know this space just being a negative message board is a real issue, always has been and some new guidelines must be followed. Especially to restore the way it was so informative, POSITIVE, funny and insightful all at once.

        • May 29, 2013

          One of the best things about this space is that it allows for different kinds of posts. Serious, informational ones. Important, controversial ones. And yes, even fun silly ones like my awards or one of Isaiah’s (sadly too-infrequent) dialogues. One of my all-time favourite posts is still SoMa’s fantastic send-up of the Arsenal & Liverpool fans who trolled here at certain points in time. I was literally falling off my chair laughing. Point is, not every post will be to everyone’s taste. But the diversity of the content is what has made this space so much fun. I miss that.

        • May 29, 2013

          I might be wrong, but if memory serves me correctly it was readers begging commenter Blitzen to give us her weekly Blitzen awards that led to mod Blitzen giving us her Blitzen awards.

          If you want the space to continue (and there are plenty of us that do) you might want to motivate its contributors 😉

          Your feedback is of course always welcome.

          • May 29, 2013

            LOL! Thanks, Lev. I will be doing a season-wrap-up edition soon. I hope. 😉

          • Ultraculé
            May 29, 2013

            Yet again, your comment Lev, unfortunately shows evidence of a mod misunderstanding a reader’s comment as some (personal) attack on Blitzen awards rather than understanding that it was merely used as an example to arrive at the core of larger problems – Irrelevant comments. Larger problems like the effort taken not being acknowledged, Comments section turning into a message board – a negative one. Larger problems like these, sapping the atmosphere, forcing people out, etc.
            I really hope we figure it out.
            I do have some ideas for ensuring that the blog retains diversity & quality while maintaining the spirit with which it was created, and making it all WORTH everyone’s while, which I’ll share with the team at another time and place.

          • Ultraculé
            May 29, 2013

            For the record, I lurve the Blitzen awards

          • May 29, 2013

            Thank you for replying, ultraculé!

            I see now how I misunderstood your comment, although it was kind of easy to misunderstand to be honest.

            I hope you took my comment which you are referring to as a respectful one. I feel that as long as mutual respect is the base, misunderstandings can be cleared up with ease.

            And when I say that your feedback is welcome I meant it.

  23. I have to say, at this moment, my respect for the realmadridfootballblog and its mods are going up. They receive a lot of trolls there and sometimes comments which are worth goaldotcom standards, but still they keep on going. Lot of their commenters agree or disagree with their mods / writers, but generally they agree to disagree and there is a good discussion. I havent seen anybody saying there, that I am stopping this as this place is changed. Just because I am a Barca fan, I also often read that blog, even if I comment there only very very rarely.

    Compared to that blog, I have to say, we see very few trolls here and from the comments, I have only felt most people here are real fans of Barca. Nor can I remember reading goaldotcom standard comments here. 99% of the time, it is a real good discussion here.
    It is not a mistake, if all the people do not follow the same line of thought as the mods/writers here. If the mods here think, some comments here are negative/disrespectful/aggressive, I think I have seen the same attitude also from the mods/writers here, to people who had different view points. But none of these, I must say, I found as unacceptable, as there is still a kind of standard here. All these kind of accords/denial are part of any public space.

    I cant think about another discussion board with the dignity we have it here. Even in zonalmarking, sometimes there are crap commenters fighting it out.

    If all the writers here want every reader to agree with everything or want to comment only in a way acceptable to them, that is quite wierd, isnt’it. It is something on the lines of – either you are with us or you are with them!!! I really wish BFB isnt like that.

    Even if I may not agree with all points, I enjoy reading each and every writer here. This space is very important for me to know more about my club and I visit here whenever it is possible, between my work/travels. Now if some writers want to back off, because some one here is not behaving exactly as they wish, what can I say, it is a pity. Hope the decisions will change. Just like the club, hope BFB will keep going.

    • Bill
      May 29, 2013

      Wow. I don’t think I have read a piece that I agreed with 100% in a long time, besides this one. Very level headed, insightful and the ‘big picture’ kind of thinking I like!

    • May 29, 2013

      Pretty sure it has nothing to do with posters not agreeing with mods. See my comment above

    • barca96
      May 29, 2013

      Spot on foto.

      Calvin, yes time is a part of it but based from what I read lately, it seems that the mods don’t like the tone of this space. What does that say? And a mods self exile happened before.

      I appreciate that Kxevin, Blitzer, Levon and yourself are still active though.

      I remember many years back, even if there are no new articles, Kxevin or Isaiah made a new post, News of the day post. It was good. Refreshing. Very little but it does a great deal to keep people coming back for more.

  24. hammeronmessi
    May 29, 2013

    But the biggest thing that I am craving is for cules to accept Neymar as a Barça player, rather than an absurd price tag and a haircut.


    what bout double pivots to ensure safety for the 2 fullbacks with Messi as the CF and iniesta behind Messi and yes i am discounting Xavi.If he really wants to contribute he should play once a week

  25. jmiddy05
    May 29, 2013

    the worst part about the Mods making these decisions at a time like this, is that this is the time we need to stick strong…together…what happened to our sense of community, family…the barca family. Yeah, it’s not always going to be sunny and perfect, very little is always like that…but we always said during those moments of amazing highs…we’ll see who the true supporters are during the lows…and as times seem to have gotten a tiny bit tough (i personally dont think they have, just havent met the unrealistic dizzying heights of recent seasons) it seems we’ve found ourselves members who are willing to ‘give up’…im not doubting their contribution, i couldnt even begin to describe the amazing, unbelievable truly incredible work and effort they have provided…i am forever grateful for this space alone, let alone those who contribute to it…but it pains me, that now, when the barca family needs each other the most…people are deserting. it shouldnt be like this…this is when we prove our strength…push through those issues…and bring this space back to where it should be…just like our team will do next season…

    • May 29, 2013

      No one is “giving up”.

      When you don’t have the time and lose the passion to write, why torture yourself to keep doing it.Q

    • May 29, 2013

      I’m not sure why you single out Levon and myself in your comment, but since you have addressed me I will respond. You seem to be saying that the level of conversation has dropped because the level of posts has dropped. In fact, it is the other way around. All of the mods have their own areas of interest or expertise, things they enjoy writing about or that they feel are important to discuss. None of us get paid to write for this space, and all of us have real lives with jobs and responsibilities as well. We do this in our spare time, because we love this football team, and we enjoy discussing all subjects surrounding it (even the silly ones!). We—all of the mods—are tired. We are tired of spending hours, sometimes days, on writing a post on something we feel is important, or just interesting or funny, only to have the bulk of the content ignored in favour of yet another discussion of everything that is wrong with this team and why Tito is a rubbish coach and player X needs to be sold asap. It’s very disheartening, and it makes us not want to put in as much effort. When we speak of the negative attitude in this space, we mean towards the team, not to ourselves. All of us are adults and can take a little criticism. But writing about football is supposed to be fun. The near-constant level of negativity and even hostility towards the team we love makes many of us feel uncomfortable. I know you don’t see that or feel it is a problem, but the fact that many of our long-term commenters have either expressed their feelings on this our just outright left this space, speaks volumes to me.

      Anyway, we are in discussions about what the future may hold for BFB.

      • May 29, 2013

        OOps! This was supposed to be in response to Ultraculé’s comment. I will repost there. Kxevin, can you delete this duplicate ^?

  26. ooga aga
    May 29, 2013

    the mods dont owe us anything. people are free to create their own spaces. i support isaiah no matter what the reasons for his decision. not sad its over — happy it happened.

    abidal has called a presser for thursday and will be accompanied by RoSELL and Zubi. im assuming its not good news. dont go Abi! viva el roi!

  27. May 29, 2013

    I don’t think many of you guys were around when this blog was at its peak. Although the quality of the posts by the mods hasn’t declined much, the comments and the atmosphere are a far cry of they used to be, to be honest. Many people had already moved on, and now the mods are as well. We moved from TheOffside to BFB, BFB to Twitter, and who knows what’s next. But everything is constantly evolving, I don’t think there should be any blame against people wanting to move on. This space was consistently THE BEST space on the Internet for 3-4 years (including TheOffside), and I can only thank the mods and the people who made it so. Only gratitude, no regrets.

    • I’m one of those who has been here for only this season and last, so it’s probably people like me you are referring to, but from what youv’e said only one thing comes to mind. That this blog is the perfect reflection of the team right now. Not hitting the dizzying heights of the past 3-4 years, but still Bloody GOOD!!

      Reason enough for us to stay and try and make it a better place.

  28. mom4
    May 29, 2013


    With regards to the blog…

    The beginning of the end, if it is the end, happened over a year ago when a large number of knowledgeable, quality commentators got twitter accounts and took their conversations elsewhere.

    …torna el que li dones.

      • mom4
        May 29, 2013

        Scary- how protected can an account be?

        • mom4
          May 29, 2013

          Of course, it would give me a chance to pick a less boring handle.

          • May 29, 2013

            Lol, you will never be able to decide! Fortunately, twitter allows you change handles, if you wish.

        • May 29, 2013

          You can set up a “private” account where people can only follow you if you approve them. You can also block people at any time. or delete your account entirely. Try it. It’s fun. Come over to the dark side. I am your father!

          Follow me first and I will hold your hand: @blitzen13

          • mom4
            May 29, 2013

            IT”S FORCING ME to follow 5 sports and music things.

          • May 29, 2013

            Funny how me and Jnice had to spend several weeks convincing you to join twitter, which you did relectuntly, but now you’re promoting it to others. 🙂 How does one do that devil smiley again? 👿

          • May 29, 2013

            I have seen the light. Twitter is the truth and the way, in 140 characters or less. Drink the kool-ade.

          • May 29, 2013

            Good girl. Now approve my friend request & I will send you a list of other people to follow. Not that eklavya dude, though, he’s weird.

          • May 29, 2013

            Don’t forget to check your mentions/connects to see if people are trying to contact you.

    • K_legit in Oz
      May 29, 2013

      Your handle should be @cookiesforeveryone

  29. PrinceYuvi
    May 29, 2013

    Abidal going to one of these, Lyon, PSG, Monaco [tax haven, they say] or Qatar/Usa – wants to finish career in Ligue 1. [Barcastuff]
    Neymar seems like fair deal to me. Brazilian DNA, off the charts popularity, Added bonus – All the jealousy he incites in hearts of madrid fans.

  30. barca96
    May 29, 2013

    I known this is going against the current tune here because the mods don’t like fans criticizing Tito but if Abidal really doesn’t have a place in the team, why would big teams chase for his signature?

    Even if I take that out of the equation (what’s other clubs think about him), I find him good enough to be a starting CB in the current roster.

    It would be so depressing to see him helping out other teams and not Barca. This will cost us sporting wise.

  31. barca96
    May 29, 2013

    In regards to Neymar’s price, Perez said that it would’ve cost them 150 million to buy Neymar. It is impossible for any club to pay that kind of money no? I really really hope that we didn’t spend that much or anything more than 60m.

    And I really hope a reporter in Barcelona will grow some cojones and ask Rosell point blank why he is not practicing what he was preaching, transparency.

    The only way how I can see this secrecy about the price tag is for Neymar to have less pressure from the fans and media.

    • Dani_el
      May 29, 2013

      About Perez declarations, he was full of it. Santos presented Neymar two official offers for him, he decided for us. Now Perez makes it look as if they decided not to sign him. No no, Neymay decided not to be there, and I doubt it would have cost them that much, he’s just justifying his defeat, though he had a point, Neymar wouldn’t have adapted to Madrid in a commercial way, because Madrid forces their players to share their commercial earnings. Hence the renewal problem with Ronaldo.

      About Rosell not being transparent, I’m gonna be an optimist and say that he’s not showing how much we spent on the kid so clubs don’t know how much money do we still have to sign a keeper and a central defender. Not fun of Rosell but let’s hope that he’s thinking.

  32. georgjorge
    May 29, 2013

    Watching the first half of the Copa Catalunya, pretty impressed with the B team’s ability to dominate a La Liga opponent with 84 percent possesion. They are in need of a good finisher though it seems…

    • Dani_el
      May 29, 2013

      What an assist from Song to Cesc!!! 1-1 Excellent finishing from Cesc!

  33. May 29, 2013

    A few points, and I will apologize in advance for the length:

    –fotobirajesh points out an increasing level of respect for the RM Blog’s moderators, because they persevere. But without knowing what life commitments they have, that comparison is impossible to make. And I have had off-campus discussions with them where they struggle with the same things that we do. But. Using me as an example. On a match day, there is the match. But there is also training for cycle racing, spending time with wife/friends, real-life work, and writing for the space.

    As many of you know, my reviews, when I did them, were very different. Multiple match viewings, copious notes, etc, etc. I had the same demands then as I have now. But I had a lot more zeal for the task. Journalists develop a very thick skin. But as blitzen notes above, it starts to wear on you. fotobirajesh, you yourself said that you laugh at much of what I have to say, because my bias is clear. You hear enough of that and yes, you start to wonder why you are staying up until 2 a.m. to write a post and feeling like crap at training the next day, or why you are having dinner at your desk as you write a review, instead of sitting across the table from your lovely wife.

    And no, I don’t mean to single you out. But the example is useful in this situation. For me, personally, Isaiah once said that I wear my heart on my sleeve, which is why my pieces and comments generate heat. That’s fair. I love this club, love speaking my mind about it and love when others speak their mind about the club, or what I have to say about the club. That’s why we’re here. But I don’t enjoy being attacked. Nobody does. Disagreement comes with the territory. Personal assaults shouldn’t. Say that a journalist is biased, as you might as well ask him why he bothers doing what he does. I’m a journalist. To my core. An accusation of bias is the meanest, most spiteful thing anyone could think of to say to me.

    In this very thread, Sid Lowe is dismissed as being a Madridista. In fact, he is an extraordinary journalist who is as unbiased as they come. He has a think skin, like any journalist, but I can guarantee you that they bother him, as they would any journalist.

    As another example, barca96 writes that the mods “don’t like anyone to criticize Tito.” Who said that? How did that impression arise? It’s indefensible. It’s also part of what makes us struggle so. For me, as well as Isaiah, the love is gone. And the love isn’t gone solely because of life demands. It’s gone because it has, frankly, been beaten out of us. Disagreeing is one thing. If you look back at The Offside days, there were disagreements galore. It was part of what made the space such a delight.

    But part of the new tone of disagreements here has to do, I think in part, with an online world that allows us to tailor content. News feeds, blogs, Twitter followers. When we can shape a world that tells us what we want to hear, it becomes increasingly difficult in a world that doesn’t. So the person is stupid, laughable (as in AllAboutFCBarcelona) or biased in a way that makes their work a “joke.”

    No skin is sufficiently thick that stuff like that doesn’t, over time, get through and pierce the heart.

    This Neymar piece is the first piece I have truly enjoyed writing in a very long time. It wasn’t just reacting to news. It was a piece about the potential effects, positive and negative, of the club’s most significant signing in a very long time. I found that interesting, and from the quality of the discussion, I assume others did, as well.

    I also wrote it resolving not to visit the space after I wrote it, because I knew what would happen, eventually. There was some excellent discussion as I read now, so I don’t mean to suggest that a new negative, personal comments negate all of that fine discussion. And the comments of others after the attack was much appreciated. That felt a lot like the old space, and it made me smile.

    Yes, post quality has diminished, along with love. It happens. Passion is what keeps something like this, which if you were to gather all of the proceeds from, wouldn’t even buy one of y’all a latte, going, thriving and working well. When passion goes, you first have to figure out why, then figure out whether something can happen that will rekindle that passion and interest.

    I have a lot to say about this club, from Rosell vs Cruijff and a seeming assault on the futbol base that Cruijff built, to TV revenues, to exactly why I think that Guardiola left this club in a bad way, mentally and physically. And that doesn’t even get into the kind of governance that we are seeing right now, that has players with no idea if they are part of the team’s plans or not, B team coaches and players up in the air, etc. So much to say.

    But with all of those ideas, come a concern that voicing them in this space would bring an intensely negative reaction. Disagreeing is one thing. It’s boring when everyone agrees. “Fanboy” and other aggressively personal comments diminish the piece, the effort and any supporting arguments. It doesn’t matter if they are wrong, in the same way a turd in the punch bowl affects a dinner party. And when I feel like I can’t say something out of apprehension, it becomes time to reevaluate stuff. Isaiah and the other mods have their own different reasons, but they are all based in the same root.

    For the record, nobody is blaming anything. I, as blitzen and Calvin have noted, want to be clear on that. Disagreements are part of life, and part of the spice of life. Discussions strengthen a position on a player, tactic or signing. And nobody is giving up, or taking their ball and going home. But life does indeed happen, and the stew that represents everything going on in this space, coupled with life, is part of that.

    What will happen to the space? Who knows. We will have discussions and figure some things out, namely whether any of us WANT to continue the space. Then we go from there. And that’s as honest and forthright as I know how to be. Thanks for reading.

    • Dani_el
      May 29, 2013

      Thank you for sharing in such a detailed manner your thoughts on the matter.
      I hope all of you find the time and motivation to continue this blog, so important for so many of us. I would love to read your opinions about the Rosell Cruyff feud, and especially why Guardiola left the club and how about the club’s mishandling of the cantera. In a club such of ours, that’s of an extreme importance. Anything we can do to help…

    • Rami
      May 29, 2013

      This my first post in this blog, Even though i’ve been visiting it regularly for the last 6 months.
      I found this site by accident, But i got hooked, And the reason is your articles, I’ve been in many forums, But i ended up quitting all of them, And the reason for it is the type of posters, Blaming tito for everything, Accusing rosell of being the source of all evil, Just junk posts in general, Illogical thinking, And unbearable to read, I couldn’t find anyone who shared my thoughts, Was logical, And was on the same wavelength with me, Until i stumbled into one of your articles, I didn’t post all this time is because i didn’t think you’ll notice my posts, Or have a discussion, So i just read your posts and scan the comment section to read your replies.
      Yes i did notice the same junk posters are starting to show up on this blog, The same kind of posters i ran away from, I don’t have to mention names, I think you listed some of them, But that isn’t a reason to stop writing, Your posts are like my last haeven on the internet when it comes to FCB.
      So please don’t stop writing, And i’ll start to post on this blog myself.

    • Alexinho
      May 29, 2013

      Kxevin, Isaiah, and co.,

      It saddens me to read about the possibility that the space may shut down and that you are losing/have lost your love for your work here, because I think many have said as much as this is one of the most unique, respectful, and all-around high-quality blogs on the internet. I’ve been watching, and though my comments have lessened over the last few years, since The Offside days (crazy to read how old that looks…how many readers out there really get the “Hector Pills” reference anymore, for real?), this has been the single most informative discussion on Barca out there, bar-none.

      I feel that this space evokes something greater from its commenters. Trolls? Visit TotalBarca, look at the quality of discussion over there.

      Remember that post several months back about gay people/homophobia in football? I came out of the closet on that post. And I wasn’t the only one! AND nobody, not one person, trolled that. Imagine that…

      Anyway, your decisions are yours to make, and all good things will come to an end. It’s a shame that the Barca blogging community will be at a loss if the blog runs its course, and that this is coming at a time when I’m *just* starting to comment a bit more. But, what must happen will happen, and thanks for your dedicated, dedicated writing. Hope it’s not a goodbye.

    • Kxevin, I have to first of all admit, I am not a writer. English is still a foreign language too, a nightmare for me during my school and university days. This definitely will not help me in conveying my thoughts, replying you, in a way that can match your writing skills.

      I must ‘thank you’ actually, for making me a sound like a junk poster – like one commenter has replied to you above. I am wondering, is it my poor language which make me sound like a junk/troll, or my lack of any knowledge of football.

      reg the RMFB – again may be I wasnt clear. I was only saying why I dont see their mods talking about leaving the space because of trolls. They have a big number of trolls in that site. BFB dont have.
      If you or Isaiah are keeping away because of personal reasons, I am with you. it should not be discussed at all. But it all sounded only like you are all leaving, because this space has changed. Changed because of the junk commenters or because of commenters not writing in a way you like.

      you yourself said that you laugh at much of what I have to say, because my bias is clear. – I agree I might have said something like this – I feel like laughing- but only once. may be in that “just inches” post or during the ‘Villa/messi’ post. But not otherways. And definitely, it was not like against – much of what you had to say. I am sure you must have also seen many of my comments agreeing with you or supporting you. So I think it is not fair, your are bringing up something that I mentioned just once, long back.

      That is all what I am saying, I have agreed and I have disagreed too. But I havent used any foul language, or made sarcastic comments, looking down at others. I think you have done such looking down kind of comments, more than once at me and also at others – regular commenters. But I did took it in the stride. Didnt try to argue further or fight over it or bring it over again.

      Except Euler and Nzm (whom I remember very well), I have seen many of the BFB writers engaging in some kind of arguements or sarcasm or looking down at others some times. How can you then complain?

      I want to reiterate that, I agree/disagree with the writers here, but I have only atmost respect for all of you and love this place. When I disagreed – repeat I never used any bad language against anybody – it was not personal, nor have I taken anything here personally. So, if I have hurted anybody here, forgive me. I didnt intend to.

      I just hope this blog goes on.

  34. Dani_el
    May 29, 2013

    After 6 years we have the Catalunya Cup again on our hands. Goal from Cesc on the last minutes with a electrical assist from Song (who got a red card on the 94th minute). We won it on the penalties round. Xavi missed one, and Villa scored the last one. This cup was missing for many of our players.
    Visca el Barça!

  35. Bill
    May 29, 2013

    In other news, Cruyff just admitted that they made a huge mistake with that Ibra signing. It’s good to know they can acknowledge mistakes. It was my biggest frustration with Pep and Co. at the time, because these are smart football people.

    Sometimes it’s the moves you don’t make that can be brilliant. If they had stuck with Eto’o till this year, then get rid of him and get Neymar, the team would have continued being strong.

    This year, the smart thing to do would be to keep faith in Bartra, keep Abidal for one more year to help out till Bartra is ready. Thiago and Montoya should also stay and the coach needs to start seriously rotating players to keep them fresh and injury free. Hynckes did that to devastating results.

  36. ciaran
    May 29, 2013

    It would be a terrible shame if this place ceased to be. It has been one of most visited websites since the day it launched.
    Isaiah, I really wish you the best in whatever you do in the future as I’ve felt that I’ve known you for years now.
    Kxev, I hope that the thought of Neymar and whoever else we sign are enough to reinvigorate your love for this blog. Going back to the Offside days, I remember when you went from being a regular poster to mod and I’ve enjoyed your thoughts and how you share them since.
    We haven’t agreed on players, transfers and everything else but have always had constructive conversations about this club in a very respectful manner.

    If you do decide to continue, I really wish that you fall in love with this again, and if you decide otherwise then I wish you the best in whatever you do again. Assuming you will be talking to Isaiah, pass on my best wishes to him.

  37. Archie
    May 29, 2013

    I just read Euleri’s twitter feed for the past few weeks. Barcelona Football Blog is a Messi times better than short repetitve posts answering the same question asked by different people over and over…change formation, real #9…change formation, real # 9… change…

  38. May 29, 2013

    On behalf of the mods I would like to thank everyone for their kind words about what this blog means to them. We will keep you updated on where we go from here.

    • TITO
      May 30, 2013

      Do you need my kind words? Cause i ain’t so good at them.
      You can ask my wife. 🙂
      Anyway, cool heads think better.

  39. ciaran
    May 29, 2013

    On a positive note, I had a dream that Barca signed Fernando Torres and then today the spanish press are reporting that he is on some kind of wishlist. Now, I’m not saying that he’s the best striker available or anything but for like 10-12 years I’ve wanted him to play for Barca and at 29 I thought his chance had gone but now it’s a possibility.

    According to the ever reliable we had a bid for Fernando Muslera turned down worth €17million. I really like him though and I think it’s a safer bet that ter Stegen due to his experience.

    Apparently Deulofeu is officially too good for Barca B and not good enough for the big boys and will be loaned. It’s kind of a pity cos I’d prefer to see him playing against shit teams than Pedro, who I’m getting sick of. He used to have so many exclamation marks and now has question marks.
    Looking at it now, there is virtually nothing that Pedro gives that Alexis can’t in my opinion; workrate? goals? assists? all of which Alexis is as good if not better

    • KEVINO17
      May 29, 2013

      Torres would be excellent, because we’ve got lots of creators, but we just need a pure athletic finisher. I think, for that reason, he would be very successful at Barca.

      • KEVINO17
        May 29, 2013

        I see there is also suggestion Barca might get Roque Santa Cruz. He might be even better. Big, smart, proven goal scorer and cheap. Best of all, in Barca’s set-up, he wouldn’t have to run much and wouldn’t mind spending a lot of time on the bench (until we need the plan B striker).

      • Jomateix
        May 30, 2013

        Maybe we don’t actually need an uberexpensive goalscorer… I feel we need mostly a strong forward to drag defenders away from Messi or Neymar or whoever is acting as the actual finisher. A good old fashioned brawler.

    • May 30, 2013

      “He used to have so many exclamation marks and now has question marks.”

      Haaaa, that made me lol.

  40. Jafri
    May 29, 2013

    Kxevin, Blitzen et al,

    Just wanted to say that I’ve scoured the internet through and through for Barcelona related content, and ever since I came upon this blog a couple of years ago, I was immediately struck by how it stood head and shoulders above any of the other discussion spaces.

    I wish I could convey how all-encompassing my Barcelona experience has been because of this blog. Every mod has their own area of expertise and sometimes you’ll be treated to nzm’s intricate knowledge of Barcelona history and culture, Isaiah’s super confident we-got-this type of previews, or SoMa’s wonderful parodies, of which I haven’t been able to understand a single one yet, but I’m sure they’re really hilarious. There’s the Blitzen’s awards, Euler’s incredible tactical analyses (Which, along with Kari’s articles was why I fell in love with this space in the first place), and of course Kxevin’s no-nonsense, call-it-like-it-is style. He always reminded me of Master Shifu.

    In any case, I think we can all agree that we’re not happy troopers when our team is not doing well, and that tends to flare up the tensions in any blog. Mostly, it’s just Barcelona fans being passionate about their club, trying to find a solution for what has gone wrong on the pitch. It’s sad to think that bickering about what is best for our club has led to this blog possibly being shut down.

    We might say there has been a decline in the quality of the discussions – and it’s really not fair to hurl invective at people who try to put out quality content for you gratis, I mean talk about being ungrateful – but there still isn’t a site I have found that even approaches the quality of this space. If a decision is made to finish this blog, then I’ll understand it, and respect it. I just don’t know what I’ll do.

    • lea_terzi
      May 30, 2013

      Agree with every word. I count myself lucky to have been there to witness the incredible era in history of this club and this blog, which amplified and enhanced the experience tenfold. I’m a bfb fan probably as much as I am a Barca fan. Of course, this level of excellence is difficult to sustain over a long time, and we will always long for those days. But whatever the future holds for the club and the blog, I will remain a loyal supporter.

  41. May 29, 2013

    How about we take a little break this summer? Come back fresh and re-energize in the fall? 🙂

  42. xdxm
    May 30, 2013

    As a faithful reader of this blog I want to reiterate what Jafri said above. When the team does poorly, the conversations here tend to get more aggressive. During the Bayern Munich matches things got very tense in here. And I created an account just to address that very thing.

    Everyone has a right to their opinion. Whether you’re talking about politics, sports, or whatever there will be disagreements. And that’s okay as long as those disagreements are expressed in intelligent and diligent ways. But at a certain point the conversations became rather ugly. Maybe it’s not a coincidence that the team itself is not what it used to be. But point is I understand and respect Isaiah’s decision. It is extremely difficult to find good intelligent discourse on football blogs. Isaiah provided that for a long time and we’re grateful for it.

    I hope this space can continue as I believe the team is about to embark on another special run. With a full season under his belt I think Tito is geared for an excellent couple of years. If management can bring in the right players (Neymar was a start–Marquinhos and Ter Stegen will perfect it for me), and the La Masia kids develop the way we expect them to, this team has the potential to do remarkable things. So here’s to hoping there is still a place for us to talk about it and rejoice together in future successes.

    • May 30, 2013

      Actually even when we were winning at the start if the season the conversations were still pretty rough and negative…

  43. Ultraculé
    May 30, 2013

    Man, Pep Guardiola (if he was still with us) would have been the perfect coach for a talent like Neymar to develop with the right attitude. But hopefully Tito will show some aspects of management in the coming year that we didn’t get to see this season.

    Also Barcastuff keeps bandying names of Forwards Barca is considering. I quite like the idea of Edin Dzeko. He is pretty mobile decent technically no?

  44. barca96
    May 30, 2013

    Isaiah quit doesn’t mean we all quit no? Kxevin had numerous exiles before and we still continued. Of course there are fewer quality posts and discussions (Kxevin) but we still can continue.

    So now NZM, Levon, Blitzen… Get ready to take over the thrones 🙂
    Welcome new guards..

  45. Ultraculé
    May 30, 2013

    Sorry, But I just don’t understand the club leaving Abidal from any angle whatsoever. I mean, you renewed him, and waited for what felt like eternity for him to come back, and when he’s back finally, healthy, you decide to let him go. That’s just the bad business part.

    Now, the ethical part. What about the whole ‘Barca is a family’ thing. After what he has been through and the battle he has fought, How can the club be so insensitive?

    And finally, the sporting part. Abidal is still one hell of a defender. Not just in Barca, I don’t think there is his breed of a defender anywhere. His calmness in defense and the sense of safety he provides, is something I can’t see in any defender, not even Puyol. Bad, bad business in all terms.
    Like i said, #coldbloodedsellout.

    • In fact, we could see the sadness in Abi’s face.
      If he is good enough to play in Lyon or Monaco, he would have been a better CB than Adriano.

      Its quite perplexing actually. All what the club is doing these days. Even letting Thiago in the market (not sure if true), letting many of those youth team players to go – really, at last a few of them are good enough to earn us some millions , and I am sure many like Muniesa are quite unhappy. Muniesa: “Last week, I talked with the club. They explained why I won’t renew. I understand it, but decision could have been made sooner.”

    • May 30, 2013

      Absolutely. Like I said in my piece a couple of weeks ago, we need a defender with Abidal’s exact characteristics, and we are having trouble finding one. Even if he can only play a limited number of games, he can still be a huge asset to the team. Surely an agreement could have worked out where he was paid according to games played. It’s a ridiculous decision from a sporting point of view, and a shameful one from a human point of view. I really think Rosell has made an enormous error in judgement that will come back to haunt him. It makes the club look terrible.

      • It’s a ridiculous decision from a sporting point of view, and a shameful one from a human point of view. – EXACTLY

        But what we are not sure about is the influence of Tito in this decision. Would Rosell have decided so, if Tito had assured to use Abi for a minimum minutes, at least?

        • Nik
          May 30, 2013

          I don’t think Tito has the same “power” (if you will) that Pep had within the club. I think Rosell had his mind made up, and nothing Tito did (or could have done) would change the decision. #RosellOut

          • Jim
            May 30, 2013

            I’m not sure what those posting about Abi think happened here. Do we think that Abi was completely fit, Tito wanted him to stay for the first team squad and Rosell stepped in and said no we’re gonna let him go so we can get some bad publicity?

            I don’t know what the story is and I thought Abidal did play well in his comeback but he was obviously saving himself, was exhausted and has been out since. There must be something they know that we don’t. Unless we know that is its pretty unfair to blame Rosell who has offered him an open door job whenever he wants.

            The club imo has had a reality check, maybe inspired by Tito, I don’t know. They have realised we were in no man’s land, keeping large numbers of players hanging around without any real prospect of making it yet scared to sell in case they come back to haunt us. Hard decisions needed to be made and have been. Only time will tell if they were the right ones.

    • Dani_el
      May 30, 2013

      “If we write about Muniesa (and the club’s mistreatment of him) is not because it is something unusual these days in the club. It’s something that has changed on Barça, for example with Eric Abidal. Alexanco explained that you cannot say goodbye to a kid from the cantera without first calling his parents, having a meeting with all the people involved, look at them in the eye and telling them the whole the truth.” Martí Perarnau 21.05.2013

      I might add the Muniesa quote by fotobirajesh. The mishandling of Cruyff, Oscar Garcia and Pep Guardiola.
      Rosell is many things, but most definitely being tactful is not one of them.

      About the technical decision of letting him go, I don’t agree with it. Abi showed in his last games a remarcable calmness with the ball and a positioning awareness that is not easy to find these days. Unless he demanded to play a definite amount of minutes (I very much doubt that he would do something like that) I think it was a bad call.

      Hopefully he’ll return, preferably when Rosell leaves (if he loses) on 2016 after a few winning seasons in the club of his preferance.
      Grande Abi, you were inspiring to all of us!

      • Dani_el
        May 30, 2013

        Oh and Valdes! Tomorrow he’ll do a presser. I hope he shares everything that made him take that decision. I bet it has something to do with the keeper’s coach, Zubi telling the press that his renewal was well advanced when they didn’t even talk with the guy, and him being relegated to be the last of the captains in having renewal talks. He is the best keeper in the history of Barça, and in time everyone of us (club and fans) will learn to appreciate him more, especially Rosell and his directiva.

  46. Salia
    May 30, 2013

    I dont think tito has anything to do with this because if anyone knows what abidal has gone through its tito. Playing time might be a factor but in that case why has puyols contract been renewed because with the arrival of marqinhos/hummels/thiago silva etc and puyols aging legs he isnt going to get playing time. I think that the blame lies firmly at rosells door because if he really wanted to renew abidals contract he would have done so long ago. But it looks like the decision was already made by then.

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