Barca 0, Manchester City 1, a.k.a. “Wait….this wasn’t all about the BAS?” (edit: Sorry, Kid)

Spain Soccer Barcelona Ibrahimovic

Not quite, but close.

For the record, yes, a match was played today. Yes, we lost. But everything was subsumed by the start of the second half, when our very own BAS took to the pitch to rapturous cheers. As he strode out with Messi and Alves, you could hear everyone thinking “This is it. It’s Hammer Time.”

Not so fast. But let’s begin at the beginning, shall we?

Pep Guardiola, leading up to this edition of the Gamper Trophy match, was saying to anybody who would listen, “We really care about the SuperCup, and will use this match as more training.” Shudder! The impudence of this guy!

And nobody really believed him, until he rolled out with: Pinto, Montoya, Puyol, Fontas, Maxwell, Busquets, Gudjohnsen, The Yaya, Pedro!, Jeffren and Krkic. Then it was like “Uh, wait a minute. He wasn’t kidding.”

Let’s dispense with the goal against right away. It came off a busted play, as so many goals against us do. Busquets laid off a sloppy pass outside the Citeh box, and because we were pressing, the middle was open. A nice ball to Petrov, who was kept onside by a sluggish (injured?) Puyol. Petrov beat Pinto, who stood there, waiting to die. It wasn’t as much the high line that killed us as it was one player not lining up with the rest. Captain Caveman can be forgiven. S’all good.

And that was that.

We had more time of possession, more shots, more corners, more slick moves, more manicures, more ear tucks, more everything than those ten-behind-the-ball dudes. And it’s all okay, because there was more good to come out of this match than from a money truck whose doors fall open.

To start with, there was the future. Does any club around have more to offer, coming through the ranks, than we do? Jeffren, Thiago, Assulin, Johnny Two-Time, Fontas, Muniesa and Botia are just some of the names who are thisclose to being ready. Wow.

And then there’s he man who always energizes, Messi. When Argy Bargy rolled on and started waterbugging about, the only option was to kick him, which Citeh showed about zero compunction about doing. Early and often. Not that Messi stopped. This is a guy coming off a knock?

The guest of honor, Ibrahimovic, impressed the hell out of me with pace and movement. He has a first touch as soft as butter on a summer’s day, and is still learning about how to move in our system. But already he understands that when Messi is scooting up the middle, get to the wing to create space for him. Niiice! His best shot at goal was thwarted by a world-class reflex save from an excellent Premiershp keeper. Yes, 3-5 men were collapsing around him whenever he was in the box. He showed the presence of mind to keep the ball moving, always making the considerate pass. More on Ibra later.

Johnny Dos Santos is fearless. He has a bomb of a shot from the outside, and keeps the ball moving in the midfield with a style and efficiency that belie his tender age.

Keita is ready this year, for sure, for his role as a philanthropic Invisible Man. You rarely see him, but he’s almost always doing good.

Fontas had made it very clear why Adriano is being sent out for more seasoning. He understands positioning in a way that makes it clear that How To Play Central Defense At Barcelona is every bit as much of a school as midfield excellence.

And lest we forget, Maxwell is just the thing for those matches such as this one, when the other side gets a goal and wants to sit. Just imagine, for a moment, he, Henry and Iniesta knocking about on the left, with Alves, Xavi and Messi on the right and Ibrahimovic in the center. I’m just saying, is all.

Pedro! continues to impress, in preparation for his role as the New Giuly. We’re just too stacked for him to start, but in an offense-needed capacity, he’s my first sub right now.

And then there’s Jeffren, rooster haircut and all, a fluid, fluent ball of dynamism who, if we loan or send anywhere, I think that we’re out of our blinkin’ minds.

Gai Assulin showed some of what the buzz is about. Once he learns that you can’t show as much of the ball to grownup defenders, he’ll be just fine.

In the first half, The Yaya showed that he can indeed handle a Xavi-like role. He owned, and was really only lacking henchmen up to his level to seal the deal, in a match that we really should have won and probably would have, with the right players in the right spots.

Which leads me to the bad.

Something is going on with Krkic. I know he’s a kid, I know that we’re supposed to not beat on cuddly little stuffed animals and all, but he has to start doing better. Running him in the center of the pitch as an attacker doesn’t help anyone, least of all The Kid. Against big Premiership defenders, he was pushed off the ball too easily, and missed a dead-nuts sitter with the keeper dead to rights. There is talent galore there, but I think it’s time to explore his new life as a winger.

I know that Gudjohnsen was out there. I’m sure of it. Really. I am.

The astute have probably noticed that there aren’t the usual points for this match. It was a friendly. We don’t do points for friendlies, particularly when they’re played like one by a coach who has very clearly taken the long view. He has many problems to solve, such as:

–Back line help (Fontas, Muniesa)
–Midfield depth (Johnny Two-Time, The Yaya, Maxwell)
–Wing aggression in the absense of Henry (Final Fantasy, Pedro)

I think that he was, even though we came up on the wrong side of the scoreline, very happy with what he saw today, against a club that played to win, is tapped to finish top four in the Premiership, and really should have gone in tied or down to a starting XI of mostly kids, a galaxy and a Monument.

And I think he’s right to be pleased.

Now, back to Ibrahimovic. One comment during the LiveBlog was that he looked scared. Can you blame him? He is replacing 30 goals a year, spearhead of the best attack in the history of the planet, with an immense price tag on his head, in front of more than 90,000 fans.

Are you kidding me? I would have stood there, pooped myself and gone home.

He’s coming off of hand surgery, and is behind schedule, fitness-wise. He’s learning a new system with new players who, no offense meant to Inter Milan, are playing at a different level. Citeh could collapse on him, because we didn’t have any real threats out there. Our wingers were a right back and a kid. And he still looked good, and almost scored (twice). What’s going to happen with Henry, Iniesta and Xavi?

Yes, there were times when he looked a bit lost, and rather stationary. You betcha. Think about how you felt, first day at your new job. But he already understands the ball movement required, the pass back that keeps possession, and keeps and offense rolling, and effort. I like what I saw, and I think we are going to have a very good season. The squad isn’t as big as any of us (including Guardiola and Txiki B.) would like, but if the kids come along as they are supposed to, by the time the mid-season doldrums hit, we will have some willing subs, ready to go.

The next real match comes on Sunday at home, against Athletic Bilbao. At the end of 90 minutes at home, we will hopefully be hoisting our first silver of the season. Yes, we’ll be Web streaming it again, so be ready.

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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. Kxevin
    August 19, 2009

    And to dispense with that “first” nonsense….

    Others are acting as if this match signifies the end of the world. I wouldn’t worry about it. It doesn’t. It was a training match. If we get spanked on Sunday, I’ll worry a bit.

    But just a bit.

  2. Luna
    August 19, 2009

    I liked your commentary Kevin. I went and read and Mundodeportivo and somehow found myself lost in the commentaries…wish I hadn’t. I was thrilled to see the youngsters play so well. This has been worrying me, the depth of the squad, and what I saw today, and have been seeing a build up of, lets me breathe a little easier for now. Most of the complaints I’ve read have been about Pep, questioning his tactics. Frankly I am glad to see that he’s focusing on what the issue will be for Barca, that you pointed out…that’s why he’s PEP!! As for Ibra, well I am not worried about him. I am starting to see some of the same nay sayers come out of the woodwork say the same ole tired complaints who obviously never saw him toil away alone at Inter both in the Serie A and CL (sad to say but your commentary on Inter is spot on). Watching Messi and Ibra start getting a feel for each other has me so excited for the season. But then again I am a see the glass half full kinda person!

  3. Jnice
    August 19, 2009

    Great review, Kevin. What did you or anyone else think of Thiago?

    I thought it was interesting/fun seeing him and Jonathan on the field together. Jonathan is more tame, usually tries to keep it simple, whereas Thiago has more flair and is more willing to try that special through-ball. You could see the preseason experience Jonathan has over Thiago. Luis Enrique must really be rubbing his hands together.

    The midfield of Keita-Thiago-Jonathan looked way better than the 2nd half midfields of the other preseasons games usually consisting of Keita-Jonathan-VicSan/Busquets. I like the way they were moving out there.

    Gotta download this match to analyze some more.

  4. August 19, 2009

    I had to leave with like 10 minutes left but some notes on what I did see:

    – Jeffren put on a tour de force. He did it on both wings (on the right in the 1st half and left on the 2nd before being subbed for Gai) and did it well. That said, he over-committed while pressuring on the Citeh goal but at this point I really can’t blame him if Bojan lost it where he did.

    – Yaya is awesome. No more needs to be said.

    – Bojan is confusing. On one hand, he is only 18 (for perspective Pedrito and Jeffren are 22). Messi is a once in a generation (if not more) player. He should not be a measuring stick. He has plenty of time to improve. On the other hand, he is in the 1st team now and has to pull his own weight. He did better than before in coming back to get involved but he held on to the ball too long, had some bad giveaways (including the goal), and was bullied in the box. Its about time to accept that he will be a winger/forward rather than a 9. He doesn’t have the size nor the exceptional speed to get away with not having the size. Still, like many strikers, he is mercurial. Lets try to give him some confidence.

    -Thiago finally showed what I had been raving about back in the offside. He has a remarkable passing range. Did you guys see his 50 yard cross field passes to Alves right on the money. Insane. He made a good combo with JDS who BTW is destined to score lots of goals for a center-mid. With that shot, its only a matter of time. Tough luck on the post.

    – Gai is NOT ready. I remember the few times I saw him, it was his directness that impressed me but he got way too step over happy. This was a great chance for him because with Ibra and Messi on the line with him, he was being ignored and got lots of good one on one shots but didn’t make the most of them.

    – I loved a lot of what Ibra did. It’ll be awhile before he and the team get to know each other (naturally) but he was very considerate with Messi and Alves. He has the touch of a #10. Also, he did a really good job on the wing. Too bad our crossing mostly sucked to day because he looked like a constant heading threat. He did get some looks he might have buried but hey, this is his first time playing with the team, and first time playing a football game in almost a month.

    -Credit Citeh. You guys will see in my next article but I dont know if you noticed Citeh constantly doing crossfield switching passes and finding men in space. This is an inherent weakness in our strategy. Its just that few teams realize it or have the quality to pull it off.


    I’m out.

  5. jp
    August 19, 2009

    it has come to this… i have a feeling people will be apologising for ibrahimovic for the whole season. i dont buy that he is good in our system

  6. jp
    August 19, 2009

    i for one will judge him for his goals as every other 9, not his touch

  7. August 19, 2009

    JP, I didn’t see the match, but what if Ibrahimovic scores 20 goals and creates 20? Will that be good enough? Rivaldo scored 19 in his first season with us, for instance (just as a comparison — to be fair Romario scored 30 and Ronaldo 34 in their first season with FCB; Samu, the most recent comparison, scored 25 in his first season).

    I think it would be folly to judge Ibrahimovic based solely on his goal output over the course of this coming season, though not the most unfair one possible. He will contribute in ways that Samu didn’t, but will also not contribute in ways Samu did.

    At this point, I think it’s wise not to take much out of this game in terms of his overall quality and ability to work within our system. 1) it’s his first game in our system, 2) of those he’ll be playing with on a truly regular basis, only Messi and Alves were deployed along with him, 3) he only got 45 minutes and had 2 shots and worked the wings (according to the review, since I didn’t see the match), and 4) ManCity was playing to win against the equivalent of our B side in a game here Pep was obviously playing with tactics and personnel in ways he won’t be able to do during real games.

    Give me a lineup of Valdes, Alves, Puyol, Pique, Abidal, The Yaya, Iniesta, Xavi, Henry, Ibra, Messi and then tell me whether or not he works well within our system.

    There should be some level of understanding that this is the preseason and judging our team as a whole or as individual based only on these games is a bad idea. Judge negatively or positively if you wish, but remember that we beat Athletic Bilbao 1-2 in San Mames in a match that they desperately wanted to win and we did it without Messi, Iniesta, and Ibra. We are obviously the team to beat and we’ll prove that.

    Settle down, ya’lls.

  8. August 19, 2009

    I should add that the goal stats I listed above were for La Liga only.

  9. August 19, 2009

    About Bojan — obviously he won’t be a power “9”. He needs to play on the wing and grow into his position and into his own quickness. He doesn’t have the game figured out quite yet, but giving him time with first rate teammates will only make him better.

    I can see him being loaned out, in theory, but not in practice. If he leaves, I think he leaves for good. The problem that I see is the same problem that many others have previously pointed out: he’s really a second striker on a team that doesn’t play second strikers. He’s sort of like Raul in terms of style and that type of player really won’t work out in a 4-3-3 like ours.

    If he can adapt, awesome. If not, sell him, but do so only after another two years. He’s only 18 and even an 18-year old Lionel Messi wasn’t perfect. And Bojan is nowhere near as good as Messi.

    Kids should be allowed to grow up.


  10. Luna
    August 19, 2009

    Saludos jp, I understand your concern…it is on Ibra to prove himself. I personally think he will. I don’t think folks are apologizing for Ibra, if that’s indeed what your saying is happening, but I don’t want to misinterpret your words.

    Guardiola: “Ibrahimovic ha venido para jugar cinco años, no sólo un día”

  11. tutomate
    August 19, 2009

    Maybe its just me, but since I did not see it on tv im not too sure. BUT I don’t think it was Bojan who gave up the ball that lead to the goal, it was Montoya (26).

    Check out this link Download the first half LOOK at minute 37:00 Montoya makes a run from the right hand side tries to 1off it to bojan but passes it wrong. Bojan then comes chasing after the ball but never even comes close to touching it.

  12. tutomate
    August 19, 2009

    Maybe its just me, but since I did not see it on tv im not too sure. BUT I don’t think it was Bojan who gave up the ball that lead to the goal, it was Montoya (26).
    Check out this link Download the first half LOOK at minute 37:00 Montoya makes a run from the right hand side tries to 1off it to bojan but passes it wrong. Bojan then comes chasing after the ball but never even comes close to touching it.

    I’ve watched it like 4 times already. I have the same opinion.

  13. tutomate
    August 19, 2009

    oops sorry. about the double post

  14. Anna
    August 19, 2009

    Great review Kevin.
    I agree about Ibra and think he shows signs of assimilating well.
    Random but picture of before mentioned Swede shows he has a tattoo in Arabic

  15. tutomate
    August 19, 2009

    I was very impressed with Ibra, specilly that almost assit to messi. So close requires vision, technique and quick thinking.

  16. Kxevin
    August 19, 2009

    There wasn’t a link, Tutomate. I’ll have a gander and correct if it was. Krkic had a hard enough match without getting blame for something he didn’t do.

  17. jordi
    August 19, 2009

    dude it took samu what? a month to score for us.How long did we have to wait to see the best of ronaldinho ?Be patient. Hes played 45 minutes FFS , without xavi iniesta henry and yaya on the field the same time as him, coming off an injury. Notice most of his shots were on target. even the back heel. all he needed was some power or placement in some cases. Ill bet he scores in the 1st league game.

  18. OhYes
    August 19, 2009

    What I liked about his almost assist is that it had that bit of pizazz that a Messi pass might have, but without being unnecessary like you often see in 99% of players out there. Anyone got a video of it?

  19. Kxevin
    August 19, 2009

    You’re right, but from all the video highlights I can find, the sloppy pass came from Busquets, who rocks the white boots.

  20. Colby
    August 19, 2009

    A quick thought on Bojan: I have a feeling that he is really just in the wrong place at the wrong time for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I agree with Isaiah that what he offers right now is the wrong thing for our system; he is a second striker in a system without one.
    The second problem I see is the “arrival” of Pedro and Jeffren. Towards the end of last season Pep was playing Bojan on the wing and the general consensus was that he played well. But now, with Pedro and Jeffren rocking it on the wings, there are no longer minutes to be had out there. And i think that is fair, because as far as I can judge Pedro and Jeffren are both more effective as wingers than Bojan are. The problem that remains, is “what do we do with Bojan?” and to that I don’t have an answer.

    I’m certainly not advocating selling him or cutting his playing time, I’m just highlighting what I see as two problems Bojan faces.

  21. Kxevin
    August 19, 2009

    Definitely Busquets. Have edited to reflect that. One more reason to loathe streaming Web video.

    Frankly, I don’t know what to do with Krkic either, Colby. He’s only 18, but this is his third season in the first team. He should be improving, not regressing. I don’t think it’s confidence. Darned if I know what it is.

    I know that Guardiola’s solution of continuing to play him isn’t quite working for me.

    And jp, I will second the note that I don’t think anyone is apologizing for Ibrahimovic. Far from it. He played well, particularly in context. He’s going to get better and better. If he doesn’t, rest assured that we will let him have it. But he almost had two goals and an assist (to Messi). And I think that even he will tell you that he wasn’t sharp. You can’t be.

    But, I don’t think that his adjustment period is going to be as long as Henry’s was. Henry was good his first season, despite popular belief, but he was fully integrated his second season. The passing and movement of Ibrahimovic already showed signs.

    I’m optimistic.

  22. Maximus
    August 19, 2009

    After sitting and thinking about this match rationally I’ve concluded a few things.

    1. Pedro is a very good footballer, he puts in 100% effort with everything and will only get better. His development has been excellent and even with fringe play will be come a force over the next two seasons.

    2. Bojan is also excellent but he has been pun in a difficult position. He was supposed to be a striker and his while he is good Pedro shows how he could be better on the wings. In a perfect world he could go back to the B team and develop his play making ability a bit and loose a bit of his striker’s instinct.

    3. As a whole the team was good in patches but they created alot of good chances and gave the wood work a sound beating.

    4. Ibra is going to work but he must work Barca’s way, I think its pointless to play intricately through the middle, work the ball wide and then hoof it into a stationary target man. This game was without Xavi or Iniesta and Puyol coming off seemed to remove the leadership. So all in all I think the team did very well to create so much and defend so well.


    5. Ibra’s hand was still bandaged up (only occured to me as I was driving home), I think that played into him not muscling the defenders around a bit more. Once he reaches full fitness and gets to play with the real squad he should be a different player all together.

  23. Mike814
    August 19, 2009

    Ive been waiting for the last 2 years to see The Yaya play in an advanced position….whenever he makes a forward run something good happens. He has the ability to skip by people whenever he wants and has a rocket shot. And I actually liked what I saw from gai today. He has flair and wants to take on people, has huge confidence for an 18 yr old…all he is missing is a shot and that will come

  24. Cesc Pistol
    August 19, 2009

    BTW I guess everybody already read this on the main site but:

    The 44th edition of Trofeo Joan Gamper has seen a record crowd attracted to Camp Nou as FC Barcelona took on Manchester City in front of 94,123. Record gate receipts of around €3million were also taken.

    Also, Pep said he’s happy with the youth players but they will atleast start with the B team. However they could be called up.

    Pep on Ibra:
    “Ibrahimovic has trained alot, but he lacks playing time, he needs more minutes on the pitch. We’ll see if he’ll play in the Super cup. He will gradually learn how to play with his team-mates, it is normal that he is learning now, I am happy with how he played,”

    “He did not play for a long time, he lacks continuity but he will improve with playing time. He hasn’t trained fully until only two days ago, his recovery required him to avoid any physical contact during training, but he moves well and trains hard. He has come to us for five years, not just for one day. We must have patience for him to show the same level he had in Italy.”

    He also said that he’s very pleased with the performance, there were some imbalances but he’s satisfied.

    So there you have it, straight from from Pep. Not much more to add about the match from my side. It was a friendly and we played like it. Probably even more than we did in UK/US as it’s between matches.

    I just might download the match to see it again but as of now I don’t see the point.

  25. Steven
    August 20, 2009

    Hey, if anyone finds a good download link please post it. I don’t feel comfortable commenting without seeing more than an intermittent five minutes. That being said, I second Isaiah. Ibra wasn’t just brought in to pound em home; he was also brought in to be a back-to-goal supplier that provides a dimension Samu didn’t really have, while occasionally being able to Samu.

    Oh, and Thiago-JDS is gonna be so much fun. I’m forgetting La Liga rules, but I hope we can do a Copa run with only youngsters playing, a la Arsenal in the Carling cup. I hope that won’t keep them from playing with Atletic.

  26. Jnice
    August 20, 2009

    There is this: //

    and there is what tutomate posted so far.

  27. Jnice
    August 20, 2009

    Mark Hughes is pretty delusional. He claims that Weiss kid on the right side was the best young player on the pitch. Why? Because he tried to do moves like Cristiano? He didn’t get past Maxwell once in the first half and only once in the 2nd. Full of tricks with nothing to show for it. Jog on.

    And he also acts like he played the same amount of kids Pep did, which is a joke. Bringing a player on for 5 minutes at the end of the match is not the same as letting a kid play for a whole half. Richard Dunne, Shay Given and the rest played the whole 90 did they not?

    “”We also had seven or eight senior players unavailable, so we were not at full strength, but it was an evenly matched game.”

    Come on Mark, you have about 40 players on your squad.

    Hate when managers get delusional.


  28. Muhammad
    August 20, 2009

    I can’t believe the same youth academy that produced the likes of Fontas, Pique, Puyol, Muniesa is the same one that created the abomination known as Oleguer.
    sorry it is off topic and it’s really been a long time since then, but I just can’t forget the torment.
    I don’t think that anyone associated with a club like Manchester City could have survived life without a little bit of delusion.

  29. eklavya
    August 20, 2009

    Isaiah I can’t wait for that line up.

  30. Cesc Pistol
    August 20, 2009

    Here’s something quite amusing I found today. Now, you all probably have seen Ramzi’s articles quoted of footy and barca sites. But recently I came across the first outright plagiarism of Ramzi’s article.

    Basically someone took the Ibra part of Ramzi’s chess or mess article on transfers and directly put up as his own. This was one by the same guy who was on Liveblog during the match: Necro Spaaw.

    So if you believe that plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery then I believe some congrats are in order to you Ramzi 😛

  31. BA
    August 20, 2009

    Jeffren looks like Richie Valens.

    that’s all i have to add.

  32. Helge
    August 20, 2009

    Damn, I can’t wait to see a complete A team in action! Will we see it on Sunday, or have to wait for the UEFA SuperCup?

    Yesterday there have been about 5 A players and the rest were B players, Pep definitely made this into a friendly match. Whereas ManCity defended like it was the UCL semi-final… In spite of everything, we hit the woodwork 3 times, Ibracadabra almost scored twice, Messi was flashy although he got kicked by those stupid Citizens all the time (sry ’bout that, but they are Chelsea 2.0 and I cannot see anything good about them from my football-philosophic point of view) ; there is no need to argue about deserved winners or not.

    As Kxevin and Guardiola said, I’m very pleased with our performance and don’t have anything to add. Very nice review!

  33. yogi
    August 20, 2009

    It was a good match and definitely treated as a friendly by Pep. I always thought Mark Hughes as reasonable chap but his comments are making me question that.

    Man City played to win so good for them and also a good learning lesson for us. i hope we see close to full team for the return leg of super cup on Sunday.

  34. Jnice
    August 20, 2009

    Man City put out a squad to win, but I don’t think they really played to win. I mean Tevez touched the ball like 5 times.

  35. Cesc Pistol
    August 20, 2009

    @Muhammad: Oleguer didn’t really come from our youth system. We bought him when he was around 21 from a catalan club called Gramanet or something like that.

    That’s older than most players even Wenger buys 😛

  36. Cesc Pistol
    August 20, 2009

    Oh and btw, if you subscribe to all that “mes que un club” means, Oleguer should be treated as a legend. It’s the reason why his name was frequently sung in Camp Nou.

    (Personally I attach little to the mes que un club part…)

  37. JeffP
    August 20, 2009

    So I watching Sportscenter this morning and a promo came on that featured highlights from Chelsea, then ManU, ManCity, etc. I thought ‘oh, they’re finally promoting their EPL coverage.’

    And then the promo cuts to Barca highlights, then EE, etc. It ended by stating ‘English Premier League on Saturdays, La Liga on Sundays.’ Where have I been? I had no idea ESPN had the rights to La Liga this year (actually they are sharing rights with GolTV).

    In doing some research it looks like ESPN2 will televise 20 matches per season with ESPN Deportes televising 3 per weekend. 114 matches per season will be shown on ESPN360, and ESPN shares Copa Del Rey rights with GolTV. Apparently both Clasicos will be simulcast on GolTV and ESPN.

    How do we feel about this? Personally, I’m excited that I’ll be able to watch some of the games in HD. And, since they share rights with GolTV I think we can be assured that one of the two channels will be showing a Barca match.

    Does this mark the beginning of the end of GolTV? (Or more importantly, the beginning of the end for RayRay?)

  38. Flippy
    August 20, 2009

    During the game I noticed on one occasion that Bojan and Guddy switched positions and Bojan played as 3rd midfielder. Maybe Pep is going to try and play something like:
    Pedro (LW) Ibra (ST), Bojan (3rd midfielder) and have them switching positions constantly. or maybe with Iniesta at LW…

  39. jake
    August 20, 2009

    As poor as most of Oleguer’s performances on the pitch were, he would fight to the death for the Catalan cause, and I believe he was a great ambassador for the club, and for the nation in general.

  40. Colby
    August 20, 2009

    Jnice, does that site, “” have full match videos after all games? From what I can tell it looks like it has a lot of full match videos. Thanks for the link.

  41. August 20, 2009

    Here’s CP’s post about the plagiarism of Ramzi’s article.

    Sorry for the delay, CP. All three of us are in the US so at 3 am EST we’re usually sleeping (at least on week days) 😀 .

  42. Muhammad
    August 20, 2009

    hmm is it because he refused to play for the spanish national side, you mean?
    well if that is the reason that he was a regular starter, I am amazed the scouters couldn’t find any better 21 years old Catalonian defender willing to scream visa Catalunya a couple of times.
    I am not Spanish so I don’t really get so excited by the “mes que un club” theme either, but I understand that it gives this team a particular identity, like teams from Basque and Galicia.
    I have seen Pique declaring that playing for the national side was the best day in his life, or something like that, and he is certainly a better defender than Oleguer. actually I couldn’t understand the full meaning of the term “historical struggle” until I watched Oleguer playing.

  43. OhYes
    August 20, 2009

    Did you see this:

    “Good job there Necro! Cut-copy-paste and take credit at it’s best.

    Exactly what Ramzi posted on fcb transfers on JUNE 17.
    [link removed by me]

    Keept it up! ”


  44. August 20, 2009

    Congrats to Pedro! on his new contract.

    I dont know the salary details but he is signed til 2014 and a 75 million euro (!?!?!) buyout clause!

  45. Kevo
    August 20, 2009

    Another thing that i notice about Ibra is that he uses his body very well to cover or recover balls. I saw in maybe two occasions that he and a Citeh defender or mid were chasing a ball and the winner was Ibra.
    And that pass to Messi inside the box was quite awesome, too bad Leo didn’t make it on time.

  46. OhYes
    August 20, 2009

    Wow 75 million buyout clause. Someone clearly knows how good this kid’s gonna be in the future.

  47. August 20, 2009

    CP, I saw your comment about it on the Live blog. But My pc passed out before responding.

    Hector will experience the same thing with time. I am telling you. There will be people translating the articles to other languages but still referring to the source (And I appreciate their effort). They even look for your account on facebook and send you messages and write on your Wall. Some paste it in other forums with my name under, because they feel better discussing it there (leaving only the ones who hate it to whip you in comment setions:D ). While there are some others who do something like the links you mentioned. Some people copied the whole articles, not only a part of it.

    I sometimes believe that the way I write my articles and comments make it sound as if I have a soft spot to that. But in fact, its all fun, and I only take what make me enjoy it and ignore what may bother-if it worth in the first place.

    I love football, and obviously Barcelona. I work in football, though still on the first step of the long ladder. I like to inject some tempting ideas (and sometimes irritating? that makes some people feel some unease) to enrich Barcelona discussions, and even to give a reason for upgrading here or updating there (I try at least). As long as these words are taking their way to more people, I am happy. Regardless of how it goes. Lets only see the bright side 😉

    When you become a coach, the tactics you apply in one game will bounce on you in the other. You will find coaches who are hired for stronger clubs applying your tactics and achieving more then getting the credit for it. If you cant live with that, change your job 😀

  48. August 20, 2009

    OhYes, Pedro!’s buyout clause is now a regular thing, especially for FCB, who has included absurd buyout clauses in all their contracts. They’d definitely sell Pedro! for 30m without hesitating.

  49. Cesc Pistol
    August 20, 2009

    Well put Ramzi. I appreciate your attitude towards it. There’s obviously nothing one can really do about such stuff so it’s best to take it in your stride. Though I feel it’s best to discourage it whenever one spots it.

    PS- Nice to know that you’re actually into coaching. Is it part time or your main job?

    BTW I know what you’re talking about. It’s the reason why my coach used to discuss both the strategy we will apply and also how it can be countered.

  50. August 20, 2009

    And thank you for discouraging it.

    I used to coach in my country and the progress was promising. But I had another work as a proffession, mainly because its not a “football-country” . Now after moving to sweden I will start on a different level(Semi proffessional in a lower league) , I will also study the UEFA B license that I started my preparation for it since last summer. And we will see how far we go from there.

    But as long as you are under 30, you still have the time by your side to improve. My early retirement as a player was not as bad as i thought in the first place.

  51. Cesc Pistol
    August 20, 2009

    Good to know we have an actual coach among us 😀

    Now your amazing tactical knowledge seems less of a mystery 😛

    Does your experience as a player count towards coaching knowledge?
    Also I’m curious to know, what do you think of FM? 😉
    (the Football Manager game)

    BTW I assume your original country is in the Middle East?

  52. August 20, 2009

    Its already proven that being a football player is not a must so you become a coach (Sacchi Vs Maradona?). Yet I think it helps you understanding the players more, and reading them inside and outside the field. So it helped, but not to an extend that it will turn to be a deciding factor in my career as a coach. Specially that I had to upgrade my game understanding outside the field since I am aware I am not playing in Italy for example where you develope your tactical awareness as a player. Weak leagues do not offer you that. You need to get it in some other ways.

    FM?hm…the last one I tried was FM2005. Not sure how developed it is now but it has nothing to do with the real business 😀

    The tactical structure and what people analyse through a game is just the top of the ice-berg. Coaching is more whats behind the curtains. Understanding each and every player you have, how to motivate, how to challenge sometimes and how to lead and inspire(because for me its football leadership, not football management). And obviously football is an uncontainable mix of art and science, thats why you cant simplify it in a software, or a game.

    I am from lebanon, I can insure its the best country to visit. But you cant expect me to feel different, its my country after all 😉

  53. ivax
    August 21, 2009

    gosh i need to read the amazing comments (62 and counting) but just to say pep did right playing the younsgters who cares abt gamper obvio citeh does so give it to them heh, wonderful tho how they couldnt handle our kids and still have league ambitions lool i’d laugh so much at their defencive intensity if pep’s blouse didnt distract me so much 🙁

  54. December 23, 2009

    Kicking off 2010’s mixed martial arts is the amazing UFC 108. It’s definitely going to be a great event with the kickoff being Evans vs Silva going head to head. You can watch evans vs silva fight video for FREE in full HD without paying that grotty $55.95 PPV cost.

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