We need a replacement, as in NOW


Anims Tito. Like Kxevin beautifully wrote, it’s personal. Cancer is the number one killer in the world to whom all of us have lost loved ones.

Having said that, let’s talk replacements before one is appointed.

Jordi Roura
Jordi Roura

Pros: A Masía product who enjoyed a brief spell in Barça’s first team in 1988, Jordi Roura has been part of our technical staff since 2009. After analyzing opponents under Guardiola, he was promoted to assistant when Tito took charge of the team. Knows our squad intimately.

Cons: It is hard to judge from the outside, but not many culés were impressed by our dip in form once illness took Tito away from us last year. In his defense, he was put in a situation he didn’t ask for and we still finished with a record-equalling hundred point haul.

Probability 4/10: While our last head coach was promoted from within, rumor has it that the club has chosen to look elsewhere this time.

Verdict 5/10: Although I’d rather have Jordi as an assistant than Sarah Palin as vice-president, does he really have the tactical clout and personality to be our leading man?

Marcelo Bielsa

Pros: The best coach in the world, according to none other than Josep Guardiola, is known to be an obssessive analyst and statistician of the game. Owner of one of the most extensive soccer libraries in the world, Marcelo “el Loco” Bielsa employs innovative methods and has his teams play attractive, attacking football. His theory that midfielders in the defense are better at launching counter attacks is said to have provided Pep with the inspiration to convert Javier Mascherano to a center back. As an added bonus, mad man Bielsa hails from Rosario, Argentina, the hometown of a certain footballer you might have heard of.

Cons: His teams are often erratic, mixing good results with bad ones. He led a wildly talented Argentina to a first round exit at the 2002 World Cup, only to win an Olympic title two years later. Under his guidance Bilbao reached two finals in one season yet failed to qualify for the Champion’s League. His last season with the Basque club ended in a disappointment, as the players got tired of his intensive ways.

Probability 7/10: Available, widely respected and possessor of a fine footballing philosophy not incompatible with our current squad.

Verdict 7/10: Known for his intense pressing game, Bielsa might just be the one who could fix our defensive problems. However, the risk of a massive burnout a la Athletic Club might make him a short term solution.


Australia v Saudi Arabia: 2014 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers Third Round
Frank Rijkaard

Pros: A majestic midfielder who played under Cruijff, Sacchi and Van Gaal, Frank Rijkaard delivered us our first European success of the milenium. One of the more classy managers at press conferences, Frank knows his way around the Camp Nou and is adored by his players.

Cons: Mainly adored by his players because he lets them party until 10h in the morning and foresake training. Rijkaard’s Barça started to fall apart when his assistant Henk Ten Cate left to become head coach at Ajax. Famously inspired Holland to miss five penalties in a single game to lose our semi-final against Italy at Euro 2000 and is the proud coach who got the Eredivisie’s Sparta Rotterdam relegated for the first time in its hundred year history.

Probability 1/10: Despite his availability, Rijkaard’s close association with Joan Laporta and Johan Cruijff means his appointment is improbable, to say the least.

Verdict 2/10: The legions of fans who are calling for Frank’s return on SPORT’s message boards should keep in mind that he has failed at every other team he has coached. Let’s not ruin his legend by asking him to spoil our current chances for success.

Olympiacos FC v Xanthi FC - Greek Superleague
Ernesto Valverde

Pros: Ex-Barça player Ernesto Valverde has been quite the successful manager, reaching the UEFA Cup final with a modest Espanyol and winning two Greek league titles with Olimpiacos FC.

Cons: Looks like an accountant, not a football coach. Still a very young manager, Ernesto has had little to no experience with any star players.

Probability 3/10: Has just signed on as new head coach of Athletic Bilbao, the club where he has spent the majority of his career as a player.

Verdict 3/10: Although we should follow his career with great interest, at this moment Valverde is too lightweight to lead one of the biggest football clubs of the world.


Jupp Heynkes
Jupp Heynkes

Pros: Coming off of the back of an historic season with Bayern Munich in which he won the Bundesliga, the DFB-Bokal and the Champions League, Jupp Heynkes is considered to be one of Europe’s top coaches. An avid follower of Spanish football, he has coached three different Spanish clubs during his career and knows F.C. Barcelona like the back of his hand, a fact his team demonstrated by giving us a 7-0 as-whupping not so long ago. Most impressively coaxed complete performances out of egomaniacal  star player Arjen Robben, in which the Dutchman passed and tracked back for consecutive games in addition to scoring in both the semis and the final. Heynkes has previously won a CL-trophy with Real M*drid in the 97/98 season, although this might very well be considered a con.

Cons: For all of the brilliance of last season, Heynkes has won only three league titles in almost twenty-five years as a coach. He also failed to win the league with Real M*drid in 97/98, although this might very well be considered a pro.

Probability 1/10: Promised his wife he wouldn’t coach this year. Do not count on the German to break his word.

Verdict 9/10: Represents his teams with class and his amazing accomplishment of last season will see him earn instant respect among our players.

Ronald Koeman
Ronald Koeman

Pros: Widely popular in Barcelona, “Snowflake” is a blaugrana legend, one of the most classy defenders to ever play the game and scorer of the only goal in the final of our first successful European Cup campaign. As a manager he led Ajax to two Eredivisie titles and later added another one with PSV Eindhoven. Won domestic cups with Benfica and Valencia, and is currently hailed in Holland for performing miracles with a young Feyenoord squad.

Cons: His very pragmatic coaching philosophy made it so he had no qualms to abandon Ajax’s house style, switching from their traditional 4-3-3 to 4-4-2.  Not known for his loyalty, his very pragmatic lifestyle philosophy made it so he has played for and coached Holland’s three big clubs, once famously ditching PSV mid-season only to get canned at Valencia a couple of months later.

Probability 2/10: Piped as a future Barcelona coach at the promising start of his managerial career, his star has dwindled over the last years. And although he would undoubtedly abandon his young bucks at Feyenoord and sell his granny for even half a chance of coaching at the Camp Nou, I don’t see it happening.

Verdict 4/10: Koeman might not be the worst choice as a manager, but he definitely wouldn’t the best. And although he always speaks very fondly of his days of Barcelona, he put his culé credentials at risk by one day claiming he would coach M*drid if given the chance. I prefer we keep away from Tintin and wish him the best of luck – elsewhere.

Michael Laudrup

Pros: One of the most graceful players in Barcelona’s history, Michael Laudrup has been a moderately successful manager. Widely lauded for taking Getafe to the Copa del Rey final and to the Europa League’s QF with an unprecedented attractive football, he is currently the crême du jour of the British media for bringing Swansea City its first ever title in their one-hundred year existence. The Dane remains as elegant as in his playing days, and my girlfriend thinks he is handsome.

Cons: Has been decidedly unsuccessful with Spartak Moscow and RSD Mallorca, although some quote the fact that he kept the latter out of the clutches of relegation as quite an achievement. Also, when the arrival of Romario converted Laudrup into the fourth wheel on Johan Cruijff’s dream mobile, Michael abandoned us for those slimy-faced, white t-shirt wearing, gentlemanlier than thou, vomit-inducing capital bastards that other Spanish team.

Probability 5/10: Has just renewed his contract with Swansea. However, if anyone is interested in paying the rumored 6M euro buy-out clause, he might be willing to entertain offers.

Verdict 6/10: Michael seems like a talented young manager, and although he has never coached a title contender, he has plenty of experience in Europe’s top clubs. Whether he has the charisma to win over the dressing room would remain to be seen, but we could certainly do worse than contracting this Danish legend.


Frank de Boer
Frank De Boer

Pros: Frank De Boer has often been rumored to be the bastard son of Johan Cruijff and Louis Van Gaal, having played the majority of his very successful career under these two coaches. After taking over for Ajax he has won three straight league titles while staying true to the 4-3-3 formation and playing style that Barcelona (Cruijff) modeled their game after. After 144 games in the blaugrana shirt, he is no stranger to the inner workings of our club.

Cons: I suspect Frank De Boer’s Dutch accent to be as atrocious as Van Gaal’s, although he does not share his mentor’s crude and boorish behavior. Despite victories over both of Manchester’s juggernauts, De Boer’s young Ajax team has been somewhat disappointing in Europe.

Probability 5/10: An Ajax youth product, it might be hard to tempt Frank away from the Arena. His closeness to Johan Cruijff could prove another stumbling block for the current administration

Verdict 9/10: I personally think that this is the most exciting young coach in the game today. His achievement at Ajax is nothing short of amazing, especially when taking into account the turmoil the Amsterdam club has been in and De Boer’s dedication to youth players and attractive football according to the club’s traditions. I see Frank de Boer as a logical future Barcelona coach and hope that one day he will make the jump.

Luis Enrique
Luis Enrique

Pros: Another Barça legend, this merengue-turned-culé was one of the most fiery participants in the yearly clásicos, and now views the Camp Nou as his home. He excelled as a coach of Barcelona B, missing out on the chance of promotion due to Spanish Football Federation regulations. Revered by Barcelona fans and players alike, Lucho is a logical candidate for the head coaching position.

Cons: Failed spectacularly as a manager of AS Roma, getting booted out of the Europa League by the mighty SK Slovan Bratislava and missing out on qualification for European football.

Probability 7/10: Luis Enrique would have been a shoe-in had the position opened up a few months ago, but he has recently been appointment as head coach for Celta de Vigo. Further complicating matters is that he has taken Barça starlet Rafinha with him on loan, a player who is rumored to be more talented than his older brother and will need significant minutes to further his development. Would the head-strong and straightforward Asturian abandon Celta de Vigo while the ink on his contract is still wet? Stranger things have happened in the world of competitive football.

UPDATE: El Mundo Deportivo and TV3 are reporting that Luis Enrique will indeed be our new head coach.

Verdict 8/10: Most of us would love to see Lucho at the head of our club sooner or later. It now looks like it is going to be sooner rather than later.


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Written by:

Culé since way before football boots were of the neon yellow and lizard green variety, Levon is a deep thinker with increasingly shallow thoughts. He lives in Barcelona with his gorgeous wife and daughter. The lucky bastard...


  1. kosby
    July 20, 2013

    Appreciate the effort, it was funny and informative at the same time ! I for one think that the only pros for Luis Enrique relate to his days as a player not as a manager/coach. Now, Laudrup gets me excited !

    • July 20, 2013

      lol, that’s what my gf said!

      What makes you think Luis Enrique is not suited for the job?

  2. July 20, 2013

    Apparently Celta Vigo never formally registered Luis Enrique as their coach with the RFEF, so the regulations have not come into effect. It seems extremely likely that Lucho will be our next coach, and I for one am thrilled!

    Everyone knows I am a huge fan of Lucho as a player, and he did a brilliant job with Barça B. If you haven’t already, read this interview he gave with Barça TV at the end of the historic season when he took the B team to 3rd position in the Segunda:


    It gives you a really good insight into how Lucho thinks and how he motivates his team. If anyone can get the best out of Sergi Roberto and Bartra, it will be him!

    I will be a little sad that he will most likely stay off twitter and not send me pics of his food anymore, though. 🙁

  3. nia
    July 20, 2013

    ‘Lucho’ rumors are going wild on twitter and who is ‘Tata’ Marino?

    Lucho would be the best candidate coz he know the club, sorry Celta.

    • July 20, 2013


      Head coach at Newell’s right now, in Argentina. Coaching nerds like him a lot. Can’t say that I have heard of him, had to do some research. MARCA says we are in talks with him. I would trust the TV3/MD duo before Marca, though. Generally, things are leaked there as a sort of trial balloon, or just because.

      One thing for sure is that the deal is all but done. No way Rosell says announcement early next week if someone wasn’t already pretty much nailed down.

      • July 20, 2013

        Yes, it seems that they had a contingency plan during Tito’s last relapse. If they did, it only makes sense that it was with a person with intimate links to the club.

  4. Tebzat
    July 20, 2013


    • July 20, 2013

      Hmmm, Champions League semi-finalist, record-setting Liga champion, just signed most talented attacker probably since Messi, still have one of best lineups in the world, anchored by the most prolific goalscorer in history ….

      A great many teams would take such a “bad period.” Perspective and calmness are most important for cules right now.

      • July 20, 2013

        I think the problem lies more in the fact that we need someone who can command the respect of such a group of successful players.

        • July 20, 2013

          Like I just said on twitter, our older players know Lucho because they played with him. Our youngest ones were coached by him. All respect him. What could be more perfect?

          • July 20, 2013

            It would have been fun to see Lucho face up to Mourinho during a clasico. He’d rip off the finger that poked a Barcelona eye!

          • ooga aga
            July 20, 2013

            does anyone remember taht spoof video of pep chatting with lucho at a training, in spanish, it was linked in this forum years ago, i cant find it anywhere! it’s where pep is going on and on complaining about people talking with their mouth full, and then Lucho starts yammering with a mouthful of idontknowwhat, it is the funniest thing ever. maybe you had to be there.

      • BA
        July 20, 2013

        “just signed most talented attacker probably since Messi”

        let’s leave the Neymar triumphalism til after he’s actually done something for the club, shall we?

        and if we’re counting “signing big players” as a part of success, well, los Blancos have had a HUGELY successful past few years then haven’t they?

        • July 20, 2013

          Disagree, talent and accomplishment are two very different things. Lots of people can have talent, while not all of them become accomplished. Talent refers to quality and potential for achievement. In that realm, Neymar is indeed the most talented attacking player since Messi. No need to wait until he has done something for the club.

          It’s funny how people were saying he would be found out in the Confederations Cup, then “He did that against Japan, but wait til he sees a real team.” Then “Well, wait until he sees Spain.” Nothing left to say, except let’s see what he can do at Barça.

          I just don’t know what kind of expectations cules have when people can’t get excited about us buying a player with talent like Neymar. Really.

          It isn’t triumphalism to say that Neymar is a huge talent. It’s a simple statement of fact.

      • XaviFCB
        July 20, 2013

        Finally, a cule who i actually positive. I saw a atletico fan on twitter who tweeted something like ‘if barca can buy neymar for 57 million, they dont have problems’ eventhough we have problems, a coach who is leaving because cancer, we aren’t in the dramatic situation some people thiink we are in. y’all act like we are back in Gasparts era!

  5. Tebzat
    July 20, 2013


    • July 20, 2013

      Tebzat, welcome to BfB!

      Yes, they have been through a lot, but it takes a very strong personality to lead these players.

      Also, could you please not write in all-caps? It is the internet equivalent of SCREAMING.

  6. ibbe
    July 20, 2013

    Thanks Levon! I watched many Swansea games last season because of Laudrup and I liked his style. Swansea with their low budget where a pain in the ass for all the big teams in England, so I would be very excited if Laudrup was appointed. Lucho and FDB would also be great!


  7. mohit
    July 20, 2013

    I would be apprehensive in appointing Lucho as our manager. No doubt he was a wonderful player. But given his record at AS Roma and Rosell looming over his head, I fear he will play safe with tactics. And that is what we do not require at the moment. This is a good opportunity to hire someone completely new (Bielsa or Martino) to shake up things (not radical changes) and inject some much required freshness to our squad and style.

    • July 20, 2013

      Don’t worry, I don’t think that Luis Enrique has the personality to “play it safe”.

      Bielsa would be an interesting choice, but I am wary of all the negative noise that came out of Bilbao during his last season there.

      Although I know nothing of Martino think it is a very bad idea to entrust one of the biggest clubs in the world to a manager who has not worked in Europe before.

      • mohit
        July 20, 2013

        Looks more and more likely that he’s going to be the one.

        One important criteria for selection should be a coach who would know how to extract the maximum out of the Messi-Neymar duo. Vilanova had months to prepare and analyze how to play the two of them together. If it’s Lucho, then I hope he has the necessary skills to do so.

  8. mohit
    July 20, 2013

    Levon, how did you come up with the probability numbers? 🙂

  9. July 20, 2013

    I’d say we can probably rule out De Boer, Sport is reporting that he didn’t have very positive things to say about the long-term success of a Messi/Neymar relationship. Ego clash.

    • kosby
      July 20, 2013

      thanks for the link !

      “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”

      I am going to have to start watching Bayern’s games now..oh well…

  10. Tebzat
    July 20, 2013

    I think laudrup and luis Enrique r good,especially Enrique.At Roma they wanted him to play like barca but the problem was he didnt barca players.U cant expect people or teams to be the same just because u want them to be

  11. Dani_el
    July 20, 2013

    So it’s gonna be between Lucho and Bielsa. I don’t think Rosell will sign a dutch coach for us right now. He will finally have his own coach, and I figure he will want to choose someone that has nothing to do with Cruyff. As Ramzi said on Twitter, Bielsa would be something great or something awful, and it would probably burn out the team with his genious madness. Whoever they choose, visca el Barça!
    Sport says that Vilanova will probably have a job with the club, I don’t know if now or when he beats the disease.

    And though we have to focus in ourselves now, let’s not forget that every club that Mourinho left, had serious physical difficulties the next season after his leaving because of the way he trained them (periodizacion táctica): http://www.futbolcomplejo.com/articulos-1/sobre-la-periodizaci%C3%B3n-t%C3%A1ctica-de-mourinho/#.Ueq-itJg9I8

  12. barca96
    July 20, 2013

    -Frank Rijkaard messed up big time in my back yard. The Euro 2000 penalty. I still remember that afternoon before the match like it was last month. The whole town was orange and the fountain too.

    And he managed to ruin the club I would’ve love to join as a kid, Sparta. I remember them having a couple of good players namely Nourdin Boukhari, ex Ajax player.

    Frank is basically a failure as a coach everywhere else so I do not want him back.

    Besides those points, another important thing is that he is too laid back. We need an intense coach. I do not like to have these type of coaches. I’m remember during his period at this club, the training was too laid back.

    6th choice. De Boer. Perfect start to his managing career but I don’t think he’s capable of leading a club of this magnitude.

    5th choice. Bielsa. They had a chance to sign him last summer but didn’t so I don’t think there fond of him this time around either. I don’t buy the burn out talks. The players here are used to high intensity pressing game under Pep and the players here are a few classes above to those he had at his disposal at Athletic (no disrespect but the players here are world’s edited players so they will cope better).

    Players will respect and fear him.

    – 4th choice. Laudrup. Love him. Beautiful elegant player. The players will respect him as he’s a legend.

    Another plus point is that he has the Ajax Barca connection too.

    Definitely possible for him to join but I thought that he just rejected Madrid not too long ago citing inexperience as the issue.

    Could be that he just wasn’t interested and was politely rejecting Perez 🙂

    – 3rd choice. Lucho just joined Celta. I doubt their board and fans would be happy to let him go. Unheard of players or coaches making u-turns like that. Football contracts can easily be broken but I doubt anyone has the audacity and ability for all parties involved to agree to terminate it after only a few days.

    2nd choice. Klopp. Young, exciting and likes to work with young players.

    – 1st choice. Jupp Hynkes. No explanations needed. However was a Madrid coach and I doubt he will break his words. Players will respect and fear him.

    • XaviFCB
      July 20, 2013

      On the beginning when you were talking about the penalty from rijkaard about Euro 2000, was that the italy vs the netherlands match? Ugh, that match was such a mess. Agreeing with your list though.

    • Clouseau
      July 20, 2013

      Jupp was basicly dishonourable discharged at Madrid via a famous Radio Interview. He still have an unfinished business to settle with Madrid.

      • barca96
        July 21, 2013


        Yes that’s the one. Horrible day for the city. If I was the mayor, I would ban him from entering for those 2 mistakes he commited (NL & Sparta) 🙂


        I didn’t know he had a poor history with Madrid. I guess he has 2 unsettled businesses. With Madrid and Bayern for not putting more faith into him. I am sure he would love to get back at both of them.

  13. barca96
    July 20, 2013

    Levon, why didn’t you include AvB? I thought he was rumored to be short listed as well. A front runner actually.

    I like him but I somehow think he will invited too many media attention. And he could be a Mourinho agent 🙂

    And I don’t fancy the Argentine coach either. No experience in Europe and I read that he’s more defensive minded.

    • July 20, 2013

      AVB is an interesting option who I actually hadn’t thought of. Rumored buy-out clause is 13M, though.

      Heynkes would be a very good choice. He certainly had no problems exploiting our weaknesses when we met.

      I have something of a weak spot for Klopp but I hear he is very loyal and I doubt he will leave Dortmund any time soon.

      • alpinegroove
        July 20, 2013

        Bale has just said that he would like to continue to grow with AVB. Wouldn’t that be nice if AVB coached Barca and brought Bale with him…?

        Now seriously, it would be incredibly hypocritical of AVB to leave Spurs at this point after fighting so hard to keep Bale and the integrity of his team.

        • barca96
          July 21, 2013

          I don’t think we can afford Bale (fee and wages) and I wouldn’t even want him here. I don’t think he suits our style. What can he bring besides those explosive shots?

          I know Klopp is loyal but he must know himself that there is 0.1% chance of BvB wrestling the league from Bayern anytime soon, 2-3 seasons.

  14. CuleToon
    July 20, 2013

    Excellent piece, Levon! (BUT… read below)

    I’d vote for Lucho too. I wouldn’t attach that much importance to his spell at Roma; and, IIRC, Roma’s board wanted him to stay, but he didn’t want to. As blitzen says, our older players played with him (he was one of the captains) and the young ones were coached by him with much success.

    Your post should’ve been perfect but for the fact that you forgot Mourinho! As an As reader has commented, «We sign Morinho, madridistas won’t know whom to support, they’ll all go crazy, and their brains will explode». You didn’y think of it, eh?

    • July 20, 2013

      Damn, Culetoon, it would have been a brilliant addition to the list of coaches, I admit!

  15. July 20, 2013

    Klopp and Heynckes are top candidates for me.

    A Heynckes appointment would make so much poetic justice.
    Heynckes was shoved out after a historic season to make way for Pep.
    If Barca were to appoint him, and his knowledge about us and our game cannot be disputed, it’d be great. Only downside is he is old.

    Klopp would be fantastic, but doesn’t look like he is going to leave dortmund. But he’d really be amazing.

    I think the most important thing is that whoever is our new coach, must understand that he is taking over the world’s best team with the world’s best player at his peak. Expectations will be sky high and so we will need a manager with thick skin and super strong character to go along with quality, of course.

    Lucho though seems to be the strongest rumour.

    • July 20, 2013

      Klopp is a non-candidate even if he resigned from Dortmund right now. We need someone who speaks Spanish.

      • July 20, 2013

        Of course, the language aspect is obviously a factor that I chose not to get into. We can always hire a translator. I vote for mourinho. 😉

  16. XaviFCB
    July 20, 2013

    I would love it to have Jupp or Klopp (both are awesome) but i dont think that will happen. Lucho would also be great. A Barcelona legend who knows our youth and coached Barcelona B amazingly. Actually i like all the options. (except Rijkaard) Frank de Boer would be amazing, but he wants to stay at Ajax, for now. Maybe in the future.

  17. Tebzat
    July 20, 2013

    We need somebody who will recognize that Xavi is getting old and who will be his backup.Somebody who knows that we have never had a good defence but good system to defend.

    side note: I believe that our biggest problem with our defence is having two attacking full backs.Abidal and alves complimented each other

  18. mom4
    July 20, 2013

    Well for your sake, Levon, I hope it’s not Laudrup.

    Bielsa scares me. He may be the best thing since sliced bread but he still scares me.

    Heynckes strikes me as a smart man; he won’t go back on his word to his wife.

    I would like Lucho, although I rather liked the idea of Rafinha developing under him at Celta and it would suck for Celta.

    • July 20, 2013

      Hahaha that’s okay, mom4, I prefer it to be Laudrup than the neighbor!

      I think Lucho has a 3M release clause, so I don’t know how much it would suck for Celta…maybe they would prefer the money?

      However, what would concern me is Rafinha’s situation in case Luis Enrique comes to Barça.

      • barca96
        July 21, 2013

        lol Levon. You better not move into a villa in a exotic location as Laudrup might just pop up and buy one next door.

  19. If you look at the changes that Laudrup made to Swansea when he took over, they were somewhat similar to what Tito seemed to be doing last year. Namely, taking a very patient, possession focused side, and making them a bit more direct and quicker to threaten. I think he would be a good choice, but I don’t see it happening.

  20. nia
    July 20, 2013

    Hope the new coach brings a defender with him. The players are probably not happy coming out of their comfort zone and the understanding they had with Tito so, hopefully they can sign a coach the players know and feel comfortable around and who doesn’t change things around too much eg, Lucho.

    There is an open letter on fcb catalan page from Tito, very touching.

  21. Rami
    July 20, 2013

    We already have a great base, And last season’s la liga is enough of a proof, We only need someone who can add and improve what tito has done so far, And the best coach to ensure such continuity is luis enrique.
    When i first heard the rumors that pep won’t renew with us, I remember feeling scared, But once i knew tito will take over him, I felt ‘calmness’ within me, And luis brings me a similar feeling.

  22. Judas Pissed
    July 20, 2013

    It’s Luis Enrique isn’t it? Thought it had already been announced..?

  23. TITO
    July 20, 2013

    Is he already registered as a Celta coach for the upcoming season?
    How does it work coaching two teams before the season even started? Is it within the rules?

    • Dani_el
      July 20, 2013

      It is not allowed to work for two different clubs in La Liga. But that rule only applies to registered coaches. Lucho is not registered on the RFEF yet. Rumours say he has a 3M clause. But will he want to break it? I don’t think that would help to our relationships with Celta and little clubs around Spain. What would that do to Rafinha who was loaned to Celta because of Lucho.

      Apart from that he looks as our most likely options.
      Bielsa, Martino and Laudrup also are options according to MD and Sports.

      • TITO
        July 20, 2013

        If i have to choose, Laudrup would be in the pole position.

  24. Dani_el
    July 20, 2013

    Culetoon, any info you might want to share on this subject, according to media inside Catalunya unavailable to most of us? What’s your take on this?

    • CuleToon
      July 21, 2013

      All the local media speculations revolve around Luís Enrique and Tata Martino. As Kxevin said, the fact that TV3 (and EMD) say it’s Luís Enrique makes it much more plausible. And he’s my favorite too. As I said above echoing blitzen, our older players played with him (he was one of the captains) and the young ones were coached by him with great success. Moreover, he’s got a strong character and another important —perhaps key— plus is that he knows already, and very well, the ins and outs of the Club. It’s a no-brainer for me.

  25. Huckleberry
    July 20, 2013

    i would like someone with the fighting spirit of Luis Enrique.

  26. Clouseau
    July 20, 2013

    Apart from Lucho or Oscar i’d be suprised if any Coach who’s currently employed will be avaible.

    I don’t know nothing about Gerardo Martino only watched a couple of Games from his time as Paraguay coach and it wasn’t pleasent to watch. Often striked me as way to defensive and sparkless unlike Bielsa’s Chile.

    Probably the best option i’m quite unsure towards Don Jupp as i feel his tenure at Bayern is vastly overrated.
    He’s a quite decent Coach and his main strenghts are his fitness preparations and his relaxed fatheresque relationship with his players.

    I like Lucho and I’m sure he’ll handle the younger masiaplayers better than Tito did but i don’t think he’ll help the team evolve as everything speaks about continuity around him. Prefer a rather later reunion than now.

  27. July 20, 2013

    Here’s the nice thing about choosing a new man in charge… one would think, anyone would take the job. (unlike that hiring a CB endeavor).

    I like Bielsa, I think the team needs a shaking up. Other teams have entirely caught up to our style as is, Bielsa may bring something new, a plan B in tough matches where we seem out of ideas. Also he would understand Messi, and Neymar’s “south american style.”

  28. SoccerMom
    July 20, 2013

    Hey gang,

    Came here as soon as I heard the news today … oh boy.

    Anims Tito.

    Kxevin for Most Beautiful Writer on Beautiful Game.

    Euler for FCB Coach!

    • CuleToon
      July 21, 2013

      SoccerMom for one of the most missed voices on BFB!

  29. July 20, 2013

    The two front runners are Luis Enrique and “Tata” Martino. Nobody else is in with a shot. Club wants to have it all done by Monday, and is apparently talking to/negotiating with both.

    People have been doing some investigating on Martino, and he is of the Bielsa school (as is Guardiola). Vertical, pressing, pretty much the game that we used to play. He is also available, being presently out of coaching (unlike Enrique). I reckon he would certainly be the easiest call, and one that, being an Argentine, I can’t imagine that Messi would be too disappointed with.

    Something about Martino here:


    • Jafri
      July 21, 2013

      “That has ensured that on the pitch, his team has looked very much like Bielsa’s…Likewise as well, the physical demands of that Bielsistic approach meant that Newell’s almost withered away at the end.”

      …Oh man, our team is going to get ground down by the end of the season with this guy.

      • July 21, 2013

        It will, as it did under Guardiola, take longer than a season to grind the team down. But yes, that approach is high-pressure, high effort, high intensity.

        • alpinegroove
          July 21, 2013

          Yes, but the team might have never fully recovered from being ground down by the end of Guardiola’s tenure. That wasn’t too long ago…

  30. K_legit in Oz
    July 20, 2013

    Getting Lucho as coach would be….very satisfying!

  31. Laurentiu88
    July 21, 2013

    i would like luis enrique a lot, he knows the club, knows the players the only downside for me is that i was really interested in seeing celta vigo this season.

    i am also ok with bielsa or the tata martin, or how they call him – apparently messi’s father likes him a lot :), anyways.. they all seem devoted and cerebral coaches… i am ok with having one two years of trials and changes at the club, a changing of the guard maybe sooner – and a rebuilding of the team.

    its not a must to win every year..

    • Jim
      July 21, 2013

      Any coach coming in and not winning anything with this team won’t be around long enough to regret it.

      I find myself in the (unusual) position of not knowing any of the candidates well enough to have a preference. Huge decision though and good luck to whoever gets it. They’re going to need it.

  32. July 21, 2013

    From Tito to Tata?
    Thanks, but please!
    And I can’t believe some in BFB want AVB.
    The only thing he’s got going for himself is his cool abbreviation.

  33. CuleToon
    July 21, 2013

    A list of Barça misfortunes —and overcomings— during the last 60 years (in spanish) at:


    And remember that one of our presidents, Josep Sunyol, was executed by firing squad, and without trial, after being captured by Franco’s militia in 1936. Barça board honored him as «absent president» until the entrance of Franco’s troops in Barcelona in 1939.

    • barca96
      July 21, 2013

      Darn it! He is my 1st choice but I doubt the club was after him anyways.

  34. July 21, 2013

    Just rotten timing actually.

    Pellegrini would have been an absolute belter of a coach for Barcelona.
    Just bad timing really.

    • July 21, 2013

      Cancer generally doesn’t come at a convenient time. Vilanova had the treatments and was passed fit. He proceeded with pre-season plans. Sources who saw Vilanova in person, such as Graham Hunter, said he looked great, almost as good as before his treatment last year, vibrant and full of energy.

      So I rather imagine the news must have been as big a blow to him as it was to the team, which probably had a Plan B in place since the treatment because you just never know with cancer.

      But it strikes that the timing is what the timing is, in this case. Because the one thing that life does, is it just happens at its own pace, when and where it wants.

      • July 21, 2013

        When I read my comment again, I see that the timing has been re iterated, which was not my intention. I only wanted to point out another manager who is top class in my book and who happened to take up a new job recently. I thought you’d have seen that.

        • July 21, 2013

          Ah! Nope. I’m far too literal these days. Ugh.

          I think that we wouldn’t have been able to outbid City for Pellegrini, who would probably have been looking for something outside the Liga, at any rate.

          • barca96
            July 21, 2013

            We never know when it will strike but yeah I get what you’re trying to say. I feel the same way. The timing was horrible for the club but there is nothing anyone can do. It just would’ve been a little easier for the club if it was 1 month ago. It’s just the way life is, unpredictable.

  35. I just hope that whoever the club appoints, will do well.

    I adore Bielsa. But still I hope it wont be him. Bielsa’s teams always have a defensive issue. We already have it, and his way of playing might just increase it. But he is the man of movements, and I dont have any doubt he would find ways to further improve our attack. But defence is important in a long liga campaign and in CL

    I would have loved it if Klopp was available. But he wont.

    Keeping fingers crossed.

  36. Gogah
    July 21, 2013

    Anims Tito Vilanova.
    Now we can certainly close the chapter on the Guardiola era. Tito was a big part of it and we now find ourselves looking for a new coach which carries with it, a lingering sensation of sort of starting from scratch.
    But instead of naming names, I thought I’d take a bit of my Cule paranoia and use it to list down the main guidelines, I think, a new coach would do well to follow. Because when roSell named Tito after Pep quit, a lot of the panic and chaos became calmer and started to look more reassuring, as we knew that continuity would be given priority.
    The new coach must know that he is inheriting possibly the world’s best team. And that carries with it an enormous responsibility to win. Constantly. He must know that he needn’t change much, as much as he needs to get the best out of the gargantuan talent pool he has access to. He must be a great motivator as many times last season we witnessed a Barcelona side that just thought they had to show up to win. He needs to instill that ‘Pep’ish intensity to treat every game as it were a final. He needs to entertain. He needs to know he has a Messi at his peak and a Neymar who has just joined to learn and succeed European football. Above all The new coach needs to have the respect of his players and understand what it means to represent Barcelona. Be it in the press room or the football pitch. I have no doubt that we will get a good coach, as Rosell’s legacy (ass) is on the line and he will try his best to protect it. I hope he lets the new coach do his job and I hope that Tito recovers and continues to contribute all the knowledge he has back in to the club and team we all love.
    I don’t know anything about this Tata Marino or even Lucho’s managerial prowess for that matter and so I won’t speculate on names. I do know that we could be happier and more hopeful fans if we could move on from viewing Pep and his time as a benchmark for everything and everyone. Barcelona will continue. And it needs our support.

    • July 21, 2013

      Comment of the Day. Thank you.

      I feel like that Treble season permeates everything, from the view of a coach who I don’t feel left the team particularly well-equipped to compete for much of anything, to transfers of want-away players.

      History is useful in that it can provide information, but hobbling in that, improperly used, it becomes this absurd yardstick, like great-grandparents scoffing at a bus and saying “Back in my day, we had to walk 50 miles to school.”

      We also see it in some media outlets paying attention to retired participants of a sport, a particularly pervasive thing in football and Formula One. As Gang of Four titled a recording, “History’s Bunk!” History also makes us see nefarious things where there might not be, and hidden meanings in things that are innocent.

      The club put out a bit on Sergi Roberto, called “The Patient Midfielder.” I assumed it to be face value, talking about his path to the first team, etc. Others see it as a slap at the now-gone Thiago. Who knows?

      We also see this in the presence of expectations, and disappointment in not having had those expectations met. So some cules say “We lost to Bayern 7-0 and still haven’t bought a CB. This club is stupid!” Others say, “We have signed a bright young talent, and won the Liga in record style, after not winning it the year before. The trend is good.”

      Let’s deal with each day, each player as it comes.

      • July 21, 2013

        Well said on history. It offers much to learn from. Improperly used, it does become an absurd yardstick.
        Your first para, the part from – I feel…want away players I did not get. Please do explain.

  37. Tebzat
    July 21, 2013

    Ive been a barcelona supporter since 1999 when we were very bad( I call it the promise of saviola era). Im mentioning it because we all have to remember that barcelona are a recycling team.Whatever happens we will always be ok.Whichever coach that comes we will be ok

  38. barca96
    July 21, 2013

    barcastuff ‏@barcastuff

    Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina (30) will join Napoli on loan this season. Next year, he will move to Barcelona on a permanent deal. [md]

    Seems fair to me.

    • July 21, 2013

      Might be MD whistling past the graveyard, trying to buttress their insistence that Reina was coming to the club this season.

    • July 21, 2013

      What will we be showing next, RM highlights? For me, Bayern kicked the crap out of us last season along the way to a team goal. That makes them a rival, if not quite an enemy yet. Just my (very) personal view.

      • July 21, 2013

        There have been many many occasions in the past when excellent goals, assists, or other highlights have been posted in this space without regard to team or player. The only reason you are objecting is because this features an ex-player that many of us have an abiding interest in.

        If you want to limit the discussion to Barça-only, then perhaps we should also impose a ban on talking about other sports, like basketball for example.

        Thanks for the clip, barca96.

        • July 21, 2013

          No, it bothers me because that team is an enemy, and an enemy that pantsed us in full view of the world.

          If you are going to take after every contrary opinion, you’re going to have a lot of work to do this season, and the comment about limiting the discussion to Barça only is out of left field. There is nothing like that suggested or implied in my comment, which is simply ME from my view, making an observation. We should be able to deal with such things. The comment made it abundantly clear that is was my view, as in “Just my (very) personal view.”

          I confess to not getting the aggressive, overblown reaction at all.

  39. July 21, 2013

    Any word on U.S. television for our mid-week friendly? I have checked the various footy outlets, and nothing showing up for me.

  40. barca96
    July 21, 2013

    From Titi to Tito to Tata. Hahahahha

    • Jafri
      July 21, 2013

      Quick, make sure there’s no coach out there named Tutu!

      • CuleToon
        July 21, 2013

        Well, Tete is a very common nickname in Catalunya… And Toto in Italy, I think.

  41. barca96
    July 21, 2013


    Just one thing though. He may be an ex player but he did something nice there. I may be a Barca fan but I’m also a football fan and that was beautiful and I will appreciate it irregardless it’s not from a Barca player.

  42. barca96
    July 21, 2013

    Senor Culetoon. You said yesterday that you will post something tomorrow . It’s already past midnight for me which makes it 2 days 🙂

    • CuleToon
      July 21, 2013

      But I posted it yesterday, in my first comment in this post!

      Anyway, I said that, amidst all that sadness about Tito, I read a comment by an As reader that made me smile. It said: «We sign Morinho, madridistas won’t know whom to support, they’ll all go crazy, and their brains will explode».

  43. CuleToon
    July 21, 2013

    By the way, it’s ten years since the signing of Ronaldinho.

    • mohit
      July 21, 2013

      Wow, a decade since our fate took a turn. The one and only magician! If only… 🙁

  44. CuleToon
    July 21, 2013

    Right now, according ro RAC-1 late night sports program («No hi diguis a ningú»), Tata is ahead of Lucho. :I


    By the way, do you believe in destiny?

    1. Tito-Tata

    2. Tata played at Club Barcelona of Guayaquil (Ecuador), a club founded by a Catalan in 1925. It’s crest is practically the same as that of our Barça, although its colors are not (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barcelona_de_Guayaquil).

    3. Later, Tata was the coach of Cerro Porteño (Paraguay), a club nicknamed «Azulgrana» (blaugrana) because of its blaugrana stripes.

    Go figure!

      • Jafri
        July 21, 2013

        And also the Pope… The Pope is Argentinian!

        • CuleToon
          July 22, 2013

          And «pope» in catalan-argentinian-spanish is «PAPA»…!!!

          • ooga aga
            July 22, 2013

            i think you guys just proved the unifying theory of everything. who needs string theory, here on BFB.

          • simple_barcafan
            July 22, 2013

            Unified Theory of Everything…

  45. July 22, 2013

    If we sign Milton Queiroz, Tamuz, Henry, Francesco and martino, We will among our staff these personalities –

    Tita, Toto, Titi, Totti, Tata and Tito. Wow!

    No, but on a more serious note, a lot of questions without answers:
    On Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino:

    – With absolutely no experience, playing or coaching in Europe, how good an idea is it to throw such a man in to the deep end?

    – Taking Newell’s to the top is fine. But does the man have experience dealing with celebrities and a star studded dressing room filled with unique egos?

    – What is the information and report on Tata, Rosell is operating on to consider him a viable manager for the world’s best team?

    – Is this appointment influenced by Messi/family?

    – If it is going to be Tata, who will be the assistant?

    – What does Martino bring to the table that Bielsa doesn’t?

    – Why is he called Tata? Does he have them?

    – Is Tata a short term fix or a long term plan?

    – How is it that a man with Zero European experience is the leading candidate for football’s top job?

    • Many of those questions were applicable to Pep too. So lets hope the board knows it best. Else get ready for a difficult season. Either ways, I feel the team needs an overall rejuvenation and shake up. Keeping good things as is and improving on the bad. As for Tata, it seems like he is not a romantic like Bielsa, but someone who mixes it with Pragmatic process. Eg. is his Paraguey side who resorted to astute defending to reach the final stages of World cup and Copa America. He then moved on to become the head coach of one of the most entertaining football teams in South America.

      As for Enrique, his brief European spell did not end well at Roma. He could have learned from it, but we are yet to see. Either ways lets support whoever the board chooses.

      Either of them will have an uphill task of adopting a team that may not have been built to their wishes, and feeling the heat at the deep end. And without proper preseason planning its always a risk.

      • July 22, 2013

        Agree that the board is much better informed than any of us.
        But sorry, can’t agree with the Pep comparison at all.
        Pep, unlike tata, was a highly decorated player / captain in a star studded European team. Any doubts of his coaching abilities were also dispensed with, after his demonstration with Barca B. Pep, unlike Tata, is also a man from the inside, and was hugely well known.
        I am just really intrigued by this choice, that’s all. And am trying to understand how is it that he is rated so highly by the board.

        • We all know that Pep’s appointment was one of the masterstrokes of the Laporta Era who was at the time facing a vote of confidence. So, i feel much more than his sporting credibilities, it was his catalan image that worked in his favour initially (in the process, Laporta’s too) and we know the rest is history.

          Part of the reason for the choice is that there are not many candidates available at this moment. And we know Rossel is shrewd when it comes to spending money. That leaves only few available candidates. Tata Martino was a well decorated player in his playing days in South America as i gather. He was the go to man for Bielsa, whose ideas revolutionised modern football.
          For some reason unknown, I somehow feel like Tata would be a better choice than Enrique. he may lack European club football exposure, but has plenty of international tournament experience and moreover an evangelist of possession football. Being someone who follow the developments in Argentine football, before the appointment of Alex Sabella, many of the fans were crying for Tata Martino pointing at his work with a lowly Paraguay side.

        • July 22, 2013

          Although I must say, the main reason that is causing some doubt in my mind is also the same reason that is comforting me.
          When a big club appoints a relatively unknown manager from far away South America, this guy must have serious merit and be really good. It is so much better than just signing a big name for the sake of pleasing fans. I somehow have a good feeling about this guy even if his name is Tata.

  46. Jim
    July 22, 2013

    A couple of quick points. First, with regard to the new manager I’d be a little wary of someone with no European experience. Just something to put into the equation no matter how well he has done elsewhere.

    Secondly, have I got it wrong with Fabregas? I’ve just watched the supposedly knowledgeable transfer expert on Sky Sports tell me that the signs he will be moving to Man U are looking better and better and that it could well be tied up by the end of the week. As soon as Thiago went I reckoned that boat sailed and there is no way we’d weaken the infield at this point. Tell me I’m not wrong and the English are (once again) deluding themselves.

  47. I would like to see Biesla in our bench. People over blow the massive burn-out Athletic had a season ago. Come on Athletic had a very young squad and that was the main reason for the burn out.

    • The Burnout is a valid concern for a Bielsa side. Remeber the 2002 worldcup. Argentina entered the tournament as the favorites, topping the WCQ charts, yet bowed out in the initial rounds. There is a reason they call him the mad man:) But honestly, I don’t mind him on our bench:) He is a romantic. Belsa himself had acknowledged the massive burn out in his methods.

  48. CuleToon
    July 22, 2013

    A letter from Thiago to the cules in which he says «Thank you and and bla, bla, bla». What strikes me a lot, though, is his signature. When you read the letter, you detect that signature with your peripheral view and it gives the impression of the stamp of an hotel, or an expensive restaurant, until you see for what it is.

    Is there a graphologist in the room? Because I feel it reflects his personality very well!

    Click on the photo at http://www.sport.es/es/noticias/planeta-barca/carta-thiago-aficion-cule-2522457

    Adornemnts? Nooo!

  49. July 22, 2013

    Moyes has confirmed that United has bid for Fabregas. They have made an offer, and he said they will be making another.

    The time to sell Fabregas was, frankly, before Thiago left.

  50. July 22, 2013

    Martino apparently all but done. Maybe announcement by Wednesday. You wonder about the current staff, in particular Rubi, who left the head job at Girona and has been replaced.

    • K_legit in Oz
      July 22, 2013

      It was something I don’t think the club could have genuinely controlled.

    • Rami
      July 22, 2013

      I remember reading that rosell insured the staff that their jobs are safe, And they’ll work alongside the new coach.

      • July 22, 2013

        Well, you would have to think that under the circumstances, a coach accepting the in-place staff would be part of the negotiations. This is an extraordinary situation.

        Also saw a note from a journo with good sources that the club had been working on a coaching Plan B for some time, given the uncertainty of the experimental quality of the treatments that Vilanova received in the U.S.

  51. Dani_el
    July 22, 2013

    About Martino, this interesting article I found in Periodistas Anonimos web. Thank you for that Culetoon!
    This is my translation, as always, sorry for any mistakes.

    By Alfonzo Loaiza.

    As Guardiola is a Cruyffist, Martino is a Bielsist. “Marcelo Bielsa is the best coach because he always encourages players to think”.
    Martino is one of the few pedagogical coaches nowadays: “In Argentina we don’t give enough attention to esthetics. The result covers up everything, even the commentary after a game.” About some coaches: “We are too egotistical, always playing defensive in presses, always reminding other people of our triumphs, titles and achievements. That’s very unpleasant and permanent. I repeat: there is very little greatness. Maybe we’ll end up as lonely as tennis players.”
    He’s a less extremist, less mystical and less invasive Bielsa. Without exaggerations in his behavior. He talks to the press. His manner is more like the ways of Pellegrini and Rijkaard. He adapts. A disciple imitates his master. For him “to play well is to do what is needed at the right time each game. And to be prepared to win when you’re above the opponent, but also when you do not impose your idea and your game and your opponent overcomes you.” Bielsa in order to analyze a game exempts the outcome. His view comprises three sections: fidelity to style, domain of the game and number of times the team reaches the opposite’s goal line. Martino is more practical, but he appreciates how you get there. He attacks weaknesses and applauds greatness. When Newells lost in the Libertadores (South American Champions league) he said they had fallen with dignity and when he won with Paraguay against Brazil in the quarterfinals of the Copa America he said they did not deserve win because they played worse than the Brazilian team, also against Colombia after praise for the obtained result he explained that they had never played the game that they had wanted but they had won. In his words, “to talk about losing, it’s to get out of line (lose manners).”
    Tactically, Martino cares more about his defensive line than Bielsa who believes in individual markings. He imposes a suffocating pressure and constant attack. In Paraguay’s NT he displayed a more direct, less elaborate and very aggressive approach, but always hiding the team’s deficiencies with outstanding offensive transitions. He knew very well how to interpret the essence of the Paraguayan game and he added his distinctive touch. He thought he couldn’t improve more the NT without other technical young players and that’s why he didn’t renew his contract.

    He feels very identified with Barça’s game. While some waited for Cule’s to lose instead of learning from Barça’s display of football that will be remembered in fifty years, Tata was among those who enjoyed this showing: “They wanted us to believe that Barça’s 5 year success were only the result of four games” . He likes the “possession football, to attack, to put a lot of players in the rival’s side of the field, to take risks, he likes when defenders look back and have forty meters between them and the keeper, that when they do not give up to play football, when they have to deepen with plays, they do, and when they have to lateralize with wingers plays, they do, that the ball does not fly without purpose. ”
    Newell’s goalkeeper was the first that started plays with his feet (In many games Nahuel Guzman gave more touches than the rival’s midfielder). Barça misses defensive pressure in the rival’s side of the field. Guardiola’s Barça was the team with the most goals after taking away the ball from their opponents and Messi has plummeted in the section of recoveries. If Tata Martino joins Barça he would have to reposition the best player of Argentina and the best player of Brasil and make them run nearly as much as Pedrito in order to return to excellence. Without forgetting Barça’s essence. To Laureano Ruiz, the founder of La Masia: “To play Football is to cheat with the ball, to play one-touch football and to know how and where to position”. Tata wears the Bielsa label but he is more measured and less obsessive. Righteousness leads by the flag: “I can not keep things inside. I get angered when I am not able to defend my integrity”, “You’ll be liked by some and disliked by others, but there cannot be any doubts if you’re a good guy or a bad guy “.

  52. Dani_el
    July 22, 2013

    Hiddink resigns Anzi according to Ruben Uria. “It hasn’t been an easy decision.” Club has accepted his resignation.
    Hope this has nothing to do with us wanting a coach. He coached Chelsea on 09 against us on CL, and he complained a lot about ref’s decisions. I also think that he displays defensive football.

    • Jim
      July 22, 2013

      Hiddink 3-1 ON with the bookies to take over at Barca. What the ….

      • Jim
        July 22, 2013

        Had a few minutes to think calmly about the possibility now.

        NOoooooooooo !

        • barca96
          July 22, 2013

          What’s wrong with Hiddink Jim?

          Besides the fact that he basically coached all my favorite clubs’ main rivals in PSV & Madrid (and you could add Chelsea), I really like him. I still dream of him coming back to coach Holland one day.

          • Jim
            July 22, 2013

            I worry about his thoughts on our possession game, Barca96. Wasn’t impressed by either the way RM or Chelsea played under him. Didnt know PSV as much.

  53. July 22, 2013

    Um, hold the phone. Guus Hiddink just resigned as head coach of Anzhi. Apparently, in the early days when Rosell and Laporta were still friends, Hiddink was high on their list of coaches.

    I have to think it’s unrelated, though. That would be TOTALLY out of left field.

    • July 22, 2013

      Seems a bit random and unrelated to me. You would think if there was anything in this we would have heard his name by now, we have heard pretty much every other possible name!

      Right now I am liking the idea of Tata. Never heard of him before Friday but from what I have read so far he seems to fit the bill perfectly and would provide something a bit fresh and different while at the same time retaining the core principles that make Barca so unique and enjoyable to watch.

    • Jim
      July 22, 2013

      Huge coincidence though, Kxevin. No reason given by Hiddink. I fear the worst.

      • Jim
        July 22, 2013

        From 30-1 to 3-1 on ? The bookies don’t make many mistakes.

        • barca96
          July 22, 2013

          I’m not familiar with betting but is 3-1 very likely to happen? Who is the bookies favorite?

          • Jim
            July 22, 2013

            In any other situation I’d say 3-1 on is almost a done deal. In this situation with a completely open field it is them saying its all over. It means for every 3 euros you put on you only get one back. Unattractive odds because they are pretty sure it’ll happen.

          • ooga aga
            July 22, 2013

            no 3:1 odds is if you bet 1, you get 3. still good odds, ie a good chance, not a longshot. jim what you are referring to would actually be 1:3 odds.

    • Rami
      July 22, 2013

      Probably unrelated, But if there is one thing i can say about him, Is that this man is the first coach to actually stop pep’s barcelona, Not mourhinio.

      • July 22, 2013

        People are saying that the resignation had been brewing for some time. But he just renewed with the club a month ago, too.


  54. July 22, 2013

    @ Jim

    Whats wrong with Hiddink? I actually think he is one of the best coaches out there and while he may have played defensively against us with Chelsea that certainly isn’t his general style.

    • in accord with you.

      He is one of the best tacticians out there. The thing is he might have never coached a team with as many talents as ours. No limits to what wonders he can work out.

      And like Rami says, he was the first to put a break on the Barca team, not Mourinho.

      • Jim
        July 22, 2013

        As Gullit once memorably said, it’s a lot easier to tear down a house than build it.

    • Jim
      July 22, 2013

      Sorry, Hilal. I replied to Barca above without noticing this. Don’t know his philosophy but don’t remember Chelsea playing much football or RM although both were reasonably successful.
      I just think we are at a crossroads, not of our making, where the wrong decision will waste the once in a lifetime talent we have. No certainty about this and if the board have gone for him they know better than I do but with Thiago gone, Fabregas being lured ( we’re up now at 40m? ) and everybody trying to unsettle Messi the last thing we want is a change of philosophy.

      • July 22, 2013

        I can understand your concerns but I dont think that would happen under Hiddink. He is one of the most tactically versatile coaches our there and under him Chelsea actually played some brilliant football. A lot of my best friends are Chelsea fans so I am subjected to a lot of their games in the EPL and I remember them playing some great stuff under him. What makes him unique is his ability to change tactics to suit the opposition, something he did very well against us.

        In any case no way the board hires a manager who would want to change our philosophy. If anything he would provide some much needed tactical variations when it comes to playing the really tough teams in the CL.

        If I had to pick between Hiddink and the other 2 candidates I would pick Hiddink. He has coached some of the biggest teams in Europe, he has managed some of the biggest egos, he can handle the pressure and he has the tactical acumen to match almost any coach. On top of all that he is a Cruyfist at heart. Really, what’s not to like? I just don’t think its gona happen..

        • July 22, 2013

          I just don’t see Rosell hiring a Dutch coach who is also a Cruijffista. But it would be the kind of left-field, “Aren’t I smart” choice that you would see Rosell making.

        • Jim
          July 22, 2013

          That’s reassuring, Hilal, especially as I’ve said above this is too much of a coincidence. He’s basically not given a reason for resigning and those odds make compelling viewing.

          I watch the EPL regularly and remember his Chelsea side quite well. They did go forward but as i recall it was RM stuff rather than building through the midfield as we do. Trouble with verticality is that it injects a lot of pace into a match and we don’t have the quickest mids. Still, I take your point that we might not be so tung ho away from home in the CL under him.

          • Hiddink is a great tactician. I also remember his South Korean and Russian teams playing some good football. The Russian team at least had an Arshavin and Pavluchenko (not sure about the spelling)
            Now with the kind of attacking talent we have, I dont think he will play RM stuff with us.

            Anyways, waiting to see if its Tata or Lucho, or even Hiddink.
            Whoever, I just hope, we will play beautiful football.

  55. simple_barcafan
    July 22, 2013

    I would go with Martino..I have a feeling that he would be able to bring the best out of the South American players- Messi, Neymar, Masch, Alexis, Alves…Xavi, Puyol, Iniesta, Busi are players who are well versed in the game and are consistently playing at a high level and whose positions/ duties seem to be set in stone in contrast to Neymar, Alexis, Alves (Even Messi and Masch) whose positions and responsibities have to be defined to get the best out of them.
    Cesc will be the one who might be most affected by Tito resigning I feel…

    Just my two cents…

    • Jim
      July 22, 2013

      I see what your getting at and the Cesc thing is worrying but do you not think he’d be right up Hiddink’s street? The one thing Cesc can do is pick out a good quick through ball.

      • July 22, 2013

        The club has rejected the second Fabregas offer, and says that (like PSG has said to us over Thiago Silva) we aren’t even interested in receiving offers.

      • simple_barcafan
        July 22, 2013

        I don’t think we will sell him..he is (stuck?) with us, atleast after the Thiago sale..Hope the new coach can figure out the Cesc conundrum…

    • Jim
      July 22, 2013

      Yup, I’d sign up to those sentiments.

      With regard to Cesc, Kxevin, I keep telling myself that selling would make no sense now but I’m more worried about the unsettling of the player where (Thiago like) it gets into his head he’d be more loved somewhere else. You’d think Man U would get the point but then I suppose we didnt with TS.

    • Jim
      July 22, 2013

      This is turning into a more interesting day than I thought …

      Would even Marca risk looking this foolish if not true? If it is how come they get the news first?

    • July 22, 2013

      He is bringing his assistant and his trainer.
      I really do hope he retains Rubi.
      Rubi knows spanish football and football in general really well.

      • July 22, 2013

        Where are you seeing it official? I’m just seeing all the media outlets there reporting it, which means it is all but certain, but nothing official yet.

  56. mohit
    July 22, 2013

    Seems like Hiddink’s agent timed his resignation perfectly. Must have made a dealing with the bookies, get the odds in Hiddink’s favor.. #randomthought

    • Jim
      July 22, 2013

      Not there’s a thought. And meanwhile slap everything you’ve got on Martino ?
      Nice ne!

      • mohit
        July 22, 2013

        Having given it more thought, I wouldn’t rule it out completely. Who knows what goes on behind the scenes in the betting world!

  57. Dani_el
    July 22, 2013

    Graham Hunter: #Barça appoint Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino for 3 seasons

  58. Huckleberry
    July 22, 2013

    What do you mean by “official”? Is something official, when it is published in Marca?

  59. mohit
    July 22, 2013

    Now that Martino looks like a done deal, my biggest concern is the burn-out experienced by sides following the Bielsa philosophy. We already struggle a lot during the crucial months of March-April. More than the playing style (no doubt we’ll see a few changes there), I think fitness periodization is going to be more important and should be prioritized.

    • htMillBay
      July 22, 2013

      How about rotation and a deeper squad? Are these points incompatible with the extreme team work required under a Bielsista?

      • mohit
        July 22, 2013

        Currently, our depth comes only from our academy. I don’t know how much faith Martino is going to have in them for league games, if he plans on resting the big guns for the important games.

  60. CuleToon
    July 22, 2013

    It’s front-page news everywhere now: Sport, EMD, As and Marca.

  61. July 22, 2013

    Wow… did it have to be someone other than the 9 coaches I mentioned in the article??? lol

    • July 22, 2013

      Haha… to be fair I don’t think anyone here would have known who you were talking about and probably would have thought you were a bit mad for throwing him in the mix!

      It is a risky appointment, but so was Pep. I like it. It shows a desire to keep pushing the team and not to rest on our laurels and simply keep to the status quo. From what I have read this manager seems a very good fit, but I guess we are going to have to wait and see. He will have quite a short preseason so not an ideal scenario by any means.

      We still need a bloody CB though!!!!!!!!!!

      • CuleToon
        July 22, 2013

        Let’s hope he brings with him some unknown but excellent CB from Argentina.

          • CuleToon
            July 22, 2013

            Why not? Wouldn’t you like a 24-year-old Milito, or some young CB unknown and brilliant like Márquez or Yaya, but argentinian, or playing in the Argentina league?

            Sure Tata knows if there’s any CB suitable for Barça (in Argentina or in other South American leagues).

          • mohit
            July 22, 2013

            I find that Argentinian CBs lack discipline. Demichellis always comes to mind!

          • Don’t you want them even of they are of the mould of a certain Ayala, Simione, Walter Samuel, Gabi Milito?

  62. Dani_el
    July 22, 2013

    Wikipedia already recognizes him as coach.
    Martino it is! A more balanced Bielsa. Let us see what will happen with Barça. This might be incredibly good. I’m hoping it will be. Reports say he will come with assistan Jorge Pautasso physical trainer Elvio Paolorroso.
    What will happen to Roura and Rubi?
    Though I hope Rubi stays I wouldn’t mind if he trains Barça B.

    Gerardo Martino
    Entrenador(es) adjunto(s)
    Jordi Roura
    Preparador(es) físico(s)
    Eduardo Pons113
    Aureli Altimira
    Francesc Cos
    Paco Seirul·lo

    Joan Francesc «Rubi»

    • simple_barcafan
      July 22, 2013

      I won’t to say he is not already our coach, but I wouldn’t trust wiki to be 100% true for any matter. It is just a repository of info written to be edited and modified until it nears the truth as much as possible..

  63. simple_barcafan
    July 22, 2013

    Rubi seems someone whom the board trusts as he was rumored to be the caretaker coach by as or md immediately after Tito stepped down..It is Roura who looks surplus to the requirements..

  64. July 22, 2013

    People, it is worth noting that Guardiola was also a Bielsa disciple who had no big-time European coaching experience, and he kinda did okay, right?

    Let’s see what happens.

    • mohit
      July 22, 2013

      Good work by the board if they hire Martino! They deserve a lot of credit for taking the risk to hire him.

      Personally, I’m looking forward to our football under him. Enrique would have been good, but safe. We need a little dose of anarchy.

  65. simple_barcafan
    July 22, 2013

    One of the comments mentioned one of his assistents coached Messi when he ws in Newell..Can some one conform if it is true…

    P.S: Expect RM media to start circulating rumors that now “Dictator” Messi decides who is…

  66. July 22, 2013

    The other thing is that our new coach will know South American football. Would be nice to be the ones buying Marquinhos for 3m from Corinthians, rather than having a 30m bid rebuffed for that same player.

    Not sure what our scouts are doing, or if they have a different worldview about players.

  67. July 22, 2013

    You know..
    The more I read about our new manager, the more I get excited and optimistic about the times ahead. I think Rosell may have just made an audaciously brilliant masterstroke with Tata. (I have to give him a new name). Either that or it might fail spectacularly. Whether Laporta’s Pep = Rosell’s Martino remains to be seen but all that has been mentioned of him seems to make an exact fit into just what we need. He’s a workaholic like PG too. The only issue I am seeing is with regard to a burn out situation. As usual intelligent Rotation and fitness will be key. Nothing new from what we said before last season. We need to peak at the right times and I am sure he’ll be aware of it as the pressure for titles start to build. I hope he makes some changes in his strategy to be effective in the last lap.

    I wonder how long it would take for him to hit the ground running. That is the question. A lot of people will need acclimatization. new Coach, new staff, Neymar, new players, etc..
    Still.. I have a feeling (and my intuition is almost always spot on) that this coach is going to do some special things with Barcelona. It is certainly going to be memorable. Fasten your seat belts people.

  68. BA
    July 22, 2013

    it’s official. very pleased with this appointment, i think his style is more defined than Tito’s and thus easier to impose on a team that desperately needs direction on that front. as a disciple of Bielsa we should expect the return of the ferocious pressing that made us so frightening in the early part of the Guardiola era, and that’s a huge plus for our total game. my only question mark is that he’s never played or managed in Europe before, but that’s one which will have to be borne out in time. hopefully the club permits him a mandate to sign some damn defensive cover.

    *sidenote* Thiago’s first goal for Bayern was pretty spectacular:


  69. G6O
    July 22, 2013

    I don’t know anything about Martino. However, the club has a very successful history of hiring unknown and unproven coaches in recent years (even if the samples size is small), and this can be seen as another appointment in that mold. I am more than willing to trust the club with it.

  70. July 22, 2013

    In the “Holy crap!” file, RM bidding between 80-95m for Bale. That’s crazy money.

    • G6O
      July 23, 2013

      And not worth it IMO.

      The money they paid for Cristiano were market price and he has scored enough goals to justify it. But Bale? And where is he going to play anyway?

  71. BlaugranaFR
    July 22, 2013

    Welcome to the club, Tata. Have a seat and marvel at the jewels in front of you.

    Just please don’t run them to the ground the way Bielsa did with Bilbao. Most of our cracks have a very, very busy summer next year and you’d want them fresh for the start of the temporada in 2014.

    In other news, we still need a defender.

  72. barca96
    July 23, 2013

    @ foto

    Garay? Don’t think he’s going to be world class anytime soon. And I think it’s impossible for us to sign him as Madrid put a clause on him preventing him to ever play for Barca.

    Last time besides Marquinhos, we had other targets but how come there are no rumors on them after both Thiago Silva (increment) and Marquinhos (to PSG) even when Tito was still here?

    From the previous candidates besides Marquinhos, I think I would go for Mangala.

    But man. Marquinhos looks so calm and confident on the ball. He looks like an upgrade of Bartra to me.

    • oh, I forgot about that Madrid clause.
      But yes barca96, he is growing out as an excellent CB. I have watched him only with Argentina, in the last 2 years, and he has improved so well, that I wasnt surprised when there was this news that M United are after him.

      • barca96
        July 23, 2013

        Hi. I haven’t really watched Benfica play and I haven’t really taken notice of him with Argentina. So he improved huh? But better than our other candidates (Mangala, Agger, etc.)?

        • From having the worst defence, Argentina is now in a better state, thanks to Garay, Fernandez and Zabaleta. They only need to fix the left back.
          So of course, I would say he has improved a lot.

          Really, dont have seen Mangala, and Agger not much to say any opinion. So dont know.

    • barca96
      July 23, 2013

      I can’t believe Eusebio was actually being considered. I would fly to Barcelona.

  73. lea_terzi
    July 23, 2013

    As ever, I’m excited about the new direction the club is taking.
    Yet there are so many question marks over this radical coaching change. Apart from the basic “will he be able to adjust to European level of play and command respect of our star-studded dressing room”, there are no less important “what will happen to the core and philosophy meticulously built since 2008 (and, to an extent, since Cruyff)”, “how will he transition from having maybe a few decent players on a team to several great ones for a position (including Xavi who is used to being a coach on the field, Messi who has very definite ideas about how much, where and how he needs to play, and an unknown quantity in Neymar with the weight of Brazil on his shoulders)”, “will Tata be able (right away) to get the best out of a squad built by and for another coach”, “will he be able to draw upon La Masia for depth without intimate knowledge of the system and the players that Pep, Tito and Lucho have”, and countless others. There are also obvious advantages in the strong link between the club’s and the coach’s preferred style of play, the Bielsa and Rosario connection, the potential he has to surprise and confound the competition…
    Overall, I will approach this year as an experiment, and not hope for a Champions League crown right away. The only problem, we have a squad built to compete for everything, with anyone, every time. Let’s hope the new coach got the memo 🙂

  74. simple_barcafan
    July 23, 2013

    I have a question(obvious to some it may be).
    If we rate Bielsa school of football so highly, as both Pep and Martino philosophies are based on that..why not go for Bielsa himself? He is already well acquainted with Spanish La liga. He has coached Bilbao, a club similar to Barca where politics(independence..) and football are intertwined. He improved their academy and looked into it with interest..So why leave him out?

    The drawbacks are as far as I know people discussing are:
    He drives the team to exhaustion..well Pep did that too, unfortunately lot of us didnt realize it..It took time to grind down the team and when he left we were exhausted..Well Bielse with his vast experiace and knowledge would be able to figure out a way to stem the exhaustion…
    And maybe he is crazy and controversial..But many love him and admire him..

    Anyway its too late now..Just was wondering, Why choose a padawan when you can get master yoda..

    • nia
      July 23, 2013

      I was wondering the same thing too. Why go for a jug milk when you can have the cow?

      • Laurentiu88
        July 23, 2013

        there is some saying about each school of thought as having one master and then one brilliant student that perfects it (usually beyond recognition 🙂 …so we choose Plato over Socrates, Heidegger over Husserl … 🙂

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