We need a replacement, as in now, as it seems that I overlooked someone

Gerardo Martino
Gerardo “Tata” Martino

Pros: The South American Coach of the Year (2007)  has won four league titles in Paraguay and the Clausura tournament in his home country, Argentina, with Newell’s Old Boys. He has also led relatively modest clubs Libertad and Newell’s to the semi-final of the Copa Libertadores.

Like many South American managers who have shaken the mad man’s hand, he is known as a Bielsista. Yet Martino actually played under Bielsa for their hometown’s main club in the early nineties and later worked as his assistant. He certainly advocates a similar style of football: vertical, possession-based and a defense based on intensive pressing to recuperate the ball.

He is nothing if not pragmatic, however, as he proved while managing the Paraguay national team, whom he led to the World Cup Quarter Finals in South Africa and to the final of the Copa America in 2011 with a doggedly defensive strategy that was set up to prevent goals, shots, dribbles and entertainment.

Cons: Although his Newell’s Old Boys and Paraguay national side performed well above the public’s expectations, Gerardo Martino has only won trophies with Club Libertad en Cerro Porteño in one of South America’s less prestigious football leagues. And while he did spend one year at Tenerife as a player, he does not have the experience of ever coaching Europe.

Also, and perhaps more alarmingly, the argument has been made that his Bielsista approach causes his teams to burn out by the end of the season, as happened with Newell’s, who lost the League Championship final and the Copa Libertadores semi finals after running out of steam. 

Probability 10/10: There’s left field, and there is the southwest corner on the map. Whether or not Tata’s inexperience in Europe will prove to be a handicap remains to be seen, but his appointment has certainly caught many of us by surprise. Sometimes in life, we just have to pick our jaws up from the floor and carry on.

Verdict x/10: To be completely honest, I can’t even begin to speculate how this move will work out for us. What we want, is someone who can win over the dressing room and who can implement some subtle changes to a team that, although possessing the best players of the world, showed some glaring weaknesses when up against first class opponents last season. What we got, is something of an x-factor.

From what I gather, Tata’s footballing style and philosophy are compatible with ours. Then again, the only team of his I have seen play is Paraguay. This could be viewed as a negative, for a similar defensive approach would not be accepted in the Camp Nou, but I disagree. A good coach sets up his team according to its players strenghts and weaknesses.

I certainly think that one of Martino’s big challenges will be to get players who have won it all (and then some) to believe in him. There are no guarantees, here. We have seen how one of the world’s best managers, whose motivation skills were widely (albeit grudgingly in some quarters) admired, got chewed up and spit out by our royal rivals last season. Likewise, some of the toughest decisions our new coach could possibly want to make (limit Puyol’s and Xavi’s playing time) might not go down all that well with our dressing room heavyweights.

It is said that Tata is a better communicator than Marcelo Bielsa, the man he is most compared with. He will need to be, just as we will need to be patient. Last year was supposed to be our transition year and it turned out to be a record-breaking year, during which our biggest victories were the return of Tito and Eric Abidal. Then life happened, and who knows how this year will unfold. What I do know is that we will support the club we love, regardless.

Benvingut, Tata! Visca Barça!


Categorized as Barcelona

By Levon

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. Didn’t see this was coming tbh. Well, welcome and like Messi said, it’s a pleasant surprise. Maybe this coach will bring in a different perspective to the team in terms of fresh motivation and ideas that we surely lacked in some parts during the CL last season. From what I’ve heard, he’s more defense minded which is good coz lord, you know we need it after letting in so many goals.
    Wonder how he will deal with a star studded group and the ego’s and how he’ll incorporate the young ones as well. Maybe he will be able to use JDS after all 🙂
    As a fan, I expect my team to win every title but, with all the things the club have gone through this summer and half our team not being back yet, I will just be thankful to see my team compete at the highest level and give it their all.
    Good luck to our new coach and wish him many trophies and hopefully at the end of the season, we will be saying ‘tata'(which is thank you in my country) for all the cups we would have won.


  2. There were many anti Rosell fans who were saying that Rosell will go for a big name and/or a Brazilian because of his connections. And in the end, he went for an unknown coach.

    I really pity the people at the top sometimes all over the world, they get so much stick.

  3. I gotta re post this comment from Laurentiu88 as it was Hectored.

    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

    Pep and Cruyff is another example of the student perfecting it.

  4. I heard Tom Vickery saying that this signing was all about Messi. I call BS on that. I suspect lazy journalism from his side. Just because they’re from the same city doesn’t mean that Tata is the best man for Messi, as if he isn’t already the best.
    And I hope he (Tom Vickery) doesn’t imply that Messi had a hand in Tata’s appointment.

    1. He absolutely had a hand in it and to suggest Tim Vickery is a lazy journalist is slander against a very very good journalist. Whether or not the board and Rosell were bullied into making himt he 1st team coach is up for debate and we’ll probably never know. However, to not think Messi had a input into the situation is simply naive

  5. The Paraguay National Team star striker was shot in the head at a night club shortly before the 2010 World Cup began.

  6. He ticks most of the right boxes, but can he go toe to toe with Ancelotti and Guardiola?

  7. It seems to be a well concidered and bold decision ad the same time. Right as I like it. I’m looking forward to see the gameplans of Tata. And hats of to Zubi and Rosell.

  8. The fact that the new coach has no experience in Europe has been mentioned over and over again.

    Can someone please explain how this might manifest itself? What is unique about European football that distinguishes it from South America football?

    The main difference I can see is that Barca plays many more matches each season than most if not all South American team. But that says more about FCB than European football…In any case, he certainly would have to figure out how to compete in multiple competitions simultaneously and be expected to win all of them.

    1. Well, if he tends to burn his teams out by the end of the season, and we play more matches that he’s used to, then I think that would be a concern. We don’t want our guys dead tired/injured by the end of the season again.

    2. And don’t forget that Barça plays a lot more competitive matches than Bayern. The Liga has more teams (20 to 18) and the cup is played over two legs.
      I hink that Barça and Real (shame on me) should adress this… Or find an agreement to loose 5 matches to minor rivals during the season…

  9. “The fact that the new coach has no experience in Europe has been mentioned over and over again.

    Can someone please explain how this might manifest itself? What is unique about European football that distinguishes it from South America football?”

    Well for one, because of the time and energy spent in South America, he will simply have less knowledge of both the players and the team strategies in Europe.

    1. About if a south american coach will have knowledge about european fooball, I think it is the other way around. Most europeans know little or nothing about South American football. Spanish press has succesfully proven this point. People who are passionate about football here (South America) are deeply aware of what happens in important leagues in Europe and in the CL. I think that a coach as obssessive and hard worker as Martino will have some knowledge about it. What it worries me the most is that he will not be able to deal with the “entorno”, the press, and all that happens in spanish football from the start. For example, Pep and Vilanova didn’t like to give 1 on 1 interviews, because that can be misrepresented as favouritism for a media company, and its consequence can be as notorious as receiving animosity of a rival media company. I could not agree more with Pep’s and Tito’s decision on this respect. Martino has already stated that he won’t distance himself from the press. I also worry of his laidback attitude in giving statements for the press. Tata told the press that he was thankful of Messi, because he thought that he gave a positive opinion of him to the club. I think he did it honestly and meaning well. Some spanish press are already misrepresenting that to say that Messi chose the coach and bla bla bla. He has to adapt quickly to the politics in Barça and how to be more reserved with the press and entorno. Pep, Cruyff and Van Gaal didn’t have problems only with the board, let’s remember that.

      About the differences between european and southamerican football, I would say that that depends on the country. There’s a quote about Martino saying that “the argentinian league was probably the most competitive football league in the world, but that if he was an spectator he would stand no more than 10 minutes of watching a game from there.”
      He was honest and I totally agree with him. But that, in Spain, can be misrepresented as being disrespectful.
      About the differences between european and southamerican
      About argentinian football, I see it as a more physical and tactical football, build on set-pieces and pressing and strong defenses almost dirty in their way of playing. There’s not jogo bonito in Argentina, until Newells this year, and other clubs from now and then. The refs are more laidback in Argentina. It’s an aggressive and not-pretty-to-see league in my opinion. But as I said before, this depends on the league. In Brasil, refs protect so much the player that they give a foul for the slightest touch. That’s why I think that technical brazilian players at first have such a hard time in adapting to european tackles and complain that much. Martino also said that before, argentian players were so technical they didn’t worry about the physical part of the game. And that now they ONLY worry about the physical part of the game.

      I think this can go so great or bad for us. Extremes. I like that he’s a bielsista and I like how Newells played, actually a player from my country played on that team, Rinaldo Cruzado, played for him and has always said he’s a brilliang coach. But I truly disliked the way Paraguay played before. He’s practical though. So we know he will adapt to the squad on his hands. He too has to adapt quickly to the “entorno”, press, directive, politics, and of course, to the dressing room, cantera, etc. This will be interesting to watch. I really hope he succeeds on Barça.

    2. I’m not saying he won’t have any knowledge about European football, and as you rightly point out, South Americans know more about the European competitions than the other way around. But he won’t know as much as European coaches, for the simple fact that European coaches watch (and analyze) more European football.

      Will it work against him? Maybe, maybe not. It might not matter a bit. I would hope that he keeps some of the Barça assistants around, just to keep things balanced.

    3. I was asking myself the same. What will happen to Roura and Rubi, and the other 3 physical trainers led by Altamira if Martino will bring his staff of 3 assistants with him? I don’t know about this, but can we have so many assistants?

  10. Yippee, Bayern match live on Sky tomorrow….

    I know, I’m not sure I want to watch it either.

  11. I don’t blame any one who is thinking he is not good because you guys don’t follow South America Football. I am big fan of South America Football and i have watch lots of Newell’s Old Boys games and i never miss Copa Libertadores games like UCL. I am going to tell you some thing about EL Tata. El Tata is Newell’s Old Boys best player in history. He have won 3 league with them as a player ( 2 when Bielsa is Manager ). He is an attacking Midfielder or he is Bielsa iniesta. He have played only one time for Argentina and its manly because he don’t move to Europe like others. EL Tata as a Manager is very successful he have won 4 Paraguayan Primera División with two teams between 2002 and 2006. He have played possession football with both teams. In 2006 he become Paraguay coach. An we all know they are not that good team. Paraguay finish 2nd in 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier just 1 points behind 1st. In 2010 FIFA World Cup Paraguay stunned every one and who know EL Tata are also stunned because they are playing defensive football and EL Tata known for very attacking football and it shows he always have plane B. Paraguay are very unlucky not to reach final but it is reaching semi is very big achievement but EL Tata it is not and he want to step down because reaching semi is not good he want to win but Paraguay FA make he stay until Copa America 2011 in which he reach final which is also big achievement for Paraguay but EL Tata step down. After he become coach of Newell’s Old Boys in which he shows he is Master of Tiki Taka. Newell’s Old Boys scored most goals and have most possession in Copa Libertadores 2013.He played 4-3-3 formation with CF ( who help in midfield like Messi ). He is Master of Tiki Taka like Luis Enrique but he always have plane B but Luis Enrique don’t have plane B thats why he fail in Roma. He is Experience and he is unproven in Europe is false because he has experience World Cup ( biggest tournament in world ) where he is best Manager. He always want to win every thing which is most important thing to manage team like Barcelona. He trust youngster a lot and rotate players which is lacked by tito thats why Barca players face lots of injury and are not 100% fit. EL Tata have all true FC Barcelona Fans support. Visca EL Tata Visca Barca

    1. Ditto ooga aga. Nicely said, efcmentor! I don’t follow SA footy as much as I should so any info is a great help!

  12. Lots say that if he plays Bielsa-ball all season he will wear out the players. But Barca isn’t Bilbao. The depth of talent is huge, with a world-class replacement at every position (except maybe Centre-Back, but who cares about them). what will be interesting is whether he can persuade Messi/Neymar to commit to high pressing.

    1. “what will be interesting is whether he can persuade Messi/Neymar to commit to high pressing.”

      Especially in a World Cup year in which both players carry the hopes of their respective (and very fanatical) nations on their shoulders.

    2. IMHO, I think Neymar will be willing to do the pressing because he’s already showed he will in the Confederations Cup. For us to be the team we were under Pep, we NEED Messi pressing again. Every player needs to press. I think Messi wanted him and he and Messi get along well. Messi obviously respects him, so I’m sure if he asks Messi to press, he will. I am curious where he’ll play Cesc and if he’ll rotate Xavi more often then Pep and Tito. I’m excited. He seems like just the coach we could want in the wake of Tito stepping down.

  13. I trust him. Just have a great feeling about it. And come on we all wished sometimes just to be Chelsealona.. less heartattacks for sure. If we can play our own football with defensive greatness i am sastified, not sure if we are going to win something big this year but i am optimistic.

  14. Thanks for the post Levon! I’ve been reading up like everyone else. Actually, I went to Sport for some info. and wound up clicking through the players’ vacation photos ‘cuz I’m shallow like that. And I just wanted to say that Kxevin totally works like RIGHT HERE and I am always like RIGHT THERE too and I am now so p-o’ed that when Messi & Friends came to Chicago we had walked through the door only 10 hrs. after a 17-day road trip and I told my h. that if he thought I was gonna squeeze my 7 month preggo bod into that *^%#@# Corolla for another 3 hours he got another think coming. And thanks to efcmentor for the great comment, I learned a lot and remembered how much fun it was to find myself rooting for Paraguay ? … !


    1. WHAT … is your name?
      WHAT … is your quest?
      WHAT … is your favorite color?

  15. I always find myself wondering whether cules ever manage to work up the nerve to leave the house, much less cross the street, get in cars or do any of the stuff that ordinary folks do, so fraught with trepidation is the life. Let’s have a very quick gander at what this latest disciple of Bielsabub hath, and might wrought:

    — Pragmatic enough to take a Paraguay side far, that was reeling from a significant loss. One saved PK away from dumping Spain.

    — Took a Newell’s side with quality and played beautiful, flowing, expansive football.

    — No European experience? Gotcha. And Guardiola and Rijkaard had how much European experience before they came?

    — He might run the players down, like all Bielsabub worshipers …. including Guardiola, but it took him three seasons to do it.

    Folks should relax, until we know what this man is going to do. He doesn’t really seem to have a style, despite the insistence of many pundits that he does. Like all coaches, he adapts to his personnel, and he has some pretty damned good personnel.

    And here is something strange, that I never thought I would type: Jonathan Dos Santos might be useful this season, for a coach who will be wanting bodies and squad depth, to keep a cadre of fresh legs around. Yikes! I have to go have a lie down, now.

    1. And here is something strange, that I never thought I would type: Jonathan Dos Santos might be useful this season, for a coach who will be wanting bodies and squad depth, to keep a cadre of fresh legs around. Yikes! I have to go have a lie down, now.

      Truly, a sign of the apocalypse.

  16. i have watched about all of barca’s games for the last 10 years..and i honestly don’t understand why jds hasn’t gotten a better shot with the first team. of course i recognize the abundance of midfielders in line before him..but every time i watch him he seems to have great positioning, takes good care of the ball, and plays solid passes.. from what i’ve seen-he’s very possession oriented..it seems he’s consistently a part of the mexican national team..but he’s become a joke to most people on the internet…what is the major gripe that everyone has against him? because i’ve never seen any major glaring deficiencies when i watch him-which is admittedly very rare…maybe i should be watching barca b games more often…

    on a more worrisome note…is anyone else feeling morbidly uneasy about our friendly with b.m? we’re bringing 11 b teamers, while b.m seems to be playing like maniacs?…i know this game doesn’t mean anything in the standings..but with all the changes going on recently i think it’s important to keep the enery positive..seems like pretty poor timing for us…

    1. Dos Santos would start for many a Liga side. At Barça, he lacks that last degree of sharpness and fluency on the ball necessary to really crack the squad. I think that for the last two coaches, “Almost good enough” just hasn’t cut it. Same with Afellay.

      But we don’t know what kind of view Martino has for the squad. There could well be a place in it for Dos Santos. But I have to think that if he wasn’t going to play for Vilanova, I don’t see him playing for Martino, unless he takes the midfield in rather a different direction.

      — As for the Bayern friendly, it was always going to be what it was: a moneymaker for the club, that gives the sprouts a chance for a nice run out. It’s as meaningless as any other friendly, even though cules will see Armageddon if we lose by some lopsided score. Can’t be helped, I reckon.

    2. JDS’ time in Barca is up. He was touted not long ago as Xavi’s heir in central midfield and Thiago as Iniesta’s heir in attacking midfield.

      Their fortunes have taken on different directions since then, with JDS’ taking a turn for the worse with young Sergi Roberto leapfrogging him in the pecking order. I always thought there was more room for him to develop, but he may have already hit his ceiling.

      He may not get our pulses racing, but if Sociedad feel that he can replace Illaramendi, we may yet be proven wrong.

    3. I think the same, andrecito. As much as I’ve disliked Thiago —for example— I’ve never disliked JDS at all: tactically disciplined, brave, skilled and confident with the ball. There was a time, years ago, when I saw in him the best «copy» of Xavi among the youngsters. And he’s versatile too: IIRC, Rikjaard or Pep made him play as RB and he did well, and he did well also in Busi’s role.

      But then one wonders why he doesn’t play more. Perhaps because of his refusal to spend a year or two away?

    4. He could still prove us wrong (if he goes to Sociedad), or right (if he stays and turns into the player the team hoped he would).

      The team is filling out nicely despite the absence of another central defender. But something tells me that we’re two injuries away from a crisis in every position. If our players start getting their usual knocks, where do we turn? Are any of the Barca B players ready to fill in? Dongou, Samper, Grimaldo or Sergi Gomez perhaps? What’s the noise on the development of our babies?

    5. Of those four you mention, I think only Samper will get some playing time. By the way, if any of you is following Euro U-19, keep an eye on Adama Traoré: he plays mainly as RW; he is just 17, and is lean and tall, very skilled with the ball and runs and moves like a cheetah. If I’m not mistaken he’s been promoted to Barça B for next season (haven’t found official confirmation).

    6. I’ve heard good things about him, as well as with Ie and Ca from the B team. Haven’t really heard of these three prior to a few weeks ago, but they’re apparently making noise.

      Samper has a shot in the first team? Isn’t he only 16?

    7. Time flyes! Samper is already 18, almost ripe for the first team!

      About Le and Ca, who were at Barça B last season, they practically didn’t play (don’t know exactly why), and, when they did, there was nothing to write home about.

    8. In the last Barca B matches of the season, where IE was finally called up to play – he was excellent.

      There’s a lot to write home about that.

      If you watched the matches, you would know.

    9. You’re right about the name, barcaleya. As for the quality of Ié, it looks that the technical staff (more eyes than those of Eusebio, thankfully) didn’t see that much excellence in him: He’s out.

    10. “The team is filling out nicely despite the absence of another central defender. But something tells me that we’re two injuries away from a crisis in every position.”

      The above statement sums up my fears also. Which is why i think we need not one but two defenders.
      We might have better players to other big teams in Europe but in terms of squad depth, we are severely lacking. Compare that to the likes of Bayern, Madrid, City and Chelsea.

      We can only pray and hope that our better players survive the 60+ game long season.

    11. But it isn’t like I can rely on their judgement, can I CuleToon?

      If he’s out it probably means he’s good rather than bad. That’s how unreliable the judgment of Eusebio and his staff are.

      Espinosa has always been a really good player yet he’s been mostly benched while regularly playing someone like Lobato.

      So, in this particular case – these people’s judgement are not a good indication of the player’s talent. [Not surprised your opinions hew closely to theirs.]

      However, I rate Pep’s judgment very highly. He saw talent and use for players like Busquets and Pedro.

      When Pep says that Thiago has talent and is a definite starter, I believe him. His matches at Bayern have done nothing to dispel that belief. Pep’s evaluation of Thiago is in stark contrast to yours. Between Pep and you – who would I most likely believe?

    12. So CuleToon – you admit that you have always disliked Thiago. Not just because of the most recent even but ~ always.

      Just made it convenient to build the fire against him cause he left, right?

    13. the reason JDS hasnt gotten a better shot with the first team is that he gives the ball away more than thiago and probably has less pace than T as well. plus hes very small. not a bad player, but im gonna say, not barca quality. he doesnt have a future here. i hope he proves me wrong because he seems like a nice lad. now that his BFF thiago is gone maybe it will be easy to pry him away from his nest.

    14. How curious/odd is the human species… I, for example, think just the opposite of what you say. I would say that JDS doesn’t lose, by far, as many ball as Thiago; that he has a very good first touch pass —first-touch long-pass, even— and that, in his usual position, he doesn’t need that much pace (like Xavi, for instance). We see the same player, yet we don’t.

    15. Is that some deep philosophical observation about the human specie, CuleToon? That someone has a different observation from you? Did you happen to watch the exact same matches?

      If in the matches ooga saw JDS lost more balls than Thiago, he could validly make that observation. Just as you can make that observation IF in the matches you saw, Thiago lost more than JDS. Or at least, in the overall matches that you both saw.

      Nothing there to make an observation about the curiosity of the human specie.

      What I find more curious is how you, who live in Barcelona and purport to know so much about the players and the club, even when you have no insider knowledge except what everyone gets to read and watch no matter where they are in the world – do not even know the name of Edgar IE. It’s an I not an L.

      Yet so many people here believe what you say just because you live in Barcelona.

      Now that I find really curious.

  17. So, the club is going to honor Vilanova’s contract, which has a year left, and then they will sit down with him and discuss what is next. You would be forgiven for seeing parallels between this and the Abidal situations.

    In September, Vilanova is going to start working with ZubiZa and the sporting staff, in some as-yet-undisclosed capacity.

    1. Well, Abidal was offered a job with the club after his contract run out.

      I see two big differences here:
      1) Tito is not a player.
      2) The board is not waiting until the contract runs out to let him know if he will continue in his current job/function at the club.

      I think in this case Barça is doing the right thing. A person whose cancer keeps coming back should work in a stress free environment. Being the head coach of our club is not that.


    2. just want to send some love to tito here as well. it’s amazing how the world can march on, it never stops for any one’s travails

    3. I am not sure what kevin is implying but if indeed my guess is right that’s the perfect way to handle tito situation as was abidal’s. They got renewed until after their disease was dealt with and then the club made a sporting decision.
      You may not go along with this decision but the process is fine./

    4. To be less subtle, I wonder if there will be another sad presser, with Rosell and ZubiZa flanking a weepy, reluctant Vilanova.

      Don’t assume judgment, or leap to defend a position. That would be errobeous. Simply taken on the surface, parallels abound.

  18. As we say here, Tata is like an «uncut melon»: As much as you vaue it from the outside —weighing it up, tapping it to hear the sound, looking at marks at the rounded end— you won’t know for sure until you «open» it…

    – His pragmatism is evident: he adapts to what he has. Solid pressing, defensive and counter-attacking football with technically limited players (Paraguay, both at NT and club levels), and brilliant attacking football with more gifted players, but without sacrificing pressing and defense. He stated it clearly in his presser yesterday: «I must adapt to the players and the club» (not the other way around).

    Of course, his emphasis on pressing up high raises doubts about the potential burning out of the squad, but I think it will depend on the degree of rotation he’ll make, and perhaps forgotten players like JDS will play an important role. This is a pre-WC season and the frequency of the matches will be higher, almost two a week.

    And he’s also an uncut melon with regard to his knowledge of European football. But as others has said, South American football-people know a lot more about Euro football than the other way around, and Rijkaard, Guardiola or Tito didn’t have that much experience when they started.

    We just have to wait and hope that the melon doesn’t turn into a lemon.

    1. Melons? You’re being quite the Mourinhista, aren’t you?

      I reckon that Rijkaard and Guardiola had all the experience they needed. Both played at top level and in at least three different countries. Both learned from some of the best coaches in the history of the game (Cruijff, Van Gaal and Frank can add Arrigo Sacchi to that list).

      Rijkaard has never been that good of a coach and all the experience in the world hasn’t made him a better one today.

      Guardiola had set up (and motivated) his team so well that his Barça B was asked to slow down as to not embarass our first team.

    2. Hi there, prophet 😉

      What’s that with melons and mourinhism? Me no comprende.

      Of course, you’re right: Rijkaard and Guardiola had all the experience they needed, and their titles with Barça attest to it!

      As for Tata, I’d say that his experience is somewhat the same —if not better— that that of tose two. But it guarantees nothing, of course. Hence the «unopened melon» metaphor/set phrase.


      Did you say some days ago that yo have some knowledge of Catalan? If you don’t mind, I’d like you to tell a little more about it!

    1. From the comments there, it seems that he’s a right CB, like Piqué and Bartra…

    2. Watching his highlights indeed reminds me of bartra and pique.
      Yet sport never mentions how did they get a hold of this information and the supposed ‘interest’, This could be just wild guess work from their part, But i thought it was worth mentioning.

  19. i agree culetoon..ive never disliked jds…and i agree with your comparison with xavi…his head is always up and his body movement seems smooth…he’s always filled in at any position asked of him..and while it seems most people ridicule him on this point, ive actually admired his willingness to try to stick it out in the B team and earn his place at the club he loves..

    1. Apparently, JDS will play today in midfield (and I hope that Samper plays some minutes too). Remember that the game is at 18:30 CET.

  20. Is JDS as fast as his brother, who has, by the way, become the “best” (danger man) player on the very unsettled Mexico National Team in the past few games that I have watched?

    1. No, he’s not. As evidenced the couple of times Pep tried playing him at right back. He’s not as slow as Cesc, mind you.

    2. Poor Cesc! I agree that, oftentimes, he is unnervingly slow. But sometimes I’ve wondered if he is more fast than he seems, if that general impression of slowness is due to his looks, to his demeanor (in contrast to Pedro and all his «arm windmilling»)… Anyway, let’s see what Tata does with him this season if he shakes up things a little as we all expect he will do.

    3. No, Fabregas is for-real slow. The complexities that he creates when he is caught forward are numerous. And there is no way in hell he is going to be able to get back to cover without some sort of motorized device.

  21. as much as i want to be in full support of sergi roberto..i dont feel completely comfortbable with him just being given “thiago’s” spot..i think comptetion with jds would bring the best out of both of them…btw, why wasn’t sergi roberto on the u-21 squad that just won the euro’s? injured? didnt make the cut?

    ive seen this as the possible starting lineups for tomorrow..

    Bayern Munich Starting XI: Neuer, Philipp Lahm, Daniel van Buyten, Jerome Boateng, Diego Contento, Toni Kroos, Martinez, Thiago, Arjen Robben, Franck Ribéry, Thomas Müller

    FC Barcelona Starting XI: Pinto, Montoya, Bartra, Mascherano, Adriano, Song, Dos Santos, Sergi Roberto, Tello, Messi, Alexis

    as much as i think that we’ll have our hands full… im so happy the start of preseason is here!!! lets enjoy it, and not get too bogged down with the result..our youngsters have so much to prove, i’m looking forward to some surprises:)

    1. Well, Thiago didn’t really have a spot, except on the bench, but I see what you mean. For me, they are different kinds of players who perform different types of tasks. The job of our new coach will be to adapt what we can do to what we have. Here’s anticipating.

      Fully agree about the potential result, and reading anything at all into it, win, lose or draw. I just want to see quality play from the young’uns, and no injuries.

    2. So Kevin, if apparently Thiago “didn’t really have a spot, except on the bench” – then why are you so bitter about him leaving?

      Why would you not want a player who did not have spot except on the bench – in your own words – leave the team?

      So you want the team to bleed money and pay mjllions to players who will only sit on the bench?

      How funny

  22. What is the BfB consensus on the (supposed) new stadium?
    I fear Rosell is playing these cards similar to the Qatar deal. The 3 options he speaks of may please some initially, but it looks like he is steering this in a manner to get his way (new stadium. somewhere else)

    Personally, I want the current space to be retained. The charm is irreplaceable. Ideally I’d want the Camp Nou to be renovated / reformed So that we have some corporate boxes and the whole thing just becomes a bit fancier. The Norman Foster design was something I was very excited by. Definite NO would be my vote for moving from the current grounds.

    1. Ha! Exact same comment at almost the exact same time. Very funny. Philosophically I am against it, even as I understand the value of a new stadium to the club. The romantic fool in me is torn. If there were a way to do it in a manner that wouldn’t totally corrupt the last vestige of tradition, I’d be totally down with it.

      But you just know that Rosell and the Minions are going to whore it out. I would expect fewer seats at a higher ticket price per, plenty of luxury boxes, a mall, etc.

    2. Exactly my fears. I hope to god it doesn’t happen. It’d be as bad or worse than the shirt whoring. But the stadium apparently needs a revamp. cracks on concrete, paint peeling off, types.

  23. @culetoon: What is the local view on new stadium vs rehabbing present Nou? Faus today is certainly building the foundation for new, saying that new could mean an additional 25m per annum for the club.

    It’s clear that the club is between a rock and hard place with this, as matchday revenues don’t in any way match up with the club’s place on the global stage, being dwarfed by other big clubs.

    1. No public talk about that here. It’s as if this proposal doesn’t exist. Expect the propaganda machine blasting at full power just some weeks before the voting, in favor of the option that best suits Rosell & Co.

      My personal opinion? Just rehab the present Camp Nou: level the stands, reach those 120.000 «seats» of old, wash and rinse, and put on a nice covering.

      (Those 120.000 «places» were reached when some parts of the Camp Nou were for standing spectators, although, during the many years that I was there, I only remember one match —a supercup match against RM decades ago— in which we had to stand up because it was full to the brim; at all the other matches at that time, you could sit down happily on the steps (no cushions though).

    1. Napoli had a bunch of money to spend from the Cavani deal, and didn’t want to let it ride. So they went shopping at RM. Bought Albiol and somebody else, to the tune of around 60m total.

    2. Higuain didn’t want napoli, He wanted arsenal, But they offered less, And that’s for you is the difference between us and RM.
      They have no problem forcing a player someplace else to milk more money, Yet we do, Villa is a good example, There were clubs offering 10m euros for him, But we respected his wishes and accepted the pathetic 2m of Atletico.

      Man i love my club.

    3. Atletico are paying Villa 11 million next year. The other clubs weren’t, and we’d have to pay the difference. The overall fee is not that much less compared with selling to Tottenham.

    4. Sorry buddy, But your info is wrong, Villa will have a salary of 4.5 m euros, Which actually is a downgrade from the 6m he used to earn with us.
      The 11m figure is something that would’ve happened if he remained with us, Once he joins another club, They’ll agree on their own terms and salary.
      The fact remains that we could’ve sold him to Tottenham and earned 10m instead of 2, But we respected his wishes.


    1. Yeah but for the life of me I can’t understand why we agreed to this game at this time.

    2. Having seen the first half, it’s OK for me. It will boost our moral and will diminish theirs.

  24. Ok, not sure I want to watch this. Don’t like the new strips – almost impossible to read the numbers. Also, if we’re gonna lose goals like the first a minute ago this could be a cricket score. Sure hope we’re closing in on a CB.

    1. Usually in the pre season friendlies I’m excited to see the youngsters but I was never so excited to see them halfway through the first half.

      The players looked so lost and lacked 100% self belief and (work rate) should probably try harder. Same issues as in the CL matches. And most of them as usual only looked for Messi.

      The B team players showed more courage and work rate and they pass and move better and played as a team. The

  25. They already scored…I can see pessimism creeping in the comments in BFB later on..

    1. Not al all! A more than decent display by a Barça lacking 11 internationals and in his first preseason match, against an almost complete Bayern in its 9th or 10th match… They had two-three clear chances, but so did we. Our honor is more than saved. Now, in the second half, let’s put 11 children in the field and let them score 12 goals more.

      It will not matter.

      (And beckembauer didn’t look that happy…)

    1. [Insert a «you naughty boy» emoticon here]

      I’ll start a movement asking for more emoticons. We lack A LOT of them…

  26. I liked our overall display considering the circumstances. But i surely dont like it when an experience player cant pass the ball for 10 meters in a straight line.

    1. Remember, it’s their first preseason match, with just 9 days of training, and with the bad news about Tito in between…

    2. Nevertheless, they are professionals, playing for years, i’m sure they have learned until now how to make a simple pass without giving the ball to opponent.
      And this while not pressed.
      The kids did it more maturely, hats off to them.

  27. For the first match for Barca, it’s going better that I thought it would. We still need a defender though.

  28. Impressive first half so far. Add Neymar, Alves, Iniesta, Busi, Alba and Bayern will face a stiffer challenge. Dont forget Pedro and Xavi.

  29. Well that went better than expected, Considering the various circumstances, Proud of them.

  30. Kids did fine on the second part, I would say that they even pressed harder and did better defensively than our squad on the first part.
    Fox sports narrator was angry with Roura for making 11 substitutions on the second part. How dare he! All of that because narrator didn’t know the names of our kids. Being argentinian he was happy that Martino though.

  31. B team did better tbh and were unlucky to concede that goal. They were just missing in the final third. The defense was less panicked too. Guess that 7-0 gave nightmares to our first team defenders as they were clearly frazzled at times.

  32. I agree with TITO. It looked like they forgot how to pass. I thought it was the lack of practice but the B players had no such problem. None of them.

    Btw Tito, are you going to change your nick name to Tata?

    1. No way.

      There’s only one Tito, and i have to admit, it’s not our beloved ex-coach. 🙂 (i had to put emoticon here, just in case)

  33. I know that this has been said a thousand times on this board but I still personally have problems with how the false 9 tactic is being implemented. I think its limiting the danger our wide men pose.

    It is therfore my prayer above even signing a centre back that Tata at the very least reviews that position. Maybe play Messi as a ten? or Neymar ahead of him? Anything really.

    Our attacking play is too intricate.
    We need to take advantage of chaos, the kind of chaos that generates itself in more direct play.
    We are the masters at Tiki taka. Now lets expand the template.
    I think we can pick up a few things form bayern.

    1. That chaos you talk about has a name: Neymar.

      Watching Tello (I don’t see nothing really special in him, either) receiving the ball today at the left side of Bayern’s area and doing nothing special, I said to myself, «just imagine Neymar there!».

      Things would/will change a lot.

  34. By the way, I read some words from Menotti today (don’t remember where) in which he said something along the lines of, «We must not worry about Messi and Neymar fighting like two cocks in a coop; they are not two cocks, they’re just two chicks that still love football like children».

  35. I know this is not the point of the article, but I wanted to address the comment about the team “possessing the best players of the world”. Let’s get real, those days are gone. A couple years ago u could say that. Xavi was at, or close to his prime, pique and puyol were among the best defenders, Villa was a lot more dangerous, and so was pedro. But Xavi is past his prime now, pique’s personal life has taken away from his professional one, puyol is older and injured most of the time, villa hasn’t been the same since his big injury, pedro is not anywhere near where he was (for his club, at least). The only players we have that are among the best in their positions are Messi, Iniesta, and Busquets.

    I’m not trying to be negative with this post, just real. We are not among the elite of Europe anymore, an elite team does not lose a tie 7-0. We won the Liga with a huge point total, but couldn’t beat Real Madrid and struggled against quality opposition all year, losing to Celtic, having it rough against Milan, and barely making it past PSG.

    One day we will be back, but not this season. The squad from last year has not changed anywhere near enough. The only good thing is that we got Neymar. Our defense will still be pretty bad, and we still have a team consisting of mostly midgets. Realistically, if we were to reach the semis again this year it should be considered a massive accomplishment.

    All dominant teams reach their demise eventually, but I must say, it is disappointing how it happened to this team. The team made incredibly poor transfer decisions that led to the Bavarian disaster.

    Bringing in players that we did not need seemingly just because they were Spanish, like Jordi Alba and Fabregas. Bringing in Cesc wasn’t exactly a horrible decision, it’s just that we splashed so much money on him when he wasn’t exactly needed, because of his relationship with many players in our squad and cause he is Catalan. He has underperformed, but no matter what he will not be sold, because he is Catalan. Tito last season seemed compelled to play him no matter what, putting him in a false “9” position which did not work in any significant match. Real? Please, just bench him this season if his performances continue like this. What’s really frustrating here is that when we needed a defender, that’s when we should have splashed out all that money. Instead? The club did not do a damn thing about it.

    Jordi Alba? Very good player, but the last player that we needed. We already had a very attack minded right back in Daniel Alves, why on earth would we buy another attack minded midget to be our primary left back? We need to stop buying players because they are Spanish. I have nothing wrong with the guy, but he is weak, and not a defensive rock. Not what we needed.

    It is obvious that we needed to buy a defender this summer, probably even two. Instead, we splashed the money on Neymar. For real?? This brings me to my final point, the one I find most frustrating. What in the **** happened to Ibrahim Affelay? The guy was never given consistent first team action, and I don’t understand why. He didn’t play bad at all, he had many encouraging moments. With the limited playing time he had, he still made a historic play against RM in the CL (one that for some absurd reason, 90 % of Barca fans have forgot, but not me, NEVER me) Fabregas or Sanchez have never delivered like he did that night. Yet what does the club do? They barely give him any playing time the next season, then ship him off to shalke? Real?

    Affelay gives something that nobody on our team does, he plays with pace and plays direct. He adds something. He is not a midfielder who plays as a forward, he is pacy winger that would have been real nice to have last season. If our new coach has any sense, he will give this guy some starts this season, give him a god damn chance.

    1. Oh hooey. We have never had the best players in the world at every position, but we can still lay claim to many of the best players in the world. “Best” is obviously a subjective evaluator, so no team can ever have the “best” players in the world, even though it might be the best team in the world. But let’s look at our lineup:

      Valdes: One of best keepers in the world
      Alves: Is there a better RB in the world?
      Pique: Um … okay … but certainly one of best, on form.
      Mascherano: Excellent defender
      Alba: Starts for Spanish NT, best in the world right now.
      Busquets: One of best DMs in the world
      Iniesta: Nothing to say here.
      Xavi: Not at his best, but still the best controlling mid extant.
      Messi: Ha haaaa!
      Sanchez: Still developing, but will soon be one of best in world.
      Neymar: Immense talent, already one of best in world, will improve.

      I just can’t buy the argument that we aren’t an elite team any longer, particularly with the personnel that we have. If you look at what that team went through last season, if you had told me before the season that all of that would happen, not to mention Guardiola scuttling down the ratlines and leaving an exhausted (mentally and physically) bunch, I would have laughed sufficiently hard to rupture something.

      Might Afellay and Dos Santos (to name another) get a good, hard look this season, with that new coach and all? Sure. But fit and healthy, I firmly believe we are the best team in the world.

      So many people let the Bayern matches define the season, then hastens to dismiss the record-setting Liga performance, and making the semis with a group of walking wounded. I, for one, don’t buy that discussion. Could we beat RM? Nope. But could they beat teams that we beat, to win the Liga by double digits? Nope.

      Last season was history, this season is yet to happen. Let’s not let the ghosts of the past rattle chains of achievements still to happen.

    2. Haven’t been paying a lot of attention to football this summer, so I was surprised to see you mention Valdes, thought he had left. Glad he is staying another year. I don’t want to dispute your post too much, because a lot of it is opinion and maybes, so we will have to wait and see.

      I did not include Alba and Alves on my list although individually, they are among the best in their position. But both on the same team is just not gonna cut it, Alves worked really well when Abidal was there. They complimented each other perfectly, cause Abidal is primarily a defensive fullback. We should have gotten Alba only if Alves left, cause right now our defense is really suspect against any good counter attacking team.

      Pique is one of the best when on form, but consistency is very important and I have to say most games, he is not on form. Reminds me a lot of Manu Ginobli these days, except he doesn’t have the excuse of being old.

      We will have to see about Sanchez and especially Neymar, who could become the best player in the world, or flop completely, young players are never a guarantee. Let’s hope.

    3. Too many things here to dispute although I disagree with a fair bit of it. One of the few bits I’d agree with is regarding Sanchez. Affelay was a very ordinary player who some here overrated big time. He’ll find his level eventually although it wont be at Barca but I would say that nobody deserves the injuries he has had. Likewise Cuenca.

      Looking forward to seeing the doubters on Neymar reconsidering 🙂

      Enjoyed the second half and applaud the decision to play the kids. They moved the ball more quickly than those in the first half where imo Bartra may have done his chances no good at all. Only real negative was seeing all those young defenders of ours and nobody huge ! Surely our scouts must have been told to look for some giants ?

    4. Sorry, disagreeing with Cule not Kxevin ! Happy to do so but on this occasion I agree with every word Kxevin says above ( at least I think it will be above … )

    5. You raise many points Cule, and I agree in some but not in others. I disagree specially with regard to Affellay.

      Nobody can know the percentages of people remembering Affelay at that CL match against RM. I do remember, though, the only special thing he delivered at that match after he came as a sub rather late in the game: leaving Marcelo seated on the floor with a very nice dribble and making a nice cross to Messi that only someone like Messi could put to goal. He didn’t have time to do many more things.

      Then, poor Ibi has been more at the infirmary than at the pitch, and on the few matches we have seen him play I, at least, never saw nothing to write home about (except that dribble-cross, and because it ended in a beautiful goal).

      It’s like what happened with Thiago today, but in a sustained form. If you’ve watched the 15 mins of the warm-up before today’s match against Bayern, the images of the German Channel were Thiago, Thiago, and more Thiago, live, slow-cam and ultra-slow cam. It was Thiago everywhere! Why? Clearly because someone has sold Thiago to Bayern and to German football in general as the best thing since sliced bread. They had a lot of expectation about that «New Ronaldinho». And then, what? How would you say Thiago played? Did he deliver according to what was expected of him? Not today, for sure.

      Ibi was not expected to be the «new nothing», but he was considered one of the best players —or the best— in Eredivisie, no small feat. So it was fair to expect something special from him. And, as far as I can say, he never delivered nothing truly special except for that single-dribble-and-cross-that-is-remembered-because-of-Messi’s-goal.

      I can see you like him a lot and feel hurt because you think that Barça, and Barça fans, have not been fair with him. But it’s just a personal opinion, like mine is. In the end, I’m sure that nobody at Barça —and I repeat, nobody— wants a promising player to fail, not even Ibi.

    6. The only issue I have is that he rarely played. He only got starts in La Liga when it was secured, other than it was just short sub appearances. His assist to Messi may have been the only special thing he did, but Fabregas and Sanchez have not contributed anything as significant as that, and they got a lot more time than him. Sanchez and Cesc both had strong starts to their first season then were kinda mediocre the rest of the way. Affelay did not get anywhere near the amount of playing time they did. Last summer, Affelay was told he had to wait for playing time. There is really no justification to this, no reason that Fabregas and Sanchez should be getting priority over him. What have they done?

  36. Ha haaaa, that was hilarious today! The Babies came in and more than held their own against what was still a first-choice lineup for Bayern, showing style, quality and what they can do when freed from the shackles of an eejit such as Eusebio.

    The first team looked about as lackluster as I expected. They were on the beach last week, probably still were mentally. But the Bs knocked me out, and gave me a bright, strong hope for the future. So much talent.

    The final scoreline was meaningless in this match. Folks got a nice runout, and the Bs got to show off. Too much fun.

    And yes, I giggled a bit at that bad Thiago giveaway. Couldn’t help it. And not sure here who watched the match, but I understand that a group of cules were chanting naughty stuff and Guardiola and Thiago. True?

    P.S. Nobody got injured. And my new nickname for Adriano is And He Walked Away, named after that famous crash video series, where a car or motorcycle has some horrific crash, and the driver walks away.

    1. Make that two giggles….. I also didnt really like his attitude before the start if the match but maybe hats me.


    Note to original commenter: This space has rules about spamming, such as posting a link to one’s article or blog post and saying “Check out this interesting article.” Better would have been “Here’s something I wrote, and would like some feedback, please.” That would be in the spirit of the space, and readers/commenters who have their own blogs have done that in the past.


    1. Interesting. The author is very right in his assertion that a lot of clubs (and fans) will cheer if or when UEFA cracks down on PSG.

      As for me, the only French club I can somewhat sympathize with is Olympique de Marseille, team of the only French city where people actually care about football.

    2. I’ve never been to Montpellier, but I’ve heard nice things about it.

      Apparently PSG games don’t even sell out which, for a city of like 8 million people, is a disgrace.

      Most of the the people I see in football jerseys when I’m in France are immigrants. French people are too busy liking rugby, or pélanque, or tennis, or not any sport at all. I’m not saying there aren’t any dedicated football fans there, but the sport is not a national obsession like it is in other European countries such as Spain, Holland, England, Germany, Italy, Portugal etc.

      Marseille being a notable exception. And perhaps Montpellier, too!

  38. There are persistent rumors that Martino wants to bring Santiago Virgini with him from Newell’s. Obviously if all you have to go on is YouTube highlights, you should wonder, because YouTube editing can make any of us seem like the best defender in the world. But this full-match one from a Boca faceoff is interesting:


  39. At this point, I’d also be really happy with a Rami purchase from Valencia. The guy’s always impressed me. Surely he must be available for <10-15M?

Comments are closed.