Bayern Munich 2, Barça 0, aka “The return of a class favorite … Kari!”

"Adriano! Squirrel!"
“Adriano! Squirrel!”

This, even though it appears under my name, is a minute-by-minute rundown from Kari, who many of you no doubt remember as a journalistic delight and breath of fresh air. So suffice it to say, when she banged out this piece and offered it to me, I said “Yes” faster than Adriano hopping on the injury cart. So heeeere’s Kari! (@officialkari on Twitter)

FCB v FCB – a running diary

I only have my laptop and a lot of free time right now, so I’m going to amuse myself by writing a really crappy min-by-min.

12:25 pm: The game is on my TV so I get to hear the GOLTV Canada dude go on about the obvious narrative here. For my sanity’s sake, I just won’t talk about it until I have to.

Our starting eleven consists of: Pinto – Montoya, Bartra, Mascherano, Adriano – Song, JDS, Sergi Roberto – Alexis, Messi, Tello.

I don’t understand why anyone would panic seeing a lineup like that. Messi is there and he counts as twenty extra players. The general consensus (though I’m not on Twitter so I wouldn’t know) seems to be that this will be very painful, though; Adriano’s hamstring twinges in solidarity.

12:27 pm: As I type that a slow-mo of Thiago laughing shows up on my TV. It’s going to be a long day.
He’s in the starting eleven for Bayern along with Neuer, Alaba, Dante, Somebody Boateng, Rafinha, Kroos, Lahm, Muller, Ribery and Robben.

I’ll probably have to do some retrospective editing once I find out who that somebody is. Everything is harder when you can’t get your starting eleven online. How did old school journalists manage?

12:31pm: Barça is coming out with the senyera kit. It’s so good the pre-match commentator actually ditches his professional stance and gives his personal opinion: it’s better than the neon kits that look like they were on fire.

Good to know.

12:33 pm: It’s all fun and games in the tunnel, with everyone hugging and laughing. If this were a movie, the camera would cut away right about now to the bloodbath that will probably occur on the pitch, with Javi Martinez snarling at everything that moves and Sergi Roberto aggressively pouting at the referee.

12: 34 pm: Dante’s afro is a thing of wonder.

12:35 pm: The referee is listed as Dr. Felix Brych. Doctor Felix Brych. We’ve got an overachiever in the stadium, guys.

GAME ON!

30 seconds in: Messi drives forward and curls a shot that misses the far post. This match has officially started better than any of our last preseason games.

"WUT?!"
“WUT?!”

2 min: Thiago dispossess Alexis of the ball and starts a move going forward that ends in a Pinto save. Don’t quote me on that, though, I’m having troubling seeing through my pool of tears.

4 min: Dante miscontrols and lets Messi in, which is pretty exciting, except Tello doesn’t do anything when Messi passes to him. In the resulting counter Ribery clips the ball over Montoya* and crosses to Robben at the far post. Anyone who knows Robben and doesn’t buy into the redemption narrative knows how that ends [SPOILER ALERT – in a bottled attempted at a goal]. “That was a close one!” breathes the commentator. It was, but it was also Robben so it really wasn’t.

*He was kind of owned there, to be honest. Like how Arbeloa gets owned every game, which is really saying something, given the level of ownage Arbeloa brings to the table on any given day. He’ll still make the national team, though, so no sweat off your back, Monty.

5 min: Camera pans to Pep for the first time. He’s standing magnificently in a white shirt and pants, which disappoints all the fashionistas, or maybe not, seeing how well he pulls off the casual look. How many times will the camera subject me to these shots during this game? I’m gonna say fifty.

7 min: “Lahm really looks like he’s enjoying himself,” the comm muses. “Considering he was a left back all his life.” He also feels he should mention David Alaba’s mom calls Alaba “Davey.” I’m already thinking of Davey Jones’ Locker. Thanks for that, comm.

8 min: It’s going back and forth between the two teams. Nothing is really happening, but Bayern is menacingly stringing together some deadly looking passes near the half-way line.

9 min: Bayern fans making some noise now, something that has the commentator remarking, “The crowd has realized that Barcelona hasn’t come for a nice stroll in the deep recesses of Bavaria.” No. No they haven’t. They might have come for a football game, but I’ll have to get back to you on that.

Oh, here’s a chance! Alaba sprints down the end and blasts a shot at Pinto’s diving mid-drift. Almost sent this 0-0 scoreline to the locker!

10 min: That was a terrible joke. I could do better.

10 min: Some niggling fouls here from Barça [and by niggling, I mean reckless sliding tackles that have me cringing, mostly from Mascherano, bless his aggressive heart]. Kroos and Robben take the resulting free kicks, but it come to naught – as you’d expect from Robben, not so much from Kroos.

Speaking of Kroos, the comm pronounces his name like a true German, which sounds weird considering the rest of the sentence is said with a posh British accent. I guess he really practised the name before coming on air. I wonder how he’d fare with Deulofeu. (Badly, I’d imagine, but he also probably wouldn’t call him Deufoleu like Everton, so there’s that).

11 min: Thiago fouls JDS near the centre circle. A longing look is exchanged by the two blood brothers. In my head.

There’s been another shot of Pep, by the way, but he was mostly obscured by those random people that are always on the touchline. It’s better this way.

12 min: Barça haven’t really been able to connect many passes together, but not for want of trying. Bayern pressing well enough and it probably helps that they have some Barça players passing to them, too.

13 min: The 7-0 has been mentioned more than JDS has in this game.

14 min: GOAL. Right on cue. Lahm scores a header after a fantastic pin point cross from Ribery. Philip Lahm scores a header. Lahm. Header. Scored. Of course he would.

15 min: The commentator isn’t as in tune with the poetic irony that surrounds Barça and their defence, though, so he says, “Who would’ve thought Phillip Lahm, who Bayern thought was made for right back, who had his name written on the position, engraved in the grass, would score a header!”

I did, comm. As soon as I saw he was in that position in front of the net. It was destiny.

17 min: Montoya and Sergi Roberto link up almost for a goal. TV has a reaction shot of Bastian Schweinsteiger on the bench because we all wanted to know what he felt about that near miss.

I don’t understand, either.

18 min: Commentators love to draw comparisons between established players and up-and-coming ones to help fans draw some kind of talent hierarchy for promising kids, probably for Football Manager purposes, which is fine, whatever. It tends to be flattering for the youngsters most of the time, anyway. But my commentator just compared Sergi Roberto to Cesc Fabregas which is nestled in the sweet spot between slightly flattering, hilariously offensive and damning with faint praise, depending on who you ask. (You know who you are.)

19 min: A meandering ball finds its way to the boot of Messi. He shuffles left to try and create a better angle for himself, but Bayern form a big, dark Berlin Wall in front of him. That means the shot was blocked and a counter for the Bavarians begin.

"Pony rides? Me next!"
“Pony rides? Me next!”

20 min: Surprisingly, they only slightly terrorize our defense and don’t get a shot in. The ball is pick-pocketed by Messi, but Muller and Kroos converge on him pretty much instantly and Dr. Felix whistles for a foul.

“It always surprises me how much stick that man can take,” the comm says. “Messi must be the most fouled player in the football business.”

Marca would probably disagree with you, comm. Marca would probably call you an Argentine sycophant who doesn’t pay their taxes and supports dictators.

24 min: Lahm is fouled by Mascherano and Robben stands over the free kick. “If you’re a Bayern fan, you’ll be hoping…” the comm starts, but aborts the sentence when he realises just who is over the free kick. He’s a quick study. Bayern fans already knew, comm.

28 min: The ball’s been popped around. Bayern’s been camped in the Barça half for a good four minutes. Neuer’s probably made himself a sandwich by now.

29 min: Barça get a rare ball down into the attack third. JDS throws caution to the wind and blasts one up and high over the crossbar, just to see if he’s paying attention. Neuer keeps on chewing his sandwich.

30 min: A nice passing move by Bayern ends with Muller stretching to toe poke the ball past Pinto but Adriano 2017 is there to get the ball away. Amazingly. His hamstring hasn’t snapped. Miraculously.

32 min: The commentator says the crowd has decided to amuse themselves by doing a Mexican wave. He’s really, really impressed by this.

34 min: Fouls on Ribery have surpassed the number of shots we’ve had all game. Luckily, Bayern’s free kicks have been as effective as Dani Alves’.

37 min: Tello on the left almost scores a golazo. Curls just around the wrong side of the post. Neuer had to put away his sandwich to dive for that.

39 min: The 7-0 has now been mentioned more times than JDS has in his entire career.

40 min: “Again, some shoddy defending from Barcelona almost gives the ball away to Robben,” notes the comm with some irritation, though that’s possibly just me projecting. Mascherano gets a yellow for cutting down Ribery by the patella. Comm is very unimpressed, calling it deliberately nasty, then decides to psychoanalyse the intention behind the challenge beyond completely failing to get near the ball.

“It’s obviously that wound Bayern inflicted in that semi-final,” he diagnoses. “Possibly more in-bred than we previously imagined.”

42 min: We have an actual doctor on the field, though, and he hands Bartra a yellow for manhandling Ribery whose foul count surpasses the number of successful passes by Barcelona.

44 min: Rafinha almost pulls a Messi vs Estudiantes in the CWC, chesting the ball towards goal but it hits the post. Neuer was beat, having not seen it coming, but then again he was making himself a new sandwich so that could be his own fault.

It’s the closest Barca have come to scoring, though. That should tell you everything about this game.

HALFTIME

Well, that was not as bad it probably should have been, all things considered. The shortest Bayern player scored the only goal separating the two sides with his head, but that’s just par the course for this Barca defense.

Also Thiago and Pep, but I won’t be going there right now.

I’m going to extrapolate and think people will be screaming for a CB after that. In all honestly what’s had me seething with bitterness and possibly unhealthy jealously is the verticalidad from Bayern. So crisp and beautiful, they always have at least two men open to receive a pass and they’ve got their geometry right. It’s nice to watch and also sucks lemons.

Oh, and apparently the team bus was stuck in traffic before the game. In retrospect we probably should have paid attention to that obviously ominous sign. The traffic just wanted to stop a massacre, guys. The traffic just wanted to protect unsuspecting cule hearts.

True, it’s only one-nil. But I’m channelling cule feelings here.

SECOND HALF

I see Kiko Femenia is on the pitch. Those who know me from following Barça B probably know I think he looks like a stoned surfer, which is a lot more affectionate than it probably sounds.

45 min: “It’s a completely new outfit for Barcelona. This is going to be fun!” the comm says with a shocking amount of glee. I’m actually blindsided by the genuine delight in his voice. What the hell, comm. I thought we had something. I thought you were on our side. I thought you were against bloodbaths and massacres. It’s like I don’t even know you.

46 min: I don’t know the lineup because I’m internet less, but I just saw Dongou. Jean Marie Dongou.
I mean, he probably won’t score, but hell to the yes. I’m stoked now, so stoked I actually used the word ‘stoked’ in a sentence like it’s 1999.

Also saw new Barça B player Dani Nieto. At least the latter will taste what it’s like to play under a proper manager before being subjected to a season of Eusebio.

47 min: The ball is passed around lazily by both teams. Comm reiterates how fun this will be, and he somewhat clarifies his stance by saying he hopes there’ll be a lot more goals. That’s still a pretty crappy thing to say considering there are innocent children on the field now.

48 min: A poster held by a beaming girl reads: “The best player in the world Messi Ribery. Bitten dein trinkot!” I don’t know what that means, but I do hope it’s German for “Kidding! I’m just trolling for the cameras!” It doesn’t sound like it, though.

51 min: The camera pans to Robben and Muller on the bench. I’m not sure what they want me to say about that, but Robben looks like he just came out of a strange version of Dutch GQ which makes me very uncomfortable for obvious reasons. Also, he looks slightly less bald from that angle but it might just be the shadow from the bench over his head masquerading as hair.

52 min: Thiago almost scores a header. “Already a great understanding between these new players and the old guard,” the comm notes, just to f— with me. The TV crew gets a great reaction shot of Pep walking back towards the bench, looking like he doesn’t give a damn.

53 min: In case you couldn’t tell, that was sarcasm. Pep wasn’t doing anything but we get five-second reaction shots of him standing and walking anyway. Glad to see you’ve got your priorities straight, cameraman.

54 min: “I can’t remember commenting on a game where a team has replaced their entire eleven with a new one,” the comm marvels, and just as I’m thinking a snarky comment about how he must be new to this friendly business, he adds, “Though I know this is a friendly game and it’s only preseason.”

55 min: Shaqiri shows some skill on the side to fool our left back, but his cross comes to nothing, and his hair makes him look like a douche.

56 min: It’s all Bayern right now as the Barça Babies try to hang on. Ribery cuts back in the box and lets one rip, probably looking to make his shots-on-goal count match his fouled count [impossible but preseason is the time to try new things] but Oier goes down to make a solid save.

58 min: Davey Jones is blowing this popsicle stand, along with Dante and Lahm, being subbed out for Van Buyten and Gustavo … No, wait, that was just a random shot of Davey Alaba. It’s only Dante and Lahm coming off.

59 min: There’s a slow-mo moment of a beaming Pep congratulating Dante. Who the hell is in charge of this camera crew? I hate them.

62 min: Back passes backfire badly for the Barça defense, as number 18 on Barça – that looks like Patric to me – is dispossessed by the sovereign killer of youngster dreams Franck Ribery, who slots the ball back to a Mandzukic that’s stationed at the top of the box. Oier makes a fantastic diving save though.

64 min: The 7-0 has now been mentioned more times than JDS has in his entire life.

66 min: Pep decides to take out Ribery and a couple of other players for Schweini and co. as if that’s some kind of mercy to our A-team-that’s-really-currently-our-B-team. Oh, Pep. I can’t even hate.

68 minSTOP THE FUDGING PRESS. I just saw Javi Espinosa. He’s wearing the number 8 after his idol Iniesta.

Javier Espinosa.

This is glorious. I think I might cry. Once upon a time I thought he was abducted by flying monkeys and held ransom in some Brazilian jungle, but he was really just banished to the bench by Eusebio for two seasons. And when I say banished, I really mean condemned, like JDS style condemned, only his was not voluntary and a million times more inexplicable.

71 min: Thiago is still on the field. I’m pretty sure this has crossed the line into the cruel and unusual, Pep. Like, I’m not saying you should sub out Thiago for the sake of my psyche. but you should sub out Thiago.

72 min: It’s like Pep is reading my mind, Thiago comes off for Pizzaro. I’m glad he cares that much about my psyche. Last season’s Barça didn’t. They messed me up so much, they drove me to hockey. Hockey. Jury’s still out on whether that’s temporary madness on my part or a genuine psychic break. I’ll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, Neuer has started making sandwiches for the fans, too. If it’s well received he might start a business.

74 min: The Barça Babies are being whistled by the Bayern fans. Comm whips out his psychoanalysis cred once more and says the fans are probably upset the entire eleven has been changed and there are a bunch of players they’ve never heard of on the pitch.

Well, tough sh*t, Bayern fans. You’ll find out who Dongou and Espinosa are when they seek asylum from Eusebio and Rosell in your team in two years.

75 min: That hurt to type.

78 min: Comm is really, truly amused by the concept of fans engaging in a Mexican wave. This is probably the third time he’s mentioned it, complete with a tone of wonder, like this is something groundbreaking that fans never do at football games, ever.

79 min: Davey Jones is still on the field, by the way, Gandalfing anything that comes his way. Kiko cannot pass, even with his surfing experience. There was no one in the box anyway.

82 min: Barça Babies working really hard. “Possession wise, it’s looking really good for them,” says the comm, which is all that really matters to Xavi. “But the final pass has been lacking.”

A lot of things have been lacking at Barça lately, okay, like Rosell’s moral compass and general competency, but we make do with what we have, comm. We just power on like the little fans who could.

fcbfcb2

84 min: The 7-0 has now been mentioned more times than everyone in the history of the planet, including the Royal Baby.

86 min: GOAL. Bayern scores their second. “That’s how you play football!” the comm screams as Davey Jones sends this match well and truly to his locker, doggedly keeping the play alive so Mandzukic gets the goal, a tap-in in front of the net.

“There was a slight smell of offside,” continues the comm alluding to Mandzukic, “but if it was, it was a sheet of paper!”

I don’t know what the nasality of being offside is but it probably doesn’t have anything to do with paper.
88 min – Of course I don’t make a job of smelling paper so I could be wrong.

89 min: Considering the utter domination by Bayern pretty much from the get-go, this hasn’t been all the bad. I mean, I don’t think we’ve had a real shot on target and the only place we’ve overachieved is in the fouls committed area, but Rome wasn’t rebuild in one day and the babies have accounted themselves well, despite what whistling Bayern fans may think.

AND THAT’S IT!

Dr. Felix blows the final whistle to a contest that wasn’t nearly as soul-crushing as the last time we met but still felt a lot like walking on a carpet of pin needles.

The positives: Adriano’s hamstrings are still together, as far as we know. We gave the kids a run out. Thiago didn’t score. Pep didn’t score. Messi was there. Alexis got to run around. Neuer’s sandwich business fizzled out towards the end. JDS didn’t pass to Thiago by mistake. I’m only slightly blotchy for seeing our former player/coach with another team. None of the kids took Pep’s advice by mistake. Robben is still bald. Dr. Felix was pretty awesome in this match, it has to be said; he shouldn’t quite his day job obviously, but he should definitely start a Facebook page for competent refereeing. It will be mandatory for La Liga refs to join.

Also, no one got injured.

The negatives: everything else.

Whatever. It’s preseason so it’s not like anyone will be drawing conclusions. Wait, let me amend that. It’s not like anyone who has sense will be drawing any conclusions.

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Written by:

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

361 Comments

  1. July 26, 2013

    Seems that our new coach might already be at work. Defensor Sporting’s president said that we just called about an attacking mid of theirs, Arrascaeta. 19 years old. Did a quick YouTube scan, and you can be forgiven for seeing a LOT of Thiago in this dude.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJPRUSl0rUE&feature=youtu.be

    Moves really well, and the ball just pops off his foot.

    • Archie
      July 26, 2013

      Hello,

      Check out ESPN3, soccer, replay, 30 days of history, U20 world cup:

      Arrascaeta was attacking mid in the under 20 world cup team. He didn’t start the final. Uruguay also had a broad shouldered striker who could be useful in front of Messi named Avenatti. Given their performance, Barca could do worse than buying the two center backs for Uruguay U20. Gave up 3 goals before the final including shutting out Spain.

      For that matter, if you are going to sell Thiago, why not buy Illaramendi, Isco and Oliver, Diego Suarez, and have it done for a decade. Might have to sell Cesc to come up with the cash…

      Yours in confirmation bias,

      A

      • CuleToon
        July 26, 2013

        But what are you confirming exactly? 😀

      • Archie
        July 26, 2013

        I’m biased that I’m biased?

      • Archie
        July 27, 2013

        I’m really biased in favor of those players being the future of Spanish football, not ThiagoA. Feeling a little fear.

      • CuleToon
        July 27, 2013

        History says that only bout three of them will arrive to the top.

  2. dl
    July 26, 2013

    Kind of an off topic question, but why is Real Madrid referred to as ‘EE’? thx.

    • July 26, 2013

      Evil Empire. Complete with white-clad storm troopers.

      • dl
        July 26, 2013

        Very funny. I guessed everything but that…

      • Rami
        July 26, 2013

        You have no idea how long i’ve been trying to figure it out :p

  3. mom4
    July 26, 2013

    Great job, Kari!

    But Adriano wasn’t distracted by a squirrel. He was trying to figure out what was up with Leo’s hair.

    • July 26, 2013

      For those who don’t know yet, today was mom4’s birthday. Wish her a happy one or FEEL MY WRATH!!! 👿

      • ooga aga
        July 26, 2013

        cumpleanos feliz,
        cumpleanos feliz,
        cumpleanos feeeliiiiz,
        cumpleanos feliz.

      • CuleToon
        July 27, 2013

        Yes, mom4! Have a happy new revolution around the Sun!

      • PrinceYuvi
        July 27, 2013

        Per molts anys mom4

    • Sangoku
      July 27, 2013

      Happy Birthday mom4!

      • mom4
        July 28, 2013

        Awww, thanks all! Really enjoying being 29! 😉

    • alpinegroove
      July 26, 2013

      What language is he speaking?

      • July 26, 2013

        Didn’t watch with sound, but the link I clicked said the ad was English.

      • alpinegroove
        July 27, 2013

        The narration is in English, but then Messi says something towards the end. It is not in English…

      • July 27, 2013

        It’s Arabic, but not sure that he said.

  4. July 26, 2013

    Oh, and an Adama Traore compilation made by @youngcules on Twitter. All I have to say is holy crap!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QueaGS67dA&feature=youtu.be

    Yes, he’s one of those African kids that Rosell was grousing about taking spots from Catalan youth players during his campaign. Yes, Traore is Malian, but born in Catalunya, plays for Spain.

    • Choba
      July 26, 2013

      He’s good, very good.
      Thanks for sharing.

    • CuleToon
      July 27, 2013

      You like him, eh? It looks like all the clip is about this season, and the last play is from less than a week ago, with the spanish U-19 team which is playing the U-19 Eurocup. He did a very good match yesterday, and Spain won Holland 3-2.

      Some years ago, he excelled at the «Torneo Nacional Alevín de Fútbol 7» for players aged 11-12, the same tournament in which most of us «discovered» Iniesta, Fábregas or Piqué (here’s a list of other famous players that played that tournament: http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torneo_Nacional_Alev%C3%ADn_de_Fútbol_7#Futbolistas_famosos).

      I always watch this tournament, and I can tell you that there are a lot of pleasant surprises for us in the next years!

      • July 27, 2013

        Traore killed at last year’s NextGen tournament as well. I am very excited to see how he will do with the B team this year.

      • CuleToon
        July 27, 2013

        As many have said plenty of times, the fact that he will in the hands of Eusebio doesn’t bode very well…

  5. alpinegroove
    July 26, 2013

    I live in the US and don’t have cable. I am looking for an online service where I can pay to watch Barca matches with high quality streams.
    I am aware of all of the free streams, but I am looking for something established, where I can pay for reliable service and quality.

    Any suggestions?

    • July 26, 2013

      None. BeIN has a streaming service, but you have to be a subscriber to access it, which means you must have cable or satellite. Same with the others (ESPN3, etc.)

      Streaming might be your only option, then finding a download after the match if you want to watch again.

      • alpinegroove
        July 26, 2013

        Thanks for the info.

        I have found http://www.foxsoccer2go.com/about, which is an option for CL. Is there something comparable for La Liga?

        I have access to ESPN3, but they no longer show La Liga, sigh…

    • Choba
      July 26, 2013

      A friend told me that Aljazeera sports offer an online service to watch Barca and other, but I don’t know if it’s available in north america.

      • Robert
        July 27, 2013

        I believe this is what your talking about

        http://www.en.aljazeerasport.tv/

        and NO you can’t use it from the US. Maybe if you go through a VPN to Egypt. The real killer is that it’s only about $100 a year.

  6. CuleToon
    July 27, 2013

    .
    Talking of potential signings, Sport says that Barça is in a good position to sign Omar Abdulrahman, 21 y/o, from the Arab Emirates («the best player in Asia!»). Of course, it looks like another of those summer news to fill the paper, but this video shows there’s something very special in him:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzUI9710F_w&feature=player_embedded

  7. CuleToon
    July 27, 2013

    .
    By the way, I hope that, some day, those people who work so hard to create beautiful videos with the highlights of a player, include also some of his most blatant mistakes in order to give a more realistic image of him.

  8. TITO
    July 27, 2013

    What about that Chinese or Japanese kid they say is the “next” Messi?

    • July 27, 2013

      I think there are hundreds of those.

      • July 27, 2013

        Yep. There is always a “next” great player, usually the best player of the moment. Gai Assulin, if anyone remembers him, was a lead-pipe cinch to be the next Messi. Not even sure where he is now.

      • July 28, 2013

        He’s playing for Racing.

        He was controversially left out of Israel’s WC qualifiers after having told the selectors that he was committed to Racing for important games while the team (unsuccessfully) was battling relegation.

        Spain’s late finish to the season wreaks havoc with NT matches.

        Credit to Gai for wanting to help his club, but it’s a shame that it came at a price for him.

    • CuleToon
      July 27, 2013

      .
      He’s Japanese, and his name is Takefusa Kubo, «Take». The exact details —places, mostly— of his discovery by Barça varies a little depending on the source.

      He was discovered by Barça in a series of trials organized by the FCB Escola at Yokohama (others says that that FCB school is at Fukuoka) when Take was only 8 y/o. He impressed the technical staff so much, that he was invited to come to BCN and play with Barça in a kid’s tournament in Belgium, where he was considered MVP. In the end, when Take was only 10 y/o, Barça brought him to BCN with both his parents in an unprecedented move —Barça never signs non-Spanish players under 13— and signed him. So, just imagine what Barça saw in him in order to make such a bold move.

      Apart from some highlights, I’ve only seen him play «full» matches last June, in the Tournament mentioned above (although that tournament is played with only seven players on the field). He’s the star of his team together with another jewel, Anssuname Fati.

      Here’s the video that showed Take to the world when he was about 5-7 y/o:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jk6FYRyAgeM

      Does he remind you of another player at the same age?

      • K_legit in Oz
        July 27, 2013

        A friend of mine is a football coach for youngsters and was at the Camp Nou a while ago and saw Take play.. He cannot stop raving about him!

      • July 27, 2013

        Take is amazing, as is Fati. The 2 of them together are dynamic.

        Here’s a video of a game in which he scored 6 goals. We were watching this game live on Barca TV on the edges of our seats!

        http://www.givemesport.com/326124-video-barcelonas-japanese-messi-scores-six-goals-in-one-game

        Should say that the younger Barca teams often chew up and spit out their competition. Double-figure goal tallies are not uncommon in their games against weaker teams that don’t have the might of La Masia behind them.

      • CuleToon
        July 27, 2013

        Moltes gràcies pel link. La temporada que ve procuraré veure’l més!

        Thanks for the link. Next season I’ll try to watch him more!

      • July 28, 2013

        Barça TV és un regal per a nosaltres!

        Barca TV is a gift for us!

      • CuleToon
        July 28, 2013

        Ja ho crec!

        You can say that again!

        Un plaer, per cert 🙂

  9. July 27, 2013

    One thing I am struggling to understand in this transfer season, given the mythic qualities of the nature of its “news,” is the astounding sums that are floating around the name of Gareth Bale.

    I have watched Spurs and Bale play enough where my mind wrestles with the idea that his transfer tab could be north of EUR90m. I could see that much for Oil Can, who was already an established star and goal scoring machine at United.

    What’s interesting is that Bale scored the same number of goals for Spurs this season past that OC scored his last season at United. But somehow, the two players don’t alter a match in the same way, for me.

    I don’t know why I suspected that with FFP looming, even in its shell-like present iteration, I thought that sanity would return to the transfer market.

    • G6O
      July 27, 2013

      Bale is vastly overrated – let them spend 90 million on him. I don’t even see where he will play unless they plan to never have Cristiano on the left

  10. TITO
    July 27, 2013

    Ok, i take back my words, we don’t have to sell the whole team!
    They can play football.

  11. ooga aga
    July 27, 2013

    um, anyone watching the game? 3-0 in the first 15 minutes, messi with a goal and 2 assists…

  12. CuleToon
    July 27, 2013

    Yes, I ask the same ooga aga. Is anybody watching the game properly —on a TV channel— outside Catalunya and Spain?

    Oh, and it’s 0-4 at half time, goals by Alexis, Tello, Messi and JDS. Sergi Roberto and JDS doing fairly well. Of course, it’s Valerenga, but this is only our second match and we still lack eleven international players.

    It feels good!

    • PrinceYuvi
      July 27, 2013

      Nowhere on any of the sport channels. Missed the barca babies show.

      • CuleToon
        July 27, 2013

        Your «Per molts anys» to mom4… Do you understand/speak/read Catalan also? 🙂

      • PrinceYuvi
        July 27, 2013

        Oh I wish. I just used Google translator. Trying to learn at least basic catalan phrases and swear words. The new away kit greatly inspired me

      • CuleToon
        July 28, 2013

        I can teach you some swear words! 😉

      • CuleToon
        July 28, 2013

        Specially those that you can gear at the Camp Nou.

      • CuleToon
        July 28, 2013

        WTF! Where did that «g» come from? I typed an «H»!

      • PrinceYuvi
        July 28, 2013

        That’d be just great. Curse EE & Bayern trollers in catalan ? Sounds like fun.

      • CuleToon
        July 28, 2013

        Traditionally, the most common insult to players —Barça players, specially—, and referees at the Camp Nou is «Burru!», which literally means «donkey», but is used meaning «stupid».

        Strange, isn’t it? You’ll hear «sonoofapeep and things like that, of course, but «Burru!» is, by far, the most common insult, and it has been passed from one generation of socis to another…

        By the way, it’s pronounced «Boo-rroo», and it’s shouted properly as «Boo-rroooooooo!». 🙂

      • CuleToon
        July 28, 2013

        A correction. Since I’m not that used to write that word, I made a mistake: In Catalan, it’s «burro», but the note above about its pronounciation is still OK.

      • PrinceYuvi
        July 28, 2013

        That’s Most informative.
        Thanks CuleToon.
        Mercès ?

      • CuleToon
        July 28, 2013

        Yes, mercès, but a bit outdated nowadays. It’s better to say «gràcies» [gra-see-as], but, anyway, everybody will understand you.

        Oh, and «de res» or «no hi ha de què» [you’re welcome!]

      • PrinceYuvi
        July 28, 2013

        Gràcies CuleToon – the affable Linguist.
        Help is appreciated.

  13. CuleToon
    July 27, 2013

    Three changes in the second half: Oier, Dongou and —finally— Sergi Samper.

  14. simple_barcafan
    July 27, 2013

    Where can i watch the game in us? any online streams available? Thanks in advance

    • simple_barcafan
      July 27, 2013

      got it..

  15. July 27, 2013

    Does anybody know whether the German Supercup is one or two games?

    • July 27, 2013

      Just one. Borussia up by 4-2 against Bayern. Looks like Barça will remain the only club who have achieved a sextuple.

  16. barca96
    July 27, 2013

    What a beautiful night/morning. 2 highly entertaining matches. Dongoo, Samper, Reus…

  17. nia
    July 27, 2013

    Can’t lie and say I didn’t enjoy seeing Bayern lose after ‘that’ CL semi and to see Pep and Thiago on the losing end(devil ecmotion). That said, Pep’s Barca side are still the only ones to have 6 titles in one season. Also, Thiago had a few good through balls.

    • CuleToon
      July 27, 2013

      Here, I’ll put it for you! 😈 (Well, it’s the «twisted one», if you don’t mind!)

  18. July 27, 2013

    I think one or two days ago I mentioned how fanatic people are about their football team in my hometown, Rotterdam. Often in the news for the wrong reasons, Feyenoord supporters are among the most loyal in the world.

    Now, terminally ill “Rooie” (Red) Marck, received his last wish of being on the pitch for Feyenoord’s first training of the season.

    The fans let off fireworks and unveiled a huge banner in his honor, before singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” to him when he walked towards the stand, amidst lots of cries of “We love you, Mark”.

    A remarkable tribute, and well worth watching the 11-minute youtube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yksyY5Ij_Q4&feature=player_embedded

    • July 27, 2013

      Wow… nobody? The youtube page I lnked to has received messages from fans representing pretty much every football club on the planet. It’s a must-see, guys…

      • CuleToon
        July 27, 2013

        I promise I’ll watch it as soon as I get up tomorrow morning. God night to all!

      • Doug
        July 27, 2013

        That was incredible Levon. Thanks for the link.

      • CuleToon
        July 28, 2013

        Goose bumps…

      • barca96
        July 28, 2013

        Thanks for the video Lev. That was touching. I am proud of the Feyenoord fans. I’ve always envied them even though I am an Ajax fan.

        When you said training session I thought it was going to be held at their training centre. I didn’t expect it to be in the stadium itself.

        And I’ve been to their training centre and stadium (hiding my head in my jacket hehe) on multiple occasions. Envied their stadium too. Amazing atmosphere and grass something that Ajax and their Amsterdam Arena lack.

  19. stefan2k
    July 27, 2013

    How to break Bayern dominance? Send em Pep! 🙂

    Just a joke… still eternally grateful for the years with him

  20. psalmuel
    July 27, 2013

    bayern lost! Hehehe! In ur face! You ex-barca player who wanted more playing time. Just joking…lol!

  21. CuleToon
    July 27, 2013

    Let’s not be too cruel with Pep, OK? I wish him all the luck («except when he plays against us», as is mandated to add).

    • nia
      July 27, 2013

      I wish him luck too despite my little post earlier. Cna’t ignor what he did for us for 4 yrs.

      • nia
        July 27, 2013

        ^can’t ignor

      • nia
        July 27, 2013

        ^IGNORE, argg what’s wrong with this laptop?

    • July 27, 2013

      Yeah, I’m kinda stuck between wishing Pep luck wherever he goes, not wanting Bayern to add any more CL trophies and just liking Jürgen Klopp immensely.

      By the way, I never thanked you for your explanation on open and closed accents so, err, yeah, thank you!

      • CuleToon
        July 27, 2013

        My pleasure.

      • Rami
        July 27, 2013

        They call it, Guilty pleasure.

  22. Salia
    July 27, 2013

    Sport are reporting that Barcelona have made a 29 million pound bid for David Luiz.
    Thoughts?

    • alpinegroove
      July 27, 2013

      Maybe if we get Puyol to yell at discipline him enough, this could work. His futbol IQ seems to be the main issue…

    • July 27, 2013

      My thoughts are that Sport was apparently too busy smoking dope to watch the Martino presser in which he said no squad additions or subtractions until he gets to know the squad.

      Transfer season stuff is fantasy, until it isn’t. Recall the deals that Thiago had reached with United, and how his transfer was imminent, until the player said that he never received ANY contact from United. Recall our Marquinhos bids, that were revealed to be nonexistent, done deals for Reina and Ter Stegen, etc, etc, etc.

      Luis Enrique was our new coach, until he wasn’t. United are bidding increasing piles of Euros for Fabregas, just as RM are bidding increasing piles of Euros for Gareth Bale.

      Yes, it’s nice to ask a theoretical question, as in “What about the notion of David Luiz playing for us,” one that I would be totally down with, by the by. But I think that any bids, etc, reported by any press are just dispatches from FantasyLand.

    • CuleToon
      July 28, 2013

      I swear that yesterday I saw a photo of David Luiz loosing his marbles and strangling —literally— a little fellow half his size in a friendly match. I can’t find it today to post a link.

      Anyway, I don’t want such a lunatic in our team!

  23. Salia
    July 27, 2013

    He seemed to have improved on hat aspect though in the confederations cup although you cant judge over 5 games and he has pace too which is something we need.

  24. Salia
    July 27, 2013

    Puyol would need to stay fit to do that.

  25. July 27, 2013

    So. Let’s preface this by saying that it was a friendly against an opponent chosen precisely for its nonthreatening qualities ….

    That said, funny how Sergi Roberto, a player who so many were, in between bouts of weeping and rending of garments, said was a pale imitation of Thiago, kicked out the jams today.

    He is a very different player than Thiago, and it kind of surprises me how so many dismissed him out of hand, because he isn’t Thiago.

    And it looks like Alexis Sanchez is continuing his run of confident form that he first began to show at the end of last season. Despite his number, people really should start thinking of him as a wide creator, rather than a forward in that traditional sense. It will help get over the chagrin when he misses yet another chance that a real striker would have most likely converted.

    Martino was probably sitting in the stands thinking “This is why I don’t do social media. This ain’t a team in no damn crisis. What the hell are people ingesting?” And let’s not forget that we had exactly NONE of the Confed Cup players, so no: Puyol, Pique, Fabregas, Alba, Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, Neymar, Alves.

    • nia
      July 27, 2013

      and Pedro.

      • July 27, 2013

        Yes, thank you. And Pedro.

      • CuleToon
        July 28, 2013

        And Valdés

    • alpinegroove
      July 27, 2013

      I like Sergi Roberto’s vertical runs, and he seems to have a good understanding with Messi. There is an article in Sport about how he is more similar to Iniesta than to Thiago or Xavi. To me, he seems most like Cesc but somehow less labored.

      The main question is what happens to transition defense when he makes his frequent runs and the ball is lost. That was a major problem last year, especially when verticality was enhanced.

    • Nik
      July 27, 2013

      That said, funny how Sergi Roberto, a player who so many were, in between bouts of weeping and rending of garments, said was a pale imitation of Thiago, kicked out the jams today.

      He is a very different player than Thiago, and it kind of surprises me how so many dismissed him out of hand, because he isn’t Thiago.

      From what I saw, people had issues with the statement that Sergi Roberto could replace Thiago in a like-for-like sense. There seemed to be this idea that SR would be the heir to the midfield, which, if anyone had seen him play with the youth teams, didn’t make sense given that his strength really isn’t midfield orchestration but more of what we saw today in the vertical runs and crashing the box. I like alpinegroove’s comparison of SR to Cesc.

      I think people also said he’s not as talented as Thiago, which I agree with. Now, that doesn’t mean SR’ll be less successful or useful to us.

      With all that being said, I liked what I saw today, and I hope he can keep on contributing throughout the season.

      • July 27, 2013

        Well, it could be said that Sergi Roberto is not as talented as Thiago in the same way that it could be said that Xavi is not as talented as Iniesta. They are different players who bring different things to the side.

        I agree with the idea that talent often has precious little bearing on ultimate effectiveness. I just think that people are downgrading Sergi Roberto for the wrong reasons.

        Someone fonder of the forward runs and aggression of Sergi Roberto, after all, might suggest that he is more talented than Thiago, because of the different value placed upon that skill set, if that makes sense.

      • Nik
        July 27, 2013

        Someone fonder of the forward runs and aggression of Sergi Roberto, after all, might suggest that he is more talented than Thiago, because of the different value placed upon that skill set, if that makes sense.

        I’d say that he may be more useful for us in the context you presented, but I would still feel Thiago is more talented than SR. However, that’s not a knock against SR by any means, but just a statement of how I personally rate each.

        This may be a good time to point out how nebulous of a term “talent” is.

      • CuleToon
        July 28, 2013

        I suggest to define «talent» as the ability to do the right thing at the right time. Perhaps that will clarify our debate about some players.

      • July 28, 2013

        I define talent as the potential to achieve an individual’s maximum potential at performing a task. There have been players with Messi’s talent who have failed at maximizing that ability to the same degree that Messi has.

        So for me, there is potential as a subset of talent, then the performance reality that ultimately defines the eventual realization of talent.

        Hope that makes sense.

      • CuleToon
        July 28, 2013

        Who’s that «talented Thiago» you talk that much about? Did I, perchance, miss something? :devious:

      • CuleToon
        July 28, 2013

        Err… 😈

      • barca96
        July 28, 2013

        😆

    • mei
      July 27, 2013

      The thing with alexis is that people victimize him for the things that he doesn’t do rather than hailing him for what he brings to the team.

      • July 27, 2013

        That is true of all unfavored players. It’s an unfortunate trait of supporters of all teams, not just many cules.

      • Nik
        July 27, 2013

        Yep. I think part of it has to do with the expectations generated by the price tag as well.

      • July 28, 2013

        Very true, Nik. I also think (strangely, I should add) that expectations were created by his number, 9. Because nothing that Sanchez did for Udinese, or does for Chile should lead anyone to expect anything other than an exceptional wide-right creator, rather than a goal scorer.

        Sanchez CAN score goals. But that isn’t really how his mind works. Witness his assists. Another player, say Messi, probably takes those shots. I bet shooting never even occurred to Sanchez, except as a last option. But he had already spotted the potential for a better result in other players making runs.

    • Rami
      July 27, 2013

      Thiago him is also considerably better at AM than CM, His two best performances last season or might i say the ONLY ones, Were against getafe (away) and zaragoza (away) which he played both as AM.
      So i think sergi can put a a decent performance as a CM to similar extent to which thiago used to provide.
      My only concern is that apart from xavi, We don’t have a midfielder who actually exceel as a CM, Cesc and roberto are definitely not in that category, We may get away with this against lesser la liga teams, But in CL, If xavi for some reasons wasn’t on the pitch, It won’t look pretty.

      • CuleToon
        July 28, 2013

        I’m sure that Tata et al. will find good solutions. They don’t lack pieces to juggle with.

      • Jim
        July 28, 2013

        We need to come to grips with the fact that we wont find another Xavi. I’m not surprised at the general public but im always surprised when players pick out Iniesta as the big danger to them. I’d be much more worried about Xavi getting into his stride as that means I hardly see the ball and am condemned to a night of chasing shadows.

        Having said that, I’ve no doubts Iniesta could play that role, albeit in a slightly different way to Xavi. Same skills – only difference to me is that whereas Xavi’s ability to turn the right way to lose opponents Iniesta just glides past them and he will, very occasionally try a more dangerous pass than Xavi but that’s because of his role in the team. I watched Iniesta at Hampden Park a few years ago play that role against Scotland in a totally Xavi way. We couldn’t lay a glove on him and he was spraying the ball from touch line to touch line.

        Whether that’s the best use of Iniesta is a different story. We might see Busi moved slightly forward as an experiment this season although again his lack of mobility might be an issue. Anyway, if you asked any manager in the world if he’d like a midfield of Busi, Xavi, Iniesta and Cesc he’d bite your hand off – including I suspect the current incumbent in Munich.

      • July 28, 2013

        Exactly, Jim. Martino must be grinning, and clapping his hands like a kid running downstairs on Christmas morning.

  26. 86ed
    July 27, 2013

    Little should be read from such a game at such a time against such an opponent, but I liked the way Sergi Roberto played.

  27. simple_barcafan
    July 28, 2013

    IMHO the player I have seen closest to way Xavi plays is…JDS..None of the other players do..They either resemble Iniesta or Cesc..Busquests is for me the heir to Xavi’s throne, but the next closest thing is JDS. I agree his skills are no where as polished as Xavi, nor is his vision as good. But I don’t think, even Xavi’s was as good either when he was the same age as JDS. But unlike Thiago or Cesc or Sergio Roberto, I have noticed whenever JDS plays he doesn’t make forward runs but stays back a bit like Xavi..

    Lets not forget, here is a guy who truly wants to play for Barca and I might go as far as to say, “sacrificed” a lot by willing to sit on the bench just hoping he would get sufficient playing time to prove himself…Many might argue, the reasons for him wanting to stay are otherwise, but I for one am convinced he wants to succeed in Barca..

    • CuleToon
      July 28, 2013

      I’ve always thought the same about JDS. He played well yesterday. In fact, he’s performed acceptably almost every time I’ve seen him and I’ve always wondered why he didn’t get more playing time (in the end, you must think that there are some reasons that only the technichal staff knows).

      Having seen so little of him these last years, my only doubt is if he’s capable of dictating the tempo of a match as Xavi does. Other than that, he has many virtues, specially his long one-touch passes to the sidelines.

      • barca96
        July 28, 2013

        I concur with your thoughts on JDS. He always looked the more polished and matured compared to Thiago. I always thought that JDS will break in first. I guess JDS lacks that x-factor, the killer instinct.

        His attitude has been superb. And his wages are low so I don’t understand why they all want to let go of him so badly.

      • Jim
        July 28, 2013

        I’ve been pretty critical of Thiago recently but for me Thiago was head and shoulders above JDS in terms of ability to play at the very top level. He has ALL the skills he needs to be world class, except possibly (imo) the wherewithal between his ears to understand that Xavi’s skills are second to none and that he too could play in a more flashy way but that’s not what’s needed.

      • barca96
        July 28, 2013

        JDS is a safer option to me between the 2 but like I mentioned earlier, JDS lacks that x-factor and Thiago can play holding and attacking and excelling at those 2 while JDS can only the latter and still not being one of the best (young) in that position.

      • July 28, 2013

        I find it interesting that at Bayern, Thiago isn’t running that midfield, as people were expecting him to do for us. Yes, from what I hear it’s a different system in place.

        But for me, from his time at Barça, I always saw Thiago as more of an Iniesta when Iniesta slid over into the Xavi role, rather than the Xavi heir apparent.

        The matches in which Xavi subbed for Thiago last year made that very, very clear. Suddenly things were less chaotic, and the attack had a focal point. Xavi is Xavi. He can’t be replaced. What you can hope for is a similar set of skills that can be adapted.

        When you watch Iniesta play, he has that same grounded sense, that he needs to stay put for a second to see if the ball is coming back, then slide around, more than dart. It’s a delightful skill to watch. Fabregas has that same quality. I will be curious to see, this season, if his speed of thought has improved. It should by now.

    • ilie
      July 28, 2013

      He made plenty of forward runs in these 2 games.. which can be both good or bad

    • barca96
      July 28, 2013

      Can not let him go to Madrid after Ozil & Isco. No Mas!

  28. barca96
    July 28, 2013

    So Sergi Roberto is nothing like Thiago, a holding playmaker. I guess I will have to see Sergi in a different light then. The way he plays resembles Cesc or Keita more.

    Im so glad Dongo’o got a lot of touches on the ball. He looks like a fighter out there. Sergi Samper impressed too.

    But the night belonged to Reus to me. Magnificent game. I wouldn’t mind us swapping Pedro or Alexis for him.

    Gundogan played a great game too but I don’t know. Lewandowski too. Imagine getting him for FREE next summer. That would be the best piece of business. Thiago did better and had a splendid lob to Mueller.

    Hummels had a poor game, again, positioning wise. I guess it’s a good thing that Tito didn’t want him.

    • ilie
      July 28, 2013

      Gundogan is amazing

  29. barca96
    July 28, 2013

    Culetoon, how do you pronounce Tello? Is it Teyo or Te joe?
    And how about Oier Olazabal? Is the z pronounced as a typical “z” or with a lisp?

    Many thanks in advance

    • K_legit in Oz
      July 28, 2013

      I am not an expert but I think the ‘ll’ is pronounced as ‘y’.

    • CuleToon
      July 28, 2013

      Hi!

      «Teyo» is acceptable, but I’d say that the best approximation to the real pronounciation would be «Telyo», uttering that «ly» very swiftly.

      In Euskera (the language of Euskadi, the Basque country, the only language in Western Europe without indoeuropean roots), the «z» is pronounced more like an «s», although in Catalunya and in Spain it is generally pronounced as a typical «z» (the english «th» in «thin»).

      More pronounciations (closed accents mark only the vowel that must be stressed) :

      – At least here, at Cayalunya and Spain, we tend to say «Néymar» instead of «Neymár», which is the right pronounciation. It’s very hard for us to break that habit.

      – Busquets is «Sergio», in Spanish; Roberto and Samper are «Sergi», in Catalan.

      – By the way, Samper is pronounced «Sámper».

      – Pol Calvet, another promising MD promoted to Barça B, is pronounced «Calvét».

      – And, finally, Deulofeu! That’s the most difficult surname to pronounce by non-Catalan speakers. The «e» in «Deu» is a neuter vowel and its is pronounced as something between an «e» and an «a»; the «o» in «lo» is pronounced as a quick «oo», and the «e» in «feu» is an «open e», which is pronounced, more or less, as the «e» in «get». So, it would be something like «Dau-loo-féoo» with very short «oo»’s.

      Hope you donn’t mind that a simple question has led to such a lethal answer 🙂

      • alpinegroove
        July 28, 2013

        What about the “ll” in Rosell? How do you pronounce his name?

      • July 28, 2013

        “Burro”

      • CuleToon
        July 28, 2013

        😀 (the same for ilie below)

      • ilie
        July 28, 2013

        /ˈwiːzəl/

      • CuleToon
        July 28, 2013

        Just call him «boiled fish», and it will be ok. There are same names you don’t want to pronounce, just in case 🙂

      • barca96
        July 28, 2013

        Thank you very much Toon!

        Wow. Deulofeu is a tough one. I thought it was “Deu-le-faux”.
        I thought that since Catalan sounds a mixture of French and Spanish, Tello would be Teyo because of the double L.

        How about Dongo’o? Just like Eto’o?

      • CuleToon
        July 28, 2013

        «Deu-lo-feu» is ancient Catalan and means, literally, «God made him».

        Before you jump to a joyful, albeit unwarranted, conclusion, let me tell you that that was the surname given to foundlings in ancient times. It’s the equivalent of the much more recently used «expósito» and similar surnames in Spanish, but it sounds much better! 🙂

        As for Dongou (not Dongo’o), we say «Don-góh-oo» or just «Don-goó» . He even has an entry in the English Wikipedia, which is already updated as of yesterday! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Marie_Dongou).

      • barca96
        July 28, 2013

        Wait. So is it Dau-loo-féoo or Deu-lo-feu?

        Is Carles the Catalan Carlos? Or it’s not related at all?

        Dongou, he will definitely get exposure now. Hopefully his head won’t be turned by EPL clubs.

        Now that the Confed cup players will be back later, does it mean that the B boys will return to Barcelona? I was hoping to see the B boys in action in Malaysia.

      • CuleToon
        July 28, 2013

        I wrote «Dau-loo-féoo» as an approximate pronounciation in English. And I wrote «Deu-lo-feu» just to break «Deulofeu» into the three words that make it, in order to explain their meaning.

        And yes, Carles is Catalan for Carlos, Charles, Carlo, Karl, etc. In Western Catalan it’s pronounced «Kahr-las», and in Eastern Catalan —where Puyi was born— it’s «Kahr-les».

        Before anyone starts complaining about all this, I suggest that you visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalan_language and, specially, the section titled «Phonology»! 😉

      • CuleToon
        July 28, 2013

        Sorry, correction. In Western Catalan it’s pronounced «Kahr-les», and in Eastern Catalan it’s «Kahr-las».

        Over and out.

  30. Jim
    July 28, 2013

    Just watching the silly money being talked about on Sky about Bale. Are RM nuts or just worried ? Only way this can make sense is if they are going to include a couple of their first team in a deal.

    • barca96
      July 28, 2013

      If I were Sugar Levy, I would just accept the offer. They can buy 3-4 world class players with that kind of money. And it’s unlikely that he will ever receive such a high offer ever again. But it looks like he will reject it.

      Bale has had 1 top class full season (12-13) and that is it and it didn’t even involve any CL matches. Besides the hattrick vs. Inter many years back, he hasn’t lit up any CL matches. Perhaps he is worth 50 million like Falcao, Cavani and Suarez but there is an added premium to being an EPL star.

    • Roberto Senyera
      July 28, 2013

      I’ve heard a rumour on radio that one of the offers for Bale is £51m + di Maria + Coentrao. I don’t know what Levy is smoking if he doesn’t accept that. I’d accept that in a New York minute and say, “Thank you very much, EE”. I know Levy is a tough negotiator but let’s be serious. Levy will probably drag this out as much as possible trying to maximize the transfer fee, even up to Aug. 31st, EE panics and goes for Suarez instead, Bale has a relatively disappointing season and picks up a career threatening injury, and Bale’s transfer value is greatly decreased this time next year. Always trying to get optimal value on a sale isn’t so smart since one’s own valuation may be incorrect.

      Bale is massively overvalued. Take the money and run.

    • Roberto Senyera
      July 28, 2013

      The Portuguese fella, after consistently being one of the best players in the world (including a world player of the year award), went for £80m a few years ago. How can anyone justify an £86m valuation for this Welsh fella who has never even been selected top three in the Ballon d’Or voting?

      Utter madness.

      • CuleToon
        July 28, 2013

        Yes, Jim: Florentino tries to compensate for his not getting Neymar, and has lost his sanity. He’s nuts.

      • mei
        July 28, 2013

        It’s not madness, it’s called market distortion.
        Imagine that : manu a title winner,the biggest club in England and a CL finalist that year if i’m not mistaken could not refuse to let go of their best player of last 3 seasons for a hefty fee. Tottenham, a lesser club, refuses for a similar fee.

      • July 28, 2013

        Exactly. Market distortion, aka “the PSG effect.” Players are not only getting more expensive, but the teams are asking for more up-front money. The days of 20m now, then three 15m installments are going away. When PSG bought Marquinhos, it was for 32m, with 30 up front, in cash. Yow.

      • Roberto Senyera
        July 28, 2013

        For a greater fee for a clearly lesser player.

        Another comparison: Cavani, a proven goal scorer over multiple years, goes for €64m to an Oil Lubricated FC. Bale may go for €100m to a club that isn’t funded by petrol dollars. The cost difference doesn’t make any sense from where I sit.

        You’d figure Bale would have been bought by the petrol dollars club (at that price) and only in a very weird parallel universe would Bale be valued €36m more than Cavani.

      • July 28, 2013

        Premflation, that odd quality that gives a player who has excelled in the Premiership a greater value than one who has excelled “only” in Serie A. It will, I am afraid, be forever thus.

        I can recall when BaleMania first began, with those two Champions League goals that he notched against AC Milan. Since then, announcers, etc and all the Prem boosters have been working to make him the next Ronaldo.

        Successfully, it would seem.

    • CuleToon
      July 28, 2013

      .
      Thanks for the link, Kevin.

      Of the four points he adresses, I think that the most difficult one is the first, replicating Abi’s role, and I link it with the fourth, bring in a new CB.

      As for the second one, I’m sure that Tata will take care of it, as he’s explicitly said that this is a major objective for him.

      About the third one, replacing Xavi or, better said, finding someone who can play Xavi’s role, I’ve never been pessimistic about it. I’m sure we’ll have no problem finding one because, in the end, that role is the hallmark of La Masia and most of its finest players. Let’s remember that Xavi started as a pure «number 4» of those times, like a Pep-style player —more creative than defensive— and that Rikjaard simply advanced him 15-20 meters towards the goal. So, I think we’ve got enough players —current and future ones— able to fulfill that role, each one with his own personal touch, of course.

  31. Roberto Senyera
    July 28, 2013

    So much for UEFA’s FFP. How can clubs like PSG & Monaco produce breakeven income statements with such transfer buys? Let’s see how UEFA enforces FFP 🙄 — especially how Platini deals with PSG. Platini’s son is associated with PSG.

    • mei
      July 28, 2013

      The thing is, they can get around that.
      An x company indirectly owned by club owners sponsors the club for 400 million – you see there can’t be a limit on what a club receives on advertising etc.With this kind of money FFP rules are obsolete even before they are put into effect.

      Plus the window that is there , easily makes the FFP rules look like the perfect dirty money laundry machine for shady companies that can and will strike such sponsorships.

      • mei
        July 28, 2013

        Good article.
        Things are obvious, kevin. The thing is that this club’s financial situation has not even now come under investigation by UEFA.
        You don’t have to be an economist to realize that ManC and PSG(much more striking) is making a joke out of those FFP rules.
        While I remember a certain other club that actually did much to constrain it’s expenses being banned out of european competitions on the spot.

  32. elacule
    July 28, 2013

    Kari, this was so much fun to read. Delightful! No wonder you’re missed around here.

    CuleToon, thank you so much for jumping in to discuss and bringing your breadth of knowledge to bear. i think people have said this but it’s really exciting to have someone who has a long local history adding to the conversation. the maturity, peacefulness and humor you bring are also so helpful.

    Levon, i have been enjoying your reviews and comments so much, too.

    Kxevin, i’m so glad you’re sticking around – it looked for a while that you would disappear. your recent writings around Tito’s relapse were very powerful, and such a service to the community to give people a container for such strong feelings. thank you so much for that – it’s a beautiful gift to offer both the intimacy of making the story personal and the spaciousness of including all of us.

    i can’t pull up everyone in my mind to thank you each specifically, but i’ll try to do it more consistently and in the moment in the future.

    re: recent atmosphere here – yes, it got pinchy for a while, but it’s so delightful again. thanks to everyone who has worked and held out for a more open and creative and honoring form of discourse.

    i am a nearly daily reader of this blog, but rarely post, mainly because i don’t usually have anything that feels relevant, smart, or new to add. i will say that you all add so much to my life on a daily basis. i am no tactical thinker, but love the Barça way so much. As a long-time social anarchist, the cultural history of the club means a lot to me, too.

    the depth of feeling that people bring here is beautiful because mostly it gets expressed without harming each other.

    as a relatively new culé, i am infinitely grateful to you all for what i learn by reading the discussions here. i laugh sometimes to find myself sinking into the well-known pessimism, since it’s apparently a recent acquisition of my personality. on the other hand, my natural optimism, generosity of spirit and trusting nature don’t always end up making my comments very interesting. ha.

    i do wonder about that, though. there have been discussions of players and strategies that have felt very negative, and sometimes people argue about the meta-level of the conversation – is it better to put forward one’s concerns, to criticize roundly, or to withhold that kind of commentary. it’s sort of like the opposite of the composite video clip issue – we see these clips that only show the good moves of a player, but then we often discuss more of what we see as poor performance. i tend toward the side of figuring that everyone makes mistakes, even top-tier athletes who are paid a lot to be nearly perfect. it’s difficult for me to be really hard on players i see as human beings, and young men who are trained and practiced at doing some things quite a lot, but who may lack other kinds of information or experience.

    the journey through so many changes and the illnesses of Abi and Tito have been difficult. i think that administrative bodies are often poor at handling such things. when we think of how players haven’t known where they stood, i remember the story of when Messi came with only the napkin-contract, and it took months for the club to actually respond and make a real contract for him. his family was in a state of real uncertainty, which had to be difficult, considering they were an ocean away from home, and coping with a young man who had a significant health issue that needed to be addressed. so, i don’t think the administrative “incompetence” is exactly new. (that said, please don’t paint me as any type of Rosell apologist – that’s far from the case!)

    there is so much good going on here, and i am so excited about the upcoming season. Tata seems grounded, smart, committed, and humane.

    thanks again, everyone, for making this blog such a wonderful community. in liveblog i usually post as culecat, which unfortunately was taken when i signed up for this blog.

    looking forward to the next steps in our journey together.

    visca el Barça!

    • CuleToon
      July 28, 2013

      You say that you’re a nearly daily reader of this blog, and that you’ve posted, but rarely so.

      It seems, then, that I can’t say «Welcome!». So I’ll say «Thank you!», and kindly ask you to post more often!

  33. ooga aga
    July 28, 2013

    i really like the nickname vidal sassoon for SR, though his hair appears to have been cut back a bit….another nickname i have given him is “Fundies,” short for “fundamentals”. not a lot of flash, but seems to get the fundamentals right.

    • barca96
      July 28, 2013

      I noticed since I found out about One Direction last year that he looks like one of those guys in One Direction. And I noticed that Bartra and Juan Roman has similar features too. I guess that’s the in thing now in Europe, to look like One Direction 🙂

  34. CuleToon
    July 28, 2013

    Only for those interested. A shameful —and unsigned— piece on EMD attacking Pep, Laporta, Cruyff and others, and depicting them as conspirators against poor Rosell & Co.

    On EMD, no less! 🙄

  35. July 28, 2013

    @(eventually) replacing Xavi

    1. he should have played less minutes last season
    2. it was because we knew we would one day have to replace our no.6 that we bought one of the best midfielders in the world. He might not have lived up to our expectations yet, but Cesc should have played more in the midfield instead of false left winger and false nine

    @transfer market inflation

    Although I think that Bale will make a very good addition to an already very good squad, 100M euros is a ridiculous amount of money for any player, let alone one who has never been considered elite. I can’t believe Tottenham is holding out for more.

    Likewise, the city of Liverpool must be sucking on a giant comunal crack pipe if they think Luis Suarez is worth over 60M.

    Getting Neymar for 57M is looking more and more like a great deal, although I have serious problems with the lack of transparency surrounding it.

    @pronunciation of “ll”

    So in Catalan Tello is pronounced Telyo? Wow. Here (in Venezuela) the “ll” and “y” are pronounced like the “j” as in “joke”… I was disappointed upon finding that Tata lacks the classic Argentinian pronunciation of the letter (something of a soft “sh” – imagine saying shower with a z instead of an s).

    • CuleToon
      July 28, 2013

      Hi, Levon. Tello is pronounced Telyo in «normative» Spanish, since it’s a Spanish surname. Also, it’s pronounced the same in Catalan.

      And, yes. In other variants of Spanish such as those of southern Spain, the Canary Islands and Latin America, the “ll” and “y” are pronounced like the “j” in “joke” or like the “sh” in… whatever.

      I fear that BfB will have soon another category, «Linguistics» 😉

      • yana
        July 28, 2013

        So, the “ly” is one combined sound, then? Not a distinct “el” sound followed by “yo” — Teh-lyo, not Tel-yo? Interesting. Does that go for all “ll”, like amarilla/o?

        (I find linguistics fascinating.)

      • barca96
        July 29, 2013

        A suggestion to the mods. Perhaps you could put up like a sticky like they do in the forums for stuff like “pronunciation of the player’s names”, how Kxevin’s rating works, location of members, etc.

    • yana
      July 28, 2013

      I was going to reply above, the “Te-joe” is a Latin America pronounciation, (though not throughout all of Latin America). Though I would phoneticize it as “Te-zho”, exactly as you explain with “shower” with a z, Lev.

      Same with “Vi-zha” (David).

      My co-workers (Argentinian, Colombian, Mexican) like to tease me how my accent is so very Spanish. But they totally get why, as they know my ear has been shaped by years of downloads of Spanish broadcasts of Barça matches! The Argentinians are Barça fans, of course.

      Amusingly, they thought my successfully eradicating “v” from my speech (in favor of “b”), was more of an accomplishment than mastering “erre”…

    • Roberto Senyera
      July 28, 2013

      On the one hand, the odd thing for me about the Neymar buy was that the €57m was for a guy with only one year left on his contract. Both Suarez and Bale have multiple years left on their contracts. If those two had only one year left on their contracts their values would be greatly reduced. €57m for anyone with only one year left on their contract and has never played European club football seems overvalued.

      On the other hand, the Neymar situation is a very unique one and thereby makes a standard valuation difficult. He’s been the main man on the Brasilian NT (historically, a powerhouse NT) for a couple of years now even though he’s still only 21. The expected revenue the club can generate due to his marketability exceeds his transfer cost and our rivals were willing to pay much more for him. So, from that angle, Neymar is a bargain. And this was before what he did in the Confed Cup. His performance in that summer tournament would only have increased his cost and brought other suitors to the high stakes poker table. In that sense, the club was smart to get him before a big summer tournament (similar, in that way, to when we signed Villa before the 2010 WC). Hey guys, the mgmt of the club does some things intelligently, after all.

      From a strictly sporting perspective, I’m very glad we have a player that should lift some of the scoring burden from Messi’s shoulders. A guy that can score playing as a winger and has great pace and technical ability. He’s also quite humble for a Brasilian superstar and wants to play for FCB. I think he’s a great fit.

      Looking forward to the new season.

      Visca Barça.

    • July 28, 2013

      You may like Cesc a lot, but if we had indeed bought him to replace Xavi then it was abig mistake. Cesc does not have the needed skill to replace Xavi – he is too offensive and less defensive compared to Xavi. That means if Cesc has to come into our midfield we may have to change the way we play a bit or at least Iniesta should take Xavi role.

  36. Jafri
    July 28, 2013

    Anyone else unhappy about the drain from La Liga this transfer window? Thiago is gone, Navas is gone, Soldado as well, Falcao, Higuain, Llorente, Negredo… Pretty much all the top strikers have left the country.

    For a while there La Liga was considered the best league in Europe. With all the top talent leaving (And the Champions League Spanish debacle) I don’t think they can truly claim that anymore.

    • alpinegroove
      July 28, 2013

      La Liga will still have the three Balon d’Or finalists (Messi, Iniesta, Ronaldo), plus Neymar, and maybe Bale.

      Overall, though, I agree. FCB and RM are getting stronger, and all the other teams, weaker. I have always thought that the lack of competition in La Liga cannot do good for either FCB or RM when they play against tougher opposition in the CL.

  37. TITO
    July 28, 2013

    Look at this stat, only for the Premier League:

    Ignacio Monreal – Arsenal
    Santi Cazorla – Arsenal
    Mikel Arteta – Arsenal
    Antonio Luna – Aston Villa
    Fernando Torres – Chelsea
    Juan Mata – Chelsea
    César Azpilicueta – Chelsea
    Oriol Romeu – Chelsea
    José Campaña – Crystal Palace
    Joel Robles – Everton
    José Enrique – Liverpool
    Iago Aspas – Liverpool
    Luis Alberto – Liverpool
    Suso – Liverpool
    Daniel Pacheco – Liverpool
    Pepe Reina – Liverpool
    Álvaro Negredo – Manchester City
    David Silva – Manchester City
    Javi García – Manchester City
    Jesús Navas – Manchester City
    David De Gea – Manchester United
    Javier Garrido – Norwich City
    Daniel Ayala – Norwich City
    Marc Muniesa – Stoke City
    Carlos Cuellar – Sunderland
    Chico – Swansea City
    Michu – Swansea City
    Pablo Hernández – Swansea City
    Jordi Amat – Swansea City
    Alejanddro Pozuelo – Swansea City
    Àngel Rangel – Swansea City
    José Cañas – Swansea City
    Adrián – West Ham United
    Jordi Gómez – Wigan
    Iván Ramis – Wigan
    Esteban Granero – QPR

    + Soldado to Tottenham.

  38. TITO
    July 28, 2013

    And this is in some other leagues:

    Joaquín – Fiorentina
    Borja Valero – Fiorentina
    Marcos Alonso – Fiorentina
    Raúl Albiol – Napoli
    José Callejón – Napoli
    José Ángel – Roma
    Pedro Obiang – Sampdoria
    Dídac Vilà – Milan
    Fernando Llorente – Juventus
    Jaime Romero – Udinese
    José Ángel Crespo – Bologna
    Martí Riverola – Bologna
    Keko – Catania

    Javi Martínez – FC Bayern
    Thiago Alcântara – FC Bayern
    Andrés Palop – Leverkusen
    Álvaro Domínguez – Borussia Moenchengladbach
    Joselu – Eintracht Frankfurt

    Rodrigo – Benfica
    Juan Carlos – Braga
    Jeffrén – Sporting CP
    Diego Capel – Sporting CP

    Bojan – Ajax
    Isaac Cuenca – Ajax

    José Manuel Jurado – Spartak Moscow
    César Navas – Rubin Kazan
    Iván Marcano – Rubin Kazan

    Víctor Vázquez – Club Brugge

    • barca96
      July 29, 2013

      Wow. It must’ve taken you a lot of time to compile the list. Great work!

    • PrinceYuvi
      July 29, 2013

      Many Spanish clubs simply don’t have the financial muscle to keep their star players at the moment. Recession and lopsided tv rights. Luckily they’ve brilliant academies capable of producing new talents.

  39. July 29, 2013

    WTF.
    Barca reporting that Cesc has decided to join ManU.
    Again. WTF!
    Are we trying to make our Midfield as thin as our defense?

    • Spiza7
      July 29, 2013

      You mean the Media are reporting that

      • July 29, 2013

        sorry. i meant barcastuff

      • Jim
        July 29, 2013

        If its the one from the Daily Express we can safely ignore it I think.

    • Spiza7
      July 29, 2013

      I don’t know which duo should we fear more, Messi and Neymar? or Captain Caveman and SMasch?

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