In a league of our own, as two are not enough

a league of our own

 

One of the more peculiar problems faced by countries throughout the developing world is called the “talent drain”. Both young and not so young people who have enjoyed higher education and/or are performing specialized jobs are increasingly lured abroad to countries where things like inflation, homicide rates or lack of asphalted roads don’t get in the way of one’s hopes and aspirations.

Off go the brightest and smartest: health care workers, engineers, economists, researchers, professors, journalists, businessmen, and so on ad nauseum. Some don’t even leave for a “better” job. That middle-aged Bangladeshi who delivers your groceries might very well have been a veterinarian back home, and the gentleman who answers your billing questions after your cell phone company shafted you used to be an editor at one of Mexico’s bigger newspapers.

And while the pursuit of happiness is an undeniable and fundamental human right, the countries that depend on these people to improve their suffering economies, inadequate infrastructure and miserable health care systems are left to do less with less.

In similar fashion Spain, which, crisis not withstanding, cannot in any shape or form be considered a developing country, has suffered a significant talent drain of its own over the last few years. If you are young, moderately to very talented, and desire to win big and shiny things and/or earn a lot of money by kicking round black and white objects into football nets, more often than not your best option for success is to leave Iberian shores and fulfill your dreams abroad.

The list of footballers who have abandoned La Liga over the last three years is nothing to scuff at. It includes (but is not limited to) men like, Juan Mata, David Silva, David De Gea, Michu, Radamel Falcao, Sergio Aguëro, Javi Martinez, Santi Cazorla, Joaquin Sanchez, Fernando Llorente, Gonzalo Higuain, Raúl Albiol, José Callejon, Jesús Navas, Álvaro Negredo, Iago Aspas, Marc Muniesa, Andrés Palop, Roberto Soldado and, last but not least, our very own Thiago de Alcántara. Then there are the ones who made the jump in previous seasons, like Fernando Torres, Pepe Reina and Mikel Arteta, or those who are simply on loan in foreign leagues, like Bojan Krkic, Isaac Cuenca and Gerard Deulofeu. The staggering amount of talent that has left the Spanish league could easily form a Champions League challenging squad. And probably another one to win the Europa League.

And it is not just about the players that don’t stay. It is also about the ones that don’t come. The biggest problem is that the Liga’s selling clubs cannot afford to reinvest the transfer fees in their squad, as they are forced to use significant sums of their earnings to service their debts, the total of which runs in the billions. Atlético Madrid sold Falcao for a reported sixty million euros (of which a large part went to the company who owned the rights on the player – food for another article altogether) and replaced him with a hopefully not over the hill David Villa for around two million. Of the hundred and thirty million Valencia have received for selling their crowd favorites year after year they have used about a fifth on replacements.

Of course, if you are very to extremely talented at kicking round black and white objects into football nets and would really like to hear the crowd yell ¡olé! while doing so, you might get offered another option altogether: a move to one of the two European powerhouses still standing on the block, Fútbol Club Barcelona or Real M*drid, institutions where big money and pretty shiny things are pretty much guaranteed. And when I say standing on the block I really mean towering over it and putting all the other little houses in the shade.

Without having the facts at hand (cough, no self-respecting writer does research anyway, cough) I would wager that most summers, together with RM, we outspend all the other teams in the league combined. And we don’t just take the cream of the foreign crop either. In the last three years, Barça relieved Valencia from David Villa and Jordi Alba. And in 2008 we bought Dani Alves and Seydou Keita from Sevilla, while later addding Adriano Correia. Our rivals put their great white hopes on Sergio Canales, before letting him rot in the stands, and went on a domestic shopping spree this summer in which they picked up Isco, who has a dog named Messi, and Illaremendi, whose beautiful name will bask in capital sunlight (see what I did there?).

Indeed, “ungrateful” canteranos aside, we and that other team sure think alike. We are drainers, not drainees, so to speak, always buying more of the exceptional, to the point that we have become two giant peas in an pod that is about to burst. It is true that we have always been bigger, richer and more handsome than the rest. Our stadiums and trophy cabinets can attest to that. It is the logical consequence of being the major teams of the two major cities in Spain. But at least we faced competition. We didn’t win leagues with 100 points. Our forwards did not break scoring records every single year. Draws did not feel like season-threatening defeats because of knowing that it could take months for the other team to drop a point or three. And third- placed teams did not lose the title challenge on the first jornada.

The last nine league championships were won by either the good guys (6) or the bad guys (3). Ain’t no other guy in the picture – maybe a dark horse or two, upon whom the light shined for a quick second before it got tired and bowed out of the race. We also won three Champions League titles during these nine years. To be completely honest, if we continue at this ratio, I don’t really care about the rest. Their mismanagement is not our problem and nor is it our fault.

Valencia built half a stadium and can’t sell the one it has. There are plenty of sponsorless shirts that refuse to contribute to the salaries of the players wearing them. Various clubs in the league are beyond the brink of bankruptcy. They would be better off with chimpansees on their director chairs. Why should we share more TV money with those morons? They’d squander their newfound riches faster than I can say dumbass.  Why don’t they find their own banks who never ask for their money back?

Besides, we have to compete with juggernauts like Bayern Munich, PSG, Chelsea, Manchester City and United. I believe Arsenal have set themselves up to be a force within five years, too. In addition, renegotiating the TV rights means that we lose financial ground vis-à-vis M*drid, because they receive more income from other sources than we do.

But also consider this. How great would it be if Valencia could have built around a core of Mata, Silva, Villa, Soldado, Rami, Matthieu and Jordi Alba? If Atletico added a star signing every summer instead of lose one? If Pellegrini had brought Navas and Jovetic to Málaga instead of Manchester? And that’s just the coolness factor. What we really should be asking ourselves is: “Where is the limit?”

Do we want to end up playing in a league where we win every game with three to four goals? Would that be fun on a weekly basis? Will the lack of competition finally bring down the quality of the top two teams, and will we suffer in Europe as a result? I know neither answer nor solution to the questions I ask. I suspect that a more equitable partition of TV-rights is inevitable, but I think that the problem runs deeper.

What I do know is the following. The talent drain is one characteristic of the Third World. Out of control debt is another. The hallmark, however, is the gaping gulf in wealth and opportunities between the haves and the have-nots. Just what that says about a league which only one of two teams will win again this season, I leave up to you.

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Written by:

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

459 Comments

  1. 86ed
    August 10, 2013

    It could be the pitch, it’s most likely the very few games Iniesta, Xavi, and Busquests have played since the Confed. Cup, but boy are we slow in midfield. Too many horizontal passes; and the vertical ones go astray frequently. They’ll get better with more games, certainly, but maybe it’s time to play that trio together less often?

  2. ciaran
    August 10, 2013

    1-1 great finish from the Malaysian.
    Alba intercepts a through ball and the rebound falls to the forward and he smashes it past Valdes

  3. ciaran
    August 10, 2013

    2-1 Neymar with a fantastic turn and finish from Cesc’s pass

  4. stefan2k
    August 10, 2013

    Something stinks … even Busi is off :/

    Nice goal from Ney!

  5. Ryan
    August 10, 2013

    Smooth turn and finish from Neymar! Having another goal scorer on the team is going to be fun!

  6. ciaran
    August 10, 2013

    3-1 Pique with a stunning finish from a Cesc flicked through ball

    • ciaran
      August 10, 2013

      I like seeing Pique with the captain’s armband, hopefully he’ll refocus this season and eventually be our captain

    • Jim
      August 10, 2013

      No need to refocus imo, he just needs a regular partner…… Oh wait 🙁

  7. Nik
    August 10, 2013

    Neymar & Cesc left with ankle injuries, and Messi apparently didn’t start because of a ”
    “thigh muscle overburdening” (via @RafaelH117). What a lovely tour this turned out to be. Gracias, Ro$elll.

  8. Jim
    August 10, 2013

    Can we keep a cool head about events so far? Its gonna be a long season.

    We always go on tours, we always moan about them, somebody always gets injured ( as I understand it Messi’s was a training discomfort ).

    Although there are some down points we have also seen enough to know Neymar will add a fair bit of firepower ( that first touch for his goal was sublime), Pedro and Alexis are using the games to get into form, some of our NT players are gonna get a rest as they’ve not been called up, the youngsters have shown well and Tata seems to have reinstated pressing.

    If the sun fails to rise tomorrow there has to be at least a slim chance that its not Rosell’s fault?

    • Jafri
      August 10, 2013

      Well of course it’s his fault. He decided to use the cheaper Sun that doesn’t work all the time.

    • August 10, 2013

      Substandard airline, hotel, food and pitch conditions all contribute to the problem. Yes, clubs take pre-season tours to make money, but you don’t try to save 300k on an airline, compromising the comfort of players that you have spent millions for.

      The players looked lackluster and drained in today’s match, and I think there is a clear reason. El Pais is the latest media outlet to have an article on the “Cheapo Tour.”

      The injuries are simply from an overzealous opponent, lunging in from a fit of stupid pride. But there is a reason that more than a few players have complained about this tour. Players are used to jetting hither and yon. They aren’t accustomed to their club trying to do it on the cheap.

      For that aspect, I think that Rosell and the board can be called out. Not everything is about the bottom line, to my view.

    • Nik
      August 10, 2013

      Substandard airline, hotel, food and pitch conditions all contribute to the problem. Yes, clubs take pre-season tours to make money, but you don’t try to save 300k on an airline, compromising the comfort of players that you have spent millions for.

      Exactly. If the injuries had happened on another tour where conditions weren’t as bad, I would have cursed the Fates but not made too much of a deal of it. Injuries happen all the time. But it’s the fact that the injuries happened on top of everything else you mentioned which makes me get really irritated at Ro$ell. There’s really no way anyone can defend him on this one.

    • Rami
      August 10, 2013

      Substandard airline, Hotel and food?
      Since this squad is composed of millionaires who are accustomed to the most luxurious life, It will be right to assume that what they might consider ‘sub stander’ isn’t the same as yours or mine’s ‘substandard’, So yeah, I won’t shred a tear for them.
      I’d like to think that this lackluster performance was because of the pitch, And simply fatigue from the tour, Cause i sure hope not it’s not because they didn’t eat the same expensive lamb they’re used to.

    • August 10, 2013

      Having slept in hotel rooms with blood stains on the wall at sub zero temperature, I understand what you are saying hehehe.

    • August 10, 2013

      You should see nzm’s comment about the tour and the quality of its logistics above before scoffing at the notion that this isn’t being handled properly. It’s worth a look, and isn’t very far up.

      Many players, including Iniesta (who rarely complains) and Messi have spoken out about how undesirable this trip is. They have gone on pre-season tours before, and haven’t said anything. It isn’t very difficult to read the tea leaves, and speculate that if this all weren’t being poorly handled, there wouldn’t be as much unhappiness.

    • August 10, 2013

      Oooh, right yeah nzm’s comments about the airline are indeed pretty damning!

    • Rami
      August 10, 2013

      @Kxevin
      I did in fact read nzm’m comment, But i couldn’t find how a bad airliner is a cause of today’s performance, Which i still attribute it to fatigue, And a bad pitch, We can even add the hot weather and humidity.
      The bad planning and the ‘substandard’ conditions like hotel, Food, Flight, That they went through in this last part of tour for me as a fan is no excuse for any performance on the pitch (Unless the conditions are really really bad, Which i doubt is the case), Plus it’s something that the players representatives should worried and complain about to the club, Not the fans.
      These trips don’t have to desirable to the players, Who wants anyway to ride 12 hours in a plane into the other side of the world for a hot and a humid place just to play football, The purpose of these matches are commercial for the club, I don’t think any player has the right to complain about them.
      The only real complaint from me as a fan, Is why didn’t they schedule the asia tour at the start of pre-season instead of the end, Wouldn’t that have made more sense?

    • August 10, 2013

      Heh heh heh. Love your comment, Jafri. 🙂

  9. August 10, 2013

    What struck me about the match today is how quickly people Tweeted about needing a CB when that goal was conceded. The BeIN announcer right called it as a systemic breakdown. Alves, Alba AND Pique were caught forward. Pique even stopped running, as he knew he just wasn’t going to be able to do a thing about it.

    Mascherano was approaching something approximating being in position to try to make a play, which is why he looked so disgusted in the aftermath of Alba’s lunge clearance, which turned out to be precious little more than a pass to the Malaysian player, while also catching out Valdes, who was moving out to make an attempt himself, which led to him not being at all well positioned to make any attempt at a save.

    Couple that comedy of errors with a cracking good finish, and the conclusion is that there isn’t a CB on the planet who could have stopped that goal from happening. On so many of our goals last season and in general, that is the case.

    When I crave a CB or two, it is for depth and depth of quality reasons. Players will get injured this season, and even though on paper we carry enough CBs, we don’t in reality. But anyone who thinks that a single CB is going to resolve the systemic breakdowns that are usually at the root of goals that we concede, should reconsider.

    • August 10, 2013

      You are very right. Which is why I made the case for us to sell Dani Alves and get a defensive right back.

      The right CB will help us defending against set pieces, though. Last season we suffered against EE, PSG and Bayern.

    • Rami
      August 10, 2013

      With just one statistic, Anyone can deduce that this is a systemic multi-factorial problem and not simply a CB issue.
      We conceded over 70 goals last season, Even if we assumed that thiago silva the best CB in the world by far, was bought last season, How many goals could he have possibly prevented, Given that he starts every single game, 20 goals?, 25??!!
      That still leaves us with over 45 goals.

      The factors that lead to this frightening statistic are these 3:
      1-Eric abidal replacement is a midget, Who isn’t actually a left back, But a converted winger not too long ago.
      2-Massive injuries in the CB department, Specially the back bone of our defense, Carles puyol.
      3-Lack of pressing, Which had the largest contribution.

      Until those 3 are corrected, We should accept conceding no less than 40 goals a season.

    • August 10, 2013

      Agreed, although I think that the Eric Abidal replacement is the largest factor.

      I have mixed feeling about the pressing, because I think that to keep up the intensity for each and every game could be damaging in the long run. I would like us to be able to turn it on for the games in which we need to, and to not wear our players down in some of the “easier” games.

    • Rami
      August 10, 2013

      I don’t think think it’s productive to switch the pressing ‘on’ and ‘off’.
      Pressing not only needs physical aspects, But mental ones, The coach needs to implement the hard work mentality and determination into the players heads in every match and training session, It’s a mental rhythm that must be maintained to give them the proper incentive to run after the ball, You can’t just tell them ‘Meh, Don’t bother pressing this time’ and the next match ‘I want you all to go berserk!!’.

      The best way to avoid burning out later in the season, Is to try to spread out the workload as evenly as possible between the squad members, That means, Rotation, Rotation, Rotation.

    • August 10, 2013

      Maybe, maybe not…

      I was all happy that we were pressing again in the preseason, and after only a couple of (incomplete) games, Messi already has a muscle injury. Is it coincidence? I don’t know.

    • Rami
      August 10, 2013

      Messi endured 4 seasons of pressing with pep and hardly ever got injured, So it seems like coincidence.
      Yet there is something that reemerged again after we returned the pressing, Which doesn’t seem like a coincidence for me, I’ll talk about it in a separate post.

    • ciaran
      August 10, 2013

      Statistically Jordi Alba was our best defender last season and has been a revelation going forward to boot.
      I agree that a more defensive replacement for Dani Alves will most likely be our most effective defensive change but that’s not going to happen anytime soon and Montoya looks to be his replacement anyway so I think we should get used to the evolution into defending with just 2 defenders and 1 defensive midfielder.

      If Tata is as pragmatic as everyone says he is then a double pivot may be an evolution in important matches?

    • August 11, 2013

      Statistically best defender…pfff, I don’t even want to know what that means…

    • 86ed
      August 10, 2013

      It’s not that we’ll actually sign any defenders at all this season, so you need not worry. A serious administration would have treated the problem last year, or early this summer at the latest, but this isn’t a serious administration.
      Look at where they’ve sent the team: to face mediocre teams (with all due respect) instead of serious competition. They’ve done this, I think, both to make a quick buck and to hide the urgency for defenders with lopsided victories, and even that has failed on occasions such as today’s. We ought to have played against tougher opposition all summer, like Real has been, but no.

    • August 10, 2013

      Well, we will see on Monday whether or not David Luiz hands in a transfer request…

    • 86ed
      August 10, 2013

      EDM (or was it Sport?) were saying the same thing about Thiago Silva. It won’t happen. If were going to happen it would have happened long ago. 7
      Another season without a proper defense may ruin Rosell, so that might not be so bad.

  10. stefan2k
    August 10, 2013

    Curious about what barca96 has to say … 🙂

  11. PrinceYuvi
    August 10, 2013

    Abroad fans getting to see their favourite superstars is wondrous, once in lifetime opportunity for many. Thanks to Rosell. And thank god we at least got Neymar this season. Could’ve been worse.

  12. Rami
    August 10, 2013

    There is a familiar theme i’ve been seeing in the last 3 games of the pre-season, It’s the image of half our players condensed in front and inside the 18 yards line doing some very short passe just so they can get past a whole crowd of opposition players, The same stuff we used to see with pep.
    It’s no coincidence that ever since we returned to our high pressing, This started occurring again, While it’s true that the opposition can chose to form a shell in front of their post, It’s only partially true, We also force them to condense in their area, Because we don’t allow them to get past the middle of the pitch.
    For those who haven’t already figured it out, This is not a good thing, This ‘theme’ became more and more problematic for pep as the season went by, And his last season with us is a good example, It’s one of the reasons tito decided to ditch the pressing, To lure and discourage the teams to condense in their own area.
    I don’t know what martino is planning to solve this, And my biggest fear is that he might haven’t followed FCB close enough to notice how much this was a big problem for our team.

    • Jafri
      August 10, 2013

      Correct me if any of these statements is wrong:

      For the last five years we’ve always had more possession than the opponent.

      When we have more possession, we spend relatively more time in the opponents half then they do in our half.

      When we spend more time in their half, they bunch up in their half to try to stop us.

      When they try to stop us, we, due to our aforementioned ball possession skills, keep cycling the ball as close to the opponents goal and keep looking for an opening to score.

      If we lose the ball while cycling it, we press hard to recover it in their half and keep the pressure up.

      If we were to, instead, leave off the press and let them come to our half, and therefore spread out the field, we would have your ideal scenario. Ball’s ours, and say five players from each team in each half.

      Next step: Busquets takes the ball from Pique and passes it to Xavi, who passes it to Iniesta and by that time they have their ten men hanging out in their penalty box. Iniesta passes the ball back to Xavi.

      Our buildup play is the most measured in the world. I can appreciate you wanting the opposition to have just three or four men at the back versus two or three of our speedy forwards rushing at them, but that involves glorious counterattacks and hopeful long balls over the top, neither of which we are suited to play. It’s the Mourinho Madrid model or even an (ugh) EPL relic, and for me at least, it has no place at Barcelona.

      If you have any alternate ways to stop teams condensing, I’d be happy to hear them.

    • Rami
      August 10, 2013

      But what you just described is exactly what was happening with tito last season, Although we kept using possession, But once we lost it, We didn’t apply high pressure to retrieve it, And a result other teams easily reached our own half, While in pep’s years it was a rarity, That also allowed us to exchange an attack with another attack, Something also rarely used to happen before tito.
      If you pay close attention the difference is quite clear, I recommend you re-watch some previous game of last season and compare with pep’s, For example the matches against Real-betis in camp nou.

    • Jafri
      August 11, 2013

      I’ll watch the betis match, but we can’t move the ball fast enough from the back to take advantage of their numbers in our half. In order to get the ball up front quickly we’d have to bypass the midfield completely and that’s our greatest strength. And even if we do hoof the ball upfield, our forwards don’t necessarily take advantage of the 1v1/ 1v2s. There have been so many matches (In Tito’s era as well as Pep’s), where we’ve had a chance to break from a corner in our half, Messi or someone’s had the ball at the halfway line vs two or three defenders, and instead of trying to run past them, he passes back.

      I think Tata needs to tell them that it’s okay to use route one football at times, but most teams end up parking the bus against us anyway, and we need to keep working on breaking them down. I don’t think trying to prevent them will be as effective a strategy in this case. Everyone’s afraid of us already, can’t imagine them being more adventurous now that Neymar’s here too.

  13. barca96
    August 10, 2013

    Might die from happiness so I’ll write something just in case 🙂 but gotta keep it short tonight (morning actually).

    Met eyes with Pinto in the in the afternoon.
    Messi and Valdes in the evening. Both when they were on the bus.
    Ran nearly 1km alongside the bus, on an uphill at that.

    Dead tired. Good night and apologies to the players and fans (BFB) for the poor pitch (es), bad tackles and haze. It’s already a hot humid country but now there’s a lot of haze coming from Indonesia so it must’ve been extra harder for the players.

    • Jafri
      August 10, 2013

      Happy for you, man 😀

    • August 10, 2013

      Broken link. Why were they booing Messi? Because he didn’t play? We should risk our best player who is already carrying a minor injury on a pitch like that just to please them? UGH.

    • August 12, 2013

      Thanks a million for your wonderful commentary above, friend. Really happy for you.
      Much appreciate.

  14. simple_barcafan
    August 10, 2013

    Some had mentioned that Neymar was a spoilt brat..but based on what we have seen in the pre season tours and the initial few days in Barca, he seems to be a very down to earth guy..Also barca96 and nzm mentioned how he made sure he greeted/ acknowledged the fans..Just good PR? don’t think so…

  15. Afif
    August 11, 2013

    Malaysian Barca fan here who watched the match at the stadium. Apologies for the incoming wall of text, but after last night, I do feel like talking a bit about the Asian Tour.

    I felt the same way as barca96 (hey barca96, are you a local too?) when everyone started booing at the end of the match but i guess it was also towards the organizers as the tour is quite a let down for the normal (and few) cules here.

    When the news broke down that they were coming here, I couldn’t believe that the team I have sacrificed my sleep for every weekend and sometimes midweek will be playing on our local turf. I do follow some of the BFB royalties on twitter which I’m happy to say, have kept me in company as I sit throughout the matches alone at 3.00 in the AM for most of the weekends (and sometimes mid-week). It’s not too bad watching the match alone on a bad stream when you can chuckle or cringe over some of the random and funny conversations/analysis you guys threw in during a match. Always wanted to join in, but never succeeded to.

    However as days go by, I’m starting to have mixed feelings about the whole thing. Through all these years, we have been commonly known to be the pit stop for many BPL teams as the general known fact that they are still and really huge over here. United’s class of 92, they spawned unlimited numbers of fans. Arsenal’s Invincibles, legends that I wouldn’t be surprised if someone would do a Mt. Rushmore of them here. The Team, however, are still alien to most of us. Odd hours of matches coupled with those Peek-a-busquets days, which are still being talked about, it is known that the team won’t receive the same amount of love compared to the local prime time BPL heroes.

    So I guess it would be good if the team shows up here, do a few rounds of public appearance, but sadly, they are currently being portrayed as very reserved and hard to get to. Public appearances were made strictly for medias and the sponsors (company’s staffs, people with super connections & families).

    The venue change caused a bit of a trouble for many. From a venue with easy public access, they changed it the day the match was to be played, to a new venue completely on the other side of Kuala Lumpur far from public transport access. This is solely the organizers’ fault for not getting the pitch fixed. Oh they were horrible, the only happy thing would be if Xavi found a mushroom growing.

    As much as I’m reading that the Asia Tour has been unfavorable with the international community and sadly, The Team too, it’s hitting the same spots for the local people here. The tour seems rushed and I don’t think it’s going to get some good marks for both the management of The Team and the Malaysian organizers. Even the timing is a bit off considering we’re currently celebrating eid-ul-fitr holidays and most of the people are out of town, hence the poor attendance.

    Messi wasn’t made known to be having an overburdening right until after the match, although it was said that he had it after the training session. Nobody in the stadium knew, as his name was even called out in the team list announcement. We were hyped for The Messiah. The frustration was let out at the end from some who just wanted to see him in action and didn’t get to. The changed stadium’s pitch was in a bad condition too but slightly better than the original venue, so I guess it was a precaution. An international marketing friendly is never worth an injury especially involving our best player.

    I enjoyed the first half very much. Have to admit, our National Team were over enthusiastic while parking the bus. The second half became a Spot The Leo session gone wrong. Coupled with the bland game, the frustration was guaranteed to happen from the attendees.

    Overall, I was very satisfied. The individual movements in the team on the pitch were unreal. Every Iniesta turns, Xavi in maestro mode, Alexis’ and Neymar’s burst of dribbles, Busquet’s magical awareness of the game were happening right in front of me. Those silly cabbage pixel streams will never impress as much as seeing them live.

    Hoping that Cesc’s sprained ankle won’t be too bad. Him and Neymar are looking like BFF’s on the pitch after these few friendlies. Was good to see Pedro jogging around the field before the kick-off too. Neymar do seem to be the friendliest of the bunch throughout the Tour.

    My verdict on the Asia Tour, it’s kinda pointless except making a few local fans like me happy to see The Team live. I hope they go on those mini club tournaments pre-season the next time. This is my first comment here after being a silent reader for quite some time. To all the wonderful writers in BFB, thank you for all the good stuff throughout these years. Simply entertaining!

    From a Malaysian Barca fan. Visca el Barca and we still need to get a CB ASAP.

    • August 11, 2013

      The Xavi/mushroom quip cracked me up!

      Thank you so much for your comment, Afif.

    • Afif
      August 12, 2013

      Hi Levon. You’re Welcome!

      Delightful post by the way. Being in a developing country, I can definitely relate.

    • Sangoku
      August 11, 2013

      Very sorry for being completely off-topic but I just had to tell you and barca96 that I was in Malaysia last year and I just LOVED it! When I heard that Barça were to play in KL, I wanted to come back even more but couldn’t. Anyway, Selamat Datang to the BFB comments section! 😉

    • Afif
      August 12, 2013

      Terima kasih for the welcome Sangoku! I’ll try and throw in a thought or two once in a while. Everyone seems to have highly impressive knowledge around here, I can only be happy to learn new stuff with each post. Oh, I’m guessing that we’re neighbours 🙂

    • Sangoku
      August 13, 2013

      Yes, this is my favourite site because you do learn a lot, be it in the posts or the comments but what I appreciate even more is the general good-natured way of this small “community”.

      And, no, we’re not neighbours, I live on a small island in the Indian ocean! 🙂

    • teddy
      August 11, 2013

      let me get this out of my chest. as a Malaysian Barca fan, for me no matter how I love this club, this match is totally unnecessary. Our national team is a joke, couple with stupid management, this match is totally uncalled for.

      I don’t know what our national team is trying to prove, they’re bad, they’re still bad even if they score 100 goals against Barcelona, our coach is clueless and doesn’t add anything to the national team. Watching the match, I’ve been praying all along that no Barca player is injured, after some weird, wrong trying-to-prove-something attitude from our national team, plus a bad condition of pitch.

      The same joke whenever our football organisation try to get a match against top EPL clubs when they are coming for Asia tour while they should be focused more on local football development. It’s a shame.

      There, I said it.

  16. August 11, 2013

    this is the decisive week.
    if nobody arrives now, it’s not happening.

  17. simple_barcafan
    August 12, 2013

    Xavi: “Tata Martino is a leader. He’s a skillful, prepared and experienced coach.” [sport]

    Adriano: “Neymar has adapted well, he tries to talk with everyone, and he’s very motivated. He spreads joy. Like Ronaldinho.” [as]

    via @barcastuff..

    hoping i can get some of the joy Ronnie used to give me..again…

    • simple_barcafan
      August 12, 2013

      Sorry wanted to post this quote:
      Xavi: “Neymar’s happiness blows me away. The guy plays without any pressure.” [sport]

  18. August 12, 2013

    I apologize beforehand, for the Off-Topic, and a tad lengthy comment.

    Okay, it is my first time commenting here.
    So, yes. I’ve been your (BFB’s) official stalker (?appropriate qualifier) for quite some years now.
    I can’t say — with certainty — if I’m the only, or first African (Nigerian) here, but we do have African(s) in the FC Barça Team though, aha. Not a problem, anyway. I’ve been reading the Blog Posts and Comments for like, an aeon now. Beautiful, and interessant, I must say. Having such a dais for supporters of the Barça Thrill is just a spectacle, I must spew, once more.

    I started following, recently, the BFB Musketeers on Twitter (Kevin, NZM, Kari, Blitzen, et al), and it’s been delightful sharing thoughts with them.
    I, also, was an astute follower of Barça Offside, whence this Blog (BFB) was cropped out. I followed Isaiah then (Barca Offside, that is), to the present BFB Reality, till… when he finally went gently into that goodnight, smiling — without decay, but love and the winning habit; bequeathing it to you, the present hombres.

    So, when Ade. C of Barça Offside finally drew the curtains last week, I wasn’t left with a lump in the throat, nor did I try to stifle tears — very much thanks to BFB.

    I feel delighted every time I handle my BB to log into this Blog. My oh, as beauteous and interesting as a museum about a sausage could be. And no, I’m not often this effusive.

    To cut the chase, this is a one-stop shop for everything FCB. Good thanks to Isaiah (retired), NZM, Blitzen, Kari, Kxevin, Levon et al, for your continued lovely Blog Posts. And Cule-Toon, Barca96, Ciaran, Soccermum, Rami, Utracule et al, for your deft comments.

    I might not be a good Barça historian or a dexterous commenter on Barça tacts like Cool Toon, Levon, Rami, Kari, Blitzen, NZM, Kexvin, and others. But I’ll try to cut in some comments here and again.

    Besides the walls of BFB, I’d love to have the Twitter Handles of fellow Cules here, (anybody?), so we could also have some tippy chats on Twitter, too. In the meanwhile, I’m @temple_999 (https://mobile.twitter.com/account) on Twitter, hope to get other Cules’ handles, too.

    As we, the Igbos, say in Nigeria;

    Daluu nu, stay well, brothers. And

    Visca El Barça.

    • K-cule
      August 12, 2013

      As Levon said, you’re definitely not the only African – Kenyan here. There is a Ghanaian somewhere here – forgot the username – and many more who usually lurk here (those I personally know of anyhow). Welcome to the family ‘oo’ 😀

      Do you by any chance come bearing a CB from Naija?

    • barca96
      August 12, 2013

      Ghanaian is Jnice if I’m not mistaken.

    • providence
      August 12, 2013

      I’m also a Ghanaian … on Twitter @Provyhernandez … My Twitter daddy is @Kevvwill … @euleri blocked me because of a Rosell row *cough I’ve missed his analysis cough* hope he unblocks me … Omg .. did you say you’re. @sidlowe on twitter barca96? welcome Temple, Greetings from West Africa. Akwaaba

    • Bill
      August 12, 2013

      I’m Kenyan too! Habari yako mzee? Lol

    • K-cule
      August 13, 2013

      Poa mzeiya, vipi uliko? Good to know there are some fellow Kenyan non-premier league fans (read barca haters/trolls) out there.

  19. August 12, 2013

    I can say for sure you are not the first African on BfB, Temple, and I count every commenter from your beautiful continent as a blessing.

    Thank you for your very elegant words, and thank you for reading. Oh, and one more thing… Fela Kuti lives!

  20. August 12, 2013

    Oh, not the African, okay, settled. How about the first Nigerian? Ahem. 😀

    And, ahaa, Levon. You just touched the soft spot. Fela Kuti was, and is still a Legend. He lives on, very. Glad you know about him, 🙂

    And em… Levon, that name sounds American?

    Also, you’re on Twitter, no? Would love to get other Cules’ handles.

  21. August 12, 2013

    Oh, not the first African, okay, settled. How about the first Nigerian? Ahem. 😀

    And, ahaa, Levon. You just touched the soft spot. Fela Kuti was, and is still a Legend. He lives on, very. Glad you know about him, 🙂

    And em… Levon, that name sounds American?

    Also, you’re on Twitter, no? Would love to get other Cules’ handles.

    • August 12, 2013

      The name is American, but I am Dutch.

      @barsalev

    • August 12, 2013

      Welcome, Temple! I know I’ve got at least a handful of followers from Africa on twitter. Nigerians for certain.

      I actually just recently read a book about Nigeria by Ken Saro-Wiwa’s daughter Noo, “Looking for Transwonderland”. Really interesting.

  22. August 12, 2013

    Okay, Dutch. Beautiful.

    And yes, I’ve followed you on Twitter. Thanks.

  23. CuleToon
    August 12, 2013

    Gretings, Temple!

    I’ve nothing to do with those other names you mention: I’m just an ordinary BfB member, like you. And I find Twitter too distracting, so I’m out of it. I’ve got more than enough with BfB now and then!

    Daluu nu!

  24. August 12, 2013

    Greetings too, CuleToon.

    Oh well, whether you’re an ordinary BFB member, or not. Your comments are fantastic, and are as brilliant as the aforementioned names’. I understand your sentiments on Twitter, all good.

    One thing. Daluu (crop out “nu”, it means in the structure context, “my brothers”, so “Daluu”, which means “stay well”, would suffice here).

    So, Daluu. (:-D).

    • CuleToon
      August 12, 2013

      Daluu, then! 🙂

  25. barca96
    August 12, 2013

    He’s not the first Nigerian but he was definitely the last that came around, Kinokinoku (sp?).

    In case you want to know my twitter name is @sidlowe 🙂

  26. August 12, 2013

    Greetings and welcome, Temple.

    Other BFB mods on Twitter:

    @kevvwill
    @nzm_fcb
    @euleri
    @blitzen13
    @blackwhitengrey

    I missed a few, though. Oh, there is also @officialkari, who used to be a mod, and will always be a mod in my heart.

  27. August 12, 2013

    Oh, it only seems like we’re trying to set a record for the highest number of comments in a post, but really, there is nothing worth saying, and in keeping with the new BFB theory of no obligatory posts, I guess the next thing to note will be a season preview/predictions post or something. We’ll see.

    The season starts Sunday, after all.

    • ooga aga
      August 12, 2013

      hopefully in which you proclaim we will win no silver this year…

  28. kosby
    August 12, 2013

    Since we dont really have much to talk about, can I speak out loud something that’s been clawing at me for some time but I am too scared to acknowledge openly ?

    Looking at our games against Bayern last season, some preseason friendlies and some Spain games, I have been wondering if our midfield is getting slow/weak ?

    I know it sounds blasphemous to question Busi, Xavi and Iniesta – but it seems like they were outmuscled and essentially squeezed by the major teams. I am comparing this midfield to teams like Borussia Dortmund, who have quick transitions between plays and successfully managed to beat teams like the EE.

    Maybe our defensive lapses are just a part of our weakness ? It seemed like our midfield was being strangled which led to less chances (although I admit I dont have the statistics to prove this).

    • August 12, 2013

      Just re-watched the Bayern tie, and what I noticed is something that really started to become prevalent just before the Milan leg, which is a lack of movement up front, which means that our mids have to hold the ball longer as they wait for movement, which means a greater vulnerability to pressure.

      Compare late season to early season, with all those diagonal runs, passes over the top to runners, etc. That team was absent pretty much for all of the CL knockout stages, except for the remundata against Milan.

      Until we see what Martino does to address the length of the lines from more vertical play that gave opponents counterattacking space, reining in the marauding Alba, etc, I wouldn’t draw any conclusions from anything late last season.

      That doesn’t excuse, or gloss over the fact that Xavi isn’t the player he once was. Age does that. But if everything in front of him is right as regards movement, runs and aggression, he still has a year or two left. Neymar will be colossal in that regard, as well as Sanchez and disposal of the misguided notion of tactical width.

      Opponents took advantage of the longer lines (attackers pressed forward and wide, Messi not pressing) by attacking Xavi and Busquets directly into space, that usually was a bit larger with Alba functioning as a left winger while Villa or Pedro hugged the sideline. All this meant that opponents could get directly at our defense, which, truth to tell, has NEVER been a good defense in the traditional sense. But with the press in the treble season, the stats were gaudy because they were just dealing with passes that leaked through, and feeding them back into the mmidfield mixer.

      Last season’s more vertical style emphasized risk, which meant a greater danger for our “defense.”

      So there was a lot going on.

    • Bill
      August 12, 2013

      You make an excellent point about last season.

      I remember being able to tell what kind of game we would have within the first 10-15 mins of the game. Every time I saw Xavi take 2,3,4 touches of the ball, then pull it back towards the other direction only to pass it to Busquets who did the same thing, then passed it to Pique for a repeat, I knew it would be a long night.

      I could also tell what kind of game it would be, when every time someone attacked the other teams’ goal and there was only one or two other players supporting him.

      On the other hand, every time I saw quick ball movement and off the ball movements, coupled with 4 or 5 players in the other teams box when we attacked, like that 2nd Milan game, I knew the other team was in for a long night.

      Teams like Madrid were getting lots of chances to kick our players and Pep’s quote,”if they kick you, it means you didn’t move the ball fast enough” kept going through my mind.

      I wonder why the team lost these simple pillars of their game. I hope they regain it.

    • August 12, 2013

      Bill, I’d say it was mental and physical fatigue. It’s really hard to perform like that week in and week out, for years. I think that is what’s at the root of the players saying things like “We are slowly getting back what we have lost.” It’s that unsustainable edge.

      In early season matches it was like a race to the opponents box when one of our mids got the ball. As the season progressed, it became more like “After you, my dear Alphonse.”

      One significant factor will be Fabregas, and whether he has his usual second-half fade. He was brilliant in the first part of the season.

    • Jim
      August 12, 2013

      Some good points, Kxevin. I think we valued width for its own sake rather than what we did with it, I think it de-skilled Villa who should always have played in the centre ahead of Messi to give us a presence in the box as in the Milan, PSG matches and the mids struggled because of the lack of movement ahead of them .

      Not sure the more vertical system helped in the long run. The mids end up chasing the match and players being caught up the pitch. It’ll be interesting to see Tata’s solution to this.

  29. August 12, 2013

    Oh, and lest I forget, lots of new names and voices. To all of you, a fond welcome. There has been a lot, and nothing at all going on, but I do want to give a shout-out to Ade, formerly of Barca the Offside.

    As many of you know, Isaiah and I started there at The Offside, before deciding to take our act to a new venue. They did great work over there, brimming with wit, and that smartassed quality that makes @cynicule a fun read over on Twitter.

    The English-language Barça blog landscape took a loss when they decided to end that space. Bummer, and if anyone from there should find their way over here, welcome.

  30. psalmuel
    August 12, 2013

    many people here, talk of a double-pivot, as our planB for the difficult away games,but i’ve been wondering… Who and who will start in our double-pivot formation? And hey! am also nigerian 🙂

  31. August 12, 2013

    Kxevin. I’ve longed follow you, Kari, NZM, and Blitzen on Twitter. Okay, just followed @sidlowe, @euleri, and @blackwhitengrey, some minutes back.

    And please, do try (and others, too) and FOLLOW BACK @temple_999, so we could have a more interessant chat cut-ins.

    The Season kick-starts this weekend, and we haven’t got a centre back. RoSell is very much into Luis (aka, the marketable defender), and less into Agger and the T’Ham CB, and if the recent Dani Alves interview is anything to clutter on, then Luis’ signing is just as Thiago Silva-ish. L’Pool rejected Barca’s bid for Agger, and T’Ham has denied reports of a bid for Vertoghen.

    Sadly, I don’t see us getting a CB before the Season Start, and MAYBE throughout this Transfer Window. I just hope RoSell proves me wrong. Proves me wrong. Selah.

  32. August 12, 2013

    Oops.
    *I’ve long followed you…

  33. Rami
    August 12, 2013

    These are two graphs of Defense and attack statistics of the top teams in the main 5 leagues in europe of season 2012-2013.

    Defense:
    http://experimental361.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/top-5-def.png
    We’re in the lower left quadrant, Meaning although we concede low amount of shots per game, At the same time only few are needed to eventually score against us (8 shots), And in no surprise, Bayern are in a league of their own, Truly formidable.

    Attack:
    http://experimental361.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/top-5-att.png
    This sure will put a smile on your faces, We are by far the most clinical team in europe, With only 4 shots needed to score, In a sense we’re also formidable, But on the other side of the pitch.

    Although these kind of statistics are simplistic and can’t give us a true image on what’s really going on in the pitch, I’m interested on how everyone can interpret them.

  34. providence
    August 12, 2013

    I’m also a Ghanaian … on Twitter @Provyhernandez … My Twitter
    daddy is @Kevvwill … @euleri blocked me because of a Rosell row
    *cough I’ve missed his analysis cough* hope he unblocks me … Omg ..
    did you say you’re. @sidlowe on twitter barca96? welcome Temple,
    Greetings from West Africa. Akwaaba

  35. teddy
    August 12, 2013

    I reckon we get Sakho, he wants to leave, fairly young and can be slotted at both CB and LB. If the club thinks they better off without any CB, at least add extra body to the back line. I think he would come quite cheap.

    Let’s face it, Agger is 28, and with his injury record, he only had been averaging 17 league starts over previous 6 years, certainly not going to be a regular option if he is here. And there’s no way in hell Mou will want to give us David Luiz and AVB will be mad to sell Vertonghen with that kind of CB condition at Spurs.

    The league is just around the corner and it looks like the best possible CB combination that will start on regular basis is Pique + Masch. Added Puyol, Bartra and Adriano(?)/Busi to that, it will be nice to have a real CB to add depth to the team.

  36. August 12, 2013

    barcastuff ‏@barcastuff 13h
    If Barcelona sign another centre back, Marc Bartra could leave. Main option Villarreal, but he has also offers from Italy and England. [md]

    Now I know it’s just a stupid press showing it’s stupid reasoning skills. But if it’s true then it could be quite disastrous. If we sign a new center back we got Pique, the new guy, Puyol(who could come only after the winter break) and Mascherano sharing the duty.

  37. August 12, 2013

    Did anyone get to watch Abidal play for Monaco last weekend? How did he do?

  38. PrinceYuvi
    August 12, 2013

    He captained the side and played for 90 mins, I read somewhere

    • mom4
      August 13, 2013

      Seems like he’d be well suited for our back line…oh, wait… 🙁 I’m still angry over this.

    • August 13, 2013

      Looking like our lack of option, Can we buy him Back.”Something is better than Nothing”

  39. August 13, 2013

    ***
    Oh, Blitzen. Just saw your comment.

    Yeah, “Looking for Transwonderland” by Noo Saro-Wiwa makes an interesting read. A travelogue that — humorously — looks at the Nigerian life in an honest way. It is indeed, an interesting book.

    Followed you on Twitter, please do follow back @temple_999.

    Danke.

  40. August 13, 2013

    Psalmuel, you are a Nigerian too? Wow. *wide smile*

    Providence. Greetings too, Charley!

    Look forward to having a fun time here.

    Danke.

  41. Rami
    August 13, 2013

    News now is that martino doesn’t prefer taking a big risk with a high profile signing that eventually may end up not worth the money, And rather willing to take his chances with puyol, Bartra and bagnack.
    Well, If a coach doesn’t think the options are worth it, We can’t really argue that, It’s his job, But the next step to take is to ask who is actually providing these crappy options in the first place?
    Zubi and his scouts are out of their depth, And don’t deserve their monthly pay checks and specialty the status of working for FCB, 2 years and still looking for a CB….Unreal!
    Even if the criteria for playing for us was a player that can walk on his hands back wards and roll his tongue, We would’ve still found a few dozen players with such qualifications.

    • August 13, 2013

      It’s unbelievable. And infuriating.
      Better not increase my blood pressure over it.

    • August 13, 2013

      To make it worse:
      barcastuff ‏@barcastuff 21m
      PSG centre back Mamadou Sakho (23), who wants to leave, could fit the profile Barcelona are looking for. He would cost less than 15M [sport]

      seriously! for what the fuck did we allowed Abidal to leave. If a youngster was what we needed then it was always worth to take the risk with Abidal. By the way how much was Abidal’s salary at Barca?

    • August 13, 2013

      Abidal was almost 7m per season. You can see why the club wouldn’t be wanting to tie up that much salary in a player that might break down. It’s harsh and crappy, but you can see the business logic.

    • August 13, 2013

      I have been asking for some time to get Zubi fired. But Rosell doesn’t seem to visit this blog. May be an Al-Thani sponsorship of this Blog could bring him here.

    • August 13, 2013

      The sporting director makes suggestions. The board signs off on the money for the signings. If the club hasn’t made decisions, ZubiZa doesn’t control the purse strings.

      These aren’t the times when Txiki B. would say a name and Laporta would ask, “Check or cash?” We now have a president looking to save 300k on airline travel.

    • August 13, 2013

      And the fun part is – till Rosell sings the Catalan identity song, none of the members are gonna blame him. Most probably Tata Martino will be blamed once our defensive lines gonna stretch.

    • ciaran
      August 13, 2013

      The Sakho rumour makes sense. He should have been on our list from the start due to his similarities to Abidal but he is much stronger physically. Still, if I had my way we would have signed Vertonghen last summer and would have none of the worries we have now.
      Sakho needs to play to get in the French national team.
      Adil Rami is a better option in my opinion but hey.

      I genuinely feel like we won’t sign anyone now

    • Spiza7
      August 13, 2013

      We are being taken for a ride, Rosell seems happier keeping the money.

      The January plan will be another repeated mistake, we did the same thing in our past seasons and nothing happened, and I can most certainly guarantee that transfer prices will be a lot higher mid-season.

      On the other hand there is still time, so anything can happen from now till the end of August.

    • August 13, 2013

      But as Kxevin described earlier we need someone who can come and start playing in first eleven. Not someone for future. We still have time to think about that.

    • ciaran
      August 13, 2013

      January signings have far more complications most importantly that they can’t play in Europe if they have played for someone else which is generally the case. Prices are inflated and teams won’t sell anyone if they are even remotely important to their plans

    • August 13, 2013

      Absolutely correct! January signings are only to cover some serious injury layoffs.

    • August 13, 2013

      Whoa, hang on there. I said that RoRo will want a big, splashy signing. I think that we need to sign a CB (preferably two) for depth reasons, but am fine going to war with the starting back line that we have, assuming the other tactical issues are repaired.

      It must also be noted that Sakho being unsettled changes everything. He’d fit the profile, for sure, and the price would be right, given the team’s desire to (not) spend on a CB, which makes me wonder where the hell the Luiz and Agger stuff is coming from.

  42. Huckleberry
    August 13, 2013

    Off topic: keep an eye on Cocu’s PSV Einhoven. Quite astonishing how successfully he started with not much more than a bunch of young players from the own academy.

    • Flippy
      August 13, 2013

      I’m glad someone has brought up Dutch football!!

      As an Ajacied, I’m quite worried that Cocu will break the hegemony of de Boer’s Ajax, which is another team that has been going through exciting changes, even bringing in some Barça players (Bojan and Cuenca (what is the story on Cuenca? I thought he was going to do a second season at Ajax, but it appears that he’s staying at Barça this year?))

      Cocu’s team is indeed very interesting. Not one player above the age of 22 started in their first Eridivisie game this season, which was a 5-0 of NEC. They have a 17 year old Belgian, Bakkali, who is definitely one to watch for. I will, for the sake of Dutch football, of course be rooting for PSV against Milan.

      After so many years in obscurity, it’s great to see the Eridivisie and Dutch football going in the right direction. Here’s hoping Ajax is not in the group of death again and that Dutch football may soon be easier to follow stateside (at the moment, we only get one match per week on ESPN Deportes)!

    • Spiza7
      August 13, 2013

      Cuenca is currently recovering from an injury, he apparently loved playing at Ajax last season and he wants another season there but due to him being out I don’t think Ajax called him back.

  43. CuleToon
    August 13, 2013

    Forty years ago, on August 13 1973, Barça signed Johan Cruyff as a player. Because of his signing, Barça made 15.000-20.000 new socis, including Laporta and his friends (and yours truly, too).

    Franco’s government put all kind of obstacles to his signing and he couldn’t play officially with Barça (we only could see him in a friendly) until October 28 1973, against Granada at the Camp Nou, when Barça was penultimate in La Liga after seven matches. From then on, Barça didn’t lose a single match (including the orgasmic 0-5 against RM at the Bernabéu) and, after forteen (14!) years we won the league again. I’ll never forget the atmosphere at the Camp Nou that season…

    That’s why those socis of 1973 will always hold Johan in our hearts.

    • August 13, 2013

      I think, I can feel the nostalgia, pride and what not, with which you wrote this comment. Thank you.
      I was born in 73. If you dont mind,may I ask, how old were you then?
      I feel jealous of guys like you who have been able to follow a club as great as Barca, as a local guy.
      Whenever I am able to check BFB now, I try to look for your comments, first.

    • CuleToon
      August 13, 2013

      .
      Thank you very, very much for your kind words, fotobirajesh. Although I’m in my sixtieth revolution around the Sun (you make the math 🙂 ), I’m not much given to nostalgia. It just happened that, today, I saw the news in the press. And I remembered.

      And then I’ve told you, because seeing in retrospect what has happened since that day, I think that any Barça fan should acknowledge what the arrival of Johan meant to our club.

    • August 14, 2013

      Wish you all the best in your 60’s. In India, we celebrate the 60th b’day if the family can afford it (traditionally b’days weren’t a big celebration, although the new generation do it a lot).

      Such a pity that our present board is looking away from our past. (reg, Johan Cruff)

    • August 13, 2013

      And Sandro Rosell will NOT be celebrating this anniversary with cake.

    • ooga aga
      August 13, 2013

      surprisingly they do mention it on the official site. i sort of expected them not to…

      **http://www.fcbarcelona.es/futbol/primer-equipo/detalle/noticia/40-anos-del-fichaje-de-cruyff

    • CuleToon
      August 13, 2013

      That’s the very least they could do!

  44. ciaran
    August 13, 2013

    Rosell, Tata, Zubi and Bartomeu had a meeting for 3 hours today apparently to discuss the signing (or not) of a centreback.
    According to all press this meeting could have been a group text from Tata saying that he doesn’t really care if he gets a newbie.
    I’m sure Zubi had a list of unatainable centrebacks for everyone to look at which included Beckenbauer, Moore and Maldini.
    Bartomeu told everyone that there’s loads of money, not too much, but exactly the right amount of money.
    Rosell said that he doesn’t mind who is signed so long as they are South American and not in any way affiliated with Laporta or Cruyff.

    • Spiza7
      August 13, 2013

      Lol, your probably not too far off there

  45. Dani_el
    August 13, 2013

    I wanted to share with you 2 interesting articles. One that says that Rosell was one of the members of the directive that didn’t want to pay for Messi’s stay in Barcelona, back then when he was a prospective canterano. And the other how it states (as Kxevin mentioned) that if the club doesn’t buy a central defender it will have more to do with Rosell saving policies that with Zubizarreta’s doing (as was the reponsability of this tour and its consequences: injuries in a more or less degree of Cesc, Messi, Pedro, Alba and Pinto).
    It is in spanish though, I would translate it but I do not have enough time right now.

    http://ecodiario.eleconomista.es/futbol/noticias/5065829/08/13/Rosell-quiso-desprenderse-de-Messi-en-2003-para-salvar-al-Bara-de-la-bancarrota.html

  46. August 13, 2013

    MD says that Martino has decided not to purchase a CB this window, that Agger and Luiz are too expensive and ultimately unconvincing. He will rely on the players that we have.

    Note the structure there, that Martino has decided. So in a week the club has gone from placing phantom bids for Luiz and Agger to deciding that no CB will be purchased. And whose fault is it? The new guy.

    Appalling.

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