Categorized | Champions League

UEFA Champions League Group Stage Draw

The team has the day off today, and good thing too! Not only are they recovering from the kicking they took during yesterday’s Supercopa game (and possibly from the celebrations afterwards), but something extremely important is happening today that will demand their full attention, and ours!

Yes, that’s right. It’s time for the UEFA Champion’s League Group Stage Draw! So exciting! I’m all a-tingle! Today is the day we find out who our opponents will be in the group stage matches over the next several months. Will we avoid the Russians? Will we play AC Milan for the billionth time in a row? Will we have a journey to KlippKloppLand?

There is also the small matter of finding out who will be the recipient of the Giant Silver Torso Award, otherwise known as the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award. Will it be perennial favourite Lionel Messi or always-a-bridesmaid Cristiano Ronaldo? The smart money this year is on cheeky newcomer Frank Ribery. What do you think?

Here are the groups:

Group One:
Bayern Munich (GER)
FC Barcelona (ESP)
Chelsea (ENG)
Real Madrid (ESP)
Manchester United (ENG)
Arsenal (ENG)
Porto (POR)
Benfica (POR)

Group Two:
Atletico Madrid (ESP)
Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR)
AC Milan (ITA)
Schalke (GER)
Marseille (FRA)
CSKA Moskva (RUS)
Juventus (ITA)

Group Three:
Zenit (RUS)
Manchester City (ENG)
Ajax (NED)
Borussia Dortmund (GER)
Basel (SUI)
Olympiakos (GRE)
Galatasaray (TUR)
Bayer Leverkusen (GER)

Group Four:
Copenhagen (DEN)
Napoli (ITA)
Anderlecht (BEL)
Celtic (SCO)
Steaua (ROM)
Plzen (CZE)
Real Sociedad (ESP)
Austria Wien (AUT)

It’s all happening at 17:45 CET, details to be found here:

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304 Responses to “UEFA Champions League Group Stage Draw”

  1. Rami says:

    My dream group:
    Schalke, Olympiakos, Austria Wien.

    • blitzen says:

      Picking all the “weakest” teams? Where’s the fun in that?

      I would be quite happy with: Juventus (or Shakhtar), Ajax, and Celtic (we need our revenge!).

      • Rami says:

        We lost our coach in the middle of pre-season, His replacement was helping his wife do the laundry a month ago in Argentina, And his pre-season with us consisted of santos, Thailand and malaysia ALL SUPER STARS.
        So i don’t feel guilty for wishing the weakest group possible.

        • PrinceYuvi says:

          The Bigger the Better. Beating strongest teams is our Redemption. There’s already lack of competition in Liga, CL is our last hope for exciting Fireworks. Tata knows his priorities. It’s gonna be so fun. Have some faith.

  2. Levon says:

    Strange to see Porto and Benfica in the first pot.

    Imagine being grouped with PSG, Borussia Dortmund and Napoli!

  3. kosby says:

    yup, we have Milan again…for the millionth time..

  4. Kxevin says:

    Milan. Gaaaah! Balotelli and El Hairrawy. Dammit!

  5. blitzen says:

    We got Milan, Ajax, and Celtic.

    While I am horrified that we have to play AC Milan AGAIN, I am really happy about the other two. Fun times.

  6. kosby says:

    GROUP F –
    Arsenal, Marseille, Napoli and Dortmund !

  7. barca96 says:

    Jim, I was going to congratulate you on Celtic qualifying in such an emotional manner. Now there’s another thing I would like to tell you.

    Try to find the match date for the away leg (for Barca) at Parkhead asap and beg your school principal to not have a parent teacher’s night on match day, AGAIN :)

    • simple_barcafan says:

      You came back 😀 ..

    • Jim says:

      Spoke to him when I heard the draw today, Barca, and it turns out he’s a genuine Celtic fan and his family have six season tickets which are almost never used. He’s promised me first refusal on any spares for the Barca match ! Now all I need to check is the school calendar and I’m away.

      Seriously though if any of you can get tickets at the Barcelona end of things , that is one hell of a match to go to for the atmosphere. Good welcome from the Celtic fans as well. They appreciate good attacking football.

  8. simple_barcafan says:

    The good:
    No russian winters and travelling to endure.
    It could have been worse
    No “parked bus” teams to battle.

    The bad:
    Milan(not so bad though..)

    It seems the groups(except group F maybe) seem relatively evenly matched compared to previous draws…

  9. Oliver says:

    So apparently Barcelona and Ajax have never played an official game? Kind of amazing that. That’s something to look forward to (especially for Bojan!).

    Pretty sick of Milan at this point, but at least Super Mario and his pet pig are always entertaining.

  10. blitzen says:

    From @barcastuff:

    Zubizarreta (sports director): “Milan and Barça faced each other so many times that UEFA will include us in the exceptions for next draw.”

    If only this was true!

  11. simple_barcafan says:

    Ribbery wins the Uefa best player award..

  12. BA says:

    while i’m interested in the draw, i’ve already written off this competition for this season. we will not win the Champions League.

    • Doug says:

      Oh come on… That’s no fun.

      I’d still put us as the #2 or #3 seed going into the tourney.

    • ooga aga says:

      ha ha! way to be a fan. while i agree it’s good to not have unrealistic expectations, i thought taht part of being a fan is having HOPE. luckily i have enough for both of us, so we’re good.

    • G6O says:

      There’s really three teams that are above everyone else right now – Bayern. Madrid, and us. You know that nobody has repeated in the CL era so the odds are against Bayern. So if it’s not us, then you know what that means.

      • BA says:

        uh we could get knocked out by Milan’s worst squad for 20 years; we were a pole’s width away from that last season. because we still don’t have a defence, which will become readily apparent as the season goes on.

        will we make the semis? maybe, if we get a good draw. but late on in the season, with virtually no defensive cover, we stand no chance of winning that competition.

  13. ooga aga says:

    the word around the bar in seattle where i watched the 2nd leg yesterday, is “an ugly 0-0 match, but at least we’re getting out of there without any injuries, plus a cup.” emphasis on the no injuries. because the king THUG simeone turned his team into a bunch of THUGS and the reason the match was so ugly to watch was because of foul after foul… and that was not our fault, it was theirs. it was a disgrace to football. the way they kicked at our players legs whenever we tried to dribble. and then they complained. and the ref sucked.

    our team has a commitment to clean, attacking football. and eventually that will open you up to counter-chances. it’st the way it works, you cant have it fully both ways when your defense is pushed up past the midline. luckily VV came up HUGE.

    this a bit in response to folks in previous thread claiming atletico deserved to win. wanted to back up ciaran. because this was a moral victory as well, against THUGGERY.

  14. ciaran says:

    Ami the only one getting a sneaking suspicion that I’ll see a certain Fernando Torres wearing a Barca jersey over the weekend?
    He’s Sandro’s favourite player, well favourite spanish player anyhow and with this Etoo deal done Chelsea have to move on one of the others

  15. Oliver says:

    So apparently Kaka has come forward with his desire to leave Madrid; took him long enough. Considering the wages he’s on, I assume his agent is on the phone with PSG.

  16. Ahsan says:

    Hilarious story of Mou being confronted about his head to head record against Pep (

    At the pre-match press duties at the Eden Arena, an agitated Mourinho, preparing for the Uefa Super Cup against Guardiola’s Bayern Munich, was confronted with memories of his fierce clashes with his rival’s former Barcelona side. Indeed, the first question on the eve of the game had set the tone by reminding him he had only won three times in 15 attempts against Guardiola while with Internazionale and Real Madrid.

    “Your statistics are wrong as a start,” he snapped back. “Very wrong, very wrong but I don’t want to discuss that because it’s not important. I’ll just say it’s wrong. Go there and see what happened with Inter in the Champions League semi-final. The league records in Spain, the Copa del Rey in Spain, the Super Cup in Spain. You are very, very wrong. You are wrong but it’s not important. It’s not me against him, it’s club against club That’s not important.”

    That prompted a spluttered apology from the inquisitor, who was brandishing Uefa’s statistical pack, which did, indeed, detail the 15 meetings between the managers, with Mourinho having won three times, Guardiola seven and five other matches drawn. The Portuguese, for his part, has not seen his side keep a clean sheet against a team coached by his adversary since their first meeting, a 0-0 draw between Inter and Barcelona in the Champions League group stage in 2009.

    “I just know that I won the Champions League semi-final with Inter [in 2010],” continued Mourinho, his mind ticking over and realisation dawning. “I won the Spanish Cup final in Valencia [2011]. I won the Super Cup in Spain [in 2012]. I was champion in Spain [in 2011-12]. I won the match of the title in Barcelona with Real Madrid. So, I don’t know … Maybe you are right and I am wrong but I don’t care. It’s not important for me.”

  17. Roberto Senyera says:

    It’s going to be strange seeing Eto’o in Chel$ki blue. I love Sammy but I don’t care much for his new team’s owner, manager, or captain.

  18. Tsivoman says:

    OT: It might sound ridiculous to ask this question at this juncture of the transfer window given the statements made by T. Martino during his press conferences regarding no need for CB, but…
    Are we really not buying a CB?
    Last season we were brutally exposed and counter arguments were made that “it was due to our lack of pressing and injuries to key players during the critical stages of the season”, which i can accept and appreciate.
    But, surely we cannot just pray and hope that the defense will be injury free this time around?
    Just imagine either of Pique & Mascherano or both missing due to injury or suspensions, that thought alone is scary…
    To think that Pique is the only recognized CB in the team.

  19. It would be quite strange for Bojan, he faces two of his former teams.

  20. psalmuel says:

    Milan,Celtic (dunno about Ajax), hmm… Alot of parked buses will be coming to town! Yea, we’ll be seeing lots of them this term

  21. Ryan says:

    Wow, if it’s not Arsenal it’s Milan! The away game should be a good test to see if we’ve improved from last year’s game.

    Anyways, did anyone else catch Deulofeu’s goal for Everton a few days back? Here’s hoping he scores plenty like that and comes back next year ready to them for us!

  22. simple_barcafan says:


  23. TITO says:

    Probably you are watching the super cup, but after Ramires’s tackle on Goetze, i was just reminded why i hate so much their coach.
    It’s absolutely his medicine, in which he is the best, taking out the worst of his players, and in top of that, complaining on decision.
    So so so glad that he is out of La Liga.

  24. psalmuel says:

    Pep has really been wobbling, don’t think he should have gone to bayern. The team was already in good shape and there was nothing to fix. He’s failing under the pressure

  25. nia says:

    Watching the super cup and to me , it looks like Bayern are all of a sudden bad at defending. They were caught out at a counter and poor cover for the Hazard goal. Reminiscent of how Barca defends at times. Now that Chelsea are in front, they are going to park that bus and we all know that they do that very well. I don’t think this Bayern side is make for tiki taka. Hopefully, they can equalize coz, the last thing I want to see is Mou celebrating and Terry running on to collect a medal. This is going to be difficult for Pep coz he will always have Heynckes’s shadow to live up to. Just like how Benitez went to Inter after the Mou treble. The team had given everything the year before and was just a shell after that.

    I can’t stand Robben, that is all.

  26. Ryan says:

    Cool under pressure, Javi Martinez with a last-kick goal!

  27. Ryan says:

    Pep beats Mou Mou yet again!

  28. Jim says:

    So Bayern aren’t great against a parked bus either …

    Their golden year when they can do no wrong is over. Hard work from now on but still a good team.

    • flyzowee says:

      Bayern may find it difficult against buses but if I had to bet money on either Bayern or Us breaking an Airbus id favour them tbh.

      They are just such a dynamic team with depth and the diversity of skill sets in that squad is rediculous.

      Although the change to a 4-3-3 has made them less stable in defence.

      And Philip Lamn!
      You often see defenders playing multiple defensive positions but in Midfield? Class just class.

      • Jim says:

        Well, they weren’t great against 10 men tonight. Took a lucky bounce to keep them in it. Point I was making though is that we need to go easier on our team. RM are clueless against what we face every week and tonight Bayern weren’t much better.

        It’s a complete compliment to us that just about everybody figures they have to do that to have a chance.

  29. Huckleberry says:

    Chelsea was the better team…

  30. Jim says:

    And another no show from Mou for the medal?

  31. TITO says:

    Wanted Chelsea to lose, didn’t wanted Bayern to win.

  32. barcadan says:

    For those of you who missed the post-game presser, Mourinho is still a giant douche

    • TITO says:

      Probably moaned about the red card, how he always plays with ten men against Pep, how his team was better etc.
      Did he mentioned why he did not joined the squad to pick up HIS deserved medal?

      • barcadan says:

        The dude is so obsessed with Guardiola. Basically went through every game he ever played against him, highlighting how he always played with 10 men, as if it had nothing to do with his dirty tactiscs and more to do with guardiola’s unicef/catalan/FIFA conspiracy

    • Roberto Senyera says:

      He always was, is, and will be.

      Mommas don’t let your children grow up to be Mou Mous. He’s a disgrace to himself, his family, employer, the sport, and country. England will eventually see him for what he is, get sick of him, and never want him to return.

  33. 86ed says:

    I find it interesting the way the Spurs have behaved during this transfer season. They’ve used the as-yet unofficial money from the Bale transfer and signed Soldado, Capoue, Lamela, Paulinho, Eriksen, Chiriches, and Chadli; the last three very interesting prospects. Would it be blasphemous to suggest we do the same, viz. sell a couple of our stars and use the money for what I think is a much-needed rebuilding process?

    • Roberto Senyera says:

      Levy & Baldini have shown a masterclass in how to conduct a summer transfer window (Stingy Wenger, not so much). It would be required reading at Football University.

      And, yes, it would be blasphemous and totally unnecessary.

      • 86ed says:

        Why do you feel it would be unnecessary? Do you think we’d be able to stand up to Bayern and Real in our current state? I’m not being argumentative. Just curious.

        • Roberto Senyera says:

          Yes. If we avoid injuries we’re still the best team in Europe. We still need CB upgrade or, at least, cover.

          • 86ed says:

            It’s a rather large and looming ‘if’ though, don’t you think? All teams go through injury crises. Ours seem more desperate because we’re desperately short of personnel.
            We’re good to win the league, I’ll grant you that, but that’s more of an indictment of the primera division than a compliment to FCB.
            And I disagree. We are no longer the best team in Europe; haven’t been for quite some time. The best team in Europe is not humiliated 7-0 in the semifinals of the Champions League. It does not win only one of 6 knock-out games. It does not not defeat the second best team in its league and in the cup games. I daresay on the evidence so far we aren’t even worth top 4 in Europe. The sooner we accept that, the sooner we’ll move on, the sooner we’ll be back to our best.
            I would clear quite a few of the playing staff, like Alves, Pique, Pedro, and even Xavi, and start anew. The longer we wait the harder it will be to move on, and we’ll be stuck in the same situation that Milan was a few years ago (6/11th of its playing staff in 2012 had started the CL final in 2003).

          • Roberto Senyera says:

            The latest odds I saw on the 2013/14 UCL had FCB joint shortest odds to win the competition at 4/1(along with Bayern Munich). Real Mad were third at 11/2.

            The 7-0 SF loss was not a fair indication of the relative strengths of the two teams involved. It was a skewed result because of injuries. Also, BM had the best season in the history of their club. Don’t expect the Bavarians to repeat it. They overperformed and played out of their skins.

          • Kxevin says:

            How are we “desperately short of personnel?” Find me another club in the world that can lose its two best CBs AND its best player, and not take a hiding.

            In defense, we have Alves, Alba, Montoya, Adriano, Pique, Puyol (soon), Mascherano, Bartra. We can also shuttle Bagnack back and forth for early Copa rounds, etc.

            In midfield, we have Busquets, Song, Xavi, Iniesta, Sergi Roberto, Dos Santos, Fabregas.

            In attack we have Messi, Sanchez, Pedro, Tello, Neymar.

            That’s a 20-player roster. Should it be 22? Sure. But the club wasn’t willing to, or couldn’t work deals for players of sufficient quality to make our club.

            So many cules are seeing gloom and doom where there is no justifiable reason. “What if …” What if you go outside to go to work and get hit by a bus? Are you not going to go to work because of that possibility? Nope.

            Last season was absurd in terms of injuries. If the same thing happens again this season, it moves from bad luck to a real problem. But for now, what say we let a club that has kept 3 clean sheets, won silver already and is unbeaten, get some time to develop before we worry about the end of the world?

          • BA says:

            we’re desperately short of personnel because we have *2* trained center-backs, one of whom is 35 years old and injury-prone.

            we heard the same tedious bullcrap before last season too, how we had adequate defensive cover if you count Adriano, Busquets, Song and the kitman who could hop on and clear corners in a pinch; but we were undone towards the end of the season by injuries/suspensions/lack of competition for spots and never moreso than in the tie against Bayern where we lost, as i apparently need to remind you, by the largest European margin in our 114-year history, 7-0.

            our defense, the defense that shipped 7 goals in 2 games (when was the last time we could say that? 2007?), is unchanged and in fact even worse, as Puyol is now a year older and Busquets/Song have even less interest in/aptitude for playing in that back line. i told you at the beginning of last season that not adding defensive cover in the transfer window was a season-deciding terrible decision, and i’ll tell you that again at the end of this season. that needs to be acknowledged openly by fans, not papered over with cheap promises about Bartra and Bagnack magically becoming better players.

            as for being equipped in other parts of the pitch, well, our squad as you say has 20 players. but compared to other top teams who might be playing 60 games this season?

            Bayern: 24
            Real Madrid: 25
            Chelsea: 25
            Manchester United: 26
            Juventus: 25

            so don’t give people crap when they say our squad is light, because it is. we’ll look great at the beginning of the season, then taper off as injuries pile up. we all love the prospect of us pressing more? pressing more = more fatigue, more injuries, in the smallest squad amongst the major European teams. to NOT be concerned about that is, again, simply papering over some real problems with the team that should have been but weren’t addressed by the club management this summer. instead, we bought Neymar.

          • Kxevin says:

            Actually, BA, I am not giving anyone crap, though I am taking rather a lot of it verbally, as I always do when I express a contrary opinion. The party line seems to be that we’re doomed because we haven’t signed another CB. I don’t necessarily buy into it, and said so. How is that “giving people crap?”

            If people can’t express contrary views in this space, then why the hell is it here? You raise a point, we discuss it. Someone else raises a point, and we discuss. This damnable “You don’t hew to my worldview so you’re childish/giving people crap/etc, etc” has to stop. There are different opinions in this space. Express, discuss, but lay off the insults. Once and for all. Please.

            As for Neymar, he meets a real need that this club has, namely how to get goals and creativity from the left. Everything shouldn’t flow through Messi. It didn’t work last year, and won’t this year. Neymar’s purchase was as necessary as a CB, for me. Perhaps even more so, given the club’s view on attack vs defense. Messi needs help, and he wasn’t going to get it from Villa, Pedro or Tello.

    • petog4realz says:

      And who the hell do you plan on selling? XAVI? PIQUE? PUYOL?
      What the hell is with this xavi blame nowadays

  34. Jafri says:

    Didn’t want Chelsea to win, but Bayern now inching awfully close to a Sextuple. And that’s like, copyright us. I definitely do NOT want that to happen.

    • Jafri says:

      Oh wait, just realized they’ve already dropped the DFB-Pokal cup. All is right with the world again, except for this quote:

      “Philipp Lahm is perhaps the most intelligent player I have ever trained in my career. He is at another level,” Guardiola told reporters.

      That… that’s not cool.

      • Roberto Senyera says:

        They lost to BVB in the German Super Cup 4-2 at the end of July.

        • Kxevin says:

          I’ve said it before and will say it again: to hell with Pep Guardiola. He’s the enemy, defined as someone who has, and would do my beloved football club harm.

          — He had the muscle to pressure the board into buying a CB, and didn’t.

          — He left Vilanova a mentally and physically exhausted club, scuttling away to FC Hollywood.

          — Now he’s saying that Lahm is perhaps the most intelligent player he’s trained? No, I don’t expect him to lavish bouquets on Barça. They’re a potential enemy combatant, after all. But I doubt that Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, etc are stupid, or significantly less intelligent than Lahm.

          So yeah. I don’t get the fondness and adulation for Guardiola. He left this club voluntarily, because he didn’t want to be here. So get out. Personally, I’m done with folks like that. Thiago as well.

          • Roberto Senyera says:

            Hear! Hear!

            Pep has left and has chosen to coach a club I loathe. I love Pep for all he’s done for Barça and wish him the best if he ever comes back to our club. But as for right now, at Bayern Munich, I wish him nothing but tortuous failure in Bavaria.

            Ditto Thiago.

          • dl says:

            Oh please. Enough of this childish demonizing. Pep’s a just guy, so’s Thiago, so’s everybody else. The public utterances of a coach can only be taken in context.

          • blitzen says:

            Oh, we’re being spanked again, are we? Gods forbid we should say nice things about a great coach and great human being that brought our club unprecedented success. What terrible cules we are.

          • Miguel says:

            um he had the muscle to pressure the *last* board into buying him a cb *and* a striker which were sold out from under him by *this* board. gtfo.

          • Kxevin says:

            For me, a contrary opinion doesn’t mean a party line. The view on Guardiola is mine, and mine alone. As for people being spanked, far from it. But I have never shied away from speaking my opinion, and certainly won’t start with Guardiola.

            Further, I don’t believe Guardiola is being “demonized,” and I would refrain from labeling expressing an opinion “childish” when it doesn’t hew to accepted views. Not sure who the “childish” chide was aimed at, but my views on Guardiola are very clear.

            And Miguel, this current board is as prone to public pressure as any from a coach who had the power that Guardiola had. For whatever reason, he didn’t. So maybe we should BOTH GTFO, since we’re both apparently misguided.

          • Miguel says:

            i never said that we weren’t both misguided, Kxevin. heh. it’s my view that from his very first day in office, rosell has done nothing but try and undercut guardiola’s power and laporta/cruyff’s influence over the club. and i think gurardiola was just done being in the middle of it all. he bled blaugrana. i don’t need to question whether guardiola did enough or not. he was just over it.

      • barca96 says:

        More intelligent than Messi. That could be true. Just because Messi is the most skilled player doesn’t mean he’s the most intelligence and because Lahm is the most intelligent doesn’t mean he’s the best.

        What I don’t find cool is that he had to compare. I just find that a no no. Or perhaps the journalist is the one that asked Pep that question, “is Lahm more intelligent than Messi?”

        • Jafri says:

          No, not more intelligent than Messi; Most intelligent he’s coached. He didn’t mention Barcelona but that means more than Busi, Xavi… Any of our players :/

  35. nia says:

    AS made a 1:41sec vid questioning why Messi is so serious these days. :) lol, what do they expect him to do, walk around with a smile 24/7? MInd you, he gets kicked around 80 of the 90 mins whilst he’s on the field hell, I’d look serious too.

    • barca96 says:

      Haha thanks for sharing. While they’re at it, they should make a video of Ronaldo too.

      But I do notice that Messi is too sulky since last season. Too much complaining from him. When he’s fouled, and when he’s not given, he just sits and moans instead of getting up and join the attack to recover the ball.

      In the last match vs Atletico, he even kicked out at Felipe Luis as a revenge to an earlier foul by the by line when Luis came across Messi with his arm/elbow. It’s just not cool to me.

      I hate to see my team mates doing the same act (revenge tackles) and I most certainly hate it when professionals do it. So shameful. Pretty childish and reckless to me.

      Some people still see Messi when comparing with Ronaldo as the boy who just wants to get on with it, loves football so much but that has changed to me.

      • ooga aga says:

        good comment

        but imagine the weight on messi, plus everyone telling you you’re the best ever, seems that would mess with your head a bit. even the most well-adjusted.

        i have a feeling messi’s parents help keep his attitude a bit in check. he’s not that bad and frankly, he is always getting fouled. that would get mighty frustrating.

        • barca96 says:

          Thanks. Do you agree to that he’s changed since last year or so? He used to just get up after a challenge or foul but nowadays more often that not, he would stay down and sulk. Worse is when it’s not even a foul..

          • nia says:

            I think he got fed up of having lumps kicked out of him with no protection from the ref. At some point he has to defend himself and fight back. I think our team is too nice sometimes and whining to the ref after a bad challenge just make us look like big babies. I wish sometimes to have a Diego Costa or even a Yaya or Pepe (cringe) so as to intimidate other players when they get too rough.

          • Jim says:

            I think there has been a marked increase in people setting out to kick him deliberately this yea. He has out up with a lot already but I’m guessing his injuries recently are meaning that he is less willing to accept lumps getting kicked out of him than he was.

  36. ian_percival says:

    kxvein,sometimes i don’t get how you see things,your opinions are rather up-hill or down-hill,We need signings,simple as that,the board is incapable of signing players from around europe,bartomeu’s words were ”four to five additions” to the squad,since then i’v seen only one,which is rather not too necessary to the present need of the squad which is sorely a centre-back,i keep saying this,if we risk a non-center-back-adventure into the season we’re gonna get beat,and disgraced again,most especially by EE who isn’t taking things smoothly in the transfer market,maybe then kxvein,you’ll know which board you’re gonna defend their actions.we just have to trust tata and hope he comes up with a plan B,our style has been studied and known,Bayern yesterday played our pattern against chelshit,yes they won but it almost slipped through their fingers,but an extra time won’t be available for us to finish the job,i loved it that mou lost in a bitter way too hahaha

    • PrinceYuvi says:

      Well, Board tried to sign the players. Some clubs won’t sell at any price, some clubs scared us off with insane price tags, some players don’t feel like leaving their beloved club.
      If you want the board to sign any 4 or 5 players [just for the fun of it], I doubt they’ll better our backline. There are quite few defenders who stand taller than Masch & Pique in footballing sense.

    • Kxevin says:

      How do you get that I am defending the board? What I said is that we have great players, and it will be very difficult to find players to elevate that template and further, we have quality and quality depth at every part of the pitch.

      That is a statement of fact, rather than a defense of the board.

      My opinions are what they are. Don’t twist them, unless you know my views on this board and its president. You don’t.

      As for this mythical Plan B, it doesn’t exist. Not for any team. There is no reason that it should for ours. Great players do their thing, and it works, or not. Then you move on from there.

  37. Salia says:

    Xavi and Alexis not included in the 19 man squad. Martino says that its because they’ve been playing a lot and need a rest for the international break.

    • Roberto Senyera says:

      We are playing Xavi waaaaaay too many minutes so early in the season. I’m glad Tata made that call. Alexis, at his age, can handle the load. Anyways, hopefully we’ll get the full three points in Valencia.

  38. Roberto Senyera says:

    Does anyone know how long Adriano is expected to be sidelined, this time?

  39. Salia says:

    He’s not sidelined at all now, just got the medical green light and is in the squad for the game against Valencia.

  40. Salia says:

    What do people here think of Oscar Cardozo for Barcelona?

  41. Dani_el says:

    Sign Abidal!! He just offered himself to the club. And it would be nice to hear that the club recognizes a mistake, a big mistake. I think we will have problems with the backline because of injuries at the end of the season. If it is not now, maybe on December.

  42. ooga aga says:

    rafinha with a goal for celta vigo has them up 1-0 vs granada. they are doing well so far with an away win against betis and a draw against espanyol. they could have 7 pts from 3 matches, very nice.

    fontas started, as did nolito.

  43. ian_percival says:

    prince yuvi,the board tried less,they never really wanted to sign anyone,they were playing us,making us think they’re making effort,but they were NOT!,we really needed a centre back,thiago silva failed,they couldn’t cough out money and fix a costly problem in a team,and marqinhos was stolen right in front of their noses,while they would’ve paid for him ealier,and david luiz they never wanted to spend,they uneccessarily bought neymar for 57mil,then sold thiago 25mil and villa 5mil,total money spent 20mil,wtf is that!,and your ”spending money for fun” statement is pointless,we need back up,so i dont see any signing becoming fun,look at EE,they’ve got good depth,they wont worry about injury much

    • Levon says:

      Don’t forget that the Neymar deal is over three years.


      If we count 20M for Thiago (I think 5 went to taxes or so) and 2M for Villa (this year) they actually made 3M in net transfers this summer.

      Considering our needs and our aging squad (at key positions), the refusal to actually invest money this summer boggles the mind. They should have come out and said we were done after we got Neymar.

      • Sangoku says:

        I thought they held the transfer matters so that Martino analyzed his squad first and then proceed?

        • Kxevin says:

          Martino said in his presser that he doesn’t yet know the squad, and that a January transfer is a possibility, once he established what the club needs.

        • Levon says:

          There was a technical staff in place well before Martino arrived. They should have taken more control of matters to make sure our club has the best squad possible for this season as well as the ones after.

          • Kxevin says:

            It is clear that Martino has his own views on matters, as judged by his action to leave Xavi and Sanchez out of the squad for Valencia. I think he deserves time to implement them. If he fails and turns out to be crazy, we can discuss that then. But right now, it strikes me that he is being ridden for the simple sin of not knowing his squad, who can do what and how well.

            And make no mistake, that is HIS squad, in a way that makes it clear where the buck stops.

          • Sangoku says:

            But I think the board considered it a risk. Imagine, hypothetically, that the board moved for Agger and Martino comes in and says he’d rather have Mangala? I think no one expected Martino to say he doesn’t need a CB..!

    • Kxevin says:

      I’m not certain that I would ascribe those same motives to the board. Let’s look at who is out there, who could add real quality to our side:

      Thiago Silva: Not for sale at any price.
      Javi Martinez: See Thiago Silva
      Mangala: 45m buyout from Porto, assuming we don’t want to negotiate. Brilliant player, huge potential. But 45m? That’s why he isn’t moving, and won’t until his price gets sane.
      Mathieu: I’d rather use Bartra. Little more than a sub, if we were to have been purchased.
      Marquinhos: We got outbid by PSG, who overpaid. It happens.
      Agger: Doesn’t want to leave Liverpool.
      Luiz: For 50m+, sure Chelsea would have sold him to us. Is David Luiz worth 50m?
      Sakho: Liverpool is about to pick him up for less than 20m. Is he good enough for our club? Good question. I daresay if he were, he wouldn’t be having a problem getting playing time at PSG.

      So that’s who’s out there. Is it any wonder that the club didn’t buy anyone? Rosell and the board are, to my view, blockheads who worship at the altar of the marketing dollar. But they want to improve the club, if only to further their self-centered goals. Of course the club tried to buy a CB. It couldn’t. So now we have what we have, and we see what happens.

      • Levon says:

        45M for Mangala? Considering that so far this summer we have made a net profit of a couple of million euros give or take, I’d say go for it.

        PSG outbid us? I don’t know that we ever tried to get Marquinhos.

        And if we’re not getting a central defender, than why haven’t we made a move for a keeper? Right now we can only assume that VV will leave next summer and we be forced to spend big on a keeper so that will leave us with less money for a central defender.

        • Jim says:

          I have a feeling we have a keeper waiting for next year. Don’t know who it is but …. I have a feeling !

          • Kxevin says:

            Just remember that Ter Stegen didn’t renew. I suspect he will be our new keeper, with some veteran type such as Reina joining him when Pinto leaves.

            The 45m for Mangala is what is intimidating many teams, not just ours. That is a LOT of money for a big bag of talent. We just did that (sort of) with Neymar, but I think that teams view defenders differently, for some reason. Certainly ours does. Have we ever splashed bigger for a defender than we did for Alves? Certainly not a CB that I can recall.

            With Marquinhos, I don’t know what to believe. There were the initial reports that he was ruled out because he was too short. Then we were tabling bids for the player. Dunno. I do know that PSG wouldn’t have come in so hard and fast had something not been going on. “Here. 35m. Send him.” No negotiation, no nothing. So all we have are gut feelings.

            And speaking of keepers, I still want to know what happened with Valdes. Whatever it was, it was ugly. Leaving on a free, when you have value can certainly be interpreted as an expression of scorn to the management of a club. So there is some stuff going on.

            Add to that Abidal’s comments, that explicitly singled out ZubiZa as having treated him well, and something is interesting there. You have to wonder if Rosell is a case of “guilt by exclusion.” In subsequent comments, Abidal also hinted at Rosell being the complexity.

    • petog4realz says:

      Then go support EE since you admire them so much

    • Jim says:

      My understanding was that TS was a fruitless attempt from the start as PSG didn’t need to sell, didnt want to sell and took great delight in asserting their “new status” by showing that they could see Barca off. Not the board’s fault and probably not Tito’s either .

      Marquinhos was partly the same story. Once they were determined to show their financial muscle it was game over. You can’t go toe to toe with unlimited money and tbh I wouldn’t want us ever to be in that situation. There is at least some kind of morality and footballing justice in having to live to a budget.

  44. nujerzrey says:

    Barca really do have the worst fans in the world. You have the bandwagoners, the spoiled brats, and then you have fans who demonize a coach who has brought us many tears of joy. Unbelievable

    • Kxevin says:

      Nobody is being demonized, just as nobody is being deified. People ARE expressing a contrary view, and that is supposed to be okay in this space. That it doesn’t seem to be is what strikes me as “unbelievable.”

      Yes, Guardiola did great things for this club. Does that mean that we are supposed to ignore the things that he did that left it weakened when he left? I won’t. And my comment above should have been a valid point of discussion. In a better time and place for this space, it probably would have been. Now, it’s just “they’re demonizing Guardiola!”

      We can do better here. I know that we can. If you think that a viewpoint is wrong, explain why you believe so, and we can go from there. Otherwise, nothing constructive happens, and this space becomes a mere message board. I don’t think anyone wants that.

      As for the hyperbolic statement that “Barça really do have the worst fans in the world,” you can’t honestly believe that.

      • Sangoku says:

        Well, on this one, I have to say that I don’t agree with you about Pep. Yes, he left us voluntarily, but I also recall his tears when he announced his departure. I don’t think it was an easy move for him.

        Also, he did seem unwilling to continue under Rosell’s ‘reign’. If I remember well, it was on Rosell’s first year that he stripped Pep of his CB of choice by sending Chygrinsky back (Whether he was good enough for Barça is another matter). That was right after Cruyff, Pep’s mentor, was dismissed as honorary president. Let’s just say their relationship didn’t kick off in ideal conditions.

        As for the matter of leaving an exhausted squad, that’s true. You have to admit, he looked as exhausted as his squad though! That exhaustion came after an unprecendented run of success for us (and on international level!), I think it’s quite normal to drop the guard a bit after that.

        What I understand from what you say is that he could have left a ‘legacy’ by bringing in fresher players to continue with his successor. But he did bring in Cesc, Alexis, was grooming Thiago and Tello.

        I’m not saying Pep is a saint. Those Lahm comments don’t come across well. But did he really mean it as a way to mock our players? I honestly don’t know… He also said that Keita was the best human being he ever met. Surely, that doesn’t mean the others were bad people.

        Anyway, we do need to move on from Pep though. We have a new coach, I think/hope there’s more exciting times ahead of us, so let’s focus on that!

        • Jim says:

          To be fair, my granddaughter, aged one and a few months has learned that tears provoke a certain response. Having said that I think the comment about Lahm was what it was and not aimed at us because I am sure that Guardiola had a good relationship with the squad.

          With regard to exhaustion, I don’t personally buy that one. As has often been said before, if you think it’s tough at the top as a millionaire with the best (or at least nearly?) team in the world you should try the relegation zone !

          Extra thought …… Or teaching :)

          • Sangoku says:

            Thank you, I’ll keep in mind about that grand daughter thing! 😉

            I highly doubt his tears were not genuine, but that’s just my opinion of course.

            When you battle in the relegation zone, people kind of expect you to get relegated. But when you’re among the top, people expect you to be the top. It’s a whole another level of pressure. Ask Mou! As the saying goes, it’s hard to reach the top, even harder to stay there! Or something like that…

        • Kxevin says:

          Thanks for the “old school” reply, Sangoku. Your points are all excellent. I reckon that an exhausted squad is one trademark of a Bielsa acolyte (something to be aware of with our current coach).

          I think there is nuance. When Guardiola was first signed on, back in The Offside days, I was one of the “wait and sees,” rather than “Who? We’re doomed!” I celebrated, cried and appreciate every last little bit of delight that he brought to our club when he was coach. But he isn’t now. And if we face Bayern in Champions League, he will try to destroy us. Is he a Mourinho-level enemy? Nope. But he’s the enemy nonetheless.

          There were also things that I believe could have been done to leave the club in better shape …. resting players more, a purchase or two, more complete integration of a B teamer or two, instead of riding our Gala XI like a horse. The 88% of minutes played by Messi is, for me, a staggering statistic. And not only because we don’t NEED him to play that much, but he shouldn’t be playing that much. Breakage is inevitable.

          And I heartily concur with the “moving on” part of your comment. We have “Tata” Martino, who is settling in for what is going to be an interesting season.

          Speaking of, apparently in Catalan, “tata” is a housekeeper who also watches the kids. Ha! Makes MD’s “El Tata” ring with a bit more delight, for me.

          • Sangoku says:

            Yes I had some apprehension about that Bielsa connection. But Martino does seem to value rotation so far, he even brought on 3 youngsters yesterday (El Tata!) 😉

            I have been following BFB for a year or so and didn’t even know about The Offside. I sure wish I could have lurked around during those times too. So many good things I’ve heard about.

      • Jim says:

        Yeah, I have to say that struck me about the responses. There are two justifiable views on Guardiola and his departure and both deserve an airing, imo.

        It is also more fun visiting this place, seeing the different viewpoints and feeling free to express your own without turning up the next day to find , not aggressive, but certainly pejorative , comments. We are also, however, lucky enough to have a decent number of posters for whom English is not their first language and we maybe, myself certainly included here, need to appreciate that things can come over more strongly without the nuances of a native speaker.

        On my soap box and it’s only Sunday morning. Need another cappuccino :)

        • Levon says:

          I don’t know about that, Jim. I speak four languages myself, and I’m an ***hole in each and every one of them!

          All kidding aside, internet message boards are the perfect place to either involuntarily offend people or needlessly feel offended. Not judging anybody here, I am speaking from my own experience.

          And yes, sometimes people place derogatory comments. Ultimately it us up to all of us who come here everyday to discuss the club we love to decide how we want to deal with that.

          • Kxevin says:

            Agree with both of you, but the most important is to be able to express your view and not be attacked for it.

            I called Sangoku’s response “old school” because it’s what the space used to have a lot more of, a counter-argument to an expressed opinion. No name-calling, no scoffing, just “I disagree, and here’s why.” Man, we used to have some great discussions about so many things, because that was the basic tone: I respect your view, but I disagree, because ….

            I’m not sure if those days will ever come back, but I do want to get back to a point where I look forward to coming to this space with anticipation instead of dread.

            There is so much to discuss with this club, from rotation (Xavi and Sanchez out of the squad), to how can a “crap” defense have all these clean sheets early in this new season. Martino is working with Neymar to tone down the playacting and faux misery, pointing him to his idol as a guide …. so much to talk about. I think and hope that we can (we should be) able to do it without name-calling, or stranding folks on an island of derision because they have a different viewpoint.

  45. PrinceYuvi says:

    Promote sergi gomez ? Another talented youngster waiting in the ranks. Wonder what they’d think if we sign 30yr old Mathieu.
    I’m out of my depth here. EE don’t have certain tiki-taka playing style, so any over-priced talented player is okay with them [Debt -€590M]. We do need squad players in case of injuries, besides bartra nobody is there to save the day. IMO Lack of pressing was our foremost defensive woe, it’s being tackled so it’s not all bad.
    Neymar is a golden signing, our galactico, he shouldn’t be blamed for lack of cbs, come on. He made our attack crazier, just what we needed.
    Barca fans are passionate and tempers often flare but we sorely need to cool down & enjoy technically most gifted team around for a change. Peace.

  46. petog4realz says:

    Sorry to say this, but If you are tired of supporting this beautiful team,why don’t you go support all the teams y’all been talking about. Just sick of whiners!!!! They even whine after a win

  47. Spiza7 says:

    – Why should we care about the UEFA super cup? Both Coaches did nothing to get their team to that point. It was more a celebration of the previous coaches IMO.

    – This round is crucial. Valencia away is one of those games where it is very easy to drop points. One little mistake and we end up with a draw or loss.

    – Very bold move from Tata to leave out Sanchez and Xavi for the away game against Valencia. But he has to start somewhere with regards to playing the likes of Tello, Song, Montoya etc. If we are to win tough games then our players have to be sharp. Missing crucial chances is not on an option against Valencia.

    – It makes sense that the staff are not rushing things with regards to signing a GK. It’s better we use this time to properly scout GK’s and keep an eye on the market to find the right player for a reasonable price. That was something we should have done when signing a CB, instead we ended up facing inflated prices for players who have barely started their career.

    • Jim says:

      Agreed on the Super cup except for the fact I was glued to the box , pretty sure I wanted Mou to lose but looking for weakness in Bayern. In the end happy that Guardiola put another one over on Mou but no more than that.

      With regard to the Xavi rest, this intrigues me. Is Tata going to go for Iniesta playing the Xavi role – I’m one of those who is sure he could but with his own stamp – or is he going to try a more vertical aggressive ( perhaps more mobile) midfield and play a different sort of game. Maybe not the place to go too wild on experimentation though. I’ll be curious to see our possession stats tonight, linked to the result.

      • Kxevin says:

        And the recently more vertical Busquets lends added fuel to that speculative fire. Neymar also certainly has to start, because of his ability to keep possession going. My speculative XI is:

        Alves Pique Mascherano Adriano
        Busquets Iniesta Fabregas
        Pedro Messi Neymar

        But I really like what Martino is doing. Not only not in the XI, not even on the roster. It’s almost like he has to remove the temptation of Xavi from his bag of tricks altogether, lest he weaken and call upon the Maestro yet again. Ha! And rotation of two key players in an away match, no less. If we win today, I will be even more impressed.

        As for Iniesta, I have long thought him to be the most natural successor for Xavi in the center. We saw how he might run the squad against Malaga at the end of last season. Same, but different. A bit more vertical. But you need, at that eye of the hurricane point, a player with that same kind of magical possession and vision as Xavi.

        Note that if Iniesta becomes the Xavi heir apparent, it makes the Neymar purchase make even more sense, as Iniesta is so often that left-sided can opener, who makes space where there isn’t any for our attack.

        Interesting times.

  48. Roberto Senyera says:

    So, what’s the story with Valencia and bats, eh? I’m too lazy to look it up on wiki.

  49. dl says:

    If I’m dredging up a dead thread, i apologize. My earlier comment about “demonizing” and “childish” was this:

    >Oh please. Enough of this childish demonizing. Pep’s a just guy, >so’s Thiago, so’s everybody else. The public utterances of a coach >can only be taken in context.

    and it was in response to:

    “I’ve said it before and will say it again: to hell with Pep Guardiola. He’s the enemy, defined as someone who has, and would do my beloved football club harm.”

    My mention of ‘the public utterances..’ was in reference to Pep praising Lahm.

  50. elacule says:

    hi ~

    this is the only place i have to share my waking dream of this morning with the knowledge that it will be understood.

    in the dream, i turned on the tv and the bein sport channel worked!
    miracle of miracles! a match was on, with no sputtery streaming, just clear HD picture. it was better than christmas.

    alas, i woke up, and although in our new time warner cable lineup, still not available. ugh. i have tried to call them 6 times now to get it sorted. one hour-long call verified that it’s included in the package we have, but “maybe it’s not available in your area” – but no clue how to find out. since then, only holding interminably or being hung up on because the system thought prompts were ignored, when they weren’t given.

    now my longing for the match today is even worse than usual.

    exciting that some people who have TWC will now have BeIn.
    i’m considering starting a campaign to have people call in and request it, but i don’t know many people here.

    so much anticipation.

    enjoy your match day, folks. take care.

    • Kxevin says:

      The people at Google (ChromeCast) and Apple (AppleTV) have sort of come to your rescue. They both make add-on dongles that will throw a stream to your big TV. Of course, you have to actually be able to FIND a high-quality stream to throw to the TV, but that’s another question.

      I hear you on the longing. Comcast still hasn’t decided that BeIN is worth doing in HD. Probably never will, unless the viewership is sufficiently high to demand the change, which I don’t see happening.

      • bhed says:

        At the moment, I believe Chromecast only does YouTube and a few other streaming sites. I know they’re planning to expand, and there might be some workaround,, but I could be wrong on both counts. Has anyone tried it? I’d like to watch the few Deportes games on the big TV. Haven’t tried Apple TV.

  51. Jafri says:

    I remember Euler tweeting months ago that we should sign Isco, regardless of whether we have space for him in the team or not; that his kind of talent was too good to pass up.

    • Kxevin says:

      That’s interesting. I’m not sure I agree with it, though. We couldn’t find enough minutes to keep Thiago Alcantara happy. We have Deulofeu on loan, as well as Rafinha, not to mention the attacking talent that we already have in house. That’s a lot of money to spend on a player, who is admittedly brilliant, just to have and try to figure out some way to integrate.

      I do worry that he will bite us in the butt this season, but we’ll just have to see about that.

      • BA says:

        Isco has earned Madrid 4 points already this season. how much is that worth?

        • Jafri says:

          Yeah, he’s their top scorer and most influential player by a distance I believe. Anyhow, he plays the same position Rafinha does, right? (And Rafinha’s supposed to be better than Thiago) It’ll be interesting to see how they each fare this season.

          • barca96 says:

            I would’ve signed Isco no matter what. He’s too good to pass. We could make space for him ala Cesc. And who knows, if Isco did come, maybe we could’ve recovered the money from the sale of Cesc to Man United.

            Ozil is another player I would’ve signed a few seasons ago.

            ps. Ozil, Isco and Illaramendi were both offered to us in the past with the last 2 being last season.

    • Rami says:

      What separate us from EE is we have our own philosophy to follow, And it’s been adding silver ware to our trophy case for the last 25 years, EE only model for more than a decade was the same thing you wanted, ‘He’s just to good to pass, Let’s buy him anyway’, But how many trophies did this type thinking delivered for them?
      We haven’t reached the status we’re in now by watching what EE do, But it’s exactly what they’ve been doing, Look at their insane spending spree in 2009, After we won the treble, Cristiano, Kaka, Benzema, Albiol, And many others which all add up to 260 million euros worth of transfers, But they didn’t buy all of them with a clear model or philosophy in mind, They simply did it, Because of our success, But since then how many trohies they won compared to ours?
      I won’t be a hypocrite and deny that i don’t feel envious when i watch isco doing what he does for them, But i have trust in our model and our philosophy, It may fail us in some years, But in the long run, It’ll always triumph.

  52. ooga aga says:

    ¡Alineación confirmada!

    Valdés, Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Alba, Sergio, Cesc, Iniesta, Pedro, Messi y Neymar

  53. TITO says:

    It’s done. Bale to RM for 100 million euros.
    That’s just fucking insane.
    That’s probably the biggest travesty in the history of football.

  54. Messiah10 says:

    What a cheeky pass from Messi to Jr. Cesc’s pass was a bit heavy for Messi, but did anyone doubt he’d get there? Not I!

  55. Messiah10 says:

    God he’s the best ever. That final pace to beat his man and the coolness to slot the opposite corner of the net. All set up by Busi being Busi.

  56. Messiah10 says:

    Wow! What a move & assist by Jr!!!

  57. Messiah10 says:

    VV saves us again. We look so fragile at the back whenever we concede a tiny bit of possession

  58. Manish says:

    Alba can’t head.. he had two chances to clear the all and he failed in both counts…

  59. Messiah10 says:

    Geez. U can’t give up 2 goals n final minutes of the half. Pathetic

  60. Manish says:

    What a game we have…

  61. Rami says:

    The referee should resign, Disgraceful.

  62. TITO says:

    It reminds me on the game against Deportivo last year.
    We let them into the game, don’t know why. On both accounts after our fullbacks couldn’t clear up the mess, Dani on the first goal with his stupid back pass to Valdes, and Alba with his “i want to hit the ball with my head in order to clear the situation”.

  63. BA says:

    why was Iniesta marking the most dangerous goalscorer on their team, on a corner. that makes zero sense. 2 goals in 4 minutes means our mentality is weak still, despite the excellence of both strikes. are we expecting Leo to bail us out of every situation again this season?

    • Jim says:

      He wasnt. It was Dani who failed to go with his man. However, it throws up the interesting thought of are we playing zonal or man making? If man marking why was Pique just given an area? He’s our only decent header of a ball.

      • Jim says:

        Have to say they were two great strikes. Just goes to show. I was starting to wonder whether Tata would be brave enough to take off Messi with a three goal lead. I suppose this is the answer as to why coaches don’t.

        • Messiah10 says:

          Take him off at half it we still had 3-0 lead? I could see the 65-70 min, but not half. However, as you point out, it’s never safe. Oh no. We don’t need another CB or 2 and a Abi replacement on the left. We’re fine.

  64. pr17 says:

    dani alves and pedro have been terrible. i hanker for alexis. i could never imagine saying that.

  65. Messiah10 says:

    Pedro! U have to bury that!!!

  66. Manish says:

    I would have scored that P???

  67. Manish says:

    Seriously P is dreaming..

  68. Messiah10 says:

    I have to say, without Xavi in the midfield we’ve been so much quicker at getting the ball up the field than in the previous 3 games.

  69. Messiah10 says:

    Jr! What kind of stupid shit is that? Y get a stupid yellow 4 your 3rd game running. He’s gonna be suspended by the 7th game at this rate.

  70. Messiah10 says:

    Wow that would’ve been brilliant

  71. Messiah10 says:

    I just don’t feel good about the extra time here

  72. G6O says:

    This should not have been that close, but it’s still 3 points.

    Also, I think any notion that the combination of Neymar and Messi can’t work should be put to rest for now – Messi could have had 6 goals this game is he was finishing at his usual efficiency, and 3 or 4 of them would have come directly after combinations with Neymar.

    • swamidigital says:

      The third goal Messi scored from Neymar’s assist showed how great their combo can be. For once the three defenders on the left were all looking to Neymar, afraid of his shot when Messi cut his run inside. Against Pedro one of them would have stayed back a bit looking out for Messi’s run more than the threat of the shot. Having two guys generate that kind of attention can only be good.

      • TITO says:

        Just look at it as a hard fought win, a win in a ground where we usually don’t do well. We won away to Malaga and to Valencia, and the season just started.
        It’s a good sign.
        The height is a problem, yes, but not so much as awareness.

      • G6O says:

        I was even more impressed by the backheel exchange in the second half that lead to Messi narrowly missing from close range. Two defenders collapsed on Neymar, but he eliminated them with that trick which put Messi and whoever was on the left that eventually gave him back the ball in a lot of space.

        We had plenty of clear cut chances in the second half to bury the game, it’s just that we didn’t convert. It’s always difficult to play at the Mestalla, so nobody should be surprised we did not win 5-0. That we had so many chances is very positive though

  73. Messiah10 says:

    Jesus. How are u going 2 let them get a head on that at the end. We r lucky 2 take all 3 points in this one. Clear cut chances we buried. VV was huge. Makings 3 spectacular saves. 20 fouls to our 11. We had 3 Yellows they had 2! C’mon. One of our yellows was Jr being stupid and another was Dani’s 1st real bad tackle and on replace it looked like a phantom tackle.

  74. Jim says:

    Great win at a difficult ground. Iniesta was terrific. However, height will, sooner or later, kill us.

  75. TITO says:

    Very very important 3 points, i would dare to say, a championship worth points.

  76. Rami says:

    It’s been a while since i screamed this much in a match.

    • stefan2k says:

      I suffered too … we should have sealed the deal in the first half. Can anybody explain what happend after minute 40? Somehow we lost the defensive focus and never recovered it. Collective pressing, fast triangles and game control could have been way better.

      Important 3 points!

  77. TITO says:

    By the way, that header from Pedro just confirms that he lacked the balls to nail it.
    He was so much afraid not to be hurt, that he forgot how to hit the ball. Pathetic.

    • Kxevin says:

      What it means is that he tried to cut it too fine when he didn’t have to, and screwed up. It happens. Look at the finishes Messi left on the table.

      • TITO says:

        Just look at his face before he hit it. His first reaction was…OMG…i will clash with him.
        Someone with enough balls would just have head it as it should, straight, with no cutting.
        And im not disputing the wasted chance, im questioning his courage in these situations.

    • Momo says:

      I don’t know if you actually play football, but the angle of that pass with relation to his body would need RIDICULOUS timing and technique to turn it towards goal.

      So I don’t think the issue was that he was afraid…

      • kenny says:

        pedro was scared. simple as that. he had a free header from a beautiful cross by iniesta. pedro’s face says it all. i dont know what is up with pedro but he has really been testing my patience. tello wouldve been a better option.

  78. Kxevin says:

    Some thoughts:

    — We saw the effects of the horrid preseason in the second half. Team isn’t in shape yet, still went into a very difficult ground and got full points.

    — Neymar worked his ass off today at both ends of the pitch. Made some magic, had some “What the …” moments. Both are to be expected. But the future is bright.

    — Messi has to pass him the ball. On more than one occasion, Neymar was ignored, as was Pedro. I don’t consider that a good trend. I know I hate Messi, and people will say that a player with that kind of ego thinks he is the best option and forgive him, blablablabla. I can’t. When you have the second most destabilizing player on the pitch making a run up the left wing, wide open, you give him the ball and continue your run. Instead he held it, held it, until it was too late. Not cool.

    — Alba continues to be an exploitable liability for opponents.

    — Pedro …. sighhhhh. He has gone from exclamation point to period to comma to question mark.

    — Iniesta was an excellent Xavi until he, like everyone else, got tired.

    — Yes, that was real life, Jonathan Dos Santos coming in for Cesc Fabregas, in case some of you were wondering.

    • stefan2k says:

      JDS was actually quite persuading :-)

    • Roberto Senyera says:

      JDS instead of Song. How about them apples? I thought JDS acquitted himself rather well and both surprised and happy that Tata had faith in him.

    • hammeronmessi says:

      agree on Point 1,2,4,5,6.

      Point 3: Messi not passing to Junior

      Junior scored a goal(ruled incorrectly Offside)by his lovely Through.On the second goal he could have passed to Junior(who was all alone),but he buried it with aplomb.Other than that I think he played it to his judgement and I would like to give the benefit of doubt to a player who has been averaging 50+ goals in the last 4 seasons.On that note isn’t it too early to make these comments?its not like its a trend or is it?

      Point 7: JDS

      Dont know about you guys he is the closest player to resemble Xavi,at his age Xavi was not Xavi and given proper chance i lie to see his evolution.the time he spent on the pitch he looked assured and rolled the play quit nicely.

      What bout TATA,what balls?Omitting Xavi,Alexis and Replacing Cesc,Junior with JDS,Roberto.Woof.This Season’s Barca if healthy will gonna be Fun to watch.

      Alba-What can i say,the other team clearly considers him the weakest spot on the back line.he is piss poor defensively.

      On the first goal may be Masche put the crossing player onside,though i dare say he is our best CB right now

  79. TITO says:

    And yes, i used to play football, so i understood the situation, and i stand by my first impression.

  80. Rami says:

    04/02/2013 Valencia vs Barcelona 1 – 1
    02/02/2012 Valencia vs Barcelona 1 – 1
    22/09/2011 Valencia vs Barcelona 2 – 2
    18/10/2009 Valencia vs Barcelona 0 – 1
    21/03/2008 Valencia vs Barcelona 3 – 2


  81. Kxevin says:

    Martino says Busquets might have a hamstring injury in the post match presser.

  82. Rami says:

    Messi now is the top scorer of away games in la liga history with 100 goals.

  83. Roberto Senyera says:

    Three points: Thank you very very much. Difficult place to get the full points.

    Clean sheets: Are overrated. Who needs them?

    I’m off to do my laundry now 😉

  84. kenny says:

    very exciting game. la liga is very well ALIVE. the last atletico match and this one have demanded a lot from our players and even if we are a little bit off form we came through with wins. im very proud of our team at this moment.
    -valdes has been on fire btw
    -cant say the same for pedrito?

  85. Rami says:

    Martino: This was the most exciting match? Exciting matches happen when the two side want to play football, Not just one of them.

    Ouch!!……..Shouts semione.

  86. PrinceYuvi says:

    Messi 80 assists in last 3 seasons. Scary stats. Only ozil is ahead of him with 86.

    • Jim says:

      Is this the same Ozil Sky are saying is on his way to Arsenal ??? :)

      In the interests of fairness I thought Alba had a pretty decent second half whereas Dani was poor the whole match.

      Not sure the tiredness was entirely physical or due to preseason. I think the mental fatigue of having to hold on and being unable to finish them off also took its toll on us while it gave them renewed energy.

    • Roberto Senyera says:

      I can’t believe EE are considering selling Ozil and have brought in Bale at an enormous price. I’ve always thought both Ozil and di Maria are better players than Bale. Only time will tell, of course. It looks a lot like when they let Makelele go and brought in Beckham. Changes for the wrong reason — marketing & imaging reasons and not footballing reasons. Spanish FC Hollywood.

      • PrinceYuvi says:

        They’ll survive. Isco creates chances and has ability to finish them off too. On other note, I hope ozil to arsenal happens, I’ll be able to applaud his slick footwork finally.

  87. bhed says:

    So does La Liga have any concussion policy? Masch did not look ok after that collision. While it might be a cliché to say we need another cenerback… frustrating.

    Valdes and Neymar immense, Cesc pretty great too. Not as down on Alba as some. That pace can make up for a lot. Would have liked to see Montoya 2nd half for Dani. Pedro… :-(

  88. Roberto Senyera says:

    Does anybody know why there is a bat on Valencia’s crest? I thought Batman lives in Gotham. Are there a lot of bats there or is it home to Spanish Batman? Anybody?

  89. Jafri says:

    Couple of points from Whoscored that have been alluded to already, but here’s the statistical proof:

    A whopping 44% of Valencia’s attack came down Jordi Alba’s side. As most of you have noticed, teams have identified his flank as the best way to attack Barcelona. They attacked down the middle and left much less, 28% each. Barcelona’s own attack was much more evenly spread out; 36% on the left, 34% in the middle and 30% on the right.

    Neymar had only two shots on goal in the game, and just one dribble. He was fouled 6 times, way more than any other Barca player. Messi was only fouled once in comparison. Clearly his role in this match was to facilitate Messi’s scoring and create space for him, but I’d like to see him go for goal more. Hopefully he won’t just end up passing the ball to Messi every single time, like all our other forwards (cept Tello)

  90. barca96 says:

    As end of shirt sponsor deal coincides with elections in 2016, could be extended for 1+ years so new board doesn’t start without deal. [md]

    How thoughtful of Rosell. I gotta give him credit for that.

  91. Roberto Senyera says:

    A day of absolute utter mania. It’s Transfer Deadline Day! Fasten your seatbelts.

  92. pr17 says:

    sid lowe doesnt seem to rate alexis that much. He also feels xavi is down the hill. Canny statement by him.
    “There was a directness, a cutting edge to them that it is tempting to say was benefited by the absence of Xavi and Alexis, and glimpses that Messi and Neymar will combine well”.

    I just hope alexis proves everybody wrong. He has to increase his scoring rate and improve his finishing skills.

  93. Judas Pissed says:

    We are unlikely to sign anyone today and I think that is a bit short sighted. I don’t feel our squad is big enough or good enough to challenge on 3 trophy fronts this season – especially in defence. Hope I’m proved wrong though.

  94. muttonhead says:

    Hi guys, long-time lurker here. Totally unrelated to the thread- but my family is thinking of heading up to Spain for a holiday, and I have very sneakily encouraged them to be in Barcelona on the 15th of December so that I can fulfill my lifelong dream of watching Barca at the Nou Camp!

    I think that match in question is Barca vs Villareal actually. Perhaps I can get them to fly in early enough to catch the Champions League match against Celtic as well 😀 I just have a few questions for the local cules; what’s the best way to get tickets for a Barca match, and what section/seats should I aim for? Is it still possible to get tickets for the match now, or will I have to turn to ticket scalpers? And lastly, I’ve also heard that the La Liga board is quite incompetent when it comes to scheduling, is there a good chance that the match will be pushed forward or delayed, and how do I keep abreast of any schedule changes?

    Thank you very much in advance, and cheers.

    • mom4 says:

      Tickets are up for sale on the official site already. More will be available a few days before the game. You can get those safely at a kiosk on La Rambla. Very easy to find. There are no bad seats at the CN. Even the nosebleed seats have the advantage of really giving you a great vantage point for seeing the plays develop and all the off the ball movement (TV does all that a big injustice).

      Keep your weekend flexible as the RFEF doesn’t do travelers (nor anyone else for that matter) the courtesy of announcing the real game time/day until about two weeks before each game. The CN is conveniently located at several Metro stops…the Metro is really the way to go anywhere in the city (get a T10 card)

      Prepare to be blown away by the experience. Enjoy!

  95. Kxevin says:

    Look at this video, and watch Pedro. Astounding, and he should have gotten the pass back from Messi. He worked like a dog to help win back a ball that Messi lost (Messi just trots along, figuring others will rectify the error), makes the steal, then hauls ass back down to the other end to be in perfect position for the return pass.

    You can almost see him about to throw up his arms as in “Dude! I was open!” Then he thought better of it, but for this viewer (I know, I know …. I hate Messi) his disappointment was evident.

    Here is another one, featuring Sanchez, also by Allas (who does do wonderful work):

    You do have to wonder if Sanchez and Pedro aren’t just TIRED by the time they get into finishing position.

    • allasFCB says:

      Kevin, you said on Twitter:
      “Devil’s advocate: Pedro was playing the same way when he was scoring bags of goals, tracking back like a fiend.”

      I think this little video might amuse you:

      As I said he has been playing like this for 5-6 years now there’s no doubt it’s really exhausting and probably that’s why he has lost his finishing touch. Also that Messi doesn’t look for him like he did couple of years ago, I’m not saying he ignores him, but he prefers other options quite often.

      Also Pedro was the most loved player by the Barca crowd back then. I miss those days they always chanted PPEEEDRROOO PEEDROOOO PPEEDDRROOOOO

    • norden says:

      Maybe the other players should unprogram the “find Messi first” from their heads, and then Messi learns that he does not have to finish all by himself.

      I hope the unprogramming will be easier with Neymar now.

    • 86ed says:

      In the first one, Pedro is behind Messi’s point of view. Messi has the net in his sights and takes the shot, a very poor shot, but one that even Perdo would have taken. A different example would have worked better.

      Your reputation of anti-Messi is unwarranted I think, but it does seem to me that perhaps for this match you’re overthinking it. Messi had a hattrick that helped us win the points, despite wasting three more glorious chances to put it to sleep. Pedro worked his ass off, and that too helped us get the win.

    • Messiah10 says:

      I really do believe a lot of the missed chances are fatigue. That said, I don’t blame Messi for not finding him for wide open shots. If I were Messi, I’d have lost confidence in most of my teammates the last 2 years. He probably feels he can create something better at this point. Speculation of course, because Messi does make the correct pass more often than not. He also makes the absurd pass, the sublime pass, & the bad pass occasionally.

  96. psalmuel says:

    If Mou were our coach, Tello would be starting over Pedro and Adriano would be in our Gala XI. We could clearly see how effective Tello was, when he came on. Personally, I admire him for not contacting that ‘pass the ball to Messi first virus, but unfortunately, Neymar is beginning to show signs and symptoms of the virus. Plus, presently, our best CB is Mascherano! And whats V.V up to? Saving the best for the last?

  97. nia says:

    OT: LOOL, you gotta love EE supporters. Here’s a vid of Perez shushing the supporters who were singing don’t sell Ozil during Bale presentation.

  98. ooga aga says:

    busquets is indeed injured and wont travel with spain. no timeline for recovery is given. i have a feeling it’s one of those 2-week things.

  99. psalmuel says:

    Am not an EE fan, but I don’t just want to see Ozil leave madrid for arsenal. I love that guy. ‘Madrid have signed Bale and we haven’t got a CB signing yet! We are gonna be ripped apart!’ *And no need to ask, I have tears in my eyes as I write this*

  100. bhed says:

    Tickets booked – game, flight, and hotel – for BCN in April! 8 nights in the magic city and great seats for Bilbao. This will be my second time since I became a fan. Now I just have to try to get reservations for Tickets (the restaurant).

    Kxevin, I think I remember you said you liked La Fonda. Mixed reviews on Trip Advisor. When was the last time you went?

    Also, want to do a day trip out of town this time. Has anyone visited Girona? I’m a big history buff and I’ve heard the medieval walls are mostly intact and you can walk most of the old walls. how’s the rest of the town? Any other must-see’s? Would Tarragona be better for history?

  101. nia says:

    Official: Ibrahim Afellay will wear shirt number “19” this season, while Isaac Cuenca will keep shirt number “23” #fcblive

    • blitzen says:

      I hope they both get a chance to play with the team. Lots of talent there, terrible luck with injuries. I think Cuenca at least should be recovered in a couple of months.

      • nia says:

        Barcastuff says Cuenca should be ready in about a month and Afellay at the end of December. Puyi on the other hand, was supposed to have been ready when the liga resumes after the international break now, it’s been pushed back to end of September :( “Back on track” he said on twitter. I can only guess he had a minor setback. I hope we don’t pay for not getting a CB AGAIN this year and el Tata needs to realise Puyi is not a spring chicken anymore.

        • Roberto Senyera says:

          It really is shocking that we didn’t sign a CB. Puyol always gets injured and takes a great deal of time recovering from injuries these days. One thing is for certain, it will take Puyol longer than expected to get back in the squad, he will get injured shortly thereafter, and it will take him a long time to get over future injuries.

          He’s a great figure in our history and I love him but he’s very much like many Hall of Fame boxers — he just doesn’t know when it’s his time to hang them up.

      • Roberto Senyera says:

        Who are they going to displace in order to get that playing time? By my count there are four wingers ahead of them in the depth chart (Neymar, Alexis, Pedro, Tello) and we don’t need them as MFs.

        No offence and I’m not having a go at you, but statements like, “I hope they both get a chance to play with the team”, are very unrealistic and sound rather motherly. It’s right up there with statements like, ‘I hope for world peace’.

        • blitzen says:

          Well…I do hope for world peace, don’t you? It may not be realistic, but neither was JDS’ desire to stick around for another season. He got his miracle, why can’t I have mine?

          And how dare you call me “motherly”, young man?!? 👿

    • Roberto Senyera says:

      Both these guys will play very little this season (maybe just some CdR matches) unless the team has a serious injury crisis. Both should have been loaned out, especially Cuenca, in the best interests of their long term development (Afellay has already developed as much as he ever will and, largely because of injuries, won’t ever make the grade here).

  102. messifan says:

    Welp, so we’re not buying a center back, right?

  103. 86ed says:

    The folks at Madrid sure do know business. With the reputed money from Arsenal (unofficial at the time of writing: 50m) and that of Higuain for Napoli (37m), they will have recouped most of the enormous amounts of money spent on Bale.
    I do wonder if Rosell and his cronies have any understanding whatever in what they’re doing. Real offloaded Callejon for 10m and Albiol for 12m to Napoli. Rosell couldn’t even get 5m for a player of Villa’s stature. It’s really distressing.

    • bhed says:

      Yeah, valid justifications aside, those last 2 sentences are pretty damning.

    • Roberto Senyera says:

      We better get Oliver Torres, eventually, out of this Villa to ATM deal.

      Albiol for €12m? What are they smoking in Naples?

      • 86ed says:

        It’s silly for a guy who hardly played in 3 years, so it would have taken some great bargaining on Perez’s side to wring that money out of De Laurentiis.
        Real is in the red for this transfer season, close to 65m. But they have signed 6 new players, all under 24, for almost the same net amount we paid for Neymar. And now they have a team with capabilities that are as devastating as Bayen’s, and with a coach who is wise and not a reactionary like Mou-Mou was. They are scary.

        • Roberto Senyera says:

          They don’t impress me so. EE were very close to drawing two games already this season from three (with one at home).

          They let Ozil go. Very foolish from where I sit. I’d have both Ozil and Isco in my best XI if I were their coach. Those two can coexist. At the very least they can be rotated. I’d have offloaded di Maria before Ozil.

          Also, I heard they loaned out Coentrao to Man Utd. That’s not the wisest move either. He’s a better defender than Marcelo. They only have one established LB in the squad at the moment. That’s not so clever.

          Did they pick up a striker? If not, they’re short there too. If Eczema goes down with a flare up they’ll have to resort to Morata. Morata is still very young and Higuain is superior at this moment in time.

          EE looks wobbly in the back to me. Even more so than last year under defensive guru Mou Mou. They’re choosing Diego Lopez over Iker, again, which is another bizarre choice.

          I guess it’s all in the way you look at things. With that amount of talent they’ll always be formidable. They almost always are.

          Who are their six new players? I’ve got Bale, Isco, Illarramendi, Carvajal (I’m not counting Casemiro because he was already there).

          • Jim says:

            I agree with the assessment of the RM dealings. I’m really surprised about Ozil. To me he difficult unlocked games for them. Is co is a great player but he is young and youngsters will go up and down in form till they mature. Can he take on the creative role for a whole season? Marcello is nowhere in the defending stakes for me but I suspect it was more his allegiance to the old regime which saw him off. Finally, if you think we have a problem with two top dogs just light the touch paper and stand back. CR7 will be sad again the first time Bale has a speculative shot ( and he has a few – remember we see only highlights). I’m also not sure CR7 can play CF against two CBs.
            The one unknown is how quickly Bale will settle. He can be dangerous, especially to a side like us which lacks a little pace and bulk although he may be curtailed by Ronaldo’s reluctance to allow him to have a free role.
            Looking forward to it already.

          • 86ed says:

            I thought they signed Jese’ for 6m? I saw it in a Marca article, which I can’t locate anymore. Or am I thinking of someone else?

            We’ll have to disagree on Oezil. More often than not he would disappear entirely from games; he was often substituted by the 70th minute mark. His work rate left a lot to be desired. Isco has loads of talent and shows up when you need him; Oezil on the other hand… I think Benzema would be a great number 9 at Barca. I know he flatters to deceive, doesn’t run, and seems much too nice to be a true number 9, but I think he’d fit in quite well with us.

  104. Roberto Senyera says:

    Did we get a new CB signing yet?? *fingers crossed*

    • 86ed says:

      If it were going to happen it would have happened long ago. As it is we might as well wait. Most teams settle their defense early in the transfer market, they don’t leave it to the 25th hour. Martino and Rosell think they can get away with another year and no proper defenders to help Pique. Fine. I doubt very much there will be much difference from the hammerings we took last season in the CL and in important games, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

  105. Judas Pissed says:

    Ludicrous. We will finish top 2 in La Liga, fail in the quarter finals of the Champions League, and win the Copa Del Rey IF someone else knocks EE out first….

  106. Kxevin says:

    So, there was a live Rosell interview on the radio today, and the long and short of it:

    — He is innocent of all that Brazil silliness.
    — They could have sold Villa in January for 10m, but the coaching staff wanted to keep him. (Nice work throwing Vilanova under the bus, ace.)
    — He is being spied upon and persecuted.
    — He has a part in 40-50 companies.
    — The Brazil funds were payments for fees, not kickbacks or anything sordid such as that.
    — Cruijff is a legend, but not a nice person. And he is what he is because of Barça, let’s not forget.
    — Guardiola is our best coach ever. I have no idea why he said the stuff that he said. He’s wrong about it.
    — People inside and outside the club are persecuting it, and trying to bring it down.

    There is lots more, and if you’re on Twitter, blitzen (@blitzen13) was doing a fine job of loose translations.

    • Roberto Senyera says:

      To be fair, the coaching staff honestly didn’t want to offload Villa in January and neither did most fans, I’d imagine. Even though he wasn’t a starter he was very useful to the team in their pursuit of three trophies, at the time.

      I wouldn’t call that “throwing Tito” under the bus. I’d have made the same statement myself.

      Rosell may not be the greatest president ever but he’s not responsible for all of the world’s ills let alone the clubs. Just an observation but it looks like there is vehement anti-Rosell brigade that have their backs in a hump every time the man opens his mouth.

    • blitzen says:

      Thanks for the credit! 😀

      Everything I tweeted was based on the (Spanish) reporting of @OpinionCule, who is always on the ball. Go follow them.

  107. Kxevin says:

    So. The window is closed, and we made no last-minute deals, just as Martino said we wouldn’t. He did say that we might in the winter window, so we will see what happens then.

    It will take a hefty dose of luck to get the club through, but the club has had great luck before with injuries, so we will wait and see. I don’t agree with the decision not to buy a CB or two, even as I agree with the decision not to buy for the sake of buying, if that makes sense.

    This transfer window had Bale moving for almost 100m, Ozil moving for almost 50, freakin’ Fellaini moving for almost 40. In other words, Crazy Town. Even in that market, I think the club was gun shy about pulling the trigger for the right CB. Some of it is history …. it’s a position we have never splashed for. Some of it is quality, and finding players with enough quality to improve things.

    Ultimately, I dunno. Were I ZubiZa I would have just gone ahead and ponied up for Mangala in a straight buyout. We were going to spend more than that for Thiago Silva. But I’m not ZubiZa. I do know that people ripping on him for not being good should realize he consults with the coaching staff, then they talk to the board. So that’s that.

    • Jim says:

      You know it might not be so daft. By the time January comes around who knows there may be some top defenders who haven’t settled with their new club or clubs who haven’t qualified for the later stages of the CL or even some not getting a game. Life can be strange like that.

      Btw, loved Bale’s attempt at keepie up at his unveiling! He’s not actually that technically gifted imo.

      • Kxevin says:

        I’d say sorry I missed it, but I was having the time of my life doing a third day of off-road riding in the Wisconsin woods.

        Arsenal made the move for Ozil. Huge. They still need a striker, but man, what an infusion of quality.

      • Roberto Senyera says:

        Arsenal fans would say that Bale is a very fast simian that doesn’t look so clever but can can peel bananas with his feet. He does have a certain Planet of the Apes quality about him.

        In all seriousness, he’s got blistering pace and can score. But he’s not as technically good as Ozil and di Maria. He once played LB and was almost offloaded by Tottenham as a makeweight in a transfer dealing. The fact that he is now the most expensive transfer signing ever makes EE look a little foolish and won’t please Cristina, and her ego, very much. He’s a good player but quite overrated and more suited to the fast paced EPL.

        Does anyone remember Michael Owen?

      • G6O says:

        You know, those presentations do matter, at least a little.

        After the stuff Ronaldinho pulled out 10 years ago when we were presenting him, everyone who moves for big money is under pressure to do a few tricks. And I have to say there is some correlation between how they perform at that if they do try to show off and how they do in real games after that – one thing is the technical quality itself that is required to do the tricks, but even more important is the ability to handle the pressure. That Bale is nowhere near the technical level to justify his price tag was know a long time ago – he has speed and power, but that’s it really. Now we know he probably isn’t that good at handling pressure either.

        I am actually happy that they bought him, he adds even more speed and may give us trouble since speed is one thing we sorely lack. But otherwise it is crazy insane transfer that should never have cost more than 20M under normal circumstances.

        P.S. If this continues another season or two, there will be a repeat of what happened 10-15 years ago during the first wave of transfer madness when clubs, especially in Italy, were spending crazy money on players that did not cost that much due to the big infusion of TV money in the game. A number of them eventually went bankrupt (not just in Italy) and Italian football still has not recovered. This looks like a repeat of that episode, this time driven by oil money. Too bad Madrid will not suffer because they actually generate the revenue, including from player sales, to pay for these transfers…

        • Kxevin says:

          When you look at what they got from their sales, the Bale purchase is pretty much a wash, especially atop Ozil, a player they paid what, 15m for?

          It doesn’t mean the actual sum isn’t reprehensible, however.

          And to boot, Bale is broken a lot.

          • G6O says:

            Well, they bought Isco and Illarramendi too. But still, if I count everything correctly, they spend ~165M euro, and sold players for ~120.

            That’s a net spending of 45M plus whateber they lost in taxes in the deals.

            With 450M annual revenue and a lower wage bill than ours, they can more than afford that…

          • G6O says:

            P.S. Not only is the sum reprehensible, but the fact that that he cost 3.5 times as much as Isco really helps out in perspective. They are different positions, of course, but still, Isco is at least twice the players that Bale is…

            If you ask me, Bale is a little more than a bigger, stronger version and slightly more skillful version of Theo Walcott.

            Anyway, as I said above, more power to them. I don’t fancy the prospect of playing an even faster and more athletic version of Madrid than the one we faced last year in the condition in which we were last year. But hopefully, we will not be in that condition and that will not matter much because they will simply not see the ball if we play as we can and should, as it was in the first year with Mourinho.

        • G6O says:

          *put it in perspective

  108. Roberto Senyera says:

    Man Utd didn’t look too clever in this transfer window. They brought in a young Uruguayian RB for the future, overspent for Fellaini when they could have got him for cheaper a month ago, and brought in a LB on loan, Coentrao, which they really didn’t need.

    It’s never a good sign when a club begins a season with a new manager and a new CEO. It looks like neither of these two are fit for the job. Happy days!

  109. Roberto Senyera says:

    I, for one, am very happy that EE didn’t upgrade their striker position. Had Suarez went there he would have given us more difficulty than Bale. Bale is just a faster, less technical, version of di Maria.

    When’s the first Clasico? Bring it on!

  110. Messiah10 says:

    While I agree Bale is not a superstar player, I think some folks on here are going over board to say he’s not that good. He created more chances than Messi & Ronaldo last season. 75 me thinks. Tottenham didn’t even have a out & out striker most of last season, so his 4 assists total would’ve been much better if they’d had the quality up front. I’ve seen him pick out some runs with sublime crosses and passes into the box. He’s also another threat from deep. With CR & him outside of the box, teams will have to respect their ability and stay out on them, thus creating space for lots of runs to get behind the defense. I would play him over Di Maria any day. I don’t put much into the 1st 2 games of the year. They’ve added a lot or pieces and they need time to gel. I hope enough time that we build a comfortable lead, b/c when they start clicking it will be scary. I wish we had some deep threats to open up space for us. Adriano is about it and that’s not often b/c he is rarely fit.

    • Roberto Senyera says:

      For me, di Maria is a far better passer of the ball, thinks quicker, and is a better team player than Bale. Bale is a great player if he has the space to operate in which, I believe, he’ll have less of in a more tactical and technical league which he’s coming to. Bale may not be a one trick pony but he’s a pony with few tricks.

    • Roberto Senyera says:

      And Bale isn’t even half the player that Ozil is even though he cost twice as much.

      • Messiah10 says:

        I never compared Bale w/Ozil. The 2 players are completely different. I never said Bale was worth €100. No one is, let alone him. However, its not his fault Perez will pay ungodly amounts of money for players. Tottenham weren’t going to sell him for anything less and EE were willing to pay it, so that’s economics 101 to me. When I go to a game I don’t want to pay $5 for a hotdog & $3.50 for a bottled water, but that’s what they cost and I’m willing to pay it because I’m hungry & thirsty. I don’t blame the hotdog. “How can you cost so much you dog! Your an inferior dog to ones I’ve had in the past for half the price!”


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