Almeria 0, Barça 2, aka “FC Barcelona: We create drama”


Can little people run hurdles? If so, yet another one was leapt today as FC Barcelona has gotten off to the best start in club history.

— Better than last season, in which the club won a Liga in record-settings style
— Better than any of the Guardiola years
— Just plain better

And on a day when Chelsea drew and both Manchesters lost, our club went about its business-as-usual with high style at times, but with more than enough effectiveness to get the job done. Another win, another three points, another clean sheet.

The chronicling of the event is drab and rather bloodless. Barça sashayed around as if some of them were still hitting the snooze button back at the hotel. Almeria came out with the intent to show intent, eventually … as soon as they stopped being scared, when IT happened:

Dribble the ball, give and go, defy physics, off the post, nothing but net.

I was having breakfast during that remarkable Messi goal, dropped my fork and lost a little bit of my pancakes to the front of my shirt. After a goal like that, the keeper yells at his defense because that’s what keepers are supposed to do. But really, that was indefensible goal, mostly because you really don’t consider those sorts of options. Any keeper will play for the likely, the within the realm of human capability.

Then a player such as Messi does something like that. You half expect the keeper to run out and join in the Barça huddle to congratulate him, such was the quality of that goal.

It was 0-1, and that was about as threatening as Almeria really got. Then Messi pulled up with a thigh injury (will miss Celtic and Valladolid, back after that), and something remarkable happened, aside from every culer in the universe except for me swallowing their heart:

Martino made the exact right substitution in bringing in Xavi, and that was the match. Because thanks to rotation and sensible man usage, Xavi was daisy fresh, capering about the pitch as though he was (shudder!) rested. The result was iron-clad ball and match control, that continued on until the second half, when Fabregas worked some magic, slid the ball to a hurtling Adriano, and it was 0-2. Game, set, match.

To be sure, there were moments when Almeria had a ball in our end. A few. There were moments where they might have even scored against a lesser team, but they had the great misfortune to be playing us. In their end, when we lost the ball, three players converged on the Almeria player who had the ball. In midfield, Busquets just shut everything down. In our half, Bartra grew into the match, backstopped by Pique.

This last was an interesting switch in roles, as usually Pique is the one dashing hither and yon, while Mascherano and/or Puyol are holding down things with deep cover. Bartra broke up plays, made excellent interceptions, a couple of runs, even just missed a goal in a performance that argued for MOTM status for him.

Some other important stuff happened: Martino didn’t have to play Neymar, who is going to be needed at full strength for the Celtic match, since even if the physios say Messi can play, Messi shouldn’t play.

Barça also showed off that thing that they were supposed to have kicked to the curb in a frenzy of counterattacking, “this way, sprites!” long-balling: defense with the ball. Xavi to Iniesta to Busquets to Pique to Adriano to Alves to Sanchez (runs around a bit) to Xavi to Iniesta to Busquets ….

Minutes passed, and Almeria, so terrified of giving up a third goal and not wanting to deviate from their match plan, just let it happen. Even when they decided to try to seize control of the match, they got the ball, then we took it right back and resumed the triangles of inexorability.

Xavi and Valdes had a squabble, which I am sure the press will be all over as yet another sign that this perfect-so-far team is in fact doomed.

And the panic during the match was fascinating, as some didn’t like the Pique/Bartra pairing, others seized upon a few quavering Pique moments as reasons for this or that. Almeria got set pieces that were dealt with, featuring things tantamount to “Omigod! They kicked the ball! That was close! Damn defense!”

Those wondering about Neymar and how well he has integrated himself into this club from day one, almost, need only have watched the lack of a cutting edge from the left, as the usual fullback overlap was relied upon to create attacking energy on the left side of the pitch. The Neymar acquisition is another reason why the Messi injury isn’t as dire this season as it would have been last season: This team has another world-class attacker, capable of magic, who can start matches and raise hell. The only reason he didn’t have an assist today is because he didn’t play.

So. Calm. There will be plenty of drama this season without culers trying to create it.

A favorite Tweet that was sent my way in the aftermath of the La Real match: Culers: “What do we want?! We don’t know! When do we want it?! NOW!” That made me giggle.

Some other stuff to consider

What if that crazy coach of ours who wasn’t supposed to be ready for this level, etc, etc, has an actual plan? Look at his comments from yesterday’s presser:

— On Bartra: “He has great character, impetus and the hunger to do well at Barça. He’ll settle down with time and we’ll be seeing the best of him in a few years’ time.”

— On a record-setting start: “winning 7 out of 7 wouldn’t mean much if we don’t end up winning the league. I’m more worried about where we’ll be next May.”

— Most telling, on Neymar, etc: “between international and club matches, he has played the most minutes apart from Valdés. 8 games in 28 days. As I understand it, we have to protect him and look after him, because I don’t want anyone exhausted when it comes down to the definitive matches … We are being very cautious about the game with Almeria but are also thinking about the one with Celtic. It’s not long until the Tuesday match.”

Here’s something else. Barça got out-possessed by a single percentage point against Rayo Vallecano, and the world was coming to an end, the club was abandoning its soul, etc, etc. Against La Real it was a brilliant display of possession and getting back to something that the club never left. (Never mind that the display wasn’t all THAT brilliant.) Against Almeria, it was a variant of possession football, parking the bus with possession.

Three victories, three different ways of playing and winning.

In American football, a coach scouts an opponent, watches film and draws up a game plan. Sometimes, a team runs the ball if that is a perceived opponent weakness. Sometimes short passes. Other times, long passes. The exact same NFL team could play 6-8 different offensive approaches over the course of a season. Because that is why coaches get the money that they get.

I have never understood why in proper football, when some teams don’t play the way that they are somehow expected to play, it is some kind of betrayal of principle. No. It’s adapting a game plan to the opponent. Ceding possession was fine against Rayo, because the game plan was to do all the damage on the flanks in attack, limit the damage they could cause with possession (mostly in their end) and move the ball up quickly.

Against La Real it was traditional tika-taka with intent, to capitalize on an opponent who played a more scattered defensive style. Against Almeria, it was (or rather, it became) protect the lead with possession, aka “possession for possession’s sake.” Three different matches, three different ways of winning.

The technical staff of this club is, so far, doing an excellent job of winning matches in various ways, keeping players fresh and planning for the future. I don’t believe that this team is going to end the season as perfect as it is beginning it, even though I believe that it has the talent to do exactly that. Why? Mental fatigue, pressure, some opponent playing out of its mind, lots of things. But, one match at a time, and so far, perfect.

Rotation works

Did you SEE Xavi today? The pressing, the movement, the ability to create and make the most of space? It was a maestro in his element. It was also energy brought about as a consequence of intelligent rotation. Fabregas didn’t tire, even if today he donned the cloak of invisibility for a bit. Neymar was rested. Iniesta has received plenty of rest. Fresh players are effective players. 8 matches in 28 days is an absurd load for a team to carry. Even as we ask why Martino isn’t playing X or Y player, I an just not sure that we are equipped to.

We don’t see what he sees, we don’t know what he knows, we don’t have the same vision for this club that he does. We seem to want it to win, be perfect, and be beautiful. But any good coach knows that is impossible. Sometimes, just just have to win, and take the points. Sure, we can armchair quarterback, debate and ask questions. Why not? But just as he is the boss in pressers and on the pitch, our coach has a plan that, so far, has been completely effective. So let him coach, and let’s have fun watching the results.


By Kxevin

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


  1. It may be silly to say but for me this was the best overall performance this season. This, despite its being a boring game (esp in the first half) and Sanchez’s off day at the office.
    Bartra played well (most interceptions in the game, according to barcastuff). He should really be playing these games to regain the confidence he had lost from Villanova’s tenure.
    I still think Celtic will be a major hurdle because we all know how Hoops will play. We also know we struggle against the teams that play that way. I’m looking forward to see what Martino does now that he has Neymar.

  2. Well done us. Hope Messi’s injury isn’t serious at all.

    Also congrats to Atletico for beating Real for the first time in the league since 1999, and Real’s first home league defeat since December 2011 vs us.

  3. now someone tell me pepe is better than smasch. It should have been 5-0. Am sure madrid fans are dying to have the ‘problems’ we have now

  4. just realised bale could buy you 20 david villas. Lol! I just wished we could defend against EE like diego madrid did. I don’t mean parking the bus but doubling up on bale and oil can when we don’t have the ball.

  5. I never watch live EE matches but, i sure will watch the replay. This result shows how poor EE have been and how well ATM are playing. This also shows how good Barca are by winning the super copa v ATM. Barca had almost all their starting players in Brazil bar Messi and Alexis and yet were able to pull out an impressive two games against them. ATM have rested well alll summer and right now are playing like a team. Good for them. Give our boys something to think about.

  6. Ancelotti out!!

    I guess Arbeloa won’t be twittering any bollocks today, eh??

    Has there ever been a bigger passenger on a WC winning side than Arbeloa, by the way? Someone should tweet him that 😉

  7. im hoping this messi injury thing is just one of those “injuries” that players pick up as we are nearing an international break, that clears up as soon as the break is over. we will be fine without messi vs celtic and valladolid.

  8. Tests still pending, but the club doctors are usually pretty accurate even before in-depth tests. They say Celtic and Valladolid, and now that ARG has qualified, they shouldn’t risk him, either, over the international break.

    This also means that we get to see how Neymar will do withOUT Messi to relieve the pressure on him. Tuesday will be very interesting. A draw wouldn’t surprise me, being away to Celtic. The team looked a bit tired today, and Iniesta is still off form. But a win wouldn’t surprise me.

  9. Nicely said, Kevin.

    While it’s not good that it happened, Messi’s injury doesn’t seem like it’s major.

    The doctor didn’t rush over to him as he came off, he sat down beside Pinto & then someone came over to see him. After the break he was smiling on the bench & even posed smiling in the team pics on the way home – something we hardly ever see him do.

    Coming off the plane at Barcelona, he walked down the stairs without difficulty.

    So he perhaps misses Celtic & Valladolid and then, hopefully, his NT games. Not the end of the world.

    Celtic will have more to worry about now, because instead of just trying to nullify Messi, they’ll be faced with an attack from everywhere. Hope to see a frontline of Alexis, Pedro & Neymar. See how Pedro does in the middle!

    I’m rapt with the way in which this team is developing. Martino is doing a great job & as long as he keeps the players happy, focused & understanding why rotation is necessary, then the team will do well.

    Like Kevin, I’m impressed that we’ve seen 3 variations of play in the last 3 games – each to suit the opponent and the pitch. And the players are looking as if they are adapting well to mixing it up.

    Whatever Martino says at halftime has a great impact on the team too – they have sometimes come back to play in a different way than they did in the first halves, and with success.

    It’s just what the team needed at this stage – some fresh blood in the veins to keep everyone interested.

    Barca is one of the unique teams that don’t change as many key personnel as regularly as other teams do. It’s important that the players stay motivated, and Martino’s arrival is certainly helping to do that.

    1. Nice to hear from you, nzm! Miss your previews.

      Martino sure is very tactically astute, and as you observed he must be equally good in his half-time… ‘pep’ talks!

      I’m quite impressed that our players are adapting that quickly to those variations. After so many years of having opponents trying to adapt to our game (until some of them eventually succeeding to some extent) I would have thought that it would take more time from them.

      I think Pedro can be devastating in the center of our attack but mostly if he is given space. I doubt he’ll have it versus Celtic. I wouldn’t mind Neymar in the middle with Iniesta combining on the left!

    2. Nice to see you nzm, and like always with some info.

      You are right, what Martino says during half time is something incredible, should be documented. We are always coming back stronger in the second half.

      And Bartra, he reminds me of the young Zanetti, for those runs through the centre. Hopefully he can play more games and we have cb.

    3. Hola NZM. Did you just come back from holidays?

      Zanetti used to run through the centre? Serie A (only until 2002)& La Liga is the league that I watched the most since I started watching football in 95. Can’t remember him running through the centre.

      Man…I can’t believe a full back can last that long. Full backs use more energy and need speed compared to CB’s running up and down. And he doesn’t look like he aged too much. Look at Giggs.

    4. Zanetti has always been a very class act. I really like his play — straight up, fair, a gentleman competitor. I see similar attitude in Messi, glad to say.

  10. That Diego Costa is one tough hombre. I hope he agrees to play for Spain. That way they don’t have to put up with freckled faced Torres’ substandard wasteful any longer.

    1. The entire Atletico team has that old Simeone roughness about it.
      Where do the colchoneros find these players? First Aguero, then Falcao, and now Costa. Can we get in on the action?

  11. Oh, and one other thing — Moyes out!!

    Actually, on second thought, Moyes please stay!! As long as your sorry incompetent ass can withstand the sores.

    1. Man Utd fans out there, repeat after me: Top four this season …


      Acquaint yourselves with the new normal.

      Thank you.

      That is all.

    2. It’s more than just the manager, that team just isn’t built well personnel wise, whether Ferguson or Moyes is managing them. Their recent league wins have been on the backs of consistently beating lower table teams, and they aren’t convincing at all in Champion’s League. They really needed a guy like Thiago or Fab as opposed to Fellaini. Also I am a card carrying member of the Free Shinji club. Unless we would have to play Dortmund in CL, then he can rot on ManU’s bench.

    3. Man U wasn’t good either last year. They won the league thanks to SAF and their competitors’ own downfalls.

  12. Really happy to see Bartra coming along, really impressed with Busi fulfilling his usual role to perfection and yet stepping up to another level. To be honest I was thinking that is what Iniesta would be doing this year, but I feel like he is getting just slightly better as the year goes along. Hopefully he will be up to his usual standard for CL.

  13. – I’m happy with this “pragmatic” win. Not the best version of Barca but just the subpar performance to add another 3 points for this long season. just enough and mission completed! Celtic to come.

    – Bartra got 90 minutes. A good performace from him, a very suitable match against a lower tier liga team (Almeria, no disrespect to them) to test him out. I love some of his interception and going forward in some occasion to help the attack. Seems a mirror of Pique, as some people have said. Just a bit nervous with the ball when opposition presssing, but i think it can be solved once he get routine minutes.

    – Messi injured! Dang! Seems not a major one. But this situation is exactly one of the reason we buy Neymar, the be the main man when Messi absence. I believe he can shoulder this responsibility. I think Tata would still play him on the left for Celtic game. I bet Alexis will fill the central forward position, with Pedro on the right. It would be interesting to see how this team play for the first time this season without Messi. I predict a tight win for us next Tuesday (0-1 or 1-2).

    – Re valdes shouting to Xavi, I think that’s not a big deal, just some instruction from Valdes about the wall before that free kick. If Valdes didnt run closer to Xavi, no way Xavi would hear what Valdes said. The media just exxagerating every single gesture imo, esp knowing Valdes would leave by end of season. We see after the match, Xavi and Valdes discuss normally, no marker of fight as long as i saw; and Xavi also said the dressing room was ok.

    – Now we have 5 points advantage above the galacticos, but hey; another madrid team also breaking the same record with 7 consecutive win. EE looked bad last night, really didnt reflect the billion dollar assembled team. If they keep playing like this, wish to see them kiss goodbye to la liga before Xmas. But ATM would be equally tough contender though

    – On the side note, if I remember correctly, Tata always wear that green polo shirt for away game and that “old” grey suit for home game? is he trying to make some trademark hahaha 🙂

    Visca Barca!!!

  14. Athletico Diego Costa 1-0 THOSE THAT STRUGGLED AGAINST A PARKED BUS(EE). Interesting to see how we will fair against No-longer-pathetico-madrid now that we are gelling. EE needs a lecture in breaking down counter-attacks and I’ll recommend Smasch as their course lecturer

    1. :))) so mean…

      yes comments n their blogs are quite mad, you wont believe what they say about benzema (the guy with their best chances:)

      i would say the comments in the guardian are the funniest.. still lauging about one like, “game over, insert another 500 million coin” 🙂

    2. good one….have u visited realmadridfootballblog??..people are mad there..In their evry match preview/review they have something to say about Barca,seriously quite funny.

  15. Torres is such a ….. for scratching Vertonghen’s face. Seriously, who does that?! A lot of footballers need to man up. Why can’t they just behave?!

  16. David de Gea ‘trained poorly’ and ‘ate too many tacos’, says coach.

    “There were lifestyle issues. He’d sleep two or three times a day. He’d have his main meal late at night. He’d eat too many tacos.

    We pushed protein drinks on him straight after training. We physically made him drink. We had him in the gym a lot. He hated it. They don’t do the gym in Spain as much. We needed to build his core strength.”


    In the “good news” department. In summary, a group of socis is beginning the process for a censure motion against Rosell, for reasons they will explain on Wednesday in a presser. There are already a couple of online petitions that I have signed in support of such a motion. Looks like they have sufficient support to essay such a thing.

    The last time this happened as many know, was against Joan Laporta, in a move brought by a group nominally fronted by a soci named Oriol Giralt. It was, however, widely assumed that he had external backing, probably from someone related to the Rosell group.

    Laporta survived that vote by the hair of his chinny chin-chin, breathed a sigh of relief and went on the oversee the greatest sporting success that the club has ever had. But the roots of that censure motion were primarily sporting, though there were certainly some closeted skeletons that Laporta had to answer for.

    In this case, it appears that the reasons are everything BUT sporting. As those who know me can imagine, it is something I will be following with great interest, as well as last-minute airfares to Barcelona, in case an actual election is held.

    I won’t go over all of my objections to Rosell. It would be a long list, that started from back before he was actually elected. But I don’t believe him to be a good president for the club, in the boardroom as well as on the pitch. There is more to making a great club and football team, than being able to say that we made record profits, essentially by licensing our soul to the highest bidder.

    The Qatar links are particularly interesting, in light of all the Guardian news about the World Cup stadium building conditions, as well as Platini and Blatter saying that in effect, the Qatar vote was rigged by national political bodies, who all wanted their representatives to vote for Qatar, because of financial/political interests.

    Interesting times are coming, culers. Those who want politics to not be as big a part of the club … sorry. They are, and always will be.

    P.S. @sandro_dimissio is one of the best names to follow on Twitter, for those who want to keep track of what’s going on.

    1. WOW.

      That’s a BIG BIG BIG news.
      What’s the minimum% of votes required to dismiss Ro$$ell?
      is it still 5% or has Ro$$ell already changed it to 15%.

      What’s the buzz in Catalunya?@Nzm and @Culetoon

    2. I always say, He’s not the president we want, But he’s the one we need.

      There is a particular subject that is rarely discussed within cules communities, That can have a huge impact on the future and continuity of our club, And that’s our DEBT.
      I can’t understand the ‘hush-hush’ surrounding this, Cules always look the other way about this, Maybe they don’t think it’s a big deal, Or perhaps it just makes them depressed and prefer talking about other things, But this subject has the most detrimental factor in shaping our future, And for me as a cule, It tops my most concerns and priorities.

      With the way laporta spent the club’s money and accumulated our debt in a country where it’s economy was deteriorating, Shows that there wasn’t going to be a happy ending if not some serious changes needed to take place.

      Does everyone think laporta had a magic scheme for overturning 500 million euros of debt?, What everyone thought was going to be the inevitable consequences of such an atrocious number in a country like spain?
      Well the answer is being seen everywhere around us, Clubs are forced to sell their stocks to the highest bidder just to pay their debts, Sometimes sell their star players, And almost always Cut down the salaries which forces even more players out, A negative spiral that only ends by taking the club down.

      No one wants to see his club getting brought down to this level, And as much amazing our club is, We are not immune to this, The only reason we haven’t seen these ramifications, Is because things started changing before a permanent damage took place, Yes profits and revenue are no where appealing as seeing our team lift trophies , But we need to wake up, And realize that in the real world money is intermingled with long term sporting success.

      Rosell came in the right time to do the dirty work after laporta,
      I’m willing to accept the flaws he has, In return i want the financial stability he promised, Because after 12 years from now, I want FCB to still be the same successful, And competitive club as it is now.
      Did i trade my soul to the devil? Maybe, But i’m fine with it, As long he gets the job done, After 2016, I’ll wave goodbye with a big smile on my face.

    3. Until it is transformed into something completely unrecognizable. What do you do then? Celebrate the bank balance while everything that made the club special, made you fall in love with it, are discarded?
      Seems so easy
      Just to let it go on by
      Till you stop and wonder
      Why you never wondered why.

    4. There is nothing special about selling your star players, Or losing them because you have to make pay-cuts, You’re right, We will be unrecognizable, A club that just turned into just the rubble of it’s former sporing success, Go ask valencia.

      ‘special’ is a very vague term, Does it perhaps mean not having a sponsor on your shirt, So we can brag to others about how cool we are, But try telling the banks how ‘special’ it is when they ask for their money.

    5. Like Kevin correctly notes below, maintaining the tradition of the shirt was never about bragging rights for me. In fact I don’t remember ever using that to brag about my club. It was a matter of pride and one of the reasons I chose to support this unique club. Also your extreme prediction is almost never likely to happen to a club of Barcelona’s importance and revenue making power.
      Let me reiterate, criticizing ro$ell does not make me an advocate of Laporta. The solution lies in the middle. Rosell may sway differently styled people (like you) by showing yearly profits. But not only did he sell us out, he sold us short.

    6. Cules didn’t have problem when our club was spending money left and right, Adding hundreds of millions of euros to it’s debt, looking for success on the pitch, Why didn’t we say:

      “STOP, By this rate we’ll be forced to get a sponsor to pay the bills, And we don’t want to lose this tradition”

      We didn’t do that, We only cared about our trophies, Intoxicated by them, Nothing wrong inherently with that, But you can’t demand to keep the tradition when it’s financially too late.

      For me, I enjoyed every bit of success we had and will have, It also means i accept the disadvantages it came with, even though i loved and was proud of our ‘no sponsor’ tradition, I realized it was the ultimate price.

    7. Ultracule nailed it. This club achieved unprecedented sporting success, and didn’t have to sell its soul to do it. Rosell is a marketing guy, who thinks that by leveraging the club’s identity, he can make money and a mark.

      Then he ginned up the “we’re in fiscal trouble, and it’s all Laporta’s fault” to camouflage the plans that he had for the club.

      I don’t think that not selling the front of the shirt is merely something to brag about. It was part of the club’s identity, part of its soul. Now it’s just 30m or so on the ledger sheet. It’s easy to claim record profits when you keep selling off chunks of the club.

      Laporta’s fiscal report was as rosy and Rosell’s was pessimistic. Both used numbers to tell the story that they wanted. The truth is somewhere in the middle. Yes, the club is in debt. The debt is manageable and can be dealt with. Any predictions of the club becoming a debt-riddled shell of its former self is what Rosell is peddling. Such a predicted future just isn’t at all accurate.

    8. Yes, We didn’t need to sell our souls to have our sporting success, But we did need the money, And lots of it.
      Gaspart left the club with 250m euros in debt, Laporta left it with over 500m, Large sums of money were thrown in the pursuit of our sporting success.

      Finance had a big role on where we are now, It wouldn’t have mattered what philosophies or identities we have, Just look at ajax.
      Like RM, we are also guilty of spending more money than we can afford and taking advantage of unfair TV deals distribution, The difference is, We were the best at converting it into trophies, And our unprecedented coach, Pep guardiola had a big weight on this, But again he’s once in a life time figure.

      It was only a matter of time until we faced the repercussions of all those accumulated bills, It’s the price of our current sporting success, But attacking the qatar deal for losing our ‘identity’, Where at the same enjoying the sporting success, A luxury that was made possible by big loans from the banks and a big debt, Just seems hypocritical.

    9. Hello> as an engineer i have to study a little bit of business and economics(those were compulsory).what i learned….WEll among others …….. debt has many definitions(some are conservative others are not)and what is most important …….whether the debt is manageable or sustainable in the long turn.

      With revenues over 500M/year Barca’s debt is very much manageable,all Ro$$ell did was to put his own accountant to look Barca’s balance look scary and provide this so called financial stability and to get the shirt sponsorship(my only concern is he sold it for a meager 30M ).

      anyway for a detailed analysis try this one from the swiss ramble

      Ro$$ell is xenophobic,not a leader and he is as transparent as a broken glass.(liked his appointment of TATA though)

    10. @Rami,

      waiting for your response regarding the Debt issue of Barcelona.Read the whole article and express what’s the exact situation of Barca’s debt.

      My take ……… is somewhere between Laporta’s Claimed Profit and Ro$$ell’s doomsday.


    11. I read this article long time ago, This article was made in 2012, After the qatar deal, So all numbers you see, Including our revenue, Is all post-qatar.

      You suggested that rosell’s accountants made the balance book looks scary, Is there evidence of this?, If not, One can simply claim that laporta’s accountant made it ‘look’ not scary, But for some reason you seem to root for the first one to be the case, But without clear evidence, It just points out a confirmation bias.

      The debt could be manageable with our current revenue, But it doesn’t give predictions about the future, If accountants could do that, There wouldn’t be such thing as financial collapses.

      Spain has the 2nd highest unemployment rate, Taxes are being increased every year, And no one can predict how many financial crisis the globe or spain will go through in the coming years, The more our debt is increased and most importantly the FASTER it’s done, The more we can safely ensure the continuity of our club.

    12. Did you also read this one?

      Which includes this:
      The major concern is obviously the debt, which Javier Faus said was “the biggest in the club’s history.”

      We’ve not been given the full details yet, but the adjusted figure released by the club was gross debt of €552 million (net debt €442 million).

      However, we do know that this represents total liabilities and is thus misleadingly high, as it includes trade creditors, accruals and even provisions.

      In fact, Rosell and his cohorts should be ashamed of this needless scaremongering, which is not consistent with standard accounting practice – or, indeed, UEFA’s definition, which explicitly states, “net debt does not include trade or other payables.”

      As an example of how absurd the total liabilities definition is, just look at how high other clubs’ gross debt would be using this measure: Real Madrid €683 million, Liverpool €578 million and Manchester United €1.1 billion. Even Arsenal, which is regarded as the template for financial sustainability, would have “debt” of €767 million (though it’s come down a lot since the last annual accounts).

      This places Barcelona’s €552 million firmly into context. To use an old adage, you have to compare apples with apples.

      Under UK accounting practice, net debt includes bank overdrafts and loans, owner and/or related party loans and finance leases less cash and cash equivalents.

      Under this definition, Barcelona’s net debt in last year’s accounts was actually only €20 million, compared to Rosell’s total liabilities of €489 million.

      The truth is that Barcelona’s real debt lies somewhere between the narrow UK accounting definition and the new board’s widest possible measure.

      The bold text has been highlighted by me.

  18. Bartra certainly played good but he was beaten/careless in 2 occassions that led to a chance.

    And he needs to stop turning away from the ball in 1on1 situations.

    1. I would suggest that anyone seeking perfection should look at the whole club. Messi loses balls, Iniesta loses balls and makes bad passes, particularly of late. Fabregas goes invisible, Xavi had a bad pass that led directly to an Almeria break.

      So yes, Bartra had some errors. But on average, he played an excellent match. Because he also had some one-on-one situations in the box that resulted in him stealing the ball, and bailing the team out from danger. Still a work in progress, to be sure.

  19. messi officially 2-3 weeks out. a convenient rest that will see him stay home with his family instead of playing the international matches that he really doesnt need to play.

    almost wondering if this injury isnt a bit “doctored” — pun intended…

  20. Your kidding me. Dani Alves spends most games running around looking for new and inventive ways to give away the ball. He should be taking lessons from Bartra on ball retention and security.
    Looks to me as if Tata is going to muscle up against Celtic and use Song. Good move.

  21. i really appreciate how iniesta swept away all the rumours about the renewal and link to other clubs. i love his attitude and his loyalty, his saying he want to retire at our club, it’s not about the money, and have been informing club that all rumours about possible transfer are false (from barcastuff tweet). What an example for younger players from Iniesta, from the true Blaugrana.

    Visca Barca!

  22. Word for the cules;
    i started supporting barcelona in that one solitary season Ronaldo played for the team, ever since i’ve seen it transform and take different shapes, being who i am and having an eye for magic i always favoured the samba styled players like; Ronaldinho, thiago, giovanni dos santos and messi of old.
    but then again things dont always pan out in our favour because ronaldinho left(forced out actually), giovanni became greedy, thiago alcantara wanted more and messi grew up to become a goal machine. i cut my losses and still moved on…btw i still trend these players. i know that what i’ve only done is pick out just a bunch of players that probably only i want to see in this team but are you not doing thesame? u list sponsors and financial tacts while you’ve forgotten that in order for FCB to be FCB it has always done what it should do.
    Rosell has more merits than demerits and only those blinded by hate dont know that, aside from guaranteeing a financial success he has also continue the unnoticeable trend of bringing only the finest players on the planet every transfer window, why does he do that if he eyes no eye for our on-field display?…protect the tradition of tiki-taka? lol, don’t forget that tiki-taka has different methods of play, we saw the much slower rijkaard total and direct tiki-taka, and also witnessed pep’s tiki-tiki-taka. thing is how we play isnt down to rosell but the manager.
    As club president its down to him to make huge calls not in bids to take away the glamour of the club as a body but to mould it for competitive balance in all ends.

    1. Hey guys
      what do you make of our chances vs celtic?

      I read via barcastuff that Lennon (celtic coach) basically has his players watching footage of our last encounter supposedly to be used as their approach on Tue.

      What will we bringing (differently) this year?
      I admit that apart from a few direct balls I am not really seeing much else.

    2. thanks for the post. but i need to say — i dont feel you have addressed any of the very REAL criticisms that have been made of Rosell, in this thread and over the past couple years. i dont think anyone is criticizing rosell for some change in how the team is playing on the field. it has nothing to do with that.

    3. but that is what it implies, to suddenly spring up such discussions and selling souls, i know what provoked this contest, its the possibility of selling iniesta that someone raised that turned arrows up the club’s hierachy. Just below me is a perfect example of on-field relativity with the subject.

    4. No. No, no, no. It isn’t those “blinded by hate.” Do you honestly think that those culers who are instigating the movement are all “blinded by hate?” Or are there legitimate concerns about the man who is president of our club, from his views on African players at La Masia to the Brazil allegations.

      Barça is about more than winning trophies, but it’s also about more than a balanced bottom line. He is guaranteeing financial success, only by selling off bits of the club’s soul, bit by bit. And what happens when the club has extraordinary success and those bills come due, and there’s nothing left to sell off?

      The club and the team are separate entities to me, even as they are part of the same organization. Yes, Laporta spent like a drunken sailor. And in that time, the club was never going to boast a record balance sheet. But that same club laid the stage for the current fiscal might of Barça, as a club that pulls in almost a half-billion per season in revenues.

      Yes, the club has debt. There are ways to deal with that debt without making Barça a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qatar. And now the boardroom malaise is spreading to the team, which means that the way the club is being run is damaging its most marketable asset. You don’t have to have a shard of hate for Rosell to see that long-term, that is a problem. Unhappy players don’t perform at their best, and players who don’t perform at their best don’t win trophies.

      But to be sure, we would be like Arsenal, with lovely bank books and tumbleweeds in the trophy case. And we’d have nice, shiny new stuff branded with Qatar (whatever they wanted to put on the shirt that season) for Rosell to point to.

      I don’t think it takes much hate to worry about such a thing coming to pass.

    5. I think that Arsenal, who have never been as big a club as Barça, is well set to become one in the future.

      Agree with everything else you are saying, though.

  23. This may be a shocker to some, But selling our shirt was first proposed and worked upon by joan laporta and soriano, It was one of major headlines for his campaign, Promising cules and the assembly deals that can bring the club up to 18m euros a year, And guess why?!! To reduce the debt and financial disaster gaspart left!.
    He continued searching for a sponsor for 3 years and we were linked to dozen deals, He was close to signing a deal with china for 18m, But they all failed eventually.

    This is the headline of in page 38 of ‘jueves’ weekely magazine, in 2003, 31 of july:

    “La camiseta del Barça puja al alza
    Joan Laporta confirma que el club podría llegar a recibir hasta 18 millones”

    Here is the entire link for the article:

    This is an excerpt from another article:

    La inclusión de publicidad
    en la camiseta es vital
    para el nuevo presupuesto

    El orden del día también incluye
    la aprobación del presupuesto de la
    próxima temporada (162,7 millones de euros) y de la inclusión de publicidad en la camiseta, una de las
    partidas de ingresos más importantes del presupuesto. Este punto no
    debería resultar polémico, pues Laporta ya anunció sus intenciones durante la campaña electoral. La junta
    informará a la asamblea que ha recibido varias ofertas sin dar nombres.
    También se pedirá la ratificación”

    I have almost a dozen more similar links that talk about the sponsorship deals laporta was conducting, But unfortunately i can’t post more than one link in a comment without it being hidden for moderation, Which the mods can’t see or check most of the time, I hope one of them gives me the green light, and i’ll post all the links i have.

    1. I wrote about the Laporta deals quite some time ago. The shirt wasn’t sold because the fiscal tide turned, and such a drastic act was deemed unnecessary.

      Further if Rosell deemed it so necessary, he should have floated his own proposal to the Assembly, rather than using the pre-approval of a man he detests to work his ways.

    2. The china deal was supposed to be done and ready, Laporta and Soriano both went to china to supposedly close the deal, But they came back empty handed and refused to comment about what happened allegedly because of confidentiality.
      Exactly what fiscal tide could have turned on their way to china on the airplane or hotel, That somehow could have compensated the 90m euros this deal was supposed to deliverer to the club, 90m they thought it was necessary, Otherwise why would they reach this advanced stage of the deal that took many months of preparation and years of promises.

      To put it simply, They screwed up the deal they worked so hard to get, A deal that was supposed to deliver the promises laporta and soriano made during their campaign and the subsequent 3 years.

    3. This is another article that confirms laporta and his associates went to china to close the deal.

      Don’t you find it odd kevin, That the previous board were desperate and felt the necessity to break our old tradition for those 90m euros the deal with china was going to make, Yet in in 2007, they made a deal with unicef and we started paying them money!, Did the board found a hidden treasure buried under the grass of camp nou in those 2 years?

      I don’t think so, Because our finances weren’t getting better, And looking at the state our finance was in 2010, He didn’t really have a plan to make better after 2007, So the UNICEF deal wasn’t done for the benefit of barca and it wasn’t all about values and heart, But mostly a political move, A PR move to cover up their failures, Hiding under the cloak of ‘values’ and ‘mes un club’.

    4. That is your interpretation of an act based on the position you have taken in the matter. Fact is we don’t know what actually happened or why. So speculation as to cause becomes complex.

      We do have a neutral outside in the Swiss Ramble blog, who says that Laporta’s fiscal assessment upon his departure (small surplus) was closer to truth than Rosell’s “scaremongering” evaluator.

  24. To turn things around a bit, does the Go Barça movement has anything to do with MCM and their legal claim?

    1. Nope. It really is a group of socis, though as with the Oriol Giralt group and the allegations of Rosell involvement, who knows who is really behind it? We’ll know when it comes time to present the signatures. That is the most difficult part, that requires an extraordinary effort.

  25. Also, see above comment from nzm, excerpting from Swiss Ramble about the club and debt. Very illuminating, as it comes from a party with absolutely nothing to prove, nor axe to grind. I have long said, for this very reason, that Rosell is simply setting up Laporta’s debt and “austerity” as this Trojan horse, that he rides into selling everything but tattoos on player backsides in the name of ridding the club of the debt burden.

  26. Simply tired of roSELL’s austerity plans. He damages the sporting project and boasts proudly of profits. Then goes on to talk about how a new stadium is very much needed. His board is not transparent regarding financial issues, and Qatar deal was almost forced down the member’s throat because his board had signed the deal first. Not transparent about why Abidal’s contract was not renewed! Many more serious cancerous behaviour, list goes on.

  27. I just saw the youtube advertising clip for the la Masia project of MCM. If I got it right, the idea was to transform the whole (the whole!) fassade of la Masia in a huge screen to show advertisments if possible 24 h a day and to make a fortune with it?
    What would parents, teachers and pedagogs say if the fassade of the schoolhouses of their children were transformed alike?
    A typical Ro$$ell idea? In fact, Laporta signed the contract and Rosell cancelled it. Apparently MCM wants 100 Million € from FCB for lost profit with that La Masia project.
    Did I really get that right?

  28. Ney decides to lose his Haircut.
    I’m more than a haircut he says.
    There goes our galactico.
    Hairstylists stationed in Barcelona plucking out their eyebrows in grief.
    Enough suprises already.

    1. He had already cut his hair before the Ajax game, and his hairdos were well subdued in the months before he even joined Barca.

      In fact – all of the team, (who weren’t “tidy” before), have spruced up, including Cesc (& neck shaved), Song & Pique.

      Not sure why it’s being made such a big deal of now, but I’d say that Tata is tightening up in more ways than one!

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