“The world didn’t end,” a.k.a. Today’s news, and more

tourex2

Despite this frightening moment during last night’s Gamper Trophy match, one that had scientists everywhere running around like frightened rabbits, shouting something about “The Toure Doomsday Scenario,” the earth is still on its axis. Whew! We worried about what might happen when both Toures were on the same pitch….imploding galaxies, small children being sucked into a vortex, time standing still.

But thankfully, we’re all fine.

And in other news, now that the world can continue:

–Regarding his selection for the Gamper match, Guardiola said “Bite me.” Okay. Really. “I did not want to burden the senior players with minutes, taking into account the important committments that will come.” He added, “Despite the result, I’m happy with the way things turned out. Anyone who doubts me just needs to go and read barcelonafootballblog.com, where the match review will make clear why I am happy. So there.” (Only some of this quote is made up. Really.)

–I really, really hate to bring this up, now that we’ve hidden the dead, radioactive carcass of the beaten, nuked horse from public view, but Txiki B. said yesterday that the call to sell Eto’o was all Guardiola. “We wanted to keep Eto’o, recognizing the quality that he has,” said our sporting director. “But according to the coach, we knew that the management of the squad would be easier without him. There had to be change. And that change was Ibrahimovic.”

Sport says that no, really, this will be the day that Chygrynskiy leaves, if Shakhtar sucks it up in Europa League group stage play. We swear.

–Douchebags cost money, is the word that came down from the Assembly meeting that was held yesterday. In specific, the censure motion drummed up by Oriol Giralt cost the club a million Euros, and the legacy of the Nunez presidency, thanks to fiscal irregularities regarding the payment of player salaries, will cost the club another 60 million. It was voodoo tax economics, in which players were paid through a company that owned their image rights, to take advantage of a lower tax rate. The first ruling, from this decision, is about 25.5m. There is another, pending decision which is expected to go against the club, that will account for the remaining 35m. Ouch.

ibraknees

–In other fiscal news, we’re raking it in from TV and Nike’s sponsorship. Our deal with MediaPro, according to Joan Boix, is worth 120m per year, and with another 30 (40 if the jams are kicked out and titles are won) from Nike. On the debit side, between various bonuses and incentives related to winning the treble this season past, the additional cost to the club was some 30m, in total.

–The club will be working with 405m total budget, the biggest in its history. You folks who are socis should know that club fees won’t go up, despite the 6+ percent budget increase. Call it pessimism or fiscal common sense, but Boix added that the club has only budgeted reaching the 1/4 finals of the Champions League, because you just can’t count on that level of success repeating itself. A further 25m is foreseen from the sale of some players (Hmmm….). It is expected that when Heavy J and the Boyz step down, they will be leaving the club with an eye-popping 144m in profit for the term.

–Our total sporting payroll, by the by, is 202m. Not a ton of dough for the success that we’ve achieved. But I can’t imagine, once Puyol is signed for life, and Iniesta receives a contract that, in the words of Txiki B., reflects his “true value,” that number won’t go up significantly.

–Terms of the President and his board will now be six years. There was a last-minute proposal offered to make Laporta Emperor of the club “forever and ever, amen.” But it wasn’t taken seriously, despite some backroom wrangling. Laporta added, “I rock, so the people that I support will also rock. So be sure, if you want the club to keep kicking ass and taking names, to support them instead of that other dude. Word.” (Only some of that is made up/paraphrased.)

Pedro! signed his new contract, that includes a 75m buyout. He’s signed until 2014.

–You like the kids, I like the kids, we all like the kids, but none of them will be promoted, said Guardiola after last night’s match. Of course, expect them to be earning travel miles as they shuttle back and forth for various competitions, particularly Muniesa, Johnny Two-Time and Fontas.

–That “Ding!” sound that you kept hearing was the cash registers ringing, as more than 94,000 fans, a Gamper Trophy match record attendance level, pumped more than 3m into the club coffers. This doesn’t include the feeding frenzy that almost certainly ensued at the Botiga. You live Gamper vets know what I’m talking about. People jam their way into the store, buying any, all and everything, from shirts to pens. The aftermath is stuff laying on the floor, and feverish sales staff. It’s an awesome sight. 😀

Finally, lest anyone think Ibrahimovic wasn’t putting out for the side, check out the bloody knees (above)!

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Written by:

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

79 Comments

  1. Ciaran
    August 20, 2009

    By the way, WTF is up with Dunga’s love for Josue, the tiny midfielder from Wolfsburg?
    He is shit and consistently gets picked for the national team.
    Surely, with the amount of talent that is available to him, he could pick players with something good for him…

  2. ElShowDeJason
    August 20, 2009

    Coaches are always going to have biases on who they consistantly pick. Everyone has their favorites, and those who for all the talent they might have, just dont strike their fancy.

  3. jordi
    August 20, 2009

    Adriano made the squad too.I wont be surprised if he plays over Pato.

  4. Carles P
    August 20, 2009

    Here’s a question for everyone, Pedro or Jeffren?… if we had to pick one. I like Pedro, mostly because of his work-rate, although Jeffren is also a hard worker. It just seems Pedro is a little more mature in his game, and just seems to move into the right areas (although not all the time, but seems to do it more often than Jeffren).

    Just interested in people’s thought on the matter…

    Also, J Dos Santos seems to be quite a player. Everytime I see him play he does the right things, and looks fearless out there. He definitely needs to be involved in Cup games, and hopefully more.

  5. Jnice
    August 20, 2009

    Dunga likes those hard-working types who run around all day, shutup the middle of the park, but lack creativity. For that reason, he starts Gilberto Silva and Felipe Melo at the same time. (Eww)

  6. Jnice
    August 20, 2009

    For me, Carles P, it has to be Pedro. Like you said, he has more maturity in his game and I feel that in general, he is a level above Jeffren. He has a better understanding with the team and what Pep wants which undoubtedly comes from Pedro training with the first team for most of last season regardless of he played with them that weekend or not.

  7. Jnice
    August 20, 2009

    I think Kevin touched on this a bit yesterday in his match review, but

    With the emergence of Pedro and maybe Jeffren on the wings, do you think Bojan is maybe thinking that going on loan isn’t a bad option after all? I mean, he got a lot of his minutes on the wings last season, but Pedro looks to be ahead of him in the pecking order and maybe Jeffren if he stays, so maybe Bojan is like “fuck, I need to get minutes somewhere else.”

  8. Carles P
    August 20, 2009

    Jnice, what a sensitive issue… I think Bojan was probably prematurely moved up, when he probably should have been alternating between B team and the “grown ups”. Regardless, it is a dead issue now, because he has been on the team for 2+ years.

    I think he worries about the emergence of the two players, but I think if he stuck to his game and forgot about the internal competition, and played the game like he was playing his first year (without the hesitancy, and abundant pressure) he would be OK.

    He seems to be thinking and dribbling, instead of touching, passing, then moving to open space (kind of a generalization, but you know what I mean), which is what our system requires. Don’t get me wrong, he has games where he is efficient here and there, but it has been a while since I have seen him play a good-complete game.

    Just MHO…

  9. Carles P
    August 20, 2009

    Ooops… Forgot to answer the question…

    I think a loan would be a good option, but not something the organization would do. Maybe last year it would have worked out better, but I think this year they are going to try and integrate him and give him more minutes to build his confidence.

    I don’t think anyone denies his talent, but I think at his age (18), he is going to make mistakes. Let’s just hope he becomes a better player from those mistakes, and does not continue to do them.

  10. ElShowDeJason
    August 20, 2009

    @ Carles P, i think the answer to your question, Pedro! or Jeffren is quite simple.

    I say Pedro! all the way, and clearly Pep agrees, since Pedro! is 100% Senior team this year, and Jeffren will be alternating (what Pedro! was doing last year) It seems Pedro! is a year ahead of Jeffren career wise.

    This is not to knock Jeffren down, because he is an amazing talent. He is a hard worker, and quite feisty in his attacks. But Pedro!, it seems, is ahead of him in the mentality and maturity.

  11. Maximus
    August 20, 2009

    The lovely thing is we don’t actually have to choose…we can have them both! Pedro AND Jeffren!

    I’m starting to think Bojan should be converted into an attacking midfielder rather than a winger.

    When he isn’t over thinking it he has a lovely through ball, a good passing range and great speed. What’s more he can finish and his low drive from the edge of the box isn’t bad.

    He kinda reminds me of Guti* in the sense that he is looking for a position to play at the club he grew up in. He is still very young though so it will be interesting to see how it turns out.

    *If you didn’t know Guti went from striker to AM, to CM, to SUB.

  12. Mher
    August 20, 2009

    Negredo to Sevilla. Damn.

  13. August 20, 2009

    Interesting move. I obviously hope they underpaid for him but he’s a very good target man. A while ago I actually advocated trying to sign him and turn him into Eto’o part deux. This could have serious La Liga implications.

    For Sevilla, either:
    a) Fabiano is finally getting sold although to who I have no idea, seeing as how Milan already got Huntelaar,
    b) One of Kanoute, Fabiano, or Negredo will see the bench. Considering all three of their forms last season, the likely candidate would be Fabiano but he is a ticking timebomb and a huge ego.
    c) Kanoute gets moved back as a playmaker (which given his skill set and declining pace could very well suit him) with both Fabiano and Negredo playing up front.

    This is good for La Liga. If Palop retains last year’s form, Navas is consistent, their defense gains some sort of stabilty, and Capel learns to look up once in a while and something other than diving and looking like Fabio’s doppleganger then they may well make some sort of run in the CL. In seriousness, that team is talented but I’m just not sure about Jimenez. I’ve been impressed with Emery considering the madhouse that is Valencia but Manolo has a ways to go to prove he can win.

  14. Jnice
    August 20, 2009

    Amazing find, Corrine. His dance moves are…interesting. 😀

  15. Jnice
    August 20, 2009

    One of the comments under the video:

    “i want to bone pepito so hard!!!”

    LOLOL

  16. messi_fan
    August 20, 2009

    I kind of like Maximus’ idea about converting Bojan to an AM. Dont think he has the speed to be a winger. And like many have said, he gets pushed off the ball too easily to be a 9.

  17. Luna
    August 20, 2009

    Great discussion!

    Thanks for that video link Corrine!

    “Éste es Pep Guardiola…”

  18. SC
    August 20, 2009

    @ CP—sorry, i didn’t mean to blow up at you and then leave for the rest of the day. =/ i think i may have taken some of what you were saying out of context. maybe, it’s because you said “we cules” and made general references to cules. in my head i was like “uh… speak for yourself, son!”

    for me, barca and what they represent is something very personal to me, and it may not mean the same to someone else. i want to leave it at that, but also don’t want to dissuade you from having that conversation here. i’m just going to assume you’re not talking about ME. 🙂

    and in regards to Bojan… I have no idea what to do with him. but something has to be done.

  19. Kxevin
    August 21, 2009

    Pedro! All day and all night. He’s just a more finished player, sort of a Messi Lite potential game changer.

    Jeffren will get there, and pure wingers are hard to come by. I would move him up and down. He’s definitely good for Copa duty and the like. It’s worth moving him up and down just so he doesn’t get antsy, and depart in favor of regular playing time.

    Krkic would make a fine winger, I think. He doesn’t have the outright speed but he does have the quickness, that burst to find space for a shot or pass. And as we have seen, his passing is excellent.

    But yes, at this point the question of why he would be getting time over Pedro! or Final Fantasy is a valid one. Both have shown much better over the run-in to the season than Krkic.

    Yet the club is thinking, “He’s 18. What if he develops into a monster, and we lose him?” Youngsters have had late growth spurts. A few more inches of height and some muscle would help him. Yes, he’s clearly been working in the weight room. He doesn’t seem as fleet of foot this season, so far.

    Corrine, that’s just wrong. So unbelievably wrong. But so right. Thanks so much for that link.

    And everyone, finally my treble t-shirt came today. So. Unbelievably. Cool. I should have gotten two, since I’m going to be wearing this one only like….all the time!

    And thanks for that, SC. We had a great discussion about that situation, lively and very interesting. As you can see, I’m sure.

  20. ivax
    August 21, 2009

    awesommee! i pmsl and that was just at the mention of the Big J haha

    luvin the new blog keepitup guys!

  21. madridista
    August 21, 2009

    Why cant we forget the past for christs sake, if all the breeds is animosity and hatred towards fellow human beings, all because of some event that happened in the past. For cules living in Barcelona who have maybe directly been oppressed by some regime, I can understand that you would be anti establishment. But that just fosters more hatred than solve anything. Its completely ridiculous when as CP pointed out people turn out to be anti spain or anti madrid because of reasons they don’t even know about.
    Even warring countries have gotten over their differences of the past and moved on, its ridiculous to hate a set of people because of what their ancestors have done to your ancestors. And its a bunch of BS anyway, I dont see any anti – german sentiment cause of the world wars which killed countless many. People live in harmony now.
    Rivalries are what make sport fun but it shouldnt go beyond the field. I have heard people on this very blog say ” I even hated the stop over at Madrid Airport on my way to Barcelona “. Hating an airport and a culture and a city, is it supposed to part of supporting a football club.

  22. August 21, 2009

    any fellow indians know if we are going to enjoy live telecast of the spanish league on espnstar this season?

  23. Alexis
    August 21, 2009

    @madridista,

    Well, we keep an eye on the past so that it does not repeat again. The same way Real Madrid keeps an eye on the past (9 Europe Cups?? More of 3 and 6 amateur tournaments) as they will never repeat it. 🙂

    The past is your history, what you have been made of. So no wonder that people like me, who was born after the dictatorship, still reminds those facts.
    Furthermore, the favours to Madrid are still there. Despite democracy. That is why we still look at them suspiciously (does the high speed train ring a bell to anybody? Why did it take 16 years more than Madrid or Seville to get to BCN? Or why the government invested such a big amount of money on the Valencia’s port,? And years later, after begging, they did the same for the BCN one?).

    FC Barcelona is a whole world. But politics are deep-rooted.
    We must consider that the BCN province has the same amount of inhabitants than the whole Madrid region. And that Catalunya created the 26% of the Spanish economy until recently, when the right wing favoured other regions such as Valencia or Madrid (ruled by the same political party).

    I hate talking about politics, when related to Barca. But some people should be more understanding.

    Thanks!!

  24. August 21, 2009

    Madridista has a point, to a certain extent. There should be understanding between clubs, but that understanding has to go both ways.

    I am not Spanish or Catalan and do not profess to espouse any Spanish or Catalan ideologies, but I can understand how, upon looking across the divide between RM and FCB, a cule could see the “Real” on the beginning of the name and think negative thoughts. It can be interpreted as standing for many things a lot of cules do not believe in, especially Barcelona- and Catalunya-based cules who view the past as a part of the present. (Whatever your thoughts on Juan Carlos are; I have no particular opinion on his role within the Franco regime nor on his post-Franco role, since I haven’t studied it — I’m merely saying that it’s possible to see the Spanish institutional influence on a teams like Real Madrid as directly opposing the views of a Catalanist because of the title “Real”)

    I was a history major in college, so it’s part of my DNA, in many ways, to believe that history should never be forgotten because of what Alexis said: so we do not repeat our mistakes. Reconciliation after the Franco regime is a question for the Spanish population/culture as a whole and that will trickle down into the footballing subculture. Until Spain comes to terms with its past, it cannot move on or reconcile with itself. There are, no doubt, still people who believe Franco was a savior, just as there are those who think Pinochet was a savior and until there is open and frank discussion of these things (and I don’t believe that has happened often in Spain, despite Baltazar Garzon’s best efforts–the 1977 amnesty is often cited as freeing everyone to talk about everything, but it really just buried everything under “the past is the past” which is never the right move).

    Dialogue between parties and everyone admitting the things they did in the past is the only way to move forward, to gain a sense of balance, and to remove the vitriol between parties. I like that some Madridistas can come here and feel like they can voice an opinion — it’s necessary to hear voices from other sides sometimes, even if they’re criticizing you.

    I hope I didn’t make this too political. I didn’t mean to. I just think that everything has a hand in everything else.

  25. Alexis
    August 21, 2009

    I agree with Isaiah!
    I did not enjoy talking politics on my previous comment. I just wanted to show that some people (like me) see some aspects involving politics-Barca that some don’t. The same way some people see things I cannot.
    Everything is fine, as long as we can argue in a civilised manner! 🙂

  26. madridista
    August 21, 2009

    As i said it makes sense for people who have felt the oppression to be grieving about it for a while and come to terms with it. But for a supporter of a football club to hold the same views is a bit drastic.
    I am not at all sure about the realities that transpired during the Franco era. Both sides have their own view points and both are pretty stubborn about their beliefs as well.
    I love Madrid as a football club and some of its traditions but I dont see the point in taking up someone elses historic fight. I can sympathize with the Catalans who were oppressed but thats about it. As far as I know its fair game in the current era. I dont seeing the point of hating cules or catalans, as much as I love the rivalry. I would rather sympathize with the thousands dying daily of starvation in Africa.
    On a tangential note , spain is a bit of a racist country and thats really sad, so it doesnt surprise me that there are these huge rivalries just because you are born into a Catalan or Madrid family.
    There are so many beautiful things about Barcelona such as the tradition, the style and ghost face. The point is to look at your rival and learn from them and then beat them. I am from India and we have been oppressed by the British for ages, yet EPL is the most favored league outright. So yes we can learn from history, lets stop unjust oppression from ever happening again. But lets not wage wars over past issues.

  27. Alexis
    August 21, 2009

    @madridista,

    As I tried to inform you before, Spanish football has almost always been too political (for instance, some might say that Laporta became president of Barcelona in order to end up being a candidate to the Catalan presidency).
    And there are a few things still going on against the Catalan people.
    In many places of Spain you can get a huge amount of votes if you criticise Catalunya.
    The right wing has always used this method in order to win elections.
    I respect your admiration for Madrid. Nobody can be perfect 🙂
    But you must be a bit more familiar with the political situation in Spain (and, therefore, with its football aliances: left wing rooting for Barcelona, right wing for Madrid) in order to be more sensitive with these issues.
    Anyway, greeting from London!

  28. poipoi
    August 22, 2009

    Madridista: I don’t mind getting hectored for this —- SPAIN A BIT OF A RACIST COUNTRY? hell no!!!!!!!

    don’t people from india live under some kind of caste sistem? 😉

    besides “catalan” or “spanish” are not races, they are nations. It’s like two black guys talking to each other and saying.
    – hey what race are you man?
    – camerounian, ¿same as you isn’t it?
    – nah, I’m a canadian

    😉

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