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Old dogs, who ya trickin’?

You heard it here first for the umpteenth time: Puyol is retiring and Xavi is moving to Red Bull. I am not a religious man, but God do I hope I won’t have to listen to these rumors for the next six months. Puyol might or might not retire. Or he might play somewhere else for a season or two. Either way his time is coming, if it hasn’t already. And though I doubt Xavier is going anywhere just yet, so will his. After all, the Getafe game was his 700th(!). If they want to keep on playing, they will probably have to retire elsewhere. Our squad is just that good. And isn’t that the way we want it? Who cares where they ultimately hang their boots. I will not shed a tear for two cracks who have given everything to the club we love. They will always be Barça legends, whenever they go, and whenever they come back. No matter what, and that’s what matters.

Holding on to the very end?
Holding on to the very end?

Massacre in the Masía

So, we have lost / will lose / could lose our talented young forward Antonio Sanabria, fully-fledged Paraguayan international at the age of seventeen, to AS Roma. Since he announced he had accepted the offer he couldn’t refuse on the 8th of January, a weird quarrel has broken out over the release clause which is either 3 million euros or 12 million euros, depending on whether he is a Juvenil player or a B-team player. I don’t fully understand this nonsense. The clause is either written in black on white or it isn’t, and Tonny either is a B-team player or he isn’t. Or wasn’t. Or isn’t. Dizzy yet? Next in line might be 18-year old Moroccon winger Munir El Haddadi Mohamed, another one of the academy’s crown jewels. His contract lasts for another six months and sixteen days. Questions abound, as there are a lot of things we don’t know. Will he stay or will he go? Is he as good as the dailies now sounding the alarm make him out to be? Has he been offered a new contract over the last 12-18 months, or has Zubi been caught sleeping for the umpteenth time (for a keeper he sure doesn’t seem to keep his eyes on the ball all that much)?

Here’s what I do know. We cannot stop a player from wanting to leave, nor can we blame him. In a front line that contains Messi, Neymar, Alexis and Pedro it sure is hard for a youngster with his eyes open to imagine a significant 1st team role in the years to come. Maybe that is why Dongou always has that dreamy look on his face. I am not even sure if Gerard Deulofeu should come back, although I fear the Catalan factor might prove decisive.

Another thing that I know is that everybody knows. And my definition of everybody is: you, me, your mama, Manchester United, Juventus,  Bayern Munich, Arsenal. It is entirely possible that there are more scouts than parents in attendance at the Juvenil games, representing clubs that offer significantly higher possibilities to advance a young prospect’s professional career while at the same time fattening his pockets ’til the seams come off. Barça has the most difficult squad to break into in the world, folks, and we can either complain about that or celebrate it.

Who do you love?

Keeping it classy (R.I.P. @ C.M.)

Apparently we are planning to construct a mausoleum underneath our stadium to house 30,000 dead culés.  For three to six thousand euros a tomb you can choose to rest your bones below the Camp Nou for fifty to ninety-nine years. For the not so quick counters among us that’s 90 to 180 million euros for Sandro to spend on toner of the magenta, cyan and yellow variety. My first thought was wtf. The second was that M*drid has an island resort off of the Dubai coast and, you know, at least our cemetery won’t be built by Nepalese slaves (I hope). The third was: “hold on, is this actually as horrible as it sounds?” If getting buried floats your boat, I can’t think of a better place. I do have a few questions, like, are these graves open to all or will it be a members only destination? Even more seriously, and no I’m not kidding, aren’t they afraid that we will end up with a haunted stadium? The answer to that is to stack ’em all under the opponent dressing room. Of course, I will save my family some dough, get cremated and ask them to smuggle my ashes into the Camp Nou. You know, cause I’m cheap like that.

The over-under on the naming rights has gotten a whole new meaning
The over-under on the naming rights has gotten a whole new meaning

Speaking of the Camp Nou while we still can…

… because soon we might call it Camp Qatar. Or, to be fair, Qatar Camp Nou Stadium. Yes, Siree, the small desert country* is reportedly lining up a 30 year, 350 million euro offer for the naming rights of our beloved stadium and you can bet your family pet that our board of directors is eager for the money. We will not just be més que un club, we will be més que un país. In my very personal opinion I am quite uncomfortable about the increasing influence that small and rich oil states buy in European football. Perhaps I should be more accurate and say that I am uncomfortable about how our soccer clubs are selling themselves out to foreign sovereign states. It seems that half of the top clubs are being sponsored by Flying Emirates while in our neck of the Mediterranean the (again in my very personal opinion) most beautiful club is letting themselves be slowly usurped by Qatar – the same country that will force a winter World Cup down our throats. And to think that until only recently in our proud history we did not even allow for a sponsor on our shirt. Funny how foreigners can use the club as their national pimp mobile, but can no longer become members.




*It might be too small to actually have any desert




Categorized as Barcelona

By Levon

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


  1. if we sell our naming rights to Qatar, my support for this magnificent club will dwindle dramatically. not being from Catalonia, i didn’t start supporting Barça because we’re just like everyone else.

  2. Funny how foreigners can use the club as their national pimp mobile, but can no longer become members.

    So well put Lev. My feelings exactly.

  3. Tackle from Wes Brown on Gaston Ramirez. And yup, not even a yellow card. When oh when will video replays be introduced??!!


  4. Do you guys prefer a new stadium or a renovation? I prefer renovation. I don’t want a similar situation as Arsenal where they had no money to spend for a number of years in order to recoup the money spent on the stadium.

    If they do vote for a new stadium then I would like them to follow the CenturyLink Field’s concept of the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL.



    1. Reconstruction of the Club Barcelona facilities at this point seems the only reasonable choice if something is to be made. I say facilities, because this will not involve just a reconstruction of Camp Nou, but the building of a number of facilities and maybe even hotels and an auditorium. That will be the true legacy, not just the renovated stadium, but the new indoors arena(for the basketball, handball, futsal, roller hockey, volleyball, women’s teams of those), a new ice rink(for the ice hockey and figure skating teams as well as general usage of the citizens of Barcelona).

      A renovated stadium could serve for at least 30 more years, and the lesser increase of income for it would repay the investments in around 20 years. A new complex would repay itself in at least thirty.

      The thing is that a lot of things can change in thirty years. New technology, new building materials and methods can change the possibilities and requirements of stadiums. Just look at the plans for the stadiums for the 2022 World Cup and tell me whether someone was even thinking about those in 1990.

      This total reconstruction of the Blaugrana complex is in a way investment for the future. If everything’s in order, the increased income from the stadium, indoors arena, hotels and urbanization projects could even shorten the time it would take to repay the investments, and then all the additional income could be used to finance the building of a really brand-new stadium.

      If Barcelona continue to play in La Liga for the foreseeable future, then the added income from merchandising, improved TV contract and maybe even an improved shirt sponsor deal would transform FC Barcelona into the most powerful(financially) team in the world. Personally I expect FC Barcelona to post some really interesting figures this season in the balance sheet. Lower that EE’s, but then the EE figures are artificially boosted by the sale of players every year.

  5. Another gem from Brooks Peck from the Dirty Tackle on Zlatan;


  6. Just came across an article on the Guardian. Out of 10 young players selected to be the next best thing, this kid caught my eye based on the article alone, as I didn’t look for the videos and I generally don’t like to rate a player from a YouTube video.

    Kurt Zouma

    Another member of the France Under-20 World Cup winning side alongside Thauvin, the precocious centre-back has been a stalwart for Saint Etienne since he was 17 – his presence in the team over the last three seasons only disrupted by injuries. Blessed with exceptional power and technique, Zouma is also coveted by many for his leadership qualities.

    Anybody here has seen him play at Saint-Etienne?

    He is right footed though but I still would like to watch him play one day. Just for the fact that he’s been a started since he was 17! And Saint Etienne is a top 10 team so it is not a weak team at all. So he must be really something.

  7. 2 shockers!

    Man United are already down 3-0 at Stamford Bridge and Bartra is surprise surprise relegated to the bench.

    1. Thankfully I don’t need to stream but I know Barcastuff and Total Barca always post the links. Try to check them out.

  8. nice equaliizer from pique. i think we will win this.

    montoya having a bit of a stinker..cmon marty!

  9. ouch. man our boys are gonna be frustrated after that one. this result wouldnt be bad if it were the first leg of the copa. but in liga, very bad to drop points.

  10. I don’t know why, and I don’t expect to be believed, but MARCA had Barcelona at 51 points before the match had even started.

    Anyway, a dark match. Hellish.

  11. I think we’ll still be needing that tall,big striker who can play with his back to goal. Fact is, we don’t have bench. Tello, roberto, dongou? Thats pathetico

    1. and in his little time on the field, dongou beat his man easily, who had to foul him, and drew a yellow card

  12. I still wonder, why smaller teams park the bus against Barcelona, but open up and try to attack against Atletico and Real. It can’t be because Real have the best counter-attacking striker team in La Liga and because Atletico play only counter-attacking football, can it?

    1. I wish they would park the bus against Atletico and Real, but if they don’t I suppose it’s because they must be more scared of Barca’s offense than of those teams.

    2. Its got very little to do with fear. Its just that Barca keep the ball for longer periods of time which invites the other team to sit back and get it. Real and athletico on the other hand are constantly trying risky passes and shots from distance giving the opposing team a chance to attack.

  13. Well, at least David Villa is still capable of scoring 😉

    That really was a rather poor game, with most Barca players seeming as if they weren’t really a hundred percent interested in winning it (very slow and circumstantial passing, very little creativity etc). Only consolation is that I know they can and will again be much much better than that later in the season.

    1. And Barcelona need to defeat Sevilla, away, in two weeks’ time.

      But still, top of the table. Even though tonight the storm troopers will have a fiesta.

  14. I had practically given up when Villa scored. But it’s nice to see Atletico get some of their own medicine. My satisfaction is hateful, but Juanfran, Godin and Costa are thugs, it’s nice to see some payback.

  15. Looks like El Mundo will be going with a story tomorrow that will say the TOTAL cost of the Neymar transfer is in fact 95m, which I believe nobody argued with. They break down the total costs, including the 17 for Santos, the 40 to N&N, friendlies, youth players and a couple of lattes+snacks.

    The “it all cost 95m!!” is self-serving tripe that helps people somehow believe that RM in fact didn’t overpay for Bale.

    Here is the breakdown:

    Santos: 17m
    N&N: 40m
    Youth players: 7.9
    Friendlies: 9
    Commission to Neymar Sr. 8.5
    Other commissions 2.6
    First rights (prepay) 10

    1. Their numbers are still off, they forgot the 2 million if Neymar is top 3 for Ballon D’Or and the thousands from his friends’ first-class transatlantic travels every two months.

  16. How many of you noticed that Athletico and levante used similar tactic against us to nullify our counters? They always had their back four lying deep and compact no matter where the ball was

  17. I’ll just re post this which was written after the Copa match;

    I understand that Messi needs match rhythm but we have plenty of matches coming up. 2 matches in a week for until Feb 9 with. That is 6 matches in a span of 3+ weeks. Look at the fixture list, plenty of easy to medium difficulty matches. Messi should be eased into first team action, not 90 mins in the 3rd match. Ridiculous!!

    Levante 10th spot – 3x!!
    Malaga 13th spot
    Valencia 8th spot
    Sevilla 7th spot

    Was there seriously a need to play a lot of the 1st teamers for the full match? Cesc, Alves, (I know he just came back but he will definitely play out the remaining season as Montoya doesn’t get to play RB when Alves is fit), Neymar (if he didn’t go off injured, he would’ve most likely played the whole match) and Alexis. We know it’s vital to keep the players fresh and fit for the business end of the season. QF or SF of CL is not supposed to be the target.

    Adama could’ve easily shared Alexis’ playing time and Suarez with Cesc. If not now, the tie is already won. 4-0 up. It’s only the round of 16. Perfect time to rest or not play the 1st team players for the whole match. And perfect time to give some youngsters some game time when there isn’t much pressure on them.

    We were really fortunate that the 1st leg was at home so we could’ve killed the tie which they did. So there is a great opportunity to not make the 1st team players work too hard unnecessarily in the meaningless 2nd leg. The next tie we play away first so it is much harder to finish off the tie there and then. So I really don’t expect to see any youngster in the next round, let alone in the following rounds as the opponents will definitely be tougher and tougher.

    Since I was young I love to watch teams promote youngsters. That’s just the way it is supposed to be. I used to watch the youth league matches every Sunday to see which Ajax youngsters are promising and that used to get me more excited than when the club buys new players. I feel the same way at Barca. I used to watch Barca TV but that wasn’t really helpful as they only show a very quick summary. It seems that it is so hard for the young players to get playing time here. Thankfully Frank de Boer is doing the right thing at Ajax.

    At the beginning of each season, one of the reasons I’m so excited about is to see youngsters getting playing time and hoping that one or two breaking through. And when Barca came to my country, I was really hoping that the players who were still on holiday, got their holidays extended as I wanted to see the youngsters play who were filling in in their absence.

    I haven’t watched any B matches this season but from what I read from the match reviews, Dennis Suarez is doing a good job so why not reward him with an appearance with the senior team? Adama hardly played so he might not deserve a call up but based on his appearances with the 1st team, he looks like he is already capable of playing at least 30mins in the 2nd leg. We already know Dongou but he too didn’t get much playing time in the B team like Adama. These 2 cases could be due to Eusebio’s foolishness though.

    Pep and Tito used to at least call up the youngsters to train with the club and Pep gave more than 20 youth players playing time during his time here.

    Unless we win the league with a couple of matches in hand, I doubt any of the B players getting playing time.

    1. Messi didn’t need to be eased in the match, he needed to get the rhythm of the team. You may question the necessity of first-team playeros in a decided match, but the truth is that many of those first team players need the minutes. We don’t know the intentions of Tata for the next matches, so personally I would give Tata the benefit of doubt. Much better it would be for youngsters like sergi roberto, tello and Montoya to get experience before they arrive in front of a much tougher opposition. You forget that at the best yeas of Pep the majority of the first-teamers were “old dogs”, who didn’t really need to acumulate minutes and experience.

    2. I feel that Messi should have played only one half at most to get some match rhythm against Getafe. There was absolutely no need to play him the full match.

      We have lots and lots of games coming up. And we all know that he is the key to our success in March & April. We have a much tougher match like Levante away league and Sevilla away league again. I believe that this Levante match was more important than the 2nd leg Getafe don’t you think?

      Cesc too was unnecessarily played when he’s been playing a lot. That Getafe match was the perfect opportunity to rest players who has been playing a lot and are going to play a lot in the stretch of 2 matches a week that is on going. Tata did well by playing squad players in that match but I feel that he should’ve done better with regards to Messi & Cesc.

      I wish football managers especially at Barca, watch NBA and see how they manage their key players in regards to playing time management.

    3. Um dude, Tata made NINE changes from the Atletico starting lineup to the Getafe one. What more do you want from him??

      Also, nine more from Getafe to Levante.

      There is some heavy rotation going on, my friend. It’s just that the squad is so small it’s hard to tell sometimes.

    4. Dongou was brought in with the match still on the line. We shouldn’t forget that the B team is (unusually) battling to make sure it stays in Segunda. This means all hands on deck.

      In the past, the B team has had the luxury of being top or near top of table, which means the whole weekly match thing wasn’t so desperate. So players can shuttle back and forth without fear of too much going wrong. Different this year.

      The development train is also in kind of an odd spot, in that there are players who are sort of in that “t’ain’t” category, as in almost too good for B, but not quite good enough for A. Next year, expect more shuttling back and forth, particularly from the likes of Adama and Sergi Samper, not to mention Bagnack and Ie, if he can manage to stay fit for longer than 14 seconds.

  18. So Camp Nou is going to become Quatar Cule Cemetery for 500M or so. What a business plan! 🙂

    Now it remains to find a new sponsor to fund new stadium. That would be truly genius.

  19. So what do you think about the proposition? 600 million for the whole works. New Mini Estadi at Ciutat Esportiva, new 10 000+ seat Palau Blaugrana, the whole area incorporated in the hood.

    Best of all – “we’re gonna pay for it in eight years”. But that includes 150 million from the “trading/naming rights”. So here’s hoping that the merchandising/TV contract/Shirt Sponsor deals can get better and allow the repayment of the “trading rights”.

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