Categorized | Analysis, Thoughts

Believing in beliefs, aka “Welcome to the Barça house of mirrors”

mirrors

These are the times that try culers’ souls. The team is in turmoil, rumors are flying hither and yon and we don’t know who to believe.

Players coming and going, coaches coming and going. But thankfully, I am here to help you, with a handy guide to who you should believe:

Nobody.

The convenience of troubled times is that everyone is desperately looking for three things:
– A way out
– Blame
– Justification for why they were right in predicting that troubled times were a’comin’, even if they didn’t predict that troubled times were a’comin’.

It is also human nature to latch onto things that give us comfort, psychic security blankets that provide balm in stressful times. The team lost? Whose fault is it? End of a cycle? You bet. Let’s go with that piece I have ready. Unnamed sources say that X player is coming? I knew it! He will be just the thing.

My general transfer rumor rule is until the player is seen grinning, standing in front of the crest at the Camp Nou, he isn’t coming. Exceptions to that are if a player’s club or Barça say that an agreement has been reached and he is coming. Barring that, he isn’t because my general bias, as a journalist who is not a fan of any player, is to believe nothing because generally, that kind of stuff doesn’t matter in a situation such as Barça is in right now.

One player, even two players isn’t going to matter a whit until whatever is plaguing the team internally is sussed out. So anybody who comes at me with solutions, blame or balm really isn’t going to get my attention unless they start asking the right questions of more than the thing that supports their supposition.

– “Fin de siècle,” usually comes from the Sant Guardiolus of Catalunya contingent, who believe that the now-departed FCB coach hung the moon and there will never be another one like him.
– “Tata out,” usually comes from folks who say that results were a lie, that yes, the club is in line to make the Champions League quarterfinals, are in Liga with a shout still and in the Copa final, but that all happened thanks to magic elves and duct tape. Now we fully see that our coach is in over his head.
– “X player sucks,” usually comes from people who don’t like X or Y player, and think if that player were gone or had never come, everything would be completely different.

But for me, again, nobody is asking the right questions. The “Tata out” crowd should be asking themselves about the play that got the team to this competitive juncture, and if the players did it themselves, why aren’t they continuing to do it? Is Martino the one missing passes, or plopping tame shots at the keeper? I look at one stranded midfielder after another and ask myself if Martino is the one not dictating the pass with movement?

“They lack direction and guidance,” say the “Tata out” crowd. “There is no motivation.”

Then Alexis Sanchez says in an interview that Martino is a wonderful motivator, like Pep Guardiola was and again the situation is complicated. See, Sanchez said it, so it is suspect, since he isn’t Masia or Catalan and we were just baying to sell him, dammit. And look at the source! The club put him up to it. They want to make Martino look good right now. So based on what we “know,” Sanchez is lying. The team is a mess and Martino a clueless boob who is in over his head. “Tata OUT!”

The “fin de siècle” crowd needs to understand the definition of the term. Can’t be a cycle once the cycle is broken. So as soon as Barça didn’t repeat as Champions League winners or Liga winners, the cycle was broken. A run of good results or dominance is different from a cycle.

The “X player sucks” crowd needs to ask themselves about the full culpability of that offending player, and how much effect he had/has on the result of a match. Unless Barça has signed a Tasmanian devil who can be all places at once, the answer to that query is usually pretty interesting.

And yet, we believe what we want to believe because it supports what we want to believe.

Messi was tagged by the tax man for monies owed. The first reaction was, “They will do anything to unsettle our team.”

Once the stories were confirmed, it was “Well, it must have been a misunderstanding. Yeah, that’s it.”

Once they paid up, it was “Messi just wants to play football, cuddle his son and play PlayStation. He isn’t bothered with that stuff.”

Got it. Now compare that with the Rosell friendly match kickback allegations that reared their heads in Brazil. When they first came up it was, “See, I knew he was corrupt.”

More information came out and it was “Man, he is even more corrupt than we know,” even as he denied involvement and said he would be exonerated.

Later, when he was in fact exonerated, it was, “Naaah, I don’t believe it. Something is rotten in Denmark.”

Belief systems are malleable, based on what we believe. People want to believe that Messi just wants to play football and PlayStation, that he just signs over the multimillions to his father and capers away, to try on his new football boots. Understandable.

Of late, player rumors are flying hither and yon. “They want to sell Pedro,” “They are going to sell Rafinha.”

Then the club president said that Rafinha will be returning to the club in the summer, and will have to fight for a place, but he clearly has what it takes.

“Oh, so you believe Bartomeu now, eh?”

Without asking yourself why someone would lie about something like that, it’s easy to build a structure of narrative-based disbelief.

In the Pedro case, the club is working with the player on a renewal, but even then it is “They want to renew him so that they can sell him.” This has credence because Pedro’s contract is up in 2016, so if he goes on the market in the summer, the club won’t be able to get maximum value because he will be able to leave on a free in 2016. So the club has to sell in the summer to extract max value, but they have to renew him first, so that they can sell him when he is under a full contract.

Would someone get me some aspirin, please?

Now, you might think that you can trust the man whose decision it will ultimately be in the cases of Pedro and Rafinha to say what is most likely going to happen, right? “A-HA! He lied about the Neymar case, and continues to say that it is legal and above board, when we KNOW that it isn’t!” But do we really? We know that there is an ongoing tax row. We know that in the drive for Catalunyan independence, there is no brighter beacon than Barça, the true Catalan national team. So if you are going to take a tilt at the windmill being spun by those insurrectionists, why not start there? After all, the Spanish government would like nothing more than to find something amiss with the affair at Barça, who signed Neymar, a player that RM wanted. And because RM is the Spanish team, vs those Catalan upstarts, of course the government will support it, and make sure that even the slightest sniff of a case against Barça will proceed, thus tarring by implication.

Man! When do they start playing football again?

For the Pedro/Rafinha narrative to work you have to believe that the board is a pack of shiftless, lying weasels. Make no mistake, I want this board out, even as I understand that they are doing, in their own way, what they think is best for the club. I think they are weasels, rather than shiftless, lying ones, but I want them out because they don’t have a mandate to govern even as club law says that they have a legal right to hold office. I didn’t vote for them.

So I always have to watch how I view things that involve the board, because it’s too easy for me to see them through my prism of dislike. Bartomeu continues to insist that the club did everything right in the Neymar deal, even as the club has paid 13.5m and, some reports say, is looking to cut a deal with the tax man. Again, the reaction to those reports depends on one’s worldview. “A-HA! Guilty!” Or, “It’s probably worth it at this point to pay some money, not admit guilt and have all this crap go away.”

Further complicating matters are the Spain and Catalunya sports dailies. Are they for or against the board and team? Marca says that Martino has completely lost the locker room. Ah, but they would say that, two weeks before the Classic, wouldn’t they? Now that an influential FCB board member is rumored to be considering stepping down so that he can stand for president, does that change the way that the papers are aligning themselves? Can a club mouthpiece be against the board?

SportMundo Deportivo ran excerpts from a Hristo Stoichkov interview in which he said, among other things, it’s easy to blame Martino instead of looking at the players, and that ZubiZa asked for one thing and the club bought something else.

Ah! Wait a minute. But ZubiZa is the worst technical director in the history of football, to my understanding from the rants of so many. Send him out to buy a packet of crisps and he would come back with a donkey, or a chicken. If Stoichkov’s comments are true, does that change anything? Or does the slant of Sport, once you evaluate which way the wind is blowing, change things back? Or is the truth somewhere in the middle?

See, Sport is anti something or other, as MD is the club mouthpiece, so they want to support ZubiZa from the allegations of general crapitude so they would grab onto that thing with Stoichkov as proof that ZubiZa is wonderful. But they are also kind of against the board right now, so that also makes ZubiZa look good while making the board look bad, as they have clearly overruled their sporting director, who must know better. Or does he?

I’m confused. So I will trust former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to straighten it all out for me:

“Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns; that is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know we don’t know.”

There. Got it?

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56 Responses to “Believing in beliefs, aka “Welcome to the Barça house of mirrors””

  1. Hilal says:

    So the moral of the story is, do not believe anything you read, because anything can be twisted to fit he narrative one side or the other want to tell.

    Personally I think there is lot being blown out of proportion here. Yes, the team is not at its best, but it was never going to be at its best this season. New coach, a new key player in Neymar and new system enhancements that will all take a bit of time. Just like Alexis needed time to adapt and become the goal scoring machine he is today. Most people wanted to sell him at the end of last season. Too much knee jerk reaction among the fans. The best thing the board can do in my eyes to try and redeem itself is to keep Tata and actually give him what he asks for. Then we can see what’s what. At the moment too much of what is going on has little to do with the man in charge, so it is not really fair to judge.

    I think a lot of what we are seeing on the pitch in the league is down to key players prioritising certain competitions over other ones. It is a world cup year and the effect of that cannot be underestimated. For some like Xavi this is probably the last WC they will be playing and for others like Messi, it represents possibly the best chance of winning. So yeah, Messi isn’t going to run his socks off against Valladolid and risk injuring himself knowing that he has the WC coming up this summer. Do I like it? Not really no, but I can understand it. I think the players figure they focus on the cups this year where they can win trophies by playing 100% in a handful of games as opposed to the league where they have to play full on for a lot more games, tiring themselves out and increasing the likelihood of injuries ahead of the WC. We have a thin squad, we know it, the players know it, the coach knows it. The bench players are not going to win games and if the key players tire themselves out playing every game at 100% when crunch time comes they are both mentally and physically exhausted (see Bayern Munich last season).

    All you have to do is compare the team we saw vs City with the team we saw a few days later. The difference was staggering and I bet we see the same difference tomorrow with the team that played on Saturday.

    • Kxevin says:

      Mascherano and Martino gave the presser today. Both were brilliant. Dermot Corrigan on Twitter had the most/best excerpts, if you want to look them up.

    • G6O says:

      1) The system and the players were new in 2008 too. We know how that worked out

      2) The “they’re saving themselves for bigger things” argument simply does not work. OK, so you don’t run your socks off against Valladolid at 0-0. But why is it that you still don’t run and press when you’re down by one and there are 30 minutes left in the game?

      • Hilal says:

        1) You cannot try and compare the team in 2008 with the team today. First of all that team had not won anything in two years and had a core of players who were either very young or at their peak. So they were all hungry, full of desire and with a hell of a lot to prove. Compare that to today, where key players like Xavi/Puyol are either coming to the end of their peak playing ability or already past it. The rest of the players have won everything for their club, they have nothing left to prove. Aside maybe from Messi who wants to prove he can win the WC. The team today is tired out, both physically and mentally after 5-6 years of playing at the very top level and winning consistently. The circumstances between 2008 and the beginning of this season are wildly different. Secondly the system in 2008 was not really new, it was exactly what the players understood, it was la masia through and through and the core of the team were all graduates of that philosophy. Much easier to adopt than taking a team of players who have mostly played the same way for all their lives and ask them to change, even if it isn’t that big of a change.

        2) Why don’t they run and press when they are a goal down? I wish I knew. I suspect that they are just not committed enough to winning the league this year so their heads are just not in it. Are they saving themselves for bigger things? Only time will tell. Let’s see how they play tomorrow, but the way they played in the first leg against City vs the way they played in the following league games make me suspect that is what they are doing. Who knows. Messi is certainly saving himself for the WC. He plays at 30$ for most of the games, the other 70% he is just standing around. Luckily for us he can still turn a game giving 30%.

        • G6O says:

          I am quite confident they will play well tomorrow.

          BTW, not many people remember but we actually were not that far from the CL final in 2008. And that was as disastrous a season as they get…

          And unless we draw Bayern, I am quite confident will reach the SF this year too.

          The question is what’s going to happen in the SF…

  2. ciaran says:

    You could make an excellent team of all of the players that ‘signed’ for Barca but didn’t really.
    Rumours are funny and a part of the sport because journalists need to sell newspapers all year round even when there’s no news.
    It’s also fun for a fan to have a guess at what he’d do differently because he obviously knows better than the technical director Zubi or the coach Tata who are paid millions to do what he would do for free.
    Even on the PlayStation if things go wrong you can reload at an earlier save point and start again. If you lose the champions league semi final second leg by trying a new formation then you can retry without getting fired.

    Along with Madrid, our players and management team have the most difficult jobs in football and they can’t get everything right. Still, I remember all of the years without trophies and celebrating goals that got us into the champions league qualifiers… I’m not going to get down on this team that is still fighting on all fronts

    • Kxevin says:

      Truth. Even better are the players who would be the “answer.” Marco Reus is fashionable right now, and we would sell Pedro to get him. And I can see buying another midfielder in place of a forward. So that would be Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas, Busquets, Rafinha, Gundogan and Reus. That’s gonna work …

  3. Gekko64 says:

    First post here! Thanks to all those involved for all the insightful articles :)
    I’ve read an article about Ibra yesterday, which mentioned Larsson a couple times. One thing struck me: he broke his leg shortly after arriving in barcelona, which at 34 could very well have been the end of his career. Laporta then lenghtened his contract by one year so he could fully focus on his recovery, and we all know how that ended. Now compare that to how Abi was treated by the current board…

  4. Laurentiu88 says:

    DR was right, it is very important to understand what you don’t know.

    so maybe establishing facts is important. from my not so close point of view, the team started very well and with some sound goals in mind. a bit of diversity in tactics, then rotations to change what seemed to be the problem the previous season, etc. it seemed to work as result came in, as we defeated RM.. We then had to deal with some injuries to some of our most important players, also Iniesta was a bit out of form but then Cesc was top. A general criticism that the team was not convincing wasnot going away even if sometimes this idea took the unusual shape of a debate on the ‘true’ barca philosophy… I for one took some momentary missteps as normal stages of a team that is, this time around, set to grow into the season, to peak when it matters! then messi came back too, iniesta too, neymar was about to… we were still in a damn good position, even after levante and bilbao. then valencia happen !? (ok, this stuff happens in football, we did start so good …accident) then we played so well with city everything was back on track!! messi was scoring, all the players were top. then sociedad! (ok tata did a mistake..no big deal) then almeria (i thought it was ok, but some doubts remained people noticed some intensity lacking) then valladolid happen…

    things look almost lost now in the league, but worst of all we don’t have an explanation! yes, our house is divided and there are many narratives with questionable motivations. we ourselves started talking about possible coaches, possible new players…when we dont why the team didnt function in these last games. the next games will test these various narratives, how much these team can fight for trophies how much some players are willing to give for the team and so on.

  5. Laurentiu88 says:

    the idea that players reserve themselves for the wc is a bit of a stretch…

    1. all players of major teams are ready for WC, are we to suggest that all these teams play with the WC in mind?

    2. if one player would not give his most i assure you his team’mates will tell it to his face!!

    3. what about 2010? i thought spain won that with 8 barca players that previously won the ucl.

    4. i dont know how psychologically u can do this. u think of the wc before shooting? before considering a pass? before a run? plain silly if u ask me.

    5. is playing like that and not winning trophies really the best wc preparation?

    • Jim says:

      Agreed. If you’ve ever played football you know that once the whistle goes you give it all. And I’ve never even played in front of a decent crowd.

      There’s no future in believing that players don’t try because of a WC.

      • barca96 says:

        Exactly. I don’t buy it either.

        I wouldn’t know how to play 20-99%? Just yesterday my team mate asked me to slow down when playing basketball. I said no way. Same goes for football or futsal. And I’m just playing friendly matches. Imagine those guys that are playing for trophies, money, fame, etc. There’s no holding back.

        And also if you start to take it easy, it might become a habit.

        Another thing to consider is, how come all the players decide to hold back? It could start with the captain who ordered the players to save themselves for WC or bigger games. I can’t imagine Puyol doing this or letting others do this.

        And there would also be a conflict of interest. We have many nationalities in the team so if they’re saving for World Cup, they would also give an advantage to their rivals in the World Cup for example, Spain vs Argentina.

  6. Laurentiu88 says:

    ok, what if… :)

    what if the team is really united, that our players still form a well tied group that is still motivated to prove they are the best and what happen in last game is just an accident. like a plain crash (from outliers book) this last game was a series of bad things coming together (fifa games, iniesta, pitch, some players arriving late, some other things…) and it serves our team to be even more united and determined and to prove a point. yes the league is probably gone, but it did seem gone even before this game to be honest.

    maybe our team can turn what seems as a disadvantage into an asset… maybe it’s all for the best!!

    yes, feeling better!! common ciy :)

  7. Valdemar II says:

    Game tonight boys, an unpredictable one given our recent form. I am… hopeful, MC playing an open game and our players are motivated (if not, …) Surely we should defeat the guys who lost to ‘Wigan’.

  8. raj says:

    Oh, so the tie thought to be the best of the season so far is between the guys who lost to Wigan and the guys who lost to Valladolid? Seems a too tight to call..

  9. Kxevin says:

    Watched both legs of Arsenal/Bayern. They don’t scare me. Arsenal was all over them in that first leg. And if Oxlaide-Chamberlain can have the kind of success that he had, what are the possibilities for a Neymar or Sanchez?

    Do I discount them? No. But I have seen them many times this season and am still waiting for evidence of that all-conquering uber team that has everyone so terrified.

    • Valdemar II says:

      Yeah, they are overrated. Very strong team, nowadays a pleasure to watch, but nothing close to us in our prime. Last season’s tie against Arsenal, last season’s final against Dortmund (where BM looked like children for as long as Dortmund could maintain their intense pressing). I think that Bundesliga is clearly weaker than La Liga (probably not a controversial opinion, but worth noting), explaining the four goal winning margin they have every week.

      • barca96 says:

        Over rated? They’re the favorites to lift the trophy for a reason.

        Of course they might not be as good as us in our prime but they’re only in their 2nd season of their dynasty. We achieved climax in our 3-4th year. And even if they’re not as good as us back in the days, they’re still the best in Europe right now.

        • Valdemar II says:

          Yeah, overrated, as in they’re not the best team ever ever. Decent potential they have though, improvements could easily be made at CB for example, and with Guardiola having an almost made team/the domestic league being a walkover, they could win so many CLs.

        • Víctor says:

          Over rated, yes. Do not get me wrong, they are a very good team and, obviously, will be a formidable opponent… but I do think that Barcelona can defeat them… not easily, of course, but we surely won’t need miracles or luck to win against against Bayern.

  10. barca96 says:

    Xavi. Grass. You know what’s gonna happen don’t you?

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BiZPQrBIMAAzI_f.jpg

    Frickin hilarious!

  11. bhed says:

    Graham Hunter’s new column on our woes at ESPNFC.com gets it exactly right for me.

    On the Pep issue, I watched the draw with Arsenal yesterday, and Bayern looked focused, intense, and energetic. Not perfect, but playing the kind of football that I’ve felt so lucky to watch these past years.

    Also, as far as Martino goes, how much does he get paid again? Did he accept this job voluntarily? He SHOULD be under a microscope, as should anyone making millions of dollars with huge responsibility. This doesn’t let other parties off the hook, but I have a hard time with all this “poor Tata” talk when there are millions working their tails off everyday, also under a microscope, for pocket change.

    • Kxevin says:

      It isn’t just Martino, but so many of our players who are NOT always giving it their all on the pitch, starting with Messi. When a team can’t complete a simple passing sequence, snarl at the coach all people want because that’s easy, but …

      It’s everybody, from board to players. Want to fix it? Take a wholistic approach. It isn’t transfers, or a new coach. It’s everything.

      • bhed says:

        Agree totally, really, but if the buck stops everywhere, the buck stops nowhere.

        I’ve said before, I’d give Tata more time, but Zubi needs to be the next casualty, the B team coach (spacing on his name now) has been an embarrassment, and ANY player who doesn’t press and run needs bench time. Oh, and can we strip Rosell of his membership while we’re at it, because he ultimately does bear responsibility for much of this?

        Watching Bayern was depressing not because they were all powerful (they weren’t), but because even in a fairly low pressure game, they had the intensity I think we’ve been missing.

        • kosby says:

          Exactly – Intensity. Bayern are no way as good as we used to be but look at the ball move. The ball zips from player to player – 3 secs or whatever that rule was. When I look at our team today, that is one big difference (out of several), we are holding on to the ball far too long.

    • Víctor says:

      Then should Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol, etc… be under the microscope as well? I mean, they also get paid lots.

      It’s not “poor Tata” talk… it’s more of a “let’s be fair” talk… Barcelona is still fighting the League title, is in CL quarter finals and in CDR final.

      I do not see a reason to say that he’s done a bad job and should be left out… has he made mistakes? Obviously, like every one does… even Pep Guardiola (the coach everyone wants back) makes them… but that’s not reason to be thrown out.

  12. barca96 says:

    I predict it’s going to be 2-2.

  13. Jim says:

    Couple of thoughts as I watched the two CL matches last night. First of all, the quality of cross balls was much better than can usually manage. Players able to look up and pick someone out and able to hit wickedly curling balls into the space between keeper and defence.

    Second, why is nobody parking the bus against Bayern or Atletico ? I’m watching Arsenal with only four back when Bayern scored and it wasn’t a quick break. Even Milan caught with only four or five back . For me, a good test of BM will come if they play the first leg of the next round at home and the other team decides to shut up shop.

    On tonight’s match I’m hoping for

    A reunion of Puyol with Pique ( just to see….) Ability in the air and leadership are almost more important than anything else at the moment and there would be nobody, including Messi coasting with him on the pitch
    Alba at LB. Sorry but I think he’s more useful in defence than Adriano and we’ll need pace in that position
    One of the FBs staying home at all times
    Iniesta back in midfield- what bit of this does Tata not understand ?
    Four in midfield to strangle them
    Messi plus one up front – personal pref would be Pedro

    I expect to see a whirlwind start from us but one in which we need to score then give the ball to the twins in midfield to play with for the rest of the time.

  14. Kxevin says:

    Today’s XI:

    Valdes; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba; Xavi, Busquets, Fabregas; Neymar, Messi, Iniesta.

  15. ibbe says:

    Awesome performance! You could really see the difference Iniesta makes, what a player.

    Oh and those who say refs are with barca can bite me, a penalty not called and again a legitimate goal ruled offside..

    • Kxevin says:

      I haven’t been able to watch, but it sounds like the whole team came to play. Messi pressing, playing the entire pitch, passing and running, Neymar on form, etc. And Mascherano is marking Aguero out of the match. Them setting up with a single striker certainly facilitates that, however.

      • G6O says:

        Accurate description. As I said yesterday, I had no doubt we will come out to play. And we should be 2-0 up if it wasn’t for the referees. Our problem these days is that we seem incapable of bringing the same intensity to every game, especially the away league games

      • ibbe says:

        Yes exactly. The whole team was running and pressing, just like all the other big games which is becoming a trend.

        City sacrificed a striker for a midfielder to get more control and possession. Obviously you can’t just go head to head vs our midfield because that’s a lost battle lol.

        Neymar had some great moments and some bad moments but overall good performance.

  16. Messiah10 says:

    Kxevin,

    The whole team did come to play. Alba was immense on cutting out balls that were on his side. Alves was too. It should’ve been 2-0 going into half. Iniesta was huge! Messi was making those runs we know him to make. Ref was equally bad for Man City in 2nd half. Pique clearly clipped Dzeko. Although Zabeletta is an idiot for getting the 2nd yellow. Must’ve been frustration at getting run ragged. You didn’t see us picking up a yellow for decent when Messi had a clear penalty. Very proud of us for the fight we showed. Lets finish the season with the same fight.

  17. kosby says:

    okay then, similar team as the one that lost 0-1 to valladolid, today won 2 – 1 against City (deserved to be 4 – 2) with some breathtaking out-of-this-world football…

    what changed ?

    • TITO says:

      Xavi cut the grass.

      • Jim says:

        :). But it does show the difference a smooth good pitch makes to the speed the ball can be passed about at.

        • TITO says:

          On a more serious note, at least to me, the City players did no show the same intensity as Va-did players on the weekend, just my impression. They were to cautious, to scary and they had nothing to lose. I didn’t get it.
          Anyway, a great team effort. The best moment of the game was in the beginning when Messi pressed back almost in our own penalty box to retrieve the ball from Kun. If everybody shows that attitude in every game, we wont have problems winning most of them.

  18. Jim says:

    Great result. Standout performances for me from Alba, Pique, Messi and especially Iniesta. However, special mention to Valdes for that great save. Also thought Masch and Xavi played well. Not too impressed again by Fabregas, Neymar or Alves and I’ll need to watch again for Busquets but can’t fault anyone for effort. Great team performance.
    I did think City played well and put every ounce they had into the game.

    Well done, Souness. “How can anyone be critical of Messi ? I could watch him seven days a week” :)

    • Laurentiu88 says:

      maybe you secretly wish for a link of our vallaidolid game? :) thou one can wonder if messi was there…not clearly conceptually…. :)

    • Messiah10 says:

      Jim,

      I agree with not being impressed by Fab. He nearly bottled it for us a few times with inaccurate passes. Neymar for me played a great game. He was making himself available and drew some necessary fouls against Zabaletta and others to draw cards in the 1st half. Obviously, Iniesta was doing it as well. I think Alves had a good game as well. He was present on defense and pushed up and helped out our midfield to boss it like he usually does. Valdes’s save was immense! I was on the BBC or SKY the other day and he was being slated by the majority of PL fans because he said he wouldn’t rule out the PL. Many of them were rating most of the keepers in the PL above him. I don’t get it. What does he have to do to be considered among the best in the world. To start in the NT over a keeper who isn’t even getting regular games for his team? Crazy. There’s no other keeper in the world who can play the ball out from the back like he can. None. His replacement will be as big as Puyi’s.

  19. Laurentiu88 says:

    it was a great game… i was expecting a more intense city! had jsut a bit of stress at the beginning of second half when they discovered us on the right side a couple of times.

    the only negative thought is that today messi and neymar didnt connect too well almost none at all :)

  20. lala10 says:

    neymar played well in the first half not so great in the second. In the first he largely pinned kolarov back. Not so much in the second as Kolarov time and again saw plenty of the ball to deliver some crosses. Briefly in the second half city had an advantage that side.

    Barca largely encourage playing ball but the number of times neymar had me trembling were a couple. Lose the ball trying to make a dribble or a pass not over some fancy unproductive cr7 like dribbles. Maybe he is not yet fully fit but kudos to the defense on those two hot situs in the second half.

    Fab did fine i think. He was there to add an extra man to keep possession. Nothing fancy but solid match overall. My biggest compliment to him is that more and more he seems like now belongs. Little by little he is no longer the sore thump that he seemed not too long ago.

    Besides he did not have to do much with a super charged messi around. Kudos to iniesta and mascherano and all the boys @ the back.

    play like we did today and lose? i would not have had a quible. Tonight they were an honour to everyone they represent. Four hours from i will drag my tired body to work but man was it worth it.

    Time flies, erodes and destroys empires even as it raises others. Tonight the team showed the beautiful human spirit. That desire to refuse to die even if its obvious we are mere mortals.

    I ask myself having watched yesterdays match: who were better bayern or us? Who played the better team?

    Come on u cules. Drag that last ounce left in u. Drag it in La Liga too. Keep those spirits howling at the door. Make a mockery of that funeral dirge and give us reason to dare to dream of a better sun drenched day.

  21. Kxevin says:

    Haven’t watched the match, but am struck by the incredulity from many culers. So there are reasons that attempt to explain something so improbable as Barça beating City.

    First time it was them being conservative, and being a man down. This time they were conservative, and people thought they would be more intense.

    The team played its butt off and already people are setting themselves for the next match that we are sure to lose.

    City was not only the most difficult draw for us as regards matchups. It was the most difficult draw in the round of 16. Predictions were dire. People predicted destruction, sprites being squashed underfoot by the City giants.

    Instead we won 4-1 on aggregate.

    • PrinceYuvi says:

      They might have good games or bad games, but the Players remain the same.

      Their skill-set, their genius doesn’t just vanish overnight after a bad result.

      The talk of crisis is flight of fancy.
      In summer, throw in couple players Tata wants & we’re gold.

  22. PrinceYuvi says:

    Alright.
    It’s time to re-post peter’s comment from earlier city game )
    That’d be perfect.

  23. Hilal says:

    Great performance, just as I was expecting to be honest. The team has been at it in every single big game this season, it is the smaller games where the lack the aggression and desire to win creeps in.

    Credit to City, who I thought gave their all. They worked hard and pressed and they kept the ball pretty well. Vincent Kompany is a monster of a CB. Would love to have a CB like him. His reading of the game, his strength, ability on the ball. He has it all. Even though they lost, I think he was one of the best players on the pitch. If it wasn’t for him the result would have been very different!

    • Messiah10 says:

      Kompany is a stud. I would love to have him in our team. He has the heart of Puyi too. Would be a perfect replacement, but I don’t see him leaving Citeh. He’s on some big wages, is the Capt., and is happy there.

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