Anims, VV!


So Barça played today, and won 3-0. Atleti played today, and won 1-0. RM played today, and lost 2-1. The Liga is ours for the taking, if we just win the final 8 matches of the season.

But I can’t say that I feel like doing much except echoing what Javier Macherano Tweeted, which is “Nothing to celebrate. Get well soon.”

This game is, too often, a kick in the face for those who don’t deserve it.

When Victor Valdes went down under his own weight today after a routine save, one that he has almost certainly done hundreds if not thousands of times over the course of a net minding career, this time it was different. Pictures came out, many speculated but nobody really wanted to deal with the reality of the situation until it was made official by the club: ruptured ACL, with the usual 6-month recovery period.

Pinto came in and by all accounts played very well in a match that I kinda have no interest in watching as much as I want to ask just what in the hell the club that I love so much has done to anger the football fates so? It isn’t for me the injury, and wondering who will replace him, blablabla. I have confidence in our players.

For me, from the human angle, Victor Valdes is a man who for too many years, got nothing but crap from everybody. Exxon Valdes was one of the many mean-spirited jibes that flew his way from people who knew better, people who said that yes, he had gaudy statistics but they were because of his defense — as soon as that defense began to falter, goals were going to start flying past Victor of Butterfingers.

And he kept playing lovely football, kept making brilliant saves, kept confounding his critics. Then when the defense in fact did begin to falter, we began to see Victor Valdes for what he was, which is one of the best keepers in the world.

It stopped a lot of the jibes, as did being called up to the Spanish NT. And for stop after stop, pass after pass, play after play, Valdes kept making liars out of those who said he wasn’t up to the quality of the other players on the star-studded Barça roster, even as he kept saving the team’s bacon.

Then, one day, it all seemed to be enough, and Valdes announced that he was leaving Barça. The club decided that it would keep him rather than trying to sell him, so this summer he leaves FC Barcelona on a free transfer.

And then this happens. Victor Valdes is a fine man and spectacular player who has played his last match for FC Barcelona. In no way, shape or form did he deserve to go out like this, laying on a stretcher, weeping. And even if you don’t know exactly why he was weeping, it’s easy to suspect: Victor Valdes loves this club. Whatever rueful thoughts entered his mind, I can guarantee you that they were banished by the reality he must have been wrestling with as he was carted off the pitch.

This would be his last home match for Barça. He had the Captain’s armband appropriately enough. Life isn’t supposed to do stuff like this.

No, he isn’t dying. No, he doesn’t have cancer as Abidal and Vilanova battle. ACL injuries are becoming increasingly common, and there is no reason to suspect that he won’t return to full form and fitness, ready and willing to be brilliant for another club. For me, that is immaterial. This was nasty.

Valdes came up in the system, so it is impossible not to love this club, whatever the reasons that he had for wanting to leave. His best friend, Andres Iniesta, was subbed out in the second half of today’s match as a “precaution.” It wouldn’t take much speculation to wonder if Valdes had a companion to talk to, a shoulder to lean on as he suspected the worst. Having someone that you love at your side when bad news happens doesn’t make the news any less bad, but it acts as a balm, a salve that soothes life’s cruelty.

This was, after all, the season that people finally, FINALLY started giving Valdes his due. They started noticing the saves that he had been making for years, but spinning a different narrative, that he was good rather than lucky. He had a couple of suitors, but had made no final decision that could be made public and was planning to go the World Cup. Now, when that tournament is on, he will still be recovering from a crucial operation, and figuring out his next steps.

To hell with this crap. It’s nonsense when a player at the top of his form with the world at his feet will be, essentially, jobless in a couple of months. Anybody who was thinking of hiring him will be instead waiting and watching, hoping for a bargain on a gimpy keeper, because that’s the heartless side of this game that we love so.

We should be celebrating having the Liga title in sight, having our eternal rival licking its wounds, slashes made by us reopened by Sevilla. But all I can really think about is what a crap deal life has dealt a player who works like a dog for the team that I love. It isn’t reasonable, it isn’t right, and yet it’s life.

Anims, Victor Valdes.

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. We should definitely win this now with their keeper sent off and an outfielder in goals.

  2. If pinto was injured after banging into the post last Wednesday, I would have loved to see Messi in goal 🙂

  3. this is a stadium where titles are won/lost..
    As for espanyol, their gameplan has absolutely no place in football. They are even more violent than mou’s rm or atleti

  4. the ref was absolutely mediocre in allowing the huge number of hard fouls…

    still, he could have given a penalty at masche early on… good that didnt happen..

    i think in this game more than any other we could see the difference between neymar and pedro. it was a reminder of the bilbao game where neymar was again fouled on and on.

    all in all, this was a giant result for us!

  5. I know it’s a cliché but these are what champions are made of. Our toughest match away match left and the 2nd toughest after the the very last day against Atletico.

    Hopefully the guys aren’t too bruised by this match and will recover in time for Atletico.

    However it was really disappointing not to see the team attacking the goal more knowing that an outfield player is between the sticks. In addition to that, we had an extra man. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that there is a higher than average chance to score a goal with an outfield player in goal.

  6. Good Win. But cmon the keeper is off and nobody shoots from the outside? Seriously? I would have expected at least a couple shots to test him. ridiculous.

    1. I would usually agree to maintain possession in such a tough game and we only have a 1 goal lead but they had an outfield player between the sticks. Cmon. Take shots! Any! He will miss, fumble or just make an awkward catch. It doesn’t hurt to try.

    2. Exactly! Anything on target with a bit of pace is probably going in with that kind of situation. At least try once or twice.

  7. Crazy tough game. Really happy with the three points, not to mention playing 4 hours before Atleti and Madrid. Puts lots of pressure on those guys.

    Think Tata waited way too long to make subs (should’ve been 60th minute or even earlier). Other worrying thing is Neymar’s form. He looks a shell of the player we saw in Oct-Dec. We can no longer blame his layoff from injury since he’s had plenty of time to work himself back. He lost the ball about 10 times today. I think it may be time to bring him off the bench for the good of the team (I’m aware that will hurt his confidence even more but right now we can’t be nursing off-form players for their ego).

    1. I was about to say the same re: Neymar. It’s definitely tough for forwards to integrate into Barça their first year, and I sympathize with Tata’s efforts to keep Neymar’s confidence up. Because when Neymar is on, he’s the only other player outside of Messi and Iniesta who can create magic out of nothing. But like you said, his form right now is so poor that it’s hurting the team more than helping. I’d rather see a starting front three of Pedro – Messi – Alexis and then bring Neymar in as the supersub.

  8. Good afternoon. I’ve been a longtime lurker for nearly 3 years now, finally decided to come out of the shadows to comment. The fact that Barcelona got 9 points over 6 days is key to winning the La Liga title. The woes of Hlebruary seem to finally be over and the treble is still within grasp. The only concern I have would be Neymar. I understand he’s a great player with potential and getting minutes with the team is important, but he simply isn’t a Barca player. I like the guy, but he needs to stop losing the ball so much. I understand that he’s dangerous one on one and draws the defense out, which opens up precious space for La Pulga and the Illusionista to work their magic, but I’m not completely sold on Neymar just yet. Visca Barca!

    1. What I would say is that Neymar certainly has the attitude of a Barca player. He has incredible skill and is willing to try things but he doesn’t know when to try things and when to play the simple pass.
      The worst thing that could happen to him is that he turns into Pedro and plays a backyard pass every time he is faced with an opponent.
      If you were to use the amount of times a player gives the ball away in our system as to how successful they are then Messi is the player who loses possession most in our squad. Statistically Messi is dispossessed 2.2 times per match, Neymar is at 1.7.

      Players like that give the ball away more than others because they dare to take on players 1-on-1 on even 1-on-2 at times.

      The other thing that I would say is that when we first bought Samuel Eto’o he wasn’t a Barca type player and we all know how that turned out.

      Have faith…

    2. Though it was frustrating to watch him loose balls and those horrible finishing jobs, he again proved to be decisive.

      In the last three matches, with all the hate Neymar has been receiving in the interweb, he has scored two goals, provided two assists and got two crucial match changing penalties. Hugely decisive.

      Like the classico, today also I thought Tata kept Neymar for too long and was wondering why on earth he isn’t subbing him. In both the games, his faith on Neymar and the gamble was rewarded by decisive penalties. I was very happy to be proven wrong both the times.

      Hope they fight like this till the end of the season!

    3. Neymar, before his injury, was substituting for Messi and played prodigiously. He’s been poor since his return but who could doubt his potential for this side?

    4. I have no doubt that Neymar can be decisive and his contributions to these three games were invaluable to the team getting all nine points. I’m trying to be patient with Neymar, I really am, because I see the potential as much as youse guys do. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I want Neymar to pass back more. I don’t want him to become a Pedro and pass back all the time, but he could stand to use his teammates more on the wings. There were a couple of times during the Clasico that Neymar ignored Alves’ overlap and tried to take on three M*drid defenders by himself, something I’m only comfortable with Messi doing, because he’s Messi. Like you said, we’ll have to wait and see

  9. Unfortunately, I live in the States and couldn’t watch the game at work, so I’m curious; why was the red card against Espanyol’s keeper (Casilla, I think?) initially for fighting (according to, which I know is a dubious site for reliable soccer updates), then later for handball against Messi outside the box? I’m guessing human error at work here, but I’m not sure. I know the game was super physical (could almost put Mo’s M*drid to shame), but fighting?

    1. He handled the ball outside the box when Messi tried to lob him.
      Funnily enough, their goalkeeper was sent off for handling the ball outside the box and the player that went into goals afterwards was the player who handled the ball inside the box for the penalty.

    1. Before the start of the season, I had wished that the board makes up for the sale of Thiago with an acquisition of an Ilkay or an Isco. I’ll take the Ilkay capture, a year later.

    2. He’s a wonderful player and I would normally be excited about this, but he’s been injured forever. He hasn’t set foot on a pitch since August 2013.

  10. atletico looked so so good tonight. it will be such a hard game on tuesday…i will take any positive result from that game, but will be calm only with 3 0 🙂

    wow ronaldo does his annoying scoring routine, ‘i am the man’ sort of… i wonder why he didnt do the ‘calma, calma’ routine too? 😀

    rayo looking very nice! i hope xabi gets his fifth yellow tonight 🙂

  11. :))))

    it’s more then 100 mil $$$, it’s simply priceless….

    Bale all alone with the keeper and hitting the grass and tripping!!!

    i know it’s mean, but it’s just lovely. couldn’t help it.

  12. EE could keeping on beating minnow teams 500-0 but it doesn’t matter at all once we win the 7games left. They’ve always come up short in big games

  13. “EE” scoring a hundred goals against suicidal Rayo, Mudrid aren’t even looking good, this performance won’t cut it even against crippled Dortmund.

  14. Well, seems like we got extremely luck today. I didn’t see the match but that penalty call was terrible haha. But that’s how it goes we aren’t the only team to get free points.

    With 7 games to go, it’s obvious that every game is important. Usually in la liga, a draw is a loss. But right now, the most important thing is to not lose. We can afford to go 5-1-0 before facing Atletico. As long as we stay within 3 points of them we will have a good chance on the last day. A draw would keep us ahead of RM too.

    I just really hope the players keep this in mind, one draw keeps everything in our hands, while a loss would mean we need other teams to take points from both RM and Atletico. RM have only 1 tough match left this season, and that is next week at Real Sociedad. If we end up behind them at any point it’s most probably over.

    1. That was a blatant handball and a correct penalty. But I agree, we got lucky. Lucky that someone didn’t get injured considering all the disgusting challenges Espanyol got away with.

    2. We did get lucky to an extent. The Mascherano situation in the first half was a penalty for Espanyol – it was completely unintentional but it did stop the Espanyol player from moving towards the goal with the ball.

      And our penalty, while completely legitimate, was also very lucky, because the situation was just inches away from being a Neymar handball before it became a defender handball.

      But then we had 4-5 chances in the first half of the kind that you would on average expect at least 1 or 2 to go in, and we were unlucky not to score. So in the end the result is fair – we played better, created more chances, eventually won it.

    3. Ah, thanks for the link, for the replay it looked like it was inside, but all replays I saw were from the opposite perspective and it looked like it was in the box

    4. Just been sitting re watching both incidents on big TV in HD and I can’t tell in either case so the ref’s not gonna be able to. You could say we got lucky as both decisions went against Espanyol but hey, in this season of all seasons we’re due a bit of luck. The Masche incident wouldn’t have happened at all but for Neymar getting in the road of Masche as he tried to clear it . What I would say is that I’m amazed Masche still gets away with “you can’t give a decision against me because I’m injured ” ploy. It’s a bit embarrassing.

      Overall, given their determination to stop us by whatever means that has to go down as a decent result, plus Iniesta got some rest.

      It’ll be interesting to see the midweek lineup after this. Neymar, Cesc, Pedro and Alexis must all be wondering who’ll get the nod.

      Last thought is whatever has happened to Bartra? Has he done something in training to disappear so completely? We’re not even giving him a handful of minutes at the end of games so I hope we don’t end up playing him without any match time. Maybe Tata will get Pique to get his fifth yellow out of the way sometime soon ?

    5. You’re right, of course, Kxevin. My bad. I have almost no recollection of whether he was good or otherwise, which in the case of a defender is usually a good sign.m

    6. Jim, he was to my view, an ideal Barça CB. DM qualities and sharp in the box, mostly. High line, fast getting forward and back. I still wonder about his suitability as an RB.

  15. Luck. Nonsense. Luck is generally a fortunate outcome of a situation that someone creates. If Neymar isn’t the player that he is, that situation never happens, and no penalty. Same with the Ramos red.

    As for it being a “soft” penalty, a rule contravention is like a light switch: on or off. Either it did or it didn’t. The notion of a “soft” penalty needs to be dispensed with.

    As to the Mascherano situation, it apparently was not ajudged to be a rules violation, and that’s that. People calling him out for feigning injury to avoid sanction have clearly missed the time after time that a player has tried such a thing, only to have the ref wave a yellow card at his prone, writhing form. Had he broke the rules, he would have been penalized.

    It was a hard-fought win over a nasty, nasty opponent who was allowed to be physical. Let’s enjoy that without straining to dissect reasons that it could/should have been otherwise/x or y player isn’t my favorite so he was the problem.

    Big, and necessary win in what will be the most difficult Liga match until Atleti at season end.

  16. We get more penalties because we force more tackles in the box due to spending more time in the opponents box. It is that simple. Pedro should have had a penalty too even though I think he had a poor game.

    I don’t believe that winning last night was lucky. We outright deserved to beat them and if we had been lucky Neymar would have scored a couple of goals like he did a few days ago and Pique’s shot would have went under the bar.

    We have 7 league games left and if we win them we are champions. If Atletico get to the last game with a point advantage over us then that last game will be one hell of a game but I’d still bet that we can win that match.
    The CL matches will be a good indicator of their mental toughness ahead of the run in. I fancy Atletico to continue to make our life difficult on Tuesday night but we should be able to win that match too.

    Tough and exciting times ahead

    1. Hang on, guys. I didn’t say we were lucky to win, I said it was possible to argue that as the two big decisions ( GK sending off was stonewall ) went our way. On another day away from home we could have had a penalty awarded against us and had handball given against Neymar and I’m not sure we had it in us to score apart from that. It has nothing to do with Neymar getting in to that position ( that wasn’t luck) and everything to do with whether or not he handled it before the defender ( the fact the ref saw it our way could be said to be).

      With regard to Masche my point was that he was played into the situation by Neymar so no blame attached but that imo yet again he got away with feigning injury when as you rightly point out others have been yellow carded. Have a look at him only a minute later running completely freely. You don’t run off a knee injury that is so painful it requires you to beat the ground and writhe that quickly or completely.

    2. I accept that Masch is going to divide opinions.
      He has a very unique set of skills and fits our system well enough. He also makes some bad decisions and is terrible in the air.

      I don’t believe that he is irreplaceable in our squad though. If it is true that Napoli want to spend good money on him then I would accept it if we sign two world class natural defenders. If we sign someone like David Luiz and pretend that he is a better defender than Masch I won’t be happy.

      Carles Puyol was a terrible footballer when he was younger. His ball control was awful and his passing still isn’t one of his better attributes. He made the right decisions with the ball at his feet and that was enough to be successful in our system.

    3. Not you directly, Jim. Just a general tone. Whenever I want to address someone directly, I will say “@Jim,” or whomever.

      I more wanted to address a general tone. I was over the moon that we won, however it happened.

      For Mascherano, buying 2 CBs means that we gain a world-class sub for Busquets, who then doesn’t have to play himself into the ground. From all the rumors, seems clear that Mascherano will be sold this summer. And we still won’t have a reliable player that allows Busquets to be rotated.

      We do have Song, but Song isn’t a DM, which is why he will also be sold. We don’t need another mid, even one with his size and strength.

    4. Thanks for the clarification, Kxevin. The delight was shared by me. You can’t and shouldn’t , argue with an away derby win, ever ! As I’ve said often before I’m also with you on Masche as a sub for Busi when needed. Don’t know if his feet are quick enough but he is entitled to the shot at it that he never really got. His attitude and effort for us have never been in question.

      However, like you I suspect we will be building up a war chest with the sale of at least two or three of the first team squad this summer. As well as the obvious candidates I can see a combination of any one or two from Masche, Song, Alexis , Pedro (more unlikely) and even , just possibly, Cesc who might decide to opt for an easier life ruling the roost in the Man U midfield. We have to pay out big bucks for a GK (done deal), a CB ( what about the ones who went for big bucks last year to deny us – are they all holding down a first team place ? ) and a striker – who will still have the same problem any striker would have in our system. The problem there is that Pedro who I regard as a good finisher can’t seem to get into the right positions and Alexis who I don’t regard as a natural finisher has seemed to be there at the right moment for tap ins this season. So what exactly are we looking for in a striker if they have to play wide ?

  17. Only at Barca could you be in with a chance of a quadruple at the end of march and be talking about a major overhaul of the playing staff and firing the manager. Crazy

    1. The problem is that if you want to stay at the top you have to make the changes at the right time. You could argue that these are all signings we should have made over the last couple of years. Whatever, with Puyol and Valdes going, two big signings are required immediately and we can’t get a first team player for much shy of €40. If you want the top signings you need to do it while you are on top. I wonder just what Moyes can manage in the summer without CL to tempt.

      Am I missing something? After Liga, Copa, and CL what re we still playing for ?

    2. Also, I haven’t heard anyone seriously talking about sacking Tata, not even on Revista. More worrying that he might walk. I don’t know about him long term but he has earned another year at least and he says he will fulfill it so even if we win nothing I don’t think the board will pull the plug.

  18. Why should either of Masch, Alexis, Pedro be sold? Someone care to explain?
    Absolutely should not even be thinking about selling Masch, or Alexis, or Cesc, or Pedro. Song can leave, cause Masch can take that spot once a CB is signed.
    And who are those two CB’s this summer? Hummels? David Luiz? Mangala?

    1. I have already made my suggestions for defensive signings, Hummels and Musacchio.
      David Luiz is a good footballer but a very average defender.
      Mangala will cost a lot, as does anyone who plays for Porto.
      Hummels is genuinely world class and is as good with the ball as he is without it.
      Musacchio is not as good with the ball as Pique or Hummels but is much better as a pure defender and is still able to complete all the simple passes. He was superb when we beat Villarreal this season and even bagged himself a goal.

  19. The Tata being sacked thing was all over the Spanish papers about 3 weeks ago after the run of bad results including reports that we were looking at a fairly wide range of managers. I never saw it happening unless something drastic happened.

    Making changes at the right time is almost impossible at a club like Barca. Any changes are immediately questioned and it really takes at least a season to know if they were successful to any degree.
    The transition period between arrival of new players and their integration into the system in place is never allowed for. Just ask Isco.

    In terms of player sales, I am not advocating but I wouldn’t be surprised by the sales of any of Alves, Masch or Song from the first team and the more obvious sales of Tello, Cuenca, JDS & Bojan.

    I would like 2 natural central defenders and if Masch is sold then a defensive midfielder. I would also like a more natural central striker.
    The issue really is that anyone good enough to play for us either 1 already does or 2 costs a truck load of money.

  20. Depends who you ask 🙂

    As I said previously for me the only way I’d keep Masche is as a sub for Busi at DM, Alexis although can’t fault his work rate isn’t a natural scorer and can’t beat a man, essential for a forward against a parked bus imo and Cesc I have a feeling might walk if he can’t impose himself on some of the games left. He would be worshipped again in the EPL and takes some flack here. Not looking to sell him. Pedro is only in that list in the interests of fairness. He has been no better than Alexis this year. I keep hoping for him to turn things around and he has shown some signs recently but overall not a great year. The issue is that these are pretty good sellable assets. We’ll not make much out of Cuenca, Affellay, Bojan or Dos Santos. Not suggesting they’ll all be sold but all will be looking over their shoulder.

    If you accept we are going to make two or three purchases and going to bring back either Rafinha and/or Deulofeu and add to that the fact that Bartra, Montoya and Adriano will be looking for major time, though, you have to accept there are a lot of other players in our first team who wouldn’t therefore be happy spending most of a season on the bench. That’s without mentioning any of the current, or recently purchased Masia candidates who would be looking for time after next year. Difficult decisions but at the moment only my opinion.

    1. It would be great if we could find early buyers for all of Cuenca, Afellay, Bojan & dos Santos.

      I think we should sell Song, not because he isn’t a good player but the likes of Man Utd would be delighted to get him and we’d get similar money for him to what we paid. Busquets is going to start every game he is fit for so having a €20m man on the bench and not using him is a waste.

      Tello hasn’t really progressed and isn’t better than Neymar, Pedro or Alexis so if we do sign someone else up front he will be gone.

      Deulofeu would be better off with another season on loan as he still makes the wrong decisions 90% of the time.

      Rafinha is probably coming back according to our president so signing any midfielder who isn’t a DM is very unlikely.

      Cesc I can’t see being sold as I went into detail in the last post. With Xavi getting older selling one of the best midfielders in the world makes no sense whatsoever. He does need to be rested in my opinion as has been in a rut for the past month.

  21. Seems as though there is a consensus (not that any of our prattle really matters, but it is fun-like daydreaming about what you would do if you won the lottery):

    to sell: tello, cuenca, afellay, cojan and dos santos

    i really don’t like the pedro/alexis rumors. i think they are both integral to the team, and any replacements would need a lot of time to work out the system. also, they have both, alexis especially, improved in front of the net this year.

    masch = maybe sold, but no one here really wants that.

    song = great player, but probably sold.

    what about sergi roberto? i’m for loaning him out and bring rafinha back.

    deulofeu should stay at everton for another season.

    i don’t understand the cesc rumors at all but that is a general rumor so i am listing it.

    to buy: 2 CBs, keeper, and a striker?

    correct me if i’m wrong here.

    1. Roberto needs some humane place to prosper.

      Vultures of nou
      & comparisons to xavi won’t allow that.
      Better Loan him out to EPL.

      Selling any of the Masch/ Pedro/ Lex
      aka the WorkHorses would be Rodunkulous.

      Besides, our guys don’t know how to sell. Pedro & Lex are in their prime, are at least worth 40 M each.

      Tata is busy introducing Messi-Neymar connection on the right wing.
      Apparently, we’re moving away from Messi-Dani connection.
      He might leave.

      Tata is brilliant.
      If we give him just one Transfer window.

      He might stack our squad with plethora of intelligent buys.
      Looking forward to a strong Barca backline next season.

      Only if we show some patience of course.

  22. Business end of the season for Barca. Looks like they will snag atleast one of the top three trophies again, despite myriad vicissitudes yet again.

    Business after the end of the season?

    Sell – Dos Santos, Cuenca, Afellay, Sergi Roberto, Alex Song, Bojan, Cristian Tello; I say.

    Buy – Gundogan/Oliver Torres, Mangala, Fazio, Ter Stegen, Rossi (?! as possible 9)

    Get Back and deploy – Rafinha, Deulofeu.

    Promote and Loan – Denis Suarez, Jean Marie Dongou

    Ideal first/second XI next year, for me:

    Ter Stegen, Alves, Bartra, Pique, Alba, Busquets, Iniesta, Fabregas, Messi, Neymar, Alexis
    Pinto/Valdes(?), Fazio, Mangala, Adriano, Mascherano, Oliver/Gundogan, Xavi, Rafinha, Pedro, Deulofeu, Rossi

  23. Hold on. Its not even April and we are already talking about transfers? Have fun with that. I’d rather talk about the upcoming match v atletoco. I think we will win. First time messi has been 100% vs them this season. 2-0 in the first leg.

    1. They’re already talking about Transfers ,
      because our Team has playing with inadequate squad for last two years
      & They’re fed up, finally.

    2. Fed up with…we’re in the quarters of theUCL and we don’t even discuss the game…only who we want and don’t want on our team for next year. Live in the present folks or it’ll pass u by before you can enjoy it.

      Can’t wait for tomorrow. Love our team and I know we will be in for a treat Tuesday.

    3. Hey, there’s a match tomorrow.
      I’m so excited, I can’t breath.

      Atleti is going to kill us.
      We’re going to pull an Arsenal.

      I can’t get over how cute our players are…. what I’m gonna do ?….

      What if Costa outjumps Masch again ?
      What if Messi forgets how to play football ?

      Happy now ?

  24. Dani Alves is on fire at the press conference!
    We should all listen to Mascherano when he says that Alves is quite possibly the best RB barca has ever had. I hope the club don’t sell him. He might infuriate fans, but he is still one hell of a player and I am sure he has a couple more good years in that relentless engine of his. But the tone of all his quotes now and what he has said all year seems to point quite clearly to his exit.

    Make no mistake, It would be very sad to see Dani go. Apart from the sporting loss we will suffer, we will incur a great loss off the pitch too. Folks like him, Pinto, Pique are the ones that make an otherwise dead serious Barca team, fun to work in. Neymar will also lose a compatriot he can groom under and have fun while developing his skills.

    All this talk of Masch, Alexis and Alves leaving are frankly, extremely depressing to me. As if the loss of Valdes and Puyol are not terrible already.

    1. Getting rid of Alves for nickels makes little sense, he’s a monster on the right flank, irreplaceable. Same with Alexis, our hardest worker, who is much better at RW? TBH all our starting XI players are indispensable, sell the la masia busts + Song and Affelay, buy the GK, CB (netting us a new DM in Mascherano), +Rafinha, Gundogan or an offensive piece and we are potentially stronger than ever without breaking the bank…

  25. As for tomorrow, what is there to be said? Next to münchers this might be the most difficult opponent, since we match up well against “EE” ATM. We have played very well against Atletico, main point is they have troubles scoring against us (or even attacking), most likely scenario is we grind out a 1-0 victory IMO, but I’m hoping for more 😉

    1. What Simeone has done with that group of players is absolutely phenomenal and it would be great to see them keep the majority of their players through the transfer season.

      I am confident about tomorrow’s match or the tie as a whole more specifically.
      All of our players are used to playing this kind of tie whereas Atletico’s have never really done so with one or two exceptions.

      I reckon we will score a couple of goals tomorrow even though Atletico will be very physical.

      I assume the line up will be the same as we have been seeing in all of our big games this season with Busquets, Xavi, Cesc & Iniesta all starting and Neymar and Messi up front.
      I personally would like to see Alexis, Messi & Neymar upfront but it won’t happen.

    2. i still have questions about neymar but i can see his usefulness in a game like this where atletico will be looking to park the bus, and we dont need him to be playing defense too much (i see them playing a 4-5-1). otherwise i would pick pedro.

  26. Diego Costa is doubtful for tomorrow night’s match. According to Diego Simeone it is unlikely he’ll be able to play.

    Either terrible luck for Atletico or Simeone is trying the oldest trick in the book.

  27. The Alves presser was brilliant, but sounded like a man who is unfettered because he knows he is leaving. We’ll see. Don’t forget that playing time was the big holdup in the Montoya renewal.


    — Diego Costa will play tomorrow, unless Simeone thinks they don’t have a shot at CL. Note that he said that it would be “difficult for Costa to play.

    — The Neymar doubts make me giggle. He has scored decisive goals in SuperCopa, been decisive in BOTH Classics and created the conditions that helped win the Catalan derby. He is on track to better Thierry Henry’s first-season totals, which is impressive. Always tough for a first-year forward at FCB. Easy to focus on what he has not done
    But what he has done is be decisive. In huge matches.

    — So Atleti have an excellent defense and Barça a crap one, yet we have conceded only one more goal than they have. Funny, that.

    — Culer demands for this team are staggering. Never forget this: RM was down, making Liga easy. If Ronaldo doesn’t scuff those early chances in the Rome final, that match might have gone rather differently. The margins were tight.

    Expecting this team to walk the Liga in the face of vastly improved rivals is asking a lot. More than ours or any other team’s players are capable of delivering, season in and season out.

    1. I remain wholly unconvinced by Montoya to this date. He is not quite the player that I thought he was going to be and so far is better neither in attack nor defence when compared to Dani.
      He is far too safe in possession and makes me nervous in defence.
      Dani frustrates me very often when he plays in terms of his crossing and his persistent fouling but he is one of the best right backs on the world and works very well in our system.

    2. Are they thinking of transitioning Montoya in as starting right back? Have to agree with Ciaran, wholly unconvinced so far this season.

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