Fly on the Wall

Been a while since we had one of these standard nonsense posts. Let’s see how it fairs, especially after the greatness that is SoMa.


Board meeting – 12:45 GMT – Barcelona, Catalunya

Scene: All members are seating at the table except for Zubi who is standing to the side for some reason. Bartomeu is at the head, fingers laced and completely serious.

Josep Maria Bartomeu: Alright, guys.  Brief me on the latest news. As you know, I’ve been busy with the stadium referendum which is the Espai Barca project and you must vote and Qatar and sponsors and vote April 5 and Neymar and media things and glasses and other stuff. Yes.

Andoni Zubizaretta: [stands at attention] I’ve got good news, bad news, worse news, awful news and potentially lethal news.

Bartomeu: [straightens collar, gulps] Let’s go from bad to better, yeah? I’m a sensitive soul.

Zubi: Well, Barca tied with Atletico on Tuesday.

Bartomeu: [nods] Okay.

Zubi: It was 1-1.

Bartomeu: And that’s… bad.

Zubi: It was in the Champions League. That means they have the advantage through away goals [hands Bartomeu the rulebook].

Bartomeu: [takes book] Dang it. I always forget that rule.

Zubi: Also Pique was injured.

Bartomeu: [throws book on ground] Effing sh*t.

Zubi: Oh and FIFA said we messed up with the U18 and we’ve been put under some kind of embargo.

[Bartomeu gives him a blank look]

Zubi: That means we can’t sign or enter players in competitions. By some extension that means JDS stays.

Bartomeu: Fudge.

Zubi: And David Luiz can’t come.

Bartomeu [falls back in chair] Well damn, Zubi. What’s the good news?

Zubi: I got 15% off my car insurance when I switched to Geiko.

Bartomeu: That’s some savvy business there, Zubi.

Zubi: [smug] I know.

Bartomeu: [grave] But let’s get to the heart of the issue: will this affect the referendum?

Zubi: Well, the fans probably won’t be happy with this…

Bartomeu: That’s okay. I’ll just share our revised transfer budget with them and smile a lot.  [turns to Faus] We’ll make a profit, right?

Faus: As soon as we sell Messi–err, JDS. And company. Just to be on the safe side. Luckily our 120m budget should be a-go once I finish crunching the numbers and do some Accounting Fu – second strongest martial art after Policy Fu, I’ll have you know.

Bartomeu: Good job, Faus. I knew I was right to suggest Sandro pick you as my right hand man.

Zubi: But I told you, we can’t sign players and, crucially, I can’t recommend any since I can’t sign them. So it’s not a good idea to sell the ones we do have.

Bartomeu: Again, that’s okay. Rosell’s gone and all our problems are gone with hi—[phone rings] Hello?

Sandro Rosell: What are we doing about this transfers fiasco thing? People are talking and it’s not about the referendum. Do something.

Bartomeu: Don’t worry. Got it under control.

Rosell: [skeptical] Really?

Bartomeu: When have you known me to be a liar?

Rosell: True. [pauses] Has Laporta said anything?

Bartomeu: [checks twitter on conveniently placed laptop] Just the usual chest thumping.

Rosell: [mutters] Stupid Laporta. [louder] Make sure the referendum goes smoothly, guys. Or I’ll send MD via Nolla and Perarnau after you bums.

Bartomeu: Should we tell them to run that anti-Pep spread?

Rosell: Nah. We’ll save that for another time. They’re welcome to talk about Chelsea losing though. The fans will dig that. Oh and blame Florentino somehow. He’s a jerk, even if he did vote in our favour in that FIFA thing. In which we’re the victims. Mention that. Actually, highlight that.

Bartomeu: Got it.

Rosell: Also, tell Google that if they don’t correct the presidente azulgrana Spanish-to-English translation I’m gonna sue them through my associates on Viagogo via the acquaintances of Neymar’s dad’s friends.

Bartomeu: Noted.

[Rosell hangs up.]

Bartomeu: You heard the man. We need a plan of action, guys.

Zubi: We’re gonna appeal that BS and remind the masses La Masia is the bomba. Through a statement on the website, of course.

Didac Lee: And let Tata take the heat in the presser?

All: When did you get here?

Lee: I’ve, uh, been here the whole time. It is a board meeting. For board members. I am a board member?

All: Oh. Right.

Bartomeu: [puts arm around Lee] Don’t worry about the nuts and bolts of anything other than your apps and, uh, videos and technology stuff. We’ll handle the financial, sporting and moral decisions, okay?

Lee: Okay. [exits]

Bartomeu: Tata taking the heat. That’s brilliant! He’s a great speaker with a sense of humor and charisma, and we’ll leave the press officer to cut in when necessary. It’s foolproof.

Zubi: [nods] He’s an even better spokesman than me.

Freixa: Even better than me?

Zubi: [kindly] No one is better than you.

Bartomeu: [stands.] Well, this was a productive day. Let’s regroup and focus on Espai Barca tomorrow.




At the Ciutat Esportiva – 10:56 GMT –  Barcelona, Catalunya

Scene: Gerardo “Tata” Martino enters the press room. It’s packed with a suspiciously high number of journos. and press officers stationed along the corner of the room.

Tata Martino: [gets settled] Alright, so. I guess we’ll start with the questio–

Press Officer: [interrupts, whispers] No worries, Tata. We’ll handle the questions. [louder] You over there, with the credentials.

El Pais: Just wanted to ask about the FIFA transfer thing?

Martino: [smiles, self deprecating] I know, I know. I should have sold Diego Ribas out of Atletico when I had the chance. I’m still new at this FIFA 14 business. You guys are good to have found that out.

All:  Jaja, oh he’s just so witty.

El Pais: But no, seriously. What’s up with that?

Press Officer: Time’s up. Next question.

El Pais: There’s a time limi-

Marca: Tata: End of a cycle?

Tata: I don’t really get what you mean.

Press Officer: Next question.

AS: A quick follow up: end of a cycle?

Tata: Cycles don’t end. They just go around again, repeating in the same order. Like a circle. That’s what a cycle is. [smiles]

AS: I don’t get it.

El Mundo: Just to clarify, Tata: fin de ciclo?

Tata: Man, you guys mention this every press conference. [laughs] Do you guys ever get tired?

Marca: I think Tata’s getting worked up. He’s feeling the pressure. Do you think you can learn a thing or two from Ancelotti about keeping your cool, Tata?

Tata: Ancelotti is a great coach with a lovely record in big games that are not El Clasico. [smiles]

Press Officers: Alright, alright. That’s enough of you guys. Let’s change it up a bit. You there, without an ounce of credibility.

Mundo Deportivo: We heard something about pressure. Do you think we should be putting more pressure on socis to vote, yes, vote in the referendum that is coming soon April 5 that every socis should vote in, yes indeed?

Tata: Well, this is a big and grand club with a passionate fanbase. We should let them decide their own future.

Sport: Wise words, Tata, although they fall a bit flat coming from an outsider. Speaking of flat, the counter attack?

Tata: What about it?

Sport: So you admit there are no flaws in it.

Tata: Sorry, what are you talking about–

MD: Neymar.

Press Officer: That’s not a question. Next.

Marca: We heard Neymar being mentioned.  Please comment about his contract situation.

Tata: [deadpan] He’s here for five years. [turns to Press Officer] I know this is Spain but do you think you can get them to talk just a bit more about, y’know, football?

Press Officer: [nods] We’ll only be taking strictly football related questions now. I’ll start with you, no, not you, the other one with the long hair.

Clarin: We’d just like to ask about Balanta? He plays in Argentina. [waits a beat] You know, where you’re from. Will he be transferring to Barca this summer?

FIFA: Too soon.

Clarin: Dammit.

Sport: What’s up with Cesc? He kind of sucks.

ArsenalTV: We can always take him back if you don’t want him.

All: Where’d you come from?

ArsenalTV: I just thought with the ban, and, uh, Samper and err…. Right. I’ll just see myself out…

Tata:  Cesc’s an important player who plays an important role in our 4-man midfield and has scored and assisted goals that were very important. He has a lot of quality. Important quality.

Las Ultimas Noticias de Chile: Just to elaborate: Alexis?

Tata: Sorry, what?

Las Ultimas Noticias: So you agree. Alexis.

Tata: [looks at clock, side-eyes Press Officer]

Press Officer: Final question. [points] Eenie meenie minnie mo. Okay, you.

La Vanguardia: You’ve been here for almost a year now. You know how it works here. Fancy being around for another?

Tata: [smiles] Where else would I rather be?







Neymar’s dad!

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Written by:

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater New York City area with his wife and daughter.


  1. April 2, 2014

    Feel free to inform me any typos as per. It’s late so there will probably be plenty. I fixed the Balanta thing like twice. But you’ll never know, haha.

    Except I just mentioned it.


  2. K_legit in Oz
    April 3, 2014

    Hey FC Barcelona board peoples, Diego Lopez is leaving Madrid at the end of this season and we need a Goalkeeper *wink wink* *nudge nudge*

    So clearly Mascherano to play as GK then *sigh*

    • Kari
      April 3, 2014

      Sorry, can’t hear you over the REFERENDUM.

  3. Laurentiu88
    April 3, 2014

    loool tata part made laugh so much…

    nice piece!

    bvb looked very poor, and still were so close to getting one goal 🙂

    can’t wait for saturday’s games 🙂 la liga is so thrilling this season.

    • Kari
      April 3, 2014

      Yay, mission accomplished!

      I’m looking forward to weekend too. Just hope we don’t get anymore injures… (happy thoughts, happy thoughts)

  4. socrates
    April 3, 2014

    From the epic in SoccerMom’s to the sordid in Kari’s post –two reflections of one Shakespearean club– and what is a culer to do?

    Vissi d’arte, vissi d’amore,
    Recent events bring Puccini’s opera Tosca to mind.
    Andre’s tragedy, Victor’s mishap and now even this, Pique’s spine?

    I lived for art, I lived for love,
    I never harmed a living soul!
    why, why, Lord,
    ah, why do you reward me thus?

    Enough of the operatics. Why do people insist on portraying Martino as some kind of benevolent journeyman? I look at the man strutting up and down the FC Barcelona sideline and all I see is some shambling reflection of the Argentinian Generals of the military dictatorships of the ’70’s. Do people not remember how the despicable Sandro Rosell rang his cohort Horacio Cartes — current President of Paraguay and if anyone is interested, partisan of the dictator Stroessner — in order to reach Martino?* Cartes was also, of course, president of Club Libertad, Gerardo Martino’s club in Paraguay. Cartes and Martino, BFF. (no doubt Peter loves this far-right love-in).

    Some journalist of integrity needs to investigate this toxic southern cone duplicity and join the dots. And FC Barcelona needs to rid itself of these dubious characters.

    Rosell-Bartomeu-Cartes-Martino. Rosell, good riddance; and now, Bartomeu and Martino. Que se vayan todos! Get rid of them all, the toxic board and Martino!


    • Knowing the President of Paraguay isn’t a necessary condition of being a fascist, albeit I would prefer if Martino was friends with Mujica. Otherwise, a certain, once Argentinian, now Roman once had fascist connections. I can’t imagine that while Martino was spending his youth playing football that he was involved too deeply in what happened in Argentina in the 1970’s.

      • socrates
        April 3, 2014

        I didn’t say Martino was involved in what happened in Argentina in the 1970′s.

    • Kari
      April 3, 2014

      But I liked the operatics! Haha

      I didn’t actually know that re Tata. Just noticed the man gives some good pressers that have certainly impressed me.

      I hope we have a elections in June. I can’t understand why they haven’t been called yet. What a disgrace.

  5. Peter
    April 3, 2014

    Just to clarify something:

    The EE representative(vice-emperor of EE) ruled in favor of Barcelona’s suggestion for clubs to be allowed to sign youth players from around the world.

    He did not “vote in our favour in that FIFA thing”.

    • Kari
      April 3, 2014

      Ah, okay. Thanks! I just knew we got something from them but I wasn’t clear on what it was. Anyways the point was that’s RM aren’t trying to sabotage us here.

      • Peter
        April 3, 2014

        That’s exactly my point, there’s absolutely no evidence whatsoever to conclude that. Real’s vice-president voted in favor of a suggestion which benefits not just Barcelona, but every big club with an academy, not just in Spain but everywhere.

        The ban against Barcelona is something else entirely separate from Barcelona’s proposition. Anyway, what’s an active member of the EE board doing in FIFA regulations board? In the immortal words of Capt. Jean Luc Picard: “What the F*ck is this Sh*t!!!”

        • Kari
          April 3, 2014

          It’s pretty ridiculous. But the shout of conspiracy that’s around twitter and being reported by sources is one I don’t like. Sure, FIFA is responding to some sort of tip that was sent to them, since that’s how their investigations operate apparently, but to conclude it’s RM off the bat – while justified – doesn’t really help our cause and just lets us fall into old habits (the perennial victims).

          • Very true.

            It would be nice if club hire some good lawyers or PR guys. Our official statement is kind of joke, considering the seriousness of the matter. It doesnt even mention about article 19, which is what seemed to have breached. Our reply is all about how well we are treating the kids.

            Are our club officials living in some special world. I feel terribly disappointed.

          • Peter
            April 3, 2014

            Is it a conspiracy? Let’s see:

            The decision to place the ban has been taken in the end of November. In December, after the ban has been decided upon FIFA continues to ask for documents on youth players. The notification arrives more than four months later.

            Just a quick google maps calculation: If a human being carries the notification of FIFA from Zurich to Barcelona and walks 10 km per day(two hours per day at 5 km/h), he/she would still need less than a hundred days to reach Barcelona. The notification took more than 120 days.

          • Kari
            April 3, 2014

            That doesn’t negate the fact they broke the rules and knew it . No matter how dumb the rule, you don’t play with fire, especially when the fire warned you it’d burn if you didn’t fix the situation. They told Barca Feb 2013 and Rosell just responded with a letter asking for an exception and left it alone.

            There’s a point to be made with the timing and the nature of the ban, and they are being made an example which is unfair, but the defense of ‘We’re special so the rules shouldn’t apply to us’ won’t go down well.

          • Peter
            April 3, 2014

            The defence isn’t “We’re special”, the defence is “We are following the spirit of the law that you accuse us of breaching”.

            The whole presumption that “no matter how dumb the rule, you have to follow it” is not correct. It matters how dumb the rule, it does matter that the rule actually prohibits youth players from joining world-renowned academies(not just Barcelona’s, mind you) that can guarantee them a better future and a hope of fulfilling their dreams.

            It does matter that FIFA considers youth players to be collective property of their national leagues and federations. I get protectionism, but not when it harms the same youths it has been set up to protect.

          • Kari
            April 3, 2014

            The presumption is not to ignore things or rest on your laurels. The Barca management didn’t take FIFA seriously. We all know La Masia isn’t exploiting kids or has anything to do with child labourers. But the tone they have used and the way the have acted has been quite self-congratulatory at best and arrogant at worst.

            As shown in Rosell’s letter:

            If I were an all powerful group with the ability to arbitrarily ban teams I don’t think I would have responded well. It’s not right either. In fact it’s quite petty but when you have an entity like FIFA at the helm you can’t be lax or naive.

            As Linda said on Twitter: “To understand why Rosell’s response to FIFA was ill-advised, think of it this way: if you’re advised by the environmental agency that you’re being investigated for pollution, do you write back telling them how bad the law is and how your way is better? Or do you try to stop doing the infringing thing and try to make a deal to mitigate the risk of a full penalty?”

            Re the “following the spirit of the law” defense: from the looks of it the appeal Barca will launch will be against the level of sanction not the breach of the rule itself.

            I agree 100% that Barca have a case but the methods they have used left me wanting. Watching two corrupt groups fight over the future of kids is pretty annoying.

          • Peter
            April 3, 2014

            The letter of the regulation is indeed not followed, but the regulation itself is a case of using the death penalty for everything from serial murder to jaywalking.

            The prohibition’s single purpose is “don’t bother FIFA”.
            If FIFA prohibits the transfer of minors, FIFA wouldn’t have to bother creating standards and upholding those standards, FIFA wouldn’t have to review education and formation centers, FIFA wouldn’t have to decide on a case-by-case basis whether the rules are breached.

            Actual protection of minors is considerably further down on the agenda.

          • Kari
            April 3, 2014

            Yep. Agreed.

            FIFA has a lot to answer for and such a law is nonsensical when applied to the big clubs of the world. La Masia is quite a prison, eh, with all its education and housing…

            Changes are needed. But the question of who can change FIFA is a big one.

  6. April 3, 2014

    Misfortunes for this club just seem to keep on coming. We just cannot catch a break. The injury plague that has affected us, in the past, while absurd, is still part of the game. But I am absolutely fuming at the misgovernance and negligence from the administration, which has seen my club dragged through the mud and reputation totally tarnished this year. From mis dealings and corruption in Brazil, to the Neymargate scandal and now this. Lord help us.

  7. April 3, 2014

    Nice article, Kari.

    Every culer not named Mascherano or Bartra just woke up with a terrible feeling in the stomach…

    • Kari
      April 3, 2014


      Man, this whole thing sucks.

  8. LysdeXic
    April 3, 2014

    … Maybe FCB’s decision to normalize the situation in the middle East between Israel & Palestine with that ‘Peace Tour’, has come back to bite them in the buttocks. Karma does these things. One is the oppressor, the other’s the oppressed — respectively. An institution like ‘Mes Que Un Club’ – the same one that Alves questioned, for the treatment of his best friend, Abidal, should never have sought to ‘normalize’ the known occupation of a land by force, thereby acting like a patsy to an apartheid entity — another one of Rossel’s woes.
    Giving the idea that these are just two forces slugging it out, & seeking to detract from he glaring truth of the matter, that one side has been put into concentration camps in its own country for years, by its occupyer. BDS Catalunya condemed it, like they condemned the Shilat visit, & protested it. ))) Descending audio)))… -In other news from around the world… FCBarcelona has been banned from making transfers for the next 14 months, which includes 2 transfer window periods- Err…

    • April 3, 2014

      I can sympathize with your point of view, but this is not the place to air it. Unless you want BFB commenters to end up fighting with each other over something that is not at all related to football…

    • PrinceYuvi
      April 3, 2014

      Which one is your favourite club ?

  9. LysdeXic
    April 3, 2014

    Martino marches up & down like a general? It’s an Argentine thing to have one’s chest out whilst walking, marching, etc… It doesn’t mean he’s some kinda extremist, or knowing one makes him one. Martino & Maradona has the exact same mannerisms in that way, the way they carry themselves. Coincidentally, They’re both Argentine. Maradona was a general on the pitch. Thee General! If it wasn’t for Maradona (Messi’s idol), we wouldn’t have the player that Messi is today. Messi is still only trying to fill the almost un fillable deep shoes of his idol, & compatriot. A compatriot that took average teams, & turned them into world champions (Argentina), & into domestic, & European champions – in the case of Napoli, a Serie B team when he arrived, in a league that dominated Europe, with savages for defenders, robust in every way, butchers & psychos, ankle crunchers. In a time where the tackle from behind was still legal, & defenders showed no mercy to players like Maradona. But he was strong as a bull. Hard as a tank. This is the era Diego Maradona dominated. Muddy pitches that looked like landslides when it rained. He rode every tackle from behind from multiple assailants, in those conditions. This is the reason we have Messi today.

  10. LysdeXic
    April 3, 2014

    The ‘Peace Tour’, is football related. But I know what you mean don’t worry. One BFB commentator mentioned ‘Qatar’s slave labour employment’. A human rights violation. I thought I’d highlight Thee human rights violators of human rights violators…

  11. Valdemar II
    April 3, 2014

    From what I have gathered, we are getting punished for what everyone else is also doing? The ban ‘just happens’ to block our most important transfer window in years, plus we have already made good signings that are now uncertain. Jokes.

  12. LysdeXic
    April 3, 2014

    By the way.. Hearing the Camp Nou explode into ”El Cant del Barca” on Tuesday made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck, gave me goose bumps… I don’t think I’ve heard them this intense. It synchronized with Barca’s extreme wave after wave pressure in Atletico’s half. Scoring from that would’ve made the place collapse.

    • barca96
      April 3, 2014

      I noticed that the fans were much louder than usual in that match.

    • barca96
      April 3, 2014

      Btw, try to use the Reply function.

  13. I have a feeling that the ban will take place. Definitely there is some naughtiness involved. If FIFA decided on ban in November but waited till now(so that the last winter window is removed), then some one definitely is playing behind the scene. That one could be Sepp Blatter in company of the Madrid president. He made sure that Ronaldo won the Balon d’Or. Now this could be his idea of hurting Barca in order to help Madrid.

    The response of the club makes it pretty clear that the ban is to be enforced. The only thing is to be seen whether we could get this summer window out of it by some legal help. Definitely a possibility.The ban is definitely going to happen. You understood that the very moment the club’s official response to the ban was an a moral advertising for La Masia. Had our management had any legal option left, they would have mentioned that.

    Is this regulation a bit over-reaching? I understand the idea was to make sure that young players are not exploited. But it also prevents talented youngsters from getting the help they wanted. Let’s take the example of Messi itself. Had this regulation was in place Messi would have been sitting in Argentina without any help for the treatment he required. Is that what FIFA wants?

  14. April 3, 2014

    For four years now, we have blatantly ignored the sporting needs of the first team. We have needed a CB since 2010. No, they said, year after year. When it looked like this summer, a CB signing was coming, we somehow managed to not make one, yet again. Puyol will be our signing, they said. Never mind that he played a couple games and decided to call it quits. So much for a new signing.

    Now, this transfer ban!
    Finally the club has a real reason not to sign a CB.
    or anyone for that matter.
    Well done!

    • barca96
      April 4, 2014

      At least now they have someone to blame 🙂

  15. LysdeXic
    April 3, 2014

    ”& the point is?” There, it’s right there. Being any more transparent about the point would be like a hole in a glass door.

    • ooga aga
      April 3, 2014

      I saw your point but cmon, if you worry too much about the politics of the individuals at the club, you’re gonna ruin it for yourself. I’d wager maybe even some of the players are right leaning. They certainly are religious…

      • ooga aga
        April 3, 2014

        Sorry, I confused u with Socrates…

  16. April 3, 2014

    I giggled all the way through this. Awesome! 😆

    Just a follow-up, though…Neymar?

  17. barca96
    April 3, 2014

    I was watching the 2nd half of Madrid vs Dortmund earlier today and I thought to myself that we should sign (pre-contract kinda thing) Reus and loan him back to Dortmund and only after the ban is over he comes over to us. Magnificent player. Wasn’t scared of the Madrid defense at all. Kept running at them.

  18. April 3, 2014

    Hmmm pre-contracts with one-year loans… Not sure if that is a good or a bad idea. What if they get injured?

    Anyway, I like Reus as a player but a winger is the only position we absolutely DON’T need to reinforce so uhmmm, mweh.

    • ooga aga
      April 3, 2014

      Interesting but tata’s barca has shipped fewer goals than pep’s after his first fifty matches.

  19. ooga aga
    April 3, 2014

    On the other hand I agree 100% with what he says about puyol.

  20. barca96
    April 3, 2014

    If we’re banned, then we just have to find some positives. Remember what Cruyff said… Elk nadeel heeft een voordeel.

    We will have to make us of all the resources that we have. Everybody will have to step it up.

    And the best part for me would be more young players getting a chance to play in the first team. Tata will have to, he has no choice since we already have a thin squad.

    I for one, am excited at the prospects of new players joining the first team from the B team.

    • G6O
      April 3, 2014

      We better hope that someone from the B team can play CB at a reasonable enough level for us not to drop too many points next season, or that Adriano can be converted into one semi-permanently. Because no club can go through a whole season with just 3 CBs, one of which is not even a real CB. That’s the most prone to injuries and suspensions position in football.

      • barca96
        April 4, 2014

        I would count Puyol in. I don’t think he will leave the club in this situation knowing that we lack CB’s.

        And we can try Bagnack and Sergi Gomez as back ups.

  21. barca96
    April 3, 2014

    It has its risks but Reus is a player that I’ll take my chances with. Too hot to let go. Just like when I really wished Messi tried harder for the club to sign Aguero many seasons ago even though there was no place for him and our formation doesn’t suit him.

  22. April 3, 2014

    Those quotes from Bartomeu were embarrassing and laughable. We’re well and truly screwed. Every time I think this board can’t get worse, they prove me wrong.

  23. BA
    April 3, 2014

    between this (un)forced error transfer ban, the selling of the shirt, the constriction of soci privileges, the attempted selling of the stadium name, the Neymar transfer muddle, the treatment of Abidal, the misguided attempts to control a nonexistent “crippling” debt, and the continual lying and obfuscation about nearly all of it…..

    this is the worst administration in modern FCB history. yes, worse than Núñez, which was mainly about results on the pitch. in terms of the actual governance of the club, this has been a disastrous few years; and so much of that disaster has been self-inflicted.

    • Kari
      April 3, 2014


      Worse than Gaspart too, IMO. Combined the worst of both worlds.

      • barca96
        April 4, 2014

        How is it worst than Gaspart??!! Let’s not be too dramatic. We are competing for 3 titles. Do you remember how awful we were? It was so bad on the pitch that my friends were predicting that we would actually be relegated from self explosion due to the many issues going in the club, on and off the field.

        • Kari
          April 4, 2014

          Gaspart was only on the pitch. This board took the greatest Barca in history and is destroying it, completely wasting the prime of legendary group of players, and drove out the best manager the world has to offer at the moment, all for their own self interest. On top of that it’s ruining the reputation of the club, the perception of it, and the work of talented and hardworking people.

          Looking at the sheer mismanagement of the side, it’s worse.

  24. Rami
    April 3, 2014

    So they decide to punish the only club in the world that is a proud and prime example on the treatment and handling of youth players!!, How much more corrupt can FIFA get, Absolutely disgusting.

    There is no denying that dark hands are playing in background, Our club has been the target of repeated attacks this whole season, From the wave of damaging ‘junk’ press against messi, The neymar fiasco, And now this, Only a delusion person will see it as a coincidence.

  25. LysdeXic
    April 3, 2014

    Things used to be so peaceful when Barcelona weren’t really achieving anything. I remember when Zidane & co used to come to the Camp Nou in the early 2000s, (I never really rated Figo at Barca, then he went to the Whites, 2 seasons before Zidane’s departure from Juve in 2001). Barca would outplay them, & somehow still lose. Last memory is Zidane scooping the ball over an on rushing Barcelona goal keeper, while sandwiched between defenders. Goal. Shit luck. On the break. The Whites were getting all the plaudits & the Blaugrana had to sit & play second fiddle, or third. Did they ever get jealous – & from that, nasty? Naa, they were waiting patiently for a generation to take them to heights never ever scaled, by any club, or national team. Everything started from there. 14 years after the Dream Team, it would ironically be another Frank, but fittingly, Dutch, that would give us a taste of what would come 2 years later, naa, not Ronaldinho’s pot belly… How can a Catalan ppl formerly oppressed by Franco dominate a Spanish league, & Europe when they were considered to be second rate citizens to the capitol? They’re supposed to be superior, so it’s an insult. Franco might be gone, but the mentality remains, especially where this Catalan team is concerned.
    That overused cliche applies in all of this; ‘What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger’. This might just have the opposite effect, & not the desired one the enemy(ies) of Camp Nou wants, or no effect at all. This team is known to roll with the punches, come hell or high water, & some more hell.

  26. LysdeXic
    April 3, 2014

    In all seriousness, nagging over shit won’t change a thing. This could be a blessing in disguise. It is after all la Masia graduates responsible for these last 6 years. No transfers & complete reliance on B team players could work out just fine. This glass is half full. Never mind this cloud. Fill the rest of the cup with the rain from that cloud. They gave you lemons… Make lemonade & shit L0L! Throw them in the deep end & see what they’re made of. That pre season match against Bayern made up completely of B team players, impressed a hell of a lot. They even dominated Bayern for periods.

  27. LysdeXic
    April 3, 2014

    Here’s to Laporta returning. I never liked Rossel. He looks like Charlie Sheen’s geeky brother in 3 & a Half Men LMA0. It’s so gloomy in here haha. There are much worse things that could happen. You could wake up tomorrow morning with a zit on your face & have to go to work with a bag over your head.

    • barca96
      April 4, 2014

      I watched a rerun of Matrix a couple of days ago and Rosell looked like the villain of that movie too. His name escapes me. I think Rosell looks more like this Matrix villain than the goofy Alan Harper 🙂

  28. LysdeXic
    April 3, 2014

    Wait. Wasn’t it 2 & a Half Men? My math skills ain’t like it used to be. If you do wake up with a zit on your face tomorrow morning & have to go to work with a bag over your head… paint the bag blue & red. Culer through & through. Where there’s a zit, there’s opportunity.

  29. ciaran
    April 3, 2014


    1.- February 5 2013 the Club receives the request from FIFA (via RFEF) for information concerning the registration of Lee Sung Woo, which was presented and as a measure of the Club’s complete transparency and willingness to collaborate, we also included information concerning another Korean youngster (Jang Gyeolhee) who was in the same situation and whose name was also mentioned in the papers concerning Lee Sung Woo. We duly answered FIFA’s request on February 15 2013.

    2.- On March 1 2013, President Rosell sent a letter to the FIFA Secretary General to propose substantial modifications to Article 19 of the Protection of Underage Players to make it more effective.

    3.- On May 6 2013, the Club received notification from FIFA that they wanted information concerning 16 more players and any other non-Spanish players who were not registered with the RFEF or who were only registered with the Federació Catalana de Futbol. The Club duly gave details of 15 more players and sent all the information requested on May 16, 2013. At this time information concerning a total of 33 players had been provided by the Club.

    4.- On July 9, the Club recieved a reply from FIFA’s secretary general, Jerome Valcke, to President Rosell concerning the Club’s proposal to consider an exception to article 19 of the Protection of Underage Players, which referred to a possible analysis of the issue by the Player Status Committee at the end of the year.

    5.- On July 12 2013 the Club received notification from FIFA (via RFEF) of a request for more information about 25 of the 33 players, which was sent on July 17, 2013.

    6.- On 25 September 2013, FIFA contacted RFEF with 31 letters – one for each player investigated – requiring further information from 18 of them and informing them that disciplinary proceedings were being opened which would be sent to the Disciplinary Commission at its meeting on November 29, 2013. This information was re-sent to the Clubby the RFEF on October 4 2013 and the corresponding appeals were lodged on October 8, 2013.

    7.- On 20 November 2013, FIFA (via RFEF) asked for further information concerning 12 of the 18 players, which was sent to FIFA on November 25, 2013.

    8.- On 26 November 2013, FIFA asked for information concerning 4 more players who they believed should have been included in response to the request made on May 6, 2013. This information was sent on December 3, 2013, which was the deadline set by FIFA. The total number of players about whom information had been requested was now 37.

    9.- On 28 November, before the deadline set for the presentation of the information requested above, FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee met and decided on the sanctions to be applied to FC Barcelona, which was not communicated to the Club until yesterday, April 2, 2014 -4 months and 5 days after the decision had been taken. The FIFA Secretary General has today admitted that he is unaware of the reasons why this decision was not communicated until now.

    10.- On 9 December 2013, eleven days after the disciplinary decision had been taken, FIFA confirmed they had recieved the information they had asked for before the deadline they had set.. They also asked for information concerning all the non-Spanish underage players registered at that time and who had been registered since May 16 2013. This information was sent on 16 December, one day before the deadline set by FIFA. It is surprising that FIFA continued to request information despite having already taken its decision to impose sanctions.

    11.- Yesterday, 2 April 2014, we received notification of the sanctions to be imposed by FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee. Out of a total of 37 players investigated, FIFA considered that 9 did not fulfil the conditions laid out in the Rules for Transfer of Players.

    • ciaran
      April 3, 2014

      This is crazy. They had their decision made before the deadline for Barcelona to give all the details for the players involved.
      This was also over 4 months before they communicated the sanctions to Barcelona so they missed the last transfer window.

      With this in mind, I see the transfer ban being totally removed or at least suspended. FIFA have a lot to answer for.

      • Peter
        April 3, 2014

        This is a very serious step, one that’s not taken lightly. From what Bartomeu implied, Barcelona are appealing and will appeal again and again if needed.

        Personally, I’m a bit scared. This can end very well, but also could end very badly. And in any case Barcelona would have incurred more and quite powerful enemies.

        • ciaran
          April 3, 2014

          It is a very serious step but one that I agree with. If they made a decision before gathering all of the facts then it is clear that they were either against Barca or wanted to make an example out of Barca. Either way it should result in the sanctions being overturned.

          Even if they delay the ban until after the summer then it would be perfectly acceptable as we would have time to make the necessary reinforcements before serving the ban. I feel this is fair as Barca should have been informed when a decision was made.

          Another acceptable decision potentially would be to reduce the ban to just the summer window as the past winter window should have already been served if they informed us in time.

    • If the FIFA failed to inform this in November especially before the winter transfer window, we could argue a case based on that. It looks like a huge procedural issue. A good lawyer ideally could get the case thrown out at CAS or at least in European Court.

      Any legal experts here?

  30. KEVINO17
    April 3, 2014

    30 minutes to go against Atleti and Barc needs a goal. What does Tata do? He pulls off Cesc and a defender, brings on Pedro and Alexis to create a star-studded four-man forward line and then it will be wave after wave of attack. Be fantastic.

    • ciaran
      April 3, 2014

      I’d much prefer if we were already 2 goals to the good with 30 minutes to go and he brings on Cesc to steady the ship in terms of possession.
      I wouldn’t start with Cesc next week. We were a much improved team with 3 forwards against Atletico, and with 4 midfielders we haven’t managed to beat them in 4 attempts this season, it’s time for a 4-3-3.

      • KEVINO17
        April 3, 2014

        I agree. If they don’t have diego costa, we should be going out to put in as many away goals as possible (even if we concede one or two). Be interesting to see how Tata plays it.

        • ooga aga
          April 3, 2014

          We need two goals and we can allow them to get two in the process. Therefore I agree that we need more attacking thrust. On the other hand Alexis and Pedro need room to operate which we will not have esp in the first half.

          • KEVINO17
            April 3, 2014

            True. But they are fantastic exponents of the forward press. It’s no surprise that we got our goal when Atleti were trying to transition to attack, lost the ball (was it Alexis who made the tackle) and were caught disorganised.

          • April 3, 2014

            Martino won’t do what would be fascinating to contemplate: start a front line of Neymar flanked by Sanchez and Pedro, sub Messi for the one playing least well in second half. Imagine what that would do to Atleti’s plans.

  31. April 3, 2014

    As usual, a few things:

    — Rosell won in a landslide. The current board is legal by club law. No reason for them to assent to elections, even if the stadium referendum fails. We have them until 2016, so get used to it.

    — The one up side is that people now understand what some of us were ranting about. People asked “Why do you hate Rosell,” etc. Now it is clear.

    — That said, the club needs to take on this FIFA law, for the good of other clubs. At present there is no standard. The only thing “protecting” kids is a rule that is easily gotten around. So find the parents a job in Barcelona, then the kid comes to the academy. Voila.

    As others have noted, the protective qualities of that rule are exactly nil. We can’t offer a kid a contract but an English club can because of a different law of the land as regards youth players. Bonkers.

    — Bartomeu’s presser … jaysus! Tone deaf victimhood won’t fly.

    — The club has said that it is going right on with plans for next season, including transfers. We shall see. In the Bartomeu presser, he claims to have spoken to a high-ranking FIFA official who told him that he believed the penalty was excessive. Hmmm …

    • barca96
      April 4, 2014

      Fifa prohibits the international transfers of players under the age of 18, unless the two clubs involved are both within the European Union or the border being crossed is less than 50km from a player’s home, or the player’s parents move to the country in which the new club is located for reasons not linked to football.

      I just don’t see a way around this. The parents need to be relocated first for a job and then the son is “apparently” snapped up by Barca scouts.

      First of all, what is the likelihood of a foreigner landing a job in Barcelona where the country has a high rate of unemployment?

      Secondly, it has to be a better paying job compared to the home country for the parents to move to Barcelona.

      Barcelona could set up a company that does something like marketing or whatever and “recruit” the parents from jobhunters and then the process begins. But that is really easy to get caught by FIFA and in the end it will become a big legal issue.

  32. olbucky
    April 3, 2014

    I was listening to Sid Lowe on a podcast today and he said the rumor is that Athletico Madrid and Real Madrid are next up on FIFA’s list for these type of sanctions.

  33. LysdeXic
    April 4, 2014

    Atletico’s a high pressing team. That’s somewhat of an understatement. Pin them back with possession again. Wear them out. 4 3 3 resulted in draws against them before. Would a 4 man midfield have worked in those matches? Who knows. Possession is the only way. Atleti got lucky with their goal. Doesn’t matter how brilliantly Diego hit the ball. He got lucky. He had to take a shot from there. They couldn’t penetrate, & they had none of the ball to penetrate either. The rare chance even from there went in. He probably shat his pants when that shot screamed in. What bum luck. Story of Barca’s life. You can only press (or in the case of Tuesday’s match, chase shadows) for so long. They became tired in the last 25 mins. Supremely fit as they may be, not even they could go 90 mins running like mad men, like they did earlier in the season. I say 4 man midfield again. It’s late in the season. They’re not as energetic to run like that for the full 90 like they did in the last match against Barca at the Camp Nou. It was noticeable on Tuesday. Their players have received less, or much less rotation than Barca. One of the reasons for Tata having rotated this squad so much is because he knows that high pressing teams like Barca, run out of gas in the middle, through to the end of the campaign, if the same team runs out on to the field week in, week out. Atletico’s squad isn’t big enough for Simeone to have afforded them that luxury, kept them as fresh. Besides, even before reverting back to 4 3 3, Barca were wasteful with some of their chances – something that’s become an uncharacteristic trait this season. If they had put them away, 4 3 3 would’ve been kept in ‘Grandfather’s’ back pocket & compliments would’ve rang off the chain again. He has the 4 3 3 backup option like in the first leg, should Barca fail to break through. I’ve been waiting to see if Atletico could maintain the same fitness levels throughout the season. Barca was extra intense in possession on Tuesday, & it showed in Atleti’s exhaustion – games where Barca wearing teams out in the past, were back. But even though their legs were wobbling like a newly born Bambi, they were able to hold on for deer, err, dear life because we lacked finishing.

    • ciaran
      April 4, 2014

      My points are more about the failings of the 4 mam midfield this season.
      We control matches with that midfield but create little to no chances. What we need are goals.
      You say that they will run out of steam but we still need to score goals and find a way past Courtois.
      Out of the 4 matches we’ve played against them this season 0% of our results against them are good enough to get us through while 50% of their results against us are.
      Statistically we need to be better than we have been against them

  34. LysdeXic
    April 4, 2014

    It’s simple. They couldn’t score because they weren’t taking their chances. Even under Guardiola, we use to draw blanks, low score draws against these kinda teams etc,. We were vulnerable to giving up more of the ball with 4 3 3 in previous matches against Atleti this season, & it certainly made me feel edgy. There was a merited sense of security on Tuesday, & you felt that the only way they could score against us, was through a freak goal, or deflection. The less we have the ball, the more we need to chase it down, the more gaps open. The risk is too great, especially since we have to protect our back line even more now than ever, coupled with that, it has to be done at the Calderon. 4 men in midfield is the best way to do that. If there’s not enough chances, Martino can then switch back to convention like he did in the first leg, at the same stage of the match. He’s been quite good at calling what to do in the big matches. Let the big man get down. I dunno about you, but that was the best Barca performance I’ve seen since 2011. They looked possessed in possession, & possessed without possession. Atleti never even had enough space to fart. Never got any chances to get into any positions to put crosses in. Tata talked about how intense they needed to be, & boy did they show it, & it all went to script. But for that freak goal…

  35. barca96
    April 4, 2014

    I understand that it isn’t really political correct to buy kids and place them in La Masia but aren’t we and other clubs helping the kids to give a better path to be professionals?

    I watched a documentary somewhere back in 1998-2000. It was about the many Brazilian and African players who were promised clubs in Belgium by agents but once they got there they found out that they were cheated.

    I am not sure this type of scams still occur in this day but I am pretty sure just a few years ago I read a similar story. I think it’s better if FIFA goes after that type of exploitation rather than these youth players where they are guaranteed safe.

  36. barca96
    April 4, 2014

    What actually broke the camels back for FIFA? Why only now and why us?

    • barca96
      April 4, 2014

      Just an example, Madrid signed a 9 year old Japanese kid back in October. How is that different? And I remember in 1999 or 2000 they signed a 10 year old Swedish kid.

      Did we sign any foreign kid around that age? I can’t recall anyone. I know most of them are already in their teens.

    • PrinceYuvi
      April 4, 2014

      Where’s a Sid Lowe article when you need one ?

      Seems like only Intelligent neutral out there.

      Others are busy rubbing their hands together in glee.

  37. PrinceYuvi
    April 4, 2014

    Zubiza wanted to resign after FIFA ban,
    The board rejected the proposition.

  38. LysdeXic
    April 4, 2014

    Ppl are so scared of Barcelona, & the fact that another team from the production line could dominate world football again, like the current one has for the last 6 years. It’s not the first team members under attack anymore, it’s la Masia. Stop Barcelona. Go deeper. Stop the production line, or cause it damage. This world is always contradicting itself. On the one hand they complain about clubs spending ridiculous sums of money in strengthening their teams & how it’s unfair, & when that’s not enough, they complain when ppl strengthen their clubs by doing it the purest way, the right way, the most honest way… grassroots level. La Masia is known for creating the best sporting, & even more, instilling good values, respect, & education for its youngsters. But this isn’t enough. It’s about stopping the club from being so dominant. Go to the root of the problem, or for that matter, grassroots. They know that nobody else develops players the way la Masia does. That old saying… ‘No good deed goes unpunished’.

    • Stop Barcelona. Go deeper. Stop the production line, or cause it damage.
      Very thoughtful.
      Fifa seems to have learnt how some powerful nations operate to get what they want.

  39. This ban is not gonna stop our club from signing young prospects and instill technique. Instead, we will play smart and get around this. You are going to see many instances of players trying with Barca and getting rejected, only to see their parents move to Barcelona and a year after voila, they will be in the system.

    • PrinceYuvi
      April 4, 2014

      So, along with the players Barca must feed their parents too ?
      The Neymar Sr. incident must be an Elaborate Rehearsal then.

  40. April 4, 2014

    Sorry, but some of the comments here seem quite delusional. This stuff about conspiracies and “dark forces” and “someone wants to stop Barca” sound quite deranged. I expect a guilty board to reach for such nonsense because they have no other defense (literally, they have no defense, they’re not even denying it) but I would hope free-thinking individuals do not echo those claims. They screwed up and now they’re looking to deflect attention. Let’s not aid them in that.

    • Peter
      April 4, 2014

      Apparently there is a saying in Chicago:

      Once is happenstance,
      Twice is coincidence,
      Three times is enemy action.

      Doping, Messi’s taxes, Neymar’s case, Cases’ failed vote of no confidence, the threats against Rosell, the “peculiarities” appearing during the process to reach this ban, the decision to impose the ban… At this point you’d probably be more delusional if you think it’s not deliberate.

      P.S. Another nice quote from arguably the sanest book there is: “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you”

      • April 4, 2014

        Doping — yes, this was in all likelihood Madrid led. Note that it only occurred in the press and nothing official (like FIFA).

        Messi taxes — um, he was guilty. Or at least his advisers were. Thus the need to pay up.

        Neymar — exact same thing. The board was guilty.

        Cases — internal to Barca politics.

        Threats against Rosell — internal to Barca politics.

        There is no conspiracy to destabilize Barca. We are doing it to ourselves. Let’s no descend into Mou-levels of paranoia.

        • Peter
          April 4, 2014

          Neymar: actually at this moment nobody has managed to prove that the board is guilty in anything. Interestingly enough, the Judge and the prosecutor have no background in financial crime, and did not contact the Treasure Department before deciding to charge Barcelona with tax fraud. In any case, the Spanish Treasure Department added themselves in the trial after being prodded to do so. The lawyer chosen to represent the Treasure Department was a guest of honor of the Director’s Box at Santiago Bernabeu a week or so later.

          Cases – he went and tried to help Manos Limpios with their trial against FC Barcelona. “Manos ‘Limpios'” were looking for a soci so that they wouldn’t have to pay 45 000 Euro in order to add themselves to the trial. Internal politics my ass.

          As for the FIFA thing:
          1. Real Madrid signed a 16-year old Colombian kid AND a 9-year old Japanese kid. That same Colombian kid had been at trials in Tottenham in 2011(aged 15 at the time) Chelsea also signed a 17-year old Colombian youth player. Have you seen Chelsea, Tottenham or Real being banned?
          2. The decision was made in November and after it had been made FIFA continued to “request additional information”. The decision was communicated at subhuman speed – and I mean that literally. In a world where you can reach the globe in seconds(by phone, fax, e-mail, skype, Videocall), where you have “next morning delivery” of physical mail available, it took FIFA four months to communicate their decision to Barcelona, oh so conveniently meaning that effectively Barcelona would have to suffer three transfer window bans.

  41. LysdeXic
    April 4, 2014

    “If you start to think like that – about conspiracies – it’s difficult to work in football,” he said at a press conference.

    “It’s true that there are many comments on this but I hope many of them have no level of truth. What strikes me is that these things happened at very crucial moments.

    “We don’t stop ignoring the situation. The best we can do is to focus on what lies ahead and allow those in charge to resolve this issue. There’s a lot which needs to be said.

    “We are one of three teams in Europe who can still win three major competitions. I’d rather not be thinking bad things about next season when we are still immersed in this one.

    “We must not divert attention from the football we have left this season.”

    This dude, is one wise dude. He refuses to rub his nose in it. Back in Argentina he experienced the same off field antics with clubs bickering amongst each other for psychological advantages. Prodding & probing into things non football related just to gain an upper hand mentally. That’s Mourinho’s kinda playing ground & he won’t have any of it. He came here to do a job. Everything else is left to the ppl who deal with the media divas & their neurotic ramblings. He prefers keeping things in perspective. It’s almost unavoidable for the players not to wonder amongst each other, why their club is being subjected to outside attacks yet again. But they haven’t come out & publicly given an opinion on it. Not one senior team member has gotten involved, since this whole banning story blew up. He won’t play into their hands, & most importantly, neither will he let his players either. In his short time here, he’s witnessed more madness than Pep did in his 4 years in charge. But he galvanizes his squad & tries to keep their minds focused on their job, drowning out all the other noises like a Vuvuzela (that plastic trumpet at the South Africa 2010 World Cup, that some players complained about. Xavi was ironically one of them). They need to blow a Vuvuzela in the face of adversity. Tata is that Vuvuzela, & I can imagine Xavi has grown quite fond of Tata, as he secretly grew fond of the Vuvuzela after Spain won the World Cup.

  42. LysdeXic
    April 4, 2014

    All views considered but, this isn’t the first time Barca’s come under the microscope, subjected to attacks. When you’re at the top for too long, everyone wants to bring you down, & keep you down. The board is guilty, but there are things that seem suspicious & it’s not delusional. Too many coincidences turns into happenstence, or however you spell that word. Dark forces or not, conspiracy or not, no other club has been subjected to ppl trying to destabilize it as much as Barca. Now, I’m no conspiracy theorist, or detective, or even delusional. But this club has a brilliant model, second to none at nurturing talent, & with so much negative influences around for kids these days with crime, drugs & all other distractions that make it easy to get involved in wrong things. Football is a way out, & la Masia has contributed towards that. Why try tarnish one of the best academies when all they’ve done is good? A ban is harsh. But, ”No good deed goes unpunished”.

  43. If Spanish football wasn’t itself getting a hefty fine, I’d be interested to see how much the government support attacking FCB as part of campaign against Independencia, something FCB has overtly provoked.

    Doesn’t that sound Catalan of me.

    The often mentioned conspiracy seems to point to there being a disconnect with the evidence we are able to see: the tip of the iceberg so to speak. In other words: by virtue of our doubts, we see something odd, but are unable to point to precisely what is going on.

  44. LysdeXic
    April 4, 2014

    Ah. Once is coincidence. Twice is happenstance. Thrice is enemy action. Got it. Knew I had to look up this shit…

  45. LysdeXic
    April 4, 2014

    No wait. Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Thrice is enemy action. Sorry, I’ve got fell-on-the-head-as-a-baby syndrome. I’m currently receiving treatment for it.

  46. April 4, 2014

    Pretty much every time Tata opens his mouth I like him more! Wish I could say the same for our board. What a mess. I do not even really know what to say. I just hope it doesn’t end up as bad as it currently sounds. Hopefully we can at least sign some players this summer while the ban is being appealed. We just need a GK and a CB. Our front line is sorted, Messi, Sanchez, Pedro, Neymar, not sure there is space for anyone else, maybe bring back Deulofeu. Midfield is also stacked, especially with Rafinha coming back. So it is just the back. Barta looks the business so we only need one solid CB signing. That would give us Pique, Barta, new CB and Mascherano for emergencies. If Mascherano leaves then we need another CB for cover, maybe a young promising player.

    All this talk of Gundogan, Reus, Vidal, etc is fine and all but where would they play? Those players are starters, not bench warmers and no way any of them walk into our team as it stands, even if Xavi takes a lesser role next season. The only way I see us buying any of those players is if we sell a big player like a Cesc or a Pedro. Don’t see that happening.

    If we sell Sanchez I think I will cry.

    • Peter
      April 4, 2014

      Why would Mascherano leave? I know all about the rumors, but apart from a huge salary increase, why would Mascherano leave?

      1. He’s playing with a much better squad than he would in practically any Italian or English team
      2. His rapport with Tata and the confidence given to him is evident
      3. The probability of playing against the best teams of Europe and on the greatest stages of Europe is much higher in Barcelona
      4. The probability of performance and trophy bonuses are much higher in Barcelona
      5. He may play nominally as a CB, but a CB in Barcelona is what normally is considered DM functions

      • Rami
        April 4, 2014

        All valid points, But i can think of one huge reason why he might leave, And that’s PRESSURE.
        Playing as a CB for barcelona carries a huge burden of risk and responsibility, Something he admitted, Add to that mascherano is very critique of himself, His saddened comments after the 2nd leg against milan leg last season is an example, Even in the post match photos of the last clasico you can sense he was sad, Probably couldn’t forgive himself about benzema’s 2nd goal, That just how his personality is.

        If pressure can drive someone like victor valdes out, Then it can for mascherano, But i’d love if he stayed, Having such a leading and captain material personality is never a bad thing, It’s the closest thing we’ll ever get to puyol.

  47. Peter
    April 4, 2014

    Oh, and crib-snatcher(asaltacunas) Wenger has chimed in that “Barcelona broke the rules”. Yeah, the guy who was joked to have been lurking about the Maternity in Barcelona hoping to sign Messi’s son, that guy talks about breaking rules.

    My admiration for Arsenal is becoming a thing of the past(coming for a long time now). Here’s hoping for a Deulofeu goal and assist come Sunday.

    • Peter
      April 4, 2014

      It seems I have spoken hastily, very much so indeed. Apparently Wenger has stated that Barcelona have broken the rules, but the rules themselves need to change.

  48. LysdeXic
    April 4, 2014

    Yeah Hilal, Tata’s a stand-up dude. No mocking about, no frills, no spills. One of the few coaches that admit when they’re wrong, & one of the few coaches that see exactly what we see, & makes changes accordingly more often than not. Many coaches frustrate their fans in how they don’t seem to see the glaring obvious. They sit there in that seat, on their laurels, watching from the dug-out. Winning or losing, they’re planted there overlooking the obvious tactical changes needed, the obvious subs needed to be made, instructions being relayed etc. A coach that is active on the sideline is more likely to get the best out of his players. Pep’s theatrics on the sideline was amusing to watch in his time at Barca. Vilanova is a sick man. He couldn’t do it. These teams need someone that gestulates. Martino brought that back as well. Argentines are expressive ppl by nature… If Simeone is anything to go by. Mourinho was like that at Inter, & look what they achieved. & they bested over 2 legs IMO, the best Barca side of all the seasons — the 2009/2010 version. Point. You can’t coach a team sitting on your ass. Vilanova’s excused because of his illness – It’s no coincidence that Barca paled compared to the seasons before that. La Liga record points aside. The UCL showed really how jaded they were. They went with doubts into the Bayern clash. Something just seemed off about them. & there was a nervousness everytime one of the big teams breached midfield & attacked their back line. This term there was a sense they’re more secure. Even before the first Clasico. You just got the feeling they’d be better all round than in the 2 Clasico defeats of the previous season. Simeone & Tata are all about football, & being strong leaders for their teams. Not like some of these other fairies that are quick to shift blames when things are not going their way, or talk about other clubs. I’ve always looked at Wenger as a silly figure. L0L. He’s saved Arsenal a lot of money by promoting players from their youth system, & remaining competitive with that. But why does the Rowan Atkinson look alike have to jump on Fifa’s bandwagon. Barca has enough wolves in its hen house without this man sticking his nose in.

  49. ooga aga
    April 4, 2014

    well, sid lowe has chimed in, and among other things he had this to say:

    “But if that shows that they were not seeking to hide anything, if that demonstrates a certain honesty, requesting exemption is not gaining exemption. You can’t rob a bank and then say: “Yeah, but it’s OK: I sent a letter to the police asking to be allowed to rob a bank. We talked about this.”

    a poor analogy. giving kids an oppportunity at an education they could never dream of (thanks to their footballing talent) is a far cry from robbing a bank.

    • barca96
      April 4, 2014

      I too was disappointed with him in that article about robbing the bank part. It doesn’t make sense. It only makes sense if we kidnapped the kids.

      Wenger too disappointed me. What a Hypocrite!

      • Peter
        April 4, 2014

        Actually Wenger is taking the side of Barcelona. His statement is along the lines of “Barcelona broke the rules, but the rules themselves are broken”.

  50. SemperFi786
    April 5, 2014

    Sid, that was low, & stupid. How can u compare robbing a bank to la Masia. This guy should staple his hand to his mouth after that & not say anything again. Guess his foot in his mouth will do for a while. Hopefully

  51. Laurentiu88
    April 5, 2014

    3 very interesting games today… i would like atletico to do a lot of running, iniesta rested and, why not, real loose..just for fun 🙂

    on the fifa ban thing my only regret is on the 2 players we signed and how this decision can affect their dreams. talk of a conspiracy is ridiculous, we are one of the biggest clubs out there..

    i dont have an in depth knowledge of the matter, but i can understand the purpose and logic of the fifa rule. i disagree with people here defending la masia, barcelona.. there is a moral hazard in opening this global market for young players even more than it is now. imagine for every messi, there r 200 or 20 kids that have to go back in a sense of failure at 12, 14 years of age. just imagine the pressure on a kid training here and knowing all his family’s hope are solely on his shoulders…

    the arg that ‘la masia has always done had x, y,…. is not sound either.

    the only answer worth getting is how come we transferred these players with such rules, precedents in place? maybe it has worth the punishment?

  52. SemperFi786
    April 5, 2014

    Mark Bartra. Definitely 1 for the future. They threw him in no-mans-land last term, & he got caught in no-mans-land, along with the rest of the team. But he’s worked hard. bulked up a bit, showed focus whenever he’s been called upon, & last Tuesday again never disappointed. He sure is an exciting prospect, & he’s a defender. 1 that blends in effortlessly with the midfield when he surges forward. Now its just for Montoya to come good. He’s got the skill set, he just needs to develop the mindset. Things aint as bad as they seem. There r 4 players that r great prospects: Bartra, Montoya, Rafinha & Deulofeu. Those r positions covered from the back, thru to the attack. They’l just need to develop into starters a bit sooner now, which isn’t a bad thing. Bartra has already shown he’s a starter. The other 2 loanees hav done brilliantly at their temporary clubs. Montoya is still a question mark, but a good 1. He reminds me a bit of Roberto Carlos – yeah yeah, Carlos was a merengues, but he was great. Best fullback I’v ever seen, & he could kick a hole in the wind

    • barca96
      April 5, 2014

      Roberto Carlos best full back? He was exciting to me but not even a great, let alone the best.

      • mazimi
        April 6, 2014

        To me, he was only second to Paulo Maldini

  53. Rami
    April 5, 2014

    A way overpowered line-up considering it’ll be against the bottom of the league and IN camp nou, Tata seems to want the players to be at their absolute sharpest for atletico.

  54. Ryan
    April 5, 2014

    Line-up confirmed / Alineació confirmada / Alineación confirmada: Pinto, Alves, Mascherano, Bartra, Adriano, Sergio, Xavi, Iniesta, Pedro, Messi i Alexis

    I’m guessing Tata wants to score several goals quickly so he can rest some players later in the game.

    • barca96
      April 5, 2014

      Again Tata disappointed me with his line up in what supposed to be an easy match.

      It’s been a handful of matches already where he had the opportunity to rest key players but decided to go all out and only for the players to fail him.

      These players just don’t have the motivation against the small teams or play in a match where the tie is already over (Copa and CL).

  55. barca96
    April 5, 2014

    I’m hoping Messi, Iniesta, Xavi and Busi not to play 90mins today.

      • barca96
        April 5, 2014

        Oh right. Only 3 subs.

        Hahaha you seriously thought that I didn’t know. I wish those 4 players wouldn’t play 90 mins but now 1 will have to play the full match.

        I don’t understand why Tata starts with all 4 key players. It’s Betis. At home. We have a do or die CL match in a few days time. Take this opportunity to rest as many key players as possible.

        • barca96
          April 5, 2014

          I would’ve definitely started Cesc. He’s a small game player. He hardly plays well against big teams. A game against a relegation team is when we rest big game key players. Cesc isn’t one.

  56. barca96
    April 5, 2014

    Passing has been quite off tonight.

    We were lucky there with the Busquets tackle. It was a clear red. Last man tackle.

  57. Valdemar II
    April 5, 2014

    Watching a lousy stream, but this Lio guy is looking pretty good in midfield. The dribbles and tricks in this match are very entertaining, good performance.

  58. Rami
    April 5, 2014

    No wonder martino decided to give them playing time, They look like they haven’t played football for weeks, Way too many bad passes, If we to have a good chance of making it to the semi-finals, They need to step it up.

    And a shout out for alexis, Wow.

    • barca96
      April 5, 2014

      Who do you mean by they? Pedro and Alexis?

      Why shout out to Alexis? The only shout out I can think of to him is his work rate.

      Passing is off, finishing non existent, because again he didn’t pull the trigger when he should’ve. That was 80% a goal. Same like last week vs Atletico.

      • Rami
        April 5, 2014

        By ‘they’ i meant the players who could have been given a rest, Like ineista, Xavi, Busi, Alves and even messi.

        A shout out to him because our only goal in the 1st half was from his individual brilliance, His passing or finishing wasn’t any worse than messi or perdo, And if i cared to criticize, They’ll be the first 2 on my list, Not him.

  59. Valdemar II
    April 5, 2014

    What is this second half? Blow the whistle already, lol..

    • Valdemar II
      April 5, 2014

      Is that a penalty goal, statistically? Padding his record quite nicely…

  60. Laurentiu88
    April 5, 2014

    worst game of pedro… in like forever.

    athletic were dried of energy in second half. i was happy until i saw us… we wouldn’t defeat villareal tonight.

  61. TITO
    April 5, 2014

    We won. That’s what matters in games like these when you have a LOT to think about ahead. We could have and should have easily score some more goals and have a more calmer game but we didn’t.
    Keep in mind: All Good Things Come to An End.

  62. ciaran
    April 5, 2014

    A solid result in a match that we needed to win.
    I would have preferred to have rested a couple of more starters but if we had and not won everyone would be complaining too.

    Alexis had a very good match, particularly the first half. His control for the penalty was amazing.
    Busquets was also very good if a little lucky with that tackle. On first viewing I thought it was a great tackle so I understand the referee and the opposition not really protesting.
    Bartra had another very solid match. The Pique injury is good for him and assessing his ability if nothing else.

    Neymar once again made a difference. On current form he is our most dangerous player at the minute regardless of the goals Messi is scoring. From open play he is very hard to handle without fouling him.

    Routine wins from the top three again keeping the title race open. Only a few matches left to win to keep in the race for that last match v Atletico.

  63. Peter
    April 5, 2014

    The referendum results are in:

    37 535 votes overall (31.65% participation)

    27 161 votes for the Espai Barça (72.36%)
    9 589 votes against (25.55%)

  64. April 5, 2014

    Not sure how people can say Alexis had a good match. Apart from the penalty I think he failed just about every time he got the ball.

    Busquets had some good moments, the Camp Nou even chanted his name for a bit. Other than that it was possibly the most boring match we played this season. It happens.

    • April 5, 2014

      Me neither. Just can’t wrap my head around it. And this is after several people I met today who told me they voted yes. Had no problem supporting this board with such a move. Any argument I gave them they just shrugged their shoulders and said, yeah but all of them lie anyway and we do need a new stadium.

      • justdoit94
        April 5, 2014

        it seems that all the talks on blogs and barca comment sections are largely from ppl outside barcelona(myself included) and the opinions revolving around in here are not reflecting the majority of opinions in spain.

        • I disagree with that. A lot of my Catalan friends have similar opinions about the current board. Moreover, they are not as negative as the English press. However, the situation is more complicated because of the general economic crisis.

          That being said, I think there is a generally complacency in Catalunya, specifically Barcelona with gentrification and the city-as-mall. Don’t ask me why, but that was my own experience there.

          Personally, I don’t understand the renovations. I like old beat up things. They are much more charming. Plus, I’d rather invest the money in players (if possible) and I really hate the idea of a sponsored stadium name.

    • Rami
      April 6, 2014

      What is there to not understand, Those socis voted ‘Yes’ because they wanted the A,B,C, And D that the referendum offers, They didn’t do it ‘support’ the board as Levon put it, This isn’t an election, It honestly is that simple, There are no convoluted or ulterior motives behind the Yes’s, And it doesn’t matter if we don’t agree with them, The majority rules.

  65. LysdeXic
    April 6, 2014

    Why can’t ppl just not leave well enough alone. Ah well. What must be must be. Nothing good lasts forever. Change started in 2010, for the worse. It’s been downhill ever since. Makes me wanna support one of the more humble Basque clubs. La Masia kept them honest & now, even that’s tarnished. Supporting Barca used to be a unique experience. A ticket to something different in a football world where every other big club is governed by greed, & backstabbing. It’s become less than More Than Just a Club for a while now. It’s that one bad apple scenario. Sandro Rossel was the worst thing that could ever have happened to this institution. This, after everything was coming together so nicely for the first time. We achieved success in little spurts before that, in comparison to what would follow. He was that wrench in what they were progressing to. We’ll never know how much more higher they could’ve soared had he not come along. We’ve regressed since. He dumped his ass into a success achieved by the board before him that valued honesty, & hard work over everything else. & what was happening on the pitch, were the fruits of that labour. None of which had anything to do with him, & then he alienates the ppl that ploughed the fields for those fruits to grow. He’s left a lasting effect, that ass hole. This club will never be the same again. All they can do now is damage control — not that they’re doing much of that. I hope Laporta takes every bit of advantage of all this mayhem left by one bad apple, & restores some dignity to a once beloved club. This Espai Barca thing… Fukk it. It’s just another of the things that longstanding supporters of this club does not like. I’m surprised by the number of votes it received. But then again, nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to FCBarcelona.

    • ciaran
      April 6, 2014

      I don’t know that Laporta’s board valued honesty and hard work over everything else. Laporta, as much as I loved him, was as corrupt as any politician in history and you must be crazy not to realise this.

      Let’s not forget that Laporta, while in charge, had just as many negative revelations including two mass resignations of board members, relationships to the Franco regime, misappropriation of funds and a 60% no confidence vote that he survived.

      He used his presidency of Barca as a political platform with his pro-Catalan ideals even more than Rosell did.

      Even going back to when he was first elected, he promised the signing of David Beckham but couldn’t deliver. Luckily Roanldinho turned out to be an incredible player and fortunes changed for Barca.

      I appreciate what that board done on a footballing side but don’t confuse that for a second with being honest.

      I’m not pro-Rosell, but I’m also not Anti-Bartomeu. Give the man a chance. And if 70+% of supporters voted in the new stadium then I’m more than happy with it. Having been to the Camp Nou, the Allianz Arena & The Emirates within the past two seasons, we are a years behind in terms of our stadium’s technology as much as I love the Camp Nou’s charm.

  66. LysdeXic
    April 6, 2014

    Big matches, small matches – we need that four man midfield – it produced seven goals the last time we played a small team at home. Calling these bottom of the table teams small seems so belittling of them, but yeah, lets say ‘not so big teams’. Fabregas’s worth in this team really took a shine when Tata employed that 4 mids lineup, though no one noticed it. When Martino employed that, it regained what makes Barca, Barca — control. Fabregas does take a lot of workload off from Xavi. It isn’t that noticeable. Ironically enough, slow as he is, he does give the team that extra gear when it’s him, Iniesta, Xavi & Busquets on the field. Martino’s quite observant – he’d’ve picked that up again. So, come the Atleti game at the Calderon midweek, my bet is he’ll go with that four man midfield. & especially since our back line needs more cover now than ever… Pinto’s good, he deserves all due credit, but he’s no Valdes. As for the rest at the back, I have no worries about Bartra. Boy has strength, pace, & has put on a little muscle since last season, & Alba will be back flying like a little squirrel. I’ll put my protein shake on Atletico whipping in more crosses this time around. They never got the opportunity the last time because we never gave them the chance. All this was possible because of having the right amount of possession, & an even greater amount of pressing, closing down all channels etc. It just goes to show how much more of a freak goal that was, considering they practically played the whole match in their own half… & obviously, we spent the whole match practically in their half.

  67. LysdeXic
    April 6, 2014

    Spain’s success is completely down to what Guardiola did with Barca. He had just briefly taken over from Rijkaard in ’08 & had his team revert back to la Masia principles. Suddenly Spain was playing football that nobody’s ever quite seen, unless you’re Catalan. Yet, Pep just activated something that was already there, & Aragones benefited from it. How come la Roja couldn’t play this kinda football since? ‘Cause in other tournaments, they mostly had players from the capitol. At least Aragones recognized this. You don’t just wake up & suddenly just play that way. Before Pep took over, Spain wasn’t like that. If Spain had gone to that tournament with no players from Barcelona, would Aragones still have won Euro ’08? These national team coaches have been getting rewards for somebody elses work — Cruyff, Guardiola. & this, from Catalunya, a place that the rest of Spain used to consider second rate citizens. At Euro 2012, Spain were already in decline, all because Barca was in decline (coinciding with Pep’s last 4 months where Barca were slacking). But they still managed to win the tournament. Something was amiss though. They mirrored exactly how Barca’s season had gone, even though they beat Italy 4-0. That was the only game where they actually looked like Barca, I mean Spain, err, same thing. If I’m not mistaken, they won it with no recognized striker/forward.
    Barca, & Spain’s ability to play tiki taka doesn’t rely on formations. Just, certain formations make it better. Regardless, they’ll still pin the ball around – from that, the ball finds itself in the net automatically – somebody just has to get on the end of all those passes & stroke it in – it’s just another pass – but one into the net. That’s why many of Barca’s goals under pep, were passes & passes, & the goal was just another pass – into the net. & if the net could pass, it’d pass the ball back, run into space, receive the ball, & pass again, & ppl would say… ”that net’s definitely from the Masia academy, look at that passing, & that movement”. & so del Bosque, like he did, thanks to guardiola, basked in the success of a Catalan model yet again. Like he did at the South Africa 2010 World Cup. Like Luis Aragones (R.I.P) did at the Euro 2 years before him. They had the luxury of having several or eight players that kept the ball for an eternity, not really needing defenders, neither forwards. Just ping ping, pong, tik tak, goal. I wonder how guilty the 2 or 3 RM players felt benefitting from the work of their eternal rivals. Bet they didn’t mind. WE won the World Cup they said. We? Okay then. Though, Casillas did make a big save in that final, where Holland brought their karate team. Just ask Xabi Alonso about that MMA styled boot that went straight through his chest, & emerged with one of his lungs. Del Bosque had the luxury of playing his team any way he wanted, they’d perform regardless because they always have the ball, & when the opposition had it, they posed very little danger. Martino doesn’t have that luxury, so he improvised with 4 in midfield to achieve what 3 use to. Imagine he had the squad to use a 5 4 1 formation, or a 4 5 1. Increased control from 4 even. Messi obviously as the lone striker. & as they wear teams out, normal formations can be assumed. Martino should have the luxury to use formations like that. It’d definitely give opponents big or small, some head scratching. But no time to scratch heads when you’re being out possessed, & out pressed. Goals create themselves from these. Isn’t it?

    • Serena Andre
      April 6, 2014

      Euro 2008 was before Barca played a single match under Pep. I don’t think you can attribute their success in that tournament to him. Aragones started Spain’s era.

    • Ryan
      April 6, 2014

      Adding to Serena Andre’s comment, the change was due to Aragones and the focus to the technical, but physically lesser players of Xavi, Iniesta, Villa, and others. Aragones dropped Spain’s main man, Raul, and certainly benefited from a dominant Senna switching to Spanish citizenship, but Pep wasn’t a factor in Euro 08. Xavi even mentions the surprise he had upon returning to Barcelona and the increased intensity that Pep instilled in training.

  68. LysdeXic
    April 6, 2014

    Whatever Laporta’s vices were, they weren’t as many as Rossel’s, & it reflected itself on the all round atmosphere. Barca weren’t getting into nearly as much trouble since Rossel took over, & even in him not being there anymore, his loose ends are still a reason Barca are suffering. Honestly, I like the look of Camp Nou as it is. I’m sentimental on certain things. It’s like having a classic car, & leaving it in its ‘mint’ condition. No boot spoilers, side skirts etc. What’s the sense in having a new or upgraded arena, & our football goes down? I’d rather we keep our giant crap stadium, & play great football. We played the best football when we never had many sponsors, & all that other shit. Seems like the more money that’s been poured into this club, the more they’ve lost their identity – & it translated itself into how the identity in the way we played got lost too. So all this new shit, they can keep it. I’ll take passing teams dizzy until they start wobbling any day over some fancy new ground. Too much money always spoils everything.

    • ciaran
      April 6, 2014

      But time does that to ones memories. People look back at Laporta’s time with fondness because they have forgotten all of the shit that came with it. Rosell stepped down for whatever reasons but Laporta when he should have stepped down never did. 8 of his 17 board members left when the got the 60% no confidence vote but he didn’t. That wasn’t for the best for the club, it was a incredibly selfish self-serving decision.

      People forget that we lost 2 leagues in a row to Madrid under Laporta’s reign because he kept on Rijkaard too long. We have kept more consistent success under Rosell, but I don’t credit that with Rosell.

      Look, Rosell done lots of things that I disagree with but EVERY president in our history had problems.

      I’ve supported Barcelona for well over 20 years it’s very easy to look back fondly on eras, each and every one of them came with their own baggage.
      People look back at the Guardiola era like we reinvented football but it was just another evolution of what started under Cruyff, continued under Rijkaard and achieved its best success under Pep.

      I find it funny when some people credit Pep with making Barcelona great and the same people say that Del Bosque only won because of the quality of the players at his disposal; even though it was almost the exact same players.

    • barca96
      April 6, 2014


      Try to use paragraphs when writing a long comment. Makes it a lot easier to read.

  69. LysdeXic
    April 6, 2014

    @ barca96. Thanks teacher… Anything else?

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