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.

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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?

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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.

153 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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”.

  6. 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

  7. 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?

    • Laurentiu88
      April 5, 2014

      pff… real lose*

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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).

  11. barca96
    April 5, 2014

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

    • G6O
      April 5, 2014

      There are only 3 subs allowed 😉

    • 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.

  12. G6O
    April 5, 2014

    Alexis – wow!

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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…

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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%)

  21. 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.

  22. April 5, 2014

    72% voted YES? I don’t understand this trollery.

    • 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.

    • April 5, 2014

      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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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

      @lysdexic

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

  27. LysdeXic
    April 6, 2014

    @ barca96. Thanks teacher… Anything else?

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