Love/Hate post, a.k.a. “Who do you luuuv.”

This is about the simplest post that I have done in a while, but at the halfway point of the season, as we revel in the meaningless distinction of being winter champions, let’s have a love/hate post, as in:

What Barca player do you love, and what Barca player do you hate (note that this can be a mild dislike, if hate is too strong a descriptive.)

There can only be one for each category, lads and ladettes, and I’ll even start.

Love: Nobody
Hate: Nobody

I know, this is a shock to people, and some will even say “Liar! You love Henry. πŸ˜€ T’ain’t so. Now, the player I hate varies, based on the most recent match review, but I think that Marquez, Krkic and Busquets are neck and neck.

Wrong. I’ll explain.

I love our club. But our club is also big business, and you can’t get emotional about business. If we decide to sell Xavi, or The Yaya, or even Messi this summer, that will be the decision, and I will have to live with it.

The other complexity is my match reviewer role. Any feeling for any player, one way or the other, skews my ability to adequately review their performance. It’s a carryover from my life as an entertainment critic. When reviewing a performance, I wouldn’t clap, or laugh, or show any expression of pleasure at all. It was part of the deal.

An unfortunate consequence is that I don’t clap. For anything. I can’t help it. It kinda sucks, actually. But it does help my impartiality.

So that’s my handicap, but it’s a good one, given my role in this enterprise.

Let’s hear from you all. Remember. One choice for each category, love and hate, with 2 reasons for each.

Ready …. go!

By Kxevin

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. Hey, Busquets is back in training after his bruised kidney. And The Yaya is wending his immense way back to us, as I type this. And you know what that means, right? More debates about Busquets vs The Yaya, and what it all means. Yay!

    As you were ….

  2. Love (in no particular order):

    Pep,Laporta,The Yaya,Xavi,Messi,Iniesta,Henry,Ibrahimovich, Eto’o,Pique,Abidal,Puyol,Milito,Bojan,Pedro,Gai,Ronaldinho,JDS,Thiago,Muniesa,Fontas,Botia,Cesc,Valdes,Alves,Marquez,Pinto,Keiteee,Jeffren,Busquets(he made it lol)


    Chiggy,Caceres,Henrique,Keirrison,Victor Sanchez.

    Hope that clears up things…

    1. Damnit the blog ate my players! Here are them again:


      Pep,Laporta,The Yaya,Xavi,Messi,Iniesta,Henry,Ibrahimovich,
      Pinto,Keiteee,Jeffren,Busquets(he made it lol)

    2. ate them because you didn’t use any spaces.

      love: xavi and cesc for the way they make the game beautiful with their vision to pass and be unselfish. a perfect pass makes a goal so beautiful

      dislike: messi’s selfishness, nothing against the player though (just bought a jersey with his name on it) and the selfishness sometimes leads to those “wow” moments

  3. Love – Resiliance, persistence, hard work, self belief, never say die attitude of the team (examples: Chelsea, Estudientes, Sakhtar Donetsk matches, the last Classico in Camp Nou)
    Hate – Ibra’s inability to turn and shoot, and how he screws up Henry’s and Messi’s game. He can help the team much more than he does now.

    1. Love: Corrected after KXevin’s comments below: who has all the qualities above – Iniesta.

    2. It is Ibra, who in my mind, screw’s up Henry and Messi’s game. He is a little static at times, and has to keep moving. There is a long way to go before he adapts to Barca style of play. I guess I got spoilt watching Eto’o work like a horse in that area, and meet almost every cross by Henry and have that telepathic interchange of passes with Messi to create amazing goals.

    3. Ibra is also poor at getting to Henry’s crosses from the left. This is a general weakness too in his game that he is unable to get past the defenders to do the tap in’s on crosses.

  4. Ahem. Players, everyone, rather than qualities. And one each. So yes, eklavya, you have to narrow that list down. πŸ˜€

    1. Damnit! I thought that comment would make this post seem useless lol
      I don’t care you said it after πŸ˜€

      *Sigh* the pain… πŸ˜€

  5. Like: Victor Valdes, because it’s tough to play for a team where you only face a shot or two a game, but they’re usually really good shots. Also, most of the time, he looks like he’s really having fun and is into the game for the whole match — tough for a goalie.

    Dislike: Marquez. I don’t know why, but sometimes he just looks like he’s out there for a little jog, a bit of a workout. Maybe he’s always played that way and I haven’t noticed, but I like my defenders to have the sense of urgency that Puyol displays. Maybe he’s just in a little funk that he’ll snap out of.

  6. I don’t hate or love any of the players really but there are players who I love to see in the line up and those who I hate to see in the lineup.

    Love: Alves (can we haz moar Brazilians plz?)

    Hate: Marquez (Central Defenders I love to see on the pitch Puyol>Pique>Milito=Chygy>Marquez)

    1. Be careful of what you ask(more brazilians), you might get a Robinho, or an Adriano who are both getting into the obese category from the overweight category.

  7. Just so you guys know, that bill that posted is not the usual Bill….thats me. Bill, change your handle, this one’s taken.

    Anyway, my favorite: Iniesta, Xavi then Messi.

    I reserve my hatred for thong boy and madrid

  8. Love: Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Ibrah, Alves, Puyol, Abidal, Pedro, The yaya
    Hate: Bojan, Henry, and Marquez

    Stay tuned: Everyone else I could easily do without, and all easily replaceable, Pique was doing well, not sure whats happening, Chigry, dude give him more minutes he MIGHT pull, he might not.
    And I even forget everyone else’s names.

  9. Love: Barca – any and all players.

    Hate: Madrid – any and all players.

    Affection lies with the club. Players come and go.

  10. haha, Well apparently everyone on this blog is horrible at following directions… what part of “There can only be one for each category” did we not understand.

    LOVE —> Puyol

    HATE—-> Busquets


    1. thanks eklavya, I’m glad you got a kick out of the o-so-apparent incapabilities of the community here hahaha.

  11. XAVI XAVI XAVI <3 <3 <3
    That might seem gay, but whoever has seen Xavi play will understand completely.

  12. We pick just one? I have different favorites for different reasons, but I think if I had to choose just one – it’s gotta be Iniesta. He embodies everything I love about BarΓ§a. Especially when you take into account THAT goal against Chelski and getting into ThongBoy’s face this year. Awesome!

    I don’t really hate anybody. Some of the players might occasionally annoy, but like others have said, I reserve the hate for EE.

  13. don’t hate the players. hate the game.

    dani alves gets an honorable mention for making me have to change my panty liner after that goal he scored last weekend. intentional or not; inconsequential.

    1. You got MIX right and the first letter of MAC right.

      A is a tricky one and C…well, there really only is one left πŸ˜€ Hint: They were outcasts last season–one has since been added to our Barca dictionary.

      P.S The dislike is only really this season.

    2. Ding, Ding, Ding!

      Prize? A one way trip to laugh your butt off-Barca style!

      1) PU PU PU PUYOL! Oui monsieur. Je m’appelle Henry!*

      2) GOL! GOL! GOL! LOL. LOOOOOOOOOOL + the most bad**s song with Messi’s name 1:07-1:25ish. Love the guy who tries to calm him down part way “Luis—” *

      3) “Oh my…” “Chelsea fans cover their eyes in horror!” (you may know where this is going…) Iniesta’s golazo–in FIVE different languages. Never gets old.


  14. I love Pique.When we are losing or in a rough patch, he tries to drive the team forward from the back and take the game to the other team.Its clear he has a winning mentality and none more evident than against Chelski at the bridge.If anyone has time to watch that game again, watch and see just how much passion Gerard has for this club.He did everything to not lose.Future captain i say.Hopefully guys like milito and dima can push push him to get back to his best levels.Id say the threat dima is already working for puyi BTW.

  15. like: messi, he is the reason why i watch barcelona so regularly.
    dislike: marquez this season. has to improve.

  16. Love : Xavi, and Xavi and Xavi and Hristo stoickikov
    Hate : Ibrahimovich, Busquets, Marquez, Jerfren.

    OUT of Barca
    ETO’O > Borussia Dortmund

  17. Love: it’s a tossup between messi and xavi and iniesta. But I’m going to have to go with Messi simply because he makes me stand up in my living room and plays with a elegance and grace that is not seen today (unless you watch xavi or iniesta haha). The scary part is that he is so young and I love that we will get to see him in blaugrana for many years to come.

    Hate: tossup between Marquez and chrgrzhsjsmxky. I’m going to go with Marquez though because I believe chrygirnsjky has potential to become something I think. Marquez always this stupid, stoic, confused face that just pisses me off.

  18. hate: none
    love: every player from the first team down to the under 12 under 10 barca teams if they exist…all the altletic team members….the juvenile team……every player faithful to barca in his heart…

  19. Love: Xavi – the vision and passing of this guy is out of this world, what are we going to do when he retires

    Hate: Keita – I think keita is a great midfielder but i feel he ruins our flow when he plays in midfield and he don’t link up very good with xavi.

    1. honestly..nevermind how you can hate any of our players, how can you hate Keita, who is probably one of the most decent guys ever wearing our shirt? Seriously, Keita?? That’s like hating Turtle in Entourage or hating Magic.

    2. It’s just vogy’s (Welcome, btw! Don’t think I’ve seen you post here before) opinion. It’d be boring if everyone said the same thing as Kxevin. That’s why I picked 3 for each–just to make it interesting. I really don’t dislike anyone, but I do like to see some more than others.

      So far Pinto, Alves, Bojan (for me.) have been the most interesting/surprising ones in the ‘Dislike/hate’ category.

    3. I don’t hate keita, he is just the player in our squad that I like the least. I knew someone would probably respond because it seems like you all love Keita and I respect that.
      For me it’s just that Keita is a box to box player and I don’t feel he fit into our posession play game

  20. love: Abidal
    Why? Cause he is a BEAST. Of course, I also love Pep, Messi, Ibra, Pedro, Xavi, Iniesta, Keita, Puyol, Pique, Dani, and Valdes but Abidal has clearly been not only most improved, but top of the squad in my opinion. A close second goes to Valdes, who has had one hell of a mid-season. I truly believe Valdes has outplayed every keeper in the league and even the world this season. Minor mistakes have not contributed to goals. It has been mostly the substitute’s mistakes that have conceded the goals. Valdes is on fire, but so has every keeper in their game against us. That is why I rate Abidal just above him. Ahh hell, I love ’em both.

    hate: One player, one name: Marquez. C’mon dude! You are not supposed to be THIS bad, even after injury. Chygwimpy needs more time, even though he has strangely declined after a decent start and Bojan and Busi are both youngsters still.

    love to hate: stupid Busi, not KIS Busi.

  21. Kxev, a word on loving and hating…i find your perspective interesting but i don’t really get it. For me, irrational or at best semi-rational attachments to both players and teams is a huge part of sports fandom. Tyler’s reference to not liking Marquez’ facial expression is a good example. Best example I could come up with is something i described to Isaiah recently–Nomar Garciaparra for a Red Sox fan…we traded him mid-04 in what turned out to be a really smart move, and we won the world series without him. But he was such a part of my Red Sox life for so long and was such a great, complicated, infuriating player for us that I can never not be a fan of his…when he came back to Fenway in an A’s uniform he got a five-minute standing O and there were tears in beers all over New England. There’s loving the game in an independent sense, but the over-opinionated irrationality is what makes it all fun, in my opinion. I would think the same would go for an art critic. I get that you have to put yourself at a slight remove, but why watch art or music at all, much less write about it, if you cut off its ability to make you laugh/cry/applaud/boo…or just REACT? Seriously, I’m interested, but it doesn’t make a ton of sense to me.

    1. also, I will always hate Tony Romo for various reasons, but mainly cuz I hate his face haha. Not really, I think he’s overhyped and who goes on vacation with your girlfriend to MEXICO THE WEEK BEFORE THE BIGGEST GAME OF YOUR YOUNG CAREER. *phew* rant over. i agree though, irrational attachment to players and teams is cool for fans, but I think to a certain extent Kxevin has to be “unbiased” to be the best reporter he can be. It kind of sucks, but I’m sure Kxevin likes that approach and he finds it fulfilling. Us normal folk probably couldn’t stand a minute of it, but it’s good that there are people like Kxevin wo can dedicate themselves to their craft and make our lives more interesting with great posts about the players and teams we irrationally love or hate πŸ™‚

    2. Well, I am hugely attached to Barca, absolutely. And back in the day, I detested a Chicago Bears fullback named Matt Suhey. Didn’t matter what he did, or how he did it. But I wasn’t a journalist back then.

      It’s great fun for me when we win, or even when we lose and play extraordinarily well (though certainly nowhere near as much fun).

      When covering an event for work, I certainly do enjoy it inside. I just don’t show it. Which I guess is different than what I think you’re perceiving, which is that I’m sitting there like a robot, both inside and out. Chris Rock is funny as hell, a Shostakovich symphony is incredibly moving. I just don’t show it.

      Hope that makes sense.

    3. Yeah, it does make sense–I guess unlike a lot of bloggers you emphasize your professional side when writing (and not to judge most bloggers; I think there are excellent blogs from a variety of approaches). I work in journalism too–tv and film doco’s–and I am constantly rethinking the elusive goal of objectivity so I’m always interested to hear thoughts from other journos on these issues. It can get quite complicated. I think there is a real place for honest, passionate AND self-critical partisans in journalism, but I do understand why objectivity is an important goal. I just think it’s more an ideal than a logically achievable reality and I wish it worked better than it seems to do in keeping people honest. It also tends to put all the responsibility on individual reporters and writers and to erase the role of the broader media system/context, which is very dangerous.

      Similarly, with critics, who I see as a sort of journalist-essayist hybrid, I think honestly integrating one’s passions (again, with huge efforts toward self-awareness) can be a great approach, but there are lots of ways to skin a cat, I suppose.

    4. So true. In many ways, critics are the ultimate reporters, in that they are consumer interest journalists who can save a fan (who trusts their judgment) scads of money.

      When I review a band that I happen to enjoy, people used to wonder how I could shut that off, and dispassionately evaluate the show for what it was. I wish I knew, frankly. You’re right in that many critics can’t.

      Another complexity in our field is the confusion of point of view and bias, particularly with young reporters. I’m working with a few, and that is my biggest challenge. That, and getting them to write as they sound, rather than this person who is freaked out about writing for the Chicago Tribune.

      Good question, and I was wondering if you were also a journalist.

      True objectivity is difficult. In many ways it requires erecting a brick wall. Many political reporters, for example, don’t vote in any elections. But then the question becomes, can bias creep in with questions that a reporter chooses and doesn’t choose to ask. That’s where a strong editor comes in, to say “What about this side?”

      Suffice it to say, I love my profession, and try to bring the same level of professionalism and quality that I bring to my day job. I know that I vex the crap out of people at times, but if it’s any consolation, I do in my day job, as well. πŸ˜€

    5. Yeah, I think the role of a good editor (or in my field, a good exec producer…for film, editors play an entirely different and differently crucial role) is really important. I would never want to be that person, but I need them, so bless the good ones and a curse on the bad ones. Seems to me in hard news/daily deadline reporting, it’s even harder ’cause of time issues to see those little differences such as what questions are asked/not asked and what the assumed starting framework is…that’s one nice thing about long form work, you at least get a bit of time to think those things over–but it’s all relative and deadlines still kill. There’s so many different challenges, from being aware of one’s point of view (which is essential, I think) and also being able to separate it from bias and be ACCURATE while not giving up one’s personal strengths as a reporter/storyteller…oooh boy.

      But I would even bump critics up a bit from “service journalism” in that they have the rare opportunity in deadline-driven journalism to make powerful arguments and to start real conversations, beyond just warning fans “stay away from this one, it’s a stinker” or “run and see it right now.” It’s a big opportunity and a big responsibility…anyway I don’t always agree with your reviews here but I do feel like I have a sense of how you approach it and that makes it a fun engagement. Would be fun to meet you if you ever visit the Brooklyn Penya and jabber about these topics more!

      And I also “vex” many people I work with so I relate to that…seen as argumentative but I hope also as a good worker. Cheers to that!

  22. Love All(even Henrique and Keirrison)
    Hate None(Hleb is a Stuttgart player)

    Now on topic..

    Loved James T. Smith albums

    Mama said knock you out, 14 shots to the dome, Walking with a Panther
    Hated James T. Smith albums
    Everything he did after Phenomenon that made even Phenomenon and Mr.Smith look good.

    Loved tracks from Mr.Smith
    Hollies to Hollywood, I shot ya’, Loungin…
    Songs I hear without telling anyone
    Doin It, Hey Lover

    Overall, James T. Smith probably 5th favorite rapper of all time for various reasons. Queens get the money!

    1. it’s songs I listen to without telling anyone, not hear..

      stupid 2.40 am little bit drunk on a Monday night mixing up GermanEnglish mixup. My bad!

  23. Love: everyone, but especially Pique. The kid has heart, and heart will see you through bad patches of form.

    Dislike: Jeffren – I don’t dislike him, I just don’t think he’s good enough to play on the team.

  24. Well, following some of these other posts I would like to change my HATE to Weligton, ALL members of RFEF, all the players of the EE, and Robinho. GO AWAY! Oh and what will happen if Stuttgart rip up that loan agreement for….

  25. Love:
    Everything by Iniesta esp his humility.
    Pique’s heart when he scores, like the one against Inter in the CL.
    Messi’s greatness
    Puyol’s pride
    Xavi’s hawk eye during the game
    Yaya’s passion and aggression
    Keita’s support for other players
    Henry’s contribution even after the fact that he was an Arsenal legend
    Eto’o’s love for us
    Dani’s arrogance at times
    The feeling that Abidal will stop that attacker
    Valdes’ critical saves, almost every important time
    Bojan’s boyish enthusiasm
    Pedro’s emergence which is like a fairytale

    The Barcelona Press..

  26. love=everyone

    hate=marquez(since his arrival). loses the ball too much with his long balls that only succeeds 2 out of 10 and always gives away silly fouls.

    love to hate= busi. and maybe pep.for not resting key players once we are cruising and not giving youngsters enough playing time.
    i would love to see:
    jds in for xavi
    thiago in for iniesta
    pedro in for henry
    bojan/jeffren/gai in for messi/ibra
    muniesa/fontas/bartra in for puyol/pique/alves

    our key players really should be taken out from time to time to let them rest and let our youngsters take their spot.
    our youngsters are good enough to be on the bench at least!
    they deserve some playing time.they can walk into any mid la liga team at the moment.

  27. Man, Kxevin, I feel for you as a critic! but I guess it is some sort of a work ethnic you require yourself to have, which I guess should be, exceptionally high? But very well, I guess you don’t hold your excitement when you watch barca, huh? Even if you say you say you do, I still think it is impossible not to jump or yell when Yaya rock the Camp.

    My love: Victor Valdes
    Sweeper-keeper, reflex saves, impossible looking diving saves, bunch of one-on-ones, curve ball, crosses, rockets, missiles, elephants, whateva, bring it! Standing watching for 50 mins and all of a sudden you are called upon for making saves. The attention and focus you need to play on a team such as ours is just unbelievable.

    My hate: Busquets
    Reason: unknown.

    1. Holy shit, what a great idea. Reminds me of the school bus in 6th grade. So select 4 distinct individuals and you’re on…keeping in mind Puyol goes with the Shack, obviously.

  28. love: Eto’o. I admire Ibra’s quality and think he is allowed to have his off periods because we knew he was that kind of player coming in. I also believe (hope) that despite occasional flashes he has outgrown his teenager years by now. probably 2 or 3 years ago but still.
    Eto’o could be a prick too sometimes but it was always out of principal. And he bled for BarΓ§a, Puyolesque like. Plus he was there for us when we needed him the most. Twice.

    Joint first are Puyol and Messi, but you love those you miss a bit more.

    I guess I am biased but I don’t dislike any of our players. They all strike me as guys who are proud to play for BarΓ§a, while at the same time represent our club with dignity, even Ibra. Possible exception being Dani Alves who strikes the balance between being the biggest jerk and the most friendliest dude you can hang out with in a way that only brazilians can pull off.

  29. love: iniesta xavi messi yaya (best players in their position, well iniesta in all, represent FCB and have great/weird personality)

    hate: guess what thierry henry (he comes here as a star from a league that claims to be better than ours and just can’t dribble one defender right, is old and to me totally Arsenal and not FCB)

  30. Love: Xavi, because he is the most important player for the whole team.

    Hate: Crynaldo, even if he joined Barca for free, I would still hate him.

  31. love: pedro, busquets, pique, bojan, xavi, iniesta, puyol (most of the youth system players for their motivation, dedication and mature attitude to football.

    dislike: giovani dos santos (arrogant), deco, marquez, weligton, brandao, tiago motta, jeffren and yayas agents, sepp blatter and fifa corruption

    1. must add thierry henry to my dislike.

      lost my respect with the handballs and his not owning up immediately. it got worse when he had to be told off by messi for his gesturing. his attitude about giving him the ball but then when he gets it he loses it, gives a cross to no one but in general just failing to score.

  32. Puyol – the love of my fotball life!

    I don’t hate anybody as long as they play for Barca. But I was not sad when Eto left …

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