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Right in the Nostalgia: Barça v Real Sociedad 12-10-2010

Well, this may seem like a blatant excuse to curb the 300+ comment monster that is the Getafe comment post but what you don’t know is

Hey look, a full match video from 2010 in English. Let’s watch.

Iniesta’s goal celebration gets me every time.

I think this – posting classic matches from the ‘vault’ – may become a running series. Actually, that depends on what y’all think.

Video courtesy of culer hero ieraHDTV . If you have a YouTube account and feel like signing in, give him/her your thanks. I’m simply the messenger

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302 Responses to “Right in the Nostalgia: Barça v Real Sociedad 12-10-2010”

  1. KEVINO17 says:

    I read Graham Hunter’s article, but really, he just misses the point. Of course Messi is still a good player. But when you build a whole team around a player, when you let him play as a luxury forward (7k of running a game, no defending) he’s got to be a hell of a lot more than good. He’s got to be outstanding ALL the time. Otherwise, the sacrifices the team makes just aren’t worth it.
    Fascinating rumour that Alexis might go to Juventus in return for Pogba. Seems to make perfect sense. Maybe bringing in a player of Pogba’s status is the only way to make sure that Xavi takes a back seat.

    • Levon says:

      I’m on record for saying we don’t need another midfielder, but really I will take it back if we get Pogba. He could be an integral part of the club for years to come and he would really add something we don’t have, especially since it looks doubtful they will ever move Masche to midfield. I do think he would need a season or two so to fully adapt – clearly a deal for the future, but that’s okay… Culés are a patient folk, aren’t they?

      The Alexis going to Juve part of that equation I don’t like.

      • senyera7 says:

        Alexis has been sensational this season and it will be a crime if we let him go. Pogba is definitely a special player, but I don’t want Alexis going the other way.

        • Levon says:

          If he leaves we can thank Tata for not using him at the business end of the season. A player like Alexis wants to go where he can feel important.

          • Kxevin says:

            Wrong. If Sanchez leaves we can “thank” a lot of factors. Without question he isn’t being used to his best at Barça, but that was also true under Guardiola.

            He can go to Juventus and start, and be used in an attack that showcases him at his best, as ours did before the regression this season.

            For me, it’s like when people were blaming Vilanova for Thiago leaving. Thiago left because he wanted to be the man. That’s fair. Any player can choose to do that. But if Sanchez leaves, that’s his own choice, for his own reasons. I would guarantee that he understands the esteem that Martino has for him.

            Not every action has to have blame. Sometimes a player can just decide to take a shot somewhere else, for his own reasons.

          • Levon says:

            True, the factors you cite are valid as well, but I can’t help but think that had he been made to feel like he would one day be a starting player for this club, Juventus would not be so attractive to him and I think that not starting him against City (2x) M*drid (2x) and Atletico (2x) is basically telling him just that. For all his virtues, Tata has faults too and some of them have consequences.

            As for Thiago, he never really wanted to play for Barça he just wanted to be a star player right there and then. Lexus is a lot more humble in that regard. I don’t blame Tito Vilanova for Thiago leaving although I do think that the technical staff should have been more aware. After all he ended up escaping his 90M release clause because of what, 90 minutes playing time?

      • Levon says:

        Forgive the badly written sentences just woke up my mind is scrambled gotta bathe and go to work, yaaawwwnn!

        • KEVINO17 says:

          Much as a like Alexis, Barca really is a mid-field team. A player like Pogba would be sensational.
          Further, I think Alexis is the sort of player who needs to be given a lot of responsibility (e.g. Chile). Otherwise he’s too humble and team oriented. He could easily be sensational for Juve, playing a more tucked in fantasy role.
          Both moves make a lot of sense.

  2. senyera7 says:

    And just as I had given up on la liga. . This happens. Insane season.

  3. Sangoku says:

    Thanks Kari & ieraHDTV!
    Love watching classics, this is great!

  4. Inamess says:

    Bittersweet Memories! We were so young, innocent, and idealistic then. I think I aged about a decade this season.

    Kind of reminds me of this:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6uiLQKIPBQ

  5. Kess says:

    messi is still a god of football, he has largely been unlucky as have this team,we actually create good winning chances in games that we’ve drawn n lost this season…

    this league is ours… theres no way atletico will win against us again, such performances are usually relegated to once in a while, logically the trend falls heavily on our favour. madrid are to drop points again prior to the last day… then the champions league will head towards the atleico part of madrid… sociedad to roll over and die before second half…

    league becomes ours, champions league atm and copa already EEs… visca barca

  6. allasFCB says:

    That third goal has always been one of my favorite goals ever. It starts from 45.00, but when you watch the ‘highlights’ you can. probably see the goal from 45.54

  7. fotobirajesh says:

    Thank you Kari.

    Excited about the Liga again.

    Also my sincere thoughts for Joan Lacueva, the man whose name should never be forgotten by Barca. He did his best to make sure, the Messi family didnt fly back to Rosario or went out for other clubs, to meet the medical expenses.

  8. Ultraculé says:

    If Barca win the league, EE the domestic Copa, Atletico Madrid the Champions league, Sevilla the Europa league, it would be a great advert for La Liga across Europe. After everything this season has given us, do people still believe La liga is a shitty league. A 2 horse league? Still better than the one horse Bundesliga yes?

    As for whether we deserve the league or not, I do know this. Atletico Madrid certainly deserve one big trophy this year if not two. I’ll be over the moon if we win the league and dedicate it to Tito Vilanova and Puyol and Valdes. In many ways, Atleti deserve the CL as well as they’ve defeated Milan, Barcelona and Chelsea en route to the final. Different types of teams all from different countries too. EE on the other hand has only played German teams.
    Atleti winning the CL would make for a lot of justice IF they do not win the league.

  9. Ultraculé says:

    And oh, thanks Kari for this. I think its a great idea.
    I’d also recommend, if we are doing this, that we post the 5-0 Villarreal game (3-1-3-3 formation) and 2-1 Athletic Bilbao rain soaked game we won under Pep. Classics.

  10. ibbe says:

    The best thing is that I had forgotten which game that was and the end result…untill iniestas goal that is. Good times. I love this idea.

  11. Kari says:

    You’re very welcome, everyone. I like using the games that are sometimes under the shadow of those classic games – the Manita, UCL finals, etc – especially when I don’t remember the goals; rare, but when it happens it’s like experiencing it all over again. Great feeling.

  12. Rami says:

    Look at them, Always moving to make themselves available for a pass, Always moving to create spaces, Great pressure when losing the ball, And that hunger, That desire, 7 trophies and they still want more, But i guess after a certain number, You finally get full, Geeh, Can a nostalgia make you depressed?

    Hey look at maschi, The root of all evil for the past two seasons, He looked fine when the others seemed to do their jobs properly.
    My favorite of moment of the match is in minute 43:32 of the video, he hasn’t changed, Once a boss, Always a boss.

  13. Inamess says:

    Cules’ Dilemma: Another Sophie’s Choice
    You somehow have been given a choice by an omnipotent Mephistopheles figure:

    You Must Choose between Two Scenarios:

    1) Barcelona beat Atletico and win the League. We dedicate the Title to Tito and Martinez, have a Parade in which we celebrate our season and the board is celebrated for for making the best of a difficult year.

    Atletico lose Costa in the above game, are disheartened, and then are crushed the following week in the Champions League Finals and Real Win their Decima 5-0, celebrating their victory in the streets of Madrid for 3 days.

    2) Scenario Two: Atleti win a double: La Liga and the Champions League. Their fans celebrate in the streets of Madrid for 8 days.
    The team becomes the Cinderella Story of the Century and the proceeds to become a perennial third big club in La Liga challenging Real and Barca and the best teams in Europe in the Champions League for the next decade.

    • Kxevin says:

      Any scenario that doesn’t involve Barça winning a championship is flawed. Atleti makes me smile, and I will root for them in the CL final. Barça is in my heart. Number 2 doesn’t even exist for me.

      Beware the people who enjoy rooting against someone more than they enjoy rooting for someone. If RM get their cherished Decima, so be it. It will just make kicking their ass next year that much more fun.

      • Rami says:

        Always found it peculiar how some can have a 2nd or 3rd…favorite team, I can’t comprehend it, In my entire life time and i’m not exaggerating in any way, The sum of total minutes i spent watching a match where one of the two CLUBS wasn’t barca, About 80 minutes, maybe less.
        I can’t enjoy watching anything other than barca, Hence i can’t spend 90 minutes watching something i won’t enjoy.

        • ciaran says:

          To ask a question before writing my own response, do you ever watch international football and who do you watch?

          Well, Barca are not the only team that play beautiful football and don’t have the only players capable of magic.

          Dortmund play some of the most exciting football in the world, mostly more exciting than we have been (at least consistently recently). I have no problem sitting there and watching them go for the throat at virtually every opportunity.

          Roma play good football in Italy, as do Juventus with Pirlo in midfield. PSG have players capable of great individual moments. The EPL often lacks skill but there is plenty of incident in matches.

          If you don’t watch any other football I really think you are missing out. Yes we play a good brand of football and when we are at our best we are easily the most pleasing on the eye but the moments that we have been at our pinnacle have been fleeting this season.

          I watch Barca as much for my emotional connection and our individual moments of brilliance than our collective this season. How often have we scored collective goals that baffled the mind this year? I can’t think of many.

          • Rami says:

            I meant those who ‘love’ more than one team or have more than one in their hearts, And there are a lot of them out there.
            Of course just because one watches more than one team doesn’t mean he loves more than one, Although it’s my mistake to make it a distinct from what i said next which is my own Personal experience about watching other teams, Which is that i can’t enjoy teams that i don’t love, Some may enjoy watching teams while still only love barca, It’s a personal thing, Differs from person to person.

            I do watch international football, Mostly my home country iraq, And Argentina, I just have a soft spot for the messi.

        • Gekko64 says:

          well, AC Milan are my hometown team and I still follow them even they they’re pretty bad lately. I was in San Siro when Barca won with that Giuly goal, it felt like a passing of the crown. that’s when I started following Barça as well. I care more about players than colors, and I just love this style of playing football. Aside from this, Barça have an interesting history that does make it more than a club, despite what the haters say. I think I’ll keep following both :D

      • ooga aga says:

        i second kxevin’s sentiment. all that matters is that we win our next 2 matches, the rest isnt even secondary…this is a season to remember no matter what.

      • DumbOx says:

        Couldn’t have said it better. To me there is no scenario better than our Club, lifting the La Liga trophy. No less than that.

    • ciaran says:

      Atletico are incredibly hard to beat in any match. We and Real Madrid have tried numerous times this season and failed, as have Chelsea, Milan, Porto and others.
      I think for anyone to assume that they are going to lose the Champions League final to Real Madrid is wrong; for me they have to be favourites. Real Madrid have been beaten by us, them, Dortmund and a few La Liga teams in comparison.

      What I care about more than anything is us getting the win on Sunday and then claiming the league title in dramatic circumstances on the final day.

      • Rami says:

        Atletco have shown great physical resilience and durability, But i think it came to an end in that levante match, Simeone decided against rotation this seasons, And while it gave them a streak of good results, Form, And some form of continuity, There are always consequences for that, They’re humans after all.

        • ciaran says:

          I don’t quite agree. If you watched that game they conceded a freak goal and they are just not a team designed to chase a goal. Once they fell behind they probed and probed but couldn’t break down Levante. They conceded a break away goal towards the end as happens in most matches where a team is chasing a goal. Remember they have never been prolific so going behind changes everything for them.

          A team that is that exhausted wouldn’t have had more than 20 shots. Diego Costa never really got into that match either.
          For the record I don’t think he is worth near the €40+million that is being spoken about and Atletico will laugh all the way to the bank with Chelsea’s money but he is still very important to them.

          • Kxevin says:

            It’s funny, that was the same with the Champions League tie. That Diego goal was an absurd thing, but it defined the tie, really.

            Every team has freak losses. I really thought that we were going to win that tie 2-1. Their performance at their house was superhuman. It happens.

      • Inamess says:

        I have to say that I agree with you too. A victory at Camp Nou on 5/17 would be amazing considering we don’t have Pique or Valdes and haven’t beaten Atleti all year.

        That being said, Scenario 2 does have its pluses and not just because I don’t want Real to have their Decima and have Atleti get nothing for all the incredible work they put in this year.

        A La Liga with three or even four powerhouses is just better. For me, that is the only attractive thing about EPL. A constant two horse race in La Liga is just getting old for me.

    • kosby says:

      I am wary about Elche. Seems like in all this enthusiasm we are forgetting the fact that they havent been beaten at home in last 9 matches. And conceded just twice/thrice in the same period. Before we think about round 38, lets not forget round 37.

      • ciaran says:

        Even though on paper Malaga have better players we have a tougher match in the Elche game. Malaga either play well and give you a very tough game or they fall apart. Elche are at least consistent.

        But, and there is always a but, they have lost twice to both Atletico & Real Madrid and us this season, scoring 1 (at home to Real) and conceded at least twice in each, including 4 to us.

        With the season on the line I am confident that the players will be up for it and do the job.

        • Jim says:

          If we can’t raise our game after getting this chance to something approaching all out aggression there is something sadly wrong with us – which I don’t believe to be the case.

          In answer to the question above I watch my hometown team, St Johnstone although the standard makes me wince, the Scottish national team whose standard sometimes makes my hometown team look good and Barca who even when not playing at their best still play the best football I have ever seen. I watch the EPL but for entertainment not football.

          If I watch RM it is solely for the purpose of seeing them lose in as cruel a way as possible. But nobody’s perfect :)

        • Inamess says:

          Aren’t you also factoring in the “dubious” penalty that Pepe got at Elche that gave Real the victory. We can’t rely on a ref who is on the take or scared not to rule in our favor.

  14. Inamess says:

    Most bookies have Altheti and Barca at about even for winning the League.

    To me, Barca winning at Elche and the at home vs Athleti seems harder, especially since we don’t have Pique and Valdes.

    The chances of an Athleti win vs. Malaga and then just having to draw vs. us at Camp Nou seems the easier task. However, maybe many think like Rami that Athleti are running out of steam at the worst possible time given their absence of a bench to rotate players.

  15. Tom says:

    For me the upside of scenario 2 is that while EE get their decima, it will have been won in a year where they weren’t able to win the league, and were beaten twice by us in the process. Much better than winning the decimal with a treble where they beat us at the camp nou ( shudder).

    I really hope the Pogba for Sanchez rumor isn’t true, Pogba looks like a great player, and could be great for us for years, but who takes Sanchez’ spot? Pedro seems much less effective on the right, don’t think Deulofeu’s ready, is that a space to give Reus?

    Also, I’m fully confident we can take it to Elch. Visca Barca

    • Inamess says:

      Pretty interesting that both Real and Barca fans are ready to decide whether their season was a success or failure on one game coming up against Athleti.

      I guess the cool thing for both is that for the first time in a long time each side is no longer preoccupied with the other. What a difference another potential competitor in La Liga makes!

  16. Kxevin says:

    Dani Alves called the club out for its treatment of Abidal. Man, he’s defo gone this summer. Also cited the atmosphere at the club (whatever that means):

    http://www.sport.es/es/noticias/barca/deberian-haber-cuidado-poco-mejor-abidal-3268541

      • Inamess says:

        Dani seems to have as definite and controversial opinions about the club as any BFB contributor. I just wish he would be more forthcoming instead of talking too much like a theoretical physicist about our “lack of energy”.

        One thing Dani has proved though: he is his own man and can speak truth to power!

        Also, the club’s decision to get rid of Abidal was in hindsight a huge mistake: he did have an important contribution to make after-all. However, it wouldn’t have been right either to hold on to this player for purely “sentimental” reasons.

        • Kxevin says:

          If we aren’t dealing with sentiment, and want every player to be able to contribute, I’d love for someone to explain the presence of Afellay, Cuenca and Dos Santos. I know we had a hard time moving them then they got knocked, but still.

          Abidal would have been very useful as a sub CB, more so than Puyol, as it turns out. Hindsight is always 20/20, but I think that the decision was poor.

          Note that Alves also suggests, as many of us have, that the coach search, right in Martino’s face, isn’t cool.

          • ciaran says:

            It certainly isn’t cool to be so open with the coach search. These things happen in football though and Tata certainly would have been expecting as much with the series of results that ended our participation in the CL and the Copa final loss.

            It is, however, not as bad as Laporta back in the day telling everyone that Rijkaard was going to be fired at the end of the season after a loss to Real Madrid. But that was before Rosell so I don’t expect people to care as much as if Rosell or the current board did it.

          • Inamess says:

            I agree no player is “sacred” and “outsiders” must be treated with the same respect as “insiders”. If we go back to last June, Puyol and Abidal had equally questionable contributions to make for this year.

            Also I agree the Afellay, Cuenca and Dos Santos part. Just wished we had Barca B+. Maybe the bad thing about getting Enrique is that Celta will no longer be able to become that.

          • Jim says:

            I’m not sure what the club could have done differently, Kxevin. I’m assuming here that Tata has told them he is leaving. If not, they are bang out of order. If so, with a vital transfer window coming up they can’t sit about. They need the new man to okay the purchases. I don’t think it’s necessarily their fault that the press get wind of a visit to see a new coach.

            The way things have worked out, even in hindsight the Abidal one was a close call. I could put an equally good argument against selling Maxwell. I think we’re gradually coming to the realisation that two marauding FBs isn’t a great idea for us. Having said that Abidal in his actions and words has proved a class act.

            Dani is gone and has been for some time. Sitting watching EPL and La Liga matches over the last week I’ve seen a huge number of wicked low cross balls in the gap between keeper and defence. Still not sure why Dani found that impossible but when so many attacks end with him playing the vital ball we can’t afford the luxury of troubling row Z. Not to say we shouldn’t value his contribution to the Guardiola peak days.

          • Kxevin says:

            Heck, they signed Martino via Skype or something. It’s easy enough to videoconference that kind of stuff. Buzz is that Martino told them he wanted out some time ago. I still think for the value of appearances, more subtlety would have been a nicety.

            For me, the difference between Abidal and Maxwell was range. Abidal worked for us because he had sideline to sideline range. Maxwell was a fine defensive LB, who was also solid going forward. But he is much more effective at a Serie A team, or PSG, where there are more traditional CBs who can lock stuff down, than with our roaming types.

      • ciaran says:

        “For me to stay this summer, there has to be a change of energy.”
        This sounds to me like he is going out the door and wants it to look like it was his decision, not the clubs. I don’t buy it. He is definitely on his way out, I’ve thought it for quite a while and I agree with it 100%. He has run his course in this team and helped it to win a lot of titles. He has been very important to our system. That system made him a better player and he made it a better system.

        Now with his comments, attitude and actions it’s the time for him to be shown the door and thanked for his years of service.

        I don’t mind him having his opinions about it but I think his change of number to 22 said enough without him having to come out and say it time and again. For the record, Abidal hasn’t been the same player since and whatever the reasons for making the decision to not renew him it should not be confused with the issue being not signing a centre back last summer.

        Who replaces him is a question but either way we’ll be playing different football afterwards.

        • Kxevin says:

          Yep. As I noted previously, the time for an all-out attacking RB would seem to be past. If we are looking for an RB who is better defending, Alves has outlived his usefulness in that regard.

          Buzz was that he has already told Brazil mates that he will be joining them at PSG next season.

          I don’t believe that Abidal is a full-time starter as Monaco is using him, but I think he would have been a useful depth player. My guess is that salary was a big issue.

          • ciaran says:

            Same issue as with Keita if I remember correctly, with the tax rules in Spain if he had stayed then he would have lost almost 50% of his salary or the club would have had to give him a new contract to compensate for the tax hike.

          • Inamess says:

            Doesn’t that make the question at our club when Dani leaves: who is our new Abidal. The next right back should be a defender foremost since Alba is now our attacking fullback.

      • Ahsan says:

        Alves is such a boss.

  17. PrinceYuvi says:

    This is a list 80 probable players on our radar.
    It’s in spanish, so little help plz.

    http://www.sport.es/es/noticias/barca/las-ochenta-carpetas-agenda-zubizarreta-3267419

    • Inamess says:

      It seems like the paper has been bought by a billionaire oligarch and now has the finances to report any player that comes to mind.

      I think financial fair play has to apply to newspapers and not just PSG and Man City. Otherwise, it just seems like laziness and a lack of access to inside sources.

      • Inamess says:

        I say we buy Aymeric Laporte at 10 million and Iñigo Martínez at 12 million we would be set up at defense for the next decade!

        • ciaran says:

          Those values are from transfermarkt.com and don’t reflect real world transfer fees in most cases.

          It would be a nice idea but both of their clubs are not in any financial issues and never sell below their asking fee.
          Laporte has signed 3 contracts in just over 12 months and his buyout is now €36million. I’m not sure what Inigo Martinez’ buyout is but it’s probably in the same ball park. Real Soceidad are every bit as hard to buy from with Real Madrid having to spend €30million on Illarra who isn’t exactly a world beater.

          • Kxevin says:

            ciaran is correct. Laporte is 36m, Martinez is 30m. The former has a deal until 2018, the latter, 2017. Which means that both Athletic and La Real can demand top dollar.

            Musacchio also renewed with Villarreal until 2018, so that “pick him up on a free” thing isn’t holding water any longer. He would have the lowest value of the three.

            Athletic is intense. Recall that they let Llorente leave on a free rather than accept less than their asking price.

          • Inamess says:

            I know, I am just having a laugh!

          • ciaran says:

            Yeah, as a free transfer Musacchio would have been a great signing as a 3rd/4th choice centreback but I could see why he’d rather be an automatic starter at Villarreal.
            I still think that a combination of Hummels for a starting spot and Daley Blind who cover be added cover for DM & LB would be a good option.

            Still, if we end up signing a world class central midfielder like Rakitic, Pogba or Vidal then the playing time in midfield is going to be tight enough as it is.

  18. Kxevin says:

    Neymar fitness test tomorrow. He is convinced that he can play the last Liga match. I would love to see him do so.

    • ciaran says:

      It would be real Roy of the Rovers stuff if he came off the bench and scored the winner to give us the league and repay his transfer fee.

      • Gekko64 says:

        the correct term here is: “To pull a Bale” :P

        • ciaran says:

          I’ll take €57m Neymar winning the league over €100m Bale winning the cup any day.

          • Jim says:

            I’m actually more concerned about getting Pique back although I’d love to see Neymar play. Any word on him ?

          • Kxevin says:

            No word on Pique, though he did cancel his tickets to a poker tournament after RM drew yesterday.

          • Gekko64 says:

            sure, only 57. it would be silly to believe the real figure was actually much higher :D

          • Jim says:

            There’s something strange going on with Pique. We’re we not told a week after the injury it wasn’t nearly as bad as thought and he’d be back soon ? That was weeks ago and we’re not even getting training apart from the group stories.. I suppose cancelling tickets for a poker tournament is good news in a strange sort of way ….

  19. ciaran says:

    For those hoping for a more defensive right back, firstly I can’t really think of any and we haven’t been linked to any either.
    Ivanovic is the only defensive right back who is what you’d call world class but he isn’t our type of player whatsoever.
    Cuadrado and Danilo are the two that are being linked with talks of personal terms being wrapped up already for Cuadrado.

    Assuming this is the direction then we better add some defensive abilities to our midfield and sign a couple of good defenders to boot.

    I will say however that Montoya is yet to have a bad match for us. Defensively he makes very little errors and I think he should be starting a lot of matches next year under the right coach so having the tactical versatility of an offensive and defensive fullback available would be good.

    • Inamess says:

      I think that what we decide to do with Montoya in the next two years is another big choice for the club. I think you have to start him at least 30% of the time to give him a chance and the assurance that he does have a future with the side at this position. Do you see him as our starting RB in the future?

  20. Inamess says:

    Cules’ Choice: The Argentinean Diva Ultimatum

    With all the craziness going on with Barca and our next transfer window, I think that one element that will be really important for the next few years is to decide what you want to do up front. We have debated midfield options for the future and our favorite CBs that we would like to add to the side, but this piece of the puzzle has not gotten as much consideration other than saying that Messi and Neymar must be able to work together.

    What we look like up front has a lot to do with what other players you might want to see up front next year and what value you place in Alexis and Pedro. If someone believes that Pedro brings something to the side close to Alexis, then I think that for them selling Alexis should be a good idea. Which brings me to another dilemma:

    You are Zubi and your most important player says that he will perform much better with the club if we bring in one of his compatriots with the Argentinean national team.
    You must do either of two things:

    1) Bring in Sergio Agüero and sell Alexis.
    2) Bring in Gonzalo Higuaín and sell Pedro.

    You talk with the next coach of the team and he is OK with either choice but wants you to decide.

    Which do you do?

  21. KEVINO17 says:

    I’m actually pretty confident we will win the league. This is a team that can really lift a gear when it has to. They all know this is the last dance. I even expect to see Messi pressing.

    • Inamess says:

      I agree! I think whether we are able to win the league this year will have huge importance with how the Barca Dynasty (2008-14) is remembered. Let’s go our with a BANG (winning the league and making our team’s legacy immortal) and not a whimper (being remembered as a once great team that decayed into a soap opera).

      • G6O says:

        If we win this year, it will be 5 out of 6, and with the renewal of the squad that should happen in the summer, potential for more next season. This is truly historic dominance, so thee two games are really crucial

  22. At the moment I will rate our chances of winning against Atletico at home minimal. We have met a number of times and not a single match we definitely claim the advantage. We could say that the Diego goal was a freakish one. But even in that match Atleti did well to neutralize us. And that’s the problem, the way Malaga is playing this season I doubt they will be able to steal points off Atleti this weekend. If that doesn’t happen, then we may have to force a win against Atleti at home. I can guarantee you that’s not simple. Whatever one could say about our attack, it most probably will depend on one player – Messi producing a magic moment. But then we have a small task of dealing with Elche this weekend. It makes me nervous, we have dropped more points on road to relegation threatened side this season.

    • Levon says:

      I’m done speculating on who will win what match this season, lol. For all I know all three clubs could lose this weekend. From a neutral’s perspective, this league’s campaign is the best it has been in years. I’m gonna try to enjoy it.

  23. Ultraculé says:

    Its indeed extremely sad to hear Alves’ presser, which seems to suggest he is on his way out.
    Yes, I know he may have past his prime, but let no one for a moment, ever doubt his role in contributing to the team’s STYLE and SUCCESS over the past 5 years. I don’t have the stats handy, but I am sure if someone were to dig, one would find that Alves was certainly one of the most used players under Pep and the ones after him. He has been the world’s best right back throughout this time and in my eyes, one of the best, if not the best RB Barca has ever had. Barca’s swashbuckling one touch combination football and unreal chemistry would have been infinitely less effective without Dani in the side. I am sure its no coincidence Messi chooses to warm up and prepare for games with Dani. Technical ability coupled with aggression, work rate and the typical Brazilian joy in playing (the ‘Wheee’ as kxevin would put it) are all things we have come to love in Dani alves and you can bet your bollocks that his absence from the pitch and indeed the squad will be VERY noticeable. He gets a lot of crap on these boards and I just thought its important to express my views on him and his contribution after hearing his quotes.
    Make no mistake, the team is going to be verrry different next season. Abidal is already gone. Valdes, Puyol gone and Dani set to leave. That’s pretty much our entire much heralded back line that is going to be replaced. Add to Xavi’s almost certain reduced role and our Barca is transitioning before our very eyes. The much talked about ‘era’ that many have been eager to call an end on, has most certainly ended this season.

    The times they are a changing. Wonder what awaits.
    Visca Dani!
    Wheee

    • Inamess says:

      I agree! Dani is in the unique position of being the only mainstay in our lineup form 2009-14 who was a non La Masia product, and outsider who dared to be different and do things his way. Let’s give him props because he may have been just as important to our success as Valdes, Pique, or even Busquets.

  24. Ultraculé says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwM2MKZUl7s

    Plus meaningless crosses aside, you’ve gotta love a player who always raises his performances against the EE.

  25. PrinceYuvi says:

    In normal circumstances,
    it takes a whole lifetime to be a legend.

    At Barça, players usually become legends at age of 26,
    which is absolutely outlandish.

    We complain about Busi not getting Legend sticker yet,
    well He’s 25 (let that sink in),
    So lets wait another season.

    This group of players have contributed so much to Football.
    Almost changed the face of the game singlehandedly.

    Besides boasting of humongous talent,
    these players are human beings of highest order,
    the nicest in the business.

    Even the make believe Children’s stories are not this perfect.

    So when we say, ‘We don’t deserve the Liga.’
    Let them decide that.

  26. Valdemar II says:

    For anyone here who has watched Celta this season, has the candidate coach Luis Enrique done well there? Didn’t find any real analysis on the net, but from what I’ve heard Enrique was impressive coaching Barca B, prematurely fired from Roma (did nothing special), and Celta are currently 8th compared to last season’s 17th place finish. Heard some further positive bits of information about his character, but what are the tangibilities?

    • barca96 says:

      He didn’t have a chance at Roma. He had to deal with the Roman prince Totti in the dressing room who’s been there since mid 90’s as far as I know. No way in hell Luis Enrique can fight him. It was like what AvB tried to do with Chelsea a couple of seasons back.

      Can’t say much about Celta though except what you’ve already stated, a big improvement over last season.

  27. acquit says:

    Since many are talking about Dani Alves and Just now I finished listening to the latest spanish football Podcast. I think it’s apt to put this small joke here*Copied*

    A: I cut my leg open in Andalusia last week
    B: Sevilla?
    A: Nah, it healed in over a day

  28. Archie says:

    I want to second the DaniLove! Intelligent passionate entrepreneur. Played two (2!) positions At The Same Time on the best team ever. It is fustrating to watch ineffectual crosses, but they are the result of Systemic Flaws not lack of accuracy. He would much rather be playing one-twos with Messi. Tremendous leader who will be greatly missed. Pinto, too, is leader who will be missed. Mascherano. Xavi! Who will be the thinkers in the next generation?
    ~Banana

  29. Archie says:

    Any insight into the Frank De Boer possibilities? Is he trying to light a fire under FC Barca by flirting with Tottenham Hotspur? His career path seems more ripe for FCB than Luis Enrique’s, at this point.

    • PrinceYuvi says:

      Er, we need someone with management skills.
      A manager, more than a coach.
      De boer said himself.

      • PrinceYuvi says:

        *man management

      • Archie says:

        You write that FDB says that he is not a good man-manager and FCB needs a good man-manager more than it needs a good coach. Please say more!

        • PrinceYuvi says:

          De boer :
          ‘Barca need more a manager than a coach,
          I’m more a coach.
          What can you teach Messi or Iniesta ?’

          • Archie says:

            Smart guy. A bit disappointing. Seems to be saying that FCB is stuck in a rut and he pities the fool who inherits the drivers job. Messi and Iniesta need a tactician if not a skills coach. There is work to be done, if not by him. Truthfully, he has been an under 23 coach for a few years, so it makes sense that he would feel unease at facing a bunch of old guys.

          • barca96 says:

            De Boer hit the nail in the head. I said it before too, he and Martinez are not ready for this job at this moment in time. They can only come when the next batch of youngsters come through and the old guard are out.

  30. PrinceYuvi says:

    Guessing Game :

    Name Barça starting XI of next season.

    Bragging rights for those who Guess correctly )

  31. ooga aga says:

    Puyol to say goodbye in “institutional act” may 15.

  32. Inamess says:

    News Flash: Diego Costa suffers hamstring injury.

    This might be the most important development for Barca and Madrid right now. I would feel bad for Athleti if they had to fight for the La LIga and the Champions League without him. But this news might be huge.

  33. ciaran says:

    Here’s a question for people…
    There was a player who we tried to buy last season but were priced out of the transfer and he was sold for €35m. That player has been kept out of his new clubs line up by a player who is available as a free transfer this summer.
    Who are the players and would you sign the free transfer as a back up?

    • Inamess says:

      Are you talking about Marquinhos and PSG?

      What would you do about my Cules’ Choice: The Argentinean Ultimatum
      above?

      • ciaran says:

        Marquinhos and Alex so mostly correct. Alex is available as a free transfer and he certainly can defend. I dunno.

        The Argentinian Ultimatum, Aguero adds nothing that we don’t already have and Alexis is a better player than Pedro at almost everything. Higuain, while not world class is definitely a good striker. Thing is though, Higuain flourishes in a different style of football, counter attacking, and we don’t play that style. If our next manager was to implement the smallest components of it then Higuain could work well enough to justify a space on our bench.
        To answer your question I would probably have to say Higuain for for Pedro.

    • PrinceYuvi says:

      David luiz. John terry.

  34. ooga aga says:

    what i can see is that, through a combination of luck and — maybe — just enough rotation by Tata, we are arriving at the end of the season healthy enough to win the title, while the others are falling apart. Ronaldo, who has been rotated very little, is gimpy, as is Bale; so also are Pepe and di Maria having issues, they have also been playing almost every game. Meanwhile Diego Costa’s injury (remember he went off lame against us in UCL, i imagine this is a recurrence of same thing) due to fact that Simeone has rotated almost not at all this season.

    of course we have Pique and Valdes out, but this was due to freak injuries and not muscular issues which often come out at end of long season due to fatigue.

    • Inamess says:

      This is an interesting theory! Different causes though for Real and Atleti. Atleti didn’t have a bench because they didn’t have the money, while Real didn’t use theirs enough. You can’t imagine how many Real fans complain about spending 30 million for players to sit on the bench.

      Also, maybe Sanchez owes his fitness to Martino’s not playing him more in the last 2 months. It would be cool if a now in form Lexus is the decisive factor in the next two games as he now shows his coach how wrong he was not to start him in our previous decisive games.

      Barca has been given an improbable chance to save their season and now the plot thickens!

    • Peter says:

      There was nothing freak about Pique’s injury unless by freak you mean Diego Costa.

      He didn’t even try to jump for the ball, he just moved in on Pique to destabilize him in the air. He tried the same dirty trick vs Levante, but got caught.

    • Gekko64 says:

      rotation has always been an achilles’ heel for Ancelotti, he doesn’t do that as much as he should imo even though he’s got some quality backups. he only rotates enough to avoid injuries, but it seems like he made an exception for Ronaldo :D

  35. BA says:

    Marquinos is getting kept out by Alex, but while Alex has had a good season he isn’t really the sort of defender we need, is 31 and by all accounts is a bit of a asshole. Marquinos will end up a better defender, but like any other player he needs time to bed in.

    so no, i wouldn’t. we need quality players for the long-term, not stopgaps; this is a rebuilding, not a retrofitting.

    • ciaran says:

      The reason I suggested it as a thought is this; do we really want to buy 2 centrebacks under 27?
      Pique is 27, Bartra is 23. Assuming we buy any of the main people linked they are all under 27. These three main rotational starters are all going to require a lot of playing time.
      For me the 4th choice centreback has to either be of the level/age to not need to be playing as much or even better can play a different role in the team.

      • Inamess says:

        I don’t understand why we need 2 new CBs either unless we are somehow making up for our idiocy in not signing 1 new one in the last few seasons! Barta will only be better next year and Masch is still a good option for backup as 4th CB and 2nd DM.

        • ciaran says:

          I think Masch at centre back is a liability on all fronts at this stage but many won’t agree with me. Yes we still should be good enough to win games with him at centre back if the opposition are not strong but I don’t see the point in taking the risk with a space on our squad.

          • Inamess says:

            I know you might have said this before, but I assume you want Masch him out. I wouldn’t be totally against it, but you are losing a good player that can still make some contribution to the side. If Masch wants out to play 1st DM somewhere else fine, but I wouldn’t mind at all if he stickz around.

          • ciaran says:

            Ya, I like him as a player and I think he’s one of the best tacklers in the world and certainly the best in our team.
            For me though, every time he lines up in a big match I see the opposition trying to take advantage of his height and as I’ve said many times before, he’s not going to grow.

            Fans have attacked him as being not good enough and that is unfair in my opinion because he is a world class player and in a different team he is sure to show it. We have too many small players to allow for a few in defensive roles and Alba’s going nowhere so that just leaves Masch.

            I see nothing wrong with us investing in bigger players in this window provided that they still have the footballing ability and if we were to replace Masch with say Benatia, Hummels or Garay, all are as good in possession as Masch and all are better defensively. It makes sense from my point of view.

            I think that for some players they will have a better future outside of our squad, Tello, Song, Masch & Pedro are all better players than we give them credit for. I don’t really want to think about it but how good would Pedro be playing for Real Madrid.

          • Kxevin says:

            Tello, Song, Masch & Pedro are all better players than we give them credit for.

            Not all of us, but I take your point. I think that too many culers are fond of scapegoating a player and declaring him “not good enough,” for reasons that I don’t see. Maybe I watch matches differently.

            Mascherano is an inch shorter than Puyol. The biggest problem with Mascherano in our back line vs Puyol is that the team defend differently. Stick Puyol in our back line the way the press is absent and teams are able to counter against us, and the results wouldn’t be much different.

            It’s funny how many people think that a CB or two would solve our defensive problems. No, it won’t, because a break is a break is a break. Positioning errors and poor judgment aren’t the fault of a CB or two. This season was just something of a mess, by our team’s recently lofty standards.

            Funny, I mentioned that Song was quality depth on Twitter, and of course, the boo birds came out. Yet my memories of how he plays for the side are too fresh for the “Should have bought a CB” crowd to have sway with me.

            Pedro, in a system that affords him the space of his glory years with Barça, is a 20+ goal a year scorer, like money.

            Stoichkov today said that the team needs a sprucing up, not a revolution and I agree. If you look at this year’s gala XI, who is going to mess with that: Valdes, Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Neymar, Messi and Sanchez.

            Lots of people have players they like to champion. And if we are going to go for a straight-up defensive RB, Alves isn’t that choice. But in the context of the present Barça system played properly, the players are there.

            I always ask people who will replace X or Y player, and what system is the team to play? Popular right now is Reus for Sanchez. Same work rate? I haven’t seen a ton of Dortmund matches, but have seen enough to wonder about that. Alves out, okay. Who’s in? Montoya as a more regular starter? Possibly.

            We have excellent players. What we don’t have is sufficient depth from players good enough to apply pressure to the incumbents. And that might never happen. Who’s good enough to press Iniesta? Or Messi?

            It’s complex, and I would hate to be our technical staff.

          • Gekko64 says:

            well, we won a final with the Yaya as CB. if everyone presses like they should, we can manage :D

  36. PrinceYuvi says:

    Really don’t want to feel sorry about Costa injury.
    He can be a downright moron, Just ask Pique, Hips don’t lie !

  37. ciaran says:

    Valverde confirmed that Laporte won’t be sold. So, unless we want to cough up €36million plus tax he won’t be coming here.

    • Kxevin says:

      Don’t honestly believe Laporte was ever a viable option. Why would Athletic sell their future franchise CB? Doesn’t make sense.

    • Peter says:

      I may be mistaken, but the title in MD was “We’re counting on Laporte for next year”. No coach would ever say “Tha’ dude be for sale”, especially when it’s the most prized asset currently.

      Anyway, Athletic don’t really need to sell, and that always raises the price. “Not for sale!” raises it even more.

      The question is that someone will be willing to pay up. City and PSG as of now won’t be, but there are quite a few EPL clubs that have more money than sense.

      • Inamess says:

        I don’t know what’s behind our facination with expensive 19 year old prospects on other teams. If Barca fans want to drool over promising 19 year olds, then let them watch Barca B. For every 19 year old that lives up even close to his promise, 4 don’t.

  38. Inamess says:

    Kxevin I totally agree with your comments above. Someone may have posted this before, but I’ll put it up again:

    “The decisions are taken by those at the top and that makes it difficult for things to turn out well, because those at the top don’t know about football. The end of an era is only an excuse when you don’t know what isn’t working. Normally, if you know about football, you should know why this worked before and doesn’t now.”

    J. Cruyff

    Looks like we have one window to see if we can revitalize the team.

    If I could have a 30 second conversation with Zubi:

    Don’t sell Alexis or Fabergas. Sometimes the moves you don’t make are better than those you do. Neither has become what we hoped for yet, but both could still do great in a slightly different, younger Barca.

    What would you guys tell Zubi?

    • Gekko64 says:

      “Murder the current board and bring Cruyff back!”

    • Peter says:

      “Don’t listen to the fans. Fans are fickle, spoiled and have no real concept of money. Think hard, then trade hard. Best of luck, please manage to sign a defender and Visca Barça!”

      • Cesc was never a fan signing. It was more or less a Rosell signing at 40 million. That’s 40 million money wasted when we could have easily have Thiago and Sergi as back up. Even in case of Neymar we could have instead gone for Reus last season and would have saved at least 60-65 million to go for a quality defender. Definitely Neymar is a world class player and way better than Reus but was that the most important thing you need last summer. So I don’t think the management also have any concept of money or spending money wisely like you think. They are worse than the fans.

        But then they talk about austerity and debt situation, people is ready to buy that. They key is Spending wisely. Which they are not ever capable of that.

        • Inamess says:

          I think you may be right in hindsight about Thiago, but the truth is that not many fans correctly said at the time that when we got Cesc we were in effect shipping out Thiago.

          If Thiago were foolish enough to have the loyalty of a Pedro that would have been great, but he and the Alcantara family correctly saw the writing on the wall and acted accordingly. The Cesc vs Thiago choice may work out or haunt us for the next 10 years.

          On the letting Thiago go for cheap issue, I don’t know whether I would rather think that it was part of a plot to get rid of him without a fan backlash or criminal incompetence. I wonder if anyone has done any investigating to find out which.

          Anyway we now have Cesc in our squad, so let’s hope he can prove his critics wrong.

        • Peter says:

          Why is it that when it’s a “failed” signing it’s “Rosell”, but when it worked out(subjective view) it’s the genius of Guardiola/Laporta?

          When Cesc was signed the press asked Pep whether he was signing the lost boy of Barcelona and he replied “I am signing the captain of Arsenal”.

          As for Reus, I need to ask you, imagine Reus when Messi went away for two months. Would Reus manage to be the focal point of the team? Would he be able to lose his marker so consistently that he’d be assigned at least two every time he closes the box, or would he become another “Alexis flop”?

          Neymar’s signing was a coup not just in football terms. He was a coup in economic terms as well. We may as well face it, few footballers today are worth the transfer prices paid for them. Clubs gamble, hoping that the signing will eventually pay off with better sponsorships, trophies and the prize money associated with it. Neymar opened a 200 million-citizens market to Barcelona in South America alone after being signed. After signing Neymar Barcelona became Nike’s best-selling sport entity in the world. This is the reason why Real Madrid were willing to pay Barcelona’s clause of Neymar’s contract and also pay Neymar Sr. the 40m he was due from Barcelona – because they knew that apart from being a really, really great footballer, he is a money machine.

    • 86ed says:

      Why should Barca keep Sanchez and Fabregas?
      In three seasons with us Fabregas has always disappeared in the crucial part of the season. I don’t have the stats at hand to be sure, but I haven’t seen him score a goal in the last two months at least. He did notch an assist vs Villarreal, but that’s the last point he has earned in what, 10 matches?
      Everyone is raving about Sanchez’ s season. Why? All but all but two of them at home (one of which was the silly one he scored vs Sevilla; remember that one?). And he has nothing in Europe.
      A few here want to keep Sanchez because of his hustle. I get the impression he runs like a headless chicken. Tries a few tricks, puts himself in a hopeless position, runs hard to get the ball back, passes the back back Lather rinse repeat.
      If Juve are silly enough to offer good money for him, I’d take it right away.

      • Inamess says:

        I agree with that Fab and Sanchez haven’t lived up to their promise, but which transfers have? My hope is that Fab can do better on the field if he able to play his way and not thought of as a failed Xavi replacment. Sanchez, for all the jeers he gets, is still a young promising attacker.

        But I could be wrong about both. We already got rid of Ibra, Thiago, and Villa. Who would you suggest instead?

        • 86ed says:

          Ibra was a poor signing. Good against the weak and weak against the strong. Klose would have been a far wiser signing. He’s a goal machine still, and wouldn’t have minded the bench.

          What pissed me off of the Villa signing was how poorly Rosell handled the situation. We essentially gifted Spain’s highest scorer to a direct competitor, now first in the league and favourite to win it. Real sold Albiol to Napoli for 15m…

          The Only thing I’m upset about over the Thiago business is for how cheaply we let him go. Bayern added 5m on top out of pity, because they could have had him for 18m. Villanova, the poor man, really screwed the pooch last year. Hard to blame him because he was so sick, but the entire team was obsessed with reaching 100 pts at the cost of future development. We had the league wrapped by early April, why not bench Xavi, Iniesta, and Busquets, and try something radical, like a 4-2-3-1? Oh well.

          Whom would I sign now? Well first I’d get rid of surplus inventory. I mean really clear the house. Ship Xavi out, along with Fabregas, Sanchez, Pedro, Tello, dos Santos, Afellay, Cuenca, Mascherano, Alves… Pour the money earned into deals for Martinez, Laporte, Reus, Hummels, and Ljajic. Abandon the obsolete 4-3-3 with the painfully slow Busquets in the centre. Remodel the left side of the pitch as the attacking flank with Alba into a real winger with Adriano as the fullback; ask Montoya to be a defensive fullback. Play Neymar as the centre forward and Messi as the 10. Partner Busquest and Martinez in the centre. I dare you to find a better fantasy central defensive set than Pique-Hummels-Laporte-Bartra.

          This will never ever happen. It’s too extreme a change and it would alienate too many people; but I feel what we need now is a radical move to a different direction. The time for gradual evolution was 2011 or 2012. It’s too late for that now.

          Sorry for the long reply.

          • Inamess says:

            Thanks for the feedback! I am not schooled enough in tactics but what you recommend sounds interesting.

            I think you are right in what we need now is a revolution in how we play. The question is what are Barca fans and by that I mean those in Catalonia willing to accept. To do what you recommend means admitting that every transfer move we made in the last 5 years has been incompetent.

            You, for course, may be right but doesn’t that mean we have to get rid of the board and try again from scratch. Catalonians are going to have to get out their pitchforks and march on Camp Nou to make that happen. Though the idea seems pretty cool to me!

            My formation which admittedly requires few moves and some may say is really insufficient in defense would look something like this:

            ter Stegen
            Cuadrado/Montoya, Pique, Luiz, Alba/Adriano
            Busquets, Fabergas, Iniesta
            Sanchez/Trad #9, Messi, Neymar

            Sure, most of the usual suspects, but it could allow our team to play a lot differently. It’s a more conservative idea but may have similar results. It wouldn’t look pretty at first, but I would like to see a capable manager try this for a year. If it doesn’t work, then you can clear house in the next transfer window depending on FIFA’s ruling.

      • BA says:

        is this the same Alexis that is (Messi aside) the top goalscorer on our team this season? 20 goals and 15 assists from the right wing….

        he’s been brilliant during what has largely been a lackluster season, and i still contend he’s being played out of position. he’s certainly been a more valuable member of the squad than our squillion-dollar signing Neymar. the idea that we would sell Alexis now, after his best season for us, is nonsensical; though this board often traffics in nonsense.

        Fabregas remains more complicated, and while i can understand the arguments for sticking with him, i’d much prefer us go back in time and shift him off to Bayern instead of Thiago. now, given our diminished midfield resources and need for variation in our attack, it’s probably a better idea that we keep him around. perhaps a better coach will find ways to use him more effectively, or consign him to the bench during our big matches.

    • Rami says:

      Fabregas is a vital and a necessary player in our squad, Specially when the squad suffers from homogeneity of skill sets that has plagued it for a long time, Giving any coach a hard time adjusting to the opponents and do things differently, We constantly talk about how our team should evolve, But the change isn’t going to come from more of xavi or more of iniesta, But more from the likes of fabregas, And if someone could ask marinto who are his three favorite players, Cesc will be one of them, And the number of minutes he had this season is no surprise, He provide something different, And i’m sure martino wished there were more like him in the team.

      Alexis meets almost perfectly the criteria of an FCB winger, In other clubs and systems the aspects of a winger like goal threat – Dribbling – Speed – Crossing ability are of the highest priority, In our system and style of play, All of these take a back seat to defensive contribution, And ability to provide width, And play mostly as a support player, Just because some X or Y winger in a different club is doing amazingly, Doesn’t means he’ll perform to the same level with us, Things aren’t that simple.
      For me having neymar and messi in front is pushing it to the limit on how much we sacrificed defensive contribution and width, Because both of them lack these two properties, They all want to as close to the goal as possible, And it’s logical, Cause that’s where they perform best, But at least there is something to balance them on the right side like alexis or pedro.
      For example i’m not excited that much about deulofeu, Not because i don’t think highly of him, I’m sure he’ll turn out to be an amazing player, But with him on the right, We’ll have three players that all want to be near the action zone, Have weak defensive contribution, And don’t want to be sacrificed just to provide width, It’ll throw the balance out of whack, Just because we have three serious goal threats upfront that it’ll mean we’ll DESTROY ALL TEAMS!!.

  39. PrinceYuvi says:

    Double mark Messi,
    Push Iniesta to the touchline ,
    Erase xavi’s passing options,
    Don’t give our passers time to gain composure on the ball & make intelligent play,
    Spray longballs just to mock us,
    Tactical fouls if someone dares drift goalwards
    & Voila,
    you’ve semi-bottled barca..
    If anything goes wrong, there is always Courtois standing tall.

    System vs Individuals.

    In Atleti system,
    everybody plays & they do it together.
    They defend together,
    they attack together,
    they’re cohesive,
    they look out for each other instead of blaming miranda, godin for conceded goals.

    We used to do it all that too.
    Only small difference is,
    instead Tallish decent footballers,
    we had magicians.
    And it was freaking awesome.

    • Inamess says:

      Make no mistake: if things stand as they are in our last match we are Going to War. This might be controversial but: since the ref on the field is going to decide how the war is conducted, I wouldn’t mind if players go down early for a bit at if Athleti take out the knives.

      A scared ref will not call anything in this game even though it is at Camp Nou unless he is forced to even if Athleti take out guns. So let’s make sure Athleti are penalized for reckless fouls. Let players go down if they have to. Let the crowd show their outrage! I am sick that each of Athleti’s players seems to get three cheap shots in before picking up a yellow. The title should be decided playing football, and by that I mean not the American kind.

      • Gekko64 says:

        true. for all the respect they deserve, this is not a brand of football I could ever stomach. I think Borussia have a similar budget and yet manage to be way, way more attractive to watch.

  40. Inamess says:

    Conspiracy Theory:

    Different bookies have gotten to each the three top Spanish teams and each side is trying to lose La Liga.

    Result: Barcelona win the League by beating Atleti at home 4-3.

    Atleti score four own goals to Barca’s three. In the last minute of the match Alves trys equalize but Pinto, who is not in on the plot, makes an awesome save.

  41. Kxevin says:

    Apparently Neymar did well at his fitness test. Depends on Martino whether he can play vs Atleti. My guess is that depends on the Elche result.

  42. KEVINO17 says:

    You can make all the plans you like for next season, but there will be a relatively inexperienced coach (Enrique) and a wily veteran (Xavi) and guess who will run the show.

    • ciaran says:

      I couldn’t believe that for one second. Luis Enrique is a former club captain and was captain when Xavi was playing.
      Anyway Lucho upset Totti and still got his way I’m sure he’ll have no problem with our dressing room.

      I don’t agree that Xavi is any sort of trouble maker that a few people think he is. He has been a model professional for his entire career and then due to statements that merely said that they weren’t used to playing in a certain way and Martino changing suddenly Xavi is labelled a trouble maker. I don’t agree with that in any way whatsoever

      • ooga aga says:

        exactly. lots of anti-xavi sentiment here in this forum, from his being a locker room dictator who cant get along with the manager, to his being surplus to requirements and needing to be “shipped out.”

        im sorry but simply “shipping out” xavi is not a way that a club calling itself “mes que un club” would act towards a player who has won it so much. one of these days he might not regularly run more than anyone else during our matches, then maybe you could argue that he should take a diminished role…but simply “ship him out”? thats not the way we behave — its the way a cold, impersonal business behaves. i would rather show gratitude towards a player who has given us so much. if you argue that he is taking a squad place from a player who could give us more, well i dont know who that would be, but additionally, i would rather not win titles than be that type of club. spent many years as a fan of this club when it didnt win anything, i expect the people saying “xavi out” can not say the same. happy to stand corrected but id wager that these folks saying this are new fans with a excessive sense of entitlement.

        as far as his inability to get along with Luis Enrique, you might not have been around when Luis Enrique was a senior member of the team and Xavi wandered in, still fresh outta his diapers. If Xavi didnt behave that way to Pep, he wont towards L.E. either. I also doubt the reports of Xavis problems with Martino. It’s all a media creation which we unfortunately parrot as if it were fact. We have no idea.

      • Inamess says:

        As a recent Xavi critic and someone who does not favor this player I don’t mind being the bad guy. The following points can or already have been made:

        1) Having him on the pitch does in a large way dictate the teams style. (Methodical and deliberate, and slows up play)

        2) He is not the player he used to be.

        3) The “myth” that he went to Martino and asked him to change our style is fairly well documented by such respected journalists as Guillem Balague amd Graham Hunter and therefore not a vicious rumor with no basis.

        4) No player is “sacred” and if the team will do better if Xavi is not on the pitch then that is the way it should be. No I don’t feel he should be shipped out, because I still feel he has a more limited contribution to make.

        However, if it would be better for him to leave then I am OK with that too. The team “betrayed” Abidal, and I don’t think that people on this forum were so outraged that they no longer wanted to follow the club.

        5) Had relatively “new fans” said two years ago that they doubt Puyol’s future contribution to the club their would have been the same witch hunt. But those naive fans would have been right because they were not living in the past.

        • Inamess says:

          For those who are still interested in rehashing the now much debated Fabergas vs. Xavi arguments that have dominated much of the talk this season, here is an interesting article written back in Nov. that already saw the dilemma:
          http://talksport.com/football/xavi-fabregas-or-both-tata-martinos-quest-balance-barca-continues-13111167740

        • Jim says:

          Well, if you’re right the club will be looking to move on this troublemaker who offers us nothing on the pitch other than messing up the dressing room or slowing down play and won’t even be called up by VDB because Spain don’t need such a useless player either. If not, maybe you should actually watch Xavi for a while in the next game and see his workrate and contribution and come back with some evidence from an actual game?

          Jeez ! You lost me when you called Ballague a respected journalist. I also watch Revista every week and don’t remember Hunter saying anything other than he thought Xavi ( and Iniesta) weren’t comfortable with the more vertical style.

          • ciaran says:

            I agree that Xavi dictates the team’s style and that he isn’t the player that he used to be but he is probably the most important player in our history and still very valuable to this team and squad. His calming influence on a match, either from the start or off the bench is very effective to control the game but our game hasn’t made the most of him this season in a lot of cases.

            I have said that I don’t think that he shouldn’t be starting as many games as he does and that Cesc should be starting in his position on more occasions as we are a more dangerous team with that line up. But that is dependant on who we are playing and what our squad looks like next year.

            Mundo Deportivo had an interesting article about the last 78 minutes that Cesc has played off the bench that we were losing in each of the three matches when he came around and was involved in the turnaround to gain 5 extra points, thus keeping us in the hunt for the league.

            Both of them definitely have an incredibly important position in our squad for next season.

      • Inamess says:

        @ciaran I think we agree more than we disagree. I’ve given Xavi his due praise already, but the idolatry rubs me the wrong way these days. I am sick of post match interviews after losses or draws in which he says “We dominated the game, but didn’t get the result we deserved”. Or fans talking about his 98% passing accuracy rate. Why don’t Barca fans also talk about our woeful aerial inferiority and lack of many real goal scoring chances despite our domination of possession.

        @Jim, I think we are going to have to agree to disagree on this one. If Xavi dominates play in the World Cup in 100 degree heat, then you are 100% right. That may not be del Bosque’s plan for his side this summer, but we’ll see.

        Also, since Xavi will obviously play a big part of our last two games, I would also love to be proven a fool there too.

  43. barca96 says:

    Luiz vs. Hummels?

    I’d take Hummels over Luiz anyday. Been watching a lot of football this past season especially Dortmund (mainly to watch Reus). Hummels was good. I would say he’s a better passer than Pique. Too bad he’s slow as well and gets caught out quite a number of times. Not much of an upgrade over Mascherano tbh in that sense from what I’ve seen.

    Actually I’ve only kept a close eye on him since his return from injury especially when his name cropped up again. I thought he won’t be linked anymore after what happened last year with him openly declaring his love but was snubbed in the end. Before his injury, I only got my eyes on Reus.

    I watched at least 10 Chelsea matches and Luiz wasn’t even featured in many of them. And in the few that he played, he wasn’t even deployed at his natural position. And man, the less said the better.

    People say that he can pass out of the back, he certainly can but he is certainly not suited to our 1 touch passing. He is slow on the ball and tries a lot of long balls. Hummels passes a lot through the middle.

    • norden says:

      I’d take David Luiz.

      He may not play for Chelsea that much, because he’s too technical defender for Mou. Which would actually make him good profile for Barca.

      Also, I hope, he may be the leader type that Barca misses at the back.

    • ciaran says:

      I haven’t often seen Hummels getting caught out, last season a couple of times but this season he has been back on form. I can’t think of a match this season where he hasn’t been the best defender on the park even when they have lost. As for the pace issue, he isn’t the quickest player but he isn’t exactly slow, I’ve seen him dispossess Ribery and Robben in one on ones so I wouldn’t say it would be a problem.

      If we are looking for a simply defensive centre back then Benatia will do that job better than anyone else on the market. I would argue that Puyol isn’t a great footballer but he was a phenomenal defender. Whether we need a defender to create as well as destroy is a question for the manager but as defenders go, Hummels, Benatia and Garay are my choices for the immediate starter next season.

    • Inamess says:

      I know this sounds like wavering from a spoiled fan, but what about the strange idea that we get both. This would seem like a good option for those in the let’s get rid of Masch and Song camp. Luiz can play CB or other positions on the pitch. Barta also still gets his quality minutes to develop, just as if we kept Masch.

      I don’t follow each player enough to really make an informed choice about which to get, though from opinions on this forum getting both even if potentially expensive doesn’t sound crazy if Masch and Song leave.

      If we can only get one, then maybe it should just come down to price if one is significantly cheaper than the other. Both are as risky as any of our previous transfers, as we have learned that whether a player can make the transition into our team is often unpredictable. Already proven Brazilians have a pretty good track record though, and Hummels would have a fellow German in the side at goalie in ter Stegen.

  44. PrinceYuvi says:

    Elche is the team who scored Least goals from set pieces – 6 Goals.

    Elche scored from a counter just once.

  45. Getting both was going to be my cheeky response as well. However, I think Bartra deserves a shot and two top class CBs will reduce Bartra to Copa games. I think we need a true CB as well as a multi-positional defender. I like both Hummels and Luiz. I think I’d prefer Hummels, but I don’t watch either enough to really know. Luiz and Hummels makes sense if we get rid of Masch, but Masch is such a diverse and amazing player that I think we be fools to let him go.

    I haven’t been too keen on Montoya. If we weren’t facing a possible ban in a year I’d give him the season to see how it goes, but as it stands, if Dani is leaving, I think we need a solid Abidal-esq player to fill though shoes.

    I really don’t understand all the positive Cesc talk though. As far as I am concerned, he is invisible in ever big match. I like Cesc, and I think he’s a great player, but he doesn’t gel with this team. He’s had three years to step up his game and adjust, but he really only plays well in the beginning of the season or against weaker teams. Xavi, on the other hand, seems to be getting a really bad rap here. I think all the numbers point to his extreme work ethic. He wants to make that pass (and not slow the game down) but no one is making the run. The real coup de grace for me though is Xavi’s ability to hold onto the ball. Cesc cannot. Nor can he operate without sufficient space.

    It’s funny though, there seems to be a 50/50 split here (as in at the blog) with two camps, the Xavi and the Cesc. But lets not forget about Rafinha.

    • ciaran says:

      I have seemed to become someone to constantly stand up for Cesc but I do this for two reasons only, 1, I believe that while he has the reputation for underperforming in big matches he is always played out of position in these matches and when played as a central midfielder he has a great record and 2, he works hard, loves this club, took a pay cut to join and has incredible stats and a connection with Messi on and off the pitch that is irreplaceable.

      • Kxevin says:

        This ^^

        If Fabregas is sold this summer, it will be because the team chose to go in a different, less vertical direction. If we get vertical Barça, Fabregas would be an excellent architect.

      • bhed says:

        Tend to agree, but maybe less enthusiastically than usual. He is slow, and not very aggressive in the press, although the same could have been said about Xavi – even 5 years ago.

        One rare area of disagreement (in response to a much earlier comment) – are we talking about the same Montoya? Right back? Hasn’t had a decent game all season? That Montoya? Do you really think he’s shown anything resembling Barca class this season? Poor defending, poor crossing, not great positioning – I just don;t see it.

    • Inamess says:

      I think all these heated arguments about Cesc vs Xavi is really just fans throwing up their hands and making the most of a bad situation. Cesc and Thiago were both viewed as Xavi’s long term replacement and the club went with Cesc. As this possibility is now problematic as well we can either curse Zubi and the board for making some really bad decisions, sell Cesc and look for somebody else or else hope that in the next few years Cesc will find his groove in the side.

      My preference is that we should just give Cesc a chance until the next transfer window and see. If it doesn’t work out then we could still give him back to Arsenal after we apologize for ruining their team with another bad transfer decision.

  46. Kxevin says:

    Ter Stegen still not saying what club he is joining, but he “has a club, and is learning Spanish.”

    • ciaran says:

      It’s very obvious from what he said that it’s us. I like the move, he is a top quality keeper with the right characteristics to succeed here and we got the deal done early to avoid a bidding war.

      • Kxevin says:

        It’s funny, the Courtois surge of interest. For me, Courtois is a spectacular traditional keeper. He works so well at Atleti, and will be pretty much unbeatable at Chelsea. Our situation would be more complex.

        It’s also funny how often he hoofs it long, particularly recalling how much stick Valdes took for doing such a thing.

        From everything that I have seen, we snagged the right keeper for us. Again, I know common thinking is that ZubiZa couldn’t find his ass with both hands a road map, but that is twice now (also with Halilovic) that our technical staff has stolen a march on the top sides in Europe, the neglect of the sporting project being stipulated.

        I reckon it ain’t ALL bad, in other words.

        • Peter says:

          I reckon it ain’t ALL bad, in other words.
          And then you wonder why they call you “board apologist”. :P

          For me Courtois’s main attraction is that he’s not Barcelona.
          Culervision is like a looking glass – it magnifies distant objects while conveniently hiding the smaller details, but prevents the viewer from seeing close objects, like the back of your hand, properly.

  47. bhed says:

    So … BeIn is not showing the Elche game live. Apparently they’re not showing it at all until next Fri.

    This made me realize something. For those of us lucky enough to watch matches live on TV (as opposed to streaming or DL), the final results of La Liga are much more than symbolic. If we place third, there will be a lot less live Barca games on TV than we’ve been accustomed to. How many live Valencia games did BeIn show this season?

    Yet another reason we’ve got to pull this off…

    • mom4 says:

      Website says they’re simulating Celta v RM and Elche v Barça at 12:55-3:00 (EST) tomorrow. They’re also showing the liga round 37 “best match” at 5:30 (hopefully that’ll be us because the SpanIsh version is showing AM and RM’s games later tomorrow afternoon)

  48. Inamess says:

    Cules’ Choice: Are we Jordon’s Bulls or Torre’s Yankees?

    What makes a Player or Team Immortal?

    The question: Who is the greatest basketball player of all time?

    The answer for 90% of people is Michael Jordon.

    But some may ask:

    Isn’t LeBron just better?

    Wasn’t there this guy Wilt Chamberlain who dominated games like no other player before or since?

    I also heard about this guy Bill Russell who won 11 championships with the Celtics.

    For most people the answer is Jordon and the Bulls because they went out on top. Jordon is remembered for hitting the most iconic shot in one of the greatest individual performances in NBA history. Game 6 in Utah in which the Bulls won their 6th and final championship. Ending an Era the best possible way: Going out on top.

    The Barca dynasty or 2008-14 is over. We were one of the best teams ever. But our story has yet to be written.

    Who will write it and what will it say?

    To me, the answer might depend on the next two games. Win it and no one will ever question our dominance. We become immortal. We become the Bulls.

    Is that fair? No. But the team has been given a gift. If we looked at this team a week ago it looked like we were going to be the Joe Torre Yankees. Winning 4 World Series in 5 Years and then keeping the core of the same team together but never recapturing the same magic.

    Will we do it? No one knows? It will be hard. But we must earn it, just like the Bulls did in capturing their 6th NBA Championship against Utah while not being 100% or even close to their former best.

    So yes: let us praise Alves, Xavi, Valdes, and Puyol. They have earned it and three will probably not be in a largely different side next year and one won’t have nearly as big a role. But let there be no mistake: the legacy of these players has not been fully written even though two will not even feature in our last two games. But their legacy will also depend partly on how our team finishes our season.

    Let’s give it our all, and play the best two games of the year, and show the world that we went out on top.

  49. PrinceYuvi says:

    All the xavi bashing is getting tiring.
    The ‘distance covered’ stats is nothing but hoopla.
    Opponents used to play around halfline, now they’re sitting right in the box.
    There’s not much space to run into.
    Same goes for the Sideways passing.
    To complete a pass TWO players are needed !
    if other players can’t get into an attacking position what the hell he’s supposed to do ?

    • blitzen says:

      I’m pretty sick of the Xavi-bashing as well, tbh. To the point where I’m not even bothering to come in here much these days.

    • Peter says:

      I find the Xavi bashing tiring.
      I find the Cesc bashing tiring.
      I find the Dani bashing tiring.
      I find the Tata bashing tiring.
      I find the Masche bashing tiring.
      I find the Lexus bashing tiring.
      I find the Messi bashing tiring.
      I find the Song bashing tiring.

      The time for reflection, critics and praise will come on Monday, Monday 19th. Until that time, support your teams, culers!!!

      Like my granpa used to tell me when I complained about something “Who told you it’s gonna be easy?”

  50. PrinceYuvi says:

    About Pedro,
    he’s fantastic footballer with a crazy first touch.

    Comparing Reus with Pedro is no comparison at all.

    Give Pedro acres of space like Reus gets and he’ll raise hell.

  51. Kxevin says:

    A couple of things:

    The way to make something better isn’t to wash your hands of it. Everyone has opinions, and isolating yourself from them by in effect choosing not to be exposed to those opinions isn’t helping.

    This space works best when it functions as a community, which means a multiplicity of voices, discussing a situation with respect.

    — Player bashing is absurd, I don’t give a damn if it’s Song, Mascherano, Pique or whomever the current un-favored one might be. It’s also silly, because it comes from the worldview that a single individual is the root cause of what is almost invariably a systemic difficulty, be it a loss, goal or whatever.

    On Twitter, when I dared to suggest that Song is quality depth, I got some “No, he isn’t.” And I challenged that person to find me a truly bad match that Song played.

    Cricket! Cricket! Back came the usual bullshit about positioning, and he isn’t a CB, which isn’t the point.

    Our XI contains legends, and world-class players, from top to bottom. Do people understand how GOOD you have to be to even MAKE our first team, let alone play in a match? It’s easy to sit at a keyboard and say that “So and so isn’t Barça quality,” but that contention doesn’t hold water, because you know who decides whether a player is “Barça quality?”

    Our coaching and technical staff.

    Bashing is the equivalent of scapegoating. When you lay other problems at a player’s feet, such as “Dictator Xavi,” then it’s simple blame rooted in ignorance. Because we don’t know what happened.

    Even when you evaluate a player’s “lack” of performance, as in the Fabregas context, we have zero idea what his marching orders were. “Fabregas must go.” Must be news to Guardiola, Vilanova and Martino, who all found ways to get him on the pitch in match after match, because he had skills they thought were important to the side.

    Players don’t come here. So when people rip on a player for various deficiencies that exist in that poster’s mind, that player will never see it. But man, does it affect the tone of discussion here, in the “garbage in, garbage out” sense. Often, comments aren’t about the precipitating post, but about an agenda. So a post about “Hey, isn’t Thiago Messi a cute kid,” might find as a first comment, “Mascherano is short, we need to sell him for a proper CB.”

    Then off it goes from there.

    Should everything stay happy and on topic? That isn’t the point, nor the desire. Wide-ranging discussions are what make this space interesting. But you know what? None of the players on our roster are “shit,” or inadequate in the various ways that people suggest they are.

    Can those players make poor plays or have an off match? Absolutely. And every last one of our player have done that, to a man. Iniesta, Pique, Alves have all said that the COLLECTIVE has come up short at key times this season. They didn’t, as too many culers do, say “Song sucks,” or “Mascherano is short,” or “Xavi told Martino to stop trying to change the team.”

    Because it isn’t right, nor is it logical.

    I can’t tell people to stop crapping on players. It’s what supporters do when times are tough and the necessity for a scapegoat is present. I just wish that we would give some consideration to the stratospheric standard that it is necessary for a player to meet to make this first team.

    “X player made a poor pass, which led to Y or Z,” is different from “X player isn’t fit to wear the colors.” Because if you applied the SAME standard to every player on the roster, then who IS fit to wear the colors, this season?

    • Sangoku says:

      True. While everyone has a right to his/her opinion, criticism needs to be constructive and invite for debate. Venting is ok, but venting with facts would be much better.

      We need to respect our legends. We wouldn’t have those ridiculous standards we set ourselves without them. Yes, they are not above criticism but the least we can do is do it with respect.

      Like Peter pointed out above, let’s support our Club.

  52. Inamess says:

    Kxevin, I largely agree. We are part of a community that loves our team. Players deserve our respect, but not our blind allegiance. They make millions of dollars and probably don’t care that much if some around the world criticize them in a country or language that they probably don’t really know that well.

    I happened to think the way some people were ready to hang Tello for one incident in which we did not know all the facts was unfair, but respected people’s right to vent. The Xavi as dictator idea is from what I have seen on this forum largely a straw man made up by those who currently favor this player to criticize those who don’t.

    I highly respect all of the players on our team, but think the players can also be criticized by fans when think they are not playing well. If I think Thiago, Sanchez, and Fabergas were or are treated unfairly, I will say so, but respect those who have different opinions. To me, the crest and the community of fans around the world that are devoted to it come first. We make it possible for the players to make a fairly good living doing what they love. I may not favor particular players at particular times, but I will wholeheartedly root for them once they step on the pitch.

    The team is in a time of transition. A transition that is now partly necessary, I believe, because not enough people dared ask questions or were self-critical enough because their jobs were at stake or they had an irrational press down their throats. Fans don’t earn a cent for their devotion and don’t have the same pressures, so if we don’t ask the questions then no one will.

    I find the most of the dialogue on this forum opinionated but lively and informative. If we become just a Justin Beiber fan club then I think this important and unique site will be greatly diminished.

    We have a huge game today and the debating should be placed on hold for now. Everyone must pull together because we are a community that shares two things: a love of this team and a passion to see it flourish.

    • Kxevin says:

      Nobody is suggesting a “Justin Bieber fan club,” only that people understand what is going on, and refrain from lambasting someone if they don’t. Whether someone likes a player or not has nothing to do with the quality of the player’s effort for the team. That is my point.

    • ooga aga says:

      No, Inamess. How can you say “The Xavi as dictator idea is from what I have seen on this forum largely a straw man made up by those who currently favor this player to criticize those who don’t” when you defended this xavi criticism by saying, “hey Balague and Graham Hunter said it so it must be true!” In other words, you yourself are the one saying this, so how can you then say it is a strawman.

      This site was around a long time before you started posting 50 times in a thread. It is not a Justin Bieber fan club nor will it become one, and I dont know why you would suggest it,,,maybe because people disagree with your ideas for wholesale change because the team isnt as dominating as it was in 2010 when you became a fan.

      • Inamess says:

        Thanks for the feedback. I don’t think you have fairly characterized what I have written, but look forward to hearing your views on the club and the direction it needs to take.

  53. Inamess says:

    Another banana thrown today. I say good. Let 2014 be the year that the world has finally stood up and said racism in football will no longer be tolerated.

    Those who don’t agree need to be exposed for the provincial and intolerant bigots they are.

    • ciaran says:

      I don’t know if good is the right response but the issue is certainly being highlighted.
      The banana throwing is going to become a symbol now which is terrible but if the punishment is severe enough hopefully it will deter people.
      I don’t know how to eliminate racism from football stadiums when it exists in people’s hearts and homes

    • ooga aga says:

      i agree with ciaran. it’s never “good” that bananas are thrown. it would be better if they werent, period. if the authorities cracked down more, they wouldnt be thrown, and that would be good. it is bad that people havent yet got the message.

  54. ciaran says:

    Cesc starts, Xavi on the bench, so it’s up to him to make a difference.
    Cesc is a yellow card away from a suspension versus Atletico so hopefully he doesn’t get one

  55. Inamess says:

    I think this is Elche are looking for the draw that they were robbed of against Real. They only need one point so its going to be a fortress. Every second counts. We may need only one moment of brilliance to accomplish our mission. I say the Don does it on his birthday.

  56. Jim says:

    Just let’s take it easy and not lose an early goal or this’ll become much harder. They’ll tire eventually.

  57. ooga aga says:

    goal by alexis disallowed by a bad offside call. he was onside

  58. Gekko64 says:

    I like what I’m seeing so far, players are giving it their all and looking out for each other. Elche are no sitting ducks though and we’ll need to be more incisive in and around their box to score. Pedro seems to be having one of those days which is unfortunate :/

  59. Inamess says:

    Well, the good news so far is that we now have two Barcelona managers working to save our season!
    Celta 1- Real 0

  60. Inamess says:

    Not bad so far. No need for desperation unless Atleti score.
    Maybe a draw is OK, particularly with Real down 1-0 to Barca B+.

  61. barca96 says:

    What a rubbish yellow for Pedro. What did he do wrong? The goal keeper is the one who was in the wrong by going out of his box.

  62. barca96 says:

    Atletico down! Cmon boys cmon!!

  63. barca96 says:

    Enough with the high crosses Alves! Enough is enough!!

  64. barca96 says:

    Lomban, after all the undeserved playing time all those years, please repay the faith by scoring an own goal.

  65. Ryan says:

    Atleti equalized, which isn’t surprising. Hoping for a late Barca goal to keep us in the race!

  66. barca96 says:

    Whoa. Messi took the ball off dictator Xavi’s hands for the fk. How dare you Messi. Look forward to be benched next week.

  67. barca96 says:

    Thank you Caballero!

  68. Ryan says:

    Whew, Atleti couldn’t take advantage of the red card and ended 1-1. If we win at the Camp Nou we win la Liga! Would be a fitting time to finally beat them after so many attempts this season.

  69. tutomate says:

    Why can’t this be over already?

  70. barca96 says:

    I know we really need a CB but we also need a new forward, something fresh and new.

    And based from rumors, the club is indeed looking for one. I hope it’s Reus who can actually dribble on the run instead of Alexis and Pedro type of dribbling who both mostly just turn the other way around, not really a change of direction left and right to fool the marker.

  71. Hilal says:

    Wooow. That was gutrenching. I switched over to the Athletico game just in time to see Caballero make an insane save. I was sure that was in! What a crazy day.

    Well done to Celta for dumping Madrid out of the race. Luis Enrique starting his job at Barca with a bang.

    It sucks we didnt score today, but I thought we actually played quite well. Elche were playing for their La liga lives and you could see it. All in all the draw doesnt make a difference really, even if we had won this game we would still have had to win next week so I am particularly upset with the result.

    One game left to win the league. One game.

  72. ciaran says:

    I find it really funny that on two separate goal.com articles they talk about how Barcelona failed to close the gap between us and Atletico so ‘now’ need to beat Atletico on the final day. If we won our match we would still be 1 point behind Atletico and still need to beat Atletico on the final day. That’s an amazing website… I don’t know why I bother

    • Rami says:

      Why do you still visit it?, I stopped doing so a very long time ago.

      I recently considered restricting my news about barca only from the official website and channel on you tube, I got tired from reading junk articles and junk news, weather it’s MD, Sport, Or even barcastuff on twitter, Still haven’t made a definite decision yet, Old habits die hard i guess.

  73. TITO says:

    So…
    Wake me up when it’s all over…

  74. Laurentiu88 says:

    what a bloody ending!!!

    my heart froze when Adrian went inside the area and fired what looked like a perfect strike!!… can’t believe we’re still in it …

    i dont know how to characterize our game to be honest; for sure i wanted us to score early and control the game, score 3 4 and have fun and so on :) i didnt imagine this will be sure a hard game! for sure we had the chances…but we sure again showed a lot of weak aspects of our game. Iniesta and Messi look to far from one another, and Pedro made many mistakes…

    do you think Mascherano let us know he will be leaving too? as this is how his statement at the end of the game is seen …

    • Peter says:

      If he wants to go it would be hard to blame him. Every lack of performance has been greeted by the fans with a chorus of “Mascherano suckz”.

      I still hope it’s not really true, because if Barcelona finally decide to play Mascherano in his normal zone, he will be a revelation. He is the hardness that the soft Barcelona team lacks. He is no Busquets, but then again there is only one Busquets. Mascherano and Busquets playing together can make the midfield impenetrable, better even than the 2010 La Roja. Even better, moving Masche to the midfield would force the board to sign not just one but two dedicated CBs.

      I heard his words live on radio and my heart froze, because Mascherano leaving will leave a gaping hole in the team. It seems few on the pitch or off it realize how important he is for the team.

      • Gekko64 says:

        damn, I was so happy when he got signed. “finally a truly worldclass DM” I thought. I mean Busi is great and all but giving him that starter spot cost as The Yaya and now Masche, I’m not quite sure if that was a good idea. of course you know what they say about hindsight.

      • PrinceYuvi says:

        Yup.
        Masch is the tough guy of the family.
        If there are riots in the streets, he’ll be the one barricading the door and keeping first watch.
        Puyi used to do that, it’s a sad story.

      • KEVINO17 says:

        I don’t know why everyone says Masch is not a true CB. The two essential qualities for a Barca CB are mobility (he’s quicker than people think) and skill on the ball. He’s got both. At Barca your CBs really need to be DMs.

  75. PrinceYuvi says:

    Everybody worships Total football, Football from the heavens they say.
    This is how Holland used to press.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qj9kpoD0Wnk

    The video is blurry, so it looked like 10 Mascheranos dashing about.

    Masch is labelled dirty, cynical, riskprone, rash etc etc.
    Watch this and think again.

  76. KEVINO17 says:

    Thought Barca played quite well against a very stout defence. I know I’m not allowed to say it, but I assumed that benching Xavi was Tata’s going away present: I’m out of here anyway, so I’ll go out my way. Can’t think of any other reason.
    Certainly (I thought) Cesc gave us more mobility around the park, dropping deep and floating into the box. He may be slow, but he’s got a diesel engine.
    If Barca let Alexis go, they will be insane. He would tear up the premier league for a team like Arsenal. Must be the only footballer in the world who tries to sneak up on the player with the ball from 30metres. It looks pretty crazy, but it works because, well, it looks pretty crazy. His opponent looks around, sees nobody close, and then goes to sleep. Meanwhile, Alexis prowls towards him.

  77. Inamess says:

    KEVINO17, I completely agree about Alexis and thought he had an excellent game today. I hope the team won’t sell him, but if they do for 20 million, he could be worth 50 million in 2 years for a side in EPL.

    • KEVINO17 says:

      I thought Barca was much better when Alexis actually played a bit wider rather than tucking in all of the time to give Dani Alves room. I think teams are very happy with the later strategy because it means Dani will get the ball out wide. He can’t dribble past his man and he fires in crosses that go nowhere. Alexis, on the other hand, always has a target and is a lot more probing.

  78. bedhead says:

    Disappointing match if Barca can’t nick one in past Elche. Pedro and Alexis offered little to nothing, unless you enjoy a simple pass back or losing the ball in the box. We no longer play to Messi – he spends most of the time trying to jump as high as he can to head crosses. Tello should realize that he’s nit on a one man team. We lost our system of play and I hope Luis Enrique is on the fastest plane back to Barcelona to bring it back.

    • Inamess says:

      Would Neymar have given us enough fire power for this game or do we have to start thinking about also having a more traditional striker option in the squad? I don’t know how we are going to challenge the best teams in Europe unless we are more dangerous on corners and set pieces? If we get 10 a game, then it is a shame to waste them.

  79. Inamess says:

    Cules’ Choice: Who will Martino start against Atleti: Xavi or Fabergas?

    If I were to wager all my money on this one, I would go with Xavi.

    Why?

    It is because the season and some of this team’s legacy is riding on a extremely difficult game at Camp Nou. If you don’t start Xavi in this game, then there was no point in having him on the team this year.

    Fabergas knows this, and I think every Barca fan does too, and this is how it should be.

    Xavi is a legend and he still has it in him to produce a game of brilliance. So why are Barca fans so vehement on the Fabergas vs. Xavi question. Why can’t they both start? Can’t we all get along?

    The answer to this question is unfortunately NO.

    The Fabergas vs. Xavi debate is one that strikes at the core of our future. Some fans look at Fabergas and see a failed experiment, so they say let’s go with our proven veteran until we can find someone better. Fabergas is a very different player than Xavi and no one knows for sure if we want to put all our chips on him for our foreseeable future. Some want to take that risk but others don’t.

    So what do we do? For those who know more about his Arsenal days, is there a way to get the most out of Fabergas so he becomes an automatic starter next season? Would another striker option like Higuain help in this regard and make us more dangerous?

    I like this player and want to believe that he can find an important role in the side next year. Does anyone have any suggestions on how we could make this work. What might a Luis Enrique do?

  80. Kxevin says:

    Reus said that he is NOT leaving Dortmund next season. So folks can stop with that one.

    — Also a rumor floating around that Alves has already agreed to join PSG.

    — The Mascherano words in the presser? Ugh. If he goes, the team loses two lion hearts for me, he and Puyol.

    As for the match, Messi in the box is one of the starkest moments that sums up our season for me. Not sure what he was trying to do, but Messi of two years ago buries that chance. This year, like his teammates, there seems to be uncertainty where there used to just be ravenous instinct. But who knows?

    • Davour says:

      Indeed. There is clearly a strong sense of frustration in the team as a whole, which seems to express itself as this very lack of instinct: they overthink it, trying to emulate their ”prior selves”, perhaps? I completely agree with the notion of the team being ”burned out” – the vision seems be missing, barring some odd moments of inspiration (e.g. Cesc-Inistesta-crossbar).

      I might be wrong, but my feeling is that while Barca use to be an organism that often started games a bit distractedly, making some early mistakes before slowly but relentlessly finding the rhythm to wear their opponents down, they now start off with plenty of focus and energy – pure will, no doubt – only to lose it after about half an hour. The game does not ”click” and every movement seems to happen not out of inspiration, but by an immense effort wearing the players themselves down (instead of the opponents). It is painful to see this shift from ”no worries, we’ll figure this out”, to ”well, this just ain’t working out”.

      Anyone who has played the game knows what this does to your motivation and ability.

      I certainly view Messi’s inability to execute that clear cut chance in the box as an example of this vision-hampering frustration.

      (long time lurker, first time poster: you guys are doing a fantastic job with this blog – tip of the hat!)

      • Sangoku says:

        I feel that our “obssession” of sticking to Pep’s playing style is what is holding us down.

        It’s true that we used to wear opponents down with our possession but now it looks like they know exactly what to do. They don’t “park buses” to prevent manitas anymore, they do it because they know it’s very likely to grind out a result against us.

        Us playing week in week out against ultra defensive teams, always in a pocket of space has got to be mentally draining and it eventually takes its toll. Well, that’s what I think…

        And we can’t even blame most teams for playing with that attitude against us because when our players take on the pitch, it’s with the will to dominate the match throughout. Eventually they subdue and counter us.

        That’s why Martino wanted to introduce more verticality but somehow he let go of that idea. Maybe because he figured we don’t have the type of players needed for that, or maybe because our players have been so used to playing one way that they don’t feel at ease with another style? I don’t know…

        If Luis Enrique is coming, can we afford to keep playing the same way? Any players we bring in, will they really be an upgrade over who we actually have for playing against ultra defensive teams?

        • Inamess says:

          I agree. Pep won because he defiantly broke all the rules of what it traditional takes for a team to win. This was particularly true in our iconic side of 2011 that dominated La Liga and the Champions League.

          Now that we can no longer dominate like that, we have to go back and find the best way of adding more conventional ways to score while still taking advantage of the best of what our unique style still has to offer.

          • Sangoku says:

            While I take absolute pride in our playing philosophy, I also feel that we maybe need to be a bit more conventional next season. Let opponents see that we won’t take them on all gung-ho, just so as to draw them out a bit.

            Now, that will mean less than entertaining matches. But right now, I’m not really entertained watching us trying to break a bus all the time. Of course, that is just my opinion!

            Winning this league is especially important now so that we can build next season under at least a tiny bit less media pressure. The fact that we’re expected to win everytime makes it so much more difficult to add changes to our style as it would need patience from the club and its surroundings.

          • Davour says:

            Yes, it is obvious that the IDEA of Pep’s Barca is haunting the team and the club at large, resisting any new strategies to be introduced. But did not Barca meet solid, low defense lines already during Rijkaard’s era? I seem to remember a Barca circulating the ball outside the box, looking for solutions in vain…

            To my mind the notion that Pep broke all the rules is not really true. As been mentioned here before, he rather refined an existing approach and added inspired and meticulous leadership to a golden generation of players, waiting for the right instructions to wreck havoc on all other teams.

            And if the team does add a more conventional touch (which might not help break any buses, after all), is the style really unique anymore? Or is it this very image of “uniqueness” that is part of the problem?

            What I like about Luis Enrique – if it will indeed be he who replaces Martino – is his no-bullshit-personality. Perhaps this – combined with his Barca background – can earn him the time, courage and authority to actually introduce some changes that, apparently, Martino was not able/allowed to do? Or perhaps the team simply needs a firmer hand… (and a CB, of course, for the love of Cruijff).

          • Sangoku says:

            Yes, we did encounter that problem during Rijkaard’s era too (although not as often as nowadays? I don’t remember that all too well, I must admit…)

            I agree that Pep did not “break rules” per se. For me, it was mostly his charisma and contagious enthusiasm combined with his and Tito’s vision which did the trick.

            Now, I really don’t want us to BE a conventional team. I love Barça because of its philosophy, win or lose. But if there was a way to play our style and sometimes alternate to a conventional one for some matches just to draw defensive lines out, then maybe there wont be buses to break every week. Or maybe I’m just dreaming, I do that a lot. :)

            It’s interesting when you say “Or is it this very image of “uniqueness” that is part of the problem?”. Sometimes you need to be able to “surprise” the opponent. Keep them guessing. If they already know what they’ll be facing, they prepare meticulously for that.

            I remember the CL final against Arsenal when Larsson came in and changed the physionomy of the match. Maybe what we lack are depth players who can tweak things.

          • Inamess says:

            Doing something to change things up once in a while is really what we need. How much do we miss Pique not only for his defense but also for his ability to come up and join the attack, especially late in games.

            I know the prospect of signing Luiz scares a lot of people, but we certainly would have more “surprise moments”.

  81. icemel says:

    Nice Chelsea imitation Elche! Bus parking at its finest and some nail biting counters.
    So a 30 week group stage and 8 weeks of knock outs, and we’re still alive; this La Liga has packed all the tension of any Champions league, I remember. I hope my finger nails grow back before the world cup.
    Xavi or Fabregas? …uh, I’m good with whatever you guys decide.

  82. I can’t remember where the comment was exactly, but this IS a blog for debating and discussing all things Barça. I think it’s more than O.K. for anyone to comment on, for example, Cesc or Xavi. I like Cesc a lot, I just don’t think he’s worked out here. The debate is a catharsis for fans, that’s all, ya esta. Let’s not take out aggression on each other.

    Anyway, that was a brutal game. Someone mentioned above that Alexis didn’t play well today?!? He had some absolutely fantastic moments! Pedro had a rough game though. It’s really a shame that we didn’t win, but it doesn’t change anything. It’s really good to see Bartra coming along. I was really down on him last year, but that was too quick of a judgment. I have a lot of faith in his future at FCB.

    Next week is going to be absolutely crazy, but we can do it! ¡Visca Barça!

  83. KEVINO17 says:

    Quite ironic that our main opponents seem to be choking on their success in the champions league. Shows how hard it is to win everything.

  84. Inamess says:

    Interesting Point! Maybe while we were all preoccupied with our misfortune this season we missed one of the most under reported and optimistic stories of the season. Barca have a future quality CB who has grown up before our eyes. We won’t even have to pay 30 million to get him.

  85. barca96 says:

    The players should definitely try this method out the next time we face a Ronaldo FK;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CczPSU7EH9A

  86. Despite all the optimism I believe Atletico is in a better position to win the league despite the match being held at the Camp Nou. They don’t have to win and that matters really big. They can now play their “sit back and counter” strategy to perfection.

  87. andrecito says:

    our last 5 la liga results..LWWDD..those none-wins were against the 14th, 16th, and 17th place teams..and we still have a chance to win it all..must be fate..

    eventhough there are very few things i love more in life than fcb, i am having trouble mustering up a good feeling about this final..davour’s previous post exactly sums up how i am seeing this team in its present state…

    “The game does not ”click” and every movement seems to happen not out of inspiration, but by an immense effort wearing the players themselves down (instead of the opponents). It is painful to see this shift from ”no worries, we’ll figure this out”, to ”well, this just ain’t working out”.

    ive actually come to dread us getting the ball in the opponents third…one of the brilliant posters on this site..im really looking forward to your words of inspiration…

  88. Ultraculé says:

    I freaking love Pellegrini.

    All things considered, the finest coach/manager in world football for me.

  89. Peter says:

    The coach of Borussia Monchengladbach has revealed something which nobody ever predicted:

    “Ter Stegen is going to FC Barcelona” :D

  90. kosby says:

    Some stats from whoscored re-asserting what we know for sometime –

    1. Barca vs Elche (home game barca 4 – 0 elche)
    total passes – 705
    crosses – 10
    through balls – 10
    long balls – 33

    2. Barca vs Ajax (Barca 4 – 0 Ajax)
    total passes – 664
    crosses – 11
    through balls – 10
    long balls – 49

    3. Elche vs Barca (Elche 0 – 0 Barca)
    total passes – 595
    crosses – 34
    through balls – 1
    long balls – 46

    4. Athletico Madrid vs Barca (Athletico 1 – 1 Barca)
    total passes – 697
    crosses – 13
    through balls – 3
    long balls – 87

    Close down the box, play narrow and then doesn’t matter who your opposition is, they’ll struggle to find openings. Event the “mighty” Bayern couldn’t break the wall. Probably the next big idea in football is to find a solution and even more important – to execute it..

    • barca96 says:

      Look at the amount of crosses. Staggering. Why? Why are we suddenly crossing so much when it’s clearly not working?

      • kosby says:

        That was one of things I wanted to point out…teams give no space at all in front of the goal so the ball tends to get passed wide. From here its just 2 options – pass back to midfield and repeat OR send in crosses. I noticed we had several quarter-chances (if I may use the term) that were headers in front of goal (I think Messi got on the end of a couple and headed them wide) in the last match as well. So possibly its one area that the technical staff has identified as our weakness and are trying to improve I guess ? But then again my guess is as good as yours…

      • kosby says:

        oops, forgot something – also look at the through balls…1 over 90 mins…

    • Inamess says:

      No one has the perfect answer to defensive fortresses and buses. But doesn’t becoming a legitimate threat to score on set pieces and corners have to become part of our solution?

  91. We had plenty of chances yesterday, but no one is taking them. Everyone has been pretty rough in front of the goal lately.

    I actually thought that game was fairly open for a while (and then I thought that if this is open what the hell have we been watching?), especially in the first 15 minutes.

  92. Kxevin says:

    Here is a GIF of Pinto’s YOLO moment:

    http://giant.gfycat.com/InsecurePleasantAbyssiniancat.gif

    It was horrifying/crazy/awesome all at once.

  93. simple_barcafan says:

    Pinto is better at passing outside rather than inside the penalty box. There is our answer for a tall, athletic, box-to-box midfielder right there…

  94. Inamess says:

    Conspiracy Theory: The board has stirred up the Xavi vs. Fabregas debate and made it so toxic that both players will want to leave the club at the end of the season.

    That way Zubi can then sign the club’s new prize midfielder and third “new” Xavi before the fourth and fifth are ready to be promoted from Barca B.

  95. psalmuel says:

    An EE fan on EEblog feels barca are undeserving of the title and it will be unfair if barca won it. What then is the yardstick of merit or unmerit? We went through every tragedy you know in life, injuries,court cases, death, resignation of our president and you name it. What did athletico and EE go through? Even that aside, we beat EE over both legs and drew athletico in their house, athletico beat EE once and drew twice against us and them, EE won neither against us nor Athletico. The league is won by the team with the most points or advantage. EE’s undoing was Sergio Ramos, when he pulled a Fabregas by saying, ‘we have 4 finals to go’. Lol

  96. teddy says:

    Stumbled upon an interesting highlight of the match from the Barca subreddit

    http://www.reddit.com/r/Barca/comments/25b01g/pedro_walking_on_messis_chance/

    It’s interesting to see, not trying to put a blame on Pedro (Cesc and Alexis also not trying to get into scoring position as well), but genuinely curious what is happening here.

    Lack of sense of urgency? Or since it’s Messi, not one bothers to support him? One thing or another, there’s something different in the mentality of playing

  97. barca96 says:

    It’s ok. Euler also calls him Fabergas. So you’re not the only one inamess.

  98. Inamess says:

    In the interest of lively debate, I offer the following piece:
    Feedback welcome! Personal attacks OK too :-)
    Our team may be down, but this blog must thrive.

    Why Deigo Simeone might be Barca’s Worst Nightmare and Perhaps its
    Savior

    As Real Madrid and FC Barcelona were engaged in an escalating arms race between the two Spanish super powers, neither knew that their own worst enemy was busy cooking up his plan at the Calderon. Simeone is the ultimate jujitsu artist, a Billy Bean master of Moneyball, and a Machiavellian leader that makes Mourinho look like an amateur. Also, unfortunately for Barca, now his team are in pole position to win the league unless we play our match of the season.

    This wasn’t supposed to happen: a third powerhouse improbably rising in the Spanish league ready to take on the giant teams in Europe and possibly change the rules about how to run a successful football club. What did Simone know that others didn’t?

    Why would Simeone be a master jujitsu ? Doesn’t he seem more like street fighter? Jujitsu is the art of manipulating the opponent’s force against himself rather than confronting it head on. The Athleti manager knows that the big team’s financial war chest can also become a potential enemy. If Real don’t win the league, well then they need to try again and splash the cash. Fans of big teams want results and if they don’t come then want to know immediately that the team is doing everything in its power to win next season. What better way to do this then landing that big signing, a future Fifa Ballon d’Or winner or runner up. But as the best teams in Europe have found out: landing that big signing does not always work out as in the case of Kaka, Coentrao, Villa or Ibrahimovic. The new guy may not fit into the team or cause such disruption that he eventually becomes more of a problem than a solution, more a threat than an ally.

    Last year Simeone had to do the opposite. An immensely talented Ballon d’or contender leaves the team and they actually play better. How can this happen? Because of Atleti’s limited budget, they must sell their prize assets and then get the “right” replacements for less. Sure there is no publicity coup with their fans but fans like winning nonetheless. Furthermore, losing a player of Falcao’s quality sends a message that all merely mortal players need to hear. Superman or Messi, Neymar, Ronaldo or Bale isn’t around so if we are going to win then the only way we can do this is to believe in ourselves, play relentless, physical football as a disciplined team, and listen to this guy who is going to tell us how we can win against all odds because we have no other choice.

    Real and Barcelona, on the other hand, are multimillion dollar corporations and unfortunately have to be run as such. We must have preseason tours around the world to court current and future followers. We also have players who spend just as much time playing for their international teams, making appearances, and promoting products and events as they do practicing and playing for the teams that pay their salaries. These teams also have irrational fans who demand that what they are convinced is best for the team will be done by their boards: sometimes demanding too much change or not enough, signing this new player or not judiciously selling this other.

    Simeone also knows that fans around the world and particularly in Spain are sick of teams who dominate the smaller sides by spending hundreds of millions of dollars to sign and pay their players from the revenue they generate from lucrative TV rights, sponsorships, and a worldwide following of millions of fans.

    The crafty Atleti manager also knows that fans in Spain and around the world are sick of money’s role in football in unleveling the playing field and has used this to his advantage. He has become a new man of the people, a figure not unlike his countryman Juan Peron: A Machiavellian pragmatist who has suddenly become a populist. He is now on Twitter. He is giving interviews in which he says that all of Spain has embraced Atleti as “the people’s team”. His team is indeed inspiring. but is not also in part a Mou like move to influence those few individuals who may ultimately decide the fate of his team in La Liga and the Champions League: the refs at Camp Nou next week and the ones in Lisbon the week after who know that 80% of fans around the world watching are passionately rooting for the underdogs to win and show that ordinary folks can sometimes triumph too. Would such a ref want to impose himself and neuter this Cinderella story by significantly penalizing an often fiercely aggressive Atleti team? What about ruling against them in a controversial penalty decision?

    So will David slay our Goliath at Camp Nou. Let’s hope not. But let’s also learn from Simeone that being a football giant or “more than a club” is not always in the best interests of a football team. But if both Real and Barca do lose these pivotal matches there may be the consolation of a new perennial third contender that will make La Liga more competitive and these two giants no longer monomaniacally preoccupied with one another and get back to their original objective–playing football.

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