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

Categorized as Videos

By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater Philadelphia area.


  1. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. 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?

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

    7. 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. 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

  3. 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

    1. It’s one of my absolute favorites as well. The one-touch, use of space… The chemistry Alves and Messi have is unreal.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

    1. Funnily enough, I was about to post the Villarreal game but decided to use a game that was lesser known, so to speak. I’ll probably post that one sometime.

    2. Wasn’t that Athletic game a tie? Still one of my favorite games of that season, though: the Abidal-to-Fabregas header was nothing short of epic.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. 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 😀

    6. 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.

    7. 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.

    8. 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.

    9. 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.

    10. 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.

    11. 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.

    12. 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.

    13. 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.

    14. 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.

    15. 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 🙂

    16. 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.

  11. 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.

    1. I just assumed given his injury. If he can play at good fitness that that would be great!

  12. 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

    1. 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!

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. 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.

    6. 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.

    7. “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.

    8. 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.

    9. 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.

    10. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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!

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. 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.

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

    1. 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.

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

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

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

    5. 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 ….

  14. 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.

    1. 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?

    2. If you asked me, I’d say yes. Give Montoya a full season before we judge him.

  15. 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?

    1. The talk about Aguero does suggest that Alexis is going (and maybe Pogba coming back the other way from Juve). It all does have a beautiful symmetry (which means it probably won’t happen).

  16. 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.

    1. 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).

    2. 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

  17. 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.

    1. 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.

  18. 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!

    1. 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.

    1. One of those shots where the ball really is still rising when it hits the net!

  19. 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.

  20. 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?

    1. 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.

  21. 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

  22. 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?

    1. I want to give them credit for their intelligence, but the players I named are really about heart when they are on the pitch. Xavi, mostly brains.

    2. Well, Dani’s positional intelligence when attacking is absurd for a right back. that’s brains for me 🙂

    3. http://allasfcb.blogspot.com/2013/04/covering-dani-alvess-space.html?m=1

      What do you think? I have never been to see him play in person, so I don’t know how often he is out of position in relation to the tactics being used by his manager. Attacking wing play on the right by is obviously a central tactic, so he is going to spend a lot of time somewhere other than next to Pique. I think Xavi is supposed to cover for him. Do you know how the team defends the right assuming Alves will be forward frequently?

  23. 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.

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

    2. 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!

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

    4. 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.

    5. 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.

  24. Guessing Game :

    Name Barça starting XI of next season.

    Bragging rights for those who Guess correctly )

    1. I’ll take a shot:

      ter Stegen
      Cuadrado, Pique, Luiz, Alba
      Busquets, Fabergas, Iniesta
      Sanchez, Messi, Neymar

      No huge surprises. Maybe not that strong in defense as some may want. But this would be a fun team to watch!

    2. Most Offensive power since ’27 Yankees and Pique and Luiz to break the Buses late in games!

    3. Ondoa
      Montoya Bartra Bagnack Alba
      Suarez Samper Traore
      Ebwele Dongou Hadddadi

      maybe not Catalan enough?

  25. 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.

  26. 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?

    1. Are you talking about Marquinhos and PSG?

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

    2. 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.

  27. 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.

    1. 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!

    2. 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.

    3. 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 😀

  28. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. 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.

    6. 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.

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

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

    1. Costa is probably an SOB. But which scenario is better for us?:

      March 17 Camp Nou, Barca down by 3 in the La Liga table:

      1)Healthy Pique, Healthy Costa

      2)Both miss out due to injury

    2. When he wants to, Nobody is better than Pique.
      I’ll take my chances with him, Costa ? Well, even Masch made him cry earlier in Liga..

    3. What do you mean “even”? Mascherano is the best anti-Costa defender that Barcelona have.

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

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

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

  31. 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?

    1. An inside job is a good suggestion. However, remember that this was tried in 1944 with Operation Valkyrie and backfired.

    2. “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!”

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. 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.

    6. 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.

    7. 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?

    8. 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.

    9. 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.

    10. 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.

    11. 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!!.

  32. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

    1. 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

    2. 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.

    3. sorry ciaran, “you” in my diatribe doesnt refer to you. I agree with you Ciaran 100%.

    4. 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.

    5. 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.

    6. 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.

    7. @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.

  36. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

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

    Elche scored from a counter just once.

  38. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

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

      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.

  39. 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…

    1. 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)

    2. Oooooooo just found us under their late night tab. … we’re on the SpanIsh bein at midnight tomorrow… well Monday. …

    3. They are simulcasting the three matches. NBC is following the same way, but as they have three different channels they can all upon in the U.S.

      It seems like BeIN is doing the simulcast to keep everyone abreast of all three matches. Should be interesting, not to mention hectic.

  40. 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.

  41. 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 ?

    1. 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.

    2. That’s not very heartening, but I think same goes for michele, kari & culetoon. We miss you.

    3. 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?”

  42. 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.

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