Categorized | Team News, Thoughts

Gracies, Capita, aka “There will never be another”

There was a farewell ceremony for our irreplacable Capita, Carles Puyol. Words fail me, but the video above is the full ceremony.

There are many culers who only know a Barça for which Captain Caveman was the Capita. But even for those of us who know other Barças, it will still be unfathomably weird to NOT have the No. 5 not be THE No. 5. Call him a lion, a rock, whatever you like, but Carles Puyol has been an absolutely spectacular player who never gave a shard less than 100 percent, even when his body put a ration on the quality and quantity of that all out.

And typically of Puyol, he said that his best moment was when Abidal lifted the Champions League trophy at Wembley. Figures.

There is no “next Puyol.” When Xavi moves on, there will be no “next Xavi.” Those are players who define a club (not just a team), define an era. You don’t, you can’t replace those kinds of players.

And what can you really say to a man who is so emblematic of a great club and a great team on his last day as a player for that team, except “Gracies, Capita.”

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99 Responses to “Gracies, Capita, aka “There will never be another””

  1. fotobirajesh says:

    Will Miss You always, Capi.
    Thank you for your life.

  2. PrinceYuvi says:

    Header against germany, my favourite moment :)
    Thank goodness I got a chance to watch him.

  3. barca96 says:

    Thanks for creating a new post just for Puyol even though it’s not much. He deserves one!

    I’m glad I got to see him since his debut. What a funny looking fella. Can’t believe he actually went with the same hair style for his whole career.

    So is Puyol leaving us or retiring from football altogether?

    At first from what I understood a few months ago was that he wants to leave and look for another club but recently it sound more like he wants to quit altogether.

    Thank you for everything Captain!

    • barca96 says:

      It’s amazing that he played with the same intensity from the start till the end. I can’t remember him having a day where he played with less than 100%.

      • PrinceYuvi says:

        Not number of trophies, but players like him painted the glittering image of Barça.
        I dunno how many punches, kicks, bruises or staples he had to endure to defend his shirt,
        I’ve no words.

  4. stefan2k says:

    O Captain! My Captain! :-(

    • Inamess says:

      O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
      The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
      The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
      While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
      But O heart! heart! heart!

      • Inamess says:

        You can finish the poem however you want, but what it says may have to do with what happens in two days:

        With Battered knees, but Noble locks
        he leads her in at last
        To warm the hearts of cules woe
        we embark a new dawn with mythic past

        Sorry, got a B- in poetry course. Where are our poets on BFB!

        • Peter says:

          Through howling storm, past shores of rocks
          To new-born dawn with mythic past.

          Finding a suitable rhyme for locks is damn hard. :D

          • Inamess says:

            Nice!

            How about:

            One decade and five years ago today, Puyol and Xavi brought forth upon this club a new ethic, conceived in heart and brain and dedicated to the proposition that a team not always fleetest of foot or burly of brawn can win by passing and last minute tackling.

            Now with our legends leaving we are engaged in a bloody Civil War. . . …

            and that passion, fair play, and possession dominating total-football shall not perish from the face of the earth.

            C. Puyol

            Translation from that Catalan Captain as delivered in his press conference upon retiring from the club on 5/15/2014.

  5. I wonder if Puyol and Larry Bird have ever met?

    I am really sorry to see him go. Puyol was my all time favorite player – the reason I really feel in love with Barça.

    • Inamess says:

      From: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/228427-larry-bird-the-sudden-and-saddening-demise-of-a-basketball-legend

      “Bird’s ability to step up to challenging opponents helped to coin his legendary nickname. 1991 was no different. The upstart Indiana Pacers and Chuck Person presented his most formidable and brazen opponent in some time.

      Person had publicly stated that he had no great respect or fear for Larry Bird. That Bird was in the twilight of his career and posed no threat for Person to defend him.

      The severely injured Bird responded with a triple double in Boston’s game one victory and then spent the night in traction at the hospital.

      On the day he was released from the hospital, Larry suited up and played in Game 2. Boston lost that game at home.

      Splitting the next two games in Indiana, Bird was in unfamiliar territory as his home town crowd booed him every time he touched the ball.

      Returning to Boston for Game 5 and still tasting the loss to New York one year earlier, Bird guaranteed a Celtics victory. Boston built a fourteen point first half lead when disaster struck.

      Chasing a loose ball, Bird was knocked to the ground slamming his face off the parquet floor. After gathering himself on the court, Bird walked back to the locker room. It was uncertain if Bird would return.

      While sidelined with a broken cheek bone, Bird watched his team squander their lead. As the third quarter wore on, it looked as if the Pacers were gaining momentum and the Celtics were bewildered without their legendary floor leader.

      At the midway point of the third quarter Larry Bird re-entered the game. To the delight of the Garden crowd, Bird scored 14 points in the remaining minutes of the quarter. Bird, in customary fashion, created the spark to carry Boston to victory while proving that he can still take over games even while in severe back pain.”

      Same Person: Just substitute “Puyol” for “Bird” and “Cristiano Ronaldo” for “Chuck Person”

  6. ooga aga says:

    the tension of this season (and some of the negativity towards our players) was beginning to get to me, so i havent been coming here on a daily basis.

    i originally came here (well, The Offside) to share the joy of being a fan of this club and its players with other folks. i wanted to relate with others on the topic of….well, the joy of the simply visceral experience of watching this particular combination of art and sport.

    but all the politics and criticism, sliced a million ways, sours the experience for me. at the end of the day, it’s my choice to read this stuff or not.

    so im taking a break, but i wanted to stop in and say “te queremos mucho, carles”

    xavi and puyi are the only remaining links between when i began watching the team in 1999 and now. it’s hard to see carles go, and i think it’s probably harder now than when xavi goes, eventually.

    in both cases, it changes things for me.

    i like kxevin’s sentiment about being a fan of a club rather than of any player. but i’m not quite the same. for me it is about the players just as much. each of them is a story, and together they make barca’s story. but since i am a person, it is the stories of the individual players, and how i relate those stories to my own life, that make the experience so rich.

    i’m sad today, but also so happy and thankful that i got to watch the captain in action so many times. Thanks Carles Puyol for being an inspiration to give my best, no matter what i might be doing.

    • PrinceYuvi says:

      For me too, It’s more about the players. Individuals are fascinating, Institutions are vague. Same goes for this forum.
      And, hey, come back soon.
      You’ve been here, at this forum for four or five years now. Lucky bastard.
      As an Old posts digger, I always enjoyed your comments.

    • Inamess says:

      ooga aga, I agree modern sports has a very ugly side. I stopped following the Yankees when Paul O’Neil retired and they got A Rod instead.

      Puyol always transcended the phoniness and pettiness. He was out there just for the competition and the glory and to lead the team he loves.

      You have to go back to the Iliad to find such a warrior. Glad I got a chance to see Puyol in the time of Barca’s greatest poet in the English Language.

      Ray Hudson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFHbSTP-Cvg

    • Kxevin says:

      Welcome “back,” ooga aga. Nice to hear from an old-timer.

      I wish I could promise you that the atmosphere is going to change, but I think that the extraordinary negativity is set to continue. Even when the team was doing well, there was negativity about that. Heck, I’m pretty much the only mod who is here on a regular basis. The mood is a complex thing to deal with, for sure.

      Even now, on the brink of what should be a super-intense match, an improbable third chance for our warriors, there is still negativity. So all I can say is that I respect your decision, but hope you will keep checking in here, on the chance that things will change.

      Lovely words on our Capita and what he means to you. These are times that are inevitable, but still difficult for many. I was thinking about being a recent convert, for whom Puyol was just this veteran player who was injured a lot, and wondering what the big deal was. History and perspective are fascinating. To some, it’s the end of an era. To others, maybe our Lion is just a dude who should have been a proper CB signing. And hell yeah, I struggle with that reality smack upside the head, and hope that EVERYONE understands what he meant to this club, not just the team.

      But for many culers, it is indeed the end of an era. Abidal, Valdes, Puyol and Xavi’s time is coming. A new generation of supporters will be setting up their icons however, and hundreds of matches down the road when one of them moves on, there will be more of the same.

      Thanks again for the visit, and the good words.

  7. Inamess says:

    It may not have been decisive, but this is a moment when even Real Fans had to applaud the character of this Lion. Just about sums up everything you need to know.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_hN-HkoBf0

    • Inamess says:

      There May Even Be Some More Barca Legends to Come

      This team with its immortal players has meant so much to so many. It has dazzled, inspired, and enriched my life in so many ways. I wish our Manita team at the Camp Nou could have lasted forever, but time can not be placed on pause and age, injury, and cruel diseases can take their unjust toll.

      But let’s not be so solemn until we give this great team one last chance to take our breaths away. Fans might not always act nobly, but we owe this team and this wonderful blog that has chronicled these tremendous times that much.

      Thanks so much Kxevin, I haven’t been able to participate on here until recently but have always loved the wit, passion, and sense of fairness that your pieces and commentators bring to the site.

      The future will be different, but mere mortals should never have to compete with legends, because they can’t. Even the great Guardiola can lose sometimes with the “best team” in the world.

      Legends must be honored, but nostalgia can mislead:

      For example:

      Pep’s Last Season 2011-12: Copa Del Rey Champs , CL SF loss to Eventual Champions 3-2

      Record in La Liga
      2nd Barcelona 28W 7D 3L 91Pts

      *A Barca Win on Saturday and an Atleti victory in Lisbon for the trophy they “deserve”:

      Martino’s Only Season: La Liga Champs, Copa Del Rey Finalist, CL Loss 2-1 in QF to Eventual Champions
      Record in La Liga
      1st Barcelona 28W 5D 5L 89Pts

      *Struggling Puyol trying his best to rehab, No Pique or Valdes in crucial games, No Healthy Messi in great form, Distractions and Tragedies, More Competitive League, Legends leaving or Retiring, Club and Fan discord, Vicious Press Core

      This may have been an emotionally exhausting and contentious season, but win or lose, with a guy like Puyol still working at the club, I think we will do OK.

      Win or lose on Saturday, we have all shared nothing that can ever be taken away from us.

      But the past may not have always been as beautiful as we remember it and the present and future not as bleak as we think.

      Legends must be honored, but the future awaits!

  8. Levon says:

    A few observations:

    – For the first time in years, Cruijff attended an official event organized by the club, the homage to our càpita.
    – In his farewell letter, Victor Valdes thanked every coach he has ever had, safe one… Tata Martino
    – On the other hand, leading players such as Xavi, Iniesta and Piqué have publicly supported their coach.

    Last but not least, ooga aga, I don’t know if you’re reading this, but you will be missed. I personally think the so-called negativity surrounding a big club when it is not winning is inevitable and, having grown up around people debating soccer every day of my life, it doesn’t affect me like it has affected other users of this space. It comes with the territory of supporting a club like Barça. That said, our space is poorer without you. I hope you check back in from time to time.

  9. Gogah says:

    Also posting here after a couple of years I think.
    I still read from time to time but have cut out participating altogether. Not just because the negativity and convenient narrative of fans have become tedious, but life requires that my time be spent in other areas. Kudos to the mods to keep this blog going as great as you have.

    I had to pop in to pay my respects to the all time great captain. I started following this club pretty late, in 2005, to be precise, before which I hadn’t a clue about Football, but was still an avid sports fan. And now I’m Culer for life. This year has seen us brave some of the craziest storms from all dimensions of the sport. We certainly won’t win all the time. But is there really a better club to support? I doubt it.

    Carles Puyol has been my club’s captain for as long as I’ve been a Culer and I cannot imagine the team without him. And it isn’t just Barca losing a legend. With Puyol’s exit, I think it’s safe to say that we’ve seen the last of the game’s pure no nonsense defenders. The way he put his body on the line for his club (sometimes much to my frustration) will continue to inspire me to give my all in whatever I do.

    The thing that struck me the most in that farewell event was the kind of admiration and respect peers have for Puyol. That, for a sportsman is the biggest and most gratifying accolade. When you have played like Puyol has, there is no point dissecting individual moments, statistics, goals, trophies won, etc. Words don’t do justice. All you can do is just bow your head and say Thank you for providing an example of what a REAL leader must be.

  10. Sangoku says:

    Thank you, Puyi. Even though it was known that it was his last season since some time, now that it’s sinking in I can’t explain the sadness I feel. Puyol, Valdes leaving us and the tragedy of Tito’s passing away… It’s a lot to take.

    Come Saturday, I will be cheering our team with all I’ve got. And whether we win or not, I will always remember this season for all that it meant. If we don’t win, I will surely be disappointed but I will still say thanks to this group of warriors. Yes, warriors, who have been struggling against all odds and who are still there till the last matchday – with a lot of luck involved but also sheer will and talent.

    It’s true that the negativity is making it difficult for most to come here to debate and support our team. I am mostly just a lurker but I miss those posts and comments of those who don’t come here anymore. I can’t thank Kxevin enough for sticking around and keeping this alive even when he’s dejected. In a way, you’re our warrior too!

    I know it’s not that simple but to ward off negativity (at least a little), we need positive arguments. So please come back everyone!

  11. Mano says:

    I started following fcb in the last season of the riijkard era since all of my life as a culer puyol has been a constant presence in our beloved club . As pique put it puyol was his guardian angel on the field I think puyol was the guardian angel of the whole club. The passion and pride and immense concentration he brought on the field is second to none. He is and always will be remembered as the capita our it still feels weird that we’d have a new captain. Farewell capita.*tears*

  12. acquit says:

    We won’t be having another captain like Carles Puyol. He is the Ultimate. The passion he had towards the game is unmatched. ALso,he stopped Alves & co from dancing for the 4th or 5th goal. Wow, how can you hate this man?. And a great gesture to let Abidal lift the CL. You can have all the values blah blah on paper, but you need people to follow it. Thank you Puyol for everything

    PLEASE SUGGEST
    I have finished reading El Clasico- Barcelona vs Real Madrid by Richard Fitzpatrick. After reading this, should I read Fear and Loathing in La Liga by Sid Lowe?. Is there anyone who has read both books???

  13. Kxevin says:

    Interesting to hear from old-timers here, about the space. It’s appreciated. The list of mods who have come, gone and are on “hiatus” is long. Kari put the boots back on to do her part in trying to bring the space back.

    I think that in longing for the days of The Offside, or the best days of this space, feels like culers wishing the Treble days can return. The players are older, the club is a mess.

    The newer breed of football commenter is, in general, more aggressively negative. And today’s social media-enhanced climate means that things commonplace on message boards, now typify discourse that used to be more genteel.

    Today it is, “This is how I feel, so shut up. A debate is now an argument, as the former features two people discussing a point with a willingness to listen, and stipulate that the other party might have some valid points. The argument has no interest in that.

    This space will never be what it was. But if enough people who remember how it was can contribute today, we can make something cool. Thanks.

    • ciaran says:

      Any discussion in which one of the contributors has no interest in listening to another point of view is pointless.
      Disagreements are very healthy but how they are dealt with is what can make something toxic.

      When I see terms like Penaldo or Uefalona I assume both a lack of respect and a lack of education. It is disappointing that just because a player doesn’t play for your team that all respect is lost. One of my all time favourite sporting memories is the standing ovation for Ronaldinho at the Bernabeu. I would hope that if Ronaldo performed like that against us that we would have the class to appreciate it in a similar way.

      In different spaces I’ve read about people hoping that a certain player gets badly injured in a match or that someone scores an own goal but a football fan, a true football fan would rather beat his opponent in a fair manner.

      The level of discussion in this space so rarely descends to that extent that it isn’t worth trying to remember.

      Negativity is different and comes with the lows of this great sport. No team, in any sport, goes through their history winning everything and that is why people play/watch sports of every type throughout the world. Those who have followed any team through hardships come out the other end better fans and better people.

      Sport is also subjective, and like or dislike of a player or style in fans and people are as important as any other factor in determining how different teams play.

      I consistently come back to this space because of the difference in opinions and the people who have an open mind who contribute. So long as it doesn’t change I’ll always try to look in.

      • Kxevin says:

        Thanks, ciaran. It was really cool to have your voice return to the mix, btw. Glad you’re back.

        And yes, like Barça, the level here is high enough that even when it falls, it still isn’t horrid. Does this mean we are “spoiled?”

        It’s funny, because people thank me a lot for continuing, but all I can do is thank everyone in return, because people make a space.

      • Inamess says:

        Thanks Kxevin for still doing such important work!

        It seems like this blog is now in a position not unlike the club that we support. Some are looking to recapture a glorious past, other look to an uncertain but possibly still important and productive future.

        I am in the latter camp. If our players haven’t given up yet, then supporters shouldn’t either. We owe them that much.

        Fan sites will naturally reflect both the best and the worst of democracy. They can be crass and vulgar, but sometimes surprisingly productive and invigorating.

        Here two seemingly contradictory quotes are particularly apt.

        “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

        ~ Winston Churchill

        “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.”

        ~ Winston Churchill

        Today and tomorrow should be about celebrating our team not arguing about who is or is not the “right” kind of fan.

        Anyway, that is the way I see it.

        • barca96 says:

          I’m not a fan at all hearing old timers off this blog saying that s/he doesn’t like to come here anymore because of the negativity? What do you expect? When the performance is not good obviously people have something to quibble about. Nothing wrong with that. Any club/franchise when on a downward trend will fans fans reacting the same way.

          Everybody reacts differently. Not everybody can be like you (ooga aaga) or Kxevin or whoever can still be positive. And this space is still so much more positive compared to any other Barca blog, let alone neutral blogs like goal/guardian/etc.

          And I seriously don’t see anything out of line in this blog. When somebody is playing poorly and a fan points it out, what’s wrong with that? He may think that that particular player played poorly, you may see it differently. Again, everybody is different. How can you expect everyone to share the same feelings as you do?

          It is perfectly normal for a fan to be pissed off sometimes. That is what fans who care do. Don’t tell me your friends outside also are always so positive even when the club isn’t doing well?

          I have friends who are die hard season ticket holders for certain clubs, who go to every home matches, some even away matches, they also get criticize the team when things aren’t going well.

          I really find it hard for you or anyone to expect people to react positively like you do.

          The reason why everything was fine and dandy last time was because the team was kicking ass!

          Same goes for an old fan claiming that new fans don’t know how to experience tough times. Whos to blame for them only supporting the club when they were winning? It has to start somewhere. And I’m pretty sure you were in the same position at some point, starting the club when they were winning and feeling down when the club started losing. Why take digs at new fans? Why the need to show moral superiority?

          Lastly, some old timers who don’t comment anymore could be due to many reasons. Not just because they don’t like the negativity here or the new people here but it could be due to time constraints or family or work related stuff.

          If you (ooga aaga or anyone who more or less said the same thing before this) don’t want to comment anymore fine, no need to take digs at people.

          I rather take digs at players who don’t even know our existence rather than fellow members who we communicate with.

          • barca96 says:

            I too have been reading BFB for a long time, since offside, only commented once though asking if there are any other fan residing in Singapore when there was a Barca camp in town. Didn’t dare to comment back then as my English is poor and Kxevin, Isaiah and Ade’s (I think) English was too hard to comprehend.

            I do see that there is more negativity, but like I said, it’s perfectly normal. We were playing beautiful and winning back then. Now we do win but not as beautifully as last time so the mood changes. It’s perfectly normal.

            What you and some others are hoping is similar to what we want the players to perform at the same level as they did in the past which is nearly impossible.

          • Inamess says:

            I also saw it as puzzling and somewhat “passive aggressive” but everyone adjusts to changes differently.

            Don’t know why one person who values the club would want to lash out at another who values that very same thing.

            Maybe it comes down to the “I love the players more than the club, but that’s OK too.

          • Kxevin says:

            barca96, your tone, and the tone of this response is EXACTLY why old-timers no longer feel comfortable in this space.

            ooga aga did not name names, or mention anyone at all, nor did they say that there was any expectation that people react positively, fake anything or act in any way other than how they react. The simple statement was that the poster’s presence here was limited because of a high degree of negativity. That is their right.

            If we can’t comport ourselves with respect to each other as well as players who might not know of our existence, then what are we doing here, except running another message board?

            To my view, whether the poster is present or not, ooga aga is owed an apology. It isn’t acceptable that someone be attacked for making a simple statement that reflects their view. You have, to my view, crossed a line.

          • I meant ^this to the Barça’s:

            “Everybody reacts differently. Not everybody can be like you (ooga aaga) or Kxevin or whoever can still be positive. And this space is still so much more positive compared to any other Barca blog, let alone neutral blogs like goal/guardian/etc.”

            I just don’t understand the opinion that people here are overly negative. This post specifically is mostly filled with people saying how much they love Puyol. This space seems pretty positive to me, which I would add is great.

            I would also add that I am merely commenting on the attitude

          • Inamess says:

            I think it is best to let the issue drop. The commenter was probably a nice person who loved the players that we all love and was upset that some are winding down their careers with the club.

            We are all experiencing the changes that are taking place in the club, but yes, it was a bit theatrical.

            Great Farwells:

            Old soldiers never die —
            They just fade away :D. MacArthur

            Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break I got. Yet today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth: L. Gehrig

            I’ve done what I’ve always wanted to do and been very happy. I’ve lived the dream of thousands of children and I’m privileged: C. Puyol

      • Inamess says:

        Ciaran, I always value your contributions greatly, but disagree with you on your objection to some the rhetoric on some fan sites. A fan site is one in which members celebrate and argue about the state of their team. Part of this, naturally involves placing the value of their team above those their opponents. We do not play on the field so this is one of the important ways that fans can contribute to their team’s glory and think they are helping it other than watching the games and buying the shirts and hats.

        Terms like “Penaldo” and “UEFAlona” sound silly and unfair, but I think have evolved as shortcuts that fans of different teams use to condense certain arguments and “rally” the troops against fans of other teams.

        “Penaldo” is of course a somewhat clever way of quickly communicating a certain trump about the value of one “greatest player in the world” on one team vs. another “greatest player in the world” on another. I could summarize the argument that Barcelona actually does have that player in a paragraph but for fellow fans the one term serves the same purpose in a sort of “cute” way.

        On a Madrid site, “UEFAlona” serves a similar purpose in quickly communicating a shared perspective in a somewhat humorous way. Neither term is really used as an argument that is supposed to provide substance, but is a way for fans to reinforce certain shared views with like minded individuals. You are right, however, that in an argument between fans of the different Spanish giants the ideas behind each term would need to be “fleshed” out or it is merely a form of name calling.

        • ciaran says:

          For me, name calling of players is a pointless and disrespectful act especially when it’s groundless. Messi scores as many penalties as Ronaldo does and Real Madrid get as many penalties as we do.
          It’s well known that big clubs get a lot more decisions that little ones do, due to peer pressure etc, and for one set of privileged fans to be claiming that someone else gets more is a pity and merely looking for an excuse for superiority in most cases.

          Calling someone names instead of having a fact based conversation is childish.
          Let’s just say that it’s not to my taste.

          • Kxevin says:

            I agree with ciaran. An inordinate percentage of Messi’s goals have come from penalties, so should we come up with a nickname for him?

            Name calling is disrespectful and indefensible. And that is from someone who started calling RM “EE,” and Ronaldo “Thong Boy,” because of the odd way he stands before taking a free kick.

            As is obvious from my writing, I have reconsidered those stances, mostly for the reasons ciaran lays out.

          • Inamess says:

            I am kind of with you until the EE thing. If I can’t call Real EE and Mou Darth Vader it takes out a lot of the fun of being a Barca fan. That is where I have to draw the line, but respect other Barca fans that have different opinions.

            Are we really all that upset if Real fans call us midgets or holier-than-thou. I kind of like the playful teasing.

  14. Kxevin says:

    Alba, Pique and Neymar got the green light for tomorrow. Costa starts for Atleti.

  15. Kxevin says:

    Busy day today. Martino’s presser was, as always, wonderful. Right after that one, Celta Vigo had a presser to announce that Enrique is leaving them. Also, the club announced today that there is a deal with Messi on his contract freshening. NO details have been released, and everyone is speculating.

    I rather imagine that a “concerned” soci won’t be filing legal action to force the club to release details of the contract, however.

  16. Inamess says:

    It is interesting that both Barca and Real are both playing what might be their most important game in a long time against the same scrappy team.

    Real could get their Decima, but if they don’t I can imagine that disappointed fans and those at the club will turn on each other in a n even more vicious way. In fact, Barca may not be the only giant team in La Liga with a new coach.

    We, in a similar way, are defining quite a bit of our future tomorrow. Either we go out on top and look to a new beginning or things could get even more chaotic.

    As for the question about fans being happy when one their of their opponents gets injured, I think it is not so simple. Players and coaches seek to obtain any advantage that they can within the rules and without trying to intentionally hurt one of their opponents.

    Would I be glad if Costa can’t play tomorrow? Not in the traditional sense in that I don’t wish injury on any but the worst sort of human being. But a healthy Costa on a good day could very well mean my team will lose an very important game, and I don’t want that to happen either.

    So if Simeone wants to play it safe and save Costa for next week. I am honest enough to say I won’t have any complaints.

  17. psalmuel says:

    Now on to the liga. Lets win it for Puyol,V.V and Tito

  18. raj says:

    I’ve been watching FCB (in fact football), since two r three years or so now. And in this time, Puyol has not really been healthy enough for significant periods of time to play continuously for me to appreciate him ‘real-time’ over years (which is how it should be done, instead of judging players on youtube compilations).

    If you know Sachin Tendulkar, the cricketing legend who retired last year, then you know Puyol retiring is the same thing. People who have watched Sachin for two decades and lived through glory and downfall with him know that the last two years where he was average was a testament to him. Because even at his worst, Sachin Tendulkar is the first name in any cricket team in the world just on the basis of his commitment to do every thing to help. This was the reason his true fans cried even if they knew it was coming for two years. Because he changed the game by his persistence, consistency and commitment which is not automatic to every talented performer. He gave happiness to people irrespective of what was happening in their personal lives. A billion people ‘switched off their lives and switched on their TV sets’ (as famously said), not because he was as talented as he was (that was my selfish reason to watch) but for what he stood for. What he represented in the minds and emotions of these people.

    Even as I get emotional talking about growing up watching Sachin, I keep saying that I was in only for the quality of his game. But then again, I stopped watching the whole game when Sachin retires (like many others who know it will never be the same again)

    Well, all I want to say is, I haven’t watched Puyol – I missed it, but I just want to say, I feel you guys. And again, thanks for this blog.

  19. Kxevin says:

    My XI for tomorrow:

    Pinto
    Alves Bartra Mascherano Adriano
    Busquets Fabregas Iniesta
    Sanchez Messi Pedro

    First sub Neymar for Pedro, then Xavi for Fabregas when the game needs to be put on lockdown. Can’t see a need for Pique or Alba unless someone picks up a knock.

    I predict that Simeone is going to attack like crazy, and try to keep us on our heels, particularly in the first half-hour. Just as he did in Champions League in their house. Giving us the ball will only result in death by a thousand cuts. Attack hard early, get a goal and THEN sit back.

    People will say that a lot rests on Messi but for me, Pedro’s play is going to be immense. If he is on, Atleti are going to have their hands full. Pique, Neymar and Alba all have the green light, but none are match fit. You don’t want to put players who aren’t match fit into that cauldron that will be the first half-hour of this match.

    Still feels like 2-1 for me, can’t explain why.

    • barca96 says:

      Xavi to come in to defend the lead, provided that we are leading on the 60min mark.

    • ciaran says:

      I can see the use of Pedro if they are going to attack due to his defensive work and abilities when afforded a lot of room but he certainly needs to improve over his recent performances. He has been terrible of late and really needs to step up.

      Busquets, Cesc and Iniesta is probably our best midfield at the minute.
      In terms of defense, Masch has been great against Costa and that needs to continue here if we are to win. All squib I’ve wanted to see more of Pique-Bartra but after missing a few weeks I’d leave Pique on the bench unless he is raring to go.
      For next season I really hope we have a bit more tactical diversity in our squad so that it isn’t as easy for our opposition to guess our line up / tactics.

      • Kxevin says:

        The complexity is that Pedro is kinda all we have, unless Martino wants to roll the dice with Tello, which I can’t see happening. That, or he tries some permutation that lets Xavi get the start, and runs Messi/Fabregas/Sanchez up front.

  20. Inamess says:

    For me, the announcement of the starting lineup for tomorrow is gong to be almost as dramatic as the game itself. Martino, now a temporary caretaker, is deciding how one historic team is going to play their last game before a significant transition.

    If Martino does not start a healthy Xavi tomorrow then it seems like in some sense it wouldn’t be right, just as if Puyol were still somewhat healthy it would seem unfair not to start him. But Martino is also interested in his own future and legacy and might want to coach his last game with Barcelona on his terms and in his preferred way.

    Tata might also start Fabregas because Simeone is probably planning his strategy assuming a starting lineup with Xavi in it. If Tata. however, does start with Xavi on the bench, he might be remembered as the fool who didn’t start one of the greatest players in world football in a great team’s last decisive match. I wouldn’t take that risk, but if Tata wants to face the possibility of going around the rest of his life defending this decision, then I admire his choice.

    I would do anything possible to get Alexis on the pitch no matter whether the club wants him around next year or not. I think like the second leg in the CL quarters, Simeone is going to go for that knock out blow in the first 15 minutes, just like what Mou used to do in his last two years with Madrid.

    That is why I see us on the defensive at first, trying to keep possession or score on a counter if Atleti try to press up field. Pressuring a weaker keeper and defense that are not as experienced as our injured starters is going to be nerve racking. If we can withstand this attack and either score on the counter or regain control of the ball after a 15 minute siege, then we will be in very good shape.

    If we are still tied or behind after 60 minutes, then you have to bring on Fab. I just don’t want this to be a game where both Xavi and Fabregas are on at the same time because each in some way might diminish the other.

    Yes, and as a super sub Pique to come in and join the attack in the last 15 minutes if we are not winning. I think we are going to see our team triumphing against a relentless defense in a way that even at our greatest we failed to do at Camp Nou against Inter in ’10 and Chelsea in ’12. Also, my prediction for a winning goal from an unlikely hero: Tello. He can leave Barcelona on his terms too.

    We will see!

  21. Kxevin says:

    In anyone’s memory, has there been a bigger last Liga match of the season than this one?

    • Inamess says:

      I was thinking along the same lines when I thought about Simeone’s priorities in terms of the importance he places on winning La Liga vs. the Champions League.

      Each would be great for his side, but a victory in one vs. the other makes a slightly different statement. My guess is that Simeone may want to hedge his bets and make sure be gets at least one and a draw at Camp Nou may be easier than a victory against a well rested and largely recovered Real.

      The line at most sites have Athleti at only a 40% chance to win the CL, but closer to 50% to win La Liga.

      Let’s hope he either values the CL more or at least may not want to go all out against us and risk further damaging the fitness of his team for the possibly bigger trophy a week later.

      Some may think that Simeone is a relentless guy who desperately wants both, but I think he is more cautious and pragmatic than some might think.

      I know Costa is starting but it will be interesting to see if Simeone is willing to sacrifice this player’s fitness in one match with a possibly bigger one a week later.

  22. Kxevin says:

    Barça trained today with the Elche lineup, which means no start for Xavi if the training lineup has any bearing:

    Pinto, Alves, Bartra, Mascherano, Adriano, Busquets, Fabregas, Iniesta, Pedro, Sanchez, Messi

    • Inamess says:

      If that is it, then it is a daring move. Fabregas is going to have to have the game of his life. If he does the keys of the city and his future at Barcelona is secured!

      If it goes the other way, then maybe back to England. I think that there are going to be a lot of Arsenal fans that will be tuning into this one, and I think you can predict who they will be rooting for.

      • Kxevin says:

        It isn’t a daring move to have a player who played very well vs Elche and contributed to a very dynamic, aggressive first half in the lineup.

        If Fabregas decides to leave Barça, it will be the player’s decision in part. But from that lineup, it is clear that Martino has decided that standing around and having rondos is not the most effective way to defeat Atleti.

        Fabregas is better at the more vertical style that Martino seems to prefer, while Xavi is more effective at the controlling style that has been more typical of Barça of late. I rather imagine Martino might be thinking of them as direct replacements for each other, using Fabregas to try to get a lead, and then using Xavi to consolidate and control. It plays to the strengths of both players.

  23. Inamess says:

    On the Issue of Fan Bashing their Team: Revisited

    I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that the big football teams are kind of international conglomerates. It is unlikely that a fan in China or the US would choose to route for a bad team in Europe, so they originally get to pick which team to start rooting for and it will almost certainly be one of the more successful ones. I think this is why Arsenal have so many fans around the world in their 30s and 40s because they had an amazing period under Henry.

    Thus when a international fan sees that his or her former powerhouse losing there is certainly going to be a certain sense of entitlement and rage. “I rooted for your team because it was great and now you are really disappointing me”.

    Fans who root for their loca team are different in that the team in part reflects the pride of the area. Thus Chicago Cubs Fans or Red Sox fans (before 2004) were willing to stick with their “lovable losers”. Just like that fan who held up that sign to Ronaldo after his famous comment about why fans are jealous of him said “We are Poor, Ugly, and not good at Football.”

    • I’m usually for Xavi over Cesc, but I’d agree with starting Cesc this match. We definitely need a change our strategy.

      I think we can win this match, but it’s going to be a nail bitter!

      I’m going to go with 1-0.

      • Inamess says:

        I agree that Cesc is the better gamble if Martino is going for the win. I think it is also a concession that he doesn’t think Barcelona can dominate by controlling a very aggressive team. In the end I think that Martino thinks that he is going to be the fall guy if they lose anyway, so he wants to give himself the best chance to go out on top.

        The usual 4 midfielders in the second leg of the CL was kind of a disaster and I guess that just isn’t an option anymore.

        I would say that you are gambling on some kind of Fabregas magic, with Messi and Sanchez getting some good chances against Courtois. It might be Fab’s most important game of his career and may also decide his future with the club.

        • Kxevin says:

          I am not gambling on anything. It isn’t my job to gamble. I am simply expressing my view of how things might go, and my speculation on what Martino might be thinking, based on the last match and the form of some of his players.

          I could be entirely wrong, or completely right. No idea. That’s why they play the match.

          One match isn’t going to decide a player’s future with the club, that is safe to say. If that were the case, there would be a lot more roster turnover, as everyone on the team has taken turns coming up short of expectation.

          • Inamess says:

            Kxevin, I know you are not gambling. But you have to admit that in this game Martino is going to have to make some of the biggest gambles of his entire life.

            Let’s hope fortune smile on him because in the end he may or may not be the incompetent man some think he is but luck is just too great a factor in this type of match. One of the good things about a new potentially powerful Athleti is instead of two Classico each year we can now have six.

  24. Kxevin says:

    A number of posters here have commented on the (to them and others) negative tone of this space. That is their right, and they should be treated as respectfully as anyone else in this space. One of them was attacked above, and that attack got me to thinking.

    ciaran makes an excellent point above: Any discussion in which one of the contributors has no interest in listening to another point of view is pointless.
    Disagreements are very healthy but how they are dealt with is what can make something toxic.

    For me, “What do you expect? Stuff sucks!” is not a valid counterargument. But what is even less valid is treating their opinions with disdain or aggression. On Twitter, you can block people who attack you like that. Here, you can’t control your environment in the same way.

    But when more and more people say they aren’t coming because of the mood, that is something that can’t be ignored.

    I am struggling mightily to try and create a space that I would enjoy coming to and being part of. At present, I feel like those efforts are coming up short.

    I don’t want to run or be part of a space in which people are attacked, nor do I want to be part of a space in which negativity is the tone of the day. It wears me down too much, spiritually.

    There is one more match, and then the silly season. That is also the commencement of bicycle racing season for me, so I will be scarce. What that means, unless someone else is going to step up, is that this space is going to be dormant for a long period. To my view right now, that isn’t a bad thing.

    I can’t tell anyone how to behave. I can cite the unwritten rules of this space as regards respect and comportment. But negativity and a lack of respect (for other commenters and players, whether they read this space or not) is something that is difficult. But nobody should have to think “Uh, oh …” as they open our comments.

    I am all for exchange of ideas in a congenial, respectful manner. A lot of time that happens, even if the tone is negative.

    Some clarification of “negative,” to me: A pass goes awry, and the reaction is “X player sucks!” rather than “What happened there? Did the receiver not move to the ball, did the passer have to hold the ball too long, what happened?”

    The latter generates discussion. “The opponent was being aggressive in the passing lanes,” or “A lack of movement up front is problematic, wonder what we can do to combat that.”

    The former generates only more of the same, either “Yeah, he DOES suck,” or “He doesn’t suck.” Then it becomes, “You’re just defending him,” etc, etc, and it becomes personal rather than team-related.

    Not being “negative” doesn’t mean a lack of critique or analysis. Lord knows my reviews used to have plenty of analysis, both positive and negative, even a very contentious scoring system. But the scapegoating, blame and negativity is, to someone tasked with making this space a nice place to visit and who enjoys writing for this blog, more than a little offputting.

    The response is “We don’t have to be positive, why do we have to lie,” or “We’re allowed to analyze the team if we want!” Both are entirely true, hence my explanation of what I think is negative. Someone else’s view of negative will be different.

    Our millionaires are not little league players, where parents don’t keep score and even striking out is greeted with “Good swing! Way to try!” They are paid to do a job, and like every one of us who is paid to do a job, we aren’t always as good as we are supposed to be. Would you rather your boss screamed “You suck!” or said “That didn’t come out as we wished. Let’s look at why that happened.”

    I don’t see any reason that level of discourse can’t be the norm here, even as I know it can’t. Yes, people discuss things in different manners and express their views in different manners. Every time I read Zonal Marking, by way of an example, I am struck by the quality and respect in the comments there. And for sure, I turn a little green with envy.

    For the record, we have some excellent comments and commenters here. There are tactical discussions, breakdowns of player strengths and weaknesses and other things that really work well. We even have some local perspective from the likes of Peter and CuleToon. It all paints a picture of this club that is useful and effective.

    And I don’t want people to lie or not be who they are. That’s nonsense. But the mood here is generally dark, and it’s that way for a reason that warrants a comment from the last of the Mod-hicans, so to speak. And it isn’t because “the team sucks,” particularly when it doesn’t. It isn’t because it was a “bad season,” because it wasn’t. Recall that many of us went into the season saying this club wasn’t going to win any major silver which, potentially, is what could happen.

    I don’t know what is going to happen this summer. When there is REAL transfer news, perhaps someone will react and put up a post, perhaps not. It might even be me. No guarantees. By the time next season rolls around, we will see what will happen in terms of getting me some help. For now, don’t be surprised if, in the aftermath of the match tomorrow, things dry up here.

    Thanks, and apologies for the length.

    • Inamess says:

      In all honesty I am really puzzled by those who complain of the lack of civility in this space, and do we really need to focus more on “process” that “content”. If someone wants to directly spell out what they object to then those on it will have a better idea of their objections.

      If people want to still be a part of this great site then they can make their specific objections known, but if they no longer want to participate they should do so without putting down the site that they no longer want to visit. This site can still be great and fans who want it to continue should stay on it, make a case for their ideas without personal attacks about some being too negative. If you think people are being too negative then make a case for why something should be viewed more positively.

      Fans either want to talk to other fans who might have a slightly different point of view, but for me I am staying because I always loved this site and since I now have more free time because of an injury, I would love for it to continue. The rest is up to others. It would be a shame for the site not to die because a team is no longer as successful as it once was. There will always be other fan sites, but if this one stops then we are really losing something unique.

      I propose that we end the silliness and talk about football. Everyone needs to grow up. New fans and old. We complain about the dysfunction and infighting of the Barcelona board. Here is a chance to show how things can be done better. There is an amazing game coming up and would love to experience that game with others who share my excitement.
      Looking forward to seeing what others have to say about what should be a great match!

      Thanks.

  25. psalmuel says:

    But can Cesc withstand the early minutes storm? And also, if we the fans know the line-up in training then Simeone would also know it and that will be bad for us

    • Inamess says:

      That is what I am worried about too. I think that is what this game is going to come down to. I see Simeone going for the knock out blow in the first 15 minutes. Either team can win early if they score first or we score on a counter or a play of brilliance. I think that Martino thinks that Xavi can not dictate possession until after Atleti tire out a bit.

      So the best chance for us I guess is to score that early goal and then try to take advantage of possession when the game opens up since Atleti will not be able to park the bus if they fall behind.

  26. dleans says:

    My XI:
    Pinto
    Alves-Bartra-Mascherano-Alba
    Xavi-Busquets-Fabregas
    Messi-Pique-Iniesta

    Later on, after two goals by Pique, substitute Mascherano for Alexis and pull Pique back.

  27. ciaran says:

    This is the most 50-50 match that I can remember. We have to win and have home advantage. They don’t have to win but are playing away.
    I believe it will be an incredibly close match but we have the individual talent to make the difference in an occasion such as this and have done before.
    I imagine that Messi will be fired up to make something happen and having Neymar back on the bench at least gives us the ability to change the match which we haven’t had recently.

    It is going to be edge of the seat, nail biting entertainment and if the result is close in the second half then it will truly be squeeky-bum time as SAF used to say.

    We were minor details behind them in the only match they beat us and when the chips are really down Messi et al normally pull out performances.
    I have faith in this bunch of players and bring on tomorrow.

    • Inamess says:

      This is kind of repeat of my earlier question about Simeone’s priorities in terms of the importance he places on winning La Liga vs. the Champions League.

      Each would be great for his side, but a victory in one vs. the other makes a slightly different statement. My guess is that Simeone may want to hedge his bets and make sure be gets at least one and a draw at Camp Nou may be easier than a victory against a well rested and largely recovered Real.

      The line at most sites have Athleti at only a 40% chance to win the CL, but closer to 50% to win La Liga.

      Some may think that Simeone is a relentless guy who desperately wants both, but I think he is more cautious and pragmatic than some might think.

      I know Costa is starting but it will be interesting to see if Simeone is willing to sacrifice this player’s fitness in one match with a possibly bigger one a week later.

      How do you think the CL final might influence Simeone’s game plan? You might remember we had two games in one week against Chelsea and Real in the span of a week in 2012 and those did not go well because we couldn’t muster the strength to be at our best in those matches.

      Atleti have an even weak problem because of their poor bench and recent poor form which may be due in part to fatigue.

      • Levon says:

        Pragmatically speaking Atleti can’t afford to hedge their bets one way or the other. No matter the cards left in his hands, Simeone is all in.

        • Inamess says:

          Doesn’t that mean that we are going to have to take the full brunt of what is left in Athleti. Especially what is left in Costa. The Copa matches against Real in which Simeone got crushed has to be in the back of his mind.

          I would imagine that he might fear that if he loses La Liga everything would snowball for the next week. That would be one point in 3 weeks, Maybe the worst choke in La Liga history. With his players who have to believe in themselves to have a chance it could crush the team.

  28. Inamess says:

    Luck Can Be a Two Way Street

    The Barcelona campaign of 2013-14 is one that has largely been defined by such weighty words as hubris and misfortune. We have indeed been the unlucky target of some terrible and unexpected blows.

    However, is it not also true that in order to be given the chance to improbably win the league at home on the final day the season, we have also needed our share of luck as well. Despite our recent form, some things did have to go right for us to actually still be here, like a weary prize fighter who has taken his share of bruises but still has a chance in the 15th round to land that knock out blow and achieve one final taste of glory.

    Here are some breaks that actually did go our way and let you decide some other moments this season that might be decisive if we get one last chance at redemption by getting that Liga winning goal this Saturday:

    Here are four outstanding achievements from players on other La Liga team’s that really helped us cules out at a time when we really needed it:

    1) Ronaldo gets a dramatic equalizer at the Calderón and takes away 2 important points from Atleti.

    2) Musacchio own goal at Villarreal. It was an immense game and some would say our most satisfying of the season for so many reasons. But it wouldn’t have been possible without our own share of good fortune on a night that we really needed it:

    3) This season there isn’t going to be any big Cinderella story except in Lisbon, but there have been quite a few little one’s in La Liga , perhaps none sweeter than Osorio’s dramatic equalizer in the 85th minute of Valladolid vs. Real:

    4) Finally, if things go our way at Camp Nou on Saturday, we need to thank another player who made it all possible by giving us our 9th and final life. The incredible Willy Caballero makes the save of our season.

    Yes. The last few months have been difficult for any Cule, but don’t tell me about fate and things not always going our way. Lady luck smiled on even our poor souls a few times.

    What about our players? Who should be nominated for Barca’s Puskás Award so far this season. It doesn’t have to be a beautiful moment, just crucial for us to be here with one more shot to grab La Liga .

    It could come in second place behind this golazo that Messi blows past Courtois on Saturday. Notice that our Legendary Captain is there to look on!:

  29. Inamess says:

    Luck Can Be a Two Way Street

    The Barcelona campaign of 2013-14 is one that has largely been defined by such weighty words as hubris and misfortune. We have indeed been the unlucky target of some terrible and unexpected blows.

    However, is it not also true that in order to be given the chance to improbably win the league at home on the final day the season, we have also needed our share of luck as well. Despite our recent form, some things did have to go right for us to actually still be here, like a weary prize fighter who has taken his share of bruises but still has a chance in the 15th round to land that knock out blow and achieve one final taste of glory.

    Here are some breaks that actually did go our way and let you decide some other moments this season that might be decisive if we get one last chance at redemption by getting that Liga winning goal this Saturday:

    Here are four outstanding achievements from players on other La Liga team’s that really helped us cules out at a time when we really needed it:

    1) Ronaldo gets a dramatic equalizer at the Calderón and takes away 2 important points from Atleti.

    2) Musacchio own goal at Villarreal. It was an immense game and some would say our most satisfying of the season for so many reasons. But it wouldn’t have been possible without our own share of good fortune on a night that we really needed it:

    3) This season there isn’t going to be any big Cinderella story except in Lisbon, but there have been quite a few little one’s in La Liga , perhaps none sweeter than Osorio’s dramatic equalizer in the 85th minute of Valladolid vs. Real:

    4) Finally, if things go our way at Camp Nou on Saturday, we need to thank another player who made it all possible by giving us our 9th and final life. The incredible Willy Caballero makes the save of our season.

    Yes. The last few months have been difficult for any Cule, but don’t tell me about fate and things not always going our way. Lady luck smiled on even our poor souls a few times.

    What about our players? Who should be nominated for Barca’s Puskás Award so far this season. It doesn’t have to be a beautiful moment, just crucial for us to be here with one more shot to grap La Liga .

    It could come in second place behind this golazo that Messi blows past Courtois on Saturday. Notice that our Legendary Captain is there to look on!:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qr291G0-Md8

  30. Obii says:

    Very OT, but god damn do I miss this guy. Ronaldinho had the gift of making every one smile. I love watching him play so much.

    23 min long video of his best plays for Atletico Mineiro. Unbelievable.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1DrXiuID-4

  31. Laurentiu88 says:

    So, THIS day has finally arrived!!!

    i hope our stadium will be full and loud and able to carry the team to victory! make them give everything!

    for the game i see a repeat of the ucl game. initial pressure from atletico…where i hope pinto manages to avoid giving us any heart attacks! i hope we are faster! i hope messi will feel like running. no matter what game plan atletico go on the pitch they wont be playing all out attacking, no more then 15 min of the start…if that is still 0 0 .. they will go back and defend defend…

    visca barca!!! visca capi!

  32. Jim says:

    Ok, you’ve all got an extra team to cheer on today. My hometown (pop around 50000) team St Johnstone have made it to the final of the Scottish cup and are playing Dundee Utd who older Barcelona supporters might remember with less than fond memories. Come on ye Saints :)

    Means my attention is divided on this most important day of our season. However, fwiw, I agree Atletico will leave nothing in the bag this afternoon. I expect a physical high tempo game from them. I’m not sure how long they can keep it up because they are certainly showing it now but it’ll be ugly. Not sure I believe the idea that they will come at us. You don’t do that at the Camp Nou. As far as our side is concerned it’d be Xavi all day for me. If their players are swarming round our mids there’s nobody in the world I’d rather have there than a rested Xavi and Iniesta. If Cesc plays who’s the glue? We need to break them down so Iniesta can’t be tied back into the position I think he will make his own soon.

    Pique’s a difficult one as there’s no doubt it’s hard to be out for what, six weeks ? and come back into a match like this. However, if he has been showing well in training and if he’s genuinely medically fit, unlike we seem to do on occasions, he’d still get my nod – along with Bartra. Otherwise, with Costa and Raul Garcia we’re an accident waiting to happen. Anyway, whatever the side is I can’t wait !

    • Levon says:

      I’m on record for saying that Mascherano is far from the ideal CB for Barcelona, but he has matched up really well against Atleti this season. As far as the back line is concerned, he is the first name on the team sheet.

      Very much agree with you that Xavi should start. Frontline of Alexis, Messi and Pedro (although I’d be fine with Cesc starting instead of P)

  33. norden says:

    Kxevin, you don’t have to feel envious about the level of debate on Zonalmarking. That’s a site for tactical enthusiasts who love graphs and elaborate unbiased analysis (like myself). It kind of pre-determines the debate there.

    People who are upset with a Barca player after a bad match, won’t go there to complain. Usually there’s no post about that match anyway. On the other hand, people who want to express their support for the club won’t go there, either.

    I wish there were more elaborate analytical posts like in the Euler days, but I realize it must be very time consuming. In those days, I wouldn’t dare to argue unless I had things properly thought through (and in the meantime someone else would have came up with the same idea before me, so I wouldn’t have posted it anyway). Nowdays, it’s more opinion based, so even I don’t feel ashamed to reply here :)

    Anyway, it’s your opinion piece posts that keep this site going and I enjoy most of them, so thank you for doing that.

    • Kxevin says:

      Thanks for the kind words. They were immensely time consuming, and ultimately not a gratifying effort, which is much of why they stopped.

      Kari has become our resident thinker, so we will see what she has to offer.

      The ZM posts make me envious not only because they demonstrate that a commenter actually read the piece in question, rather than simply using a new post to continue a rant, but also the space is characterized by a lack of slagging. Every now and again something crawls in, but usually it’s about the match, what happened and the Cox analysis. Always a breath of fresh air, even as I acknowledge that the commenters there self-select by their presence.

      You shouldn’t feel any shame about commenting anywhere. I am familiar with your handle, and miss its presence.

  34. Kxevin says:

    There will be a match comments post going up in a while, but no live blog, for obvious reasons. Thanks.

  35. Al says:

    Hi,
    I check for posts and comments here everyday. It’s part of my morning routine. I stopped reading the other Barça dedicated blogs because their comments section is full of one sided, one sentence doom and gloom stuff (actually I was starting to think like that “dark side” about the Barça matters but I don’t want it to be like that, so I try to learn something from the attitude/way of thinking here.). Also some of the articles talk about pretty obvious stuff.

    I didn’t comment here before because I’m not the commenting type and because most of the time I don’t feel I have something good to add.

    About the stadium today: don’t worry it’ll be max full. I’m going too. Win or lose I’m here/there to support our great players and human beings (they have given us so much joy) and to say goodbye to Pujol and VV.

    • Levon says:

      Thanks for your comment. Have fun at the game. By the time I tried to get a ticket it was sold out, and now I’m priced out. Oh well, I’ll just watch it at a bar.

      • Al says:

        Today I have no voice at all. A lot of the people around me were not young (above 55-60), children and etc. so I was one of the few singing/clapping around for most of the match. Also the crowd may be a little bit spoiled from the near past.

        After the end of the match some of the supporters that were getting out asked some of us “Way are you clapping? Are you clapping at Atlético Madrid…?”. May be some were clapping about that, I don’t know. I was clapping at our team, supporting them in that tough moment.

        Levon lets meet. How can I contact you? Do you have a twitter account?

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