Barça vs Atleti match comments post

We all remember this match. Falcao scored first, then Adriano did what Adriano does. The final was 4-1. Still feeling like today is a 2-1 in the offing, as I can’t see this Atleti conceding 4 goals to us. But a win will be in the offing.

For those expecting a trophy ceremony at the Camp Nou today, forget it. Liga chairman is “traveling.”

Anyhow, here’s your match comments post. Have fun, and don’t hurt anyone.

By Kxevin

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


  1. sad for the game…

    i am curious why we were so different in these last games, where our intensity went?

    we were so pressed after we scored, when we would take control of a game this time we weren’t able to exchange simple passes. these players have been great and they have my eternal gratitude for all the amazing moments. i would be sad to see mascherano leave..maybe alexis too a bit but i can understand big changes are needed. i do hope these changes begin with the management thou’…

    1. I think it came down to a combination two things.

      1) Our team our team in the last few months has been “found out” in that we played every game in a fairly similar lineup and in a similar way except with some variety in our last two games. Having a deeper bench would certainly make a difference here .

      2) Our weakness can more easily be exploited. Especially because you can not win a war without an air force: we are too weak in the air with 25% of the goals we concede coming on set pieces while we convert few set pieces of our own. Other teams know that just have to kick the ball up field or in the air to keep us from maintaining control.

      2) I think the team reached a point in which no longer had the confidence that they kne what to do to win. This is the first time in a long time that as a fan I felt the players didn’t believe in themselves enough to stage a comeback or break a tie. We just can no longer rely on world class talent to score wonder goals while conceding such trifling ones to our opponents.

      Hopefully a new coach with some changes to the side will make a big difference!

    2. Yup, onto a new era, so glad we’ve already rid ourselves of Mr. In over his head Tata and will finally be losing players who have offered little for years.

  2. Thank you Tata.. I hope by now you are already on an island beach sipping one of those drinks with the small deserve it..youre a classy guy and i have to say im disgusted how you were treated..”we have been working on a new project for weeks”.. wtf? One of the slimiest things ive heard in a while..

    On the flip side..the ovation given to the atleti players after the final whistle was pure class. I dont think ive seen anything like that.

    1. See, this is what Kxevin was talking about. If you don’t agree with someone at least try to disagree without antagonising anyone. Otherwise, we end up in a spiral of ever more derogatory comments. It’s possible to argue both sides on Tata and both can be valid. If the board didn’t know he was going until very recently then it’s not a classy comment on working on a new project for weeks. However, if they did then it would have been incompetence not to. Either way Tata gave it a shot at short notice and didn’t produce the goods but you can’t not appreciate the guy’s honesty in evaluating his performance and, to me at least, that makes him one classy guy just as a human being.

  3. needed to go..probably so..but this could have gotten a lot uglier if he didnt handle his pressers so well..i have to admit, ive seen very few,,but from the transcripts ive read he seemed to keep all the infighting in-house..

  4. after seeing what went on this year..its going to take a looooong time for any non-ex barca player to want to coach this team. i guess what makes me feel bad about the whole thing is just from a human standpoint, which i know doesnt really matter in the whole scheme of things…but since early on, im not sure if i ever saw tata smile during a sure i did, but my overall image of him is one of unhappiness and immense pressure, like he hadnt slept for 96 hours before the must be such a relief for him to finally have the rope around his neck taken off..

  5. look at this record in all competitions…


    pretty good for a guy coaching for the first time in europe…not to mention, a team that he had no say in creating..

    then came the last month and a half…


    1. Whatever the story of the the relationships between coach and players, our season more or less fell apart after two injuries to 2 irreplaceable players in two consecutive games. We just weren’t the same team after that.

  6. sorry for the consecutive posts…

    but wait a minute..just saw the reply of messis disallowed goal..
    the deflection clearly came off the atleti defender..the goal should have stood..we’re champions everyone.

  7. Thanks so much to the core of a historic team. Never again will there be such a blend of players, coaches, and style.

    And never again will a game be played so well that mere athletes transcended a sport and together created a work of art–especially one magic night in the fall of 2010 against our fiercest rival:

    On to the future. We will find a new way to win with a new constellation of players playing their own unique way. The past is immortal, but tomorrow starts today!

  8. Disappointing end to a disappointing season. Still, plenty to look forward to next season; the dawning of the new era.

    Echoing Dar_vincy above I would also like to acknowledge and thank the BFB people, especially Kxevin for his brilliant work and incredible generosity in sharing his thoughts and knowledge week in, week out, for scant reward. Thanks also to contributors ciaran (very much relishing your increased input of late), Peter (loved today’s rant) and Levon (gonzo writer supreme). Thank you to everyone really who has contributed to making this a consistently great blog to read on a daily basis. The season has been disappointing but the debate here has not! Hope Euler and Culetoon get their BFB mojo going again next season, and that people continue to comment here throughout the World Cup.

    It has been a roller-coaster of a season, an emotionally draining epoch. In Tatters, but Lucho will lead us out! Just watched the 4-3 game at the Bernabéu, serving as a reminder of how this team, despite everything, still had the capacity to thrill and deliver the goods. Next up, revisiting the Man City games.

    Good times will come around again. Gràcies to Barcelona Football Blog and Visca Barça!

  9. The player who really has to be sold is Danny Alves. Lovely guy. Like him a lot. But when Barca are trying to break down a bus, the main tactic is for Alexis to shift inside (to CF) leaving space on the outside for Alves to take the long ball.
    As a result, Alves is always the player with the most space to work in. Other teams love that, because his doesn’t have the pace to beat his man (even though he’s rarely double-teamed) and they know that Dani will pump another aimless cross to nowhere.
    In other words, Barca suffers a lot because it tries to use a good left-back as a winger-forward. That reduces its threat on the right and means opponents can put pressure on other players (e.g. Messi, Alexis in the middle).
    Barca are, in fact, a lot better when Alexis doesn’t drift into the middle to play CF and plays as a pure winger. Better dribbler, hell of a lot better crosser.
    Next year, Alexis/Neymar should play as pure wingers with a true CF in the middle. Maybe have to go to 3-4-3.

    1. I think Alves is already going to PSG. Great player but like Puyol & Xavi, he has been on the the decline since 2011. Sometimes I wish our club was a bit more heartless in that we never sell a player before they start to decline, but instead rely on them as if they were the same player they were before.

      I think that Iniesta was right when he thought that some at the club were thinking about what they could do with the 50 million they could get for him. The Problem, of course, is that the backlash of selling such a player would be tremendous.

      Maybe that is Atleiti advantage in that no player on the team is considered irreplaceable and the collective success of the team is put above the value of any particular player. Lose a Costa to injury or at the end of the year when he moves to Chelsea, no problem we will see who we can get to play in his place.

      It would have been “heartless” but had we not relied on Xavi, Puyol, or Alves this year, we would have been in a lot better shape. I guess we are going to have to look to Thiago’s career at Bayern to see what we missed out on and his brother to see what we still may get.

    2. I missed the bit about Iniesta saying that. Where did it come from and what was the question?

    3. Again you may be right, but since players do not always publicly say what they feel is “really going on”, I rely also on outside reports that may or may not be accurate depending on their credibility.

      The alternative is to only believe what is said on the Barca site which though I like to visit, also view as partly propaganda to make the club appear in the best light it can. Again, not a fault with the players “public statements” or the club’s “official” site, but they also slant the complete picture. But I agree that I often rely on other sources which may be inaccurate as well. It is just a preference, but I will try to find the article for you.

      Just to understand your position better, do you believe that the club actually thought about selling Messi this year or dismiss this notion as mere rumor?


    4. One other point, I would try to ignore most of dreamteam’s comments because he is probably a troll or at least not take his comments too seriously as I did below.

      Oh, and I forgot to congratulate you on your Saints 🙂

    5. It’s just hard to imagine Iniesta saying that … Unless the question was about, say were the club thinking about selling player X. Then I could see that answer but it’s not really what it seems to be.

      I don’t think any of the board hold their lives in such disdain as even contemplate it at the moment. 🙂

    6. And thanks for the thought on Saints.

      Don’t like giving up on posters without at least trying to point out how we operate here. After all, a fair percentage don’t have English as their first language but you’re right it’s probably not a great use of anyone’s time.

  10. I think our second Dream Team (2008-13) was the result of having the perfect blend of world class players working together during their most productive years. Take a few pieces out of the puzzle and it’s just not the same. Maybe an Iniesta without a Xavi in his prime is not the same player, just as Messi may not be the same player without Xavi and Iniesta also on the pitch (i.e. World Cup 2014).

    That is why these all these individual awards like the Ballon d’or are really team awards with the praise going to the player on a best team who also scores a lot of goals. I think we will be at our next peak when the next Barcelona player to get the Ballon d’or will have a last name that starts with N not M.

    Looking forward, my hope is that we can find the right pieces to create a new team with a physical presence while still getting the best from Messi, Fab, Iniesta, Alexis, Neymar, & Pique. We have now almost become a victim of our own success in that you want to get all these players with world class skills on the pitch to the exclusion of other players who must also be their for the physical presence and tactical diversity they can add. I guess that was part of the intention behind getting players like Song and Mascherano. I wouldn’t mind the club picking up a couple of players like those on Atleti once in a while. Not world class, but in what they add to the team, just as important.

    Maybe La Masia just doesn’t produce that kind of player. I am not sure a 12 year old Puyol would make it there today. You just have to take your chances that an outside player like Rakitic or Luiz can fit into the team.

    1. I honestly have a lot of hope for the future. We have a future German #1 in Ter-Stegen, a world class CB in Piqué ( who was FANTASTIC today, showed real f’ing leadership ) and a future captain in Barta. A CB such as Benatia would do wonders. A coach that drills and drills, that has the cojones to smack heads around, irrespective of a oafish board. I honestly believe the specter of the World Cup is looming large over this squad, especially Messi. He is only human, he undoubtably feels the coming pressure of what is surely his best chance at lifting the cup on his native continent. Neymar has the hopes of an entire nation resting on him… And so on. This team, god willing will come back without injury and , with an injection of new blood ,will come back even stronger.
      We will be flush with midfield and attacking talent ( either through La Masia or transfers) and a squad without the pressures of the WC.
      I still believe in tiki-taka ( done right) and the power of the blaugrana blood to lift us onward and upward.
      It was a shame watching this season unfold, but it made me love this club more than ever . It’s ” Més que un club” for a reason. I can’t wait for next season to start. Visca. Barça.

  11. Tata.

    Tata Martino came to this team without any say in how that team was constructed and very little power. He, in tópico catala fashion, was considered from the start (by the media) as a foreigner, and questioned immediately and cynically for everything that he did. The board was dealing with other issues and did not step in to vocally back Tata up. One might cyclically say that this was to create a pre-emptive fall man. But, perhaps it was more organic. Whatever the reason, the result was clear. Tata, who has always been a class act, i.e., he was a goddamn gentleman, caved in. His system, which worked to absolutely destroy Man City and Real Madrid, failed at the end, and he did not alter it. That was his mistake, and I think a lot of us who had supported him up until this point decided that the relationship wasn’t working.

    I really dislike the anti-Tata stuff, and considering his line-up and subs on this final game (which we know he knew was his last and so fielded his honest ideal starters injuries aside). For better or for worse he isn’t our coach next year, but I would have liked to see what he would have done. I am excited about Enrique, but I love the team and so will always be excited to some extent. However, I really think the way we have handled the Martino situation was disgraceful. The players, who ultimately failed offensively (our defense was second best after all [then again so was our offense]), seemed to back Martino up every step of the way.

    I think this season makes sense. We had to have it and in a way, it began with the Chelsea semis. However, I think the team has lost a bit of face, at least to fans, and all because of the board. The Neymar transfer, for example, is a fiasco, and I can’t really find any fault with Neymar there. He’s a fucking kid. Albiet, I am not extravagantly older than he is, but even I can remember being his age and not caring a wit for my finical future. However, the dumb dealings of a bunch of adults have now given the kid some major scaring publicly. The masses all make snide jokes about his father, but what about his play? His development for the first half of the season was spectacular. Alexis as well. And, who was their coach? Tata.

    The board began coaching Barça as soon as Rossell resigned. And, they did a terrible job. Now people are blaming Xavi, who is somehow the symbol of slow football all of a sudden, even if his passing is still the best in the world. we can’t expect his to come in with fifteen minutes left in a game with a crazy amount of energy and work magic. especially without decisive movement.

    The reality is that there is no one to blame. Losing Puyol and Valdes did this, and that was inevitable. I don’t think any signings last year would have helped. There was no 7-0 this season, and that’s on Tata. We lost 2-1, and that’s on so many variables it doesn’t really mater. I am confident that next year we will be back with vengeance, but we have a fairly difficult offseason to look forward to. The fact is that I love all our players, but many are going away. I will be said to miss them all.

    The highlight of the match for we was Song, Masch, Pique, Alves, and Adriano. They did a great job, and the reality is that after 6 meetings with Atletico the score was 3-2. That’s not a bad game.

    1. The truth is that we really don’t know that much that went on behind the scenes, so its anyone’s guess of the exact relationship between the board, coach, and players.

      I think that it is hard to place the “blame” here. My admitably speculative theory is that there just too many factors working against Tata at Barca this year:

      1) He was an “outsider”, with no previous experience with the club or European football and, of course was a last minute replacement for another more respected coaches’ team

      2) He was an easy target for the media when things weren’t going right as the did not have the respect of the media, press core, and many at the club itself which can be steeped in politics and infighting.

      3) He seems like a players coach and supposedly did not have the players work as hard as Pep and Tito.

      4) He may have lacked authority with of some players, many of whom have dozens of major awards and trophies. As such he may have lost his nerve to stick with his tactics because of tremendous media criticism and some players who may have express doubts about his tactics because they were not comfortable with it. Note also that the team had been largely without a coach for the second half of last season during Tito’s absence and thus had tremendous say in deciding how they would play.

      5) He could not turn around the teams lack of good form over a number of weeks. Coaches who are effective with their teams know how to turn things around after one or two bad games.

      None of this is to say Martino is a bad coach, far from it. As you said Barca may have won at least two trophies had not Valdes and Pique not gone down. It is just that given the players and the team situation’s it may not have been a great fit in the end.

    2. Oh stop it. It’s so en vogue to play the Tata apologist. People are talking as if he was a potential Fergie+Pep. What a joke,
      Let it go. He leaves NOTHING in the annals of FC Barcelona,
      Get over it.

    3. Dreamteam, the aggression isn’t called for. The initial commenter here had some thoughts about the tenure of Martino, and expressed them.

      If you read the comment of deerwithwings, it isn’t a defense of Martino. He even says that “he caved in,” the result being that he became ineffective as a coach.

      Dialogue is reading or hearing what someone has to say, then responding to that. Duelogue is having your own ideas of what you want to say, and not caring what the other person says. I know you have good thoughts, so rebut deerwithwings with something more than “Oh, stop it.”

      Everyone loves a good debate, so bring it.

    4. Kxevin, I don’t need someone to defend me on this one. I made my points and the responders reply was largely ineffective in mounting a proper rebuttal. So in this case my argument has prevailed so far.

      The responder may or may not be a troll. But in this case my argument has prevailed because the responder was inadequate in substance and not as clever as he or she is sometimes.

      The responder just has to raise his or her game a bit and either be more clever or back the response up with better points. 🙂

    5. I don’t play school boy ” My argument prevailed!!”. I don’t have to “outduel” you in comments by being clever, etc. etc. 1) It’s the internet 2)Tata is gone, you can write as much as you want about how great a man he is, how he this and that, but he is done. Any possible defense or positives about him are moot, because he leaves no legacy of any kind and is now gone. I can’t put that in clearer terms.

    6. I use the school boy point system. So for now it is 1-0. If you use another standard then that is OK too.

      I do agree though that the Tata debate is getting old, you just see his stay here one way or another. I just think that it is a double standard to say that the players are not to blame because they went through so much and then trash the coach instead.

    7. More interesting to me, deerwithwings, and something that we will never know, is what happened? At some point, Martino lost the team, if he ever fully had them. Something precipitated that, whether it was tactics, training, something more subtle.

      Was he really in over his head? As a coach, not at first, then suddenly, he was. As a politician, he assuredly was. Navigating Barça and the ins and outs is a complex thing.

      Was he the substitute teacher that the kids were never going to fully commit to? Another good question, particularly in light of the buzz that began almost when he started about him being a one-year coach, a caretaker for the person that the board REALLY wanted to have the job, even as lip service was being paid about his having a contract, etc.

      Speculation is rife, but reality and hard answers are deficient and probably always will be. Martino seems too much a gentleman to write some sort of tell-all, and players aren’t going to say anything either. So the answer is, as they would say as part of the TV show “The X Files,” “out there.”

    8. Yeah, I meant to add a paragraph about that but got caught up in loquacious tangents =)

      I like your sub analogy, That is my feeling. Do I think he did an overall outstanding job? No. But the odds were stacked against him. Mostly I was impressed with his character in comparison to the board, which was the narrative that I was trying to construct.

  12. Everyone needs to take a step back. There are agendas, smoke, mirrors and nonsense flying around, favorites and unfavorites, sell this player, sell that player, “Martino sucks,” “No he didn’t.”

    Questions are flying about regarding X or Y player, but not M or O player. That, too, means the result will always be slanted toward the desired conclusion.

    The bottom line is that the TEAM, from coaches to players, came up short this season. The reasons are certainly valid, but that is the bottom line. Is the board culpable in that failure? Absolutely. And in that, the entire club came up short, particularly if you look at the results in the other sports, as well, especially basketball.

    Blaming an individual for collective failure is easy and intellectually facile. It makes people feel better, but doesn’t answer any real questions about what happened this season, which was coming up short at every level.

    1. Thanks. We even made it onto Sky news for the town celebrations 🙂 I’m 3056th from the left looking from the bus ! It has really brought the town together. I’m loving the old guys my age out shopping today in their Saints kit from the 1970s.

  13. OK, finally sitting at a computer (as opposed to a phone) where I can put down some proper thoughts (you be the judge of how proper).

    The defense was fantastic yesterday – all 4 of them. If we are still man-marking corners, I believe it was Busquets who blew the coverage on the goal, but I could be wrong. Pique looks like he’s ready to be one of top centerbacks in the world again. His resume doesn’t lie, but he’s got to maintain the focus. Adriano was great, both going forward and defensively – made a few key saves if I remember correctly. I thought Alves was quite good defensively as well – also made a few key saves. He had some great passes on the other end of the field, but also some WTF crosses. Masch was pretty much flawless yesterday. I still don’t think he should be the starter, but all praise where it’s due. Tend to agree with Kxevin (when he’s not overselling him) that he’s a great 2nd string CB, a great 2nd string DM, and his attitude is an example to others.

    This raises a problem though – I thought Song was also fabulous yesterday. In fact, I think he’s been very good all season. He changed the pace of the game yesterday more than Xavi did. Another 15 minutes, and I would have liked our chances. We might have had that extra 15 minutes if Tata had had the cojones to sub Neymar for Pedro earlier. Pedro was flop of the match without a doubt. Still, I’ve been following the team since 2006 and I don’t think I’ve EVER seen a Barca coach make a non-injury sub before the 60th minute. Is that written on a tablet at Camp Nou somewhere? I don’t get it.

    But back to the original point – unless you rate Masch as a top class STARTING CB (and it seems that few do), you can’t really keep both him and Song. I’m leaning towards Masch, since while I think Song is a slightly better 2nd choice DM, Masch is a much better 2nd choice CB, and he brings more to the team personality wise. Still, MUCH respect to Song.

    Speaking of Song coming in, I think the Busquets change was interesting for a few reasons. I think Song’s substitution was a big improvement. Now, the effects of Busquets’ injury yesterday notwithstanding, if this was the first time you had watched Barca, you might have thought that Song was the much better choice for DM. A world Cup, a Euro Cup, 2 Champions Leagues, 4 League titles, and 2 Copa Del Reys, AS A KEY STARTER, would tend to say otherwise. Still, I think this might be Barca in a microcosm right now. On paper, which Barca starters would you exchange for Atletico players? At the start of the season, most reasonable fans would have said none. Yet here we are. Are we burnt out? Messi was “meh” again, as he has been for the last few months. Still, who in their right mind would trade him? Do they need an extended break? Won’t get it this year with the World Cup. Do they need a fire lit under their backsides? Is there a manager alive who could really do that? On the other hand, Simeone has shown what the right manager at the right time can do, and it’s a pretty freaking big deal. Again, on paper, Atletico should be nowhere near us in terms of quality, but they beat us yesterday at home with their 2 best players out for most of the game (yeah, they beat us, we would be champions otherwise). How would we have done without Messi and Iniesta playing at the Calderon?

    So what’s the answer? Who knows? I guess we’ll have to find out next season. Can’t wait! Visca!

    1. I agree with most of what you say and also wonder why bringing on Xavi at half-time for Pedro with a 1-0 lead wasn’t a consideration in order take back momentum and possession in the game. Is it that halftime substitutions are just not favored at Barca.

      I know Pep had a tendency not to make changes early maybe because it was showing lack of faith in a particular player or a message that the team needed someone new to make things happen rather than believe that the players on the pitch can get the job done. Does anyone have an opinion on why this possible move was not considered or done?

  14. On Players, Tactics, Marketing, and Nostalgia

    I know these points have been argued to death already, but in my mind players, tactics and collective performance are inseparable. If someone makes the case that we should sell Iniesta and buy Progba that is largely a debate about preferred style and tactics.

    I differ from most in that I give less weight to a player’s lifetime achievement, which is sometimes rooted in nostalgia, sentiment, and marketing. I have argued above in that Barca has been in part been a victim of its own success in that we tried to keep an aging team together for one year too long. But instead of replacing these players we may have been not as successful this season. Some fans may say that is the price of being “more than a club” and that stance is fine as long as fans are willing to support and enjoy the team’s performance when it is in decline.

    After a 7-0 drubbing against Bayern last year, the team announced that major changes were in the works, but when it came down to replacing some of these players or even adding new ones the club’s only response was to launch a daring but sleazy operation to land a great player who may or may not become a Ballon d’or winner in a few years. Not bad, but just not enough given our lack of reinforcements in defense and the questionable fitness of the club’s beloved captain.

    What is a problem is that our club, like any multinational business selling a product must also appease the wishes and sentiments of its consumers–the fans. For example, if the club were to sell Neymar for 120 million dollars to Man United, then that might be a brilliant move since we lose a great player but in exchange did a good piece of business. However, from a marketing and image perspective, the move might be terrible because of the club’s loss of the income that comes from having this player on its side and the backlash against the club for going through so much turmoil to bring a player here, and then fans not getting a chance to follow his progress with the side.

    Some of our club’s legends may or may not have been in decline since the 2011-12 season but debates on fans sites that players like Xavi or Messi are “gods” or “not nearly the players they once were” are important because they in their small way in that they help shape what the article “Kxevin” hyperlinks to refers to as an “information bubble”.

    If the collective opinion of the fans is that a player is “untouchable” or “surplus to the side” then that may in some way effect which transfers the club may make in its future. It certainly is not the best way to run a successful team but also allows fans to have their input.

    This is one advantage that a “smaller” club like Atletico has in that it can sell Forlán, Agüero, Falcao, Costa at a nice financial profit and not worry about their fans’ outrage. The move is seen as necessary given the club’s limited means and fans view the collective performance of the team as more important than following the career of any particular player with their side.

  15. Jim, to reply to your response above I’ll do it here instead to make it easier… you said
    “I remember quoting a stat around the end of January, Ciaran, which was at that stage Xavi and Iniesta had only played 41% of matches with both starting. To me the league would have been over Tito style if that hadn’t been the case. Iniesta for me has improved his shooting no end this year because he has discovered he has power in his feet through timing whereas before even his shots had a horrible mistimed feel about them. When played in his proper position he has also looked as likely as anyone to open up defences, imo.”

    I don’t think that we really had any problems prior to the end of January when Xavi & Iniesta hadn’t played much, at least not together. We were top of the table, were winter champions and sitting pretty in three competitions. In the past 10 games, starting with the CL 1/4 final at home to Atletico, Iniesta has only the assist for Neymar in that match and nothing since, playing all but 30 of those 900+ minutes.
    We all know what he is capable of and that return is not good enough from him, in no way shape or form.
    You also mention that his shooting has improved no end but he has only scored 3 goals in all competitions, half the number of last season and none in the CL. Again, not good enough.
    Now, I know that he isn’t a goal scorer but when all the attention is on stopping Messi, others have to step up and he didn’t.

    For me, he has more ability than anyone on the side except Messi & Neymar but hasn’t delivered in comparison to last season.

    And lastly, where you say that he has looked as likely as anyone to open defenses when played in proper position, he has 2 goals and 8 assists in 31 matches starting in midfield, Cesc has 5 goals and 10 assists in 25 matches starting in midfield.
    Again, I’m not saying that Cesc is a better player, but considering that Iniesta is more talented than Cesc I expect more from him and he hasn’t delivered, at least not to my expectations…

    1. I would only add that no one has really delivered in a past couple of weeks. Not Cesc, not Xavi (who didn’t really play in the last two matches), not Messi, Alexis, or Pedro.

    2. Notice I’ve never had a go at any players? Because I realize these are people that have been through a hellluva lot this year AND are individuals who have won everything under the sun. The upcoming WC and the pressures (Neymar native son, Messi savior, Spain Repeat,etc.) + the injuries+the scandals was a recipe for disaster.
      What I do NOT like to stomach is this endless conjecture from people speculating about a coach who at a point in the season, clearly started to drown in the pressure. He took the job at FC Barcelona, not at some club in Argentina. He knew full well what was coming and he eventually folded. He is gone.
      The way people are speaking you’d think he was being tarred and feathered. Move on.
      Oh and just because I don’t have the amount of time some people clearly do to write heaps upon heaps, doesn’t mean I know less or feel less for FCB. The borderline arrogance/ high horse/ holier than thou mentality from some commenters in here makes me laugh. We’re all here on the internet in a blog over a sport, pat yourself on the back if it makes you feel better.

    3. I personally think a lot of your comments are funny, it is just that I am not sure sometimes if you are trying to make a point or are trying to troll. That is making comments to try to sabotage debate or get a rise out of people.

      If you are here to add your perspective with a sense of humor that that is OK with me, but respect the site and the commentators or I can only conclude that your comments have a hidden agenda.

    4. Iniesta is one of those players that you can either think is the most underrated or overrated player in world football because he will never have the stats in goals or assists. Hence the astonishment of Ronaldo when Iniesta was named European player of the year in 2012.

      The only way you can judge The Pale Knight’s performance I think is to use my simplistic stat which since I have not seen before I introduced it here will call the Inamess factor: (goals scores-conceded per 90 minutes a player is on the pitch.

      It may be one of the better ways to judge players who just don’t have a lot of goals or assists without merely saying that you just like and admire a players skills which in Iniesta’s case is undeniable.

    5. But the problem is dribbling past a couple of players 40 yards from goal looks nice and all but unless the move ends up with a goal then it’s pointless.
      Football is a sport won by goals; not possession, or dribbles, or ‘control’ or anything else that some Barca fans claim to be ‘better’ football.

      Iniesta is a world class football, a legend of the game but this season he hasn’t been up to scratch.

    6. I agree but also think that in Iniesta’s case he really needs to have the right players at the top of their game around him. He makes the world class pass that splits defenders but without an in-form Messi or Neymar at the end of it is just like dribbling around the court and parading your skills like the Harlem Globetrotters.

      Put him in the Barca side from 2008-12 and the Spanish national team, then he is one of the top 5 players in the world, move him to a different side like today’s Chelsea and he may just seem a talented but odd duck.

    7. It may just be me Ciaran but off the top of my head I remember points dropped against Levante, Valencia and Real Sociedad were occasions when they didn’t start together. I don’t remember many occasions where they both played and Iniesta stayed in his best position where they let us down.

      regarding Iniesta I wasn’t really talking about goals as such. I think this year he got a genuine belief that he has the ability to shoot well. I remember three games in a row where he hit powerful left foot shots from outside the area. He’s also had a couple in our last two games which hit the bar and were blocked. I think that’s progress for him. Agreed that he still doesn’t get ahead of the forwards on enough occasions.

      I don’t want to get drawn into slagging Cesc as I like him and think he may still have a big part to play at Barca but for me it’s a different and not better team with him instead of either Xavi or Iniesta. As you say it’s the business end of the season that counts and I don’t think many of the team proved particularly effective then. It’ll be interesting to see if VDB feels Cesc has more to offer Spain in Brazil.

  16. I read that Guardian article the other day, and while I agree wholeheartedly, it is worth noting the essentially subjectivity of view points in the first place as well as the ever non-universal nature of objective data collecting. Data is manipulated from the start, even when an attempt is made to be objective.

    All of this very philosophical concerns (and here I betray my degree) have been exacerbated by the internet, which allows for instantaneously and terrain less communication. But technology, and the way it manifests itself, is always an extension of the creators, in this case humans.

    On the plus side, someone else find my another comment community that brings shit like this up.

  17. Big up to barca96 for responding to ooga aga. I wouldn’t have been offended by the original comment myself, but that’s because I “get” the way you express yourself. The first part I agreed with, by the way. The latter part however, which was directed at ooga aga, didn’t make much sense to me. In the future, try not to tell anybody to “not comment here if they don’t like it” because stuff like that might can easily be taken a lot worse than intended.

    We are a community here, and if there’s a nicer place online to talk about our club than BFB, I sure as he’ll haven’t found it. So guys, be careful with sarcasm, ESPECIALLY WHEN REPLYING DIRECTLY TO OTHER COMMENTERS. Like Jim said, nothing good comes from those kind of back and forths. This ain’t, thank you.

    Also, the old man is more than welcome to buy me a beer when he comes to Barcelona. I know you don’t use twitter. Send us a message through the contact page and I’ll give you my email address.

    1. Again, I am glad that everyone has made up and thankfully we have been able to move on, but the phrase “not comment here if they don’t like it” was exactly what the original commenter suggested was his position. The phrase seems a lot more sarcastic and provocative when taken out of context.

      The end result of the whole affair was a lot of useless distraction from a page devoted to a great player and a great game that we were all looking forward to.

    2. Ahem, not officially an old man until July ….. although my knees would tell you otherwise.

  18. I can’t be the only one that wants to see Mascherano as CDM next season.

  19. I am not so worried now that we lost. But what i’m worried to see was how Atleti was able to exert their game plan on us. We had no control over the match in the second half. It was so sad to see our midfield and attack getting overrun by the hard working warriors of Atleti. I really hope we add some steel to the midfield. Bring Mashe to his DM position where is world class (yes he is not Busquests, but Busquests is not Mash either). So of the 5 times we played them, we lost once and drew them 4 times. I dont know what to make out of that. One side of me says it was not that bad considering the form Atleti are showing this season, but the other side warns me that this club, with its romantic ideologies could head to more doom and gloom if not acted swiftly and rationally.

    1. Wow, I think we have brought up similar points that most on this site disagree with:

      1) “he is not Busquests, but Busquests is not Mash either”. It is often irrelevant who the “better player” is except for what each player can bring to a particular match. Cuenca is looked now as a bust, but you might remember in 2011-12 when he was a very important player in certain games with the side.

      2) “this club, with its romantic ideologies could head to more doom and gloom if not acted swiftly and rationally”. I feel similar in that we are sometimes a victim of our previous success and place too much trust in a player’s ability when he may no longer have the same skills.

  20. A story in Sport showed pictures of both Dani Alves & Isaac Cuenca with their middle fingers up yesterday. Very classless from both, neither of whom I want to see at Barca next year.
    Alves did it before the match as he was boarding the team bus and Cuenca as he was leaving the stadium.
    These guys are meant to be role models for millions.

    It’s sad that the fans in the Camp Nou show more class than some of the players.

    1. If it’s both, then I wonder what abuse was being hurled at them. Which makes me think that they didn’t flip the bird at “fans” as much as at assholes with dumb opinions. Two wrongs don’t make one right, but still…

    2. Alves has been incredibly unprofessional at times this season, from being pictured in a nightclub the night before a knockout CL tie v Atletico, calling out fans for not being supportive enough, dissing the clubs decision not to renew Abidal, comments about leaving and now this.
      Altogether I’ll be very happy for him to leave while I am still grateful for everything he gave to the club. Now is definitely the right time to split.

    3. As far as the Abidal issue was concerned, he wasthe only one who spoke out clearly. Even Iniesta hinted that it affected the dressing room. I never heard anything till now abt the night out before the CL tie. I don’t think it’s true. Calling fans to be supportive is a bad thing?

      The only reason why I would sell Alves is that his form has dropped and for a flying fullback his age is a concern. So I would prefer to cash out on him now than later.

  21. quickly..

    – congrats atletico. what a campaign!

    – Messi has certainly regressed. or does he just not care as much anymore?

    I will be extremely livid if we sell alexis sanchez. I’d also say that with him in the starting lineup against Atletico in CL and EE in CDR we would have won both those ties The guy is a beast, works like a dog, been scoring too and has enjoyed the best form in our colors yet hasn’t seen sufficient minutes. I just cant wrap my head around it. Its the only thing that makes me pissed off with Tata Martino.

    – Also these rumours of the Lexus sale makes me laugh and cry at the same time. how the fuck is it that EE can sell Calleejon and Raul fuckin albiol for upwards of 15M, but we are looking at a fee of around 20-25M for Alexis? HOW? someone please explain this shit to me.

    – We sell Eto’o for 19M after a 35+ goal season (after which he kills it for inter) , we sell Ibra for 24M after a 21 goal 13 assist season (after which he kills it for AC milan and PSG) and now we are set to sell Alexis, a 25 year old beast of a player? After he has finally settled in to the club? I dont understand our transfer policy at all. I don’t think I want to, because it is utter crap. Alexis in this market, based on what he is worth and potential should be worth a minimum of 45M Euros.

    Disgusting these rumours make me feel.
    Really hope he stays although it looks like he, much like tata, have had enough of our club and just want out!
    Fuckin Sad

    excuse the language. but i don’t usually write like this. I think its allowed once in a while.

    1. Feel that way when we sell Alexis. Better yet, feel that way IF we sell Alexis. Don’t feel that way just because of a transfer rumor. Or else you won’t make it through the silly season. Thank God we have a World Cup to distract us…

  22. SELL

    Jonathan Dos Santos (5M)
    Ibrahim Afellay (5M)
    Isaac Cuenca (2M)
    Cristian Tello (15M)
    Alexandre Song (20M)
    Sergi Roberto (8M)
    Bojan Krkic (6M)
    Lionel Messi (200M)
    Cesc Fabregas (55M)

    Use 316,000,000 Euros to really sort out the squad for the foreseeable future. Go crazy picking from a basket of Hummelses, Benatias, Laportes, Luis Suarezs, Agueros, Cavanis, Mathieus, Cuadrados, Courtoises, Reuses, Pogbas and the Vidals. You might still have some change left over.

    1. Was with you till the end there but just imagine what would happen if Barca actually decided to sell Messi (250m as a matter of fact I believe) – People would jack up the price of the players they’re selling through the roof. We’d pay through our noses to buy players who weren’t worth it, or worse, have deals fall through and be caught with our pants down when the season started. Sorta like what happened to poor wee Davey.

    2. Interesting point about player inflation should Messi be sold. Aguero’s transfer value would be 100 mil and mine would be 2 mil!

    3. Other things Barca could do with 250 million if we sold Messi:

      1) Build Half a Stadium

      2) Give each Barca fan 3 dollars in dividends.

      3) Buy 100 million Cristiano Ronaldo Bobble head dolls.

    4. At this point, Fabregas is one of our most effective players whether people here agree or not.

      Sergi Roberto should be LOANED.

      Haven’t seen Alex Song put a foot wrong in a Barca shirt except the game he was played as a CB.

      JDS should be rewarded with his loyalty to the club with a sale? Great encouragement for how our other Masia products…smh

      If anyone in football is allowed to laze off for half a season, it has to be Messi after his faithful services (cough 91 goals, 2012, cough). The problem is I don’t think it’s Messi being lazy. His form has just been appalling.

    5. I didn’t want to talk that much about the “unmentionable” before because we still had the season with us. But yes the case of selling Messi is not a bad one, and I do think that it was seriously considered. Some of the points have already been discussed but they include:

      1) The decline in his form and recurrent injuries since the PSG match in the QF of the CL in 2013.

      2) His still unproven ability to link up well with Neymar and the possibility that like in the case of Ibra and Villa he may not like having another superstar who is not a La Masia product and does not necessarily have the particular set of skill that those players are taught.

      3) His perceived “attitude” and “lack of effort” about playing for the side may be a problem though this may because of the looming WC or that he may just feel burned out with all the responsibility that is place on his shoulders including those of millions of fans of a major club and nation, a young child, and dozens of companies that is paid to actively endorse.

      4) Much of his value as a player will also depend on his performance in the WC this year since it will be the defining moment of his career and he will either be treated as the unarguable “best player ever” or the player who was never able to win a WC unlike Pele, Zidane, or Maradona.

      5) What fans think about Messi and what Messi thinks about his future will I think to some extent depend on what happens in Brazil this summer. By not selling Messi at the end of this year we may have made a mistake in not selling a stock that could significantly fall particularly if this player has recurring injuries for the rest of his career.

    6. I say sell him cause we don’t deserve him.

      Every other fans would have fought for our star player but not Barca ones.

      1) His decline in form and attitude is worrying, but that can be addressed properly by a new coach.

      2) So you want to sell him because he does not link well with Neymar! What has Neymar done so far to deserve that kind of special treatment? I would say Messi even with his patchy form were miles ahead of Neymar.

      3) Messi’s attitude in recent form has been a major worry. No denial of that. But then your favorite Neymar was not doing any more great in the field with his efforts. It’s strange – only Messi needs to do all this to satisfy the fans.

      4) Regardless of whether he wins a world cup or not, he will still be considered among the legends. Sorry to disappoint you there. A world cup win will only take one chapter from his detractors playbook.

      I wouldn’t mind selling Messi, but that’s solely because of the reason pointed out by Cryuff in the start of the season. I don’t think Neymar and Messi can link well. A ship cannot have two captains!

    7. We all agree this site is the most civilized and the best for Barca discussion.
      But it is also in this site, intelligent commenters want Messi to be sold, unbelievable right?
      The player with the most goals in the last season, second most assists, and also with the most chances created last season (source barcastuff; second seems Cesc), inspite of missing 2 months of play, is the one who is to be blamed for the poor season and has to be sold????
      May be it is because we all expect inhuman standards from him. I am not sure if he is carrying an injury and covering/protecting it up for WC.

      But I am sure about one thing though. He is the the most feared player in our team, and even with this crap form have 3 or 4 marking him always, and have a coach like Simeone make special defensive drills to stop his runs. Simeone had special drills for his players on how to double up on Messi’s runs.

      I would have the same thoughts for Cesc too, who is a real asset for us. I really hope we wont sell Cesc.

    8. 20M for song? Which idiot will pay that?

      Tello – 15M!
      JDS – 5M?

      So you have no problem in selling a 40+ goal a season guy, but have a problem with selling Alexis! And who is to take over from Messi – cavani, saurezm Aguero !!!!

  23. Is there an article named ‘How to survive a transfer window’ around ?
    A link would be appreciated, thanks.

    1. How to Survive a Transfer Window:

      1) Buy a tent, back pack, canteen, and survival kit.

      2) Go to a secluded place in the mountains of Tibet.

      3) Hope no tourist comes along with a newspaper.

  24. I saw a tweet that Enrique and Xavi don’t get on and, for that reason, Xavi might head to the middle east next season, etc etc. Anyone care to comment. If true, that is very interesting.

    1. Sorry to disappoint you.
      But never gonna happen.
      Twitter is not exactly a trustworthy place.

      You could waste your time believing such flights of fantasies Or you could move on,
      It’s entirely your choice.

    2. Xavi moving to middle east.
      Not everything Rafa hernandez says is truth.

  25. A strange thought – may be the goal early helped Atleti. They looked a bit frightened till that point, the fear of losing. Sanchez’s brilliant volley took that off.

  26. Just to address the Messi sale thing. Four points I’ll make…
    1 He is the best player in history and only more should be hitting his peak
    2 He is about to sign a new contract
    3 With FFP rules no team in the world can buy him as they wouldn’t be able to do it within their budget
    4 There is no one in the world capable of replacing him

  27. Firstly, Everyone Relax.
    I should have expected this kind of backlash as soon as El Messiah’s name found its way in to the sale list.
    FotobiRajesh goes on to make personal attacks and questions intelligence and what not. It seems that one cannot say anything here without a lengthy justification of where the thought is coming from. Unfortunately many of us do not have that kind of time to make the rest ‘understand’ everything. Sometimes, you have an idea, an idea you think is good for the future of the team and you simply express it and put it out there.

    Do you think I am stupid? I am well aware of his statistics and his importance to the team and this is Messi we are talking about, possibly the greatest player ever. And all things considered, when I explore an idea of a future without him, I’d have thought that people would have been curious to know why, instead of making remarks and going crazy about it.

    1. You had the guts to raise a question that many disagree with. Whether you turn out to be right or not no one knows. It will be documented here that even a fan blog was objective enough to examine all the difficult choices we must make in order to be at our best in the future.

    2. Friend, I read your comments here for many years.
      And it is not just you who have spoken about selling Messi.
      I havent mentioned about any body, but only talked about the general intelligence of the commenters here.

      If you felt it like a personal attack, then apologies, I never intended to , least not to you, to any one.

      May be my English is not good enough for this site or something that it was taken as a personal attack. I will keep away, politely, as I cant be part of this kind of personal attack talks. Sorry to offend you, even I didnt want to offend anybody intentionally.

  28. I can’t imagine what the climate will be like in Madrid. Real and Atleti fans celebrating together before killing each other.

    Does anyone know whether Real fans came out in numbers wearing their Merengue shirts to celebrate with Athleti fans for beating Barca?

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