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.

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Written by:

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. Dar_vincy
    May 17, 2014

    As today signals the grand finale of our otherwise topsy-turvy season, I would like to seize this moment to specially acknowledge the assiduous efforts and inputs put in by the mods- Kxevin especially for his sustained presence and being an incurably serial distributor of incessant optimism. Big ups, man.
    Others Like, Blitzen, Euleri?, Soccermom, NZM (from TB, right?), among other names memory fails me to mention for their brilliant and overly virtuosic input. To my fellow commenters, the quality of comments and arguments- never mind our knee-jerk reactions- read here are unrivalled anywhere, I make bold to say.
    Whatever happens today, there is always the accompaniedly comforting feeling that Madrid won’t be winning the treble.
    Visca Barca!

    • Messiah10
      May 17, 2014

      Well said Dar_vincy. I 2nd that. Especially Kxevin, who has pumped out volumes of work over the last few months. This space would be dead without him. Thank you Kxevin!

      • Dar_vincy
        May 18, 2014

        Agree with you, Messiah10.
        They deserve being commended for their selfless efforts.

  2. teddy
    May 17, 2014

    Lineup confirmed:

    Pinto, Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Adriano, Sergio, Cesc, Iniesta, Alexis, Pedro & Messi

  3. ciaran
    May 17, 2014

    Brave line up, I like it.
    More impressive is that we actually have a really good bench today, Bartra, Alba, Song, Xavi, Tello and Neymar.

    I’m excited

  4. Kevin, please do not worry about the comments. This site is way ahead of other forums in terms of quality and decency.
    Different people react differently to a failure, also based on their moment’s mental situation which could have been influenced by lots of factors, other than football. Inspite of that, mostly this is an excellent place. There is a minimum standard of decency here always. You all should be proud.

    Finally it seems Tata has a different tactical plan, with Xavi on the bench. He must be hoping Atleti to attack in the first 20 minutes, during which the directness of Cesc would help.

    For some reason, I am not tensed at all.
    Visca Barca.

  5. georgjorge
    May 17, 2014

    As Real doesn’t have a chance at the Liga, only good results will be possible ;).

    Seriously: I would love to win the Liga this year, but my greatest wish is for Barca to really give Atlético a run for their money today. I want Xavi to attempt risky passes, Messi to run as if for his life, Iniesta to find his shooting boots again, Pinto to make the saves of his career etc. etc. As long as they play as well as we know they can, I’ll be proud of this team no matter what.

    Can’t wait for it to start!

  6. ooga aga
    May 17, 2014

    Hey, I just popped back in to say two things.

    1. re: my last comment. This for me is still the best English-language place to be a Barca fan on the web. Still, I think there is some stuff that gets said that really rubs me the wrong way. It’s a personal decision to take a break. Maybe I should have kept it to myself.

    2. A few threads ago I made a comment about new fans. I want to be clear that I think new fans are great. It is new fans with a sense of entitlement, and no sense of perspective, that rub me the wrong way, especially when this space get clogged up by their comments. Again, a personal thing, completely subjective. Again, I should have kept it to myself. I think I am too sensitive, and, as I said before, this season has been really intense, and I let it get to me. But despite that, I always hoped, check the record. 🙂

    One more thing. Kxevin’s recent post about being “all in” was beautiful, because it can also be a commentary on how to live life. Never give up hope.

    And if today we aren’t crowned champions (I’m just saying this to make a point, because we WILL win today), it is not then vindicating a position of hopelessness. You always have to believe, period.

    Otherwise, what’s the point?

    Thank you Kxevin and all others that make this place enjoyable.

    Talk to you all on the other side of an historic win.

    • Inamess
      May 17, 2014

      Ooga aga: the fans and the club are reacting to a difficult situation and sometimes all of us get angry and make ill advised remarks.

      I have always liked your comments and hope you stick around! Any one who loves our team and our players is a friend of mine!

    • barca96
      May 17, 2014

      Good to see you, at least I can offer my apologies directly if I have offended you.

      Look, I talk here like how I talk in real life to friends which I expect us to be after 4-5 years communicating. Of course I did not agree with you but it was just a talk. I mentioned your name because I was talking to you. I talked to you because it was a reply to you. I don’t see how else I could’ve done it differently.

      I wish I know how to write it differently to make it look like a softer tone when in my mind I type like how I would talk at a normal pace.

    • PrinceYuvi
      May 17, 2014

      If there is any consolation, I try to keep my number of comments low.
      But sometimes, the quality of comments make me say ‘WHOA !’ & I end up leaving a compliment.
      Merely appreciating 🙂

  7. Inamess
    May 17, 2014

    Checked in on some quality Real sites. As expected most of the comments are about our game. The one player they really fear on our team at this point: Neymar.

    I don’t look at this game today as an end of an era, but the beginning of a new one!

    Outsiders looking on to see the end of a “once great team” are going to be very surprised.

  8. ciaran
    May 17, 2014

    Good start to the match. I feel for Costa, a reoccurrence of his hamstring problems and it’s the second or third time they brought him back too early.
    Arda now has taken a knock so it’s going to be difficult for them

  9. ciaran
    May 17, 2014

    One of the best finishes I have ever seen

  10. andrecito
    May 17, 2014

    like the guy on the tv just said.. QUE BOMBASO!!!

  11. G6O
    May 17, 2014

    That goal was so similar to the one Diego scored in the CL game – same impossible trajectory. Payback 🙂

  12. ciaran
    May 17, 2014

    One of their biggest threats gets a free header… what other outcome do we expect.

  13. ciaran
    May 17, 2014

    Busquets has a problem. The referee certainly has been lenient; especially when it comes to fouls on us.
    No one whatsoever picked up Godin for the goal. I don’t know if some one was meant to be marking him and just didn’t or was it a tactical error but it wasn’t pretty.

  14. ciaran
    May 17, 2014

    Congratulations to Atletico. We were unable to beat them when it counted and they won the league fairly.
    We played well enough today but failed to create enough chances.
    It will be the last match for a number of our players and thanks to them for their work. I look forward to the next season.

  15. stefan2k
    May 17, 2014

    Congrats Atletico :/ the better team won

  16. Inamess
    May 17, 2014

    Congratulations to a great team.
    Best of luck next week!

  17. georgjorge
    May 17, 2014

    It was a good match – not too many chances, but a very spirited display and some very nice combinations (a bit too often broken up by dirty fouls that weren’t called). We didn’t win anything this year, but if next year continues in the same spirit as this match I’ll be satisfied.

  18. Messiah10
    May 17, 2014

    Well, Hats off to Atletico. By far the better team throughout the season. We definitely didn’t deserve it. The first 10 minutes of the 2nd half cost of the championship. Came out absolutely flat & were beaten to every 50-50 ball. If Tata can’t inspire them at halftime, up 1-nil, with the Championship at stake, I don’t know when he can. Time for a coach who can inspire and won’t give up on the season 3/4 of the way through. Time for our board to step up & make some signings that the team needs. Xavi needs to have a good look in the mirror too. If indeed he was behind the regression back to his hallowed “tiki-taka” then he should go. I have faith in the core of the team. Fantastic players & they can still win everything. They need a motivator. An inspirational figure & a leader. We need a leader on the field as well. I thought Pique could grow into one, but I’m not so sure now. Congrats Atletico Madrid. Visca Barca!

    • Rivaldo
      May 17, 2014

      Come on dude. Tata bashing at this point? Really? Some off it please; and that’s putting it nicely.

      “If Tata cant inspire them at halftime….”? No seriously you didn’t just say that. If the players cant be up at halftime in a match like this with those fans behind them and all to play for THEY need to go. Simple. And, btw, I don’t think that’s what it was.

      P.S. Players of the Barca teams of the future; this is the intensity we want from you every game. It can be done … puyol played every game is entire Barca life like this and Atletico did it this season. Thank you. It would be much appreciated.

      • Rivaldo
        May 17, 2014

        *Come off…

        and yes I see your small comment on Tata as “bashful”

      • Inamess
        May 17, 2014

        I agree. This is the same team that won 4-0 against Milan at camp Nou last year with Jordi Roura as coach.

  19. Messiah10
    May 17, 2014

    I just heard the Spanish FA President did not make the game? Know one knows where he is? Atletico don’t get to lift the trophy? WTF? The Spanish FA is the biggest joke of a federation I’ve ever known. From dates unannounced for months to the President not attending the Championship game of the top league he resides over. Absolute disgrace!

  20. May 17, 2014

    Congrats Atleti! Visca el Barça. Thank you for the season, you competed until the very end.

  21. Jamal102
    May 17, 2014

    Hey I’m I just signed up for this site but I have been a regular visitor since the Euler days..

    I just wanted to say congratulations to Atletico.
    Also, I was wondering if anyone was also proud of the immense impact of a newly, returned Pique. For me, this is just further proof for the need of good defensive signings.

    Secondly, I lament the fact that we could not close out the game vs Getafe. It would have met an entirely different scenario for us, as well as Atletico coming into this final game.

    • Inamess
      May 17, 2014

      Still would have gotten second place. 90-89

    • barca96
      May 17, 2014

      Eventhough he didn’t have the captain armband around his biceps, but he was the captain today. I’m really looking forward to him stepping it up next season.

  22. Valdemar II
    May 17, 2014

    Everyone gave it a 100% in this last game, glad to see. Grats Atleti.

  23. Congratulations to Atletico and especially to Simeone. They wanted it more than us. Best team of this season.

    Please finish this form with CL, please Atletico.

    What a goal by Alexis, almost like a payback for Deigo goal.

    • It will be a sin, if I didnt give credit to my Barca. We tried well, and probably this was our best try against Atletico in all the 6 matches this season. Thank you team.

      • barca96
        May 17, 2014

        Alexis’ goal was amazing. It was impossible to go in but he did it. Just raw power. He will not score a better goal in his life. Diego’s goal was nice but there are plenty of those. Alexis’ was one in a million.

        • barca96
          May 17, 2014

          I wonder what Ray Hudson would’ve said.

  24. norden
    May 17, 2014

    Well done both teams. Congratulations to Atletico.

  25. Inamess
    May 17, 2014

    Looking forward to a great La Liga next season.

    Three great teams.
    Six Classicos.
    A reinvigorated Barca side.

    Thanks to a coach who tried his best; things for whatever reason did not work out.

  26. Peter
    May 17, 2014

    Fuck Atletico. Fuck them. May they not win a trophy for the next fifty years. Fuck those diving thugs. Yeah, fuck those diving thugs. I don’t care about the “deserving”. Atletico depend on the rest of the teams to play them like any other team. If there was any team deserving to win, it was Barcelona. If there was one team that suffered this season, it was Barcelona. But fate plays no dice. One team deserved to win this league, and it was not Atletico. Atletico were massacred by Osasuna, and they were stopped by Malaga, the same teams which Barcelona won against.

    Atletico will remember this season as the miracle come through. Barcelona will remember it as the season of everything come wrong. Forgive me for writing under the influence, I’m just too tired of other clubs taking advantage of Barcelona’s weakness. Like I said, may Atletico not win a trophy for the next twenty years, because their fans are thugs, their coach and players are thugs. Fuck them, and I will say it out loud, even though it will mean my firing(my boss is an Atletico fan).They did not deserve it, with their meek performance against Real Madrid. They did not deserve it for their performance against Osasuna or Malaga. They depend on teams not playing them as they would Barcelona.And that means they won’t win. Serves them right, the cheating thugs.

    I am drunk, so don’t pay attention to my maledictions: but may Atletico not win for the next forty years, for they cherished he who would not be named to win this one. Fuck the bastards.

    And fuck Diego Simeone. Cholo, burn in hell.

    • Jamal102
      May 17, 2014

      “I’m just too tired of other clubs taking advantage of Barcelona’s weakness”

      That’s what football is though…using your resources to exploit another team’s weaknesses.

      • Víctor
        May 17, 2014

        Football and every other sport out there involves that… in fact, not just sports…

        And, our team, Barcelona do also take advantage of other teams’ weaknesses… as it should be.

    • barca96
      May 17, 2014

      Sorry Peter but this is probably the first time I disagreed with you. They didn’t dive more than our players did. And I do think that they deserved it more than we did even if we won the league. Look at their budget and their players. We are much more superior in those department. But they have a better plan and worked harder. It’s just magical what they’ve achieved. Something you can tell your grandkids about in the future.

      Btw, if you really dpn’t want them to win any trophy for the next 50 years, then it would just be between us and Madrid. I’d rather Atletico win a trophy than Madrid other than us. Atletico is the lesser evil 🙂

      • Inamess
        May 17, 2014

        Brilliant bibacious guy is just letting of steam.
        Just ignore the post, Kxevin will take it down.
        Peter, just sober up for tomorrow and be nice to your boss.

        Next year things will be different if we play our cards right!

        • barca96
          May 17, 2014


          But tomorrow is a Sunday so he’ll have another day of sobering up to do 🙂 Unless he’s in the Middle East but he’s not. He’s from Spain actually.

    • Víctor
      May 17, 2014

      Yes, Atletico had bad results against Malaga, Osasuna, Levante… and Barcelona had bad results against Granada, Elche, Valladolidad…

      The result: through La Liga they won one more game than Barcelona. Head to head: we were equal… two draws.

      Congrats to them… and I hope that they defeat EE in the Champions League.

    • If barca expect every team to play attacking football against them, then why can’t Atletico wish the same? What they have achieved is enormous. They lost two of their best players, still they fought.

    • BA
      May 18, 2014

      Atleti won the league, fair and square, despite having 1/3rd the wage bill and a quarter the revenue. despite having a less talented squad, they won through the kind of determination and organization that we have been sorely missing. congratulations to Atleti, and to Simeone who is easily European coach of the year.

      our fans in the Camp Nou rightly recognized their achiement and
      gave them an ovation. that you would not be similarly gracious is a blight on their gesture. show some humility; the best team won the last game and the season. get used to it, it’s down in history now.

  27. wind1795
    May 17, 2014

    Plz calm down. The alcohol just make you more depressed.

  28. wind1795
    May 17, 2014

    Try to drag yourself out of the picture and you will think clearer.
    1st, it may not be as bleak as you think..Think about what happen to VDB who take RM to its prime and his ultimate fate in his relationship with RM and the image done to RM. Try to connect this with Barca. not the insider, so cannot judge the actual intention of Barca board members.
    But at least the damage can be limited. I’m not sure whether they change the coach/mananger before/after this. But now, if Celta news is true, then well,~ to that GK’s previous coach hint. If they are true, pretty sure the long awaited news of some who are concerned will be out very very soon..

  29. andrecito
    May 17, 2014

    i saw that leo threw up again at the beginning of the wondering if he has some serious issue that isnt being properly addressed..with all to play for, in front of 98,500 screaming shot on goal today, and that was the free kick into the wall..just doesnt seem right..almost no off the ball movement, little to no diagonal runs behind the last ten minutes, with the ball at his feet in the final third..sideways passes without a hint of urgency…like he knew he wasnt going to produce anything…

    i am not trying to attack messi..but something mentally or physically doesnt seem right with him..if argentina doesnt win the world cup i can certainly see this becoming a greater problem.. for me figuring out how messi and neymar are going to play together from here on out is as great of an issue as any that we have going forward.

  30. wind1795
    May 17, 2014

    and the CB issue, this is no excuse for the transfer department.
    This is one of the problem and today you saw it when the problem is not treated, no need to splash tons of cash/cracy cheques, just the appropriate player who is young, able to fit the system, willingness to adjust. In defending corners especially most situation the most dangerous player is the one who rushes to attack the ball towards the goal from an impulsive and energetic burst. So no matter man-marking/zonal/mixed, the most important is to observe, think quickly and head the ball at least out of danger far away or to an (open) teammate. And this responsiblity usually to the CB or the one who is closed to ball. Which ever system you use, the aim is just one. get it back and attack. Mascherano often plays with what he have, but genetics can’be changed. The transfer department are not quite good at scouting defenders/too insist on ‘big-name’ defenders, who knows?
    Coz small details does matter in extremely tight games. If you don’t fix it, you pay for it

  31. wind1795
    May 17, 2014

    how they train in defending corners is another question, but at least fix the most glaring problem

  32. wind1795
    May 17, 2014

    though not able to often observe how they play, but another consistent problem. Fix it or pay it..Use the whole width of the pitch.
    Not meaning play ‘kick and run ‘ as some of you would suggest. Not degrading these teams, they have the freedom to choose how they play as long as no dirty tackles and deliberate time-wasting are performed.

    The ‘deeper’ you use the pitch, whenever you decide to cross or cut-back(coz higher/lower pass to teammate you can decide base on the player’s attributes. That’s obvious, not discussing it again..
    The effect is better closer to goal when the attacker shot. That’s a trade-off, when you pack ‘sticks’ madly in the middle, there is space in the lateral, you do the vice versa, the other can counter it doing in another way..[to and fro..]

  33. barca96
    May 17, 2014

    Hummels scored but wasn’t counted. Unbelievable. He’s been great so far. Playing LCB.

    Lewandowski is a beast! How can such a big guy be so agile? The best, if not one of the best big players I’ve ever seen.

  34. wind1795
    May 17, 2014

    Thought they would have learned from the Getafe match, but they didn’t learned enough or forgot.
    The goals they got, look at the position where the cross/cut-back/assist is, they are so similar. Because the opponent likes to cede that space to them, use them. If opponents follow suit, then Barca players can return to what they ‘like most’. If you care about your fitness and willing to run, this is feasible. Do it consistenently if these space are ceded consistently, but if you don’t use them, you may feel regret..
    Not only losts are reviewed, but useful ‘hints’ in every match should be reviewed properly and practiced and improved based on that besides other stuff..

    Hard work is highly appreciated, but the correct method is also important. That is not from me, but from many others,e.g. Lebron has said ~ things before Heat first won their Champ.

  35. wind1795
    May 17, 2014

    Another, the space btw the 3 packs too large, move as a team both in attack and defense(including the transition in both phase). Can’t be so timid while leaving big gaps inviting opponents to attack facing 2 CBs. Better coordination and some ‘reminders’ during match would improve the offside trap success rate.
    Agree with someone have said, not enough dynamic[esp diagnonal] movement, running to receive the pass is better than standing to receive the pass, that introduce the time and space to create surprise goal scoring chances

  36. scribblez
    May 17, 2014

    Bartomeu came out in the press after the game said “they have been working on a new project for weeks now. There will be profound changes”.

    This is our board. Working on new project when there is a title to play for. Also instead of supporting the players and staff, this kind of comment.

    Very poor choice of words.

    Anyways, first half was brilliant from Barcelona. Tactics worked perfectly. Second half more like the previous games.

    But thank you to the players for fighting till the end. Thank you to Tata for taking care of the team and for being a honest and honorable person in midst of a crap environment. I wish he was treated better and wish him all the best.

    Visca Barca!

  37. Inamess
    May 17, 2014

    Some observations going forward:

    1) All of our team is world class, but at this point they can not win consistently as a unit. We are too small and not athletic enough.

    2) The team has to either build around Fabregas or he should try to get that opportunity back in the EPL. To me he is an “all or none player” for our side and should no longer be included because he is a good player playing in a system that presently is not suited to his strengths. Also, whether Cesc stays or not we should have an stronger, more athletic midfield option.

    3) We no longer have the “impact” that can be a leader or a dominating physical presence on the field. I would like to give Luiz a shot as he seems like we could be better with someone like him on the pitch. That way either Pique or Luiz could be played forward in parts of games to join the attack.

  38. ciaran
    May 17, 2014

    Tata confirmed his exit, saying something along the lines of:
    an agreement with the club to stop being coach.
    He went on to apologize for not being able to deliver trophies.
    Bartomeu went on to say that there will be profound changes

  39. wind1795
    May 17, 2014

    If the coach have to decided to play more aggressively in previous games, the result may change. His mentality changes at least for today, but too late..What is certain they give all out, wish their injuries can be healed quickly. But they should think and practice with better method coz hard work with better method is priceless.

  40. wind1795
    May 17, 2014

    Injuries did have a effect on the chemistry between players. Eto’o and Ronaldinho used to train a lot together in their prime. The chemistry between the 2 players can and have to be improved, only time can tell..

  41. wind1795
    May 17, 2014

    They are starting the project?!! But an unfinished project/experiment left by Guardiola is still being buried underground..Though he did not succeed in his last campaign in Barca, they are worth a look. Frankly, don’ think teams will play out. More and more teams are playing more and more defensively which is a good ‘sleeping pill’ for certain people. You can observe this especially after the previous World cup games.In a league, you can invite them to attack and counter-attack. But don’t think that will happen as some teams are willing to take 1 point away. Too many draws= loss. Teams usually change in 2 different ways also considering balance, you can mention them to yourself in your minds..[That shape might even be ‘crazier’ than their shape in the last mins of the game or that infamous Chelsea game[Torres goal]And Sorry to mention thisdon’t laugh. Isn’t barca DNA is mostly attacking? Though the 2 phase have to be done as a unit..The thing they have to learn from Athletico is especially how they defend as a unit when they have to , not everything from them
    But previous/pioneer’s work advantage can be taken and this cycle repeats, sounds very familiar..IF the manager and players are willing to learn, collaborate and take estimated risks. People are more concerned on the [improved]method than rather who invented it if the method do more good than harm..

  42. Inamess
    May 17, 2014

    To me players and tactics are inseparable. Teams play better with certain players on the pitch in certain games. Assuming Alves leaves and we still have to get rid of one other major player to get another in his place. Who would you also choose to sell?:

    fabregas(40 mil)
    sanchez (25 mil)
    Pedro (20 mil)
    Masch (15 mil)

    • ciaran
      May 17, 2014

      Pedro has been terrible, absolutely terrible in the second half of the season. 1 goal in the last 10 games without a single assist. In every big match this season (v Atletico, v Real, v Man City) he didn’t get a single goal or assist.

      I’d sell him for €15million if we got it. He takes up space and minutes that we could get a world class striker to fill.

      • Inamess
        May 17, 2014

        I agree. I think the problem with our club over the last two years is that certain players from the Guardiola era are still viewed as the players they were 2 or 3 years before.

        I know that this is why so many were offended before, but I think we want players who are improving or at least not declining. I almost wish we could judge a player solely on the basis of their performance over last 1 or at most 2 seasons. Even our core La Masia players should be examined using this perspective.

        Other than Alexis I can’t think of another player who improved this year whether because of circumstances (e.g. injuries) under their control or not.

        • ciaran
          May 17, 2014

          Bartra did, and Alex Song did too but that’s not a popular opinion.

          Xavi & Iniesta were the biggest disappointments for me. Last year I suggested selling Pedro but it was never likely to happen so I’m not surprised by his form but Xavi and Iniesta didn’t control the most important games this season and failed to motivate themselves for the small games too.
          Pointing out poor performances of Iniesta is the equivalent of telling someone that there’s no god because he is worshipped but I expect a lot more for him. He has incredible talent but wins matches all too infrequently.
          I’m not saying for a second that he should be sold or anything but I certainly hope that for next season we get a different Iniesta.

          • Jim
            May 18, 2014

            First of all, my attention was elsewhere yesterday as St Johnstone lifted their first trophy in 130 years ! What a game and what a celebration (I saw groups of elderly gentlemen following the markings in the middle of the roads just to make sure they were going the right way home !)so I sat down to watch our game about 1.30am this morning and I confess the edge was off any disappointment by then.

            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.

            Yesterday again we saw that the answer isn’t to just get the ball up the park quicker. Other than a one in a million effort we would have failed to score again with Xavi sitting on the bench so again I say it’s not about the mids , other than they do need to get ahead of the forwards more but you’re not going to get better passers forward than we have in our current midfield and you’re gonna face more packed defences next year because the lesson from our top competition this year is that it works.

            I agree with the comment above about moving in packs. We get caught again and again with gaps between defence and midfield and that’s down to a lack of a leader in the back four. However, it doesn’t take much to sort this and Tata has done a fair bit this year to address it by trying to keep one of the FBs at home all the time. It’s just that we need to stop losing avoidable goals, easier said than done but a lot of that will hopefully be sorted by the new CB. I know we’re being nice but I’m gonna say you’ll never get a better example than the goal we lost yesterday. Completely avoidable on two counts: first with just a bit of positional sense and a close look will tell you who I’m talking about here, and secondly with the much derided ( here but nowhere else) of putting one of our shorties on a post at corners. Look at the space Pinto had to cover to get to the header – was never happening.

            Have to say I’ve found Tata a completely class act, I would still probably have given him another year – how long will it take Enrique to come to terms with the squad, work out answers to all our debates this year and then come up with a solution to ultra defence teams? However, there are probably enough question marks over Tata’s performance to make it a close call so I can’t argue. Personally, if the board knew he wasn’t staying I’m glad they’ve already started on plans for next season.

            Anyhow, another European campaign ( of about two matches if we’re lucky) coming up for the Saints next year. Never thought I’d live to see what happened yesterday ( this year seems to have turned me into an emotional wreck) so that gives a bit of perspective that enables me to say well done to the players and Tata for trying and roll on next year.

            I retire in the summer so I’m gonna be making a good few more Barca games next season. Thinking of the good lady and myself hiring an apartment for three/ four weeks near the Bouqueria over the winter and sampling some of the produce I’ve been drooling over on previous visits! Hope also to get a chance to share a drink with some of the regulars from the city at some point. So life’s not all bad 🙂

  43. ciaran
    May 17, 2014

    So the season didn’t go as planned.
    There were many ups and downs and unfortunately, in the biggest matches there were more downs than ups. We managed a single trophy, the Spanish SuperCup but missed out on the big three.
    Off the pitch we dealt with a barrage of issues, from scandals to the passing of Tito and were still in with a chance on the last day of the season.

    There’s a lot to admire about this bunch of players; and coaches for that matter. We have tried impose our playing style on every single one of our opponents this season; forcing practically all of them to change their game plan to stop us. We have had many good performances and some great results. Some of our players had their best season with us, Neymar had his first and hopefully next season will be even better for him.
    Other players will have played their last game for us and will move on; including Puyol & Valdes who I would consider to be two of our best ever players. Others who fall into this category will be leaving for other reasons, deemed not good enough for this club and undoubtedly will have their choice of Europe’s other big teams.

    For the past decade we have been the best team in the world off and on. The core of this squad has stayed intact for the most part but as football has evolved our own evolution is about to begin.
    Our flaws seem to be more visible after a defeat and we’ve had a few to digest this season, especially in the second half of it. It is predictable how we have concedes goals; set pieces, crosses and break-aways. It has also become predictable in how we try to score goals, and teams with the resources have been able to stifle our attack due to similar traits to what hurts us at the other end of the field… physicality and fitness.

    So where to now?
    Well Tata has said goodbye and, along with a number of players, should be able to leave with his head held high. By all accounts, Luis Enrique will be named shortly as the man with the task of the next phase of our evolution. Lucho likes very fit and physical teams and loves to attack.
    As a former captain & legend he has my full backing. I loved him as a player and what he has done with Barca B & Celta show his credentials. His time at Roma may not have been the success that he would have hoped but his evolution of Roma has been continued and on his foundations the current Roma are a better team for having been managed by him.

    My hopes are simple;
    1. That the manager is announced over the next couple of days and given full backing. If this is Lucho then I expect him to get this.
    2. ter Stegen’s announcement is followed up by a keeper with similar skills. My biggest issue with Pinto is that he has none of the same abilities as Valdes had so when he plays, our defenders have to change their style of play. Links with Caballero, Navas and any other shot stopper are not to my liking. Pepe Reina might not be the best keeper in the world but he is right up there with any of the others linked and certainly better with his feet than any of them.
    3. Cesc Fabregas & Alexis Sanchez to get new contracts, both of them deserve it and neither of them deserve to have to live with the speculation that surrounds them every summer.
    4. We sign a genuinely world class centreback who can rotate with Bartra & Pique to give us better balance in our squad. Benatia, Hummels & Garay are my favourites for the position but I understand that not everything goes to plan.
    5. We do our transfer business early, whether sales or purchases so that when preseason starts we have a full squad except for those who go far in the world cup.
    6. The players that cannot contribute in our future are given permanent transfers, not loaning players who will never improve like we’ve done with the likes of Bojan & Cuenca previously.
    7. That we add physicality to our midfield and aggression to our frontline. We have too many nice footballers and very little tactical diversity.
    8. Lastly, that the decisions we make cover the needs of the next two summers. I still assume that the ban will happen so we need to think of the future which involves decisions on the likes of Xavi & Dani. I’m not saying that we have to sell them but we should be buying replacements even if they are for the following summer.

    • BA
      May 18, 2014

      it went exactly as i planned: i predicted defensive inadequacy, an unprepare manager, a disjointed team and no titles. i wish the course of events would have proved me wrong, but the great hope is that we finally fix matters this summer.

  44. Rivaldo
    May 17, 2014

    Bartra has won my heart this season…. so much of him reminds me of Puyol and I’m not exaggerating. I’ve seen him jump all over an attacker risking his body and landing a lil awkwardly to win a header: his all out approach. Seeing him cry today broke me man

  45. Laurentiu88
    May 17, 2014

    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’…

    • Inamess
      May 17, 2014

      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!

      • agar2515
        May 17, 2014

        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.

  46. andrecito
    May 17, 2014

    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.

    • Dreamteam
      May 17, 2014

      True, but he needed to go. Man isn’t a martyr.

        • Dreamteam
          May 17, 2014

          Sure. He’s gone have fun lighting a vigil.

          • Jim
            May 18, 2014

            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.

  47. andrecito
    May 17, 2014

    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..

  48. andrecito
    May 17, 2014

    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..

  49. andrecito
    May 17, 2014

    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…


    • Inamess
      May 17, 2014

      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.

  50. andrecito
    May 17, 2014

    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.

  51. Inamess
    May 17, 2014

    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!

  52. socrates
    May 17, 2014

    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!

  53. KEVINO17
    May 18, 2014

    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.

    • Inamess
      May 18, 2014

      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.

      • Jim
        May 18, 2014

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

        • Inamess
          May 18, 2014

          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?


          • Inamess
            May 18, 2014

            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 🙂

          • Jim
            May 18, 2014

            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. 🙂

          • Jim
            May 18, 2014

            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.

  54. Inamess
    May 18, 2014

    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.

    • agar2515
      May 18, 2014

      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.

  55. 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.

    • Inamess
      May 18, 2014

      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.

      • Dreamteam
        May 18, 2014

        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.

        • May 18, 2014

          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.

          • Inamess
            May 18, 2014

            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. 🙂

      • Dreamteam
        May 18, 2014

        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.

        • Inamess
          May 18, 2014

          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.

    • May 18, 2014

      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.”

      • 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.

  56. May 18, 2014

    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.

  57. PrinceYuvi
    May 18, 2014

    130 years ? That’s handfull 🙂 Congrats jim.

    • Jim
      May 18, 2014

      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.

  58. bhed
    May 18, 2014

    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!

    • Inamess
      May 18, 2014

      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?

  59. Inamess
    May 18, 2014

    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.

  60. ciaran
    May 18, 2014

    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…

    • 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.

    • Dreamteam
      May 18, 2014

      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.

      • ciaran
        May 18, 2014

        I’m guessing that this wasn’t meant as a reply to me.

      • Inamess
        May 18, 2014

        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.

    • Inamess
      May 18, 2014

      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.

      • ciaran
        May 18, 2014

        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.

        • Inamess
          May 18, 2014

          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.

    • Jim
      May 18, 2014

      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.

  61. 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.

  62. May 18, 2014

    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.

    • May 18, 2014

      Oops. I meant to write “apologizing”‘ not “responding”.

      • May 18, 2014

        Kindly ignore other typos as well. I blame technology. Damn phone…

    • Inamess
      May 18, 2014

      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.

    • Jim
      May 18, 2014

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

  63. Jamal102
    May 18, 2014

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

  64. 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.

    • Inamess
      May 18, 2014

      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.

  65. ciaran
    May 18, 2014

    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.

    • May 18, 2014

      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…

      • ciaran
        May 18, 2014

        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.

        • 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.

  66. 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.

    • May 18, 2014

      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…

  67. 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.

    • Jafri
      May 18, 2014

      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.

      • Inamess
        May 18, 2014

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

      • Inamess
        May 18, 2014

        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.

    • Jamal102
      May 18, 2014

      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.

    • Inamess
      May 18, 2014

      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.

      • 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!

        • 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.

    • 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 !!!!

      • Which Idiot will pay that?
        The same kind of idiots who pay 35M for Andy Caroll and 12M for Raul Albiol.

  68. PrinceYuvi
    May 18, 2014

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

    • Inamess
      May 18, 2014

      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.

      • PrinceYuvi
        May 19, 2014

        Thanks : ) Tibet is a plateau though

  69. KEVINO17
    May 18, 2014

    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.

    • PrinceYuvi
      May 19, 2014

      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.

      • KEVINO17
        May 19, 2014

        You mean, Enrique and Xavi go fishing together?

        • PrinceYuvi
          May 19, 2014

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

  70. 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.

  71. ciaran
    May 19, 2014

    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

  72. 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.

    • Inamess
      May 19, 2014

      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.

    • 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.

  73. Inamess
    May 19, 2014

    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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