World Cup Rules! Part II: The Venue

Excitement during the game at Caffe Dello Sport
A clean, well-lighted place

The World Cup nears its full samba-swing. As the group stage concludes, Spain (this year’s France!), Italy (this year’s Spain!), and England (this year’s Italy!) have been ushered out as Costa Rica (this year’s Paraguay!) steps into the spotlight. And you have invited an Average American and Andrés Iniesta (a little heartless of you, but Andy could probably use a night out) to enjoy a match and, hopefully, increase the chance that you can watch Champions next season on ABC instead of Roja Directa.

This should do.

Our next step is to find a place to see the match. As PJ O’Rourke reminds us, the best place to host a party is someone else’s place. If you offer your place, other Average Americans might show up. They will budge Andy off the sectional, dust the linoleum with Chee-To dust and switch the HDMI from ESPNDeportes to EASports. They might even bring WAGs, who will leave your frozen pizza out to thaw into a soggy Frisbee while they chill wine coolers in your freezer.

Protein, glorious protein.

What about the Fellow Fan’s place? His friends will show up, too, but they’ll most likely be interesting, international friends whose sisters have adorable accents and little, WAG-size jerseys. And they’ll do you better than lukewarm wine coolers and Chee-Tos. If your friend, for example, is from Argentina, you will enjoy a wide variety of smoked meat products. If your friend hails from Mexico, you won’t go thirsty. But don’t ask them about it. You don’t want to propagate cultural stereotypes.

You enjoy myself!

A better option is to join a viewing party. There are viewing parties in almost all major cities; in fact, some people have suggested that the rush of red-white-and-blue painted bodies in goofy wigs and oversize sunglasses indicate a rising temperature in soccer fever among Americans. I demur. For one thing, most Americans will rush to any open urban space that promises fried food-‘n’a-stick and open containers of alcohol (Occupy the State Fairgrounds!) Half the Chicagoans in this photo, for example, think they are attending Jazzfest; about 40% are psyched for Bluesfest; and at least two-thirds are going to camp out for the July 3rd fireworks. Ring the White House to ask if anyone’s headed to “The Taste” and watch Valerie Jarrett outpace Arne Duncan from Pennsylvania Avenue to Columbus Drive.

An even better option is a bar. Bars are cool, because they are air-conditioned. Also, they have a variety of seating options so you can look as cool as you feel: the snug (where you stash the WAGs); the stool (where the international sisters perch); and the footrail (where you rest your aching feet after all that standing and ogle the barmaids. Sorry: barms’s. ).

Noooooo …

You want a viewing bar, but it’s got to be a good viewing bar. The VFW is NSFV. TGIF and BW3 are plausible, because they have lots of TVs and spinach-dip appetizers for the WAGs, but there is a risk that they flip the big screen to “TriviaTime!” and refuse to change the channel back. For an international sporting event, an international bar is best. There’s the charming Caffe Dello Sport in Boston’s North End. Oh, wait, maybe not. What about New York’s Manchester Pub, or Minneapolis’ Brits? Er. On second thought. Why not Chicago’s Café Iberico … oh, yeah.

So … ten o’clock, your place?




Categorized as Barcelona

By SoccerMom

SoccerMom obsesses over FCB and this blog instead of grading papers, burning dinner and/or raising her small children. She blames a Spanish husband and easy access to Hispanic-targeted cable sports channels for her football addiction and consequent failure as a professor, housekeeper and mother.


  1. Yay! More SoMa goodness! I was just about to comment in the previous thread re: my SoMa love, since she didnt get her normal dose the last go-round, and state that I was eagerly awaiting the second installation in the series.

    lOved it…and if there is a part III all the better…

  2. Was that a super quick piece of writing? Italy just crashed out like five minutes ago!

    And if Barcelona really do sign Suarez, I feel that they’ll have bitten off more than they can chew.

  3. It really is appalling. This is the third Suarez biting incident, always when under pressure from an opponent. Are you going to tell me, with the buses that Barça face, he isn’t going to be a HUGE liability?

    I cannot imagine, even for an instant, that Suarez is still under consideration by our board for a potential transfer, assuming a shard of truth to the rumors. If he still is, consider me disgusted.

    Liverpool, of course, I can’t imagine what they’re thinking … is he unsellable? I imagine somebody will take a chance on him, but I can’t see a top club risking it. He bites someone in the heat of a championship run, then what?

    1. I’m looking at the marks and what’s evident is that Suarez apparently has caries on his upper left canine. Poor guy.

      Just to play devil’s advocate, that could be a huge gambit. Not that I believe it, but if that doesn’t lower his price, nothing short of the season finale of “Penny Dreadful” will do it. 😀 Combined with his statements that he beat England while not fully fit and the fact that he was key to beating England…

      Liverpool might just be thinking “We’d better ged rid of the maniac before he does a Tyson and makes us lose points and money.”

  4. Suicidal acts from Suarez, but are people actually upset over it? A small tug with the teeth, -looks- scandalous sure, but it causes no damage compared to an elbow throw, and those are frequently overlooked.

    Maybe we can pick him up on a bargain now? Kidding.

  5. This is FIFA. Suarez will get away with a slap on the wrists.
    It should have been a red, and at ten vs ten, Uruguay goes bye-bye. Hard for the ref to see it, so I can understand the no-call.

    1. Considering the amount of publicity and heat this has gotten, they’d better punish him severely, or look like ineffectual fools at the biggest tournament in the World.

  6. Others have equated the Suarez bite to a kick or an elbow. It is, however, a moral question. The game has rules of behavior, and those acts are accounted for. Elbows, kicks, even going in with studs up, are accounted for in the rules of the game. They are rough, even violent actions.

    Grabbing someone and biting them violates the rules of humanity. It is a savage act that left even veterans of the game such as Van Nistelrooy and Roberto Martinez speechless. And they have seen it all.

    Biting someone is a savage act, particularly unprovoked as it was in the latest Suarez incident. For me, it is that savagery that takes it to the appalling level.

    I can’t believe that our club would, even for a second, consider signing such a person, particularly at this very delicate time for the group.

    1. I’m sorry, Kevin, but I disagree. We have seen quite a few much more violent actions, with clear intent to injure an opposing player, to remove him from the equation for prolonged periods, and the punishment is a red card… and then?

      Why exactly is biting someone more dangerous than an elbow in the face that breaks a nose, a stud in the face that may result in losing an eye or an intentional tackle from behind that breaks an ankle?

      It’s unsportsmanly behavior, true, but so is trying to destabilize an opponent in the air so that he injures himself when he falls. So is provoking someone by saying his sister is a whore. So is launching a sliding challenge from behind in injury time in a clear attempt to remove a vital opponent.

      So why is a flying knee to the back of the head a yellow, but a bite is a violation the rules of humanity?

    2. ^ This

      I don’t want to make a straw man fallacious statement but I would rather see a bite in the shoulder than going studs up to the shins. The first may seem grotesque but it is much more benign physically then the damage that the latter can cause to a career.

      Both are morally wrong and BOTH ARE AGAINST THE RULES.

    3. It is the same reason that, in a sport in which large men endeavor to knock the other one unconscious, a bite essentially changed the career of one of the most savage boxers in the game.

      It is a fundamentally savage act. There are all sorts of equivalences that can be constructed, but the simple fact of the matter is that perceptionally, it is a savage act.

      Going up for a ball and you knee someone in the head. Okay, yellow because it is within the boundaries of the game. Two players are going for the ball. Kick someone? Usually it’s a defender misjudging, badly. Undercutting someone? Dependent upon severity, it is either a red, yellow or a basic foul. But that act is still within the strictures, the proscribed boundaries of the game.

      When you grab someone and bite them, it is a shameful act of savagery. A player loses his head and commits an act of reprehensible violence. Suarez wasn’t going for a ball when he bit Chiellini. As with Ivanovic, he was pissed, and acted in a savage way. The feigning being struck in the mouth made the act even more vile, because he then tried to cover up a premeditated act of savagery.

      For me, there is no equivalence short of grabbing some implement and attempting to injure a player. Like grabbing him and biting, it is completely outside of the game’s boundaries.

      As I note above, the likes of Van Nistelrooy and Martinez were rendered speechless. It wasn’t a foul, or something that occurred within any known boundary of the game.

      It was a savage act.

    4. Liverpool will hold a “crisis” board meeting with Rodgers to discuss the future of Suarez. Rare is the foul that would inspire such an action. I imagine there is, but one doesn’t come to mind.

    5. Sorry but no. The reason Tyson’s act was “savage” is not because the act it self was savage (the whole sport is savage) it is because it was outside the rules of what is permitted.

      Going studs up against some other players shin IS a savage act, one that can cause more harm than a bite.

      I am not defending Saurez’s act I am just pointing out that it is not as different from other savage acts that happen in the game.

      For example yesterday a Croatian player went studs up on a Mexican players shin after the ball was clearly out of play. It was SAVAGE and it could have cause more harm than Suarez’s bite.

      And I am not talking about when a player accidently hits and injures another while playing for a ball. I am talking about the times players are “pissed, and act(ed) in a savage way”.

      Then again I might feel different If I did not like him for the team so who the hell knows?

    6. what is it with biting? our society is violent…and that violence bleeds into our sports….even in war there are supposedly rules, and war crimes, while people are, nonetheless, killing each other (the winners will violate the rules of war with impunity, ok, but that aside…)

      Biting could be seen to cross a line. Mothers teach their children not to bite; for whatever reason, it is seen as an animal act. Many people hit each other but our society still will judge them as being a misbehaving human, rather than a human acting like an animal…maybe the line is arbitrary. let me see:

      with a studs first tackle, you might be able to argue that the offender didnt have control of his body…said control is required to prevent injuries. the rule is necessary.

      the fact that The Bite was off the ball, and could not even be said to have occurred in the heat of the moment, or be due to lack of control or recklessness, is part of what makes it different.

      he’s a liability and should not come to FCB. and he should be suspended for the rest of the WC, as should any other such violent act, off the ball as this was.

    7. I think those were the most poorly-written 5 paragraphs I have written since grade school….alas

    8. I’m with tutomate.

      The Rules are established to limit the damage and physical contact, but they were envisioned as restrictions and limitations of sportsmen in the heat of the game. Red is for “reckless behaviour” or a reckless challenge, meaning you hit an opponent while going for the ball. The rules did not envision deliberate savage actions.

      Is biting savage? Yeah, and I would add childish as well. Does it merit a red? Sure, if the ref sees it, or the governing body sees it. It’s reckless behaviour all right. However, for me it’s hypocritical to wave off dirty tackles, deliberate fouls from behind that don’t even attempt to take the ball, or lunges that take out a talented opponent for the rest of the game while masquerading them as a late tackle that still got a piece of the ball.

      Can Suarez rehabilitate himself? Well, one year ago Neymar was a world-known diver if you heard the press of England. They have stopped that mostly, due to him being one of the most fouled players in European football. He’s matured in Barcelona. Maybe I’m too much of a believer, but I believe in the maturing influence of Barcelona. Barcelona as a team and institution doesn’t condone immaturity. The culers as a whole don’t condone and encourage reckless behaviour or one that can be considered “staining” the symbol. Personally I believe that Suarez can get better – and that he can channel his anger. When he sees that guys like Neymar and Messi and Iniesta and Xavi and Alexis can do their biting with the ball in the net of the opponent.

      True, the guy has a short fuse and a temper, but those can be channelled – and I’d much rather have the club pay 100 000 for coaching and anger management and have a great striker than pay 10 million more. IF he’s what Luis Enrique wants.

    9. There are certain things that go beyond the football pitch.

      I understand people saying that it is worse to try to injure someone than bite them but they are different things. There have been times when I’ve seen horrendous tackles that have been someone snapping or diving in during the heat of battle. These tackles are horrible but are not career defining in the most part.

      There are always exceptions. Roy Keane tackled Alfie Haaland in 2001 and attempted to end his career. He should have been banned from football but got less than ten games and a financial slap on the wrist.

      In 2009, Pepe of Real Madrid, pushed Casquero over then kicked and stamped on him multiple times, punched Juan Albin and called the assistant a son of a whore. I advocated that he get banned from football for life; he got a 10 game ban which Real Madrid unsuccessfully appealed.

      Luis Suarez didn’t attempt to end someone’s career. He didn’t even do damage that will result in Chiellini missing any matches. What I do believe is that biting someone is not in the same category as any tackle. It is different. Whether he likes it or not he is a role model for millions of kids world wide.
      No one wanted to see Suarez in a Barca shirt more than me. He is a great player and has abilities that could potentially take us back to the top of world football. But we are more than a club. I can’t imagine that our club would have appealed Pepe’s suspension. I have faith that we would have handled that situation differently.
      Now we are in a situation that we could potentially buy Suarez but we don’t need him. Alexis Sanchez is becoming a great player. Neymar looks like he could become a legend. Messi is already a legend. On top of that we have players like Deulofeu and Munir who are at different levels of their career but look like they have a great future.
      I believe that the guaranteed negativity in terms of the marketing and the potential negativity from an almost inevitable next incident are too great to gamble with.

      I believed that Suarez had turned a corner this season after being a great professional for 9 months but he threw it away. Is he better than Higuain, Aguero and whoever else we’ve been linked to? Yes. Is it worth it? No.

    10. I understand what you are saying. I do agree it is different and it speaks of his psyche I think. Maybe demented?

      What I am trying to say is that just because it is different or because most people find it grotesque (I do) does not meat it is worse than the aforementioned savagery. It is just shocking because we have not been conditioned to it like we have been conditioned to other acts of savagery.

      But i do know that if I had to take either a hit to the shins with studs or a bite I would choose the latter.

    11. You call biting “savagery” because of its association with cannibalism, but that is largely a cultural construct, which we have adopted as a consequence of the fact that Europe ended up conquering the world. Cannibalism was perfectly acceptable in many other societies, and if one is to look at it rationally, there is nothing wrong with it (there is if it involves killing people, of course).

      As many others pointed out, biting someone on the shoulder/arm (which was the case on all three occasions, we are not talking about biting off ears or other protruding, easy to chew off, body parts, i.e. something that does lasting damage) actually ranks very low on the list of horrible things one footballer can do to another. People have gotten away with much less scrutiny for challenges that were not just career threatening, but in earlier times might have left the victim crippled. If you remember that Eduardo open leg fracture from a few years ago, just 80 years ago that would have gotten infected and he would have been in a serious danger of not just never playing again but losing the leg. Did the defender intend to hurt him that bad? No, it was a rash mistimed challenge. But I highly doubt Suarez is biting people intentionally, this is not the handball case where he gets a clear advantage from the situation, he will get a lengthy ban from this and his WC is over as a result, and he knows that very well. It’s a case of him losing his head in the heat of the moment, but then the question is what is the difference between that situation and when the defender went studs forward into Eduardo’s ankle? I don’t see much of a difference in terms of deliberate intent, while the results are incomparable in terms of their severity.

    12. Did you see the video? It was no accident or mistimed challenge. The intent is clear.

      This is repeated behaviour. The guy clearly has issues and needs help. A normal rational adult does not go around biting people.

    13. Of course it is intentional, where did you get the idea I said it wasn’t? But it is intentional within a period of about a second, it’s not like he started the game thinking “When would be the best time to bite a defender on the arm?”.

      The point I was making is that all those studs-forward, leg-breaking tackles were also intentional in a similar way – you don’t think clearly about the consequences and you do it, then regret it immediately.

    14. Also, if that results in his price being lowered significantly, I would go for it without hesitation. Compared to the shadiness of what our board has done in the last few years, Suarez biting someone’s arm once again is nothing. But we can use the goals, the aggression, and the anchor point in the center of our attack

  7. OT: Has Arsenal officially snap up this Ivory Coast speedster of a right back Serge Aurier or can we still ruin that deal by paying what Toulouse want. The kid is 19 and available for around 7.5 mil I’m told.
    Anybody has watched him play positionally in games other than this world cup?

  8. Also I was thinking that there are one or two players that seemingly want to leave their teams and we can use a player of our own as a bargaining chip. Maybe we could tempt them.

    Give PSG Pedro as bait for Cavani.

    If it’s true Xavi wants to leave:
    Give Bayern Xavi as bait for Kroos.

  9. I like Jonathan Mensah from Ghana too. Can we look into him instead of big names… guy is stong, fast, very athletic and has concentrated well.

  10. When Suarez mentioned he liked italian food, I didnt know this is what he meant…

  11. May I ask what point is being made?
    Some people are arguing that there are worse things than biting. I understand this in terms of damage done to a player. As I have said above, what Keane and Pepe done was worse in terms of attempted injury etc.

    If anyone remembers the France victory in the 98 world cup a certain Zinedine Zidane is remembered as being the best player of that tournament and being the match winner in the final. I remember more. I remember Zidane intentionally stamping on a player in the group stages and I wanted him to be banned for the rest of the tournament.

    The world cup is the biggest event in the sport and the players have to be held to a higher degree of professionalism in it. Suarez should be banned for the rest of the tournament and further. I don’t want him.

    1. My only point is that I don’t get why this level public outcry does not exist when other awful things happen on the field.

      We should also consider the context of our world view. It is very likely that those who already did not want him see this as a perfect reason why we should not get him and therefore can be more inclined to see this as severely reprehensible. Even exaggerate its severity.

      The same is obviously true for the other face of the coin, those who want him (like I do) can minimize and obviously reprehensible act as something common to the game (which I am not and I have not seen anyone else do on this site).

      I think that a statement like ” I wanted him to be banned for the rest of the tournament.” while reasonable should also be said of other acts just as you did in your example with Zinadine. However I am certain that if Chiellini had gone studs up on Suarez’s shins not as many people would be advocating for him to be dismissed from the tournament.

      BTW the image going around that shows dental indentations is fake.

      As an example when Terry elbowed Alexis in the back during the CL Semi and was red carded I don’t remember anyone saying that he deserved more than that (10 game ban for example). It was a similar scenario where it was away from the ball and the only reason it was done was to intimidate and or hurt the player. But The english media was not up in arms then like it is now.

    2. And studs up on someone’ shin is also much worse than biting in terms of the danger it poses and physical damage it does. So are elbows, and not just those to the face.

    3. The Terry-Alexis situation was not at the same level in my opinion. He got his red card and it was deserved but it isn’t as bad as biting him.
      Think of it like this, calling someone a bad word is the same as calling someone a racial slur in that they are the same technically, but they are not at the same level.
      Again this is my opinion.

      Going back quite some time I have always advocated the signing of Suarez but tonight changed it for me. How many chances does he need to waste. Let’s say we bought him, got to a CL final and the match was incredibly tense. Someone provokes Suarez and he loses the plot. We go down to ten men and lose. Do we blame him or ourselves for trusting him to change the person that he is.

      As a footballer he is top class but if Pepe was the best defender on the world I’d still rather have Bartra.

    4. I understand you feel that way. I also think biting is worse than and elbow. But not enough to justify the difference in outrage between the two.

  12. I think the real issue is not just ‘a’ bitting, but the fact that he is a chronic bitter, which, in my mind, points to at the very least minor mental issues. Had he only bitten him once, I would be more likely to call him an ass and be done with it, but at the moment I believe he needs actual psychological help. This, of course, does not condone the behavior. Suarez deserves to be banned from this tournament with an added caveat of seeing some sort of psychologist/therapist. However, we should all beware of witch hunts and finger pointings. Bitting is not essentially evil, for many people it involve an emotion of a much different sort. It is considered animalistic, but we should all take a minute and remember that we are animals. Our behavior is never of complete free volition. Rules are rules however, and his actions deserve punishment.

    Really ruined the game for me too.

    1. I think this is close to what I make of the incident too. Luis Suarez is very competitive and also has very poor impulse control. All the incidents surrounding this player have made this clear. In many ways, he is similar to Pepe and Zidane as others have noted above. To ask Barca to get Luis Suarez without the redzone was simply not going to happen. Let’s just say we dodged a bullet if we were doing to trade Sanchez plus 35 mil for Suarez because he would have been trouble

    2. Some more interesting Luis Suarez stories:

      1) He made by far the most money of any football player this year. He will probably lose tens of millions because of incident but you still don’t have to feel sorry for him.

      2) 167 people won with their bet that Luis would bite someone at the world cup. Odds were 175:1

      I am sure many made money with the Pepe red card too.

  13. Of course, biting causes less damage than a kick or an elbow, etc. However, in our society it is a taboo (like testicle tugging (happens a bit in rugby), spitting, dropping your pants and running around naked before 50,000 people etc etc). Now, of course, you could argue that there is no place for taboos on the football field – or in life – but you’ll have trouble winning that one. The fact is that we have artificial markers of what we regard as civilised. Don’t see how the FIFA can turn a blind eye to what Suarez has done. I’m sure that if you asked Chiellini whether he preferred a bad tackle or getting bitten, he would opt for the bad tackle.
    That said, I feel sorry for Suarez. He obviously thinks he plays best when he whips himself up into a frenzy, then impulse control is out the window.

    1. It is a bit hypocritical because what seems to be penalized more than anything is reflexive aggression. Part of Italy’s tactics probably were to get into Suarez’s head and same for Zidane in 2006. In both cases, they were successful in provoking clear pointless aggression, and I guess that is part of the game.

      Again, the circumstances are different in each case, but I hate to see it when a player is provoked by a cynical tackle or incident and mildly retaliates almost as a reflex as, for example, Beckham did the 1998 World Cup against Simeone:

      Part of the dark arts is to take out the best player on the other team by any means necessary, and this was certainly one of Mou’s main objectives for Messi whenever his team played us.

      Had Messi gone down more often when he was clipped, it may have been better for him and our team in the long run. It has nothing to do with the Suarez case, but when refs do not penalize players for cynical tackles, then the only response from the other team is to retaliate or dive to emphasize and call attention to the aggression.

  14. I had a feeling the latest Suarez disaster would be a main topic on here. As a Liverpool fan, I have seen the exact debate that rages on in the comments section and essentially there is no way to make everyone agree. Some think everyone is overreacting, some feel that it is nowhere near as bad as going in studs up, some think its more the moral factor and the fact that humans just dont bite each other, some think he should be banned, others think he should be criminally charged.
    As a Red, I am in awe of the guy’s skill, but have been numbed to the feeling of surprise that is expected when I see the headline “Suarez bites off more than he can chew… AGAIN!”. If Barca were to sign him, I have no doubt that he would just be amazing, playing in the falso nueve role vacated by Fab, flanked by Leo and Neyney. That is FIFA/FM dream stuff!
    The figures being thrown around ($55m plus Alexis) have to be wrong, after Ibra I just cant see Barca undervaluing a player so much like they did to Eto’o. Also seeing reports about Pedro and Tello, but I think we’d prefer Alexis at LFC.
    All in all, he causes trouble, but even as a rascal, he has turned our clubs fortunes around and is always capable of the absolutely outstanding, moments that just make you sit back and chuckle to yourself, like watching 90% of Pep’s Barca’s games! It’ll be a shame if we lose him but I can’t see LFC turning down an offer like the Alexis one if it has any truth to it. If he does end up at Barca, be prepared to have the best attacking 3 in the world!

    1. So what do you guys want to do with Suarez now? It almost seems to be something uncontrollable at this point like Tourette syndrome. I think your best bet is just to have Suarez very publically go through some rehab and claim he is trying to get control over it. I imagine it was watched very carefully at Liverpool this year but Uruguay just didn’t take it seriously enough. Interesting view from a sports psychologist:

    2. It’s a good question. IMHO, we should keep him if at all possible, unless a concrete MAMMOTH offer comes in, because (and I have definitely said this before) I can’t see him doing it again…
      It sucked having him suspended, but he is just a magical player and his desire, drive and tenacity are brilliant to watch. As a Liverpool player, despite his various handballs, dives, bites etc, I will tell my grandkids about the little Uruguayan who turned us from a mid table side to serious title contenders, pipped only in the final embers of the season, who scored at will from range, up close, on his own, surrounded by defenders, one half of the SAS partnership (or one third of the SSS if you will).
      Having said all that, I think he’ll go to Barca/Real for squillions and we will replace him with a similar striker, maybe Higuain or someone like that, along with some squad players. I guess the difference between selling Suarez and keeping him is if we keep him, we might buy 3 or 4 more 5-10m players, but if we sell him, we can get 10-15m players.
      Either way, when are Barca going to buy some defenders? I keep seeing articles about a mass exodus of players, Puyol, Valdes, Alves, Xavi, Ini, Alexis, Tello. Craziness. Sheer Craziness.

    3. Very astute good sir/madam. I pop up every now and again. I had a different email address for a while so I was AussieRed but I’ve come back to my old one.
      This is still my favourite football related blog, no-one else seems to be able to get it right. I did email the mods regarding some information about starting something like this as I’d love to create a similar community for LFC fans, but fans of the EPL don’t seem to be able to hold a conversation without turning into children!

    4. It’s a Sir, thank you 🙂

      I have knack of remembering people on this board. Even old members like Jnice and his Ghanaian roots. I have a pretty good memory for some things but unfortunately not so in studies.

    5. People are overreacting. Real violence happens on the field every day all over the world in the lower leagues, on the streets where there is no referee to begin with it’s a lot worse, and I am sure what I have seen on the streets where I grew up (where someone biting another player would not have received much attention as much worse things were regularly happening) is nowhere near as bad as what might be happening in South America where crime is so rampant.

      Should it be happening anywhere, let alone on the biggest stage? Absolutely not, and the efforts of the sport officials to clean up the game have really helped to make it a much more beautiful and elegant sport than what it used to be (Chile vs. Italy 1962 is not possible in today’s world and that’s a good thing). But overall violence remains a part of the game and biting someone’s arm is a relatively minor offence compared to some other things that can be seen on the field.

      Give him a 4 to 8 games ban for that, and leave it there, no need to overreact by calling for 2-year bans, reconsidering his purchase, etc.

  15. I don’t understand people attempting to defend Suarez’s actions, especially by saying there are worse things you can do. For me there is no justification, no possible way one can say that it’s not so bad because it’s not a studs-up tackle. And he needs to face the consequences of his actions, or he’ll just think he can do what he wants on the pitch and keep getting away with slaps on the wrist.

    There are dangerous plays that happen in the course of the game. Tackles, elbows, all of that. And they should be punished as well. But biting has no place in the game, none at all, and should not be tolerated just because it doesn’t cause severe trauma. Do try to remember how angry every Cule felt when Tito was poked in the eye. I don’t remember reading a lot of “oh, but at least he wasn’t tackled to the ground so it’s all good.”

    The confusion is that this is not a question of degrees of violence, and it’s a mistake to compare it to dangerous play. What this is is an inherently abhorrent act that has no place on the pitch, and maybe you’d be better off comparing it to how you’d feel if Suarez dropped his shorts and took a dump on the pitch. Sure it didn’t harm anyone, but don’t you think he should still be punished severely for bringing the game into disrepute?

    1. Nobody is defending it, however, there is no reason to give out extreme, unprecedented punishments when worse acts have not been punished anywhere nearly so hard.

    2. Who is defending him Jafri? I certainly am not.

      Talk about a straw man logical fallacies.

      No one is advocating in favor of biting.
      No one is saying what he did is not reprehensible.
      No one is saying he was right to do it (if he I fact did).

      Some of us just think the that the level of outrage is not in line with logic.

      Think about this?
      Why is biting so bad? Why is there line there? Why is it worse than a grotesque or potentially career ending tackle?

      You say biting has no place in the game. And I agree but let me ask you what is worse and head bunt when two players are yelling at each other or a bite such as this?

      If it’s the bite why? Is it more dangerous? Is it more cowardly? Less manly? Or is it that it is just weird and different and we a a species tend to be wary of that?

    3. Well it’s either a bite or killing puppies. So if you don’t like him biting you must want him to kill puppies. You puppy murderer bastard.


  16. If I may plagiarize a bit:

    Luis Suarez will be disappointed he won’t get a chance to play Germany. He was looking forward to some leg of lahm.

  17. Suarez behavior is disgusting. I certainly hope any idea of purchasing him is out the window. I wouldn’t support him in a Barca shirt regardless of what he might deliver.

  18. Anyway, it looks like he is screwed.
    Fifa already opened a proceedings against him and could well charge him. Minimum 2 games to maximum 2 years.
    I think that they will want to make an example and a severe punishment is on the way for Suarez. This World Cup for him is finished.

  19. Since the board is to blame for everything I think it is safe to assume that they convinced Suarez to bite somebody in order to reduce his price tag.

    1. Would Ter Stegen have come if he’d known that Barca were also bringing in Bravo?

    2. Don’t know.
      Just know that they will have to fight for a starting place, and that can’t be bad.

    3. Do you know anything about the price tag or player being exchanged in the deal??

    4. No Dos Santos in the deal, and apparently 12 million, a contract for 4 years.

      If the club get get Dos Santos to leave for say 2m to Villareal for example, the balance would be about 10 million, which will be amortized rapidly just from salary savings, since the combined salary of Ter Stegen and Bravo would be quite a bit lower than the combined salary of Valdes, Pinto and Dos Santos(which is about 16 million per year, overall expense for the club).

    5. Thanks for the inputs Peter…
      I feel sad for Dos Santos though… He has been loyal enough but he needs to realize that he won’t be able to crack into the starting XI now considering the plethora of midfield players we possess…
      I just hope that he, Cuenca, Afellay et al get some good clubs to play for…

  20. Ok, we have purchased two goalkeepers now.
    Can we please purchase two defenders asap?
    before talking about strikers..

    1. Personally I’d prefer one veteran like Mathieu. Bartra has improved with every game. If you think about it, this season Barcelona played with two CBs. Poor Puyi played a total of 427 minutes in La Liga, so if Barcelona have three CBs capable of starting, having Mascherano as a utility man or one of the B defenders may be more than enough. Not that I want Mascherano as a starting CB, but Bartra is showing remarkable progress compared to the 2012-13 season.

      Of course, best scenario would be to have a young CB with lots of potential so that the second CB is up for grabs between that youngster and Bartra. Competition for minutes makes the players exceed expectations. I think this may be the reason for the continued and dogged interest for Marquinhos, despite his price. If he improves his performance and makes Bartra play better, the money will be well-spent.

    2. The defense has been giving us too much grief for too long a time to trust everything on a potential Marquinhos-Bartra pairing alone lead by that airhead Pique (who averages one good game per 5 mediocre ones). Sign Hummels already to complete the necessary four central defenders quota.

      I have a bad feeling that this will be yet another summer or mostly talking but not signing any actual defenders.

    3. It is really concerning we have not signed any defender yet. Time is running out, the preseason is just three weeks away, and given the intricacies of being a Barca defender, one would ideally want all defenders to be available at its beginning. So far all signings were preceded by very substantial rumors in the press and then their announcement shortly after the start of speculations. But no defender has yet reached that level of intensity of reporting about his imminent signing as the players we already signed did.

  21. Hummels / Benatia + Mathieu would do it for me.
    Godin would be nice too. Have really loved his game the past year.

  22. Can’t wait for the Bravo puns!

    Suarez’s diving bothers me a hell of a lot more than bitting. Bitting is definitely taboo, but I am a social libertine. Perhaps this is a bit too cynical, but I find the bitting to be so ridiculous that it is comical. I understand that most people don’t view ethics the same way that I do, and I respect you opinions. However, nothing is black and white, and as I said earlier, I think Suarez’s actions are more complicated. For example, what if he was abused as a child? Then the story would read differently, and even if being abused is not an excuse, it tempers the amount of “free will” (a debatable idea in itself) that a person has. Again, I am just invoking possible perspectives, and not advocating for a change in codes of conduct.

    I do think that he deserves a significant international ban IF it was indeed a bite. The live footage seems like a bite, but the photo seems faked. Again, I think his biting is a subconscious impulse which can be worked on. I also think that at Barça, it would be made very clear to Suarez what the result of antics like these would be. Rogers did keep him in check this year, and I don’t see any reason why Enrique wouldn’t be able to do the same. As a player, Suarez would be simply incredible IF we are going to drop Messi back. If Messi is going to stay where he is, then I’m not sure.

    Furthermore, I don’t like Alexis for Suarez at all (before the bitting). Alexis works in our system and is only improving. Moreover, he has a great attitude and work ethic. I don’t want he traded for anyone is the world. If we could give Liverpool Tello/Pedro however, I’d be for it.

    All of this being said, a CB is priority. But, things are moving. I think we’ve had a surprising number of signings before and during this world cup. The lack of CB makes me nervous due to our recent history, but I am going to remain positive, especially in lieu the past month’s activity.

  23. In the other news, Zenit just snatched Garay for 6m euros.
    If we were buying, surely that would have been 16 or even 26.

    1. No way a Portuguese club sells that low. They always buy low sell extremely high.

    2. AS reports that it was 15 million – but since Real had 50% of his rights, Real got 7.5m and Benfica got the other 7.5m

  24. I’m a Nigerian,lol am having quite a mixed feeling about this match,I desprately want Messi to score more to help him clinch top scorer,at same time I don’t want my country crashing out of the WC. Bosnia is doing us a favour in the other match though.Come on Lio!! I want you on 5goals

  25. Messi has been carrying Argentina. Not sure how long he can keep it up. Defense is awful in particular Fernandez. Gago is a turnover machine. Higuain is out of form. Messi hasn’t been explosive but really clinical which matters most.

  26. The club has spent 9m net this summer, and the additions are: Bravo, Rakitic, Ter Stegen, Rafinha, Deulofeu, with Fabregas exiting.

    That is some good business, and also means a potential max of 90m left to spend.

    I am impressed, and believe CBs are coming, as well.

  27. Great match by Lavezzi, coming in to replace the pale Aguero. Who said Messi couldn’t share attacking space with an explosive co-forward? *cough* Alexis *cough*

    Really shows what increased movement brings… but the team does not look brilliant. Would still consider Rojo as an option for our defense, from what I’ve seen here, but not the main option. If Mathieu does not work out, for instance.

    And yes, I agree with Kevin that the transfer market looks good and balanced so far. I really like the acquisition of two keepers, one experienced, one young (though I suspect Bravo will snatch the main spot this season). And there is no way we will not sign a CB.

  28. There are some excellent matchups shaping up for the round of 16. Brazil-Chile is the tastiest one on paper, for sure. The group stages have been wonderful, with plenty of open play and goals galore. I suspect that is about to wrap up though, as single-match elimination means that teams will get tight as drums in an effort not to give up that early goal.

    — On the transfer front, everything is just a rumor. I like very much that the club is keeping things close to vest, leaving the likes of MD and Sport to throw stuff at the wall.

    Interestingly, a Liverpool legend today said that “media sources” who are in the know tell him that the Sanchez deal is done. Not sure if that means Sanchez to Liverpool, or some sort of swap. Or it could be as crocked as all the other rumors we have heard. Recall that the Marquinhos deal was “done” a month ago.

    I would encourage people to remain calm. The window officially opens on July 1, and our training camp begins end of the month. Enrique will want everyone on hand for the beginning, so I think any business that we do, will get done in the first half of the month.

    Also keep in mind that because CBs are the gold standard right now, they are expensive and the negotiations are difficult. What will help us is that the sugar daddy clubs aren’t in the market for various reasons. City is hamstrung, and PSG is set. Chelsea might be after someone, but I like the landscape mostly devoid of big clubs shopping for a CB.

    1. Also Onda Cero is reporting that Bartomeu rang up Bayern to ask about Kroos’ price tag. He is in ths last year of his contract. Bayern turned down his wage demands.

    2. The Kroos story is interesting. 12 months ago I would have thought that there was no way that he would have left Bayern. Now, he is clearly not going to sign a new contract as his and Bayern’s negotiations seem to have no resolution. He is their best passer by some distance and is decent defensively.
      I still think that it’s an unlikely deal but I would be happy enough with him I suppose. He isn’t as dynamic as I would like, more of an interceptor than a tackler.

    3. But if Bayern doesn’t value him enough to satisfy his wage demands, why should we?

    4. Because one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Why did Chelsea buy Fabregas? Why is Inter asking about Song? Because good players will always be in demand, and Kroos is quality, just wants out of Bayern. We didn’t meet Thiago’s demands. Did that make him flawed, and not worth a shot for Bayern? Nope.

    5. I saw a stat chart somewhere of Kroos, Vidal, Progba, Xavi, and a few others. Kroos matched Xavi more or less. I guess Xavi is going(!!?!?!?) this year and so it seems like a smart move.

  29. I know we have to wait to see how this scenario plays out, but if Sanchez to Liverpool is true, many Barca fans may now be thinking about three unappetizing possibilities:

    1) Suarez, Sanchez, and Sturridge team up at Liverpool.
    Would definitely watch Liverpool games to see this.

    2) Suarez to Real

    Scary for so many reasons.

    3) Suarez to Barca

    Not great for our club’s image after last years’ Neymargate distractions.

    One thing for sure is that Suarez will not come with much of a post-bite discount because of 1 & 2.

    Conclusion: Be prepared for a morality sermon from President Bartomeu about how everyone deserves a fourth chance, and let the one without sin cast the first stone. We just might be the club that is charitable enough to welcome a straying lamb into the fold:

    1. Real are rumoured to have decided Suarez is too damaging a signing.
      Sanchez will be going to Liverpool if and only if Suarez has already landed in Barcelona-El Prat.

      Personally, as I have stated various times, I don’t want Sanchez to go. Watching him play for Chile, I’m just salivating at the idea of Luis Enrique managing to create a free-flowing playmaking trio of Neymar, Messi and Alexis behind a point striker. Or even convert Lexus into an pressing right midfield with tons of attacking potential. 😀

  30. So…

    -Rakitic instead of Song? I’ll take it.
    -Kroos to replace Xavi? Well, probably the best solution assuming Xavi will leave anyway.
    -Suarez to replace Sanchez? No thanks. Enough distractions as it is. There will be enough turnover in the team, we shouldn’t replace anything that is not broken (unless Sanchez REALLY wants to leave). I am baffled by the rumors that we would pay 50m + Sanchez for Suarez. I really hope that remains a rumor. In a sense, I can see that Suarez would be a better complement to Messi and Neymar, as there might be an overload of ‘chefs’ with Sanchez. But I would still prefer to see what Sanchez could provide next season after finally settling in Barca and with a great WC behind him.

    In Brazil there is apparently a heated discussion on how Neymar must leave Barca to get out of Messi’s shadow…

  31. So there seems to be a lot of smoke regarding Suarez to Barca, more than I think there would be if this was just rumour, similar to Cesc to Chelsea, it doesnt seem to be just made up. Setting aside his attitude for now, in an ideal world I would like to get him and keep Sanchez but I do not see that happening. I love Sanchez, even when he wasnt scoring lots of goals I thought he was a brilliant player and I knew he would come good eventually, which he now has. I get the feeling that he wants to leave, and frankly, why wouldn’t he, after the way he was treated last season, sitting on the bench when he was our best forward. I was hoping Enrique could convince him to stay, but if he is going to leave then I am not sure there is a better replacement than Suarez. Biting aside, he is an astounding player, and I hate to say it, but much better than Sanchez. He is in the Ronaldo/Messi bracket of player. He does everything, he carried Liverpool all season, he scored all sorts of goals from all sorts of situations, and when he wasnt scoring he was assisting. He is dynamic, intelligent, aggressive (perhaps too much) and he presses like a mad dog. He can dribble, score with either foot, take free kicks and he is great under pressure in confined spaces (what we face week in/week out). As much as I love Sanchez, he thrives in space, and he doesnt get much of that at Barca.

    Have we not been calling for a dynamic, true no 9 to sit in front of Messi and take pressure off our little genius? No better player in the world than Suarez to do that. Higuain? No thanks, not half the player Suarez is.

    Sporting wise, for me, he is the perfect striker to complement our attack. Unfortunately he likes to bite people and that is a very, very big problem. I thought he had that shit under control and after a season without any incidents it looked like he had finally matured. Now from what I have read about him, from what I have heard from his teammates at Liverpool, he doesnt have the sort of attitude that would be a problem in the dressing room. He is committed, trains hard, team player, etc so in that sense I am not worried. However his unpredictable reactions on the pitch make it a huge risk. Imagine him biting someone in a CL final for example?

    So in conclusion I have no freakin idea if i want him or not. He may just be good enough that he is worth taking the risk on, maybe playing alongside the likes of MEssi and Neymar at his dream club is enough to curtail this sort of behaviour and he ends up being amazing for us without biting anyone OR maybe we sign him for 50m+Sanchez and then he bites Pepe in the CL final and we lose to the white devils.

    Ah tranfer season…

    1. He might be better than Alexis offensively, but as I had pointed out earlier, he has peaked while Alexis is just about getting there.
      I just cannot see Mr. Biterson being 50M better than Alexis. That is just wrong. It is a typical case of the EPL hyping and overvaluing their players while Barca underplays and undervalues theirs. Alexis in today’s market, and judging by what he’s doing for Chile on a world stage, should be worth a minimum of 50M Euros. Based on inflated prices for some players (read David Luiz at 50M, 40M for higuain, ozil 50M), Alexis ‘the lexus’ Sanchez should be worth 65,000,000 Euros.
      I know it won’t happen, but if there is really talk of a swap being considered, the right terms would be a straight swap or a maximum of 10-15M + Sanchez for Luis Suarez.
      This rumored 50M+Sanchez is disgustingly similar to the Eto’o + 50M deal for Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Plain disgusting.

    2. It’s probably a case of how much is Alexis worth for us vs the market price of Suarez. And the unfortunate truth is that given how much Bale went for last year, and how much PSG paid for someone like David Luiz this year, the market value of Suarez is in the 100 million euro neighborhood. We have three years of amortization on the Alexis transfer, which, BTW, had a large portion of variables, many of which we have probably not had to pay as we were not very successful over the last three seasons, so if it’s 50M + Sanchez, we will in all likelihood account that as something like 50 + 10. And if we do get the transfer ban for next season, we still have the money to buy another midfielder and at least one defender. And if it works out, it will be worth it. Alexis is great in the WC because he is playing for Chile, not for us. I don’t think next season will be much different than last season in terms of what we face every game.

      The question is what happens with the formation if we get him – it will make little sense to buy him and send him to the right wing, but if he plays in the center, this poses some big and obvious questions

    3. Personally I think that IF we buy Suarez, and that is still a very big IF, then it is because Enrique wants a proper striker and that Messi will become a true no 10. More like the way he plays for Argentina, behind the striker. Perhaps we see a switch of formation from a 4-3-3 to a 4-3-1-2 with Neymar/Suarez up front and Messi sitting in behind them.

      As for Suarez’s price, well if Bale is worth 100m then Suarez is worth just as much if not more. Personally I think Suarez is a better player so in theory he should be worth more. Sanchez, while an amazing player and one who works hard, scores goals and does plenty for the team, is not at the same level as Suarez. He may be one day, he may not, but right now, Suarez is the better player. I also think we need a player like Suarez more than we need a player like Sanchez. We already have our speedy, tricky, winger in Neymar, plus we also have Delofeu waiting for this chance. What we dont have, what I think we need, is a dynamic CF, a proven goal scorer and a player who can lead the line allowing Messi the freedom to roam the park.

  32. Four-month ban for Suarez from ALL football-related activities. He can’t even go to a stadium until the end of October. And nine-match international ban.

    1. What does this mean?
      He can’t even undergo preseason or train in any way with a (potentially) new club till november? That has to obviously be a big deal breaker with any new club interested in his services. Also this ban must surely shave off 20-30M from his supposed value right? I don’t know, I don’t think I want a player like him playing for my club, HOWEVER talented he might be.

    2. Savagery it might be, but that was an unreasonably harsh punishment. Nobody was hurt, after all. Suspension for rest of WC would have sufficed just fine. FIFA trying to emphasize its ‘fair-play’ image, no doubt. They might want to follow this up by re-thinking the Qatar WC, then.

  33. I think it was just a consequence of the incidents that already occurred in two occasions, and probably since he didn’t learned his lesson and did the same thing again, the punishment is more severe than originally should be.
    Just my thought.

  34. I don’t understand all the fuss. Did he had sex with an underage prostitute? Did he potentially injure somebody? Did he slap somebody on the pitch (Ramos)? Was he involved in bribery? Was he involved in betting?

    I actually just saw the clip as I was so busy for the past few weeks. It looked like he actually tried to headbutt Chiellini and the Italian shrugged his shoulder and hit Suarez’s fangs.

    After looking at this clip;

    It does look like he was going for a bite. But again, how many times did other players commit an off the ball incident that is more serious than this? Elbowing, punching, tackling, etc.

    1. Don’t compare it to dangerous play and say it’s less wrong (which is a line of thinking saying he’s a murderer but at least he’s not committing mass genocide); it’s an act that is inherently reprehensible and a different kind of wrong. If anything, it’s like his racist remarks towards Evra. They didn’t hurt Evra did they? But you wouldn’t argue that it was better that he racially abused Evra instead of studs-up tackling him.

    2. A murderer and a person starting a genocide both kill people and should both should do a lifetime or get a death sentence. Totally different to fouls in football where there are many layers of punishment.

      I’m not saying it’s ok for Suarez to go around and bite people but my argument is that why are other acts on the pitch that are far more dangerous less talked about? Stomping, elbowing, kicking, kneeing aren’t part of football too but why is a quick bite such a big deal when it doesn’t hurt near as much as the aforementioned?

      I would just make Suarez do community service and send a shrink to see him on a weekly basis or even more.

  35. Kxvein am with you on that,i’v made some in-check on the terms of the ban and it says he can serve the ban at another club.

    Its pretty suprising how everyone is worshiping Alexis all of a sudden because he is having a nice world cup.I like the guy,he derserves to stay,but lets face it,Alexis isn’t gonna play for us the way he plays for chile,he even had a better WC in 2010 than he is having now. Buying suarez will benefit us more than losing Alexis.

    Suarez bites,we know that but he has a good behaviour with his teamates,ask Gerrad,he is just tempramental and acts on immidiate reflex when he is pissed,but one thing is for sure,Chellini elbowed him and we know what italians are capable of,Zidane remember? Plus I think the English losers are fueling the incident as a method to get back at him for eliminating them prematurely.

    Suarez will feel more at home in barcelona than anywhere,atleast he can easily interact considering he can’t speak English.If we buy him,with time the storm will settle and possibly if he puts in some good performances all maybe forgotten bit by bit. I pray we sign him. I have a question, Why is pedro untouchable,for me he is the one who deserves to leave more than alexis. He has more ‘sugar’ in him than alexis in terms of deal sweetening.

    1. Alexis only had a good first match. He was flopping all over the place vs Holland and could hardly pull his moves off (twist and turns).

  36. I know there are many Alexis fans here but I still don’t know what he’s good at actually besides his work rate which I have applauded him for as with Pedro. I’ve always loved players with a good work rate.

    I’ve been on the fence with him for 3 seasons now, but now I am starting to think that it is ok to sell him.

    He’s not a good finisher, can’t create his own chance due to his inability to dribble. He did improve on his passing though. And he is better when played in the middle. He looks better for Chile because he gets to play in his natural position. But he will never be allowed to play in the middle as long as Messi is around, and Iniesta.

    He is not a big game player. Not someone who can change a game, who strikes fear in the defenders.

    The move that he does all the time, which is his only move, twist and turn, miraculously works on a regular basis but against the Dutch, Blind in particular is having none of this playground tricks. Blind time and time again stopped Alexis.

    I also find it embarrassing to watch him continuously flopping all over the pitch in this World Cup. He’s really getting on my nerves.

    1. I get what you’re saying, but I really think his finishing got a lot better this past season. He’s got great potential, great attitude and only getting better.

      PS. that goal vs. Real Madrid? Great finish in a big game.

    2. He is indeed improving, bit by bit, after 3 seasons. If he doesn’t mind spending more time if Suarez comes and doesn’t sulk, then it’s all good. Didn’t he throw a tantrum at the end of last season?

      It’s also hard to get the best out of him when he’s playing RW for us. That’s not his position and he is not the type of player that can beat his man 1 on 1.

      He is indeed our 2nd top goal scorer but with Messi being out for some time, it’s to be expected that others will get a bump in the goal stats. I just don’t find him clinical enough and he isn’t such a big goal scoring threat. I will have to find stats to check. Pedro is a better finisher to me while Alexis is better in creating.

      Look at him for Chile. His job is to create from the middle. There is simply no way he can play in the middle for us.

      His first touch is on and off to me. It’s ok or poor.

      Suarez can definitely bring much more from a forward position. Suarez is a forward, a goal scorer. Alexis is simply not and he won’t be. I would like another fearsome 3 man forward such as

      But Alexis just doesn’t cut it for me at RW.

      Like I said I love his work rate. Another thing I love about him is his unselfishness as I love team play. But as a forward in professional football, you gotta be ruthless.

      Oh of course I’ll remember his chip vs Madrid. One of the best Clasico goals ever.

    3. Well, for someone you say is not a good finisher he was our second top scorer this season and has a better scoring record with us than for any previous club. He also scored against Real Madrid and Atletico this season unlike even Messi.
      He played some of the best football of any of our players this season and with the exception of the otherworldly Messi was our best player in my opinion.

      In terms of not creating chances I disagree. His first touch improved no end including the penalty he won after dribbling past a number of defenders following a great first touch.

      He is also much better in the air than any of our forwards.

      If that along with his work ethic isn’t enough for us than I don’t know what else he can do or how much more Suarez can bring…

    4. I get that it’s trendy to crap on our players, but what makes anyone think that Suarez would fare any better in the compressed spaces that we face than Sanchez or Neymar?

      The only thing that Sanchez did this season was score 21 goals at a superior finishing rate to Messi, track back and defend like crazy, pass and run the pitch with purpose. He also contributed decisive goals for this club.

      No player will ever again be good enough for this group. We had the prototypical Barça 9 in Ibrahimovic, and even before he went rogue, when he and Messi were scoring goals for fun, he wasn’t good enough. It’s like life with cranky Goldilocks: “These beds ALL suck, and I hate porridge.”

      There was an excellent Messi analysis I read yesterday, in which scoring/conversion rates of the other players skyrocketed withOUT Messi. Does that mean that Messi is the problem? No, but it means that Messi is part of a potential solution to getting the best from the players that we have.

      As of right now, this team with Messi has been incompatible with Neymar, Villa, Sanchez and Ibrahimovic. Should we go ahead and add Suarez to that list now, assuming this club is morally bankrupt enough to sign a player who needs help, or should we admit that tactically, changes need to happen to enable the team to open up the attack for its key players?

      I understand that crapping on them is the preferred option. Sanchez is playing in the World Cup exactly as he played for Udinese. That means that Barça is the aberration. So does the player suck, or is the system not extracting the most from the player? This was a question that I asked in post form, that very few people seemed interested in answering.

      It still stands.

    5. I think there has been a lot of discussion here lately on how to best form a strategy based on the players we have, not the players Xavi and Iniesta used to be. In other words, that our current players are not used optimally.

      But there could surely be even more, of course. And I guess it takes a while to turn a negative trend on a forum…

      On Messi, it is a conundrum, no doubt. Alexis simply seems to lose confidence when Messi is on the pitch, too. As if he thinks that every time he loses the ball, giving it to Messi would have been the better option after all. And after a while this becomes default.

      I believe a key strategy for Enrique is introduce a more free tactic that is not hyper-focused on possession, but rather on speed and variety, and to combine this with clarifying that in order to have variation, Messi cannot be option 1, 2 and 3. I don’t know if making Messi the captain, as in Argentina, would a way of changing his focus (if it needs changing). It is not as if Argentina has become less Messidependent… But a playmaking role is for him, I think, necessary to liberate his fellow attackers.

    6. Agree 1000%. Note that Martino had such a strategy and the team was flying, then the negativity began (looka possission, not the Barça Way, etc.) and things regressed as we once began tried to ooze our way toward a logical, inexorable goal.

      When Messi was out and Sanchez and Neymar were raising hell, there was that “Wheeee!” factor that I talk about so much, that sense that it’s all being done on the fly, because it pretty much is.

      I think that we have players who get the ball and say “Hmmm, now what?” working with players who get the ball and already have things figured out for the next 3 passes. The two are often incompatible.

      Enrique’s task will be to reinstill the “Wheee” factor that wasa present in that Treble season, before the gradual fear of losing crept in. I wish him well in that endeavor.

    7. Certainly. I guess the good thing about Xavi leaving is we won’t be tempted to return to the Way when things don’t work out perfectly from day 1.

      I did note Martino’s strategy, and I remember mentioning on this site that I was much less worried about defense during these first months than for a long time. So…

  37. 1. Though I personally often do not agree with convention, biting is very different from head butting, punching, etc. Punching is considered masculine and normal while bitting falls under the perverse category. Many pundits have reflected comments I have made earlier that he should see a therapist.

    2. The punishment surely reflects Suarez’s serial bitting et. al. While I agree that it is harsh, he really didn’t leave FIFA with any choice. He bit a player for the third time during the world cup – a tournament where FIFA is going out of its way to advertise fair play. Think about it like this: if you punch a classmate on the playground you will probably get a few days free, but if you do it in the middle of an assembly, well, that’s going to piss some people off.

    3. I’d grab him if we ONE: keep Alexis, he is priority; TWO: get a massive price reduction because, frankly, he’s a liability; & THREE: if Messi is dropping back to play a traditional 10, with Neymar and Alexis on the wings.

    4. I’ll eat my shoe if it happens.

  38. It’s sad that Ghana will lose their key players due to disciplinary reasons. Why do they have to make a big deal over the payments? I would play for free for my country. I thought that it was an obligation and a matter for pride to play for your country until the last World Cup when a similar incident happened with another African country too.

    So they do get paid but why didn’t they solve the issue before the World Cup started so that the players can focus on the game.

    And just a few days ago Muntari was walking around donating money to the poor. Sad that he has to go after being so generous to the poor.

    1. Jesus Christ! The players demanded the money to be paid in cash, in Brazil!!

      What are they going to do with all the cash in Brazil? Don’t tell me they went to Brazil without any money in hand?

      Couldn’t they wait for it until they’re done with the World Cup? Or couldn’t they ask the Ghana FA to transfer the money into their bank accounts?


    2. I’ve been asking myself the same question ever since I saw that.

      And one has to remember that Brazil is one of worse places in the world to have $100-150K in cash on you or in your hotel room.

  39. A suitable punishment for Suarez. And add to that, Pepe’s rake/stomp of Casquero, stomp of Messi’s hand, etc should have been punished more severely. Just as bad.

    In fact, since we are in the mood of giving out suitable punishments, let’s just ban Pepe for a few months. Just because.

  40. I hope USA will go through. why was Donovan left out? Isn’t he USA’s key player? Does Klinsmann have beef with him?

    1. They did it! Next up, Belgium!

      Donovan didn’t have a great season from what I gathered, but you would think they had room for him on the bench. Can’t really argue with the results though, considering they’ve progressed unlike Spain, England, and Italy.

    2. Klinsmann has done an excellent job! Every time I see the US play, I just keep thinking what if Michael Bradley was just a little bit better.

  41. Sanchez said to Bravo, “I told him that I will welcome him to Barcelona with a hug.” That’s either one classy player, keeping his cards close to his vest, or he isn’t going anywhere. Let’s hope it’s the latter.

    Also a rumor that Sanchez’s performances in the World Cup have the board reconsidering his sale. Ultimately, it’s all rumor and conjecture until it isn’t, so who knows?

    1. Sorry, but how have Sanchez’s performances been any different from his time with Barca? Lots and lots of running (admirable in the Brazilian heat), some of like a headless chicken, and one tap in vs Australia. Vs Holland he kept hitting the wall, making dietro-front every time he was cornered. I’d say his performances match closely those with us throughout the season just over.

    2. Well, as long as we have Messi-non-pressy, we need someone to balance that. The running and work put in is not nothing. Also, to my mind he a good game against Spain, and did fairly well against Holland, where he was not properly helped by his team (with Vidal suspended). He is causing a stir with his movement, creating space for others, and he is capable of great through-balls AND poses a decent goal threat. Again, apart from all the running. It would be hard to find another player who combines these aspects with a similar quality. But it depends on what kind of tactic one prefers, too, of course. He has not worked ideally in our current system.

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