The Argentina Primer: You’re a Hot Mess…

…but I’m still into you.

 

Another confession: I don’t think Argentina will win the World Cup. Do I want them to? Of course, so please do not smite me where I stand, Albiceleste fans, but I don’t think they’ll win it; the reason being it’s unlikely you can win a World Cup with three players.

Okay, that’s harsh.

Three players and Lady Luck

This is particularly unfortunate given the relatively comfortable way Argentina qualified for the World Cup in arguably the most competitive confederation in international football. They’ve degenerated since then, with a string of shaky performances in this World Cup so far, becoming a sort-of Anti-Mexico. [Mexico qualified by the skin of their neighbour’s teeth and went on to have a great run. But you all know that already]. If Diego Maradona’s time as Argentina’s coach could be described as a bad acid trip (and it has hilariously by BFB’s Linda in an awesome post here), then Sabella’s tenure during this World Cup must be what a confused gentleman in the middle of a mosh pit must feel like.

A proper manager is in charge this time, the team should be and have been better, but alas they have been lacking on the world stage. They are comparable to both Brazil with a dearth of creative midfielders but without the defensive base of Thiago Silva and David Luiz (they have Gago, though) and Barcelona with their issues with transition defense. But let’s explore this via the CBC stream. First stop is the Iran match.

After the 5-3-2 debacle against Bosnia and Herzegovina, which in fairness wasn’t totally unwarranted considered their defense and Bosnia’s Dzeko and Pjanic, Sabella switched back the 4-3-3 that was used to great effect in qualifying. Feranando Gago, in the squad by virtue of being the only creative midfielder that can find Messi with regularity and hence irreplaceable, was back in his place in a 3-man midfield with Angel Di Maria and Mascherano with the forward line of Aguero, Higuain, Messi ahead of them.

At least, that was what it was in theory. In reality it looked like this:

1

Messi didn’t play in the hole, rather he was stationed on the right. Aguero and Higuain shared the same area of the pitch, and Di Maria often pulled wide left for width (and I don’t blame him as he is primarily a winger anyway). Gago stayed close to Messi on the right, and Mascherano was left alone in front of the defense.

Iran were well drilled and their discipline in defense was very impressive. They flooded the midfield, forcing Argentina to the wings where they struggled to build plays. For example, you can clearly see Iran’s packing the midfield here:

Sea of Red
Sea of Red

I’ll hightlight a couple of things about this picture below (apologies for the quality!):

2

You can see Messi (yellow circle) has dropped deep to see the ball, Gago (red circle) near him. With the two lines of red between them and Higuain/Aguero (underlined), you can just see it’ll be a long night.

Often when Mascherano got the ball, he’d have the scene below to deal with:

Screenshot 2014-06-28 23.39.57

Once again, I’ll highlight some things below:

3

He’s got three options here: there’s a lane to Gago, Messi or Di Maria, but they’re marked. The picture’s too small but the Iran player in front of Masche is organizing the defense and telling his teammates to stay compact and close off the lanes. Masche can also pass to Rojo, or he can pass back. He chooses Rojo and the ball doesn’t cross the halfway line for a while, pinging around the Argentine defense. That eats more time on the clock; no gaps open up because the Argentina players not named Messi or Di Maria are static in their position.

A right wing Messi (underlined in yellow) picking up the ball this far from goal is sadly a familiar sight with Argentina.

4

There are a couple of ways to advance forward: through a pass or through a dribble. The former needs solid positional play so there are players open to pass to; the latter is pretty self-explanatory, you need someone with the ability to beat the defenders.

With the majority of the Argentina players stationed along the wings, the only way to breach  the Iran defense was either through quick pass interplay between the Messi-Gago-Zabaleta triumvirate on the right or Di Maria-Kun-Rojo triumvirate on the left, or Messi/Di Maria would beat a couple Iran players with a dribble. With Di Maria so off form and having a huge workload on top of his offensive duties, the dribbling part was left to a Messi marked by at least three players.

This game seemed destined to end 0-0 and that would have been the fair result, but then the main part of Argentina’s game plan came out – individual brilliance from Messi – and they won 1-0.

(Moments of magic from Messi have been the way they’ve won nearly every match they played so far in the tournament.)

Here come the Super Eagles

In one of the more entertaining games of an entertaining competition, Vincent Enyeama and Nigeria rolled into town, hoping for a repeat of the last time these two team met. Or maybe just to troll Di Maria and win all our hearts, which they will succeed in.

In this game, Messi (circled in yellow) was central pretty much from the get-go:

5

Which makes me wonder if Sabella moved to right wing against Iran deliberately. In any case it was a far more open game. Nigeria were looser in the midfield than Iran, and Di Maria recovered some form as he put Enyeama to the test with some long range shots.

The big come away from this game that I got other than Enyeama is freaking delight is that Zabaleta got absolutely roasted by Musa time and time again. It got kind of embarrassing after a while. Musa’s job was to attack the channel between Zabaleta and Fernandez, and he did so to great effect for Nigeria. When Zabaleta either drifted too close to his CB or was caught out of position, Nigeria took advantage, as seen in Musa’s first goal.

 

Zabaleta caught, Musa cuts inside and scores
Zabaleta caught, Musa cuts inside and scores

how many goals could an argie score if an argie was out of form

Speaking of form, the lack of it may be the damaging aspect for Argentina. A lot of talk is rightly about Argentina’s forwards but outside Messi, they have started quite poorly. Di Maria’s loss of form may just been the universe continuing to right itself after La Decima, as he has been improving, and he has an excuse as a player with the most demanding role (outside maybe Mascherano) in Argentina’s formation, but Higuain and Aguero (injury) have also been lacking. This is killer because for Argentina’s “system” to work, they need  their forwards in top form and scoring, especially since they don’t track back to help out the defense.

Though it’s known that Argentina’s defense is average it bears repeating that they’re really not that good. Zabaleta often has the most time and space on the ball, but his delivery and overall contribution has been very lacking. Rojo is similar story on the opposite flank (but considering he plays his trade as a LCB at Sporting Lisbon it’s more understandable). They leave a lot space behind when they move forward, which leaves Mascherano more space to defend, as Gago is quite slow and isn’t able to track back effectively.

Lucas Biglia or Enzo Perez?

Argentina need to maximize their strengths and if possible minimize their weaknesses. That’s true for all teams but Argentina are doing neither at the moment. Their defense, no matter how many numbers are in it, is still shaky.  If Argentina’s real strength is their attack, they have to give their forwards more support. Gago is overloaded in that department.  True, Argentina have stopped producing creative midfielders and I doubt Sabella will make changes against Switzerland but if he were to make some and for some freakish reason he’d take my suggestions…

Well. I’d probably add another midfielder. What can I say? Barca DNA.

I confess not to have watched many Serie A games this season, so how Lucas Biglia performed for Lazio is a question mark. But I did see Benfica in Europa League and the 2013/14 season in general has been a historic one for them. Enzo Perez was considered by Benfica’s coach Jorge Jesus as the brain of the team and the most difficult player to replace. He’s not bad defensively and slotting him beside Gago in the midfield would help with building attacks, and take a load off Di Maria.

Sounds great but there are of course trade offs. This sounds nuts, but it’s not like they haven’t used this formation in qualifiers. A 3-5-2:

Lavezzi – Higuain

Di-Maria – Enzo Perez – Messi – Gago

Mascherano

Rojo – Garay  –  Fernandez

Rojo is Sabella’s guy, so he wouldn’t take him out for anything. On the plus side he is a LCB for his club Sporting Lisbon, so to play him on the far left of a back 3 wouldn’t be that big of a shock.

Just something I’d like to see but we probably won’t. Too late to experiment and Sabella will go with the tried and true method of hoping Messi creates something from nothing. He’s already done it twice (at least).

those yellow boots

One real convenience that comes with footballers and their multicoloured cleats is that it makes them pretty easy to identify on grainy streams if you know what colour cleats they wear. During the two matches, I kept noticing that whenever Iran or Nigeria won the ball and started their counter, an Argentina player with neon yellow cleats would always be on them in an instant. Not only that, said player would usually be the one to actually win the ball from the Iranian or Nigerian player, despite other Argentinean defenders swarming around.

I dubbed the Argentina player with neon yellow cleats as the ‘Get stuff done’ guy since, uh, he seemed to be the one that really got stuff done. Alternatively, he was like the garbage man, running from touchline to touchline picking up loose balls or winning em. It’s a dirty, tiring, thankless job but someone’s gotta do it. Well, there are 4 other people that got to do it, too, but only one that can consistently win the ball.

In breaking news surprising absolutely no one, that player is Javier Mascherano. But outside the role of resident garbage man, Masche could also be called The Organizer. He’s very, very vocal on the pitch and is always instructing teammates on this or telling them to watch out for that, pointing them here or there. El Jefecito, The Little Boss, indeed.  (I’d actually upgrade him to El Jefe, period)

I knew intellectually that he does that on the pitch, but it’s one thing to read about it and another to see it. The speed in going from touchline to touchline to get the ball is incredible. One second he’d be in the opponent’s half, the next he’s collecting the ball near Argentina’s corner flag.

Mascherano is currently doing the job we’re used to see Busquets do for Barcelona and given how well that went for us this season… I’m not sure Mascherano will be able to take on two or three players every game. Maybe he can with Switzerland but if, knock on a lot of wood, Argentina face Netherlands in the semifinals…

But of course, first come the Swiss.

Switzerland in the middle

I think they won’t be as disciplined as Iran but they won’t be as loose as Nigeria, either.  There have been reports that Argentina are practicing set pieces and penalties in training (as opposed to taking a rest day or doing practice matches). Not to put too much weight in such things, but it doesn’t surprise me. Those appear to be Argentina’s best chances to score outside a Messi golazo off a Di Maria dribble from a ball-winning Mascherano’s cross-field pass.

Switzerland seem to have trouble scoring themselves but with really only Mascherano to beat during their transition from defense to offense, it’d fancy a couple of good scoring opportunities. Whether they get the goal depends on which Romero shows up – the one from the Iran game or the one that’s backup keeper at Monaco.

This is how they’ll probably line up (in red):

Screenshot 2014-06-29 23.22.40

Against France, though, they were done in by pushing their full-backs too high and being caught on the counter. Many of France’s goals came from wide areas, which will be to Argentina’s advantage if Lavezzi, likely to start, can improve his passes in the final third.

Even if this is the World Cup as imagined by internet trolls, I don’t think it’ll be a free scoring affair.

 

[H/T to @Emenderk for the Messi picture]

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater New York City area with his wife and daughter.

288 Comments

  1. July 2, 2014

    I don’t understand why bitting is rated as so atrocious. I really find it to be juvenile, perhaps sexual.

    I do not understand how people can make the leap of murder from bitting someone during, and I stress, game. That is hyperbolic to the maximum.

    Obviously, there needs to be an in game penalty for biting, but I don’t think biting someone equates to an inner evil.

    Most of the stars we see game in an out are arrogant, selfish chits, who you would probably not want to have a beer with. They have terrible taste and haggle over millions of dollars. Athletes are generally not the best role models. Nor should they be set on pedestals of morality. Football is a game/entertainment. We, the masses, use it as a catharsis, while the owners and players rake in millions viz-a-viz our addictions.

    Anyway, if Suarez, Messi, and Neymar can link up. then I think we will be a serious threat next year. Tactically, it seems like a risk, but with a high pay off, and what’s more, we need some risks. Our play has become predictable. I am willing to bet that most Real Madrid fans are absolutely dreading a Suarez move to BCN.

    • Inamess1
      July 2, 2014

      I wish I were trying to be hyperbolic. It has to do with probabilities and the situations Suarez finds himself in. In no way am I even making a judgment about the guy’s character. He may be a nice guy and even a good teammate too as Simpson and Pistorius may have been.

      What we do know is that past behavior is the best predictor of the future. What I see is a guy with tremendous impulse control problems who is one moment of seeing red away from ending his career.

      Is biting or making borderline racist remarks a problem? Yes, because at this point if he does it again, he will be permanently banned from the game and we will have flushed 80 mil down the toilet and become the laughing stock of world football. It would make the Ibra transfer look like a productive one. We can then continue debates about the morality of biting but I think like Liverpool fans the debates will eventually succumb to sheer disgust and resignation.

      What makes me embarrassed is that we are probably the only club desperate and stupid enough to buy this player at close to what he would have cost us before his World Cup bite. My reaction afterwards would have been thank God that we didn’t make such a poor decision. Obviously those in charge at the club and many Barca fans see it differently. A drunk driver may not cause a fatal accident, but any club that pays millions to have him drive the team bus is just acting recklessly.

      Unfortunately, I anticipated that this would happen much as it actually has. For those interested in seeing what may come next:

      http://www.barcablaugranes.com/2014/7/2/5864821/the-redemption-of-luis-suarez-blaugrana-style

      There is almost no way to even be too cynical or satirical about our club’s decisions anymore because our board almost always beats you to it.

    • BA
      July 2, 2014

      that’s another excellent point: IF Suarez does it again, either biting or racially abusing another player, he will almost certainly face a huge ban and we will be out a significant amount of money. the figure being talked about, €70m is a ludicrous gamble on such a, at the very least, unstable player.

      i simply don’t understand the attitude of these cules who are rushing to his defense. his on-pitch actions render him a scumbag. period. end of. normal, balanced people do not bite others and tell them they can’t talk to them because they’re black. that is inexcusable behavior, and some cules must have (pardon my language) lost their goddamn minds to start trying to defend it. Suarez will never have my support whether he becomes one of our players or not, because i don’t support unhinged racists.

      this is the same old “talented person exception” that people make to excuse the behavior of Roman Polanski or OJ Simpson. i for one don’t care how talented they are in their given field, if they’re scumbags, they’re scumbags. so it is with Luis Suarez.

    • G6O
      July 2, 2014

      Once again, nobody is defending the behavior. The objection is to the view that the behavior in question outweighs the purely footballing qualities of the player.

    • July 2, 2014

      Think of the pressure at Barca. The question will be when will he bite, not if. Think if it happens at a Clasico!

    • KEVINO17
      July 2, 2014

      Think of Suarez playing week in and week out against parked buses! That will keep him cool, not.

    • July 2, 2014

      Considering his last two biting incidents happened against teams which frustrated him with defending, may be we will see him going on a biting rampage.

      As far as Buses are concerned, Let me guess; Saurez was the person who destroyed the bus which Chelsea parked at their end at Anfield? May be I was dreaming, as I couldn’t see him doing anything against Chelsea’s parked bus.

    • July 2, 2014

      I guess that we are just going to have to agree to disagree.

      I don’t think biting is that bad, certainly no different than punching or kicking, unless one were to, say, bite someone’s ear off. The difference is that it is taboo because 1. people are anthropocentric and are wont to say: “that is animalistic.” Here I will remind everyone again that we are animals. 2. It is rather sexual. Freud would have a field day with Suarez I’m sure.

      The only thing similar to OJ and Suarez is that they are/were both Athletes.

      Furthermore, I think that Barça’s lawyers will prepare something in a contract, should it happen, to deal with a further biting situation. No worries there for me.

    • BA
      July 2, 2014

      excusing the biting, sure. care to deal with the racism, then?

    • July 2, 2014

      I don’t know enough about it. If it happened it’s inexcusable though.

  2. KEVINO17
    July 2, 2014

    Barca have supposedly offered 87 million for Suarez; Arsenal have offered 25 million for Alexis (and have reached personal terms with him).
    Has the world gone mad?

    • July 2, 2014

      This news makes me feel like throwing up.

  3. July 2, 2014

    I always wondered why the Uruguayan public went so mad defending Saurez after an incident as horrid as this one. Reading comments here, I think I understand. We always defend the ones whom you feel are close to us, regardless of what they have done.

    Here is a man who has been playing in Europe for 7 years and have already had three biting incidents. And from what we know before he left Uruguayan shores he was charged with physically assaulting a referee. And we may not know how many more incidents have happened before that. But what is not to be argued is that Saurez is of extremely violent nature. If you look at the three biting incident, there was hardly any provocation – he simply lost it. Even Zidane could say he was provoked into headbutting. In Saurez case he simply went that his frustration by biting the player who frustrated him more. Now think what will happen at Barca, against whom even the best of sides employ a strategy of frustrating him. The fun part is if someone files a complaint saying allowing Saurez to play football is dangerous to players, it may have a high chance of success. And I simply believe it’s time he was banned for ever. Once you do it by mistake, but three times and assaulting referee… this guy is a threat.

    What worries more is the excuses put forward by people here justifying the signing.
    ” the behavior in question outweighs the purely footballing qualities of the player”

    What kind of justification is that? How does an excellent goal over shadow biting a person? Is it actually possible to compare this? And people like Peter are justifying this for only one reason, cause it’s a board signing! The fan boys of the board will go to whatever extent to justify it. The funny part is that the same person where shouting here how our players were getting unfairly kicked at by players. Now they are cheering for a guy who actually bits them! Wonderful!!!!

    There was a time when I thought the “Mes Que un Club” actually meant nothing. But with the introduction of Rosell and a lot of other things I am convinced that this has been reduced to just a marketing gimmick. And this signing would be the final nail in the coffin.

    And I am one who thinks this signing will not work tactically at all. And at 70 Million this is a a signing which will fail spectacularly.

  4. July 2, 2014

    I’m sure Peter will respond for himself, but I think there are several different points being argued at once. I support the signing of Suarez from a tactical perception, and I don’t really think about capital M morality and sport in the same sentence. That is two different points that I am making in the same sentence. Obviously, the biting relates to the tactics, specifically because of the point you, and others have made, namely that he will be harassed. However, apart from the previous bite, he was fine last year. It’s a risk, but it might pay off.

    Trading Alexis for Suarez is a different entity entirely. I do not support the board, but I am trying to be an optimist here, and I am frankly pretty excited about all the action so far this summer.

    There was so much negativity this past season, and I don’t think we should start now. There is nothing wrong with giving a player a chance. Suarez might do well in blaugrana. Who knows.

    Neymar took a salary raise knowing that it meant the cancellation of Santo’s entire women’s program. That makes him a selfish misogynist in my book. How does paying an exorbitant amount of money for him reflect the club? ‘Mes que un club’ is a slogan for a business. It’s an attempt to invent identity in order to create brand loyalty for a product.

    • July 2, 2014

      At 70 Million you can’t test the player. He better works. For some reason all our high value signing have bombed spectacularly earlier. The kind of pressure he is at Liverpool especially this Liverpool is different from the one you will find at Barca. And add to that the price tag!

    • July 2, 2014

      Also by the way, if we sign him we do have the top three guys not pressing much!

    • July 2, 2014

      That’s a good point actually. I guess Enrique is going to have a lot of work to do. Ideally this move is only happening because it’s what he wants and/or Alexis wants out.

    • KEVINO17
      July 3, 2014

      Does he want it? Or is he (first year coach) acquiescing. I mean, if someone comes up to you and say they will get Suarez, why wouldn’t he say yes? I mean, it’s not his money they’re using.
      I think all this stuff about Alexis preferring to stay at Barca is crap. He desperately wants out, but doesn’t want to look disloyal.

    • KEVINO17
      July 3, 2014

      Wow, my grammar sucked on that one

    • July 3, 2014

      Absolutely Kevino17. Most of our recent big signings looks like Board saying “I can sign X player, do you like to have him” rather the other way around.

      I think the last player we signed as demanded by the coach could be Ibra. May be that debacle is causing this.

    • Jamal102
      July 2, 2014

      Justification for the Suarez signing from a “tactical perspective” is pure drivel. We are gambling on our player who is unproven to break down buses, (Chelsea vs Liverpool games all season.

      Moreover, he is the focal point for all of Liverpool’s attacks and incase you’ve forgotten that role is occupied by Messi until he retires. Just ask Neymar and Alexis who are more than capable of atleast replicating some Messi magic in the middle.

      If football was only about tactics, than I would honestly prefer golf. Football is a sport where we can admire the likes of Manchester United for signing a homeless Bebe, where a cancerous Abidal can be allowed to lift the champions league trophy, where Iniesta can take the time, in the midst of his emphatic celebrations, to remind and edify millions of men, women and children of his deceased friend Dani Jarque.

      It angers me so much when people look at football as simply a game of chess with no emotion, no morals needed. Just tactics.

      If this is the case, why should we not attempt to sign Pepe.
      He’s one of the best CBs in our league.

      Why shouldn’t we try to clinch Raul as a new coach for Barca B. Eusebio brings mixed results and I’m sure Raul will use his experience with the Castilla to help us out.

      Carjaval swap for Dani Alves anyone?
      Atleast Carjaval has accurate crosses right??

      The addition of sponsors to our club signified the early deterioration of morals at our club. At the time, I thought it was justified in order to gain more revenue for a club sinking in debt. However, now I realize it was one of Rosell’s earliest sins that would foreshadow the rest of our misfortunes. Our president resigned for F’s sake.

      The Suarez bandwagon after a good game against England is leaving me to irate for words. I’m so done with this subject.

  5. KEVINO17
    July 3, 2014

    I must say, that if Alexis does go to Arsenal, he could really transform that team. If he plays the way he does for Chile, he could really knit the whole ensemble together. Ozil, Cazorla, Wilkshire, Ramsay, Walcott, Podorski. Might just be the engine part that Wenger has been missing.

  6. July 3, 2014

    I just think we had a big problem scoring goals last season. I didn’t necessarily want Suarez, but it looks like he’s coming, and I’d rather be positive about it.

    I like Alexis a lot, but I agree, he’d be great at Arsenal. He’d be silly not to make that move. It’s also not bad business for Barcelona.

  7. KEVINO17
    July 3, 2014

    As some have mentioned above: Barca will have three “strikers” and not much of a forward press. I suspect this will be a new and very different Barca, a long way from the tiki-taka/high press of the Guardiola era.

    • July 3, 2014

      Umm, not too sure why peope think that Suarez won’t press. Pressing high up the pitch was a staple of Liverpool’s style last season (in fact Rodgers very much tried to emulate the first few Barca years under Pep) and Suarez was leading the line in terms of pressing. Say what you will about the guy from a moral standpoint but he works his ass off on the pitch. It is that insatiable drive and hunger to win that leads him to lose his head and do stupid things.

      Look, it seems like he is coming, like it or not. If it was up to me I would keep Sanchez and buy another no 9, but its not up to me, it is up to the coach and the board that the FANS elected. I have to deal with that, as do all the other fans. I love my club, so I am going to trust that the coach at least knows what he is doing and that if he wants Suarez he has a plan for him both tactically and from a more human perspective. Luis Enrique is a hard man, he doesnt mess around, very similar to Simeone in that way and that excites me a lot. If he believes that can control Suarez, and I think he does, otherwise he wouldnt approve of the signing (there are some that say he is the one pushing the most for it), then I am inclined to take a wait and see attitude because one thing I am not going to do is hate a player who plays for Barca because of things he has done at other clubs. For all we know he comes and doesn’t do anything wrong and scores tons of goals.

      If he is coming, which it seems is pretty likely, then it makes more sense to me to give him the benefit of the doubt and hope that he keeps his head than worry about how many people he is going to bite this season.

      Oh and regarding the point about facing parked buses. Not sure how many of you have seen Liverpool play, but I watched pretty much all of their games last season. They played a very similar style to Barca, press high, keep possession, etc. Obviously with nowhere near the same quality but definitely the most entertaining team to watch in the prem. They faced a lot of parked buses and this idea that Suarez only trives in space is a complete falacy, in fact he is one of the best players I have seen in confined spaces outside of Barca. He is highly intelligent and extremely good with his feet. Whenever Liverpool have had to play parked buses he is always the one who either unlocks or gets the closest to unlocking the door. People will say “oh but he didnt score against chelsea”. Yeah, Messi has NEVER scored against Chelsea in god knows how many games, and he plays for a team that is miles better and he is the best player the world has possibly ever seen. Would you not sign him because he struggles against a parked bus? Ronaldo never scored a league goal against Chelsea either btw so I dont think that is the best measuring stick!

    • Jim
      July 3, 2014

      A measured and sensible post, Hilal. I’m with you on Suarez’s pressing. He’s not one of those who go missing when things aren’t going well and he is another who has the ability to change a game on his own. I’m interested in your comment about Liverpool facing parked buses though. I didn’t really see that although to be fair most of my watching was through highlights. What I did see is a player capable of playing in the smallest gaps which I feel is what we need. At any rate, much has been made of the need to give LE the power to do as he feels with the side so if he is pushing, as he must be, I’m content to give it a go.

      On the minus side, I wonder how the players will react? As winners, again, of the fair play award I’m sure the same feelings as expressed here will run through the squad. Times like this we’ll miss Puyol.

    • July 3, 2014

      To be honest Suarez’s impact in the dressing room doesnt worry me. From what I have heard his teammates at Liverpool say he is a great player to have in the dressing room. He doesnt cause problems, he is a family man who trains hard and gives absoutely everything on the pitch, obviously he loses control and takes it too far at times, but that all stems from a desire to win at all costs, no matter what. Frankly, that is something that the team needs right now and IF he can be controlled (its a big a big if) then I believe he will be a huge asset to the team.

      Time will tell..

    • Jim
      July 3, 2014

      I have no doubt he will behave. I just wonder what the reaction to his arrival would be from our players. Would they be happy just to accept him or will there be a frostiness to start with ?

  8. Peter
    July 3, 2014

    I don’t know how to start this.

    Until today I didn’t know I was considered to be the poster boy for the “board’s fanboy” crowd. In all honesty I don’t consider myself to be. At best it’s my optimism that things will get better, and the support for the good things the board has done. Anyway, neither here nor there.
    What is both here and there is the fact that some commentators here seem to be a priori against anything the board does, simply because it’s this board. Here’s my allegation then, and I will not repeat it, nor respond in reference to it, nor discuss it in any way: Some people are so blinded by their hatred that they consider every argument against their view to be blind love for the corrupt overlords. That type of blindness in my view could only be aggravated by shooting oneself in the face with a shotgun loaded for bear.

    As for Suarez’s signing, some commentators have equalled the Suarez biting people with OJ Simpson and Pistorius. This is not even ridiculous, it’s just plain pathetic. Actually, there’s a term for that: insane troll logic.

    For the record, I don’t think Suarez is exactly what Barcelona needs in tactical terms, but I’m not too well informed to offer an alternative. Normally I would offer Llorente, but I have seen just plain offensive statistics for him, nothing more. There is one reason why Suarez is who Lucho wants, and it comes from the recent awesome 538’s article about the impossible Messi: Suarez is the only player who attempts anywhere near the quantity of take ons that Messi attempts.

    For the record, I don’t want to see Alexis leave. I think he can work both in a 4-2-3-1 formation and a 4-3-3 formation, especially if the other strikers also work their asses off like he does. Selling Alexis for Suarez is a misguided attempt to balance the accounts. Selling Alexis is a misguided idea. Unless of course the man wants to leave for more money or a more capital role. Then the price for sitting down is 25 million Euro. Not the transfer price – a non-refundable fee to get Barcelona to the table and hear out the actual offer.

    I still haven’t gotten an answer to a question that I asked months ago. Why is it that when a successful player is signed, it’s the genius of Guardiola/Txiki/Laporta, but when it’s an unsuccessful player or a player that the fan doesn’t like, it’s Zubi’s fault or the fault of the inept corrupt board? When it was announced that Barcelona are going for Claudio Bravo, the web pages of MD and Sport exploded with “Zubi, you idiot, you’re going to sign that tiny chilean fumble when you can sign Courtois!!!!”. The last poll in MD/Sport asked who should be the starting keeper of Barcelona and Bravo got the majority of votes – from those same readers. Not that Zubi will get any credit for that, since the feat is acknowledged in an off-handed manner, buried amid the “You suck for not signing defenders and Pogba/Reus/Kroos/James!!!”

    So how’s it gonna go, my fellow culers, everybody’s awesome unless they play in Barcelona or they are signed by the current oppressors?

    • July 3, 2014

      Good post. I, like you, find the hatemongering of the current board quite ridiculous. Yes, they get things wrong, they also get things right. Actually if you look purely at transfers, the current board has done just as well, if not better than the previous board. Sanchez (who everyone now wants to keep) was signed by the current board. Last season the board was stupid for signing him this season stupid for selling him. Yeah. OK.

      I would love it if we kept Sanchez, but my instict tells me he wants out and frankly who could blame him. He is far too good of a player to be stuck out on the wing limited tactically by what the team needs. The problem, is that I do not think, given the players we have that he will ever be able to truly thrive at Barca, which is a great shame. With that in mind, it makes sense to let him leave, get as much as possible for him and invest it in an attacker who can hopefully be allowed to excel in his position. Is that player Suarez? I dont know, on paper it seems that way, but you never know. It is a big risk, but this is a big risk game.

      All I can do is hope that LE knows what he is doing and that he has a plan. That he sees all the problems that we all see and that he has a vision for this team. If that vision includes Suarez but doesnt include Sanchez then so be it. I will support my team all the way.

    • Peter
      July 3, 2014

      Let’s face it, signing someone for millions in order to play ball is a high-risk idea. The guy can break a leg, twist a knee, start partying and making it rain in Ibiza for days on end, decide he’s the best thing since history began to be recorded, slack off, etc.

      In any case, if Sanchez is to be sold, then he should be sold for premium and he should get double his current wages.
      Suarez is being reported in what the Brits still persist in calling “press” to cost 88 million Euro. If that’s the case then I certainly hope the money available exceeds 140 million, because for now neither Valencia is budging from the 20m for Mathieu, nor is PSG backing down from the 40m for Marquinhos.

    • July 3, 2014

      I like Suarez as he seems to be the only player not named Messi, who even attempts and is successfull at times, in doing things within a telephone booth of space. Other than the biting incidents, we have only heard good things about him. Now that, we have ads on every part of our jerseys other than the players undies, and we are not mesqueunclub anymore, so why not, lets get him. My wish is the club will first sign and fill our defense line, before we go for yet another marquee signing.

      Since there has been so much discussion here about Suarez, I think this article is worth reading. Forgive me, if someone has already mentioned here.
      http://www.lacelesteblog.com/?p=11134

    • July 3, 2014

      Thanks for the link. That is a really great article. As much as I hate what Suarez did, I do think the reaction has been over the top, especially in the British press. I live in London so hear and read the worst of it and it really is a bunch of sensationalism.

    • Lord Eddard Stark aka Brichimbrodvoken, the vulnerable one
      July 3, 2014

      This is what I find extremely appalling.

      – There was a time, only a couple of years back, when Barca were lauded for playing in a certain way, with values and a clear philosophy and a bottom up approach that took time and dedication. Our Masia model was the polar opposite of say the EE model.

      – It appears that all the other clubs have adopted some principles from the winning-est Barca – from both a sporting and management perspective, whereas we somehow have deviated from what appeared to be unflinching principles and have regressed to a very short sighted, soul sell out model. How did this happen? And so Quick?

      – The past year we have been accused of committing tax fraud, shady and corrupt dealings leading upto the acquisition of Neymar and have also had a president step down to avoid a shit storm. To add to this, FIFA even called a transfer ban on the ‘club that could do no wrong’ for poaching young kids. Club legends like Valdes wanted out for reasons we still don’t know. It is safe to say that the club’s reputation has been tarnished beyond imagination.

      – What happens next when We are currently facing a ban? We try to sign a most hated player who himself is facing a ban from playing football due to his unsportsmanlike like behavior. I don’t know about you, but I find all this so laughable it makes me cry. It appears as though we are deliberately trying to destroy every good perception of this club. By we, I am referring to the board.

      – Suarez may work for Barca. But at what cost? 88M? What about all the bad PR? The potential imbalance in the dressing room? But most importantly the dire consequences of getting rid of a top quality team player reaching his peak to make way to Tyson? It just is simply not worth it in my opinion.

    • G6O
      July 3, 2014

      Unfortunately, the one thing La Masia is not known for producing is strikers. So it will be a bit difficult to stick to our principles when we need a striker. There is talent coming through the ranks that MIGHT fix that problem in a few years time but in the here and now, we have no other option but buying one from the outside if we need one, as I think we do need one. We have discussed how after the 2008-09 season we lost both Henry and Eto’O (technically Henry left in 2010, but he was not much of a factor that season) and we only replaced one of them, false 9 or no false 9.

      Are we on our way to abandoning the principles that made us so successful – yes, here I agree with you. However, both the Neymar purchase and the eventual Suarez signing actually have very little to do with that, and we would not be having this conversation if it was not for everything else that happened.

  9. July 3, 2014

    One point I really want to address is this notion of “Mes Que Un Club” and how fans seem to think it means we are somehow morally superior to other teams or that it means we should be. That is fundamentally incorrect. The concept of Mes Que Un Club is politically motivated and linked to Catalan independence. Barca is more than a club because it stands for Catalan independence and it is a symbol of their struggle against the “oppressive Madrid capital”. The notion that “More Than a Club” means that Barca is “better” than other clubs is something that fans have concocted as a way to perch themsevles up and look down on other fans and say “well, we are more than a club, we have principles that we stand for”. That somehow selling sponsorship on the shirt or that buying players who are thought of as “dirty” will besmurch the good name of Barca. The same fans conveniently forget that much loved players like Busquetz are considered among the dirtiest in the world by other fans. He was also accused of being a racist, very similar to the Suarez incident. It didnt get as much press as the Suarez incident because racism in Spain is not made as big a deal of as it should be. But if Barca is so much more of a club then why didnt they make a big deal out of it themselves? Where was the outcry then? Where was the denouncement? If we were so much more than a club why wasnt he sold or benched or at least fined? Stoichkov is a Barca legend also well known for being very dirty. Fine, he didnt bite anyone, but there are far worse things that can be done on the a pitch. The idea that biting somebody is not “Mes Que Un Club” but that racist comments, bad tackles, diving or whatever else is not as bad. It just doesnt fly. I hate to break it to you all but Barca is not perceived as a morally superior club, the only thing other clubs aspire to emulate at Barca is its youth production policy and playing style. Nobody looks at Barca and thinks, “wow, there is a club who does things the right way, look how moral they are.” If anything most fans outside of Barca look at the players as a bunch of divers and cheats who go down too easy and get favourable decisions from refs all the time. “Uefalona”

    So this delusion that Barca is somehow better than every other club and that signing a player like Suarez would somehow make us less of a club is something I cannot comprehend. Mainly because I see how people outside the club view Barca and it is mostly negative. Some of this is due to the sporting success of the club but also because on the pitch Barca does genuinly do things like diving and feigning injury that are considered non sporting. If Barca was so superior they wouldn’t dive, they wouldn’t feign injury, they would never make any dangerous tackles, they certainly wouldnt have any players who would make racist comments or imitate the ref’s whistle to make an attacker think he is offside. So really, this concept that selling space on the shirt to sponsors or signing players who have a history of bad behaviour is somehow not in line with the general nature of the club is a complete falacy.

    Barca is a football club, not some sort of moral compass for others to follow. It is a club that aspires to win playing good football and tries, as best it can, to nurture its youth products and built a team around a core of Masia graduates. That is what makes the club special. Not some notion that the club is somehow better than anyone else because it has higher values, because frankly it doesn’t and never really has.

    So this arguament that Suarez should not be signed because he is not “worthy” of a club like Barca holds no water for me. That is not to say I cannot see the negatives in signing him, there are plenty of them, plenty of risks, plenty of potential problems, but those are football related issues.

    • Lord Eddard Stark aka Brichimbrodvoken, the vulnerable one
      July 3, 2014

      Then you must have a pretty low account of the club you support.

      Thats all i can say. Maybe you don’t hold the club to some high standards. Thats fine by me. I guess there are a lot of fans that are in it for the fine football, who will just as easily move on, when there is a lack of it.

      Unfortunately I fell in love with the club for a lot of other things as well. The way they did things more than what they did. All this talk of mes que un club or supposed moral high ground for me, was never at all, something to brag about or compare with other clubs. My club was unique. It also stood (or appeared to stand, whichever way you want to look at it) for values I subscribe to.

    • July 3, 2014

      Actually I think very highly of my club, I love my club and I think they are the best in the world. However this is from a sporting point of view and not a moral point of view because a football club is not a moral entity, it is a sporting entity. Even if it was a moral entity, as you obviously believe it is (and have every right to do so), my issue then becomes frankly, that Barca does not have a moral superiority to anyone else. Barca players do all the same “immoral” things that other players do at other clubs to try and gain and advantage on the pitch. This is not something that started with the new board, it has been that way since I started supporting the club (10+ years). So this is nothing particularly new. You said you fell in love with this club for a lot of other things as well. Could you list those things, and more specifically how they have changed.

      Let me pre-empt your response by saying if you list not having a shirt sponsor to explain what it is exactly about that, that you love so much?

    • July 3, 2014

      Your assessment of the “mes que un club” breakdown is spot on.

      As for Busquets, you remember the row here I am sure, the debate and the anger. It went unresolved, and the club essentially said “Lalalala I’m not listening,” until it went away. I am sure you are also aware of the guff that some of us took for railing against the incident, as well as how the player and club dealt with it.

      As for Suarez, for me the question is not whether HE is worthy. I am sure that if we delved into the backgrounds of players, there would be a lot of stuff found that we’d rather not see. The issue for me is that this isn’t the club that I fell in love with.

      Equating the things that Suarez did to diving, dangerous tackles and imitating a ref’s whistle is for me, false equivalence. Even if you say okay, the studs-up challenges, etc are no more than any other hard-nosed player does, and he really meant it lovingly when he called Evra “Negrito” in the heat of an argument, it’s still a player who on three separate occasions, bit an opponent.

      In all three instances, there was little remorse shown. There has also been a history of denial, despite evidence to the contrary, etc. All because he can score goals.

      This board is making yet another disgusting decision solely to save its hides. Meanwhile, the club still has only 2 CBs. It’s vile on a sporting and behavioral level.

      Finally, like the people who made money betting that Suarez would bite someone in this very World Cup, mark it down: He is going to cost Barça. He has missed what, 40 matches under suspension for Liverpool? Why? He isn’t being singled out, or harassed. He is a repeat offender who then chooses to deny it, time and again, or shift the blame. “The English press hate me.” “Chiellini rammed his shoulder into my mouth.” “I didn’t refuse to shake Evra’s hand.”

      The question goes beyond morality. Does this club have a soul, or has it sold that to Qatar, as well? As each day passes, we become more like RM. Maybe we were always closer than anyone wants to admit, anyhow, and the kid gloves are off now.

    • July 3, 2014

      See, in my mind ‘the soul’ doesn’t exist in the first place. I would like the club to have transparency and less corruption though! But any idea of some sort of moral base is, at least for me, misplaced.

      Anyway, the very act of allows members to vote makes FCB a bit more of a club in my mind. But I’m sure my political ideas have been coming through.

    • July 3, 2014

      I actually agree with a lot of what you have to say. The only place where we differ is on the concept of a club having a “soul”, as you put it. FC Barcelona is not a living entity with a conscious so I cannot personally understand the concept if it having a soul. I would really like to understand this a bit more. What exactly is it about Barca selling its shirt or stadium name that makes it “soulless” or to put it another way, what would make the fact that it refused to sell its shirt or stadium name, give it more of a soul. To me, and maybe I am being too logical here (that is my nature), it doesnt make any sense whatsoever not to take full advantage of the clubs extremely powerful marketing potential. Why put yourself at a disadvantage to every other club in the world by not taking full advantage of the financial opportunities available to you? Not having a shirt sponsor, not selling the naming right means less revenue, which means less money to spend on players and on the sporting project. Where is the logic in NOT doing any of that? How does it help the team win? How does it make the team better? Even on a conceptual “moral” level, how is is better? That is where I really just dont get it.

      The difference for me between Barca and RM is not a matter of shirt sponsors, or naming rights or trying to get the most out of the marketing potential available to the club. That is just good business (and this is a business). The difference is in the sporting philosophy and where Madrid want to buy their way to success Barca believe in building a strong core of Masia bred players complemented by exceptional players that cannot be found at La Masia. Barca have always been a club that have spent big on the right players, this is nothing new. That for me the is the difference and that is not something that I see changing to be honest. That would worry me a lot more.

      On Suarez. I do not defend what he does. If it were up to me we wouldnt sign him. My point is that it is not up to me, and no matter what I will choose to believe that if we sign him we can get the best out of him and that he can be controlled. Yes he clearly has some mental issue and imulse control problems, but frankly MOST football players have impulse control problems. It is how they manifest those problems that is the big difference. Some go for dangerous tackles, some throw punches or elbows and some evidently bite. If we were to not sign any player with impulse control problems we wouldnt have a very big pool of players to choose from. The questions for me is how can the club control those problems, because they can be controlled. Life if not black and white, it all shades of grey, and I do not believe in the notion that he did it before he definitely will do it again. Very bad people, who have done much worse things, have turned their lives around. I do not see why a player who has a tendency to manifest his frustration in the wrong way cannot find a better way to manifest them. It is just a matter of educating and teaching that player how to control himself better. It is not impossible and if we are going to sign him I would like to believe the club will do everything in its power to support that education.

    • July 3, 2014

      Glad you chipped in today Hilal! I can’t agree with you more.

      Everyone is entitled to enjoy/believe whatever they want about their club and country. Some of us here might lean a bit more toward cynicism. That does not mean we do not like Barcelona and less than others.

      Some people have different standards of morality as well, something which is impossible to objectify. But really, with all the actual shit that happens every day: rape, murder, corruption, drone strikes, terrorism, mega-greed, etc., how is public enemy number one a guy who bit someone’s shoulder during a match/called someone negrito once. Keep in mind, if you ever say, “you gipped me!, that’s retarded/gay, etc” you are committing the same ‘sin.’ Hell, when I order a negroni I am too.

      I am not trying to downplay racism here, but there is a major difference between Suarez and Donald Sterling.

      Anyway, let’s keep the respect between ourselves and acknowledge that different people will inevitable bring different perspectives to the table.

    • July 3, 2014

      Actually, he bit someone three times. Not once. And showed exactly zero contrition.

      In the overall scheme of things, none of this matters. It’s people chattering about the exploits of millionaires running around on a manicured field.

      People will use all sorts of false equivalence to justify this. But as I said, if Andy Carroll or Cristian Tello had done what Suarez did, they would be out of football right now.

      I wish that people would simply say, “I don’t care about any of his transgressions because he scores goals.” Just say it. Because that’s what it’s all about. Anything to win.

      He doesn’t bite people because he is a fierce competitor. He bites them because there is something wrong with him and his impulse control. And that will cost this club and the team it supports.

    • tutomate
      July 3, 2014

      Really? Those are the only options?

      Either either you despise his biting and therefore you don’t want him at the club.
      OR
      You “don’t care about any of his transgressions because he scores goals”?

      Talk about a logical fallacy.

      Is the line of thinking:
      “His biting was bad specially because he has done it twice before. He deserves a ban (not the one given) because these sort of actions should not be tolerated. But the way he is being vilified is un-proportionate to the crime”
      is completely unreasonable?

      I suggest you do some reading here is the post that fotobirajesh posted:
      http://www.lacelesteblog.com/?p=11134

    • July 3, 2014

      The ban is not justified! I think he got a lenient punishment. How many more players you want him to bite before he is seen as a real threat to players on the field? Those who compare biting to studs up challenge or elbowing are totally off the point. Those things happen when players fight for the ball or at least at the pretence of fighting for the ball. Biting is a totally different story.

      The fact is that this coward continues to do this because he knows clearly the laws doesn’t allow players to retaliate. May be it’s time they retaliate. Once someone return back in kind he will get it.

      It’s strange to see some of the arguments made here. Think about this had Saurez bitten one of our boys let’s say Messi or Iniesta, i would like to see the reaction here.

    • July 3, 2014

      The once was in reference towards the charges of racism. I agree with his lacking impulse control too. I think I was one of first people here calling for a more psychological interpretation. And, you’re right, Tello wouldn’t get away with this.

      But at the end of the day, a lot of folk around the world are equating Suarez with a devil, and I just can’t be but critical of this hyperbole.

    • July 3, 2014

      It is not that I dont care that he bit somebody, that he in fact has bitten 3 people. I do care, I find it reprehensible and with no place in the game. However, what I also believe is that these sorts of impulse control issues can be controlled. They have been controlled before and many players have improved themselves in this regard. The bite itself is just a manifestation of his lack of control. The problem is not the bite itself since that could have been manifested in a punch or a kick or a spit or anything equally reprehensible. Are you saying that there is no possible way to control or help control the way a person reacts to certain frustrations because I find that a bit disconnected with your normally logical and reasoned arguaments.

    • BA
      July 3, 2014

      has Suarez at any point shown real humility and contrition for what he’s done? or has he simply complained about being unfairly targeted by the media? the entire country of Uruguay leapt to his defense after this latest biting episode, and they all look like fools. likewise will Barça and some of it’s fans look like fools the next time he does it in their colours. and WHY gamble with the club’s already tarnished reputation?

    • G6O
      July 3, 2014

      I wish that people would simply say, “I don’t care about any of his transgressions because he scores goals.” Just say it. Because that’s what it’s all about. Anything to win.

      It’s not at all like that – I don’t care about his transgressions because I don’t think they are that serious to begin with, and I would have said the same thing regardless of whether his signing with us was imminent or not. There was no outrage from me when he did those things as Liverpool or Ajax player in the past.

      BTW, the multiple instances of stepping on a player’s ankle in the video you posted below are much much worse than the biting and racist insult cases – that is dirty play, even if in many of them it was carefully done and without intention to injure (2 or 3 were really bad though).

    • kosby
      July 3, 2014

      My understanding of “more than a club” totally aligns with what you have stated. I have not found the time to comment, so Thank you…for stating this.

  10. dl
    July 3, 2014

    Hi all: I browsed the thread quickly and didn’t see this link, so I thought I would post it: “Portrait of a Serial Winner” on ESPN.com. It is a fascinating detective story about Suarez, and to me at least it has the ring of truth. Really recommended reading.

  11. kinukinu
    July 3, 2014

    I can’t help but wonder how Barca fans would have reacted if it had been Real Madrid or Chelsea who jumped on signing Suarez after the biting incident. Something tells me there would have been very strong negative opinions and very little debate.

    • July 3, 2014

      Hehehehe …

      And lots of, “I’m glad our club doesn’t have to stoop to such levels to get goals.”

  12. Inamess1
    July 3, 2014

    I knew that many would immediately use the point I was making about Pistorius and Suarez as saying that I was equating biting with murder. This is nonsense. The point I was making was about self-control and consequences.

    The Suarez bite at the World Cup showed a alarming lack of self-control and the consequences for himself, his teams, his family, and his nation have been devastating. Why should Liverpool and Barca fans and the media be distracted from a World Cup because Luis bit someone again?

    If destroying his country’s chance to progress through the World Cup doesn’t really matter, then I don’t know why winning football games should matter either, and hence why should we get Suarez in the first place. The move to me makes little sense and shows that our club is again making bad decisions. We have two of the most talented strikers in the world, and why are we paying top dollar for another one considering the risks, the damage to our brand, and just the financial bad sense.

    Having said all that would I take Suarez for free. Absolutely. I don’t watch football matches to be morally enlightened. I don’t care if we are “more than a club” or not and have said so on many occasions. But what I hate is stupidity. Our club is showing desperation and recklessness. The board and Zubi have decided that we need to win a major trophy next year and that unless we do, most or all of them will be out of a job. So Suarez is their Savior. It’s not their money, and they won’t miss it when they are gone.

    I wish they would just resign and let some other group decide what is in the best interests of the club on both a business and a sporting front. So when President Bartomeu said ” you are going to love watching Barca next season”, we now know what he meant. Will Suarez score a lot of goals or bite someone again and receive a permanent ban from football? Will he be able to handle the pressure, fickle and spoiled Barca fans, and the poisonous Spanish media or be a complete bust? Will he be able to click with the team after a 4 month ban in which he and our club will try to rehabilitate his image? Tune in to find out.

    • BA
      July 3, 2014

      likewise, though i thought i was pretty clear i will clarify further: the analogy between Suarez and OJ or Roman Polanski is *not* about the crime; it’s about some people’s willingness to try to excuse or defend inexcusable behavior simply because the perpetrator is famous or talented.

      there’s a disturbing amount of that going on here, and those of whom are defending him now had better listen up when i tell you: get used to defending the indefensible from Luis Suarez. this behavior WILL happen again, in your club’s colours.

  13. July 3, 2014

    “Think about this had Saurez bitten one of our boys let’s say Messi or Iniesta, i would like to see the reaction here.”

    100% I would prefer Messi or Iniesta to get bitten instead of receive a high two gooted challenge. Every day of the week and twice on Sunday. I wouldnt even need to think about it. Why? Because the end result of one is potentially a bite mark and a bruise and the end result of another could potentially be the end of the players career. I bet if you asked them they would say exactly the same thing. Even the victim of the latest biting incident though the punishment was excessive.

    Biting is wrong, I do not condone or justify it in any way, shape or form, but if you are asking me to rank the worst things that could happen to one of our players on the pitch biting would not be at the top of my list. How is a punch or an elbow better than a bite? Or a tackle with no intention of getting the ball but every intention of breaking a players leg?

    • BA
      July 3, 2014

      how about if he had racially abused Eric Abidal?

    • Jamal102
      July 3, 2014

      *Sigh*
      No one is asking you to rank the worst things done. Of course there are more harmful actions than biting. A high stomp like De Jong in 2010, for instance. However, De Jong is NOT, I repeat, NOT a repeat offender of that same exact tackle.

      Suarez cannot boast the same claim.

      One talks about Barca being able to control Suarez. Why should we pay millions to take on such an impossible burden? Should Suarez go to a psychiatrist instead of training every other session?

    • July 3, 2014

      Why? Because Suarez is not just any player, he is one of a kind. He is up there with the best of the best in terms of ability. If there is even a chance that he can be controlled and we can get the positives out of him without the negatives then I can see the logic in taking that risk. He would potentially add something to the team that no other player could add.

      Would I personally take that risk if I was in charge of the club, no, I wouldnt, but I am not in charge. So instead of whining about why we shouldnt sign a player we are almost definitely going to sign I would much rather discuss how to potentially get the best of out him.

  14. Davour
    July 3, 2014

    Very interesting discussion. I really feel Suarez was too harshly punished. I agree there are much worse things. However, FIFA seem to disagree, and they are the ones in charge. Hence: should another incident occur, it will be nasty. Could a clause in the contract protect us against it? Repay 80m? I don’t think so.

    Still, if he does come and scores plentiful, he will be forgiven. But the pressure will be paramount.

    The racist-issue is much, much worse. But I am still not clear about the details there. Also, our new signing Rakitic evidently commented that he was ok with people being gay, but he would not want to share dressing room with them. He later apologized – but what if this were to be a comment about another ethnicity? He would be fried.

    This is not, of course, to defend or relativize any racist comments, only to highlight that there are other issues. For Rakitic, people said: “well, he’s an eastern European man…”. The culture stereotype-card…

    • G6O
      July 3, 2014

      In Eastern Europe people are anti-gay but in a very different way from what that term means in the US. In the US (and most other places) it is based on religion and in the US it is also part of the culture war, in Eastern Europe it is just considered disgusting and that’s it. There is a strong push, especially in Russia, to make it a religious issue (as the Orthodox church is resurgent and they very much have a religious problem with it) but in general it is a much more benign form of homophobia than in the US, where there is real hatred against gay.

    • July 4, 2014

      excuse me? the United States is a gigantic country of 300+ million people. huge demographics of the United States are perfectly fine with gay people.

      i have to say, i’ve lived in the USA, England, and Spain, and Spain was the most racist place of the lot. England the USA are very multicultural countries and thus (currently) have more complicated ideas of racism that some other countries. in terms of sexism, i think that orthern Europe is definitely leading the way in policy, but where i am from the the USA, i.e., New England, is particularly left leaning.

      and, there are countries that exists NOW where ‘sodomy’ is punishable by death!

      really though, its fine. it’s not about where the athlete is from, it’s about being an athlete, the bedrock demographic of homophobia. that will change in a generation, i hope.

    • G6O
      July 4, 2014

      I said that homophobia in the US (and in most of the world) is based on religion, not that that is the view of everyone in the US. Big difference.

  15. ciaran
    July 3, 2014

    So many thoughts…
    Firstly, going back a couple of months ago I said that Barca should sign Suarez as he was the best player in the world this past season. His footballing ability is phenomenal. He scored 31 goals this season with a very mediocre Liverpool team and created 12 goals, and if you watched Liverpool you’d see that a lot of the goals he scored were unassisted and the assists he gave top notch. The man was easily the best player in the world in 13/14.

    Then the bite happened and my immediate reaction was that we shouldn’t sign him. He got a ban which I thought was excessive, slightly misplaced but understandable. I say slightly misplaced because banning him from club football was unfair on Liverpool for an indiscretion that happened for Uruguay.

    After a few days I got over it. What I believe is ‘right’ or not isn’t going to impact the club’s decisions and won’t make me love this club any less. I’ve loved this club since I was a young kid. Suarez looks like he’ll be playing here next season and my honest opinion on it is that the positives outweigh the negatives.

    Over at totalbarca someone mentioned that if he’s on the pitch you want him on your team and that is the truest thing I’ve seen. As I’ve said above he is a phenomenal footballer and has the most winning attitude of any player that we’ve had since Eto’o. It is invaluable in teams looking to win.

    For anyone who questions the footballing aspects of the transfer, forget about it. He is an incredibly hard worker, good with the ball and without it, assists, passes, fights, moves, hussles and scores bundles of goals. Wherever we put him along the frontline he will make us a better team.

    The results of his transfer are slightly different. I’ve been on record countless times about how much I want Alexis to stay and have been saying it for his entire time with us. He is a hard worker but is also a very talented match winner. He has a proven track record of scoring against Real Madrid, Atletico and never lets the team down. The first two seasons his finishing wasn’t as good as Messi’s but he has been a better scorer than at any of his previous clubs so there’s no doubt that this aspect of his game is improving.

    If Sanchez has decided to leave than that is a bad thing but there’s no one better to replace him with than Suarez. My opinion is that Sanchez, Neymar, Messi & Suarez should all be rotating to fill 3 slots up front with Deulofeu being the only other forward getting experience from Copa games and league minnows. I’m not one for big squads but replacing Sanchez in the squad with Suarez makes our first XI stronger but doesn’t do anything to help our bench.

    In terms of Suarez’ conduct. Biting is wrong. It is different to dangerous tackles and punches etc. The thing is though, that it isn’t all that harmful. Luis Enrique at his first press conference said that a psychologist will be part of his staff and with regular treatment, I’m sure Suarez could control his urges. The severity of the bites are also very different to let’s say Mike Tyson’s and were acts of frustration more than anything. Will it happen again? Possibly but I would hope not.

    The accusations of racism don’t fly with me. Did he make a racist remark? Yes. Is he a racist? No. His club mates and international colleagues both said that he wasn’t and both have white and black players. If you watched how he got on with Sturridge throughout the season you wouldn’t even contemplate this.

    Lastly, in terms of the club/board. I just want to start by saying that the current president has been in place since January. Blaming him for Rosell’s indiscretions is wrong. Rosell was an entirely different man to Bartomeu. Selling the shirt wasn’t ideal but every team does it and if we hadn’t there’s no way we’d maintain the success of the team… just not possible. If you support Barcelona because of ideals such as this I recommend you checkout Athletic Bilbao because they genuinely are the best example of more than a club from a moral standpoint and even though they have taken on a sponsor it is a local business.

    • July 3, 2014

      This!! Could not have said it better myslef.

    • July 3, 2014

      All excellent points, ciaran. For me, the questions are personal and complex. It isn’t about morality, though it is about right and wrong. It isn’t about high-mindedness, though it is about doing anything to win.

      Liverpool got one suspension-free season out of him of the last three. Even you get beyond the fact that he is a repeat biting offender (and apparently a reliable one, to the good of the pocketbooks of people who bet on him at the World Cup to bite) and something of a loose cannon, is this what Barça need?

      Let’s be clear about what we are getting:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eF4kSWnY2Z8

      He is a supremely talented footballer who bangs in lots of goals, 20+ person season like clockwork. On the sporting side of things, it is difficult to argue against him. But this isn’t a sporting argument for me.

    • ciaran
      July 3, 2014

      For the record, does anyone here remember Messi’s first international game?
      Winning players have a different mentality to others. Messi has been accused of diving, has made bad tackles, scored goals through handballs.
      I don’t condone Suarez’ behaviour but I have accepted it

    • July 3, 2014

      With all due respect Kxevin videos can be made to make any player look bad. Busquets has video compilations that make him look like an absolutely vile player. Does that make him any less valuable to the team?

      You said Liverpool got only one suspension free season out of him. That is one way to look at it, another way, is that despite only getting one full season out of him he has still done more for the club in the last 3 seasons than any other player. Despite missing a good chunk of games last season he was still the single most important player they had and elevated them to the point where they were in touching distance of a winning the title. This, with a team, that is average at best. A team that finished outside of the top 6 the season before.

      So yeah, you are getting the player you posted in your video, but you are also getting this player:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiDmjal8xVA

    • July 3, 2014

      So are the incidents in the video somehow fabricated, or PhotoShopped? No. Suarez did them. Nobody needs to make him look bad. He did it. At present, there is nobody on our team, even Mascherano at his most unrelenting, who would, for example, kick another player in the stomach.

      So where do you draw the line for goals? Racist remarks and biting isn’t it? Child molestation? Rape? Two NFL teams in American football have accused and convicted rapists on their team. But hey, they can block and tackle, so we believe in the power of rehabilitation, say their teams.

      Where is the line? What will people do to justify goals coming to our club? That is the fundamental question at issue here for me. Everyone has their own answer, but the fact of the matter is that many will just hold their noses, and say “Anything to win. Just win, baby.”

      I am not in that camp.

    • July 4, 2014

      Bitting and rape are not comparable. That’s the logical jump we need to avoid. &, I am pretty sure that Suarez is happily married.

    • July 4, 2014

      I am not saying biting and rape are comparable. You can’t derail an argument by inserting words into someone’s mouth. I am asking where the line is, and using a comparison of a line crossed in a different sport. So where is the line that culers draw?

    • tutomate
      July 3, 2014

      *In the South Park cop voice
      NICEEEEEEEE.

      Agree with everything here.

    • BA
      July 3, 2014

      my concerns about Suarez on the footballing side of things have nothing really to do with his actual ability as a player; that he has in abundance and in terms of pure football he would be an asset to our side. rather, i would say that Suarez on the pitch is a liability in terms of his disciplinary record; we often talk about how Sergio Ramos with his many red cards or Pepe with his temper are liabilities, but neither have spent nearly as much time forcibly removed from the game for disciplinary reasons as Suarez. if he acts out again (which, psychologist or no, we surely have to assume he will; this is his 3rd ban for biting alone after all), the ban will undoubtedly be even more severe than it is this time. will a 28-year-old player still be worth the kind of figures being discussed, €70m or more, when he’s forced out for a year or more due to lack of self-control?

      in addition: given the expenditure of that kind of money (again, about €70m), particularly with the possibility of losing Sanchez as a result, we will have to have an unprecedented net spend in this transfer window in order to address other glaring squad deficiencies, notably in defense. i would also argue that our need for an organizing midfielder (Rakitic, valuable acquisition though i believe him to be, is not that player) outweighs our need for yet another striker at this point in time. we’re facing at least €150m net spend in order to buy Suarez in addition to the quality defensive cover we need and to shore up a midfield still in transition.

      FURTHERMORE, what does the acquisition of yet another striker do to such promising young attacking talents as Adama Traore and Dongou, certainly due to be tested through the pipeline in the coming couple of seasons. we’re already having issues integrating Neymar into our attack, and after 1 season we’re changing the system again to accommodate yet another big star striker.

      there are plenty of other objections i have to this transfer, but those stand out as additional major complications for a morally questionable player in a position we don’t really need for a price we can hardly afford.

  16. ciaran
    July 3, 2014

    In related news, the head of FIFA’s disciplinary committee confirmed that Suarez will be able to train for the duration of his ban. Assuming that the transfer goes through this is obviously good news as it will give him much more time to assimilate into the group and get used to the style.
    I also believe that the ban will get reduced somehow but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

    The news on Valdes going to Monaco has taken two twists today, firstly Monaco said he wouldn’t be playing for them and then Valdes’ agent said that he has a 4 year contract and they will enforce it.
    I will say this, for someone who said that he wanted to experience something different he really only shuffled a short distance along the Mediterranean. About an hour flight I’d imagine. Not exactly a different climate or culture. What is different is the tax law. Not saying that I blame him or anything but it sure looks like the real reason to me.

    • Jim
      July 3, 2014

      Surely any possible contract would have to be dependant on him passing the medical?

  17. TITO
    July 3, 2014

    The way i see it, at least the discussion among us has 2 issues:

    The first one is the biting incident. Whether we approve it or not in a case of purchasing him as player.
    The second one is his buy-out clause that maybe we have to pay in order to get him.
    Personally, as biting is concerned, and it’s quite strange, for those that find it the worst thing that can happen on the pitch, why NOBODY argued about bites before this incident. He’s done it in two other occasions and while there were rumors about us interesting in Suarez, everybody was ok with that buy, only to be in more normal range of price for us.
    How many bites it takes to thing about someone that has problems?
    Why haven’t you raised that question after the first one, or the second one? We all know that we always liked him as player, and WE ALL wanted him in our club. So, i don’t get it when the third bite filled the cup of “dis-likeness” of Suarez.
    As for the price, those 80 something millions is what Liverpool asks, and no way that they will get it. And as i read it, Sanchez is not included in the deal. If it happens. Anything near 40 million is ok for me.

    • July 3, 2014

      The first time, he was an Ajax player, and not an option. The second incident, he wasn’t a viable option because he wasn’t for sale. Once he started angling for a transfer before last season, Liverpool was able to calm him down, probably with promises that they would work something out if someone was willing to pay the freight.

      Curiously, they would have been able to sell him in two seconds at full freight before the latest biting incident. But now, AFAIK, we’re the only suitor.

      Generally, you don’t really discuss something until it becomes a viable option, which explains the lack of discussion, I think.

    • Peter
      July 3, 2014

      Liverpool’s owner apparently admitted back in March that the 40 million+1 clause was real, but that they just decided that they won’t sell him to Arsenal, since “what we’ve found is that contracts don’t seem to mean a lot in England – actually, in world football.”
      http://i1141.photobucket.com/albums/n600/sundust17/Cerseism2.gif

  18. TITO
    July 3, 2014

    As far as i remember, he was always an option, even since his days in Ajax and there were always stories linking him with us.
    Just that in those moments he was not the hottest prospect to buy it, there was always someone else – Eto’o, Ibra, Henry, Villa etc.
    So, we wouldn’t discuss this matter now if we weren’t his suitor.
    What about the following season (assuming that we can buy a player) when everything would be “forgotten” and he continues with his goals?

  19. 86ed
    July 3, 2014

    Apparently Valdes didn’t pass his medical with Monaco. Tough for him, especially as we have already have three ‘keepers ready to go.

  20. Inamess1
    July 3, 2014

    Well, certainly an interesting discussion of a man who never ceases to bring controversy wherever he goes. Ajax, 2 World Cups, Liverpool, and now next destination Barca.

    So many subplots and now Neymar becomes the third most interesting striker on our team. I don’t know why, but this scene comes to mind:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eg-ckMup6SI

    Barca fans fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy season.

    And let’s remember the Hollywood dictum that there is no such thing as bad publicity.

    • Inamess1
      July 3, 2014

      Looking at some Liverpool sites and its amazing what we have in store for us. All of us will soon will become experts on the wonders of the human brain on edge. Here’s one Red’s fan on the future without Luis:

      “What I’m looking forward to is watching Liverpool games mostly without fear. When watching Liverpool, I always have this small part of me that is worried that Luis will do something batshit crazy. No matter what the score is, I am never fully relaxed, there’s always the prospect of madness descending.

      I don’t look forward to not having that feeling of hopefulness that I will witness that glorious brand of Uruguayan wizardry that only Luis knows how to conjure, but certainly not having the fear of what might happen when the shaman’s spell backfires in the brain will be a welcome prospect.”

      quoted from Dr. Zaf’s Stethoscope found on this post:

      http://liverpooloffside.sbnation.com/liverpool-transfer-news/2014/7/2/5863670/luis-suarez-liverpool-barcelona-alexis-sanchez-brendan-rodgers

    • July 4, 2014

      Exactly. No matter how heated a match, there was never the idea that one of our players was going to snap, unlike with Pepe or Ramos. Even Marcelo is prone to the red mist.

      Suarez needs help. Instead a team is throwing tens of millions of Euros at another team in exchange for services that won’t even be available to the purchasing team until November.

      There is something fundamentally wrong with that. What is the penalty for his behavior? Barça buys him, Uruguay appeals the suspension and he’s treated as a hero in his native country. Supporters of the team he is going to say “Hey, anything for goals. I’d rather our players were bitten than kicked. All good by us. Let’s do this deal and return to winning championships.”

      That doesn’t sit well with me, and a great many other culers. And it never, ever will.

    • July 4, 2014

      It works both ways though. I am actually happy about the prospect, as I think we just spent two years of being the team that no one was afraid of anymore. I think that a from line of Suarez, Neymar, and, least we not forget, the best goddamn forward in football, Messi will makes opponents scared.

      Barça is going to be a different, more unpredictable Barça, and I like that idea. I think the players like that idea as well.

      Who wants to face that?

      Also, I have heard other things from Liverpool fans, namely, that they feel this is a good idea. They make 40 million or get Alexis and Suarez “goes to a team that would beat us anyway in the Champion’s League.”

      If those three can gel, even a little, we will be fucking deadly. Furthermore, we’ve got two new keepers, both with a lot to prove, two young talented, La Masia players, fresh from loan, also with something to prove, and a great new midfielder in Rakitic. That’s exciting to me!

      The biggest concern is obviously the defense, but I am going to retain confidence that we are going to sign at least someone.

    • July 4, 2014

      The only problem is that football is not played on paper. If that was the case the Galactico experiment wouldn’t have bombed that much. A forward line-up of Saurez, Messi and Neymar is brilliant and scary. But you forget the most important part – the three of them have shone best when the entire game flows through them (Neymar in and for Brazil, Messi always and Saurez with Uruguay and Liverpool). With Messi and Neymar alone we had a huge task last season which saw Messi simply being kept out of play when the game tried to be run through Neymar. Now add Saurez to that, that issue multiplies. It never worked in footballing history.

    • G6O
      July 4, 2014

      It has worked for the Brazilian NT multiple times in its history.

      But indeed most of the time it fails

    • ciaran
      July 4, 2014

      I disagree that players of that level can’t play together, Henry – Eto’o – Messi was a phenomenal line up that people had the same concerns about and we won everything with them.
      Suarez is a team player and makes those around him better players. Liverpool were only the team they were because of him and not just by playing for him. He played for Sturridge as much as Sturridge played for him.
      Neymar at Brazil is pretty much their only attacking threat and so he doesn’t do much in the way of tracking back and defending but at Barca last season you couldn’t say that. I remember him chasing people back into our box and being in the left back position.
      Messi we all know can pressure opponents but wasn’t required to by Martino.

      I have every confidence that under Luis Enrique that all three would be more than capable of pressing together and playing together.

  21. KEVINO17
    July 4, 2014

    It’s pretty bizarre (if it’s true) that Barca and Liverpool thought they could use Sanchez as a make-weight in the transfer of Suarez. Imagine the conversation: look, Alexis, we like you, and you’re a good player, but we’d like you to help us reduce how much we’ll have to play for your replacement. Who, with any pride, would be part of that.

  22. July 4, 2014

    @Kxevin

    I couldnt reply to your comment directly above so I am posting it here. Are seriously comparing biting to child molestation and rape? Really? That is absolutely ridiculous. The line between those two things are so far apart you could fit a football pitch between them. Suarez is not a convicted rapist, nor is he a child molester, he is not an evil person who is destined to do harm to others. He is a rich football player with a troubled past who has impulse control problems and reacts the wrong way when he feels under threat or under a large amount of pressure. That cannot be compared to something as premeditated as rape or child molestation.

    I can understand that there needs to be a line, but for me that line was crossed long ago by many players on many teams, including our own. Punching, elbows, head butts, tackles with the sole intent of seriously injuring somebody, racist comments, all those things cross the line for me, because none of them have anything to do with playing football. So adding biting to the list frankly is not the end of the world. People will argue that it has no place in the game, and I agree, but neither does head butting or punching so where is all the outrage when players do those things? Why are they more readily accepted. If Suarez has punched 3 people instead of biting 3 people would we still be having this conversation?

    I also find it strange that this the line for you and not what Busquets did, because that for me was the point where I truly gave up on the concept of Barca being some sort of moral compass. I am not black, but I am an arab and I have been subjected to racism, so for me it is a strong issue. It suprises me that the line for you is that we are buying a player who has done bad things at other clubs. He has never done anything wrong while representing Barcelona, and for all we know he never will. Busquets on the other hand is not a foregin player, he is not an outsider who needs to be “taught” the Barca way (if there is such a thing). He is Barca through and through, he in theory represents everything the club stands for. His father was at Barca, he grew up at the academy and has been instilled with Barca values since a very early age. So when he does something like he did then what does that mean? Where are all the Barca values and morality that were supposedly instilled in him by the club? Fact is people do stupid things in the heat of the moment on the pitch, it doesnt make them bad people or evil or destined to always do bad things.

    There is no morality in football. It is a game, where stupidly paid men kick around a ball in order to entertain its fans and hopefully win some trophies. Football players, football clubs the people who own those clubs are that last people that should be used as examples for anyone. Most footballers are from poor or rough backgrounds with little sense for right or wrong, who are very suddenly subjected to money and fame with no boundaries. So is it any surprise that when they lose control they do stupid things. If you look at the history of football there are plenty of examples of vile behaviour by gifted players and born winners. Zidane headbutted somebody in the chest in a WC final FFS. Cantona took a flying kick at a fan standing in the crowd!

    • BA
      July 4, 2014

      once again, the comparison is *not* serial biting to worse crimes like rape or murder, but how willing we are to excuse people’s offenses just because they’re talented or famous, despite those offenses otherwise being inexcusable.

      i wholeheartedly disagree that there is no morality in football, but that’s a telling statement. part of the reason why i began supporting Barça is PRECISELY because i believe there is morality in football.

      :edit: also, my posts haven’t been showing up for about 24hrs now. is there a reason for that?

    • July 4, 2014

      Another overreaction. It’s a simple question by way of comparison, stated again here: Where is the line?

      Whenever someone mentions something, THAT becomes the argument. But, even more clearly here, the NFL, IN AMERICAN FOOTBALL< NOT SPANISH FOOTBALL has drawn its line a ways past felons. So where is culers’ line? Have we become so besotted with the thrill of victory that we are willing to accept certain things to continue winning? What are those things?

      That is the question, as clear as I can lay it out.

      For most people, a serial biter who has also been suspended for making racist remarks to another player in the heat of an argument is, apparently, not the line. So what is? Where is that line?

      “He’s passionate, and will do anything to win, so we can forgive him. Now bring on the goals.”

      Everyone has windy screeds in the player’s defense, but nobody wants to lay it out: What’s the line. What behavior is acceptable for a player coming to FC Barcelona?

      — As for Busquets, the history of my views on that situation are there, and clear.

    • July 4, 2014

      Yeah I can see what you were saying, but by using rape or child molestation as examples you are indirectly implying that those “lines” are somehow close to each other when in reality they are not. Anyways, fair enough, you want to know where the line is for people and I answered your question, but let me answer it again..

      The line for me gets crossed all the time, by many players, at many clubs. Biting is no more over the line than punching or head butting, and I would actually say maybe even behind racism. However those are all things that happen in football, more often than people care to admit. What Busquets did, was for me, a lot more disturbing than the signing of Suarez. Suarez has yet to do anything in a Barca shirt that can be critisized. He has a history yes, but Maschercano had a history before coming to Barca, he was a card magnet at Liverpool. He was rash and very dangerous at times and I remember when we signed him hoping he would be able to control himself better and he did. He is now one of our best players, a leader and manages to control himself very well. Players can improve themeselves and can learn to control themselves better. That is proven, so no reason to think it is impossible to do so with Suarez.

      What Busquets did, for me anyways, was much worse and if I was going to let non football related issues interfere with my support of a club then that is what would have made me struggle with supporting Barca, not signing a player who may or may not do something bad in a Barca shirt.

      With that said I watch football to be entertained, not to look at the players as some sort of moral guide so while crossing that line was upsetting it didnt stop me from loving and supporting Barca. Neither will signing Suarez, even if he ends up biting somebody again.

    • July 4, 2014

      Where are all the Barca values and morality that were supposedly instilled in him by the club? – I thought about the same last time, when the cameras showed Tello clearly saying something to poor Tata, during a substitution, in one of our last games in the past season. There was crystal clear disrespect by a la Masia player to our own coach, in front of thousands of viewers.

      I dont understand which is the moment you are talking about Busquets, though. For me, most of the time Busquets does things for the team, mostly play acting, arguing and tactical fouls. I havent seen him making a bloody dangerous thing on the field. The Inter match incident being the worst.

      However, I agree with you that biting is far better than dangerous tackles, kungu kicks, head butting and punching. But it is still strange for a football player to use his teeth on the pitch. But if a player wants to kick me or punch or head butt or bite, I would rather prefer the bite, as long as the bite is not on my feet.

  23. barca96
    July 4, 2014

    I couldnt believe my eyes. Ronaldo can speak English. Not just speak but he can carry himself in an interview. I’ve never ever heard him speak English before. Oh Ronaldo, my first love, that brought me into football in 1995. And to Barca in 1996.

  24. barca96
    July 4, 2014

    Why does Madrid want to sign another midfielder in Kroos? I would love if we can get Modric off them or try to have a go for Kroos. Pep can put in good words for us. But I believe his wage demands are very high since even Bayern can meet his demands.

    • barca96
      July 4, 2014

      Or Isco.

  25. July 4, 2014

    As I see it, Suarez is being rewarded for being out of control. A team is willing to pay his current team tens of millions for his services. He will get a raise, and the transfer that he was angling for last summer, when his current team placated him and got him to hang on for another season. His FA will appeal his suspension and fight for him, and in his native country, he is regarded as a hero, greeted by cheers and accolades.

    If that is disapproval and sanction, what 20+ goal per season striker wouldn’t be sharpening his incisors?

    • Nik
      July 4, 2014

      The worst part is that Suarez obviously needs to take some time off football and get help with whatever demons he obviously is battling with, yet everyone is doing their best to help him avoid getting any.

    • Nik
      July 4, 2014

      And, no, having a therapist work with him while he plays for Barça is not a good solution.

    • Jim
      July 4, 2014

      On the other hand he has received a lengthy ban which will probably not be overturned despite the player involved thinking it was excessive, he has been shamed in the world, outside possibly Uruguay, he has cost his team mates any chance of progression, his transfer price and therefore his cut will ( hopefully) be lower and there will undoubtedly be a clause in his Barca contract to deal with a similar instance leading to permanent ban. He will also be goaded every week in La Liga about his behaviour.

      He was also never likely to stay with Liverpool, wanted Barcelona by all accounts because of his wife’s family ties and wouldn’t have been short of suitors had we decided not to take him. Hey, I’m with you on the biting being worse than bad tackles ( or most bad tackles) . I’m struggling, however,to defend my attitude in any way other than to say its a cultural thing in the same vein as spitting on someone. I have to admit I would rather someone bit me than broke my leg. Without wishing to enter any sensitive areas I personally would always rather someone said something to me, no matter how vile than did something against me but again that is probably just the way I’ve been brought up. I don’t know if you have the same saying in other countries that “sticks and stones can break my bones but names will never harm me”? I’ve also made a great play when dealing with kids all my career in separating bad behaviour from a bad person and saying to staff that we should never ever give up on kids. From all accounts Suarez has a settled happy family life and is a pleasant person to be around off the pitch.

      All such instances of unacceptable behaviour are reprehensible and deserve sanctions but obviously from this discussion we would rank them differently, at least partly depending on culture.

      I don’t know. This is a tough one…..

  26. July 4, 2014

    @Kxevin:

    Yeah, I had some beer goggles on when I replied earlier, but, as Hilal said, by bringing up molestation and Suarez in the same argument you do create an indirect comparison. I think that’s all we were saying. It’s also a response to a general atmosphere.

    @AllAboutBarcelona

    I think that a Suarez/NeyNey/Messi front line will put the fear of god in other teams. Whether or not it will function off paper is another thing entirely. Only time will tell. But it WILL make opponents scared again, which we have been lacking. I meant this comment as a reflection of the positive side of Suarez’s antics, as in, it works both ways.

    Anyway, anyone else see those Fazio rumors? I like that singing personally. Good price as well.

    • July 4, 2014

      The Fazio rumors came out of nowhere. All unconfirmed, but 10m would be an exceptional piece of business. The rumor was always that the club would be announcing a CB signing “soon.”

      Now as usual we have to wait and see, just as with everything else. Bartomeu in his presser, said that there would be “defenders” coming, along with a forward.

      So who knows?

  27. July 4, 2014

    On another note, I appreciate everyone keeping the Suarez discussions cool and respectful. I’d say that I’m proud of the space, but that would somehow imply that I had expectations other than what happened.

    But still, proud.

    I think that everyone is agreeing to disagree, but making very sound points and observations, while providing plenty to think about. There are some eye-popping numbers being floated about, and my guess is that, as with the Beko sponsorship and the Rakitic transfer, someone will request privacy about the actual fees, and that will be that.

    • July 4, 2014

      Second that! There are so many voices here that I really enjoy even when we disagree. Always a more mature argument here with little no no trolling.

    • July 4, 2014

      Well said, one of the things that keeps me coming back to this space vs other blogs is that we can have civil discussions while disagreeing, without resorting to name calling and being attacked for one’s views. It is very refresshing, especially after trying to interact sensibly with people on twitter! Almost impossible that!

    • July 4, 2014

      Twitter is often like somebody storming into your home uninvited, and throwing turds around the room while screaming at you.

  28. DumbOx
    July 4, 2014

    This Suarez thing I really don’t get. If I remember it right, during the 2010 WC (when he did the infamous handball against Ghana), there were already talks that he was interested in Barca. And if remember correctly, the Club wouldn’t touch him because his personality doesn’t fit we’ll with the team. Three biting incidents and suspensions because of racist rants after, we go after him for ridiculous amounts of transfer money? Did the Club suddenly lower it’s standards– I sense some act of almost desperation here.
    And the way we so business sometimes leaves me scratching my head — EE in my mind does better negotiations than we do. Ozil, I remember wanted to transfer to Barca, but we snubbed him and EE got him for 15M. Two or three seasons later they cash in on him and sell as him to Arsenal for a profit. I remember some talks about the Club wanting Kross from Bayern; EE just snagged him for 25M. We need better negotiators at the Club. Zubi and his minions to me do not make the cut.
    Anyway, lots of good football this weekend. Happy 4th and enjoy the fireworks!

  29. July 4, 2014

    Also, looks like Man U., is getting in on the Sanchez market. Again, another rumor, but should he go (and I would love him to stay), I am confident that we will get a good price.

  30. tutomate
    July 4, 2014

    I’m disappointed in the arguing so far. We haven’t even used Godwin’s Law.
    🙂

    • Peter
      July 4, 2014

      Challenge accepted?

  31. 86ed
    July 4, 2014

    It’s disappointing that we never made an attempt to sign Hummels.
    There were rumours of it back in ’12, but Vilanova allegedly vetoed it.

    • agar2515
      July 4, 2014

      Was just going to post this. What an indefensible misstep that was, and we bought SongS what a joke.

    • 86ed
      July 4, 2014

      I have come to appreciate that Vilanova probably had no real power whatever during that transfer season, and was made to say that he did not think Pique and Hummels were compatible.
      It makes no sense otherwise. Hummels is the best defender in the world, and a real shame on us for not trying to sign him.

  32. July 4, 2014

    Mes Bleus are just killing me right now. Not playing with any fire, not acting like they want it except for Valbuena, the smallest man on the pitch.

  33. July 4, 2014

    Reliable sources say Suarez done fir EUR75m

    • agar2515
      July 4, 2014

      Fair price ( and lots of noise that his ban will end up being reduced ), now to settle the Alexis business and our CB’s.

    • ciaran
      July 4, 2014

      I’d rather have Alexis than the €40m but hey. Maybe he can convince the club to sell Pedro instead…

      Hummels is a great defender but I don’t know what’s going to happen with that one.
      It was interesting that Bartomeu said that the club were waiting until after the world cup to finish the signings of the defenders due to the fact that their price may change because of it or something along those lines… Suggests to me that the defenders are involved in the world cup so that would rule out Marquinhos, Mathieu, Fazio etc. We’ll see

    • georgjorge
      July 4, 2014

      I don’t know that it is a fair price at all. 75 (or 79) mil for a player who is very very good but also a timebomb with regard to suspensions? If that is already the “reduced” price after the latest biting incident, would he have been worth 90 or 100 mil before that? That’s just insane.

      It would also mean the sure departure of Alexis, because after seeing him boss Chile I don’t think he’d be content with coming in from the bench occasionally. I would be sad about this, as he’s been improving steadily and has such a lot of potential, especially in a system not too heavily reliant on possession (which could be coming soon).

    • Inamess1
      July 4, 2014

      Not much of a post-bite discount. Looks like the only ones hurt by Luis’ bite were Chellini, Italy, Uruguay, but most of all F.C.B. Looking forward to November when I can watch Luis play for the Blaugrana. Red’s fans can now also tune in without being on edge.

      Thanks again to our hard-nosed, A-team, no nonsense transfer negotiators. No one else I would rather have around in a crisis:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiZjn0xSn1Q

      I think we are also coming back from Liverpool with 40 Rolex watches that we bought for only 60,000 euros from a guy on the street on Penny Lane. He wanted 62,000, but who did he think we were, chumps?

    • July 4, 2014

      In this market? It seems pretty reasonable. That’s almost 40 million less that Bale.

    • July 4, 2014

      I mean Dr. Dre just sold a headphone company for a couple of billion. The world’s economy is going to hell in a hand basket.

  34. July 4, 2014

    Looks like that Suarez number is just north of EUR79m. And he took an “important” pay cut, according to TV3. TV3 says 8m per annum. Wow. Down from 10m POUNDS.

  35. Inamess1
    July 4, 2014

    Ferocious Brazilian Press! The new joga bonito.

  36. Jim
    July 4, 2014

    Ouch, sore one for Neymar. Hope he’s okay. Hasn’t looked fit all night to me.

  37. Inamess1
    July 4, 2014

    Looks like PSG are getting some good value and publicity from David Luiz. A fierce competitor and St. Francis all in one.

  38. Peter
    July 4, 2014

    Neymar has been transferred to a hospital. Damn.

    • Inamess1
      July 4, 2014

      I know he is a convenient target, but that ref has to answer for that game. You can’t be afraid to give out yellow cards. It is another instance in which the rules are contradictory. Yellow card suspensions are supposed to limit the number of reckless challenges, and then the ref doesn’t want to give any because the players will miss out on the most important match of their lives.

  39. KEVINO17
    July 4, 2014

    And rhat is supposed to be the best referee in la liga. What a joke

    • Peter
      July 4, 2014

      The real joke is that at this World Cup we’ve seen players kicking others in the head, we’ve seen elbows to the face, we’ve seen flying knees to the back of the head and to the lower back, we’ve seen even a player get his leg broken by a criminal stomp, but the most castigated player was one who bit the shoulder of another through the shirt.

      Thank God France is out.

    • barca96
      July 4, 2014

      But a tackle is part of the game they say. Sigh. This is really unbelievable. Poor Neymar.

      I’m relieved that it’s only 6 weeks though. I thought he will be out for months like Gundogan.

    • Peter
      July 5, 2014

      It’s not a tackle if the only way to get the ball is if the player is made of thin air. Zuniga deserves a ban. 10% of his annual income(Neymar’s time off the pitch) to be transferred to UNICEF and a 6-game ban – and that’s the least that should be done.

      It was criminal. Absolutely no excuse for it and the guy should take the first private jet and get the hell out.

  40. KEVINO17
    July 4, 2014

    Ref let Brazil declare open season on Rodriguez

  41. ibbe
    July 4, 2014

    So Neymar has been ruled out of the WC. Sigh..I really feel bad for the guy. Broken vertebra, 4-6 weeks. Speedy recovery O’ney!

    P.S I wish Zuniga the worst

    • KEVINO17
      July 4, 2014

      I feel sympathy for Neymar, but none for Brazil. Scolari send them out to kick the hell out of Columbia and test the patience of the ref to the limit, and that is what they did. 25 fouls before there was one yellow card. Then the game boiled over. Funny that.

    • hansh
      July 4, 2014

      I’m so sad for Neymar. He’s playing in the World Cup in his home country, star of the team, heading for the semifinals, and now he gets this painful injury in a game that was just begging for one. Wish him all the best and a speedy recovery.

    • July 4, 2014

      No idea what FIFA will do, but strikes that in addition to the ref being banned from further matches, some sanction is called for.

    • KEVINO17
      July 4, 2014

      Interestingly, none of the Brazilian players looked particularly upset with Zuniga over the challenge. None of them thought it was particularly savage. That was a long way from the worst challenge in the game. It was the outcome that was severe.

    • Peter
      July 5, 2014

      FIFA has publicly congratulated the ref. There will be no sanction.

    • Inamess
      July 12, 2014

      Yikes!

    • Inamess1
      July 4, 2014

      I think this is the conclusion that most are coming to and there are no easy answers as to who is to blame:

      1) Scolari
      2) The Ref
      3) FIFA
      4) Zuniga

      Like the Suarez bite it just ends up sucking for us. Thwe whole thing reminds me of this Bob Dylan Song:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IssR_J0QWr4&feature=kp

    • socrates
      July 4, 2014

      This is becoming a nightmare.

      There was an 22-to-one chance that it would be a Barça player injured horribly out there today, and, yep, this is the kind of year/era we are having.

      BFC’s current misfortunes will be exasperated by the arrival by the damaged footballing savant Luis, mark my words. It feels like we are cascading inextricably into a cesspool of horror and the arrival of the diabolical Saurez compounds the sensation. It seems Barça lost its soul some time ago in a Faustian bargain with Qatar and watch us as we descend further into the depths of hell, or trophy-less oblivion.

      [Re: tutomate This is the BFB equivalent of Goodwin’s Law – in place of Hitler, Faust.]

    • Inamess1
      July 5, 2014

      And according to Godwin’s Law, that ends the discussion.

    • July 5, 2014

      ill apply occam’s razor then!

      but seriously, the neymar injury is just awful, but brazil had it coming. they were terrible throughout the whole game and almost every call went their way. anyone else think after 90 that it should have been 2-2?

      this cup has been great, but brazil has been a huge blight in my eyes. the only blight. even the dutch antics are more tempered with less officiating hubris.

  42. amitojduggal
    July 5, 2014

    Can we talK Messi please :)))

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