Categorized | Barcelona

Once upon a time in Catalonia

Note: This article was written some time ago to be published when Suarez’s signing was made public. Things got in the way, and five weeks later our new number nine will soon be presented in front of a full Camp Nou at the traditional Gamper’s Trophy. What the hell, I might as well…

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THE PRELUDE

Little more than nothing in this article will not have been said already. As if you need reminding that Luis Suarez, the man with the mind and teeth of a Tasmanian devil has landed in Barcelona and will represent the club we love. Family man. Despicable jerk. Great teammate. Selfish superstar. Winner at all costs. Cheater with no shame. Worth 81 million euros. Not worthy of our shirt. You’ve heard it all. He splits opinions like left wing politics. The only clear consensus is that he’s a brilliant striker.

Even before he arrived at our club, culers were divided. Of course, culers are always divided, but not like this. Excited. Depressed. Proud. Embarassed. Making accusations. Making up excuses. Supportive. Disgusted. Some of us feel all these emotions, and more, at the same time. It’s only natural. Most hearts have dynamic IP addresses and we’re still trying to find out if what we purchased is the next best thing since Google Glasses or a nasty virus that will cost us a lot to finally remove.

THE GOOD

For his previous club, at least, Luis had a brilliant season. Not a lot of people expected Liverpool to even make the Champions League, but with 31 goals and 12 assists, he led a young and exciting team to within a “we will not let this slip” moment from the title.

He can shoot with his left and his right and hit it with power or finesse. He thinks quick and runs fast. He’s a good passer who involves his teammates*, but he can take on his marker with guile and swagger. He’s dangerous on the counter yet give him the ball in a small space and he worms his way through defenders before they can say “cheater.” He’s a hard worker who’s got “I want to win” etched in his heart.** A lethal scorer, his goal repertoire is as colorful as a Brazilian favela. Headers, lobs, tap-ins, 40-yard screamers, one-on-one finishes, volleys, low hard drives, rounding the keeper, free kicks, from solo runs and tight angles, penalties. You name it, he’s scored it. He’s a complete striker, seemingly without weaknesses. Really, what’s not to like?

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THE GOOD… OR BAD?

On paper, an attack featuring Leo, Ney and Lucho is salivating. F.C. Barcelona might very well have found the third man of what would make for the most naturally gifted front line to ever grace the fields. But does the most gifted mean it will be the best? Let’s examine that for a moment.

After Groningen, Ajax and Liverpool, this will be the first time in Europe that Luis Suarez is not “the man.” Every club he has played for revolves around the bucktoothed striker. Only for his country he played a comparitively modest role next to Diego Forlán some years back, as they formed a forward tandem that reached the semifinals at South Africa 2010. Of course, a club as big as Barça will always look to add the best players, whether from other clubs or from the Masía. It’s rare to represent the club at its highest level without having been “the man” somewhere else. But sometimes, too much can be too much.

Although he won’t occupy the space Messi and Neymar love when they drop into the midfield to assume playmaking roles, his natural game does demand protagonism. He’s always been the focus point of his team, a player who wants the ball – a lot. When we bought O Ney, Cruijff famously said that you can’t have two captains on one ship. Getting the best out of a Neymar and La Pulga combination is quite a challenge for the best of coaches, so now we have three?

I absolutely agree with the need for a striker, but would it not have been better to get a slightly more modest talent, like Higuain or Mandzukic, who would leave our two superstars with more space to run the team, similar to how Karim Benzema is the perfect B to M*drid’s CC? When Florentino Perez was adding a Galactico every year, did it not get to the point that every summer move instilled laughter rather than fear in the hearts of culers worldwide? Are we not making the same mistake right now?

And what about the overall balance of the squad? Will all three defend? Will Suarez get frustrated when he sees Neymar and Messi defending less? Will Neymar get frustrated with Messi, for that matter? Will Rakitic succeed where Cesc has failed? Wouldn’t it have been better to spend at least some of those 81 million euros – 81 million euros – on say, a defender? Suarez might very well be a better player than Alexis, but taking into account the amount of work the Chilean puts in and how well he has finally adapted to playing on the wing, will he be worth having sold Lexus for?

One thing’s for sure, the purchase of Lucho raises a lot of questions. It doesn’t necessarily mean that there aren’t any answers. Some culers, and I count myself among them, have been making the argument for quite some time that Messi should move to a playmaker role. If you put Suarez in front of him, and heck, Pedro on the right, we’ll have, for the first time since Eto’o left, two attackers who can make runs that invite through balls, a characteristic which has been lacking in our squad for some time now.

No matter how you look at it, from a purely tactical point of view, this monster move by the board represents a huge risk. But don’t worry. If it works, the board is a genius for signing him. If it doesn’t, they’ll blame Luis Enrique. Or Lionel Messi.

FangsBIG

THE BAD

For perhaps the first time in football history fans are unanimously satisfied that their club sold its star player at the heights of his powers. Think about that for a second. Luis had just come off of his best season ever during which he was absolutely integral to his team’s title run. He made the crowd oooh and aaah with his flair and unpredictability. Liverpool hadn’t had a player like this since… Maybe they’ve never had a player like this. He’s at his prime, at a moment where if his club had continued building the team around him, who knows, maybe they could actually win their first league title in over twenty years. And yet, 99% of Liverpool fans were glad to see him go.

What does that tell us? I could just say “enough” and leave it that.

I have to be honest. I find it incredibly hard to dislike Luis Suarez. I’m talking about the person here, not the player. He has always come across as likable in his interviews. He takes his job seriously and he gives his 110%. There’s the fairy tale story of how he was motivated to the core to play in Europe, which is normal for South American football players, but with the twist that his main motivation was to be closer to his girlfriend who left Uruguay for Barcelona when Luis was fifteen. How can you not a story like that? Girls, say “aaaaaaw”. Funnily enough, as despised a figure he has become, I think I would’t have disliked him even if he had signed for M*drid.

It’s tragic therefore that he betrays himself so often and that he always ends up repeating the same mistakes. Just when the world falls in love with him he’ll bite someone. Again. Or demand a transfer two weeks after he declared his never-ending loyalty. It’s moments like these that make you realize that the man is his own worst enemy. It makes you grunt, scream, roll your eyes so far back your head hurts. And it makes the press and a large contingent of (especially Anglo-Saxon) fans vilify the man.

So when he dives to get an advantage he is bashed over the head with the proverbial sledgehammer – but when Stevie G. does it the public hear no evil see no evil. When he batted the ball out of the goal mouth to deny the first African semi-finalist ever fans call him a despicable cheat, knowing (I suspect or I hope) full well that he did what every player would have done in a similar situation, which is of course what every fan would have want their player to do. Ooooh, they say, and he had the gall to laugh when Ghana missed the resulting penalty and kept hope against all hope of advancing alive.

Is he the devil incarnate? I know I’d rather be bitten in my shoulder than have my leg or back broken, but while people call him an animal and inhuman and they mean it, too, in my view biting a man on a football pitch is just weird. More than anything it’s plainly bizarre. A four-month ban for club and country for an offense which Chiellini probably didn’t even feel anymore the next day seems unjust to me. The Italian defender himself said as much, and other players have gotten away with a lot worse during this tournament, under the all-seeing eye of the camera, no less.

You can’t have a team of only nice guys, said Cruijff, who would know because the Clockwork Orange of 1974 featured players who would saw off an opponent’s kneecap for tugging at Johan’s shirt. Except Barça did have a team of nice guys, and they were arguably the best team the world has ever seen. They were the exception rather than the rule. I’m too young to remember if there were many complaints amongst culers when Hristo Stoichkov stomped on a referee’s foot shortly after arriving in Catalunya. I definitely don’t want Suarez to gouge anyone’s eyes while wearing our shirt.*** His hunger and aggression, however, if channeled correctly, can prove a catalyst to bring back those intangibles our team have lost. Likewise that same hunger and passion can see him banned for life. Especially his hunger.****

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THE UGLY

It’s funny how we don’t pay much stock to the rumor mill. Every summer another target, and every day new names find their way to the headlines of SPORT and Mundo Deportivo. What’s even funnier is how from the first day Luis Suarez graced the local covers, that sinking feeling started surging, that “oooooowwww I know this ain’t no rumor” feeling. Presidents come, presidents go, their strategy remains the same. “The whole of Barcelona wants Luis Suarez” blurts SPORT. “Culers undivided in their desire to see Luis in our colors” claims MD. Things of that nature. ***** 

Try as they may, culers I speak to in the city of Barcelona are not convinced. Many say he’s not worth the risk. The smart ones – rare and in between – wonder how Messi, Neymar and Suarez will play together. The ones who love our club because the values they thought it represented are disgusted. Of course many also think, as is inevitable, “what if it works?” All in all, he might not be as disliked here as he is in England, but culers are nowhere near as close to ecstatic as we are being told that we are.

It’s just another thread of the carpet of deception that’s been laid out in front of us week in and week out. If the board wants to buy a player, by all means buy him. If our new coach loves him, all the better. They want to take that risk, then take the  risk. Just don’t tell us it’s what we all want. Don’t take us for the fools that only half of us are. Is that too much to ask for?

FIVE WEEKS LATER

So now we’ve had a good five weeks to get used to the idea that Luis Suarez is a Barça player. For many, the original disgust has died down. I personally remain more disgusted with MD and Sport for their “FIFA ban injustice” campaign than with the original offense that caused it – not because I don’t think the ban is injust, but because the fact that our board knew full well he was banned before they packed a record amount of money in a record amount of suitcases and sent them Merseyside. I still don’t see quite clearly how our superstar frontline will work together, but that doesn’t mean I’m not carefully optimistic. I know we’ll see some good football and, although it would be presumptuous to count  on anything, I hope we’ll get to celebrate a trophy at the end of this season, too.

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* Ironically the season that finally saw him win the golden boot coincided with the first season that he impressed for having left his selfish play behind.

** The facet of his game which epitomizes his will to win is the way he dribbles. He’s not a close dribbler, like Neymar, Messi or Iniesta. Nor does he blast by people like C. Ronaldo, Bale or Robben. No. When Luis Suarez dribbles past his marker, the ball will hit his opponents legs and sometimes even more than once. How does he still get past them? Call me dirty, but I like this man’s intangibles…

*** The eye-gouging, to me, is a lot worse than biting and it amazes me that it didn’t cause even a tenth of the uproar. I didn’t even know he committed the act until the video went viral. Following the same train of thought, a video surged of Jermaine Defoe biting another player. You guessed it, he did not get banned seven games for his first offense. Hypocrisy some? For sure. Not that it makes Luis look any better, though.

**** The more I hear and read about it, the more I think the ban is disgraceful. FIFA actually had the police (!) come and get him from the Uruguay training grounds. The idea of a player not being allowed to train with his teammates or even enter a stadium is absurd, as is the fact that they punish Liverpool for something their player did at a tournament in which he didn’t represent their club. Never mind them, they’re laughing their butts off for finding a suitor who coughed up 80M. They don’t have to worry about that nutcase anymore. His next transgression, and there will be a next transgression, he’ll be lucky if they allow him to play FIFA on his Playstation. Watch a game with his father-in-law. Talk about football at the dinner table. Pass the ball around in his backyard with his daughters. Walk on grass. He’ll be the first ever football player to go into hiding. A pariah, playing illegal pick-up games on the parking lot of a seedy bar at three in the morning on a Saturday. It won’t be long before he undertakes extensive plastic surgery and signs up for the Pyong Yang Red Stars. You heard it here first.

***** One of the most ridiculous “advantages” they keep writing is that because of his wife and in-laws, Suarez will adapt to the city very quickly. You know, because Barcelona is such a notoriously difficult place to adapt to for professional footballers. And while I’m at it, another disgrace is how Barto, Zubi, SPORT and MD are the only ones who tried to sell us his (read: his lawyer’s) apology.

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34 Responses to “Once upon a time in Catalonia”

  1. ian_percival says:

    nice piece Lev, guys this Douglas thing is gaining more truth to it than I imagined, MD even got him on their front page today saying the deal is in it’s final stages. I’ve been trying to get some clue on the guy as I have never seen him play before,most importantly I wanna know his attributes, his speed,intelligence, passing ability etc. from what I’ve heard they say he is terrible,I wonder why the board wants him, just wanna know if it’s true, can anyone help

    • Levon says:

      I have no idea, but in this day and age a 24 year old making the jump from the Brazilian league to a top European club is really weird. Apparently he is very fast.

      Personally I say that if Lucho insists on playing two offensive wing backs, which to me seems madness, then splash the cash on Cuadrado.

    • PrinceYuvi says:

      Don’t worry so much, wait till it’s official.

      Even if he comes, he’ll come as Montoya’s back up.

      The Winter is coming, And Zubi seems to be gathering enough warm bodies to survive it. Two windows ban remember ?

      About Douglas, [via whoscored]
      he’s garden variety Right back,
      24 yrs old,
      171 cm height – Another squirrel.
      Very Strong at Tackling.
      Strong at Passing, Crossing, Through balls.
      Likes to shoot, tackle.

      Don’t give much attention to what people are saying on social platforms, they haven’t even watched him yet.

      Brazilians fans, well they look just too much happy after being thrown in limelight, just loving it to rip Douglas apart.

      Everybody always wanted our scouts to sign someone cheap, an unknown entity – Here’s the guy.
      Can’t have It both ways.

      • Levon says:

        True enough, but at 24 years old he is hardly unknown (not speaking of fans). If no European club tried to sign him over the last couple of years, it seems weird to me that he’d Barça quality all of a sudden.

        Latest word from Sport is that Barça can’t sign Cuadrado due to FFP rules…

        • Peter says:

          It would raise amortization and percentage of salaries to overall expenses to above FFP levels. In order for Cuadrado to get in, Dani Alves or Song(or both) would have to get out.

        • Sarthak Kumar says:

          While I do respect your opinion, I don’t totally agree.

          Not all players are early startups, some are late bloomers.

          At 24 years of age, Dante had sealed a transfer to Standard Liege from Charleroi
          At 24 years of age, Keita was an unknown at Lens, went to Sevilla at age 27 and Barca at age 28.
          At 24 years of age, Lambert was with Bristol Rovers
          believe me, there are tons of more examples like luca toni (24 yrs of age at brescia, he made the italy team only four years later.)
          so believe me, late bloomers do exist.

          fingers crossed – douglas is one of them

          • Sarthak Kumar says:

            ok i realized i misunderstood your comment, ill just add one line: it takes time for these late bloomers to come to the top, esp dante and lambert.

            so i think buying douglas now enables us to view him as a part of a VERY long-term project (i hope).

  2. PrinceYuvi says:

    Lev is back in the house!
    Superb article, covers every POV.

  3. Kxevin says:

    The problem with the Suarez thing is that there is no amelioration, no middle ground. And people have a difficult time separating the act of signing from the man from the board who did it.

    Time has done nothing to quell my disgust, even as it has added some perspective. But to my view, because Suarez is now a Barça player, we have to find ways to make it less revolting. One of my favorite writers and Twitter voices of reason wondered the other day, as did I, what we would be saying had RM signed Suarez instead of us. The true test of any act is does it stand the “mirror test?”

    In the extremes, we get the “poor persecuted baby” and “he’s the Devil!” The truth is somewhere in the middle. He is a brilliant football player with what seems to be a fundamental flaw of lashing out in destructive ways under negative stress. And nobody can predict when that time will be. He has done it for every team for which he has played, so there is no reason to think that he won’t do it at Barça, a team that multiplies the most intense pressure.

    There are also some “someone did this once, and didn’t get this,” or “I would rather be bitten than kicked,” etc, etc. The thing, and what lies at the root of the draconian FIFA sanction isn’t that Suarez did it once. It’s that he has a history of this behavior, and that history includes an almost complete lack of remorse or acceptance. His people craft an apology, he signs it, utters it in public and away we go.

    Does he mean it? Good question. He might, and might be genuinely remorseful for the incident, and might honestly want to not transgress again, which is a deeper problem of nonexistent impulse control.

    Barça has signed a time bomb because it wants to win trophies. This is at the bottom line. The game is about quality. Can the player do his job. Okay, then we can hold our noses at the other stuff, and watch him score goals.

    There is more disgust and outrage over the potential signing of Douglas, an inexpensive Brazilian right back who, to my knowledge, has not bitten three people, kicked another in the stomach or been found guilty of making racial remarks at a black player during a match. His only sin is that “He isn’t quality.”

    But Suarez is quality, so that other stuff? Well shucks, you can’t expect a brilliant to not be a little flawed now, can you? Look at Stoichkov, and stop being silly.

    The other complexity is that people say that someone “doesn’t like Suarez.” I am sure Suarez is a lovely man, when he isn’t going bonkers in the heat of battle. Friends like him, teammates like him, his family loves him. You can’t dislike someone you don’t know, so anyone who says they “don’t like Suarez” doesn’t know what they are talking about. We don’t know the players we watch play football every week, beyond what they do on the pitch and off the pitch, what they let the public see.

    As for the FIFA sanction, CAS made the exact right decision in eradicating the silly part but leaving the active match ban intact. It’s a decision that is being widely hailed as sensible by parties with no skin in the game, even as club, player and many culers think it wasn’t a just one. It was, because the FIFA sanction wasn’t just about the Chiellini bite, but the WC incident atop a pattern of repeated behavior. In the U.S., many states have a “third strike” law, where if you are nabbed for a crime, it’s a normal sentence. The second time, the law sighs, and still, the case goes as it should. Third time for the same offense and the hammer comes down.

    That treatment of repeat offenders has been hotly debated. Parents and family of someone sent away for that third strike say “It isn’t right to send that person away for X,” but it isn’t about X in and of itself. I think that to understand the FIFA sanction, that is something worth considering.

    The best news to come out of this is that Suarez’s lawyer said (and again we will have to take his word for it) that the player is working with a therapist, and that no further incidents will happen. The former we have to take him at his word for, and the latter, only time will be able to tell.

    I really like Levon’s piece because it reopens debate now that time has passed. He is a Barça player. Someone smarter than me told me that it isn’t FC Messi, but it isn’t FC Suarez, either. If you support the team and club, support them. So that is that, for me, even as I still find the act of signing him vile.

    • Levon says:

      Indeed I asked myself the question of whether I would still like him if he signed for M*drid. Very few merengues have come out of that question positively. Higuain, Seedorf, Zidane, Beckham and Ronaldo. That’s about it. I pretty much loathe anyone else who has ever worn that shirt. In the article above I wrote that yes, I would still like Lucho. I just remember too many interviews with him (as a Dutch speaker, I probably had an opinion of the man before many other European football followers) in which he came off as a genuinely nice guy.

      What’s a huge source of concern is that not only what he does wrong but that he keeps doing it. The soap opera of Suarez trying to leave Liverpool last summer was very similar to when he tried (and succeeded) to FC Groningen for AFC Ajax years before. Ditto for his biting. The news that he’s working with a therapist is no news at all, it’s only a different therapist from the year before in England (let’s hope this one’s better).

      As Kxevin points out, the pressure of playing at FC Barcelona is higher than anything he’s ever experienced before. I’m afraid it’s not a question of whether he will snap again or not, but when. Of course this then leads to the next, inevitable question, for how long will they suspend him next?

  4. ciaran says:

    Levon, nice article but I would definitely argue some points.
    In Ireland Liverpool and Man United are the two most supported teams. I am yet to meet a Liverpool fan that is ‘satisfied’ that their club has sold Suarez. They expected it before the incident and maybe accepted it after but none are satisfied so your claim that it is unanimous or 99% were glad to see him go is very inaccurate.
    My guess is that you have based this on either media, in which most Liverpool articles are tinted from the same self preservation as those of any ex player or vested party in explaining the sale of their best player in a couple of decades, or fans who are hiding their disappointment in false moral highgrounds.
    Every one that I know was disappointed in the sale and saw it as a step backwards for them. If anyone thinks that they can finish second or greater without him is delusional or incredibly optimistic.

    I would also say that to claim that they’ve never had a player like this who can wow a crowd is a disservice to a club with a more successful history in Europe’s premier competition than we do including 4 European Cups in 8 years. Players like Keegan and King Kenny in their prime were world beaters in their own right.

    Kxevin, your assessment that we have bought a time bomb isn’t necessarily accurate. We have no idea if he will do anything like this again. People who don’t approve of his signing will say just look at his past, he’s done it before and he’ll do it again. They’ll say that he didn’t mean his apology. Others will say that he has never apologized before and so this should be seen as a genuine apology.
    I understand both viewpoints. I believe that his signing was a sporting one designed to take us to the next level, one that has been lost for over three years and one designed to make the most of the talents of what’s left of a group that will never come around again. We still have Pique, Busi, Iniesta & Messi at what should be the peak of their powers for another couple of years but how often can you produce these types of players? Once in your club’s history is probably the answer, maybe twice.

    I said last season that he is the player that we should buy and I haven’t change my opinion. He is the best striker in the world, by quite some distance. His desire coupled with his ability is something that we haven’t had in a long long time. Eto’o didn’t have nearly the ability of Suarez but became a two-time CL winner because of his desire and work rate. We now have that back.

    If we back the club then we have to do it fully as you say, and that shouldn’t mean holding something over it’s head for the five year contract that he has signed.

    • Kxevin says:

      The Liverpool fans that I have spoken to in person all say they are sorry to see Suarez the player go, but not sorry to see Suarez the potential behavior problem go. That’s the quandary, that, as one guy who works in my building said, “You aren’t sure whether he is going to score a hat trick, or get suspended for 3 matches for something.”

      The root of my “time bomb” supposition is simply that Suarez is consistent. He has had transgressions at every team as well as his national team. There is no evidence that he will be any different with Barça, though it would be a pleasant surprise if that happened. Pepe got Keita to snap. He must be licking his chops at the chance to try to wind Suarez up.

      Time bombs don’t always explode, but they leave you on pins and needles by their existence.

  5. Hilal says:

    “And yet, 99% of Liverpool fans were glad to see him go”

    Uh, not sure where you go this stat from but it is widely inaccurate. I know about a dozen Liverpool fans and not a single one of them were happy to see him go. Maybe that is what annoyed Liverpool fans say on Twitter but if you speak to actual sensible Liverpool fans they will mostly tell you how devastated they were that he left. One my friends was so upset he actually refused to speak to me for a few days after it happened and now he is an ardent Real Madrid fan!

    • Benj says:

      Really? As a Liverpool fan, albeit an Outoftowner, I don’t know any reds fans who are devastated to see him go. I was over at my mum and dads to watch the LFC vs SOU game last night, and it is always a topic of conversation: “who’s going to replace him, how are we going to find a bajillion goals per season, why is coutinho sharpening his incisors?”. The truth is, we are happy we dont have to deal with the controversy (only gives the ManU fans ammunition against us) and we are many millions of human moneys better off for it. I dont think our reaction was devastation, more of a ‘well that was lovely while it lasted’.

  6. PrinceYuvi says:

    Sorry. Off the topic.

    As far as I know,
    there’s no compulsion to Tweet only the Absolute Truth or nothing else on twitter.

    So, ‘These or those club fans are saying this or that on twitter…..’ sentences can’t really be the ground rule.

    Simple question,

    Are all those tweets honest opinions
    & have nothing to do with secret agendas like annoying or flattering or trolling others ?

    Apart from a handful great accounts and journos, else is all a big mess.

    Literally thousands of Tweets vehemently imply that Messi is beyond crap.

    If we all start to believe in everything that floats around over there….

    • agar2515 says:

      Is this away to quell the outrage at the possible Douglas signing? I’ve read more than enough from trustworthy people in Brazil howling at how he’s nowhere near Barça quality. I don’t buy that Brazilians are just having at him because they’re suddenly ln the limelight. Even BrazilStats doesn’t rate him ( that’s a joke but really that dude loves every Brazilian and still ripped into Douglas).

      • PrinceYuvi says:

        Quell Culer outrage ?
        That’s nigh impossible, mate.
        Cules are famous for their Furore.
        I’m trying to find positives in otherwise hopeless situation.

  7. agar2515 says:

    Anyone see the headbutt Thiago Motto suffered yesterday? Player straight up waits for him in the tunnel, headbutts, then hightailed it. I wonder how long a band he’ll get for what was basically premeditated assault.

    A lot of this is how an individual’s actions are translated by one’s own “moral code” if you will. Where’s the social media frenzy? The wave of outrage ( besides from PSG)? It seems being a thug is ok but what Suarez did was seen as seedy, vile, disturbed etc. Id rather someone bite me on a pitch than headbutt me to break my nose.

    I’ve read such bile directed at Suarez even after he signed, from our own supporters even. I don’t get it at all.

    • barca96 says:

      What is up with players and headbutts? Why don’t they just just talk it out or if they really want to hurt the guy, punch him. Instead of pushing, shoving, slapping, head butting.

    • acquit says:

      Headbutt are in the same plane as biting IMO. They all need a therapist before they can play. Why many claim biting as more vicious is because it’s totally bizarre.PERIOD. Many supporters who are against Suarez transfer,in this space also despised Busquets act vs Inter Milan in 2010. You can read it from archives. Busquets became the best DM after that and received adulation too after the act. Suarez, on the other hand got admiration from even die hard manutd fans and then he did that act again. Now since he is ours, we can only hope that he doesn’t repeat. His agent words are the only hope

      • Levon says:

        I always thought the outrage over Busi’s peek-a-boo incident was misplaced. Motta deserved that second yellow regardless for grabbing him by the neck like that.

        Also reports have surfaced that Motta was calling Baston players hijos de puta all game long. What happened in the stadium’s corridors start to make more sense now. If you’re on the street and you insult and antagonize the wrong person he’ll make you pay. Looks like that’s exactly what happened to Motta.

    • hereiam says:

      Simple assault is a misdemeanor punishable by six months to one year in jail, if Thiago Motto decided to pursuit the matter in court.
      Six months of jail time is a far more serious sentence than a football ban.

      • Levon says:

        If I were a footballer I might choose 6 months of jail if that meant I could get my career back on track afterwards. A lifetime ban as PSG is asking for is prepostorous (as is the 2-year ban that is being talked about right now).

    • hereiam says:

      By the way, Duncan Ferguson received a three-month prison sentence following an on-field assault of Raith Rovers’ John McStay in 1994. Yes, prison time has been given for headbutting before.

  8. TITO says:

    In case someone is interested in buying any Barca related equipment, there are quite low prices at the moment at the official online store.
    I got me few things.

  9. Levon says:

    Thanks for reading, all. Let’s start with the obvious.

    ““And yet, 99% of Liverpool fans were glad to see him go”

    Ok, i see how I exaggerated that line. I should have said: “99% of Liverpool fans were not upset about the decision of selling him.”

    Of course they’re upset that they lost their best player. But they’re mostly upset that he did something as incredibly stupid as BITING AN OPPONENT FOR THE THIRD TIME IN HIS CAREER! The smart ones should be happy, because it makes him leaving their club not such a bad thing.

    @Ciaran
    As for King Kenny, Ian Rush, John Barnes, Michael Owen, Stevie G… I’m not doing the club a disservice and I’m not saying Luis Suarez is necessarily better than any of them, but looking his flair and unpredictability I don’t think they’ve ever had a player quite like him.

  10. flyzowee says:

    I admit to not understanding the worries with fitting Ney, messi and suarez in the team. We are not the only team with a superstar frontline. See Bayerns Ribery-Lewa-Robben. I hear only good things about their potential together. Play a fluent rotational Neymar-suarez-messi and all I see is goals. If its pressing that worries cules, the only one who needs to improve massively is Messi Imo. Buh thats where Enriques iron fist comes in.

    • Levon says:

      Bayern’s frontline players complement each other a lot more. Lewandowski doesn’t need the ball as much as Suarez. You can play off of him. Also Ribery is very much a serving player (much more so than Messi or Ney who, despite great passers, do not play to serve)

      Messi, Ney and Lucho are all “let’s give them the ball and wait for magic to happen” type players. If they learn how to play together it can be wonderful, and in some games it will be. However whether the sum will ever be as great as its three parts suggest is doubtful, in my mind at least.

      As far as pressing goes, LE already announced in his press conference that Messi will have complete freedom of movement in attack and that he will build the team around the best player in the world. Not sure what that suggests about his defensive responsibilities.

  11. Ryan says:

    You know, I can’t remember watching Suarez take a penalty. I imagine he scored his vs. Argentina in the 2011 Copa America, but he certainly didn’t have one in his 31 league goals last year. (or vs. Ghana, naturally)

  12. Kxevin says:

    A Gamper preview of sorts is up, that will also serve as the match comments post. Thanks.

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