News of the Day: February 9, 2010

It's woodshed time, beeyotches!

First off, we have a pretty big project started, so don’t forget to read about it and then email your submissions as soon as possible.

-It is with a heavy heart that I bring you all news of Eric Abidal‘s thigh injury that could rule him out for up to two months. Even given his extraordinary recovery capacity, he will be out for a while, having, as I understand it at the moment, torn an adductor muscle in his left leg. That’s a fairly severe injury, especially to have sustained in practice and I’m hoping that the immediate fears pf a long recovery are proven unfounded after more tests are done. In a comment, Kevin pointed out that the matches Abidal is expected to miss are: @ATM, Racing, @Malaga, Valencia (home), @Zaragoza, Osasuna, @Mallorca, Athletic Bilbao. That is not such a bad run to miss if you’re going to miss an 8 match section. The problem is that we’ve also got Stuttgart home and away in the CL during that stretch.

-In the meantime, what are we left with? Our back line for the Atletico match on Sunday is looking shakier and shakier, with our suspensions and injuries piling up. Off the top of my head, we’ll see Albert Dalmau come up from the cantera to see some action alongside Carles Puyol and Gabi Milito/Dmytro Chygrynskiy in the middle and Maxwell on the left. We very well could see Puyol on the right and a partnership of Milito and Chygrynskiy in the middle, but I prefer his solidity in the middle rathe than his legs on the right where Dalmau has a chance to shine. Another possibility is Marc Muniesa on the left or in the middle, which would be a pretty serious move on Guardiola’s part simply because Muniesa is 17, would be facing Forlan and Aguero if put at CB, and isn’t as used to LB duty as CB duty were he placed out wide (meaning Maxwell on the right).

-Word on the street (aka the Internet) is that Sergio Busquets is not suspended because 2 of his 5 yellow cards were accrued in a single match (vs Real Madrid) and he has previously served a suspension for that. If true, that increases our options in midfield for the weekend match with Yaya Toure currently out and Seydou Keita possibly needed to fill in for Andres Iniesta, who received a slight knock during practice today.

-In meaningless news, Cesc Fabregas is apparently looking for a house in Barcelona. His move to the city is imminent!!! A quick check of Wikipedia confirms that he has absolutely no family in or around Barcelona that he could possibly wish to visit during the offseason, nor does he have the money available to him after such a non-career to be able to afford a place wherever he’d like to live. Thus, the only logical conclusion is that Nike has purchased the house for him on the grounds that he make a fancy move to Barça in the coming summer so as to ensure that Sandro Rosell is elected to the Barcelona presidency. Also HAARP is involved.

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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.

98 Comments

  1. Tyler
    February 9, 2010

    losing Abidal is a HUGE loss for us. it’s time that we man up like true champions and take care of business. and its time for tall-bearded-learning spanish-ukranian guy to show us why we paid a boat load of money for his services. we got this, we are Barça!

  2. majatt
    February 9, 2010

    Too bad we can’t call back Henrique.

  3. stephen
    February 9, 2010

    Yeah its tragic but I think we can recoop, not worried about stuttgard, hoping alves will be back for those games, at least the away one.
    not worried about athletico, they have not proven themselves worthy of a win yet, so i doubt this sunday will be the difference.

    • Helge
      February 9, 2010

      Well, the away match is at Feb 23, it should be close, but just enough time for Dani to recover.
      And the thing about Atlético is, last season they’ve won only one out of the last 8 matches before facing us at their ground. You remember that match? We were 2-0 up after 30min, but tied at 2-2 after 56min. Then, Henry made the 3-2 in the 74th min and I remember exactly how I told my pal “Okay, at least we won’t lose this match now”. Maybe I shouldn’t have challenged fate…
      When we face each other, everything is possible, from a 6-0 away win for Barca to a 3-4 loss although we seemed to have the game in our hands like last year. And it’s completely independent of the shape and latest results of both teams. It’s simply Barca vs Atletico, my 2nd-favourite match of the season!

      • Alexinho
        February 9, 2010

        I sorely remember that match as an Henry fan. Best goal he scored all last year, in one of the very select losses. Probably one of Messi’s better solo goals of the year in that match, as well.

        Now that I think about it, his classiest goals in the Blaugrana have come in losses. Think 4-1 Real Madrid–that was a beastly goal, and he couldn’t even celebrate.

        • Vj
          February 10, 2010

          He took his revenge in May, Twice and was an absolute God in that game.. Those golazos were his best in our colours..

  4. vicsoc8
    February 9, 2010

    My understanding is that Muniesa has been playing left back for Barcelona Athletic for the last couple of games at least. While it’s definitely a risk, we also have to take into account the bench for the game.

    If Pep starts Puyol – Milito – Txigrinski – Maxwell we will have 0 first team defensive subs. Muniesa would be good to have along precisely because he can slot into several of those defensive slots, something which Dalmau can’t do, and which Fontas can only do in a restricted manner.

    No matter what it will definitely be interesting to see what Pep does.

  5. Carles P
    February 9, 2010

    Wow… having Milito back is HUGE… Imagine if we had no Milito… SCARY!

    I would like to see a young RB come up. Puyol and Milito in middle and MadMax on left. I kinda like Keita in the DM role, and maybe Busi in Iniesta role (less dangerous there; and if Iniesta out). I think a combo of those two in the middle would add some steel to midfield.

    Although, our possesion game will be hurt without Iniesta. Who knows what Pep will do?!? That guys unpredictable.

  6. Kari
    February 9, 2010

    Former EE president Roman Calderon says TB ‘resisted’ Barca in favour of a move to the Bernabeu.

    On a scale of 1-10, one being the least, 10 being the greatest, how much do we care about this story?

    Answer: somewhere in the negatives.

    In other news, LA I.C.E* released a new episode on Youtube…oh wait, they haven’t. O.M.G.

    *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vQ0ZYI_o1k

    • February 9, 2010

      When I read sport this morning I almost puked in class. It must have been a pretty slow day, which is suprising considering the abidal injury.

      • Kari
        February 9, 2010

        TB= Thong Boy=He Whose Elbow People Break Their Noses On.

        😛

  7. Eklavya
    February 9, 2010

    I’ll send the picture(s) on the weekend, I’m kinda busy right now… 😐

  8. Kari
    February 9, 2010

    Who else is actually kinda looking forward to the Atleti game.? Last season people were (rightfully) saying we didn’t have any real injuries to contend with, that we were lucky with them, etc. Now we do. I think it’s a good test for the team and they’ll definitely be coming with something(s) to prove.

    Remember the last time we had injuries/suspensions…the CL Final and we all know what happened in that game 😛 . The plus side to playing Los Colchoneros is that there won’t be a slow start to this match for sure 😀

    • jordi
      February 9, 2010

      Im not looking forward to it.They talk about how much they prefer us to win the league over madrid then come out and beat us (!) 😀 .I guess its better than Espanyol not even trying to hide their “equipo hermano” feelings when they play madrid.But dont tell us how much you want us to win the league then beat us 3-2 and 4-3 the last 2 years, coming back from deficits 🙁 “With friends like these…” Its funny beacause the last time they rolled over for us and we won 6-0 at the calderon, it made Torres question their ambition and leave so I guess its good they come at us again like they used to, but still.I blame Kun and Forlan for canging the mentality.*shakes fist*

      • Kari
        February 9, 2010

        True *also shakes fist*

        But! The games are just so interesting and I really believe we’ll be on them like pale on Iniesta. They’re just so bipolar…and when teams come at us, the MIX (Messi-Iniesta-Xavi) just laugh in their faces and proceed to annihilate them. And it just has the makings of that kind game for us–our backs against the (supposed) wall, a missing defense…

        Visca el Barca! Barca-Atleti games are just awesome (especially when we’re at home… XD )!

  9. Alexinho
    February 9, 2010

    This is without a doubt the first time we’ve been in anything approaching an injury crisis in, perhaps, a year and a half. At least Pique and Marquez are only suspended.

  10. segun
    February 9, 2010

    pls dnt think of chygrynskiy coz he cant face d likes of aguero & forlan bcoz he is 2 slogish

  11. Kxevin
    February 9, 2010

    Shit. Iniesta being out is huge. The possession game that takes the pressure off of the defense will now suffer, unless ….

    Valdes
    Puyol/Txighedbetterbenasty/Milito/Maxwell
    Busquets/Xavi/Messi
    Pedro!/Ibrahimovic/Henry

    That’s right, the small wonder moves to the midfield. He’s one of our best passers, retains possession exceptionally well and has excellent ball control and retention skills. Yes, we lose him in the attack, but he can move forward, and we still have a potent front line with the abovementioned combination.

    Plus, we’ll need to rest Keita for Stuttgart, who have the kind of defense that he can penetrate easily with his runs into the box.

    • vicsoc8
      February 9, 2010

      Kxevin, that lineup says to me: “Our defense sucks today, so we will just have to score tons of goals”

    • Helge
      February 9, 2010

      Ehm… the Stuttgart match is 9 or 10 days after ATM. You thought it’s 3 days after, right?

      • Kxevin
        February 9, 2010

        I did, Helge. I thought it was the following mid-week.

      • Kari
        February 9, 2010

        Yeah, like Helge says below, Iniesta isn’t out. He just took a knock. He’ll probably be wrapped in cotton wool (as best to Pep’s ability while still, err, training). Me thinks we’ll see:

        Puyol/TxishowuporforeverbeHlebbed/Milito/Maxwell
        Xavi/Busi*/Iniesta*
        Messi/Ibra/Henry**

        *Wouldn’t bee too surprised to see Keita instead of Iniesta, if this supposed knock is a REAL knock and not just strategic moves by our medical staff to throw Atleti off. Busi off the bench tends to play a little better, since he’s had time to see the game from the outside in. It’s tempting to keep him on the bench and put Keita there

        **Henry was rested against Burger King FC for a reason. He’d better be ready to raise some heck, especially since he’ll have a more attacking partner in Maxwell (Puyi will most likely be the more conservative one). Also, depending on the way this game turns out, P! might be subbed in for Henry early and Keita for Iniesta.

        Considering how well Messi led the line on Saturday, there’s actually more options than I thought we had…though, this isn’t the game to experiment 😛

        • Alexinho
          February 9, 2010

          I think Keita is a must-play in any game in which our defense is so marred. He even likes to drift left, which will make a huge difference defensively with Abidal out. Remember the rumors before the CL final of him playing in Abidal’s stead? I don’t expect to see that any more than I expected it then, but Keita will probably play.

          In any case, I don’t think the news on Iniesta struck me as meaning he is “out.”

  12. Helge
    February 9, 2010

    I haven’t read about Iniesta being out. He’s got a minor knock during training today, that’s all. I hope he’ll be fine!

  13. Jim
    February 9, 2010

    Sorry but losing Abidal would be nothing compared to losing Iniesta. Any good Abidal does, and to be fair he is consistent, is done in non threatening areas and doesn’t really affect results. Again in the last game we saw his vulnerability when someone runs at him. I’d rather have him available given our injuries but imo its not huge.

    Iniesta is a key part of our whole set up.

    For me Puyol / Milito is a must in the middle although we could give Chiggy a chance in the middle. However, it would then become make or break for him. If he fluffs it (and Atletico are quick if nothing else) we’d never see him again. To be fair the fact that we’re even dreading his inclusion suggests we’ve wasted our money with him.

    • Alexinho
      February 9, 2010

      Upon watching the match again, it was probably one of Abidal’s poorer matches, not that it was that bad a’tall. Lots of uncharacteristically-loose short passes.

    • M
      February 10, 2010

      Yeah, I just can’t get over losing Albiol for 15m and buying Chigrynskiy for 25m.
      on the other hand, whoever said that we will miss Abidal’s contribution to the attack? he is not supposed to go forward unless the right full back is not attacking.
      most of the time he is just covering spaces behind Iniesta, up until the middle of the field.
      it is not his primarily duty as a left fullback/third center back to provide loads of crosses, as much as covering spaces for the other attacking 7 players of the team.
      Abidal’s pace against Aguero, Forlan and Simao is needed, and I would be grateful to know about other left backs in this world, who cover the whole flank alone most of the time, who don’t get dribbled by the opposition attackers a couple of times in each game.

    • Kari
      February 9, 2010

      Pfft, everyone know that Kobe Bryant’s really going to sign with us. 😀

      Not only has he visiting the ground multiple times over the past couple of seasons; disclosed the fact that he is not only an admirer of Messi, but also has his picture in his locker ; stated his love for Barca many times; he’s also been photographed wearing the Barca kit AND juggling a ball.

      Really, there is so much evidence we can no longer deny it. This whole Fabregas business is just a smokescreen to cover his impending signature.

      Look, there’s even PROOF!

      *http://www.insidesocal.com/tomhoffarth/kobecoveri.jpg

      😀

      • Hector
        February 9, 2010

        Supposedly during the Olympics, Kobe hunted Messi down in the athlete’s dining hall, shook his hand, told him he was the best, and got an autograph to the astonishment of everybody in attendance. Love or hate the guy, you gotta give respect to his international pizzazz. He supposedly speaks Spanish with Gasol on the court so that the other team can’t understand.

        Hell, I can’t waith for a picture of Kobe with Ibra, Messi, Xavi, and Iniesta. It would be like two parents with their kids.

      • Hector
        February 9, 2010

        At the Olympics,” Messi says, “everything was beautiful.” His fondest memory? “Eating at the Olympic Village.” One day at lunch, a tall black man set his tray at one end of Barça’s table. “Hola,” the man said, grinning. “Soy Kobe.” With smiles and small talk, Kobe Bryant worked his way back to Messi, then pulled him aside. “We chatted for a while,” Messi says. “His Spanish is very good.” As Bryant walked away, lunch tray in hand, he turned back to cast his vote in the great debate. “Messi,” he called out, “you are the best!”

        From here: *http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/news/story?id=4205057

        • Kari
          February 9, 2010

          Great link Hector 😛

          Here’s the video relating to the link I posted *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZNWIqWJnJM&feature=related

        • Alexinho
          February 9, 2010

          Does that make Barca…the Lakers…of soccer? (Shudders).

    • Kari
      February 9, 2010

      FILE NOT FOUND

      ..is what it (link) says for me, so “It ain’t so” 😛

      • Jim
        February 9, 2010

        Sorry.

        *http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=739168&sec=england&cc=5739&cc=5739

          • Jim
            February 9, 2010

            Without doubt. My point was that we were ever thinking he might fit into our side.

  14. jordi
    February 9, 2010

    Iniesta injured? Wow didnt we promise to wrap our guys in cotton wool or teflon?

  15. Kari
    February 9, 2010

    Everyone remember when we won the double WITHOUT Xavi (he was injured for like, 6 months?)?

    Granted we had Ronaldinho on form and Deco and Eto’o…but still. Whoa!

  16. yogi
    February 9, 2010

    I also expect Iniesta to be fine. Milito being available is huge for us right now. Chrygnasty needs to move up a level now. He is needed. I like our young ones but they are too green to throw in the mix straight away, esp against team like atletico who do not follow any template.

  17. February 9, 2010

    Milito – Puyol partnership didnt work well before Milito’s long term injury. Marquez-Milito was more solid back then, so as Puyol-Marquez. There are too many similarities between the Argentinian and the Catalan to compliment each other.

    I am saying so to note that one of the reasons Chergrnskiy played without comfort was partnering Pique (his identical). I can see a better performance if he plays beside Milito. Milito is a natural leader. Something Chegrnskiy needs as a reference till he knows all the ticks and tricks.

    If we leave this injury/suspention tunnel with duets of Chegrnskiy-Milito and Pique-Puyol, I cant complain. And I am still an admirer of Marquez as well.

    Puyol-Chegrnskiy-Milito-Maxwell for me. How will Chegrnskiy suck while playing between two hairy demanding vocal leaders? Time to return 25 Euros from the 25M through a decent performance.

    • Hector
      February 9, 2010

      Word. I gotta agree with that. I also hereby demand Maxwell grow his hair. This is ALMOST my ideal 1980’s headbanger backline. 😀

      A couple of other points:

      – Henry and Messi always seem to have good games against Atletico. Hell, I think they are the team Messi has scored the most goals against if memory serves me right.

      – A Barca CB is second only to the #4 in terms of positional and cerebral demands. Its hard as hell. Add to that moving to a new city at 22 and learning a completely new language while you are playing with guys and being coached by guys ONLY in that language and I am sympathetic to Chygnasty’s plight. Learning Spanish from scratch well enough to speak it at a press conference after less than 6 months while playing football is VERY impressive. I can’t fault the guy on an effort level. I am actually kind of excited to see how he reacts. Get used to it because I think he gets the nod over the kiddies although a few of those will be on the bench as back-ups for sure.

      – Atletico’s defense still sucks and they have a goalkeeper crisis with Asenjo having a confidence problem and De Gea still being really young and still naive albeit hugely talented. Their offense is the one that scares me. When they are on, the Kun/Forlan pairing is as deadly a striker partnership as ANY in the world. Reyes epitomizes Atleti (he is either really good or really shitty with no in between) and I still for some reason still dread Simao FK’s albeit only when they play against us. Jurado has been a flop which is surprising considering that he was decent to good for Mallorca last season althugh just look at Banega to see what an impact leaving the mad house that is Atleti can have on a player.

      – I am with Tim from La Liga Loca. I DEMAND that Cerezo fire Quique and bring back Aragonés (who played for them back in the day). That is the TRUE Dream Team right there! Cranky crusty old guy with a history of controversial quotes and outbursts, a bat shit crazy board and staff, and a bi-polar team with a history of crazy behavior. That would be so interesting its not even funny…except it is. It HAS to happen.

      • Alexinho
        February 9, 2010

        Great posts, Ramzi/Hector axis.

      • jnelson
        February 10, 2010

        But Quique is the Dr. House of soccer!!

    • cliveee
      February 9, 2010

      this seems like a good solution.

  18. drew
    February 9, 2010

    MD says jeffren re-signed unitl 2012!! One down three to go.
    maybe no winger in the transfer market this summer…
    BRING VILLA!

    • Alexinho
      February 9, 2010

      Hrumph. I was hoping they would sign any of the other three above him. But I suppose since he’s the one with most appearances (with JDS), it is a predictable signing. Also, like Busi, Pep seems to trust him, giving him the #7 and all. If we can only take two, I have to say take Thiago, but letting JDS and Gai just sounds ghastly. I would’ve given up Jeffren for the other three…and I would’ve preferred to buy a winger.

      Hate to bring it up again, since I don’t want to see it happen, but it could be that if we are dealing with letting go either wingers (Gai, Jeffren) or CMs (Thiago, JDS), and presumably buying in the stead of those we let go, then perhaps this choice of re-signing indicates that we could be purchasing a CM over the summer, which means…

    • Helge
      February 9, 2010

      Ah damn… it looks as if he was shot in his leg!
      After seeing this, I doubt he’ll be back earlier than expected.

    • jordi
      February 9, 2010

      When i said he was unlucky i didnt think he was that unlucky :O .That is some rotten fortune there, especially with the resulting length of the injury lay off.

    • cliveee
      February 9, 2010

      holy crap, that is almost unbelievable…

      • Jim
        February 9, 2010

        Yeah, you’d get away with that 9 times out of 10.

  19. eklavya
    February 9, 2010

    Oh crap! Puyol didn’t train with the rest of the squad! He’s doing some seperate training to recover from a slight pull… WTF?!

    So Barta and Fontas were called up.

    • February 9, 2010

      Puyol just does this now and then to keep his mind focused on The Hunt. He is, after all, pure beastman. He’ll be fine come Sunday.

  20. Larm
    February 9, 2010

    i got a bold plan to fix the injury crisis….Bojan as a CB. the other team will be so suprised that they will panic. Soon they will start asking themselves “if bojan is ahead of me, then where are the other defenders?” then all of a sudden BOOM!!!! Puyol comes in slide tackling while swinging on a vine that dangles from ibras head.

    like i said bold plan, high risk/high payoff.

    my plan b is , Maxwell-Milito-Puyol-some cantero kid(might as well give em a chance)

  21. Kari
    February 9, 2010

    Darnit! I wanted to read the ‘Behind the Story’ part of the story Hector posted above, but you have to either be a member or pay!

    *http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/insider/news/story?id=4205102

    If someone’s a member… 😀

  22. Keano
    February 9, 2010

    Chamakh on a free eh? not barca standard

  23. cliveee
    February 9, 2010

    rumors are rumors, but are we really signing both Ribery and Fabregas? I think that’s a little insane… but at the same time I feel happy for us. It’s just that the money involved will be crazy, and some players are bound to go out.

    • Alexinho
      February 9, 2010

      Lies, all lies…one or the other if at all.

  24. Mher
    February 9, 2010

    Kevin, if i could just make a post suggestion? One about how Cesc would potentially fit or not fit in our system and gameplan, SHOULD he make the move here. You know, like a ” if he comes, here’s the deal ” sorta thing like you or Isaiah did with David Villa during Silly Season. Thanks for listening

    • jordi
      February 9, 2010

      We cant mention his name in titles or we get swarmed by angry gooners.I suggest we go Harry Potter style and refer to him as HE who must not be named.

      • jnelson
        February 10, 2010

        haha AGREED! But then we would have to find another name for the hlebber…

  25. barca96
    February 9, 2010

    no way we are going to sign both ribery and cesc. wif cesc comes, i expect pep to push iniesta to LW. if they both come, either cesc or iniesta has to sit on the bench. we can’t play with 3 creative midfielders..
    dam if puyi is out, our D will be ???–milito-chiggy/marquez-maxwell
    no way in hell we can cope with aguero and forlan

  26. February 9, 2010

    Hello Footyfans Isaiah i hope you wont mind me posting what im about to post but im desperate for people to join this football manager league i’ve created on xperteleven lol
    if anyone here likes online football management click on my name and join the league i’ve created its a lot of fun . it is a football manager game where you manage a fictitious football team. The thought behind the game is that you compete with your friends in a league that you create yourselves. You manage your team/teams in good times as well as bad. Your tasks consist of selecting your team and working out some cunning tactical moves.
    you have to register first though its free of charge my league name is “Theoffside” and its ID is 233029 and it is not even time consuming all you need to do is check on your team before match days set up your tactics and formations etc….

    • Kari
      February 10, 2010

      An EE fan posting here?! You really must be desperate! Lol, jk, jk. You guys are welcome to post here anytime (as long as you keep it relatively civil 😛 )

      We (kinda) have one already, but it seems interesting! I’ll check it out when I have time…sometime XD

  27. February 10, 2010

    Will Kerrison be allowed to play for Fiorentina in the Champions League?

    • Kari
      February 10, 2010

      Yeah, I don’t think Benfica played him in the CL…I don’t even think Benfica are IN the CL….are they.

      Gah! It’s been far too long without the CL. Feb 23rd hurry up!

    • vogy
      February 10, 2010

      i know he played a game in the europa league for benfica so i don’t think he can play cl for fiorentina

  28. Helge
    February 10, 2010

    Strangely, Albert Dalmau and Marc Muniesa haven’t been called up but Andreu Fontas and Marc Bartra…

  29. Helge
    February 10, 2010

    Damn it… Sport’s reporting a 5 year contract for Cesc is already done.
    I simply cannot believe that Pep wants Cesc now. One spot in midfieled has to go to Xavi, another to Busquets/the Yaya and the third one ususally to Iniesta. Maybe Pep wants to play Iniesta as the new Henry, but I think that’s not the best solution for Don Andrés.
    And what about our youngster Thiago, JDS and Jeffren who has just signed a new contract? Even Pedro would suffer from this decision. Guardiola cannot be so mean 🙁
    Hope Pep intervenes the deal, Cesc tries to win one single title with Arsenal over the next 3 years and then, he can return. And if he doesn’t want to, so shall it be. I believe in our own products. Only thing that’d piss me off is seeing Cesc in an all-white jersey.

    • Hilal
      February 10, 2010

      Its a long shot, but maybe, just maybe, Barca are making all this noise about Cesc so that Arsenal are forced into giving him a ludcirous contract and tying him down, purely so that RM dont end up getting him. I know it sounds a bit far fetched but stranger things have happened in football! That would certainly make more sense than spending 40-50m on a player that we dont really need.

      • Helge
        February 10, 2010

        I like that idea 🙂
        And yes, I wouldn’t declare it as unrealistic at all.

  30. Hector
    February 10, 2010

    Marca, in a once in a million act of actual fact-based reporting, an act so reprehensible to them that they can only be made to carry it out if it undermines the Catalan dailies, actually contacted Cesc’s agent who called out bullshit on the whole EMD/Sport BS “verbal agreement shit”.

    The Spanish sports dailies truly are pathetic be it AS and Marca used as Pravda’s for Florentino’s propaganda machine and trying desperately to tarnish Barca’s recent accomplishments or Sport and EMD which just can’t seem to overcome their inferiority complex.

    The Cesc story is “according to ONA FM”. Yeah, a local radio station scooped everybody else and did not cite any sources but you cite IT as a source. Way to go, guys. Even the way the story is phrased. “The verbal agreement WOULD be ready except for a few minor details…” or “the agreement WOULD be for 5 years…”. What they’re saying is, IF our mental delusions were real then the agreement WOULD be in place. Don’t pay mind to this bullshit. They just blatantly make shit up to sell papers because there are no mid-week games. When the UCL restarts it will be toned down.

  31. Hector
    February 10, 2010

    This is actually pretty funny. The guy who runs this blog is a Chelsea fan who gets his digs at Barca every now and then but its does have its occasional funny posts. The Arsene calling Pep conversation:

    *http://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/blog/sow_experts/post/DT-Exclusive-The-battle-for-Cesc?urn=sow,218572#remaining-content

      • Pyro
        February 10, 2010

        Dude DirtyTackle is fucking awesome. You guys should read random musings of footballer before they fall asleep, or kids ask kaka

        • Vj
          February 10, 2010

          and Berba the Continental, Beck’s Blogoire and Landon Donovan’s English Adventure of Epic Proportions..

  32. yogi
    February 10, 2010

    Btw, Barce has made a official announcement on its website that they do not have any verbal agreement with Cesc. Ha ha. I think Arsenal have maybe written a letter to our board.

    But any of the presidential candidates could have spoken with Cesc, is it not?

    • February 10, 2010

      Yeah Yogi, that’s my understanding too! While Barcelona’s contract policy may suggest that they are not allowed to talk to the player before the matter is taken to the club involved, there’s nothing to stop a candidate from getting in touch with Cesc or his agent (who has denied it) and setting forth some sort of verbal agreement. We all know much these verbal agreements are worth though.. Laporta apparently had an agreement with Beckham! We all know how well that worked out for us.

      It seems like this is the loophole that clubs like EE and ourselves exploit to a degree especially in election years because the chain isn’t rocket science –

      1> Sandro Rosell announces his candidature
      2> He is not prohibited from talking to Cesc because he’s not part of the club
      3> Rosell promises Cesc the world and a guaranteed starting place (yeah right!) in this Barca line up along with a world of monetary benefits.
      4> Cesc VERBALLY agrees to the BS
      5> Sandra Rosell makes the news public that Cesc Fabregas will sign with Barcelona for 5 years if he is elected.
      6> Elections come and the rest is history…..

  33. Helge
    February 10, 2010

    by the way (this is not a bad joke):
    Txigrinski is one week out! :'(

  34. Hilal
    February 10, 2010

    Have you guys seen the new CL format? It really sucks, why did they change it? All the games are so spread out now and 3 weeks between the legs? We play stutt on the 23rd Feb and then the 17th March!?!?! Me no likey 🙁

    • Helge
      February 10, 2010

      Me likey, because it gives me twice as much evenings of great football with only 2 games at once, not 4. It’s better for the fans, it’s better from an economical point of view.
      Last season, you might have had 3 absolute crackers at one time, but most human beings can only concentrate on one football match at a time. I’ve tried watching one match on TV, another via Internet stream, and I was kind a overstrained 🙂

      • Hilal
        February 10, 2010

        Ah… but thats why god gave us SKY+/Tivo 😉

        I see your point though, its a selfish thing on my part. Those nights when there are 2-3 cracking games, i watch one live, record the other two and spend the next 4 hours watching footy 🙂

  35. Hector
    February 10, 2010

    Now its REALLY gettin ridiculous! OMFG this is nuts. Our defenders are dropping like flies. It looks like Pep is gonna have to dig deep into the cantera. Fontas and/or Bartra are gonna get a rough introduction to Mssrs. Aguero and Forlan. What a way to make a debut! We’re gonna have to score some goals now… BTW Puyol is not a 100% yet. Can we pleas keep HIM wrapped up in cotton at least? Milito will have to put in a super human performance.

    Luis Enrique is probably cursing up at the football gods as well for depriving him of all his defenders in Barca Athletic. 😀

    • Hector
      February 10, 2010

      At this rate we’re gonna end up with Ibra as a centerback and Messi as a fullback.

    • February 10, 2010

      Who’d have thought that MILITO would become our knight in shining armour!

    • Blow-Granite
      February 10, 2010

      Now Chygry’s injury is just insane. I cannot understand how all the defenders are dropping like flies.

  36. February 10, 2010

    I’m pretty sure Pep himself can slide in at CB. Who’s with me?

    • yogi
      February 10, 2010

      Thats a great idea:).

      But seriously, what is wrong. So many injuries in such a short time and that too not in matches. I am worried.

  37. Eklavya
    February 10, 2010

    WTF Chiggy is out injured?!?

    On the somewhat good news, Jeffren officially signed a new contract.

  38. Lou
    February 10, 2010

    Jeez, were there giant craters or quicksand traps on this field they were practicing on yesterday?

    We only need to get though this one match because Pique and Marquez should be back next week. It’s not a great situation, but Pep has the rest of the week to prepare.

    Last year when we lost to Atleti the team was exhausted from playing two games a week with lots of international games thrown in. They were making stupid mistakes and Valdes wasn’t in greatest form. Now, key players are getting more rest and I think the team has a lot more confidence in themselves. Pep will have them ready to play.

    I’m guessing Fontas will start as he’s already played some first team minutes this season. Quite the trial by fire though if that is the case.

    I suppose Pep could decide to play Keita at left back and Maxwell at right back… that’s a lot of people playing out of position though.

  39. stowe
    February 10, 2010

    here’s an idea for a code name for Cesc: remember the nike advertisement with Cesc petting a cat like Dr. Evil? what if it was something off of that?

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