News of the Day: February 11, 2010

The future looks bright...

If you think we’ve got it bad with injuries and suspensions for the upcoming match at Atletico Madrid, just remember this one word that should ease most of your angst and cause you to sigh in relief: Portsmouth. They’re facing some serious problems over in Jolly (and doubtlessly sunny) Blighty over debt accrual and failure to pay taxes. Of minor consequence (at least to those considering putting them in administration) is their failure to pay the full sum of transfer fees to other clubs. So while we’re moaning about missing out on Alves, Pique, Marquez, Chygrynskiy, and possibly Puyol, we’re at least not faced with relegation, points deductions, debt that could put our club out of business entirely, and we don’t have a coach that looks like Boss Nass from Star Wars (h/t 2ndCitySophia and Chelsea Offside).

Instead, we have one of the most financially stable, if not the most financially stable, clubs in the world with virtually no debt, a cantera filled with gems, a first team filled with superstars, a 5 point lead in the domestic table, a good shot at winning the Champions League, and a coach that rocks the hell out. And yes, we happen to have some serious injury and suspension issues before the next match, which is generally one that gives us problems, and we’re surrounded by vile rumors from a bad luck charm, but at least we’re not Portsmouth. I think that all teams who aren’t Portsmouth can at least say that, right? Real Betis and Real Sociedad fans are probably even saying that at the moment.

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So, to the actual news:

-Not enough was made on either this site, the official site, or in the rags (Sport and EMD) about FCB re-signing Jeffren and giving him the #20 first team shirt. His deal goes through June 30, 2012 and has a buyout clause of €10million. Congratulations to Jeffren for his new contract and I can’t wait to see him jitterbugging about the field once again. Hopefully he continues to have a solid year of improvement so that next year he can become a regular contributor to the squad. The official site has a small piece on it here. His career statistics include 11 competitive matches for the first team (5 league, 4 Copa, 1 CL, 1 CWC), but no goals.

Canteranos Marc Muniesa, Marc Bartra, and Albert Dalmau all trained with the first team squad today in preparation for the match against Atletico on Sunday. All three are defenders, with Dalmau being a right fullback and Bartra and Muniesa being mixed center- and fullbacks. Bartra has yet to make a competitive appearance with the first team and as such I find it less likely that he’ll start over Dalmau on the right. I still imagine that none of these players will get a start despite Carles Puyol continuing to work individually with a trainer rather than taking part in full practices. El Capitan is not expected to miss Sunday’s match, but Guardiola is obviously not taking any chances with who he trains.

El Mundo Deportivo has mentioned that Jeffren has previously played at right back for us during the Copa del Rey campaign and could get the nod there against Atleti. That Copa match, however, was against Cultural Leonesa and not a serious opponent like Atleti at the Calderon. Still, it could be an interesting experiment if Guardiola finds himself wanting more attacking power on the right side and far less defensive security (basically a 3-4-3).

-Jonathan dos Santos was also training with the first team squad and could be a replacement for Andres Iniesta if the slight knock he (Iniesta) received on Tuesday is more serious than expected. Despite the knock being serious enough to raise concern with all the Don Andres fans, it turns out our #8 is not as fragile as some think by looking at his sun-drenched skin and manly mane of hair. He’ll get the start on Sunday and little JDS will have to wait another day before he’s given the green light in the first team again.

-The list of our suspended is currently at Gerard Pique and Rafa Marquez, both of whom saw red this past Saturday against Getafe. Sergio Busquets doesn’t appear to be suspended because despite earning a 5th league yellow against Getafe, he had previously earned 2 yellows during one match (against Real Madrid) and served a one match suspension for that double yellow-induced red. It therefore appears that he has will be suspended either after the next yellow or the second one he accrues from now.

-The list of our wounded is currently at Dmytro Chygrynskiy (1 week), Eric Abidal (2 months), Dani Alves (3 weeks), and Yaya Toure (2 weeks). Add in Puyol and that’s a mighty fine defensive lineup we have unable to play. Ta leaves a back line with an open RB slot and, if Puyol really is unable to play, with an open CB slot as well and we’ll see some dramatic reorganizing, including the possibility of Keita starting at the back. What I think is fairly certain is Guardiola putting Milito and Maxwell on the left side of defense if Puyol is able to play, in which case I see Puyi getting the start in the middle and Dalmau starting on the right.

Bojan Krkic is saying all the right things. He doesn’t appear to be worried about his playing time as much as others think he should be and he seems to know that at 19, he’s got a long ways to go in what should be an illustrious career. Working hard now will develop good habits (thanks, Phil Ball) and will pay off in boatloads of goals and assists later in his career, regardless of who he ends up playing regular first team ball for.

-In the rumor mill world, Cesc Fabregas has added even more weight to the obvious deal done between himself and Barça by denying it is a real deal. “No” is the new “yes” and we all know it!

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.


  1. Tyler
    February 11, 2010

    I hate to say it, but this could be our first loss of the season. An inexperienced back line, coupled with a very seasoned and sharp Kun and Forlan makes me nervous. I’m hoping for a tie, and somehow a miracle that Xerez can actually show up against E.E. Buckle up everybody, it’s going to be one hell of a ride for the rest of the season!

  2. ooga aga
    February 11, 2010

    our defense is still better than their defense, and our offense is better than their offense. it’ll be fine.

  3. Kxevin
    February 11, 2010

    I never, for an instant, consider the possibility of a loss for us. It’s why they are so gutting for me when they happen. We are the best club in the world, and don’t even have to be at our best to beat most clubs in the world.

    And as we all know, when we are playing our game, most balls don’t even get to our back line, with those guys functioning mostly as sweepers, to move the ball up into the midfield. When we are on our game, we don’t need to have the best defense in the world. And the one that we will be able to put out there will be good enough if the rest of the side is on its game. If they aren’t, we’ll deal with that bridge.

    –Jeffren will be sold this summer, mark my words. I’d love to be wrong, but I just don’t see him having a home with us. Krkic will be moving to the wing (mark those words, as well), and with whatever left wing signing we make over the coming transfer season, Jeffren will be left out in the cold. As I said in the previous post, it’s easier to sell a signed player, so we did just that.

    • Eklavya
      February 11, 2010

      I bet you he won’t.
      If I win will you buy and ship me a Barca jersey? 😀

    • Alexinho
      February 11, 2010

      Interesting hypothesis about Jeffren, and that’s definitely true what you say about our overall game. I think about how much the CBs actually “do” in each game, and it’s definitely a “sweeper” kind of life. I’m sure Hector is going to steadfastly disagree though.

      I was very surprised to see Jeffren get resigned. I see Jeffren as kind of like Busquets: for now, he’s not our favorite player, but Guardiola seems to have a lot of faith in his ability, moreso than in a lot of players that we do think are clearly superior. I expect him to stay and play in Bojan-of-this-season’s role. Unfortunately, I think this means that either Gai or Thiago, perhaps both, are going out the door.

      If you’re right then, unlike you, I’d be fairly happy. In a way, I don’t see him having a home with us, but I’ve learned that these kinds of situations are almost as unpredictable as transfer rumors. Who would’ve thunkit that Yaya’s imminent departure would even emerge as a fleeting thought this season, or that Pedro would become “the” sub this season? Pep knows better than any of us who deserves to stay and who is on the edge.

      • Tyler
        February 11, 2010

        Kxevin I totally agree with you, and maybe it’s the flu medicine that I’ve been taking, but I’m just haunted by visions of the first leg Sevilla game where our back line pretty much imploded. We are the best team in the world, we should win, we’re just so banged up right now. But like you said, if our midfield handles business the back line won’t see the ball. So I’m going to take less robitussin and try and sleep till Sunday. VISCA BARCA!

  4. February 11, 2010

    Let’s just sign Chad Ochocinco and be done with the rumors, eh?

    • Alexinho
      February 11, 2010

      God, imagine his goal celebration…we should have a whole comment-thread on how he would freak out the Spanish fans, and a second one for what his goal would look like.

      Everyone, GO!

  5. Tim
    February 11, 2010


  6. yogi
    February 11, 2010

    On news of day, Maradona has now declared that Samuel is a certainity for SA. Apparantly he also spoke to Mourinho about Samuel. In the weird world of maradona, its very difficult to distinguish fact from fiction. Very interested to see Maradona’s selection for Germany friendly.

    • Eklavya
      February 11, 2010

      He has to selection the Milito brothers if he wants to have any chance…

  7. vicsoc8
    February 11, 2010

    Have to agree with the selling Jeffren bit. If we bring in a midfielder this summer, Iniesta will spend more time on the wing as well as Pedro. If we bring in a LW, it will preclude Jeffren getting any time. Either way Jeffren isn’t going to be playing, and he’s getting to old to continue waiting.

    The nicest bit is that the signing then selling can be blamed on a difference of board opinion.

  8. vicsoc8
    February 11, 2010

    Also – no Fontas training with the team. Does anyone know why? I was under the impression that Fontas was ahead of Bartra in the current pecking order.

    • Helge
      February 11, 2010

      Thought so, too. But seems like Pep knows once again better than us 🙂

    • Hauns
      February 12, 2010

      Bartra seems like the real deal, the complete package. Outstanding reviews this season.

      Anyway, he is suspended and Lucho can’t count on him for the next game, I think that should explain his inclusion and Fontás missing.

  9. drew
    February 11, 2010

    Has anyone read the doozy quotes from Blatter?
    how the hell is this guy the prez of FIFA

  10. Hector
    February 11, 2010

    Re-signing was a classy move by Jeffren. If he wanted, he could have left on a free and Barcelona would not have gotten anything back from their investment in him. Now, even if he leaves, Barca will at least get some $$ in return. He didn’t have to do it but he did.

  11. auld super
    February 11, 2010

    Jeffren’s not Barca material but neither is Bojan I say sell them both if there’s good money to be made off them. And about the weekend look at it this way it could be much much much much much worse, the dreaded Marquez could be available. Thank God he’s not.

  12. john
    February 11, 2010

    “The future looks bright…” I wish I could find a photo with the same caption except framing Dos Santos and Bojan.

    • February 11, 2010


  13. andrew M
    February 11, 2010

    “jitterbugging”. yes, this. jeffren in a sailors outfit moonwalking his way across the pitch.

    cesc? puke

  14. Eklavya
    February 11, 2010

    Enough talk of Jeffren not making it!!! 😡
    Thiago and Assulin need to stay in Barca Atletic for the moment.
    JDS needs to be brought up step by step into the A team.
    Jeffren is ready to play IMO. How long? I don’t know, but remember that Pep rewards those who wait the most. Seriously, if Theo Walcott who can stay at arsenal for so long then I think Jeffren (who has more qualities) can make it too.
    Point! I don’t care what anyone else says!

    • barca96
      February 11, 2010

      lol and a few years back the english media hyped walcott to be better than messi. i almost puked!

      • Eklavya
        February 12, 2010

        Didn’t Wenger really say that? I thought he said the Walcott may one day become better than Messi…

  15. JMo
    February 11, 2010

    This match Sunday will be the perfect opportunity to play defense through possession.

    I know that’s not a new concept, but with Sergio, Don Andres, and Xavi controlling things, and Messi dropping back into his trequerista position, we should maintain position and establish a disconnect between El Kun and Forlan.

    This game will be won in the midfield. If we lose that battle at all, I see us conceding maybe twice. Diego has always hurt VV, but then again, this is a different sort of VV this year around.

    • stephen
      February 12, 2010

      I fully agree, minus them scoring twice, and yes, possession will def. be key in our game, as long as we have Ibrah and Henry with great form, we’ll be fine.

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