Don’t kill your idols, but don’t let them blind you either

Pep Guardiola doesn’t care about you.

Lionel Messi doesn’t care about you.

The people and players whom you revere, who consume so much of your waking moments and cause you to argue and take after complete strangers, don’t care about you.

If Bayern Munich score a goal against Barca tomorrow, Guardiola isn’t going to weep into a Barça binky. He is going to do what any opposition coach would do, which is exult and cheer with his players, then resume the task of trying to rip culer hearts out.

On Twitter, someone called me “stupid” because I said that I don’t care about Guardiola. That reaction made me think about the cult of personality, what it does and how often it impedes being able to see the game clearly. Last week, there was an excellent Miguel Delaney piece that had Mourinho praising Messi, and saying a number of things that verged on fanboying. He said in effect what culers and Messi fans say: “Messi changes everything.”

In some parts of the culerverse those statements were interpreted as a dig at Guardiola, that Mourinho was saying that any team with Messi can win, then blew his own horn by saying that he was able to stop Messi. What a vile, mean-spirited little man.

Queries about what someone’s reaction would be if Van Gaal or Wenger had made those same comments brought the response, that isn’t the point. What is the point? Maybe that there is a cult of personality, positive and negative, that springs up around things, a cult that can shape a worldview. Mourinho isn’t allowed to rave about Messi because he is a calculating weasel. There has to be something more behind it because everything that he does is smeared with avarice and ego. We all say that “Messi changes everything,” but when Mourinho says it … it’s different. You know it is, so stop it!

Guardiola is allowed to in effect say the same thing, that Messi is unstoppable, but there, it’s “Awwwww, Pep has the feels for Messi.” Nobody interpreted it as a dig against Luis Enrique, the man who is now coaching Messi, because why would they? It’s Guardiola. We love him!

When Neymar was bought from Santos, Johann Cruijff came out and said that it will never work because it’s two chiefs, a team needs balance, etc, etc. And because of the cult of personality surrounding Cruijff, people said “See? Just you wait.” Those who cited Neymar’s footlballing intelligence, associative play and willingness to blend into a team were called fools, and fanboys. Neymar’s cult of personality in the negative sense helped give the Cruijff statements weight. Later this season, the rumor popped up that Rosell wanted to elevate Neymar and sell Messi, and that rumor took hold for a very different reason that also had to do with a cult of personality.

What makes the perspective of someone worth more or less? Respect? I will go to the mat with anyone who doesn’t believe that Cruijff is a full-on Barca legend, a man responsible for so much in the storied history of this club. But he’s also a human being with his own prejudices, biases and blind spots. He can be wrong. How different would the reaction have been to the Messi/Neymar statement had Dunga, Neymar’s NT coach, made it. “Hmph! What does that dinosaur know?”

Players and coaches come and go. They are mercenaries in the truest sense of the word, soldiers hired to fight for a foreign army. Guardiola is a culer and a soci, just like I am. But when he agreed to take a paycheck for a fierce European rival, my interest in him ended, even as my respect for what he did for the club that I love endures. And Guardiola isn’t staying up any less late watching tape because he loves Barça. Because he is a professional.

This week, when Cesc Fabregas said that Chelsea felt more like a family than Barca, culers went nuts. Why? What does it matter what an ex says about you? Fabregas is kinda admirable in his Zelig-like emotional qualities, and there’s nothing wrong with being a ho. As the Tom Waits song lyric goes, “Baby I’ll stay with you / Til the money runs out.” Arsenal was his dream, Barca was his dream, Chelsea is his family. And I am sure that the next club he goes to will be something special, as well. That doesn’t make Fabregas wrong as much as it makes him a realist. It also means that it doesn’t matter what he says.

And what if he’s right? He would know, after all. But the cult of personality won’t allow that. He has to be wrong because he is tainted, when in fact we have absolutely no idea. But we do know that Fabregas didn’t work out at Barça, so there’s that. Ibrahimovic didn’t work out and ran afoul of Guardiola, so he is as stained as his worldview. A few faint voices said, when that was all going on, that Guardiola was as much to blame as Ibrahimovic but as we all know, that is impossible.

And still, players and coaches come and go.

If Messi is sold, he isn’t going to work any less hard for his new team than he did for Barça. And should Barça run across that team, Messi would try just as vigorously to kill Barça as he tried to kill for Barça. His mind and left foot would be clear. Because that is what professionals do. What do we, as supporters of a club, do? Always an interesting question, that balance of respect, reverence and moving on. Some didn’t understand how, on the weekend, the same Chelsea supporters who were winding up Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard while he was playing, rose to give him a standing ovation as he was coming off. It’s clear as day: you hate a rival and respect a storied competitor and player.

As a hard-hearted anomaly, I’m probably the wrong person to be prattling on about this. For me, respect and love for accomplishments is very different from reverence. If someone leaves the club I will always respect and love how they fought for the club, but my interest in them pretty much ends. What would sustain it? I don’t care about ex-girlfriends, so why would I care about ex-players or coaches? You can think someone is a club legend and not care about them when they leave because that too, is part of the game, which discards its personalities as it moves on. History is precisely that. When we allow it to color our world in the here and now, weird stuff starts to happen.

This isn’t really an advocacy of killing your idols as much as it is putting them into perspective. Just because Ronaldo comes off a whiny little prat doesn’t mean that he isn’t an excellent footballer and for all anyone knows, a fine human being. Mourinho will do anything to win, which doesn’t mean that he is always wrong, or that seeing him in a single important match won’t scare the crap out of me. I respect what he does, a feeling that is unaffected by my views of what he did while at Inter or RM. I can watch the Guardiola Barça matches, get all misty at the glory of it all and smile at watching the celebrations, all streaming confetti and weeping Pep. Just because I don’t care about him in the here and now doesn’t mean that I or anyone else disavows or doesn’t appreciate what he did for Barça. It’s only the cult of personality that doesn’t allow nuance.

Should people be fans of players and coaches? Of course. It’s unnatural not to be. I’m a weirdo, not an example. I just think that perspective also need be applied. As American basketball legend Charles Barkley said, “I am not a role model. I am not paid to be a role model.” Guardiola is a club legend. He is also a fierce, fearsome rival who has said that his job is to defeat Barça. You have to respect both realities. It’s the perspective that is important.

Categorized as Thoughts

By Kxevin

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. *Shrug* None of this makes any sense to me. Players and coaches, as well as exes, are not automatons whose lives and stories end when they leave our spheres of interest. I love Guardiola, in the here and now, because feelings don’t have a temporal limit. I acknowledge that the things that I love him for are events that have now passed, but it doesn’t matter. He’s still the same person. Of course he doesn’t care about me and never has, but so what? I care about him.

    What about when players retire? Is Carles Puyol, in 2015, completely uninteresting and unimportant to you? I mean if he is, fair enough, but I’m never gonna understand that.

    Look at all the players who praise their former clubs to the media or on twitter, etc. Players and coaches may, by necessity, be mercenaries, but they’re not dead inside – they still care about the clubs that they have left (for better or for worse – Cesc may not have nice things to say about Barça, but he sure as hell doesn’t have nothing to say either).

    Or look at the custom of not celebrating when you score against a former team. Alvaro Morata was surely overjoyed to score for his team in the CL semifinal last week, so it wasn’t a lack of enthusiasm that led him to not celebrate. Rather, it was respect for Real Madrid and it’s fans. If players still show us respect when they leave, the least we can do is not pretend that they’re dead.

  2. Agreed, though, that the cult of personality around figures shapes the way we react to their statements in really toxic ways. Despite myself I’m kind of impressed at the way that you say culés managed to feel outraged over those Mourinho quotes – I really, really dislike Mourinho but for me those quotes earned him a little bit of grudging positive feeling from me. Likewise, I love Cruyff and think he has a brilliant footballing mind – but he was just plainly wrong in re:Neymar+Messi.

    We need to learn to evaluate statements on their own merit, while taking into account not only our opinions on the speaker but also the biases and opinions OF the speaker.

  3. 1) I was kinda irked at crap people were spewing before the bayern match, that pep Knows a helluva lot about barca players, and so he was certainly goinga to trash us….Jeez, how screwed up can people brain get because of being biased??

    2)And yeah, i think the mourinho comment was a dig at Guardiola..Saw this post somewhere, before that game, : “A strange thing will happen when Barca takes on bayern, Mourinho will be cheering barca, fiorentino perez, will be rooting for Guardiola”….

    Its a fact, that mourinho hates barca…there was a piece i read about how everything he does is in effect trying to prove to barca and its cohorts, thats he’s good enough, and could probably make a team better than barca…Seems like he’s very life is just shaped by malice- so to say, with FCB….and if there’s a co-horts of FCB, thats mourinho rates as his principal enemy, its definately PeP…
    We, all know about their interconnected history, no need boring yo with that…So apparently, indeed as that mourinho dig proved, he was rooting for barca…i cant remember anytime, mouribho ever wax lyrical about Messi, was quite strange for me….Seems only natural, that he give some deserved praise to the “guy” who’s making people now call into question the tactical expertise of his sworn rival…That he blew his own horn at the end, well thats funny, achetypical of mourinho

    While, you were spot on most of what yo said, I think that Guardiola saying something similar to what mourinho said, and not getting the criticism? mourinho got, is simply because logically , we know there’s more chances pep is genuine with his comment than mourinho..He loves Messi, for crying out loud, and what he said was more or less the facts….Sometimes common sense just dictate, we do and say things some certain way naturally..But then, there are guy’s who have never heard about the word logic, thats where yo “cults personality of negativism” theory(lol) comes in

  4. OT: These is about my post in the last thread, didnt get a chance to reply to G60
    Now, at times like these i like being specific..When i talk of getting any Midfield players, i’m specific on where exactly i think they’d be played ..So, G60, i could do with yo being more exact here, are you talking about CM, AM OR DM ? The guy’s yo called out, isco and pogba, aint exactly CM- and right now, i think thats where we really lacking options…So, if yo were talking about the AM position, where does that leaves us in central Midfield, considering that at least we’ve got options(atleast) in AM ??…
    and just to add yo failed to mention Marco Royce- thats if yo talking AM, thats guys proven in that department…Could even deputise for one of our wide forwards, if need be…would yo rather a pogba to a marco royce??

    At CM, I’d going for a gundogan or verrati, moutinho’s good, but i doubt anyone will one take risk on him…
    And oh, Halilovic will definately prove yo wrong, yo just wait!

    1. Would be interesting to see how the Pogba saga pans out, Levon. But realistically speaking, do you think Barca would be willing to cough out the ludicrous fee touted in the media? From the little I have seen, don’t think he is worth 50m, the crazy market notwithstanding.

    2. We don’t know what will happen. Imagine Barça pay 75M that Juve can use to reinforce their squad and keep Pogba for a year. Imagine the guy does not want to go to PSG or to the EPL?

      Of course it is also easy to imagine Pogba ending up at M*drid…

  5. The thing to take from this piece, Hansh and manish, is not how you are supposed to feel. We are each individuals in that way. But how to let (or not let) those feeling color the ways we react to the world.

    I do hope that advocacy of my detached worldview isn’t implied. I take pains to point out that I am a weirdo in that regard.

    Cyclops, your Mourinho vs Guardiola example is exactly my point. What if both are genuine? Logic gets complex when it is colored by bias, doesn’t it? Guardiola good, Mourinho evil, so comments about Messi are colored by that.

    It’s complex, but I hope it’s interesting to consider.

    1. Appreciate your posts and your efforts at keeping this blog going. Your posts are focusing more on the emotional and physiological aspects of the game/club/players nowadays. Are you being influenced by Sid Lowe by any chance? 🙂 Anyway your style has changed a lot since the days when you had Kxevin Ratings and the furious discussions guys used to have here, haha..

      Your point of detachment from the parts/beings related to the club as soon as they dissociate themselves from the club is extremely logical, rational and realistic. Makes perfect sense and shows you love the club above all else. There is nothing or no one greater than the club and if something conflicts with your love for the club, then you choose the club. Simple.

      Unfortunately this is difficult for everyone to follow. A club is a sum of its parts. And we as humans are in love with it AND its parts. When some one or a psrt of it leaves and is replaced, we cannot easily let go of them. That is what emotions/feelings do. There is no question of right or wrong here. Each one loves the club for something. For example, I fell in love with the club because of Ronaldinho. So once he left, the part of me that loved the club because of him left with him. But I continued loving the club and continue to do so.

      These things do “color” our reactions. As Manish said we are not driods. Most of us still love Pep. Even you do of course. But try as hard as you might, when you admire some one a lot, it is almost impossible( to some of us) to ignore that emotion and disassociate yourself from that even if it is in conflict with your love for the club.

      The stronger the attachment to something, the harder is the detachment going to be…

    2. Thanks, simple_barcafan. I figure that there is a line of people wanting to do tactics and more traditional match analyses. But when I watch the matches, there usually tends to be a very human element that leaps out at me. I almost wanted to write a post just about the look on Messi’s face after scoring that first goal against Bayern. It was this compelling combination of rage, exultation, triumph and joy that was absolutely fascinating.

      Selfishly, the human side of the games also require less time of me, less than an hour from idea to completed post.

    3. True that, Kexvin. We fans tend to do ourselves great disservice by attaching way too much emotion to game and gameplayers that hardly take cognizance of our existence. In my sophomoric years of watching football, I had cursed God for not allowing my team win a mach or a trophy. I have starved myself over a disappointing result. I have submerged myself in the murky waters of depression over yet another disappointing result. I have also transferred unnecessary aggression to anyone and anything around me just cos some player ruined my team’s chances and my mood with some happy-go-lucky pass that resulted in defeat, et al. With time, maturity eradicates such acts. The whole point of the article treats reality as a needed element as opposed to emotion…in the grand scheme of things.

  6. I think Mourinho is a special case, so many times he’s been blatantly self promoting and back handed to opponents. Add to that his abuse of refs to favor his side. Usually in his comments are an obvious reference to how things are unfair to him. Part of his comments about Messi were so refreshingly candid and gushing I almost felt wow the guy has a heart, but then he went back to putting everyone else down, comfort zone I guess

  7. This attachment is, of course, overall really fascinating. The mere idea that you root for one team instead of another – despite the absence of any “natural” ties (like nationality of living the in the city) – is actually quite strange. I guess it has to do with our need for belonging, or identifying with various things (brands, styles, idols, religions…). I myself is always baffled at my dislike for CR – I try my best to be levelled, to say that he is a great footballer, that Gascoigne (whom I adored) and the likes were also arses… but there is no stopping the resentment. I simply want bad things to happen to him (football-wise, mind you).

    The way I understand Kxevin’s point is this: consider a situation when you play football with friend for fun and exercise. You are divided into two teams, and before long you have established a strong dislike for the other team; you will not listen to the objections and have no understanding for their suffering. Next week, teams are scrambled, some former teammates are now in the other team – and they, too, are now part of what you can’t stand and want to humiliate at any price. I don’t give a rat’s ass that they scored for my team last week, that we shared in the resentment of the other team. They are now gone.

    So, this attachment brings a surprisingly strong bias. Is this a problem? Not at all, unless it takes a violent turn (which seldom has anything to do with sports). But it does cloud your judgment if you are trying your hand at objective analysis. It certainly stops me from assessing any comments about Messi neutrally.

    And regarding Guardiola? I am forever grateful for those golden years, but I can’t stand the guy anymore. It’s over; he’s on the other team and and when the game begins I don’t care what he has done for me. Still, when the game is over, I’d be happy to have drink together a share our disagreeing views in a somewhat friendly manner!

  8. Calmness and a quest for objectivity is very important in politics and science. In football, it is also recommended for those who actually make decisions (players as well as coaches or sporting directors). As a Barca supporter, I find these kind of analyses fascinating but don’t dabble too much in it – after all, I do find enjoyment in some aspects of the cult of personality and the show that seems to get greater each year. Rationality and objectivity seem to be required so much in this era that some biased and badly-thought-out dislike or like of some player can really be a relief – all the more precisely because these players don’t care at all about us, so no harm to them anyway (though I’ve often seen people in this space argue that player x or y left because fans didn’t value him…).

    Bottom line: I’m not here (watching Barca) for some notion of objectivity or fairness but for enjoyment. For some, that comes from abstract analysis, but that’s only part of the fun for me. The show – including personalities – does its part too.

  9. Yet another great opinion piece Kxevin. You keep pumping them out.

    For me, I love some players even after they leave and dislike others for very little reason. I’ll always like Quaresma even though he was never good for us. I never liked Motta even though he came through our academy. I like Icardi even though he seems like an asshole and I struggle to like Dani Alves even though he is one of our best ever right backs.
    It’s all very personal.

    Coaches are a little different for me too. I wish Tata the best because he tried but in my opinion was way or of his depth even though he nearly pulled it out of the bag. I always wanted Rijkaard’s career to go upwards even after leaving in a bad moment.
    Pep gave us incredible success and a huge portion of his life and health but now he’s managing a direct rival so best of luck in the Bundesliga but we’re out for blood again.

  10. Here are some comments on a few aspects of the discussion:

    1) As Davour’s nicely points out football fandom is an irrational act so to apply the rules of rationality to the enterprise always seems to miss the point. However, once you accept the premise that how your team performs, its prestige, and how many trophies it wins is somehow important most of the rest of football fandom makes sense. For example, in La Liga watching Real Madrid losing or drawing for me at least is usually more satisfying than watching a routine Barca win. To some this may seem like strange but to me it makes sense since a Madrid loss or draw is probably worth the same as three Barca wins.

    2) For me there is no particular way to be a proper fan and much of the animosity within a fan community usually boils down to different types of fandom. Some fans get pleasure from criticizing players and the team after a bad performance others in idolizing and following the supposed private lives of the players. There are millions of Barca fans from all over the world and to expect them support the team in the same way is unrealistic. For example, I was stunned when I heard Barca fans say that they felt sorry for Pep, a global celebrity who is making millions of dollars but also know that the way I chose to be a Barca fan may strike others as equally odd.

    3) Like much of the world of business and entertainment much of football centers around publicity and agendas. For example, Bale’s agent says his teammates don’t pass to him enough and Mourinho says that any top EPL team would win the CL with Messi. Both these statements are probably true but they also serve the agendas of the particular people who say them.

    For example, let’s take Mou’s statement: If Chelsea had Messi then they would win the CL. This to me is such an obvious statement that you must think why would the statement be made in the first place. To me it’s a way for Mou and the EPL to somehow excuse the fact that Chelsea and the top English teams crashed out of the CL and Europa and as a league they have been embarrassing in European competitions this season. Does this mean that everything that players and coaches say is tainted by bias and self-interest? No, but most of the time statements are largely influenced by by self-interest and conventions about what should and should not be said publicly.

  11. I wonder why people are concerned about our interest in Pogba. The dude is genuinely the real deal. The same concerns were voiced last year with Suarez and the year before with Neymar and we all know how that turned out.

    The market is ridiculous now and world class footballers, and I use that term cautiously, are very few and far between. Pogba is already in that category and has bags of potential. He has everything in his game and is the ultimate box to box player.

    He is a specialist in every midfield position, incredible going forward and in defense. He has the size, technique, strength, touch, vision and finishing ability as well as a rocket launcher in both boots.

    Average players cost €40million these days and teams like Man City, Chelsea and PSG have distorted the market beyond recognition. David Luiz transferred for €50m last summer and he is no world beater.

    If a candidate promises and can deliver Pogba I reckon it’ll be money well spent. A backbone including the likes of him and Neymar would serve our club for the best part of the next decade.
    The last decade was the finesse of Xavi, the next might just be the power of Pogba.

    1. I am not an expert on Pogba but just don’t see him coming here for the following reasons:

      1) Why would he agree to be the fourth most important superstar rather than have an entire team centered around his talents?

      2) Every big club is interested in him and he will probably go to the highest bidder at a vastly inflated price.

      3) His salary would be ridiculous.

      4) We would become the new galacticos. Only one player can have the ball at one time and don’t we already have Neymar and Messi capable of destabilizing defenses.

      5) I am not going to say that Rafinha has what it takes to be a regular starter but his place on the team would largely become irrelevant if we got Pogba.

      6) As with many expensive transfers there is always the big risk that things will not work out for all sorts of reasons not readily apparent when they are made.

      7) Even if we could get Pogba he would not be an asset in the team until Fall 2016 by which time he may not be developing in the way expected. If he stays at Juve then we have most of next year to evaluate his progress as well as other midfield options.

    2. 1. To be part of the best team in the world, to play with Messi, to win trophies and to win personal accolades
      2. It isn’t football manager when you can just outbid another team and magically sign a player, the player himself makes the decision where he goes and he may just want to come here for the above reasons
      3. We are the highest paying team anyway and Pogba wouldn’t expect to be paid more than Neymar and Messi
      4. Xavi and Iniesta of a couple of seasons ago were every bit as talented as Pogba is now and they had no problem playing second fiddle to Messi. Henry was the king at Arsenal and he adapted. Ibra was the king elsewhere and he didn’t. It’s a personality thing and can go either way.
      5. If Rafinha has what it takes then he’ll make it. Plus, Iniesta is the wrong side of 30
      6. There’s a risk with every transfer big or small. Douglas was more of a risk than Suarez in my opinion. Big risk big reward
      7. I don’t understand how you mean that he may not be developing the way expected. He’s already a world class footballer and would in likelihood stay with Juve on loan til January.

      My opinion anyway

    3. Pogba is a 22-year-old kid, who has alot to learn. he’s big and has good feet, and runs the midfield box-to-box well. that said…

      he’s not worth 71m. that’s insane.

      i’d disagree with the idea of that transfer even if it was for half the price because, while our midfield does need bolstering, we HAVE a similar profile coming up in the B squad with Sergi Samper: not as big and physical but a better passer and reader of the game, and schooled in the system.

      if we could snag any player from Juventus i’d still have Arturo Vidal. ferocious, great technique, fits what we’re looking for and speaks the language. you figure in the next 2-3 years we’re going to have both Halilovic and Samper coming up looking for spots, and Rafinha developing-ish (I’m not Rafinha’s biggest fan; we kept the wrong brother); we need some strong professionals like Rakitic or Vidal to put in a shift until the gems start shining. paying 71m for Paul Pogba after a good 18 months at the head-and-shoulders-above-everyone-else best club in Italy hardly seems prudent.

  12. Pogba is perfect for us because he has a unique combination of skill and physical strength, and it has become apparent that a whole midfield of 170cm-tall skinny players is only going to dominate again if they are truly exceptional. We have a lot of such players coming through the ranks, but none of them is certain to turn out to be in the category, and they certainly are not going to develop overnight. Xavi is 35 and about to leave, Iniesta is 31 and declining. Another world-class midfielder is desperately needed, and there is nobody better than out there than Pogba.

    We don’t actually have to spend a lot of money in other areas thus I the cold logic dictates to just pay 80-100M and get Pogba.

    The biggest problem is that this will indeed turn us into galacticos, not so much at the level of the actual team, it’s the principle that matters. We have been very proud of successfuly building our success on home grown talent, and while we have also always acknowledged in words that this will not continue forever, I don’t think we have really prepared ourselves for the moment when we will have to resort to the same policy we have ridiculed RM for. Buying Pogba in the context of the Neymar and Suarez transfers the years prior to that would be that moment. I am not really worried about Pogba fitting in the team – he plays in midfield, will get plenty of minutes and will slot in perfectly in both phases of the game.

    But I will have a guilty feeling about this if we go for it. If anyone recalls the situation in the summer, I had absolutely no second thoughts about the Suarez transfer – I didn’t and still don’t care about the biting, but it put him in a situation where he had to leave, and for various reasons there was only one destination he wanted to go to. Pogba is the only player who could further raise the level of the team, but that would cross a line from a “Is it good for the same?” point of view.

    1. All good points. For me the good of the game argument is the most important one here. Right now I don’t think there is any doubt that RM and us are the two best teams in the world. Anything can still happen tomorrow, but I still see Bayern as sliping because many of their best players are clearly on the decline. Pogba would probably make us a more dangerous team but as things stand right now his presence would not necessarily add that much in terms of our main objectives of challenging for all three major trophies. The only exception is if he only wanted to come to RM or Barca in which case Pogba’s presence on one team or the other could skew the advantage either way.

      It’s not my job to feel sorry for teams in the EPL or PSG but his presence on one of those teams would make a bigger difference than on ours in terms of taking them to the next level and the publicity value of a star player. For that reason paying 100 mil might be worth it for those other teams that can afford it but not necessarily to us.

      Yes, we paid big money to get Suarez and Neymar to restore ourselves as the elite team in world football. Getting another world class player at this point might damage the competition in the sport as might have happened had we bought a star striker more compatible with our team than Ibra back in 2009.

  13. .

    Ok, Who the hell is Pogba?

  14. Has something developed on the Pogba front? Or are people just discussing him?
    Imo, he has PSG written all over him. He gets to play in his capital city for high wages and can be the face of French Football and its NT for as long as he stays.
    City will throw absurd wages at him, wages I don’t think we can compete with. He’s
    legit, but if we end up with a Gundogan I will not be disappointed.
    A lot is also depending on who is going to be President and on the board after
    The coming elections …

    1. i agree, he’s a PSG player. good player, but not as good as advertised, will be sold for a wildly inflated price and underwhelm as a result.

      for the prices being bandied about, Paul Pogba would be the most expensive midfielder in history. perspective is important.

  15. as some pundits predict, Messi would be our attacking midfielder once he is losing his speed as he aged more than 30 years. But now we need iniesta replacement. Have no preference as I dont watch any other league frequently except Laliga. Pogba seems so favourite candidate amongs cules, but the fee of 100 million is just wow. Could we afford that? If pogba really want to join us, maybe he can negotiate some lower salary so we can pay his transfer (ala Cesc/Alexis saga), But that just happen for player that really want to join us. If he prefer another aspects (money, play in the home country, etc) over the sporting reason to join the best club in the world, PSG and City would be easily send that money to Turin.

  16. Levon, i’m totally with you on pogba, even if it’s never going to happen.

  17. This article feels wrong. I still don’t get your point. You seem to be arguing for and against “the point”, whatever the point is. You appear to be saying “don’t give a damn about an ex-player/coach cos they don’t give a damn about you”, and at the same time, you appear to be saying “give a damn about ex-players/coaches because they brought you joy and happiness when they worked for you”.

    Make a point and stick to it.

  18. The Pogba issue is a no brainer for me. He is a quality player with enormous potential that we really do not need. He does not fit the profile of the Barcelona midfielder. Unless we are definitely evolving in that direction.

    What does the team need right now in midfield? For me its more control without sacrificing the current attacking impetus. We have three amazing talents upfront to serve us for the next 3 years and all three are creative.
    For the money being touted i had rather have Veratti who seems a better fit and addresses a real need that has existed ever since we did not pursue Modric.

    Pogba may as well end up at Madrid but that does not matter. Barca in recent times have not really about stockpiling talents.

    1. For the record, Fabregas fits the profile of a Barcelona midfielder and Rakitic does not. I can certainly tell you who I’d rather have in our team. Keita wasn’t a good fit and done fantastically.

      Veratti is as close to Xavi as is available on the surface but he is no where near Xavi’s quality

    2. Fabregas is not a Barca midfielder. He is clearly not. He had the fortune to be born in Catalonia and raised in La Masia. Thats as far as it gets for me.

      Why is Veratti not close to Xavi class? Was Xavi as good as him at 22? I doubt it.

      Pogba, Verrati are starting their careers. Either may/ may not end up doing very well. But to abitrarily think one is better than the other is a view i do not hold

  19. Kxevin, definately Mourinho is genuine- but, do yo think all this while he never knew Messi is the best player around ?? Has he ever admitted it ?? No, rather he’s crapped about how ronaldo’s the best, thats inspite of the fact that in his hearts of hearts he probably thinks Messi is the best..So thats that the point; Mourinho, is a calculatve being , hardly does any thing without considering its implication…So if after all this while, he now coms out and gushes about Messi, the points is there’s definately a reason for thats…Thats not being presumptous , just a logical assumption, that stems from an idea which is rooted in my belief of the personality of mourinho…Mourino is calculative; thats a fact, right ?? So whats i’m looking at here is, The motive, because mouriho has always been about the motive…Sure, he thinks Messi is a sublime player, no doubt about that, i’m not arguing that, i’m concerned about his Motive, cause its a no-brainer thats there’s one….And logically, we all know ( based on who he is and from that speech) that the motive is just simply to spite pep…For all the banter, thats just the long and short of it

    As for pogba, its not even about the price, where would you play him people…I’ve come to realise we hardly think about this; nope, its get a player, then you realise he’s a misfit, then you either throw him away, or the archaic idea’ ” adapt yo game, laddie”, so then he adapts and by doing so, bottle up 9 of out of 10 his talents…Remember Fabregas ? yeah ? oh, and how about Rakitic ?
    Pogba’s, not a Barcelona No 4, IMO, and except you are thinking of playing him as an advance playmaker, yo should do well to take time and consider this all over…

    As an AM, i’d rather go for Marco royce than pogba, any day…But the thing is, right now, what we need is a Traditional No 4, but it seems nobody’s talking about that…We’ve been playing with a No4 for like forever, and right now, we’re playing with guy’s who are told to “adapt their game” …Tommorow when its all go wrong, thats when y’all will remember that; Ooops we never had a No4, stupid board!…
    As i said, at AM, we atleast have options there, why dont we concentrate on where needs attention, and stop all this blind buying buisness ??…..

    1. Pogba can play in any of our midfield positions, but in our current “gala” line-up he’d take Rakitic’s spot.

    2. Levon, we’ve got Rakitic there havnt we ? except yo contemplating sending him to barca B, then i’m lost…At CM, who we’ve got there? Xavi ? thought he was going to leave anytime from next season ? Arrghh…

  20. Lala10, i totally agree with yo…And Ba, yo too, i think it would serve us better if we invest in sergi samper rather than spend that monstrous amount on pogba…Samper could play as a DM, tho’ i’d prefer if he’s groomed to take after Xavi, as he’s apparently got the potentials…
    Sergi roberto could be played in DM instead of Samper( i know, i know, y’all probably thinks he’s not good enough, we could give atleast give it a try ) while samper plays upfield..
    You know, somehow, i’m kinda glad that we had that transfer ban, atleast we can look inwards now, and not throw money around….

    1. Either way, we will have all the silly season to argue about Pogba…

      Tonight we are playing a Champions League semi-final second leg winner goes to Berlin!

    2. I have hardly seen this guy play. Is he playing tomorrow ? If so, I’ll look forward to it.

      Meanwhile, still got this hurdle tonight. Should go through but biggest test yet for us, for me. First result flattered us a little and Bayern, after a rotten start came back quite well. Mustn’t concede an early goal and mustn’t allow them unchallenged midfield control as they will create chances, even against a good defence like ours. Hopefully Pep will come up with another daft tactic but can’t rely on it. Looking forward to another CL final, though.

    3. Although Bayern looked sturdy they didn’t create any danger, the Lewandowski chance aside. Curious to see how they will come out.

      Of course, if we score one, they’ll need five. I hope we’ll beat them again and I think the team is hungry for another victory.

  21. Not sure I understand the point of this article…the only thing I want to say is we should all be entitled to feel whatever way we want towards ex-player/coach/anyone as fans. There’s no right/wrong way to feel about anything.

    About Pogba, he is the perfect choice for us. We need a world-class midfielder and there aren’t many in the market right now. We can never guarantee Iniesta’s form won’t slip by January 2016. 100 million is high, but RM paid that amount for Bale and we paid probably the same amount for Neymar. The market is what it is, and the only way to get a world-class talent nowadays is to pay a lot. Pogba is only 22, he still has enormous potential. Some might be worried about his ego being too big for Barca, but he’s still young and can change. Neymar is somewhat the same way (even the hairstyle) when he came here, and look how much more humbled he has become now.

    I’d say go for it. No pain, no gain. Don’t expect to get a rare deal these days by spending little and expect something amazing to happen. Varatti, Kovakic etc are one level below Pogba for me, and Denis Suarez/Halilovic/Rafinha simply aren’t ready to be a starter in this Barca team.

  22. Jim, seriously, the result flatered us ? yo kidding ? We would have buried them in the firsthalf had we taken our chances, i dont think they’ll agree that thats flattering…

    Had that game ended in a stalemate you’d probably had said it was hardluck, but we won, and yo say its flattering, and thats considering thats if we’d taken 70 percent of the chances we created it would had been more that 3:0 …Tho’ i’ve got my thoughts and reservation about that game, i think we were the better team in the first half, second half yeah maybe they came into the game- but that even relative., anywhich way we werent far off either, and so much for the hardwork that was put into the first half, its was like karma saying; okay, here the game’s about to end, yo guy’s take what yo deserved”, you cant say we didnt deserve it, considering that we were better in chances created, and arguably better in performance for the whole 90..
    I’d like to presume thats yo just
    being modest, yes ?

    Meanwhile for that game, i think- not even i think, the logical way lucho should approach that game, is by taken on a possesion-based approach…Not really defensive possesion- just keeping the ball for keeping sake, but rather an attacking game thats based on possesion…
    Common sense, just tells you to do that, you really dont want to give them so much time with the ball to attack yo- if theres one thing guardiola’s kept harping on, its thats there will look to keep the ball…
    So be rest assured that, if you keep giving the ball back to them, they wont be in such a hurry to dispose it, rather they’d want to keep it…That is quite indentical to the way lucho approached the first leg, but thankfully, they somehow managed not to keep the ball more….But this time there are at home, and if he does that again, chances are, this time they’d be able to control a behemoth amount of possesion…If that happens, i shudder to imagine how that game will pan out, really seeing our gala 10 players chasing after the ball, won’t make for pleasnt viewing to me….

    So i hope, Lucho try to match them for possesion- a high intensity possesion game, aimed at channeling possesion to one and only place; their goal net…We should not be in a rush to dispose the ball, keep possesion, make them come after you- since they apparently need to score, and then take your sweet time in picking them off….
    Failure to do that, could see a “mad” game ensue, and as LE has alluded to, he really dosnt fancy playing a mad game…

    Vibes i’m getting seems to suggest that, they’ll play a 4 3 3, that will give us an equal amount of midfielders each, and if we’re still the best employers of 4 3 3, i’m just licking my lips in anticipation of whats in store for them…Just hope Luch dosnt messes things up…
    Going for a 7 0, routing, yup, never been more serious before

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