Deulofeu isn’t making it. Whose fault?

Gerard Deulofeu. It’s difficult to think of a more talented player to come out of La Masia in recent years, but there is also a problem, outlined here in the very good Sid Lowe column about Unai Emery. It’s worth exploring his complexities a bit in a quote from Emery about Deulofeu:

“He has incredible qualities but lacks others. Put him out there, one on one and … pfff,” Emery says, blowing out his cheeks in admiration. “But make him play football with team-mates, on a big pitch, and it’s hard. He doesn’t have the maturity or capacity for sacrifice yet. I told him: ‘There are players here who aspire to a contract like yours, men with less talent but more hunger. Iborra, Carriço, Vitolo. They know what it costs. You haven’t experienced that. When you do, you’ll grow. I hope you get that. If not here, somewhere else.’”

This isn’t the first time that Emery had some words for Deulofeu directly. Earlier in the season when left out of a match squad, Deulofeu Tweeted “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” In response, Emery posted, “You can have the wood of a champion, but you have to shape that wood with effort, work and humility.”

When Luis Enrique took the decision to send Deulofeu off on loan (again) it was one that didn’t sit will with many culers, and it still doesn’t. The question of course, is whose responsibility is the shaping of a footballer, and what is the obligation of a first team as it pertains to a young talent?

A player is born in La Masia, where he develops the habits that are expected to take him through becoming a full-fledged professional. Those wondering about those habits, you can see them in players such as Iniesta, Messi, Xavi and Pedro. It’s work, it’s being a professional with all that the word entails.

Deulofeu is a more complex case. When he was sent on loan to Everton it was with an eye toward developing him under a coach known for getting the best out of young players. After a year in which he suffered an injury, he still hadn’t cracked the Everton XI though he was viewed as an impact sub, and returned to Barca when many felt that another year at Everton would have been better for him.

He did some of the pre-season with the first team, then the rumor popped up that he would be leaving on loan for unspecified reasons. When a player goes on loan, the motivations are many: the team wants to get the player consistent playing time, which isn’t going to happen if he stays; it’s a shop window for interested clubs; the player isn’t going to make it at his home club and it’s a chance to get him out of the pressure cooker.

In the case of Deulofeu he went to Sevilla, got playing time then suddenly stopped being included in match squads. Aside from unspecified buzz about attitude problems, nobody really knew what happened. The Emery Tweet was really the first word from the coach on what the situation might be. His comments in the Lowe piece made things even clearer. Deulofeu is not doing what he needs to do to succeed.

There are many reactions to that. Some believe that Deulofeu is a young player, with talent that requires special treatment and nurturing. That is the job of the club and its first team. He should have been kept at Barcelona this season so that he could learn from real professionals, betters who he understands the necessity of deference.

Another view is that as a professional footballer, his career is on him. He knows what he has to do because two different coaches have told him, and it’s up to him to do it. I’m somewhere in the middle of the two camps. I also wonder if Deulofeu had stayed, where and how often was he going to play? Could he have been another attacker for Enrique, or were his liabilities on the other parts of the pitch too significant?

Let’s not forget that Deulofeu came up in a broken home so to speak, under the aegis of Eusebio. That team was a mess, even as it was a successful mess until the doors came off and Eusebio was sacked. Deulofeu, because he was an immense talent, could do what he wanted. Like an adorable puppy who becomes a big dog that poops in the house, he didn’t learn things such as judgment, working within a team’s system (did B really have one?) and acquiring skill sets such as tracking back and doing the necessary donkey work, things that endear a talented player to a coach.

Then he went to Everton where he was showing signs of progress, then got injured, etc. When he returned to Barça, Enrique pretty much said “Holy crap!” and shipped him off to Sevilla, where Emery said “Wheeee,” and then “Holy crap!” And that’s where he is now.

Two different coaches have said to him, “This is what you need to do.” So at what point does a player have the responsibility for making his own way? We see it all the time when supporters are talking about a player who they feel is getting screwed, and deserves playing time. But playing time is earned by making it impossible for your coach to NOT play you. Pedro isn’t at Barça because he’s nice to puppies. He’s there because he does exactly what a coach tells him to, to the maximum effort. Neymar is tracking back like a demon these days, and covered the most distance for Barça in the Champions League tie with Bayern Munich. And don’t forget that he came to Barça as a YouTube show pony. He learned quickly, because he had to. To be sure, being on a team with examples such as Puyol, Mascherano, Xavi and Iniesta helped, and there was also Messi to show him how it was done.

True, Neymar wasn’t some Masia graduate struggling to find a place on the squad. But he was going to be a star without doing what he did. He understood from the examples set by veterans. Neymar came to Barça when he was 21, same age as Deulofeu is now. Is there anything to be learned from comparing the two players, or is Bojan Krkic, a Masia graduate who was promoted when he shouldn’t have been, a more correct analog? It’s easy to forget the “Boy of a Thousand Goals,” who is now the man of a few goals at Stoke, recovering from a serious injury. When Krkic forced his promotion, a lot had to happen for him to make it at Barça. It didn’t, and he went on perpetual loan, where coaches said some of the same things they are saying about Deulofeu, to eventually land in Stoke.

Deulofeu’s talent is without question. He has pace, a wicked shot and when inclined, is able to pick out the right pass. But he also doesn’t track back much, can be selfish and his decision making is suspect. Is this a nature vs nurture question? Had Deulofeu come up in a better B system under a coach such as Enrique or Guardiola, would he have become a better professional? As we all know, players react to praise differently. Some say, “Yeah, whatever … don’t believe you,” and resume working their butts off. Others begin to think, “Hey, everybody says this, so … “ And an entitled youth player is born.

The other complexity for the Deulofeu situation is that at the first team there is no time for young players. The team has to win or the world ends. People point to the recent examples of Pedro and Busquets, but both were players who were very close to being ready to play in a high-flying, hard charging team. Enrique came in having to deal with the pressure of needing to win. Pressure from the board, from the team, from himself, the supporters and the entorno. The calm, nurturing environment necessary to bring a young player along didn’t exist and was never going to this season, to the fault of no one.

Given that situation, however, sending Deulofeu on loan was, for me, the correct decision. He wasn’t going to get the playing time that he needed to develop, so Sevilla was worth a shot as Emery is excellent at getting a lot from young players. He got his shot, and didn’t take it. Emery has all but said that Deulofeu will not be back with Sevilla next season. Is there fault? At this point, you have to say that, mitigating circumstances aside, it’s on the player. Deulofeu knew what he had to do, and didn’t do it.

What’s next? He’s 21 and talented as hell. He will get another shot at Barça, but it will probably be his last shot. We never heard it said explicityly, though Enrique intimated that Deulofeu was lacking key qualities. Emery made that very clear. From this point on, the rest is up to Deulofeu.

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. I think this is on the player. I guess the plan was for him to been like Rafinha. They took pics together, were presented together. But deulofeu blew it with lucho.

    Perhaps he thought everything would or should had been easy, but he’s no Messi. He’s talented, but he also needs to work. It should had become important at sevilla. Maybe emery wasn’t the right coach for him. I don’t know who chose his destination.

    But he wouldn’t be the 1st promising canterano to flop. Bojan, Assulin, Tello, Jeffren, Cuenca, there are so many.

  2. Deulofeu is a weird name, for a weird boy. I believe the problem is all in Deulofeu ‘s head.
    He maybe believes he is better than his team mates (at Barca B, Everton, Sevilla) and as such should be afforded a ‘free role ‘ or a’ Messi role ‘ (dare I say).
    This all boils down to his personal drive. Where does he see himself in the near future? ?
    Two coaches practically Scream the same thing, Track Back, work for the team. Tracking back isn’t rocket science . 2/3 rds of the players in the world (epl) aren’t talented, they just do what the coach asks. Hoof the ball, ran back, go again.
    Deulofeu WILL never make it in barcelona. Maybe in some scottish or albanian league he will.
    Its not barcas fault. U cant save a person who doesn’t believe he needs saving.

    1. Hey, easy on the slagging of Scottish football 🙂

      Tbh, running and chasing is about the only thing we insist on in our league so that’s a no go as well.

  3. Deulofeu never convinced me as a player. The fact that he won’t make it doesn’t bother me.

    I am worried about the current development of Samper and Adama, however. I don’t follow the B-team all that much, but by all accounts Samper has lost his starting spot and Adama doesn’t shine the way he used to. I wonder how this will affect them in the long run. I’m also curious to see what will happen with Munir.

    1. Something is not going right with the B team and the youth development it seems. Am also very hopeful of Samper and Adama. Not that much about Munir, though. He might probably become a Bojan 2.0. May be Bojan was better.

    2. But his pressing is not any where effective as Pedro’s. Simply running doesnt help. Plus he really seem to lack any kind of strength.

    3. Agreed. Samper to me, in the little I’ve seen of him is the real deal.

      A good article on an interesting topic, Kxevin. I’ve got a slightly different take on this. To me, you need to start with the talent question. It’s why, way back in the Offside days, I used to have prolonged discussions about Bojan’s prospects. The majority were pushing for he and GDS to be promoted to the first team because they were the next big things. The question I asked at the time was what exactly is Bojan’s skill set ? Does he have lightning pace, the ability to go past a defender at will or a ferocious shot in both feet ? If the answer is no, and it was to all of them with Bojan, you’re left wondering, well, how exactly is he going to make it.

      The same is true of the various players people are pushing to start now. The B teamers, if they are going to make it should be able to come on and not be anonymous, even now. Too many of the names when I see them play I’m left asking the Bojan question.

      Now Deolofeu I’m not. I can see he has bags of pace, can change direction in an instant and has a great shot. You add that to the arrogance/ confidence which all great players in whatever sport MUST have and he is 90% there. We all know what the missing bit is but that is sortable starting tomorrow if he wants. He is that close to being first team quality. I thought he played well in the times he came on for Everton but can understand in a team like Sevilla there are some pretty talented players who can offer everything so he doesn’t play until he can. I’m not sure LE is the best man to get that out of him but folk are probably right that it’s mainly down to the player to change the mental attitude. I’m not giving up on him yet. What’ll be interesting is whether he decides to move on from Barca at the end of the season or stay and fight. That’ll tell us a lot about his staying power.

    4. Thanks for mentioning GDS since that’s kind of the vibe I’m getting from Deolofeu. Some players feel like they’ve got the wrong end of the stick when it comes to impressing managers—desiring individual highlights, etc. versus putting in the donkey work.

    5. I was really impressed with what I was seeing from Munir at the very start of the season (and in pre-season). He showed that rare ability to shoot with power, confidence and no hesitation that separates the great forwards from the rest. But then he went downhill. And by looking at the stats, he has not done that great for the B team either (which, admittedly, is a mess, so we don’t know how to read the results without watching the games). Hopefully, he returns to and improves on on that early promise.

      The other question mark is Halilovic, who is supposed to be promote next season according to his contract. By all accounts, he is not ready at all. But sending him on loan would hurt his development because there is no other place where one can really learn how to play that midfield position for us.

    6. I agree that Munir regressed. Not scoring goals makes a difference for a forward, had he put a couple of balls in the net we’d be talking differently.

      As for Halilovic, maybe it would be good to keep him in the first team for a season and then send him on loan for a year to put in practice all he learned?

  4. Emery was the right coach for Deulofeu. Emery is able to get near consistent performance even from somebody like Banega, considered the most wayward guy in contemporary young players. (Banega was excellent yesterday). La Masia, which is famed for instilling lot of good qualities in a player, has not helped him, so wonder what will. I really doubt this La Masia kid will make it in a big club. Remember people comparing him to CR7 at one stage. Whatever the attitude of CR7 is you cant take in the fact that he might be the most hard working player.

    So glad Sevilla won it. So it will be 5 liga teams in CL. I just hope they dont lose important players and would remain as strong as they are now or get better.

    1. I agree that Emery was the right coach. And for Deulofeu to be relegated to a bystander role in a Europa League-winning season, does not paint a pretty picture for the kid.

      Frankly, it’s a shame. We’ll end up selling him for 3-4M.

  5. I dont know, i kinda think its both ways; LE should had known better than to loan out deulofeu again, and i think Emery probably- probably really didnt do enough…I have this feeling that the ‘condescending’ remarks by LE on deulofeu sorta created some bad vibes around the player, which naturally i think put ideas into Emery head about what sort of player he’s getting…I think its probably made Emery to presume the characters and abilities of the player he was getting, maybe that made him to lose some of the admiration he had for Deulo, maybe, which in turn just made him to lose the entire plot, as it concerns the nuturing of the player, i’m just saying, kinda inclined toward Psychology, tends to view thing from that perspective…
    Sure when deulo went to sevilla there was some hype, but i think it was in some way reduced as compared to if he had gone there, with LE singing his praise to the heavens- the hype would certainly have much…I think the LE comments, just sort of put some people in alerts; hey, this is the sort of player we are getting here, Emery incleded, so i strongly think, along the way, Emery probably lost it as regarads to deulo development…Maybe the case might have been help if wasnt ‘lambast’ by LE ? or maybe it would had worked out better if he’d gone to another club instead?

    The other part, is where i strongly stand, LE should never had sent deulo on a loan, atleast to the second time…I mean, what is the work of a coach, of a club ? I’ve always said that at times, ceratian events just logically dicatate yo do things some certain way, just like that, yo dont have to bash yo head on the wall to come up with a descision; its already clear…You’ve got a huge talent on yo hands, who yo think apart from some attitudinal problems and some is already cut out just fine, i would rather have kept him to learn in the team, because i dare say, the best place deulo would had EVER learnt was in barca, lets even take away the LE factor, the mere fact that he trained and play alongside the best players in the world should have gotten his head straight in no time, there’s the neymar example…

    I dont want to go too deep in this area, but i’m convinced without any doubt that the best place a player like deulofuo w’had developed was in barca…Nobody’s saying the guy should have equal playing time with Messi, i for one wasnt expecting him to have so much playing time…Thats just natural, the fact that he’s got lots of things to learn couple with the fact that he’s playing with the best in the game, i doubt the player himself was even expecting to be a regular had he stayed, if he’d expect that, well, thats one of the things he was in the team to learn otherwise
    The other part’s that some of the fault rest with the player, no doubt, in fact just remebering that at a point in time this season he was compared to Cr7, i cringe, A kid who wasnt the finished articles getting so much hype, yet same people complain hes got ‘big ego issues’, ha!

    1. It’s nice to see Jim and yourself provide us with a different perspective, but I must say I strongly disagree.

      My thoughts are as follows:

      – Is he talented? Sure. But talent will only get you so far.
      – His decision making is wrong not because he does not “see the solution” but because he simply wants the glory for himself. In a team that features Messi, Suarez and Neymar… (I don’t even have to finish this sentence).
      – Both LE and Emery have initiated he doesn’t work hard enough. I doubt that they only refer to “tracking back.” A footballer’s job is not just 90 minutes every three to four days.
      – He came back from loan to Barcelona with the opportunity to fight for a place in the squad during preseason. He was given ample chance this summer, but LE chose to ship him out for a reason. He did not want him in the squad. I think it is safe to that Lucho wants players who give their 110%. 90% is not going to cut it.
      – He hardly got any minutes at Sevilla. Why would Barça want a player who hardly gets any minutes at Sevilla?

      Don’t forget that Deulofeu has two competitors for his position:
      – Adama has more upside and, dodgy decision-making aside, is humbler. Physically stronger, faster and a better dribller. Will track back.
      – Munir already played a good number of games in the first team. He might or might not become a regular player for us, but he is guaranteed to fight for his position and do what the coach asks.

    2. Emery’s interview clearly says one of the issue with him. One on one he might be excellent. But football is not made up of just one on one situations. So I dont think the issue is just hard work or attitude or what not. (I dont know, may be he doesnt want to pass the ball, or may be he want to show bot all the time, or dont play good in training or..)
      If I remember well, during his early days in Sevilla he had played more – whatever his total minutes are, most came during that early period – and then it became almost nil, shows there clearly is some issue with him.

    3. “He doesn’t have the maturity or capacity for sacrifice yet. I told him: ‘There are players here who aspire to a contract like yours, men with less talent but more hunger.”

      I think this is pretty clear, though. If he’s not hungry to succeed at this stage of his career, he’ll never live up to his talent. You can remove the first clause from that last sentence. He might get it at some time, and he might end up a decent player still, but it is doubtful he’ll become the superstar people saw in him.

    4. I remember Deulofeu’s 1st team debut: he took on players when he should’ve passed and looked offended (for not making it) and at the same time arrogant, as if his failure was an anomaly. Adam’s debut, on the other hand, was like bringing a wirl-wind, full of enthusiasm, skill and further potential, onto the pitch.

      I’m afraid Munir will be another Bojan. Could avoid it if he becomes a little stronger, perhaps. Sandro, I think, does not have the technical skills required.

    5. I’m not saying he’s gonna make it, Lev, but if you offered me the chance to work with a Bojan or a Deolofeu there no debate for me. One can track back the minute he sees the point of it, the other can never acquire the talent so you’re on a loser straight away.

    6. Cyclops, you make nice points.
      However, Deulo in our squad means him getting signficant game time is as good as a pipe dream. As it has been evident this season, none of the MSN trio enjoy getting subbed off in a match; a situation which has somewhat compelled LE to sub Pedro in less. If the first player in the pecking order hardly sniff a game time, how much more the next in line? As Kexvin pointed above, a second season in with the Toffes would have further his growth significantly.

  6. As it has been unanimously agreed, talent isn’t the question regarding Deulofeu. Where I feel he majorly falls short isn’t even his unwillingness for defensive shift. For me, it is his inability to make any substancial impact on a game; albeit there were glimpses at Everton. Comparatively, if you recall vividly, Tello in his debut season always tend to influence matches especially when coming on as a sub. Deulofeu’s insufficient defensive play could be excused- just like Messi’s- if he puts in consistent effective performance.

    1. But not at Barca, since there can be only one in such a privileged position: and that is Messi, at the moment and in the foreseeable future. Gerard needs to earn it, working long and hard.

      Like a complaining student of mine said: “but I want a higher grade!”. When I replied that this would require serious engagement and producing at least a comprehensive literary essay, she said: “Nah”, and left. Entitlement is dangerous for your work ethic.

    2. True that, Davour. Though if he scores like CR7 and messmerizes like Messi, culers (dare i say, Luis and Unai inclusive) would most likely be more tolerant towards his defensive faineancy. If he replaces any of the MSN, there would be little to spot by the way of pressing/defensive diligence. Looking back, the era our front line pressed hard and defended well was the Henry-Eto’o-Messi’s period…with Eto’o putting in the most aggressive shift.

    3. Sure, but that’s a pretty big IF! And even better if he mesmerized like Messi AND scored like Messi! But that rather a reflection, perhaps, of his own image of himself, rather than anything that is or will ever be even remotely close to reality. Messi was a world beater at 21, and CR was an emergent force at Man U.

      I think GDS and the likes are better comparisons…

    4. I think we have discussed this on multiple occasions in the past but let’s go over this again.

      If you are a winger and you’re going to be an all-time great, you pretty much must have shown that ability before you’re 20. It’s the nature of the position – dribbling skills and pace matter the most there, and those are the first to reach high level in the development of a player. Midfielders take more time to mature, especially at Barca, but there is no historically great winger I can think of who was not already making fools of adult defenders at the age of 19-20. Deulofeu has been rampant in youth games, but even though it is clear he has generally good dribbling skills, he has struggled to consistently get past his man every time I have watched him at adult level.

      Which means that given that now he is 21, all those dreams of having our own CR we had 5 years ago are never going to come true. He might be a useful player for some second-tier team but it’s highly unlikely at this point he will be ever close to what we hoped for.

      This seems to be a general problem with La Masia players. La Masia is indeed the best youth system in the world, however it is also the most hyped up one, and people are very quick to talk about and each and every player showing some promise the next legend to emerge from it. And inevitably most of them fail to even remotely live up to the promise. Let’s quickly look at the player production over the previous decade (2000-2010). We have the following players who became real world beaters:


      Of which Fabregas turned out not to be good enough for Barca.

      Then you can add Alba, Reina, Thiago Motta, and Pedor as players who made it to the very top (and Alba might eventually move into the upper category too), but that’s it, 6-10 such players over a decade. Which is a fantastic return, even more so given that one of them was Messi, but it helps put things in proper perspective when we evaluate each graduating La Masia class. This decade we have Thiago as a well-established player, and then his brother, Bartra, and Icardi on promising trajectories. Expectations have to be very very tempered for anyone coming out of the system

    5. Absolutely, G60, good observations. Though considering names like Dos Santos x 2, Muniesa, Bojan, Oriol, Tello, etc., there is a lot of good, but not great, quality coming out of the system. And I mean, even comparing the poor lad, Gerard, to Messi and CR is absurd and can only be done in jest, really. My favourite reference for these kinds of players is Denilson, the step-over magician who never took off. Great qualities, poor return.

    6. Cristiano could very well have turned out like Denilson if he wasn’t playing under SAF and was not working as hard as he did. Denilson was actually a better player than Cristiano in their respective teens.

      It’s actually very proper that you brought him up – that’s probably the best illustration of what a difference the proper environment and a strong work ethic can make starting from similar initial conditions.

  7. G60, excellent point regarding a winger will prove himself by the time he is around 20.
    Wondering, being at La Masia, and getting an occassional pre season match or being able to take part in trainings with the first team, inversely affects the growth of this children. I cant explain it well, some sort of feeling like, am doing ok, with this work rate I will be good, and stopping them putting extra work..

    Icardi is an excellent comparison for Deulofeu. Here is a guy who also have attitude problems. And Barca let him go. But he has proven himself now and in the near future might even come into Argentina squad. Deulofeu, was picked by Barca to be a future kid (I remember Pep getting ready to sub him during an el classico), inspite of attitude problems, but where is he now. May be there is an issue in assessment of who is going to be good? – just thinking aloud.
    When Barca let Icardi go, I never thought he would play in the first team of a big club.

    1. You also have to take into account that a kid’s bad attitude can affect morale and attitude (and thus the development) of his teammates.

    2. It has definitely become more difficult to assess who is going to come out good, because of Youtube, But not in the usual way we often complain about (highlight compilations that make everyone look good and don’t tell you anything about the real qualities of the player) but rather in terms of how young players develop their skills. It’s been a decade of kids all over the world watching freestyle and fancy dribbling skills videos and now there are countless kids that are extremely skilled with the ball as they have spent years practicing these things. Which used to be very very rare back when those things were not in everyone’s face – if you saw a 15-year old being able to do ATWs, inverse elasticos, etc. in the 1980s, you know you had an outstanding talent, because almost nobody has such a good touch at that time and there was a good chance he developed many of those skills on its own rather than copying what he had seen somewhere else, which is an indication of true genius. Or in the 1990s too – when Ronadinho did this back in 1999:

      We immediately knew he was special.

      Not only is that no longer the case, but the game has also become extremely complex tactically and at the top level it’s not just an athletic or technical contest but also a lot like a game of chess. So what separates the best players from those who don’t make it to the very top has become increasingly separated from what one can observe in a young player playing against others his age.

      What happens with Hachim Mastour at Milan will be very telling with respect to this. And how his career develops compared to Seung-Woo Lee for us.

  8. I’m pretty excited about the idea that Blatter will win the elections today. The thought of him jumping ship before it well and truly sinks did not sit well with me.

    1. Sorry about my ignorance. I really wonder, what made US go for this investigation? Did anybody in US complain to the FBI/CIA or whatever.
      Did any country start an independent investigation against its football association and that went to interpol or something.
      When I look at it, these are all people representing different countries than US. And the thing seem to have happened in Swiss territory. Why should they be extradited to US?
      Or, as some believe, is this all commencing from Qatar beating US to WC22?

    2. The FBI became involved through an American FIFA offical who goes by the name of Chuck Blazer. Known as “Mr. ten percent,” he is facing up to 15 years worth of jail time. He turned informant and has even worn a wire.

      There’s a lot of noise about jealousy / hypocrisy / whatever. Putin even said that this was another attempt by the United States to extend its jurisdiction to other states. It appears to be a blatant lie, though, as a lot of the money seems to have moved through US bank accounts.

      The Swiss are never overly eager to extradite persons for financial crimes. The fact that they have coordinated their own investigation with the one conducted by the FBI is telling.

    3. Thanks Levon.
      However, I dont blame anyone pointing to the hypocrisy or whatever factor. The US has enough experiencess in extending its jurisdiction to wherever they chose to 🙂
      In between, there seems to be so many people who think Blatter by himself may not be corrupt. He just seem to enjoy his power and position.
      For me, the funniest thing is the comment by Visa – their shock and surprise.

    4. It is still very strange that the US did this. Given how nothing happened to the banks in a series of cases of outright fraud orders of magnitude larger in scale, and how the higher officials in FIFA are also part of that same oligarchical elite structures that run much of the world, you would not have expected them to do anything about this.

      Suspicions that this is not done in the name of justice are entirely justified given the “proud” history of the DoJ in that regard over the last decade

    5. Yes. Like they had all those fraudulent loans and what not associated with US banks, FBI didnt care. Wasnt HSBC even involved in money laundering, which led into terrorist hands. Some of my US friends, considers FBI among the most corrupted in the US!

    6. The USDOJ involvement was accidental. They were investigating Russian mob activity and stumbled across the FIFA stuff.

  9. For me, the real question is, why doesn’t Deulo do what the coaches want him to do. Does he not understand what they’re asking ? Can he not realize what everyone in the world can see ? Im sure he’s not that stupid.

    The fact that he doesn’t “track back” is a symptom of another problem. And before you can say its because he thinks he’s a prima donna and just doesn’t feel like it, I’d want to mention – he wants to play ! he wants to succeed ! Of course he understands what’s required of him to do that.

    And since none of us know him personally all we can do is conjecture. To me it seems like he’s physically lacking. He just doesn’t have the stamina required to last the entire game if he does run as much as his coaches want him to. And the fix doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of dedication and conscious decision making with diet and lifestyle – maybe even a personal coach. Hopefully he’s looking into fixing this – given his football skills, Im sure all of us want him to succeed.

    1. I personally think he hasn’t the awareness tactically of his teammates positions, runs, gaps etc. Like there’s a pause button before he tracks back, and decisions on the ball are to hold onto it while chances to play teammates in slip by.

  10. Which leaves me shaking my head again as Barca go after Pogba instead of prioritizing Alves, a bird in hand. Barca could use the time to find the next best right back instead of grabbing at whatever’s out there now. With our D solidified and the trident. A superstar mid is not nearly a priority.

  11. Spot on Kosby! I really doubt Delofuo himself has sworn never to track back, there are a lots of factors here, lots of things involved that as yo said we definately do not know..
    The player himself definately wants to pull through, thats for sure, so yo yo wouldnt expect him to turn a blind eye, ears, nose and everything on one particular faults the whole world has literally been hounding him for..

    There’s just more to this, one of them as yo alluded to, is probably the fact that he hasnt got that energy level required for the tracking back everybody’s been crying about- but then thats probably just one of the problems here..
    Still yet, somebody might say, why then isnt he making any effort to put on more grit ? for starters, yo wouldnt know right now for sure if he’s really doing anything about it or not, couple with that, project like that obviously dosnt come off easy and fast; trying to gain more stamina, increasing yo level of physical endurance dosnt really happen overnight..
    So basically yo left not exactly knowing what’s happening and what’s not…

    Thats why i gets upset, when people( and right now its look like that amounts to everybody) lash out at deulofuo, some, okay more like nearly evrybody are already tagging him a failure, a flop, another bojan’s cousin bla bla bla, jeez, yall should chill…How long has this guy been playing top flight football ? the dude just practically broke in recently, and everybody is out for his scalp like he holds the records for the most decade spent playing at the top level by a player…
    Seriously i gets really pissed with all the bashing, i mean, the lad’s already a failure to some, thank goodness we’ve got Icardi as a reference point now( never mind the fact he’s already having some problems with his club)…

    Everybody should just give this guy a break please, he’s never a write off, this is just he’s second season in topflight football, nevermind the fact that he’s first was riddled with injury, i dont even know how this should even be such an argument, how we’ve gotten to the point where he’s already being called names, still got basically all the time in the world to improve, and he will surely improve i assure yo, that dosnt happen, a free vacation for yo, to the Bahamas is on my head, … yeah right

  12. Buona sera, BFBers.
    Pretty quiet in here prior to our Copa Final.
    The copa experience from Pep era to Tata’s has been a mixture of pleasant and excrutiating memories- 2 wins against Athletic and 2 losses against Los Blancos. While i fondly remember Toure’s marauding run to level the scores in the first copa against Athletic and the high-octane first-half that yielded 2 goals in the second copa against same opponent; the surreal leap of CR7 almost over Adriano to wrest the copa from us brought about unending nighmares and for some, unceasing tears.
    Due to the uncontrollable amount of tension I was feeling, and meaning to restore my own sanity, I deliberately skipped last season’s copa final against them. In some way, i was glad i did. Not really cos of the defeat, but the pretty facile winner they got via Bale’s run. That would surely have hunted me for a pretty long time.
    Hoping today’s final terminates in victory for us.

  13. Borussia Dortmund have become such an average team this year. Watching them getting taken apart by Wolfsburg isn’t pretty. Anyone hoping we signed some of their players will be rethinking it now.

  14. I love that both sets of supporters are whistling the national anthem. Copa del Rey indeed

  15. The best player of all time. Nothing else to say can describe what he does so regularly

  16. That was quite like Ronaldo against Compostella back in 1996. Certainly just as head-scratching inducing

    And it’s still only his second best solo goal 🙂

  17. Wow, what a great half – Bilbao got hardly any chances and we’re producing them by the minute. Bilbao defenders still scratching their heads thinking about what to do if Messi gets into the mood for another solo…Also, great work from Rakitic for the second one, he’s really getting the hang of this.

  18. For anyone who doesn’t put too much faith in statistics, technically Dani Alves got an assist on that first goal. Makes you think…

    1. Busi also got an assist for Messi’s wonder goal vs. Madrid in the Champions League, if you recall!

  19. Meeeeessi! Meeeeessi! 🙂 Amazing

    They are pressing hard but we seem untouchable

    1. He’s putting in a few candidates for Puskas. That one vs. Bayern was nice too…and as I type this Messi scores another goal!

  20. Far too easy to put in that cross. If we didn’t have a three goal cushion at the time I’d be very annoyed with Dani

  21. Last time for Xavi at the Camp Nou; I’m glad he’s ending it with a trophy celebration. Unlike a few years ago though, I feel confident of the post-Xavi era!

    1. That’s a tough one! I’m not sure we’ll be able to hold onto Neymar that long, so I have no idea who’ll be leading our attack then. Center backs get better with age, so I imagine a veteran Pique leading the team when Messi semi-retires to Newell’s Old Boys.

  22. Depressing thought of the day: there are only 90 more minutes of this between now and August 🙁

  23. Que orgulloso de ser del Barca

    So proud of this team

    Xavi last game in camp nou

    I’d be glued to ESPN right now if they didn’t end the broadcast to talk about some injured pitcher

    1. That ESPN coverage was so annoying! They skipped over the anthem and the coin flip, then cut away from 90% of the post-game coverage to talk about other sports. I opened up a stream so that I could watch the celebrations.

  24. There should be a study on how much calories Atheltic Bilbao, Atletico, Bundesliga fans burn in a match.

  25. Anyone wonder how CR7’s face looks like anytime Messi scores that first goal?

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