Eibar 0, Barça 4, aka “Death and taxes”

So many things have become inevitable about this Barça team:

— Wins
— Academic discussions that find it wanting compared to the past
— Contentions that it has somehow an “easy” path
— Lack of recognition for its sheer excellence

When Barça rolled into Eibar, the second of a pair of away matches that come at the tail end of an extended stretch of a match every few days, many predicted that this would be the one where points were dropped. “Mighty Eibar,” BeIN Sports’ Ray Hudson labeled them, in a bit of hyperbole that was delivered with a bit of a wink. For though formidable at home, Eibar sits in eighth spot in La Liga, a healthy distance from the European spots.

Eibar is, however, a very good football club that has always been strong at home. On Sunday, Barça came in and took them apart via a display of adaptable football that will vex the academics but was thrilling to watch for so many reasons, not least of which is that it was yet another step in the maturation of a great football team.

Traditional logic has been that you get at Barça by pressing, by being physical, by limiting the options and compressing space. Reality is that such an approach will buy you time and work Barça supporters into a lather, before the team notches enough goals to win, then goes home. Eibar tried an attack similar to that pressing notion, but there was no logic or discipline to it. Lots of running, lots of chasing the ball but it was always clear that once they tired, a gaudy scoreline beckoned. Barça underperformed, even at 0-4.

The way it dismantled Eibar today was art, executed at the highest level by the best player in football, driving an attack in a way we haven’t witnessed in some time. That first Barça goal found vibrant life courtesy of an otherworldly pass from Messi, a flawless lift over distance for Suarez, a ball so precisely hit that it didn’t even need controlling. Suarez just ran on to it and sent it on its merry way to the foot of Munir, who had made the far post run.

It’s a goal that wouldn’t have been by a team such as Atleti, who understand how to press and harry Barça, even as Luis Enrique’s team has a perfect record against Simeone’s side. But a ball-chasing Eibar left the necessary space to be taken advantage of, to yield a simple-looking slot home by Munir that was in fact football of the highest order — beautiful, jaw-dropping, devastating or any number of adjectives that can be summoned.

Messi was absurd today, from tracking back on defense and making interceptions that dismantled Eibar breaks, to making pass after pass, balls indicative of this “new” Barça that can only be described as such if you hew to a single period in the club’s illustrious history.

This Barça is aggressive and impatient. It plays as if it has somewhere else to be, another thing to consider. There can be the interlaced, intelligently positioned football that some refer to as tika-taka, something we have seen so much of this season and last. But this team can also lace a long pass over space to release an attacker, direct play that takes advantage of an opponent such as Eibar, one naive enough to believe that just chasing the ball and trying to get in the way is actual pressing. That sort of pressing would disrupt a team that plays as Barça used to, but this team has the capacity to play in many different ways against many different opponents.

It also applies incessant pressure in attack via players who, reflective of that impatient nature, are constantly heading toward the goal. The days of balls into the box being greeted by the sound of crickets is in the past. Almost every forward foray features multiple players in the box. Barça is winning more penalties, a direct consequence of that more aggressive play because when you put attackers in the box and get them the ball, the possibility for danger is constant. Ronaldo wins penalties not because of any conspiracy, but because he’s always in the box, moving and trying to create danger.

Messi won a penalty by being Messi. As the best player in the game with the ball at his feet, he turned a defender inside out before dribbling past him and forcing a handball call. Some debated whether it was a legit penalty. What is not debatable is the quality of the dribble that resulted in the penalty, which was dispatched by Messi.

It was also a goal that was typical of the way this team plays, a team that wants nothing more than to get at the goal. Why 12 passes? Here’s two. Now step aside. It’s an attack that could be described as chaotic only if you aren’t paying attention. In Barça football, the run has always dictated the pass. So it does with this current team, but the runs are more dynamic, more focused on minimizing the opportunities for something incorrect to happen. Messi played ball after ball over distance, passes that found teammates in the box, sowing as much danger as scorn for logic in a game that lives in the midfield. Win the midfield, and you have a great shot at the match. And people talk about midfield play, and how the Barça midfield isn’t playing properly. Messi isn’t interested in that. He gets a ball, spots a run and bang. It’s direct, unrelenting play that becomes increasingly difficult to manage because of the quality of the Barça attackers.

Eibar chased and chased as Barça calmly played out of the back, then directly hit at their back line. Such aggression puts a team on its heels, but the complexity with that is when you have a player such as Messi. Look at the second goal, which came as a consequence of getting the ball quickly to Messi and letting him run. He’s sprinting at the Eibar defense with the ball at his feet. He’s faced by three defenders, all of whom are backpedaling and watching the ball. Messi cuts left as another Eibar defender catches up to the play, to retain what for him and only him, is a numerical advantage.

As he drifts left, Munir is to his left on the edge of the box, a functionally useless attacker at that moment. Meanwhile Suarez has made a run, wide open for any square ball. As Messi drifted left the keeper tracked him, in something of a march to his own doom as the shot came, off the dead run, hard and low into the far corner. Eibar’s keeper pounded the ground in frustration, when he should have just walked over and shook Messi’s hand. It was an exceptional goal of the type he probably doesn’t score if a suspended Neymar isn’t back home, because MSN sows a different kind of destruction than MMS, plus Messi was rampant.

It was another goal that looked easy, only because we have become so accustomed to footballing extravagance. It’s just another Messi goal. For another team, by another player, people would be talking about That goal. It was also the kind of goal that was enabled by the way Eibar was playing Barça, an approach that was rather naive in the face of the way this team attacks. The fourth goal was another example of that.

Eibar misplayed a pass in midfield that Sergi Roberto Rakitic instantly lofted to Suarez, who dutifully slashed into the Eibar box. He nutmegged the first defender and rushed toward goal where he was confronted by two other defenders, who chose a physical approach. Suarez bounced off one, then the other, leaving both prone in his wake as he slammed home a shot between the legs of the last defender and the Eibar keeper.

It was a ridiculous goal that was as emblematic of the kind of player that Suarez is as the Messi goal depicted the kind of player Messi is. Suarez was direct, physical and uninterested in anything except doing what he had to do to get the ball into the back of the net. It has been a very long time that the Barça attack has had that kind of a player. The team has had direct players, strikers who were deadly. But Suarez brings a special set of skills to the game and this team, skills that enable a very different approach to the game, a much more direct one that also assails football logic in the aforementioned ways.

Messi was MOTM today, but close on his heels was Mascherano, who had such an impressive match. People were raving about the way Kimmich, a midfielder converted to a CB, played for Bayern Munich against Dortmund. Mascherano is the prototype. Guardiola wanted him for the precise reasons every coach since relies on him: he reads the game and play, and far more often than not can be counted on to make the right action. He destroys, influences, makes runs and passes out of the back. He will get stuck in, transmit instruction from the bench. And until Pique assumes that heavy, heavy crown, Mascherano is as close to Puyol as the Barça defense will see for a while. And his coaches know that.

Meanwhile, Luis Enrique sits in the shadows. He isn’t flamboyant. Nobody will ever call him a genius, say that he is redefining the game or creating some sort of genius mode team. The world won’t breathlessly await his decision when he decides to leave FC Barcelona. People say that Messi, Neymar and Suarez are a dream come true, that who couldn’t win with those guys leading an attack. The coach himself says that coaching them is like saying “Abracadabra,” and magic happens. The danger is that people see that self-deprecating quote and believe it.

Meanwhile, Luis Enrique has calmly, quietly built the best team in football, a team capable of playing possession football with strung-together passes and a logical goal. This team can also play route one football or hit you on the counter. It can be direct, physical and aggressive, or calm and indirect, but still aggressive. It’s a team that, on average this season, scores almost four goals for every one that it concedes, aesthetes who are also thugs when necessary. It’s also a team that verges on automatic.

Many predicted dropped points today, because that’s the logical thing. It’s a tough away side in Liga, a top-ten club that has been waiting, lurking while Barça plays match after match. Dropping points made sense. But nothing makes sense about this team, even as everything does. This group is logical, destructive and inevitable, led by a player whose immense talents make him as capricious as Loki, the Norse god of mischief, playing games with Mercury and Mars, the god of war. Death and taxes are two of life’s inevitabilities. Barça is becoming another. As Reese said in “The Terminator”:

“Listen, and understand! That Terminator is out there! It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.”

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Written by:

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.

35 Comments

  1. Jim
    March 6, 2016

    Just catching up from my temporary new home in New York. I kinda like this place. Great little diner about twenty yards from the hotel and Americans seem to have figured out the easiest way to do everything. Me like. A few cabbies need a decent course in anger management but otherwise all good.

    Missed our last match so only caught highlights and you can’t tell much from that. Managed to catch today’s and came across the linguistic assassin known as Ray Hudson. ” As smooth as the back of a spoon ” ? There was another about Suarez , something about twisting his defender inside out ” like a cheap garden hose ” ! Not sure I’ll miss that back home although it does have the merit of not being Gerry Armstrong.

    Anyway, I missed the first half hour but it was pretty much a foregone conclusion by then. Great goals and a great display by the team, especially Messi (from what I saw ) who seems to have now reached a state where he can step it up when he likes. Good game as well from Masche although I’m not sure which of his admired qualities Pique doesn’t at least share – well, maybe not a proclivity for sliding into unnecessary tackles from the back with feet off the ground with the man going nowhere which will be a red card as often as it is a yellow . . . Still, a decent game by the whole defence in the hour that I saw.

    Final bit of praise for Bravo with that massive throw out which started Suarez’s goal. If the Eibar player hadn’t done contortions to stop it Suarez was through anyway.

    • barca96
      March 10, 2016

      How long are you going to be in New York for? Oh man. I am going to get Barcelona off my bucket list. Hopefully New York City and Alaska will be in the near future along with Japan and Canada. Love the 2 latter countries. I can’t wait to try out American diner/fast foods. Definitely gonna put on weight there 😆

    • Jim
      March 11, 2016

      Sorry, Barca96. Not checking here as often as usual. I’m on my long awaited retirement holiday with my good lady so we’re hitting a few places I’ve always fancied in the USA on my way to Oz.
      We had five days in NY and I loved it. My own favourite was funnily enough the Staten Island ferry – and it was free!
      Now moved on to Vegas which is just bonkers .

  2. Problem
    March 7, 2016

    Minor correction: It was Roberto who volleyed that pass to Suárez, not Rakitic. I just gotta see mah boi get credit where he can 😉

  3. georgjorge
    March 7, 2016

    I love the relation of that Terminator quote to Barca! Now just trying to imagine Iniesta as a cyborg with glowing red eyes…thanks for that.

    You are right about Enrique, and I am amazed that there are still numerous people who maintain that anyone could have success with such a front three, as if RM or Chelsea or Manchester United weren’t examples to the contrary right now. But then many people said the same about Guardiola and Xavi/Iniesta/Messi back then.

  4. Cyclops
    March 7, 2016

    well, solid win…impressive as they come…Funny i actually thought they kept the ball slightly better than Rayo First half, different perspective eh
    But you nailed it, Eibar version of the press was Funny, brought smiles to my face…Most times the way the team played out of defence against a supposed Eibar press made me occasionally check if it wasnt RM we were playing(okay, thats an exagerration lol) But really, i didn’t think we had any real pressure from keeping the ball

    What i’d definately agree with you is this team can really be impatient…The suprise here is, the team wasn’t really known for that, atleast didn’t let it affect their play.
    As you rightly said, even when they string couple of passes together, i could bet my Ferrari( planning on getting one actually)that the very Next pass would be hoofed upfield by the very Next players(okay, maybe the word Hoof does injustice to the Actual pass but…)… it can be frustrating lol, what was that designation again, Academics…? lol, well….I’ve been all about Aesthetics since 1990….

    And Mr Anti-Madrismo Pique is very gulty of the above, seven out of ten times he tries those long passes its dosn’t find anybody, except maybe fortitously bouncing on the head of an opposing player..last i checked, Alves has a higher long pass succes rate as opposed to him, yet….Anybody has any idea why he does that?..except maybe to infuriate some of us….
    Another thing right in this Article; the wins are now one of life’s constants, you can chart your calendar on it, really….There’s not really much to talk about..hence, i think i’ll just settle on complaining some more

    Bravo is next…whats with him and the long balls?? Looks to me like he started feeling irrelevant between the goal sticks, and decide to grab attention by trying some Cool 45 Yard passes…else i how would you describe his occasional long balls, that like Pique’s seems to have GPs directing it to an opposing player? Granted he nearly bagged an assist, but..i’m just Complaining

    The article is next; I tend to take exception to labelling our footballing sprites as THUGs…Surely you mean Atleti..?( wish i could insert a Smirk smiley Here..)

    • georgjorge
      March 7, 2016

      Regarding the long balls from Pique or Bravo, it’s either that or make the sideways pass to Mascherano for the tenth time in succesion, or make a very risky pass to a Busquets or Rakitic covered by two men. When the opponent commites four or five men to pressing our defense, a long ball over them seems better to me than still trying to string together a series of perfect passes in a very dangerous area.

  5. ciaran
    March 7, 2016

    I think that Masch has been playing well recently but was well below average and should have gotten a red card for that tackle.
    For the record it was probably Busquets’ worst game of the season, well at least in the first half.
    Arda is starting to become accustomed to his role and was better.

    The ruthless efficiency of this Barca is incredible. Like watching an alpha predator doing what it does, the inevitability of the goals and wins can only be admired when you aren’t the next meal.

    All this with too much filler in the squad. We have a great team and a few good alternatives but as it is now there is little doubt that the so called gala XI will line up for all of the important matches. There is possibly a question mark over who starts at right back but when it comes to it you’d still expect Dani to be trusted in the big ones.
    I think with a couple of wise moves in the summer we will cement our place at the top of world football, especially with the chaos going on in Madrid and the managerial merry go round in the EPL. Exciting times…

    • georgjorge
      March 7, 2016

      I actually think the front three is the only area where we’re seriously lacking in depth. In midfield, Turan should provide high quality as well as Sergi Roberto, and there’s Rafinha as well when he gets back from his injury. In defense Mathieu and Vermaelen (Bartra will probably be gone) are very solid starters, and I see promising signs from Vidal that he’ll be able to shoulder that burden well. Left-back only has Alba though.

    • ciaran
      March 7, 2016

      Defence could do with a refresh.
      Mathieu has been good and Vermaelen solid when called upon but neither could be expected to replace Pique or Masch for a stretch of matches, well not in Lucho’s opinion anyway. Bartra obviously is doing something wrong and has little faith from Lucho.
      Douglas is still getting paid a wage for some reason. Adriano has been a great servant to the club but has probably reached a point where it world be best for both parties to part ways.
      The average age of the defence is also very high with little coming through the academy.

      Midfield is stacked for another season anyway and we’ve a great goalkeeping situation with two top quality keepers.
      As for the forward line, we need a fourth choice forward to slip in alongside Munir as a viable option to rotate MSN and offer a different threat. Sandro isn’t him and Deulofeu as great as he is, doesn’t yet have the workrate to be a passenger in a team full of workers.

  6. Cyclops
    March 8, 2016

    Agree with you on Masch, he was easily having an off day…But that match somewhat elicits different opinion from people, so i wouldnt be suprised if somebody thinks he played well…

    Deulofeu dosn’t yet have the workrate? Ha, its suprising…The kind of standard that you guys are Adamantly forcing on him i wonder, maybe he has to be outrightly better than Messi..probably thats the only way he’d ever be deemed qualified enough to even sit on the bench

    Anyways, fancy Felipe luis saying Messi is being pretected by the LFP- of all the nerves!
    Some people are really without any decency…The same LFP that actually gave him a ridiculous “Punishment” for his heinous crime- then proceeding to make it even more Ridiculous upon Appeal(they even had the guts to appeal, more nerves) So why won’t he talk..these days when Verbal Spat with Refs are considered morally, spiritually and physically more Dangerous than the horrendous tackles Luis and his reckless cohorts makes
    Here is somebody that truly deserves Kxevin’s designation as a Thug(and not our sprites!) Looking at that tackle you’d think he’s a Thug that fortitously missed his way into football…
    Anyway, it had to take a Headline-grabbing-F Perez-instigated-comment for me to remember he exist, otherwise..i’m like, sorry Felipe who?
    Go take a nap dude…

    • TITO
      March 8, 2016

      Masch had a good game. Dont know what people expect of him to do.
      We won everything possible to win with him in our first eleven, and every single coach all these years trust him more than other established players.

    • Jason
      March 8, 2016

      Cyclops,

      I don’t think anyone is placing heightened expectations on Deulofeu. He has been trusted by elite coaches who see him practice day in day out. It seems they probably have a better idea than us fans.

    • Jason
      March 8, 2016

      *has not been trusted

    • ciaran
      March 8, 2016

      Deulofeu definitely doesn’t have the workrate to be in our XI. If you watch Everton you will see that he has loads of ability and is one of the most dangerous players in the EPL but he doesn’t exactly work his socks off does he? If he were to come back, do you think Lucho would accept him not closing down the opposition just because he is talented? I don’t need him to be better than Messi but I do need him to work harder if he’s going to be in our squad, if not he’ll still make quite the living in a mid-table EPL team and there’s nothing wrong with that.

  7. Tata2
    March 8, 2016

    ok kxevin you got me all wrong, I was talking about the Man Utd vs West Bromwich match…Not the barca match… It was the Man Utd match I said that I abandoned half way due to the fact that it was boring considering the fact that people snarl at la liga and consider the EPL the best league in the world… pls if there’s a way you could remove or correct that in the article I would appreciate it

    • March 9, 2016

      Thanks for the clarification.

  8. Davour
    March 8, 2016

    Masch had a solid game bar from a clearance or two – can’t see it any other way. But if you don’t like the style, I guess there’s no way around that.

    Deloufeu, are we still discussing him while he is stuck on the bench in Everton? Seems LE is rooting for Denis, who is an integrated part of hard working Villareal. We’ll see…

    People say Ney stepped up when Messi was absent, and he did. But man, the king ain’t dead just yet… seems he has managed to peak at the precise right moment. Hopefully Ney will bounce back and the spring might be a joyride.

    Saw some of RM-Roma; the Italians had the opportunities, but couldn’t hit a barn… and Keylor Navas is rock solid for them. Would love to see RM-BM next round!

  9. Cyclops
    March 8, 2016

    Tata, lol..thats akward isn’t it…very funny

    Really if you can’t/havn’t seen or won’t acknowledge the Tremendous Improvement(workrate and all) that Deulo has brought to his game since moving to the Merseyside, then i don’t know what to say
    IMO thats even more harsh than expecting him to be Messi 10.0

    By the way whatever happened to all the;The best player in the team is a Hardworker, so its rubs off on other players? or maybe that wouldn’t apply for Deulo..
    I can personally affirm that indeed players do have a Change of Attitude when they move over to the Nou Camp…Neymar a case in point..he was never your workaholic at Santos, we still went for him didn’t we? and the rest they said is history…

    I think its extremely unfair and very myopic to claim that players who have huge ‘Egos’ and ‘baggages’ usually ‘Adapt’ and become better players when they come to barca, and at same time you give another player zero chance to do same- based on what? i’ve no clue
    Deulo might never had been a Hardworker at Sevilla or the Hardest of worker now at Everton, the last i checked Neymar at Santos wasn’t either(same for tons of players that has played for barca)but look at Neymar now…ironic that the Article in the previous thread was actually pouring encomuims on him for his Defensive plays..
    These whole Workrate argument has gotten real stale IMVHO….

    • Davour
      March 9, 2016

      There is a difference between Ney and Deloufeu, though, in that the latter knows he is being watched for improvement in this department. This was not the case with Neymar at Santos, where he was the undisputed star, mind you. I haven’t watched too much of Deloufeu, but I have noted that he is far from an undisputed starter, in an average PL team. I can understand if LE is hesitant in bringing him back on his current merits. Might disrupt things, rather. We’ll see.

  10. bwullur
    March 8, 2016

    We must be spoiled by this version of Barca… They’ve just won 0-4 on away matches, in a very long streak which break the record, playing after only two days on another away match, and without one of our best players (Ney), and still complaining that players play below average. We are so spoiled… maybe just asking to much from Mash, Pique or Busi. We have another clean sheet and no major defensive errors. Their performance is fine by me… , Proud of this team, it spoiled us so much… thank you Lucho…

  11. March 9, 2016

    I was disappointed by Roma. They could have easily gone 3 or 4 up before Madrid’s first goal!!!! What poor forwards they have. In fact, their right wing back tested Navas from his very first chance, the others could not even make a decent shot.

  12. March 9, 2016

    Mascherano is also a “taste” player. Always will be. When he goes this summer as part of the necessary salary dump, the defense will be the weaker for it, both in play and leadership. Here’s hoping Pique will step up.

    • barca96
      March 10, 2016

      Why is sMasch leaving? I haven’t heard any rumors of him leaving. Only noise is from fickle fans who want him gone. I see no reason for him to be sold or let go. He is our captain without arm band and is a starter CB.

      I would sell both Bartra and Vermaelen and invest in a good young CB not named Marquinhos (not because of talent alone but because of him choosing money last time and the club he’s playing for is always playing hardball with us, save the trouble and go for another young CB).

  13. Cyclops
    March 9, 2016

    just, i’ve always thought Deulo had a better chance of developing right here at the Nou camp..but yeah, we’ll see

    Any idea how much Florentino Perez paid Salah and Dzeko to miss those sitters???
    And talking about Dzeko..some player are never cut out to be Highclass(not even Worldclass mind you)Player
    City realise that soon enough and got Rid of him…watching that match, i could almost hear Pelegrini muttering Good riddance…

  14. ian_percival
    March 10, 2016

    Man, remind us not to buy Marqinhos, I’ve not yet seen the reason about the fuss of him being a nice CB, trust me I’ve looked and I’ve followed Ligue 1 just to watch him and I’ve not seen anything exceptional about him, correct me if am wrong, and yesterday against chelsea even though he played out of position i wasn’t convinced, he doesn’t even have enough height for CB.

  15. ian_percival
    March 10, 2016

    Man, remind us not to buy Marqinhos, I’ve not yet seen the reason behind the fuss of him being a nice CB, trust me I’ve looked and I’ve followed Ligue 1 just to watch him and I’ve not seen anything exceptional about him, correct me if am wrong, and yesterday against chelsea even though he played out of position i wasn’t convinced, he doesn’t even have enough height for CB.

  16. barca96
    March 10, 2016

    Love the blue/red shades on Eibar. I wish our blaugrana was more into those shades.

  17. barca96
    March 10, 2016

    After missing out on trips in 1997 and then in 1998 for reasons shared here in the past, I am finally making the trip come true next month. Scheduled to arrive on the 11th or 12th of April and depart on the 18th.

    Was hoping to get a league match and a CL match in that week. 12 & 13th of April are the CL nights. I really hope Barca will get the 2nd leg at the Camp Nou then I might have a chance to watch them play. If not, it’ll just be Valencia on the 17th. The CL QF draw is on the 18th of March. We can’t wait that long to make the booking for the trip.

    If it is possible I would wait and if Barca plays CL away on that week, I would rather delay my trip to get the Valencia (17th) and Sporting Gijon (24th) match in one week. 2 very open matches that will definitely be entertaining. Dilemma dilemma.

    I would imagine that the training sessions are behind closed doors right? Feyenoord used to train right next to their stadium and it was always open to public. I went to watch many times in the past even though I am not their fan. How about for Barca B? Are fans allowed to watch their training sessions? Match tickets for their games are free IIRC.

    Is it possible to get the players’ autographs/photos before or after their training sessions? Either way I will go at least a couple of times to at least catch a glimpse of them speeding off in their cars.

    If Pinto was still at the club he might recognized me as he had a huge smile on his face when he saw me from the bus when I stopped in the middle of the road to see them in the bus. It was most likely because my hair was untied and messy that time. Pinto used to sit in front of Messi. Later that night it was the same configuration. school boys! as ze Nose would say 😆

    I am going with the family so getting an apartment would be the wiser choice right? Should I get an apartment as close to the stadium as possible or it’s wiser to stay nearer to the city? I mean if everything is behind closed doors (training + no chance to see the players walk and get their autograph and photos), I don’t think it’s wise to stay close to the stadium. Troublesome for my little sister and the family.

    Looking forward to your suggestions. Many thanks in advance.

    • Kd
      March 11, 2016

      Barca 96, I went last September to Barcelona and here are my thoughts:
      1. Don’t take an apartment near the stadium. That area seemed dull and bereft of any activities. Instead stay near La Rambla or the Gothic Quarters or the Bonn area. (They are all close by).
      2. I took an apartment through Airbnb n absolutely loved it. I have been doing that since the 2014 World cup and have never had a bad experience. Its cheaper and the owners are always very helpful in telling you about the places you should visit. We got an absolutely gorgeous eco-apartment in one of the by lanes of La Rambla.
      3. Training sessions are closed door thingy so dont bother. Although you could catch some barca kiddie games opposite to the Camp Nou.
      4. DO NOT, i repeat do not miss the Camp Nou museum tour. Its incredible. Prob the best in the World and half a day would seem less. Think 4-5 hours. Plus there are PS controls at the end of the tour n u can keep playing FIFA!! 🙂
      5. Watch a game in one of the Irish pubs in the by lanes of Rambla. Its fun to watch it with like some 20 different nationalities represented all rooting for Barca. 🙂
      I sincerely hope luck will favour you with the draw. A Champions night at the Camp Nou would be just amazing.

    • March 11, 2016

      Hey, long time no hear?
      Glad for you that you will now watch Barca live. Jealous really.
      Once again, my chance to visit Barcelona will be in July, a dead month!
      Enjoy friend.

    • georgjorge
      March 11, 2016

      Wow, that’s bad luck! The team plays almost the whole year and you can only go there when they don’t?

      I agree with KD that you (Barca96) HAVE to take the Camp Nou museum tour, probably best some time before the game (it can be closed on matchdays). Stepping out into the stadium stands for the first time ever was amazing for me even when it was mostly empty. Regarding where to stay, you can get to the stadium by Metro just fine, only the way back after a game might be long.

    • March 11, 2016

      Unfortunately Yes friend. The only time when both my wife and I can take time out of our work is June/July. what a pity. And I cant imagine a Barca game without her (even if she isnt a footy fan)

    • March 11, 2016

      Renting an apartment is always a good call. But I much prefer Friendly Rentals (friendlyrentals.com) to anything I have seen on AirBNB, etc. Especially in Barcelona, their rentals are of a high standard, and in great neighborhoods.. I have always like renting a place in Eixample.

      Staying near the stadium means missing out on some of the great neighborhoods in Barcelona. The only hassle will be on matchday, where it will be chaos managing mass transit or a taxi. You’ll probably have to walk a bit, which isn’t a bad thing as the city is so lovely.

      Barça B tickets are not free, but they are quite inexpensive. Home matches aren’t usually all that well attended, so you should be in good shape there.

      Training sessions are indeed closed. There are a couple of places that supporters congregate in the hopes of getting an autograph or photo, but it’s difficult. The players usually just zoom in and out in their Audis, and that’s that.

  18. ooga aga
    March 10, 2016

    Robert fernandez said today it is “quite likely” we will take back Denis Suarez this summer.

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