For the man who has everything

“Leo is priveleged. He’s a genius. One of the greatest athletes of all time. Athletes, not just footballers.
… And I was there as a coach and we were planning to do this or that and I thought, ‘and we’ll get the ball to Messi and that’s that, we’ll score. Only the best of time is able to do that.
… And the best thing about him isn’t the exceptional things that he does. The greatest thing about him is that no one does the easy things as well as he does. No one.
… There’s not a bad control, a bad pass, all the things they teach you as a kid to keep simple. I’m not talking about dribbling three players and scoring, or about the other things we know that he does …
The best thing to teach kids about him is to watch the easy things that he does better than anyone else. Everyone makes them complicated, they want to add stuff, he keeps it simple.”

— Pep Guardiola

Those are excerpts from Guardiola talking about Messi on a radio interview. What is remarkable about them is not only the reverence, but the understanding of a great player and his physical and psychological effect. Those effects have changed over time, one expanding, the other becoming even more iron clad, something seen in how Messi is fouled these days. Opponents will kick almost anybody else. If they foul Messi it’s almost apologetic, becuase nobody wants to be the one to piss him off.

Yet when he is wronged, Messi is evolving there as well. The miscreant might not get a nutmeg, might instead get a perfectly placed rainbow that results in a goal or great scoring chance. A Twitter account, Between the Lines, said this of Messi on the day everyone was celebrating his 30th birthday:

This season, Messi was Barcelona’s deep-lying playmaker, their controller, and still managed to score more goals than anyone else in Europe.

The only thing that came to my mind was that, right about the time that Michael Jordan reinvented himself (after retiring at age 30 to play baseball for a season), Messi is doing the same. The hoops star returned as Jordan 3.0, a more complete player than the scorer he left as. He was assisting, defending, developed an unerring jumper, brought the three-pointer into his arsenal, even added a fadeaway. This happened even as people weren’t all that capable of moving on from slashing, driving Jordan and waited for dunks and stuff instead of realizing and appreciating this amazing new player. It took a while.

Messi, too, became Barça’s deep-lying playmaker and controller this season past (one of his best) because he understands, even if so many of his supporters don’t yet, how the game and his abilities are changing. He is adapting, becoming Messi 3.0.

People snarled when he moved back on the pitch under Luis Enrique, but coach and player understood. Messi is now on the path to becoming the most devastating player ever, in all aspects. Messi doesn’t care if he scores, or Alba, Suarez or Neymar. He just wants his team to win. Whether that’s a pass or a slalom run doesn’t matter to him. He has depersonalized the game and ascended to the next level in doing so.

Messi’s stats last season were already astonishing, but imagine how they would have been had his teammates had an even reasonable conversion rate. There was a recent video of 50 great chances created by Messi this season, all spurned. Even if we assume a normal, twenty percent conversion on those passes, how might the season have looked. He created chances against Alaves, Juventus, Deportivo, Betis. It would have been his greatest season as an overall force for his team in reality as well as theory.

Often supporters and fans aren’t really all that interested in their idols and growth. As one person said on Twitter, “Messi turning 30 makes me feel old.” If Messi isn’t the rolling, rumbling, tumbling dynano of the past, then what are we? It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of a player rather than a team, to watch but not see as that player and the team change.

As with the season under Gerardo Martino. Luis Enrique’s last season was a few bounces and conversions away from being something special, even if that is difficult to grasp because what we see is what happened, rather than what almost happened. Reality is the arbiter, the objective reality that gets cast aside for subjective evaluation when convenient. Barça, even when it doesn’t have the success that its supporters crave, is still an astounding football team that lives on razor-thin margins but always hovers close to excellence.

That team has the best player in the history of the game, a player who is now 30 years old and is about to be married. He is different now, evincing anger, rushing to the aid of teammates who have been treated unjustly, becoming what he watched as he grew up as a player, examples of comportment set by Xavi, by Puyol. Messi understands his next steps, how he has to grow and change to become that next player, the one it will take us a while to suss. Messi deeper on the pitch isn’t a waste, but a new opportunity for magnificence.

Messi has a new coach now in Ernesto Valverde, a Mister who must make transfer moves, shape and hone his team into something capable of meeting the standards set by its predecessors. The biggest question, of course, is what is his vision for Messi? This is true even as Messi himself doesn’t care about anything except his team, would sideeye people who assert that someone, somewhere is wasting his years and time. He’s a team player.

Winning has a finite window, that period where a team is performing at its maximum, a window that can be opened and closed by injuries, assimilation difficulties and other things.

For people who watch Messi, who watch and see the player, this season is one of the most exciting for what it means for him as well as what it meams for his team. Muhammad Butt over at Squawka wrote an excellent piece on what to expect from Messi in his 30s. It also clearly lays out why this season, and the seasons to come, will be so thrilling.

Barça will need to make moves in the transfer market, smart ones, to enable the necessary evolution of the team. Some of those moves will be unpopular. The Bulls signed Dennis Rodman, a head case from the Detroit Pistons because they recognized the reality of Jordan moving back on the court and the necessity of replacing his rebounds. The Rodman signing was greeted with nigh-universal scorn by Bulls supporters, but Rodman became the player that allowed the Bulls to reach a new level.

Transfer rumors come and go, but nobody knows anything. There is nothing to react to. Umtiti? Digne? Out of nowhere. Valverde’s vision of how to use Messi and the team will shape what happens.

Until then, we have anticipation, and celebrating the best to ever play. What is the best thing we can give Messi for his 30th birthday? Patience and understanding as he, and the team around him, evolve.

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. Excellent article Kxevin!
    Its amazing how insanely consistent Messi has been over the past decade and a half!
    With video replays and anaylsis being commonplace and teams having access to every minute miss-step or chink in a players armor becomes glaring and easily countered, it seems crazy how relevant he has been in the conversation about the GOAT. I guess one can make all the tactical formations and man marking they want but to deal with someone of the genius of Messi who, like some antibiotic resistant superbug, keeps reinventing new things like his rainbow pass to each new hurdle that may come is astounding and amazing to watch!

    Messi is the kind of player you tell your grandkids that you watched him live with pride, something I hope to do before he hangs up his heaven touched boots 🙂

  2. Thank, Kxevin. Who knows, perhaps Paulinho becomes our Rodman? Either way, I like the early talk from Valverde about realising the need to play Messi centrally. The RW revisit worked for 1,5 seasons, but at this point should not be his starting position. I like the mentions of eg 3412 (think it was Cieran), where Messi has freedom and Neymar is further up the pitch, and the likes of Alba, Vidal, Rafinha, Gomes and Roberto could run the wings. Of course, should a Dembele-like player arrive (not Deloufeu, who I hope stays away and will not be a starter either way), 3313 looks the ticket.

    Exciting times!

  3. Ignoring the fact that they are below barca standard on the wings but if for whatever reason Gomes, rafinha and Roberto runs the wings, then who is left to run the middle? Neither do they posses the quality barca needs in the middle of the park.

    Please don’t mention Messi cos I’m not one of those that believe Messi will evolve into a midfielder. Messi at best is a great passer of the ball and is gradually evolving to one of the best passers in history but the job of a midfielder goes well beyond passing. The job of a midfielder is a full time job that involves a lot of running and constant movement. This of cause is against Messi’s modus operandi.

    Messi like other attackers are like big cats(lions, chettahs etc). They conserve their energy by stalking their prey and moving slowly as if they are not there and with a sudden burst, they accelerate from 0-40km/h in seconds whereas, midfielders are like wild dogs, wolf packs, hyenas etc they run their prey aground with relatively slow but consistent Chase.

    The upside of the two is that, wild cats tend to burn out faster than wild dogs.

    The big cats possess great skills that allows them to manoveur with ease at top speed but dogs don’t.

    Big cats posses greater speed that the dogs.

    presently iniesta(the most creative force in our middle) is not at the peak of his powers, rakitic disappears at crutial time and is not getting younger and Busquets has not back up.

    Yet barca board has not being able to sign a single midfielder let alone a world class one. Dortmund is threatening lawsuit on cancels approach, Simone is angry about Saul approach, Santos is planning on reporting to FIFA about Lima approach can t remember the other club that threatened. Can this set of directors do anything right and in a transparent manner?

    Another option I see is to trade Alba for Herrera knowing that mourinho has great interest in him(alba) and the rumor of Man U going for Matic. Then they can go for a great central defender and a good right back. Umtiti can move to the left in a similar role to how Abidal operated which will give the right back freedom to bomb forward while we play a 3 man defence. But then I doubt this board can pull off something as complex as this when they can t even convince a direct player to dump his team.

    In fact I will be the most surprised if they achieved anything meaningful in the transfer market before the transfer window closes.

    1. I have to agree with you, I can see Messi as an advanced playmaker in classic #10 mode, have harder time seeing him in central midfield. It is not about passing only. Like you said, central midfielders have to be OMNIPRESENT, anywhere and everywhere at any given time, dictating play and tempo not only by passing, but being constantly on the move to make sure the ball goes through them whenver it needs to go through them. In our current squad, Iniesta is a prime example of that kind of subtle but continual movement, always being where he needs to be, and making sure the ball goes through him without even asking for it. I have a hard time seeing Messi picking up that kind of a style. I think we really need a top quality central midfielder first and foremost, imagining Messi in such a role for me is a bit far fetched. Messi can play deeper, but I don’t see our need for a top class CM being eliminated by that fact.

    2. I know it’s frustrating, especially with Barto’s latest comments about signings. However, the transfer window is far from over and there’s still opportunity to sign good players to fill our gaps.

      While we all can write off our current set of midfielders as having no ability or no chance to turn our ship around. The players themselves don’t think that at all. You can read it in their comments. It’s not uncommon for players to perform differently under a new coach. Judging by the comments from the barca board and fan opinions of Valverde’s past teams, he was chosen as the Barca coach mainly for his man management ability.

      There have been really creative and well thought out suggestions on this blog regarding our lineup and squad. Though, Valverde could have completely different ideas and I guess we’ll find out his plans soon during preseason.

    3. Agreed, I have a hunch that Messi might be moved more centrally into an advanced playmaking role where there would be less demands of defensive duties and he might be told to keep switching with the forwards during the game. The 3313 definitely looks like something Valverde might roll out as Davour pointed out in which case we will be looking for a good winger which based on media reports seems like we are,
      Hopefully our board goes and does some Umtiti type silent transfers instead of going the fabregas saga route with verrati

  4. I watched Andre Gomes in the Confederations Cup and I should say that I was not impressed at all. I must admit that I have been among the few in this forum to defend him given his young age, his development cycle and the time needed to adjust to the Barça style and environment. I am beginning to think that his might prove one of those failed and costly transfers. I see him improving, but never to the level that the team needs and expects. My understanding is that some clubs are willing to pay 35 million to acquire him. We should take it and run…

  5. It seems Tello is leaving for about 7m according to many reports.
    Having said that, and ignoring the question why we offload this or that player for a moment, can’t we get about 115+ millions from the following players even by our standard?!

    Gomes = 40m (rumor is we recently rejected 35 from three clubs)
    Arda + Rafinha = 45m
    Munir + Tello = 20m
    Digne = 10m
    Mathiue + Vermalen + Douglas = free

    Add the amount we can save from their salaries! If we specially can get Veratti or even a player in Saul level, we would have the new guy, Iniesta, Rakitic, Dennis and Sergi for two positions in midfield. And we possibly can have leftover money to buy ball playing left back, which I believe is very important if we are to consider 3-4-3 or any kind of back three.

    On the other hand, I really don’t understand why the club is pushing for Bellerin. If what we are looking from RB is all about speed and width, we have Vidal who even has better associative playing skills. If we have to buy a RB and still 4-3-3 is the way to go, Semedo would be ideal as he is very good in that, actually only second to Dani Alves,

    I would rather like the club to focus on bringing Dembele and bring Yerry Mina’s time forward. I’m saying this having 3-4-3 in mind for some time in the coming years as Messi will no longer be a half wide player and when he becomes part of the midfield he will not be doing most things a midfielder has to do, and thus we need extra midfielder.

    This would be more or less my first 11:
    Marc; Mina, Pique, Umtiti; Busi, Iniesta, Veratti, Messi; Neymar, Suares,Dembele.

    A couple of notes;

    With this, width would be an issue in the left (on the right Dembele can be convinced to do what Ney did last season).

    If no Veratti or any automatic starter for midfield, Sergi or Rakitic can be the options with some positional adjustments. Masche and Marlon possibly can be better options at first, Alba and Vidal can be used when one of the three at the back has to be a LB. This is besides them being the first choices for the RB and LB positions when 4-3-3 is used in lesser games.

    The difficulty of 3-4-3 might require some time and get ready to back 4 too.

  6. Don’t know what your take is on the news that read Barca activate Gerard deulofeu buy back clause. I guess they’re saving dembele’s money to pursue a world class midfielder. I’m watching them in HD .

    1. They actually wanted to use him to make quick cash. He would be sold off at a higher value to other clubs that may demand his services.

      This is according to various online news.

  7. Just a few random thoughts this Friday night.

    First, those Germans really are efficient aren’t they ? You need a moment of real individual skill to get past them and Spain didn’t have it. Needed their mids to get ahead of their forwards and into the box to disrupt things. Sandro was never gonna do much. He’s way too predictable. Germany have won the tournament and I watched most of it but I’m not sure if I could point out one of their players to you. Hmm, maybe that’s the point ?

    Didn’t think much of Asensio this tournament. He’s lively with some decent ball skills but too full of himself for my liking so I’m not sure he’ll be willing to learn. Liked Saul – haven’t really been aware of him much before. Deulofeu didn’t do much for me and he still doesn’t like defending. Why does he make it that obvious ? It will hold him back. However, he is a great passer. Love the zip he puts on every ball he touches. He’s also very quick. Can’t help feeling he’d be better in the middle playing just behind the strikers. He has great vision and can pick out and deliver a pass at speed. Just can’t see him doing much on the wing. Bellerin looked pretty mediocre to me and not even great at defending.

    Before I go any further, genuine congrats and best wishes to Leo. There have been few people, even beyond sport, who have given me as much enjoyment as he ( and R10) has. Hope his wedding goes well and the scum in the press who are determined to cobble up stories about everyone falling out with Antonella get what they deserve. Anyone know why Iniesta isn’t there ? I have a growing feeling all is not well in the renewal department with him. Somebody tell me he just has a cold…

    Expect the transfer news to start picking up in earnest now. Bit worried there has been no mention of Samper so far. Would have thought that was an easy one if they intended to bring him back, or have I missed something ? Mind you, with that ridiculous loan it wouldn’t be surprising if Valverde hadn’t ever seen him play and feels we have too many mids already. Would be a mistake, especially given Gomes’ more than underwhelming performances ( again) in the Confed cup. See Gumbau is being let go. Can’t say that surprises me. No way he should have been taking first team time.

    There seems to be a shift at the moment towards giving Masia players a shot with the firsts. Don’t mind that at all, but they need to have something to offer. Don’t know where Alena’s name has come from. How much time has he had and what are his strengths ? If others know him better from the B team fair enough keep him but talking about him as ready for the firsts at the moment? Really ? Same goes for Marlon. I quite like what I’ve seen but he’s raw as get out. Needs another season at least with the B so we can see what he has.

    Omoh, I think Verratti looks a decent choice, especially as Xavi thinks so, but there’s a bit of me that wonders if he’s worth the €100m we might have to pay for him. Was he playing in the return against PSG ? Don’t remember but if he was he failed spectacularly to get a grip on that game. Anyway, we need to do something about the midfield that doesn’t involve hoping average players are gonna step up.

    Enough griping for now. Won’t be long before we have some real news to debate. Meanwhile, we can turn to debating Antonella’s frock or Messi’s Versace suit. Kinda hope the beard goes. Never liked it much.

    1. For me no mention of Samper so far is positive news as we are left only with two weeks for preseason. It implies Samper will have a better chance to join the team on July 12, and afterwards up to him to convince the new mister what he possibly can do. As for Iniesta, it’s reported long ago that he will not be in Rosario as he welcomed new baby recently…
      I agree with your Saul analysis, I would go as far as saying pay the 80m and bring him if Veratti’s saga takes long and becomes costly. Atletico Madrid would go off the roof considering their ban tho.

  8. Verratti is actually a very decent choice but with the mediocre football director and his bosses, no club wants to sell to barca. The guy doesn’t seem to know much about the football business and seem like he doesn’t have enough connect in the sport to make transfers happen. Barca could’ve gone for someone like monchi. Young and has an eye for talents. Its no coincidence that the most successful era in the history of the club was when it was managed by young guns in their thirties. Herrera would also make an excellent addition of only they can trade Alba for him and get semedo plus a great CB. Umtiti can run the LB while pique and the new CB partner each other. Marlon can serve as cover.

    My problem is however not with the players barca is being linked to cos with a coach that knows what he is doing, barca just need a few signings.

    My problem is actually in the ability of the directors to get anything meaninful done. By monday, most clubs would start their preseason but barca is yet to make a single transfer for the two most needed positions in the team.

    I would have prefered a semedo as the right back option but the board is yet to wake up to the reality of the transfer market while they keep shipping out talents from La masia for cheaps. Barca should have bought either Cuadrado, Marquinhos, Tiago Silva, David Luis and a host of great defenders for less that €50m and the issue of central defender or right back could have been settled a long time ago but they chose not to buy because of price but since then we’ve spent more than that on mediocre players while the problem still persist. The same episode is playing out with Semedo. Instead they are focusing on Bellerin who is no different from Vidal.

    Isla of Chile is also a cheaper and very experienced option. I don’t know how he plays for his club but he has been a beast at the confed cup. Very great at attacking and denfending but a bit old at close to 30. We could get him on loan. Then again I’m tired of all this quick fixes.

    I am afraid for my team. Very afraid. cos with the trend of things, barca is becoming more like arsenal in the transfer market. Always being linked with great players and ending up not buying any while settling for a cheaper and poorer version.

    Since Guardiola left, they have not being able to produce any great player or buy a good one that can last the team for a minimum of 6years. Player like Pique, Busquets, Messi, S.Roberto. apart from a few like neymar, Stegen, Alba and Umtiti. Others are maximum 4 season (or less) players.

    Take a look at Madrid, Marcelo has being there for close to 6years, carvajal is very young, modric is in His 4th season and still strong. Casemiro will be there for a long time, Varane too. Now Theo and a host of others. That is a team with focus and vision. This barca board has none.

  9. MJ’s fadeaway was unstoppable. Much like Jabbar’s hook. Thanks for the piece

  10. If anyone reacts or gets mad about rumors, that’s on them. But a fanbase wants “world class,” “Barça quality” players, and all transfers sorted by the instant the window opens.

    But any player of that quality is going to be a difficult transfer, because he will be a starter for his current team, which will be depending on him. That stuff doesn’t happen easily.

    The only concrete transfer news from the club so far has been Deulofeu, and the Betis president confirms that Barça has talked to him about Ceballos. That’s it. Everything else, including all of the Verratti hysteria, is vaporware.

    The technical staff is working (not the board, which finds the money for the folks the technical staff wants). Are they working on who fans want or think the club needs? Zero idea, which is why calm is the only appropriate reaction. What is Valverde planning tactically? Dunno, but that will certainly affect transfers. So my advice is to relax until something real happens.

    — We should see more transfer rumor leaks from the club now that the Seient Lliure situation is happening. TV3 has found that the club was buying seats from members through the “free your seat” program, then tacking on a big tariff but not sharing the full percentage of that upcharge with the season ticket holder.

    So the club buys the seat, tells the member that it was resold for EUR 255, then attaches it to a VIP Experience, and charges EUR 1500. The club will most likely claim that the extra services (party, hostess service, etc.) were part of the upcharge, rather than the initial value of the ticket.

    But it will be interesting to watch play out, nonetheless.

    P.S. Sandro Rosell is still in jail.

    1. Can you imagine this monumental fraud and ripoff.

      Anything and everything that came 28th Rosell seem like a curse to barca. they are just too corrupt for my liking. Barca’s annual income generated is reported to be upthere with the likes of Madrid and Man U. I even read at some point that Madrids debt is almost if not more than twice that of Barca yet you find them unable to buy quality player due to financial fair play. What are they spending all the income on.

      With this new discovery, I hope it would gear them towards compensating the ripped off fans with quality transfers and quality football.

      BTW Kxevin do you have a link to the news.

    2. Yaredinho, no situation is binary. The board can have made errors and done good things. Their fiscal efforts have been impressive, even as we should realize that accounting tricks mean that the next board, dependent upon the acrimony of the election, will find a way to make those numbers seem open to interpretation, as this board did to the Laporta board. It’s all part of the game.

      While I think that “monumental fraud and ripoff” is overstating matters, it’s worth understanding that there is nuance to every situation, even ones seemingly in black-and-white.

    3. @Kxevin, My intention was not to imply a situation can be binary or the analysis, and even the numbers/figures are absolutely right and perfectly interpreted. Neither defending the board. Not at all. My reply was more about pointing out complaining for sake of it even with out trying to understand the situation…we have twitter for that. Barca operate differently compared to United and Madrid, and the comparison doesn’t hold water. The article, even a year old, can give a very good insight.

    4. OK, what am I missing ? The punter sells the ticket back to the club because they can’t use it. The club pays them for it. That’s generous anyway. I couldn’t do that with my local club’s season ticket when I had one. They then decide to add features and use it as part of a package and charge more for the package because of the extras ? What on earth’s wrong with that ?

      Not entirely sure why the more transfer rumours is relevant. I thought we’d agreed that the news would ramp up anyway at the start of this month. And why tag on the Rosell still in jail ? Is it meant to imply Barto will be following him ? I don’t really follow these matters closely. Is there another election on the way?

    5. Jim, they are three unrelated items, all related to club business and ongoing situations. That’s why the em dash separates one, a P..S. the other. The transfer rumors thing was humor, as in will they need something to distract attention from the ticketing situation. Seemed pretty clear to me, but apparently not.

      — The complexity of the ticket issue depends on who you ask. If you are a season ticket holder who signs on for that deal, when you see that the club has sold your ticket for 1500 but told you 225, you would be right in wondering what happened. That anyone is lucky the club has set up that deal in the bylaws is immaterial to the reality of the fiscal discrepancy in the two sale prices.

      The club has said that the VIP Experience add-ons are their cost, over and above the price of the ticket cited to the holder, those justified the much higher price for the ticket, and that’s that. Is it a huge scandal? No. But in an environment where decisions by the board come under scrutiny by media outlets, and club supporters who want them gone, it should have been handled more transparently, before the “expose” came from TV3.

    6. Kxevin, I fully agree on the transfer season. A lack of transfer rumours halfway through the transfer window doesn’t mean anything about the quality of a squad, the existence or lack of a sound strategy for the club, or the competence of a board. If it did, I would fully expect Arsenal to win the Champions League next year, seeing to how many exciting players they are linked right now (like every year).

      I would start worrying if the club didn’t have any transfers done towards the end of August ; ).

  11. Ok, completely off topic but the 35!!!! Yr old favourite to win Wimbledon has just walked onto court. If you’re lucky enough to be able to, don’t miss this and just keep your eyes on his feet. He may not win it in the end but he’ll always be Federer and the best of all time . . .

  12. Hello Dear Readers,
    Question :
    When do we think Messi’s time at Barca comes to an end?
    Will he retire at the top level around 34?
    Or will he do a Pirlo / Buffon and extend career to late thirties?

    1. I think he will go back to Newell’s at the end of his current contract (which he may or may not extend for one year).

  13. The problem with waiting till towards end of the transfer Windows is that quality players are not available at that time cos teams have already drawn their plans and nearly complete their preseason.

    The only players that are available at that time are quality players who fall out with their teams and/or coaches or players that are not in the plans of their club. While the former is not guaranteed and cannot be relied upon, the latter is a huge gamble cos quality players (midfielders) will always be on the plans of their team. This is not to mean the player cannot turn out to be a surprise hit but the chances are slim and that is a luxury a team of Barca quality and in this situation don’t have. Most of the player available at that time are players of low quality or unproven talent or players with average talent that can only be used as quick fixes for a team and not long term replacement that barca needs.

    You hardly find quality central midfielder not in the plan of a team mostly you have to force their purchase.

    This is the reason why fans are agitated.

  14. KXEVIN,

    YARDINHO you too can take a look at this. The fact that I asked what they spend money on doesn’t mean I need their account books before I can know something or wrong. I’m a trained accountant and I can tell you figures do lie. Forget the figure don’t lie cliche. The body language of an organisation is enough to give anyone(let alone a trained accountant) an insight to what really is going on with the organisation.

    Please please please and please read this article. This is the most perfect I’ve read very balanced and detailed.

    You guys would unsetstand the reason why I’ve often appeared spooky about barca chances of bouncing back. I just hop and pray something (a miracle) happens.

    With these set of incompetent nitwits at the elm, only a miracle can save this club.

    1. OMOH,
      I’m open to read, and I’ve decades of experience when it comes to numbers and their interpretations as I’m a trained Physicist and Engineer.

      The first thing;
      My argument was about how Barca’s financial operations are different from United and Madrid in response to your comment. No one accuses me defending of this board, and not even saying this board’s better quality, which is fiscal management, not improvable. But you twisted it to a combination of finance and sporting judgement, which includes both the board and our technical staff. And you chose an article, which even don’t include the total revenue/income of the clubs, which mainly talks about the wage structure (this argument has its own flaws, as Madrid never had the success level of Barca in the last decade and thus NO big pressure when it comes to total wage…) and as I said the missteps made by the club through the years. I’m not saying those points are entirely wrong, rather that was not the point. If you want those to be the point of discussion, there are many aspects to include too.

      You want to believe an article which refers Madrid’s official account about their debt, but you somehow discarded the article I mentioned (which is by the way written by a person who is a critic of this board) which refers our club’s account which officially declares that the club has zero debt to banks (there are transfer debt to other clubs) starting end of last season by pointing out accounting numbers can be twisted. Is this accountants’ escape route?

      Ok, let’s agree Madrid pays nearly the same as Barca, and on the 70% and 49% wage to turnover ratios mentioned. What does this tell us about the revenue of the clubs, then? Or can we talk about these ratio’s without considering the total revenue of the clubs? Are we assuming the difference in global marketing and brand between the clubs surfaced 6/7 years ago? Is there any financial self constraint in Madrid’s board if certain losses happen in two consecutive fiscal years, which this board imposed that statutes in itself with EBITDA. The writer in the article you referred could easily have told us Nolito’s issue was because of the statutes imposed by this board for the better of the club in long term

      What surprises me most is this part of the article:
      “Special thanks to fellow Managing Madrid writer Ondra Paul, who was of immense help in collecting the sources and data necessary for writing this article.”

    2. First I have to tell you there’s a huge difference between accounting/finance figures and scientific figures. This I realised quite a long time back in my school days when I needed help with finance calculations from my uncle (a ahead of that department in the university) and his wife (a statistician and Dean of the faculty), they couldn’t help.

      I didn’t twist it to finance and sporting judgement cos it actually is finance and sporting judgement. Everything about Barcelona or anyclub in the world boils down to the sporting model/judgement. Finance and sporting judgement/ has a direct link which is the fiscal management. A club with very sound sporting model will have a great finance model and a club with a poor finance model will ultimately have a poor sporting model. No matter how fantastic your finance model may sound if your sporting model is poor, your finance will be in trouble. A club with the success barca had over the years shouldn’t have to pay that much for players to put on the short of there’s a sound sporting model to maintain the successes. This was evident when Fabregas agreed to take a pay cut to join barca and had to pay the balance of his transfer fee. No responsible management with the salary structure of Barca can claim to have a good fiscal management. Paying those heavy salaries to players is like saying “we dont have a good team or plan but we have the money to pay you”.

      The finance that this management are praising as their achievement is a direct result of the successes barca have enjoyed. Those successes don’t just come by chance. They are results of good sporting model that we had inplace in the past. The sporting model is now crumbling due to their neglegence and lack of sporting knowledge. Now fiscal recklessness is affecting the finance they may claim to. For a team with successes barca enjoyed, we should be paying less for players to represent our colours not more.

      One golden rule of business finance is to maximise the revenue and minimise the cost. What your article was able to point out is that the club was able to generate more revenue While it failed to disclose in details why the wage liability of the club had to increase by 4% while the quality of players actually went down. What this means is that barca was paying less when we had the likes of Xavi and Alves than now that we have Gomez and No right back. Does that make a good sporting and fiscal “sense”? The fact that they made more money does not mean they should throw it out senselessly. That is fiscal recklessness.

      The board has only successfully Maximise the revenue by leveraging on past success(albeit poorly) and maximise the cost without anything tangible to show for it.

      The article (yours) said Gomez was a marketing decision which justifies the salary but was Paco alcacer also a marketing decision? Why The huge salary to an unproven player. The fact that they had to come up with a defence for Gomez decision shows that they know that his signing was a poor decision. It is also quite different from the popular knowledge that his signing was a direct request from LE.

      Your last three paragraphs shows you choose to focus more on the messenger rather than the message. Then, if we are to focus on the messenger, the author of the article you pointed to is no saint. In fact I see the person as a barca board sponsored journalist Who through out the article did well to analyse the “strong input” of the board and hide the details of their recklessness. I put the strong input in quote because it is up for debate given the successes of Barca over the years which are not a direct impact of this board.

  15. OMOH, You consider Diana to be a Barca board sponsored journalist?
    Are you for real? I mean it literally, do you really believe that?


    1. Well, I don’t know his past, reason why I said “the writer” and not his personal name but going by the report he made, it’s either he is ignorant of what fiscal responsibility means, has a very little knowledge on how to analyse financial report or he is “sympathetic” to the board members.

      I don’t blame him much cos he’s a journalist. His report is skewed towards praising a single leg of a financial report which is the Income leg but the report is largely silent about expenditure leg. That is where the board has been reckless and largely irresponsible.

    2. As I’m the one who brought the article, hence the writer, in to the discussion, feel I have to comment on personal attack on HER, not him btw!

      If you don’t know her, her past or even not bothered to know a little better so that you can respond well, where that label you gave her came from? How do you know if she is sponsored by this board, or any evidence?
      Diana is NOT your average person if you are actually defined by your comments here for some time now.The audacity you have to tell people how life and its components should be interpreted is astounding!

  16. Annnnnnnnnd it looks like the Verrati saga has fizzled out with him coming out and saying the usual sorry my agent is a nincompoop and I’m not leaving PSG.
    Not saying that Verrati wasn’t a good choice in sporting terms, but it doesn’t seem to make sense for trying to go for a player that the club president said wont be sold under any circumstances.
    We need negotiators that are ready to put their foot down and say we aren’t wasting time with you and move on to the next option like how Manchester United have done with Lukkaku where once they saw Madrid reject their rather fair bid for Morata just said screw this and went and paid what? 80mn euros for Lukkaku.
    No long drawn out transfer saga, not tears, no fans crying about lost opportunities, no threats from the club to report you to fair play authorities over the negotiations.

    It’s also a good thing that Verrati said hes happy where he is so the club doesnt need to overthink and move on to the next option. maybe this becomes a miss beckham and get Ronaldinho instead transfer hopefully 🙂

  17. Well, I don’t know his past, reason why I said “the writer” and not his personal name but going by the report he made, it’s either he is ignorant of what fiscal responsibility means, has a very little knowledge on how to analyse financial report or he is “sympathetic” to the board members.

    I don’t blame him much cos he’s a journalist. His report is skewed towards praising a single leg of a financial report which is the Income leg but the report is largely silent about expenditure leg. That is where the board has been reckless and largely irresponsible.

  18. Lately, I don’t know what to expect from Manchester. Previously, only the game Lukaku something worth. And now I watch the broadcast on and I think, is it generally Manchester play or not? I think they lost confidence in their abilities, lost morale. And this is used by other teams. Every team that goes to visit them, is set to win. And the stadium owners play mediocre, despite the support of the fans.

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