Barça 2, Valencia 1, aka “Solace vs consolation”

Many years ago, a legendary television critic who worked at one of city’s big newspapers, was fuming — pacing back and forth, running his hands through his hair, almost hyperventilating and issuing forth with a string of epithets fit to make the most hardened conoisseur of such things say, “Dearie me!”

He had written a story, an exceptional one, but there was an error in the photo caption. “The whole damn story is worthless now,” he screamed, before stomping off to his office. That uncompromising gentleman — who really was — came to mind in the wake of Barça’s win over Valencia, thanks mostly to Ter Stegen as well as timely interventions from Pique, Umtiti and Alba.

By beating Valencia, FC Barcelona broke the La Liga unbeaten record for a season, and extended its lead to 14 points over second-place Atleti, and 18 points over fourth-placed Real Madrid. Thirty-nine matches unbeaten, an extraordinary thing that has involved fantastic play, luck, comebacks and other weirdnessees. History won’t record any asterisks, won’t say, “Whew!” after the match that saw Valencia with chance after chance, more excellent scoring chances than Barça had but time after time, key defenders came up big.

During the pre-match press conference, Barça coach Ernesto Valverde — presently seeing #valverdeout hashtags on Twitter — talked about the importance of the weekend clash with the third-placed team in the league. He said it was “important,” and we scoffed. The Liga is won. How could it be important, particularly in the wake of the egg laid in Rome, in which a 4-1 aggregate lead became elimination in the Champions League quarters yet again for Barça.

It wasn’t until you saw the players in the tunnel that you understood some of what Valverde meant. They were serious. Many interpreted the almost grim faces as an unhappy team but no, this was a team that wasn’t interested in losing, that had an exorcism to perform. Lose against Valencia and suddenly a great many things are possible, including a psychological slide that could become a slump in the same way the Roma match kept getting worse and worse, leading to who knows what? Players and a team had to regain the swagger, the edge that allowed them to be where they are, allowed its supporters to be chagrined that the team wasn’t still in the most glamorous knockout competition in Europe.

The slashing, lovely, at times sloppy football that was played by Barça was of a sort that prompted many, “Where the hell was this team on Tuesday?” comments from the world of social media. Today, Barça was on the front foot. Today, the scoring chance for Valencia didn’t go in, and the team had a reason to feel lucky as well as stuffed with talent. Today, the brilliant opening goal came, via a can opener of a pass from Coutinho to Suarez, who made no mistake.

But it wasn’t until the second goal that you could almost feel the sense of relief and relaxation, the team embracing the idea as a collective that they had a bad night in Rome, with the hangover and lost belongings to prove it. And it set a record that few celebrated, and few appreciated, a record that is in a lot of ways like Paulinho, this big thing that just came, that very few supporters appreciate or respect.

Over the course of a season that began in July, this team has lost two matches, an ultimately meaningless one to Espanyol in the Copa, and against Roma. To say it is astonishing doesn’t begin to describe it, particularly given where the team began. Yet after the match, Luis Suarez said, something to the effect of winning La Liga doesn’t matter any longer. The Champions League failure was so complete, so unexpected that it has tainted the rest of the season, a season that still holds meaning for the players.

Supporters say that going unbeaten doesn’t matter, that setting the record doesn’t matter, but supporters aren’t players. Players want to make history, want to become legendary. The Arsenal Invincibles will always be thus. People who scoff, who don’t know any better, suggest that the players would have traded a loss or two for a European trophy that season. But we don’t know. We aren’t football professionals, with pride, a finite career and a sense of history. We can’t know how much it matters.

Valverde hasn’t rotated enough to satisfy any of us, and we hold that against him without considering that maybe, just maybe, the players want to go unbeaten, work with their Mister to get over the various knocks to keep playing, keep being essential. Paulinho, Pique and Busquets have taken injections to play matches and we scream about why Valverde doesn’t rest them. How do we know they aren’t clamoring to play, aren’t begging their coach to play, to be part of history.

We don’t.

What was great about the Valencia victory, a step along that potentially historic path, is that Barça became a team again, rather than a bunch of seals cowering on the rocks, pushing the ball at the greatest of them all in the hopes that he would save them. Barça won, even as Messi didn’t play particularly well by his lofty standards. The team played well enough to win, however, as everyone ran and contributed as things have been all season, in a way that allows Messi to be decisive if he needs to be, or peek out of his superhero lair from time to time, with the confidence that the city can survive a day without him needing to don his cape.

This match was important because the next big match for Barça is the Copa final, and the team wants to win. To do that, confidence is required, which necessitated as much of the same XI that played in Rome as could be managed. Rakitic just had hand surgery, so Paulinho came into midfield, and Coutinho played, which meant that Sergi Roberto moved to his usual RB slot and Semedo watched from the bench. Those players had to play and win, even as in the theoretical world of football Twitter, a world in which everything is theory and therefore perfect, we screamed about using the same players YET AGAIN.

Those players delivered as they had to, as they have on every occasion except two this season. They were happy with the win, of course, as they broke an amazing record and took another step toward making history. And Suarez wondered why supporters don’t seem as chuffed as the players must — and relieved and almost certainly flush with renewed confidence.

If Suarez were to ask me, the answer would be easy. We went from no hope at all, really, to a gradual build to somemthing approximating belief as the team knocked down target after target. It got lucky in the first leg against Roma but knocked down another target via a scoreline verging on gaudy, only to dissolve in ignominious capitulation against an opponent barely much better than that day’s Liga victim.

Suarez would hear that consolation prizes rarely console because once winning has been in sight, and the manner of the loss, makes such prizes scant salve for the inconsolable.

But then, after some contemplation, he might ask how we would feel if Real Madrid was unbeaten, looking at the possibility of going the season going unbeaten, how would we feel if our eternal rival was on track to accomplish something extraordinary.

It’s a safe bet that we would be horrified, calling for heads and looking forward to the day on the calendar, the next Classic, when we would hopefully end that chance, that ambition of making history. And we would hate that it wasn’t us. As someone who I follow on Twitter (and you should to) Mike Goodman Tweeted:

The Barcelona fan base which mocks Real Madrid for treating the Champions League like the only thing that matters wants their manager who is undefeated in the league fired after losing in the quarterfinals of the Champions League.

This is accurate. Is a loss more than a loss? Does failure seem more cruel when it is snatched away from hope? Against Bayern, the year of the 7-0 beatdown, not even the most faithful culer considered a team stuffed with injured, psychologically broken players favorites to advance over two legs. This time was different. This season, the team had always gotten it done, always managed to find a way to pull it out. It was a favorite that threw it all away in almost exactly the same way PSG did against Barça last year, something for which the ridicule has been non-stop. We curse that even that has been taken away, that we can throw a 6-1 at them, as they throw a 4-4 back at us.

It stings.

We should be proud of this team. We should take a moment to bind our psychic wounds, our rage at any, all and everyone who has taken hope from us, and understand that something extraordinary happened today. Our beloved team set a record for going unbeaten in Liga, a record that might stand for many years, given the quality of the league now. We should take a moment to understand how Suarez might have felt a bit crestfallen as he considered that supporters don’t appreciate the thing they all have worked so hard for, that they turned up for a match against a tough opponent in Valencia, fought through some clunky play and delivered yet again.

There is pride in FC Barcelona for the people who support it, for the people who manage it, for the players who wear its Blaugrana armor. Is there pride in seeing the team break a storied record? Yes, and there should be. The challenge is to put it into perspective, to see past the residual pangs of rage and heartache to understand that even after Rome, we are still witnessing something extraordinary. It might not be enough for us, but even as consolation prizes don’t usually console, this record, this almost certain league championship and shot at a domestic double isn’t a consolation prize. It’s the product of hard work, dedication and fortitude that most of us can only begin to imagine. And it is impressive, and worth feeling good — really good — about.

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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.

38 Comments

  1. Jim
    April 14, 2018

    Better overall attitude today from a very tired but determined team.

    Lovely goal from Coutinho and Suarez but for me, this was all about Iniesta. Sheer joy watching him create his magic today and devastated at the probable significance of his post match comments. He ran nearly 10k, moved the ball beautifully and looked dangerous every time he went near their box. Not sure why anybody thinks he can’t last 90.

    We can’t afford to lose this talent. What a difference having both him and Coutinho able to create from midfield.

    • georgjorge
      April 15, 2018

      What did Iniesta say after the match? Couldn’t find it anywhere.

      • Jim
        April 15, 2018

        Didn’t actually state it but it was fairly definitive. Had made his decision and even the love of the fans couldn’t change it.

  2. georgjorge
    April 15, 2018

    Thanks a lot, Kxevin!

    Most players probably would have traded that record for advancing further in the Champions League, but that doesn’t mean that such a record is meaningless. It’s a very nice thing to have, and if Barcelona would indeed go undefeated the whole season that would be an incredible thing to have achieved, with Atleti, RM, Celta Vigo, Real Sociedad, Sevilla etc. all providing formidable obstacles to any team two times a season.

    The players, and also much-criticised Valverde, deserve definite praise for the way they took care of the league in a season where they weren’t even supposed to challenge RM for the title.

    • Hristo
      April 15, 2018

      We were not supposed to win it! Assessment done because of two games in a meaningles super cup. Mostly because it was against RM. This exacerbated this. Did not we lost against Atletico 4-1 or 4-2. They underperformed there as well.
      Tata won the Super Cup. Who cares. LE said that a club as Big as Barcelona the super cup is warm up tournament. He is right but its actually through. That’s like Alex Ferguson winning the carling Cup or losing it. For him as well as for us it’s a warm up session.

      But RM won the double, we went through a sudden change. It was no that the coach left. It was that one of the most loved players in dressing room left. Neymar was a loss to the players. Especially for Messi. Because the only other player expected to win the WC is Neymar. When the whole nation is look to you. Messi misses a person who knows all about it and deals well with it. Neymar does that. Regardless of his character he is a very strong individual.

      So in the midst of the Super Cup the real loss to the players was not the game but Neymar.

      Neymar leaving for PSG was kind of humiliating for the players and the fans. Right then we lost against RM

      • georgjorge
        April 15, 2018

        I can’t tell whether you actually agree with me on what I said or not. My argument is that at the beginning of the season. Barcelona were neither favorites to win the league nor to go far in the Champions League – because of Neymar leaving, but also because of the way the team played against RM (a game against them, whatever the context, is never only a warmup match) and the way the team played at the end of last season under Enrique, who then had to go.

        And if we accept this argument, then Valverde must have done pretty well to still give us the league (and with a rather big gap to second place compared to the leagues of the last years).

        As to what you write below about fiascoes and trauma, I don’t know what you are trying to say there. Yes, the players will suffer from such a performance as against Roma. But do you also mean that Valverde blew all the other games this season, which the team usually won (in Champions League or Liga)? Or do you mean that one single bad performance from a coach should be enough to fire them, even coaches will always make such mistakes, usually more than once per season? Or is there another point to make?

        • Hristo
          April 15, 2018

          There were so many bad performances this season. I counted 3 games where we were playing scintillating football and 4 half’s of a game where we played well then we underperformed in the second half.

          We win the league because RM imploded. That had nothing to do with us. They were so bad from the start that it balfled everyone. And so did Atletico.
          If those were the teams of TATAs season we aren’t winning anything.

          These are the facts; no statics point that our defense is better than last season with a definitive.

          Whats diffrent? Umtiti played the best football of his career and was the best CB for moment in time. Albas resurgence. Ter Stegen being the best goals keeper this season.

          Messi.
          RM implosion
          Atletico meltdown.

          Murdered by Sevilla. Utterly outplayed by RM in the first half where their bad form prevented them from scoring 2 or three goals they would now score.

          Any coach wins the league with this team and Messi, the most consistent player of all time.

          That’s didn’t because Atletico had the team of their generation. Even then at our stadium we could not win.

          We did very well in the preseason. I spoke about RM snapping our previous unbeaten record. That game we played timidly, with no interest. Cruyff had died. Died/loss. Loss = of identity. Still a loss

          • georgjorge
            April 15, 2018

            I won’t reply to everything, just point out that

            a) when players do well – actually better than the seasons before – it often ALSO has something to do with the coach and their man-management or tactics (Alba, Ter Stegen, Umtiti etc.). It seems strange to put bad performances in games on the coaches head, but good performances on the players.
            b) Yes, RM wasn’t very good the first half of the season. However, if we take the leading teams from other leagues into account, Barcelona would still be first in the German league (ahead of Bayern), would be only two points behind ManCity in the Premier League, Juventus in Serie A, or PSG in La Ligue. This despite the fact that La Liga is arguably tougher than Serie A or La Ligue with respect to collecting points.

            RM or Atleti could have seriously challenged for the league if they were better, but that doesn’t mean the amount of points Barcelona has now is easy to collect at all.

        • Hristo
          April 15, 2018

          Regardless of our performance in CL, we have been always, in the last 10 years overwhelming favourite to win La Liga. 7 times in 10 years.

          At least in LE season we had no RB and that made us vulnerable. Predictable. Shut the left and the middle. We has no other way.

          Lucho gave us maybe the second best team of all time. Had we had good RB we would have won third double.

          • Víctor
            April 15, 2018

            Lucho may have given us the 2nd best team of all the time, yet people wanted him out since the beginning… after the treble season it took being knocked out by Atletico at UCL QF to start the #LuchoOut campaign again… even when the team won a double that season.

            • Hristo
              April 15, 2018

              Yes. Interestingly Lucho got what he wanted so quick. Maybe because of it he failed to adjust to the changes around him.

              Fans would always be unhappy. U didn’t see me coming here and point fingers once.

              This situation so vastly different.

              Valverde is a stupid coach for going against the board. Not playing Dembele and missusing Coutinho.

              Can u imagine that Coutinho was subbed against Valencia. Perplexing stuff. Assisted twice, almost score. Can play but once a week. And then wasted times by introducing Semedo for 3 seconds.
              This reminds me of the time when Mourinho introduced Matic(or Kolarov) when with Chelsea only to substitute him 15 min later. In the end shot himself in the back.

              Valverde can survive by pleasing the board, playing the expensive signings. He does not. In the place of what, Spectacular football? Solid identity? A team around Messi? It’s a fact its none of that.

              FC Barcelona have always been Quality-Result team. That’s our identity.

              Luis Enrique got away with for two seasons, when we didn’t play well, because he delivered so unbelievable football. Not just treble, double and the best trio of all time. He was tired he was messed up but boy didn’t he have guts. U need guts as a coach.

              Valverde cares about his job and his own legacy. He is Di Mate of football. A fluke. The kind of a coach that will sink so deep into the depth of unconsciousness that we only remember him bitter. No of us remember LE bitterly. Not one.
              But we do Remember Tata.

              Kevin’s once said something g very true, and very wrong;paradox.

              He said: “coaches do not get fired for getting results”.
              Is this statement accurate? Yes. Is it correct? No.

              They do get fired in Real madrid and Barcelona.

              Del B. Got fired after winning CL.

              Capelo got fired because of poor, unimaginative football. He won the league and some cup. Got fired. Twice actually.

              FC Barcelona is a little more tolerable club

  3. Hristo
    April 15, 2018

    Too many “if” in the article to begin with.

     In one of Peps season we went Could have gone unbeaten. Be he rotated and we lost. We were heading for record points but we had won la liga already so he treated it for rest. We drew and lost.

     The players are unhappy because they were not allowed to perform by their coach, not because they lost.
     This was not FAILURE, no, this was a FIASCO.

     Busquets said: I don’t think we can learn from that.

     In this game we saw again Dembele out, Couthino on the Right(don’t say he assisted twice), he is a world class players yet he is better on the left.

     Semedo is punished, obviously, as he entered the pitch for 3 seconds(actually).

     The same approach to this game as it was to Roma. Only that Valencia failed to score their opportunities.

     All this talk about going unbeaten is rubbish. Total rubbish. We talk about it when it’s done and dusted. Most likely we aren’t gonna do it, nor because we can, but because this isn’t a goal.

     The players will force Valverde out.

  4. Hristo
    April 15, 2018

    What the players went to is called Trauma. It needs to be dealt with. It cna only be done in a game of the same magnitude.

    The last time we were chasing records was the week in which Cruyff died. Next match was against RM. We lost at home. Losing him is a traumatic experience as well.
    We didn’t just lose badly. We lost ourselves, our identity, our sense in belonging.

    Paper records mean little to big teams. Arsenal aren’t a big team. Just like nobody hear knows that Juventus went as well unbeaten in the league. Who talks about it? No body.

    English is the common language, that is why u know the invincibles, nothing else.

    What the writer and the fan base want is to smoothen the actual issue. In sport is often done by winning and buying. But the underlying issue is still there. So it comes back.

    Messi is traumatised he has issue of performing in the biggest of games, he lost most of them in the last 5 years…
    Change of coach and personel is necessary.

    Iniesta is leaving because he went through this several times and it’s become too much. Like when Messi left NT so is Iniesta wanting to burry and leave the pain behind, so he makes a jump in the future, where pain is no more, it easier this way.

    The last time I corresponded with the writer here all of my observations were accurate. No one listen. The everyone was surprised.

    Consider what I say now, I assume that there might be truth in it

  5. TITO
    April 15, 2018

    Well, obviously you had a lot to say .
    Anyway, keep in mind that the football you want to see AKA Guardiola era football had – Messi in his prime, along with Iniesta, Xavi, Dani, Puyol as captain, Pique, Abidal, Busi, Pedro in his career form…etc. So, that’s probably once in a lifetime to have such a bunch of players, accelerating all in the same time, giving their best it can be given. That was such a team that dominated games.
    You wont see another team like that, at least im not expecting it in my lifetime.
    What EV has is Messi of 31, Suarez of 30, Iniesta of 33, Pique of 31…etc, you get my point. I will say that he did wonders with this team for now, im not taking the blame out of him for Roma debacle, it’s all on him. But with what he have in his disposal he is doing just fine.
    Dont expect THAT football because you wont get it, and the disappointment will be bigger.

    • Hristo
      April 15, 2018

      Tito, where did u see me wishing to play Peps football? I don’t spent my life wishing, or wanting, I just am, dealing with what is

      • TITO
        April 15, 2018

        But, if not his football that you want us to play, than who’s? You want us to dominate every game, at least that’ s what you are stating.
        I watch Barca like 30 years or something, from them, the last 20-25 years every single weak since La liga is shown here on weekly basis season after season.
        The football that you wish us to play was present only during that Guardiola era, the first three seasons. And i give you my opinion earlier on why we could played like that. We had the players in their prime.
        Sorry, but one thing is to not like a player or a coach, and another to have an agenda and try to negate everything that that player or this coach does. You’re not the only one here with that kind of an opinion, but it’s ok, that’s how you or someone else thinks and i respect that. I just don’t agree with it.

  6. Víctor
    April 15, 2018

    @HRISTO: Barcelona is winning the league because RM imploded? Sure thing, Real Madrid chaotic season has little to do with Barça, but… when Real Madrid had the chance to get near Barcelona in title race well… let’s just say that Barcelona destroyed them at their pitch in the second half and practically got them out of the competition.

    And, look at the progress the team has so far in La Liga… 32 games, 25 wins, 7 draws, 81 goals scored, 17 goals against… did Real Madrid’s implosion give the team these numbers or it just happened that most teams in La Liga imploded as well?

    Even when there have been lucky games (there are always lucky and unlucky games in the seasons, even with Pep’s Barça) you can’t say that a coach has nothing to do with that performance so far.

    Another thing: Real Madrid was also a failure of a team during Pep’s first two years at Barcelona… did anyone care to mention that while celebrating the titles? No, of course not… instead, we mocked them for the mediocrity of their organization… Real Madrid being a failure was a reason to be happy back then… now, it seems, is a reason to belittle Barcelona’s success in La Liga. Amazing!!

    This is just agendas, man… Real Madrid was a strong team the last year and they won La Liga title with a 3 point difference… people still wanted to sack LE.

    And, once again, talking about the Roma defeat… not excusing Valverde and him shitting his pants during the game, but then again… I think that it is not entirely his fault. It is clear, at least to me, that tiredness, FIFA international breaks, the long trips to other countries, big scenarios, etc… affects the players’ performance in these Knock Out away games… the 4-0 loss to PSG and 3-0 loss to Juventus last season were just shocking… and the players gave an awful performance as well… lack of intensity, etc… people blamed Lucho back then because the entire team looked hopeless (Ter Stegen and Neymar being notable exceptions)… however, it seems to me that players happen to get “stage fright” or something like that…

    It would be incredible, given that they have lots of experience in those instances, but maybe they lack a leader on the pitch… someone to “wake them up” at those games… maybe we need someone to actually take over Puyol’s or Xavi’s leadership…

  7. Hristo
    April 15, 2018

    I won’t address the things u mentioned already. I will address them at the end of the season

  8. April 15, 2018

    This is what Barça has to do in the view of the supporter who takes winning for granted and can, therefore, afford to be theoretical:

    –Play beautiful football
    –Play football that is not only beautiful but hews to the dictates of Cruijff
    –And all that with the right players, preferably from La Masia
    –Win

    People say that winning doesn’t matter as much as the quality of the football, because Barça wins. Spending time with supporters of other clubs is illustrative, whether in real life or via social media. They think we’re crazy, think they would appreciate what their team did more than we appreciate what our team has done. Maybe. Or maybe the circumstances that have created the view of large sections of this club’s fanbase would have done the same for any other club.

    Here is a Tweet someone posted to me:
    Players point of view doesn’t have to match the fan’s point of view. Fans shouldn’t be satisfied with what satisfy the players.

    Now, the meaning is, of course, fans should have a higher standard, that just because the team plays a 4-4-2 and the players are happy, doesn’t mean fans should be. I found it a little stunning. We are there because of the team, because of the players. We support them. What was the point where they became immaterial to our views of the game and how it proceeds? Is it all that theoretical now?

    This is perplexing time to be culer because of all the competing demands on the team and how we are to view it. It is absurd what this group has accomplished. Valverde is a warlock. And yet for many, none of it matters. I am not sure where we are as fans, but I’m not sure that it is a very good place. We have come to expect the impossible: perfect football from Masia sprites winning everything and playing beautifully while winning everything in the exact right formation.

    We want the impossible, yet are consistently disappointed when the impossible doesn’t happen. It isn’t a recipe for long-term, or even short-term happiness. The only possible path that can take is misery.

    — Iniesta is gone. We shouldn’t take his sparkling display against Valencia as evidence that he should stay. He is leaving on his own terms, and will turn his 34-year-old legs inside out in the time that he has left to make the supporters happy. He was dazzling against Valencia, and curse that keeper for stopping his volley attempt. That goal, at the end of that sequence of play, deserved to happen.

    He is an exemplary, beautiful player whose departure will hit me hard, harder than Xavi, harder than Puyol. He is beauty, possibility at its loftiest form, and humanity. Rare is the player who embodies all three.

    • georgjorge
      April 16, 2018

      Thanks for your levelheaded words in general, and your beautiful words about Iniesta.

      I have high hopes for Coutinho at Barcelona, but even if he would turn out to match Iniesta in terms of influence on a game, I’m not sure he could provide the magic as well.

  9. Hristo
    April 15, 2018

    I’ve come to place in my life where I love somebody but do need them psychologically to fulfil me. This transcended my life. I miss no footballer. And I will not miss Iniesta, or Messi, or Busi. Its not because I don’t care. Its because beauty is always new. I observe moving forward how people are hug up on old relationship, things and places. It’s sad though.

    There is hurt though, when someone does not do their best, it’s sad.

    Winning has brought me nothing but cold memories. No spiritual satisfaction. I do not speak for the fans but for myself.

    The system, the coach, the board do not allow our players to play their best.
    I’m not watching Barcelona because I refuse to accept this kind of football. Jiddu Krishnamurti was once asked:
    Why does Violence exist in the world?
    – Because we have accepted.

    I’ve been watching Barca for many years. I’ve gone through Barren seasons one to many times. Vague times. I only remember vividly losing to RM on goal difference the title. That’s it. The only emotion content.

    We lost to BM heavily but that was okay. We had stopped growing and changing. It took few years to catch up with us.

    This season is the worst in regards to emotional disappointment and intensity. The underlying signs where there from the start. Dull games, boring games. Times where were not just outplayed, we looked lost. The signs were obvious and eyesore to awareness.

    • georgjorge
      April 16, 2018

      Thanks for clearing those things up, making it obvious to me why we disagree so much.

      You seem to see Barcelona games as a spiritual exercise, and thus only allow the very highest level of both planning and execution. I see them as humans doing their best to work together towards a common goal – winning – with all the faults and weaknesses they necessarily can’t leave behind.

  10. mvarfi
    April 15, 2018

    De gustibus non est disputandum.
    I recommend yoga.

  11. luisthebeast
    April 15, 2018

    Team is boring they say.
    I am bored of watching same players start every season the games.
    2018 and most starters are from 2008 Alba from 2012 and some from 2014-2015.
    Where is the fresh young fast players to build the future?
    Average quality like Paco,Digne,Vidal or weak mentality like Andre,Denis.
    Roberto is at the best a bench player but he plays because the new RB have problems to learn the system.
    Pique,Busi are slow as fuck but where are the replacements?
    I can unterstand Valverde.
    Worst squad we had after 2008 and he is nt his squad.
    Yep i am in a mood where i want 10 out and 10 new young 20-24y old in.

    • TITO
      April 16, 2018

      And with 10 out and 10 in you will solve the problem of having a triplete?
      Cause, it seems that only a triplete will satisfy people.
      Incredible.
      As Kevin pointed out…what beautiful football??? City lost to United in a game where they could have been crowned champions, who lost to WBA this weekend at home.
      Who’s Kimmich? One good season, and that’s makes him the best out there???
      We have the team to play how majority of cules would be happy, they even demonstrated that in some games. You want that every week, home and away games, against the weakest and the strongest in the league and in Europe, well, you wont have that, and it’s too bad for people constantly moaning, they will never be satisfied what this team is doing.
      Champagne football? That’s rarity, that’s why is a champagne football.
      Anyway, i hope we have a double this season. For me, more than enough. A CL trophy, sure…but that’s a cherry on a pie. Sometimes i want us to go again to those dark ages when we had nothing, no titles at all, playing as mediocre team, just so people to appreciate what we have now.

  12. luisthebeast
    April 15, 2018

    Fuck,just imagine this team with Kimmich at RB and Alaba LB.
    Limited players limited options for a coach.
    Yeah i respect every player and legends but i am now for reality check.Nope you cant win CL with Pique-Umtiti pair with Roberto RB and Alba LB.
    With Busquets older and more slow every year.
    With Suarez decline.
    Without a great LW.
    Sorry you cant.
    Roma was a coach fuck up?Ok.
    But other teams run and run and full of intensity and energy and aggresive and Barca cant when most are 30+ with many games at their feet.

  13. luisthebeast
    April 15, 2018

    What madrid is doing good?When a player is nt anymore useful is out.Oezil,Di Maria,James e.t.c
    Here they stay and get big pay check and then leave for free.
    And when we have the 2nd best in the world we sell him.
    No logic anywhere.We lost Thiago and Grimaldo.
    From 2012 the board started to fucked up and keep doing it until now.

    • Víctor
      April 15, 2018

      Neymar isn’t the 2nd best in the world, he wasn’t the 2nd best at Barça either. And we didn’t sell him because we wanted to, he and PSG forced his way out. There wasn’t much that the board could do about that… only try to convince him to say but seems that he took the decision long before that…

    • mvarfi
      April 15, 2018

      Here’s another reality check: all those La Liga teams “full of intensity, energy and aggression” have yet to beat this old, slow and not up to par Barca. Last I checked Real Madrid’s ‘survival of the fittest’ philosophy has gotten them as far as third place.
      Does Barca have problems? Sure. Do we, the fans, need to get a grip of ourselves? You bet.

  14. ugo nze
    April 16, 2018

    i hate people using unbeating streak as a point.. just to cover up. because Roma is not in laliga..well let’s wait till the end of the season before we judge…
    i just don’t understand us playing boringly year after year..with some sort of excuses…why always excuse..and cover up..let us say the truth. pep will use our Barcelona b team to play attractive football. and use them and conquer the world….even if not winning all but at least they will be feared even by this Barcelona under EV….
    and now Imagine pep taking this Barcelona as his team..wow and wow… pls don’t say we can’t play attractive football anymore or we can’t see it again..i will call you a big liar..just go and watch pep conquering That England that they say tikitaka can’t work on…he breaks the English records playing beautiful football…just imagine him taking us as coach.. infact let the board just announce it… you will see the joy on the fans..because they know what is coming…

    • georgjorge
      April 16, 2018

      Or we might lose to Liverpool in the quarterfinals of the Champions League with an aggregate score of 1-5.

      Besides, Pep himself has said that he doesn’t want to go back to coaching Barcelona (at least for the time being).

  15. untoxgsd
    April 16, 2018

    Hey guys,small question: I’ll be in Madrid for the Cup final but i wasnt able to secure any tickets because their sold out. Can someone here recommend a good sports bar for barca fans in Madrid, preferably with a barca fan club vibe going on.

  16. Jim
    April 16, 2018

    First of all, congratulations to Pep for what he’s done with City. It has been great watching them this season and he has emphatically shown the rubbish that a lot of folks were spouting about that style not being able to win in a physical league. And he’s done it with a very good, but I would argue, not great squad. He has generally masked his deficiencies in defence through control and attacking football and played the sort of football that I enjoy watching.

    A spirited discussion going on here. I’m not sure that you would find many comments in Latin on most football sites ! There seem to me to be three strands of it. Are we happy with what we’ve watched this season, if not how did it happen and what should we do now ?

    If I’m being honest it has been a mixed bag this year. Nobody in their right minds could have expected that Valverde would be able to come in, pick up the reins and get the team functioning straight away as he did. Losing Neymar was a huge psychological blow ( more than a footballing one) , Dembele came in and got injured, Suarez played the first couple of months with a dodgy knee because we needed him to and yet we went on a run . . . that we’re still on. So EV deserves credit for managing that well, even if it resulted in more emphasis in staying tight and relying on Messi to perform.

    Have I enjoyed watching it every week? Yes, mostly, because we have been winning and I’m a fan of the team but there has been a feeling that at times the ball movement and football in general hasn’t been what I’m looking for. What I didn’t know until Roma was whether EV was doing this as a temporary measure or whether he is just inclined that way. Btw, other than the Roma tie I’m not sure how folks can slag our defence which has been pretty impressive this year and arguably made up at times for lacklustre attacking and poor control of the ball. On a rewatch of the Roma game what struck me wasn’t that the defence was poor although they could have done better individually but about how little pressure was put on the Roma players as they picked their passes. No point moaning about a precision pass over the top if your mids aren’t closing it down. We were playing with two DMs and yet it was access all areas where our box was concerned.

    So, for me, the question now is whether this is the style we can expect from EV from now on when Dembele and Coutinho are embedded and we have maybe another big name alongside them. Does it come down to whether or not we move back to 4-3-3 or can EV devise a way to get support up quickly to the forwards because a large part of our issues up front are that despite having two of the most prolific scorers in world football we can’t get enough bodies into the box often enough ? Will we have, after Ini, good enough midfielders to even think about playing three in the middle ?

    It’s not a secret I put a lot of what has happened on LE ( rightly or wrongly). I’m not gonna go over that again. I also think the purchase of Rakitic was a mistake. He is among the slowest footballers I’ve ever seen and at a time when our midfield was ageing anyway we needed a bit of pace there. More so now if Ini is going although I’m willing to bet that he is still the quickest mid we have.! (I know, it’s not saying much.) Whatever, those who say we need a little more pace are right. If someone isn’t quick in that area for us they need to be world class.

    So, going forward? First of all, I wouldn’t assume the players are happy with the way they are playing. If you’ve been part of the best footballing team ever I doubt they are happy settling for what we have at present. Who they blame for that is another matter. For the fans, I want us to play in a much more attractive manner but to do that we need players who can control the ball and we are running out of them . Xavi and Iniesta gone, Suarez and Messi going into their twilight . Busi not far behind.. We have a decision to make as a club.

    LE went out and bought very poorly but more importantly he bought the wrong kind of players. We all know the skills needed for our football. Who could even have thought that Denis, Vidal, Gomes had the ability to do that ? I’ve never seen Rafinha show that he could although I wouldn’t have minded having a longer look. Rakitic is never gonna lead a Barca midfield. There are only a handful of those around in world football and we either bite the bullet and chase them relentlessly or settle for a different type of football.

    It’s pretty difficult to unsee the team of Guardiola though, whether it was an aberration or not. I see nothing wrong with fans wanting that style of play, aiming high for their team rather than settling for what is offered. Although we are a better team than City ( in my opinion ) they have played better football more often than us this year. Guardiola certainly didn’t settle for what he inherited. He got rid of Hart, demoted Stones ( the great English ball playing CB) and has improved some of those who weren’t suited. The English Sunday papers are full of him moving for Thiago. That’s a no brainer and the question then becomes if Thiago was willing to move would he rather go to attack minded Pep or a more defensive EV . For me, we need someone who genuinely believes in the way we want to play. EV may still be that man but he put a dent in my already wavering confidence against Roma.

    I don’t think it’s an either/ or situation. I think we can play much better football with the ball and still have a decent defence. We also can’t afford to keep buying in what we need. Some of it has to come from La Masia. That’s also not a huge ask, given that I’m guessing most talented youngsters would still love come through that system rather than most others. If not, we have really lost the plot.

    Meanwhile, somewhere in a galaxy far, far away . . .

    “Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez, considered as the best midfielder of all time, will begin coaching course for UEFA A and B licenses from Tuesday ” ( Barcastuff)

  17. ugo nze
    April 16, 2018

    George
    i guess You’re right to use man city against Liverpool as an example ok you’re right..but always get your fact right by looking elsewhere to balance the equation.. what happens to Dortmund trashed by bayern.M 6 goal to Notting unreplied goals.. also barca where trashed by a low ranked team in the seri a on a crucial ucl game by 3 goals to Notting.. wow….beside that.
    man city has won the league breaking Englands records upon record’s…. i wonder if this barca can go on to achieve that on English soil… well i don’t think so.
    you can quickly point out on Chelsea.. well nah. we got real lucky from the first leg.. they deserve the winning in the first leg but Thank god with their mistake on and that iniesta pass… imagine them winning the first leg by that 1 goal.. what will happen in the return leg.. well i think definitely we are out…..
    let’s just say this season we are the most Lucky team in all European top leagues…. and pls noti’m no criticising but Pointing out our linkages….

  18. ugo nze
    April 16, 2018

    hello sir. Jim.
    you speaked right..
    i will point some errors and fact you also omitted..
    1stly we tell me when last We won 6 goals to nill…
    but All we do is to score 2 goal and defened like a panting dog’s…..
    secondly..
    on the game against Sevila. we should have gotten trashed by 6 goals to Notting because of boring football.. even to girona we score and sit back.. that’s ut tactics.Score and sit your ass back are we rams who fight them selfs..wewhere suppose to get trashed by r9ma even in the first leg.. many of them..etc… all are saying iniesta is aging he can’t be of use in the team we need good player’s or rader fast player’s… but Not pointing out that messi i aging so Is Suarez,busi,pique, alba,. then now why iniesta.. i pray he goes to pep city. for you all to see hes secret weapon…. hello sir.
    you speaked right..
    i will point some errors and fact you also omitted..
    1stly we tell me when last We won 6 goals to nill…
    but All we do is to score 2 goal and defened like a panting dog’s…..
    secondly..
    on the game against Sevila. we should have gotten trashed by 6 goals to Notting because of boring football.. even to girona we score and sit back.. many of them..etc… all are saying iniesta is aging he can’t be of use in the team we need good player’s or rader fast player’s… but Not pointing out that messi i aging so Is Suarez,busi,pique, alba,. then now why iniesta.. i pray he goes to pep city. for you all to see hes secret weapon…..

    lets just say we are currently morinhos madrid of this generation… because it leaves a hole in the heart by seeing Madrid playing attractive football than he who inherited it..

  19. christembassykapo
    April 16, 2018

    Xavi made a comment, it wasn’t about winning everything only that gave him fond memories of his barca playing days but how they won it.
    It truly is not a crime to ask for more when you are not satisfied and to demand for what you want despite what you have.
    Ronaldinho, one of our greatest legends…. one would have been thinking, when he was at his peak, would we be able to replace him, but then comes messi and we started thinking, may be Ronaldinho could have done more, just because someone showed us something better.

    We hadn’t won the champions league in a long time, until rijkard and Ronaldinho. One would have thought we would just have to wait for some time in the future but then comes pep and people hardly remembered rijkard just because we saw something better.

    LE did a great job, but something was missing. EV is doing a great Job but something is still missing. But there is someone out there that will take the whole guardiolas nostalgia era away.

    There was a maradona, but now there is messi. There was a raul, now there is Ronaldo.

    Wee know what we want just like the man u fans, but there is something missing.

    It might turn out to really be EV who knows but i Am sure there is someone out there who can best guardiolas. Just like guardiola seemingly eclipsed cryuff.

    So it’s not a crime to demand for what you want despite what you have.
    JUST DON’T DESTROY WHAT YOU HAVE, BECAUSE IT’S NOT WHAT YOU WANT.

  20. ugo nze
    April 16, 2018

    Edu Polo: “It hurts to see Barça making changes in the
    93rd min to waste time, like a small team. It’s an
    important victory after the disaster in Rome, but in
    recent weeks, the level of performances have not been
    good enough, even though the results have.”

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