Ratcheting Up the Morbo

Puyol and His True Love

What can I say. The man simply inspires.

They have their own martyr to the cause, of course (h/t lovelymofo):

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.


  1. Spencer
    April 7, 2010

    Can I just say something real quick?

    Not that it has anything to do with this post, but Sergio Busquets does not deserve to wear the colors. He should be ashamed of himself, and I’m ashamed for him, flopping around like a fuckin’ idiot game after game. Not only exaggerating, but diving! And grabbing his face when he’s touched on the shoulder. He’s a cheater, and his complete lack of dignity and honor will never make up for his apparent skill. He makes me a little uneasy about being a Barca fan. Barca is a beautiful team, but Busquets puts a blotch on its perfection. I for one, will never respect him.

    While Alves is known to exaggerate, he plays with the type of heart that makes me proud to support Barca. Unlike Busquets, he’ll hustle up to cancel out an error made, rather than falling on his ass most of the time.

    So, yeah. Also, I don’t buy the argument that he’ll mature in time. Soccer skills are something that mature with time, not a dirty, cheating, acting persona. In my amateur opinion, he’ll never change.

    Sergio Busquets, please get the hell out of the Camp Nou.


    • Vj
      April 7, 2010

      Are you talking about the same Alves who flops around as stupidly as Busi, who earned a ‘professional’ yellow so that he wouldn’t miss out on Saturday, who childishly earned himself a needless Yellow in the CL semi last time round, which I remember forced us to field a makeshift defense in the UCL final against the erstwhile holders? BTW we really needed Busi that day and he spectacularly delivered..

      I’d feel better if Busi and Alves cut their histrionics a bit, if Messi and Henry used their heads instead of their hands and there was peace all around. But never would I use such language as you did against a CORE member of our glorious team, who has so much more to offer and learn.. NEVER!

      But hey, that’s just me.. I’ll support my team and my players come what may.. VISCA BARCA i VISCA BUSI!!

      • Kxevin
        April 7, 2010

        Alves has dramatically cut the nonsense this season, and has developed into a solid defender to go with his attacking skills.

        Busquets has a ways to go in playing like a man. His most vexing attribute in my eyes is when he loses a ball then falls down, clutching some body part.

        He will get over that silliness. It’s childish and hurts the team in many ways. It gives us a man down, harms the perception of the club with referees and fans. So people watch that Eboue crap and think “Barca are divers.” Which isn’t true.

        But Busquets isn’t going anywhere, nor should he. He’s a valuable part of this club, and will be for years to come.

        • jordi™
          April 7, 2010

          Yea the rolling on the ground is annoying because it leads to us getting countered.I always scream when this happens.

        • Kari
          April 7, 2010

          Yeah, Busi needs to cut that out. There was one part (in the second half of, I think, the Bilbao game where he was fouled and harried and could have been given the free-kick but played on. It was awesome, and he needs to do that often.

          While Busi did flop a lot (and I don’t defend/condone it at all), was anyone else surprised at the physical display by Arsenal? I don’t expect anyone to talk about it since the tie is done and dusted and I feel kinda guilty for bringing it up (as we have a big game against EE), but I was disappointed by it, especially in the first half.

          I thought Diaby had a couple of bad tackles (especially on Xavi) and was surprised he wasn’t booked. What if some of those tackles were against Arsenal players? Granted Milito was also vicious, but fair, in his tackles (ie. The one on Nasri), and Busi had a cynical one on Walcott.

          I also didn’t like people insinuating Messi exaggerated to get Denilson booked and that the referee wore ‘blaugrana’. It was a fair tackle, and he won the ball, but he also scissored Messi’s leg and that, well, hurts. Watch the tackle again for those who don’t believe me. Wolfgang Stark, who was really poor for both sides and who I REALLY didn’t want to referee this game, decided to book him.

          Anyway, I just wanted to get that off my chest, thumb this down all you want, Arsenal fans. They had injuries and did what they had to. Considering the league they play in and the fact a tackle like Henry on Rosicky can be considered a debatable red card (ridiculous), I shouldn’t have been surprised. Compared to those teams, Arsenal’s play was nothing. Still, I don’t want to read that Arsenal aren’t a physical team. When the situation calls, they can be.

          They just choose not to.

          • Spencer
            April 7, 2010

            I agree with you, but as an American sports fan, I’m not nearly as irked by the occasional frustration foul or overly physical play as I am by the blatant attempt to manipulate the rules of the game and cheat to get a call.

          • Andrew
            April 7, 2010

            I’m gonna have to defend Spencer. Yes, Busquets is capable of intelligent play, but I would still rather see him off the field then on due to his embarrassing playacting. This isn’t drama class – this is professional football. Also, he doesn’t need to start over the Yaya anyway.

            He’s not that valuable, as many of you say. In fact, he hurts us just as much as he helps us. And his sportsmanship puts him over the edge for my reasons not to want him on the squad.

            Just because you love a club, doesn’t mean you have to like every player. In fact, it’s more realistic to think with your mind then with your heart (or pride). It’s like if Ronaldo were on our team, I bet half the people on this site would start loving him just because he’s on Barca. Well I wouldn’t. Ever.

          • ooga aga
            April 7, 2010

            “I agree with you, but as an American sports fan, I’m not nearly as irked by the occasional frustration foul or overly physical play as I am by the blatant attempt to manipulate the rules of the game and cheat to get a call.”

            right. because, we americans have the market cornered on fair play and overall righteousness…and also, manliness. is that what you are saying? hmmm.

          • Spencer
            April 8, 2010

            You caught me. That’s exactly what I meant….?

    • jordi™
      April 7, 2010

      We don’t need him to change either.Just to tone it down a little.If we didnt have street guys like busi and dani, teams would try to have their way with us.Of course theres the Yaya way of combating it by being menacing, but Busi cant do that, he does it his way.Lets say they are the equalizers for what goes against us.

      • Spencer
        April 7, 2010

        Fighting cheating with cheating? I’d expect Barca to take a higher road.

        • jordi™
          April 7, 2010

          Here’s Xavi’s view on Busi


          • Museum
            April 7, 2010

            Google translate gives me Xavi’s thought on Busi like this:

            “He puts the leg, he goes to the collision, is a prostitute, of neighborhood. That mischief has or itself does not have.”

            That’s some deep stuff. Xavi is the Lizard King, he can do anything.

        • andrew.M
          April 7, 2010

          football is so full of bending the rules or “cheating” if you will, that you better just get used to it. football is not an american sport and an american approach to football is going to get you in a frustrated lump like you are now.

          think about this: when there is a throw in and the player takes extra steps forward along the touchline, or a free kick and the ball isnt placed exactly where the foul happened. profeesional fouling is anything but professional and while it may not be cheating it sure is cynical. what about time wasting to wind down the clock? what about going and shouting at the ref in his face after he has made a decision such as what bayern did tonight? isnt that manipulating the ref? is it cheating if the ref doesnt see it? you will see every single player elbowing each other or tugging shirts in the box on corners, thats illegal but they do it because they can get away with it.
          i will stop, but do you get the point?

          sure busi falls a lot but notice this too. he is 21 and he is a spindly skinny little guy and it doesnt take a huge person to knock him down. plus some people just arent that tough. he is not tough like abidal or yaya, look at him FFS, he is a little pretty boy but he has skills. if you cant see his skill in its raw form then i must ask you if you truly understand they game you are watching. when i say in its raw form, i mean hidden beneath his inexperience. just wait, i keep saying this, but in 3-4 years you will be forced to eat your words as he becomes a future xavi or iniesta. laugh now as i know most of you are. but there is a reason that most people who understand the game, truly understand the game such as guardiola and vilanova have faith in him. they play him over yaya, do you think thats in spite of the fact that that he sucks compared to yaya? no, they are different players. busi is just as good and brings a lot of value to the team.

          so he fell as a hand went to his face. show me a player (aside from the never diving messi) who doesnt go down when a player touches his face (ok puyol doesnt go down either) because if the ref sees it it is a bookable offence and the exaggerated fall is to ensure that he saw it. sure he is manipulating the ref but then you need consistency. i want to see you whine every time alves does this or every time anyone tries to influence the ref by shouting in his face or behaving in a threatening manner towrds the ref or the linesmen.

          like you are sick of busi for diving, which i call just generally being a bit of a pansy, i am sick of people berating him for his supposed inadequacies. there is nothing i can say to change your opinion of him, but in time you will come to see his value.

          how can you be so sure of yourself that you can come here and post something (that if isaiahs post about cesc last week was accused of being this) that amounts to nothing but vitriol? do you think you have more football knowledge than pep? you want to stop supporting barca because of the way busi behaves on the field? what kind of flaky behaviour is that? did you ever see deco play? barca is not made up of just the players.
          barca is the fans (who are meant to stick by the club through thick and thin), the socis, the board, the training staff, the camp nou and also the players. the players are fleeting.

          noiw i am just ranting, but seriously, think before you spew your offensive thoughts like that, especially on a blog that is meant to be civil.

          • Spencer
            April 7, 2010

            If my comment was taken as anything that didn’t show the utmost support for Barca as a team, I think you should read it again. I never said I wanted to stop supporting Barca. I just don’t feel that I have to like every member of the team. Nor did I mean my comment in any way that would promote my own opinion over Guardiola. I’m just saying how I feel about Busi. It’s ugly.

            I also never said anything regarding a lack of skill on Busquets’ part. I’ll be the first to admit he’s a talented player.

            We support the best team in the world….blah blah blah….unprecedented time of glory…blah blah blah (well worded statement about Barca’s prowess a la Isaiah that I can’t make).

            That said, I understand your first couple of points before you started getting personal. This is a civil blog like you said. I won’t take shots at you, but I will try to understand your point. I have faith in Barca. I have faith in Pep. I just have no respect for Busquets, given the way he plays. It’s that simple.

            If he matures into more of a man-style player, good for him. I’m not optimistic about that.

            Visca Barca as always. I am unwaivering in my support for the team.

  2. Kari
    April 7, 2010

    Quick Hector! You need to reappear and answer my Ibra-Messi question, or somehow contact Sid Lowe (actually maybe Kxevin can do that, what with him being a journalist (you know they give a brotha’ some love) and already having a Guardian account)!

    We need the Knowledge!

  3. Dave
    April 7, 2010

    Some are predicting the decline of the red half of Manchester and the rise of the blue half.Interesting times…
    Seriously thou I was never busi biggest fan- his diving seems akin to Pepe’e diving(that was ultimately found out against Torres)but since Ive seen him this seems to have always been part of his game. Not to defend him but he lacks pace and the diving is seen as a get out to constant pressure. Yaya is able to dribble his way out of trouble unlike Busi.
    Still thou I don’t think we need to paint the club as saintly- we’re under no obligation to be. Even the greatest football teams had people who often seemed to sour what was been accomplished.
    In short he young and will cut it out in time.Hes a clever player

  4. lovelymofo
    April 7, 2010

    Iker-face! My favoritest thing ever. Well, after Barça, books, and shoes.

    On Busi’s penchant for play acting – makes me cringe, hope he stops it. I think we’ve already seen a few times how his rolling around bit can cost us. Hopefully Pep can clamp down on that.

    In regards to the Ibra-Messi question – I think we’ll have to wait till next season to answer that. Simply because Ibra will have gelled with the team and we’ll get a better idea about how they play together. Maybe Pep orders one or the other to act as a decoy to create space for the other. Maybe they just have off days where the other picks up the slack. Maybe they will shut us up this weekend and both score a brace. [If they both play.]

    All I know is I want some Iker-face. And maybe an Iniesta goal or at the very least an impossibly beautiful pass. That would make me a happy little fútbol fan.

  5. Kari
    April 7, 2010

    And how about “Fergie’s” (I always think of the singer 😀 ) xenophobic ‘Typical Germans’ tirade after their elimination? And ITV’s disgraceful implications that ‘the Germans’ were targeting poor little Wayne’s ankle. Appalling level of sportsmanship for a team that’s won the last 3 PL titles (and in the race for a four-peat). Just sickening.

    Arsenal earn back some of the respect lost in this tie (in my eyes) for their grace in defeat. I really hope they can be champions.

  6. Kari
    April 7, 2010

    In regards to Messi’s performances recently, it makes you really wonder just how bad the mental abuse at the hands of Maradumber was.

    If a week with Maradumber caused that Nov-Dec blip in form where he’s only recovered recently, what the heck will happen after (potentially) a MONTH?!


    • Blow-Grenade
      April 8, 2010

      I think it will take Pep months to nurse Messi back to his maurading forward role.

  7. April 7, 2010

    I wasn’t going to broach this subject this week simply because it’s Clasico Week, but it was brought up above and I think it’s worth discussing:

    Busi is a cheat. He dives like someone shot him in the face when, in fact, they didn’t.

    I won’t defend him in the way that others have, but I do think that he will mature. I do think that Fabregas will mature. The thing is, I think that it is up to the club, to the other players, to drag his ass through the mud *behind closed doors* for diving. And then he’ll stop. Messi used to go down easily, used to cheat in some ways, but now he is the epitome of staying on your feet despite. He proved that against Arsenal. I think that Busi (and Fabs) can do the same, *if they want to do better*.

    But I promised to go after our players who were diving like hooooors, so here’s what you get, at least for the moment: Busi is a diving, cheating, wankin’ hooor. And that’s unacceptable. I don’t want to sell him, but I DO want him to either 1) get better or 2) stop sucking.

    • Museum
      April 7, 2010

      Here here. That whole grabbing of the face after being hit on the shoulder was just embarrassing. I want our players to play with more pride than that. And I think for the most part we do. There will always be some, and there will always be some supporters of other teams who claim all of our players do it constantly. Usually on the goal.com or soccernet forums. Part of the game, unfortunately. But the more it’s kept to a minimum on our end, which is what we can control, the better. Something needs to be done about Busquets.

  8. Kxevin
    April 7, 2010

    Players sell fouls all the time. Xavi does it, Iniesta does it, Alves does it, Messi does it. Do they do it with the frequency of Busquets? No. But I think that people are overreacting to Busquets’ complexities. Not wanting him in the side is absurd, and as comprehensive an overreaction as I have seen in a while. Folks need to just calm down, and think before they type. To remove Busquets from the lineup because he dives and exaggerates fouls just isn’t supportable. Not in my estimation.

    And then the return of the Fabregas business? Fabregas sold the foul on Pique, just as Messi sold the foul yesterday. Is Messi a cheat, as well? The ref didn’t call the Henry handball. What is he supposed to do? Give the goal back? Knock one into his own net to even things out? Of course not. Alves dives and exaggerates fouls. Get him out of there! I know that this game arouses passions, but have a care.

    Selling fouls is part of the game. Until it is eradicated completely from the game, it will continue to be a part of the game. Sometimes it will even affect the outcome of a game. That’s life in sport. Messi handballed a goal in last season. Is he a cheat? If we apply the template, absolutely.

    Further, if one player who exaggerates fouls is a “diving, cheating, wankin’ hooor” then they all are. Let’s eradicate them all from our roster, and clean things out right, like that Tour de France team that stringently polices doping.

    And then what? Support the club, which means supporting the players on that club. Does that mean blindly, without a care as to their faults? No. By the same token, it doesn’t mean overreacting to those faults.

    Honestly, the tone of this space of late is a little disturbing to me. Be fair. Don’t parse cheating by degree. You aren’t a little drunk. You are or you aren’t. Yikes. Days before the most important match of our Liga season, we’re turning on a player who might be crucial to its successful outcome. No, it doesn’t matter in the overall scheme of things, as people from the club don’t even know that this space exists. But for those who believe in karma, that’s kind of a heavy load.

    Just sayin’.

    • Kari
      April 7, 2010

      “Messi handballed a goal in last season”

      Or 3 seasons ago.

      Just sayin’ 😀

      Agreed on all points, Kxevin. Say it like it is!

    • Spencer
      April 7, 2010

      Keep in mind that the reason I (and possibly Isaiah) get so irked about this situation, is BECAUSE of our undying love for Barca. We want to see the team reach their full potential, while simultaneously being the most HONORABLE club out there. And that is why we disparage Busi, because we don’t want to see players sully the club’s name by doing that.

      Kxevin, you said yourself, that this business makes the club seem less respectable to the worlds, even if we’re certain that should not be the case.

      I say this knowing full well that every time you reprimand Barca, it is because you hope for the best for the club forever and always as well.

      • Jim
        April 8, 2010

        I’ve played in a team with someone who dived all the time. Believe me, the team will let him know in one way or another. In our case it came to a head when our captain who had to do his cover while he lay on the ground mistimed the tackle and was sent off. The dressing room was a joy afterwards. Can’t say the lad got any better after it but he knew and he left the team shortly afterwards of his own volition. It was evening itself out anyway as the local refs were no longer giving him even half the fouls he deserved.

        Busi is ferociously talented for his age and Pep will be pointing out his faults to him. Let’s judge him by this time next year.

  9. Corrine
    April 7, 2010

    ew so bayern fans were chanting “treble” i think i puked a little

  10. jose011
    April 7, 2010

    Great point Kevin.

    Let’s stay optimistic and supportive of our team for the next several weeks!

    All players have certain faults, although some are more frequent or exaggerated than others. Really besides his giving Arsenal their 1st goal at the Emirates, he’s been in great form the last couple of games. Look for him to make further contributions (which I notice often go unnoticed perhaps because of his fluid efficiency in moving, passing, and reading the game), not just for the remainder of this season, but for many years to come. Guy is so young, and already has so much experience on both club and international level. Gradually, that experience will only help to raise his natural skill and he’ll become a solid, dependable, player to be called upon.

  11. ooga aga
    April 7, 2010

    did you puke in your mouth and then swallow it again?

    anyways, pique, said he thinks he will be ready for saturday. at least thats how i translated it. during a press conference for his new book, it was on the official site.

    • jose011
      April 8, 2010

      are you talking to me?

      my post was meant as a response to Kevin’s comment, but since I failed to respond directly to it, my response ended up way the hell down here.

      anyways, that is if i interpreted your expression clearly, and if it was aimed at me.

        • jose011
          April 8, 2010

          got it now.

          sorry for the confusion (:

  12. Kxevin
    April 7, 2010

    Here’s something else to think about. Let’s say you are from America, and take a high-paying job in a big city in France, say Lyon. You’re a heavily recruited employee, and are expected to make a difference right away.

    Your recruiters speak English, but you don’t speak French. They’re taking a chance on you. You roll into town, and they send a car to the airport for you. There’s a press conference, conducted in French because, well, it’s in France, so you don’t really understand a word. So you smile and nod when you think you’re supposed to. Your colleagues know how much you make, and the expectations attendant to that salary.

    You have to find a place to live. Good luck. You have to get food. Good luck. You have to get around as well, and work with people who might or might not speak French.

    How do you think your job performance is going to be, until you learn the language and begin to assimilate into the company culture? Doesn’t matter. Get it done, because you aren’t human. Your salary says that you aren’t. Make magic. Now.

    Absurd, right?

    Then why is Zlatan Ibrahimovic considered something of a failure by some because he has “only” 22 goals and 8 assists in all competitions? Waste of big money. Selling Eto’o was a mistake.

    What he had to do was come to a foreign country, with an injured hand, and work his way into a side on which everyone speaks either Spanish or Catalan. A side that played a completely different system than the one he’d been playing for much of his career.

    Does anyone think that in practice and during matches, people are giving instructions twice, first in Spanish then in English, for the sake of Ibrahimovic?

    Then he has to find a place to live, get settled and begin to learn to play in a culture that is unrelenting and pressure-packed. He also has to learn the language, the culture and the system. A goal-less streak was earning him whistles. Players aren’t human, right? We spent all that money on you, now go out and show us that you’re worth it. We’ll be over here, judging your every move on the pitch.

    When Ibrahimovic came, some of us said that we wouldn’t see anything approaching his best this season. Other predicted that he would be erratic. I didn’t even think he’d have as many goals as he does. By the end of the season, he should have at least as many goals as Eto’o did in his first season. Was Eto’o considered a failure after that first season? No. It was written that he took Barca by storm. Eto’o, by the by, probably wrestling with the same assimilation complexities as Ibrahimovic, has “only” 15 goals in all competitions for Inter. Wonder what they’re saying about him?

    Lordy, how times change. Ibrahimovic stifles our movement and creativity. We play better without him on the pitch. He can’t finish. Overpriced. Overrated.

    When people come here and say that we are spoiled, we circle the wagons and say that we are not. But are we? Find me another team with fans who would scoff at a new transfer who has 22 goals/8 assists with 8 matches to go in the season, and a Champions League campaign still to be decided.

    Ibrahimovic probably won’t be playing in this Clasic. That makes me a lot more worried than if he were. Others don’t feel that way. They might even prefer Krkic and Pedro out there, rather than Ibrahimovic, despite the fact that he won the first Clasic for us.

    Which confuses me. Krkic scores a brace against Bilbao, and people are ready to replace Ibrahimovic in the starting lineup. Wow.

    I know that there can be as many opinions as fans. And this isn’t my blog, so my voice isn’t anything approaching official, which makes me part of the commenting chatter, albeit a commenter who contributes match reviews. But I wish we would relax, and celebrate what we have. Yes, being a fan means analysis and discussion. That’s fun. It’s the other stuff that ain’t all that much fun lately.

    • Tim
      April 7, 2010

      Thanks you for writing this, fantastic read.

      • Andrew
        April 8, 2010

        This should’ve been a separate post. Kevin, you are the most eloquent speaker on this blog and we’re lucky to have you.

        • April 8, 2010

          Dammit! I’m the most eloquent speaker…Okay I’m not even the most eloquent speaker in this room. And I’m the only one here. /retreats into cave snarling.

    • Luna
      April 8, 2010

      Great read, thanks for the insightful, on point post! I’ve been a supporter of our BIG SWEDE since I knew he was coming. I know what he has and what he will contribute. The wonderful thing about this is that Pep and the team inspire so much confidence, that i love the ride!

    • MT
      April 8, 2010

      People are fickle minded and, more often than not, myopic. They are quick to flog a player and attach labels to him after a bad performance. But then they renege and call him a success the next game he plays well. Wasn’t it just a month ago when most of us here were crucifying Bojan who had been a little off color with his play? But after scoring a brace against Bilbao, we now call for his inclusion into the starting XI over Ibra.

    • Singha
      April 8, 2010

      Well said, sir!

      Remember how brilliantly Zlatan started the season? I’m surprised how quickly people forgot about that.

      I LIKE Ibra. He entertains me. Passes with his back, tricky moves, nutmeg assists, crafty chips, laser-beam free kicks, karate kick goals…his creativity and raw skill are phenomenal.

      I think he’s going to be a beast next year.

    • Jim
      April 8, 2010

      I’ve been looking to see what brought this on, Kxevin. Has a post been deleted or something ? 🙂

      I’ve no problem in persevering with Ibra. I’ve said before that we probably needed both he and Henry firing on all cylinders to win the two big trophies this year. I’m sure he will do better next year but at this business end of the season reputations should count for nothing. If he’s the best available he gets the place. If not, he’s benched.

      FWIW, I’ve still got him ahead of Bojan at this point of the season but the youngster is showing a little more in terms of his confidence and movement recently which is good to see. The huge disappointment is the demise of Henry. I’ve defended him all season and can’t understand what his problem is. He must have known that in his sub’s appearance against Arsenal the very least he needed to show was attitude.

      But you’re right. There are 11 players on the pitch each game making us proud to be associated in whatever little way with the club. We should concentrate on enjoying them but as you also say analysis and discussion are part of what brings us all here and in almost all cases it is carried out with some thought, humour and courtesy. I’m not seeing a huge decline in standards that you seem to be hinting at.

    • cliveee
      April 8, 2010

      having a journalist in this space means he can sometimes speak you mind out. thanks.

  13. ElJefe
    April 7, 2010

    Busi should not be on the pitch, but not for the reasons stated. It’s because we have better players who can fill the position.

    Anyway, why all this dourness when we should be celebrating?? MUCH better to draw Bayern in the finals than Man-U with a recovered Rooney. Van der Saar can win games. We’re facing an ass in goal.

    • Jose
      April 7, 2010

      A Portuguese coach who sullies my name might have something to do with the lack of celebration. Now’s not the time to be thinking ahead to the semis, much less the final.

      It’s a tough road ahead indeed.

    • lovelymofo
      April 7, 2010

      Agreed, I thought this post was gonna have a lighter happier feel, you know, trash-talking EE and whatnot.

      Therefore I have two requests – more morbo-style posts about El Clasico and some Anatomy of a Goal (or 4) by Hector. Please?

      • April 8, 2010

        Here’s your anatomy of a goal.
        1. Put ball within Messi’s reach.
        2. HOLY SHIT.
        3. Goal.

        • lovelymofo
          April 8, 2010

          Ha, thanks! I especially like #2.

  14. ooga aga
    April 7, 2010

    is ti 100% certain ibra wont be there? ive been hatin on ibra all season but id still like to see him in the starting 11

  15. Jose
    April 8, 2010

    Nice quote from Puyol:


  16. Luna
    April 8, 2010

    interesting read:


    • Corrine
      April 8, 2010

      very nice read…

      except for…

      “Danny Alves is a Brazilian left-back who is even better at defending than he is at attacking,”

      a few booboos in that sentence haha

    • Kxevin
      April 8, 2010

      Thanks for that link, Bebop. You could write that about any league in the world, really, except for MLS, which is actually being run very, very intelligently from top to bottom.

      Rare is the league that gives a club below the previous season’s top 5 anything more than a snowball’s chance in hell at cracking the top 5 the following season, as well. The Prem has had some notable newly promoted success stories, such as Hull City and Wigan, but they quickly returned to their “rightful” places, if you define that in the context of money and players.

      The fundamental problem with La Liga is that it’s a regional league with two world-class sides in it. As impressed as I am with the likes of Valencia and Sevilla, except for rare bursts, they aren’t genuinely world-class sides, defined as always being in the shouting in Europe.

      But again, this is true of every league. Does Hull City have a shot at ever cracking the top 10 in the Prem? Sure. But they’d have to incur massive debt to do it, in the form of player salaries. Which raises the question of whether they have the fan base to support such an ambitious undertaking.

      Lyon is a brilliant success story. Jean-Michel Aulas runs that club with the bottom line in mind. They buy low, nurture and sell high. They sold Abidal to us for more than twice what they paid for him. They also made crazy dosh off of Makelele, and Malouda. They have gone from being a crappy bit of nothing to the most popular, most successful side in France. No, they don’t have a global profile like ours or EE, but Aulas would tell you that he doesn’t even want such a thing. It’s too expensive.

      Ligue 1, Serie A, all are top teams who flit about the country to play ambitious, plucky little local teams. Yes, Zaragoza or Bari would take exception to the depiction, but that’s what they are.

      So what’s the answer? Salary caps? Then you quash the league’s star power, as the players in demand would just go somewhere that could pay them what they are “worth.” Television revenue sharing? The Prem does it, and it in no way makes the lower-tier clubs capable of competing with the top folks.

      Yes, Lowe’s piece is excellent, well-researched and thoughtful. But it doesn’t really contain anything that’s all that startling.

      • Eklavya
        April 8, 2010

        They sold Essien for 42m. 42 freakin’ million! Have we sold anyone that high?

  17. Rohanv
    April 8, 2010

    Ibra is finding his place on the team, he’s definitely getting used to a new system that itself is adapting to him. I know this was said at the start of the season, but it’s something that could (and does) take at least a season to fully mature. And while I don’t mind having the mighty mites frontline, there is almost no argument to not have Ibra on our starting 11 if he’s fit and available. He’s damn good, and he has proven it, and will only get better in the system.

    Still tactically, the whole team is adjusting to him, and with Messi’s new found love for the centre, Pep’s going to have to do some altering to fully use the big man.

    See the graphs here: *http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=3737731&id=175449817556

  18. Mast
    April 8, 2010

    Hey guys,

    anyone know a bar in Stockholm I might get to see the classico?

  19. Ramzi
    April 8, 2010

    I am obviously with fair play and I hate cheats and dives. But not that I read Busquets and co bashing for few days already. This is for both Arsenal And Barca fans (the majority): You cant critisize Busquets/Cesc/Alves etc…(Here), if you defended Henry (There). All are “winners” and doing (will do) whatever it takes to help them winning. I thought thats what people not only demanded, but even praised. Anyways…

    Mast I am traveling from Karlshamn to stockholm today as well. Finding a place to watch the Classico is my priority as well 🙂

    • adal
      April 8, 2010

      Mast & Ramzi:
      The Dubliner will show Classico (//http://dubliner.se/), or O’Leary.(//http://www.olearys.se/)

      • Mast
        April 9, 2010

        Thanks adal! I´ve noticed a lot of pubs here that show football (moslty english) so finding one that shows perhaps the biggest game in the world shouldn´t be to hard 🙂
        It also helps that there´s not really competition from english football that evening..

        let´s get this over with!

  20. Nick
    April 8, 2010

    Not trying to defend Busi but many people above want to watch that episode again. Eboue pushed (it wasn’t a kick, though) him in the chin. It wasn’t even close to his shoulder. Don’t let your hate of divers blind you.

  21. Cesc Blanc
    April 8, 2010

    Blimey, Guti announced that this will be his last clasico as a player. Now things can only go wrong.

    • DontPanic
      April 8, 2010

      Maybe they’ll just buy another one:

  22. Tyler
    April 8, 2010

    first off, wrong time to be having this conversation. biggest league less than three days away and we are squabbling about whether a young (very talented) player, needs to grow up and play the game right. lame. it’s obvious he flops. sure he bends the rules. I would do it if I were him. I would do whatever it took to make sure I won games for my team. Call it bad sportsmanship, call it cheating, but like Kxevin said, every player does it in some form and it’s part of the game. On top of this, I like that he does it. It’s his role, to vex defenders, to get into the minds of the other team by pissing them off. If you watch closely, this kind of thing upsets the opposing team and they start to lose focus. To me it’s the equivalent to stealing signs or putting too much pine tar on your bat in baseball – it’s part of the game.

    Sure he should tone it down, but how old is the kid??? He’s 21! I love how people say “well if I were him, I would never do that kind of stuff.” Bullsh*t. You have no clue what it’s like to be 21 playing for the best team in the universe, so don’t sit behind your computer claiming people you have no intimate knowledge of, and have only seen on tv screens where everything is magnified should be kicked off a team that OBVIOUSLY values his play and contribution to the team.

    *end rant*

    Besides what is important is we are going up against the living embodiment of evil on Saturday in their hellish hole of a home. Saturday is not just a game for first place in La Liga, or bragging rights. It’s a philosophical battle. What is the right way to play futbol? Should success be bought or cultivated from a young age? Should you value arrogance (ronaldo) or humility (messi)? Saturday is more important than any single player on that field. We have to show the world how the game is meant to be played. We have to show the world that money does not equal championships. WE HAVE TO SHOW THE WORLD WE ARE MES QUE UN CLUB! so let’s stop bickering about petty opinions and focus on what is at hand.

    Visca Barça!

    • ooga aga
      April 8, 2010

      good post. i want to revisit spencer’s earlier comment about “as an american sports fan…” blah blah i dont like cheating blah blah. i just thought that was absurd, like americans are angels, above the fray, etc. (i am an american BTW).

      1. football. do you think linesman illegally hold each other in the NFL and get away with it? yes. do you think the offender goes up to the ref afterwards and says “penalize me, i cheated.” no!

      2. basketball. do players hold eachother while posting/defending in the key and get away with it? yes. it gets called usually, but not always.

      3. baseball. pinetar. vaseline. corks. sandpaper. a player slides in, is tagged out, knows he is tagged out, but somehoe the ump says “safe.” how often does he say “no ump, he got me.” is the failure to do so any less “cheating” than what busquets did? (the fact is you cant put your hand on someone’s face when you are trying to fend them off.)

      i could think of other examples. people “cheat” or bend the rules in all sports, bad calls are made and players knowingly go along, if it benefits them. im not saying its ok, im just saying, dont think that americans are more “fair” or above cheating. end rant.

      other than that, un abrazo para spencer, mi companero cule.

      • Tyler
        April 8, 2010

        thank you sir. y abrazos por todos cules! we’re in this thing together, let’s build each other up, not tear each other down!

  23. Kari
    April 8, 2010

    And they say that UEFA are against the English… *http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11890_6082022,00.html

  24. Kxevin
    April 8, 2010

    Today’s word is that the “doubt” is lessening on Pique and Ibrahimovic. The former says that he will be fine for El Clasic. Ibrahimovic hasn’t said anything, but the intensity of his practice apart from the rest of the lads has ratcheted up in intensity. Recall that, with past injuries, intense separate practice is usually followed by practicing with the rest, then inclusion in the squad.

    So I’m gradually getting less worried. I’d be even happier had Henry not been almost universally mediocre this season.

    Finally, apologies for making things a little heavy. That wasn’t my intention. I just think that Busquets, though he most emphatically has his weaselly qualities, is also a valuable part of this club. The Yaya is massive, and has an amazing skill set. But Busquets has a different, equally valuable skill set that is every bit as valuable. Ideally the two of them are doing their respective things at the same time.

    And as others have pointed out, we have an enemy, and it ain’t Busquets. 😀

    • Kari
      April 8, 2010

      Kxevin, moderate my comment or make a post out of it!

      It’s Clasico week! FOCUS!!!

  25. Kari
    April 8, 2010

    Isaiah needs to put up another post to get away from this Busi-diving business. It’s Clasico week, damnit! Post this Video:

    Barca or Madrid

    Here’s some more to get you started.

    Guardian motivating players:

    ..and Messi ain’t gonna move until he’s finished talking, damnit!

    Iniesta owning the ref for this clasico :

    Visca Barca!

  26. Kari
    April 8, 2010

    Señores, señoras, señoritas. We need to get our priorities straight. There is a time and a place to discuss this diving business in more detail. THIS IS NOT THE TIME. We have E-freakin’-E on Saturday!

    -Jose Maria ‘You’re feo’ Gutierrez says this is his last Clasico.

    -Thong Boy has died inside as even Marca and As are featuring Leo on their website and cover pages, when last week they were going on about what kind of teeth protection he [TB] wears.

    -We’re are so going to kick butt on Saturday!

    • Blow-Grenade
      April 8, 2010

      Excellent scoop on the Thong Boy!!!!!

      • ooga aga
        April 8, 2010

        i saw him playing with his mouthpiece a couple weeks ago during a game. i said, WTF? do any other players have those? is that just out of vanity/fear for his pearly whites or does he need it especially? hahaaha

  27. vicsoc8
    April 8, 2010

    I’m surprised by all the bile on here, although I shouldn’t be. As an aside, am I the only one who is getting weird looks from their colleagues for being way too peppy throughout the day?

    I’ve come to the conclusion that some people just have the need to complain about SOMETHING, anything really. As people can’t complain about the results we are getting or the way we are playing, it’s only necessary for them to fall back on one of the players.

    This is the same as people complaining about Ibra earlier and writing him off, people writing off Bojan, people demanding Marquez leave the club (of which I’m not completely innocent), people wanting Chygrynskiy out, etc.

    The fact is that our success has spoiled us, and a lot of us are acting like it – we have lost our humility and patience. Ibra played his way out of his funk, as did Bojan. Txig and Marquez stepped up when called on. Why do you think that Busquets won’t reign in his simulations as he matures? We should support our players and have the patience to allow them to mature and improve.

    There is also a difference between criticizing players for not playing well or not comporting themselves well and hating on players. Criticizing because you want them to improve for the good of the club is constructive. Saying players will never improve and not even hoping they do is destructive.

    • Blow-Grenade
      April 8, 2010

      The Busi bile was started by Spencer. Please direct your comments to him. I for one, love Busi!!!. I want me some more Busi!!!

      • vicsoc8
        April 8, 2010

        I understand that the Busquets issue isn’t all encompassing, but I think it is symptomatic of an issue that lies deeper. My greatest fear is that Barcelona fans evolve into EE fans due to our success.

    • Kari
      April 8, 2010

      TBH vicsoc, I still want Marquez to leave the club. I’ll give him credit where it’s due; he had a good game against Arsenal, but I just think it’s time for him to leave.

      Nothing personal, Kaiser. I think sentiment kept Ronnie here longer than he was supposed to be. Thanks for the memories, Rafa! Before your injury last season, you were great!

      • vicsoc8
        April 8, 2010

        I actually have to say I agree with you. However there is definitely a difference between calling for his head (which happened) and thinking that while he was a great servant to the club, it is time for him to move on for the best of the club (which you are espousing).

        This is a whole different issue, but with Txigrinski, Henrique, Botia, Fontas, etc. etc. etc. all waiting in the wings, it might be time for Marquez to depart.

  28. vicsoc8
    April 8, 2010

    On a similar note, in the liveblog on Wednesday there was some serious referee hatred going on, which I was disappointed with.

    Pep himself would say “we can’t control the referee, only our own play”

    • ooga aga
      April 8, 2010

      it’s true. it is silly for fans, armchair-ists, to get more dramatic or vitriolic than the players and coaches themselves. the photo of pique consoling/hugging a dejected cesc on the pitch after the first leg was interesting to see, with the cules and gooners were meanwhile spewing hate…

      the word fanatic comes from latin fanus, meaning temple, referring to frenzied/fervored religion…i.e. irrationality….

      i make silly , rabid comments in this forum too, out of pure irony…though irony doesnt really come across on the web.

  29. Bill
    April 8, 2010

    I don’t think this is Busi bile. It just shows we the fans are not sycophants. We love soccer, and we love how barcelona plays it. Barcelona play the right way, and win because they played better. Not because they outfouled the opponents, or man marked a star to death. Not because they cheat or pay refs or any of the other underhanded ways. We simply win because we play a comprehensive game.

    When Xavi won a penalty earlier this season, we debated about it’s merit. Most of us hoped he didn’t flop. Why? because Barcelona is better than that. We don’t need to play dirty to win. Busquets can be better than what he is showing, and Alves for that matter. We can beat any team on any given day CLEAN! If Busquets pays attention to his turnovers and Alves to his passing more than flopping, the team will be better for it.

    No Barcelona can’t and shouldn’t remove him from the team, I am even more convinced that Busquets can play better than Keita in the Iniesta role. Flopping there is negligible. Flopping+turnovers+positional deficiencies at DM are just too dangerous for the team.

    I’m surprised a classy guy like Pep has not put his foot down at such theatrics though….

    As for Ibra he is a good player. Actually better than I thought he would. The reason why some of us were against the buy, simply because we came from the school of thought that if something is working out very well, don’t change it. Improve it, tweak it, increase variations of it, but just don’t change it untill it breaks down. What we see right now, is people questioning Messi’s integrity on the Ibra issue, people all of a sudden questioning Iniesta and Xavi’s passing ability/timing, or moving Iniesta more to the left because now we need someone else to come in and score from Ibra passes when Iniesta is more productive in the middle. We may even have to buy someone like Fabregas, or Villa to contribute the goals. Thats the funny thing about chemistry. Oh, by the way, Eto’o doesn’t play striker for inter. Milito does. So he isn’t the main target man ( he has always been a volume shooter though) They say it’s because he performs much better at the wings (ironic?) and his touches and ball handling skills at inter are only second to schneider.

    Maxwell vs CR9, Yikes!!!

  30. Kxevin
    April 8, 2010

    I don’t think that anyone is seriously questioning Messi’s integrity as regards to Ibrahimovic. Yes, I wonder why they can’t both play well at the same time, as they were earlier in the season, when both were scoring goals for fun. Something is different.

    And yes, Xavi and Iniesta need to adjust to having a different type of player. Goes without saying. New variables mean new interactions, and adjustments to the system. It only makes sense. The new variable shouldn’t be the only thing that needs to adjust.

    We’ll be fine. You can already see them figuring things out. Those two second-half goals against Arsenal wouldn’t have happened earlier in the season.

    • Bill
      April 8, 2010

      Actually, Xavi and Iniesta’s passes are just fine. The most remarkable thing about Ibra’s goals, were how he stayed onside (especially they way he hussled back onside for the Xavi pass), his body language told them clearly where he intended top go, and the pass was put right where he wanted it.

      As for Messi, someone asked if he was refusing to play with Ibra because he doesn’t want to be outshone. That one just made me laugh, as if anyone can do that to Messi. Besides, in Barcelona, there is enough to go around…

      • Kxevin
        April 8, 2010

        Exactly. That the pass was right where he wanted it is the new thing. In our system, goalscorers are usually comfortable with the ball at their feet. So if the pass comes in a little funky, that’s okay. Ibrahimovic, when he makes those off-the-shoulder runs, needs a ball in the exact right spot at the exact right time.

        Another thing worth noting is because of how our offense works, we’re always having runners, who move when the pass is made, because they’re going to take the pass and make some moves, or make another pass. Having a striker that takes a pass and makes the magic is a relatively new thing for this batch of players. So there was bound to be some adjusting.

        Inzaghi is offside a lot, for the same reason. He’s playing right at the edge of the defense, so he’ll either be off, or in alone on the keeper.

        Notice that our passers are always looking for options, so they often hesitate just a tick before making the pass. That tick is what it takes for a player who is used to being the only option, to find himself offside. He is learning, we are learning, and those kinds of bus-breaking goals are the result. No, Arsenal wasn’t parked. But you could just as easily see that kind of play being a bus killer.

        In my ideal world, Messi is the scalpel and Ibrahimovic is the machete. Yes, either one can do both. But once we master that perfectly timed pass over the top of the defense, it will be spectacular.

  31. fcbfan
    April 8, 2010

    Is it too early for clasico prediction? I say a draw to be cautious, unless Messi has something else planned. and, someone telll Pedro its a new competition. He hasn’t scored for awhile.

    • Kxevin
      April 8, 2010

      It depends. If Ibrahimovic is playing, I say 3-2 us. If he isn’t, I say draw, because it’s simple enough to mark the life out of Messi, since Krkic (assuming Henry is still in the doghouse) and Pedro! aren’t enough to beat EE.

  32. fcbfan
    April 8, 2010

    clasico in 49 hours! atm have a good feeling about the game.

  33. Kari
    April 8, 2010

    I’m probably going to be Hectored (and if that happens I will post this again…I’m looking at you ,Isaiah, Kxevin, Hector (?!) ), but very interesting opinion from Sid Lowe on the Clasico:


    Around the 13 min, they start talking about our CL match and around 16:45 is when Sid come on the line. He has a sneaky suspicion that EE might kick Leo like the game in ’08.

    P.S Matt Scott’s vitriol was as hilarious as it was sad.

  34. Eklavya
    April 8, 2010

    ManU apparently just signed a guy called “Javier Hernandez” from Chivas.

    …LOL. 😀 They’re trying to smuggle a fake Xavi?

    • ElShowDeJason
      April 8, 2010

      Hey hey…
      Xavier Hernandez = Xavi
      Javier Hernandez = Chicharito…
      Quite the promising young striker.

      in the 2014 world cup, just wait til the world gets hit with:
      Dos Santos–Dos Santos

  35. Bill
    April 8, 2010

    Even though Messi has been great lately, I’m not sure he can keep up with this guy. Hope Madrid gets a taste of these moves…


  36. ElShowDeJason
    April 8, 2010

    BTW, thanks to Andrew M and Kxevin for defending some of our very important and efficient players that have been fundamental to our title hopes this season, who some bloggers have nothing better to do than slag on.

    I love me some Ibra and Busi!

    • andrew.M
      April 8, 2010

      thanks and youre welcome. i am going to get this years barca shirt with busi on the back. i swear one day that kid will be the next xavi.

      • ElShowDeJason
        April 8, 2010

        I totally agree… maybe not Xavi… but the next Cesc.

        Jonathan dos Santos = new Xavi
        Thiago Alcantara = new Iniesta
        Sergio Busquets = new Cesc

        I totally see his immense potential… but he is always used as a DM… which isn’t his best position…

  37. Dave
    April 8, 2010

    Keita will play again on the left to cover maxwell who will be targeted?

  38. Dave
    April 8, 2010

    Henry’s attitude just pisses me off- no repeat of destroying that donkey Ramos- hes thrown in the towel,god where is his pride

  39. Lev
    April 9, 2010

    Yeah busi should man up more but oh well. i am never one to complain too much about diving. just don’t like it when people are hypocrite about it. Also a lot of times a player will just fall and lose his balance after which people accuse him of diving.

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