A Few Rambling Thoughts

Simply put, I’m still riding the high from el clásico. Simply put, I don’t know what to write about. It’s been 48 hours since the final whistle blew and we took the league by the scruff of the neck. In a few more days we may even be able to say that we then shook the league by its neck scruff until it went limp like a ragdoll in a rottweiler’s iron grip, but for now, I’m just enjoying the post match scramble by madridistas to get something, anything from it.

Madrid-centric bloggers should be forgiven for trying to do so, of course, but most of their thinking–we were the better team, check out the number of shots on target we had!–is farcical at best and contrary to everything I saw on the screen. I even have the benefit of looking at it from a charitable “well we won” perspective and, having seen the match again, I just don’t understand how that claim is anything but self-deluding nonsense. And yes, I’m sure I’m guilty of just that at times as well, but I think that, 48 hours later, it’s impossible to say anything other than that we dominated that match as completely as you can against a side as talent-laden as RM. I’m struggling to think of two clear chances for Madrid–there was van der Vaart’s one-on-one against Valdes that he blew/that Valdes destroyed with his absurd one-on-one skills, but what else? Benzema’s header that went wide? Crynaldo’s weak shot from distance? Guti or Gago’s shots from distance? That’s your danger? That’s you being the better team? I confess to not understanding.

Pellegrini should go, they’re shouting from the reality-ignoring Marca offices, claiming Mourinho will come, Benitez will be here, what about Capello? What of Wenger? Shit, throw Maradona’s hat into the ring, why don’t you? It’s not like you can become more absurd, right? And all of that contrasts so heavily with the front of Sport and El Mundo Deportivo the last 2 days. It feels so much like football won that I think I’m beginning to ignore reality and finally–finally–just really start to enjoy watching these guys play. It won’t last forever and I want to look back on it and say that I stopped, took a deep breath and smelled those fucking gorgeous roses.

And I am. Or at least I hope I am. In the moments that I’m negative, when we’re not winning, I try to remind myself that there is more to life than always winning, but then sometimes I let my emotions get the better of me anyway and I openly curse the mouth of hell that emitted such things as the Evil Empire and the Twilight series. Such things happen.

The Temptation of St. Anthony, Salvador Dali

But it’s about disfrutando, about enjoying, about slowly understanding that the game is a living organism, that it is art in athletic maneuvers, that there is no right or wrong answer, but that there are goods and bads. I like to think that Messi is the Pablo Picasso of this team, Xavi the Salvador Dali, and for some reason Pedro strikes me as the Fernando Botero. I came to those conclusions because Messi does mind-bending things that push the limits of reality, Xavi does mind-bending things that eviscerate reality while making you think it’s all quite simple (and he’s Catalan!), and, I guess, Pedro likes fat people. I won’t take it too far, except to say that we’ve left the Dutch masters far behind even if their influence on us is far too obvious to ignore.

I’m not a man of deep artistic understanding, but I think I understand genius when I see it and I’ve seen genius right down to the core in Pep Guardiola, whose audacity and brains seem to work in perfect harmony with the talent around him. Frank Rijkaard had the temerity to simply let Ronaldinho play, to put Lionel Messi on the field, to arrive at the pinnacle of international club football by playing. It was wonderful and it laid the groundwork in a lot of ways for what came afterwards, but Guardiola seems beyond that–the playing is inherent, it is in the DNA now, it’s the strategy and astuteness of each move, like a grandmaster knowingly pushing his inferior opponent to the brink 25 moves ahead. You can see it coming, but what are you going to do to stop it? Pellegrini acts like a beaten man, but it’s hardly his fault; he’s going up against the perfect storm at Barça and that is a fate he has obviously accepted.

And I love it. This is a wonderful time to be a cule. It is a wonderful time to be a football fan, really, with such brilliance on display, it’s hard not to get involved as a neutral supporter, as First Division side Ross County beats Celtic at Hampden Park in the Scottish Cup, as the beautiful triumphs over the nauseatingly “direct”, as the pundits finally crow about something that’s been under their noses for years. I feel closer to football than ever before and it’s because finally, finally, there’s something to cheer about beyond the team. And that, of course, is where all the fun really lies.

Feel free to parse my words in the comments or have your say. I’ll be back tomorrow with oh so much more fun. It’s Depor and a nice roundup of where we stand over the coming weeks.

Categorized as Thoughts

By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater New York City area with his wife and daughter.


    1. Thus sayeth the Scouser, eh? I mean, Benitez is obviously good. What’s going on at Liverpool that has made his teams so sterile the last few years?

    2. i actually think he’d do well with madrid…

      compare the resources he has at pool vs what he’d potentially have at madrid. in his 5 years as a liverpool manager he has gone to 2 CL finals, won a CL in his first year, took pool to the CL semis and CL quarters, and won an FA cup. plus he’s won the league with valencia in spain yadda yadda. that record doesn’t look too shabby if madrid need a manager that will sort out their champions league business.

      i know he’s been crap in the league and hasn’t been completely efficient in the transfer market but at madrid there would be a lot more at his disposal. plus he only has to beat 1 team really, whereas in england he has to compete with 3-4 to get the top spot. he’s well-organised tactically and not a pushover haha, which are qualities they need in a coach

      haha i wonder how alonso would feel if that happened. he’ll probably be pissed since i truly believe he fell out with him at liverpool

    3. if benitez goes to rm, we don’t have to worry about the league.
      it’s in safe hands with us as benitez would be too occupied with CL 😛

    4. haha, but i think it’s proven that outside the top 2, the rest of the league lacks quality, or consistency at least. that said the squad rm have now can comfortably cruise by the rest and the title may come down to the clasico (again). i myself would be worried about facing him in a clasico because he’ll treat that game like a CL semi for sure

  1. I’ve always admired Pelligrini for his prowess and relentless pursuit of quality football. He means well, but ever since he took the job at Madrid, his “wise ole Grandpa” look became more that of a weathered old soldier.

    His eyes heavy, yet his poise immovable. Every victory only offers him relief, rather than the more enjoyable and deserved joy.

    I don’t blame him for what’s happened at El Capital, and while I do think he’ll be sacked at the end of the season, I only hope he can return to Villareal, and perhaps Perez can make an even more idiotic move by going after Rafa Benitez.

    All this to say, thank the Lord I follow the best club in the world, and thanks even more to the fact that we, as a nation of cules, truly appreciate the team in all it’s capacities. Xavi’s face of concern for Milito was legitimately moving.

    What a team. What a club. What a game.

    1. good point! I don’t think they’re enjoying the football, even when they win. The less fun they’re having the more fun I’m having.

  2. Pep is like a master craftsman. He has this great foundation (formation?) and he is constantly tinkering with it to fulfill the needs of the moment. Add a little flair here, a bit of steel here, and some magic over there and we’re ready for Team A. Time for Team B? Well let’s replace that steel with some Yaya, make a slight change to the type of flair we want over here, and let’s put a little Captain Caveman heart just there…

    This team is truly special in that every player has something special to offer, and they all bring something different to the team. Pep is a genius because he just asks players to play their style, and he uses them effectively to achieve his overall vision and tactics.

    Pep gives me visions of a mad scientist just tinkering around with his creation because he feels it can always be better. More importantly, he tinkers because he loves to tinker.

    I’m not doing my thoughts justice, but that is probably because this team has exceeded my ability to describe it.

    1. you know how we have a small squad, right? i mean numbers-wise. Well I guess that helps with players knowing each others style so that when pep does “tinker” the players just fit in well. obviously i think we need one or two more players, but no more. (i also think we need someone tall to be ibra’s backup, but bojan is really good too)

  3. I fully second (third? hundredth) the lovefest, but I just read what Reuters had to say about Adebayor retiring and I’m finding it really sad and depressing, even though I can fully understand why he’s doing it. He’s only 26.

    1. what the? why is he retiring?
      is it a joke or what?
      i saw him play a few days ago. he scored.

    2. He’s not retiring because he’s old (and if there’s any fairness in the world, Togo will be unbanned from the African Cup), it’s because he can’t play for the national team anymore because of what happened to them in Angola…he’s not ok. Sorry didn’t mean to imply he’s fully retiring.

    3. Well, think about it – Togo isn’t going to be going to the world cup this year, and in Four years he will be over 30 – an age which life starts getting tough for strikers b/c you start loosing steps (unless, of course, your last name is Drogba)

    4. Haha, I hope, in 3 or 4 years, we can add “unless, of course, your last name is Ibrahimovic” 🙂

  4. funny you posted a Dali painting and made a reference, I just went to the Dali museum in St. Petersburg, Fl on Sunday.. Goods stuff

    I really wouldn’t compare a footballer to a particular painter, but Xavi is like a painter in that he makes his canvus flow smoothly from border to border.

  5. Sorry to be the voice of dissent, but that match was a simple matter of a team not really being ready to finish in big matches, on the big stage. Look at the clear header that Alonso pushed wide, off a scramble in the box. With sharper finishing, that’s in, like our 456 glorious first-half chances against Arsenal.

    VdV pooped his pants, hitting the ball the one spot that he shouldn’t have, and they got into our box a little too quickly for my tastes.

    You can say the match was either not as close as the final score indicated, or a lot closer than the final score indicated. My personal view is that it, like the first Clasic, was closer than the score indicated.

    Why didn’t they finish like men? For the same reason we were choking out the joint during the latter part of the Rijkaard regime: Insane, choking pressure of a type that none of us can begin to imagine. Just think for an instant, that you have lost every big match against quality opposition when it mattered. How do you think you feel, rolling out against the best club in the world, knowing that the press and fans are going to savage you even in case of a draw?

    Just a little tight, maybe?

    We, on the other hand, have been forged on the anvil of a man who can somehow transmit confidence. When he said to the club on Saturday that he only wants three things, to attack, attack and attack, they listen. We finish when we need to because it’s how we won 6 trophies last season. Winning the big matches is learned behavior.

    It isn’t even that they don’t have players capable of winning big matches, who don’t know how to win big matches. Nothing could be further from the truth. But as a collective, in a city where mere goodness is considered failure, the pressure is enough to paralyze.

    How must Aulas feel, sleeping in a mattress stuffed with the millions of Euros that EE paid for Benzema, a player who, charitably, has been shit. His side is in the CL semis, with a good chance to get to the finals. The team he sold his most expensive player to is out of CL, out of the Copa and maybe, just maybe, out of the Liga.

    Alves says that we’re better this season, more complete. I have to agree with that, now that we are (finally) playing the way that Guardiola has us playing. But it could all come crashing down against Inter, a wayward goal could put the Liga in jeopardy, and then what? It’s why Puyol, Guardiola, Xavi and anybody else who can speak, is cautioning against overconfidence.

    Yes, our team is spectacular, and looks on form to have a good shot at two big-ass pieces of silver, and more next season. If we win the Liga, we get a shot at the Copa winner in the SuperCopa. Then there will be UEFA SuperCup if we win Champions League, and World Club Championship. So it could be another 5-trophy haul, which would make this one of the best, if not THE best club in Barca history.

    But it’s one match at a time, played with the fire and the hunger that has gotten us this far. We’ve done more with less, without the same luck that we had last season as regards injuries, and a less-deep squad. It’s almost as if Guardiola was pacing the side, because he knew that the time to play well wasn’t against teams that weren’t going anywhere, but against teams that were.

    We’re on the cusp of true greatness. Let’s see what we can do.

    1. And for me, their chances were half chances at best. Besides van der Vaart’s chance, it wasn’t really about their finishing. Was Ronaldo supposed to be our Valdes from a tight angle? The first Clasico, wayyyyy closer. There they had the better chances only to be let down by poor, poor finishing. Messi alone could have and should have had a hat-trick in this one. His finishing let him down more than Ronaldo and co because those were actually real chances.

    2. I think that’d be the reason Benitez would do well with them. There’s clearly talent there, and he’s known to put them through their paces in practice, so they’d be ready for the big matches. That and the added benefit of going “home” to his cantera (as a player and a coach), would definitely work well for them, I think.

      That said, I’d feel safer with him there than Jose.

    3. I just have to say this, last year, teams knew what we were rolling out with match in and out. they knew how we were going to play and who was going to play what role. Problem was, nobody learned quick enough how to stop it. Now this season comes along when everyone had the ability to study us, we start the season in the same way we ended last, but with some changes to the squad. and then Guardiola blows everyones minds, and instills our philosophy into every single player he has, and changes the dynamic of our team. The man can put out any lineup and we still play the same futbol, just a little bit differently, with players being able to play mulitiple roles, and playing a different style at times, even defensive at times, and learning how to play on the counter so so well. Guadiola after last season was able to take a team that played total football perfectly, the same way game in and game out, and have them playing the same typle of football, but with 20 different elements now instead of just one. WE can throw out any lineup, and beat any team. WE couldnt do that last year, Alves is right, we are better this year, and i honestly enjoy watching this team this year more. Call me crazy but seeing And understanding how crazy the changeup was by Guadiola, bc he understood people figured out how to play how we did last year, is mind blowing. We can play any way, with any lineup, and have the same result. The man taught the players how to win in any situation. and that is unbelievable. watching this team is unbelievable, and we should all take a moment to understand what we are witnessing, and be grateful to have been apart of this amazing time in our amazing clubs history.

    4. YEP!He was indeed offside and that was not by chance but a very well worked move by our defence -ok maxwell was a little confused ;p -because the ‘ve seen and studied that move made by real madrid that has seen them score a couple of important goals against other teams(sevilla was one I think). That was one of the clues of how well prepared we were.
      Our bigest mistake was give Crynaldo some free runs at the first half which he messed up and thank God Pique was there to stop him. But didn’t Albiol do a couple of very crucial tackles against Leo as well when our little argentine was making his runs at their defense as well?OF course this game was much, much closer than last years classico(aka “el 2-6”) but this year we were without Abidal, Henry, Iniesta and Eto’o (Ibra)! Four players that can make all the differences in the team when fit.
      Not to mention the 30 (+10 that mejuto simply ignored) fouls commited by the EE that usually hampers our play against much lesser teams.
      For me EE didn’t play bad they played good much better than they usually do and they were very focused defensively but we are a TOP level side and they should know they wouldn’t get many chances against us and we wouldn’t give away silly “penaltys” to Crynaldo so for me it’s a clear 0-2, even though we didn’t have our best game. But even if all the chances from each side went in it would be 2-4, which does sound better actually 🙂

      I’m not saying that their inability to withstand pressure didn’t play a part but I just think that it was our performance and mental strenght that won it…

      Of course I beliee(hope?) that they will be huge pressure on them at the Almeria game as well, cause then there is a big chance they will fail to win against them.
      So i just hope that Almeria will play smart and not allow them and early goal…and then the pressure will indeed be TOO much and then I see red cards and this time I think the referee will see them as well ;P

      That last line you wrote was excellent..
      “We’re on the cusp of true greatness. Let’s see what we can do.”
      I think it pretty much sums up how all cules are feeling right now. Will we make it? or will we the pressure be too much for us well? Or will we grow more confident that we should and that WILL cost us points?
      This almost feels when were nearing the end of the TREBLE season..uff
      one game at a time…one game at a time…

    5. It’s still so much better to have these as our issues (how much better were we) then what we were seeing 2-3 years ago.

    6. I have to agree with Kxevin here. Not taking anything away from a great, hard earned victory but we didn’t steamroller this side. It was vital we scored first and to be honest until we did we didn’t look like it. Although we worked very hard in the first half i didn’t think Pep’s formation worked particularly well. We survived due to Xavi’s extraordinary ability to continually keep possession in the tightest spaces and find the right pass. The second half was a different story but by then they were anxious.

      With regard to Alonso’s headed chance which I think was offside, if we played for that then we need our heads examined. When a corner comes over you need to go with your man to prevent him getting the first header. We lined up along the edge of our 6 yard box because Madrid didn’t fill that box, preferring to run in. By the time the header came to Alonso he was off but no way could we have known that some of our defence wouldn’t be dragged into that box on marking duties.

      I think the biggest difference was confidence. We had it, they pretended to themselves that they had it. However, it needs to be a small concern to us that the midfield aren’t contributing goals especially as the vast majority up front are being scored by Messi. It’s a bit of a mystery to me why we aren’t getting those from the midfield as our movement is pretty good.

  6. Just not capable really of writing right now either Isaiah. Still recovering from the wall to wall clasico action. Nice post, too. I agree that Madrid are deluding themselves if they think they can throw money at the problem.

  7. Nicely written! Once I saw Pep’s line up, I knew Barça would win. How can you not trust someone who is always cautious, talking about the next game, but who will totally put it all on the line when needed? And he always does so in a way that means that even if his gamble fails (which is not often), he alone is responsible.

    I was poking around other websites and madridistas were gleeful when they saw the line up. They said it meant Pep was scared, that he knew he would lose. But he didn’t and the team won. What did Xavi say in his interviews today? Before they used to go to el Bernabeu fearful of losing and now they go confident they will win.

    Therefore, I’m with Isaiah. I’ll let Pep do what he always does, remind his team that nothing is won yet, but that he’ll get them that step closer. And I’ll sit back and enjoy the football.

    ¡Visca Barça!

  8. Thank you so much for this post, Isaiah. I have so much work to do tonight, all night, and this made me feel so warm inside, so proud to be a Barcelona fan.

    Let’s hope our times of great prosperity continue.

  9. guys, i know it’s off topic.
    but where do you guys buy barca accessories?
    like flags…
    cos i got a friend in Vancouver, i want to ask her to get me something.
    and did any of you get the blue t-shirt with 6 gold stars? the shirt they wore after they won the CWC..

    1. I was looking for them, but the only place I could find them required either too much on ebay, or too much shipping from spain. You may have better luck, I sorta gave up on it.

      Everything else I’ve bought (besides the stuff at the Offical Store in barcelona) was from world soccer shop.


  10. 2009-10 30-32 3-6 9-6 42 4

    Ajax striker Luis Suarez stat line. I know that since its dutch football the goals are not so impressive but 32 goals in 30 league games…6 goals in 3 Dutch cup matches….most importantly 6 goals in 9 european matches this year, where he actually has to try to put the ball in the net. That is a goal every 135 min in Europe or every 1.5 games, fairly impressive.

    Barcelona 2010/2011 Left wing top choices

    1. Villa (probability 65%)
    2. Ribery (probability 55%)
    3. Suarez (probability 70%)
    4. Douglas Costa (probability 25%)
    5. Silva (probability 65%)
    Wild cards Dezko…Mata…Pjanić…Modric….Arshavin

    1. suarez resigned a big renewal contract. he aint leaving anytime soon.

      i think pep wants silva but WHAT ABOIUT PEDRO?

  11. Great read, Isaiah. Also, great timing- I have a google alert for Dalí to let me know whenever his work will be nearby. Yesterday this popped up:


  12. Benitez’s biggest flaw is that he takes all season to make changes that are obvious to everyone else. He had a rotation policy that he would not budge on until last season, and we nearly won the league. There’s other examples, but I won’t bore you because it’s probably a moot point. I really don’t think he’ll goto Real Madrid. I would be shocked if Mourinho doesn’t go. When he first left Chelsea, he said he wanted to win the league in Italy and Spain before returning to English football. Although, if Liverpool get taken over by someone with deep pockets, it might be enough for him come back early.

    1. I will laugh uncontrollably if Benitez (or even Mourinho) end up with Real after what Valdano said about both of them a few years ago.

    2. i loved that article. its so true. for once i agreed with valdano.
      all the english men till this day didnt have a clue what valdano was talking about or thinks valdano is out of his mind.

    3. I don’t think it’s fair to call Inter or Liverpool completely un-stylish, and any tactician will look at Barca and say that some dimensions of their play are functional.

      Great read, though.

  13. This may either be on point or totally off-tangent, but since we’re rambling here, I’ll go on and greetthe anchor of our defense, the Blaugrana’s living and breathing hearbeat, Captain Caveman a very happy birthday!

    May there be more sheep to heard, more fiddles to play tunes on and may the grass at Camp Nou always grow!

  14. hey Isaiah i just want to know your thought about benching you beloved TOURE this season. what do you think, is it fair since he’s being kinda slow or out form or what is it excatly what you see?


    1. he has been a beast whenever he get’s playing time.
      that’s the only beef i have with pep.
      playing busi over yaya and even letting keita play even though he is a weak link now ever since his recent injury.

  15. Some bad news – Barca’s official website report that Iniesta is injured again and out for a month. 🙁


    1. Yep. Saw it on EMD as well. Whatever we’re doing for Messi, should go double for Iniesta. He is the most fragile player I have ever seen, our own Robben.

      Pity of it is I think we need him against an in-form Inter. But he will miss both legs of that tie, and the next four league matches. Shit.

      On the good news front, Abidal practiced normally with the squad today, and Ibrahimovic is very close. Neither will play against Depor, however.

      I reckon we’re pretty used to playing Ghostless by now, right?

    2. For serious?!?! Arrgh. I guess Xavi won’t be getting a rest then.

      Ok, Messi needs to start sharing whatever elixir those médicos have been giving him the past two years.

    1. i think using bojan could work in the midfield. a lot of people say hes like a 2nd striker anyways, and the way iniesta plays is much like that (minus the whole shooting aspect).

      i couldnt see him lasting a whole game in midfield thou, he would probably be exhausted by the 60th, chasing people down endlessly i imagine

    2. Nah. I’d rather bring up JdS than try to experiment with Krkić. The boy is confused as it is, no need do make it even harder for him.

    3. What’ve you been smokin’? How can “getting him to stay put” be ONLY a problem for a Barca midfielder?

      It’s a shame this season is turning into a half-miss for Don Andres, but I think Xavi has been rested far more on a whole this season, and he should be good enough to help us survive. I see Inter being perhaps a loss away, but at home, we should roll them.

      He’s not the most fragile player I’ve ever seen, but perhaps that game he played against Man U last season when he was admittedly not fit is having longer-term consequences. Perhaps he’s a player that we bring back just a bit too early because he makes such a difference even when half-fit.

      I’d hate to call him one of those players that’s worth paying a full year’s salary for half the season’s play, but it could very well be the story of his career. It’s a shame we won’t see true XavIniesta form this season, as we did in the latter half of last season.

    4. hmmm… i still think that Bojan is more of a classical striker but he could try playing in that position, but still he lacks the experience on that position

    1. haha, look at Ribéry’s face, he is really evil. Guess he’s truely made for the EE then… 🙂

  16. f*ck! worst way to start my day. Inter is going to be shadowing Xavi like nobody’s business. It’s times like these where a Fabregas or equivalent would be nice to have fill in. Let’s hope this isn’t really a month

  17. As soon as Abidal is back, we might see some more Maxwell in midfield. I’m not that worried about Iniesta’s absence, because offensively, Maxwell did a great job and if we want to approach a match in a more secure way, we can play Busquets and/or Yaya and/or Keita in midfield. But Xavi better be healthy till the end of the season (and beyond that)…

  18. Really sad for Iniesta. We will miss us some ghostface. I hope we go to final and he gets better by then. What a time it will be for him to return to competitive action. Big blow nonetheless.

    After last match with Madrid, i have full faith in our squad.

  19. A few quick and dirty thoughts on why I think the rest of the season will be less difficult than some are thinking:

    –EE is going to drop points, probably over one of the next two matches.

    –So are we, but it will balance out.

    –The away matches to Sevilla and Villarreal look like this to me: Both are 5 points adrift of the club above them in the standings, with 7 matches left. For either one to place any faith in getting points off us is foolishness. So they may actually play us not all that hard, since players will also be turning their thoughts to the World Cup at that point (those who are going), and it will be latelatelatelate in the season.

    –We have only lost once in the season to date, so to think that we will drop 4 points in 7 matches is just not something that I can contemplate with a straight face.

    No, I’m not counting the Liga before it’s hatched. It just takes one wrong foot plant to completely change the season, right? But on paper, I just don’t see us not winning the Liga.

    1. I think IF Real drops points, they’ll do so in Almería.
      I don’t know how many of you have seen Valencia play lately, but their defence is absolute rubbish and the offense suddenly doesn’t click anymore. Plus, if it wasn’t for us, Real would still have perfect stats at el Bernabeu.

    2. in the game vs atletico in the europa league i know valencia played w/jordi alba, fernandes, & maduro(three midfielders) in defense. they’re going through a bad time right now in re: to injuries.

  20. Nooo!! Iniesta!!! 🙁 🙁 🙁

    I’m not too worried about our games ahead but I’m soooo gutted. He always adds that little something that puts the team and everyone else at ease.

    Do any of you keep up with his blog? This is what he had to say:


    Hola a todos,

    Uno de los momentos más difíciles que tengo que vivir. La vida me ha enseñado a no rendirme nunca.

    Hello everyone

    One of the most difficult moments I have to live. Life has taught me to never give up


  21. Just watched the match for the 3rd tine, this time on the La Sexta feed- they had so many different camera angles. Anyway, instead of celebrating with the team on the pitch and thanking the fans like everyone else was doing, as soon as the final whistle blew, Yaya walked into the dressing rooms. Not cool.

    And WOW @ Iniesta. He’s been so unlucky with injuries and I feel so bad for him. We need to revisit how we are dealing with his injuries and maybe have him do the preventative exercises Messi does. Apparently it’s a reoccurence of the injury he just suffered? If that’s the case then we need to stop pulling a Wenger and stop rushing players back. I’m sure we can deal without him, but it would have been a whole lot nicer for Xavi and everyone else with another possession demon on the field.

    1. But he was injured in practice, not during the match. And it’s the same leg, which means that it has to do with rehab, rather than recovery.

      For the uninitiated, when you injure a muscle, there is trauma, followed by scarring as a consequence of the healing. The muscle doesn’t have the same level of elasticity for some time. Regaining that elasticity is part of the rehabbing process. Another, crucial part is strengthening of the area. Sounds like somebody isn’t doing their homework.

      –I thought that I saw The Yaya celebrating on the pitch with his teammates, as they were in the big circle, jumping around. It was too dark for Keiteee, and Abidal didn’t make the trip.

    2. i can understand yayas reaction. he didn’t play, yet he probably felt he should have. he is better then the rest of the midfield (xavi iniesta aside) but gets no playing time. if you went from a hero to nobody in the space of less then a season, would you really want to party as if you had won the game, but contributed nothing personally.

    3. You’re still part of the team though, Larm. Henry went from contributing 2 big goals in last years away Clasico, to being on the bench in this one, yet he was smiling, happy, and congratulatory on the pitch. He looked genuinely happy we won as he should be because he is part of the team. Walking inside not even thanking the fans who made the trip is ridiculous. That’s shit that people like Guti and Cristiano are supposed to do, not Yaya. I know he wants to play and he practically warmed up the whole 2nd half, but sorry, I can’t support that type of attitude. Make no mistake Pep and the other teammates take note of these things.

    4. Seriously, he’s hardly playing this season. He didn’t play the 2 legs vs. Arsenal and now the Clasico. It’s understandable but “not cool” as well.

    5. i saw him warming up for quite a while.
      only normal to react like that…
      any decent human being would be pissed.
      when he gets playing time, he is massive but yet he will be dropped for the next match.

  22. what at yaya?
    he’s probably off to city or somewhere in the premier league soon and the thought of that kills me

  23. The only good thing about Iniesta’s injury is that we might get to see more of JDS and Thiago.

    1. Don’t know if they’ll be able to handle the pressure of the matches coming up. Almost every game is a must win.

    2. we’ll definitely see more JDS, but I’m not sure about Thiago. Last I heard he was injured.

      I’m just looking forward to more YAYA

    3. i dunno man…yaya just cant get any playing time even when he plays like a beast..it’s just sad..

    4. -Thiago is injured? Really? Huh, how did I miss that.

      -I think we’ll see JDS get more playing time as a sub but not as a starter until we win La Liga.

      -I just hope The Yaya doesn’t leave for the Prem in the summer.

    5. yeah jds is pretty sweet. remember when he played a few games back and had that crazy like 20 passes in 10 seconds thing going on? does anybody know if there is a clip of that?

    6. If The Yaya wants to take his planet-sized ball and go play somewhere else, let him. As has been demonstrated by Guardiola’s selection this season, we don’t need him. Frankly, I don’t feel that we NEED any player, up to and including Messi. When Xavi was out, what happened? We kept on keeping on. There isn’t a player who has been injured who has changed what we do. Yes, it might have been more difficult, or a bit more fraught, but the train kept a’rolling.

      This team works because it is a TEAM. I have about zero patience or tolerance for anyone who doesn’t want to be part of that team. The Henry observation is spot on. He was the Bernabeu destroyer last season. This season, he’s on the bench, mired nice and deep. But he’s still happy for the team, because that team is covering him in glory. So ride the train, collect the trophies, and be patient.

      It’s why I am not a fan of any player. Players come, and players go. The team is the constant. If a player doesn’t want to be part of that, leave. We’ll be able to get good money for him, and he can go somewhere that he will be happy.

      But to not celebrate the biggest win of the season to date with your teammates, is unmitigated bullshit. The only people with a valid excuse are Ibrahimovic and Abidal, because they didn’t travel with the club.

  24. *http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2010/apr/13/the-question-why-is-offside-law-genius

    Jonathan Wilson on how the changes in offside law allowed Barca to flourish, a good read.

  25. A madrista once walked into a blog and asked,
    What do we need?

    Fifi said a star. Kxevin says a heart. Iker says a defender … every once in a while … would be nice. TVE says a(NOTHER) coach.

    EE is like a trust-fund day-care college-prep, where the everyone is wealthy, beautiful and above average, but the teacher’s afraid of the kids and the dean is afraid of the parents who side with the kids.

    If I were a madridista I’d walk out too. Marching. That’s not Fifi money, that’s socio money. The socios, the real fans, the ones from the barrio who take their tortilla sandwiches to the matcheses and puff on cigars and shout at the TV in bars — they love them some Raul and Co. ‘There’s no happiness,’ croaked one portly fellow to TVE, ‘like waking up on a Saturday and remembering that Madrid– your Madrid– is going to play today’. That’s heart right there, hombre. And they don’t just want to win. They want to win well. So there’s some young punks that flip Messi the bird from the sidelines. There’s also the old guard, the proud papa and his honorable son, standing up to applaud Ronaldinho at the Beu. That’s sportsmanship. That’s class. And for a team expenditure that could bail out Greece in a country with 20% unemployment, their blood rightly boils.

    What is a Fifi to do? How do you solve a problem like Crynaldo? You pays your euros and you takes your chances. You cannot trade … because the only way to trade now is down. And you cannot trade down because EE is not Fifi and it is not Pelly and it is not some greying old duke like Cruyff. EE is Raul and it is Iker and it is Guti and Sergio and now it is absolutely Crynaldo and probably Kaka and maybe even Benzema too. Fifi knows this. Crynaldo knows this. And this makes it Pelly’s problem.

    Operation Pelly is Mission Impossible. Kaka lets his wife (su MUJER, hombre) bitch that Pelly is a coward. What happens to Kaka? A little time out. Sergio says he will support Pelly heart and soul as long as he’s there. Pelly says he will stay as long as he’s allowed. As long as the players run the show and Fifi backs the players, Pelly isn’t a coach. He’s an au pair. For the lords of the flies.

    Pelly’s out, there’s no doubt. But who can really make a difference? It’s not tactical. It’s not monetary. It’s not talent. It’s psyche. It’s Oedipal. Now think about your dad. What’s your dad like? I wanna meet that dad! Doo doo doo doo!

    Right now you have the distant greying venerable kind of dad. The kind of dad Fifi said he wanted in Wegner but got in Pelly (thanks boss). He doesn’t get pissed. He doesn’t get loud. He gets disappointed. He gets disgruntled. This works in smaller teams where the players try really, really hard. Sometimes this is golden, like Bernd at Getafe. Sometimes this is psychodrama, like Pelly at Villareal. But at EE, the players get sassy and the pooch, as Kxevin says, gets screwed.

    You can also get the big-brother kind of dad. The guy who’s been there, who’s done that, who gets you, man. He’s young and he’s energetic and he’s cool. He actually works out with you at practice, instead of hanging around in the team sweats like the embarrassingly vital grandpa in the retirement community. When this is on, the team feels together, they feel lively, they feel ‘on’. This is the Pep @ Barca kind of coach. When it’s off, they feel lost, undisciplined, and out of control tantrummers. This is the later-Rijkaard @ Barca or now Unai @ Valencia kind of coach. But for this to work the coach has to be the cool kid. When your unruly star is the coolest kid in the class ever, there is no way coach will be cooler.

    No, you cannot have an honorable old-man type of dad, and you cannot have a hip, cool with-it type of dad. You need a dysfunctional dad, the kind of dad who will not guide you from afar or hang with you when you’re down. You need the kind of dad who will send you into years of later therapy. You need a real asshole.

    These asshole dads come in two varieties: the emotionally-deprived, mentally-absent dad and the borderline psychotic narcissist dad. We’ve already seen example 1 in Capello, and we all know how that turned out. They won La Liga. But no one can get behind Capello because he is so dry and apart and there is no way to relate to him. Capello would call Crynaldo on the nonsense, but Fifi will still back Crynaldo because Fifi is more CR9 than CPO.

    That leaves us one option. An asshole. A narcissistic, borderline psychotic, evil-genius asshole. We don’t need a guy who will tolerate CR9. We don’t need a guy who will gently guide him into sportsmanlike maturity. And we don’t need a guy who will pretend not to notice the tantrum because ‘bad attention is still attention’. No, we need a man who will out-asshole every asshole on his team, who can ratchet it up and scare the crap out of them, and then get to Fifi and elaborate and fabricate to the point that the Prez’s head will spin and he will start signing this and that before Raul can knock gently on the door. We need someone who will argue with the fans, who will demand they feel grateful to him, someone who will take on the team as his own and not on loan. And even better if that someone knows his rivals inside out, who goes to their games and studies their strategies and practically wrings his hands in the stands as he plots against them … because when EE win, and win it all, and win against THEM, THEN, THEN the fans will fill the Beu, THEN Fifi will pop the champagne, THEN TVE will slobber all over itself drooling again, and CR9 himself will bow his head and say he owes it all to him …

    And that man, my friends, is our very own evil genius, our next rival Italy and my bet for our man in Madrid …

    MouMou, Dr. Mouriarty, Mourinho.

    1. SoccerMom should write these “articles” directly to the team, so that it can be posted as a full fledged post. Promoting people from the farm is our philosophy as well, right? 😀

    2. Just brilliant. Once in a while, there is a comment that makes you go wow. This is once in a while.

    3. wow… I’ve just been slapped in the face with some great insight spoken through great prose…

    4. es una genia, esta madre-futbol. juega con palabras como messi con la pelota. saludos.

  26. Iniestta injured? noooo!

    Bad news, but on the other hand this will be extra motivation for the team to do their best to reach the CL final and win the league, something like Milito last season.

    Yeah not cool for Yaya to do that, but understandable. However, with this new injury, I think he will play more. Xavi needs rest at some point, and Yaya can do the job. Weak teams big teams? no difference. From now on, every team is as important as another. So he will play, and he will not be going anywhere next season, until the next ACN comes around probably.

    Oh last, just want to say been impressed with Maxwell. We bought an LB for 5 mil, who happens to also be a decent cover for RB, and midfield.

    ps: Sid Lowe thinks Inter will beat Barca. Thank you Sid!

    1. Ay, that Sid Lowe. Always betting against Barça, always proven wrong.

      I mean, its not going to be easy, but I think so long as we get a goal or two away, we’ll be fine.

  27. “And for a team expenditure that could bail out Greece in a country with 20% unemployment, their blood rightly boils.”

    “bad attention is still attention”

    -soma is more than just a pretty face. she so smart. you’re too awesome soccymommy :^)

    pelly/whoever’s gotta keep his pimp hand strong.

  28. Lets not forget it was a big risk Andres took to play in the cl final last year.He was even instructed not to sprint or shoot in that game so these little injuries are understandable.As everyone says we just need to put him on whatever leo is on.Its strange because he never used to get injured.

  29. do we have a backup for maxwell in the youth leagues? cuz if so i would love one of these days to see a team of all youth products.

    valdez, botra, puyol, pique, (somebody) iniesta, xavi, JDS, pedro, bojan messi.

    how awesome would that be!

  30. About Yaya, I can understand how he feels. If I was in his position, knowing how good I am, and how good I handled things last year, I’ll be frustrated. Especially when I know I could handle things much better than Busquets and Keita. It’s nothing new. You can’t bash Yaya, because you know what? Iniesta, Xavi and Messi will all want to leave if they got benched at their peak just like Yaya. It’s different from Henry’s situation. Henry is at the dawn of his career, has achieved as much as any player has a right to, and played countless games. As a matter of fact, xavi said he once wanted to leave, early in his career when he wasn’t getting playing time. Puyol held out on his contract a few months ago, because he was worried about his playing time once chiggy was bought! It’s what players want and I understand. I love the Yaya at barcelona, love watching his big self control things, and I hate it when a great talent like the Yaya doesn’t get playing time, and if he can’t get it at Barcelona, then I wish him well at another team, hoping he will get the recognition he deserves. If he became disruptive, then I would turn on him, but as long as he is quietly bidding his time, I wish him well.

    1. All true.

      The thing is, I don’t see more minutes for The Yaya even with Iniesta’s injury. I see Maxwell and Keita playing more often. :/

      PS: 100th comment! 😀

    2. If he was getting 30mins a game in some games, and starting others, I would say, shut the hell up! But he isn’t. Even when he comes in and plays very well, he gets benched again for the next 4 games. I don’t get it. Maybe he doesn’t ‘run’ the way Pep likes? Maybe he isn’t tactically astute? Whatever the reason is, he played very well last year, and a player like him deserves more…just like my favorite Bojan, who I think is miles ahead of Sergio Canales!

    3. Well of course we would all like to see Yaya play more, but in truth, he has been sluggish this season and not as sharp as he should be. I’m sure that has to do with his lack of playing time, but still he needs to focus when he is on the field and play his game like he knows how. Over the past couple of appearances, I would say he doesn’t merit a selection over Busi. And Yaya is my dude. Instead of headbutting players, he needs to clean up his play, be sharper, and play quicker.

      I think the quickness of play has been a major factor in the reduction of his playing time. Yaya has been taking too long to make the pass and sometimes the pass has been real slow or sloppy. Still, in that interview he gave over a month ago, he seemed to realize their was competition for places and he vowed to work hard everyday regardless. If that’s the case, then he should be celebrating on the pitch with his teammates.

      Imagine what the players were thinking all euphoric walking into the locker room with Yaya already sitting there sulking. Players like Puyol take note of this and I wouldn’t be surprised if he had words with Pep.

    4. With all that being said, I think with the right attitude in training, this Iniesta injury will give Yaya the chance to play and perform like he did against Stuttgart at home.

    5. Isn’t it Busi who dwells on the ball for too long and makes stupid passes? 😀 The Yaya plays one-touch football (like JDS!!!!!), though I agree his passes have been sluggish at times I think it’s just the lack of playing time. Maxwell had the same problem. Bojan still has it.

    6. Eklavya, recently, Busi has been passing the ball pretty quickly. For me, Yaya has been sluggish, his one touch passes haven’t been on point, and sometimes when a pass is beckoning up the field, he takes to long to recognize it or his accuracy is not right. That’s why recently he has had so many passes picked off by the opponents. Yaya has the ability to play a whole lot better and quicker when he is on his game. Hopefully he regains his form for these last crucial games. He should get his chances.

    7. Eklavya, one of busi’s strengths is his one touch passing, he also can press better than yaya.Honestly to me its just about what we need in certain games.Either of them have their own merits – I would NEVER start busi against chelsea by himself for example, but yaya can win that midfield battle on his own-, and its not like busi has been playing badly.Besides, football is becoming more about “contributors” than “starters” IMO.

  31. I haven’t been paying enough attention, can anyone explain to me how the AFE strike on matchday 33 will affect us?

    Will we not play? will the game be replayed later? will it have no overt affect?

    1. According to Sid Lowe there won’t be a strike.


  32. Off topic:

    Has anyone seen the amazingly awesome Fathead decals that are now available of Messi, Puyol, and Henry?


    Holy shnikeys!!!

  33. Hi ? extremely good website you might have developed. I enjoyed studying this posting. I did need to be able to write a remark to inform you that the style of this website is really aesthetically pleasing. I utilized to get a graphic designer, now I am a copy editor. I have always loved operating with computer systems and am trying to understand code in my spare time.

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