Thoughts for Today: April 22, 2010

Denis Doyle/Getty Images Europe

Today is the first day of the NFL Draft. That means I will be checking my phone and texting with some buddies throughout the night while I am out to dinner with the lady and her mother, who is in town visiting. It also means (at least according to all the pundits) that Sam Bradford will be getting a massive contract valued at somewhere around $50 million in guaranteed money and $12-13million in average annual salary. That’s a lot of money. It is also meaningless when we consider that this is a Barça blog, but it’s certainly something to distract from the various media reports zipping around the Internet like the annoying mosquito that kept me up most of last night.

I’d rather think about the incredible story of Portsmouth’s decline than talk more about Tuesday’s loss in Milan. I mean, come on, Portsmouth had a potential international arms dealer’s son backing them and the extradition request from France for Arcadi Gaydamak might have led to creditors demanding repayment earlier than anticipated, thus dooming the club to relegation and financial meltdown. Whoa. [It was Peter Storrie, Portsmouth’s Chief Executive saying that Arcadi Gaydamak’s dealings were the reason the creditors came calling; he made those comments back in February to Sky Sports here]

Also, FCB isn’t embroiled in a horrible post-takeover march towards possible insolvency thanks to being laden with foreign debt. The Red Knights and the Manchester United Supporter’s Trust (cleverly shortened to MUST) are pushing to take over Manchester United from the Glazer family, which, if I’m understanding correctly, leveraged the club’s assets in order to take over the club in the first place. Then the family and the club announced refinancing packages to lower the annual interest payments on the loans and in so doing revealed a rather sizable debt. There’s much more about it here, but suffice to say that FCB is not anywhere near that kind of debt. I still don’t get exactly what the Red Knights and MUST are attempting to gain out of this, but if they’re working towards being a membership club again (a real club), then I’m all for it because I like to see the fans have a say in the goings on in the club. Maybe ManU will pay a charity to put their logo on their shirts…ha!

Barcelona itself is in a state of mourning, not because of the loss to Inter, but because Juan Antonio Samaranch passed away this week. He was, if you weren’t aware, the honorary president of the International Olympic Committee after having been the actual president of the IOC from 1980 to 2001. He was even appointed Marquess of Samaranch by King Juan Carlos back in 1991, so I guess he was a big deal. He was a Republican during the Civil War and then a Falangist afterwards; this, I’m sure, is why he was appointed minister of sport, then head of the Province of Barcelona, and finally ambassador to the USSR and Mongolia. There’s a bit more on him here, though the criticism section seems to have been cleared of most information (probably for not meeting Wiki’s standards for citing sources; standards that are upheld only when dealing with a recently deceased person). I have to imagine that there will be a minute of silence before all of the Spanish league matches this week in honor of Samaranch.

Here’s something surprising: Dani Alves‘s nonsense red card against Espanyol is being upheld. Naturally enough, this comes one week after Kameni and Albiol got cards overturned. I’m not crying conspiracy or Villarato or whatever, but I think it’s rather absurd that several times so far this year we’ve had cards upheld where they would normally have been rescinded. I have to ask: are our lawyers or whoever presents these cases to RFEF and the Competition Committee completely incompetent? Seriously, are they? Is that the problem? It has to be. I won’t accept any other explanation because it leads us down a slippery slope.

Victor Valdes has it right when he said today that the team can’t wait for Wednesday to show everyone that they’ve got what it takes to make the CL final. We left ourselves in a big hole, but it looks like the team has come around mentally and are sounding like they can kick some serious behind. Xerez, though, waits in between us and Inter, and they should probably be scared little kittens in front of our threshing machine. Victor Sanchez, you’re going down!

All I have to say about him is that Luis Figo pisses me off. Asshat. I hope we crush Inter so badly on Wednesday that Figo’s face falls off.

Back tomorrow with the Xerez preview (kickoff at noon EST on Saturday).

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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.

61 Comments

  1. vicsoc8
    April 22, 2010

    Alves card was always going to be upheld. I said this before, but the simple fact is that the Spanish federation is still upset with Pep for coming out and saying the referee lied when he sent him off. Never mind the fact that there was video evidence proving that this was true, Pep had the audacity to come out and tell the truth!

    The Ref association can’t do anything about it, but the Spanish Federation sure can hold a grudge.

    • Spencer
      April 22, 2010

      Yeah, there are numerous reasons why we will NEVER get a red card rescinded and that is one of them. Referees usually don’t enjoy seeing us win in general though, so I doubt things would be any different if Pep hadn’t said that.

      We’re so good, that referee’s in La Liga, whether on purpose or not (and it really may not be on purpose) try to level it up by not giving us many breaks and giving more breaks to our opponents. We’re used to it though, so like Kxevin always says, we just have to play through it because we’re better than that.

  2. Tyler
    April 22, 2010

    Haha, maybe our lawyer is Ted from Scrubs:

    *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiVrx9xgApI&feature=related

    • Tyler
      April 22, 2010

      And the more I focus on next Wednesday the better I feel about it. I think our defense will be rock solid and we can get an early goal in off a play much like our goal from the first leg. Then we can maintain possession fight off counter attacks and hope for a late minute goal, or penalty. I don’t think they will score, not after what happened Tuesday. I really believe this can happen. I know we couldn’t do it against Sevilla, but we weren’t the team we are now back then. Xavi will be able to get around the man marking as long as our forwards create space and movement. They will hopefully be more rested and ready to cause those monster defenders for Inter a little more trouble.

    • April 22, 2010

      he he he…or Dennis from The Castle:
      *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJuXIq7OazQ

  3. April 22, 2010

    This is the message I get. The brackets are my comments:

    “You chosen to open (no filename)
    which is a: application/octet-stream
    From http://www.barcelonafootballblog.com

    What should firefox do with this file?
    (two choices):
    – Open with (browse bottom)
    – Save file”
    I tried to find more about Octet-stream, this link may be useful:
    http://kb.iu.edu/data/agtj.html

    Again if its not an attachment on the blog it is possibly a plug in I don’t have in my browser. Especially if no one else had this.

  4. Corrine
    April 22, 2010

    None of the traveling teams were able to win this week in both the CL and Europa League. Fulham drew, but the game was 0-0. Just saying 🙂

  5. April 22, 2010

    Let’s get this song ready to sing:
    *http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/sid_lowe/04/22/lowe.barcelona/
    (and good read if yo don’t sing too)

    • lovelymofo
      April 22, 2010

      Ugh, someone tell me that Mourinho and Xavi didn’t have that exchange of words after that match. Doesn’t really reflect well on either of them.

      Also, what’s all this “Milito’s goal appeared to be offside”? It was clearly offside.

      Anyway, Visca Barça!

    • Luna
      April 23, 2010

      I’ve read so many similar articles. It’s as if the previous weeks where they had to grudgingly appreciate Barca, and wait, actually start to see how bloody good they really are, was just too much for many commentators to stomach. I can see them as they write, licking their lips, lips snarling in a cynical smile, clicking away as their words appear armed to ravage Barcelona, smugly pressing the send button to deliver the precious article to pudgy editors, whose comb-overs are drooping from the sweat that collects on their bald spots.

      Barca must comment on the field. That’s the only place to respond.

  6. Spencer
    April 22, 2010

    God, watching Sneijder’s goal over and over again literally makes me think our defense is retarded. They honestly might as well have been one person on that play, as they were all running around chasing whoever had the ball like idiots.

    I don’t doubt that we can score the goals to get through to the final, but I’m nervous about Inter making our defense look like fools again. We cannot let them score.

  7. Dave
    April 22, 2010

    We screwed up the transfers in the summer that why we have these problems. Henry practically an MLS player-at least Larsson went on a high. Bojan is for use against small spanish teams. Hleb/Guddy gone no direct replacement. Watching the purse strings is one thing, but this was a disaster and it was bound to happen. This summer AT LEAST four faces have to come in before anyone goes. 1 Botia back, 2a Deco-like player in mid f Silva/?- 3a genuine left winger capable of beating a player and scoring and 4a pacy 20 sumtin odd goals a season and give us back PLAN A up front. I think we need a pacy defender also like Boeteng. just my 2 cents easy to accomplish.lol

    • Cesc Blanc
      April 23, 2010

      you say pacy defender and then mention Boateng? Have you actually seen Boateng live? Boateng gets overrun by both Heinze and Branko Boskovic. Are you serious???

  8. Pulpo
    April 22, 2010

    Hi does anyone know what’s the best way to get an account on ftbz. How often do they open registration ? Is there an invite system?

  9. jordi™
    April 22, 2010

    So check out the new forbes valuations. We’ve moved up 3 places to 4th 😀

    *http://www.forbes.com/lists/2010/34/soccer-10_Soccer-Team-Valuations_Rank.html

  10. Kxevin
    April 22, 2010

    What in the hell is WRONG with me? I keep checking Sport, EMD and the official site for news that Iniesta’s injury wasn’t as bad as anticipated, that the miracle cure has been found and he will be back in the side for the home leg against Inter.

    Man, talk about believing in miracles, right?

    Dave, I think you’re being too hard on Henry. Recall that he started the season injured, and remained that way right through the WCQs and the infamous hand ball incident. By the time he got the ability to work and train normally, the season and real match fitness had passed him by, and the emergence of Pedro! was complete. No, I will never forget that the injury came courtesy of Sergio Ramos and his cheap shot, and Henry taking one for the team by playing the CL final hurt.

    By the time he was ready, Guardiola had moved on. He isn’t going to get a shot with the club this season and it’s unfortunate, because I think that we need what he brings, even if he can only bring it in small doses. I don’t doubt his committment to the colors. I have some doubt about what a 32-year-old body can muster, but as a match starter who understands that he will get at most a half of football, or a potentially match-changing sub, he is of value to us, if Guardiola chooses to use him.

    I just don’t think that his not playing is entirely his fault. We all understand that he has been below par for almost the entirety of this season. Yes, he was shit at Arsenal in the CL match. So was Eto’o at Mallorca last season, and nobody said boo about that. It was only the luck of a magical season that circumstances were different. What if we’d needed that Mallorca win, when he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with his shots at goal?

    I think that at this moment of the season, we need everybody to step up, including Krkic if needed. He probably will be against Xerez. We have two huge tasks: Liga and Champions League. We can accomplish both, but it will take immense work from a short squad. In many ways, I do think that EE affected this season, because don’t forget that they drove prices on the transfer market absolutely crazy. Suddenly, every player was overvalued, and we chose to sit it out. At the time, it made sense. Assulin was promising, but he has since dropped off the face of the earth. Thiago looked good in pre-season, as did Dos Santos. There was optimism that they would be able to contribute this season.

    But Guardiola wants to trust his grownups, which is his prerogative. We didn’t have the same luck with injuries this season that we had last season as regards timing, and the deeper midfield enabled us to absorb some of the sting more effectively last season. Crap happens, right? So now we see if our lads can do it. I know that we all hope that they can.

    –On another front, you will sooner see me starkers on BBC news, doing a naked Macarena with President Obama, before you see us sign Ribery. Between the underage prostitute scandal (he has admitted to it, but has denied knowing she was underage) and his rather dumb and rash red-card challenge that could damage his side, I rather think that his stature (and value) have taken a nose dive.

    Our off-season needs are another, in-depth post, but a left wing would have been a necessity even had Henry been healthy and excellent, because this would have been his last season in the colors at any rate. Midfield depth is also crucial, whether it comes from a year older Dos Santos and Assulin finding his way (along with Thiago), or a transfer market purchase. Defensively, we are solid. Txigrinski is showing signs. Caceres is staying with Juventus, but we have Botia and Adriano out and about, with Muniesa, Fontas and Dalmau deserving of serious looks, as well. And in another season, Keirrison will be seasoned and ready for us to evaluate fully.

    Our future looks bright. Even if we don’t achieve full success this season, we have the nucleus for a dynasty. Xavi has at least two seasons in him, while Messi and Iniesta are young, so young. Alves is good for a while, Abidal has at least another season in those greyhound legs. Marquez is probably gone, and Milito might be on the block, now that he’s healthy and has some value. And Puyol will be hard-pressed to be an automatic starter.

    I’m excited about the rest of this season, and just as excited about the future. I mention existing products because something to keep in mind is that the elections are going to disrupt us in the transfer market, coming in mid-June as they are. Txiki B. and Laporta will try to do some deals before they leave, but the odds of that are pretty slim. Who wants to get bought, then come into a completely different environment, right?

    This summer is going to be very interesting.

    • Colby
      April 22, 2010

      All of the turmoil this summer is what makes me want to win NOW. We could be a very different club next year; we literally have no idea what this summer could bring. Kxevin is right: we have the nucleus for a dynasty. However a nucleus without electrons is nothing (and yeah thats nerdy, but it’s true). We clearly have a slightly positive charge (missing electrons in the midfield, at RB, and left wing). If things go wrong in the transfer market, we could end up “average” again. So we need to man the heck up and score some goals on Wednesday, no matter what it takes.

      • Jose
        April 23, 2010

        A nucleus without an electron is nothing? Ever have 10 M HCl burn right through your gloves?

        We’re taking BFB nerdiness to a whole new level here.

        • Colby
          April 23, 2010

          Point taken. The whole analogy was kind of a stretch anyways 🙂

    • mike in africa
      April 23, 2010

      let’s see if yaya will leave end of this season!

    • Dave
      April 23, 2010

      Great post Kevin to give some perspective-however madrid will prob destroy the market this summer too,do we sit on our hands again?? We do need a different type of striker option as-well thou? A pacy/run all day type- Tevez. I just feel things will get stale. Henry was majestic for us last year but he just seems to be going through the motions. It reminds me of dinho winning the cl and giving up

  11. Alexinho
    April 22, 2010

    What is there any particular reason to hate on Luis Figo again? Anything recent? All I’ve heard from him is this:

    “For me, to watch Messi play is a pleasure – it’s like having an orgasm – it’s an incredible pleasure.”

    HA!

  12. Colby
    April 22, 2010

    **http://www.goal.com/en/news/12/spain/2010/04/23/1891078/joan-laporta-an-epic-comeback-is-all-greatest-barcelona-is

    Laporta said the following:
    “If this team that has won everything lacks anything it is an epic comeback … Anderlecht, Feyenoord, Gothenborg, Chelsea, Dynamo Kiev are historical moments that have increased self-esteem of the Catalans, of Barcelona,” he is quoted as saying by AS.”

    Two things:
    1. I completely agree with him. A comeback like this would be icing on last year’s cake. It’s like the 2004 Red Sox. Being within one out of being swept by the Yankees, and then coming back to win when noone said it was possible made the victory 1000 times sweeter.

    2. Could someone more knowledgable (and older than me) fill me in on the Gothenburg, Anderlecht, and Feyenoord refernces? Unfortunately, I don’t have my copy of Barca: A People’s Passion on hand to thumb through and don’t have enough time to search around on wikipedia 🙂 From what I gather, we came back against Gothenburg after losing the first leg 3-0 and beat them on penalties at the Camp Nou to progres to the EC final. Other than that, I’m stumped.

    • Kxevin
      April 22, 2010

      Yep. I’ll go alphabetically, rather than chronologically:

      Anderlecht: 1975, down 3-0 to them in the first leg. We come out, attack like crazy at home, tie it 3-3 on aggregate, and go on to win in penalties.

      Chelsea: Duh, right? 😀

      Feyenoord: In 1975 we were ground to a scoreless draw, and the predictions were dire, as Feyenoord were a powerful side. Charles Rexach’s hat trick at home put paid to that nonsense, however.

      Gothenburg: Again, we went down 3-0, came back at home to tie 3-3 and progress on penalties. 1986 European Cup semis.

      • Karo
        April 22, 2010

        *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kmVWI9Le28

        what about this last minute goal by Bakero that sent the 1992 Dream team to the semi finals then of course to European glory in 1992

  13. Corrine
    April 23, 2010

    messi is 6th ranked in the list of top earning footballers. ronaldinho and henry placed higher than him… haha

    *http://www.forbes.com/2010/04/21/soccer-highest-earners-business-sports-soccer-10-top-paid_slide.html

    • Helge
      April 23, 2010

      Well, another list had him recently ranked first with an annual income of 33 mio €.

  14. Steve
    April 23, 2010

    Great article by Dave Zirin on Samaranch.

    http://www.thenation.com/blogs/notion/554317/burying_juan_antonio_samaranch

    The man was a true snake, a proud Francoist until the General’s death. He and Avery Brundage shaped the modern Olympics. Brundage shaped them in the mold of Hitler’s ’36 games as a Cold War display of national pride and power. Samaranch took them into the new century creating “a neoliberal Trojan Horse: an invading corporate sledgehammer of privatization and payoffs.”

  15. Ciaran
    April 23, 2010

    It will be an interesting summer. David Silva has recently really stepped up, grabbing games by the short and curlies, and could fill a number of roles for us. I have never been his biggest fan, mainly because of his very poor scoring record but he has, like Iniesta, all the tools needed to score.
    Botia is as good, if not better than Chygrynskiy, Marquez & Henrique so I would imagine he’ll stay. Milito had been fantastic up until Tuesday night so he could stay. We don’t need everyone and only Pique is guaranteed a start. Pique, Puyol, Milito, Botia & Chyggy I suppose would provide more than enough cover.

    Arjen Robben, who was a Barca fan as a kid, has been 10times the player of Ribery in all of the big matches this season, and would be a fantastic signing.
    And another summer of growing maybe all Bojan needs to reach 20+ goals a season. He has been very good over the last 6-8 matches, even when coming off the bench.

    • Ciaran
      April 23, 2010

      *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhIblWADmxw
      Arjen Robben’s highlights this season with Bayern

      • Reagan
        April 23, 2010

        Finally, a friendly foe! I would love robben to come to barca as well! He maybe Ex-EE but still the boy has got game! maybe a lil selfish but he brings so much!

        • Hilal
          April 23, 2010

          Robben is a fantastic player and in theory he would be a great addition. However, he is one of those players that can spend half the season (or more) injured. I would definitely take Silva or Villa though.

          There are also stories floating around that we want Balotelli and that we are willing to send both Yaya and Bojan the other way as part of the deal. WTF?? Hope that one isnt true!

  16. Whatever
    April 23, 2010

    I think Mourinho will play the same way Chelsea played us on Camp Nou last season. A fucking space bus parked in front of Cesar. If we could only score a goal within the first 20 minutes, we’d crush them.

    • Eklavya
      April 23, 2010

      I don’t think so. I think they will play like they did versus Chelsea.

  17. andrew M
    April 23, 2010

    Samarranch is a known fascist. he was elected into the IOC through devious and corrupt means by the people who installed sepp blatter in FIFA. he is not the hero he is reported to be.

    • Cesc Blanc
      April 23, 2010

      it’s not black and white with Samaranch. He is neither a villain nor MF Doom.

  18. andrew M
    April 23, 2010

    oh and does anyone know, literally anywhere in the world where i can buy an official Pique 3, size Med home jersey? i cant find anything thats not XL…

        • Eklavya
          April 23, 2010

          These ones don’t work for you?

          *http://www.fcbarcelonashopusa.com/departments-home-kit-barcelona-09-10-home-youth-soccer-jersey.html

  19. Nick
    April 23, 2010

    WTF has happened to our bulletproof Abidal? Now he’s gonna miss Xerez with a groin injury.

    As for Figo, I just had a pig’s head shipped to Barcelona for someone to knock him out with on Wednesday.

      • Kxevin
        April 23, 2010

        The reports that I find are citing “discomfort,” rather than a full-on injury, and that he is being held out of Xerez as a precaution. And frankly, we shouldn’t need him against that side.

        Iniesta’s recovery is ahead of schedule and is progressing nicely, which is excellent news.

        And the France football “Hogate,” just keeps getting messier and messier. And surprise, EE says it wouldn’t put them off Ribery, who is already on the record as saying he frolicked with the prostitute, but didn’t know that she was underage.

        Sighhhh.

        Oh, yeah, the Ashley Young rumors are back. We purportedly have approached Aston Villa, with an eye toward doing a quick deal for around 22m. Left winger would be the plan.

        Man, is it silly season already?

        • Eklavya
          April 23, 2010

          Oh yeah on the Ribery news, they’ve found the underage girl (who’s name is Zafina) who turned 18 in February. There’s photos of her circulating on the net, but I wouldn’t recommend anyone watching them if any any of you are in office.

          The other two who are involved (although not confirmed) are Benzema and Govou. So no Abidal and Henry are involved in any stupid stuff like these.

          Ribery has confirmed he was involved but didn’t know that she was underage, which frankly, I can understand… she doesn’t look underage.

          If he knew, then they say he could risk 3 years of prison + money fine.

          • Helge
            April 23, 2010

            Rumours say she’s been 16 on the video of NRJ on youtube. Crazy world. But at least she tries to defend Ribéry and co by admitting that she lied about her age and by stating that she has been treated very gentle by them 🙂

            Oh, and her name is Zahia.

          • DontPanic
            April 23, 2010

            They say this is the girl
            *http://www.bu2z.com/images/photos-zahia-dehar-prostituee-bleus.html

          • Austxin
            April 23, 2010

            Wish I had more to provide on BFB other than tabloid gossip, but I read yesterday on Daily Mail that Ribery attended her 18th birthday party at some nightclub….kind of throws a whole wrench in the ‘I didn’t know she was underage’ theory….

        • Colby
          April 23, 2010

          You know things aren’t looking up for you when the first 7 suggestions that google gives after your name are “red card, prostitute, scandal, scar, real madrid, transfer, injury.”

          I’m not sure what is worse: being caught with an underage prostitute, or being linked to Real Madrid.

  20. Hilal
    April 23, 2010

    How is this for silly season talk; we want Balotelli (WTF??) and we are willing to send both Yaya and Bojan the other way…

    • Eklavya
      April 23, 2010

      That’s the stupidest rumor ever. No way Pep would ever want him with that sort of attitude. And is he even better than Bojan?? At least Bojan doesn’t go talking crap when he doesn’t play.

      • Hilal
        April 23, 2010

        Haha. Agreed. Just wanted to highlight that silly season has well and truly started!

        • Eklavya
          April 23, 2010

          Hector needs to come back with his pills! 😀

  21. Nick
    April 23, 2010

    No way Ashley Young is worth 22m. And no way we will get Balotelli.

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