Don’t Think About A Season, Think About History

From the ever-growing number of awesomely Barçtastic Nike ads comes this gem:

(H/T: Ade C.)

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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.

98 Comments

  1. elking
    May 10, 2010

    And here’s the same ad with English subtitles, courtesy of TotalBarca

    *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3NHDwLOrZ8&feature=player_embedded

  2. ooga aga
    May 10, 2010

    love the ad but frankly it disgusts me to see my team shilling for nike, or any other sportswear manufacturer for that matter.

    of course, “everyone does it.”

    but im still waiting to find the superstar athlete (im talking indivdiuals now, not teams) who foregoes the endorsement bullshit. they certainly dont need the money, do they? i can only figure they are money-hoarders, egotistical, or they are bound to do it because of some contractual stuff.

    i guess i cant expect people who play with a ball 24-7 to be very political.

    • Eklavya
      May 10, 2010

      I think the goal of the ad is more to promote team spirit and team history. Chelsea, Man City and even this year’s EE can’t do that ad. It would be wrong.

      Barca players have also done ads on AIDS, thanks to Unicef. I find it more awesome than disgusting if you ask me…

      • ooga aga
        May 10, 2010

        like i said, i love the ad (and the concept), hate that it has to do with nike. we can celebrate the existence of the cantera without having it represented in a nike commercial, it’s not hard.

        what is awesome, as you say, are the ads and promos we do for not-for-profit causes.that is what sets us apart. i shouldnt have brought this up, i guess i dont really want to get into some discussion of crapitalism. my bad.

        • May 10, 2010

          I think at some level it’s a pertinent conversation to have–I’m not Nike fan myself (just bought my first Nike shoes in 15 years and only because they were the T90s and I think they’re really good)–because the team can and should be held to a higher standard thanks to its mottos, posturing, etc.

          The UNICEF thing is wonderful and I think it should be how we run our club, but the thing is, Nike is a major reason we’re as big a club as we are–the deal with them has been worth ridiculous amounts of money and it’s impossible to maintain what we have now without that kind of cash.

          I’m not justifying it, by the way, merely pointing that out. I would give up the continuous sporting success of the last 2 years to have a team more in line with how I think politically, but I can understand the other side of the debate as well. Naturally, though, I think we can have that kind of success *without* Nike and its money, but it’d be far harder, naturally.

        • May 10, 2010

          I still love the ad, though, because I just ignore the Nike part and enjoy the cantera part.

          • Aeneas
            May 10, 2010

            I’d hate to see what the ticket prices would be without the support of our sponsors. Not to say I don’t also dream of an ideal marketing strategy.

        • May 10, 2010

          I guess Paul Scholes would be one. Class with the ball. Nuclear bomb of a shot. Immaculate passing – both long and short. Can tame a cannon-ball with his first touch. Vision few can match in contemporary football. Though his timing on tackles is a bit crocked.

          Never left his club… didn’t even consider doing it.

          And I’ve never seen him endorse a brand. He looks so much like the kind of player who comes and trains in the morning, goes back home to watch a game or two on the TV, hits the gym in the afternoon, plays the match in the evening, goes to the bar with the boys and jumps into bed with child-like expectancy for training the next day.

          No other example comes to my mind.

  3. Stephen
    May 10, 2010

    Love it. Now more than ever since the historical events keep on piling on. I’m all about Cantera power, but you cannot deny that sometimes you just need “other” players. No Cantera can make another alves, or another Abidal, or another Yaya 🙂 just saying.

    Visça Barça!

  4. Tyler
    May 10, 2010

    I love love love that ad. It gives me goosebumps every time I watch it.

  5. ooga aga
    May 10, 2010

    news:

    maxwell out for three weeks

    zlatan’s agent quoted as saying “”Despite what everyone is saying, Zlatan loves it in Barcelona and will be there for a long time.”

    last game is sunday at 1 pm eastern

    the official site has an article titled “barca without xavi also wins.” stating he will miss the last match due to sanction. i doubt this is smoke and mirrors, folks, he really is suspended. it says we have lacked xavi 5 times this year and have won all the matches. to wit: Liga: FCB-Racing (4-0), Liga: Zaragoza-FCB (2-4), Liga: FCB-Osasuna (2-0), Champions: FCB-Stuttgart (4-0), Copa: C. Leonesa-FCB (0-2).

    phil ball: *http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/story?id=784552&sec=europe&root=europe&cc=3888

      • Blow-Grenade
        May 10, 2010

        There is talk that Iniesta could make an appearence.
        *http://sport.es/default.asp?idpublicacio_PK=44&idioma=CAS&idnoticia_PK=712201&idseccio_PK=803

  6. ooga aga
    May 10, 2010

    one more thing, kxev and isaiah, if you have trouble finding someone to write match reviews next year (i.e. a new kxevin), how about having a rotating cast? we could sign up for slots in advance, and each slot with a back-up, just in case. i think w/o kxevin the quality of the writing is gonna have to go down, it’s inevitable. of course there would need to be some sort of quality control.

    i would do a couple, i can actually write just fine, when i try. i’ve even peen published! 😉

    • Eklavya
      May 10, 2010

      Kxevin gets all the CL matches and El Clasics. 😀
      I’ve booked for him! 😀

    • lovelymofo
      May 10, 2010

      So, seriously? Kxevin will be writing less next year? I has a sad. 🙁

      Can we steal Ramzi away from the offside?

      • barca96
        May 10, 2010

        ramzi is superb!!
        but i fall asleep half way…just kidding! :p
        their just so long…but of great quality!!

        • Kxevin
          May 10, 2010

          No, Kxevin won’t be. Unless he gets his ass kicked so badly racing this season that he determines he is done trying to make a bicycle go really fast, and decides to sit on the sofa and get fat. 😀

          And we have surprises in store, don’t you worry. ooga aga’s notion is also very good.

  7. Helge
    May 10, 2010

    This is not nonsense at all! Change category please 😉

    It’s great news, the biggest news of the week from my point of view, that the final match will be on Sunday! I wouldn’t be able to watch on Saturday, and I was highly expecting the match to be played then. But thank God, I can watch it live now.
    Also, this equals one more day for Iniesta to get back into the team, I’m confident of him getting to play at least one complete half.

    • lovelymofo
      May 10, 2010

      I’m glad its on Sunday too! I have work and then a wedding on Saturday and was trying to figure out how to squeeze the match in.

    • vicsoc8
      May 10, 2010

      Ugh, I have practice on Sunday, at the exact same time as the game. Looks like it’s replays for me.

  8. Helge
    May 10, 2010

    Oh, and AS reports that Madrid want to offload Higuain, just like they did with Robben and Sneijder. Didn’t they learn anything from it?:D

  9. Ciaran
    May 10, 2010

    Pedro and Valdes named in provisional Spain squad.
    Pedro, Guiza, Llorente, Torres & Villa are the forwards
    Casillas, Reina, Diego Lopez, Valdes & De Gea are the keepers.

    • Tyler
      May 10, 2010

      I’m so happy for Valdes! Pedro too, but Valdes has worked his a$$ off to earn that spot, and his defnitely Spain’s best keeper right now. Although, I understand Iker being first string. Man, Barca kind of is Spain’s national team haha. Just imagine if messi had chosen not to play for Argentina!

    • BA
      May 10, 2010

      Portugal also named their prelim squad today, and despite being ranked #3 in the world it looks decidedly weak on paper. a strong attack (most of that strength coming from Ronaldo), but the midfield looks hopeless, defense hardly better and with 3 goalkeepers i’ve never heard of:

      Goalkeepers: Eduardo (Braga), Daniel Fernandes (Iraklis), Beto (Porto).
      Defenders: Miguel (Valencia), Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea), Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea), Bruno Alves (Porto), Rolando (Porto), Ricardo Costa (Lille), Pepe (Real Madrid), Fabio Coentrao (Benfica).
      Midfielders: Pedro Mendes (Sporting), Duda (Malaga), Ze Castro (Deportivo Coruna), Tiago (Atletico Madrid), Deco (Chelsea), Raul Meireles (Porto), Miguel Veloso (Sporting).
      Forwards: Simao Sabrosa (Atletico Madrid), Danny (Zenit St Petersburg), Liedson (Sporting), Hugo Almeida (Werder Bremen), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Nani (Manchester United).

      Pepe is in the squad despite having played about zero football all year, while João Moutinho is left out completely? i’ll predict they don’t make it out of their group (the Group of Death) right now.

      • Tyler
        May 10, 2010

        Portugal is number 3??? Didn’t they barely squeak into qualifying via a playoff? Que asco, my hatred for Crynaldo runs so deep I even despise his country’s team because he plays for it.

        • Helge
          May 11, 2010

          Haha, me too.

          Note that they’ve only called up 3 strikers (no Quaresma for instance), but the biggest surprise is the omission of Joao Moutinho. I don’t see them getting farther than the quarter-finals. Maybe even not farther than the groupstage 😀

  10. Ciaran
    May 10, 2010

    Pedro and Valdes named in provisional 30-man Spain squad.
    Pedro, Guiza, Llorente, Torres & Villa are the forwards
    Casillas, Reina, Diego Lopez, Valdes & De Gea are the keepers.

  11. vicsoc8
    May 10, 2010

    I’m of two minds about the ad.

    On one hand it is very cool, and I love how it highlights the unique dedication of the club to developing young players who can play in the first team.

    On the other hand I wonder if it’s wise to start putting youth team players in commercials. Besides increasing pressure on the players to live up to the reputation of being in the commercials, it could also be sending the wrong message to our youth about the place and relative importance of advertising and capitalism in the game.

  12. patrick
    May 10, 2010

    Just saw this and almost laughed so hard I peed. Sorry if you’ve seen it.

    **http://goo.gl/VDGz

    Messi to Madrid. Lawl.

  13. Kxevin
    May 10, 2010

    So is anyone else dreading Sunday? I am, not because of any potential outcomes to the match. No, it’s a deeper reason:

    It means no more matches. I find this horrifying. Yes, I have DVDs galore of highlights, complete matches, etc, but you get so used to that sometimes twice-weekly fix of the most beautiful football in the world.

    I know that we have the Silly Season, and World Cup and pre-season will be here before we know it. But the withdrawal is going to be brutal for me. It is every year, though.

    • BA
      May 10, 2010

      no more matches, yes. but it’s a small price to pay to wait less than a month for the WORLD CUP. a World Cup with at least a half-dozen teams i for one am dying to see. after obsessive WC watching for a few weeks then there’s the transfer season to get settled into, baseless speculations to be made and Dream Teams hypothetically assembled. it won’t be as bad as last year, take heart.

    • lovelymofo
      May 10, 2010

      Yes. I mean, looking forward Sunday’s match b/c it means (hopefully) another Liga for Barça, but then what will I do with all the free time that will no longer be spent obsessing on past matches and upcoming matches?

      The World Cup should take the edge off, but still! I hope all our players do well, I hope Mexico gets past the group stage, and I hope Spain wins it all. [Even tho, if Mexico doesn’t make it past the group stage, it serves ’em right, why is Cuauhtemoc Blanco part of the team, and even sometimes given the captains armand? DRIVES ME CRAZY. I hates him.]

      • Miguel
        May 10, 2010

        i hate that old fart.

        is johnny dos santos in the line up for the senegal game tonight? he recovered from his injury yet? i hope he has. not only is he mexican, but he looks like a browner, stockier version of my little brother. hence my affinity for him.

    • Tyler
      May 10, 2010

      I concur, the looming withdrawal that is approaching is daunting. Fortunately, I will be in Spain all summer long where I can get silly season news directly from phyical copies of sport and on the tele with cuatro deportes daily! Not to mention being in Spain when they take the cup will make everything a little bit easier….. but only a little.

      • Tyler
        May 10, 2010

        Oh and we better win la liga so I dont have to listen to all the madridistas that seem to dominate Andalucia!

    • Helge
      May 10, 2010

      Well… it’s always a tough time for us Barça maniacs, but last year, without a World Cup, it was even worse.

      This time, there’ll hardly be a week without football (be it CL final, friendlies, WC, pre-season) until the new season kicks off. For my part, I’m a football fan in general – as long as it’s entertaining and played in a beautiful way. And beggars can’t be choosers^^

    • Jim
      May 10, 2010

      I’m hoping for a Spanish win as I’m in Barcelona from the 20th July. Should be good. It’ll be funny us all having different teams to support after supporting Barca al season.

      Of course, being Scottish I’m lucky as we’re never in the finals so I can pick whichever team I want 🙂

    • Blow-Grenade
      May 10, 2010

      I have most matches from this year downloaded from rapidshare and I will be re watching them over the weekends to treat my withdrawal symptoms. Ha ha.

    • Alexinho
      May 10, 2010

      I’m dreading Sunday because we MIGHT LOSE THE LEAGUE!!! No real left-back, no midfield maestro–Valladolid or not, can we tie it up or will we have another Espanyol day?

      How come not one person is talking about this?

      • jose011
        May 11, 2010

        of course it’s possible we could either draw or lose, but honestly at this point it’s really not likely to happen, xavi or not.

        i have total confidence in this team to get the job done come sunday, so i’m not worried.

        chelsea were pretty much in the same position as us, needing a win at home against a relegation-level side and they scored what, like eight? haha.

  14. jake
    May 10, 2010

    Just wondering, how would you all feel if we bought back Marc Crosas this summer? Our buy- back option on him is for the end of this season, for about 1.6 million i think. He could provide cover for Xavi and Iniesta, though he might be more of the Busi-type midfielder. Could really help out the midfield shortage though.

    • vicsoc8
      May 10, 2010

      Interesting idea. I don’t know anything about Crosas other than he has been fairly successful at Celtic, but this is definitely an interesting idea.

    • May 10, 2010

      Read a little deeper, sir:

      Raiola stressed, though, that he believes Ibrahimovic is likely to remain at Camp Nou and would only move on if he felt the move was right for him.

      “Despite what everyone is saying, Zlatan loves it in Barcelona and will be there for a long time,” he said. “Zlatan was never offloaded. It was always him who decided to leave and chose his next destination so, when he leaves, it will be his choice.”

      Ibrahimovic is not for sale. Period. He might be if somebody rolled in offering crazy-ass money, but as long as Guardiola, the man who wanted him, is coach, he isn’t going anywhere. Bet on that.

  15. May 10, 2010

    From the mouth of Cruijff:

    Honorary Barcelona president Johan Cruyff has leaped to the defence of under fire Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, stating that his critics have very short memories.

    Ibrahimovic has netted 16 league goals and contributed eight assists to the Blaugrana’s title challenge so far this season and Cruyff says it’d too easy to say that he doesn’t work in the Barcelona set up.

    “Ibrahimovic has been instrumental in securing victories even in the last few games. To say so lightly that this player does not work, that he is not worth it is to have very short memory,” Cruyff wrote in his regular article in El Periodico de Catalunya.

    • Jim
      May 11, 2010

      I suspect he is defending Pep rather than Ibra but that may be just my take.

  16. May 10, 2010

    Sport, who we all recall had Villa actually in the locker room last season, is swearing that this time it’s true, and that he will sign with us immediately after the Liga concludes. Valencia are said to want 40m, with no players, since they need the dough.

    This would be, supposedly, the farewell splash that Laporta wanted to make, one that would also, presumably, pave the way for the Continuity candidate. And Villa wants his future done and dusted before the start of the World Cup. Guardiola doesn’t want to create any distractions before the final match of the season, but we have been negotiating with Valencia, and apparently are all but done.

    Or it could all be one big, giant, festering pile of bollocks, since Sport had him signed last summer. 😀

  17. Euler
    May 10, 2010

    There will be a great deal of time and desire to discuss the Zlatan Conundrum at great lengths this off season.

    A few thoughts:

    1. Coming off winning 6 trophies, Barca decided to sell their striker in order to bring in another and pay an enormous amount of money in the transfer process. That is basically as big a decision as any club can make.

    What Barca decides to do with Ibra this off season will tell us a great deal about how committed the club is to cohesive strategy and what the new leaderships direction will be.

    Most of all, it will speak volumes for what kind of manager Pep will be. Keep or sell – it will speak volumes about how Pep is going to approach personnel.

    2. While a great deal of focus will be placed on the Zlatan Conundrum, Ibra is most likely not the chief strategic and tactical concern the club faces going into next season. For Ibra to truly be the most important issue would require very particular tactical requirements on Pep’s part.

    3. The media and often supporters place way too much emphasis on players rather than skill sets. Much of the advantage and purpose of systems based football is to be able to determine which skill sets are required to optimize the system and then draw those attributes out of player by placing them in a position to succeed.

    Rather than focusing on whether or not they should sell Ibra, it may be helpful to think about what skill sets Barca needs in order to improve next year. Only then can you truly make a rational decision on whether or not Ibra should be sold.

    • Miguel
      May 11, 2010

      so we should be systematic in our tactics in buying a player that is tactically best for our system?

  18. BA
    May 10, 2010

    signing Villa before the World Cup would make me breathe so much easier for at least 6 weeks.

  19. cliveee
    May 10, 2010

    This will be one hell of a summer for us, because we have 1) The Election, 2) The World Cup, 3) The transfers.

    The combination of these 3 things is going to make everything very unpredictable. One thing interrelates another, one change influences the others. So maybe that’s why Laporta is working so hard to settle everything before he can’t do anything anymore. But if Guardiola stays, everything should be fine. At least we will see most of our first team players stay where they are now. And yes, we will have plenty of time to discuss the curious case of Ibrahimovic.

    I am going to get the new jersey with Ibra’s name on it because I have faith in all the dude! Visca Ibrahimovic!

    • jake
      May 11, 2010

      One of the things I fear the most is that we will get some idiots winning the presidential race and they’ll start involving themselves too much in the team. Obviously they need a say, but I’m worried that whoever wins will try and control the team too much (i.e Abramovich at Chelsea, although he’s not a president).

      Obviously whoever is elected will determine our transfers this summer, so apart from the probable splurge from Laporta to get some more cheers from the crowds before he leaves, it is fairly pointless debating who we are going to sign. Obviously Guardiola will have a big say, but it’s hard to see a new president not wanting a huge signing to commence the new era in the Barca boardroom.

      Like you said clive, its the combination of the need for signings and the election that will make this summer very interesting. And obviously the world cup may inflate the prices of a lot of our targets.

      I just hope we aren’t stupid enough to waste basically all our transfer money on a certain little Gooner.

  20. Jose
    May 11, 2010

    I laughed when I first heard those Ibra transfer rumors. We are not that kind of club are we? No way do we buy a player, give them all of a season to adapt to one of the most specialized, physically-demanding systems in world football, and show them the door when they produce 16 goals in the league… including the audacious goal against EE at the Camp Nou?

    Two years ago, the numbnuts came out of the woodworks to laugh at the purchase of Henry. Fans from other teams rejoiced in the “transfer idiocy” of Barcelona… They consoled themselves from our successes elsewhere (i.e. cantera policy, attacking philosophy, ‘mes que un club’ charity involvements) with the idea that we were so easily duped by another club. Even some cules called for Henry to be sold. But without him, we don’t win the Six.

    Ibra will adapt to us. The squad will adapt to Ibra. Give it time. We can’t be a club–and a fanbase–so obsessed with immediate gratification from all our players that we don’t give out the right opportunities.

    Fortunately, I know Pep knows this. Something that doesn’t get said a lot is how brave Pep has been this season. Even with The Most Expensive Team of Mercenaries Ever Assembled always within striking distance, this season we’ve seen the introduction of Pedro!, Busquets, Bojan, and occasionally Jeffren into the squad in league matches… and in hindsight, weren’t they all “must-win”?

    • Tyler
      May 11, 2010

      smartest thing anyone has said on the ibra issue in a while

    • Blow-Grenade
      May 11, 2010

      Ibra will stay through this year. His starting role will depend on how he does in the pre-season matches. He is taking a gamble though. If he does not improve he is looking at a lot of bench time.

  21. Eklavya
    May 11, 2010

    Today is Iniesta’s and Gio Dos Santo’s b’day! 😀 Yay!

  22. Nick
    May 11, 2010

    Nike is actually quite good. Used my T90 shoes for six years now. They look almost new.

    • Blow-Grenade
      May 11, 2010

      Love the T90 shoes. I have been using mine for 4 years now.

  23. Nick
    May 11, 2010

    El seleccionador de España, Vicente del Bosque, ha anunciado una primera selección de 30 jugadores para el Mundial con 7 azulgranas entre los que hay Pedro y Valdés.

    Fuckin’ get in!!

  24. Sal
    May 11, 2010

    Sell Ibra while he is worth soem money. Even if you give thi sguy 3 seasons he will not perform, because it is simply not a problem of adaption, but a problem of speed, mobolity, technique and work rate. You can work on the work rate but you can’t make a guy faster tahn he is, nor has he the age to do that. We won’t risk another season just to please the Ibra fans here, barca fans want to win the CL, we can’t stand a defeat like the on ein Inter anymore. If it wasn’t for messi stepping up we would hav a horrific season. you can’t expect messi to peak all th etime like that, he needs Villa to help carry the responibilty upfront.

    • Kxevin
      May 11, 2010

      You’re right, Sal. It was Ibrahimovic’s fault that we lost at the San Siro. Damn him for leaving Sneijder open for that one goal, for arguing with the ref about a Messi foul and allowing Maicon to tiptoe through the tulips for that second. And really, I’m sure that he told our defenders “Milito’s offSIDE! Don’t even play him. They will disallow …. whoops! Sorry guys, I’m still new here.”

      😀

      Or perhaps we should resist the temptation, alluring as it is, to blame a single player for the shortcomings of a club. There is culpability galore, starting with Laporta and Txiki B for allowing, in a World Cup year, Guardiola to roll into the season with the shortest roster of any club on the world stage.

      Then we didn’t do anything in the winter window, either. Had the Krkic that we have now been functioning that way all season, you could have seen the logic in that. But they still shouldn’t have ignored the gaping maws of winger and midfield depth.

      But there were unexpected circumstances this season, in that we didn’t have the same luck with injuries that we had last season. I haven’t checked, but I would bet that Iniesta was just about as fragile last season. But last season, Henry was ripping it up, and we had squad players such as Gudjohnsen and Hleb to fill holes.

      This season, no Henry (in effect), no Hleb or Gudjohnsen. So suddenly, Xavi has to play a lot more, and harder. Iniesta can’t heal properly, and we rush him back because we need him. Depth is not only a luxury, it’s crucial to the excellence of a club such as ours, particularly in a World Cup year.

      But you’re right. That’s all Ibrahimovic’s fault.

      Returning to the notion that Euler brought up of skill sets, let’s examine for a moment the skill set that Ibrahimovic has, to see whether it fits into our system:

      –Size: An aerial game and setups can come in handy.
      –Strength: Like Henry, he can hold his position while being battered by a defender.
      –Ball skills: He has ball skills every bit as good as anybody on the club, as regards control, passing and a first touch.
      –Mobility: Defense on one end, running down to fill the box on the other. That he couldn’t sustain it is due to fitness, or lack therof. Easily fixable. Henry had the same problem his first year.
      –Creativity: Our attackers get the ball in odd places sometimes, and must improvise to make something happen. Hmmmm….

      I could go on and on, but I won’t. Just look at the goals that Ibrahimovic has scored this season, and their import. I don’t think that people are fans of him as much as they are willing to be patient, and see if the immense potential is realized. I think that Guardiola is, as well.

      • Bill
        May 11, 2010

        Kxevin, would you rather have a strong and tall player who gives you 20 goals, 6 of them headers and 3 from pushing defenders, or a weak and short player who gives you 30 goals? I think the physical aspect of the game is more emphasized in England. This is where La Masia beat all the other soccer schools. They dont care about someones height. Otherwise Messi, Xavi and Iniesta would exist.

        The skill set I mostly look for in a striker, is, can you put the ball in the back of the net many times? Do you constantly try to do so? Are you ice-cold with your finishing? Bottom line is, you want a striker who does what strikers do, score loads of goals. Like Sal said, if Messi had gone on a season long slump or was injured, we would be in soo much trouble right now.

        • Kxevin
          May 11, 2010

          But we would be behind in the Liga had Ibrhaimovic not been able to be an ice-cold finisher at the Camp Nou against EE. Perhaps our CL campaign would have ended even earlier had he not been able to bundle one in against Stuttgart, or two against Arsenal.

          This disussion is becoming as pointless as the Eto’o one, because people who don’t like him will never, EVER be convinced. But for all the talk about Messi stepping up, and he did for an immense season, go back and look at how many important goals have been scored by Ibrahimovic.

          And yes, I would rather have a tall, strong player with great ball skills, who can also play in the midfield to create link-up play, but who has in-the-box creativity in addition to a host of other attributes, who can move defenders around, creating space with his mere presence. Sign me up for that program. But it’s easy for me to say that I have the same preference as Cruijff and Guardiola. Not that such things make me the same judge of horseflesh.

          We talk about La Masia, and our system, but don’t forget that our system couldn’t produce a single goal against United in the CL semis the season before last. Not. One. Can’t blame Ibrahimovic, as he wasn’t here.

          Our offensive complexities this season have almost everything to do with a lack of consistently excellent wing play. It’s a fundamental difference from this year to last, and one that people are hell bent on ignoring in the rush to bundle Ibrahimovic out of town. It’s at the root of the Villa signing, if such a signing happens. No way in hell does he lead the line for us. But he drifts to the wing at Valencia, as well. Villa on the left wing restores our attack to the potent force that it is, because everybody can’t collapse on Ibrahimovic. Simple as that.

  25. Bill
    May 11, 2010

    Its rather naive to think professional players would walk away from practically free millions of dollars worth of endersements every year, in exchange for wearing a certain company’s gear, and maybe 20hrs worth of advertising work every year. To protest….what? I mean, is nike really that evil a business empire, to generate that much passion against? Besides the sweatshop issue(every business tries to cut corners and maximize profits…look at BP and how much they spent to avoid being required to put safety valves due to cost). Nike really hasn’t been an evil monster as some perceive it to be.

    Besides, nike sponsors alot of small teams everywhere around the world, who would otherwise not be able to afford the equipment needed to play their sport.

    Ibra’s 16 goals this season is almost half of what Eto’o gave last season, even though Eto’o went on two one month long slumps. I knew it wasn’t going to work, and I was honestly surprised that professionall tacticians like Txiki, Cryuff and Pep would make such a move. The bad news is, It’s still not going to work if you give it another year or two. Ibra is NOT Henry, and Henry is NOT Ibra.

    The mistake people made last year, is referencing 2007 as a basis of making changes after winning. Each season is different. Therefore, when people refer to Henry when talking about Ibra, I say to them, these players are different. Besides, Henry’s resurgence happened only when he was freed from the striking responsibility and moved to the left.

    I was in favor of getting Villa last year if we had to get rid of Eto’o, but now I’m against it. Why? Because of a kid called Bojan. I could see this kid has been ready all season, but for some reason, Pep only gave him 3 mins a game earlier in the season. Bojan can effectively deputise Ibra for one more year, and if the Ibra thing doesn’t work out like I suspect it wouldn’t, then Bojan can take over. Villa would slow Bojans progress further.

    Another reason is, we spent 65million to change a position which wasn’t a problem in the first place, now we want to spend another 40million for the same position? WHen did we become like EE? If you really want to splash for a striker, why not Torres? Torres might just be an upgrade from Eto’o, and his injury issues would give Bojan alot of chances.

    Latest rumours are that Eto’o isn’t really happy in Italy, and wants to plot his revenge by engineering a trade to Real Madrid because he has a lingering resentment towards Barca and how he was bundled out. SAY IT AINT SO SAMMY!

    • Kxevin
      May 11, 2010

      Ah, the Eto’o business. The coach runs the team, and Guardiola didn’t want him. So he’s gone. Simple as that.

      As for Krkic, if he showed real ability to be the kind of wing attacker that we need for our offense to make it go, we wouldn’t be shopping. He hasn’t, so we are. Don’t let a few good matches override a season’s worth of general ineffectiveness.

      If Eto’o isn’t happy in Italy, those are his demons. As far as him being “bundled out,” both sides screwed the pooch, but Guardiola didn’t want him anyway, and I don’t blame him, if you look at the game the way that Guardiola wanted it to be played, something that we really won’t see until next season.

      If he comes back to the Liga, our defense will deal with him, just as they did the previous four times we faced Inter. Sneijder was a far bigger problem for us than Eto’o who, as predicted by many, has returned to Earth without the surround of Messi, Xavi, et al.

      The real question is fan expectation. Did people really think that this season was going to be repeat of last season? In a World Cup year? Many Barca supporters sound like EE supporters who want to sell Higuain, despite what he has done for that club to keep them in the championship race. “Yeah, but he should have finished here and here.” Are we those people now? Has success ruined us that thoroughly? Really? And now the rush to blame begins. Kind of a bummer.

      This club still has a championship to win. Simple reality is that we are one disallowed goal away from being in the CL final, and still 90 minutes away from winning the Liga, with a record-setting points haul. And we’re too busy bickering about Ibrahimovic to revel in that success, against so many odds.

      • Blow-Grenade
        May 11, 2010

        My two cents on Eto’o deal. As for the swap between Eto’o and Ibra, the swap hapenned because of his salary demands and FC Barcelona board decision. I believe Guardiola had less to do with it than is mentioned in the internet world.

      • KC
        May 11, 2010

        Eto’o plays wing at inter. Eto’os choice of passes directly resulted to two of Inter goals. If he passed anywhere else, no goals. Anyone of those goals missed, Barca are in the finals.

        “Many Barca supporters sound like EE supporters who want to sell Higuain, despite what he has done for that club to keep them in the championship race. “Yeah, but he should have finished here and here.” Are we those people now? Has success ruined us that thoroughly? Really? And now the rush to blame begins. Kind of a bummer.”

        Too late, barca already did that with Eto’o.

        As for his salary demand, how much is Barca paying Ibra, plus how much did they spend to get him? Wouldn’t an extra 2 mill a season (or what they are paying Ibra now) to Eto’o have been millions cheaper?

    • Lou
      May 11, 2010

      Look, I think Bojan is awesome and the future and all that but he’s not ready to be our full time first choice striker. It’s too much pressure that he is not ready for and so far he’s shown that his confidence ebbs and flows.

      He was looking really good at this time of year last year too, and then seemed to lose confidence after a bad tournament with Spain in the U-21 European Championship in the summer, and getting injured in the season opener.

      Bojan also has a lot to learn. He needs to become consistently better at wing play, headers, and basically become more of an all around forward.

      He has gobs of talent and I hope he gets a lot more opportunities to prove himself next year, but he’s not quite there yet. I’d say he needs at least another year. Hopefully he can keep his new found confidence and become a reliable sometimes starter/impact substitute player next year.

  26. Kxevin
    May 11, 2010

    Unfortunately, expect the Silly Season to begin for us early this year. Elections are in mid-June, and Laporta/Txiki B are working away to secure and sign players before they depart, in the hopes that the right signings will buttress their Continuity slate.

    You can only imagine that the forces of Rosell are working behind the scenes as well, saying “When we win, we might have to reevaluate dealings done by the previous administration. Just saying.”

    And so it goes.

    • vicsoc8
      May 11, 2010

      I wouldn’t mind if Leporta and Txiki B were looking to bring in smaller, more unknown players that would give the squad depth and be overall prude signings (think Pique, Maxwell). However this whole Villa business smacks of electioneering and I don’t like it one bit.

      • Kxevin
        May 11, 2010

        Very true, vicsoc. But I think that’s an unfortunate reality of our political situation. And of course, given that Laporta’s ultimate ambition is to be King of Catalunya, he would really like to leave the club poised for even more success, right?

        Rosell, of course, as the de facto front runner, has his own agenda. I know how I feel about the matter, and how I will vote when I go to Barcelona. I think that our sporting project is poised on the brink of long-term dominance. It’s difficult to find another club that has as many farm products, and young farm products, in the pipeline and in the starting XI. Of the club’s Catalan nucleus, Xavi and Puyol are the only ones with a limited foreseeable shelf life.

        Guardiola has done an excellent job of integrating young’uns into the main side. Thiago are Dos Santos are next up.

        I just don’t think that a potentially meddlesome new president, who will want to stamp his authority on things immediately, is what the sporting side needs right now.

      • barca96
        May 11, 2010

        villa is not because of election.
        he is just the right choice. a player we need.
        cesc is an election transfer

        • Tyler
          May 11, 2010

          I agree with you barca96. Bringing cesc is bringing a player we wouldn’t know how to integrate into our side. We know where Villa will go, we know how he plays and it will help our striker depth rotation. Now Cesc could conceivably help our midfield depth, but does he want to ride pine on the world’s best bench? I know I would, but I’m a 24 year old schmuck going to grad school. Villa is the first transfer we need. Period. I honestly can’t think of one player who more fits the Barca profile and fulfills a need we are desperate for.

          Now from there we gotta get some midfielders to take minutes and matches off of Xavi and Iniesta’s legs. That is the area where I think we can make smart purchases without having to splash mega cash. I mean look at the Maxwell purchase. Arguably the most crucial transfer of this season and he was 4.5 million euro. In baseball you have players called utility players. These guys usually float from team to team but can play a variety of positions and help the team from the abuse of a looooong season. Maxwell was that guy and we could of used like 3 more of him. So I hope after all the election business we can make smart buys/buy backs/loan offers to get guys who can get the job done without having to be the flashiest player on the field.

          • Tyler
            May 11, 2010

            Oh and if Villa is coming, I’m sooooooo buying a long sleeve David Villa 7 jersey.

        • barca96
          May 11, 2010

          and from laporta’s recent commentes, looks like fontas and muniesa are going to be promoted too

          • vicsoc8
            May 11, 2010

            Well you should take that with a grain of salt. Despite Laporta’s other failings he is very good about letting Pep run the team and decide who’s ready for promotion.

  27. vicsoc8
    May 11, 2010

    In an effort to avoid the whole Ibra subject, these are the players we currently have on loan:

    Botia – Sporting de Gijon
    Hleb – Stuttgart
    Caceres – Juventus
    Kierrison – Fiorentina
    Victor Sanchez – Xerex (essentially a loan, 0$ transfer with 0$ buyback clause)
    Henrique – Racing
    Crosas – Celtic (1.6 mil euro buyback clause)

    What should we do with them? Remember that Hleb, Caceres, Henrique, and Keirrison are all non-EU players, and we can only have three (currently we have Toure and Chygrynskiy).

    Personally:
    Sell Hleb, Caceres, and Victor Sanchez (after bringing him back)
    Let Keirrison stay on loan at Fiorentina
    Try Henrique and Botia during the preseason before deciding (although we should keep or promote 1 or 2 new defenders)
    I have no idea on Crosas

    • Euler
      May 11, 2010

      This is an important subject opportunity to develop depth. Agree on Hleb and Caceres. Not sure on Sanchez.

      With Henrique and Botia, much of it depends on Chygrynskiy. He needs to be much better. If not the squad may have issues develop in the back line. If either Henrique or Botia look up to it, that would be very helpful. I’d like to see one of them contribute.

      Crosas could be very helpful as well given his position – but I don’t know if he’s ready.

  28. Euler
    May 11, 2010

    Villa (or some kind of front line player) will be the focus of attention but that kind of signing alone will prove inadequate. This squad is desperately short of depth. That problem will only get worse next year unless significant steps are taken to rectify the problem.

    An upgrade on left wing is greatly needed and Villa would fit in a number of ways (whether he is the single best player given the resources required, etc. is another story).

    But the upgrade on LF alone will not put Barca in the best position to win. Depth in the midfield and perhaps even in center back is needed. The Maxwell signing is a very good model for the kind of smart, financially efficient signings we need.

    That said, I too am concerned that the convergence of the elections and World Cup could make this a difficult off season to witness because it could lead to decisions being made for political rather than performance reasons.

  29. Lulinho11
    May 11, 2010

    Ok everybody. Lets put this “Eto’o scored because of excellent wingplay” business to rest. Look at the video I put together, and check if it was wingplay that helped.

    // http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXlwGaLR25k&feature=fvst

    Also, pay attention to what minute Eto’o did his damage, and how that freed up barcelona to play their game since the other team had to come out and play. Ibra scoring at the 60th-70th minute was nice, but a striker who kills a game off very early in the game is what barca needs. Like the Manchester united game

    • May 11, 2010

      Videos are essentially meaningless. You could compile a video that makes Pedro! look like the best player in the world. Or Krkic. Without seeing the build-up play and the space that is created in the middle by width, and two defenders having to worry about a player such as Henry, the difference that width makes is impossible to convey from an Eto’o highlight reel, no matter how well done it is.

    • Tyler
      May 11, 2010

      alll I see from this video is eto’o scoring some penalties and getting some excellent passes from the midfield against some awful school-boy defense. I mean don’t get me wrong eto’o was a great scorer, but last year our midfield could run rampant over everybody cuz people hadn’t figured out how to flood the mid area to stop us. and a couple of those goals did involve assists from players on the corners of the boxes, including messi and iniesta.

  30. Kxevin
    May 11, 2010

    You know how we know that Euler is one of the family now? Because he’s just been Hectored!* 😀

    (For the unfamiliar, being Hectored is when you post a long or insightful bit of commentary, right when a new post goes up. Ha!)

  31. Tyler
    May 11, 2010

    but I said the same thing Euler did before he posted, but I added baseball analogies : D

  32. jose011
    May 11, 2010

    i’m having trouble understanding how villa will solve our LW problem. I haven’t watched too many Valencia games to know, but is he the kind of player who can beat defenders, hugs the touchline, and cut into the middle to shoot?

    • Tyler
      May 11, 2010

      he’s villa he can do everything. j/k, but yes he can do all of those things. watch when he plays for spain or valencia he hangs out in the left, makes diagonal runs into the center and can do just about everything with the ball.

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