It Never Gets Old

Messi's "accessory" is adorable
Denis Doyle/Getty Images Europe

It just never gets old. I’m still enjoying the mood, the pictures, the memories of the year, and the simple act of thinking or saying: “We are the champions.” I haven’t even played any Queen yet, I’m still too buoyed by the trophy, by the glorious season we just had, and by knowing I don’t have to write another preview for several months. Aaaah, life is good.

99 points. 98 goals. Our 20th league title. This is wonderful. This is fantastic. This is monu-fucking-mental. Guardiola is so full of it he’s bursting at the seams if he thinks he owes us one. Owes us one!? We just won La Liga with 99 points, defeating an evil conglomeration of the Undead and practitioners of the Dark Arts, and we very nearly made it to the finals of the Champions League. I realize Guardiola really does feel that way, that he thinks he has failed us cules in some way, but he hasn’t. To suggest he has is, in my estimation, terrifically myopic and completely retarded.

Last year was unbelievably magnificent. 3 trophies! It had never been done in Spain before and to expect it to have happened again 12 months later is foolish. Could we have repeated it? Yes, but fortunately sports aren’t won by who is the most popular kid in school, but rather by actually competing on the field of play. And we didn’t get the breaks at the right time, didn’t finish off teams when we could have, and were bounced from two cup competitions despite winning the second leg 1-0. So it goes. And I’m completely satisfied with that.


I know how good we are and I want to win trophies, but I also know what it means to lose, to be the fan of a team that doesn’t achieve anything in a season, that comes up short in the big games or even in the little ones: I’m a Kansas Jayhawks fan (Northern Iowa? Bucknell?) and I’ve been following Barça for long enough to have lived several failures, some not quite as dramatic as the others. Sometimes your team loses. It happens. I know we’re not very used to it, but sometimes it does. And when that happens that doesn’t make the season a failure. Sometimes it can bring the successes into greater focus, pushing you towards understanding how fantastic winning a league really is.

Our team has been around for 111 years. Since November 29, 1899, when Joan Gamper and friends founded the club. In those years, we have won 20 league titles, including this most recent one. That’s right: 20. Not 90. Not 80. Not even 50. 20. Because of that, it’s impossible to say that this isn’t huge. We’ve only ever done this 19 times before! 11 of those have been since my birth, but only 4 have been since I became a fan.

I, for one, am ecstatic right now. It’s like I just ate 20 chocolate Easter Bunnies…at once. The Liga title is the most important one to me, the one that outweighs Champions League, Copa del Rey, and any other trophy combined. Not only that, though, but we also happened to win 3 other trophies with this current squad: UEFA Super Cup, Spanish Super Cup, and Club World Cup of Club Championship…World…Clubs. That’s freakin’ awesome and, really, no one can take away Pedro’s winner or Messi’s Chest of God or Bojan’s cheeky tap-in. Those are all part of this season, all part of what it meant to watch this squad rock out all year long.

Who can forget Ibra’s Clasico winner? Keita’s hat trick (and Zlatan’s cañonazo)? Or basically everthing Messi did? Guardiola, for his part, had another inspirational video to show the players before the Valladolid match. Naturally I’ll have to reproduce it here:

Whatever you think of Guardiola, he certainly inspires his boys. And, in a sense, he inspires me. Work hard, work harder, and when you’re done with all that, get back to work. Resting on laurels means you lose those laurels, so next yea we’ll see the same fire, the same wonder, the same brilliance, and the same dedication. It is the Guardiola way.

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


  1. bill
    May 18, 2010

    Well, winning the Liga is great, but forgive me for not being enthusiastic about it like some of you. My reason is simply because…I know this team can and should have done alot more than we did. Considering the make-up and the system that the team plays every single game, we should have atleast won 2 titles.

    To follow up on previous posts, Lets clean up a few misconceptions, shall we?

    To blame Ronaldinho and Deco for the 07 & 08 seasons is simply unfair.
    First, our main striker was out for half a season both seasons. Therefore goal production dramatically decreased. So was a young but dangerous Lionel Messi.
    Second, our defense simply sucked. We had Zambrotta, Puyol and Marquez covering the back, with Gio on the left. And the other Gio as DM.
    Third, Valdes also had a penchance for leaking in some unexplainable goals.

    The funny thing is, Ronaldinho’s goal productions actually increased over his ’06 defining year. The problem with him were the stories about partying, which were never a problem as long as the team was winning but a different story when they weren’t. True that Rijkaard lost control of the locker room and players like Ronaldinho became undisciplined, but it wasn’t the only problem.

    If any of you recall many of those games in the wilderness years, we were usually up 1-0, or 2-0, then the defense would leak in 2 or 3 goals in the strangest of circumstances. Well, now, when we compare Pique’s performances and Marquez’ we begin to understand the difference and part of the story.

    In ’09, We fixed some of the issues, like bringing in Alvez, Abidal, Yaya and eventually Pique(extremely important buy). Messi and Eto’o stayed healthy for a whole season, and Henry made up for Ronaldinho’s goal production.

    Speaking of Henry, he sucked at the beginning of last season too. The difference with this season is that we didn’t have options at left wing, and therefore gave him time to work through his issues. If you recall well, Eto’o was hot at the beginning, banging in goals just like Ibra did this season, and then Messi got hot around october/november, and Henry stepped up around January, which was timely since Eto’o sucked at that point.

    The other issue about point production between this season and last, is the fact that we dropped 5 points right off the bat last season. We also slowed down when we were up 12 points, and also after we beat Madrid and went up 7 points on them. Anyone recall that we were on pace to hit something like 105 points at some point? We were also fighting on three fronts all season long till the end.

    About the goals, this season we are definately defending better, Valdez is playing with more confidence and our possession stats are slightly better. But it’s not only because of Busquets either. Last season, we were up 3-0 or 4-1 in many games by half-time, at which point we simply stopped trying, and as a result, we carelessly leaked in 1 or 2 goals. This season, we have had our share of holding on to dear life with 1-0 or 2-0 leads, and didnt have the luxury that we did last year.

    ‘In Pep we trust’ is a motto I have not bought into simply because I see things I question alot. From his Personell decisions to his subbing philosophy(which I dont understand). Someone mentioned that we only subbed abidal for Ibra around the 70th minute against inter, when we needed goals. I was confused as well. He benched Henry when Henry started slow, and never considered that we might need a player like him down the road, therefore give him playing time to work his kinks out. Bojan wasn’t given decent minutes at the beginning either (or last season) to gain important experience. Yaya was also benched for stretches of time when he didnt play well, never being given time to work out his issues. He kept on moving Iniesta to the left, when Iniesta is a monster in the middle when teamed up with Xavi and Yaya. Good coaches know that players go through dips in form at various points in the season, and you have to give them opportunities to get back to their best. In the long run, it helps the team.

    Last season, Pep took Rijkaards team, added a few wrinkles to it and instilled more discipline, and the result was 6 trophies. This season, Pep has had a chance to put his stamp on the team and employ who he wanted on the team, change the formationss, and the result was 1 trophy, which we had to fight for untill the last minute. Forgive me for not buying into his greatness yet. I recall Mourinho praising Ancelotti for recognising that Chelsea was a very good team, therefore he didnt need to make radical changes, just a few tweaks, and ‘thats a sign that he is a great coach’ said Mourinho. I agree with him on that one. Pep did that last year, but this season, he made changes, and next season, he will make more changes. But if Ibra, Hleb and Chygrinsky are the standards of his ‘buys’, I just don’t know.

    • vicsoc8
      May 18, 2010

      You make a very good point, the issue with the 07 and 08 season weren’t due to Ronaldinho or Deco, they were due to the team’s mentality. After winning the Champions League the team had lost it’s killer mentality and therefore they became complacent, and didn’t win any trophies.

      If complacency was an issue in those seasons, imagine how hard it was to fight complacency this season? And yet here we are with a trophy, a trophy won solely through grit and determination and hard work and most importantly a winning never say die mentality.

      Not to mention that there was also tremendous pressure on the team this season. The pressure your way of thinking creates. “Well they won the treble last season, they should be able to do it again” – this creates a lot of pressure for the team. Couple that with the CL final being in Madrid and it is a veritable pressure cooker of pressure. Yet the players didn’t collapse and won a very hard fought trophy – credit to Pep for that.

      The shirts they wore after they won the league said “You don’t think about one season, you think about history.” That’s what Guardiola is doing, he is building a dynasty. To build a dynasty there are times when you must necessarily rebuild, and usually that comes with a short term trade off for long term success. Yet, Pep is building his long term dynasty and still winning trophies in the short term, not bad at all.

    • Ramzi
      May 18, 2010

      “To blame Ronaldinho and Deco for the 07 & 08 seasons is simply unfair.” then you find some other reasons including injuries and stuff.

      No one blamed anyone in the previous posts. Just posted facts to counter fantacies. You can put less effort to make “excuses” for this season “so called failure” than the effort you did for the Ronaldinho era collapse. Let me help you a little:

      – Ibra also had his injury problems this season. May not be as much as eto’o 2007. But adding that he is a new striker who needed continiuity to the fact that he was imjured leaves almost the same impact on this season as Eto’o’s injury in that season.

      – do we need to list the other injury crises we had this season?
      – Our defense simply sucked in 2007? compared to when? 2007 defense was actually a 2006+ defense. Almost the same players with some more signings. So this point is not valid as well.

      – Valdes had his flops in both seasons.

      – “The funny thing is, Ronaldinho’s goal productions actually increased over his ‘06 defining year.”

      Well, whats funnier is that Ibra actually matched Eto’o’s CL scoring average(assuming that the team failed in the CL this season). Even last season when Barca played in a very easy group and were full valvues, eto’o scored 6 goals in 12 games (remember the teams we played against). This season Ibra scored 4 goals in 10 games plus couple of assisits. Eto’o scored once against a less defensive Man utd, Ibra scored twice against Arsenal (in england). Both failed to score against Chelsea/Inter). And if you think Eto’o will be able to perform with this season’s Henry and iniesta the same as he did with last season’s henry and iniesta, you are free to do so. Talking numbers as you suggested, if it wasnt Ronaldinho problem (he scored enough), then it wasnt ibra fault this time (he scored enough as well).

      But thats all unimportant. The bottom of line in this matter, Eto’o was a key contributor last season, while Ronaldinho almost single handed achieved everything we won in 2006. If Keeping Ronaldinho was not enough to repeat the success then the logic suggesting that keeping Eto’o could have certainly repeated last season’s success is paper thin. Was it possible that keeping eto’o could have won us the CL? Yes, and no. We will never know. Was it possible that if we kept eto’o we would have finished the season without any title (not even the liga)? Yes, and no. We will never know.

      Regarding why Pep selected this player or that, I cant comment. I wasnt in the training session to know who is ready or not. So I cant tell if Pep did any mistake in that matter. What I saw during the games (the only place where I can evaluate) I cant fault Pep. But still, this is the same coach of last season. Whether you think he is good enough or not, thats your choice.

      “this team can and should have done alot more than we did. Considering the make-up and the system that the team plays every single game, we should have atleast won 2 titles.”

      Dude…welcome to real football. Do you really believe Greece was the best team in Euro 2006? Now that we are approaching the world cup, check Hungary 1938, Netherlands 1974,1978, Brazil 1982, and obviously the italians “Considering the make-up and the system that the team plays every single game” deserved the last one.

      Yet, here is another thought:

      This season we achieved at least the same success as last season. If we want to base our judgement on reccords, everyone can measure it as it suits them:

      – We won the liga this season though it was more difficult than last season. Saying that last season we didnt collect the same amount of points because we had it easy proves this point. Unless if RM was better last season?

      – We won the CL last season (we all know how). We reached CL semi final this season (we all know how we didnt reach the final). CL Semi final plus two super cups in spain and europe balance the CL final of last season.

      – We won the cup last season. This season we didnt even try to win it as we did last season. instead we won the clubs world cup for the first time in the club history. Thats a more diffecult title to win, and a title we needed more.

      I cant complain…

    • Ethan
      May 18, 2010

      Im sorry but i dont understand your post at all. Ill keep my opinions short as i dont need to explain them bc they are mostly self explanatory. Pep is a great coach. He took a team that was undisciplined and a player that didnt yet have his confidence(messi) and brought them 3 trophies in his first year. He did that with rolling out the same lineup over and over again, bc thats all we had. If you payed attention to the end of last season, teams were figuring us out and we needed other options, bc a repeat of what we did last season was going to have us trophyless this season. So Pep being the great coach he is, brought in some players, changed the system up, and then continued to roll out with jaw dropping lineups week in and week out. He gives chances to players that deserve them even if you dont agree with who played, it worked. we achieved 99 points in the league, unheard of. We grinded out match after match with what we had as we were plagued with injury all season long. Pep is such a great coach that he figured out how to beat teams that last year we would have struggled getting out 0-0 or 1-1. He employed a system that worked, and worked amazingly well. With his new changes, we brought in 4 trophies. Yes, not 1, 4. This team of this year won 4 trophies, or is everyone forgetting that the likes of P! won our european supercup this year. The copa bc of fatigue and injury, variables we didnt have to think about last year being we didnt play in these extra games before and coming off a grueling season where we did leave our skin on the pitch. EE spent 300 million euros for a team that was suppossed to come in and beat us… they might have had a chance last season with their new team, but this year we dominated. WE PLAYED better this year as a team, a whole collective team than last year. WE were BETTER this year. And we will be better next year. I am honored to be a cule right now and support this great team and club. We cant beat ourselves up over not making it to another CL FInal, why… bc we should have been there. We all know it, but you have to have some luck to make it that far, injuries and refs. Last year the ref helped us make it to the CL final, bc without him we would have been out. This year the refs in both legs against inter, helped us out of the CL. Thats life, its what happens, but it doesnt mean we arent better this year than last. And i wont even talk about the copa this year, last year we made it through with an insane YAYA run and INSANE PINTO penalty save. This year we just didnt give it our all bc lets face it, we were exhausted as a team, still playing our hearts out in the CL and chose to kill ourselves in the league instead, which i think was a great choice as it would have most likely killed us winning the league. AND on a final note, we had to achieve 99 POINTS TO WIN THE LEAGUE. That is insane. Impressive. and shows the leadership and quality PEP has brought to this team. MAybe you are a hard one to win over, but even a blind man would understand how HUGE of an impact our coach had on this team, his stamp on this team, his team? Priceless.

  2. fcbfan
    May 18, 2010

    The way I see it, the league is the work you have done all season. CL, CDR etc are knock out comp and you need luck to win those especially in the semis. League, week in week out, measure of progress, consistency. So I agree with Isaiah, the league will always be the most important.

    Of course you can be Atleti, 23 defeats and still may end up with 2 trophies. They can do that, not us.

    • Eklavya
      May 18, 2010

      Holy crap! 23 defeats!? Damn! And they might end up with a double! 😀

  3. fcbfan
    May 18, 2010

    and if we count by season, we won 4. 08-09 3, 09-10 4, next we can win max 4.

  4. Reagan
    May 18, 2010

    It is the sweetest title this decade only because EE pushed us right till the end and we didn’t disintegrate. It crossed my mind briefly whether we would suffer the same fate of 3 years ago when they won the league on the last day because they broke our spirit. This triumph is huge on so many levels because they threw an expensive kitchen sink at us and we didn’t budge one bit!

    As long as Pep is in charge, we will only get stronger and stronger and stronger. We are in the greatest moment of our lives as fans guys, we have to make the most of it. Now is the time to sit back and see what happens in our elections. Things don’t look very promising cos a recent poll on barcaelection2010 had Rosell as a clear favourite with 54%!!!! that is huge. Noone seems to comment on their choices so far and i wonder why. IMO Ingla seems like the best bet so far, equidistant from the continuity candidate and the rebel. what do you guys think?

    • vicsoc8
      May 18, 2010

      Agreed on Ingla, but for many many reasons. I’ll get around to expressing them soon enough

  5. tyler
    May 18, 2010

    First off, let me say I am so proud of this club. It’s ridiculous to think that we could have been undefeated this season, only ONE loss. This is truly a team that inspires with a coach that inspires us all even more. We should never forget what this feels like, because like Isaiah said, we’ve only won TWENTY of these! Sure we’d all like to be in the CL final right now, but you simply can not win them all unfortunately.

    A man (i’m not sure who) once said, “you don’t learn anything about yourself when winning. it’s when you lose that you are truly tested and grow and learn.” We will take the lessons we have learned from this season and turn them into success.

    Finally, I think a huge part of this success goes to a man who is always embroiled in controversy but without him I don’t think we would have got here: Laporta. Love him or hate him, in a matter of years he has completely turned this club in the right direction. In his words the future of Barca relies on three concepts: “Cryuff, canterano, and UNICEF” and I couldn’t agree more. Here’s to more years of success and being MES QUE UN CLUB!

  6. sirius
    May 18, 2010

    im for rosell, a real gentlemen, im sure he isnt lying about being friends with pep and he seems to have the philosophy “pep knows best” which sits well with me… theres a reason why rosell has so much popularity in barcelona, while laporta has done a great job as president he isn’t very well liked throughout barca ….

    • Reagan
      May 18, 2010

      Sirius, I respect your choice but who’s to say he won’t kick pep out if we have a bad run somewhere? There’s no way we can afford that!

  7. barca96
    May 18, 2010

    i am very happy as well. this is so meaningful as we were being chased right to the wire. imagine if we didnt win the league.
    we wouldve gone down from 6-0 trophies.

    however, im still mad at UEFA. It’s like they fixed Inter and bayern to be in the final and both equaling us as triple winners. just look at the amounts of assistance they both got along they way. this thought came across my mind after the defeat to inter in the first leg but after thinking about it, it became more serious.

  8. ElShowDeJason
    May 18, 2010

    Not to be cruel and unusual to an already dead horse (Yaya v Busi), but is it possilbe that the reason why Yaya has seen so much bench time this season is because of Iniesta’s lengthy lay-offs?

    No one can argue against the dominance that was Xavi-Yaya-Iniesta.
    The problem is that with Iniesta out, our second choice “3rd Midfielder” ,as we like to call it, is Keita who has completely different qualities than Iniesta does.

    Obviously Xavi will always be our tempo-setter, and distributor.
    Iniesta’s take on the 3rd midfielder is to open space by any means necessary, allowing Xavi more precious mili-seconds to do damage.
    Methods include:
    1) Being Xavi’s Doppelganger; by doing the same thing Xavi does but on the opposite side, it makes man marking Xavi and Messi increasingly difficult, as the scarce number of defenders are now needing to spread out and cover more people. This(having another distributor) also makes the ball move faster, and more distance, without us actually moving that more, tiring our opponent. Lastly, by having a mastermind Attacking Mid on both sides it makes Henry’s (or Pedro!’s) darts into the 18 just as much a threat as Messi’s, and gives more angles that Ibra must be covered for. Because now, dangerous dagger balls are being played from everywhere outside the 18.
    2) Dynamic movement; this year we constantly faced very organized defensive lines, trying to hold rank. Messi and Alves were always able to destabalize the right side with their movement, but it was evident that we were missing Henry and Iniesta’s on the left. Iniesta’s constant dynamic movement forces defensive lines to start moving a lot more than they are comfortable with. With the two centerbacks covering Ibra, the fullbacks covering our wings, and the DM covering Xavi, any Iniesta movement must be played carefully. and by constantly moving into different areas. And he must be played for a Squirling run, or a killer pass. This indecision in defeneders is really all the time Xavi needs to find the smallest of gaps created by the constant motion to slot a ball it.

    Keita on the other hand, does the “3rd midfielder” job in a completely different way. In the quiet ways that people rarely notice.
    Ball Winner. obviously Keita’s greatest asset is his constant pressure in the midfield. Because a midfielder under pressure is more likely to play a shitty or speculative pass, or try to dribble out of it, and lose possesion. Our system obviously thrives on pressuring other midfielders into turning over possesion.
    Keita’s Power, stregth and unmatched athleticism (maybe except for Abidal) are the best mix of traits to maximize midfield pressure.
    Box-to-Box Midfielder. His essien like ability to win possesion in our half, dish the ball off to the geniuses, and make a dead sprint into the opponent’s 18 is something that is severly under-utilized and is supposed to be our plan B.
    In theory, when this happens, It should make Dani Alves’s crosses into the box a lot more dangerous, because A) The defense doesn’t see Keita comming, and suddenly there is an unaccounted aerial threat in the 18, and an extra body, incase the cross isn’t that accurate (which is likely). or B) The defense does see Keita comming, and scramble, taking pressure off Ibra, Henry (or Pedro!), and possilby Messi. When we actually played this strategy correctly, I think Keita walked out with a hat-trick.

    but I digress, as this really isn’t a Keita v Iniesta debate.

    As we know, due to Iniesta’s injuries, Keita was our main 3rd MF.

    What we should ask, is considering Keita is starting, which DM do you go with. (I won’t go into Yaya and Busi’s skill sets, as I’m sure it’s been discussed)

    Does playing Yaya and Keita together mean too much steel and not enough creativity?
    Will it hurt our distribution?
    Does Busi + Keita + Xavi give us a more balanced Midfield?

    Personally, I don’t know the correct answer to these question, nor do I know if a correct answer exists considering every team is different, and should be played as such.

    We do know that Guardiola had to ask himself these questions every 4 days, and for better or worse, he chose whom he chose.

    If Fabregas does arrive, suddenly the question the possiblities and skill combinations increase exponentialy.
    I am willing to put it out there, that I firmly believe that If Xavi and Iniesta start next season, Yaya gets his starting role back too.
    or if Fabregas deputizes for Xavi, Yaya still gets the nod,
    and that Keita + Busi + one of our AM’s will be seen often in the CDR + against bottom 10 sides.

    I think this post is long enough as is, so I will defer any elaborations I may have to the comments, as replies.

    • vicsoc8
      May 18, 2010

      I think the notion that we need a different style of DM when Keita is playing as opposed to when Iniesta is playing is a very solid notion. It can go a long way towards explaining the choice of playing Busquets over Yaya except in those circumstances where Iniesta started over Keita and Busquets was still given the nod.

      • ElShowDeJason
        May 18, 2010

        that’s a good point, I will try to see which games Xavi-Busi-Iniesta were utilized in, and against what teams.
        I’m sure that we have a really small sample set, but we’ll try to extract some kind of meaning from it.
        Again, against some teams, no steel and all passing ability might have been a valid option.
        I’ll look into it.
        (or maybe my whole rant was the rambling or a desperate man who needs to believe that the Yaya isn’t going anywhere next season.)

  9. fcbfan
    May 18, 2010

    Why is Rosell so popular? I don’t trust him.
    He reminds me of F Perez.

  10. fcbfan
    May 18, 2010

    Is Rosell genuinely liked, or people voting for him to show how much they are against Laporta continuity candidate.

  11. vicsoc8
    May 18, 2010

    To respond to sirius’ liking of Rosell:

    While a candidates’ words can be informative, they are most enlightening when they are taken in context of the situation and the past actions of the candidate. Rosell has been posing as having an “in Pep we trust” motto, but any candidate who didn’t take this stance would be committing suicide at the polls. For this reason we have to dig a little deeper to find his true character. If you look a little further back you will find Rosell saying things like (I’m paraphrasing) “We will always try to honor Pep’s wishes regarding the sporting project, but we will also make sure that it makes sense” – the implicit message here that while he would try to accommodate Pep’s desires, the ultimate decision would be out of Pep’s hands. Many people would think this is a good thing as some of his transfers have yet to impress (although others like Alves and Keita have really impressed). I would argue that any manager will make transfer mistakes, and Pep should be allowed to make his as well, but I digress.

    The question is, if the ultimate decision isn’t in Pep’s hands, whose is it in? Right now it’s in Txiki’s hands, the sporting director. If you look back a month or two Rosell didn’t want to have a sporting director at all. Only after Pep came out and said he needed to have a sporting director because he couldn’t handle all of those responsibilities did Rosell change this stance. You might say “Look, he’s responding to what Pep wants!” but the issue here is deeper.

    To fully illuminate this issue we must consider Rosell’s past. Rosell has a history in the sporting aspects of football, he has been involved in player transfers etc. That is what he is known for. This shows that Rosell didn’t want a sporting director because he wanted to be more directly involved in the sporting aspect of the club as president. What need for a sporting director if the president is planing who to buy and sell? This is very dangerous territory, and why he has been likened to (I think correctly) Fiorentino Perez by some sections of the media and even other candidates.

    Now, let’s compare him to Laporta, who is not well liked in Catalunya for good reasons. These reasons are that he has politicized the club, and more importantly that he has an authoritarian leadership style. Despite these failings he has taken the advice of people who know better than he does with regard to the sporting aspect of the club, and that is why the sporting aspect has been so successful – because Laporta has been relatively hands off.

    Compare that to Rosell and you will lose the hands off approach to the sporting project. Not only that, but you won’t solve the problem of the authoritarian leadership style. In fact it could get worse. Rosell left the club very early on in Laporta’s mandate because he didn’t get his way, he’s not exactly a team player. Not only that, but the issue that caused him to leave was his desire to sack Rijkaard.

    Right now the team needs stability and a collective leadership style. Rosell wants to have his hands in the sporting aspect, and therefore won’t provide for stability in the sporting aspect of the club. Add to that that his leadership style will be similar to Laporta’s (which is largely disliked) but with different opinions on issues, and I’m very scared of what will happen is Rosell wins the elections.

    • Kxevin
      May 18, 2010

      Good stuff. It’s also worth noting that Laporta is for a more traditional Barca, which was indeed the real national team of Catalunya. Hence his politicization of the club, and outspoken nature regarding Catalan causes. It’s not secret that he aspires to higher office, and much of dislike also stems from people’s very accurate perception that he is using the club for personal gain.

      None of which negates the good that Laporta has done. But it is also going to handicap the Continuity candidate in the same way that Bill Clinton did the Democratic presidendial candidate in the American elections, the year that Al Gore was running.

      Rosell has made a number of rather incendiary statements about his role and transfers and the sporting project, that I find rather distressing. At present, Guardiola goes to the candy store and says “Oooh! Oooh!” Txiki B. says “How much is that little nugget in the window?” Then Laporta makes the fiscal mojo happen.

      It isn’t that difficult to envision a world in which Guardiola says he wants a player, but Rosell doesn’t think that is the right player. With less control, it would be a very effective way of forcing Guardiola out, without forcing Guardiola out.

      Rosell is well-liked, but he’s well-liked mostly because he is very artfully pro-club and anti-Laporta. His balancing act was very delicate, and very effective. He’s also distanced himself from the Giralt crew, and their censure nonsense, though he was assuredly their man, had the motion been carried.

      It’s one reason that Laporta is working so hard to get transfers done. He’d love to grease the skids for the continuity candidate. Barca is football, first and foremost. But history is that the Camp Nou used to be the only place, during a more repressive time, where Catalans could go to be Catalan. Laporta’s politicization speaks not only to his personal ambition, but hearkens to that time, rightly or wrongly.

      I think that we have to assume that Rosell will win. I don’t know that such would be the case were Internet voting allowed, because I think that a great many socis follow the club, and not Catalan politics both within and without the club.

      • vicsoc8
        May 18, 2010

        Rosell is well-liked, but he’s well-liked mostly because he is very artfully pro-club and anti-Laporta. His balancing act was very delicate, and very effective.

        A very good point, and the reason that Rosell has been the quietest candidate so far. Rosell has far more to lose than to gain by speaking up and actually giving details about his project. My biggest hope is that as we move closer to the election he will be forced to give an actual response to many important issues, instead of just toeing the line with media soundbytes.

        My biggest fear is that Ingla and Ferrer split the continuity vote, allowing Rosell to walk away with the win.

        • sirius
          May 18, 2010

          i mean i can only take him on what he says, and he talks about how he wishes pep would stay on for many many years…all the candidates know that pep is like a god there and to get rid of him he better have good reasons but i dont expect pep to really stay on as coach for very long anyways , hes said in many times that he doesnt want to be a Ferguson..

          you may think rosell has a tendency to do such a thing because its rumored that he wanted to get rid of rijkaard after half a season but you have to remember that was a much different time when the club was in dire condition and it was fighting for its life almost… i wasn’t hugely into futbol then as i am now so i dont know 100% the whole story or what it was like but im sure (knowing barca fans) that a lot of people for calling for his head i can also imagine how this blog would be if we were sitting mid table tallying loss after loss…

          one thing that worries me about laporta and the continuity candidate is that the ulta-catalyan stance… would we be really accepted as barca fans by laporta and his kind of crew?? they are very very nationalistic and right now barcelona is going through a very ultra catalan moment where shop keepers are getting fines for their signs being in spanish and catalan.. i feel like rosell will get away from that a little ( i do think its important for the club to continue supporting its roots in catalan culture) but also not alienating a lot of fans..

          rosell is a very astute futbol man from what ive read, he knows the game, he knows the players , why is his hands on approach so disliked??? we really dont know what goes on in the club and how hands off laporta is too btw.. and i like laporta dont get me wrong…

          as an american i am also shocked and intrigued at how these election are run. we have nothing similar to this in the states and i never realized how intense and how public it is… its similar to obama style campaigning, and im sure a lot of money must be spent on all these campaigns! its all very dramatic and exciting just like the game and coupled together with the silly season makes futbol like a soap opera all year round i love it!

          anyways congrats on the season to all i thought it was a fantastic ride…

          • Kxevin
            May 18, 2010

            But sirius, note that some of the Catalan cause-related initiatives have nothing to do with the club, per se. But this is certainly an interesting time for Barca to be electing a president, given the burgeoning Catalan identity that is finding its head.

            Or not. All depends on who you ask.

    • poipoi
      May 18, 2010

      rosell is just super-rich and has super-contacts, it’s a shame how much air time he’s getting while the others are getting none… I don’t mean here of course… so I guess he’ll win. Personally I don’t like him, that classic “catalan aristocracy face” but that’s me and I’m not a soci. On the subject of his desire to sack frank, I think he could have a had a point even though I loooove frank.

  12. Kxevin
    May 18, 2010

    Anybody wondering why my nickname for Keita is “Huh? What?” just needs to look at him, standing to the right of Messi. 😀

  13. Luke
    May 18, 2010

    Mr. Guardiola may be 2nd to very few in terms of coaching acumen but wowsers that is some, um, not great music. 🙂

    • inNYC
      May 18, 2010

      Utterly cheesy music is a key part of the “Guardiola Way” that Isaiah refers to…only Pep could get away with this stuff.

  14. Kxevin
    May 18, 2010

    Now as for the above debate, the Rijkaard teams didn’t win silver because they didn’t have a winning mentality. How could they in a stress-filled locker room in which some players weren’t practicing, factions were formed and people were scrabbling for a spot on the totem pole? They were too busy to play football.

    But also, Rijkaard’s mentality just wasn’t the right one for that difficult task of repeating excellence. Guardiola’s is. It’s an important distinction.

    Equally important a distinction is that the club’s leaders set the tone. So while you can’t expressly blame Ronaldinho and Deco, they have every bit as much culpability as Rijkaard in the club’s mental state and overall performance. It’s why Guardiola’s job one was lancing toxins.

    Yes, the defense leaked goals. But it leaked goals because rather than the intelligent game of hard work and possession that we play now, Ronaldinho was gifting possession to the other side left and right with his ambition, that wasn’t working as well once his skills began to diminish.

    To be sure, Guardiola came in and took over some Rijkaard players. But to watch the Rijkaard and Guardiola teams is almost like watching two different systems. This season, winning the Liga in an intensely competitive situation in which the other team didn’t blink until the very end, when it already knew it was over, is very different from Rijkaard’s teams, which did blink. That mentality, that spine, comes from the coach and the stars.

    Late in the match against Valladolid, already up 4-0, Messi was running full tilt at the keeper in an effort to pressure and force and error. That’s crazy. Yes, he wanted the goal that would break the record. But still, that level of effort from the team leader is contagious, and emblematic of the coach and his systemic discipline.

    As for this season, as Ramzi so eloquently pointed out, teams that are “supposed” to win don’t always win.

    As for Guardiola’s buys, everybody is damning him because of Hleb, Txigrinski and Ibrahimovic, which in my estimation is misguided.

    Hleb: Kicked ass and took names, got injured and was never the same, nor did he ever get that much of a shot in the lineup. Why? Good question. Not being privy to practices, etc, I can’t answer that. But his skill set would fit into Barca like hand in glove, as long as people don’t expect him to score goals. I don’t think that Guardiola did.

    Txigrinski: Again, showed excellently, then got injured, and was never the same until his last couple of appearances. Only then did we start to see some of the passing, positional skills and ability that make him so promising. Again, a work in progress.

    Ibrhaimovic: How in the heck 21 goals and 8 or 9 assists is a failure is absolutely beyond me. And he came to us, again as has been pointed out, injured and unable to do anything for some time. Even then, he did very well. Then he was injured and had a very hard time catching up with the train. But he was looking better and better toward the end of the season. Krkic got the starts NOT because of Ibrahimovic’s failures but because any coach will ride a hot player. Krkic was that hot player. It only makes sense.

    • Kevo
      May 18, 2010

      I think we should buy less, there are plenty of loaned guys out there that we could use? Like Keirisson, Henriquez, Hleb.

      Chigrinski is staying, so far… and i think letting go of Ibra is a mistake. He quite didn’t do as was expected but c’moooon! first season and adapting.

      Lastly, IF we let go of YAYA ill be very very frustrated.

      • Kxevin
        May 18, 2010

        Keirrison is staying with Fiorentina for another season.
        Caceres doesn’t want to come back.
        Hleb is coming back, apparently, to fight for a place.
        Adriano? We’ll see. Same with Botia.
        We also have Victor Sanchez, out, but I didn’t see anything from him that warrants a shot.
        And then there’s Marc Crosas, whose buy-back clause we could execute for a mere 2m or so.

        All would be squad players, which would have been of value this season.

        • Whatever
          May 18, 2010

          You keep mentioning Adriano… Who the hell is that?

          • Eklavya
            May 18, 2010

            Kxevin calls him Adriano because he hasn’t supposedly “lived up to his name” yet. Its only a joke of course. He also calls him like that to frustrate me a bit I think? 😀

    • vicsoc8
      May 18, 2010

      You have to consider Pep’s other signings as well.

      Alves: Fantastic signing.

      Keita: Has proven to be a very good signing and a willing worker. Also notice that he took a season to really fit in.

      Maxwell: Very good signing. Willing to be the backup and has adapted very quickly.

      Hleb: My impression was that Hleb was not a Pep specific transfer, and this is one of the reason he failed.

      Txigrinski: Only one defender has adapted quickly to Pep’s system – Pique. Txigrinski has shown a very good attitude and a willingness to learn and adapt. Against common thoughts, I’m optimistic on this one.

      Ibra: Not going there.

      • Luke
        May 18, 2010

        I am not as optimistic as Kevin on Hleb, although the beating he takes here is plain silly about 90% of the time. He had some bad games, but he’s not some rubbish USL D-2 player or anything.

        Chygy: I am still of the belief that he has great trouble understanding Spanish, let alone Catalan, and I believe this has caused a great many problems. However, I do think that with a full summer of training in Pep’s system and the knowledge that he is staying, he can start to turn it around and make strides. He is an excellent passer and moves surprisingly well, but he still harbors a lot of tendencies of Ukrainian defenders, which are greatly different than Barcelona’s.

      • Eklavya
        May 18, 2010

        Hleb was a Pep transfer. He wasn’t to be a 1st choice starter but Pep thought good enough of him to be a valuable squad player but his injury and attitude and slow adaption problems kicked him out really.
        I think like Keita he would have more used this season if he were here.

    • Jim
      May 18, 2010

      Maybe my view is jaundiced in that R10 is by far the most technically gifted player I’ve ever seen but I do think he has been dealt with unfairly when looking back at his time at Barcelona. I think Bill summed up my views well in his post. Enough on that.

      However I do agree that Pep’s teams have a more solid mentality about them. I think it undeniable that Pep has worked well with, and got a lot out of, his players. This doesn’t mean that he doesn’t make mistakes and at the moment his buys are the biggest question mark. That probably won’t be answered till next season but it’s not a crime to question his decisions and I have to judge by what I see on the park rather than what he might have seen in training.

      Kxevin, we’ll just have to agree to differ on the three you mentioned. I’m not sure we’re talking about the same player in Hleb. I never particularly rated him at Arsenal but at Barca he was much, much worse. He could keep possession but not much more and we have players not playing in our midfield regularly who have a wider skill set than that.

      Chiggy to be fair will be given some time next season but he will always be slow, can only tackle with one leg and to me never looks like he is concentrating or up for the match. We still need a quick CB.

      Ibra we have talked enough about but if he had been producing the goods he wouldn’t have been hauled off in vital matches and kept on the bench in others. That is undeniable. To say it was because Bojan, a youngster on the fringes of the first team, was playing better is in some senses to add insult to injury for the 2nd most expensive player of all time. For that money and after that amount of time settling in, Ibra should have been that “hot” player. Let’s give him another season but for me he has been a big disappointment.

      • vicsoc8
        May 18, 2010

        Currently I’m undecided on Ibra. I think he has a great set of skills that could theoretically be very valuable to the team. At the same time I thought the team played much more fluidly and effectively without him on the pitch.

        I’m just worried right now that he will become the most expensive substitute striker ever.

      • Kxevin
        May 18, 2010

        But we might agree at the end of next season. What I am saying is that we sometimes show very little patience for players that deserve some. What if we’d cut bait on Henry after his first season with us? All three had significant issues that affected how their seasons went. Don’t they deserve a real shot, with a real off-season and full integration into the side before we declare them failures?

        • Kxevin
          May 18, 2010

          And Ronaldinho was an extraordinary player who didn’t respect his machine, and didn’t want to work. So when his physical gifts went south, his game wasn’t as effective. But he was still a bad influence. Think about how amazing he’d be if his mentality were more like Messi. He’d probably still be in the colors. He treated the club as unfairly as people allege the club treated him.

        • Jim
          May 18, 2010

          I think we can afford ourselves that luxury. However, the only one I’m still not sure about really is Ibra. I can’t believe someone with all that talent can’t fit into a side as good as ours.

          With Chiggy its more a belief that playing a high line as we do we really needs a CB with heaps of pace. Trouble is we also expect superb ball control, passing ability and the ability to start play with accurate long balls !

          • Dave
            May 18, 2010

            =Toure pace-check
            Goal scorer-check

  15. Euler
    May 18, 2010

    Guardiola is so full of it he’s bursting at the seams if he thinks he owes us one. Owes us one!? We just won La Liga with 99 points

    What supporters often care most about is the outcomes of performance. Often times the outcome is the only thing some focus on.

    What club leadership, the manager, and even to a certain extent players can directly control however is the process of performance.

    Football is a sport where there is a significant component of random and chaotic behavior involved. Outcomes can be very precarious and there if oftentimes a limited relationship between how well a team plays and what the result is.

    And it’s that space that makes winning a treble (never mind every trophy possible in a year) so rare and so special. If it weren’t so difficult and unlikely it wouldn’t be special.

    In some ways the process of performance of this season’s squad was superior to last season even though the outcomes (i.e. number of trophies) wasn’t as great.

    Since getting knocked out of the CL many have deemed this year’s results as lacking. But when they do so they almost seem to be forgetting how difficult the hill that needed to be climbed last year was. The truth is that they just as well could have lost to Chelsea last year in the semi’s. One cannot count on Iniesta’s moment of brilliance as something repeatable. But the outcome was in their favor so the tenuous nature of the process is often forgotten.

    It’s not an easy situation to balance the process of performance and the outcome – particularly when you are on top.

    Focus too much on process and you can convince yourself that everything you are doing “makes sense” or “organizational philosophy” and in turn the system becomes an ends in and of itself rather than a means to excellence.

    Focus too much on outcome and you can become inflexible, unwilling to change and even age rapidly at one extreme. At the other extreme you can become chaotic as change is constantly made for little reason. The latter is the situation Real Madrid have been mired in for many years. So focused are RM on outcomes and results i.e. on “winning” that they have let their processes turn into a spiral of confusion in which there is no continuity.

    Balancing these two performance related issues – process and outcome – however, is the key to sustaining long term brilliance.

    And I think that’s what Pep and LaPorta have been committed to doing. Hopefully the next President will continue to strike that balance.

  16. May 18, 2010

    I’m nervous that the recent comments you guys made about how the anew writers’ length and quality posts got them recognized, is going to spur on an increased level of verbosity with unnecessary lengthiness

    Not that it takes away from the blog at all, but the first 4 comments are about as long as a Tolkien novel.

    Just sayin’


    • Kxevin
      May 18, 2010

      Don’t think so, JMo. I like that this space allows people to say what’s on their mind without feeling any real sort of censorship, as in “This comment is too long.” We discuss complex situations here, and I’m okay with people making themselves clear.

      Euler’s thinking and tactical sense got him noticed. My comment about the length was more of a good-natured jibe, in that people don’t usually come in with the big’uns, so to speak.

      • Luke
        May 18, 2010

        Not to mention that I’ve never written a reply here that was longer than 5 sentences. Then again, I did get asked to do it because I handled that *stuff* for you, yeah, you know what stuff.

          • May 18, 2010

            I’ve got no personal vendetta against lengthiness, but I just wanted to see what your thoughts were on the issue.

            One of the best parts about this community is that it’s not a forum of endless banter. It’s full of meaningful and well-informed individuals, except for when a Gooner or Madridista comes along causing problems, lol.

            Anyway, it wasn’t my intent to sound pro-censorship if that was the case, just wanted to call attention to the idea if it needed it.

          • ooga aga
            May 18, 2010

            i see it both ways: i like that people have plenty to say, i also think the more we can strive to be concise, the better.

    • ElShowDeJason
      May 18, 2010

      Sorry. 🙂

      But I’ve always been 95% short responses and 5% long meandering and often meaningless rants. It’s just the way I’ve rolled since the Offsides days…

  17. Eklavya
    May 18, 2010

    Aaaah, I’m loving all the debates going on here! So many long comments! It’s been a while! 😀

    You will excuse me for saying only a few things in a short comment:

    -First of all, really speaking we won 4 trophies this season. We won 6 trophies in a year (2009).I know most people know this but it’s all getting very messed up.So last season, we won 3. So is this season better than last season?

    -Does Keita always have a “Huh?What?” face in post match celebrations? I have a big poster of the team celebrating after last season’s CL and he has a typical “Huh?What?” face as well. Funny.

    -There are more and more Cesc and Villa rumors. Sigh. Get ready for Arsenal fans hoarding in!!!

    -I love all the comments this post has had so far! 😀 This is why it’s the best Barca blog in the world!!!

  18. Eklavya
    May 18, 2010

    And me being typical me, I forgot to close the italics! Some admin close it after “year” in the 1st section. Since we have so many admins now I expect better service!!! 😀 😀

  19. Kari
    May 18, 2010

    In a space where long, intelligent comments full of insightful…insight reign supreme, I have one thing to say:

    I. want. David. SILVA.

    That is all.

  20. vicsoc8
    May 18, 2010

    There’s talk of signing Villa for 40 million or so, and talks of signing Fabregas for 40+ million.

    Am I the only one beginning to be concerned with the financial situation at the club?

    • poipoi
      May 18, 2010

      we have always done those things… and now we are globally famous, more than the beatles!!

    • jordi™
      May 18, 2010

      I am, 80 million euro that doesnt solve our depth issue, especially if we lose ibra and yaya as well.Its like 1 step forward , 2 steps back.

      • barca96
        May 18, 2010

        if we lose yaya, we lose covers for 3 positions

    • Bill
      May 18, 2010

      Vicsoc, that thought crossed my mind. Can we still claim we don’t operate like Madrid? Ok, madrid is excessive, but at this point, aren’t we splashing money around more than chelsea, Man U, Ac Milan, man city and the other big spending teams?

  21. drew
    May 18, 2010

    i hope we dont sign villa for 50million euros

    • Vj
      May 18, 2010

      same goes for the other one who can’t be named..

  22. Helge
    May 18, 2010

    Damn it! I don’t want a nearly 30 years old striker for 42mio €, especially if the EE gets a 24 year old offensive winger for “only” 35mio € 🙁

    • Kari
      May 18, 2010

      24 year old offensive winger? You’re talking about Marta Viera da Silva, aren’t you?! AREN’T YOU?! ‘Cuz I know you ain’t talkin’ ’bout David Silva!

      All this Villa talk is just a smokescreen for the Silva transfer. Yeah, a smokescreen. That’s all it is. That’s all it ever will be. A smokescreen. Cesc Fabregas too. No way we’ll spend 80mil on two players and neither of them by the name of David Jimenez Silva. Nuh-uh. Just not possible. Not gonna happen. Not until pictures of their smiling mugs holding a Barca jersey are on the covers of the official website.


      Now, Excuse me while I go cry in a corner.


  23. Helge
    May 18, 2010

    OMFG! Now it’s even 50mio and a 4-years-contract. What the heck do we want with a 33 year old David Villa ?!?
    Not every forward is a Drogba and plays on the highest level with 32 years of age, not to mention 33…

  24. Bill
    May 18, 2010

    Haha. Yeah, I was shocked by how long my comment was! I’m a little wordy.

    To clarify, I am very happy we won the league, and the points haul that we got. Not putting any pressure on the team, I sincerely believed that this team could win more. So did all of us. As a matter of fact, many here justified the sale of Eto’o, “to avoid a season like ’07”, meaning that we expected to win as much or almost as much. Nothing wrong with that. And to be honest, if there is a team thats capable of doing that, it is this barcelona team

    Ramzi- I’m not excusing Ronaldinho and co at all. I always loved his skill set, but always winced at his lack of effort defensively. Sometimes, a defender might be a foot away from him with the ball, and Ronaldinho just looked. It was bad. I’m just saying, he wasn’t the only thing that went wrong in those days.

    And to say Eto’o scored against a less defensive man U vs what Ibra did is laughable. Man U went 15games without conceding a goal last season. But what Ibra did vs Arsenal was also impressive. I liked the runs, how he beat the offside trap, and how he scored. If I saw more of those, I’ll be very happy.

    • Ramzi
      May 18, 2010

      “And to say Eto’o scored against a less defensive man U…” it came in a paragraph where i meant that they played less deensive against us compared to Chelsea. The comparison was Man ut&Arsenal Vs Chelsea&Inter while comparing Eto’o and Ibra CL contribution.

      • K.C
        May 18, 2010

        Ok, Ramzi, as a chelsea fan, besides Iniesta’s goal, this was the only other threatening move from barcelona in that series. And Eto’o has constantly tortured us throughout the years, including this champions league season. And ’05 and ’06.


        • ooga aga
          May 18, 2010

          when we played chelski several years ago and mourinho found out that eto’o would miss the match thru injury (cant remember if it was group stage or knockout), he said to his team in practice: “we’ve won the match.” and they did.

          can you imagine his pleasure when sammy left this us year, and not only that, he now has sammy on his own team!


          • barca96
            May 18, 2010

            haha i never heard of that!
            but i always knew that sourinho likes etoo.

  25. Alex
    May 18, 2010

    Reporting of Villa being signed: – 40 mil – 42 mil
    Elmundodeportiv0 – 50 mil
    Sport – no price reported


    • Alex
      May 18, 2010

      I will update with what RAC1 reports in about 20 minutes

  26. Ciaran
    May 18, 2010

    David Villa is currently 28, due to turn 29 halfway through next season. If he does get the usual 4 year contract, he’ll be 32 when he finishes, and for the last season would be a very useful Larsson-type player playing minutes when needed.
    The accurate price for him should be around €35million based on the market. He will go for more but in reality, after the World Cup he could be worth a lot more.

    Cesc deal is almost certainly done and could be done for around €50million. The thing about that deal is that Cesc is 22yrs old and should get around 10years here.
    Our spine would be Pique, Botia, Busquets, Cesc, Messi, Pedro & Bojan all under 23. Not bad…?

    • Ciaran
      May 18, 2010

      Sorry, Cesc is actually 23. He turned 23 this month

  27. Jnice
    May 18, 2010

    Question: When Fabregas left us for Arsenal in 2003, did we get any type of compensation at all? I know nowadays teams have to be compensated, but back in ’03 it wasn’t like that, no? Isn’t that part of the reason we sued Merida?

  28. Dave
    May 18, 2010

    Next seasons team ( I WISH)
    Alves Toure Pique Abidal
    Busquets (???)
    Xavi Cesc
    Villa Torres
    HAHA Silly season at its height. oh and bench iniesta, keita pedro bojan milito puyol.Have not thought it completely out imagine toure remaining as a cb??

    • lovelymofo
      May 18, 2010

      Any line-up where Iniesta gets benched in favor of Cesc is just wrong!

      But I do hope Toure stays. And not 100% sure that Torres would be an improvement over Ibra. And I say this as a fan of Torres.

      • Dave
        May 18, 2010

        Im not denigrating ibra id love for him to succeed- agreed on iniesta- it was just an idea, a ludicrous one albeit.
        Plus more players will surely leave, no?? Hleb,rafa,
        What about thiago and jds?
        If drogba goes to Madrid- Toure= antidote

  29. Stephen
    May 18, 2010

    Love this post, couldnt have said it better myself. Thanks.

  30. cliveee
    May 18, 2010

    Fabregas and Villa will cost us more than 80 millions. But if we trade Yaya with Arsenal, that may reduce some. I personally think the club has the financial ability to do those purchases. The coming of Villa does not mean Ibra is on the out. But Yaya will be gone. I have no problem with both signings. Villa and Fabregas will only bring us more attacking prowess and depth. It’s only the price which makes me don’t want them.

    It will not surprise me to see Pep use Chgrynskiy or Pique as DM if The Yaya is gone. So, all talks about lack of depth without Yaya is weakened to me. Imagine, we have what, 6 defenders on the roster now and some other young guns are coming up and back from loans, how can we not rotate and make room for them? Marquez will be gone, so will The Yaya. But I am completely optimistic.

    Alves Pique Puyol(Milito) Abidal
    Busquets (Pique, Chiggy)
    Xavi(Fabregas) Iniesta
    Messi Ibra Villa (Bojan Pedro Fabregas Iniesta)

    Too many options, really. It will makes us even more unpredictable. If we spend the money and have these options, I am not against it. But only then we will have to concede that we don’t operate like Madrid and blame them to spend the cash to buy success. OF COURSE, we don’t buy the success. We still have what, more than half of the team from the youth system.
    so, screw you, Madrid.

    • Dave
      May 18, 2010

      ‘So, all talks about lack of depth without Yaya is weakened to me’- none of them can do the specialist job the Yaya can do-esp against your Chelsea’s etc athleticism. On Sport the overwhelming majority of people are against the sale.

    • tyler
      May 18, 2010

      I like the way you think. Not to mention having Keita, and Maxwell only increases that depth even moreso. Txiki and Laporta have made (for the most part) sound financial decisions throughout their tenure. That is to say even if the player didn’t prove to be worthy of the cost we paid it has obviously not hurt us financially. If it had, we wouldn’t be talking about Villa and Cesc. I trust in the purchases of the current technical staff and also of course Pep’s involvement with them.

      This season showed us if you want to compete in several competitions you’re going to need several players to not spread yourselves too thin. But it also showed (cough EE cough) you can’t just buy a boatload of players and expect them to play perfectly in sync. What I like about the prospect of Cesc and Villa is that they are top players who know the system and have played in it (both play exceptionally well with La Seleccion) they won’t take long to adapt to our style of play.

      My stance is if the money is there, then make it happen. The reality of the game is if we don’t make purchases to better ourselves, other teams will and will make us pay for it. Look at the incredibly smart purchases Inter made (Sneijder, Eto’o, Lucio, Milito) and look where they are. We just have to be smart with who we purchase and make sure they can fit in asap once they get here. I highly doubt Laporta or Txiki would make any purchases that exceeded what they knew to be out of our budget and that would hurt the club in the long run. Their legacy depends on the purchases they make throughout their careers and I doubt they would want to add a black eye next to any of the glorious feathers they have put in their caps.

      • Euler
        May 18, 2010

        Inter did very well in reading the market, however, and acting accordingly given the context of what Mourhino was hoping to accomplish tactically. In a transfer period when enormous dollars were being concentrated on superstar players they decided to focus resources on building quality depth.

        Inter saw a burgeoning relative inefficiency in the market and took advantage of it shrewdly.

        Barca seems to banking on a different approach. Build depth and the core of the team primarily through the internal system. And then add on high performance players via the transfer market. They are very different strategies.

        One can argue due to the inefficiencies in the transfer market, particularly in a World Cup year, it will be difficult to make “smart” purchases for top of the market talent.

  31. Ciaran
    May 18, 2010

    I totally agree with playing the Yaya as a centre back next to Pique next season. In reality, he is a better defender than any of Marquez, Chyggy, Botia or Henrique.
    It is very obvious that, regardless of our defensive record this season, our central defensive backups are not of the highest quality.
    There is talk that Marquez may be used as part of the Cesc deal instead of the Yaya. That would be sweet.

    • barca96
      May 18, 2010

      marquez to arsenal instead of yaya?
      where did you read that piece of magic?
      what a wonderful summer it will be!

  32. Euler
    May 18, 2010

    Barca is global business with over euro 365M of yearly revenue. Winning the treble saw an 18% increase in their revenue for the 08/09 season. This occurred at the same time when the global economy crumbled. That is stunning financial performance.

    Regarding the club’s capacity to manage transfer fees – unless the leadership is wildly profligate or incompetent the club should be in very good financial shape and can handle these outlays.

    The major question is what kind of trade offs the club should make with available resources. Much of what they need to decide is whether they should concentrate purchases on 1-2 players to address targeted needs or to spread the resources to better build depth.

    Both enhanced performance in certain skill set areas (e.g. generating width) and greater depth are required. How the leadership balances those needs will greatly influence how the club performs next season.

    • Dave
      May 18, 2010

      Is there any way to separate agent from client?? (by legal means, of course)

    • Miguel
      May 18, 2010

      all while spain had an unemployment rate of 20%.

      football is the opium of the masses ;^)

  33. tyler
    May 18, 2010

    What would also be fascinating to know is what happened to not allow Villa to go to the EE last summer. If I remember correctly Valencia wanted 45 for him but the EE only wanted to give 42. of course this didn’t happen and they ended up spending some 35million for Benzema and we all know how that worked out so far. Now what in the wide world of sports cause Fifi to not want to cough up that extra 3million?? Perhaps they were looking for the long run, but still 3 million?? you spent 300 million, you can’t pay 3 million more? don’t get me wrong, I’m happy they didn’t, but my mind can’t wrap itself around the concept of that.

    • vicsoc8
      May 18, 2010

      I got the impression that Villa didn’t want to play for EE.

      • barca96
        May 18, 2010

        how in the world did visco get a thumbs down for that?lol
        i think its true as well. he knows barca will come calling so he was hesitant.

  34. Dave
    May 18, 2010

    All these forward additions have one thing in mind- decrease dependency on messi and allow him some rest

  35. ooga aga
    May 18, 2010

    on cesc:

    xavi is 30. you cant expect him to be injury-free and at the same level in 2-3 years. it might happen, but you cant *expect* it to happen. in which case, iniesta will need a partner. (assuming he is also injury free)

    do we wait to bring our midfield successor when we have a midfield crisis, due to age and injuries? or do we bring them now, even if they are only a substitute (though used often as such) in the first two or so years of their tenure here? this could be the argument for bringing cesc. cesc can decide for himself whether, knowing he might be a sub for quite awhile, he wants to come.

    that said, i dont really care if he comes.

    • Dave
      May 18, 2010

      Replacing xavi will be a sad day. Fabregas is a talented player, but the movement and quickness of xavi is something he must learn. Sneider from inter if mour leaves- top signing DOWN THE LINE

  36. Kxevin
    May 18, 2010

    In play:

    Adriano: On loan, will be tried out (free)
    Botia: On loan, will be tried out (free)
    Victor Sanchez: On loan, will probably stay there
    Hleb: On loan, coming back, valuable midfield cover (free)
    Marc Crosas: On loan to Celtic, probably staying (-2m if wanted)
    Keirrison: On loan to Fiorentina, staying one more year
    Caceres: On loan to Juventus, who want to buy (+5-7m)
    Henry: Probably to Red Bulls/MLS (+10-15m)
    Marquez: Definitely gone (+5-7m)
    Milito: Possibly gone, depending upon above defenders (+7-9m)
    The Yaya: Probably gone (+20-25m)
    Thiago: Will get a look (free)
    Dos Santos: Will definitely get a look (free)
    Jeffren: Possibly gone on loan, not sold
    Muniesa: Will get a look (free)
    Fontas: Will get a look (free)
    Dalmau: Should get a look (free)
    Assulin: ????

    Anyone want to adjust valuations up or down, based on market reality? Holy crap, we have a lot of work to do in the off season!

    Needs: back line depth, particularly at both backs, left wing attacker, midfield depth.

  37. Kxevin
    May 18, 2010

    The biggest problem with us in the transfer market is that we are the best club in the world. No club is going to voluntarily sell us additions that will make us even better for cheap. Maxwell was a great bit of business, but those are rare at our level.

    Players such as we need to be useful to us are not, and will never be cheap. Not at the attacking positions. I would be surprised if we got away with less than 90m for Villa and Fabregas, if either/both happen.

    Does that make us like EE? It depends on how you view their expenditures. They were building a squad, wanted to do it fast, and didn’t care a whole lot what it cost. We are addressing needs, and seem to have a point that we will not go beyond. Unfortunately, politics has moved that point out a bit, but still. And don’t forget that should those deals get done, shirt sales will go batshit crazy. Just sayin’.

  38. Jnice
    May 18, 2010

    Ramzi, I saw your post on the Arsenal Offside regarding the issue of the way Barça has conducted themselves in the whole Cesc thing.

    Thank You.

    I been trying to say the exact same thing on other forums. Because Sport or EMD write about Cesc, does it mean FC Barcelona endorses it? Is it our fault that an article “unsettles” Cesc. Isn’t that a problem with him?

    If a journalist asks Xavi, “Would Cesc fit in at Barcelona if he came?” is it wrong for Xavi to say, “He would fit in perfectly, he knows the club” or “He is a great player, of course he would fit in”? It’s not like Xavi is like, “I’m glad we got the 3 points tonight, it was a tough game… oh and before I forget, Cesc! We need you hear at Barça!” I don’t get all of these accusations.

    And like you said, Laporta was asked a question about Cesc’s statements, and he gave normal answers.

    All of this “tapping” up stuff and “disgraceful behavior” accusations are ridiculous. Who doesn’t speak to a player’s agent nowadays? Arsenal over there linked with Chamakh all season, I bet they didn’t speak with his agent at all, only Bordeaux…

    • barca96
      May 18, 2010

      can you give the link..
      i would love to see the responses of the gooners lol

      • Jnice
        May 19, 2010


  39. Colby
    May 18, 2010

    Jason, I looked at all of the games that Iniesta played this season and came up with the following numbers.

    In games that Iniesta played and both Busquets and Yaya at least made the bench (meaning they were available and not injured/suspended/at the ACN):

    Yaya started without Busquets in 10 games.
    Busquets started without Yaya in 8 games.
    In 3 games, both players started.

    • Lou
      May 18, 2010

      Some of those games he was playing left winger though, correct?

  40. vicsoc8
    May 18, 2010

    Another issue that isn’t spoken about much is our left back position. Abidal and Maxwell make a good team, but Abidal will be 31 in September, while Maxwell will be 29 in August.

    This position doesn’t need to be addressed this summer, but soon we are going to need to find someone else to fill this position. Whether that is young Muniesa or someone outside of the club (I will pull for Filipe Luis forever), this is an issue we’ll have in the future.

  41. Bundy
    May 18, 2010

    It will be interesting what our squad will be like over the silly season,

    as someone mentioned before, guardiola and co. will have a lot of work to do over the silly season.

    It looks like Guardiola is gonna have a lot of work to do during the season. With a Squad list of EPIC proportions will probably need a rotation system of EPIC proportions lmao.

    I like the Idea of Yaya as a CB, but will he enjoy playing out of positon?

    • barca96
      May 18, 2010

      pep said that he will do whatever instructed.
      and he has done in in very important matches last season and this season.
      he looks way better at CM imo. but he is better than the back-up CB that we have in Chiggy.
      why not marquez, chiggy, caceres, henrique and hleb to arsenal.
      they need defenders as gallas and campbell arent getting any younger.
      we make NBA wholesale changes lol

  42. fcbfan
    May 18, 2010

    Everyone go read Cruyff’s corner on Excellent points.

    “Why has Barça had so much success over the past seven years? Because the president hasn’t stuck his nose where it doesn’t belong and has listened to the
    coach’s wishes. In those seven years, the president has made two big decisions in regards to the team; hiring Rijkaard and Guardiola. Where you’ve had
    two coaches in seven years, Madrid has had nine. Where you’ve had one technical director, Madrid has had several. Where you’ve remained faithful to your
    style, Madrid once again has changed coach and philosophy. And a coach that reaches 96 points can’t be bad. It’s their decision, but whether or not to
    keep Pelligrini should be a decision made by the coaching staff, not by the president.”

  43. poipoi
    May 19, 2010

    if we do sign villa which looks like it, it’s like saying “ok so the tall guy wasn’t such a succes” so please no more of that “how can 20 goals and 9 assist blah blah” (16 in la liga is not that great but still it’s the interplay that matters) the dude just played horrible this season and the staff are concerned about it, I think villa would fall more in the right flank so the future looks pretty interesting, two extremos of +30 goals per season and a 9 of 20.

    with bojan and villa NO MORE WINGER ROLE FOR ANDRES!!!

    • poipoi
      May 19, 2010

      I mean left flank sorry, no one can sit messi but with those 3 up front (ibra villa messi) any formation is ok. we will se a real tough 9 playing in the left ala antititi style!!! 😀

  44. JC
    May 19, 2010

    Suppose, the CL final can’t be played for some reason. Will UEFA declare both the finalists as joint winners, or will we still be reigning champions?

    • Miguel
      May 19, 2010

      you mean, do we get to keep our title in case of the apocalypse or rapture? good question. i hope so.

      • JC
        May 19, 2010

        Yes, that’s what I mean. Coz that volcano can cause travel problems anytime.

  45. ashu
    May 19, 2010


  46. fcbfan
    May 19, 2010

    Sid Lowe twittered that Villa deal is done. and possibly Cesc too, just haggling the price. Where are we getting the money from.

    Mourinho coaching the EE is good for us. We won’t be sitting on our laurels.

  47. fcbfan
    May 19, 2010

    Sorry, Cesc not done. just that Barca is confident of signing him. but I think Cesc will come thistime. Prefer not, but won’t hurt.

  48. Colby
    May 19, 2010



  49. fcbfan
    May 19, 2010

    Yeah. Villa is officially a Barca player. its everywhere.

    That was fast.

    Guess Henry is out. Gotta free salary for Villa.

    • Reagan
      May 19, 2010

      Woooohooooo!!!!!!! Villa baby!!!!! Cesc you’re next-ish!

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