1. Kari
    May 19, 2010

    Yay! You actually did it Kxevin.

    Messi is also my most improved player. It’s just crazy when you look back at all he’s done. Just staggering.

    I’ll also toss Maxwell up there as a close fourth after Pedro!. Keita actually has my vote as second most improved. He went from “Huh? What?” to ‘Keiteeeeeee” in one season. We really saw Seydou’s qualities this year.

  2. vicsoc8
    May 19, 2010

    Hmmm, tough choice between Pedro, Maxwell, Keita, Messi, and Pique. Ultimately I’d probably choose Pedro for the sole reason that I expected Messi to get better this year, but I had no idea Pedro would have more than a hand-full of starts.

    Just a suggestion, but it would be cool to have a top ten events of the season (events meaning specific moments such as a Clasico or full season trends such as the emergence of Pedro).

  3. Jnice
    May 19, 2010

    He actually had 47 goals. Crazy.

    Spot on about his leadership through his play on the pitch.

    I can tell his game is continuously improving every season. Two years ago, his shot outside of the box wasn’t nearly as accurate or powerful as it is now. He has improved his headers, and his free kicks are getting better.

    What a player.

    Props to Pedro, though. His finishing keeps improving, his movement is getting better, and the pressure he puts on opponents off the ball is crazy. Out of all of our strikers, he works the hardest off the ball, and I think that part of his game coupled with his finishing ability is why Del Bosque will include him in the final WC squad.

    And I agree with Kari, honorable mention goes out to Keita or SeyDEEZY as I call him.

  4. Kari
    May 19, 2010



  5. Lev
    May 19, 2010

    Hey Kxev cool article as always. Maybe it is cause i’m tired but what is KRS?
    However for me me Pedro is without a single shred of a doubt the most improved player.
    To go from two starts (both losses against Shaktar Donetsk and Osasuna) and a handful of substitutions last season to taking the starting place off of one of the decade’s best players, Thierry Henry, is just incredible. I mean, think about that. Really.
    I mean, 2008-2009 Pedro score 10 league goals…for Barcelona B!!!
    Messi comes a close second which is amazing since he was already world player of the year due to his 08/09 performance. His freekicks and shooting have improved, he has more power to his shot like Jnice says and he is becoming more versatile to the point that he would be our best player no matter which forward position he would start.

    I personally do not believe Keita has improved that much it is just that he has seen a lot more playing time so we have noticed and appreciated him a lot more.

    • jnelson
      May 19, 2010

      It’s the Kevin Rating Synthesis, the collection and analysis of the player ratings done by Kevin at the end of every match.

      • ooga aga
        May 20, 2010

        you dont need to be a vegas bookie to know that! 😉

  6. vicsoc8
    May 19, 2010

    On another note, who wants to place bets on the highest and lowest rated players in the final KRS? My guesses:
    Highest: Abidal
    Lowest: Jeffren, with Bojan second

  7. Lev
    May 19, 2010

    @vicsoc8 cool idea for top 10 events / specific moments. May I nominate Messi giving the penalty kick he himself earned in brilliant fashion against Zaragoza to Ibra instead of opting for personal glory by way of a fourth goal in one match?

    • vicsoc8
      May 19, 2010

      Even cooler is that in retrospect you can say he gave away sole possession of scoring records both in the league and over a full season at the club by giving away that penalty.

      • Bundy
        May 20, 2010

        don’t forget in the last game against valladolid, he assisted Pedro’s goal instead of going out all himself and taking the goal, instead he put the team first and set it up for Pedro.

        I don’t think not breaking the record annoys him, he’d rather put the team winning first then personal achievements. That in its self is a unique achievement.

  8. Lev
    May 19, 2010

    ah the Kevin Rating Synthesis. Thnx Jnelson!

  9. Lev
    May 19, 2010

    @vicsoc8 funny I was just thinking the exact same thing while just watching his 47 goal video

  10. Lev
    May 19, 2010

    (just 1 just too many. bad form i know lol)

  11. Stephen
    May 19, 2010

    Excellent Kev. a true great pick, Messi went from being great, to taking the team on his shoulders and pulling through.
    I’d have to place Milito in the most improved, what a great come back and we truly needed him this season, and he came through.

  12. ElShowDeJason
    May 19, 2010

    does anyone else enjoy how Supporters of a certain Prem Team condemn “Tapping-Up”, but have absolutely no qualms about Cradle Robbing and Talent Poaching? #yayhypocricy

    Hello, My name is Arsenal Fan, I would much appreciate if you stop trying to seduce the child that we kidnapped from you with promises of candy, dollars, and fame. thank you.
    I’m also going to accuse you of being classless while I uninvitedly (s)troll into this blog with generalizations and stereotypes, and ask you, a blogger or commenter to account for the actions of suits in Spain.
    Lastly, I would really love for you to take me seriously, and treat you with respect while I hurl insults at you, coupled with brilliant statements such as “Alex song is twice as good as Yaya”, and such.

    end rant.

    • Jose
      May 19, 2010

      jaja, good rant. I think with this fresh new post, we can go back to normal here. And, you know, wallow in being only the 4th richest football club in the world 🙁

  13. barca96
    May 19, 2010

    is there going to be a pt2 for pedro, abidal?
    busi improved a lot since april imo.

  14. cliveee
    May 20, 2010

    I think Pedro is much closer than you said if Messi is the most improved one. Pedro did not get so much time on the pitch last season, but when he does this season, he shone brighter than any young players anywhere.

    Pedro did not really have last year to compare because he had just so little time on the pitch. so the comparison between Pedro and Messi is basically like this: Pedro from none to record-breaking performance vs Messi’s already established greatness in 08/09 (with goals and assists) to even more perfected performance on the pitch and higher number of goals. I actually lean more toward Pedro as the most improved player in this sense.

    Oh, this is only Pt.1. There must be many more parts to come. can’t wait to see Maxwell as the Transfer of the Season.

  15. May 20, 2010

    I’m not sure if I understand your parameters – is it most improved from last year or most improved from the beginning of the season to the end?

    Because if we’re comparing from last year, Maxwell doesn’t figure at all. And if we’re comparing from Aug 09 to May 10, then Keita might well have regressed given his amazing, match winning play in those early months – we might have forgotten it now but those 7 goals were so, so crucial back then,for a stuttering team.

  16. poipoi
    May 20, 2010

    to me the MVP of the season is messi but the most improved player is pedro! … keep the improvement mr ledesma!

  17. poipoi
    May 20, 2010

    well… being frank the most improved FCB player of the season is…. hlebster!!! lol just think of what he did last season and compare 😀

  18. Eklavya
    May 20, 2010

    Kxevin, Messi has 47 goals in all competition this season not 45!

  19. Bojan
    May 20, 2010

    Viva Messi! messi and bojan too why do you hate that boy so much!

    • Kari
      May 20, 2010

      It’s not that he has anything against CT, it’s just that Kxevin expects a lot more of him because he has the ability to do better than he has been. That’s why it may seem like he’s hating on Bojan.

  20. missingpage
    May 20, 2010

    The following comment is totally out of place…but this is the most likely place for me to get an answer..so does anyone know WHEN WILL PUYI LIFT THE LEAGUE TROPHY??
    …sorry for the screaming but I just can’t believe we wont lift the trophy…Has this happened before ever?

    • Lou
      May 20, 2010

      Yeah, I’ve been wondering that too. Does anyone know why the team wasn’t presented with the trophy on Sunday? Given that they were in first place and playing a team in the relegation zone, you’d think the Liga officials would have had it nearby.

      Bad traffic?

      I guess since the players are all on holiday now they aren’t going to have a trophy presentation ceremony.

      • Bundy
        May 20, 2010

        they will present the cup probably during the supa copa or the joan gamper match.

  21. fcbfan
    May 20, 2010

    Most improved player, Messi by a mile. After him, I’d say Keita, Abidal, Busquets, Pique.

    Most consistent, Xavi hands down. Then Valdes. VV could go into the most improved category as well I guess.

    This is Pedro’s first season so nothing to compare there, but definitely surprise of the season. Just like his goals, he came out of nowhere, and now he’s going to the WC! Maxwell is a surprise too. I never doubted his abilities at lb, but that he could also play at rb and help in midfield is good for our depth.

  22. justin
    May 20, 2010

    Do others agree that I pique should also be up there for most improved? Compared to last year he became a rock in the center of defense and put in a few goals too.

  23. fcbfan
    May 20, 2010

    According to Sandro Rosell Barcelona’s debt is 489m euros. Is that right? I guess he wants to increase it by getting Torres? Sounds like let’s tell all how bad Laporta’s presidency been has started. Getting a bad feeling about Ibra. I think Rosell will sell him. Should take my hector pills, but this is election year where everything can be made possible.

    • vicsoc8
      May 20, 2010

      Seems like a fundamental disconnect to me. He speaks about financial issues with the club, yet shows no restraint with his spending during the election of his planned spending if he wins.

  24. DontPanic
    May 20, 2010

    Some bad news guys. Apparently JDS and his agent Pini Zahavi are stalling on signing a new contract. It seems they’ll make a decision after the World Cup. This is what I feared the most with these Cesc rumors.
    On the other side Thiago is closer to signing a new contract.

    • Kxevin
      May 20, 2010

      Don’t panic, DontPanic (man, that was fun to type!). They are examining the contract, which means that they are stalling in the hopes that Dos Santos has a brilliant World Cup and they can demand more money from us. We’ll pay, and he will settle, because there is no other club in the world that can offer him what we can. Yes, he can go somewhere else and get more playing time. If he wants to do that, then let him. His brother can serve as an example for him.

      But there is much to be said for learning football at a club that reveres midfielders, and wins championships.

      • ElShowDeJason
        May 20, 2010

        I agree. He isn’t going anywhere. The agent just wants more money.
        But he isn’t very smart. Although Jonathan’s talent is undeniable, and his potential limitless, he is not going to get significant playing time during the world cup.
        Mexico runs a 5 midfielder system with no Center Midfielder. The tempo setting is orchestrated by the support striker (or Enganche) as we call it.
        It’s a 2 defensive mid, 2 wide attacking mid, and 1 support striker system. This situation isn’t particularly exciting for Jonathan, as he is an out-and-out Center Midfielder.
        the 2 defensive mids are Gerardo Torrado and Israel Castro.
        the 2 wide attacking mids are Andres Guardado and Gio dos Santos
        and Blanco has been taking care or the support striker role.
        obviously Blanco’s age would dictate that he can’t play every match, in which case Gio takes his place, and a proper winger (Alberto Medina or Pablo Barrera) would go on the right. The same two wingers have claim over deputizing on either wing. And former La Masia attendent (for 1 year) Effrain Juarez is both the right back, and the back up to both DMs.
        If you don’t follow Mexico’s National Team, all of this is meaningless, but my point is that allthough I see much success in Jonny’s future, he will be limited to cameo appearances AT MOST in theis year’s world cup.

  25. Kxevin
    May 20, 2010

    I told you all that my math skills sucked. 45, 47, whatevs. He’s still Most Improved. 😀

    What hurt Pedro was indeed his lack of playing time last season, but also his overall game hasn’t really improved all that much from those brief flashes of last season. His knack for scoring key goals is incredible, to be sure. But it’s hard to argue for him as “most improved.”

    Abidal improved, but he was a monster last season, as well.
    Pique? See Abidal.
    Xavi was amazing, but was he really any more brilliant this season?

    Every player who was considered, came up short when you looked at the aggregate brilliance of Messi’s season. What makes me happiest about the Villa signing is the knowledge that he won’t have to carry the club on his square little shoulders again next season. If in fact we roll into the season with a front line of Messi/Ibrahimovic/Villa, with a healthy XaviIniesta, I just don’t see any club in the world, parked bus or not, that will able to play with us.

    • fcbfan
      May 20, 2010

      Kxevin, imo Xavi was better in the sense that for most of the season he had no Iniesta to partner to take off marking pressure etc and he still found ways to do his thing. Does that count?

      • May 20, 2010

        Not for me. Xavi was still Xavi. He’s always Xavi, with or without Iniesta. I watched lots of season recap footage. This will bum people out, though it shouldn’t: Xavi was better last year. Fractionally, but he was. Now yes, we’re parsing excellence, but it’s true.

  26. Kxevin
    May 20, 2010

    And I think that the Fabregas business is about to go away, once and for all. Arsenal have raised the price to 80m, with their chairman saying that they have “no interest” in selling. This is good. They can keep him against his (apparently) stated will, and wonder, every time he has a bad match, what the real reason is.

    I just want it all to go away. I’d much rather be hearing about left and right back signings, and midfield depth signings, than overpriced second stringers.

    When does Guardiola’s vacation end? Because this is all going to continue until he returns. Sport is saying that we have put a price on Ibrahimovic, The Yaya’s agent is still talking crap. It’s all madness.

    • Kari
      May 20, 2010

      “arsenal have raised the price to 80m”. Where’d you get that from, Kxevin (genuinely asking). All I see are reports that we want to pay 50m and the like.

      I hope it’s true though. I really think we’re going for someone else and are using this commotion to put it under the radar.

  27. lev
    May 20, 2010

    btw i think we are forgetting about someone…ABIDAL!

  28. Helge
    May 20, 2010

    Valdés and Pedro go to South Africa!

    Cazorla and Marcos Senna are omitted from the squad, and the biggest surprise (from my point of view) is the inclusion of Javi Martinez.

  29. fcbfan
    May 20, 2010

    Senna is out Javi Martinez is in. surprise. Pedro and Navas in. Good for the wings.

  30. Bundy
    May 20, 2010

    Im surprised Senna didnt make the squad, hmm thats risky

    • poipoi
      May 20, 2010

      I don’t if he’s fit or not but senna can’t miss this WC

      • ooga aga
        May 20, 2010

        no senna? wtf? not that spain cant win without him, but how can you not take that man along? when he came on against us in villareal the game changed. an amazing player.

  31. fcbfan
    May 20, 2010

    Javi Martinez inclussion is good for Busi. this way he will think twice about getting out his theatrics etc. I am sure Valdes won’t play a min, but glad for hi. Deserved.

    This is not the 08 euro team.

  32. Euler
    May 20, 2010

    What was so impressive about Messi’s growth was it’s context. Thierry Henry functionally fell apart as an offensive threat. Iniesta was hurt for most of the season and was mostly replaced by Keita, an effective player but not one whose strength is imagination. In effect the left flank disappeared from what it had been in 08/09 both in terms of goal scoring and play making.

    Messi stepped up and filled these voids. Pedro was obviously an enormous new source of scoring to help make up for Henry’s loss. But much of what Pedro did played off of Messi and the focus he drew and disruption he caused.

    Messi increased both his scoring and his play both on and off the ball to add the creativity missing from Iniesta’s injury. Just remarkable that one individual could expand his game to erase so much of what was functionally lost.

  33. Kari
    May 20, 2010

    -Valdes is going to the WC! Eat that Sport!

    -Can’t wait for the WC!

    -I’m going to stick my head out and agree with Kxevin that HeWhoShouldNotBeNamedLestWeAttractTrollers won’t sign for us this summer. There’s too much focus on him and I think we’re actually going for someone else but are just doing this to annoy Rosell (by pissing off Arsenal, it’ll be harder for Rosell to sign him).

    -Laporta has come out and said “Ibra no está en venta” or “Ibra is not for sale”. Full quote below:

    “Es un jugador muy valorado. El fichaje de Villa no afecta al futuro de Ibra”.

    “He’s a highly rated player. The signing of Vllla doesn’t affect Ibra’s future.”

    I’m looking forward to a Villa-Ibra-Messi front line. I kinda wish next season started next week…Oh well. I have the WC to ogle–I mean, analyze Villa. Can’t wait!

    • lovelymofo
      May 20, 2010

      I’m so glad Sport was wrong. Super excited for VV, he deserves to be on that team.

      And I’m looking forward to the Villa-Ibra-Messi front line! Not least of all because Villa gives the best bitch-face ever! Funtimes!

      • jnelson
        May 20, 2010

        Partner that with Ibra’s mad mobster glare and Messi’s thousand yard glares and we have the most awesome trio of pissed off stikers in the world!

  34. JC
    May 20, 2010

    No Senna in the team…hmmmm. Don’t think that’s a good move. He was the best player for Spain after Xavi at Euro 08.

  35. Eklavya
    May 20, 2010

    VV and Pedro go to SA!!!!!!!

    Senna doesn’t! Whoa! Javi Martinez does though! No Guiza and Negredo. He’s left out the replacement strikers for more prolific wingers! No Cazorla too!

  36. fcbfan
    May 20, 2010

    Gosh we are being linked to everyone who isn’t happy at his club and wants trophies. I blame Rosell. I think he’s using Pep’s name in vain. Come back soon Pep.

  37. tyler
    May 20, 2010

    Wow we make up over a third of the National Seleccion! Albeit Villa has yet to step onto the field in blaugrana, but still! My only complaint is no Guiza!!! haha I know he is horrible, but he is from my wife’s hometown. I guess I’ll be seeing him over the summer.

  38. BA
    May 20, 2010

    how in the world did Senna get left out? has del Bosque not seen footage from Euro 2008? who is going to fill that space? not Alonso, who can’t tackle. not Busquets, who has no grit. against a big strong midfield like Brazil’s, they’re going to need someone to be the iron man and i don’t see who that is now. that’s very worrisome for the Spain supporter.

    unless young Marcos is quite injured, i can’t understand the omission.

  39. BA
    May 20, 2010

    oh, also….

    Maradone ran over a journalist in his car after giving out the squad information.

    …. no comment.

    • lovelymofo
      May 20, 2010

      Haha. This WC is gonna be comedy gold. Hope Messi finds a way to do well despite the moron “coaching” the team.

  40. fcbfan
    May 20, 2010

    Rosell: “We have a stratospheric level of debt. £420million over what needs to be paid for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Dmytro Chygrynskiy.
    At same time Laporta and Txiki are saying this 2 def will stay. hes targeting 2 players Pep specifically ask for.

  41. fcbfan
    May 20, 2010

    Sorry! I Rosell is freaking me out lol. hes not going to let the coach do their job I fear.

  42. fcbfan
    May 20, 2010

    Senna omission is not good. He may be old now but he has experience and plays well with Xaviesta. If Valdes can be called up when he isnt really needed, why not Senna.

  43. Jnice
    May 20, 2010

    Let’s not forget that physically, Senna isn’t the same as he was 2 years ago. The past two seasons, he has battled with injuries and has missed a lot of games. That’s definitely the reason behind his exclusion.

    I actually think Busquets will play a lot during the World Cup. I think Del Bosque, like Pep, likes what he brings to the side.

  44. Reagan
    May 20, 2010

    There is no way Jonny Dos Santos will leave post the world cup. He’s seen first hand what happened to his brother Gigi Dos Santos and how his stock plummeted once he left Barca and he’s learning from the absolute best in the world in his position. His agent may be an ass though

  45. Ethan
    May 20, 2010

    Valdes Valdes Valdes Valdes Valdes VAldes Valdes VALDES VALDES VALDES VALDES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU EARNED THAT SHIT MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!

  46. fcbfan
    May 20, 2010

    oh ok Senna and Cazorla are still not in shape to play.

    What a year for P!

  47. Kari
    May 20, 2010

    Is anyone else kinda annoyed that all the casual football fans are going for Spain? Well, maybe annoyed is too strong of a word. It’s funny really because Brasil is usually the team they bandwagon on, but now it’s the (once) “perennial underachievers”. I guess I’m a feeling a little weird.

    I won’t complain, though. Usually I have (pretty much) no one to talk to about Football (random people who see my Barca jersey don’t count)…

    Do you guys also get the feeling that because it’s their first tournament being genuine favorites (and I don’t count the previous Marca/AS/Sport/EMD hyperbole), they might buckle under the pressure? I hope not.

    -The Dona ran over a journalist! LOL. Guy’s a riot, alright.

    • Blow-Grenade
      May 20, 2010

      Spain are the favourites.I cannot imagine any team beating them.

      Pique and Puyol in the defence.

      With the midfield command and control between Xavi Iniesta Fabregas Silva and Mata they can open up any defence in the world.

      And there’s gonna be goles galore with Torres and Villa.

      Holy smokes, god save rest of the teams.

      • Jose
        May 20, 2010

        I dont think anyone but Brasil can beat Spain, but I can definitely see them being frustrated to a draw and knocked out on penalties 🙁

  48. Kxevin
    May 20, 2010

    This is the WRONG off season for election douchebaggery to be rearing its head. Rosell says we’re in debt up to our armpits. Laporta says it’s fine, we’re sensible and we always have been. So who do you trust, right?

    Laporta had some not at all kind things to say about Rosell and his potential for meddling in the sporting project. Ultimately, who knows? I do think that there needs to be calm and stability so that the club can get done what it needs to get done. I trust that when Guardiola returns, everything will be sorted.

    Latest rumor is that we turned down a 15m offer for The Yaya from Chelsea.

    –Casual fans going for Spain don’t bother me, because I’m for France. 😀

    • ElShowDeJason
      May 20, 2010

      Sorry to hear that Kxevin, since their qualification out of the group stage is not at all guaranteed. Actually, I don’t see any team in group A automatically through.

      Excuse me being blunt, but I do believe that South Africa will be the first host nation to fail to qualify out of the group.

      • Helge
        May 20, 2010

        Hehe, I also prefer the other 3 nations to advance in group A. But I’m not quite sure which of the 3 shall pass – I like France, but I hate their coach. Between Mexico and Uruguay, it’s hard for me to decide (Mexico has always had great teams and played beautiful football, I was a fan of el Tri in every WC, but Uruguay this time has Suarez, Forlan, Cacéres, Godin etc.)

      • lovelymofo
        May 20, 2010

        I hope Mexico makes it out of the group, but I honestly think they’re a total mess. I have no idea what the hell is up with Aguirre and his inclusion of Cuauhtemoc Blanco. It just drives me nuts. Blanco has no pace whatsoever and his contributions are gonna be very sporadic and in general, I think he’s a waste of space in the national team. As for the rest of the team? I dunno, it just seems that Aguirre hasn’t made up his mind about how he wants the team to play, let alone what players he’s going to use.

        I do hope Jonathan gets to play some, though I don’t expect him to be a starter.

        And while South Africa is by no means a good team, they are gonna get the benefit of being the home team, so I dunno.

      • andrew.M
        May 20, 2010

        As a South African who will be at many world cup games next month, and someone who has attended Bafana Bafana matches and was there for the Confed Cup, i think you underrate us.

        Sure we are shit in general. but when we pull together with the home support (you have NO idea how much playing in front of home fans means to our boys) i think we can pull off an upset.

        the whole world thinks to see us not going through. i will even wager on us beating mexico in the opening game.

        if we do that then we probably just need a draw to go through or a shock victory.

        just dont count us out yet, its not fair. we have almost an entirely new squad that has done nothing but trained for this WC for the last 4 years. they play together well as a team and the only thing we really lack now is a finisher to score goals who i think we have found in katlego mphela and bernard parker. (benni can go to hell). our defense is pretty solid, just ask spain and brazil. the other thing is we are big tough guys and i think we will bring a physicality to the game that mexico cant handle and perhaps the french might struggle with unless they get thewir game together.

        sorry for the rant, but hopefully you can understand that for me supprting my country at the WC as the hpost nation is one of the most exciting things i have ever got to do in my life. i am a little bit sensitive. it doesnt help having lots of mexicans friends….:)

        BAFANA BAFANA!!!!!!!

        • Kxevin
          May 20, 2010

          I actually think that France and Uruguay will come out of that group, but it’s going to be a dogfight. Home field advantage is immense. It will almost certainly come down to the last match.

          Forlan and Suarez are hot right now, so it’s hard to bet against Uruguay. It’s that other spot that will have three sides fighting tooth and nail for it.

      • ElShowDeJason
        May 20, 2010

        @Helge, Jnelson, lovelymofo, i’m tied down at work, but, give me an hour and i’ll give my doozy of a response… My thoughts on the Mex squad, and my defense for counting out SA.

      • ElShowDeJason
        May 20, 2010

        @ helge. understandable. isn’t being a neutral great :-p
        @lovelymofo. Although I have been VERY dissapointed with the garbage 1-0s we’ve been getting, I am really hoping that the inclusion of the Europeans helps.
        Yeah, some of Aguirre’s selections confuse me. Guardado hasn’t impressed me since leaving Atlas, but who else do we have? Alberto Medina is garbage, Chicharito and Vela are green, while Franco is iffy. We have too many CBs, and our FB options aren’t great. Salcido isn’t a fullback, and Osorio ins’t any good. My vote would be for Juarez and Rojas, but I believe Rojas didn’t get called up.
        As far as our Enganche, and thus our tempo-setter, and idea man, the two options are big risks. option A is Cuautemoc who has more teqnique in his left pinky toe, than most, but at 38 just doesn’t have what it takes physically in my honest opinion.
        option B is handing the Reins of a World Cup squad, and along with it, the hopes and dreams of a nation, to Giovanni. I think option B would take a lot of balls, but it’s what I would do.
        My predicted Line-up for most games is gonna be:

        although i would perfer
        more on Mexico later.

        @jnelson. Honestly, “writing off” sounds harsh, because that’s not what I’m doing. I didn’t just stare at the group and pick them out as the weakest. I deliberated, and thought long and hard about it, considering many things.
        To start off, it’s easy to pick France as a team that is left out. They are GARBAGE, thats right. Garbage. There is no continuity in their starting eleven, and have major selection problems.
        Starting with their backline. Abidal is a beast on the left, but is shaky in the middle. Gallas is aging and slow, but Mexes, Squilaci and Escude don’t inspire much more confidence than he does. I’m predicting a Sagna-Gallas-Abidal-Evra starting line. with the aging Taloulan, or the unimpressive Flamini guarding them.
        Even though their defense is crap, bleeding goals really ins’t their problem. Their front line can’t work together well enough to present a constant threat. Ribery has never sone in anything nearing important. Henry doesn’t have the reps to match his skill, and Anelka’s poaching ability is only effective when paired with Chelsea’s three (3!) Attacking Mids at his disposal, and Malouda? HA! i’m not exactly trembling.

        But at the end of the day, France has talent in the front, and can really grind out the results (we know they’ll do whatever it takes 😉 )
        more on this later…

        • jnelson
          May 20, 2010

          huh? what did i say??? I don’t remember posting anything with “writing off” in it. I haven’t been drunk posting either haha. What are you referring to Jason?

        • jnelson
          May 20, 2010

          As a National Team bandwagon jumper, I rooted for Brazil in the last 2 World Cups and switched to Spain after Iniesta began featuring prominently in the Spain lineup, before Euro 08. Zidane schooling Dinho in 06 kind of helped. Naturally, with so many of our players with Spain and only Dani with Brazil, I’m still a Spain fan. I am rooting for all of our players individually and will be happy as long as one of them achieves glory, particularly Messi with Maradummer. I am also a Mexican fan. My stepfamily lives in SLP and I am a fan of JDS, Ochoa, and Chicharito. Unfortunately, Omar Bravo didn’t make the team. I hope I get to watch as many matches as I can. I remember sitting in a hotel room in a small town called Rio Verde watching replays over and over of Euro 08. Thankfully, there is a little more competition and diversity with the World Cup.

  49. fcbfan
    May 20, 2010

    no, England will win it this time. haha seriously I’m rooting for Spain, but illogically betting on Argentina to win the wc. but ill be satisfied with a Spain win, as long as Messi has a good tourney, and pray the whole Argentina don’t blame him for the failure.

  50. barca96
    May 20, 2010

    i must say.im kinda surprised that valdes is included.
    chelsea offered us only 15mil? he is YAYA not KOLO toure.
    whats up with these english teams offering insulting amounts to clubs?
    arsenal offered juve for buffon for an insulting sum as well.

    • Kxevin
      May 20, 2010

      Because players should be honored to play in the Premiership. Come on, man, it’s the best league in the world! 😀

  51. Kari
    May 20, 2010

    Villa has arrived in Barca and has posed in front of the club badge as per usual!

    Afayaivo Guaje!



    • jordi™
      May 20, 2010

      Someone didnt get the memo about wearing gray lol 😀

    • cliveee
      May 20, 2010

      too excited to see him play already…

  52. Vj
    May 20, 2010

    My dislike for this years Brazilian squad for the WC(no pun intended) eloquently summed up:


    While you’re at it, check out ‘The Spoken Word of Ray Hudson’ – the poet’s poetic poems..

    • jnelson
      May 20, 2010

      Great piece. I love those words from RayRay, and to think all that was LIVE.

  53. My brain says the pick of Messi as most improved is the correct one. I’m impressed that he can make such an improvement when he already plays at such a high level. And, man, Pedro! had quite the year.

    But for me, the most improved player was Valdes. I’ve always liked him, I’ve always thought he was better than people gave him credit for, but this year he really showed it. Perhaps, as was suggested by fcbfan, Valdes deserves a “most consistent” nod, but for me, his improvement drove so much of Barca’s success this year.

  54. jordi™
    May 20, 2010

    Epic Nike Ad.Could do without the last bit however…

    • MarioSilva (tutomate)
      May 20, 2010

      LOL @ Gael Garcia Bernal as Cristiano Ronaldo

    • lovelymofo
      May 20, 2010

      Ha! The Gael Garcia Bernal bit was awesome! I was gonna complain about no Messi, but he’s with Adidas right?

      I would have like MOAR españoles tho.

      • tutomate
        May 20, 2010

        I’m laughing because of this
        and this *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jVgNr5hT8Y

      • Miguel
        May 20, 2010

        nike pandering to the huge mexican/mexican american market. i like how those chicks in the stands dancing samba comes right after kobe’s snippet. i’m sure kobe’s wife caught the humor in that.

        • jnelson
          May 20, 2010

          That was epic. HAHA @ Miguel’s Kobe comment.

  55. DontPanic
    May 20, 2010

    It’s happening!!!

    • Blow-Grenade
      May 20, 2010

      Thats excellent. Looking forward to the world cup/pre-season to see how the team will play with him.

  56. fcbfan
    May 20, 2010

    He’ll fit right in!

    The Spanish international is set to complete his move to Barca on Friday and spoke of what he believes he will add to Pep Guardiola’s team.

    “Hard work, humility and a desire to try and help the team be a little better,” he said. “I’m really keen to get started here.”

  57. DontPanic
    May 20, 2010

    Guys, look at this penalty miss. It’s hilarious.

  58. Ciaran
    May 20, 2010

    So does anyone actually know what our debt is?
    Rossell is saying that the figure is €489million.
    I know that in previous years our debt was very big but I was sure that it was less than €100million now.

  59. fcbfan
    May 20, 2010

    Well Forbes says we have 0 debt. I think Rosell is misleading folks. I don’t understand finance myself but here’s something I got rom a poster on the bigsoccer forum.

    We carry long-term debt, but year-to-year we turn an operating profit and pay it down. Last year’s signings were within budget and did not add to the debt,
    so either Rossell or the article is being misleading. Rossell most likely just doesn’t want the money spent on Cesc now, because then he would not be able
    to sign anyone if he becomes President.
    Pretty much. The debts don’t come from Laporta, they come from before that. We are really financially stable right now. The thing is that Rossell’s main
    selling point is that, and well people like it. His name is going to win him the election. I only hope his ego gets in the way and tries to force Pep out
    because he was Joan’s signing, or stuff like that.

    If we make one more major transfer, the best Rossell can do will be to bring in a back up RB to Dani.

  60. fcbfan
    May 20, 2010

    Don’t know what truth in it, as I was still a new fan then but I heard Rosell wanted to sack Rijkaard in 2003 after months without any positive result. He wanted Scolari instead. But Cruyff advised Laporta to keep Rijkaard. Rosell and Cruyff not been on good terms ever since.

    Hope Laporta keeps him occupied. They maybe can trade insults while hopefully one candidate can take advantage. But really right now all Rosell is doing is attack Laporta’s admin and giving vague responses to his plans. The fact that at one time he contemplated messing with the shirt should make ppl think twice trusting him, jmo.

  61. Mikel
    May 20, 2010

    I would say P! is the most improved player. From not scoring a goal last season to score 23 and going to the WC. I find difficult to remember such progression in a player.

    If I were to assign numbers I’d say Messi went from being a 9.5 player to being a 10 player. Some people would say it’s not fair to give a player a 10 because there’s always room to improve but don’t forget that Messi has been touted by some members of the press as the best footballer ever.

    I’d say P! went from being a 5.5 to being a 7.5, a difference of 2 which is better than the difference of 0.5 for Messi.

    To compare I rate Xavi as being a 9 and Iniesta being a 8.5.
    Of course I’m not able to see all the matches and this is not so scientificly accurate as maybe would the Castrol rankings, but last edition of the Castrol rankings I’ve seen P! has gone up a lot since the previous month while Messi remains in first place. Guess he cannot go higher playing with players of this planet… maybe he needs some extraterrestrial rivals 🙂

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