BFB at the Box Office: Kicking and Screening

I often find myself so immersed in the world of football on foreign shores that I miss what’s going on in my own backyard. This is New York City, after all, so there’s a lot going on. Fortunately this week I was put in contact with Rachel Markus and for the moment, I’m focused on this part of the world again. Rachel is the founder and director of the Kicking and Screening Film Festival, the 2nd annual version of which will take place from June 1 – 5 in Tribeca Cinemas.

Full disclosure, early on: Rachel offered me press passes to the week’s films if I blogged about it. That’s a reasonable deal, I think, and one that I hope you end up appreciating as well. I’m super pumped to see the films (the lineup can be found here). Besides my general interest in football as a whole, there’s going to be a film, El Arbitro, about a Spanish ref adjudicating a match between Barça and Espanyol by Justin Webster, the guy who made FC Barcelona Confidential, which was shown at last year’s K&S.

I obviously haven’t seen these films, but given that I missed out on my opportunity to see Confidential and other K&S films last year only because I was out of town and had to force my friends to go without me, I think I can say you should go see these films if you’re in the NYC area. You’ll be surrounded by some of American soccer’s most important thinkers, other cool types, and you’ll get to meet me too, if you’d like. I can’t believe I’m not headlining this thing…You can get tickets here, apparently, and as they point out on their website, last year sold out, so get them nowish-like.

It’s not just watching football films with other like-minded nerds, though. K&S works in conjunction with and gives a portion of their proceeds to Play31, an NYC-based charity that attempts to use football to bring together war-ravaged communities and nations. That’s perhaps an over-simplification of their mission, but it gets the point across. One of their board members is Ishmael Beah, author of A Long Way Gone, which some of you may have read. While obviously interesting in its own right, what’s particularly interesting to me about that is that I went to college with Ishmael and played soccer against him in the intramural league there. He was a genuinely nice guy and even though we were never close (the “hey, what’s up, you playing today?” in the hallways kind of relationship), I always got the sense that he was just damned decent as a person. And for the record, I don’t think I ever lost to him. Take that!

I’ll try to do one post per day about the films I see during the festival and maybe add in a bit about the Q&A sessions and panel discussions that take place throughout the week. I’m very excited for this, but it looks like I need to read some of Simon Kuper’s books because he’ll be there on opening night and I’ve been meaning to read Soccernomics and Soccer Against the Enemy for a while now. I guess that also means I’ll have to listen to some of Adrian Healey’s commentary for when he’s on a panel after El Arbitro. Or maybe I’ll just ask him about Swindown Town’s run at promotion to the Championship (their playoff final is on Saturday against Millwall at Wembley).

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

94 Comments

  1. Kari
    May 23, 2010

    As I was reading this, one thought crossed my mind:

    “Is Isaiah going pro on us?” 😀

    Congrats! Sounds awesome and I look forward to reading about it!

    Tomorrow, meanwhile, I look forward to seeing my country act as a confidence boost for Argentina before the WC (i.e Canada and Argentina are playing).

    Then again, who knows? Maybe Gabby Heinze will score an own goal for us (why he is in the squad and Zanetti is not only Maradumber understands. Poor, poor Messi 🙁 )

  2. Stephen
    May 23, 2010

    Also look forward to reading your posts on this, Isaiah!

    @Kari, Argentina’s my team 🙂 and Im hoping for the same for this game, not to demean your team in anyway.

    • Kari
      May 23, 2010

      Oh, no worries about that. We suck and we know it (but play us at Hockey and then we’ll talk 😀 LOL! ).

      If we can even get on the scoreboard’ll be a miracle, so if we do score I’ll be happy.

      • Stephen
        May 24, 2010

        And yes it was a good booster for us 🙂 yay! Im sure Canada will one day win, don’t let it get you down jk.

  3. barca96
    May 23, 2010

    u sold ur soul to get free passes?
    lol. just kidding!!
    have fun!
    u deserve it!

  4. Jnice
    May 23, 2010

    Hmm, I’m going to call my dad about this and see if he wants to go. I just graduated, so I am back in the wonderful state that is New Jersey. 😀

    I’m going to copy and paste my last comment in the other thread here because I posted without realizing Isaiah had a new post up. Silly me.
    ___________________________
    Even if we can’t sign Silva, don’t y’all think we need to sign another creative player in midfield? This season will come after the WC, Iniesta could break down again or even Xavi after playing basically 3 years straight. Who is left? Keita and Busquets? For me, another creative midfielder is a must.

    Also, if Yaya leaves, something that is more than likely, I would argue that we would need two midfielders- one creative and one DM. Maybe it is just me, but I don’t want us to be short in midfield like we were this season. Xavi and Iniesta could breakdown at anytime, leaving us with Busquets, Keita, youth players, and some type of Pep scheme.

    Or Busquets could get hurt leaving us with Keita at DM and he has only played there a handful of times for us. I would definitely take a midfielder before a defender.

    • vicsoc8
      May 23, 2010

      I’m trying so hard, but I can’t stop myself from saying something.

      the wonderful state that is New Jersey

      Don’t know that I’ve ever heard a sentence like that before.

      • Jnice
        May 23, 2010

        Hahaha. I was kidding. I went to school in Maryland and people always made fun of New Jersey. I’d like to think that it is a wonderful state, but that couldn’t be any further from the truth. 😀

        • Jose
          May 24, 2010

          My only memories of Jersey are of the gray coldness that enveloped my soul during those Philly to New York train rides…

        • May 24, 2010

          What school? I know we’ve talked about this, but I grew up Baltimore and then moved to Ellicott City, were you at Towson? CP? Salisbury?

          • Jnice
            May 24, 2010

            UMD CP. Remember, I said that I live in Ellicott Hall my first two years haha.

  5. BA
    May 23, 2010

    great news Isaiah. good luck and have a good time for us.

    in other news, William Gallas rolled the dune buggy he was racing at France’s World Cup training camp and escaped with a cut hand. the players are also taking shooting (as in with a rifle) lessons, as part of their “biathlon” training regimen.

    racing dune buggies and shooting guns just before the World Cup finals. if anyone was questioning whether or not Domenech was ACTUALLY trying to kill the French national team…..

  6. nikhils
    May 23, 2010

    I think that’s for FIFA’s new penalty ‘shootout’ rule.

  7. fcbfan
    May 24, 2010

    Have fun Isaiah and look forward to your post.

    and congrats Jnic on graduating 😀

    *Jnice

  8. fcbfan
    May 24, 2010

    Responding to Jnice from the last thread on Hernanes. I too hope we look on him again. Not only his passing is good and is ambidextrous, but I think he can play all positions in midfield. If he’s regressed, maybe he’ll come cheaper?

    • Jnice
      May 24, 2010

      I would think he would be cheaper, but you never know with Sao Paulo.

  9. fcbfan
    May 24, 2010

    OT: Just rumours but there’s a lil bit truth to it probably. Mou wants Drogba, Lampard, Gerard, Cole, Maicon, Sneijder, D Milito, Torres. He won’t get all, but im sure he wants his say in signings and EE won’t be able to complain cause they are giving him absolute power as coach. Wow!

    • Helge
      May 24, 2010

      Haha, this is really a ridiculous rumour. Even Mourinho cannot be that stupid. He might want 2 or at best 3 of them, but not all of them. Let’s take a look at the potential prices:
      40m, 50m, 45m, 35m, 30m, 30m, 30m, 60m = 320 m. Not much more than last year, actually. But what would happen to Kaka, Benzema and Higuain if let’s say only Lampard and Torres joined them?
      Whatever, craziness will go on as long as FloFlo Perez is the CEO of the EE.

      But if they fail to win any title under Mourinho next season, they’re definitely screwed 😀

      • fcbfan
        May 24, 2010

        Spanish media are suggesting Mou want Di Maria, Maicon, De Rossi, Milito and Kolarov. Maybe FP would do something stupid like selling Higuain and VDV. That would be fun.

  10. Helge
    May 24, 2010

    This sounds great, I can’t wait for your articles about it. Enjoy the movies and the discussions, and I expect you to go there with a Barça jersey, right?

  11. fcbfan
    May 24, 2010

    haha tweet from Chygrynskiy
    “i hope to play better next season. Thanks to Pep for believing in me.”

  12. Blow-Granite
    May 24, 2010

    I love it that Mou is coming to Spain. It will take the spotlight away from Barcelona and Crynaldo for once. It will also increase the weight of La Liga. Mou attracts a huge fanfare. Mou, besides being an incredible(bad-ass) coach, is also an incredible(bad-ass) media attracting person. It will be really cool to see how the media reporting in La Liga turns out next season.

    • Kari
      May 24, 2010

      I don’t. Like Mourinho coming to Spain that is. He piss the heck out of me. He’s an arrogant pompous douche, who’s conceit is only defied by his ego. Having to see his face 4 times this season was 4 times too many for me. A whole season of him is not good for my general health

      That being said, he’ll fit right in. In EE, that is.

  13. CLUEless(John)
    May 24, 2010

    Great post!!

    I know I’m going off topic here but we have spoken so much about these big time signings, but I belive we also need some “non starting role players to add depth to the squad “al la Maxwell”. The void that needs filled most “aside from maybe some more midfield depth is right back so I am calling for Cesar Azpilicueta as dani’s backup

    • Eklavya
      May 24, 2010

      I’m calling for Henrique! He looks like a younger Maxwell to me, only more versatile. And he isn’t slow like Chiggy…

    • Jnice
      May 24, 2010

      Azpilicueta is a young player who needs minutes. He is used to playing a lot at Osasuna and as Dani’s backup, he won’t get a lot of it. He is a good player with a bright future, but how many games will he truly get to play next season? Not nearly enough.

  14. Hilal
    May 24, 2010

    I read today that just in case the whole Cesc thing doesnt work out (which i dont think it will) we are looking at Gourcuff as a possible replacement. Dont know much about him… i have heard many good things, although i haven’t really seen him play more than a handful of times. Does anybody have any insight into this guy? Is he good? Will he put in the work required to make it in our team? I dont think he would cost anywhere near as much as Cesc. He is pretty young and his goal scoring record is decent for a midflied player. He also isnt really a “star”, well not yet, so he is more likely to accept a role from the bench.

    Thoughts?

    • BA
      May 24, 2010

      i would actually prefer Gourcuff to Cesc for all the reasons you mentioned, he’s going to be an incredible footballer. he would certainly add a classic attacking presence to midfield, and i think he’s being wasted at Bordeaux.

  15. fcbfan
    May 24, 2010

    Gourcuff! is good. He reminds me a bit of Riquelme and Zidane. Whoever get him is a lucky team.

    • Jnice
      May 24, 2010

      I would rather have Silva. His versatility and familiarity with La Liga and our players gives him the edge for me.

      • fcbfan
        May 24, 2010

        Yeah got to agree there. No need to adapt to a new league and learn everything new. Doubt Valencia will sell another one to us unless we overpay.

        • Jnice
          May 24, 2010

          Well, Madrid are reportedly talking to Valencia for Silva. And their president Llorente said at the press conference he gave after the Villa deal was official that there could be more player sales.

      • Hilal
        May 24, 2010

        The problem with Silva is that he is just more of the same. He is very similar to Iniesta and Xavi in the way he plays, which is great, but we already have Iniesta and Xavi, who are better anyways. Yes he would fit right in, but what would he add of true value? What Gourcuff (and Cesc) brings is a different , maybe more direct, form of attacking midfield presence. Plus, he scores goals, something that Silva doesnt really do. Sure, he gets the odd goal, just like Iniesta, but he is not a consistently high scoring midfield player. Thats where i see the value in players like Goursuff or Cesc. Not sure which would be more expensive though, i am guessing Silva.

  16. Eduard
    May 24, 2010

    First off. Congrats @ Jnice for graduating and Isaiah for making it pro.

    2nd, Mou is the perfect fit for Madrid, he is really the opposite of Pep. Madrid didn’t find any answers this past season and they need someone to put the E.E. back on top. Them signing him wouldn’t only mean they would have to spend a ridiculous amount of money but it would mean that next years classic/classico will be more dynamic then ever before. I for one hate Mou and they way his teams play football(which shouldn’t bother the madrid fan base) and his personality is just as bad as C.Ronaldo’s(Portugees thing? not likely but they’re building a case).

    In terms, of back up. In defense we should be good with Henrique, Bartra and the other canteranos. In midfield, I haven’t thought about Gourcuff there but the French media label him as the next Zidane. I don’t believe the hype but every player has the potential of meeting and/or exceeding their expectations. If Cesc doesn’t come which would be strange and awkward for Arsenal since he asked to leave I would prefer Silva, and this makes sense to me because of his versatility and familiarity with other players in our team. In defensive mid, we must do all to keep the Yaya. I don’t rate any player higher then him in that position.

    I don’t need to talk about attack except that we don’t need to xfer and players. Villa completes our attack.

    I we need to put our youngsters under contract. ASAP!!!

    • Eduard
      May 24, 2010

      3rd paragraph, In terms of back-ups

      5th paragraph, I THINK we need to put our youngster under contract.

      🙂

    • Jnice
      May 24, 2010

      Thanks, Eduard.

      And yeah, we need to hurry up and tie up our youngsters. These contract negotiations have gone on way too long. Premier league clubs are waiting to pounce with false offers of playing time and glory to these kids.

  17. May 24, 2010

    For those of you who want Cesc, Gourcouff, Silva, etc, my simple answer is this: JDS and Thiago. We already have them and they’re going to be match winners in a couple of years. Promote them to the first team, especially JDS, and we’re set for 10 years in mid.

    • Hilal
      May 24, 2010

      In theory, yeah, and i do think they both have a hell of a lot of potential, but that potential will not develop for a while, certainly without consistent playing time at the top level. Pep has not shown a lot of trust in them yet, with very little playing time for either of them. At this level, with the compeition that we are going to face domestically from RM and in the CL next year we need to be able to bring players off the bench that can consistently have a significant impact on games. One of the problems we had this year was quality depth and lacking good enough replacements to rest the likes of Xavi. Will players like JDS and Thiago be able to fill that role next year, or the year after? It doesnt seem likely, not immediately anyways. Sure, either of them could be the next big thing in 2-3 years, but we need quality depth NOW. I like the idea of a player like Gourcuff, somebody who can come, maybe make his name at Barca and then get sold in a year or two for a tidy sum, if and when the likes of Thiago/JDS are ready.

      • gv
        May 24, 2010

        it’s not that pep doesn’t trust jds and thiago. pep just don’t want them to be automatically in the first team because barca atletic is fighting for promotion to the segunda. plus jds was injured right?

        pep knows the value of our cantera. that’s why he trusts busi, pedro, etc very much. he also coached them in atletic so he knows their potential.

        Gourcuff is a player i like, but i doubt bordeaux would sell him cheaply. they got him for €15 million, and he’s young and got the talent.

        • vicsoc8
          May 24, 2010

          I’ve heard around 25 million Euros or so will be the price.

  18. fcbfan
    May 24, 2010

    Isaiah, I agree to a point, as long as every cule promise not to complain and ask for Pep’s head when we don’t win anything next year or the year after. After that, Thiago and JDS probably would be ready. Maybe Mou by then would be tired of Spain after getting Madrid to a title 😀

  19. Jnice
    May 24, 2010

    I would like Thiago and JDS to be promoted, but Txiki says that if anything, next season they will be in between teams like Pedro was in 08/09. I would like a midfielder with a bit of experience that we could rely on full time. Thiago and JDS aren’t ready to give us that yet. We’ll see in preseason, though.

    • vicsoc8
      May 24, 2010

      I’m going to second tying up Thiago, JDS, and Bartra ASAP. Hate to say it, but I’m not quite as concerned about Gai. Victor Vazquez I’m not too worried about. At 23 it’s probably time for him to move onto greener pastures. I just wish we could have sold him instead of letting him go for free.

      • Jnice
        May 24, 2010

        Apparently Gai has been a substitute for most of the season under Luis Enrique and honestly, he didn’t impress me during preseason. His agent like JDS, is Pini Zahavi, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he tried to get him to move to the Premier League. Oh, well.

      • gv
        May 24, 2010

        i’m not that fond of gai too. i find deulofeu more interesting. plus we’ve got so many promising wingers in the cantera.

        i think the midfield position is very important for barca, that’s why i find jds and thiago more interesting. i also hope we can sign jds to a new deal afeter the world cup. didn’t thiago sign a new contract?

        i know bartra can play cb too, but is he better than montoya at rb?

  20. fcbfan
    May 24, 2010

    Hilal:

    “I like the idea of a player like Gourcuff, somebody who can come, maybe make his name at Barca and then get sold in a year or two for a tidy sum, if and when the likes of Thiago/JDS are ready.”

    haha you mean like Yaya? we bought him when he was 24 like Gourcuff is now.

    • Hilal
      May 24, 2010

      Welll yeah, exactly! What a good example, didnt even think of that!

      While i dont want Yaya to leave, I can certainly see the financial benefits of selling him. We paid under 10m for him as i recall and I doubt we would sell him for less than 20-25.

      The reason why I prefer Gourcuff to Cesc is that A, he will cost half, and B we will prob never sell Cesc if we do get him, which would definitely hamper the progress of Thiago/JDS. However a player like Gourcuff could come, be very useful to us, and then get sold when Thiago/JDS can really step up to the plate. I mean seriously, who here would be confident bringing either of them off the bench in a big CL game or against one of the top 6 in Spain?!? They arent ready yet… I am not necessarily saying Gourcuff is the man for the job, but somebody in that mould. Not quite the finished article, but good enough that it is not a big risk.

  21. gv
    May 24, 2010

    i’m wondering, if villa scores just 5 goals next season, and plays crap, would all the ibra haters be calling for villa’s head too?

    • ElShowDeJason
      May 24, 2010

      Villa will score more than that, but there will always be the jackass that expecting more.
      I honestly cannot fathom how anyone believes that Ibrahimovic had a disapointing season.
      clearly those people read healdines, match reports, but never actually watch the games.
      And being uninformed is actually not what bothers me.
      It’s that special combination of being under-informed and over-opinionated. :-/

      • MarioSilva (tutomate)
        May 24, 2010

        That’s a lethal combination.

  22. ElShowDeJason
    May 24, 2010

    If Cesc or Gourgouff prove to be too expensive, how about Athletic’s Javi Martinez, the kid is pretty good.
    I think he would be cheaper than the other two options, my only concern would be buying a 21-year old who might not be THAT much more ready than JDS and Thiago, and who will take their minutes.
    Another option, crazy as it may sound. Aliaksandr Hleb? don’t get me wrong, I was Hleb’s BIGGEST detractor, just ask Kxevin, but I believe in second chances.
    I’m sure he has some new found humility, and he MIGHT come back with a positive outlook this time around.
    Only time can tell, I suppose.

    • vicsoc8
      May 24, 2010

      I’m against Javi Martinez. Hleb is a bold idea, but one that might work if handled correctly. The most important things with Hleb are would he be willing to put in the effort and sacrifice himself for the team, and would the locker room accept him after what has happened in the past.

    • gv
      May 24, 2010

      isn’t javi more of a deep-lying midfielder? more like a busi kind of player? or how about ignacio camacho?

      hleb would be useful too for us. i know he’s got it, and he can tiki-taka too. if he could just learn to speak catala!

  23. fcbfan
    May 24, 2010

    Read somewhere Sport? that Athletic would only let J Martinez go if we pay the buy out clause 30m.

    • ElShowDeJason
      May 24, 2010

      8-x
      wow.
      I was thinking more around the 15-20 mil Euro range. (and that’s A LOT in my book)
      even then, that may prove cheaper than Yohan or Cesc.
      If Gourcouff is worth 25m, then our very interest raises his worth to 28m-33m. We are litterally extorted anytime we want to buy anyone.
      I tihnk grabbing Maxwell at 5m was great.

      But still, talented as they may be, I wouldn’t pay 30m for Javi M., I wouldn’t pay 30m Gourcouff, and even though some might consider this a bargain, I have ethical qualms about paying 30m for Fabregas.

      I may be showing my age here (all 22 years of it), but, does anyone else remember when great potential cost you 10m, amazing players cost 15-20m, and World Class cost 25m???

  24. Euler
    May 24, 2010

    The team needs depth in attacking midfield to brace for injuries and to better rest Xavi. Whether or not they want to either provide that depth via absorbing risk by utilizing younger players to fill that role or spending 25M + (or much more) on a more established player are diametrically opposed strategic directions. It’ll be interesting to see how things go.

    Given the composition of the squad, taking a middle ground approach may be the best. A player with experience but not one who is going to cost a premium. Inter bought Sneijder for 15M. Hard to believe.

    I’d be hesitant to commit significant money to Gourcouff as his game seems very dependent on role. He doesn’t have great pace and needs space to be creative. He’s not the kind of precise passer that can take apart a defense when playing up front. In some ways, spending 40M for Fabergas might be a better investment then 25M on Gourcouff as there is much less risk the player will not fit in and fail to deliver value.

    • ElShowDeJason
      May 24, 2010

      A lot of people say he is ready now, but I still believe that the purchase of Fabregas like buying someone that will become great. A little bit of ball control a creativity go a long way in the Athletically inclined, but techinque-chanllanged EPL.
      If you’ve ever watched Fabregas play for spain, he actually clearly isn’t at Iniesta and Xavi’s level of ball control and precision. He can’t keep up with their passing pace, and can be seen spraying passes. He shines the most when he is playing his version of support striker, and has a fully functioning midfield behind him who do not rely on him to dictate the match.
      Keep in mind, I am not really criticizing Cesc here as much as I am Cesc fan-boys that think he can waltz into Xavi’s shoes and pull the strings of Barcelona or the Spanish NT. And honestly I do not think he should be expected to. He is 23. By the time he gets to their respective ages, he might be able to do what Xaviniesta does. But at the moment, he is a work in progress.
      Clearly he does it at Arsenal and does it damn well. I do not deny he is head-and-shoulders above MOST of AMs these days, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he is worth 40m.

      @ Euler. I am fully aware of the “It’s better to overspend on something you need, then to buy a bargain that won’t serve it’s purpose.” And fully agree with you there, but I also believe that some of those type of transfers must be mixed in with shrewed transfers.
      Dani Alves for 35m was overspending for something we really needed. Keita came for 15m. great purchase for a squad/utility player.
      Ibrahimovic for ???(debateable price) was overspenidng for something we really needed, and Maxwell came for 5m. Again, a great purchase that we got a lot out of.
      I understand the value of throwing caution to ther wind and taking what we need for whatever price, but it cannot be out only transfer policy. We need to also make the intelligent purchase of utility players that birdge the gap between our superstar starting 11, and the canteranos commming up.
      Alex Hleb seemed to be one of those purchases, and without the advantage of hindsight, I’d say that was a very intelligent purchase.
      I just think we need to keep having an eye open for Gudjonhsson, Keita, Hleb, and Maxwell type transfers, to complement the clear-cut starters, and youth prospects.

      • Euler
        May 24, 2010

        I just think we need to keep having an eye open for Gudjonhsson, Keita, Hleb, and Maxwell type transfers, to complement the clear-cut starters, and youth prospects.

        I completely agree with you on this point. That’s why I said that a “middle ground” between going with younger players vs. spending a lot of money may likely be the best option when it comes to building midfield depth. A keita version of a more offensive minded midfielder would be very welcome and fit nicely.

        I only brought of Fabergas and Gourcouff as follow up to the previous discussion. Gourcouff will be both very expensive and in my opinion quite risky because he might not fit in – especially in a new system in which he would only get limited minutes to learn in. His 25m or so to me represents more risk in some ways than Fabergas for 40M. Fabergas isn’t at Xavi or Iniesta’s level but I don’t think he could turn into a Hleb for the team. I think Gourcouff may have that potential so I wouldn’t be keen on spending major money on him.

        That said, neither Gourcouff nor Fabergas is a need and I would prefer not to sign a midfield player who is going to cost 25M +. As such, I wouldn’t prioritize either.

        • Eklavya
          May 24, 2010

          I think Henrique is a 100% gudjohnson,maxwell,etc type of transfer. a true squad player filling in adequotely when needed.

  25. Eklavya
    May 24, 2010

    Don’t worry about the young ones. We’ll get to see them properly once the preseason starts. Remember last season when Pep put out a different lineup in both halves for a few matches?

    JDS, Thiago Bartra aren’t the only ones. Remember Fontas, Benitez, Dalmau, Ruben Rochina, Gai Assulin and Marc Muniesa? Jeffren (and Bojan) needs to be looked at again properly.

    Botia coming back would depend on Marquez leaving and Henrique and Caceres. Caceres, IMO will be sold to Juventus which is sad because he had potential, just needed more confidence, minutes and more discipline. He was considered once one of the best young defenders in La Liga, remember? We should keep that in mind before we overpay for another young one like from Osasuna whatever his name was (dnt rememer sorry).

    Henrique too did well in Bayern leverkrusen and he came almost a leader in their defense. Verstaile as he is I would love if we invest more time in him. At least Caceres will be a big club if sold. Why ruin talented players careers? Maxwell was bad too when he wasn’t given reps. Henrique is same only he can play CB as well. Haven’t heard much from him since he went to Racing though.

    Botia looks good but like I said with Gabi, Pique, Puyol and Chiggy definitely staying it will be tough for him to break through. I hope we get him back for the pre-season to check him. Same with Henrique and Caceres.

    • ElShowDeJason
      May 24, 2010

      yeah, I really liked Caceres’s style, but he really is a great defender for a different system. He is a tough, in your face, tackler. The reason he works better in Italy is because they play very organized defensive lines, where as Barcelona’s CBs are often exposed to 1-on-1s, and clearly he also didn’t have the passing sharpness necessary of our backline.
      If it were up to me, I’d keep Alves, Pique, Puyol, Abidal, Maxwell, Chyg, Milito, Botia, and Henrique. from what I understand Botia and Henrique are flexible enough to play CB or RB, providing cover for Dani, or one of the CB spots.
      I think the Osasuna RB you’re thinking of is Azpilicueta.

      • Eklavya
        May 24, 2010

        Exactly! He was one of the best at de-possessioning the other player in our sqaud but he sucked with the ball at his feet. It’s exactly for this I think we will offload him: pep likes ball playing CBs.
        Anyhow I prefered him LB…
        I think if he controls his timing better he can be a sucess in Italy like so said. His style suits them much more than us. Remember the SuperMartin tackles? 😀

  26. Eklavya
    May 24, 2010

    I’ve seen Gourcuff play a lot. He hasn’t been as good as lat season because of injuries and he’s played more deeper. He is more like Cesc than Xavi if you want, because he likes to shoot and is a pretty good crosser in dead ball situations (he curves the ball a lot). He doesn’t play too many short passes and is better with long balls forward (which are pretty accurate). He has vision alright and is as good (infact almost better) as Cesc techinally.

    He is a team player but he needs reps to be at the top of his game. Remember he was at Milan before but he didn’t any playing time. He won’t come unless he gets a starter role because it will put his career into a jeopardy. We would have to pay 25m for him. And he would have to adapt to a new league which will take time for him.

    Frankly, I don’t think it will happen. If it all it would be after the WC. Laurent Blanc will quit Bordeaux at that time and become the NT coach (yay!).

  27. fcbfan
    May 24, 2010

    Deulofeu scored both goals vs Portugal in the u17 qualifiers. 2 0 to Spain.
    I can’t wait to have 2 Gerards in the first team haha.

    • Jnice
      May 24, 2010

      Yeah, he has been outstanding in the tourny so far.

  28. fcbfan
    May 24, 2010

    Anyone knows where in midfield Rafa Alcantara plays? I heard Rafa is bettter than Thiago. its crazy that we have lots of midfielders in the academy and they are very close in ages and inexperience.

  29. Miguel
    May 24, 2010

    mexico’s been done dirty by england. it’s like watching an arsenal game: plenty of possession, control of the game, pretty football, yet england’s up because of two crouch goals off of free kicks. so pissed, although this is the best i’ve seen mexico play in a while. glad they pulled one back. marquez playing defensive mid. hopefully johnny dos santos comes in @the half.

    2-1, england @the half

    • lovelymofo
      May 24, 2010

      Final 3-1. You know what we’re missing in Mexico? Quality forwards. Also, I don’t want to see Cuauhtemoc Blanco playing. Sorry, but his inclusion drives me nuts. Even tho, there was a point in the match when he was surrounded by like 4 English players and they didn’t manage to take the ball off him, they should be ashamed.

      But blah blah blah. I didn’t get to watch most of the game, so I’ll see if I can catch the first half if they replay it on TV. Or download it I guess.

      • Miguel
        May 24, 2010

        it was good. vela had two great chances & he just couldn’t put them to bed. argie guille franco had an ok game but was substituted @the half due to injury, i think. i hope el chicharito gets his head out of his ass & starts scoring some goals soon. that goal by glen johnson at the beginning of the half just took the life out of el tri.

    • Luna
      May 24, 2010

      It should have been a 2-1, as England’s 2nd goal was offsides and a handball. I don’t get the hate for Cuauh. Certainly he isn’t the fastest guy out there, but every time I watch, he puts in a good half and has a vision and leadership for the game that Mexico was seriously lacking before he came back. I trust Aguirre on that one.

  30. Ciaran
    May 24, 2010

    Gourcuff could be a great signing but it’s a big could. Didn’t have a great time in Milan but he was young then. He may not fit into the team but we really need some shots from outside the box.
    When we had Deco, you could not stand off him as he could shoot from outside the box. When defenders rushed out there was room in behind defenses for fast strikers to run onto.
    Cesc could be the answer to this problem. I personally think that if we get him for €40million then it is great value considering his ability and age. He could score over 15 goals a season from midfield even if he gets only 30 games.

    Javi Martinez is about 2 or 3 years from being a world class player and I’m a big fan of having Basques in our team. We have a long history of Basques including Bakero, Txiki and Zubi amongst others.
    I still wouldn’t be spending €30million on him as he is currently worth approx €15million… although how can you say who is worth what since EE fucked over the whole transfer market for good.

  31. y2k156
    May 24, 2010

    I am watching Argentina – Canada and its been a stroll for argies. Cannot read too much into the score i am afraid though the goals were real good.

    Going forward, i think argies have the best players in the world and maradona has them playing adventurously today. It would be fun to see if he keeps the same shape in real matches.

    As a supporter, i am not sure if i should be pleased or not. Do not want to get my hopes high knowing maradumber. Man for man though, i think argies do have the best squad in the world but as a team, they do lack behind most of the others. Defence still looks shaky and am still not sure if maradona has nailed down the tactics.

    Hope to see messi in second half.

  32. Tim
    May 24, 2010

    I don’t know if anyone has been paying attention but Gerard Deulofeu is tearing up the U-17’s European Championships. Two goals against Portugal (/http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkvYvYQajUs) including directly from a corner.

    He was also involved in all 4 goals against Switzerland (/http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1Qfqk_8tak)

    He’s only 16! I hope he keeps improving.

  33. Helge
    May 24, 2010

    Haha, Crynaldo and his Luso’s just played 0-0 against Cap Verde Islands, ranked #117 on FIFA Coca Cola World Ranking.
    Maradona plays Pastore and Di Maria, both are very active and Di Maria already scored an absolute wonder-goal from about 22m. Messi benched for the first half.

  34. Colby
    May 24, 2010

    I know I should just take some Hector pills and go to sleep. And never ever read goal.com. But…

    //http://www.goal.com/en/news/11/transfer-zone/2010/05/24/1940825/real-madrid-sign-benfica-winger-angel-di-maria-for-40

    If this is true the transfer market will have officially been ruined for the second year in a row by the EE.

    • Eklavya
      May 24, 2010

      WTF?!?! Oh not again! And man I liked Di Maria! It’s not official yet though, is it?

      • Helge
        May 24, 2010

        Oh damn it… I like Di Maria, but if he joins the EE, I will not be able to like him anymore.
        Anyway, I’ll cheer for him during WC, because he won’t be an EE player before July.

      • Jnice
        May 24, 2010

        Not official. Marca doesn’t even have a story on it.

    • cliveee
      May 24, 2010

      no freaking way to pay 40m for Di Maria. Not to say he is not good, but he isn’t good enough to earn that price tag.

    • jordi
      May 24, 2010

      Considering they sold robben for 25 million euro, that hilarious yet sad what they have done to the market.

  35. y2k156
    May 24, 2010

    After watching the Argentina match, few thoughts:

    – Aguero is going to be one hell of a substitute. He is good, though Tevez should be a starter ahead of him.
    – I think that more than Messi, Di Maria’s form and fitness will decide how far Argentina go in cup. Messi will likely be double or triple marked ala Inter and is unlikely to find any space. So the threat from Argies will come from other end.
    – Milito has to start ahead of Higuain. Higuain is good but is still work in progess. In couple years time, he can overtake Milito but for today, if maradona has any sense, Milito will be in first 11.
    – Today argies played a good system but even in the match, sometimes it was clear that the players are not completely used to it. If maradona does not confuse them and keeps that same system, they could end up good.
    – Quality of players in front third for Argentina is better than any other nation competing for the cup.
    – Pastore is work in progress. maradona should have picked lucho gonzalez.

    Score was not very relevant today. Argies played well but did not do anything spectaculer. still think that work needs to be done for argies to reach business end of wc.

    • BA
      May 24, 2010

      Xavi-Iniesta-Silva/Jesus Navas
      Torres-Villa

      is a pretty good front third :P.

      • Jnice
        May 24, 2010

        I think he means pure forwards.

        Messi, Higuian, Tevez, Aguero, Milito has to be the best set of strikers in the World Cup when it comes to depth and quality.

        As for combinations on the pitch, considering you can’t play all of them at the same time, Villa and Torres stack up well against Higuain, Messi, and Tevez.

  36. Ryan
    May 24, 2010

    Did anyone else watch the England-Mexico game? Those Marquez headers are always a handful, eh? If Mexico had finished their numerous chances, it could have gotten pretty embarrassing for the home team.

    • Tutomate
      May 24, 2010

      Yup yup, but like it has been mentioned, we need a quality finisher that can finish his chances, unlike Vela. Mexico had full controll of the game. Makes me feel a little better about playing France and and rest of our group.

      • andrew.M
        May 25, 2010

        i want to know how mexico is going to handle big physical teams like france and south africa, even though lass is out.

        • MarioSilva (tutomate)
          May 25, 2010

          I would not consider neither France nor SA “big physical team”.
          And if they are then the way to beat them is simple LOL.
          1:Maintain possession
          2:Protect the wings
          3:Concede the least amount of free kicks and corners as possible
          4: Finish, Finish, Finish the chances we get.

          The only “big physical team” i see in our group is Uruguay.
          Granted I have not watched the bafana bafana much apart from the cofederations cup.

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