Season in Review, Pt. 4: Goal of the year

Great scott, what a season. And in consideration of the Goal of the Year, there are a great many things to look at. For me, it all comes down to these factors:

–Quality (how good was the goal? This kinda rules out bundled-in, scrappy goals.)
–Import (how big was the moment)
–Execution (different from quality. You can have a great goal that is poorly executed.)
–Outcome (generally, but not always, a goal of the year will be a match-winner.)

We had a pigpile of them, from the Xavi-Alves-Messi one-touch trident against Malaga, to Pedro!’s half-volley from about mid pitch. But to me, the Goal of the Year was as clear as day.

That’s right, baby. BANGS with the Spanky against the EE. Let’s look at the parameters, shall we?

–Quality. Are you kidding me. That goal was absolutely beautiful, from Ibrahimovic’s part in the buildup to Alves’ pass to his thunderstrike.
–Import. In a tense, tight, unbelievably crazy match in which we could well have been down, his wonder strike was the winner, and only goal.
–Execution. This was a crazy, high-wire act of a goal. Alves had to make an unbelievable pass spot on, and Ibrahimovic had to decide how to deal with it. Perfect.
–Outcome. We won the home leg of El Clasic, in a match that came to define the Liga for us.

But there are some honorable mentions. Here are my two favorites.

Yes, this goal was crazy. Why isn’t it Goal of the Year? Circumstances. It had 3 of the 4 nailed, but we were always going to beat Maulaga.

And of course….

I never, ever get tired of watching that one. And to leave us on a high note, there’s this killer.

So there you have it. What’s your goal of the season?

By Kxevin

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. I personally thought the goal of the year was the “Heart of Messi” against Estudiantes in the fifa club world cup. The symbolism, timing, outcome, quality. It has it all.

    1. Agree, not even a question. Sure the Ibra goal was against Madrid, but come on, that Messi goal was a true match winner, it came super super late into extra time.

  2. I wholeheartedly agree with Ibra’s goal against the EE being the goal of the season, although, Eduard’s choice is not a bad one at all.

  3. Love the Ibra goal.

    I think I’ll always remember this one though: /

    Ibra’s amazing backheel to a bandaged Pique. Not nearly as important as the other goals mentioned, but still, amazing.

  4. For me it is Messi’s goal against Madrid (the fourth one you posted).

    The reason? This goal symbolizes the importance of shrugging off everything else and just playing your heart out. Messi gets fouled and he doesn’t roll around or whine, he just gets up and gets on with his business. We had some issues with players forgetting the importance of ignoring the ref and just playing the best of your potential, but this goal shows how important that is.

    On another note it shows that skills can only get you so far, and having the right attitude is essential to be a champion.

    1. Agree – getting up and continuing the play made this goal and embodies why Messi is, well, Messi! Not to mention, Xavi’s sublime pass is what makes Barca ball so beautiful.

  5. jajaja, I would have picked Messi’s first goal in the 2nd Clasico.

    But Ibra’s goal was masterful, and an important one. I remember everyone wondering whether the Barcelona of treble fame could match The Most Expensive Team of Mercenaries Ever Assembled on the pitch. We were two unstoppable forces (as the rest of the season would show) ready to collide. After a goal-less first half at home, some of us started to panic… would we let this match slip through our fingers?

    No. We didn’t. On a goal that proved crucial to our season.

    (And I even remember a certain Real Madrid blogger whining, “What a pathetic goal, I score those goals all the time, just a matter of locking your heel.” πŸ˜€ )

    1. The best part of that, its that it was our new signing that beat their millions, the one “big” purchase we made, beat their many. And the rest of the season it was our youth-products that came out victorious.

  6. The Iniestazo! Oh you mean just for this season? The Ibra
    goal vs. EE no doubt.

    1. I could write ten consecutive articles about the Iniestazo, I kid you not. I was in a study room at the law school watching it on my computer because I had a final the next day. I was studying with a friend and I just started jumping around and screaming. It was awesome.

  7. The fourth goal was brilliant but generated off a set piece so it’s a little different.

    The first three goals demonstrated in different ways the strengths of Barca this season in terms of managing space and width. All three were generated off of activity and width off the right side of the pitch. That’s a function of Barca’s asymmetric formations, the diverse skill sets of the team and the brilliance of Danni Alves.

    They need to be able to consistently do more of that off the left next season.

  8. my goal of the season is ibrahimovic’s el clasic winner as well. followed by messi’s first crazy ass goal against valencia.

    1. You know what is most interesting about that compilation? It puts the lie to every supposition that his detractors make. He outruns defenses, moves beautifully into space and gets off shots quickly. Not sure what happened to his confidence, but the same patience that everyone was advocating in the case of Krkic needs to be applied to Ibrahimovic.

      I also, when watching the goal vs EE, still marvel at the movement, timing and hitting that ball on the fly into the bit of space available. If he controls and shoots, Casillas probably does his Saint Iker thing.

    2. the lie? i don’t know. he doesn’t seem to know when to use his head.

    3. He uses his head when he deems it appropriate, same as Messi. I don’t understand the fiction that anyone taller than 5’5″ must head the ball, or they are wasting their talents.

    4. I think there’s a law in the universe that football goal/skills compilations must be accompanied by the worst music out there

  9. I will never forget the sound of that ball coming off his boot. It was an amazing moment and truly showed the world that Ibra can play the big matches AND make an impact. I hope he just knocks in a ton of goals next season and makes the haters shut up. Definitely goal of the season.

    1. You should have heard how loud it was in the stadium, Tyler. It was crazy. I still have never, ever, in all of my live sporting event history, heard a roar like that one. πŸ˜€

    2. I remember you posted how it sounded. I was just gonna mention this in the post.

      Great goal

    1. Sighhhh! So beautiful, so dead. I will, of course, pick them to go all the way in the office World Cup pool again, because you never know what can happen, and you always bet your heart.

    2. so does anyone know what really did happen to lassana diarra, besides some weird intestinal malady?

    3. he climbed on a glacier and some weird insect invaded him or bit him or something

  10. i know this is off-topic but this is a serious news.
    thiago, jds, bartra, gai and vasquez’s contract will run out soon.
    and all i hear is, barca wanting to sign this and that but what about those kids? the board seems to concerned with getting new players. and i saw an article from a catalan paper that we have 4 targets for the rb spot. back-up for alves. but what about bartra????

    thiago, jds and bartra is a definite must. same goes for fontas.
    this is really worrying..
    i wouldnt want them to leave and then a few years down the line we have to pay astronomical amounts to buy them back.

    1. Dont worry about it, theres some news from sport so they should be sorted out soon.



  11. As Kxevin mentioned in one of his replies..
    “.. the movement, timing and hitting that ball on the fly..”
    Favorite part of what you mention, and I’ve said this all along, Ibrah HITS the ball, doesn’t stick his leg out to let it rebound, he HITS it! Which is why yes it is the goal of the season. I remember feeling this sense of relief when Ibrah was sub-ed in that game, the entire team lifted, and few seconds later, BOOM !
    Second favorite is yes Messi’s chest-in goal in the Club World Cup because of the symbolism involved in it, and because it got us Las 6 Copas !!

  12. I think Messi’s curler against Getafe was a pretty good damn goal.

    Yaya laid it off a bit awkwardly, but Messi just banged the ball with as much force as possible, meanwhile it curled around a whole wall of players in the box and passed right in between the heads of Pique and Ibrahimovic, the GK had no chance of saving that shot.

    I just think the curl in that shot was just out of this universe, it was also a little payback gift to Getafe for when they kept us to a draw last time they visited the camp nou.

  13. messi vs zaragoza I think it was stealing the ball going past two defenders and just doing what he does best

    1. It deserves an honorable mention, but given that Ibra’s goal against the EE was the only goal of the match, the importance factor of that goal is sheer invaluable. So I agree with Kxevin’s choice

  14. My nominees for the goal of the season:

    -All of Messi’s goals.

    -Pedro’s goal from 45 meters.

    -Pedro’s goal vs Almeira: *

    -Pedro’s goals in the Super cup final(s).

    -Ibra’s goal vs EE.

    -Ibra’s 170 km/h free kick vs Zaragoza:

    -Xavi crazy pass to Alves to Messi goal.

    There are more but I can’t remember … there was one where Xavi passed a long, long through ball to Pedro who finished it nicely.

  15. Damnit by comment went into moderation!

    I want to post this one:

    Ibra’s 170 km/h free kick goal vs Zaragoza!!!!!


  16. I wouldn’t worry too much about the kids that we want to keep, just know that Assulin might not be on that list. Press reports about stuff such as that are often the profoundest nonsense. Fact of the matter is that Pedro!, Busquets, Krkic and Jeffren show that there is a clear path for the deserving from second to first team.

    It may well be that like G. Dos Santos, one or two of them have an overinflated notion of their worth. They might leave. But clearly, we have identified the important ones, and will take care of business. The other thing to consider is environment. Leaving a place that teaches the game as we do, would not be the right thing for their development.

    –Meanwhile, the father of Fabregas has gone public, saying that he expects the deal to get done, nut warns that it will take time. He thanked Arsenal for mking his boy into a man, and all that jazz.

    This is interesting, in that it is a more dignified way of applying public pressure to Arsenal, making ot bery clear that the rumors are fact, and Fabergas wants to leave Arsenal. The player won’t do it himself in case Arsenal prove as intractable as they seem determined to be. It’s also interesting that in the comments of Fabregas Sr., there was a clear assertion that because Fabregas has given Arsenal his all, that the club should repay their charge by not mucking up the process.

    But this is personal. So it’s going to be expensive, and probably ugly. I am firmly against both those routes.

    I fully understand Arsenal wanting to hold on to their captain. I don’t underatand wanting to do it against the player’s wishes. As long as Fabregas doesn’t submit an official and public transfer request, I expect that Arsenal will sit there, arms crossed, saying “80 million.” And we will hope that the spectre of being seen as keeping Fabregas against his wishes, will help the process. All very silly, all very personal.

    –On a funnier note, Hleb is saying that he is urging Fabregas to stay at Arsenal, as this could be their year. And of course, Fabregas’ arrival would have no effect whatsoever on his plans to come back and fight for a place. Nope. None whatsoever.

    1. Excellent find, Flyzowee. It sounds like we CAN afford Fabregas, if I read the article correctly. It also lays out just how good the Joan Laporta presidency has been for our beloved club. Hell, if Laporta wants to buttress the continuity candidate, he’ll just print that blog post out.

      Really, really good piece, everyone, that is well worth the time to read.

  17. im a little sick of seeing all the players talking about cesc, is he REALLY that important???? I really wanted Ribery, except all my dreams of that have been crushed.

    1. Media asks the questions, the players only answer them. The players could say “next question, please” but then the media will go into an even worse frenzy about why Pique or Puyol didn’t want to answer a question about Cesc. After that, more drama ensues.

      So, I mean I can’t really fault the players for answering the questions, maybe they can tone down the “Cesc has BarΓ§a in his DNA” statements, but other than that, there is not much else they can do.

  18. Last week there were reports about Barca wanting Fabergas himself to state his desires to come to Barcelona publicly. And now his father – as strong a proxy as you can get – makes that very same public declaration.

    This really has the potential to turn into a mess. Fabergas is seen not only as Arsenal’s best player and captain but as the embodiment of Wegner’s entire strategy. Fabergas leaving could be extremely embarrassing to Wegner himself. Wegner has a huge incentive not to sell and a lot of pressure not to.

    So this is moving in to a negotiation where the only way to get Fabergas is to either continue to ratchet up pressure on Wegner or pay an outlandish transfer fee which allows Wegner and Arsenal to save face.

    Outside of the transfer fee, pursuing Fabergas is going to have a significant opportunity cost for Barca. The deal is going to be so complicated and protracted, that it may be difficult for the club to get their other needed business done in an optimal fashion.

    They are at risk for letting other deals go by because so much cash needs to be set aside and held for Fabergas and so much time and attention will be needed to pursue the deal.

    Say Barca really were interested in Di Maria, for example and he’s going to cost 25M-30M. Could they even fork over the cash right now? I’m not sure because right now they may have frozen 50M to see if Fabergas can be had.

    If the deal is not completed but it takes months to find that out, how many offensive minded midfielders who could add depth will have already been transferred?

    If the deal takes much of the club’s attention (particularly with the elections also taking place) will they have the bandwith to make the smaller moves that are very much needed (depth at right back, etc.).

    There are considerable opportunities that Barca may lose out as the Fabergas situation becomes more complicated.. And those lost opportunities have real costs.

    1. Egg-sactly. I would further state that the money that will be spent on Fabregas I would rather turn to other puropses.

      But it’s personal. We want him, Arsenal doesn’t want to sell him. So what should be a straightforward bit of business will be nasty and expensive.

      I think that if a player wants to leave, his club should facilitate that transfer, without giving him away, or setting a spiteful price. And sorry, but 80m is spite.

      The real question is what’s the role of the club, which in effect owns a player. If the club decides that it doesn’t want to sell, where do the player’s wishes enter the frame? Ronaldinho wanted to leave, and wanted to go to Milan. We made that happen, even taking less than we would have gotten had we put him on the open market. That’s the pact that a team makes with a player, spoken or otherwise.

      I fully understand Arsenal’s view, however. Imagine the tempest that would roil this space if Messi wanted to leave, and other clubs came rushing, waving checkbooks. He’s their captain, and their symbol. So now what?

      The resolution will depend on whether grown men can act like grownups.

    2. The resolution will depend on whether grown men can act like grownups.

      Wegner just has so much personally riding on this situation. Given Arsenal’s struggles, the whole notion of them becoming a second rate “feeder” team, etc. It’s one thing to sell a late twenties Henry. Very different to sell the player who is 23 that you’ve developed since he was 16.

      I don’t see a lot of maturity coming into play here. This is going to be brass tacks. And that can get ugly, especially when reputations built over years are at stake.

    3. Common misconception. His time was done, and we were done with him. He wanted to go to Milan, who wanted him and the buzz. So the deal was done. The separation was mutual.

    4. “Outside of the transfer fee, pursuing Fabergas is going to have a significant opportunity cost for Barca. The deal is going to be so complicated and protracted, that it may be difficult for the club to get their other needed business done in an optimal fashion.

      They are at risk for letting other deals go by because so much cash needs to be set aside and held for Fabergas and so much time and attention will be needed to pursue the deal.”

      Thank you, Euler.

      This is my biggest concern at the moment. We could potentially let other deals fall through because we are focusing solely on Fabregas, how to go about signing him, the money we need for the deal, etc.

      There are deals we could be making right now, like Benayoun for 6 million euros (Don’t kill me, I just think he would be a good Hleb replacement, good for Copa and to give players a rest), but instead all of time and resources are spent on Fabregas.


    5. There are deals we could be making right now…but instead all of time and resources are spent on Fabregas.

      This is a real issue. Right now there is a place holder line item in Barca’s transfer budget that says Fabergas 50M or whatever it is. For next year’s squad a tentative place holder is there for his considerable wages. Right now Barca may have funcationaly frozen 65M of their operating budget for next year just based on the pursuit of Fabergas.

      Essentially that kind of budgeting makes the cash illiquid. It’s just stuck. Engineering big deals always does this. It kind of locks you into limbo.

      Those 5-10M deals are the ones that are going to tend to get put off or neglected due to limited band with. Between the big deals and the elections I am concerned they will fall through. And those are the kind that are likely to be most needed.

      If Alves gets injured next season and they don’t have effective depth at RB it’s going to be difficult. If pursuing Fabergas makes building that kind of needed depth difficult the deal becomes very expensive (whether or not Fabergas is eventually signed). Alves at times is their entire right flank. And right now they don’t have a good back up for him. Puyol will be a year older and whether or not his pace is adequate to play on the right is already in question.

    6. Maxwell can play right wing, and so can Marc Bartra. I rate Marc very highly based on his parformance against Atletico Madrid last season.

  19. Ksevin, Ibra’s goal in the clasico is perfect GOS. I was going to say Messi’s winner against Estudnts, but winning such a tight game gave us something extra for the CWC and the rest of the season.

  20. Hi all, great blog allways a good read and very thoughtfull discussions. I enjoy it every day yet post only very seldom. Anyway, as Kxevin says hopefully we’ll learn fast and just quit this Fabregas pursuit as it will only get more expensive or more personal. None of them being very good for our Club at the moment. Let’s hope that nothing materializes and that the next board will just wait untill Cesc is cheaper or Arsenal more cooperative.

    On the Financial side of things, concerning our debt something I had previously shown an interest to I read an interesting article as Flyzowee allready mentioned but I’ll post the original article which is very clear and more informative in my opinion.

    A great read. Basically it gives nitwits like me an idea of situation of our finances. Being that we have money, that we are profitable and generating sustainable revenue growth. But that there definately is a debt/liabilities part which we shouldn’t underestimate. Especially with last years and this years high value transfers. Furthermore, our cash at the bank is relatively limited, we have a big salaryload and our stadium could use a renovation/upgrade.

    1. Welcome and thanks for the link. Here is a comment by the author to a question that was posted.

      The Swiss Rambler said…

      Thanks all for the kind words. As you may guess by the length of my articles, I put a fair bit of effort into my research, but it feels like it’s worth it with comments like these.

      “repeatedly and mercilessly ridicule them” – that’s a fine turn of phrase that genuinely made me laugh out loud.

      If we take the broadest definition of debt (€489m), most of it is derived from normal operations.

      The largest element here is Trade Creditors with €247m. I did not analyse all of this in the article, but the major factors are:

      – payable to suppliers €70m (normal operations)
      – payable to tax authorities €61m (normal operations)
      – remuneration payable €60m (almost certainly for bonus payments, which is “normal”, but high after Barcelona’s many trophies)
      – sporting entities payable €50m (these are the payments due to other clubs that I mentioned, which do seem on the high side, but it’s still “normal” business)

      Accruals total €106m (current €84m + non-current €22m). This includes accruals for costs which have been reflected in the P&L, but have not yet been paid. Confusingly, this category also includes deferred income, where payment has been received by Barcelona, but the club has yet to provide the services, so cannot recognise the income in the accounting period. For example, some of the money received from the Mediapro TV rights deal covers future accounting periods, so is booked here.

      The provisions are higher than I would expect, due to the disputes I mentioned above (tax, TV).

      Overall, it’s a solid P&L – how many football clubs make a profit these days? However, if the TV rights were subject to collective bargaining, presumably leading to a significant reduction in Barcelona’s allocation, it would be exposed.

      The balance sheet is also reasonable, as it has net assets, compared to many clubs which have net liabilities, but it could be healthier. You are absolutely correct that these liabilities have to be paid (and most of them are short-term), but Barcelona is a cash-generating machine, so I don’t see that as an insurmountable challenge.

      To put Barcelona’s total liabilities (“debt”) of €489m (Β£417m) into context, Arsenal reported total liabilities of Β£639m in their latest accounts – and we’re the good guys financially.

    2. So basically Sandro’s claim of 489M in debt is taking the ambiguous meaning of debt into account. Things that include; services not yet rendered, future taxes owed to the gov,etc.

      What a sleazeball.

    3. Arsenal (Liabilities)—— Barcelona (Liabilities)
      (euros) 749m——————–489m

    4. Welcome back Han. When the finance questions came up the otherday, I recal we have someone on the blog who use to explain this stuff but disappeared πŸ˜€

      I have a question: Barca also have basketball, handball and 2 more sports I can’t remember now, are they included in this or spearate account?

  21. This Cesc business is starting to get Messy LOL. The Catalan media is acting as if Cesc is the only player around. He may be the best at Arsenal but
    at Barca and the NT he’s justt another one. and they may want to tone down the NT very Blaugrana because if Spain have a bad WC…

    and LOL at Hleb telling Cesc to stay away haha.

  22. Filipe Luis is supposedly back in the frame. He WAY wants to leave Deportivo, and we need what he does. Should be easy, but given that Leondoucheo wants to hold somebody hostage again, it almost certainly won’t be. And yes, I’d take him over Maxwell in about two seconds.

    Young’un update: Thiago signed, Dos Santos will sign this week, Assulin is apparently having delusions of grandeur, so he will be more difficult. I’m sure he’s curious about what is going to happen with the Fabregas signing, as well.

    1. Thiago’s renewed! Really? Yay!

      I prefer JDS to Thiago though. Assulin can have delusions all he wants, just look at where Gio Dos Santos is now…

    2. i agree. assulin’s a winger. deulofeu is coming up quick.

      this fabregas deal is more worrisome for dos santos than anybody else.

  23. Dammit this Fabs shit is exactly what I was worried about. We are either going to spend half the summer chasing him only to end up with nothing and lose out on other transfers OR we end up paying a stupid sum of money for a glorified bench warmer. If he wants to leave then he needs to put his foot down and he needs to do it now. Having daddy go to the press is only going to raise tensions and make Arsenal feel like they are being betrayed – hence the spiteful sum of 80m they are demanding.

  24. Felipe Luis sounds very good, but Lendoiro is an ass. Btw I heard Makaay say on dutch tv that when he moved from Depor to Bayern that Lendoiro did the same as he did to us agreeing a price just to come back on it when everything needs to be signed and demand some crazy-like extra millions. In the end Ze Germans payed up….

    Wouldn’t it be overkill to have three good LB (abidal, Felipe, Maxwell) or do we just use the latter as LM/LB cover?

    Yay for Thiago, almost yay for JDS.

    1. seriously. maxwell had one ok game as right back. he did better than jeffren. i don’t think that constitutes depth in that dept.

  25. So we are going to Asia for the preseason!


  26. Kxevin, yes I’ll welcome Filipe too and he already said that he doesn’t mind not getting much playin time. Maxwell can be Dani’s back up or Keita’s in mid.

    Thiago signed yay! I do think JDS game as of now is more develop, but I can’t help cheer for someone with a name like Alcantara from the cantera. πŸ˜€

  27. Filipe Luis would be a terrific signing – just as he would have before. That would give Barca 4 quality backs with Batra a fifth to integrate and build experience in controlled circumstances.

    That’s the kind of move I’d like to see them prioritize. Abidal is terrific but he’s getting older. Filipe would not only give them needed depth but a different look and skill set. He would help a great deal with width on the left. Filipe and Alves could be the backs for several years when Abidal leaves or takes on a more limited role. Maxwell would then be able to be a very productive player for depth at two spots, though he’s not as good on the right.

    Deportivo is impossible to deal with, but perhaps given Luis’s injury scare they may consider being more practical. They came very close to Luis bringing nothing back because they tried to squeeze a marginal dollars out of barca when it looked like a price had been set.

    Depth at corner back and at center/attacking midfield are where Barca’s needs are and the probability of Yaya not coming back.

  28. I’m gonna agree with Eduard and say that Messi’s goal vs Estudianates is the Goal of the Year. It was in extra time, therefore putting it in the “epic” category, and it was historic, making us the first team to win 6 copas in a year.

    Honorable Mentions for me

    Messi’s hatrick goal vs Tenerife (just because it looked so casual, so easy): *

    P!’s goal vs Estudiantes: *

    Bojan’s goal vs Villareal (with RayRay!): *

    Pedro!’s goal vs Shaktar Donesk (UEFA Supercup): *

    Messi’s goal vs Zaragoza: *

    Messi vs Getafe (what a curl!): *

    Messi v Valencia, 1st goal (starts a crazy hat-trick run): *

    (Why don’t I just name all of Messi’s goals πŸ˜€ ?)

  29. my goal of the season has to be your second pick. here’s a better video of it: //
    it’s just so damn beautiful. import shmimport.

    but, what about messi’s goal vs valladolid on the last day? it was important to him. and, don’t forget, toure’s assist.


  30. @FCBFAN I believe reading somewhere that is a consolidated account for all sports, but as I don’t remember where exactly I’ll leave it open.

    FELIPE looks like a very good LB, what would his price be these, days?around a 15-18millon? Would be nice to steal a former EE talent anyway, certainly with Mou looking for a good LB, but knowing him and FLOFLO they’ll likely want somebody with more “profile”.

    I like the rumour of Ansaldi as a depth purchase on the RB as well, he can be used LB a bit in the way Maxwell can.

    Who should we think of as alternatives to CESC or Midfield in general? Gourcuff, Affelay, Joe Cole, Ballack, Mascherano, Sissoko (toulouse), Silva, Mata, Willian, … ?

    Anyway, I actually want us to stick to some financial sanity and stop shelling 40 millions’ around.

  31. This just in, sort of, and I wii add that I love thiscrazy, kinda made up stuff — but “reports” are that Fabregas was contacted by phone by Wenger, whereupon he reiterated his desire to go to us. He has also “reportedly” told friends that he is “500 percent” behind his decision to leave.

    So. Either the journo in question has extraordinary sources, or has the phones tapped ….

    Or this is just hoodoo.

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