BFB at the Box Office: War

Last night I attended Night 2 of the Kicking and Screening film festival in Tribeca Cinemas here in NYC (previous parts here and here, tickets here). The previous night was about fans, about the passion for the game that we all have, but last night was a more somber affair. I don’t really know if he’s the one that said it first or not, but it’s certainly attributed by history to William Tecumseh Sherman: “War is Hell.”

And that it most certainly is. The night started with a short, Ana’s Playground (2009, dir: Eric Howell), centering on an unnamed city where a girl and three friends are playing soccer in the cold of winter by shooting against a wall. Ana is the goalie. Their gritty surroundings–a burned out car, shrapnel-torn buildings–were very reminiscent of scenes from the Balkans during the tumultuous 1990s. They are interrupted by gunfire and dive into the burned out car as a truck filled with assault-rifle-wielding men careens around the corner and fills their soccer field with a dead body and dozens of bullet casings. When the firing stops, the children continue playing, only glancing at the dead body, hardly registering it. They kick the casings out of the way and line up another shot on goal.

The ball flies over a wall and the fear is evident on their faces as the children flip coins to see who has to go get it. It falls to Ana, of course, and she crawls through a break. She finds herself in an open space between buildings in what feels like a different world. Her ball sits near the base of a building across the open space. She hides and it turns out to be a good idea because a sniper begins to fire at her. I don’t want to give away the entire thing, but it suffice to say that it leaves the viewer fairly gutted. Half inspired, half miserable. Children, Howell said in a panel discussion afterwards, losing their souls is the most heart-wrenching thing you can depict. That’s a paraphrase of about 20 minutes of discussion, really, but it’s so very true. The film has elements of soccer throughout it, but what really brings it all home is the anonymity of everyone. There is no defined place, no defined war, no defined culture on display. This isn’t about what “they” go through, but rather what we all go through when war latches on. It is what we do to others, what others do to us. It is humanity and a child represents our ultimate innocence; when that innocence is destroyed, when it is subjugated to the horrors of war, what do we have left?

Film Grade: 7/10. The cinematography was good, but I was a little lost in the allegory in the end, though if the point was to throw me off balance, it achieved that quite well.

The second film is a true documentary: The Last Yugoslav Team (2000, dir: Vuc Janic) covers the history of what happened to the players who made up the core of the Yugoslavian team just prior to the disintegration of the country into the mini states that exist now (Croatia, Slovenia, etc). The main actors are the players who made up the 1987 Youth World Cup (Zvonimir Boban, Robert Prosinečki, Predj Mijatović, Dejan Savićević, and Siniša Mihajlović) and their various stories. They grew up in different parts of the country, but trained together throughout their youth and ended up playing for different countries when Croatia and Yugoslavia were drawn in the Euro2000 qualifying group together.

The film brings up questions: what does war do to interpersonal relationships and how does it affect the principle actors on the international stage? The game can challenge norms or support them, destroy chasms between groups or widen them. The players react in various ways, of course, and the access Janic had was unbelievable. There are moments that make you laugh, moments that make you cringe, and moments that make you wonder why you didn’t study more Balkan history in college. Cause seriously, I got lost a bit. That was the only drawback in the movie, really, and even that was tempered by the inclusion of random facts that cleared up a few of the questions I had. Perhaps it’s unfair of me, though, since I’m a history major who is very serious about studying things for years before saying they know anything about a subject.

Film Grade: 9/10. Loved it. Watch it, people. It’s worth it. Sure, it was made in 2000 and contains “old” 1990s footage that looks ridiculous on our HD TVs, but whatever, it’s brilliant executed and you get to know the players and you understand a lot of their motivations. It is, at least, a starter kit for Balkan soccer history.

After the movies there was a panel discussion that involved the two filmmakers, Adam Spangler of This is American Soccer (as moderator), and Jakob Lund of Play31, the charity K&S is donating a portion of the profits of the film festival to. They spoke about what they were trying to convey–empathy for Howell, peace for Lund, and a myriad of things for Janic)–and I found it fascinating to see 3 people from completely different walks of life  bring 3 completely different approaches to the game, yet ending up together talking about roughly the same things (war sucks, soccer can be both good and evil). It was good to hear them and then good to talk to them afterwards in the mini-schmoozefest at the bar. Janic especially struck me as a wonderful fount of information and understanding (he’s a Serb, for the record).

Tonight is HUGE, though. Check this: El Arbitro is playing tonight. You should go. Why? Cause I’ll be there and the film is about a Barça v Espanyol match–er, sorta. It’s about the ref, but whatever, our boys are in it. I’ll be there in my home kit and I’ll be writing wonderful things about it either tonight or early tomorrow. Buy tickets here here here. The film is by Justin Webster, who also made FC Barcelona Confidential, which you should see if you haven’t.

And then on Friday, be there for Eine Andere Liga, a film about a Turkish-German woman with breast cancer whose life revolves around soccer. Sounds, uh, intense. And wonderful. If you live in NYC, you should do this because, really, you have nothing better to do and you want to meet me and see some awesome films. Okay, maybe meeting me isn’t that great, but think of it like a free bonus. Like that 2nd Shamwow completely free…which happens to be consuming alcohol.

By Isaiah

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.




    The Last Yugoslav Team seems like an interesting movie. I’ve got a couple of friends that are–err, were, from the country and they tell me about it all the time. They think that if Yugoslavia was still a country, their football team would have kick major butt. When I think about the likes of Modric, Vidic, Stankovic, etc. on the same team, I’ve got to agree with them.

    El Arbitro…I wanna watch it! But I’d have to get plane tickets and find a hotel and…yeah. I don’t think it’s worth it 😀 . It’s coming to DVD though, right? I’ll get it if it is, but just because Barca is in it (if that ref DID ref that game, then I’ve probably verbally abused him at some point… 🙂 )

    1. thanks isaiah for the movie summaries ill probably never watch em, but makes for an interesting read. thanks.

  2. Excellent write up Isaiah. I would definitely attend this, but I’m stuck in good old upstate NY. I also want to apologize in advance for potentially hijacking this post.

    There are increasing rumors that Ibra will be sold if we receive a proper bid on him (and that we will receive a proper bid on him). I believe in giving players at least two seasons to prove themselves, but I’m increasingly thinking that it may be best to sell Ibra this season.

    I just want to be clear, I don’t want to argue about Ibra and whether he fits into the system etc. etc.

    My fear is rather that with Villa arriving Ibra will be relegated to a bench player. Messi is almost an automatic starter. That leaves Ibra to compete for time with Pedro, Villa, and Bojan. Villa is deadly and I think he will slot into the team very nicely. Pedro improved by leaps and bounds last season, and if he doesn’t experience a sophmore slump could give Ibra a very solid run for his money. At the end of the season Bojan was playing well and supplanted Ibra in the starting lineup for several big games in a row.

    The fact is that we are paying Ibra very high wages, and these wages can’t be justified for a bench player. Also, if he loses his spot next season his value will decrease and we ultimately won’t be able to recoup as much of what we paid for him (I’m assuming if he becomes a bench player, we would want to sell him next summer).

    Now this is all speculation, and either choice carries a certain amount of calculated risk. I’m just beginning to wonder if the risk of holding onto him for another year outweighs the benefits of selling him.

    There is one more mini-benefit to selling him this summer – it allows the new president to feel he has put his stamp on the team without completely screwing us over.

    I’m not anti-Ibra, in fact I think he had a very good season, I just don’t know if he is a better choice than some of the other players in the squad. In the end, I want whatever Pep wants (although benching Ibra at the end of last season doesn’t bode well in my mind).

    1. if we sell Ibra we’re just going to have to turn around and use the money to buy a left-sided attacker anyway. regardless of what you think of Ibra, the shoes of a €68m striker are going to be tough to fill. unless we recall Keirrison, we’ll be left with 4 strikers total for 3 positions should Henry and Ibra both depart. we’re already 1 big striker purchase in, and while everyone anticipates Villa will slot in well that’ll be 2 completely new starting players that will have to adapt next season. everyone’s talking about bringing in Cesc when our midfield is locked-in solid, but it seems as though we’ll need a serious midfield buy AND a serious forward buy in ADDITION to the €40m we just spent (rightly!) on Villa.

      does anyone even have any ideas as to who we should look at if Ibra goes? or is everyone waiting to see who emerges from the World Cup? say we get €50m from selling Ibra, which is a gigantic financial loss for 1 season and 1 player…. who do we look to splash it on?

    2. You make a very good point about needing to bring in a new player if Ibra leaves… and honestly I haven’t even thought about it (although names are easy to find… Silva, Torres, etc etc).

      I’m an optimist, but I also worry a lot. And right now I’m worried that Ibra could become the most expensive, most highly paid bench player in history.

  3. If it’s true man city want Ibra for 65million, and Torres is apparently availlable at 60million, I’d make that deal very fast. A Torres, Villa, Messi trident, constantly changing positions and being fed by Xavi and Iniesta is simply orgasmic.

    And playing for city will serve Ibra well, especially if he plays on a free role right behind Adebayor. He will be the man over there, with all offense flowing through him. He wont have to be a back to goal striker or worry about intricate movements, and he will have options to pass to, like adebayor and Tevez.

    Very sad to see Yaya’s inevitable exit. Yaya could have been handled better.

    1. No Torres, please. Nothing I have seen from him since he left La Liga has shown me that he would be a success in our system. Where’s the movement, where’s the link-up play with our midfielders. I know that Ibrahimovic is the man hardly anybody wants, but I’ve been filling my time re-watching matches from this season. And yes, he has faults, but I can’t help thinking about what he would be like, fully integrated into our system.

      And so I’m clear about this:

      No other striker on the planet offers such potential.

      To be sure, whether that potential would be realized is entirely another question.

    2. I agree with you on both of your last two points. Which is what makes me so dizzy trying to decide where I stand on this whole Ibra situation.

    3. How could The Yaya’s situation have been handled better? As part of a world-class side, you are not going to play all the time. Last season, he said that he was fine with that. Then, through his agent, he suddenly wasn’t fine with it, and wanted to play all the time. If you want to play all the time, it isn’t going to happen with Guardiola. So leave, and good luck to you. The club is trying to facilitate his sale to the club that he chooses.

      He wasn’t going to stay with us, because he didn’t want to share time with Busquets. Simple as that. It’s hard to see how that could have been handled any better.

      Every time someone leaves, it’s the club’s fault. All that The Yaya had to do was play his role, work hard and keep hoisting trophies and making millions. He didn’t want to do that, so farewell. And if he goes to Citeh, we won’t see him in Champions League, so he won’t have to worry about Messi/Xavi/Iniesta running rings around him.

    4. Though I mostly I agree with you KeV, this is kinda a far cry from what you and the rest of us were saying all season. I know it is difficult to question a coach that just had the most sucessful season in club football history, but that is exactly what you, me, and the rest of us were doing all season when Guardiola consistantly fielded a team that was weaker that what was avaliable, by playing Busi over Yaya. Plain and simple, Yaya is head and shoulder above Busi as a DM, yeah Busi is younger, cheaper, and home grown, but a better player he is not.

      So we, along with the Yaya and his agent have the absolute right to question the coaches decision. You say that because we are a great team, Yaya should be content with not starting, he needs to accept his role, but if JDS replaced Xavi, even though it was obvious Xavi was the better talent, he and his agent would question it, remember agents are paid to say things that players want to but can’t.

      The truth is, Yaya got a raw deal, aside from the LW position, the Yaya’s was the only one up for grabs. The difference is, titi’s benching was justified, yaya’s was not!!’

  4. Amazing how Pedro is holding his own with spain NT! Im a big fan of this kid lately.

    1. So I still don’t see why we need Torres if we have Pedro, Bojan, Villa, Messi, Jeffren…

      My point is merely that immediately after pointing out how we would need to replace Ibra with another big name striker, you talk in glowing terms about a player we already have…

    2. Those two are not mutually exclusive. It doesn’t mean that if Pedro is good, Torres shouldnt be acquired. If thats your logic, then why is the team keeping Ibra?

      My point is that if Ibra really wants to leave, and City want to pay that much, and if the teams intention was to hold on to someone like him, then Torres cant be a bad replacement

    3. Pedro didn’t really look that good today. He had one good move, other than that, he tried to do too much and got pushed off the ball several times. He needs to keep it simple and play quicker.

  5. Regarding Torres, I don’t really like him, to be honest. Don’t like his style of play at all and when he plays with Spain, he looks a little out of place to me compared to Villa.

    As for these films, hopefully I can download some of them because no one wants to go with me to NYC.

    1. I like Torres, think he’s a great player, but I want him nowhere near Barça. He’s to static and is better at playing alone upfront or with just one other player. That won’t work in Barça’s system.

      I don’t think Ibra is going anywhere, so I figure its more likely Torres will go somewhere else. Don’t see him back in La Liga, maybe Italy?

    2. Did you watch your Mexico kill Italy? I mean it was only 2-1, but Mexico dominated Italy all game.

  6. This is how you deal with speculation regarding your future. Are you listening, Midfielderwhoisnottobenamed?

    Maicon told Spanish daily AS: “What I want is to play at Madrid and for me it would be an honour to be able to do that because I’ve already said it would be a great opportunity in my career. With Manchester City I have nothing [agreed], I can assure.”

    Given the choice between the two clubs, he added: “I’m going to say it very clearly so there are no misunderstandings. I want to play at Madrid, I don’t want to go to Manchester City. Moreover, I repeat that I have nothing [agreed] with the English club.”

    Now, it would suck for EE to acquire a defensive back that our guys couldn’t own (like Ramos), but I admire the forthrightness of Maicon.

    1. “I’m going to say it very clearly so there are no misunderstandings. I want to play at Madrid,

      The Maicon-Mourhino-Real rumors have been going on for weeks. Amazingly, one rarely if ever hears anything about “tapping up.” Not even from Inter fans. Maicon has a contract and from what I’ve come to understand from the Fabergas situation is that is a sacred bond, even the holiest of relationships possible

  7. Rosell is obviously trying to screw Laporta’s negotiations for Cesc:

    Barca candidate believes Cesc deal is ‘easy’

    Josep Maria Bartomeu, who will be the club’s sporting vice-president if Rosell wins the presidential election in ten days’ time, believes it will not take much effort to prise the player from Arsenal.

    “A player who was made in La Masia, who has said publicly that he wants to come to Barca, who has said so to his coach and who can count on the support of Guardiola, it seems so easy to us that whoever goes into the negotiations will find themselves in the best conditions to seal the deal.”

    Definitely trying to piss off Arsenal.


  8. What we need, IMHO:

    1. Keep Ibrahimovic
    2. Quality backups and right and left back (no, I don’t think Maxwell is quality. Not compared to Abidal.)
    3. Midfield depth
    4. Left wing offense

    All of the rest is nonsense.

    1. I agree with all except, I think Maxwell did a great job this season. He got better as time wore on and if Abidal is healthier next season, Maxwell won’t play as much as he did this season, so he might be fresher.

    2. I think 1 and 4 are mutually exclusive. If we keep Ibra, I can’t imagine buying another forward/LW because if Ibra is around Villa will be playing there with Pedro, Iniesta, Bojan, Maxwell etc. as backups.

      We definitely need a quality backup right back, no doubt. I like Van der Wiel and think he will be world class in a couple of years, but his age and need of playing time could hinder that deal.

      I think we’re set at left back.

      We really need midfield depth. If/when Yaya leaves, we need someone to replace him and potentially one more signing. I’m still advocating Jan Vertonghen (a CB/DM).

    3. Vertonghen is a very flexible player with a diverse skill set. I really like that he can play multiple positions as well. Being left footed is a nice plus. He can fill in at left back as well in addition to DM/ CB.

      Barca had interest in the past and it’s been said that Cruyff likes him a great deal. I’d guess he’d cost 10-15M.

      Van Der Wiel is a real talent but with Alves he’s a tough fit. Terrific player though.

      Making 3-4 moves like a Vertonghen will help the squad win next year more than getting Fabergas. Unfortunately things seem to be going the opposite direction.

      It would also be interesting to see how Rosell would react to a player Pep liked through a recommendation from Cruyff.

    4. I would have jumped for joy if we had gotten Filipe Luis, but alas it was not to be.

      I have to agree on Maxwell. He’s done well, but well, sometimes “well” isn’t good enough (this isn’t just a terrible pun with the last part of his name. Nope, not at all).

      Bartra is a good player and I like what he’s got to offer, but if Alves was injured I wouldn’t put him in a Clasico for example. So, we really need to find a quality back-up right back…

      You can take left wing offense out of there Kxevin. That’s what we signed Villa for.

  9. Heck no to Torres! I’m not going to go as far as to say he’s overrated (no way, boy’s got skills) but, like Kxevin said, it’s not like he set the world alight when he was at Pathetico.

    I’m not going to start an EPL-La Liga debate, but Torres really only got recognition for his achievements at Liverpool and I think David Villa is a much better player but just hasn’t gotten the recognition he [Villa] deserves. I’m so happy we got Villa and I’d take him over Torres any day of the week.

    Anyway, he doesn’t strike me as a Barca striker. He tends to sulk when things go wrong and I haven’t really seen him pressure the defense. Also he seems to be the type that likes to wait for the ball to come to him…but that’s probably just one game I saw and it was maybe just loss of form. I don’t really watch Liverpool and I’m probably severely underrating him, but that’s what I think.

    Don’t get me wrong, though. I think Torres is a great player, just not for us and our system.

    1. I don’t know – Torres is a quality player and scored some great goals. He also puts himself about a lot more than Ibra and definitely creates more of his own goals. However, like Ibra i’m not sure he will fit into our system as well as the likes of Villa. To me we still need a LW. either that or find a way to get Cesc into our first 11 in an attacking mid position and he will score goals . . . but how do we fit him in?

      If we can’t find a decent LW then we need to improve the LB position in terms of finding someone who is solid defensively but can genuinely add to our offense. Neither Maxwell nor Abidal can do that in the way Alves does . . . . . when on his game.

    2. I think Abidal was great offensively this season while staying responsible at the back. His low crosses were more dangerous than Maxwell’s and Dani’s crosses many times. As long as Abidal remains healthy and injury-free, he will be a starter on the team. He has been excellent the past two seasons.

    3. I’d agree that Abidal upped his game offensively in the few games he played but that may have down to Maxwell going forward a lot more than Abidal had been doing and letting him see what was possible. He still isn’t an answer. He can’t go past anyone and for me he could never have created the opportunity Maxwell did against Inter. I remember him playing a really good through ball at some point in the season but his crosses aren’t great. He usually runs onto a great ball and just hits it hard across. Not knocking it but both Alves and Maxwell are way better technically than him. Maxwell can go outside or cut in as he did on many occasions to pretty good effect. Maxwell’s problem is that he has no pace – or no belief in his pace, one of the two.

  10. Regarding those comments Rosell made about African boys hindering the progression of Barça boys, Santi Segurola says Rosell also said the African boys are: “Too tall, too strong, and with an age superior to what they have indicated on their federal papers.” Wow.

    This is Segurola’s full thought on the issue, you can copy and paste it into a translator:

    Buenos días. No piensen mal, excepto para disfrutar de lo prohibido. Con respecto a Rossell, persona a la que tenía por moderada, me fastidió su alusión a los chicos de Camerún -los africanos, dijo- y su deseo de impedirles que jugaran en el Barça porque eran demasiado altos, demasiado fuertes y con una edad superior a la que indicaban sus fichas federativas. También dijo que esa presencia de africanos evitaba la presencia de muchachos de Barcelona y alrededores. Las manifestaciones de Rossell en este capítulo tuvieron un tufo sectario, por no utilizar una palabra más fuerte, y decididamente populista: son discursos que desgraciadamente venden bien, y más ahora en estos tiempos de crisis. Un discurso impropio de un hombre que aspira a la presidencia del Barça, de un club que lleva sellado en su camiseta el logotipo de UNICEF. Me indignó que pusiera su acento en los niños africanos y no en los argentinos, o en los europeos. ¿Todo por una cuestión de un año más o menos en la ficha federativa? Me dolió que luego intentara justificarse con el daño que se hace a los niños que rompen sus lazos familiares a edades tan tempranas. ¿Sólo es un problema para los chicos de Camerún? Es cierto que se trata de un problema gravísimo, pero es que minutos antes Rosell había presumido del trabajo del Barça con jugadores como Messi o Iniesta. Si no recuerdo mal, llegaron al Barça con 13 años. Ese doble discurso, esa doble moral, me disgustó en el candidato favorito a presidir el Barça.

    1. This is a real problem. It’s not a small matter in the least. This honestly makes Rosell non-viable as a leader for the organization.

      Outside of the racist nature of what he’s saying, how do you allow this man to be the head executive of a team that is competing in a global marketplace?

      Does he seriously think that African players aren’t going to hear about this?

      How does this impact Barca’s intentions and ability to acquire talent from an entire continent? You can’t dismiss a continent when looking for talent. From these comments it sounds like he’s fine with missing out on the next Essien or Eto’o so that he can fill La Masia with more players just because they are Catalan.

      And Segurola makes a great point about the UNICEF sponsorship – how hollow does that look? But alas I guess the UNICEF issue may be irrelevant to Rossell.

      How is this not a huge issue in Barcelona and in Spain?

    2. And Segurola makes a great point about the UNICEF sponsorship – how hollow does that look? But alas I guess the UNICEF issue may be irrelevant to Rossell.

      Very hollow.

      How is this not a huge issue in Barcelona and in Spain?

      I have no freaking idea. Honestly, for me, Rosell isn’t even an option anymore. I can’t support someone who is that narrow-minded. No way.

    3. Painful to read, and contemplate. If Rosell wins, I don’t know how I can countenance being a soci any longer, which are exceptionally difficult words for me to even type.

      As far as the UNICEF issue, don’t think for an instant that he’s forgotten about his idea of selling the front of the shirt. He just backed off it when he got lambasted for it. My only hope is that he talks himself out of the running.

      I also wonder what this means for MES, our partnership with Nike that sponsors sports education and AIDS prevention/research in the third world.

      Kinda sad right now ….

    4. Maybe there is a way to make it big, through the internet? Like post it in a Spanish Barca Forum..something like that..
      What he said was really disturbing.. and I hope It gets big and hit him hard in the elections..

    5. Its already going around the internets, i saw here already, *

      and its on foro blaugranas .To be honest i dont really like any candidites any more, i was for ingla, then he said the price doesnt matter for cesc.I really hope thats just talk.I wish Pep could be president :(.Maybe some day.

    6. If he wins its just very difficult to stomach. He’s simply non-viable at this point and if this doesn’t become a major story and he gets the votes that really says something terrible about the cultural context he’s operating in.

      You’d expect more from someone who ties his identity so close to exclusion and repression of the group he draws his own identity from, but as is too often the case he doesn’t seem interested in that kind of action.

      His potential election is like a slow motion disaster unfolding. He’s a risk to severely damage the team both in terms of it’s performance on the field and any pretense of a mission it has off the field.

      He’s unfortunately raised the stakes for the election even more.

    7. Man.. the more I think about it, the more I’m pissed. Let’s put it in the net. Put it in La liga loca, english and spanish newspapers, comment about it. Let the world hear what Rossell said…

    8. And now we wonder why Rosell was against Internet voting. Makes sense now. Foreign socis can’t vote unless they’re there in person, which will dramatically increase his chances of winning.

      Unfortunately, so few Barca supporters are socis, even in Barcelona. And in the region, the “more Catalan than thou” stuff plays well to the masses.

    9. I didn’t follow this election thing yet, but reading such statements from Rossell who seems to be the clear favourite scares me… 🙁

      I really wish we could continue with Laporta, if he was available as a candidate, I’m sure he would win. But from what I’ve read, Ferrer and Ingla don’t stand a serious chance against this crazy, semi-racist dude.

    10. Ironically, it’s the lack of internet voting that’s holding me back from being a Socio. Since I live in Los Angeles, a socio membership doesn’t really help with watching the games. But if I had voting rights like socis in Barcelona, then the price might be worth the opportunity to be more than a mere spectator across the pond.

      I wonder how many other fans have arrived at the same conclusion as I? And how much socio membership revenue does the team lose just to advance political games during election season?

    11. His comments besides xenophobic are pretty ignorant, last i checked there were 20 africans in the 13 youth categories from samu’s foundation.Not only that, but hes doing them a great disserverice with his generalizations.anyone seeing just a glimpse of these boys can see they arent just physical and fast, they have outrageous technique and class as well.The truth is i doubt he believes what he says, hes far to contradictory, the guy who in his previous tenure wanted every player of portuguese and brazillan origin under the sun suddenly cares about “our guys”? Bullshit, i doubt Benaiges and Alexanko will just sit by and let him destroy the cantera so if he wants to undermine it i guess we can say goood by to them and our future as well.What a douche Sandro is.

      Does this guy look fast or strong?

    12. Eh. forgot about approval of links 😀

      His comments besides xenophobic are pretty ignorant, last i checked there were only 20 africans in the 13 youth categories from samu’s foundation.Not only that, but hes doing them a great disserverice with his generalizations.anyone seeing just a glimpse of these boys can see they arent just physical and fast, they have outrageous technique and class as well.The truth is i doubt he believes what he says, hes far to contradictory, the guy who in his previous tenure wanted every player of portuguese and brazillan origin under the sun suddenly cares about “our guys”? Bullshit, i doubt Benaiges and Alexanko will just sit by and let him destroy the cantera so if he wants to undermine it i guess we can say goood by to them and our future as well.What a douche Sandro is.

      Does this guy look fast or strong?


  11. Seluk always makes me smile, he says the club ask for too much money for Yaya, fuck he thinks this is a charity? Im sure if he behaved better they would have easier on the price.36 million euro is reasonable and i hope we wait till after the world cup so we get atleast that amount or more.

  12. And people were wondering why Rosell stayed quiet for so long? He has created an image of himself as the white knight because he is anti-Laporta and because he hasn’t had to make any decisions or talk at all. You can’t do anything wrong if you aren’t doing anything at all.

    I just hope there is a repeat of 2003 where the leader coming out of the signatures doesn’t win. I prefer Ingla, but I will support anyone other than Rosell.

  13. LOL @ Sport using a “exclusive” regarding the whole Article 17 Cesc might buyout his contract deal. is supposed to be quoting Sport, not the other way around.

  14. According to TV3, Yaya has agreed personal terms with Man City. The only problem is, they are offering 20 million euros, but we want 35. Kind of a big discrepancy.

    1. Soccernet had the same money figure, though they were speculating on it likely being City. Seluk made a statement to them and it seems like he leaked the same figure. Basically he was saying that the deal is “done” the only hang up was Barca’s unreasonable transfer demands.

      With the new UEFA rules going into effect Man City only has two more seasons to maximize their cash on hand. Barca should hold out because with CL participation next season City is going to have some difficulty attracting players. Barca knows Yaya is one of those players willing to go and take a step down in terms of competition to play at City. Who cares if it fits in Yaya’s schedule of convenience.

      The handwriting has been on the wall. Now it’s time for the club to think of what to do next. I am concerned that the never ending Fabergas saga is going to distract them from refortifying their holding mid position.

      Busi had a good season but they can’t go into next year with only one true holding player. As much as Barca has been an attack squad, their defense has been critical to their success.

    2. I am concerned that the never ending Fabergas saga is going to distract them from refortifying their holding mid position.

      Busi had a good season but they can’t go into next year with only one true holding player. As much as Barca has been an attack squad, their defense has been critical to their success.

      I’ve been echoing the same sentiments for weeks now. We need to get away from the Fabregas saga and focus on the other positions that need strengthening, especially DM, since Yaya is definitely gone. Busi alone is not enough and Keita isn’t a DM.

  15. anybody else see this?


    david villa is gonna be the face of mcdonalds for this world cup. no judgement being passed on my part.

  16. I’m joining the signings debate a little late.
    Now that Yaya is as good as gone with only a fee to be decided we should be lining up someone, regardless of what happens with Cesc. TAPPING UP. Just kidding.
    My favourite DM in world football is Miguel Veloso of Sporting Lisbon but I still believe that he is not physical enough for on holding midfielder. He does however shoot and score from distance which is good. Add to that the fact the he can actually take freekicks unlike our entire roster he wouldn’t be the worst backup for Busi.
    Mascherano keeps on coming up and I honestly believe that he would not fit into our squad for a number of reasons. His physique is one; he’s another midget (5ft 8in) next to Xavi and Iniesta. His ball skills are definitely not where they would need to be. I watch quite a bit of EPL and as competent as he looked last season with Xabi Alonso next to him, he has looked completely out of his depth trying to maintain possession with Lucas and/or Gerrard. Price tag is the other possible problem. Italian clubs, EE & Citeh would all be willing to spend around the €40million on him which is about twice as much as I would spend.
    Who I would actually sign Moussa Sissoko of Toulouse even though he is being linked to EPL teams and Lyon, of course. He is 6ft 2in. Has averaged 1 goal in 7 for the past two seasons playing DM in France which is normally a low scoring league. His ball skills are good and he is only 20/21 and could probably be signed for around €20million even though he has a few years on his contract.

    As someone else mentioned, Gregory van der Wiel would be a fantastic signing, if it is done before the World Cup. He will explode at the World Cup and will probably go to Citeh for twice the market price afterwards. I’m sure we could get him for €15million now and he is very young so it wouldn’t be overspending.

    If Ibra is sold (I am not for it but it could happen) then Arjen Robben would be a fantastic signing. He was a Barca fan as a kid remember and he tore it up in the CL. He could start from the right, Messi from the centre and Villa drifting left. Pedro as sub for Robben, Bojan for Messi and Villa and Iniesta filling gaps.
    For the record, I’d keep Ibra. If he doesn’t do the business then sell him but he wasn’t all that bad this season. Heck, for the first 10 or 12 games he was great. He should adapt better this season.

    As for the central defense, only Pique, Puyol and Milito are definite keepers in my opinion. Marquez, Chyggy, Henrique & Caceres would all be up for sale. Not that I know who to replace them with, maybe that Yaya Toure guy 🙂

    1. Who I would actually sign Moussa Sissoko of Toulouse even though he is being linked to EPL teams and Lyon, of course. He is 6ft 2in.

      Very nice breakdown Ciaran. There’s so many different ways the club can go – in part because the holding defensive position is currently under evolution and changing.

      Veloso and Mascherano are great contrasts in terms of pluses and minuses. Their skill sets are very different and they take the club in different directions.

      On the whole, initially thinking through who candidate replacements are, I also more and more think Moussa Sisokko may be the right player. What I’ve really liked about him is that he’s a multi-dimensional player with technical and physical skill sets. He is more of a true box to box player so he has good balls skills, passing, touch and a strong shot from distance. At the same time he’s a good defensive player how will play in a holding role. And as you point out he also adds physical dimensions and skills that the squad very much needs defensively – height and pace in particular.

      Another nice benefit of targeting him is that he’s not on the French world cup roster. As such his transfer fee won’t explode after the cup.

      And at the age of 20 he’ll be still in the mode of learning and won’t likely make major demands for playing time.

      He and Busi would have nice complementary skills.

    2. Sport said Sissoko would be available for 15 million euros. That’s not bad at all. But it’ll probably be more around 20.

    3. “he’s a multi-dimensional player with technical and physical skill sets. He is more of a true box to box player so he has good balls skills, passing, touch and a strong shot from distance. At the same time he’s a good defensive player how will play in a holding role. And as you point out he also adds physical dimensions and skills that the squad very much needs defensively – height and pace in particular.”

      As a yaya fan, it was painful Reading this, like salt in an already sore wound. These are exactly yaya attributes-except for box to box. I hope we at least hold out for the rumoured 35. That Seluk quote is simply crass; we can value our players at any price we Want. I think the Market price is thereabouts-maybe a bit less. There aren’t that many players like him who are approaching their prime

    4. As a yaya fan, it was painful Reading this, like salt in an already sore wound. These are exactly yaya attributes-except for box to box.

      Completely agreed Luis. I posted about this before. I was going through what skill sets I thought the holding player they needed to bring in were and in the end I had pretty much described Yaya. The entire situation is frustrating and seems so unnecessary. But such is the way of the world.

      The only “advantage” of a player like Sissoko is that he’s younger and will be unlikely to make extensive requests for playing time. But in this situation those kinds of factors have come to the fore.

    5. if we get 35m for Yaya, throw 20m at Senna. he’s good for another couple of seasons.

      boom, solved.

      Mascherano can’t play the ball, Veloso is slow, M. Sissoko is an unknown quantity to me and Robben is due for another 9-month injury layoff soon. for DM and a new forward at any point in our 3-pronged attack our choices are painfully limited at present.

      unless… 1 word…


  17. Well it seems like Yaya is gone, his manager said thy he has already signed with a prem club and the deal will for sure be done by the WC. This is bad, I guess I saw it coming but it is a bad day. Eellwe need a RB and a DM now. Let’s hope Gourcoff likes barcelona.

  18. Seluk added: “It seems to me too much money. His club have shown they want him to leave, it’s not normal that they’re asking for this amount. If (Barca president Joan Laporta) likes Toure so much, he could have explained why he didn’t play so much. This year we haven’t spoken to him even one time, and if he leaves it’s because that was lacking.”

    1. Seluk can kiss my ass. He’s a scumbucket agent who talked his client out of town, with the complicity of the client. Farewell and good luck.

      Laporta isn’t the one making the playing time decisions, and that idiot knows it. We also have the right to ask for any transfer fee that we want. Pay it or get lost. Teams are thinking that they can lowball, because The Yaya wants to leave, but it ain’t that simple. True, no club wants to keep a player who wants to leave (except certain Premiership ones), but there is a question of value.

    2. Value is as it should be, paramount. However in the case you make allusion to it is your party that seeks to transpose player desire ahead of market value in the hierarchy of factors governing a transfer deal. You will demand value for Toure, the price you confidently understand you could receive elsewhere. Or you will hold onto him because you have too much self respect to be lowballed. His desire is secondary.
      A timely analogous role reversal for FC Barcelona.

  19. Essien, BA? I mean I love Ghana and the players, but at this point, his knee is an uncertainty right now. I would only sign him if he can prove he can stay healthy for 6 months. Dunno about that.

    I like the Sissoko option the most because like Euler said, him being on the bench is not that much of a problem due to his age. I also like his size.

  20. Joining in on this debate a little late but here’s my two cents –

    1. We should all come to terms with the fact that Cesc will be here this summer. All the candidates want him, I’m pretty sure Pep wants him to come, he’s a spectacular player, agreed, he’s not some one we need right now but hey, Pep can find a way to make it work. We all know how crazy things get in election year. Seems like Rosell is odds on favourite to win and that’s the scariest thought right now. I ask myself why? because of his potentially rascist comments? because he wants a shirt sponsor? because he says he wants Pep to stay on but hes not indispensible? are those reasons enough not to like the guy? Well that’s all we have for now and it’s going to be a straight one on one between him and Ingla IMO and unless Joan Laporta admits that his continuity candidate has no chance in hell in these elections, I strongly suggest he join forces with the campaign led by Ingla.

    2. Ibra, sigh, I’m honestly on the fence with this issue, sure he has potential and I think we should give him one more year at the club but at what cost? There’s a 40% chance he doesn’t improve and is relegated to the bench and his market value goes down considerably. So, either ways, I’d be content with this.

    3. How can people here not like Robben? I really really hope he comes to enforce our left wing!!! and Mata is no where close to Robben quality. Messi – Villa – Robben!!!!!!! If that’s not the best attacking trident in the world I don’t know what is. Sure he’s ex EE but so what? He’s Quality! He used to be brittle but he’s solved those issues out considerably and Pep will help him too!

    1. Well, to me it’s too far fetched to suggest Robben will not track back and defend. Henry never did it before he came here, neither did Ibra. and to suggest that Robben is a questionable personality isn’t true when we already haveIbra who is the hottest head in the game after Eto’o and Pep has handled both of them well.

      Robben! Robben! Robben!

      If Kari’s Fav is Silva then mine’s Robben. 🙂

    2. After the Spain game yesterday, my Favorit for Winger position is.. Jesus Navas!! 😀

  21. It’s not that I don’t like Robben, it’s just that it’s unrealistic for him to come here. Bayern would never let him go. To me, it’s just pure B.S.speculation.

  22. With regards to Cesc in the team, I see him as possibly eventually replacing Keita in the future. If people reckon our LBs are getting old, well so is Keita and we have no replacement for him in the future. I beleive thats how things look right now for cesc. As for replacing Xavi, I think that is later down the track. We also have Thiago and JDS who apply their own trade in midfield and we will have to see.

    As for Ibra, I think its Illogical to believe that he will go to Man city given that he wants trophies and CL glory. He still has unfinished business to attend to in this team. I see he likes to be challenged and Barcelona is a perfect challenge for him.

    If Ibra is staying, we do not need a left wing replcement.if we do need one in the end then Robben shouldn’t be the one, he will have problems adapting at the start. he also has to be able to track back and defend voluntarely. Then we have to consider if his personality is stable enough, Will he like Pep? who knows, maybe, but will he like Pep benching him at some point? most likely no!

    Buying Torres is like buying Ibra all over again, Its simply too much work going into it.

    The biggest problem we have to work on is making sure that our youth players are able to have opportunities to break into the starting roles, If we simply put too much effort replacing Ibra (when it is not needed), we can put that effort instead focusing on Bojan who is so determined on working with the team, he accepts his role and his limited playing time and it works both for us and himself. Keep things simple.

  23. The best thing to ever come from Marca: *

  24. My idea for Barcelona at the end of the season. With our current knowledge (we can scrap need nr. 1 and interchange needs 2 with 3)

    The needs for Barcelona starting from back to front:

    At GK we could use a slightly better version of Pinto, but given that the latter stays we shouldn’t prioritize this position. Valdes is perfect for us and still improving. Pinto is a decent back-up and good at penalty’s a necessity for a permanent back-up keeper (mostly comes in after red-card of our goalie). 3rd GK is something for a free agent with good humor or a young up and coming talent (maybe Asenjo can be reconsidered given that he’s injured, not playing at Atletico and maybe more patient these days).
    In defense there more issues. We have Alves (RB), Puyol and Pique (CB) and Abidal (LB) this is class material and doesn’t need a fix. Yet Puyol will add another year to his tally (imo 33) so he’ll be used more and more often as RB-cover for Alves. To give Puyol some rest we have Gabi Milito who has been our CB-signing of the year. Chygrinsky has shown some promising things early on before getting injured and acting Hleb-like later on in the season. In my opinion, he will get a second chance from PEP simply because it was HIS signing and he was very costly at 25million. Marquez will (have to be) the odd man out of our CB-core, he simply doesn’t have the pace anymore and his experience doesn’t make up for it (I expect a departure for a knockdown fee of around 0 million euro). Now let’s consider the younger guard (Henrique, Caceres, Fontas, Bartra , Muniesa and Botia) for a second.
    Henrique will either be given a last test in preseason, (and fail) just to be sold consequently for around 5-8 million euro. The Caceres story will follow similar patterns with one distinction, being that he will be loaned out again to Juve and sold in the next summer for around 10-12 million (I guess they will loan him out as he counts as a foreigner in spain and thus pays less taxes than Juve would have to if they take him on their payroll immediately). About Fontas no clue whatsoever, only saw him play once last season’s preseason, so I’m counting on a loan like with Botia to evaluate his potential. Bartra is apparently a very talented dude so I hope we resign him and give him the number 5 spot at CB (after Pique,Puyol, Milito and Chyggy). Muniesa will have to wait another year at Athletic to mature a little more. Botia can come back if we want extra RB-cover or could stay if Bartra leaves (he would then be the 5th CB or 3rd RB). Now we’ll turn to the wingback positions, Alves is a class-act and with Puyol I believe this position is fixed, maybe we can take Botia back (and extend his contract) or go for Azpilicueta but the latter will be too expensive for a third tier RB. At LB we have a slight problem being the injury proneness of Abidal and the defensive liabilities of Maxwell. Hence, do we buy extra cover? Or shall we look for an upgrade? There just aren’t a hell of a lot LB’s of worldclass caliber and they don’t come cheap (Evra =20+million, Lahm, Clichy (aha), Cole, Luis Filipe,…).
    So first need is identified a LB-cover or upgrade, my guess is we’ll look at Clichy or other LB options but stick to what we have unless the World Cup shows us that Maynor Figueroa is our next Roberto Carlos 😉 The problem is that a third tier LB will not get a lot of time and if we look for an upgrade we’ll have to prioritize this position versus other needs with regards to our transfer budget.
    Defensive midfield, for me we’ll stick to what we have: Busi and the Yaya are both different but quality options yet it seems that Toure will leave given his limited playing time and the rumours circulating. I believe that if Toure leaves we should go for Mascherano and that this should be a fairly equal exchange moneywise (around 25-30 mill for Toure leaving and the same for buying Javier). Other options must come to the table Moussa Sissoko (huge talent at Toulouse, but maybe not yet Barca-material), why not debate Mister Ballack (Reliable, strong, experienced and commanding no transfer fee!), Flamini has come up this season (I personally wonder why) and my personal favorites (as a Belgian Vertonghen from Ajax or Fellaini or Defour), … . While this position seems fixed it probably will be reshuffled and we could use some extra cover anyway.
    Midfield: Xavi-Iniesta-Keita are all three awesome players and the problem is that there are only 3 of them, instead of a minimum of 4 for two available positions. Hence we need a fix here! Hleb will not be getting a second chance and should somebody come up with +5million euro’s, we will accept. Thiago and JDS need more experience before they are fully ready (and both are in need of a contract renewall which will be a problem if we buy an experienced midfielder (like Cesc, Silva,..) because their potential playing time will be severely affected). SO, here we will act (Cesc ) comes on a good 30 million and Yaya toure (if so we don’t get any money back for Toure and need to buy a Def Mid)but I hope we don’t proceed this way (just too much money for a former cantera-boy who chose to leave).
    Attack: we have the Messiah, Ibrahimovic/Bojan and Pedro as starters with Henry and Jeffren as cover Keirrison returning and Assulin in the wings. Ibrahimovic will be better next year and while he has not played up to his potential he has had a decent season (look at his carreer and the first year at his respective clubs tells the story imo). Bojan is cover and will be starting in 2 years time. Henry will go, free if he opts for the USA and for some change if he goes somewhere else. Pedro should be our 12th man or the new Giuly / first substitute to change a game. Hence we need another LW/left central attacker a new Henry! Jeffren will stick around if we don’t buy a pure LW like Ribéry, Keirrison will be loaned out (why oh why) and Assulin will sign somewhere else on a free transfer. SO we need a left wing and preferably also cover for Zlatan but Bojan has proven the last couple of games that he is on the right track. SO, Villa looks perfect LW like Henry who can play CF if necessary. Only problem is the price tag, same goes for Cesc. At around 40million Villa will eat most if not all of our transfer budget (guessing somewhere around 50million normally to around 75 million maximum). Or we could go for a cheap solution: Sidney Govou anyone 😉
    We need in order of importance:
    1)Left Winger /Left Attacker: Villa, Ribéry, Mata, RVP, Silva, Willian, ….
    2) (Attacking) Midfielder: Cesc, Silva, Gourcuff, Joe Cole, Gerrard, Lampard , another pipe dream, …
    3) Defensive Midfielder (if Yaya leaves): Mascherano, Ballack, Vertonghen, Javi Martinez, Senna, De Rossi, ….
    4) Left Back upgrade or cover: Clichy, Cole, Evra (?) or more cover in the likes of obradovic, Emmanuelson, …
    5) a new goalie back-up
    6) extra RB

    1. Cesc can play as a Centre Forward, and anywhere in the midfield including holding midfielder, left mid, right mid. That is the only signing Barca need to get every single piece of silverware next season. Dude has an unbelievable passing ability and vision of the game. Just look at the game yesterday between Spain and South Korea. He came back often to the holding midfielder role, started the attack, played the box to box midfielder role, and had the best shot on goal, too bad the ball came back off the cross bar.

    2. he had loads of time to make that shot and shoulda done better. he knew it, too. otherwise spain looked like a lesser team when he was out there (and xavi wasnt, taht is). after all they were tied 0-0 until the 85th minute, yeah sure there were other starters missing, but it wasnt a promising performance. he needs more time back from injury anyway.

  25. OK, Alves and Puyol for RB is not good enough tbh, Puyol is a great player for RB, but Puyol is not exactly replacing what Alves contributes to our attack.

    LB is a similar problem but it is not exactly worrying. Maxwell and Abidal are both decent starters for LB. There is no defensive weakness with Maxwell. As long as our LM and LW are doing their proper job, then Maxwell doesn’t have to deal with more than he needs to. I think our main issue is to have more midfielders. Especially when we have midfielders who are hard to replace and have to play a lot of games. Ok, these players are good enough to play 40 a season, but we want players to play consistent and to there strength. We do not want to lose focus especially in midfielder. Keita is vital for us and thus why we need another midfielder who can do a similar job, and maybe offer something better offensively.

    Our offense is set, we do not need to worry about buying expensive attacking players anymore this summer.

  26. Damn it 🙁

    The stars keep dropping like flies for this World Cup.

    Now Drogba is out, and most-likely also Rio Ferdinand. After Essien and Ballack have already been ruled out, and players like Totti, Cassano, Ronaldinho, Pato, Zanetti, Cambiasso, Nasri and many more have not even been nominated by their “brilliant” national coaches, I wonder if this World Cup might be the worst ever as far as absent star players are concerned.

  27. Possible signings i.m.o.

    LB – Luis Felipe? (have not seen him play, but people say he is good – better than Maxwell?)
    RB – Vd Wiel

    DMC – E. Banega or M. Sissokho (Toure replacement)

    Wingers – Silva or Navas (Perhaps Silva since has a lot of experience playing with Villa)

    Marquez, Caceres, Henrique – will be sold.

  28. Possible signings part eleventy million and three

    RB—-Aleksandr Anyukov (for cover)
    DM—-Cesc could do it, but give me Moussa Sissoko
    LW—Luis Suarez/Roben/Mata/Nevas

  29. Sorry for 3 straight posts, but if Man City only want to pay 20 mil for Yaya, then we should suggest they throw in Adam Johnson to sweeten the deal. The kid can play!!!!

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