Monday’s News (Uncle Sylvinho Edition)


Kevin can’t do the news today (ironically because he is at work at the, you know, actual news) so you savages will have to do with me. We’ve got the usual rumors and blatant fabrications but also some press conference quotes, a few precious tidbits of real news (imagine that!) as well as praise and fluff. Without further ado: the news.

– Lets’s start out with the man on the picture you see above. Our beloved Uncle Sylvinho. The consummate professional and locker room leader. He spent five great years with us, winning 3 Ligas and 2 UCL’s in that time span. Not bad at all. Even when his age took away his starting spot he always practiced hard and kept himself in shape. He became a mentor to Messi (a better one than Ronaldinho and Deco in terms of being a professional one would think) and was an example to all the players in the squad of what it takes to play for as long and as hard as he did. He was tested in the ultimate way a back up can be when half our defense was either injured or suspended for arguably the most important game in Barcelona’s history. His number was called and he responded, at 35 years young, with a solid starter quality performance against defending champions Manchester United. You can’t ask for more. His tears of joy where well deserved and all of us owe him our gratitude.


Well, now he’s signed on for Man City on a one year contract. How about that? One more year of top flight fútbol for our ageless wonder. I for one feel nothing but happy for Sylvinho and I wish him the best. Objectively, Man City is not doing a bad job at all of assembling a squad given that they don’t have the history to pull in upper tier superstars a la Messi or Kaka. They need leaders and experience since they still are a young team. Lescott and Sylvinho will help in that department. They also have a certain party loving, often unprofessional, Brazilian as their “crack” and that is another thing Sylvinho can help with. We wish him all the best.

– All the main Spanish sports dailies were full of praise for Barca’s performance last night. “Poker of Cups” screamed EMD, “Super Champions” pronounced Sport, “They are Insatiable!” concluded Marca (on the website of course, the cover page of the print edition didn’t include a single word referencing Barca’s Super Cup victory), and, the lone exception, AS complains that “Barca Had it Easy” (obviously in a small box on the margins of a title that read “The Other Treble” and featured Thong Boy, Benzema, and Kaka).

– Both Sport and EMD insist that Barca and Shaktar directors will meet this week in Monaco before and after the European Super Cup to discuss Pep’s boy, Chygnasty. A bid higher than 22 million euros is possible.

– Sport quotes Txiki as straight up saying that they are looking at CB’s but not midfielders. However, they don’t give us the direct quote (as in the exact words framed by parentheses). The direct quotes that they do give are:

“We will keep talking. This is about a very interesting player and if we can close the deal then we will close it this week. It is not necessary to meet face to face to close a deal like this. We have a week and will try to seal the deal.”

“There are other options which we are studying and if needed we will see which one is best.”

(Regarding Henrique) “There is nothing new. We look for the best for our players.”

– According to Sport, West Ham’s signing of Goran Pandev has reduced their budget so a possible Guddy transfer now must be as a loan. Meanwhile, Txiki is quoted as saying that “We are looking for an exit for him so that he can keep on playing but if he leaves then we are not obligated to sign a new midfielder”. What does this imply then? Canteranos galore if Xavi and/or Iniesta go down?

– Well known Swedish reporter Anna Brolin interviews Zlatan. Some quote from the BANGS:

“Its not as stressful as Italy here. They have more fun here and the rhythm is a bit more relaxed. I also love the weather and the temperature. Everything is great and I am just focused on football”.

“I think I can evolve more as a player at this club than I could at Inter. I accomplished what I could over there. I gave it my all and I didn’t think I could advance much more. Here I can continue getting better.”
(in response to what can he improve) “All the little details. How to be a complete player.”

“Barca plays fantastic football. Its easy on the eye but its also easy to play and they make it easy on their teammates. We open the field, and the possession of the ball…well, its ours. If you watch Barca games, they routinely have 70-30 or 60-40 possession in games both home and away. That makes everything easier. I also think opposing teams have to worry about more players here than they do when they play Inter…”

– In other news, Guardiola confirmed that Messi will shoot all the penalties when he plays. If he’s not on the field then Ibra or Xavi will take them. Fifty goal season, anyone? If he stays healthy of course. Pep also called the Yaya a “Force of Nature”. Really? Talk about stating the obvious.

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A diehard culé since the Rivaldo/Figo Judas days, I am also a rabid Argentina and Boca Juniors fan despite definitely not being Argentine. Read more articles by me by clicking on the name-link.


  1. August 24, 2009

    No. The universe would fold into itself and the only thing left will be the Yaya if that happens.

  2. eklavya
    August 24, 2009

    Whats the point of Guddy leaving if its on a loan and we’re paying the salary? I’d rather have him as a backup.

  3. eklavya
    August 24, 2009

    WTF I got Hectored instead.I seem to have to been jinxed.Yikes!I guess the world doesn’t end then and we don’t have anti-matter exploding and the universe folding itself….happy ending?

  4. eklavya
    August 24, 2009

    Copy paste:

    I was just reading the Liveblob comments and I wanted to ask the same question?

    Is there a way of sending your comment without having to move your mouse till “send” and click and then click back on the text place etc etc, cause the “enter” doesnt work when you are a panelist…its pretty annoying….

    It would help a lot….

  5. August 24, 2009

    I’ve never run a Liveblog so Kevin and Isaiah are the ones to answer that one.

    SUPPOSEDLY, we are haggling to get West Ham to pay most if not all of Guddy’s salary. At this point its mostly conjecture though.

  6. OhYes
    August 24, 2009

    eklavya I gave you an answer in the last post.


    Sad to see Sylvinho go. I hope he has a good time over there, taking care of them kids and hopefully playing on a regular basis. It’s true that when Barca needed him the most, he’s been there. So I hope that with all these kids going up from the youth system, he will return and help them mature not only in footballing terms but as people, too.

  7. Eduard
    August 24, 2009

    I don’t know about Messi being given all the penalties. Seems like there should be a rotation. That way golies don’t just have to study at how one player takes there penalties.

  8. August 24, 2009

    There will be a rotation in that Messi often gets rotated 😀 .

    He really is our best penalty taker. When he kicks them like he did last game, there is nothing the GK can do. I think I’ve only seen him miss twice that I can remember. Against Villareal in 07 and against Getafe last season. I will also keep arguing that he should take some more short distance direct free kicks this year. He’s improved a lot in his shot. We just have to give him a chance to show it.

  9. OhYes
    August 24, 2009

    He doesn’t fuck around when it comes to penalties. His last penalty against Bilbao was just.,..perfect. If any keeper can stop that, he’s probably on YAYA’s good side or something.

  10. Alex
    August 24, 2009

    Anyone have a link to the second half of yesterdays game. I was busy getting married and couldn’t watch it

  11. eklavya
    August 24, 2009

    Thanks OhYes!
    Alex: LOL I hope she’s a FCB fan.

  12. Alexinho
    August 24, 2009

    Congrats Syl, I’m so happy he got picked up.

    I feel terrible. I’ve missed just about everything Barca has done…the Gamper, the SuperCopa…that means near anything in the preseason, with FSC/GolTV snubs. Next week I am returning to school and regular computer time so I will be able to stream, but I hate what I’ve missed so far.

    I hope we can get rid of Guddy, I’ve so long expected it. Salary demands, my ass. He had that good performance against…who was it, I think it was Chivas?…but then a poor one right afterward. He needs to be more consistent. Right now there’s no way I can count on him for another season.

    And yes, perhaps canteranos galore. Who knows…

  13. Eduard
    August 24, 2009

    congrats Alex,

    I’m not saying he isn’t a good pk taker for godsake, he’s the best right winger in the world and perhaps the best player but it makes his life just that much more complicated.

    That being said, we probably wont need a pk to win very many games this year.

  14. August 24, 2009

    I think Samu missed 3 out of 6 last season whereas Messi missed 2 out of 5 (but scored the rebound off one of the misses).

    Not as much difference as it appears. I hope we definitely improve in that area though.

  15. Alex
    August 24, 2009

    AWESOME. Thanks OhYes, even the Barca blog gives wedding gifts, this place is great!

  16. ballbeav
    August 24, 2009

    eduard: exactly. we’re not real madrid.

  17. Ciaran
    August 24, 2009

    Matt Le Tissier (Southampton) played his entire career missing only 1 penalty scoring the rebound.
    David Villa missed only his second ever penalty last season. The previous one he missed he scored with a rebound, the last one he didn’t.

    Has anyone ever seen that (Japanese?) guy who strolls up to take penalties and then rolls them past the goalkeeper. Very entertaining

  18. August 24, 2009

    Congrats Alex!

    One of the few good excuses to miss a Barca game. 🙂

  19. ballbeav
    August 24, 2009

    alex, i’m beginning to doubt your priorities…. 😉

    que te vaya bien en tu luna de miel….

  20. OhYes
    August 24, 2009

    No problem. And congratulations! However, I would have broadcast the game at the wedding if I were you. 😉

  21. eklavya
    August 24, 2009

    ballbeav: Que tu sois bien dans ta lune de miel…

  22. Kxevin
    August 24, 2009

    Laporta thinks that eventually, and this summer, Chygnasty will be ours. He’s optimistic that the deal will get done while the two clubs are in Monaco. I find it difficult to believe, though.

    “Hey, we’re going to whip your ass, and buy your best player. Rock.”

    On the other hand, we would again have the possibility of a hair band back line if Milito returns, with Puyol at RB, Chygnasty, Milito and (if he returns) Caceres.

  23. Kevo
    August 24, 2009

    But then Chygnasty can’t play in CL right?

  24. Kevo
    August 24, 2009

    It seems that this doesn’t concern them and he seems quite versatile and handy for CL matches.

  25. August 24, 2009

    In unrelated live news-

    Liverpool are about to lose 3-1 to Villa at Anfield. Is it panic time? Everybody was speculating about the possibility of a Citeh or Tottenham breaking into the Big 4 at somebody’s expense with Arsenal and Man U cited as the likelier candidates. Right now it looks like Liverpool are in a mini crisis and the season has only begun.

    See? That’s what you get when you sell a player to the EE!

    Also, the EE is in the process of slaughtering yet another willing lamb in the form of Rosenberg at their version of the Gamper 😀 . 3-0 thus far. Cue excitement and boasting about how they scored the same number of goals that we did against Bilbao in half the time. Oh, the horror. What oh what shall we do?

  26. Alex
    August 24, 2009

    Actually we’re going to Costa Rica for 12 days tonight, I pray to god there will be bar down there on Friday with the game. Anyone know of a good place in Manuel Antonio or Ossa Peninsula to watch Barca games? If any.

  27. poipoi
    August 24, 2009

    congrats alex: que et vagi molt be a la lluna de mel 😉

  28. poipoi
    August 24, 2009

    I’m sure they watch FCB somewhere in Costa Rica but I’ve never been there, the closest place I’ve been to was Panama and they did 😀

  29. Kxevin
    August 24, 2009

    The bummer about Chygnasty is if Shakhtar had begun life in the Europa league, he wouldn’t be Cup-tied.

  30. Helge
    August 24, 2009

    Well, indeed quite a blow for Liverpool. First loss @ Anfield in the league since 31 games and after 3 playdays of the current season, they’ve already lost as many matches as during the complete last season.

    It’s not really panic time yet, but they are the most endangered club of the big 4 to lose that status. Losing Xabi Alonso was the worst that could happen to them, because he was with his passing and his overview an essential part of their gameplan. Liverpool doesn’t have that much offensive prowess and their system depends a lot on a player that can provide Gerrard and/or Torres with balls. Playing Lucas as a replacement for Xabi is ridiculous, but as Aquilliani is injured, they barely have any other choice. Now that’s a lack of depth in the squad I’d say, what are we complaining about at Barca compared to them?

    Liverpool played an utterly strong season last year, but the challengers for the CL seeds are getting stronger this season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them struggeling for 4th place, while Chelsea and hopefully Arsenal battle it our for the title (with Arsenal winning the Barca-way!).

  31. BA
    August 24, 2009

    we should learn a lesson from Liverpool, who lost their midfield conductor in a fit of poorly-considered childishness from Rafa Benitez (who is not a very good manager) and now look hopeless and bereft of any ideas. Liverpool has a fairly strong starting 11 but virtually no depth. today they were forced to play Lucas in midfield and sub on Babel and Voronin; none of which are decent players and none brought any new ideas or dynamism to the side.

    i still feel there’s a significant bit of that in our own midfield. our starting 11 fully fit is incredible; but what players could we bring off the bench if Xavi and Iniesta go down, or hit a slump (this will become even more worrying during the ACN)? Keita gives us a more physical presence, but singly he’s not an offensive power. Gudjohsen is awful. B-teamers? great potential, but not even Johnathan dos Santos is ready for that role in the first team yet. up front we could get by with Bojan and one of Pedro/Jeffren, who i expect to be in the squad and ready to fill in suitably. but in midfield we don’t have the same kind of cover, and that’s worrying. meanwhile we’re about to spend 20m on another central defender, our deepest position. i feel we NEED to sign another respectable midfielder who can rotate in with Xavi and Iniesta and at least cover for one of them if we hit a run of injuries. right now we don’t have it, and i’m convinced if there’s anything that can bring our team down this season it’s a lack of depth.

  32. Jnice
    August 24, 2009

    2nd leg against Bilbao for anyone who still needs links:

    1st Half:


    2nd Half:


  33. Tutomate
    August 24, 2009

    Congrats Alex, from my wife and I.

  34. Helge
    August 24, 2009

    BA, I don’t think there is ANY player that can replace Xavi, nobody comes close to his genius. And for Iniesta, you would have to invest 40m or more in an appropriate back-up.

  35. ballbeav
    August 24, 2009

    i think we need to play JDS as a sub in La Liga and see how he measures up, in preparation for ACN or injury blows to #6 or #8. as much as i like guddy, he doesnt help up us keep possession enough and he is too inconsistent.

  36. Kxevin
    August 24, 2009

    Congratulations, Alex! Speaking as a happily-married man, whose wife has done Gamper with him, and if we can’t get 2 tix, is happy to find something to do while I Tot el camp, marriage rocks the house.

    Thanks for the links, Jnice. And I like the touch (handy tip, everyone!) of putting the slashes in front of the URL, which avoids the moderation delay. 😀 Cut-and-pasting is easier than just clicking, but it meets the need, right?

  37. Helge
    August 24, 2009

    But I have to agree that a back up for the midfield is more important than for the defense. I don’t know how good Chygrynskyi is in the midfield, hell I even don’t know if he’s a top class defender to be honest. There must be something about him if we pay 25m for a la Liga and Copa only player, but I haven’t seen that something yet…
    In Pep we trust!

  38. Kxevin
    August 24, 2009

    I think that for years, we’ve all been saying that midfield depth/help is needed. Even if you say that Xavi and Iniesta are the best in the world, you still need qualified help. Hleb (sorry, sorry!) was supposed to be that help, but he went all bustariffic on us.

    The question is always, who can do that engine room kind of duty that Xavi does? Short answer is nobody. Believe it or not, Hleb was one of the folks who, on paper, could with his possession and distribution skills. But that’s water under the bridge.

    We could pay a pigpile of dosh for someone such as Fabregas, who can sub for Xavi, but that person is sitting more than they’re playing, if Iniesta is at all durable, right?

    Maybe canteranos is the answer.

  39. Eduard
    August 24, 2009

    @ Alex,

    There’s more Barca fans in Costa Rica(per 100 people) than any where else in the world, Costa Rica even has a team called Barcelona if I”m not mistaken. I’m sure they’ll be broadcasting the game.

  40. ElShowDeJason
    August 24, 2009

    I say we use JDS as often as possible whenever games area already decided.

    Plus, Copa games, not only for the experience, but if he can watch and learn from Prof. X, that would be sweet.

    Plus, alot of times, people shine if they are depended on. Bojan, at 16, thrived when we threw him on the field because we NEEDED a goal, not because the game was already decided!

  41. August 24, 2009

    I’d say we could do much worse than Thiago or JDS.

    I think the CB preference being bandied about by Txiki and Pep is because there are no D-Mids with the technical skills or talent required to play at Barca on the market right now. Mascherano was one but it didn’t turn out. With a guy like Chygnasty, Marquez or Pique could fill in at D-Mid when needed. They have both played there before and done it well (Pique at Zaragoza).

    Why is Pep apparently so in love with Chygnasty? Lets visit Paradigma Guardiola again:

    Knock yourselves out scouting him. This is nothing like La Liga or UCL and I have only watched him when they played us last year and I didn’t focus on him at all but you have to recognize an exceptional passing CB when you see him and this is an exceptional passing CB. Notice also how at 22 he is already playing as the captain of Ukraine (although I think he is actually vice captain or something like that) and is frequently giving instructions. He is usually the one taking the ball out and seems comfortable with it at his feet. That’s the hardest thing to find in CB’s for Barca. There’s plenty of decent defenders out there but a good defender who can pass, is comfortable with the ball at his feetm, and is a leader is exceptionally rare.

    Pep sees something there. Those passes he makes give us a hint. However, the big X factor is that this is a 22 year old Ukranian who has never lived outside Ukraine. Does he know another language? How would he communicate with the coaching staff and team? Will he get homesick?

    That’s a significant risk for 20+ million unless Pep and Txiki know something we don’t.

  42. BA
    August 24, 2009

    nobody expects a like-for-like replacement for Xavi or Iniesta, let alone one that would be willing to sit on the bench. but a player that can adequately fill in the same roles offered by the former 2 would relieve a great deal of pressure from them both in a smart rotation. surely that’s a more pressing buy than ANOTHER center-back? and surely there is a younger, sharp offensive passing player who can do that and who could be available with a little wheedling. Joao Moutinho?

  43. john
    August 24, 2009

    Hector – though I don’t usually follow the Premier league, I watched half of today’s Liverpool game and was having the same thoughts, chuckling all the while. But as long as Torres continues to do what he does best (which is this: I think ‘pool will be alright.

    Is anyone else going to tune in when Man City plays Blackburn, and then feel really weird?

  44. ElShowDeJason
    August 24, 2009

    @John, i can’t wait for Arsenal v. ManCity in a few weeks time.

    Sylvinho, along with Ade and Toure, are ex-Gunners.

  45. ElShowDeJason
    August 24, 2009

    Roque Santa Cruz played for Blackburn right?

  46. Corrine
    August 24, 2009

    i don’t even know how to feel about sylvinho going to mancity. glad that he’s able to wind down at a top league with a competitive club but grrrrrrrrr i have irrational hate for mancity, and abuelo has always been a favourite of mine

    ps: i’m not sure if it’s been found yet but is the english site for the la liga ff league. i noticed that only the spanish one is linked here

  47. fcbfan
    August 24, 2009

    The Yaya will help Chygnasty adjust to Barce. didn’t he play in Ukrain before?

  48. August 24, 2009

    Disregard any inflammatory Chelsea related comments, guys. Its a shitty human being/spammer. We’re dealing with it. Don’t feed the trolls and all that. I’m initiating a government style cover up now. So, some post will disappear. Just ignore it if something comes up before one of us gets to it.

  49. August 24, 2009

    Hey, there was even one of them there Chelsea comments under the screen name of Kxevin! (shudder!) 😀

    I guess when you’re famous, you become a target, right?

    Review is in process. It’s one I’m pretty proud of, and will be worth the wait. Just home from work. So there.

  50. Ciaran
    August 24, 2009

    well spotted fcbfan. Yaya is an all-knowing, all-powerful being who can indeed speak Ukrainian; though I doubt the 6ft 3in Ukrainian Chygrynskiy would be brave enough to approach the Yaya at first opportunity.

    If Laporta is that confident then I assume he will come.
    I would not be at all surprised if we get someone in the winter transfer window. We could do with one other body for the front 6.
    JDS will probably spend some time with the first team, unless of course Guddy does not make his move.

    Technically Thiago is superior to JDS but physically JDS is closer to first team level so I don’t expect much from him. He has the same problem as Gai. Gai is technically superior to Jeffren but is physically further from La Liga. That also goes for Fontas and Muniesa.
    Next summer will be the time for Muniesa, Thiago and Gai to get promoted.

  51. Alexinho
    August 24, 2009

    Question, Hector, if I may…

    I don’t want to give you any extra homework to do seeing as you have three goals on your plate to analyze (or two? What’re you going to do about the pens?), but I’ve been watching the Arsenal openers. Of course they’re playing a 433 and sometimes I spot a triangle and I see Fabregas playing better than normal and…

    If I could make a request, I would ask you to take a look at a bit of an Arsenal game with your tactics-knowing eyes and see what’s up. I see huge differences between Arsenal’s style and Barca’s style, but this season I see a few similarities beginning to sprout up. Do you see it too? Thanks; loving the new blog so far.

  52. Alexinho
    August 24, 2009

    Woohoo! Thanks for the links jNice-

    And congratulations Alex! As for me…well, you ever seen Vince Vaughn in Old School?

  53. August 24, 2009

    Sport claims that Chygnasty is all but in the bag for the paltry sum of 25 “kilos”. Supposedly he wont play on friday and will be presented on Saturday. Sounds like the typical fabricated story / calculated bet. We’ll see I guess.

  54. August 24, 2009

    Alexinho- I’ve only watched a half of Arsenal this season but effectively from what I saw they were switching between a Barca style 4-3-3 and their usual 4-4-2. Some very nice one touch passing (especially from Cesc, RvP, and Arshavin) and a little False 9 from RvP were some things I saw. Alas, they don’t press up high nearly as well or as hard as we do, appearing to prefer to absorb the pressure and launch their trademark counterattacks.

    I’m gonna have to watch some more but its definitely interesting. Wenger definitely took a few tricks from Pep this off season.

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