Quick News: June 28, 2010

This is a quick and dirty post:

First, Txiki Begiristain, whose name I still have to double check after all these years, has announced he’s leaving the club. It appears that Sandro Rosell has yet to speak to Txiki despite promising to do so and Txiki has decided it’s lower-case t for time to get out. Understandable, I think, but a fairly straight-forward warning sign that things will be changing dramatically come July 1 when Rosell is officially in charge.

My thoughts on this are as straight-forward as the warning signs: this is a bad move. Txiki has been excellent for us despite some of the bad buys (Keirrison and Henrique, for instance, who have yet to play a minute for the club–in fact Keirrison hasn’t even played a minute of preseason with the club) and if Rosell is to be believed, he’s moving toward not having a Sporting Director at all. I read that as it meaning Rosell will have a lot of say in the transfers and will foist many more such Keirrison-esque buys on Pep. I could be wrong and I’ll be covering this aspect of the club as closely as I can throughout the rest of the summer.

Next up is the news that Thierry Henry is getting ready to leave us. He’s agreed in principle with the club to leave on a free to somewhere/anywhere/New York f’in City. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone as Bojan, Villa, and Pedro will be taking all of his available minutes and Titi apparently loves him some NYC and we in NYC apparently love us some Titi. So come on over to Red Bulls and I’ll go to a game or two and yell at you and it will be good fun.*

And of course there’s The Yaya, whose time at FCB is quickly coming to an end. Manchester City and Barça have apparently come to an agreement and it’s all ready to be signed, pending Yaya’s demands. And, of course, whether Man City are prepared to deal with Dmitri Seluk once again. Blech. Suffice to say that I, currently wearing my Toure Yaya #19 Ivory Coast jersey, am not happy, but I understand both sides of it. If the numbers are true (€32m) it’s hard not to sell and if the other numbers are true (higher wage demands and more playing time) then it’s hard not to see why he’d want to leave. The club obviously does not value him as much as they value Busquets and, if I were Yaya, I would leave to. As with Eto’o, part of my heart with leave with him, but I’ll develop a different man crush and you’ll all be scared about that one soon enough, so no biggie.**

So then, we’ll soon start to talk about who will be replacing them and several people will be watching Argentina thinking about Mascherano (who I think is overrated, for the record) or whatever other team for whoever else has been linked to us. We won’t find a better DM out there and that’s the sad part, but I guess at least we’ll have €32m to throw at Liverpool for Jefecito…yay for that, I guess.

*I would only yell nice things, of course.
**Yes biggie, but it’s easier to mask the pain at the moment with statements like that.

By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater Philadelphia area.


  1. A couple of other notes:

    -Since RM definitely need more wingers/forwards, they have signed Angel Di Maria to play LW (I guess) for $30M. He’s a good player, but that’s a lot of money for a LW when they have the best one in the world (this guy named Robaldo or something)? Seems sort of like a wash for me, but what do I know?

    -A bunch of rumors swirling about us looking at Mesuit Ozil. If this happens and we sign him over Cesc I might die of joy. I am a huge Cesc fan, but anything more than $35M is WAY too much for him. Whereas Ozil can be had for less and causes me pangs of joy when I watch him play. Just saying.

    -Also, don’t be so sad Isaiah, because Biscuits is better than you guys give him credit for.

    1. Yes Busi is very good. He has a great first touch and read of the game for a 21 year old. Like Cryuff said, he makes everything around him look easy.

  2. Grrrr! The club does value The Yaya as much as it does Busquets. But The Yaya made it impossible for him to stay here. All he had to say was “I will play as the coach deems.” Instead, though his agent, it was the incessant demands for more and more playing, time, he’s unhappy, blahblahblahblah.

    I think the club values both players. Busquets was better being backed by The Yaya, without question. But if a player and his agent are determined to leave, all you can go is maximixe the value received (boy, did we EVAH) and move on.

    I know this is going to start a whole bunch of “Barca screwed The Yaya” stuff, and I’m on the record right now as saying he could have stayed with this club for as long as he liked, within the context of what the club was willing to pay him, and the playing time that was surely coming his way. He didn’t want that. He wanted the big payday, and his agent was happy to facilitate that, since he nets about 6m from this deal, as well.

    And now he goes to Citeh, where this year he will be watching us play Champions League on television. I wish him all the best, until and if Citeh ever play us.

    1. No, Luke, more at the notion that the club values Busquets more than The Yaya. Obviously, I disagree.

    2. I think you’re misinterpreting one crucial part of it though: the club does not dictate the value of a player to itself through one action only. What I mean is, because Yaya doesn’t like his salary doesn’t mean he’s not accepting what the club says. The club has several other players on its books and relative to them, Yaya is being mistreated.

      I say that without definitive knowledge of the salary of others, but given that I’m under the impression Busi makes as much if not more than Yaya, I find it hard to say that the club is doing anything but screwing Yaya in favor of Busi. If you’re okay with that, then fine, so be it, we can agree to disagree about what is important for the squad, but I cannot understand how anyone coming from the perspective that Busi is not as good as Yaya would think Yaya wasn’t getting held over the coals.

      If Pep thinks Busi is better than Yaya (and clearly he thinks something along these lines), then I’m probably in the wrong for thinking otherwise, but I can’t help but think that Yaya is far better than Busi. In my book, it’s not even close.

      All that said, if it’s profit maximization that’s the idea in this case, there would never have been a better moment to sell Yaya than now. I’m just afraid this becomes our Makelele moment when Busi gets shit-stupid yellow cards and is suspended and Iniesta is in the medical room again and Keita can’t cover 2 positions at once (and given Pep’s lack of inclination to give Keita the DM role, I find it hard to imagine that Pique or Chygrynskiy will be the ones to step up, what with Yaya no longer being available).

      Giving up one Yaya is giving up 3 other players thanks to his versatility. To me, it’s like taking a working, large HDTV and replacing it with 4 small ones stacked on each other in a square and wondering why it doesn’t have the same picture quality.

    3. well said. we saw Yaya’s value towards the end of last season, when over a 4-5 week period he played every midfield position AND center-back, and played them all exceedingly well. who’s forgetting his incredible run to tie us in the Copa del Rey final against Bilbao? no other player we have or is on the market now could so ably do those things; not even Cesc.

      people can talk about how inevitable his leave was given the dickheadedness of his agent or the economic sense it makes to get rid of him for top dollar, but the bottom line is that selling Yaya makes the team weaker. period. and i for one just can’t get behind that.

      i can’t remember the last time i went into a summer concerned about the state of Barca but between Rosell and this decision, which has more to do with the balance of the squad than any particular player, i am now.

  3. could Rosell undo so many good parts of Laporta’s reigh in a summer? i’ve not lived through a Barca presidency transition from Exemplary to ??, but i’m seriously worried about what he’s out to do. i want a club i can be proud of but that’s out of my hands; i don’t feel anymore as though it was in a safe pair.

    1. What should reassure us some is that Guardiola was heavily, heavily involved in player transfers. In many ways, Txiki was something of a redundancy in that respect.

      But without question, Rosell is out to make his mark on the club. Unfortunately or not (we will have to wait and see) that is going to happen. We’ll just have to deal with it when it does, and hope that it’s for the best, or at least the better, rather than the worst.

      The dark side of this is that there will be some Catalans who will be happy at the fact that we got rid of two black players on the same day. Sad, but true.

    2. Hello dears, Just popping in to toss in a cent or two … Of course there will be some Barça followers who may be relieved, at the very distasteful least, to see fewer black players on the squad, but I wouldn’t say that this is because Catalans are particularly racist, but that some people in the world are racist, and some of those live in Catalunya. Look, I’m a white American in-law, and so I am privy to a lot of uncensored conversations on the Continent (I’m ‘different’ enough to be provided a ‘truthful’ view of things, but I’m the ‘same’ enough to not be expected to be unduly offended). And yes, I can say that I hear some stereotypes, although nothing ever violent, and none, ever, have been about people from sub-Saharan Africa (North Africans are a different and much more complex story) — Africans elicit a lot of sympathy among Iberians for facing such desperate situations, and every boatful of illegal immigrants washed ashore are met with Red Cross medics and legal aid workers (*not*, as here in the old USA, gun-toting vigilantes and Arizona Congressmen). And since it is much more common to hear Spaniards depricate themselves (you will never, ever hear anything Sean-Hannitian like ‘best country God ever gave Earth blah blah blah’, and you will hear a lot of ‘this place is a disaster, our government is an embarassment, we are such losers’) these kind of insults really need ‘matización’, a careful understanding of their context. NOW, all of this does NOT mean that Busquets, as I think, is part of some greater CatalanPlan for Barça in a bloodline, legacy, cultural way that goes beyond his particular skill set, but my toddler is standing up in his crib throwing his pillows all over the place so must sign off for now your SoMa

  4. I’m just happy that Ibrah rumors are calming down. I am to Ibrah as Isaiah is to The Yaya (I think)
    Would love to see some Ozil, but how about this Van Der Weil rumors?? I still think we need some bench for Alves, Clichy? Maybe.

    1. Clichy? No, thanks. Besides, he is a left back and wouldn’t want to be on the bench.

      I would take Ozil over Cesc in a heartbeat, because A, he is cheaper and B, he has been my man on Football Manager for a couple of years now. 😀 Oh, and he also has some skills, too.

      Farewell Yaya and Titi, I’ll miss you both. However, with Villa, Busquets, and whoever else we sign, I think we are in safe hands.

    2. I think my problem with this whole situation is exactly what you wrote: “…with Villa, Busquets, and whoever else we sign, I think we are in safe hands.”

      So we’re selling a player at the top of his game to purchase another one? I don’t get that logic and I don’t see that as leaving us in safe hands by any stretch. Because your statement implies the need for a backup to Busi at the very least (perhaps multiple ones!), then it strikes me as a terrible move. But hey, what do I know, I’m just a man with a crush on another man.

    3. If he’s not playing, what good does it do to keep him? We are a stronger team with The Yaya yes, but can it improve? Will Guardiola shock the world with whomever we sign? stay tuned.

    4. Well, I mean, we need a backup because we would only have one pure DM in Busi. We are selling a top player, but we have another top player in Busi and any incoming transfers I’m talking about is for depth reasons. We couldn’t possibly go into the season without taking in to account the need for a backup for Busquets, not a star player like Essien, which would essentially be selling a top player to purchase another one like you are saying. Two seasons ago, Yaya’s backup was Busquets, next season we need a backup for Busquets like we need backups all over the pitch.

      Listen, I love Yaya more than anybody on the team, but it’s not like we are selling him because we don’t want him. I think the key issue in this situation is that he wants out. He couldn’t accept sharing matches with Busquets, and although he is a more complete player and we all love him to death, it’s not like Busquets doesn’t have his virtues for starting many matches for both Barça and Spain. It’s not like we are talking about a player who sucks and is consistently getting minutes over Yaya. For all his diving and playacting, Busquets knows how to play football. Yaya’s failure to accept his role is on him and we are left with no other choice but to sell him, really.

  5. Sorry, but what people aren’t considering is not only fiscal aspects of the situation, but psychological. What if The Yaya made the locker room weaker? We all saw, in some big post-match celebrations, his sullenness, even as jokers such as Pique tried to draw him in. Don’t know if that’s the real reason, but I can’t help but think that it might be part of it.

    Guardiola isn’t stupid. If The Yaya not being here made the team truly weaker, we would have moved heaven and earth to keep him. Does anyone think that, even if Messi’s agent said “Pep Guardiola screws yak when he isn’t screwing over my player,” that would affect our determination to keep Messi one iota? No.

    The Yaya was expendable, for so many reasons: salary, potential transfer fee, ridding the locker room of an unhappy player, big-mouthed agents, Busquets got more playing time and the team had a better goal differential, set a Liga points record and came within an awful call (watched it again last night) of returning to the Champions League final. So no, I’m not all that convinced that selling a player for, prima facie, all the right reasons, makes us weaker. And if it creates a hole, it’s one that we will have to fill, but make no mistake, the time for selling was right now.

    Finally as with Eto’o, we don’t know the whole story. We don’t even know a fraction of it. What we do know is that some believe that we are weaker without The Yaya. I don’t know that yet. I suppose we’ll find out this season.

    1. no doubt Yaya’s unhappiness, if it existed, wasn’t due to playing in a historically winning team in one of the most beautiful cities in Europe with a squad of legitimately nice guys who also happened to be the best players on the planet. no doubt it was because of his uncertain future and the feeling that he wasn’t being valued (both monetarily and in terms of game time). i’m simply saying that those are problems THE CLUB could and should have corrected in order to maintain balance. thus a happy player, the problem solved, the situation averted.

      and again, i’m not defending Yaya because he’s Yaya and i like him, i’m defending the player because i think it’s a big mistake to let him go at this time, and in so doing make the squad weaker in terms of players we can put on a pitch. whatever happens in dressing rooms or training grounds we’re not privy to; perhaps he was the life of the the party: pantsing Pique, telling jokes in Catalan and tickling Bojan under his little chin. we can’t know that, so talk of dressing room upset is moot. as for stats well even if one really believes that Busquets is for the foreseeable future a better player (good luck arguing that), to rid ourselves of a player who’s obviously highly versatile and extremely competent in key positions for us in the prime of their career simply because his agent has a big mouth or because we won’t work with him on contract renegotiation is shortsighted to say the least. THAT’S bad business. as for the money, well, i agree with our last president when he said “Barcelona are a buying club, not a selling club”. we do what’s best for our football first, not our profit margins.

      and of course these decisions aren’t, in the end, up to us (except in the rare instance, rarer still now that Rosell is in charge, that we could elect a new president) but if we can’t sit around and talk about club-related issues that we have no control of there’s not much point being fans of any club at all.

      you’re not the slightest bit concerned with the way this has played out or, as of now, it’s implications on the future of our side?

  6. This debate, by the by, is why I am never a fan of any player. It’s business. You can’t be. There could come a time when Messi will be on the transfer block. Or Iniesta. Or Pedro!. Or anyone. As fans and supporters, we just have to hope that the people in charge know what the hell they’re doing.

    1. Aw man, but part of the fun, is that Hero, it hurts when they leave, but then another comes along and you have players you can hopefully watch as their careers diverge from your club and see how they do. It can also work in reverse, i.e. you like a player so you follow their club career. Makes it fun and interesting for me.

      It’s how I got to watch Roma, loving Batistuta. Roma isn’t my club but I am happy I went that route cuz I grew to watch lots of Serie A, so as we say in Spanish, no me pueden contar las muelas about Italian footbal.

      But I understand, maybe I just watch too much damn football 🙂

      About Txiki, while he’s surplus, I believe he was also a great buffer or go between for Guardiola. I think Pep knew all along that his position in the club, no matter who he IS at the moment is always precarious. With Txiki gone I hope the stress of dealing with Rosell or Sandrito as I like to call him, won’t convince Pep that the 1 year contract is enough. I am really worried about the club. Power transfers are never easy or smooth and we’ve all witnessed how presidents, boards have weighed heavy on our club in the past.

  7. isaih is right.
    we are losing a player who could play 3 positions.
    i wish there was another player like him, who could excel at those exact 3 positions.
    now let’s say busi get’s injured, move pique to dm? what will make our defence very weak.
    put marquez or chiggy at dm? they will get over run for sure. and chiggy doesnt look comfortable on the ball.

    ok so who do we sign? mascherano? will he want to sit on the bench? or are we supposed to play with 2 dm’s?

    for the LW, what do you guys think of ozil? he looks like he could play on either wings. and if iniesta get’s injured again for the 54th time, ozil could go back to midfield.
    i hope ozil goes to bayern though. that would be crazy.

  8. I actually don’t think Pep is valuing one player over the other. I think he values the system above all else. Hell, he might even think Yaya is a better over-all player than Busquets, but Busquets might work better in his system.

    I mean, that’s what the cantera is all about right? Bringing in players with the right skills and attributes. Many (loser Marca & As) argue that Barça is a one man team – that we’re Messi-dependent. But I don’t think that’s true. I mean, sure, there are times when he can and will carry the team, but usually its all about the system.

    So, yeah, I’m bummed Yaya the Destroyer is leaving, especially since I’m not convinced Mascherano will work for Barça, considering his habit of picking up yellows and reds in the worst possible moments.

    Frankly I’m more worried about what Rosell is gonna do to this team.

    1. I think he values the system above all else. Hell, he might even think Yaya is a better over-all player than Busquets, but Busquets might work better in his system.

      Great point.

  9. I’ve been over the whole Yaya nonsense for a while… but that won’t stop me from posting my purely speculative theory on Yaya and this last season.

    First, it’s important to remember that last summer we were hearing all sorts of rumors about a Yaya-sized transfer. Especially after his brother moved to City and basically begged the newly anointed ninth planet to join him there. Couple this with Seluk trying to win the best paid d-bag award of the year and it paints a picture. Barcelona has had close ties with City since it was taken over, and has been one of the only clubs friendly with City.

    What does this all tell us? I believe that we are lucky this transfer didn’t go through last summer. Yaya has stated he wants to play with his brother – the opportunity was there. I think Pep spoke with him and asked him to stay at the club for one more season – Pep didn’t have complete faith in Busquets (note – this also explains our interest in Mascherano last summer: if Yaya had refused to stay one more year we DEFINITELY would’ve needed a really classy player to replace him). Also look at Yaya’s contract extension. It was only until 2012, which basically says “We’re going to keep you for at least one more year, and retain our ability to get top dollar for your ass”.

    Now we move into the playing time situation. Pep is a smart man who has just won six trophies. This gives him lots of breathing room to play with tactics (look at our tactical flexibility last season as opposed to 08-09 when we rarely if ever changed tactics) and also to blood new players. If you have two players, one who is 21 and has a serious future in the team, and one who is a better player but is leaving next summer, who do you play? Pep chose to let Busquets gain precious playing time to hone his skills and allow him to develop (a pretty good decision I think). He never lost trust in Yaya. In the first El Clasico Busquets earns a stupid red and who does Pep immediately put on? YAYA. That’s trust. As the season went on Busquets went from strength to strength and really improved, by the end of the season he was earning his starting position. Pep chose to groom a young player for the future instead of playing the star that would be leaving, and it will pay off in the future.

    Now we come to what Yaya wants. Yaya obviously wants to play with his brother. Yaya obviously wants more playing time. However, I still think Yaya loves this club. You don’t start doing interviews in Catalan if you don’t love the club. He should love the club, the club made his career and he won two Champions Leagues here. His non-celebrations? They have always struck me as those of a man who is living a great moment, but knows it is his last. I don’t think he was a disruption in the locker room, as the other players obviously have affection for him. I do however think he knew he would be leaving, and because he loves the club he was struggling with conflicting emotions, especially during great moments.

    Despite his love for the club, it is still time for Toure to look for a new challenge. He has won two Champions Leagues. He deserves a huge paycheck. He wants to play with his brother. Unfortunately his time with the club had run its course, and he will be moving to a club that will be fulfilling his desires (which I should note doesn’t seem to be trophies – but with two Champs Leagues already, it might be more interesting to him to try to drag a somewhat-better-than-mediocre club to the top).

    Finally, I don’t think the club has treated him poorly. In my completely speculative view the club asked him for one more year with the understanding that they would let him join the club of his desire this summer. I don’t see any problem with the club trying to make bank on his transfer.

    Yaya will leave. He will always have a special house-sized space in his heart for the club, and many of the supporters will continue to love him. I wish him all the best in his endeavors, and thank him for the years of dedication and hard work he gave to the club.

    Sorry for the length.

    1. Some good points, but just a tiny correction-Yaya arrived here in the summer of 2007, so he wasn’t with the team for the 2006 Champions League Final victory against Arsenal.

    2. well said. i think along the same lines.
      but my version is that pep already wanted yaya out last summer. that’s why we wanted to sign mascherano.
      and visco, it wasnt just in the 1st clasico, there was also a match in CWC, inter at camp nou, where he couldve played a proper CB but instead opted for yaya.
      pep knows truly well that yaya is a very good footballer but he knows he wont count on him for the future.

  10. No one is concerned how very good black players are being systematically pushed out of Barcelona? A great Eto’o at his peak was sent out. He made much less than what Ibrahimovic makes now, and offered much more. Henry was never really given opportunities to work through a slow season start. Yaya was inexplicably replaced by Busquets for no reason really. His experience alone should have meant Busquets gradually work his way to the line-up in the next 2 yrs. Maxwell was brough in to give Abidal a run for his money, and if he was any good defensively, Abidal would be looking for another team. With the signing of cesc, ozil, Mascherano and any other midfielder would mean even less time for Keita, who I predict will be looking a new team next offseason. What the hell is going on, and does anyone think any good black players will be willing to sign for barcelona in the future?

    1. To a degree, no.

      Eto’o wasn’t wanted by Pep when he initially took over due to Eto’o’s attitude. It isn’t surprising he was shown the exit.

      Henry was an integral part of the sextuple. He was past it this season, let’s be honest.

      Yaya – read many posts above.

      Abidal is the undisputed starter over Maxwell. Maxwell was brought in as a backup. Abidal will leave in the next couple of years, but this is due to his age.

      Keita is getting old. He is 32 now. Pep however, loves Keita and Keita will stay for another season or two.

      That said, in a way, yes I’m worried. Not because of what has happened in the past – all of these were sound sporting decisions (or at least could be interpreted as such). I am however worried about what direction Rosell will take the club concerning African and black players.

    2. I’m concerned with the fact that this “black players pushed out of Barça” issue keeps popping up. I think it’s ignorant and a lazy way to group things together.

      Every single one of your points can be picked off and discredited from footballing aspects and common sense ones as well. I mean, Maxwell was brought to bring depth to the side because Sylvinho left the club. Keita is one of Pep’s most trusted players. I can continue, but it’s 4 am and I’m tired. Goodnight.

    3. yeah, the last few years have seen as many or more african and/or black players in the squad since i began watching barca. and you are focusing on the fact that some of them have now left? i dont think so. i mean, who knows, but yeah you need to look at it more historically.

    4. It’s funny how the Henry situation apparently went down completely different than people percieved it when it was going on. Every single time Henry played he’d be crap, but he got plenty of chances and people on Barca blogs and forums were shouting from the rooftops about how Pedro deserved to start, and not Henry. Now that the situation is over, Henry has been treated unfairly? Give me a break.

  11. That sanchez guy for chile was really impressive. Full of running-in fact all chile players were- and one hell of a dribbler. Maybe he could buy him to reinforce our wings.

  12. The Yaya situation is sad but we have gotten over bigger sales in the past. My take is he doesn’t want to be here for his own reasons so we are getting an amazing deal if the €32million is even close to being correct.
    Mascherano is definitely not the player I want to replace the Yaya with. He is a terrific defender but is a terrible passer and is another midget. It does not make tactical sense whatsoever. He would make us significantly weaker in from set pieces and poses no attacking threat at all (2 or 3 goals in his career I think). Against counter attacking teams he is very effective but his lack of ball skills would double Xavi’s work-rate.

    We need Yaya v2 when we are replacing him. Etienne Capoue or Moussa Sissoko (both Toulouse) are strong players in France. Toulouse finished with joint 2nd best defense in Ligue 1. Sissoko plays slightly further forward, is better going forward than Capoue and has better discipline but either should do the trick.
    Alou Diarra of Bordeaux has a reported €8million buyout clause in his contract if we want a cheap player.

    I don’t buy the anti-black thing in regards to the fact that Yaya doesn’t want to be here and Henry has been terrible this season. If there were any decent Brazilian’s (other than Dani) at the minute I’m sure they would be playing for us as well as Abidal & Keita who were integral to us this season. Our cantera is obviously going to throw out very little black kids due to the fact that it is based in Barcelona. A couple of the young African kids like Ella are showing promise though.

    In regards to the Cesc v Ozil thing I actually think that there could be room for both. Cesc would be playing as a third midfielder and Ozil could play wide left. I think that we will probably come to an agreement with his agent that he will free transfer to us next summer at which time Ibra will either have set the world alight or not and be moved on.

    And Cesar Azpilicueta has officially moved on to Marseille so I assume that van der Wiel is the no.1 option. If we can get him for less than €15million then it’s a no-brainer

    1. haha. yeah we do need a v2.

      but for the rb spot i think we should just stick to cantera.
      and if not, puyol can move to rb. milito and pique are a good pairing for cb.

      btw yeah. im concerned too. the gap is too huge.
      our bench is certainly not as good as madrids.
      before we had 4 top defenders including yaya. now only left with 3.

  13. By the way, is anyone else concerned that our 4th, 5th and 6th choice centre backs are way below standard.
    Pique, Puyol and Milito are all quality defenders but Marquez, Chyggy, Henrique and even Caceres are not good enough for us but there doesn’t seem to be top class defenders on the market.

    1. it is really troubling what we’ve spent so much money, €50m (think about THAT for a second), on 2 defenders who aren’t anywhere near being good enough to play for the first team: Chygrynskiy and Henrique. Rafa is Rafa; he might be great next season or he might be crap, but either way he’s getting old.

      i take heart in the thought that we DO have some promising defenders coming up from Barca B, in Fontas and Muniesa, who should be able to come up and play a bit in the coming seasons as Puyol and to a lesser extent Milito are phased out. but you’re right, we are facing a dearth of QUALITY center-backs, probably the position a top side needs the most depth in. with luck we could snag at least 1 over the summer, but while important it’s not exactly a position on which a player’s reputation can be made in the course of a World Cup.

      we’ve had a couple of summers of wasteful buying and as a result our team has a very strong starting 11 but in key areas our bench is light. center-back and every midfield position needs more cover, and while our forward line as it stands is absolutely incredible, our replacements for any of those positions are 2 youngsters (22 and 19) who have alot to prove but are fairly similar players. i’d like an old master striker on our bench to lend some experience and calm if we’re looking disjointed up front; obviously Larsson is the model here (granted, who’s got any of those lying around?).

      all told, we’ve spent good money on a fabulous player but we’re going to have to spend alot more if we don’t want our squad, already thin last season, to fray any further. getting caught up in the World Cup is great, but as Barca fans we need to focus a bit less on following the “flair” players like Ozil and start searching Europe’s nooks and crannies for some unsexy players like a speedy ball-playing center-back or a midfield destroyer who’s willing to sit the bench, or a goalscorer who’s still got the touch but is nearing the twilight of his career.

    2. Just a minor quibble: Chygrynskiy cost €25m and Henrique cost €8m+€2m in bonuses. So €35m at most for those two.

  14. (profanity) (profanity)..

    the sun said that messi is among the super flops of this WC.
    (profanity) (profanity!!!
    bunch of idiots who wrote this.
    it was in yesterday’s the sun(UK) paper.

    here are the excerpts;
    “superstars?you’ve got to be kidding. More like super flops.
    Lionel Messi? the argentinian wonder boy with the feet of silver and a football brain that einstein would kill for
    has scored exactly zero goals”

    their other targets are ribery, drogba, ronaldo, cannavaro, torres and rooney. i agree with them being super flops though but certainly not messi.
    messi has been the brain for the argentinian team

    1. Relax, that’s just the English Media trying to divert their miserable WC campaign. 😀

    2. Clearly this article was written by someone who doesn’t realise that football is a TEAM sport. Don’t let it bother you 🙂

  15. vicsoc very eloquently summed up The Yaya situation.

    Regarding Barca and black players, the club isn’t that stupid. Note that my above comment references certain narrow-minded elements of Catalan society rather than Barca the club. Because make no mistake, even if Henry were as white as the driven snow, he would still be outta here, like Marquez will be. And for all the reasons stated above, it was time to sell The Yaya.

    Those reasons had little to do with anything except the cold business that this beautiful game is. I think that all the talk of the club not valuing The Yaya in some way, nefarious or otherwise, are misguided. It was just that time, as he wanted money, and guarantees of playing that he wasn’t going to get.

    It’s also worth noting that Mino Raiola, agent of Ibrahimovic, said yesterday that his client isn’t going anywhere.

  16. Not sure how race or colour got into this debate. It has nothing to do with football really and it doesnt matter if all the Barca players are black or if none of them are black. It has no real bearing on football or what is best for the club. The coach decides who is best suited for the team and the system and whether that player is black, white, asian or blue doesnt really matter. Yaya is leaving for many reasons, none of which have anything to do with the colour of his skin or the fact that he is African. Keita is both black and African and one of Peps favourite players.

    The overwhelming reason why Yaya is leaving is Busquetz. Pep wants to groom this extremely talented young player into one of the best in the world and he can most certainly do it, but not with Yaya and his agent unsettling the dressing room, udermining the coach and the other players and just generally showing little class or respect for the team. Say what you will about Yaya being the better player right now (he most certainly is), but dont forget Yaya has a good 5 years experience on Sergio. Where was Yaya at Sergio’s age? Certainly not starting for arguably the two best teams in the world and holding down a spot in the two best midfields in the world. It is staggering that he is so young and plays so well in maybe one of the toughest positions in modern football. Just imagine where he could be in 3-4 years time with the right kind of grooming. He will never be the Yaya, but for us he could be so much better.

    I am lot more excited about the prospect of seeing Sergio grow and evolve as a player over the next few years than I am dissapointed at seeing Yaya leave. LEts not forget we broke all sorts of records last season and conceded LESS with Sergio starting most games and not Yaya. That doesnt even take into account the fact that Henry was useless, Iniesta was injured and we were trying to integrate Ibra. I dont think Sergio gets enough credit for what he achieved last season. Considering the his age, his experience (or lack thereof) and all the other circumstances it really is remarkable! On top of that we are gona get 32m for Yaya…. I dont really see a downside tbh.

  17. txiki was interviewed on the official site, here is my traduccion one of one of his respuestas:

    “The success of Pep is impossible without that of Frank. Frank began everything. The 4-3-3, the arrival of Davids, how we finished the first season. And with Frank the club begins to construct competitive rosters each year. And Pep took hold of much of all that was great about those teams. There were pieces that lacked that were also being discussed with Frank. What was good for Frank was also good for Pep. There is no change from what we wanted to do with Frank to what we wanted to do afterwards with Pep. Everything was useful because it was discussed with both of them. …But afterwards, the effectiveness of that squad….Pep multiplies it.The injection of “animo”, of morale, of knowledge, of tactical disposition, of order, of organization that Pep gives is fundamental for the triplete. But he took advantage of the work Frank had done.”

    it’s funny how he points out Davids. I remember his arrival too, and how it really changed things, even though he was here so briefly. That guy was great. Does he have a son, and can we get him into our youth system? 🙂

    1. when i heard that davids was in, i knew right away that he would add competitiveness and bite in our side like how he did to the Dutch side in 1998.
      we were a weak side before his arrival. was kinda shocked why we didnt sign him on a parmanent deal. they hardly wrote anything about barca in my part of the world.

  18. I will not get into the Yaya-tized debate as it will be a repetitive statement. Just some side notes:

    – Pep the racist: Not sure if Kxevin remembers, but the summer when Pep started his adventure with the club, there was a debate on Pep transfers blog about Pep hatred toward Eto’o. There was a bold statement that Pep is a racist. The ironic part? Pep wanted Adebayor to replace Eto’o. I am not a race-ologist or anything, but am I the only one who see this logic silly, to say the least. Thats the Irony. The hilarious part was that same people accused Kxevin for being a racist because he also supported offloading Eto’o (Of course he didnt have his photo there while commenting) 😀

    – Yaya fulfilled his dearest two dreams that he repeatedly showed his compactions toward: Playing with his brother, and playing in the EPL. Now who worked for their achieving their goals more? Seluk and Yaya, or Barcelona and Pep? Its hard to know, but if all parties are happy, why will I complain? Some people are Visualizing Yaya at the moment running over buildings, crushing them while crying out loudly. Not true. He is walking around the City whistling with pleasure while eating a giant ice-cream.

    1. Well, Yaya has won everything with us and as his playing time dwindled, he decided it was time to move on.. It became clear when he huffed off into the tunnel instead of celebrating at the Bernabeu..

      Not that I have anything against the Yaya, but he stayed with us the longest time he’s stayed as against any team he previously played with.. To me, it was a question of when not why..

      I feel the board’s policy is best in these matters – If you’re not happy at the club then you’re more than welcome to be happy elsewhere..

  19. Well, sad to see Yaya and Henry go but can totally understand it. They were great when they were here. Henry might not have been the player of yore this year but he did have some moments (match against valencia). Best of luck to them.

    About yaya’s replacement, there are no easy names that come to my mind. I like Masch and if you look at his performances in this world cup, he has been immense. If he comes, i think he will fit right in the team. I do think that getting him would not be a right move for us. As Busi is now first choice, we need someone who is good enough but will be happy with bit part role ala Maxwell. I cannot think of too many names on top of my head who fit the bill though. Actually the only ones coming to my mind are Senna and Aldo Duscher, which i agree is not good enough.

  20. Madrid signing Di maria appears to be the transfer news of the day…but i must say the that the fact that it appears in the news that the fee is 25 million while actually is going to be at least 30 millions pisses me off…and its done purely for marketing reasons….arghh
    I honestly don’t think i’ve heard a more weird transfer fee! To be more excact madrid will pay 25 mil now and then another 5 mil when they play di maria for the FIRST TIME! So basically the fee is at LEAST 30 milllion euros!..plus an extra 6 milllion in variables which however they are not going to pay cause they are not getting any tittles this year either… 😉

    1. They’ll have to pay the other 5 million once they register him according to Portuguese daily A BOLA..

    2. Exactly! so the fee is 30 miilion euros (minimum) and not 25 as it appears in media! I jut find this trick sooooo cheeeaap!

  21. I’d also like to thank Henry for the years he has given to the club. A truly classy player who helped us to the sextuple and sacrificed for the success of the club (as well as his pursuit of the Champions League). He was also a good influence in the locker room, and I’m sure he has passed some of his knowledge on to our youngsters.

    Thank you Titi!

  22. Like someone said, more worrying is what Rosell gonna do to the club. Txiki leaves without talking to Rosell, and if I am hearing right Rosell doesn’t want anything to do with Cruyff either. I am glad we got Villa before the election. Now that we have no Txiki, transfer won’t be so easy.

    Sad about Yaya, but we can’t force him to stay if he wants to move on. I blame Seluk. He keeps moving Yaya to a new club every 2 years. Just watch, Seluk will get Yaya to Chelsea after City. We will miss Yaya just like Eto’o, but the team will find ways. and of course we are getting 30m, not bad!

    The young ones gonna miss Henry. A true professional. Thank you Titi!

    wc: what has VDB done to Spain? Give Xavi back his natural role!

  23. What I remember whenever I see Coentrao (who used to be a left winger btw, which is why I was so surprised to see him play LB):


    From U-20 tourny in Canada in 07

  24. Does anyone else think that Bojan would be doing a better job than Fernando Torres?

  25. Take off someone in dm area-bring on someone for the right wing who’ll
    stay on the right

  26. The game is crying out for Jesus Navas. Take Alonso Out.
    Busi has been cool.

  27. The problem is in the box, and it is not entirely torres fault. Its good to have Villa on the left, but not as wide as he is playing. Torress is isolated in the area with no midfielders able to run and cause a threat.

    Its better to instruct Iniesta to open wide so Villa can cut in, or Busquets move forward closer to the box.

  28. With 10 men behind the ball, Portugal have been trying to bore Spain to death in the first half.

  29. Now that Portugal is going for it, Xabi should really be subbed off for either Silva or Pedro. They’re there for the taking! Come on! I wanna see Fake-Ronaldo cry. (Is that mean?)

  30. Simple math. Better striker in the box, more Villa into the box. Job done. Almost…

    Congrats spain!

  31. Iniesta —> Xavi —> Villa —> Goal!!!
    Hope to see more of that at Barca!!!!

  32. These 2nd round matches have been played like friendlies. This WC has been shady right from the beginning IMO.
    So few cards, very few rash tackles. I mean how can you play like that knowing everything is at stake…

  33. YES! to Villa on the left wing. How badass was that Xavi back-heel?

    Muhahahaha! Cry, Thong Boy, Cry!

  34. ROnaldo spat at the fucking camera man.Douche.

    Anyway SPain was much petter once the energy sucker known as torres came off.Llorente should start the next game.

    1. My sentiments exactly.

      Llorente, on for like 10 seconds at the time, could have put them ahead if that header went in.

      Start him vs Paraguay (although I doubt it) Vincent of the Forest!

    1. Haha, I wonder if some people here are more happy because Spain won or because Crynaldo lost?!?

      But I have to agree, seeing Spain kick him out simply underlines that schadenfreude is the sweetest joy:D

    2. One must enjoy ALL things in life. Crynaldo losing is always good and Visça la furia rojjaaaaa 🙂

  35. Will Henrique ever get to play for Barca? Yaya is leaving and Marquez too looks like, Puyol is 32. Caceres is gone. Chyggy, dunno if he will be sold, hope not. if that thing in February happen (when we had 7 defenders injured/suspended at the same time)… Bartra/Muniesa/fontas/Chiggy get ready!

  36. It’s funny, I noticed this as well.


    The advert in question is this one here:


    1. All the footballers in the ad have been knocked out, except the three chucking the newspapers.. Even they have had their share of bad luck, one got injured after the first game, another can’t stop getting whacked in the face, while the one sitting in the middle is doing exactly that, sitting on the bench..

  37. Oh. and would the REAL Fernando Torres please stand up?


  38. Lets cut Torres some slack. The fact he came into this tournament injured/unfit because of carrying a load of lodgers(including Gerrard) means he deserves a break. Hes been a fantastic striker for Spain esp at the Euros.
    I can’t help thinking that some feel they have to belittle Torres because hes been ‘suggested’ as a replacement for Zlatan.
    Will we hammer Zlatan when hes off form again, no because there will be plenty of excuses.
    I agree Llorente should be starting ahead of him- hes fit and is hungry but lets not blame Torres. He should’nt be picked to start because of the idiot Benitez

    1. My argument against this Torres thing is that yes cool you were injured, but somethings like controlling a ball or making a good pass should just be natural to you if you are the striker you used to be. In my opinion Torres just doesn’t have what he used to. Hope for him he gains it back.
      Against Paraguay I vote Pedro! to go in, the speed would benefit Spain greatly, plus I’d like to see him develop a little more on the big stage.

    2. Aww, poor Torres. I actually like him, but he is kind of off. Still trying to get back into form. I think he’ll keep getting the start b/c he usually does create space for Villa. But I’m not against Llorente getting the start over him.

      Actually, I think having Xabi Alonso in the line-up is more a hinderance than anything else. I think Busi has been playing well and would rather have Xavi-Iniesta in the middle, with Silva starting and providing with.

  39. Wow. Villa is so sick. I dont even care about the WC anymore, I just want next season to start already so that we can see Villa, Ibra and Messi up front. How do you defend against that? Today 10 men tried to stop Villa and failed… and Portugal know how to defend, this is the first and only goal they conceded in the tournament.

    Just imagine Villa had Ibra in the middle and Messi roaming. Wow. Just Wow.

    Oh and is it just me or does Villa look better on the left than he does playing down the middle? I always thought he should be played on the left and now I am convinced. Boy can he strike a ball as well. Lets see how many defenses can sit back now with that kind of striking potential from outside the box.

    1. How about the way he switched feet so quickly in so little time? Remember, the goalkeeper (who was amazing for Portugal) saved his initial effort from his left foot, then in half a second, he slots it home with his right. Amazing skill!

      SO SO SO happy we got Villa!!

    2. I know. Its staggering. Plus the understanding he already has with key players like Xavi and Iniesta means that he wont take long to adapt. He could potentially slot right in. I think he and Ibra will be a force to reckon with. I player like Ibra needs a striker like Villa playing off of him, much the same way he did with Llorente today. If Villa and Ibra click forget about it, its over.

      A friend of mine (a Man Utd fan) was watching the game with me today and he thinks it isnt fair that we bought him. He reckons there should be some of measure to prevent too many world class players in one team – similar to the way corporate mergers are blocked if the resulting company will control too much of the market, he thinks player transfers should be blocked if the resulting team will basically be unstoppable. I can see his point…

    3. If Villa and Ibra click forget about it, its over.

      Add to that, a certain player named Messi.. Okay, I’ve drooled enough on my keyboard..

    4. “A friend of mine (a Man Utd fan) was watching the game with me today and he thinks it isnt fair that we bought him.”

      Haha, that’s funny because some of my friends are saying the same thing. If Spain win it all, Villa will most likely be the player of the tournament. That said, they still have a ways to go.

  40. I just want to say as amazing as Villa has been, Busquets has been so clutch for Spain. Watch his movement and placement, he is getting so comfortable with playing with Xavi I’m almost not too sad to see Yaya leave. But seriously, the kid is 21, and what a future he has and I’m glad it’s going to be with us.

    1. Yup. Busquets has been excellent in this tournament. When the Madrid press begin to take notice, you know he must be doing well.

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