El Banquillo 6: Back to Work, Chicos

Episode 6: And so the team returns to training after a summer of success…

InMeYouTrust: Okay, Welcome back everyone.
You'll have to Wiki him to figure out his screenname, won't you? PrinceofBellcaire: Congratulations to those who won the World Cup!
11B0J@N11: What’d you guys do with the trophy?
JustWinginIt: I took it to Tenerife and swam in the ocean with it!
CaptainCatalunyaViscaelBarca: I mowed the Camp Nou grass with it on my lap.
AndresIniesta: Well, I–no, I don’t want to say. It’s a bit too crazy.
Number1DraftPique: Oh do tell.
ManIntheMuniesa: Story! Story!
AndresIniesta: I don’t know guys…
ManIntheMuniesa: Don Andres is going to tell a story!
11B0J@N11: Hooray!
AndresIniesta: Oh, okay, but, I have to warn you that it’s a bit, um, risqué.
ManIntheMuniesa: [/shivers]
ManIntheMuniesa: Gosh.
AndresIniesta: Well, hehe, I had it on the couch with me…and my dogs jumped up and…I don’t know if I should say this, well, hehe, one of them licked it! It was so crazy!
ManIntheMuniesa: eeeek!
Number1DraftPique: I had a series of strippers put it between their–
InMeYouTrust: Gerard!
ManIntheMuniesa: My eeaaars!
Number1DraftPique: Sorry, boss.
InMeYouTrust: Don’t apologize to me, apologize to the littles ones.
Number1DraftPique: Sorry, guys…
11B0J@N11: I think I just burst a blood vessel in my innocence.
ProfessorEquis: I played it in foosball.
ManIntheMuniesa: Who won!?
Number1DraftPique: LOL
ProfessorEquis: I did. 10-7.
11B0J@N11: LOL
Number1DraftPique: Wait, wha–
InMeYouTrust: Okay, so, let’s talk about the strategy for this year.
Number1DraftPique: But what about the foosball–
PrinceofBellcaire: We’d like you all to welcome our newest squad members: David Villa and Adriano!
TheMagnificentSeven: Howdy!
ALateralSorriso: Hello.
Number1DraftPique: How can a trophy–
CaptainCatalunyaViscaelBarca: Hey you look pretty skinny compared to the tabloid pics. What’s your secret?
ALateralSorriso: Um…
AndresIniesta: I make my own all natural granola! Is that what you do too?
Number1DraftPique: I can understand them in stripper’s–
ALateralSorriso: Um…
CaptainCatalunyaViscaelBarca: Man, we have a lot of options up front.
JustWinginIt: You produce your own granola?
Number1DraftPique: It’s just not poss–
AndresIniesta: I have a granola farm in Fuentealbilla. It feeds the whole community!
InMeYouTrust: Why do we even have these meetings?
Number1DraftPique: Someone explain to me how a trophy can play foosball!
TheMagnificentSeven: This is going to be a wild ride!
ProfessorEquis: Gerard: Pass, offer, move. Repeat.
Number1DraftPique: Not helpful!
PrinceofBellcaire: We’re also losing a couple of good friends.
TouredeForce: BYE GUYS, I’LL MISS YOU.
11B0J@N11: Why are you leaving us!?
11B0J@N11: What about your promises? Don’t they mean anything?
11B0J@N11: [/sob]
11B0J@N11: Just go! Just go, okay?
TouredeForce: [/SOB]

*TouredeForce has left the chatroom*

LeRoi14: I must move along, mes amis.
11B0J@N11: Worst. Day. Ever.

*LeRoi14 has left the chatroom*

InMeYouTrust: Lollipop?
11B0J@N11: Best. Day. Ever.
KaiserRolls: So long, everyone.
ButcherofBernal: Goodbye, friend. Please remember the good times we had.
KaiserRolls: Of course. Who can forget that much blood?
ButcherofBernal: Glorious, uncontrollable rage.
KaiserRolls: I will dropkick some gringos for you.
ButcherofBernal: Slide tackle their faces.
KaiserRolls: They won’t know what’s hit them…
ButcherofBernal: Things won’t be the same without you.

*KaiserRolls has left the chatroom*

HlebToYourFace: Hey bitches, I’m baaaack.
ManIntheMuniesa: Eeek!
DirtySánchez: Hey hey hey!
Number1DraftPique: [/pantses DirtySánchez]
DirtySánchez: Motherfucker!
InMeYouTrust: Well, we’re off to Norway soon so–
ManIntheMuniesa: Fjords!
Number1DraftPique: Akvavit!
HlebToYourFace: We’re so going to school them!
InMeYouTrust: You’re not coming.
CaptainCatalunyaViscaelBarca: Burra!
HlebToYourFace: [/sobs]
InMeYouTrust: Bojan, you’re going to start the game…
11B0J@N11: Sweeeeet.
InMeYouTrust: …as captain.
11B0J@N11: ZOMG!!!!!1111@
FlyingMyKeita: Do they make armbands that small?
InMeYouTrust: So I’ll see you guys on the plane, I’ve got to think of some insane starting lineups.
HlebToYourFace: Put me in it!
PrinceofBellcaire: That’s too crazy.
HlebToYourFace: Nuts.

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.


  1. LOL, good job, Isaiah.

    Random, but Puyol had a post on his official website saying that he never made those statements about Cesc to the English media. I don’t know why I haven’t put it together before, but he’s on vacation and I don’t see how he and Xavi would talk to the stupid British press.

    1. Yeah, the “quotes” from Puyol seem to have originally come from the Sun. You know the paper that just reported that Messi has started an Oasis cover band that will soon tour the UK.

      The Xavi quotes seem to originate from the Daily Express. I couldn’t find a Spanish source for the interview.

    2. Yeah, they wouldn’t waste their time talking to The Sun (tabloid) or the Daily Express or the Daily Fail Mail when they’re on vacation, just to insult a team whose captain we don’t even need right now.

      Weird that the majority of these so called “quotes” come out during Arsenal pre-season, eh?

      The Spanish press is stupid–but they’d never fabricate quotes of Barca players (just dumb “exclusive stories” that have no basis), which is why none of these quotes come from them.

      BritPress is just trying to make this another EE-Thong Boy -esque drama tale. The thing is, as much as they (Barca players + Pep) would like to have Fabregas in the team, I doubt they would go and constantly talk to the press about it.

      After all, we don’t really need him right now—he needs us.

  2. Funny stuff! Additionally, it’s terrific to see your name pop up on the Soccernet homepage too where we’re used to seeing the likes of Phil Ball etc. Very nice Mr. Cambron!

    I’m quite pleased with the first days under the new administration, They’ve (particularly Mr. Rosell) been really quiet from a transfers perspective). They snapped up Adriano and it seems to be a very shrewd signing. Pep has been great with his policy of backing one youth product with all his heart each year. Busquets and Pedro. This will probably be the year for Thiago ahead of JDS or Romeo although I have a sneaky feeling Pep will throw us a big hint when we play in Asia over the next few days.

  3. six episodes and I still love the usernames. thank you for this amazing entertainment

  4. I love the Banquilloooooo …
    My favorite personages keep changing …
    Today it’s our risqué Piqué,
    but little boy Bojan is winning me over …
    can’t wait until the next installment!

  5. Very enjoyable. Thanks Isiah!

    On a side note, I have two things to say:

    1. The ESPN Soccernet La Liga page, did not update the “Previous Years Champions” for the last year, inspite of me repeatedly writing to them. So it was EE at the top (for the 2007-08 season) for a looong time, but recently they have updated it with the top two entries resonating our beloved Barca! Isiah, did you have any part in it?

    2. Our own schedule section (*http://www.barcelonafootballblog.com/barcelona-fc-schedule/*) is not updated after a few last matches of last season. If you need a helping hand, in-charge of keeping it updated, I can volunteer to do it on a regular basis starting with this season. I can be like the timekeeper or scheduler or whatever! 🙂

    1. I had nothing whatsoever to do with the ESPN thing.

      Yeah, I have been very bad about the whole schedule thing. I might just take you up on that offer, depending on what I can conjure up in the next two weeks.

    2. Thank you Isaiah. Waiting for your word.
      Hope you have my email id (in case you need it) – else please let me know.

  6. Good one…always nice to see these…

    btw, removing thumbs signs has made me really happy…

  7. First time I’ve heard Marquez speak English (I knew he could, but I’ve never seen an interview till now):


  8. Haha, you’ll always have to wear Hleb down?
    But itt was a great “finish him”-move from PrinceofBellcaire 🙂

    I got a question about “El Banquillo 5”: Who is that guy which is being sold to Madrid at the very beginning?!?

  9. Villareal just signed Marchena from Valencia…

    possibly as a replacement for Marcos Senna??

  10. After watching the first preseason game, I’m not excited about the “news” that Pep isn’t looking to sign any new players.

    1. Why? Only first teamers were Maxwell, Bojan, Milito, Adriano, Keita, Ibra, and Pinto.

      Besides, Thiago, Romeu, Montoya, and Bartra weren’t even there and they are some of our most promising youngsters. And you have to figure that the young kids that will get a chance will look better playing with Xavi and co around them than they do with inexperienced players. Jonathan, one of the canteranos that will be vying for a first team spot looked good to me with a bunch of kids around him and that’s a good sign.

      I want another signing too, but not based on the match against Valerenga.

    2. Well in my mind the squad is light. I thought the squad was a player short at least last season, and four players have left while only two have come.

      Right now we have 3 CBs. Last season we had 4-5. We only have one defensive midfielder. We haven’t added any attacking midfield depth where it is needed (no, I don’t count Hleb).

      I trust in our youth, but it is very important to have a proper balance. I was not overly impressed with any of our youth. Yes, they look good, and I’m confident that some of them will certainly make the transition to the first team, but unless we fill gaps in our roster the youth players will be asked to play too large roles this season.

      Couple this with the fact that Barca Athletic got promoted, and many of the youth have a great platform to learn and prepare themselves before they transition to the first team.

      Maintaining our youth policy requires a delicate balance. I’m worried that by not signing players to fill the obvious, glaring gaps in our roster we will over-rely on our youth. This will be detrimental to our results and the development of said youth – putting too much pressure on them when they are too young is bad (look at Bojan).

      As for the Spain U-19s, they are exactly that, under 19. None of them (with the possible exception of Thiago) are ready to seriously contribute to the team on a regular basis.

    1. Planning on it. I should get that up and running in the next week or so.

      Also should be doing another version of the Table Prediction Game.

  11. I’m a bit concerned about the rumours that there will be no more signings this summer.

    I really think the squad needs one or two more players. Remember how last year how we were bemoaning the lack of depth particularly in midfield and our small squad size? It really cost us against Inter and Atletico.

    Since then the squad has exchanged one left winger/forward for another, lost two centrebacks, one defensive midfielder and gained one wide player/full back. That’s four players out, two in.

    What happens if Puyol or Milito gets injured and is out for a couple of months? Or (god forbid) Xavi?

    I think at a minimum a defensive midfielder, who can also slot in when necessary as a centreback. That would give some depth at defensive midfield and attacking midfield (as we could then sometimes play Busi in a more attacking role). Also, if Thiago isn’t deemed ready for a fulltime first team role and Hleb leaves it would be nice have more options in attacking midfielders. Maybe Ozil? He’s on the last year of his contract so he probably wouldn’t command an insane transfer fee.

    Buying adequate squad depth doesn’t have to mean ignoring youth products. If the club buys wisely, it can sell players later often at a profit when the youth products are ready to take over. Toure was a good example of this. Besides, the cantera kids need playing time in order to improve. If they aren’t ready for serious first team minutes, then I would have to think that playing full time in the Segunda, practicing with the first team and playing the occasional Copa game would be better for their development than warming the bench for the first team.

    1. Sorry, that should read “I think at a minimum a defensive midfielder, who can also slot in as a centreback when necessary is needed.”

  12. hmm, I am also worried about not signing new players. But if Rosell spent all this time chasing Cesc and not getting him because he didn’t offer enough cash. Then I think to myself, what is the use when we go try and buy another new player.

    from Pep’s point of view, I don’t think he wants to go around searching for bargain players that will just fill gaps. we can’t just fork out 10 mil for a DM from france when we don’t have the slightest clue if he will flop or not. Thats what I see happening, Pep is telling Rosell, if your not willing to splash the cash, then its no point buying all these foreign players, firstly in general foreign signings don’t know the barca system and secondly don’t know the language. Also with regards to re-selling, thats another issue, because if the new player flops then we lose out financially in the future.

    I can further back this thinking using Hleb as an example, Pep doesn’t want to fill the gaps in our squad with Hleb, Pep wants BETTER!. As for Rosell selling Chygrynsky, it just shows Pep how much of a tight ass Rosell is, Rosell would rather buy a good priced bargain to make everyone happy, but he won’t splash the cash, or go for the BEST option.

    As for Youth, they already know the system, they know the language (hopefully) and they already know Pep. Secondly initially they cost Barca nothing, apart from funding etc. but the re-sale starts from zero and goes up. One aspect I find important is international duty, most youths don’t go on int. duty regularly, where as a foreigner we buy from club X or Y would prob already play for their country or atleast start to, given they’ve moved to barca. This again, defeats the purpose of filling the gaps in the squad with average signings, where the most needed time for reinforcements is after international duties (eg. friendlies, WC qualifiers).

    I don’t think Pep wants stop any new signings, I think he is trying to emphasize that we should only look for players that are worthy! in not? then don’t bother.

    As for Ozil, there is no point. we have JDS and Thiago, they will get the same minutes either way. Ozil is more risky given the points I mentioned earlier.

    Pep is serious this season, if we want to have a winning squad, we go for the best OR the best in our youth ranks.

    1. Well, we paid ~9 million for Yaya and that worked out fairly well.

      It is always a gamble bringing players in, but I think there is a gamble as well in promoting players too early. You can easily damage their confidence and once they are fully promoted they can’t go back to the B-team.

      I just remember how short of options the team looked last year in the spring when Iniesta was injured. That being said though they still won the Liga and were one bad handball call from getting to the Champion’s League final.

      Ultimately though I trust Guardiola. If he thinks Thiago, JDS, Fontas and Romeu are ready to seriously contribute in important games I can accept that. I just hope if there are no more signings it is because Pep thinks those players are ready and not because Rosell wants to keep all the transfer capital reserved for Fabregas.

    2. As for Ozil, there is certainly more risk bringing him in than say Fabregas. But if Ozil’s price tag is ~1/3 that of Fabregas it might be a risk worth taking. I agree that he is probably overhyped after the World Cup, but that doesn’t make him a bad player.

      I just can’t see Iniesta staying healthy all season, especially after a fairly grueling World Cup campaign. Xavi will need rest too and Keita isn’t geting any younger.

      Again, I think a defensive midfielder should be the priority, but some additional attacking options might be nice.

    3. I agree with what you say, I want us to make more signings, but the problem is, We have to make sure we sign the BEST player for the job. We cannot buy a player because he is cheap and seems to look decent in another league. Our youth players happen to look decent too, but they know how Pep works and they can do anything he asks them to do.

  13. Judging by Pep’s most recent comments (courtesy of barcastuff’s twitter), we definitely won’t sign a central defender (I never thought we would), and a couple of canteranos have a great chance of being promoted.

    Pep: “A substitute for Marquez and Chygrynskiy? I have enough central defenders.”

    “I’m very, very, very happy with the level of the youth players. I feel very good about them. Now it’s up to them.”

  14. Random, but Laporta has a new girlfriend who is from Egypt and is only 22 years old. I guess he’s enjoying life right now.


    1. Yeah, from his previous marriage. His son was on one of the youth teams, I wonder if he still is.

  15. Now we’re talking!


    And frankly, I believe that Wenger is doing us a favor by being so intransigent re Fabregas. Because were I he, I would have taken our 45m and run for the hills, turning it around for a real DM and a defender. Actually were I Wenger, I would have kissed The Yaya’s feet then done a deal with us for him+cash for Fabregas. Thankfully, he wants things his way, which will improve our side, because as the writer above, I believe that Dos Santos and Thiago have the talent to be every bit as good as Fabregas. And those “transfers” are free.

  16. Everyone, please note the “recent posts” addition on the right-hand rail, below the adverts. It’s a nice touch that will keep you all (and me) from having to hit the “back” button to navigate through recent posts.

    Thank you, Tarun!

  17. how about Kompany from Man city?
    I mean hes a hard man and i dunno its just a thought.

    I also know of another team that has too many defensive midfielders buuuut….. we couldn’t possibly do business with them or could we?

  18. How about playing Puyol at DM a la Yaya? He is perfect for the destroyer type with his crazy tackles, positioning, physicality, and passion that serves him so well in defense. Heck Milito can do that too. And we all know that Piqué can play DM as well. And didn’t we once wonder if Alves can play DM with his constant running and tiki taka. Or we could just put Keita back at DM, where he played in the early parts of the treble season. And we can always rely on our youth and put Oreol Romeu in. Xavi injured? Iniesta can play there, Messi too. Heck, I bet Busi can do it too. And there’s always JDS and Thiago too. Iniesta out? Well we can play Keita, Maxwell, Adriano, Busi, Alves, and Pedro there. What I am trying to say, is that we have a lot of options with our multidimensional players even before we look at the youth. Yes, some of my suggestions are crazy, but Pep can do a lot of toying around with the formation. We beat Inter Milan in the group stage 2-0 without Ibra and Messi, playing with a 4-2-2-2ish formation, we embarrassed them. In the final WC for clubs, putting JEFFREN in and utilizing him as a wide player opened the game.

    1. It’s actually not a role just anyone can play. You quite often receive the ball with not long to do anything about it so you need to have really quick feet and an awareness of where everyone is round about you. Both Puyol and Pique play facing forwards all the time whereas this role demands being able to take the ball facing your own goal and being able to control it quickly, sometimes shake off an opposition player then find a good pass – not everyone can do that. I’d be surprised if either Pique or Puyol could play it.

  19. South Korean fans are mad at Barca:

    This has to be one of the worst “commercial tours” we’ve ever done. Although the question might be raised if we need to be visiting South Korea again if there are mainly Messi fans, but not Barca fans…
    Dani Alves’ comment is inacceptable. Messi was simply honest, but damn Dani Alves, that was an absolute no-go.
    It’ll be interesting to experience the atmosphere in tomorrow’s match.

    I personally like the decision of the club to rest Messi, despite knowing that it’ll cost them financially. Shows how much they care about him (unlike the Dutch FA did with Robben, who has been diagnosed with a 5 cm hole in his calf muscle and will miss the next 2 months).

    1. What a disaster of a pre-season. Doesn’t anyone prep the players for their media talks?

    2. Ahh, South Korean fans… They still have Cuddly to look forward too. And Ibra.

      Re: Alves… Uff, that’s a bad one.

      As for Messi, he was surprisingly honest. I don’t know if any Koreans would appreciate his honesty, but not many “superstars” would say that when asked that question; most would go for the usual “The city/people/trees are nice…” cliche.

      I also like how they’re looking out for Messi. He just got off a plane when he came to Barcelona from Argentina/Panama/wherever the heck he was in the Americas, only to jet off to Asia two (or less) days later. Of course he’d be tired.

      On the other hand, I understand the Korean fans. If Messi were in Korea and I paid good money for the tickets, I’d like for him to play regardless of logic. Bummer, I say.

      Well, I’m still looking forward to the match. Bring on the K-League!

    3. whatever, north korea played great against brazil in that match, south korea wouldnt have done as well…heh heh…

  20. Oh well… poor Messi has to play:
    “After threats of the organizers to cancel the game, in the end the decision has been made that Messi will play 10 to 15 minutes. [rac1]”.

    If he gets injured in those 15 min, I’ll sue those damn organizers!

  21. Hi, can anyone help me? I am a BArca soci but i forgot my PIN code. How can I retreive it??

    1. Send an e-mail to the main office (address is at the main site), and they will send it to you after you send them proof of identity.

  22. Guardiola should have said nothing about his starting lineup, or who will or will not play. It’s his job to manage his squad as he sees fit. So now Messi is going to show up for 10-15 minutes, prance around, make a few passes and sleepwalk through the mandatory appearance. Pretty silly.

    1. Well this question was always gonna come up , and the coach had to answer to all the questions in the press conference anyway since this
      is a promotional tour .
      Giving ” i wont disclose my lineup” as an asnwer would never work , everybody would get the message.

  23. I keep on hearing how we dont need Fabregas and that JDS and Thiago are more than able replacements.One thing i fear is the over reliance on youth to cover for us. God forbid Xavi gets injured or drops in form (he’s been fantastic for two years already). Are we really going to put the burden on Thiago or JDS to fill in especially if its a long term layout like he had in 2005/2006? The difference then was that we had Deco and and Iniesta was not as injury prone as he was last season. Fabregas would be a perfect replacement for Xavi if injured or he just needs a rest and there wont be any pressure on him considering he has already played 7 years in the Arsenal first team. I dont know i think there has to be a balance on youth and experience mixed with quality. The reason Arsenal dont win is because they have too much youth on their side. Has anyone here thought what would happen if Iniesta and Xavi are out for long periods this season? Would you really put all your faith in JDS and Thiago?

    1. What if messi gets injured?or pique?puyol?you cant have players of identical quality in the bench , no way can you match a position with two players in case of injury.
      Xavi had ups and downs in his overall performances, just like every player.Playing in a team like barcelona helps this kind of variations in performances , so that a xavi , a messi and an ibra can have a day off or two.Afterall it is the team effort and overall suberb functionality that stands out even if a xavi a messi or an ibra can steal the show by making the brilliant crucial pass or oustanding finish .
      Iniesta is not as injury prone as you think.Xavi had an injury woed year at exactly the same age as iniesta, nobody calls him injury prone.
      We dont need fabregas. We have talent coming up and wed better give them chances to mature .
      The pattern seems clear : guardiola – xavi – iniesta – fabregas – busquets . Thiago and giovanni MIGHT be the next brilliant midfielders that we will produce , yet if we dont give them a chance well never find out.
      We get much spoiled with the amazing trophy collection of the recent years.I wouldnt mind a trophyless season for some youth incorporaton into the first team and some brilliant overall performances at the cost of trophies.We sure as hell have done so in the past when future looked much darker.
      Afterall sexy football and many homegrown players is our signature , isnt it?

    2. I would mind a tropyhless season because at the end of the day all that good football and no trophy means nothing. Iniesta based on last season was prone to injury, like Messi was during the 06/07 and 07/08. My issue is that i dont want us to rely too much on youth to cover for us, not every player that comes through La Masia is a gem, people i think have been spoiled by the success of Pedro and Busquets, and just assume that we will have another breakout player this year. Supposing it doesn’t happen then what? There are lots of games coming up this season and JDS and Thiago will get their chances but this should not negate the signing of Fabregas. Cesc will guarantee us quality right off the bat in pressure situations, as good as Thiago and JDS are they are still unproven at the highest level and need to be blooded in slowly not as ready made replacements for Xavi or Iniesta. And as for playing Messi in the Xavi role, look at what happened in the match versus Germany at the World Cup he was ineffective. Messi is most dangerous when he is closest to goal than further from it obviously.

    3. Remember that Xavi didn’t break into the first team till he was at least 20 and even then, he wasn’t playing in his prefered position, like he is now, nearing the end of his career.

      Iniesta got his chance because Xavi got that injury in 05/06. Until then, he was a bit part player and also in his 20s. We could have bought a player then–a short term solution, but we wouldn’t have Iniesta, a (better) player in long term, who sent us to the CL final and scored the WC winning goal.

      Also, if say, Iniesta, were to get another injury, who’s to say Thiago can’t fill in (somewhat)? Thiago strikes me as a Iniesta type player, and is also (apparently) a person high in confidence. He’s played in a league game before last season, and scored too (against Racing at home) albeit that was one time and he only played the last 10-15 min.

      We just don’t know, until we play them. Fabregas is a short term, expensive, and hypothetical solution to a ‘problem’. We have long term, unproven, solutions that could reap bigger benefits in the future without outside pressure.

  24. HAHA great banquillo!

    On another note: I don’t see what the big fuss is about Messi not playing. Fans should not expect star international players to play in a friendly like this and so soon. It is sort of ridiculous to get so bent out of shape about it.

  25. I think we should be equally wary of Pep saying “we probably aren’t going to sign anyone else” as we are when Sport reports we have someone signed, sealed and delivered. The transfer market is a one big game and Pep knows that. It was either he or Rosell that commented that as soon as Barca is rumored to be after a player, his price spikes up. That is why a lot of our deals come out of nowhere (Adriano, Yaya, Keita, Maxwell, etc…).

    So as much as I take what Pep says at face value because he is one of the most honest and frank managers around at press conferences, I think it is important to remember that we don’t know what is happening behind the scenes. e.g. We could be in negotiations with some French team and telling them “This is our final offer. We don’t need your DM. Take it or leave it.” Pep saying the same thing in a press conference puts pressure on the team that we are buying from. They realize they might miss out on a good sale and lower their price/accept our offer for fear that we really are content with our team.

  26. Tan makes a good argument and I have to say I agree with it, to some extent.

    It’s true that not every canterano will make the trade and that we are spoiled by the recent exploits of Pedro! and Busi, and are subsequently putting a lot of pressure/expectation on the likes of JDS and Thiago. Because we don’t know the full extent of their abilities or play under pressure, we’re taking a gamble by promoting them and not signing other players.

    I believe Pedro! and Busi flourished because no-one was expecting anything from them. This year, that wouldn’t be the case with JDS, Thiago, Fontas, Muniesa, etc., etc, becasue all the neural and Barca fans will be thinking “Who will be the next Busi/Pedro! this year?” and that could have a reverse affect on their development.


    not any player can play for us. We have a system and the players need to conform to the system. A Mascherano or an Ozil are fantastic where they play, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’d play well with us.. Some players might even play in a system that mimics ours and not do well (see HlebToYourFace). We’d be taking another, more expensive, gamble. Proven players, but not proven with us. As opposed to canteranos, which cost nothing and have played in the system for x amount of time.

    I personally favor canteranos. Loyalty goes a long way and while the likes of Fabregas are good right now, I believe we have players that could be better later. I understand the view that some Cules are jumping on the back of JDS and Thiago just to spite the Fabregas transfer (I’m somewhat guilty of that too.) and that when personal biases are put aside, the cold hard truth is that Fabregas is a better player. Honestly, I believe he’s just a “better” player right now because he got more playing time, not because he’s more talented than them. The only way if we can see if JDS or Thiago or -insertcanteranohere- is the business is the play ’em. Plain and simple.

    Since the issue is playing time, we don’t need to buy more attacking/central midfield because we can blood the youngsters and give them a chance. We owe them that much. Only after we give them regular playing time, can we determine whether or not we even need to buy Fabregas. Call me old school and bitter, but last time I checked he left us–we shouldn’t even need to go to him. He should come to us. For us to break the bank from a guy who left us is nonsensical IMO (although, sadly, so is modern football) and a slap in the face of all the players that swallowed their egos and stayed. I remember reading a quote way back when Txiki B said something similar. The rest of my feelings are eloquently stated in a link Kxevin kindly provided above.

    Right now, what we need are CBs and DMs. However, because finding DMs and CBs that fit our system are hard to come by, the most logical (and financially savvy) thing to do is turn to our youth who know the system and have a better chance at doing well. Who knows, there could or could not be a gem ; but I’m all for taking the cantera gamble. If we buy we could either be Hlebbed or Yaya’d, and, personally, I’d rather not take that gamble.

  27. This is kinda random, but how bout calling the “EE” the Eternal Enemies. Has a certain ring no?

  28. Yikes…


    Hopefully not all the folks attending the match will be as angry as this guy:

    “In 2003, when Barcelona first visited Korea and played against Suwon, many Barcelona supporters were at the stadium, and showed loyal support,” he stated. “The atmosphere inside the stadium was incredible.

    “But this time, I think the fans will boo the Barcelona players when they have the ball.

    “That will be pretty weird feeling for a friendly match in a summer tour involving a big club.

    “Fans are disappointed that Barcelona acted like they just came here for the money and showed no respect to Korean football. And I am pretty sure that some fans will wear Real Madrid shirts tonight,” Lee added.

  29. So, I’ve been taking advantage of the lull in any real action to catch up with some early season matches, and you can almost trace the decline in Ibrahimovic’s effectiveness to the decline of Henry. Even as a decoy, just out there running around, he made Ibrahimovic and Messi more effective. And while this is certainly no knock against Pedro!, his fairly permanent insertion into the starting lineup seemed to have a deleterious effect on the flow and openness through the middle of the pitch. Interesting what you see with 20/20 hindsight. When that legitimate left wing threat went, so did Ibrahimovic’s space. Can’t wait to see he, Villa and Messi doing their thing.

    As far the youth, it must be served. Sorry, but it must. We’ve done the “been there, done that” with losing a talented player because of playing time. Then, we didn’t have much choice, because Fabregas, Xavi and Iniesta were all farm products (how crazy was that?). Now, if we buy a complexity and it costs us the potential of Dos Santos and Thiago, how good of a deal was it, really?

    Fact is, we have all this press speculation about what Guardiola wants, etc, etc. Nobody knows what Guardiola wants except for he and the technical staff. I don’t see anything wrong with, as I noted in the “What We Need” post, filling holes with kids. Hell, they’d better be ready for what we need them to do. If something long-term happens and it’s significant and serious, it can be addressed in the winter window.

    Guardiola seems to feel the same way:

    “The transfer window closes at the end of the month,” he told a press conference. “We’ll see what options there are to strengthen our midfield.

    “I’m not ruling out that Cesc will, or will not, join us. The market has stalled. If there’s anything to be done, we’ll do it, but if not we’ll use the players from the lower squads because they give us sufficient guarantees.

    “Some of them I already know well and I’ve got good references on the others. Whether or not they play doesn’t depend on me – it depends on them. I can give them a chance but if they don’t respond at the right level then they don’t continue. I’m very, very happy with the standard. I’ve got a very good feeling about them.”

    1. I think right now, the midfielders that have a chance to make the 1st team or play some games are:

      Oriol Romeu (if we don’t sign a DM)
      Marti Riverola (outside chance)

      As for defenders,

      Fontas(leading candidate IMO)
      Muniesa(outside chance)

      Up front, Jonathan Soriano might get a look in if there are injuries and maybe Benja, but probably not.

  30. I hope we get to see my boy Victor Vazquez and Fontas tomorrow. I’m convinced Vazquez would have made the first team last season if it weren’t for his injuries. Mentally and technically, he was more ready than Jonathan or Thiago is for the first team, but the injuries came at the wrong time. He was also part of the team that featured Messi, Pique, and Cesc, and was considered a future star at that time.

  31. Messi and Antonella swimming with dolphins… he looks like a little kid.


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