On Misguided Discord: Deconstructing Sergio Busquets

Jasper Juinen/Getty Images Europe
Sergio Busquets, our mercurial midfielder, is a much-maligned figure in the minds of many Barcelona fans. They say he can’t play DM at the Camp Nou because he’s not good enough and he makes too many mistakes. That he’s deficient in the key aspects of the game and is the most expendable man we have. Well, nuts to that. This seems a strange take for a player who started 26 games for the La Liga champions and all 7 games for World Cup champions Spain, of whom manager Vincente del Bosque noted, “if I was a footballer, I would like to be Busquets.” (Lest we forget that the likes of Pep Guardiola and Johan Cruyff has lavished even more praise.) Oh, and lest I mention the 7 pieces of silverware to his name and being named as La Liga’s breakthrough player of 2009. Thus far, Biscuits & Gravy has made quite a name for himself on the world’s best national team and one of, if not the best, club teams around. But why does out fan base doubt the 22-year old star? This article endeavors to deconstruct our newest star, and determine just what to make of his past, and the future.

His dad played for Barça, so Busquets gets the benefit of the doubt: A startlingly common misconception about Busquets is that because his father Carles was a member of some 1990s FCB squads (and has been named our new goalkeeping coach, good for him), he gets a free pass. No, just stop. This ignores the argument, somehow more patently ludicrous than this, that Busquets only retains his starting role with Barcelona so that he will not lose the position for the Spanish national team. Are. You. Fucking. Kidding. Me?

There are a number of reasons that this argument is deficient, not the least of which that it assumes that our club, and Manager Pep Guardiola, place no premium on merit and rather hand out favors based on old allegiances and grandfather clauses. This is obviously true, because Jordi Cruyff is having a budding career with the team right? FC Barcelona does not hand out starting positions on the team, or any positions for that matter, because of lineage or any other spurious reason. Pep brings in his players and starts them. If you don’t believe me, look no further than Samuel Eto’o, a long-time fan favorite, who was booted for being a clubhouse cancer and a bit of a baby. Of course you could also look to this past year when Thierry Henry (he of the winning every major trophy ever) was benched for poor play in favor of Pedro, or Zlatan Ibrahimovic who let some poor play go to his head, and was subsequently removed in favor of Bojan, even though Ibra is paid 5 times as much. Exterior factors, no matter their nature, seem to play little in the choice of a player to start. Such arguments should have no place in enlightened football conversation. Next.

He’s a flopper, I mean, just look at that .gif: You’re better than this, come on. Does Sausage Biscuit dive sometimes? Yes. However, that does not diminish his qualities while playing the field. This is a painfully poor excuse to claim that because he made a few high-profile gaffs, notably against Villareal and Inter Milan, his game is deficient in any way, shape or form. Even if he were the single worst flopper in the history of the game (which he’s not, since you know, Italy still exists and all that), it still would not take away from his excellent play.

Don’t even start with how it is an embarrassment to the club or whatever either. Does Messi disgrace the shield when he shoots instead of making obvious passes? How about Xavi, does he make a mockery when he kicks the ball at a defender standing too close on a free kick, gaining a yellow and mental advantage? What of Dani Alves, is he made into a pariah for running off at the mouth at all times? I didn’t think so. Players flop and try to “game the system” a lot, and sometime it hurts the game, but they are not run out of town on a rail, or thrown under the bus simply because, are they? No, and if they were, then Iniesta’s going to have to take his ball and go home too.

He screws up… a lot: First of all, yes, he does make mistakes, and they sometimes get played up more than other–his red card against Madrid in the first Clasico of last year was indefensible. However, he does not make near the volume of mistakes that he is charged with by many fans. Further, when he does make mistakes, he seems to learn from them by the next game, evolving his game to adapt to the holes it has. During Spain’s first World Cup game against Switzerland, Busquets had an awful game. He was subbed over at the 60th minute after being complicit in N’kufo’s goal, and rightly so. After the game, the same calls came out: “play Cesc, he’s more creative!”; “Busquets can’t hold Senna’s shoes”; “where’s the jelly for my Biscuits?”. Vincent of the Forest rightly stuck with our DM though, and he showed his class from there on out. He served as the defensive possessor that allowed 1 more goal during the final six games, and shut down the likes of Arjen Robben and the German midfield machine, to the point that when it came time for substitutes, Alonso was coming off, with Sergi left as the lone holder. I’m just saying.

Won’t somebody please think of the Yaya?: And here’s your real reason. Ok, look, we got it. Yaya Toure is a good player. He’s tall, fast, and imposing on the field. He can score in a pinch and play 4 or 5 positions. Fan favorite and all that jazz, it makes sense. Fans attach themselves to certain players for any number of reasons: outstanding play, playing through pain, leading the team to an important victory, inexplicably liking a player above others, etc., and it is reasonable to expect this for a great number of players, but when a capable player is there to serve as a replacement, it makes less sense to dump on that player because you liked his predecessor more.

Toure is extremely capable and starred for the side in many ways, but he’s no Messi, or Iniesta, or Valdes, or even Pedro. Hell, the best comparison player for Yaya last year was Ibrahimovic. Both players have great skill (although Ibra is more talented), both players have the capacity to take over games (albeit in different ways), and both players suffered through poor spells at different times and to varying degrees. Yet, Zlatan serves as the proverbial piñata for Barça fans while Toure acted as sort of a Teflon Don. The domineering DM does a lot of things well, but he also acted as a clubhouse cancer for some 2 years with his agents constant bickering and fights with the board since he thought he deserved to start every game ever. (And please, don’t disrespect everyone’s intelligence by saying this was all his agent’s fault, because the agent speaks for the player, and Yaya made it abundantly clear that he needed to go play with his brother, soon.) This does not even mention the fact that he lost his starting spot, not because Pep likes Busquets more, but because Yaya would take large parts of games off, lazing around the pitch and allowing through balls causing defensive lapses. It was not an every game thing, but he definitely let off-field concerns get in the way of his play many times. Not to mention that when you are offered 30+ million euros for a DM you bought for less than half that, you take it when you have a more than capable stand-in.

Some of these reasons are reasonable, although less than compelling. Missing players gone by or disliking a player’s style is fine, but when this translates into fanciful and deficient analysis of that player’s game, well, you’ve missed the mark all together. So then you ask, “well, why should I like Busquets?” Glad you asked.

Photo by PacificCoastNews.com

Why you should love him, or, just not loathe him so much: Busquets serves as a combo holder and possessor while in the DM role for Barcelona (and La Furia Roja for that matter), meaning that he is tasked with possibly the most important, and underrated position on the field. As such he is tasked with short, quick passes between Pique/Puyol and Xavi/forward players as well as moving into the middle back when Abidal, Alves, Maxwell, and Adriano bomb forward so that our two center backs may split out (arguably Toure’s greatest quality), holding possession while not giving the ball away in key situations, amongst many other responsibilities. Suffice to say, it’s a varied role that requires an excellent player, and Busquets is just that. Here are 3 more reasons you might like our La Masia product:

Man Marking: The Big Biscuit is nothing if not annoying. But on the field, that’s a good thing. During the World Cup Final, he so thoroughly frustrated Golden Ball and World Player of the Year candidate Wesley Sneijder, that the Oranje dangerman’s role was reduced to a couple of good passes with very little of the match dictation that made him so dangerous at Inter this past year. He also serves to get in the heads of opposing players, causing them to fall off their game. Say what you will about Busquets .gif-worthy performance, but he so fully enrages opposing players through dogged pursuit on and off the ball that punches, cards, and hard fouls now seem commonplace. As the wonderful Zonal Marking noted: Busquets marking likely changed the entire course of the game, by staying with Sneijder, and occasionally Robben, he forced the Dutch from their normal game and into something much less formidable. His stellar play in the second Clasico more than made up for his stupidity in the first, as he so thoroughly stifled any midfield creativity for Real Madrid for much of that game as well. In short, he’s a defensive counterweight to opposition forces as well as holding the lines when other players are marauding forward in the run of play (and let’s be honest, that basically everyone on the team except Puyol).

Possession and Passing: During the World Cup, a lot of ink was spilled, and rightly so, on the virtues of Xavi’s exquisite long and short passing. But another underrated aspect, one that I believe showed up on Brian Phillips’ Run of Play Twitter feed, was that Sergio, while usually only making short passes, does so with incredible accuracy, completing something like 39 of 40 during the first half of the Germany match, but that he is sometimes faulted because the passes are so short. Well, that’s what he’s been asked to do, and he does it because that’s what the systems require.

He has been known to hold the ball too long and give it away in dangerous situations, although these occurrences are made into mountains more by the fan base than they actually should be. He spends time on the ball, usually gaining the second or third most touches on the team, behind Xavi and Messi, and passing out of trouble when it occurs.

Positional Awareness: Biscuits also displays good positional awareness in terms of cutting off player runs, staying with opposing mids/forwards, and moving into proper position to receive passes from both front and back. Again, this is not to say he does not make mistakes, he certainly does. But tying the previous two points together we find that #16 sets himself up in excellent position either while marking, providing passes, or opening up lanes to receive passes.

Rarely moving so far up the pitch that he is grossly ill-positioned, Busquets is able to provide defensive support and take some of the considerable heat off of Pique and Puyol when they are left to face the counter-attacks that most teams rely on against the blaugrana. While Xavi receives numerous plaudits for spacing and moving without the ball, and again, they are deserved, Biscuits is not all that far behind, he just can’t look as good doing it–hey, we can’t all be the best midfielder of our generation.

Conclusions: The point here is not to say that Sergio Busquets should somehow remain immune from criticism for his play. On the contrary, when appropriate, it is deserved and should be noted as vigorously as against any other player on the team. Nor is the point to say that we do not need to bring in some depth at DM, far from it. The boardroom, Pep, and others involved should look at our team, look at our youth system and determine if we need to purchase a player like Javi Martinez, or go it with Oriol Romeu, or stick with Adriano as a do-all backup and Keita.

It is intended to hopefully stem some of the tide of ill-founded criticism that Busquets faces on these boards and from fans in general. A lot of this was tongue-in-cheek, and I realize that, but it is all true. Busquets is an integral cog in the Barça system, and especially for Pep Guardiola. The loss of Toure was hard for some here, but the scorn heaped on Sergio is laughable, especially since roughly 97.35% of it falls into the 3 categories above, or is general griping aimed specifically at one player.

Like this? Obviously. Follow me on the Twitter: @lukeisamazing

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283 Comments

  1. Kxevin
    August 7, 2010

    Nice stuff, Luke. And the The Yaya blasphemy …. um …. isn’t quite so blasphemous. Spot on.

    • ooga aga
      August 7, 2010

      great alliteration in the first sentence

      • BA
        August 8, 2010

        Busquets isn’t credited as much as he should be, i think, because it’s just harder to see what it is he does. by virtue of his position he’s not permitted to be flashy, he doesn’t make long passes, and he’s not the athletic, charging midfield bull like Essien or Makelele. he just goes about his work, and it’s easy for people to not appreciate someone who doesn’t make a big deal out of what they do. that said, he’s come along tremendously as a player in the past 2 seasons and Pep made absolutely the right call in promoting him. he does still lack the steel we sometimes need through the midfield against more physical teams, sometimes goes down a bit too easily and as has been noted his range of passing and inability to relieve the creative pressures of Xavi and Iniesta works against him, but those faults are rarely apparent (and, incidentally, the reasons why i’d love to get Senna while he’s still got games in him).

        at what he does, the anchoring 1-2 touch cog between our center-backs and our midfield and a stifler extraordinaire, he’s one of the best if not the best in the world. at 22. and that’s pretty damn impressive.

  2. zeebarca
    August 7, 2010

    Having watched Busquets rapid ascendency through the ranks i think all level headed barca fans can only pray that he grows as a player every game and learns from his mistakes, at no point should any complacency be warranted now that he is pretty much guaranteed a starting spot for club and country. He has a very unique and important role to play for Barca thats sumtimes underrated by Barca fans.

    PS .. BUT GOD DONT I MISS ME SOME TOURE…… YAYA I DO I DO !!!!

  3. Jnice
    August 7, 2010

    Great post, Luke.

    I didn’t always have the most confidence in Sergio, but like I said in previous posts, towards the end of the season, I had more confidence in him than Yaya and I was actually mad at myself for that at the time.

    In the build up to the WC, I watched some of Spain’s matches, to see how Villa played with Xavi/Iniesta and I noticed that Busquets was great for Spain in the matches I saw. So I went into the WC thinking he would do well and he did not dissapoint. He was excellent. His performance opened many eyes, including Marca’s and As’ and several top journalists. Zonal Marking called a lot of attention to him during the WC and said he was Spain’s best player behind Villa. He received a lot of praise from his colleagues on the Spanish NT and Pepe Reina even called him the revelation of the WC.

    I’m really confident going into the season with Sergi as our starting DM and I can only imagine he will only get better. Regarding his diving, after Inter, he really toned it down. During the WC, I think I saw him dive and embellish only twice. I think he saw that his game could still thrive without the diving and embellishing. As I always say when I think someone is a good player, Sergi is “nice.”

    We still need backup, though.

    Oh and props to Ramzi for pointing out his strengths on a consistent basis long before anyone else.

    • Jnice
      August 7, 2010

      Oh, and I laugh at EE fans who compare Gago to Busquets. Not even close.

      • Luke
        August 7, 2010

        Agreed on Ramzi. He was calling our attention to it long ago.

    • Kari
      August 7, 2010

      Ditto on Ramzi. Well, in the midst of all the hate, someone had to talk sense 😀

      Now, let’s see if Ibra can follow suit…(although 21 goals and 18 assists is now considered failure, but that’s another, more tiring, discussion)

  4. poipoi
    August 7, 2010

    Sergio Busquets is a crack don’t know why people hate him so much for diving that’s part of his game he plays with the ref also. If he had not been on the pitch that Webb wouldn’t even have carded Fatality De Jong. Everyone that has played with Busi or coached him has the best words for him, imagine when he turns 28 he’ll take over the club as president and all.

  5. Kari
    August 7, 2010

    Interesting timing, Luke. Nevertheless, great, great article.

    I think this Busi-Yaya-DM subject has been discussed to oblivion this past season, so I don’t have anything to add.

    Bummed that Yaya’s gone, but he wasn’t at all close to his usual domineering 2008/2009 self, which meant fans deluded themselves thinking it was the same Yaya when it clearly wasn’t.

    Good that Pep realized the situation (that Yaya’s head was somewhere else. Personally, I think the Citeh deal was agreed, in principal, last summer) and played Busi more so that he’d be ready to be the player he is now–the main DM for Barca and Spain.

    However, I hold a personal grudge against you for Hectoring me, so you suck, you Busi-lover!:D

  6. Stephen
    August 7, 2010

    “During Spain’s first World Cup game against Switzerland….being complicit in N’kufo’s goal…” they lose that game?? yes…
    I will admit to being either completely loving or completely hating of Busi. I have defended his play, and Ive also almost wanted to choke him. The diving, not so much an issue, all players have their dives.
    Issue, even you mentioned… “so far up the pitch that he is grossly ill-positioned…” those mistakes are what stick out in my mind unfortunately about his game. They are costly mistakes. So you complete 90% of the passes, but then you lose the game for us?
    He’s a great player, but some games he’s not appropriate for, and when that ‘weakness’ shows is when Busi loses credibility as ‘crack’

    • Luke
      August 7, 2010

      I think that is likely normal for most players. Players make mistakes, sometimes they cost you the game, that’s the nature of team sports. Pique, one of the best defenders in the world, who destroys Cristiano Ronaldo like no one can, who is probably a top-5 defender in the world, has been liable to give away the ball, play too high, and give away goals. It happens.

      Thus is the impetus of this article, not that Busi is unstoppable, or better than every other player on the planet, but that all players make mistakes. He just gets the shit end of it here, and with most fans. It’s sad really.

      • Stephen
        August 7, 2010

        Don’t get me wrong. Yes I think he is a great footballer, and he does offer a ton of talent to our game, but like I said, I think that its the ‘timing’ and the ‘wtf’ of his mistakes that just sticks out. Abidal got similar heat in the ’08/09 season as we were winning it all. When the rest of the team is shinning, the one player that makes THAT miserable mistake, gets the heat, and Busi happens to make them, is all.
        I want to give him the benefit of the doubt coming into this season as many have mentioned that he is THE DM, and after having that good of a WC he has a lot to prove wearing the Blaugrana.

      • Kxevin
        August 7, 2010

        True that, Luke. I’ll say it again, there are players who can do no wrong, and players who can do no right. Busquets and Ibrahimovic are in the latter category. So are Hleb and Txigrinski. In that latter category, they could do 20 good things and 1 bad thing, and be damned for that single bad thing.

        In the former category, 10 bad things and 10 good things, and nobody wants to acknowledge the bad things.

        It’s one of the things that makes it tough to play for this club. The fans somehow acquire the same mindset, no matter where they are. Then they gaze at Sport or EMD, and suddenly 21 goals and 8 assists is shit.

        I have acknowledged Busquets’ errors and glories in my match reviews, and will continue to do so. But he’s definitely our future, and it appears to be a bright one.

        • Kxevin
          August 7, 2010

          And Stephen makes my point very eloquently. Everybody makes mistakes, and glaring ones. The only goals that we conceded last season didn’t come from Busquets errors, right? Puyol has made errors that cost goals. Pique gave up an own goal, Valdes has positioning errors, Xaviniesta had bad passes that led to counters, etc, etc.

          It isn’t just Busquets, is part of the point that Luke is trying to make. He doesn’t have anything to prove. The World Cup just continued his excellent season. What he has to do is keep playing as he’s been playing, and keep improving. There are a lot of players I am much more worried about this season than Busquets.

          • Stephen
            August 8, 2010

            I guess I do, as I mentioned and admit, I either really hate him or really love him. He breaks my heart often at crucial moments. Hoping he gains my “do no wrong” faith soon this coming season.
            Quoting Kevin, “It’s one of the things that makes it tough to play for this club.” I am very proud of holding high expectations for our players.

  7. Kxevin
    August 7, 2010

    Laporta’s at it again ….

    Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta believes the Catalan club were the true winners of this summer’s World Cup.

    There were eight Barca players in Spain’s triumphant 23-man squad in South Africa, with seven (Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique, Xavi, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, Pedro and David Villa) starting in the final against Holland.

    “Barca won the World Cup with a different shirt, or with the wrong shirt,” Laporta told El Mundo Deportivo in an interview.

    However, Laporta conceded that Spain’s victory was not all down to the Catalan club.

    “The (playing) style was Barca’s, but there were other players from other clubs that were fundamental,” he said.

    • Luke
      August 7, 2010

      So sick of this. It’s not going to happen, everyone can just get over it.

    • Jose
      August 7, 2010

      Wow. Seriously Laporta. Shut up, shut up, shut up. I know why you said what you said, but Stop. Being. An ass.

      • Diego S.
        August 8, 2010

        He suffers from MacroMicroBlabberMouthia

    • cliveee
      August 7, 2010

      oh, but i love it. i think he is right. but coming from a former president and making the statment to the media is a not appropriate.

  8. Pyro
    August 7, 2010

    Great article Luke, I used to hate Busi with a passion but I’ve decided to give him my support because after all he is the best DM we have at the moment and I just want him to do well. I am looking forward to next season but I really hope Pep tells Xavi and Puyol to shut their yappers before games especially the former.

  9. Jose
    August 7, 2010

    Great article, Luke. Particularly, I remember Pepe Reina’s introductions at the celebration in Madrid (days after the World Cup win). He said, when introducing Busquets, “to me, he is the man of this World Cup.”

  10. August 7, 2010

    Great article. I was a determined Busquets critic throughout the first year, for he never convinced me, but he truly has grown in stature and deserves praise. In fact Busquets and Pedro were the players I was rooting for most in the Final (apart from Iniesta, of course).

    However,I disagree with your defense of his antics. The Messi analogy confounds me – how is taking a shot even close to deception? And how is Xavi trying to gain any unfair advantage if he fairly exploits the other man’s mistake? Even if we can point to Messi’s hand of god and Xavi’s almost-dive vs Espanyol, neither of them cheat as blatantly as Busquets has done on multiple occasions. Alves is indeed criticized regularly for being an actor, and to his credit he has improved a lot. Iniesta, as well, is not an actor – he’s a player who looks to get fouled and earns free kicks through more skill and quicker feet than Busquet has ever shown. You might say Busquets does that too, but Iniesta does not spend eternities on the ground acting like he’s been shot. Iniesta can be accused of flopping, but Sergio seems to have adopted it as an integral part of his game. Or at least he had until that infamous gif outed him and he was a lot, lot better after that. I’ll give him credit for that. But I can’t agree with a straightforward defense of play acting based only on the fact that others do it too.

    Have we ever forgiven Crynaldo for being a diver? Does not Drogba’s history of falling like a butterfly taint his record?

    • Kari
      August 7, 2010

      “Even if we can point to Messi’s hand of god and Xavi’s almost-dive vs Espanyol, neither of them cheat as blatantly as Busquets has done on multiple occasions.”

      What’s more blatant than punching a ball into a net? 😛

      • August 8, 2010

        It was the multiple occasions I was hoping to point out 😛

        I mean, it’s not like Messi does it regularly – it’s not his METHOD. But for a long time Busquet’s gameplan was simply to receive the ball, stall, and fall in writhing agony. Several times in every single game. Not pretty to see.

        • Jim
          August 8, 2010

          I think my problems with Busi were mainly at the start of last season as I couldn’t see what he offered that was better than Yaya. He was prone at that time to making mistakes – I seem to remember wincing every time he headed a ball and going down every time he got a ball in a tight situation – but then when Yaya did get into the team he wasn’t the same player he had been the previous season. What Kari said about a deal in principal giving Pep a year to blood Busi may not be entirely without substance.

          No doubt that Busi has grown up a lot. It’ll be interesting to see how he performs ( along with pedro) given “second season syndrome” which tends to affect young players who break through quickly. Can’t take away his performances in the second half of the season and in the WC though. He played very maturely. He also took Pep’s advice (I’m guessing it was anyway) about the diving after the Inter game and was a lot better. Can’t be easy to change your style like that. So well done to him

    • Luke
      August 8, 2010

      I meant this more as a rhetorical flourish to show that certain beloved players have a tendency to do things that are against the nature of the beautiful game. Messi is selfish sometimes and he has been known to hand the ball into the net. Similarly, Iniesta tends to go to ground very easy after being fouled early. I am not blaming him, I would do it too, but it’s not like Busquets is the only one.

  11. Kari
    August 7, 2010

    Question: Will there be a liveblog tomorrow?

  12. Jnice
    August 8, 2010

    I ready for this game! Only 6 more hours left lol.

    I’m excited to see Riverola again and I hope to see Vazquez and Fontas get some minutes.

  13. Diego S.
    August 8, 2010

    I never had that much trouble with Busquets .. The DM to me is the hardest and the most underrated position on the field .. All your passes should be accurate .. You should mark players who are faster and much more creative through the 90 minutes .. You shouldn’t be red carded although most of your fouls usually involves a yellow card .. You don’t get to Enjoy the game and score goals .. CBs score more than you .. If the whole team is in the other’s team area you must stay in your own half ..

    Now Talking about Busquet .. I prefer him over Toure for one thing .. His passing ability .. Yaya sometimes over hits balls .. and shoots every now and then but his shots are way off target .. I think we need another DM for fear of injuries .. and In heavy matches We should play them both with Xavi , Iniesta , Messi , and Villa/Pedro/Zlatan upfront ..

  14. Eklavya
    August 8, 2010

    The swiss player who scored vs Spain was Gelson Fernandes not N’kufo.

  15. RohanV
    August 8, 2010

    Is it just me, or is the font (or the kerning?) in each of the graphs underneath the pictures smaller than all the others?

    I might just be going crazy.

    Spot on, for the most part, Luke. I think one more category that adds to his likeability and possibly answers some of his issues is his youth. He really is a kid, was playing in La Tercera (or Segunda B, is it?) during the Euro 2008, and has had to do a lot of growing up in the last couple of years.

    I’ll admit I really didn’t like him, hated on him especially in that dedicated post we had after the Inter second-leg, and for some reason thought that players like that never change. But he has, and though he might have lots of maturing to do, I think it’s all in a positive direction (just don’t discover a different agent, kid) and he could be one of the best — not to mention most fun — players in a few seasons’ time.

  16. Bundy
    August 8, 2010

    whats interesting was, how he managed to make the jump to the first team. I remembered him in 08/09, but in pre-season in 2008 he wasn’t really a stand-out figure and wasn’t of any interest from the general fan base. I think we were more so interested in Vazquez’s progression during that tour.

    Its just interesting to look back and see how Busquets managed to make that move to the first team, how Pep decided to promote him. So maybe we can use that to see if we can estimate who would likely make the jump from the current b-team into the first team. Does anyone remember how Busquets was in pre-season in 2008.

    • Jnice
      August 8, 2010

      Yeah, in that preseason, I definitely liked the look of Vazquez and thought Sergi was just average. He didn’t do anything that made me say, “hey, that kid is going to be good,” but at the same time, I guess he didn’t do much wrong. I guess his progression is a testament to both Pep’s ability to teach and Sergi’s ability to learn and soak things up like a sponge.

      I still have a couple of those preseason games on my hard drive, I might watch them and look at him more closely.

  17. poipoi
    August 8, 2010

    EE at 12:00 (guess it’s not live please don’t say how they ended) … La Resistance at 2:00!!

  18. flyzowee
    August 8, 2010

    I want to come out honestly and say dat im a great fan of yaya- i luv tie player and its gonna be hard watching him play for man c.

    Every player goes through bad patches and i guess last season was yayas turn. I would have really loved if pep stuck with him and played him back to form given his quality, a bit like wat he tried to do with Ibra but dats all in da past nw.

    But i will admit dat busquets is really maturing and i can see in his play that he is really trying real hard to be world class and he learns pretty quick too.
    He has my max support.

    When i criticize him ill think about the points above.
    Thx luke.

  19. Bundy
    August 8, 2010

    Also, among those players like Ibra and Busquets in that so called category where their general perception hang by their mistakes, I think Valdez was also in that state not long ago. Even today, I ask people what they think of Valdez and the first thing people think of are his errors.

    Anyway, to me Busquets also shows a lot of confidence and also patience. He isn’t the most enthusiastic looking player, but to me he always looks like he knows what he is doing with and without the ball. Maybe another key point in first team football is confidence, not just confidence with the ball, but confidence when given a task or objective. Busquets managed to pull an admirable and simplistic performance in the champions league finals, in just his first season playing in La liga.

    • Stephen
      August 8, 2010

      Good point, Valdez was the target also, more specifically in the 08/09 and we still won it all, and Busquets was I think flying under the radar since he was new to the first squad, but now we just expect more. But now we are fully confident with Valdez, and hopefully we can be with Busquets too.

  20. poipoi
    August 8, 2010

    I can’t disagree more in “busi and ibra are in the same category” — busquets and valdes yes but not ibra, ibra costed some money is from abroad and came as the solution, both busi and valdes are canteranos and keep growing year by year … it’s not like it’s ibra’s mistakes what matters people it’s his game not the mistakes… I don’t see people talking about the bad tikitaka skills of busi or his tactical positioning. Only “bad spots”, silly mistakes and diving vs standing there with his back to the goal or no running or no dribbling at all. Busi shuts mouths Ibra brings doubts.

    Busquets was getting no love at all in this blog even after playing that well in the CL final, now people are starting to realize the kind of player he is seeing him play year after year. I think the ibra case it totally different, more like opposite, he has gone from “good – ok” to “bad” or “bad – not-so-ok”. Busquets can’t stop growing let’s hope ibra does so someday in FCB. Come on Ibra please those EE dudes are laughing at you play a little!!!

    • poipoi
      August 8, 2010

      “Busi shuts mouths Ibra brings doubts” it sounds like a SoMamian poipoi 😀 😀

    • Jnice
      August 8, 2010

      I don’t think the EE dudes laughed when he came on and scored the game winner in El Clasico. Also, they have no right to laugh when they had players like Kaka and Benzema looking worse than Ibra did during the season.

      • poipoi
        August 8, 2010

        Who cares I’m not one of them and neither the one that’s gonna introduce them to ethics. Maybe they didn’t then but they do laugh now, trust me I live amongst some. I know they don’t have the right but they do laugh I guess they do so ’cause they know it hurts, it’s just how it goes. I laughed at kaka even though henry was my team 😀 Ibra is capital in this team but I really wanted to point out the differences between his case and busi’s… and hope for Ibra’s recovery 🙁

        BUT galaxy 2 – EE 0 … half time … lol

          • Kari
            August 8, 2010

            What did you expect poipoi: they made that their art form…

      • Stephen
        August 8, 2010

        Ibrah = Goals (some) Kaka = Injuries (after injury..after injury.. after injury..) who’s laughing now?

  21. August 8, 2010

    Official announcement:

    After long discussions and tough negotiations, the Registry Office Of Barca’s entertaining nicknames –ROOBEN will now edit Mr. Sergio Busquets Burgos’s nick from:

    TOWANATA A.K.A. The One We Are Not Allowed To Admire.

    To:

    TOWAFATA A.K.A. The One We Are Finally Allowed To Admire.

    For more information or further complains Please contact ROOBEN’s official spokesman, Mr. Luke @lukeisamazing.

  22. Jnice
    August 8, 2010

    Lineup: Pinto, Adriano, Sergi Gomez, Abidal, Maxwell, Sergi Roberto, Jonathan, Victor Vazquez, Edu Oriol, Messi, Nolito

    Yay, my boy Victor Vazquez is starting. I love that guy. And I really like Sergi Roberto and Jonathan together, so this should be fun.

    • Kari
      August 8, 2010

      Mornin’ Jnice

      …Is that ABIDAL at CB?!

      -JDS! JDS! JDS!

      -Here’s hoping for a good match for Victor. Bummer he got that injury when he did

      -Meeeessssi!

      -Pinto: KISS, dude, KISS (Keep it simple, stupid!)

      • Jnice
        August 8, 2010

        Mornin’, buddy.

        Abidal does look like he will be playing CB. No mistakes, please.

        And yeah, if Pinto plays around with the ball/runs off his line like a headless chicken again, I’m going to scream.

  23. Kari
    August 8, 2010

    Mornin’ peoples, I’ll post some streams closer to the game. If people find better ones, post please!

    • Jnice
      August 8, 2010

      I think Pep might play Jonathan deeper like he did last couple of games. Kind of like how he played the DM position for Barça.

  24. y2k156
    August 8, 2010

    I have one through Rojadirecta.org with UUSee and its quite excellent though in chinese:).

  25. Kari
    August 8, 2010

    OMG lol, EMD is reporting that we have a verbal agreement to sign Ozil. I was wondering what they would put on their front page…

    How about us getting fined 300,000? 200,000 for Messi not playing 30 min and a further 100,000 because Xavi didn’t play.

  26. Kari
    August 8, 2010

    Streams (because the game actually hasn’t started, I’m not 100% they’ll show the game; but I’m 85% confident they will, if that helps 😀 )

    Spanish, Quality for a stream- 7.5/8-10: *http://soccerjumbo-oo.blogspot.com/2009/12/channel-1.html

    Arabic, Quality for a stream – 8/8.5-10 *http://www.iraqgoals.tv/ch5.html

    As always, the main page for links is: *http://www.myp2p.eu/broadcast.php?matchid=80691&part=sports

  27. Kari
    August 8, 2010

    Nice quality TV3 stream: *http://muchosoccer.jimdo.com/menu-canales/ms-1/

    • Miguel
      August 8, 2010

      i like that one the best, i just can’t maximize it.

      • Kari
        August 8, 2010

        Really? I can. Did you click the screen to make it bigger, or the icon with the four arrows point out from the corners?

  28. Miguel
    August 8, 2010

    good morning

    *http://costel.ro/

    *http://soccerjumbo-oo.blogspot.com/2009/12/channel-1.html

    *http://muchosoccer.jimdo.com/menu-canales/ms-1/

      • Miguel
        August 8, 2010

        had i known this game was @5am, not 4am i would have gotten some sleep. aiyayai.

  29. poipoi
    August 8, 2010

    they said on barçatv that florentino owns 25% of the chinese team? have any info????? the players should be told and get more motivated

  30. mei
    August 8, 2010

    lol at the promotional circus.Nice chick though

    • poipoi
      August 8, 2010

      samaranch’s grandaughter … so she’s filthy rich also!!! 😀

  31. Kari
    August 8, 2010

    Uh oh, might be premature to say this, but Guoan players are starting to slide in…

  32. Jnice
    August 8, 2010

    Goal from my other boy, Sergi Roberto!

    Great counter attack.

  33. Kari
    August 8, 2010

    Good on JDS? for passing to #17 instead of the easy pass to Messi.

  34. Jnice
    August 8, 2010

    What a cross by Adriano! Great finish by Nolito.

  35. Kari
    August 8, 2010

    Nice save, Pinto! That’s more like it!

  36. Jnice
    August 8, 2010

    Damn, Abidal played that angle horribly.

  37. Kari
    August 8, 2010

    I’m getting a soft spot Nolito. He’s rough around the edges, but I like what he brings to the team and the pressure he puts on the defense.

  38. poipoi
    August 8, 2010

    how do you call those pieces of flying grass in english? it’s unbelievable how messi tries to dribble defenders without creating any.
    me loves adriano!!

  39. st3
    August 8, 2010

    Very pleased at what I’m seeing so far out of La Masia and Adriano. Great cross and goal! Passing as been generally tight and fast, too, overall.

    (long-time follower of the community, since Pep’s FCB Transfer days. It seemed like a good time to start contributing. It’s been said before but this place really does have some of the best commentary and writing, at least that I have been lucky enough to find. Hello, everyone!)

    Barça, Barça, Barrrça!

  40. poipoi
    August 8, 2010

    know who I’m missing? marquez, it’s true but I hope it only happens today

  41. Kari
    August 8, 2010

    Another good Pinto save. Adriano’s crossing is a welcome addition. Very welcome. Now, Ibra will get decent service.

  42. VicNZ
    August 8, 2010

    Dos Santos has been eeevvverrryywhheeerrree and has meda some nice moves
    damn son! 🙂

  43. Kari
    August 8, 2010

    ooo, FK. Who’s gonna make it? (Messi, probably)

  44. poipoi
    August 8, 2010

    … I’m starting to develop a man crush on abidal what a defender, almost infalible. Besides he is cool as ice. In the FB position you have a big difference with EE: abi alves adriano maxwell -VS- ramos arbeloa marcelo drenthe

    • Kxevin
      August 8, 2010

      Starting? STARTING? What does the man have to do? He was our best defender last season in terms of consistency, and the difference when he’s in the side (even more than Puyol) is huge.

      But you’re coming around, so we’ll forgive you.

      • poipoi
        August 8, 2010

        Well… it was just his offense but that shot that almost went in vs EE made me see the light, just kidding I just don’t care about his offense anymore I love him I know now!!! Te quiero abidal!!! But specially I was meaning his non-verbal skills they are out of this world. he leaves the opponent wanting to see mama again

  45. Kari
    August 8, 2010

    Messi hits the post again. And poipoi, you just started now?! 😀

    • poipoi
      August 8, 2010

      yes, don’t know why… but who understands the human heart?! 😀

  46. Kari
    August 8, 2010

    HT

    Best player has been Abidal IMO. Full-on Beast mode, even if it is only Guoan.

  47. Kxevin
    August 8, 2010

    –In other news, playing Messi in Korea didn’t help. We had to pay back 300,000 because he didn’t play the full half-hour.

    –The rags are saying that we have a verbal agreement with Ozil, which is functionally meaningless, since he has already said that he wants to stay at Werder this season, even though Werder will be looking to flog him (or renew him) rather than letting him leave on a free.

    –In the “good news from a rag” category, Sport is saying that Fontas and Dos Santos are going to be promoted.

    –Josep Bartomeu confirms that Hleb, VicSan and Caceres will be leaving the club, on loan in the case of the latter two, before the transfer window closes.

    –Assulin is moving closer to Citeh, in the “he couldn’t cut it with us” file (a new one, I admit …. yes).

    And that concludes your halftime news report. 😀

    • Kari
      August 8, 2010

      100,000 of that 300,000 was because Xavi didn’t play. Sigh.

      -Happy for JDS and Fontas, now if only Thiago could be promoted too. He’s a confident kid, according to Guardiola, and fearless too. It also helps that he has major skills.

      • Luke
        August 8, 2010

        Good. Glad we did it. Messi wasn’t in shape to play all that time and Xavi shouldn’t have either.

        As for Ozil, I’d love to have him here. And since he said he wanted to stay at Werder, I believe he has sort of moved away from that stance.

        • Kurt
          August 8, 2010

          Not in shape for it? I’m all for protecting the players, but I think Messi–of all people–could have handled another 15 minutes of jogging around (especially after the half-time break) to save $200,000. Florentino has tricked us into thinking these are pennies.

          Man, at least kick the ball a few times and give the money to UNICEF or something if it’s that unimportant.

          Ozil is clever. He’ll make a verbal agreement with someone for next year, save them 15 million in the transfer market, and ask for a hefty pay raise in return. Everyone wins. Except Werder.

  48. Kari
    August 8, 2010

    Okay, so Drenthe does a De Jong.

    *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dH2gH2sFdYg&feature=player_embedded#!

  49. Bundy
    August 8, 2010

    I still prefer Abidal as LB though, he is impossible to beaten by foot but again he isn’t a ball playing defender and when it comes to those shaky moments, will he deliver at CB?

    Adriano has already shown that he can play both LB and RB the same way, well done. He even looks very Alves like on the right side with those crosses.

  50. jnelson
    August 8, 2010

    Anyone still think Abidal can play CB? Please refer all future inquiries to footage of the first half.
    WOW. The square pass from Edu Oriol for the first goal was Perfect! The vision, the positioning, the decision, the pass. Perfection. I loved that.
    NOLITO: Excellent positioning throughout. He always places himself where the ball will go. His touch and passing were a little off sometimes.
    Victor Vazquez: What happened, dude?! I could not find him at all the first 30, then he appeared with bad passes and touches.
    Sergi Gomez: was not the least bit graceful, but hauled A all over the field.
    Sergi Roberto: finallY! a Mid who can shoot!
    Adriano: Excellent cross.

    • Jnice
      August 8, 2010

      Huh? Victor Vazquez and Jonathan ran the midfield. Vazquez had touches throughout the entire 45. He played two excellent balls to Nolito, one that was incorrectly called offside.

      Abidal was great at CB apart from one positioning mistake. He’s not my first choice for that position, but he did well, dude.

      • jnelson
        August 8, 2010

        So it was Victor Vazquez with the through balls? Dang, I thought it was JDS. Those were nice.

  51. Jnice
    August 8, 2010

    End of the 1st half. I think we dominated that half more than any of the other friendlies we played.

    Pinto was a whole lot better. Great couples of saves, too. Sergi Gomez has been the most shaky in the backline mostly due to his expierence and poor positioning, nice little run he had into the attacking third, though. Abidal messed up one time, but every other time he has been extremely solid. He is so strong and fast. Adriano had a fantastic cross and I like how he and Maxwell have been involved with the attack.

    As for the midfield, glad Sergi Roberto got the goal. He is one of Luis Enrique’s favorites and he looked tidy all half. Nice shot near the end as well. I love how involved Jonathan has been in the match. He just keeps the ball moving and he knows how to position himself on the field. I love that. I like what Victor Vazquez brought to the table, too. He tries maybe too many cutting through balls, but you can see how confident he is and he had a couple of great balls to the forwards. I really think he would have been on the first team last season if he didn’t get injured.

    Nolito and Oriol have worked hard, but Nolito has looked more of a threat and what a fantastic touch he had for the goal. Messi has been off his game, but he was unlucky to hit the post twice.

    Let’s see what Ibra, Keita, Riverola, and hopefully Fontas bring to the table.

    • jnelson
      August 8, 2010

      Pinto spilled 2 off his hands though…And what was up with playing that long goal kick to his feet? He really has been trying to be the sweeper/keeper this season, but he’s no Valdes. I don’t see him keeping his job over Mino and Oier the entire season.

  52. Bundy
    August 8, 2010

    from my stream the Pitch looks very bad, hard to judge players on their passing ability, but again players should be able to work around it.

    • poipoi
      August 8, 2010

      I’ll just re-post it, hoping for an answer 😉

      how do you call those pieces of flying grass in english? it’s unbelievable how messi tries to dribble defenders without creating any.

      • Jnice
        August 8, 2010

        Pieces of flying grass? Um, not sure. Maybe a divot? I don’t know, but the pitch is awful.

      • Kari
        August 8, 2010

        “pieces of flying grass”

        You mean, the clumps of turf?

        -Agreed on the pitch. It was awful.

        • poipoi
          August 8, 2010

          well, earth/sand and grass to say it properly… I guess clumps, divot sounds too scientifical lol …. don’t know what any of them mean though, I’ll look it up thanks 😀

          • ooga aga
            August 8, 2010

            divot is the best word for the grass coming out attached to the earth, coming out with the ground beneath it in a clump or a chunk…used frequently in golf…not scientific, very common.

  53. jnelson
    August 8, 2010

    Am I missing something? Sure, Abidal is super fast, but his positioning has been awful. Every scoring chance they had, Abidal was out of position, no??? He tore it up winning back possession, but even with his speed, his lack of positional sense will kill us at CB against Liga teams. Really? I thought he was awful. I love Abidal. He was one of our best players last year (Messi scored a billion goals, and Abidal was hurt sometime), but he is a horrible CB.

    • Jnice
      August 8, 2010

      Sergi Gomez was the one out of position all the time. Abidal covered for him on several occasions Abi’s positioning was off on really only one play. Dunno, I thought he did well

    • Kxevin
      August 8, 2010

      Egg-sactly. I’ve watched him play CB with Les Bleus countless times, and every time I wonder how in the hell someone who is such a strong defender at LB, can be such a mediocre CB. I haven’t seen things as messy as others, but he just ain’t no CB. I’d rather see a kid there than Abidal.

      • jnelson
        August 8, 2010

        Sergi Gomez got beat a time or two, but Abidal was caught forward or to the left too often (not including his covering for Gomez). He also was slooooww on the offside trap (the last one to move into position). Im all for his hustle though. Nobody has that speed.

  54. Bundy
    August 8, 2010

    he isn’t awful, he just isn’t a first choice CB.

  55. Jnice
    August 8, 2010

    I guess Fontas isn’t fully ready to play yet because of the injury.

  56. Kxevin
    August 8, 2010

    And already, a nice chance. Who is No. 14?

    • Kari
      August 8, 2010

      Marti Riveriola. Been at the club since he was 5 years old . Awesomeness.

      • Kxevin
        August 8, 2010

        Thanks, Kari. Excellent instincts, and moves to the ball very well.

  57. poipoi
    August 8, 2010

    where’s thiago? is pep hiding him so nobody sees him and offers him a contract? is he in asia?

    • Kari
      August 8, 2010

      He was at the u-19s so he didn’t come with us

      • poipoi
        August 8, 2010

        yeah… I though as canales is with EE in USA I thought he would be in Asia.

        the game is getting boring and thiago is pure anti-boredom

  58. Kari
    August 8, 2010

    New lineup

    Pinto
    Ilie (#16)-Milito (18)-Armando (20)-Muniesa (5)
    Keita (15( – Marti Riverola(14) – VicSan(8)
    Benja (27) – Ibra (9) – Soriano (7)

  59. Kxevin
    August 8, 2010

    And thanks for the TV3 link! Hearing the match called en Catala is very nice.

  60. Kxevin
    August 8, 2010

    That pitch looks seriously chunky. Looks rather sparsely attended, too.

  61. jnelson
    August 8, 2010

    No Dalmau?
    Did anybody else notice the moment in the first half when the ball was fed to Messi and our whole team fell back behind the 18. Messi looked, saw 9 green shirts, turned, saw our team falling back, turned again, and said “what the hell, might as well”, and took on just about their whole team? haha

  62. Kxevin
    August 8, 2010

    The Beijing players are fast. And that was quite the high-quality gag up.

    • Kari
      August 8, 2010

      Yeah, they’re fast, but they don’t seem to take much advantage of that. Offside way too much in the first half when they didn’t have to be.

      They don’t take their (billion) chances, either or else this scoreline would be much, much closer.

  63. Kxevin
    August 8, 2010

    And that is the Xavi Difference. Putting a ball where the player can use it.

  64. Kxevin
    August 8, 2010

    Lord, those keeper shirts are ugly.

  65. jnelson
    August 8, 2010

    Was that the post, or did Pinto just make a great save?

  66. Kari
    August 8, 2010

    This is a good game for Pinto. He’s had to make a lot of different types of saves. Much better practice for him than the K-League match.

  67. Kxevin
    August 8, 2010

    But that was a nice save by Peento.

  68. Win
    August 8, 2010

    I have no problem with Busquets, but believe that if Toure was played in the games against Inter, we’d probably still be European Champs.

    • Kxevin
      August 8, 2010

      Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. I’ll give you the Cliff’s Notes version:

      –Yes, because The Yaya would have been playing all positions on the back line at the San Siro, and not conceded those three goals.

      –Double yes, because The Yaya wouldn’t have pushed that header wide, like Krkic did.

      Lord, however will we survive?

    • poipoi
      August 8, 2010

      could be, specially the away one… it would be pep’s fault then, but EL QUIJOTE (aka Don Andres aka The Holy One aka Yahve) is a bigger loss for Barça I think, and that’s nobody’s fault which sounds better. We could have perfectly won either way with or without them also, it was only one goal down in the end me thinks. Remember Bojan’s non-goal.

    • poipoi
      August 8, 2010

      and the travel to milan by bus a la retired welfare travel “el imserso” should account as a factor too

  69. Kxevin
    August 8, 2010

    It’s interesting how the sloppy play from us has rendered Ibrahimovic all but invisible. Nobody can get him the ball.

    • Kxevin
      August 8, 2010

      Agreed, JNice. No link-up play, no real passing quality, no nothing. Thankfully, wifey’s back from her run, so we can go out for breakfast.

  70. Jnice
    August 8, 2010

    Nice skill from Ibra. Great pass too.

  71. Kxevin
    August 8, 2010

    So Ibrahimovic put that one on a platter for Soriano, who only had to one-time it.

  72. jnelson
    August 8, 2010

    Excellent touch and weighted pass from Ibra.

  73. jnelson
    August 8, 2010

    I think the pitch is really affecting play. People are falling and playing unusual passes. I don’t know what happened with that one pass of Ibra’s that went nowhere, though.

  74. Lou
    August 8, 2010

    On the plus side this is excellent practice for Pinto before the Supercopa.

    Ibra looks good too. He’s setting up some nice chances.

  75. Kxevin
    August 8, 2010

    Guardiola has the “Please, nobody get hurt during this mess” face.

  76. Kari
    August 8, 2010

    Just look at our midfield : Keita – Riverola – VicSan. Considering Marti is a DM, which one of Keita or VicSan can control the game ala Xavi (or Iniesta or even JDS and Messi to some extent)?

    Answer: neither. One of JDS or Victor Vasquez should have stayed or only one of them should have started the first half IMO. That’s why we looked so much better in the first half than the second

    • Jnice
      August 8, 2010

      Actually, Marti isn’t a DM, he plays in Xavi or Iniesta’s position. But, considering he was on Juvenil A last season, he probably needed a Jonathan or Vazquez beside him to run the game. He looked better in midfield the last two games we played, but this half everyone in the mid looks bad. So we have no control.

      • Jnice
        August 8, 2010

        Riverola actually was top goalscorer for Juvenil A last season, but he looks afraid to get forward this match.

      • Kari
        August 8, 2010

        I just assumed he was a DM because VicSan plays on the right and Keita on the left, so I guess Keita is the DM.

        Agreed on everyone looking bad in the midfield.

  77. Kari
    August 8, 2010

    Ibra frustrated. Honestly, it sucks that he has to play in this line-up, with no creativity whatsoever.

    • Jnice
      August 8, 2010

      Yeah, I would be frustrated too. Service is awful.

      • Jnice
        August 8, 2010

        It would have been great to have Thiago for this tour to play him in this 2nd half.

        • Kari
          August 8, 2010

          Yeah, I hope we see Thiago against Sevilla.

  78. jnelson
    August 8, 2010

    Of course, what ref doesn’t give yellow cards in a friendly for dissent. WHY was that not advantage?

  79. Jnice
    August 8, 2010

    Ha, Riverola with the pass to Ibra for the goal. Great finish. Finally!

  80. jnelson
    August 8, 2010

    ZLATAN!!! he needed that..before he killed those kids.

  81. jnelson
    August 8, 2010

    IBRA! again with the creativity, but no one is on the same page.

  82. Kari
    August 8, 2010

    Funny, we beat Guoan 3-0 last time too. Goals were from Iniesta, Giovani(Dos Santos) and Ronaldinho.

    Ibra’s been looking gooooood.

  83. jnelson
    August 8, 2010

    Anybody wanna bet Ibra is telling that guy he smells bad?

  84. Jnice
    August 8, 2010

    Not much to say about that 2nd half, except we were awful. Ibra seriously was our best player by a mile. Showed some great touches, good passing, and great finish for the goal. Glad it was Riverola who passed it to him.

    At least we didn’t give up a goal. And we looked great in the first half on a terrible pitch.

    Time to checkout this Community Shield match between Chelsea and Man Utd. Anyone else going to watch?

    • jnelson
      August 8, 2010

      Chicharito! Wonder if he will play…

    • Kari
      August 8, 2010

      Might as well.

      As usual it’s Chelsea and Man Utd. It’s so rich that EPL fanboys claim the “Big 4” when we all know that it’s always Chelsea vs Man Utd who fight for the title. At least for us, 3 and 4 isn’t so obvious (although with Liverpool’s..umm, yeah, Citeh has come into the picture. Spurs are sh*t)

      Man UTD was going for a QUADRUPLE last season, for goodness sake!

      • Jnice
        August 8, 2010

        I really dislike how these teams play. Barça has made me a hater haha.

  85. Diego S.
    August 8, 2010

    Can Anyone tell me who of Barca B is over 20 ?

      • Jnice
        August 8, 2010

        Armando, Jonathan Soriano, Victor Vazquez, Miño, Nolito, Benja… a couple of others not on tour.

  86. barca96
    August 8, 2010

    This is the first pre-season match that I watched as I have been really busy lately. I must say I was impressed in the 1st half but the 2nd half was horrendous! If it was a competitive match I wouldve cursed uncontrollably.
    Nobody from the 2nd half deserves a rating besides Muniesa, Milito and Ibra. Ibra had a good match. Was all alone. I hope that none of them get promoted besides the aforementioned. All they did was play for themselves. I read some good stuffs about Marti Riverola last week, but he was atrocious. He couldn’t even make a simple pass and on two occasions he had a decent amount of time to turn with the ball but instead kicks the ball right to the back and create danger. When the 2nd half started and I saw Benja and Ibra leading the line,they looked like the twin towers from San Antonio Spurs for a moment. Hehe
    However players from the 1st half were decent especially JDS. It could be because they had a buzz because they were playing with Messi. Not sure.

    Sorry for the long rant. Just pissed off at the guys from the 2nd half.
    How did they fair in the other 2 games? Which players from the B team looked the most promising in the pre-season?

    • Jnice
      August 8, 2010

      Yeah, Riverola looked way better in the other matches, but at least he got the pass to Ibra right and to be fair, almost everyone in the 2nd half played horribly.

  87. Kxevin
    August 8, 2010

    I think that Ibrahimovic has a LOT to prove this season. I think that he has a very high personal standard that he didn’t completely live up to last season, and he wants to rectify that. He is moving better and with more alacrity, and holding his runs better as he has come to understand the dithering on the ball that is attendant to our system as the player looks for the best option.

    Don’t forget that at Inter and every other club he’s played for, it was “Get the ball to the big Swede.” So every move that he made, somebody was waiting to pass it to him. Here, with Messi, soon Villa and everybody else, if you move like he did at Inter, you’re going to be offside once the midfielder decides that you in fact are the best option. It’s a difference that he seems used to now.

    I can’t wait to see our full, fit starting XI in action. I think it’s going to be about 48 degrees of awesome.

    By the by, not meeting his high personal standard is also the reason that the press reports about Ibrahimovic leaving us are bull. He has unfinished business.

    • jnelson
      August 8, 2010

      Yea, and you know how one B.A.N.G.S. handles unfinished business…
      /http://barcelona.theoffside.com/files/2009/11/zlatan-ibrahimovic.jpg

  88. Jnice
    August 8, 2010

    Catalan commentary

    First Half:

    *http://www.megaupload.com/?d=AT159SP7
    *http://www.megaupload.com/?d=QAXNOOGO
    *http://www.megaupload.com/?d=0GUPEKY8
    *http://www.megaupload.com/?d=YUNN9K9I

    Second Half:

    *http://www.megaupload.com/?d=49SYIL5C
    *http://www.megaupload.com/?d=WBJIUEPE
    *http://www.megaupload.com/?d=BTZP87LI
    *http://www.megaupload.com/?d=4ZBD425M

    Courtesy of siscopes1 @rojadirecta.com

    or

    Chinese commentary

    First Half:

    *http://filevo.com/wjpu7tyv686t.html

    Second Half:

    *http://filevo.com/ktxpmphjhpkk.html

    Courtesy of WIINDSBBS @fbtz.com

    • barca96
      August 8, 2010

      Holy smokes. that was fast.thanks for the upload.
      A piece of advice to the folks who didn’t get to watch it live.
      DO NOT DOWNLOAD the 2nd half!

      • Jnice
        August 8, 2010

        No problem, but I don’t upload, I just do the easy part and copy and paste. 😀 Credit goes to those cappers.

  89. vicsoc8
    August 8, 2010

    So I’ve been really busy simultaneously getting my ass in gear for the start of the rest of my life and systematically avoiding it.

    A poor excuse for not having seen any of our preseason games. Now that they are all played, which of the youngsters looked particularly good? I’ve been hearing JDS’ name a lot, but who else has the potential to make it?

    • barca96
      August 8, 2010

      I have the same question as I missed the match in Norway and S.Korea.
      JDS looked like a shorter version of Busi at DM in China 🙂

    • Jnice
      August 8, 2010

      Personally, I think that aside from JDS, Sergi Roberto and Riverola have looked good, although Riverola was horrible today. Riverola is coming from Juvenil A, so I think he needs about two years with Barça B, Sergi Roberto maybe a year, maybe more.

      That’s really it as far as midfielders go because the other midfielders besides them were Victor Sanchez who we can’t consider a youngster and Victor Vazquez was only fit for todays match, but he wasn’t bad. Ilie played there for 30 min and was decent It’s a shame we didn’t get to see Thiago or Romeu.

      As for defenders, Sergi Gomez has been decent, Dalmau looked interesting going forward, but he is inexperienced defensively. Armando has no chance and Muniesa has shown flashes of his talent. I don’t think he will make the jump this year, though. Unfortunately, Fontas is just coming off his injury, so Pep didn’t want to risk him yet. Sport still claims he will be promoted, though.

      Attackers… Jonathan Soriano, Benja, Nolito, Edu Oriol, Tello are all variations of like the same player. They have all had flashes of brilliance and bouts of inconsistency as well. Tello looked great against the K-League allstars, Nolito looked great today, Benja and Jonathan have done their part. I really don’t think any of them have a chance to be promoted except Tello in the future because he is only 18. Who knows, though… in a pinch maybe Nolito or Soriano could be called up.

      So all in all, I think Jonathan has a great chance to be promoted (Sport saying he along with Fontas will be), but I don’t think anyone else is quite ready yet. Thiago and Romeu haven’t been on the tour, but from what I have seen of Thiago this summer with Spain, he has a shot too. This is just my opinion, though.

      • Lou
        August 8, 2010

        When does the Segunda season start?

        Is there any chance we’ll get to see Thiago, Romeu, Bartra or Fontas in the Gamper match?

  90. Jnice
    August 8, 2010

    First match is August 29. I’m pretty sure we will see some of those kids, like last season against City. Then again, preseason was different last year and Pep could use this game to give the starters a full run out.

    • Kari
      August 8, 2010

      I’m actually hoping to see Thiago, Romeu, Muniesa, JDS, etc. against Sevilla on the 14th. Great opportunity IMO.

  91. Jnice
    August 8, 2010

    I glazed over goal.com’s report of our game and damn, they don’t watch our matches, do they?

    “18-year-old Sergi Roberto opened the scoring for the Blaugrana in the 10th minute, followed by a Nolito header just two minutes later – a truly impressive opening from the young reserves.”

    “The world’s most coveted right-winger Lionel Messi impressed throughout, first striking the bar just before the half-hour mark then smacking the upright with a free-kick just before the break.” (I guess you can strike a bar with a header, but if they saw the header, they would’ve said “headed it off the bar”)

    “Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whose future at Barca is precarious to say the least if transfer speculation is to be believed, came on as a late substitute, scoring in the 89th minute to put a bow on the pre-season affair.”

  92. Kari
    August 8, 2010

    *http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/sagna-spahic-is-good-enough-for-arsenal

    :cue eye roll: (Feel free to ignore this post though. I’m sick of it too. It’s just the hypocrisy is too good to pass up.)

  93. Jnice
    August 8, 2010

    Last post, then I’m gonna sleep for a little bit lol…

    Courtesy of Barcastuff… Pep: “I know the youth teams well and I think we have a generation coming with players having the quality to be part of the 1st team. They’re all growing but only some of them could already be ready for the first team, like Jonathan Dos Santos. Jonathan reads the game very well. I know I can count on him. It’s a young player with a great drive. Happy to have him around.”

    I may be reading into this too much, but I think he is almost confirming Jonathan will be promoted. Jonathan also said he likes the number 4 and hopes to be able to keep it.

    Also, congrats to the U15 team who won the Nike Cup today. Same prestigious cup Iniesta’s group won, in which he was the captain and received the trophy from Pep himself.

  94. August 8, 2010

    And let’s not forget Busi’s cantera + Catalan!! Visca el Barça! 🙂 🙂

    Cool article, Luke, are other player analysises forthcoming?

    • Luke
      August 8, 2010

      I have considered writing one for Valdes, since GKs are so often misunderstood and I played as one for about 15 years, but it will all depend on how the preseason stuff goes. I have something coming about how Mourinho to RM changes some of the Clasico and La Liga dynamics.

      Thanks for the kind words as well. I thought about throwing something in there about the Catalan stuff, but it just bothers me so much and I didn’t want the post to turn into that again.

  95. August 8, 2010

    Btw I think no.4 will / should be Busi’s this season since last year he made the position his. Sorry JDS

  96. Kari
    August 8, 2010

    “It’s the news that The Sun’s showbiz section has been dreading. Argentine award-winning journalist Clemente Cancela has revealed that Lionel Messi has never heard of Oasis and so the newspaper’s far-fetched tales about his bizarre love of the Manchester band must come to an end.

    The Sun have brought us some fantastical yarns, beginning with Messi’s discovery of Oasis during a long-haul flight with Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez and peaking this week with a particularly tall-stories about the world’s best player forming a tribute band.

    “Our disguise is based on how Oasis looked in the mid-90s,” Messi never told The Sun. “We’ll visit the UK. If you’re at a pub or club where we are performing and see past our disguises there’ll be a decent prize in it for you.”

    However, Cancela, who has legitimate access Messi, recently revealed: “Messi does not know Oasis. I repeat: does not know Oasis. He told me.”

    -The Sun is such a pathetic tabloid.

    • Luke
      August 8, 2010

      If so, that’s just depressing, because that story went to nearly every major football daily and even into the non-sport world. It was even reported by the Guardian, who usually get their shit together.

      • Kxevin
        August 8, 2010

        Not only that, but they’re making up Xavi quotes again, unless Xavi would decide, during the last few days of his post-WC vacation, to chat with a third-tier British tabloid about transfer matters.

        It really is shameful. If my employer, the Chicago Tribune, caught somebody just making crap up, that person would be fired. Without a second’s hesitation. “Journalism” is not making shit up. That’s “fiction,” and exists in a different part of the book shop.

        On another note, heading off soon to see the Chicago Fire take on the Red Bulls. Should be a good match. The homeboys are playing well right now, and have added Freddie Ljungberg and Nery Castillo to the lineup. And of course, the Red Bulls have a couple of guys who might or might not make a bit of a difference.

        • Luke
          August 8, 2010

          The Chicago Tribune? Couldn’t you write for a reputable paper? I kid of course. As we all should know, the international papers do not normally adhere to the journalistic integrity of American ones (surprisingly, America is ahead in something). Very few international papers can live up to the level of the New York Times or the WSJ in terms of accuracy and fact-checking. Not to mention that smaller papers such as the Chicago Trib, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, LA Times, etc. all live up to these standards in nearly every regard.

          Overseas, it’s a much different story.

          • Kxevin
            August 8, 2010

            And you should see our ethics policy. It’s an updated document that nonetheless harkens to a time when people had expectations of journalists as watchdogs, chroniclers and protectors. It affects us in every way.

            I got an e-mail offer to meet and greet with Henry and Marquez after tonight’s match, in my role as Tribune editor. Many a person would have accepted, then later said “Um, we decided not to do anything. But thanks!”

            No. I said thanks, that my section couldn’t offer them anything in the way of coverage. I then said that my other, completely unrelated hobby is my role at Barcelona Football Blog, and if there was room at the post-match press conference, I would love to attend, if I could.

            I was thanked for my honesty, and they found a credential for me, which will be my first as a correspondent for this space.

            Ethically, I was duty-bound to fully disclose, and never even considered not doing so. As a sign on the backs of local stop signs here read, “Character is defined by what you do when you think nobody is looking.” It’s so true, and I wish that the footballing press had the same standards. It’s okay not to have a story. But the immediacy, click-driven blogosphere demands something very different. Look at two headlines today:

            ESPNSoccernet:

            “Guardiola understands Arsenal stance on Cesc”

            Daily Telegraph:

            “Guardiola: Arsenal were right to keep Fabregas”

            This is what he actually said:

            “I understand Arsenal and I understand Wenger, I wouldn’t have let him leave either,” he told reporters after Barca concluded their Asian tour with a 3-0 win over Beijing Guoan on Sunday.

            “I just hope Cesc carries on enjoying what is such a special and competitive league, the Premier.”

            Headlines should draw the reader to a story, rather than reflecting bias and slant. Alas, those days are gone, as well.

            /rant

          • August 8, 2010

            Um, NYT has a decidedly mixed record when it comes to journalistic integrity. Their facts have been wrong several times and they frequently publish some extremely ill-informed opinion. You might say that they are not responsible for what their columnists think; they are, however, responsible for their ‘news reports’. For example:

            http://us.asiancorrespondent.com/fiverupees/2009/05/scary-nyt-article-on-pakistans-nukes-is.html

            I can’t deny that they continue to be a fine newspaper and often publish some excellent stories – and their influence is probably unmatched. That said, they could be careful about how they use their influence…and to their credit, they seem to be trying to be more accurate when it comes to Pakistan.

          • RohanV
            August 8, 2010

            Sweet, you’ll have to post a picture of the BarcelonaFootballBlog press pass.

          • Kari
            August 8, 2010

            Whoa! Make sure you take pictures, you lucky, lucky man–and two autographs; one for me, of course 😀

            Your rant is full of win (mentally saved for future re-posting). Good stuff, Kxevin.

          • jnelson
            August 8, 2010

            Ahh,Kevin. A man of integrity. I have much respect for that.

          • Jnice
            August 8, 2010

            Have fun, Kxevin.

            Game starts in 20 minutes, I think. I’ll definitely be watching.

  97. August 8, 2010

    True, the footballing press in a lot of European newspapers is lacking in journalistic integrity. But at least we don’t have national across the board campaigns to lead our country to b.s. wars. WMD… Fact checking, anyone? Just saying….

  98. August 8, 2010

    Above comment is not to step on anybody’s toes! Just couldn’t help myself bc I am still upset about US media in the role they played leading up to the latest two wars. Even more so after I just read Joe Klein’s apology in TIME Magazine. He had the gall to call the Iraq war a “profound misadventure”.

    Anyway apologies bc I am waaay off topic!

  99. Diego S.
    August 8, 2010

    Does it bother anyone else the way he runs ?

    • barca96
      August 8, 2010

      It doesn’t bother me but I find it funny though.
      Another form of entertainment from our biscuits

  100. Kxevin
    August 8, 2010

    My eyes! My eyes! The credentials didn’t have BFB on them unfortunately, just some generic ones that I tossed in disdain. The match was horrific, and the availability was pretty close to nil, so I boogied. No fancy pictures, folks, sorry.

    And may I say that as I was thinking that the MLS standard was improving, this match had to go and make a liar out of me. Henry left with a few minutes to go in the first half, and was walking like he had a groin injury. His play was such that poipoi would have been vindicated. Lordy. Marquez was also crap, and Ljungberg was just atrocious. Lazy, barely there, sleepwalking. I booed him lustily on several occasions.

    My friend and I were hunting for the “least connected” shirt award of the night, as in “Six Degrees of Henry.” We settled on an 01-02 season Del Piero Juventus shirt.

    • barca96
      August 9, 2010

      Kevin, why didn’t you accept the offer to meet and greet Henry and Marquez? I still don’t fully understand

      • Kxevin
        August 9, 2010

        It was more of a brief press availability, with folks shouting questions at them as they sat behind a dais. And no Barca questions, as they want to keep the focus on the Red Bulls.

  101. jaymin
    August 8, 2010

    you guys have one of the classiest men in world football as your manager. you are very fortunate.

  102. Jnice
    August 9, 2010

    Full match, one link and a bit better quality. La Sexta broadcast…

    Full Match: *http://www.megaupload.com/?d=X96TU8KF

    Credit to adriancrm @rojadirecta.com

    Or even better quality, La Sexta broadcast

    First Half: *http://www.rojadirecta.org/goto/www.megaupload.com/?d=SUCVCBPJ

    Second Half: *http://www.rojadirecta.org/goto/www.megaupload.com/?d=T0DXM5ZM

    Credit to yosinocoupe @rojadirecta.com

    If you want to download the match, go with either of these links. More convenient and better quality.

  103. stowe
    August 9, 2010

    as an attendee of the Barcelona-Gouan match last night, maybe I was able to see a few things that weren’t as a apparent on TV.
    1st half was great, JDS was playing the DM position and did so very well, even though he is tiny. I would agree with many of the posts on Abidal. He was in poor position several times, but always made up for it with speed and strength. His partner, Gomez? played okay and at times looked like a smaller Pique (especially with the number 3 and some of the piquenbauer play) fullbacks were good and the youngins played very well. Still can’t believe that second goal! Messi looked okay, but not very interested, especially when he should have been chasing the ball (can you blame him?)
    Second half was awful! the pitch was bad, apparently they put it down on tuesday? that’s what i read somewhere.
    I was impressed with the right side of the attack, which provided some good crossing threats down the flank. they had some sloppy play as well, but were in my opinion or most frequent threat. not sure who these players were because I was on the opposite side of the stadium (16, 27?)
    Keita was decent at DM, but Riveriola was atrocious in most aspects of the game, his touch and trapping were especially bad and in my opinion his lack of control caused most of our turnovers and kept us from tiki taka.
    Ibra was the bright spot of the second half, he was far from perfect but had enough creativity and sweet ninja moves to keep me from going to sleep. He was moving a lot and stayed onside very well. too bad the service was awful. one critique i will mention was that at times he wasn’t paying attention and was moping around with his head down when he was in key position to make a run or receive a pass. what a goal. I like his longer hair a lot more. OK i’m finished.

    • barca96
      August 9, 2010

      So you travelled to China to follow the team or you live in Beijing?
      JDS looked a bit like Busi last night, everywhere on the park hustling and bustling.

    • Kari
      August 9, 2010

      I love when people who’ve seen the game comment. Thanks, stowe! Confirms what I thought, but streams suck compared to live.

  104. jordi™
    August 9, 2010

    The doom mongering English fans calling us broke should read this, not only them but all the hate fueled experts who have been rubbing their hands in anticipation of our demise.Intelligent articles like this dont get enough publicity, instead we get more of the kind- “OMG thoz Catalan c**** iz broke lolz”.I left out the customary “F Barca” 😀

    *http://swissramble.blogspot.com/2010/08/whats-happening-with-barcelonas.html

  105. Jnice
    August 9, 2010

    The press and all this Ozil talk… if he plays for Bremen in their CL qualifier on Wednesday, we’ll know he isn’t going anywhere.

    • barca96
      August 9, 2010

      You seem to forget Chiggy’s case already Jnice :p

      • Jnice
        August 9, 2010

        No, I was gonna say that buying Ozil cup tied is something Pep would never do again. Especially when he knows we need depth.

  106. Jnice
    August 9, 2010

    More made up quotes from Xavi by the press. Italian this time. It’s funny how all these “interviews” come from everyone else besides the Spanish press. Especially since Xavi is on vacation.

    I don’t even feel like posting them they are so atrocious. But of course other “people” won’t realize he never actually said it.

  107. flyzowee
    August 9, 2010

    God bless you jordi. Man ive been scanning the internet looking for some kinda info to help me counter the Arsenal guys calling us broke. ITS PAYBACK TIME!

    • GoonerInBarça
      August 9, 2010

      You won’t have anything on us mainly because we haven’t spent any money in about 15 years…

  108. flyzowee
    August 9, 2010

    The major concern is obviously the debt, which Javier Faus said was “the biggest in the club’s history.” We’ve not been given the full details yet, but the adjusted figure released by the club was gross debt of €552 million (net debt €442 million). However, we do know that this represents total liabilities and is thus misleadingly high, as it includes trade creditors, accruals and even provisions. In fact, Rosell and his cohorts should be ashamed of this needless scaremongering, which is not consistent with standard accounting practice – or, indeed, UEFA’s definition, which explicitly states, “net debt does not include trade or other payables.”

    As an example of how absurd the total liabilities definition is, just look at how high other clubs’ gross debt would be using this measure: Real Madrid €683 million, Liverpool €578 million and Manchester United €1.1 billion. Even Arsenal, which is regarded as the template for financial sustainability, would have “debt” of €767 million (though it’s come down a lot since the last annual accounts). This places Barcelona’s €552 million firmly into context. To use an old adage, you have to compare apples with apples.

    – Swiss Rambler.

  109. August 9, 2010

    Thanks for the link Jordi. I didn’t know Rosell was thinking about getting a shirt sponsor. Me worried now 🙁

    • Kxevin
      August 9, 2010

      Yes. He raised the notion the election, and the disapproval ws vehement, to say the least. Now that he is president, I don’t expect that bit of vileness to go away. The fiscal stuff ain’t just to makr Laporta look bad. It might also set the stage for a ahirt sale. And as much as I love this club, I will not be able to wear a shirt with a paying sponsor on the front. I’d bet overall shirt sales would drop, too.

      • GoonerInBarça
        August 9, 2010

        I know it’s an alien concept to Barça but surely it’s a necessary evil? IF the debt is claimed to be high and television revenue has been lost (through Mediapro) then the logical solution is to get a sponsor who would pay a ridiculous sum of money. For guidance Man Utd receive a staggering £80m a year (€96m or 1 Cesc :P) and even Champions League-less Liverpool are getting £24m per year (€29m). Morally and traditionally Barça have refused it but maybe it’s time to catch up with everyone else. A healthy bank balance is worth far more than the moral high ground which very few people care about any more.

        • Kxevin
          August 9, 2010

          It’s principle. Part of what “mes que un club” means, though it is often misinterpreted as an arrogant slogan by some, is all of the humanitarian stuff that we do. The fact that we pay UNICEF for the honor of wearing their logo on the shirt front, the charity work that the players do, the various foundations including MES (sports and AIDS education/prevention in Third World nations, a venture started in 2008 with the club, Nike and ACNUR, the United Nations refugee organization), is a point of pride for many cules. When I wear some of the MES clothing that I have, it gives me pride and pleasure to explain what it means, to those who ask.

          For time immemorial, we had no logo on the shirt front. The UNICEF thing was about the only way that we could do that, and do good. Yes, that’s another thing from the Laporta regime. The agreement, struck in 2006, says that we will pay 1.5m per annum for a five-year period for the privelege of carrying them on the shirt front.

          Things such as that are what I think about when I think of “mes que un club.” The point isn’t funds that could have been raised. The club has been in far worse debt, in context, than it is right now. And we have NEVER sold the shirt. It’s principle. If we sell the shirt, we might as well go from “more than a club” to “just another club.”

          And this is just my opinion. Others will differ.

        • August 9, 2010

          “A healthy bank balance is worth far more than the moral high ground which very few people care about any more.”

          Let me start from this one. In fact nowadays business goes exactly the opposite way. There is more awareness toward the importance of the engagement between business and moral values as a key method for branding and creating business image. Nowadays you barely find a company that is not involved in some none business related causes from Global warming to charity activities to social events, etc… It all cost money and take some of the cash from the bank but is it really a cost (or less return)? Not on the long term.

          Now lets take Barcelona as a demonstration. Barca’s achievements in the CL in the last few years were brilliant, but if you look at it wasnt better than that’s of Liverpool for example or Milan or even Man Utd. In the other hand EPL clubs were well promoted since the time when Barcelona struggled with debts before 2003 and almost lost it completely. How can we evaluate the market value and even the market return of the mentioned clubs compared to Barcelona? Its not only a matter of shirts sales but the whole market value of the club that plays the big role.

          Barcelona failed in marketing. That’s a belief for me. The only bright thing was the UNICEF agreement. If the board work more on that level, the potentials are immense. Shirts didnt help Liverpool finance much. So the whole model should be taken in consediration. This is a club owned by the fans and totally financed by the fans either directly or indirectly. The more fans the club generate the better return it gets. There is the short sighted version of Sandro: Just stamp a Spaghetti picture on the shirt and count the money earned. The other version is to be more focused on the values that make people care more. Create an engagement with global cases and people will buy the shirt more to finance their two passions: The club and the moral causes it represents.

          Besides, I dont understand the need to have a sponsor. It was always a subject on the table. every time the team faced a financial problem that was the first suggestion. It was always declined at the last moment, and guess what! The club survived and only got better. The club now is in a better financial situation than in 2003. If we evaluate achievements Vs costs it is still without any doubt the most successful model. Even if we consider Shirt sponsorship as the last insurance shot, obviously we are far from needing that pang already.

          • mei
            August 9, 2010

            The economic situation isnt “just better” than of what we dealt with in 2003 (or more precisely what laporta presented to us) , it is MUCH better. Our net income has tripled for starters and thats a pretty solid reference.
            Rosell takes the standard route that learnt from laporta in 2003 ; with the difference that laporta took over a much worse side , with fans hungry for success and in a declining mediocre financial status(laporta of course claimed that he took over a sinking ship only to be seen as a miracle man one year and a half later that stabilized the club).Rosell takes over a successful club that is financially solid .Where do you go from there?
            Oh and while im proud of the mes que un club title for our club and very supportive of the charity work of the foundation , charity , environmental causes , activisms etc pays off a long way at this time. It is a pretty safe investment for anyone that is willing enough to think in medium/longterm.

          • barca96
            August 9, 2010

            To my surprise, I saw a Herbalife logo on the right side of the sleeve last night. How long is that deal?

          • Kxevin
            August 9, 2010

            AFAIK, it was a single-match thing, since the LFP patch goes there during the real matches. My guess is that Herbalife signed on as a single-match sponsor, because the only advertising that we will traditionally do is for TV3 and LFP, with occasional one-offs such as the MES shirts (and logo on the home shirts), or La Marato (de TV3), which is a medical foundation that the club supports.

          • Jose
            August 9, 2010

            I also wouldn’t want a shirt sponsor, and no, getting one doesn’t mean we “catch up” with the other big clubs. More like “stoop down”.

            I will always be a cule, but it will be a sad, sad day for me when we smear a gambling website or a beer, etc. across our kit. Even sadder if our stadium is labeled not the Camp Nou, but something like “Emirates Stadium” or “Pizza Hut Park”.

  110. Kxevin
    August 9, 2010

    Hey, The Yaya says that moving to Citeh isn’t a step down, because “the Premier League is amazing. It is stronger than La Liga.”

    –Not according to the current league rankings, buttressed by the fact that there were NO Premiership sides in the CL semis last season.
    –League champions of said stronger league to 5th-place(?) side.
    –Champions League semi-finalist and favorite (again) this year to club watching Champions League on TV.
    –Most famous Argentine: Messi vs Tevez.

    I don’t mind The Yaya making the move, or making the deal that he did. I don’t even mind him saying the things that he has to say to make himself feel better. But statistically, his view isn’t supportable.

    • mei
      August 9, 2010

      well what did you expect?
      The team is mediocre, is not competing in the UCL and the league is just like everything else I just did it for the money!?
      Yaya is up for some nasty surprises this year.
      He held down that attitude that showed while he made his name in Greece for a while but its all coming back and Im really glad hes not in barca to create a mess in the lockers.

  111. Kari
    August 9, 2010

    What I find interesting about our “debt” is that it includes the (very successful) basketball team, futsal team, handball team, track and field team…

    With our b-ball team winning the basketball version of the CL, wouldn’t they be entitled to bonuses as well? Our handball team won stuff too, right? They’d have bonuses as well.

    Long explanation short: Rosell is a -insertexpletivehere-

  112. August 9, 2010

    I think Yaya left mainly cause he wanted to play with his brother. As for the EPL being stronger, who knows, it might be true. Difficult to gage these things.

    ” It’s principle. If we sell the shirt, we might as well go from “more than a club” to “just another club.” ”

    Yeah, Kxev, I feel the same way. It would break my heart if Rosell sold us out. Part of what made me fall in love with Barça was the fact that we have no sponsor on our shirt.

    • ooga aga
      August 9, 2010

      with you guys here 100%. i will be completely disillusioned. F*** Rosell and the people that elected him, if he sells the shirt — he mentioned he might during the campaign and they still voted for him — neolioberal MF

  113. August 9, 2010

    Also as far as challenges go it is arguably a step up to try to take Man City to the next level. Maybe after that he will try to win the Champion’s League with Standard Liége, now that would REALLY be a step up :p

  114. Kari
    August 9, 2010

    Kxevin (Isaiah, Luke, SoMa, Euler,….Hector…? 🙁 ), I think we should get a full-on post on the integrity of the media because this is really starting to get outta hand. It’s like a new game for the Italian and, especially English, media: what many far-fetched lies can we attribute to Barca players before someone calls BS on us?

    Puyol already did, an Argentine journalist already did, but we all know the damage is done.

    I’ve noticed it earlier, because I always look at the source of the quotes before I (even somewhat) believe them, but this is just annoying. It pisses me off because people who already have deep lying prejudices and don’t care to know what are players are like off the pitch (i.e Xavi is sincere and honest in his interview, but not disrespectful) just point to these false quotes and go “barsa are classless and disrespectful c****s, f##k Farca!”

    We should also get a post on how Rosell and his entourage are already doing, or in the midst of doing, everything I feared they would, including sullying the club’s image for a personal feud.

    I hate him.

    • jordi™
      August 9, 2010

      Its ridiculous,as far as i know Xavi hasnt even given any interviews to el pais about winning the world cup yet, where are theses other “sources” finding him?They have him on speed dial?They think that just because at times xavi has been known to be less than humble or gracious , its not a stretch of imagination to believe he would say certain things but that doesnt give them the right to make quotes up.The thing is, apart from being bitter immediately after a defeat, xavi’s interviews are always intelligent, but they are making him out to be some kind of knuckle dragging simpleton who is obsessed with cesc.The club’s lawyers need to do something about this rampant dishonesty, taking down the story is not enough( i was going to say apologies but we dont even get that).

  115. CuleToon
    August 9, 2010

    I remember a guy named Genis that advocated a lot for Busquets at the old barcelona.theoffside.com. That’s what he said after his second official match with Barça.

    «Genis |  September 23rd, 2008 at 12:31 am

    I appreciate Yaya as much as anyone, really, but I suspect that many of you see Busquets as a menace to Yaya and tend to downplay his performance. […] At least for me, it’s been MANY years since I had seen someone play so many first-touch passes […] I’ll repost some of Busquets’ stats for the last match (Sporting Gijón): 48 good passes of a total of 50, 9 steals, 5 faults received, one fault made. As for his first official match, and FWIW, I only remember another debut of a nursery guy at the Camp Nou as dazzling as that of Busquets: that of Messi (and Messi made his debut on a Gamper match) […] The funny thing is that, except Pep, it seems that nobody saw it coming, since Busi (that’s how we called his father) didn’t shine specially in the preseason matches […] And, yes, now it’s more clear why we offloaded Marc Crosas.»

    Credit to whom credit is due.

    • Kxevin
      August 9, 2010

      I got to spend a pretty wonderful day with Genis and his family a few years back, in Barcelona. Not sure where he is now. Like Hector, he has vanished into the sands of time …. or something.

      Nice find, CuleToon.

  116. vicsoc8
    August 9, 2010

    I really want to post my thoughts on a potential Ozil deal, but I’m afraid to get Hectored!

    Let’s just say I’m skeptical.

  117. drew
    August 9, 2010

    dont think pep wants ozil and rosell through the media is pressuring him to accept.
    its pretty much ozil vs. progression of jds and thiago, but that doesnt make sense to me since we wanted to sign 23 year old cesc

  118. jaymin
    August 9, 2010

    xavi should sue The Sun for slander and false attribution.

  119. Jnice
    August 9, 2010

    Rafael Honigstein (twitter):

    “Just spoke to sources close to Özil. they have no knowledge of a deal with Barca.”

    • vicsoc8
      August 9, 2010

      Saw that. I really am having trouble seeing where Ozil fits. Can we please sign a hybrid DM/CB? Thanks.

  120. Euler
    August 9, 2010

    The Ozil rumors seem unlikely. There are no reports of this story coming out of Germany. It’s only the Catalan press – though multiple outlets.

    The situation is concerning. Seems like someone is trying to create a narrative of Pep turning down this player despite the Board’s recommendations.

    Seems like Ozil may have already rejected initial overtures from Barca. So this whole story about the Board having a deal with Ozil and Pep rejecting the deal in favor of internal options may be being planted by someone who wants to get that message out in Spain.

    From Honingstein in SI a few days ago (a guy who has real sources in Germany):

    Sources familiar with the situation told SI.com that talks with Real Madrid and Barcelona proved inconclusive, as neither club could convince Özil and his agent, Reza Fazeli, that he would be an automatic starter. Madrid has Kaka and Rafael van der Vaart playing in his position, and Barcelona boasts an array of small, attack-minded midfielders and a certain Lionel Messi.

    Nike, which sponsors Özil, has reportedly also cautioned against a move that might see him spend most of the coming months sitting on the bench. The U.S.-based sports company want to make Özil the German face of its campaigns and would prefer him starring in the Bundesliga rather than playing a bit part in Spain.

    There are other considerations, too. Özil, the son of Turkish immigrants, is still a very young player, on and off the pitch. Another year in the relative sedate surroundings of northern Germany would help him grow as a person and afford him more time to hone his game. It’s sometimes overlooked that last season was not just marked by his breakthrough in the national team but also marred by inconsistent performances at the club level. Guaranteed playing time in a team built around him can only benefit his development.

    *http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/raphael_honigstein/08/04/mesut.ozil/index.html

    • August 9, 2010

      Nice stuff. Thanks for the find. It just didn’t make sense to me. The Spanish and Catalan dailies are no better than anyone else when it comes to flat-out making crap up. Hence the story that Ibrahimovic shopped himself to Milan, and was trying to work out a loan deal because he was afraid that David Villa was going to take all of his minutes.

      Nonsense. Dimwitted, “We want Villa to lead the line” nonsense.

      • vicsoc8
        August 9, 2010

        Kxevin, I love you, but once you get on something you just don’t seem to be able to give it up.

        And I still respectfully disagree about Villa leading the line.

        • August 9, 2010

          That’s certainly your right. I only hold up the World Cup as evidence of how well he could do leading the line solo, then with an attention-distracting forward, even a gimpy one such as Torres.

          And I’ll even post this comment so that I can Hector myself.

  121. August 10, 2010

    mmm hope we won’t get Ozil. What would we do with him next summer when he-who-yall-dont-like-to-be-named-anymore comes?

  122. Blow-Grenade
    August 10, 2010

    As lomg back as I can remember, I have always loved Busi and his style of play. Excellent positional sense, quick change of direction, passing.
    I remember a game towards the beginning of the season when he had moved from middle of the pitch to the left of the pitch, received a pass from the back, turned around passed the ball to the forward, which resulted in a goal. Dont remember the exact match or goal. But I knew Busi could read the game when I saw that.

    • Blow-Grenade
      August 10, 2010

      Here is the pass:
      *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8nrPn71MVw
      Minute 3:04
      Good video of his skills.
      It was his pass to Ibra against Athletic Bilbao.

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