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

By Luke

We calls 'em likes we sees 'em.

283 comments

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

    1. 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. 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. 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.

    1. 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. 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. 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. “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’

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. 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. 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.

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

    2. 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. 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. 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. 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?

    1. “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? 😛

    2. 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.

    3. 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

    4. 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. 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.

  12. 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 ..

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

    1. 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.

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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

    1. 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.

  18. 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!!!

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

    2. 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.

    3. 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

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

    1. 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!)

    2. 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.

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

    1. 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.

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

  23. 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.

  24. 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

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

  25. good morning

    *http://costel.ro/

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

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

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

  27. 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.

  28. 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!!

  29. 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!

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

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