On journalistic integrity, transfer season and Barcelona

Hola! Sell Zlatan!

So, here’s the thing. I fully recognize that being the best club in the world (oh, yes we are, and you know it) means that we are a target. People love to love us but of late, love to hate us. It’s the height of transfer season, and it’s worth noting that the traditional newspaper and its attendant journalism has gone the way of the mastodon.

What we have now is the equivalent of a guy dashing about, robes aflame, saying “I’ll tell you anything you want, just douse me with water!” Because it’s now about clicks rather than real journalistic integrity. Made up quotes, ginned-up infatuations with mediocre BritBands (Oasis? Really?), all in the name of a few more clicks, and a few more page views. It doesn’t even matter if you linger. You clicked! Neener, neener! We made our stats for the month.

And you feel like a fool for having fallen for such bollocks.

In my day job, I am a journalist at the Chicago Tribune. It’s a real newspaper, that has transferred its ethical standards to the Internet. People come to journalists and publications because it is assumed that what we do is at least remotely true. You buy fiction because it is labeled as such.

Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez called Arsene Wenger’s mama a ho. He added that he has personally transfused blood with transfer target Cesc Fabregas, to make sure that he had not only Barca DNA in his veins, but Xavi’s DNA.

“It is important that Arsenal understand the parentage of their coach,” said Xavi. “I didn’t even realize it was her as I was driving from my late-night passing practice at the Camp Nou yesterday. I was stunned. I can’t believe that Cesc would want to play for a man whose mother is a ho. I wouldn’t. He will come in January.”

Ding! That took less than a minute to make up. If that were posted on say, tribalfootball.com, the comments would be filled with Arsenal fans talking about how Xavi needs to shut it, Barca is skint, classless, etc, etc.

So when Xavi made “exclusive” comments to a third-tier British daily about how Fabregas will come in January, once Arsenal is out of contention, why did people lose their minds? Do footy fans no longer consider the source?

Puyol had quotes out in the world, driving Arsenal fans crazy, quotes that our captain said he never uttered. Arsenal fans talk about us using the press to tap up Fabregas, paranoid cules talk about British newspapers making stuff up to inflame the relationship between the two clubs, thus ensuring that Fabregas stays.

I remember a time when people relied on the press to report the actual news.

And now we have, in our “corner,” so to speak, Sport and EMD, those two bastions of jackassery, who BOTH continue their “Get out, Zlatan” program by constantly suggesting trades, buys, loans, indentured servitude, anything. “Psst. Trade you something for Zlatan. What ‘cha got?”

See, the “press reports” suggest that apparently Ibrahimovic wants out because he doesn’t want to sit on the bench behind Villa. And the beauty of fiction writing is that you don’t have to have a long memory. This allows you to forget your own stories about our lack of width, and how if Henry weren’t such festering, unalloyed shit, we would be the brilliant club that we were the season of the treble. Then they would read those stories, and realize that Villa does not preclude Ibrahimovic!

But that won’t happen because they are jackasses. Braying, cart-pulling, giant-eared jackasses. It’s almost as if they roll in a giant case of cava, suck down a dozen bottles then apply their booze-addled fingers to a keyboard. No news? Let’s gin some up. Who has a campaign they’d like to start?

Yes, I know. They have been thus since time immemorial. Perhaps I am just feeling acutely aware of the delicate time for our beloved club right now. We have a striker who is coming off a “failure” of a first season (many a striker would love to have the stats that Ibrahimovic had), a new forward who has to integrate into a system that was pretty darned close to perfect without him, a giant, planet-sized absence in the defensive midfield position, a new president who is also a meddler, and other vexation. What I don’t think the club needs is the potential destabilizing influence of a “home” press.

I realize it sucks, because I too look at slow news days and say to myself, “Now what?” When the press says “I got it! Check this out,” then gins up some nonsense, it erodes the trust relationship between press and the public. It’s hard enough being a journalist in this day and age, without some twits sullying the name of the profession by resorting to fiction, to drive clicks during transfer season.

Stop it. Just stop it. But I will leave Mino Raiola, agent of Ibrahimovic, to sum it up for me: “Zlatan will stay. The papers of Barcelona are only good to use at the lavatory.”

–In other news, Villa flew to Mexico to not play. Brilliant. Del Bosque says that Guardiola should have called the troops back earlier, if he was so worried about their fitness prior to the SuperCopa. Look jackass, it’s the flying around to play a few minutes for your damnable vanity project more than the fitness. Get a clue.

–Pinto picked up a knock in practice, and is out for the first leg of the Sevilla Copa. Valdes played a bit against Mexico, and should be fine if needed. I don’t expect that he will have a whole lot to do.

–Eric Abidal says that he “likes” playing at center back. “I like playing there and although I do play there with France, it’s tactically different with Barca.” Whatever, dude. You’re much better at left back. Trust me. Wonder if I should start a rumor about Abidal being on the block because of his inability to perform at centerback, after Guardiola put him there to make up for the absence of Dmitro Txigrinski. Naaaah.

–Friendly watch: Xavi notched a brilliant, match-tying assist in the 90th minute of the Mexico friendly. Ibrahimovic added to his international goal tally about 4 minutes into the Sweden friendly, and Krkic tallied from the spot in Spain’s U-21 match against Finland. All are expected to be back and available for Saturday’s SuperCopa first leg match against Sevilla.

Sweden highlights:

Spain highlights:

–Still no definitive word on broadcasts of the first leg of the SuperCopa match, wherever you are. As people find out broadcast information for their particular country, please post it here. Thanks.

By Kxevin

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. Yea the “silly season” is always annoying because of so many false reports. It would be amazingly exciting to think of all the potentials and exciting when real quotes came out. but now it’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s not. especially if official websites are posting stuff that doesn’t come true.
    thanks for the rant kxev. and thanks for accurate journalism

    1. El Mundo Deportivo gets shortened by English-speakers to EMD most of the time. Most of us realize that MD is the same as EMD (same as I’m as likely to call Athletic Bilbao simply Bilbao instead of Athletic like most Spaniards), but the natural addition of the “E” comes from things like “tOSU” and other such nonsense.

      Not that we call NYTimes tNYTimes. Like the rest of our language, it’s a bit muddled.

    1. i’ve got time warner cable & because i have the espanish package i get tve. they list a sevilla barcelona game for saturday so i’m hoping that’s the cup & dvring it.

      nothing on espndeportes or goltv’s websites about the game thus far.

    2. *http://www.rtve.es/deportes/
      “El Barça sólo disponde de ocho jugadores de la primera plantilla. El Sevilla ha dejado sensaciones negativas durante la pretemporada. Sigue la ida de la Supercopa este sábado a partir de las 21:30 en La 1, RNE, IPhone y RTVE.es.”

      “la 1” seems to be tve’s main channel.

    3. I’m not seeing this listing. I have Time Warner as well (though I don’t get TVE-1 because I have the sports package in order to get GolTVHD) but regardless, I’m seeing some random show instead of the match.

    4. you’ve got goltvhd? damn new yorkers. hasn’t been made available to me yet out here in killa cali, to my knowledge. is espndeportes part of that sports thing, too?

      yeah, that listing has been up for a while now. initially i thought it was an old game being rebroadcast but the more i look into it the more likely it is to be the supercopa.

  2. Nice article…good to see some barca fans slating their mdia for what they deserve…

    At the same time you must also clearly see the tapping up of players your captain,Puyol,Iniesta and others do…It is in reality as shamefull as the media is…

    I hope you can write about it…the fabregas saga has made many many football fans to despise Barca and your footballing geniuses(you know so do I the REAL comments said by your players)…I hope you all you can own up to it…Now Ozil is the new player players are speaking about after the Fab saga has ended…

    You ll must be critical of the players and the system as a whole…very despicable..I hope you write about it too..

    1. You can be sure we wrote about that on most Barcelona blogs. But you need to know that most -if not all- what you read was fake. You gave Puyol as an example. I am not sure if the same media that wrote the “Puyol statements” wrote later on that on his personal twitter he said that “he never said it”. I doubt. Because such claims bring readership.

      It was Cesc and now Özil? Well there is also Ibra on daily bases as well. Are barcelona board members tapping Ibra for a loan deal at Milan? 😀

      The thing is that people believe Spanish media really have inside information. Simply put: They create information. Anything you dont find on the official website, dont believe it.

    2. Newspapers have to sell everyday.
      You need to have news inorder to gain attention and sell your paper , and barcelona most of the time has been tight lipped when it comes to transfers.
      Ibra came out of nowhere, hleb , chygrynski , maxwell , adriano .
      The latest transfers that became public knowledge before the deal was in place was villa(this was kind of obvious) and cesc that has been coming to barca since he left and the board chose to go all out since this was an elections year.
      Arsenal has been tapping up players for a long time under wenger: cesc is a product of tapping up , and arsenal had to pay a fine for it.So was merida .These are documented cases of tapping up settled in court not media tapping up .
      You might not like that players respond to questions regarding other players contracted to other clubs , but you will have to take it.
      I would prefer things to go the guardiola way , and our financial director would certainly do too.But , what the hell you know , cesc , catalan , came out of our youth ranks , close friend to all the players here etc.

    3. “the fabregas saga has made many many football fans to despise Barca”
      Not really. It only made the already crazy Arsenal fans despise Barca.

      Most folk either 1) could give a rats ass where Cesc plays or 2) knows that the Spanish papers are heaping piles of dog shit and shouldn’t be trusted to report on a spelling bee, much less the football transfer season.

      Do you REALLY want me to list all the dumb shit I’ve read this summer in the papers, both spanish and english? Most folk have the grace to take it in stride…like me with all these dumb Ibra rumors. Arsenal fans… well ya’ll are just a sensitive bunch.

  3. I think the folks at tribalfootball sit down and thoroughly discuss every story before they put it up, if there is any chance of it ever happening then it doesn’t go up but if it’s total bollix then up it goes, it really is a terrible site if it’s facts you’re after.

    By the way I saw the future today and saw Zlatan having a brilliant season for us next season but I worry about Bojan, just when he gets a run of games it looks like there won’t be much game time next season. I think he’ll have to go out on loan for a year maybe to england.

  4. No News about the broadcast .. But on the same day you have ManCity vs. Tottenham at 11:45 GMT .. it would be nice to watch ..

    On another news .. I just read today that the SuperCopa will be played by the Jabulani .. Hope they can handle it

  5. Monkeys In Barcelona

    Tomatesfootballnews is reporting that Los Mossos d’Esquadra today, served and Odre de Cateo ( search warrant )to the offices of El Mundo Deportivo and Sport and to their respective chief editors. The order which was signed by Jugde Felip Xavier de Salas, was intended for the search of evidence pertaining to animal cruelty. Sources close to Catalunya, who must remain anonymous do to pending police investigations, told tomatesfootbalnews that do to the current economic crisis the aforementioned newspapers have scaled back at cost by letting go of their old jounalist and hiring new ones. This is where the animal cruelty allegations come in, one former EMD reporter told Tomatesfootballnews that the new journalist are in fact “monkeys typing away randomly”. Amongst the evidence seized by the Mossos d’Esquadra were the monkeys themselves and what seems to be the most damning of evidence, the actual articles the two newspapers have published recently. Furthermore local Catalunya citizens are outraged because sources close to the Camp Nou have confirmed that the monkeys were bought from the Madrid Municipal Zoo and therefore have a strong Real Madrid bias. Though investigations are still at an early stage, one source by the name of Bobo el Mono said “ahahahahah ahahaha AHAaHAHAH”, which is Catalan for “Zatlan to Citeh NOOoOWWW”.

  6. what kind of worries me or makes the story worse is that MD has unofficially turned into Rosell boys mouthpiece and they are the ones doing the most propaganda to get rid of Ibra. What Marca is to Darth Florentino, MD is to Darth Sandro.

    1. I like how they keep funneling Robinho as an option.Never fear ,eventually pep will leave and sandro will hire a yes man who will accept all his Brazilian and nike players.6 more years Yay!

    2. I think Rosell is a one-term president. I just get the feeling. Particularly if he drives Guardiola away. Don’t forget that if this year’s team goes on to more glorious things, it’s Laporta’s team. I find it difficult to believe that Rosell doesn’t want to do something more than selling Txigrinski.

  7. Thanks for this. I wish this was written last week. Could have saved those gunners a lot of temper and wasteful hate.

    Forwarding this to my friends 🙂

    1. Maybe they will have an epiphany and realize it should be it should be directed inwards? No? Yeah did not think so either.

    2. I think the vexation toward Wenger is building, and I can understand how they feel. The championship is as open as it’s ever been, and it seems with a couple of the right signings, they could be right there, to win the Prem for the beautiful game.

  8. Ha! Thanks, everyone. It needed to be said, and I do enjoy ranting. Still no word on the SuperCopa match for U.S. audiences, though I can’t imagine that it won’t be televised. GolTV is the likely source, though nothing is on their site about it, yet. You will color me one unhappy lad if it isn’t on, as you will all, of consequence, be deprived of your first opportunity to call ME a jackass, after my first review of the season.

    Note also that Luke and I will be splitting review chores (no, I still haven’t gotten any more time in my personal life …. it’s hard being a journalist, husband, friend and crazed bicycle racer, then fitting in our beloved club in there). So the KRS might become the LKRS (liquors! I like it!).

    Amy Lawrence has a bit of blather (she’s usually rather good) over at the Guardian, wondering why Ibrahimovic has returned to international football, suggesting that it might be because his first season with us didn’t work out as so many had hoped.


    1. Well, if this game doesn’t make it to The Globe (on any channel), Kxevin (and any other Barca fans in Chicago!), maybe we can watch a Barca/Sevilla Liga match later this year. I’d certainly enjoy it!

  9. Why look here…


    I expect a wave of outrage damning chelsea around the internet right?No,honest English clubs only do things the right way.The shame is ours alone to bare 🙁 .LOL i remember when Berbatov jumped on a plane and toured Old Trafford on deadline day without Tottenham’s permission, imagine if our *disgraceful*, worst of the worst club did something like that.

    1. I tapped the hell up out of Neymar and Lukaku in Football Manager. In the end they had no choice but to sign. 😀

    2. Right, jordi, but the Anglo-media won’t tell the EPL fanboys that this is wrong, so they won’t go on the interwebs and scream bloody murder at this.

      Que sera, se-fucking-ra. 😀

  10. Pep on twitter is reporting the boss has oked Mascherano’s transfer. and the source is not the Catalan papers. Since Pool’s now got Poulsen, this could be it. At least it’s a dm!

    1. I ignored all rumors about el Jefe this summer.I wont believe it till i see him on the field.No way will i be disappointed again 4 years later :D.Dont mess with me!

    1. it does just sound like ole regurgitating sport’s stories as facts, but who knows?

      if this is true, 15 million + hlebbing liverpool for the captain of the argentina nt is a great fucking deal.

    2. LOL, who wants to go to youtube, find a Mascherano compilation, and look at the most recent “welcome to Barça” comments? Those always make me laugh. Especially when the player doesn’t end up coming.

  11. if this season will be glorious it s laporta team kxevin??ok i hope if will be bad season all of you rosell haters remember that.it s easy to be out of the game and say whatever you want for OUR president.

  12. On GolTV right now, the match against Santander in which Henry and Marquez both scored from freekicks. Thiago scores in this match as well.

  13. Quick question: what criteria/standard is used to measure what the “best club in the world” is and how does Barca meet, and exceed this standard (relative to other clubs)? I’d like to know, as someone not a fan of Barca.

    1. # of nucelotide types. Almost every other team has just four (adenine, thymine, guanine, cytosine), but all Barca players, down from la cantera to the starting XI, undergo genetic treatment to include the nucleotide pair Blau and Grana.

      To the unbeknown public, this is usually referred to as Barca DNA.

    2. There is a saying, beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. There is a burger joint near my house which I consider is the best eatery in the whole world. Irrespective of all that, Barca is the best club in the world. There was a post on this blog a while ago on why the reasons we as fans love Barca. Anybody have a reference to that blog?

    3. For me my love and belief in Barca comes chiefly in the style the club plays. Obviously Winning trophies also helps and allows us to continue the Cruff ethos of ‘sexy football’. The youth system producing gems like Xavi who cause me to continually rewind my digibox to the point of malfunction just to watch his pass or skill.
      I dont remember watching Maradona and wasn’t born when Pele was still(more around the time he became a spokeperson for Viagra).Ronaldo and Rivaldo were awesome but Ronaldhino blew my mind and its a pity he burnt out so soon. Player I would have liked to witness at the time was Michael Laudrup but I was too young.
      My love of Barca also comes from an opposition to ‘certain other teams and ethos’. While I believe that if every team played the same way it would be dull- there are some that cause me to turn away in disgust.
      How many teams have a set in stone philosophy-Real? no changes with the manager(often then)
      Chelsea under Mourinho a team set up to stop others. Liverpool under Benitez(I like Liverpool just not Benitez).
      IMO though you need an example of the grotesque to appreciate the sublime .

    4. My heart, even if the IFFHS didn’t rate La Liga as the world’s best league statistically, which makes the champion of that league ….

    5. Hmm.. replies give me the jist that the answer is- there is no standard that is being used really to determine Barca as being “the best” other than personal/ subjective preference. Fair enough I suppose- I guess we all believe the team WE support IS “the best in the world.” At least, the best in the world- to us. Can’t argue with preference..

  14. That should be, breaking on Twitter, etc. BS.com says Hleb+15, which is a nice bit of nidness, if true. Still not sure how I feel about the sporting side of things, only because I haven’t watched enough Liverpool to be able to say. I liked what I saw during the Argentina match, though. It’s almost as if he were auditioning. Ramzi and a few others are geeked about the potential, so let’s see.

  15. Well, apparently we’ve agree a deal for Mascherano. It’s not on the official site, so I don’t really believe it.

    Sadly, I missed the Argentina-Ireland match, but here’s hoping for the sake of the club, Hilal, Ramzi, y2k and co. are right in their Masch. love-ins 😀

    I have absolutely no qualms in eating humble pie, if he can fill the Yaya-sized hole in my heart…

  16. Villa, BTW, had this to say about his Mexico no-show:

    “I had a bad night and woke up with a headache. I didn’t say anything to the coach but the doctors knew and I suppose that [Vicente Del Bosque] decided not to use me for that reason”.


  17. well, i shall be happy and surprised if masch joins us. it will give us the required midfield cover though. though 15 mill for one of the best defensive mids in world is not quite bad:).

  18. Has anyone thought that maybe Pep is trying to convert JDS to a DM? I thought he played there vs Guoan.

    You know what–he may be smaller and not as physical as a normal DM, but I could see that, honestly. He has an above average passing ability and an exceptional reading of the game.

    Interesting experiment, me thinks.

    1. I don’t really think so .. it was a match against Guoan and there was no apparent DM .. To me .. A DM must be strong and tall .. He can’t be pushed around easily as the referee won’t blow his whistle each time he falls .. and he sometimes uses physical strength against more talented players .. Just like CBs .. Very few CBs and DMs are short

    2. I agree in principle with having larger dm and cbs. Indeed I was worried about selling some of the height Yaya and Chig if we are to compete with a Mourinho team and the epl where everything focuses on physicality.
      However there are many counters to the idea of dm being strong and tall and if they are short they must be easily brushed off. Claude Makele is a dwarf when compared to john obi mikel yet still is a far better dm, mash,lass etc if everything smaller dms have a lower centre of gravity thereby making them stronger on the ball.
      I don’t think height is a major factor but strength is and in the case of jds he’s still young

    3. i was wondering about that too… maybe hes trying to convert JDS to a deep lying playmaker like Xabi Alonso.

  19. Is it possible to find this funny and sad at the same time?


    1. Indeed .. I think Bojan is more mature now and we can depend on him and it showed last season .. I hope Pep doesn’t neglect Pedro and Bojan .. or at least depend on them in some matches as starters

  20. yeah i was also wondering about that….but why would he do that if he has only last season let Busi break out for that position?

  21. @isaiah. you’re right. just got home & checked my “future recordings” menu & i have sevilla vs barcelona scheduled to be recorded @7:30pm pst on saturday. tve must not be airing it live. i’d give it a go & watch the channel @game time anyway, just in case.

  22. I’m considering subscribing to the Chicago Tribune based solely on your usage of the phrase “bastions of jackassery.”

  23. Watching ESPN Deportes, who are reporting that the Mascherano deal is done, and that “according to press reports” it is 15m+Hleb. Note that they have only sourced the amount from press reports, not the existence of the deal.

    Nothing on the official site yet, which is no surprise. It’s always the last to note, so to speak. Interestingly, there have been no instant denials as there were with the Ozil signing rumors. EMD and Sport are curiously quiet on this one. Perhaps they aren’t as giddy with the notion of Mascherano coming as they are trying to find a home for Ibrahimovic. 😀

    –Oh, and Balotelli is going to sign with Citeh. Maybe now his name will finally stop being associated with us.

  24. I feel like I’m going to wake up in the morning and read a quote from Hleb’s agent stating “there will be no deal, Hleb doesn’t want to play for Liverpool.”

  25. “realize it sucks, because I too look at slow news days and say to myself, “Now what?” When the press says “I got it! Check this out,” then gins up some nonsense, it erodes the trust relationship between press and the public.” Amen

    about the Masch deal, stated figures + Hlebster would be perfect. But it sounds too nice, you know what they say…If it’s too nice it’s probably NOT TRUE

  26. What do you guys honestly think of Mourinho’s signings and Madrid’s potential. Obviously it’s difficult for you guys to be objective but you surely must recognise the threat he poses? We can see he’s already moulding them to his tactics… Khedira, Carvalho and I’m sure there’ll be more defensive signings. He’ll probably play the 4-2-3-1 tactic that he loves so much. Khedira and Alonso/Lass playing the “pivot” role. If the Madridista’s accept his style (always important in their little world) then I genuinely see them as league winners. That’s not to say Barça stand no chance as they effectively just won the world cup but it will be a lot closer. Who knows they may even get past the first Champions League knockout round!

    Also for the info of Mei, we (Arsenal) didn’t tap up Cesc/Merida/Miquel as they weren’t under a professional contract and were free to discuss deals with who they wanted. Also it wasn’t a fine but compensation for the training. We’re covering old ground here but I felt the need to make the correction.

    I’m not entirely sure what the view of Rosell here in Catalunya is at the moment but I know he won’t be popular if Pep leaves. I can’t see him being too good for the sporting side of things but if he gets the finances in order it won’t be a bad thing. That’s if there’s actually any problems in the first place!

    Talking of Catalunya i’m soon to be “GoonerInLondon” which isn’t that special really. I’m gonna miss this place but I’ll be back again fairly soon I’d imagine!

    1. About merida and fabregas : if they werent under contract and free to discuss with any club , you would not be held accountable for any wrongdoings.
      Barcelona would not be entitled to any form of compensation . Being forced by court to pay a fine means that arsenal should have talked to the parent club first for any of these transfers.

      About madrid signings : Khedira is an unproven player. During a world cup many players get hyped up , get signed only to not prove their promises afterwards. Not meaning he will definitely flop , but i cant see him as a revelation anyways. Madrid already ‘s got many players in that position anyways and it will be interesting to see how they will handle the rest of the fringe players: will we see last minute offloadings for peanuts (and then these players signing like last year ? :D)
      Carvalho seems like a safe bet , but hes not accustomed to the league .
      Di maria is the biggest question mark , coming off a great year but will face stiff competition , since ronaldo is supposed to be moved to the flank again since mourinho doesnt want to ” waste his talent using him too close to the box”.

      Anyway , i totally agree with your thoughts about the style of play under mourinho ; EE’s suporters dont like defensive football , or even scrappy wins as we show in the close past( winking aat capello)

    2. No you’re completely wrong about Cesc and Merida. There is a FIFA ruling saying that if you sign a player from a club under the age of 23/24 who is out of contract or on a youth contract only (youth contract means not professional only a trainee) then compensation must be paid to the player’s original club. It is not a court merely a tribunal to decide how large the fee is IF the 2 clubs cannot agree a fee. Normally it is in stages. So if the player plays X games or wins X trophies the original club gets more money. If Arsenal were convicted of tapping up then they would have had a transfer ban which didn’t happy. You guys often seem to forget that Messi was “tapped up” (your words not mine). He came from a foreign country and had a club which received some small compensation (as he was still very young).

      Try to be a little less biased. I always try and present the balanced view on here especially as it’s not an Arsenal site. I follow the Spanish league and have probably been to more Barça games last season than most people on here (not an exaggeration). I like Barcelona’s football and style if not their attitude off the pitch. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” as the bible says.

    3. Well its not about bias , its about what i think it happened , reports were too shady at those times for both these players.
      There are several “agreements” available before a professional contract can be signed in spain , such us precontract agreements and youth contracts.
      “Tapping up” has as a possible penalty a transfer ban but has less severe punishments if a player has not signed a professional contract(yet , whether he has signed a precontract, or a youth one , or even he is out of contract because of some bizzare ruling).
      Probably i just perceive tapping up differently.
      Anyway this point wasnt risen just to take a hit at arsenal , but responding to allegations of “tapping up”.

      I dont know who “they” are in here that think messi was tapped up , but they cant be serious.
      Messi would have a much different life if it wasnt for barcelona willing to meet his parents plea to pay the medical bills and thats for a twelve year old .
      Nobody in their right mind can be a twelve year old can for sure become a professional footballer , whatever talent he might exhibit , let alone a child with growth deficiency issue.

    4. agreements and pre contracts have no legal standing, only showing the intention of signing for a club. They can be disregarded as we’ve seen in recent years. The footballing definition of “tapping up” is when a “player is encouraged to break his contract”. A contract in this definition means a full professional contract and not a youth contract. Arsenal signed both players on a loophole in that English teams can sign players on a professional contract when they’re 17. In Spain it’s 18 I believe so that way Arsenal were able to get Cesc at a knockdown price of just the compensation and Gio Van Bronckhorst (which Barça fans often forget).

      As for Messi there’s no denying him moving to Barça was good for both his welfare and the sporting side of his life. He wasn’t tapped up just offered the chance to move abroad to further his career. EXACTLY the same as Cesc. That’s why all the “Barça DNA” crap annoys me.

  27. how can we play so damn well year after year and sign so damn badly YEAR AFTER YEAR? everyone wants to come and we just don’t let ’em. Good players don’t hurt the team, having more actives is a good thing please! if we don’t sign a midfielder I’m gonna start to trip out. 4 players leave 2 come what is this? Are we gonna be a like a “canterano supremacist” team, I sure don’t like that. It’s ok to have a canterano core but looks like pep wants even more. In variety lies fun, so having a different player like ozil or SILVA, ribery or any other has no side effects, it’s not gonna break the harmony of our beloved youth, their precious “bodily fluids” lol… he comes here to help or he leaves like hleb, that easy. Plus last year thiago and JDS could have played instead of keita some games and they didn’t. I think we need someone badly. As I said last year around these dates our list is short let’s not rely on keita not a single year more, we have to grow.

  28. With mourinho this will certainly be the strongest rm side for a while. The thing about his sides is that they rarely drop points against weaker sides as they normally have numbers at the back against counters and can win games from set pieces. This is even more so because, as we saw last season weaker and less physical teams don’t know how defend ronaldo. I hate the guy but at times it seemed all too easy for them to score.

    Having said all this I think our attack will be too strong next season and I still believe we are the team to beat, not the other way round. Perhaps injuries to ronaldo or other key players will decide the league.

    1. a hater’s opinion, the problem with EE in la liga is always the same, the little team gets ahead 1-0 and they start to go “wow wow wow, NOW we can only defend and do some counters these guys are EE look at their shirts man!!! omg!!!” and EE plays like they wish, desperately seeking a goal, like chickens without a head, shooting from the bench and finally scoring one or two. I’ve seen it happen so many times… this year they are gonna fear them even more with mourinho and all, besides they supposedly will be better, less teams are gonna have a 1-0 lead vs EE. So I don’t expect much from other teams, only us and maybe atleti sevilla valencia but the rest I don’t think so. What they have to do is never stop, only at 4-0 like arcorcon 😀 😀

      injury of xabi alonso would be worst me thinks

    2. Agreed, they do still bring the fear factor although that’s because of players like Ronaldo they’re deadly on the break so you won’t find a team going all out against them at the risk of conceding a ton of goals.

      A word of warning though: Don’t underestimate Mourinho (as opposed to Madrid). He is a very smart character and pulls off a lot of tricks. Be confident but not arrogant would be the line to take I think.

    3. Last year we beat Madrid by 3 points, I won’t be surprised if they pushed us further this year.

      @Gooner: Why were you in Barcelona for such a short period of time btw?

    4. talking about FCB, our attack is the bomb but we also have the better lines in the starting 11, 1 by 1 …except for the goalie maybe. Their list is larger, their coach is the best but so is ours 😉

      def: alves/ramos – pepe/pique – calvalho/puyi – abi/arbeloa

      mid: busi/diarra_gago??? – xavi/xabi – iniesta/anyone

      fwd: ibra/pipita – villa/dimaria – messi/thongboy…anyone

    5. We should respect them, GonnerinBarça, but we don’t even have to worry about them. Why should we? We were pushed to the end last season and I know our players have the mental strength to do it again.

      Pep is great for the players psychologically. He won’t let them be complacent, nor will he allow them to worry about Madrid and what they’re doing. The key is to play to our potential every match and pick up those points.

    6. “The thing about his sides is that they rarely drop points against weaker sides”

      People say that, but Inter had about 9 ties last season. And it came against teams like Bari and Atalanta.

      They have a nice squad, but I’m truly not worried about them at all. I mean, we played them twice in 38 matches. They will drop points and I don’t even think they will reach the 95 (or 96) they finished with last season.

  29. EE last year gave some space (and thus hope) to the little team so they would commit a lil bit more on offense, whenever the lil team failed to raise to the occassion (be it due to Casillas), they would seize the advantage by exploiting the recently gained extra space (something very important for both Higain and CRY 7). If the little team scored, the EE would bring in some more offensive firepower (Guti, Benzema,..) and most of the times this was enough to get the m the victory. Hopefully, the little teams have learned they should just park the bus, as they do against Barca anyway.

    This years EE looks a lot more potent imo:
    first of all a good tactician with Darth Moul (Pellegrini was outcoached by Pep certainly in 2nd classico)
    Their lineup looks better as well with Defensively: Casillias, Ramos, Carvalho, Albiol, Arbeloa, Khedira, Alonso (only the LB is more or less a problem area quality-and depthwise), Defensive bench: Pepe, Garay, Marcelo, Drenthe and DiarraX2.
    In attack they will probably field something like: Leon-VDV-Ronaldo offensive mids and Higain as forward. With Di Maria, Canales, Granero and Kaka when he returns as bench for the offensive midfield and Benzef*ck as forwardsubstitute. Not too bad imo, better depthwise and qualitywise than last year and they’re still looking for another striker.

    Qualitywise we very much have the upper hand with VV-Dani-Picqué-Puyol-Abi-Busi-Xavi-Iniesta-Villa-Ibra-Messi. Benchwise? Adriano-Maxwell-Milito-Keita-Pedro-Bojan-Jeffren and probably(JDS-Thiago-Fontas). Again not bad but not terribly deep imo

  30. GoonerInBarca , I think that everybody here is laughing off these remarks.Anyway enough with the fabregas talk , whats your opinion on madrid signings?

  31. IMO mourinio is overated.he will never win anything without the help of rich presidents.he won C.L with inter without a italian player in the team.for me pep is far better than him.yes he is still learning things but tell me something:he won C.L playing in the final 7 players from akademy in his first year in barca.HUGE.i don.t fear madrid.i only fear the help that they will have as every year from other teams,federation and referees.

    1. I don’t think Mourinho is overrated, but I can almost guarantee that he wouldn’t have won the treble had he been our manager in the 08/09 season. That doesn’t mean Pep is better than him, it just means that Pep is the best possible manager for FC Barcelona.

  32. off topic but don.t laughing at me..i have a question:how jeffren play for u-21 spain?i think he is 22.5old!

    1. “To be eligible for the campaign ending in 2011, players need to be born in or after 1988. Many can be actually 23 years old by the time the finals tournament takes place; however, when the qualification process began (late 2009) all players would have been 21 or under.”


  33. Caceres is back in training today… for depth sake, let’s hope he impresses Pep.

    Martin, all you have to do is pass the ball correctly and not dive into every tackle. Easy, right?

    Some pictures:


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