Un Canto Para la Cantera: Sevilla – Barça [Updated]

Oh me oh my, gotta shake off the cobwebs and figure out how I do a preview again. This is going to be rough, not only because I just flew in from Mexico (and boy are my arms tired), but I’ve only been given a few weeks off since I won the World Cup in a blaze of glory. Okay, yeah I didn’t do anything–I didn’t even go to Mexico–but I did watch the World Cup from the comfort of my home and I did think the summer was a bit too short.

There were the obligatory transfer rumors that I didn’t really cover (though I came up with some Banquillo names just in case) and the preseason matches that got my blood pumping and my lady shaking her head far too early in the season. I can’t help it if I scream goal at 8 in the morning while watching the blaugranitos imitating the blaugranotes. And then, of course, there’re the new arrivals to swoon over even as I categorically reject newer arrivals: Villa is going to be wonderful, but let’s bet on the cantera. No to Mascherano, Özil, and Cesc! It’s easy to just accept what’s already been done and just as easy to posture as a cantera-lover for future arrivals. You can always claim you weren’t in favor of so-and-so, look how they failed, I told you so. Or “I’ve grown to love such-and-such, though, he’s really accepted the colors.”

So, then, with that in mind, let’s see how our cantera does against Sevilla. Except, of course, it’s not really our cantera going out there alone. With the Spanish internationals out of the picture, we could actually see a greater number of non-canteranos: Rubén Miño, Adriano, Gabi Milito, Eric Abidal, Maxwell, Seydou Keita, JDS, Thiago, Bojan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Lionel Messi. The entire back line is transfers, with just 5 canteranos (oh no!) filling out the other positions. And it would be 4 were Jose Manuel Pinto not injured. That would be some sort of a record low under Guardiola, I think. (Note: that is a completely unsubstantiated claim, feel free to disprove it in the comments)

The Spanish internationals, of course, could still see time. They had an extra training session, along with the rarely-mentioned Martín Cáceres, and could very well be slated for substitute action. Starting any of them, even Iniesta, would be silly since they only have a couple of training sessions under their belts. They all seemed to take things easy against Mexico, which was nice to see, especially Xavi who is usually a ball of tireless work. And obviously Xavi is still capable of terrific passes, but he needs more training to be ready for the season. Call me silly for eschewing the chance at winning a trophy now for the potential of winning a bigger prize later, but the Super Cup doesn’t have that much romance in it. I don’t mean I don’t care about it, I just mean I’m down with the little ones and the subs getting their chance to shine. They put in the work in the preseason, after all, and it’s not like they’re some group of scrubs hauled in off the street for this one-off match.

Regular readers of this site will know that I believe strongly in JDS and Thiago (and, indeed, more in the former than the latter), so starting them against Sevilla doesn’t strike me as a big deal. Actually, it is a big deal, but not because we’re suddenly short-handed, but rather because I think it will prove how not short-handed we are. If he’s ready to play, you could replace Thiago with Iniesta to provide depth as well as allow JDS to be the “4” as he was against Beijing Gouan. Not that I’m equating Sevilla with Gouan, but JDS has shown, to me at least, that he’s capable of playing with the first team (and I think he’s shown as much to Guardiola too, who has supposedly rejected the Özil deal in favor of the canteranos).

So, then, Sevilla, who are still a good team. Their squad list is: Palop, Javi Varas, Konko, Dabo, Fazio, Squillaci, Escude, Renato, Cigarini, Romaric, Zokora, Navas, Alfaro, Perotti, Diego Capel, Negredo, Kanoute, Luis Fabiano.

Well then. Luis Fabiano versus Eric Abidal (version C.B) may cause some to shudder with fear, but I prefer that to Andreu Fontàs getting a baptism by fire. Jesus Navas will be running rampant down the side, assuming Sevilla forces him to play after his 45 minutes at the Azteca. Whether they’ll start all 3 of Negredo, Kanoute, and Luis Fabiano isn’t really something I’m prepared to go out on a limb on (I have no idea what Antonio Álvarez is planning), but if they do go that route Fontàs would be outclassed by a superior set of attackers in his real debut with the club. And yeah, I know he played in a league match last year, but it was meaningless. Fernando Navarro misses out, which could be a boon for Messi, who will run up against a second choice LB.

So Guardiola will probably surprise us all and start his internationals or maybe all kids or maybe sub himself on and run rampant through the midfield.

Official Prediction: 1-1. I think we’ll pass the ball around a lot and they’ll get one on the break and then we’ll lay siege to them even though they’ll be trying to play with us because they know the second leg will be all the big guns. Our goal by Messi.

UPDATE: Guardiola has released his squad list: Miño, Oier, Alvés, Ibrahimovic, Messi, Bojan, Keita, Milito, Maxwell, Jeffren, Adriano, Abidal, Nolito, Sergi Roberto, Thiago, Sergi Gómez, Jonathan dos Santos, Muniesa, Oriol Romeu.

Note the absences of all the Spanish internationals, including Iniesta, as well as Hleb, Víctor Sánchez, and Cáceres. I stick by my predictions and lineups.

Also, the match is at 9:30pm local time according to the official site (here), which is 3:30pm EST. Check your local time here. It doesn’t appear that this match will be televised live in the US, though it will obviously be on in Spain.

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.

140 Comments

  1. Jnice
    August 13, 2010

    Thiago started against Sevilla in the first Copa match against them last year and he did really well. I’m sure he and/or Jonathan will do a good job.

    I really want to win this title, though and start the season off on the right foot.

    I agree with the 1-1 prediction then I believe we will kill them at home with more of the regulars in there.

  2. drew
    August 13, 2010

    anybody know why pep didnt have his press conference?

  3. Kxevin
    August 13, 2010

    It’s hard to predict what the score will be, without knowing our lineup/squad. Could be anything from 3-1 us to 2-1 them. We’ll know by who Guardiola rolls out with how seriously he takes this bit of silver. And might I say at this moment, that “Daddy want silver!”

    Meanwhile, my no nonsense quote of the day, from Citeh coach Mancini:

    “I have to choose 25. The rest must find another team. Craig is out of the list.”

    • Kxevin
      August 13, 2010

      Oh, and what is TVE? Whatever it is, it’s carrying the SuperCopa match on delay, according to my Comcast guide. It’s part of the NuevoSelecto package, which I now have, which replaces the Selecto Complete, which in fact wasn’t all that complete compared to the Nuevo….never mind.

      • Jnice
        August 13, 2010

        I think TVE is the official Spanish channel for the Spanish NT and they were the ones who showed our Copa final against Bilbao.

        • Kxevin
          August 13, 2010

          Cool. Well I now have it. I took a pass on the free Playboy en Espanol, however.

      • SoccerMom
        August 13, 2010

        Televisión Española, baby!
        Not a lot of matches (GolTV, ESPND and FSE carry the Liga games) but you can tune in to the only ‘sane’ soccer show in Spain (DXT Noche) and see a little sports coverage on ‘Telediario’
        We are also hooked over here on ‘Aguila Roja’ and ‘El Guante Blanco’. But that’s beside the point …

  4. KevinO
    August 13, 2010

    Nice review man..I wish i could see some more of the barca youth team matches though ;-(.. i have no idea who’re the up nd coming guys except from the occasional reviews and highlights..

    P.S. Dunno if the Masch rumors are still flying around like annoying mosquitoes, but doesnt anyone else think that even though he’s a good destroyer, he’s also an incompetent passer? Signing him might disrupt the whole flow..

    • aULD sUPER
      August 13, 2010

      No he is an extremely competent passer of the ball back and to the side just can’t pass forward, that’s why he’s ONLY 25m.

  5. August 13, 2010

    i wouldn’t go as far as incompetent passer. wasn’t he part the scorer of the 23 pass goal of Argentina vs Serbia in WC 2002?

    • Kari
      August 13, 2010

      Nope. It was Cambiasso in WC 06 in Germany /http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5W6vBI3mGE

  6. Kxevin
    August 13, 2010

    David Villa is now No. 2 in shirt sales, behind Messi. People are apparently going crazy for him.

    • Kari
      August 13, 2010

      Me too! Me too!

      It’s illa illa illa, Villa maravilla!

      We need to find a BFB nickname for him.

    • Ajani
      August 13, 2010

      they are…I was just in Barcelona and every other seven year old kid there was wearing a Villa jersey. (the other seven year olds were girls.)

  7. Kari
    August 13, 2010

    Oh, how I missed previews!

    –Is this match on GOLTV or do I have to stream it?

    –You’re still doing the review right, Kxevin? I don’t want to miss the opportunity to call you a jacka**! 😀

    Can’t wait for the match to start! And for Villa to debut for us.

  8. Jnice
    August 13, 2010

    Madrid vs Bayern set to start on ESPN if anyone is interested.

    • Kari
      August 13, 2010

      Are they losing yet? If they are, maybe I’ll check it out 😀

      • Jnice
        August 13, 2010

        Well they would be, but Casillas saved Badstuber’s pk and the Mueller’s rebound shot lol.

  9. Kari
    August 13, 2010

    Whoa! Off-topic, but Balotelli is officially a Man City player. That team is freakin’ stacked…I guess. I don’t really rate Adebayor and De Jong, well, De Jong was kung-fu fighting. But still. Whoa.

    I hate them because they took El Chino from me us, on loan remember, but it’ll be interesting to see what they achieve in the EPL. I personally think they’re destined for some type of failure. These things never work.

    BS.com says we’ll line up with:

    Probable Line-up (4-3-3): Valdes, Adriano, Milito, Abidal, Maxwell; Dos Santos, Víctor Sanchez, Alcantara; Messi, Ibrahimovic, Villa

    I highly doubt that Villa will debut in an away game, even if he was going to play. But you never now–I highly doubt it–but Pep hasn’t released the squad list yet, right?

  10. August 13, 2010

    ohhh right that was Cambiasso. For some reason I often mix those two up

  11. August 13, 2010

    WOOA i did not expect this one :

    1. pep barcastuff

    Guardiola: “Ibrahimovic will stay? Because of the situation that we have now, I won’t comment on that.”

    Situation???What situation??
    I really hope they are not lying again about the financial status and we just got a huge offer in our hands.

    • Kxevin
      August 13, 2010

      I saw that, and you beat me to it. Uh, oh ….

      I don’t like that one little bit. Mancini laughed at the rumor of the immense offer for Ibrahimovic, but if it’s truth, any club would be foolish not to look at it, seriously. I’ve said before that no player (even Messi) is untransferable. I know that his buyout clause is stratospheric, something around 250m on paper, but I bet we’d take a nunber between 50 and 60m.

      • August 13, 2010

        50 and 60 for ibra i guess , not for messi .
        Im really somewhat shocked by this.
        Really looking forward to ibra this season 🙁

        • Kxevin
          August 13, 2010

          Right. Ibrahimovic. I think that Messi is as close to untransferable as anyone in world football right now. But if a club came to us and said “Here’s a blank check, just fill in the number,” I wonder what we’d do.

          • August 13, 2010

            Well there were stories last year including exactly the situation you described. Keeping in mind ,however , that even player quotes are completely made up , these were more likely intended to be included in a novel or sth than being remotely close to being true.

            Im really having difficulty in believing that the catalan press got one right.

      • aULD sUPER
        August 13, 2010

        Sorry but Leo is definitely untransferable. Definitely.

    • Jnice
      August 13, 2010

      Yeah, what does that mean, dunno. But I do know that if I look at the papers in the morning, I’m going to be annoyed. Pep just gave them what they needed to carry on with the Ibra rumors for the next 2 weeks.

      • Kxevin
        August 13, 2010

        If we sell Ibrahimovic, I think it will weaken the club’s attack, but what do I know. We’d probably then go with a front line of Pedro!/Villa/Messi. On the other hand, we’d have plenty of money to fill any squad player holes.

        Gotta trust Guardiola at this point.

        • Jnice
          August 13, 2010

          I think our attack is weakened severely compared to what it would be now, not how it was last year. Just think of all the combinations we have with Ibra…

    • Kari
      August 13, 2010

      Uh oh…

      Remember that Ibra’s a Laporta signing and right now, the easiest target for Rosell (he already sold the other easy target).

      I’m not 100% or even 75% sure Pep’ll stay on after this season 🙁 I won’t think about it now, since it’s almost the start of the season, but it looks like the glory days are numbered…

      • Kxevin
        August 13, 2010

        Kari makes a very interesting point. And Rosell is definitely a meddler. I think the percentage of Guardiola staying after this season is going down daily. I just can’t see it.

        On the other hand, Villa is a Laporta signing as well.

    • Kxevin
      August 13, 2010

      During the post-training press conference. He also named the squad list, which you see below.

  12. Kxevin
    August 13, 2010

    Squad list for tomorrow:

    Keita, Sergi Roberto, Dos Santos, Thiago, Messi, Ibrahimovic, Krkic, Jeffren, Nolito, Mino Oier, Alves, Abidal, Sergio Gomez, Muniesa, Milito, Correia, Andrade, Oriol Romeu

  13. Kxevin
    August 13, 2010

    So, it looks like:

    Oier
    Alves, Milito, Abidal, Andrade
    Keita Dos Santos Thiago
    Jeffren Ibrahimovic Krkic

    • Jnice
      August 13, 2010

      I think Mino will start over Oier, but it’s a pretty good lineup.

      • Kxevin
        August 13, 2010

        You’re right. I get my farmers mixed up. Mino. Not Oier.

  14. GREECE BARCA
    August 13, 2010

    no that is a bad bad news.i am not a fan of ibra but i don.t want to sell him i can.t understand what happens inside the team.strange.

    • aULD sUPER
      August 13, 2010

      Ibra earns too much, I’d like to keep him but thats too much money to pay any player unless you’re man city.

  15. August 13, 2010

    On the ibra matter ,if we attempt to view it objectively(hide the antirosell mask for a second) , if I wanted to “normalize” finances he would be first candidate to go.
    Getting rid of very high wages , carrying on with the same pattern like with the henry marquez transfers , but at this time with a viable fee.
    It could be a double hit too if villa outperforms him this year and his marketability goes down while his age always goes up.-kxevin already mentioned that villa has lightened up our shirt sales , being no 2 behind messi already.
    (for the record i dont want him to go , i just try to see any positives on a possible move since things are uncertain right now )

  16. GREECE BARCA
    August 13, 2010

    kxevin i agree about the starting eleven but i want to see some muniesa and oriol romeu but maybe pep believe is too risky!

  17. Kari
    August 13, 2010

    Looks like Casillas is going to be a pain this season. WC win seems to have brought back his confidence–I thought he wasn’t all that great last season.

    Hopefully, we’ll do this to him again. 😀

    *http://i47.tinypic.com/2li7k9j.gif

  18. Euler
    August 13, 2010

    If you can argue that the club is in financial distress, as LaPorta has, the entire sporting project can be put under the thumb of the decision makers overseeing the business.

    Pep and Zubi have complete control, autonomy and final say over sporting decisions.

    But the sporting decisions take on a lower priority than the business decisions do if you can argue we can’t make payroll.

    So then you can sell Chyggy and at the same time quite rightly say that you haven’t interfered with the Sporting project. It was only business. Pep said as much aftewards.

    Very concerning quotes from Pep regarding Ibra. I don’t believe he’s ever said anything that uncertain before.

    Given Ibra’s wages and potential transfer fee the cashflow issues alone can easily set up a situation where Rosell can tell Pep sorry we have to do it – it’s not sports it’s business and it’s not your decision.

    • Kxevin
      August 13, 2010

      EULER!!!! Welcome back, though I imagine you’ve been lurking.

      • Kxevin
        August 13, 2010

        And you’re right. So Rosell not only costs us the opportunity to see what it would have been like with three of the best attackers on the planet, driving defenses crazy. He also costs us one of the potentially best coaches the club has ever had. Does anyone realistically think that Guardiola is going to stay in charge of the sporting project without having control over player selection?

        • Euler
          August 13, 2010

          Back now! Things have been really hectic since I returned. Will get back to posting.

          Really don’t like the intimations here.

          The macro issue is whether this stuff forces Pep to leave. No way he wants Ibra sold.

          But Pep is Barca through and through and he’s said that the business decisions are the bottom line. He can’t argue against the financial well being of the club.

          I’m really looking forward to Villa-Ibra-Messi. Let’s hope it happens.

          • Luke
            August 13, 2010

            Holy shit Euler, welcome back. Thought the black abyss had claimed another one.

  19. drew
    August 13, 2010

    i know pep is the man and all(the barcastuff one) and i believe his stuff more than others, but AS has a different answer from pep(barca coach) to the ibra question

    • jordi™
      August 13, 2010

      Por el bien de la institución es mejor que no comente nada sobre Ibra. No voy a decir nada por la situación que se está generando, que lo comenten el club y su representante. Yo lo único que puedo decir es que está aquí y mucho mejor que el año pasado a estas alturas

      Full quote, he said both things.Reading this makes me really hate Sandro.

      • Kari
        August 13, 2010

        Basic translation:

        “For the sake of the institution, it is better not to say anything about Ibra.

        I will not say anything about the situation that’s happening right now–a situation of which the club and his agent are talking about.

        All I can say is that [Ibra} is here and doing much better than he was the same time last year”

  20. Diego S.
    August 13, 2010

    I know Ibra’s wages are high and all .. and we could use the money .. but still If we sell him .. we’ll have “Messi,Villa,Pedro,Ibra,Jeffren” .. and Jeffren is prone and Injured a lot .. And Pedro and Krkic are still inexperienced and not game changers as we saw against inter .. and to me Villa is not a CF as he usually drifts wide and drops to the midfield and on the left flank .. If he “Ibra” costs too much .. keep him for one more year for Bojan to be a proper starter .. Maybe He signed Luis Suarez and we don’t know ..

  21. jordi™
    August 13, 2010

    IF we sell ibra i want a world class replacement that isnt too old or too young.Not fucking Robinho,Pirlo, Adebayor.None of these clowns that sport keep mentioning.Ill take Carlitos thank you very much.

  22. August 13, 2010

    I will go in a mental vacation till the end of transfer market, Writing and reading about everything beside transfer news.

    Just swallowed 3 hector-pills bottles. Tats enoguh to resist clicking any transfer news headline. More importantly, avoiding the daily visit of Sports and co.

    Yesterday Ibra’s agent slap the press, today they punch back!

    • Kxevin
      August 13, 2010

      I’d like to join you, Ramzi, but my curiosity is too high. The Guardiola statement puts everything into an uncertainty mode for me. I’d love to have seen him make the comment, to see if there was sarcasm in his tone or not.

      • vicsoc8
        August 13, 2010

        Can’t see why Guardiola would say something like this in jest or sarcastically, since he has up until this point categorically denied that Ibra would be going anywhere.

  23. GREECE BARCA
    August 13, 2010

    thanks for the translation kari!well i guess we have to wait and see what will happen.but i don.t believe that we will selling him!who knows..maybe city offer was real..

  24. GREECE BARCA
    August 13, 2010

    goal.com report that madrid made an offer for oezil but was rejected by werder.also said that the start price they ask is about 25m.haha.nice.also don.t believe in friendlies!i was tonight in olympiacos-roma 5-1.a friendly game and the truth about a team is far far away!

  25. vicsoc8
    August 13, 2010

    Very worrying quotes from Guardiola about Ibra.

    That said, if Ibra does leave I don’t think you’ll see Villa playing in the middle. I think it’ll be Messi in an extremely free, pseudo-false-nine role.

    Villa – Messi – Pedro still looks like a pretty strong front line to me. And if Adriano can play wing as we hear he can, then our depth up front still wouldn’t be too bad (if you count Iniesta on the left wing at times).

    But what do I know.

  26. flyzowee
    August 13, 2010

    I think pep is angry at the current situation, coz pep ALWAYs protects his players no matter what and he always hand-picks his words. This has the potential to be a highly inflammable situation
    How is Ibra goin to react to this?
    Hes reali determined this season, he looks faster and more in synch.
    He was gr8 4 Sweden recently.
    Why is dis Rosell guy driving pep away…god
    These are dangerous times for FCbarcelona.

    And u knw wat Messi is next on the wage bill.
    I feel so powerless right now.

    • Dave
      August 13, 2010

      I watched the highlights of Sweden and Scotland- yes Ibra was great but he was given his old license from Italy to roam free that Barca only gives to Messi. Makes you wonder if we allow ibra this role for a game or two how he’ll fare. Opinions?

      • Jim
        August 13, 2010

        Come on guys. He was playing against Scotland . . .. Btw, only I am allowed to make disparaging comments about them. 🙂

  27. Jim
    August 13, 2010

    I think we might be getting a little excitable here. Not that I’m Ibra’s biggest fan but what are the chances of anyone, even City signing him? They’ve spent over £100m on the say so of Mancini who held onto his job by the skin of his teeth. With Milner maybe another £12m to come. Would they spend another £60m for another forward with the attendant wages?

    They’ve just signed Balotelli and Mancini says he’s made up his mind about his squad of 25. Ibra has been available all along for the right price. Why would they leave it till now to go for him? And why would Ibra agree? If he leaves he gets no chance to prove his worth to the world in a Barcelona shirt and he strikes me as a proud man.

    Inter have some money from the transfer of Balottelli but not that amount.

    Its been a weird summer though. Ibra comes back well over weight – not the action of someone determined to show people they were wrong. He goes back to the International team after missing the WC, with all the extra travelling that will involve over the season. Finally, Rosell couldn’t risk doing this to Pep unless he has a replacement from somewhere. Does he want the legacy of his first summer in the minds of the fans to be the loss of Yaya and Ibra when Laporta brought in Villa? If the team then loses La liga he’d never be forgiven.

    Am I missing something here?

  28. y2k156
    August 13, 2010

    All of us have seen how the press has falsified pretty much everything in recent times so i think lets take a breather. Press is putting across lies left and right. It is possible that Man City made that offer for Ibra but i am not totally sure. They do have money but this seems stupid.

    Watched the EE match. Cronaldo still is busy in showing how he is great while his football is still nothing special. Overall EE were not that great and i think that they might have a problem without some one really driving them. They lacka xavi so to speak. Canales and Pedro Leon are too young and not up to their full potential while van der vaart for me is always a enigma. He promises a lot but have not seen him deliver results too many times.

    Overall i am not too worried about EE. They will be a challenge but that is always welcome.

  29. Barcathegreatestever
    August 13, 2010

    Ibra sat the bench last year while Pique took the center forward position to try and salvage their Champions League campaign. Is that a joke? You Ibra lovers are so deluded. Barca gave up 5 goals in 2 games last year Inter away and Sevilla at home in the Copa. Sergio and Maxwell for Inter and Sergio and Thiago for Sevilla.

    If Rosell sells Ibra and buys Senna or Mascherano and balances the books to boot, he will have put Barca back on course.

    • Kxevin
      August 13, 2010

      Get real, for just a second. Pique was part of the reason that we shipped 5 goals in 2 games, not Ibrahimovic. That’s like changing your electric company because your gas service isn’t working properly. If we don’t give up three silly goals at Inter, we probably win Champions League again. But we did, and Ibrahimovic had nothing to do with those goals.

      Further, lack of overall fitness catches up to a player as the season progresses, so it makes sense that Ibrahimovic faded. But it’s a good thing he started strong, because we needed his goals and the space that he created for Messi.

      If you sell Ibrahimovic, then Villa probably slides inside and we are once again relying on Pedro to give us width, which isn’t going to happen. We also become a full-on team of midgets, which might cause Champions League complexities, yes?

      We can afford to purchase Senna or Mascherano withOUT selling a player who, working with Messi and Villa, could drive defenses insane this season.

      The books are a lot closer to balanced than anyone knows. We’ve all read the real story of our economics, so I wouldn’t go painting Rosell as some fiscal white knight. What he is to me is a meddling president who will drive the current coach away with his stupid ego and ham-handed ways.

      Senna would cost less than 5m. Pocket change for a club like ours, particularly since we still have that 40+m transfer chest. We could probably buy Mascherano outright, as well.

      It isn’t a question of being an Ibrahimovic lover, any more than anyone might accuse you of being an Ibrahimovic hater. After all, your comment could be read as you blaming HIM for the goals that we conceded, which is a neat trick.

      Yes, Pique roams forward on the attack. But his moving forward could be just as scathing an indictment of Messi’s inability to produce goals, right? Think about it, then ask who’s delusional.

      This club has needs. Selling a piece of the attacking puzzle that might gain us the treble isn’t one of them.

      • Jnice
        August 13, 2010

        We can afford to purchase Senna or Mascherano withOUT selling a player who, working with Messi and Villa, could drive defenses insane this season.

        The books are a lot closer to balanced than anyone knows. We’ve all read the real story of our economics, so I wouldn’t go painting Rosell as some fiscal white knight. What he is to me is a meddling president who will drive the current coach away with his stupid ego and ham-handed ways.

        Senna would cost less than 5m. Pocket change for a club like ours, particularly since we still have that 40+m transfer chest. We could probably buy Mascherano outright, as well.

        Exactly.

  30. GREECE BARCA
    August 13, 2010

    come on man.i am not a fan of ibra but the problem is not him.it was the stupid transfer policy of previous board.no team want hleb(same pep)caseres(same pep)keirison(same pep)henrique(same pep).we didnt sold anri and marquez when we had the chance.and now the new board is under pressure.no money for good transfers,catalan press want big names,pep want players.so?what?we have to sell ibra.i don.t know.i am sad and angry the same time

    • Kxevin
      August 13, 2010

      Your negativity is misguided. It was that previous board that brought on Henry, Alves, Keita, Abidal, The Yaya, Ibrahimovic and Andrade. Hleb never got a shot, but was playing very well before he was injured and the train moved along without him. Caceres has morphed into a very good defender. If we give him a real shot, he will stick. Keirrison was always one for the future, and remember that his purchase wasn’t Guardiola’s call. Neither was Henrique.

      Don’t be so quick to find negative things that you ignore the positives. The previous board’s “stupid transfer policy” brought in the very players who helped us to a treble, and six trophies in a calendar year, an astounding feat. How stupid are they, really?

      And oh, yeah …. that same stupid board decided to take a chance on the Barca B team coach, rather than bringing in some big name to coach us.

      You’re right. They’re stupid as the day is long.

  31. Euler
    August 13, 2010

    If Rosell sells Ibra and buys Senna or Mascherano and balances the books to boot, he will have put Barca back on course.

    The concerning part of your statement is Rosell.

    Rosell shouldn’t be buying or selling anyone. Pep and Zubi should be.

    What your not seeing is that this situation has less to do with Ibra than it does with Pep, his status at the club and his relationship with the President.

    You might not like Ibra – but Pep does. He bought Ibra. He has said repeatedly this transfer season that Ibra will be back. He doesn’t want Ibra sold.

    Now there’s some kind of discussion’s going on that go against Pep’s stated desire. And the same thing happened with Chygrinksi’s sale. Pep didn’t want to sell him. Selling him was concerning – not because of losing the player but what it means for the decision making process inside the club.

    So if you think having the club President dictating what the sporting project is to be to the manager and sporting director then you have a very odd idea of what “back on course” is.

  32. Lev
    August 13, 2010

    first of all Messi is untransferable. Rosell would not dare sell him even if he were offered a billion dollars. Ibra and Messi are not comparable:
    – Ibra arguably underperformed to the standard that his salary would demand
    – Even if Ibra overpeformed he would still not be as good as Messi
    – Leo has been with the club since he was 13 yrs old. He is one of us, basically.

    I also think that Messi – Villa – Pedro is a wicked line-up and possibly even better than Messi – Ibra – Villa, especially if Pedro keeps improving. If “the situation” requires that they have to sell someone I would rather they sold Ibra then Villa, Pedro, Xavi, Iniesta, Busi, Pique, Puyol, Dani Alves or Valdes. The only starter who is more expendable imo is Abidal, but then again it would not make any sense to sell him because he does not cost as much salary wise and we would not receive a lot for him, given his age and the WC fiasco.

    If Barça sold Ibra for say 50 mil that would be a bad thing. 60-70 mil, mmmmm… 80+ mil is a no brainer imo

  33. flyzowee
    August 13, 2010

    Nobody is non-transferable.
    If a bid comes in at 100-150mill pounds in cash, say adios to fifas player of the year.
    This is business, no room for sentiments. Pep wouldnt even have a say in the matter.
    Quite frankly i wouldnt think twice bout it as long as 70 percent is re-invested in the team.

    • Jnice
      August 13, 2010

      Personally, I would never sell Messi for 100m or whatever. You get the money and what do you do? Go out and try to find an imitation Messi, someone who fits in the system like he does? Buy a bunch of players who aren’t as good and won’t have the same impact? No, thanks.

    • Jim
      August 14, 2010

      While agreeing that everyone in theory has his price there are some many reasons why a £150m for Messi at this stage would be turned down.

  34. Hilal
    August 13, 2010

    I dont buy any of this, not for a second. Rosell would be shooting himself in the foot by selling Ibra. Its a sale which would weaken the team considerably. ITs a sale which would make no sense whatsoever so late in the summer because it is far too late to find a replacement who is anywhere near as good. A president makes his mark by signing players, not selling them.

    All this talk about money is BS too. A few weeks ago we had 50m to spend, of which we have spent 10m. All of a sudden we need to sell Ibra because of his salary even though we have essentially 40m extra? It just doesnt make sense.

    Oh and the numbers being thrown around in the press for Ibra are ludicrous, even by Man Citys standards – over 600K per week? IT equates to almost 120m eur over 4 years just on his wages, throw in the 40m or so it would take to pry him away from us and you are talking about 160m Eur for ONE player. Come on. Who believes that. Even Man City are not that financially irresponsible. That being said, on the off chance that it is true and they are just that crazy, well who could blame Ibra for wanting to go. That is a stupid amount of money.

    I just hope it isnt true cos we will be a hell of a lot stronger with Ibra than without. I dont care what anybody says, the likes of Pedro and Bojan dont provide anywhere near the same threat.

    Although, if we could get Tevez thrown in the deal that might be interesting…

  35. Sasha
    August 13, 2010

    Nevada Smiths’ (a bar in NY) website lists tomorrow’s SSC game on its fixtures page. Anyone know if that is actually the case? *http://www.nevadasmiths.net/fixtures.html

    • Kxevin
      August 13, 2010

      Not any more, they don’t. The only TV listing I have seen for it is on TVE (which I now have) on delay at 9 p.m. CDT. Nothing for GolTV, Deportes or any of the Fox Soccer entities. Weird.

  36. Barcathegreatestever
    August 13, 2010

    Kevin why don’t you get real. Ibras turnovers wrong footed his entire team and combined with an empty midfield and Marquez, knocked them out of the Copa. By the knockout stages of the CL Pep was finally noticeably losing confidence in the Ibra agenda and by the time the Big semifinal tie came around he was subbed out at 62 and 63 minutes respectively and didn’t start any games afterwards. Those games were precisely what he was brought in for and he didn’t even come close to delivering. Henry old and injured still had more class and presence on the ball than Ibra ever will. You so easily belittle one of the all time greats, a player that delivered to Barca their penultimate season and in the same sentence defend as a brother the Ibraflop. You parrot Peps moves like he is some kind of demigod. “In Pep we must trust”. Then add in your own analysis “Ibra was getting tired after playing all season” Then you pass judgement? This is an opinion piece dude and your opinion differs vastly from mine and a lot of others

    • Bundy
      August 14, 2010

      firstly you begin your argument with your opinion of the team banking on Pique to lead the line as CF in the champions league last season. Seriously why would you say that? what makes me believe that your opinion of Ibra any less biased than what Kxevin posts? Especially when you follow by blaming Ibra for somehow being single handedly responsible for making us concede key goals in the champions league and copa del rey. Seriously!

    • Jim
      August 14, 2010

      Now that is funny. Waits for Kxevin . . . .

    • Kxevin
      August 14, 2010

      I’m only dealing with valid arguments this season. This isn’t one. So you keep on having fun thinking that Ibrahimovic cost us trophies last season, and that Henry was better. Good luck to you. Or perhaps Jnice was right, and the comment was indeed a humor piece. Either way, if your suppositions are indeed serious, it’s just too twisted a notion to even begin to deal with, like when the guy is carrying the sign that says “The World Will End Tomorrow.”

      You just kind of smile and say “Okay, you betcha.”

    • Luke
      August 14, 2010

      I’ll say this about this ignorant dreck you continue to spew. Without Ibra, we might not have been that far in the CL, since he did score the away goals at Stuttgart and Arsenal.

      Henry scored a whopping 3 goals last year, had no pace, and was practically useless in every regard. Literally, he was the worst offensive player we had and that is why he rarely started and didn’t even play that much. Those were Pep’s decisions, where is your retort?

      Basically you have made no coherent argument in any post you have ever written and continue to use the old internet trope: make outwardly attacking comments, then run and hide behind “it’s my opinion” when someone calls you out and makes a principled argument for why your statements are so deficient of reason or merit that they should never exist.

      So please sir, until you can find an answer to the fact that Ibra scored the winner or tying goal in the following games, please stop:

      1. First Clasico winner, which consequently came when he was subbed on for Henry, HA!
      2. 2 away goals against Arsenal
      3. 1 away goal against Stuttgart
      4. 6th most goals in La Liga

  37. Barcathegreatestever
    August 14, 2010

    Here is another opinion. For every goal Ibra scored, it cost Barca two goals.

    • barca96
      August 14, 2010

      C’mon man… What is this?
      Give some facts

      • theMaginator
        August 14, 2010

        I won’t usually say this, but;
        I wish you left and never came back. I Wish I Wish I Wish.

    • August 14, 2010

      So we can only wish he doesn’t score more, for the best of the club. Or maybe, he can start scoring own goals leading us to victory!

    • Luke
      August 14, 2010

      Perhaps understanding the laws of physics or just the laws of the game isn’t your strong suit.

  38. August 14, 2010

    1. On Ibra: he deserves one more season with this team at least. People forget that last year, at the beginning, Messi wasn’t in completely top form and was missing a bunch of easy chances. Ibra carried the scoring load early on (first 5-7 games or so). BUT, if he is sold, it wouldn’t be the end of the world, particularly if we use the money to buy a midfielder like Mascherano or Ozil or someone. I could see Pep switching to a sort of 4-1-4-1 in that case, with Messi just behind Villa and Mascherano/Ozil joining Busi, Xavi and Iniesta in midfield. It would still leave game changers like Bojan, Pedro, Jeffren on the bench for emergency situations and might give us more tactical flexibility. But overall, I say a lineup with Ibra is better than one without.

    2. If Messi is sold any time before a career threatening injury or the age of 30, it will cause a riot. I don’t care how much money it is. What’re we going to do with 200 million? Look for players like Messi, right? Well, we have the real thing, so please.

    3. I don’t buy the Rosell-might-cause-Pep-to-leave logic, not because I trust him more than any of you, but because I never thought Pep would stay more than 3 seasons anyway. He’s super intense, and takes football and the club too seriously for his own health. Look at this hair! It’s all gone. He’s very demanding of the players, and at some point, they will get tired of it, and he will get tired full stop. I’d love to be wrong about this, but with or without Rosell, I don’t see him staying long anyway.

  39. OhYes
    August 14, 2010

    Ibra got 7 assists, a decent number I’d say, and was 6th on the goal scoring table with 16 goals. He scored 2 fewer goals than Forlan and scored more goals than Luis Fabiano, Llorente, Bojan, Pedro, Kanoute, Aguero, and a few other good strikers/players. This is his first season coming into a completely different system than the one at Inter and a different league than Serie A. Scored more goals than Henry did in his first season. I expect him to improve in his second season, just like Henry did.

    “Here is another opinion. For every goal Ibra scored, it cost Barca two goals.”

    What? Since when is Ibra a defender or a goalkeeper? I’m not exactly sure what you mean by this…

  40. jnelson
    August 14, 2010

    Just what does a striker have to do to be a success? This is ridiculous. Every. day. someone is saying “Ibra was a failure.” “Ibra cost us this.” “Ibra cost us that.” For all of the people who say he has attitude problems and is rude/w/e, there is no wondering why if that is true. he has to put up with so much bullshit when really, BANGS owns. There is nobody I would rather have leading my front line. For all of you Ibra haters out there, the day is coming. we are going to be brought back down to the woes of the gaspart era and it is going to be done by people like you. I can’t believe people actually believe Ibra was a failure! What the hell have I been watching then!? soon, we’ll have robinhos, van gaals, overmars’, and maxi lopez’. **** rosell.

    • barca96
      August 14, 2010

      Don’t you dare to put Van Gaal in there!!! :p
      I’m still holding a grudge against our club for sacking him, TWICE!

  41. August 14, 2010

    Selling Messi for 100 M now is a loss. Financially speaking. Calculate the financial return of the club brand and titles accomplishments and how far Messi contributes in enhancing that image. Far more than the 100 M in the following 3 years. After3 years you will still be able to sell him for a good price.

    To sell Messi, you need to have a new marketable figure (which includes football quality). The same as we subbed Ronaldinho for Messi.

    Till then, forget it.

  42. poipoi
    August 14, 2010

    the press is saying we say “neh” to masche… another one then. ozil no? masche no? who’s gonna come then ¿¿¿¿spiderman????

    on the ibra failure stuff… I don’t think that after any other striker’s 1st year the press and some people wanted the striker out. I hope that day comes also, the day he cuts the bullshit but it hasn’t happened yet… the end of last season was kinda lame with bojan starting and all.

  43. GREECE BARCA
    August 14, 2010

    kxevin it s my opinion about the transfer policy of previous board the last two summers.yes we made good but also bad transfers.it s not negativity.laporta was good and bad.rosell will be good and bad.and IMO laporta desicion in 2008 to bring pep was an action to save his ass after two bad season.imagine what would be happen if pep first season was a failure?and for me pep is the best coach but he is still learning in transfers area.it s logic.

  44. stowe
    August 14, 2010

    I would be really sad if we never got to see a line-up including Villa-Ibra-Messi. Villa can play in the middle but I think that he plays better with a big dude (like in the WC) and I think Messi plays best from the right. Messi has done well as a false nine but I don’t think that would work well as our “plan A.”

    Ramzi, I like the point you make about selling Messi. I hope we don’t sell him in three years, but I think it would be a financial loss and footballing loss. He’s an iconic figure as well as the best player in the world (and still improving). As long as Messi is happy here, I hope we’re all happy to keep him (even for a bazillion dollars)

    I would be really sad if we tried to replace Ibra with Tevez. Tevez is great but would disrupt so much of our game. I never thought he meshed well with Messi on the Argentina team. I don’t think he has the best ball skills and that would hurt a team like ours.

  45. Eklavya
    August 14, 2010

    -Ibra scored 21 goals in total last season.

    -Ibra broke the real Ronaldo’s record of goals in consecutive games. Also he has the best debut any player has had everever.

  46. Eklavya
    August 14, 2010

    BTW, why isn’t Fontas included in the squad?

    • Jnice
      August 14, 2010

      I think Pep wants to bring him along slowly considering he was out for 2 months. He’ll get his chance in the Gamper match, most likely.

    • August 14, 2010

      Its fair and normal to use the players who already served the preseason games. They are even more fit.

  47. barca96
    August 14, 2010

    From El Mundo;

    Questioned about the possible signing of Mascherano, Guardiola said, putting him in the same bracket as the other players who were linked with the club in recent weeks like Oezil, Capoue, Senna etc.

    “Giving my opinion now wouldn’t help. I wouldn’t be doing the club any good if I started saying I like this player or that one. We are linked with many players, but my job is to give my opinion to the board. The board knows what I want for the next year and what I think of the squad. The club is working on different possibilities and I have the final say.”

    Now it doesn’t look like that we are getting any closer to Mascherano after all.

    • Hilal
      August 14, 2010

      Hmmm. Well I am not so sure about that. All Pep is really saying here is that he doesnt want to discuss any possible signings or any players that are linked to the club, which is the smart thing to do. The most important thing I take from this statement is that he has the final say. As long as that remains true then I am not worried.

    • August 14, 2010

      We must not forget that his name is not Mascheranho, or else Sandro would had signed him weeks ago 😀

      On a serious note, even if we want him -and I don’t know because I am living a transfer denial- It was/is good to give it time. Liverpool surrendered to losing him and they need money. Especially after signing a replacement. His price will drop with every day we wait.

      • barca96
        August 14, 2010

        I’d prefer to sign a player asap tbh. The longer we wait the less time the/any player has time to settle in.

        p.s. happy fasting guys

  48. hannibal
    August 14, 2010

    As always this place brings out a lot of fine footballing discussions, an occasional lost idiot but in general, I love this BLOG. I’ve read this blogon a consistent basis ever since the core-writers left The Offside and it ‘satisfies’ my barça hunger.

    I only wonder what happened to Hector (the tactical wizard), must have stopped posting when I was abroad or something?

    On Masherano, I’ll follow Ramzi, his price will drop every day we wait, but I expect him to go to Inter in the end now they’ve sold Crazy Mario.

  49. GREECE BARCA
    August 14, 2010

    ramzi is also a tactical wizard!your articles in footballmoodblog rocks man!

  50. August 14, 2010

    Regarding Isaiah lineup. I may like to keep Messi out for the first half if Alves is fit (he will always like to play in Seville). With alves on the right we can either have Adriano as a left wing (with Ibra and Bojan) or we can have him/Maxwell in the midfield instead of Thiago so we secure the flanks better (Sevilla strength).

  51. August 14, 2010

    So sport today , fully reversed their approach on ibrahimovic after months of sending him away on loan/transfer/retirement/switching profession to model , rubbished the ibrahimovic rumours stating that “he will stay and compete for a place this season”.
    Just hours after guardiola shockingly admitted that the future for the striker was unclear.
    What the hell? are they after ibra or after guardiola?

    • Luke
      August 14, 2010

      I think a lot of people here read the quotes from Guardiola wrongly earlier. Obviously Ibra was never going anywhere because Man City spent like $55M on Milner and Balotelli after spending over $120M earlier in the summer on other junk. They would have had to make an offer above $40M just to get us to think about it, much less accept.

      I think it may have been frustration with the press at that point. Sport, etc. are useless.

    • Kari
      August 14, 2010

      are they after ibra or after guardiola?

      That’s be the last thing they’d do. Sport had been on this Ibra to Wherever campaign because they knew that he was, essentially, untransferable this summer, being the summer after his first season and, most importantly, Pep’s signing.

      Now the reality that Ibra could in fact be sold has them backtracking, so as to not look like they were trying to drive out Pep signing. After Txigrinsky left, Pep was upset. If Ibra leaves too, it’ll no doubt put doubts in Pep’s mind: who’s calling the shots here? Me and ZubiZa or Rosell? If it’s the latter, expect Pep to be gone.

      I hate Rosell.

  52. Barcathegreatestever
    August 14, 2010

    “For every goal Ibra scores it cost Barca two”
    I used to think that was a little harsh, that maybe one and a half was more accurate.
    Based on the principle of the cost of missed opportunity
    Based on the flow of play Barca has with and without him
    Based on the goal scoring chances Barca produced with and without him

    But I went back and looked at the ties that he was a part of and two is more accurate. Arsenal and El Classico ties are enough. 2-0 with him, ? 5-0 without him.
    1-0 with him, 2-0 without him (away at historically their worst venue I might add.)

    You might argue that oh he came on as a sub and scored in minutes against Real so in fact the ratios are even inverted, but I would just call bullshit cause goals can come in bunches especially at the end of big games.

  53. Kari
    August 14, 2010

    Say what now?!

    /http://www.goal.com/en/news/91/portugal/2010/08/14/2070598/portugal-boss-carlos-queiroz-reveals-nanis-despair-over

  54. August 14, 2010

    So you come here , repeatingly post hate about one of our players , dismiss any comments by any poster trying to explain what are ibra’s uses, and now resorting to cursing against the OP.Not very smart or mature.

  55. Kari
    August 14, 2010

    So these are what Barca trollers are like? Ouch.

    I guess I take this blog for granted. We’ve got such a great bunch here that I sometimes forget there are fans like these ones. Lo siento opposition fans…

  56. Hilal
    August 14, 2010

    They are a bunch of midgets. A bunch of exceptionally skilled and talented midgets, but midgets nonetheless. None of our strikers, aside from Ibra, has the height of physical presence to act as a true target man. As was witnessed in the WC, Villa is much more effective playing off a big striker than he is leadint the line.

    Who would you have replace Ibra since you are so keen on him leaving?

  57. Kari
    August 14, 2010

    According to sources close to me (okay, Livescore.com), the game is in ~1 hour, so 3:30pm EST, as opposed to the 4:30pm EST I thought it would be.

    • Jnice
      August 14, 2010

      Yeah, lineups should be up in a few. Can’t wait.

  58. Jnice
    August 14, 2010

    Official Lineup: Miño, Alves, S.Gómez, Milito, Abidal, Dos Santos, Romeu, Keita, Bojan, Ibra y Maxwell.

    • Jnice
      August 14, 2010

      Bench: Oier Adriano Muniesa S.Roberto Thiago Jeffren Messi

    • Kari
      August 14, 2010

      So it’s a :

      Mino

      Alves – S.Gomez (33) – Milto – Abidal

      Dos Santos (34) – Romeu (37) – Keita

      Bojan – Ibra – Maxwell

      Mino in goal. Maxwell LW again. JDS in the Xavi role as opposed to the DM one he played last time. Let’s see how this one goes.

      If all else fails, just bring Messi on and switch Bojan to LW.

      • Jnice
        August 14, 2010

        I’m excited to see Romeu in action. Despite what Pep says, I suspect that Romeu’s performance today will determine whether we will purchase another DM.

        • Kari
          August 14, 2010

          My sentiments exactly, although Fontas has yet to feature. If both Romeu and Fontas kill it, then we’re all set for DM: Busi, Fontas, Romeu.

          But I really shouldn’t get ahead of myself. That’s pure fantasy at the moment…

      • Kari
        August 14, 2010

        Nice line-up by Pep tbh. He’s got a nice balance of youth and experience.

        I was kinda looking forward to a JDS – Romeu – Thiago midfield but that would be way too much. Also, I would have liked to see Adriano at LW but there’s plenty of time to see that.

        All in all, it’s looking pretty good. I’m excited for the match!

  59. GREECE BARCA
    August 14, 2010

    yeah!romeu!lets go boys!visca barca!

  60. Im sure he really wants someone like Tevez or Robinho. I bra is fin and he will be a beast this season, with a silly amount of assists. Now lets put this game to bed early so the young boys can get another run out at home.

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