The Gauntlet, aka “Get good, or get gone.”

I love this picture. You have three players, all with “Damn!” looks on their faces. Whether it’s from something that they’ve just seen, something they’ve just done or an illusory moment that doesn’t exist in reality but that your humble author has ginned up to make a point, is immaterial. They’re in practice, and it’s hard.

I got to thinking about such things after reading a comment in the SuperCopa clincher match review thread by cliveee, which will follow the jump. But I think that the headline sums up for me why this club is so amazing. I said those very words to two employees, once. Both chose the latter option, though both had the talent to choose the former. That’s life in the big city.

But our club says that very same thing every day, with almost every match.

Cliveee’s comment:

The 10 from Keiteee was, at first, a shock to me. But after rewatching this match in a much higher quality download, sponsored by Jnice, who found on the rojadirecta page (see above comments), I realized how great a game he played.

Keita will be extremely important in this coming season, especially if we won’t be able to sign anyone to strengthen our defense. What he did yesterday was mainly invisible jobs like he is always into. I deliberately paid more attention to what Keita did to earn that 10 from Kxevin and found that he is a good game reader. He does not commit himself easily to positions. The way some of us described him as a headless chicken could not apply on what he displayed yesterday. He reads the game, think for some time, and then react. Sometimes he is fast, but he displayed some perfect positional sense in many ways, because in the kind of total football we played yesterday, which we have the ball most of the time, players like him who know when to do what to help is very important, because if you don’t do anything, we are very predictable and playable.

Keita went back to defense when he see Pique/Busquets moved up, dart forward to pressure the goalkeeper or defenders if some thru pass reached no one. dropped back and win headers in the midfield, or sometimes, just be in certain locations to fill the space so that some passes from the oppositions won’t go thru. These are all invisible functions he carried out, which can only be found if he DO NOT DO them. You’d find us losing the ball all the time, giving too much space to the other side to attack us, or start anything from the midfield to press us. But with him playing smart positioning from box to box, things became easier, but you don’t notice them.

I watched that match twice via the TVE rebroadcast, which I still have on my DVR, then again today. I’m glad that a few other folks saw what made Keita so amazing yesterday. What I like even more is that a team such as ours throws down a gauntlet to players. It’s like when the amusement park rides say “You must be THIS big to ride on this ride.”

Our club says “You must be THIS good to play in the side.” You can see players working their tails off, improving in an effort to live up to that standard. Keita and Maxwell seem to be two of those players. Both played matches yesterday that were staggering to me as regards the effort and quality. cliveee summed up Keita a lot better than I did, or could have.

I don’t know if Keiteee has ever gotten a 10 from me, but he sure as hell deserved one yesterday. Guardiola craves a system in which every player has someone nipping at their heels, saying “The instant you slack off, your job is mine.” The reinforcement isn’t negative, or it shouldn’t be in a system such as ours, in which every player is world-class. It should serve as a goad. Keita has had the headless chicken syndrome in the past, just running around trying to put out fires. But chasing a match is never a good thing. The maturity, the ability to read a match only comes with time, and time in a system with such extraordinary players.

It’s another reason I described Xavi as such a demanding taskmaster. He’s brilliant, and will get you the ball in a spot in which you can do some damage. Now. Can you? If you can’t, I’m going to give it to somebody who can. Earn it.

Maxwell is another player who has responded to a challenge. His movement is vastly improved, as is his ability to read a match. That’s what backing up a player such as Eric Abidal will do for you. If you want to play, you have to be THIS good. Ramzi has, in comments, said before that Maxwell will eventually challenge Abidal for his position. Some of us giggled, as if anyone could challenge our French Greyhound. Then, yesterday, I had the thought that maybe Maxwell has made Abidal not so automatic a starter at left back any more. If he’s going to keep playing like that, we have to find a way to get him into the side.

And then there’s Pedro!. He has a maturity to his game this year. Whether it’s from being capped, or just because it’s his time, the way he was anticipating and playing the match instead of chasing it was very new for me. I have in the past grumbled about his football IQ, that magical thing that makes a player be where the ball is, instead of chasing after it. He’s showing so much more of it this season. We’re seeing it most often in how he tracks back on defense. For most players, tracking back means that you are reading a player, his dribbles and where the ball is going, then heading to a spot on the pitch. Successful tracking back demonstrates good football IQ. Pedro! had to get better. He’s on a club where everyone’s football IQ verges on genius level.

And that’s the gauntlet that gets thrown down. In many ways, it’s why Busquets is so much better this season. It isn’t just maturing, it’s the need to outplay a force of nature such as The Yaya, to an extent that he became the first-choice DM for us. And now The Yaya is with Citeh. So who will make Busquets even better still? Oriol Romeu has that potential, atop gobs of talent.

But we also have players who, with every match, throw down that gauntlet even though they are so brilliant that they have no real challengers for their position. Xavi and Messi are two. Puyol is another one. If you told Puyol that to win a match, he would have to ram his head into a brick wall, I don’t know that he would even think about it before doing it. It’s desire, an almost palpable rage that sometimes courses through the veins of our players. Announcers often like to describe our warriors as playing for the joy of the game. I don’t think they are. I think they are like a great boxer, who wants to use his art to crush an opponent.

And, as they refine that black art that makes the collective so amazing, they challenge each other. I’ve had the pleasure of watching a number of Barca practices, including the practice matches that often end sessions. The level of play is astounding, the challenge is constant, and the players usually see competition vastly better than anything they are ever going to see in a match.

We often comment on how this is a rare team, possibly a once-in-a-lifetime bunch. We don’t often note that a big part of why this is so is that the team challenges each other. Some strikers point in exasperation to a spot, as if to whine about the location of the pass after a missed chance. Messi, with the same gesture, seems to say “I KNOW that you can put it right here. If you do that, we will succeed, because I will put the ball in the back of the net.” And someone does, and almost without fail, Messi does his part.

It’s those constant challenges, the demands, the effort that just knock me out about this club. Even if the SuperCopa becomes the only silver that we win this season, nothing will, for me, change that about this group.

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. From Mino Raiola on SkySport 24, re: Ibrahimovic to Milan:

    “I think it will be an impossible mission. Barcelona has made it clear to me that it has no intention of selling, and [coach Pep] Guardiola does not want to sell him.”

    “We are honoured by the interest from Milan, and from all the teams that want him, we are pleased that [Milan president Silvio] Berlusconi and [Milan vice-president Adriano] Galliani regard him highly, but in reality, it is impossible for Zlatan to play for the Rossoneri.

    “I also exclude a loan spell, as he is not a player who goes on loan, but I will categorically state that Ibrahimovic will not leave Barcelona. He is accustomed to fighting for a spot in the side, and he will have no problem doing this.”

    1. “He is accustomed to fighting for a spot in the side, and he will have no problem doing this.”

      Yup, Ibra has a point to prove and that’s when he’s at his best. I expect big things from him this season.

      And not to forget, excellent post Kxevin. Agree with all of it.

    2. The funny thing is he has already said this, SEVERAL times and yet stupid rumour after stupud rumour come out. The latest being a swap deal involving Boriello of all people… BORIELLO!!! Come on. They could at least put some thought into it if they are just going to continue making stuff up! Sept 1st cant come quick enough.

      Fantastic write up Kxevin. As always, well thought out and wonderfully composed. Keep em coming! 🙂

    3. Im so glad you were wrong yesterday kxevin. 🙂
      Not because of a desire of having you being wrong but rather wanting zlatan to stay because he creates wonderful options for us up front especially coming as it is: not being THE reference point.Many people would argue that zlatan thrives on being the sole man up front and thats why he didnt live up on expectation last year.
      I disagree.He is a team player and that what you realize if you put his stats down : almost half of his goals were assists and if anyone really kept an eye on him he should highlight his eagerness to equally create rather than just finish off chances .
      Afterall offloading etoo was of that essence too(not having a single dimentional striker) , wasnt it ?
      I want him to prove you wrong on one more point though :
      yes he hasnt scored more than 29 goals at any point of his career.
      But he never played for barca in the past.He never had that kind of service.
      People only had messi in mind when preparing against us for a match. That swedish bloke had lost it.
      Well now he is still here , adjusted to the game plan , and you have to worry about him , messi and add some maravilla to the mix.
      And to keep thinks interesting we still got some pedro! bojan and jeffren to the side.

    4. So am I, mei. I still don’t know if I am. Philosophically, selling Txigrinski and Ibrahimovic after only one season with the club would be something that would be worth remarking upon. Still 9 days left, so we will see what transpires.

      I do, however, think of the crowing Sport headline about us creating while other teams buy. That would still be true, but certainly the short leash would tarnish that a bit.

      Speaking of Txigrinski, I watched some early footage of him with the club, pre-injury. Man! The one that got away, IMHO.

    5. I dont know about txigrinski.
      He had great potential on ball distribution and positioning.
      People keep comparing him to pique stating that they are similar ,or of similar attributes(and size :p).
      Well i disagree.
      Pique also has great pace , and it makes up for some rather slow accelaration.
      Its understandable since he is a big man, but having that much pace he has shown its really amazing.He can read the game and get there before the attacker does , or dive into the situation and clear things out.
      Playing that much high line like us , even if your ball distribution and positional sense reach perfect for a defender is never gonna make up for great lack of speed in my eyes(25 million for potential greatness will never sound good too , especially when you are supposed to be having great production from your cantera).But what do i know 🙂

    6. For me, Pique and pace don’t go together. I think he is just slow, period. He might have some moments where he keeps up with the strikers, but for the most part he is not blessed with any pace whatsoever. Positioning and passing, however, are attributes he can claim.

    7. After watching Pique keep up stride for stride with Cristiano Ronaldo during the 2nd clasico last season I will never doubt him again. Yea, Pique isn’t the most blazing fast guy on the pitch, but I’ll never doubt his heart and his ability to rise to the occasion.

  2. I remember in an article on the great Chicago Bulls dynasty in the 90s, someone asked Scottie Pippen how he became the best defender in the NBA.

    “I have to guard number 23 in practice,” he said.

  3. Am late to the party… meant for previous post:

    Hey… we got our first title yay! This team is special, magical! Really pumped for the season now! We may not win everything again this season but I foresee lots and lots of exhibition football and goals!

    The stand out for me was Maxwell, Keita, Xavi, Busi
    – Villa! he fits in like a glove. Really looking forward to more! Villa/Iniesta/Messi combo was beautiful.
    – Messi! what can I say. I think his assist stats will sky rocket this season if Bojan learns to put those away. and he is not really in shape yet? your kidding me!
    – If there is a football god out there, please I beg let Don Andres have a injury free season. A healthy Xaviesta with Messi Villa Pedro! Ibra? please let this team continue to play like this! haha

    And last not least, a spectacular review of a spectacular game Kxevin! 😀

    Jnice: thanks for the download links!

    Vicsoc: next time we need a remuntada, I hope you do the liveblog again! I was one of those lurkers following the liveblog 😀 … Well I mostly lurk on this site anyways. This space sure is getting bigger and more crowded (I’ve been telling other Barca fans to check out our place). There are a bit more negativity and I am guessing we now have our own trols and of course the usual commic relief from some gunners when certain name is mentioned, but I tell ya this is still the best Barcelona futbol blog on the net! So Kxevin, Isaiah, SoMa, Euler, Luke, Hector (come back!) keep rockin!

    Now just a little something about the crazy media. The silly transfer speculation is all right with me, kind of hilarious, but I wish the club would give a warning or something to whoever been coming up with this fake interviews especially the British media. Xavi, Puyol and Messi in particular are always the target. Oasis tribute band? and now this Jonas Gutieras best player in the EPL? One of these days, they will really come up with something that will harm the club or our players. Oh well.

    1. I’m going to ruin your rainbow world by telling you that the last time I ran a liveblog when we needed a remuntada (Inter second leg) we didn’t make it.

      However, I’m glad you enjoyed the liveblog. It was a memorable one for me, as not only did Barca put on a show for us, but it was also the first time Kxevin donned the “!”, and I think everyone who saw it on him will agree that he looked good in it.

    2. “One of these days, they will really come up with something that will harm the club or our players”

      I think they already have. Some of it is our own doing–“Barca DNA” (athought I understand what they meant by it, and I think people have taken it way too seriously, they (read: Laporta) could have worded it differently) and the “not being able to pay our player wages” BS (Rosell….).

      A lot of it, however, is the BritPress (and our own morons, Sport and EMD) that stir a whole lotta crud by either a) lying, b) sensationalizing or c) both. They take option C so often you wonder if they have ever though of, you know, reporting the truth once in a while.

      The only type of credit I’ll give to our Moronic Media is that while they make up exclusive “deals/signing that are meant to be top secret, so it won’t happen now, but it might happen later. or maybe it won’t. but we’re reporting it now because we have nothing better to do ” stories, but they never make up quotes and attribute it to players. Yes, they dig up stuff that the player might have said, like, 2 years ago, but they don’t just make it up and then share it with the world.

      Both make me sick though. And the football world would be a better, albeit boring, world without them. I’d take that world.

  4. Terrific article. I enjoyed every bit of what is written as much as the match yesterday. Honestly, I feel lucky having the opportunity of watching this group.

    You sort of got it right when you explain their performances in terms of the constant challenge the players are confronted with. That is it. You have to be good enough to be in this group. And is there any better place on earth to get better?

  5. Word.

    Brilliant article as always Kxevin.

    And if you were wondering why Bojan isn’t going anywhere on loan, you just answered your own question, Kxevin.

    I’ve read many a interview with Sir Cuddly and he’s always said, “I’ll fight for my place. This is the best club in the world and I’m learning a lot from training.”

    I don’t really wanna start another Bojangles-Ibra-loan debate thing, but I really think Bojan has what it takes to succeed (and that doesn’t automatically mean that Ibra has to fail They can both succeed). Obviously Pep sees things in training that we don’t and I think that every young player goes through these moments in their careers (except freaks of nature i.e Messi) and just look at what standard he has to be at, all the time.

  6. Another very important issue that goes hand-in-hand with your great write up is just how good of a coach Guardiola is.

    When you play for Guardiola you have a choice as Kxevin so aptly pointed out, you can get good or get gone. Over the last couple of years we have seen players take one or the other route. Hleb, for example, wasn’t willing to put in the necessary work during his first season at the club (he may be willing now, and we will find out if he stays). The fact is that while Xavi is a task master on the field, this team is truly built in Pep’s image. If you omit the players who don’t fit the profile of players Pep wants, or aren’t good enough (Caceres, Henrique, Victor Sanchez, etc) then you see something remarkable about the players who have chosen the “get good” option:

    They have gotten so much better.

    Keita and Maxwell are the perfect examples of this. They both played decently well when they first came to the club, but because they have been soaking up Pep’s instructions they have both improved tremendously. And they are 30 and 28 respectively. Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Look at how much better Abidal has gotten – in the 08/09 season he was a solid presence, but in the 09/10 season he was a beast, attacking more than ever before and playing even better defense. Look at Xavi, he has always been a great player, but did he ever dictate entire games like he has been before Pep took over? And these are just older players who have gotten better.

    Does anyone think Busquets would have been the anchor of the World Cup winning Spain team if he hadn’t been coached by Guardiola? You could possibly make a case for him, but what about Pedro? Pep plucked him from obscurity because he was willing and able to learn.

    Take a look at Marquez, a player who Pep decided wasn’t good enough to continue on in the squad – he just gave a press conference mentioning what a great coach Guardiola was.

    We should give tons of credit to the players who are saying “I’m going to get good and win my time”, but we shouldn’t forget how much of a blessing it is to have Pep at the head of the team, because no matter what happens, this is Pep’s team.

    1. This is another reason why I don’t think it makes sense to sell players after one season, and I opposed the sale of Txigrinski:

      Pep has shown he can make players better provided they have the right attitude, so why sell a player he still wants to work with?

    2. Agreed on all points.

      Except way to go and depress me 🙁 Pep might not be here next season (and I won’t blame him.)

      You know you’re way too far gone when you’re already wishing he’ll come back for a second stint of the club when he leaves (as coach) and can’t wait for the day he becomes El Presidente.

  7. I loved this article, specially the part were if Pep asked Puyol to ram a brick wall, he’d do it. So true, but as much as Puyol stands out as being that type of character, I believe Iniesta, Xavi, Pedro, Busquets would all do the same.

    The practice regiments are the #1 reason for Barca’s success. If you practice hard, then when you go out and compete, you’ll only now how to compete hard. I don’t know if any of you ever heard of a wrestler named “Dan Gable”, he was/is a LEGEND. He won everything from college championships to olympics and world championships, as an athlete and coach. I had the pleasure of being taught by him and his successors in this “train hard compete hard attitude” and I tell you, after a few years, rivals were so scared of us, even if they beat us, they hated to wrestle us because they new it be brutal. It’s a winning mentality and I think Spaniard are superstitious by nature but this methodology tells the players “CREATE YOU’RE OWN LUCK”

  8. Here’s a .gif of Ibra’s reaction when Adriano offered (i think) the Super Copa to him


    1. While RAC1 was the original source, Don Balon had reported that Pep gave his ‘blessing’ to the transfer. It is also ‘believed’ that Pool turned it down, and are waiting for an offer in excess of 24 mil. while we’ve put a cap on the transfer fee at 20 mil. And, Mascherano doesn’t want to play against City if negotiations are going on..
      via Pep @ barcastuff.

      Don’t be surprised if El Jefecito plays against City debunking these rumours..

  9. Goddamn, was this a goosebump-y read or what? Fantastic as ever.

    The hardwork aspect of Barca doesn’t always come across in the MSM. It’s always pieces about the beautiful game and the smiles on their faces. Where are the odes to the grit and determination of this team? These are fucking gladiators on the pitch. Proud to be part of the legion supporting this group.

    And now I am all pumped up for the Gamper and the season. You are our Pep, Kxevin(!).

  10. Good article Kxevin. It’s always nice to offer time writing about those who are not Messi-es or Ibra-s. It’s not easy to appreciate the contribution of such team players. But there is no coach who does not dream having them.

    Players like Keita and Maxwell are the most difficult to find. Superstars, you can find and buy every season. Team less-flashy players who have the quality of superstars. Group oriented but with a bag of skills. Competitive but not controversial. Ready to be used straightforward yet more ready to learn and adapt.

    It’s not a secret that I rate the Busquets-Keita-Xavi on the same level as Busquets-Iniesta-Xavi. Some consider that a dig against Iniesta (though I don’t think I defended a player more than Iniesta in the past few seasons). In fact, Keita is the best thing that can happen for Iniesta. A player of Iniesta’s age must not feel settled to his position in the starting lineup. He needs a reason to fight and stay in the best form so he plays. The same as Maxwell is the best thing happened to Abidal. Such competitions show how far you –as a player- can keep improving. It shows how far you can compete with a teammate –YET in a friendly environment. If you cant be so, find another club.

    Keita is an icon for a player who offers unconditional commitment to the group and the club. While other clubs can sign big names to compete with our Messi and Xavi, the Keita type of players makes the unnoticed difference, and brings the deciding advantage.

    1. Spot on with the Keita praise! I remember his early days with Sevilla, he reminds me of Cyclops from X-men without his sunglasses, causing mayhem all over the midfield with no real purpose. Pep seems to have got him to control that aggression and power – and channel it into the best box to box midfielder in the world today. Don’t think there’s a better guy out there.

      Great post once again, Kxevin.

  11. omg, this post!

    being quoted by kxevin is like a prize from bfb, thanks.

    i also meant to point out how well keita passed the ball on saturday. he gave away as little as one or two balls and won one of them back right away.

    and yes of cos! you don’t get complacent being the starter! you just have to earn it! everyone! now i’d really like to see someone challenges alves for his spot! so, show us, corriea!

  12. Awesome article, I both love and hate you guys.
    Love because of the supreme quality of the articles, the humour, the knowledge and the almost circle of friends feel of the blog.
    Hate because it’s very difficult to read other reviews and articles without saying, “well yeah but Kxev’s was better”.

    Mes Que Un Blog

    Keep rocking guys n gals.

    PS: No way will Hodgson sell Jefe for less than £20m. He’s already said that he would rather see out his 2 years and let him go out on a free transfer than give him up for less than what he’s asked for.

  13. very true, a lot of critics may say that Barcelona stick too much to one style and leave themselves open to teams that focus on counter attacks and physical football, yet Keita is one of those players that adds another layer to our team, exactly what kxevin and various other people on this site have mentioned Keita does all the invisible work, things that the average spectator will usually notice but that work makes sure that the barca attacking machine keeps on rolling without disruption.

  14. So true… Kev you should write speachess for the US President 🙂
    Honestly i must say that at the first times i doubted Keita a lot, but the last season and the upcoming proved me completely wrong. Keita stepped up the last season when he was needed the most and he proved himself, thats what i want to see in players DEDICATION TO THE DEATH. Bleed the hell out on the pitch because its the team that matters. Teams wins championships, which we have proven that so so so many times ago. Doesn’t it make you sometimes feel bad that you aren’t a football player and aren’t playing for Barca? Ah, the life that everyone dreams of. Often their play makes tear in my eyes or holding my head and yelling in disbelieve that that particular play it’s just impossible. That is the thing that makes you love this club and hack, even get in a fight for it (i know i get into lot here). And as for Maxwell, since day one i knew that he will only need some time to adapt to our philosophy and he will make it. I was soo happy when we bought him cos if you could seen him playing in Serie A he was up to every challenge.

    The only thing to do if you decide to quit get better at Barca, you have to go and hang yourself. There will be no better chance to be given in minimum of 5 years in my opinion. For the next few years we will dominate football and we will as nike says write the future, and write textbooks.

    Again thanks Kev for this article always a pleasure to get up, get a coffee and read wonderful articles. Barca is Mes que un club, BFB is the REAL mes que un blog! Salutes to all you Barca fans.


  15. The one thing I wanted to mention about Keita was the first leg of the Supercopa. He played like a mad man(outstanding game) in that match as well. He just did not have the support of some of World cup winning squad. His job got a lot easier with all these people around him and we could see his quality.

  16. Galliani (ceo AC Milan): “The negotiations for Ibra are officially opened. Wednesday I’ll meet with Barcelona president Rosell.” (via barcastuff)

    I officially hate Sandro Rosell. This is ludicrous. Negotiating Ibra’s exit without the players (apparent) consent. And to a team that can only realistically loan him out, too. I’m going back to bed.

    1. Well, he changed that:

      Now he is only 99.9% certain to stay.

      If you ask me, this is a rather weak statement coming from Ravioli, who I’d expect to use a language above the theoretical limit of a 100 to explain how certain he is.

  17. I don’t get it. As Jnice has duly noted, Ibra has a contract. If he does not want to go, Rosell would have to force Pep to not play him in order to make him leave. Think that would ever happen? Think Rosell would be dumb enough to fire Pep in his first season? Me thinks (I hope, really) people will try to get Rosell out of the Camp Bou before his first term is even up.

  18. hang on for a second, I think this mini silent war b/w Pep and Rosell ended after the Adriano signing. Pep himself quoted he benched Ira for sporting reasons, that could be anything.

    As far as we know, the last two months have proven that everything brought up in the news has been false 99% of the time.

    as for benching Ibra, it could be for various reason, transfer negotiations could be one, but I doubt it. Other reasons could be that Pep only had 3 substitution to choose from, and well Ibra already featured in every pre-season game and playing arguably to proper standard, but I think due to the late arrivals of the spanish internationals, Pep had to make sure he got a few of those guys up and running, plus he needed to use 2 subs to showcase our two new signings, and Iniesta was well sort of a debut for him too lmfao.

    1. But Galliani himself has confirmed he is meeting with Sandro about Ibra and that negotiations are open. That’s straight from him. That’s not the papers or anything else making up B.S.

      I’m not saying that’s why Ibra was benched, but it is clear that his future is in serious doubt. We’ll see if he plays against Milan on Wednesday.

    2. Just like Rosell said he was going to London to meet with Wenger, and we all know how that turned out.

      Milan can’t afford a straight-up purchase, which means it has to be players+money. But they have nobody we want. So then what? It also means that they will have to pay Ibrahimovic’s salary, which won’t be all that easy to manage, given that they are already paying folks such as Ronaldinho and Pirlo.

      Fiscally, I just don’t see it as manageable. In terms of the sporting side of things, why would Ibrahimovic return to a league that he left in search of greener pastures? If he wanted more Serie A, he could have stayed with Inter and had a much better opportunity at winning trophies. Serie A would be going backward for him, and I don’t think he’s that kind of a guy. It would be a desperate deal, and I don’t think he’s a desperate player, in terms of leaving us.

    3. And whatever happens, I’m not too worried about it. Everyone saw how we were against Sevilla without Ibrahimovic, Villa or Iniesta in the side, not to mention Puyol and Abidal in his right position. With or without Ibrahimovic, we’re going to be fine from a sporting side. It might mean winning 3-0 rather than 4 or 5-0, but that’s okay. My confidence in this club is off the charts.

      Would I love to see the Villa/Ibrahimovic/Messi trident? You bet. Who wouldn’t? But nothing is certain in this sport. I do know that Ibrahimovic isn’t a bench player, so if circumstances force him there, this nonsense will all resume in January.

    4. It doesnt really matter.
      What matters is what rosell , pep and ibra wants not the other club ceo’s.
      Take fabregas for example : laporta,pep, rosell and fabregas wanted the transfer to happen , wenger didnt.And it didnt happen , thats that.

      He can officialy state that he opens negotiations , or choose any other fancy title to grasp the headlines but

      a) he cant afford him . He cant afford either a fee or his wages. He has admitted that several times .Another constant in milan’s situation is that they have been ” buying” star players for years in the press yet no star was present after the end of each transfer period.

      b) the player does not want to leave.
      This has been stated for some time now , but lately even his outspoken agent highlights that ibra will stay even if he starts competing for a starting spot from the bench, which is pretty amazing and in contrast to several of his statements last year. I know , if he starts some games off the bench his agent might start singing a different song , but its a pretty big commitment to make 9 days before you can make yourself available and push to ship your way out so to safely practise kung fu in another team’s starting lineup.

      c)Pep wont let him go . He is an invaluable option for up front , he is nothing like the players we ever had .
      I even doubt Rosell want him gone.

      I dont know why exactly rosell sold chyggy but I am certain that if he really wanted to sell ibrahimovic, he would be the first to go.
      For all the reason kxevin says.I will focus on two however:
      he acquires a hefty salary , and he was the shiny transfer of laporta.
      So why not sell him first ?
      The excuse is right there : he makes the most money of all players , so thats a pretty big wage cut on the stuff.
      So laporta’s tall bloke that didnt get along with the fans lately is gone. Thats 3 birds with one stone!

      I’ll keep repeating that we might dislike rosell for several reasons , but we must not put a bad spin on anything that comes (or seemingly comes) off him before the consequences of these actions are clear.
      If he does his thing and the club carries on being successful is what matters most.
      Remember that laporta took over and followed a pretty similar approach about finances and squad at his time.
      The only thing that mattered was that he remained stubbornly faithful to his choices , especially about the coaches, and it worked in the long run.
      What has rosell done until now ? sold chyg , bought adriano and renewed pep .Oh plus some years ago he bought us a certain ronaldinho along with other brazilians ,that featured heavily in our clubs success till 2006.

  19. As, shucks. Thanks for the love, people, but if cliveee’s perceptive comment hadn’t come, this post wouldn’t have happened. We try to react to things during matches, or that come to light afterward. Often a string of comments prompts a thought. I was actually in the middle of writing a response to cliveee’s post, then said “Hell, this is feeling like a post!” And off we go.

    Like our beloved team, we try to be good because we’re inspired. I’ve said it before and will say it again. The level of discourse and analysis in the comments here is nonpareil. And it’s really appreciated.

  20. Milan have no money… Why are we talking to them for? apart from saying “jódete” that is..

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