Playing Nice Together

The least-crappy thing about a crappy TVE feed is the lack of sound editing. So even on an even-crappier VHS tape (yes, you read that right, Millenials!), one heard tot el Camp corear their beloved champions/ campeones/ campions: Val-dés … Pu-yol … Pi-qué … Bus-quets … Xa-vi … Pe-dro!… and, later on, In-iesta … Vi-lla … who makes the best team in La Liga, and how much of whom makes the best team in the World. The afición showered affection on internationals, too: banners for a benched Ibra; a warm welcome for Adriano; and an hours-long hands-down homage to Messi at his most messianic. Everybody on the pitch pitched in, except for maybe Víctor, who had little else to do but point skyward every once in a while, as if to remind somebody that he was there, rockin’ the 80s tiger sleeves. But in a spirited game that lifted all our spirits, the SoMa Spirit Prize goes to My Man Dan.

Alves is a supporting player– rushing the line in offense, hustling back in defense– in a cast of soccer superstars. And, like the other internationals, he has just returned to a foreign club after his beloved and (over-, apparently) rated national team flubbed their lines on the Ultimate Soccer Stage. Team rehearsals have run short, and opening night netted his former friends a 3-1 Supercopa lead. So give a guy a break if he can’t feel the love tonight.

But Dani is irrrepressible. His work rate is exhaustive. His cover is total. His crosses are deadly (even when they go a little cock-eyed). His free kicks are cannonballs (even when they land in the stands). He flails, he flops, he fouls. He takes silly long shots for the fun of it. He is never, ever, tired. And if Xaviniesta perform balletic pas-de-deux at acutely impossible angles, Dani and Leo are kids on the playground, ping-ponging quick and easy one-touches through thickets of dumfounded defenders. When he scooped up his Best Barça Buddy last Sunday, he was all soul and selfless heart: ‘Leo’s back!’ ”Don’t look back!’ ‘Lookin’ good!’ ‘It’s all good! ‘

So maybe it’s not the World Cup, okay, Maradunga? It’s not Champions– we know that, too, Míster Mou. It’s not even a meager Liga. It’s a Supercopa. An almost Sevillacopa. A really Sillycopa. But it’s silver. It’s ours. And damn, it’s good to be back.

I just wonder if anyone else will take away this example of How to Play Nice.

Oh now how did that get in there?

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SoccerMom obsesses over FCB and this blog instead of grading papers, burning dinner and/or raising her small children. She blames a Spanish husband and easy access to Hispanic-targeted cable sports channels for her football addiction and consequent failure as a professor, housekeeper and mother.

188 Comments

  1. Bill
    August 24, 2010

    While I like Mascherano, isn’t Lassagna Diarra a similar type of player? If liverpool are playing hardball(more like snowball considering the direction of that team). While Real seems ready to offload him, and Iniesta called him the toughest defender he ever faced. He is a little dirty in the way he defends, and the way Xavi picked his pockets in the 6-2 win was atrocious, but he can’t be bad as a Busquets back up. Besides, he is used to ridding the pine in Real Madrid, so it won’t be a problem.

    • Jnice
      August 24, 2010

      Real won’t sell Diarra to us, I don’t think.

      I don’t want him, Mascherano is tons better… Diarra is sort of like a headless chicken. Runs around overcommitting and kicking people all game.

      And he isn’t really used to riding the pine that much, he played a lot for Real over the past 2 years. And when he rode the pine at Chelsea and Arsenal, he bitched and moaned till he got his move. No thanks.

      • Bill
        August 24, 2010

        Yeah, but if Mascherano cannot be pried from the ‘cold dead hands’ that is liverpool… and maybe we can use him as an exchange for mascherano on a later day.

      • ooga aga
        August 24, 2010

        seemed Lass had a good effect on RM’s defense when he arrived, he was their best player, by far the most active, best work rate, etc

      • Kari
        August 24, 2010

        Shows you just how far EE had fallen.

      • Jnice
        August 24, 2010

        That was the two years ago. Last year he was garbage.

    • y2k156
      August 24, 2010

      Same type, maybe but Lass Diarra is woefully inadequate player who has had few decent spells. He is not exactly a ball player and even in destruction, his trick is to foul people. I hope to got we do not go for him as he will be jarring presence.

      Masch does get booked but i have watched him since he was playing for Corintians and he rarely goes into stupid challanges and relies more on his positioning and footballing intelligence and hence for me, is perfect for our system. I also think that if we have to go for some one else, Senna would be much better back up.

      Even M Diarra from EE would do but not Lass. Have never liked him since i saw him for a few times for Portsmouth.

      • Bill
        August 24, 2010

        Speaking of which, what happened to the Senna deal? Everything went quiet on that front. I also think he is a much better move for Barcelona, to buy time while we continue taking a look at the cantera

  2. Euler
    August 24, 2010

    Much has been made about Barca’s “debts” over the summer. It’s a complicated issue but much of what matters is how an organization’s true debts balance against it’s revenues.

    The terrific Swiss Ramble just did a very interesting analysis of Inter’s finances and one of the main thing he focuses on is that Inter’s revenues for a host of reasons is actually relatively limited given the stature of the team and it’s unique position now in Serie A.

    Inter’s financial situation is one to be truly worried about because if you don’t have revenue – that’s a problem. Barca is the one of the 3 highest revenue generating clubs in the world.

    A few highlights:

    The last available accounts are for the year ending 30 June 2009 and these report an enormous loss of €154 million (£132 million). Just a blip? Not a bit of it – the previous year’s loss was very nearly as bad at €148 million and the 2007 loss was even worse at €208 million. That gives a cumulative loss of €509 million in just three years – over half a billion!…..

    There has been much discussion in the English media about gigantic losses at Chelsea, Manchester City and Barcelona, but the scale of Inter’s losses is breathtaking. According to the respected Il Sole 24 Ore (the Italian equivalent of the Financial Times), Inter’s combined losses during Moratti’s era amount to €1.15 billion with about €730 million of this being covered by the president.

    Despite that Inter only has debts of less than 150M euro. How can that be given their losses and is that a good thing? Here’s his answer:

    But how is it possible for Inter to have relatively low levels of debt, given their horrendous losses?

    Step forward, Signor Moratti. As Paolillo explained, “Inter, like many Italian teams, has had negative balances, but has always covered itself with capital made available by the club’s owners.” That is why the president has been such an important figure in Inter’s success. Without his generosity, there’s no way Inter would have been able to recruit the calibre of players good enough to win the Champions League. For example, Moratti injected €70 million of capital into FC Internazionale Milano S.p.A. after the last results to cover the losses, which was on top of €50 million paid in at various stages of the year. That brings the total capital paid out of Moratti’s pockets in his time as president to around three-quarters of a billion Euros. Wow.

    However, this approach will not work in the future, as Inter are faced with the new challenge of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play Regulations, which will ultimately exclude from European competitions those clubs that fail to live within their means, i.e. make a profit.

    **http://swissramble.blogspot.com/2010/08/price-of-inters-success.html

    • Bill
      August 24, 2010

      Euler, please post this on the inter offside. They were talking shit about how Barcelona is soo broke that we can’t afford Mascherano, just yesterday 🙂

      • Kari
        August 24, 2010

        I don’t like Inter.

  3. poipoi
    August 24, 2010

    this ibra stuff is getting really,really spooky

    *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-b5aW08ivHU*

    • Bill
      August 24, 2010

      🙂 . Thats not the yaya?

  4. August 24, 2010

    I dont share your opinion regarding Ronaldinho, Kxevin. He was an unquestionable bless for Barcelona. If Laporta’s era is the best in Club’s history, it is safe to say that Ronaldinho was by far the key player in that success.

    I have a belief that without Ronaldinho, this team wouldnt have achieved anything during the first important seasons. Was it possible without another player (instead of Ronaldinho? the possibilities would have been pretty high. His performance in the first seasons was undefeat-able. The failure in the first seasons would have led to another collapse. Laporta out, and here we go…again…

    The financial impact of having him, we must not underrate as well. Was the closing bad? Sure it was -regardless of whom to blame. But Hey, Cruyff exit was not that wonderful as well. That takes nothing from the fact that he is a legend for the club. Its not about the numbers of years served, but the output of that presence, the titles, the beautiful times, the club benefits financially and image-wise, plus fans attractiveness.

    Comparing Eto’o to Ronaldinho for example the first caused more damage inside the dressing room, yet when he served later under a better leadership -Pep- he bounced back. Which tells a lot.

    Ronaldinho is one of the most influential legends of Barcelona in modern time, and hopefully the fans tomorrow will hail him per se.

    “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

    • Hilal
      August 24, 2010

      I agree. We wouldnt be where we are today without Ronaldinho. Simple as that. Also I think Ronaldinho’s decline is as much Rijkaards fault as it is Ronnies. IT is the managers job to keep players in line and to not let them lost control. Who knows maybe if Pep was in charge back then Ronaldinho would still be playing at the top of his game.

      • poipoi
        August 24, 2010

        AND davids! remember 😉

    • Jnice
      August 24, 2010

      “Ronaldinho is one of the most influential legends of Barcelona in modern time, and hopefully the fans tomorrow will hail him per se.”

      Agreed. I like your post on your website as well.

  5. August 24, 2010

    Fully agree with Ramzi regarding Dinho. Were the last two seasons bad? Yeah, definitely. Were the first three seasons worth it? Moooost definitely! The remuntado to 2nd place in his first season, surpassing EE? The CL and consecutive Ligas in season 2 and 3? The sheer magic, which thank god I got to witness in the Camp Nou in 2004?

    Ok so his last two seasons were hugely dissapointing to the point where he left to Milan for a dime. That’s the way things go sometimes. Who says that I would not have relaxed and partied if I were in his shoes after the success and pressure I have been under (personally I think Brazil’s failure at WC 2006 and subsequently the way he was received back in Brazil broke his motivation to play hard).

    Still without him we would have 1 CL and likely 2 Ligas less.

    Btw I would like to defend Eto’o by saying that while Sami was being blamed for dressing room disharmony on all accounts the disharmony caused by him was exactly because of his problems with the lack of motivation on Ronnie and Deco’s part.

    • August 24, 2010

      When I mentioned Eto’o I was referring to how change of leadership changed the attitude of the player. Eto’o’s behavior get the same benefit of doubt that Ronaldinho gets.

  6. August 24, 2010

    ““If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.””

    (an old Afghan proverb)

    • Roz
      August 24, 2010

      Fully agreed. I really miss his smile and hope to see it at the Gamper. Btw isnt that quote from the bible?

      • August 24, 2010

        LOL yeah well I don’t know about the “at her” part

      • August 24, 2010

        Yes it is.

  7. Bill
    August 24, 2010

    Afghan proverb? I thought an Afghan proverb would be something like ‘if any one of you is with sin…then throw a stone at her anyway’ Just kidding!

    I agree with ramzi on Ronaldinho. His time at Barcelona was magical. Unfortunately for him, he did not have responsible handlers, his brother included, who could keep him grounded and focused. Speaking of which, besides Michael Jordan, I still havent seen a superstar who gets to that level of Idolization, without them crashing back down to earth. So ronaldinho isn’t an exception. Fame got to his head, like many other extremely talented people.

    Interesting fact, Ronaldinho scored more in 06-07 & 07-08 seasons than he did in the first 3.

    Besides Rijkaards laissez faire leadership, I think the teams decline also had something to do with Eto’o & Messi injuries, Giully burnout, underwhelming talents in LB, RB, DM & Marquez was a staple in defense, enough said. Valdez wasn’t exactly world class then either.

    • Bill
      August 24, 2010

      Btw, Ronaldinho never stopped his partying ways from his days at PSG. It was never a problem, and many chalked it up to Ronnie being Ronnie. Just like the Manny being Manny thing in Boston red sox, it’s all good as long as the team keeps winning. As soon as that stops, then the spotlight is cast harshly on that particular misbehaving superstar. My point is… he wasn’t the only factor that led to the decline of barcelona.

    • Dave
      August 24, 2010

      Ronny was a hard partier at PSG also. We were well aware what we signed. The trouble is yes ronny became a dressing room problem and when he suffered the club suffered, but there were many times the club had success and it was also down to him.
      Ronny deserves to be revered. He was the 2nd choice signing who knocked the Galaticos off their pedestal and sent Perez packing.

  8. poipoi
    August 24, 2010

    The thing with ronnie IMHO is that he gained weight EVERY SINGLE YEAR, every season since he was a little boy. Don’t even wanna think of what will happen to his body when he stops playing footy. Have you seen Ronaldo? Same thing… O.M.G. I remember seeing ronnie for the 1st time when he was doing his 1st pepsi (or nike) commercial and he was skinnier than iniesta besides much taller. Every year he got fatter, he didn’t take much care of himself partied hard ate bad and always gained weight… nobody told him anything when he was winning, specially in FCB. They only said something when things were not going that well and they needed someone to blame. He got fat ok, but because he just continued partying as hard as he always did, ate as bad, slept as much and screwed as many girls as he did before. You could already see that he was getting fatter and fatter in the 1st FCB years and nobody told him anything, only praises and praises… and if you compare him to the “PSG days ronnie” or “Gremio days ronnie” the weight difference was even bigger, more like offensive. The final years in FCB were a logical end of that progression. To me FCB Laporta and many more didn’t behave very well with ronnie, I specially mean they had never seen a player like that in their lives and they will never ever will. I also mean that they didn’t do anything when anything could be done like let’s say … the begginning??? All that stuff they said that he lost motivation, that he started partying too much and slept little or any other bullsh* , oh man… has ronnie said anything bad about us? He was in the front pages every single day and not for sport reasons, more like “the sun” reasons. poor ronnie he always has been the same me thinks a “vividor”, a “bad modaf*”, if not he wouldn’t play like that either it’s in his personality. He is a very unique player and I always felt he should have stayed here even if he had no legs left, an ambassador of “jogo bonito”, or cantera entertainer, trick teacher or something. When that player gets old I’d love him to be linked to the team, he’s an all time greateast.

    • poipoi
      August 24, 2010

      a full stop wouldn’t have hurt in there, sorry 🙁

      • Dave
        August 24, 2010

        I think Ronnie’s parents were fat so there must be a genetic link. But also from a training point of view he needed to train harder and harder each year to reach his best. This is known in Sports Science as the ‘Law of Diminishing returns’. And he wasn’t willing/committed enough to do the work.
        Another possibility is full blown burnout.Alot of people look solely at the physical effects but the mental burnout can be everybit as bad.Depression can follow due to the huge pressure placed on a players shoulders by himself and those around him.
        The 3rd possibility is R10 is actually alot older than he states but this is for conspiracy theorists

  9. Jnice
    August 24, 2010

    Watch this video of Keirrison explaining where his name comes from… he sings a bit of “Light My Fire” by The Doors at the end and plays the guitar lol.

    *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gFmiSYm6Kc&feature=youtu.be

    • Kari
      August 24, 2010

      I heart Keirrison (and not because his name starts with a K like mine).

      I wish he’d get a chance to play for us. At least once. I was happy when he signed, too… 🙁

  10. Vj
    August 24, 2010

    For some time between 2003 and 2006, Ronnie was God incarnate on the pitch.. He could single-handedly tear teams apart, when he was at the top of his game, no one could stop him, no one would even come close..

    • jordi(TM)
      August 24, 2010

      This.Parked buses didnt exist, he was too destabilizing and unpredictable for that.I mean they tried but he always found a way.

  11. Kari
    August 24, 2010

    Gamper is at 1:45 EST (NY and Ottawa time)

    Find your time here:

    *http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/fixedtime.html?month=8&day=25&year=2010&hour=19&min=45&sec=0&p1=141

    We’re getting a preview for the game, right? Is anyone going to liveblog?

    • Vicsoc8
      August 24, 2010

      Would love to Kari, but unfortunately I’ll be in class, as I will for every Wednesday game this season.

  12. Kxevin
    August 24, 2010

    I think my comment has been misread. Much love for all that he did for us. And had we hewn to the Brazilian Superstar Axiom and sold him one year earlier (though cules would have burned down the Camp Nou), we would have been able to sit back and say “See?” when what happened in fact happened.

    I understand everything that Ronaldinho did for the club, good and bad. And I will not let my view of the bad be colored by nostalgia.

    Yes, he has always been a partier. But like me as an aging athlete, the margins get slimmer. I used to be able to stay up til 1 a.m. and still kick ass on the race course the next day. Now, I need food, a hot soak, a massage and bed by 10 p.m., or I suck. That’s reality. An athlete takes care of the machine. If you love the club so much, do what the hell you need to do to make sure that you show your love in the one place that it matters most …. on the pitch. If you don’t do that, you let that club down. If you let that club down, it can’t surprise you that some members of said club don’t put on big grins and say “Awwwww, big hug, R10!”

    So anyone who thinks that I am discounting what Ronaldinho did for the club is not reading what I wrote. He kicked ass, but he also hurt the club. Did the good outweigh the bad? Sure. Maybe. Good question. For me, it’s immaterial. There was good and bad, the last, lingering image is bad and I am not going to be swayed by some open letter. If that makes me hard-hearted, so be it.

    • theMaginator
      August 24, 2010

      I C

    • Dave
      August 24, 2010

      Like Henry,left at a low point.

      • poipoi
        August 24, 2010

        no no no way titi!!! 😀 😀 think about titi’s high moments and ronnies’

        Ronnie is/was special. We have to be thankful for having had him in such good form for so many years, knowing (know) how he is and how he handles his life. I know people who don’t like football at all and love ronnie, and actually watch his games and have gone to Camp Nou. If you play you have got to love ronnie for the player he has been and the things he has done in a football field. If you play and party then he’s got to be your hero. How many party-hard players have not reached ronnies achievements? He’s Balon d’Or, best world player. 😀 😀 😀 He just had so much talent he could do all he wanted, it’s his life you know. He is not a role model, who is? Terry? Beckham? Maradona? IMO he IS a role model, for people like messi… to see what they SHOULD NOT do. 😀

        Inside the pitch when he was fit he was the greatest ever, very strong very fast and with the touch of an angel. It was good that most canteranos playing now played with such a legend. I think the players still worship him. Maybe not now that he is still “active” but when he retires everyone in FCB will remember his alien game. In terms of moves and touch he’s the best I’ve seen, not only the dribbles or shots his passes were out of this world, and his speed and strength oh was he great. Besides he always played for fun, and showed that it can be effective. I would only put maradona over him, only maradona had more control of the ball than ronnie. Outside of the pitch he wasted his talent but he also is a kind person that’s what everyone says.

      • poipoi
        August 24, 2010

        …knowing (NOW)…

        damn, that was a long comment to be hectored 🙁

    • August 24, 2010

      Sure you can have your opinion, Kxevin. No one can argue that.

      As for me, even Ronaldinho mistakes are more like someone who give you a million dollar then take back a hundred. You may not like it, but you cant really have a strong case to complain. The bottom of line is that he made it happen. All the wonderfull times we are sharing till this moment exist basically because we had that amazing player who carried the club -almost single handed-to another level (thats my belief that no one need to share). True, he failed to continue on the same level, for his own reasons that I dont know. I cant understand completely why it happened so i cant really preach about what he should or shouldnt have done. Mind you, during the seasons of Ronaldinho’s decline even players like Puyol were disastrous. Will that make them shooting targets? The whole club was a mess and its easy to accuse scapegoats. Players are human, and they collapse for different reasons. In fact all legends reach a period of time where they become more harmful for their clubs than being useful. But they keep being legends for what they did. Did Ronaldinho reached that period early? I dont even know how old he actually is.

      Even Guti is considered a legend at Real Madrid. Yes he served his club longer than Roni, but did he gave them more? Yet he made more mess.

      Maradona is a legend for Napoli. Any Napoli fan will tell you so. No need to mention what he did there (including maradona junior :D)

      I feel sometimes that we at Barcelona love to burn pictures. But we will agree not to agree.

    • Jim
      August 24, 2010

      Sorry, Kxevin but I find the word “Maybe” incredible . Remember, even after the glorious years there were seasons where Eto’o and messi were out for stretches with injury and he didn’t have much to work with. He was never out . 45, 42, 45, 49 matches played before he was dropped / injured in his last season. Top scorer in the 2006-7 season and took us to within a whisker of another La Liga title then got injured in his last season and all of a sudden he’s a bad memory?

      If he’d lost it as was suggested at the time on the Offside blog then he wouldn’t have had the season he has just had with a poor Milan side.

      He was the reason I started watching Barcelona so maybe I’m biased but if you don’t just forget the bad and applaud one of the greatest talents ever, that’s pretty hard imo. I have the Bernebeu classico on DVD and if I’m in need of a little joy on it goes 🙂

  13. theMaginator
    August 24, 2010

    I was watching the Barca Sevilla game again, and though most of us thought it was telling that Ibra did not play, what I found more interesting was how the substitutions were made. Iniesta for Bojan and Villa for Pedro.

    That to me is more important because IMHO Guardiola did not sub Villa in for Bojan and Iniesta in for Pedro. As if to say that Villa and Pedro will be competing for the same position.I don’t know maybe I’m just seeing what i want to see.

    Also Villa did not go in to the CF role right away but played most of his time on the RW, In the position that Pedro usually plays.

  14. y2k156
    August 24, 2010

    I am watching Sevilla Braga and Sevilla have a mountain to climb. They need 3 now and have not really gone that close. Braga defend very well. The goal Sevilla conceded was a catalogue of errors, first from Fazio and than from Palop. I have to say that right now Sevilla look unlikely to make it. Now i have written this, maybe they will score a goal in next min.

    Coming back to Sevilla, they are suffering from not having anyone to really start play in middle and not having attacking left back ala Alves. So they depend pretty completely on their wings and right now, Navas is having a stinker. In addition Braga seem to be defending crosses rather well. So it is getting likely that La Liga will only have three teams this time round in CL.

  15. Eklavya
    August 24, 2010

    Ronaldinho is the best. Sorry Kxevin.

  16. cliveee
    August 24, 2010

    My Eric Abidal compilation is about to finish! Very excited!

    • Eklavya
      August 24, 2010

      Whoa! Cool!

  17. y2k156
    August 24, 2010

    Speaking of Ronnie, I was today watching our match from CL 2005-06 against Bremen and looking at all those old faces. Ronnie scored a penalty which Messi had earned. Quite nice.

    I shall always remember his time fondly. Sadly the end could have been better but the good times were quite good. After all, he was driving force for two ligas and one CL. One of the three CL’s our club has in last 55 years. And all the tricks. I have to say that he was instrumental to a great degree in really making Barca stand out for neutral fans. Along with Rivaldo and now Messi.

  18. mei
    August 24, 2010

    So daryl from the offside place thinks that barcelona’s interest in mascherano lead to liverpool losing 3-0 yesterday.
    So lets close up the transfer market before the season starts in england , like that would solve any problem anyway.
    People have gone bonkos.

    • August 24, 2010

      Thats true! I read that when we signed Gio van bronckhost from arsenal, Arsenal fans became so stressed that they smoked more cigarettes. Thats where Global warming started.

      Scientifically proved. Dont joke about it! Thats a fact!

      • mei
        August 24, 2010

        haha 😀
        I honestly believe that the market should close at august first just to fit the premier league schedule ofcourse.
        “Fit” , because you know if this happens players will not become unhappy and wont cause havoc in the dressing room while the transfer market is not open , never!
        In fact why dont we cancel transfer seasons alltogether just to be sure the problem is fixed once and forall.

  19. Diego S.
    August 24, 2010

    I just read a report about our offer for Masch

    It was 15m + Hleb (which we priced at 4.5m) = 19.5m

    Liverpool rejected as they Value Masch at 20m and they priced Hleb at 1.5m which makes our offer (15+1.5)= 16.5 SO they’re asking for 3.5m

    And that We offered Masch a yearly salary of 5.5m and A four Year Contracted .. And he agreed to those personal terms

    • Diego S.
      August 24, 2010

      **Contract

  20. mei
    August 24, 2010

    Also according to pep’s twitter manuel estiarte , our pr officer dismissed the ibra rumours , questioning their existance and the sources generating them.Ibra is here, we need him and his agent should shut up because he creates a mess for his client are his words.

  21. jordi(TM)
    August 24, 2010

    Sevilla got taken on the counter again.Shame, but somehow they have an Atleti-esque mentality where they manage to throw it away.I still remember when they somehow let Fenerbache come back and beat them on penalties a couple years ago.As i speak, 1 goal back only 3 more 😀

  22. cliveee
    August 24, 2010

    Are Sevilla going to crash out of the CL like that? I actually don’t understand why they are playing, what is the system like? they finished 4th last season and they are not automatically going to the group stage?????? ? ? ?? ? ? ?? ? ?? ?? ?

    • mei
      August 24, 2010

      mallorca finished 4th last season.

      • y2k156
        August 24, 2010

        Mallorca finished 5th and were denied participation in Europa League by UEFA on account of their financial state. Sevilla did finish 4th.

        While Sevilla were strong, Braga were no pushovers. The only reason they did not Liga last year was imperioud form of Benfica. Cannot take anything away from Braga. Sad to see Sevilla go out at this stage though. It will kill their finances to play in Europa League.

      • mei
        August 24, 2010

        Woops you are right.
        Sevilla should have handled this game better , if they indeed need the money , instead of having focused on the supercopa game.

      • August 24, 2010

        (Let me just preface this by saying how completely GUTTED I am right now, so sorry in advance…)

        But really–how can you say that we focused on the Supercopa game?!?! I was a little annoyed that you all were so amazed by your 4-0 win over our half-strength squad this weekend. But how, when we sit BOTH our #1 strikers and several other key players, can you guys both act as though you’ve just proven your might AND say we overextended ourselves? We pretty much sleepwalked through the entire game BECAUSE of this game.

        If, after beating your B squad 3-1 in the first leg, we’d talked about how we were OBVIOUSLY one of the best teams in Europe, that would have seemed absurd, right? I definitely think you guys are incredibly strong this year, but this is sort of silly.

        OK. I’m going to breathe now. Sorry again.

      • Vicsoc8
        August 24, 2010

        Sorry you have to deal with this cleareyes. To be fair though, Sevilla played too strain of a team, tired themselves out, and put themselves in a bad position in the first leg of the tie.

      • August 24, 2010

        Oh I absolutely agree, Viscoc. We needed at least a goal from the first leg, and we are 100% to blame for not advancing. I have basically 0 excuses for the team.

        But I’ve wanted to say something about Barca fans crowing about that 4-0 result without even acknowledging the obvious fact that we had about 80% of our attentions focused on this game. Which we still lost, PATHETICALLY.

      • cliveee
        August 24, 2010

        craziness… 3-4

        so that’s it for them?? all teams finished 4th must still fight to go to the next stage?
        i am not too familiar with this CL thing afterall…

      • August 24, 2010

        It used to be that the top 4 teams from Spain (and England and Italy) automatically qualified for CL, but it recently changed so that only the top 3 go, and 4th has to do a play-off.

      • cliveee
        August 24, 2010

        console console…

        not too happy about having one less spanish team in the competition too…

        console console…

      • August 24, 2010

        Haha, thanks cliveee. I feel exactly the same way about Liga teams in CL. With Valencia’s fire sale, this could be a dire year for Spain (although to be honest I expect Madrid and you all to fly the flag well…it’s just nice when we advance four teams out of the groups. Especially when the EPL doesn’t). There’s always next year, I guess.

  23. mei
    August 24, 2010

    im sorry cleareyesfullhearts , but thats how i view it.
    Braga were a fitter side, since the portoguese liga has started some time now.
    I really have high hopes for sevilla , so not focusing on the game importance(or more precisely trying to focus on too many targets when the you have against you a match fitter team on the more important one) is the best explanation i can accept.
    I wont even speculate on what could have happened because I will probably annoy you more than you already are .

    • August 24, 2010

      I guess we’ll each see it the way we want to, but the only point I’m trying to make is that we DID sit players for the Supercopa because we WERE trying to save energy for this match. (And again, the sub-point that the second supercopa leg is probably not as strong an indicator of Barca’s skill this year as Barca fans might want to believe).

      If you’d seen both legs of the CL playoff, I think you’d feel less strongly that fitness was the issue. Braga were extremely disciplined in back, and effectively funneled all our attacks to the touchlines (where our fast and dangerous wingers love to go anyway), and then just outnumbered us in the box, where our crosses almost never found any of our attackers. We never (in either leg) tried another idea, and never looked like creating danger. We didn’t look tired or like we couldn’t run at the end of the game…we were still running really fast. To the corner. And then sending in pointless crosses.

      • mei
        August 24, 2010

        I think most people were happy for the return of the internationals , the debut of villa and the hattrick of messi despite being unfit , rather than how “scary” the team looked over a sevilla side that lined up a lesser team with an unfortunate game plan. Anyway the point here is that people are happy when their team plays well , against any opponent , in particular when there are high hopes that their level of playing will be upped more(plus you know , sevilla is a good team even if they dont line up all their first teamers , it was minor silverware, and a comeback creates always strong emotions).

        About sevilla : i didnt see any of the games , apart from 10 minutes of the last one.So i will obviously take your word for it.
        My comments were based purely on my expectations of sevilla and the knowledge that braga is already competing in their national championship , sorry if my wrong assumptions infuriated you.

      • August 24, 2010

        And I’m sorry if I came off infuriated–I’m not at all. (Just feeling CRUSHED, ugh). And your point about the happiness of Barca fans for their team playing well is well taken…if it wasn’t against Sevilla I too would have been delighted just to see the return of the REAL tiki-taka (no offense, Spain). The team is a real delight to watch, I just felt like some fans here were acting as though 4-0 was a realistic result between the two teams, when the reality probably lies somewhere between 3-1 and 4-0. : )

        But again: no hard feelings, and thanks to all you commenters (and blog mods) for patiently tolerating/interacting with my non-Barca ranting here. Appreciated!

  24. Dave
    August 24, 2010

    Id rather than etienne capoue to mascherano, seems to be better on the ball. Taller, cheaper good passer

  25. Swede
    August 25, 2010

    Isn’t it quite clear.

    Barcelona needs to cut cost since they are running out of money.

    They have already offloaded Henry, Marques, Toure and Chygrynskiy to be able to cut expenses. Ibra’s wage is one of the highest and draining their pocket, see earlier post in this blog, “Money, intent and a Barca Tag Day? Not likely, kids!”. But unfortunately they paid to much for him and Rosello and Pep doesn’t wanna lose their face and be known as bad business men.

    I’m a big fan of Ibra and I hope he will stay and win the Champions League with Barcelona but I’m afraid that if they keep him it will be the beginning of the end for club and a huge depression is coming…

    Thanks

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