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. K
    August 23, 2010

    I think its Sid Lowe who called him football’s Sonic the Hedgehog
    I’d call him the Roadrunner with Wil.E. being any LB up against him

  2. theMaginator (tutomate)
    August 23, 2010

    Loved your Post SoMa, but then again I love just about anything you say or do.

    Props to Kxevin as well for the last post.

    • jordi(TM)
      August 23, 2010

      lol I like the little swipe at our financial ‘situation’

  3. Kari
    August 23, 2010

    A very good Dani pic for Caption This!

    *http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRMm32I7_EKz5sVIbTcP2DPx6OYsdhNnbuI9R8Fehl62r18rn0&t=1&usg=__d610Bw_tru1KtLw4u9IxAFmNDi8=

  4. jordi(TM)
    August 23, 2010

    More Mino quotes from Pep’s twitter: “The negotiations on an exit have already begun. There’s not only Milan, also other teams.”

    …Hector pills, i need some.

    • Helge
      August 23, 2010

      Didn’t he say some hours ago that it’d be impossible for Milan to sign Ibra? That Ibra will stay at Barcelona with a probability of 99.9% ?
      This is definitely the worst and most trash-talking player agent of all times …

  5. jordi(TM)
    August 23, 2010

    Btw i ventured to mediaset’s website only to see this.*http://www.sportmediaset.mediaset.it/mercato/articoli/articolo40320.shtml

    I dismissed it as rubbish as i cant see how we would go from ibra to.. Borrielo.God, id take robinho from city first and Robinho is the last player id want here.

    • theMaginator (tutomate)
      August 23, 2010

      LOL Why the hell would we want borriello?

  6. blitzen
    August 23, 2010

    “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.”

    Haha, perfect!!! Excellent post on an excellent blog. Glad I found it!

  7. Helge
    August 23, 2010

    At least you got a feed that showed you the celebtrations, SoMa. My stream stopped playing right after the final whistle 🙁

    I think the only negative aspect of Dani Alves’ character is that he sometimes wants too much which leads to stupid long-range shots or completely overhit crosses into (actually over) the box. His ambition seems to give his body the extra energy that no other RB or LB in the world possesses, but his accuracy in crosses has to increase imo. Due to his energetic style of play, he’s often found relatively free on the right wing, having loads of time to shoot a perfect cross, but he doesn’t succeed with it often enough. Still, he might averae one assist in two games, but he could be sooo much better!

    • Kari
      August 23, 2010

      /http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=792h5YM21t0

    • ooga aga
      August 23, 2010

      how many times are you gonna come back and write shit like this?

      • Kxevin
        August 23, 2010

        Leave it, ooga aga. It takes two to troll. Will tidy up shortly.

  8. Euler
    August 23, 2010

    Throughout the summer Pep has said multiple times that whether or not Ibra stays with the club is up to Ibra. This implicitly means that Pep wants Ibra to stay as long as Ibra is committed to the club.

    Ibra himself has said dozens of times he has no interest in leaving. Through his agent he has gone as far as to say he’s willing to fight for his spot on the club.

    Ibra’s agent has now publicly stated that Pep has told Ibra that he wants him to stay and doesn’t want him sold.

    So why in the world is Barca even engaging in these negotiations? Why have they even entered into this process (never mind with Milan who has no money…)?

    If the manager has said that he wants the player to stay, why is the club even entertaining talks to sell him?

    That question gets at the heart of the matter because it speaks to how the sporting project is being managed and who is making the decisions governing it.

    Right now whether or not Ibra is sold is secondary. If he stays they’ll be great. If he’s sold they’ll still be great (less so but still great given Pedro.)

    The major issues is why attempts are being made to sell a player if the manager doesn’t want him sold.

    Now it’s possible that Pep wasn’t being honest in public or that he changed his mind. But as of today Ibra’s agent has said Pep told him he wants Ibra to stay and Pep has not refuted this claim. The agent may be unpleasant but to explicitly lie on the record about a conversation he had with an manager, especially one as respected as Pep, would be career suicide for that agent.

    So why are these talks even being held? Why was Milan’s approach even engaged?

    It’s very opaque right now as to who is running the sporting project and how are decisions being made.

    After all cules were told over and over during the election the manager would make the decisions on the sporting project.

    • Kxevin
      August 23, 2010

      The Ibrahimovic situation is sounding a lot like the The Yaya situation. Raiola is even saying some of the same things as Seluk, as in “Don’t be surprised if he stays at Barcelona,” blah, blah, blah.

      I’m afraid that this is all beyond my level of comprehension.

      –Is he for sale, only for a crazy-ass offer?
      –Is he for sale because of something that made Guardiola question his commitment to the club?
      –Is he for sale because Rosell has done the math, and said 40m+12m in salary=a big chunk off of our bottom line?
      –If he for sale because of the arrival of Villa, and the looming presence of Pedro!?
      –Is he even for sale at all?

      If his agent says exit negotiations have begun, that means they are confident that they will end “favorably” for his client, which means you can already begin to envision your Pedro!/Villa?Messi front line, folks.

      • Euler
        August 23, 2010

        No doubt – the situation is very strange. It doesn’t add up but it’s evolving anyway. You can be certain that Raiola wouldn’t be changing his tune unless it was in his and Ibra’s financial best interest. So perhaps the player has changed his mind about playing time or the combination of playing time/ money? Who knows.

        However, it doesn’t sound like this was being driven by Ibra and his camp.

        I just hope these rumors of a loan (never mind a partial loan where we are still left paying 60% of his wages) are rubbish. But it seems like Milan is seeing if they can get a scavenger’s deal on the player and leave Barca holding the bag. I don’t see where they get the money to make an equitable deal work. But we’ll see.

        • theMaginator (tutomate)
          August 23, 2010

          Till today I was not very worried about Milan. Because they cannot afford his transfer fee nor his wages. The move does not seem to be in Ibra’s best interest either because his reputation would become “the one who was not good enough for Barca” and Milan really can’t offer him more than playing time because I think Inter would still be favorites for the Scudetto and Milan IMHO are not capable of winning the CL at this time.

          Citeh seemed to more of a suitor because although they can’t offer Ibra CL with him they would have a very good chance at the EPL plus they can afford the transfer fee and his wages.

          So i think that Ibra is staying unless Pep has told him he is not going to be used much or that he doesn’t want him which I don’t think is the case.

          Mino’s last statements are worrying but maybe all he is saying is that there open to hear offers. Also heard the comments on Rac1 and honestly the parts I actually heard are very Ambiguous Mino could be talking about anyone.

          • I posted on the blog a week ago that I was worried that something would get done at the Gamper match, now its even more worrying.

      • jordi(TM)
        August 23, 2010

        Heres the thing, milan can only afford to loan him, and not even pay his full salary.Fiscally i need an explanation of how us still paying a percentage (which from what i read varies from half to 35 percent) of his salary is cost beneficial.What if he went to milan and got injured, we still pay have to his salary, and then they dont want to take up the purchase option next year, which btw a year later they still cant afford even if he was succesful.Now if its a player plus cash deal they need to explain to us how having Boriello, a footnote on the talent scale of Ibra, is better than having Ibra.I even laughed out loud again at the thought of moving from the likes of ibra and Samu to Borrielo…Borrielo.

        We can survive with Pedro Villa and Leo, but it cant be denied we have been lucky with injuries the last two years, all it takes is 1 injury to Villa or Leo and we are screwed.Another thing is yes, we beat Sevilla, and yes it will work 90% of the times, but there is always the few games tiki taka doesnt work and you just have to pump it in the box.What will we do in those cases, besides Send Pique forward, which admittedly is a great option ?If we suffer injuries and crash out of europe and suffer burn out(after a world Cup who would imagine?!!) the directive should resign.

  9. August 23, 2010

    New Guardian report says Masch bid has been rejected by Liverpool. So there you go.

    **http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/aug/23/javier-mascherano-barcelona-liverpool

  10. sab
    August 23, 2010

    gr8 2 c someone appreciating our dani apart fr sid.

    and i m really tired of this IBRA thing.

    rossel is really making all the bad noises

  11. Hilal
    August 23, 2010

    The latest stories come from Mediaset, which also happens to be owned by Berlusconi. I wouldnt put too much faith in anything that comes out of that paper.

  12. Jnice
    August 23, 2010

    “Barca can fuck off! Javier Mascherano is worth more than Yaya Fucking Toure! Trying to do what they did to cesc again! Di***!”

    Here we go again.

    It’s not our fault Mascherano doesn’t want to play for Liverpool today.

    • jordi(TM)
      August 23, 2010

      LOL are we going to get trolled by scousers next?

      • Jnice
        August 23, 2010

        It’s definitely a possibility, haha.

        FourFourTwo‎(twitter): Hodgson on Mascherano: “He’s not here, there’s speculation about his future and his mind isn’t right so it wasn’t correct to select him”

  13. Euler
    August 23, 2010

    Mascherano not playing in this match takes a significant amount of leverage away from Liverpool.

    And when you are on the verge of being taken over by the bank you don’t have much leverage to begin with in the first place.

    But it doesn’t seem people are willing to accept how a market works.

  14. Roz
    August 23, 2010

    I just dont get why they(Milan) even want him. I mean they have Pato Borrelio Huntelaar and alot of other stikers.

    • Bashir
      August 23, 2010

      Milan will prob. sell hunter to prem.league.
      Spurs if they make to cl is most likely

  15. Bashir
    August 23, 2010

    The way i see it. Barca including Pep would not mind zlatan leaving. But since he got 4 years left and is not cheap. Going in public n saying we want him out is to risky.

    1. Buying teams could wait till last minute with lower offer which I think Milan is gonna try
    2. If no one buys him imagine havin zlatan in bad mood a hole year.

    So all this Pep want him is to maintain zlatan high rep

    Villa for zlatan, masch (if) for yaya. Vi are Henry shirt 🙂

  16. mei
    August 23, 2010

    pep(twitter) :

    Marco Borriello (AC Milan): “Me to Barcelona? Who knows…” [sky italia]

    we knows . NOES

  17. Kari
    August 23, 2010

    Man. Citeh – Liverpool if anyone cares. 1-0 to Citeh, goal by Barry (an admittedly nice one, picked apart Liverpool a la us)

    *http://www.iraqgoals.tv/ch1.html

    I wanted to see El Chino, but he’s on the bench…

    • Roz
      August 23, 2010

      Thanks you. I was going to Google to search for the game, but I thought maybe someone had a link here lol.

  18. Kxevin
    August 23, 2010

    Something we aren’t considering: Perhaps Guardiola has seen something in the practice sessions that makes him believe that a Villa/Ibrahimovic/Messi front line isn’t workable.

    • mei
      August 23, 2010

      In just a week? And while ibra has shown considerable improvement in the preseason matches??
      Anyway if ibra gets loaned out and we end up paying half of his wages it will be the worst deal ever, considering gaspart era too.

    • Blow-Grenade
      August 23, 2010

      My .02 cents.

      Ibrahimovic likes to move to the left of the box, it is natural for him to do so. This movement is partially responsible for the downfall of Henry. Since Henry would run to the byline to try to cross, and would find Ibra deep instead of up front and trying to connect with his crosses and/or providing a strikers outlet. Villa likes to play on the left where Henry left off.

      This problem of the natural tendency of Ibrahimic to move to the left of the box still needs to be addressed. I believe right off the bat, based on last season’s Ibra’s movement, that Ibra and Villa are incompatible.

      On the flip side it leaves a lot of room for Messi to operate on the right, which is one of the reason’s he has had such a phenominal season in terms of getting goals. Compared to when Eto’o was around, who would drop deep, move forward, or mostly to the right of the box, where Messi operates from.

      Enter the brand new Iniesta, kudos for Del Bosque for seeing this aspect of Iniesta and using it in the final against Holland. With the ability of Iniesta to operate as a decoy centre forward/play maker, and Villa on the left and Messi on the right, I do not see a spot for Ibra, except as a Cup striker. Ibra cannot provide the same movement up front as the trident of Villa Iniesta and Messi up front, where the three can interchange positions at will. Defenders can try to follow them which will create holes in their defence.

  19. Kari
    August 23, 2010

    Oh, another OT and useless comment. The Wigan-Chelsea game, where Chelski won 6-0, recorded a total of 0 corners and was a total borefest. I would know; I had the misfortune of watching some of it.

    • Roz
      August 23, 2010

      Agreed. I really dont see Torres and Gerrard staying after the season is finished.

      • mei
        August 23, 2010

        totally offtopic : doesnt hodgson look like the penguin?

    • Jnice
      August 23, 2010

      Mascherano is probably not even watching lol.

      • Kari
        August 23, 2010

        I wouldn’t blame him, in all honesty.

        I’m spoiled by Barca. Very, very spoiled.

        • Jnice
          August 23, 2010

          Haha, I’m worse than you. I find myself criticizing EVERY other team. It’s bad.

  20. jordi(TM)
    August 23, 2010

    Yaya is a class apart, too good for city, atleast he cant hurt us in europe i guess.

  21. Kxevin
    August 23, 2010

    The same Berlusconi-owned rag is saying that Ibrahimovic and Milan have agreed to personal terms of 6m, with us paying the other half of his salary.

    Should we all laugh individually, or in unison? A LOAN DEAL, with us paying half his salary and foregoing his transfer fee? Wow. Are Italian media vying with Spanish and English media for making crazy crap up?

    • theMaginator (tutomate)
      August 23, 2010

      It’s the UCL equivalent for Daily Rags and they are all in the hunt for the trophy of most absurd.

  22. Euler
    August 23, 2010

    Liverpool is playing a 4-4-2 while Man City is playing a modified 4-2-3-1.

    Not only have Torres and Ngog been very poor, but by playing the two striker formation, Liverpool is conceding numerical superiority in midfield to Man City. Man City is moving the ball relatively easily despite not playing a pure play maker (with due respect to yaya) and their own midfielders not playing particularly well (Tevez keeps dropping ridiculously deep because he’s starved of the ball)

    A triangle always beats a straight line but that’s still a tough sell in England.

    And Steven Gerard is so poor positionally it’s hard to get over. Hodgson general plan is to play Joe Cole as a playmaker behind Torres and have Gerard drop deeper to play along with the holding player. Good luck with that.

  23. Kari
    August 23, 2010

    There is so much wrong with this match I don’t even know where to start.

    The quality of this match is really low…would Mallorca v Athletic Bilbao be this bad? I wonder…

    • y2k156
      August 23, 2010

      Tactics have to do a lot. Liverpool have gone back to english ways since Alonso left. Mancini and his defensive mids is not exactly feast of eyes.

      Adam Johnson has potential though. And Tevez is class. Torres is still getting back to fitness while in rest of Liverpool, quality is not exactly shining. I have never taken taken shine to Gerrard, nice enough player though he might be. His corners and free kicks are atrocious though he still keeps on taking them. And the english commentery i hear is load of crap.

  24. Kari
    August 23, 2010

    3-0 Citeh. Tevez penalty. No way back for Liverpool surely.

  25. cliveee
    August 23, 2010

    this citeh is playing some pretty decent possession football. they had what? 78% of the possession at one point! but if we were to play them in any competition, we will simply outplay them in any way.
    they are just nowhere near our level of pressure and organization, work rate and passing precision. even the yaya is there to improve them by a galaxy, they will still be chasing the ball for 90 mins if we perform the kind of extra-terrestrial football we performed against sevilla.

    by the way, joe hart looked good because it is only liverpoor. but still, good saves.

  26. Helge
    August 23, 2010

    Sad to see the downfall of Liverpool, the (for me) most legendary/traditional English club. I predict them a dark future, will take some time (if at all) until they’ll return to the Top 4.
    Seeing Liverpool makes me cherish even more the magnificient period of our beloved club. It’s just too good to be true, and I pray that we will never have to deal with the problems that Liverpool have right now. We are / I am worrying about Ibra being sold or not, how pathetic to be honest.

  27. jordi(TM)
    August 23, 2010

    Lyon just signed Gourcuff, good luck to anyone trying to sign him in the future for less than 35 million.Well played by Aulas.

  28. Diego S.
    August 23, 2010

    //http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs394.snc4/45716_439776844617_300579419617_4568174_293956_n.jpg

    Since Caceres can take the ball from Zlatan, I think he should Stay ..

    On the Mascherano subject .. The only way I see us doing it is by offloading Hleb .. If we pay the 26m that Liverpool wants that .. Does it mean that Masch is better than Yaya ?!

    • Larm
      August 23, 2010

      i like seeing bojan in the backgrounds. prolly taking notes.

  29. Euler
    August 23, 2010

    I wonder how David Silva felt watching that debacle of a match between Liverpool and Man City from the bench.

    Think about how poor the technique demonstrated in that match was. And Silva is sitting on the bench.

    Silva’s plays a style of football very much at odds with the others on that squad. It’ll be interesting to see how he adapts. At times Silva’s game can become too indirect. Perhaps being there will help him improve. It may be hard for him to do however given their roster.

    • Kari
      August 23, 2010

      You’re mocking me in some way, aren’t you?

      Sigh. I give him two, three years max before he jumps ship and joins us. He knows he wants too.

  30. vicsoc8
    August 23, 2010

    Does anyone know the political situation in Italy?

    aka does anyone know what Berlusconi stands to gain politically if he were to splurge for a big ass striker from his own bank account?

    • jordi(TM)
      August 23, 2010

      Google News Forza Italia or People of Libery last i followed he was surviving a no confidence motion.

      • jordi(TM)
        August 23, 2010

        :@ *Liberty

        But yea hes peobably trying to get some support with a shiny signing.Too bad he didnt think of that when he sold off Kaka.

    • Kari
      August 23, 2010

      Considering he got hit by a statuette of Milan’s cathedral in Dec. of last year, he wouldn’t be able to walk in public if he splurged right now.

      I can’t confess to know a whole lot about Italian politics, but my sister was actually just in Italy (Rome, if you wanted to know) and she was shocked at how many people were breaking their backs just to make ends meets. It’s really a case of a small group of people with all the money. The country is in serious debt; the Italian people, who were already struggling when Berlusconi decided to change currency from Lira to Euro (that hit people really hard as the Lira used to be worth so much but when changed to Euro, their money dropped substancially), are in even more trouble now.

      It’s the reason Milan sold Kaka’ when they did and did f-all to reinforce their squad (the less said about the Cissoko farce, where they complained about his teeth to bring down his price, the better). Berlusconi wanted more money and used the finacial situation in Italy to justify it.

      No one likes him in Italy–to be more accurate, they absolutely despise him. There are stong allegations that Berlusconi is linked to the Mafia, amoungst other things, but both of the major media outlets are owned by him, it’s harder to write bad press about him.

      Him breaking the bank, already highly unlikey as he’s a greedy **** from what my Italy based relatives tell me, for a 29 year old Swede who played for their arch rivals (won’t go down well with the fans…maybe. Considering who they have now, they probably wouldn’t complain too much) would be the last thing he’d do.

  31. Kxevin
    August 23, 2010

    Blow-Grenade makes a good point, and one that hadn’t entered my mind:

    This problem of the natural tendency of Ibrahimic to move to the left of the box still needs to be addressed. I believe right off the bat, based on last season’s Ibra’s movement, that Ibra and Villa are incompatible.

    What does everyone think of that, as well as his point that the new-look Ghostface will need more operating room.

    Apparently the latest rumor is that we will only loan(??!!) Ibrahimovic if Milan pays all of his salary. I just don’t see Ibrahimovic as a loan player. Raiola said that the meeting between Rosell and Galliani is meaningless, that Ibrahimovic will decice.

    This here is some crazy shit, yo.

    • Kari
      August 23, 2010

      It’s something that’s true, really and I’ll be honest and say that I haven’t thought of that. BS.com’s article on the nouveau Messi, a diamond in a pile of crap that you get once in a while, indirectly adds to BG’s argument.

      /http://www.goal.com/en/news/1717/editorial/2010/08/23/2083625/spanish-inquisition-the-multifaceted-lionel-messi-not-your

      I just don’t know until they actually play together–my hope is that will be the day after tomorrow. The Gamper is the perfect time for Pep to test his strongest side.

      Personally I think all the Ibra to Milan rumours are happening because they are our opponents for the Gamper–if we were playing Man Citeh, it would be them being linked to Ibra– and it adds a little more drama to the match and more anticipation for it. I stand by my claim that Ibra will be staying this season and I hope that I have successfully deattached myself from The Madness.

      I’d forgetton that I don’t have to wait a full week to watch the next match this time. I can’t wait for the Gamper and shall dream of a Villa/Ibra/Messi lineup in the meantime.

    • Roja_N
      August 24, 2010

      Maybe ibra has the tendency to drift left, although lets keep in mind that villa is also a natural central striker if required…can we see a situation where ibra and villa swap positions while playing where ibra may drift left as villa drifts right towards the center. The right belongs to messi so nuff said…

  32. Kxevin
    August 23, 2010

    And there is no way we are going to, nor should we meet Liverpool’s valuation of Mascherano. 25-30m? Puh-LEEEZE! 😀

  33. Roz
    August 23, 2010

    I feel sorry for Hleb… No body wants the dude; or maybe he wants nobody

    • Kari
      August 23, 2010

      No one wants to be Hlebbed.

      I don’t blame them.

  34. Benj
    August 23, 2010

    Pep,
    Por el amor de dios, don’t let Rosell sell Ibra.
    I get really upset when I hear these rumours and think of the real Ibra.
    *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUMg9HdqhRA
    Two footed, great in the air, skillful, classy.
    His value cant simply be stated in goals or assists, he is just such a valuable asset to the team.
    The first goal of the clip is one of my favourites 😀

  35. August 23, 2010

    Thanks Benj,
    That was a revelation. There is this perception,that Ibra hangsout and waits for the easy goals (I confess I’ve entertained it)
    ,,,,which one of those was easy?

    • Benj
      August 23, 2010

      I just dont get it.
      Zlat gets slammed as a failure etc, people say we should have kept eto’o etc, that we got ripped off.
      A few points/gripes:

      1) As Kxev has pointed out many times, a 21 goal haul along with 10 assists in 41 games is NOT a failure. Maybe Eto’o was the failure going the other way scoring 16 goals in 47 games?
      2) Yes we spent alot of money on him, but I think he was worth it (read: WE WON EVERYTHING)
      3) Ibra doesn’t cause trouble and disharmony amongst his teammates. Eto’o did that.
      4) He adds height to the team, and in a team where we have iniesta (5f7), xavi (5f7), messi (5f7), Bojan (5f7), Villa (5f9), a bit of height from Zlat (6f5) is always helpful.

      Visca Ibra. Worth every peso 😀

  36. Bundy
    August 24, 2010

    Again, there is all this news of Ibra being shipped off on loan or being sold, but there is no news of us looking for another forward or winger.

    Instead we are faced with a possible signing of mascherano to cover for the lack of depth at DM or defence even.

    But yet there is no sign of any discomfort at the fact that we will be at a lack in depth in the attacking positions IF Ibra leaves.

    It all just doesn’t make sense.

    one of these two possible transfers have to be real, they both cannot co-exist. It just isn’t beneficial to us.

    people can say we are well equipped with Villa upfront. But all it takes are a few injuries in midfield or attack or both and we are riding thin again. What about all the question marks on Villa leading the line in the WC, we all saw it doesn’t work very well.

    Even in the supa cup win over Seville, you could see that when Alves/Messi/Iniesta crossed the ball in the box, there was no player able to reach the ball with their heads, not forgetting the fact that there is no target for the crosser to aim for, everyone is marked by one player due to lack of height and strength.

    What happened to Ibra being able to draw out more than one defender, especially in the box. Doesn’t it seem odd that we are giving away a player that is needed?

    As for Ibra drifitng to the left, so what, Villa drifts to the left too, Eto’o used to drift to the right often aswell, and would get in the way of messi at times.

    Pep wants to build at team with players that have defined roles in the team and can be easily slotted into their given position on the field, he also is building at team full of players that compete with one another for a spot on the pitch. Why would he want to get rid of a player in the forward line? wouldn’t it defeat purpose of such a mentality in the squad, when a player would just get shipped off for the sake of another buyer who isn’t paying any money at all?

    it all just doesn’t fit in well

    • Bundy
      August 24, 2010

      **an important note I forgot to add:

      Pep would definitely not approve of borriello coming. what is the point, if Pep isn’t certain about Ibra on the field, wouldn’t Borriello have even more uncertainty?

      Why would Pep want to make things more difficult and complicated for himself to manage?

      We saw that he can’t even accept players like Hleb and Caceres to come back into the team.

      So why would Pep want to change things up at this time of the pre-season and having to buy a completely new player to void the abscence of Ibra (if he leaves.) that just brings us back to square one, where we have to bring in a new player and start from scratch building up a new CF.

      I think Pep is at a stage where he wants to narrow down his squad from the tried and tested. He doesn’t want to go back to the position of having to experiment with trial and error yadda yadda, We have the youth to do that now.

      and so again, there are so many arguments against the reliability of these transfer rumours, and whether Pep would even accept it.

      • Eklavya
        August 24, 2010

        Yeah but the point is that it’s all Rosell’s doing not Pep’s.

        • Bundy
          August 24, 2010

          Ok then, with all these conspiracy theories on Pep and Rosell.

          How about I think of another possibility,

          Maybe Ibra’s agent is pressuring Barca and Pep, since Ibra feels he may not be getting enough game time maybe the agent is trying to get some answers.

        • Hilal
          August 24, 2010

          Well we dont really know that for sure, we are assuming its all Rosell’s doing. For all we know Pep has changed his mind. Im the last person to want Ibra gone, but we cannot assume to know what is going on behind the scenes and we cannot just lay all the blame on Rosell because he is the easy target right now..

  37. Helge
    August 24, 2010

    Let’s just wait for tomorrow’s match. If Ibra doesn’t feature at all, I think he will surely part ways with our club.
    But I hope that he will be given another chance, just like Henry got his 2nd chance.
    Anyway, we shouldn’t loan him out to any club, we shouldn’t pay any percentage of his wages because that would be the worst economic deal ever. I’d maybe sell him for 40m+, but anything below that is simply ridiculous. So he better stays, cuz Milan will never be able to pay such an amount of money. And ManCity has already like 6 strikers^^

  38. Kxevin
    August 24, 2010

    The latest, such as it is:

    –Ibrahimovic and his scumbag will not entertain the notion of a loan, and Milan will not offer any more than 12m in a purchase.

    –Guardiola mentioned Mascherano by name in his press conference. I have to think that this means a deal is imminent.

    –HOW imminent? 3m separates the clubs, apparently. Liverpool are playing hardball, but your balls can only be so hard with a player who is desperate to leave.

    –Raiola is talking about a “feeling” being absent between Ibrahimovic and Guardiola, who responded that it isn’t his job to respond to player representatives. Way to insert animus, Raiola.

    –Guardiola says he doesn’t regret signing Ibrahimovic because you can’t look back over your decisions. Note the absence of “Because he has met all of our expextations.”

    –Gourcuff isn’t ready for a big club. Lyon is a nice intermediate step. I can’t see us ever wanting to sign Gourcuff, eyelashes notwithstanding.

  39. cliveee
    August 24, 2010

    guardiola said he is not regret to bring Ibra to Barca. excellent.

    there is no way ibra will go anyway. all teams are broke except maybe citeh which they already had 130m spent, and they do not look like they wanna increase that amount to close to 200m. so, its not gonna happen.

    • Jnice
      August 24, 2010

      Ronaldinho’s open letter to us:

      “As you all know, I don’t normally talk in public a lot and I’m not one for big farewells, but I would like to take advantage of this occasion to thank you all for everything we shared together during the five years I defended the Barca shirt. They were certainly the best years of my life, both professionally and personally. I honestly think we enjoyed so much whilst we were together.

      I don’t like farewells and I prefer to think this will be a chance to meet with old friends and renew friendships and relationships we had in the past.

      Coming back to the Nou Camp is very special for me. This will always be one of my favourite stadiums and one where I enjoyed myself so much and hopefully helped the Barca fans to enjoy themselves too.

      A sincere hug to all the Barca family and especially to Sandro Rosell.

      Ronaldinho.”

      • Kxevin
        August 24, 2010

        Fugg’im. He took his last season off, except for partying til’ the break of dawn at various Barcelona nightspots, sowed locker room discontent and contributed to creating a psychological situation that cost Frank Rijkaard his job, and the club two legitimate shots at Liga titles. Then you left the club for a fraction of what your transfer fee should have been because of your abysmal performance and attitude.

        Yes, you did great things for the club. Love the Liga and the Champions League. But you had the opportunity to go out like a legend, instead of scuttling down the ratlines to Milan for a pittance.

        Pardon me if I don’t get all weepy, and need my hanky right now.

        Nostalgia can make people think fondly of things that have left them with bad memories, and an even worse taste in their mouth. Ronaldinho was extraordinary, then he screwed it up and in the process, screwed us. It’s partly our own fault for not hewing to the Brazilian Superstar Half-Life Theory, admittedly.

        Which doesn’t mean that it sits any better with me than it did when it happened.

        • mei
          August 24, 2010

          I share the same feelings. Yet , people are who they are and choose their own future according to their standards not subjecting to the popular demand.
          Rijkaard drove himself out of the job. He was not a kid , and being the manager he should boss the players not the other way around.
          Ronaldinhos ending was as much his fault as rijkaards.In the worst case he could sell him when he started showing signs of astounding unprofessionalism and his market price was still sky high to help the club.He didnt , he used him the first year, benched him the second and got the hell out with him the third.

        • Blow-Grenade
          August 24, 2010

          Share the feeling regarding Dinho. I remember walking away from my computer in the middle of matches feeling disgusted with his performances in his last season.

        • Jim
          August 24, 2010

          Can’t agree at all.

          Genius comes with its own drawbacks. Yes, R10 should have become the greatest of them all and didn’t but he was the most gifted player ever to play for Barcelona imo, and if someone had shown an inkling of understanding and valued him he would have delivered another La Liga but instead everyone at the old offside blog kept going on about the youngsters and how they deserved to replace him. Well, they were Gio and Bojan and we got what we deserved. Even at half pace R10 offered us more than either of them. I remember in his last season watching him come back from injury against Celtic and showing some lovely touches. He was then placed back on the bench and didn’t really figure much after that.

          Not defending his attitude which should have been better but more was made of it than should have been. He never defended or ran much without the ball. I’m just recognising the biggest talent I’ve seen in my lifetime. Last season 15 goals and 17 assists in a rotten side and he wasn’t even playing out and out striker ? A lot of people here are encouraging us to believe that Ibra did well last season and he was in the best side in the world?

          I for one will be watching ( if I can find a stream ) and hoping the supporters recognise him for what he was but we’ll see.

    • Kxevin
      August 24, 2010

      The Guardiola quote, read into it what you will:

      “I don’t regret the exchange with Eto’o. You can’t go back on the decisions you make.”

      a) Lawd, I screwed up, and wish that I had it to do all over again. But no regrets, cuz that’s not how I roll.

      b) I made the right decision.

  40. Kari
    August 24, 2010

    (All quotes courtesy of Pep’s twitter)

    Guardiola: “In theory we have three centre-backs, but with Abidal and Busquets, we actually have five.”

    Oh please no, Pep. Abidal. is. not. a . centre. back. I’ve noticed that Busi fills the gap in during games when,say, Pique moves forward, but to actually count on him…?

    Guardiola: “Barça makes everyone look good. The players, me, you the journalists… Everybody. And not the other way around.”

    Interesting.

  41. Kxevin
    August 24, 2010

    “We’ll have to find a way out for Hleb, Caceres and Victor Sanchez because if they stay, they will not take part very much,” said Guardiola.

    Damn. That’s cold. Honest, but cold.

    And speaking of cold, apparently Guardiola had some cranky pills this morning:

    “Wenger, annoyed? Arsenal took Cesc at 15 and ask Sevilla if they’re happy with the depature of Squillaci,” said Mr. Crankypants at his press conference. 😀

      • Dave
        August 24, 2010

        Absolutey nailed it, crowd of hypocrites Arsenal. Spent summer whinge’n about Barca yet do the same to Sevilla. Only difference Squallici had the balls to speak his mind.Their man of the Moument Jose has effectively written off their title chances.
        And another thing, what about United tapping up that young Ajax player???

    • Helge
      August 24, 2010

      At least he didn’t mention Ibra with VicSan, Caceres and Hleb 🙂

    • blitzen
      August 24, 2010

      Thanks for the quotes! Could you give a quick summary of the general tone of the press conference and any other important points he made? Was it on the official website? Because I think it has been hacked again. Or maybe I am the only one having problems there.

      (OT: I call my cat Crankypants when she’s in a bad mood, which is pretty much all the time. LOL!)

  42. Helge
    August 24, 2010

    Haha, this is a really funny comment from Andrei Arshavin (courtesy of Pep’s tweet):
    “Only six teams can win the Champions League this season – four from England and two from Spain.”
    I guess some of you know the Q&A game that is run on his website, but this one caps it off. Tottenham Hotspur has a more realistic chance than Bayern Munich or Inter, right Andrei?

    • theMaginator
      August 24, 2010

      In all fairness Andrei had never heard of the hot spurs. And is talking out his you know what.

  43. Bill
    August 24, 2010

    what channel is the gamper going to be on?

    • Jnice
      August 24, 2010

      ESPN Deportes and ESPN 3 on the computer.

  44. Jnice
    August 24, 2010

    My buddy just told me that Graham Hunter was talking on SkyS ports and he said that Hleb is regarded as a child and not as a man by the Barça coaching staff.

    • Kari
      August 24, 2010

      Hahaha! That’s both funny and sad.

  45. theMaginator
    August 24, 2010

    According to Marca Guardiola’s complete quote regarding Ibra was:
    “Sobre ese tema ya lo he dicho todo. No me arrepiento del cambio que hicimos con Samuel Eto’o. ¿Sobre las declaraciones de su agente? no es mi trabajo contestar a representantes”, aseguró el entrenador del Barça, que quiso añadir que “no me consta que el club vaya a tener una reunión con el Milan por Ibrahimovic”

    Which can be translated to:
    “In regards to that topic I have already said all there is to be said. I don’t regret the swap we did with Eto’o. And In regards to his agents comments , It is not my job to answer to agents”. He also said ” don’t think the club will have a meeting with Milan about Ibrahimovic.”

    If someone has a link to the Presser let me know please.

    • cliveee
      August 24, 2010

      Is this the original sequence of his sentences too? coz from what I read from Kxevin’s 9:21am comment, it sounds like Guardiola is implying a) “Lawd, I screwed up, and wish that I had it to do all over again. But no regrets, cuz that’s not how I roll.”

      • theMaginator
        August 24, 2010

        I think it is, except after he said he did not regret the swap, he also said one should not look back at old decisions.

  46. 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

  47. 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 🙂

  48. poipoi
    August 24, 2010

    this ibra stuff is getting really,really spooky

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

  49. 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.

    • 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.

  50. 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.

  51. 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?

  52. 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.

  53. 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

  54. 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… 🙁

  55. 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.

  56. 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.

  57. 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.

      • 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 🙂

  58. 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.

  59. 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.

  60. Eklavya
    August 24, 2010

    Ronaldinho is the best. Sorry Kxevin.

  61. cliveee
    August 24, 2010

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

  62. 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.

  63. 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.

  64. 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

  65. 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.

  66. 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 😀

  67. 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?????? ? ? ?? ? ? ?? ? ?? ?? ?

      • 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.

          • (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.

          • 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…

        • 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…

          • 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.

  68. 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 .

    • 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.

        • 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!

  69. Dave
    August 24, 2010

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

  70. 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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