Barça v. Racing – Match Preview

Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images Europe

Sunday, August 29, 2010. 1 PM EST, 7 PM Barcelona time. ESPN Deportes,

So this is the new year? Yes, yes it is. And isn’t it about damn time we get down to some La Liga games? As far as benedictions go, this is a good one. On Sunday, FC Barcelona begins its 80th La Liga campaign and another league championship title defense at Racing Santander. For a squad that many are predicting will win its 21st league title this year, Barcelona certainly faces a number of questions ranging from the starting front line to depth concern and the prospect of youth and young manhood taking over in the midfield. Then again, the club also sports the greatest amount of talent in the league, and likely of any club in the world. So… let’s preview shall we?

A little housekeeping first. Normally Isaiah dutifully handles the previews and Kevin deftly rolls out the reviews but this year we are doing things a little differently and I will be handling a few of each to relieve the workload. I do my previews and reviews differently, so there will be less talking about the histories of cities and more of me waxing prophetic, cause that’s how I roll.

Ignoring the giant purple elephant in the room for a moment, we find ourselves on the road in Santander to start the year. You’ll forgive me if I am none too afraid I’m sure. Last year Racing took a big step back after approaching the middle of the table in 2008-09 and giving our boys a ton of trouble, regression set in and they barely finished above relegation, and were made to look bad on both occasions by our Blaugrana. Sadly, they look to be doomed to relegation now.

The team has done very little to improve after selling Sergio Canales to Madrid and somehow not getting sure guarantees that he would be sticking around on loan this year too (although it is unlike that their poor showing are 100% their fault since all the big clubs in La Liga keep all the money with no revenue sharing that might make the minnows spend a dime or three, but I digress). Instead, they rely on the ageless, and sometimes toothless, Pedro Munitis for goals (although he did get a ton of assists last year). So yeah, it’s not looking good. This does not even mention that Barcelona will be looking to put an ugly offseason behind them and Pep is likely going to beat the boys to death so that they will not underrate the Cantabrian side. In short, this one is going to get bad, and it’s going to get very bad early.

Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images Europe
I’m sure you’ll forgive me if I leave off the prose in relation to Santander and tend to our own mountainous and nebulous concerns that have been piling up, since oh, hoisting number 20 last May. Call it a preview distracted by external factors, but that’s where we are, I cannot help it. As if to make matters more hectic in regards to any preview that was going to be put up, everyone decided that 4 days before the end of the transfer window is the appropriate time to buy a highly-coveted MF from Liverpool in Mascherano and sell last summer’s big swipe, Zlatan for more than $40M.

Then there is the possible World Cup hangover that Valdes, Pique, Puyol, Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta, Pedro, and Villa might suffer from. Such an affliction may also hit Messi… And where does Villa fit now? Is he playing on the left with Messi in the center and Pedro on the other side? Vice versa? How does Pep fit everyone in? How will the team react with actual, perceivable depth at every position? What is the meaning of life? Will Thiago, JDS, or Fontas make lasting contributions? Should we build a Captain D’s 2 blocks from the BP oil spill? Many of these are unanswerable. However, as your gallant and epic preview writer, I will make some seemingly bold predictions for the upcoming season.

Thiago will make a huge impact
Huge by degrees obviously, but still. I am a foremost proponent of our Brazillia-Spanish (ok, maybe Ramzi has me), but I think the chances are going to be there for him to step in. He played very well in the U-19 Euros and seems to be tailor-made to step in in the event that Iniesta is injured, or for Xavi as well in a pinch. The fact that he scored his first and only first team goal against Racing is just icing on the cake.

FC Barcelona will have to deal with increased cynicism from all sides
Face it, when you are involved in 4 high profile transfer sagas, one of which involves a most beloved EPL player, and 2 more involve asshole agents publicly bashing your manager, things are going to be very public all summer (if you’re counting it home, the blame lies as follows, that one kid-media/FCB/his club; Yaya-agent/himself; Mascherano-player; Ibra-FCB/agent). All of this following a disastrous trip to Asia, in terms of PR (although I think that’s horse shit, when everyone is exhausted that stuff happens, you’ll move on I am sure), means one of the most well known clubs in the world with a reputation for being fan-centric is going to have its rep besmirched, mostly through its own doing. The way this Zlatan business has ended up just makes us look worse, as Kevin alluded to here, is only going to further damage our reputation. When you win, it also makes it worse. Rightly or wrongly, it’s coming.

Maxwell will continue to impress, and Adriano will fill in that role as well
The unheralded Brazilian left back that we signed for $3M last summer has been more than a revelation, he’s been a savior. When Abidal was injured last year, he filled in. He played up front on the left. He provided pace, skill with the ball, and defensive alacrity when needed. He fits Pep’s system perfectly and does what is needed. The perfect signing. Likewise, Adriano can play roughly 5 positions on the field, maybe more. He’s never going to score a lot, but he will fight for the ball, cross well, and use his pace incredibly. What’s better is that he will provide a break for Alves, something we could definitely use without moving Puyol out.

The offense will be better, somehow
Subtract Ibra, add Villa. Another year of maturity for Pedro, plus World Cup success. Xavi is who he is. Iniesta had an amazing World Cup and can hopefully be healthy. Jeffren, well, he’s still alive I think. And Messi, well, he exhibits all the powers of Cthulhu, with none of the awful tentacle-ish side effects of godhood (and as well all know, just like Cthulhu, Messi waits…). And then there’s Bojan, cute little sweet Bojan. Of anyone who is going to benefit from Ibra leaving, it is our midget 11. Running the 4-3-3, the offensive front is going to look like this:

Villa (Iniesta, Maxwell, Adriano) – Messi (Bojan) – Pedro (Jeffren, Alves)
Iniesta (Thiago, Keita) – Xavi (JDS) – Busquets (Mascherano, Keita)

Last year Messi flourished as a false nine after acclimating, and this year, we likely have the trident back with Villa and Pedro on the wings, cutting inside and providing their scoring flourishes. The midfield is equally stacked with the earth, wind, and fire combining. All of these players know their roles, where they fit in, and how to play with the other players. The only one that we may worry about it Villa, but at home on the left with Iniesta and Xavi feeding and Messi providing space and passing lanes, he won’t have trouble acclimating I am sure.

Season Predictions
La Liga CL Spots: Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico, Villareal
Europa League Spots: Sevilla, Bilbao, Valencia
Relegation: Hercules, Racing Santander, Levante

Champions League: Barcelona (lose in Finals); Madrid (lose in Semis); Sevilla & Valencia (into Europa after Group Stages)

Copa del Rey: Barcelona (lose in the Semis)

Oh yes, I remember why we were here in the first place: Santander. Predicted score: 4-0. Goals by Messi (x2), Iniesta, Pedro.

Starting Lineup
Alves, Pique, Puyol, Abidal
Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta
Pedro, Messi, Villa

Get excited about the new year, cause here, we, go.

By Luke

We calls 'em likes we sees 'em.


  1. what? am i the first to tell Luke this is a bangin review?

    though i think Pedro on the left wing, Villa in the center and Messi on the right would also be a possibility, as putting Messi as a false 9 all the time in all the games would be overaccentuating our midgetness…

  2. Villa-Messi-Pedro is a very interesting front line. With a front line of those three who is designated as the central striker is going to be tactically far less important than it is in most other cases.

    The purpose of that kind of front line is their movement not where they positioned. The hope is that their collective movement and position switching as a 3 man unit will break down defenses. The trade off may be a diminished focal point for the attack. But inside of the stringent ball control game Barca plays a focal point for attack is far less important than for most clubs.

    This Barca front line will take the importance that multidimensional players have in the contemporary game in interesting directions.

    1. this is definitely true of course. Lack of height might definitely prove to be a problem throughout the season. What’s the over / under on goals conceded from set pieces?

  3. Im not sure the ousting of Keita from the team is a foregone conclusion.
    Regardless good work Luke

  4. Nice preview luke!
    Kxevin , did they listen to you?
    “The private plane that had to carry Ibrahimovic to Milan tonight has been cancelled. [milannews]”

  5. great preview luke! and hilarous photo, lol!

    or maybe pep would start with messi, bojan and pedro, then villa will be introduced as a sub.

    ot, where’s isaiah? is he still on vacation?

    1. Not only is he on vacation, but he (rather conveniently, I will add 😀 ) forgot work while he was gone. So you’re stuck being Isaiah-less for a while.

      Speaking of, soliciting volunteers for LiveBlog duty tomorrow, if anyone’s up for it. Let me know here, and thanks in advance.

  6. ““The private plane that had to carry Ibrahimovic to Milan tonight has been cancelled. [milannews]“”

    cause it couldn’t carry his ego! :p

    1. I’m staying clear of this deal for a while, and I think that everyone should. Nobody can see it through anything short of whether they like Ibrahimovic, Rosell, Laporta, Guardiola, chickens, puppies, etc.

      I want what’s best for the club. But it isn’t up to me to sort that out, only offer opinion, which I’ve already done. So I’ll let the folks whose jobs it is to look out for the club, do so. We’ll deal with what happens when it happens.

  7. Actually, Krkic isn’t an 11. He’s a 5.5. 😀

    My predicted lineup:

    Alves Pique Puyol Abidal
    Busquets Xavi Keita
    Messi Villa Pedro

    Keita has been playing too well not to roll him out there, and given Racing’s danger on the counter, it makes sense to have a pair of defense-oriented mids out there. I’d put Iniesta in the “in case of a deficit, break glass” box because remember, if the front line as rolled out doesn’t work, we’re pretty much bereft of options. With Ibrahimovic, Pedro! becomes the killer option off the bench. Now, we’d need something else, such as the destabilization effects of some Ghostface.

    It’s going to be a looong season, and I’d rather Iniesta were fresher for the middle/end of it, than used at the beginning, where we shouldn’t need him.

  8. I would just like to weigh in my 2c on the Ibra deal.

    i have two points:

    1) first of all this seems to be all of ibra’s (read: mino’s) own dealings. he has a reputation for doing this (ie: ajax and inter). Before ibra arrived people were asking about his attitude and arrogance and whether or not pep could tame him and it just seems like ibra is too much. Ibra got a few boos and a few insults for not being “perfect” which, granted, is not fair, but come on this is nothing new for the camp nou is it? its shit or get off the pot and i guess he decided this kitchen is too hot for him. perhaps its also because he is not the hero and he wants to be the superstar in the team while here at barca he is only another name, and one that is not performing at that. so in this regard i do not blame pep, or even that wanker rossell. it is ibras fault and he should have known he was skating on thin ice due to the extravagant price laporta shelled out for him.

    2) i think that we wont buy another forward and that pep doesnt mind that much that ibra goes because i have a hunch he wants to push iniesta forward and play a very mobile front three which could be just villa with messi and iniesta behind him or messi and villa with iniesta behind or whatever. if andres can find his shooting boots he could be a great winger (although i know you all disagree with me). this way, we have less trouble trying to play all of our midfielders. this way we can start keita each match with xavi and busi, or push busi forward with xavi and put hulk smasch(cerano) behind them. we also have JDS and thiago to filter in there so i imagine iniesta will play a more advanced role this season.

    Maybe its just me but there was always something amiss about ibra in our colours. i cant put my finger on it. he is too sensitive to the fans reactions. in a club like barca, the fans own the club and so they have the right to tell the players what they think of them. if he cant stand up to the pressure he should skidaddle.

    but whatever. my point is just that its not the end of the world if ibra leaves.
    sad? yes. it was handled in a terrible way. like someone said, barca need a full time PR team.

    but we will get over this. i value the team over a player like kxevin always says, and if ibra is causing pep stress then he must leave because pep is god. yes, god. i am a pepist.

    sorry for the rant.


  9. nice preview and great pic of andres bullfighting! the defender is soo f*cked up lol

    it would be nice to rest xavi and iniesta and see how thiago does starting.

  10. As an aside – if Ibra wasn’t good enough at Barca, what kind of striker will possibly meet Pep’s, the club’s and cules?

    Pep since he took over has prioritized getting a taller striker who could expand the attack in new ways.

    But that tall striker couldn’t just be a target man – he had to have outstanding technique to fit in with Barca.

    Pep literally got the a player who is perhaps the most versatile, tall strike on the planet.

    But with little surprise as no player is perfect outstanding pace wasn’t a key strength of this player. So he couldn’t move like say a Messi or Pedro.

    That tall striker despite his size also needs to have an outstanding, non-stop work rate or he is “static.”

    And of course the striker desired cannot have much of an ego either. That’s completely unacceptable as well.

    So who exactly fits this picture? What player is this perfect?

    It’s as if the requirements of the position mean that the only player who can fit in as the striker the Pep and the club seem to long for is Mario Balotelli without Mario Balotelli’s personality.

    They literally are looking for the perfect footballer or a robot Would Andriy Shevchenko or Marco van Basten in their primes been good enough?

    Barca better crack open the bank and hope that all of the excitement about Romelu Lukaku is turns out to be true because it seems like the requirements are so stringent to play striker for Pep and Barca are such that it will take a near perfect talent to satisfy what’s needed.

    1. …and is 190 cm and has great technique and has pace and has no ego. In other words the perfect player. Good luck with that.

      Pep didn’t want another 170cm striker so runs and dribbles and is another midget while much easier to find wasn’t what pep of the club wanted. Runs and dribbles was never sufficient by pep’s own requirements.

    2. no need for 1’90 at all, no need of overwhelming technique to score either, just some great sense of goal, “olfato de gol”. Two of the strikers fitting that profile of height and technique could be Kluivert and Ibra, none of them will be very well remembered in Camp Nou. It’s those kind of great but unneficient players that make me like the not-so-skilled 9’s that score like crazy.

      Why are people so mad about ibra’s departure? he is nobody in this team, nobody. We even play better without him. Remember we won the triplete without him. And the end of this liga also. I think it’s great that a player like that, a legend, is sat by bojan, a midget. When you come to FCB you have to give your best, and if they want you to run you just run. And now Villa wil sit him, another midget. The tall dude can go back to Italy to enjoy that fast, skilled and “pure attack” footy they have there.

    3. and let’s not talk about ibra’s supposed “bus-breaking” abilities, which were the reasons why he came here… and then we get kicked out of CL by a bus.

    4. That’s what your requirements may be but it’s clear that not what pep desired. That’s what I am referring to. The kind of striker pep wants. Not the striker either you or I would want. Pep has talked about wanting a tall striker since he got the job. That’s what he has been looking for.

      That’s what I’m discussing – what pep’s requirements are. You may disagree with those requirements but that’s a seperate issue.

      And my question now isn’t even about ibra. My question takes ibra being a failure of requirements for pep as a given. Perhaps this experience has changed what pep wanted in a striker. I’d guess he still wants a more physically imposing player. You may not value that but pep does.

      Given that ibra was a failure how does pep find ghe striker he has wanted so badly. Badly enough to spend 69m to try to meet those requirements? That player pep ideally wants seems near perfect.

      So either pep changes his requirements and settles for less or the club gets very lucky and finds this ideal striker. Maybe that’s already happenned and he’s now happy with villa-messi-Pedro I hope so because the striker pep was looking for – the striker he thought he was getting in ibra but didn’t – is such an ideal player he probably doesn’t exist and it’s best not to keep having those kind of difficult requirements and be more practical.

    5. Oh, bullshit. Giant, festering bullshit. People are concocting bullshit to justify their hatred of Ibrahimovic, and I’ve had it.

      We got kicked out of Champions League because everybody’s beloved midget, Bojan Krkic, couldn’t push a header into an open fucking net. Then a second goal was disallowed because of an incorrectly judged handball. How in the hell is that Ibrahimovic’s fault? Oh, wait …. let me guess. His static, inadequate play meant that he was sitting because he sucks, and if he didn’t suck, Krkic wouldn’t have been playing, so he couldn’t have had the opportunity to miss the header. Got it.

      Euler makes a perfect point about the absurd, unattainable standards that cules hold players to, and you spout some dissertation on why you hate Ibrahimovic, tailored to infinitely malleable reasons. Stop it. Say something, anything positive. Just once. First Henry, now Ibrahimovic. Who’s next?

      Kluivert and Ibrahimovic won’t be well-remembered in the Camp Nou. Read Euler’s initial comment, then ask youself why. Don’t bother. I’ll tell you. Because cules have absurd, unrealistic expectations. Good thing Messi came into a side that already had plenty of stars. Imagine signing Messi today, and what he would have to live up to. Could he? He did last season, but would he have been judged inadequate long before then?

      “He should pass more,” “He makes too many runs,” “He has no head,” would chant the cules, outraged about his 60m transfer fee. “We paid that much for a midget?”

      Absurd? Unrealistic? Not hardly. Nobody can imagine Messi as a transfer because he started with the system. But use your imagination, and think for a moment about the standards that Messi, or ANY transfer has to meet coming into the club. Just because it has always been thus, doesn’t make it right.

    6. ok I understand about pep’s requirements. I don’t watch much football apart from FCB but diego milito is good, tall, can take down and control long balls, is a matador, knows spanish football, has “good sense of goal” and was sill hungry to show how good he is, in the pitch. ibra still thinks he’s the best no matter how bad he plays. … I also think pep’s happy with villa-messi-pedro! and the back-up. Ibra is so full of himself that he wouldn’t take being back-up very well, so out with him.

      I never hate the players I don’t know them personally I hate their game, more like dislike in the case of ibra… hate in the case of titi. and they both earned too much money for what they did which made me dislike them even more.

      So now it’s bojan’s fault, a 19 year old canterano who earns a quarter of what ibra does, and has to win his spot in the team every single practice. And not the player who we signed specially for these cases and plays “a priori”… not ibra who came here as the bus-breaker the plan B the saviour the superstriker. He should have scored in that game he is the bus-breaker not bojan, he started not bojan. I’m saying it was his fault but he did little when he was supposed to be superibra. Don’t even rememeber if he really started that’s how much he did… a true bluff a nobody, at least for what he did here in FCB.

      I saw a Radomir Antic documentary yesterday and realized something. Ibra is a riquelme 😀

      Cules have liked and loved many many foreign players that came here and played well, not those two you mentioned but many more. It’s their opinion can they have one without being called bullshiters, absurd or haters?

    7. and most important:

      one magic play of messi in camp nou and the (already disrespected here) cules would change the “He should pass more,” “He makes too many runs,” “He has no head” stuff into a big “MEEEEEESSIIIII – MEEEEEESSIIIII”

    8. Personally, I think Ibra would have been perfect if he moved off the ball more intelligently. I just thought that man times he looked lost on the field last season without the ball, as if he wasn’t sure how to move.

  11. I like these predictions alot Luke. Atletico will ‘hopefully’ be a force to reckon with. Duplicating their ’97 title run will prove to be difficult but for the first time since long they seem to have a very good core players (De Gea, Filipe, Godin, Camacho, Reyes, Tiago, Forlan, Kun,…) and bar injuries they can challenge the Twin Towers in La Liga. Villareal started of miserably last season but they still have enough power, creativity and experience. Add that to the fact that the expectations will not be as high and I can see them come close to CL-territory.

    Both Valencia and Sevilla seem a little less strong than last year. Moreover, Valencia will have to adapt to live without the David’s. In Andalucia it seems as if the glory days of 2005-2007 are even further away after the CL-fiasco against Braga. All in all I go along with your analysis, yet I see Hercules staying up (just a feelin’)

  12. Who Will wear the #9 Jersey ? It’s Hard to think that a team is starting the Season without a no.9

    What we’ll we do in set pieces Defending or Attacking ? The Only Tall Players we have are Pique,Keita,Busquet,Abidal .. And Average Puyol,Maxwell,Villa,Masch ..

    Some of The B Players have to step up .. And Hopefully They’ll can Handle it .. We Have Versatile Players that can play in many positions (Maxwell,Adriano,Iniesta,Messi,etc) .. But Fatigue and Injury may be a concern

    1. You’re on, Vicsoc. Thank you. We’ll do the usual thing. Just shoot me an e-mail with the code, and up the post will go.

  13. Barça B’s lineup v. Celta Vigo:

    Miño, Montoya, Bartra, Fontas, Planas, Thiago, Romeu, Dos Santos, Benja, Soriano, Nolito.

    That’s pretty strong.

    1. Wow, but that means neither of them will be given permission to play for Barca on Sunday?

      When will the match start?

    2. It’s started already…

      And yeah, they can’t play.

      Defense had a few scares, Benja just came close.


    3. Now that I’ve actually seen the B teamers in action (for us during preseason), no wonder our B team is in the Segunda.

      I looked at that lineup and thought, “THIAGOOOO! ROMEU!! NOLITO!! JDS!! FONTAS!! BARTRA!! HOLY CRAP, WE’RE SO STACKED!!”

    4. It’s nice that they are in the 2nd division because a lot of their games will have streams.

      Celta Vigo is testing us defensively…

  14. btw, will there once again be a la Liga prediciton game for the first half of the season?
    I know that usually Isaiah is responsible for that and since he is away right now, we could start it on the 2nd playday which is not until two weeks due to international break.

    1. I’m disappointed Muniesa wasn’t starting, but thats one of the problems you have when you are that stacked.

  15. Soriano just scored a golazo.

    Thiago clip a pass to Nolito, he came across the box, slipped Jonathan Soriano through, one on with the keeper, he dribbles around him and taps it in.


  16. read this,sid lowes pre view of la liga 2010-11


  17. Btw, the average age of the Barca B line-up against Celta Vigo is 20.5 years !
    Name me any other team in the second division of a big European league with such a low age.

  18. please share this to EPL loving fans who argue that EPL is much much more competitive

  19. Umm.. our lead will not last this match. I don’t know how in the world Celta haven’t managed to score, but our defense is in straight shambles. Mino is a lifesaver right now.

    Enrique needs to get them in order.

  20. OMG… que golazo de Fontas!

    Fontas dribbled a couple of players outside the box, gave it to Nolito, Nolito slipped it through, and Fontas puts it in the corner.

    Scoring against the run of play again. I love it.

  21. Wow, Fontas scores! 2-0.
    What a lucky result for us, tbh it’s a miracle Vigo didn’t score yet 🙂

    1. It’s a shame I have LSAT class and can’t watch the 2nd half… this game is exciting.

      We should be down 3-0 at least, but instead we are up 2-0 with a couple of golazos.

      Nolito had a couple of great assists… and what tidy finishes from Soriano and Fontas (who is the captain).

  22. It’s a shame that neither EMD nor Sport has a live coverage for Barca B linked on their main webpage 🙁

  23. There’s a deal on the transfer of Ibrahimovic to Milan. The last details are being finalized. [sportmediaset]

    An official statement on the transfer of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to AC Milan is expected in the coming minutes. [sportmediaset]

  24. Zlatan Ibrahimovic will join AC Milan in a deal worth 25M. [milannews]

    I think im gona puke..

    1. There will be a pretty long line at that bag marked pour mal d’air, Hilal.

      As I said, for me it isn’t a question of Ibrahimovic and what he did or didn’t do for the club. Not at this point. At this point, it’s a question of the people who should have that responsibility, doing what is best for this club. It staggers me to understand how selling this player for 25m meets that requirement.

      But I await the details. Official announcement to come in about 10 minutes.

    2. If this is true we will be the laughing stock of the football world. Every club we try and negotiate with from now on will try and take us for a ride, and why not? Rosell is clearly an idiot. Not sure how he made it to where he is with this sort of business.

    3. We’d probably sell Messi for 30m. But first his agent will call Guardiola’s mama a ho. Then the deal will happen. 😀

      Laughing to keep from crying. Our last three significant transfers have all had the same patters: Player runs afoul of Guardiola, agent starts talking crap, player gets sold. This was true for Eto’o (caveat: Last year of contract), The Yaya and Ibrahimovic.

      I want to believe that this is for the overall good of the club. I need someone to tell me how it is because prima facie, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

      Perhaps the reasoning is rather than paying his salary, we dump the salary and get 25m? Which will immediately go toward reducing our overall debt load. Maybe? Dunno.

      Now, we wait.

  25. If these reports are true and it’s 25m the financial losses are going to be staggering

    barca will not only have gotten less for ibra than inter did for balotelli. They will have gotten less than Aston villa got for James milner. Think about that – less than James milner and by a fair margin.

    Plenty of cules hate ibra. Fine. Bug how can anyone be pleads about the club itself suffering such massive financial losses. How can anyone be satisfied that barca is entering into an awful financial deal.

    How could rosell not have sold ibra to man city. Man city paid more for balotelli, Taya, silva and milner than what barca may get for ibra. How much would they bought ibra for is barca management had done it’s business properly.

    1. How desperate are we? If its that low you’re almost talking about a bench player’s cost for us. We’d be much better off keeping him and watching the agent’s face. .

  26. Its weird to not have The Yaya next to your name Jnice :-/

    Maybe I should change my avatar too….never been a die hard fan of Puyol. I just put it up because it looked different from the others…

  27. “Milan owner and Italian primeminister Berlusconi has arrived in Milan’s training centre Milanello. He could personally announce the transfer.”

    1. I rather imagine he will. I’m sure he’s very proud of the bit of business their club has done. I’d sure be were I a Rossoneri.

  28. Berlusconni is going to personally announce the tranfer in Milan. This us politically gold for him. Gaillini played this brilliantly. He took barca to the cleaners. They are getting the player considered by many to be the worlds best striker for 25m and on top of that they aren’t going to start paying the fee fora whole year and even then will do so in installments.

    In real dollars this is less than 25m.

    And the deal will look even better for them from an accounting stand point on their books dud go the loan structure. Milan may be able to actually book ibra’s purchase as a 21m profit. That right – not as a cost but as a profit.

    Just staggering.

  29. It cant be that low, theres.. just.. no way

    I want to hear how Sandro spin this fantastic “fiscally responsible” deal.I dont care if he shit on camp nou’s field, that price is a joke.

    1. Is there something we don’t know? rosell can’t be this desperate. He must know it won’t look good. Is it because Pep has put his foot down and said he has to go. It doesn’t make sense for us at all at that price.

    1. If only it were that easy.

      Joan, where art thou?

      Also, just got this tweet:

      Ibrahimovic: “I’m here to sign my new Barça contract… Ask Guardiola about it.”

  30. Ibrahimovic: “I’m here to sign my new Barça contract… Ask Guardiola about it.”

    ?????????? Sarcasm?

  31. Ibrahimovic: “I’m here to sign my new Barça contract… Ask Guardiola about it.”

    what a dickhead, ha!

  32. Ibrahimovic: “I’m here to sign my new Barça contract… Ask Guardiola about it.”

    WTF. He is making jokes at our expense now. Jesus. This is an absolute fucking mess. Never have I been ashamed of being a Barca fan, till just now.

    1. why? raiola and him are the ones talking trash, and we will never know the full, real story

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