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. I’m beginning to wonder if Rosell has any sense left in him.. Oh well, it’s only us that elected him – time to pay the price..

  2. I can’t wait for the Catalan press to rationalize the installments of 24m. If there was ever a time for Marca and As to make fun of us, it’s now.

  3. Please Pep, make a statement. Sooth my anger with your words. Even if you have nothing good to say.

  4. Since we clearly got our asses handed to us in this negotiation – then what the fuck was so ‘difficult’ in deciding things over the past few days?

    And what’s with the media leaks of 40m that lead some (not all) of the unhappy fans to give in to the idea of Ibra’s sale? This really was, as Ramzi mentioned, a case of boiling the frog!

  5. There’s only one explanation to this deal:
    Pep must have told Rosell and Co. that Ibra will NOT play any substantial role in his planings for the upcoming season. Pep must have valued him on the same level as Jeffren (nothing against Jeffren, but he’ll struggle the most to face any competitive minutes during league or CL).
    So they wanted to offload him, at any costs. Now we have at least saved 12m salary for this season and the atmosphere inside the team will most likely be better.

    But if we buy Robinho now, I’ll lose my mind.

    Oh yeah, and Rosell is definitely doing a great job in reducing our debts…
    The balance sheet for this transfer period must be about -33m: 40m Villa, 22m Masch, 10m Adriano — 24m Yaya, 15m Chiggy
    Damn it! We should have gotten 15m for Rafa and Titi, and 48m for Zlatan. I cannot imagine a worse business situation than this.

    If we lose tomorrow, I won’t be able to live anymore!

    1. adriano was also in the last year of his contract, so we got bent over there too, but i like adriano so ill pretend that one didnt happen.

    2. “Pep must have told Rosell and Co. that Ibra will NOT play any substantial role in his planings for the upcoming season. Pep must have valued him on the same level as Jeffren”

      If this is indeed the case, why do it last minute?

      And why, even if you don’t like a player, as manager you can see his value, would you not play him. You think many managers liked, say Maradona? It doesn’t make sense to me, at all

  6. I also like how they say we save 60 millions, that has nothing to do with what we spent in cash :45 transfer + 14 wages, we already spent that. We made a 35 million euro loss on what we spent.Stop trying to take us for idiots.We could have saved the 60 million salary PLUS made back a closer amount to what we paid $40, even 35, shit 30?. But no 24,And its in installments.And we havent had any explanations.Only pep can reassure me, nothing sandro says can justify this.

  7. The only positive thing is that now we can say that the Club sacrificed it’s income for the best interest of the player, unlike Aresnal who want to keep their captain when he clearly wanted out.

    n can someone explain how we are saving 60M?

  8. In all the excitement, you guys all forgot little Cuddly’s birthday.

    How about a “Happy 20th, you’re going to have to man up” for the guy, eh?

    1. Maybe we could make him play in platform shoes so we’ll have some height in the front line? 🙂

  9. I don’t think this is Rosell vs Laporta, or anyone vs anyone. People have to make difficult decisions in what they think is the entity’s best interest. And look, if we do a double or triple, at the end of it all people will be singing the praises of Guardiola and Rosell.

    Now let’s get this season started!

    1. right b/c poor Barcelona are so innocent and pure…c’mon, it takes TWO to do business and if Barcelona messed up that is our club’s fault.

      I hope you were being ironic about honest Juve…right?

    2. Ok, sometimes mood doesn’t come through in print…

      As for juve and honesty, I thought you were joking b/c surely Calciopoli!!!

  10. Positives:

    1. We made Madrid’s CL group a lot tougher.
    2. The spirit in the locker room won’t be toxic.
    3. We bought a great center forward this summer so we won’t lack for attacking options.


    Everything else. Every fucking thing else. Really shocking transfer. Lost for words.

    1. At the Offside we reached 500 comments. And that was at Isaiah’s holiday trip post LOL

  11. i’m over futbol right now. gonna go skate & take my frustrations out on other people’s personal property.

    1. I’m going to enjoy the commencement of my off season by having ice cream, donuts and anything else I can think of.

      LiveBlog tomorrow, hosted by vicsoc! Yay!

    2. As someone who owns personal property, take it easy bro! I’m gonna go chill and get back to real life worries that put this in perspective for me…

  12. Who wants to calculate how much we paid for one year of Zlatan Ibra?

    46 – 24 = 22 million in transfer fees
    + 12 million in wages

    = 34 (+ Eto’o) for one year of Zlatan.

  13. The €24million is the problem. We might as well have just loaned him without the purchase option cause if Man City don’t win the league this season then they would probably try to sign him next summer.

    In reality though, this transfer is basically selling him for €36million (this year’s wage and €24m next summer). We only paid €40m for him last summer and could have given Eto’o a free. Laporta valued Eto’o’s transfer higher to make himself look better.

    I think we’ll probably try to loan Robinho from Man City to make up the numbers.

  14. The way I look at is this: we spent 25 million euros for the honor of sending two top class strikers to the city of Milan.

  15. more barcastuff :
    Raiola: “Galliani has been able to lower the price from 70M to 24M . Exit bonus? Ibra hasn’t recived any exit bonus of Barcelona.” [sky ita]


    1. They must’ve thought they were negotiating with a Shanghai street vendor..

      Galliani: “How much for the big guy?”

      Rosell: “70m”

      Galliani: “Last price?”

      Rosell: “50m”

      Galliani: “I’ll give you 5m”

      Rosell: “No, last price 45m, and like that I’m already losing compared to how much he cost me”

      Galliani: “I can go up to 10m, but that’s it”

      Rosell: ” Ummm…. No? 40m? 🙂 ”

      (Galliani walks away)

      (Rosell chases him with ‘the big guy’ in his hand and shoves ‘it’ in his hand)

      Rosell: “Ok, ok, 30m – but just for you!”

      Galliani: “25m”

      (Galliani waves the cash infront of Rosell)

      (Rosell’s eyes widen and sparkle as he starts dreaming of all he can do with the monieess – but then reverts to a a big frown)

      Rosell: “Fine, 25m :(, here you go…”

      (Rosell hands over ‘the big guy’ and takes the money and counts it)

      Rosell: “Mister, Mister! There’s only 24m here!!”

      Galliani: “Sorry, that’s all I had on me”

      Rosell: “Oh, ok… well.. please come again and I make you another great deal. Oh… and tell your friends!! :D”

  16. LOL, Pep Twitter’s tweet just appeared on Twitter’s front page as one of the top tweets of today! 🙂

  17. To quote Shehan over at the Milan blog (This comment was the most sensible to me – funny it was from a Rossonero)

    ibra was going to ride the pine at barcelona, he is too expensive to be a sub. so it was either lose 12m this year and sell him next year, or just save 60m and make a 24m profit too.
    if ibra didn’t leave this summer, it would’ve been next summer. he is not in guardiola’s plans. you can’t blame rosell for this, it is laporta’s fault for not having the foresight to see that ibra is not the kind of number 9 you needed; guardiola deserves flak for it too.
    sure you guys lost money on his sale, but that 50 odd million you paid for him was on last year’s accounts, this year is a brand new ball game and rosell figured that he might as well save 12m (the ultimate savings) by doing the inevitable and selling ibra.
    it makes sense, rosell just tried keeping your losses to a minimum. as for us, we benefited from laporta’s mistake. galliani is no hero, he just exploited a niche in barca’s armor. i would still push him off the empire state building if i had the chance.

    1. Hell I even congratulated them.. Apart from the caustic relation Ibra and Pep shared, I felt that the witch-hunt Sport/MD orchestrated was a major factor in him leaving..

      Why should he stay where he isn’t wanted? Let him go wherever he feel happy..

    2. I agree VJ. We all know it’s hard to come as an outsider to Barca in the first place. I don’t think we will ever know the full story. Oh well, another football story to add to the exploits of history

    3. The problem with this rationalization is that the presidents of our clubs are not the owners. Socis elect a president to handle the club’s business with the best interest of the club in mind. Ideally, a regime change should not be solely focused on the state of the financials from year 1-6 of the president’s reign; year 0 and 7 are just as important to focus on when planning a full financial strategy.

      In this case, and based on the limited information we’ve been exposed to, the board had the opportunity to act earlier in the transfer market to minimize the inevitable loss that would incur from this transaction. No matter what, 24m is not, not even by a long shot, a wise or a sound financial decision. The only way for it to be seen as such is if the board is narrow sighted to the extent that their vision is limited to the financial success (forget the club’s image) of the club over the presidents term – neglecting all that came before or will come after.

  18. The calm before the storm. If you thought the thread got heated earlier, imagine the Gooners crowing at us talking about “justice has been served”, etc.

    Regarding Ibra, I initially thought it was indeed Rosell’s doing but he just not that stupid to a)clearly go against the coaches wishes b)make himself public enemy #1 in Catalunya c)Wait until a couple days before the start of the season to sell our most expensive signing in history. After Ibra’s comments however, I can safely assume there was some friction or tension between him & Pep.

    Strange seeing that couple weeks ago, the sun was shining bright in Catalunya and Pep publicly declared that he wanted Ibra to stay. Was that a cover up of locker room issues? We don’t know. But something must have happened between then & now, because if Pep doesn’t even want to be in the same room as Zlatan, then something has obviously soured the relationship. I mean 24M? Pocket change for some of Europe’s biggest clubs. If Pep was indeed the puppeteer in this whole fiasco, then I can take some pride in knowing that he dealt with the issue before it blew up in our faces two days before a season defining game. But 24M is far too low for Ibrahimovic.

    It’s all in the past now. We have a game tomorrow & I hope this doesn’t affect the team’s spirit.

    [I’m going to go cry in a corner now.]

  19. To your last comment – NO NEED!

    We still have an unmatchable squad with added steel – Masch.. If Ibra didn’t wish to fight for his place, it’s his loss.. He won’t have our players to support him now – not even Maxwell!

    All I’ll remember of Ibra apart from that wonderful strike against EE is the support he got – Remember when he was stinking it up against Zaragoza and Messi allowed him to take the penalty he earned? That is called team spirit..

    We are great, and we’ll still be great if we stick to our philosophy.. Come Rosell or high water!

    1. Sometimes it doesnt show up on the offside so i use the other one in brackets i just was too lazy to change back here

  20. As someone said above, happy birthday Bojan. It’s almost too coincidental to be a coincidence that Ibra is leaving on Bojan’s birthday.

  21. What the…24…loan…option…I’m off the internet for a few days due to complete disbelief.

  22. oh and the real winner here is Raiola and maybe milan because Ibra took a pay cut, barca lost a good striker, milan may get a good performance out of him but Raiola got his transfer money somewhere in there I’m sure.

  23. Im pretty sure the portada at MD couple days ago was “ibra no regala”, too funny.

    Look at this one and laugh at their delusions *

    1. MD definitely said “Ibra no regala”. And that Ibra plus one of their players made me laugh.


    I think we all agree we made chockinly bad deal.
    But we put our selfs in this mess.

    The only thing bothering me is that
    the buy option Milan has is it a “must buy” or they can
    buy him if they want?

    or did i get it wrong?

    if Ibra gets injured at the end of this season and he’s gone fo like 4-6month do MILAN still have to buy him or can they say, we’r not usin our option?

  25. At least I’m relieved that Sevilla and Valencia won. I don’t want this la Liga title race to be a 2-horse-race after just 14 playdays or so…

    And judging by their performance against Inter, Atleti will be the toughest opponent next to Real Madrid this season.

    Now, let’s get it started, a 4-0 (as Luke’s prediction, btw a very nice preview article!) is needed to take #1.
    Visca el Barca!

  26. This hole we’r saving 60m on this deal must be the joke of the year
    Cause the 60m was for service Ibra would give us and since we wont be
    getting his service we wont pay the 60m durin this contract
    so Basicly we’r in need of the missing service

    and this or the next season, who ever takes up the Ibra spot in the squad will need salary to offer us the service we’r missin due to Zlatans sale.

    The new salary will surely not be 60total but sure around 30-40m during the length of contract ibra would been here

    so the total savings on him leavin will never be the 60m they TRYIN TO SAY


  27. Oh yeah, and it will be fun to see Milan crash out the CL, maybe even during the groupstage (RM is clearly superior, and maybe Luis Suarez can work some magic), after this comment:
    Galliani (executive director Milan): “With Ibra, Pato and Ronaldinho our squad isn’t inferior to any European club.” [sky italia]

    Mr. Galliani, first of all a team does not only consist of attackers and offensive midfield, plus Ronaldinho is not even close to any other creative, offensive midfielder (insert Iniesta, Silva, Kaka, Sneijder and 100s more).
    And besides these 3 players, Milan only has Pirlo and Thiago Silva who can compete on worldclass level. I just don’t see them as a genuine title contender in any competition, sorry .

    1. I don’t wish any ill on Milan. They don’t annoy me like Inter does. Maybe because Inter’s fans hate us so much.

      Galliani is clearly wrong, but I guess he is hyped right now.

  28. You know watching video of Zlatan’s last training day, it’s clear the players get along pretty well. It doesn’t look like a show.

    Conspiracy theory:
    What if Pep was to Ibra (knowing Ibra’s personality): Look you better get out of here b/c next year you aren’t going to be valued as much. The higher ups here don’t want you and I am gone in a year. Plus you have to fight for your spot, not a guaranteed starter. If I were you I’d go somewhere if you wanna play every day.

    Pep (screw Rossel) I am out of here next year…

    Ok just a fantasty

  29. With this mess happening just 24 hours before the first game of the season, does anyone have idea of how we might line-up tomorrow? Perhaps your typical 4-3-3, with Messi in the middle and Pedro on the left???

  30. For me a lot will depend on what Pep has to say about this. I hope he’ll come out and tell us the full story. If he doesn’t I’m laying this debacle at his door.

    1. We can’t even root against Milan because then we’ll be stuck with an older, shittier, less valuable Ibrahimovic making 12 million a year we can’t get rid of if Milan opts out of the deal.

  31. I feel like if the negotiations lasted any more days we probably have gotten 15 million lol.We should count ourselves lucky.Galliani must feel like a pimp.Lost in all this has been Caceres moving to sevilla on loan with and option to buy for million.Depreciation Barca style, no one does it like us 😀 .So any bets on Sandro moving for torres next year? For an ‘economic’ price of 50 million+ maybe.

    1. that should read caceres option to buy for 5 million (i think).Today was charity day at Can Barca.

  32. So we Sell Yaya for 30m (Actually get 24m) and we Sell Ibra for 25m !!! Balotelli is 29m, Di Maria is 25m, Chygrynski is 25m, Lescott is 25m ..

  33. I guess sport en MD were right all along when they were splashing rumours about Ibra leaving in the beginning of the transferwindow ..

    1. Don’t think so. I think that was what they were hoping for. We would have offered Ibra to Man City if we wanted to sell in the beginning of the window. Only towards the end when all the leaks came out about Milan were MD right. Intentional leaks, too.

  34. Last year, when we brought Ibra in, I remember all the talk about how not only did he compliment our playing style but he also could be used as a plan B (in being over 5ft). Without him can we deviate at all from our standard game plan when we need to ‘break the bus’ and will this be a real problem this season?

    1. pique always seemed to be that kind of plan B , and the few times that we actually needed it seemed to work better than Ibrahimovic for this purpose.

    2. I was always unsure about that Plan B. If you are the best football team in the world and teams start finding ways to stop you, you tackle that not throw your style out of the window.

  35. Had to happen, the clubs are well used to leaking intentions to papers.
    Forget other transfers, club needs to have a serious meeting and then scout like Monchi from Sevilla.
    Anyway what stood out against Milan, was how utterly dependent we are on Xavi. Thats what our success is built on and we don’t seem to have a suitable back up at the club.

    1. We cant scout like sevilla. Just cant.
      They get bargains for potential stars, that may or may not be the real deal , yet they always find playing time for them.
      We cant do that , when we get potential stars we pay a shitload of money because of our name ; they either perform , get benched loaned -kicked out, or just loaned and kicked out.
      Theres also always the comparison with a canterano that makes it even harder for them because cantera costs “nothing”.

      To be honest i cant remember the last potential star we bought and pleased the board, the coach and the fans if you discount pique who was a canterano and came at a very low price.Everybody else was a catastrophe and was eventually treated as an outcast.

      So the road we seem to take this time , although quite painful with the latest ibra transfer , except for rewriting the book of how not to manage transfers , players and their representatives , seems the most logical and viable one if we take the above points into consideration :
      wed better reach into the cantera first , because it is less costly on every level. Or get the bargain , but thats very rare(mascherano , even if he fails he can be offloaded easily due to his status , age , international presence).
      This way we give less money on transfers, and signings/promotes get more support from press , fans plus can always get the youth products back in the cantera if they dont work out(and ship them out for money if they cant perform).
      Cruel but our transfer dealings when it comes to huge names accompanied by hefty transfer fees , just cant live up too potential. Overmars , saviola , petit, henry , ibrahimovic .
      These were either pretty expensive transfer dealings or huge names when they came to us , or even both. They all never pleased the crowd or the coach to a satisfactory level.
      The names that actually did make it , were ronnie and daniel alves.Both werent world class names at the moment of their signing , ronnie didnt even cost that much money.Alves was already a proven right back in la liga. We are better of with that kind of transfer dealings and i only hope villa and mascherano follow their steps , along with adriano . 🙁

  36. If a certain president had not been so busy screaming to the world in what a financial mess his predecessor supposedly left us in, then he would not have to sell Ibra for a dime on the dollar. Especially grating is that he gave Milan an “option” to buy. So if he messes up in Milan then we will be stuck with an even bigger problem.

  37. Some people are saying we never “needed” Ibra. Some are saying he didn’t fit in. Some are saying he would disrupt our team this season. No matter what the problem, 24m, loan, option to buy, and all that ish is unacceptable. The only winner in this mess is Milan, for sealing the deal of the century. Ibra took a 4m paycut (1/3 of his salary every year) to join a team that realistically will never come close to winning the CL during his playing days, and have a difficult time with the Italian League at that. That said, this sucks for him. Then, there is Barca. We lose (65m valued purchased) for 24m (installments over 3 years after first year loan). We also take huge hits to our reputation and Pep’s reputation. Not only that, but there is the risk of Ibra getting injured and falling back on us or Milan renegotiating even lower (after how stupid the deal is we came to, it’s a possibility).

    IMHO, we just got screwed out of the best CF, (not striker), in the world. Now, of course we all trust in Pep and he’s worthy of that trust. All former players like him, even Eto’o wants him to be coach at Inter. If Ibra turned and said that Pep was a great coach, he would be in the books as the greatest manager ever. Unfortunately, with all the rumors and such, it appears that Pep was the one who wanted him to go. I trust Pep, if that’s the case, but I could never agree with the pathetic deal that was done. Many of you have hated on Txiki B., but Henrique and Keirrison were investments. He even said so. They were never expected to play for Barca, only to develop into top-flight talent on loan and be sold for millions more. Whether they have not had enough time to develop or just suck remains to be seen. Caceres and Hleb, on the other hand, were request of Pep who have failed to make the grade as Barca players for one reason or another. Understandable. Pique and Dani Alves, of course, are world class and well worth their fees (in Pique’s case, over 5 times his). Add to that all of the contract renewals for our players, and Txiki had done an excellent job, up until and including some of this summer. David Villa was great for 40m, and Yaya good to leave for 30 (ok, 24m). Marquez and Henry leaving for free was tough, but mostly goodwill I guess. Attempting to sign Cesc for 40m!? was insane, but a critical part of Laporta’s closing plans as President. Selling Chygwimpy and Ibra for 15m and 24m(loan+option+installments[which are all (-)’s]) is outrageous. If the Masch fee is to be believed, even for basically a sub, I guess could be good business, but if we are in such economic trouble that we have to save “60 mil”, why are we buying Masch???

    1. I would not be surprised if Milan beat us in the CL and win the trophy (against all odds), and also win their league and cup, a la Inter. Like Kevin said before: karma.

      How can anyone think Sneijder deserves the Balon d’Or!? HAHA!!!

  38. New post up, if only to keep people from getting carpal tunnel while scrolling through this monster on their mobile devices. 😀

    Thanks to IS for the material.

  39. “Ibrahimovic and his agent will choose what they think is best for his future. He has to be a key player. We’ve talked. Last season he did very well. I didn’t ask anyone to try and sell him.” Pep
    From ramzi’s blog.
    If i were a journalist , tomorrow , after the game I would read that quote that was included in his first interview after vacation , and I would ask him just one question :
    What changed ?

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