Champions League Group Draw Liveblog

It’s the group stage draw liiiive and in color from the BFB headquarters in sunny (finally) New York City! Join us at 12 noon EST (6pm CET) and we’ll boogie all the way through the selections, then you can have your say in the hastily thrown together post that will come after it.

By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater Philadelphia area.


  1. One of the biggest problems nowadays with trying to analyse the situation at the club and trying to figure out what is going in with Ibra is that it seems like making up quotes and interviews has become acceptable at a lot of newspapers (if you can call them that). That makes it REALLY hard to figure out real quotes from made up quotes and even harder to try and decipher what is going on via these so called quotes. The fact that MOST of the quotes coming from Pep, Ibra, his agent and Galliani seem to contradict each other means we cannot really put any faith in these “quotes”.

    In the space of two days Ibra’s agent went from being 99.9% sure that Ibra is staying to being open to negotiations. Ibra himself went from being very happy at the club to having not spokent to Pep in 6 months!?!? Its all too fishy to me.

    There are only a few days left in the transfer market so lets just wait and see what happens before we start apportioning blame to one party or another. The only real fact is that nobody outside the club knows what the hell is going on.

    1. The only quotes I think are reliable come from broadcast sources. Because it’s the person on camera, talking. Then you know. Otherwise….

  2. Those awards are given out more for achievement than actual skill. Inter won a Treble, and thus, made a clean sweep of the individual awards. That’s how UEFA (and FIFA) do it nowadays, unfortunately.

  3. “If I have only spoken to him twice in the last six months, it is for some reason,” said the Barca coach to the assembled press.

    “There’s always a reason for things. I’m super communicative and talked to him for 45 minutes, it was not a tense conversation.

    “I have an open door, if we do not [speak], sure there’s a reason but now is not the time to talk about it. I insist. For the sake of the institution it is better not say anything.”

    “There’s always a player and a person and the person comes first. I am coach of Barcelona, not coach of one player.

    “I have no problems with his behaviour in training. He was an example of professionalism at work, but there is a person and that always comes first.”

    It seems like Guardiola is hinting at something here, something that will come out in a week’s time once the transfer is complete.

    1. YES. I love it. I was actually waiting for someone to do one of these…. now we have our own in-house compilation maker. Great job, cliveee.

      I love Thiago, he’s going to be great.

    2. Wow, his technical ability seems to superior to all other players 🙂

      I believe he can be our Ozil, just a bit younger and better technique, worse long-range passing accuracy (so far…). If you see him and JDS, who still wants Cesc back?

  4. Regardless of what happens, it now seems that the club’s desire is to sell Ibra.

    Given this, it was an enormous failure of management and leadership to not try to sell him to Man City before the Balotelli deal was closed. And the Balotelli deal dragged on for months.

    Whatever they get out of Milan will be considerably less than what they could have gotten from Man City in all likelihood.

    To essentially only negotiate with one club, that is cash poort and to doso at the end of transfer window for an asset that cost you 69M euro only a year ago is sheer incompetence. There’s no two ways about it.

    In many ways, it’s sort of shocking how cavalier the club has been with a 69M investment.

    1. If the 40m number is true, we wouldn’t have gotten much more from anyone. And Raiola has done his job, stirring the pot and getting his client out of town and himself a commission. Kinda like Seluk and The Yaya.

    2. Let’s see what the final figure is. But if it’s 40M then I’d guess that 40M includes the 6M-8M the agent is going to skim in the deal.

      And if Milan would pay 40M at the very end of the transfer season as the players relationship with the club deterioriates leaving Barca with less and less leverage, doing a deal with Man City 2 months ago would have brought back considerably more. Barca would have had much more leverage.

      With UEFA “fair play” rules coming into effect, Man City only has a couple of more years in which they can utilize their financial advantage. That’s why they have spent like crazy this summer.

      I can’t see how Barca couldn’t get a considerably better deal from Man City than Milan.

    3. I agree with you. Unfortunately I think that something has come up within the last several weeks which is what is specifically driving the deal now.
      While I have absolutely no evidence, I think the decidingfactor has been that Ibra realized his starting spot was in serious danger, and this was not a situation that was acceptable to him.

    4. Yah, I’m also pretty sure that ManCity would have paid at least 50m for Ibra 2 months ago. Their coach, Roberto Mancini, is a very big fan of Ibra, and so is Ibra of him. The sheikh has endless money to spend, and imagine that they almost paied 40m for a youngster who has mainly been sitting on the bench; was going to war with his coach and the fans. Balotelli has worked just one instead of 3 (or 4?) seasons with Mancini before. Plus ManCity could have needed a striker like Ibra a lot more than Balotelli, cuz Balotelli is somehow more like a winger and dribbler, not a true #9 who can bulldoze its way towards goal. City got SWP, Silva, Tevez and Johnson who are all good at dtribbling – and now also Balotelli. On the other hand, ManCity tries to build 3 teams instead of one, so… *g*

    1. Another article:


  5. Just to comment on the Ibra thing, agree with Ramzi. If Pep doesn’t want Ibra, he would have said it right after the season ended or at the beginning of the season. We know how Pep works that he is a perfectionist and he surely wants the team to be set as early as possible. This doesn’t strike as Pep pushing out a player.

    And that Pep and Ibra only talked twice in the last 6 months? bullshit! I’ve read interviews where guys like Iniesta, Xavi, Busi said they themselves don’t get to talk to Pep outside training unless there is a problem. So those guys probably haven’t talked to Pep in more than 6 months, longer than Ibra.

    Those 2 times I remember though is at the beginning of this season when Pep just came back from holiday and Ibra reiterated his desire to stay and fight for a place. The other is when Ibra was having difficulty scoring goals last season and Pep took him out for dinner. I’m sure there are others. As usual, the media is probably making the whole thing bigger than it is.

    My assumption is that Ibra really wanted to stay and Pep has his support. Then Rosell through his media mouthpieces started the Letts kick Ibra out of Barca. Ibra got unsettled. Wouldn’t blame him seeing how Chygrynskiy went. So The club unsettled their own player and now Pep will have to get Ibra back on track if he stays.

    What’s chrystal clear is Pep is no longer at the controls and that is sad. Chygrynskiy was sold without his consent and now Ibra as well I expect. and with Ibra’s crazy agent and Ibra himself who probably couldn’t stand being a good boy after a year of model behaviour, well. This just isn’t how Pep deals with transfer. plus who is the replacement? Badly handled all around. Rosell just lack professionalism so far. Things just excalating from bad to worse. Cant wait for first Sep!

    2nd last, I love Thiagoooooo!

    Last, I fear bad times are coming, but Visca Barca!

  6. There is something really positive that can be taken from this whole saga. Zubizaretta has been handling himself with class, and his comments have been very understated and respectful of all parties.

  7. Sept. 2, 10 a.m. BCN time is when match tix (including El Clasic) go on sale for socis. Sept. 14 is the on-sale date for everyone else.


    1. I’m trying to find a science conference in Barcelona that conveniently coincides with a game or two. I’m going to need to do some really fast talking to convince my mentor that a conference in Barcelona would be worthwhile to me, so wish me luck.

    2. Systems neuroscience. More specifically processing of visual motion and the mechanisms of navigation.

  8. If Zlatan goes, and with Sevilla missing out on the Champions League, we should see I we can get Fabiano for cheap.

    1. Fabiano is annoying to me. He’s become sloppy over the past year. Doesn’t work hard, always complaining and ready to fight someone.

    2. That’s a very interesting idea. They may very well have to sell him now due to the revenue shortfall. That’s said, I don’t know how he’d fit in with what Pep wants to do. And we know that Pep is not going to adapt anything to fit the player.

    3. No, not Fabiano. I dislike him almost as much as Robinho. And his triple-handball-goal against Ivory Coast was a fucking disgrace and cost the Ivorians the round of 16, imo!

  9. Thiago got called up to the sub21 as well.About time,it was frustrating seeing parejo and merida plod through midfield 8).Hopefully he gets a place in the starting line up.

  10. Speaking at the 31st world congress of Barca, held at the Palau de Congressos de Catalunya in Barcelona yesterady, Rosell revealed,

    “There is little to improve on from last season, but between now and the end of the transfer window we may make an addition to the squad.”

    “But we will not throw money out of the window. It is true that economically we are not in a good position, but we’ll fix it. It will take some years, but we’re going to turn around the situation.”

    When does the President or CEO ever speak so openly and frequently about the organization he is leading being in “financial trouble?”

    And that’s not just in football – but in any business or any industry, especially when the organization is privately held and not publicly traded?

    In fact when organizations are in financial trouble their leadership tries very hard for the information to not be revealed publicly. It creates uncertainty around the organization, diminishes it’s brand, makes the employees feel very uncertain as to their future.

    Nearly all business need to take out loans. If the President of the organization keeps talking about it being in financial trouble it stands to reason banks will feel that the business is at greater risk to default on the loan and will charge it higher interest.

    These kinds of comments are not in Barca’s best interests.

    But you can see the narrative being planted and writing itself. I took over, sold mistakes like Chygrinski and Ibrahimovic, straightened out the books and look at the financial miracle I created. There is no other reason to speak about financial distress this way publicly.

    Liverpool and Man U are in major financial difficulty. Their leadership goes out of its way to assure everyone publicly that in fact they aren’t in financial trouble. Barca’s leadership does the exact opposite.

    It’s unfortunate, but this kind of political nonsense happens in organizations when they undergo changes in leadership.

    Mes que un club after all…


  11. Watching FC Copenhagen (who we play) in a replay of yesterdays game. They are feisty, had 26 shots on goal….but only one one nil. they will be wide open for us.

  12. Hey guys did anyone else notice that our Group is made up of all Domestic champions from their respective countries….Same as last year.

    1. Well, but Kazan is currently 10 points behind Zenit* (if Zenit wins their 2 matches that they are behind in the schedule) and lost their complete attack in Bukharov + Dominguez.
      *Note that Zenit lost 0-2 to Auxerre and this crashed out of the CL.

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