Champions League Draw: The Easy Route

The Champions League draw is done and Barcelona is in Group D against Panathinaikos (Greece), Copenhagen (Denmark), and Rubin Kazan (Russia).

I feel fortunate at this point because I don’t think any of those teams are particularly dangerous. I think we’re in the easiest group of all of them, though I should also point out that Rubin Kazan was a very tough opponent when we played them in last year’s group stage. It’s just that this year we’ll have their number, I’m sure of it. I don’t expect us to go through undefeated, of course, but I do expect us to qualify first.

Panathinaikos FC, a subdivision of Panathinaikos Athlitikos Omilos, is based in Athens, Greece. They qualified directly to the Champions League by winning the Greek Super League.

FC København is based in Copenhagen, Denmark. They qualified as Danish champions and then defeated BATE Borisov and Rosenborg in CL qualifiers.

Rubin Kazan is based in Kazan, Russia. They qualified directly to the group stage as Russian Champions.

Dates have yet to be set, but should be very soon.

What are your thoughts on this?

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Written by:

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.


  1. As I said in the LB, our young guns should get a run out in the return legs of all these matches!!

  2. Tuco
    August 26, 2010

    Madrid and Milan, Barcelona and Kazan! OH MY!

  3. Kari
    August 26, 2010

    Contrary to the overwhelming belief, this could be a banana skin

    Easiest group = underestimation = more chances at upsets.

    I’d like to think Pep won’t let that happen. The only reason I like Rubin Kazan being in our group again is because they should prove to be a reminder and a motivation for us.

    • Kari
      August 26, 2010

      That being said, if I’m honest, I’m really happy with our group.

      After last year’s, we’re due some kind of compensation. Visca! This must be what United fans feel every CL draw!

  4. sab
    August 26, 2010

    on a different note,check this bout barcelona crest


  5. Kari
    August 26, 2010

    CL group schedule courtesy of that man Pep:

    14 Sep Barcelona – Panathinaikos
    29 Sep Rubin Kazan- Barcelona
    20 Oct Barcelona – Copenhagen
    2 Nov Copenhagen – Barcelona
    24 Nov Panathinaikos- Barcelona
    7 Dec Barcelona – Rubin Kazan

    YES! Early trip to Russia! Not looking forward to back-to-back away games though…

  6. Jnice
    August 26, 2010

    Jonathan didn’t get called up for the Mexico squad because they say he doesn’t want to be there.

    “We looked for Jonathan. We could not speak directly to him. I was put in touch with his agent and they reiterated his interest to stay with Barcelona,” FMF executive Nestor De La Torre told Mexican daily Record.”


    • Alexinho
      August 26, 2010

      Weird…sheds light maybe on why he didn’t go to the WC? Maybe it was up to him to an extent?

  7. Shaun
    August 26, 2010

    After what happened last season, I think Guardiola and the team will be more wary of, not just Rubin, but all of these teams. We were expected to smash Rubin last year, just like how Spain was expected to smash Switzerland at the WC, yet neither happened.

    It’s still an easier-looking group than what other teams have to deal with. I’m happy we drew Kazan again, though, I’m not happy about the team having to go play in -20 degree weather once more.

    • Shaun
      August 26, 2010

      Correction, maybe Barca and Spain weren’t expected to “smash” those respective teams, but they were heavily favored to win easily.

    • Vicsoc8
      August 26, 2010

      We play Kazan in September this year! We get to avoid Napolean’s bane!

  8. amal
    August 26, 2010


    Ibra’s agent: ” Ibra will take the next 24 hours to think about Milans offer.” The deal is set to be 40 Million + 3 additional ones.

    In this case, Ibra will have to reduce his salaries in about 2 million. I guess his departure is almost real since he did not show up to the training session today.

    • Alexinho
      August 26, 2010

      Pep said that he had on his twitter-

  9. Diego S.
    August 26, 2010


    I hope we finish it early and give some of the youngsters a run in the later stages .. I’d love to see Thiago promoted .. He can play alongside Xavi or Iniesta with Busi in DM in a real match IMO .. I hope we see more of him this coming season

  10. amal
    August 26, 2010

    The Deal is 40 Million that will be paid in three payments
    15 – 15 – 10 + 3 in case Milan win trophies and Ibra’s performance improved .

  11. Luke
    August 26, 2010

    Usually I’d agree not to overlook, but we got the easiest Pot 2 team, maybe the easiest Pot 3 team, and a tough Kazan side whose biggest trump card is playing in Russia and solid defense.

    We know what Rubin looks like. They may tie us both time, and that’s fine, they are a good side. Copenhagen is not. Neither is Pana. They are an ugly defensive side but playing in Greece might be tough.

    Hopefully we will be better prepared on that end playing difficult teams.

  12. Luna
    August 26, 2010

    Not sure if this is in fact a puyol quote:

    “uyol: “Tanto Guardiola como Ibrahimovic ya lo han dicho todo”


    El defensa del FC Barcelona Carles Puyol no ha querido entrar a valorar ni las declaraciones del delantero Zlatan Ibrahimovic ni las del técnico Pep Guardiola al término del trofeo Joan Gamper y se ha limitado a manifestar que “ya se lo han dicho todo”.

    “Creo que tanto Ibrahimovic como el míster ya lo han dicho todo. Es un compañero más, entrena bien, con muchas ganas. En el fútbol puede pasar de todo, sabemos que puede ir al Milan. Hay que esperar a las negociaciones. Para mí es uno de los mejores delanteros del mundo. Si se va, que tenga mucha suerte”, declaró.

    En cuanto a las declaraciones del sueco, en las que aseguraba que sólo había hablado con Guardiola dos veces en los últimos seis meses, Puyol dijo que el técnico “siempre tiene la puerta abierta”, si bien matizó que no se caracteriza por hablar “demasiado a nivel individual”.

    En este sentido, Puyol aseguró que pese a las declaraciones del sueco al término del encuentro el ambiente en el vestuario es “muy bueno”. “Su actitud es buena, entrena bien. Se le ve con muchas ganas en cada entrenamiento. Le vemos trabajando con normalidad, no puedo decir otra cosa”, añadió.

    En todo caso, el defensa indicó que en el caso de que el sueco se quede en el Barcelona esta temporada será “un jugador importante”. “Si se queda aportará todo lo que tiene, que es mucho y será un compañero más”, manifestó.

    Por último, Puyol calificó el homenaje que se le rindió a Ronaldinho este miércoles, como “muy emocionante” y le puso un diez como jugador y como persona. “Es uno de los mejores jugadores que han pasado por aquí. Nos dio mucho, nos devolvió la alegría en momentos complicados. La iniciativa de darle el trofeo fue de los jugadores y del club”, sentenció.


    will translate later, gotta run and teach!

  13. Luke
    August 26, 2010

    Also, anything offer of more than 40M euros should be accepted without hesitation.

  14. Sasha
    August 26, 2010

    Ibra actually trained today, just not with the full team. From official site: “Guardiola was able to work with the full squad except for Swedish international Ibrahimovic, who exercised in the gym due to an ankle problem.”

    And as for Rubin. We do know them a lot better this time around. But it is a slightly different team this time around. They have sold their captain Semak, (a solid DM, if a bit old) and Bukharov (an effective striker), but have brought in Oba Martins and Carlos Eduardo from Germany as replacement, but both are yet to make an impact. And Rubin are sitting in second place in the league, so are fairly consistent, on the back of their solid defense. Will be an interesting game to watch.

    • Cesc Blanc
      August 26, 2010

      “exercised in the gym due to an ankle problem” is the codeword for “player didn’t give a flying eff about training”. That was also were Ronaldinho was for most parts of 2007-2008.

  15. Bojan
    August 26, 2010

    And did you see guys Inter’s players won all the awards for best players in goalkeeper, defence, midfield and forward, i mean come onnn is sneijder and milito better than Xavi and Messi?? NEVER!!! what a nervous stupid thing i witnessed!!!

    • BA
      August 26, 2010

      in recompense i think Xavi has a real shot at World Player of the Year (in a World Cup year the award has always gone to a player from the winning side). it’s gotta be between him and Messi.

    • Shaun
      August 26, 2010

      Like I said on the other blog post, those awards are given more for accomplishment rather than actual skill, which is definitely a stupid thing.

  16. Helge
    August 26, 2010

    by the by, Aston Villa is really breaking apart since O’Neill left them so unanticipated. Losing 0-6 in Newcastle, and now they fall down to Rapid Vienna.
    This is the chance for Spanish teams to surpass the English in the UEFA 5 years ranking!

    • Eklavya
      August 26, 2010

      They lost 6-0 to Newcastle?! WTF?!

  17. mei
    August 26, 2010

    Well since I am from Greece , and my family are fans of panathinaikos I can put some thoughts on this team:
    This is probably gonna be an easy tie.
    At least the first game , most probably the return leg as well according to their plan :

    -They wont even hope to get points off us.They will go all out on the other two teams trying to end up second in the group and take our games as an experience of playing the favourites and keeping it respectable.

    -They look better than last year.
    They have a young coach , who surprisingly has shown affection for attractive football when possible , especially the formation he formed during the preseason games and some games near the end of last season.

    -They are deadly on the counter. They have a trident consisted of a pacy , strong striker whom you certainly have heard of:cisse.
    They have also signed govou ,they have leto , an argentinean skillful winger from last year and sotiris ninis , a very promising homegrown talent(playmaker) that looks established in the first team that feeds them.When in form the latter is really something to watch.

    In short they are not a real threat , nor will they try to be.
    They will try to look at this game more of a
    Yet I got two points about them that should be given consideration by our team :
    -They have a pretty good reputation in europe, especially when it comes to getting a result that they need against high profile teams.
    ie I would not really like to face them if they desperately need the points, something that might happen since kazan will probably fight them for qualification.
    Their sole goal is to qualify from the group and they will respect us but thats that.
    For example they kicked roma out of europa league last year in their home , while roma havent lost for something like 20 matches.
    They also got a 0-1 win against inter and mourinho the year before.

    -You wont like them if they need a point of us.They will pack the defence and try to kill you using counterattacks and they are capable of doing that to anybody that doesnt take them seriously enough.

  18. poipoi
    August 26, 2010

    I dont know about other positions but sneijder rules maybe an eight or a quarter of what xavi does on the pitch. he is half the midfielder xavi is, not a quarter because the guy can shoot. what a joke, maybe iniesta will get the World Player for the goal in the final and his performance in the WC but Xavi deserves it for his carrer and this year specially even if he didn`t win the CL or copa del rey. what does he have to do??? If xavi gets nothing this year I`m calling for a yihad.

  19. ElShowDeJason
    August 26, 2010

    So Panathinaikos has Obafemi Martins, Dgibril Cisse, and Sydney Govou as their front line? assuming everyone behind them defends, that sounds formidable.
    Well Steamroll past them, but I see why they dominate Greece over AEK and Olympiakos.

    • mei
      August 26, 2010

      no not martins.
      They got sebastian leto , govou and cisse.
      They got govou this year , along with boumsong to enhance their defence.
      They are nothing close to threatening for us , and their coach pretty much stated that just now :
      “Well try to fight for the 2nd spot against rubin kazan.Barcelona is the best team in the world by far , and assuming that they will win all their games we’ll go for the rest of the points available.Ofcourse it would be nice to get a point off them , but even a good performance against them is well enough for us.”

    • August 26, 2010

      If I want to pick a team that may force us to do calculations in this group, its Panathinaikos.

      • mei
        August 26, 2010

        They sure are.
        We are familiar with rubin since they beat us last year and im certain we learned that lesson.
        Some of us have the approach of ” well its that guys from greece” , and “well we smashed them 5-0 in our last encounter”.
        Except they really arent.
        Our last match was 7 years ago and its far more wise to take a look at their more recent results against high calibre teams.
        These guys from greece have some star players in their squad.Most would argue that they are at most “faded” stars but even so:
        Boumsong in the defence.
        Katsoyranis , a very good defensive player that also has the habit of scoring playing dm along with gilberto silva.
        Karagounis and ninis occupying the midfield.The latter is their youth star and is considered the best young player greece has produced in recent years in terms of talent and vision.
        In the frontline leto , a skillful winger that pace isnt his standout attribute but deadly shots are.
        Govou who you all know .
        Cisse:this guy arrived last year , being a quite expensive transfer for a club with the financial capabilities like panathinaikos.He was labeled as finished and that he came here for retirement, only to get the good money the greek club was offering.
        He said hed bag more than 20 goals and fight for a spot in the french team, he ended up bagging 29 , 23 scored in the league(nobody has scored more than 20 goals in the league here in years) and was called up for the world cup.
        Are they a threat? Not really if anything goes according to plan.
        But keep in mind that we play our second to last game with them in greece , and if they need the points they will fight for it , strongly.
        If they need it everybody, the fans , the coach and the players will be on a mission and I would rather not face it.
        Its part of their reputation , that they care more about europe and would rather be in the last 16 even if that means that they could seriously hurt their chances of getting the domestic league.Its also part of their reputation of doing so againt strong teams , something to brag about against the likes of olympiakos.

  20. August 26, 2010

    I’d do a 43m Ibrahimovic deal. The relationship is done. As Puyol said, “None of us talk to Guardiola that much, but his door is open to anyone.”

    He will take a day to figure out whether he can struggle along on 8m per annum, then decide to go to Milan. We should have a replacement lined up already. Hopefully not Fabiano. And off we go.

    • Cesc Blanc
      August 26, 2010

      Don’t think it’s Fabiano. He has already played CL and Sandro can’t be THAT stupid. Fernando Llorente would be an interesting choice but then again, we would make La Liga even less competitive. The idea should be strong target man, willing to sit on bench from time to time and not having a douchebag as agent.

        • Luke
          August 26, 2010

          Yeah, Llorente wouldn’t be bad. At $43M, this one is obvious. You take that and run. Buy someone for $10-15M and pocket the rest for later.

    • Alexinho
      August 26, 2010

      40-43 ain’t bad, but who could possibly replace him? I can’t think of a better striker, really, and there’s only five days left in the transfer window. Any purchase of a class striker will suck up all that money this late in the window, when clubs with such a striker will be able to put pressure on us.

      Fuck! When and if the details about this come out, I want to know who screwed the pooch. Whether Sandro caused it, or Guardiola didn’t want him, or Ibra never wanted to stay, this is a massive systems-failure. I hope he stays, but if he does, as I think ElShowDeJason or maybe Stephen pointed out, he just might become cancer in locker room.

      It looks like it’ll go down. That’s a pretty good price, as good as we’re going to get. Let’s use a bit less than half of it to pick up Mascherano at a humane price and push on with Pedro and Bojan.

      • ElShowDeJason
        August 26, 2010

        Not that HE would become a locker room cancer
        I meant that the situation in the locker room would become uncomfortable because of the Pep-Sandro struggle, and with Ibra feeling done wrong.

        As far as I can tell Ibra gets along just fine with his team mates and with Pep.

        • Luna
          August 26, 2010

          Yes he does, that’s what PUyol said in his interview, which is why this situation, IMHO does not bode well, portends of things to come. I dearly hope I am wrong.

    • Jnice
      August 26, 2010

      I honestly don’t think we will sign an attacker. That’s why I’m super pissed about this whole thing. Losing Ibra is one thing, not bringing anyone is another.

      I think the only player we will possibly get is Mascherano.

  21. Jnice
    August 26, 2010

    Cliveee, your video was the “video of the day” on TotalBarça. Cool.

  22. August 26, 2010

    I’d say we better not to call it an easy group. We lost to Rubin Kazan because we kind of thought we are way above them. As some pointed out they are all domestic champions, and there is a reason for that.

    Olympiacos has been the biggest fish in this small tank (greek league) but this year, Panathinaikos ousted them and broke the former’s winning streak:

    2004-05 Olympiacos
    2005-06 Olympiacos
    2006-07 Olympiacos
    2007-08 Olympiacos
    2008-09 Olympiacos
    2009-10 Panathinaikos

    we should not underestimate them

    For the Denmark champ which I dare say none of us know much about, they are very likely to be parking the bus against us. I randomly clicked on their defender’s profile and found their average height is above 180cm. If we sell Ibrahimovic, we will have to wish Bojan, umm actually, and also Pedro & Alves & Messi & Villa & Iniesta & Xavi good luck in trying to out-muscle some of these giants.

    Not to say we’d lose, we will beat them one by one like the champs, but we have to tell ourselves that they are not EASY to beat.

  23. Euler
    August 26, 2010

    Tariq Panja from Bloomberg had this on twitter:

    At Champions League draw. Here’s a bit of transfer ‘gossip’ – Ibra to Milan 47 million euros in next day or two.

    If true a feel of 40M+ (particularly as high as 47) would be relatively good news as it cushions the financial impact. Given the state of the relationships involved they should see at that price and minimize the damage.

    If Ibra is sold in the next day or two the squad would be at 18 first team players.

    They spent all summer chasing Fabergas and now major business is relegated to the final few days of the transfer window.

    As it is, the club has very limited depth with experience. Losing Ibra only worsens that condition. They will need another striker and whoever is selling will know that Baca isn’t dealing from a position of strength.

    That reporter from bloomberg also said that an official from Inter told him that while they were hopeful of buying Kuyt they were less hopeful on Mascherano due to his price. We’ll see what liverpool does but Mascherano may wind up be extremely expensive given how much playing time he might get.

    Lots of uncertainty when the team should be settled already.

  24. Bojan
    August 26, 2010

    i would go with Llorente too, because the only thing we need in attack is height. ibra gave that to us (which honestly i dont want him to be sold cos a striker like him would be crucial in some part of this season) and still Llorente is a faboulus striker. But i strongly doubt that Bilbao will sell him. don’t sell ibra, as i said i sense him sharper this year.

    • DontPanic
      August 26, 2010

      I’m a Dzeko fan myself. Mobile, strong, tall and excellent with headers. But it’s a big difference playing for Barca instead of Wolfsburg.

    • sab
      August 27, 2010

      can u xplain h many goals ibra scored with his height?i can only remeber ibra headed against the tenerife GK which messi pounced.

      • Kecke
        August 27, 2010

        Yea, he is not great player in the air…but size can be for many things.

  25. theMaginator
    August 26, 2010

    The whole Ibra deal brings up a good question where all the good strikers that are less than 26 years of age.

    Higuain- EE (too expensive and EE would never sell to us)
    Llorente- Bilbao Good choice but Athletic is a hard club to negotiate with.
    Rooney- ManU Way too expensive.
    Niño- Too expensive plus has had a hard tike coming back after injury.
    Hunter- No freaking way.

    Who else?

    Right now I can think of only three people that I would want at Barça. Llorente, Chicharito, and Torres (if he gets his groove back). I guess Keirrison would not be so bad now.

  26. Ciaran
    August 26, 2010

    Why is everyone suggesting buying a central striker to replace Ibra. If Pep wanted a central striker I’m pretty sure he’d keep Ibra.
    It seems that our first choice lineup will be L-R
    With Bojan and Jeffren to cover, it seems like a right winger would be the most suitable replacement if Messi is going to be first choice central striker.
    I don’t know who we’ll replace him with though.
    The Mascherano deal seems to be progressing but Inter are trying to put a spanner in the works. If we have somewhere in the region of €40million available to spend – as the board suggested after signing Adriano, and we are getting another €40million for Ibra, then we sign Mascherano for €25million then we should have quite a kitty for signing a winger/forward.

    I can’t believe that we could have a transfer season of Chygrinskiy, Yaya, Marquez, Henry and Ibra out and Villa & Adriano in.
    It would be like we just had a fire sale.

    • Bojan
      August 26, 2010

      my friend a CF is a very important position in football, every team in the world needs at least one classical CF who plays only that position. If ibra is sold messi will not play as a CF. Villa will be that option with messi on the right and iniesta or pedro or bojan changing on the left wing. xaviniesta is crucial in the midfield.

      • BA
        August 26, 2010

        why does it seem to me that, even with Ibra’s obvious deficiencies, Villa/Ibra/Messi is a far better front line than Pedro/Villa/Messi?

        notwithstanding the fact that the only replacement we have who is an out-and-out forward is Bojan, who as we all know still goes through runs of form and confidence over the course of a season. there are no fowards or wingers in our cantera to bring up that have looked particularly impressive (no, Jeffren doesn’t count), so we have 4 forwards for 3 positions and no cover. i would have thought that after last season and the strains of a World Cup we would want to make the squad DEEPER, not significantly LIGHTER, over the ensuing summer.

        i worry about injuries and lack of options in the coming season, and more importantly i worry about Pep’s influence and decision-making being circumvented by Rosell, who looks to be about as big a scumbag as we all assumed he was.

  27. August 26, 2010

    Diego Forlan.

    Not impossible, but very slim chance.

    But afterall, I want Ibrahimovic to stay even though he has been completely unsettled by the douche bag already.

    • Bojan
      August 26, 2010

      after his display at the world cup…. atletico will never sell forlan not this season tho. but to be true if ibra leaves i would love to see him in our ranks more than anyone. he is RELIABLE 🙂

    • Shaun
      August 26, 2010

      I’m all for Forlan. In fact, I was gonna get a Uruguay shirt with his name on it, but I opted for a Spain shirt instead.
      But like Bojan said above me, they’d never sell him to us unless the offer was an extravagant number of money.

      I would also take Llorente. He’s tall like Ibra, though, I don’t think he’s as good on the ball. He’s very good with his back to goal and he links up with guys like Toquero very well.

      But that’s all hypothetical at the moment. Ibra is still our player, no matter who says what.

  28. Carles P
    August 26, 2010

    Hello everyone, regular lurker around here. This drama is amazing, has be hooked like a telenovela…

    Looks like Ibra deal is done and dusted. Price is really quite reasonable, but we should have replacement ASAP.

    Like Llorente, but not sure if he would leave. Kanoute would not be bad, either. How about Adebayor?… He’s kinda drama, too, but has some upside.

  29. Jnice
    August 26, 2010

    I’m not even going to get into which striker I’d want us to sign because I’m positive we won’t sign one at all.

    • Colby
      August 26, 2010

      p.s. All those people who wanted to sign Villa last summer as our CF will get a chance to see how that would have ended up.

      If my memory is correct, we tried to sign him last year before Ibra, so we are really only 20 million euros short of where we were a year ago if we had signed villa last summer (12 million salary of Ibra + 20 million difference in transfers of Ibra -10 million extra that Villa would have cost last summer). Considering we would have spent this money on a LW like Mata or Suarez, we are really not that much worse off if you take into account the emergence of Pedro (as in, he took over the LW spot just as well as they would have). Plus we will end up with cover for Busquets at DM. So everything is A-okay, right?…. right?…

      And don’t try to to tell me we need a plan B for the champions league. I mean, we won 2 champions leagues with Eto’o, right? And villa won the WC as a lone striker. Right?

      (N.B. This was my best attempt to ignore all the s*** that is happening right now.)

      • Colby
        August 26, 2010

        Also, forgive me for not subtracting the salary of Villa from that figure as well, so really the number is: 20 m. in transfers of Ibra -10 in the cost of Villa+ (12 Ibra’s salary -8 Villa’s supposed salary last year)= 14 million euros.

        • James
          August 26, 2010

          I personally think it’s even better than you figured. Let’s ignore the time issue, obviously 46 million up front is different than getting 15 million per payment. But let’s just look at the figures for a second.

          We paid 46 + Eto’o for Ibrahimovic, flip him for 40 + 3. We lose 3-6 million + Eto’o. Had we bought Villa last year, we would have spent 42 million + Bojan on loan for him, so we saved 2 million on him.

          I think we would have kept Eto’o in that scenario, regardless of him leaving for free. For one without Bojan we would have been a striker down. Secondly I think he would have refused to be sold. Eto’o would only have allowed to be sold in the case he was offered a massive salary. Inter only offered him a massive salary because of the deal they got from Barcelona. In this scenario we would have had Eto’o + Villa for one season instead of Ibra + Bojan and we would have paid 7.5 + 6.5 million in salary instead of 12 + 3. Eto’o’s contract would have expired in 2010 and he could have left on a free while we stick with Villa + Bojan + whoever else we decide to sign in 2011.

          Which brings us to the present, after we sell Ibrahimovic that’s exactly the same situation we find ourselves in. Except we lost ~5 million on the transfer of Ibrahimovic. Look at it like this, we did a one year loan swap with Inter for Ibra & Eto’o. We paid an extra 5 million loan fee for Ibra. Now Ibra returns to Inter & gets sold to Milan, Eto’o signs for Inter on a free on massive wages. We replace Eto’o with Villa for 40 million and whoever else we decide to sign.

          If this deal goes through I’m ecstatic. I didn’t think there was any way we could have gotten out of the Ibrahimovic situation. Not that I don’t think he’s a great player, but I strongly disagree with the seeming consensus on this site that he fit on our team. By next year he’ll be 30 and worth 25 million at best and still earning massive wages. It’s not a terrible move for Milan because he really could carry a team by himself and they need a player like him to turn the team around. Plus at 8 million per season you can justify investing in a superstar player even if he’s a bit old. The only person who loses out on this deal is Ibrahimovic. He’s taking a giant pay cut to subsidize Inter’s gains from this transfer. However, he’ll have a chance to be ‘the man’ again and re-establish his superstar profile, that could be worth the pay cut.

      • sab
        August 27, 2010

        And don’t try to to tell me we need a plan B for the champions league. I mean, we won 2 champions leagues with Eto’o, right? And villa won the WC as a lone striker. Right?

        agreed.though i m not supporting ibra being transferred now,in the 1st place i was completely against his transfers

    • Hilal
      August 26, 2010

      I agree. I dont see how we would have time to sign anyone half decent to replace Ibra. This is all very depressing. I was really looking forward to a great season from Ibra. Damn. I really hope he decides to stay.

  30. BA
    August 26, 2010

    Ibra will earn a tremendous amount of respect from me, and i think from most cules, if he buckles down and decides to stay and fight for his spot in our starting 11 rather than skip off to Milan over a few boos and the need of a new president to show everyone how big his dick is. in the past few years we’ve seen big-name players just give up and stop caring while we continue to pay them, and for all the sentimentalizing about Ronaldinho and goodbye thanks to Henry they both acted like petulant children who wanted to get their allowance without doing any chores their last seasons with the club. Ibra should not be allowed to do that; i want him to take Option C: stay, play better, train harder, get some humility and force his way into our starting lineup alongside Messi and Villa. in short: i’d much rather have a functioning Ibrahimovic in our squad than no Ibra + 40m but no cover or an unhappy sulking Ibrahimovic still collecting wages while counting the hours to the end of the season.

    • Hilal
      August 26, 2010

      That would be the ideal scenario BA! Ibra decides to stay and earn his spot. You would think a player with an ego like his would want to do that anyways, as opposed to taking a pay cut and running back to Italy with his tail between his legs. I would imagine that would be the beginning of the end for Ibra..

      If it is indeed Rossel that wants him to leave and not Pep then he could quite easily refuse the deal and force a stay. One can only hope thats what happens and he works his ass off to get into the side. From what I have seen in preseason he is already looking better so I can’t imagine this is a sporting decision on Peps part.

      Or maybe, indulging the conspiracy theorist in me, this is all an elaborate plan by Pep to get the best out of Ibra by trying to force his exit. It certainly worked with Eto (another egotisitical player) so maybe Pep thinks the same tactic will work with a like minded player 😉

    • Vicsoc8
      August 26, 2010

      I think most of us would agree that Ibra staying and fighting for and earning his spot on the team with improved play would be the ideal solution. Unfortunately there is no guarantee that this is how events will play out if he stays. I would actually go so far as to say that this is the least likely scenario that could play out is Ibra was to stay.

  31. JC
    August 26, 2010

    What’s with us this year? We seem to be in the news for all the wrong reasons especially in the transfer market. First we go aggressively for Cesc and fail, then we go aggressively for Mache and now we are aggressively trying to get rid of Ibra?? Pep or someone on the board seems to be a lil fickle minded. Ibra is going to be the 2nd CF we are trying to get rid in 2 years. Pep should really think twice before buying the next CF. I say buy another CD and stick in Pique as CF.

  32. Vicsoc8
    August 26, 2010

    Someone said it above me, but I doing we’ll sign a new striker. Our front line is going to be:
    Villa – Messi – Pedro/Iniesta
    Messi will be playing in the middle as it is obvious Pep wants to increase the amount of freedom he has in the team. We will also see constant interchanging and movement alone the front line, as we saw the last couple of games last season.
    After those four add Maxwell, Bojan, and maybe Adriano as players who can play on the wings, while Villa or Bojan can play in the center on the rare occasions Messi sits. For those of you who don’t like seeing Iniesta on the wings, I would advise you to get used to it.

  33. sirius
    August 26, 2010

    everybody is forgetting about mata.. i bet if ibra leaves he will be snatched up quickly

    • James
      August 26, 2010

      Don’t forget Robinho. I believe Pep still regards Robinho as a quality player and if he’s going to cost under 20m he’s a distinct possibility, provided Pep convinces himself that Robinho will be a good citizen in the locker room.

      • Ciaran
        August 26, 2010

        He could play on the wing, not my favourite player but not a bad option considering that there isn’t really anything else available

        • James
          August 26, 2010

          Now that we have depth at the fullback positions, we could just stick with the team and add only Mascherano. Pep seems to think that Maxwell is a pretty decent left winger and Adriano could play on either wing. If Jeffren is healthy, then there’s another winger. The main problem is not the whole attack but the striker position, with only Bojan behind Villa it’s a bit thin. Neither Mata nor Robinho addresses that issue really.

  34. Diego S.
    August 26, 2010

    Does Anyone think that Benja or Nolito make the Jump to first team If Ibra is gone ?

  35. Dezko maybe, or Robinho, possibly Muller???? Here is where I go back to us not needing huge money for a striker, let Villa or messi take up the number 9 some games and lets bring in someone versatile like Douglas Costa who can play both wings. And I would have gone all in for Suarez if he was not cup tied. The only reason we needed to get this done sooner is so we had a shot to get anyone we wanted. Does anyone really think Ozil would NOT be here if we got this Ibra money 40 days ago?

  36. Jnice
    August 26, 2010

    Some of you are going to be very frustrated when the season comes around and the only strikers we have are Bojan and Villa.

    Bandying around names from Dzeko to Kanoute would have been appropriate if it wasn’t August 26th and only days left in the transfer window.

    We still haven’t concluded a deal for a midfielder and that’s an area we have been trying to reinforce for awhile.

    Pep, Zubi, and Rosell all say another player might be brought in before the end of the market. I don’t envision us bringing in two.

    • vicsoc8
      August 26, 2010

      This is the correct answer.

      However Messi will play in the middle

      • Diego S.
        August 26, 2010

        I think Jnice is talking about DM .. We only Have Busi

        • vicsoc8
          August 26, 2010

          Ahhh yes. I should have been clearer. I don’t think we’ll sign a forward or winger. I do think we’ll sign a midfielder.

          However I think Messi will play in the CF spot, with Villa and Bojan backing him up if necessary.

          • Diego S.
            August 26, 2010

            He’ll do good against some teams .. but Physical teams like Chelsea and Inter we may struggle .. as we need a classical tall strong no.9

    • jord(TM)
      August 26, 2010

      Its short sighted, we’re planning for best case scenarios.When that happens usually the shit storm of injuries follow.YAY everybody will be fit and happy and in form all season long,We have robots not humans!I was thinking about who was going to be next after this season , and i remembered Dani’s people had rejected the last contract offer and he didnt renew yet, and…we have adriano now.Just saying.Maybe the fact hes Brazilian will help him stay. Maybe im just a paranoid cynic.I dont mind players leaving but we have to replace them, if they knew they were going to sell ibra why didnt they sign oezil who wouldve helped us in several positions?Things like that annoy me.

    • Cesc Blanc
      August 27, 2010

      problem is though that Dzeko, no matter how good of a striker, seems to be a real moron off it and that could lead to some trouble.

  37. vicsoc8
    August 26, 2010

    BTW – Pep apparently singled out and praised Adriano in training today for his excellent performance in the Gamper game.

    Lately people have been claiming Pep isn’t good at handling players due to complications with the Ibra situation. This argues against that. Pep is obviously going to make mistakes, he’s not infallible, but he’s still a damn good coach.

  38. jord(TM)
    August 26, 2010

    So Juve got rid of diego cut price after one season as well, difference is they are signing a replacement :/.I remember not too long ago when we had dani pique and keita and the likes, tied up by july :S.Yeah, we need to get back to that…

  39. MemoryLane
    August 26, 2010

    I’ll try to keep it brief:

    I’ve been browsing some of the popular Barca blogs and it really sickens me to see the arrogance and sheer ignorance of some of these Barca fans at times it can even exceed the English fans.

    Everybody has a bias, it’s understandable and sometimes it’s hard to be objective but to outright spin a situation to meet your agenda or try to rewrite history, it’s disgusting.

    I personally adored Ronaldinho at his peak there was no 1 like him, singlehandedly he used to destroy teams.
    On his gradual downfall I accepted that he will never be that same player and Barcelona should let him go because it’s WHATS BEST FOR THE CLUB.

    Now onto my point:
    2 players who should be considered legends of this club and both left with their reputation intact and with their heads held high are Eto’o and Yaya Toure (both who were treated very badly by the club) yet I’m reading the most absurd comments trying to justify their transfers.

    An example I’ll give is Mr Busquets has a tidy game against Seville’s B team and you get comments like “Who’s Yaya” “Yaya who”…… I mean really is this what it has come too?

    I don’t want to get into how we ultimately been playing with 2 DM’s since Busquet has taken over that position but are we really going too pretend that the ever present, hardworking and full of running Keita doesn’t play a large role in covering for Mr Busquets and protecting our defense.

    I noticed some tried to do the same with Ibra after he had a good/average performance people would say “Eto’o couldn’t score that goal” “pr make that pass”


    In no way does this circus that has been going on for the last few days comparable to Eto’o and Yaya leaving the club, both in the end had no other choice but to leave even though Pep tried to stop Yaya by cutting his holiday short and it was obvious he was regretful when he left too Manchester.

    The Ibra situation is clear as the blue sky that Pep doesn’t enjoy their working relationship.
    Personally I want him to stay but someone might have to put their ego aside and going by recent history…..

    • James
      August 26, 2010

      Ok, so fans are fickle, what else is new? Where do you get ‘arrogance’ from that? Fans cheer for players who are on the team, the team comes before the player. Prior to Yaya and Eto’o leaving there were just as many fans defending them, criticizing Guardiola, criticizing management. Just as now with the Ibra saga, there are many fans defending Ibra and criticizing the current management, and again Guardiola.

      You know what it is? It’s called differing opinion. Some people feel like you, Yaya and Eto’o shouldn’t have been sold, others felt that we had enough cover. It’s not ignorance and certainly not arrogance. It’s professional football, a business in part. Players change clubs. It’s nothing new.

      Fans are hyperbolic. When a player has a good game, the fans go overboard with the plaudits. When a player has a poor game, he gets too much criticism. You’re calling out people for being hyperbolic about Busquets’ good games, but the Yaya fans go even more overboard with ridiculous superlatives over everything Yaya does ignoring any weaknesses in his game.

      And no, Yaya Toure is not a Barcelona legend, he played in Barca for 3 years, and only during the treble season he played more than 40 games. Nor did the club ‘treat Yaya very badly’. He demanded more playing time and a starter’s position. Guardiola wanted him to be a rotation player. If that’s considered ‘being treated very badly’, then half of the players on every club in the world is being ‘treated very badly’.

      I get what you’re trying to say though, you’re basing your argument on the assumption that Yaya Toure is clearly a better player than Busquets, and thus he was treated badly by being played behind Busquets. To that I can only respectfully disagree. Yaya Toure is the more obvious fan favorite, because he’s big, strong, tall and athletic. He can throw his weight around in a tackle and he can dribble forward and smash a long shot into the net once in a while. Of course the average fan thinks he’s a better player, he’s the perfect virtual football manager player.

      I feel differently about it though, and apparently so do a lot of other fans. That is, Busquets is the superior defensive mid in Barcelona’s system. I can write a lot on the subject, but the point is this, just because I disagree with you that Yaya Toure is a superior player to Busquets for our defensive mid position, doesn’t mean I’m somehow disrespecting Yaya Toure. Just because Pep chose to start Busquets and use Yaya Toure as a bench player, doesn’t mean he’s treating Yaya very badly.

      • Kari
        August 26, 2010

        Cheers James. Well said.

        At first I saw this comment and thought it was too long, but consider me glad I read it.


        • Kari
          August 26, 2010

          Too long in that I have to leave soon. 😀

          There have been many a long post in this place. Mostly all leggit rants. Gotta love BFB!

        • James
          August 26, 2010

          It was long. I’m long-winded, I can’t help it.

  40. Jnice
    August 26, 2010

    Random, but I just went off on @philmcnulty on twitter for this tweet: “Messi’s plea for Liverpool to act “humanely” over Mascherano laughable. Not a hardship playing for LFC. Up to Barca to make decent offer.”

    An Arsenal fan then suggested we were well versed at that “drivel” and he replied with a “Agree. First Fabregas now Mascherano.”

    He calls himself a chief football writer at the BBC yet he can’t out 2 and 2 together and figure out that Messi never gave an interview to the Daily whateverthefuckitscalled. Messi would never accuse Liverpool of acting inhumanely. The press in Britain is a joke.

    I had to vent at him, but I don’t expect him to reply lol.

    • Kari
      August 26, 2010

      I feel sorry for them.

      If they want to stay in their delusion that we are the evil club that wants to steal their players by mind control and that their innocent babies are valiantly trying to resist the control, let them.

      The reality of the fact that the players want to the move and their clubs are not the best things to ever happen to football is too hard for them to take right now. Baby steps and all that.

    • James
      August 26, 2010

      Barcelona want to buy a player – OMG they’re evil! they offer too little! they already have too many good players! i thought they only relied on youth players?! they’re arrogant!

      Barcelona want to sell a player – OMG they’re evil, they mistreated him, they ruined his career, they’re so racist they only use their own youth players! they’re so arrogant!

      You’ll worry yourself sick if you pay attention to all the gullible fans and trolls who are just trying to find anything they can criticize about Barcelona. It comes with the territory.

      The sad part of it is all the less media savvy Barcelona fans buy into this phony mudslinging and start thinking, oh wait, maybe Barcelona are being really arrogant?

    • jord(TM)
      August 26, 2010

      They dont like us so they assume the worse, in the absence of proof.Anyone who has watched their interviews would know they dont talk like that but it fits in with their belief we are big bad barca the scum of the universe bullying clubs around europe to sell their players.Each “interview” gets more farcical and unbelievable that i find it hard to understand how any right thinking individual would not question the legitimacy of the quotes.Surely at some point you say “thats pure lunacy, no way did he say that, video evidence or it didnt happen”.If , for example,we had accepted borrielo for ibra i wouldnt be raging at milan, logically it makes more sense to save my ire for our directive for accepting it, but for some strange reason english fans and journalists attack the buying clubs and are shocked they want to buy players for as cheap as possible, like every club does, including their own.Anyway this is what happens when you get brain washed by skysports that they have the best league and clubs in the world :D.No one would want to leave that right?So obviously it means they player was force-ably unsettled and the club was bullied into selling .

    • Shaun
      August 26, 2010

      It comes as no surprise to me that all of these stories of our players apparently “talking” about Cesc and Masch come from the British press. These are the same reporters and journos who labeled England’s WC group as “E.A.S.Y.”, then blamed Capello when their overrated players yet again failed to live up to the hype. They also called Spain “boring” when all they play is long balls to Peter Crouch.

      What’s most aggravating, for me, isn’t the stories themselves because journalists are always gonna nothing but rats. But what upsets me the most is that so many people are actually buying into them and believing what they read.

      Why would someone, who has always been anything but arrogant, like Xavi and Messi, go out of their way to say Liverpool is inhumane and Arsenal aren’t a good team? It would be exactly like the Spanish press fabricating a story that has Ryan Giggs saying Real Madrid are garbage.

      C’mon, give me a break.

    • Cesc Blanc
      August 27, 2010

      First Fabregas, now Mascherano and the pot calls the kettle black of Squillachi.

  41. Diego S.
    August 26, 2010

    I’m so bummed out right now that I can’t even Joke about us buying Bendtner or Boriello ..

    All Summer we were looking forward for a CB and a DM .. now Another Player is gone .. And we lacking depth in many areas .. With 4 days remaining we find ourselves Needing a CB, a DM , and a CF !!

  42. Lou
    August 26, 2010

    I suppose I don’t really care that much about what Liverpool/Arsenal fans think, but I agree with Jnice that it is really sad when journalists from supposedly reputable media organizations believe this stuff.

    Aren’t journalists supposed to keep in mind the sources of the information they broadcast? I suppose with all of these “quotes” being recycled by various websites and publications it can be easy to lose track of the original source but still it is a pretty sad state of affairs.

  43. Luna
    August 26, 2010

    See this whole Ibra fiasco is bull****. It speaks to a deeper divide, a deeper structural issue within the club. Too many damn cryptic remarks from Pep over many issues. I think he’s gone unless something changes drastically. Puyol basically said Ibra’s not been an issue at all, great team mate, great work ethic, etc… That there were no issues there.

    Ibra being pushed out, probably. Pep too, I don’t know. And now the racism crap is being pushed by the local crap…

    For instance, “now we see Ibra’s true colors. Sure his nationality is Swedish, but his Balkan blook has exposed itself” JUST crap in my estimation.

    Here’s a snippet in spanish:
    “En el carnet de identidad de Zlatan Ibrahimovic aparece bien clara la nacionalidad sueca, pero por sus venas corre la sangre bosnia de su padre y la croata de su madre, que emigraron del polvorín de los Balcanes buscando un futuro mejor para su familia. Y su carácter es, sin duda, mucho más balcánico que escandinavo.”

    They describe “incidents” of his without context. You know I am tired of us expecting players to take it up the you know from fans, and organizations and expect them to take it, act professional. Other sites, ughhh.

    Wow really strong personalities in pro-sports, you don’t say. Arrogant, really, news to me. As someone who lives in a country where I am never part of the “masia,” I’ve always had to defend myself and be “hard”, yes even in academia. The psychology of Barcelona and players that come from the outside is not hard to read.

    OK personal rant over.

    Barca let me belong!

  44. jnelson
    August 26, 2010

    If the atrocity of Ibra being sold does happen…..SUAREZ! we should buy SUAREZ. He can play on the left, center, or right. His passing is excellent and his nose for goal is undeniable. He won’t fail, but if he did, we’d have everyone else that we’d have if we didn’t buy anyone…Somebody mentioned Mueller earlier. That wouldn’t be bad either, although I wasn’t too impressed with his domestic season last year.

    • BA
      August 27, 2010

      Robinho is an interesting possibility. he’s been desperate to find a club in Spain or Italy by his own admission and claimed a couple of days ago there were preliminary negotiations ongoing with “a few clubs” in those countries. City are also desperate to get rid of him as they’re still paying his wages while he’s on a footballing vacation at Santos and they only have about 8 players for his position so their price would be nowhere near what it cost to bring him to Eastlands.

      he’s our best option with the time and resources remaining, should Ibra go. if we don’t end up signing a forward, however, i can’t see us competing very much this season i have to say. our squad is *just too light* in key areas: 4 maximum center-backs, 5 maximum midfielders, and 4 maximum forwards; as someone pointed out, we’ll only have 18 veteran first-team players (many of which just went all the way through an exhausting World Cup), SEVEN less than the allowable total. that’s just a huge amount of slack for our cantera players to pick up.

    • jnelson
      August 27, 2010

      Ahh Crap! Oh well, nobody else wants him anyway lol.

  45. Jnice
    August 26, 2010

    Hodgson on Inter’s offer for Mascherano:

    “I saw a fax the other day but I think it was sent tongue-in-cheek to be honest,” he revealed after Liverpool’s Europa League play-off victory over Trabzonspor.

    “The offer was so unbelievably far from a valuation it seemed to me the sporting director was putting the fax in to maybe satisfy people at the club.

    “We didn’t even bother to answer it, that is how ridiculously far from a serious offer it was.”


  46. Stephen
    August 26, 2010

    May i just say that I JUST heard the Ibra interview in Italian, and never does he say “Idk what Guardiola’s problem is with me.”..
    He was asked what Guardiola thought of his Milan “talks” and he responded, “idk if he has a problem with me or not, i mean we havent really talked in the last 6 months”..
    he then says REPEATEDLY he’s happy at Barcelona.. he then is asked “you are player, but are you a happy player?” and he says “if im important im happy, and my family is happy in barcelona.”
    Fuck Spanish press. All I have to say about this.

    If Ibra leaves, i shalt be entirely pissed !!

    • Stephen
      August 26, 2010

      Also Note: Ibrah’s Italian isnt perfect, and he gets confused in the interview a lot, and he never gets to finish his sentences since the reporters cut him off.

    • James
      August 26, 2010

      You mean the English press. The Spanish press reported that Ibra said “I’ve only spoken to Guardiola twice in the last 6 months”. The English press all reported that Ibra said “I haven’t spoken to Guardiola in 6 months.”

      • Stephen
        August 26, 2010

        Either of them are cutting his actual words, he mentions THAT quote but after he said other stuff, its out of context, they’re making him and Guardiola look like assholes to each other when its really not.

  47. Bundy
    August 26, 2010

    Despite the ‘reported’ amount of money generated from a possible transfer of Ibra.

    I still think it actually in every way does NOT benefit Barcelona.

    The only possible reason for selling Ibra is because it is impossible to balance a team consisting of Ibra, Villa and Messi. Things might become too uneasy.

    BUT, its a big but, if Ibra stays, it keeps players in check, there is that competitive motivation that drives the team. Pep loves that kind of stuff. This is the real reason for success, well not only that, it what keeps us unique from other teams in Europe.

    Unfortunately, we will lose that motivation up forward. Ok Pedro becomes a starter. Ok then, if he doesn’t play well for a stretch of time, what happens next?

    If Messi has to play CF every game, then whats the point, we can’t rely on him to come back deep and help out the midfield can we? then who goes centre forward? ok then Villa. but what happens if we end up at a point like last season against Madrid, were we had two chances on goal all match because we had no proper CF, let alone proper Wingers either.

    See, we lose Ibra, we lose that competitiveness, We can;t rely on Pedro to just waltz in and expect to fight for his spot because he doesn’t need to.

    Something isn’t right.

  48. Kxevin
    August 27, 2010

    Updates, quotes n’stuff, via Twitter:

    –Barcelona rejected to include Huntelaar, Borriello or Flamini in the deal and asked for Tiago Silva or Pato. Milan didn’t agree. [rac1]

    –Barcelona has started the negotiations for Ibrahimovic asking 60M and would have put 35M as the absolute minimum. [rac1]

    –Barcelona sports vice-president Bartomeu has travelled today to Liverpool to discuss a transfer of Mascherano. [rac1]

    –There would have been made progress today in the negotiations with Liverpool on the transfer of Javier Mascherano. [rac1]

    –Del Nido (president Sevilla): “We are negotiating with Barcelona on Caceres but he’s not the only option.”

    –Puyol: “I’m the captain of the team and I’m not talking that much with Pep either, but the door of the coach is always open for everyone.”

    –Puyol: “Ibrahimovic is our teammate, he’s training well, he’s one of the best strikers in the world. We’ll see what happens.”

    Sport is saying that an agreement in principle has been reached, and that both clubs will announce the Mascherano transfer today (now Friday). But the numbers they are bandying about, 16+6 seem too close to the numbers that were previously rejected by Liverpool.

    –Looks like a loan deal to Benfica for Hleb. Can’t find anyone to buy that dude, yo. Damn!

  49. Kxevin
    August 27, 2010

    I also wouldn’t put past the idea of selling Ibrahimovic, then making a purchase in the January window, once we see how life without him goes. His announcement will come today, and I can’t imagine that he won’t go to Milan. Then at least we know, and can proceed from there.

    • Bundy
      August 27, 2010

      hmm, I dont know about that, we had the same Idea last season and when it came to january we didnt bother looking for anyone to help out our struggling squad at that time.

      so far things are becoming far too complicated, It should be the other way around for us. We don’t want to have to wait till January to prepare ourselves.

  50. jord(TM)
    August 27, 2010

    We have permission to speak to Masche!`


    • Jnice
      August 27, 2010

      Haha you were quicker than me. Wonder how much the fee is.

      • Ethan
        August 27, 2010

        Hopefully not too much. Just saw the update on ESPN. If we got him for a good price than its a great pickup, and really one of the only ones that made sense for our DM position. Now let’s see how this whole IBRA thing plays out. Hopefully we can hold onto him and have a great squad going into next year.

        • Jnice
          August 27, 2010

          Sport was reporting 16m plus + 6 in incentives. Who knows.

      • jord(TM)
        August 27, 2010

        Balague says 16 milion (euros i hope) +add ons on skysports.Who knows if it will be disclosed.Liverpoool fans pissed at us already i bet 😀

  51. jord(TM)
    August 27, 2010

    Im twitching here.He better not fail his medical or get lost on a plane or something.Ive wanted this for 4 years!Ramzi must be pleased 😀

  52. August 27, 2010

    Mascherano fee 16+6 in performance based variables. All over Sky Sports, too.

      • Euler
        August 27, 2010

        Reported on Soccernet – 16M euro at base with a potential to increase to 22M.

  53. August 27, 2010

    Some early reports are saying we’ve agreed on the 40m fee for Ibrahimovic, and he will take8m per. Yes, kids, that’s a 4m pay cut. Wow. Things must really suck for him with us. I know that 8m vs12m is kinda academic, but still.

    • Vicsoc8
      August 27, 2010

      I still think its a question of being an undisputed starter for Zlatan, but like I said before, I have no evidence to substantiate this claim.

      I’m glad we’re signing a midfielder, even if I’m still not convinced Mascherano is the right choice. I hope he proves me wrong.

  54. Euler
    August 27, 2010

    Good news on Mascherano. Squad depth was critically low and there was no way the club could go into the long season with one DM.

    A year ago it looked like Mascherano would cost Barca around 36M euro. Now it’ll likely be far, far less as the market reequilibrates.

    The way the Ibra deal was originally structured as a loan it was Barca who was going to get the short end of the financial stick. As a sale it is now Ibra who is going to make out very badly. He must want to leave desperately as he’s writing off 16M euro guaranteed during the prime earning potential of his life. He’ll never come close to seeing that money again.

    I find it hard to believe he’d agree to this. Still want to see if perhaps he gets a cut of the transfer fee (if I were his agent I would demand that…)

    In many ways the organization is moving back in time in terms of the sporting project to the start of the transfer window last year when it was Villa and Masch Pep originally targeted and wanted.

    In some ways the organization is resetting itself if the Ibra move goes through.

    • Vicsoc8
      August 27, 2010

      Very interesting thought on the club reseting to last years summer window.

      Say what you will about Rosell, the man appears to be able to get pretty good deals on the transfer market.

      • Euler
        August 27, 2010

        How things have been done has been extremely problematic. But if things move in this direction Barca will essentially now erased much of the last year and reconfigured itself into the state it was seeking to achieve at the start of last year’s transfer window.

        But that reset comes at an opportunity cost of some depth as it’s unlikely that the club will be able to come up with a quality striker at reasonable cost before the window closes.

        And let’s hope Pep gets along with Mascherano. Though at the price they got him for it’s very hard to argue with the transaction.

  55. Euler
    August 27, 2010

    The guardian is now reporting that the transfer fee was closer to 25M pounds/ 30M euro and that Liverpool was set on not accepting less than what they paid for Mascherano originally (which was originally 18M pounds/22M euro).

    We’ll just have to wait and see. If it’s in fact closer to 25M pounds then Barca will have paid more for Mascherano then they received for Yaya given the agents cut of the transfer fee.

  56. iBlau
    August 27, 2010


    Ronaldinho after the Gamper:

    On the T-shirt tribute: “I just wanted to thank people and Barça, what I wrote on the shirt is true, I do love Barça.”

    On the return to Camp Nou: “There is no way to explain it, so many memories in only as few seconds and I have so many friends. I felt so many great emotions. When you see a video like this with all the fans in Camp Nou waiting for you it is like being in a film, did not expect things to be so great. The players gave me the trophy. The homage they paid is normally reserved for players who are no longer alive. They have done it for me in person and it has truly touched me. I had the chance to play with great player and that helped me do what I did and to start such a great era for Barça.”

    On Rosell: “I have a completely different relationship with [Rosell], He is my friend, my brother and the one who brought me here. I am pleased that he is in his rightful place as president of Barça.”

    President Sandro Rosell presented Ronaldinho a award inscripted: “with great affection in recognition of your exemplary sporting career wearing the Blaugrana colours”

    Sorry if it’s been posted already.

  57. nikhils
    August 27, 2010

    A bit of a BANG(er)S and Masch day in BCN, no?

  58. Eklavya
    August 27, 2010

    Pure speculation, but I would like Lisandro Lopez as a striker.

    • Diego S.
      August 27, 2010

      I was hoping that last year .. He’s always pressuring defenders .. Knows how to score .. Still kinda young and there’s room for improvement

  59. nikhils
    August 27, 2010

    At this point I am thinking Rosell is a FloPo puppet installed in a chilling conspiracy to end Barca’s world domination.

  60. ML
    August 27, 2010

    Stuff to know (sorry if any or all of this has been mentioned):

    – Liverpool and Barcelona have agreed in principle for the fee of Mascherano, he will be expected to arrive in Barcelona this weekend to finalise the deal.

    – Victor Sanchez has been officialy loaned out to Getafe FC.

    – Ibrahimovic has been given 24 hours to decide his future, and this time frame is nearly up.

    To be honest, we are a tad crazy to even consider selling Ibra, he is worth so much to the club both as a striker and a player with experience. Mascherano is a great signing, and for a reported fee of 16 million euros plus 6 million in variables, this seems to be a cheap one. Also wanted Victor Sanchez to continue at Barca, but it looks like he is destined to wear other colours.

  61. y2k156
    August 27, 2010

    So Masch finally comes in. I feel pretty confidant that he will fit and will be a great addition.

    I also think that we might play 4-2-3-1 sometimes this season with Messi or Villa leading the attack.

    Sad to see Ibra go. I had high hopes from Villa – Ibra – Messi front line but i guess Ibra wanted confirmed starter position which Pep would not have said yes. Same reason as with Yaya.

    Assuming Ibra goes, i do want another striker, some one like Larsson who can be happy to play bit part but can be good if required. Diego Milito would have been perfect but he is of course not for sale. I cannot think of too many names. Maybe Ruud van Nistelrooy.

    So both Barca and EE will go in season with limited number of strikers. EE with two of which one is suspect and we with four of which one is suspect:).

    August 27, 2010

    yeah!it s official!great great signing!good job by the board!our transfer policy became to be as good as must be!i am so happy right now!

    August 27, 2010

    we have so quality that is not fair for the other teams in europe!now i have a strong feeling that this season we will see the best barca under pep coaching!and yes with or without ibra,i don.t care.

  64. August 27, 2010

    Ibra’s wife came to the training session this morning!

      • chippo
        August 27, 2010

        Zlatans wife (Helena Seger), is probable more than your averege WAG. She was marketing manager for Fly Me (before she married Zlatan).

  65. Bashir
    August 27, 2010

    Iniesta – villa – Messi. Is My regular Start prediction
    And Pedro being our main forward sub.

    Since iniesta is all over the place, it’s good with 2 goal getters

    Have a feelin we won’t buy Zlatans cover
    And Masch will get more time due Sergio being able to play.

    Keita Sergio Xavi. Or Sergio Masch Xavi
    If keita is restin

    Oh man do we need a Att Mid

  66. Diego S.
    August 27, 2010

    I’m so Happy the Masch deal is done .. I’m much more relaxed with the current Squad .. But the Ibra situation is still confusing I hope he stays .. Or Get Lisandro Lopez !!

    On Another Note .. I just had a dream that we signed Toni Kroos!

    • hannibal
      August 27, 2010

      Lisandro would be a great pick-up for us, but he would come only very expensive. Lyon payed over 25 mill if I’m not mistaken. And with only a couple of days left…

  67. August 27, 2010

    “All this mess is to buy Robinho. We will see how it goes.”

    I’d be pretty friggin upset if that turned out to be true. There is no denying his talent but his attitude sucks – something that he has proven at the two last teams he played for.
    I almost feel sorry for Robinho since it seems that he can only be happy in Brazil but Man City will never let him go back because they paid so much for him.

  68. dawd
    August 27, 2010

    From swedish newspaper:
    Innan Raiola lämnar arenan säger han till
    – Det är upp till honom när han lämnar ett svar. Om inte i dag så i morgon. Jag hoppas på i dag. Men det är ett viktigt beslut i hans liv.
    Before Raiola left arena he told
    – Its up to him when he gives an answer. If its not today so it’ll be tomorrow. I hope its today. But its a very important decision in his life.

  69. majatt
    August 27, 2010

    On Masch, maybe he took a salary reduction to ease the cost of the transfer? I know he really wanted out.

    • August 27, 2010

      uuuh but will his wife be happy with that, me wonders lol

      • majatt
        August 27, 2010

        lol, he just needs to hide the pay cheque!

  70. Colby
    August 27, 2010


    Balague reporting that it is 16 million pounds, not euros, plus 6 million in incentives.

    That brings it up to 20 million euros plus 7 million euros in incentives.

  71. August 27, 2010

    yeah well im still so pissed off about the Ibra situation that I can’t even be properly happy about Masch’s arrival.

    (only good thing is that i can refer to this whole mess as “the Ibra situation”. Feels as if we’re discussing a Tarantino film 🙂

  72. ermengol
    August 27, 2010

    “Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has confirmed AC Milan and Barcelona are in the race to sign Robinho.”


  73. Hilal
    August 27, 2010

    Since we are throwing names into the new CF hat. How about some Romelu Lukaku? Not sure if you guys have heard of him but he is supposed to be the next Drogba. He is young (17 i think) so he shouldnt be too expensive. He is big, strong, good in the air, fast, great with his feet and has one hell of a shot on him. He COULD be the ideal striker. I stress the word could cos he is untested at the highest levels and still very young, but I am guessing he wouldnt make too much of a fuss if he didnt start every game. Plus I imagine we could get him for less than half of what we sell Ibra for.

    For those of you who havent seen him


    Otherwise I have always liked Llorente and I dont think he would cost too much either. Forlan is always a good option, but would he leave? I think he would also be pretty expensive after the WC he just had. Kanoute is another striker i would take in a second, although again, not sure if he would leave.

    Unfortunately if we do sell Ibra I have a feeling we are not going to replace him with a striker, maybe a winger like Robinho or Mata, but that wouldnt really replace what Ibra provides.

    I am ecstatic about Mascherano though. At 22m that is a steal, an absolute steal. I know this probably wont go down too well with a lot of the fans here, but as a pure destroyer, he is better than Yaya. For those who dont think he can pass I suggest you look at some of his play for Argentina, there is absolutely nothing wrong with his passing. Most importantly he brings some proper steal and aggression to our midfield. That is going to come in VERY handy if and when we face the EPL teams.

    So I am happy and sad at the same time!

    • Helge
      August 27, 2010

      Romelu Lukaku could definitely be a good bargain. But he stated some days ago that he wants to finish his school in Belgium first, that is he will not join before next season. And there are sooooo many clubs after him, it won’t be easy to sign him 🙁

      • hannibal
        August 27, 2010

        Romelu has loads of POTENTIAL, thus far he’s good but not exceptional. Still too much a risk at this point imo. Plus, he’ll stay another year to finish school his dad (old 1st division player in Belgium Roger Lukaku) has stressed this numerous times.
        Romelu’s big Idol is Drogba, he even visited Chelsea training facilities this summer (as a tourist).

  74. August 27, 2010

    I like Llorente too but the Liga is pretty weak right now. Do we really want to screw over another Liga club? And Athletic Club de Bilbao at that? I mean, they hate EE even more than we do!

    • Hilal
      August 27, 2010

      Haha good point Lev, although my concern is Barca and not other teams. Plus, what is really weakening the league is the lopsisded TV contracts handed out to the teams, but that is another story.

  75. Kxevin
    August 27, 2010

    Ibrahimovic attended practice with his wife this morning. Sounds like some folks are saying their goodbyes. Raiola has said that this is an emotional decision for Ibrahimovic, that he and his family are happy in Barcelona. The P.S. in that statement is, “But he ain’t happy with the coach, so he’s willing to take a pay cut to leave.”

    If we sign Robinho, you will hear my howls of outrage wherever you are.

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