Benvingut, Javier

Javier Mascherano has been officially presented by Barça today at the Camp Nou. He’ll wear the #14, replacing Thierry Henry in that number. He signed a 4-year deal with a salary reported to be €5m a year.

Some details: Javier Alejandro Mascherano, 26 years old, is listed at 5’8 1/2″ (174cm). He started his career at River Plate in Argentina in 2003 at the age of 19. He then moved to Brazilian side Corinthians in 2005. It was his transfer from there to West Ham in 2006 that ended up costing the Hammers 5.5m GBP in fines due to illegal signings, even after he’d moved on to Liverpool in 2007.

He played for the Reds until just a few days ago, making a total of 139 competitive appearances in all competitions. He scored just 2 goals–1 in the EPL, 1 in the CL, but that’s not really his game. He can certainly play the hard man if necessary, but Guardiola thinks he can also play the passer. He comes in knowing he won’t be starting often, but his statement on that matter–“it would be stupid if I thought I was going to play constantly”–makes for good reading, at least, and hopefully he’s serious about not minding working hard in practice and not always getting chosen.

My thoughts on him in general are that we’ll have to wait and see. I don’t get why we spent €22m on a backup, but with Oriol not being deemed capable of making the step up this season, we had a hole at DM and Mascherano is certainly proven on the international as well as domestic level. You don’t captain Argentina if you don’t know how to play at least a little bit.

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


  1. ste
    August 30, 2010

    Cant pass.
    Cant shoot.
    Cant dribble.
    No skill.
    Will get sent off reguarly.
    Is a disruptive influence and a arrogant little money grabbing b stard with no morals or loyalty.

    Thanks for the £24 million Barca.

  2. slim scouser
    August 30, 2010

    Youve just signed a buck toothed rat. Good luck at Barca Masch we are well rid of the likes of you.

    • Cesc Blanc
      August 30, 2010

      yeah, guys have fun with Lucas Leiva and Stevie Mb€

  3. Cesc Blanc
    August 30, 2010

    mad props to him for not being shallow and kissing the badge. Benvinguts Jefecito!

  4. john o sullivan
    August 30, 2010

    now he’s passed his medical,i hope he does his cruciate in his first training session.

  5. slim scouser
    August 30, 2010

    Dont forget to kiss the badge judas.

  6. slim scouser
    August 30, 2010

    Forgot to say that you will probably fit in with Barca and their players who like to talk a lot to the media trying to unsettle players.

    They are well on the way to being the most disliked club in europe

    Hope you get splinters on their bench, sorry for not being as “humane” as Roy Hodgson who should have put you in with the ressies.

    • Jnice
      August 30, 2010

      Another gullible fan suckered by fake interviews with Barça boys. Sad.

  7. lewy
    August 30, 2010

    great player. Goes with my best wishes. Good servant and we always missed him when he didnt play. Never stops running and has an amazing engine on him. Good luck Masch

    • slim scouser
      August 30, 2010

      Refusing to play against Man city when we needed him sort of dampens good wishes. If thats the way you respect a club who had taken him from west hams bench then nop best wishes from me im afraid.

      He could have played the game and went with some credibilty, what he did was a skip rats trick.

    • Vicsoc8
      August 30, 2010

      Thanks for keeping it classy, it is appreciated around here. Best of luck to Liverpool this season, and good luck getting rid of those horrendous owners

  8. Neil
    August 30, 2010

    Thank God He’s Gone.
    Good Player But A Disruptive TWAT !

  9. August 30, 2010

    Why can’t someone mention a EPL player without the peanut gallery coming in here to take shots.

    Still think we spent too much for too little, but what the hell. At least we got some more stones for the CL-EPL matchups.

  10. Euler
    August 30, 2010

    It’s a difficult issue regarding how Barca should build depth for positions where youth players are not ready for first team action. Oriol Romeu could easily be 3 years away from being able to hold down a regular first team spot. It doesn’t seem like the team seriously considered relying on him to contribute significant first team minutes.

    What do you do in the intervening period of time? Especially given the quality that exists in the starting XI.

    So from the point of view of the market cost for a back up player 22M is a great deal of cash.

    But for a player of Mascherano’s quality 22M is a very good deal. A deal that in many ways is difficult to turn down.

    Utlimately given how late it was in the transfer season this was a move that needed to be made as time was dwindling and there hasn’t been a lot of turnover in the transfer market. As it was there weren’t many holding players available.

    Finally, if Pep wants to keep such a small squad in many respects each roster spot carries with it a disproportionate amount of value. They aren’t carrying 23-25 players.

    So each one of the 19 players they do carry should be of high quality. In a sense the roster spots on the first team for Barca at a higher premium than cash is.

    Given that context this kind of deal was one that was in the club’s best interest despite the cost and the potential role on the bench.

  11. Simon
    August 30, 2010

    A rather one dimensional player. Very good at tackling and winning the ball- one of the very best in the world at that. Will do an excellent job shielding the defence. But is that worth 22 million Euros? He’s not a passer, a shooter or dribbler and it’ll be interesting to see how happy he remains if he is left on the bench for any length of time. Personally I’m extremely happy with the cash and Raul Meireles as replacement. It’ll be a different Liverpool midfield but one of the team’s problems last year was that with Alonso gone there was no one to lead the player from the centre. Lucas will be better alongside Meireles. Generally when players leave Liverpool they are welcomed back. Sorry Masch but I don’t think you will be.

  12. Helge
    August 30, 2010

    Well, didn’t he cost only 19m, because he paied 3m on his own? And he did agree to a salaray cap. Seems like he really wanted to come to Barcelona, and this plus his comment make me think positive about this signing.
    I wanna see a Busquets – Masch – Xavi midfield, with Busquets playing a more offensive role than usually. I can imagine Busquets will do pretty good in that role, too 🙂

    • Euler
      August 30, 2010

      Very true. He did given up the 3M so his overall fee was only 19M.

      That makes the deal even more compelling.

      A decent squad player was probably going to be at least 10M. Maybe more.

      Given how few player Pep wants there’s a real argument to be made that it’s a more efficient use of resources to invest 19M in a high quality player like Masch rather than the cost for a squad player.

      They could have gotten a player like Poulsen instead very cheaply but I can’t imagine Pep would ever want that player.

      A 10M player who is turns out to be even slightly below Pep’s standards is a player Pep may turn out not to use at all and tire of and only to need to be sold next summer.

    • Eklavya
      August 30, 2010

      Busi played his best when he played next to the Yaya IMO.

    • Jim
      August 30, 2010

      I’m afraid that midfield doesn’t appeal to me at all. I don’t see Busi as a particularly good offensive mid. Actually I’m not that fond of Masch either. Still, time will tell.

      Don’t like the way he worked his passage from Liverpool and he’s gonna be a card magnet in spain.

  13. Ciaran
    August 30, 2010

    Bartomeu has said that the squad is finished unless something great presents itself.
    We are also working on a Hleb exit strategy, no details released.
    Caceres has officially joined Sevilla on a season-long loan with a purchase option. I hope he kicks out the jams because I’ll always love his superman tackles.

    • Helge
      August 30, 2010

      And Pep closed the door for a Robingo transfer, seems like Rosell gives Pep’s words some meaning!
      Mata was Pep’s favourite, but Valencia didn’t let him go, which is the only logical decision from them. They surely cannot afford to lose a 4th star player during one transfer window.

    • Diego S.
      August 30, 2010

      The Talks with Benfica lead to nothing and Birmingham seems closer

  14. Euler
    August 30, 2010

    Interesting tweet from Pep:

    The transfer of Robinho has been rejected by Guardiola, who accepted to sign Mata but Valencia doesn’t want to let him go. [rac1]

    Who knows if its true but it fits with what we’ve heard prior. Pep doesn’t want Robinho but likes Mata.

    That’s the thing with buying players and how much they cost the squad – even for bench players.

    Pep would rather keep paring down the size of the squad and reduce the depth they have than purchase a player that is not to his specifications.

    So when a player who meets those specifications comes up there’s almost always going to be an impetus to buy.

    • Hilal
      August 30, 2010

      Well at least Rosell seems to be listening to Pep. First Ibra and now Robinho. Hopefully this trend will continue and the Chygy affair was an isolated incident.

      Welcome Mascherano and for those who think this guy cant pass, go watch some Argentina games. His passing is just fine..

      • Euler
        August 30, 2010

        Agreed. Out of all of this tumult this summer there does appear to be at least some more clarity on this issue.

        In certain ways it was somewhat reassuring that the Ibra situation was driven by tension between Pep and Ibra (though that doesn’t excuse the lousy sale price…)

        Outside of the circus atmosphere around two transfers they’ve made good sporting decisions on Adriano and Masch.

        With a new president coming in the fear is always that he’s going to spend money no matter what to bring in a name player. Rosell didn’t do that so credit him with that. Even with Cesc – Pep wanted him.

  15. Neil
    August 30, 2010

    ‘we love you Liverpool, oh yes we do’

  16. Matt
    August 30, 2010

    Won more games and scored more goals on average when
    he wasn’t playing FACT better off without me thinks.
    Saved you from rotting on the bench for the Hammers but he
    was obviously happy rotting

  17. mei
    August 30, 2010

    I can remember a certain destroyer coming to us , with a much lower passing ability than mascherano, in the name of keita.
    In reality mascherano is a great accurate passer of the ball , but not a creative one.
    Given his qualities it will be interesting to see what pep would like to transform him into , especially because when guardiola mentioned mascherano ,he pointed out that his view of the player was not an one dimentional destroyer type ;
    but one that could participate in attack as well.

    • Diego S.
      August 30, 2010

      I think that his passing game will progress and evolve each match and each training session he shares with the likes of Xavi/Iniesta/Busquet

  18. August 30, 2010

    I seem to be the only one very happy he’s here, judging by the comments. People are happy, but not overly ecstatic it seems. (Well, I won’t call myself ecstatic either, but whatever).

    Look, I’ve said on other threads that too many teams seek to make it an alley fight against us. How many times to teams target Leo and Iniesta? How many rough tackles and two footed challenges?

    We have no one to give it as good as we get. Our DMF may be thought of as a cheat, but it’s an acting/exaggerating/flopping kind of cheat. Our old DMF was physically imposing but not dirty.

    We needed a thug to stand up to other thugs. We now have the thuggiest thug of them all. And he’s close to Leo too, on a personal level.

    People can continue to take shots at Messi etc this year, but they might be in for some retaliation.

    Also, I think Mascherano is very much a leader/inspirational kind of guy who really drives his team (at least for country if not club), and you can never have enough of those.

    • sab
      August 31, 2010

      I can remember a certain destroyer coming to us , with a much lower passing ability than mascherano, in the name of keita.


  19. Ciaran
    August 30, 2010

    This leaves us in an interesting situation.
    In my opinion, versatility has been mistaken for depth. Due to the versatility of a lot of our players, on paper it looks like we have a good squad but we are very very thin when it comes to niggling injuries and suspensions.

    I’ve always been unhappy that we haven’t ever signed a decent backup to Valdes – I get jitters even in the Copa when Pinto plays.
    We have 4 fullbacks, 1 of whom covers for centreback (Abidal) and 2 others cover midfield and forward positions (Maxwell & Adriano).
    We have 3 centrebacks, compared to 5 last season – not that I wanted to have Marquez or Chygrinskiy this season but I’d love to have Botia in the squad – he’s probably paid buttons anyway.

    Midfield is good now I think. We have 2 defensive and 3 offensive midfielders for the season and JDS & Thiago are certainly capable of helping, one at a time. If Pep has faith in both, then I expect Iniesta to play as a forward more than midfield.

    Between Messi, Pedro, Bojan, Villa, Jeffren & Iniesta we’re not bad either.

    I just fear any injuries in any big matches – we’ll be in trouble.
    We have enough to win the league, but I don’t think with the squad we have that we can win the Champions League, I pray I’m wrong

    • August 30, 2010

      The Sporting Gijon offices, sometime over the summer:

      Preciado: “Alberto, we’d like to offer you a full time contract here. Not just a loan, a real, actual professional contract with a real, actual professional team.”

      Botia: “I’ll get paid in money now?”

      Preciado: “Don’t be silly. You love buttons.” /hands Botia fistful of buttons.

      Botia: /giggles gleefully and throws buttons in the air

      Preciado: “Now I’m off to collect my own salary: badgers to put in my moustache.”

      • Ciaran
        August 30, 2010

        jump to 4.30
        Maybe it’s a very Irish saying but there’s a whole film about it. We’re a strange bunch

    • IS
      August 30, 2010

      I posted something in the previous match review that touches on your concerns. Here it is again…

      While we’ve discussed our practically inexistent squad depth on several occasions, the reality of it is a lot more worrying. Whenever we’ve discussed this topic we typically sufficed to say that each starter has 1 or, in some cases, 2 back-ups(excluding Barca B’s input). The part of this equation which we’ve neglected to an extent is the need for our coach to make ‘substitutions’ on any given day in order to optimize the energy (and quality) levels of the team on the pitch.

      To clarify, I’ll give a brief example: Let’s say 3-4 players are injured at any one point in time during our season (which happens pretty much once a year) and let’s assume that of those injured players, our ‘versatile’ players, namely Adriano, Maxwell, and, to an extent, Iniesta and Messi, were the one’s who were out. This basically leaves us with a pretty inflexible starting line-up and a bench full of canteranos. In this case that the four aforementioned players were out, we could possibly see the likes of Thiago, Bartra, etc to fill in the gaps.

      Now if we were in this situation for a couple weeks, then, based on a typical schedule, we would expect to see a similar line-up and bench for 2-3 league games and potentially 2 CL games. The dynamic nature of the game and the varying contributions of different players on any given day require that substitutions (typically all 3) are made over the course of the game. In this case, it would be very likely for us to see plenty of our La Masia seniors stepping on the pitch to support the game plan.

      If we were ever to find ourselves in such a situation, here are my key concerns:

      1 – Are the kids really ready to step in at that level of competition?

      2 – Are we, as a club, really prepared to take such a big gamble and rely on such a thin squad for complicated run ins?

      3 – Could Pep potentially over-use/over-exhaust (avoid resting) any specific player (say Villa or Xavi) to avoid a drop in the quality of play on the big occasions/difficult weeks?

      4 – Are we, as fans, going to tolerate subpar performances from our canteranos on, say, a CL night (and potentially hinder their development)?

      I guess viewing a team’s depth and considering the various permutations possible to fill up a starting line-up is one thing, but planning for injury spells and game-day substitutions is a whole other thing.

      I can only hope that we won’t need to answer any of these questions any time soon…

    • Cesc Blanc
      August 30, 2010

      I watched Barca B game against Celta. Fontas is basically a Piqué clone with a left foot, Bartra seems a bit more composed but takes less risks. I kind of understand that we didn’t reinforce in defense because both him and probably also Bartra should be ready over this but definitely next season. It’s just that surviving in Liga Adelante or whatever it’s called now is important for the B team and we need to make sure we do this. But Fontas and Bartra are really ready and the transition period from Puyol and Gaby to those 2 alongside Pique will be a nice and smooth time I’m looking forward to.

  20. Kxevin
    August 30, 2010

    He has the right things to say:

    “It would be stupid to think I would come here and be playing every game,” Mascherano said.

    “You have to respect the people who are already doing well and who have won everything. In the positions I play in, there are three world champions.

    “It will be a honour to be able learn from them and to grow with them.”

    Now, blah, blah, unsettling, classless, blah, blah, whatever.

    Players don’t do what they do for charity, or goodwill. They say the right things, and do the right things, because it is their job. Barca players visit hospitals, and everybody utters a collective “Awwwwww!” But it’s a club thing, and it helps the club. It also helps the perception of the player, and makes them feel good. None of those are bad things. But rare is the player (and there are some) who would rather be visiting hospitals than resting on the sofa, or clubbing.

    And if a player wants to leave, a club should let him. But I’m silly in that way. And I don’t care who the player is. If Messi decided tomorrow that he wanted to leave Barca, it would be up to us to get the best price possible, if the situation was irreparable.

    If the club doesn’t want to let a player leave, it should be aware of what it’s getting into, and the complexities attached to making a player stay. It’s as simple as that.

    Players aren’t robots, and I don’t blame them for wanting to change to scenery that is more to their liking. People in every type of job market do it every day, and I very much doubt that the place that they left flood the message board and e-mail of the place they are moving to, for having the temerity to offer them more money and a different sporting opportunity. And often what turns a great employee into a bad one is a departure that the current employer doesn’t want. That’s life.

    Yes, players have contracts. It’s a contract, not indentured servitude. We could very easily have said to Ibrahimovic, “I don’t care who you like, you will stay, play, and like it.” But what’s the value in that? Where’s the up side for the club?

    Just something to think about.

  21. Kxevin
    August 30, 2010

    As far as what Mascherano can do, all that we know is what he can do with West Ham and Liverpool. La Liga is a different league. We have had players before who have come, and people have said “He is such and such,” but he has turned out to be different.

    A player who doesn’t make an effort to adapt to his surroundings is a egomaniac, or a fool. Mascherano strikes me as neither. Could he fail? Sure. Players do all the time, but that’s a bridge that we cross when we come to it.

    As far as passing skills, anyone who watches us with any regularity knows that our game is built on passes that any schoolboy player can make. On the ground, and usually short. There are exceptions to this, but if you watch our defensive midfield types, such as Busquets and Keita, or The Yaya when he was here, those were the types of passes that they made, 99% of the time. It’s a rudimentary skill that I don’t doubt Mascherano possesses. It’s the timing, and working within the offense that will need work, but that would be true of any player who was coming to Barca.

  22. Philo Barca
    August 30, 2010

    I wish we stopped thinking in terms of “backups” and started thinking in terms of total appearances. Keita is a “backup” who gets as many appearances as many of our starters, in the mid 40s both years he’s been here. Thus, he must be able to contribute close to “starter value” on the field.

    Mascherano comes to replace Yaya, who, as a “starter” in 2007-2008, had 38 appearances and, as a “backup” last year, had . . . 37 appearances (he had more in 2008-2009, but that’s because there was no ACN).

  23. y2k156
    August 30, 2010

    I like this signing. I have been a fan of his since his Corintians period. He is an excellent passer of the ball but just not creative in the mould of Xavi or Xavi Alonso. But than, i think we have enough creative players in our team.

    I see lot of people complaining from liverpool. I don’t mind the rants but have a problem that these are mindless rants. Masch was promised a move away by Benitez to pursuade him to stay last year. His family was totally unhappy in Liverpool. And this yera, Liverpool tried to renege on that promise. He did play (and quite well) against Arsenal but when saw that things were not going in right direction, decided to take a stand. Even to the tune of letting go of money. So though i might not like that particular attitude, i can understand.

    I think that Masch is better than Busi and I also think that based on performances, he will be the first choice come the final stretch of the season. Lets c though.

    We shall see both Masch and Busi in action on 7th Sept when Argentina take on Spain. Guess that will give the first glimpse.

    • August 30, 2010

      Since when has Xabi Alonso been creative? I must have missed something over the last few years.

      • Pyro
        August 30, 2010

        LOL, you’re so right. He sometimes has a flash of inspiration though like this one time I remember he played this exquisite ball over the top for Arbeloa to score.

  24. Kxevin
    August 30, 2010

    –In other news, Thong Boy is out for 3 weeks at EE.

    –And in a brewing post by somebody with a brain (as opposed to me), I think that it’s time to debunk some myths about the way that Barca play. All of the emphasis on Mascherano “not being able to dribble or pass” would seem to be not be in keeping with how we play.

    Xavi dribbles, occasionally. Messi dribbles like a novocained codger. Iniesta dribbles with regularity. Our forwards do, of course. But as I noted above, if you watch, and I mean really watch us play, it’s short, direct passes that take the place of dribbling. The ball alone moves more quickly than a man with the ball, no matter how creative he is.

    If you can get Messi at the defense by letting him dribble the length of the pitch, or via a pass from Puyol to Keita to Busquets to Xavi to Messi, which one would get the ball there more quickly? Bang, bang, bang, bang.

    Somehow, the notion that playing for Barca means being part of a flying, dribbling circus and players don’t have that skillset just doesn’t make sense to me. But maybe I’ve just been watching us so long that it’s all clear to me. Our style is then transplatable to Spain, because of its simplicity. It doesn’t mean that every team can play it. It’s certainly a lot easier to play our style with Xavi, Iniesta, Messi and Busquets, without question. But that doesn’t preclude talented players fitting into the system.

    • vicsoc8
      August 30, 2010

      I’m going to be very brief about it.

      Out style is about two things: maintaining possession and creating space.

      By maintaining possession we control the tempo of the game. We can dictate when the game speeds up and when it slows down. It is the best way to play defense. It also gives us a massive psychological advantage – if you never have the ball it is natural to begin to despair, and then when you do get the ball you are too rushed and make mistakes, allowing us to regain possession.

      Many people think about the process of trying to score as breaking down a defense, but another way to think about it is that it’s all about creating space in dangerous positions. We play so many short passes to move the defenders around the pitch which creates pockets of space that our players can exploit. Likewise, this is why it is so essential to have a couple players who can dribble effectively – they draw defenders to them and this also creates exploitable space.

      Think about the effective ways to play against us. By parking the bus you compress space around the goal so it is much harder to create space in a dangerous position. By flooding the midfield you hamper our ability to get the ball into space that has been created.

      An offshoot of this is that we have one of the most tactically intelligent teams in the world. To be effective every player has to intuitively understand where the space is, where it is being created, and how and where to create space for other players.

    • Jim
      August 30, 2010

      For me the main skill our midfield has is the ability to take a ball while under severe pressure and not lose control. You can hammer a pass at Xavi and it comes off him about 6 inches.

      I don’t know if Masch has that or not. We’ll see. Also, the passes while short aren’t any less skilful for that. It’s about the angles and the turns and the pace of the passes and the immediate movement to get the return. That’s what ups the skill level.

      That’s where imo Keita becomes ordinary. I’d never fault his work rate but he adds nothing to the passing game. He doesn’t get hospital balls like Xaviniesta and plays safe passes where they then do something with it. Not knocking it, just don’t rate it as highly.

    • extreme barca fan
      August 30, 2010

      hello kxevin:

      I’m a big barca fan, and i like your posts a lot, i just want to know how does EE relate to real Madrid. please I’m following this site for more than a month now but cant find the answer anywhere

      • Bebop
        August 30, 2010

        EE = Evil Empire = Real Madrid 😀

        • Eduard
          August 30, 2010

          lol. What a delay! I got really distracted when I was reading the post.

          • extreme barca fan
            August 31, 2010

            thanks guys, you are really wonderful

  25. The Mascherano signing may actually be a good piece of business. I saw Ibra as a brand new Ferrari, the second he put on our kit, his value began to depreciate rapidly. I see Mascherano more as a 2005 Honda civic, still new enough (young) to get some good miles out of him, but able to sell in 3 years without seeing Sandro bent over again, al la A.C Milan. Maybe if he preforms really well as a backup, starting 30% of games and playing cleanup in most of the rest, an EPL or Serie A team will toss us 15 million euros or so for his services.

    If I am way off on this someone slap some sense into me.

  26. August 30, 2010

    Yeah definitely. But Kevin I think you’re doing an injustice to the players by saying the passes involved are short and easy. Technically you are right, they ARE short and easy, but it leaves out two points:

    1. The pass has to be at the EXACT right spot, I mean within an inch, simply because our entire attacking style is based on it and thus opposition defenders are waiting for it. To that end, I remember reading once that Xavi actually places his passes according to whether the recipient is left-footed or right-footed, that’s how much consideration goes into placing it. He didn’t just pass it to the “player”, he passed it to a particular foot on the player. Ok, no one else is like Xavi, but in general it’s a nice illustration of how accurate these passes have to be, even across short distances getting it to within an inch is not easy. (I think Mascherano is more than capable of this).

    2. More than the passer, the RECIPIENT has to be brilliant, particularly if it is a fast zippy type pass, because our players are usually surrounded, and a bad touch will turn over possession. Everyone is meant to be as good a receiver as a passer in the Barca system. Look at the way they turn the ball away on their first touch from the closest defender. This is touch, and not everyone has it. Put differently, hitting a short 10 yard pass and receiving a short 10 yard pass are different in terms of difficulty. I’m less sure of Mascherano’s abilities in this regard but that may be a consequence of not having watched him enough.

  27. Voland
    August 30, 2010

    Sad to see The Monster go, he was a great player for us while his heart was in it. I cannot say I appreciated what he did prior to the Man. City game nor the additional pressure he put on Liverpool to sell him, but there is no doubt the man is great at his job.

    Ironically, I think he fits better at Barca than at LFC – a team so abundant in talent can use the holding midfield qualities of Mascherano more than a team that is strong on discipline and (for now) short on creativity.

    Hopefully Meireles will redress the imbalance in the Liverpool team since we lost the great Alonso, whose elegance and gentlemanly manners have endeared him in the hearts of LFC fans for eternity. Shame that Javier could not show the same patience and loyalty as our beloved Xabi.

  28. I know we (I) killed Madrid for this yesterday, but this move sets us up perfectly for CL return legs in which we have a lead. We can play a 4-4-2 with





    If the team is weaker, but we still want to play a bit more defensive, we can start Maxwell for Abidal, or even for Busi in the midfield. This changes the entire outlook of our teams structural formation for games that we only need a point / or just need not loose by a certain amount of goals.

    • Diego S.
      August 30, 2010

      We played against EE at the Bernabeu last year with that formation, Only the Names changed ..

      The Way I see it, it’s not 4-4-2, It’s a modified 4-2-3-1 .. Masch & Busi will be DMs but not next to each other .. I see Busi pushed upfront with Xavi in the center, Iniesta and Messi on the Flanks with Villa’s movement upfront

  29. Voland
    August 30, 2010

    Ah, and regarding all the comments about Mascherano being a back-up, you will soon see that Barca will not be able to live without him. Barring injuries, I see him in the first team as often as Xavi, Messi or Iniesta.

  30. flyzowee
    August 30, 2010

    Same here Isaiah, jus bcoz he pings gr8 diagonal balls he is refered to as creative.
    He is a gr8 distributor

    Im on the fence with mashs transfer. Hes on a ‘convince as you play’ standing as far as im concerned.

    Watching Lass running around fouling everyone y-day made me think of mash actually.
    So im jus begging for some humble pie.

  31. BA
    August 30, 2010

    Mascherano: limited and expensive, both financially and tactically.

    limited because he has virtually no ability to effectively involve himself in attacking play, requires a helper to pass the ball from deep, and as a result is only really useful in 1 specialized position.

    … and expensive because that general position is currently being filled by a home-grown, World-Cup winning player who is more versatile and a better passer. 22m for a bench player or one who forces us to change our entire system to include along with said World Cup winning player on the pitch together is way too much money. many people rightly complained that Zlatan was poor (relatively) because he slowed our play; well Mascherano limits our options in midfield if we want to put him on the pitch at all. do i expect Busquets to play every game? of course not. did we need a backup DM? yes. but we didn’t need this one, we needed one who was versatile enough to contribute to the offensive buildup, fit into our nominally 3-man midfield and was able to be sat for extended periods of time. Mascherano is none of these things. and the situation gets worse when you consider that you’d be hard-pressed to assume that Marcos Senna’s signature would cost half what we just paid for the Argentine.

    i see very little use for a player of Mascherano’s type in our squad, and he’s just going to have to become a completely different player in his time here to convince me otherwise. our club has planned so poorly in the transfer market that we’ve overpaid for a desperate player we don’t need and been ludicrously underpaid for a desperate player we forced out.

    • Bundy
      August 30, 2010

      We will have to see on the field what Mascherano is like

      Messi and Milito themselves recommended Mascherano so maybe they see something that we don’t see.

      Looking for a replacement for Yaya was always going to be difficult, the odds of finding a midfielder almost exactly like busquets or Yaya is like finding a grain of rice in a field of beach sand. Even if we do find one, the price is almost non-negotiable.

      I wouldn’t disagree with the fact that most players grow into our system over time, Mascherano may take time to develop his unique role in the midfield, but right now he provides enough backing for us to be able to field Iniesta in the forward line if need be.

  32. Larm
    August 30, 2010

    hey kxevin in comments threatd of the last update you mentioned bojan was gonna wear the #9. where did you find this? cuz i cant find anything about it.

    • jordi™
      August 30, 2010


      He says it here at the top of the link if you click the blue speech “Voy a quedarme el ‘9’ que deja Ibra”

  33. Diego S.
    August 30, 2010

    For People worrying about Masch’s ability to dribble and pass I say the following .. A DM isn’t required to dribble in the way Messi does, but he must be sufficient enough not to lose the ball through Backpassing, a simple pass to Xavi or Iniesta, or win a foul .. and About his Assists, Goals, and Offensive skills They’re of course encouraged but not a necessity .. He’s a DEFENSIVE Midfielder, His job is to be invisible through the whole match and Occasional Viewers say “He can’t play, I didn’t see him do anything Spectacular” ..

    As Long as he’s Calm, Doesn’t receieve Unnecessary Many Cards, Knows how to defend, That means he has talent, The rest will develop.

  34. John
    August 30, 2010

    I’m a liverpool fan and I can’t believe ppl sayin Alonso isn’t creative
    you obviously don’t know footy he distributes and creates aswell

  35. OhYes
    August 30, 2010

    I’ve always liked Masche and wanted him at Barca. He’ll be pretty good to have, he’ll boss the midfield like a pitbull and help disrupt the playing styles of opponents even more than we already do. I think he can pass very well, although that will take him some time to perfect (probably more than 1 season). As long as he’s given time to acclimate, I’m very happy to see him here.

    It’s also nice to hear that Barcelona was interested in Mata, another player that would fit nicely in the system. Although there wouldn’t be too much room for him. And let’s be honest here, don’t we already have enough Spanish nationals? haha

  36. Kxevin
    August 30, 2010

    FYI, from the official site. Apparently Guardiola gave the okay for Mata, but rejected Robinho. Raiola is now at Citeh trying to close that deal for Milan. They can have him. Valencia aren’t wanting to sell Mata, therefore….

    FC Barcelona will not be buying or selling any more players this summer after the club’s Sporting Vice President Josep Maria Bartomeu stated that the squad was complete.

    During the press conference to present Javier Mascherano as a new Barça player Bartomeu, accompanied by Sporting Director of Professional Football Andoni Zubizarreta, said: “The squad is now complete and we will not sign anyone else. We have reached the decision that there is no need to strengthen the team any further.”

    Zubizarreta did add that should an incredible present itself then Barça may have to listen, however. “We are watching,” he said.

    Press day

    Bartomeu and Zubizarreta will hold a press conference on Wednesday to talk about the activity within the football area of the club over the past two months.

      • poipoi
        August 31, 2010

        a guy from golTV took a photo of a pice of paper that was handed to masche during his press conference, the paper said “talk about unicef, the sponsor” and he improvised some nonsense about barça and unicef, don’t really remember the words, and can’t find the video. it was really funny, the look in his face after knowing what the paper said.

  37. jnelson
    August 30, 2010

    So, Isaiah, did you pull an Abidal when you got back from vacation and saw Ibra was gone?

    “Where’s Ibra? Was he kidnapped by midgets or something??”

  38. Jnice
    August 31, 2010

    Marca asked Del Bosque a couple of questions the other day and here was one:

    Q: Javi Martínez made a nice gesture by returning to the U-21 team…

    A: And Busquets, who offered to do the same. Sergio is a humble boy who offered himself to Hierro to play with the U-21 team right after becoming a world champion, even though he is Catalan, although I don’t want to go into that.


    Great gesture from Busquets.

    • jnelson
      August 31, 2010

      Seriously? Why does Del Bosque have to open his EE-loving Madridista mouth? Everyone knows his team was “Barca-lite”. I’m sure Casillas, Xabi Alonso, and Raul could have carried Spain to the Quarters. Keep pissing people off you old douchebag.


      Good gesture by Busi, though.

      • Jnice
        August 31, 2010

        Did I miss something?

        I thought he was just adding to the compliments, no? I don’t think he was saying it was a shame that he is Catalan or something like that. More like he is Catalan and is down for the Spanish NT so much so that he would offer himself to play with the U-21 team.

        He isn’t that dumb to disrespect him like that. He actually is quite fond of Busi.

      • poipoi
        August 31, 2010

        he’s catalan but not THAT catalan, not as pique xavi or puyol, although I don’t want to go into that 😀

        see? el jefecito got #14… for the hardness ;D

  39. Hilal
    August 31, 2010

    From Peps twitter – Iniesta: “The exit of Ibra didn’t surprise me. He and the coach know what happened. I wish him good luck at Milan, and that’s it.”

    • poipoi
      August 31, 2010

      anyone knows anytinhg on that? really spooky

      • Hilal
        August 31, 2010

        I duno, but something pretty serious must have been going on if Iniesta wasnt surprised to see him go…

        • August 31, 2010

          “anyone knows anything on that?”

          There is a chance Iniesta knows. There is a chance that he doesnt. I read the same iniesta quote in 3 different versions already, each indicates the opposite of the other. And I am sure there is more to come.

  40. sirius
    August 31, 2010

    and now robinho is in milan for a medical… jeez, these guys did some work….

  41. fcbfan
    August 31, 2010

    from Pep’s twitter
    “OFFICIAL: The contract of Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita has been renewed and possibly extended until 2014.”

    This is how agents/players should do it,in the background.

    • Jake
      August 31, 2010

      God I love Keita. Neither he nor his agent has said a word to the press in an attempt to up the value of the contract. Without players like him, our club falls apart. The value of players who just do their business without fuss and accept their place in the team will forever be unappreciated.

  42. Bundy
    August 31, 2010

    Seems, interesting that after two or so years Barca have managed to spend bucket loads of money on transfers that usually don’t end up successful in a time perspective, then there are other players already in the squad who have been shipped off on Pep’s request or have had a change in interest and left.

    But after so many players coming, and even more players going. It still seems like every season or squad over all corners seems to grow in quality. So this really shapes what Pep is as a manager is really like, he sets a very high standard on his players, even just squad players.

    You could also see he is pretty selective with his youth players, given that almost all of them play in their respective NT already, just shows the quality of those players.

    So eventhough a lot of signings in the past have come at a hard cost, but in the end we still get our quality.

  43. Kxevin
    August 31, 2010

    Nice to see people hating on Mascherano before he’s even played a minute for the club. I guess cules wouldn’t have it any other way. 😀

    Fact of the matter is that players play their role in a system. Liverpool’s system required Mascherano to do one thing. Our system will require him to do another. Only time will tell the story of his talent adaptability.

    But it cracks me up how people say “Player X is this.” Players have talent, and that talent makes them adaptable, rather than being automatons who only play one way.

    So notions of Mascherano as a stone-footed card magnet should be tempered. He should adapt his style for the Liga, where there is more diving than at the Olympics. If he doesn’t, the club will figure it out.

    And we move forward from there.

    –In other news, the club has said that Hleb will not be registered if he doesn’t take the Birmingham deal. So he’d be drawing his wage for taking a season off, but the career-damaging effects would be huge.

  44. Blow-Grenade
    August 31, 2010

    The skill of ball retrieval in soccer is under rated. It is allowing an attacker to commit before retrieving the ball. In its best form it is doing a sliding tackle that will take the attacker down, retrieve the ball, and setup an attack. It is in this aspect that Mascerano is a master. Is he a better passer than most of the other players in the barcelona team. No. Mascerano’s success depends on how Pep uses this skill of his.

    What are the chances that when Mascerano retrieves the ball and passes the ball to a Xavi or an Iniesta that it could lead to a goal.

    One thing should have already happen when he is put on the field. He should already have studied some of his opponents moves to be able to play his trade.

    The second more important part, happens when he is in the midfield is that our midfielders are protected, since Mascerano does the dirty work.

    How much can you pay for protection of Xavi, Iniesta in the middle of the park. Does this have a price???

    In the end, how the season pans out will determine his true value.

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