News of the Day: September 1, 2010

What were you thinking?

Before I get down to brass tacks tomorrow with the first installment of my full on La Liga preview (I had to wait for the end of the transfer window…or at least that’s my excuse), there is news afoot in Catalunya that’s worth discussing. First and foremost, Carles Puyol, our beloved captain, injured his left calf in Spanish national team training on Tuesday. I’m not sure if the injury actually occurred during warm-ups for the Racing match, but regardless, it seems rather irresponsible that he then went to full training with the national team. It’s both Puyol and the medical staff’s fault for not keeping him out when he was obviously not 100%. There’s no official word on a timetable for his return, but 3 weeks is the going rate for such an injury, unless it’s less severe than previously thought.

The news on the Mascherano deal is that it’s €20m plus €4m paid by the player himself. I don’t know if that’s him giving up a cut of something or if he’s got to dig into his own pocket. Either way, the deal looks better at €20m than €22m, though the total valuation of Mascherano at €24m reminds me of another player that recently cost that much (actually 2, but more recently just the 1).

Speaking of that player, Andoni Zubizaretta came and said the Ibra deal was done for sporting reasons rather than anything else. It doesn’t much matter, really. Clearly Guardiola wanted him out and, as I wrote over on Soccernet yesterday:

What was last year a dream buy is this year a horrible investment and the blame lies with all sides. Guardiola is a coach first and a friend second. He has a style and an approach that allow for no individuality and no questioning. If you are interested in playing for Barça, you must accept his totalitarian rule. If this acceptable, the club will occasionally find themselves on the receiving end of bad business. Other times, players like Pedro will surprise everyone, including themselves, and turn into World Cup winners in the span of a few years. So it is partially Guardiola’s fault for not being willing to iron it out with the player, but it is also the player’s fault for not ironing it out with the manager. And if we as cules make our bed in Guardiola’s camp, we have to lie in it, come what may.

Obviously Luke got to most of those points first, but I think it’s important to note that around these parts we say things like In Pep We Trust (I have IPWT tattooed across my back*) and if we really mean them, we should really do that intead of questioning his moves. I personally can’t write that I don’t agree with selling The Yaya and bringing in Mascherano if I’m then going to use IPWT as my reasoning when he brings in Maxwell or Adriano instead of a known quantity at this level. I can’t say IPWT when we buy Ibra for €46m and then question his logic when Ibra is sold 12 months later, unless, of course, I no longer trust in Pep. But I do, so while I wonder what’s going on in his super cerebrum now and then, I don’t question his actions. I can and do question the board’s financial moves sine those aren’t directly connected to Guardiola’s decisions, but if we had to get rid of Ibra, we had to get rid of him to the highest bidder. If that was Milan at €24m, then we were actually great at business instead of terrible–but that’s not something everyday fans can really know.

The loanees had various deals worth noting: Víctor Sánchez signed with Getafe and Keirrison signed with Santos with those clubs paying 100% of their salaries; Martín Cáceres signed with Sevilla, who will pay 90% of his salary; Henrique stayed at Racing Santander, who will pay 85% of his salary; and Alexander Hleb went to Birmingham City in a late deal, with the English club paying 75% of his salary. Apparently Hleb made it difficult by refusing to go to any club except Birmingham, which is why the high cost for us.

So then. David Villa, Javier Mascherano, and Adriano are our new boys while we lose Alberto Botía (Sporting), Dmitri Chygrynskiy (Shakhtar Donetsk), Henrique (Racing), Rafa Márquez (NY Red Bulls), Martín Cáceres (Sevilla), Yaya Touré (Manchester City), Víctor Sánchez (Getafe), Alexander Hleb (Benfica), Keirrison (Santos), Thierry Henry (NY Red Bulls), and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (AC Milan). 11 players, €39m in immediate sales with €24m coming in a year for Ibra and possibly some €5-10m for Cáceres come next May.

*Not really

By Isaiah

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


  1. word up your highness. in pep we trust, pep sap millor…that’s what I always say as well. 8 titles, 2 years, messi, iniesta, xavi, pique all better than ever. men lie, women lie, numbers don’t.
    Ave Imperator Pep, moreturi te salutant!

  2. Thanks for the post your majesty 🙂

    I find this international break exceedingly frustrating…. just as we get started we have to take a break! Damn Fifa for their stupid scheduling programme. I feel like an addict who needs his next fix!

  3. so, there were sporting reasons according to the staff, thank god… even though the 21 goals and 8 assists.

    1. I think that the “sporting reasons” were alluded to by ZubiZa. We have only one Messi, and that one scored 46 goals and 10 assists in all competitions. When you match those numbers, then we can talk.

    2. I just love this subject, even he’s dead and gone for me 😀

      pep hasn’t been clear at all about him… unlike with samu when he said it was all because of the famous “feeling” and he was the bomb. IMO Pep has been doing things not that well lately, at least outside of the pitch, between seasons. I agree with what many have said that ibra was a failure, in terms of play and specially economically.

      I think that the thing is that pep wanted to get rid of eto’o no matter what and the only way laporta could manage was the infamous ibra swap. pep wanted villa and it was almost done but he sticked with ibra, as long as eto’o moved away… my question is why not trade eto’o for villa? he sure was cheaper and “system friendly” … didn’t they want to give eto’o to a a spanish team? didn’t eto’o want to go to valencia? didn’t valencia want eto’o and only cash? could be valencia’s and not our fault, but my take is in the sentence “getting rid of eto’o no matter the cost” , the concept “cost” is a CL, last CL. You can say it was more bojan’s fault or anyone’s, but this whole season the team didn’t shine as it should because of the tall dude. I see sporting reasons in his departure apart for what he did in the dressing room (I’d believe anything, since they hate him everywhere but the new unknown place he goes, mmm significative). We had to get rid of the 9 (eto’o) and the next year the same, we had to get rid of the 9 (ibra). I want to think that this was not pep’s fault, it was all laporta and txiki, but the operation brought no improvement, and this, our team is not one team to be wasting chances to win titles, we really are the best… spain is european champion and world champion with our core. This year with villa up there we’re gonna play like angels. Dunno about masche but he pumps me up also. Nice signings nice departures this year: +masche +adriano +villa / -titi -ibra -marquez

      too bad that yaya left but what can you do so… who cares

    3. Valencia couldn’t afford Eto’s wages unfortunatelty. I also beleive Valencia wanted one last season with Villa for push to get into the CL where they can releive themselves financially.

      With regard to our missed chances of the Cl title last year, I think it is a little far fetched to blame individuals. As Pep answered last season, we didnt make it into the final but “thats football”, even months before he quoted saying that he had full beleif in the squad to go all the way and if we didn’t make then it was by unfortunate circumstances and not because of individuals.

      winning La liga was far from dissapoiting last season. It was a very satisfying achievement, especially since it was a very large blow to our arch rivals who faught till the end.

      Pep solely wants to keep continuity and solidarity in the squad, he knows there will always be dark moments. But we can all see now that the squad has improved two-fold from last season and teh season before.

      Lets just keep it at that.

    4. you’re absolutely right… luck and circumstances are important. but from 6 to 2 titles it is a downfall (or 3 to 1) … 0 would be an absolute failure, don’t even think about that. we just can’t waste any more years of xaviniesta, xavi is getting old. and maybe it’s the club that makes the players greater but xavi and iniesta make this club the greatest right now, I don’t know about the future. last thing I’ll say is we pwned EE in 2008-2009 and we beat them just ok in 2009-2010 😀

  4. word on puyol is it might not be 3 weeks, depends on how it “evolves”

    Comienza un tratamiento de recuperación y la evolución de la lesión marcará su disponibilidad para los próximos partidos.


    1. interesting it would have been puyi and abi if not for the formers injury, pique was not set to start:

      “El pasado domingo Puyol debía ser titular, pero unas molestias en el gemelo izquierdo hicieron que, por precaución, finalmente fuera Piqué el jugador titular.”

      also bojan the new 9 and jeffren the new 11

  5. “11 players, €39m in immediate sales with €24m coming in a year for Ibra and possibly some €5-10m for Cáceres come next May.”

    The thing missing here is the salaries of new players and how it balances out with the ones we had on books last year.

    1. Strange. Despite the renewals, I would have imagined a bigger drop, especially considering that, aside from Ibra, another two big earners in Henry and Marquez are also off the books..

    2. Zubi said , after the closing of the transfer window that we saved 5% on player salaries.So this probably means that we got that figure after all transfers , including keitas renewal.

      Our player salaries cost , (counting all the sporting areas of barcelona however) in 2010 was 263 million.

      Well see whats the numbers really like when the budget sheets for next season are out.

    3. Villa’s salary appears to be slightly less than Henry’s and I imagine Mascherano slots in for Toure at the lower mid-level. Adriano’s salary should be close what The Ukrainian was making last year. These 3 should cancel each other out and even give us a little surplus.

      On the top of that, we did offload 10M+ with Zlatan. Marquez was at the mid-level.

      With lack of any major renewals (ex alves) so far, the 5% seems a bit disappointing to me.

  6. Isaiah, soo far this summer, you have moved places, changed your name to queen, gotten a tramp stamp with IPWT (eeek!)…whats next? Booty shorts with ‘I heart NY/Barcelona? Mmmhhhh, sudden personality change disorder…any psychiatrists in the house? haha, just playing.

    With regards to Pep, when I look around, there is really no other coach I’d rather have at barcelona than him. Like I said before, dude is a brilliant tactical coach. But I believe what we are witnessing is a coach learning on the job. He never really had major league coaching experience before. Coaching La Masia doesn’t count. The question is, he is learning at what cost to the team?

    I just wish there was an adult in the house who would’ve told Pep, ‘chill out. We don’t operate like this around here. Coach for 3 or 4 more years, then start making adult decisions around here’

    1. If there was an adult at the house Bill , probably Guardiola would not have been selected – for the reasons you suggested- to coach the team.
      So maybe we wouldnt have won 6 titles in one year , plus two more in the second year , amongst them winning the league bagging record points and doing all these things playing jaw dropping football.

    2. Adult with regards to transfer money being thrown around.

      As for the titles, like I said, the first year was honestly a honeymoon, when everything came together, a team from the previous coaching staff, a few excellent additions and Peps masterful tactics.

      This past season was more normal of a great first time coach. From now on, whatever pep wins will be solely down to him. There is Pep imprints all over the team now.

    1. I think it was a typo, because the “(NY Red Bulls)” isn’t attached to a player. (And so I assume the missing name is Marquez)

  7. I just realized how thin our squad was when I was playing Chelsea in the semi-final and 3 players were red carded and Villa injured .. I had to enter the Final with the 14 players I had

  8. Given all of this transfer activity, especially the off loading of so many players at a loss, moving forward what needs to be improved is the way the club evaluates risk in the transfer market.

    The club needs to be more explicit about what kinds of risk it should and should not be taking on and more honest about what risks will work in the context for how the club is run. Specifically it needs to be honest about how Pep’s management style impacts those risks.

    To reduce those risks one step that seem to be needed to study a larger sample size of the players performance. Perhaps this is off, but it seems like the club has purchased certain player for very high valuations because that player played well against Barca, or in a tournament situation that only lasted a few matches.

    The has club has enormous drawing power regarding players who want to play for them. They should leverage that drawing power to minimize the risk profile of their investments.

    1. All very true. Btw, do we keep such a small squad to reserve more space for Barca B guys coming in and out of the first team?

  9. Sighhhh

    Make that three, actually.

    “There are 3 parties in this deal. 2 are happy. I got exactly what I wanted, Milan bought me for a price nobody in the world had expected.”

  10. “But I believe what we are witnessing is a coach learning on the job”

    Actually Pep was already a coach while captaining Barça back when…It’s in his blood. What he could possibly get better at is handling ego’s (could somebody confirm how to write the plural of ego??? egoes doesn’t feel right) – even though I now think that Ibra leaving was ultimately more Ibra’s inability to accept the natural pecking order than Pep not managing the player well.

  11. All very true. Btw, do we keep such a small squad to reserve more space for Barca B guys coming in and out of the first team?

    I think that’s definitely a major driving reason. Once you get past 21-22 players there’s almost no way that younger players will get any more time.

    Or more specifically, there’s almost no way they’ll get time without leapfrogging a veteran player. And I think that’s another part of it.

    Pep not only wants to have room to systematically integrate players from Barca B, he wants to be able to give them playing time while minimizing the potential discontent that might cause amongst the older players.

    And the most direct way to do that is to have a small squad.

    He could have a squad of 23 and then add 2 Barca B players but there’s no way both players #21-23 and the Barca B players would both get time. They would essentially be fighting for the same minutes. If the youth players get those minutes the first team playres at the end of the bench are not going to be happy. Then their only role will be insurance blanket.

    Then there is another added benefit from Pep’s point of view. For most squads those last players on the bench don’t play much. They can be a source of discord. However, if players #21-23 are all effectively youth players rotated onto the squad then you never have to worry about them complaining or creating any tension. They’re not going to complain about not getting into a game. They’re thrilled just to be with the first team.

    So the small squad has three functions I think from Pep’s perspective: 1. Allow youth players a systematic opportunity to develop; 2. Eliminate veterans who will not be playing much unless there are significant injuries and thus could cause tension in the dressing room; 3. Replace those veterans with youth players who won’t complain about playing time and create “happy” depth.

    The risk of course is a series of injuries that force the youth players into important matches before they are ready. It’s a strategy that tries to optimize 90% of what’s likely to happen rather than the 10% or so of situations where you’re missing large number of players.

    It’s a very high risk strategy in many regards. But the trade off is that it allows for future growth and minimizes discord.

    The club that has a very different strategy and makes entirely different prioritizes those trade offs in a very different way is chelsea. They want to to essentially have a deep first team where they have back up at every position. But as a consequence they haven’t successfully integrated a youth player on their first team since John Terry, I believe. That’s why Chelsea is always talking about developing a youth program but it’s always talk (let’s see how hiring Txiki goes). Immensely talented players like Gael Kakuta don’t get a chance to play there and that team is now very old and old at a time where it seems like Abromovich no longer wants to spend the way he did.

    All this said, I believe Pep has said his ideal squad size is 20 and that makes a lot of sense. I think the squad is one player short. I think it’s also short one spot in terms of versatility – it would have been nice if either Busi or Masch had more experience at CB.

    1. but aren’t most of those players midfielders or defenders? why we didn’t get another striker, any striker in that deal w/milan(huntelaar, borrielo)? is a question that should be asked, i think.

    2. I agree completely. They are short on the front line. But I think this is where the very late sale of Ibra created a real problem. The 20th player the team should have should be a front line attack player. If Ibra had stayed the team was probably ok. But no question they are short there now. On top of that Jeffren does not appear ready to provide quality at the first team level. And depth from Barca B in the front line is very unclear.

      They’ll try to use depth in midfield from barca B and Iniesta’s flexibility to try to make things work on the front line. We’ll see how it goes.

      Pep is reporting Jeffren has a hamstring problem. So the squad may be down to 4 true front line attack players + Iniesta for it’s next set of matches.

    3. That is the issue for me. Right now, reserves for us:


      Thiago *
      JDS *
      Romeu *

      Fontas *
      Muniesa *

      The cantera fills out the squad nicely on defense and in the midfield, but we are paper thin up front, particularly if we lose Messi or Villa’s goals for an extended period.

    4. I think that Iniesta is the wild card. He can slot into midfield or the attack. If Villa gets hurt, our front line becomes Krkic/Pedro!/Messi, or perhaps Iniesta/Messi/Pedro! with Keita and Busquets doing midfield duty with Xavi.

    5. yeah, & ever since the home game vs inter in the champions league knock out stages i’ve loved him on the right wing next to xavi, too. but, eventually teams will figure out a way to counter that.

      here’s to making a edgar david like signing(in terms of immediate impact) in the winter transfer market for a real striker. sorry bk9.

    6. You’re right of course, Kxevin. He can do all those things and very well but I still worry that using him in this way will mean he won’t become dominant in any one position and will end up a jack of all trades, utility type player. If we use him properly we have a taylor made replacement for Xavi in a couple of years and that’s gold dust for us as i haven’t seen any player anywhere so comfortable on the ball and capable of making such incisive passes.

    7. What happens if Villa and Messi are both injured?

      Pedro/Bojan/Jeffren? No. Iniesta/Bojan/Pedro? Also, no.

      The problem I see is that none of these player are capable of leading the line. And for that reason, I can only pray we’re not stuck in this situation at any point in time.

      As a matter of fact, a more convincing front three could possibly be Iniesta/Pique/Pedro… (and no, this is not me hating on Bojan).

  12. Telling quote from Iniesta about Villa(hopefully that quote is from him)

    “What can I say about David (Villa)? He’ll give us everything,” said Iniesta. “He combines well with players, uses space, knows how to read the passes from the midfield and is a guaranteed natural goalscorer. Having a player of his ability undoubtedly raises the level of the squad.”


    It’s a very telling quote to me. It’s what I was trying to say last season, players like Xavi didn’t all of a sudden forget how to pass the ball. Forwards should know how to read passes and make the right runs, and that skill is not as easy to learn as it seems.

  13. Jeffren Suarez has suffered an injury during training with the U-21 Spain Squad and expected to be missing for 2 weeks

    Vaart has officially been transferred to Spurs

  14. Ibra: Nobody at Barcelona wanted to sell me, but the problems began in March

    So it was that infamous Zaragoza match eh?

    Pep always says the person comes before the player and (the way I see it is) while he didn’t have a problem with Ibra the player, he did have a problem with Ibra the person, which makes sense IMO, if you look at the statements he’s making now. Just look at the way Txignasty took his transfer (if anyone made a huge step back, it’s him!!) and how Ibra took his transfer. Big difference–and Dima didn’t even get a chance to prove himself 🙁

    As a person who defended him all season and who took to him and supported him even though I was really disappointed we didn’t get Villa (because he was a Barca player and deserved as much), I’m pretty annoyed (and disappointed) at his outbursts.

    I know that you were screwed, but you don’t have to be an a**hole about it.

    I see why Iniesta said he wasn’t surprised that he left. I’m with Pep on this one.

    Also, I have respect Titi so, so much more after reading this:

    Ibra: I can’t afford to spend a year or three in the stands, I saw what happened last season with Thierry Henry.

    Say what you want about him, people, and opinion always divides when it comes to Barca Henry, but he’s a real classy guy. Titi cared more about the team than himself and was always in a good, supportive mood, smiling and supporting the team. And when he left for the Red Bulls, he only had kind things to say about Barca. It’s true that he won what he wanted to win with us (CL + the unprecedented sextuple), but he didn’t wallow around in his own misery last season and was a team player and did his job when called upon (see Valencia match when he was a game changer after coming on at HT)

    “Person comes before the player” alright.


    1. The more Ibrahimovic talks, the happier I am with the transfer, its fiscal results aside. If you’re good enough to play in the side, you play your way into the side. If you aren’t, you sit. Henry understood that, and was the consummate team player. Henry had a shit year last season, due to a number of factors. We all know that. But he never, ever blamed Guardiola, because it wasn’t Guardiola’s fault. Say what you will about Henry as a player, but you can’t argue with his class.

      Ibrahimovic, unfortunately, isn’t as classy. I defended his play for the side last season. I still think he should have gotten a second chance, but now that I understand more about the situation, that chance wasn’t coming. And to hear him talk, nor should it have. As with Hleb, you can talk yourself out of town just as effectively as you can play your way out of town.

      I believe that playing for a club at our level is a rare privelege that doesn’t come very often. Playing with the likes of Xavi, Messi and Iniesta, all on the same side, is rarer still. A player in his right mind will do anything to ensure that such a joy continues. Yes, there was culpability on both sides. But the more crap Ibrahimovic talks, the more the sliding scale of culpability shifts for me (rightly or wrongly).

      And that’s about all I have to say about the man who is now a Milan player, except that people were right about his attitude. Full credit to them.

    2. I think that the player did more to convince me than anyone else, not with his play, but with all the nonsense, post-departure.

    3. I rather like this (from the CaughtOffside blog):

      To be fair, Ibrahimovic is arguably the most technically gifted striker on the planet. He can work magic with the ball that you would only expect from a Brazilian. Unfortunately, such praise throughout his career has over-inflated his ego. He has created an attitude that rejects and slanders anyone who believes his abilities are ineffective.

      “The ‘philosopher’ has kicked me out,” Ibra remarked to the press.

      Newsflash Zlatan: this ‘philosopher’ you so tastelessly mock has revolutionized football by perfecting a style of play which brought eight trophies to Barcelona in only two years. You’ve done nothing but complain and embarrass yourself in the process. Guardiola gave you a chance and you failed. At least try and show some class.

    4. Henry is a real classy guy. I remember one game where Bojan scored and I saw Henry’s face light up from the bench. He really knew what was important.

    5. Henry always had a thing for bojan.
      Back in 2007 or so when Bojan first debuted I remember laughing all night long after seeing Henry rolling on the ground with Bojan. Henry was nearly twice Bojan’s age at that time 😆

  15. Its do or die for Bojan now. The stars have aligned brilliantly for him. He is gonna have more responsibility now, and the team will depend on him. Its time to step up. The learning process is coming to an end. If the team buys another striker in the winter season or next summer, the writing will be on the wall for him.

    Btw, ‘keep you friends close, but your enemies even closer’. Bojan now has Villa to learn from and as his direct competition. If Bojan can Bench Villa in 3 yrs, he will be a direct starter at the spanish NT

  16. Hey, The Sun says that it wasn’t until Sir Alex Ferguson vouched for Hleb being a major addition to the Prem that his work permit was granted. (via Pep@Twitter). Holy crap!

  17. Ibra’s continued comments aren’t very surprising. He’s been scorched earth his entire career as he’s moved from one side to another.

    His first back day in Milan he started knocking Zanetti and Inter. He said something to the effect of, before I came to Inter they hadn’t won anything, etc., etc. Quite a remarkable statement given that they won the treble the year after he left…

    That’s just the way he is.

    The big mistake was buying him in the first place. And it wasn’t because it meant letting Eto’o go and it wasn’t for sporting reasons related to his skill set or style of play (or whether he would fit into the barca system, etc.)

    Given the financial costs, the potential likelihood of personality clashes was just too high. The deal just represented way too much risk if Pep wasn’t willing to coddle Ibra.

    Hopefully the club learns from his and moves on and never repeats this mistake again. They have to be more internally honest about their organizational culture – it’s strengths, limitations, requirements and it’s barriers to change.

  18. Our official numbers are nice, they very closely reflect my original football manager numbers, i.e. giving Bojan the no.9.
    Cesc’s no.4 has been kept in case they can deal in the winter methinks.
    JDS and Thiago will be a little disappointed that they didn’t get a squad number but at least the two will play every weekend with B and then fill in where needed with the big boys.
    A squad listing of 16player numbers is very worrying though, for both teams. If at any stage in the season we get 1 single injury or suspension we’ll be dipping into the B team depleting their chances of staying in the Segunda.

    Fontas, JDS, Thiago will be the ones with the most minutes I assume, so we’ll watch them grow. Interesting enough, Gai Assulin still doesn’t have a club and I’m guessing he would have earned himself a few minutes if he had knuckled down too. It’s one of the main reasons I respect Bojan, Pedro and Busquets so much.

    1. The number 4 has been awaiting a worthy owner for a long time now. And it seems, more than ever before, that it’ll stay that way till Fab comes next summer.

      As for the kids, well – they can’t exactly get squad numbers when they’re not ‘first teamers’ so to speak. But sure enough, each of them will get to choose a number for the coming season (with the exception of the 4 probably).

      And regarding Gai… well, based on the reports, it was the club that decided not to renew his contract. I’m not sure it ever reached the stage where there were contract negotiations.. I may be wrong on this one though.

  19. EE promote David Mateos to the First team, a 22 year old defender, which makes their total squad 25 Players.

  20. – If neither Pique nor Busquets played as forwards, then I hope to see Romelu Lukaku joining by January. Because its unlikely that Rochina will be ready soon.

    – Why dont they play the international games one week earlier and star the season one week later so when liga starts…it just start?!

    – The player we loaned out were out last season as well. Between the in and out added to the salary increase of renewed contracts, the 5% is reasonable. Some B-teamers got professional contracts and salary raise as well.

    1. As much as I’d like to see Lukaku joining us, judging by the competition we would face, I very much doubt we would get ourselves tangled up in a bidding war.

      Besides, wasn’t there talk of him wanting to finish his schooling in Belgium first?

  21. haha! lukaku is awesome! guy’s gonna be a star. but even he-drogba’s heir apparent-may be too young. would he take a significant cut in his playing time, & should he, at this age?

    the thing is no opponent is created equally. you could argue that maybe in the beginning of the 08-09 season they were, but they certainly aren’t now(ex. bus parking, high pressuring, man marking etc). that’s what makes guardiola such a great coach. his being malleable & willing to bench a big name to get the best out of a team for a certain situation, or if they just plain aren’t playing well at the moment. that said, he should still learn how to convey this to his squad & teach players not to take shit personal.

  22. i believe in plagiarism but this is from barcastuff:

    Ibrahimovic: “Sitting on the bench was new for me, I didn’t know how to deal with it. I’m 28, I shouldn’t have to fight for my spot.”

    i love it.

    1. When I saw this, I couldn’t believe what I read. I was hoping that this was a next fake interview because I’ve been a huge Ibrahimovic supporter since he came; even when we went out to Inter, I still defended him amidst the jeers from my peers (hey that rhymes :D)

      But if this is true, I’ll actually be furious that we never got rid of him sooner .

  23. Wait a minute did Ibra really say that , at 28 years of age he shouldnt fight for the first team spot? The guy is in perfect line with the words of his agents.
    This attitude should be out of our locker room even if we had to pay milan to kick it out.
    Although I have bitched about him endlessly for his handling of the deal
    Well done pep.

  24. For Those who Follow The B team closely .. Does anyone of the Forwards look like he can hold his own in a match with the A team ?

    1. Haven’t gotten the chance to follow them closely last season, but this season I will try to watch all of their matches.

      From what I’ve seen in preseason the past couple of years and in the match against Celta, no. Their decision making needs to greatly improve.

      Tello and Rochina have promise, though.

    2. Don’t follow them all that closely, but I have a soft spot for Nolito.

      Rochina, I’ve heard good things about, but haven’t really seen him in action enough to tell if he’s legit.

      Tello, impressive during the preseason

      Soriano, although he’s 24-25, wasn’t too shabby either.

  25. The Ibra purchase and sale were a financial disaster for the club.

    But as he continues to talk it makes it easier and easier to determine the value of absorbing that financial loss.

    He should have been put up for sale on the very first day the transfer season opened.

  26. Wow. Ibra really is a jakass isnt he. I am starting to understand more and more why it was felt this deal had to be made. That statement about not having to prove himself at 28 was shocking. Tbh with an attitude like that I would have paid Milan to take him.

    I’m with Ramzi on Lukaku. He is quite the player, although still a little young. I know a lot of people compare him to Drogba, but I actually think he is more comparable to Ibra, his ability on the ball is quite exceptional from what I have seen.

  27. Ibra has been lashing out and attacking Pep for a reason. It is the same reason he has been trying to frame his departure as a personal issue with Pep.

    He knew his startin spot wasn’t secure. He wasn’t ok with that. But now that he is gone he doesn’t want to be labeled as the player who wasn’t good enough for this great Barcelona team. His ego won’t allow that.

  28. Random thoughts, again :
    Lots of people are talking about our finances , and while most of them simply dont even try to get the gist of what each column on a budget -and the number accustomed to it- represent , they alsotend to forget that barcelona’s account sheets contain sport sections other than football too .
    And while hockey and handball may require small budgets , basketball doesnt, and we won the double in it;
    thus we had to pay hefty bonus fees for such achievements.
    Along with the fact that the B team got promoted , so bonus fees on players and coaching stuff for them too , as well as contract renewals/transfers to make the squad competitive for this division too.

  29. I think the reason for all the problems between Ibra and Pep is simply the fact that Ibra’s ego is too big. He couldn’t accept to be behind Messi, although it is obvious (even Ibra must have seen – and maybe that made him more furious) that Messi is way better than him.
    I bet Zlatan wouldn’t work out next to CRonaldo either. He is accustomed to being the superstar of each team that he has been at so far – with the exception of Barca. Zlatan should be a lucky boy that Ronnie doesn’t kick ass these days as he did in the past^^

    The origin of his problems with Pep is his inability to subordinate, POINT. Technically I’m confident he could have adapted to our style and to Pep’s ideas, but not mentally.

    1. MEssi? he finished the end of the season behind a 19 year old.That must have really slapped him in the face m :D. When he says in march “something” went wrong and he didnt know what.Was he oblivious to his shit form at that time?To me it seems being benched by a 19 year stung him so he and his agent found their method to get out.Good for them, they got what they wanted so why still talk? And calling pep the “philosopher” ironically every chance he gets?Does he think his standing and respect in the game is comparable to pep?LOL at philosophy being seen as a bad thing.He really knows how to burn all bridges doesnt he?And to think i supported him against the gutter press.

  30. I’ll read the post later, just came on to vent my disappointment and annoyance at our former player.

    If that’s not another fake interview or misquoted quotes, then dammmit Ibra! I didn’t like you but defended you damn what arrogance. I am speechless. I can’t believe someone would actually that.

    Though Pep well knew what he was getting into, still. If that was the attitude,

  31. Meanwhile, for you socis out there, match tix go on sale at 10 a.m. BCN time. It’s a Clasic vacation for me again.

  32. He came from Italy to a new team with totally different system and style, and he expected to be an automatic starter? Get real. He would have been one if he did all he could to get integrated sporting and mentally with the rest of the team. You move to a new country do you really expect the rest who’ve been doing things all their life to change to accomodate you so you become the star, not in FC Barcelona! TiTi faced the same problem but he had class to understand the real thing and he did not give up after 6 months, a player who achieved so much more than you, even if you are one of the most talented technically gifted player I’ve seen. too bad your attitude doesn’t match up the genius. and the problem started in March? that time when Messi was scoring hattricks for fun? That you struggled and needed Messi to gift you a goal? March after you failed to score the last 2 months when Pep keep playing you automatic starter even when everyone else was questioning your worth.

    I am bias here and I still think he could have worked, and am aware that Pep and the rest on the team could have done more, and yes Pep and Barca deserve this because we did the Ibra deal knowing what a difficult character he is. That’s risk but still. I underestimated his arrogance. and oh, you didn’t have problem with coaches before because you have never played in a team like Barca before with players like Messi etc. You did not have to share the stage before. You did not know what was wrong because before when ever there was a problem with you, they came to you and waited on you to sooth your ego, and at Barca, the coach did not. Too bad.

    end of rant.

  33. Arrigo Sacchi’s comments sum things up quite succinctly: (via Pep’s twitter)

    “Ibrahimovic and Barcelona was a difficult marriage. A soloist cannot play in an orchestra.

    Ibrahimovic hasn’t been able to adapt to his teammates, footballwise nor mentally. He’s used to play alone.

    It was a big gamble by Guardiola. Succeeding would have been incredible. But it’s easier to change the foot than the mind.”

    1. ibra is good maybe we should have bought him younger, but instead of thinking what ibra could have been, I’d rather think of what bergkamp could have been. we never signed him but every year there were some rumours, and he was better 😀

    2. Oh yeaaahh.. I love Bergkamp.
      And you know, he unlike a lot of the footballers out there was actually excellent in studies back in high school.

  34. Remember when Messi gifted Ibra a penalty that was going to break Ronaldo’s record and he would’ve been 48 Goals last season

  35. ‘A soloist cannot play in an orchestra’. from Barcastuff

    Perfect analogy. That quotes a keeper

    1. Hehe, congratulations Kxevin.
      I have to admit that seeing your luxurious apartments makes me a bit jealous 🙂
      You’ll have a terrific time in Barcelona, that’s for sure. And I hope you don’t mind if I ask you for some tips about Barcelona when I’ll go there (calendar date isn’t set yet, it might still take some years because traveling alone isn’t my purpose and so far I couldn’t convince a friend of mine to join me).

      For how long will you be in our beloved city?

  36. Well, I had written a whole long lovely post on the Ibra situation…and then the internet ate it. 🙁 In the meantime, lots of other people made all the points I wanted to, only better, so I won’t bother to try and write it again. I am just going to post this quote from the Zubi press conference on the official website:

    “Guardiola knows that he can come and sign for another season whenever he likes. It’s too soon to talk about this”.

    This made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Visca Pep, may you stay for a long long time!

  37. Grudgingly I acknowledge my envy. The guy can’t be all bad.

    You’ll still always be an Ibralover to me though. fun intended

    Now I just have to see you realize the genius of Iniesta and all will be right.

  38. Ibra “in my book a great coach solves their problems, a small time coach runs from them.”

    Via barcastuff

    AKA – in my book a great coach plays me unconditionally.

    Thank you Pep for solving your problem!

    1. A great coach does not play into the whims of any player.

      Even if messi himself started that shit tomorrow, for example not training etc, I would expect a shipment of him too if he did not realize it soon enough.

      The difference here is, that he simply would expect that too , as too do the rest of our guys.
      Guardiola has injected them with that kind of idea , the best player always plays.
      The examples arent few.
      Pique over marquez, maxwell gave abidal a run for his money even if he was supposedly bought as his backup in case of injury , Busquets over yaya , pedro over henry , keita over iniesta.

      Players are thriving on competition here.

      The brightest examples are messi and iniesta.

      The first struggles in order to be able to play every game as long as he is fit enough , and he has been for two years now.

      He doesnt have too. He could take the rest.
      He is the number one.
      But that is just a headline he feels obliged to prove day after day , both in training and competitive matches.
      He doesnt use it as an excuse to claim the spot of an undisputed starter.
      The kid just loves playing and above all has stated numerous times that : *its hard being on the bench and watching your teammates suffer.Its better if you suffer amongst them.*

      The second one , nowadays recognised as one of the highest quality (attacking) midfielders of the recent times , never speaks a word when the coach leaves him on the bench .
      Be it a form issue or a tactical one.

      This is a highly competitive side.
      Like it or fuck off.

  39. I’m glad you guys know now what kind of a*hole Ibra is.
    A leopard doesn’t change it’s spot { is that even the correct way to put it? 🙁 ]

  40. Sacchi is a true footballing genius. Arguably the most important manager and thinker in football since the great Rinus Michels.

    What he accomplished with those great AC Milan teams in the 1990’s was amazing. Over the past 20 years this Barca squad and those Milan teams are likely the two greatest sides the game has seen.

    Sacchi’s comments about Ibra are both very accurate and very damning.

    Those comments are going to get a lot of play in Italy. Ibra can try to blow them off and he might think highly enough of himself to not care. But on some level when a legend is trashing you like that, a legend who has no personal involvement in the situation, it’s going to sting.

    And it makes Ibra look very poor inside the world of football.

    1. it’s true. doesn’t mean it was predestined to fail & that steps couldn’t have been taken to have avoided it. but then again, why even have to go through all that shit? ibra & barca’s relationship was like dating a stripper, yeah they were hot & all but their over-inflated ego & propensity for unstable behavior means you probably never should have entered the relationship, or since you’d already had, should cut & run.

      that was really cathartic for me ;^)

  41. is anybody else noticing all the coverage jonathan is getting for having stood up mexico, once again?

    if you can’t get a real coach -not an interim coach- to even show up for these traveling circus’ why ask players (esp. based in europe) to cut training & travel to these meaningless games?

    1. I saw something about it last week.

      I think someone from the Mexican Football Federation said they tried to contact Jonathan and did all they could, but they were told by an agent that he would be staying in Barcelona. And that there’s nothing they can do if someone doesn’t have the desire to play for Mexico.

  42. Wanted to comment on our Bojan getting #9. woohoo! Isaiah youwill have to change his bannquilo screennam 😀

  43. Ronaldinho playing futvoley in Castelldefels with Thiago’s father, Mazinho the other day.


  44. Looks like I’m watching El Clasic from home, kids! I had the ticket selected, and was on the payment page. It churned for about 4 minutes, then the system went down. After that, no mes.

    That’s life in the big, bad world of the Internets. Sometimes you get it, and sometimes you don’t. On the up side, you get my review. On the down side, last year’s success karma (I had almost the same seat as last year) has been broken. Pick your poison.

    1. And I was just about to post this tweet from Pep:
      From today, club members can buy tickets for Liga games. The tickets for the game against Madrid were sold out after 2 hours.

      What a shame that you didn’t get a ticket 🙁
      Will you be there for another match, CL or Copa del Rey?

    2. Ah, okay. I’ve just read your answer to my previous comment about your Barcelona trip. That’s really bad news. Will you consider travelling for another match, CL knockout stage for instance?

    3. Oh, for sure. And I’m not that bummed. I was so lucky last season to get the Inter Champions League match and El Clasic in the same week. So this time, someone else gets to experience the amazing feeling of being in the Camp for the Clasic.

      I’m going to be a cule forever, so there will be plenty of El Clasics, and plenty of opportunities to visit. No worries.

      Plus it gives me time to get even better with my Catalan. 😀

    4. Sorry to hear your trip didn’t work out. At least you get to watch the game on your gigantic TV–I’ll be searching for a good live stream on my tiny monitor as usual. Anyone in here live in Toronto and know a place that shows Barca games on TV?

    5. Thanks, blitzen. We might go away. Wife’s digging the apartment that I picked out, and a week in Barcelona is never a bad thing, even when the BIGGEST MATCH IN THE WORLD!!!! is going on without you. 😀

  45. Sad about your miss Kevin. It had happened to me last year when Barca played Bilbao but luckily it was Bilbao so i got the tickets on the day itself in stadium. Maybe you can try it. They release around 5-6k tickets on the day before the match.

    Regarding Ibra, it gets clearer. So the guy was unhappy about Pep putting him on bench and realized that it was no guarentee he would be a starter this season. So he made all the mess to get out. Pep, being Pep and correctly, did not promise him starting position. Same as Yaya. So we had to basically sell Ibra. I have to say that my respect for Pep has gone up. Throughout the mess, he chose to remain silent and only said positive things.

    Ibra on other hand, comes across as a prima donna with inflated ego. He will remain a very good player but falls short of being great player.

  46. I keep reading rumours about guardiola signing a new , longer contract.
    Even zubi(or was it the vice president?) mentioned that guardiolas contract renewal is ready to be signed whenever the coach wishes.
    Anyone has any info on this one?

    1. Okay its confirmed. The vice president said that Pep will sign a new deal , probably until 2013. Yay!

    2. Barcelona vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu claims that an agreement is in place and all that is left to do is to put pen to paper, he told Spanish media: “The coach could soon sign a new deal.

      “We had wanted a longer agreement with Pep Guardiola, but it was only decided for one year.

      “Now the coach has opened the door for a longer agreement. This is not a problem because the club is very satisfied with his work.”

    3. Coming right on the heels of the Ibra fiasco, this is a HUGE vote of support for Pep from Rosell and the board. Really really good news.

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