Thus Spoke Zlatanusthra

Pep Guardiola may not exist as you think he does. If you thought he existed as the head coach of FC Barcelona, you got another think coming. For on August 29, Zlatan Ibrahimovic leaped from the club baths, draped a towel toga-style round his Greek-statuesque midsection, raised his Roman-aquiline nose to the heavens, smacked his head and cried, ‘Eureka! before running out to the media multitudes and declaring: ‘Guardiola is not a coach, but a philosopher’ [1]. But what sort of philosopher is Pep, a.k.a. Josephus Guardiolus (b. 1971 AD)?

The historical record leaves us few utterances, let alone eloquent statements. Guardiolus so guards his peace that his players — not only Ibrahimovic, but Seydou Keita also –- cannot identify their coach’s voice when he leaves messages on their answering machines. This leads to bewilderment, as well as extra laps when they arrive late to rescheduled practices. Like Socrates, Guardiolus is an enigma, and we must don our thinking caps with little whirly-gigs on top in order to deduce his system of thought.

Guardiolus’ predecessor is Cruiffedes (b. 1947 AD), who developed the theory of Total Football, as well as muttered a number of axioms. Some of these are Classical paradoxes: “Every disadvantage has its advantage”; “Italians can’t defeat you but you can lose to them”; or “Football is simple, but the hardest thing in the world is to play simple football”. Others are statements of the obvious: “You’ve got to shoot or you can’t score” or “If we have the ball, they can’t score”. But most are exteroceptivist: “You won’t see it until you’ve got it”; “When you see a player sprinting, he left too late”; and “If I start running a little earlier, I’ll seem faster” – the last a possible contestation to Zeno’s (b. 489 BC) ‘Achilles and the Tortoise’.

At times, Guardiolus references Cruiffedes directly. For example, Cruiffedes’ “If I wanted you to understand, I would have explained it better” anticipates Guardiolus’ “There is always a reason for everything, but I keep it to myself”. An Aristotelian strain of causality may be identified therein as well. According to the General Repository of Human Knowledge, Wikipedia: “Causality is the relationship between an event (the cause) and a second event (the effect), where the second event is a consequence of the first”. For example, when a club purchases a player for 46 million euros one season and then transfers him via a loan-with-option deal for 24 million the next, men exhaust themselves trying to identify a rational cause. Saith the Wiki: “Rationalism typically starts from premises that cannot be denied [i.e., ‘That is a lot of *&%$# money’] then attempts by logical steps to deduce every possible object of knowledge [i.e.: ‘what’s the big idea’; ‘who came up with that brilliant idea’; ‘does the club have any change left over for the lockerroom vending machines’, etc.] Thus Guardiolus implies that the cause for taking a 20 million euro hit on his 9 can be deducted rationally, but his reluctance to articulate it is purely Cruiffedean.

If Guardiolus is a rationalist rather than a causist, his philosophical master is Parmenides (b. 500 BC), who posited the ‘Third Man Argument’. Philosophically, the Third Man Argument states that 1) thinking undeniably exists; 2) the object of thought also exists; and 3) the object exists independent of thought. The argument can be illustrated in practical terms as follows: If I have the Best All-Around Offensive Player in the World on my squad, and then I contract the Best Striker in Spain, I don’t need a Third Man. Another illustration follows: If I want Messi to move about freely from wing to center to wing, and I have wingment aplenty to support him, then I don’t need no Third Man taking up space in front of the net. (The Hunky Soccer Husband has always advocated the latter as Guardiolus’ true cause, and believes Cruiffedes to be the Master Mind behind it as well.)

Guardiolus has puzzled many a footballosopher before. Barcelona’s previous 9, Samuel Eto’o, was dispatched likewise: “The problem with Eto’o has to do with a feeling”. The philosophical expression — again, cited from Its Wikiness — is Weiss and Cropanzano’s ‘Affective Events Theory’. This theory states that events influence feelings which influence behaviors. Furthermore, feelings which emerge from similar themes may occur repeatedly. Guardiolus’ “The person always goes before the player”, derived from his externoception of Eto’o, suggests that his personal interactions with Eto’o — regardless of his pitch-perfect performances — (events) inspired a state of constant annoyance (feeling), which in turn influenced him to open the door wide and push Strikerus Maximus Africanus through it (behavior).

An earlier statement of Guardiolus provides another clue: “For the good of the club, it’s better that I don’t comment.” For the good of the club leads us to ethics, the study of virtue. Ethicist Immanuel Kant posited the ‘categorical imperative’, which may be interpreted here as Guardiolus’ obligation to be a good coach. The exact nature of Guardiolan goodness, however, may depend on the season’s outcome. For example, if David Villa scores more than 21 goals and FC Barcelona wins beaucoup silver, we may call Guardiolus an ethical consequentialist (his actions are ‘good’ because their effects are positive). If Guardiolus is a deontologist, he acted according to his ethical obligation to perform his contractual duties with the suits in the upper-level offices (e.g., Sandro Rosell) as well as the players on his bench (e.g., Ibra). And if the Camp Nou fills to its uppermost beams with gleeful ‘Tot el Camp’ songsters, then Guardiolus will have succeeded á là utilitarianist John Stuart Mill, by bringing the greatest happiness to the greatest number.

Irrespective of the Great Guardiolus and his Grey Matter, an appropriate philosophical attitude for the general azulgrana faithful would be a Sartrean (or, in my case, a de Beauvoirean) existentialism, centered from “a sense of disorientation and confusion in the face of an apparently meaningless or absurd world.”

School’s back in session. Hit those books!

–SoMa, Philosophiae Doctora

[1] El original es infiel a la traducción. – Jorge Luis Borges.

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SoccerMom obsesses over FCB and this blog instead of grading papers, burning dinner and/or raising her small children. She blames a Spanish husband and easy access to Hispanic-targeted cable sports channels for her football addiction and consequent failure as a professor, housekeeper and mother.


  1. Kxevin
    September 5, 2010

    Bow down in the presence of greatness.

  2. ooga aga
    September 5, 2010

    well, nobody acknowledged my kurtis blow reference in the previous thread. you guys arent worthy.

    at least SoMa shows appreciation for the cultural-philosophical masters. it’s not kurtis blow, but it’s something.

      • BA
        September 5, 2010

        the guy from that Lynyrd Skynyrd song?

        • Cesc Blanc
          September 6, 2010

          nope, Kurtis Blow

          breaks on a bus, breaks on a car, breaks to make you a superstar

          • September 6, 2010

            “Breaks in love, breaks in war, we got the breaks to get you on the floor!”

            Showing my age, I was shimmying til’ the break of dawn to that song when it first came out. From rap’s happier, more innocent times. I also remember hearing a promo single of “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and thinking “Damn!”

          • Cesc Blanc
            September 6, 2010

            promo single of “the message”?

            DAMN, you’re old!

          • Alexinho
            September 6, 2010


            What a post, by the way…I am confused. And I thought I was an intellectual!

    • Cesc Blanc
      September 6, 2010

      where was that? too bad I missed out on it.

  3. Eduard
    September 5, 2010

    I stopped smoking a long time ago, so I’ll have to re-read it later.

  4. lovelymofo
    September 5, 2010

    I think Crackovia would do well to write a skit based on this post – they’re totally leaning that way anyway with their depictions of Pep.

    But I’ll admit I’m with Sartre/Beauvoir.

    Bravo SoccerMom!

  5. vicsoc8
    September 5, 2010

    Even as a philosophy major in college I couldn’t have done better. Nice read

  6. stowe
    September 6, 2010

    wow, great article, but my brain hurts after that last paragraph

  7. Soto
    September 6, 2010

    I have always found the axioms of Cruiffedes to be similar in nature to those of Maddenopoulos, that profound sage of the football heresy found in the west. Philosophies may vary, but enigmas are universal and eternal.

    I apply a slightly different Sartean lesson to the Barca situation: there is no intrinsic purpose or meaning to Barca’s existence, so the only thing that matters is Barca’s actions on the field.

  8. Luna
    September 6, 2010

    great read Soma…if I had have the smarts and wit of you, I’d take on a poststructuralist read, I think Derrida might have much to say about discourse and context 🙂

    Wonderful stuff and of worthy procrastination value for me!

  9. Sid
    September 6, 2010

    Brilliant title 🙂 . Humourous play on the words.

  10. Goo
    September 6, 2010

    Getting out of lurkdom to congratulate the author of this rocking post. SoMa, I wish you were my mom.

  11. Vj
    September 6, 2010

    Thus spoke SoccerMama, one of the great clan of sages who regularly give discourses on ‘la filosofia’..
    Rumour has it that one of the clansmen has converted to a Queen.. Is it true?

    • ooga aga
      September 6, 2010

      the truth is that Guardiola regularly consults SoMa. She’s like an oracle or some shit.

  12. AJ
    September 6, 2010

    this is the most awesomus postus everus readus on this blogus!!!

  13. y2k156
    September 6, 2010

    Awesome read.

    Cannot wait for tommorow. I hope its a clean and fun match. Would love a 5-5 draw:).

  14. poipoi
    September 6, 2010

    I’ll read later, love filosofia… just wanted to say that NOLITO RULES, I’m even considering a change in my avatar 😀

  15. Lev
    September 6, 2010

    awesome post. first time i read cruijffisms in another language than Dutch, indeed they are well-known back home.

  16. Hannibal
    September 6, 2010

    Intense but very entertaining.


  17. El Tel
    September 6, 2010

    Thus spake ZaraSoMa. (I just knew you had to be in philosophy!) Pep seems to be doing Zarathustra’s work, clearing the way for the Overteam by ridding the club of negativity. Guardiolus understands that the Overteam is only possible after all values are affirmative, life-enhancing ones. As Nietzsche and Isaiah/QE3 might put it, “Remain faithful to the Pep.” Congrats, SoMa, on another great post.
    -From another Phil Phud.

  18. September 6, 2010

    The Swiss Rambler agrees with Ramzi and Euler:

    “The reality is that Barcelona backed themselves into a corner. As Milan appeared to be the only game in town, Barcelona had absolutely no leverage during the negotiations. They really should have tried harder to interest other clubs in the player, so that they could encourage a bidding war, especially Manchester City, the one club that has the riches to pay a much higher price, as we saw with Yaya Toure. City’s absence from the negotiating table seems even stranger when you consider Ibra’s connection to their manager, Roberto Mancini, who had bought him when he was at Inter.”

    • Lev
      September 6, 2010

      True, but it was my understanding that Ibra didn’t want to go to Man City though. Which brings us to another problem: Ibra himself had more leverage than Barça also, due to his enormous wages we couldn’t have Hlebbed him into the stands if he decided to disrupt team harmony. First of all the player had all the power to decide which team was acceptable to him, thus giving that team all the power to decide how little they would offer to offload our problem.

  19. Cesc Blanc
    September 6, 2010

    that was fantastic…I have a quote from NN Taleb too

    “The exact opposite of the philosopher is the tourist. A tourist is someone who follows commodified, commercialized & simplified maps, their cultural tastes lined-up to some well-described middlebrow canon, with a desire to “optimize” with SHORTCUTS; in other words, Procrustean beds. Exactly the opposite of a flaneur.”

  20. September 6, 2010

    And another thing about this post. I’m a full-time, word bandying journalist, and I don’t mind saying, a damn talented writer. Nothing excites me more than reading something that I could never have, in a million years, done.

    I always like people who visit contemporary art museums and say “Hell, I could have done that!” Well, yes. You could have. But it’s the idea that is priceless.

    When you combine idea with execution, as SoMa has done here, you get a piece of joy that, were I a first-time visitor to this space, would have me hooked like a drug dealer who gives you a great dose and says “First one’s free, baby!”

    –And the analysis by Swiss Ramble really is a must-read. It’s brilliant. It doesn’t exactly cover us with glory, but it’s a must-read, nonetheless.

  21. September 6, 2010

    And I will put a mini news post here rather than doing a new post. I don’t want anything to supersede this bit of brilliance just yet.

    –Suarez (who is repped by Guardiola’s brother) still likes him some Barca, but explains his decision to stay in Sport. He uses fancy words, but the reality is that he wasn’t going to be getting a whole lot of time, and is better served polishing his apple at Ajax. Here’s hoping he can do some damage to EE, as well.

    –Cruijff says to Rosell and crew in his column, “It’s time to quit trying to make Laporta look bad before you damage the sporting project, you big dummies.”

    –Puyol might be available for Hercules, which brings to mind the headline “Hercules available for Hercules.” His injury is (imagine that!) progressing much faster than people thought, with a duration, saith the cynics, of the end of the Spain friendly.

    –There will be a code of ethics regarding financial transactions and the club, the clear message from Rosell and the boys, who must not read Cruijff’s column, that “Man, that scumbag Laporta did some skanky crap. We’re going to institute an ethical code that will hamstring his ilk from now until forever. Did we mention that Laporta sucks? Just checking. Thank you.”

    The new code of ethics will aim at “ensuring excellence, transparency and honesty in the management of the club through a commission to monitor this.

    “The ban on hiring relatives, making the club incur undue expense, receive commissions, or act contrary to the positive image of the club,” are some of the stated objectives.

    –Tito Vilanova speaks up for midgets, work rate and ulitmately, one more clue to why BANGS couldn’t cut it:

    “We played unlike other teams …. The advantage is that we have spent two years working together, and the team knows what to do.

    “Many times, there are 20 players in 20 or 30 meters. It is normal for smaller players to move much better in such small spaces.”

    Hmmmm ….

    –HeWhoWeHopeWillNotCome is in the news again, with comments that imply that he is being kept against his will, saith the BritPress. Sighhhh. The relevant quote, which might or might not be made up:

    “Barcelona did all they could to sign me, but Arsenal told me I had to stay, that there was no way they were going to let me go.

    “In the end I had to stay, but the contents of my conversation with (manager) Arsene Wenger will remain private.”

    –Also in the BritPress is that Arsene Wenger is keen on one Oriol Romeu. So I have to ask at this point: When Sport says that we are after Fabregas, and it is damned as the media being part of our nefarious plot to sign the Arsenal captain, what are we to make of English press entities saying the same things about Arsenal and Oriol Romeu, who is being touted as “the next Fabregas,” presumably in that he will leave us in search of fame and playing time.

    Just asking.

    • Cesc Blanc
      September 6, 2010

      he also said something else that was quite interesting. he said as long as Ibra tried to adapt his game to the team, it worked fine. once he tried to adapt the team to his game, it went horribly wrong.
      also his stuff on Messi and that he was always a great goalscorer but he was forced to play on the wing, but he was so freaking good that he just adapted to the game, was interesting.
      overall great interview.

  22. blitzen
    September 6, 2010

    This post makes my brain hurt, but in a good way. Philosophy was never my strong point, as a (former) archaeologist I prefer to deal in tangibles. But I can certainly recognize greatness when I see it. Thank you, SoMa, for putting everything in perspective, I see it all now.

    And a Happy Labour Day to you all, wherever you are!

  23. vicsoc8
    September 6, 2010

    The essential Nietzschian quote that could be used to describe Pep’s philosophy come from his “The Birth of Tragedy”

    To paraphrase: “IT is only the beautiful life that is worth living.”

    Or to Pep: “It is only the beautiful game that is worth playing.”

  24. Euler
    September 6, 2010

    Loved, loved, loved, this post!

    I can almost picture Ibrahimovic buying his ticket to the Vatican museum, desperately searching for Guardiolus as rendered in the School of Athens…

    The whole situation has been so absurd tongue planted firmly in cheek seems like the most appropriate point of view.

    As disastrous as the deal was financially, Ibra’s petty remarks since the sale have only painted him in a worse light and Guardiola in a better one. They’ve explicitly shown and demonstrated what Guardiola didn’t care to explain in the first place past his cryptic Guardiolus phrase about the person and the player.

    • September 6, 2010

      Reg Ibra’s comments: Comments of a man with ego and pride after being insult-fully transferred few days after he was bragging about being in the best club in the world to stay. I dare to say I expected each and every statement he said in one way or another. Beside one smart statement where he sent a message to his new employers, Milan: “I am a 28 years old player who is not here to fight for a spot or anything. I consider my place in the starting lineup a given! dont claim later that you haven’t been told!” Out of all the rubbish he said, that was evil-ingly smart.

  25. Diego S.
    September 6, 2010

    Since we’re on the topic .. Can someone remove Zlatan’s pic from the Blog bar at the top

    • poipoi
      September 6, 2010

      yes please! and put nolito in there!!!

      just kidding 😉

    • September 6, 2010

      I mean to do that you’d have to get somebody to design a new, better banner. It’s a good thing nobody did that, say 6 or so months ago. And made a background. But that didn’t happen. Or did it? SoMa has made me question existence. Or made me question questioning existence. I don’t really know anything. Anymore.


  26. poipoi
    September 6, 2010

    to me every day it gets clearer to see that pep is a solipsist 😀

    • Philo Barca
      September 6, 2010

      Not a solipsist. He just believes Barca functions with “collective intentionality”:

  27. theMaginator
    September 6, 2010

    Soma I Love you so much. I’ll see you in my dreams tonight.

  28. Roz
    September 6, 2010

    Spike Lee looking badass with a Barca jersey.(barcastuff)

    • ermengol
      September 6, 2010

      Whoa, got me imagining Spike following Pep and the team on a year long campaign, and the movie that might result from it.

  29. blitzen
    September 6, 2010

    Not to completely flog an expired equine, but totalbarca has a translation of an interview Xavi did with EMD, and he has this to say about the Ibra situation:

    EMD: Mascherano has arrived and Ibra has left in a disappointing way. What happened with Ibra?

    Xavi: He left due to footballing reasons. Pep and Zubi have made that clear. He didn’t fit in with the system and with the way that Pep wanted the central forward to play. It’s disappointing because we got along well with him but Pep told him he wouldn’t be playing as much as he wanted which led to his departure.”

    I don’t think it can get much clearer than that.

  30. Kari
    September 6, 2010

    In other news, it looks like we’re walking the “versatility is our depth” route

    Tito Vilanova: “Right now we have 19, but it is basically 24, with four or five players who can cover up to eight positions.”

    -The agent of the Third Man is still talkin’ smack. Man Citeh was an option “economically” but wasn’t going to win anything anytime soon, so it was a no-go. Bleh.

    I’m missing the match tomorrow 🙁 Darn you, education! But if it makes me write anything like SoMa…

    • Kari
      September 6, 2010

      Wait a second… it’s being played at 10pm in Argentina, not Spain, so 10pm in Buenos Aires means…


        • September 6, 2010

          lol Jnice always finishes Kari’s comments and vise versa!

          • barca96
            September 6, 2010

            i notice that too.
            that’s why im always confused between the two of them.
            or are they the same person??? hehe

        • Jnice
          September 6, 2010

          Well, Buenos Aires is 1hr ahead of New York, so Kari, you may still be out of luck.

  31. Pyro
    September 6, 2010

    I thought Argentina was in EST time in line with Detroit, New York and stuff

    • Jnice
      September 6, 2010

      Yeah, just one hour ahead. I didn’t even calculate, I just went off the time it was being played here.

      • Pyro
        September 6, 2010

        Oh yeah because they don’t have DST. I should know this I’m from Peru

  32. JMo
    September 6, 2010

    I stand and applaud SoMa.


  33. Clue(less) John
    September 6, 2010

    Scarry flashbacks to philsosophy 201. Very nice.

  34. Hartwick89
    September 6, 2010

    Very, very, sensual post….

    And, I say who is the man behind the curtain?

    Is the Pep the man or is it as you say Cruiffedes?

    I can see the Pep as the man behind the curtain and can be the natural progression of the Cruiffedes. But, is this too premature yet? Or could it be the antithesis of what you seek? Just because you have the name of manager it does not mean you have the philosophy or insight of the man you seek.

    “Beware the ides of march.” Tough times are a coming.

    The tongue is powerful. But, the record is permanent! Has Barca prepared for the tongue or the record?

  35. ElJefe
    September 6, 2010

    I love Guardiolus. But let’s take care of Morihnopolis before we start immortalizing and making comparisons to Cruffidicus.

  36. Lev
    September 6, 2010

    Cruijff is the man behind the curtain who appointed Pep to be the man.

    Other than that Pep makes his own decisions. Is he influenced by Cruijff? Of course he is.

    “Cruyff painted the chapel, and Barca’s subsequent coaches must merely restore and improve it.”

    -Pep Guardiola

  37. barca96
    September 6, 2010

    What do you guys make of Arsenel’s interest in Oriol Romeu?
    I find it quite concerning since he still hasn’t signed a pro-contract with us.

    • Reagan
      September 7, 2010

      I think there may be more truth than just blatant rumor here, although with Rosell in charge, he will make sure that a similar cesc episode doesn’t occur while he is in charge. It would great if he signed a contract with us and then went on loan to Arsenal for a couple of years and came back like Pique did with Man. U. Plausible?

      I have another question. I heard about this ages ago and found it on Wiki..

      “In 1943 Barcelona faced rivals Real Madrid in the semi-finals of Copa del Generalísimo. Their first match at Les Corts was won by Barcelona 3–0. Before the second leg, Barcelona’s players had a changing room visit from Franco’s director of state security. He ‘reminded’ them that they were only playing due to the ‘generosity of the regime’. Real Madrid dominated the match, winning 11–1.”

      Is there any truth to this story? some sources say it’s not true at all.

      • September 7, 2010

        From what Clues told me during my last visit to Barcelona, this is true. And with regards to the old french weasel Wenger snooping around Oriol, don’t be surprised if we use him as a counter weight in any Cesc deal, once we sign him to a pro contract, which hopefully is soon, we have leverage to add him in any deal with the North London Douchbags to bring Cesc over. He will be cheap (first pro contract), and we all know that the Arsenal does not like to pay their players. I can foresee paying 35 plus Oriol for Cesc, valuing the whole deal at around 41-44 million euros, depending on the clubs valuation of a talented young cantera. Which begs the question, is our canter the best in the world, and will clubs pay inflated prices for our products because they are associated with us. It is kind of like people paying for a pair of Jordan’s (shoes), its all in the name.

        • barca96
          September 7, 2010

          No matter what happens, we should never use any of our kids to reduce the price for cesc!!

        • Bundy
          September 7, 2010

          Well that is the problem.

          in your case, we are offering our youth products to Arsenal.

          shouldn’t we be showing that we want to keep our youth products? if we were showing a need to keep our youth then their price tag will obviously be worth a lot.

          But if we don’t need the youth players, then we have no real negotiation power do we?

          • September 7, 2010

            I agree with you completely, I would hate to loose Oriol to Arsenal or anyone else, my only concern is he may see the writing on the wall with Biscuts and Masch getting 99% of the playing time at DM over the next 3 years, and we all know that Sandro has been waiting in line to take a ride on Cesc’s dick all summer so I would not doubt he would jump at the deal.

  38. Miguel
    September 7, 2010

    wonderful, wonderful post! & a jorge luis borges footnote; you rock!

    just got back from vegas. i’ve got me some catching up to do in the physical & metaphysical futbol world.

  39. Eklavya
    September 7, 2010

    What time is theSpain match CET?

    Or local Barca time if you want…

  40. Kxevin
    September 7, 2010

    Looks like Wenger will have to wait a bit for Romeu. 😀 We reached agreement with him through 2013.

    –And in the “proof that players shouldn’t be managers” category, Vincent Kompany is amazed that we let The Yaya leave. I reckon in his coaching future, he’ll be willing to cede team control to the players. We roll a bit differently here.

    –Robinho’s assertions continue that “Barcelona wanted me! No! Really!” despite the fact that Guardiola kept rejecting the transfer, for good reasons.

    –Finally, word is coming out of Portugal that Guardiola put the kibosh on the chance to sign Jughead (Di Maria), preferring to use players from the youth program rather than popping for the Argentine. Makes sense to me.

    • Bundy
      September 7, 2010

      saved ourselves 30 million dollars there.

      I don’t mind what Kompany said, many people I know don’t think Yaya is worth $200,000 a week, but I keep insisting that he is definetly worth the money. Yaya needed a new challenge, it would have been hard for him to say motivated and well the good thing is that we made a lot of dough from selling him.

      • y2k156
        September 7, 2010

        This is rehashing the old ground.

        The move was partly money, partly playing with his own brother and mainly sporting decision. Yaya wanted guarantee that he will start over Busi in major matches (last year Busi was ahead of Yay) and that Pep would not promise. Similar thing to Ibra. My faith in british sport journalism is at absolute low nowadays. Their record of lies speaks for itself.

        • Bundy
          September 7, 2010

          yer the 30 million saved was aimed at Di Maria sorry for not mentioning that.

  41. September 7, 2010



    guys y’all should NOW check out PINTO’s NEW HAIR DO … COOOOOOOOL love it

    • Jnice
      September 7, 2010

      Nice braids.

      Unzue visited the training. That’s cool.

  42. Jnice
    September 7, 2010

    Barça B plays Brazil at 11 am EST and Spain U21 plays at the same time. I’ll be watching both, hopefully.

  43. Lev
    September 7, 2010

    “Cesc carries Barcelona in the heart, in his DNA…therefore it is impossible for him to forget about them. ”

    Yep, it is Fabregas being tapped up by…..

    Thomas Vermaelen! LOL

    (source football365)

  44. Jnice
    September 7, 2010

    Barca B 2-0 down. Two silly goals given up and they look pretty tentative. Boring game, I’ll pay more attention to Bojan and Thiago w/ Spain. Thiago is doing well so far… Bojan hasn’t touched it much.

    Also, everyone who started against Xerez is on the bench against Brazil, so maybe when they come on, the team will look better.

  45. Jnice
    September 7, 2010

    Thiago is running Spain’s midfield and has the Polish commentators mentioning him and Ronaldinho in the same sentence.

  46. Bill
    September 7, 2010

    Great piece Soma! I’m telling everyone I know to read this article!

    But, as is always the case when it come to Ibra, I disagree that Guardiolus is a philosopher. Cruiffedes was the philosopher. The sage that was always seeking new truths, new answers, new ways to play the game of soccer completely…or ‘totally’

    Guardiolus on the other hand, is the apprentice, the student who has studied the doctrines of Cruiffedes extensively. The difference is that while Cruiffedes continues to seek the truth, Guardiolus views Cruiffedyisms AS the truth. My worries are that Guardiolus has gone that extra step in converting Cruiffedyisms into an ideology, that set of chore beliefs that are to be followed to the letter and are unshakeable. For Guardiolus, you either subscribe to this ideology, or you will not be considered part of the group (at any cost apparently).

    In so doing, Guardiolus ignores the following 3 maxims:

    1. Ideology must never ignore reality. Because when it does, reality has a way of always coming back and biting ideology on it’s ass. ( Thats my very own personal principle 🙂 )

    2. The chore principle of any true philosopher is that your mind is not open. By that I mean, that you form ideas based on the information you have at the time, but that the information may be very limited. Therefore, you should have an open mind and keep on searching for the truth, and never ever make tough decisions thinking you have the definate answers…you don’t.

    3. Newtons third law states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. That if you take a strong action against a team that was already winning everything in its path, expect an equal and opposite reaction. Actually, all of newton’s 3 laws, including keeping things at a constant state i.e the hunger, and exerting measured force in the direction you want the team to head in applies here.

    The two great coaches I have always admired, Phil Jackson and Sir Alex Ferguson display those qualities I like the most. Phil Jackson has never shied away from acquiring players that have been termed ‘difficult’ by other coaches, like Rodman, Artest, Shaq, Kobe, MJ and many more. He found ways to work with them and get the best out of them even though they constantly ignored his triangle offense philosophy. Sir Alex Ferguson on the other hand, showed a willingness to change his team first, one touch football philosophy for the likes of Cantona and a very selfish CRonaldo. And as one of his players recently said, you can go to him with an idea, he will analyze it, and if he thinks it will work, he will begin implementing it. But if he doesn’t, he will sit you down and explain why he doesn’t think it will work. he doesn’t mind being challenged. ANd he completely changed his possession based football in the 90’s when the team was failing miserably in europe.

    But then again, I always hope that my gut feelings about Guardiolus are wrong. That he has a much open mind than I give him credit for.

    • Miguel
      September 7, 2010

      cruijff & guardiola = aristotle & alexander the great?

      • Bill
        September 7, 2010

        I use soo many words in explaining what you can in 6 words? Ridiculous! 🙂

  47. Jnice
    September 7, 2010

    Spain does the free kick trick again… Thiago to Caneles. Goal.

  48. Lou
    September 7, 2010

    OK that was awesome…I love Thiago!

    • Lou
      September 7, 2010

      You’d really think that Poland should have seen that coming though…

      • Jnice
        September 7, 2010

        I guess they didn’t watch any of the Spain U19 team.

        • Lou
          September 7, 2010

          I guess that’s true, and to be fair this game was pretty meaningless for Poland.

          The next team they play will probably know to watch out for it though.

  49. fcbfan
    September 7, 2010

    Yeah Thiagooo! Poland didn’t do their homework 😀 I love this kid.

    Thiago’s bro Rafa played vs Brazil. How good is he? No ay Barca and Spain can keep both. One will escape surely?

    *no way*

    • Jnice
      September 7, 2010

      Who knows how Rafa will pan out. He didn’t look too good against Brazil, but no one expected him to. He’s not even on the B team yet.

  50. Bill
    September 7, 2010

    Wow! reading the swiss rambler’s piece on the Ibra deal is incredible. I knew it was ridiculous when they were purchasing him, but even I didn’t know it was this incredibly stupid financially. To see the amount of money lost, and how much more Barcelona would have lost if they kept him is just crazy. What kills me even more is that we not only made Inter much better, we also made Bayern better because the money saved from selling Lucio allowed them to buy Robben. And the money spent on Schneijder and Robben eventually ended up at EE. And now, we have given Ibra to Milan for change, they saved enough to afford Robinho too making them much better and rescuing them from the doodrums. So that one purchase made Inter, Ac Milan and bayern better, plus replenished some on EE’s transfer kitty…

    Apparently, rumors behind the scenes are that Ibra got on Guardiolas bad side when he started hanging out with the likes of Henry. The story is that Guardiola had tried to cover for Henry’s refusal/inability to play the Barca way for a long time, but when his performances dipped a little, Pep decided to make the permanent switch to Pedro who was a revelation at the time. Ibra started gravitating towards Henry because 1. He considered him a great and 2. they both spoke english.

    Henry was more dissaffected than he let it be known in public, but he knew nothing good could come from airing it in public, so he rode out the year in semi-retirement before he could get the hell out. When Ibra started becoming close to Henry earlier this year, he started listening to henry’s gramblings about Pep and his complaints about how Barcelona doesn’t play to his strengths like Arsenal did. Ibra could relate to this because he too felt they weren’t playing around him. It was at this point Ibra decided to stop trying to play the Barcelona way, but instead make the team play his way. This is when he lost Pep as a fan and eventually earned him a place on the bench for Bojan, and accelerated his exit.

    • theMaginator
      September 7, 2010

      Hope this isn’t true. But you might be right.

      • ooga aga
        September 7, 2010

        tomatutomate, what is your avatar a pic of?

    • Kxevin
      September 7, 2010

      The Henry/Ibrahimovic thing was a speculative piece in Sport, which I dismissed as soon as I read it. And it was nonsense in my view because Henry did indeed learn to play the Barca way, and raised hell in the year of the treble. Age and injuries meant that he had much suck last season, but he did exactly what Guardiola told him, which was why he was part of the Eto’o/Messi/Henry trident.

      When old age and injuries caught up to him, Pedro! was there and waiting, and that was that.

      I would be no less quick to believe rumors about Henry being a toxin than any other player. When there were the rumors that Eto’o was a toxin, they were vehemently denied by those opposed to his transfer. Same with the Ronaldinho rumors. Who knows, ultimately?

      Everything that I read that involves direct quotes (again, not to be fully trusted, but you can mistrust them less), leads me to believe that Ibrahimovic was trying to play his way, rather than the way that Guardiola wanted. We heard it intimated from Xavi, more clearly from Alves and even more clearly from Vilanova. I would believe that before I believe some odd “cult of personality” business.

      • Bill
        September 7, 2010

        Yeah, like I said, they are rumors. But what leads me to believe they have traction, is 1. Ibra specifically mentioned that he is not going down counting birds like henry on the bench, intimating that Henry was unfaily exiled 2. It has been mentioned that there was a specific timeline when Pep just dropped the lid on Ibra, and it coincided with his ‘dip’ in performance earlier this year 3. Henry was never given a chance to get back into the starting line-up even when some of his performances earlier this year showed signs of the prior season.

        • vicsoc8
          September 7, 2010

          Going to have to disagree that Henry wasn’t given chances. In particular, I can think of a game in the second half of the season in which he played striker over the maligned Ibrahimovic. He didn’t have a great game, and move back to the bench after that.

          • Kxevin
            September 7, 2010

            Agree with vicsoc. Guardiola wants consistency, and practice seems to be where a lot of things are decided for him. And anyone who watched Henry and Pedro! last season, knows that there was nothing unfair about the way that Henry was treated. He played his way to the bench. I’m sure had he been showing the mojo in practice to win his way back into the starting XI, he would have gotten there. Whatever flaws Guardiola has, he runs a meritocracy.

            I think that Ibrahimovic is citing Henry because he seems to believe in tenure, like university professors. Age or reputation should cement one’s starting place, and you shouldn’t have to play for it. Henry is the poster child for that way of thinking, which (in my “one of the millions” opinion) makes his easy to cite as an example.

            But Guardiola wants everybody to play for their spots, all the time. We’ve seen the effect that it’s had on Busquets, Keita, Abidal and Maxwell, to name a few. I would even argue that Iniesta is feeling the breath of Pedro!, which might explain his more aggressive play this season. I just don’t think that anyone is “safe” under Guardiola.

            Superstars hate that, because you can never relax, knowing that your name is etched in stone into the starting XI. Fans love it, because the competition makes the team better …. or it should.

      • Alexinho
        September 7, 2010

        I feel that, sometimes, in the hundreds and hundreds of comments that are posted on this blog, we do a bit of refashioning of events and of history.

    • September 7, 2010

      1) “we also made Bayern better because the money saved from selling Lucio allowed them to buy Robben.”

      Bayern didnt enjoy financial wealth from Lucio’s move to Inter. He had an expiring contract.

      2) “And the money spent on Schneijder and Robben eventually ended up at EE.”

      If you ask all real Madrid fans, I doubt any of them will prefer the money earned over the two players. So even if we go with your “this led to that” assumption, taking those players out of Madrid was for Barcelona’s best. Dare I say won the liga for barcelona?

      3) Henry stuff on Sports…worth no respond… really…

      And no comment on Ibra’s global whipping these days. He dig his own grave with his last comments. Everyone (including Barca insiders)will respond making a memorial bashing. “Everyone” means those who wouldnt have done it normally, not those who were doing it anyway. So…pass…It worth as much as the points I commented on already. We move on.

  51. Kxevin
    September 7, 2010

    Had to play the wet blanket over at the Milan site. They’re discussing having Ibrahimovic, Robinho, Pato and Ronaldinho, and if they can play all four of them, etc.

    As I noted, that probably means a 4-2-4, which means that your attackers have to track back like ours do. And NONE of those players are interested in tracking back on defense. Messi tracks back on defense, which is commendable and, frankly, amazing. It’s part of what makes our system work so well.

    • blitzen
      September 7, 2010

      I read today that Argentina coach Sergio Batista has expressly forbidden Messi from playing in his own half, so he can concentrate on being an attacker. I guess we’ll see if that’s accurate in today’s game (although I am at work and will miss it).

      As for Milan, I agree that it is going to be a case of too many chiefs. I suspect Pato will end up getting the short end of that stick, to the detriment of his career.

    • Larm
      September 7, 2010

      actually in milans game vs lecce, ‘dinho was coming back winning balls. but i dont believe he will do this the whole season. also they talked of playing him in the middle of 4-2-3-1, which he always looks a little lost picking up the middle in the middle of the field.

  52. Helge
    September 7, 2010

    It’s obvious that this Spanish defense is not used to playing together at all.

    Nonetheless I wonder how far Argentina could have come with any other coach than Maradumba…

    • Jnice
      September 7, 2010

      Marchena failed with the trap both times.

  53. BA
    September 7, 2010

    Argentina 3-0 Spain after 35 minutes. 2 mistakes from Marchena on the offside trap and one AWFUL howler from Pepe Reina for the last. Messi, Higuain and Tevez all scoring.

    • BA
      September 7, 2010

      Spain look like they really don’t want to be there.

      • anand
        September 7, 2010

        or argentina plays like they really want to win it!

  54. Helge
    September 7, 2010

    France wins in Bosnia 2-0! That’s the biggest surprise of the day for me, even bigger than the 3-0 lead from Argentina (because this is only a friendly match and Spain doesn’t play with their best line-up anyway).
    Resurrection of France?!?

  55. poipoi
    September 7, 2010

    any of you saw heinze’s handball… me neither… am I paranoid or the argentina TV didn’t show A SINGLE REPALY of that play because it was handball and red card for the gringo?????!!!! there was one take from behind the goal they almost show it and then.. CUT!!! I think his hand was going to touch the ball.

    anyway argentina are way better now they play good, but what a lame ass line-up for Spain in the 1st half, silva the 9 excuse me? no right wing at all excuse me? and now he sits iniesta without putting xavi what a mess 0-3 in the 1st half, hope he makes him play a little ’cause cesc was really bad… poor reina 🙁

  56. September 7, 2010

    I see how badly Messi wanna play well for his country. he is really serious about this match as if he could take the world cup from spain if they win.

  57. Jim
    September 7, 2010

    Damn ! 97th minute winner for Scotland against Lichtenstein. Now I’ll struggle to get a ticket for the Spain match.

  58. Helge
    September 7, 2010

    Hopefully this was Kun’s only goal against VicVal this season 😉

  59. Alexinho
    September 7, 2010

    Messi and Pique both play 90 minutes. Fooey!

    At least Xavi and Iniesta play for no more than a half.

    I’m under the impression that the more minutes for Busquets, the better, at this point in his career.

  60. y2k156
    September 7, 2010

    Well, Spain were not great but having seen the match, i think they were serious enough. Its just that Argentina wanted to win more. And though overall, i think Spain still shaded it (three times against bar and near misses couple of times) in terms of football, Argentina were quite close to them in terms of quality. And i felt that the ref was not that great. Good match.

    Messi’s run for the offside goal was quite special.

  61. Diego S.
    September 7, 2010

    I’m extremeley Happy with Argentina tonight .. Yet, Sad because I remembered Maradona and the world cup .. I mean just look at Cambiasso, G.Milito, Zanetti, Banega ..

    • Jose
      September 7, 2010

      Be sad, my friend, for I will be sad alongside you. I’m not one for “what ifs” but if only the AFA hadn’t gone with Maradona… This Argentina could have beaten Germany, could have beaten Spain.

  62. Kari
    September 7, 2010

    I completely missed the match 🙁

    Any downloads…?

  63. barca96
    September 7, 2010

    What a superb goal by messi?
    But why on earth did he and Pique play full 90mins?
    It’s just a freaking friendly!!

  64. Kxevin
    September 7, 2010

    Quick points on the match:

    –Fabregas wasn’t very good.
    –Reina was worse.
    –VV was hung out to dry by his defense, shamefully.
    –The biggest difference when Xavi came on, was purpose. I would have liked to have seen him with the first unit.
    –Llorente impresses.
    –What the hell did Messi play so much of the match for?
    –Mascherano. Daddy likey.

    • poipoi
      September 8, 2010

      fabregas almost wasn’t there, iniesta had to do everything

  65. JC
    September 8, 2010

    Messi’s run and pass at the end of the match to Di Maria was just awesome. Too bad it was called for offside. I would love to see Messi dance to anything which involved fast leg movement.

  66. barca96
    September 8, 2010

    A question to the people who watched the match.
    Was Messi better in the 1st or 2nd half?
    I’m planning to download only a half of the match.
    Don’t want to waste my time watching non-Barca material 🙂

    • poipoi
      September 8, 2010

      both halves were barça, 1st- busi iniesta and cesc in spain, villa in the left and messi was better there I think. 2nd- iniesta cesc out xavi pedro! in. the 1st was more important almost everything happened there

      IMO if cesc can do better in alonso’s place and play with busi. we lost a lot of prestige I feel sad, not because of us but those argentinos… they talk too much. “devuelve la copa” “give back the cup” and all that… the spanish players went there to take photos and tweet and del bosque played only half of the starting 11. argentina really wanted to win the game their coach made a kick ass line up and now they can keep talking and talking. if xavi (and casillas too) wasn’t there it doesn’t even count me thinks

      • Helge
        September 8, 2010

        As if Casillas is any better than Victor Valdes these days… for me, they’re on the same level since at least 1 year.

        • barca96
          September 8, 2010

          Thanks poipoi.
          Alarming news coming from our camp.
          1) Abidal will retire if his contract is not renewed.
          2) Maxwell defends Mino.

          • Kxevin
            September 8, 2010

            No. Maxwell doesn’t defend Raiola. What he says is in effect that Raiola has always done right by him, and he prefers to stay out of such messes. What’s done is done.

            Abidal will be renewed. Don’t worry.

  67. IS
    September 8, 2010

    Cruiffedes has come out in support of his apprentice and took it on himself to speak the truth against our very own wreath-crowned Caesar (Sandrusco). He said things along the lines of:

    Dear Sandrusco Caesar,
    As you rule our great yet humble lands, I beg of you to lend your ears to a venerable ally (that be me, big papa Cruiffedes) and take a few brief considerations into your strategic agenda…

    1) STOP airing our dirty laundry!
    Enough of the: “We’re broke, need a loan, Zeus save us!” – “Have no fear, Sandrusco’s here!”(Seriously? Does anyone buy that?)

    2) STOP leaking each breath our club takes to the press!
    Talk of ‘ethical codes’ doesn’t go too far when you’re paying overtime to the media-mole responsible for the IbraGate negotiations’ minute-by-minute, real-time press updates. (Or was that inline with the new ‘transparency’ agenda?)

    3) STOP fuckin’ with my boy Guardiolus and selling his pet projects (namely, the big Ukrainian question mark)
    That’s not playing nice, and you really should have known better. (You really think Guardiolus is that ‘nice’ and ‘accepting’… you can’t possibly be that naive. That was strike one my friend)

    4) ENOUGH with the HeWhoWeHopeStaysAGunner crap!
    Ok this might not be ALL your fault, but quite frankly, I’ve been in this business a loooong time and I’ve seen plenty a transfer saga – but COME ON! Even I’m getting sick of this! (Time to tune down the mouthpiece)

    And finally..

    5) SLOW DOWN Senor Nike… Pump the brakes.
    You are damn lucky to be where you are right now with a team consisting of this much quality. Sit tight, loosen your grip off the reigns and these boys will make you look damn good (look what they did to Laportatius – from no confidence vote to hero). I only advise you so because, if your antics end up impacting the squad (which they very well may) and if things turn sour, then my finger (and my power over public opinion) will be squarely pointed in your direction. With a squad and coach who have consistently proven their worth, you really are left with NO EXCUSES.

    With that, I wish you the best of luck my friend (and NO, I don’t want your damn honorary pin).


    Big Papa Cruiffedes

    PS. Not sure what triggered the Sandro bashing mood, but it’s definitely been a long time coming. I think it must’ve been some of the ignorant (or should I say, misinformed/misguided) Barca fans on other sites who were actually opposing these very views of Cruiffedes in support of Sandrusco.

    • IS
      September 8, 2010

      PS. That PS at the end of the ‘letter’ wasn’t part of it… you know? (I haven’t slept in 48hrs.. forgive the rant)

  68. barca96
    September 8, 2010

    Arogones thinks that Madrid is far behind us and on the same level as Valencia and Atl. Madrid. Haha. He clearly has beef with Raul Madrid.

    So we have to continue paying Mino unless Ibra is sold. Either Mino is one hell of an agent or we are poor negotiators.

    “Mino Raiola would receive the agreed FIFA maximum 10 per cent proportion of the player’s salary, meaning over the five-year contract Raiola was set to receive around €6 million (£4.98m).

    According to a report by Marca, the payments were set over the full period, with the only clause preventing the agent from receiving his annual money being if the player unilaterally broke ties with the club.

    Due to this Barcelona are set to continue to pay Raiola for another four years, after spending a huge fee and wages on the now departed striker.”

  69. Kxevin
    September 8, 2010

    As for the Argentines ranting about the wrong team won, etc, whatever. Your own fault for hiring a coke-addled plastic surgery disaster as a coach.

    Fact of the matter is that with Spain’s real lineup, playing with seriousness, the outcome almost certainly would have been different. Was Messi kick ass? For sure. Was some of that kick-assedness due to the fact that we had absolutely NO command and control? You betcha.

    I, however, am more over the moon that my Beloved Bleus actually scored. Twice. I don’t care that it was against Bosnia. Those dudes haven’t been able to score goals in an empty stadium.

    • Jose
      September 8, 2010

      I frankly wouldn’t mind if France didn’t qualify for the Euro 2012 and World Cup 2014. Les Bleus were such a disgrace to the sport this summer.

    • Helge
      September 8, 2010

      Sounds like you count Bosnia to the low-skilled Europrean teams, but that’s not true anymore, Kxevin.
      They’ve got players like Dzeko, Pjanic, Misimovic and Ibisevic. Maybe their defense isn’t the best, but offensively they’re definitely a force to be reckoned with.
      Dzeko, Misimovic and Ibisevic are all essential players for their respective Bundesliga teams, and honestly, the Bundesliga has increased its level a lot lately, its definitely surpassed Serie A. Pjanic is a prospective star midfielder and we shouldn’t forget that he eliminated the EE last season from the CL 🙂

      Anyway, after the dismal performance against Belarus IN Paris, this convincing and completely deserved win cannot be measured high enough. Maybe we’ve truly seen the resurrection of France, as l’Équipe posted.
      I said it yesterday, the way France played in Bosnia and took the 3 points was the biggest surprise of the Euro Qualifiers AND international friendlies.

      • DontPanic
        September 8, 2010

        Yup, Bosnia has ENORMOUS problems in defense. They just don’t have the players of proper quality for those positions. Their two FB just started playing for NT – I think it was their second game. So even though they have great attack they are somewhat scared to go full out because they know they’re gonna get raped with counterattacks.

  70. vicsoc8
    September 8, 2010

    Ugh, just found out I will be missing the game this weekend. I’ve been dying during this international break, and now this? I need to watch a game here soon.

  71. blitzen
    September 8, 2010

    They got Hlebbed! Birmingham City reporting that Aleksandr Hleb will not play in this weekend’s game vs Liverpool due to a leg injury sustained in his Euro 2012 qualifying match against Romania on Tuesday.

    This guy should really endorse a line of furniture–benches, sofas, perhaps even lawn chairs–anything you can sit on and comfortably watch a football game you are not playing in.

  72. y2k156
    September 8, 2010

    Where exactly are Argentines saying stupid things? If the sources are goal or english press, one should know better.

    Almost all the argentine players complimented spain on WC victory. They know that their loss was of their own making.

    And match was quite even. With full spain line up, it might have been closer. But to say that outcome would be certainly different is going bit too far. I remember the last friendly between two nations in Nov which Spain won 2-1. Spain was better but it wasn’t by huge margin. Argentina had actually played much better in second half of that match as well.

    Yesterday, the score easily would have been 4-4. There were lot of near misses for spanish while Argies took pretty much all their chances.

    For me, it just reconfirms my view that Argentina, talent wise, are on par with spain. As a team, Spain is better at current moment due to Xavi. But on given day with competent coach, Argies are definitely match to anyone. So stop demeaning the victory.

    • vicsoc8
      September 8, 2010

      It’s not the Argentine players, but rather the Argentine press who has apparently allowed the win to go to their heads.

      • Jose
        September 8, 2010

        It’s just pent up remorse about what could have been. With the talent that Argentina had at its disposal, they could have had a better run that quarterfinals under better management.

        That their own AFA squandered on such a petty political move (hiring Maradona) has to be frustrating.

  73. barca96
    September 8, 2010

    Did anyone from here get a copy of Time magazine issued on the 6th of September? There is an article on Barca and it’s finances. If you do, please write back to the editor as they are ill-informed on our club.
    Perhaps just send a link to the SwissRamble report.
    As if our club hasn’t become the most hated over the summer by football fans and now even the non-football fans(Time readers) will have a negative introduction to FCb after reading the article.

  74. barca96
    September 8, 2010

    Surprise surprise…
    Pep picked Cesc as the best European midfielder for last season.

    • Helge
      September 8, 2010

      Where can I look it up? I’m interested in all the stupid coaches who voted for Milito as club player of the year and Sneijder for club midfielder of the year (as if Robben wasn’t superior to him).

      • y2k156
        September 8, 2010

        Well, winning does tend to weigh heavily in such considerations.

      • romario
        September 8, 2010


        some strange votes..
        i can’t understand why some coaches suggested cambiasso,iniesta or van der sar,cech as their first choice for uefa c.f. awards?

        cech was mostly injured during the season and did not really impress like in his past seasons..
        van der sar? choosing him instead of césar and valdés? come on luis you can’t be serious^^

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