Barca 5, Panathinaikos 1, aka “Playstation Football”

So, the cool thing about Playstation is that you can assemble teams, and they can pop the ball around and do really cool stuff. It’s all a video game, and provides hours upon countless hours of entertainment.

How cool is it that we have a real, live Playstation team to admire every week. Pep Guardiola has the controller, but we have the joy of watching “domination total del Barcelona,” as one of the Fox Sports commentators put it. And truer words have never been spoken. This match could easily have been 9 or 10-1, so lopsided were the statistics. We had the ball all the time, and spent all the time in their end of the pitch, essentially. They were never in the match, as we steamrolled out with a display of attacking football that had everyone wondering, 5 minutes in, why it wasn’t already 3-0.

So how absurd was it that after all that, Panathinaikos scored first?

I could hear the collective howl, that it was going to be one of those matches. The keeper bombs one long, Cisse does this insane, never again in his life on-the-fly flip directly into the path of Govou, who had Abidal dead to rights. He finished past a helpless Valdes, and that was that. 0-1 visitors, and I can bet that people were worried. Well, Panathinaikos had about another minute to celebrate the goal, before Xavi found Messi with a long pass that he threaded between two defenders. Messi controlled, flipped it past the keeper and we were off to the races.

Valdes, Alves, Pique, Puyol, Abidal, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Villa, Pedro! was the lineup that I wanted to see start the match against Hercules. If those guys had played for 15 minutes, it would have been 3 or 4-0, done and dusted. If you put marbles in a bowl, then put that bowl in a centrifuge, you have some idea of what the movement of our attacking players was like. It almost wasn’t fair, and you could see the “Oh, shit” looks on the faces of the Panathinaikos players, because professionals know that when a club is playing like that, you can only contain it for so long. Then that fraction of a step goes away, thanks to fatigue, and they have you.

The first goal was absurd enough, because it looked easy, but wasn’t. Not in any way, shape or form. Witness the other attempted passes that were intercepted and headed or kicked away by Panathinaikos defenders, passes from the feet of mere mortals. Now watch that Xavi pass again, as it floated, equidistant between the two defenders, directly not to where Messi was, but where he was going to be. Give that man the ball at his feet with only the keeper to beat, and it’s over.

The score was 1-1, impossibly, but everyone on the planet knew that it couldn’t stay that way for very much longer, because this was Barca football at its staggering best. You get the ball, and 3-4 midgets descend upon you, with quicker feet and more desire than you, to get the ball right back and resume the task of ripping your heart out. Or you get it into the midfield and that gangly dude is two steps ahead of you, to destroy the play and slide the ball to his midfielders, who resume the task of ripping your heart out.

The team’s best player is battling for the ball at the sidelines, working like a dog to break it loose, because the team seemed resentful when the opponent had the ball even for a second, as if the ability to play sublime, jaw-dropping football means that they should have the ball all the time. Possession stats were almost 80-20, and unlike the meaningless possession of the Hercules game, every time we had the ball, something good was happening. Guardiola was throwing his hands to his head time and again, as attacks resulted in shots that should have gone in, or passes that just missed.

But it was only a matter of time. The second goal came off The Luckiest Man in World Football, he who we call Pedro!. Dude took off on one of his crazy, high-wire runs that should have been stopped by the defender, but the ball bounced off the defender right back to Pedro!, who kept going, only to lose possession again and get it back …. again, forcing a corner that needed to have the defender ignore the keeper, who had the easy grab, and head the ball out for a corner. Crazy. Then in comes the corner, and the omnipresent Busquets heads across the box to a wide-open Villa, who slots home. 2-1, good guys.

And the relentless pursuit of goals continued, as Messi thwacked one off the crossbar before a delicate, seemingly impossible 1-2 with Pedro! (there he is again) found Messi again, running at defenders with the ball at his feet, in an area that makes him impossible to play. Because when he’s in the box, you can’t foul him, which is about the only way to stop him, and no matter what you do, he’s going to run around you. Unless he does a snap shot as he did in this instance, to make it 3-1 just before the half.

You never, ever want to be the next opponent of a club that has had egg rubbed in its face. Particularly not when that club is stacked with talent, talent that is still learning to play together as one of the most crucial parts figures his way through our thicket of brilliance.

The second half continued as the first, as another perfect pass found Pedro! directly in front of the keeper with the ball at his feet. I’m sure that he knows why he didn’t shoot, because I sure don’t. Then came a perfect pass from Iniesta to Abidal, who laid in a perfect cross for Villa, who did a Krkic in trying to get too fancy with a ball that should have been in the back of the net. And oh yeah, Messi missed a penalty shot by overthinking. The keeper stopped it, and the coolest part was the team was instantly there to console him, to make him understand that it ain’t nothing but a thang.

Messi had his revenge by taking a pass from Krkic and shooting from an impossible angle across the goal mouth and into the inner far post. Pedro! (again) was right there to bundle home the rebound, and it was 4-1. And then came this:

The word “ridiculous” has come into favor as a modifier with many uses. That party was ridiculous. That meal was ridiculous. It’s now overused, and has lost its power. But that goal was ridiculous. Flat-out, mindblowingly ridiculous. Because it was done in no space, and done perfectly. You can use words to describe it, to say that Alves popped a pass to Messi, who chipped a pass to Alves, who headed past the keeper. But words are so mundane for something that, in my notes, is represented as “Are you KIDDING me?!”

No.

I don’t know how far this team is going to go in its various competitions this season. And I don’t care. What I know is that it is capable of playing mind-blowing football, as it did today. People will say “Oh, it’s just Panathinaikos,” and dismiss it. Because they didn’t see it. You can say about a high-wire act, “Dude walked on a wire between a couple of buildings.” It sounds so mundane. Then you see it, how thin the wire is, the absence of a net, and your mind is blown. Likewise, you see our players control the ball in between two defenders, or Iniesta pull off a ball move that makes the defender fall down, and you can’t even wonder how it’s possible. All you can do is enjoy it.

Team: 10. It was everything in depth, from defense to offense to fighting for possession. This was exactly how we all knew this club could play. There might be another clunker or two in this season. But today, the effort was there to go with the brilliance. If the best is also the most fluent and hardest-working, how can you argue with that?

Guardiola: 9. He had his charges ready to play. I thought that he left Messi out there for too long, but that’s just me. The match was over at 3-1, and sure as hell over at 4-1. He did make the right substitutions, even though he put us down to 10 men with the Krkic sub.

Valdes: 4. Probably gets a higher rating if not for the fact that the one thing that he had to do all match, he fluffed. Usually he’s ready for action, but today he was totally flat-footed and waiting to be beaten by Govou. I guess I’d be ball-watching too, though, with an attack like we had today.

Alves: 7. His flitting up and down the right side of the pitch is so crucial to our attack. And when a team just lets him do what he wants, as Panathinaikos did, he influences the game in profound ways. You have to honor Messi, Villa, Xavi and Iniesta, then you worry about Pedro!, and here comes Alves. When he gets the ball the defense shifts, and the danger begins. He was caught out of position on more than a few occasions, in his role as offender (offensive defender).

Pique: 8. Not a lot to do but did it beautifully, including key interceptions of the few times that Panathinaikos did charge into our end. And the Piquenbauer boots are in full effect as he charged up the pitch, delivering the ball to the precise spot that we could do damage with it.

Puyol: 9. We are a different defense with him on the pitch. He is almost always in the right spot at the right time with the right play, including stopping a Panathinaikos break that was reminiscent of the one Saturday that resulted in Hercules’ first goal. Captain Caveman just slid over and dealt with it.

Abidal: 7. The Greyhound got smoked on the goal, plain and simple. I don’t know that any defender alive had the pace to do anything with a full-tilt-boogie Govou, who was able to take the ball in stride, but part of defending is position. Call me harsh, but Govou was making that run from far enough back where it shouldn’t have been a surprise to Abidal. But after that, he was almost inch perfect, fluent and powerful.

Busquets: 10. Hard to believe there was a time when people doubted this dude. If you watch the match again, spend some time just watching him. It’s sublime, from the perfect passes that he doles out, getting ambitious only when there’s a sure payoff, to the way he is always where the ball is, including one time when Alves was caught up the pitch. He destroys and then creates, winning the ball then distributing it. Wonderful. And I don’t know if that was a shot or an assist for the Villa goal, but it looked too deliberate to be a shot.

Xavi: 9. He was absolutely, spot-on brilliant today. The difference between he and Iniesta is worth noting again, as we saw a number of Iniesta passes that were full of ambition, but intercepted at the defense. You can see Xavi consider those passes, but wave them off in his mind for the absolute, sure thing. And when he does spank a long pass, you know it’s going to get there, because it’s Xavi. Just wish that his finishing matched his passing.

Iniesta: 8. If he stays healthy, we have the best midfield in the world. Period. His passing, ball control and runs with and without the ball destabilize defenses in a way that makes the lives of the forwards so much easier. Then he stops, and slides a pass to an on-the-run attacker. As noted above, his ambition loses us possession at times, a complexity less problematic with Xavi on the pitch. At some point, I will stop panicking whenever he takes a hard challenge. I just have no idea when that time will be, folks.

Pedro!: 7. He started out very strong, then disappeared for too long as our high-wire act did its thing. His effort is off the chart, and his football IQ is constantly improving. Still don’t know why he didn’t shoot, but I do know that when he is on the pitch, good things happen that he creates with his almost constant movement. The effect on and for Alves was huge. And his first 10 steps are so fast and effective that he gets to balls that defenders have a seeming leg up on.

Messi: 8. What a staggering match in terms of effort, results and dedication to the colors. He still solos more often than he should, particularly when he’s smelling a hat trick or some such milestone. And that penalty miss was pretty pathetic. But he’s passing more, and passing better this season, which should fill the footballing world with dread, if it hasn’t already.

Villa: 7. He’s finding his way, but is getting there faster than we could have hoped. At times he looked almost fully integrated with our offense today, but didn’t make a few runs that he should have. Note that people called Ibrahimovic “lazy” and “static” for not making those same kinds of runs. Villa has to learn, as did Ibrahimovic and Eto’o, that you get your butt to the front of the net when an attacker has the ball on the wing. Excellent crosses went begging on more than one occasion, crosses that are the job of the forward to put away. And again, lay off the mustard, and just tap that Abidal cross home.

Substitutes

Krkic (for Villa): 2. Nice pass to Messi. The end. It was another earnest but almost wholly ineffective display from CT. Guardiola put him in because really, who else do we have to substitute for Villa? But I wonder what Guardiola thinks as he makes that move. Each match brings its own evaluation, and I don’t know if he is trying too hard or what the deal is, but again today, he just didn’t cut it.

Milito (for Pique): 5. This is a deceptive rating because players start from 0 and work their way up. He was playing his way to a much higher rating, and showed his immense value with that key interception that broke up a Panathinaikos attack. And dude, when the ball falls at your feet on the doorstep of the goal, shoot! Shoot Gabi, shoot!

Mascherano (for Xavi): 4. A few bad balls, and one overambitious pass that could have led to something bad, had we not been playing so well collectively. Had a couple of excellent wins of the ball, again in a way that takes care of business without doing anything that would endanger the team with a foul or a card. Can’t wait to see him once he gets it all figured out.

P.S. Spare a moment and a good thought for Antonio Valencia, the talented Manchester United attacker whose season came to an end today on a fluke of a play, really, in which a fairly mundane challenge resulted in a shattered ankle. That’s how easy it can happen folks.

And finally ….


“Damn, I’m good!”

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Written by:

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.

165 Comments

  1. barca96
    September 15, 2010

    Hmmm nobody mentioned about the superb build-up play that led to Messi hitting the bar after Xavi sliding it right to Messi.
    THat was most probably the nicest build-up play I have ever seen.

    If you still cared about Ibra, have a look at this. Kinda shocking.

    **http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaE4d3nAL0g&feature=player_embedded

  2. blitzen
    September 15, 2010

    Is it just me, or do we all spend way too much time thinking about a team that for most of us isn’t even on the same continent?

    Still, I wouldn’t change a thing. 😀

  3. barca96
    September 15, 2010

    Did you guys see the back heel pass from Wilshere to Chamakh.
    Now that was really nice!
    Kxevin, I know you don’t like mustard, but you gotta admit, that was brilliant 🙂

    • Kxevin
      September 15, 2010

      I don’t like mustard when you don’t need condiments. I didn’t see the play in question, but if something fancy is the only way that you can get it done, and you have it in your skill set (witness the Ibrahimovic assist to Pedro! last season, for example), then rock on.

      I’m just not a fan of mustard for mustard’s sake, so to speak.

  4. GREECE BARCA
    September 15, 2010

    well i hate madrid like all of us.my comment about oezil was made cause we had the chance to take him in a very good price.pep sometimes confuse me with his transfer policy..oezil can play in wings or midfield.and don.t tell me again about tiago,santos,romeu e.t.c.any of you have see this guys playing any minute?me no.against pathetico will play the same boys.

    • Kxevin
      September 15, 2010

      Guardiola’s decision about Ozil was made with the full picture in his head. Had he not had the confidence that Thiago and Dos Santos wouldn’t have been getting harmed by the acquisition of Ozil, I’m sure that he would have done the deal. Ozil works for them because they had a need in the position that he plays. We don’t, the Fabregas lust notwithstanding.

      The decision was X million Euros and stilted development and potentially a lost player or two, or taking a stand and looking at the future of this club. Time will tell if Guardiola made the correct decision.

      • poipoi
        September 16, 2010

        that ozil looks good, and he wanted to come. I guess then he WAS comitted with FCB, which is what pep likes so much. It wouldn’t have hurt to add a little variety to the team… a creative and vertical player that can really play mid or wing… besides it was 15 million for a 22 year old!!! bad, bad call by pep IMO, chigrisnkyi style. And the youngsters haven’t played a minute in la liga yet. I just don’t understand… only when Fabregas comes to mind. But anyway I don’t want Fabregas that bad, he was ours then left and now will cost us around 30 or 40!!! (that is what I call a bad culé with irresponsible behaviour) Ozil would have been 15!!! And he would have brought new stuff to our game me thinks.

        One single injury can hurt us a lot this year (think of players like pedro! messi villa iniesta xavi) and let’s not think of two “offensive player injuries” at the same time. He could have fitted in any of those places

  5. Kari
    September 15, 2010

    A collection of Barca misses after amazing build-ups (well, most of them) from last season (and some from the Treble winning year)

    /http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeWFIGFp4LM&feature=fvwk

    No prizes for guessing who appears most often. 😀

    • Ethan
      September 15, 2010

      Haven’t Watched Yet So Takin A Guess.
      Goin With Bojan…Am I Right, Am I Right????? ; )

      • Kari
        September 15, 2010

        Nope. Nice guess, though. Here’s a hint:

        He’s tall, dark and handsome short, pale, and awesome.

      • Diego S.
        September 15, 2010

        Pale –> Ghostface ! 😀

    • September 15, 2010

      exciting!

      my guess: Romario!

      • September 15, 2010

        very wrong

    • Ryan
      September 15, 2010

      Aw, I remember that across the field corner that essentially became 3 crosses finishing with an Henry header. So close!

  6. jose89
    September 15, 2010

    anybody see the Müller goal in the bayern v roma game? wow.

    • Kxevin
      September 15, 2010

      Yes! Absurd. No keeper alive stops that one, because the shot made the impossible not quite so.

  7. jose89
    September 15, 2010

    and does anybody have a video of that iniesta touchline move? what a sublime touch to move it away from the opponent’s reach.

    • Kxevin
      September 15, 2010

      Unfortunately, no. And then he passed it to Xavi, who proceeded to smoke a pair of defenders with that spin move of his. You know it’s coming, but you just can’t do anything about it.

    • Jnice
      September 16, 2010

      It’s in the beginning of this video:

      *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBjz9hwlLtA&feature=sub

      • jose89
        September 16, 2010

        thanks for that Jnice.

  8. Kxevin
    September 15, 2010

    JJust sitting down to the Bayern match, and imagine that! Robben is in street clothes.

  9. Kxevin
    September 15, 2010

    And Milan’s bargain striker kinda did okay for them today. 😀

  10. gv
    September 15, 2010

    Just OT, speaking of playstation football, has anyone tried the fifa 11 or pes 11 demos?

    barca features in both demos. in the pes demo, it’s only bayern and barca. Plus ibra’s still with bara in both demos. hope ea and konami updates this. Atleast, we’ll get to play with the villa, messi, ibra trident! 😀

    here’s the fifa dl link,

    *http://static.cdn.ea.com/fifa/u/f/fifa11_pc_demo_EU.zip

    and pes

    *http://dl.pes2011.konamionline.com/pes2011/package/PES2011_Demo.exe

    they’re both the pc version btw. fifa improved a lot. i mean a LOT!

    • gv
      September 15, 2010

      they’re both ~1.3gb by the way.

    • Jnice
      September 16, 2010

      Yeah, I played the demo for Xbox. It’s real nice. Looks like I will be ranked top 20 in the US again this year. 😀

      I have to decide who I will use, though. Busquets or Mascherano. It’s a video game, I have no favorites lol.

      • poipoi
        September 16, 2010

        lol… I don’t play much but it’s always nice to have a tall dude in there to stop the rival’s air play 😉

        I used to play with Guddy in there and he kicked so much ass!!! lmfao

      • Josep
        September 16, 2010

        So you play for XBox? what’s your GT we can play, either the World Cup game now, or 11 when it comes out.

    • Jose
      September 16, 2010

      When I saw a Real Madrid player as the cover screen, I threw up a little. Thankfully, FIFA broke its usual one team per league demo policy, so you can play El Clasico.

      FIFA 11 does look promising. Interesting note, Pedro! and Bojan have both been bumped up to an 81 rating, and Busquets, I think, is even higher. Ibra is still in, though that’ll definitely change. Btw, the Barca starting front three are Pedro, Villa and Messi.

      Apparently, one notable thing is that player personalities are more realistic… i.e., you won’t have Iniesta give the kind of cocky celebration someone like CRon would. Small, but nice attention to detail.

  11. September 16, 2010

    Yeah Kevin, I have t say you may be putting to much into this number thing. Surly the number is important in many cases, but in this case it is obvious that Pep was trying to to instill a bit of confidence into Bojan by giving him a number that is synonymous with class and pure greatness. It may backfire, it may work well, but mocking him and calling him 4.5 does nothing good. I understand expressing your frustration due to your perceiving his inability to preform to your, if I may say so, overtly high standards. You and Issiah are tremendously important to this blog, (you guys founded it for Christ sake), and your opinions carry a lot of weight with your readers, so your being down on Bojan will in all likelyhood cause a snowball effect making him Mr. Unpopular this season. Those of us who disagree, either because we think he needs more time to mature (name me another 20 year old striker that holds down a starting role on a top 5-10 team), or because we think that his performances underrated will in all probability be in the minority as the season drags on, but surely you can see both sides of the argument and give the kid his due when he does well.
    As for Tuesdays game I would argue that for long stretches Villa was a ghost out there, and only made an impression with a junk goal and a few nice linkup with Messi. And his complete inability to stay on side is becoming an issue, as it disrupts the flow of our buildup. Why not call him 3.5? No doubt he is a class player, but he was rendered useless early on because our attack was running consistently through the right side with Messi and Alves finding tons of space. So when Bojan took over on the left it is no wonder why he did not see much of the ball. Finally I think it is important to remember that Bojan will not have the ball facing up to fullbacks very often when playing on the left because Abidal is not a very offensive fullback, so he wont link up with a LW as much as Alves, who is overtly offensive will link up with players on the right. I know you hope for the best for Bojan, as we all do, I just wish you would vocalize your support more and defend him as staunchly as you did Ibra all last year.

    • Kxevin
      September 16, 2010

      Once and for all, I am not down on Krkic. I will call him out when his performances don’t match the expectations of being first team on the best club in the world, but duh. I expect that anyone else will, as well.

      When he stops playing like half of a real 9, I’ll stop calling him 4.5. This space has a nickname for failure, called being Hlebbed, and nobody said boo about it. We started calling Gudjohnsen Oso (bear) because I said that at times his play with the ball was like giving a bear the car keys, and nobody said boo. Now suddenly it’s “You might damage poor little Bojan.”

      He’s a 20-year-old multi-millionaire athlete playing first-team football on the club that we all love. And right now, he’s doing it for shit. Go back and look at the stick that Henry took for underperformning. Or Ibrahimovic in more recent memory. Or Abidal. Or Busquets. If Krkic becomes Mr. Unpopular this season, it will be because of his play. Same thing happened to Hleb, and his play didn’t even fully justify it.

      And Krkic occupies a role on a top 5-10 team. He doesn’t hold it down. Henry performed better than Krkic has been, and got benched for his trouble.

      As for Villa, I suggest you watch the match again, without trying to justify his poor play through the prism of defending Krkic. His movement, passing and link-up play enabled much of our Playstation football. And he was perfectly placed to take advantage of that midguided Busquets shot. The left side went dead when Krkic came in, not because they weren’t giving him service but because he wasn’t doing what he was supposed to be doing to get service. There’s a difference.

      Finally, I did not defend Ibrahimovic. I defended what he did for this club. When Krkic gives me 21 goals and 9 assists, I’ll defend what he does for the club, too.

  12. September 16, 2010

    Someone made a comment about how how fickle many of us fans were, and I cant agree more. At the end of last season, nearly everyone on this site was applauding young Bojan for stepping into a starting role and preforming more than adequately all while having to fill the shoes of the “best, most expensive and overall technically proficient” strikers the world has ever seen in Ibra. Well to remind everyone, mister 4.5 scored 8 goals in the seasons final 11 matches, which was second only to Messi during that period. So far this season we have played in three games that have mattered, clearly the sample size is not large enough for us to pass final judgment on Bojans season.

    He is not Messi, or even Robbie Keane (lol) but a goal every 57 minutes in his last 11 games is fairly impressive.

    • Kxevin
      September 16, 2010

      If you will recall, I was not one of the ones applauding Krkic for doing anything other than his job. It’s easy to pass judgment on people, calling them “fickle” when they don’t hew to your set of expectations. And it’s wrong. It’s also not in keeping with the spirit of this space.

      What if they are judging Krkic as they should be? Because here’s the thing: The first team isn’t for player development. Particularly not with a short squad such as we have. It is for performance. Meet expectations, or sit.

      When Krkic has a good match, he has always been praised. By everyone. But when he’s been crap, he should take the stick like any first-teamer.

  13. Diego S.
    September 16, 2010

    Don’t Judge Bojan depending on the first 3 Games of the Season .. He has a whole season to prove himself or at least till January .. Get Good or Get Gone !!

  14. Bundy
    September 16, 2010

    I don’t think this will be the make or break season for Bojan, hell no!

    firstly we have to consider that the past few CFs we had were not satisfactory in the CF position either. Ibra was a good player, and made good performances but he didn’t bring what the team needed at CF. Eto’o was a prolific finisher and could easily coexist with the passing system, but! he was limited, he couldn’t pass good enough and his touch wasn’t good enough either. Whether he was what the team needed, remains to be seen, because well, the 09/10 season we played against teams who defended differently against us, something maybe Eto’o would have struggled with.

    other than those two, we have very little options to buy another CF, unless we splash the bug bucks, but does Pep really want to splash the cash on a player who will more likely fail due to the strict demands the CF position holds in this team? surely not after what happened with Ibra

    Usually the best CF we can get are fairly old and high priced, not Ideal for us in my eyes.

    on the other hand, we could invest in younger CFs and build them up under less expectations, really we should be doing this and we already have a young CF, but is he built up under lower expectations? its debatable. I just think we are taking things too quickly with Bojan here, especially when we want to avoid certain situations like the Ibra saga.

    Bojan seems to be playing LW more often than CF, but CF is where Bojan will most likely be playing his trade in the future. He does look right now very out of place, but again, he isn’t given the time he deserves.

    Right now it seems very very difficult to find a good transfer option for CF. But i just think Pep is taking Bojan on slowly and giving him the time, even if he is not performing well right now, he is pretty much the best option we have, even more so than players we can buy for millions.

  15. poipoi
    September 16, 2010

    “Busquets: 10. Hard to believe there was a time when people doubted this dude. If you watch the match again, spend some time just watching him.”

    Not that hard to believe, people trashed him all the time in here not that long ago. I guess the shade of yaya was too long like we say in Spain but he has even overcome the modafriggin shade of his yayaness which is nothing but epic. There are times I spend like 5 or 10 minutes of the game (I mean live) just watching Busi, he is amusing even when not touching the ball. And his anticipations make me rise of my seat shouting BUSSEEEY!!!

    I think it’s only his third year in primera, this hijoputa is gonna be such a legend if he keeps it like that 🙂

    • poipoi
      September 16, 2010

      btw… “Krkic (for Villa): 2.” I have to sadly agree, now he’s starting to worry me and the fact that “who else do we have to substitute for Villa?” 🙁 messi? nothing else if not more cantera.

      rochina time!!!!

      • September 16, 2010

        Clearly it should be KERRISON TIME!!!

        The guy is not cup tied (Santos), and is silly good. He is a pore mans pato, or you could say he is like Pedro with solid ball handling, good instincts and tunnel vision in front of the net. Plus I believe he could play on the right wing, either subbing for Messi, in copa games, or simply allow messi to play as a false 9 against teams that are parking the bus. Mainly, what are we loosing by letting him in the squad? A squad I may add that has serious depth issues.

    • Kxevin
      September 16, 2010

      And again, I have to say that people in here trashed Busquets because his performances usually warranted it. Remember the diving, and misplayed passes and wayward headers that cost us goals. It wasn’t that long ago. Now that he is playing up to the standard of his place in this squad, people are praising him. That is as it should be.

      The only player who took a long time for people to come around on was Valdes. For a while it was “He was good, but he’s going to be bad the next match, because he isn’t a world-class keeper.” But the doubters know better now.

      • September 16, 2010

        Yet sometimes people take time to understand what a player bring for the team. It is safe to say that Busquets started to get some credit during the world cup. But there is a reason why he was called to the national team in the first place.

        The main reason is that we cant avoid comparing players. That is the mother of all confusion. It happens almost on annual bases. Remember. Abidal and Alves. Keita and Iniesta. Busquets and Yaya. Ibra and Eto’o. Iniesta and Xavi…

        I do think that avoiding such comparisons and trying to evaluate a player based on his role and qualities that he bring to the squad is the roadmap to be fair with each and everyone.

      • poipoi
        September 16, 2010

        I remember the most his game vs Manchester in the final, having been only that current season with the 1st team. He did a great WC but del bosque had to call him for a reason.

  16. September 16, 2010

    Actually the answer to our “young, cheap” striker needs may be over. Juanmi is available for only for only eight million euros, his buyout. Now after spending a cool 100 mil on Villa and Ibra, this investment seems reasonable to say the least. It would also leave us with a trident of young forwards to compete for time and feed off eachother in training, Juanmi. Bojan and Pedro. I could see this working, as we always seem to do better with players we buy who already ply their trade in Espana.

  17. September 16, 2010

    ****http://www.football-italia.net/sep16e.html

    Ibra acting douchey once again

  18. Helge
    September 16, 2010

    Apparently, we have to pay 26.7m € to a TV station after our case got dismissed by the appellate court…
    *http://www.as.com/futbol/articulo/barca-debera-abonar-sogecable-otros/dasftb/20100915dasdasftb_14/Tes

  19. September 16, 2010

    Regarding Bojan: I agree with Kevin that Bojan need to show improvement, or else the club must not keep being the hostage of Bojanism.

    What I dont agree with, is making it Bojan’s fault for being the only “9” we have beside Villa. Managing Bojan’s growth as a player was wrong. He is a victim, not the one to blame. Does that give him the right to stay forever with the squad even if he doesnt improve? No. It offers him more time, but not endless time.

    • Kxevin
      September 16, 2010

      Egg-sactly.

  20. Josep
    September 16, 2010

    So what’s the Keirrison deal anyways? I’ve heard so many rumors. One of my favorites is that with the Keirrison loan, Santos have given us a right to first buy on Neymar..

    Now Neymar I think is someone who could be the future #9.

    Look at it this way, we want someone so great at the CF..and we haven’t had the perfect one. As noted, everyone had their flaws. But with Eto’o and his flaws we still won a treble.. what if someone perfect for the system played up there? We’d be unstoppable.

    I think Neymar is that player. I buy the hype on this guy, and he can also float out wide on both wings and I believe is both footed.

    But what’s the history on Keirrison? I knew he was highly wanted, we play 20mil right? And nothing? Just some loans..

    Our future CF, if not Bojan, should be Keirrison, Neymar, or Lukaku. I wouldn’t mind seeing Lacina Traore but I don’t think his on the balls skills are good enough.

  21. Barcathegreatestever
    September 16, 2010

    Sergio looks more and more like Xavi and should step into that role before Iniesta if needed IMO. Pedro, Villa, Messi and Iniesta are the heart of Barca’s attack and shoulder the responsibility of that limelight. Bojan has shown his quality meaning absolute freaking brilliance going back to the CL under Rikjaard and sadly some mental inconsistency as has Pique and Sergio. His goal and assist numbers measured against minutes on the field compare favorably to other forwards and lastly his devotion to Barca warrants further consideration and respect. The guy is not a starter and won’t peak for another 5 years. Comparing him to guys at the peak of their careers, 28 to 30 year olds is not warranted.

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