Another Day, Another Post About International Break

I didn’t actually know until writing this what nitpicking came from, though I suspected something along those lines. This article isn’t quite as annoying or gross as having eggs in your hair, but it is sort of a random list of things that piss me off. Today is the Scotland-Spain game at Hampden Park (3pm EST on ESPN Deportes), so at least there’s the possibility of seeing some blaugrana boys in action, but it’s obviously not the same.

Let’s get started, though:

First, I’m going to attack Real Madrid for being afraid of their own players. Sport reported yesterday that RM included a clause in their loan deal of Royston Drenthe stating that it would cost Hercules €2m to play him against RM. Obviously that’s means a no go for Hercules who, like any club, cannot afford a €2m match. What babies. Fraidy cats. You loan out a player and you’re scared to have him play against you? Were we scared of Henrique playing for Racing on opening day? Of course not. Personally, I think Hercules should be able to start whoever they feel like starting against every team and to deny them that means you’re scared of your own players, in which case, why did you loan them out? Clausula de la vergüenza, indeed.

What’s with the need to discuss transfers in the middle of October? Are we giving up on the first half of the season already? Are we trying to fast forward to the point where rampant, unfounded speculation has a chance of being right? Or are we just so bored during international break that making shit up is the only way to get through the day? I don’t want to buy anyone in January. I don’t want to discuss buying anyone in January. Maybe we can do so in late December, but for right now, no. You don’t know, the rags don’t know, and I certainly don’t know what Pep, Zubi, and Rosell are thinking and planning. And if we did know what Pep was thinking, we’d go insane over how brilliant it is, so don’t wish that upon yourself. Just wait for it to happen and be in awe.

I really hate European international competitions. They’re like 2 years long to qualify for tournaments and they happen constantly. Sorry, but figure out a better way to do it that doesn’t require 84 international breaks a year (that’s more than 1 per week!). My first suggestion? Remove San Marino, Andorra, and the Faroe Islands from the competitions. No offense to those guys, which are probably wonderful places visit, but when you have 1 victory to your name ever (stand up, San Marino) and that victory is over Lichtenstein in a friendly, you probably shouldn’t be playing Spain, Germany, etc and causing undue strain on domestic leagues. How about some play-in games like the Champions League? That would reduce the number of matches immensely if you had some knockout qualifiers before a larger league table. So yeah, I hate European internationals despite the fact that the games themselves are quite fun.

The Chilean miners might get out of the mine tomorrow, which is amazing and wonderful and all those other ways to describe freeing miners from a collapsed mine half a mile underground. The Phoenix capsule that’s going to bring them back up is so tiny I can’t think about it for long without shaking a bit. I’m not particularly claustrophobic, but I have a fairly irrational fear that if I’m underground, the earth will collapse on me. I don’t go into caves because of it, so when I see miners trapped half a mile underground, it freaks me out. The guys who are going into the mine to help the miners out are 1) totally insane and 2) braver than I’ll ever be. I hope everyone survives the ordeal and does so with a minimum of health problems. Maybe one of them will wear the David Villa jersey as they come up. That’d be awesome.

Also, we–Barça–should fly them to the Camp Nou for a match at some point this season, when they’re capable of travel, of course, so that they can meet David Villa. That would be the hotness.

Gaby Milito pulled out of training today with a calf injury. That’s no good, but can you say “Thanks Batista for playing him 90 minutes in a friendly in Japan”? I freakin’ can.

Xavi is doubtful for Saturday’s match against Valencia thanks to his Achilles problem. We’ll know more in the coming days, but as Valencia prepares for the match without Joaquin (whose name I inexplicably spell Jaoquin every time before correcting it), we should go forward thinking we’ll be without the maestro.

By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater New York City area with his wife and daughter.


  1. Well, i am following the liverpool saga on Guardian minute by minutes. Its just so funny and of course, sad. Still something to pass time by.

  2. I guess most of papers also need to fill something in and transfer do very well. They have my sympathy.

    It does appear that there are too many internation breaks this year. Not sure if this is just feeling or is backed by truth. And there are more to go in remaining time. Argh!

  3. spain under 21 against croatia. 0-0 (bojan and thiago are playing) min 40 or so.

    the link is not very good, don’t have anything else, it’s on spanish tv.


  4. So, I forgot to set up my DVR for Spain and France today, but thanks to Comcast’s remote DVR Manager, I could do it from my desk at the office. Suh-WEET!

    1. jealous.

      you can record a barca game from the desk @the office or in the middle of a bank robbery; as the commercial illustrates.

  5. guys do you watch games of national teams?i like a lot the russian N.T.they play fast attacking football but they are weak in defense!but they have 2 excellent gk akinfeef,malaveef.except russia only spain i can watch.the most european N.T are boring to death!(as we saw in W.C)

    1. I follow Spain and Germany, mainly. And I have always considered myself a fan of the Netherlands team–I had picked a Spain-Netherlands WC final right from the start and was thrilled when it happened. But the Dutch have pretty much abandoned the Total Football style of play, and aside from a few standout players like Sneijder and Robben, there isn’t much there for me to enjoy. Also the way they played in the WC final left a bad taste in my mouth.

      I would also follow Scotland, if they could ever get their shit together. Just for sentimental reasons.

    2. holland was my favorite team since i started watching football in 98, but i agree with you. i anticipated the final to be entertaining but the way they play ruins my mood.

      then i started following spain and recently germany. I used to dislike germany’s style of play, especially the 2002 world cup.

    3. God forbid that the US take on Jurgen Klinsmann and adopt an attractive, interesting approach to the game with a top tier coach at the helm of not just the full national team, but the whole of youth development.

      Way to step up to the plate, Sunil Gulati.

  6. barcastuff:
    Line-up Spain (vs Scotland): Casillas – Ramos Pique Puyol Capdevila – Cazorla XabiAlonso Busquets Iniesta Silva – Villa

  7. good point bout royston ricky drenthe….amazed that it is even allowed, seems to be it is false competition to have a clause in a contract saying certain players cannot play against EE but are okay to play against all the other liga competitors.

    also Ferguson beat us to it, Isaiah, since he already invited the miners to a Man U game. Classy move.

  8. I’m all for Faroe Islands and San Marino getting matches, though I agree sometimes the quality gap between Faroe Islands and Germany makes for a somewhat unnecessary match. I could see having the bottom half of Europe have a group stage (~8 matches each) in order to play into a final stage with Europe’s top half.

    That being said, every national federation in Europe is fine financially because they all play so many games. It’s not like CONCACAF, where out of 35 countries, only 12 play more than 4 games. It’s a good thing they’re getting rid of that joke of a qualification system for Brazil 2014.

    1. i guess one of the reasons is for national managers to see how their players play together on the pitch and not just in training camp. also for the big teams, matches against minnows provide the managers to try new young players.

    2. Yeah, the world will be a much better place when the USA doesn’t get to play Mexico, thus killing the region’s only good rivalry….and the world gets to see far more of the amazing football of St. Lucia.


    3. Yeah, stunting the growth of Caribbean football for the sake of two matches of an over-rated rivalry is the better path.


  9. Villa scores and equals Raul’s record!!!!! 😀

    Off a penalty, which is probably not the way he would have liked, but a goal is a goal, and now the pressure is off.

  10. anyone saw the serbian ultras rumbling with the riot police and getting the game against italy abandoned?.They broke into the serbian bus and threw a flair at one of their own players as well btw.

    In other news the selección watch as scotland run by and pull one back.

    1. saw that live!
      the serbian fans gone crazy…just insane!
      they threw their fireworks on the pitch almost hit the players, managed to cut the netwall etc..

      viviano got really lucky that one of the fireflares didn`t hit his shoulders..

      such a shame!
      and it was all planned by the red star belgrade hools in order to force the serbien football association president to step down..

  11. Dammit I am going to miss the last twenty minutes of the game. I may have to download this one.

  12. el león scores.God, why have our guys upstairs never realised we should have signed him since like 3 years ago (though unfair to athletic it would be)

  13. Real Madrid were smashed by there own -loaned out- players many times. They lost titles. Morientes (*Spelling) comes to mind. Portillo as well. So I kind of see where they are coming from. We give you our player so he gets experience and you benefit from having him against your/our rivals. It is like fielding a 12th man in your selection against your rivals thru loaning a player to serve you in another team. Every team looks for their own interest after all.

    Opposing normality, this time I see the continuous rambles about transfers healthy. Both to the existing players, and to the ones in the decision making. It needs no evidence that Pep wants another striker if he can get. That’s a given, considering the squad available (the same as there was a need for a holding midfielder last summer). Some facts in football needs no arguments. “IF possible” is the key term.

    Holland were really good against Sweden today. And Sweden made them look even better.

  14. whatever ramzi!they are chickens!haha!they afraid drenthe??i agree totally with isaiah!!

  15. haha!visco8 that was smart man!i like a lot when pique scoring against iker!even in N.T!it s a good practice for el clasico!and enough with ljorente!we loan ibra in milan and we did.n.t take huntelaar??the guy is a scoring machine!w o w

  16. I really don’t see why Del Bosque doesn’t just start Llorente from now on. And is anyone else glad to see Iniesta scoring?

  17. i really enjoyed villa tonight.his movement,his passing all was there.i laugh with people who already said bullshit about him.the guy is top scorer of spain in half of raul matches.he is a killer.

    1. I don’t know greece. His movements were always good, he always made good runs and received passes from Xavi & Iniesta. Never doubted him. Soon, he will start scoring.

  18. Anyone else notice Busi’s through ball early in the game to Villa, that Villa couldn’t quite control? What a pass! Made me think Xavi was out there.

  19. Read some disturbing stuffs on Pep’s blog.

    Both the Spanish & Argentinian managers really need to start experimenting with other players. Most of our players played full 90minutes for the past week;
    Smash, Messi, Milito, Pique, Puyol, Villa, Thiago, Iniesta & Busquets.
    At least for Spain I understand since it was both qualifying matches for the U21 & seniors but Argentina? Absolutely rubbish!!

    Why on earth are we being linked to both Cesc & Silva and at the same time, the outcome of a poll on SPORT suggests that a massive 79% of the readers think that Thiago should be promoted.

    I really hope Peter Lim, the Singaporean businessman get to buy Liverpool. Not a fan at all of Liverpool, but would love to see them coming down to Singapore.

    I remember back in pep’s old blod, a lot of people mentioned Ibrahim Affelay’s name. Since then, he has done absolutely nothing in the international stage. Finally he does something good last night although the move that led to the assist really reminds me of the Thong boy who by the way finally scored from a free kick.

  20. oh good lord, i am convinced, finally, that this madridista Del Bosque is a real good coach after all. i am not a fan, but i am really convinced… the inclusion and the use of Llorente paid off in this international break and he is proven to be decisive in this round of euro matches. 3 goals in 2 games and you wonder how good the player is, but i pay the tribute to the coach who chose him in the first place and the way he was being used in situation such as this.

    llorente’s goals are also the perfect example of an ideal plan b for our very own barcelona system as we all know spain is actually barcelona. his presence in the box + aerial threat, quickness to reach the crosses, actively seeking and fighting for space to head/receive the ball work just perfectly as a plan b, really.

    1. lol, took you long enough. Vicente may have coached EE, but he’ll always get a lot of respect and appreciation in my book. Classy guy and a really good manager.

  21. barca96 you forget alvez.i agree with you the situation is sick.i hope the board ask the players don.t used in international friendlies.

  22. i read in but i don.t understand spanish.they said he suffer from “un golp en el tendon”

  23. Looks like Villa is injured too. So we will most likely be missing Xavi, Villa and Pedro for the Valencia game. Looks like it’s going to be one of those seasons! 🙁

    If we are smart we go for Llorente in the winter transfer window. He is pretty much exactly what we need… a big, direct striker. He doesn’t try anything too fancy, he isnt interested in flicks and tricks, he just wants to score. That is the sort of player we need right now, he may not be the most technically gifted, but we have the best technical players already, what we need is a pure goal scorer and a target man. Llorente represents both and I bet he wouldnt cost an arm and a leg either.

    1. If the rumors about EE being interested in him are true, he may end up costing a lot more than what we’d ideally want (assuming we go for him, of course).

  24. yes but the winter transfers are in what?the advances of a small squad are already obvious.shit.

  25. so i guess the line-up will be:valdez,alvez(2 matches in the break)pique(also 2)puyi(2)abidal,busi,iniesta(2)keita,messi(1 game and a jet lag),bojan(2 games)and who?and don.t tell me that iniesta wil play L.W.without him in midfield our creativity will be zero.i will shut up until the match cause i am pissed of with pep

  26. Im going to have to disagree with you, Isaiah.

    Games against teams like the Faroe Islands and San Marino (No disrespect, these teams are weak, and theres no denying it. As Isaiah said, im sure they are great places.) are going to benefit those countries, as it helps promote football and lets it grow. This is exactly what were trying to get done in Australia, the more matches we have against top level, european or south american opposition the more the game grows, because EVERYONE wants to see stars.

  27. Think you got that one wrong Greeceyyyy Boi….





    Thiago, Jds, Nolito, Maxwell,Adrian, Pinto

  28. The doctor recommends to give Xavi another rest against Valencia, but Xavi wants to play. So would you rather listen to the player or the doc?

    I saw Bojan in the U21 match against Croatia and it was another abysmal performance from him. It’s a nice gesture from the club to talk about contract extension right now, but I really doubt Bojan’s mental ability to ever become a great player.

    The match against Valencia will be damn tough! Their players barely played in the Euro qualifications, whereas our players once again had to go the full distance (except of Villa, who was rightfully substituted against Lithuania and then got injured). Messi will have to be at his best if we are to take all three points from Los Ché.
    Now that we have effectively just two strikers left (Messi and Jeffren, I don’t consider Bojan as anything these weeks) wouldn’t it be a must to nominate BOTH Nolito and Soriano? I personally hope so, but I would already be delighted if one of them started the match…

  29. well, look guys, its not all bad.

    ok, Villa is injured, he may or may not play on the weekend.

    But a game is a game. Beating Valencia shouldn’t come down to how many big names turn up in the starting line-up.

    Surely, Iniesta could possibly move into the forward line, if Xavi is fit. if not another option could be Busquets in the Xavi role, and Mascherano as the pivot maybe?.

    We have lost Pedro and Villa, two players who are very alike, missing them sucks, but again, we are lucky we still have Bojan, who noone can replace right now.

    I am still a little annoyed that in general everyone tends to be over persistent when criticizing Bojan. Like right now it doesn’t really help in any way, we should rather be supporting our players, as fans thats usually our job and it has been missing for a while.

  30. Just making my way home after last night’s match at Hampden. What an atmosphere! Great game too. Nice to see Scotland show a bit more pride although Spain were much the classier side. First time I’ve see. Iniesta live. Unbelievable movement and passing – all done at what seemed like half pace. Just in front of us without looking down from a short corner he rolled his foot over the ball twice in quick succession with a player only a couple of feet away.

    Spoke to some Spanish fans on the train to the stadium who asked me to teach them Flower of Scotland as they were here to have a good time and wanted to sing along 🙂
    They couldn’t believe the flack coming Villa’s way already. Interestingly they split along clubines with Bojan, with the two Barcelona guys being harder on him than the others. Finally, can’t believe Spain’s winner. Howler from McManus no question. my granny could’ve finished it after that.

  31. And meanwhile, Les Bleus just keep on rolling. So happy right now. With every dynamic minute played, the memories of that funky-eyeglassed, coiffed jackass get farther and farther away.

    Xavi is going to be an ongoing problem, I fear. We have a heavy schedule, he is essential, and we don’t have an acceptable substitute. Some time off might do Villa good, so no worries there, other than that this means that we will have to play Krkic. If his mind is right, he’ll be good. If it isn’t, we’ll be playing with 10 men.

    Messi will have a very hard job. It’s probably time to unleash the Keitee!

  32. Breaking news! Hleb admits leaving Arsenal was a mistake, manages not to blame anyone else:


    Hleb told Sky Sports: “Of course it is my fault I left Arsenal but this has happened.

    “Not a lot of players say no to Barcelona but if I had known before what would happen of course I wouldn’t have gone.

    “I won the UEFA Champions League with Barcelona in 2009 but I didn’t play a lot. I lost a bit of my form and confidence.”

    Hleb is hoping a season-long loan under Alex McLeish at Birmingham can rebuild his confidence and kick-start a career that has been in steady decline for almost two years.

    “I made a decision to come to Birmingham,” he said.

    “I decided for one year to come back to the Premier League where I am very happy and want to take this chance.”

  33. looks like villa is playing vs his old club:


    1. Great news! So we can start with Iniesta-Villa-Messi up front and sub in Bojan or Jeffren if needed. Jeffren scored against Croatia the other day, so his confidence must be up, why not give him a run-out?

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