President vs President, and our beloved club is the loser

How do you want to remember Joan Laporta, our former president?

If you ask Sandro Rosell, you should remember him as he is here, a champagne-soaked spendthrift who lit his cigars with 100-Euro notes from the Barca treasury. And he must be made to pay.

If you ask Joan Laporta, he’s the man who presided over the most successful sporting year in this club’s history. Even the basketball team won the equivalent of the Champions League.

If you ask me, it doesn’t matter. I don’t care if Laporta did the limbo under a chain of flaming 1,000-Euro notes while gargling champagne, if he was right or wrong for doing so. At the end of the day, he did his job in my eyes, a job that Sandro Rosell should be so lucky to do as well.

But it isn’t that easy, in this world of lies, damned lies, numbers and ego.

As most of you know, Saturday’s first general assembly under the aegis of our new president featured a vote that was taken to hold Laporta personally responsible for fiscal mismanagement. It passed by a simple (and close) majority, and off we go, to court. The vote, that Rosell called one of the “most important” in Barca’s history, was 468-439, with 113 abstentions. It was a vote that Rosell called one “against mismanagement.”

Which means what? That Laporta is to be held accountable for the claimed 11m surplus that is more like an almost 80m deficit. Well, to the victor goes the spoils. That is, the winner gets to define the numbers and how they are presented. There is an excellent analysis of precisely this phenomenon here, at the most excellent Swiss Ramble. And at the end of it all, the real truth is that we will never know the real truth, which is probably somewhere in the middle of Laporta’s “everything’s rosy” and Rosell’s “look at what he did!”

But let’s look at just some of the catalogue of horrors:

EUR90,000 in U2 tickets
EUR4,937 for dinner??!!
EUR2.6m in private detectives and special security
EUR360,000 in private jet rentals for players and managers

These were some of the costs deemed “not necessary for the management of the club.”

Ah, more grey areas, because who says? We presume this means that under Rosell’s watch, visiting dignitaries will be given one of those jurassic hot dogs from the Camp Nou kiosks, some popcorn and the right to buy a seat to a match. In our “austerity” budget, why not, right?

I don’t care, because what Sandro Rosell is doing is ugly and personal, and it doesn’t befit the president of the best club in the world. Said behavior, which is in the the vendetta category for me, damages the global perception of the club. Can’t have writers nattering about a huge match against Valencia and an amazing second-half display. There’s a future King of Catalunya and his alleged financial excesses to be smacked down. Laporta says that he hopes he can do for Catalunya what he did for Barca. Rosell says what, spend almost 5k on a single night’s meal at a restaurant?

And so all of this crap comes out. Rosell says it’s all about transparency and accounting. Laporta says he built the best Barca ever, and Rosell and the board just hate me. The battle will go on, played out in the very public forum that is the Spanish, Catalan and global football media. The Guardian’s Sid Lowe has an excellent take on the matter. So does Santi Segurola.

And know that the next Barca president who takes over a club that is in black-inked, tip-top financial shape will be the first. If Rosell were really serious about cutting debt, he could sell Xavi, Messi, Iniesta and, oh, Pique, and probably knock 300-400m off that bottom line in a heartbeat. That’s what Valencia did, and they don’t seem to be that worse off for it. Recall that Nunez, Laporta’s predecessor, held the line on salaries, letting the likes of Maradona, Romario and (proper) Ronaldo find the door. And the club won 27 trophies during his 22-year tenure, so fiscal common sense can’t be all bad, right?

Again, I don’t care.

Did Laporta entertain? Yep. Do club presidents everywhere entertain? Yep. The restaurant bills for Hercules won’t be as big as they are for us, yes? And again, who really cares?

Because what a president, a leader is supposed to do is identify a problem and fix it. What a leader is not supposed to do is apportion public blame against his predecessor, then abstain from the vote to go after Laporta. It’s also behavior that I find loathsome, because dragging Laporta through the mud is ultimately dragging Barca through the mud, which I care about a lot more than Laporta’s reputation being sullied. If they are suing Laporta for fiscal malfeasance, why can’t we sue Rosell for behavior detrimental to preservation of the club’s image? Because that is exactly what he’s doing, and it has to stop. Not that it will, until every chance that Laporta ever had of any success in his post-Barca political life is gone. Because that, to me, is the real point of what Rosell is doing, hiding behind a cloak of “transparency” and “due diligence.”

You’re the president. Fix the problems, and shut up about it. “Hey! Look at what I have to do! This other dude screwed up so bad, now I have to fix it!” Those are the howls of an insecure man, the same kind of man who announces that soci membership will be restricted and then, of course, now that the quantity and quality of the body politic is therefore known, hey, online voting will be allowed in the next presidential election. And yes, the same kind of man who lays player losses (Ibrahimovic, Henry) at the feet of his predecessor, and player gains (Yaya sale) at his own feet. That’s the kind of transparent, straight-up accounting we need. Saints be praised! Now off with Laporta’s head.

2 Champions League titles
4 Liga titles
1 Copa del Rey title
4 Spanish SuperCopas
1 Club World Cup
1 UEFA SuperCup

The club forged historic partnerships with Nike in the MES program, and rather than selling the front of the shirt, decided to pay UNICEF to carry the organization’s logo on the front of what has become the most coveted shirt spot in all of world football.

That is mismanagement how, exactly? Oh, wait …. dinner cost too much, dammit!

I want my president to run the club in a way that brings it sporting and fiscal success, in that order of priority. I also want my president to be a credit to my club. Rosell is already a failure at this, and the farther his vendetta against Joan Laporta goes, the greater his failure. You can’t eradicate the memories of sporting success by telling people that the guy spent too much for dinner, private jets for the players and entertainment. No, you can’t blithely dismiss the extravagances, but you can’t make people forget that, when everybody was clamoring for Jose Mourinho, Laporta took a chance on some B-Team dude named Guardiola, who led the club to 6 trophies in one season. At least not by saying he likes expensive cigars, and so does his chauffeur.

You just can’t. Hell, you can’t even irrefutably argue that Rosell’s vendetta is damaging the club. There are probably many socis (at least 468 of ’em, in fact) who are outraged at the fiscal expenditures of Laporta, who believe that he should be held accountable, that the club can recover from any public black eyes.

I just don’t believe that their war and Laporta’s alleged malfeasance matters, because Rosell has a football club to run, one that has to start thinking about new contracts for the likes of Alves and Busquets (more money), that has two wee strikers who can’t seem to put the ball in the net, and a president who believes that dumping the free money that comes from club memberships should be eschewed so that we can make it easier for people to, someday, get their hands on a season ticket.

Success costs money. Laporta spent a lot of it, and almost certainly more than he should have. But elected presidents and true leaders don’t do what Sandro Rosell is doing. It would be like a newly elected U.S. President analyzing the books, deciding that his predecessor spent too much on redecorating the West Wing and entertaining, and asking the voting public for the right to go after the ex-President for fiscal mismanagement. You have a nation to run, dumbass. So get on with it.

By Kxevin

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.


  1. Firstly, I am all for going after Bush for “mismanagement.” For any number of actions.

    However, my real pet peeve with this whole scenario is this: Hearing multi-millionaires bitch about their legacies and pissing and moaning about whatever. It’s frankly annoying. If there was anything that actually happened and was detailed, then good, let’s take the bastard to court for fiscal mismanagement, because if they have misused funds, that’s illegal, get them back. But get on with it and stop bitching.

    This makes the club look bad and it makes me sad.

    So sick of this club president BS.

    1. i cant believe you so cruelly hectored SoMa, Kxevin. i really think we need to have a link to her collected works.

  2. Till this day I don’t understand why the soci’s voted for him. What makes Rosell’s plans for the club so special for him to win by record votes.

    I think it’s good though that he is pursuing these matters as you just can’t simply sweep it under the carpet.

    Great article btw, just about time.

    Btw, how come nobody mentioned Messi’s chest goal(2nd ever) against Valencia? He wasn’t a true Messi that day, but he was Superman!

  3. Courtesy of Pep’s twitter;
    -Jonathan Dos Santos and Thiago are the 2 B-team players that have the most chance to be promoted to the first team in January.
    I don’t really believe that JDS will be promoted. Pep hasn’t called him up this year yet. Maybe he will get promoted in order for him to renew his contract next season.

    Barcelona is following FC Porto midfielder Moutinho (24), who could be an alternative if a transfer of Cesc is not possible. [o jogo]
    ..I have never seen him play? Is he good? I’d rather splash the cash on Cesc to be honest.

    Poll result: “Would you sign Wayne Rooney for Barça?” Yes 52% – No 48% [el mundo deportivo]
    ..Case closed since Rooney said he isn’t gonna leave England. How about a poll on Torres?

    1. João Moutinho is quite good (but not as good as Cesc, obviously), yes. he’d be a very useful squad player, i think, and still young.

      i’m beginning to think that if Xavi is facing a long-term Achilles problem a move for Cesc seems better and better; while not near Xavi’s level yet he does score more goals and with our General in and out of the side he’d have a real chance to settle in, assuming he can accept a rotation with Xavi and Iniesta, the latter Guardiola has seemingly accepted to play on the left wing and not exactly being a durable little bulldozer either. if we want to compete in 60+ games a season, we can’t do that with 1 truly creative midfielder at a time + Messi. if Xavi isn’t going to be a permanent fixture in the side due to injury, OR if as we’ve seen Iniesta has been moved to the left wing, an additional creative attacking mid would be VERY useful.

  4. It’s been only a couple months, but already I can’t stand Rosell. He better not screw this shit up. We’re not going to see players like this for a long, long time, and if the results start falling off, I’m blaming mismanagement before anything else.

  5. A small point: If you’re going after (ostensibly foreign) membership to decrease the time it takes to get a season ticket, you’re going about it all wrong. They’re doing the right thing in terms of “you gotta do X to retain your spot” but it’s not like it’ll actually open up more seats (if takes 42 years now because 225 seats are opened every year, how would turnover reduce that time? I’m guess there would a decreasing number of seats freed up every year, meaning a smaller list would take just as long).

    Otherwise, for me, this is no longer about what actually happened, as Kevin alluded to, but a persona vendetta between two filthy rich assholes, as Luke pointed out. It’s also a question of responsibility and if Rosell wants to open that Pandora’s Box, I say let him. Then you look at his books when he leaves office and if they’re not spick and span, off to court you go, Sandrusco.

    And all that said, I’m not a huge Laporta fan. I was on the fence with the no confidence vote (leaning towards voting him out) and I think he’s a skeezy skeezemonster, but he filled the club with the right people (would Rosell argue that?) and turned a loss-generating club into a mammoth money generator. I’m not an accountant, so I can’t say who is right about the money, but Rosell’s numbers strike me as seriously questionable (Ibra’s *losses* were applied to last year? What? Loss is so abstract at that point).

    It should be: We paid X for Ibra on X date. We earned X for Ibra on X date. End of story. But of course there are tricks, which is why I think accountants are the most creative people on earth. As I write this, my lady is doing accounting homework and it sounds…creative. “What if we moved this to here–what about this? Can we apply that to next year?” Yeah. Sure you can. Why not.

    Ugh. I’m so happy tomorrow I get to write a preview about a match.

  6. Ibra said that the players were not mature at Barca? Man, that guy is really some shit.

    Ajax is indeed a good school, no wonder he showed them great respect by jumping around after scoring goals against them a few weeks back. Me, as an Ajax fan, was really disappointed when he did that. You learned your shit here you asshole!

    Another guy who doesn’t know how to treat colleagues or employees well.
    Real’s Director-General Jorge Valdano said : “Our problem is who to get rid of if Wayne Rooney comes here”, a clear indicator that the club would certainly make a strong move to get their man(Rooney).
    WHO TO GET RID??!!

  7. a disgraceful production, from beginning to end. is there anything Rosell can do without dragging the club through the dirt and making it look bad? every major move he’s made, from the severance of Ibrahimovic to the declaration of debts to the banning of non-Catalans to the legal assault on Laporta’s tenure, EVEN IF ANY OF THESE THINGS HAD MERIT, has been done in such a by turns heavy-handed, ill-considered, ridiculous and public fashion that it SURELY merits some serious doubts as to Rosell’s ability to run the club.

    the best rejoinder to the Laporta expense whining (bearing in mind that the internal review has already concluded no club money was actually taken by any members of the board) is this: when Laporta took over in 2003, our club’s turnover was around €130… now it’s €430. Laporta, for all his personal failings and yes probably a bit of over-extravagance, managed that rise in addition to all the sporting success.

  8. I think a problem is that there are two different issues (1) Laporta’s raiding the club treasury for personal expenses and (2) the discrepancy in accounts that gets you from a 11 million profit to a 77 million loss.

    I wouldn’t mind setting a precedent that Presidents can’t just run up the expense account on night clubs, spying on election candidates, and jobs for their mistresses. Let him and his people pay the bill for that.

    However, most of the discrepancy between the 11 million and 77 million has nothing to do with Laporta’s clubbing, etc. Rather, it is the result of Laporta’s financial team valuing assets and liabilities in a rosy-colored way that the audit deemed incorrect (e.g., budgeting that all the TV money under legal dispute would be paid to Barcelona in the coming year).

    I don’t see how Laporta’s people can be held personally responsible for that deficit, since it’s paper money. The most you can do is sue them for damages that the club has incurred from having its financial position misrepresented.

  9. I just don’t understand why so many members continue to support Rosell. This is insane. But, give the people what they want.

  10. for me it s insane to say that:oh yea we have 430m debt but look!united has 1billion!madrid 650m!e.t.c.that s not the point.laporta failed totally in financial area.that s a fact.if he spend barca.s money for private fun he must pay back.we lost a great opportunity to make that sporting succesful era also an financial succesful era.and for that i ll never forgive the previous board.also i believe toure,ibra,eto was all pep.blame him for those

    1. Nobody is comparing our debt to United or anyone else. What some are saying is that Laporta and his board QUADRUPLED the club’s revenues, won titles and greatly enhanced the club’s global standing.

      Private fun? Yes, like security to protect he and his family from death threats as a result of him taking on the Boixos Nois, and getting them the hell out of Camp Nou, so that families could attend matches without seeing fights, flying flares and knifings in the stands.

      Quite the bastard, that Laporta.

      “We lost a great opportunity to make that sporting successful era also a financial succesful era,” how, exactly? What would you call almost quadrupling revenues. A global club sells a lot more shirts than a national or regional one, and you do that with marketing and the right kinds of players.

      So if you’re going to assign blame, assign credit, as well.

  11. IF there truly was mismanagement of club funds then i agree that it should be looked into. It would be nice if it wasn’t in such a public manner, but this is the presidency of Barca, which truly represents more then a club, it is a figure head for a whole region of Spain.

    There is a better way of going about this though, such as identifying the flaw and finding a way to make sure it never happens again. But, politicians will take and chance they can to fling some mud on their opposition.

  12. “if truly there was mismanagement of club funds??”But it s obvious!in last 3 summers we spend 250m in transfers and now we have a small squad!!?!are
    you kidding me??we pray not injured xavi or alvez or messi cause we have no replacement!that.s a big club?we risked xavi against valencia!we miss milito for 2 weeks again!puyol and xavi have problems!we buyed adriano,tsigrinski but not oezil cause pep.s “feelings”.and now they want moutinho!ok.

    1. ozil is good I like him and he was like 15 mill or so it’s too bad. but nolito is better!!! he just has to jump bojan in the line

    2. That’s because there isn’t a proper replacement for Xavi or Messi. It kinda goes with the territory: if you have the best player in the world in that position, any replacement will be a drop in talent compared to the starter. It’s hard to keep any players that are close to that level of world-best ability on the bench, when they could be a starter for another club. I do agree that we shouldn’t be having such a small team though; chasing Cesc was silly and should have been spent getting a few more squad players.

  13. I just re-watched that BBC Documentary, “FC Barcelona Confidential” which tracks Laporta’s first year in office with Sandro as his right hand man. Its clear from the start how domineering Sandro was – he often addressed Board meetings before Laporta and even when Laporta spoke, it looked like he was reciting from a script written by Sandro. Until Laporta decided to be a real man and told Sandro to push off.

    In the initial parts though, they looked very much in love, did Laporta and Sandro. Laporta called him Sandrusco out of affection and hugged and kissed him all the time. He was the first person he’d call whenever something happened.

    Ironical moment there when Rossell shows prodigal prescience and says somewhere in the documentary – “Power divides.”

    There’s also a point where Sandro says, “Football Clubs have always been run as dictatorships because, lets be honest here, it works.”

    Another interesting point Sandro makes is when he notes that Barca may not have the most number of fans but it has the most passionate and militant fan base. Lets hope socis show him their passion and militant sides in response to his most recent rules.

    Finally, I liked that guy Ferrer Soriano a lot. Looked like a very, very sharp and balanced man. But looks like he’s seen too much of muck in the Camp Nou offices to hang on any longer. He seems to have returned to the corporate jungle – he’s heading Spainair now i think.

  14. they are like don quijote and sacho panza

    btw… yesterday I saw a late night sports show (“punto pelota” = mediatic cavern). this dude interviewed ibra in the street and he asked: “have you forvigen guardiola?” …guess what the genious said… “i forvave your sister” (in italian of course)

    I hope EE’s pepe gets him good and destroys him 😀

    1. …saNcho…

      timeless pic!! you can try to do it on purpose and laporta won’t look so wasted omg … lol

  15. last night I had a dream, EE didn’t even reach CL at the end of the year and they sign raul as a coach, raul asked for guti to be the second and bring some discipline to the team. can-you-imagine??? 😀

    1. Poipoi, tell this newbie-of-me what does EE stand for? (i mean, i know to what club it is a refference, but i’m interested in the meaning 🙂 ) Thank you! And may your dreams come true 🙂

  16. -Jonathan Dos Santos and Thiago are the 2 B-team players that have the most chance to be promoted to the first team in January.

    I think Nolito is more ready than JDS, He’s having a good season with the B-team. He’s a natural winger instead of shifting “Bojan and Iniesta” in the LW role.

    1. But damn. A host of clubs are interested in him; Fiorentina, Monaco, Benfica, Panathinaikos and Spartak Moscow. Better give him more minutes with the 1st team before he leaves for free next summer.

  17. Enough is enough with Sandro, the man is the president and does not need to continue to have a pissing contest with anyone that defies him, Cruyff, any non Catalan hopeful future e=members and of course Laporta. Here is how I see it, Sandro is an absolute hard ass in the Rahm Emanule/Dick Cheney mold. He, like these guys are loved by their base supporters, yet seem smug as fuck and tremendously douchesque to a lot of other people. Laporta, by no means was a saint., he seems like a hard guy to distinguish, he reminds me of Shattner as James T Kirk, a goofy also douchy guy who is so fucking arrogant its almost arrogant. 99.9 % of us “this blog” are not in Barcelona and have no clue what the wants and needs of the socis in town. Now I absolutley fucking hate to agree with Greece Barcelona lol, but what if the peeps are really gung ho about closing down membership and do believe that Laporta was ‘Makin’ it rain’ with hundred € bills, while amending pintos contract so that he is the highest paid player in la liga or some shit.

    Now personally I fucking hate Sandro, but the guy has stones and is gonna follow through on his promises whether we like them or not. my only hope is, his affinity for Brazilians will bring us Douglas Costa and even Nemar.

    Finally I hate questioning pep, and love Thiago and JDS, but if we passed on Ozil for €15 mil, and go strong for Cesc or Pastore for €35 mil plus, he is out of his mind. Finally, lets see what hapens with Rooney, its looking like if he goes anywhere its Man City, Madrid, Chelsea or us. But the one thing I wish football had was trades, i could see Rooney + Carrick for Cesc + Camchack + Macheda or Welbeck.

    1. i also don’t really understand why we don’t go after ozil instead. or maybe pep thinks that cesc will definitely come back to barca hence ozil will be wasted.

      anyway, rooney said he won’t leave england, so it most probably be citeh.

  18. Very well written article, Kxevin. I can’t pretend to any great knowledge of financial matters–I’m great at math until you put dollar signs in front of the numbers and everything becomes a lot less concrete–but I agree with Isaiah that accounting is an art rather than a science and can be used to prove just about anything.

    I have no great liking for either of them on a personal level. “Filthy rich assholes” pretty much describes them (thanks again, Isaiah!). But Laporta undeniably brought the club to the most successful point in its history, and deserves respect for that. And I will ALWAYS respect Laporta for being the one who finally banned the Boixos Nois from the Camp Nou. That shit should have been done years earlier. And for that reason I have NO problem with the money spent on security for Laporta and his family.

    The way Rosell is pursuing his vendetta against Laporta is malicious, petty, and unbecoming. I am not saying that financial mismanagement should be swept under the rug. If there was a serious problem with expenses, than that information should come out. But Rosell is less concerned with the financial health of the club than with bolstering his own power base, while pretending to be “uncomfortable” with the legal action he himself instigated. Slimy and disgusting.

    I just really hope that none of this impacts Pep or the team. We have probably the best team we have ever had in the history of the club, and the best coach for them. It will be a sad sad day if Rosell’s machinations start to affect what happens on the field.

  19. My other random early morning thoughts were as follows, lets roll the dice in January and stick with what we have, maybe a small signing or two, then lets blast off next summer.

    Wish list

    Bring Hleb and K9 back
    Buy Arshavin
    Buy Douglas Coasta
    David Santon
    Buy Suarez

    Sell JDS
    Loan Nolito
    Loan Jefferen
    Sell Abidal (only cause he will be 32 this season, and we bought him for €10mil and this may be the last season we can get every oenny back that we paid,plus mane
    Sell Milito

    1. I dont really get this.
      Buying or bringing back guys that never played ( or never played well) for our club , have a terrible attitude(yes im looking at you hleb), are simply unproven or have a -not suitable sign- above their head(arshavin tracking back EVER? :D) while selling proven players or ones that have massive potential is a really a stunning proposal.

      Age issue is of notice , but there are not only henrys type in this world , there are also diego forlan ones.

    2. Arshavin is quality, but your right he does not track back to much. Of course Ronni never left the offensive third so that argument is a bit invalid. Best thing about Arshavin is he has something a bunch of the boys on our squad lack, balls to shoot from outside the box.

      As for players being unproven, as Kevin has mentioned Hleb was not bad for us in the field, he was not given much of an opportunity to play, I believe he is much more humble since his Arsenal days. And we need to get over this idea that if a player has an issue with Pep, his his shit. I mean Eto’o was let go because of a feeling. No locker room issues could have disrupted that on the field chemistry that we lost when we traded him for THE NOSE. So I cant agree with your assessment that attitude is a huge deal when it comes to winning on the field. Remember the 85′ bears could not stand each other, Ditka and Buddy Ryan were always going at it (Kev, you are from the Chi, back me up on that).

      Now on to the whole, Hleb, K9 thing … First of some are reporting that Weder Breman want Helb permenantly in June, to bad that was not last year, could have packaged him for Ozil (the goldfish). First off, Heb loves football, and has gone anywhere to play, Birmingham, Stuttgart..wherever, that’s good quality in a player, and we own the guy so it would not cost us anything to bring him back for another go around,
      worst thing that happens is we ship him back out in January.

      With Xavi’s recent injuries and Andres always being injured, Hleb would be a nice option off the bench. And for Keirrison, his entire stint with us has been a line of bullshit. thie guy was a beast scoring a goal every other game for Coritiba between 06′-09′. His time with us can be likened to buying a flat screen TV, and taking it to your friends house cause it does not fit in your television stand, and even when you are really in need of that TV (Keirrison), your to fucking stubborn to figure out a way to make it work dammit, I am beginning to see that personal pride may be more important to Pep that all else. Abidal is great (defensivly), and fairly adequate going forward. But as long as we have Dani on the other side,bombing forward, Abidal can assume the role of an real full back and less of a wing back/midfielder or whatever Dani does. He is gonna be 32 in a few weeks and has barley lost a step, but if we are going to be in the market for a young LB, then we could probably pick a guy like Santon up for about the price we could get for Eric, who would be a great addition to any French side, or even an MLS side.

      There is no need for me to argue the pros of us purchasing Douglas Costa, the kid is the same age as JDS and has a much higher ceiling, the kid is pure class, I know everyone has been on JDS for a while now, but he could end up just like Gio for all we know. This massive potential that you assume JDS has may not really be the case for all we know. I can promise you that if Costa was part of la Masia, you may have a different tone. We are homers so of course we think JDS and Thiago are the future, but buying young and cheap is also a solid philosophy (newsflash JDS is not the best 20 year old in the world and it is fathomable, in fact likely, that Costa is a better natural talent, who can play all over the field. So I stand by my assertion that I would give eup JDS in a “Tijaua Minuto” for Costa. And Jeffren is right there with him, so much speed but he needs to find out what he can do with it, in all honesty the best he can be is Arron Lennon, Theo Walcott or SWP.

      Suarez is a no brainier, if the price is right. I think he is a natural talent with a beautiful shot and seems to have am unlimited work rate, something a Barca forward needs. He is very Eto’o esque, meaning that he always seems to pop up an finds the back of the net. And like Arshavin he can shoot from out side the box. And all that bull shit about scoring in the Eredivisie not meaning anything has been debunked by his play in the CL and that tournament that was held in South Africa this past summer, plus he is only 23 and has room to grown, which is nice.

      Finally Nolito is at that due or die age where we can send him out to a team that will give him some minutes where we can see what he can do. In all honesty, he will never start for us consistently but he may be a solid be squad player for five years.

      Regardless of if we agree or disagree on anything, from using crabgrass of Kentucky blue grass on the pitch at Nou Camp, I appreciate the fact that we on this blog are classy enough to converse in a respectable and insightful way, so I appreciate your thoughts on my comments and I am glad I was able to clarify what I was writing about.

  20. Sorry, I pressed submit before I was done. clearly it would be really hard to sell Eric, but if Yaya is transferable, then so is Abidal. And you know Sandro hs cold hearted as hell so I would not put it past him. We also need another young solid defender tht will play well next to Pique for years to come, I am not saying that player is not on our roster now but we can go out and buy a U23 kid for kinda cheap and mold the shit out of him. Could the Portugeese kid Fábio Coentrão be that guy, who knows. I also forgpt De Gea, or Ansejo, whichever we can pry from athletico

    My Preferred 2011 lineup




    ——–Pique—Puyol (last season as automatic starter)

    Amazing Copa/ second team






    ——God please give me De Gea

  21. “For the good of the club”

    Every act that a Barca president does, from taking a piss in the morning to more important decisions, should be taken with the good of the club in mind. So until someone proves to me that Laporta’s extravagances weren’t for the good of the club, I will assume that most of them were the cost of doing business. Barca ain’t Hercules, or even Sevilla. It’s a global corporation with massive ambition. And it could well be argued that the results speak for themselves, in re: Laporta’s reign.

    “For the good of the club”

    There is a better, more private way to pursue any issues that arise against Laporta. We all know that there is, and so does Rosell. The way he is doing it is not for the good of the club.

    And Greece Barca, you need to contemplate just a bit more before you type, sir. Before you talk about not being able to forgive Laporta and his board, what have they done that is unforgivable? Quadrupling our revenues, making us truly a global club and winning title after title? Those bastards!

    Can you really blame them for players wanting out? Toure wanted to start all the time. Wasn’t going to happen. Ibrahimovic was just a straight-up dick. Eto’o wasn’t going to work in our system any longer. Whose fault is that? If a player wants to stay and get along, rock on. If they don’t, get out. But that isn’t the fault of any board member. If Messi, the best player on the planet, can get along with Guardiola, anyone can.

    Zlatan Jackass said that nobody talks during Barca practices, that there is this silence as everyone goes about their jobs. I’ve seen many a practice, and he’s full of shit. Are the players confident? You bet. Do they need to strut and crow and bellow about that? No. It’s a group whose bar is set very high, where somebody who wants to be The Man all the time will have a hard time fitting in. So he’s at Milan, where he will be The Man, for whatever that’s worth. Good riddance.

    If you are going to not forgive people, start with the players who didn’t want to get along within the best system in the world. The more Ibrahimovic speaks, the more he looks like a fool. To the eternal credit of The Yaya and Eto’o, they have comported themselves like adults after they left Barca.

  22. And people need to stop with the “we could have had X or Y player.” We had the most talented striker in the world in the colors last season, and he wasn’t good enough. How long would it take for cules to turn on Ozil, who is going through a purple patch right now, or Arshavin, who, the next time he tracks back on defense will be the first.

    Guardiola knows what he wants for his club, and if he is rejecting players he is doing so for good reason. A Barca player has to have many things, including skill on the ball, energy, patience, willingness to track back on defense and contest for possession in midfield. He must also have excellent control, and calmness on the ball under immense pressure, while retaining the ability to pass out of said pressure.

    Arshavin? Nope. Ozil? Not from what I’ve seen. People are enamored of players based on certain skill sets they see, that might or might not fit our club. Some watch Arshavin at Arsenal and say “Hey, that dude sure can destabilize a defense.” I watch him and say “He’s only playing in a quarter of the pitch, a la Robinho. Yuck!”

    We are a high-pressure, high-demand club, from the board and coaching staff right down to the cules. Are our standards too high? Good question. We lowered them for Ibrahimovic, and look what we got: a crappy deal, a short sale and somebody who is still bitching about Guardiola and the club. Hell of a deal, right?

    1. you’ve gotta assume that much of what a professional player does positionally is what he’s been told to do by the manager. Wenger’s Arsenal isn’t a team based on collective pressing, while Ozil is simply the kind of player who is starving for minutes, which he wouldn’t get here. the little German is a good fit for Madrid, but not for us; same as the player he replaced and everyone’s forgotten about, one Kaka. Arshavin would still be a good squad player if we could get him for a low fee (unlikely), but at this point in his career a protracted and costly move wouldn’t really make sense for us. it’s a pity we couldn’t have gotten him a few years ago.

    2. True, BA. But Arshavin has never been renowned for his fitness levels. And at his age, it’s hard for a leopard to change his spots. But even while typing this I note that Henry changed his spots, with the big prize in mind.

      You’re right about a few years ago for Arshavin.

    3. Why exactly do people need to stop with the ‘we need x or y player’. This is a peaceful space that we can all share our thoughts and feeling about this team with one another, without being chastised for doing so. I am not going to say that I know more about this team than you Kevin, because I don’t. I also am not nearly as eloquent or well versed as you, but part of me feels like you crushing any suggestion I make about ‘x or y’ player (no matter how disillusion they may be in your eyes), makes me think twice about posting my thoughts about the team here at the best effin’ blog on earth period. I hope that does not sound to emotional or overreaching but sometimes it feels like you patronize the suggestions (conversation starters) of others, whose message you deem wrong. Having said all this, of anyone I have encountered,you come closest to what I want to be. I am a journalism major graduating this semester and I wan to one day move to Barcelona to cover the Barca beat. Maybe instead of just discarding any suggestions of players, we could actually discuss the merit of what they could bring to the squad sometime. As you know, the only one I really, really want is Costa, as a jack of all trades midfielder / winger

  23. so the Guardian is doing their Greatest Ever XI, and beginning with midfielders ::

    Xavi makes the list, and is well-supported in the comments, but Iniesta is omitted for unexplained reasons and several players are included who are forwards rather than midfielders proper. Gerrard is also included so, clearly, the list is heavily flawed. but still very interesting. next time there’s a lull in the action we should have a post asking for ours; since i’d wager we’d get less 4-man midfields of obscure Englishmen from Blackwater City Rovers with names like Cumberbottom and Simperbelly.

  24. Kxevin , you may say that “until someone proves to me that Laporta’s extravagances weren’t for the good of the club, I will assume that most of them were the cost of doing business” , but you are already lined up against those views , and you ‘ve stashed the look at our trophy cabinet dismissing answer in order to tackle opinions those away.

    The point is, you can be successful in the sporting area yet still following a dead end business model .
    Milan did that.Inter too.Manchester united also and even liverpool.
    There are many, many differences between us and those clubs , some in our benefit but some others not(for example we dont have a moratti bailing us out year after year if our finances demand it , we will probably be obliged to sell assets.)

    Im not convinced by any of those sides , but thats my strength.
    I dont have to take sides just because of laportas huge trophy room or rosells bigmouth promises, but I can point out that barcelona’s internal affairs cannot be hidden due to the ownership status of the team and the rules this board is obliged to comply with.
    You cant hide a hole in the budget, or expenses that seemingly have no connection with the benefit of the team and at the end of the day you really shouldnt because you will be held accountable if things turn ugly.
    Should this lead to a court battle? Dont know .
    Does it both sound and look bad? Sure.
    But how do you make the judgement that rosell must not do this (keep in mind the above mentioned)?

    1. “The point is, you can be successful in the sporting area yet still following a dead end business model .

      Milan did that.Inter too.Manchester united also and even liverpool.”

      So…The clubs you mentioned created a better business Model that Laporta’s Barcelona?

      My friend…I have no idea where to start from…So I won’t.

    2. Ramzi noone said that they have a better model.
      If you thought I was making a connection , although there are no clues about it in that ,you misread it.
      I think the quote is pretty straightforward , even if you dont take a look at the paragraph below linking to it.

      You can have a bad business model even when winning things.

      Comparing laportas barcelona with any of the clubs taken as examples for this is simply of no connection with the above sentence.

    3. Note that I have admitted that Laporta’s expenses were extravagant, not that they weren’t for the good of the club. Those are two very different things. Every club entertains. The bigger the club, the bigger the entertainment. It’s part of the cost of doing business, indeed.

      I make the judgment that Rosell must not do this PUBLICLY. By choosing to do things in the way that he has, his motives are clear: to harm Joan Laporta. It’s very easy to send him a private letter and meet with him, again in private, to get this matter hashed out. Laporta took a surety bond worth 25-30m before he left, quite possibly with this sort of thing in mind, after all. Maybe you settle for the full amount of the bond, rather than dragging this crap all out in public, actions that only hurt the public perception of the club. What Rosell is doing is not for the good of the club. It’s for the good of Sandro Rosell, in that he gets to take a piss on Joan Laporta, and damage his political ambitions.

      Laporta and his board almost quadrupled revenues. I fail to see how that’s a dead-end business model. Is our payroll expensive? You bet. Are the trophies fair value for money spent? That’s for each individual to decide, but players like ours ain’t cheap.

      But know that the only view that I am lined up against is Rosell wanting to publicly damage Laporta because by extension, it damages the club.

    1. Is this right? I’ve been watching pictures of him training on Sky all day. He is being left out of the CL but I assumed that was his punishment.

    2. apparently he can buy himself out for just 5 million next summer. ferguson should sell him quickly.

    3. I can’t believe all the media reports linking us to Rooney. Yeah, because that’s what we need–an expensive, disgruntled, off-form striker with a hooker problem and who is used to playing English-style long-ball football. Can anyone actually see him fitting in with the rest of the team?

  25. And to see that some people are still demanding Arshavin is shocking. I mean…Even though I had lots of arguments before with Barca/Arsenal fans, now I accept Arsenal fans opinion about him. Ask them, if they praise him, buy him.

    1. well i’m an arsenal fan, and i think it’s not profitable for barca to buy him. he’s already 29, and considering he won’t be cheap, i’d say go for younger talent (cesc?)

    2. I know right? I wonder if they watched those two Arsenal games. Granted, Arshavin was not fully fit–apparently–but he was doing the most work tracking back in that first leg than he had all of that season, I’d bet.

      Everyone knows I want we need a certain Canary Island winger that is not Pedro and plays overseas 😀 (I am prepared for the -insertrandomplayerhere-comments to follow)

    3. That’s why Arshavin ran off into the dressing room during the first half of the first leg. He couldn’t deal with all the running without the ball. He said “F this. I’m tired.”

    4. i don’t know if it’s tactical, but arsenal’s front wide (usually it’s nasri, arshavin, walcott) never tracks back at all. that causes chelsea’s first goal which i think can be avoided.

    5. I won’t put Nasri with Arshavin and Walcott in the same sentence. But that’s only me.

      I watched him playing for Russia under Hiddink. Hiddink will never -tactically- set a player to just wait the ball over there. He want his players to put pressure and run. That’s an evidence.

      Tactics may have a role sometimes, but with Arshavin it’s attitude. Being an Arsenal fan, I think you know more about Arshavin “The Attitude”. His website is entertaining though. And he is a nice person, which makes it understandable that people have a soft spot. He is a good player, yet not THAT good.

      Knowing that my doubts regarding Arshavin are not only related to his defense contribution.

    6. I’m not entirely convinced, on the evidence from the website you mentioned (and specifically the Q&As) that he’s a nice person. Strikes me as extremely sexist, in fact.

    7. well yeah, when he’s really committed he is good, but most of the time he really looks disinterested.

      well i think arsenal should start growing their own youngsters instead of buying, cause i believe most imported youngsters seem to see arsenal only as a stepping stone to move somewhere later on. it’s sad.

    8. I’m not going to start this whole “they’re copying our style” BS (because it’s just that, bullsh*t), but I really believe that if Arsenal are adopting the 4-3-3, and want to play their free flowing attacking play, they need to start telling their players to press the other team when they don’t have the ball.

      It’s annoying–and sad–for me to see they don’t do it, because I think Arsenal would do really well if they went all the way with the Total Football style they want to play; it feels half-assed to me.

    9. totally agree kari. it feels to me that wenger is not a great tactician anymore after the last league victory back at 03/04.

      add to the fact that arsenal doesn’t want to spend even a little bit more for players. the club’s profit is big for god’s sake.

  26. Boy, we have a political crisis at the club and we get a list of people we should buy and sell?

    I’ll only say this: JDS has to stay. Selling him would be foolish at best. I’m all for keeping our canteranos and betting on them. The cantera got us where we are right now, no? The argument for JDS is simple: time creates better midfielders. Xavi wasn’t Xavi when he was 18. He was good, like JDS is good, and then he developed because we bet on him. Remember that Xavi nearly left because of playing time–do we want JDS to walk away? The same is true of Thiago. Nolito I’m not so bullish on.

    Of the players Clueless listed he wanted (Hleb, Keirrison, Arshavin, Douglas Costa, Davide Santon, Luis Suarez) I want exactly none of them. Keirrison maybe but probably not. I’ll admit to not knowing enough about Douglas Costa, but the others I think I’ve seen enough of to form a good opinion. Hleb = no. Period. End of story. If you want Hleb back, fine, you’re entitled to your incredibly wrong and not correct opinion.

    Arshavin is, as has been mentioned, 29 and will be 30 by the end of next May. Certainly Xavi is still our main man while being even older, but Arshavin =/= Xavi in any way. One is a deep-lying playmaker while the other is an out-and-out attacker and we already have a bunch of attackers.

    Pedro, Bojan, Messi, Villa, Jeffren is our current front line and I would take that any day of the week. Some on this board don’t like Bojan and Jeffren, but it’s hard to argue with Guardiola about this, isn’t it? He sees them in practice every day and if they didn’t have what he wanted, they’d go the way of Eto’o and Ibra, no doubt. Suarez, then, is surplus to requirements, no matter how good he may be. I’m not saying he wouldn’t improve the squad, I’m saying he isn’t worth it because we already have that position covered.

    Because of JDS and Thiago, that means Douglas Costa, Arshavin, and even Cesc are surplus to requirements. We don’t need ’em, don’t want ’em. Doesn’t mean they’re not better, but it’s a cost-benefit analysis and we don’t need to spend €35m+ on something we already have. What we all saw in Iniesta a few years ago (how’s that for historical revisionism?), I see in JDS and Thiago. Have some patience and you’ll see.

    1. I won’t mind to bring Hleb back. I actually support that. He is extremely annoying. He will be annoying for everyone and anyone, including Sandro Rosell.

      Annoying to Sandro Rosell???!!! GO GET HIM!!

    2. Now, this is a piece I can get down with. Dreaming of other players we don’t already have in our squad is how we got into this mess in the first place.

      I don’t see what Arshavin will add to what Pedro already does other than another piece of embarassing business for a flop. I’d bring Keirrison back, only because we already own him, and it wouldn’t hurt to try and teach him as much as possible, and see if anything will stick. Other than that, we do not need any more expensive so called stars, we have enough. Just a role player or two.

  27. The list at Guardian is a joke. They started with good idea but their execution leaves a lot to be desired. One would have imagined that with all the fantasy football games flying around, coming up with format for all time fantasy 11 would not be too difficult. Well, anyways.

    Also i am surprised that no one here has mentioned the Inter Messi newbites doing round. First i laughed. I still laugh though slightly quietly. Moratti does tend to bring Messi in conversation once every six months. Should that be termed as tapping as well?

    I honestly do not think that Messi will leave us. He is happy and has reiterated multiple times that Barca is his home. Only way would be stupidity of a president though i hope that no president is that stupid. If i think back three/four seasons, even Xavi had thought about leaving as he was not being treated fairly and Xavi is through and through Barca. But on certain level, i do think that Messi will leave in another 4/5 years. Maybe it will be politics or we will need cash or we will get bid that we cannot refuse. I hope such day never comes.

    1. totally, i want to see messi stays as a barcelona player and receives a grand ceremony when he retires. let’s hope that day will come.

      anyway, the media is very strange nowadays; it’s not even the transfer month and there are already so many speculations. i wonder what it’s like come december/january.

  28. Since we’re discussing players, I’d like to share my opinion.

    I want JDS and Thiago to stay, They’ll get better with time. I want us to buy Cesc, Next Summer Xavi will be 30. He’s been playing for 3 years straight without rest. Add to that his injury problem. Keita would be 31. We will need replacements. I think we need a FW. Villa is 28 and In 2 years he’ll be 30. Bojan would be 22 and should be able to start matches and be depended on.

  29. I wonder if whatever the value that United get for Rooney will be given the same comparisons to the Eto’o situation?

    Also, Sandro Rosell requested to follow me on Twitter once but I denied him. 😀

  30. Hey, screw all you guys. All these comments mentioning Guardiola and his “feeling,” and I now have “More Than A Feeling,” an awful song by Boston, going through my head.

    I hate you all. So. Much. 😀

    1. Wow, your internal ‘IPOD’ is stuck in the wrong decade! Let’s see if we can help you update it with a better ‘feeling’ song shall we? It might help your day get better. 🙂


    2. That business happened right outside the Tribune Tower. Michigan Avenue was closed for most of the morning and afternoon. All for Oprah.

    3. Wheres your work located? I get off the Metra at Randolph/Michigan every morning because I commute from the South Side.. I work across from the Thompson Center.

  31. lol Rooney got stretchered out of training, did the likes of Gary neville and giggs kick him?If so , fair play to them 😀

  32. Laporta is kinda like that uncle in your family who keeps on doing crazy things, everyone knows he is a little eccentric, but everyone loves him, because of what he means to the family. Anyone who didn’t know Laporta was mischevious need only look at his smile. It was full of mischief. He liked the limelight, he liked the attention, and most of all, he loved to have a good time.

    But thats the thing, he was a cheerily fun-loving populist who made everyone feel that the sun was shining brighter than it actually was. It was the kinda thing Barcelona needed at the time he took over. He provided rozy pictures while relying on the right people for expertise that helped him combine popular moves like getting Ronaldinho with deft moves like getting Rijkaard and Eto’o.

    Whatever his failings and Largesse, he was the right guy at the right time for the team.

    Sandro is the right guy after such a populist. And administrator who comes along makes sure the foundations are healthy and can keep up the the greatness that the populist took the club to.

    I like that he is honest about the financial situation of the club. Because if that was known a few years back, no one advocates for that Ibra deal, and players don’t keep on angling for bigger paydays thinking the club has lot’s of money and they should get some of it.

    I don’t like that he is going about this in a vindictive ‘woman scorned’, public lynching style. Alot of this stuff should have been examined internally, Laporta should have been called in to explain, given a slap on the wrist and then the new code of ethics should have been written to prevent this stuff from happening.

    It has sullied the club reputation beyond repair, given rivals ammunition against the team, and has somehow succeeded to make the club less lovable and more like evry other team.

  33. First of all i am so angry. We all want the best in our club that’s good. Before you buy a player look at the circumstances with which the player left that club. Look at Ibra, when he left inter he was so mouthy with the coach and the former players there. So i’m not surprised with what he is saying. Like player like agent. We don’t wan’t players that leave clubs and begin to talk flimsy about that club. like how many times the toilet is flushed in a day in training. And how he greets the coach good day and the coach does not reply back. Onto Laporta and Rosell. Please tell me how you preside over a club and leave your slates pure. Are you a saint? Tell me if you would have prefered a league title with players playing like coalminers and the records being perfect. If you want that mail it to Rosell. Even the President of a country cannot claim to leave his record perfect before he leaves. Let me say this loud and clear if Laporta were to come again i will clamour for his return

  34. If I were president, I would not buy any new players during the next two transfer windows. I would promote Thiago immediately, I would develop Masch into a sort of Xavi back-up, I would pray to God that Bojan finally explodes and I would probably also promote Nolito after this season.
    And I would NEVER spend 50m + on either Cesc or Roo (not even the season after next). This big spending has to stop, or big and prestigeuos clubs will die like flies soon.

  35. One rumor is that Thiago will be in the starting lineup tomorrow. Whoa! Along with Jeffren and Krkic.

    1. Not that I believe it for an instant. They’re in the squad, but I think Guardiola will go with our “best” lineup, particularly as Xavi and Puyol practiced with the group today.

    2. Cugat thinks Xavi shouldn’t play tomorrow. I don’t think it would be smart of Pep to play him. Start Thiago!

    1. Hoping for a milan win naturally.Also hoping Pepe gives ibra the “Pepe treatment” win for me.

    2. They had possibly the worse wall ever constructed.


    3. I have long since decided not to pin my hopes on teams other than Alcorcon, Lyon, us and Bilbao.

      Ibra has been The Man. Except not. He’s been static, offside, slow and tracking back only to stop running (although that was just one play–one’s enough, so there -raspberry- ) <—Biased. Maybe. Definitely.

  36. Well, i have both Arsenal-Shaktar and EE-Milan on my TV.

    Let’s 2-0 Bad Guys vs 1-0 Arsenal…

    Hmm…decisions, decisions.

  37. Well that was a disappointment. Milan were awful. Have to say there’s a fair bit of pace about the EE side though.

  38. madrid exploit milan’s weakness perfectly. milan’s build up was slow and their defence line is suicidally high. every time milan lose the ball EE will counter with high speed. that’s where the goals come from. and ibra has the same frustrated look as he had during second half of last season with barca.

    and another arsenal victory! it’s good to see cesc back. and i think the opponents in the group are a little bit too easy for them.

  39. xabi alonso and khedira are their secret.two very good D.M with creativity(special xabi).also their L.B every season is better.but i am surprising bu the easy that E.E create chances and shoots without big possesion.with little passes they are in the opposite box.

    1. Eh, Khedira is average and he possesses no creativity. Marcelo still can’t defend, either. But props to them, they’ve been playing well.

    2. But if Milan knew how to place the wall during a freekick, and more importantly how to keep the wall closed… if Ozil’s rather poor shot hasn’t been deflected the match would have been anything but a clear win for the EE.
      Anyway, I’ll be rooting for Ajax now, because Milan was truely pathetic.

    3. Xabi Alonso has been by far the best RM player so far this season. He is the one holding it all together.

  40. The real reason why Rooney decided to leave ManUtd..


  41. If the previous numbers showing 11M surplus are truly wrong, isn’t the independent accounting firm who made the report as liable (if not more) as Laporta is?

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