Liga Liveblog: Barça-Villarreal

Thank you to Patrick for running the liveblog today. Should be a wonderful match some come ready to get LIVEBLOGGED THE MESS OUT OF…yourself. Or something. Thing itself after the jump.

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.

156 Comments

  1. Diego S.
    November 13, 2010

    Unofficial prediction : 5-0 , Abidal Hat-trick , Maxwell and Busquet.

    • blitzen
      November 13, 2010

      LOL! If that happens, I will buy you the Barca jersey of your choice! 😀

      • Helge
        November 13, 2010

        And I’ll chip in a home short 😉

  2. blitzen
    November 13, 2010

    Mourinho acts like a big baby, cancels press conference, following his two-match suspension:

    *http://www.goal.com/en/news/12/spain/2010/11/13/2212100/jose-mourinho-cancels-real-madrid-press-conference-following-his-

    • Helge
      November 13, 2010

      I loved the comments from Preciado and also Pocchetino about Mou. Even the smaller teams feel disgusted by him 😀

    • Ethan
      November 13, 2010

      He just acts like a little whiny bitch so that teams and fans will hate him so that he can give his fans and players a reason to come out and “prove” something. It’s all fake and thats what he has to do to motivate his players, its what he has always done, but i guess it works. just annoying to have him in our league spouting off nonsense all the time, but soon enough, people will just ignore him in this league, so whatever. plus, he had better players with inter and chelsea, so i dont see their form lasting very long, even with all the tactical adjustments he makes constantly.

  3. Vicsoc8
    November 13, 2010

    Not sure if youve run it before or not Patrick, but if not I can be around ring at he beginning to help you out if you want.

    • Patrick
      November 13, 2010

      Thanks, I’ll let you know if I need help.

  4. poipoi
    November 13, 2010

    I feel it’s a game for keita while andres in the wing, vila are not a bad team. like euler said our interiores my have to defend a little hard. I think pep’ll sit pedro!, milito cb and abi rb

    • November 13, 2010

      You mean milito is injured and Abi left back? I agree with everything you said.

  5. poipoi
    November 13, 2010

    abi is cb and maxwell lb, xaviniesta play, pedro! plays, and milito was injured. that’s what I call “no dar ni una” – not a single one right, vlades

  6. November 13, 2010

    Barcelona line-up (official): Valdes – Alves Puyol Abidal Maxwell – Xavi Busquets Iniesta – Pedro Messi Villa

    Lets bet on a happy day. Pep is a gambler, but lucky enough to win fortunes at any casino.

    • Helge
      November 13, 2010

      🙁
      I’d have preferred either Masch or Busi as CB and Abidal as left FB. But what do I know…

      • November 13, 2010

        Dont be. If this work, this may end up being the most entertaining match of the season.

        • MoSSi
          November 13, 2010

          It was the line-up you didn’t recommended Ramzi, I really hope Pep proves you wrong..

    • blitzen
      November 13, 2010

      Fontas on the bench, as well as Thiago. It would be nice if we could sew the game up early so they can get some minutes, but I doubt that will happen. I predict a very hard game, we win 3-2.

  7. KevinO
    November 13, 2010

    Oh i am so ready to go!!! Daylight savings messed me up though, i made popcorn too early :-/

  8. gowtham
    November 13, 2010

    heyy
    its my birthdayy so the best birthday present would be a win:::
    prediction: 4-2 goals by messi(2) villa(1) and pedro(1)

  9. jordi(TM)
    November 13, 2010

    That “backline”.I is scared 🙁

    • Kari
      November 13, 2010

      Don’t worry jordi–if worst come to worst, Bojan will save us!

      Well, the worst thing that can happen is we lose and Messi gets injured. We’ll win this match, despite our back line.

      BREATHE PEOPLE.

  10. cliveee
    November 13, 2010

    totally optimistic about this lineup and this match. our quality will be enough to beat them.

    • Jnice
      November 13, 2010

      I wish I was as optimistic as you are.

      • Kari
        November 13, 2010

        I’m preparing for when you type “I LOVE YOU ALL” after we score the fourth goal 😉

        “I TOLD YOU SO”, will be the reply.

          • Kari
            November 13, 2010

            I TOLD YOU SO

            (Although I actually didn’t 😀 )

  11. y2k156
    November 13, 2010

    will the liveblog start before the match…thats the q…:)

    atletico with good win…they do need fit aguero to be effective…

  12. Vj
    November 13, 2010

    Bah! Let the game start already! Its 2:25 am here..

  13. blitzen
    November 13, 2010

    *http://atdhe.net/28125/watch-barcelona-vs-villarreal

    • Jim
      November 13, 2010

      Big game needed positionally from Abidal tonight.

  14. Diego S.
    November 13, 2010

    Who else predicted 3-1 ?

    I did 😀

    • Diego S.
      November 13, 2010

      We play best when Eklavya isn’t watching 😀

  15. GREECE BARCA
    November 13, 2010

    Now bring us E.E.We are hungry.Leo is just out of this world.

  16. Momo
    November 13, 2010

    Messi’s first was ORGASMIC…
    Although Iniesta’s my man of the match…

  17. Kari
    November 13, 2010

    That ref was, excuse my Drogba, a fudging disgrace. For both sides, but mostly for us ( <— that may be slight biased.)

    /http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkhQZNHcxmE

  18. cliveee
    November 13, 2010

    Abidal !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    (shout ends)

    • Kari
      November 13, 2010

      “Can you fly”
      “I’ll try”

      Oh yes he did!

  19. flyzowee
    November 13, 2010

    the reaction off our players after being robbed of a legit goal was worrying, our frontline just stopped pressuring.

    Abidal had a great game but alves has been getting caught up the field with some regularity of late.

    All in all it was a good game, 3 pts in da bag, top spot for now, very happy.

  20. cliveee
    November 13, 2010

    I am especially glad that our players tough this one out by playing football, not complaining and raising hands and stop playing. Certainly, everyone complains about bad calls, but we got back to our game and finished them off in a convincing manner.

    Our defense was shaky in different stretches of time, but the togetherness was there to help each other out and cover each other’s flaws. On more than one occasions I saw Abidal covered for Puyol and Maxwell. Iniesta covered for Busquets, Xavi for Iniesta, Messi tracked back and win balls, so did Pedro.

    The effort, the running, the pressure applied to Villareal in all crazy moments kept us from falling apart. Of course, it has to be said, Villareal really played well to put us into tests. I am glad for our performance tonight. It’s really a team effort. Villa and Messi scored those goals, but really, the whole team won us this game.

    About the lineup, I am not too sure if Pep got it right as Villareal took good advantage of our shaky looking defense all night. But then we had Abidal the man of the match playing above all expectations. But the substitutions are sheer brilliance. Right people in the right time. At first I thought the Villa sub was weird too, then came the third goal, and guess what, it came from Pedro’s shot deflected to Messi. So, I guess the results kind of cover the questions for that decision.

    This is an extremely important win for us.

    • blitzen
      November 13, 2010

      Yes, they were unsettled for a few minutes after the offide call, which lead to the Villareal goal, but after that we got our concentration back and put the pressure on again.

  21. cliveee
    November 13, 2010

    Guardiola: “I don’t remember a game that was that intense, playing against an opponent that is as strong as Villarreal.” -barcastuff

    So, I think Pep can really forget things quickly. The last most intense game I recall was Copenhagen. This is not as intense compare to that one. Forgetting the past and focus on the future could really be the secret of coaching.

  22. Kari
    November 13, 2010

    All from Pep’s twitter:

    Rosell (president): “I confirm we’re negotiating with PSV about Afellay. The coaches think he can add something so we’re talking

    Bartomeu (sports vice-president): “Afellay? We’re trying, it’s an opportunity. We’re still a bit far from a deal though.

    Bartomeu (vice-president): “Coaching staff approved Afellay’s transfer. He could come in January, although that’s still not sure.”

    It’s just a feeling , but (I think) Afellay’s coming in January. Deal’s done (it looks like).

    • This is certainly taking things to a new (low) level. It’s one thing when Barca and RM buy the rest of the league’s best players from smaller clubs–with the ridiculous TV contracts, teams like Sevilla have to sell their players just to stay solvent, and Barca and Real’s 150 million euros of TV money is in this way redistributed to the league. It’s not really fair, but it keeps the league afloat, at least. Sevilla and co. are forever doomed to second-tier status so that Barca’s ad RMs bench can stay stocked, but such is life.

      But this new trend of the EE speculatively buying young players for sums you don’t give two shits about? I sincerely believe it is going to put a new and potentially unbearable strain on the league. At less than 5 million euros, Canales or Afellay is to you guys absolutely 0 loss if he doesn’t become a productive member of the team, but it’s a great investment for you just to make sure he doesn’t grow and thrive elsewhere in La Liga. In making these financial speculative purchases, you are squeezing the clubs you feed off (for players, titles, and money) at both ends now: take disproportionate sums of the league’s TV money, then buy our best players with that money so we can stay afloat, and now also prevent us from investing in and developing those players into future paychecks for our club.

      This current system cannot continue…the EE is going to destroy the other 18 teams until the league doesn’t exist any more.

      • Kari
        November 13, 2010

        Well, there are far more eloquent and knowledgeable poster on here than I, but…

        Overall, I agree with you about 95% . Keita, Alves, Adriano…(I’m probably forgetting someone here) We’ve taken a bunch of class players from Sevilla, no question. We wouldn’t have won the treble without Alves (or Keita, but mostly Alves) and Keita was key last season and again this season. Adriano will probably improve when he’s fit and gets sufficient reps. (The TV deals are a joke. That’s all I’ll say about that.)

        On the other hand, although my personal opinion on the supposed Afellay transfer is neutral, Afellay’s and Canales’ situations are different IMO.

        Afellay is 24 (25 in April), so I don’t consider him a youth player per se. I honestly don’t know that much about him, but there is a brilliant article on him by Jan from the Netherlands World Cup Blog that I highly recommend you read to understand his reason for the Barca move:

        *http://netherlands.worldcupblog.org/world-cup-2010/ibi-afellay-awaits-massive-barcelona-move.html

        Canales is the same age as our very own Thiago (and about a million times less awesome. Bias? Nonsense). He was 18 and in his second professional season when he signed for the EE. Personally, I believe the transfer was made because of hype. Canales was the sh*t for Racing for a few games and then the media (particularly the EE media) went batsh*t crazy for him. He’s also a pretty boy and, most importantly, Spanish. Perez wants more Spanish players for reasons EE fans would know far better than I.

        EE is obviously not known for giving many chances to their own youth players, so why Canales went to EE is weird to me. I understand that EE is a gigantic step up from Racing, but it was just silly to go to a big club when you’re still a fledgling player.

        Anyway to cut this rant/post short, all in all, I agree with you, cleareyes. Buying youth instead of blooding your cantera is wrong. EE have some cracks in their youth team (and Getafe is like EE B anyway), so buying Ozil and Khedira (both under 23) and calling it a “Youth Movement” does make me feel…annoyed. Also, I don’t believe we’re buying youth–we make ’em (Xavi, Puyol, Iniesta, etc.) or develop them into better players (Pedro!).

        I’m biased though. 😀

      • Nik
        November 13, 2010

        Like it or not, the transfer market is a capitalistic market. The clubs are going to do what’s best for them first and foremost. So, FCB (and any other team out there) will go out and buy players it feels can help the team improve. We have a shortage of players in our squad, Afellay fulfills a need for us, he seems open to the move, we’re open to the move, and his team seems open to the move. What is the problem in this scenario?

        Also, as BA points out below, we have a team dominated by products of our youth system and supplemented by purchases. How is that a bad policy? I think most clubs would kill to Barça’s model.

        And yes, stockpiling talent is bad. However, buying the most expensive/highly touted players doesn’t equal automatic success. To bring a baseball analogy into it, the Yankees spend way more than other teams, yet you don’t see them winning year in, year out. Champions are defined by more than the sum of their individual parts.

        I’ll agree with Kari and you on the TV deal. It’s a piece of crap that needs to be reworked. The other teams do deserve a larger piece of the pie.

        • Obviously, I understand that “the transfer market is a capitalistic market”. The issue is that I don’t think “what’s best for Barcelona” and the other half of the evil empire right now is the same thing as what’s best for you two in the long run. You guys are going to continue an insanely greedy money grab every way you can because it’s “good” for you and your bottom line right now, at the expense of the league and your own long-term good. Only too late will you realize that your “product” wasn’t Messi or Villa or titles or superstar jersey sales, but rather COMPETITION, which your club is working very hard to destroy in Spain in pursuit of a fatter bottom line. Fans in Madrid and Barcelona will be there, arguing it’s all about capitalism until there’s no league left.

          Afellay fills a spot on your bench, period. I don’t know how a Barca fan can say “stockpiling talent is bad” like it’s something only the Yankees and Real Madrid does while imagining Barcelona as some kind of white knight who isn’t doing the exact same thing. Lots of Barca fans define their club at least in part by the ways in which they’re different from RM, but from where I’m sitting you guys aren’t that different.

          I’m not sure how long you’ve been following Barcelona, but if it’s for longer than Messi’s senior team career you know that your current cantera success is a once in a generation team, and that even then you’ve worked pretty hard to keep up with Madrid’s spending on non-cantera talent, and even though you’ve fallen short you’ve far outspent the rest of La Liga. Somehow that doesn’t factor into your cantera pride. I’m sure you’re very proud of your team’s home-grown talent, but that doesn’t change the fact that you’ve spent most teams’ entire transfer budgets on players you bought to sit on the bench. Afellay’s transfer to Barcelona is bad for Affelay, bad for the league, and ultimately bad for Barcelona.

          • Ethan
            November 14, 2010

            “Afellay’s transfer to Barcelona is bad for Affelay, bad for the league, and ultimately bad for Barcelona.”

            hmm. disagree. disagree. disagree.

            Also, name another team in Europe that has as many homegrown starters and talent on their roster.

            You spew nonsense. Only point you have is the TV contracts, that no one disagrees with. All the top teams in Europe spend money, far more money than any team not in the Champions or Europa spots. You spend more, to make more. Big clubs are a big business, simple as that. I just do not see UEFA proposing a salary cap on the every single league. It would kill business. And Don’t Hate just because the top teams in europe spend more, make more, bring more of an audience, and keep Europe with the quality players we have grown accustomed to. Because of this model, Europe will always have the most attractive Futbol, with the planets best talent.

            Cheers.

          • Patrick
            November 14, 2010

            “Big clubs are a big business”
            Ha, not really, not if you look at profits 🙂

            My grandfather owns a couple gas stations in Ohio. They make more money/year than almost any football club in Europe. More revenue, no, but profit? Hell yes.

          • Nik
            November 14, 2010

            ” Afellay’s transfer to Barcelona is bad for Affelay, bad for the league, and ultimately bad for Barcelona.” – ridiculous. Affelay’s transfer is:

            1. good for Afellay because it will allow him to improve his skills by competing for a spot in one of the top clubs in the world. You’re making a huge assumption that Afellay will just rot on the bench. Since you can predict the future so accurately, mind telling me the numbers to win the next lotto? Bottom line: his play will determine how much starting time he gets.

            2. good for Barcelona, because as MANY people have pointed out, we need all the reinforcements we can get. Afellay fulfills a significant need for us, as both our midfield and forward line are strengthened by having him. And we most definitely could use the play of a true winger.

            3. You are coming at this with the assertion that Barcelona’s success is bad for the league. I disagree, but I don’t expect you to agree with me. Simply put, I don’t understand how us getting a player is bad for the other teams, when they have a budget to go out and get other players as well, especially if it happens at the sum indicated.

            I concede that we, and the other big teams in Europe, have definitely had an effect on the market by spending more on certain players in the last few years. Again, though, that’s capitalism for you. The bigger football gets, the more money will come into the sport, and the more money players will want. Some teams will be able to fulfill this demand, and others won’t. If you want to change it, become a policy maker and change the rules.

          • HY
            November 14, 2010

            Rome wasn’t built in a day. We’ve been cultivating our youth academy for some 30 odd years and we’re reaping the fruits of our labor, especially in the last decade. We won the CL in 2009 with 8 home-grown players on the first team. Are you suggesting that the steady (and growing) stream of talents coming out of our youth system will just suddenly dry up?

            You seem to constantly neglect the fact that players have a will of their own and want to win titles and trophies as much as clubs and fans do (if not more so). Those sitting on our bench are there because they chose to be there. Who’s to say that your ideal is their ideal, or even the “right” ideal? To achieve your vision, we’d first have to fix the inherent human drive for personal glory. Good luck with that.

  23. November 13, 2010

    We played another game where we showed similar intensity and urgency. Against Sevilla. The players had a full week rest before each of the two matches.

  24. Kari
    November 13, 2010

    Guardiola: “If Messi can’t run, can’t play football, he’s not happy. The rest of the team has the same spirit.” [from barcastuff]

    Wonder what the question was.

    Picture of Messi’s third goal. I think he’s level (arm doesn’t count) /http://desmond.yfrog.com/Himg707/scaled.php?tn=0&server=707&filename=dr4w.jpg&xsize=640&ysize=640

    Guardiola: “Abidal as centre-back? He was spectacular. If he’s focused, he can play there at a very high level.”

    I agree, Pep!

  25. poipoi
    November 13, 2010

    that second goal of messi is such a wonder, I believe xavi kicks the foul into play fast to messi, meesi to p!, p! to messi! messi to p!, p! to messi again all 1st touch and fast as hell. Impossible to defend that, per-fect. It’s been a long time since I jumped from my seat like that, besides vilareal was playing better and the crowd was focusing in the ref. goal of the season IMO.

    • poipoi
      November 13, 2010

      *I mean second goal of the team, by messi. heck, the 2-1

    • Nik
      November 13, 2010

      That reminded of the goal we scored last year in the clasico. Messi with the quick FK to Xavi and then Xavi with a lobbed pass that made Ramos flail uselessly.

      When refs allow them to happen, quick FKs are pretty nice.

  26. GREECE BARCA
    November 13, 2010

    So we played valencia,sevilla,atletico,villareal,bilbao away.In those matches we have 5wins goals 15-4.Very difficult schedule.Now we can be more relax.

    • poipoi
      November 13, 2010

      of all those, both “atleticos” bilbao and madrid away right? I wanna see Barça-Atleti in Camp Nou this year.

      • Kari
        November 13, 2010

        You live in Barcelona right, poipoi? Grr, I shake my fist at you, you lucky lucky guy!

        And yes, we played both Pathetico (and Bilbao) away, so you get to see our annual destruction of Pathetico at home ( 6-1 and 5-1 at home since Pep took over).

        • poipoi
          November 14, 2010

          yes I live really close to plaza cataluña la rambla and all that in the historic area, but we call it tha mothafriggin guiri area.

          almeria out and then el clasicoooooo!! omg, never been in a game like that, the closest maybe in Copa de Rey once in Mestalla: Valencia – EE (6-0 and redondo red card!!) … just looked it up and it was in 99… god I’m old

          • Ethan
            November 14, 2010

            jealous. my sister just moved back a few months ago, she lived right off the arc de triomf. it was amazing going and seeing her all the time and catching games. not having to pay for a hotel really makes it affordable to visit, jealous u get to live there. best city on earth. lucky lucky man.

  27. Vicsoc8
    November 13, 2010

    Abidal played a great game today. However, centerback remains our most pressing long term concern (how’s that for an oxymoron?). Puyol, Abidal, and sometimes Milito are all good options, but they are all getting old. Whether it be from the cantera, or through a signing, we need to brin some young centerbacks into the squad.

    • Patrick
      November 13, 2010

      I like what I’ve seen from Bartra. With Pique’s youth not really terribly pressing need.

  28. Kari
    November 13, 2010

    Messi’s first goal. Sid Lowe commentating. Enough said.

    /http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9vasCOXNaA&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL

    • Kari
      November 13, 2010

      And I am seriously debating whether to get GolTV (Canada) now–just for the off chance that Sid is commentating on the game.

  29. I don’t usually do this, but I’d like to hear anyone’s thought on my comment about re: Afellay, and it sort of got buried as a reply above. So…any thoughts?

    • Kari
      November 13, 2010

      I just posted above. (This is what I get for not refreshing the page. I should know better by now)

    • Vj
      November 14, 2010

      I thought the opposite would be true. Look at Valencia, the season in which they had both Villa and Silva, they finished third.. Now they are finding it tough to hold on to a CL spot (though its only the start of the season).

      A team would prefer it if their star players were not snapped up by direct opposition in La Liga.. Would Athletic be better off if we sign Llorente, their top-scorer?

  30. BA
    November 13, 2010

    Afellay plays for PSV, is 24, and is a good bargain. why on Earth should we have to justify that purchase? we don’t need to buy other clubs’ young players, because we hone our own: of our ideal 1st team, *8* of those players are products of our own youth system. no other club in Europe, let alone Spain, can boast those kinds of numbers while remaining competitive at anywhere near our level. if we had spent, say, €400m snapping up promising players over the past 2 seasons that criticism might hit home; but you’re thinking of another club.

    are you seriously suggesting that we should hand Afellay over to a lesser club in La Liga to make things more “fair”? because that’d be pretty crazy. our squad is really short, we need a player like Afellay and if he fits into the system, he’ll get game time as a result. i don’t understand your complaint.

    • Patrick
      November 13, 2010

      Despite some overall reservations on the competitive balance of la Liga, the rules now are, unfortunately, the rules. Thus, I’d have to agree with BA here over Cleareyes

    • Indeed, RIGHT NOW you guys have a lot of cantera players in your starting lineup. As I noted above, you are currently enjoying a collection of once in a generation players that you would have to be ignorant, naive, or incredibly short-sighted to think you’re going to keep producing or have ever produced before. Yet even in that time, Barcelona’s net transfer market activity since ’07 has been -54 million, -44.5 million, -88.5 million, and -17.3 million (I’m using transfermarkt.de for these figures. You may want to quibble about the exact sum, but please don’t miss the point I’m making). In many of those seasons Barca was outspending RM by a wide margin. I am thinking of another club, you’re right: I think of the two clubs simultaneously because they’re the same thing wearing different clothes.

      To answer your question, I am not suggesting that you do anything to make things more fair–I am well aware that fairness will never motivate the EE to change anything. I am appealing to the part of every fan who wants there to be a competitive league where more than two teams compete for the title. I’m appealing to fans who want to see promising players like Afellay actually play games and develop their talent instead of wasting away on the bench as an insurance policy for some team whose fans feel like a failure if they don’t win at least a double every year, and has to have a world class team of substitutes in case they have bad luck with injuries.

      If your squad is really short and you’re simultaneously puffing out your chest about the strength of La Masia, why not use those players? Why do you only want to use your cantera if it’s producing players that will one day be discussed as all-time greats? Wouldn’t true pride in your cantera be a willingness to use players who AREN’T on the shortlist for world player of the year? I know what you’re thinking, but no: although it sounds like I’m talking about Real Madrid here, I’m actually thinking of Barcelona.

      • Kxevin
        November 14, 2010

        Review coming in the morning. Party and all, so I just finished watching, and am too tired to type anything but gibberish.

        But regarding the comments about Afellay. A strong Barca and EE is good for La Liga. No offense meant to anyone’s club, but people aren’t tuning in to Liga matches to see Sevilla, Villarreal or Atletico. Sorry, but they just aren’t.

        As for our purchase of Afellay, the questions are what will best suit the player’s development, and can he contribute at a level that justifies his place on the roster?

        1. Would he be better served playing and practicing with our first team, or say, Bilbao’s? Think carefully before you answer that one. The obvious answer is Bilbao, right, because he will get more playing time, etc, etc. But don’t underestimate the value of practice, and vetting in the system of a global club. Working out and practicing daily with the likes of Xavi, Iniesta, Messi and Puyol is bound to make anyone a better player.

        2. Can he contribute at a level commensurate with his being bought for our first team? Obviously you never know for sure, but we wouldn’t be negotiating for him otherwise. Which means that if he comes, he plays when required. Simple as that.

        The big two each turned over something approaching a half-billion dollars in revenue last season. They are truly global clubs. Being a global club is expensive, in terms of money and players. There’s a reason Afellay wants to come to Barca, even though he knows that he won’t get the playing time that he would at a lesser club, and that reason is exposure, not only on a global scale, but to the quality of play during matches and on the practice pitch, that will make him a better player. Period.

        If Afellay is promising, who’s to say that he will develop better playing on a club that we poleax 5-0, or as a part of our roster. Yes, it’s easy for someone from one of the other clubs to assert that it’s bad for the player, Liga, etc, but he’s available at that price to anyone who wants to bid for him, right? 2-4m is surely supportable in, say, Sevilla’s budget.

        If he comes in January, the suggestion that he will rot on the bench is inaccurate. His skill set and wing play means that he will be meeting needs that we have, right now. So I just don’t buy the notion that it is bad for him and the success of the top two clubs is bad for the Liga, any more than I buy the threat (related to TV revenue) that the other 18 Liga clubs would split off and form their own league. Good luck, and good luck getting anyone to supply that league with a TV contract worth more than a plugged nickel.

        Like it or not, us and EE are good for the Liga. It is exposure on a level that the other clubs wouldn’t see otherwise. Think about what U.S. television was like for the Liga 5 years ago. Now, there are matches on GolTV and ESPN Deportes every weekend. It’s the success and exposure of, as well as popularity of the big two, that raises the level for everyone in the pond.

        Every club wants to win. Not every club’s bottom line depends on winning. We aren’t selling shirts in Africa or Asia if we aren’t winning. So yes, this requires winning players. And why ever would we want to use a canterano who isn’t good enough for the first team? There is no value in that for us, or the rest of the Liga. And those players, though they aren’t Barca quality, have gone to make many a Liga club better. Botia and Victor Sanchez are two that come to mind immediately.

        If smaller clubs, or aspirational sides such as Sevilla want to keep players, then don’t sell them. Sevilla could have said no when we came asking about Alves and Keita. But it was good business to sell them. Del Nido made a hefty profit on those deals. PSV had the chance to re-sign Afellay, but the player didn’t want to. He wants a bigger club. We stepped up, and we’ll see what happens.

        But this isn’t altruism. This is a business. It’s a business, couched in the guise of a game. And in business, certain companies will always be more successful than others. We had a two-year stretch where we won nothing. So we retooled, and have what you see before you. This club won’t always be so successful. But young, talented players such as Afellay provide the nucleus for having a shot at that continued success.

        Simple as that.

        • Since you acknowledged you were writing gibberish I’ll go easy on this post. : )

          As to 1., of course you realize that you are in the extreme minority to believe that a 24-year-old is better off practicing with a team than getting actual consistent playing time in that same league with another team. You’re a Barcelona fan, and maybe your fanship is so great that you actually believe your team’s practice squad is equivalent to or better than playing time for some other, non-Barcelona team. You’d be alone in that, I should think, but you’re certainly entitled to your opinion. The Dutch fans at the post Kari linked to don’t seemed to be thrilled that their player could be playing practice with your team of legends, for example. I assume you’re also not calling for the club to loan Bojan since he’s getting so much out of practice.

          You’re right, there IS a reason he wants to come to Barcelona (and to your later, similar point, it is my understanding that several smaller clubs in Spain in fact were looking to sign Afellay. Paying his transfer fee probably wasn’t the issue, as you note). But I don’t see how you can talk about all the great things Barcelona can offer without acknowledging that this comes in part from the money they take and keep from other clubs, which has the dual effect of draining smaller clubs and strengthening bigger clubs. If we could have afforded to keep Alves, we would have kept him. And you wouldn’t have a triplete, and your club is less glamourous and attractive to newcomers than it currently is. It’s as simple as that. You say if we didn’t want to sell him we shouldn’t have, as though every club in Spain has your TV deal and if necessary can rely on an entire banking system to loan them money for paychecks when necessary. We can’t just operate in the red forever like the you and RM can.

          I disagree about the EE teams being good for La LIga. Flagship teams are good, I agree, and in that sense I think the EE’s are doing SOME good for La Liga. You talk about improved TV exposure as though it’s demonstrably an impact of something the EE did in the last 5 years, and I guess I’m not sure where you got your data for that assumption. People want to see a competition, and the EE’s are creating a Liga where that doesn’t exist other than between two teams.

          • November 14, 2010

            Let me put it another way. Is Afellay better off playing XI-v-XI against the likes of Puyol, Abidal, Valdes, etc., than playing matches for Atletico? Again, I say yes.

            You’re coming at this from the worldview of a Sevilla supporter, so it’s going to be impossible for you to see it as Barca supporters do.

            And no, people don’t want competition. Fans want for their club to crush every other club, forever. Whenever a league has parity, nobody likes it except for the neutrals. Parity doesn’t work, because leagues need halo franchises.

            As for finances, it isn’t a question of having banks loan money. It’s a question of having the revenue generation that makes getting that money back from the club a sure bet. Generating almost a half-billion dollars in revenue gives lenders confidence. And don’t confuse us with that other Spanish club. We haven’t taken out loans to buy players. But the incentives and contract sweetenings that are a byproduct of sustained success all came due at the same time, necessitating a gap loan. If you haven’t already, it’s worth reading the analysis of our finances over at The Swiss Ramble.

  31. fcbfan
    November 14, 2010

    great win! so proud of this team.

    and Kxevin is right as well, one reason we won, no celebration to distract!

  32. Regista
    November 14, 2010

    no matter how i look at it..the third goal (messi) was offside..when pedro kick the ball, messi’s was behind the last def already.
    was it?

    • Kxevin
      November 14, 2010

      It deflected off of a Sevilla defender, or Messi would have been off.

      • Mikel
        November 14, 2010

        Actually, they changed the offside rule this season, so if an offside player recives a ball that deflected off a rival player, then is considered offside. But anyways it does’t matter becuase Messi wasn’t offside when Pedro! made the pass.

        • Patrick
          November 14, 2010

          “If an offside player recives a ball that deflected off a rival player, then it is considered offside”

          This has always been the case. Perhaps they issued a clarification? (FIFA likes to do this)

        • Patrick
          November 14, 2010

          Well the FA. They make the rules, technically. Stupid sport.

      • Patrick
        November 14, 2010

        Strange. This has always been the rule — at least as far as I was taught.

        Offsides is a simple law that people (really the game) makes complicated. It’s fitting in a sense we call them laws because much like anglo-american law you get this fun conceptual framework that springs up around them. Here is one way an old hand explained to me that I found very helpful.

        First we have to consider the concept of “the play.” It is important because the offsides call is diachronic*. A play must start, and end. It is possible for multiple plays to be occurring at once, however I’d have to think of a crazy scenario for that to be relevant in any offsides call.

        With respect to law XI, a play starts simply with an attacker’s touch to a teammate.** This does not require control. Not general intent. Not specific intent. Not even a requirement that the touching attacker be conscious (although I go out of my way to halt games when people loose consciousness).

        Thus, at the start of every play, a referee asks himself if ANY other attacker is in the offsides position.*** If yes, he keeps that player in mind until the current play ends. Note it is not a offence simply to be in the offside position.***

        It’s been fairly simple up to this point, but here is where I hope to help folks out. Pay attention.

        Until, and this is key, the end of the play, if any attacker gains an advantage or interferes with play who was in the offside position when the play began, that player is penalized and an indirect free kick is given.****

        The play ends when (1) the ball is dead*****, (2) another attacker touches the ball, or (3) a defender gains possession or control of the ball.

        Thus, the important question with regards to Messi’s goal is when did the play end. Luckily, with the framework above, it’s a fairly simple question to answer. When Pedro crossed the ball in, a play began. At that point in time, Messi not in the offside position.****** Therefore, for the rest of the current play Messi cannot be penalized for being offside.

        Next, the ball deflected off a Villarreal player. Did this end the play? If it did and this was the start of a new play, the AR would have to evaluate who was offside and Messi would now be in an offside position. However, the play did not end. For a defender to end a play he must control or possess the ball, not simply touch it. Therefore, Messi was not in the offside position when the play started, therefore he cannot be penalized for being offside when he receives the ball.

        To sum it all up simply: When Pedro passed to Messi, Messi was onside and the fact that the Villarreal defender touched the ball has no material impact on the resulting offside analysis.

        Regardless of the actual rules, you always must remember the human element too: *http://imgur.com/Jvtng.png

        And now you know. (TM)

        * Fancy way of saying it plays out over time. As opposed to synchronic, which is a phenomena where all that is analyzed occurs in a single moment in time.

        ** See FIFA Laws of the game, Law XI, “Offense” (2010), available at |http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/generic/81/42/36/lawsofthegame_2010_11_e.pdf (hereafter “Law XI”) (“at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team”).

        *** I think everyone here understands the concept of the offside position, but you can look it up. See Law XI, “Offside position.”

        **** See Law XI, “Offense”; Law XI, “Infringements and Sanctions”

        ***** Goal, out of bounds, foul…

        ****** See \http://desmond.yfrog.com/Himg707/scaled.php?tn=0&server=707&filename=dr4w.jpg&xsize=640&ysize=640

        • Mikel
          November 14, 2010

          I’m not sure how it worked in other leagues till this summer, but i understand that new offside rule was started to be implemented this season. Here’s a page from Marca that explains it, (the page is dated 26/08/10) is in Spanish, but I can translate it:

          *http://www.marca.com/2010/08/26/futbol/1adivision/1282807548.html?a=0660239b294c1b9a2ef65f9fe13bb093&t=1289747651

          “La Liga llega con el ‘nuevo’ fuera de juego” (New offside rule arrives to La Liga)

          “1. Queda igualado el fuera de juego en cuanto a rechace y rebote. Si un jugador remata a puerta, el balón rebota en un defensa y llega a un atacante que se encontraba en fuera de juego, se marcará la infracción. Es fuera de juego. Ya no tiene sentido el comentario tan utilizado de que el balón golpeó en un contrario.”

          The offside rule will be applicable even if there’s a rebound or deflection. If a player shoots to goal, and the ball deflects off a defender and gets to an attacker that was in offside position, the referee will call the offside. Now it’s not longer valid the comment that the ball hit a defender”

          • Mikel
            November 14, 2010

            Also note how the put “nuevo” between commas, so maybe it’s not so new a rule after all

          • Patrick
            November 14, 2010

            I think you mean quotes, not commas 🙂

            This actually wasn’t a rule change but one of those ‘clarifications’ I was speaking about. Hence a ‘new’ rule. FIFA hates changing the actual rules but sometimes referees start interpreting them in their own way and FIFA has a meeting with the federation/league and lays down the smack (issues interpretive guidelines, or particular emphasis on an aspect of the laws).

            If any Liga ref had made this call prior, it would have been wrong. Many times they issue these clarifications because the media start saying stupid stuff, even when the refs have made the correct calls all along.

  33. Mikel
    November 14, 2010

    Messi last season scored 47 goals in 53 reps. Insane numbers, by any standard. This season he has 19 goals in 16 appeareances. The question is there: is he really going to improve his goalscoring stats with respect to last season? As Sid Lowe said: Un-be-lie-va-ble.

  34. cliveee
    November 14, 2010

    @cleareyesfullhearts

    I see where you are coming from and am all for putting transfer budget cap in La Liga.

    What we have been seeing in the transfer market, particularly in the past 5 years, is insane. It feels almost like a global crime to learn from the news that a player’s transfer cost is a couple thousands of countries’ GDP combined. It’s just unbelievably crazy, and yes, Barcelona is not exempted.

    The Afellay transfer is only natural in many ways. Good players seek good clubs to play for. Period. He is not going to extend in PSV, the club has to sell, if, say, Manchester City wants him, he may end up there too. But then Barca steps in and starts talking, that’s when he will make the decision to sign for a team he likes more. Yes, it’s not fair, but that’s also the most natural thing to happen.

    Every league needs better competitions, La Liga has been hugely criticized by the footballing world of lacking a relatively balanced league. But look at how Madrid and us are spending crazy money on players and are still struggling to defeat teams like Valencia, Villareal, Hercules. The competition is still there. Developments of all clubs in any aspect can never change the fact that football is unpredictable. The finest players don’t make the finest team. Copenhagen gave us huge trouble, like Guardiola said, if Copenhagen played in La Liga, they would be in the top of the table. We will never find that one out, but that team is really good. Star players, so what? We can still defeat you. So, I don’t believe transfer is all there is to make a good team.

    Still, like I mentioned, I am all for a transfer budget cap. It’s for the sake of everything, as football is not everything. This crazy amount of money should not be spent on football business only. Secondly, it’s about some “fairness” for other teams that have little budget to spend on players to compete in the league.

    • November 14, 2010

      “putting transfer budget cap in La Liga”

      Big no. You need to improve the liga to the level of the best teams and not put the best teams down to the average level.

      More importantly, you can put caps in USA where the core of the competitions exist within the boarders of the country. You cant do it in Spain because the competitions expand outside boarders across Europe where the clubs’ continental success 1) improve clubs finance. 2) improve squad quality. 3) and most importantly, European performance promote or damage the image of respective league and leave an impact on the league attractiveness and ultimately the money generated for that league (benefiting all the clubs there).

  35. flyzowee
    November 14, 2010

    Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed a gr8 improvement in iniestas expansive passing this season?

  36. November 14, 2010

    @cleareyesfullhearts

    I think you are mixing lot of things in one:

    – Big teams buy players from so-called small teams to strengthen their squad. so-called small teams sell players to big teams to finance their budgets and survive and keep on progressing gradually. Players in the second hand, want a new jump in their life at a certain time. its also Keita, Alves, and others want to move on. You are suggesting to make teams strong enough to keep their players imprisoned. Is that the fairness?

    – You are assuming that if Barcelona didnt sign Afellay, their would have been a chance for “smaller” teams to sign him. Where do you get this impression from? He could have signed to Man Utd? Arsenal? Milan? No offense, but a player of his age want a step forward in his career. Thats why he is leaving PSV where he is a captain to a new club where there are no certainties. He cant move to another team with the same -or less- caliber than PSV. Would you?

    – Again, people are really creating fairy tales about the impact of TV re-distribution. Do you really believe that if the TV return were distributed fairly (not equally), Sevilla would have been able to compete with Barca or real Madrid if they want a player? Well, You are wrong. Even if the distribution was equal (which won’t be fair), dont bet things will change that far. Again, Did the TV money changed anything in England. If you really think so think again. Only new rich owners were able to create competitive team. We have illusions Vs demonstrations. Pick your reference.

    – Do you have iphone?Car?lot of clothes?watch?… Go and sell it, then send the money to those who cant buy food and cloth. Do you want me to keep on going? No. I think you got my point.

    – Villarreal is a better club than Atletico. Check their spending. Just a demonstration that resource management is more important than resources.

    The worst flaw in Communism is that it kill competition while it preach the opposite. The cure of football is free competition. No room for Communism in football.

    • y2k156
      November 14, 2010

      Excellently well made points.

      As for TV rights, i am with collective as that is simply better model for all the clubs. Even in such a model, there is no parity.

      As for competitiveness, money plays a part but it is not the only thing. What is more important is that teams try and play good football and they will get supporters/money.

    • –I agree players want to move on to bigger teams, that makes sense. But my point is that this is in part due to gross off-the-field inequalities. I’m not, as you say, suggesting teams be strong enough to keep players prison, which is a strange and laughable concept. I am suggesting that teams be strong enough that some of their best players want to stay.

      –I might be wrong about who Afellay would have gone to, that’s true. I disagree with your basic point that a move from PSV to a top-half Liga team doesn’t make for an upward move, though. I’m not sure if you just see everyone in La Liga as so far in your rear-view mirror to the point that you don’t distinguish between the size of all the “not Barca or RM” teams, but surely you’re not suggesting that going from PSV to Valencia, Sevilla, or Atletico is a step down?

      –I’m not a fan of equal TV rights, actually–I’d like them to be merit-based. Again, maybe from your perspective you imagine a team like Sevilla “only” getting 10 million more a year and you scoff at such an insignificant sum making a difference. But 10 million would have let us keep Adriano, or allowed us an enormous purchase (enormous for us. Did you know Sevilla’s record signing all-time is 15 million? You guys shed that kind of pocket change on feeling and don’t break a sweat, but for small teams it’s a big deal). So, yes, I think the TV money would make a very big difference. It might even make teams like RM or Barca think twice before buying/dropping players at huge cost. I mean, they’d both still do it, but maybe they’d think twice.

      –Communism? Seriously? Who is talking about communism? You sort of lost me there.

    • Sorry, I also meant to point out the flimsiness of your argument that because Villarreal spends less than Atletico but is “better” (how are you measuring this? Because they’re higher in the table right now? Because of their poor finish last year? Because of how Atleti only won the Europa last year?), you have somehow proved that resource management is more important than resources? Haha, WHAT? Isn’t the fact that the two richest clubs in Spain have won La Liga the last 6 years more compelling evidence of the greater relative importance of just HAVING resources? Sevilla keeps their transfer activity pretty close to even over time, but their wise resource management hasn’t gotten them a Liga title.

      From your previous posts I know you to be a pretty intelligent and thoughtful poster–it is hard for me to accept that you are actually capable of this kind of logical fallacy, but I’m not sure if giving you the benefit of the doubt means assuming you intentionally ignored logic to make your point, or if this was an honestly poor point you were making.

      • November 14, 2010

        “I am suggesting that teams be strong enough that some of their best players want to stay.”

        Players do not move to Barcelona and RM (or any other big club) only because they get more money there. There are other -even more important factors- that you like to ignore. Or else, Man City would have had the best squad in the world. Granted they can offer Messi, Ronaldo, Alves, Torres more money than they are earning now. You are simplifying the case at will.

        “but surely you’re not suggesting that going from PSV to Valencia, Sevilla, or Atletico is a step down?”

        I suggest that a player followed by Manchester united for example will consider it a step down in his career to go to Valencia, Sevilla, or Atletico. You dont like it. I may not like it as I want all good players to join the liga. But that’s a fact. It seems that you are addicted to behave like a victim “Oh big team fans dont appreciate us fairly” which is delusional to say the least. Its not me who dont rate the rest of the teams in the Liga, it is you who have no respect for the teams outside the Liga. PSV is one of the big names in Netherland and Europe. And when you are the Captain of PSV, it is not exactly a promotion to move to any team with no hopes to win the CL for example to be just another player in the squad. Checked.

        – “team like Sevilla “only” getting 10 million more a year and you scoff at such an insignificant sum making a difference.”

        I said redistributing TV-return will not make the teams more competitive on the Liga title. Something Del Nido like to argue about. I presented a demonstration where EPL TV-rights generate much more money than the Liga (Thanks to stupid management at the liga), still that didnt enhance the competition. Will 10 millions extra make any difference? 10 Euros can make a difference. No brainer. Where did I say I am against changing the way TV-shares are distributed? I said it long before and I say it now, this change benefit the rest of the clubs more than it hurt the big two, thats enough to let it happen. What I am pointing out is that there is no need to create fantasy tales about how far this change will football destiny, because thats not true. Keep things in the right perspective.

        “But 10 million would have let us keep Adriano”

        As a Sevilla fan, I suggest that you follow the club updates better. Adriano requested transfer because he needed a change of environment. That happened way before Barca’s approach. He was close to sign to Milan before Barca. For a player who serve where you already have enough cover, you received a very good amount of money. Sevilla management is one of the best in Europe when it come to weighing transfer alternatives. Even with the club earning as much as Barcelona, the club wouldnt have hesitated for one second to sell the player for the amount of money offered (plus the clauses). I will not hesitate to sell Maxwell for that amount of money (mind you he played more games for Barca this season than Adriano). It was a win-win deal for all parties, including the player.

        – Villarreal is better than Atletico based on the output Vs expenses in the last 10 years (more or less). Atletico won Europa last year? Hallelujah! You missed an important point here: La Liga clubs won more Europa and reached more finals in European competitions in the last 10 years than EPL team where TV rights are praised as perfect. So lets not fixed if it ain’t broken. Sure I dont agree on that logic, but just basing an argument on your point.

        “Isn’t the fact that the two richest clubs in Spain have won La Liga the last 6 years more compelling evidence of the greater relative importance of just HAVING resources?”

        RM and Barcelona are the richest clubs in Spain. But wait…When we talk about “resources” we need to be more specific. Resources is not Tv-shares. TV-shares is ONE of many resources. Barcelona and Real Madrid have more resources than the rest. Right. So what? Splitting the return of merchandise, sponsorship, gate return, etc…equally between the liga clubs? So lets not mix things together because that leads to what I called Football communism where all get the same amount regardless of how much each deserve, produce, or contribute.

        We are talking about one specific detail here TV-Shares (not resources, unless if). Is the fact that only two clubs in Spain won the liga in the past 6 seasons an evidence that current TV-shares system should be changed leading to more competitiveness?

        How many clubs won the EPL in the mentioned 6 years? It is over my head now, so I am just throwing a question I have no answer to.

        Again, YES YES the TV-shares system should be changed. But it has absolutely nothing to do with creating more competition.

        “Sevilla keeps their transfer activity pretty close to even over time, but their wise resource management hasn’t gotten them a Liga title.”

        That demonstrate the reason why teams are not on the right way to catch up with the big two. They are so much in a hurry. The Big two built their football empire break over another for decades. Then one ambitious club want to gain promotion to the first division in one season, then dominate Europe in the second. Or else the whining orchestra bug the air. Competing for titles need time, something money cant buy. Ask Man city. Ask leeds united united. Ask Lazio. And the list is long for anyone willing to see beyond the stereotypes. In fact the sudden increase of return without the right infrastructure and experience led to catastrophic outcome more often than it led to glory. The clubs mentioned above is a demonstration. Again, clubs are easily getting carried away, and at the heat of the moment they lose their cold blood, ask Deportivo, the liga champions, what did they do next.

        Valencia is another demonstration. two seasons ago, they had one of the most promising squads, flooded by youth and talent. Based on their growth curve they probably needed 3-5 seasons to stamp their presence in steel as a third pole. That amount of time sounded too much and their president did what even Barcelona cant afford doing. He started building a new stadium even before securing the situation of the current one. They end up unable to complete the new one, unable to sell the old one, and suffering financial crises. Ironically, the returns from TV-rights Valencia received in those past seasons were much higher than what they would have received based on the new system suggested. Still that didnt help them to avoid a collapse. why? simply because the resource management damaged the benefits and opportunities generated by the resources.

        In the league, the healthy situation is to have teams with different objectives. That create a unique environment at each and every club. To assume that the role of all the clubs in every league is to compete for the title is not valid, nor it work. It put immense pressure every where and damage the division all at once. Sevilla was able to buy Alves and have patience with him till he grow was only because their wasnt a Barca-like pressure in the club that demand winning the League and the CL every season, or else he would have collapsed. Being a Barca and RM has its merits but also its curses. Same goes for being Sevilla or Villarreal. Or being Almeria or sporting where youth players could be loaned or sold to grow. A division of identical cant cover all the needs of football to develop. It create an environment similar to what happened at the EPL, all teams barking to compete even by getting Zillions of loans. That lead to a Portsmouth. Liverpool. or even Manchester United that is under a deadly threat at the moment.

        Doest that mean that every team need to surrender to its destiny and accept its rank? Absolutely not! Ity require long term strategies that goes step by step to enhance and re-engineer the club’s role on the division map. Again, long term planning, creative approach, and more effort than whats delivered in big clubs. Trying to create a system where we are all equal in benefits regardless how far each contribute in generating such benefits (AkA football communism) is not the right path. And even if it happened, it will fail. Good example? Napoli. So far, they are doing things right.

  37. Diego S.
    November 14, 2010

    Referee Wolfgang Stark who so brilliantly noticed Yaya’s handball last year against Inter Milan , failed to see Huntelaar dribbling past the keeper with his hand to score a goal.

    • November 14, 2010

      I watched that game almost in parallel with Barca B. Trust me, that wasnt the only wrong call in the match. He simply handed an undeserved draw to Schalke.

      And BTW Dzeko scored a funny goal in the match.

  38. Jim
    November 14, 2010

    Looking forward to Kxevin’s review. I was really pleased with the team effort last night and can’t think of any failures. I thought Abidal had an excellent game as CB and given the likelihood that Villareal would exploit the gaps behind Alves the makeshift defence did well. Maxwell watched the situation well and came across as Puyol had to move to cover the gap.

    In midfield at times the way our midfield duo kept possession was unbelievable given the extreme pressure they were under.

    Slight concern about the way Villa still seems to tire after about an hour. It was also revealing to see the fatigue in Messi’s face towards the end of the match. Brilliance costs I guess. I’m also starting to worry more about the amount of time Alves spends playing almost CF. Given the contract situation it struck me that it’d be hard to see another team giving him the same license to roam that we do. Or maybe we don’t but he just does it anyway?

    all in all though you have to be proud of them. Hungry as ever.

  39. Helge
    November 14, 2010

    Last season I said to my friends there is no way, absolutely NO WAY that Messi could ever surpass his goal-scoring record. Now he might make me eat my own words 😀

    And the third goal was definitely NOT offside, they are on same height, if you look at the colour of the grass.
    Nonetheless a very pathetic showing by the ref, his ridiculous offside call did not only cost us a goal, Villarreal played with a completely different attitude after the 1-1. If we hadn’t won, I’d have liked to kill that ref.

  40. Lev
    November 14, 2010

    Enjoyed the match. The Messi-Pedro goal was awesome.

    personally think Afellay would be perfect for Sevilla and would have liked to see him go there. Salary cap would be an awful idea, because of all the different leagues in europe and the competition between them.

    A foreigner cap like Johan Cruijff is advocating would be the way to go imo. This would keep things on more of an even keel, both in the domestic leauges and internationally.

    As it is, Ibra is coming to Barça – at least it certainly looks that way. I would have preferred promoting one of our canteras, but Ibra is a good player will wish him luck. It is nice to have a Dutch player at Barça again, it has been a long time.

    • blitzen
      November 14, 2010

      I choked when I read this, then realized that Afellay is in fact another Ibra! Hope he works out better than the last one! 😀

  41. cliu
    November 14, 2010

    missed the game, can anyone post a link to the game? thanks!

  42. Humphrey Bogart
    November 14, 2010

    Just some words stolen from the phantastic Sid Lowe to describe the game: Villareal were great, Barca were greater.

    • Helge
      November 14, 2010

      For which arabic sports channel is Sid Lowe commentating?

      And what did he say after the first goal of Messi, something like “Messi has scored 50 goals this year, the closest player to him is Sua…” then the highlight video ends. I bet the closest player goal-scoring wise to Messi this year is Suarez, right?

      • blitzen
        November 14, 2010

        Suarez, yes, with something like 30 goals. Nowhere near the greatness that is Messi.

      • Fares
        November 14, 2010

        Sid Lowe works with Al Jazeera

        And yes he said the closest to him is Suarez with 34 goals or something like that

  43. Jim
    November 14, 2010

    Glad to see the players are getting a couple of days off. Any word on how Xavi was after the game?

  44. poipoi
    November 14, 2010

    gotta point out that dribble iniesta did to two defenders in the front-right side of the little box, only he can do that IMO. he misplaced the pass though 🙁

    saw the game again (didn’t watch it like it deserved) and we played so well it’s hard to believe the score. Like pep said, vilareal are the only team that stood against us when we play in THAT way. respect to them

  45. Euler
    November 14, 2010

    Cleareyesfullhearts-

    I value your comments and am happy to see that you feel comfortable enough to participate in this space even though you support another club.

    But your comments specifically about Afellay are off the mark (and I’m being very specific regarding Afellay – not the myriad of other issues you’ve mixed in with this one transfer).

    Your comments don’t fully take into consideration what Afellay may want as an individual for himself. It’s as if he’s just some widget who should be pushed around by the clubs who can incorporate him to maximize their own utility. To be honest, your comments come off as rather patronizing as you’re arguing that he himself can’t decide what’s best for him nor should he even have the rights to do so. That’s nonsense.

    By far the primary reason Afellay is coming to Barcelona is because he wants to. A player on an expiring contract is perhaps the worst example with which to make the kinds of arguments you are regarding financial issues in La Liga. An enormous range of clubs could afford Afellay – as you yourself point out Sevilla could of afforded him. Liverpool could have. Juve could have.

    This was not a deal driven by the economic resources of the club because no club had leverage here. The player had leverage and he acquired that leverage by subjecting himself to risk.

    Afellay assumed significant personal risk to himself by turning down multiple contract extension requests from PSV. He placed his entire future in potential jeopardy in doing so. If he gets injured and ruins his knee his career very well could end and he only gets paid for another few months. That’s it. Over.

    Why would he do this? Why assume this risk? It’s because he as an individual wanted to be able to make his own decision on where to play and who to play for. And it seems like this is what you are bitter about. How dare a player decide for himself where he works!

    Compare this to Fabergas. Fabergas didn’t want to expose himself to risk so he signed a long term contract with a club he didn’t want to be at long term. He did that to make sure he would get paid for 6 years guaranteed. He didn’t want to assume any risk. And in the end because of that desire to minimize his own risk he had no substantive ability to control where he would work. He signed that right away.

    Afellay did the exact opposite. He did the only thing a player can to give himself the ability to decide for himself where he works. He traded long term financial security for autonomy.

    Afellay could have walked on and started at Liverpool, for example. He knew this. But he didn’t want to do that.

    Given how he took the risk to play on an expiring contract he put himself in position to play for nearly any team he wanted to in the entire world. He was the one making the decision here, he had all the leverage – not the selling club and certainly not the buying club. He elected himself to play for a certain employer.

    Why? Let’s let him answer that question in his own words:

    Afellay: “For every little boy, it’s a dream to play for Barcelona.” #fcblive [eredivisie live]

    Afellay: “If you ask all footballers what their dream club is, 99 out of 100 will say Barcelona. It can’t get better than that.” [el]

    -Both quotes above via barcastuff.

  46. Ryan
    November 14, 2010

    Come on Sporting, just another 45 minutes…

    • poipoi
      November 14, 2010

      go go go … and score one please!!!

  47. blitzen
    November 14, 2010

    Anyone watching the RM – Sporting Heehaw game? It’s scoreless at the half.

    RM don’t look great — their passing is terrible and they are playing a bit dirty, although to be fair the Sporting players are diving quite a lot. Even Xabi Alonso is having an uncharacteristically poor game. They just don’t know how to keep the ball.

    If they play like this at El Clasico, it will be good for us!

  48. Roz
    November 14, 2010

    Mourinho looks sad alone in that box. Whos up for the Milan Derby?

    • blitzen
      November 14, 2010

      I am, but I can’t decide which Milan I want to lose more than the other!

      • Ryan
        November 14, 2010

        Just saw Botia stop Ronaldo – keep it up!

  49. Euler
    November 14, 2010

    Botia has played very well for Sporting today so far.

  50. blitzen
    November 14, 2010

    OK, 20 more minutes, just keep it up for 20 more minutes. *crossing fingers*

    Apparently Oezil is one the field somewhere, but I haven’t seen him. He’s been practically invisible this game.

    Mourinho must be dying of frustration right now! 😀

  51. Eklavya
    November 14, 2010

    If Sporting manage to draw people will say we should get Botia back but then as the season will go on, people will forget again and think that Muniesa is more ready…

  52. Eklavya
    November 14, 2010

    WOW, I turned the match on and they scored. I don’t believe this.

    I am the new Kari! 😯 Nooooooooo! XD

    • blitzen
      November 14, 2010

      I can’t even look at you right now. 🙁

    • jordi(TM)
      November 14, 2010

      I turned on, saw the replay of the goal, then iker’s save.FML

  53. Eklavya
    November 14, 2010

    OOOH! So close! Sporting almost scored!

  54. Euler
    November 14, 2010

    Sporting pressed very effectively all match in their own half. Then they fail to close out Ramos and give him the time and space on the ball to deliver an accurate cross to Benzema in the box.

    Botia played very well and he would be useful depth for Barca right now. He was very strong today. RM couldn’t generate much through the middle and that’s why they struggled to score.

    • Eklavya
      November 14, 2010

      But would calling Botia back be good for him? Wouldn’t it be better for him to keep on playing where he gets constant reps. Once one of our defenders leaves or someone gets injured we could get him back. Until then Fontas or Barta…?

  55. Hilal
    November 14, 2010

    Why do you guys watch Madrid play? You all know that they are going to win, your just torturing yourselves. Let me guess, they played mediocre for tha majority of the game, Sporting had a bunch of chances they didnt take and then Madrid scored right at the death. Its typical and its why I dont watch them. All we have to worry about is ourselves…

    • Eklavya
      November 14, 2010

      Actually this is the first EE match I’m seeing this season. And I only saw 5 mins. And I was bored.

      You think I would like to see EE play for fun? 😛

    • Jnice
      November 14, 2010

      Agreed 100%. I don’t watch them anymore because I just end up being frustrated. We can worry about them in a couple of weeks.

    • Ryan
      November 14, 2010

      It’s his Barca DNA – he can’t help hating Madrid. 😀

  56. jordi(TM)
    November 14, 2010

    Ronaldo is a real douche, hope he gets assaulted some day.

  57. Eklavya
    November 14, 2010

    Ibra just scored for Inter. Yaaay.

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