Eric Abidal is a monster, and we have video evidence

This video deserves to be a post so that it will live on for perpetuity (of the virtual sort, granted, but still ….). Recall the rousing debate about Abidal’s match vs Villarreal. I gave him MOTM, because he earned it with his play. Well our very own cliveee assembled a YouTube compilation of Abidal vs Villarreal. Enjoy! (You could probably make an Abidal video like this from most matches, but this one is particularly good.)

Categorized as Thoughts

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. Very very underrated player. Don’t see a direct replacement either since reliable left backs are practically an endangered species in modern football.

  2. one of those players of FCB that the crowd won’t chant his name or anything but you know when he’s not there. how many years with us already?

    2:00 the play and pep’s look are hilarious! pep is like O_O omfg O_O

    1. Yeah, he doesn’t get the credit he deserves. His performances are usually rock solid and I always feel better when he’s out there. Works well with P2 and makes great runs forward, creating opportunities.

  3. I know nobody is perfect but why do you always miss this great point whenever you proudly and loudly proclaim that Ibra won us the Clasico last year. It is really disrespectful to the other members who contributed a lot too but didn’t get any recognition.

    Ah and the point that you miss is;
    -Dani Alves won us that match too since it was his inch perfect cross.

  4. Cliveeee,
    Thanks for taking the time to edit the videos.
    Can I make a request?
    Make a compilation of Pep’s funny sideline moments where he makes funny gestures and tactics. They’re hilarious!
    It looks like a baseball match at times when the coaches give tactics in a code sign language using arms and fingers πŸ˜†

  5. In his good day, Abidal is a stand-alone defense line. Luckily, he is “in his good day”s more often than he isnt.

    I’ve been calling for him to be used as a CB since last season. Finally he showed his worth there. Still need time to get the feeling of a center back. To develop anticipation and decision making, which fools him sometimes. But if he work on that, he can survive at Barcelona as a CB much longer than he can as a CB. I’m sure he is aware of it.

    1. Abidal doesn’t play well at CB sometimes because of two things. Positioning and Decision making. His decision is sometimes too late (ex : Copenhagen). Block one player, if the Other scores, It’s not your fault. The positioning of his game betrays him, He drifts to the left or out of place. If he can work on both, He’d be a worldclass CB. He has pace, strength, comfortable with the ball, and not afraid to challenge other players.

    2. He’s too old to expect him to become a world class CB. He’s a very good FB and, at best, he’s an emergency CB because while he will make many good plays thanks to his speed, he can be counted on to make a couple of bone-headed plays as well due to just the problems you mentioned. His challenge on Capedevila in the area was amateurish and could have cost the team a penalty very easily. What made it so stupid was it was totally unnecessary as Joan was no longer in a position to shoot (he was at the end line) and he’s not the same kind of threat in that position as say Messi or a player like that.

      I like Erik as a player and person and I’m glad he’s on our club, but it’s obvious that he is the weakest starter on our team. I defy any of you to name one starter who is weaker.

    3. “he is the weakest starter on our team. I defy any of you to name one starter who is weaker.”

      weaker in doing what? As a general statement, it is irrelevant. Messi is a weaker starter than Abidal-defensively. No one is better than Abidal-as a left back. Abidal is the best fullback we have to play as a CB. It is easier to miss Busquets, Pedro, or Keita in a big match than missing Abidal. So if you want an answer to that question, you need to be more specific: Weaker in what?

    4. Hi Ramzi, I mean weakest at doing his job and the tactical possibilities he provides Pep, compared to any other starter. He generally does an adequate/good job at FB (although he showed flashes of greatness last season, before falling to injury), but saying that he is the “best fullback to play as a CB is equally pointless, because he is the *only* FB who Pep would use as a CB. In fact, with the emergence of Busquets, we no longer use him as a 3rd CB, which explains why Maxwell is the first choice FB now in most cases. Maxwell offers more offensively than Abidal and Busquets offers more defensively.

      Given that statement, I guess you can understand that I think the team would miss Busquets far more than Abidal. I would also argue that Pedro’s work rate and potential to break games open makes him far more valuable as well. Keita is not really a starter, so I don’t think he should enter into the discussion, but if you want to compare I’d say they are similar in value, but I’d still say that Keita has a greater impact as his work rate in the midfield is impressive.

      That said, I hope that I made cit lear that I really like Abidal both as a player and as a person. I just don’t think he’s a monster. On this team he’s a role player.

  6. Bojan has some Messi-esque qualities that was on display against Almeria. His dribbling and his touch on the ball shows that he’s very talented. His first goal shows that he’s a brilliant striker. For the first time in a long time, he looked like he knows what to do with the ball. He dribbled past players, he shot when he could, he made runs. I hope he maintains this form. If he develops at steady pace, He’s gonna be a monster.

    1. I know. Just last month he couldn’t even dribble ONE player fron Ceuta. He looks totally different now. Pep must’ve taken him out for lunch or something like he did to Henry.
      He showed great strenght for the 1st goal. Usually he would be pushed off the ball πŸ˜†

  7. Kxevin for me we are a team.Valdez made a crucial save against ronaldo last season.The score was 0-0.He did his job.As ibra did his job after alvez perfect cross.We win games cause every player doing the best for the team.We won liga cause we won 31games and lost just once.Villa job is not make us forget ibra.Is to do the best for the team!Oh and afellay was very lucky after the horrible tackle of ajax player!

    1. Exactly! That is how I think as well. Everyomne played their part in every match. I really hate it whenever someone says,
      X won us this match or Y won us the league is even worse.
      Yes, I heard someone saying it before.
      But like I said in the last post, nobody is perfect and Kxevin has a soft spot for Ibra no matter how many times he says that he doesn’t support a player.

    2. “Kxevin has a soft spot for Ibra no matter how many times he says that he doesn’t support a player.”

      SMH. Why?

    3. I’d like to know as well. 😐

      I don’t agree with Kxevin sometimes, but I’ve never though that he’s biased. He just wants to put things into perspective and show some hypocrisy among some Cules.

      Henry? Ibra? There’s a pattern for this supposed “bias”. It’s the the most unpopular players that get slandered even when they do something right. I’m guilty of that sometimes as well. Kxevin is only human, but he eliminates his bias as well as I’ve seen anyone.

      But meh. People see thing differently I guess.

    4. Yes there are so many critical events that determine the result of a game. Sure a goal is most critical but to say ibra won the game is to disregard the rest. Seriosly this kind of talk is pointless as greecebarca pointed out. It leads to a ranking and analysis of each critical event which took place-an impossible task for objectivity.
      Can we just say ibra was important for us last year without going into counterfactuals

    5. I’ve stopped listening to the shrieks of “Bias!” Anyone who still believes that, even after all the work that goes into every match review, is either ignorant (in the lack of knowledge sense) or simply blinded, and not worth dealing with.

      So anybody who wants to believe that I am biased, rock on. People who read this blog know better. I don’t do affirmation, nor do I have a party line, which means I’m not down with some Stalinesque revisionism. Fact of the matter is that the match was 1-0, and it came from a spectacular goal that was scored by Ibrahimovic. If Messi scores that goal, everyone says that he won El Clasic. If Iniesta scores the goal, everyone says the he won El Clasic, just as they’re saying that he won the World Cup.

      Ibrahimovic is out of favor. I think he’s detestable. Those who were there during the LiveBlog know full well my feelings. But the goal, and the match still happened.

      As Kari points out, unpopular players get stick, popular ones don’t. That’s the way of fandom, no matter what club. And that’s the way that it always will be.

      Yes, wins are a team effort. To accuse me of disrespecting anyone is absurd. And then this nonsense comes down the pike:

      “I know nobody is perfect but why do you always miss this great point whenever you proudly and loudly proclaim that Ibra won us the Clasico last year. It is really disrespectful to the other members who contributed a lot too but didn’t get any recognition.”

      Loudly and proudly? You should know better than that. Was it really so long ago that I proclaimed how extraordinary Puyol was in that match, by way of just one example. Or are memories short when the long knives come out?

      I work my ass off in this space, at a hobby that provides entertainment for people who wish to visit this space. Anyone who thinks that I am some sort of biased nitwit, doesn’t have to come here. Because I am going to keep writing here, and will continue to review matches. If the pain of that all is too great, hey, I understand. πŸ˜€

    6. Word.

      Honestly, whenever I see someone posting a “Bias!” claim, I just mentally read it as “Wah, Kxevin doesn’t agree with me! The world will end unless I bend him to my viewpoint!” Doesn’t do them any favors posting something like that.

      Keep up the good work Kxev.

    7. I think I am going to start shrieking “Unbiased!” in the comments every now and then just to balance things out. Anyone who thinks that you are particularly biased has not read the rest of the Internet.

      Keep up the good work.

    8. Kxev, you said that Ibra won us the match soo many times last season that I decided to say it out, it is really disrespectful to the other players. A few times when someon called Ibra a failure(last season), you would surely bring up the Clasico goal.

    9. Wow! The last paragraph should be highlighted in flashing lights πŸ™‚
      I remember last season, there was a very dark time during which you said you might stop writing, or at least stop doing reviews. That was a shock to many people, including me. It’s a great relief to know that you’ll still be here for a long time.

    1. It’s called Dezimal Shopping of The Modernist in his album called Opportunity Knox. πŸ™‚

  8. Really good quality, cliveee!

    I love the cut at the end from Bojan’s “shooting” celebration to Pep’s stare of death. πŸ˜€

  9. Nice job as always cliveee. πŸ˜‰

    I hope Afellay cuts this out before he comes to us. He got his yellow for it, but it’s just embarrassing.


    Oh, and it looks like Suarez had beef with everyone in that game, especially Bakkal (who he thought was beef, maybe)

    1. You wonder if some of Suarez’ pique wasn’t because of Afellay and the impending move. After all, he was supposed to be the Eredivisie player most likely to move to Barca.

    2. That was disgusting. He tackled the dude and he is the one acting as a victim. And the manner he fell down was very Ronaldo like

    3. Remember the “older” Dani Alves? I anticipate this sort of stuff will work its way out of his system once he’s with us.

      Especially since Leo Messi is the ultimate example of how staying on your feet can lead to more goal opportunities than leaving them.

  10. Great video cliveee!

    You really see Abidal’s amazing speed at 1:15 in the video. Greyhound speed for sure.

    For all of the talk about Alves and contracts, I would be more worried about losing Abidal, a player who plays a critical role in our defense without the flash or fame of an attacking winger. Hopefully we don’t have to worry about his contract for a while.

    1. I’m more worried about Alves. He provides a lot to our attack besides the defending.
      He(Abidal) did say that he would like to retire here if he will get a new contract but not sure if his contract is running out soon. He is already 30 and still got that PACE. Amazing!

    2. right! 1:15 is one of the key plays of him in that match. you look at how Puyol immediately know what to do. They both made an diagonal run to cover for each other because Puyol knew Abidal has monster speed! Talk about mutual understanding among players. πŸ˜€

  11. Great video Cliveee! Thanks so much. The way you assembled it was terrific. I particularly like the way you were so detailed about marking Abidal and tracking him with the name. That made the video easier to focus on – and for people who aren’t familiar with Abidal that will be of particular value.

    One of the things that Cliveee’s video really gets across from the Villareal match is how exposed Abidal and Puyol were.

    Rossi and Nilmar are one of the best two man strike formation in Europe. They are very dangerous due to their pace and technical ability as well as due to the unorthodox fashion of play.

    For much of that match Barca played two at the back even though they were facing a two man striker formation of very high quality. That puts the two Barca CB’s in 1 vs. 1 situation against Rossi and Nilmar which puts huge pressure on the defenders.

    To make matters worse, rather than trying to link up play with each other Nilmar and Rossi look to exploit space to split apart back lines. They open that space so the interiores can fill in behind. Those 1 vs. 1 situations can quickly become 2 vs.1 situations for the CB.

    Abidal did a great job in one of the most challenging situations a CB can find himself in.

    1. the name above player thing was solely inspired by video games, but its actually very time consuming, but i know its worth all the work because i do realize a highlight is much easier to watch with those. but it gets distracting at times.

      also, i kinda struggled a little in the selection process because in a video highlight of our beloved players, I have the same fan mentality that is keeping me from including some of the bad plays. Many video makers do that, and I am struggling to decide what to do between the two points. I deliberately cut some of the bad passes and thus this makes him look ruthless in his passing.

      great analysis there. you play a monster and a fireman in the middle and all the troubles are put aside.

  12. great video cliveee. love the name at the top; kept me watching abidal instead of the ball. love pep on the sideline and his comments, brilliant. Abidal’s pace really is amazing. and if he can adapt to playing well consistently in the middle it would be great to keep him around

    1. In fact I will try to show the name on top of the player less. I know it’s fun to see players run in FIFA or PES style but it’s also a little distracting, lol. Maybe I will shorten the time of the name appearance like the later part of this video.

      And yes, Caption that! Alexinho.

    2. yea the style at the end was nice. each clip it had us focus on the correct player. probably less time consuming, too. i was wondering how you could do that without going crazy

  13. Thank you for highlighting, Kxev, and thank you Cliveee for the wonderful video! I saw it the other day. LOVE the name over the player–for videos in which I do not know the player, such simple things would be so handy.

    Good to know BFB has an *official* videographer. The BFB community will now expect a video for every one of Kxev’s MOTMs–will anyone second this motion?

    1. It’s great to see a video for a defensive player, any player, any time. It’s so easy to write them off, but when you see a really capable defender in action (or, better yet, play alongside one), you realize that they’re just as skillful as any striker.

      That said, Messi was the MOTM vs. Almeria so.

  14. Thanks for the recognition!

    Abidal deserves more credits than he is barely receiving. I will continue to make the invisible effort of players known. Keita is one of my bigger targets, because his work is hugely underrated as well. I hope by making videos of our team we can learn more about the ability of the players as well as to enjoy the show together.

    In this Abidal video, I particularly focus on his passing, because one of the most important aspects of playing as a CB for us is that he has to start our attack. Abidal wasn’t able to show us how well he could pass because of his role and position. But at CB, he could, and he did so brilliantly. In many plays in which Villareal players were predicting a wide pass to Maxwell, and he somehow got it to Iniesta, and they are good passes because oppositions couldn’t see that pass coming and thus it created space and time for the team to attack.

    Also, the decision making was superb. Like Ramzi said, he great moments have been way more than his bad, so let’s give him the credits because he is capable of playing at CB for us.

    by the way, my most satisfied moment in this video is at the point when I pretended Pep was saying “Let’s go! Attack!” because he mouth matched it PERFECTLY.

    Thanks for watching!

    1. I reckon it would be harder to make one for Keita as his main attributes are not passing or attacking or defending but more positioning. More invicible than Busi.

    2. Excellent! I’m often amazed at Keita. It seems he’s often cleaning up after our more celebrated players and always being where he needs to be, alway giving 150%.

    3. Fantastic video cliveee! Having made a few (non-football related) vids in the past, I can imagine how complicated and time consuming it must be to prepare such a comprehensive yet simple clip, and for that I gotta say your effort is extremely appreciated!

      Looking forward to your future projects…

  15. Bolt:I’d like to become a footballer. In the end, I’m taller and faster than Messi.”
    He talks just like Ronaldo fans. Fitter, faster, stronger etc than Messi πŸ˜† but not better.

    How come nobody made a fuss about Bojan having a goal scoring drought for almsot half a year or more? Last season it was a big issue when Henry didn’t score for 6months. They didn’t even take his injury and summer break into account.

    1. Oh, a big fuss WAS made out of it. The whole ‘Bojan sucks’ brigade. I must say even I was starting to have my doubts about whether he would ever be able to break that mental barrier and make it or whether he would become another Portillo (was that the name? The EE youth product who broke Raul’s youth-team scoring record and went on to become a massive flop?). So I was so happy to see our dear Cuddly Toy have a good performance and score.. hope it has brought his confidence back and he’ll start being brilliant.

    2. I was making a big deal about it. Isaiah was getting all pouty about it too.

      Still think it will be good for Bojan and good for barca if he is loaned out and gets more experience leading a line where he isn’t always so deferential to the “stars”

      Unlike Henry (small upside, old) I know Bojan has a bright future, so I try not to go crazy. I just like to point out double standards (Ibrah *caugh*) amongst Cules. Not that I don’t think Ibra isn’t a steaming pile of bad personality now, but he did get an unfair rap while he was here.

  16. Amazing vid cliveee! I loved all the little details you put in this vid apart from making it a great video to study our player, the pep moments the celebrations, the name on top..Superb!

    It’d be amazing if we could have a vid whenever one of the defensive guys have a great game.

    @Kxevin being biased: I think the problem is Kxevin is far too unbiased. Think about it, when player is new in the team and just starting to adapt or maybe he is a youth product with huge potential and age on his side (hint hint) he might have had a bad game but you look for any positives in his game. All minor positives become big and unless he makes a big mistake you tend to ignore his faults. And IMO that’s perfectly justified. But Kxev doesn’t do that. His ratings are fair and so unbiased you secretly scream “Have a heart you robot!” πŸ˜› The opposite is true when you don’t like a player and all his little mistakes are the size of Texas. Kxevin stands up for the guy. And that annoys people. Which is why we disagree with the ratings.

  17. WOW, putting up the name for the whole of the video takes up huuuuge time!
    The watching the match + taking out the best moments + putting up his name + captions! All that must have taken your whole day!

    Great job! πŸ˜€

  18. I also have to say, Abidal is a pure example of how important patience can be. His first two seasons he didn’t impress very much, and he was having a pretty small impact in the team. a few seasons later and now every fan I bet pray every night that he will be on the starters list for the next game. Just goes to show, maybe if we are patient with our players, we might see one or two more revelations in the team in the near future.

    I also notice that in general us fans, particularly on this blog are becoming more patient with our new signings, for example Villa and Mascherano, especially Mascherano. I also notice sometimes lately the commentators actually talk negatively about Mascherano, I don;t know if they are told to do that.

    1. I totally agree, Barca has such an involved, defined and different system of play, I would imagine it would take a while to really integrate into the system. I would think that it would be one of Pep’s main tasks to evaluate who is working, and who continues to have the potential to work within the team system. That’s probably the toughest task, in the face of continuous media and public commentary.

  19. Not related to the post, but when I was looking at the photo Pique had uploaded on his Facebook page I saw that he had tagged Fabregas in some of the photos, so I went to the profile page.

    I just found it funny that Fabregas ‘likes’ FC Inter (an Inter Milan fan page)… if a media paper saw this, they’d probably run a story on how Fabregas actually wants to go to Inter Milan, hahaha.

    That said, I also find him ‘liking’ Justin Beiber funny.

  20. @sic

    I made this respond to your comment above, but just in case it went unnoticed, I re-post it here because it tackle one of the misleading approaches while evaluating players contribution:

    You said (about abidal) : β€œhe is the weakest starter on our team. I defy any of you to name one starter who is weaker.”

    weaker in doing what? As a general statement, it is irrelevant. Messi is a weaker starter than Abidal-defensively. No one is better than Abidal-as a left back. Abidal is the best fullback we have to play as a CB. It is easier to miss Busquets, Pedro, or Keita in a big match than missing Abidal. So if you want an answer, you need to be more specific: Weaker in what?

    1. This was a bit of the precipitating comment, by sic:

      “I like Erik as a player and person and I’m glad he’s on our club, but it’s obvious that he is the weakest starter on our team. I defy any of you to name one starter who is weaker.”

      Ramzi makes an excellent point about Abidal and his “weakness.” Compared to what? We are one of those rare clubs that has one of the best players in the world at every position. Let’s look, shall we?

      VV: Newly capped, one of the best sweeper keepers extant.

      Alves: One of the best right backs in the world, and THE best attacking right back in the world.

      Pique: One of the best CBs around, and not just in the Liga. He’s still learning the craft, however, and if I were to pick a player not yet fully up to the standard of the others, it would be him.

      Puyol: Still a lion, and the beating heart of this club. One of the best CBs in the world? Not anymore, would say a list assembled by neutrals, but he’s our Captain Caveman.

      Abidal: One of the best LBs on the planet.

      Busquets: Already one of the best DMs around, and still improving. He’s also perfect for our system.

      Xavi: Please ….

      Iniesta: OK, stop …. you’re killing me.

      Messi: Best attacker in the world. Period.

      Villa: An excellent striker. Again, probably wouldn’t make a neutral’s Top 10 list of best strikers around. But a very good fit for our system.

      Pedro!: Again, still learning the craft at the highest level, but a valuable contributor as a chaos generator.

      So if you’re looking at a “weakest” starter in the context of global worldview as to who is the “best,” then Abidal is fairly far down that list, behind Pique, Puyol, Villa and P!.

      But every member of our club is valuable, and I can’t think of a better replacement for any of ’em.

    2. Not sure why you dont think Villa would make a neutrals top 10 list of best strikers around. Ask anyone who the top 5 strikers in the world are and Villa is going to be in that list most of the time. Even here in the UK where they love to favour EPL players he is regarded as one of the best strikers around. Actually after his WC and considering the current form of the other “top” strikers in the world I would find it hard to name anybody better. Torres is always injured, Drobga isnt scoring, Rooney has been off form for months. Ironically in terms of form and goals scored Ibra is probably the closest.

    3. Mmh… maybe a certain Eto’o is up there, too. Scoring 7 from 11 goals in the CL already, 9 in Serie A (where they only scored a total of 14) – and this in a team that is obviously having some serious problems in almost every department of the pitch!

      But I also think that more than 90% of any football watching person would pick Villa in his top5 strikers of the world. He’s better than Drogba, Rooney, Torres. Messi and CR7 are not true strikers.

    4. I’m pretty sure Villa would make 9 out of 10 neutral ‘top ten strikers’ lists. From before he signed for Barca and completely neutrally, I’ve found him one of the best strikers in the world hands down for a few years. Try name nine out-and-out strikers better than him when he was in Valencia.. Torres when firing with Liverpool, Drogba, Rooney when fit and on form a la before his injury in the Munich game last season, Eto’o, Ibrahimovic (who is a total douche but a fantastic player in teams with him as a focal point a la Inter before and Milan now), maybe Forlan, are the only centre-forwards on a higher or same level to Villa (Barrios and Dzeko are beasts in the Bundesliga from what I’ve seen but I haven’t seen em enough to judge). Who else- van Persie is always injured, Huntelaar is great for his NT, and from the main forwards of other ‘big’ teams around Europe- Mario Gomez, Cardozo, Nilmar, Fabiano, Defoe, Crouch, Tevez (great player though), Chamakh, Lisandro Lopez, Milito (currently awful), Amauri, Iaquinta, Hulk, Higuain (Villa is better), Aduriz, none of them are better than Villa…

      Of which I would rate Eto’o on a same footing with him (even when he was in Valencia), Torres as poorer than him in the Spanish NT system but the best CF in the world in a system suiting him, Drogba as a brilliant player and maybe better, and Ibrahimovic more vital in systems suiting him. Either way even if I try to remove all my natural bias towards Villa (having been a Villa fan from long before he joined Barca) I still find him one of the top five out-and-out forwards in the world in terms of performance over the past five years.

      Haha Kevin I think you’re being too unbiased here (as in accounting for any potential bias a bit too much) by saying Villa wouldn’t make a neutral top 10 list.

    5. I agree with you. Before the World Cup, Villa was on pretty much every “Top 10 Strikers” list I saw, especially in the British press.

    6. The only proof you really need is to look at how many of our players are called up for their national teams. Of this list, every single one.

    7. Hmmm….re Villa. I love what he does for the side, but on a short list, you’d probably see Rooney, Drogba, Tevez, Ibrahimovic (sorry, but you would), Eto’o, Torres, Aguero, and what about the likes of Messi and Thong Boy. I don’t know that Villa is an out-and-out striker any more than Messi is or isn’t.

      I will admit that Top 10 might have been a stretch. Should have said Top 5.

      I also think that there are players, then players for systems. The difference is crucial. Valdes might not be as good with a Premiership side, but he’s amazing for us. If Pique were as good for United as he is for us, he wouldn’t have been sold.

      We have both, players who would be spectacular anywhere in any team, and players who are system-specific. But that’s another topic for another day.

    8. Pique specifically refused a contract extension so he would join us , so they really could not keep him there.
      If hes better in our system or not cant be answered, because he was both really tested and got playing time only when he joined us.
      Plus he joined us , and was fortunate to get considerable playing time at the youngest “right” age for a defender , ie 20 years of age.

      However Ferguson always talks him up and insists that he knew he was gonna be a great player.He just could not keep him long enough at united.

      Generally speaking I think that our system is even harsher for defenders than for midfielder-attackers.

      Think about it: a team that wants its defenders to push up , form a quite high line , the right back is actually right winger , defenders have tons of time on the ball and must not simply kick it out , and must be quick thinking-moving/paying always attention whenever a ball is lost because theres a high chance a counter attack might happen. A counter attack that will definitely find you with a smaller number of defending players than in any other team.
      What else?oh yeah , defenders should also be prepared to push even higher up carrying the ball , and nowadays are the only ones really being involved in aerial situations.

      Now that I think about it , chyggy might have been caught along the above.
      Yes he might be an excellent defender , good ball playing defender , solid stature but its simply not enough.
      What a defender encounters in the barcelona is simply ridiculous.

  21. I would like to say how much I love the writers of this blog. Amazing reviews; outstanding and at times, overwhelmingly detailed previews; tactical analysis; literary tie-ends that hurt my brain; and so much more. Each writer brings their own strengths: Isaiah-his fan boy passion (he admits when he’s biased) which is infectious and fabulous to read; Kevin-his amazing and professional writing and viewpoints; Luke-his tactical understanding from years of playing; SoMa-her wit, satire, and hurting my brain ability that all teachers have; and Hector-….his lasting legacy of hectoring people (what happened to him?)

    thanks guys!

    and thanks to the tech guys and people who make this site work

    1. Aw, shucks. Thanks from all of us at BFB. The audience helps. You all are a demanding bunch, that makes us raise our game, and keep it at a high level.

      Most ofwhy we work so hard at this enterpr ise that pays nothing except joy, is because of the quality here. We know that if we slack off we’re gonna get it. So thanls to you all.

  22. My day got off to a great start when, as I entered the train station lobby, I saw a guy wearing one of the current-issue warmup jackets, in red. He had headphones on, so it took him a moment to understand why the burly brotha was slapping his heart and giving him the thumbs up. But he got it.

    Then I come here and see all of the (deserved) love being lavished on cliveee for his wonderful video, and the day got even better. This space gets in your soul, I think, because it feels like family. Here’s hoping that never changes.

    1. I also always feel this camaraderie thing when I see a dude in a Barca shirt (or a girl), but I feel a bit embarrassed going up and saying anything or making any kinda gesture cos they might not know why.

    2. I usually make an effort to go and talk to anyone I see wearing a Barca top. It’s just so rare to see where I live (Texas) so I want to make sure the other Cules know that they aren’t alone.

      My girlfriend also gets weirded out when I sneer at someone wearing an EE top.

    3. I saw a little kid on the subway the other day wearing the new Iniesta Barca home shirt and I wanted to give him a hug. Don’t think his father would have approved, though! πŸ™‚

  23. Excellent video cliveee, really shines a light on Abidal’s contribution to that game. Thank you for putting it together! Also, you should patent that floating name-tag methodology, it’s a keeper.

  24. For Kari, or any other Canadians in here:

    Are there any sports channels that might show El Clasico in Canada? My brother has access to a lot more channels than I do, so if it available he could PVR it for me.

    1. GolTV Canada is the only channel I know of. TSN and Sportsnet only occasionally show Barca’s CL matches.

    2. I feel your pain, blitzen πŸ™

      But worry not! You’ll have a 3-0 win to look forward too πŸ˜‰

  25. From Barcastuff:

    “After getting booked in both of his first 2 games for Barcelona, Mascherano didn’t get a yellow in the next 12 games.”

    “In the 6 last games he started for Barcelona, Mascherano has made 6 fouls (average of 1 per game).”

    And we were worrying he would get a lot of cards!:D

  26. A shout out to our players as well!

    “Several Barcelona players gave their shirt to Almeria player Fabian Vargas in support of the victims of floods in Colombia”

    “Vargas collected the shirts of Pinto, Alves, Pique, Puyol, Mascherano, Iniesta and Messi. They will be sold at an auction”

    from barcastuff.

  27. Hmmm …. interesting stat via @barcastuff: Messi has never scored against a Mourinho-coached team.

    It’s why I say it’s really good that the other folks (Villa, Iniesta, P!) are on form right now. Also, had a “Who has the best starting XI” feature, and had Maxwell in for Abidal. Wrong! For for El Clasic. I’ve included an X beside my pick.

    So: VV vs Casillas(X)
    Alves(X) vs Ramos
    Puyol(X) vs Carvalho
    Pique(X) vs Pepe
    Abidal(X) vs Marcelo
    Busquets vs Khedira (draw)
    Xavi(X) vs Xabi Alonso
    Iniesta(X) vs Ozil
    Pedro! vs DiMaria(X)
    Messi vs Thong Boy (draw. Sorry, but it is right now.)
    Villa(X) vs Higuain (mostly because of all the other stuff Villa does)

    I also think that we have a better system, and are a more cohesive unit. I’ll leave the true crazy-making Clasic stuff for Isaiah, who lives for this run-in. πŸ˜€

    1. is such a fail I tend to wonder to myself why I keep coming back. Then I realize if I didn’t, I’d have nothing to laugh at or b*tch about.

      Kxevin’s trying to be diplomatic in his Messi v Thong Boy, but it’s a little off πŸ˜€

      If Villa is better than Higuain because of all the other stuff Villa does (Higuain is admittedly the better goal scorer right now) then Messi must be “better” than Thong Boy for the other stuff he does as well.

      But alas, this kind of stuff is pointless. We’ll see on the 29th (although even if we lose, I’ll still think we have the better players)

    2. Naaaah, I just think that, diving, cheating rat bastard that he is, Thong Boy is playing monster football right now (hence the caveat).

    3. Hmmm we are losing 7-2 on this list…
      so kxevin IF we win el classic there can be only one reason that we played better as a team would’nt it?
      Pep vs Mou (draw?)

    4. Oh! In that case, yes. It’s going to be a well-balanced match, I think. Mourinho will struggle with coaching this one, because I still think that EE is a bit of time away from being fully gelled yet. So he will want to play a tight match, working off of a pace-y counter.

  28. via Pep @ Barcastuff:

    In the 6 last games he started for Barcelona, Mascherano has made 6 fouls (average of 1 per game).

    What say haters?

    1. Apparently it gets a lot more attention if someone posts it the second time..


    2. Time for him to increase his fouling rate on the likes of Crynaldo, Ozil and Co. if he gets some minutes – but please, only in the midfield and without getting sent off πŸ˜€

    3. I’d go easy on the gloating – and again who are the “haters?” – till we see Masch get a full game in a difficult tie, maybe like the Clasico. He could easily have been booked on Saturday if he hadn’t been too slow to make the tackle on their CF on the sideline. His lunge had yellow written all over it.

      That doesn’t make him a liability. He’s done reasonably well. I’ve been more impressed than I thought I’d be. But he hasn’t really been tested yet. Meantime, let’s not get carried away with the superlatives.

    4. No, I’m not gloating.. He might not have been tested against a stiff opposition yet, but thats not his fault is it? We have Busi..

      But he isn’t the foul magnet a lot of nay-sayers (not haters ok) assumed he would be without seeing him play..


    VV (X) vs Casillas
    Alves(X) vs Ramos
    Puyol(X) vs Carvalho
    Pique(X) vs Pepe
    Abidal(X) vs Marcelo
    Busquets (X) vs Khedira
    Xavi(X) vs Xabi Alonso
    Iniesta(X) vs Ozil
    Pedro! (X) vs DiMaria
    Messi (X) vs Thong Boy
    Villa(X) vs Higuain

    final score 3-0

    1. LOL.

      Honestly I would give them Casillas (just to be fair) and that’s it. Khedira isn’t better than Busi nor is Thongboy no matter how well he is playing, better than Messi.

  30. Wow, check this stat out, Crynaldo is such a chupon:

    Total Shots (On target)
    Messi 49 (28)
    CR7 90 (34)

    1. He has other irritating qualities, but I don’t think he should be faulted for that stat.. Sometimes I think that we should try shooting from distance more..

    2. Que?!

      Have you seen some of his shots, Vj? Damn right he has to be faulted for that stat. He takes some of the most ridiculous shots the world has ever seen. I’m pretty sure if Messi took 90 shots, you wouldn’t like it. Especially when over half end up not even close to the goal.

      Yes we should shoot from distance more, but it is all about shot selection and that’s something Ronaldo doesn’t give a toss about.

      I’ll take efficiency over “I’ll shoot the ball 14 times in a game because one has to go in” any day.

    3. well, here is villa:

      shots 77
      on target 30
      off post 5

      i dont know how many times ronaldo has hit post, but 30/77 (39%) is similar to 34/90 (38%). if we look in our own house we see villa needs better shot selection. then again at least he takes shots from distance but sometimes it is just ridic.

  31. I’d kinda like to see both sMasch and Busi in together against EE (4,2,3,1) at least for the start. Bring Pedro in for one on the DMs eventually if needed. Much as I hate to say it , TB is really in form right now and some extra destruction in our lineup would help.

  32. On a more serious note, what’s all this about Pique dating Shakira ? I like Pique but I don’t think I could ever forgive him if he touched my Shakira.

    1. Thank god for that, to be honest I didn’t think she’d do that to me anyway but you can never be too sure. Pique’s great again.

    2. LOL @ “if he touched my Shakira.”

      Forget Shakira, Salma Hayek for the win! Don’t care if she’s 42 or 52!

      Regarding Shakira, though, didn’t barcastuff say that Pique made a face when one of her songs came on while the players were warming up?

  33. “Regarding Shakira, though, didn’t barcastuff say that Pique made a face when one of her songs came on while the players were warming up?”
    Haha yes I read this and found it adorable.

    I usually don’t post on weekends so I try to do all my reading and such for Monday. :D. I couldn’t agree more, I’ve only recently found this blog but I check it every single day and get excited when new posts go up. On Friday its the best thing there is.

    Regarding people wearing Barca stuff, usually around here most the soccer players are hispanic and you see mostly Barca kits. I was playing in the Ukranian village recently and one kid had Barca shorts. Chygry related? Because I assumed most would have Milan stuff, as one did. The striker was big and talented and I referred to him as Schevchenko and he said “HE IS FROM MY COUNTRY.” haha.
    But agreed, most the people I see wearing it are little kids. I saw one kid with an Iniesta at my old job and I was like awesome kit kid, his response was “My bike just got stolen, can you help me find it.”

    What a great match. I watched it while my friends played Tecmo Bowl so I was a little distracted. What do you guys make of the recent links to Cavani, Rossi, and Valero? I think they’re all pretty rubbish. Cavani would be interesting to see, but would fetch way too much money.

    Fontas! What a gem of a match. Surely, Pep likes what he saw and thats why hes in the mid-week CL squad right? I wouldn’t be surprised to see Pique-Fontas, to see how they link up. Thats more the future than Puyol-Fontas. Besides Puyol may be due for a rest.

    CR7s cocky comments about “try to get 8 past us” annoy me. We weren’t sending a message. We weren’t saying we’d get that past your squad, go dive more and make more PKs to inflate your goals numbers and shutup. He annoys me. He’s such an amazing player. He’s so damn good, but I can’t STAND him. Does anyone like him? At all? His talents are amazing, but he will live in the shadow of his attitude. While Nani will live in his shadow.

    I was so happy to see Bojangles is back. He was very clinical like he was in his first season. Great stuff. So.. what’s everyones Clasico plans? I’ll be at work so I don’t know, I’ll try to take a two-hour break and watch it on one of our TVs.

    P.S. No one watches the MLS here do they? I know Kxevin hates it, but last night’s MLS final was a joke. The conference system is a joke, and they’re adding two more playoff teams. What a bad idea. Poor FC Dallas, beat the two best teams, and lost on two fluke goals. An own goal in the second half of extra time to lose the championship. Former Fire GK for the Rapids should’ve won the MVP. But Conor ‘US Reject’ Casey won it.

    1. My initial plan, if I can score a ticket via to soci draw, is to scavenge any airfare and be in the Camp Nou for the match. Barring that, I’m going to try to take the day off and go somewhere to watch, probably The Globe, or Fado downtown if I can’t get the day off.

    2. I had last tuesday off, and with others in my group taking some time off I can’t get the day off. But I would like to watch a match with you before the season ends.. maybe a certain match sometime in May. πŸ™‚

    3. I knew I forgot to mention something!

      We all know Jose is a defend first type of guy.
      Does anyone else get the notion, besides me, that this season his tactics are specifically designed to get the team ready for two matches?

      I mean, we’re vulnerable on quick pacy counter attacks, and thats how they score most of their goals. Does anyone else get the feeling, especially with how much of a big deal Mou thinks he is, that he has been grinding out his anti-Barca tactics all season for the two games? Since as people say the whole league comes down to the two games? Its like his first goal is to beat Barca, and then next year to win the CL? I mean it sounds weird because he normally plays like this, but his tactics this year are a lot different than last years.

    4. MouMou is overrated to ridiculous proportions, IMO. In the end he’s just a freakin’ coach. Two things:

      1)He has different, better players. They’ve been assembled by nutcases that play too much -insert preferred football game here-.

      2) They look a counterattack team to me, but (a) Madridista(s) seems to think otherwise.

      Anyway, for all the blabbering that he “got one over us” with Inter, we didn’t have Iniesta and Abidal fit. When we did? Comfortable 2-0 win at home. Just sayin’

      I don’t watch them (I may check scores and stuff, but I make an effort not to watch), but I think if we play our game and don’t lose concentration at the back, we’ll win.

    5. Fontas — he had a terrific game, for sure. I must have watched that pass to Pedro! a dozen times or more. That is one of the advantages to having young players in the squad, they sometimes aren’t afraid to take a risk that an older player might not. If he can keep placing long balls with that kind of accuracy, he will be a huge asset to the team. But I doubt very much we will see him start with Pique anytime soon. Remember, he is only 20 and Pique, for all his experience is still only 23. Fontas needs Puyol to be there to give him guidance, at least for the next little while. Also, Pep picked him for the squad mostly because Milito is still out and Abidal is doubtful. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, he is still a distant third or fourth choice.

      Bojan — While I am thrilled that he scored and got that monkey off his back, I wish Messi has passed that ball to his right instead of his left so Villa could have got in on the goalfest too. Oh well, Bobo needed it more, and Villa will be even more determined to score next week.

      MLS — I have been following it, not too closely. I live in Toronto, so TFC is my team. They didn’t do as well this year as I would have liked and there are some issues with ticket prices and so on going on which is pissing lots of people off. I didn’t go to the final, and apparently not a lot of other people did, either. Might have if tickets were cheaper. I was cheering for Colorado, but I felt bad for Dallas losing that way. I admit I sometimes have trouble watching MLS games because the passing is so dreadful. I watch Red Bull games just for my Titi and Rafa fix. πŸ˜€

    6. Oh god the passing was dreadful. Colorado aren’t a good team, they got a l ot of luck to reach the final. Yeah, it was a shame the seats were very, very empty.

      Yes, Mou is very overrated. He is always at a team that has the most money in that country and any squad he would like is at his disposal almost. Plus, he gets the benefit of unjustly disallowed goals. Scholes, Bojan.. and on the other end Milito’s. He does have a great home record. I don’t think he’s lost in like 190 matches at home or something. So, it’d be great to win one in the Bernebeau. Or whatever its called. πŸ˜€

    7. Eh, I’m not sure I’d say Mou is overrated. Is he the most brilliant mind out there? No, of course not. However, having talent at your disposal is different from making that talent go out and win games. Whatever his flaws (and he’s got a wholeeeee lot of them. Mostly personality defects) the man does lead his team to victory. I may not like him, but I’ll respect him.

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