And now, the world goes on: Copa Catalunya

Believe it or not, as MouMou says, the world has continued to turn, and we have more silver to battle for in the presence of the Copa Catalunya finale. For the unfamiliar, this is a fun little intramural tourney sponsored by the Catalan Football Association, the same people who brought you “Hey, if Scotland and N. Ireland have their own FIFA teams, why can’t we?”

It won’t shock anyone that it’s been dominated by us (6 wins, 7 seconds) and Espanyol (4 wins, 6 seconds). And we don’t dare scoff at it because it, like us, is a bright, shining example of Catalunya. So.

It’s a round-robin tournament that always features us, Espanyol and a victim to be named. This year, it’s the club from Hospitalet, who faces off first against Espanyol. Then we face Espanyol (grrrrr!) and finally, Hospitalet. It’s a compressed tournament in that each match is 45 minutes long. Kinda crazy, but that’s why we love Catalunya, right? The winner is the club who has the most points at the end of the round-robin. And here’s the squad that we’re sending:

Pinto, Jeffren, Keita, Krkic, Maxwell, Mascherano, Adriano, Thiago, Rochina, Vázquez, Soriano, Tello, Montoya, Bartra, Dos Santos, Romeu, Fontàs, Sergi Gómez, Riverola, Masip, Carmona and Abraham

We essentially view this as an opportunity to let the B rollers and kids see real competition against grownups. Neither big side is churlish enough to roll out with the guns. The problem is, if you look at our lineup, we are stacked with quality. I mean, how about a starting XI of: Pinto, Bartra, Romeu, Fontas, Maxwell, Mascherano, Keita, Thiago, Krkic, Jeffren and Soriano. Not bad, right?

But it’s a 22-player squad, and with three matches in 45-minute chunks and a 15-minute break in between, we won’t want to tire anybody out too much. So that’s the squad that will probably face Espanyol, with the rest to be determined. Matches kick off at 8:30 p.m. local time in Sabadell, for those looking for the best time to start scouring for links. Espanyol v us is at 9:45, followed by us v Hospitalet at 10:45.

In other news:

–As we all aware by now, Sergio Ramos received a one-match ban for his explosion that took a chunk out of Messi and gave Puyol grass stains on his butt. Problem is that is was a second yellow, and the Liga believes that if the ref didn’t see fit to do a super-duper red, why should it pile on? So. I disagree. Vehemently. I think that kinds of a display should warrant at least a 2-match ban, but what else am I supposed to say, right?

Felipe Melo?. Nope. Just another silly transfer rumor.

–The club wants to renew Alves, and Alves wants to stay. Should be simple, right? There’s that whole wage structure business that the club is serious about maintaining, however, a fact reiterated by sports VP Josep Bartomeu via Radio Catalunya yesterday. “I have a year and a half on my contract … God willing, we will reach a successful conclusion. It is my interest and my intention,” said Alves. So let’s figure out some damned way to get this done.

–Post-clasic, Samuel Eto’o went to dinner with Pique, Xavi, Puyol, Sandro Rosell and some board members. A Euro for when the rumors of a return start.

–Here’s a misguided bit of humor from a blogger asserting that we wouldn’t have pulled out the same can of whipass on Man Utd. Yes, that’s the same United who went down 4-0 to West Ham in the Carling Cup yesterday. At any rate, it’s worth a giggle over your morning coffee.

–For Catalans, nothing says the holidays like shit. Or in particular, the Caganer, or little shitter. Barca caganers are part of the rich tradition that finds the little guy gracing many a Nativity scene. And new Barca caganers have been rolled out for this year. Among the list are Messi, Piqué, Villa, Busquets and Pedro. In past years of course, have been the likes of Rijkaard, Puyol, Eto’o, etc. I have my very own Ronaldinho caganer. For more on the tradition, go here.

Have a lovely day, everyone. This should help:

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.

243 comments

    1. It’s nothing new, they’re all like that, Phil ball at soccernet, the espanyol fan on revista is like that, they all try to sway against Barcelona.

      Obviously if they had been watching Barcelona games, they would realise abidal is no where near a weaklink, I would go as far to say that abidal would easily be in the top 5 LBs in the world.

    2. Yeah, it’s like people don’t watch Abidal when they watch Barça. I didn’t understand why all these pundits and commentators were acting as if Abidal isn’t our first choice left back when fit.

    3. So true, i kept hearing and reading things like “Abidal preferred to Maxwell”. No shit?

  1. Mmmmm, the catalunya cup, who gives a damn, really, pep will find this as a good chance to see as many B-teamers as possible, especially that there weekend game against betis was postponed so they should all be fired up for this.
    sergio ramos should get a life ban, but thats just me, i hate that guy as much as i hate thong boy
    Alves renewal hopefully will go on, this is one guy that is ALMOST impossible to replace
    Eto’o i love him and ill contiue to love him but i dont see him coming back
    And finally in 1995 in the 4th round of the group stage of the UCL we demolished man utd by a score of 4-0 so yes we can

    Cheers to everybody here at the BFB

  2. One match man is a joke,

    what ever happened to no tolerance to violence?

    Something really fishy is going on there

  3. How genuinely nice of you Kxevin… First you give TB his deserved credit in predicting that we wouldn’t reach 8 (in the post-match review title!), and now.. well, you take it one step further by proving to everyone that Mou is once again correct as the world truly has continued to turn!

    Thank you for being so fair and giving credit where it’s due! 🙂

    1. Wow. Ok, was it funny? Ya sure. But what surprised me was the extent to which the author(club) tried to cover up the score line, the play, the major incidents, everything! I’ve read plenty of Barca post-match reports and when we screw around, our in-house journalists call it as it is. At least they don’t insult our intelligence or, to be more precise, our eye sight and comprehension of ‘football’ as a ‘sport’. That was truly sad reporting – even by EE standards (which are already assumed to be a step below the likes of Marca and AS).

  4. Great. Another match which will not be shown by any TV stations here. It’s bad enough that they don’t show the Copa del Rey matches. 🙁

    Guess I’ll just have to settle for whatever I can find online. It’d be nice to see those from the B team play together with some of the first team players.

  5. Copa Catalunya will be a good match for a show as well as for the young guns to flex their muscles. Indeed, we are stacked! I would like to see Barca B play against EE just for a more competitive match, although Barca B will most likely lose. 😀

    Question: What is the joke Manito about? It has something to do with the number FIVE and another word, right? what is it??

    Eto’o Caganer I found:
    http://www.caganer.com/images/caganer_eto.jpg

  6. Can we find a nick for that stupid player of E.E?I hate to read his name here..any ideas?

  7. In a comment yesterday, Thong Boy said that right now, we’re the best team in the world.

    Ramos is of course claiming bad timing, that he didn’t mean to hurt Messi.

    –And in that English league, The Yaya is taking a galaxy full of crap for his so so play, coupled with his colossal pay packet. One pundit says he isn’t fit to lace Scholes’ boots. Truth be told, he has been exposed, in the absence of the quality of Xavi and Busquets.

    –Abidal is a player who will never get his due, even after he’s gone. His great plays are glossed over, his errors magnified. That’s just how it is.

    1. I’d be careful about that first link. I clicked on it, and the page got hijacked with a box telling me that my computer needed to be scanned for spyware.

  8. Actually, WE as a club give a damn. It is the Copa CATALUNYA, and we are the brightest example of Catalunya. And don’t forget the election year and the attendant nationalist fervor, which is at an all-time high.

    Imagine the egg on Rosell’s face if the club was perceived as having dumped its own national tourney. If we really didn’t care, you would see all kids and B Teamers.

    1. Dunno about Rosell, but Laporta didn’t care much about the tourney..

      Besides I’m starting to love Masche all over again because of his attitude – the dude is taking major sacrifices for the club and still is the poster-boy for professionalism..

      Lastly, its funny how Ramos gets the same amount of punishment for time-wasting and hacking down Messi/ pushing two of his NT mates.. LFP/UEFA are funny..

    2. You know, it remains our dirty little secret that the Copa Catalunya was the only trophy that we didn’t win in our 2009-2010 Hexa season… Coulda been a Hepta!

    3. Actually you’r right Kevin, what i ment to say and should have said: that who gives a damn on the sporting level, but on the cultural level this is very important especially for FC Barcelona as WE are the protagonists of the Catalan culture.

    1. Dunno. But certainly when Messi loses that step or two, that would be a logical position for him. Problem is that it’s going to be occupied by Iniesta, who I honestly think is the next Xavi. It’s also why Thiago has a much brighter long-term future with this club, given his adaptability (crack, anyone?) than Dos Santos, who seems to have fallen by the wayside.

      The nice thing about all this is I think that Fabregas is a forgotten name, not only because of the club’s austerity program, but our talent.

      Another thing about Messi and his playmaking. If that trend continues, and we keep making the runs like Villa did, Messi will be unplayable. Play him for the run, he kills you with the pass. Play him for the pass, he runs past you. It’s just so potentially nasty!

      I could see our midfield of the future as: Iniesta/Thiago/Busquets, with Afellay as the first sub, if his talent pans out.

    2. So you think that Messi will always be a striker and not go into the midfield?? What do you mean about him being unplayable?

      (Sorry about the stupid question. Haven’t had my morning coffee yet! :))

    3. I think that if Messi continues to develop as a playmaker, with the player that he is now, defenses won’t know what the hell to do with him. They will say to Guardiola, “We’ll knock the ball into our own net twice, and spot you two. Just don’t play the midget. Thanks.”

      Until now, defenses have been playing Messi for the run. Look at how the EE defense moves toward him when he has the ball, opening up space for Villa to run into. Then Messi kills them with the pass. If defenses get tired of that and stick tight, Messi can make the run. It’s like Michael Vick, only not a dog-fighting asshole. Or when Michael Jordan developed a jump shot, then a fallaway jumper. They just become uncontrollable. It also prolongs their career.

      Think about it. A goal is a goal. Would Messi love to score it? Sure. But why not kill a team with a great assist, as he did on Monday? We still win, and he’s still amazing, only more so.

    4. Agree with Kxevin on the Messi development bit but think that for the foreseeable future his role won’t change much from what we’ve seen this season and only when seemingly necessary will we deploy the EE tactic and keep him that far from goal.

      Goals are the juice that keeps any forward ticking and running after that ball time and time again. Is Messi more disciplined and tactically aware than most? Definitely. My concern for the future (realllly long-term thinking) is that if Messi is ever a few goals off of breaking ALL the remaining stats at this club (and beyond?) and he simultaneously loses a few paces – well then it’ll be very difficult for him and for the club not to give him the chance to reach his goals by placing him as a striker. Cus in that distant, distant future, goals would be more reflective of viagra for the impotent.

      Anyway, my money’s on Messi breaking all stats of all time and seamlessly dropping back to cause midfield havoc in his twilight years, taking over for a 40yo Ghostface and a partnering a world-class Thiago..

  9. I had internet problems for the last couple of days. I’ll post my comments on the match later. Kari should do all the heavy live-blogging from now on. The Best Live-Blog Debut EVER !!

    Due to Internet trouble, I have no pictures from the Classico. Any Gallery Links would be highly appreciated. I want a picture of Pique doing the 5 sign. 😀

  10. I believe messi would excel at midfield but I believe he will always be positioned higher on the pitch, closer to the box, with three midfielders behind him. Of course, if he loses that step (he’s still 23, don’t most reach peaks around 27?) Barca will need to get another speedy attacker to take his place.
    As for Eto’o coming back, I think we are missing a player like him. Pep wanted a plan B and got a tall player, now we don’t even have anyone as tall as Eto’o. Are we back to only plan A?

  11. Diego
    I put some links for you in the previous post

    EE transfer news (Ok it was Balague on Revista) says they are linked to Adebayor who was linked with us some time ago

    Graham Hunter is an awesome journo..at the start of Revista he did that ‘Manita’ thing that Pique did at the end of the Clasico
    I lol’d hard

  12. Clarification from Sid Lowe, via Twitter:

    @kevvwill Yes, really. He’s the one player in the Barcelona team no one ever seems to have a good word for. (Personally, I like him.)

    1. I thought Busi..

      4-5 seasons ago, It was Xavi, when Ronnie was raising hell..

      People don’t give our players their due unless they hammer them and they have no choice left..

  13. Higuain out for 2-3 months for EE. That sucks for them, and I’ll say right now that only a churl would be happy about that. It could be Messi, and we would be scoffing at them for showing joy.

    1. How’d he go from not pasing a fitness test for Monday to being out 2-3 months? Wasn’t he available on the bench for them on Monday?

    2. Just checked EE site. He has a disk herniation (L5-S1). I’ve had that exact same injury. It hurts horribly (pain and nunbness radiate down your leg)!!!!!! Poor guy.

    3. Higuain is maybe my favorite guy from EE. I hated it after he saved their asses so many times in previous seasons, how their fans and press were hating on him endlessly last season. He used to be clinical, no wonder the pressure got to him and he started to miss chances in the big games after the hate-fest began then (after he was blamed for the Clasico loss and the Lyon loss, the latter in which he DID miss chances but every striker can have off-days). I was so happy that at least he wasn’t on the pitch when Real lost 5-0 cos you just know they would have blamed Higuain for it if he were on the pitch for some reason.

      Like Tim Stannard mentioned in La Liga Loca column, Marca and AS were horrified cos the 5-0 loss didn’t feature the two people they generally liked to blame for Real Madrid failures, in Pellegrini and Higuain.

      http://fourfourtwo.com/blogs/laligaloca/archive/2010/11/30/madridista-press-brand-bar-231-a-bad-winners-while-catalonia-celebrates-bathtime.aspx

      ‘It’s always a fine sign that a thorough spanking combined with a bespoke *rse-handing-on-a-plate has been dished out when the big fat losers start moaning and groaning that the opposition are bad winners.
      That’s the approach a shell-shocked Marca has adopted, on Tuesday, with the paper having no doubt attempted but failed to blame their usual scapegoats, Manuel Pellegrini and Gonzalo Higuaín, for the night before.
      The whopping problem the paper faces in reacting to the monumental stonking is that its apron-strings are tied so tightly to their Castle Greyskull controllers that awkward questions such has whence The Special One? Whither Karim Benzema? and why Cristiano Ronaldo? have been cast aside.’

    4. Gonzalo is a wonderful player, I’m not happy he is injured as a person but i like the fact that EE will be a lesser team without him.
      However, knowing EE and their president they will buy 5 or 6 strikers to replace him in the January transfer window

    5. Wow, that’s really crappy for him, he’s been having a good season so far. I couldn’t help wondering whether Monday’s game would have been any different if he had been fit to play. Any thoughts on that, anyone?

      Speaking of which, that means RM will be lacking three of their key players for their next game, which is Valencia, I think. Higuain, Ramos, and Carvalho (I think) will all be out. Valencia is on a hot streak again. Could they beat RM? I think it is a real possibility.

  14. Sucks for Higuain. Of all the EE starting XI players, I dislike him probably the least. He’s loyal to Madrid even though he’s treated like crap by their press (he and Pelle were the scapegoats last year).

    When I found out he wasn’t starting the game and Benzema replaced him, I knew EE just suffered a huge loss before a ball was kicked.

    1. Gee I thought it was was of Mou’s mindgames..

      Higuain has the burden of being a Calderon signing in FloFlo’s regime – he’ll never get due credit from the press even though he’s their clutch guy..

      People still blame him for the loss against Lyon.. Sad..

    2. Higuain’s the one RM player that I can actually tolerate. It was nice to see him give Messi a hug as the players were lining up on Monday. That’s the right way to treat a fellow NT teammate. I hope his recovery goes well.

  15. Barcelona in first 13 games since Guardiola is coach:
    08-09: 32 points
    09-10: 33 points
    10-11: 34 points

    via @barcacstuff via @latdp

  16. Want something to giggle about?

    “Scorefests do not make great matches, two teams playing well do”

    “Landslides such as those inflicted and suffered by Manchester United and racked up by Barcelona in the past few days are not great matches and can even be boring”

    /http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2010/dec/01/scorefests-great-matches-manchester-united-barcelona

    1. Psshhhhh Yeah I would rather watch a 2010 cagey world cup style draw where every other play is either a foul or a long ball and both teams fail to make 3 consecutive passes.

    1. Well, IMO, what’s best for La Liga is a healthy and strong Valencia, Sevilla, ATM, and Villareal, with a Real Madrid in the relegation zone. 😛

  17. If you really really want to giggle here is this gem:

    if a parent doesn’t like a child and leave him and go…

    if some other parents took him and brought up..one day he become as a great men(sic)…

    ..now the original parents is asking him back….

    this is wat(sic) happening….here

    (Gooner talking abt the Cesc transfer saga..excuse the English)

  18. So, uh… less than 24 hours to go until we know who’s hosting the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

    Excited?

  19. So Mourinho got away with his blatant cheating in the champions league. Fining him 40,000 euro is meaningless, the two players should have been banned for 3 games each and him also to stamp it out. UEFA are a joke and this was a good chance to teach that asshole a lesson but they bottled it again.

    I think the problem with Alves is the agent.

    1. Call me crazy, but I really didn’t see why EE got fined at all. Everybody does that, nabbing yellow cards to get their suspension out of the way for a meaningless match. I remember us doing it, I distinctly remember Liverpool doing it against PSG in the Champions League knockouts (after going like 4-0 up in the first leg) a few years ago. Nobody batted an eye.

      Was it just because Mourinho was so stupidly blatant about it? Someone explain it to me…

    2. To me yeah. In other instances the players themselves get wise and make that decision.

      There is a pretty damning shot of Mou giving the players in question instructions right before they made those fouls.

      It’s kinda like a “comon man we all do it just don’t be so damn obvious about it” fine.

      Notice how they only suspended players / Mou for the game that Madrid already considers meaningless. It was just a slap on the wrist by EUFA not to do it that obviously again.

    3. I think he wants to be seen to be in control of everything. I remember him sitting on the chelsea bench whispering into steve clarks ear every 2 seconds like some general at war or something, much like you see from young children, the guys a muppit.

  20. I just remembered what mourinho said about Villa when a reporter asked him about benzema’s lack of goals. I bet he feels like a tool now but then again this is mourinho so probably not.

  21. OMG! This comment on goal just made my day (especially the last line)
    Enjoy this well thought out comment:
    “I AM A REAL FAN!.i don’t think that Mou is less of a genius because of a loss. Instead i think He to demonstrate even more his genius when Real recovers and learn from their big blunders. Ozil and rest of the team will become tighter and play like a team and win the return leg of the El clasico.Real has die like the phoenix, BUT only rise from the asses.GO REAL”

    Wow.

  22. Regular lurker here. I haven’t seen this posted here, perhaps because it’s already common knowledge, but in case it’s not, TV3 has a lovely stream of the Copa Catalunya going on their website: **http://www.elsesports.cat/directes/especials/

    I assume it will continue through the evening (or afternoon or morning depending on your location)

  23. No comments about the match, really. It was one of the best games we’ve ever played during the Pep era. But I have one thing to say.
    Crashing the box is something we still have to work on. Pedro’s 2nd goal, Watch it again. Messi was standing same position as Villa did in Panathinaikos. Pedro was semi-running at first as he wasn’t sure.

    1. I disagree, I think it was one of things Pep made sure to address before the game. Think back to the second goal where pedro crashed the box, had messi also gone in there he would have dragged carvalho with him closing down the angle of the ball that eventually got to pedro. The first goal was created by a very unexpected xavi run into the box. The last goal had iniesta and jefferen crashing in there. You’re right to a certain extent in that we don’t crash nearly as much as we did in the 08/09 season, nonetheless it doesn’t seem to be an issue anymore.

    2. It depends on how you see it. The 2nd Goal, If Villa and Messi ran at the same time, Messi could’ve scored (ala Messi, Henry against Bayern). Messi didn’t see Pedro, He just stood there. The last goal wasn’t crashing the box per say. The box was already empty, Crashing the box is usually a player running through the defenders to the near post.

    3. It certainly wasn’t as much of an issue against RM. First, second and even last goals were great examples of us attacking balls into the box. Loved the way Iniesta bust a gut in the last minute to try to get on the end of that cross.

    4. Pedro didn’t just “stand there”. He started to run, paused to see what Marcelo was going to do (ignore him, heh heh), then made the run around him and got the perfect spot at the exact second he needed to be. He only hesitated to make sure Marcelo wasn’t marking him. It was a beautifully-timed play.

  24. Line-up (vs Espanyol): Pinto – Adriano Bartra Fontas Maxwell – Thiago Mascherano Keita – VictorVazquez Bojan Jeffren

    1. definitely. is he sending a message to the Catalan player who is playing for a London Club?

  25. what kind of ball are they using? looks so old school and strange.

    Bartra and Fontas are having a “who looks more like Pique” contest.

  26. LOL Victor V looks so bad.

    Why didn’t Thiago play more of a central role? We moved the ball better when he was there.

  27. Jnice !! I have two things to ask you :

    1- Download Links for Our goals against EE in HD

    2- Season Review or Liga Review containing all our goals from last season’s La Liga (Or anything similar).

    Thanks in Advance.

    1. The links for the games are in the previous posts. There are a lot of them.

      I’ll look for the season review.

    2. Found this: Barcelona Goals in Season 09-10

      *http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?lmydgyghym1
      *http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?uznwynyzrke
      *http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?3d22lytnmtz
      *http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?kidd2djnnd5
      *http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?uo0zzmjo5mo
      *http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?mtyaokn2vm0
      *http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?nwy1zzxlzvn
      *http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?ztqytylz2wd
      *http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?qinmwimm3wm
      *http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?innm2ttnqmj
      *http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?mtwjlnttnkl
      *http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?zvmmm4mhiyo

      Credit to FC Blugrana at fbtz.com

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