Champions League Potential Opponents

It’s never easy, this Champions League thing. And now that we’re moving to the knockout phase, it only gets harder. Our potential rivals are Inter Milan, Lyon, Roma, Marseilles, AC Milan, Arsenal. No matter how you parse that group, it’s going to be a bumpy ride. It’s the champions of Italy, the current leaders in Italy, the current 8th place in Serie A and last year’s runner up, the current 4th and 5th place and last year’s 1 and 2 in Ligue 1, and the current leaders and last year’s 3rd place in the EPL. Those are the options.

The draw is December 17, right before we play Espanyol, and then the games themselves are February 15–16 & 22–23, so there’s plenty of time to gain or lose form (or both) and talk some serious freakin’ smack to our opponents. Because the one thing people need more of in life is unadulterated hatred of another club’s fans before we even meet on the field.

So who do I want to play? AC Milan, that’s who. Yeah, I want Ibra. Call me crazy if you wish, but I want to play them. Oh man do I. Sure, there might be easier opponents, but of that group, who is? On current form, probably Roma, Lyon, and Marseille. Perhaps Inter too. But Milan is who I want because I’m a vindictive and horrible human being.

Your thoughts?

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Written by:

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

146 Comments

  1. beeeef
    December 8, 2010

    I want Inter. Not so much because of last year, but because they’re horrible this season, and I would like to bask in the post-match barca-hatred of their fans @theoffside after an 6-0 aggregate score 🙂

    so i’m kind of a horrible person too.

  2. Ryan
    December 8, 2010

    Put me down for Inter as well, but mostly because of losing to them last year. Vengeance!

  3. Kari
    December 8, 2010

    Arsenal, Inter, Milan.

    Arsenal – needs no explaining (for those who were lucky enough to miss this past summer: all you need to know are: trolls, vitriol, envy–and some sensible fans–but mostly the aforementioned 3 things)

    Inter – too many reasons to count. If I had to sum it up in one word: fans.

    Milan – The Not So Magnificent Nose aka. the Other Ibra.

    • Kari
      December 8, 2010

      This also means I’m three times the horrible and vindictive people you guys are.

      • Bruno
        December 8, 2010

        I completely agree with you Kari, I want Arsenal and Inter solely because of their fans. Last springs CL Final, aarrrgh that was tough to handle.
        However…

        A Jedi’s strength flows from the Force. But beware the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression. The dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.

      • Jnice
        December 8, 2010

        Nah, I’m the same deep (or not so deep) down. Really can’t stand the fans of Arsenal and Inter (especially Inter), though Milan I don’t care too much about either way.

  4. James (Canada)
    December 8, 2010

    Hi Isaiah,

    Thanks for this post. I really enjoy your contributions here and on Soccernet. In fact, I have A LOT of thanks directed towards you as it was your plug for this blog on Soccernet that introduced me to this great blog and community. So again, Thank you!

    Re: Champions League Draw, while I totally understand the vindictive feelings to draw either one of the Milan clubs, I think we should be very careful because we have to remember that during this time period we have difficult away fixtures at Gijon (weekend of Feb. 13) and Mallorca (weekend of Feb. 27). I would feel so much better if we drew one of the French clubs. I know we have an easier period in January but we should be cautious about the overload of tough matches in a short time span. Our squad, as we all know, is thin enough. As well, we will have to consider the fact that Afellay will enduring a “Baptism by Fire” adaptation period so I wouldn’t rely on him too much at least in the first few months. But of course, I can only just hope. I know we’ve gone through marathons of tough matches before so I have no doubt in this squad’s ability to rise above and conquer.

    • Kxevin
      December 8, 2010

      I agree here. The French teams will offer some resistance, but ultimately will go down. Of the two Milans, I’d take AC. They’re an old side that is plauged by injuries, and I have no doubt that in a battle of Captain Caveman vs BANGS (now Big Angry No Good Swede), the curly locks will win out.

      That group isn’t as difficult as you might think, however. Both Italian sides are in a bad way, Ligue 1 is still not quite ready for prime time. At this point in time, Roma would be the most difficult opponent of that group. Arsenal are still very close, but are a signing or two away from being able to put it to us over a two-legged tie.

      • James (Canada)
        December 8, 2010

        Hey Kxevin,

        Thanks for weighing in here. I agree that on current form, I would honestly be fine with any of the possible clubs. I agree with you on your pick of AC Milan. While they are the current leaders, I truly believe that Inter Milan is still the best team in Serie A. It’s important to remember that Rafa Benitez inherited a team suffering from injuries and loss of form. Should they conquer all before them at the Club World Cup, I fear that could lead to a strong shot in the arm for their 10/11 campaign. We can’t afford to have Inter return to that form and swagger that carried them to the Treble.

          • outerspacedout
            December 8, 2010

            Though he did have a very good year in Liverpool after the assistant left when they finished second and could have won the league, in 2008/09 I think.

          • James (Canada)
            December 8, 2010

            I’m still weary about Inter. Two months is a long time and in it, form can definitely be found. I actually can see them focusing solely on the Champions League should they fall behind too much in the Scudetto race. They may no longer be ambitious enough to fight on all fronts, realizing that they may have maximized their team potential last season. For AC Milan, I feel that as long as they are leaders in Serie A, they may become too ambitious and believe that they can truly compete in all competitions. However, I have serious doubts about their team for the reasons Kxevin mentioned above. I think that if we can avoid Inter and let them be taken out by someone else (in a grueling and taxing tie), it would serve us well.

  5. Jnice
    December 8, 2010

    Don’t really mind who we draw, though I’m sure we will get one of Inter, Milan, or Arsenal.

  6. outerspacedout
    December 8, 2010

    Arsenal, to teach them a lesson and also cos trust me, we WILL teach them a lesson. Also to shut up the EPL brigade a bit who were all like ‘you only beat an Arsenal team without half their starting 11, let’s see you beat a real Arsenal side’ blah blah blah. Also, their fans. How much hate they spilled on us. Would I love to see them take a hiding.

    Milan, to put six or seven goals past Ibrahimovic as he has yet another invisible CL game, and also cos I think that there is no chance in hell- even much much much less chance than Arsenal- that Milan would beat us. They’re tailor-made for us. Slow and poor midfield, horrible full-backs, a lazy striker who won’t press or harry, all plays to our strengths, and their lack of speed on the counter-attack and strikers that can use pure pace for hitting on the counter means they can’t deal with our weaknesses either. Also, to shut the Serie A fans up too, who think their league is amazing cos everyone is poor and thus its competitive (I mean come on, Milan are nowhere near the top sides of Spain or England).

    Inter- I have a nasty feeling they might be very tough opponents with all their injured stars back by the time of the knock-out round, but I still don’t see them actually beating us, though they might make life very difficult cos their first-choice line-up is full of talent, from a very strong defense to Sneijder and Eto’o on the counter-attack. Then again, if Benitez keeps on playing a high defensive line, it could be a nice big-score revenge. If he isn’t retarded and plays an Inter 09/10 style of game, it could be tough but I don’t see us losing.

    Yeah those are the three sides I want us to face. I wouldn’t mind facing Arsenal or Milan at any stage in the competition cos the difference in quality and the match-up of strengths and weaknesses would be the same regardless of the time of the season, but Inter might become more dangerous the deeper they go into the competition and might be better off being dispatched early (or am I waaay over-estimating the abilities of Benitez? well if he sucks their new coach might make it tough).

  7. BarcaGirl_Indo
    December 8, 2010

    I definitely want Inter or Arsenal…
    no need spesific reason, just THEIR FANS…
    their hatred towards Barca make me want to crush their team so bad…

    so yeah, I’m a horrible human being too… LOL… 😀

    • Kari
      December 8, 2010

      Welcome and join the club, BarcaGirl_Indo! 😀

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        December 8, 2010

        thank you, that’s nice of you! 😀

        this is my first comment in this amazing blog…

        Visca Barca! <3

        • outerspacedout
          December 9, 2010

          Welcome! I used to live for the past for years in Malaysia, which is pretty close to Indonesia (assuming Indo stands for Indonesia) and well where I lived it was all EPL and I was the only Barca fan (the only other La Liga fan was one EE fan) so hope you manage to enjoy being one there.

          Ps. Just in case you’re really new here, and cos I didn’t know until very recently either, EE, the nickname used here for Real Madrid, stands for Evil Empire.

          • BarcaGirl_Indo
            December 9, 2010

            yes, I’m from Indonesia…and here, I think mostly is Serie A and EPL fans…but there’s a lot of La Liga fans here also…if you haven’t read, Barcelona is the club with most fans in Facebook…most fans comes from Spain, and the second is Indonesia… 😀

            haha… I know EE is Real Madrid… I just don’t know what EE stands for… but now I know… thanks… XD

          • MaxMalay
            December 12, 2010

            hi there…i’m also a malaysian..1st time i saw a comment from Malaysian.agreed with u..most of our people are watching EPL. i’m a bit lonely to talk with them especially bout barcelona.. nice to know u dude..:)

      • GREECE BARCA
        December 9, 2010

        I don.t want sponsors too.But next time who i read something like that “give alvez what he want” i say go and give from your bank account money to club to pay him.For me alvez must take what the club can pay.As every player.We are not rich like city or E.E.Live with that.

    • Jnice
      December 8, 2010

      Saw that earlier. Hope it doesn’t happen. We would look like a joke of a team with it on our shorts especially. That screams “WE NEED MONEY!”

  8. Louis
    December 8, 2010

    Like Kxevin said in the other thread.. who care’s who we draw? We are the BEST team in the world.

    Anyways, I would like to be set up in Tottenham’s bracket so we can play them in the Quarterfinals so we can roll 5+ on them in the first leg. How does a team win their group while giving up 11 goals? Blows my mind.

    • Kari
      December 8, 2010

      There is another draw after the R16.

      • Louis
        December 8, 2010

        Oh 😡 Well, either way and however it works, I want to draw them then.

        • outerspacedout
          December 8, 2010

          Yeah Spurs are my favorite English side now and I want them to go further than the other English sides (partly cos the other side of that coin would be ‘the other English sides get knocked out early!’) but I would love to play them, it’d be a fantastically open game but one where Spurs would probably get a real mauling.

  9. Vindictive, as in “inclined to vengeance”?
    Are we going to get revenge on Ibra for giving us a great season and then receiving a boot in the ass?
    or are we getting revenge on Milan, because Rosell pulled down our trousers, bent us over and Galliani accepted the invitation, took Ibra, and left an I.O.U.?
    I’m a little lost.

    • outerspacedout
      December 8, 2010

      Nah, to put seven goals past Ibra for being a massive d***, dissing our coach multiple times, not stopping with the hating many months into his career in Milan, and being a horrible human being overall. That’s the revenge bit.

      I don’t hate Milan. Quite like Milan actually. Historically a great team, historically been strong connections between Ajax, us and Milan, generally play nice football, and one of our biggest heroes plays for them (Ronaldinho). That said, they’re pretty much tailor-made perfect to get thrashed by Barca is why meeting them would be sweet. Their weaknesses- a slow, unfit midfield, horrible full-backs, a susceptibility to pace and movement- play right into our hands, they can’t take advantage of our weaknesses cos they are very slow and not a counter-attacking at pace type of side, they play a very open game, they cannot chase a lead against a better side. Milan is one of the best sides in the second-seed pool, but paradoxically they are also the ones that we would have no trouble beating.

      • It wouldn’t be putting seven past Ibra, as he mostly plays forward. It would be putting seven past Milan, which I could easily see happen over two legs.

        as for “Ibra for being a massive d***, dissing our coach multiple times, not stopping with the hating many months into his career in Milan, and being a horrible human being overall.”

        I’d almost say he’s entitled, all things considered.

        Same with Chygrynsky. If he started talking shit, I wouldn’t blame him. I love FC Barcelona and always will, but I could never defend Sandro Rosell’s actions.

        As for the rest, I’ve watched 100% of Barca’s matches this season, and a good 80% of Milan’s. I know how they roll.

        • Jnice
          December 9, 2010

          Ibra entitled to diss Pep? Not buying that.

          One thing to leave a few parting shots immediately after the move, but to belittle his achievements, called him Gandi after failing with his first philosopher jibe, is stupid.

        • barca96
          December 9, 2010

          Entitled?
          I think Chiggy is more entitled to say anything about bad about Pep or Barca.
          Ibra is a spoilt brat. I’ve been following ever since his signing to Ajax was revealed back then.
          I know how he rolls.

  10. sheena
    December 8, 2010

    I want Arsenal.
    Their defense is our playground. 🙂

  11. ElJeme
    December 8, 2010

    best to get a weaker team,,,,marseille…or roma…possibly letting us expend less energy/resources during the beginning of a very intense part of the season where we will likely be battling on three fronts. if those other teams are worth their salt we will have a chance to beat them later…or at least we can enjoy watching someone else knock them offf.

  12. beeeef
    December 8, 2010

    i know inter has plenty of good players – after all they won the treble last year – but honestly i don’t think it’ll be anything like last year. i’ve seen some inter games this year and it’s amazing how horrible they’ve been. and it’s not just due to fatigue, injuries, and loss of form either. benitez plays the wackiest starting XIs (squad rotation of course), and like someone mentioned, isn’t having the inter backline sit deep. it’s almost like he’s trying to NOT play like mourinho’s inter, but by virtue of doing so is ruining the team and not playing to their strengths.

    the french clubs would be the easiest though, yes.

    • outerspacedout
      December 9, 2010

      Rafa does seem very insecure about the Mourinho thing and trying (and failing) to change everything Mourinho did and trying to play a high-intensity game with their old squad, a high defensive line with one of the best defences in the world at just defending, a fluid attacking system with players used to a fast counter-attack, and so on.

      More on Rafa:
      *http://www.studs-up.com/2010/04/results-may-vary/?page=7

      • barca96
        December 9, 2010

        Rafa & Mourinho always had beef.
        I was really surprised that Rafa took the job cause how on earth can you outdo Mourinho’s performance at Inter.
        He will forever be in Mourinho’s shadow now.
        Prior to this he was always on top of Mourinho.
        I believe he always beat Chelsea in the CL.

        • sheena
          December 9, 2010

          It just occured to me that it’d be pretty darn hilarious if EE were to draw Inter.
          Rafa vs Mourinho. Let the touchline war begin!

  13. barca96
    December 9, 2010

    I know we are the best but don’t tell me that deep inside of you(guys), you don’t wish to get a weaker team in the next round?
    I know we are the best but I would take the weakest team i na heartbeat.
    Why make things tougher? 🙂

    I always have to do catching up with reading the comments so I just found this
    **http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/grant_wahl/12/08/soccer.mailbag/index.html?eref=twitter_feed

    Tears were coming down after I read this
    “Messi was amazing,” said her father, Nick. “He was really genuine about it when he came over. She told me she’s never going to wash that jersey again.”

    Messi is just….. No words. Just out of this world.
    I wish the new LEGO-land in Malaysia will invite Messi to come to the opening ceremony. I would love to play LEGO’s with him. I love him so much goddamnit!

    • outerspacedout
      December 9, 2010

      Nah I really would rather get Arsenal or Milan than Marseille or something. I’m as sure of beating Milan as I am of beating Marseille, and I’m quite very confident we can beat Arsenal too.

    • Jnice
      December 9, 2010

      A good article on As for once. About the Victor Vazquez and Messi battle on the youth teams. Some excerpts:

      “The spectators of the Mini were divided in two camps. On one side were those who believed that this little guy Leo, who came from Rosario, was called to do great things. Opposite were those who aligned with Victor Vazquez.”

      “When in doubt, Leo Messi was always clear: “The best is Victor Vazquez.”

      “I remember Messi and Victor were the best of the whole team. If in the first half Victor scored 3, in the second Messi wouldn’t stop until he scored 3 more.” Cesc Fabregas recalls.

      “When Leo arrived, the best on the team was Victor, a player who was the natural leader of the group and very outgoing.” Pique. He also talked about their competition on the field.

      .http://www.as.com/futbol/articulo/victor-vazquez-jugador-eclipso-messi/20101209dasdaiftb_42/Tes

      • Blow-Grenade
        December 9, 2010

        That was an awesome read Jnice! Very interesting to know about Victor. His goal in the Rubin match was exquisite. Absolutely top class.

  14. Sam
    December 9, 2010

    Although I don’t think much of Inter. I would not like to see them in the next round, simply because of Samuel E’to. Unlike some ‘superstars’ Samu has always been a big match player. Now that ‘the Translator’ is gone he’s been tearing up Serie A. I would feel much more comfortable going against Milan. We all know Ibra shrinks in big matches and that their attacking players don’t pressure much. We all saw what happened last week when our midfield went up against Madrid(who by the way also have attacking players that have little interest in defending and a ‘superstar’ that shrinks in big matches.).

  15. Vj
    December 9, 2010

    ||http://yfrog.com/gyvp50j

    via Piqué’s twitter

  16. jaymin
    December 9, 2010

    i’m fairly certain you’d make jollies around this current defensive arrangement fate and last ditch planning contrived to realize in your only possible destination in north london. i hope you get someplace cold, and bus there : )

  17. Jnice
    December 9, 2010

    It’s crazy, all of the British media say we are the favorites to win the CL and the team to avoid.

    In the past, there have been more doubters, but this season I’ve only heard praise across the board. Weird. Guess the 5-0 is what won them over.

    • Vj
      December 9, 2010

      All the more reason to tread cautiously.. They’re trying to jinx us!!

    • sheena
      December 9, 2010

      I will admit that everyone saying that we’ll probably going to win the CL, is making me a little bit nervous.
      But the thing is, IF we play like we can, we should be able to do exactly that. Its our form that I’m worried about, because while we’re peaking now, its also true that we’ll start to wane around Jan/Feb, so we had better be careful.

  18. Diego S.
    December 9, 2010

    I was hoping we would face Chygy.

    I don’t want us to Draw the Milans or Gunners, We’re the best team in the world and we have nothing to prove to anyone. Our Clashes against Lyon are Classics 😀

  19. cliu
    December 9, 2010

    AC Milan: a bunch of dowagers trying on vintage couture since they’ve all put on a few since their last outing, the one with the giant schnoz is particularly unhappy about the corset situation. Inter Milan is like Rohan ruled over by a mad King, possessed by Mourinho/Sauron. I have nothing to say about the French teams except that they give great game and can’t finish. Arsenal are run by a French speaking technocrat who has to please the bunch of angry fundamentalists. If Sarah Palin were an EPL fan, she would embrace Arsenal. The team is just silly, what with the faux hawks and the prancing. Of all these teams, Olympique de Marseille has the most coherent defense right now. So go figure. Barca is playing on another dimension right now: only magic can stop the team, and don’t count out magic. I say we draw Chelsea and make Drogba’s day, but that won’t work.

    • Diego S.
      December 9, 2010

      Herclues can stop the team 😀

  20. Extreme barca fan
    December 9, 2010

    Blasphemy: i think our current form is better than that of the treble season.
    Why? that year we surprised everyone this year they know how good we are and still we are cruising.
    I dont have a favourite opponent, but i want to play AC Milan, why? so that the swedish guy gets the reception he deserves & ronaldinho gets a warm reception, really i cant imagine how the fans will treat zlatan.

  21. Eklavya
    December 9, 2010

    I might vomit if we get Inter or Arsenal. Anyone else if fine, although I would prefer Roma or Marseille!

  22. MoSSi
    December 9, 2010

    I would like Roma, returning to the stadium were we won the champions league would be great. And if we go through and win it, we would have been in 2 places were we won our european cups.. That would be nice..

  23. MoSSi
    December 9, 2010

    I have a question, does anybody hase highlights of victor vazquez before his terrible injury? They say he was on the same level as Messi, I would really like to see that..

    • Jnice
      December 9, 2010

      He wasn’t on the level of Messi as they grew up, but he was a talented player. You don’t remember him in Scotland preseason of 08/09? He looked better than Busquets, Pedro, and Jeffren.

  24. soccermomof4
    December 9, 2010

    I’m on the record as not wanting Arsenal just yet as Arsenal is my prefered EPL team (I live in a house with a Chelsea fan (hubby UGH!!!) and Man U. (son #1) fan and my best friend likes ‘pool so what’s a girl to do?). I’m also on the record as saying that if we get Arsenal I will yell my fool head off during the game hoping we make fools of them just like I did last year.

    That being said, I so want Milan! I want to absolutely humiliate Ibra! I want to dance circles around their aging midfield. And I want EE to get Lyon because….well because I’m a vindictive, hateful person when it comes to EE.

  25. soccermomof4
    December 9, 2010

    BTW, anyone think we’ll rest Pique this Sunday just because he has 4 yellows to make sure he’s available for the derby?

    • sheena
      December 9, 2010

      Normally I’d say yes. But given Pique’s current form, I think Pep may risk him, putting Abidal at CB for the derby should Pique get carded.

  26. Vj
    December 9, 2010

    While I want to stick it to Ibra, I’d want us to draw Inter (pure revenge) or Arsenal – I love their reactions after a loss..

    • K(legit)
      December 9, 2010

      I wouldn’t take Rafa lightly in Europe

      • Vj
        December 9, 2010

        I would.. with the form Inter are in recently. They may improve if all the injured players on their roster return, but I wouldn’t be surprised Rafa is sacked by the time..

  27. K(legit)
    December 9, 2010

    Referee Claus Bo Larsen has named Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo his ‘most annoying player’.
    //http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=850932&sec=uefachampionsleague&cc=4716//

    😀

  28. psqd
    December 9, 2010

    uefa loves drama so to maximize that…
    barca v milan
    and
    EE v inter

    otherwise i think Copenhagen could be the surprise of the next round for somebody…just not barca 8)

  29. K(legit)
    December 9, 2010

    From barcastuff
    The new Barcelona board is investigating if a deal on shirt sponsoring is a possibility

    NO!NEVER!NEIN!

  30. Lev
    December 9, 2010

    wow, surprised everybody just glosses over Kxevin’s link to the possibility of Rosell selling out our shirt….

    ARE THERE ANY CULÉS ON THIS WEBSITE OR WHAT????

    To put it in perspective, personally I would prefer to give Dani Alves away for free if it meant keeping our shirt sponsor-free (and I am on the record as saying that I definitely want him to stay).

    And how funny is it claiming that it has to be a multinational company whose values coincide with Barça’s? Are they saying Barça do not have any values? Cause multinational values are based on the bottom-line aka ________ aka $$$$

    I hope that besides studying the financial angle of adquiring a new shirt sponsor they also study wether the owners of the club (aka Kxevin and other socis) would agree to such a travesty.

    Btw I would like to play Milan also. Something about a big Swede falling on his big nose…Not very Ghandi of me, I admit, but it is my philosophy!

    • soccermomof4
      December 9, 2010

      I agree it would suck. The shirt sponsor thing is one of the many things that make us great. I wasn’t able to read the article though through Kevin’s link as one of those annoying ‘congratulations, you’ve won” pop-ups tried to take over my computer when I clicked on it, so I don’t know the details.

    • Victor
      December 9, 2010

      I don’t really think it’s gonna happen.

    • Humphrey Bogart
      December 9, 2010

      Just noticed this new development but I do not know how serious you can take Sport. I think I remember to read some weeks ago that we renewed the deal with Unicef. And if I remember correcty Rossell was bringing this topic up during the presidential campaign but the backlash was so enormous that he dropped it again. So I hope for the best.

      urgh Rossell, you just want to give him some credit and then he is scrwing it up again

  31. December 9, 2010

    Don’t wanna see any Arsenal fans here get all too upset, but we surely had some really bad blood with them since the Fabregas saga and we kinda hate each other because of that. Still, compare to all other teams we are seeing, Arsenal plays the kind of football we like, and I want them to beat many other teams with that same style before they face us, because I wanna see good teams raising the level of football.

    I want us to draw Inter. I want them to know we are so many levels above them. bad. and they beat us because they had good luck with the so many bad decision by the ref. so that they will stop bragging about their football because they really have nothing to brag about in footballing terms.

    • Nik
      December 9, 2010

      Beating them now won’t keep them from shifting the blame onto their injuries (they do have a lot) and Benitez’ incompetence in getting the most out of his players in comparison to Mou (probably valid).

      Still, it would be nice to send them out of the comp.

      • December 9, 2010

        Yeah, I don’t care what their excuses are. I wanna see them go down. Killed. Dead. Burned. Whatever it takes!

    • soccermomof4
      December 9, 2010

      That’s why I prefer Arsenal to other EPL teams. I hate the “clear the ball way the heck up the field and hope that your tall guy in the center gets it” type of play and prefer Arsenal beacause they try to play football (let’s face it, they try to imitate us (we showed them how far they still had to go in that regard last season).

  32. December 9, 2010

    By the way, I will join the “screw that sponsor thing” crew and call BS on any intention of doing so. We will look like a small club if we have any sponsor under the number or on any part of our shirt.

  33. jordi(TM)
    December 9, 2010

    I want Arsenal, I don’t remember a big team so comprehensively owned in their own stadium as they were in the 1st half last season.Did they touch the ball? IF we get them and take our chances it could be ugly.I think the boys might still be harboring bad feelings about not finishing the game off in the emirates so look out if they get a second chance.I know i for one am still pissed at Almunia for turning up that of all days! Not to mention cesc kicking puyi and getting a penalty.Its not puyi’s fault he’s made of steel.

  34. HY
    December 9, 2010

    URGH. I’ve gloated to Madrid fans that our shirts support children while theirs promote online gambling. NO SPONSORS PLEASE.

  35. Eklavya
    December 9, 2010

    All the talk about V.Vazquez makes me sad 🙁

    • K(legit)
      December 9, 2010

      Really feel for the guy..he was the next big thing in the B team and his injury was a real bad thing to happen to him..
      He still has a good future I think!

  36. December 9, 2010

    The space has been cleaned of offensive comments/references. Thanks to all for bringing them to my attention.

  37. December 9, 2010

    Meanwhile, I’m waiting for someone to start a NO VENGUI LA CAMISA adjunct on Facebook. I’m sure it won’t be long now, once word gets out in a widespread fashion. At present, if you don’t read Sport, you wouldn’t really know about it.

    But it is appalling. I’m with Lev in that I just don’t think that it’s worth compromising what we have always stood for, to gain a mere 25m. And I say “mere,” because in the context of a club that generates almost a half-billion dollars in revenue every year, 25m ain’t all that much.

    • December 9, 2010

      I think this is a decision that requires an assembly to approve it. This is not the first time a board try to get a sponsor but it was always buried by the members. Though, Rosell created a good platform talking about financial crisis. So, maybe he will be able to succeed where others failed.

    • Extreme barca fan
      December 9, 2010

      Kevin make sure to give us a heads up if you see anything of the sort

  38. Victor
    December 9, 2010

    Yes, Arsenal practices a similar style of football that Barcelona plays. I have nothing against them. The Cesc thing: well, everyone wants Cesc in Barcelona and despises Arsenal for not letting him go out of their club, but I can surely understand why they do it. Cesc is world class player.

    I’d like AC Milan or Roma. Would be a great match.

    Inter, I can’t really hate Inter, I mean, not the team. They play different, Mourinho isn’t with them any longer. Their players seem OK with me. No hate against them at all.

    The French teams seem meh!

    Either way, none of those opponents seem like being a difficult one to Barcelona. Perhaps Arsenal or Roma might pose a challenge… AC Milan, with their experienced players (not to mention that their midfield used to be lethal as well), would be an interesting match to see. Inter, Marseille and Lyon don’t stand a chance.

    I know this sound pretentious and over-confident… but I’d rather have that than false modesty. Unless Xavi, Messi, Iniesta and Puyol get injured and won’t play against them… none of those teams stand a real chance.

  39. Victor
    December 9, 2010

    By the way, why the hate against Ibrahimovic? I mean, sure, now that he has attacked Guardiola I can see why. But the hate against him dates back from May/June, when it was rumored that he was going out.

    Why was that? Yes, he didn’t “fit into the system” (Just like Villa isn’t fitting now) but he tried his best when playing with Barcelona.

    • December 9, 2010

      “By the way, why the hate against Ibrahimovic?”

      People needed no reason to hate him after taking Eto’o’s position.

      He gave them all the reasons they need after he left.

      So…nothing strange. Everyone will move on with time.

    • Extreme barca fan
      December 9, 2010

      Actually i always hated him, even when he was with Ajax, never liked him and after the summer drama i hate him more.
      Just when i think we gave away eto’o and 45 mil makes me cry

      • Kxevin
        December 9, 2010

        Exactly, Ramzi. I was fine with him before his “scorched earth” policy in the wake of his departure. Nobody badmouths this club. Nobody. If you don’t want to be here, or don’t find being here to your liking, then leave, and don’t let the door hit you in the butt.

        Hleb, The Yaya and Ibrahimovic demonstrate that no matter the player’s star quality, the same is true. If you don’t want to be here, no problem. We’re happy to accomodate your wishes.

  40. Ian in Tokyo
    December 9, 2010

    I’ve been lurking here for a while, but this is my first comment. First of all, let me state the obvious – this is a great blog. It really makes following Barca from long distance more fun.

    What got me over the hump and ready to actually comment was the shirt-selling mess. DEAR GOD, NO. Like others have said, the lack of a commercial sponsor is part of what makes this club great. (Frankly, I think huge corporate logos splayed across football shirts are a travesty in general, and it’s kind of shocking the degree to which it’s taken for granted in the contemporary game. Worse still, fans are asked to throw down a hundred bucks for the privilege of being a walking advertisement for these random corporations when they’d just like to get in the spirit by wearing the team shirt.) It seems hard to fathom that this new board would be unaware of cule feelings about this issue, but on the other hand, they trashed the open membership policy too. Come on Rossell, what about “mes que un club”? As others have noted, though, this isn’t the first time these stories have started up only to come to nothing – I think the same nonsense was going on in 2006, and we got the UNICEF deal instead.

    As for the Champions League draw, I have to admit I’d like to stick it to Arsenal in particular. On the one hand, I do appreciate the fact that they try to play like Barca, have praised the Barca style, and so on. It’s endearing in an enthusiastic-but-bumbling little-brother-who-imitates-everything-you-do kind of way. On the other hand, the EPL kind of annoys me, and EPL-centric football coverage in the English-language media especially, so slapping down any EPL team is sweet. And of course there’s the Cesc thing – I do like Cesc, and though I’m ambivalent about him returning to Barca, the way Arsenal fans behaved over the summer was pretty irritating. Better still, they’re trying to do it again with another promising youth player of ours, Sergi Samper. So yeah, Arsenal and Arsene Wenger – shove it. So Inter would be fine, Milan would be fine, anyone would be fine, but Arsenal has it coming.

    • Lev
      December 9, 2010

      “Better still, they’re trying to do it again with another promising youth player of ours, Sergi Samper.”

      Which is actually the biggest problem i have with Arsenal and the other big EPL teams: their constant raiding of foreign youth academies. Manchester Utd signed the top Ajax prospect a couple of months ago the moment he turned 16. This is getting ridiculous, and very much against the spirit of the 90-mile radius rule that was put in place exactly against this sort of practice to protect other (British) clubs against this greed.

    • K(legit)
      December 9, 2010

      Wow Sergi Samper is 15 from what I have heard and a gem of a player..but this is not new from Wenger

  41. yoyoma
    December 9, 2010

    “screw that sponsor thing” that’s a nice one cliveee! I’m in! No sponsor on our shirts.

  42. MoSSi
    December 9, 2010

    The Unicef-deal and logo will stil remain on the shirt so why the big fuss about this?

    We made such a big financial loss on the Ibra-case, we’re in debt so extra money would be welcome..

    • Ian in Tokyo
      December 9, 2010

      I probably shouldn’t speak for others, but at least to me, the issue isn’t just keeping the UNICEF deal, it’s also *not* having a sponsor’s logo on the shirt. Barca’s never done that, and we don’t need to start now. You can always say we could do more with more money – why not put get a different sponsor for the shorts, too? How about sponsors for both the front AND back of the shirt? Heck, why don’t we make Messi get a sponsor for his forehead? He can tatoo it on there.

      Of course I’m being (somewhat) facetious, but once you start with that, it seems like it’s pretty hard to stop. We need some cash because we need to pay for the Ibra mess? Well, Ibra’s transfer fee is a one-time cost, and even if something goes down and we have to take him back from Milan, we aren’t paying his wages forever. But will they axe the sponsor once we’re done shelling out Euros for him? I might be wrong, but that just doesn’t seem to happen.

      There’s the aesthetics of it, too. I think it would look pretty awful to have both UNICEF and a sponsor logo on the front of the shirt, and shirt back or shorts sponsors are just…yeah, as someone said, we’d look like a youth rec team.

      Anyway, if we get a sponsor, I don’t think I’d buy another Barca shirt. Maybe that’s extreme, and I’m sure I’m in the minority, but yeah – don’t do it Rossell.

      • Vj
        December 9, 2010

        You should comment more often.. agree completely with both arguments..

        How would anyone feel if Burger King sponsors us? 🙂

        • soccermomof4
          December 9, 2010

          But then there’s that Alves deJonging King Radical thing. 😀

          Please write another one soon, Isaiah!!!!!!

    • Kxevin
      December 9, 2010

      We have never, ever had a corporate sponsor on the front of the shirt. Until UNICEF (a privilege that we pay them for) we have never featured anything, save the club crest, on the front of the shirt.

      If we sell the front, what should we hawk? Gambling? Cars? A bank? A well-funded escort service? Once you decide to become a whore, where do you draw the line.

      The no sponsor was just one more thing that made our club unique. I don’t think it’s worth 25m to throw that away. I just don’t. But I feel much differently about this club, as a soci, than the average fan. And that isn’t to put myself on a pedestal. I’m just a nut about tradition, and a club standing for something.

      Would we still have the same values with Betfair, Betclic, Emirates or whomever on the front of the shirt? Technically, yes. Philosophically, no. Not for me. This is about more than money for me. It’s about tradition.

  43. sab
    December 9, 2010

    we play the most beautiful and effective football on planet earth.everybody knows that.so we should not tell this cliche in the face of other clubs fans.thats arrogance.reading so many blogs and the relevant comments ,i found it hard that there are so many antibarca feelings.but now i get it,it is because of our smugness.

    for example look at this post and its comments.we want arsenal,inter,ac and blah blah.as if we r sure we r gonna beat them.its one thing being confident and say we r gonna win and another thing being a smug and say “we r gonna avenge our defeat”,”we r gonna teach the gunners”or “we r gonna kick some swede “.please be humble.there r not better examples then pep and rijkaard.

    dont know h many of u follow barca from 99-05?been supporting barca from 98,so i know h it feels to lag behind,h it hurts when others gloat about their clubs.i know that feeling, so after seeing this barca team i dont gloat about this team.i just enjoy being a fan of this team and try 2 lavish my team with praise without billeting others.we e”more then a club”.so please behave like that.

    i dont get it why the hatred behind ibra?he is still technically a barca player.he is now playing well 4 ac.good for him.we should move on.the best way 2 answer him by beating his team on the pitch,not on the press.hopefully if we met ac in R16,barca will beat ac.thats the way to answer all the bad things he said bout pep.but seriously guys please move on from this ibra bashing.

    • Extreme barca fan
      December 9, 2010

      Sorry sab, a guy like ibra is a major d**k he deserves all the bad words he is getting, yes it takes a big person to restrain from hitting back but thats for pep and rijkaard, not me.
      By the way, I’ve been following barca since i don’t remember (very early 90s and i understand what u mean 99-05?, those years were horrible.

      • sab
        December 9, 2010

        thats good 2 know.those r simply horrible times.

        he is foul mouthing cause he knows its his fault.its best to ignore this

    • Kxevin
      December 9, 2010

      You make good points about the smugness. I’ve been supporting the club for longer than you, and remember the bad times, which will come again. Everyone has to keep a level head about our current success. Form is fleeting, class is permanent.

      As for me, I detest Ibrahimovic because he is trying to damage our club and the perception thereof, with his comments. You left because you weren’t the man. Now enjoy your new home, shut up and play football.

      Hleb is also still a Barca player, and nobody stuck up for him. He even has a moniker depicting futility attached to his name (to be Hlebbed, or to Hleb).

  44. sab
    December 9, 2010

    and what the fuss about unicef and shirt sponsorship?

    barca is a multimillion dollar brand.if we get a deal of 30 M from this shirt sponsorship,i will congratulate rossel.we can still donate 5 M to unicef for humanitarian cause(which is about 2 times the current one).

    we r unique in the way we play and raise our players,but apart from that barca is just like other clubs who want to generate more money.its true.not being sponsored is not a good thing in this modern times(it was a good thing when the catalans was searching their own identity )

    • Kxevin
      December 9, 2010

      You’re talking 25m in the context of a club that generates almost a half-billion in revenues. Surely tradition is worth a mere fraction of that total income.

      • sab
        December 9, 2010

        i agree,man.i agree.tradition is worth more then 50M.but in this times its hard 2 ignore hard cash.

        generates 500m but as far as i know the net profit/loss is 11m/89m.(from laporta/rossel audit).if we blv laporta, 11m is 2 small a profit for a club like barca whose core team comes from la masia(the budget for la masia is approx 15m).if we blv rossel,89 m loss is totally unacceptable

    • Extreme barca fan
      December 9, 2010

      More than a club, this is our logo and we are true to that, the social commitment of this club is second to none.
      A part from the UNICEF this club has its own foundacion, the foundacion supports different social and cultural projects in different parts of the world (Mali for example), so we are unique in more than one or two aspects, selling the shirt will be a good step financially but i think its a disaster on every other level

    • Ryan
      December 9, 2010

      Wouldn’t hard financial times be the BEST time to be defending one’s traditions? Keep the Barca shirt sponsor-free, please.

  45. sab
    December 9, 2010

    though i m against the sponsorship of shirts because of nostalgia,i cant argue the fact that it will enable us some 25M+ in the revenue section.

    i dont like capitalism,its always about money,money and money.no sentimental values.sighhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  46. sab
    December 9, 2010

    why a disaster in every other level?can u explain?

    isnt it better 2 donate 5 m 2 unicef from this shirt sponship instead of 2 m like the present ?

    i m against shirt sponsorship but cant argue against it

    • Extreme barca fan
      December 9, 2010

      Because we will be selling our selves which is not a good thing
      Because it says: we are a greedy bunch of people
      Because it says: UNICEF you are good but bwin or bclick are better than you so we will put their name
      Becuase it sends a message to the kids in the fans: boys and girls if the price is right you can sell yourself to the devil
      Because…..

  47. K(legit)
    December 9, 2010

    I would gladly go back to the days where there were no sponsors on the shirt (a contributory fact to me actually ending up supporting the Club)
    It seemed so revolutionary at the time when teams were whoring out to betting companies and the like.

    I am sorry but any shirt sponsor bar UNICEF (here, the term sponsor is oxymoronic) makes the club look like a whore and I am sorry to say that and I apologise if I offend any sensibilities here.

    I have been a huge patron of this UNICEF logo on the shirts and have trumpeted about it many times and the very idea that I will have to eat my words in a matter of time frightens me

    If Rossel succeeds in this then he will forever fall in my eyes with no way back and he’s cutting it pretty close with the soci deal too.
    I had just saved up enough money to apply for membership when the statuette was passed and it crushed me. I have been looking for any loopholes and what I have come up with is to either get adopted by a Catalan family (which my pre-existing family may frown upon :D) or get my son/daughter in the future membership and then retro-actively get myself membership (although I don’t know if that’ll work)
    Either way I am extremely peeved by this business.

    Re: The smugness
    Over the past few years I have noticed this myself and I have to continuously remind the younger fans that I know that this is a cycle which ergo means that bad tomes will come to pass and the only way to retain any sanity to have equanimity. I know you have dealt with Arsenal, EE, Inter trolls in the past but trust me the Barça fanbois who sprout up in hordes whenever we win are far greater an annoyance. For them Barça starts and ends with Messi (which is fine) but the continuous yammering about Lio and the total ignorance about more important aspects of the club including its history and its philosphy are migraine-inducing to me.
    Vj can perhaps tell better about the ‘Orkut’ gloryhunters/bandwagon “supporters”

    Re: Ibrahimovic
    I continuously supported him during the smear campaign Sport and EMD ran about his Scandinavian roots etc but his repeated attacks on Pep and the trivialization of someone like Mahatma Gandhi because of whom people like me are free to lead a life of independence and not of slavery and servitude is unpardonable. For me he is no longer a Barça player or worthy of my admiration. He is nothing to me.

    • Vj
      December 9, 2010

      I’m not sure about that K, you seem to deal with them better than me.. 🙂

  48. December 9, 2010

    without falling in the trap of “I’ve been a barca fan since…” I honestly consider this smug stuff a complete nonsense.

    Based on what are people making such claims? Compare Barca’s performance/fans bragging to any other team performance/fans bragging.

    I dont want to imagine how Arsenal fan would have behaved if they outclassed us the way we did. Or Chelsea fans? RM? you name it! So, Give me a break…

    Fans are proud. They love to talk about the team brilliance. Do they brag a bit? They have to!

    • Jnice
      December 9, 2010

      I dont want to imagine how Arsenal fan would have behaved if they outclassed us the way we did. Or Chelsea fans? RM? you name it! So, Give me a break…

      Exactly, Ramzi. I don’t think people really understand how bad it would be if other teams played and took apart teams like we do.

      • Kari
        December 9, 2010

        I think of how bad some Arsenal fans are right now (delusional and brimming with self-importance) and if they played like we are…

        We’re doing the world a favour.

    • Kari
      December 9, 2010

      Agreed on principal, Ramzi. Fans are short for ‘fanatics’, of course they’d gloat when their team continually lay smackdowns like us. However

      Do they brag a bit?

      If they did only a bit, I doubt I’d be talking about them right now. A minority of them really do talk out of their arses sometimes. It’s annoying, but when the good times are over, we’ll see if they still come back.

  49. Josep
    December 9, 2010

    Wow. Albelda got a two game suspension for a second yellow that was not a foul.

    Ramos gets a one game suspension for kicking out and a straight red.

      • MoSSi
        December 9, 2010

        The Spanish FA is Real Madrids little bitch, what did you expect?

  50. Ethan
    December 9, 2010

    Had to Post This About Thong Boy: *http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=850932&sec=uefachampionsleague&cc=5901

  51. Kari
    December 9, 2010

    Oh, and Ian in Tokyo. Welcome! I agree with all your comments so, err, ^This! x2

  52. sab
    December 9, 2010

    dont fall in the trap,ramzi?very good ,my friend,my fellow cule,very good.

    I dont want to imagine how Arsenal fan would have behaved if they outclassed us the way we did. Or Chelsea fans? RM? you name it! So, Give me a break…

    we outclassed chelsea??now thats new 2 me.1st leg the referee was lenient in many ways,but IMHO we never outclassed them(rather we were outclassed by them in the 2nd leg,football god was with us @that n8).
    dont wanna talk bout the gunners or rm.it was a thing of the past,we move on.when the club fells in a crisis in future then i can spent my time thinking about them.but not now

    without falling in the trap of “I’ve been a barca fan since…” I honestly consider this smug stuff a complete nonsense.for example of this smugness read the comments of this pos tmy dear friend.regarding the trap that was not a trap.i was simply saying that h it hurts when ur team is outclassed by the other team and their fans gloating about that.in the CL SF i remember we r beaten by madrid and my frnd8s who r mostly madrid fans they tormented me.what i exactly trying 2 say that we should not belittle other clubs.there r many ways 2 praise ur team without doing that.(thats why despite being the best coach,i despiseJM,pep is the best coach for our system).

    we are barca and we should behave like barca.when u r the best student of ur class ,u & the others know that u r the best,but that doesnt mean u have 2 belittle them.being the best means h u can improve urself more without thinking about the others.

    • Hilal
      December 9, 2010

      “we are barca and we should behave like barca” A little ironic that you are critisizing others for being smug when a comment this this one could be considered very smug indeed. You might not be belittling another team directly but you are belittling other fans by implying that Barca fans are better than them simply for supporting Barca. Isnt that smug? If I supported another team (blashemy i know) I would certainly consider that an extremely smug comment 😉

      Anyways fans will be fans, no matter which team they support and part of the fun of being a fan is gloating when you win. We are in the best moment Barca has seen in the past few decades (maybe even ever) so if there is a time to gloat it is now, because it will all come to an end one day and believe me when I tell you other fans will be gloating when that day comes. Enjoy it while it lasts my fellow cules..

      • K(legit)
        December 9, 2010

        Don’t consider that ‘smug’ tbh Hilal. Seems like a call to civility but opinions are variable…

        • Hilal
          December 9, 2010

          Well it is a smug. He is saying we as Barca fans are classier than other fans and shouldnt act like other fans because its not “Barca”. Unless i misunderstood. Well thats pretty smug if you ask me. What makes a Barca fan better than an Arsenal fan or a Utd fan?

          You call it civility, but really when have football fans been civil? I am not trying to incite anything here, im just saying its the nature of fans in general. You give it when your winning and you take it when your losing. What makes Barca fans so superior that they shouldnt be able to give it when the times are as good as they are now?

          • K(legit)
            December 9, 2010

            I dunno but the ‘giving’ part has never been my forte but I am speaking for myself here. Mainly because I have seen very bad times as well as great times as a Barça fan so that has given some perspective to this cycle we are on at the moment. the Club’s fortunes are a sine curve and we reaching the maximum amplitude. I just hope the reaching takes time.
            As a club I believe Barça stands for civility and hence i follow that ideologue

          • sab
            December 9, 2010

            for hilal.plz read another comment of mine just a little bit higher in this comment section.

            u r r8 when u say”we are barca and we should behave like barca” A little ironic that you are critisizing others for being smug when a comment this this one could be considered very smug indeed. You might not be belittling another team directly but you are belittling other fans by implying that Barca fans are better than them simply for supporting Barca. Isnt that smug? If I supported another team (blashemy i know) I would certainly consider that an extremely smug comment “.to other fans it will really seem as a smug comment.may be if i say along the lines of our club motto we should behave like”more than a fan”.

            what i m trying 2 say over and over and over again u can praise barca a gazillion times without belittling other teams.

          • sab
            December 9, 2010

            our club motto is also very much smug.dont u say?but a real football fan will understand our club motto and he will not imply that barca is belittling other clubs by uttering this motto.

            from ur name, i guess u r a muslim.i m also a muslim here.i support barca although in the emblem of barca there is a cross of saint jordi.to the ignorant muslims that is blasphemy,to me (i m not sure i know much about islam)the saint jordi cross has nothing to do with barca football playing style.to the ignorant muslims my comment will appear as a smug.

            i believe as a barca fan i should be more humble.if that beleif of mine implies that the barca fans are classier than the others then let it be

      • sab
        December 9, 2010

        so hilal ,u consider pep 2 be a smug?

        “we are barca and we should behave like barca”.whats the motto of barca?”more then a club”..so if the motto is true 2 all barca fans then shouldnt we behave like then

  53. sab
    December 9, 2010

    ramzi and kari,thanks god pep doesnt think like u two

    • K(legit)
      December 9, 2010

      That is a bit harsh sab..I believe everyone is entitled to their views without fear of belittlement.

      • sab
        December 9, 2010

        u r right.

        sorry to both ramzi and kari

  54. sab
    December 9, 2010

    watching the UCL final pre game sky sports version.andy gray is praising MU,but the way he is praising is total smugness.gullit also praised mu and said they r the favorite,but in a civilized way,not in an arrogant way

  55. areign
    December 9, 2010

    Inter
    Marsailles
    Lyon
    AC
    Arsenal
    Roma
    from worst to best at the moment.

  56. momo
    December 9, 2010

    I can be smug if I want to. It’s a free country!!
    At least Canada is… 🙂

  57. sab
    December 9, 2010

    i think julian assange cant agree with u,MOMO

  58. Vj
    December 9, 2010

    Ok, enough calling each other smug, follow the example these fine gentlemen have set..

    ||http://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/blog/dirty-tackle/post/Materazzi-says-he-and-Zidane-really-did-shake-ha?urn=sow-293873

    They shook hands! The aftermath? Everyone swooned, world peace seemed possible, and then the denials started coming out. 😀

    Priceless 😛

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