A Bit of Insight Into the BFB Interview Process

I was planning on surreptitiously posting my own liveblog for my first action as a member of the team with the hope that pandemonium would erupt. However, as Kxevin has outed me before I could cause trouble, I’ve decided to provide a bit of insight into the interview process to become a member of the blog.

As I walked into the room I was almost overpowered by the presence of the team, with Isaiah, Kxevin, Luke, Euler, and Soccermom sitting behind a large oak desk. Noticing that I was starting to sweat Luke kindly offered me a beverage to cool my nerves, and the interview began.

Isaiah: So first of all vicsoc, I must ask, are you a Catalan? If not, is either of your parents a current member of the blog?

me: Well, no. However I have been a soci for two years, if that counts for anything.

Luke: Don’t worry vicsoc, Isaiah is just trying to intimidate you, let me fix you another drink.

Kxevin: Tell us a little bit about why you would like to join the team.

me: I’m deeply passionate about this blog and I think the time has come for me to step up and contribute to keeping this the best blog about Barcelona around. I’ve noticed that at times the squad seems to lack a little bit of depth – after all the five of you are all playing a ton of minutes as it is – I figure I can give you guys some much needed rest.

Kxevin: So you’d be playing the Bojan role?

A heated discussion erupted concerning Bojan and his role in the current Barcelona squad, but it really didn’t differ from any of the discussions about Bojan that have been played out on the blog 500 times, so I’m skipping that part.

Euler: Moving on, let’s talk some tactics. If Barcelona Football Blog was a small sided football team, what would be your role in the team? Also, which player from the current Barcelona squad do you most resemble in your style of posting?

me: I consider my role in the team to be the same as my role has always been on the football pitch. I’m a hard worker who can keep the ball moving to the players with more flair, and I’m always willing to get stuck in on defense. I’m like Keita was last season – a water carrier on the team, but hopefully also an important piece of the puzzle. I don’t have the flair of Soccermom, the tactical acumen of yourself, the sheer attacking audacity of Isaiah, the shot stopping ability of Luke, or the stout defensive work of Kxevin, but I think I can offer something a bit different that will make the team even better.

Luke: That’s all nice, but what exactly will you bring to this blog?

me: Well, I’ve been running liveblogs since last season, so I would love to continue to do that. Other than that I’m not sure, I’m hoping to carve out a niche  over time. I think the people who post on the blog bring a lot to the table, so I would love to know what they would like to read about.

Soccermom: Would you agree that the selection of the people who write for the blog agrees with the concept of the Ubermensch laid out by Friedrich Nietzsche?

me: uhhhhhhhh, yes? Wait, no? I have no idea.

Kxevin: Well it looks like things are in order, we’ll be contacting you.

Isaiah: Oh wait, there’s one more thing. We won’t be able to pay you the salary you are asking, as the blog is currently in austerity mode.

me: That’s fine with me. I’m more interested in working with this fantastic collection of talent than the money (take note Alves!). There is one thing though, I would like a no-transfer clause in my contract.

It’s a pleasure to be a part of the team. Don’t forget to register for easy posting, especially all you lurkers out there, I know you’re reading

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  1. hammeronmessi
    January 4, 2011

    15 hours 2 get the damn password.

    anyway i m registered now

  2. hammeronmessi
    January 4, 2011

    congrats vicsoc.never ever joined the liveblogs,but urs must be a special one.

    can u play the dani role please.he can be wonderful and frustating both at the same time,ie unpredictable.but please dont be keita

  3. January 4, 2011

    Congrats vicsoc.

    Very smooth registration. I registered last night in a hurry and forgot my password today! Password reset was easy as well.

  4. tutomate
    January 4, 2011

    I’m so happy for you viscoc. I really like that the blog is filling up with different types of people that have differing viewpoints but that love the team equally. I’m looking forward to your posts, but not before one of soma’s. JK.

  5. y2k156
    January 4, 2011

    Not having Captcha is worth all the trouble.

    More the merrier.

  6. Helge
    January 4, 2011

    Congratulations, BFB|vicsoc 🙂

    Sport.es says the Cesc deal is almost done, for 45m €.
    Why do we always spend so much money on big signings that don’t even work (at least the majority of them) although we have the best youth academy in the world?!? I could be crying now… I want Thiago, not Cesc 🙁

    • Soto
      January 4, 2011

      Why are we spending so much money on a player who is constantly injured? And if we are in such dire financial straits that we need paid advertising on our jerseys and lawsuits against former presidents, how can we be shelling out such large sums of money for a single player?

      The whole situation with transfers and finances is suspicious. On all sides. If we really are in financial trouble, I would like to see a few transfer periods where we just promote from La Masia and build the team up from there. Maybe a handleful of Affelay/Maxwell sized signings to fill in the holes. With our system in place, we can still be the best team in the world without the giant signings.

      (Man, I hate the transfer seasons.)

  7. January 4, 2011

    Yes! It’s the official first post. Ta daaa!

    Now. 45m for a benchwarmer?! My math goes like this:

    2 more quality seasons for Xavi, which means two more seasons of seasoning for Thiago. At the end of that process we have Iniesta, and a player who has the potential to be better than Fabregas, which means a selection headache as a 45m price tag means dude ain’t sitting.

    And what about Afellay, then? Perpetual sub, or does he have the quality to be a more regular part of the side? Seems to me that if you have a 50m transfer budget blowing ALL of it on one player who isn’t really going to help doesn’t make a lot of sense.

    Maybe the Xavi injury is worse than we know?

    • Mido
      January 4, 2011

      I think if Arsenal can win something,he will stay,anyway if We sign Cesc,I dont think that Thiago and Mazinho will be that Patient,and I cant blame them,I would leave if they find myself already behind Xavi and Iniesta and then find The Club Signing another quality player to become a squad player(Ibi) and another 45m one,we will see what happens

    • Soto
      January 4, 2011

      Even if Xavi’s injury is worse than we have been told, you have already outlined how we get around that without signing Cesc.

      Let’s be honest: when Xavi finally steps down, Barca are going to lose greatly. There is no one, no one, who will be able to play the pivotal role that Xavi has played. At least not for a long while. I doubt even Iniesta will reach that level of tactical awareness and ability to completely control the pace of a game.

      So instead of chasing for the mythical Xavi replacement, I hope that Guardiola et al. are actually looking how to organize a Xavi-less team. I believe that scenario starts with players like Thiago.

  8. yelèna
    January 4, 2011

    wow, congratz vicsoc…i must say, you’re partly responsible for me retiring from bein a lurker.. anyway, cheers! more posts and liveblog to host..

    and about cesc, well..seriously?? when are they ever gonna stop? i mean, yes.. i understand that catalunya wants cesc back, but with that price tag…what are they so crazy about? we have thiago.. i know the kid’s young, and not to his level yet, but he sure is in the right track… if xavi is still fine, or at least that’s what i wanna believe..but what if xavi’s injured can he (thiago) take over?i think so..yeah!! okay so maybe there’s risk involve, so what? there’s always risk a but its a risk im willing to take…by playing more, that’s how he’s gonna be better…i’d rather have the 45M euro to pay for our players or extend dani’s contract…

    Thiago needs playing time in order to develop which i don’t think he’s gonna get if cesc is around…we have a well-stocked midfield,so i don’t think we really need cesc… we want him yes, but to splash that much money for someone we don’t really need…. i don’t think it’s wise..nope, not w/ that price tag

  9. vicsoc
    January 4, 2011

    Match squad for tomorrow against Athletic:

    Valdes Pinto Alves Adriano Pique Puyol Milito Abidal Busquets Mascherano Xavi Keita Thiago Iniesta Afellay Pedro Messi Villa Bojan Jeffren

    via barcastuff

    Perfect chance to give Afellay his first game for the club. Pep is taking this game seriously, other than Thiago (who has been with the first team almost all season) there isn’t a B-teamer in sight

    • January 4, 2011

      Pep has to take this game seriously. If Barcelona beat Athletic, their path to the final will be relatively easy. No matter how ignored it is, this is still a title (And thanks for it, we had perfect records two years ago). If Barca were in RM place in this Copa I would have supported giving up the copa as there will be lot of demanding matches till the final.

    • blitzen
      January 4, 2011

      I’m surprised Mascherano is in the squad, tbh, if he was as sick as they said. I doubt if he will play.

  10. January 4, 2011

    And all of you who are complaining about Cesc…Stop the hating! 🙂

  11. blitzen
    January 4, 2011

    Congratulations, vicsoc! Excellent first post!

    Now we just need someone in the Pedro role…

    • soccermomof4
      January 4, 2011

      Vicsoc is the P!! role!! Came outta nowhere, hosted liveblogs when we needed him to, and is now an important part of the team.
      Whereas Pedrito (P) became Pedro (P!) became Don Pedro (P!!),
      Vicsocito (V) became Vicsoc (V!) and is now Don Vicsoc (V!!)

      UR awesome Vicsoc!
      Cule hugs,

  12. poipoi
    January 4, 2011

    cesc for 45 no no

    congrats vicsoc, great debut post! I think it would be more the “alcantara role”, unthinkable things can happen 😉

  13. beeeef
    January 4, 2011

    congratulations vicsoc. hope this means (even more) quality posts on BFB.

    re: Cesc – i’m pulling for arsenal to win something (carling cup? they can’t muck that up at this point, right?) to keep the guy in England beyond this summer. than again, whether it happens in 2011 or 2013, I think the inevitability of his transfer is something we should prepare for. he is damn good at 23 tho

  14. poipoi
    January 4, 2011

    if cesc wants to come so bad, just let him come once he gets his coaching license and coach barça to 10 years as a penitence 😉

    • poipoi
      January 4, 2011

      …barça B… can’t get a single joke right 🙁

  15. Helge
    January 4, 2011

    Is anybody else experiencing “lag problems” with twitter?

    The above quoted match squad via barcastuff doesn’t appear yet when I visit http://twitter.com/barcastuff.
    I’ve had this error / delay several times, but it’s getting worse.

    Now the newest tweet is the following:
    Tweet Rosell (president): “Thank you Xavi & Migueli for defending the Barça shirt 549 times. You ‘e the example to follow. Congratulations!”
    and it says it has been posted 5 min ago via Tweetdeck.
    6 hours ago, this message was already the newest one… weird!

    About Cesc/new transfers: I almost forgot about Afellay, but with him, we have three perfect back-ups in the midfield (Afellay, Thiago and Mascherano), it would be so blatantly stupid to buy Cesc – I don’t want to believe these damn rumours from Sport and British Tabloid Press.
    From a professional/tactical point of view, buying Cesc is the worst possible decision. Even spending 40m + Eto’o on Ibra is more useful. This deal would only serve as a further step to complete ‘Catalanization’.
    Is our presidency so fanatic, and so blinded? Only time will tell…
    But I really wish they could hear us, or read this blog from time to time!
    In midfield, we have 3 complete back-ups, in defense 2 plus some promising talents, so if they want to spend money on the transfer market, go for a striker. We don’t have any back-up there, cuz Bojan doesn’t count. And Nolito will most-likely leave.

    • vicsoc
      January 4, 2011

      I’ve been having those lag problems on twitter as well. It usually happens for me near the beginning of a match and can last for several hours afterward. It persists across web browsers – I use safari generally, but the same thing happens when I fire up firefox or google chrome.

      Interestingly, last time it happened on my computer I loaded up my ipod touch and got on the exact same internet server I was on with my computer, but I didn’t have the same problem on my ipod touch. The problem even persisted on my computer.

      Not sure what it is, but you aren’t alone.

      • Helge
        January 4, 2011

        Mmh… I haven’t noticed a particular time / situation when the lag problems occur. But I’ll keep an eye on that.
        If someone knows a solution to it, let me know 🙂

  16. January 4, 2011

    Lets not all get too worked up about what Sport says. Untill the deal is done its all just rumours and speculation.

    I dont think we need Cesc, I dont want Cesc, but if Pep wants him as badly as the Spanish media claim then who are we to say any different. Pep knows the team and the players better than anyone and if he is willing to spend 45m on Cesc I am sure he will find a place for him. Maybe Pep feels like there is too much pressure on Xavi right now and that he needs to rest him more. It would certainly be worth 45m to ensure that Xavi stay healthy for the foreeable future.

    I read in article a few weeks ago (cant remember where exactly), that Rosell has set aside 100m this summer for Cesc and Torres. Apparently it is one of the reason he got the shirt sponsor… not sure how much truth there is to that, but there it is.

    We would basically be the Spanish NT + Messi and Alves.

    • vicsoc
      January 4, 2011

      If we sold our shirt in order to obtain two players we don’t need, I will be very upset.

      • January 4, 2011

        Dont think you would be the only one either Vicsoc, but what if it led to Barca dominating for the next 4-5 years and writing itself in the history books as the best team of all time? Would it be worth the shirt sponsor then? Not that I agree with the selling of our shirt, or the purchase of either of those player, but I think it’s a valid point..

        • vicsoc
          January 4, 2011

          I think I may still be upset. My current thought is that we are more likely to be successful if we don’t buy either of those players, so even if we were successful with them it would still be a bit painful that we spent 100 million making the squad less cohesive and balanced.

          Then again, as Laporta learned trophies fix all problems, and I’m not immune to this.

  17. Extreme barca fan
    January 4, 2011

    Congrats to Vic and good luck
    The cesc deal is getting very silly, for me i don’t want him for free, we already have thiago for free, granted thaigo is not there yet but in 2 to 3 years he might be.
    now where the …. is the cup preview????


  18. January 4, 2011

    Yo ho! Lotta new names to welcome. A grand, hearty BFB welcome to:

    chaospheory, Cule, Andrew B (not that new), ML6, yelena, complot GP, BarcaGirl_Indo, El Jefe (again ….), Megster, Fares, ani, arth

    It seems that one benefit of registration is that it brings out the lurkers, which isn’t a bad thing. Everyone has something valuable to say, and I’m glad to see all the new names pop up. Again, welcome to all.

  19. soccermomof4
    January 4, 2011

    As a Barca AND and Arsenal fan I have a different take on the Cesc thing. I like Cesc….at Arsenal. They need him; we dont…yet. Arsenal won’t be as worth watching without him and then how would I spend my Saturday mornings while waiting for the good football to come on. Why pay 45M for a bench warmer? Save the money, promote Thiago (eventually), see how Afellay develops, pay Alves! Get Cesc in 2 years if needed.

  20. cliveee
    January 4, 2011

    Oh wait! I thought Luke was the official Keita here, and now we have one more Keiteee?! Gotta figure it out with Keita, no, Luke, Vicsoc!
    Congratz! 😉

    I personally don’t see a lot of problem in our midfield because that’s a position with the least depth problem in the foreseeable future. I am more interested in seeing a really attacking Afellay in the next few months because that’s the only reason we bought him. If he could contribute 10 goals before the end of the season, I’d say he is already a successful purchase. Hopefully the adaptation process will be faster than we think.

    no CAPTCHA~!@!!!#!$% YEAH!!!E@!

    • beeeef
      January 4, 2011

      if he contributes 10 goals off the bench before the end of the season, it would be incredible. it’s rather unlikely, but even if he scored five or more goals i would be happy. bojan has what, like 4 this season?

  21. January 4, 2011

    Welcome Vicsoc! Great to have you aboard. I think you’re more Busquets than Keita, though. Elegant and composed rather than water carrier… Just quit the diving and things will work out!!

    Who knows about the Cesc situation. It’s just ridiculous but what can you do. I don’t doubt that the team is going to pursue him again this summer and it’ll turn into another zoo.

    Next time you hear the club talk about how they can’t pay Alves anymore than their most recent “final offer” just put yourself in Alves’ shoes and in his agents. I’d guess Alves and his agent have been paying attention to the Fabergas extravaganza.

    Here’s what I would be thinking if I were Alves this morning: The club is playing a hard line in my negotiations and keeps talking about “austerity” and pay scales and is falling all over itself to spend 45M + enormous wages on a bench player. How does that fit in the pay scale? How bad could it be to live in Manchester and make 25% more?

    This summer the club may need a striker. Llorente would be perfect but he’ll be extremely expensive and Barca would need to compete with RM for him. Lukaku would be worth a gamble but also expensive.

    If Benfica put Coentrao up for sale Barca really needs to try to acquire him. Put him on the flank opposite Alves and this team would be mind boggling. Given how well Abidal’s playing at CB, he’d be the ideal 5th defender next season. Given his age and Puyol’s Abidal will get his playing time.

    Instead, the club will likely try to add Cesc to the bench.

    • Soto
      January 4, 2011

      I am confused. Why will we need a striker? We have Bojan, Pedro!, and Villa. Seems enough to me (but what do I know).

      • blitzen
        January 4, 2011

        Noooooo, you’ll make them all start up again!

        Go back and read the “Barca 2, Levante 1 thread” for a very long discussion of why we (may or may not) need a striker and who (might possibly) be a good choice.


        • Soto
          January 4, 2011

          Fair enough. I am off to read that thread. No need to repeat here guys.

    • Soto
      January 4, 2011

      Alright. Having now read the comments thread in the Levante post, I see the arguments put forth for a striker. Personally, I would rather look for a false 9 sub for Messi, but I see the argument for a real 9 sub for Messi.

      But no need to rehash here.

  22. Tom_Johnson
    January 4, 2011

    1. It is early and it is a rumour. It’s the Sport for God’s sake. The number is fictional.

    2. Cesc is a proven player that can start producing right away due to his familiarity with the system, players and language. A player that is in Top 10 midfielders in the World at the tender age of 23.

    (per Kxevin) “Now. 45m for a benchwarmer?! My math goes like this:

    2 more quality seasons for Xavi, which means two more seasons of seasoning for Thiago. At the end of that process we have Iniesta, and a player who has the potential to be better than Fabregas, which means a selection headache as a 45m price tag means dude ain’t sitting.”

    Now, I have always been bad with numbers (2+2=5 kind of guy) but at the end of those two years we would have an option to sell one of them, correct?

    Although Thiago undoubtely has all the things to become a special player (I see that X factor in him, the kind Ronaldinho had) it is far from certain that he indeed will. Why then not play it safe? Lets wait and see how well he develops in two years.

    a. If he does, two years from now we can sell him for $30M+ easily. The kind of business we made with Yaya after acquiring him for $9M

    b. If he doesn’t, sell him for less and we saved ourselves an intangible amount by having Cesc around for two previous years

    I think it is safe to say that between Iniesta, Cesc (being Catalan and all) and Thiago, Mazinho’s kid is the most likely to be gone. Due to his age and style of play, I’m sure he won’t be sold at a discount.

    Few other details:

    -Cesc is going to sell more jerseys and bring more money to The Club through endorsments. Probably more than Thiago and Iniesta together due to his looks and family background.

    -“We” can always use someone expendable from our side or one of the youth players as a leverage to lower the price. Bojan, Jeffren, Dos Santos, Milito, Keita should be all available for transfer without team suffering much.

    -I don’t think anyone has the right to blame the locals (Sandrusco and his crew) for wanting to have a young Catalan player in the team. It is like that everywhere. I’m affraid people are not focusing enough on how good of a player Cesc is.

    One thing is certain, Cesc is a fantastic player. He is already developed (has maturity to his game). Thiago is nowhere near that level at the moment. The process of development and integration is ahead of him. A lot can happen between now and then. Frankly, for him to surpass Cesc’s level is going to be a long shot. If it happens, we got ourselves the new Ronaldinho.

    All this being said, I still think a more robust striker with a proven scoring record and a LW who is fast and can dribble to the left are more pressing needs of this team.

    Obviously, we will have to wait and see what Afelay can do for us on that left side. But looking forward (to possible lack of production and Abidal’s age) a good direction for the club to look in is that kid who had played for Brasil at the World Cup. Was his name Bastos? Relatively young, he brings a physcial presence, mobility and a cultured left foot.

    • blitzen
      January 4, 2011

      Now you’ve done it! Suggesting selling Thiago? The wrath of this board will come crashing down upon you! 😛

      FWIW, you make some great points.

      I personally think there is room for both of them on this team. People moan about how “thin” our squad is on the one hand, then cry foul when we think about purchasing another player. And as Kxevin likes to say, players should have to fight for their spots in the starting lineup. Even Thiago, who–brilliant as he has potential to be–is still young and inconsistent. Let him compete with Cesc–it can only make both of them better.

      • Tom_Johnson
        January 4, 2011

        “Now you’ve done it! Suggesting selling Thiago? The wrath of this board will come crashing down upon you!”

        /ducks rock

        Well, maybe I should have made myself more clear.

        The sale would happen after “2 years” and under condition that “there is not enough room” for the three of them (Iniesta, Cesc, Thiago).

        On a more serious note, if Thiago turns out to be the kind of player Ronaldinho was (personality wise, it comes with the X factor) we should not make the same mistake and hold on too him for too long like we did with Ronaldinho.

        Much like the stock market, the decline would be imminent and we need to position ourselves to cash in.

    • Helge
      January 4, 2011

      “I don’t think anyone has the right to blame the locals (Sandrusco and his crew) for wanting to have a young Catalan player in the team.”

      Yeah, but we do already have more than one young Catalan player in the team: Piqué and Busquets as regular starters, Bojan and some Barca B players might join them in the next years.
      So what does a player like Cesc bring to the team? He plays exactly the position on which we are already packed with worldclass established players and talents…

      • Tom_Johnson
        January 4, 2011

        Correction: “ANOTHER young Catalan player”. Better now?

        It might not mean much to the fans like you and I but to the locals it carries more weight. To the point where they will be willing to pay the premium just for that feeling of seeing “another kid from the block” sticking it to the team from the Capitol.

        Not saying it is the right way to go about the business but you need to account for the character and temperament of locals.

        You are correct. Cesc is not bringing anything dramatically different from what we already have in Xavi and Iniesta. But you need to ask yourself, is there any other player in the World that would be considered a viable upgrade over these two?

        Cesc is somewhere between Xavi and Iniesta.

        Sneijder is the one with more agility and better long-range shot then Xavi. He does lack flair Iniesta has.

        The real impact of potential signing of Cesc is not scheduled to manifest itself right away. It is 2-3 years down the road…or whenever Xavi starts his decline.

        Right now, Cesc brings an insurance policy. It gives us, all but guaranteed based on his familiarity with system, players, staff and culture, a player who can start contributing right away.

        It also gives us an option of trying out 3-4-3 without making large concessions.

        Sure, he would bite into Thiago minutes but also allow lift the pressure of the youngster’s shoulders of producing right away. Something Messi benefited from. Bojan, not so much.

    • January 4, 2011

      Good points all, Tom. But I just don’t know if any player outside of Messi sells enough shirts to make any real difference. Heck, Ronaldinho shirts probably still sell pretty well.

      I wouldn’t blame RoSELL for wanting a young Catalan player in the side. I blame him for the price, and for selling the shirt to finance it while whining about how skint we are when it comes to renewing a player with proven value to the side, Alves.

      I like the idea of Fabregas as insurance. And I’m not against the acquisition of the player. I am against the acquisition of the player at that price. 45m, even though that’s the going rate for someone at that level, is too much.

      For me, it all comes down to price. For 20m and a renewed Alves? Rock on. For 45? Nuh-uh.

      Now, it might well be that Thiago might not work out. Then again, it might well be that Fabregas might not work out. And if that happens, the discussion will make the Ibrahimovic transfer/retransfer seem like linguistic bon-bons.

      I think that right now Thiago has an immense up side, provided he has the work ethic and perseverance necessary to maximize it. Ronaldinho didn’t, and now look. (You’re absolutely right about hanging onto him a year too long. Killed his price, too.) But no, he might not become what we all hope he would. Look at Krkic.

      But are he and Fabregas different players? Good question. I’ve always viewed our future more as Iniesta becoming Xavi and Thiago becoming Iniesta. And if both of them are still better than Fabregas, what then?

      Is Fabregas a talented insurance policy? Sure. But for 45m? Imagine the howls when he languishes on the bench, because who do you sit for him? Or let’s say he plays Copa matches, and early-round Champions League stuff. Guardiola won’t care, but imagine the fan outrage and press nattering about money wasted.

      And you’re right about those more pressing needs. Afellay might have solved that LW issue. But if he does, what about Villa, who spends a lot of time over there now? Crap! MORE questions. 😀

      • Tom_Johnson
        January 4, 2011

        It was never a suggestion that the revenue coming from the sale of his jersey would be a significant amount or would pay out all The Club’s debts.

        It just suggested one of the ways the large transfer fee would be offset.

        To help put things into perspective, some years ago I had encountered a gentleman who was a players’ agent. No big name clients but was largely familiar with the happenings in Spain. He struck me as somebody who is credible enough an had no reason to lie about a detail like this one. He had told me that by the end of Anelka’s brief stay with the team, real madrid was able to recover a large part of the transfer fee (that is £22.3 million in the summer of 1999, mind you) just from the sales of his jersey and the cut club took from his endorsements.

        Granted, the market and the amount of cash available to spend was little bit different then.

        I share your resentment for “selling the shirt” by Rosell. The management should had at least made the effort to explore different ways of increasing revenue (or cutting costs) before picking an easy solution.

        The one that is able of damaging the intangibles (ability to differentiate, identity) without providing meaningful difference to the budget (comparing to the revenue) to warrant assuming such risk.

        I don’t think Alves’ and Cesc’s deal are mutually exclusive. Club needs to start using its reputation to leverage the deals better. Players need to accept lower salaries in exchange for the opportunity of competing for meaningful trophies every year.

        I would like to see management build up on all this talk about austerity and lead the way with the pay-cut and canceling the benefits of their own.

        All things considered (age, personality, previous experience, nationality) Cesc is more likely to “work out” than Thiago. It is not a guarantee though. I agree with you on that one.

        For what is worth, Thiago strikes me as similar to Ronaldinho (the movement, no look passes, heck he is Brazilian after all) while Cesc reminds me of Deco. He is mobile, great ball control and can meaningfully contribute in defense. Not so much flair as Iniesta though.

        Is the $45M a bit much? Probably. But we don’t know for sure if that indeed is the number. I have suggested in my previous post the ways this fee could be reduced.

        The fan reaction? I think they are educated enough to realize our need for depth and Xavi’s age.

        The fact that he is Catalan and with salary more in line (unlike $12M/year like someone we know, or should I say knew) should help too.

        I honestly hope Afellay starts producing. I really do. It would save us a lot of headache…and money.

        • Ryan
          January 4, 2011

          Thiago isn’t Catalan, but he has been playing in la Roja youth teams and thus shouldn’t be viewed as completely foreign either. Him and Canales (if the kid ever gets to play over at the EE) look to become major players for Spain in the future.

          And I’d warn against assuming any player will make an instant transition into this team. Sure, he trained in la Masia, but his more recent experiences with our players are with Spain. Judging by Villa’s adjusting process, Cesc would take time to adjust too.

          • Tom_Johnson
            January 5, 2011

            I have never said he is a complete foreigner. 2-3 years down the road if The Club needs to choose between them three, Thiago is simply less Catalan than Cesc and no way he is going to be as good or do more for The Club up to that point than Iniesta had done.

            Which puts him at a disadvantage.

            “but his more recent experiences with our players are with Spain”

            Which happens to play almost the same way Barcelona does. Mid-field in particular.

            The team he is playing for now has the style that resembles “ours”.

            He is in constant contact oh just with the Captain and few other starters.

            Villa hasn’t spent years in La Masia and plays on different position. The one that carries more pressure and expectations.

            Thanks for the warning though 🙂

    • Soto
      January 4, 2011

      How much money would we get for increased jersey sales due to Cesc? How does that amount compare to the rumored transfer fees?

      I have always suspected that the club makes less on the jerseys than people think.

      • January 4, 2011

        Good question. It was once estimated that Beckham’s departure cost EE 25-30m in shirt sale proceeds. Rare is the player who makes enough in shirt sales to tickle the needle. Messi is far and away our shirt sale leader. I found a shirt name/number request thing from Kitbag, and Messi is tops this season. Interestingly, Chicharito is No. 3.

        Ibrahimovic was No. 7 last season with us, and isn’t on the charts at all this season.

        Between ’05 and ’09, we sold between 1-1.2m shirts, according to Nike figures. At the average price of EUR60 or so, that’s something between 60 and 72m in shirt sales over four years. Hmmm….

        • Jim
          January 4, 2011

          Slight tangent but I remember being in Barcelona 10 days after the WC win and everywhere I went (apart from official shops) it was costing an extra €3 at least to have Iniesta’s name put on your shirt than anyone else 🙂 and they were flying off the shelves. Mind you, they were “unofficial” I’m guessing.

        • Soto
          January 4, 2011

          yeah, and 60 to 72 million euros over four years is the gross revenue. We have no idea how much actually ends up in Barca’s hands after costs and Nike’s profits are removed.

          Thanks for the stats, Kevin. It always helps to start putting out real numbers to compare to the transfer fees.

  23. Vj
    January 4, 2011

    Hooray Vicsoc!!

    BTW, it seems that registration has had quite an effect on lurkers.. More and more are coming out as it were..

    • vicsoc
      January 4, 2011

      It’s sort of the opposite of what most people thought would happen, but it’s awesome.

  24. blitzen
    January 4, 2011

    As for Afellay, my opinion is that Pep is planning to play him more on the wings than in the midfield. That is where we will need him most. Reading about him, I see many references to Fly being able to play as a CF. What about that? Do you think Pep has plans to try him in the middle in front of the midfield?

  25. blitzen
    January 4, 2011

    Next question? Milito. It seems clear enough from Pep’s own statements that he is considering leaving. I understand that he wants more minutes and feels threatened by the imminent emergence of Fontas and Bartra. But neither of those two is quite ready to be relied on 100%.

    Gaby can’t really complain about not starting against Levante, can he? He is just coming off an injury and Pep wanted to experiment with Busquets at CB. He got some minutes, and he will get more against Bilbao on Wednesday, I’m sure. I do hope he sticks around until the summer at least.

    • vicsoc
      January 4, 2011

      I don’t think this is a spur of the moment decision for Milito. Even before he got injured he had played very limited minutes, I believe (although I’m not totally sure) he has onl played more minutes than Jeffren and Adriano of the first team players.

      For Milito, waiting until the summer isn’t really a good option. His reason for leaving is so that he can get minutes and be chosen for the Copa America, presumably with the thought that a good tournament could get him some silver with he national team, and even possibly gain him a spot in the next World Cup team (he will be 33).

      Therefore, if he wants minutes now is the time to go. Forget about the emergence of Bartra and Fontas, how is he going to get any time as long as Pique and Puyol are fit? Would anyone here pick him over Abidal at centerback? So he’s fourth choice without even having to fight for time in Copa matches with the youngsters.

      I personally don’t want him to leave, as it would leave a hole in our centerback depth. Although with the performances of Fontas, Abidal, and even Busquets I’m less worried if we lose him now than I would have been last summer. I can’t blame him if he wants to leave though, which I think he will.

  26. blitzen
    January 4, 2011

    Just saw on Barcastuff that Victor Vazquez picked up an ankle injury and will be out about 4 weeks.


    • Roz
      January 4, 2011

      While training with the first tea ouch. Hes one unlucky dude. Wonder if Luis Enrique is pissed.

      • blitzen
        January 4, 2011

        Bojan probably took him out: “No minutes for you!”


        • Roz
          January 4, 2011

          LOL! Hope not that goes against the grain. Bojan is to cute to commit such an act :).

          • blitzen
            January 4, 2011

            It’s the snood. It makes him evil.

            “One Snood to rule them all, one Snood to bind them…”

        • Ezequiel
          January 4, 2011

          …Just wondering how many nights Bojan won’t be able to sleep because of that

    • Roz
      January 4, 2011

      “One Snood to bring them all and in the darkness bind them”
      Somthing like that 😛

      • soccermomof4
        January 4, 2011

        In the land of Mordor, where the shadows lie.

        How come the snood gave him the power to score and to assist, yet he remained visible?

    • MoSSi
      January 4, 2011

      Ramzi won’t be happy about this..

  27. soccermomof4
    January 4, 2011

    I can see one advantage (granted there could be more than 1) of getting Cesc here earlier than the two years from now that I expect us to need him. Let’s face it, he’s a good player but very injury prone (ok, so he’s seemingly made of glass). So if he gets out of the EPL where you can break someone’s leg and not get a card, and into FCB where there is IMO better medical support he might actually still be functional 2 years from now when we need him .

    • Kari
      January 4, 2011

      Heya! Welcome!

      Argentine or a Maradona lover? (Probably both) 😛

  28. January 4, 2011

    ahhh first post as a registered user, feels nice. Right now I’m really curious as how to Affelay will fit in. It’s going to be hard to break into that midfield, especially with all the promise Thiago continues to show us. But, injuries happen and depth is crucial especially as we get later and later into the season, I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do.

    p.s. why didn’t Messi play on Sunday?

    • beeeef
      January 4, 2011

      he was still on ‘vacation,’ although he was in the stands, and probably itching to be out on the pitch.

  29. mega_tajh
    January 4, 2011

    Hey guys I not to long bought Fifa 11 for the PS3..If any1 here plays online add me as mega_tajh

  30. Kari
    January 4, 2011

    Visca vicsoc!

    We did need a new liveblogger. I had been thinking of it, but my consistency would mimic Bojan’s (Oh, yes I did! 😀 )

    Welcome to all the outed lurkers! We don’t bite, so the more the merrier!

    But you do realize no intelligent discussions take place here: it’s a haven for weirdos. 😀

  31. Kari
    January 4, 2011

    Fabregas “signing” is BS still. Sport cites English press that never printed such an article.

    But I guess they’ll be vindicated when English press cite Sport or the ever popular “Spanish sources/newspaper”.


  32. Josep
    January 4, 2011

    Blackpool just got Hleb’d.

    and my word what a finish by the little pea vs. stoke! A beauty near post with the back heel?? Oh my!

  33. Humphrey Bogart
    January 4, 2011

    Just watching Manchester United/Stoke and regarding our Striker/Back-up discussion from yesterday I think somebody like Chichartio would be ideal: he has technique, good heading ability (so maybe we could us corners, freekicks,.. better), is young and accepts his role as sub for them. And I like his nickname.

    • Soto
      January 4, 2011

      I like Chicharito as well, but I don’t see Ferguson giving him up anytime soon.

      • Eklavya
        January 4, 2011

        And we’d be accused of tapping up.

      • Humphrey Bogart
        January 4, 2011

        Yeah, it was more somebody like him than him himself, if you understand what I mean. SAF will not let him go regarding Rooneys luck of form and Berbas changing form

  34. Eklavya
    January 4, 2011

    I guess all our LiveBlog are belong to Vicsoc now.

  35. blitzen
    January 4, 2011

    Pep on Milito (from official site):

    Guardiola said “he has not spoken to me about it. Zubizarreta told me about the situation and Milito knows how I feel, so he has to decide. There are decisions I make and those the club makes, but this is purely down to him. Knowing him, I understand, but I’m not hurt. It is impossible to feel hurt by Gaby. I understand him. Believe me, I’ve been a footballer, and know what it‘s like”.

    • Helge
      January 4, 2011

      I think I know that he’s just turned 18^^

      • Helge
        January 4, 2011

        Oh, he’s still 17 and 9 months…

        btw, is it possible to add an edit function?

        • Kari
          January 4, 2011

          You ruined it for everyone else, Helge 😛

          Yeah, an edit function would be nice, but I’m just glad I don’t have to use * or / anymore, although I’m so used to it, I sometimes use it anyway.

          • mei
            January 4, 2011

            Edit function is a no-no. Just to keep you focused while typing 😛

  36. Blow-Grenade
    January 4, 2011

    Vicsoc never fails to blow my socks off with his live blogs. Congratulations.

  37. Kari
    January 4, 2011

    This is late and kinda random, but we’re clear that Villa came to replace Henry and not Ibra, right?

    Just checking.

    This is why the discussion of us needing a striker comes up so often. We sold our striker at the start of the season, so right now, Bojangles is technically our only ‘9’ right now. Villa can play there too, but his role is on the LW.

    And on the subject of cuddly toys, he’s much better on the LW than on the RW. Next time we see Bojan play, someone pay attention to which wing he plays on (unless he decides to imitate a statue again).

    • January 4, 2011

      Yes, Villa is definitely doing pretty much what Henry was doing… fairly well most games, crappy others, but actually scoring goals unlike Henry. I agree with you that Bojangles is better on the LW, when he “benched” Ibrahimovic last season that was his spot of choice most games since Messi was doing that ‘9’ thing.

    • blitzen
      January 4, 2011

      No, as I keep saying, Villa came became because he is Villa, not to “replace” anyone. He was supposed to come last summer, but although Valencia had previously agreed to the sale they changed their mind and blocked it. Villa was pretty disappointed at the time, but Pep and Xavi kept in touch with him through last season to reassure him that the sale would go through this year.

      He wasn’t anyone’s replacement, he was a player they had always wanted.

      • Kari
        January 4, 2011

        I meant ‘replace Henry’s position/role’, I thought that went without saying. Sorry if I wasn’t clear.

        And yes, I know that (he was supposed to come last year). Sid reported he was in tears at the time. Why? Because we had moved on with Ibra.

        Now, “replace” doesn’t really mean literally replacing the player, but his position tactically. Villa has his own qualities and will always be Villa, but in our system he plays the exact role of Titi. What his position would have been had his transfer gone through is just speculation.

        If I had to guess, he would have “replaced” Samuel Eto’o’s position as CF–not Eto’o himself. I don’t think anyone can IMO.

        Now, Henry was always gone last season and was pretty much other there to make up the squad numbers (although he had the occasional influence, see Valencia game where he came on at HT to change the game).

        Ibra was meant to be our striker, until his arseholery ran him out of town. Had Ibra stayed, we’d have probably saw a Messi as a false 9, with Villa on the left and Ibra on the right, but that again, is just speculation at this point.

        We’re without a TRUE CF. I’m not saying I want a Llorente or a Torres or whatever because I like Messi’s false 9, but I understand the cries for one.

  38. soccermomof4
    January 4, 2011

    I tried to watch Man U v. Stoke. I tried. I really did.

    • Helge
      January 4, 2011

      ManUtd is the most boring English top side to watch, imo. Even Chelsea and ManCity deliver more entertaining matches.
      I just don’t get it how ManUtd can be first with 5 points advantage – if Arsenal draws against ManCity even 7 – although they are actually a rather mediocre football team. I think that Arsenal, ManCity, Tottenham and even Chelsea are better than ManUtd.
      And it’s not fair that they lead by 5 points, but we only do so by 2…
      Anyway, this season I don’t see any team that can compete with Barca or Madrid, it’ll be a huge surprise to me if another team wins the CL.

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