News feed: Vieira for us; Henry for Robinho?

ExtraThere’s some pretty funny stuff that goes on during the break for Internationals, some that makes the bravest attempt to pass for actual news. So with this, we begin the futile, Quixotean attempt to be a sliver of what Pep’s Place was for Barca fans: A great source of news and information.

Wait, we’ve already given up (boy, that was fast!).

We’ll still do news, but we’re going to be calling bullshit on “news” where it’s warranted, with plenty of commentary, because that’s just how we roll.

Okay. Now we’re ready.

– has ginned up reports of a winter transfer list coming from unnamed sources (the same one that told them Villa was signed?) that includes the names of Poulsen, Vieira, Affelay and a blast from our “signed, sealed and delivered” past, Hernanes.

The first two in particular are considered to be temporary replacements for The Yaya and Keita, who will flitting off to the African Cup of Nations tourney. Now, we know what you’re thinking: “Those DMs are crap!” But not so fast. In the case of Vieira, he’d be cheap and capable of playing for the time needed, then given a perpetual day pass and a train ticket to Montserrat.

–And here’s how nasty rumors get started: The Sunday Mirror has raised the spectre of the possibility of us offering Thierry Henry in part exchange for Robinho, but that Citeh’s owners wouldn’t be inclined to do so, because our Titi isn’t the kind of player they want any longer. Which didn’t stop this bit from becoming “news” until, like a perverse game of Telephone, it’s now almost a done deal. Read my lips: Ain’t gonna happen. No matter where you put him, Robinho is the same kind of player. And last time I checked, Guardiola had about zero inclination toward players who wouldn’t track back on defense if the ball was covered in diamonds.

–In an exclusive interview with, and proving that they can misintepret even their own crap, apparently Cesc Fabregas has “rejected” a move to Barcelona because he’s more comfortable in London. Then you read the interview and you see: “I know all about the speculation about Barcelona but you have to understand I am a professional and I am an Arsenal player….You can never know what will happen in football, and it’s always an honour to be linked with a prestigious club like Barcelona, who I know all about. But let’s see how Arsenal does this season. I am sure we will win something soon.”

In other words, I won’t say anything to rile up Gunners fans, and let’s see what happens.

–Radio station Catalunya Informacio, is reporting that Guardiola and his staff have been locked up through 2011 with new contracts. This includes Tito Vilanova and the fitness coaches, as well. The apparent goal was to keep a new board from coming in and saying “Throw the bums out!” But in Catalan. Now if you read Sport, they are saying that Vilanova, though he has an offer on the table, is not part of the mass renewal, because he wants to see what the new board has going on.

–In one of the funnier rumors of yesterday, both us and EE are preparing January bids for Rio Ferdinand. Makes sense, right? An aging, increasingly oft-injured central defender who shows tendencies toward getting smoked by little, quick dudes with killer ball skills (none of those in the Liga, right?), for 30+ million. You betcha. They sussed out Barca’s intentions again. Those folks must be mind readers!

–The BritPress, in specific the Daily Mail, are nattering about Lionel Messi and his new contract, rumored to pay him something near EUR14m per season, through 2016. “It’s a lot more than John Terry’s deal,” they observe. Duh.

–Quote of the Day comes from Andres Iniesta, our own Ghostface Killah: “I’m not losing sleep over my contract.”

Pep Guardiola received a standing ovation at Friday’s Coldplay concert at the Montjuic Olympic stadium. He gave an “aw, shucks” kinda wave, then sat down and proceeded to rock the hell out. But calmly, as is his style. He was invited backstage to meet Chris Martin, and apparently tried to just slide into the stadium like just another concertgoer, an effort that was pretty quickly sniffed out.

–In a very interesting piece in Sport on how Zlatan Ibrahimovic is adapting to the club, he has already become great friends with Carles Puyol, who has become his living, breathing Barca Advisor. He chose Sylvinho’s old locker, as it is next to that of El Capitan. He’s already picking up some Spanish, and the players are helping him out by addressing him in Spanish. At team meals, BANGS always shares a table with Messi, along with Dani Alves and Maxwell.

–In International duty, our lads kicked ass and took names. The Yaya notched against Burkina Faso, in a performance being described in this space as “ridiculous.” BANGS notched the winner for Sweden against Hungary. Henry tallied for Les Bleus in what should have been a win against Romania, were it not for the fact that their coach is stupid to ten decimal places, but still hasn’t burned those compromising images of France Football officials. And so he stays. Messi, if you believe some of the absurd reports surfacing, was the sole cause of Argentina’s 3-1 spanking at the hands of Brazil, in which Dani Alves played quite well as a second-half substitute.

Here’s the thing about Messi’s performance, which most of us watched: He kicked ass and took names, but didn’t have any help from his star-studded cast, in the service of a club hamstrung by a coach who is quite possibly even worse than Les Bleus’ Dumbenech.

Xavi was spectacular for Spain in its 5-0 hammering of Belgium, in which Gerard Pique, our own Piquenbauer, also nabbed a goal. Chygrynskyy played the full 90 for Ukraine and did so with power and style, adding a long-range shot at goal that was chockablock with danger.

–And, a new ‘do for Ibrahimovic, our very own BANGS. No more of that sloppy, floppy, stringy nonsense. And apparently, unlike Samson, his powers don’t seem to have been affected by the new look.


–Finally, is everybody ready for a laugh? The EE’s own Granero says that they have a better squad than us. So there. Neener, neener. I guess that means equating size of transfer budgets with quality, or something. And speaking of, did y’all know that the valuation of our 10 first-team farm boys: Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Puyol, Valdes, Busquets, Muniesa, Pique, Krkic and Pedro! matches that of what EE spent in the summer transfer window?

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Written by:

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. OhYes
    September 6, 2009

    HAHA Ferdinand! What a joke. That guy’s starting to use a walking stick..

  2. Helge
    September 6, 2009

    I like this partially ironic-sarcastic style of a news summary – made me smile quite a few times while reading 🙂

    It’s nice to see our players rocking the show during international duty. I would appreciate it very much if someone could post a link to the highlights of Ivory Coast vs Burkina Faso (complete highlights would be brilliant).

    And I’ve come up with an idea for a new casting show called something like “World’s worst coach”. The top three candidates are (in no particular order):
    -Carlos Queiroz

    Who’s your favourite?
    A coach who regularly fields the best players of his country (which would be Carlos Queiroz) but nevertheless cannot make them click – at least I don’t see obvious mistakes in his line-ups during the last matches. Remember that this coach made a brilliant job for ages as an assistant of Sir Alex.
    A coach who is backed only by the nation’s football association but hated by the fans and the media.
    A coach that has already been sacked for 2nd or maybe even 3rd division clubs from his homecountry before taking over the job as Argentina’s national coach. A coach that wakes up in the night and dreams of tactics, tricks etc. to apply during set play. A coach that once heard a voice telling him to lead his country (which reminds me of a born-again Christian from Connecticut who was equally succesful with his mission).

    To be honest, Maradona does not even deserve to be named a coach, that’s why for me he is disqualified from the competition!
    And my winner is Carlos Queiroz because he has already proven himself as a (assistant) coach at ManUtd, he has in my opinion a complete squad that doesn’t lack quality in any position and still, he is my personal number one choice for failing to qualify with his team.

  3. OhYes
    September 6, 2009

    Well, just as a leader must lead in order to be a leader, a coach has to coach! And Maradona stood and watched. He was as useless to the NT as a ball boy..scratch that, a ball boy could have delayed balls to the Brazil team.

    I’m surprised he even remembered to make substitutions. He made all the wrong ones, of course, but he tried.

  4. fcbfan
    September 6, 2009

    Thanks Kevin for the summary.

    About Ibra, he also stays behind after training practicing free kicks, Pinto being the victim.

  5. September 6, 2009

    I love that Sport’s current headline is “ManCity want to exchange Robinho for Messi” — we should do it! Totally worth it!

    Oh international break, you’re so fun.

  6. BA
    September 6, 2009

    Gio Dos Santos had another spectacular game for Mexico yesterday, just watched the highlights. since he’s not playing for Tottenham (a result of Harry Redknapp only buying and using players he managed back in 2004 or something), what are the odds of us getting him back on the cheap?

    his problem was attitude and commitment, never ability. in a different club culture (no Ronaldinho, no Deco) with a different and far more disciplined and disciplining manager, might he just make a new life for himself back at his old club, and with his brother undoubtedly coming up in the next couple of seasons? he can play on the left or right side of attack as well as a pretty creative offensive midfielder….

  7. September 6, 2009

    BA, I watched the game, he was incredible. What’s with him and playing so well for Mexico but so crappily everywhere else?

    I’m not in favor of paying money to get him back, but I’d welcome him if he came back admitting he was wrong about moving to England (and coming on a free). Won’t happen, but thems my demands for the deal.

  8. jordi
    September 6, 2009

    Granero said the same thing guti said.Too bad guti will be washing kits this season rather than playing.

  9. Corrine
    September 6, 2009

    Granero, Casillas and Guti have ALL boasted on having the “better squad”. I think the opinions of the attacking 3 will vary, but we clearly lead in midfield and defense (and overall team). I’m not bothered by the talk anyway, we’ll see who has the better squad once we get further into the season
    Yaya goal!!!

  10. jordi
    September 6, 2009 actually had a good article on why Argentina sucks so so much.


  11. jnelson
    September 6, 2009

    Gettin in my daily read of fiction from
    “New Barcelona recruit Maxwell…has already managed to displace Frenchman Eric Abidal in the Blaugrana back-line.”

    “The Inter captain, Javier Zanetti, has vowed to convince his international team-mate Lionel Messi to join him at the Serie A champions.”

    It just never stops…

  12. jnelson
    September 6, 2009

    “ actually had a good article on why Argentina sucks so so much.

    Ahh for once has it right. You’d only expect that miracle to happen since their forte is talking shit about people.

  13. Corrine
    September 6, 2009

    aha how old is zanetti, 36? wouldn’t he be too old for football the day messi has a chance of leaving barca? it’s all bs anyway

  14. Kxevin
    September 6, 2009

    I was just going to mention that piece. In a puddle of shit, you can sometimes find a diamond. 😀

    And thanks, Helge. I can’ promise that Big I or The Knowledge will be as snarky when they do their news reports, but fun is the idea, just because there really is precious little in the way of actual news that comes out about our beloved club, outside of transfer season.

    *That’s right: Big I (Isaiah) and The Knowledge (Hector). Nicknames for everyone!

  15. Kxevin
    September 6, 2009

    Great galloping Football Jesus! Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more absurd, now Julio Baptista’s name has surfaced as a “person of interest” for us.

    If we sign that human pylon, I’ll cut up my soci card, put it in a jar full of piss, and mail it to the home offices.*

    *Okay, not really. But I’ll be mightily vexed. 😀

  16. khairallah
    September 6, 2009

    anyone got a link on Toure’s goal? i keep hearing he was breathing fire and shit, but i won’t believe anything till i see it!

  17. Kxevin
    September 6, 2009

    jordi, some crazy stuff goes on for me when I visit that link.

  18. Helge
    September 6, 2009

    lol, it’s getting better and better, ain’t it ? 😀

    But hey, what shall they write about when there is no league match… I can imagine it’s tough to publish a daily sports newspaper about Barca (Sport, EMD) or Madrid (AS, Marca) without making up silly rumours.
    Day by day, I’m astonished by the amount of “news” on their websites. Independent of the quality and credibility of their news, you gotta give credit to them 😉

    I don’t know any comparable sports paper which is as “productive” as those 4 about a single club. The number of news about Germany’s biggest club Bayern Munich is maybe 10% compared to all the stuff published about RM or Barca.

  19. txikidracula
    September 6, 2009

    yeah thanks jordi!

    the link you put up, kevin, is doing the same weird thing jordi’s link i’m thinking did to you :^/ i youtubeed the zlatan goal & its more like the diaphram of god.

    coldplay? guardiola is so [edit] dorky.

    as for that winter shopping list i wouldn’t be opposed to vieira coming in as a stop gap during the african cup. & i’ve been following hernanes for a while, especially since laporta teased everyone w/his signing a while back, & i gotta say he’d be an amazing mentee to xavi. not that jds & thiago wouldn’t be either. hernanes is like someone put kaka, xavi, & sneijder in a blender & then made em into a smoothie. i’m also all for gio dos santos owning up to being a dumbfuck and coming back on the cheap. i think he’s at least better than jeffren.

  20. September 6, 2009

    txiki, you’ll see that your comment has been edited. We don’t have a lot of rules here, but one is that any commentary that slurs any group, be it racial, religious, gender or sexual, is so far out of bounds as to be on another planet. In other words, not allowed.

    I think that hyperactive page thing must be a function of the site. I’ll try to find a YouTube link.

  21. ElShowDeJason
    September 6, 2009

    i’ve been calling for gio’s return for a while now (prob about 5 minutes after he left)…

    all he needed was a better agent, and better role models. And time to mature, of course.

  22. txikidracula
    September 6, 2009

    i meant dorky. thanks kevin. my bad. :^/ although pep has some of the worst taste in music the fact that he & villanova won’t sign a contract extension is pimpin’

    you know the spanish(spain not u.s) version of isn’t as bad as the international, english, version. i dig your take on the news. fcbtransfers did a great job at trying to be completely impartial. taking the exact opposite approach is the only other way to go. you gotta call bullshit on those sensationalist rags.

  23. Kxevin
    September 6, 2009

    I knew that, txiki, because Coldplay is specTACularly dorky! 😀 Though I have to admit that “Viva La Vida” is catchy.

    And Jason, why didn’t you tell him to stop being such a weasel and get with the program? He’d probably still be here. His talent was never in question, just his work ethic. More legacy of R10, IMHO.

    And thanks for the compliments, folks. Don’t ever by shy about speaking up. This is all of our space, and your thoughts/opinions are just as valid as ours.

    p.s. Yes, the banner will be changed. We’re just waiting for Corinne to post that nifty-keen The Yaya banner again….or something.

  24. Vj
    September 6, 2009

    I don’t like Coldplay, especially that number.. the only song of theirs I can listen to is ‘Fix You’..

  25. Kxevin
    September 6, 2009

    Which, curiously enough, is the one that Guardiola was observed singing along with. So there ya go.

  26. txikidracula
    September 6, 2009

    i miss dinho. he was always a party animal. brazil/france/spain. but it wasn’t until he started picking up injurys that it caught up w/him & he gained all that weight. sure he wasn’t the best mentor…but it’s sort of your fault if you think you can party like ronny and get away w/playing anything near the level of the drunken master. that said i don’t think guardiola would ever take a chance & swap henry for robinho.

  27. Kxevin
    September 6, 2009

    The Eto’o/Ibrahimovic swap continues to be good business for both clubs, to wit:

    –More than 150 new Swedish socis since the signing was announced.

    –Inter has sold almost 28,000 advance tickets for the upcoming home leg of the Champions League tie, which is just crazy.

    –We have never, ever (defined by as long as I can remember) had a Champions League match this well-sold in September, for late November.

    –BANGS shirts are flying out of the FCBotiga.

    And holy short squad, Batman! We have 7 matches in 22 days, starting with Getafe. Here’s the drill (home matches in bold):

    Dynamo Kiev

    Then two well-earned weeks off follow this stretch, which could well come to define our league and Champions League presence. It’s probably a big ask that we win every match in the stretch, but we can hope. And pray to the Blaugrana gods.

  28. Kxevin
    September 6, 2009

    True, txiki, but even Ronaldinho couldn’t play like the Drunken Master any longer, as the late nights and lack of training discipline caught up with him.

    Funny story: A co-worker’s cousin was at a nightspot in Barcelona, where an emissary of Himself came out to invite her into the VIP area, to hang with a guy who (she later discovered) was Ronaldinho.

    But being American and rather picky, she decided that the rabbitesque dude with the processed curls just didn’t meet her standards, and declined. Male friends who know the game said “Are you inSANE?!” But she stuck to her guns as him not being her cuppa.

    True story.

    If there’s even a shard of truth in the Robinho for Henry rumors, color me horrified.

  29. txikidracula
    September 6, 2009

    emissary of himself? that’s funny. if i were a chick i’d put out for ronny ;^)

    he had a good run. once you’ve reached the top people expect you to shoot for longevity & you should. but r10 didn’t. so what? he enjoyed himself. i try & choose to look at the positive impact he left on the people around him.

  30. belch
    September 7, 2009

    CR9 is a roid monkey


  31. September 7, 2009

    Ronaldinho had the talent and ability to be the best player in history, I truly believe that. In modern terms, he was a combination of ZIdane (controlling the game, skill on the ball, great eye for a pass) and Fat Ronaldo (killer in front of goal, sixth sense about where the ball is going to end up). That he didn’t is a travesty but also a lesson to young kids out there — talent alone gets you nowhere.

    We don’t have to beat Inter in Milan, a draw will do nicely. The others are all must-wins at this point of the season. With a small squad, there has to be a consistency and rhythm to the season. Any slumps, even this early, could prove fatal.

  32. Eduard
    September 7, 2009

    Wanted to know if anyone on this blog is following group one of the European Zone WCQ? Sweden is ahead of Portugal by 2 points, they’re in 3rth and 4rth, with 2 games to play. So there’s a possibility of Zlatan knocking Ronaldo out of the WC. That would be soo wonderful 🙂

  33. Eduard
    September 7, 2009

    I don’t know about that last comment “Ahsan”: I think if we just go to Milan and try to tie then we’re setting ourselves up for failure. We must win, and let me add, I hope Eto has a bad day.

  34. lovelymofo
    September 7, 2009


    I think these were the Yaya headers, right? The person who created it is at this link:


    Even tho, I think some of the regulars here could come up with something excellent (Corrine! :D). I like to mess around with my little Photoshop, but that’s more for my desktop purposes only.

    Anyway, one transfer window closed and everyone’s already going crazy about the next one. I’m bummed Gio left (more bummed about his stank attitude tho), since I always thought he had the talent. I hope he goes to an Italian or Spanish side in this next transfer window, I’m not sure he’s gonna get the playing time he needs with the Spurs.

  35. September 7, 2009

    Eduard: I’m not saying Barca shouldn’t play for the win (frankly, I don’t think Pep knows any other way) but that I (and, I suspect, the team) will be happy with a draw if that’s what they get. We need four points off Inter, six off at least one of the other two (prob Rubin), and a minimum of four from the third team in the group (Kiev).

  36. Jnice
    September 7, 2009

    Ibra vs Hungary for anyone interested:


  37. Corrine
    September 7, 2009

    those graphics are really cool lovelymofo!
    for the header, we could also figure out a random image script to rotate some players upon refreshing the page. just a suggestion

    i really can’t believe that the inter match is so soon, i coulda sworn it was at least a month away. the san siro is a very intimidating stadium and mourinho as we know is a very clever coach. sometimes it just takes a some good tactical work to break down a system like ours… but i’m not sure if he has the resources. i don’t really like the way ibra’s been comparing the two teams and boasting how we’re “better”. it creates some unnecessary tension – not like there wasn’t enough to begin with!

  38. September 7, 2009

    anyone know what happened to Ibra after he scored cos he seemed to be grimacing in pain.

    On a transfer buzz note, Willian would be a safer, financially more viable buy. He’s still an unknown quantity in european football. But he definitely has the blistering pace we need on the left to take over from henry whenever needed. I like that he was tracking back while playing us too. I’m not so sure bout Robinho cos he’s gone missing in practically every away game Man city played last season. He has his good days and at best he’s okay but on his bad days he’s just utterly woeful.. doesn’t track back at all, walks around the pitch and i’m convinced i’ve seen him sub consciously move away from the action when he’s not in the mood. And that’s unacceptable. Will pep set his right? who knows. i wouldn’t bet on it though. Ribery is good but i think he’s overrated too. I’d prefer Robben to those two anyday. He may have been a madrid player but he’s phenomenal with the ball at his feet.

  39. ElShowDeJason
    September 7, 2009

    @ Ahsan.

    maybe he won’t go dwn in the books as the best player ever.
    but for two years he was the best the world had ever been. Something never seen before, and frankly i don’t think i will ever see again in my lifetime.
    If you ask me if i would rather have the 2-3 years of Magic, or 8 years of being another great player, i’m picking the 2 years everyday of the week.
    let us not forget that those two years changed Barcelona. they changed world football (bold statement, i know, but he blurred the lines of possilbe and impossible). and he probably chaged the lives of many little kids around the world, changing their view of what they could become. And he brought many new fans to our sport.
    I try to write this logically and objectivey, but incase no one can tell I was/am a huge Ronaldinho fan. Only in the last 2 years has Iniesta overtaken his spot as my fav. footballer.

  40. September 7, 2009


    I agree 100% that for those two years, he was something else (thus my statement that he combined the best of Zizou and Fat Ronaldo). But why does it have to be either/or? Why couldn’t he have sustained that level for longer, even for say 5 yrs, when he clearly had the ability? Because he didn’t care enough. The likes of Zizou, Maradona, Pele, di Stefano etc etc all dominated for close to a decade (I see Messi being in that category soon too, by the way — he needs another 2-3 yrs at this level and he’ll be in that company).

    I just hate seeing talent wasted, in any sport.

  41. Helge
    September 7, 2009

    Kxevin, you were talking about “two well-earned weeks off”.
    I suppose it’s at the beginning of October, so there will be World Cup qualifiers on Saturday and Wednesday. Considering the amount of regular starters for their respective national team in our squad, I wouldn’t talk about two weeks off. With some of them having to fly around half the world and/or dealing with a LOT of pressure (looking at you, Messi and Henry… although it’s not their fault), I do prefer a usual la Liga weekend to this national duties.

    Talking about that, do you think that Messi will play against Getafe? He’ll be back from Paraguay on Thursday without having slept, or on Friday. And then there is Inter on Tuesday. Same about Henry, I’m not sure if he will play. Especially since he still has some pain in his knees while playing…
    Zlatan and Pedro will start against Getafe, but with Bojan being injured, who will accompany them in the attack?

  42. Helge
    September 7, 2009

    Oh. According to, Messi asks to play on Saturday. Maybe he can’t wait to play in a real team again after his two matches under chaotic circumstances with Argentina… 😉

  43. JeffP
    September 7, 2009

    Haha…’Henry Slams Domenech as France Struggle’

    ‘Henry was quoted by Le Parisien as saying: “Coach, we have something to tell you. I am speaking in the name of the squad.

    “We are getting bored during your training sessions. In 12 years with the French team, I have never been in such a situation. We do not know how to play, where to be on the pitch or how to organise. We do not know what to do. We have no style, no guidelines. It is not working.”‘

    Wow! Kevin, you gotta love hearing that. You rarely hear of players addressing managers like this.


  44. Kxevin
    September 7, 2009

    Helge, I’m counting on some combo of team intervention/FIFA flu. Our guys just can’t go at that pace, essentially playing a match every 3 days (for all intents and purposes), then right into Internationals, then back for club duty. That is the surest way to have the injury bug start to bite.

    And I think that what Messi is dying for, as I commented during the Arg/Brazil match chatter, is teammates that make the right runs, that track back, that control the midfield, that get involved in the play in a meaningful way when they don’t have the ball, as well as when they do.

  45. Kxevin
    September 7, 2009

    That’s serious, Jeff P. It’s one thing to have a miscellaneous player speaking out like that. But Henry is the captain, which means that he speaks for the squad.

    There is hope. 😀

  46. Han
    September 7, 2009

    Just read the piece by Henry myself and I bet this is not going to lay down easily. On the contrary, imo this is a “palace revolution” and it will end in favour of the team not the coach.

    Yet it is interesting to see whether Henry speaks for the whole team, the elderly 😉 or just a certain fraction. This will be influential in the way this story unfolds. Players can be victimised as easily as the coach should it become clear that only a group within the team has revolted.

  47. Helge
    September 7, 2009

    I don’t think that Messi and Henry will be allowed to stay at Barcelona, plus they are immune to the FIFA flu, at least in the beginning of October. The matches will be too imprtant…

    But maybe Xavi gets the FIFA flu or Vicente del Bosque simply comes up with a nice gesture. The upcoming matches for Spain don’t matter anyway.

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