News of the Week: Pep renews + other less important things

I mourn the loss of your hair...

Well. It’s me again here to do something I should have done a long time ago: give you the news of the past week!

And surprise, surprise, I start with the records our team/players broke, or surpassed, after our 3-0 beat down on Pathetico.

Actually, forget that.

I’ve got bigger news and it concerns one Pep Guardiolus. We’ve reached an agreement to extend his contract until June 2012! The arm-pulling, crying, and motivational speeches stay for another season! YES! It seems Abidal and Pinto are soon to follow as well, but talks haven’t really begun yet.

If Dani Alves is to be believed, we’ll also see our energizer bunny extend his contract. He told Barça TV:  “The club knows I prefer to stay at Barça. I’ll fight for that, it’s my dream. I’ll do anything possible to stay. I carry this club in my heart and I know it’ll be very difficult to find another big club with this kind of players.” Then reach an agreement already!

Now to those broken records:

  • We are the first team in La Liga history to win 16 straight games, beating out Di Stefano’s EE team. It was a 5-0—erm, I mean, 50 year-old record. [barcastuff]
  • With 22 different goal-scorers  (in all competitions) this season, Barça broke a club record dating back to the 1995/96 season (20 diff. goal-scorers) [barcastuff]
  • Busi is the player with the most consecutive wins (22) in La Liga, usurping one Captain Caveman (21, although it’s still on-going for him). [pedritonumeros]
  • Messi is the first player to score 40 (or more) goals in 2 seasons for Barça. He has surpassed Escola on the all-time top goal-scorers of Barça with 167. He’s still behind Samitier (178), Kubala (195) and Cesar (235). [barcastuff]

Some interesting/ridiculous statistics this season:

  • Since the start of the 2009/2010 season, Messi has scored 87 goals in 86 official games for Barça. He has now scored 125 goals in 137 games since Pep became coach in 2008. [barcastuff]
  • Messi”s conversion rate in the Liga this season is 31%. His distant competitors are Ronaldo at 21%, F. Llorente 20% and Villa 18%. [barcastuff] (Now imagine if Villa had actually converted those one-on-ones and those post hits…)
  • Pedro, with 6 goals and an assist, is the player who has been involved in the most Liga goals. He has 11 goals in his last 10 games. [barcastuff]
  • Messi, Pedro and Villa have now scored 50 goals between them in La Liga []. They have 76 goals in all competitions so far this season (Messi: 40, Pedro-: 19, Villa: 17).
  • Valdés conceded just 11 goals in his 22 La Liga games so far this season, better than any figures he’s ever recorded. [messistats]
  • With 117, Xavi has made at least 29 passes more per 90 minutes than any player in any of Europe´s top five leagues this season. [optajose]
  • In the first season under Guardiola, Barça averaged 0.88 goals conceded per game, a figure that has dropped to 0.61 this season. [messistats]
  • We have scored 3 goals (or more) in 21 of our 37 official games this season and have scored 3 goals (or more) in 8 of our last 9 games. [messistats]

It’s…insane. This team is just insane (-ly good). So here’s a flaw to keep you grounded: With 5 goals, we’ve have scored fewer goals from set pieces than any side in Liga BBVA this season. [optajose].

–Speaking of insane, that’s exactly what our director of football, Raul Sanllehi, thinks of last month January transfer window (that was paraphrased). He told the media today, “I was shocked by the amount spent, especially in the winter time. I felt the amount was very high. I know Barcelona would not do that sort of signing now, we would not even consider it.”

That last sentence is very, very interesting. I posted this a while ago, and since I’m too lazy to re-phrase this I’ll just paste it here:

“[…]Arsenal and Barcelona have to agree, which, if I can give some Cules (and Gooners) some false hope, may not happen. At least, not this summer. Torres signed for Chelsea for a British record fee of 50 million pounds. Andy Carroll replaced him, signing for 35 million pounds from Newcastle (Suarez also joins for 22 million pounds), but what does this have to do with us?

Well, the UK market is majorly inflated right now. Remember all those numbers are in POUNDS not Euros. If we convert David Villa’s price (that’s 40 million Euros) into pounds, he costs less than Andy Caroll. Andy Caroll.

Now, if Andy Caroll, a promising player at most, is worth more than a World Cup winning striker (that was essential at that) and Torres, despite his poor form, WC, and multitude of injuries, can break the British transfer record, Arsenal must be thinking: “Well, how much is Cesc Fabregas worth now?” Much more than what he was worth 2 days ago, that’s for sure. Last time we offered 35 million tops. Arsenal wanted something in the range of 40, but we said, “nuh-uh, man”. That 40 million is just going to go up, way up. Add RoSELL’s prudency with regards to finance and we have an interesting summer ahead.

It’ll be the ultimate debate: does RoSELL’s hard-on for Fabregas outweigh his prudency program, or does he stick to what he’s been preaching?”

Fabregas’ price is going to go up, no doubt about that. Our director of football just said (or rather implied) that we won’t pay 50 million for Fabregas. Hoo boy. (I still think we’ll go after him in the summer. Don’t think RoSELL’s Fabrelust (thanks Kxevin) will die down anytime soon)

On the subject of Arsenal, Villa says we should be careful against Arsenal. In other words, we won’t be overconfident when we roll into London in a week’s time. The way our official site reported this made me laugh.

—For all you BFB tweeters, Messi is going to launch an official Twitter (and Facebook page) sometime soon. Must join twitter now. The only Barça related who have Twitter are: Gerard Pique @3gerardpique; Andres Iniesta @andresiniesta8; Carles Puyol @carles5puyol; Cesc Fabregas;  Here Adriano @adrianocorreia6; Thiago Alcantara @thi_alcantara91; Rafa Alcantara @rafinha_alc93; Jonathan Dos Santos @jona2santos; David Babunski @davidbabunski (he’s a Juvenil A player—that means youth team but below Barça B);  and Luis Enrique @luisenrique21

Awesome videos this week:

Messi tracking back. That is all. [saadm87 via 101goals]

Abidal’s performance against Pathetico made by allas14

With Pique-Shakira news, expect more of this—it’s all they have to cling to now. [credit: Jnice]

Some articles to read this week

Tired of Pedro!! being underrated in the media? So is Pete Jenson of the Daily Fail Mail (although I’m convinced they stole it from another source. I wouldn’t put it past a newspaper infamous for this story…)

We’re the Harlem Globetrotters of the football world, says James Martin of ESPN. I concur, good man!

Villa tells that we could define an era.

La Liga Loca goodness. That is all.

Dirty Tackle have given us exclusive insight into the renewal negotiations between RoSELL and The Pepster.

By Kari

Just your neighbourhood Barca fanatic


  1. Fabregas’ price is going to go up, no doubt about that.
    Yes doubt about that.
    Markets are strange creatures.
    Don’t forget that , a reason for this major inflation was
    a)last day of transfers and
    b)heavily rumored that these clubs spent as much due to the incoming uefa’s financial fair play.

    Flashback about this impending doom standing over many clubs :
    The concept will be implemented over 2010, 2011 and 2012. Fair play criteria will become mandatory from the beginning of the 2013/14, when the Club Financial Control Panel can start pronouncing sanctions against clubs based on financial statements from the 2011/12 and 2012/13 reporting periods.
    If I were liverpool , for example , or chelsea , I would hurry to make any big signings now and try to balance my sheets out in the following year.
    So don’t be amazed if theres a huge deflation in the market in the summer since probably most big fishes will be out of the tank for some time.Especially the ones that had to overpay to get some class players.

    1. But why would Arsenal sell their best player at a deflated price? Markets may be strange creatures, but Wenger has proven to be pretty astute in buying low and selling high. (Hleby mistakes aside)

    2. Why did Liverpool let Torres leave for 50 million in the winter transfer window , when they could have cut him loose for 70 in the summer(benitez words) and had was injured too? .

    3. I don’t know if you read Torres’ interview after he left Liverpool, but the reasons he stated were two things he stated that played a part in his departure: 1) Liverpool promised to sign players to challenge for the title (that they failed to keep), and 2) the tenure of Roy Hudgson.

      How was Torres to know Roy would be a disaster? I’m sure he wanted to stay at Liverpool, but this went downhill very fast (they were near the relegation zone, not the top of the table). Torres could have left in the summer, but didn’t.

      After he handed in a transfer request, that was made public no less, Liverpool were put into a difficult situation–they would have an unhappy player on their hands, and his price would go lower as the season progressed had they kept him. Their new owners, IMO, panicked, and as soon as the 50 million pound offer came, they took it.

      Arsenal, on the other hand, are in a different situation. They know that Cesc would only leave for us. One target, and that’s it. Like Ryan said, Wenger is very astute and we’ve always bought Arsenal players for more than they should have been.

    4. Well , he had many hints.
      First off the manager that he signed him stepped down.
      Then mascherano moved out , and along with alonsos previous year’s exit was a deadly hit to their midfield.
      Plus it was well known that liverpool was in huge debt.
      It was the perfect time to pull a mascherano , but he didnt.
      In november things changed for liverpool since a multibillion company came in charge.
      In january they were active in the transfer window enough.
      Hodgson was sacked and they looked more lively.
      I think that in the summer it would be the perfect opportunity for both him and liverpool to change things.
      Get your 70 million ,get rid of your injury plagued-while you are on the same time very dependant on him- striker, clean up some of your losses and invest smartly and plan for the next season.Chelsea would look hotter for torres too in the summer coming off as champions.
      Now thats an contradiction what happened now , just when they looked to be picking up on form , buying a relatively young promising prospect , new manager and having further interest in the transfer market you submit a transfer request and go to the 3rd placed club.
      Notice that this happened after chelsea bidded.
      Anyway , putting ambition over ” loyalty” seemed more reasonable in the start of the season , thats what im saying.

    5. Anyway , putting ambition over ” loyalty” seemed more reasonable in the start of the season , thats what im saying.

      Oh, I agree completely then. It would have been better to cut the “loyalty” BS and just talk business.

    6. Exactly blitzen.
      Why does RadioShack ask for your phone number when you buy batteries?
      I don’t know. 😛

    7. You can’t just get rid of debt like that. Net Income (Losses) carry over on the balance sheet.

      What about loans to pay for these transfer fees and salaries? They don’t just disappear after one year either.

  2. I just tuned in for the second half of the Spain – Denmark U21 game. Anyone else watching?

    Specifically wondering if Christian Eriksen was called up or is playing for Denmark.

    Ohh, and Thiago, Bojan, and Montoya started for Spain.

    1. Well, I did some snooping and I realized Eriksen is basically a full national team member. I had seen him play at Ajax a few times this year and have generally been impressed, but I wasn’t paying enough attention to realize he has 10 caps under his belt and he was the youngest player at the World Cup.

    2. … and Bojan gets taken off in the ~60th minute. As I post this Nsue scores for Spain. You don’t get any points for guessing who he came on for.

      The whole Bojan situation is frustrating. We’ve seen his potential throughout the years, but at the moment he just seems to be regressing. It’s difficult to understand why – Pep has had success integrating young players into the squad. You can’t really fault him with his actions regarding Bojan either, he has treated him like other young players trying to break into the squad – relieving pressure, playing him more when he is in good form, expecting him to work for his place.

      A lot of people are advocating a loan. At the moment the prospect of Bojan going on loan scares me more than it excites me. If Bojan doesn’t perform on loan he could end up wasting a season on the bench, or in downward spiral on the field.

      I’m a firm believer that no player is bigger than the club, but I want Bojan to succeed. It’s impossible to deny that the club would greatly benefit if Bojan could perform at an acceptable first team level. He doesn’t have to be a Messi, or a Pedro, he just needs to be a Maxwell for the time being – someone who can come in and keep things ticking over. Remove Bojan and the team looks thin in the front three, Inieta and Afellay can cover but we can’t rely on the likes of Jeffren in a pinch.

      The whole situation is just frustrating. It seems completely out of control and the only thing to do now is hope the pieces somehow fall favorably.

    3. It isn’t frustrating for me, but it’s already been acknowledged that I don’t have a heart. Get him gone. I think that someone who has been a first-team player, who cannot perform at a level commensurate with that status needs to be gone. And I’d be saying that irrespective of who the player was.

      People wouldn’t be advocating the continued coddling of any other player. Guardiola has done everything except run onto the pitch and kick the ball for Krkic. And hope is not an acceptable substitute. I have no idea what the answer is, but I’d take Nolito coming off the bench over Krkic. And again, I ask the question: Could Keirrison be any worse?

      Krkic gets time because we really have nobody else, which for me is the frustrating part. I’m going to Barcelona myself to strew David Villa’s path with rose petals, and carry him over potentially damaging things, to make sure that he remains healthy.

    4. I don’t think anyone is advocating for the continual coddling of Bojan. I’m not upset because it’s Bojan, put any other player in his place and I would feel the same way. Why? Because the team could benefit from having a player who could play like Bojan does at his heights, all the time.

      The fact of the matter is it would be cheaper for the club if Bojan would pull his head out of his rear and play decent football than to buy a new, fancy, young striker. Add to that the young new striker has to adapt, and may not even work out, and I just think it is an overall better option for the club if he would drop the teenage angst and play.

      The reason it is frustrating is despite showing glimpses he may be able to play in that role, he is regressing. It’s no wonder there are sound bytes emerging from the Barcelona coaching staff that Neymar would succeed in the team.

      Anyways, to be succinct despite all my ramblings: The team needs a player who can be a legitimate full time fourth forward. I would rather see Bojan somehow succeed than pay 50 million for a new player. It’s frustrating that he isn’t succeeding, and that for all my effort I can’t put a finger on why.

    5. My mistake, the sound bytes were from a member of the scouting staff, not the coaching staff

    6. I’m actually not sure what you mean when you say that Bojan has been coddled. He has been benched in all the important games for a while now, with only a few minutes of pitch time at the most. He started in our last Copa game, true, but only because we already had it pretty much in the bag. That’s not exactly coddling.

    7. First off, I don’t mean that Vicsoc is advocating his coddling. Far from it. But based on his performances, Krkic shouldn’t even be on the bench, much less given any playing time. He’s been terrible. Will be come good? He was terrible for most of last season, and came good at the end, so there’s hope. But he wasn’t as terrible, and he at least was able to do well in Copa matches. This year, even with a start against Ceuta, he stank out the joint.

      He’s received a contract renewal, Guardiola is constantly saying nice things about him, and his roster and bench spots are secure. For me, that’s coddling.

      And I agree with Vicsoc about the need for a functioning forward. And I keep coming back to the fact that we own Keirrison. He at least deserves a look.

  3. I think it would be helpful if Tom Johnson gave us a break down on how uefa’s financial fair play restrictions are going to work and what we can expect to happen as a result of them. I’m sure I coud find out myself, but that’s what you guys are fore 🙂

  4. Revista De La Liga – 02-07-11


    * De La Liga – 07-02-11.avi



    Credit to Pakman at

    1. Whoops, forgot the emoticon 😀 .

      I just meant the view was so similar that I would have thought it was you, but it’s not; some dude named Ibrahim wrote it. (The joke also failed during the email exchange. Hyper-link just ended up changing the letters to blue…)

  5. According to Graham Hunter on twitter, Pep agreeing to renew for another year ” indicates his staff will get a raise and that the club agrees with him on who to sign next summer.”

  6. thats kind of a flare if its accurate , and im reading it right : [barcastuff] :
    Faus (vice-president): “We won’t and can’t pay the rumoured fees but we don’t know what Cesc agreed with Arsenal when he renewed.” [rac1]

  7. great news about Pep, thanks to Jnice getting good vibes from this week’s Revista…. and then i see this…


    “Barcelona plan to drop the UNICEF logo from the front of their first-team shirts from July and replace it with the name of their new Qatari sponsor, a vice president of the La Liga club said on Tuesday.”

    and it makes me so disgusted i want to spit. my hatred for Rosell will only grow every time i see that awful disgraceful shirt next season.

    1. So what’s the deal with the Unicef logo? anybody know?

      is it going to appear below the number on the back of the shirt for CL + Liga games or just one or the other?

    1. Half-naked caveman?….I suppose that it is an improvement….certainly one of my favorite players but not exactly pin-up material….

      Ofcourse it’s better; it’s our captain not a Hleb.

    2. Wait a minute. Is Puyi flipping someone off in that pic. I can’t tell, it’s very small ya know.

  8. I know some don’t want to hear it, but Bojan needs to go out on loan been saying this for over a year. Imagine if you are a player at Barca Athletic and you see Bojan struggle ,surely you deserve a chance above him. Thiago must be envious at the lack of options up front, while he gets bump up and down between teams.
    Confidence is surely a problem as well as the non-fixed no 9 role, but the technical side of his game his also being lackluster with a poor first touch.
    Why isn’t the youth system producing forwards?
    Don’t get me wrong I trust Pep and the coaches, they’ll clearly know much more than we ever could but he’ll have to bite the bullet sooner rather than later.

    1. He needs to be loaned out not only to get some reps but to get away from the pressure that our jersey places upon a player. IMVHO

  9. From Pies:

    “Guardiola’s existing agreement takes him through to this summer, but he is set to commit to Barca until June 30, 2012 by signing “in the next few days”… but could he manage Stoke City on a wet, cold Wednesday night? Not sure he could, Richard.”


    1. Stoke’s own players can’t manage in the wet and cold. That dude, Rory, needs a towel every time he takes a throw-in, the big sissy ;-D

  10. Good article, Kari. I do enjoy news bits. I do have a question though. For the scoring percentage or conversion percentage, do you happen to know the formula? Is it goals per minute or goals per shots? If its goals per shots, then Ronaldo does not have 21%. He has 15% while the person with the highest conversion in our squad is Higuain with 23%. (provided Higuain only has 12 starts in the league).

    1. I’ve got no idea.

      My guess would be goals per min. ratio (Ronaldo has something like a million shots/goals, so it can’t be goals per shots). It makes sense if it is measured that way; Ronaldo, according to Marca, may have more goals, but Messi’s played less minutes, hence the higher conversion rate.

    2. True.

      Ronaldo scores a lot of goals but at the same time he does so while taking so many attempts. He is considered a good finisher not because of his superior finishing but rather his many attempts and hence many goals. Higuain last year in the league took 78 shots in total tallying 27 goals which sums up to around 34%. Regardless though, Ronaldo and Messi are creating a category for themselves when it comes to scoring. Never seen players reach 24 goals so fast in the league and we still have 16 games to play!

    3. It’s just ridiculous. As much as I despise Ronaldo with a fiery hatred of a thousand suns, he’s been pretty clutch this season (actually, since he came to your club). Had he been doing this in England, he would have been considered the best player to ever grace “the best league in the world”.

      As for Messi, well, I’ve learn to expect the unexpected, but the fact he already has 40 goals in all comp. this season totally blind-sided me (he has 47 last season, which was already crazy).

      The thing with Higuain is that I admire him, but hate him at the same time–if that makes any sense it doesn’t, idiot . What I mean is, I respect him for the loyalty he has towards Madrid, despite the media (and some fans) underrating him and turning him into a scapegoat (like last season, where I’m pretty sure they blamed him for everything but Global Warming, poverty and starvation–they saved that for Pellegrini), but also hate how he always seems to pop up with crucial goals. If I didn’t know he played at River Plate before, I’d think he was a canterano, to be honest.

    4. Interesting point you bring up towards Higuain. Most Barca fans remember his role in that title winning season that ended on the last day. His goal against espanyol were he did a slide tackle and took the ball then a one two and scored in the 90th minute is nothing short of godly to a Madradista like me. What is interesting is that if you see how Higuain developed over the years since he has been at Madrid, you would see the improvement that players like Raul and RVN had on him.

      He arrived at Madrid at the age of 18 (a couple of days before his 19th birthday). There was a lot of talk about having him start in the Castilla team but Capello said that he can make an impact off the bench. Boy was he right! In a lot of interviews, he says that despite having his start of his childhood in Riverplate, he considers himself the son of Madrid and that had it not been for Madrid and the guidance of RVN and Raul, he wouldn’t be were he is right now. On his page on the official website, he had the phrase “I fight for Madrid because it is my home” last year. And sensible fans, the ones that do not write for Marca and troll the blogs, do consider him a Canterano. Especially now after the disappointment that Benzema is proving to be. He also seems to be really liked by Mou, which made a lot of the fans (mostly the bandwagon ones) change their opinion about pipita.

      Anyways, just in case you never saw it (i know you said you started following in 2006), here is a moment that exemplify Higuain for me:


      And this one will make you love him more 😉


    5. I like Pipita even as a Barca fan. He is all about loyalty and hard work. Playing for a club like Madrid, having all those star players, star coaches and star managers around him, he can easily cause controversy by talking bad to media. He is positive about whoever his partners are and only has nice things to say about them.

      Another thing is that even thos Pipita is hugely criticized by spoiled fans, he’s still fighting as hard as he should. Much like David Villa right now, to be honest.

      In short, (good attitude) + (loyalty) and (work rate) = like. However (white shirt) = hate.


  11. I can’t get on the TV3 page tonight to watch Crackovia. 🙁 Is it working for anyone else?

  12. I believe that Bojan needs to be sent out on loan. He is going to be under less pressure wherever he goes. I just don’t think it is fair to Bojan that Nolito gets to stay if the loan happens. The thing about our Masia players they usually come good around 22 or 23. I’m thinking of Pedro.

    1. Oh, and soccermomof4 cited TotalBarca as a source for a potential 25m sale of sponsorship of the club’s other sporting entities. This is incorrect:

      Javier Faus (vice-president): “It’s not true Qatar Foundation could also become the sponsor of our other sections. They refused that option” [rac1, via @barcastuff]

  13. More goodies. Can anyone decipher this? 😀

    Faus (economic vice-president): “If we don’t sell anyone – and we don’t plan that – we have maximum 45M to spend next summer.” [rac1]

    So, does this mean that we plan to sell, or plan NOT to sell? 😀

    1. HAHAHA!
      Well , his statements REALLY go both ways.
      All of the things that I read yesterday could easily mean anything you want them to mean.

  14. Also, Javier Faus’ words from the site officiel:

    “The words ‘Qatar Foundation’ will be on the chest, in yellow. Unicef will be at the back below the number. What we can guarantee is that all shirts that will be sold world-wide will have the Unicef logo on it. What still should be decided is if Unicef can appear on the shirt in CL games.”

    1. Because, when will they ever stop with this non-sense.
      What do our players need to do to convince them that we are good.
      They always come up with something.
      Now the team scores on average 3 goals per game. Do they need to score 5 every match for them to shut up?

      I really hope we meet Man U or Spurs to shut these EPL fan boys up.
      I didn’t name Chelsea as I still fear them.

    2. To be fair, we haven’t proven anything until we soundly beat an EPL team in a Champs League final. Or absolutely demolish an EPL team in the Champions League by 3 goals or more on aggregate.

      It would help if those teams were, I don’t know, the two top teams in the Premiership right now.

    3. I don’t know that we haven’t, Jose. Round my parts the final against Man U did exactly that. I don’t think most sensible observers have forgotten it.

    4. I’d love us to play Spurs and RoSELL and Pep to fall in love with Bale and bring him to the club 🙂

      It;s not going to happen, Spurs will not sell, or will put an insurmountable amount on the price tag, the player himself stated various times that he wants to stay at – for its worth…

      But I’d love to have Bale on our left flank… A girl can dream 🙂

    5. Please don’t tell me if because of his look Mila.
      You do know what Kxevin calls him don’t you?

    6. If Bale were able to play our one-touch intricate football and got more consistent he would be a nice option to have. Speed, strength and directness as an option to break buses, like if we can’t pass our way into a chance or dribble, just getting the guy to beat defenders with sheer pace and physicality a la game against Maicon. I’d love it if we got him just for providing that extra option though 50mil is far far far too much (if only we could get him for a decent price in a couple years when his contract runs down and he would get a better chance on the side with Villa’s age!)

    7. outerspacedout – Bale will definitely cost too much this summer, mostly because too many other teams need a lefty and he has been hyped up. If he does the job in CL and embarrasses another Milan team – his price will double again. Plus, Spurs, do not need to sell, they have a more than decent team and although they have little chance of playing CL next year, they are still a strong club with a lot of perspective (they have new stadium plans going on too).

      If I am not mistaken, Bale signed a a new contract last year, the expiration date on that is 2014.

    8. I live in England, and the frustrating thing is that I don’t even think it will make a difference if Barcelona do win the CL…or at least that it will make no difference if we beat Arsenal.

      The first complaint will be that Nasri is injured, and therefore arsenal were not at full strength. If the team runs rings around them in the same way that they did EE, then Arsenal will not have played their best game (versus barca not letting them pay their best game), and therefore you still cannot make an adequate comparison.

      I feel as though similar excuses would be constructed in the event that we meet and beat any other EPL teams. And if there is *any* hint of diving or exaggeration…then you might as well forget it, because the other 90-odd minutes of the match won’t mean anything.

      This may just be because I’m immensely frustrated by the football fans I meet on a regular basis.

  15. News of Pep signing is great indeed, it calms the players down before the most important stretch of the season, reassures the fans and sends a message that for the time being the coach, the players and the board are united in their vision of the club’s immediate future.

    While cules around the world are rejoicing, the EE humble servants AS are publishing articles titled “He signed only for one year” and how he rejected last year’s 6 year contract proposal… I guess they don’t have too many good things to write about their own coach or their own team, so they have to pick apart and embellish every news that comes out of Barcelona. Good times 🙂

    1. Your last name isn’t Jovovich right? Cos if that Miss Jovovich was a Barcelona fan I think my head would explode.

      I know stupid question but then when you think about it even famous people would use the internet so why not right.

    2. Mila Jovovich is the name everyone all guys have in their mind since this summer apparently.

    3. Sorry to disappoint, guys – not Jovovich 🙂
      I think she would use more disguise in her nick on websites 🙂

      As to the Bale question – his looks have nothing to do with me considering him a very promising player.

      I watch the EPL every week, I really enjoyed his progress this year, he has had some awesome games, but he lacks a truly great coach and team to make it to the top, no offence to Harry or the Spurs, but Barcelona or United would showcase him much better.

      Actually, come to think about it – I guess United’s style of play is more to what he is accustomed and he would probably do great in Manchester, but his type of directness and the sweet left foot and pace and strength on the left flank could really flourish in Barcelona, depending on how Pep would fine-tune his overall game-play.

      barca96 – what does Kxevin call Bale?

    4. 😀
      I guess, one wouldn’t need too many reasons to call him that 🙂

      Just one actually – his face!

      Still, even though he resembles a primate, he continues to be one of the top prospects in EPL if not the world and is only 21.

    1. Bojan hasn’t changed one bit 🙂

      Still a cutie, still the center of attention, still tiny, still a work in progress 🙂

  16. Kari and Bassam: Usually the ‘finishing rate’ is percentage of goals from shots on goal. Most top goalscorers were around 20% or so. Ronaldo was about 18% last season (I guess his long shots which go wide not counting in the shots on goal tally is why his finishing percentage is similar to other elite strikers), Villa around 20%, Drogba around 20% and so on. The highest I remember in 2008/09 was Dzeko at 41% and Higuain at 40%. That is from what I saw in some websites, forgot where.

    In 2009/10 in the league Messi was a ridiculous 66% finishing percentage or at least I read so on a article.

    Then again stats from other sites are different. Calculating myself from ESPN stats, Messi’s goals to shots on goal ratio for this season so far for La Liga is 42% and in all competitions 54%, his goals to shots ratio in La Liga is 26% and in all competitions is 29%.

  17. I had the weirdest dream last night. 😯

    Barca team were playing Badminton (I was playing that yesterday before I went to sleep) and Bojan got really mad because he kept messing up and attacked his opponent (Abidal) and started to threaten him and the rest of the team had to intervene. Wtf?

    No, I’m not inventing anything.

  18. Club sources say that the Fabegas transfer efforts, such as they ever were, are “dead.”

    This almost certainly means that Arsenal stuck to an inflated (in our context) valuation for him.

    I would guess it also means that there is no way that he renews his contract. He wanted to come, the club squashed that. I make no presumptions about being in his head, but I can’t imagine tht he’s thrilled about that.

    1. Cesc is under contract till 2015 and his current salary is around 110,000 Pounds.

      My question is: if he was so desperate to accomplish his dream and go to Barcelona, the club that is in his DNA, why sign new contract without negotiating some kind of clause for when his boyhood club comes knocking? Rene Adler, the German goalie, has such a clause in his contract – he will be sold for a smaller amount to only one club – United, so why didn’t Cesc negotiate something alike?

      He went around proclaiming his dream and Laporta was gushing about his DNA, but he did nothing to make his move to Barcelona a smooth sailing.

    2. Because Cesc was too chicken to realise that a transfer to Barcelona with Arsenal in transition would damage his relationship with the Arsenal fans that he ‘holds in his heart’ so he signed the fat contract even before realising that he was sabotaging his future that way

    3. He was very close to coming to Barça this summer though, and only gave it up after intense father-son talks with Wenger. At the time I thought it really resembled the Man Utd – Ronaldo – Madrid saga with Ferguson privately making the deal that his star player would stay for one more year, although there is no way Barça will fork out that much money for a player who is essentially from the Masía. Cesc being from the Masía should be a reason for Wenger to be more reasonable to Cesc’ desire to come back home.

    4. VdW had a FB account that he regularly updated with personal stuff. At some point before the World Cup he confirmed it was his official FB account.

      The level of self-focus of the guy is through the roof.

      I understand talent, hard work and dedication, but Barcelona is all about humble players doing their thing, head down, well spoken etc. VdW just doesn’t strike me like that type of a person, too much self obsession from his part.

      Look at Affelay – he fits right in, not just the talent, but the way he conducts himself, humble, nice guy.

      My point is that talent alone doesn’t really cut it at Barcelona, you have to be a nice guy to fit in in the team.

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