Value

An occasional feature where Tom Johnson, BFB’s business correspondent, examines the economic situation and ways to improve The Club’s management.

To clarify my position and wrap up the talk about the smarter way to manage club finances, I will address some of the issues raised in the comments of my last post. In the upcoming weeks the focus will shift to the large revenue The Club is generating and the ways of increasing it.

The Value

A burger-loving reader, Double Junior with Cheese, sees the players’ value as the key to the successful implementation of payroll cuts: “what is their priority, how much value do they assign to material compensation versus sentimental reward?”

Absolutely. That is why I like the term “higher cause.” A legitimate shot at truly special place in history overrides everything else. Note that I also said it “can only be done when there is a shared sense of urgency and commitment.”

In general, we need to do a better job of scouting players, and look for players who are ‘crazy’ for, and very passionate about the game. Like Pep — smart, versatile, humble, with a strong work ethic — players who will not care that much about money as long as their salary reasonably reflects the level of contribution.

Ladies and gentleman, I give you Pedro Rodriguez.

  • 12 goals (19, 10 in total) scored in the La Liga from only 29 shots on target
  • Recovered more than 60 balls, while playing in the forward line, registering a single yellow card in the process
  • Tabloids are the last place you will find his name nor is he being represented by the Fat Bastard
  • A 23 year old World Cup Winner who’s father works at a gas station
  • Salary far below the top level

When asked to assign weight to Pedro’s contribution, The Philosopher quipped: “If Pedro was Brazilian the club would be struggling to find the money to sign him.”

Luxury Suites

Kxevin has his own doubts: “The Camp Nou will never have luxury boxes. It flies in the face of everything that they believe in. Heck, the Tribuna side where all the fat cats sit is bad enough. The cules like it how when they’re cold, so are the bosses. When it’s raining, it’s also raining on the bosses”

To clear any confusion, the purpose is to create revenue. Hence, the luxury suites are intended for special guests, to wow important business partners, and for the more pleasurable viewing experience of the wealthy fans. They are not meant to be used by the management.

I suggest a traditional box, close to the field as possible, but adjustments can be made. One would be to dress up a section of the stands into a VIP area. It can still have no roof or be glass-enclosed.

After consultations with the architect, management should try to strike a balance between the original style and local culture on one side, and contemporary and/or futuristic on the other. The marketing team would be wise to use the architecture as a tool in differentiating the product.

Of equal importance:

  • It would increase the value of the property and, as a result, allow the club to borrow more, under more favorable conditions in times of need.
  • I’d also propose that this renovation adds a few thousand regular seats, preferably as few “nosebleeds” as possible.
  • When there are no games scheduled, the suites can be rented, creating even more revenue.
  • I’d like to see more plants on the playing field and around the stadium, as well as solar panels, with respect to the Camp Nou aesthetics.

Rosell’s business ties to Qatar are deep and obvious, which makes an excellent opportunity to take advantage of these relationships, and lease one box to the Al Thani family, their friends and the Qatari business elite. Rest assured that rich people, Catalans or not, are more concerned about own vanity then the plebs’ opinion.

The Club also needs to identify markets it wants to penetrate, and the Middle and Far East would be a good direction in which to look. Also India and Brazil, with China soon to follow. These are developing countries in which, 5-10 years from now, the middle class, and more importantly the disposable income of that group, is going to experience significant growth, and the Club needs to position itself to reap the benefits. Senyor Rosell’s business connections in Brazil from his time as a Nike executive, should come in handy.

The U.S. Market

Other commenters suggested that the club should look to increase its presence in the United States, but two things are vital to consider:

  • Football is a niche sport
  • Majority of the fans are immigrants, a sizable group. More important than the sheer numbers is purchasing power. Affluent fans in the U.S. are predominately white, and of German or Irish descent. As such, particularly with English as a first or second language, they lean heavily toward the English Premier League.

Coached by the mainstream media to put a premium on the perceived level of “toughness” and athleticism, the aforementioned fans are likely to shy away from Spanish speaking “divers.” Keeping in mind the fans’ mind set and level of knowledge about the game, it’s difficult to expect the average fan to make an effort and try to understand and appreciate what a team like Barca is doing. He, or she, will simply go for hype and physical ability.

The key is the preference of the affluent customers. Broadcasters and promoters are simply vying for the money, looking to increase sales and profits. Educating fans is not high on their priority list.

UEFA Champions League

In case some of you failed to notice, there was a match in London last Wednesday. Much has been said here in its aftermath.

Factoring in all the circumstances, February for one, I am satisfied with the performance. Only a fool would have his team peaking this early. Am I satisfied with the result? Not so much. What matters most is that The Team created plenty of goal-scoring opportunities.

It is one thing to list the referee’s decisions as a main reason for the poor result. That is something small clubs and small people do. It is another thing to be objective in assessing the job that the officiating crew performed, and how much of an impact on the outcome those decisions had.

The questionable situations were Messi’s disallowed goal, the grab/shove on Pedro by the last defender in the box and a handball (or two). Even after we take into an account how fast the events are happening at that level of competition, it is worrisome that not 2, not 1 but zero (0) out of the 4 went ‘our’ away. That’s hard to swallow.

Yes, the team benefited greatly from Mr. Øvrebø’s mistakes two years ago at Stamford Bridge. However, the blatant robbery we were subjected to a year ago against Inter is more than enough to offset it and then some. It would be wrong to see the majority of 50-50 calls going against us as an acceptable pattern of behavior.

On a side note, the developments leading to Arsenal’s first goal are very interesting.

  1. Clichy made a perfectly weighted one touch pass…with his weaker foot.
  2. Valdes made a mental mistake, the kind that is rare for him.
  3. Van Persie’s shot carried a low probability in terms of both decision making, and producing a quality shot

It is exciting how all three events aligned themselves in a perfect manner to yield a goal.

The most important thing to take from this game is that there are no impact players to come off the bench in a high stakes game. A player like Keita is more damage control than anything else. A punt if you will. The Team needs more depth. This is the second year in a row than we have had to patch things together on the left side. Including the Champions League Final in Rome, this makes an alarming number of times on the biggest of stages, that the team has been forced to improvise.

Two roads are there to be taken:

  1. If Pep keeps insisting on a short roster, the bench needs to be upgraded. Instead of having players like Bojan, Maxwell and Keita, our options need to be more along the lines of Forlan/older experienced striker, Bastos/Clichy/Coentrao and Fabregas/developed Thiago on the bench next to Affelay (who has the potential to be an impact player).
  2. Increase the roster size with Canteranos and players who are able to make a difference in a less-spectacular manner (set pieces, free kicks and long distance shots).

This is where the suggested salary reductions coupled with better amortization management come into play. The money saved will make necessary roster improvements easier.

It is also necessary for the team to improve away from home. The games in which we suffered most this season were against Copenhagen, Athletic and now Arsenal. The thing in common for all 3? An early onslaught in which the home team pressed hard and ‘took control’ of the game as well as in the first 15′ (or so) of the second half and toward the end. This is inexcusable.

It would be wise in the future for the coaching staff to:

a. Better prepare our players mentally, whoever the starters are, for the early onslaught. It goes without saying how vital is for our game plan not to allow a goal early on.

b. Devise ways to counter the effect.

  • Macro: A different, more conservative formation until the game settles to the pace more favorable to ‘our’ game plan.
  • Micro: Deliberate hard tackling and consequent lengthy delays to curb the home team’s early enthusiasm.

c. Increase the offensive threat coming from the left side of the field, the LB position in particular. Maxwell is simply not a satisfactory option for a club of our stature. His lack of pace and dribbling ability (he might be fast running a straight line but in the game and with the ball that clearly is not the case), high percentage of lateral and backward passes and his inferior upper body strength, make him a weak option.

Barcelona   2 – 1   Athletic Bilbao

“I laugh at the idea that (Barcelona) is in a crisis,” said Bilbao coach Joaquin Caparros.

Far from being a neutral spectator, I thoroughly enjoyed the game, about as much as the home Copa del Rey game against Betis.

  • Min 37th, Llorente jumped above two defenders and made a very dangerous shot.  To put it in context, while outnumbered in the box, a sole Bilbao player near the end line made a mediocre (ball was moving too slow) cross. Not a promising  situation, that almost ended up in a goal. Out of nothing. This is precisely the weapon we are so desperately lacking against teams sitting deep, or pesky hosts.
  • The penalty, clear as a whistle, happened because Abidal doesn’t trust his right foot. Watch him twist his body awkwardly to use his left foot instead of making a simple pass with the inside of his right foot. It’s the same disease Xavi is suffering from; Messi and Villa to a lesser extent.
  • Most of the crosses Alves hit were terrible, with too much arch, too slow and too far ahead or behind the target.
  • For our first goal, Xavi is heading to the left and in the background you can see Busquets signaling him that Alves had started the move. I am fairly certain the play was ‘scripted’. Villa scored on instinct rather than being hampered by thinking too much, welcome progress compared to his decision making a couple of months ago.

Tom_Johnson is studying finance at an US institution.

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195 Comments

  1. Lev
    February 22, 2011

    I think Kxevin meant that the culés don’t like luxury seats, period. The referral to the bosses was just a case in point.

    I have attended a game in a luxury seat once, through a father of a friend of a friend. It was nice, because the food was free and we could drink as much beer as we wanted, but it is definitely a very weird way of experiencing a football game – were it not that we got the tickets for free, I would have preferred to watch it from the stands.

    Luxury seats are part of what is wrong with football these days, imho.

    Btw…Forlan….mmm now there is an idea – could he be our next Larsson?

    • Nav
      February 22, 2011

      I’ve watched a few games from the ‘luxury seats’ (we call them box seats here) and totally agree that it’s the wrong way to experience sports. You need to be down there chanting with the rest of the fans, not drinking with corporate fat cats.

  2. February 22, 2011

    I think there is a person impersonating me on the Offside site. They’ve posted on both the EE Offside and Arsenal Offside. Of course, they could just happen to be a Barca fan who shares the same name and spelling as me, but as I’ve said before, being the vain and self-important person I am, I think they’re doing it so their comments are taken more seriously.

    Well, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…

    • beeeef
      February 22, 2011

      When I saw a “Kari” addressing the Toral transfer over at the Arsenal offside page, I immediately figured it was too much of a coincidence to be true. Plus, that particular post seemed to throw spelling, grammar, and punctuation out the window completely. I know that’s not your style.

      If they were impersonating me, I know I’d be a little peeved but also considerably flattered… 😉

      • February 22, 2011

        Thanks so much for bringing it to my attention. Really. I’ve been wallowing in misery ever since the Arsenal loss so I haven’t had the heart to any blogs. I would have missed it completely. I checked the EE Offside after to see if The Other Kari posted there as well, and lo and behold there was a comment, quoting Thong Boy of all people.

        I know I’d be a little peeved but also considerably flattered

        It’s funny you say that because that’s exactly how I feel. 😀

    • February 22, 2011

      You really did beat me to it. As my roommate enjoyed having a go at the Barca fan who’s comment was nothing but trash as it aided in no way to the discussion on the blog, i was thinking, hmmm, could this be Shirley? I wanted to delete the comment but then again didn’t want to do that if it was you since you have left previous comments that were good. Then checked the IP addresses and emails and they were different. Was going to comment this is not the same Kari, but well, you did that before me.

      As i said, its a Doppelgänger!

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doppelg%C3%A4nger

      • February 22, 2011

        I should be very offended y’know, and I kinda am, but I can’t help but be quite flattered.

        Besides, dopplegangers are badass, unless I believe Wikipedia and German folkore, in which case I’ve seen my omen of death.

        Oh sh*t.

      • soccermomof4
        February 22, 2011

        Hey Bassam,
        Congrats on the away goal. Benz sure comes through in the European games. *she says to be polite because she likes Bassam and he’s a class act, not because she is really happy about the goal* 🙂

        • February 22, 2011

          thanks, SM!

          Benz oh Benz. I really dont know what to say about the kid. I really dont know why he was signed, but his league form (he has 3 goals all season) is something that puts me off.

          There is still 90 minutes to play of football, and anything can happen in that, for both of us.

          Best of luck against Arsenal. Kick some EPL ASS!!

          • soccermomof4
            February 22, 2011

            I think Benz has the same problem as CT (Bojan) does. The pressure that comes with a particular jersey can be overwhelming, and they are still very young. Can you think of a jersey that would come with more pressure and expaectations than a Blaugrana or blanco one?

          • February 22, 2011

            True. But here is the difference between Bojan and Benz. Bojan did not cost 30 mill and has a 6 mill a year salary. So its ok if he messes up more.

          • soccermomof4
            February 22, 2011

            When Cuddly messes up it breaks Kari’s heart. 🙁
            Worse than wasting 30 mil!

  3. BarcaGirl_Indo
    February 22, 2011

    dude, Tom! that is a loooong post… 😀
    I’m gonna read it now…

    meanwhile, so far Barcelona is the only visitor team that lost in 1st leg… cmiiw…
    wow, you didn’t expect that from “the best team in the world,” eh?

    but I think is a good thing now people started to realize our boys are just human being and not invincible…

  4. jaymin
    February 22, 2011

    This is a highly readable and intelligent item.

  5. beeeef
    February 22, 2011

    Wow, this post just has it all huh? 😉

    I think you made many fair and sensible points concerning both the financial and sporting issues this club would do well to address.

    But, being our BFB business correspondent, I was expecting something on the recent news regarding a possible corporate sponsorship of the Camp Nou. We already know that the club refused a Camp Nou sponsorship deal from the Qatar Foundation, deeming it to be insufficient.

    Any plans to address this development in further posts?

  6. soccermomof4
    February 22, 2011

    The US market:

    “Coached by the mainstream media to put a premium on the perceived level of “toughness” and athleticism, the aforementioned fans are likely to shy away from Spanish speaking “divers.” Keeping in mind the fans’ mind set and level of knowledge about the game, it’s difficult to expect the average fan to make an effort and try to understand and appreciate what a team like Barca is doing.”

    Don’t I know it. Everyone around here is either totally ignorant of “soccer”, only watch their kids(surprisingly, tons of kids play it over here) play it(all the while screaming at the ref. even though they’re clueless), or if you’re really lucky you’ll find someone who’s heard of man U of Liverpool. A few of my friends (families of the kids with whom my kids have played soccer) follow EPL teams. Only one other family we know likes Barca.

    As for the effort to understand and appreciate what Barca does, it was a huge learning curve. Just trying to keep track of the following— league games, cup games, no that’s not a cup game that’s a supercup game, no that’s not a supercup game that’s a club world cup game, why isn’t there a game this week what do you mean there’s an international break and all the players have scattered to various countries to play for the land of their birth, no that’s not really an international game that’s Catalunya v. Argentina and it’s a friendly and yes there are players from Spain on it go google Spanish/ Catalan history*— is enough to make your head spin. Most Americans are not insane enough to try to follow all of that. Obviously, I am insane enough. Then there’s offsides that only those with a Y chromosome ;-D can understand and diving which puts everyone off (like there’s no faking to get a call in American football). That being said though, once I was far enough along the learning curve it didn’t take me long to appreciate the “oooooh purdiness” of our style over the hoofball in the EPL.

    USA will remain a niche market I’m afraid. Every 4 years some of us will tune in and cheer for the US until they are out of the competition out of patriotism, not out of love for the game. I wish it were not the case.

    *I wasn’t kidding about having to google Catalan and Spanish history. That’s something else that that is different about the US market. The US is a young country with a relatively short history. Our teams are mainly divided by geographical differences not idealogical or political differences. I am a Ravens fan because that’s the closest team to me. I hate the Stealers because that’s our rival, but it’s a rivalry that has been around for less that 2 decades. I can joke around with Lev, a Steelers fan, because there is no true morbo or hatred. A Steelers fan is not likely to be politically different from a Ravens fan (Lev may be as he is not a US native but you get the point). We approach sports differently here. To love Barca (or many of the other European teams) you have to make the effort to not just understand the sport but the people. That may be more commitment than most are willing to put forth.

    • Ryan
      February 22, 2011

      I’m not sure it’s really that dire to be marketing Barca in the US.

      I’ve been wearing Barca jerseys for years, and recently I get people coming up and start talking about Barcelona. Plenty are bandwagoners, but it’s still great meeting people here who know some things about the team. I think both the massive success of Barcelona coupled with the continual growth of the Hispanic population may mean some potential for expanding the brand here.

    • merge
      February 23, 2011

      Very interesting to learn how sport works at youth level in the US, thanks SoccerMom’s!

  7. barca96
    February 22, 2011

    Why when I watch a lot of American movies or shows, I see a lot of soccermom’s suggesting that a lot of kids do play soccer, even more than basketball, baseball I guess since there are no basketball mom’s or baseball mom’s but how come I never hear anything about a soccer league in the universities?
    Do the kids only play in primary school? If that is so, why?

    • soccermomof4
      February 22, 2011

      Tons of kids play Rec. Council (recreational) soccer at a young age. Really talented kids play for “club teams” or travel teams. If in high school you are good enough you can play varsity (unless this is a weak high school team these varsity players are mostly the kids who have played at the club or travel level). If you don’t make it onto your school’s team you might still find a Rec. council to play with or do intramural (sponsored by the school but just for fun) soccer just for fun. The best of the best on their school’s varsity team will still likely be playing with a club team and they are the ones that make it onto a college team and might if they are lucky and good enough get a scholarship that pays for their college. The best of the best of the best in college/university will go on to play for a MISL (US indoor soccer league somewhat similar to futsal) or MSL. Only the rarest will play for a European club. The best scholarships to be had and the most money to be made are in basketball and football(American) so that’s what the BEST American atletes will gravitate to.

      * when I say club teams, it’s not like Barca’s youth system. You pay to be on these clubs. They don’t pay you!

    • BA
      February 22, 2011

      there are multiple tiers of university-level soccer leagues in the U.S., but as most university sports here exist as profit or profile-raising institutions (football and basketball in particular) for those schools, and there being no real market for university-level soccer viewership, they’re not well covered or well funded by comparison. so while soccer *is* the most-played sport in the U.S. before college, all the money is in other sports because there’s no audience for it nationally after a certain age.

      basically, the collegiate soccer leagues function as the “lower division” of U.S. soccer much in the way that the Segunda or Championship do in Spain or England. most young players in the MLS come straight out of college soccer programs rather than established semi-pro teams. if the U.S. had academies of the European (think the Ajax school or La Masia) style that could facilitate kids making the jump from well-established youth clubs to the pros, i really think we could be a powerhouse that finally punches it’s weight in the sport. but for now, we sadly don’t.

      a good question though.

      • soccermomof4
        February 22, 2011

        Better than my poor attempt. Thanx!

    • SoccerMom
      February 22, 2011

      Just stopped by to rest my eyes seeing so much ‘what democracy looks like’. American little kids play soccer because it is cheap. You can use your school gym, or your backyard, or your local park, and as long as you have a few traffic cones and a ball, you’re all set. It’s also a perfect sport for moms with little kids, since they run around a lot and get very tired. There’s no danger of them not understanding what to do (like in little league football) or getting bored enough to wandering out of the park and into traffic (like in little league baseball).

      They stop playing soccer when they start noticing that the big sports that Dad and Grandpa watch are football and basketball and baseball. That’s where the coolness factor comes in, and, if this is one of very few possibilities for you or you are extremely gifted, a possible course for your future. Soccer teams? They play on the still-marked professional football fields. Meh.

      There were a few soccer players in my high school, and they were cool in the way that Goths or Spanish Club members were cool: maybe in their own world, but their captain was never going to be elected Most Popular. Not with that haircut.

      The term ‘soccermom’, too, is a political one. It’s meant to describe a certain demographic of voter: usually white, upper-middle class married woman with children who spends her spare time (either as a stay-at-home or part-time worker) driving her kids and their friends in a minivan to soccer practice (revisit: cheap, easy and exhausting). The political angle is that these women tend to be independent of any established party; they tend to favor fiscal conservatism (just like they ‘balance their family’s budget’) but also social liberalism (they tend to support issues like education and health care). This makes them valuable, since their swing votes can determine an election, but also tricky, since they can vote conservative or liberal depending on their view of their own family’s and/or community’s situation rather than the issues on a broader, national or international stage.

      Okay, time to go picket. Visca Barça!

      • soccermomof4
        February 22, 2011

        Then there are the rare soccermoms who are just moms who love soccer and love to watch their kids play soccer. Some of them even adopt (or have hearts that are hijacked by) a foreign football team with lots of talented midgets 🙂

        Some problems with you assesment: it’s only cheap when they are very young (if I had all the money I’ve spent on cleats, gas and co-pays to the orthopedic surgeon…), easy only when they are very young and you’re not juggling four schedules and traveling all over the place, but yes it IS exhausting (for the parent not the child).

        • barca96
          February 22, 2011

          Thanks for the responses Mom’s.
          Now I understand it better.

          But don’t they ever think like this?
          “hey, I could become rich by playing in Europe” . Richer than by playing in prof. football in US where only the quarterback get’s the limelight or NBA where only the star get’s the limelight. Same goes for baseball, only the pitcher and the best batter gets the lime light.
          I can’t comment on NHL as I have never ever followed it. Only watched it a few times during the Winter Olympics 1998. Loved the Czech’s GK.

          I’m sure there are football scouts over there. Must be. Since it’s the most played sport. If I had a hell lot of money and a lot of time to spare, I would go to US and scout for players and bring them to Europe. There must be a really promising youngster.

          • Jose
            February 22, 2011

            “Same goes for baseball, only the pitcher and the best batter gets the lime light.”

            That is dead wrong. A baseball team has about the same distribution of “well-known” players as a soccer club team (if it’s very good): about 4 players everyone knows about, 5 players that fans of the league/division know about, and everyone else that fans of the team know about. It’s incorrect to say that only a pitcher and the best batter get the recognition.

            Also, you’re quite wrong on getting paid better to play European football than other sports. You know who the best paid Dutch athlete of the last ten years was? Andruw Jones. A reasonably good baseball outfielder playing mostly in Atlanta got paid better than any Dutch footballer in the last ten years, including every man on the World Cup 2010 roster. The best paid soccer player in the world, CRonaldo, gets 11 million a year. That would make him the 25th best paid player in the MLB, right behind Vernon Wells 😛

          • barca96
            February 23, 2011

            @Jose.

            Im sorry. After writing that, I remembered reading an article many years ago showing the 50 or 100 best paid athletes. Most of them were dominated by American sport stars. I found it shocking considering the fact that American sports are only played to an audience solely in North America.
            And after reading that, I told myself to stop practicing my brother to turn into a soccer player and instead teaching him basketball. 😆
            Now it all comes clear. No wonder the switch of sports a few years ago. Hehe.
            BUt now he’s back to soccer though…Maybe I should start convincing him to join the basketball team again :p

          • Jose
            February 23, 2011

            Hey man, no need to say sorry.

            “I remembered reading an article many years ago showing the 50 or 100 best paid athletes.”

            Yeah, isn’t it absurd? I can’t talk about basketball or gridiron as much, but at least for baseball you can start to see why they can pay their players like that, given that they have a guaranteed 81 home games a season, compared to the ~25 or so that the best futbol teams do.

          • blitzen
            February 23, 2011

            In Holland, speed skaters are superstars.

  8. SoccerMom
    February 22, 2011

    Xavi out for 2 matches? Oh noes!

    • blitzen
      February 23, 2011

      He said today he should be back for the Valencia game, so we will only be without for Mallorca.

      • soccermomof4
        February 23, 2011

        I love my Xavi! (not a fangirl moment, but a true fan moment!)

  9. barca96
    February 22, 2011

    Guys, check this out. Got this from another Barca fan.
    Credit to him.

    “This time they are going to use a different tactic – in order to make this move possible under FIFA regulations Fabregas’s father has had to change the family residence to the UK. Apparently, if Barcelona can prove that the family is not resident in London then the transfer would not be valid.”

    Two things that I learned from this.
    – Arsenal is one dirty ….
    – Cesc’s Dad wanted it as much as Arsenal judging from his actions to change the family residence. But now he wants his son back here.

    The article can be found here.
    http://www.arseweb.org/www/newsreel//t2i1052.html

    • February 23, 2011

      From that same post:

      “By way of coincidence the Spanish under 17s are playing tonight against the USA for a place in the quarters of the world youth cup. Interestingly, the Yanks will be playing the 14 year old wonderkid Freddie Adu (who the red nosed one from Manchester is trying to get his boot throwing mits on). Who knows tonight might be the first installment of Cesc v Adu which by 2010 will be the Vieira v Keane of its day!”

      Heh.

  10. mei
    February 22, 2011

    Really appreciating the article tom. Pleasantly surprised by your insight in tactics/selection too.

    However i get kind of irked and lately we’ve had several writers pointing at the small squad and requesting new players.
    I will have to remind that, this notion includes a quite long list of requirements , each of which is fundamental for a player to work for us.
    And if he doesn’t , its not just thrown money in the toilet we are crying about, but involves so many more things that could actually hurt as more than solely financially(im talking to you tall uglyface)

    First of all , we cant bring in more than 2 players who can have general rotation time(one of which could be /become a starter eventually) and a squad player.
    Kind of like mascherano , afellay and adriano.

    Our system is a bitch to learn and even a tougher bitch to apply.

    It requires great work ethic , strong character , low attitude or simply avoiding public confrontations , learning the language , waiting for your chance and succeeding when you are presented with it.

    And its not even guaranteed that you will keep it going , even after the amount of time that is necessary for all this process to be completed(hello milito).
    So please , lets consider this a bit more before labeling the small squad a huge risk, and a foolish notion to begin with.
    Apart from the fact that the team has been out of this world until now, smashing record after record , maybe , just maybe maintaing a small squad is somewhat fundamental for it..

    • barca96
      February 23, 2011

      Nice article. I’m really saddened that Carmelo Anthony has joined the Knicks instead of the Lakers. Now I’m just hoping that the Lakers will make a move on Howard next year to partner Kobe.

      I didn’t get watch the NBA All Stars but how on earth did the West dominated the East? Most of the super stars are in the East.

  11. Eklavya
    February 23, 2011

    Random but interesting:

    I was typing “Barcelona Football Blog” on Google, and it gave me 3 instant options (you know, the think that pops down with options to choose from):

    1. Barcelona Football blog
    2. Barcelona Football blogger (hint?)
    3. Barcelona Football blog Kevin 😀

    Pretty cool, huh? Kxevin is celebrity!

  12. blitzen
    February 23, 2011

    In other news, Blackpool spanked Tottenham yesterday. Yay! Ian Holloway must be chuffed.

    And I am eagerly awaiting the result of Stoke v. Arsenal!

  13. blitzen
    February 23, 2011

    On Barcelona and arrogance:

    http://twistedblood.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/my-love-is-bigger-than-your-love/

    Interestingly, he describes Barca’s style as anti-football, when we generally use that term to describe Mourinho-style defensive play:

    The characteristics of the style are, at heart, almost anti-football, at least in the sense that they are opposed to the fundamental dialectic of a match: one team competing another. By keeping the ball for so long, and pursuing it, when lost, with such fervour, Barcelona essentially deny the opposition the right to participate in the game, cutting off any competitiveness at source. We’ll play with the ball; you won’t.

    I suspect that possession football goes against the British notion of “fair play”, as in “It’s our turn to have it now”. As if the other team should just let you have the ball instead of you having to outwit them to get it back. It is a conflict between schoolyard niceties and deep-felt philosophy.

  14. Louis
    February 23, 2011

    Does amortization mean something different in Finance? Because in Accounting, amortization is depreciation, essentially, for intangibles.

    So what do you mean by amortization management?

  15. Lou
    February 23, 2011

    Interesting translation of an Sport article (I think) on totalbarca, which discusses the reasons for Jon Miquel Toral leaving the Barcelona academy for England.

    http://www.totalbarca.com/2011/analysis/analysis-the-reasons-behind-torals-decision/

    It seems like the player feels like his particular style is more suited to the Premier League, and that Arsenal has a better plan for him to progress to the first team quickly.

    It made me think of Jose’s comment a few posts back that while Barcelona may buy some players for their academy at 16 or 17 (see Puyol, Pedro, I think Busquets too) they at least usually spend a couple of years in the Junior teams being trained, where as Arsenal tends to buy talented 16 year olds and put them into the first team quite quickly, even if it is just for Carling Cup matches. (That’s my attempt to paraphrase what he said. Jose, please correct me if I’m twisting your words).

    It is interesting to see the differences between the way the two clubs deal with youth players. Barcelona relies on their “B” side to turn youth players into professionals, where as Arsenal youth players probably get more opportunities in Cup competitions (remember they have two league cups) and short loans to lower level clubs. So young Arsenal players feel like part of the first team earlier than at Barcelona.

    To put it another way, I have no doubt that if JDS, Thiago or Fontas were players at Arsenal they would get a lot more first team playing time. Part of that because Barcelona’s style is (in my opinion) much more demanding, but also because the pressure at Barcelona is much higher than at Arsenal. Pep is under enormous pressure to win every game, which makes him less inclined to rotate in youth players. If Arsenal draws or loses a game it’s not the end of the of the world: their rivals will drop points at some point too. If Barcelona draws a game they are in a “crisis”, and it could be damaging for their chances of winning the league.

    I think there are advantages and disadvantages to both systems for the players, but I can understand why purely for career reasons some young players would prefer the Arsenal system.

  16. February 23, 2011

    Sorry, but my brain is still reeling from the SoMa/somom convergence. Lordy!

    –Naming rights. I had a vituperative screed all ready, but decided to leave the floor for folks with more rationality.

    For those who don’t know, a 5m offer for naming rights to the Camp Nou was rejected, on virtue of being too low. (Hmmm, maybe I do feel a screed coming on.)

    Rationally, our club should be part of the modern world by leveraging its most important assets, right? After all, we’re in hock uo to our Blaugrana armpits, so much so that we aren’t going to be making any summer transfer purch …. oh, wait. We ARE!

    Then I’m outdone. Never mind.

    • soccermomof4
      February 23, 2011

      @ SoMa
      We had a convergenge! Cool! 😀

    • BA
      February 23, 2011

      the day the Camp Nou becomes the Camp Coca Cola™ is the day i hop onto a plane for el Prat, pitchfork in hand.

    • merge
      February 23, 2011

      Yes, I read it, and was mentally threatening “him”… You won’t dare, or else… (the worst you can imagine is not enough)

      I guess Rosell won’t do anything before uncle Flo sells EE’s stadium, and then he (Rosell) will get a much better offer anywhere else, just to rub it in Flo’s nose.

      Right now, it seems the next move is a new palau blaugrana named after a new sponsor (that means, no Palau Blaugrana anymore). I’m really sad…

  17. blitzen
    February 23, 2011

    From Tim Stannard’s la Liga Loca. Teh Ramos is always good for a laugh.

    Ramos was just as dotty and doolally after the match, with the defender lamenting the fact his team had failed to pick up all three points in the tie due to Lyon’s late equaliser through Bafétimbi Gomis. There is now a joke on the Spanish bit of the internet that ponders whether the befuddled Andalusian is still waiting for the second-leg of Spain’s World Cup Final clash against Holland to be played. That would certainly explain why Ramos hasn’t been all there for the past seven months.

    http://fourfourtwo.com/blogs/laligaloca/archive/2011/02/23/surprise-surprise-madridista-press-blame-the-ref-as-lyon-fight-back.aspx

  18. Josep
    February 23, 2011

    Wow Tom Johnson, your last two posts I couldn’t disagree any more with but this one is just spot on brilliant. What a great piece of writing, and extremely informative.

    1. On the notion of soccer in U.S.A. I too noticed that at a young age, (6-10 or so) a lot of kids play it. But then it starts to interfere with other more popular sports that kids and their friends play such as baseball so it drops off.
    Its also a different sport, and a “Mexican” sport here actually. Atleast on the south side of Chicago. White kids usually stop playing pretty early, and when I try to play at parks its usually Mexican kids who won’t let me play with them 🙁
    2. I got this from Backpagefootball.
    Below is a list of Messi’s personal honours for 2010:

    FIFA World Player of the Year
    FIFA Team of Year
    European Footballer of the Year – Ballon d’Or
    Onze d’Or
    UEFA Champions League Player of the Year
    UEFA Champions League Forward of the Year
    UEFA Champions League Top Scorer
    UEFA Team of the Year
    La Liga Player of the Year
    La Liga Striker of the Year
    La Liga Foreign Player of the Year
    La Liga Ibero-American of the Year
    FIFPro World Player of the Year
    FIFPro World XI
    FIFA Club World Cup Golden Ball
    Argentina Player of the Year
    Pichichi of the year 2009-2010
    European Golden Boot 2009-2010
    JESUS CHRIST.

    3. What happened to Madrid yesterday? If only Gomis would’ve put away that first chance! And does anyone know if Benzema celebrated? My stream cutout.

    • Vj
      February 23, 2011

      Benzema couldn’t.. He was engulfed with tighty whiteys before he could do something about it..

  19. Lev
    February 23, 2011

    Nothing against the good people of that country, and I admit that it does have a ring to it, but I would not like for us to play our home games in Camp Qatar.

    Rosell is embarassing us. First he sells out the shirt, and then the stadium? Why doesn’t he start by changing his own name to Sandro Nike? Maybe he can get us some money that way, too.

      • Lev
        February 23, 2011

        isn’t that what stadium sponsorship is about? Rosell turned down Qatar foundation because the offer is too low – that means he is listening to offers, right? Maybe I am just being paranoid.

  20. Josep
    February 23, 2011

    Oh man Toral, Pique, Shakira, myself and someone else on here all have the same birthday.

  21. Eklavya
    February 23, 2011

    How come we’re still at 60 comments? The activity here peaks at around 9:30-10:00 CET it seems (approx. when matches are finishing). 😐

    • Josep
      February 23, 2011

      Hah! I was wondering the same thing! I left the page untouched to read all the new comments like 5 hours ago and theres 2. :\

      • Eklavya
        February 23, 2011

        I know, its annoying to have the majority of comments pilling up after you’ve gone to bed. And if you’re on a holiday and have nothing much to do because your life sucks and has no meaning (sarcasm) then it’s too bad.

        Oh well, Inter vs Bayern starting soon. I guess the comments will start then (“hey someone gimme a stream!!1!!!1!”) 🙂

      • Mila
        February 23, 2011

        No game till the weekend 🙂

        We are usually quite noisy on the day before the game on any thread, not just the game preview 🙂

    • blitzen
      February 23, 2011

      I posted that above already. 😛

      • Vj
        February 23, 2011

        Yeah I saw that after I submitted my comment.. my bad..

    • blitzen
      February 23, 2011

      Someone was complaining about the lack of posts…I aim to please!

    • Jose
      February 23, 2011

      If you think I will entertain your posts after your comment on Shakira, you are sadly mistaken!!

      I await your reply.

      • Eklavya
        February 23, 2011

        I did feel it became ‘personal’ :D. Seriously, Shakira isn’t “it”. There are many more out there you know…

        • blitzen
          February 23, 2011

          I agree with Eklavya! Shakira does nothing for me. 😉

        • Jose
          February 23, 2011

          HAIKU

          There are more out there
          But none with hips so honest
          As that Shakira

          • Miguel
            February 23, 2011

            genius! this deserves its own post.

          • soccermomof4
            February 23, 2011

            A HAIKU for U

            Any man can write
            A Haiku you just stop at
            Seventeen sylla….

            JK, I know it’s more complicated than that! 😀

    • Josep
      February 23, 2011

      he shall hereforth be known as Moc Moc oon.

  22. mei
    February 23, 2011

    wth with bayerns wingers both of them have hit the post by now 😛

    • blitzen
      February 23, 2011

      Are you sure that’s not David Villa playing for them? 😀

      • mei
        February 23, 2011

        on both wings ? and hes a twoface as well?(one side bald other side scarface). God cambiasso is so useless in front of the goal line :p

  23. Mila
    February 23, 2011

    BBC in their live commentary is reporting that the general consensus on Cesc injury is that he felt a muscle and that he came off as a precaution…

    • blitzen
      February 23, 2011

      He is too busy worrying about whether to shave his beard or not to concentrate on the game.

      • mei
        February 23, 2011

        Nah its probably just pique tweeting something and hes aching to answer it! 😛

    • Eklavya
      February 23, 2011

      Excuse me, but he “felt” a muscle? I also feel muscules XD

  24. K_legit
    February 23, 2011

    Hey mods what’s with blitzen spamming eh?
    ban ban ban!

  25. Vj
    February 23, 2011

    Squeaky bum time at the San Siroespecially in the Bayern box..

  26. Vj
    February 23, 2011

    GOMMMMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!!!!!!

    • Miguel
      February 23, 2011

      i forgot about the sanctions against eklavya because of his shakira comments. my bad.

  27. Miguel
    February 23, 2011

    arsenal stoke cold wednesday night but not the real thing because it’s at the emirates is on right now, right?

    • Miguel
      February 23, 2011

      oh, it’s not being aired til right now. boo.

  28. soccermomof4
    February 23, 2011

    Things that make you go…..hmmmm?
    Bayern win 0-1 and take an away goal advantage, Man U draw and fail to get an away goal, Sevilla out of Europa on away goals, Arsenal beat Stoke 1-0 on a cold Wednesday night in …erm…north London(at least I’m assuming it was cold as Nasri was wearing gloves (what’s with wearing gloves if you’re gonna be wearing a short-sleeved jersey).

    • K_legit
      February 23, 2011

      That’s cause Nasri’s the spawn of the Evil Corn and Pierluigi Collina
      He’s Eevil I tells ya

    • Josep
      February 23, 2011

      don’t tread on that Bayern away goal… they can’t win on away goals. its important, but not as much as a 2-1 one is.

      • soccermomof4
        February 23, 2011

        Geez, Josep, now I’m depressed again. Don’t want to think about the 2-1 thing rignt now.

        and your avatar STILL scares the crap outta me!

        • soccermomof4
          February 23, 2011

          BTW, I’m guessing AHnold in Kindergarten Cop?

  29. K_legit
    February 23, 2011

    And imo (well its not like mo really matters anyway..to Geri boy at least :D) Shakira’s strictly bleh
    There I said it..someone had to

    • Miguel
      February 23, 2011

      what, you’ve never dated a 30-something belly dancer as a young man? 🙂

      don’t listen to anyone, geri.

      • K_legit
        February 23, 2011

        well as a young un’ (relatively) I dare say I have time to do so 😀

    • soccermomof4
      February 23, 2011

      He needs to find himself a nice normal Catalan girl, settle down and have a couple of talented baby footballers, and most importantly CONCENTRATE ON HIS FOOTBALL not on tweeting and ….um….other stuff!

    • Eklavya
      February 23, 2011

      See? Im not the only one! She has moves which are too weird for me. Apart from her singer celeb. status she’s average.

      • mega_tajh
        February 23, 2011

        Average?? wow I guess on a blog with so many different pople from all over the world you get complety different opinions but average she is not for a 34 year old

        • BA
          February 23, 2011

          Shakira and average shouldn’t even be in the same sentence together. the lady is stunning, megarich, megafamous, and quite sharp (doesn’t she speak 4 or 5 languages?).

          if anything little Geri is way out of his league, what with his big stupid pompadour and zany antics. someone needs to get a message to Shakira in private and tell her to make Pique focus on his football if he wants a shot.

          i nominate myself, but i make no guarantees on the actual content of said message.

    • blitzen
      February 23, 2011

      I agree with you even though you tried to have me banned. 🙁

  30. Eklavya
    February 23, 2011

    Oh and it seems Walcott is injured as well. Ankle sprain or something.

  31. Miguel
    February 23, 2011

    http://goal.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/23/europa-league-preview/
    “Quick show of hands: Who is going to duck out of work Thursday afternoon to catch the Europa League match between Villarreal and Napoli?

    No?

    You mean you aren’t willing to risk the wrath of your boss so you can watch a game (GolTV, 3 p.m. Eastern) featuring last year’s seventh-best team (No. 4 this season) in Spain’s La Liga and the six-place finisher in Italy’s Serie A (No. 2 this season)?

    Actually, yeah, we are probably going to miss that match, too.”

    -i know how much isaiah looooooves the europa league.

    • blitzen
      February 23, 2011

      I would watch it it if I didn’t have to work. I love the Yellow Submarine!

      • Vj
        February 23, 2011

        Villa will be able to play against Valencia next Wednesday night, despite having a court case in his home region in the morning. [rac1]

        via Pep @barcastuff

          • Vj
            February 24, 2011

            I prefer Vj, but Lord is fine with me too 😛

        • BarcaGirl_Indo
          February 23, 2011

          thank you, God…!

          and I hope Xavi will be fit for Valencia too…

    • merge
      February 23, 2011

      It’s all an EE plot, I tell you… 😛

        • BarcaGirl_Indo
          February 24, 2011

          from twitter :

          Shakira is a Madridista…a Madridista dating a Cule,
          and now the Cule is in bad form…

          this must be an EE conspiracy…
          there’s no way we’re wrong about this… 😛

  32. mega_tajh
    February 23, 2011

    Kari it seems your clone is at it again. Now spot her(him?!?!?) on the Madrid site and the Inter offside as well.

    • February 23, 2011

      Much abliged to ya, Tajh. I might have to post a public service annoucement if this keeps up…

      Also, I apparently no nothing about football. It was directed at my doppleganger but still stings for some reason 😀

  33. Jose
    February 23, 2011

    Shakira and average shouldn’t even be in the same sentence together. the lady is stunning, megarich, megafamous, and quite sharp (doesn’t she speak 4 or 5 languages?).

    This.

    And that:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Fg1iJr60kE

    From back in her old days, before she was polished for global exposure. Her songs made sense and damn what a voice.

    Eklayva, man, let me show you the error of your ways! 😛

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      February 23, 2011

      reply to soccermomof4 :

      “He needs to find himself a nice normal Catalan girl, settle down and have a couple of talented baby footballers, and most importantly CONCENTRATE ON HIS FOOTBALL not on tweeting and ….um….other stuff!”

      he had one… for two years or more (?)
      the one that he said stabilized his life (and maybe his performance), Nuria Tomas…
      a cute young non-famous Catalan girl…
      -http://img.poprosa.com/2010/06/pique-y-nuria-tomas.jpg-

      but well, in my girl pint of view,
      physically Shakira is much more attractive than Nuria… 😀

      and to Jose :
      yes, I like her voice, dance, face, and songs…
      from what I read, she’s an intelligent woman too…
      I wonder if Eklavya find Lagy Gaga is more attractive? 😀

      and why are we talking about this? :p

      • Jose
        February 23, 2011

        “and why are we talking about this?”

        jajaja, well…

        1) No midweek game 😛

        2) A comment Eklayva made a few days ago… it was *shocking*

        • BarcaGirl_Indo
          February 23, 2011

          and about Pique,
          after Time Force and Nike, (and Shakira)
          now his the new face of Mango…

          he’s living in a dream, everything is great for him,
          except his performance. duh!

          still waiting for Eklavya to comment again… 😉

    • blitzen
      February 23, 2011

      What a very poorly synched video! Also, as an Egyptologist, I find it insulting.

      It’s OK to have a crush on her, Jose, but please don’t delude yourself that she is a great artist.

      You want a voice? Let me introduce you to Annie Lennox. k.d. lang. Irma Thomas. Skunk Anansie.

      Nice hips, but anyone can learn that. 🙂

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        February 23, 2011

        “Nice hips, but anyone can learn that.”

        no, I can’t… LOL… 😀

        maybe she’s not the best artist out there..
        but still I have to agree with BA :
        “Shakira and average shouldn’t even be in the same sentence together”

      • Miguel
        February 23, 2011

        some chick i knew was really into umm kulthum.

      • Ryan
        February 23, 2011

        She has some really catchy songs(my fav. is Ciega, Sordomurda) and is gorgeous, that’s enough for me!

  34. BarcaGirl_Indo
    February 23, 2011

    I wonder if Cesc Fabregas will make his Camp Nou “debut” this year…

    Last year he was out for bad injury, and IF this year too,
    that might be a curse…
    he’s not allowed to touch Camp Nou pitch with another jersey…

    • barca96
      February 23, 2011

      Haha. That’s a funny way to put it.
      I would like to believe so, yes.
      He is destined not to enter the pitch wearing another team’s jersey.

      I don’t believe that he will be out of the match though.
      Surely, it was a just a minor thing and the match is still 2 weeks away.
      Plenty of time for him to recover.

      I for one wouldn’t love him like I love the other Barca player’s just for the fact that he celebrated his goal last year. I really can’t stand an ex-player celebrating a goal scored against his former team.
      I find it very disrespectful! He is my favorite non-Barca young player ever since he moved to Arsenal though.

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        February 23, 2011

        well, we’ll have the official report soon…

        If we have Puyol, Xavi, and Valdes back for clash against Arsenal,
        and no other player get injured,
        I hope Cesc will recover so both team fight in full strength…

        but if we miss some key players, (may God forbid that, please)
        it will help us a lot if their skipper cant play… 🙂

  35. Benj
    February 23, 2011

    OK just to stir up the old copperpot, anyone been reading about how we are selling Ibi for £9m?

    Apparently Liverpool want him, along with a bunch of others and wanna triple what Barca paid for him…..

    APPARENTLY he is disgruntled at not having enough playing time but for a player coming into Barcelona, but I’m thinking its a whole lot of the usual BS?

    • barca96
      February 23, 2011

      There is no way that he is that unhappy.
      He knew what he was getting into when he came here.
      Now, if they said that sMasch was disgruntled, then I would understand.
      An established player, experienced, captain of NT. But not a young player who barely made his mark his international football.
      He is still too humble for that…

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      February 23, 2011

      If I’m not wrong, that BS news came from British media?
      that says it all…

      you can see from Ibi’s face and interviews how much he’s happy to be a Barcelona player…

  36. February 23, 2011

    First, a third-party report from TotalBarca that Villa will miss the Valencia match due to a court date, and now worries about a story started by AS (yes, the defender-erasing, see, he WAS offside AS).

    Always consider the sources, folks.

    • Miguel
      February 23, 2011

      in the crackovia skit about the defender erasing one of the guys asked the other to draw boobs on dani alves. 🙂

      • blitzen
        February 23, 2011

        Now I’m going to have a nightmare about that. I hope you are happy.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      February 23, 2011

      are blitzen and blitzenTO the same person? 😀

        • BarcaGirl_Indo
          February 23, 2011

          duh! sorry, you just need to say no, blitzen…

          and your masquerade is safe…

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        February 23, 2011

        or “is” not “are”?

        whatever, my grammar is bad… 😛

    • mega_tajh
      February 23, 2011

      wait wait wait, Is that player for real!!!!! WOW!! The things people think of to get an edge over another!!

  37. K_legit
    February 24, 2011

    Where’s Jnice?
    Revista links needed 😀

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      February 24, 2011

      Where’s Jnice?

      He said he won’t show up until 2nd leg against Arsenal… 🙁

  38. BarcaGirl_Indo
    February 24, 2011

    @barcastuff
    Iniesta: “Toral to Arsenal? We should respect it, every situation is different. I always preferred to play 5 min here than 90 min elsewhere”

    Love him!

    • barca96
      February 24, 2011

      Classy!! Amazing..
      He really loves the club.
      No better way for him to put the words.

    • merge
      February 24, 2011

      Iniesta is class, so committed!
      I remember him saying once that he had never asked the club for a pay raise, just accepted what the club had given him.

      • Extreme barca fan
        February 24, 2011

        Iniesta is just wonderful, outside of barca fans,most people underrate him, he is a true gem and we r lucky to have him.

      • Humphrey Bogart
        February 24, 2011

        Oh, Don Andres, I just want to cuddle you to death, Spoken like the true phantastic person he is. Will wear my Iniesta jersey on saturday, because he will also be captain in a La Liga game from the start, for the first time.

  39. Nav
    February 24, 2011

    In the absence of Jnice here is the Revista De La Liga for 22-02-11

    *http://hotfile.com/dl/106806708/cc114c0/Revista_De_La_Liga_-_22-02-11.avi.html

    *http://www.fileserve.com/file/9dpES4Q/Revista De La Liga – 22-02-11.avi

    *http://bitshare.com/files/drduht8l/Revista-De-La-Liga—22-02-11.avi.html

    Credit to Pakman @ fbtz.com

      • Extreme barca fan
        February 24, 2011

        Maybe if Thiago is picked for the Mallorca game we will see Jnice

        thanks Nav for the links

  40. barca96
    February 24, 2011

    Thank God Bojan wouldn’t need to start for us against the mighty Valencia next week.

    “At the presentation of his new F50s in Barcelona today, Villa has said that he and the club made travel arrangements so that he could play against Valencia, despite having to make an appearance in court earlier in the day.”

    From westcoastcule.

  41. Nick
    February 24, 2011

    I would think it appropriate to mention Pique’s pace too, even when opposing such CFs as Llorente. We need competition for CB spots.

    • K_legit
      February 24, 2011

      Could we get Pique to get Zlatan on twitter and tweet so:
      @BANGS You no good fo’ us #getagrip

    • Lev
      February 24, 2011

      “”If you don’t have someone to motivate you then you don’t want to fight, this is why there are coaches. ”

      That’s funny…all the other players usually seem quite motivated and willing to fight under Pep. Me thinks his lack of motivation stemmed more from his inability / unwillingness to adapt to the team.

      “I would have killed for Jose Mourinho, for the motivation he gave me and for how he used to stimulate me.”

      Mourinho’s motivational techniques likely involved constantly reminding the great Swedish lamp that he was the light which illuminated San Siro, the star on which life and death depended.

      “With the other [Guardiola] there was football, but a coach must adapt his play to suit the players, especially after spending €70 million on one.”

      This is the one that really rubbed it in. We spent 70 million on a selfish jerk who believes so much in his own greatness that our team had to revolve around him.

      • barca96
        February 24, 2011

        He really thinks that he can come into this team and be the #1 does he? Perhaps all those rumors that he didn’t get along with Messi were true after all. But he really really thought that because he cost’s 70m, we have to adapt to him?Him? What makes him think that he is the best? Because of his price tag?

        I said this after we signed him amongst other things, he will talk shit about our club after he leaves us. That’s just how he is. Can’t believe a lot of people fell for that. Most of the Barca fans were in honey moon period when he was here.

    • Jim
      February 24, 2011

      You missed out the best bit, Blitzen.

      Ibrahimovic: ” You don’t buy him to sit and watch the birds in the trees.”

      Specially not when he’s playing Centre Forward at the time, mate 🙂

  42. Vj
    February 24, 2011

    Pinto: “Being in love is the best feeling one can have. That’s what’s happening with Pique. He’s very happy and that’s it.”

    via Pep @ barcastuff..

    He’s in trouble all right..

    • vicsoc
      February 24, 2011

      Seriously, nothing like love to impair a man’s (or woman’s) good sense.

  43. vicsoc
    February 24, 2011

    BS.com is reporting that we are joining the race for Vargas (from Fiorentina). Like the recent reports linking us with Bale and Vertonghen this should be taken with a grain of salt.

    The could be some truth to these rumors though – taken together they seem to indicate that a new left back is high on the agenda for this coming summer.

    • Josep
      February 24, 2011

      Rightfully so? I was upset we missed out on Urby. I like Vargas, I haven’t watched him this year but it seems he’s having an off season from what I’ve heard. He plays well moving forward with Jovetic coming in from the left… but Jovetic was hurt for a lot of the season this year.

      • Lev
        February 24, 2011

        Mmm are you talking about the same Urby who is currently watching the Milan games from the stands? The one who can’t get even close to being selected for the Dutch national team, even though LB is their weakest position? I wouldn’t be too upset about that – we are not exactly missing out there.

  44. barca96
    February 24, 2011

    Why has it been so quiet here since yesterday.
    Is there some problem for some of them to enter this site or to post anything or are they all just that busy?
    I’ve never seen it so quiet since the Offside days.
    It’s kinda worrying. Most of the posters are from Norht America, I haven’t heard any natural disaster(touch wood) there. The only thing of note going on there is that there is a new mayor in Chi-town. I kinda like him, Read about him in Time magazine.

    Anyways, come back guys!
    Or else Kxevin would need to make a post on how he hates VIlla and Bojan to attract readers. He he. Just kidding.

    • Josep
      February 24, 2011

      I know two weeks ago I couldn’t keep up with the 2-3 posts a day.
      I think its because theres no CDR or midweek match for us.

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