Day 0: I got a job at Villarato! Corp?!

(Hello. It is I, Kari, who is back from obscurity to give you something that will make you wish I’d disappear again. It is a series of short stories (I guess) to up your spirits. The below story follows a football journalist who has been given a job at a Marca/AS hybrid “company” called Villarato! Corp, and delves into the insanity that is the EE Spanish football media. Knowing me, it probably isn’t funny, and it won’t make you laugh, but it’ll at least give you something read)

Day 0 : The Day My Life Went To Hell.

“Dear Mr/s/whatever. Nunna Yor Business,

Congratulations!  You’ve got the job!

Formal training begins a week from today. The training will be overseen by me, personally. You don’t need to bring anything, except that noggin’ of course! Just go see the receptionist and sign in. She’ll direct you to my other office.

Don’t be late!

Yours sincerely,

Edxardo Ixda

Editor CEO of Villarato! Corporation”

I read it once, twice, three times, but I couldn’t find the joke anywhere. That must mean it wasn’t a joke.


A good friend of mine looked over my hunched shoulders to read the horrid letter. “But hey, isn’t this a good thing?” the naïve fool grins, “The pay there is ridiculously good!”

But he doesn’t understand. Of course he doesn’t understand; he wasn’t there yesterday.

A day prior…

This must be the place, I thought. Smack dab in the heart of Madrid lies Villarato! Corp. Strange name for a football newspaper, but the pay is good so who cares?

I walk to the reception desk. “Hola!” a pleasant lady smiles, “Welcome to Villarato! Corp. How may I help you?”

“I’m looking to apply here,” I say, handing her my resume—I thought that was a good idea. “Where do I go?”

She reads over the paper and gives me an odd look. “Are you a fan of The Royal Whites?”

The Royal Whites?” I repeat. “Err, I’m guessing you mean Real Madrid. Well, no. I’m a fan of football, like my resume says.”

The odd look turns into a flat-out glare. She slams the resume on the desk and turns it back to me. “Well, that’ll have to be fixed. Go down the hall, turn left and go into the furthest room. Come alone and leave all valuables here. And for the record,” she spits out, “it’s The Royal Whites.” She then gasps, as if remembering she was in a public place. With a beaming smile she says, “Good luck and have a nice afternoon!”

Unnerved by the sudden mood change(s), I quickly grab my resume and scurry down the hall, taking all my valuables with me. Opening the door at the end of the hall, I find myself staring at the back of a large leather chair behind an equally large mahogany desk. Flanked on the two sides of the chair are two plump men in black suits. They are both balding it seems.

“Greetings,” the voice on the other side of the chair says, “Welcome to Villarato! Corp.” The chair slowly turns around, revealing…

…this guy.

I don’t know whether to laugh or facepalm, so I answer, “Hi. I’m here to apply…but this seems more like a job interview than a place where I apply.”

Plump Man Number 1—I narrow my eyes to make out “T. Roncero” on his nametag—scoffs. “We don’t take applications. We go ahead and see if the person coming is good enough for us after talking to them.”

I raise a brow. Well, that’s weird. Generally companies—err, I mean, newspapers, look at your qualifications and experience and then, if you’re interesting enough, you get a call for a job interview. But I guess they skip the whole application process and go straight to the job interview. I wonder if there is a reason for that. I relay my question to the three men.

“There is no reason for it, it’s just our policy,” is my answer. Oh.

“So…” the man in the white chair begins. I look at his desk to find a name scratched out with yellow highlighter. Evidently the scratching out didn’t work, so the person settled for whiting out two of the letters and replacing them with an “X”. “EDXARDO IXDA” is the result.

I can’t help it; I have to ask.

“For confidentiality,” Mr. Ixda replies. “It’s a dangerous world when you’re the head of a company.”

“But you’re just a sports daily,” I point out. Three identical stares greet me. I stare at them back. This goes on for a while befor—oww! Gosh darn! Something just went into my eye.

While I’m getting the damned thing out of my eye, the three men converse quickly with each other in some unintelligible language—oh, it’s Spanish. Nevermind.

“Alright, senor/a. Just why exactly have you come here to Villarato! Corp.?” Plump Man Number 2, Alfredo Relaño, asks.

Ah! It’s The Question. I better answer this one smartly. “It’s one of the best newspa—I mean, companies in the world in terms of football. I hope to expand my horizons as well as my football knowledge by coming here”.

Ixda ponders this for a bit. “So it’s not for the money?”

“Well, the pay here is really enticing,” I admit. “But you know what they say: Money is the root of all evils and man needs roots!”

That seemed to impress them as they let out a bellowing laugh. I grin. I’ve got this job in the bag now.

Well, not yet I suppose.

“We’ve heard you’re a fan of football, though,” T. Roncero says, “What does that mean?”

“Erm, it means I like to see a nice style of play. Positive football, if you will. Free-flowing, attacking with lots of skill and technique…”

The men’s eyes narrow. “So does this mean you’re not a fan of The Royal Whites?”

Seeing the look in their eyes, I desperately try and backtrack. “No! No, no, no! Uh, I mean, yes! I love how Real—I mean, The Royal Whites play sometimes!” They stare at me blankly. “Actually, it just means I’m not a fan of any team.” I finish lamely.

“I see,” Ixda says. He beckons Roncero over and whispers something in his ear. Roncero nods and leaves the room, coming back with a white piece of paper. He hands it to me and I quickly read it over.

“Excuse my French, but what the hell is this?” I spit, holding out the piece of paper.

Roncero gives me a bored look. “You said that in English,” he points out stupidly, “And that is an application form.” He resists the urge to add “duh”.

I resist the urge to punch him in the face.

“I thought you didn’t do application forms.” I say through clenched teeth. Roncero rolls his eyes.

“You thought wrong. Fill out the form and we will or won’t contact you.”

“Please finish this form before you leave,” Plump Man Number #2 tells me. “There’s a pen on your left. Feel free to use the wall as support to write on.” I exhale loudly and stand. “Oh! And give it to me when you’re done. Kthanx!”

Just who the hell do these people think they are?! Fine. I’ll make sure they never contact me again. Who in the right mind would want to work in a place like this anyway? A newspaper of psychos!

Angrily grabbing the pen, I begin to fill out the form.



First Name:  Nunna

Middle Name: Yor

Last Name: Business

Street Address: 123 Nowhere Avenue

I have a __Master’s_______ degree in ____Jackassery_____

Are you eligible to work in Spain?

Yes ___X____ No_______

If you are under age 18, do you have an employment/age certificate?

Yes ___ No ___  Does not apply to me

Have you been convicted of or pleaded no contest to a felony within the last five years?

Yes___X____ No_______

If yes, please explain: For being criminally handsome and a serial heartbreaker

Answer the below in full sentences and as honestly as possible.

1.What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words “Real Madrid”?

There is an imposter Madrid?

2. What does “Late” mean to you?

Better late than never, but never late is better.

3.What does “Practice makes perfect” mean to you?

Practice makes perfect, but nobody’s perfect, so what’s the point of practicing?

4. Messi has never scored in England. How would you run a story/headline with that information?

Real Mad—I mean, The Royal Whites, better import those pitches because the soil evidently does a better job defending him than their defenders.

5. Jose Mourinho The Special One tells you that you’re the worst journalist he’s ever had the misfortune of meeting. What is your rebuttal?

I never argue with an idiot. They lower you to their level and beat you with experience.

6. Finally, when your team gets screwed over by referees what is your reaction?

It’s obviously the rival team’s fault.

Sign your name at the bottom of this paper. Don’t call us—we’ll come to you.

Que tengas un buen dia!

Villarato! Corp.

“Well,” my friend begins, breaking me out of my reverie. “At least it’s not the Daily Mail.”

I nod my head grimly in affirmation. “At least it’s not the Daily Mail.”


Day 1: Learning the Ropes at Villarato! Corp. Preview:

I hand the receptionist a piece of paper with my name on it.

“Oh, is that what your alias is?”

“How can it be my alias when it’s my real name?” I ask.

She just gives me a knowing smile.

I resist the urge to facepalm for the third time this week.

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Just your neighbourhood Barca fanatic


  1. mardia
    February 21, 2011

    HEEEEEEEEE. This entire thing had me cracking up, but this was probably my favorite line: “Real Mad—I mean, The Royal Whites, better import those pitches because the soil evidently does a better job defending him than their defenders.”

  2. soccermomof4
    February 21, 2011

    Nice, Kari! You’ve been learning from Isaiah? 😀

  3. merge
    February 21, 2011

    “There is an imposter Madrid”… love it! 🙂

    Hell of an effort put in there, brilliant idea, txhanx!

    Do you think dear Roncero speaks English, though, or just the Language of the (White) Empire?

    • February 22, 2011

      Nah, I just think he just fluent in jack@ss, with a nice handling of arsehole, so regardless of language, he’ll know how to be one.

      Then again I guess you can define the above as the Language of the White Empire as well.

      And thank you for the praise 🙂

  4. February 21, 2011

    good work, kari!

    stannard on the royal whites:

    “As has happened at the same time every year in Spain since that season, pompoms have been dusted off in the Madrid press with papers declaring that this is Real Madrid’s best chance of clinching La Décima – the tenth European Cup title that has been so elusive for the club ever since Zidane spanked in his wondrous effort against Bayern Leverkusen in Hampden Park in 2002.

    Some nine years later, after countless managers have been hired and fired, gazillions spent on Galacticos – and Tommy Gravesen – Real Madrid are once again praying for a bit of luck to see them through the cursed last sixteen stages of the Champions League, an achievement that even Villarreal have managed twice during Madrid’s unfortunate flop and farce-filled phase.”,17033,9405_6770515,00.html

  5. Dastardly Pale
    February 21, 2011

    Oh man, I loved the answers to questions 4 & 5!

  6. February 21, 2011

    and here’s a runofplay article on strikers or something:

    “Also, this kind of player fascinates spectators, on the sound Skinnerian principle of intermittent or variable-ratio reinforcement—the same principle that keeps people obsessively checking their email and Twitter feeds.”

  7. barca96
    February 21, 2011

    Nice article Kari.

    The pics of Pique and SHakira looks like they have been taken in late evening or even early morning. Just take a look at Pique’s eyes.
    Pique needs to send his car to a car wash!

    Will AS simply get away with those fake photoshopped publication? Or will they get fined? It is not something to be taken lightly.

  8. Nav
    February 21, 2011

    Spare a minute of your thoughts for the people of Christchurch, New Zealand. They were just with with a massive 6.3 richter earthquake in the middle of the day. 🙁

    • barca96
      February 21, 2011

      You’re in NZ too right?
      Which part?

      • Nav
        February 21, 2011

        I’m in Wellington, the capital city. The earthquake hit Christchurch, which I think is about 500km south of where I live — we felt it all the way over here. There is live rescue footage on TV and they’re pulling out bodies from collapsed buildings 🙁

        This is horrible. Christchurch was hit with a 7.1 earthquake August of last year and they were just recovering…

        • Lou
          February 21, 2011

          That’s so sad. I was in Christchurch last month. Such a beautiful city.

        • BarcaOwl
          February 21, 2011

          That’s terrible to hear, Nav. I was in Christchurch a few years back for a holiday. A very beautiful place. I hope everyone there will recover from this soon. Guess my geography is terrible but I never knew that New Zealand was earthquake prone.

        • February 21, 2011

          i know about earthquakes all too well. hope nobody here’s friends or family were affected.

        • vicsoc
          February 21, 2011

          I studied in Christchurch for six months and I loved the place. My heart goes out to all the Kiwis.

    • soccermomof4
      February 22, 2011

      Will keep the people of NZ in my prayers!

    • February 21, 2011

      Just Wenger, cradle robbing again. Sergi Samper said no because he has a shot at going somewhere with the club. Not true of Harper. And look, it worked out well for Fabregas, who wouldn’t have displaced Xavi or Iniesta, right?

      I just don’t see how Arsenal fans can sit around and claim any untoward behavior on the part of our club in the matter of Fabregas, when they’re doing this. I don’t particularly care, since the players that we want to keep, we will. But I just don’t see how one is right, and the other is wrong.

      • Jose
        February 21, 2011

        It’s not just that for me, Kxev. It’s the boast that Arsenal’s “doing it the right way” financially by “pumping out talented youngsters from their academy”. When really these youngsters are the promising young talent of the Erevidise, Ligue 1 and La Liga canteras, bought up at an age of 16-17, given a year in their academy before they’re starting in Cup matches. What an amazing academy that Wenger has set up.

        Whereas our canteranos often spend 4 or 5 years at La Masia before setting a competitive foot in the Camp Nou. And we mainly develop the youth of Catalunya and Spain (with some Latin American players).

        • Lou
          February 21, 2011

          To be fair Puyol and Pedro both joined at 17 didn’t they?

          I can’t be annoyed at Arsenal for trying to sign our players. All big clubs sign youth players from other clubs and Barca is no exception.

          The ones who want to stay and succeed at the club will do so. There are plenty of examples of La Masia products who have made it for them to look up to.

          As for those who want to leave, what does the club gain from holding on to players who would rather be elsewhere? Why should a 15 year old be forced to play at a club where doesn’t want to stay? Moving to London may be the wrong choice, but that’s a decision for the player and his family.

          • Jose
            February 21, 2011

            “To be fair Puyol and Pedro both joined at 17 didn’t they?”

            Yeah, but Puyol and Pedro both spent 4 years developing in La Masia before being promoted.

          • Extreme barca fan
            February 22, 2011

            Frankly i hate Arsenal; yes they play the passing game and they are the least English side, but still they are thiefs.
            In his 14 years as arsenal’s manager wenger didn’t win a single european title, evem before that they have 1 cup winners cup (1994) and 1 city fairs cup (1970) thats all.
            Also its not the job of the 1st team head coach to bring in players aged 15, 16 or 17 and turn them into proffesionals, thats the academy’s job.
            But what i hate most in wenger is that he brings players from outside England, i really dont like teams who dont have a majority of local players within their ranks (i hated van gaal a lot because of all the forigners he brought to the team).

        • barca96
          February 21, 2011

          I posted something on an Arsenal forum and look at the childish responses I got.

          “You’re such a pu$$y. You whine like a mule every time Arsenal bought Barca’s youth which is promising but still unproven, yet you come knocking on Arsenal’s door,bought some of our superstars ( too many to list out) with your cheapskate offer. Hey whats with the hypocrisy dude?”

          “LOL. if u cant retain ur kids, tat is ur prob. same case to ur wife. LOL ”

          “it’s totally up to the clubs to keep their kids. if u think they’re good enough, give them opportunity to shine.

          heck… we paid fee for cesc… merida… now this kid.”

          “We can come to get whoever they want if that player had no contract and willing to come over. Blame barca for having talents but unwilling to give them opportunities.”

          • February 21, 2011

            i know the solution!:

            alan tyers said it best in his article on fixing football a ways back. i may have already posted this on here…
            “As it stands, non-smoking is the enemy of breeding correct, technical footballers, and as such Wayne[Rooney] should be lauded, not criticised, for his holiday snout. Our third suggestion for fixing football, therefore, is that Every Premier League team must field at least four smokers per match.
            Because smokers can’t run around as much, the pace of the Premier League would inevitably be curtailed. No more death-or-glory runs from box-to-box midfielders, hiding players who are basically athletes not footballers, because they’ll all be too wheezy. Instead, English players will have to learn how to put their foot on the ball, while their heads stop spinning, and pick out a pass. The World Cup will inevitably follow within a few years.
            Obviously, there will be attempts to cheat, with clubs attempting to field social smokers, the ‘only after a few drinks brigade’, but with the resources and reach of the FA, this should be easy to counter. Random smoking tests will be introduced, with players forced to smoke a cigarette in front of officials at any time of day or night. Suspicious cases will be visited first thing in the morning, and made to bang in a coffin nail or two while drinking a mug of strong java: those rushing off immediately for an emergency sit-down will be easily identifiable as the part-time puffers. ”

  9. BarcaOwl
    February 21, 2011

    Thanks, Kari. The answers to the application form cracked me up. I’ll be looking forward to the next chapter. 😀

  10. Blow-Grenade
    February 22, 2011

    Love the application form.

  11. outerspacedout
    February 22, 2011

    Hehe. Funny. Also, am I the only person on this forum 19 or below? If you are and you’ve ever laughed at any of my very lame jokes pls say so. I’m having a random bummed-out moment over how the only ppl I seem to end up hanging out with and the only ppl who don’t just stare at me weird wen I try tell a joke are like in their twenties, I want SOME contact with ppl my age even if its just here lol.

    Being bummed aside. Kari, this reminded me of the time I got an internship at Sky Sports. I had to manufacture Xavi interviews using a template and a database of words like ‘Fabregas’, ‘DNA’, ‘contemptuously’ and write objective articles such as ‘Why Barca Suck and Sunderland Would Finish Third in La Liga and Sprinklers’ and ‘Barcelona Think They Invented Football No We Did, also, Ovrebo, Diving Tapping-Up’.

    • barca96
      February 22, 2011

      Haha. I did laugh. The 2nd paragraph in particular.

    • Eklavya
      February 22, 2011

      Que? I find your jokes funny. Liked the lyrics comment and especially the Sky Sports’ Arsenal vs Barca: Top 10 comment! 🙂

    • justin
      February 22, 2011

      hey I’m 19 also. and i have laughed at some of your jokes.

  12. Eklavya
    February 22, 2011

    I never argue with an idiot. They lower you to their level and
    beat you with experience.

    HEY! You stole my favorite quote!! No fair!!! 😀 Where’s my hat tip?! Hallo?

  13. soccermomof4
    February 22, 2011

    Woke up to a world covered in that frozen white crap that I hate. The old white crap had just finished melting! Winter must end!

    Enjoy watching the other CL games today, y’all (Vive La France :-)).

    Oh, on another note, Arsenal plays Stoke tomorrow. Hmmm…….

    • outerspacedout
      February 22, 2011

      I thought that when you said ‘frozen white crap’ you meant EE.

      • soccermomof4
        February 22, 2011


        No not EE, just the 4-letter “s” word. Here’s hoping the French can conquer the Spanish today. I think I’ll make something French like quiche for dinner!

    • blitzen
      February 22, 2011

      Well if Stoke beats Arsenal today, I suppose we will have to bow our heads and recognize their god-given superiority. Maybe they could come over to Barcelona and teach us some of that brilliant long-ball stuff?

  14. outerspacedout
    February 22, 2011

    I’m supporting EE and Copenhagen today. I hate English team press more than I do EE.

    Ah my last night of visible stars. When I leave tomorrow Malaysia the city all of four stars are visible. Now I’m just gonna keep on being depressed on from the previous comment here, staring at the sky listening to Bella Luna. No more ocean and seashore and fresh sea air and sky that is actually pitch black not pinkish from the city lights, no more stars and actual vivid moonlight (not with diluted streetlight spill) and music wafting over from beach concerts. No more Maldivian girls with charcoal-sketchline figures and cascading hair, and cruise ships outside my window, or everyday-different over-ocean sunsets and island wind. On the plus side KL is a very nice city, it has actual cinemas and good restaurants, the other half of my family lives there in KL, great bookstores, tons of stuff to do, the ppl there and I get along better, and the percentage of guys wearing pink skinny jeans is much lower. But I’ll miss this place. I feel pre-homesick already. It’d be much better if KL was by the sea, the ocean is what most of us most miss when we leave. Man I feel so down right now. Hehe

    • mei
      February 22, 2011

      You hate English team press more than EE?
      Dude thats just wrong 😛

    • soccermomof4
      February 22, 2011

      EE are playing Lyon, a French team.

      • outerspacedout
        February 22, 2011

        Yeah I know. I just want more Spanish teams to go further than English. If Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs are out (I’m sure United won’t) and EE makes the quarters, Valencia meet an admittedly very good Shakhtar in the quarters and gets to the semis, and we win.. ah bliss

    • Roz
      February 22, 2011

      Agree with about hating english teams more then EE. The EPL fan boys I adore though. 😛

    • BarcaOwl
      February 22, 2011

      You’re coming back to Malaysia? Nice. 😀 The country could use more Barca supporters.

    • blaugranaDOOM
      February 22, 2011

      I imagine it’s tough. KL has some of the best variety of food for cheap. I also love that bird park that they have their, though I did get attacked by one ill tempered bird. Good luck. And in KL, you won’t get much la liga, but lots of PL.

  15. February 22, 2011

    @barcaowl Oooh, somone looks forward to something I write! *fist-put*

    @Eklavya: You get an eye-roll free of charge.

    In general statement on humor, it depends on a lot of different variables, including but not limited to age. It’s why the term “sense of humour” was coined. It’s different with everyone

    In fact, not everyone will find this funny. I was actually a bit worried it would just come off as long-winded and annoying. Why? Because I know what I find funny, but I dunno if it’s like that for everyone.

    • BarcaOwl
      February 22, 2011

      It might not be funny for all but I enjoyed reading it. So, we will we get more? 😀 I’m running out of good stuff to read since I finished that book.

    • Eklavya
      February 22, 2011

      Boo! I’d copyrighted that quote!

    • cliu
      February 23, 2011

      Rest assured, this as very funny! Thumbs up, don’t have time to comment more deeply than to say that you have comic flair, like many other authors on this blog. Which is why we keep coming back for more.

  16. Diego
    February 22, 2011

    Valdes telling Afellay to pass him the ball. HILARIOUS


    • barca96
      February 22, 2011

      Haha that was hilarious.
      It was posted already when you guys were denied Internet access though.

  17. Josep
    February 22, 2011

    RUMORS ARE Jon Toral’s agent is Pere Guardiola, Pep’s brother. Now I’d be lying if I said I knew a lot about Jon Toral but apparently he’s the stud of the youthiest youths. So, remember the name, we have another Cesc Merida potentially. And Sergi Samper was attempted to be picked up too and he refused.

    • Roz
      February 22, 2011

      You mean Samper was tapped up and he refused.

      • Josep
        February 22, 2011

        that seems to be exactly what I wrote?

  18. barca96
    February 22, 2011

    “Arsenal will pay Barcelona Cadete A player Toral a salary that is 35 times more than what Barcelona offered.”
    For sure the Arsenal fans will find a way to make it look good for them.
    Now they can’t say that Man City is spoiling the market and all cause they’re are doing the same, but to youngsters.

    Credit to barcastuff.

  19. blitzen
    February 22, 2011

    From barcastuff:

    Valdes is expected to make his come-back on 5 March against Zaragoza, or even on 2 March against Valencia.

    Good news!

  20. Josep
    February 22, 2011

    btw, am I the ONLY one who thought last match was the perfect match to give up a penalty? Well, I’d always prefer to not give one up. But when we did, I was somewhat confident because it was Pinto, he is good at saving them. alas, it wasn’t to be..

    • blitzen
      February 22, 2011

      What? Where are you seeing that?

      • Josep
        February 22, 2011

        There were reports out of the camp and the FCBarcelona twitter just confirmed it.

  21. mega_tajh
    February 22, 2011

    Yup Xavi is definiatley out for the next 2 La Liga games. Both games are away to Malloca and Valencia, in less than a week. Hope we can pull through without him!

    • vicsoc
      February 22, 2011

      It feels good to have Afellay at the moment doesn’t it

      • mega_tajh
        February 22, 2011

        It does but then again I would rather see Iniesta-Mash-Busquets midfield for away games such as Malloca, Busquets passing to me is up there with Xavi’s so I wouldn’t mind seeing him further up the field or even the likes of Keita being thrown somewhere in there.

        Affelay right not needs to gain some footing in home games right now,away games may be a little to soon for him.

    • February 22, 2011

      It’s on the Catalan side of the site, which is always updated more frequently and earlier than the English side.

      This means that our next match, against Mallorca, will feature no Xavi, and no Alves. Afellay will probably start, alongside Iniesta and Busquets, who will slide into that semi-Xavi role. That’s just my speculation, anyhow.

      Oh, and no Valdes, and maybe Puyol. Thank the heavens it’s Mallorca. Xavi and Valdes will also be out against Valencia, a potentially difficult away fixture, as well. Going to be interesting.

      You can also follow the club on the Twitters: fcbarcelona_cat

      • Josep
        February 22, 2011

        no masch as well, which means he can’t play DM and busquets in the xavi role..

        • mega_tajh
          February 22, 2011

          ??? Mash is suspended as well????

          • soccermomof4
            February 22, 2011

            Masche is only on 4 yellows.
            I have not seen that he is injured.

  22. blitzen
    February 22, 2011

    Dang! Well, he picked a good week for it. Let’s see, that means for Mallorca we will be without Xavi, Valdes, Dani, and likely Puyol. Mascherano too, I think? How many cards is he on? So the lineup could be something like:

    Adriano Pique Milito Abidal
    Afellay Busquets Iniesta
    Pedro Messi Villa

    Or he could start Keita or even Thiago (if available) instead of Afellay. Don’t think he will mess with the front line since we are missing so many other key players. I can’t see Bojan getting a look in unless we go up at least two goals early on.

    • mega_tajh
      February 22, 2011

      Bojan right now is in the dog house. He isn’t even 1st on the list of subs anymore.

    • February 22, 2011

      I like this lineup, but I would start Krkic to give Messi some rest, and take a chance that CT isn’t crap yet again. It’s Mallorca, but it’s in their house, which could make for a dangerous match.

    • blitzen
      February 22, 2011

      I expect to see a lot of B-teamers on the bench, too. Maybe we could give Fontas another run-out?

    • Extreme barca fan
      February 22, 2011

      This is a good lineup, milito needs to prove himself to pep, maybe if he does that he will play the Arsenal game.
      Also i think Keita is ahead of afellay so the midfield would be:
      busi iniesta Keita.
      just guessing

  23. February 22, 2011

    Barca are 5 points up in the league in February and down 2-1 in the CL after their first leg in the elimination round.

    And in their next match, they will have 13 first team players available (assumes Jeffren is still Jeffren)


    And of those 13 2 – Bojan and Milito – have been completely off form.

    Another player has been with the club for less than 2 months.

    And on top of all that the team is extremely tired – Messi in particular. He’s not only played non-stop for the past 3 years, but this season he is required to run even more than he has in the past as a false 9.

    Coming into this season with 19 first team players was a very large risk that is now coming back to haunt them.

    • February 22, 2011

      That should actually be 14 players not 13 but the point still stands.

      After this week their schedule gets very dense again and their have limited options on how to address the injuries, rest the players and compete.

      • mei
        February 22, 2011

        I dont get the idea of , well its february, injuries and suspensions kick in ; told you so about the small squad.
        These things will always happen at some point even if you got a 100 players squad.
        If milito and bojan were in form there would not be such talk. Its not about the selection of the size of the squad, but being unlucky with some players since they do not live up to expectations.
        It amazes me how spoiled we are.
        Guardiola has done brilliantly keeping in form and shape a small squad , and has won like over 90% of this seasons games without the bench really backing him up (expect for mascherano) at all. Yet we have to have more players.
        Like milito wasnt going to leave us in the winter transfer period because of lack of playing time.
        Since this bench is not being used by the coach to rest the first team, why on earth would someone bring in another player?

        • Humphrey Bogart
          February 22, 2011

          The problem is that if the bench players are played they disappoint and we drop points (like against Gijon) so Pep will go back to the first team to ensure victories. I think one problem when he rotates is that he is doing too much rotation in one game, maybe only one player per game so that there is not too much change and the riks too drop points is not that high.

          When we had Larsson we could always be sure that he would perform well coming from the bench, today if somebody is coming off the bench you can only close your eyes and hope there will be no disaster

    • Camero
      February 22, 2011

      Yes but we are quite well covered except for CB and that is partially peps fault for not playing Milito in earlier in the season. Our midfield is so deep that in covers for both attack and defense. Affelay and iniesta can play wings, and Busquets can play CB

      • February 22, 2011

        CB is the biggest problem. However, the Messi looks exahausted and Mallorca is a match where he likely shouldn’t play. Pedro also hasn’t looked as active as he usually is.

        But they cam into the season with 4 front line players, one of who was Bojan. Now that was highly influenced by the Ibrahimovic debacle occurring so late. But whatever the reason, nonetheless, they are extremely thin across the front line with very limited options now.

        Against Mallorca, Pep may have wanted to rest Messi and play Afellay at RW with Pedro on the left and Villa in the middle. With Xavi’s injury and Masch out, that becomes very difficult to do.

        You could play Keita, Iniesta and Busi in mid with Pedro, Villa and Afellay up front, but that’s a team that may struggle to score.

        Finally, when you are dressing 14 first team players during the time when the season really increases in intensity, then you almost literally have no margin for error at all.

        And additional injuries are always possible. As it is, Iniesta is playing with a bad shoulder and Pique may have plantar fascitis.

        • soccermomof4
          February 22, 2011

          If you think that Messi isn’t gonna play when he’s had almost a week off, well I have some swampland in Florida I’d like to sell you. Ofcourse he’s going to play. It’s what he does; it’s Pep’s MO. Without Xavi and with a makeshift back line we’ll need him to play anyway. 3 points is still 3 points. Yes, I know he needs rest. But you and I both know he’s not going to sit this one out. Villa will play also because he’s found his form and it would be foolish to mess with the momentum of it.

          Adriano, Pique, Milito, Maxwell
          Busi, Keita, Iniesta
          MVP ( mybe 3M or CT instead P)

          I wonder if 3M can become a FB?!

          • soccermomof4
            February 22, 2011

            Thiago should definately be called up in case we need him! Fontas as well.

          • soccermomof4
            February 22, 2011

            Oh, in the above lineup I guess I should’ve explained King Eric’s absense. I think Abidal needs rest also. Do it against Mallorca so he’ll be fresh against Valencia. He’s our monsterback not a machine and he needs some rest too.

        • Humphrey Bogart
          February 22, 2011

          Going with a small squad is always risky, but doing it when nearly half of your key players did play a whole WC campaign and your best player had to carry his whole team was downright foolish. We should be thankful that uptil know we had no major injuries (Puyol apart)

    • blitzen
      February 22, 2011

      RoSELL could hardly have started his term wailing about Laporta’s spending and the enormous BLACK HOLE OF DEBT he left behind, and then splashed out on several new players. Just wasn’t going to happen. Every team in the world has to deal with injuries and suspensions, and Barca is no exception. This is actually a reasonably good time for this to happen, if it has to.

      Our players are out for fairly mild injuries, and we have lots of talent on the B side we can draw on. Yes, we could definitely use another CB and a forward, but we are doing OK. I’m not worried about Mallorca, and we will have Dani, Masch, and maybe even Puyol back for the Valencia match.

      • soccermomof4
        February 22, 2011

        February sucks; I think you should put Hleb back up.

      • Humphrey Bogart
        February 22, 2011

        I am actualy quite worried about Mallorca: they are a force at home and they did nick a point when we were in a simalar state that we are now: tired and vulerable.

  24. Helge
    February 22, 2011


    What the effing hell is goin’ on?!? I HATE February!!!
    Just came back from a 10h-day at the university, and the first news I get to read is that Xavi will be out for 10 days 🙁 🙁 🙁

  25. Vj
    February 22, 2011

    I’d do this at Mallorca –

    Adriano Pique Abidal Maxi
    Iniesta Busquets Keita
    Pedro Messi Villa

    Thank God Xavi is out when we have no games in midweek..

  26. Humphrey Bogart
    February 22, 2011

    I think there are good signs as well. I just read Sid Lowes column on the guardian and listened to him on the Guardian podcast and in both he actualy stated that:

    1. Arsenal will destroy us in the 2nd leg
    2. EE are in a good position to nick the league title from us

    So in his opinion from being a top team to being a crap team took just two months. WOW But normaly it happens quite often the opposite of the things he predicts so there are more good signs.

    • beeeef
      February 22, 2011

      To me, the league always takes precedence over other competitions (maybe last year was an exception with the CL final being played at the Bernabeu).

      If we don’t end up winning the CL this year, honestly I don’t know how gutted I’ll be. It’s such a tough competition, with mistakes (VV at his near post), and some luck (Iniesta@stamford bridge) playing a big role in who ends up as European champion. Obviously with the caliber of players Barca boasts, we expect to raise the trophy again in May, but I prefer to be cautiously optimistic.

      However if we relinquish the La Liga lead and eventually the title to RM this season, I’ll be considerably more gutted. Considering our once 7 point lead, it would be a failure of epic proportions.

      As for the CdR, considering the opponent, and the fact that we made it to the final after considerable hard work, I fully expect this team to come out on top.

      Who wouldn’t be satisfied with a League/CdR double?

    • Nav
      February 22, 2011

      Good. I want more people in the media to doubt us and not over-hype the hell out of our teams. It’s simply not possible to live up to the media expectations that Barca built up over the past two months.

  27. beeeef
    February 22, 2011

    Kari, did you comment on the Arsenal page @theoffside about the Toral transfer? Judging from the comment I would assume that it’s an impersonator.

    Don’t know if you care, but just a little heads up.

    • February 22, 2011

      Nope. I haven’t been there–or anywhere but here for that matter–since the CL game.

      Don’t know why they’d pick me of all people to impersonate but thanks for the heads up, beeeef. Although, the name Kari is exclusively mine…

      Too bad the BritPress didn’t pick up on it though. “Kari of BFB goes to incite rage on Arsenal Offside. She falls short of tapping up Cesc Fabregas but sources tells us it’s still in her plans”.

      • February 22, 2011

        did your doppelganger end his statement with a “moc moc” or an “ohhhhhhhhhhhhh!?”

        • February 22, 2011

          No, but the comment was quite a sensible one, not one of those “ur a c*nt, tapping up our players n steeling otherz” troll kinds.

          Being vain and self-important, I think they wanted their comment to be taken seriously so they used my name.

  28. February 22, 2011

    arsenal v stoke on a cold wednesday night? oh my.

    no xavi? bummer. i expect to see busi alongside masche and abi as cb. thank heavens barca has such adaptable players.

    • soccermomof4
      February 22, 2011

      A cold Wednesday night, but in London not Stoke-on-Trent (which is further north) so it won’t be as cold as needed for a proper comparison. Barca v Stoke at the Gamper is the only way to settle this. It’s not like we’ll ever meet Stoke any other way.

    • Jose
      February 22, 2011

      I think they’ll be fine. I honestly think Mourinho is just the kind of influence they need to break that streak.

      Don’t get me wrong. I’d be delighted to see them fail. But I also wouldn’t be too down if they’d stop being an embarrassment for the league and actually went through. Preferably, they’d meet up with a Premiership side like ManU or Chelsea. ^_^

      I personally feel that EE losing at the final or being knocked out in the first stage is equivalent: not winning is not winning.

    • blitzen
      February 22, 2011

      Looks good, we should buy him back. 😉

  29. blitzen
    February 22, 2011

    OK, so we do have Mascherano available for the Mallorca game, which means we have the option to use Busi at CB. I don’t think Pep will go that route, though, unless he decides to take a chance on Busi & Milito at the back instead of Pique & Milito. Seems crazy, but I wouldn’t put it past him.

    Oh, and according to our website, Pedro has had only a single yellow card in all competitions this season! So have Keita, Bojan and Milito, but they haven’t played in almost every game like Pedro has. Pretty amazing.

    • Humphrey Bogart
      February 22, 2011

      Nah, Pedro is really not that type of player, I mean with his cute little smile

  30. Jim
    February 22, 2011

    Lot of negative waves here, folks. This team has had an incredible season so far and I remember on Revista way back in October Ballague putting forward the Barcelona thinking that they were going to peak round about both Clasicos and that their only real worry was the month of February when they expected problems. Absolutely spot on.

    However, February is almost gone. Fatigue goes after a week without playing. Messi will be raring to go for the next game and if he scores early on we’ll forget all about tiredness. The secret is to get ahead and then not make mistakes. It’ll speak volumes about Pep’s rating of Thiago to see if he gets any time during Xavi’s absence. My guess is not much time for him. I’d expect Iniesta to get the Xavi role which he is well capable of playing. However, the problem is then replacing Iniesta in the sense of someone to help the passing game but also carry a threat. Not sure we have anyone who can do that.

    We also need defenders who have good positional sense and discipline. For me that’s Maxwell at LB, Abidal at CB with Pique. I might be tempted to give Masch a chance at DM and push Busi forward into the Xaviniesta position but any time Masch starts we seem to struggle defensively. That is starting to seem to me like its not a coincidence.

  31. February 22, 2011

    FCK are losing to Chelsea already 😐 Anelka with the goal.

    26 min. into Lyon-EE and Gourcuff has covered 3.4km already! :O

  32. blitzen
    February 22, 2011

    Lyon haven’t conceded a goal at home since Dec.22nd. Hope today is not the day!

    • February 22, 2011

      I have not watched and so far EE hasn’t scored and my most hated EE player Ramos and Di(ve) Maria have been booked.

      I’m off to watch…paint dry.

    • Vj
      February 22, 2011

      Well well well.. Look who decided to do the honours today.. How much did Kari pay you for saying that?

        • Vj
          February 22, 2011

          Either I’m still reeling from the effects of today’s test or blitzen jinxed Lyon/EE’s opponents..

          • February 22, 2011

            Sorry, I couldn’t hear it over the BUT DE LYON cries.

  33. beeeef
    February 22, 2011

    Veetle links are going down left and right, but I still managed to watch most of the 1st half Lyon-EE game.

    RM haven’t managed much offensively at all, while Lyon have looked a little more dangerous with Bastos and Aly Cisshoko working that left side against Ramos. I can still see Madrid progressing, probably with a couple of goals in the return leg, but I don’t think that they’ll win it all.

    But man, this fixture brings back memories. Loved the Juninho-era OL team, and that fast-slowing attacking footy they played. Made a mockery of RM time and time again over the years.

    • February 22, 2011

      Veetle links are going down left and right

      I know, right?

      I’m so upset/pissed about that. I should get TVU again (Sopcast has never really worked for me)…

      But man, this fixture brings back memories. Loved the Juninho-era OL team, and that fast-slowing attacking footy they played. Made a mockery of RM time and time again over the years.

      True dat. I remember the good times…

      • beeeef
        February 22, 2011

        Good to see someone else appreciate how fun that team was to watch!

        Juninho was one of my favorite players back than, if not solely because of his FKs. Ronaldo who?

  34. February 22, 2011

    Bah. Anelka again. 0-2, and I guess Chelsea are in the QFs

  35. February 22, 2011

    not a good time to troll chelsea blogs.

    another for anelka, i hear.

  36. Roz
    February 22, 2011

    Bet clinic vs. bwin is still 0-0. Ramos hit the post twice.

  37. February 22, 2011

    This just in: Andy Gray has randomly started convulsing on the ground and is currently being treated by medical professionals. Authorities are unclear as to what the cause was, but the sudden attack is believed to have been triggered by a tweet on popular social networking site Twitter.

    On Saturday 5 March, in the game vs Zaragoza, Barcelona’s presidential box will be entirely occupied by women [barcastuff]

  38. February 22, 2011

    Too bad Lyon could get the remontada…but I’ll take 1-1!

  39. gowtham
    February 22, 2011

    anyone have links to revista de la liga???

  40. Helge
    February 22, 2011

    btw, I don’t know why people seem to take Mallorca lightly this season. At their own ground, they are still a decent team. They’ve lost 3, drawn 2 and won 7. But they’ve only conceded 8 goals, that is the 3rd-best defence. 4 of those 8 goals came some weeks ago in their match against Sporting Gijon. That leaves 4 goals in 11 home matches.
    And Kxevin, you seriously think about resting Messi, when there’s already no Xavi, no Puyol, no Dani Alves?!?
    Mind you, Real Madrid played 0-0 on the Balearic Island. I feel that Mallorca will be a more difficult match than Valencia, Mallorca will sit back, defend and try to hit us on the counter with N’Sue. You know that guy that scored the equalizer in the Camp Nou…
    Looking back to that match, I just realized that we had to play Mallorca without Puyol, Xavi and David Villa. Bojan Krkic actually played the whole 90 min. against them! How lucky they are 🙂

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      February 22, 2011

      I think when they said it’s “just” Mallorca,
      doesn’t mean Mallorca will be an easy opponent and take them lightly…

      but thank heaven it’s “just” Mallorca,
      not Villareal, EE, or Arsenal… right? 😉

      and that kid Jon Miquel Toral Harper,
      he’s cute… in 5-7 years, let’s take him home… 😀

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