Here at last: Mallorca-Barca Liveblog

Join me for a hastily thrown together LiveBlog. Sorry for the delay–I had a life to attend to—but that’s taken a backseat for the game!

Mallorca-Barca

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Just your neighbourhood Barca fanatic

241 Comments

  1. Miguel
    February 26, 2011

    woooo!

  2. Jose
    February 26, 2011

    FT 0-0 😀

  3. Ryan
    February 26, 2011

    Game!

  4. Helge
    February 26, 2011

    YEAAAAAAH!!!! 😀

    I LOVE Benzema, I actually sometimes think that he is playing for us 😀

  5. ade
    February 26, 2011

    YEEEEEEAH!

  6. February 26, 2011

    YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!

  7. blitzen
    February 26, 2011

    Who wants to bet Benzema gets benched for the next match?

  8. Nav
    February 26, 2011

    SEVEN POINTS LADIES AND GENTS

  9. BA
    February 26, 2011

    WHOO HOO.

    that puts us 3 games up. surely we can’t lose the league now…

    !?

  10. Eklavya
    February 26, 2011

    OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH MOC MOC!!!!!! 7 Points baby b*tches!!!!! WOOT WOOT!!! 😀

  11. Pyro
    February 26, 2011

    Pinchazo del Madrid! what a good weekend to end Hlebruary. Don’t you think?

    • Nav
      February 26, 2011

      Today’s been a good day.

  12. jordi™
    February 26, 2011

    Heh we should all buy Benz a drink.Mou must feel foolish comparing him to one DAvid Villa Marvilla now.

  13. blaunero
    February 26, 2011

    Depor were most fortunate. But I’ll take the 7pt lead anytime.
    This isn’t over. There are still to come four really touch away games, @Valencia, @Sevilla, @Villarreal, and @Madrid. And remember 2007.

  14. February 26, 2011

    I can’t believe Benzema missed that chance on the Depor doorstep. On the last day of Hlebruary, we Hleb them 😀

  15. Blow-Grenade
    February 26, 2011

    I think I just got Hlebed!!! Benzema is a Cule in a white shirt.

  16. Vj
    February 26, 2011

    All’s well again!! Now, for Valencia, Zaragoza and then REVENGE!!!

  17. jordi™
    February 26, 2011

    Because im so reckless, im gonna bet on Mou moaning about something.Thats really going out on a limb by me huh?

    • Ryan
      February 26, 2011

      It’s those darned goalposts! They keep getting in the way!

  18. February 26, 2011

    Guardiola: “Abidal is getting better in the attacking part which makes it more difficult for the opponent to stop us.”

    Ain’t that the truth? He used to be terrible!

    • Blow-Grenade
      February 26, 2011

      Abidal has been a rock in our side this year.

      • Vj
        February 26, 2011

        That came out weird. 🙂 Too similar to ‘thorn in our side’..

        Agree with the sentiment though. Abi is a Rockstar!!

  19. February 26, 2011

    Playing Kaka rather than Di Maria was an tactical mistake by Mou Mou.

    De Por was vulnerable to pace off the flanks on both sides. Not having Di Maria out there to pressure the flank opposite C. Ronaldo’s made the pitch smaller and easier for Depor to defend.

    Having Kaka on the pitch forced Ozil even wider onto the wing and removed him even more from the middle. Ozil was terrific this match but he’s not a player that is going to look to beat players off pace. He’s going to pass first. When he spends too much time wide he’s not as involved in directing play.

    And this match really may have been the death knell for Benzema in Madrid. He is going to get skewered for this and it will be very difficult to recover.

    On the whole Benzema gets made a scape goat – but he should have won them this game twice.

    7 points. And RM still have a very difficult schedule on the road coming.

    • Miguel
      February 26, 2011

      yeah, what euler said.

    • Helge
      February 26, 2011

      On the other hand, Benzema probably saved Real from elimination against Lyon. I mean, maybe Real will win 3-0, but I think if they had lost the 1st leg 1-0, the chances of Lyon proceeding to the next round would have been about 65%. Now, it’s down to 35%.

      • February 26, 2011

        I agree with that. As I said – benzema gets a bad wrap there.

        I just think memories are going to be extremely short and this match will make Lyon leg 1 a distant memory.

        Benzema is going to get crushed for this match. Just when RM was being positive about getting back in the league. Down to 5 points, Barca in a “crisis, etc., etc. the lead goes back to 7 points.

        And 7 points at the end of February is much more difficult to over come than 7 points at the beginning of February.

        This match may be the tipping point for Benzema in Madrid.

    • Para
      February 26, 2011

      Does anyone know what matches RM have coming up?

      • Nav
        February 26, 2011

        March 3rd, Malaga @ Real Madrid
        March 7th, Real Madrid @ Santander
        March 14th, Hercules @ Real Madrid
        March 17th, Lyon @ Real Madrid
        March 21, Real Madrid @ Atletico

        If you haven’t already I’d recommend you get google ‘interesting calendars’ for all the teams you’re interested in.

  20. Jim
    February 26, 2011

    And no goal for Ronaldo 🙁

    • Ryan
      February 26, 2011

      Wouldn’t it be amazing if Villa snags 2nd place from him? 😀

  21. Eklavya
    February 26, 2011

    Benzema must have drunk Blitzen’s beer at half time thats why he missed that chance LOL

    • February 26, 2011

      Benzema ate too many peanuts.

      • Eklavya
        February 26, 2011

        That’s even better! 😀
        Peanuts now not only have the power to make goals for us but to make EE players miss sitters! Further tests are required to prove this theory but al signs lead towards it.

    • Miguel
      February 26, 2011

      i would’ve drank it but i took a nap.

  22. Eklavya
    February 26, 2011

    Is Marca site still working? 😀

  23. Eklavya
    February 26, 2011

    Now I can sleep in peace.

  24. Nav
    February 26, 2011

    Question: do you guys think we should rest some key players (Messi, Pedro, Iniesta) for the Valencia or Zaragoza game to prepare them for the Arsenal game? With 7 points clear we do have a bit of room for movement in the Liga.

    • February 26, 2011

      I would rest players against Zargoza. They should be able to win that match clear even with playing some players off the bench.

      In particular – I’d take it easy on Xavi. They are going to need him against Arsenal’s pressing. Play Keita or Afellay in midfield.

      • Nav
        February 26, 2011

        I’d also take it easy on Messi and possibly Pedro. We’ve all noticed how tired Messi has been of late, and Pedro is not at his smoothest either.

        Someone above posted that Pep asked Messi if he wanted to be subbed and Messi said no. WTH

      • February 26, 2011

        I’d like them to get Messi some rest as well. But I’ve given up.

        He’s running even more this season than he has in the past. Him being tired was a major reason why they lost the first leg against Arsenal.

        Finally, I love Pep. But asking a great, great competitor if he wants to leave a game isn’t a any way to manage fatigue. Great players are never going to want to leave. They have to be pulled.

        If Phil Jackson asked Michael Jordan do you want to sit the game is well in hand, Jordan would have just said no.

        Same thing happens in American Baseball all the time. Pitchers almost never say their arms are tired from throwing the ball. The manager has to take the ball from them.

        Just pull Messi from the match. It’s not his decision. Nor it is his responsibility. It’s the managers.

        Asking him is just playing pretend. You know what the answer is going to be before he even opens his mouth.

      • Jim
        February 26, 2011

        Agreed.

      • Nav
        February 26, 2011

        I’m sure Villa and Pedro and Iniesta don’t like to be subbed either, but Pep doesn’t ask them — he makes them. So why the

        The only thing I can think of is Pep thinks Messi’s performance will suffer if he doesn’t get to play the full 90. I remember Pep mentioning something about ‘rhythm’ a fair while back so maybe that’s tied into it too.

      • Jose
        February 26, 2011

        Yeah, that’s what strikes me as so worrying about Pep’s attitude with Messi’s playing time.

        In baseball, no pitcher worth his salt ever admits to being done for the game. The manager has to tell him to get off the mound (usually with some half-hearted complaint from the pitcher) when he notices that his arm is getting tired. The pitcher will never ask to be taken out.

        Pep needs to start taking a similar line with Messi…

    • Jose
      February 26, 2011

      This is absolutely MASSIVE. That cushion we built in our treble year was critical to our success. This is, as MARCA states, a gift to Barca in the form of many more minutes of tranquility.

      Being able to rest players for league matches should help us with Arsenal… and hopefully it will prove helpful in later rounds of the CL, should we make it there.

    • blaunero
      February 26, 2011

      We had better rest players vs Zaragozza, but Valencia will be a tough nut to crack and we need our best players. Incidentally Guardiola has never beaten Valencia at the Mestalla, but with this 7pt lead we don’t have to.

      • Nav
        February 26, 2011

        A win against Valencia and a loss/draw against Zaragoza is the same as a loss/draw against Valencia and a win against Zaragoza. Either way, we need to start thinking about resting our key players and now is the best time with the cushion that we have.

    • mega_tajh
      February 26, 2011

      Most certainly rest against Zaragoza at home so we can go all out for Valencia and gain more points over Madrid.

  25. Miguel
    February 26, 2011

    listen to these backhanded compliments:
    Guardiola: “Pedro goal? Even if he’s not playing well, his hard work and movements are important for us.”

    Guardiola: “Abidal is an example that you’re never too old to keep on learning and making progress.”

  26. mega_tajh
    February 26, 2011

    Hey guys do anyone here have videos or highlights of the Barca B game? I just read they won 6-4???

  27. Miguel
    February 26, 2011

    ontd is reporting that ashley cole shot a fan at training. any truth to this?

    • Ryan
      February 26, 2011

      BS.com is reporting it as well.

    • Miguel
      February 26, 2011

      or a staff member or somebody.

    • Para
      February 26, 2011

      I think it first came out in News of the World as an ‘exclusive’ that’s supposed to be fully revealed tomorrow (or something like that). On that site it kind of vaguely makes it sound like he was horsing around (yes, with a gun), and shot someone who was either a fan or a member of the backroom staff.

      (Also, totally love that you are now getting news from ontd ^^)

      • Miguel
        February 26, 2011

        just keeping myself well informed. 😉

      • Miguel
        February 26, 2011

        i pictured him going postal on his wife & john terry or something. boring.

  28. February 26, 2011

    Pedro also looks like he might be injured. He was clutching his back early and then wasn’t moving well. Looked stiff.

    He’s another player that should be rested prior to the match with Arsenal.

    This team has a real chance to win the treble. That opportunity comes along so infrequently for any club.

    A big key to doing so will be how Pep manages the player’s minutes against the need to win individual matches.

    With a small squad, all of the players need to perform at a high level.

    The squad needs Afellay, Masch and Bojan to play well.

    Bojan is the one I’m most concerned about. Very difficult to win the treble with 3 forwards + Afellay as a sub on the wing given he’s new to the club and that’s not his natural position.

    • Humphrey Bogart
      February 26, 2011

      Agree with regards to Bojan. I think Pep and we all supposed he would continue his good form from the end of last season, so no need for a back-up striker. Now we are in a dead alley. We need to win every game, so we can hardly rest our MVP if not to risk any points, they are tired but we have no impact subs/replacements and they have to play to avoid losing points ant they get more tired, .

  29. Vj
    February 26, 2011

    Good things happen when Kari turns the TV off and sits down to study..

    • mega_tajh
      February 26, 2011

      lol Yes!!! She should do it more often!

      • Vj
        February 26, 2011

        She’s gonna be even happier once she finds out about the siete puntos!

  30. mega_tajh
    February 26, 2011

    Regarding Jim on his Maxwell defense. At first viewing I remember sometime in the 1st half I believe the ball was in the air and Maxwell watched it floating instead of trying to out jump his marker. The ball passed Maxwell with an on-running attacker only for Abidal to come in and save him by clearing the ball if memory serves. I have to double check but one thing,his attacking today was much better than other days

  31. PhepheSa
    February 26, 2011

    “Marca preparing headline that Deportivo’s right goal post is a life-long Barcelona fan.” @LaLigaLoca

    LOL

    • Vj
      February 26, 2011

      EPIC!!!! ??

  32. blitzen
    February 26, 2011

    Barcastuff:

    After 25 Liga games, Messi-Villa-Pedro (56) have scored more goals than the whole team of Real Madrid (55)

    WOW! 😀

  33. blitzen
    February 26, 2011

    Now THIS is funny. From Mourinho:

    ”We played against one goalkeeper and 10 defenders for the second half. Only one team played to win. The other played to exhaustion and defended and they won the prize. We, who tried to win, are penalised for this.” he vehemently added.

    Of ALL people to say this! How can he even keep a straight face?!? LOL!!!!!! 😛

    • Para
      February 26, 2011

      I was surprised they played on Saturday though, particularly seeing as we played on Sunday after the arsenal match…and then I remembered that their match in Lyon was on tuesday, not wednesday, and told him to suck it up in my head.

    • blitzen
      February 26, 2011

      ”It is not normal that after a European game we are made to play on Saturday. This is not the first time. They do what they want and that’s that. They just sit back and laugh at me.

      “I do not know what would have happened if we had played on Sunday but it would have been fairer. We would have taken a day off to get over the tiredness. Ask the experts in biochemistry and sports physiology. They know what they are doing,” he boldly articulated.

      Um, hello? You played your CL game on Tuesday, not Wednesday. So you had an extra day to rest. Barcelona played their game against Arsenal on a Wednesday, then played Bilbao on Sunday. Same number of days between matches, and no one from Barca complained.

    • February 26, 2011

      “Deportivo practically didn’t touch the ball in the second half and we played against a goalkeeper and ten defenders. All that matters is the outcome, but I cannot criticize my players. One team played to win and the other worked very hard to take one point. The team that was after the point got what it wanted. I think it would have been fair had the match ended 0-1.

      “Deportivo can play however they want. I have nothing to say in that respect. I am sure they are pleased with the point. They played their match and worked hard. If they play this way in every match, I am sure they would be competing for a Europa League spot. Hats off to them, but there is no comparison with other matches.”

      http://www.realmadrid.com/cs/Satellite/en/1330044176138/noticia/Noticia/_We_tried_everything_possible_.htm

      You are better than using goal, blitzen.

      • blitzen
        February 26, 2011

        🙁

      • February 26, 2011

        For what its worth, i think he nags too much 😉

      • February 26, 2011

        LOL

      • blitzen
        February 26, 2011

        I would say “whines” instead of nags, but YMMV. 😛

        I hate to admit this, but I kind of feel sorry for Benzema. He is going to be the scapegoat again for that huge miss, when really the entire team failed to crack Depor’s defense. Even Messi misses a wide-open goal on occasion (see our last match).

      • February 26, 2011

        EE didn’t play badly. Their finishing was pretty bad, particular Benzema (Higuain will get more love when he comes back, so there’s a positive already), but they created a multitude of chances which is always positive. Given the bad form at that stadium (El Riazor) and pretty sketchy away record (goal-wise) and it’s not really all the surprising you didn’t win.

        Liga is far from over; one slip up from us and it’s back to 5 again. It is nice to have some breathing room though.

      • February 26, 2011

        Was this result surprising? I dont think so. It wasn’t deserved, since we had so many chances to finish, but we failed were it matters most. Also, that effing bar has been haunting us these past two games. (5 posts in 2 games).

        The first mistake that was done this game was the starting lineup. Why start Kaka over Di Maria or a winger is something i dont know. Depor play a very compact midfield that there was no way of going through in the middle. The pace of a player like Di Maria would have caught the depor full backs for good, as what happened when he went in.

        The second mistake was starting Ronaldo. Ronaldo was injured and had one training session before the game. He was clearly off pace in the game and was afraid of getting into contact with the defenders. Mourinho needs to grow a pair and try and rest/not be so dependent on Ronaldo.

        The third one is Benzema. This guy is a mystery. Its not that he missed those chances, but its that he just seems like he doesn’t want to play. Too slow to react to the ball, lazy when the ball is with him and just wasteful. A team needs more than one outlet to score. Last year, we had both Pipita and Ronaldo scoring 27 and 26 goals respectively. With Pipita injured, we lost a big source of goals. Imagine your team without Villa for example. There goes about 17 goals from your goal tally, which is a big hit. You would think with Benzema with us, we would have that covered, but it just seems like spanish football is not his game. Anyways, we have Morata in the Castilla just waiting to be promoted, and him and Higuain will be good cover. I am all for giving Benzema time to play, but it just seems like he doesnt care, which is much worse than talent. Pep said that even if Pedro is not in form, he still works hard. Well, benzema is in neither, which is troubling.

        Kari, your doubleganger is still lurking. Feel flattered/upset!

      • February 26, 2011

        But in that way (wasteful, lazy at times, slow to react to the ball) he is like Villa is during his frustrating moments.

        Benzema has talent. He seems to have motivation problems. Worse, he doesn’t seem to care, which I assume is an inaccurate perception on my part.

      • February 26, 2011

        I feel more upset than flattered right now. Can’t you just wait a bit before trolling a blog? Just ignore them.

      • February 26, 2011

        The les blues fan in you speaks right now, Kxevin. We have had this discussion over and over again at my blog. When compared to Higuain, Benzema has more skills (better first touch, better control, better passing) but Higuain has more heart and dedication (runs his socks off, very fast, off the ball movement is great, good striking instincts).

        The problem with Benzema is that he is used to being the center of the attack. The player the team aims to pass to as he was a big fish in a medium pond back in Lyon (Maybe better explanation is the Big Dog). At Madrid, he is just one of many many super stars. Has this been playing against him (add the scandal about the underage prostitute)? Probably. Maybe he just doesn’t fit the system that is being built at the club (ala Zlatan).

        I wouldn’t say he doesnt care since he loves Madrid. He said its his dream to play here (every player says that right?). But part of it is true. When he was 15, he asked the Lyon president to get him a signed Ronaldo Real Madrid shirt from when we went to play Lyon. I think he lacks the mentality to handle such high profile job. In the end, strikers at Barcelona and Madrid gets scrutinized more than anyone else. Not everyone is up for the job.

      • PhepheSa
        February 26, 2011

        I know Goal.com is BS but isn’t he still complaining that the other team didn’t play to win? I don’t think he should even be mentioning that cos he sounds like a bad loser(i know it was a draw but since draws are the new loses for the big two…)

        He should know better than to think other small teams will will come out and attack against Barca or EE. I remember us being told to suck it up and stop complaining about anti football. Atleast we were complaining about big teams(Inter, Chelsea, United) playing anti football not the small ones because that’s the only way they are guaranteed to get a point agains us and EE. So maybe he shouldn’t talk about things like that after such a match cos how else is a team struggling like Depor are supposed to get a point against us and EE other than parking a bus.

      • PhepheSa
        February 26, 2011

        My post was for Bassam btw.

      • February 26, 2011

        As i said above, I am not a fan of excuses. In the last minute, a shot from Granero hit the arm of a depor player in the penalty box, but there was no call. Big woop. It happens. You have calls that go for you and ones that go against you, its part of the game. Most Madrid fans hate how he spends around 10 minutes each press conference talking about this stuff.

        As for his comments, i didn’t find them hypocritical much. What happens in these things is that he is asked this question: What did you think of Depor parking the bus?

        He answers with:

        “Deportivo practically didn’t touch the ball in the second half and we played against a goalkeeper and ten defenders. All that matters is the outcome, but I cannot criticize my players. One team played to win and the other worked very hard to take one point. The team that was after the point got what it wanted. I think it would have been fair had the match ended 0-1.

        “Deportivo can play however they want. I have nothing to say in that respect. I am sure they are pleased with the point. They played their match and worked hard. If they play this way in every match, I am sure they would be competing for a Europa League spot. Hats off to them, but there is no comparison with other matches.”

        For me, he didn’t say they played anti football. He actually said they can play however they want. And he actually congratulated them on the point and hard work.

        I know where this stems from, and it comes from the Inter game last season. But here is the thing, Depor was playing to get one point, and the best strategy is to park the bus. We were playing to win, and the best strategy is to attack. Inter wanted to avoid defeat, they parked the bus. With a team that is less talented than that of Barcelona’s, this is a good strategy to get you what you want. Is it the best one to use? Many will say yes since if you try to play Barca, they can kill you. Inter were good at defending, so they defended. You are good at keeping possession, so you keep possession. In the end, teams play to their strengths. Mourinho doesn’t want to leave a legacy or a playing style at Inter, he wanted to get silverware. This is different from what Pep does. Inter fans dont demand good football, Real Madrid and Barca fans demand that. Thats why its hard to see us parking the bus.

    • blaunero
      February 26, 2011

      It’s funny because Mourinho never shies away from defending with 10 men when he has to. We know something about that. And of course he has completely forgotten how when facing Barca in the semis last year his Inter played on a Friday a meaningless Serie A match, whereas Barca had to face Espanyol on a Saturday before having to bus the 1000km distance to Milan.
      Alas the media is too in love with Mourinho to point out his inconsistent blabbering.

  34. barcarolle
    February 26, 2011

    No player will be rested from the starting XI (by this, I mean for reasons other than injury) in the league until Barcelona have won the thing. Pep is not so stupid as to gamble in that way.

    What he can and must start doing, but appears unwilling to take control of, is to rest Messi when games are sealed like tonight. Pep’s deference to Messi is very interesting. We all know that Pep very consciously decided to shape the team around Messi when he took over, as evidenced by trying to get rid of Ronaldinho, Deco and Eto’o to facilitate this, instructing the players to protect and stand up for Messi during matches and doing everything he could to get Leo to go to the Olympics. It was a very wise thing – Messi was an outstanding player with the personality to have the team centred around him without it going to his head. Equally, Pep realised that Messi’s personality and clear ability meant the team have been happy to support Messi’s position within the team – looking in from the outside, only Ibrahimovic seems to have had a problem with it. No one can argue that such a strategy has not paid off – Messi has not stoppped improving under Pep and Messi has been responded brilliantly to his exalted position.

    However, one drawback of such a strategy is that Pep will never take Messi off when the team is winning comfortably with time to spare, as was the case today. Pep must realise that every minute left on in this scenario is a minute when Messi, the fulcrum of the side with no one capable of replicating his role, could be lost for a period of time (of course this is possible during a mundance training session too, but let’s say it’s more likely during the comparatively random environment of a football match). The fact is that in these moments, as evidence by Pep’s lame question to Messi tonight, Pep simply takes this approach to a degree that is simply unnecessary. I am sure that the present team do not care too much that Messi is subject to different standards, but neither do the footballing Gods – so please stop toying with them, Pep!

    • barcarolle
      February 26, 2011

      One other thing, CR has played 3771 mins of a possible 3780 minutes this season. That’s brutal!

    • blaunero
      February 26, 2011

      Ya but if he did that Messi isn’t likely to take it well. I certainly wouldn’t. The best and way to rest Messi is not starting him and hope the attack does well without him. That’s what I think Guardiola should do vs Zaragoza–take his chances without Messi in the starting XI and only play him if necessary.

      • barcarolle
        February 26, 2011

        1. How do you know he wouldn’t take it well (by well, I presume in the same manner as Xavi, Iniesta, Villa and Pedro)? Messi seems a fairly sensible guy and it is only Pep that has developed this special mythology around Messi that to take him off would be to somehow be the footballing equivalent of shooting a puppy. It isn’t: it’s a pragmatic move that Messi should be capable of understanding, even if he is temporarily annoyed with not being out there.

        2. I do not think the team starting without Messi is wise. Maybe I have become too absorbed in this ‘Messi mythology’ as well, but Messi is integral to this team on a tactical and aura level – to rest him from the start gives hope to the opposition and means Pep has to conjure an attacking plan B that simply does not exist IMO (look at first leg v Bilbao in Copa if you don’t believe me). I am sorry, but we better face up to the fact that when a guy has contributed to 62 goals in a season before February is out then he is vital to the team’s well being and to leave him out of a Starting XI is a move towards a complacency we still cannot afford with Real still in contention.

        3. Why would Messi not take it well to be taken off when the team are comfortably winning, but be happy to be an onlooker from the bench as a Liga match kicks off?

      • PhepheSa
        February 26, 2011

        Maybe i’m making too much out of nothing but i there’s more to this that we don’t know. Maybe Messi has some clause in his contract somewhere that he has to play if he’s not injured. I don’t think Pep likes seeing Messi being hacked in a match that’s already dead risking injuries, especially after the Ufjalusi(?) incident. Why would he risk our best player especially when we have such a hectic schedule in the coming weeks, it just doesn’t make sense. Pep is too stubborn to allow Messi to do as he please.

      • Nav
        February 26, 2011

        “Maybe Messi has some clause in his contract somewhere that he has to play if he’s not injured.”

        I highly doubt that.

      • barcarolle
        February 26, 2011

        I actually think it is one of Pep’s stubborn principles that Messi is an untouchable: he has a position of his own design where he can move freely, he is seemingly not taken off unless he requests it and he can go play in an Olympics if he likes. Why would Pep have this appraoch? Because he is very smart and realises that he is working with a historically important player, one whose nature does not demand any special treatment as such but whose abilties Pep is obliged to manage, nurture and exploit so long as he is in charge of Barcelona.

        I’ll admit that I could be being naive and there’s certainly merit in what you’re saying (I know for a fact that the Argentinian FA are paid more depending on how long Messi plays in friendlies). I just cannot believe that the financial situation is such with Barcelona that they have got agreements whereby Messi has to play every game, nor do I believe Messi would demand to play every game where he’s not injured and it would be formally written into his contract. We all know that Pep has to eat shit as Barca manager (Chiggy for example), but I cannot believe his autonomy over team selection would ever be so flagrantly trampled upon. A national FA having Messi play more in meaningless friendlies is one thing, Pep being obliged to play Messi 100% of the time he isn’t injured is another thing…

    • Nav
      February 26, 2011

      “No player will be rested from the starting XI (by this, I mean for reasons other than injury) in the league until Barcelona have won the thing. Pep is not so stupid as to gamble in that way.”

      If not rested from the starting XI then at least substituted out after we hit 2-0. And you’re right — there’s no reason Messi should not understand this. He is a professional and he will assume the part.

      • barcarolle
        February 26, 2011

        Completely agree.

  35. February 26, 2011

    And…and what is this?! Our B-team won 6-4 away to Numanica?! O.O

    • PhepheSa
      February 26, 2011

      Yeah I know, crazy stuff. I think if the game went on longer both teams could have still scored more. They just couldn’t stop scoring! Don’t know if their denfence of both was terrible or just the offence was really good.

    • Sheena
      February 26, 2011

      Haha, yes. I was following it on twitter via barcastuff.

      Towards the end of the game, everytime I refreshed the page, the score would change. Crazy stuff.

  36. soccermomof4
    February 26, 2011

    Great day for football. Barca wins, EE loses, and my daughter’s indoor soccer team beat the undefeated team!

    • Sheena
      February 26, 2011

      Congrats to your daughter 😀

      • barcarolle
        February 26, 2011

        I know Sid Lowe has said that ‘draws are the new losses’ in this crazy rivalry, but they actually drew!

      • PhepheSa
        February 26, 2011

        It sure feels like a loss to me!

        I really feel for the players of both teams. It’s such a cruel world of football they live in.

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