Life of Alves: A short scene

Scene: A boardroom. A man sits alone at the head, a stack of papers in front of him. The door bursts open and a smaller man runs in. He’s holding a t-shirt wrapped in its original plastic in one hand.

Dani Alves: Let’s get this done. Quick!
Sandro Rosell: What?
Alves: My contract. I’ve got to get to practice.
Rosell: Oh. 5 million euros a year.
Alves: Right. [picks up a pen and pulls a paper from the top of Rosell’s stack]
Rosell: What?
Alves: I accept.
Rosell: Wait a moment.
Alves: What?
Rosell: We’re supposed to haggle.
Alves: No, no, I’ve got to …
Rosell: What do you mean, no?
Alves: I haven’t time, I’ve got to get …
Rosell: Give it back then. (reaches for paper)
Alves: No, no, I agreed.
Rosell: Zubi!
(Andoni Zubizarreta appears. He is very big.)
Zubi: Yeah?
Rosell: This Catalan won’t haggle.
Zubi: Won’t haggle?
Alves: Oh, all right … I mean do we have to …
Rosell: Now I’m offering you 5 a year.
Alves: I accepted.
Rosell: Now are you telling me you’re worth more than 5?
Alves: No.
Rosell: [Huffs]
Alves: Oh … I demand 5 and a quarter then.
Rosell: No, no. Do it properly.
Alves: What?
Rosell: Haggle properly. You’re worth more than 5 and a quarter.
Alves: You just said I was only worth 5.
Rosell: Zubi!
Alves: I’ll take 10.
Rosell: That’s more like it.
[becoming outraged] Ten!? Are you trying to insult me? Me? With a poor dying grandmother…Ten!?!
Alves: Nine.
Rosell: Now you’re getting it. Nine!? Did I hear you right? Nine? Your transfer cost me 35. You want to ruin me?
Alves: Six.
Rosell: Six!
Alves: 5 and a half?
Rosell: No, no, no. You go to 8 and a half now.
Alves: 8 and a half.
Rosell: 8 and a half, are you joking?
Alves: That’s what you told me to say.
Rosell: [registers total despair.]
Alves: Tell me what to say. Please.
Rosell: Offer me 8 and a half.
Alves: I’ll take 8 and a half.
Rosell: (to no one) He’s offering me 8 and a half. For this!
Alves: 8.
Rosell: 7. My last word. I won’t pay a penny more, or strike me dead.
Alves: 7 and a half.
Rosell: Done. (He grasps Alves’ hand and shakes it.) Nice to do business with you. Tell you what, I’ll take this off your hands well. (He takes the Qatar Foundation shirt from Alves’ hand.) How much? €4?
Alves: I don’t want it, so thank you.
Rosell: Zubi!
Zubi: (reappearing rapidly) Yes?
Alves: All right! All right! Thank you.
Rosell: That’s four I owe you then. (starts looking for change)
Alves: It’s all right, it doesn’t matter.
Rosell: Hang on.
(Pause as Rosell can’t find change. Alves sees a pair of coaches in the hallway outside the door.)
Alves: It’s all right, that’s four for taking the shirt off my hands– that’s fine!
Rosell: Four for the shirt. Four! Look at it, that’s worth ten if it’s worth a shekel.
Alves: You just offered me 4.
Rosell: Yes, but it’s *worth* ten.
Alves: All right, all right.
Rosell: No, no, no. It’s not worth ten. You’re supposed to argue. “What? Ten for that, you must be mad!”
Alves: (Runs off without the t-shirt)
Rosell: Ah, well there’s one born every minute.

END SCENE

So this is a bit backasswards in terms of the original (which is here), but whatever, you get the point.

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Written by:

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.

169 Comments

  1. blitzen
    March 1, 2011

    See! I knew it was Rosell’s fault all along! 😀

    Nice one, Isaiah, we haven’t had one your pieces for a while. Now get to work on that preview!

  2. March 1, 2011

    Reposting here, to give it more life:

    Right. Here we go:

    When we are out in the world, posting as our little Barca-happy selves, we should recognize that right now, we aren’t exactly everybody’s favorite team. They believe that we’re arrogant, holier-than-thou namby pambies. As such, people are going to decide to, for lack of a more elegant phrase, eff with us. This might manifest itself in comments that send up our comments or screen names, might be trollers, might be similarly-named commenters at various sites.

    We would ALL do well to presume that the person is honest, until they prove otherwise, and not act as arrogant and sanctimonious as people accuse our team of being. The hostility that greeted soccerdadof4 is not cool. He didn’t use the same Gravatar image as soccermomof4. He used an image from an extraordinary moment in this club’s history, just as any Barca fanatic might do. Nothing wrong with that.

    As for his moniker, what if (shudder) soccerdadof4 actually is a soccer dad, with 4 kids, and got the idea from soccermomof4? Nothing wrong with that. Did SoccerMom take umbrage when soccermomof4 showed up? No. We should not circle the wagons and assume that everyone is an impostor or interloper. This is an open site, in that it is open to anyone who registers. It’s a bit of bother to register, for the express purpose of being a jackass.

    So the first thing that I would do about the “strangeness,” such as it is, is remind everyone of what I just said. We’ve made a name for ourselves by being a cool, welcoming space in which everyone is welcome. If people come and are up to no good, management will deal with it.

    Now, back to footy.

    • soccerdadof4
      March 1, 2011

      Thanks Kxev, I really appreciated that!

      • soccermomof4
        March 1, 2011

        Soccerdadof4,
        Please accept my apologies. My anxiety was heightened by the thing we were going through with Kari. Then you popped up with a similar name and the exact same avatar. It took me months of lurking to finally post and then months of posting to finally trust and in one night the trust was gone.

        • soccerdadof4
          March 1, 2011

          No worries, we’re all due a breakdown every once in a while right?
          Now back to football!

        • soccerdadof4
          March 1, 2011

          That would work! Although SoPa’s got a nice ring to it too.

          • Miguel
            March 1, 2011

            that’s kind of funny, but i still don’t like you for picking on one of my lady friends.

  3. soccermomof4
    March 1, 2011

    Geez Kxevin, how many times do I have to post an apology. Warmed-over crow tastes worse the second time around.

    repost:
    Sorry Kxexin, Please accept my apologies. It’s just freaky to someone as overly cautious as I am, and too coincidental for me not to freak out. And when another poster mentioned my daughter, momma bear’s claws came out.

    As for soccermom and me having similar names, I’ve often worried about it. But by the time I thought to change it everyone knew me as soccermomof 4.

    Again sorry. How ’bout them Blaugrana!

    • Josep
      March 1, 2011

      he’s not singling you out, you’re singling yourself out (surely that can’t be a word!)

      He’s speaking in the grand scheme of things. personally, I know two Kari’s. that go by Kari. I thought it was blown out of proportion that there was *gasp* another Kari posting about football. only when they tried to take her LIKENESS did it become strange.

      so rumor has it we’re scouting Hamsik. I love Hamsik, but I don’t think a mid is a great idea, considering.

      can we go back to posting about our Football Manager saves?

    • March 1, 2011

      It isn’t you, and it is re-posted here so that people who didn’t see it in the other thread, can see it here. It isn’t just about you. This blog has many, many other visitors, and many, many other commenters. Perhaps Kariyanna or soccerdadof4 haven’t yet seen it.

      Relax. Breathe deep, and relax. It will all be fine. When I direct a comment AT an individual, it has never been couched in the generic, wussy collective. I don’t believe in that.

      Nobody did anything “wrong,” per se. We just weren’t as welcoming as we usually are, probably because of raised hackles thanks to the Kari incident(s). But the reminder is worth keeping in mind.

      Dig?

      • soccermomof4
        March 1, 2011

        Relaxing, breathing deeply.

        As I said before it took me months of lurking to post, months of posting to trust, and one night for all the trust to go out the window. I would not have been half as reactionary towards the end had my child not been mentioned in what APPEARED TO BE an I know all about you tone.

        • blitzen
          March 1, 2011

          Actually I agree with you about the tone of that other poster (not soccerdad), but I’m going to assume I misinterpreted it. So you aren’t paranoid. 😉

  4. Lev
    March 1, 2011

    Isiah is looking on the bright side of life, huh?

  5. Lev
    March 1, 2011

    Van Persie officially out for three weeks (according to Arsenal website)

    • March 1, 2011

      That’s a tough break for them, to be without the two players who cause us the most trouble. It’s a good break for us, given that Puyol will most likely be out, and potentially Valdes, as well. And no Pique.

  6. March 1, 2011

    There was some discussion about the possibility of playing two left footed players at CB (Abidal and Milito) given the injuries and players unavailable.

    That’s really a sub-optimal solution, particularly due to the way Barca plays at the back.

    The Barca CB often need to split wide. Often against 2 man striker formations they play three at the back with the DM dropping in between.

    In that situation the CB split out basically function like FB. If you have two left footed CB split you’ll have a left footed player at RB. Offensively and defensively that’s not ideal.

    At other times Barca basically play two at the back (they’ll do this against 1 man striker formation or when 2 strikers drop deep to defend). In this formation the CB is accountable for half the field.

    This would make 2 left footed CB even more problematic. It’s a real defensive issue as left-footed LW will have a significant advantage getting down the line against a LF defender. And that defender won’t have any back up from a player in the middle.

    It’s very problematic.

    If Puyol can’t play in leg 2 against Arsenal then the team is in a bind. They’ll likely be forced to play Busquets at CB. But that means they lose his one touch presence in midfield against an Arsenal defense that really looked to clot and pressure midfield in leg 1.

    From the summer this kind of situation at the back was a real risk. It was almost inevitable that in a key game they were going to wind up playing a sub-optimal back line just due to depth.

    It’s why I’ve been wanting Pep to give Masch serious minutes at CB from the start of the season so he could pick up experience.

    The team will be fine. I’m hopeful and think they’ll advance.

    But playing Busi at CB while Masch is at DM isn’t a great use of their respective skill sets. Busi has become such an integral part of the possession game it just really hurts them for him to not be at the holding position.

    And I’m also not confident that Puyol will play against Arsenal.

    • March 1, 2011

      The Puyol thing is starting to worry me. He isn’t even practicing with the rest of the squad. Jeffren is expecting the green light in time for the Valencia match, by the by. Alves is back, Valdes seems to be doing well. Puyol is the only complexity.

      • March 1, 2011

        If I had to guess, I don’t think he plays. Tendinitis especially in the knee is tricky. If it’s not healed and you use it, it just gets worse.

        And there is so much pressure on the Barca CB due to the high line and lack of numbers at the back that it’s difficult to play someone who is not 100% fit there.

        As it is Puyol doesn’t have great pace. He makes up for it with positioning, but if his knee isn’t 100% and he plays he’ll likely lose some additional marginal pace.

        And he doesn’t have the enough reserves to lose any pace, especially against arsenal.

        Were Van Persie playing this would have been an even bigger deal due to his mobility and the way he drags defenses around the pitch.

      • Tom Johnson
        March 1, 2011

        I wonder how much of the prolonged recovery process has to do with his age and ‘wear and tear’ incurred.

        • blitzen
          March 1, 2011

          Dunno, but the player that has been out the most this year with a prolonged recovery process is Jeffren. One of the youngest members in the squad. So, you know…there’s that.

          • Tom Johnson
            March 1, 2011

            It probably has nothing to do with it but

            1. Jeffren is a winger as opposed to Puyol who is a CB.

            2. Consequently, the distance covered and intensity of runs varies

            3. Regardless of age, Jeffren already compiled a thick medical record. The one that corresponds to Puyol’s ‘wear and tear’ noted above

            4. Something tells me Jeffren is not as disciplined in ‘taking care’ of his body

          • Tom Johnson
            March 1, 2011

            Also, what kind of injury Jeffren has now and had earlier this season (as opposed to Puyol)?

    • blitzen
      March 1, 2011

      Question: Has Mascherano ever played CB before? For Liverpool, maybe? Do we even know that he can play there or how good he was at the position if he did?

      • BA
        March 1, 2011

        Masch at center-back i always considered an interesting proposition. he’s got most of the qualities one needs already: his tackling and defensive positioning are obviously going to be good and his distribution out of the back is acceptable. he’s just not particularly fast. it seems like something Pep should be working on.

        • blitzen
          March 1, 2011

          But this all speculative talk. I want facts! 🙂

      • March 1, 2011

        I’m fairly certain he’s played CB for Liverpool in the past. I know he’s played FB for them.

        As it is he played a relatively deep DM for liverpool and also for ARG.

        It’s not the same as CB where you have no one behind you other than the keeper. But the skill sets are similar in certain ways.

        Busquets really doesn’t have much experience at CB either. You only get experience by playing there. I would have liked to see Pep do that earlier in the season with Masch against lesser opponents e.g. early Copa Del Rey matches.

        Moving Masch to CB isn’t a great solution. But it’s not a great situation. Moving Busi to CB hurts the club significantly as they lose his ball control skills.

        If you have to play Busi and Masch at the same time and one has to play CB, then in terms of skill sets, Busi in front of Masch makes much more sense.

        I personally think Masch would make an very good CB for Barca with some experience.

        • Tom Johnson
          March 1, 2011

          Comparing to Busquets at CB, Mascherano has less playing time, familiarity, at the position, is significantly shorter, has inferior ‘game reading’ skills and passing ability.

          Perhaps moving Xavi to the DM position, the one he played on more than occassion, would help offset some of the things the team loses when Busquets is required to fill in at CB. The nature of the opponent, level of physicality, would weigh heavily on such decision making process.

    • Tom Johnson
      March 1, 2011

      So lets see, one that doesn’t trust his right foot and the other one who haven’t had a highly competitive game in months and was, meanwhile, contemplating leaving the club.

      Strictly out of curiosity, who started such discussion 🙂

      • March 1, 2011

        The topic raised was a perfectly legitimate point of discussion on tactics and what the team would do in a sub-optimal situation that leaves them with sub-optimal choices.

        And the people who raised the point are extremely knowledgeable about the game.

        • March 1, 2011

          “And the people who raised the point are extremely knowledgeable about the game.”

          Which means that it wasn’t me! 😀

      • Jnice
        March 1, 2011

        I raised the question.

        Thanks for answering, Euler. Your points about the center backs splitting and our passing game are the reasons why I figured we wouldn’t play with Milito and Abidal in the back.

  7. BA
    March 1, 2011

    too much drama, not enough football.

    the Puyol situation is definitely troubling, and i’d feel alot better if we had a real center-back for Valencia besides Pique (who, remember, will be out due to suspension for Arsenal). Abidal is magnificent but leaving him off the left diminishes the team as a whole. it’s a big ask to leave him to play virtually alone at center-back against the Guntards; either Pep needs to work out Milito’s bad form, or we need to start bringing in someone like Fontas or Barta and getting them used to the squad. we can’t go through the rest of the season with 2 center-backs. surely Pep recognizes that.

    shorter: if Puyol is back for Arsenal and can pair with Abidal, we got this. if not, our options are worryingly limited.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      March 1, 2011

      this CB problem is very worrying..

      oh, Captain Caveman.. we need you so bad.. why God? 🙁
      we always lose Puyi and Piqué against Arsenal in Camp Nou..

      I think Pep will pair Abidal with Milito..
      sounds horror, but Milito is the only pure CB we have left..
      or Busquets? I dont know..

      RVP is officially out but Cesc is likely will play, what about Walcott?

      • blitzen
        March 1, 2011

        Walcott almost definitely out. But anything could happen.

  8. March 1, 2011

    Haggle properly. You’re worth more than 5 and a quarter.

    This really does capture these protracted negotiations!

    On Alves – I really hope these reports about the team and Alves only being 500K apart and Alves being willing to split the difference are true.

    I know people get frustrated with Dani for his mistakes – but much of that is simply a function of math.

    Part of why Alves tends to make mistakes that people notice is that he just touches the ball so often – more than anyone but Xavi.

    If you touch the ball more, you have more opportunity to lose it, make a bad cross/ pass, etc.

    In the last match, Adriano played well. Despite that they had to switch Villa to the right where he doesn’t like to play. And a major reason why was due to the fact that Alves wasn’t out patrolling the right flank.

    Dani is integral to how they play. He allows so much of the barca system to work as it does. Without him the system has to change in significant ways.

    Alves wants to resign a great deal. He wants to go down as a Barca legend who stays at the club for the bulk of his career and seems wiling to give up money to do so.

    Just sign him already.

    • blitzen
      March 1, 2011

      Pedro also had a poor-ish game, I believe at least partly because he didn’t have Alves there to play off. When one runs one way, the other runs the other. Add Messi to that mix, and defenders are spinning in circles trying to keep track of them!

      • March 1, 2011

        I agree. I do think Pedro may have been hurt as well. But during the match Adriano couldn’t get as far forward while still defending. No surprise there because no one can get as far forward as Dani.

        But in turn, Pedro didn’t have a player to support him and play the ball back to.

        Without Dani, Barca will need to change positioning of players in the system to provide more support for the right flank.

  9. BarcaGirl_Indo
    March 1, 2011

    I wished Arsenal come to Camp Nou as a full team..

    but.. since we certainly lose Piqué and (very likely) won’t have Puyol-Valdes on time,
    I think it’s fair now that both teams lose their key players, just like last year.. *sigh*

  10. vicsoc
    March 1, 2011

    Add another injury to the list. The main website is claiming Guardiola has been having some chronic back pain, and that it is undecided whether he will travel to Valencia or not.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      March 1, 2011

      yes, the Hlebbruary jinx isn’t over yet…

      even our beloved coach got injured…

      maybe Pep’s back pain caused by too much gesture on the field…

  11. soccermomof4
    March 1, 2011

    I seem to recall a while back someone posting that they had seen Masche play at CB for ‘pool and the results were less than stellar. That would surprise me because of how strong a defender he is and how good his positioning is.

    You guys have been around this club longer than I. Is it customary to couch an injury in this much secrecy or can we assume that it’s one of those “you just can never tell with this kind of injury” thing.

    I was looking forward to Barca v Arsenal with both teams being healthy. There was so much talk last year about how we won over a much diminished Arsenal. The gooner in me also worries about the league and FA cup for Arsenal. The cule in me worries even more about our thin squad for all three competitions.

    • blitzen
      March 1, 2011

      There is no secrecy. This is just the kind of injury that is often difficult to set a recovery time on. It can seem much improved one day, then much worse the next. The last thing anyone wants is to rush Puyol back and then have a worse recurrence later.

  12. soccermomof4
    March 1, 2011

    BTW, I think I look forward to Isaiah’s “scenes” more than his previews. Heresy, I know, but I really needed a laugh today!

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      March 1, 2011

      haha, I agree, soma4..

      and it was a good laugh Isaiah, thank you… 😛

    • soccermomof4
      March 1, 2011

      That’s what worries me with Xavi tomorrow. Pep doesn’t usually throw anybody back into circulation for a full 90 after an injury. We really shouldn’r risk Xavi for a full 90!

      • soccermomof4
        March 1, 2011

        above was a reply to Blitzen–have no clue how it ended up here

  13. vicsoc
    March 1, 2011

    The thing I don’t understand is why Pep hasn’t been calling up Fontas really at all since Puyol got hurt. Just giving Fontas some time to prove himself in training could provide the answer to these problems – maybe he is good enough to start against Arsenal.

    • blitzen
      March 1, 2011

      I’ve been wondering that, too. But with the B team dropping to 8th in their league, maybe Luis Enrique asked Pep to keep his hands off, as they need him more.

    • March 1, 2011

      Agreed. After Fontas got that start against Almeria and played well I thought Pep would start giving him more minutes.

      Depth at CB was an issue coming into the season. 3 of the first four CB options were 30 or over. Puyol is 32 and has played an enormous sum of minutes over the past several seasons and was just coming off the WC.

      Then Milito gets injured again. This off last season when he was injured and off form.

      At some point the needs to start integrating another player at CB in a meaningful way became a real need. I thought Pep would do that with Fontas as the need was clear.

      His plan however seems to be to play Busquets at CB. The team would be fine with Busquets at CB but he’s become integral to how they play at DM. It’s difficult to remove him from that spot for key matches.

  14. blitzen
    March 1, 2011

    So I have been reading this article by Andy Mitten, whoever he is, that barcastuff posted earlier today:

    http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/sport-comment/the-solution-to-barcelonas-problem-is-simple-pay-young-players-a-decent-wage?pageCount=0

    It pretty much boils down to: Barcelona has only itself to blame for EPL teams poaching their youth players because the club doesn’t pay them enough. If they want to keep their most talented kids, they should pay them more.

    The standard youth contract at FCB is €10,000 a year. What I have not been able to find out is whether that number is specific to the Barcelona system, or is a standard for Primera-level clubs across Spain. Can anyone tell me? Or provide a link with that information (Spanish-language links are OK)? I imagine that if Barcelona suddenly upped its wages for youth players, there would be a collective fit from the other Spanish teams about financial inequity and unfair practices.

    Anyone?

    • soccermomof4
      March 1, 2011

      Is it 10K euros for the pre-professional contract? Do they get more when they can really sign at 18? I would hope a lot more.

      • blitzen
        March 1, 2011

        Pre-professional youth contract, yes.

        • March 1, 2011

          But the writer displays his Anglo-centric biases here. Spanish law is different as regards youth players and contracts. Also, what should a 15-year-old be offered, aside from an education, housing, meals, a schooling in how to play in what is fast becoming the world’s footballing standard, AND the potential chance to play first-team football for FCB?

          Because England is different as regards youth contracts, someone such as Wenger can roll in and offer him much more than the Spanish club can, and that’s that.

          There’s also the math. I love when BritPress now have Toral (THERE! Happy now?) as the next Xavi, because an English side signed him. Fact of the matter is who can know how a 16-year-old is going to turn out? Also, if the math were such that he had a shot at playing for the club for real anytime soon, he would have stayed.

          A move was the best choice for his future, it seems to me.

          If the club wants to keep a player, it will find a way.

          • blitzen
            March 1, 2011

            I know the law is different, what I want to know is if other Spanish clubs offer similar terms to their youth as Barca. Where can I go to find this out? I’m not having much luck.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      March 1, 2011

      Cruyff explained it already in EL Periodico column..

      they (cruyff, txiki, and pep) wanted Villa back then..
      but the deal was impossible..

      so they asked for BANGS (which Laporta isnt happy about, said Cruyff),
      and then realized they made a huge mistake..

      • Eklavya
        March 1, 2011

        I don’t think so. Pep wanted Ibra but Morratti didn’t want to transfer so they turned to Villa which also didn’t work out. Then they went back to Ibra with a better offer which worked out.

    • March 1, 2011

      I wouldn’t say that Guardiola has only himself to blame. Ibrahimovic had a hand in the complexities, as well. You wonder if he doesn’t look in the mirror, or watch our matches and wonder what might have been had he had more flexibility.

      You can’t blame Guardiola for not presuming that a player isn’t going to be a dimwitted hosebag. At some point, the value of being on Barca has to count for something. If a player thinks “If you pay 70m for someone, you need to adjust to his style,” then that player isn’t for us. Good riddance.

  15. Artur
    March 1, 2011

    Hey guys

    A really close friend of mine is a die hard Liverpool fan … all this talk about Mascherano playing CB got me curious so I txted him if he ever played CB to which his reply was “LOL no only holding midfield” I asked again if he even played a single game his answer was a certain “no”

    Kinda makes sense that Mascherano wouldn’t play CB in Premier League as a big part of it is crossing balls and having your tallest guy score a big percentage of goals (speaking of which, anybody seen the Carling Cup final? kinda proves this)

    Even if Mascherano DID play one or two games in the past, I would highly doubt he will be trusted that position with such little experience..

    My personal thoughts is that we only have 2 options … pair up Busi with Abidal and play sMasch as a safety net and/or risk it in the back for more possession/control by playing Milito with Abidal and keeping Busi in the middle.

    Personally I’d prefer the second option, we’ve seen what Arsenal can do given little possession, worst thing we can do is expect them to attack and have the best defense ready … instead the best defense against arsenal is offense. i watched Arsenal vs Birmingham Carling Cup final and was really surprised how exposed they were with each and every Birmingham attack … second conceded goal was a huge defensive mistake btw (I dare any Gunner fan say anything about Valdez now)

    First post btw, been a lurker for over half a year now (I think) mostly check the blog on my phone, will be more active with posts if I can post from mobile as well.

    • Artur
      March 1, 2011

      Btw if anybody can please explain how to change/edit Avatar, I will appreciate it, dying to put Dani’s pic in there

      • blitzen
        March 1, 2011

        Thank you very much for posting this information! Exactly what I was looking for.

        Here is your reward:

        En.gravatar.com

        Go there and register using the same email address you use here. Then you can upload images from your computer.

        Cheers!

        • Noslehcimretep
          March 1, 2011

          I needed the gravatar url as well, so thanks for that blitzen (and you Artur for the sMasch info, I agree with your second option.)

          • March 1, 2011

            Hey, you a new voice here, Backwards Man? If so, welcome. If not, forgive my obliviousness.

          • Noslehcimretep
            March 1, 2011

            I’ve piped up once or twice, but never with much substance. This is the first time I’ve had determined Xavi to back me up though, so you’re forgiven for the oversight. Backwards Man [good deciphering!] is my standard online handle, and as far as I can tell it shouldn’t step on any toes around here. (Pedro would have been my first choice as a tag, but he’s already represented well I’ve noticed.)
            Thanks for the welcome, I’m looking forward to hopefully contributing something to the great community you’ve got here.

  16. Josep
    March 1, 2011

    personally I think this is Puyol’s last season, atleast as a starter.

    And I keep hearing (not here) about how Arsenal fared last year against us and how a lot of it was because Fab was injured.

    1. You have to know players will get injured, its part of the job. thats why we’re in a crisis with a small squad.
    2. Even if he wasn’t injured… HE WAS YELLOW SUSPENDED FOR THE RETURN LEG ANYWAYS.

  17. blitzen
    March 1, 2011

    Barcelona Juvenil A winger Gerard Deulofeu (16) will for the first time be on the bench in a Barcelona B game (barcastuff)

    Ooooh! Not that he will likely play, but good to see him moving on up!

    • Eklavya
      March 1, 2011

      Yaaaaaaaaay! Great! This dude is really moving up fast…

    • Extreme barca fan
      March 1, 2011

      Nooooooooo, some other coach might watch him, and next week he will be signing a Professional contract with another club.

    • K_legit
      March 1, 2011

      yayness..3 or some years ago a friend of mine asked who I thought was gonna be the next big thing from the Masia and I said Gerard, Etock and Mauro Icardi..sadly Mauro now plays for Samp but I have high hopes for the remaining two

  18. I’ve been lurking on this blog for a while now, I’m a little more active on the Offside blog. You’ve have got some great stuff going on here. Love the short scenes!! 🙂

  19. BarcaGirl_Indo
    March 1, 2011

    fcbfandrivel! Welcome!

    And I’ve been lurking your twitter as well, LOL… Your Pique journals is just hillarious… nanda59 is me btw…

    Please, post more here… 😀

  20. beeeef
    March 1, 2011

    Anybody with a good Barca B vs. Cordoba link? I can hardly find anything on the internets.

    • blitzen
      March 1, 2011

      According to barcastuff, the game is not being televised, so there won’t be any links.

      • beeeef
        March 1, 2011

        That would explain it. Thanks for notification.

        Too bad; I was looking forward to catching a glimpse of Deulofeu.

  21. Lev
    March 1, 2011

    I didn’t think I would say it during this season, as I thought (and think) Busi the lot better player, but we miss the Yaya right now. His versatility would have solved this headache in a heartbeat.

    So we have to move Busi back a line. This people, is what we have sMAsch for. A player we supposedly bought to cover for Busi and to add steel to our midfield. Steel that I remember people saying would be particularly handy for CL matches.

    Now I have not been convinced by his play so far. Not that he has been bad, but there is no disguising the fact that each time we dropped points during the league, Mascherano started. Coincidence? Mmmm…I just think we flow less with him, bc of the half a second more that he needs to distribute the ball.

    And though I kinda liked Tom Johnson’s suggestion of playing Xavi at DM so that we can move Busi back a line, if Pep does this it pretty much means we got sMasch for nothing.

    The situation is far from perfect, but I’d still say Masch is a more than decent back up…

  22. hammeronmessi
    March 1, 2011

    hi 2 all.

    havent read the post yet and only read few comments.but isnt the arsenal game a full one week away?our pressing concern is valencia,and i think pep will play milito and abidal in the CB positions.

    fontas was fantastic against almeria,but with all due respect they are not arsenal,so fontas will not play this high octane game and should not be,cause one mistake from him will shatter his confidence and there is high chance he will be vilified by the ever demanding cules.(we are supposed 2 be the greatest team ever,and as such we nust handle the absence of caveman and waka waka shakira).

    my preference for the other CB position is KEITA.yes keita.he is tall,strong,can tackle and positionally good.my only concern is can he play out the ball from defence(remeber yaya in chl against MU,and against bilbao in cdr).i beleive is he can do it.

    dont want busi there,cause he is vital in our MF.smash gives us many things but not the things busi offers.

    i disagree with those who prefers a full strength arsenal.its a ko phase,and we have to use this advantage.its not like that we have to prove something to arsenal.if their manager and medical stuff cant figure out why RVP and moc moc cesc are frequently injured for the last 2 seasons ,then its their headache,not ours.we beat what is presented in front of us.and i m willing to take whatever advantage we can gain,and so is pep.

    • Jnice
      March 1, 2011

      About Fontas, the point is that after the Almeria match, most of us figured, “Hey, Fontas played well, he will definitely get more time this season.”

      Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened and I don’t understand why. Not saying he would have necessarily started against Arsenal, but he would be more ready if he had played more games with the 1st team.

  23. hammeronmessi
    March 1, 2011

    believe in this team as pep said

  24. hammeronmessi
    March 1, 2011

    @barca girl indo.

    can u please post the link of that column of cruyff?

    thanks

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      March 1, 2011

      I’ll try to find it…

      I read the translation from totalbarca.com…

      It’s been a while since I read it, maybe I miss or forget some points…

  25. K_legit
    March 1, 2011

    And Guardiola it seems will NOT be travelling to Valencia

  26. Lev
    March 1, 2011

    lol@hammeronmessi yeah I agree. I much prefer an Arsenal weakened by injuries, especially since we are without our two DFs and GK!

    Don’t agree with Keita at DF though. Yeah he is strong, fast and physical, but unlike the Yaya, Keita has not even played at DM. Do you really trust his defensive positioning enough to play him in our last line of defense?

    Our team always play very high up the pitch. Defenders playing the offside trap is crucial for us, hence the position of central defender is a very difficult one to play.

    Either we move Busi back, or we play Milito….

    btw, Euler, I am also hesitant of playing Milito and Abidal together, but not only because they are two left-footed players but more so because Milito has been unimpressive this season. As for both of them being left footed, aren’t Puyol and Pique both right footed?

    • March 1, 2011

      Milito is generally most comfortable on the left of center. I do think that Abidal’s pace and presence would give him a bit more cushion, which is to say, would be able to cancel out his relative pokiness.

      Guardiola not traveling to Valencia worries me. His back must be big-time hurting. It isn’t that I think the staff can’t do the job, but Guardiola brings that intangible something to the bench.

      I would put Mascherano on the back line before Busquets v Arsenal, just because his fluency in the midfield, where this match will be won or lost. I like:

      Valdes/Pinto
      Alves Abidal Mascherano Maxwell
      Xavi Iniesta Busquets
      MVP

      But here’s the problem: We have rarely had Pique AND Puyol out, as we will for this match. Abidal is more comfortable on the left side of things, and Mascherano tends to gravitate that way. When Busquets was subbed at CB, he was on the left.

      As Lev notes, The Yaya would solve this complexity, because he played right of center in the CL final. Ha! So now what?

    • Jim
      March 1, 2011

      I have a feeling Puyol will still make it. Pace has never been his strong point but he marshalls the defence like nobody else. Can’t see Pep leaving him out even if he’s only 80%. If he doesn’t make it we have an issue and for me it would be Milito and Abidal with Maxwell at LB.

      More importantly we need Xavi and Iniesta with Busi at DM. With that in place all will be well.

      • soccermomof4
        March 1, 2011

        Puyi may make it but you can’t expect him to play a full 90 minutes with no match fitness.

      • Jnice
        March 1, 2011

        I just have serious doubts Puyol since Tito can’t even name a date of his return. Also he still hasn’t trained with the team yet, which isn’t a good sign.

    • Jnice
      March 1, 2011

      Two right footed centerbacks, is nowhere near the same as two left footed center backs. At least from my experience. It’s more awkward.

      And Pique and Puyol can and are willing to use their left foot more than Abidal and Milito are. Case in point Abidal playing that wayward ball to Busquets because he didn’t trust his right foot.

      • Jnice
        March 1, 2011

        … willing to use their left feet more than Abidal and Milito are willing to use their right.*

    • March 1, 2011

      Dunno, my standard has been set by the Xavi interview in the Guardian. Sid Lowe has kinda spoiled me for everything else.

      • blitzen
        March 1, 2011

        Did you ever imagine that you can adapt yourself to the Barca system so soon?
        Villa’s eyes light up. An infectious grin appears on his face. But he still looks like he might cut you.I am very pleased with how things are going. It is more or less what I imagined it would be, all those things that people told to me before my move. Of course, I already have a lot of friends at the club and had often talked about what Barca is like with them before. Every day. Every day. Every day.But being a very special season [debut year], it is even better than the previous two, goals-wise, and those were impressive [seasons]. Pim pam pim pam pim pam.

        Is this better? 😀

        (They can’t all be Sid Lowe, ya know!)

  27. hammeronmessi
    March 1, 2011

    @lev,yes i believe that he can.

    Have so many things to discuss.,but its 2 am here,time to go to sleep

  28. Jnice
    March 1, 2011

    Mark Bolton says there was no Revista today folks.

    Bummer, but it’s because there are two La Liga matches today.

  29. Miguel
    March 1, 2011

    “Hip Hop Hooray! One round of la Liga has now properly put to bed, with Málaga’s match against Almería on Monday night rounding off the action – but don’t even think about pausing for a moment to catch breath, as it’s already time for another round to barely 23 hours later on Tuesday, with ten Primera games spread over three days and the usual family/job/sleep/deadline unfriendly scattering of ten o’clock kick-offs. B*stards.”
    http://fourfourtwo.com/blogs/laligaloca/archive/2011/03/01/just-as-one-round-of-la-liga-action-finishes-another-begins.aspx

  30. March 1, 2011

    1-0 good guys, Soriano off an assist from Thiago. Second half starting now.

    • Miguel
      March 1, 2011

      barcavolution not being televised? rats!

    • March 1, 2011

      Now 2-1. Cordoba equalized, then gave up an own goal with Montoya in the area.

        • Jnice
          March 1, 2011

          Seems like Thiago is having a great match.

          • March 1, 2011

            And people wondering how Toral was nabbed, should realize that Thiago and Dos Santos can’t even get a consistent shout with the first team yet. Throw in some Afellay and a still-young Iniesta, and a 16-year-old is thinking “Hmmm, I won’t get NEAR the first team til I’m about …. 23 or 24? Screw that! I could be rich by then!”

          • Jnice
            March 1, 2011

            Also throw in Rafa, Sergi Roberto, Javi Espinosa and Toral’s best friend Sergi Samper, who is better than him and I can see why he thought his future lie elsewhere.

  31. Eklavya
    March 1, 2011

    Heh. I went to Cordoba this winter. They have a nice Mosque-cum-Cathedrale. Its such a small down you can walk all round it in a day.

  32. Eklavya
    March 1, 2011

    Heh. I was at Cordoba this winter,during New Year. They have a nice Mosque-cum-Cathedrale. Its such a small down you can walk all round it in a day.

          • soccermomof4
            March 1, 2011

            Just meant I don’t want to think about doppelgangers. I know you boys are playing nice now *but gives stern mom-like glare*

  33. Miguel
    March 1, 2011

    did ivanovich just miss that? cole would’ve been on the mark.

      • March 1, 2011

        Apparently people are screaming “Shoot, shoot” every time Cole touches the ball, even in the defensive end. Granted it was an air rifle, but the gun in the locker room business has essentially killed the career of NBA player Gilbert Arenas.

        Ancelotti does the whole “Boys will be boys” thing, and starts him.

        • Miguel
          March 1, 2011

          arenas went to grant high school. that’s about a mile from where i live. one dumb decision can eff up your whole life.

          • blitzen
            March 1, 2011

            Imma knit him a pair of blaugrana earmuffs so he can’t listen to Arsene’s sweet nothings.

            But I think this one is smarter than that, anyway. 😀

        • Miguel
          March 1, 2011

          they won’t let him go like they did gai, of course, cus he’s catalan. not that gai was that awesome. just saying.

  34. March 1, 2011

    Lev,

    Agree that Milito wouldn’t be my choice for a host of reasons that surpass him being left footed. His form has been poor. The point of the discussion however was about tactics more than it was about quality at the current moment. It was a tactical discussion more than it was an all encompassing one.

    The Yaya would help – but I’d still much prefer playing Yaya at CB and Busi at DM were Yaya on the team.

    • Lev
      March 1, 2011

      Agreed on Yaya and Busi.

      My question wasn’t focusing on whether your main reason for not liking Milito/Abidal is both being lefties, but rather the following: why do we (myself included) generally dislike the idea of playing two left-footed central defenders, whereas there are plenty of right-footed defensive pairs?

      Also, you say that Masch would be better to play out of position as a DF because Busi is too important as a holding midfielder.

      I do not disagree (with the last part), but I do believe we bought Masch to play as a DM. I do not remember anybody saying, “ooh he can cover at DF if need be”, or anything like that.

      Didn’t we buy him to cover for Busquets if he were out? So if Busquets has some (limited) experience as a DF, isn’t it more logical to play Sergio next to Abidal – better positioning, (hopefully) better offside/onside awareness, etc. – and let Masch do what we bought him for: cover for Busi at DM?

      In hindsight you are right that looking at Masch’s skillset Guardiola would have done well to prep him as a back-up DF.

      • March 1, 2011

        Lev – good question on the two left footed CB pairs vs. right footed.

        I don’t have a definite answers but here’s what I think (which is really a guesstimate).

        One issue is likely just frequency. LF players aren’t that common (around 10% of the population). In general when you have a left footer you want to use him on the flank if at all possible. There are just going to be fewer opportunities to have two LF players who happen to be joined together at CB.

        In turn they don’t have a lot of experience forming a duo and making up for each others limitations.

        Right footed pairings are very common so CB have the opportunity to learn how to work with another right footed CB.

        At the same time, left footed players tend to often become specialists of sort. Their left footedness because a major part of their game – it’s an advantage.

        This is just a hunch – but my impression is that left footed players don’t need to learn how to use their right foot with quite as much urgency as right footed players have to.

        For example, it’s not uncommon that in youth teams a right footed player is forced to play on the left just because there aren’t any/ enough left footed players.

        If there’s a left footed youth player he’s often going to get slotted into a left sided position.

        That’s why I think the lefty-lefty pairing is strange.

        On Masch – I’ve been pleased with how he’s played for Barca. The team isn’t going to be damaged by playing him at DM.

        It’s more that if you are going to play both of those players at the same time it seems like it would have been better to keep Busi in his spot and move Masch to the more defensively oriented position.

        I know Masch has very limited experience on the backline – but so does Busi as you point out. The gap in experience could have been made up had Masch played CB some from the start of the season.

        That’s mostly it. It sort of a question of how to best utilize resources (here skill sets).

        • Miguel
          March 1, 2011

          what about the advent of switch wingers or whatever that’s called?

          • Extreme barca fan
            March 1, 2011

            Unrelated but i’m left handed and right footed, Now how did that happen, and in what group does it put me, i really dont know

  35. Artur
    March 1, 2011

    For some reason it doesn’t recognize me on Gravatar … any suggestions as to why?

    I really hope somebody uploads Barca B game highlights btw … sounds like Thiago is having a great game, plus I’m really curious how overshadowed DosSantos really is next to Thiago … as well as Fontas form

    • Miguel
      March 1, 2011

      make sure the email you use to register there is the same one you use to login here. it also takes a few minutes to go through, so don’t trip.

      • Artur
        March 1, 2011

        So I need to register there again? I thought I just use the same info to login there

        • blitzen
          March 1, 2011

          No, you have to set up an account (free) with the same email you use here (you can use a different password there if you like). Once your account is verified, you can start adding gravatars.

    • soccermomof4
      March 1, 2011

      Sometimes it takes a few minutes.

      • soccermomof4
        March 1, 2011

        for the pictures to start showing.

  36. Miguel
    March 1, 2011

    goldy locks luis! i knew we should’ve got him in the transfer window 😉

    1-1

  37. soccermomof4
    March 1, 2011

    irony= I’m rooting for Chelsea right now

  38. Kariyanna
    March 1, 2011

    Penalty!! For some odd reason I’m rooting for Chelsea! How come Torres is not taking the PK? 🙁

    Has he scored a goal for Chelsea since??

  39. Vj
    March 1, 2011

    Zhirkov with another bullet.. How did that stay out?

  40. Miguel
    March 1, 2011

    zhirkov! & vidic caught w/his panties around his ankles. almost.

  41. Eklavya
    March 1, 2011

    What do you guys think of the new Argentina kits?

    Home: yfrog.com/h5od99j

    Away: yfrog.com/h0lw47j

    Credit to Barca.TheOffside twitter.

    I think the away one looks awesome!

  42. Kariyanna
    March 1, 2011

    Glad to see ManU losing, hope Livepool do the same to them on Sunday. Not that I hate ManU or anything but I tend to more favor Arsenal for the EPL title.

    • Helge
      March 1, 2011

      Me too, I simply didn’t get how ManUtd could be ahead 5 points or more in the EPL despite playing a rather bad football in most of their matches.
      But now I can easily see them dropping points @ Anfield Road (since they are without any CBs, to be honest) and that would revive Arsenal’s title hopes in the EPL. If you ask me, Arsenal should concentrate on the league, not on the CL anyway 🙂

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