We only win because of referees…right?

If you tell a lie long enough, emphatically and at every opportunity, slowly some might start to believe it’s the truth.

That’s the only way I can explain our supposed favoritism from referees in both La Liga and CL.

It is absolute garbage and my feelings on the matter are summed up in the Alves photo above. However, an independent, non-BritPress, group has decided to compile (some of) the debatable decisions we’ve been involved in the Champions League. The ties in question are our Chelsea semi from 08/09, Inter from last season and the recent Arsenal tie.

For conveniency’s sake, I’ll just copy and paste their results from the article:

Barcelona 0-0 Chelsea, 2009 SF

Against Barcelona           0-1

Jose Bosingwa grabs Thierry Henry in the box. Penalty appeal turned down.

Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona, 2009 SF

For Barcelona                    1-1

Dani Alves tugs Florent Malouda who falls around edge of box. Ref rules outside.

Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona, 2009 SF

For Barcelona                    2-1

Eric Abidal tugs Didier Drogba’s shirt as the striker goes through on goal. No penalty or red card.

Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona, 2009 SF

Against Barcelona           2-2

Aric Abidal sent off for colliding with Nicolas Anelka.

Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona, 2009 SF

For Barcelona                    3-2

Ball hits Gerard Pique’s hand in the box. No penalty given.

Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona, 2009 SF

For Barcelona                    4-2

Ball hits Seydou Keita’s arm in the box. No penalty given.

Arsenal 2-2 Barcelona, 2010 QF

Against Barcelona           4-3

Carlos Puyol and Cesc Fabregas collide. Penalty given, Puyol sent off

Inter 3-1 Barcelona, 2010 SF

For Barcelona                    5-3

Samuel Eto’o in through on goal only to be called for offside in borderline decision.

Inter 3-1 Barcelona, 2010 SF

Against Barcelona           5-4

Milito in offside position when Sneijder takes preceding touch. Scores and goal given.

Inter 3-1 Barcelona, 2010 SF

Against Barcelona           5-5

Wesley Sneijder brings down Dani Alves in the box. Alves booked for diving.

Barcelona 1-0 Inter, 2010 SF

For Barcelona                    6-5

Sergio Busquets goes down after Thiago Motta palms face. Notoriously peeks at referee. Motta is sent off.

Barcelona 1-0 Inter, 2010 SF

Against Barcelona           6-6

Bojan Krkic scores but goal disallowed because ball struck Yaya Toure’s arm. Debate over “ball to hand” ensues.

Arsenal 2-1 Barcelona, 2011 last-16

Against Barcelona           6-7

Leo Messi scores but goal disallowed for offside. Replays suggest it was onside.

Barcelona 3-1 Arsenal, 2011 last-16

Against Barcelona           6-8

Leo Messi brought down on edge of box. Penalty not given.

Barcelona 3-1 Arsenal, 2011 last-16

For Barcelona    7-8

Robin Van Persie given second booking for shooting after whistle had blown.

Now. There are a couple of ones I don’t agree with here and I can list a couple of decisions against us that haven’t been mentioned off the top off my head (Song still being on the pitch in the first leg, Ballack and Maicon’s non-yellows that would have suspended them for the second leg, Messi’s non-penalty at Stanford Bridge), but the interesting thing I find in all the conspirators (read: haters) is that the first leg of all these ties are conveniently ignored. We had a goal disallowed in the first leg. I don’t know what you’re talking about. X player was lucky to say on the pitch/not get suspended for the return leg. Nonsense.

Sid Lowe wrote an article on Sports Illustrated after our Arsenal tie, which I encourage all that haven’t read it to read,  and this passage stands out to me:

At the end, Arsenal was incensed and, in an odd sort of way, rather comforted — confronting the referee meant not confronting its failure; it meant not confronting the truth. And the truth is that it had been comprehensively beaten. Barcelona arguably was assisted, yet it was also rather sad — a brilliant performance was sullied, belittled. Anyone who doubted as much only had to listen to Javier Mascherano the following day.

The referee had robbed Barcelona of recognition.

Have we benefited from referee decisions in the past? Sure. The Pique handball non-call against Chelsea (the only penalty claim I think they have a case with) was lucky to say the least. But great teams–and winners– make their own luck and the referee wasn’t the one who put the ball back of the net in the 93rd minute.

The fact of the matter is, when a team is as successful as we are and plays the kind of football we do, some people are going to start disliking the team. To justify their hate, they’ll find any way to degrade, or take away from, that team. Look no further than this article written by Barney Ronay on the Guardian. It’s so full of vitrol and envy you wonder how he’s still alive.

Some people have deluded themselves into thinking Chelsea dominated that second leg against us. Was the domination the part where they parked the bus even when facing 10 men, or when they needed a wonder goal from Essien to even take the lead? I dunno, but winners win and losers make excuses.

After the Sevilla match yesterday, our players and manager were inevitably asked about Messi’s disallowed goal.

“Why doesn’t any Barca player complain about the referee?” was presumably the question aimed at Alves from reporters. His answer?

“Because that’s our attitude. Right or wrong, you can’t change their decisions.”

And that should be our attitude as well as Barca fans.  It’s easy to blame the ref,  but we make the decisions a non-issue if we take our chances.We don’t let the ref decide games; in the end, it’s down to the players.

But why was Alves asked the question in the first place? Because of the responses from our players after the game:

“The referee can make mistakes,” said Iniesta. “We’ll try to improve what we can control ourselves.”

“The referee?” repeated Pique, ” Everybody saw what happened and has his own opinion. It’s history now.”

Xavi echoed the Pique’s sentiments, “Why was Messi’s goal cancelled? I think you can see it better on [the] television. People can judge themselves.”

Even Busquets, who might have had a slight bone to grind after the match having been called for the foul, had said, “I don’t understand why he whistled [for the foul], but that’s over now.”

Each player had been quick to side step any discussion about the referee and our manager followed suit, “Referee? We shouldn’t talk about that; they do the best they can. [But] don’t I also want to speak out after all referee talk from others lately? Less than ever.”

Will our reluctance to scream bloody murder at referees a la Wenger be remembered by opposition fans? Probably not. But you know what? In the end, our team will be remembered by history as one of the great teams to ever grace a football pitch. So haters can keep hating, and we can keep rewriting history.

(Was the whole point of this an excuse to post the Alves picture above? Maaaaybe 😀 )

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130 Comments

  1. Jnice
    March 14, 2011

    Even after what Pep said, Marca still accused Pep of complaining about the refs, saying that he is clever and veils his criticisms.

    Whatever.

    • blitzen
      March 14, 2011

      I think phrase for Pep’s attitude is “damning by faint praise.” He is clever, and let’s be frank, he knows just as well how to manipulate the media as Mourinho does (except in his case, the reporters mostly seem to love him). But I also think that Pep genuinely has no patience with criticizing the ref after a game is over, because he is already concentrating on looking forward to the next game. He doesn’t waste time with things he cannot change, and doesn’t want his players to, either. That is one of the things that is so great about him.

  2. March 14, 2011

    I’d further suggest that the ref (don’t forget that they read papers too) wasn’t going to be the one who allowed us to score on the Messi free kick because he ignored a foul, however piddlin’, from Busquets. It happens, and I’m glad that the players and coaching staff are taking the stance that they are taking.

  3. Vj
    March 14, 2011

    Kari, please credit the ‘independent, non-BritPress group’. The link to their article will do..

  4. jordi™
    March 14, 2011

    Official favoritism is sooo yesterday.Its all about doping now.Coming Soon – All that possession is a lack of sportsmanship and contravenes the laws of the game.Whatever.They’re only giving our players extra motivation.

    • March 14, 2011

      What about this doping business? Can someone give me a quick run down?

      • March 14, 2011

        Never mind.

        Just when I think the club isn’t as disgusting and despicable as I think it is, they pull this sh*t.

        I hope they crash out of Europe, Bassam and co-efficients be damned!

  5. Lev
    March 14, 2011

    The only thing I want to say about yesterday’s free kick is that it was beautiful (the kick, not the call 😉

    Credit to Sevilla for coming back strong in the 2nd half.

  6. Eklavya
    March 14, 2011

    The picture ROCKS. The article not so much … it’s basically a copy-paste 😀 Haha, I love it when Kari writes down a whole article and then I just reject it for no reason!

    • Lev
      March 14, 2011

      eklavya that’s very negative – don’t forget that writing this article Kari puts her Villarato job at risk!

  7. Eklavya
    March 14, 2011

    If you scroll on the picture, it says “I made this picture, credit to me”, so ,uh, credit to you, I guess.

    • March 14, 2011

      Nope. I meant if someone is going to copy and paste the picture, for whatever use, to credit me. Jokingly, I guess. I’m not actually expecting anyone to do that.

  8. Artur
    March 14, 2011

    Great article will link a lot of friends (haters) to it if ref argument comes up again.

  9. blitzen
    March 14, 2011

    Reposting in here cuz I got Hectored:

    Here’s a fun question for you all. I know it’s kind of early, but who would you like to see Barcelona play in this year’s Gamper Cup? (And don’t say Stoke, because as awesome as that would be, we all know it will never happen!) Looking at recent years, we have played a lot of Italian teams, so let’s have something different this year. Here are my top 5 picks:

    Tottenham (if we don’t end up playing them in the CL). Bale vs. Alves Battle of the Century!
    Borussia Dortmund. Because they are so very good this year.
    PSV_Eindhoven. Afellay’s old club! They played in the Gamper 10 years ago but we haven’t had any Dutch since then.
    NY Red Bulls. Titi and Rafa’s triumphant return to Camp Nou. Sure, we’ll hammer them, but won’t it be fun? Although it might interfere with their regular season.
    CF Monterrey. Current Mexican League champions. I don’t think we have ever played a Mexican team in the Gamper. Why not now?

    Unfortunately I suspect that this year’s pick will be based more on marketing than footballing reasons, so expect to see either Qatar’s national team or an Asian team.

    • Miguel
      March 14, 2011

      alcorcón or lyon if they knock real out of the champions league again & we don’t get a chance to face them in that competition ourselves. :)

    • nzm
      March 15, 2011

      Part of the deal with the Qatar Foundation is that Barca has sacrificed one “friendly” per year to the QF and the foundation chooses the opponent.

      Yet another reason why the sponsorship deal isn’t so hot, when Barca makes approx. Eur 2 million from each friendly that they play, and will lose out on the earnings from that friendly given to the QF.

  10. BA
    March 14, 2011

    at risk of being hectored, does anyone have a set of links to an English version of the game? i assume it was on GolTV. hate to break my 100% viewing record so far this season.

  11. Miguel
    March 14, 2011

    “’I didn’t like the first half as it is always hard against teams fighting for their lives,’ admitted a fairly relaxed Mourinho, who managed manfully not to say anything too headline-worthy or downright offensive in his post match chat. Madrid picked up the pace in the second half and picked off an Hércules team who have only won once and scored just three times on their travels this season.”
    […]
    “Barcelona were suffering from a little bit of bad luck in the Sánchez Pizjuán rather than any adverse effects of their midweek clash against Arsenal. An ever-so-slightly controversial decision from referee, Pérez Lasa, to cancel out a Leo Messi free-kick after a supposed shove in the wall by Sergio Biscuits, has given the Barcelona press a good chance to hit back at José Mourinho’s complaints over referee favoritism with some cracking conspiracies of their own.”
    http://fourfourtwo.com/blogs/laligaloca/archive/2011/03/14/good-day-bad-day-angry-unai-emery-amp-merry-real-madrid.aspx

    • blitzen
      March 14, 2011

      Both teams turned up at the allotted time and didn’t complain that it was too late or too early and dedicated themselves to playing football.

      😛

  12. Miguel
    March 14, 2011

    you guys mentioned an injury to dani alves in the last post & i think mentioned montoya as a replacement for barca’s next fixture. montoya was subbed off during the barca b game this weekend and walked off the pitch with a limp. i’d wager on bartra getting a spot in the squad list before the more natural right back.

    • March 14, 2011

      I <3 Bartra. I’d love for him to start vs Burger King FC.

      • Miguel
        March 14, 2011

        i <3 your alves picture. 😉 yeah, i hope we don't have to order off the kids' menu like this again. when's caveman back?

        • soccermomof4
          March 15, 2011

          But the kids menu comes with a free toy and a paper crown. It just doesn’t get better than that!

    • Josep
      March 14, 2011

      yeah terrible time for Montoya’s injury as well. we picked up injuries/knocks to 3 FBs, and a winger. as well as a b team FB who just made his first team debut.

      Muniesa call up maybe for LB backup? Bartra was amazing last year vs. Pathetico at RB. Jeffren has done well as an auxilary RB/LB, but of course we’d have to have a backup ready for his injury sub in the 20th minute.

  13. Josep
    March 14, 2011

    Hey, look who commented on that Britpress article last week? 😀

    I love the clubs stance on refereeing decisions. The fans aren’t the same, and we get incensed but we also try to move on. It’s just when the press come out, or idiotic fans of other teams come out and claim that we get all refereeing decisions when I have to refer to many decisions that go against us.

    Also as I was talking with JNeezy about, I hate the clubs approach to ref’s in game. It’s almost contradictory to our pressers, when we run to the ref, signal for fouls, signal for cards, etc. If in the post match presser we say we don’t worry about the ref, why do we get incensed and yell when a foul isn’t call? I mean they do miss a lot, but it seems sometimes we get away with ones too.

    That being said, that Busquets foul made me think Coulibaby was refereeing. I’m sure I spelled that wrong.

    p.s. anyone want to play me in words with friends?
    p.p.s. referring to barca96 saying that Kxev meets up with someone in Chicago and watches matches, I believe that was about me. I saw him on the street once but we were both in a hurry. I’ve not seen him again, and we’ve never watched a match. 😡

  14. March 14, 2011

    I usually come here for level headed responses, even being a Madrid fan. I do enjoy football, and hearing what other fans have to say. But then you guys do this, and it makes me think. Anyways, let me clarify.

    Real Madrid did not make any allegations that you guys use drugs. Spanish Radio station Cadena Cope, whose rates are going down as fast as the stock market, mentioned that Barcelona must be on drugs. Is the radio station Cadena Cope an alias for Real Madrid? Last i checked, it wasn’t.

    After that, there was an official statement from the Secretary of State for Sport. Here is what she had to say:

    “I have not spoken to Florentino Perez about the allegations. In Spain we take the fight against doping very seriously in all sports. A FIFA representative told me that Spain is at the forefront of this fight.

    “I’ve received no complaints and don’t have a request from Real Madrid or any other club to change the doping rules.”

    So here is what Barcelona fans can do. They can read Marca, which supposedly is the mouth of Real Madrid, and believe that this is whats going on. Or, and this is what you people should do, look at the facts rather than read Marca. Do you think an institution as big as Real Madrid would get itself involved in such a matter? This does mean stricter rules on our players as well, so it will effect us as well.

    I have been a Madrid fan for 12 years now, and I have only checked Marca 3 times. Why is that? Because it does not represent Real Madrid. It represent a bunch of idiots trying to make money of one of the biggest clubs in the world. They enjoy the feel that they have power over the fans. And when you guys just read them and get upset, then guess what, you are just fulfilling their job of getting under their skins. Why don’t you guys read Defensa Central? Its the best news paper to write about Madrid. Unless you only want to read Marca to further convince yourself we are EE.

    Kxevin, who is a journalist by profession, should know the ins and outs of how news papers and magazines like these work. And whats worse than having magazines like this is spreading the propaganda they offer to the people.

    I hope this clarifies.

    • March 14, 2011

      Thanks for the clarification I thought the same if barça is tested so will Madrid. Makes sense but any other disussion of “barça will be tested but EE not tested quite as much” is up to the fans to believe. And any other crap marca, as, sport, emd, etc write.

    • Jnice
      March 14, 2011

      The dude who reported it on Cadena Cope, Juan Antonio Acala said:”Esta es una información que me llega desde el Real Madrid”

      This is the information he gets directly from the club, so I’m not buying into “it’s all the media’s fault” excuse yet. I wouldn’t put it past people at the club to slyly leak this out to the media.

    • blitzen
      March 14, 2011

      I usually come here for level headed responses, even being a Madrid fan. I do enjoy football, and hearing what other fans have to say. But then you guys do this, and it makes me think. Anyways, let me clarify.

      Well, I guess we’ve been told. Just to clarify, Bassam, before your comment there were only 7 comments on the doping issue, 2 of which were humorous, and only 3 negative ones. That is hardly an outraged outcry. If I had to guess at the most common reaction the people on this board would have felt at this piece of news, I would say “bemused” rather than “upset”.

      • March 14, 2011

        It came out harsher than i meant it to be. This is the second page i open after my own blog, so that should tell you something. I was just surprised because you usually expect the moderators to be the ones with the level headedness to actually inform the readers: Hey, this is being reported. If its true, shame on Real Madrid, but it is only Marca and some Radio station.

        This rumor is as obvious as rumors get. And lets just say I was trying to catch the chain of fire before it fully explodes. I mentioned in an article on my blog that i miss the days when football was just played on the field, not in the press. And this pertains to my current coach, who does that a lot. And here is another thing i wrote:

        ” Marca is a virus, roaming in Madrid, and for a second there, i wish freedom in journalism was not allowed so people in that institutions can not have a mouth to speak. This is a news paper that has its own agenda, and it doesn’t care about the well being of the club. It cares about selling papers”

        Anyways, i apologize if i sounded rude or offensive. Probably got caught in the moment just like some here did. My apologies to you cules.

    • March 14, 2011

      Clarification is much appreciated, and I’ll take your word for it.

      I just found out about this doping business today and looked around for some info. The piece of info I got that really made me mad was when the guy who starting these accusations told COPE via their twitter account that he only transmits information he gets directly from Real Madrid.

      Juan Antonio Alcalá en directo: “Esta es una información que me llega desde el Real Madrid.

      Rough translation:This is information I received from Real Madrid

      http://twitter.com/ESPORTSCOPE

      Regardless, there is a nasty campaign in Spain against us. Referees and scheduling was one thing, but this is another. That it’s gone this far is so low.

      That being said, I should know better than to be reactionary to these sort of things. That guy is probably trying to save his own ass by saying it’s from Madrid. And our press is just as mentally challenged.

      I’ll keep an eye on this and see how it develops.

      • March 14, 2011

        You will hear news that this guy works with the club and he gets his news from the club, just like Marca is the voice of Florentino. But then you look at what they say, and you realize that can’t be true. Media in spain is just like Paparazi in Hollywood, you can’t control them.

        And for what its worth, all the campaign against you in the media is not affecting you guys that negatively. It is affecting us much more. Marca goes and rambles about refs favoring Barca and teams going easy on Barca. What this leads to is other teams, other than Barca, getting offended by this. Rather than take their anger on Marca, they take it out on Real Madrid because Marca supposedly is the representative of Madrid. This is why Ronaldo and Mourinho and Alonso have all received death threats at away games. Osasouna fans were shouting “Die Mourinho Die”. I don’t like Mourinho and i still think that hostile.

        For what its worth, all this media business is going for your favor, rather than ours.

        • March 14, 2011

          But then you look at what they say, and you realize that can’t be true. Media in spain is just like Paparazi in Hollywood, you can’t control them.

          Yup, don’t I know it. We have Sport and MD–who seems to be the RoSELL mouthpiece, but I must say Marca and AS are much worse. Ozil as Nemo? Really? SMH.

          FWIW, “mad” isn’t really an accurate word to describe my feelings. More like indignation with a little dose of amusement and perplexity.

          As for this hooblah favoring us, hmmm. I say it only seems that way because we don’t pay any attention to it, and if we do, we use it as motivation. Which is good. Pep wouldn’t let us take this to heart anyway. Teams come out after us because we’re the champions and other teams come after you guys because you piss them off. That balances things out, doesn’t it? 😀

        • Humphrey Bogart
          March 14, 2011

          I am not so sure about that. The constant complaining about the ref by Mou could also cause a feeling of pressure on the refs so that in 50:50 situations they tend to decide against Barca or like yesterday to disallow a perfect goal.

          With Mou, I think if you engage Mou you get Mou, so the club can not be surprised. Normaly I find him and his atics amusing but I can not accept it if he is talking down our players like Iniesta is not good enough to win the Ballon d’or or something like that.

  15. March 14, 2011

    As sid’s article said, blaming the ref is just a cop out. Yesterday I got into a friendly “discussion” with a madridista who wished Sevilla took points from us, so I confidently took him on and bragged and celebrated like a fool our goal only to watch my team crumble into this horrid game and we got the tie, of course he said retaliated comments back (very classy guy btw) and I had to swallow my pride and brag about our 5 point lead, all I had going for me. Point is, what’s done is done and if you love yor club, instead of blaming everything else other than the players and the coach, you should draw positives and take defeat. Arsenal fans especially should take a piece of their humble pie, English football fans in general too.

  16. BTTFCule
    March 14, 2011

    Our CB condition is so bad that I feel oddly comfortable when Messi runs to defend ! He would have made an awesome LB or CB.

    • Ryan
      March 14, 2011

      Messi is indeed made of awesome, but playing as a CB? We’re bad enough defending set pieces as it is! 😛

    • Miguel
      March 14, 2011

      f*** yeah! i <3 jona. he's a shorter, darker version of my little brother. don't eff this up, de la torre.

  17. Para
    March 14, 2011

    Jnice, I was just listening to that Graham Hunter interview that you put up, and I think my favourite part so far (I’m only about half-way through) is at about 9:20. Hunter says that he thinks Barca were playing Arsenal at about 75-80% potential, and you can hear one of the other men say, fairly quietly, “oh dear,” or something along those lines. Oh dear indeed. (now if we can make it past these injuries!)

    • Jnice
      March 14, 2011

      Haha yeah, I remember that.

      And I love when Graham talks about us, he’s so thorough.

  18. blitzen
    March 14, 2011

    Andy Mitten of FFT weighs in on the BritPress outrage over Guardiola’s remarks on Wilshere:

    I’ve looked again at my notes from the press conference. “He’s a young player and looks like he could be a great player,” said Guardiola. “He passes well and is aggressive. He combines well with his team mates.”

    He also stated that he had many similar players in Barça’s B team who are riding high in Spain’s second division and beating the first teams of sides like Celta Vigo and Betis. Guardiola wasn’t demeaning Wilshere at all.

    The following day, several British papers reported Guardiola had stirred up trouble and been disrespectful towards Wilshere and Arsenal. Apparently he’d “launched an astonishing attack” on Wilshere. He was also accused of taking “a side swipe” and of trying “to vex” Arsenal and “second rate” Wilshere. He didn’t.

    Guardiola’s English is good, but it’s not perfect. He’s not au fait with the nuances of the Queen’s, nor the dangers of tabloid-speak – and for that he was punished. He’s engaging, honest and articulate, but it would be understandable if he said nothing next time Barca draw an English team – when the British journalists would be the first to complain.

    http://fourfourtwo.com/blogs/confessionsofacorrespondent/archive/2011/03/14/could-a-twisting-of-words-force-pep-into-a-british-media-blackout.aspx

    I’m halfway through the latest (or latest in Canada which tends to be an issue behind) print issue of FourFourTwo, savouring it slowly like a fine wine. It really is an excellent magazine. I may even gift myself a subscription.

    • Para
      March 14, 2011

      I know this isn’t barca-specific, but have other people had good experiences with fourfourtwo? I follow it online, and I treated myself to their special issue this winter, but am hesitating with regards to buying the magazine itself on a regular basis. Are many of the articles found online as well? I know it’s not ridiculously expensive, especially if it’s a quality magazine, but living on a pretty thin student budget means I’m choosy about what I do and don’t buy.

      • blitzen
        March 14, 2011

        There is a lot of content that is not available on the website. Interviews, retrospectives, book reviews, behind-the scenes exclusives, and regular features like “So you want a job in football” and “The Player.” For such an apparently slim magazine, it is jampacked with articles in tiny print, and not a great deal of advertising except the gear section at the back. In Canada it is actually quite expensive to buy, which is why I am considering a subscription—cheaper in the long run. As always, YMMV.

          • blitzen
            March 14, 2011

            you wanna send me all your old money? 😛

          • Miguel
            March 14, 2011

            no. :(

            $70 for a year? that’s not bad at all. happy birthday to me!

      • Lev
        March 14, 2011

        I’ve never read the magazine in its printed form, but I’ve read the interviews on their website and I would highly recommend all commenters here to read them because they are awesome

    • Miguel
      March 14, 2011

      that’s what happens when you let messi dress himself. he’s like a fourth grader.

  19. Diego
    March 14, 2011

    The referees help us a lot, like the Villareal game at home when they called the Offside.

  20. Miguel
    March 14, 2011

    speaking of football magazine subscriptions, here’s jonathan wilson’s new quarterly publication:
    http://www.theblizzard.co.uk/

    & here’s an article on why barca needs a big man up top:
    /http://www.sabotagetimes.com/football-sport/massive-attack-a-loving-tribute-to-fat-strikers/

  21. blaunero
    March 14, 2011

    The most ironic thing, to me at least, is that the very people who put Barca down today, who call us cheats, who despise our transfer policy, who stone us for our debts and who spit at us for trying to pay them through the Qatar Foundation, who would readily crucify us to prove their ideas right, who at the next misstep call us irrelevant, these very people will, in a few years’ time when the sun has eclipsed over this great cycle, say how great this team was. AS and Marca will be the first to eulogize the Great Era, then the wasps from across the channel will say of their current top team, “That’s not a great team. Barca was.” So it has ever been and thus it will ever be. I remember Candido Canavo’ in the late 90s was criticized for saying Sacchi’s Milan was the best club team ever; for in the 80s he had denied Sacchi’s greatness as a coach and Milan’s abilities as a team. Fortunately some people do indeed have good memories. So it up to us to remember.

  22. Josep
    March 14, 2011

    The girlfriend of Spanish referee Perez Lasa, who yesterday led Sevilla-Barcelona, works for Sevilla. #fcblive [via @moillorens @edupolo]

    Ugh, can’t wait to see the Barcelona press talk about this tomorrow *rolls eyes*

    • Nav
      March 14, 2011

      Oh christ I hope not :/

      This whole blaming the officials thing is really really annoying.

      • Josep
        March 14, 2011

        I know, I’m sick of it. But if its indeed true, you’d think they would look more into who refs what matches.

        • Nav
          March 14, 2011

          It really doesn’t matter. These guys are professionals and are expected to not let these matters influence their judgement, and we have to trust them at that. If we don’t, where do we draw the line? One can draw ‘conflict of interest’ argument in many ways and for almost any situation.

  23. KevinO
    March 14, 2011

    Wow, the barney article is just ridiculous… I cant believe someone gets paid to be this big an idiot….Really Nice (even if you just copied and pasted) article Kari.. I think i might print this to use as proof every time someone tells me about our supposed referee favouritism.

    • Lou
      March 14, 2011

      Heh, I get the impression that Ronay likes to be contrarian. Run of play had a good article about his hatred of Barcelona a few weeks ago.

      http://www.runofplay.com/2011/02/16/mes-que-un-hipster/

      “For Ronay, Barcelona are corporate bullies whose actions are far more insidious than those of the amoral billionaires at Manchester City and Chelsea, because they wrap themselves in UNICEF and tell the world they are “more than a club.” It follows that even Barcelona’s public campaigns to entice players to the Nou Camp are framed as “more than a tap up.””

  24. Nik
    March 14, 2011

    via barcastuff:

    “Madrid radio station Cope apologizes for saying Barcelona works with dubious doctors and points at Real Madrid as their source. [cope]”

    And the drama continues…

    • mardia
      March 14, 2011

      So they’ve apologized, but they’re still putting the blame on Real Madrid? What on EARTH.

      • Jnice
        March 14, 2011

        Suspiciously, Madrid haven’t even come out with an official statement yet.

        You would think if this was just a rumor, they would be quick to dispel it…

        • mardia
          March 14, 2011

          You would, but at the same time, I can’t believe they’d stoop THIS low, honestly. Or rather, I can’t believe they’d stoop this low, AND this sloppily. I mean, if they’re actually going to live up to the nickname of “Evil Empire”, then they should at least be SMARTER about it.

        • March 14, 2011

          Real Madrid website and the club in general never releases public statements relating to rumors. Or At least, never in the 12 years i have been following them.

          • jordi™
            March 14, 2011

            An official from the EE top brass could said something. Don’t they think it looks bad that a “journalist” is trying to sully their name and they haven’t clarified anything?Id like to give Floro the benefit of the doubt but hes never needed realmadrid.com to open his mouth before.Anyway I find the whole thing entertaining so I await with bated breath what the next campaign against Barca will be.

          • Jnice
            March 15, 2011

            Come on, Bassam. Let’s not kid ourselves. Realmadrid.com isn’t the only way to make a statement.

            The president, representatives of the club, board members use the papers or radio to express their opinions or feelings on an issue all the time.

            A journalist has made very serious allegations on behalf of your club and no one feels the need to say anything yet? How can we be anything other than suspicious?

          • March 15, 2011

            there was an official statement from the Secretary of State for Sport. Here is what she had to say:

            “I have not spoken to Florentino Perez about the allegations. In Spain we take the fight against doping very seriously in all sports. A FIFA representative told me that Spain is at the forefront of this fight.

            “I’ve received no complaints and don’t have a request from Real Madrid or any other club to change the doping rules.”

            Doesn’t this say that Real Madrid didn’t make a request? It’s not like there hasn’t been an official statement claiming that Real Madrid did not make a request!

          • Jnice
            March 15, 2011

            That statement is great coming from the Secretary of State, but once again, is it normal for the club to still be silent?

            Why let others speak for you? Come out and clear the air. Seems simple to me.

        • jordi™
          March 14, 2011

          I for one find their silence to be loud and clear but then Im a cynic.

  25. March 14, 2011

    A lot of opinion in a short comment:

    –Until EE come out and deny the allegations, I am suspicious. Yes, I think the hate is that virulent.

    –Pique needs to get his crap together, or sit down. I don’t know when those pictures were taken, but if they’re in season, I’m worried.

    –An injury to Messi right now wouldn’t be the worst thing. If we need him to beat Getafe, we’re worse off than we thought. I know. Everybody else is hurt, as well. Still.

    –Barney Ronay is an idiot on his best day, and he rarely has good days.

    –I don’t care if the ref’s mama is a Sevilla fan with Kanoute’s face tatted on her backside, as Xavi said, that match should have been done and dusted by halftime.

    –FourFourTwo is greatness in the print edition, which is light years better than the online edition. Every issue is packed with goodness.

    –The Spanish sporting press is stupid, biased and reckless in its advocacy of certain clubs. We have no equivalent in the U.S. Even publications such as the National Enquirer print real stories, buttressed with fact, by real reporters. The radio station person who broke the story says that it came directly from the club. So all the club has to do is deny it. Problem solved.

    • Jnice
      March 15, 2011

      Those pictures of Pique were taken in February on his birthday.

      I wouldn’t mind Messi being ruled out of the Getafe match if it means he won’t play for Argentina in their friendlies (sorry, SoMa4!).

      • soccermomof4
        March 15, 2011

        *shoots daggers at Jnice*

        Yeah, I get you. And normally I agree, but I claim the right to be selfish this time because what the heck am I gonna do with $150 worth of tickets if the reason for my buying them is missing?

        • soccermomof4
          March 15, 2011

          I’ll go back to being a good fan on March 27th.

          He should def miss Getafe and the other friendly. There, how’s that 😀

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      March 15, 2011

      – I’m still suspicious about EE too… we don’t call them EVIL EMPIRE for no reason… 😛

      – those pics from their birthday party on February… Shakira has left Spain at least for 3 months… still, Gerard’s performance doesn’t get better… duh!

      – if Messi’s injury means he’ll miss friendly matches, I’m fine with it… because I bet he’ll play for the whole 90 minutes, because he is Messi…

      • barca96
        March 15, 2011

        Even if Messi is 100% fit, I want him to play until the 70th minute or so(when the game is done) and then take him out as a precaution( yeah right ) and fool the Argentina camp.

        I know it’s not the right way but c’mon, we gotta protect him from further injury and we are at our last stretch of the season. Cant risk him.

    • March 15, 2011

      Couldn’t agree more with what Kxevin said…

      Bassam this is not just a rumor, it’s an allegation. If your club had nothing to do with it should have ALREADY tried to clear their name cause its an allegation for them as well.

      And don’t blame the hate EE are receiving solely on Marca.
      It’s your coach’s fault.

      1.He claimed refs at la liga help us,
      2. He claimed our friends at the TV help us with the schedule,
      3. He claimed refs at CL helps us,
      4. He said rival teams do not fight against us,
      5. He said rival players don’t kick LEO as hard as thong boy,
      6. He is the one that made that list of referee mistakes in the game with Sevilla while forgeting the list with DI(ve) Maria dives this season or the list with referee mistakes against Valencia and villareal just to name a couple…

      HE SAID those things not Marca.

      He said those things and your president RUSHED to his support 3 days ago, claiming what mou is doing is protecting his club and that that is what MADRITISMO is about!

      That is the OFFICIAL LINE of your club, so please don’t tell me that Marca don’t really speak for your club ’cause from what I see in most cases all they do is QUOTE YOUR COACH, while he is defending “el madritismo”.

  26. Sheena
    March 15, 2011

    Today I went shopping and found a deck of playing cards with a different picture of Messi on each card.

    My life is complete.

      • Sheena
        March 15, 2011

        I’m actually in Beijing right now, visiting relatives. Got it from one of the markets around here :)

        • barca96
          March 15, 2011

          Ahh..
          I assumed that you were Indian due to your name.
          Am I right? But then you have relatives in Beijing.
          I know it’s possible but there is 99.9% chance that I was wrong. Am I?
          And you’re a girl right?

          • Sheena
            March 15, 2011

            I’m Sikh actually, so you weren’t that far off.

            And, I have relatives all over the place. It leads to a lot of holidays whenever my family has a few days off.

            And yes, I’m a girl. :)

          • barca96
            March 15, 2011

            Ahh damn. I was hoping that you would be a guy.
            Then we could’ve met for futsal.
            Outerspace and me will me this week to play with my middle aged friends.

        • Jnice
          March 15, 2011

          Sheeeeeeena, where’s the present you promised to get me?

          :(

          • Sheena
            March 15, 2011

            Hmmm about that….. *laughs nervously*…. 😉

  27. barca96
    March 15, 2011

    I have never seen our “target” Alexis Sanchez play but is he really as good as Messi? Really hard to believe.

    • Jnice
      March 15, 2011

      Nah. Udinese’s president needs to calm down.

      He’s nice and can destabilize defenses, but in terms of is overall game, he isn’t close to Messi.

  28. BTTFCule
    March 15, 2011

    I can see big improvement in our free kicks now(Mainly due to Messi) . We were terribly wasteful with free kicks. Now we are hitting target more often than not.

    • Jnice
      March 15, 2011

      Love how Messi has stepped his free kick game up. It would be a major boost for us if we were a serious threat from outside the box again when Ronaldinho was here.

      When he lined one up outside the box, you knew there was a good chance he was hitting the target. (Unlike Cristiano, but people never seem to talk about his actually conversion rate, but anyway…)

  29. soccermomof4
    March 15, 2011

    Oh. Freakin’. No!

    How accurate is Barcastuff guys?????

    Official: Luis Enrique leaves as coach of Barcelona B at the end of the season. The coach asked to leave, the club accepted. #fcblive

    • Sheena
      March 15, 2011

      If it says it’s official, it’s probably true. Big loss. :(

    • blitzen
      March 15, 2011

      Very sad to hear it. :(

      Not a surprise, though, he is a great coach and clearly wants a shot at coaching a first team. I suspect he already has some kind of agreement with Sporting Gijon to take over at the end of the season.

      • soccermomof4
        March 15, 2011

        Not surprised, but I kinda think of him as Pep’s heir apparent so it’s sad to see him go. I hope he gets a great team and they beat everyone except us.

    • Lou
      March 15, 2011

      He was also rumoured to be candidate for Getafe coach, which would be interesting as he would then be coaching a squad full of RM youth players!

      Too bad for Barca B, but Enrique has certainly deserves a chance to coach a first division team. If B wasn’t our youth team they would have a very good chance of promotion the Primera Liga.

      Hopefully he does well and then comes back and takes over when Pep decides to leave. (Someday in the distant future).

    • Jnice
      March 15, 2011

      I called Luis Enrique leaving awhile ago. No way he was going to stay another year.

      Hope he’s successful at whichever club he goes to.

      • Para
        March 15, 2011

        I read that first sentence, and somehow skipped the word ‘leaving,’ thinking that you wrote “I called Luis Enrique a while ago.”

  30. Jnice
    March 15, 2011

    The spokesman for our board, Toni Freixa, has revealed that Florentino has called Sandro to clarify Madrid has nothing to do with the doping issue.

    Thanks, Florentino.

    And we don’t feel Cadena Cope’s apology was good enough, so we are taking them to court.

    via Edu Polo.

    • blitzen
      March 15, 2011

      The whole doping allegation makes me laugh, anyway. What would we be doping for? How would that help us? Does doping make your passing better? Help you hold onto the ball? Gives stamina, maybe. But it’s pretty clear that our players aren’t using banned substances to bulk up. 😛

      • mei
        March 15, 2011

        This approach is obviously not aiming at having as examined more, nor do they hope of us failing a test in these tests.
        It’s the natural turn of events after mourinho’s pathetic mindgames that have backfired again and again.
        Since we cant beat them , lets cast a shadow on their success.

    • Diego
      March 15, 2011

      This reminded me of a comment that was widely spread on the Classico match report, Reviews and articles.

      Some EE fans wrote that a doctor discovered a weird substance in EE’s players’ bodies which causes fatigue and loss of concentration for 90 minutes, and that we slipped them these pills in the water. 😀

  31. Diego
    March 15, 2011

    I was sad about Messi’s freekick for one reason, not for affecting the result, but It would’ve been his 2nd freekick this season equaling the so called freekick specialist.

    Now that Enrique is leaving, What does this mean for Preciado ? :(

    • blitzen
      March 15, 2011

      From the BBC article:

      Lehmann, who played 61 times for Germany, left Arsenal in 2008 after losing his place to Almunia and their pair openly admitted they did not enjoy a harmonious relationship.

      “This time I’m looking forward to being in a back-up role and will look to support Almunia,” Lehmann added. “We can still win the title.”

      In the mood for a spot of fireworks? 😀

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/12735013.stm

  32. Vj
    March 15, 2011

    Crap with a capital C!

    How did we lose Pep’s successor before he even retired!

    :(

    • blitzen
      March 15, 2011

      What do you mean? Xavi hasn’t retired… 😀

    • Josep
      March 15, 2011

      If he is in fact the successor and would want to come back to coach the main team you know he would. I do too wonder what this means for Preciado though.

  33. March 15, 2011

    In light of the Flo Flo news and calling the club directly, I think we can all remove the suspicion hats, and in my case, say “My bad” to Bassam. I think it says something about the state of the relationship between the clubs when something that is prima facie absurd, gains credence simply because of the suspicion and mistrust that exist.

    Suddenly, nothing is beyond the realm of possibility. Kind of a sad situation, when you think about it. Yes, these destabilization and ref-baiting efforts are what Mourinho does. It’s what he always does, and we should be ready for it and expect it. Lord knows why we aren’t, but that atmosphere has made everything, no matter how silly or nefarious, seem possible. Which kinda sucks.

    Yes, the clubs hate each other. Always have and always will. But in recent times the attempts to destabilize, vex and backbite have reached all-time lows. Some Barca-centric press are reporting that the Sevilla ref’s girlfriend is a fan of the club. So what. We still should have finished our chances.

    Some fans are suggesting that the disallowed goal is one of the most tangible manifestations of Mourinho’s constant program to make everyone think that we are being favored by everyone, from the Liga to the weather. So it’s easy (as with holding calls in the NFL) to call something on any and all free kicks. But better that, than being on the front page of Marca or AS, as the referee who favored Barca, right? So what. We still should have finished our chances.

    Anyhow, I can’t say that I will never again see red when something such as that comes down the pike, but I will certainly try to remember this incident and quell my mistrusting nature. So there.

  34. Lev
    March 15, 2011

    Of course, it is also possible that EE leaked the doping accusations to the press and then call us to say that they didn’t… :p

    Good luck to Luis Enrique. I don’t see it as a bad thing that he is leaving Barça B – he will always be a culé-

    Let him get more experience elsewhere, which could be a good thing, as I strongly suspect he will eventually return to Barça

    • Jnice
      March 15, 2011

      Let him get more experience elsewhere, which could be a good thing, as I strongly suspect he will eventually return to Barça

      Indeed. I love how animated and intense he is on the sideline and during press conferences, too.

  35. soccermomof4
    March 15, 2011

    Hey Kxevin and other awesome “powers that be”, why are the posts 1 hour behind? It can’t just be my computer, can it (yes I am that computer ignorant)?

      • soccermomof4
        March 15, 2011

        I’m talking about the time that appears next to the date. For example, my post above says I posted at 9:51 am but I posted it at 10:51 am.

      • blitzen
        March 15, 2011

        The time stamp on the individual posts didn’t get adjusted for daylight time, so they show up (for me and SoMa4, anyway) as an hour behind our current time. Your post, for example is stamped 9:57 am, when it is 10:57 am for me.

    • Jnice
      March 15, 2011

      I don’t think the blog’s system adjusted to DST.

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