Growing pains and policies

Greetings, Earthlings. A few words on standards:

This space has distinguished itself as a place where anyone can come and feel welcome. Its insightful commentary, fun, wit and intelligence constantly impress me.

As we’ve grown, there have been some tendencies that many of us have noticed creeping in. These things happen as we become “familiar” with each other, in that way that becomes possible between people who have never — and probably will never — met in real life.

And some things can become irritants. Heretofore we’ve not really had any behavior policy, but it seems like we should.

There have been serious discussions in the wake of a comment by a Team member, and the associated replies. In addtion, there have also been a number of incidents of hostility toward visitors.

Isaiah and I created this space as one in which everyone is welcome. If someone from EE, Sevilla or wherever wants to register, pop in and say “My team is the best, you guys suck,” that’s fine. We can rebut them with statistics, pictures of a pile of trophies, or a simple “You lost to us, neener, neener.” Yes, even trolls. ๐Ÿ˜€

What we can’t and shouldn’t do is respond with hostility. We’re all better than that. If someone is creating a problem, the Team will deal with it. If a comment is reprehensible (we’ve had a few of those), just ignore it. This keeps us from having to delete more than one comment. Or we’ll just replace the offending bit with a picture of a puppy or something.

As everyone here knows, I flat-out lost it a while back during an exchange with Greece Barca. It’s something that I constantly remind myself of. I apologized then to the space, and find my action even more reprehensibly stupid now than I did then, which is saying something. So I know what it’s like to snap, even as you know that in the aftermath you will feel like a spectacular idiot. It’s one reason that I don’t fight or have arguments in real life, preferring to just walk away, so that things can calm down.

I, as everyone here, hates rules, but here they are, all two of ’em:

–Commenters who attack another commenter via name calling or any other antisocial behavior, will be placed on a timeout (the word “ban” is so ugly). Duration will depend upon severity of the offense.

–Team members who attack someone are out.

I volunteered to step down after I lost it with Greece Barca. The other team members called me silly, and accepted my heartfelt apology, as did you folks. It was greatly appreciated, and still is. But it was also a reaction for which I would have been fired from my day job (editor at the Chicago Tribune), and the BFB Team sees no valid reason to have a different standard for this space.

The writers here should be above such things. It isn’t a standard that is too high because when it comes to behavior in this space, we don’t just set the standard — we are the standard. Because with responsibility comes …. well …. responsibility. (What eloquence, right? Sheesh ….) We can debate and argue a point or position with passion and vigor, but at no point should that passion degenerate into hostility. Yes, we’re all human. I know. And yes, those rules for commenters will be flexible and adaptable. Not so with writers, however.

We all come here for companionship, entertainment and nattering about any and all things Barca. It’s a big, happy family, and I’m pretty sure that we all like it that way. Sometimes, rules (even simple ones) are necessary to maintain some degree of order, such as we have here (which ain’t much, and that’s how we all like it).

My general posting rule is not to type anything that I wouldn’t say to a ‘roid raging NFL defensive end who has just lost the keys to his luxury car. That usually keeps me on the straight and narrow. ๐Ÿ˜€

I don’t see that anything has to change in our comportment here. Everyone has been really awesome in making this an amazing place in which everyone can feel welcome, or at least feel as if they will be treated with respect and courtesy. And 99.9% of the time, that is what happens. I wouldn’t even need to take off my shoes to count the number of incidents in which such respect and courtesy haven’t been paramount in our interactions. But the Team just felt like there were things that needed to be addressed in the wake of our convo, before that 99.9% average faced the possibility of going down.

Thanks to all for everything, and we’ll move forward from here.

P.S. No, I won’t sit around a camp fire and sing “Kumbaya” with anyone. So forget it. Because a) I can’t sing and b) the brothas don’t camp. (Or at least this brotha doesn’t.)

Categorized as Thoughts

By Kxevin

In my fantasy life, Iโ€™m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, Iโ€™m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. Also, incidentally, I have agreed to cease making so many politically-motivated posts in this forum. This place was set up to talk Barรงa football, not my personal preferences. To posters who might have been turned off by this, I apologize.

  2. that post was just stupid the writer is an idio…..PSYCH we missed you here kxevin welcome back

  3. Thanks for this. It will be nice to see this space return to the respectful, welcoming place that attracted me here in the first place.

    Now where is Isaiah? We are still waiting for his next installment in the end of La Liga roundup.

    (And since you brought it up, why donโ€™t โ€œbrothasโ€ camp? I have always wondered. Even Oprah did a segment recently where she went camping for the first time.)

    1. A general rule is that I don’t sleep anywhere that doesn’t require a key for entry, and where I can’t plug in a plasma. Or shower. Or a whole lot of “ors.”

    2. Not just a “brotha” thing. I’m as pasty pale as they come and I ditto the no camping sentiment. Dirt+ outdoor plumbing+ bugs= yuk, count me out. Did it once, never again!
      There had better be indoor plumbing and a Starbucks nearby when I stay anywhere!

    1. Oh, I see why it’s not working. The place where you got the picture won’t allow you to redistribute it!

      See, I can use this one and it’ll work: messipup

    2. That is awesome. Now I want a puupy in a Barca jersey. I’ll name him Xavi. I would sooooo do that! ๐Ÿ™‚ Hubby would soooo say no to another pet! ๐Ÿ™

    3. Blitzen, you’ve outdone yourself with this one!

      Leo with the puppy is even more awesome than the puppy in jersey pic. All that talent, humility, AND he loves puppies! EPIC WIN!

    4. I didn’t post that, that was all Kari! ๐Ÿ™‚

      I adore the Xavi one. Anyone know if he still has that dog?

    5. Now, how am I supposed to do things like impart knowledge of Barroque mystic poetry and proper use of the Spanish pluperfect subjunctive while protesting the eradication of America’s working class and convincing two small children to not pull a ‘Smails kid’ in public … when there are SUCH TOTALLY CAY-UTE PUPPY PICTURES UP HERE?

      Somebody do something silly and give me something to write about.

      And I don’t know who deserves a special treat and good-boy nuggie more: Messi, Xavi or the puppies?

  4. Because with responsibility comes โ€ฆ. well โ€ฆ. responsibility.

    I’m disappointed, Kxevin. I would have totally said “because with great responsibility comes great responsibility.”

  5. good post

    totally off topic but if anyone cares a report form the us/paraguay game

    1. the us still lacks the ability to really cohesively build attacks beyond counters and lucky bounces

    2. chandler showed flashes of brilliance, and may become a star for the USNT

    3. I don’t understand what happened to altidore, he seemed reticent to get physically engaged with smaller paraguayan defenders

    4. The us outplayed a defensive paraguay unit that seemed content to defend an early lead

    5. Bornstein may be the worst player to ever put on a US jersey.

  6. Good words Kevin, i like this space because its fun, intelligent and polite, lets keep it like this, or improve it if possible.

  7. As an update, Tom Johnson is no longer a posting member of the BFB Team, though he is of course, more than welcome to continue being a member of the family, commenting away and calling me a biased idiot.

  8. Hector’d kinda.
    Weโ€™re still calling Eklavya a girl? nice! Sheโ€™s teaching me cricket.

    Whoa thats a second six on the same at bat for Pakistan, this is getting tight boys and girls.

    Yes, this is also my first cricket match but Ek was helping a lot. Still confused but understand a lot more now.

    Thats for the Forlanโ€™ers.

    and to everyone on the Fabregas situationโ€ฆ yes it looks like Fab left for first team football. But he really left his boyhood club which was at the time in trouble, to go to a club that was fresh off of one of the best runs in history.

    Now heโ€™s trying to leave his current club who is having a similar drought that we did when he left, for this barca team.. coming off one of its best runs in history and considered one of the best clubs ever?

    DONโ€™T SIGN HIM. Cesc just wants trophies, but he has NO loyalty.

    Anyways Justin who is “chandler”?

    Probably for the best. Almost all of his posts gleam of extreme arrogance though you may disagree. and I’m glad the boards have taken a change of direction, I’d mentioned recently i didn’t like the way it was going, not that my small opinion matters.

    also besides the diving, I think Neymar is the truth.

    1. chandler is a 21 year old rb/rw who is one of the us non native born players. he played an extremely attacking game and showed great pace/ crossing ability. It was the first time I’ve ever seen a us fullback get up and down the line and really create an attacking threat.

  9. the only thing i will say is that i am a die-hard and avid “EE” fan (grrrr).. and i have this blog bookmarked on my browser, and i check it 2-3 times per day.

    Not at any point have i felt any hostility nor aggressive behavior from anyone over here, it was the opposite. it was generally good humoured and friendly banter that always made me chuckle and i’ve always felt welcome to visit here over and over. you guys are doing a rly amazing work, posters along with commenters and everyone else included, so a big thumbs up to u all.

    1. Welcome!

      And while were confessing, I have Bassam’s EE site bookmarked ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. That made me actually laugh out loud!

      It would have been great if both felled players were able to take simultaneous PKs. ๐Ÿ˜€

    3. Dunno, you gotta admire the efficiency, two birds with one… oh nevermind…nice hair?

    4. blitzen, that was unbelievably funny. I almost cried laughing. Mind you, I still think we should give Caceres a long, hard look this summer, if only for the hilarity that would ensue when he played ninepins with opposition attackers.

  10. INSANE!

    From barcastuff:

    Barcelona will play their next 6 games in 18 days #fcblive 11 games in 33 days if they qualify for CL semi-finals [via]

  11. I am currently in a puddle of goo on the floor after having seen those RIDICULOUSLY ADORABLE pictures of barca boys with puppies. ๐Ÿ˜€

  12. Good post Kxevin I remember the Offside days when this was a much smaller community, it has grown, but gotten much better.

    Off topic…. Most of my friends love to bash on soccer/futbol. Referring to it as “pussyfoot”, lovley, I know.

    I recently had an interesting discussion with my buddy Luke regarding the speed of futbol players verses NFL players…….. He is under the impression that the top 20 fastest NFL players (most likely cornerbacks/wideouts) would out pace the top 20 fastest futbol players running 40 yard/100 yard dash….. I disagreed of course….. any thoughts….

    1. The fastest player at the World Cup (Chicharito) was clocked as going 31 or 32 kmh. Navas was a shade slower. Do we have any numbers for the top speeds of NFL players?

    2. Well, I don’t watch any American fooball other than the Superbowl (and that’s occasionally), so I can’t really compare. What I do know is, and this has been talked about to death last month, Walcott can run 100m in, like, 10 seconds. That’s Olympic range right there.

    3. I have no doubt that many NFL players could outrun futbol players over short distances or even the length of a field. They train for sprints. But they wouldnโ€™t be able to keep that pace up over the length of a 90-minute game, or even a 45-minute half. NFL games come to a dead halt every few seconds, with lots of milling about before play resumes. Soccer games can go for several minutes without a stop in play, and even then it usually resumes after a few seconds only. Pace is important, but endurance is more so.

    4. agreed, a friend and I in hs had this debate. Futbol shape and football shape are not the same thing. Footbal is spurt stop spurt stop, I have no doubt that over 50 yards randy moss can outpace anyone but world class sprinters, however soccer players have an ability to maintain their pace that is not required and therefore taught in the nfl.


    WC FINALS!!!!

  14. All the Guyanese ladies at my work are celebrating right now. They were supporting India.

  15. LOL Anyone watching CNN? They are interviewing people in India and they’re not speaking, just shouting randomly it’s hilarious. ๐Ÿ˜€

  16. Interesting debate about the speed of the top 20 football players vs soccer players.

    Blitzen made some very good points there.

    Something people overlook though, is that there are a LOT more professional soccer players than professional football players throughout the world.

    On the other hand I think that soccer players practices focus technique, whereas in football they might work more on the physical condition of the players.

    Difficult, this one…

    1. NFL players, in short sprints or field-length efforts, would smoke most futbol players. There are house-sized defensive linemen that run 4.5-seconds in the 40-yard dash. That’s crazy speed and power, since these guys are weighing 240 lbs or so. And the wide receivers are just absurd. Rare is the footballer with that kind of pace.

      Now over the span of a match is where fitness comes into play.

    2. yeah there is no question that on average nfl players are faster. But it is only one league. Would their top 10 really be faster than the top 10 of allll the soccer leagues in the world?

    3. I think so, Lev. It’s a very different kind of training, more for pure explosiveness vs sustained midrange pace, with short bursts. NFL players are absurdly fast. The skill players are running 4.2-4.2 40-yarders, which probably extrapolates to a world-class 100 meter run, since you lose all of the time starting the effort.

    4. You have to take into consideration that a soccer player is most judged with his speed with the ball at his feet. It is much harder to run while dribbling a ball than to run without the ball.

      There is also the case of the offside rule. If a player is running so fast that he is going past the last defender, then he is in an offside position. This is why a soccer player is supposed to use his pace to good use. Know when to sprint and when to jog. An American football player on the other hand would rather get past the last defender (is that what they are called?) so the quarter back can spring the ball to him.

      Players like Obafimi Martins and Odonkor are really fast. They are probably one of the fastest players to play the game. Are they world class players? Not even close. This is because soccer is not about speed. Its comparing an aspect of the game that is most important for the NFL with one that is mildly important for soccer.

      When Ronaldo first joined us, he hired a professional 100 yard runner to help him improve his speed and make his running more efficient. The club advised him to use that time to improve his technique.

      Good discussion!

    5. True, Bassam, but I think of the wing busters such as Thong Boy and Henry, who time accelerations so that they are just even with the last defender when the ball gets to them. Henry was insanely fast, by the by.

      I also think there’s speed vs quickness. Messi isn’t fast, but he is quick. His first 10 steps are amazing, but he does get caught in the open field.

      Bassam’s point is sound, and also brings to mind the absurdity of why American football is a game in which the ball is so rarely touched with the feet.

      It’s really apples and oranges.

      The Ochocinco tryout thing is pretty cool. Haters gonna hate, but you can see that he has some basic skills. You could see a side taking a player like that, honing those skills and just turning him loose up the wing.

    6. It’s very interesting because the way Messi runs is very different from the way Ronaldo runs and different from the way Henry runs. As you mentioned, Messi has quick feet. On the other hand, Henry did not have the quickest feet but rather took huge steps. I remember there was a statistic floating around a couple of years ago how Henry was the players that takes the biggest steps while running.

      The problem with Ochocinco is his age. Had he taken this dicision a couple of years ago, it would have been doable. But he is 33 right now, and a winger has to put in a lot of running time. This brings us back to the excellent point that Blitzen made about fitness over quickness. Few sports have the stamina of a football player running non stop for 45 minutes. Midfielders like Busi and Xabi alonso run 10+ k in every game.

    7. It would be interesting to see cold hard statistics though from the likes of the Walcotts/Chicharitos/Navas/Messia compared to the top NFL players on 40 yard or 100 yard dashes…..

    8. My though on it was the NFL players weigh more due to the constant weight lifting and straight muscle building most of them do. It is true the Randy Moss or Ochocinco type wideouts are relatively lanky when compared to the APs or Ray Lewis type players, but randy moss would be pretty buff when compared to a Navas or Walcott.

      I would think weighing less would help them be faster, be it 40 yard dash or whatever speed trial you want to compare.

      Speaking of Ocho, he is apparently trying out for some MLS team:

      Interesting….although his first touch from this video is pretty dreadful.

    9. nah, look at 100 yard sprinters in the Olympics. They are huge! Weighing more slows you down if it is fat, but like Kxevin noted in his reply to myself, NFL players are very explosive.

      Bassam, I read somebody is also working twith Afellay since he came to Barรงa so that he will run and move smoother. Agree with you that speed is used differently in soccer and football. I think a big part of why NFL players are faster is not because they need to be faster per se (speed is very important in both sports) but because they need to be stronger. This leads to a different training scheme which puts a bigger focus on physical fitness / explosiveness compared to technique training in football.

      I’d still be curious how guys like Walcott and Martins compare.

  17. barcastuff:

    Alves: “My wife is in charge at my place. She had a big influence in the decision to renew. The president thanked her.” #fcblive

    And so do we all thank her! ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. No, just a random one from that interweb thing!

      I wish I could have a dog, but I can’t right now. I have a lovely cat, but if I tried to dress her in a Barca jersey and take a picture of her, I would end up with a very angry cat, severe flesh wounds, and an EX-jersey. ๐Ÿ˜›

  18. โ€œMy team is the best, you guys suck,โ€

    Is that all i needed to do to be part of this blog? Would have saved me a lot of long posts ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I totally understand your post, Kev! For what its worth, you have a great crowd here. Thats the reason why Real Madrid fans like myself enjoy coming here and commenting. At a popular blog like the Offside, you get people that don’t care about football and comment, and trust me, the throw garbage at you. I’ve been called racist (for saying Adebayor is not a good signing), a d*ck (for saying Mourinho shouldn’t complain) and many more colorful words for giving an opinion. Things improve though as the regulars get used to the standards that the writers provide. This is obviously the case here. So keep up the good work. What happened on the last post is just a little bump in a rather very smooth and well managed road. Keep up the good work.

    And for what its worth, you are missing out on not camping! Where else are you going to make smores, start a fire and roast some corn? I actually just came back from a 2 day camping trip!

    1. sighhhhh My idea of camping is a 3-star hotel! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Thanks for the praise. It’s all Isaiah. It’s something he started over at The Offside, when there were about 6 people commenting, to what we have here. My goal has just been assimilation, and not screwing anything up.

    2. “And for what its worth, you are missing out on not camping! Where else are you going to make smores, start a fire and roast some corn?”

      Um… in the comfort of the back yard. Heck, I don’t even have to let me feet touch the grass as the grill is on the deck. Then you can eat your s’mores in the comfort of your air conditioned house and go out for some Starbuck’s frappacinos (java chip, claro!) afterwards! ๐Ÿ™‚

    3. For those without back yards and grills, my kids make s’mores by “blowing up” the marshmallows in the microwave. Ah, how civilized. Only now I’m craving a frappacino ๐Ÿ™

    4. I have to say I really enjoy camping as well. I don’t do it as often as I would like, but it’s a great excuse to take a break from ‘civilization’. I will concede that sleeping in a tent is nothing like your own bed, but being outdoors makes that up for me.

      Kxevin: After my HS graduation some years ago, I did a several week long road biking trip with some friends, following the circumference of Japan’s northernmost island Hokkaido. The route was mostly coastal, so there were hardly any major climbs, but it was a wonderful experience. I ended up bringing my road-bike to the states, where I take it out for days trip every now and than. I imagine you don’t regularly lug tents and other luggage around on your bike, but do you ever do several days or week long trips? If there are any good routes you would recommend in the continental US, let me know.

    5. I race, beeeef. So I pack all my stuff in the car, get out, put it together, go really fast (I hope) then go home.

      The longest riding the team does is at spring training camp (we base in Mill Valley, just over the bridge from San Fran), where we usually do 7-8 days of riding, with lots of climbing. We only got 6 in this year, but I still burned more than 12,000 calories over those rides. Crazy!

    6. I hear about that. I also heard about the UC Berkely students that biked all the way from UCB to UCLA. Pretty intense stuff. I had always wanted to do something like that since i moved here, but then got lazy.

      12,000 calories is insane!

    7. I go camping as often as I can, which is not very often. Not having a car makes it difficult.

      Best thing I ever did was spend a week alone in the backcountry of Jasper National Park. The Canadian Rockies are pretty much my favourite place on earth. I carried everything I needed on my back. I ran into maybe 10 people that whole time and that was just fine with me. I need to do that again.

    8. Have you watched 127 hours? Be careful Blitzen!

      Usually when alone time is needed, the Mountains is the place to go. I enjoy camping when its not a big group. 3 to 4 people is the best.

    9. Don’t worry, I didn’t stray from the marked paths! I don’t have a death wish.

      I did almost get run over by a caribou, though. True story. ๐Ÿ™‚

    10. I think my favourite place to camp is in the desert. Minimal bugs, very little likelihood of rain (though you do have to contend with sand-storms) and, if you’re driving in between stops, it’s amazing how much the landscape changes while still remaining…well…desert.

  19. I think it was ‘Lev’ who evaluated my points about Fabregas on the other post…so this is for you

    1)regarding his big-game bottling… In my defence I did I am of course evaluating the player with hate-glasses on so of course I was exaggerating but are just the 3 matches that Arsenal play against us his big games for the two seasons!? Really!? So what about his games against teams like UTD, Chelsea, City, etc!? To an extent Spurs too… And what exactly has he done in there season determining fixtures!?

    2) you say Thiago might not end up realising his potential. Sure! Even Messi was at this stage some time back and if you remember well we passed on the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo for him. We passed on the signing of Robinho some time back because we wanted to wait on Pedro. We are willing to pass on world-class strikers because we want to wait on Bojan. But why do you want to sign a star player now, even though you are sure the youth would suffer because of that signing? Why this double standards when it comes to Fabregas? Just because he was ex-youth player at the club!?

    And you say you would let go of Afellay if it means we would get Fabregas…does Fabregas really bring as much versatility as does Afellay!? And how does such a transfer make our club different to EE who let go the talented players like Sneijder, Robben to bring in the cracks? And what do you think is the reason Pep preferred to keep Keita instead of Yaya even though the latter is obviously more talented? That’s because Keita is not a crack and would make noise if he doesn’t start week in week out… Afellay is like Keita while Fabregas is like Yaya. Keita, Afellay… Squad players, such players are really overlooked but they are vital part of all the winning clubs!!

    3) I get what you mean with your point of unpredictability but that already is there… So moot argument really. Come next season we have as much unpredictability with the players we have available as we would have with Fabregas. In fact we would have more of it because Afellay is a different kind of player to Xaviniesta while Fabregas is almost the same type

    4) I can’t agree more with it, really

    And @barca96, no Fabregas is not the Xavi of Arsenal anymore. He hasn’t been that for 2 years now. Last season he played like a trequarista in 4-2-3-1 formation with Diaby(mostly) and Song behind him. This season he does what Iniesta does for us while Whilshere does what Xavi does for us

    1. And regarding his WC final performance…didn’t he let the nerves get the better of him when he was presented with the glorious scoring opportunity!? Also the assist, he did well but he pretty much took the only chance he had! It’s like Messi ‘assisting’ Iniesta for the winner against Chelsea!!

    2. I will say, regarding Fabregas, that he isn’t a pooch-screwer for Afellay or Thiago. The former is most effective these days as a winger anyhow, and Thiago is best as a classic crack. In looking at Fabregas as the Xavi or Iniesta type, there’s room for everyone in the pool, I rather think.

    3. I agree with you about Afellay, but in the case of Thiago, I think Fabregas is certainly a hinderance. As players, the may be different to one another and may perform different roles, but if you look at our ‘basic’ formation, they would both play in the same spot. Either RCM or LCM.

      Add Xavi, Iniesta, and Keita and you have five players for two spots, in the near future at least.

    4. Yeah, but for how many matches would that lineup be put out? Xavi, Iniesta, and Villa won’t be on the bench for too long.

  20. NFL players are faster than fฬถoฬถoฬถtฬถbฬถaฬถlฬถlฬถ soccer players (as if I know). However, if you throw a ball between Messi’s feet he can dribble them all while they are sprinting.


    We all get caught off guard every once and while. No need to take radical harsh decisions.

    1. Thanks, Ramzi. But it wasn’t radical, or harsh. It had been coming for a while. Tom’s fine with it, as well, so all’s good.

  21. And regarding his WC final performance…didn’t he let the nerves get the better of him when he was presented with the glorious scoring opportunity!? Also the assist, he did well but he pretty much took the only choice he had! It’s like Messi ‘assisting’ Iniesta for the winner against Chelsea!!

  22. what the hell is going on here?

    โ€œHay Liga!โ€ โ€œThe league is on!โ€ cried the hat-throwing, joyous press in the Spanish capital on Wednesday morning. Normally that clarion call is reserved for when Real Madrid get to within 20 points of Barcelona at the top of the table, but this time it was meant in its most literal sense – there will be football this weekend after all.


    1. Wow, killer gol.

      I assume Afellay is naturally left footed? or is he just really good with his left foot?

    2. Right footed. From what I’ve seen he’s solid with his left foot. People were making him out to be ambidextrous, but from some of the passes and attempted finishes I’ve seen when he’s played with Barรงa, he doesn’t trust his left foot that much. He’s gone out of his way a few times try and finish with his right, when his left foot was the better option.

    1. I just read/listened, and have determined that there are some (at best) hysterically tenuous links between the players and their allocated pieces of music. It could be a fun exercise nonetheless though, trying to decide what music best fits what player.

  23. So Messi, Pedro, Bojan & Busi doubtful for the clash while Puyol and Abidal injured with Xavi suspended?

    Callups for Thiago and Soriano I suspect? A rare start for Afellay probably but he’s coming off of a couple of brilliant displays for the NT, so should be fired up!

    VV, Alves, Pique, Milito, Maxwell(because Adriano should be fresh for Shakhtar match), Masch, Iniesta, Keita, Pedro/Villa, Messi(I suspect it was on the club’s pressure the injury rumors were started), Afellay(on left at all costs, if he didn’t start in midfield)

    Sub in Puyol for match fitness ahead of the all important quarter final match

    1. Pedro trained with the team today, and there is nothing wrong with Busi. I expect both of them to play vs. Villareal.

    2. I think totalbarca had mentioned something about Busi picking up a knock against the Czech republic, and sitting out Lithuania because of it. However, if you look at the training pictures from Wednesday, he looks as though he’s on the pitch with the rest of the team…so I think he’s okay.

    3. i remember somebody on this blog posting a great picture of a shirtless jeffren holding up his two pet chihuahuas. hilarious.

    4. No I didn’t forget… I’d start Afellay ahead of Jeffren. If Busi is alright I’d 100% start him because he needs to pick up a yellow in this match and sit out for Almeria.

      I still am not sure Pedro would be started right away after an injury lay off

    5. I wouldn’t trust anything except official sources regarding injuries and player status. I think that clubs keep stuff close to the vest regarding injuries.

    6. And Messi, Busquets, Mascherano, Valdes are all on 4 yellows right now.
      The future could be brighter :'(

    7. Wish list, if the appropriate people are healthy:
      Alves, Pique, Milto, Adriano
      sMache, Businiesta
      MVP!!( or 3M if P!! is still hurt)
      Messi gets subbed as soon as possible (if possible), Busi/ sMashe (at least Busi) take care of their little 4 yellow problem in order to serve their time v Almeria,
      0-1, 1-2, 2-3 I don’t care as long as we manage more than they. Why, Xavi? WHY?

      Good News:
      US viewers- GOLTV 4:00 EST! That’s right, WE GET RAY!!!!!!!

    8. I do want Busquets to be in the midfield, especially without Xavi, but I’m not okay with Milito next to Pique. That’s just asking for trouble. Wonder what Pep will do.

    9. Fontas starting against Villareal? Busi as CB instead of midfield when Xavi’s out? sMasche plays CB for the first time against one of the better teams? I’m getting angrier at Xavi!

    10. “Wonder what Pep will do.”

      I suspect he will play Keita and Mascherano in mid and Busi as CB which is fine, but one of these days I would love to see Busi and Mascherano in the midfield together.

    11. I’d worry about our possession with that midfield, Soccermomof4. That looks like a formation which would bring them onto us which wouldn’t be wise with the current state of our defence.

    12. Messi get’s subbed
      That’s an oxymoron…

      My line-up:
      Dani Alves, Piquรฉ, Busquets, Adriano
      Keita, Mascherano, Iniesta/Afellay

      Iniesta and Afellay constantly swapping positions, Mascherano is allowed to play some Xavi-esque passes (he can do it! Trust in him!!!).

  24. In light of the recent cricketing events, I have this to say:

    F$%$ YESS!! @(#*$^(*#& (@*#$*@^()_@ *(* %&*&)& %&^%&$ &)()_&&^)_ and sone other expletives.

    That is all..

    1. A bit late to the party? I had to teach Jose and Josep everything on my own! ๐Ÿ˜€

  25. A Final..A Final
    Oh My Lord..A FINAL

    There are very few things in this world better than your Team winning a big game and then you getting absolutely plastered and running on the street, high-fivin’ random ppl on the street and just bursting into song just because you feel like it

    Oh and It is written that God will score his hundredth hundred in his beloved home at the biggest stage of them all!

    I am sorry if this is a bit off-topic but any people living in Mumbai are hereby welcome to a WC Final viewing at my friends office (It has a 42 inch Plasma and a fridge amongst other things) ๐Ÿ˜€

    Feel happy for me etc…

  26. As regards the recent events that have taken place in the blog, I for one am kinda saddened that Tom is no longer a posting member..Being a economics wannabe learner I rather enjoyed his posts..Oh well

    1. Agree. He does get the most disagreements in the comments out of all the writers, but I still enjoyed his posts. Oh well.

    1. barcastuff was even quoting a close friend of Messi who said that there was a possibility of a serious injury if Messi played against Costa Rica. So there should still be a risk to play him against Villarreal, even if he feels fit.

    2. I think we won’t know the full extent of his injury until after his return to Barcelona and subsequent medical tests.

      @barcastuff is going to be the best source for credible news regarding the severity of Leo’s boo-boo.

      Fingers crossed for good news.

  27. I am pretty sure Messi will play.

    Here’s the lineup I expect to see:

    Alves – Pique – Busquets – Adriano
    Iniesta – Mascherano – Keita
    Pedro – Messi – Villa

    I don’t think Pep will trust Milito in a game like this. I gues

    1. That’s alright and all but Iniesta can never be Xavi and Keita can never be Iniesta ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. love the Sachin part.. ๐Ÿ™‚

      As an Indian and a Mumbai boy myself, it would mean the world to me if he scores a hundred and we win the finals!

    2. 100 is the century correct? Isn’t there a first class century too? I’ve been a cricket fan for about 7 hours now so forgive me for being a newb..

      Though I’ve known Sachin Tendulkar’s name since I saw Slumdog Millionaire hah. ๐Ÿ˜€

    3. a first class match is any pro-match afaik ..if we counted all the first class hundreds Sachin has it would be a huge number..

      He has 51 hundreds in the 5 day Test matches and 48 hundreds in the one day matches while playing for India

      He has played every World Cup since 1992 (’92, ’96, ’99, ’03, ’07 and now ’11)..he is the greatest players ever in his chosen sport and a modest, humble, gem of a man..We (Indians) adore him

    4. “he is the greatest players ever in his chosen sport and a modest, humble, gem of a man..”

      sounds like a player on another team we all love…

    5. ๐Ÿ™‚ I know

      No wonder why the greatest ones are always the most unassuming..

      My dad met Sachin once in an airplane flight and to this day dad still gushes over how down-to-earth he was..I mea we are talking about a literal God in India here and perhaps one of the richest sportsmen ever..

      He is a rarity, Sachin is..just like that scruffy little Argentine flea

    6. Then, whatever it means to score a hundred (does it mean hitting 100 of those wicket things?), I wish for your sake that he does(and Ek’s). Go India ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. as for football players vs soccer players speed. fast college football players are record setters in the 100m sprint

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