A Round Up of Recent News: Just In Case You Forgot. [Edit]

Credit: @blastedfrench on Twitter

Unfortunately, he won’t be a team player in our next match against Villarreal on Saturday (4pmEST) because he won’t be playing.

If you missed it, Xavi got his fifth yellow card a fortweek ago against Getafe Real Castilla CF Burger King FC. For what, you ask? For kicking the ball away.

Now, Xavi wouldn’t be Xavi if he didn’t lay into those coños*; indeed, he called Thong Boy one in the CL final (I love Xavi), but he really needs to tone down the dissent. All of his other four cards are the result of it. Xavi is so crucial to our game, and that’s goes double when we play teams that also like to tiki taka. Make no mistake, this is a huge blow, of Joe Frazier on Muhammed Ali proportions. Villareal is always difficult—our best game of the season bar la manita IMO was against the submarines, but Villareal away from home without Xavi? Uffff. The worst part is that this could have been avoidable. If Xavi could have let one thing go, we’d have him for this game.

That kinda hurts.

Speaking of hurting, Messi seems to be. That sound you’re hearing is my breaking things in anger (yes, I’m going to anger management, eye of the tiger was the choice music for our shadow boxing lesson**). Barca have confirmed, according to catalunya radio, that Messi was feeling a strain on his right hamstring, so he didn’t play last night against Costa Rica.

Whenever I read “Messi”, “hamstring” and “strain” in the same sentence, I tend to break into cold sweat. If you didn’t know, pre-Guardiola, Messi had a lot of hamstring injuries, long terms ones at that. It’s been a thing of the past since Pep came, but it’s still not something I was to hear. Hamstring is the second worst injury, after knee ones, IMO because they tend to be recurrent; as in, they come back often. It appears as though he’ll be a-okay for Villareal, sayeth onda cero, but it’s a situation to keep an eye on. He’ll have tests in Atlanta today.

Some other injury updates:

  • Bojan has a sprained ankle, which he got while on duty the Spain U-21s. According ona, however, he’ll be fit for the game on Saturday.
  • Puyi. Captain Caveman. Tarzan. Our inspirational leader. Who hasn’t played since January. What’s up with him? Good question. Bursitis, apparently. I won’t go into detail about it, but it’s a pain. Literally and figuratively. It’s not the same as sprain or a tear; there is no real “set” timeline in respect to his recovery. It’s very much like Xavi’s tendinitis, but in the knee. That’s not really accurate, but I’m trying give you some idea on the nature of the injury. Overuse is definitely a factor and it brings the CB debate out into the open again. We don’t have anyone to replace Puyol, despite us knowing he played a full World Cup. He’s also 32 years old, so it’s not like he’s durable like, say, Pique. He needs more recovery time/rest. Throw in a Milito who has come back from long term injury and the sale of Marquez and Txignasty (oh, how we could use him right now) and  it leads me to the question we’ve all been asking: Why haven’t we bought another CB? Abidal’s unfortunate situation make this all the worse. According to Sport, the return could be after our first leg against Shakhtar, but all that really means is that no-one knows when he’ll be back.
  • Moving on, Pedro!! has an official Facebook page, through which he is regularly updating his status. And the purpose and benefit of his training exercises, just in case we don’t know why he’s doing them. More importantly, it seems that it’s going well, although I still don’t know if he’ll be ready for the Villlareal game. Here’s hoping he is. I miss Pedro!!.Maxwell is also recovering nicely, and both him and P!! are training on the pitch for the first time. No green light for either though.

I say all this, but whether Messi and Pedro! are fit for Villarreal could have been irrelevant. Apparently (read: actually) this is a proposed strike in Spain and that could see the Villareal game cancelled. Fear not, it won’t be cancelled. The judge has decided to suspend the strike of the Liga clubs. [@barcastuff]. This has been mentioned many a time over the last few months, but I haven’t paid any attention to it. I am now because my Barca viewing pleasure was in danger. I know it isn’t any more but I want to know why the fudge it was in danger in first place.

And here is a nice little summary, provided by @barcastuff on twitter.

1. Why is there a strike? Mainly because the clubs want the government to eliminate the rule to show one Liga game each weekend on a non-pay channel. [In other words, they don’t want it to be on a regular channel where you don’t have to extra for it. Think pay-per-view].

2. Why wouldn’t there be football? The association of clubs has voted in favour of a strike.

3. Six clubs who weren’t in favour of a strike asked a judge to suspend the strike. The judge will decide this morning at 10am.

4. If the judge decides the strike should be suspended, there will be Liga games this weekend.

5. If the judge decides not to suspend the strike, the clubs can still decide to change their decision not to play.

6. In fact, an emergency meeting of the association of clubs has been called. Most media claim, the clubs could/will decide to play.

7. We (that’s Barca) voted against the strike, but we still accept the decisions by other clubs.

8. The judge  has since ruled that there won’t be a strike. Yay!

But of course, the big question is: why has it gotten this far? Why would the clubs go so far as to strike during the most important time of the season?

The answer has been talked about many times: TV money.

I’ve been avoiding talking about this, because while I think it’s really important, I confess that I don’t really feel passionate about it, even though I really should. What I will do is give you the gist of how the TV money issue and this strike tie together. I’ve deduced most of this, so if there is anything wrong at any point, feel free to correct me.

The issue: Barca and EE take the majority of the money from TV; the rest fight for scraps. A ruling in Spain says that at least on Liga game has to be on regular TV, not pay per view. Spain has a high unemployment rate, and this couples with the fact Spanish believe entertainment should be free.

Why Liga teams are pissed: This is a problem for the rest of the Liga teams because they already don’t make much because EE and us are hogging all the money, and now the government says they can’t charge people to watch the games, so they make even less money from TV.

So they folded their arms and said, “this ain’t fair”, and decided to strike, which was today rejected.

Although, it wouldn’t have been too bad to have a short strike, if not for the time off we get. According to the official website, we’re going to play 6 games in the next 18 days. That’s 11 games in 33 days if we qualify for the CL semis. I love that I get to see our team play so often, but, uh, that’s freaking insane.

April = Championship/Make-or-Break month.  At least Alves is excited (not that I’m not). Speaking of Alves, every time you see him playing, remember  to thank his wife; she’s one of the main reasons he renewed. I love her in a purely platonic way.

FC Barcelona: place where WAGs are not WAGs (unless it’s Pique’s) but secret renewal agents. YES.

Also according the official website, Peeeento (that’s Pinto) has renewed until 2012. That means two more years of whistling. YES! (I’m still laugh when I remember that Copenhagen player randomly stopping. I swear that was too funny.)

Afellay, Xavi, Iniesta, Pique, Villa, Busi, Valdes,  and Alves are all back from international duty save and sound. Only the Argies are missing.

—-If you live in Landover, Maryland, I will be very very jealous of you on July 30, because Barcelona and Man Utd will be playing there. How come no decent game is played in Canada, more specifically Ottawa? 🙁

No need to answer that.

–Lastly, because I always save the best and biggest news for last, reader Eklavya is apparently male and Indian. I did not know that. Except I did, but I didn’t really care (to mention it). And I don’t think you care either.

So moving on:

Awesome Videos to Watch:

Got be on loan defender Martin Caceres slide tackling two players. Oh gawd, this is hilarious. (Skip to 1:50 in the video.)

[credit: the really long name99, via dirty tackle, via blitzen]

Xavi scored against Lithuania. Enough said. [credit: GoalsArena]

Ibrahimovic has a teammate kicking fetish. [credit: vonderburk]

If you missed it, he also kicked a young player named Strasser, Robinho during a celebration, and got into a fight with American defender Onyewu. On a scale of 1 to YAYA, how badly will we be Hlebbed if AC Milan don’t buy him?

[EDIT] I can’t believe I hadn’t posted this before. It’s old, but this is the Shakhtar players’ reaction to getting us. I love Txignasty’s poker face 😀

Interesting Articles To Read:

Spain has bigger problems than the TV one, sayeth Graham Hunter on ESPNsoccernet.

The Sidster, that’s Sid Lowe, gives us all more insight to the strike in his article on Sports Illustrated. In case you want someone who actually knows what’s going on, and can explain it eloquently. Not sure why you’d want that though.

Tom Goulding of Young Sports Writers has an interesting little post titled “Blaugrana Music”; songs that represent our players. Creative! [credit: Para in the comments]

Another Tom, Tom Williams (distant relative of Kxevin whom I credit for finding this. 😀 <---Not really. I think), tells us how boss Ibi Afellay was for Holland. And his boss factor was pretty high.

———————————————————————————————————

*Not that I think all refs are coños… only some of them and it depends on the game . That was just a good lead in sentence to remind you all he called TB one. Also, don’t call other people coños. It’s bad to call them coños. I really should stop typing the word “coños”.

…It means “pussy” or “b*tch” in Spanish, if you didn’t know.

Yeah.

**NO, I don’t have anger issues, but this is a true story. I was walking by a beach and there was an anger management class there (I know because I recognized some people) and they were shadow boxing to the tune of Eye of the Tiger. No joke. The most hilarious thing I’ve seen in a while.

Also, I’m seriously considering doing a companion post to Don’t Call Rosell Wack, involving Like A Boss and Florentino Perez. sMasch also works, because he’s actually nicknamed “the little boss” (Jefecito), but I always picture Perez (and Michael Scott from the Office) when I hear the song. If you’re going to YouTube it, Imma warn you now that the song is pretty nasty halfway through. First part is hilarious (I love it!), then it goes all meh, and it’s not safe for work. You’ll know what I mean…

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191 Comments

  1. March 31, 2011

    common misconception (not picking on you, but I hear it a lot) is that Barca are playing total football.

    We’re not. It’s far from it. The best comparison would be Barca is playing “this generation’s total football” but they’re not in anyway playing total football.

    Not sure I agree with this. Or at least it strikes me as being very purist – purist to the point of not being practical for anyone to achieve.

    It’s true that total football like any other “philosophy” or system is a kind of ideal. But just because the ideal isn’t exactly attained in all facets doesn’t mean the category isn’t accurate.

    If this Barca team doesn’t play total football then I think you’d have to say that no team in the history of the game ever has. Not even Rinnus Michels and Cruyff’s Ajax or Dutch sides.

    • Josep
      March 31, 2011

      I was trying to go deep, and you’re going even deeper. I’m just speaking of the reincarnation of total voetball, not the two words together total football. Besides, I don’t want our philosophy to be considered total football, i’d rather it be considered something different to set itself a part as they both have similarities and differences.

    • stowe
      April 1, 2011

      tiki taka

  2. xavi
    March 31, 2011

    But I don’t know if the interest is fresh Kxevin… Just that there’s some interest from Chelsea lately and the transfer stories headline had to be like ‘Chelsea targeting so-and-so’s target’

  3. Eklavya
    March 31, 2011

    – If you could take any of them, who would you take: Rossi or Nilmar?

    – When we drew Shaktar a few weeks ago, I wrote that we would see if Willian still gives us trouble like he did the previous times.

    – My Lineup vs Villareal:

    Alves Pique Busi Adriano
    Afellay Mascherano Iniesta
    Pedro Messi Villa

    – MVP should actually be PMV.

    – Botia was already our best defender in Barca B before he left. Not trying him out during the preseason would be stupid. He could have a Pique-like evolution if we give him enough time. With Puyol having long injuries and Abidal suffering other problems, we need a young-yet-experienced CB who is good on the ball.

    We should get rid of Maxwell this summer, buy back Botia, shift Abidal back to LB with Adriano as his replacement. That still leaves us with only Pique, Puyol and Botia as CBs, unless Adriano can become first choice as LB and Abi can stay at CB.

    Another way could be to use Busi as CB more often and thus giving Masch more time as DM. I know a lot of people think we’re doomed without Busi in the midfield but we also gain a LOT with Masch and his tackles. Playing them BOTH at the same time is the best our best defensive option, IMO.

    If we get him back and he works out, his nickname will be 2M.

    – Kari did you write all of this? It seems all thought out …

    – What’s with the random mentioning of my name? Lol 🙂

    • blitzen
      March 31, 2011

      Your lineup has no keeper, so you could add an extra player up front if you want. I’m seeing a Pedro Messi Bojan Villa front line! 😉

    • Eklavya
      March 31, 2011

      Haha, nice catch. 🙂

    • BA
      March 31, 2011

      and you’re forgetting about Fontas, dear eklavya.

    • Eklavya
      March 31, 2011

      I’m not. Botia > Fontas, at least for me.

      I like Fontas though, he’s bulky.

    • Eklavya
      March 31, 2011

      Unless you meant putting Fontas in the lineup. I put Busi there instead.

    • Para
      March 31, 2011

      I could be wrong, but I think BA means that the club has said Fontas is going to be promoted in the summer (unless that’s not as definite as I thought?), so he should be added to your list of first-team centre backs.

  4. Josep
    March 31, 2011

    Yucccckkkk Gerard just blasted that shot 4000 feet over. He should’ve done a lot better!

  5. Eklavya
    March 31, 2011

    Willian would probably be a good addition but how does he offer us something Afellay doesn’t?

    He would play as LW and compete with Afellay and would cost more.

    Afellay is a LW to me who can also play in the middle.

    • vicsoc
      March 31, 2011

      Have to disagree with you there. Afellay looks to me like a midfielder who can also play on the wing. Willian on the other hand is a winger who can also play left back.

    • Eklavya
      March 31, 2011

      Re: Afellay

      I think it’s too soon to say. In the few minutes he has played for us this season, he has been good at both. Similar to Iniesta. Time will probably determine is eventual position.

      Re: Willian

      Aren’t we looking for a CF? Willian would be another winger. I think we need a CF so that we have Pedro, Villa and Messi on the sides with a striker in the middle.

      I don’t see it happening. I don’t see anyone displacing Messi. I don’t see us buy a striker that would fit in our system. I can see them buying a LW/LB though.

    • Josep
      March 31, 2011

      Lets just sign Sachin Tendulkar!!

    • xavi
      March 31, 2011

      And give bat to Valdes…ask him to hit any ball that come towards him

      Only I’m worried how our dressing room would contain two Gods in Messi and Sachdev!!

    • Eklavya
      March 31, 2011

      LOL, Sachin aka the Messi of cricket is 37 years old and 1m65 (5ft5′). That’s 4 centimeters shorter than Messi!

    • Vj
      March 31, 2011

      Win!

  6. xavi
    March 31, 2011

    @eklavya

    How is it too sign to decide the best position of Afellay when he’s been playing a midfielder through out his life!?

    I agree with you that we need a backup CF before thinking about a LW though. Also I’m not sure if it’s ideal time to buy one with Deulofeu so near to first team action too. I also think Villa has every chance to be the ‘Giuly’ of Deulofeu!!

    • Jim
      March 31, 2011

      Not getting at him as he’s only just arrived and I’m liking his attitude but so far I’ve seen nothing in Affellay that remotely reminds me of Iniesta.

    • Eklavya
      March 31, 2011

      If I had to describe Afellay to a person, I’d say that he’s fast with good technique can play LM or LW. Style of play is similar to Iniesta. I mean who else ressembles him? Im not saying he has been playing at Iniesta’s level, just that they look similar in the few minutes we’ve seen of him.

      And what position he played before has littke importance. What matters most is where he’s good for us, and he’s he’s been good at both … so far.

    • Jim
      March 31, 2011

      I’m not really seeing that similarity, Eklavya. I don’t honestly see Iniesta as being fast but his control is unbelievably good and smooth whereas to me Afellay runs awkwardly and his control is more like his feet being quicker than his brain. Not saying it doesn’t work for him just that I’d never have thought of comparing them.

      At the moment I’m thinking like you that his best position will be wide, either right or left.

  7. xavi
    March 31, 2011

    @eklavya

    How is it too soon to decide the best position of Afellay when he’s been playing a midfielder through out his life!?

    I agree with you that we need a backup CF before thinking about a LW though. Also I’m not sure if it’s ideal time to buy one with Deulofeu so near to first team action too. I also think Villa has every chance to be the ‘Giuly’ of Deulofeu!!

    • blitzen
      March 31, 2011

      Deulofeu is great, but he has a couple of years to go before he can even think of regular first team action. He hasn’t even been promoted to Barcelona B yet, although I’m sure he will be this summer. He is only 17, remember. We don’t want to create another Bojan here. He should play with the B team for at least 2 years before he can be considered first team material.

  8. xavi
    March 31, 2011

    I think mods need to concentrate a bit more on my double posts and delete one of the more inappropriate ones! Basically i’m posting from my mobile and mistakes creep in now and then…please don’t mind

    • vicsoc
      March 31, 2011

      I would try but I either don’t have that capability or I’m not smart enough to figure out how to do it.

    • Eklavya
      March 31, 2011

      You said you were a nerd yourself 🙂

    • March 31, 2011

      No prob. In fact if anyone would like their comments edited or removed (at some point) just say so.

      ….Not that I’m itching to use my mod powers or anything.

    • stowe
      April 1, 2011

      you are sooooo power hungry (i mean, look at all the videos you inserted 😉

  9. Helge
    March 31, 2011

    WHy has nobody ever talked about Radamel Falcao as our possible, new CF for next season?
    He should be cheaper than Nilmar, Rossi and certainly than Neymar, plus I would not really want to rob Villarreal of their 2 diamonds because I like Villarreal – although those 2 diamonds might kick our ass on Satuday 🙂
    His goal-scoring ratio since he joined Porto is incredible, 57 goals and 15 assists (as a center forward!) in 78 matches. Right now, he’s the leading goal scorer in the Europa League. He just turned 25, so he’s in his very best age.
    He might not be THE perfect option, but I was wondering why he did not even appear as a possible transfer as of now…

    • xavi
      March 31, 2011

      Because i’ve not posted much on the blog in the recent times…

    • Eklavya
      March 31, 2011

      Never heard of him but 57 goals in 78 matches? Whaaa? How long has he been at Porto? Lisandro Lopez was also at Porto, I wish we had bought him…

    • Helge
      March 31, 2011

      He’s been there since the 09/10 season, coming from River Plate.

    • Josep
      March 31, 2011

      Hulk overshadows him thats why. The kid is good though, thats for sure.

  10. Lev
    March 31, 2011

    No player is like Iniesta imo. If I had to compare Afellay to another player it would be Nasri.

  11. vicsoc
    March 31, 2011

    For those of us looking forward to bringing Botia back, Preciado has some encouraging words:

    “Barcelona’s the best team I’ve seen in my life. They play incredibly attractive, it’s not only about the result”

    “I think Botia will return to Barcelona. He has a brilliant future. Difficult to believe they’d let this chance slip by.”

    “Of Barça’s academy I especially like Thiago and Bartra. They can give us the latter when they buy back Botia.”

    From barcastuff.
    (Preciado is the coach of Sporting, where Botia is playing for those of you with short memories)

    • March 31, 2011

      I like Bartra too! In fact, after Thiago, I’d say he’s my fav 😉

  12. Jnice
    March 31, 2011

    Deulofeu looked poor today.

    • Lev
      March 31, 2011

      just goes to show how difficult it is to judge a youth player from the outside.

      watched his 10 minute highlight reel on totalbarca.com yesterday. agree with some of the comments saying he is a bit like Ronaldo, but a lot of kids look great when they are teens yet don’t make it. Time will tell.

    • Josep
      March 31, 2011

      I agree. Some bad decisions, some pretty poor passes. Disappointing loss.

    • Lev
      March 31, 2011

      lol, brilliant! “a rubber that helps you last longer in bed” around the extra time sign!

  13. March 31, 2011

    Wooo! There was a great discussion above 😀

    I’m really glad Botia’s coming back! That seriously made my day. If only I signed onto BFB earlier, and I’d have included it in the post.

    • Eklavya
      March 31, 2011

      What? Nothing’s official (yet).

    • March 31, 2011

      Dude, the Sporting coach all but confirmed it. Done deal, amigo.

  14. Vj
    March 31, 2011

    Neymar? Remember the last time we signed a ‘super-ego’, how did it pan out? Only Id’s for me please.. Does Rossi have enough technical skill? Why aren’t we breaking the bank/a few backs for Llorente?

    • March 31, 2011

      I saw that during warm ups. It was great.

      What was particularly amusing – while they were shooting on goal messi scored on something like 4 of his first 8 shots. Right at his side alternating shots on goal was Di Maria who proceeded to sky one ball after another over the cross bar.

      It was just funny watching those two warm up together not that it meant anything of substance for the game. Di Maria just couldn’t buy a decent shot and there’s Messi scoring off a deflection off a ball sitting on the ground.

    • Miguel
      March 31, 2011

      jealous. that looked intentional to me. messi’s gotta be a great billiards player.

    • Miguel
      March 31, 2011

      i kind of like ’em. 😉 they’re still better than racing santander’s current away kits.

    • March 31, 2011

      Impossible. He’s already promised a 12 year contract with Arsenal. 🙁

    • Miguel
      March 31, 2011

      fifa’s gotta do something about england’s unfair competitive advantage. 🙁

  15. barca96
    March 31, 2011

    Cheesus…From barcastuff;

    English clubs Arsenal and Chelsea are interested in Cadete B central defender Xavier Quintilla “Quinti” (14)

    Do you guys think Bartra should go to Sporting?
    I think he should just go on loan or with a low buy back option.
    In fact, I think a lot of B-teamers should go on loan somewhere in La Liga as the competition will be tougher in La Liga.
    JDS, Vasques, Bartra, Oriol I think are ready for La Liga, but now our team. So they should go, on loan.

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