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. BA
    March 30, 2011

    since we have so many key players out, i’d love to know what Villarreal’s injury situation is like. are they still missing Nilmar and Senna? anybody else?

    should put our news finder on that.

    • March 30, 2011

      That’s me. Surprising, I know.

      I’m pretty crap at my “job”.

    • Jnice
      March 30, 2011

      Nilmar gave an interview today, I think, in which he says he is fine and ready to play against us on Saturday.

      • MoSSi
        March 30, 2011

        He also said that he would love to play for us someday..

  2. Lev
    March 30, 2011

    @kxevin
    actually it is more Boardroom 0 – 1 Ajax (Cruijff). The last 10 years have been horrible. They should let Cruijff do his thing because if Ajax continues in the direction the board has misled them they might as well close shop.

    @Xavi regarding Cesc

    1)sure he played against Man U and Chelsea and Liverpool, but the 3 CL games he played against us were the biggest games of the season and the WC final the biggest of his life. Can anyone chime in on how he has played in the big EPL games?

    2) Who said we passed up on Robinho because of Pedro? Not saying it isn’t so, it’s just that I have never heard that. Either way I think the comparison with Robinho and Ronaldo is incorrect. Neither of these players at that time were established elite players like Cesc (robinho still ain’t) and of neither we could have been sure that they would fit in our team like we know Cesc will.

    I would also feel bad for Afellay and I actually really want us to keep him so I understand your argument there. Doesn’t take away the fact that Fabregas is a superior player. Afellay is showing potential but the best way for Afellay to ensure a future with Barça is to show us more than he has so far.

    I get what you are saying about squad players but I think Cesc knows he would be just that for the next two seasons: a squad player. Last summer he openly said he wanted to go to Barça even though in the national team G-face, Xavi and Busi started and he came off of the bench. That tells me he is fine with it.

    3) The argument I was making was against those saying he can’t come because we already have Xavi and Iniesta.

    However Fabregas does bring a different skill set to the table, even though he is an Iniesta / Xavi type player (meaning Masia, meaning he will fit right in :). Versatility was just part of the argument though, the other part is that he will be willing to come off of the bench.

    4) yeah that is why ideally he would come next summer, not this one. He will cost less and should we include Afellay in the deal then Ibi would have at least had the time to prove himself.

    • Jim
      March 30, 2011

      For me one of the attractions of Cesc is that he gets ahead of the forwards often. He isn’t afraid to crash the box looking for goals.

  3. Jim
    March 30, 2011

    I seem to remember Messi’s chronic problem as being with the calf not the hamstring, Kari. Might be wrong but if it is so that would be a different injury. Hamstring is worrying though. Don’t think it’s connected with his knee. That seemed to be a straightforward crack on the kneecap when you see the slo mo – sore and maybe limiting for a week or so but not long term.

    I can see a problem for us if we allow Villareal to come at us. That is why I’d like to see Busi at DM. However, if they do get at us I hope we try the occasional quick counter. Iniesta is better at this than Xavi imo and although I hate to say it it might be a good time for Pique to re-discover the quick long ball out of defence.

  4. MoSSi
    March 30, 2011

    Look at the bright side, I would rather let him miss the Villareal-game due to suspension then the Classico..

  5. Jim
    March 30, 2011

    I don’t have the same difficulty as most here seem to, Jnice. Depends on the game. I think Milito’s problem comes with quick counters. If I thought we were going to be under the cosh for long periods I’d have no hesitation in putting him in. He actually defends pretty well in a back to the wall situation. I think that he will get better with more matches. If it means keeping Busi in midfield I’d go for it.

    I also have to say I still worry about Adriano as a defender. This would not be a match to get caught with both full backs up the pitch at the same time or for either to lose possession unnecessarily.

    • March 30, 2011

      But Neymar Nilmar and Rossi are both very quick, so I’m about 100% against Milito starting this game.

      Also, Lev; ditto re: Busi and Masche. I had once thought the reverse was better, but the Arsenal game changed my mind. They interchange anyway it seems.

      • Helge
        March 30, 2011

        Oh yah… Neymar and Nilmar, I bet they’ve been confused by millions of people so far 🙂

    • Jnice
      March 30, 2011

      How many teams actually put us under the cosh for long periods? Our problem is always the counters. First match against Villarreal this season, Rossi got behind what most would argue is our best back line (Alves-Puyol-Abidal-Maxwell) twice in the 1st half alone off of the counter. I really don’t see how Pique and Milito will work.

      • Jnice
        March 30, 2011

        Oh and regarding Adriano, I would hope Pep tells him to hang back a little more than usual, but I think his pace can be an advantage defensively.

  6. Lev
    March 30, 2011

    I would prefer Busi in the back and Masch in Busi’s place

    • Lev
      March 30, 2011

      @Jim the thing with Milito is we generally don’t defend with our backs to the wall

  7. March 30, 2011

    I watched the Netherlands vs. Hungary last night.

    Afellay was simply brilliant. He dominated the entire left flank of the pitch. Just dominated the entire length. Some remarkable stuff from him both offensively and defensively.

    His game reminded me of Pedro at his best. Not only was Afellay extremely dangerous in possession but he was the best defensive player on the Dutch side (perhaps not saying much given the nature of the game…). He repeatedly dropped back extremely deep to defend.

    And he created two goals by defending deep and then using his pace and technique on the ball to create fast defensive-offense transitions which led to dangerous counters that he executed largely himself.

    The Dutch were very vulnerable defensively. They played only 1 holding player and tried to play a high back line. However, they really didn’t press in a coordinated fashion and that left them very vulnerable.

    Pieters the LB wasn’t good in defense. Afellay had to provide significant defensive support.

    What was particularly noteworthy was how deep Afellay often played – he was playing like a defensive winger in terms of positioning, almost like Park from Man U. He repeatedly tracked Hungarian attackers into the Dutch defensive half.

    Despite that defensive orientation and deep positioning he made himself extremely dangerous in attack time and time again due to his pace and technique.

    And stationed out wide he’s particularly interesting as he’s so good with both feet. He can cut in off the left onto this right foot but at the same time can cross the ball very effectively with his left.

    Barca have to figure out a way to get him on the pitch. He’s a terrific talent.

    • Lev
      March 30, 2011

      I missed the game, but the Dutch papers said he was alright-ish…I think the biggest problem for Holland against Hungary was having absolutely demolished them on 5 days earlier.

      • March 30, 2011

        Lev,

        Alright-ish? That’s what they said? I really disagree with that. On the whole the Dutch team was very marginal (and poor in defense). I would have to think the papers were projecting the overall performance of the team onto all the players if that’s what they said about Afellay.

        Afellay was terrific. I don’t know if you had a chance to see highlights of the runs from deep he made – but if you get the opportunity take a look. For example – look at the way he defended and started the counter in minute 22:00- 22:16. And that wasn’t even one of the goals he created.

        He was the best player on the pitch.

        Touch. Technique on the ball. Use of both feet. Pace. Strength. Work rate. He’s a very completely footballer. Barca need to figure out how to use him.

        The Dutch backline was very poor. But even more than that the team defending was just lax.

        Crazy game – but very entertaining.

        Another other problem the Dutch NT have is the same problem Arsenal have. Van Persie is a very good striker – but a very different one than the “classic 9.”

        Unfortunately, he’s never healthy. And if he’s not playing the entire system has to change. You could hardly find a bigger swing in front line play from van Persi to van Nistelroy.

        Just as an example – the Dutch played a high backline. Very hard to do with van Nistelroy playing as he’s just not going to put any pressure on the ball in the press. That was an issue for the Dutch once van Persie got hurt.

        • Lev
          March 30, 2011

          True. The thing with Holland is that our defenders are just not good enough to play with a high backline against quality teams. That is why we played so defensively during the World Cup – to mask the lack of quality in our defense.

          A lot of us love to see VdV instead of Van Bommel because Rafa brings a lot more football to our squad. But although this works brilliantly in some games (Hungary 0 – 4 Holland), in others, like the one you saw, it leaves our already poor defense too vulnerable.

          And what can I say about our striker position. It is a shame that RvP always gets injured (although I couldn’t help laughing when I imagined Wenger’s face upon hearing the news that he got injured while at the NT again! LOL). Also, not being a classic 9, v Persie becomes less effective when we don’t have Robben, who is fast and makes runs to get one-on-ones with the keeper. Sneijder, Kuijt and Afellay don’t really do that (well Afellay does sometimes but never scores).

          Van Nistelrooy is getting too old – you are right he is not going to press hard. Huntelaar was our big hope but the last two years have shown he is just not good enough. Interestingly enough he is scoring like crazy for Holland yet the feeling is that he can do it against the minions but not against the big boys.

          I am curious to see what will happen with Afellay once Robben is fit again. Sneijder is untouchable. According to Van Marwijk, Dirk Kuijt even more so. I guess once Kuijt starts getting older Ibi will be an automatic starter. I would like him to become a bit more decisive in front of the goal. He scored a great one on Friday but he missed at least one sitter too. For Barça I think that Guardiola doesn’t necessarily need to figure out “how” to use him, he just needs to use him more.

      • Jnice
        March 30, 2011

        From what I’ve read, the general consensus was that Afellay was the best player on the pitch the second game and one of the best in the first game.

  8. Lev
    March 30, 2011

    Btw EE has decided to no longer play Shakira songs in the Bernabeu LOL

    • Jnice
      March 30, 2011

      I think Valdano came out and said that the rumor was false. Would’ve been funny, too.

      • Lev
        March 30, 2011

        Lol, yeah. The “rumor” is “false”. Anyway her songs will still not be played anymore 😉

        (just kidding. the rumor probably is false)

  9. March 30, 2011

    I’ll be at the game in DC between Barca and United. I’ll be the one spending a little too much for ticket and wearing sunglasses to protect myself from the up-close glaire of Iniesta’s pale forehead.

    • Ryan
      March 30, 2011

      I can’t wait for that game! Apparently ticket sales start in late April?

      • blitzen
        March 30, 2011

        I am seriously considering a road trip.

    • Jnice
      March 30, 2011

      I’m probably gonna go, but because it’s 7 days after the end of Copa America, doubt we’ll see any South American players. It’s okay, I’m excited to see some of the youngsters that will inevitably play.

      • Jnice
        March 30, 2011

        Speaking of youngsters, the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup starts July 29. That means if selected, players like Thiago, Montoya, Bartra, Sergi Roberto, etc. will miss out on most of the preseason. Disappointing.

        • vicsoc
          March 30, 2011

          Montoya will probably be suiting up for Valencia by then anyways.

    • vicsoc
      March 30, 2011

      I’m going to be there with my father and brother. Maybe I’ll see if I can organize a BFB meet-up either before the game, after, or at half time.

      • Barcaleya
        March 30, 2011

        I’m planning to go barring an unforeseen circumstance. I would love a meet-up!

  10. Para
    March 30, 2011

    Barcastuff is reporting that it has been 38 match days since Barcelona started a match without Messi or Xavi (0-1 win against Mallorca)…but that can’t be true, right? I’m sure Messi and Xavi have both missed liga matches this season. Do they mean Messi AND Xavi?

    • ooga aga
      March 30, 2011

      yes 38 games since they have started a game without Messi OR Xavi. with neither one nor the other. neither of the two. since not one or the other started.

      that is, 38 games since both were on the bench to begin the game.

    • March 30, 2011

      Nope, I think they really mean Messi or Xavi, and if you think about it, it’s true. Messi has only missed a handful of games this season (1 or 2 when he got that ankle injury after the Ujfalusi stomp) and Xavi played all of those he was absent—in fact, Xavi’s pretty much a constant in every match. Conversely, when Xavi has that tendinitis issue, we really relied on Messi to win us games, remember?

      It’s crazy, but believable. I want to know the last time Messi AND Xavi didn’t start a Liga match. That’s got to be 60+ or something…

      • March 30, 2011

        Also, I hate using “OR” and “AND”; reminds me too much of my stat class…

        • Para
          March 30, 2011

          Apparently I should have taken that stat class, because for some reason those words are confusing me. In any case, what the two of you are saying is what I meant. Thanks!

  11. blitzen
    March 30, 2011

    That poster: “available in pass-o-vision” 😀

    Three of Xavi’s cards for protesting came from the same referee. Otaralliv! (Obviously that ref has a much lower tolerance for dissent than others, but Xavi should know that about him by now so it is still his fault.)

    The B boys play Saturday as well, before the first team game. Can we have a LiveBlog for it Kari if you aren’t doing anything silly like studying? *puppyeyes*

    My preferred lineup for Saturday:

    Valdes
    Alves Pique Busi Adriano
    Keita Masch Iniesta
    Flyboy Messi Villa

    Subs: Fontas (Busi), Thiago (Keita), Pedro (Villa)

  12. March 30, 2011

    *Applause*

    Using an Office reference is just amazing. Too bad Michael Scott is leaving 🙁

    Was Barcelona really against the strike? I think they were, and so was Real Madrid. The only clubs that appealed the strike were: Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad, Real Zaragoza, Espanyol, Sevilla and Villarreal. Both Madrid and Barcelona said that they would be happy with any outcome. Sort of not upsetting both parts except of course, for the six clubs above.

    Despite the strike making money for those six clubs, they were essentially against the idea of making Real Madrid and Barcelona more money. As i mentioned in posts before, i can’t help but feel sympathetic for the other clubs. For our two clubs to have this monopoly on the money in the spanish game is not fair. An EPL system of distributing TV rights would be great. It will also attract more players to come play in the Spanish league ala 5 to 10 years ago. Valencia, Deportivo and Celtra Vigo had one of the best players. Even Zaragoza and Betis had really strong squads. With no financial stability and power, the teams can barely hold on to the players they already have.

    Its nice to always win, but its also nice to be challenged. To really earn the win. And I hope the league goes back to being the power house it was not so many years ago. EPL is competitive, but honestly its just boring for me to watch. La Liga teams play more with flair, and when they are not playing Real Madrid or Barcelona, they usually rarely park the bus.

    I wrote a little article on my blog about a recent racism incident that happened against Pathetico. And how the ref decided to not take note of the incident despite it being obvious. Really worrying how the refs avoid a problem because its complicated.

    • March 30, 2011

      I was sad about Steve Carrell (the guy who plays Michael) leaving the show, but I think it’s about time to end it. I haven’t been able to consistently watch the newer seasons (1-5 were just so awesome), but it’s reach its limit. Dwight’s still there, though, and Jim, but let’s face it, it won’t be the same without Michael.

      I’ll still miss it though 🙁

      –And yeah, I commented on the Offside as well, but it’s really sad that the ref didn’t put it in his report. Chalking it up to the high emotions a derby brings is just pathetic. Not that I think the Spanish FA would have done anything, but it’d have at least given some of the vocal people some ammo.

      Obviously Marcelo (and Dani) chose to take the higher ground, which is good on them, but it’s up to the outside people to take up the issue. That they haven’t, or rather haven’t been given the opportunity, is horrible.

      –TV issue just isn’t something that really gets me going, to be honest. Still, i don’t believe the EPL is more competitive than LA Liga. That’s just BS IMO. The only difference is we don’t have serial pretenders like Arsenal (and formerly Livepool), who, to be fair, could win this year, but when that’s been said for the last 5 years, I think I can be forgiven for not really believing it.

      I’m not going to directly compare the teams, because I’m not trying to say La Liga is better than EPL (each to his own, I say, and I love La Liga much more and I’ll always feel that way) but I will say that had EE and Barca been playing in the EPL, the result would be the same IMO. Our teams are genuinely brilliant, and I think Barca are defining an era. The rivalry between us has lead EE to snap and go into Football Manager mode, and had it not been for us, you guys would be an historic team

      That’s not to say I don’t agree Sevilla, Valencia, et al don’t need the cash and top players, but I believe they are still formidable in their own right, now.

      • March 30, 2011

        Oh, and yeah we were against it, but like you said, we tried to play both sides by saying we “accept” the decision to strike.

        • barca96
          March 30, 2011

          Speaking of tv, have any of you watched season 9 of Family Guy?
          It’s just plain aweful. I think they’re done as well.

      • March 31, 2011

        Oh it was never my intention to say that EPL is better than La Liga. Not at all. I believe its the other way around. With that said though, EPL teams are more financially secure than La Liga teams. This is why teams like Valencia, despite having a very good first teams quad, do not have enough depth to compete in three competitions like other EPL teams have. Take Tottenham for example. Valencia are a much better team, if you compare first teams. But while Valencia have Soldado and Aduriz as the two strikers in the system, Tottenham have Pavlyachenko, Crouch, Defoe and someone else i forget his name. Thats three strikers that can start for one position. This gives them the extra depth that drives them forward in the CL.

        Had a team like Valencia had more depth, they would have gotten through. This is what financial equality will lead to. Another example is Betis. A team that has been in the top flight for many years and only went down a couple of years ago. They went into administration and don’t even have the money to pay for their players cancer treatment. When the situation hits that kind of low, something has to be done.

        And i agree, right now, we are the two clubs in the world that are above all, with you guys edging us with experience.

  13. blitzen
    March 30, 2011

    Breaking news: Alves defies Kxevin’s 3-year Brazilian Rule

    Dani Alves today issued a challenge to Kxevin of the BarcelonaFootballBlog:

    Based on hard work I’ll fight to make people change their minds about Brazilian players who leave by the back door after only two or three years at the Club.

    😀

    • blitzen
      March 30, 2011

      @@

      I find this both disturbing and sexy.

      • Miguel
        March 30, 2011

        priceless, i know. no way barca can get rid of this guy over the summer. i wouldn’t even mind it if he were to play rb again.

        • barca96
          March 30, 2011

          its blocked.
          its there a nudity or what? 😆

          it somehow went all the way down…

  14. barca96
    March 30, 2011

    @xavi

    We passed up on Ronaldo for Quaresma in 2003 or so.
    See how it all turned out…..
    You simply can’t tell who’s going to make it big and who don’t.

  15. barca96
    March 30, 2011

    its blocked.
    its there a nudity or what? 😆

  16. outerspacedout
    March 30, 2011

    ‘Shakira, though, is a self-confessed Madrid fan and was presented with the number 5 shirt by Florentino Perez during his first tenure as president of the nine-time European champions.’

    BS.com

    Maybe Shakira is getting herself some Piqoooooh AND helping her club with one stone?

  17. beeeef
    March 30, 2011

    Except for Abidal, Guardiola wants all players to travel to Villarreal this weekend, including the injured and suspended players. [sport] via @barcastuff

    The tension is beginning to rise for what should be an excellent match. I don’t necessarily care how we pull it off, but I’d like another thrilling win like the 1st leg at Camp Nou. Just want to see good football from both sides.

  18. Josep
    March 30, 2011

    Barcelona will buy back Sporting defender Alberto Botia (22) for 2M. He’ll be part of the first team squad next season. [madrid-barcelona]

  19. jaymin
    March 30, 2011

    GREECE TO WATCH NEXT MATCH WITH AMICS. GOOD FEELINGS AND MINDSTATES TO ALL FORMER AND CURRENT FRIENDS.

  20. jaymin
    March 30, 2011

    AND ALSO SPRING OF FREEDOM PEOPLE DEMAND LOVE AND RESPECT WORLD CUP IN 2022 ONLY IN QATAR IF

  21. jaymin
    March 30, 2011

    EMIRS LEAVE COUNTRY AND FREEDOM RAINS IN MIDDLE EAST. FLY EMIRATES AWAY FROM YOUR OPRESSED LAND, OPRESSORS ALL EMIRS. GREECE BARCELONA!

  22. jaymin
    March 30, 2011

    EXILED! THE SHAME AND THE PITY!!!! MORE FUN LAST YEAR!

  23. culeZim
    March 31, 2011

    My internet connection has been down these past few weeks so I have just checked the past few threads. Am I the only one who sees an uncanny resemblance between Deulofeu and Crynaldo?

    • Jnice
      March 31, 2011

      I think it’s been noted that both in his play and attitude at times, he does look similar to Cristiano. Hopefully as he matures and realizes he isn’t better than everyone on his team anymore, he’ll tone down his attitude.

  24. Cesc Pistol
    March 31, 2011

    Does anyone know how to post links without being stuck in the moderation filter? The criteria seems to have changed.

    I agree with Euler on how Afellay played. Dangerous from the deep positions, defending well. He has the thing we’ve been wanting, an off the bench game changer. Pep needs to start incorporating him in games more often, probably sub at the 60th minute or so.

    • March 31, 2011

      You can only post one link without a / or *, if you add another one (or two or three), it’ll be in moderation. It’s like that for me as well (I can approve my own comments though).

  25. K_legit
    March 31, 2011

    what’s with jaymin and the Caps lock of rage?

    I have seen that Afellay goal and it was outstanding control with his right and finish by his left which begs the question, is he a left footed player?

    • barca96
      March 31, 2011

      It reminded me of greecebarca haha
      Cmon, dont tell me that im the only one who misses him.

    • Jnice
      March 31, 2011

      My answer from the last thread:

      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 Barça, 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.

  26. 145culegirl
    March 31, 2011

    hello!!.I’ve been reading this blog for a while though this is my only second comment.The Sport magazine has published that Puyol will be fit after 9 days.It’s very good news but there has been no official response from the team.I hope hard that this news is true.And Pedro,Messi(if injured) et al should come back as soon as possible.

    • outerspacedout
      March 31, 2011

      THANK GOD. We need him back. And welcome!

  27. outerspacedout
    March 31, 2011

    LOL what was with Jaymin and the bizarreness? Like someone else mentioned reminds me of Greece Barca. One of the sentences is even ‘GREECE BARCELONA’.

    Thanks Kari or whoever did edit out the school info bit. After Bassam’s interview and googling, considering that BFB site is probably more linked than my school website or anything else with me in it, I didn’t want it to be the first result in any Google search by any prospective parent or alumni for the school lol.

    Is the return of Botia to the squad confirmed? If so I’m very happy with the news. Maybe they might decide to buy one of our squad players from us? And by squad I mean squad squad players, not vital ones like Keita who do have a foreseeable future and important role to play in the side in the future.

    That Afellay goal was lovely. Can someone give me the link with the Deulofeu highlights?

  28. March 31, 2011

    Quelle surprise. Messi is in fact NOT injured, saith the club. It’s why I always caution against trusting non-official sources. Krkic also practiced with the group today.

    That leaves Puyol as the only infirm squad member, excluding of course the convalescing Abidal, who is an extraordinary circumstance.

    • Helge
      March 31, 2011

      But what if he is indeed very close to a serious injury due to overload (as a source close to Messi said, according to barcastuff)?
      Even Crynaldo has been injured during the last 4 weeks (albeit playing one match inbetween, but that simply aggravated his injury) and they said it’s because of fatigue / overload. To be honest, I doubt there are players who are physically more fit than Crynaldo, so I’m still very sceptic about starting Messi on Saturday.

      • Josep
        March 31, 2011

        I personally think the HGH shots he’s taken has made him superhuman 😀

  29. Helge
    March 31, 2011

    Rosell is acting a Butragueno:
    Yo pongo un 5-0, para no perder la costumbre”. Por su parte, Mas dijo: “Yo no soy tan optimista, sólo ganaremos por cuatro, que son las rayas de la bandera de Cataluña”.

    Did you forget how it ended for Butragueno? And doesn’t this club want to convey an image of humility?!? Stupid president!

    • K_legit
      March 31, 2011

      Ok my Spanish is very rudimentary but is he actually saying that he is not very optimistic about us scoring five again but he says we will score 4, the same as the number of stripes on the Catalan flag?

      naah can’t be..this will out do even the Chorrear comment made by Vicente Boluda

      • Helge
        March 31, 2011

        It is…

        oh well, I think I confused Boluda and Butragueno, I certainly meant that cocky guy who was president for 3 months or so, during the end of our treble-winning season 😀

  30. blitzen
    March 31, 2011

    Apparently Jack Wilshere is having a baby with his ex-girlfriend. Rumours that Arsene Wenger has already drawn up a contract for the fetus are unconfirmed.

  31. Camero
    March 31, 2011

    Oh this guy is a laughing stock

    //http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYU-SeVofHs

  32. Josep
    March 31, 2011

    Long post incoming..

    @jaymin
    That might’ve been the best 4-5 posts ever hahahahah.

    @Kari
    This is a great post, in fact with all the arguments lately and whatnot this is my favorite post. You’re like a barcelona rss feed. 🙂 Also, you seem to love using the command at any time possible.

    @everyone going to Barca v United
    I’m stuck going to Chicago Fire vs. United :\.

    Okay so here’s my thuoghts on some things. Buying Botia is a necessity. Does anyone know his wages? We let him go for free to Sporting (right?) and if his wages add up to around 2m, basically it was a great loan no? Good piece of business surprisingly.

    Afellay will start. But I think we’ll go with a cookie formation. We’re vulnerable to pace on the counter, so we’ll try to jam the middle and leave more options.

    VV
    Pique-Milito-Fontas
    Alves-Biscuits-Afellay-Iniesta
    Bojan-Messi-Villa

    this is a perfect opportunity for Fontas to be READY RIGHT NOW for the rest of the season. Yes it’s risky, but pairing him with two other CBs.. and Busquets is probably the best we can do. The kid needs match fitness. I think this is Puyol’s last year personally. This lineup allows impact subs of Adriano, and P if fit. If Messi isn’t fit to play we’ll have to change it up. Bojan seems to perform a lot better on the right, and he can whip in crosses better than Dani it seems. I could see Ibi-Iniesta switching, or even Keita starting and Afellay up top or the bench easily.

    Guys, I’m sold on Neymar. I like the rumors. He is great on the ball, can play on the left wing or up top, and is only 19? I think he’s going to be a star. Yes, a huge attitude but thats because at Santos the kids have taken over and are running the club. He comes to Barca and has Maxwell, and Alves to help him adapt and calm him down. Hopefully the softness goes away.

    That being said Neymar, Botia are two transfers I see happening. If we do in fact sell Ibra, that money should go to LB. Preferably Coentrao who would require around 30m maybe? Thats 65m spent, 24m received and thats a total of 41m.

    Honestly, I’m nervous about all these fixtures coming up and having a thin squad is really going to kill us

    http://www.goal.com/en-us/news/88/spain/2011/03/31/2419808/president-sandro-rosell-barcelona-will-defeat-real-madrid-5-0-in-?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

    Ah, goal.com..

    • blitzen
      March 31, 2011

      VV
      Pique-Milito-Fontas
      Alves-Biscuits-Afellay-Iniesta
      Bojan-Messi-Villa

      This would leave us without any pace at all on the left side. You have to have Adriano there instead of Fontas, surely!

      • Josep
        March 31, 2011

        Yeah I know its a sketchy lineup but I feel Fontas almost has to be incorporated in this match. maybe play Adriano at LM like alves is at RM and drop afellay

    • March 31, 2011

      –I’m not sold on Neymar. I detect the stench of Robinho on that one, and the price will be insane. I’d buy Rossi for less money and more quality and stability.

      –The Botia deal was a sale with a 2m buyback clause, if I recall correctly. ‘Twas an excellent bit of business on our part. We let him season and see how he is, then take him back and say to the other team, “Here’s a little something for your trouble. Thanks.”

      –Given the mid-pitch quality of Villarreal, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see an Iniesta/Busquets/Mascherano midfield. sMasch’s sideline-to-sideline range will also help on the flanks.

      The Maxwell thing actually makes sense, because I think that Guardiola will play it tight rather than loose, meaning Maxwell’s stay-at-home qualities will be of value there. But if Adriano starts, it’s more evidence that he’s leapfrogged Maxwell on the depth chart.

      I see:

      VV
      Alves Pique Milito Maxwell
      Iniesta Busquets Mascherano
      Pedro!! Villa Krkic

      I think that Guardiola is wanting to rest Messi, because even if we don’t get a good result at Villarreal, Messi is daisy-fresh for El Clasic and Champions League. Messi of course will be clamoring to play, play, play, play!

      –The Ibrahimovic fee is to be paid in installments, rather than all at once, so the 24m from his blowout price won’t come all at once.

      But I do expect some major squad reshuffling this summer, as we find permanent homes for Hleb, Gone Adriano, Caceres and Keirrison, who is never going to get a shout as long as Guardiola is coach. Milito will also be sold, as will Jeffren and probably Maxwell. And don’t be completely shocked if something happens with Krkic.

      Fontas and Thiago will be permanently promoted. I also expect a surprise or two, and I definitely think we will buy a forward. I also worry about Keita. I know that Guardiola loves him, but if we want to truly integrate Mascherano into the squad (assuming those pesky sale rumors aren’t true), I just don’t see a place for him in regular rotation. Problem is that he just isn’t worth all that much on the open market, so it probably makes sense to keep him, and give him some love by letting him retire with us.

      One thing is for sure: (well, two) We won’t go into next season with an 18-player roster and withOUT another quality forward.

      • Josep
        March 31, 2011

        Yes the one guarantee we know is next summer we’ll have atleast two players added on the roster, in Fontas and Thiago. I’m semi-sold on Neymar. His talent is there and he’s younger than Rossi. Besides buying Rossi just goes with that big bully mentality, and I’m against that. Yes, I know, we shouldn’t worry about it, but I’m 100% against buying any more La Liga players (well, besides Botia). is Pedro expected to start? I don’t remember updates on his injury. If he’s 100% I’d start him.

        So about the players going out, yes its all good to say these guys are going but there needs to be a demand. Some Russian club have been quoted as wanting Hleb and Maxwell. Zlatan should push for Milan to sign Maxwell 😀

        Hleb was also rumored, and I’ll honestly take whatever we can get. I think we’re still paying part of his wages as Birmingham wouldn’t take them on completely. Does his contract end this summer or next?

        But with Henrique and Keirrison. I don’t know much about Henrique, do Racing have a right to buy clause? And Keirrison was a huge hot commodity when we bought him… if we could sell him to Santos and get a discount price on Neymar, would you do it?

        I mean we spent what, 20m on the kid? No other clubs I’ve heard are rumored of being interested in him.. though our history with striker+player swaps seem financial disasters..is Jeffren fit?

    • March 31, 2011

      Why thank you, Josep. And yes, I quite like the strikeout command. 🙂

  33. Josep
    March 31, 2011

    also anyone following this coverage about a bomb attack planned for Dortmund-Hannover match?! craziness.

  34. March 31, 2011

    Okay so here’s my thuoghts on some things. Buying Botia is a necessity. Does anyone know his wages? We let him go for free to Sporting (right?) and if his wages add up to around 2m, basically it was a great loan no? Good piece of business surprisingly.

    Josep,

    I think this is an excellent point. I also think it is critical for the team to bring back Botia – they simply are not going to find another CB of that caliber for 2M. He’s had a quality season at Sporting.

    Also – your point about the transaction as business. I think the specific wage issues are secondary as Botia likely wouldn’t have earned much.

    That said – it’s still an excellent piece of business. The reason why is that Botia would never have gained the experience he did this season if he had stayed at Barca.

    If the club buys him back they will be buying back a much more valuable asset than they sold.

    Now that said – they opportunity cost of letting him go turned out to be much higher than expected because the team didn’t augment it’s CB depth and really could use him now.

    However, on the whole, I hope Botia comes back – and in part I hope so because this transaction sets up a strong model for how the club can operate in the future with respect to younger talent that may not appear to be of the caliber required to play on the first team but still has room for growth.

    Selling the players with low cost buy backs seems like a prudent intermediate path where the club can keep the squad relatively smaller in size as Pep likes, allow the player to develop with playing time, but still mitigate it’s risk of letting go of a talent that they can use in the near future.

    • Josep
      March 31, 2011

      In case you misunderstood (you didn’t) I didn’t clarify about wages I just meant if Botia’s yearly wages add up to 2m (they most likely don’t) then its just a nice loan. If they’re less, we essentially paid a small some for a player to have guaranteed La Liga experience which I’m cool with.

      The other thing is, if it was just a normal loan surely he wouldn’t have played as much. I mean if you’re loaning a player you want your best team out there but you’d start a player you’re keeping over a loaned player if their ability is similar.

      If we continnue to do the cheap sales with buy-backs we can’t criticize the Madrid-Getafe system 😛

      Regarding depth though, could we have really used him though? I mean you said it yourself he would never have gained experience and personally I didn’t rate Botia that much. I think if he was still here, he’d be in the B team still, and wouldn’t have jumped Fontas to get promoted. So personally, I think its an excellent piece of business if we buy him back. He’s gained invaluable experience.

      I was against selling JDS with a buy back but maybe now..

  35. Sheena
    March 31, 2011

    If Xavi were playing the Villareal match, I’d want Busi in the backline and Masch in midfield. But since that isn’t the case….. I still want Busi at CB.

    I just don’t see how we can play Milito in a match this big. Push Busi back, go with a Mascherano-Keita-Iniesta midfield, and an MVP frontline. Unless Pedro (or Messi) is injured. I’d really love to see Afellay start if either of them aren’t match fit.

    Also,
    April fools is tomorrow! I’m going to replace the cream in oreos with toothpaste, add salt into my friends’ water bottles, and try and sneak these tiny little szechuan peppers that sort of numb your mouth into their food. I am excited. Oh yes I am.

    • Josep
      March 31, 2011

      Busi is being considered the natural heir to Xavi (by some people) I think we should push him forward more not backwards more. Milito has been shaky but what are the results that we’ve seen with him starting? I don’t remember, but I think we’ve conceded 0-1 everytime?

      re;April fools.
      I’m totally going to upload a picture of me with no hair to facebook (my hair is longer than shoulder length) LOLZ

      • Sheena
        March 31, 2011

        But those few goals we’ve conceded while he’s been playing have been primarily down to him failing to mark his man. I’m not putting all the blame on him, and I would gladly see him start against some of the smaller teams in the Liga. But not Villareal. Rossi and Nilmar scare me.

        • Josep
          March 31, 2011

          Yeah, I’m really just trying to calm my own nerves because he’s been dreadful this season. It’s almost like Pep is showing he has confidence in him, but he really should just give Fontas a chance in those situations.

          Gabi has proven nothing. He hasn’t made one big “veteran” play or decision. Dreadful against Betis. Ball watching against (who did we play last) whoever.

          • vicsoc
            March 31, 2011

            He looks eerily like Marquez did last season – old, slow, and just confused about what he is supposed to do.

            What is it about our system that either makes veteran defenders completely lose their abilities, or turns them into monsters (Abidal)?

          • March 31, 2011

            Good point, vicsoc. I think that as with Marquez, when you don’t come up in the system, as your skills diminish your default setting isn’t Barca. It’s wherever you came from, which leaves you often looking old, slow and confused. This is Milito’s last season with the club, to be sure.

      • vicsoc
        March 31, 2011

        I think what we are seeing with Busquets is that because Pep trusts him he is using him wherever the team needs him. This season it has been at center back, but that is just because that is where the team has needed him – I think we will see him move forward or backward for the next several years depending on where the squad needs depth.

        Interestingly having Mascherano allows Pep to use Busquets wherever he needs him on the field – another advantage Mascherano give to the team.

  36. March 31, 2011

    And regarding Neymar – he’s clearly a special talent in attack.

    But one of the major questions you have to ask with him in addition to his attitude it this –

    Will he defend vigorously on the press? Will he have the work rate needed to pressure the ball high up the pitch for 90 minutes?

    The attacking player in many ways are the keys to how Barca defends as it’s those players who can win the ball back highest up the pitch.

    If one of the wing forwards does not defend aggressively the opposition will have a functional outlet for the ball on a consistent basis.

    Traditionally, in the systems played in Brazil, forwards have minimal, if any defensive responsibilities. It’s part of why Dunga played so conservatively in midfield and the back line during the last WC. He knew his 3 attacking players wouldn’t defend.

    I don’t know the answer to this question with regards to Neymar. But it’s a critical question to answer if they are indeed interested.

    • Josep
      March 31, 2011

      The forward position for Barcelona is the most taxing in arguably, all of football. its why I didn’t want to lose Samu. We had a great player for us, but we wanted better. We tried to transform a 27 year old player and change his game. At 27, I think it’s too late….

      But at 19 I think we can. If we can get the kid for around 30m I’m all for it. 20m+Keirrison? At 19, the kid has the raw skill to play and as they do in La Masia, the talent and skill comes first, the physical training you can learn later.

      I believe since he’s of 19 years and because we have a recent great tradition with Brazilian’s we can change his ways. Dani Alves’ attitude would help him immensely and if he stays Maxwell would be a great grounding force for him. I think the kid has amazing upside, and with the right training could definitely track back for 80-90 minutes.

      I mean, Villa is the same way.. he doesn’t track back for 90 minutes. He’s still learning the fitness end of it, but he’s what? 29? Ten years younger is a way better age to start no?

      If we don’t sign him, Madrid certainly will. With their attack not worrying about defend he’d adapt immediately. I don’t think Chelsea should/would need him, besides after recent performances I’m thinking Lucas might be a steal at that price..

      • soccermomof4
        March 31, 2011

        While I don’t want Neymar because of the attitude problem, I do agree that having Dani there could smooth out some of the problems should we get him. If Neymar isn’t sufficiently humbled by being around the greatest players on the planet, Alves if fully capable of knocking some sense into the kid. Still think it’s a risk(thinking BANGS), though!

    • March 31, 2011

      Exactly, Euler. Our system is such that it demands special players. Afellay, for example, is a player like that. Neymar has evinced absolutely zero tendency in that regard. To be sure, some of it is that he hasn’t come up in a system that values such a thing. That’s why God made defenders, right? So that the glamor boys don’t even have to bother running back into the other end of the pitch.

      It’s also the root of my “stench of Robinho” comment. Is Neymar really any more talented and heralded than Robinho was coming out of Brazil? And what’s he doing now, besides making big money in transfer proceeds for his agent? He’s been the exact same player everywhere he’s gone. Is Neymar any different? Remains to be seen, but I’d rather have gotten hold of him as a Masia entrant, rather than a 19-year-old, my crap doesn’t smell, big-money transfer.

      Hell, Villa doesn’t even do what a Barca attacker is supposed to do for too much of the time, something that still frosts my cookies. People can say what they want about Henry, but he tracked back, defended and helped with possession in the midfield. So did Ibrahimovic, before he went on the big pout right out of town.

      Players with attacking flair and talent are abundant. Players with attacking flair and talent who can fit into our system are very rare. Do we really want to spend 30+m for a project, who will have to learn to play with and for us? Alves showed up with a work ethic, and his principal job is defender. The attacking is a bonus. Ronaldinho was brilliant, but how often did he play defense? Further, would Ronaldinho work in the Guardiola system?

      Neymar ain’t no Ronaldinho.

      • soccermomof4
        March 31, 2011

        “before he went on the big pout right out of town”

        That big pout is precisely what scares me about Neymar. And it would be a very expensive big pout. Don’t rock the boat in the locker room. Part of the reason we love this team is the humility of its players.I thought the kid has it in his head to go to England, anyway.

        • vicsoc
          March 31, 2011

          Let’s be completely honest: the kid got his coach fired because he wasn’t allowed to take a penalty kick. That doesn’t strike me as the type of personality we need at the club, especially from someone who isn’t going to come in and be an automatic starter.

          As long as Messi is healthy he is basically untouchable as a starter. Bring in Neymar and now you are rotating between Pedro, Villa, and Neymar for two spots. This might work for a year or two (if we were really lucky), but eventually he is going to get all hot and bothered that he isn’t starting every game and I don’t see him swallowing his pride for the good of the team.

      • Josep
        March 31, 2011

        There’s a huge difference between Robinho and he! Look at the clubs Robinho went to. Madrid. Then he was the first big name player of a City squad. He was the squad. He was given any liberty he wanted, and was still whiny about it. Now he’s at Milan where he’s not a big name, sometimes not even a starter. Do you hear about his antics anymore?

        No, he’s been humbled by the squad around him and the fact that he’s not untouchable. Neymar is THE man at Santos. He’s the dude in Brazil in fact. You think that in Barcelona he wouldn’t be able to curb that?

        “Do we really want to spend 30=m for a project, who will have to learn to play with and for us?”

        YES. We’ve done it the last TWO summers now! It’s part of the game. If we buy ANY player, it’s almost a 99% certainty that we’ll have to teach him our style of play, no one plays like us, and you know that. Neymar ain’t no Ronaldinho? It’s way too early to say anything even remotely close to that. Yes, the kid is petulant. KID.

        At 19 coming in to be a key aspect of the bench, and with Villa aging possibly he could be our #9. The transfer is risky, but it’d be only 10-15 more than Keirrison. Why’d we even buy Keirrison? Except, I really think if Neymar doesn’t work out we could still sell him for a nice price (this is the only similarity with Robinho).

        What if Afellay was a 30m purchase, and Neymar was Mr. 3m?

        • March 31, 2011

          But just as Robinho went from Brazil to EE, Neymar would be moving from Santos to us. There’s that parallel. Then there’s the attitude, and the attacking-only posture. I’m not arguing that he isn’t a talent. I’m suggesting that at the price, is that really something that we want to be taking on.

          If Neymar was going to cost, say, 10m, or even 15, I’d say it’s worth the risk. But the bidding is going to start at 30, which is absurd for a 19-year-old kid of unproven quality.

          And it’s safe to say that Neymar is no Ronaldinho, because the latter is a once-in-a-lifetime player. And nothing that Neymar has shown us makes me believe that he is.

          I wouldn’t be behind a 30m Afellay, either.

      • gogah
        April 1, 2011

        i totally agree. this neymar talk reminds me of one of pep’s comments when he said that if pedro was brazilian, barca wouldn’t be able to afford him. Neymar stinks of the robinho stench to me too. i would rather look at ganso from santos. his me me attitude would certainly disrupt the humility in this dressing room full of world stars and household names. Barca’s priority should definitely be to sign a top quality LB and CB (vertonghen/coentrao/tayo/silva) and a striker (anyone from tevez / rossi / sanchez)

  37. soccermomof4
    March 31, 2011

    Translated Crackovia up on totalBarca, hilarious!:

    http://www.totalbarca.com/2011/multimedia/crackovia-pep-the-polyglot/#more-72309

    regarding pics of dogs:
    Leo, Xavi, and Andres- all worthy candidates for PotY, all love puppies. Coincidence? I think not!
    Jeffren w/ chihuahuas? Good looking kid, but that pic was just awkward!

    Lineup: I’ve got to learn to trust sMache more, even without Xavi there. I want Busi in the mid when Xavi is not there but sMache is awesome and deserves my trust. So I’m revising my wish list:
    VV
    Alves, Pique, Busi, Adriano
    Masherano, Keita, Iniesta
    MVP
    Busi and sMasche can interchange whenever the mood hits them; this is total football afterall!

    • Josep
      March 31, 2011

      a 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. I don’t think Maxwell is playing left wing, and Iniesta Left back or the sort.

      also jeffren suarez is so ugly. always has been. his old hair reminds me of Jo

      • soccermomof4
        March 31, 2011

        I feel *sniff* so picked on 🙂

        It’s as close to TF as the world’s gonna get. Or to paraphrase Ray Hudson, “It’s gone beyond that”. I get what you’re saying though. But I think Mascherano and Busi are still going to go wherever the need leads them IF they play together on Saturday.

        Oh well, in Pep we trust, and I could add in our squad we trust. But I’m still ticked at Xavi for the card.

        Jeffren? aw, he’s kind of cute, and he’s ours so you gotta love him. Don’t hate on FF. Who’s Jo (remember I’m basically a footy newbie)?

  38. March 31, 2011

    Do we really want to spend 30+m for a project, who will have to learn to play with and for us?

    Kxevin-

    This is exactly it. Do you want to spend 30M or even 40M on a project?

    That’s what Neymar will be – a very talented, very high risk project.

    I personally don’t see Pep wanting to allocate the magnitude of resources and risk required (money, coaching time and playing time) to a project with significant uncertainty.

    They really need another forward next season. Don’t know if a project is going to provide them with what’s required.

    They really could use a player who can play on the right and the center to facilitate position switching with Messi as he roams around.

  39. March 31, 2011

    Oh, sure …. NOW the rumor mill links us to the impressively talented Willian!

    http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11668_6844458,00.html

    Pure winger who can also do some left back duties, 22 years old, tremendous upside. Those with long memories will note that I was clamoring for us to give him some love a couple of seasons ago. He hasn’t renewed with Shakhtar yet, and if they’re going to sell him, this is the summer to do it, with his contract expiring in 2012.

    If we sell Jeffren as expected, we’ll need a pacey winger with excellent passing skills, kinda like …. Willian!

    We get to see him up close and personal way too soon for my tastes.

    • vicsoc
      March 31, 2011

      It’s an interesting notion, especially considering the fact that Pep seems to like squad players who can play in multiple positions (Adriano, Afellay, he tried with Jeffren). It would also help alleviate two or our potential squad depth problem areas. Need a marauding left back? Ohh look it’s Willian. How about a backup winger who knows how to put in some good defensive work? You guessed it.

      Not to mention the fact that he has terrorized us every time he has played against us.

      This is the type of signing I would like to see us make. Honestly I just don’t think a “marquee” signing is completely necessary this summer – apart from potentially making a big left back signing. The core of the squad is very solid, we just need some freshening up around the edges.

      We have 45ish million to spend this summer, along with money made from transfers, but it really isn’t necessary to spend it all. There’s nothing wrong with squirling some of that cash away for a summer when it is needed.

      • vicsoc
        March 31, 2011

        The only issue being that if Maxwell leaves and Abidal moves more or less permanently to center back all of a sudden our choices at left back, Adriano and say Willian, all have a seriously attacking mentality. Abidal can provide the defensive stability out there when it was needed, but I wouldn’t mind having another solid defensive choice there considering Alves is going to be… well doing his Alves thing.

        I was wondering this the other day – Do you think Keita could play left back?

    • Josep
      March 31, 2011

      I’m iffy about signing players from Shakhtar. It’s like signing players from Bayern. They’re rich clubs, and run their nation’s league they don’t need to sell unless someone is overpaying.

  40. Josep
    March 31, 2011

    Gonna read the above posts but first

    Fabio Coentrao’s agent says that he’s very close to Bayern- doesn’t particularly fancy Italy and our fine food and women… From the Juve Offside

    And..

    JenChang88 Jen Chang
    RT @FreddieBoswell7: Neymar to Chelsea looks a done deal.£30 million fee.

    Well then….

    • Jim
      March 31, 2011

      Not sure Neymar will enjoy life in the EPL. He disappeared second half against Scotland when we ( finally) got our defensive act together and he’ll meet better defences there. Mind you I’ve gone off him since he attempted to besmirch the good name of the Tartan Army by his comments about Rascism ( I know he didn’t name us but mud sticks) so I’ll not lose any sleep if he doesn’t come to Barca.

      I do have to say in his defense that Robinho never really convinced me that he would become a world class player. Neymar does look to have more about him – just the way he moves with the ball and can change direction so quickly but then I’ve only seen one whole game so can’t make definite judgements.

  41. blaunero
    March 31, 2011

    Rosell’s comments pretty much assure our not winning anything this year. It will motivate Real Madrid and put pressure on our players. Well done, Rosell. Real bloody classy. This ranks the same as that idiotic video we made before the semi final return game against Inter.
    The November manita might well be inconsequential, but what’s worse it may have made our administrative department (hopefully not our players) cocksure and thus overconfident of final victory. But trophies aren’t won in March, Rosell.

  42. Lev
    March 31, 2011

    Neymar? Good God no! for reasons outlined above.

    • vicsoc
      March 31, 2011

      I’m with you. You sign a player like Neymar when the team needs a new spark to take it to higher levels. Signing young Brazilians can provide that spark, but it can also be volatile. Right now we don’t really need volatile, but reliability and stability from the bench.

  43. blitzen
    March 31, 2011

    Gerard Deolofeu will be playing with the Spanish U-17 team again today vs. England. I hope he kicks some pasty white behind!

    I can’t watch, but I expect a match report from Jnasty! 😛

    • blitzen
      March 31, 2011

      (not that I mean to imply that all England players are white, just that the white ones are pasty from lack of sunshine, and now I feel stupid and I should just shut up) Doh!

      • Josep
        March 31, 2011

        Haha funny. I’m glad JNasty is catching on. He also goes by the nicknames JStupid and Lil’ Maurice Edu.

  44. xavi
    March 31, 2011

    If people want a left winger from Brazil it’s going to be the one and only Willian… He’s got all the qualities required in our system. He plays on the left but his favourite foot is right, he can not only provide width but can cut inside and turn his marker inside out. He has excellent work rate and helps the defence a lot. He’s actually got a belter for a shot too. He’s got flair as well as the hard work. Basically he’s a lesser aggressive Pedro if you will. Not to mention he has already impressed Pep big time. He’s not going to cost much because he has just one year left in his contract. His current manager is someone under whom our own Guardiola has played some time back. If at all we were going to buy a left winger it’s definitely not Neymar because Juan Mata would be the first choice for it because he’s already proven in the liga n all that and then comes Willian. If we fail to land either of them then would we consider Neymar really

    Kxevin I remember you rooting for Willian man 🙂

  45. 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.

  46. 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’

  47. 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! 😉

        • 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.

  48. Josep
    March 31, 2011

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

  49. 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.

      • 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!

  50. 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.

  51. 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.

  52. 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 😉

  53. 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.

  54. Lev
    March 31, 2011

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

  55. 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 😉

    • 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!

  56. 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.

      • March 31, 2011

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

  57. 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. 🙁

  58. 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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