State of the Liga: Basement Dwellers

With just 9 matches to go in the season, it’s probably time I covered what’s going on around the rest of the league. Today I’ll continue what I started with Hercules. I’m mainly interested in the relegation battle as all the other battles are somewhat boring. Or include Espanyol. So, here you have the other two relegation zone dwellers:

While Hercules dwells on their current 4-match losing streak, Almeria hasn’t fair particularly better. At least not really. Other than beating Hercules, they haven’t won since February 5 when they smacked Espanyol around to the tune of 3-2. Okay, so maybe that wasn’t smacking anyone around, but at this point, with only 4 other wins to their name, they’ll take what they can get. Given that they were smacked 0-8 by Barça at their own stadium, you’d think they’d have the worst goal difference in the league, but instead they’re only 3rd worst with -18, bested by Hercules (-22) and Malaga (-21).

Most striking about them is that they’ve won more times away (3) than they have at home (2), but they’ve drawn 9 at the Mediterráneo while just twice away from it. If you’re keeping track at home (though why would you with me here?) that’s 15 points at home and 11 away. Hardly super lopsided like Hercules, but also rather pathetic. They’ve got the fewest total wins of any team in La Liga, which is pretty damning.

Argentine striker Leonardo Ulloa is their top scorer with 7, but he’s only managed 1 away from home. As a team they’ve managed 30, 19 at home and 11 away. Interestingly enough, not a single one–not one solitary goal–has come from the spot. My favorite of their players, Kalu Uche has netted just 5 times. I blame Jabulani.

Moving on up to Manuel (Pellegrini) and his moribund Malaga, we arrive at the third to last team, who are just 1 point away from safety, but don’t really strike me as capable of that extra step…except they’ve won two in a row against Real Sociedad and Espanyol. They’ve won 8 overall and have faired decently enough on the road, where they’ve earned 1 more point than they have at home. That gives them the distinct honor of being the only team with more points away than at home. Even Barça have managed to return to normalcy in that regard, but not Malaga.

Still, they lost 7-0 at the Bernabeu and you can’t really say they didn’t deserve it or the loss to Osasuna just a few days later. You can’t do that and expect to survive long in La Liga, though other teams are certainly giving them a run for their money. Or whatever that adage would be in the negative. And yes, I’m pronouncing adage in my brain all fancy: ah-dahj. They’re royalty now, after all. Uh, as are Barça?

Newcomer Salomón Rondón has netted 12 times so far this season, which is pretty great for Malaga, except that no one else is really holding up their end of the bargain. Juanmi is second with 4. Still, they made the right moves, at least on paper, by bringing in veteran talent (Demichelis and Julio Baptista, for instance), it just hasn’t come together for them. Will it? I don’t know, but Pellegrini is actually a very good manager and if he’s actually putting together a winning streak (@Levante, Depor, Mallorca, @Racing, Hercules are their next matches), it could mean survival from relegation and for this latest Qatari project. If they do go down, however, I expect they’ll be next year’s Betis. Without the slipping below Rayo Vallecano.

Malaga, Almeria, and Alicante (home of Hercules) are all along the southern coast of Spain. Apparently southern Spaniards can’t be bothered to win matches. I wouldn’t either with those kinds of beaches. Anyway, the towns are separated by 500km of highway. But if you prefer to walk, apparently you’ll need to get your shoes wet.

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater New York City area with his wife and daughter.

116 Comments

  1. blitzen
    March 31, 2011

    I think Malaga at least will avoid relegation. Looking at their schedule, I think they will lose to Levante, draw Depor, lose to Mallorca, win Racing and win Hercules. That should be enough to keep them up?

    I really hope Hercules goes down.

  2. Barcaleya
    March 31, 2011

    Hi Blitzen – why do you want Hercules to go down? Just asking. Don’t really watch other teams or many matches now except Barca’s. I just happen to like Valdez and think fondly and sentimentally of Trezeguet. I used to watch him at Juve when they had Zidane, Nedved, Davids, Del Pierro and Inzhagi. Awesome team. I think my dislike for EE began when they poached Figo and was consolidated when they got Zidane from Juve.

    • jordi™
      March 31, 2011

      they fixed their way to the 1st division so its only fitting they go back down.top fans though so its a shame in a way.

      • Barcaleya
        March 31, 2011

        Oh, okay. Didn’t know that. Thanks!

      • Miguel
        April 1, 2011

        In a written declaration to the Commission – parts of which were reprinted in Tuesday’s edition of Marca – Javier Tebas revealed that he had personally had “a number of conversations during 2009/10 with a number of clubs and sporting institutions of the Liga Adelante (second division) and the Spanish Footballers Association relating to the existence of contacts with people who were acting on behalf of, or in the interests of the Hércules group, along with players from other team with the objective of predetermining the result of the games of said team.”
        http://fourfourtwo.com/blogs/laligaloca/archive/2010/10/14/why-match-fixing-could-liven-up-la-liga.aspx
        spanish fa’s fault they were allowed to make the jump.

    • blitzen
      April 1, 2011

      They also beat us at the Camp Nou, then proceeded to suck for the rest of their season. That offends me. I wouldn’t mind so much if they had been stellar for the rest of the season.

  3. BA
    March 31, 2011

    my first thought was: hey hey hey! Jnice may watch too much football, but “basement dweller” is a bit harsh….

    oh.

    🙂

    • Jnice
      March 31, 2011

      The pain! 😀

      I’m a cool kid, I don’t dwell, I chill.

      I wish I could dwell in my basement, though, shame it’s too cluttered with stuff.

    • Miguel
      April 1, 2011

      it’s more of a detached garage, bro. 🙂

  4. tntyau
    March 31, 2011

    Okay, not one of ours, but in honor of Bassam: 🙂

    Sid Lowe tweets the link to his interview with Alvaro Arbeloa, including the fact that Arbeloa wants Peter Crouch’s shirt when Madrid plays Tottenham, because when the Spanish NT is at the concentracion, Crouch is “his” player on PlayStation (and that he and Raul Albiol actually bought English NT jerseys to wear while playing PES!) *http://twitter.com/sidlowe/statuses/53513933432168449

    Arbeloa tweets back: “we bought 4 england shirts – Crouch,Lampard,Rooney and Stevie – but Crouchy was our favourite”

    “And every time he scored we song “he’s big, he’s red, his feet stick out the bed!” Haha! And we took photo wearing eng shirt!”

    And then Xabi Alonso tweets the picture of Arbeloa and Albiol in the Crouch and Gerrard shirts! “@aarbeloa17@sidlowe This is the missing photo for the article.” http://yfrog.com/gzpppbxfj

    I mean, how fucking cute is that, singing Crouch’s Liverpool song? (Remember, Arbeloa and Alonso were at Liverpool at the same time as Crouch.)

    (Bonus Barca in the pic: Messi on the loading screen/cover of PES 2010.)

    • April 1, 2011

      When i read this on twitter, i cracked up!! I then went to my PS3 and loaded Fifa 11 and played with crouch 😀

      Albiol looks way too happy in that picture while Arbeloa looks way to serious! Arbeloa and Alonso are my favorite on twitter, they always interact so its fun for a Madrid fan to see his teammates communicating. Plus Alonso has really good book suggestions.

  5. BA
    April 1, 2011

    just kidding of course Jnice.

    wanted to chime in and say that *ALL IPHONE USERS* should get an app called “Fan Barcelona Gratis”, which is tremendous free app with half-Spanish, half-English Barça news, results, league tables, and best of all FULL OPTA STATS for all of our games that Opta covers. there’s a delightfully nerdy amount of detail in those stats: possession, passing #s and %s, shooting positions, attack locations, and on and on and on. all right there. i highly recommend it.

    • Jnice
      April 1, 2011

      It’s all good, YOU IS MY HOMIE.

      Thanks for the app. This joint is tight.

  6. Benj
    April 1, 2011

    /http://bleacherreport.com/articles/645249-world-football-ranking-the-top-25-defenders-in-europe#page/26

    Have a look who is #1….

    moc moc anyone?

    And I cant beleive they have the likes of Ramos, Pepe and Kolarov and NO ABIDAL!

    oh and Malaga will stay up… I have forseen it…

    😀

  7. xavi
    April 1, 2011

    Breaking news…. Santos official website announces they have reached an agreement with us to sell Neymar

    Here it goes – We are happy to inform the fans that the Santos FC has reached an agreement on the transfer of Neymar with FC Barcelona that will see the Brazilian move to the Camp Nou.

    We are sorry to lose the player but we wish all the best for him with his new club. There was interest from several clubs but in the end the player chose to john Barcelona.

    Neymar will play for Santos FC until summer when the transfer window opens. As a part of the deal Santos FC reserves the rights to the ownership of Keirrison.

    OMG, this is might turn out to be the worst piece of business. The transfer money is believed to be around 35m euros. Just the time when Sid Lowe makes fun of our ridiculous transfer failure under Guardiola!!

    • Eklavya
      April 1, 2011

      WTF!!!!!!

      Thats gotta be April fools day …

    • soccermomof4
      April 1, 2011

      Almost spilled my coffee all over my laptop in panic over this. Would have been a terrible waste of coffee. 🙂

  8. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 1, 2011

    Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday
    Today i-is Friday, Friday, Friday
    Tomorrow is Saturday
    And Sunday comes after…wards

    Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah!)
    Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah!)
    Fun, Fun, Fun, Fun
    Lookin’ forward to the weekend

    okay, it’s Friday already in my place…
    and if Rebecca Black prophecies do come true, tomorrow is Saturday…
    2 big matches for me guys, two at the same time!

    I think I’ll start freaking out tomorrow…

    so, if anyone interesting, this is made my day, Fabrique in Informe Robinson (plus Xavi) :
    -http://www.canalplus.es/informe-robinson/videos/-

    • K_legit
      April 1, 2011

      I’ll say this only once..I have still not heard that awful song and my ears remain virgin..so no one refers to Friday..never..again

      hmph!

    • Eklavya
      April 1, 2011

      That song has got the most negative views in the history of YouTube. How dare you put it up here?!

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        April 1, 2011

        because that song stuck in my head I’m trying to Hlebbing everyone here with Friday

        btw, I miss you, guys… didn’t post here lately… 😉

        • BarcaGirl_Indo
          April 1, 2011

          what happened to my post?
          supposed to be like this :

          because that song stuck in my head so I’m trying to Hlebbing everyone here with Friday

          btw, I miss you, guys… didn’t post here lately… 😉

          • Jose
            April 1, 2011

            I think… I had to see what all the fuss was about so I googled the lyrics and watched the video. And, Indo… you know. I think I’ve been Hlebbed. Royally. 🙁

          • Jose
            April 1, 2011

            Do you know why she had to go to the bus stop if her friends were picking her up? It doesn’t make any sense, and it’s giving me a vague yet palpable sense of distress… 🙁

          • Eklavya
            April 1, 2011

            Her friends seems to be underage as well. How did they get a driver’s license?

          • Diego
            April 1, 2011

            How about the guy whose biggest achievement in Life is switching Lanes while he’s driving ? 😀

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        April 1, 2011

        hahaha… be careful, K_legit…
        that can happen to you once you hear it…

        you were warned…

    • Diego
      April 1, 2011

      It’s stuck in my head ever since I heard it.

      At least, They use in Kindergartens to teach the kids days of the week.

  9. April 1, 2011

    My guess is that the Santos thing is somebody being an April Fool. Official announcements at the club’s site have also had the player going to Chelsea, with terms as yet undisclosed. Trust nothing on 1 April.

    –At the presser, Guardiola essentially called BS on RoSELL’s pronouncement of either a manita, or a number of goals matching the red stripes in the senyera, labeling it simply “impossible.”

    –Thong Boy is set to miss the weekend, and the first CL leg vs Spurs, say latest reports.

    Sport offers up a Villarreal back line featuring Busquets in the back line, with Keita and Mascherano partnering Iniesta in the middle. This is so obvious that it can’t be what Guardiola is going to do. I also think that he will need Busquets’ attacking fluency in the middle of the pitch. My dream midfield for this one would be Iniesta/Busquets/Mascherano. But we’ll see.

    –Hey, for all those folks thinking that we should shoot more from distance, our 14 goals from outside the area this season is tops in the Liga. How ’bout that?

    • Helge
      April 1, 2011

      Well, then Sport and I do agree on the midfield 🙂
      My line-up:
      Valdes
      Alves, Piqué, Busquets, Adriano
      Keita, Mascherano, Iniesta
      Pedro, Villa, Afellay

      Afellay and Iniesta can change position as much as they want during the match 🙂
      When we are attacking, Busquets goes forward into midfield and Mascherano plays a little more deep. Keita closing down the left flank and thus giving Alves some room for forward runs. Adriano has to hold his defensive position.

    • soccermomof4
      April 1, 2011

      and happy April Fools Day 🙂

        • soccermomof4
          April 1, 2011

          Considered yourself Thongboyed.
          And I see you’ve joined the dark side as well. Here, have a fat-free Graham cracker. They’re delicious 🙂

          • soccermomof4
            April 1, 2011

            Hey, if you’re gonna display that particular gravatar… I call them as I see them!

    • April 1, 2011

      LMAO!!! This made my day! I posted Visca el Barca on my blog and came here to see this!

  10. barcarolle
    April 1, 2011

    Interesting comments from Pep:

    via @barcastuff:
    Guardiola: “Thiago is playing at a very high level. I believe a lot in him, maybe more than his own father.”

    A little reminder for Mazinho to chill.

    and

    via @barcastuff:
    Guardiola: “Puyol, close but no pressure, next season’s also fine.”

    Clear no one is confident around predicting anything regarding Puyol’s injury, so nothing’s changed there. Busquets and Pique it is for the foreseeable IMO.

  11. April 1, 2011

    Disturbing comment from Guardiola at the presser:

    Guardiola: “Pedro and Maxwell, decision this afternoon. Messi, decision tomorrow. Puyol, close but no pressure, next season’s also fine.”

    • soccermomof4
      April 1, 2011

      I see what you mean. I keep twisting that last part around in my head and I get nothing. Seems a little non sequitur. Could it be a translation thing? Maybe just a Pep thing?

    • soccermomof4
      April 1, 2011

      I saw that!

      Yes, he is made of awesome! It had to be intentional or why else would he not have gotten any air on the shot!

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        April 1, 2011

        your gravatar is Hlebbing me, soccermomof4…

        are you a Thong Boy fangirl?
        I know he has a nice abs, nice cars, and he sold thongs, but still…..

        did I miss something here? 😛

        • soccermomof4
          April 1, 2011

          No, my gravatar is thongboying you; that’s worse than a Hlebbing. Blitzen is the one Hlebbing everyone with her gravatar. I suspect that everything will be back to normal tomorrow.
          Happy April Fools Day!

          TB fangirl? Me? Yuk! Xaviniestleo (my affectionate name for my usual gravatar) will be back tomorrow.

          • soccermomof4
            April 1, 2011

            That brings up a point? Is April Fools day a US thing ? Do other countries do it? Chime in with your country’s take on the wackiness that is 4/1.

          • BarcaGirl_Indo
            April 1, 2011

            Okay, I admit… You thongboyed me…
            I thought being Hlebbed is the worst thing… I stand corrected! 😀

            Haha, I know ur not TB fangirl, somo4, I was just teasing you… 😉

            people in my country do recognize April Fools day, we call it April Mop day…
            I don’t know what they call it in other non-english countries…

          • soccermomof4
            April 1, 2011

            I don’t know if everyone here would think that TBing is worse than Hlebbing, but to me it is. he sad thing is, if TB wasn’t so arrogant, I could almost enjoy watching him play (could enjoy his looks too for that matter) but the attitude ruins it for me. I prefer my players as short, humble scruffy fleas, short, humble spiky-haired maestros, and short, humble ghostfaced assasins.

            I’m too old to be a fangirl of anyone, but then again Xavi…

  12. xavi
    April 1, 2011

    Haha people actually believed that shit!?

    Happy fool’s day 😛

  13. blitzen
    April 1, 2011

    Alvaro Arbeloa on Messi (among other things):

    So, it’s true? Leo Messi couldn’t do it on a cold, wet night at the Britannia? Hahaha, well, Messi probably could! Maybe he’s the only one that can. But it is true that it’s hard. There have been so many players who have come from other leagues, very technical players, who have struggled to settle in England.

    Speaking of Messi, you’re one of the few players that has stopped him. Should other teams copy what you did? Well, he’s totally different now. He is not playing as wide, he has greater freedom of movement: he goes left and right, through the middle. I did pretty much a man-marking job on him: I just stuck by him all the time. It worked well. I was so happy with the two games I played against him.

    When you follow a player everywhere, do you end up striking up conversation? Ha, Messi didn’t. He is very quiet, he doesn’t say a word. In two games he didn’t say a thing. I’m not the kind of player – like some – that tries to wind them up by saying things. Quite honestly, I have to be so concentrated that I can’t let my attention be diverted by talking.

    Rest of the interview is here if you are interested:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2011/apr/01/small-talk-alvaro-arbeloa-madrid

    • DontPanic
      April 1, 2011

      “Now, what was the last book you read?
      I’m reading a saga which they’re going to make into a series on HBO, I think. A Song of Ice and Fire. It’s a series of books and I’m on the third one.”

      Alvaro just became my favorite RM player.

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        April 1, 2011

        actually, I like Arbeloa and Albiol a lot, when they’re not wearing that White Royal jersey…

        I saw some interviews and videos of them as Spain NT players,
        I find him and Albiol very adorable and funny…

        they always joking around, kinda like Cesc dan Gerard…

    • tntyau
      April 1, 2011

      My post above was in moderation all night because I forgot to put a symbol by the second link, but if anyone missed the twitter exchange between Sid, Arbeloa and Xabi Alonso, it is way too cute:

      Sid Lowe tweets the link to his interview with Alvaro Arbeloa, including the fact that Arbeloa wants Peter Crouch’s shirt when Madrid plays Tottenham, because when the Spanish NT is at the concentracion, Crouch is “his” player on PlayStation — and that he and Raul Albiol actually bought English NT jerseys to wear while playing against Ramos and Navas (playing Spain)!

      Arbeloa tweets back: “we bought 4 england shirts – Crouch,Lampard,Rooney and Stevie – but Crouchy was our favourite”

      “And every time he scored we sang “he’s big, he’s red, his feet stick out the bed!” Haha! And we took photo wearing eng shirt!”

      And then Xabi Alonso tweets the picture of Arbeloa and Albiol in the Crouch and “Stevie” Gerrard shirts! “@aarbeloa17@sidlowe This is the missing photo for the article.” http://yfrog.com/gzpppbxfj

      Singing Crouch’s Liverpool song! As Josep says, Adorable!

      (Bonus Barca in the pic: Messi on the loading screen/cover of PES 2010.)

  14. Josep
    April 1, 2011

    I read the whole Arebloa/Sid Lowe thing yesterday and it’s so brilliant and borderline adorable.

    The comment @jnice about being a basement dweller was also priceless. Between playing Diablo 2, and watching footy for 12 hours a day JNice pretends to attend law school and makes beats for a living.

    Btw, I dread Friday’s on twitter for the #FF spamming, but this april fool’s edition ugh… though the Spain buys Ronaldo story was funny.

  15. OSBAG
    April 1, 2011

    “Madrid buys its success (and still isn’t successful), Barcelona grows and nurture its success.

    It is a seductive argument: All three finalists in the Balón d’Or this year came through Barcelona’s youth system. Real Madrid’s winners of the trophy for world player of the year — Ronaldo, Kaká, Zidane, original Ronaldo, Figo, even Michael Owen — all earned the award for what they did at others clubs and were then signed. When the two sides met in November, Barcelona’s starting XI cost €92M ($130M), Real Madrid’s €285M ($404M). Messi, Iniesta, Xavi, Puyol, Piqué, Valdés, Pedro, Busquets — all of them came through Barcelona’s youth system.” from Sid Lowe http://bit.ly/dZvhF6 barcastuff. Insightful article

    • OSBAG
      April 1, 2011

      a lot of money has really been thrown away. Ibrahimovic’s case makes me wish I could turn back time.

    • vicsoc
      April 1, 2011

      I don’t know, I didn’t like some of it. He assumes that every player we have bought since Pep took over was “one of Pep’s signings.” In a very broad sense of the word maybe this is true, but it is obvious we have signed players who obviously weren’t “Pep’s signings.” Both Kierrison and Henrique were players Pep didn’t want, and I have a suspicion there are several others on that list as well (I wonder about Caceres, Hleb, and even Ibra sometimes to be honest).

      Nobody blames Shevchenko’s failing at Chelsea on Mourinho, so if Sid Lowe is going to claim Pep’s signings are his Achilles Heel then he should really at least put a little bit of effort into determining which signings Pep actually wanted. It’s not like he wouldn’t have had ammunition, as Chygrynskiy is a great example.

      Other than that, I thought the article sounded like one big, long, boring, Madridista whine session.

      • Eklavya
        April 1, 2011

        Ibra and Hleb were Pep’s signings. Don’t know about Caceres…

      • April 1, 2011

        As I noted to Lowe, Keirrison and Gone Adriano were Txiki brainstorms that didn’t pan out for us. Ibrahimovic, Caceres and Hleb occurred on Guardiola’s watch, which means they are “his” signings, even though I think that in that summer, the only real Guardiola signings were Alves and Keita.

        I think that Ibrahimovic would have, with a different head, been an immense success here. But you have to want it. Look at how Mascherano is talking about us forcing him out of his comfort zone, and how he is constantly learning new things here. That’s what you want, not “You don’t pay that much for me and not make me the center of the universe.”

        Hleb was another head case. Caceres will be good, just not for us. He needs more of a traditional defensive scheme. And Henrique will also become a very fine defender, but again, not for us.

        • Miguel
          April 1, 2011

          in an interview with the official site txiki b. admitted that the signing of zambrotta from juventus was a complete failure and that the alves deal was his way of making amends for that. i’m not sure whether or not pep had any input on the matter. he might have.

    • OSBAG
      April 1, 2011

      Just read kxevin’s article on behavioural conduct here. I appreciate that post as it was the quality of commnts here that attracted me and you ould like that upheld. About Tom, I feel that despite the fact that a lot of peole disagree with his points, his business insight helps educate us on financial aspects ofthe club and should be seen as the lesser of the two evils.

      • April 1, 2011

        Thanks, OSBAG. Know that Tom was fine with the decision, one that he said he was coming to on his own. So it really wasn’t as cut and dry as my comment made it sound. Apologies for that.

        As with Barca transfers, you bring people onto the team to see how they fit, and work within the group and how it wants the game to be played. Often they do, other times they don’t.

      • Jose
        April 1, 2011

        I wasn’t around to comment on that post, but I must say I really appreciated it. As Kxevin titled it, it is a sign of how our community is growing that these sort of rules come into play. We may have gained so much familiarity with one another here on the interwebs, but let’s not lose sight of the kindness and respect that have defined this space for years.

        Unfortunately, that also means I have to stop trolling Eklavya 🙁

  16. xavi
    April 1, 2011

    Michel: “strike threats, clubs not paying, administration, fixtures getting changed … and we still talk about best league in the world”

    I read this tweet on Sid Lowe’s page… For the life of me I don’t really understand what Michel, I presume Getafe’s manager, meant by it. That calling this the best league is bollocks or this is best league because it has all tastes of life coming as a part of it!?

    • Para
      April 1, 2011

      My spanish is seriously limited, but when I watch the matches on spanish channels, they tend to call the “Liga BBVA” the “mejor liga del mundo,” which I assume means that the english are not the only ones who claim they have the best leagues in the world.

    • Jnice
      April 1, 2011

      He’s pointing out the irony. So as you say, he means “that calling this the best league is bollocks”.

  17. Barcaleya
    April 1, 2011

    It’s Ibi’s birthday tomorrow! Happy birthday 3M!!! I really hope we find good use for him. I don’t want him sold 🙁

    • April 1, 2011

      If we sell Afellay, we’re insane. Of all the rumors that have been floating around this pre-off-season, it’s the one that I most hope isn’t true. I think his upside is tremendous. Then again, I thought that about Txigrinski, who deserved more time with us. I always think of what had happened, had we been so quick to pull the plug on Abidal after his first season with us.

      • Barcaleya
        April 1, 2011

        Exactly. It pains me to read Ibi (and Keita) being included in list of players who may be sold. Barcelona is always a difficult club to join because of the way it plays no matter how technically gifted one is upon joining. There is a lot of politicking involved internally, I’m sure, and I certainly don’t know how they choose the ones they buy and sell – all I pray for right now is to give Ibi time to integrate and find a way to give him more playing minutes.

        • Eklavya
          April 1, 2011

          Afellay isn’t going anywhere. If he leaves this summer then I’ll change my name to Queen Elizabeth 2.0.

  18. April 1, 2011

    Abidal visited his teammates at training today. Wonder if he ran to the Camp Nou? #awesomeashell

  19. April 1, 2011

    And whoever thought we’d see the stat that Iniesta is the only player to have played in all 29 league matches this season?

    • beeeef
      April 1, 2011

      It’s been wonderful having Ghostface at 100% insofar this year (knocks on wood). Wonder if he’ll get the armband after Xavi and Puyol retire? He’s definitely going to be our midfield maestro for years to come.

  20. Jnice
    April 1, 2011

    Pep has come out saying his time with Barça is “coming to an end”. And that he subscribes to the view that after four years in charge, players can tire of the coaches methods and vice versa.

    I would be willing to be that next season is his last with the club.

    • barcarolle
      April 1, 2011

      via @riccifli:

      Guardiola to Rai Sport: “I’ll stay one more year and it’ll be my fourth. You have to understand when it’s time to go”.

      There you go!

    • Jnice
      April 1, 2011

      I should add that while I agree with the “players get tired of the manager” theory, I think that at Barça that isn’t the case because he’s such an icon and players love and respect him so much.

  21. barcarolle
    April 1, 2011

    Guardiola in an interview with RAI (the Italian state-owned broadcaster):

    Credo che il mio periodo qui al Barcellona stia finendo. Sto bene qui, ma quando stai per molto tempo in un club come questo non è possibile rimanere per troppo tempo

    Google translate:

    I think my time here in Barcelona is ending. I’m fine here, but for a long time when you’re in a club like this you can not stay for too long.

    Not surprising to anyone given what Pep’s been saying for a while, unless you think he’s just playing for more power/money at the club. Not Pep’s style, though, IMO.

    • Helge
      April 1, 2011

      I hope it’s just an April Fool’s Day joke 🙁

      • Jnice
        April 1, 2011

        Don’t think so because that has been his motto from the outset. I’m sure he never thought he would even last as long as he has when he first took the job.

        • Eklavya
          April 1, 2011

          My day has turned into sadness. 🙁

          I just can’t imagine Barca without Pep.

          • Barcaleya
            April 1, 2011

            Me too! Arrgh. I doubt the team will be the same without him.

          • BarcaGirl_Indo
            April 1, 2011

            me too…
            he shouldn’t say these, at least not now… if we as fans are sad, what about the players, especially like Pedro, Bojan, or Busi?

            he is the perfect coach for Barça, IMO…
            I don’t think he should leave unless the situation is bad in the club…

  22. Para
    April 1, 2011

    GiuseppeRossi22 (twitter):
    REALLY?? i cant beleive what happened..the Liga is bugging about the field conditions so i think we lost by forfeit. WTF! i’ll keep u posted

    As much as I want Barca to win the league, that would be atrocious. *However*, it is the 1st of April.

    • April 1, 2011

      Jnice and I called him out on it, saying in effect, “Try harder on April 1, dude.”

  23. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 1, 2011

    It annoys me when Pep saying things like these… I hate it…

    The players admire and respect him so much,
    almost all of them said they can’t and don’t want to imagine Barça without Pep,
    so these comments is not the best motivational words for the players…

    • barcarolle
      April 1, 2011

      Alternatively, given their love of Pep and the fact they are very disciplined professionals, they’ll want to do their best for him to give him a fitting farewell knowing that a special period is drawing to a close, whilst hoping he can have a change of heart.

      Also, none of this is new. Pep’s intimated this before many times.

  24. Lev
    April 1, 2011

    It is a shame Guardiola doesn’t see himself at Barça for more than next season.

    @para yes in spanish the league is advertised as el mejor del mundo, you understood correctly.

    @kxevin Hopefully we will keep Ibi. Doesn’t really compare to the Chiggy situation imo because Chiggy, despite being a class act, just never looked comfortable in the blaugrana. He has admitted as much himself also.
    It is also possible Pep didn’t want him to go because Pep is the one who wanted to buy him at all cost and just didn’t want to give up on such a big buy.

  25. blitzen
    April 1, 2011

    Cue the “Who do you see as Pep’s successor?” discussion.

    🙁 🙁 🙁

    I’m going to get an ice cream on my way home to make me feel better.

    • beeeef
      April 1, 2011

      Villanova? aka. Pep 2.0

      I actually have no idea who would be hired.

    • Lev
      April 1, 2011

      I would like to see a culé – hopefully Luis Enrique will be ready. If not I think Van Basten could be a good choice.

      This is definitely not based on how he has performed as a coach so far for Holland and Ajax, but I think his ideas and personality could fit Barça well. Rosell would never consider him though, because of Cruijff.

      • Barcaleya
        April 1, 2011

        And Pep will go to Qatar for 20M euros a year 🙁

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      April 1, 2011

      Vilanova?
      Luis Enrique?
      Pellegrini?
      Wenger?
      Mourinho?
      Rosell?

      damn, thanks to Pep, my mood turns into bad, just when I’m trying to sleep…

    • soccermomof4
      April 1, 2011

      Pep has crappy timing.
      I think it’s part of his personality picked up from the way his career has gone. He has an all good things must come to an end/you love me now but… / glass half empty view. Hafta say, though, if I were him the thought of taking my millions, my family, and my bad back outta the pressure cooker sounds pretty good.
      He still has crappy timing.

      Dang people, how do some of you manage on these smart phones. This has been tedious at best.

      @ Blitzen good idea, icecream. I think I’ll make brownies to go with.

      • Jim
        April 1, 2011

        I may be out on a limb with this but Pep hacks me off when he talks like this. first of all it is rotten timing. Don’t care if he was asked the question or not. Secondly, what point is he making? Is he saying that he’s not capable of running the team for much longer? If so , man up. You chose to go into management. Yes, it’s pressured but but you knew that. Is he saying that you can’t keep the players sharp after a while? If so, what have SAF, Wenger, Moyes, Shankly, Paisley, Stein, Walter Smith etc. been doing?

        He will NEVER have a better job then he is in, he will NEVER have a better team than he has, he will probably NEVER have a bunch of players who care for him as much as this mob do. Sorry, but when you have the job of your dreams you don’t walk away. (Ends rant)

  26. Jnice
    April 1, 2011

    No Pedro or Maxwell against Villarreal. 3 B team players (4 if you count Fontas): Thiago, JDS, and Montoya.

    Barça B might suffer tomorrow.

    • Miguel
      April 1, 2011

      yeah, i’m not gonna get to see the barca villarreal game live but i should catch the first half of the barca b game. i started plucking out the hair on my head, one strand at a time, when i heard thiago, dos santos & montoya were gonna be missing. 🙁

  27. April 1, 2011

    Just threw up a post with some selected pictures of the Abidal visit, just because it makes me so happy. Dude’s looking good!

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