Who Are Shakhtar and What Can We Expect?

I promise I won't cry when I get to you

I was going to do some horrible play on words with Shakira, but I couldn’t think of anything half-decent. Tar tar sauce, as Spongebob would say.

Shakhtar are considered the Dark Horses of the CL this year, not only because they’re from Eastern Europe, where every team seems dangerous and shrouded in mystery, but because they have upped their game to another level, qualifying for the QF of the CL for the first time in their history. I confess that I don’t know much about this neo-Shakhtar, so I dug around and made a list of players I think we should keep an eye out on.

Dymtro Chygrynskiy (Central Defender): We should all be familiar with this man (unless you are new, or a fan of another team). Nicknamed Txigrinski when he was with us, and Txignasty by this blog, he was sold back to his parent club for 15M. Back at the club where he’s more familiar with, Dima has returned to being the cornerstone of the Shakhtar defense. A towering defender, he also possesses a great positional sense, which can make up for his lack of pace, and an eye for a pass. Added to this, of course, is the fact he spent a season with us and should be more familiar with our forwards, with the exception of Villa. How troublesome.

 

Jadson (Attacking Midfielder): This guy bothers me, more so than Eduardo and Willian. Forget that he looks stoned in that picture for a second. The 27 year old Brazilian got his first caps for Brazil this international break, and this is most definitely off the back of wonderful performances with Shakhtar. The main creative source along with Douglas Costa, Busi (or Macherano) will have to keep two eyes on this guy. We’ve had trouble with Jadson in the past, and this time will most likely be no different. Fiddlesticks.

 

 

Darijo Srna (Right-back): Captain of the Croatian NT, and Shakhtar, Srna has a ton of experience. Normally, “ton of experience” is synonymous with “he’s old and been around for a while, but I don’t really know much else about him, so I say that”, in journalist lingo but Srna is only 28. Having played in many high pressure situations, including England at the Wembley in 2007*, the thought of playing at the Camp Nou won’t intimidate this guy. Currently in his prime, he’s been dominating the right flank this season. An attacking right back, very much in the mold of our Dani Alves, whose judgement on when to attack and when to defend has improved greatly. His technical skills are above average and his crossing isn’t bad either. One of the best players in Europe this season.

 

 

Willian (Left-Winger): A Kxevin favourite, the 22 year old Brazilian can also play as an attacking midfielder if needed. A tricky and skillful player, as expected of a Brazilian, his goal against Roma at home proved to be the final nail in the Italians’ coffin. His passing leaves a bit to be desired, and he has a tendency to go for goal when a pass might have been the better option. Still, he’s got gobs of pace and with Dani moving up the pitch, Pique will have to be at his sharpest.

 

 

Douglas Costa (Attacking Midfielder/Right winger): Fast. That’s the first thing I thought when I saw this boy–and he is indeed a boy, just 20 years of age. His ball control is inconsistent and he seems too keen to try the spectacular, but if he’s in acres of space, one word: trouble. Shakhtar’s coach Lucescu has put him in a more free role, very much like Messi, this season and he’s been revelling in it. He’s caught the eye of many top clubs after the two legs against Roma, and will look to repeat the sparking performances against us.

I’m no Zonal Marking, and certainly no Euler or Ramzi, but I’ll attempt to give you some tactical insight (pftt). Laugh after you read it. Or pinch yourself that some female not only know the offside rule, but is actually attempting to talk tactics. Ah ha. (Someone forward this to Andy Gray please)

How Lucescu has Shaktar playing this season:

The formation of choice is a 4-2-3-1, with two defensive midfielders and a lone striker. Jadson, Willian, and Douglas Costa form the “3” behind the “1”–Luiz Adriano or Eduardo. They are primarily a counterattacking team, at least from what I’ve seen in Europe (not much, so you can take it with a jug of salt).We all know, however, that formations can be arbitrary and it doesn’t really stay like that.

Shakhtar in attack

In possession, Srna pushes up, becoming a winger and one of the two defensive midfielders cover for him. They like to use the flanks, so Willian and Costa will see plenty of the ball. Jadson stays central, acting as a medium between flanks, kinda like Xavi. They have a Barca-like quality in wanting to stretch the defense and are not hasty with the ball. If the opportunity doesn’t present itself, they are happy to pass back to maintain possession.

Zonal Marking has this nice chalkboard of their formation, to give you a visual. This is from their first leg against AS Roma in Rome. I’d recommend you all read it since I feel they’ll adopt the same approach on Wednesday.

Shakhtar's 4-2-3-1 + player movements in attack

In the above, when Srna pushes up, Mykhitaryan would cover for him, leaving Hubschmann as the lone DM. Rat, the more conservative LB, also pushes up to support Willian or act as an outlet pass for Jadson; similar to how Maxwell/Adriano support Villa, or prove an outlet for Xavi.

The main asset Shakhtar has is the speed in which they go from one side of the field to the other. Their link-up play and passes over a short distance will make giving the ball up in the centre of the pitch a definite no-no, and the speed of Wilian and Costa will be a big issue. They are also not afraid to shoot outside of the box, so we should be vigilant in that regard.

Shakhtar without the ball

In defense, and this is most likely the formation we will actually be facing considering this match is in Camp Nou, Shakhtar adopt a 4-4-1-1. The striker stays up top, as well as Jadson, while the wingers Willian and Costa will look to track our full backs. Shakhtar are extremely disciplined and have always been a tough nut to crack.  In our last meeting, we needed an extra time Pedro!! goal to give us the UEFA Supercup win.

And while you’re watching the video, look at how compact the centre of pitch is. There are almost no defenders out wide. We need to have width in this game–it’s going to be crucial. We have a tendency of trying to play through the middle, and it’ll cause us problems if we don’t try and stretch the defense.

Pep has said he didn’t want Shakhtar because they know us too well, and I agree. This will be a tough match, folks. I really hope Pedro!! is fit in time for this game because we’ll really need his hell raising nature.

Flail those arms for us on Wednesday. Please!

————————

*I quite like the Croatia NT, especially their coach (or is he the former coach now?) Slaven Bilic. He looks like he’d play the best movie villian ever (James Bond, anyone?) and he’s got cojones. After they (Croatia) beat England away from home, eliminating them from Euro 2008, he then goes post match and tells the country to “wake up” and Croatia were “simply the better team”. I couldn’t find a video with higher quality, but man, it was so awesome.

You can't seriously tell me he doesn't look like some kind of badass villian

All I can say is that this man fought H1N1 and kicked its ass. Surgery? Puh-lease.

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378 Comments

  1. Josep
    April 4, 2011

    WHATD THIS TAKE LIKE TEN SECONDS YOU SUCK

    This is a brilliant post, btw. I’ve waded through the posts from the weekend and am finally all caught up. This is my favorite one, well done. Hats off!

  2. blitzen
    April 4, 2011

    Nice post, Kari! The best thing I can say about it is that I read it. All of it. I usually fast forward through long tactical posts (sorry Euler!) because it’s just not my thing to get into that much detail. This is a very nice (and funny) summary of Waxtap Shakhtar’s formation and overall tactics. Just right for me.

  3. soccermomof4
    April 4, 2011

    A tactical post by Kari! You go, girl!!! Nicely done.

    And now I’m scared. If we had the starting XI from the beginning of this year I would be less so.
    VV
    Alves, Pique, Busi, Adriano
    Masche, Xaviniesta
    MVP
    Our best remaining 11, and may God have mercy on us!

    BTW, Arsenal beat them 5-1 at home and lost 1-2 away in the group stage. If we don’t do anything stupid and manage to remember how to find the back of the net we go through. I hope.

    • soccermomof4
      April 4, 2011

      Ooooooh, and I get to add Razvan Rat to my list of interesting (to the English speaking person) names:
      Messi, Kaka, Pique, Burpo, Butt, Trasche, and now Rat!
      I’m easily amused 🙂

      • Lev
        April 4, 2011

        for Spanish speakers Kaka, Maicon and Pato sound hilarious!

        • soccermomof4
          April 4, 2011

          Pato= duck, right?
          What’s a maicon in Spanish?

          • Vj
            April 5, 2011

            You can put David Seaman in the list if its not too offensive..

          • soccermomof4
            April 5, 2011

            Sorry Vj, I can’t add him. My rule(completely arbitrary) is that I actually have to see the player play. Thanks anyway 🙂

        • Jose
          April 4, 2011

          It’s was both gross and funny hearing a Brazil match commentated in Spanish, especially when this substitution came up (out?)…

          “Kaka sale por Elano”

          Oy

    • Helge
      April 4, 2011

      I seriously cannot figure out how on earth Arsenal could beat Shakhtar 5-1. Shakhtar must have been completely out of their mind ^^

  4. xavi
    April 4, 2011

    I’d personally go with Pedro on right and Afellay on the left flank. That’s because there’s no doubt in my mind that Willian would neutralise Alves effect. So having Pedro on the right would still keep our width in tact on the right side of the pitch.

    Coming to our left side the reason to have Afellay play instead of Villa is to maintain width while at the same time be defensive(to avoid the threat of Srna-di Costa duo.) Since Afellay is obviously better than Villa in maintaining the width as well as tracking deep down, I went for him. Also both Adriano and Afellay are very good at taking a right-footed long shot by cutting in from the left side. Afellay switching their roles, one maintaining the width and the other cutting in… It would be too much to contain!

    I know it would obviously be far better if we play Pedro on the left because about all the things I mentioned we need to do tomorrow, he definitely is better than Afellay, at least because he has more confidence than Afellay. But then Villa cannot maintain the width on the right side too, and Afellay too doesn’t do much on the right side:( since we are also losing Alves it would be very difficult to play Villa or Afellay on the right

    *I think I couldn’t make my point too clear but English is not my first language, so please bare with it 🙂

    • April 4, 2011

      Oh, don’t worry, your point is clear ;). It would be interesting to see Afellay in this game. Although I don’t think he’ll play (then again, many people didn’t think he’d start vs Villarreal), if he did, I’d use your reasons as justifications. Agree completely.

      On the other hand, I don’t believe his best position is out wide, so I’d put Iniesta there and try Afellay in the midfield. Against Villarreal, I felt Ibi was better closer to the centre. At least if he’s in the midfield, he has the threat a good distance shooter has.

  5. Josep
    April 4, 2011

    Maxwell starts if fit, pretty much a certainty.

    • soccermomof4
      April 4, 2011

      I was stuck between him as a more stay-at-home LB and Adriano to give Srna more to think about. Whatever Pep decides, in Pep we trust 🙂

  6. April 4, 2011

    Screw all that. Look at that Abidal picture. He’s teaching the coach how to walk like a badass, is all I know.

    Oh, yeah. Nice stuff, Kari. We’ve created a monster, people. She’s sending ninjas out, looking for Isaiah and I. She wants all the power, I tell you. #veryworried

    😀

      • soccermomof4
        April 4, 2011

        This…when I’ve just reassured them that you only use your powers for good?

        • April 4, 2011

          I’m taking a page out of Bilic’s book. I sound (or look, in his case) like I’m evil, but I’m just full of hot air.

    • soccermomof4
      April 4, 2011

      Those pictures of Abidal make me both extraordinarily happy but also very wistfully sad at the same time. I want my Abi back!

      Don’t be afraid of the Kari monster you’ve created. She only uses her powers for good!

      • Eklavya
        April 4, 2011

        The more you say that, the more I doubt it…

        • soccermomof4
          April 4, 2011

          Nah, she’s harmless. Just stay on her good side.

  7. gowtham
    April 4, 2011

    hey guys:D
    I was wondering about something…
    Messi is on 4 yellow cards…and if he gets a yellow card vs almeria he’s out for the league classico, and if he mangaes to get one there, does that mean he is out for the cdr finals????

    • Lev
      April 4, 2011

      cards in the league do not effect cdr. i wouldn’t mind if he gets a card and doesn’t play the liga clasico actually.

  8. April 4, 2011

    I’m just glad I don’t sound like an idiot. Thanks everyone! #phew

  9. April 4, 2011

    Hell, we can dump the Clasic and still come out 5 points to the good, assuming we don’t do a pratfall against Almeria.

      • Miguel
        April 4, 2011

        Wouldn’t it be great to see a bunch of B-teamers in the line-up for El Clásico, though?

  10. Miguel
    April 4, 2011

    I have no idea what all that tactics stuff was about, but it sounded pretty hot. 😉 Great job, Kari!

  11. Miguel
    April 4, 2011

    Oh, and I came up with the moniker “Chignasty.” Yay me! Is it bad I didn’t really miss him much until recently, though?

    • April 4, 2011

      Ha! So you were serious about finally locating the “caps lock” key on your keyboard. 😀 I personally use the shift key.

      • Miguel
        April 4, 2011

        Why you gotta make me look stupid like that in front of all my friends? 🙂 Again, great job, Kari.

        That Jadson dude got called up to the Seleção by Menezes for that match against Scotland. I think I might still have that one on my DVR.

  12. Josep
    April 4, 2011

    If only it were possible to lock up the league before the clasico and get the old guard of honor

    • Miguel
      April 4, 2011

      ¡Punto y final!

      I picture Charlie sitting right next to him sipping his lemonade, too. 🙂

  13. Helge
    April 4, 2011

    Very nice, insightful tactical preview, Kari. I enjoyed reading it 🙂

    And damn, that video of Mate Bilic and that pic is awesome!

    To your list of players, you might add Fernandinho, 25-year-old, two-footed central midfielder who just came back from a broken leg (coincidentally, the only loss in the league for Shakhtar came during that match, when he was injured in minute 25). He now played the whole minutes in the last league-match and was a regular starter until the injury occured.
    Obviously, he is another Brazilian^^

    • Eklavya
      April 4, 2011

      Miguel found his Caps locks and you found you “^^” ?

  14. Eklavya
    April 4, 2011

    – A Tactical post by Kari?? 😀 😀 😀

    I had a huge smile on my face when I was reading this paragraph:

    “I’m no Zonal Marking, and certainly no Euler or Ramzi, but I’ll
    attempt to give you some tactical insight (pftt). [Edit Eklavya: Haha!] Laugh after you
    read it. [Edit Eklavya: Hahahahaha!] Or pinch yourself that some female not only know the
    offside rule, but is actually attempting to talk tactics. Ah ha.
    (Someone forward this to Andy Gray please).”

    LOL, you’ll “attempt”? Haha, just when I read that I thought “Uh-Oh, good luck ^^'”.

    Although it seems to be OK. It doesn’t seem like you’ve copy-pasted from anywhere (although I suspect some reformulation) 😀 and it doesn’t sound stupid or anything. Why the hell am I doing a review again? It just seems to come up automatically to any of your posts it seems… Whatever … 🙂

    – Miguel you use CAPS LOCKS!! Best thing that happened to this blog! Now just a few links less …. LOL J/K! 🙂

    – I have sucessfully evaded all the social/professional meetings/appointments just to be able to see the CL match! Yay!

    – One more thing, the “recap” of Chiggy is really annoying. I don’t know how many times we’re already read that Chiggy was bought bla bla bla €25m bla bla bla sold next summer for €15m bla bla. We know all that.

    • April 4, 2011

      You know you love my posts. That’s why you feels the need to give me your opinion. It’s alright, I understand you 😉 😛

      As for the recap of price, it’s necessary–he did play for us and generally when someone is sold, you include the price for posterity.

      • Helge
        April 4, 2011

        But that’s not the general case in Switzerland, they don’t publish any numbers 😀
        So you shall forgive Eklavya.

        • Eklavya
          April 5, 2011

          ^^^This!

          Helge takes back home the grand prize of €xxx!

    • soccermomof4
      April 4, 2011

      I tell you, Eklavya, stay on Kari’s good side 🙂

  15. tutomate
    April 4, 2011

    Great tactical post Euler!

    Wait Wha Wha WHAT?

  16. Josep
    April 4, 2011

    barcastuff barcastuff
    Neymar (Santos): “I would love to play side by side with Messi.” [md]

    Neymar (Santos): “I’ve been in Barcelona, wonderful city, very nice. I also spoke with Dani Alves, he gave me some advice.” [md]

    :):):)

    • April 4, 2011

      “Don’t come, dude.” is probably what Dani said. 😉

      • Helge
        April 4, 2011

        probably hopefully (!)

        A Brazilian who said he’d love to play with an Argentinean. Ok, there’s definitely something wrong with this guy’s mental health!

          • Helge
            April 4, 2011

            It’s okay, I just feared that every new post would now be written in strike-mode, as sometimes every new comment appeared bold etc. 🙂

  17. Lev
    April 4, 2011

    @soccermomo replying here because it is so far back up. pato=duck but it is also widely used slang for homosexual. Maicon sounds like maricon which is a a bad word for homosexual.

    (gay people don’t be offended I am just saying it sounds funny in Spanish when the dude scores and the announcer yells ¡Pato! ¡Pato! ¡Paaaaaaaatooooooo! )

  18. April 4, 2011

    Kari!

    Very nice. I’m loving the post.

    Terrific preview with a nice summary.

    Your point on width is very well taken. This kind of match is a difficult balance because Shakhtar is so fast and dangerous around the flanks.

    Getting width from Alves and Adriano will be critical. Not only does it stretch the pitch in possession but it pins back Rat/ Willian and Costa/Srna deep. But given their speed along the flanks pinning back the edge players leaves a lot of room for them to counter.

    Shakhtar play a bit like RM. Less talented overall and less dangerous in attack, but much more solid defensively.

    I’m not looking forward to these matches. They are going to be very tough.

    • April 4, 2011

      Thanks a lot, Euler! 😀

      As for the EE reference, I hadn’t thought of that, but you’re definitely right. It’ll be a really hard game, but I think we can nick a 2-0.

  19. Jnice
    April 4, 2011

    Great post, Kari.

    I hope we can put them away this leg, but it’s going to be really tough. I really hope Pedro is fit. He will be crucial.

  20. mei
    April 4, 2011

    Good post kari.
    And lets start singing a different note already !
    You heard it here first : this match is gonna be a piece of cake.
    The tie will end on Wednesday.

  21. Jim
    April 4, 2011

    I’d be happier with the first leg away from home but otherwise I think we need to be careful not to give them too much respect. I can’t think of many (any?) of their players who would get a game for us, they are playing in a poorer league, they don’t have the same experience as us and if they have learned from playing us we must also have learned from playing them.

    Not saying it’s going to be easy but we should be going into this game confident in the belief that if we work as hard as we normally do and get our possession game going they will struggle. We just need to take the game to them from the start and take some of our chances.

    I’ll also be totally hacked off if we get caught with both full backs up the pitch and our DM nowhere to be seen as has happened recently. If we can prevent an away goal they are going to have to go some at home as we will score over there.

    • April 4, 2011

      I puked in my mouth a bit, but I guess we’re that popular now.

      I won’t mention this anymore.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      April 4, 2011

      I was hoping Rebecca Black, not Bieber…

      I’m really disappointed…

    • yana
      April 4, 2011

      Oh dear. His fangirls will look up FCB, notice Bojan, and watch out internets.

      Have to give him props, though, for wearing that in Madrid. If Kxevin got dirty looks just for a soci pin, can you imagine walking around in full kit?

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        April 4, 2011

        yes, Bojan and probably Afellay…
        Ibi is 25 years old, but he has a babyface…

        get ready for Beliebers Invasion

        • blitzen
          April 4, 2011

          Oh noes! Are we about to be inundated with 15-year-old fangirls? *shudder*

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        April 5, 2011

        are you being serious or making an April Fools’ joke? 😛

        • *LOL*…Well i’m actually serious! I don’t know if it’s because I’m 30 and I live in Greece a factor but i really don’t know this boy! Maybe i’ll do a little search for him in wikipedia when i’m off work to feed my curiosity. 🙂
          Is he like the new backstreet boy or smth?

          • BarcaGirl_Indo
            April 5, 2011

            Justin Bieber :

            – he is a worldwide superstar, probably the most famous singer at the moment
            – his fangirls are hysterical and annoying
            – his music video (Baby) is the most viewed video on youtube history

            The new Backstreet Boy?
            don’t you dare comparing him to BSB, they are my teenagehood idol!

            j/k 😀

            don’t laugh at me, BSB used to be awesome!

  22. BA
    April 4, 2011

    a tie between the only 2 teams in Europe who now, in the absence of Abidal, play with attacking wing-backs on *both* sides. that’s the really interesting tactical battle for me.

  23. blaunero
    April 4, 2011

    This will be one tough game. Shakhtar’s record in the CL this year: P 8 W 7 L 1, 24 goals for, 8 against. I suspect their greatest threat isn’t any player. Their greatest threat is, I think, their coach Lucescu, the old fox, who is still a legend in Italy and Eastern Europe. Barca has faced his Shakhtar thrice and never was it easy, despite our winning twice. I heard Shakhtar hasn’t lost at home in quite some time, and under Guardiola we never win away from home in the KO rounds of the CL. This means that the game at the CN will be crucial. They will defend well and attack quickly. What I gather from the Olimpico highlights is that though Roma held the ball for more time, Shakhtar was able to pierce them how and when they wanted. We, despite the great victory at the Madrigal, haven’t played particularly well, with our strikers out of tune since at least a month. In fact the last great match we played was vs Arsenal. Hopefully the the CL hymn brings us back into the fold of good football.

  24. Artur
    April 4, 2011

    Shakhtar coach, in an interview, has said that his best player is Fernandihno (somebody also mentioned above he is coming back from an injury).

    • April 4, 2011

      Yeah, I’d have included him but for that injury–I think it was a broken leg. He’s lacking match fitness, and his danger value has done down IMO. At least for this game, anyway.

  25. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 4, 2011

    just finished read it…

    Andy Gray won’t believe this, no way…
    women don’t even understand the offside rule, now they talking about tactics? puh-lease!

    great job, Kari…thanks! 😀

    I worry about Shakiratar,
    well, since I am a negative cule, I always worried and scared…

    but I can’t believe what people around me are saying :

    “Barca gets the easiest opponent”
    “what an uninteresting UCL match, their opponent is too weak, it’s suck”

    sigh, they don’t know Shakiratar like we do…

    • April 4, 2011

      Shakirahtar? Not bad. I’d have thought of something worse though. 😉

      I’m still backing us to win, of course, and if we do what we’re supposed and play to the level we all know we can, the worry will be for nothing.

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        April 4, 2011

        what’s that? maybe yours is better than mine…
        I couldn’t think anything worse… 😛

        well, if Arsenal could beat them 5-1, than we supposed to be able to smash them at Camp Nou too…

        win at Camp Nou and a draw at Ukraine… that’ll be enough…

        • Helge
          April 5, 2011

          My favourite is Shakhtirar Donetsk 😀

  26. barca96
    April 4, 2011

    I thought Kari was joking when she said in the previous post.
    She said
    “i have a new tactics post…”
    Tactics and Kari in the same sentence??
    I would’ve never thought it would happen. A typical footballer comment;
    <i<if you asked me a year ago if I would be here, I would think that you're a mad men
    Well done Kari. Such a good day…

    Will the surgery affect Abidal’s footballing wise? It shouldn’t right as it has nothing to do with his legs..

    • blitzen
      April 4, 2011

      Not in the long term, no, assuming there are no complications. But abdominal surgery does take a while to recover from. You use your abdominal muscles for everything. You know, sitting, standing, breathing…. Abi looks terrific, though.

  27. Ryan
    April 4, 2011

    “I was going to do some horrible play on words with Shakira, but I couldn’t think of anything half-decent.”

    The first thing that came to my mind was “Hips don’t lie’s” and something along the lines of:

    I never knew a team could defend like this…

    ???

    Shakhtar Shakhtar!

    (Profit!)

  28. outerspacedout
    April 4, 2011

    I will never make any Justin Bieber jokes ever again. RESPECT

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      April 4, 2011

      The whole “drama” caused by the interview for RAI was quite surprising, as people started to already mourn over the possible loss of Guardiola. But he is still with us, as Zubizarreta said in halftime of game against Villarreal regarding last Saturday, “Pep has a contract and he wants to be with us, and that’s it. Is he on the bench? Yes. Does he have a contract for next year? Yes. What more do we want?”

      Of course we all want Pep in Barcelona for as long as possible, but nothing can last forever. What can we do? Cherish the wonderful moments of the club and team; enjoy every single day and every game even more.

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        April 4, 2011

        the last parts of the article really touched my heart…

        yes, cherish these wonderful moments with Pep as our coach… 😉

    • Miguel
      April 4, 2011

      “[…]I told him that the stability was in the institution, not in the coach”.

      I think it was Ramzi that mentioned something about Pep having political ambitions. Maybe it’s true. He’s a smart guy, he knows what he’s doing. Whatever. Who cares? Enjoy what you have right now. How often do teams like this come along in a lifetime?

      • Miguel
        April 4, 2011

        *”Who cares?” should read: “It’s something out of your/everyone else’s control.” Everybody obviously cares.

        • barca96
          April 4, 2011

          I think it’s still too early to become a president.
          And I think he would like to get involved with on the field stuff as well as a president and that maybe might not go down well with the coach at that time.

  29. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 4, 2011

    =http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2Dw6dtiK2M=

    with English translations… 😉

    the translation is not perfect, but enough to understand their conversation…

    Ooooooooooooooooohhhh!!! Moc moc!!! 😛

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        April 5, 2011

        when it’s about Mr. Moc Moc, I always find it… 😛

  30. K_legit
    April 5, 2011

    ARe yyou guys it is Justin Beiber..seems like a kid in Juvenil A to be honest..

    If it is, I may consider clawing my eyes out

    And yes I have just come back to earth after the World Cup final

    Hello BFB world…nice to see you and all..can i get some crisps?

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      April 5, 2011

      hiya, K_legit! 😀
      the last time I spoke to you was on last Friday
      remember, when I was trying to Hlebbing everyone…

      at first I don’t believe it,
      I thought it was just a kid who looks like him…

      so I try to make sure, and -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlGKOKpGWi8-… 😛

  31. Jnice
    April 5, 2011

    Madrid to win comfortable over Spurs tomorrow 3-0. Just hope it’s a good match otherwise I’ll switch to the other match and root for Schalke.

      • barca96
        April 5, 2011

        I think it would be an open match.
        Is Ronaldo going to play?
        Can you imagine V.d.Vaart scoring? Haha
        Too bad Sneijder didn’t score at the Bernabeu last season.

      • Jim
        April 5, 2011

        Bale passed fit, maybe Gallas. Redknapp says they are going to have a go. It should be a great game – end to end.

        Not sure why you think it will be so easy for RM, Jnice. Spurs play at pretty much the same pace as RM and in games like that anything can happen. The same will be true in London. IF RM have a poor opening half hour the fans won’t be slow to let them know. Also, neither side has a decent defence imo.

        Really looking forward to it, as I am the EPL clash tomorrow between Man U and Chelsea. I’m glad we avoided both of these as Chelsea may be coming back to form and you just can’t kill off Man U these days. When an EPL side is on song and coming at you the game becomes really fast and furious. I think we’re better at coping with the continental approach.

        • April 5, 2011

          From what I’ve seen of Spurs this year, Jnice is right. They just aren’t that good, and certainly not as good as they are lucky. They sit 5th in the Prem, and have lost to league luminaries such as Wigan and West Ham, and drawn with West Brom (ouch!). On the flip side, they’ve also beaten Arsenal away, lost then nil-nil’ed United and drew Chelsea 1-1 at home. So maybe it’s a side that plays up to its competition.

          I just think that EE have an answer for Bale on the flanks, and I don’t know that Spurs have much else beyond that. VdV and the Beanstalk? I just don’t see them beating EE. Their shot is this leg, with Thong Boy out and the club still reeling a bit (I hope) from the weekend’s events.

          • barca96
            April 5, 2011

            Ah c’mon man. Why you gotta talk like that about West Brom. My old buddy plays there. That kinda hurt. Just kidding.

          • Jim
            April 5, 2011

            I think that’s exactly the problem with playing them, Kxevin. They’re not the same side week in week out. When they play well it’s exceptional ( certainly going forward) and they have beaten Inter at home as well as Milan in the San Siro.

            I also think that the player I’m most impressed by is Modric whom you didn’t mention. To me he is real class in the midfield, an area where he will get some time. As someone said at the weekend Madrid are the favourites but Spurs have a real puncher’s chance. White Heart Lane can be a real cup tie ground and I wouldn’t want to have to go there and hold onto a slim lead.

          • BarcaGirl_Indo
            April 5, 2011

            sometimes they don’t have THAT good to go through…
            Gijon are not the better team, are they? 🙂

            luck takes a huge part in football…
            if Spurs can get 1-1 or maybe 2-1/3-2,
            they have a good chance to go to semifinal…

            but if it’s 2-0 or 3-0, bye bye Spurs then…

          • Helge
            April 5, 2011

            The problem is actually that most of the Premier League teams did not even have to find an answer for Bale. Even if he was fit.
            I watch a lot of Premier League football because it’s the only European, foreign league that is broadcasted in Germany’s pay-TV, and I have to say I don’t understand why Bale is nominated for the PFA Player of the Year award in England, but Nani isn’t (not that I like Nani, but he has like 30 scorer points in the EPL and saved ManUtd quite often).
            We all know how incredibly well Bale played against Inter, but since then, he hasn’t shown much. After the Inter match, the other teams know the danger of Bale, which is sheer pace. But he is not a superb dribbler, nor does he have a very close ball control. It seemed pretty easy to take him out of the match lately.
            To his defense, he hasn’t been fit for most of the season, but he is not fully fit right now either…

            To conclude, I think Bale is over-hyped by the media, and labelling him with a price tag of 94mio € is ridiculous. Two admittedly brilliant performances in the CL do not justify this hype.

          • April 5, 2011

            I’ll buy that, Jim. I didn’t mention Modric because he’s really good, but just doesn’t strike me as a match-changer, in and of himself. Xabi Alonso should have him in check with relative ease.

            Now if they can steal an away goal or two, White Hart Lane becomes a fortress.

            @barca96: Pretty cool that your buddy plays for ’em, but I’m sure even he will admit the shortcomings of his employer. 😀

  32. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 5, 2011

    barcastuff:
    Shakira (at the restaurant of her hotel in Mexico after she saw Pique score): “Did you see that? He’s dedicating it to me!” #wag
    He was mi sol before you, Shak! 🙁

  33. April 5, 2011

    Sporting rag AS(S) belabors the obvious with a story about the possibility that Thiago’s progress will negate the Fabregas factor.

    Oh, a thought. In the aftermath of the Ozil and Afellay movements, what does evetyone think about the deals done/not done?

    That is, we had the inside track on Ozil but took a pass, then picking up the cheaper, more versatile but maybe not ultimately more talented Afellay.

    Also, we have officially informed Sporting that we are going to take the buy-back option on Botia, sez Sport. Sporting also think that we are going to use Botia as a makeweight, rather than keeping him. Interesting. L’Equipe named Botia as one of its week’s top 12 standouts, along with (duh!) Valdes.

    • barca96
      April 5, 2011

      I don’t know about that. I know Affelay is Dutch and all but I gotta say, I’m pretty impressed with Ozil. Not sure if he would’ve been as patient as 3M though.
      We should’ve just gotten them both. Both were good deals!

    • Helge
      April 5, 2011

      -Note that the week’s top 12 of l’Équipe is not a Spanish, but a European top 12.
      -Does Sporting think so, or Sport? Why should Sporting think that we only want to use Botía as a makeweight?!? Anyway, I opt for keeping him.

      @ barca96: Nah, having both of them would be wasteful. And I’m convinced that Thiago can surpass Ozil, if everything goes right, i.e. he stays with us, gets more and more playing time in the next season and doesn’t experience a heavy injury setback.

    • Jim
      April 5, 2011

      With regard to Ozil / afellay, Kxevin, I think it’s too early to tell who got the best of that. i think Ozil has fitted in well to a team that is very easy to fit into as it seems everybody pretty much does as they please ( one of their biggest issues imo). On the other hand Afellay has had to contend with fitting into what must be the hardest setup known to man. how hard must it be to follow the advice – “don’t run after the ball, it’ll find you ” ? That’s kinda Yoda-ish, isn’t it?

      I’m not impressed by Ozil having to be subbed regularly as he is quite obviously knackered – don’t know what that’s about but I’m also not convinced by Afellay’s performances for us that he’ll be a keeper. I don’t think, unlike Ramzi, that he can become a starter in our midfield. However, for me he has until this time next year before we pass judgement. I suppose I was hoping for a LW combination of Ronnie and Bale when we signed him but maybe for £3m that’s asking a bit much ?

      • April 5, 2011

        True that, Jim. I would have thought Ozil would have had better fitness, especially by now. It makes our full-match pressing and running seem all the more impressive, doesn’t it?

        I think that Afellay just needs time. I like that he’s working on his own with a coach to improve his quickness and fluidity, too. That speaks volumes for the player, methinks.

        I just look at Ozil and I see a more talented and more limited player than Afellay, who tracks back on defense, and can play midfield, crack or wing.

        I don’t know if he has the chops to be a starter in our midfield, but then again, I didn’t see the second-year Henry in the performance of the first-year Henry. A LW combo of Bale/Ronaldinho? Damn! Not for EUR3m, I daresay. He’s more than I expected, actually, which probably explains my different view of him. And I think his ability to burst up the left flank will prove invaluable. It’s no secret that I think that was one of the principal values of Henry when we had him. It means that we can get possession in our end, pop an outlet pass to a streaking winger and change the pitch like that. We’ve been missing that on the left.

        • Jim
          April 5, 2011

          I agree that pace on the left has been sadly missing since the best of Henry. However, it’s also the mindset of whoever plays there that you don’t have to play the ball back all the time. It’s acceptable for us to lose the ball in the opposition’s final third.

        • Jim
          April 5, 2011

          Actually, I don’t know why I even mentioned Bale in the same breath as Ronnie there. The early Ronnie seemed to have pace to burn as well – one of my footballing memories of all time is the speed with which he ran at the Madrid defence in the Bernebeu.

  34. soccermomof4
    April 5, 2011

    So the clasico time and date has finally been announced. April 16 at 10:00 pm.

    That means 4:00 EST, right, now that daylight savings time is all caught up between the US and Spain???

    Please say it is because I have to work until 4:00.
    For the past few weeks I have been trusting ESPN3 which has said 1:00 EST on April 17 (they still say that) and thinking that I will have no problems viewing the whole game. Thanks RFEF! 🙁

    I’ll have to have the Sangria and the Damms ready to pull outta the fridge right upon arriving home and the Paella ready to reheat. No manitas for this game, I will not deviate from what we during for the last clasico for the sake of luck 🙂

    • Helge
      April 5, 2011

      So, how long does it take you to get home from your work?

      I don’t know where ESPN3 got that from. It was highly improbable that the match would be played on Sunday, since the Copa del Rey final is already scheduled for April, 20.

      About el Clasico: I’ve read some bizarre comments that Mourinho has given up on the league and consequently Real might not play with full power in the liga Clasico, saving energy (and maybe even some players) for the CdR final. Some people also claimed that Real would try to go physical in the liga Clasico, so that maybe a Barça player misses the Cup final. Those comments came from goal.com users as far as I remember, but there might be some truth to it.

      • Jim
        April 5, 2011

        One thing’s for sure. If there’s an excuse anywhere in fielding a weakened team Mourinho would do it for that reason alone. I’m afraid that as time goes on the person I quite liked as a breath or fresh air at Chelsea has become a little predictable and unpleasant.

          • April 5, 2011

            Hell, we might field a weakened team. After all, even if we lose El Clasic or just play for a draw (not that I can see Guardiola overtly doing such a thing), we still come out with a 5 or 6-point lead with 5 matches left, unless my math skills suck even more than they do already.

            It makes planning a lot easier than rolling into their house with a 2 or 3-point lead in the standings, for sure.

          • Extreme barca fan
            April 5, 2011

            Well kevin, dont forget Madrid play away to bilbao next week while we host almeria, maybe and just maybe we might have a 10 or 11 point lead before the Classico, if this happens then we can afford to lose the Classico and still have a very comfortable lead, this at least is what im hoping for, but Pep is Pep, i cant see him resting anyone or trying to not win.
            And Kari, a great post, thumbs up, Rock on, ……….

          • Helge
            April 5, 2011

            Well Kxevin… I have to admit your math skills suck 😉

            It’s 6 matches left after el Clásico. Also, if we draw we come out with an 8-point lead (at least if you assume that a loss results in a 5-point lead, that is both clubs reach the same amount of points next playday^^).

          • April 5, 2011

            See, Helge …. I told you. Why do you think I’m a journalist? Words I can do all day, but numbers make an oaf of me.

      • soccermomof4
        April 5, 2011

        I’ll miss half of the first half (1st quarter just sounds wrong). I’ll have it DVRing and go back to watch what I’ve missed after the game (because it’s worth more to me to watch it live than to watch it from the start).

    • Jose
      April 5, 2011

      You’re right, smo4, that means that the Clasico will be at 4pm EST in the US. That slot is actually the infamous free-to-air slot, so all of Spain gets el Clasico for free.

      ESPN defaults to a set time (9am on Sundays for MST) until they get final word on the game time. They probably haven’t udpated it. Anyhow, never go by ESPN until they have updated the match times. (If all the matches that weekend are at the same time, then they haven’t updated yet.)

      • Jim
        April 5, 2011

        Ronaldo passed fit for tonight’s game against Spurs. Just watched VDV on Sky Sports News. He looks totally relaxed and up for this. Also, watching the clips I’m quite impressed by both Lennon’s pace and the fact that Crouch has scored 7 out of 9 CL games this year. Wow ! I have him down as a kind of sideshow but that’s impressive.

        Can you tell I’m looking forward to this? It’s where the CL really begins. 🙂

        • April 5, 2011

          I do hope you’re right. I would love for Spurs to take this tie, not because I think they would necessarily be any easier for us, but because my heart/bile production just can’t take potentially playing them FOUR times in a month. You can’t give a good coach and team that many chances to beat you.

          • soccermomof4
            April 5, 2011

            Can Spain survive 4 clasicos in a month?

  35. Josep
    April 5, 2011

    A couple things issued in the last few responses

    1. RM won’t win 3-0. I can see why you say that, and they do fall ass backwards into wins. And saying that Spurs lost to such clubs as West Brom seems bad; but Madrid hasn’t lost to good teams. Everyone loses.

    2. Ozil’s fitness. i’m just gonna wait for jnice to post up that Ozil belly picture. Ozil is so, so good. Its crazy to think what his career would be like if Ballack didn’t get hurt. Khedira too.

    3. I honestly think Spurs could pull off a shocker. Bale getting in behind Sergio Ramos, who might not start.. but still. With VDV surely wanting revenge. The Spurs team will want it more, while Madrid seem out of it lately. But they could also be focusing their energies on the CL..

    4. So we get Bieber, and Madrid had the Jonas Bros? I’ll take it, I guess..

    What lineup does everyone want to see?

    VV
    Alves Pique Busi Maxwell
    Masch
    Iniesta Xavi
    P Messi Villa

    Maxwell will be huge. with the interest from Eastern Europeon teams for him, I feel Shakhtar will actually respect him and not cheat to his side. He’ll be important in pinning back Srna. On that side he’ll have Costa to worry about too, so won’t venture too far forward.

    Alves will obviously fly up, and its vastly important that P! plays to track back for him. If he doesn’t I think we might start Keita and post him up at MR to track Willian, no?

    Villa, all I want from you is ONE good finish. None of that fancy crap, no more offsides, no more bad runs, bad touches, I just want one signature David Villa goal. Seriously.

    • April 5, 2011

      Swap Adriano for Maxwell and you have my lineup there. I’m assuming that Pedro!! is going to get the medical clearance to play. He practiced with the group as normal yesterday and today.

      Mourinho knows how to win Champions League ties. I think that if Spurs can nick an early goal, the doubt will creep in, and they might start to collapse. But Mourinho will have them playing super-tight at the Bernabeu, so that he doesn’t lose the tie, then go nuts at their house, where 1 goal means that they have to score two. He’d be happy with a 0-0 at home, I imagine.

      • Josep
        April 5, 2011

        I think Mourinho even said he wouldn’t mind playing for the 0-0. It needs to be said though, for all his triumphs they’ve come in extremely controversial circumstances. His two triumphs involved controversial disallowed goals along the way with the Scholes one being a terrible call.

        The reason I go with Maxwell is to see how we can hold down that side. Maxwell is a defensive Wing Back essentially, and Adriano has been amazing well, but Jim will be the first to tell you that he’s prone for gaffes.

        Maxwell’s “possession first” approach and baby backpasses might actually help us in this match. I think we need to score goals, but be far more cautious to start. We can always put Adriano on as Srna tires.

      • Helge
        April 5, 2011

        You bet he’d be happy with a 0-0. He’s already said that in an interview / press conference.

        • barca96
          April 5, 2011

          I agree. Maxwell is more suitable for keeping possession and holding on to the result. However I don’t think he is suitable for the 1st tie as we need to attack and attack at home.

  36. Josep
    April 5, 2011

    oh and this Spurs game will be Sandro’s coming out party. The kid is going to be massive, he’s Brazil’s answer to Mascherano.

  37. Helge
    April 5, 2011

    The RFEF is seriously considering the invitation to the Copa America 2011.
    “We have been asked many times and it’s something that Spanish football owes to South America for the great players who have come to play here.
    I am in favour of Spain participating in the tournament. It is something that must be evaluated with care. I consider it a great honour and I will take the proposal to the board”

    Wow, if they send a full-strength squad to the Copa in July, I will go mad. Imagine this:
    Euro 08, Confed 09, WC 10, Copa 11, Euro12, Confed 13(if Spain wins the Euro), WC 14 – 6(!) consecutive years without a true summer holiday. Irresponsible! How dare they even consider this offer???

    • Helge
      April 5, 2011

      Oh damn, now math skills failed me 😀
      That’s actually 7(!) consecutive years without longer holidays.

      • Helge
        April 5, 2011

        See Kxevin… I study physics. Seems like words and numbers make an oaf of me 🙁

    • Jose
      April 5, 2011

      God knows what Villar is on about. CONMEBOL came out yesterday saying that Costa Rica is the most likely candidate thus far. USA, Spain and Australia were never even considered, according to the official CONMEBOL line. Honduras has said that it is not interested in participating. Canada is another option.

  38. Rolf
    April 5, 2011

    All reel fans se you att Blogg.barcaloneta.com 5 yers of daily writing its a fantastic site.

  39. soccermomof4
    April 5, 2011

    We get slicked-back hair dude as the ref. for el clasico.

    Do we like him?

    from barcastuff:
    The Spanish federation has appointed referee Muniz Fernandez for the Madrid-Barcelona game next week #elclasico picture: http://ow.ly/4tpIr

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      April 5, 2011

      I think we do… honestly, I dont know anything about him, but I see these comments from other cules :

      – “in my opinion- excellent referee, he protects the game, doesn’t allow thugs in the game…”

      – “i thought he was OK”

      but there’s also this comment :

      I dislike this referee. He looks like a Madridista prick. Kinda resembles that other prick, Mijatovic!

    • blitzen
      April 5, 2011

      From TotalBarca, March 2010:

      In Spain, Fernández has become somewhat notorious for his slicked back hair style, and although he may look like a mafia hitman, statistically he does not appear to be a villain on the field. That said, he has been criticized for big decisions in key matches, and has exhibited a tendency away from leniency in recent games. In the 11 contests that he has overseen so far this (09-10) season, he has handed out 66 yellow cards, ejecting seven players. However, in his last three matches, he has brandished the yellow card 23 times.

      Fernández was criticized vigorously by the Basque and Catalan press last season after his performance in a match pitting Athletic Bilbao against Real Madrid. In that game from March of 2009, Fernández showed 11 yellow cards, and ejected Bilbao striker Yeste with a straight red for a foul on Madrid keeper Iker Casillas. During the same season, Fernández presided over Barcelona’s 2-2 away draw with Valencia, and their 6-0 home mauling of Malaga.

      Seems a little card-happy. But at least he won’t put up with our players being fouled harshly.

  40. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 5, 2011

    @kxevin
    but because my heart/bile production just can’t take potentially playing them FOUR times in a month. You can’t give a good coach and team that many chances to beat you.

    well, the good news is, we can lose/draw 1 or 2 times from that FOUR, but still get the league and UCL titles (except for Copa final)…

    but again, there’s Shakhtirar Shakhtar on the way…
    it’s a long, cold, freezing way before we get there…

  41. blitzen
    April 5, 2011

    A bit late to the party today:

     Almeria have sacked their second coach of the season, Jose Luis Oltra, in an attempt to avoid relegation. No word on a replacement yet, but whoever he is will barely have been installed by the time Saturday’s game with Barca rolls around. I can’t expect such a demoralized squad to put up much of a fight.

     In which case, I expect some of our second-stringers to get some major minutes on Saturday. If Pep can’t start Jeffren in a game like this, he will have pretty much destroyed any confidence the boy had. I also expect to see Bojan, Fontas, Afellay and maybe Thiago again. Maybe Puyol will be fit enough to get some minutes. I sure hope so. I would sit Messi so he has no chance of picking up a card, and leave Iniesta out of the squad altogether so he can spend time with his family and prepare himself for the CL and Clasico games.

     Ozil > Afellay in terms of sheer raw talent, but is less adaptable. If we didn’t already have the midfield we have he would have been a great buy, but with things as they are at Barca, it would have been a waste of his talent. He needs to be at a team that can build itself around him. I also agree that his fitness level seems to be a problem. Wonder what is going on there?

     Afellay > Ozil for adaptability to our system and for ability to play in different positions. No, he hasn’t quite settled into our style of play, but considering that he has only been here 3 months, I think he is doing great.

     Mourinho is taking a huge risk playing CRonaldo today (and he will play, no doubt in my mind). He is not 100% fit, and if he gets injured again he could miss the second leg and the Clasico. IMO it would be smarter to rest him and make sure he is fit for the second leg no matter what happens today.

     This talk of Mourinho fielding a weakened side for El Clasico is rubbish. The Bernebeu crowd would have his head! No way would they stand for it.

    • Josep
      April 5, 2011

      For the next 30 hours I don’t give a shit about Almeria. We have to focus on Shakhtar right now, based on this match we can see who’ll play vs. Almeria.

  42. K_legit
    April 5, 2011

    Football is as capricious as a platinum blond and as merciless as the Mafioso that keeps her. Accounts are always settled.

    Why can’t I meet such platinum blondes?
    Any platinum blondes here? of the female variety please 😀

    Also, Rolf..welcome but please type in readable english..
    I actually checked up the dude’s blog and its in swedish so english may not be his first language guys..

    Crossed fingers for a Spurs win tonight

    Repeat request: Platinum Blondes..if you have grey eyes I will be your slave for life and all..kthanxbye!

    • April 5, 2011

      K_legit beat me to it. Never assume that someone’s first language is English. Heck, some days MY first language isn’t English, and I’m American!

  43. Para
    April 5, 2011

    From the offside twitter:

    Messi, in his earlier press conference, when asked how he felt physically, replied with an encouraging (NOT!), “So-so”.

    I think Pep also said that they will make an assessment about whether he plays or not tomorrow, and that yesterday he trained on his own/in the gym rather than with the team.

    IF he is out for tomorrow, or starts from the bench, who would you want to see?

    • April 5, 2011

      No way Messi doesn’t play tomorrow. Period. I think the time he got against Villarreal was as much evaluative as anything else, and he looked fine to me (like the pancakes at the next table over 😀 ).

    • Helge
      April 5, 2011

      Valdes
      Alves,Piqué,Busquets,Adriano
      Xavi,Mascherano,Iniesta
      Pedro,Villa,Bojan

      If after 60 min. it is still 0-0 or worse, sub Afellay for Bojan and let Iniesta play on Bojan’s position.

  44. Josep
    April 5, 2011

    Anyone hear Pep’s press conference? Jesus is the man pessimistic.

    And I think we should move for Oscar from Internacional. He’s a talent known by a lot of scouts, but he isn’t really worldly talked about. I figure if we miss Neymar he’d do well on the left for us, when he usually plays the right he lined up left for their last CL match.

    • April 5, 2011

      A crazy person. When lots more people were calling for Valdes’ head, what I was trying to say then is that Valdes is the perfect keeper for us, because he allows us to function with 3 defenders since he, with his anticipation, quickness and foot skills, serves as a fourth defender. The first stop on Rossi Saturday is a classic example.

      Now, Valdes isn’t a classic, “stand between the sticks and stop shots” kind of keeper like other, more lauded keepers. But for our fluid, fluent and dynamic style, he’s our guy.

      Even Phil Schoen has gotten off his back, I notice of late. And that’s saying something.

      • Josep
        April 5, 2011

        In my opinion, GK is the hardest position to cover in football. Look at all the good clubs with a garbage keeper between the sticks. I might go as far to say as its not about when Pep retires, but we should worry for when VV does..

        I couldn’t agree more, Kxev. It’s like he was groomed from a very young age to play this exact style of football.. oh, wait..

  45. April 5, 2011

    Some of the most impressive aspects to the game Valdes played against Villareal weren’t even related to the three amazing stops he made.

    It was how he adjusted tactically to Garrido’s introduction of Nilmar.

    With Nilmar on and Ruben off Villareal became even more dangerous on the counter.

    Valdes knew that and that was likely part of why he was even more aggressive and proactive about coming off his line on those balls played over the top in the second half of the match.

    He headed away at least 2-3 balls where the Villareal attacker had space away from the Barca defender. If Valdes isn’t as decisive, athletic and skilled using his head those turn into very dangerous goal scoring breakaways.

    And I don’t think any other keeper in the world plays that way in order to protect the team’s ability to play that high back line.

    He’s just terrific.

  46. Pep did sound very cautious but he kinda always does…and I don’t really think that there are many cules who think think that Shakirahtar will be a stroll…That only has a chance of happening if we have a performance a la classico or a la Bayern or Lyon in the treble season..
    I kinda missed us firing in cylinders so i kinda hope that tomorow will be one of those days…!

    Now as far as EE is concerned I don’t think mou is actually risking Crynaldo, I think he wasn’t that injured to begin with and everything was just exagerated so he would avoid international matches..

    I hope Spurs will take the result that mou craves so much that 0-0…because then I just can not see EE wining in Atletic on Saturday and if this happens the league will definetely be ours and I really, really want the league more than anything else…
    So good luck to Spurs with that positive result..! To their credit they do have a good keeper and a pretty good midfield and against milan showed that they can remain focused and coherent as a team…Go Spurs!

    • Extreme barca fan
      April 5, 2011

      I want it all (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKEgrnOOHso), but the league is ours to lose, while the CL is still up for grasps.
      i hope Madrid already forgot about the league, this will help us rest our players and give the B teamers a chance to get some playing time.

  47. Artur
    April 5, 2011

    barcastuff

    Match squad (vs Shakhtar) > 20 players. Maxwell and Pedro have the green light. B-team player: Thiago #fcblive

    Hmm

    I’m thinking:
    VV
    Alves – Pique – Busquets – Adriano
    Iniesta – Mascherano – Xavi
    Pedro – Messi – Villa

    • Artur
      April 5, 2011

      Barcastuff

      Match squad (vs Shakhtar) > Xavi Keita Thiago Iniesta Afellay Pedro Messi Villa Bojan Jeffren Valdes Pinto Alves Pique Fontas Milito Adriano Maxwell Busquets Mascherano #fcblive

      • April 5, 2011

        Puyol practiced the first 10 minutes with the squad, then went off for individual exercises. Abidal was out walking. Anybody want to bet that unless he is being supervised, he’s probably running?

        • blitzen
          April 5, 2011

          That’s why you always see a trainer next to him in the pics. He is holding an invisible leash to stop Abi from sprinting off!

          • Miguel
            April 5, 2011

            A shock collar for the greyhound? I hope he takes it easy. Puyol only practiced 10 minutes? boo.

  48. Miguel
    April 5, 2011

    José Mourinho is looking mean and moody on the front cover of Monday’s edition of AS. Then again, the Madrid manager is always looking mean and moody. But in this particular photograph it looks as if Mourinho had spent the past two months living next door to The Libertines in their drug-addled pomp and is about to blast the band’s front door down with a shotgun.
    http://fourfourtwo.com/blogs/laligaloca/archive/2011/04/05/moody-mourinho-looks-to-cure-madrid-s-premature-ejection-by-beating-spurs.aspx

    • Para
      April 5, 2011

      A bit more Mourinho:

      Mourinho on Redknapp: “I’m very, very happy for him. I hope, and I say this from my heart, that if I don’t reach the final, then I hope he does it.”

      How much of this has to do with the fact that if Spurs make it, then Barcelona won’t? ^^

      • Miguel
        April 5, 2011

        He’s just being a prick mostly. But if Barcelona were to fail to make the final then it would take a lot of the sting out of Madrid’s early exit.

  49. Ryan
    April 5, 2011

    omg…anyone just see the insta-goal from Inter?

    • Miguel
      April 5, 2011

      I just rewound it and watched it. Stankovic stills got it!

    • Jose
      April 5, 2011

      Incredible. Placed second in their group, got a Bayern team that ate itself and then get the undisputed underdogs of the Round of 16. Goes to show…

      • Jose
        April 5, 2011

        That should be QF not Round of 16 😛

  50. Jose
    April 5, 2011

    It’s on at the crack o’ dawn waking Donkey KONG

    I predict 0-0 at the half, then RM goes up two, Spurs grab a solid away goal toward the end.

    • Ryan
      April 5, 2011

      RM so worried about Crouch’s headers, and look how they score, heh.

  51. Miguel
    April 5, 2011

    Great. Adebayor header from a corner kick. Goalkeeper Gomes hot potatos it into the net.

      • Jose
        April 5, 2011

        No blood, so it probably wasn’t a red in the Premier League, but it looked deserved.

        • Barcaleya
          April 5, 2011

          It was deserved. Argh! I was really hoping for a close score. Nothing that would be out of reach for Spurs if they do lose here.

    • Jose
      April 5, 2011

      Crouch complains to the ref… how do you say “I just had to get stuck in in Spanish”? 🙁 😛

  52. soccermomof4
    April 5, 2011

    I’ve watched 2 minutes of this game so far. Has it been this bad from the start?

  53. Ryan
    April 5, 2011

    In other news, Schalke have equalized!

    • blitzen
      April 5, 2011

      Best they can hope to do now is throw everyone behind the ball and try to stop RM from scoring again. Then they can try for a good result in London.

      Not getting my hopes up, though.

      Now do you all see why I hate Crouch?

  54. Jim
    April 5, 2011

    15 minutes in and the game is ruined. How stupid can you get? Completely deserved.

      • Jose
        April 5, 2011

        Two yellows early on. Didn’t see the first, but the second was just stupid. Tackle on a RM defender, waaaaay late.

      • footballfan
        April 5, 2011

        first one is the same as the second, late tackle.

  55. soccermomof4
    April 5, 2011

    Assou-Ekotto can’t touch the ball w/out losing it.

  56. Miguel
    April 5, 2011

    Ha. I missed the Crouch sending off because I was on the phone so I switched over to the Inter Schalke game to try and find the incident. I’m losing it.

  57. beeeef
    April 5, 2011

    Both Inter and RM score in under 10 minutes? Ugh.

    RM will put this tie to bed tonight. I’m sticking with Jnice’s prediction of 3-0. It’s going to be all too easy with the red card now.

    Time to switch over to Inter vs. Schalke.

  58. Jose
    April 5, 2011

    Biggest European tie in the club’s modern history, take yourself out of it with stupid tackles within 15 minutes. Wow Crouch. Who do the Spurs even have to replace him in London?

    • blitzen
      April 5, 2011

      (I meant to reply here, not above)

      Best they can hope to do now is throw everyone behind the ball and try to stop RM from scoring again. Then they can try for a good result in London.

      Not getting my hopes up, though.

      Now do you all see why I hate Crouch?

    • Ryan
      April 5, 2011

      FSC’s commentators are practically cheerleading for Spurs and Bale. 😛

  59. footballfan
    April 5, 2011

    Real is owning Spurs like Barcelona did against Arsenal. Ugh.

    • Ryan
      April 5, 2011

      Kinda lends weight to the argument that Barca and Madrid would dominate in any league, eh?

      • footballfan
        April 5, 2011

        yeah. I only watched Madrid’s match a couple of times but I don’t think I’ve watched them pressing as intense as this. Let’s hope they get tired in the second half and Bale punishes them 😀

  60. Nav
    April 5, 2011

    Okay now they’re getting back into it bit by bit.

  61. blitzen
    April 5, 2011

    Madrid is Crouch’s kryptonite. Isn’t that where he met that hooker?

    • Miguel
      April 5, 2011

      Didn’t Harry Redknapp get mugged there, too?

      • blitzen
        April 5, 2011

        You’re right! This was never going to end well. 😛

  62. Jim
    April 5, 2011

    I don’t believe it. Now it looks like Bale has hurt his back again.

  63. Jose
    April 5, 2011

    You can hear the subtle English homerism sneak into the announcer’s comments. Suddenly “Spurs should…” become “We need to get Bale in the game!”

    And for once, I’m actually kind of enjoying it 🙂

    • Jnice
      April 5, 2011

      It’s Ray Wilkins former Chelsea assistant manager. He’s so ridiculous right now.

  64. Jim
    April 5, 2011

    You have to say Bale has them worried. Yellow for Pepe.

  65. Jim
    April 5, 2011

    I don’t find him so bad, Jnice. He said right at the start he was speaking as an Englishman. I’ve always found him to be fair in calling decisions. He denounced Crouch right away.

  66. Barcaleya
    April 5, 2011

    Ohmygosh – Shalke equalized. Again!

  67. Miguel
    April 5, 2011

    Gooooooooooooool!!!! Edu!!! For Schalke!!!

  68. Vj
    April 5, 2011

    Inter – Schalke is turning out to be a goalfest!

    • beeeef
      April 5, 2011

      I would like to see Schalke win the tie, but at the same time I would prefer ManU/Chelsea to play Inter in the semis (this all assuming we make the final).

      But still, what a game!

  69. Ryan
    April 5, 2011

    Spurs get lucky with a handball in the box.

  70. Roz
    April 5, 2011

    I like the way Modric moves with the ball. Reminds me of Xavi.

  71. Barcaleya
    April 5, 2011

    Would it be too much to hope for EE to keep playing the way they’ve been playing and for Spurs to equalize in the dying minutes?

  72. Jim
    April 5, 2011

    Well, for a team that lost Lennon to sickness five minutes before kickoff, lost a dodgy keeper goal after five, their centre forward after fifteen they have stabilised things pretty well. However, it can only end one way.

    How Ramos avoided a yellow for yet another shocker on Bale is beyond me.

  73. Jnice
    April 5, 2011

    Jim, come on now. You can’t be serious? Of course he is rooting for Spurs, but he is surely going overboard. He is basically coaching from the booth, talking about WE this and WE that… he praises the ref because he does give a pk to Madrid, then seconds later gets pissed at the ref because Ramos doesn’t get a yellow card.

    That’s not good commentary, I’m sorry. You can be biased, but he’s taken it to a whole new level. He’s literally jumping out of his seat shouting instructions… calling for Spurs to get Madrid players yellow cards… making excuses for Spurs, you name it. It’s unbelievable. I’ve heard him before, but this is the worst he’s ever been without a shadow of a doubt.

    • Jnice
      April 5, 2011

      And yes he was pissed at Crouch for getting sent off, but apart from that he’s been a ridiculous cheerleader that won’t shutup. It’s as if Spurs are the only team in this match. Even the English journos are calling him out on twitter.

      • Jnice
        April 5, 2011

        And just to highlight my point: He said something to the affect of: “Please God don’t go to ground in the penalty box Spurs players”.

        Seriously?

    • Jim
      April 5, 2011

      I don’t think he has called any of the decisions wrongly though, Jnice. Not sure what you mean by the penalty. He called it as a penalty against Spurs. Yes, he has made it clear he wants Spurs to win – I don’t have a problem with that actually. I’m more worried by commentators that are blind to what is happening and won’t admit if their side does something wrong.

      with regard to the yellows, Ramos should have had one imo and if I was Spurs I’d play it to Bale all day. They can’t stop him and will accumulate yellows. That might be the only way Spurs can survive now.

      • Josep
        April 5, 2011

        He was applauding the referee saying he had a good match for not awarding a clear PK to Madrid. Telling all the Madrid players to stay on their feet…
        Then Ramos doesn’t get a yellow and he immediately berates the ref for being bad.

        • April 5, 2011

          Actually, he was telling the Spurs players to stay on their feet, rather than making sliding tackle attempts that TB will make a meal out of.

  74. footballfan
    April 5, 2011

    Should I continue watching (and rooting) for Spurs or Inter-Schalke? I kinda expect the goalfest to continue in the second half.

  75. Para
    April 5, 2011

    Do you guys have english links? I’m listening to BBC 5 live while watching an Italian stream, and the sound is about 30 seconds ahead of the match, which is awfully strange.

    • Miguel
      April 5, 2011

      I love how that guy breathes out a sigh of disappointment afterwards. 🙂

  76. Jnice
    April 5, 2011

    The Messi statements are worrying: “I still have some physical troubles, I didn’t feel good at all against Villarreal. We’re working to solve things.” (via barcastuff)

    That doesn’t sound good at all. I would like to thing he will start, but it doesn’t sound like a good idea.

  77. Josep
    April 5, 2011

    I don’t find him so bad, Jnice. He said right at the start he was speaking as an Englishman. I’ve always found him to be fair in calling decisions. He denounced Crouch right away.

    Haha, only you Jim. Only you.

    • Jim
      April 5, 2011

      Listen, I’m a Scot and I won’t give any Englishman houseroom if he doesn’t deserve it, especially Sports commentators ! However, Wilkins is one of the better ones in terms of his knowledge of the game and acknowledging correct decisions. I prefer that to the ones who pretend to be unbiased but then see every decision through rose tinted specs. It’s just a disagreement about the role of the summariser as opposed to the commentator. Personally, when Scotland are playing we always get bias for us from our commentators as well as summarisers. 🙂

  78. Barcaleya
    April 5, 2011

    Raul! They’re totally killing Inter. 3 away goals!

  79. Miguel
    April 5, 2011

    RAUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ha!

  80. Jose
    April 5, 2011

    Spurs look to be conceding another any moment now but still look very dangerous going forward.

    • Jose
      April 5, 2011

      They just look so insecure packing the box like that, as if they don’t know how to position themselves or what their responsibilities are. Exact opposite of Inter last year.

      • Jim
        April 5, 2011

        Yeah, they can’t defend. Mind you neither can EE. I’m starting to think I know our big summer signing though. Bale is so positive.

    • Barcaleya
      April 5, 2011

      And there is the second conceded goal. Sigh. I don’t want EE to go through! Stupid Crouch.

  81. Miguel
    April 5, 2011

    Own goal Inter!!!!!!!!!!!

    Shit. I just got a message my boss is back. Gotta go soon.

  82. Jim
    April 5, 2011

    Damn, “wonderful header” from the biased summariser. He’s losing his touch :0

      • Barcaleya
        April 5, 2011

        Hi Miguel! I know, right? Of all times to start getting goals. Ugh.

  83. blitzen
    April 5, 2011

    Who is that “Raul” fellow? We should buy him! 😛

  84. footballfan
    April 5, 2011

    I switched to Schalke Inter and immediately ‘rewarded’ by 2 goals. It’s increasingly look like Schalke can beat Inter afterall.

  85. Barcaleya
    April 5, 2011

    And a second yellow for Chivu. Inter down to 10 men.

  86. Miguel
    April 5, 2011

    Chivu sent off. I feel bad for Inter now.

    • Barcaleya
      April 5, 2011

      Me too! I don’t want these ties settled in the first game (unless it’s Barca, of course. I always wish we have 5-0 lead going into the second game). Poor Inter. And to think they started so well.

      • Eklavya
        April 5, 2011

        How can anyone feel sad for Inter? They shouldn’t even be here…

        • Ryan
          April 5, 2011

          I certainly don’t feel bad! They got extremely lucky against Bayern.

  87. footballfan
    April 5, 2011

    And Chivu received a red card! What a match for him, 2 red cards in 2 matches.

  88. Eklavya
    April 5, 2011

    -Both the EE goals have come from set pieces? Wasn’t EPL teams supposed to be tough in air and phyiscal and all that crap?

    – Schalke are WINNING 4-2?!? WTF!!!

  89. Eklavya
    April 5, 2011

    Bale the £70m man is injured it seems.

  90. Josep
    April 5, 2011

    Wilkinson clearly was told something at the half, he has totally toned down his bias.

    Bale that was soft. If it stays 2-0 the result is doable, That non-yellow on Ramos reminds me of the non-yellow on Maicon last year.

  91. Josep
    April 5, 2011

    Wilkinson clearly was told something at the half, he has totally toned down his bias.

    • Jim
      April 5, 2011

      Wilkins. He’s still talking in terms of what Spurs need to do except it’s more now in terms of what they should have done. I think it’s more dampened spirits than a change in style. He’s the same way when he comments on England’s NT ( except i can’t stand him then) 🙂

  92. Barcaleya
    April 5, 2011

    Sheez. Even Di Maria who’ve been really ineffective in recent times gets a goal. Pfff.

    • Miguel
      April 5, 2011

      What up Barcaleya! I missed the Dive Maria goal. Boo. Any good? Anyone with links?

      • Barcaleya
        April 5, 2011

        Hi Miguel! Yes, it was actually a good goal. Ugh. I happen to have these games on TV.

  93. Eklavya
    April 5, 2011

    Di Maria with a good goal. Still more to come…

  94. Jose
    April 5, 2011

    Looks like the semis will be set by next Tuesday. No need to play the Wednesday legs next week.

  95. Josep
    April 5, 2011

    The fact that its 3-0 hurts Barca. Madrid can take their foot off for the second leg and rest some players.

  96. Nav
    April 5, 2011

    Ah well, looks like EE are through to the semis.

  97. soccermomof4
    April 5, 2011

    Soooooo, what about the superiority of the EPL?

    • Jose
      April 5, 2011

      Now I’m just angry that UEFA rigged the draw to protect ManU and Chelsea from the La Liga teams. Damn Platini and his pro-English bias… 😛

    • Barcaleya
      April 5, 2011

      Indeed. And here I was hoping that they were indeed superior just to kick EE out of the CL. Duh.

  98. Ryan
    April 5, 2011

    Schalke absolutely embarrassing Inter. 😀 2-5 so far.

  99. hammeronmessi
    April 5, 2011

    wtf

    inter 2 schalke 5,what a goal.
    But gotta say their defending is shambolic like the english championship(yes,i do watch that,great fun)
    *and for our match i m predicting a 5 1 scoreline.

    Barca 5 Shakira 1

  100. Jnice
    April 5, 2011

    Told y’all Spurs would get a hiding. They need to focus on the PL and trying to get that fourth spot.

    • Para
      April 5, 2011

      Yo, Jnice- on the off chance that you’re not a good predictor and are actually influencing the results of the matches, how about a flaming win for barcelona tomorrow?

  101. Eklavya
    April 5, 2011

    Schalke 5-2 Inter????

    Rofl, I feel happy!

  102. Jim
    April 5, 2011

    Ok, Jnice. You win 🙂 But to be fair there have been a set of circumstances that would have tested Barca !

    • Jnice
      April 5, 2011

      Ha, maybe, but Spurs even with Crouch didn’t look at all convincing. Losing Lennon was a huge blow, though.

  103. hammeronmessi
    April 5, 2011

    EPL is still superior.
    Remember the teams their has to battle in every week unlike barca or ee where all the teams lay for them

    • Eklavya
      April 5, 2011

      Sure. When was the last time anyone really fought Barca in La Liga? They have nothing to lose, right?

    • soccermomof4
      April 5, 2011

      Also there are the cold, wet Wednesday nights in Stoke.

  104. Eklavya
    April 5, 2011

    Inter put up should an epic defensive performance vs us, I respect any team that score 3 or more against them…

    • Eklavya
      April 5, 2011

      Where did the ‘should’ come from?

      TB finally scores!

  105. hammeronmessi
    April 5, 2011

    @jnice

    i love you but cant u be a bit more positive on our team(not that barca is counting on that).

    Not watcing the ee match.r they really playing good?

    • soccermomof4
      April 5, 2011

      Tottenham have been playing badly and down a man since around the 15th minute. Can’t touch the ball right now much less string 3 passes together. And when they have gotten the ball it was a hoof to no-one often.

    • Jnice
      April 5, 2011

      Tomorrow is going to be a tough game. That’s not being negative, just stating what I think will be a reality. It’s not going to be a 5-0, that’s for sure.

  106. April 5, 2011

    Gosh darnit! I missed Schalke kill Inter 🙁 🙁

    Bleh.

    And for the record, no I wasn’t watching the EE match. I thought they’d win as well though.

    • soccermomof4
      April 5, 2011

      Glad you cleared that up, I was going to blame you 🙂

  107. hammeronmessi
    April 5, 2011

    @eklavya.

    U know la liga is just the SPL with greater quality.

    • Jim
      April 5, 2011

      Hammer, what nationality are you? You have just insulted my home league. I need to know so when our NT exacts revenge I can gloat 🙂

  108. Miguel
    April 5, 2011

    You gotta love Ronaldo’s celebration. Tee hee.

    • Ryan
      April 5, 2011

      Messi dedicates his goals to his grandma, Ronaldo air-fondles…

    • Eklavya
      April 5, 2011

      AnalogMINA said on Twitter that he was “grabbing bo*bs”. LOL.

  109. blaunero
    April 5, 2011

    On the one hand I’m happy an English team got destroyed by a Spanish team again. On the other hand… Real Madrid won.
    English commentators are funny though. They kept saying how if Crouch had been there the game would have been maybe 2-1. Are those people that clueless?
    PS. Pronouncing the opposition’s stadium correctly would be nice too, instead of saying Bernabow which is bloody ridiculous.

    • blaunero
      April 5, 2011

      Oh and Cruijff was spot on as usual in his Monday prediction.

    • soccermomof4
      April 5, 2011

      I have heard 4 different variations of Camp Nou from different announcers. GOLTV seems to have the best pronunciation of stadia and players.

      • blaunero
        April 5, 2011

        It’s absolutely atrocious. If you’re getting paid to do the job then you had better do doing that job competently; pronouncing foreign names properly is a start. At the very end the dude said “Wonderful stadium Bernabow, or Bernabow as the locals like to pronounce it.” I was embarrassed for him, to say the least.

  110. hammeronmessi
    April 5, 2011

    @somo4
    so its spurs playing poorly rather then ee playing good.

    @kari,
    why havent u watch?u have gained tactical knowledge now.before u werent a sage at tactics.with the new skill of yours the curse may have been revoked.

    Silly u.and i know u r a + cule.so whats ur prediction for ours_

    • soccermomof4
      April 5, 2011

      IMvH(and uneducated)O

      as for Kari’s curse-we’re just thankful that it doesn’t affect the clasicos

      • soccermomof4
        April 5, 2011

        Oh, and I haven’t been around long enough to know why Kari isn’t allowed to watch EE games. I only know what the others have said.

    • April 5, 2011

      I say 2-0.

      I can’t comment on Spurs-EE because I didn’t watch it but I, as much I hate them with a fiery passion of a thousand suns, feel that EE are far, far superior, and I felt the same pre-game. Spurs are the Cinderella of the competition and were made a big deal of by beating Inter, who today got spanked by 10th place Schalke at home. Their form has been terrible of late and they can’t even beat an ailing Wigan and a Bent-less Sunderland.

      Oh, and I wouldn’t say I suddenly see the game differently than I did last week just because I wrote a tactics post. I’m still pretty clueless. 😉

  111. Jnice
    April 5, 2011

    Revista De La Liga – 04-05-11

    /http://hotfile.com/dl/113446303/b73e55a/Revista_De_La_Liga_-_05-04-11.avi.html

    /http://www.fileserve.com/file/PMF8nEu/Revista De La Liga – 05-04-11.avi

    /http://www.filesonic.com/file/505396621/Revista_De_La_Liga_-_05-04-11.avi

    Credit to Pakman at fbtz.com

    • Helge
      April 5, 2011

      Oh thank you soooo much Jnice. You saved my day/night.
      The Real match left me pretty frustrated and I’m very concerned about our battle against Shakhtar.
      But this will brighten me up 🙂

  112. Lev
    April 5, 2011

    hmpfff. that’s why i wanted us to draw Spurs…this sucks.

  113. Jose
    April 5, 2011

    And now for the most important Champions League match of the day, Deportivo Saprissa vs. Real Salt Lake.

  114. hammeronmessi
    April 5, 2011

    @jim,
    i m from bangladesh.
    So i think u can never gloat in front of me in million years.hahaha.

    Anybody watching TEN SPORTS?that bald guy is crying and the look of one carlton palmer is so fucking sweet?

    • Jim
      April 5, 2011

      Ok, we’ll need to take up cricket then – as long as I don’t have to watch it that’ll be fine !

  115. hammeronmessi
    April 5, 2011

    @somo4.
    Please improve ur knowledge.isnt it be a hindrance to your childrens education.

    Thank you though.

    • soccermomof4
      April 5, 2011

      My knowledge of futbol??? They know more than I. They’ve played it; I haven’t!
      I just haven’t followed soccer long enough to know whether my evaluation of Tottenham being bad rather than EE being awesome is well founded. That’s why I like Kxevin’s reviews; they help me learn whether I’m being biased or if I really “get” it.

  116. beeeef
    April 5, 2011

    I knew Inter wouldn’t get too far this year with Leo at the helm. He’s a good motivator and seems like a decent guy, but the man is a rookie coach if there ever was one.

    Still, Inter fans must be shocked. I wouldn’t have been surprised with a draw or even a narrow Schalke win, but the German side has effectively ended the tie in the 1st leg playing away from home against the defending champions. Amazing.

    Very excited for tomorrow’s game. The players should be even more motivated knowing Madrid already has taken one big step into the semis.

    • Helge
      April 5, 2011

      And they should be more warned, looking at the Schalke result…
      Pep already is concerned, I am damn concerned – not looking good :/

  117. hammeronmessi
    April 5, 2011

    i wanted spurs.

    Evidence is recored in the whom do u prefer post.

      • Jnice
        April 5, 2011

        Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! Why, Kari? Why? We….. were… best.. frien…ds

        Sikeeee, got my bulletproof vest on. Always prepared. 🙂

    • soccermomof4
      April 5, 2011

      April Fools Day is over. Such heresy! 🙂

  118. hammeronmessi
    April 5, 2011

    @kari
    u r being too polite.

    @jnice.
    Fair enough.
    But my spidy sense is telling me tomorrow will be a messi show

  119. Josep
    April 5, 2011

    is this worse than the sprinkler treatment?

    Tottenham fans stuck in the ground right now waiting to leave. Real put on Spurs win over Arsenal on big screen for them. Class.

  120. hammeronmessi
    April 5, 2011

    @jim
    in cricket i think i can gloat.
    Fortunately for u i m not a cricket fan.

    Btw adriano is playing LB.so i may still gloat.muhaha

  121. April 5, 2011

    Actually what it will mean is that the two big-league juggernauts will have to knock heads to reach the final. I just can’t see Schalke beating United or Chelsea, but I couldn’t see them hiding Inter 2-5 at the San Siro, either.

  122. Jim
    April 5, 2011

    Mourinho “if we get through to play Barcelona we’ll have to practice playing with ten men as that’s what always happens when I go there” .

    Sheer class – NOT.

    • April 5, 2011

      What do you expect, though? He isn’t gracious in victory or defeat, the gesture to The Moustache over the weekend being the only moment I can recall in which he was.

  123. April 5, 2011

    So are Schalke better than people thought? Peaking at the right time? Or are Inter just that dire?

    • Whatever
      April 5, 2011

      Inter is simply awful. Schalke is not that good… We’d crush them heavily.

    • Josep
      April 5, 2011

      Well, their new coach has them one foot into the CL Semis. They’re in the German Cup final against a D2 team, but are tenth in the league. We’ll see.

    • Helge
      April 5, 2011

      They are not nearly as good as the result suggests. Even the German sports paper say that Inter was simply awful and pathetic today.

      I’m 100% sure that Schalke will lose to ManU/Chelsea in the semi. One of the two English giants is already through to the final (which is not that bad, because if we lose to Shakhtar or Real, at least Real will not meet an easy opponent in the final^^)

    • Ryan
      April 5, 2011

      Well, they were only missing Lucio I think, but boy did Inter collapse spectacularly.

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