Fabregas, Mascherano still linked, “go time” for Puyol

Hey, a boy could get used to this....
Hey, a boy could get used to this....

–The Cecs Fabregas and Javi Mascherano rumors will not die, probably because Hector keeps SMSing Txiki B. “Dood. Masch=$$$$! Bet!” Txiki B. says that the signing of either member of the midfield tandem of joy is “something the club has left for later.” He said that fiscally, it just didn’t make sense to try nabbing them in the climate set up by some Evil Empire tossing Euro banknotes about like confetti. Hmph.

Benitez still says that Mascherano isn’t for sale, and Arsene Wenger is said to be working up a “right smart” Gallic snit, before he comments further. Personally, I think that all the club has to do is send him the above picture from his Barca past, with a note: “Still winning, you could be here.”

–The future of Carles Puyol is up to him, according to Txiki B., but it will definitely involve a reduction in minutes. As he said to EMD, “Gradually playing less doesn’t seem to convince the captain.” Shot across the bow? Doubtful. But Puyol’s agent has been nattering some rather inflammatory stuff. I think that the club, when you hear such statements as “Puyol must decide his own future,” is talking back. And what they’re saying is that the future is closer than you think. We love and respect what you have done for the club, but this game, at this level, is about youth and realizing potential.

Or something like that. Puyol deserves to retire with the club and Txiki B. agrees, saying that “He is the model of a player who starts and finishes at the club that he loves.” Whether he chooses to will be another question.

Sport will not let the Robinho business die, speculating about his unhappiness at Citeh, and desire to take his career in a new direction, or some such palaver. He’ll have plenty of time to contemplate his navel, as he sits on the bench, recovering from his latest knock.

–Ah, words. In the run-up to Wednesday’s Champions League tie with Inter at their home, there’s been a passel of shite-talking, that started with Zlatan Ibrahimovic saying, in effect, that Inter had won bog all until he rolled into town. Now it’s Muntari’s turn: “I was one of those players who used to run for him, yet he thinks that he won here on his own.”

Inter striker Samuel Eto’o, who went the other way along with a big bag of cash when Ibrahimovic moved to the Camp Nou, is ready. “Up until now I had not thought about playing them, but now I am and that is what I am focusing on,” the Cameroonian said to Sky Italia. He added that, although he appreciated the praise of Inter boss Jose Mourinho, who called Eto’o the best striker he has ever worked with, came back with class, saying “I want to thank him for his words, but I will not compare him to Guardiola.”

Oh. Some dude named Maicon has received the all-clear to play for Inter this week. Is that good news for them or something?

There is, has been and will be a lot of stuff going on before this match, upon which you would think the future of the free world was resting or something. Mourinho has said “Hey, they sold Eto’o to us, so don’t look at me.” And fool that I am, I just want everyone to assess the clubs on their own, with their current personnel. But I reckon, Pollyanna that I am, that such things are impossible, given what each swapped striker represents for his former employer. There will always be the “We were crazy, Eto’o was the greatest,” or “Why did we ever sell Ibrahimovic,” even if the respective striker scores 4 goals, defends on 4 more and grabs a couple of assists.

History is a strong thing. In my view, however, history is the past. History, so to speak. So I’ll be over here in the corner, looking forward. Cuz that’s how I roll.

Is looking forward denying the past? No. It’s just that….well….what’s past is the past. We’re into this season, with new faces and players trying to integrate themselves into a history-making squad. That will be quite an adventure, and following it, for me, takes all the energy that I have. 😀

–Don’t look for the UNICEF logo to go away anytime soon, but betting site Betfair has inked a two-year deal with the club, including promotions, special member mailings, much love on the Camp Nou signage, etc. Terms were not disclosed, but I’m betting the penny was rather pretty.

–Quote of the day: “He’s the best coach I’ve ever had.” Xavi on Pep Guardiola.

–Ex-VP Ferran Soriano has revealed his intention to take part in the upcoming election, but is coy about whether he will be a candidate for president, or part of someone’s board. For those who don’t recall, Soriano stomped off in a huff during the failed censure vote against current President and would-be Emperor of Catalunya, Joan Laporta.

–Finally, Laporta has said that he expects the Messi renewal to close this week. “We just have to get a special computer that will handle that many zeros,” said the Prez. “But we’re having one brought in from The Yaya’s home planet.”

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Written by:

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


  1. September 14, 2009

    Now that we’re getting close to the Inter game; may I leave some Disney’s Lion King wisdom?

    Remember when the baboon slaps Simba on top of the head and then Simba asks” Why did you do THAT for?”

    The baboon replies: “Its in the past. Don’t worry about it.”

    Well, yeah… 😀

    • bill
      September 14, 2009

      Lmao Hector, now thats some funny shit

    • rObReV7
      September 14, 2009

      Haha, the baboon speaks the truth! 😀

  2. OhYes
    September 14, 2009


    “I don’t know what I have done wrong to get banned” –Adebayor

    Yeah! What did he do wrong? He only kicked his former teammate in the face…that happens a lot, doesn’t it?


    Maicon declared fit for Barca game…Well that’s cool because he SUCKS!

    Actually, it’s good that he is playing now. Alves has his chance to prove himself over Maicon by completely and utterly destroying Inter. 🙂

    • Boat Forever
      September 14, 2009

      You are mistaken about Maicon. He’s on par with Alves if not better. imo he’s in fact better. The runs he makes & the pin-point crosses that he delivers are equal to that of Alves. But his defending is definitely better than Alves. He has the physical presence that our Alves lacks. For Brazil, definitely Maicon should start ahead of Alves.
      But for Barca I’d take Alves anyday. Because of his higher pace & his seemingly telepathic understanding with Messi, which I don’t think Maicon can offer 🙂

      • OhYes
        September 14, 2009

        Ehh? I am simply saying that Alves has the chance to prove himself over Maicon.. I am not sure what I am mistaken of if I didn’t make any statements relating to your response.

      • BarcaFan(BiH)
        September 14, 2009

        Sorry folks, but Maicon is better. Alves is a disaster defensively, he can’t handle physical opponents, whines too much, and feigns injury. The only good thing about him is his offensive contribution. The disastrous performance against Malouda in May would not have happened to Maicon, for instance. Even Maicon’s crossing and especially shooting is better. I used to think that Alves is better but the more I watch both players, the more I have to give it to Maicon. He’s the best full back in the world right now. Alves would be second best, tho.

      • September 14, 2009

        /agree with Boat Forever

        Inter is one of the teams I follow, although not fanatically (I follow Barça fanatically), and Maicon is a player who can create goals in tough games. True, he’s a bit more defensive-minded than Alves, but like Alves with Barça, Maicon is someone Inter can turn to in tough situations.

        Has anyone else noticed that Alves’s crosses seem to be getting crisper and more on-target? I’m excited that our RB playmaker seems to be getting even better and more dangerous.

    • Helge
      September 14, 2009

      Maicon actually played great for Brazil and against AC Milan. He might not be as strong as Dani Alves offensively, but therefore I think he’s better than him in the defence. Plus, he’s a more physical player which might hurt us…

      • eklavya
        September 14, 2009

        Alves never gets tired….
        I hope Alves wins this match for us..!

  3. September 14, 2009

    Will be interesting to see how Eto’ or Ibra celebrate if they score. Neither will do an Adebayor for sure 🙂

  4. OhYes
    September 14, 2009

    Reagan: Ibra might, actually. He’s done it before. The celebrating at the fan’s expense, that is. Not the kicking ex-teammates in the face thing.

  5. Boat Forever
    September 14, 2009

    “Quote of the day”
    Ah! Good old memories of Pep’s blog!! Not that I haven’t followed this before Pep stopped bloging, just that I used to visit that like 40-50 times a day 🙂
    BTW I was expecting a comment about my very long scouting report that I posted earlier. Would decide whether to continue or not based on it 🙂

    • September 14, 2009

      It was a good read and, naturally, if you continue to post them, I will continue to read them. I had no response personally because I haven’t seen many of the players you discussed playing.

    • Alexinho
      September 14, 2009

      Posted earlier…where, here?

    • Cesc Pistol
      September 14, 2009

      It was a good report all things considered but you hardly described the player, more you described in terms of “a goal/an assist etc.” That’s not really how you give scouting reports 😛

      Anyhow did you watch all the matches or just highlights? From your report it seemed you didn’t see beyond the highlights but if you all the matches then it’s a commendable effort and would justify a more detailed description of each player.

  6. yogi
    September 14, 2009

    If Arsenal continue the way they are (pretty football but no wins), they are going to find it difficult to keep hold of champions league place and also cesc. If Arsenal finish below 4th place next season, i feel sure that Cesc will join us.
    Against Mourinho, its always fun. I wonder if Inter will come out and play or will go the chelsea way.

    • September 14, 2009

      I think it very much depends on Cambiasso’s fitness levels. If he’s 100%, that changes the midfield dynamic enough that Mourinho will have an option besides playing the Park-The-Bus game.

    • fcbfan
      September 14, 2009

      only the group stage and first game at that, too early to park the bus no? still I am nervous about this game.

    • September 14, 2009

      Arsenal’s defending against Man City was horrific. And Almunia… boy oh boy, he needs to clear his head and step up. He was a pretty decent goal keeper last season (although in the penalty shootout in Rome he looked completely outclassed… even so, Arsenal went through tho).

  7. Han
    September 14, 2009

    I liked the scouting report a lot, just wondering whether you actually watched all the games or did on basis of reviews, summaries, highlights,… . Anyhow, I support your effort 110%.

    BTW: Kompany who was linked (in Belgian press) with Barcelona during the summer, is very close to signing an extension at Man City. Vertonghen played CB for Ajax this weekend (together with another Belgian, Alderweireld look out for this guy in the future)

  8. Criminally Bulgur
    September 14, 2009

    I foresee the press intensifying the Puyol situation into an ugly distraction over the next few weeks.

    • SC
      September 14, 2009

      Yes, and a completely fabricated distraction. Our Capitan is retiring at Barca. Xavi, most likely, as well. Like Isaiah pointed out, they just need to toss in some overalls to seal the deal.

      • Kxevin
        September 14, 2009

        And a pitchfork. 😀

        Boat Forever, I liked the scouting report. Not sure how we can implement it, except to natter about potential players around transfer season.

        But I definitely dig the effort and the report. Please continue, and we’ll figure something out.

        And is your screen name a take on the Google Translator’s tendency to label our club “the boat?”

        • Cesc.Pistol
          September 15, 2009

          Yeah AFAIK the spanish meaning of “barca” is boat. Note the normal ‘c’ however.

      • Eduard
        September 14, 2009

        that might not be entirely true:
        Example 1: Pep Guardiola was a key player in the “Dream Team 1” and he did not finish his career with Barcelona, in fact he finished somewhere in Italia.

        • ElShowDeJason
          September 14, 2009

          He finished his career in Mexico with Dorados de Sinaloa.

  9. ooga aga
    September 14, 2009

    boat 4ever, keep th reports coming…every week or two or three. dont burn yourself out.

    re: puyol — he showed he can still play at the top level, in the CL final. which is why it might be hard for him to see his minutes less than the next (new) guy. sure he is no alves with the ball at his feet (he played RB in the CL final) but he defends as well as ever. we would lose a piece of our soul if he left.

    then again pep guardiola did not finish his career with us. though, i would argue pep was not the icon that puyol now is. but i was just starting to watch barca in 1998-9 and pep left a couple years later.

    • bill
      September 14, 2009

      Yep, Federer is more Barca, and Nadal more madrid. Federer always looks cool, composed, has style, ready to play and most often than not, completely dominates with class and panache. Nadal on the other hand, does a lot of running, is more brute force, is a fighter but barely squeeks through most of his games, very madrid like.

  10. SoccerMom
    September 14, 2009

    Hi fellas,

    It’s toughlove time from your soccermama.

    We’re all happy w/ win at Getafe and hyped for Wed. Barcaaa, ya.

    But there’s some blaugrana elephants in the room.

    First, the first half against Getafe was flat out weak. Passes were sloppy. Plays were misread. And balls given away to the point where instead of wincing I just wound up squinting at the screen in order to save face time.

    The subs are not starters. It’s a different team w/ Messi and Alves. Iniesta was off but he’ll be back soon. I don’t know about Jeffren. And I’m not convinced by Pedro!. It was a B squad and showed, even with Ibra (who I was not for and now heart) and Pique (who I heart heart).

    Also, we are too pained to discuss Captain Carles. He’s the beating savage heart of this team. He is brawn and bravura. But he is not a quick player and he is not a smart player. He is aging, and players like Carles do not age well. He is outrun, overpassed and outwitted too often lately. I used to not worry with the ball in Barca half if Carles was there somewhere. Now I don’t worry if Pique is there. But I do worry if it’s Carles.


    • September 14, 2009

      I agree, in a sense, that we were weak in the first half against Getafe and that Messi and Alves made the difference in the end, but would you have said the same thing if we’d gone into the break 1-0 up from that Ibra shot he should have put away?

      Jeffren is still growing into the squad, yeah, but Pedro! is legit. I do believe that he’s a solid player and, had Puyol’s game been more on, Pedro!’s would have as well. Messi benefits so immensely from Alves whereas Pedro! had to deal with inconsistent passing throughout much of the game. I do recognize that he didn’t do much with what he was given, but he has, in the past, proven his worth.

      We actually missed Bojan a lot.

      Iniesta shall rise again. He is coming off a four-month injury and won’t be back on top form for some time, I don’t think. Four months is a long time.

      I’m only worried about El Capitan on the right wing. He still has this season left at least as a CB and he can provide adequate cover at RB, just not world class. He did so well last year that it’s hard not to give him the benefit of the doubt. He is, as you so aptly put it, the beating savage heart of this team. Amen.

      • Criminally Bulgur
        September 14, 2009

        Part of the problem seems to be that Pedro and Jeffren play much more like traditional wingers than Messi and Henry, who move in and out as the flow of play dictates, even in our base formation. It is very easy to get isolated as a winger in a 4-3-3 if you are just hugging the touchline and playing off the last line of defense.

    • bill
      September 14, 2009

      SoccerMom, I think Jeffren and Pedro are good, but only as substitutes. The problem is when you put in a new striker who is still learning the system, with two rookies as your starting strike force, it shows. At this stage of the season, it should be Henry & Messi + Ibra/Pedro/Jeffren. That way we have some continuity until these guys learn how to play with the team.

  11. ooga aga
    September 14, 2009

    yes soccermom would have said the same thing. it was verrrry apparent, scoreline regardless, that our boys were not possessing nor pressuring the ball like we are used to seeing. these are the lynchpins of our game. of course getafe had two weeks of rest more than most of our boys. someone else might have quoted this, pep said “i have never seen a team fight for the ball against us like getafe did, in all of my time as coach here.” so, we’re not playing in a vacuum right, there is another team there on the other side of the ball. but it’s getafe. cmon.

    puyol shut down CR9 (nee CR7) in the CL final. he’s still good enough to be in our team. period.

  12. poipoi
    September 14, 2009

    the “eto’o went out with a lotta cash” was totally uncalled for… the bad thing would be if he didn’t 😉

    he left ok let’s be happy 😉 … but he deserves some respect I think, it’s not like he is the bad guy, to me the club was. He always gave his best and scored a lot of goals for us. He is a “hall of famer” for sure. I hope I don’t get too many “loud” answers from this comment.

    btw… any fantasy football post?? 😛

    • Kxevin
      September 14, 2009

      Nope. Read it again. The phrase is “who went the other way along with a big wad of cash,” meaning that we sent the Eto’o, plua a big wad of cash, rather than any implication that Eto’o cashed out or did it for the money.

      Given my aversion to any and all discussions of Inter players, does anyone really think that I would say such a thing? Really?

      • poipoi
        September 14, 2009

        sorry then 🙁

        I understood: he who went along… with a big wad of cash /// as “he who went away with a big wad of cash” —- my english is not very good.

        It’s just that I read the precedent posts on eto’o and I’m an etoo lover. I feel in debt with him and his goals, so I defend him… specially considering I don’t pay him at all 😛

        • Kxevin
          September 14, 2009

          Now what’s interesting is that I, as a soci, do pay Eto’o (sort of). I consider it money well spent. 😀

          He did great for the club, and will do great for Inter. Just not on Wednesday, I hope.

  13. Kevo
    September 14, 2009

    agree with poipoi, he is a “bad boy” in a way but he gave it all for the club, football-wise.
    I wish him the best at Inter as much as i wish our team to be champions! again 😀

    I wish fifa was out tomorrow 🙁 have to wait until last week of october nooooooooooooooooo

    • Tutomate
      September 14, 2009

      You can download the Demo on PS3

  14. Helge
    September 14, 2009

    According to goal.com, Eduardo’s ban has been overruled by the UEFA. He is allowed to play in mid-week.

  15. Vj
    September 14, 2009

    Eduardo’s ban annulled –

  16. Boat Forever
    September 14, 2009

    Thanks guys… I’ll make sure to invest a bit more time for that.
    Yeah relying on weekly reviews for each country as well as downloading some extended highlight videos. But I do agree that the highlights don’t a player’s work rate.
    My screen name is from google translation Kxevin LOL

  17. ooga aga
    September 14, 2009

    at poipoi, i understand the bristle, but i think kxevin meant that we gave inter a lot of cash plus etoo for ibra, which is true, and not a snide remark on kxevins part.

    • bill
      September 14, 2009

      Agreed, that was my take on what Kevin meant. That we paid alot of money + Eto’o

      • Kxevin
        September 14, 2009

        Whoops! Should have read down. Thanks bill, and ooga aga. That’s exactly what I meant.

  18. Corrine
    September 14, 2009

    i’m ignoring puyol speculation for the time being, it’s too much to think about on top of everything else going on

    in other news, i signed up for UEFA CL fantasy football league. i’m awful at FF but it’s so addicting. premier league, la liga, CL… i’m going to get a head of greys from all the stress!

  19. Kxevin
    September 14, 2009

    Soccer mom’s comment is spot on, and timely. I’m laying the Puyol funkiness at the feet of early-season stuff. But he was pretty awful against Getafe (hence his rating, possibly an all-time low for Captain Caveman).

    He is the beating heart of our club, and this isn’t the time yet, but as I’ve already said, this is his last season as an automatic starter when healthy. It pains me to type it, but ’tis true.

    • SC
      September 14, 2009

      Agree, and really, the CL was only a couple months ago and he did his job as well as anyone could, imo. Puyol IS aging, slowing, etc. Battle fatigue he certainly has earned. But he is the first to dive head first towards a ball, the first to push the ball forward when the team is hesitant, and the first to sprint back to defend after participating in a set piece. Having him on the pitch makes EVERYONE play better, because of the example he sets for the rest of the team (and the youngsters coming up). It’s very important to have a player like that on the team as long as possible. As long as he can bring the A game to Really Important Matches where being a true, seasoned veteran is as important as being the fastest on the pitch, he has a place on the starting roster.

      Puyol is the best example of how far good ol’ fashioned hard work, dedication, and perseverance can take you. The Club will reward that. Trust.

    • Alexinho
      September 14, 2009

      Actually Kevin, I remember beginning reading this blog at the beginning of last season, and I DEFINITELY read that “last-season-as-automatic-starter”…last season.

      But hey! That must have come after a bad early-season performance, so if you’re saying it again this year…

      By the way I love the comments-on-comments innovation. Makes it so much easier to follow, and it definitely increases my ability to comment.

      • Kxevin
        September 15, 2009

        Hey, no fair remembering what I wrote, dammit! 😀

        I meant this season.

        And I want to see the proof, dangit!

  20. ElShowDeJason
    September 14, 2009

    YAY! for Eduardo’s ban being overturned!

    and Yay! for Adebayor getting slapped with a 4 match ban!

  21. bill
    September 14, 2009

    First of all, great new blog! I have said it before and I will say it again, very good improvements. I especially like the new feature where you can reply directly to someone else’s comments. It’s as if the powers that be (Isiah & Kevin) said,’Yeah we have a blog that scores alot of points, but we want to go in a different direction, get a blog that not only can score points, but hold the ball, has a good touch and can distribute it well too’ :). Well, soo far, its working (atleast for you guys).

    As for the main topic, I hope Puyol stays. Granted, he is not the best CB we have seen, sometimes even too slow. But he is always at the center of the action, always fights for the colors and has a great attitude from what I have seen. Barca is more of a family than most teams out there, the unity amongst players is very nice to see. But when you start getting rid of players like Puyol, what message does it send to the young ones? I’m sure Messi, Iniesta, Bojan are paying attention. They know that as soon as their production drops off, they’ll be hauled out of there. All of a sudden, loyalty will have less stock and it will be all about getting paid, not even caring by who.

    As for Eto’o and Ibra, soo far both have done well. Ibra has scored 3 in the last four games (including sweden games), and Eto’o has scored 4 in four games (two for cameroun). I think Ibra is still learning, still has a ways to go, but you cant argue with 2 goals and two wins soo far.

    What I don’t like are his public statements. Yes they aren’t against Barcelona right now, but if he says the things he is saying against a team that HE chose to leave, a teams that acquiesced to all his wishes, what will happen if it doesn’t work out at Barca? Picture this scenario: if we don’t win as much this season, and Guardiola suddenly has an epiphany that we do need a striker who runs alot and buries goals out of very small spaces, and so he goes out and gets villa. Ibra is pushed to the left wing where Bojan eventually outperforms him and all of a sudden, Ibra is out of the team. What will he be saying about Barcelona?

    Eto’o on the other hand does deserve a negative comment or two, based on how unceremoniously he was dumped. In fact, a part of me has been hoping he would say some shit so I can buy into the opinion that he is volatile and classless and I can begin the process of disliking him and losing interest in what he is doing. But surprisingly, like Kevin said, he has been a true class act soo far. Not one negative comment from him. He said he loved playing for the team, and wouldn’t mind going back once his Inter contract is up???!!!!???? How skillful was his sidestepping comparisons between Mourinho and Pep? Mourinho and Ibra have on the other hand jumped into such traps “foot in mouth” style.

    My favorite quote of the day from Goal.com section: “yeah that Eto’o, he keeps scoring simple tap-ins for inter because of great service from Messi and Xavi” LMAO!

    • ooga aga
      September 14, 2009

      bill, to what public statements are you referring?

    • Sumit
      September 14, 2009

      Bill, It was Eto’s last year in contract at Barcelona. I dont believe it is right for a to play for a club in his last year of contract, especially not at the level of Eto’o, and not at Barcelona. Please read the article at the below link for more details.


      I believe if Eto’o wanted to stay, he could have spoken with Guardiola and staff and made it happen.

    • Sumit
      September 14, 2009

      I just remembered the second reason why Eto’o had to go. He is an African player, and would have been gone for at least a month in the Jan/Feb window for the African Nations Cup.

      Do you know that last time this happened, Barca did not win anything.

    • SC
      September 14, 2009

      Bah. I replied about Puyol under Kxevin’s post just above yours. Meant to reply here. Oh well. But basically, agree 100%.

  22. khairallah
    September 14, 2009


    No points! No goals! And bottom of the table! It’s welcome back to Espanyol and welcome back to Paul from Barcelona in his new Cornella home!

    “Bit difficult for me to give my usual genius tactical insight, because my seat is behind the goal and the view will take some getting used to as my old view was a weird 45-degree angle. But here’s what I learned today.

    1) Barça will win the league
    2) Kaká (great passes for the goals) likes to referee the match and was allowed to by a ref who by WWE standards was biased.
    3) The best two players on the pitch cost next to nothing: Granero and Verdu.
    4) Espanyol lack match practice, which was obvious by the way they tired. Remember they’ve only played three games since the end of last season.
    5) The pitch looked like the Horse of the Year show had been on it – and not because of the pile of manure on it either (see number 3). Being changed tomorrow.
    6) Benzema looked about as interested as I am when I see an Adamcule post. (Uh oh! – LLL)
    7) Everyone loves to hate Guti. He can play for us then. Looked good again today.””


    love to hate both teams 🙂

    • Cesc Pistol
      September 14, 2009

      I chose to pay no attention to that imbecile. He is the prime example of how frustrated and pathetic perikos really are. Taking him seriously is like taking goal.com’s opinion seriously or rather the comments on goal.com seriously.

  23. Hilal
    September 14, 2009


    Did Ibra say something i am unaware of that is so bad? What i heard is that he said before he arrived inter had won nothing, he arrived and they won 3 years in a row. All he is doing is stating a fact really. Is he implying that it was solely because of him? I doubt it. Is he implying that he played a big part? Of course he is…and why shouldn’t he? He did play a big part, a huge part actually. Would they have won 3 years in a row without him? Impossible to say, but it would definitely have been a lot harder for them without him. They relied on him a hell of a lot; not only to score goals but also to be a creative engine and he did a great job at both.

    • Jnice
      September 14, 2009

      To be fair to Ibra, Mourinho just came out and basically said the same thing about how Ibra was the main reason they won 3 titles.

  24. ooga aga
    September 14, 2009

    convened for wednesday

    Valdés, Pinto, Abidal, Piqué, Maxwell, Puyol, Alves, Touré, Chygrynskiy, Sergio Busquets, Keita, Jeffren, Xavi, Iniesta, Henry, Pedro, Ibrahimovic, Messi y Márquez.

    txiggy will be on the bench even though he cant play! guess it is to help him feel part of the team. sort of like hleb i guess.

  25. ooga aga
    September 14, 2009

    the rear line has to be: alves, puyol pique and maxwell/abidal. cant see marquez starting this game after such an absence.

    • Kxevin
      September 14, 2009

      Agreed. I can’t see Maxwell starting, either, because we will need Abidal’s pace up and down the flanks. Everyone’s already seen my starting XI, but for those who haven’t:

      Alves Pique Puyol Abidal
      The Yaya Xavi Iniesta
      Messi Ibrahimovic Henry

      I think that’s our best XI, and would leave me feeling pretty good about things.

  26. Sumit
    September 14, 2009

    I would like to see Marquez on the sub list, just in case….one of our aging defender’s picks up a knock.

  27. Kxevin
    September 14, 2009

    That whoop! that everyone heard was my cry of delight. You fellow socis should keep an eye on the mailbox. My 65-minute season highlight DVD compiled by the club, with exclusive footage and all that good stuff, arrived in the mail today. 😀 😀 😀 😀

    I have yet to watch it, because I just smoked my 27-mile ride home in just over an hour, and need some quiet time. So. Happy. Right. Now.

    • Jnice
      September 14, 2009

      Nice. How did you get that, Kevin? Special request? Or did you buy it?

      • Jnice
        September 14, 2009

        Oops, just read it over again. Socis. Darn.

        • Kxevin
          September 14, 2009

          Oh, and those who get it will need an all-regions DVD player. It won’t play on Region 1 (N. America) DVD players.

          To answer the question, yes, I do.

          • Alex
            September 14, 2009

            Do you know if it would play in a PS3, Xbox360, or Toshiba HD-A2?

            If so, would you be willing to copy one for me??????????????

          • Cesc Pistol
            September 15, 2009

            I think the same DVD set is there on the net for download as well. Could you detail it’s contents with the approx. time for each program?

  28. Alexinho
    September 15, 2009

    So…where can I watch the Inter match? FSC doesn’t seem to be showing it. If I have to stream the CL I will be disappointed…

  29. Museum
    September 15, 2009

    Just a random thought: I’m really interested in Yoann Gourcuff from Bordeaux, and I’m surprised I haven’t heard more about him being linked to major clubs. The guy is pretty damn phenomenal. Not sure how he’d fit into our squad at the moment, but he’s a name to keep in mind. Some slow parts to this highlight reel, but some great spots very worth seeing. His footwork is incredible.


  30. pulpo
    September 15, 2009

    From Eto on Goal.com

    “I didn’t have any problems, but okay, if Guardiola said that I had no feeling for the club, that’s his opinion. I always committed myself, and I will show him that this week.

    “My only problem now is that I still have no idea what he means by this ‘feeling.’”

    I really Pep to just come out lay it out what this feeling is. Everything which has been said thus far is pure speculation. And to add to it, Im gonna say its either something very personal and ridiculous, like Pep heard Eto insult him/or barca/catalonia behind his back, or simply that Pep thinks he sucks- his golscoring is overrated etc- but simply can’t say this in public.

    • September 15, 2009

      Change is the only constant Pulpo. Who’d have imagined that we would have sold Ronaldinho? The problem was we should have sold him earlier. I love Eto to bits and perhaps it’s too soon to comment on it but he missed so many chances last season.. so many! Pep probably thought to himself.. “I need my striker to be more clinical in front of goal. I need someone with a physical presence to unsettle defenders and eto doesn’t have that. Eto’s been here 6 years and i don’t want another ronaldinho situation while i’m in charge and maybe eto will score 30 goals again but i think i need 35 goals and 30 assists from my striker this time(more versatlity)”

      That was Pep’s ‘feeling’.

  31. September 15, 2009

    Even if Puyol leaves , we shouldn’t mind too much. I would hope with all my heart that he stays but I think he loses a bit of his edge when he’s not on the field being the last defender making the perfect sliding tackle when a striker just thinks that he’s through on goal. Let’s face it, his mobility is his prime asset coupled with his grit and determination but since he’s losing his pace and that makes the grit redundant. We’ll never be able to fault him on effort but he himself is coming to terms with the fact that Pique and Txigrynskiy and Marquez are above him in the pecking order.

    Don’t think he will leave though. I’ll check with the coach later and let you guys know.. I got him on speed dial… under ‘P’ .. for Pep 🙂

    • September 15, 2009

      Futhermore, the reason defenders like Maldini, Cannavaro etc last through the ages is because of their vision. What they lack in pace as they get older they compensate with their vision. Breaks my heart to say this but Puyol lacks vision as a defender. He’s a brawler and excellent at tackling but take away his pace and you’re left with a our captain unable to be in right position to make his famed tackles which leads to lunges and hacks in desperation. Do we really need that kind of instability at the back when we have far more resourceful options.

      will still check with Pep though

  32. Roja-N
    September 15, 2009

    i dont think pique, chygrynskyy or any other world class defender can be afforded a title such as ‘air puyol’ :)….i love it when he ‘flies’ into the corner / free kick fray. You gotta love him

  33. ElShowDeJason
    September 15, 2009

    I thought Fox was going to use all FX, and other channels to help broadcast CL.

    As far as i’ve seen they are only using three channels, so our options for tomorrow are:

    ManU v Besiktas on FSN
    Milan v Marsaille on FSC
    Madrid v Zurich on Fox Deportes

    on wednesday we get:

    Liverpool v Debreceni on FSC
    Inter v Barcelona on FS Deportes

    i hope that come knockout stage they incorporate Fox Broadcasting Channel, FX, Fox news, and anything available to get us our games.

    For now I’m just glad Barcelona will be broadcast.

    • September 15, 2009

      Yeah, at least they have their priorities straight…Liverpool vs Debreceni is definitely a way better looking match on paper than Inter-Barça. Way better.

      Fuck the EPL.

  34. September 15, 2009

    Wow! Man united really haven’t gotten over the loss in Rome. Just confirms what an awesome job we did. I can’t help but wonder what we must have gone through losing 4-0 to milan all those years back.. Must have been traumatic!

  35. Han
    September 15, 2009


    It definately was, I remember bragging at elementary school to a classmate (a staunch Milan supporter wearing a Milan Jacket every single day) that Romario & Co. would seal this in a couple of minutes. ;-(

    Needless to say that first of all my mum hardly got me out of bed (a 10 yr old who not only stayed up too late, but cried to death when we lost) and my leggs felt extremely heaving walking up to class.

    I was devestated. I had been supporting Barcelona for a couple of years, actually since 1992 when I saw them winning at Wembley, but had sympathy for other teams as well including Roma and strangely enough also Milan. Nonetheless, that evening It became clear I was a cule and not some Milan-hype supporter.

    Btw: the crying actually got worse a year later when we were beaten by PSG (with Weah and Ginola) by a goal of Vincent Guerin if I’m not mistaken.

  36. Andrew M.
    September 15, 2009

    dont worry about carles. the problem is that while he may be training with the team, he is missing out on his peronal workouts that he does in the woods on his own. team training is but a fraction of this monster’s overall training.

    hopefully now as the summer draws to a close in the northern hemisphere (summer for me now!) and autumn begins to set in, carles will find his cabin getting colder and colder. his overalls and straw hat are no match for the crisp wintery weather causing our brave hero to venture out with kaka (the sheep) in search of some wood to chop.

    incessant wood chopping, combined with bloodcurdling screams for his teammates (keiteeee!) as well as the thirlls he gets from strumming his banjo (bojan?) alone at night on his rickety wooden porch will bring our captain back to his usual terrifying self.

    • September 15, 2009

      There is nothing to fear, Andrew is here. And he’s here with the goods.

      • Andrew M.
        September 15, 2009

        hahaha. good old puyol. i got this wonderful image of him struming on a bojan. haha

  37. Hilal
    September 15, 2009


  38. kxevin
    September 15, 2009

    Lord, how I wish that everyone would get over the Eto’o and Ibrahimovic business. Are there really no other stories for Goal.com?

    The deal is done. The season is young. Both players are still integrating into their respective clubs’ systems.

    To me, it doesn’t matter why Guardiola wanted to sell him. You have to trust the coach to know what’s best for the club. What matters to me is future and potential.

    The future is Ibrahimovic, the potential was hinted at in his passing, movement and the way he facilitated the offense of everyone around him.

    Revisit my Getafe review, and Hector’s post of the Ibra video. Staggering, and he isn’t even fully integrated into the offense yet.

    I’d much rather discuss that than an opposing side’s striker.

  39. kxevin
    September 15, 2009

    Fox Soccer Espanol will have the match live. It will be on tape delay via FSC later that evening.

    The Barca DVD isn’t much new, except for some different camera angles, and some behind-the-scenes stuff that only BarcaTV could have.

    It’s essentially a 65-minute music video of the season, but of very high quality. It’s in the “really cool but not essential” category.

  40. poipoi
    September 15, 2009

    anything puyol chooses will be fine by me… I hope he stays but I understand the captain. If he doesn’t play that much he will have to decide what he wants to do with his future. He is already a legend even if he doesn’t retire in FCB. remember when he stopped a goal with the club’s shield? You can watch videos of him defending all day long in youtube and never get bored.

    imagine carles going to atleti to kick some EE ass and solving all their defensive problems, going to liverpool for another “chorreo”, or maybe going to lleida or even la pobla de segur!! 😉

    • Alex
      September 15, 2009

      La pobla de Segur, now that would be classic, I think LLavorsi also has a small club team.

  41. Andrew M.
    September 15, 2009

    i agree kxevin. i think everyone is swept up in the media’s sensationalised previews for this game. just like with the messi/ronaldo nonsense of the CL final, this is not an individual battle between ibra/eto’o, it is of course a team game in which ibra will have to play barca style and vice versa for eto’o. i also think that most of us knew eto’o was going to leave at the end of last season. i remember discussing this with isaiah and i seem to remember kxevin predicting this too.

    up until now we have trusted in pep and he hasnt put a foot wrong. i think we need to continue to trust in him.

    do we not remember how eto’o threw away the pichichi last year? (i mean forlans hatrick kind of stole it but still) eto’o missed how many penalties and his feet seemed to be made of stone. dont get me wrong, i love eto’o, he is an ambassador for african football and he has shown that he is a true gentleman as well who had blaugrana blood rushing through his veins for years (madrid, cabron, saluda al campeon!) and i even chose to get his name on my away jersey from last year.

    but like ronaldinho, he is gone and we must get over it and move on.
    and serisouly, who the H would not be affraid of seeing messi, ibra and henry charging down towards their goal?

    this also gives bojan the chance to learn from ibra. with all the experience that kid is surrounded with i will be gobsmacked if he isnt the best striker in the world in a few years to come.

    the CL game is going to be interesting, contrasting the slower more defensive italian football with our fast slick passing game. i think both teams will feel each other out with a draw considered good for both teams (except for pep). i think it will boil down to a 1-1 or 0-0 despite how exciting the match promises to be.

    plus, we know eto’o well, we know how to contain him, he is small and pique and puyol will keep him off the ball easily.

    another option we have is moving ibra out to the wing swapping with either henry or messi.. this is important because while inter may think they know how to contain ibra, they dont know how to contain him running in from the side while having messi/henry pushing in from the centre. eto’o has no choice but to play up front either alone or in a 4-4-2.

    sorry for the length

    • Kxevin
      September 15, 2009

      No apologies necessary. Good thoughts.

      Inter is a very different proposition this season, with more movement, more one-touch play and dare I say, some Spanish influence, with Milito and Eto’o fronting their attack. If we do a Getafe first half, we’ll be down 3 ro 4-0 by the half.

      But we won’t, because our best lineup will be out there. I’d be happier if everyone were at full match fitness, but I’ll take what we have. I still think that the group is going to be won/lost in Russia and the Ukraine. I could honestly see us drawing Inter twice, meaning that our performance against the other two sides will decide the group.

      The Yaya will be crucial tomorrow, as will our fullbacks. And Sneijder will have to be shut down immediately as soon as he gets within shooting range. It’s one reason I think we might see a midfield of Keita/Xavi/The Yaya, now that I think about it, favoring Keita’s defensive abilities.

      • Jnice
        September 15, 2009

        I have a feeling Busquets will play.

  42. ooga aga
    September 15, 2009

    cant leave it alone kxev. again it is *the* biggest change between barcas recent glorious history, and, well, now. gonna get the magnifying glass treatment.

    yeah yeah we got rid of R10 too. but that was different. he was on the wane. he didnt win the triplete.

    the only thing i can agree with is: we should give it several (many?) more games before really analyzing the sitch.

    this is a barca blog. this is where we work it out. and it doesnt mean one person loves the club more than another….

    • Kxevin
      September 15, 2009

      Nobody can leave it alone. I’m perfectly fine with being the only one who wonders how it helps the club to speculate about an Inter Milan striker. They are the enemy, and so is that player, who last year was part of the squad that won the triplete. My sole concern about Eto’o is wondering what defensive scheme they will devise to stop him. When we aren’t playing Inter, I don’t care what he does, because he isn’t a Barca player, nor is there any possibility that he will ever be one again.

      People can do what they want, but I can’t say as I’ll be taking part. As I said, for me it’s all about the present and future. I don’t think anyone loves the club any more or less because they do ro don’t want to Cuisinart the dead horse. I don’t think that’s an impression that anyone meant to convey.

    • Kxevin
      September 15, 2009

      Wow! I like! Shit. More clothing purchases now.

  43. Jnice
    September 15, 2009

    New training kits that look way better than the bright yellow IMO:


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