Barca 5, Shakhtar Donetsk 1, aka “The Way of the Cule”

"You know we're about to bring it, right?"

We were all supposed to die.

Women, children, squirrels and every barnyard critter in creation were all supposed to perish.

“I don’t have a good feeling about this,” said Guardiola, who has identified himself as a right proper cule with those words.

But the Shakhtar players knew, because they aren’t cules.

They’re big, strong and fast, with lightning-quick Brazilians on the wings, and an excellent midfielder in Dario Srna. We are all going to die.

Fear and trepidation stalked the land.

But a brave naysayer named Jim threw down a simple challenge: Name one Shakhtar player who you’d prefer over one of our starters.

Yet that didn’t dissuade the querrulous cules.

“It’s not the individuals, but a team. It’s like that Drago dude in the “Rocky” movies, only there are 20 of them. They divide like Transformers. We’re all going to die.”

And then the ball was dropped. And in less than 2 minutes one of the most wee of the Mighty Mites struck a blow for Lilliput. And that was that. 5-1. It wasn’t even close. Those foolish Champions League announcers, who clearly aren’t cules, had the temerity to suggest that we were going to beat Shakhtar like a rented mule because …. well …. we’re the best team on the planet right now.

“T’ain’t so,” saith the Quaking Cule. “It’s only one goal. We’re still going to die. Just wait.”

Then 1 became 2 became 3 became 4 became 5 and that was that. People are still saying the right things, such as the tie isn’t over, stranger things have happened. In 2007, remember, we rolled into Getafe’s house with a 5-2 first-leg lead, and lost 4-0 to crash out of the Copa. We’re going to die.

That was then, and this is now, the former a match that was almost the beginning of the end for the Rijkaard years. Guardiola teams don’t let that kind of stuff happen because you won’t have the ball long enough to score 5 goals. Truth to tell, this match was kind of boring. We were the superior team, far and away. But even as we gathered during the LiveBlog (yay for Kari!) to watch it, there was worry, worry, worry, until there wasn’t any more worry.

Because this was a thrashing. Guardiola rolled out with Valdes, Alves, Pique, Busquets, Adriano, Mascherano, Keita, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi and Villa, a lineup that was offense-minded, but took into account their midfield fluency, with the addition of Mascherano. But that first goal came so fast, that nobody had time to settle, and that was that. It’s bad enough that we are good, but when you add luck to that, forget about it.

The pass was meant for Villa, but a Shakhtar defender got a foot to it, deflecting to a charging Iniesta as if it were a pass. Iniesta knocked it home and just like that, they were on the back foot.

But oh, did they have chances, scoring opportunities that made us all say “See, I told you. See? SEE?!”

Yet unlike our Brazilian, their Brazilian saw the net and kept choking. Their Brazilian spanked a shot that beat Valdes dead to rights, caromed smack dead off the inside post, directly into the arms of a prone Valdes. The crazy luck was back.

Was it luck, or was it an amazing side, making its own luck? Because luck must still be capitalized on. When Valdes pushed a pass away, directly to Willian, his long shot sailed wide of the net. Our side proved Jim right beyond a reasonable doubt, particularly as we didn’t even play that well. Even at that, it was 5-1.

This match was so dull that there really isn’t a whole lot to say so let’s recap the goals, shall we?

1: There was not much on, really, as Adriano slid a ball to Messi in space, who passed to Villa as the deflection fell directly to Iniesta’s feet.
2: A spectacular pass over distance found Alves in stride. Our Brazilian controlled, rounded the hesitant keeper and slotted home (no way does that goal happen to Valdes, by the by.)
3. A practice pitch play in which, on the corner kick, Xavi passes the ball to Pique, who curls around the box to lose his marker before smacking the Xavi cross. It was covered by the keeper, but a deflection off a Shakhtar player means more luck, and a 3-0 lead.
4. Shakhtar got one back through a lazily marked free kick, but 57 seconds later, a Messi run that was trailed by an onrushing Keita, found the latter with the ball at his feet and the keeper at his mercy. He spanked it into the upper left corner, in a goal for which the Camp Nou groundskeepers should get an assist. Watch the slo-mo of that ball rolling toward Keita, who had to one-time it. No bobbles, no deviation, no nothing.
5. Alves made his one good pass into the box all day, a ball that almost had eyes as it found its way to Xavi, who slotted home.

After the third goal, Shakhtar started playing like a beaten side. Walking, slumped shoulders and sad faces. Their goal brought them some life for less than a minute, before the cruelty of Keita’s smash dropped them into the depths again.

Guess we aren’t going to die after all. Because ultimately, it was as simple as this: They were wearing white.

Team: 6. As I said, not one of our best efforts, but more than good enough. Man, we’re a good side. And once we shored up the looseness that allowed Shakhtar those first half chances, the issue was really never in doubt. The whole game about movement and support, as every player knows where to be. Pique works the practice pitch play even though it’s probably going to be covered, because you never know. Xavi sees the tunnel that Alves can pass through, and goes to the end of it. The system just works.

Guardiola: 10. Whether mind games or legitimate worry, he had his team ready to play, and play they did. Even if this wasn’t the side’s best football, it was extremely effective. Motivation is a curious thing. We had it and kept it. Shakhtar had it for a while, but you just get tired of chasing the ball. And the addition of Keita and Mascherano meant a closed midfield, reducing them to flank play and long balls, both of which were easily dealt with. It’s much easier to defend a player with the sideline at his back, right?

Valdes: 6. Mostly effective, even if he didn’t have a lot to do. Covered very well for his leaky defense early, though the diving “pass” to Willian for the long shot was probably ill-advised. And when super-sharp, he probably stops that shin ball for their away goal.

Alves: 4. A goal and an assist in a terrible match, really. Beaten repeatedly by Willian up the wing, giving balls away, a sloppy back pass that almost cost us, crosses into the stands and a joke of a free kick. You alternately want to choke him, then hug him. There aren’t a lot of players faster than Alves, but he had the misfortune to run into one today. He regained control of his side through our possession, when he wasn’t gifting the ball back to them.

Pique: 5. Is it his fault that he’s slow? No, that’s genetics. It is, however, his fault that he isn’t anticipating play and gets caught up the pitch by pacey attackers such as Shakhtar had. He and Busquets were left for dead by the Shakhtar striker, who was only betrayed by his gag reflex. He got back into the groove in the second half, looking much more like our Piquenbauer. Strong defensive plays and a goal that worked just like it was planned (ha!) were his calling cards.

Busquets: 7. Quietly effective match in which a lot of things that suddenly weren’t happening for Shakhtar, were happening because of him. As a pure defender, he wouldn’t cut it in a more static league. But as part of our attacking defense, his gangly limbs and constant nose for ball is perpetually disruptive.

Adriano: 7. Our best defender today. He lost balls as usual, but defensively and on the attack he was powerful, and retained the width necessary to make Shakhtar have to shift when he got the ball. It seems that sides view him as more of a threat than Maxwell, which works in our favor.

Mascherano: 6. Loose with possession too much for my tastes, but significantly altered the match by owning his area, his two weak moments coming during the pass for the first Shakhtar break, in which he didn’t work hard enough to shut the man down. And he was way too soft marking their main in the box on the free kick goal that they scored. Beyond that, he stopped getting work once Shakhtar realized that yes, he is as good as advertised.

Keita: 7. Where the ball is, there’s Keita, who worked with Mascherano and Xavi to keep the midfield closed. His goal was brilliant, and who knew that he had such dribbling skills, as when he held off a group of Shakhtar defenders with the slickness. It’s easy to see why Guardiola is so fond of him, and this was his kind of match, once it settled down.

Xavi: 6. Subdued match, in part because there just wasn’t a whole lot for him to do. He’d pass the ball to Messi, who’d do something amazing or not. He’d get the ball back and pass it to Iniesta, who’d do something amazing, or not. But much of the match was like a scrimmage for us, so Xavi could afford to keep the motor mostly in second gear. Beautifully taken goal.

Iniesta: 8. A remakable match in which he scored a crucial goal, assisted on another with an astounding pass over distance, and raised hell whenever he could, even fouling a couple of Shakhtar players. Picked up an ultimately smart 5th yellow, which keeps him out of the meaningless second leg in the Ukraine. He was a delight to watch today, as you think that surely he can’t get his body and the ball through that space, and up he pops.

Messi: 8. Yes, he was playing a controlled match, as he clearly isn’t 100 percent. But his work rate was madness today, as he set an example for his teammates. From working like crazy to create a steal and a shot on goal, to stopping a Shakhtar attack by tracking back and stealing the ball, he was remarkable today, and my Man of the Match. We should start calling him Puppeteer, the way he drags opponents around.

Villa: 6. He didn’t score, but he kept making the runs, working witin the offense and tracking back like a demon. I referenced Henry during the LiveBlog, because that’s what came to mind. Villa had one of those days where he did everything really well, except score. Slump vs dry patch is a matter of perspective.


Pedro!! (for Villa): 5. Still getting the match feel back, and you could tell as a number of his passes came up short, or were intercepted. This is unlike him. But if you watch P!! sometimes, you will find that he is always moving. Defenders must absolutely hate that.

Maxwell (for Adriano): incomplete. Adriano picked up a little knock, and was subbed as a precaution. Nice positional defense, as always.

Afellay (for Iniesta): incomplete. Just had time to run around a little bit.

So, if we lose 0-4 in their house, we’re out. That just isn’t going to happen. What this does mean, almost certainly, is the spectre of FOUR El Clasics in less than 30 days. My heart and soul will NOT be able to take that.

–The streak is over, as for the past 7 years, the team that knocked Arsenal out of Champions League went on to lose the next Champions League match. Not this time.

Meanwhile ….

"Let's see .... you put your left foot in, and your left foot .... dang!"

By Kxevin

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


  1. I’m relatively new cule from 2003 and onwards and I must say that all this pessimism is/was part of my barcelonism as well.
    But from what I’ve read from players interviews (Xavi’s mainly) pessimism used to be a part of being cule probably due to finals like the one with Benfica or the one with Ac Milan or due to the fact that EE kept stealing our players…but then before I have finished crying from nerves after that EE win against Getafe (you know the one with karate-Pepe) screaming to my boyfriend “WE WILL LOSE LA LIGA” “ALL THOSE GOALS WERE IN VAIN”, “IT’S OVER” something amazing happened… THE 2-6 and then a year later something equally amazing happened THE 0-2 and the turn has started to take place and I can proudly say I’m more of a positive cule now than a negative one…and from what many players have been saying (xavi again) the notice this change in the fans as well…
    So my fellow cules embrace the posive cule in you!

  2. We could even replace the UNICEF logo with a Justin Bieber portrait! Imagine all the shirts we will sell!!!

    I am sorry but that is so not what I meant by my (long) post…Like it or not (I most certainly don’t) but Bieber is a marketing gold-mine..and we are looking at huge liquidity if we tap this one right..I am not talking about a concert in the Camp Nou (a-la U2) but surely a working relationship could be established..
    Real Madrid did their schtick with The Jonas Brothers (El Buitre played a practise game with them FFS) and WWE wrestler Rey Mysterio Jr..Now I am not saying that we should mimic them but I surely can agree with the thinking behind that decision..

    That being said I understand that my stand on this matter has made some question my sanity but I feel this is a big pay day for Barรงa is cards are played right

    * I come in peace* ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. K-Legit I was joking ๐Ÿ™‚

      Seriously though we might get new fans by aligning ourselves with Justin Bieber…very possible that a lot of other potential new fans would be turned off…

  3. woah it came all in italics

    Ok to clarify..the first two lines are Lev’s post which I meant to highlight..the rest of the text is me ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. @hammer the thing is when the team is not as good we just hope for the best.

    But the “not having faith / expecting the worst” comes from the exact examples i gave.

    Having an awesome team that should have been superior to AC Milan (who btw were missing Franco Baresi for the final!) not fulfill its destiny in winning a second European Cup alongside its 4 straight liga titles, but instead get slaugthered 0-4.

    Having the most awesome natural striker join us leave after showing us what should have been the start of some mouthwatering years at Barรงa.

    Yeah, sure post ’99 Barรงa went through some hard times, but they are part of the cycles that every club go through and understood as such.

    1. In stoppage time, Elano and Colo Colo’s Cristobal Jorquera were the fourth and fifth players to get red cards in an ill-tempered match.

      Must have been some match! LOL!

    2. lmao.

      i don’t want us to get Neymar, but this is funny and does not reflect that badly on him imo. When I started reading I thought OMG what a d—, but I thought he had actually brought the mask himself and planned it. As it is, he just picked up the mask that was thrown to him from the ground.

      I don’t understand why he was sent off, though.

    3. “Excessive celebration” (props aren’t allowed)

      It was a second yellow, I assume.

  5. by the by, did you notice that there’s an escalation in the order of the Clรกsicos?

    The tension before the league match is so-so (we’ll win it anyway, the league – unless anything crazy happens), the CdR will be a bonus for the season, it’s reputtion simply isn’t that big, but then, after 2 Clรกsicos, the 2 CL matches will decide over life and death ๐Ÿ˜€
    I will not have any calm night during those 18 days, and will probably be more and more agitated by and by.

  6. I for one, am not buying (not even a little bit) the hype that any team that we play (especially all outside of La Liga) are some kind of huge threat. Maybe it gets fans all worked up and psyched for the games, but I’m finding it kinda old and boring. As they say, the ball is round, so there’s a chance that both teams can win a game but if we agree that Barca is the best team in the world right now then they realistically have the upper hand. I take all teams seriously, but the hype is just getting out of hand for me personally, at least.
    In any case, it was an okay game. Our opponent let us play like we like it – loose and open. I wasn’t too impressed with Messi at all today. Actually, he hasn’t been playing well (nor scoring goals) for a few games now. Yes, he is the best player out there, but he is not playing his Messi best. I feel that he’s been taking on a lot defenders as he normally does, but he is not making it through in the last moment and that is part of his slump. His touch is off. I wasn’t impressed with Adriano either. He does what Villa used to do in the beginning of the season and that is to take a shot (any shot) when he enters the box. Most go flying into the second tier. Wasteful. Iniesta rocked it. He did it all yesterday with quiet determination.

    1. I think Messi is fine… he was involved with Iniesta’s goal… could have chipped the keeper… assisted Keita’s goal…. scored one, but it was ruled offside… worked hard off the ball. Dunno, he looked fine to me.

      As for Adriano and his shots, I hate his shots too, but how many shots did he take yesterday? Maybe one? I don’t think your criticism is warranted based on what I saw last night.

    2. I’m finding Messi a little off, but we all have our views. I think part of the challenge is that if Xavi is not playing on 4 cylinders, it effects Messi because Xavi is so critical in playing the perfects balls for Messi to score. Xavi played a little more back yesterday, more defensively. When Messi doesn’t have someone to give him good passes, he has no choice but to take on a boat load of defenders and try to squeeze into the box with the ball. Normally, that’s been working out well, but lately he misses that last little touch past the last defender.

      I would agree that Adriano might have taken only 1 or 2 of those silly shots yesterday. I’m probably jaded and biased at this point because he does it so often.

    3. We’re seeing Messi in the “pick your poison” mode. Defenders are committing to defending him, so the rest of our offense has more room to work with. Seeing as we had our entire midfield score one, I’d say it’s working great! Messi will score again soon enough.

    4. I agree with that as well. It seems to be a trend that when our midfielders scores first, our other midfielders and defenders seem to score as well. If only “midfielder” Messi could pass to “forward” Messi, he’d have the Pichichi all wrapped up! LOL Just being a little cheeky – but the fact of the matter is that Messi can make the most perfect passes for other’s to score … if only there were 2 of him!

  7. I think Adriano needs to shoot more. If he can get hem lower, we definitely need to blast from deep more.

    Also can anyone confirm my thoughts on the yellow cards? I posted it above.

  8. What’s with the calling Bieber and Gaga trash? I hate Gaga, personally. She’s a PR whore, basically her whole spiel is her image. What disappoints me about her is she’s actually talented but she just spews crap out and everyone goes crazy about it.

    Bieber is actually a talented kid and made it big the only way for young kids nowadays via YouTube. I don’t like eithers music but to call them garbage is rude and disrespectful.

    1. Actually neither has talents, but both are products, marketed and advertised as music. Sad state of affairs really, but pop music has always been trash, it’s only that now rap and r&b have joined pop into a huge trashopolis.

    2. Seriously, I will never understand people’s need to hate on celebrities. Look I don’t care for Bieber’s music, nor Lady Gaga’s, but that doesn’t mean I will go ahead and call them “trash” or “garbage”. They’ve made their success on their own merits (whether those be in music, personality or marketing themselves), so good on them. That people feel the need to degrade them as people for it is sad.

    3. Indeed, especially with the usually respectful way things are discussed here, the “trash” narrative is particularly dissonant. (i.e., tone it down a notch?)

    4. I’m glad somebody said this. Do I listen to Bieber’s music? No. Am I actively bugged by the guy? Not really. If you don’t want to listen to his music, then don’t, if you don’t want to pay attention to the hype (good and bad) surrounding him, then don’t.

      If you don’t like the music/the image of certain artists fine, but unless they do something actually morally/legally wrong, “garbage” is a really strong word to use.

      Do I care that Bieber played with the team and showed up in a jersey in Madrid? Nah. If he’s an actual fan, awesome. If it’s a marketing ploy or whatever, it’s no skin off my nose.

  9. I hope we’re clean in the cards bussiness for the semis, and I also think yellow cards will play an important role, for the semis and the final…

    1. Very important. I was really surprised that more Madrid players who already had a card didn’t pick one up against Tottenham.

      Hopefully we will be able to avoid any stupid yellows, better yet, ANY yellows, in the away game.

  10. Iniesta: “I didn’t provoke the yellow card. I was at a correct distance from the ball, I was surprised he gave it.

    Someone’s pants are on fire right now. ๐Ÿ˜›

  11. @lev,
    during those times there was only 1team and 1 god for me argentina nd maradona.knew of the reds cause of the road to wembley show.they r still my 2nd fav club team.

    U r right bout cycles.what irks me how can we be so pessimistic during our brightest times?

  12. bout trash celebrities.

    Dont heard JB,only heard ply stand up of eminem and few one of LG.she is talented no doubt but her PR,what can i say?

    BTB i m a huge fan of ROCK and UNDERTAKER.and still now.r they trash celebrities?

    Still watch old WWF whenever i have some time.

  13. @people discussing the “trash” tag: its obviously subjective.
    Although the word is neither used as an exaggeration,n or to highlight the point . I think its fairly accurate.
    It has a lot to do with how you define quality in music, and for me creativity is the biggest point.
    Imo most music nowadays , most mainstream music anyway ,like the pop stars mentioned in the above comments dont serve the the art ,because most of the time product is too shallow to sell.
    So you gotta sell the image , and they become visual jokes.
    Its new , its cool and flashy. Its easy to digest , and 90% of certain target groups digs it :just like the horrible shoes some girls used to wear back when you were in high school, but as soon as you take a look at them nowadays ,youre probably gonna die laughing.

    I think more or less its out of context with what this blog represents and its a subjective issue anyway.
    Needs loads of comments to actually touch it.

    1. The next generation will create things the older one detests, which will later be supplanted by an even newer generation and their own new/weird things. Nothing new here!

  14. Anybody else watching the Villareal vs. Twente game? The yellow submarine up by 3-0 at half. Sure wouldn’t mind seeing Borja Valero in blaugrana.

    Hope to see them in the final and in Europe next season.

    1. I’m watching it on and off. They’re making Twente look pretty poor. Good week for Spanish football teams.

    2. True. Since they conceded the first goal, the Dutch side haven’t been able to create much of anything. But all credit to the wonderful team that Villareal is this season. Brings back memories of that wonderful semi-final run they made in Europe a couple years back with Riquelme

    3. I love, love Riquelme. I still wonder whether Argentina would have won the World Cup if he wasn’t subbed out by Peckerman against Germany.

    4. I really hope they can keep their players and cause some damage in la Liga and CL next year.

    5. If Villarreal hadn’t had that dreadful start to last year they might have been in the CL and even made the quarters with us and EE.

    6. Definitely. I’m excited to see how other similar mid-table quality sides like Udinese, Napoli, and Dortmund of course will fare in the CL next season.

    7. OK 5-1, Apparently all Spanish/Catalan ๐Ÿ™‚ teams must win by 4 this week!

  15. I wouldn’t call Lady Gaga and Eminen trash, because both of them are darn talented in their field, and having success based on their own work. Justin Bieber is slighty different because he doesn’t have any talent and he’s disliked by everyone (even though that’s “Hate”). ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I actually like one JB song – “You Smile.” He plays the piano and can carry a tune. My grandmother is a classical pianist and a soprano, both my parents sing well, and the musical genes skipped me altogether so I envy anyone who can sing or play an instrument.

      In my teens, I loved Duran Duran and everyone said they were mere commercial stars with no talent whatsoever. And yet they compose songs, play instruments and their songs have survived to this day. Perhaps liked only by “old” people like me…but whatever ๐Ÿ˜€

    2. Miguel! ๐Ÿ˜€ The live version of this is better, no? Had I known that those rather atrocious outfits from the ’80s would be back in style, I’d have kept all my clothes so I can say I have real vintage stuff, instead of the H&M reproductions. Gosh – these videos used to be so hot. Now they’re so dated. We’re old.

    3. And thank the Lord that we don’t have to have big hair and shoulder pads anymore!
      Oh, and that mullets are out.

    4. I prefer the uncensored version. ๐Ÿ˜€ Funny thing is somebody mentioned this video yesterday. I don’t remember how it came up in conversation but my best friend’s boyfriend said that Girls on Film was the first time he had ever seen boobs. He stumbled across it on one of his dad’s VHS mix tapes. Hilarious.

    5. Indeed! Soma, you know they were here in New York last month and stayed at the Bowery? Was tempted to go and hang out. Close to 30yrs on…I think I would still swoon if I saw them in person. I hyperventilated when I saw Bono. I know it’s against NY rules but I still went up to him and asked for an autograph. He kissed my hand and cheek. My mind went blank….

    6. Duran Duran? What’s that, the family name of a Spanish person x2?? ๐Ÿ˜›

      *cue the outrage*

    7. Duran Duran was the first concerts I ever went to! They had a weird reunion thing where all but one of the originals got back together to play all their songs… My parents were big fans so they dragged my young pre-teen self to it. Great, great experience, though ๐Ÿ˜€

    8. Oh poor you, Jose ๐Ÿ˜€

      They have such strange lyrics (though great tunes). Even we (who were past teens) didn’t understand most of it. Was it in the late ’80s? That was probably when Warren replaced Andy Taylor. We, cousins, watched two nights of their 3-night tour. Our parents actually bought tickets and watched without us knowing, trying to figure out why we were going crazy over them.

  16. In the saddest news you’ll hear all week (well, after the Bieber news), is that it seems that I won’t be able the watch the second leg of the Semi-finals of the CL, because I’ll be in Dublin at that time.


  17. Eminem isn’t talented? Am I hearing right? I’m no fanboy of his but he rocks seriously.. And I don’t get all the hate against Bieber /Rebecca Black. If you don’t like ’em, don’t listen. Don’t go around spreading homophobic/murderous hate. Not cool!

    And count me in on the negative crowd. Its just how I grew up watching us. In those dark years, we lost a lot. And I mean a lot! We lost 5-1 at Malaga for crying out loud! Even now, the pain of 06-07 rankles. It might be part of the reason we are(or atleast I’m) so pessimistic. Simple, plain ol’ fear of regression. Regression to mediocrity. I’m sorry but I can’t chase away that feeling – the feeling that calamity is to befall us any minute..

    But that shouldn’t stop me from enjoying this once-a-generation spectacle that is rolled out week in week out by the boys. So, savor the moment and don’t get too -ve (I’m looking at you blaunero)..

    1. Wait, who said eminem isn’t talented? Someone said he’s trash not, not talented.

      Trash =/= Not Talented

    2. True eklavya. Also ,vj , get real. Nobody is spreading hate against these guys.
      And no, eminem is not rocking.
      He may be rapping(and he was doing a good job until he started the trash collabarotions -sold out-) , but thats just about it.
      ” If you dont like , dont listen. ”
      Well i dont , but your freaking radio/tv channels keep popping these songs up to my screen/speaker. And if its not mine , its the neighbours.

    3. And you think that’s not a problem here? Our ‘neighbours’ from (across the road mind you!) have the most up-to-date music systems known to me which on their whims can blare noise ranging from religious jibberish to the most popular noise..

      Earbuds FTW!

      Mute the damn TV/radio!

      If all else fails, unleash YOUR playlist ๐Ÿ˜€ . Usually a 3 hour Rammstein Marathon makes my neighbours (immediate, not from across – they like it :X) come crawling, begging for mercy..

      Nobody is spreading hate against these guys.

      I’m glad no one here is. Some of my friends would lynch a person if he listens to Gaga/Bieber/Black..

      Like I said, I’m not Eminem’s fanboy. But I love his earlier works – Without me, Lose Yourself. I always think of our turnaround from the pasillo to the CL when I hear the latter..

    4. I liked what he originally brought to the table , even if im not a fan of the genre as well.
      He had great amounts of exposure and created a fanbase , all he had to do was present something exciting to them.
      You know , hip hop is by definition all about the lyrics.
      The music isnt supposed to be great, its quite repetitive in most cases , so the message has to be strong.
      Its funny but rap and hip hop nowadays look like theyve become whatever they set out to not be originally.
      Public enemy and fear of a black planet set a standard that gradually everybody tried to stay away from.
      Im listening to various music “genres” but currently my favourite band ,that plays various styles as well is PORCUPINE TREE. Its the best band that you never heard of, believe me and check them out.
      Btw , theres nothing better than playing music, if youre into it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. I guess so! It sounds like something drastic happened and our season crashed and burned or something.

    2. Are you talking about the 06-07 or the 07-08 season(the latter was probably worse)?

    3. Okay I’m gonna assume its the 06-07 season.

      Keep in mind my memory is almost my weakest attribute , but like anyone if something quite bad happens to you ,you tend to remember it for life. Since we all are quite passionate about barcelona, you know what that means.

      First of all , before the season started , the planning was horrible.

      -Ten Cate , the assistant coach that was tipped for being the “bad cop” , the one that enforced discipline in the dressing room left us to unsuccessfully coach ajax.
      There were several players,including the words of some physios working at the club that rumoured “some times the team did not even bother to train and when they did so , they rarely were working hard”.
      This also was the first year that players like etoo and ronaldinho , became very outspoken in the press revealing that barcelona’s dressing room was not as smooth as their play on the pitch.

      -The squad wasn’t right. We cut loose of some players ,including van bommel and larrson and did not bring in any kind of replacement fitting the roles of the previously mentioned players.
      Some players were either not up to standards for the goals set by the last season’s success of the team, or simply started declining.
      players not fitting well enough: zambrotta , saviola
      players declining : giuly , ronaldinho .
      Ronaldinho was not close to bad , but the first signs of him having increasing difficulty in getting past his marker became notable.
      Etoo had major injury problems .
      Messi got injured for 3 months as well.

      -Rijkaard tactically , decided to follow the saying “dont fix it if its not broken”.
      Apart from the fact that our squad was obviously weakened in the beginning of the season , since some players left and werent even replaced by a player with the same characteristics/position -let alone qualitywise-, the CF was injured and some players declined when the season heated up, everyone else changed as well.
      We got “figured out”. No tactical surprises against our opponents ,that already knew how were gonna play and how they’re gonna counter this ,while following the double of the last season we were the team to beat.

      So we kicked in the season by winning the spanish supercopa versus our eternal city enemies.(they were gonna come back to bite us later on though).
      Then we got trashed by a latter barca player in the name of dani alves and a rampaging sevilla side.
      We missed out in the copa, letting a 5-2 comfortable lead against getafe and a maradona goal by messi to become a 4-0 trashing in their stadium.
      Got kicked out of the european stage by liverpool, especially the match in our home was a quite dreadful performance.
      Got saved by messi in the league against madrid, in the famous 3-3 draw that brought him a hattrick in his first classico when he just came back after a 3 month absence.
      Yet , we drew against espanyol in our home one game before the final game of the season , which meant that real madrid could win the title due to the head to head rule, which they did.

    4. Thanks for that long reply Mei. Dark times indeed. Very difficult to understand given the current success of the team. A Barca squad not traning hard?! I guess Pep’s influence goes far beyond the 90 minutes.

    5. As if losing at home to ‘Pool wasn’t enough, we somehow conspired to lose the league after being 8 points ahead of EE in Xmas on the last day in 06-07. Hence(I guess) the recent pessimism.

      And 07-08 was worse. Despite having a more than capable team who reached the CL semis, we somehow conspired (again!) to finish 18! points behind EE and suffered the pasillo i.e had to perform a guard of honour for them.

      Now, that you’ve mentioned it, the latter season hurt waaaay more. Thanks for throwing the lid of all those repressed memories..

    6. Thanks for the great summary on the 06-07 season. Didn’t watch much that year (and the next) as that’s the year I came to the US and was busy with stuff.

      Glad we’re past those dark days though. Really happy to be watching this current team that plays so beautifully.

    7. It was my first season following football at all… I was falling in love with Barca (why Barca is a story for another day :P), they started off the season strong, Ronaldinho looking magical still…

      Then came the second half of the season… unceremoniously dumped by Liverpool in the Round of 16, barely salvaged a draw at the second Clasico… as the season winded down, we were close to staying ahead of RM in the league (they were drawing, we were winning), when in the span of 10 minutes, RM scored and we conceded. The league ended with both teams level on points, and RM won due to head-to-head record.

      When things started to fall apart, curiously, is when brave Isaiah began the Barca Offside. If I recall correctly, his first post was about the Liverpool debacle that our club just experienced… Dark times indeed, and it only got worse before it got better.

    8. Thanks as well Jose.

      I’m going to see if I can find a better source than Wikipedia to read up on our history.

    9. OH that painfull season… but we totally owned them in that 3-3 el classico and don’t forget we were playing with 10 players cause oleguer was sent off! Not to mention tha penalty on ronnie in the last minute..;)
      But I think that game against espanyol sums up that season..we were wining EE was losing and when De la pena scored that equaliser i switched the channel to see Van Nistelroy scoring the equalizer for madrid. I think it was from a penalty or from a rebound of a penalty or smth…

  18. Valdes is apparently gonna be start a twitter account soon..the trend is spreading

  19. @hammer

    because during the bad times I expect them to be bad but I have faith that the good times will come…eventually

    When they, eventually, do come we have most to lose and it is very hard for me to expect that they will do the great things we are hoping for…I certainly don’t have “faith” that they will.

  20. Marca is at it again. Because of the united campaign recently advertised by Barรงa showing players with their hands up with the letters U N I T S ( Marca is accusing us of lacking consistency regarding our philosophy of ‘Mes que un Club’ and our Spanish Internationals of lacking companionship and talking all kinds of shit in several articles.


  21. Folks.

    In my day job, part of my duty is to function as the music editor at the Chicago Tribune. As such, and in my past life as music reviewer at the Chicago Sun-Times, I got to see hundreds and hundreds of bands, and hear as many of them via CD. I also know my music history a bit.

    There is not a performer in the history of the genre that has not, and will not labeled “trash” by someone. Beatles, Hendrix, Rolling Stones, Buddy Holly, Bill Haley and the Comets, Fats Domino …. how far back do you want to go?

    It’s fine to say that something isn’t your cuppa. But to call someone such as Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga “trash” because they don’t fit your musical template is intemperate.

    To further label them “manufactured,” using that petard to hoist them upon, is also flawed. You’d be surprised at how many popular performers are, in fact, product. It’s easier to name the few that aren’t, such as the likes of Fugazi, who started their own label, eschew merchandising sales such as t-shirts, etc. and assiduously kick to the curb all rock star trappings.

    Every band works hard at an image, even the most cultish indie darlings. That is every bit as manufactured as Bieber’s hair, clothes, etc. Labels dressed The Beatles. Hendrix chose clothing that enhanced his gypsy aesthetic.

    It’s why musical debates are so subjective and never-ending. Because the sole objective evaluator is “I don’t like them.” And that’s fine. Just know that even if you don’t like someone, doesn’t make them bad at their craft. I wouldn’t cross the street to wee on the Barenaked Ladies if they were on fire. But years ago, when I reviewed their concert, the band was brilliant, and I said as much. People howled. But quality and taste are two very different things.


    1. That and JB and LG are actually fairly talented when it comes to the singing side of things. Not my cup of tea, but undeniable talent.

      Having said that, let’s not turn this place into Pitchfork aye? ๐Ÿ˜€

    2. No kxevin , the sole objective evaluator is not just ” I dont like them “.

      While lots of points included in these comparison may be viewed as subjective , there are some fine lines within which you can attribute words like good or bad music to such kind of artists.

      Also , just because artists like beatles, hendrix and so on were labelled by some “trash” does not mean that some of the current pop idols cant be described as such with justification.
      Take away the dressing and hair style of the beatles or hendrix , and you still got the great music that they created.
      It was actually the other way round , they created that great music and then decided to market themselves smartly.
      Their “dressing” became famous because their music was greatly appreciated.In short , they became famous because of their music(their chosen profession!) not because of their style / eccentric ideology.
      If their music was not good enough , they would only server as a visual anecdote.
      Which is what happens with lady gaga : You get yourself a visual shock , but the music has no context and is quite repetitive.
      When a musician draws attention onto him by being a visual joke and nurturing rumours about his sexual orientation , you realize theres something wrong here.
      Its the type of songs that become hits by having you listen to them lots of times in the radio. .
      After a while you start to like them: in the beginning it sounds atrocious , then it sounds annoying, after a few days it sounds familiar and gets stuck in you head.But even so they dont last for more than 6 months , and thats telling a lot.

    3. No, mei, that’s justification of one’s taste being used as an exclusionary, wildly subjective filter. Not fair.

      The Grammy debate about artistic worth is endless. Even more endless is the music community’s. Couple this with the fact that like drugs, music lovers seek harder and harder stuff, and suddenly what is “artistic” becomes a slippery slope with a tiger pit at the bottom. For me, like any junkie, I’ve moved on to Japanese noise, free jazz, avant classical and the like. It happens. So what’s art for me is noise to someone else. Go to YouTube and look up Fushitsusha, for a little taste of what rocks my world.

      Would a classical devotee describe the music of Hendrix or The Beatles as great? Doubtful. How ’bout a jazz lover? Probably not. And don’t get me started on the herd mentality of rock critics. Listen to the full Sgt. Pepper recording and try to stay awake. Good luck with that. Most Hendrix was guitar-heavy jam sessions, with precious few songs. Art? Dunno. Virtuosity? For sure.

      Early Beatles is kinda crappy. “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” differs from “Rock Around the Clock” precisely how? Both were singles, marketed by a record label to sell records and a performer, right? Girls swooned, and those matching suits carried the day. Ba-bing. This stuff allowed them to get wanky, not the other way ’round.

      Lada Gaga is more popular than Hendrix ever was. Does that make her more artistically worthy? Isn’t popularity part of the raison d’etre for pop music? Visual joke? Look at the way the Rolling Stones or late-era Beatles dressed, then ask me who looks funny. You’d be hard-pressed to find a rapper who isn’t frontin’ in some way.

      Do you really think that anyone heard “Eleanor Rigby” and said “That’s a classic?” Nope. At first, they said “What with those strings and crap?” Later, as the novelty wore off, it became “great.” Sorry but music history is full of revisionism. Are the Rolling Stones a great band or a bunch of boring old gits who made two good records in about 100 years, from lifted blues riffs? Good question. Answer is it depends on what you like.

      Which is why I say, there is music that an individual likes, and music an individual doesn’t like. Everything else, for 99.999% of performers out there, is hype and marketing.

    4. Okay I wont come back on after this one. Keep in mind that you are talking about almost everything-musicians,drugs,dressing,popularity,lifestyle -bar analyzing the music though. Rhythm , melodies, repetitiveness, creativeness, message delivered, innovation.
      Its highly subjective, I will agree on this one.

      My point is that lots of pop music nowadays is manufactured ,packed and ready to go for the sole reason of selling a product. No context whatsoever, the cover is flashy , yet the box is empty.
      Was music in general better in the past?
      Propotionally no , it was just the mainstream music not ruled solely by this type of music.

      There are 3 reasons for getting involved in the music business:
      Money , fame , and most importantly and the one that is nowadays forgotten by many pop idols… passion for music.

      Anyway , this is a football blog(yay for remembering this!). Maybe , in a slow day (like a week ago :P) this one or similar to this one comes up!

    5. Why did Ian MacKaye have to quit Minor Threat and why did Henk ten Cate have to quit Barca? ๐Ÿ™

    6. I dont know about Ian , but ten cate was given the chance of being the head coach of ajax.
      He always wanted to be a head coach anyways, and was one before joining barca and after his spell with us.

    7. Because the time of both had elapsed. Can you imagine Guardiola needing an enforcer like Ten Cate? Speaking of, did we all see the gestures he made to Vilanova when his play worked off the set piece? Very cool.

    8. But ten cate left in 2006 !
      Guardiola was gesturing towards vilanova ” You the man!” ๐Ÿ˜€

    9. Hell no. Guardiola’s the man. Maybe ten Cate could have been useful in dealing with Ibrahimovic. Probably not.

      That Fushitsusha band put out stuff through John Zorn’s label. Now why didn’t I know that? I love me some Zorn.

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