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.

Substitutes

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!"
Related Posts with Thumbnails

Recent Posts

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.

220 Comments

  1. ooga aga
    April 6, 2011

    good review chevin…

    can bassam fill us in on the yellow card situation of madrid? or do all cards get wiped out after the quarters? i can never remember,..,.

    • Jnice
      April 7, 2011

      I’m not 100% on this, but I think Di Maria, Ronaldo, Pepe, Carvalho and Sergio Ramos are all one yellow away from suspension. Albiol might be too.

      And no, the cards don’t get wiped out, that’s why everyone was suggesting Iniesta picked up his yellow on purpose.

      • Jnice
        April 7, 2011

        Scratch Pepe off that list because he picked up his yellow against Spurs, so he’ll miss the return leg, but be clear for the semi.

    • April 7, 2011

      As Jnice mentioned, Di Maria, Ronaldo, Carvalho and Ramos are one yellow card away from suspension. The person I am personally worried about picking a yellow cards is Carvalho, as he is the only player that i would hate to play without at the moment.

    • footballfan
      April 7, 2011

      As far as i know this only counts in the final, meaning that if a player gets booked on the 2nd leg of semifinal (causing him to miss the final), this will be suspended for the match after. So he will still be able to play in the final but won’t be able for the match after, which usually is the first group stage match in the next year champions league.

  2. blaunero
    April 6, 2011

    Fantastic review, Kxevin. We didn’t play the best football today and this tie most certainly isn’t over yet, but it sure is nice scoring more than the odd goal for a change.
    Alves pissed me right off today. What’s the point of crossing the ball in when none of our strikers is above 1,70m? Whenever he has the ball in the zone he seems caught between two ideas, to shoot or to pass. Sadly, what comes out is a combination of the two and the ball ends up somewhere in row zed. The one time he did keep the ball on the ground we scored. Maybe Pep should tell him that. Great player though and I’d rather have him on our side than in the opposing team.

  3. Jnice
    April 7, 2011

    Nice review, Kxevin. I didn’t think it was that boring, there were lots of moments of excitement for both sides.

    But if you watch P!! sometimes, you will find that he is always moving. Defenders must absolutely hate that.

    Yeah, if you look at Xavi’s goal, Pedro’s run into the box forced their CB to make a choice and he sort of attempted to run and cover Pedro, which allowed the ball to reach a wide open Xavi for the goal.

    Look at this Pep interview. He was in a strange mood after the match. I don’t know why.

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

    • blitzen
      April 7, 2011

      Care to summarize what he said? I’m at work and can’t watch it.

  4. April 7, 2011

    I didn’t think “relief” had a sound but it does, and its the sound of that post when they missed their second goal.
    I think we were lucky, we were weak in defense, and they were weak on the big stage. Simple. Their weaknesses did not improve and ours did, in the second half.
    I thought Adriano was good in the first half, but he was way better in the second. He’s gotten more minutes he looks way more comfortable with the ball at his feet and in tight space. The defense definitely took him into account and that help us greatly.

    What is the deal with Puyol’s return? Ready for Almeria some minutes and then ready for el Clasico?

  5. OSBAG
    April 7, 2011

    Except that you might want to use him against spurs as pepe can’t play.

    • OSBAG
      April 7, 2011

      Sorry that was meant for bassam above
      BTW who knows why chygy didn’t play.

  6. Last year I wrote about the “The Curse of Arsenal” on my blog – http://www.allaboutfcbarcelona.com/2010/04/curse-of-arsenal-fc.html. Now it looks its over. But still there is a job to do in Ukraine.

    Pique was pathetic. I was shocked by his weakness to long aerial ball. He at times stopped running to judge the aerial trajectory, only to see Adriano run past him.

    With the same centre defnse pairing I am not sure against RM. May be Guardiola shouyld look into changing the formation to a 4-2-3-1 something he has used well last season. that should give more cover to the centre defense. Alves had the worst night in defending in the histroy of his career maybe in the hyistory of football…

  7. xavi
    April 7, 2011

    Iniesta bossed the midfield, totally. But we also have to thank Keita and Adriano for doing well on behalf of Iniesta because without that combination The Don would never have been so effective from outwide, just saying

    Busi is so calm on the ball, I love him. Also made some key interventions last night. But Puyi can’t return sooner because Busi is too slow to play CB against Madrid

    For all the Alves critics, I’d be surely on the top of that list, the good news would be Pep did notice how wasteful Alves was while crossing, which is the case every time as we know. I’m expecting some Pep talk 🙂

    I’d have preferred Afellay to come on earlier last night, even after scoring the 5th goal Pep had to wait till the last minute to bring him on…can’t understand him some times! Well, most of the times 😛
    Is something wrong of me for wanting to see this team play the second leg? It goes so… Valdes, Alves, Puyi, Fontas/Milito, Maxwell, Masch, Thiago, Keita, Bojan(on the right), Villa & Afellay(on the left)

    Thank God we got a very good result in the first leg, now we can put chill until the CDR final. I really hope we finish the job well against Almeria and Bilbao make Madrid drop few more points, it would be fun to watch both the teams playing in the second gear come the first of four Classicos 😀
    BTW who do you think was the best player from Shakhtar Kxevin? My vote totally goes to Willian… Was serious head ache to Alves both offensively and defensively!!

  8. Dani_el
    April 7, 2011

    Great review! I’ve checked out the yellow cards bussiness on our team, and Pique and Busi have 1 each, in the knock out stage, so if any one of them picks up one more (being completely reasonable being both our central defenders) they will miss the first leg of the semis, so we better watch out, I hope Pujol (captain our captain) returns soon.
    Excellent game, but until the final goal, I wasn’t sure about this game, we needed a nice head-start as Pep said, now it’s all about Almeria…!

  9. footballfan
    April 7, 2011

    Very effective football by Barcelona last night. It certainly wasn’t the best performance (I know they can do better!) but great result nonetheless. Now we can be more relaxed for the second leg away.

    As for Almeria, I think Pep will be able to give chance to the ‘fringe’ players, line up a fairly strong squad against Shakhtar and (I’m hoping) a bunch of B-team players against Madrid. It’s kinda fun imagining all the ‘superstars’ from Madrid playing against the likes of thiago afellay bojan.

  10. hammeronmessi
    April 7, 2011

    i dont know bout others,but no way in hell that was a boring match.

    Is it me or everybody feels that whenever an aerial ball is launch pique got lost.

    @kxevin,

    cant u use another term instead of useless?that term sounds very smug.(not that i m ashamed for).

    And i m not ur typical cule.i predicted a MANITA.

  11. hammeronmessi
    April 7, 2011

    hoping for the almeria win.that way we may see some B teames play the classico.i wish that very much.

  12. hammeronmessi
    April 7, 2011

    can anybody write a post why we cules r so pessimistic?
    Sometimes i feel so agitated to see some very very negative comments.

    This is our time.so enjoy it while it lasts.this cycle will end eventually.so enjoy and have faith in this team whatever the situation is.

    Though i m a + cule,does anybody know when tarzan returns?this defense will be pierced by madrid over and over and over again.

    We need our captain.so when he will return?

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      April 7, 2011

      Sport said he was expected to play against Almeria…

      yesterday he had training about 10 minutes…

      Rio Ferdinand has come back, hope our captain will be back soon too…

  13. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 7, 2011

    Shakhtar didn’t just park the bus,
    they made good chances and tried to score, so the match was not boring for me…

    and yeah, the luck was with us last night….
    we finished the chances FIVE times, while Shakhtar only one (it’s amazing considering how shaky the defense was)…

    LUCK is needed to win titles…so I don’t mind we won with a little bit of luck… 😉

  14. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 7, 2011

    for anyone who hasn’t seen this dance from Adriano and Dani :

    PIC :

    -http://26.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lj912hoU3P1qcjtfao1_500.jpg

    -http://30.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lj922kz2zu1qfjubto1_500.jpg

    -http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lj943hHAfD1qbvw1a.jpg

    GIF :

    -http://26.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lj90jytmIt1qdwewro1_500.gif

    😀

  15. K_legit
    April 7, 2011

    That. Iniesta. Pass
    *Drool*

    Villa cannot shoot of his left foot apparently as the seconds before that Dani goal he was fiddling ’round at the edge of the box before the ball popped to Iniesta and then to Alves

    Alves doesn’t want to score: I assure you that if there was one other Barça player in the box with him in that situation, Alves would have attempted a pass instead of a shot..

    Count me in with the negative thinking Cules, it just is the way I am sadly 😀

    • K_legit
      April 7, 2011

      36:25 in the first half..Messi defending the Barcelona corner flag..steals the ball and starts the move..
      What. A. Player.

    • Ryan
      April 7, 2011

      Villa’s goal that placed him above Raul on the national team’s scoring record was with his left foot. 😉

  16. Miguel
    April 7, 2011

    Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!

    Hooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!

    • Miguel
      April 7, 2011

      I never had any doubt in the Ukrainian El Pulpo Paul.

  17. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 7, 2011

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

    yeaaayyy, Jim!

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

    damn, if I knew they were gonna wearing white, I wouldn’t be so worried!

    count me in with the Negative Cules list too…
    and don’t forget Pep… 😛

    • Miguel
      April 7, 2011

      Villa’s play at 1:17 impressed the shit out of me.
      He didn’t score, but he kept making the runs, working within the offense and tracking back like a demon.

      • Diego
        April 7, 2011

        Villa’s play changed the course of the match, Imagine if the Shakhtar player received the ball with lots of time and acres of space to do what he wants.

  18. yonono
    April 7, 2011

    best part of xavi’s goal (the fifth); Ischenko (#32) is forced to step to honor Pedro!!(!)’s run, which takes him out of the passing lane from Dani to Xavi…and then we know what happened. Check it around 4:32. I LOVE THIS TEAM

  19. Jnice
    April 7, 2011

    I’ve read a lot of comments on the match and while I’m the first to admit our defending wasn’t convincing for long periods and Shakhtar could’ve scored more than one… it kind of bothers me when I see people say this match could’ve finished 5-4 or whatever. Surely if you give Shakhtar all of the goals they could’ve had from their chances/half chances, you have to look at our missed chances as well, no?

    -Messi’s chip
    -Pique’s poor touch when he was wide open after Busi’s flick on
    -Dani Alves’ cross in the box in the 1st half
    -The Pedro offside call

    You can’t say “If Luiz Adriano takes a better touch” then ignore what we did on the other end. At least not in my opinion anyway.

    • Ryan
      April 7, 2011

      I agree with you entirely! We always hear these hypothetical battles, but they rarely take into account Barcelona’s near-misses.

  20. xavi
    April 7, 2011

    Oh btw another little incident that impressed me last night… This is about Xavi

    The play was going on in the mid field. Xavi gives a short pass to Iniesta, the game was being concentrated to the right with Alves trying to bombard the right wing and Messi was effectively on the right side too. So just when Xavi gives that short pass to Iniesta, I see Villa left in acres of space on the left wing, so did Xavi, and I expected Iniesta to switch possession to that side of the pitch. But Iniesta instead tries to play one-two with Messi even though they were being rounded by numerous Shakhtar players. I shout at the TV in frustration. Oh did I mention Xavi saw Villa being totally unmarked!? So he does keep that in mind while this interplay was still going on, which went on for 5 or 6 passes. So he asks the ball from Iniesta and, as I expected confidently this time, he picks up Villa on the left. I wish I remember the exact time when it happened. If I get the chance to watch the replay I’ll make sure I’ll get the link for it

    This is one of those incidents where, watching on TV, you notice players who are better positioned for a pass but then the player on ball misses to see it… You get to judge even the best of the players out there! But Xavi is one of those very few footballers who never give you that chance!! We are really lucky to be watching the game of such an incredible player live. Because his ability to concentrate on such minor details, that beauty…it can never be captured on highlights

  21. Sheena
    April 7, 2011

    Anyone with a match download link? Preferably with pre-match and post-match. 🙂

    I’ll need to watch this a few more times before I’m fully satisfied. Personally, I didn’t find it boring at all. But perhaps that was more down to me being a cule and spending the entire match praying that we wouldn’t concede.

    Also,
    Goals collectively scored by Spanish teams(2) in the first leg of the quarters: 9
    Goals collectively scored by English teams(3) in the first leg of the quarters: 1

    Suck on that, EPL.

    • Jnice
      April 7, 2011

      I could only get the pre-match links, no post-match for Sky.

      /http://bitshare.com/files/ijhlzvxx/UCL.Barcelona.vs.Shaktar.06-04-11.Pre.Match-crpmx.rar.html

      /http://www.usershare.net/6ko8h8yfovor/UCL.Barcelona.vs.Shaktar.06-04-11.Pre.Match-crpmx.rar

      Credit to crpmx at fbtz.com

      Sky Sports Broadcast

      First Half:

      /http://www.fileserve.com/file/TuhhnDk/First Half – UCL – Barcelona v. Shakhtar Donetsk – 06-04-11.avi

      /http://www.filesonic.com/file/527766811/First_Half_-_UCL_-_Barcelona_v._Shakhtar_Donetsk_-_06-04-11.avi

      Second Half:

      /http://www.fileserve.com/file/vJQnTxj/Second Half – UCL – Barcelona v. Shakhtar Donetsk – 06-04-11.avi

      /http://www.filesonic.com/file/528048241/Second_Half_-_UCL_-_Barcelona_v._Shakhtar_Donetsk_-_06-04-11.avi

      Credit to Pakman at fbtz.com

      Sky Sports Torrent:

      http://www.multiupload.com/FIANBACMI0

      Credit to pooloop at fbtz.com

  22. Lev
    April 7, 2011

    Great review Kxevin! The best match review I have read in a while, in fact.

    I will say this though, and first I will quote you:
    “He and Busquets were left for dead by the Shakhtar striker, who was only betrayed by his gag reflex.”
    Without either one of Abidal or Puyol our defense looks AWFUL against counter attacks. And as much as we need Puyol to return, we miss Abidal even more. I have a very bad feeling about this month.

    @hammeronmessi

    “can anybody write a post why we cules r so pessimistic?”
    I guess it depends how long you have supported the team. Those of us who joined during the Ronaldinho years tend to be a lot less pessimistic, I guess. The rest of us have learned how to arm our hearts to protect us from soul-piercing disappointments 😉

    Agree with you 100% on the we need Tarzan back or EE will kill us comments…

    • Diego
      April 7, 2011

      Even those of the Ronaldinho era witnessed the 06/07 season which made them doubters even if we’re winning 8-0 with 1 minute left in the match.

    • mei
      April 7, 2011

      “I have a very bad feeling about this month.
      You too , lev? 😛

  23. Diego
    April 7, 2011

    That’s why I love playing the first Leg at home, Teams will come defending hoping to come out with a good result, Even if they earned a scoreless draw, They have to score at home to advance meaning they’ll leave spaces.

    I don’t know who said it but it was Xavi I think that wants the 2nd decisive leg usually at home.

    We’ll be meeting EE at Bernabu in 1st leg.

  24. 145culegirl
    April 7, 2011

    nice review.How we were hypertensed before the game?Its certainly a big relief though it is not yet over.Shakhtar played good and I think they deserved a decent score.But their finshing was horrible and Barca too seemed to gift them some chances.Defence was a bit sloppy.I felt very sad for Villa and Messi as they tried quite hard to score but nevertheless its a perfect way to get into form

  25. Extreme barca fan
    April 7, 2011

    Great Review Kxevin, thanks
    I like how we played yesterday except for some defensive mistakes in the 1st half, Busi & Pique got their act together in the 2nd half, but i’m not sure its all improvement, part of it is that Shakhtar got tired or depressed and were trying less.
    To me this was a very exciting match, it kept me on the edge all the time, five different goal scorers means collective effort which is great and we should do more of it, because messi isnt always going to score a hatrick and take the match by strom, not that he wasn’t great but he just didnt dazzle.
    I predicted a 4-1 result, very happy its 5-1, optimistic ? yes and i’ve been cheering this team for 21 years.
    Can anyone please give some information on puyol’s expected date of return.

  26. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 7, 2011

    we desperately need Puyi back…
    God, please…

    Look how shaky and fragile our defense without Puyi/Abidal,
    that man Mou surely NOTICE that…

    Higuain/Benzema/Ade, CR, and Dive Maria can tear us apart on counter attacks with Pique – Busi as our CB…

    It’s me being negative again, but just see how awful and slow our defense was…

    Is there any chance Abidal can play again this season?

  27. K_legit
    April 7, 2011

    anyone have the link to Messi’s official FB page?

  28. Diego
    April 7, 2011

    Canadian singer Justin Bieber took part in a little match with some Barcelona players at the training centre. {via Barcastuff}

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    • blitzen
      April 7, 2011

      Arsene Wenger is already preparing his offer.

      • BA
        April 7, 2011

        hahaha look at the 5th picture in that set. Bojan is glaring at Bieber with *extreme* prejudice. maybe the thought of Bieber donning his mantle as King of the Teenies will finally really motivate our misfiring Cuddly Toy?

  29. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 7, 2011

    I thought Negative Cules are the worst, no, I’m wrong…

    some Negative Madridistas are the worst negative fans ever…

    In an Indonesian largest forum, EE fans are agree to use Barça as their avatar this month and they keep praising Barça, as a symbol of pessimism…

    oh, and also in the last El Clasico there’s a rules of Holy Week on EE forum :
    one week before El Clasico, EE fans were NOT allowed to insult/mock Barça (including Pep and the players), they were NOT allowed to make a score prediction or arrogant statements like :
    “we’re gonna smash them 3-0!”

    how pathetic…

    • mei
      April 7, 2011

      To be honest, judging from recent year’s results , its just common sense to propose such rules 😛

  30. Helge
    April 7, 2011

    Any news about Puyol’s fitness would be deeply appreciated.

    Now, I might be starting the pessimism culé talk once again, just hours after our glorious result (note: result, not match) against Shakhtar, but I will feel a lot more confident about the semi-finals if Puyol is back and has already played two matches to get back into the rhythm.

  31. soccermomof4
    April 7, 2011

    Thanks to:
    Isaiah for the preview
    Kari for the LB (and Kxevin for shepherding us through our worry during it)
    And Kxevin for the review

    MotM= Jim!

    @ Jnice, couldn’t agree more, they missed some chances that would have made the scoreline more “interesting”, but we missed some that could have made the scoreline absolutely crazy.

    For me, Messi was the most fun player to watch. Their defense was destabilized by him. He dragged players all over the place. I wish he would have scored but creating space for others to score is important too. The announcer (when I was able to watch the game on a real TV in English) actually gushed about what a complete player Messi was after that defensive play in the far corner and how that made him the best (Are the rest finally catching on? Ray knew it all along, mind you!)

    CB stuff- Our DM and LB have consistantly scored higher than Pique all during the Puyi absense. There is something wrong with that. We don’t have a big squad but thanfully we have some really talented footballers who can play well out of position and someone like Mascherano who can step in for Busi without us sacrificing too much fluidity anymore.

    Alves? Momma said there’d be days like this… He made up for the bad with a goal and a dance.

    4 clasicos in a month? Maybe I’ll hit the healthfood store and see what kind of herbal tea they have for anxiety.

    I think we deserve some PARTY TIME after yesterday. At least a couple days of happiness before we start worrying again. Pep can’t give the guys that luxury( I hope they get a day off though), so we can party for them.

    • Helge
      April 7, 2011

      hehe, that dance was priceless. He actually deserves +1 only for it 😀
      And the look on Thomson’s face is also hilarious. Great choice of picture, Kexin!

  32. ak
    April 7, 2011

    i still don’t get it why you guys rate adriano so highly. i didn’t follow him at sevilla but he’s not really impressed me at barcelona so far. he disrupts our flow and while the idea of another dani alves on the right flank is dreamy, he’s hardly any good.

  33. yelèna
    April 7, 2011

    uhmm, some rumor im hearing (im not sure if its old or new since im not the most updated person)… it there any truth that the relationship between xavi and messi is kinna cold? (i know, bs right?) but they’re sayin xavi rarely passes to messi lately (even if he’s open), and like last night that he didnt celebrate w/ messi after his goal or that messi didnt join the group celebration for xavi’s goal… i dont wanna believe it, but has anybody noticed somethin?
    (they say, its bout the WPOY thing)??

    • Helge
      April 7, 2011

      It’s natural that Xavi runs to Dani Alves because he created the goal. And I don’t think there’s something personal between Messi and Xaavi, but Messi – being as ambitious as he is – doesn’t like his current goal drought and prolly was a bit dissatisfied with himself not scoring in such a high-scoring match.
      But Xavi deliberately ignoring Messi for the bad of the whole team – nah, that’s impossible!

      • yelèna
        April 7, 2011

        oh,i thought so too… i needed to hear that Helge.thanks… i guess iv been wearing negativi-TEE in the last few days…=P

        • Helge
          April 7, 2011

          I can also confirm that Messi did celebrate with Xavi, he joined the group celebration and pat Xavi’s head (just watching the re-live). I promise, nothing is wrong with them 🙂

          • yelèna
            April 7, 2011

            oh great then!! i should probably watch the match again (and pay more attention) =)

    • K_legit
      April 7, 2011

      Adriano looks like he has the armband?

      • Helge
        April 7, 2011

        Yeah, that is really strange. I’m watching a re-live of the match, and Xavi is wearing the Captain’s armband on his left arm…

      • arabella
        April 7, 2011

        oh cool, but should make sense if Xavi’s body is facing right/outward of the huddle…

  34. hammeronmessi
    April 7, 2011

    @lev
    been supporting since 99.
    So u know where all this optimsm coming from?if anybody can go through those terrible 6 years,he surely will become a glass half full man.

    Where r these rumours coming from regarding xavi and messi.

    If true then xavi is simply being jealous.if WPOTY is bout the best then messi is the best.full stop.

    I think of this as some lazy journos brainchild

  35. hammeronmessi
    April 7, 2011

    so its bull shit then.

    Thank u Helge.

    • Diego
      April 7, 2011

      I know it’s like months late but still, Sorry for the delay.

      My name is Diego and I’m from Egypt. I’ve been a Barca fan since 2006 and an Argentina fan since 1997 😀

  36. Diego
    April 7, 2011

    So, Justin Bieber …

    Can we expect Rebecca Black next Friday ?

  37. K_legit
    April 7, 2011

    As regard the recent hue and cry raised over the sight of a certain Justin Bieber at the FCB training grounds kicking ’bout with a few youth teamers and few of the first team, I have to ask this one question, Is it a bad thing?
    Sure, many people (including myself) are not fans of his music and/pr his performance but that does not make us blind to the fact that he appeals to a great demographic of the world today..
    His youtube videos are (in)famous for the fact that they have millions of views but strangely more dislikes than likes.
    I have noticed this sort of “i am washing my hands off this shizzle’ kind of attitude amongst the Barça fans over this in the past few hours which has made me kind of sad..we, as an orgainzations houdl be open to anya nd all kind of celebrity (quasi or not) endorsement..
    Liek it or not Bieber is a phenomenon..whether his star lasts or not is a different matter but what we can (and should) do now is to capitalise on it..
    I believe Barcelona dropped a huge ball by not intensifying itse relationship with Bono and U2 when he was performing at the Camp Nou and kinda just let it drift away..U2 is a huge huge brand and a working relationship with the club would have done wonders for the brand image of Barça…
    In addition, Justin Bieber alongwith indeed Shakira are two of the most marketable people in the world market and if indeed they show an interest in the brand that is Barça, it will do wonders to seize upon that initiative and convert it into some brand-advertising…
    There are no tow ays about it..The guys in charge at the Camp Nou have to realise that they have stumbled upon a huge nest-egg here..They have to nurture this and if they play their cards right this could mean a huge pay-day for the club..
    It may not be the most popular decision but Rossel hasn’t been shy of making such decisions in the past and I for one would (for once) support him if he decides ti try and further the relationship between FC Barcelona and the two I mentioned in my post..

    • Lev
      April 7, 2011

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

    • Eklavya
      April 7, 2011

      Please, I DONT WANT TO SEE BARCA RELATED TO BIEBER IN ANY SORT OF WAY.

    • mei
      April 7, 2011

      Yes , its wrong and its stupid.
      We should relate to celebrity that reached its status due to its quality , not because of the stupidity of the fanbase that will fade out pretty fast anyway.

    • Jnice
      April 7, 2011

      I honestly don’t care much. And I don’t think it’s that serious.

  38. Lev
    April 7, 2011

    @hammer

    Fair enough. Personally I felt those years were bad, but at least Valencia and Deportivo managed to win the league a couple of times instead of EE. (I chose to ignore their CL wins 😉 )

    I think some of the examples of why culés have such lack of faith, even when we are “on top of the world” are the 4-0 humiliation against Milan in ’94.

    Signing arguably the greatest striker of the game, a young Ronaldo, and watching him leave after a great, great season with us.

    Btw reports in Holland read that Arsenal are trying to sign 15 year old LB Xavi Quintilla from the Masía…

  39. Josep
    April 7, 2011

    @lev Xavi Quintilla’s parent’s have said they want him to stay in Barcelona, so we’ll see.

    @Diego Rebecca Black is a nobody. Just thought I’d let you know so you stop harping about her 😀

    As Kevin noted, we didn’t even play THAT well. Lets not discount Shakhtar, we played well. We finished our chances which we haven’t done in weeks.

    Regarding Yellows, I think if you pick up your next yellow, even here in the QF, you can get the suspension for the Semis. If you DON’T, the yellows reset. Right? Oh, and how many years straight have we been in the semis? That’s an incredible achievement.

    Jim with the clutch optimism, he’s clearly from the UK :D. Although I believe it was you, could be wrong, who said Keita didn’t offer much going forward. Keita is your classic player who roams and arrives late in the box for plays like that. If he doesn’t play, that’s not a goal. The other players don’t have that ghosty role like that.

    In Pep we trust, I kept doubting him, and doubting him, but I knew deep down that he knew what he was doing. He’s getting way better with his tactics. Anyways, lets talk about transfers again.

    By the way, as a Cule, I think Masch is signing of the season. As opposed to all the people who think he was a waste of money. He’s been insane, and leads me to believe Busi might take over the Xavi role, atleast for a few years. Xavi follows Pep, Busquets follows Xavi?

    Is there ANY doubt in the world that Keita will retire at this club? Well, if we vote Tom_Johnson president I guess, but other than that?

  40. blitzen
    April 7, 2011

    Boring? Dull? I could not disagree more! I thought it was a terrific match. Shakhtar played really well in the first half, and if Luis Adriano had been a bit more alert, or Valdes a bit less, the score would have been very different. Make no mistake, we beat a very good team yesterday. It may have looked easy, but it wasn’t.

    I was also very impressed at what a clean game it was. I expected Shakhtar to be very physical and to try to muscle Barca off the ball, but that really didn’t happen. They came out to play football, and aside from Raztvan Rat’s sneaky little shin kicks (for which he was rightfully carded), that is what they tried to do.

    Adriano was great, and Pep also picked the right moment to bring Maxwell on. I don’t know why everyone is clamoring for a new LB when we have three perfectly good ones right now. Abidal will be back well before next season starts, and Adriano and Maxwell have both shown themselves to be more than capable and have different strengths. Options are a good thing.

    David Villa worked his ever-loving socks off. So did Messi. Neither scored. Didn’t matter. Excellent game from both of them.

    Watch out! It’s the return of the Blitzen Awards!

    Do I Want to Kill You or Kiss You? Award: Dani Alves, who managed to be both shockingly bad and brilliant. Yes, there was that horrific backpass (and another not-quite-so-bad one later) and numerous balls shot into space, but there was also that amazing dribble and pass for Xavi’s goal, and a goal for himself. I swear one day this man is going to kill me.

    Stick to Your Day Job Award: Andres “The Ballfather” Iniesta. He is sure no actor. The yellow card was clearly deliberate, and his “what, me?” shrug was unconvincing at best.

    Taking One for the Team Award: Victor Valdes, who earned himself some fine racing stripes courtesy of Adriano’s studs as he lunged to pop the ball safely through his legs after Dani’s terrible backpass.

    Didn’t Miss You Till We’d Lost You Award: Chyggy, looking reflective and resigned in the stands. Awww.

    <He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother Award: Keita, for his message of support for his “brother” Abidal, which he unveiled on his undershirt after the match. <3

    And finally, I may in the minority, but I love Xavi’s new haircut. It makes him look older and less gelled. I hope he keeps it. 8)

    • soccermomof4
      April 7, 2011

      Love your awards.
      I want Xavi’s trademark spikes back.
      I don’t think it was boring at all either. When we finally got our act together, the fact that they actually tried to disrupt our tiki-taka made the passes that worked that much more spectacular. You also have to laugh when a 5’6″ dude plays head volleys back and forth with the 5’7″ dude. Yes they lost the ball eventually, but it was awesome (I use that word, awesome, a lot when talking about this team, must be a reason).

      For the record, I hereby promise that I will never (maybe) doubt Pep again for his lineup.

    • Helge
      April 7, 2011

      Replace Luis Fabiano with Luiz Adriano and I’ll agree with everything 😉

    • Miguel
      April 7, 2011

      Neil Diamond is the Jewish Elvis Presley.

      Atleast Xavi isn’t getting his haircut from Iniesta’s sister. Ayayay.

    • Eklavya
      April 7, 2011

      -Xavi’s new haircut is ugly 😯

      -I thought Iniesta’s shrug was pretty convincing lol. At least more than Ramos and Xabi Alonso’s. 🙂

    • barca96
      April 7, 2011

      Yeah finally the awards are back!
      Love the Alves award. Really. I felt like doing a Star Wars choke ( can’t really remember who has that power to choke without physically touching the person. Not a big fan of Star Wars, sorry).

  41. jordi™
    April 7, 2011

    Justin Beiber???

    The universe sure gives with one hand and takes with the other.

    One week week of bliss, then…justin.beiber.trains.with.Barca.FML

    Surely this means Carles comes back early as a surprise? Its only fair :3

    • mei
      April 7, 2011

      That guy training with our beloved team is scientific proof that god doesn’t exist.

    • Miguel
      April 7, 2011

      I’m sure Krkic was absolutely thrilled to hang out with Bieber. 🙂

  42. hammeronmessi
    April 7, 2011

    @lev,

    if those year felt bad by u,what is your definiton of horrible?

    I know bieber.never heard any songs of him(my favs iron maiden,metallica,dream theatre,children of bodom,linkin park and bryan adams).is he any good?what are his fanbase?

    • soccermomof4
      April 7, 2011

      Fanbase? Near as I can tell tween (8ish to 13ish) girls.

  43. hammeronmessi
    April 7, 2011

    oh blitzen,i also like the new haircut.

  44. Miguel
    April 7, 2011

    The Spanish press tend to use a self-styled hurricane warning system to rate the severity of the Clásico clashes between Barcelona and Real Madrid. A run-of-the mill, mid-season, fairly-unimportant-in-the-whole-scheme-of things game is merely a ‘Super Clásico’.

    An encounter which may help one side to win the league title is a ‘Biggest Match of the Century’ Clásico. Anything higher is the ‘Greatest Game of Football There Will Ever Be Until The Sun Burns Itself Out’.
    http://www.football365.com/spanish_thing/0,17033,9405,00.html

  45. April 7, 2011

    Msybe “boring” wasn’t the best word. “Inevitable” would have been better. There was a logical finality to the match that, for careful observers (I wonder if I would have been one of those, watching it cold), made the outcome inevitable. Witness the Fox Soccer announcers, who when we scored were sort of like “Nice goal, but duh, right?”

    I love that Shakhtar came out to play, rather than playing tight, trying to nick an away goal on the counter. It was a bad decision for them, ultimately, but worked out well for us.

    –For me, the Bieber business isn’t the performer in and of himself for me. I just don’t like the climate surrounding our team, with celebrities glomming on and defenders dating international pop stars. The beauty of our triplete team was that they were just folks. Messi probably didn’t even know what Facebook was, and Pique/Puyol weren’t “moc moc”ing all over Twitter.

    • K_legit
      April 7, 2011

      Time to roll with the times..and it ain’t for the old ones like me
      I have recently started twittering ( or is it tweeting) but that is just to keep with barcastuff, a couple of Universities and Queen Rania of Jordan ( my Queen you are breathtaking)

      • Extreme barca fan
        April 7, 2011

        K-legit: where are you from ???
        i’m Jordanian and i can tell part from her looks she isn’t a great person, dont be fooled by the media and the humanitarian work she does, we people of Jordan are in dire conditions, 90% of the working people in Jordan earn less than 500us$ per month, corruption is a huge issue in my country and our royal family have much to do with it.

        • K_legit
          April 7, 2011

          I am Indian
          and I know what you mean EBF..I meant breathtaking in a satirical sense..maybe my way of putting that point forward was a bit flawed

          • Extreme barca fan
            April 7, 2011

            Nothing is flawed in what you said, she is very good looking, a lot of men admire her beauty, i just wanted you to know a little more about her, and Congrats on the cricket world cup victory.

          • K_legit
            April 7, 2011

            Thanks for the info man..much appreciated..and thanks..winning the world cup is an incredible feeling.

    • Barcaleya
      April 7, 2011

      Yeah Kevin, I don’t think you really meant “boring” and “dull” 😀

      No Barca game is ever dull to me because I am so nervous I literally get sick when they play. When it’s a tight game, I can’t breathe until full time. Even when we’re 5 goals up…it’s the same. Til the whistle blows, I can never be sure. And not because I doubt the skill and determination of our boys, it’s just part of being so passionate for the team. Sometimes I wish I didn’t care so much.

      I’m not as pessimistic as everyone though as I’ve supported Barca from 2000 and went through the dark ages when EE was winning everything. And with a bit of style too. Nothing close to what we have now, though. And this “style” (that also wins games) is what attracts all sorts of “fans” to the team. So…yes, I do long for the time when we were just “folks.” It was the other teams who had all the glamour and the celebrities. But I’ll take this if it means we win all the trophies and continue the breathtaking and beautiful way we play. JB and the likes is but a minor irritation.

      Finally, Alves was frustrating me to death. I just wanted to strangle him. Thankfully, we had enough luck and lucky bounces that went our way to win with lots to spare. If it were otherwise….I’m close to disowning him. Ha ha. When will he ever learn?

      • Helge
        April 7, 2011

        Well, I have similar feelings about Barça.

        But if we lead by 5 goals or “just” 4 goals, I feel sure of a win. Nonetheless, I jump out of my seat if we have another golden opportunity or the opponent is close to scoring against us. You cannot tell me that you felt insecure about yesterday’s match after the 5-1, right? 🙂

        I’m proud to be so passionate about this club, it’s the total emotional devotion that makes you feel alive, imo 🙂
        I would never want to lose it!

        • Barcaleya
          April 7, 2011

          Hi Helge! Mmm…I was still insecure at 4-1, would you believe? After all it’s a two-legged tie and we visit them at their fortress where they are invincible. Before yesterday’s game, I was looking at them too as giants and aliens and all sorts of unsavory characters out to kill our tiny…lovable…team. Haha.

          Yes, the passion is what makes all the gnashing and gnawing worthwhile. The indescribable euphoria from our wins makes up for all the deep despair. And the good thing is – there is always another day. Even if it takes years and decades to come (well, for other teams that is. We haven’t really waited for decades for titles, have we?)

    • I’m afraid I agree with Kxevin on this whole moc-moc facebook starsystem stuff…I’m afraid that its going to get into the players head eventually, maybe slower than usual but it will get there…
      unless dunno unless I’m just to old!…on the other hand Andresito got a facebook page and and since that he’s been even better…what if the same thing happens to Leo ?! *OMG*

      • barca96
        April 7, 2011

        I feel the same way.
        I don’t like all these FB and twitter business.
        Just focus on your job!

        After you retire, then only worry about all that and writing a book (Pique).

        ps. I dont have a Facebook a/c. 🙂

    • mei
      April 7, 2011

      How were they just folks?
      Messi already was an international phenomenon,ranked between the best players in the world in official awards ,and the favourite amongst fans.
      Xavi already had won the euro along with his mates in barca that represented the spanish side ,along with the award for the best player of the tournament.
      We had henry , etoo and marquez , players not really unfamiliar with the celebrity status.
      The beauty of our triplete team , was that the players that starred in it were supposed to be full of themselves , but they weren’t.They were praising the team rather than themselves , they looked like their social behavior was in line with the way they played football , which was sexy as hell.
      Dealing with the celebrity status is important for anyone that wants to reach out into the public.
      And with the way this team plays , they look like they have a chance to do so ; to make football more global than it already is.
      To make millions of people care how a team in catalunya performs.
      So dealing with the celebrity status isnt the problem.
      Nevertheless quality should go with quality , and trash like justin tieber, lady gaga and eminem, goes in the garbage.

      • barca96
        April 7, 2011

        Excuse me???!! Eminem is not a trash!
        Please explain to me how he is garbage..

      • Barcaleya
        April 7, 2011

        You have to look much farther than this present team or its immediate predecessor. When EE started buying the galacticos and Man U had Beckham. They were more “celebrity” than we were. And as you can see from international media, it’s taken them so long to recognize just how brilliant our players are (esp the homegrown ones) despite their sublime performances so they have not been pushed to that celebrity circus.

        I’m sure I will still support Barca even if we had “not-so-nice” players. But I’m doubly happy that most if not all of the players now are generally nice, regular and lowkey, which makes me love them more. They are the perfect role model to everyone, especially teens and children, so I don’t mind them having a higher profile than they would want. More than showing off how a team in Catalunya performs, I think they show how discipline, hard work and sacrifice results in success and to be so humble and giving after all that is what everyone should strive for.

        I wouldn’t call JB or LG trash…can’t recall them doing anything horrible to community or humanity. We may not appreciate their music but they have the same right to swoon and appreciate good football just like all of us here. I think we should be more tolerant of others. I like football because it brings together many kinds of people. There is too much hate out there already. Let’s try to be more positive and happy here.

        Finally, most of the players are young. Of course they want to be connected. So…it’s only natural for them to have facebook and twitter and whatnot. They don’t have the same freedom as we have, and they give us so much happiness (and headache and grief) – we shouldn’t begrudge them these normal things.

        • mei
          April 7, 2011

          Well , nobody is comparing whos the bigger celebrity between clubs . Ofcourse EE topped us in that area – they set out to do so anyway-.In fact they practically invented celebrity in football. With that many stars , the project looked like it was a win win situation – even if the sporting side failed , the $$ from advertising ,shirt selling , sponsors etc would be a success for the financial side of it(though it finally really weren’t but thats another discussion).
          You second paragraph sums up nicely what I m really bugged about though. They are role models for the kids. They look up to them. Keep trash artists away from the kids and if you want to do so , keep them away from role models.
          In order to be a “trash” artist, you dont need to have massacred a community , or to a large number of people.
          I consider trash products , the products that are manufactured for the sole purpose of being sold. This may sound acceptable in some industries , but in the creative field it is embarrasing and its becoming quite annoying.

          • Barcaleya
            April 7, 2011

            I am far from supporting the club tying up with any of these celebrities but if the kid is a fan, and had enough connections to play with the team – lucky him. I’d probably do the same if I were him 😀 If the club didn’t post the photos, he would too.

            Agree that it’s annoying and God forbid we start putting up his name in our jerseys or coming out with endorsements with him….but I see it as him wanting to associate with us and not the other way round.

            Anyway – off to celebrate the win! Til the next game when we start tearing our hair with worry. The results worry me more…

          • Miguel
            April 7, 2011

            I have no idea who the kid is and I’m pretty sure my little sister can beat him up but I love that he’s always decked out in Barca gear from head to toe! What a nerd.

  46. 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!

  47. K_legit
    April 7, 2011

    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 Barça is cards are played right

    * I come in peace* 😀

    • Lev
      April 7, 2011

      K-Legit I was joking 🙂

      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…

  48. K_legit
    April 7, 2011

    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 😀

    • April 7, 2011

      Fixed. Just remember that when you open the italics, you have to close them.

  49. Lev
    April 7, 2011

    @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 Barça.

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

    • blitzen
      April 7, 2011

      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!

    • Lev
      April 7, 2011

      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.

      • blitzen
        April 7, 2011

        “Excessive celebration” (props aren’t allowed)

        It was a second yellow, I assume.

  50. Helge
    April 7, 2011

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

    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 Clásicos, the 2 CL matches will decide over life and death 😀
    I will not have any calm night during those 18 days, and will probably be more and more agitated by and by.

  51. justsayin
    April 7, 2011

    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.

    • Jnice
      April 7, 2011

      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.

      • justsayin
        April 7, 2011

        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.

        • Ryan
          April 7, 2011

          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.

          • justsayin
            April 7, 2011

            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!

  52. Josep
    April 7, 2011

    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.

    • Lev
      April 7, 2011

      I believe somebody said that the yellow cards will effect the semis. I hope so.

  53. Josep
    April 7, 2011

    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.

    • blaunero
      April 7, 2011

      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.

    • Jose
      April 7, 2011

      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.

    • Ryan
      April 7, 2011

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

    • mardia
      April 7, 2011

      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.

  54. Dani_el
    April 7, 2011

    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…

    • Lev
      April 7, 2011

      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.

  55. blitzen
    April 7, 2011

    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. 😛

  56. hammeronmessi
    April 7, 2011

    @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?

  57. hammeronmessi
    April 7, 2011

    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.

  58. mei
    April 7, 2011

    @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.

    • Ryan
      April 7, 2011

      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!

  59. beeeef
    April 7, 2011

    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.

    • beeeef
      April 7, 2011

      Or Rossi for that matter. Just scored a golazo to make it 4-0.

      • soccermomof4
        April 7, 2011

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

        • beeeef
          April 7, 2011

          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

          • Barcaleya
            April 7, 2011

            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.

      • Ryan
        April 7, 2011

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

          • soccermomof4
            April 7, 2011

            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.

        • beeeef
          April 7, 2011

          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.

          • soccermomof4
            April 7, 2011

            OK 5-1, Apparently all Spanish/Catalan 🙂 teams must win by 4 this week!

  60. SoccerMom
    April 7, 2011

    Barça win by 4.
    Kloppenburg wins by 204.
    SoMa so happy.

    • blitzen
      April 7, 2011

      What’s a Kloppenburg when it’s at home, then?

  61. Eklavya
    April 7, 2011

    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”). 🙂

    • Barcaleya
      April 7, 2011

      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 😀

        • Barcaleya
          April 7, 2011

          Miguel! 😀 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.

          • soccermomof4
            April 7, 2011

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

          • Miguel
            April 7, 2011

            I prefer the uncensored version. 😀 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.

      • soccermomof4
        April 7, 2011

        We’re not old and Duran Duran rocked!!!!!!!

        • Barcaleya
          April 7, 2011

          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….

        • Eklavya
          April 7, 2011

          Duran Duran? What’s that, the family name of a Spanish person x2?? 😛

          *cue the outrage*

        • Jose
          April 7, 2011

          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 😀

          • April 7, 2011

            Oh poor you, Jose 😀

            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.

  62. Eklavya
    April 7, 2011

    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.

    NOOOOOOOOHOOOOHOOOOOOOO :'(

    • Eklavya
      April 7, 2011

      And I know that you all are devasted by this news.

      • Barcaleya
        April 7, 2011

        Oh no! I’m devastated for you Eklavya 🙁

  63. Vj
    April 7, 2011

    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)..

    • Eklavya
      April 7, 2011

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

      Trash =/= Not Talented

      • mei
        April 7, 2011

        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.

        • Vj
          April 7, 2011

          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 😀 . 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..

          • mei
            April 7, 2011

            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. 😉

  64. Nav
    April 7, 2011

    For us new Cules, what happened in the 06-07 season?

    • mei
      April 7, 2011

      What do you mean nav, specifically? You want a summary of the season ? 😛

      • Nav
        April 7, 2011

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

        • mei
          April 7, 2011

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

          • mei
            April 7, 2011

            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.

          • Nav
            April 7, 2011

            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.

          • Vj
            April 7, 2011

            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..

          • April 7, 2011

            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.

    • Jose
      April 7, 2011

      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.

      • Nav
        April 7, 2011

        Thanks as well Jose.

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

      • 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…

  65. K_legit
    April 7, 2011

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

  66. Lev
    April 7, 2011

    @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.

  67. Jnice
    April 7, 2011

    Marca is at it again. Because of the united campaign recently advertised by Barça showing players with their hands up with the letters U N I T S (http://bit.ly/iboIBw) 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.

    /http://www.marca.com/blogs/nomegustanloslunes/2011/04/07/reirse-del-madrid-desde-una-valla.html

  68. April 7, 2011

    Dunno what y’all are talkin’ ’bout but I got a new post up. Read it. Now.

  69. April 7, 2011

    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.

    Dig?

    • Nav
      April 7, 2011

      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? 😀

      • April 7, 2011

        It’s huge fun, for sure. I love what I do almost every day of the week.

    • mei
      April 7, 2011

      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.

      • April 7, 2011

        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.

        • mei
          April 7, 2011

          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!

    • Miguel
      April 7, 2011

      Why did Ian MacKaye have to quit Minor Threat and why did Henk ten Cate have to quit Barca? 🙁

      • mei
        April 7, 2011

        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.

      • April 7, 2011

        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.

        • mei
          April 7, 2011

          But ten cate left in 2006 !
          Guardiola was gesturing towards vilanova ” You the man!” 😀

        • Miguel
          April 7, 2011

          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.

Leave a Reply