Adversity Tests Loyalty: A Reminder to Barça Fans

“Have Barça lost their goal hunger?”

Yes, it’s not the same anymore 54% – No, they’ll recover it 46%

El Mundo Deportivo Poll + Results After Copa Del Rey Loss

The sad thing is, I’m not even surprised.

I’ve been meaning to rant about this for a long time now, but I unfortunately have finals to study for and write, so I’ve been pressed for time. However, I feel this is something that needs to be addressed now.

There is something about culés, something I hadn’t been able to put a direct finger on. Kxevin calls it The Way of the Culé, someone else calls it The Culé Complexity (although it could be Kxevin who said that as well. Fancy on-the-spot journalistic bonbons. Not that there’s anything wrong with that), but the central idea remains the same, and it’s one our enigmatic Linda touched on: culés are perpetually the victims and are almost always the underdog.

This was especially true during the trophyless seasons, 1999-2004 for the older culés, and ’07-’09 for more recent times. I can’t speak of the first drought, but I can talk about the second.

During the final year of the Rijkaard season, there were many issues, on and off the pitch. Rijkaard had a (in)famous coaching style of giving players more freedom. He liked to be friendly with the players, acting like he was just another one of the guys. To be fair, when the team was fully functional, this was considered a stroke of genius. Ronaldinho was bamboozling players and fans left and right. Puyol was drop-kicking forwards while getting the ball first had the defense on lockdown with a fit Rafa Marquez. Deco was part of a midfield of death with Xavi and Edmilson. Eto’o was still insane bagging in the goals. And everyone and their mothers were happy.

However, as you can imagine, giving players too much freedom can have an adverse effect — it’s just asking to be abused. Soon, players were partying harder and come home later. The team started conceding goals at the end of the games, losing leads. Then, they came late to training or didn’t even want to train anymore, and losing leads became losing matches. Control in the dressing room was slipping, cumulating to a sort of mutiny, when Eto’o actually refused to come on during an away match at Betis, and publicly called out the coach. Ronaldinho always had some kind of injury — “calf” or “hamstring” –and rarely featured during the ’07-’08 season. And the media, of course, was going postal on the team. During this time, Xavi, Iniesta, and Puyol were the model footballers, trying to lead by example, but it was a sad, sad time. Full of moments like these too*.

Why am I bringing this up, you are probably wondering. I have spent many-a-season trying to repress these memories, you insensitive jerk.

The answer is simple: you’d think our team is in the crisis described above right now.

A draw and a loss against our fierce rivals, after beating them five times in a row with the last being a 5-0 beatdown, and suddenly it’s “not the same anymore”, “we’re dooooooomed”, “Pep’s lost the plot”, “we need to change our style if we have any hope of getting anything out of this season”, “Actually, I just hope we can get La Liga, but I’m not even sure we’ll win that given EE’s form.”


Ummm, what?!

Our best player is clocking in 50 goals and counting. All three players in the running for World Player of the Year were from our team. We have the Liga record of most away wins. The World Cup winning squad had 7 of our players in the starting eleven in the World Cup final. We are one of the few teams this decade to get to the Champions League semis 6 times in a row. We are closing in to our 5th Liga title in the last 10 years, our third in a row.

And this is without sitting back with 10 men and hitting a team on the counter.

I have said earlier that I believe culés suffer from a superiority and inferiority complex at the same time. When we lose and our rivals seem more comfortable and score more goals than we do, anxiety rears its head in the form of damning analysis, full of absolute statements as if it were the most obvious thing in the world (“We will simply never win a trophy as long as so-and-so is on the team,” or “We have no chance at winning this match because so-and-so can’t score and take their chances”), or backhanded compliments (“Not bad, for a team that cost nearly half a billion dollars. How much did our starting XI cost again?”). When we win, it’s as if thinking otherwise was the most ridiculous thing in the world (“Well, of course we’d beat them. We’re the best team in the world. I mean, c’mon”).

But putting psychological analysis aside, there is something that needs to be said:

Believe in FC Barcelona.

You’d think this statement would be obvious given the joy this team is giving and football this team is playing, but it’s not. Believe in our team.

When has this team ever let us down in the face of adversity? We played a Champions League final with a 37 year old at left-back, Puyol as a right-back, and a defensive midfielder/monster at CB. We rolled into the Santiago Bernabeww having a once 12 point lead cut down to a mere 2. We were playing with 10 men against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge needing a goal at the 93rd minute.

Remind me what happened then? Exactly.

Putting Thong Boy’s goal aside, the last time EE scored against us in open play was two years ago, the 2-6 in 2009. They had to defend for 45+ minutes and hit us on the counter, with us playing with a back-up goalkeeper and a DM at CB, for them to score. Am I trying to discredit the goal by saying this to make myself feel better? Not really, because that’s just a fact. Credit to them for taking advantage of our lack of height at the back, but in my honest opinion, Captain Caveman plays and TB gets Puyol’d to oblivion (…that means Puyi wins the header).

Our team deserves our full belief. Adversity tests loyalty, and nothing builds character like a loss or being between a rock and a hard place. Victories taste that much better when you understand how sweet winning is — and you can quote me on that.

I think some of us have forgotten the joy of winning a game, instead, focusing on the details of Villa being offside too much, or Messi dribbling instead of passing, or Maxwell’s trotting instead of running. They are all valid complaints, and that’s what fans are supposed to do. But there are also many, many positives that are being ignored, as if addressing them means not focusing on the “real” issue.

The bigger picture is, our team is historic. We change the way teams defend and pave a new way for teams to attack. We force our eternal rival to go Football Manager and fork out something like 390 million Euros on the best available players, just for them to defend and hope they can nick a goal.

We won’t always beat a team 5-0, or tiki-taka our way out of our own penalty area away from home, but we will always stay true to our style and we will never sell our souls to win a trophy.

“We have a game philosophy, and we intend on continuing playing it. We are distinguished by the style of our game, no matter who is in charge. It is the biggest asset we have, our greatest pride, and that’s not going to change tomorrow, win or lose.”

—Pep Guardiola before the 5-0 victory in the first Clasico

The day we play anti-football and deploy players to do things like this and this for the purpose of doing whatever it takes to win, I will call myself Ms. Hypocrite for a month. When If we beat EE, I’ll call myself XavIniestAbidaLeo, because I feel like it.

This isn’t the same Barca that beats a team 5-2 at home only to lose 4-0 in the return leg — this is Pep’s Barcelona, who won a treble in its first season and is on its way to win its third Liga. We don’t give up on this team. It’s given us too much happiness for us to do that.

The last time some team beat us in the Copa, this happened:

And remember this is what our team is capable of:

Please don’t think I’m arrogant, but I think our team’s a special one. Win, lose, or draw: Visca el Barça.

Other Talking Points:

Pep Quotes [all via @barcastuff on Twitter]

“It seems few people are still behind us but I believe in the strength, the spirit and the honour of this team.”

Goes nicely with what I was blabbing about above.

“I’ve seen next season’s calendar and it’s crazy, because of the Euro. We’ll see if we have to make extra signings.”

Pep says it in public and you just know we’re after people. …I mean that in the least suspicious way possible.

“Villa is a key player for us. He’s crucial, irreplaceable.”

Nice to read that. Boss is behind el Guaje. (This quote was before Villa scored).

“Mascherano has been a spectacular transfer. It’s priceless to have him in your squad. As a centre-back, he’s a gem”.

Even more valuable at left-back? *says this while eating more humble pie and sipping some Kool-aid**

Adriano is out for 4 weeks and Maxwell, who I didn’t want to play anyway given his lack of pace, seems to have injured himself (it’s a confirmed groin injury, length of time out depends on the development of the injury). According to Pep, he’s “very doubtful for the next game.”

[On the subject of Maxwell, I also think we should stop calling out reader Jim simply because no-one likes to have that around their neck. Kxevin had the same issue with Henry when he was here and then The Jackarse Ibra last season. I used to do the same in good fun, and I don’t think Jim minds having a good discussion, but he’s a fan just like the rest of us and wants what’s best for Barca. It’s not like it’s his responsibility to defend Maxwell. I don’t mean it to be nit-picky but I’m just saying.]

“We’re going to train at the Bernabeu on Tuesday so we can adapt better to the very tall grass.”


“Referee for the CL semi-final could be Portuguese? If that’s confirmed I’m sure the coach of Madrid will be very happy”

Don’t really want to start this, and I’ve been repressing the memories of the first leg at the San Siro, but it’s pretty dumb if UEFA do this. All the hoobla this will create, as well as giving conspiracy theorists more ammo… it’s just not smart.

PS. We are the best team in the world, and if people say otherwise, show ’em my gravatar:

You’re welcome.


*I admit to doing that many times that season as well. Poor Frank 🙁 It was pretty awesome seeing him do that though. 🙂 If you were wondering what brought that bit of RAGE on, the full clip is here. I’d RAGE too, if I were Rijkaard. Our defending was that bad back then.

*I did not know that the “drinking the Kool-Aid” saying originated from that.

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Just your neighbourhood Barca fanatic


  1. April 24, 2011

    Updated the post with a couple of more Pep quotes as well as Maxwell’s injury situation, your eyes aren’t deceiving you.

    Milito is the same, just replace “groin” with “calf”.

  2. Blow-Grenade
    April 24, 2011

    The problem with the goals not hapenning is simple, especially when it comes to scoring against EE,

    1. Messi’s stubbonness to stay in the middle of the pitch and not play the wide positions.
    2. Villa’s inability to turn his defenders, inability to retain ball possession in the forward areas, .and lastly inability to win the ball in the air in the box.

    I think the loss to EE in copa will make the players do a little soul searching and hopefully they will adapt to the situation.

    Look forward to some champions league Tiki-Taka.

    • barca96
      April 24, 2011

      I think the loss to EE in copa will make the players do a little soul searching and hopefully they will adapt to the situation.

      Was hoping for them to react against Osasuna.
      But better against EE on Wednesday right..

      • Blow-Grenade
        April 24, 2011

        Absolutely, better against EE. Hopefully EE will come out and play, and the tiki-taka is going to take them down.

    • Barka
      April 24, 2011

      1. Messi plays in the middle because Pep ask him to I think. To say that he’s stubborn because he follows the coach’s order is incorrect IMO.

      2. You are describing Drogba there. Villa’s simply not that kind of forward. How can you ask a man who is not even 180cm to win the ball against 190cm defenders? We hardly attack in the air anyway so his inability is irrelevant.

  3. blitzen
    April 24, 2011

    Excellent post, Kari! I know nitpicking and criticizing is what cules do, but I wish everyone would just take a few minutes to really appreciate what this team and this coach have achieved. We have been so spoiled by the beautiful football and the string of 5-0s that a 2-0 win feels like a loss. That’s ridiculous.

  4. blaunero
    April 24, 2011

    It doesn’t feel the same anymore, Kari, and no manner of belief on my part will help sway my feelings. The team hasn’t played any decent football since the second game vs Arsenal back in March. We’re slow and too deliberate, too concentrated into endless and meaningless passes, too satiated by a single goal advantage, too sure that possession is the only way to play. In the treble year and indeed even last season we could maintain possession but most importantly be direct when we needed to be. All we do now is pass pass pass, and pass some more. Our intensity has gone as has, I fear, our humility, the two key aspects of great teams since Sacchi. With a goal and a man up we sat back and rolled our fingers because we didn’t deem Madrid strong enough to come back; back they came and now we’re wondering what could have been. Worse of all, we refuse to adapt to the changing situation. Teams have had three years to adapt to the way we play; we refuse even to contemplate change to suit the a-changin’ times. Changing tactics doesn’t mean playing dirty; but it doesn’t mean that we’ve been above that either; Busquets docet.
    We may well choose to hide behind whatever excuses we’d like to make, but the fact is clear and I hope didactic–Madrid has the advantage now because we have let them off the hook. It is our fault and ours alone.

    • Vj
      April 24, 2011

      Oh FFS man! Watch some games from the 00-03 wilderness and give thanks for that we have this wonderful team! You make it sound as if we are battling relegation!!

      Tone down the pessimism. For our sake!

    • Whatever
      April 25, 2011

      You have a point there, and I agree with you.

      But I believe we’re going to bounce back. We’re going to the finals!

    • providence
      April 25, 2011

      stop worrying and start believing!
      tots units fem forca!

  5. Jose
    April 24, 2011

    It’s cause of posts like this that I’m proud to call Kari my sistah from another mother. 😛

  6. soccermomof4
    April 24, 2011

    Let the fans who are behind this team only while they are popular/ winning manitas every week/ breaking records every game abandon the team. Those who love the team and the style they represent will still remain.

    ten reasons to still love your team:
    1. Messi, nuff said!
    2. Xavinieasta…and Puyi, and Busi, and…
    3. players who have had to adapt to new positions and have made it look effortless (Abi, Busi, sMache)
    4. all that “oooooh purdi”ness of our style
    5. We are not EE
    6. We are not coached by Mourinho
    7. It’s so much more challenging to play “pick the lineup” with all this adversity
    8. BFB
    9. The excellent prospects we have coming up in our system
    10. the infinite other reasons that couldn’t fit into a list of 10

    • soccermomof4
      April 24, 2011

      BTW- first sentence was not meant to sound as harsh as it did 🙂

    • Blow-Grenade
      April 24, 2011

      Love your post!!! Made my day!

  7. blitzen
    April 24, 2011

    And there goes the rest of Arsenal’s season. Oh, dear.

    • Jose
      April 24, 2011

      People abuse this term, and I never use it because I think it’s mean, but in the last two months Arsenal have literally become a joke. Just looking at the last post, “how will Arsenal gloriously screw up today?” was asked… and yet given today’s match one can’t help but laugh at the inevitability of it all.

      • footballfan
        April 24, 2011

        Agree with you Jose. I guess the “lack of winning mentality” always talked about is true. All current Arsenal players have never won anything (except for Cesc and van persie, but that was way back in 2005). I think Wenger should just stop telling that Arsenal can win the league; he should just say we only want to finish in Top 4. Then noone will be complaining.

  8. Miguel
    April 24, 2011

    As I said in the Liveblog, “I’m anti anti-pessimism now,” Just the contrarian in me. 😀

    Injury time goal finishes off Arsenal, again.

  9. Jnice
    April 24, 2011

    Great post.

    I can get critical of players and some of their actions and in my opinion that’s healthy and normal. Can’t go around ignoring obvious problems. But I’m not one that gets angry every match isn’t 5-0 or something like that. Nor will I overreact when Madrid is beating Valencia and think somehow we’ll manage to lose the league.

    And I don’t think this season is a failure if we only manage to win the league. A league is 38 games, winning it like we are doing right now has great merit. You need consistency, a lot of desire, and plenty of mental strength. Especially after you’ve won it 2 years on the trot and are up against a great team in Real Madrid.

    I’m enjoying it and realize how special this team is (even if it doesn’t always seem like it).

  10. blitzen
    April 24, 2011

    A nice win for Sporting Gijon over Espanyol. They surely can’t fire Preciado now? He has hauled them up out of the relegation zone and beat RM in their own house.

    • nzm
      April 24, 2011

      I’d cry if Preciado wasn’t around in La Liga!

  11. vicsoc
    April 24, 2011

    It’s a crazy world we live in where people are complaining because the team isn’t winning 5-0 anymore. One person was claiming they never liked Pep from the beginning – they must have forgotten the 7 trophies he has won the club on 2 years.

    I understand that some people have become fans within the last 3 years. Welcome to the club, this period of success hasn’t lasted forever, and won’t last forever.

    • blaunero
      April 24, 2011

      In my view, very few are complaining that we aren’t winning 5-0 anymore–at least I’m not: that’d be silly. I’ve watched this team since the times that Zamorano was scoring hattrics on us. What I AM complaining about is that we seem uninterested to score more than the solitary goal, and when we seem remotely interested we are unable. We lack intensity, and lacking intensity we’re more likely to pass the ball backwards than forwards.
      This is both ways, you know. There’s is an undoubted air of pessimism around. I am one of those people breathing that air, but then again I’m a pessimist even in the best of times. But there is also an air over-optimism that goes against all available evidence at this present time. It seems to me people who offer the slightest criticism are branded bangwagoners. As I see it, admitting that Madrid has the upper hand at present isn’t defeatist, not any more than coming up with reasons why we should still love Barca, as someone above wrote.

      • Humphrey Bogart
        April 24, 2011

        Of course we luck intensity, because we are tired, more than half our our first team did drag Spain to its first WC. Real Madrid? Casillas in goal, Ramos and Alonso, who was always the first to be subbed out. Barca? Pique, Puyol, Sergio, Xavi, Iniesta, Villa every game, Pedro the last two.

      • Jim
        April 24, 2011

        “But there is also an air over-optimism that goes against all available evidence at this present time. ”

        Is it over optimistic to say we are almost certain to win the league again against this other team you rate so highly, find our selves again in the semis of the CL, had the three top players in Europe, the top goalscorer in La Liga and have played, by common consent, the best football over the season of any team in Europe? The “upper hand” you are talking about seems to me to consist of, at most, one extra time goal in one match.

        Doom may descend on us yet – but don’t talk atm of “evidence” that this is so and then give us your opinion. At the moment it is, imo, the pessimism of certain people running amok.

        • blaunero
          April 24, 2011

          That’s all that’s needed, really, an extratime goal in one match, that happened the be the final of the CdR–a paper cup, to quote some who might resemble to the fox in that famous proverb. Winning by manita is not required.
          The evidence is there, my friend, that we aren’t playing well–not that we’re not scoring as many goals as before, but that we aren’t playing as well. We can have the best player in the history of any sport ever, for all I care. When push comes to shove this is still a team sport, and the team isn’t playing as well as it can.

  12. footballfan
    April 24, 2011

    Maybe when we have 6 trophy-less year streak like Arsenal then we can start worrying.

    As an Arsenal fan, I’ve made peace with myself that the expectation is just CL qualification. Winning the league is a massive bonus, not what is expected.

  13. Eklavya
    April 24, 2011

    Great post Kari, although you should have been more aggressive imo.


  14. Humphrey Bogart
    April 24, 2011

    100% agree with your post. All those mourners maybe did not live through the last days of Rijkaards regime and the humilation we had to endure. Maybe some should think back on the last classico Madrid did win in the league, where we had to form a guard of honour and to see how they play now against us with their multi-million-dollar squad and star-coach, to really understand how times have changed since the arrival of Pep.

    Ah, it could all be worse, I mean we could be gooners.

    At the same time: Gijon beat Espanyoul 1:0 and after the goal all the players and stuff come to Preciado to celebrate and to cheer him up after he lost his father and it was so moving that I was downright in tears, so I think Sporting are as good as save and that alone makes my day apart from your phantastic post.

    Mou maybe the one, but our team are the ones.

  15. Roz
    April 24, 2011

    Believe in FC Barcelona.
    Frankly some so called “cules” make me sick with their lack of faith. This is football people we will go through some rough times. Its a given. I for one will always be along for the ride.
    Visca Barca

  16. mardia
    April 24, 2011

    Great post, Kari, and exactly what I needed to read. The truth is, I’ve taken a break from Barcelona blogs / Liga journalists on Twitter / articles online, because I didn’t need/want to get sucked into the whole “the sky is falling ohnoes!” effect.

    Pep’s brilliant, this team is brilliant, and doubting that now because of one result is kind of insane.

  17. kinukinu
    April 24, 2011

    Amen Kari! I agree that we seem to have lost our belief—I would posit its not just the cules but the team as well. (Oh how I wish that someone would translate your post for Pep to read to our boys before Wednesday’s game!) Our skills are superfluous, but only truly lethal when combined with the confidence in our invincibility—and that is what we must get back. Earlier in the season, it was hard to believe that any team stood a chance against us. We annihilated the closest possible contender in a 5-0 rout. The November clasico wasn’t just a strong performance–it was a perfect one. It’s not even that our opponents played badly—they just couldn’t play, or weren’t allowed to. They were helpless—they had no choice but to sit back and wait for mistakes, which never came. It reminded me of a snooker game I once watched on television. While I know almost nothing about snooker, I was in awe of the role psychology played in the game. It appears that the player to take the first turn gets to keep playing until he makes a mistake. I don’t know if this is common, but the player I was watching successfully made shot after shot, and had practically won by the time he made his first tiny mistake. This put so much pressure on his opponent, that when he finally had his first shot—an easy one, he missed. The first player resumed his momentum and won easily, while his opponent had just one single shot at the table. This is the dynamic that we enjoyed for a large part of this season. But there has been a collective effort among our recent opponents to break us down, and so far it has been working—on the team, and on us.
    I don’t think we should change our tactics so much as reinforce them, and remember how effective they can be when executed properly—and with belief. We should maintain possession to the point of frustrating the hell out of RM. We should hold on to the ball like it is our birthright, even if it means a little more back passing in our own half to get the rhythm going. We must re-instill doubt in our opponents, and get rid of our own. If we exploit their emotional immaturity and stay unfazed in the face of even their dirtier tackles, we can deflect the frustration back on to them. So far, we have allowed them to rattle us with this approach—we must now appear unaffected at all costs. If their cynical fouls don’t succeed in throwing us off, they will backfire.
    At the moment, they appear to be getting stronger as we appear to be getting weaker and more tired. (note: the operative word is “appear”) This can be a very good thing if we exploit it properly. Mourinho’s ego is enormous, and his confidence easily turns into overconfidence. His refusal to accept that he resorted to anti-football in order to defeat us means that he now believes they are better than us. This is a golden opportunity to use his hubris against him. There are some realities to face: at this stage in the season with such a thin and tired squad, we can only be so strong physically. But mental strength is another story. It is too late and too risky to develop drastic tactical changes—and it would be ignoring our strengths. But our foundation is rock solid, and its reinforcement should be the real focus moving forward.

    The ability is there, as is the magic–it’s just time for a little good old-fashioned inspiration, and I firmly believe that is exactly what Pep is doing. He is capable of it, as evidenced by the change in play after halftime on Tuesday, as well as his ability to get David Villa to score yesterday. I know they will bring it on Wednesday, and it is our responsibility to do the same.

  18. wingedthings
    April 24, 2011

    thank you for this post and the wonderful match reviews and commentary
    this is one of the few cule-friendly places i know of online, and i love going through the comments for a nice dose of sanity when the waves of cule pessimism hit. and i have been feeling them lately, but like pep said after the first arsenal tie, “allow me to believe in this team”. they have given us so much already. remember what happened after that?

    i’ve been a long time reader/lurker, mostly because someone has already said exactly what i was thinking, more eloquently than i ever could, but hey – if torres can score, i can post a comment!

    • Xingxian
      April 24, 2011

      “If Torres can score, I can post a comment!”
      I laughed out loud.

  19. barca96
    April 24, 2011

    Btw, when are your finals Kari?
    Will you still be active here when it’s time?
    I would recommend you not to write any posts..
    But before you leave us, please write another funny posts on Cuddy Toy.

    Good Luck!

  20. Eklavya
    April 24, 2011

    Kari be happy you didn’t have exams during the WC.

    • Diego
      April 24, 2011

      I had the same problem. During the Euro08 too.

  21. hammeronmessi
    April 24, 2011

    Thanks kari,still waiting for the end of the classicos.

    prediction time
    ee 2 we 2
    we 3 ee 1

    • barca96
      April 24, 2011

      You’re back! That’s great cause we really needed somebody who’s really confident in here 🙂
      Only greecebarca is missing now.

  22. Miguel
    April 24, 2011

    You guys post this article on Xavi v Xabi by Sid Lowe, yet?

    Xavi is Barcelona’s ideologue – bright, opinionated and analytical, the man Pep Guardiola told: “I can’t imagine Barça without you.” Xabi is one of the few players to discuss tactics with José Mourinho, to contradict him and suggest other approaches, a leader within the Madrid dressing room – intelligent, communicative, quietly authoritative, bringing calm to a team that plays at breakneck speed. These are Madrid and Barcelona’s cerebros: their brains.

  23. Diego
    April 24, 2011

    I became a fan in 2006, The first two seasons I watched were losing the liga on the last day and doing the Pasilo , So I’m really enjoying myself now.

    Football being a cycle, I know these days will come again, So I’m a fool if I’m whining and being sad nowadays.

  24. April 24, 2011

    “I believe culés suffer from a superiority and inferiority complex at the same time.”

    absolutely. this is what makes supporting FCB so damn special. i believe in us, but let us remember that sometimes pure belief doesn’t work.

    sometimes the obstacles are too much, even for us. been a fan for 10 years now, hardcore cule, the worst (or best, depends on perspective) you’ll ever meet, and i can honestly say this team has disappointed me on more than one occasion.

    and it’s not the way we reacted to adversity (and although this may seem blasphemous, Iniesta’s strike of genius on Stamford Bridge has its share of pure luck) but rather how we allowed inferior teams to play us.

    i will never forgive Barca for robbing me of the joy of CL glory in the final against Arsenal. that was supposed to be an easy game, but we made it hard for ourselves.

    generally, we seem to never fare too well vs. Arsenal.

    i have been extremely let down by our second leg performance vs. Inter last year too. maybe i’m spoiled, but i didn’t think then and don’t think now, that we gave 100%

    however, this does not stop me from supporting this team and its way of playing football, of being proud of us when we win, nor from pulling my hair in desperation when we lose (deservedly or undeservedly)

    as for this is Pep’s Barca and it’s an entirely different team from Rijkaard’s team…in the vein that we no longer lose games we should’ve won, i must say only one thing: both teams share the same utter impossibility to surmount a 10 man defence at times. sure, it happens less with this Barca, as opposed to the other Barca (especially 2006-8 version), but it still happens.

    and while the copa game with RM isn’t ‘conclusive’, the Inter tie is and i hope lessons were learned and new techniques shall be applied.

  25. Colby
    April 24, 2011

    “As I see it, admitting that Madrid has the upper hand at present isn’t defeatist, not any more than coming up with reasons why we should still love Barca, as someone above wrote.”

    I agree with Blaunero that it isn’t defeatist to admit that Madrid have the upper hand at present. I think being realistic is always good.

    However, I disagree with the fact that Madrid have the upper hand. If we assume that we had the upper hand going into the 1-1, then I don’t think things have changed drastically enough to think that now Madrid should be “favorites.” They managed to pull back a draw thanks to a shameless dive and some helpful refereeing (and thanks to us not playing up to steam, nor I think really trying to play up to steam for large parts of the game). Then they managed to beat us in a game that we were not far from putting away in the second half. That is not to take away anything from what Madrid have done. But the last two games they have executed almost perfectly, and we have been craptastic for large parts (and not all of that was caused by them). They have found a way to turn a 5-0 whooping into a 50-50 coin toss basically. That is the best they can do. The games are so close now that a few inches (Pedro’s offside, all the shots off the post from both sides, the refereeing decisions) are what will be decide the games. Does it scare me that the games are going to be decided by slim margins? Yes, but it doesn’t mean they have the upper hand.

  26. April 24, 2011

    It’s a question of expectations. It’s kind of silly if we thought we’re going to come out 20-0 against RM after the 4 games. They’re a great team too, and the two most important games out of the 4 are yet to be played. Objective in the first game was to keep the gap at 8 points, which we did. Objective in the second game was to win the Copa, which we didn’t, but that ought to teach us some character. 😛

    If we can’t trust in this team and this coach, we can’t really trust in any team TBH.

    Thanks Kari for this wonderful piece!

  27. hammeronmessi
    April 24, 2011

    I was always a lurker mode.i m always optimistic cause we have messi and a smart coach not a maradonaesque coach.

    a question to blaunero,r u still in pessimistic mode?now adays i dont read ur comments.accept my apologies,ur comments r so depressing and i have never seen praising barca.
    its one thinh to criticize and another thing to not trusting ur team.
    again apologies.

    and i m officialy declaring

    kari is my favorite writer in bfb and we will be in wembley

    • blaunero
      April 25, 2011

      I don’t write things so people can like them. I write what I’m thinking. Whether you like it or not is of no consequence to me; you’re welcome to write what you wish against what I’ve written. Trusting our team? Dear me.
      Sometimes, I must admit, I feel that attending these boards is like being in a religious revival. There are people writing of reasons why we’re special, of why we’re still the best, und so weiter. So we’re special. Now what? Maybe Madrid should just hand us the trophy and not bother showing up.

  28. hammeronmessi
    April 24, 2011

    Dont know how the reply to barca 96ended up here?damn the smart phones

  29. hammeronmessi
    April 24, 2011

    Can i say that i m in love with kari?is that allowed?

    my most fav post ever in the bfb.

  30. Xingxian
    April 24, 2011

    I’m not sure exactly what you mean by ‘believe in the team’. I’m very new to professional soccer, I only started following this season. I’ve watched international soccer (USA! USA! USA!) with my father but until after this World Cup I didn’t really follow any of the teams. I wanted to cheer for Barcelona for several reasons:

    1) It has players from teams I am fond of. I fell in love with La Furia Roja at Euro 2008. I like Argentina partially because I’ve never liked Brazil (see below), and I adore Messi. Madrid may be the capital of Spain, but the Spanish team that won my heart felt more Barcelona than anything.

    2) La Masia. The story of Cruyff->Guardiola struck a romantic chord with me and I like that Barcelona is practically hemorrhaging midfielders who are so good at short passes.

    3) I don’t like cheering for the ‘big team’ (Brazil, internationally). I didn’t want to cheer for Real Madrid because of all the Champions League and Liga titles it had won.

    4) Probably most importantly, I really like the ‘we’re all gonna die’ mentality that is combined with the fierce, fanatical ‘BRING IT ON’ mindset. It’s a lot more fun than what I got out of the Real Madrid fandom, which seems to be… more level-headed. I say that like it’s a good thing, but to me it’s unappealing. I’d choose terms other than level-headed but I don’t wish to unnecessarily give offense to those who choose to root for Real Madrid (they have Casillas, Xabi Alonso, and Ramos, who I all am very fond of [Ramos in a kind of “I can’t believe this guy is such a douchebag” way. If he wasn’t so evil, I wouldn’t like him as much as I do {I LOVE YOU, BASSAM}]).

    Do I believe? That we can win? Honestly I think we are favored for CL victory, but I’m not nearly as good at analysis as Kxevin or Euler or zonalmarking so I don’t have too much faith in my opinions. But regardless of whether or not I think we can win, I’m cheering and screaming my heart out, no matter how many times I may and will post “WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE”. I believe that the jugadors will believe, and if they won’t, then I’ll believe that they know how many people place their trust and emotional welfare in their performance. I may criticize, but I love this team. I’m new, so I guess that might make me a bandwagoner, but I hope to keep cheering for this thing that seems to be more than a club.

    I dunno if this makes me a weird fan of FCB or not, or whether I’m out-of-step with accepted protocol, but that’s how I feel.


    PS We’re all going to die

    • Blow-Grenade
      April 25, 2011

      Ha ha, you’re funny!!! Welcome to BFB!! Look forward to your posts.

  31. Miguel
    April 24, 2011

    Barça’s next season striker, Giuseppe Rossi, isn’t in the starting lineup for Villarreal against Sevilla. Boo!

    • Miguel
      April 24, 2011

      Why are you doing this to me, Villarreal?

  32. Humphrey Bogart
    April 24, 2011

    And one last thing: When the Time magazine did recently publish its list of 100 most influential people it was Messi on this list, not the “Special One” or the most expensive football player ever, it was our very own Argenine midget who they choose.

    • Colby
      April 24, 2011

      Wow. What a brilliant video. Thank you for that. I teared up a couple of times during that. We are so lucky.

    • April 24, 2011

      Oh wow. Brilliant video. Thanks for that, Humphrey Bogart.

  33. April 24, 2011

    Thanks for all the replies!

    Just a couple of things:

    — The reason I can identify cules as having a superiority and inferiority complex is because I see many of the “symptoms” in myself. The polarizing emotions of “Dear Lord, we’re all gonna die!” and “Bring it on!” are ingrained in the cule system, even if you are a new fan. I’ve (also) said before that I find it all immensely amusing. 🙂 (And at times, ridiculously annoying)

    I’m not saying people aren’t allowed to have complaints—that would be unreasonable. Remember that “fan” is short for “fanatic”. Emotions play a huge part and of course you’ll feel really happy or really sad or really disappointed. It’s the fun of supporting a team. (I remember feeling pretty annoyed after watching the first of the 4 Clasicos, for the same reason you said: it annoyed me that we didn’t finish off an inferior team 😛 #damnsuperioritycomplex )

    That all being said, I think that we should sometimes take a step back and take in our team. We’re flippin’ amazing. People who are fans of other teams enjoy watching us play. Why? Because we are the best pure passing side in recent times.

    fcbfandrivel sums my feelings quite eloquently: if we can’t be fully confident of this team with the football its playing and the coach it has, you will never be.

    I was cautious myself; how could I not be after those terrible last seasons of Rijkaard’s regime? But sometimes, when the going gets tough we need to remember to back the team, not go postal. We’re supposed to be the fans, remember? (Although the biggest fan can also be the biggest critic. #TheCuleComplexity )

    — I am against changing the style for reasons I said above and also because Barca isn’t built that way. So Rafa Benitez stifled Mourinho. I don’t care. Our team is crap without the ball. We won a treble, destroying teams without having to defend with 10 men. We make people adapt to us, not the other way around. Barca have made changes while staying true to their style. The football we played in, say, the 2006 CL+ La Liga winning year is different from the football we play now.

    However, I agree that some alterations should be made. We need more width and intensity. However, I feel that our team is simply too tired and is picking games to go full out on. The WC + the late Ibra sale is leaving us short on players and substitute players. That’s our own fault and something that should be remedied (and for the love that is all and good, not with the purchase of Fabregas!) But change in style =/= change in tactics.

    Also, I respect differing opinion. In fact, I kind of welcome it. If we all had the same feelings, blindly supporting a team, we’d be mindless sheep. If I don’t agree with someone, it’s not because they’re wrong for thinking that way or not allowed to, it’s just that I don’t agree. Simple.

    — Being a new fan doesn’t make you a bandwagoner. I don’t want to give off that vibe. The point of this post is this being a “reminder”, to remember that things weren’t always that rosy and won’t always be this rosy. Enjoy the good times. Of course, for many cules, the only time we remember the good times is when things go to heck.

    Sigh. 😀

    Also, welcome wingedthings (and Barcelinha, but I’ve seen you post before 🙂 ) Stay around and comment more. The Torres thing made me LOL. 😀

    (Sorry if I can’t reply to your comment specifically, time constraints and all that. It’s times like this I should get my lazy arse on Twitter…)

    • Xingxian
      April 25, 2011

      When I say ‘We’re all going to die” it’s in reference to Kxevin’s review of the 1st leg Shakhtar game this season. It’s somewhat self-mocking in that I am aware of the strengths of this squad.

      I… hate to admit it but I didn’t actually know that’s what ‘fan’ is short for. Though given how confusing of a language English is, I don’t really feel stupid.

      The part of me that loves cheering for underdogs has actually been upset that the team I chose currently boasts such a strong squad. That part of me is looking forward to a time, however close or far away it may be, that I can cheer for FCB as the underdog.

  34. vicsoc
    April 24, 2011

    I fall in the anti-changing our style for this game. Why? Because if we do, we will lose.

    That said, changing style isn’t the same as applying differen tactics within a style. We can still play attacking-possession football and just exploit space on the wings more, or decide to be a bit more aggressive with the ball and try to work it into dangerous positions faster. Pep absolutely must consider a change in tactics.

    A change in style would be disastrous for the team.

  35. April 24, 2011

    So this is what Mourinho has to say today (via @barcastuff): “Mou: “We won’t give away the Liga just like that. Barça should win with their own points, not with those we give away.”

    I’ve tried reading it thrice, maybe it’s code language, maybe it makes sense if you read it backwards or skip alternate words, still no luck. If anyone ever figures this out, please let me know. Thanks!

    • vicsoc
      April 24, 2011

      It means to me: the Liga is essentially over, but we will keep on winning games in case there is a miracle.

    • Miguel
      April 24, 2011

      I’m not completely sure, but I think it might be Navajo.

      Yay, Marchena! 2-1!

      Boo, Romaric. 2-2

  36. April 24, 2011

    A number of things:

    –I don’t want to sell Kari any longer. 😀 (But maybe a loan?)

    –Rock on, Kari, for sticking up for Jim. Best part is that he’s almost always right about his evaluation. I didn’t even make the connection between Jim/Maxwell and me/Henry, but yes, I reckon it’s there. Maybe Jim should start the MFC (Maxwell Fairness Committee).

    –As a cule of long standing, it’s easy for me to recognize the behavior of waves. They always do the same thing. Sorry, but they do, even in La Liga. Luck is such an immense part of this game, and it isn’t good for us right now. It happens.

    But I don’t, and will never believe or say the things that folks like blaunero state. I will say a lot of things about the way that we play, but lack of hunger isn’t among them …. not as a constant state. World Cup years are brutal, and the players are tired. There isn’t the same spring in the step, which is much of why we aren’t pasting people any longer. As part of my training for bicycle racing, I do these sessions that feature 20 all-out sprints. The first few are kinda crappy, then I settle into it and the next 8-10 are brilliant. Then it’s downhill from there, and I’m lucky if I can complete the last few.

    That’s what we’re like at the end of a long season. It simply can’t be helped. Combine it with injuries, and teams deciding to play us negatively and again, we do what we can. Is a 5-0 win better than a 1-0 win? Not in the standings, and not in my heart. A win’s a win. But I was one of the folks who refused to believe that we were going to give away the Liga race in ’07, until it was over.

    I will never, ever stop believing in this club.

    –EE has the upper hand? Says who? Last time I checked, they spend insane amounts of money to win the Copa? Really? We have the Liga, and Champions League is still to be decided. So who claims this, except gloom-and-doomers? As Jim correctly noted, the Copa was a matter of inches. We created excellent chances, and 99% of the time, that Pedro goal is allowed to stand. It happens.

    But that stuff doesn’t happen because of a lack of desire from the players. No team is content with just squeaking by. Look at the chances that we are creating. If Villa were the clinical finisher that so many say that he is, he’d have north of 30 goals right now.

    –So what now? I told people coming into this stretch of 4 matches against our most hated rival that if you give a good club and coach that many chances to beat you, that one of them is bound to come up right. Duh. Last time I checked, we were beating them like a rented mule until the most recent two matches, neither of which, in my estimation, count for anything. They celebrated a draw at home? Sure, whatever. And you’d have thought the Copa was the Liga, or Champions League. Again. Whatever.

    There are different fans and different worldviews. Mine is that nobody has the upper hand on my club. Nobody. And to blame players for fatigue, and being human and showing that fatigue is something I don’t understand. Polls such as the one cited above don’t understand sports and athletes, to my mind. It’s hard to score a goal. You have to do about 50 things correctly. Do 49, and it hits the post. 48, and the keeper stops it. Tired players are less sharp players. I have faith that Guardiola will see that, and make some additions in the summer.

    In the meantime, we have what we have, and what we have is, to me, the best club in the world.

    • April 24, 2011

      Pfft. You’ll be loaned before me. The three year Brazilian blogger rules sayeth so!

  37. April 24, 2011

    Arsenal are just brutal. The announcer on Fox Soccer, at the end of the match, was exactly right, saying in effect that it will always end thus for Arsenal, until they buy some defenders who can do the basic things right, like defend on set pieces.

    Did anyone notice how devastated Fabregas looked at the end of that match, by the by?

    Oh, and I still don’t think we should buy him, but hell of a golazo by Rossi against Sevilla today. Man!

    • blitzen
      April 24, 2011

      The English coverage at the end of the game flashed up the caption “Arsene Wenger: Tortured Soul”.

    • Para
      April 24, 2011

      One of the glories of living in England is that I can listen to the BBC 606 call-in that they have on the radio post-matches. My favourite caller today was one saying that the images of Fabregas after the match clearly showed a player who ‘lacked passion’ and had ‘given up’ with Arsenal because he was so eager to get out. Apparantly his attitude (and the fact that he is their captain) is the reason Arsenal haven’t won this year.

      Also, Guardiola will apparantly be coaching Arsenal by the beginning of next season.

      Oh, England.

    • Humphrey Bogart
      April 24, 2011

      So it is not Rossi, who would you like to see as a back-up striker next year. I would like Kanoute.

        • Humphrey Bogart
          April 24, 2011

          I really like Deadly Didi, but to say that he and Barca have a strained relationship would surely be an understatement. Any other options.

          • April 24, 2011

            Well, you asked who I would like to sign, and that’s Drogba. We should have picked up Adebayor, but he would have been a second choice, and nowhere near as good a one as Drogba.

            Not that it matters, because any striker who comes in will be slagged for not playing as if to the manor born, right? 😀

            • April 24, 2011

              Hey! Don’t sell us short, even if they are manor born, they will be slagged. Just not by the locals. *cough BOJAN cough*

          • Humphrey Bogart
            April 24, 2011

            Surely not Ade, I mean half of Barca success is down to working hard. He can only be arsed to move his ass every second game, if at all.

          • April 24, 2011

            The way that Adebayor has been playing with EE has been revelatory. He’s picked up an unfair reputation for being lazy. And he’s playing for his professional life. Don’t underestimate the motivation factor of that.

            Cules dismiss this player and that player, based on reputation. I guess it makes folks feel better, even if it often isn’t supported by reality.

          • Humphrey Bogart
            April 24, 2011

            Not so sure about this. At least the most gunners will assure you that in Ades case this reputation is build on some solid facts. He has surely done well for Madrid as this is, like you pointed out, his last chance. But he also started well for Arsenal, just to vanish when they most needed him. He is surely nobody to turn around things when it gets difficult

        • Blow-Grenade
          April 25, 2011

          Absolutely Drogba!!!! But why not bring Eto’o back if we’re thinking of Drogba.

    • mardia
      April 24, 2011

      I’ve felt bad for Fabregas for a while now. The shortcomings of the squad aren’t his fault, but he looks like he’s been carrying the weight of the entire team on his shoulders for ages now. He looked AWFUL at the end of that match.

      This season is going to be a wash for Arsenal, frankly. Here’s hoping Wenger and co see sense and make changes come summer.

      Also, I’m surprised by your pick for Drogba–he’s got a ton of great attributes, yes, but ego might be a problem with him. (I’m not trying to discount the incredible amount of good he accomplishes off the field, but I’ve heard him described as a disruptive force in the dressing room on occasion.)

      • April 24, 2011

        Again, I don’t know rumor from reality about Drogba. What I do know is that he takes passes and turns them into goals. Bang. No tika-taka, no gradual buildup. Just a defense-busting, two men draped over him goals. And that ain’t a bad thing to have.

  38. April 24, 2011

    This isn’t about a style change, it’s about implementing our style to maximum effectiveness. The rest for key players against Osasuna was huge. My guess is that practices were also lighter than usual. The best thing for this club is rest, and not to pick up any silly training knocks.

    That said, I wouldn’t be averse to personnel changes. ElJefe says that Pedro is the key to this match. I don’t believe that. Width is. We haven’t had it in any of the matches in which we’ve struggled. It’s why I’d start Afellay at LW and Mascherano at LB, with orders to stay home more.

    • Nav
      April 24, 2011

      You don’t think Pedro can provide the necessary width? Afellay, as much as I like him, is not ‘big match proven’ with Barca and this is his first year — I’m not sure I’d start him over Pedro who is proven talent.

      • ElJefe
        April 24, 2011

        Pedro healthy yes, but he’s clearly not 100%. Ultimately, we’ve got to Trust in Pep here, as he’s got an information advantage and his opportunity to put Mou’s legend to bed foreover.

      • April 24, 2011

        Sure don’t Nav. Pedro tends to cut in toward the center, and his pace and first move aren’t as good as Afellay. As for big match experience, don’t forget that Afellay features regularly in the starting XI for Holland.

        Pedro hasn’t been the same since his injury. I’d reserve him as an impact sub.

    • ElJefe
      April 24, 2011

      On an individual level I think Pedro holds the key to the match to be dangerous. If not, it’s back to hack-an-MVP especially with Villa not playing lethal enough. Your 4-0 Sevilla highlights showed how different we were when we had that dual threat upfront.

      I’d like to think the game would be won in the middle but Mou will play to mitigate that and we need to be even more sensitive to the Counter with an injury-weakened defensive line.

      Completely agree on width and starting Affelay, especially with Adriano out. However having strong players wide is only half the battle, you’ve got to put the ball there…and only Milito has looked interested in cross-field passes recently. Alves will have to be on in a big way too.

      3-1 Barca. VISCA!!

  39. Barka
    April 24, 2011

    When my fater studied in Easter Europe in the 1970s, he really liked Barcelona as they have Cruyff playing for them. As a result, I take a liking to Barcelona quite naturally. I have followed Barcelona since the first year of Rijkaard/Ronaldinho and plan to support the team for my whole life.

    The whole pessimism of many Barcelona fans probably has to do with the style we play. More often than not we play pretty but lose due to bad luck or counter-attacking teams etc. Playing well without winning titles may make fans feel pessimistic and I get that feeling.

    Anyway I still remembered vividly watching Chelsea-Barcelona several years ago on that potato pitch. It was my first match seeing Messi play and we were playing with 2 DMs – Motta and Edmilson I think. We played more direct back then, creating chances when going up without passing around their box for minutes.

    With Pep at the helm I feel we have become more systematic and less risky with the ball at our feet. As a result our defence depends more on possession and the front lines harassing their defenders and midfielders.

    This works most of the time. However we encounter a lot of trouble playing ultra-defensive teams designed specifically to counter our possession-based style. They sit deep knowing that we hardly shoot outside the box (may be we don’t want to risk losing the ball or we’re not good at it- because we don’t shoot enough). When we lose possesion they often only have to deal with our defence which not particularly speedy, which is why they look more dangerous.

    Another problem with Pep’s team is when we play away in the CL. We can’t hold on possession effectively and we don’t defend well sitting deep. As a result we suffer agsint agressive teams, not just conservative ones.

    I don’t know, I’m just a casual watcher and my nolstagic goggles may be affecting me. May be we are too dependent on possession for our own good. Or may be we can play more adventurous. Or it’s just simply we are not in form at the moment.

  40. culeluvr
    April 24, 2011

    Thanks for the post Kari, and for giving us some great perspective!
    I took the loss horribly so I suppose thats why i was crying for new tactics. However after lurking around at a certain EE blog and reading comments from their minions I have found myself prouder than ever to be a Cule regardless of our recent loss and pissed off at the same time.
    Apparently Barcelona’s style of play is “boring” to some. I guess minions prefer the theatrics of a drama queen falling without contact to the game of possession. They say our players are arrogant and lack manners while EE is incapable of doing wrong on and off the field. Yet we have a coach who despite the fact of favoritism amongst refs for other teams, holds his tongue and does not rant about non existent forces being against him and laughing at him nor does he ever blame refs. This so called psychological tactic of “put the spotlight on me and away from my team” is a farce. Some people love attention while others shy away from it.
    I take offense when people insult la maquinita de Terrassa and say he’s a jerk because he said Barca was the only team that played futbol. The man LIVES and BREATHES futbol, that’s why he is the creative genius of not only Barca but of La Roja. EE players disrespected Cules at the CDR final yet no one made a fuss, lasers were pointed at Messi(yet again) and no one made a fuss.
    Our players are humble! I don’t give a damn what anyone says about ’em I’ll defend their honor forever.
    Okay rant over!
    ¡Visca el Barça!

    P.S. IDK if everyone has heard but Guti has his sights set on coming to LA or New Yorkl. Not sure if its good news or bad news for Galaxy fans like myself.

  41. flyzowee
    April 24, 2011

    Starting afellay in this game seems the logical thing to do since we are looking to use width and afellay is fast and pacy.


    The kind of arsenal (lethal crossing and pace) afellay brings to the table just isnt built for a system like ours atm esp one facilitating a false 9.

    Watching the Osasuna game esp in da 2nd half, afellay would burst down the flank and look to deliver a good ball only to realise that the whole team isnt on the same wavelength as him.
    He would then have to check back and lay it off.

    Our system is harsh on direct players imo, esp now.

    It was different when eto’o was around coz hes a poacher and would have loved those low balls afellay puts in.

    To paint a better picture, do u think henry (a very direct player btw) would have thrived playing with a false 9? I dont know.

    But what i do know is that afellay neither has the understanding of our game nor the chemistry with MV to start Wed game IMHHO.

    Pedro all day long.

    • April 24, 2011

      If Messi and Villa would bust their asses to get into the box to meet those crosses that Afellay puts in, cules would be lauding his status as an impact player. When we put players in the box, we score goals. When we stand outside the box, too tired to make the extra effort on a run to get into a better scoring position, we don’t score goals.

      Look at the high-scoring matches, and note the all the midgets in the box.

      As far as Afellay lacking understanding of our game, maybe we should move some of the way toward understanding how he plays. If we are going to dismiss players and the possibilities they offer, because of a lack of understanding of “How we do it,” how will they ever gain that understanding? We might as well just promote from the B team, and save our transfer money, right?

      Afellay and what he does would be excellent, with players willing to move to take advantage of them. That means Messi or Villa making a diagonal run that understands what Afellay is trying to do. They are versatile players who are more than capable of that.

      Pedro is in headless chicken mode right now, and too easily defended, which is why he’s been invisible of late. As a fast, mobile player coming in when a defense is tired? You bet.

      But without width, the task will be more difficult. So you have Pepe standing there destroying. What if a ball comes in from the left, a traditional dead zone in our attack? Then what effect does Pepe have on the game, except for fouling Messi to keep him from getting into the box? Good question.

      • Barcaleya
        April 24, 2011

        Yes, we do need someone who can be in the box to meet Affelay’s crosses. I think we need that extra dimension in our game. What I remembered most from the 30-min extra time (although I’m sure my eyes were closed more than they were open….) was Messi playing deep, central and seeming like the only one tasked to find the goal. I knew then that we wouldn’t be able to get an equalizing goal. There were too many big bodies blocking him and we have run out of steam.

        Iniesta, during the 2nd half, seemed more able to “bulldoze” his way into the box with the ball on his feet than Messi on extra time. If we could only take out the ball from the middle, stretch EE defense, make them think between defending a cross from the flank or quick one-touch passes around them, I think we’ll find the extra time and space we need.

        If we had practiced for players to look out for Ibi’s crosses and convert, I would put him in too ahead of Pedro and Pedro can come in later with fresh legs and energy.

      • Blow-Grenade
        April 25, 2011

        Totally agree with you Kxevin, there are both positives and negatives with Affelay’s game.

        Kxevin has said the positive things. He is good at making runs, beating defenders and them crossing the ball. If we had somebody like Eto’o in our starting lineup, Affelay would have been golden. But at this point we do not have anybody who is running to connect his crosses for goals.

        From what I have seen, he does not seem to understand passing the ball sideways, which is essential to the style that Barcelona play. He always passes the ball, either forward, or backward. Hopefully with some more training, he is able to see the players to his side and think in terms of triangles.

        I am somehow hopeful about Affelay. He shows a lot of good attitude and works hard. And Pep, and I, like such people. I think given some time he will come good.

        Overall I hope that we are going to get a couple of new forward players in the summer transfer window. Hopefully we can get a runner, somebody who can turn defendres, hold the ball up front, and connect with crosses. My mind always goes to Eto’o goal against Manchester united in the CL final goal when I write these comments. Classic striker, and that goal when he turns Vidic, that is a bench mark on how a striker stays onsite, gets released on a pass, runs with a burst of pace, and turns a defender to score.

        In the system we have, if Barca have a couple of runners, they can win all the titles, no doubt about that.

  42. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 24, 2011

    The Culé Complexity…culés suffer from a superiority and inferiority complex at the same time….

    so true…

    unlike blaunero which very consistent with his pessimism, I’m an inconsistent culé…
    probably because I got panicked easily (which explain why I can’t ride a motorcycle) 😀

    when things go wrong, like Maxwell injury, I was “oh, shoot…we’re screwed…”
    but after I calm down, “hey, if we have Puyi and sMasch together, we’ll be just fine!”

    thanks for the reminder Kari… 😉

  43. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 24, 2011

    off topic, but this… 😆

    twit from Lord Sugar :

    Sergio Ramos, R.Madrid player who dropped the cup off the bus, said he wants to join Arsenal – to make sure he never does it again…

  44. PM
    April 24, 2011

    Has anyone bought Barca vs Manutd friendly match ticket yet? Can you recommend me a good/official site for that?

    I have never been to a stadium in US before. This is also the first time I’ll be watching a Barca match live. I will appreciate any suggestion/advice about it. Thanks.

    • Ryan
      April 24, 2011

      I did! If you get it through Ticketmasters and use the codename “XAVI” you might be able to still get one.

      • PM
        April 24, 2011

        Thanks Ryan. “XAVI” promo code didn’t work, but there are lots of ticket available at this moment. I will probably get 4/5 tickets for me and my friends (some of them are not into football at all but want to see Messi :P).

        • soccermomof4
          April 25, 2011

          The chance of Messi (or any other Argentinean or Brazillian) playing is small to non-existant due to the Copa America which doesn’t end until late July. 🙁

  45. jaymin
    April 24, 2011

    the turnover at this blog is incredible. you always have new people, i guess, but i think the exile of greecebarca turned the page for a number of people.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      April 24, 2011

      I’m new here, so I don’t know anything about greecebarca and why is he so famous… (._.”)

    • Vj
      April 24, 2011

      I couldn’t find a single offensive thing in what jaymin wrote. Maybe he turned a page as well..

      • jaymin
        April 24, 2011

        that one is actually a very funny comment : )

    • blitzen
      April 24, 2011

      ??? No one exiled him. There was an incident, for which Kxevin apologized and wore a hair shirt for a couple of weeks. He was never banned and is welcome to come back whenever he wants.

      You, on the other hand, always have something negative to say.

      • jaymin
        April 24, 2011

        I love Barcelona, my fiancee is from there, I love you, and I love this site. I am not a negative person, and I resent that comment.

        • blitzen
          April 24, 2011

          Ok, I apologize. So what was the point of your comment then?

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      April 24, 2011

      oh, wait! I remember GREECE BARCA…

      the first I come to this blog was after the La Manita,
      and I remember correctly there’s one very exciting and positive cule this blog, that was GREECE BARCA…

      but I dunno anything about the incident with Kxevin…

      • April 24, 2011

        It’s not something of which I am proud. I will also say that my memories of Greece Barca are not exciting and positive, and leave it at that. blitzen has explained the rest.

        • BarcaGirl_Indo
          April 24, 2011

          oh, honestly I only saw some of his comments before and after La Manita…

          he seemed very exciting and positive at that time, even before the game started…
          and he didn’t post with ALL CAPS and not 5 in a row when I first saw his comments…

          I was wrong then…
          and thanks for the explanation, kxevin and ooga aga…:)

      • ooga aga
        April 24, 2011

        GREECE BARCA was a barca fan from greece, who texted from his phone always in ALL CAPS, with horrible grammar and spelling, he would post two-line posts, 5 in a row on occasion, with strong and passionate statements. his style rubbed some people the wrong way, including myself on occasion at times, but i dont think he ever did any thing maliciously, he just had his own style, like so many people on this blog. some people said some things to him indicating they did not like his style, and i might have been one of them dont know, but he took them very hard, harder than probably any one intended, and i know there are details i am missing, but at some point he just stopped posting. i dont think he was banned.

  46. Vj
    April 24, 2011

    It could be worse..

    .. we could be Arsene’s water bottle (or bottlers if you may?)

  47. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 24, 2011

    twitter Gabriele Marcotti :

    Portuguese ref Pedro Proenca takes charge of EE-Barça. In 2003, he sent off Morinho twice. But he’s a veteran, “safe pair of hands” type.

    Interesting. but what “safe pair of hands” means?

    • ElJefe
      April 24, 2011

      “A reliable, if somewhat dull, person who can be entrusted not to make a mistake with a task.”

      • jaymin
        April 24, 2011

        All the UCL referees are so tainted with association with all manner of scum. refereeing in europe, from america, looks farcical. why no cameras? the referee should be irrelevant, but until Mr. Blatter dies and FIFA has a trailblazer, I see no change.

  48. jaymin
    April 24, 2011

    I think that we need to attack them from wide areas. Also, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was and is ****.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      April 24, 2011

      everything will be just fine, as long as we have you here, Miguel… 😀

    • kinukinu
      April 24, 2011

      Oh dear–this thread is regressing faster than Mou can say “Conspiracy!”

  49. April 24, 2011

    jaymin, consider yourself on the watch list. This blog has rules for language and comportment. As a moderator of this space, I will do everything that I can, up to and including bans, to ensure that those standards are adhered to.

    As such, your comments have been edited and/or deleted where appropriate.

    For those wondering about said standards, they are here:

  50. ooga aga
    April 24, 2011


    28 wins, 4 empates, 1 loss, 88 points – on pace to break Liga record
    for points in a season, which we set last year with 99.

    88 goals for
    17 goals against

    average score = 2.7 – 0.5


    • Jose
      April 24, 2011

      Yup, we have 15 points up for grabs (5 matches).

      With 7 points, we mathematically win La Liga. With 12 points, we hit 100 and break the La Liga record. To do that, we can only afford one draw or loss for the rest of the season.

      • Barcaleya
        April 24, 2011

        Hope we break the La Liga record 😀 Visca Barca!

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        April 24, 2011

        yes, we need 7 points —> 2 wins and 1 draw, at least…

        or 1 win and 4 draws (if the players make us suffer until the last game of the season)…

        but that IF Evil Empire win all of their 5 matches left…

        and also if we win all the games left, we’ll hit 103…
        how awesome is that?

  51. gowtham
    April 24, 2011

    Excellent post Kari!
    This post made me emotional…

    I think that your spot on when you comment on the situation of the Cules. We do tend to get scared when we go through a rough patch. We tend to look back at the negatives that this team has went through in recent times…
    -Guard of honor and 4-1 spanking by Real Madrid
    -The fall of arguably, the greatest footballer to have ever played for this club. (R10)
    -The sacking of one of the most important managers in our history
    -Some backroom nonsense
    -Dressing room problems.
    -A 4-0 loss against Getafe of “Team Dubai” when we had won the first game 5-2
    -and so much more nonsense that happened…
    These things don’t happen to other teams. I don’t think that teams such as Man Utd, Chelsea, Real Madrid, or Ac Milan have ever went through rough times such as these. We’ve been…scared in a way.

    Then we went through one of the most golden times in our history, and that too after appointing a rookie coach:
    -6-2 Ass-Whopping
    -2-0 Man Utd-Spanking to so much other world class teams.
    -Stamford Bridge.
    -Becoming the first team to have ever captured 6 trophies in one year.
    -Winning La Liga with 99 points, a record.
    -Witnessing The greatest ever forward trident in the world. Henry-Messi-Eto: Total of 101 goals.
    -Witnessing arguably, the greatest ever club performance in a 5-0 win against our most hated rivals, and the then “2nd Best” team in the world.
    -Witnessing the rise of a man who can go on to be the greatest footballer the world has ever witnessed, a man who manages to score 50 goals in a season with 7 games remaining.
    -There is so much more…

    We’re special. I can’t possibly stress that enough. People don’t get to witness teams like this everyday. These types of team come around every 50 years. I became a fan of this team as soon as Ronaldinho moved to Barca, after watching him during the Fifa World Cup 2002. My friend once made fun of me during the 07-08 season when Man Utd knocked out Barca in the CL Semi Finals. He laughed at me, and mocked me, but I told him that I would rather die with this team than supporting another team. 4 years later, while going through this “crisis” right now, I wouldn’t change any of it.

    I don’t know about you guys, but like SoMa4 said, let the glory hunters be glory hunters, and let the true Cules be true Cules. I LOVE this team, and everything associated with it. BLAUGRANA TILL I DIE!

    P.S: A little inspiration:

    • gowtham
      April 24, 2011

      Sorry for the language at the end, just got a tad emotional:S
      I harm no one, forgive thou Kxevin 😀

      • April 24, 2011

        With emotion should also come self control. The post has been edited, but we have to decide what kind of place we want this to be. If it’s to be a simple message board, then what’s the point? If it is to be something more, then ALL of the people who come here have to handle their own business. This space shouldn’t require moderation of any kind. It didn’t before it became as popular as it is, and it shouldn’t now.

        The tone and mood are entirely up to us.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      April 24, 2011

      I don’t think that teams such as Man Utd, Chelsea, Real Madrid, or Ac Milan have ever went through rough times such as these. We’ve been…scared in a way.

      yes, they were… EE had that rough path also, in 2009…
      2-6 at Bernabeeww, and their eternal rival get the treble, even sextuple… they won NOTHING…how can it get worse than that?
      I know how they feel, because it’similar with what milanisti has been through…

      AC Milan? yes, last season, 2009-2010…
      they lost their beloved captain Maldini (retired), their talisman Kaka (sold), and one of the best coach in their history, Ancelotti (moved)…

      got crushed 4-0 in derby Milano, in front of their own supporter, got crushed again 2-0 in another derby Milano…

      lost to Man. U at San Siro for the 1st time in history, an embarrassing exit, 4-0 at Old Trafford…

      on top of that, Inter got the treble, and they won NOTHING…


      my point is, this season, let say we only win La Liga this season, it is still a season with full of joy…
      it’s nothing like Barça in 2007/2008, EE 2008/2009, or AC Milan 2009/2010…

      many people accused me as a glory hunter because I started to like this team on 2009… who the hell who cares?
      maybe I’m a new fan, but I believe I will always be here for FC Barcelona… 😀

      • Vj
        April 25, 2011

        What about Chelsea’s long search for their holy grail? The CL title has always eluded them. AC Milan have not won a scudetto since ’03 if I’m correct..

        Arsenal – I’m just gonna leave it at that..

        • gowtham
          April 25, 2011

          @ BarcaGirl:
          IMHO it’s different between what teams like Real Madrid,and Ac Milan went through.

          When teams win trophies and are doing better than their rivals, it is to be expected. Success comes in cycles. On the other hand, some of the hardships that Barcelona went through was just painful to stand by. Ac Milan didn’t have to perform a guard of honor against Inter Milan in recent years. Neither did Real Madrid. We did. AC Milan never lost a semi final Coppa Italia tie when winning 5-2 from the first leg and then get smashed 4-0 in the return. Real Madrid either (Alcorcon may have something to say 😉 ) We did.

          -The problem with our demise in the 06 to 08 seasons was that we possessed a team that could go on to be one of the most special teams of all time. It was just that the fall from grace was so sudden and so unexpected, that it shocked quite a bit. I still think that with the proper management attitude, we could have kept Ronaldinho and Eto with us. We went from winning the double in 05-06 to losing losing our best player, manager, and at the end of the day no trophies.

          I don’t know about you guys, but that fall hit me quite hard. I was probably the last one to expect it. So much promise, so little results :S

          -And about Chelsea, their stupidity resulted them in not winning the CL. They should have finished us off in the semi’s when we were down to 10 men, yet they sat back. We punished them.

          -And Arsenal: …nothing to say…

  52. Miguel
    April 24, 2011

    2-0, Messi: “Messi gives a lot of the crowd a nice tingle in their trousers. His dispatch is smoother than a 8-ball and he goes top-pocket.”

    On the replay of Messi’s goal: “Easier than tissue off a toilet roll.”!/liverayhudson
    -God, I love this guy!

    • barca96
      April 24, 2011

      Haha how the hell does he come up with all those funny analogies( is that what they’re called?)

  53. Dani_el
    April 24, 2011

    Excellent post Kari!!

    Well I’ve seen this club since the dream team with romario, stoichkov, guardiola, amor, laudrup, zubi, in tve by cable, and being a peruvian, I’ve followed it exclusively, since 2005 after seeing them play, but since 2008 well…Pep was necessary, he just changed the game, Barza with dinho played great, sometimes on the counter attack (I read that in some older versions of Sport) but Pep just changed the game, not only in the first team, in all categories of la masia(futbol base)too. I’m used to keeping faith in the philosophy of tiki taka, in my national team (well but with less results haha) but all the same, I love the game of posession, of driving opposite players mad with our game, with goals of 20 continued passes, o exquisity, of Messi, and Xavi-iniesta, of the hard labour and intensity in defense of Puyol or Pedro! I love the way they press in the opposite field, I love the values of respect and prudence, I think sometimes in life, you see that good people can win, and this team and what represents (with unicef keita helping out on the surgery of a little girl from his country, or Iniesta just being him, and so on) just reminds me that.
    I listen to Pep, so I will not doubt this group, and least of all HIM, I just hope we keep on playing in our style, with our values, and I hope once again, the good team wins (and if it won’t, it doesn’t matter for me, I enjoy watching and suffering for this team anyways.)

  54. VictorNZ
    April 24, 2011

    Im not sure if any one has thought of Robin Van Persie for a possible option as a new signing? He offers alot that people are asking for plus he’s 26 (not too old) provides width and is capable of playing anywhere upfront and is great with set pieces. I know after the second leg against Arsenal things might of gotten heated but just thought id put him out there for discussion. I like Kxevin’s Drogba idea though, always though he was the most complete CF in England, he could act as another Larsson for us though im not sure if he would be happy with that role. Im pretty sure we were close to signing him before the 08-09 season? There were rumors we were very much interested in him to replace Eto’o, but I could be wrong at that time I remember Berbatov and Adebayor were being floated about as possibilities.

    • Jose
      April 24, 2011

      No way. First, we need a replacement striker that isn’t going to be injured for half the season. Second, that clown has a massive chip on his shoulder with our players. It wasn’t just some heated moment during a match. He went out of his way to call our players “cheaters and divers” after the Arsenal tie and refused to even shake the hands of Spain’s players after the World Cup final. We don’t need that childish attitude on our team. Third, we here have concluded that he’s either partially deaf or doesn’t know how to take a shot from outside the box with only one defender on him.

        • April 25, 2011

          There are other signs of his petulance, as well, evinced in today’s Bolton match. Plus Van Persie would be too expensive, and wouldn’t sit gladly on the bench.

      • VictorNZ
        April 25, 2011

        Okay, fair enough. Good points was only food for thought, regardless of his attitude. Didn’t mean to stir the pot.

        • Jim
          April 25, 2011

          Decent suggestion nonetheless, VictorNZ. He is a quality player – pity about the baggage that comes with him. No problem stirring pots if it’s done in the right way as you did 🙂

  55. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 25, 2011

    I take conclusions from Jose and Kxevin, that we need a replacement striker who :

    1. not a prone injury
    2. not a chidish clown
    3. has a good hearing
    4. know how to take a shot from outside the box with only one defender on him.
    5. patient
    6. cheap
    7. gladly sit on the bench
    8. young and cute like Bojan or Chicharito

    who? Kxevin mentioned Drogba a few times already…

    • culeluvr
      April 25, 2011

      Fernando Llorente! He’s scored 17 goals in 35 games, not too shabby.

      • Sheena
        April 25, 2011

        Would Llorente be able to deal with not being an automatic starter though?

        • culeluvr
          April 25, 2011

          Well..I’ve only followed his career with La Roja and not Bilbao. As far as I can tell he’d be okay since he takes a back seat to Villa and Torres with the national team.

          • BarcaGirl_Indo
            April 25, 2011

            well, he’s the perfect example of a supersub striker who can break the “park the bus” formation…

            I remember a game when La Roja couldn’t score until the end of second half, I think…

            then VdB put Llorente in, he got a good cross from Ramos, and scored from a header…

            I also remember Spain vs Paraguay in WC, when Spain desperately need a goal, VdB subbed Torres for Llorente…

            oh my, he got a HUGE impact…just in second he gave the aerial threat which they couldn’t get from Torres…

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        April 25, 2011

        as a girl, I won’t say no to Llorente… 😀

        • culeluvr
          April 25, 2011

          lol neither would I! The man exudes sexiness all over.

          • BarcaGirl_Indo
            April 25, 2011

            oh, you’re a girl too!

            this is a girl talk then… no wonder why we’re talking about Llorente… 😆

  56. 145culegirl
    April 25, 2011

    Very inspiring article.
    It would be an understatement if we cules say that we’ve dropped standards.It is true that we have been playing with less intensity but there’s no need for ringing the alarm bells.The phase the team is going through is very tough especially with injuries and the recent Copa loss.I’ve said in earlier post that this is the time where the team needs the full support of fans.Tough times like this brings fans more closer to the club.And if we leave them stranded,the whole time we’ve spent supporting them has no meaning.
    We should also not forget that they have fought like soldiers all the time.

  57. Eklavya
    April 25, 2011

    – Greece Barca disappeared after we installed the registration, not after the “incident”.

    – Van Persie and Drogba both have issues with us because of how we knocked them out. I think the latter could be an option, as long as he doesn’t bring his ego.

    – I’d rather play both Pedro and Afellay and bench Villa. Play Pedro on the right. Even if he isn’t on form, he still defends effectively and we need it pin DiMaria. (It opens up TB on the other side though). I would play Afellay on the left:

    Alves Pique Puyol Mascherano
    Xavi Busquets Iniesta
    Pedro Messi Afellay

    Bring on Villa for Afellay later on, I guess.

  58. Judas Pissed
    April 25, 2011

    I too remember the trophyless 1999-2004 years and this current team has delivered us Cules so much. But I too feel the nagging sense of – if not ‘impending doom’ – then definitely deja vu. We have reached the most important time of the season & we lack sufficient cover at centre back, full back & up front onc again. None of the other European powerhouses would find themselves in such a situation, so why do we? I know Pep prefers a small squad but what wouldn’t we give now for Caceres or Henrique or Ibra on the bench..? Or for Montoya or Fontas to have played far more games..?

  59. Jnice
    April 25, 2011

    AS is killing Pep today-calling him “nervous” and saying that in the tough times, his true personality comes out. They dissected every one of his comments in the press conference the other day (even though after watching it, it’s clear he was being sarcastic.. he even laughed). Haven’t checked Marca, but it’s probably the same.

    I also find it funny how they always refer to the Cristiano ball incident to show his “dark side”.

    • Humphrey Bogart
      April 25, 2011

      Hah, AS they really have no shame, maybe they should more focus on their dark side in their photo/photoshop department. They want to give others morale lectures, what comes next, Mou playing offensive football?

  60. poipoi
    April 25, 2011

    Great post kari! And that a avatar is so cool….

    Rant… I am one of those cules, a complex one I guess. If we win we deserve it if, we let EE win we deserve hell thats how I feel. It’s not loosing what matters me it is EE winning. I would not care to loose against a non-mou non-EE side. But after what happened in mestalla (bernabeu was ok) I was absolutely disappointed by my team and the way we play (no hustle no tactic change). We let them win and think they can do well vs us treating footy like that (stop the rivals anyhow, fouls, ref harassment, 10 man behind ball). We are to blame IMO. We have played the role of the stupid but elegant dude. They the intelligent ugly dude. We were very uncool in mestalla and Madrid was totally cool… winners, a team that fights for that inch 😉 :P. I never saw EE as a cool thing I did not like that at all. Almost puked 😉
    I have my biased views (etoo is not here – Ozil is there not here but there for 15mill – we don’t change tactics at all anymore – specially messi always false nine is not that surprising anymore – and the depth of our squad) if EE wins I will be so pissed I will be classlessly recalling those things that I think make pep not a divine perfect character and our squad a squad from heaven.

    Besides I’m not catalan live in bcn and don’t feel the Barcelona city crowd that much the media and how they were saying that we were absolutely gonna trash EE and win the treble effortlessly. Excuse me??? We looked so like EE crowd at that time it was a good thing mou mou brought us to reality. Now the old cule fear starts to appear it may be a good thing one can be a little positive after all.

  61. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 25, 2011

    EMD say it’ll be Puyol as the left back…

    while in other source, they say it’ll be Keita…


    and ooooooooohhh!! Gerard Piqué says one day he will be the president of FC Barcelona… Moc moc!!! 😀

  62. vivaespana
    April 25, 2011

    So being a Madridista I have some things to say:

    1- Real Madrid’s win over Barca in the CDR final was special mainly because we beat the best team in the world presently. Victory tastes sweeter when you are the underdog.

    2- Barcelona’s fluency in passing and co-ordination between players are things that come over time, not overnight. To expect RM to play like that with a new coach and new players who have come in from different leagues and setups and expect it to click in the first season is not fair.

    3- While I admire and respect Barcelona’s philosophy (although I do feel this passing game can be quite tedious to watch sometimes), to say that was always the case is again not fair. I remember several Barcelona teams and players who have played ugly, scored goals with their hands, dived, etc. Have people forgotten about Rivaldo?

    4- Instead of making this about RM vs Barca, can we not just celebrate a golden period for Spanish football? Since 2000, between both teams, we have 4 European Cups. World and European champions. The two best players in the world playing in Spain.

    I forgot the fifth point, so yeah thats it.

    Looking forward to Wednesday.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      April 25, 2011

      hi, vivaespana! 🙂

      1. well now in UCL semifinal, your team is no longer the underdog… we are… and I feel better that way…

      2. your team can’t get that fluency and chemistry if Perez keep changing the players (drastically) and coaches every single year… maybe this time Perez will learn something about patience…

      3. nope…. it’s not always the case… our players are not angels, or perfect humans… but if we talk about the last 2 El Clasicos, I dare to say RM was very lucky indeed, they only down to 10 men…

      4. The two best players in the world playing in Spain? I believe you mean Messi and CR… but for me, it is Messi and Iniesta… and yes, I’m a biased cule… 😛
      and you’re right… I’m happy for Spain football…

      • barca96
        April 25, 2011

        The two best players in the world playing in Spain

        It’s these kinds of comments made on TV that makes me sick to my stomach! Have they forgotten who the 2nd place was? The third. Where was Crishtiano? Where? The commentators need to show some more respect to Iniesta and Xavi.

        Just because they don’t score goals and grace the cover of magazines and print ads doesn’t mean that they should be ignored as if they never existed!

      • Ian
        April 25, 2011

        Ah, you’re not biased. Neither were the people who placed Messi, Iniesta and Xavi in the top three places of World Player of the Year 😀

    • poipoi
      April 25, 2011

      Vivaespañia coñio! Jajaja

      Rivaldo played footy like the angels themselves… he probably scored the most beautiful goal ever vs valencia. Besides there was a guy called figo at the time with us… guess you liked his game ’cause you signed him 😉 Remember fernando hierro? The EE idol? Pepe’s idol?

      We may have had unskilled defensive players but not our philosophy in the last decades…. gravesen 2 diarras etc… sure there’s many more. Even van gaal-mou mou tried to play nice here.

  63. Vj
    April 25, 2011

    So no Portuguese ref, instead its Wolfgang Stark..

    UEFA has appointed German referee Wolfgang Stark (41) to lead the CL game Madrid-Barcelona on Wednesday.

    Oddly, Madrid record with Wolfgang Stark: 3W 1D 2L
    Barcelona record with Wolfgang Stark: 1W 3D 1L [via]

    via Pep @ Barcastuff

    • Vj
      April 25, 2011

      ’10-04-06 Barcelona – Arsenal (4 – 1)
      ’09-09-16 Internazionale – Barcelona (0 – 0)
      ’09-04-28 Barcelona – Chelsea F.C. (0 – 0)
      ’09-02-24 Lyon – Barcelona (1 – 1)
      ’04-03-11 Celtic – Barcelona (1 – 0)

      ’11-02-22 Lyon – Real Madrid (1 – 1)
      ’09-12-08 Marseille – Real Madrid (1 – 3)
      ’08-10-21 Juventus – Real Madrid (2 – 1)
      ’06-09-13 Lyon – Real Madrid (2 – 0)
      ’05-11-01 Rosenborg – Real Madrid (0 – 2)
      ’03-09-16 Real Madrid – Marseille (4 – 2)

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      April 25, 2011

      eh… seeing that stats,
      I don’t know which one I prefer more…

      Portuguese or Wolfgang…

  64. Goo
    April 25, 2011

    Great post Kari.

    Lots of talk about style. I think that while we shouldn’t compromise our play by changing our style, adjustments have to be made in the context of how EE has played us the past two games. And speaking of style…

    Happy birthday Johan Cruyff. Thank you for once upon a time insisting that Barcelona play a certain way. It’s been an absolute pleasure to watch it.

  65. poipoi
    April 25, 2011

    Re-reading … why so hard on rijkaard? Viva rijkaard!!!

  66. barca96
    April 25, 2011

    @ Just Pissed

    I have been a fan just a year or two shorter than you but I remember very well that I had more happy days with Barca than with Ajax. We had an amazing ROnaldo after in 96/97 and won the equivalent to Europa League. And then after Robson left, V Gaal got us the double League with a Ronaldo wannabe( what I used to call him, thats how sad I was with Ronaldo leaving). It was only after V.Gaal left that we were in a mess all the way until Laporta arrived on board.

    I saw Rustu’s name up on Twitter. Man..I loathe that guy! We were actually not a bad team back then but he always made blunders that cost us the game. Similar to 06-08 but it was only HIS FAULT!

  67. Diego
    April 25, 2011

    I just love hate how all the editors and supposed football experts are bandwagoners and wave riders, They see us winning, they keep writing articles about how brilliant we are and that we’ll win the treble, Madrid wins Copa del rey, We’re now Underdogs and they’re the best team in history.

  68. Diego
    April 25, 2011

    Second try.

    I just love hate how all the editors and supposed football experts are bandwagoners and wave riders, They see us winning, they keep writing articles about how brilliant we are and that we’ll win the treble, Madrid wins Copa del rey, We’re now Underdogs and they’re the best team in history.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      April 25, 2011

      honestly, I better see those editors and football experts talk about how great and brilliant EE is, and how now we become underdog…

      not because I agree with them, but because it feels much better if we can turn around those words, like we did the in the first El Clasico…

      I still remember a guy from Guardian I think, before La Manita he said Mou able to beat us with his eyes closed… and then that historical 5-0 happened… 😀

  69. Barcaleya
    April 25, 2011

    “RAMOS: I want the game to be sportsmanlike. I’d like people to avoid exaggerating injuries or fouls, and for the referee to be impartial.”

    Huh? He’s saying – our fouls are all fair. it’s the other team that exaggerate injuries from our fouls. The ref should not give us cards. We are sportsmanlike and the other team is not. The other team being Barcelona.

    Ramos – you have the nerve to say that!!!!

    He’s doing a Mourinho thing. Making it appear like they are always right and in fact are the ones persecuted by the ref and the opposing players’ acting skills. The gall!

    Even VdB said that what he and Arbeloa did to Villa are NOT sportsmanlike and moral.

    • culeluvr
      April 25, 2011

      Pay no mind to Ramos..he is what I like to call “the village idiot”.
      1) Butterfingers managed to drop the CDR from an open bus mere hours after they’d won their first trophy in x amount of years.
      2) The genius that Sergio Ramos is exemplified in an interview he did for EE where he thought basketball and baloncesto(which is basketball in Spanish) were two different things.

      Plus he’s calling the kettle black and not practicing what he preaches. If he wants a clean game, he should send the memo to thong boy and marcelo.

  70. April 25, 2011

    I’m okay with the Stark appointment. He usually lets the players decide the match, but doesn’t tolerate thuggery of the Copa sort. It should be a fair call.

    He has also awarded more PKs than any ref in CL this season. Something for our players to keep in mind when challenging the likes of Di Maria and TB in the box.

  71. April 25, 2011

    I do not accept the underdog title… and I don’t think Pep does either he was being sarcastic on how fast journalists change their opinion on the better team…
    have no illusion…we are favourites!
    We shall pass…!
    1-2 at bernabeou
    1-0 camp nou..

  72. blitzen
    April 25, 2011

    Plan C:

    Barcelona B centre- and left-back defender Marc Muniesa (19) will this afternoon train with the first team #fcblive [cope]

    • Josep
      April 25, 2011

      Was about to post this. Basically, Milito or Maxwell won’t be fit. Muniesa, god thats a scary though.

      I haven’t read this thread or comments yet but the concensus seems to be everyones certain Puyol is fit and will start? Thats a big if, guys.

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        April 25, 2011

        I don’t know…
        Sport and EMD seem quite sure that Puyol is fit…

        we sure hope he is…
        IF the worst case happen, that Puyol isn’t fit, who’s gonna be the BACK FOUR?




        or Alves-Pique-(???)-(???) ?

        I put Keita there because there’s some talks going on that we’ll use him as a LB…
        and yes, God, that’s scary…

        • blitzen
          April 25, 2011

          Or Alves-Pique-Busi-Masch. Midfield: Xavi-Keita-Iniesta?

          • Diego
            April 25, 2011

            More likely Alves-Masch-Pique-Keita. with Businiestaxavi in the middle.

          • blitzen
            April 25, 2011

            You mean Xaviniesquets, surely? 😛

            And for reason I just don’t think Keita will play LB. I think he could, I just don’t think he will.

    • Diego
      April 25, 2011

      A CB playing as LB would be good, He’ll be a sub for just in case, I think it will be Alves-Puyol-Pique-Mascherano, or Masch CB and Puyol LB.

  73. y2k156
    April 25, 2011

    Btw i saw the Phil Ball article on Soccernet. Now i am pretty sure that he is pro madrid and anti Barca.

    I have been reading him for last 4-5 years at least and till now, i gave him benefit of doubt that he is Sociadad supporter with different point of view. But with his last few articles, i guess i do have to conclude that maybe he is not totally anti Barca but he is pro madrid and hence given to views against Barca.

    • Lou
      April 25, 2011

      I don’t know about that.

      I also read the article and thought it was quite negative, but I don’t really think of Phil Ball as an expert on tactics. I certainly don’t think he watches the matches with as much detail as Kxevin.

      I find his articles mostly interesting for the cultural and political insights in to Spanish football, and this article had a very interesting look at the back room wars in Real Madrid. But in general I think he was mostly reacting to the overall negative tone of the press.

      We’ll just have to wait and see what he says after Wednesday!

  74. gowtham
    April 25, 2011

    Thinking about strikers to buy.
    I only have one in mind, but the problem is that he would be way too expensive, and I don’t know how he’d take the idea of sitting on the bench for a couple of games…(drum roll)
    Ladies and Gentlemen I present to you…WAYNE ROONEY!

    -His one touch game is amazing
    -Team player
    -Amazing long range shot
    -amazing vision
    -And he’s aggressive as a bulldog


    I wouldn’t mind him, but the problem is if he can swallow the fact that he has to play second fiddle to Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, and Villa. That’s one of the biggest problems about attracting star players to our team. I don’t think they would like to be known as the 4th or 5th most important person. Ibrahimovich is an example.

    Other than that my ideal transfer targets would be:
    -Llorente or Rossi
    -Van der Wiel
    -and maybe Contrao
    -and Ronaldinho ( I just want him to play for us for one more season)
    -Drogba: don’t like him

    Just my thoughts…

    • blitzen
      April 25, 2011

      Nothing personal, gowtham, but I must pour derision on the notion that Wayne Rooney would be in any way a solution for this team. Waaaayyyy out of our price range, and there is no possibility that England’s Great Hope would be willing to warm the bench. Plus he is a dirty prozzy-shagger and has been derisive of the fans on several occasions. Pep says NO!

      If I was going to take anyone from ManU it would be Chicharito, or even the Berba.

      • Diego
        April 25, 2011

        Rooney would be an amazing buy in PES or FIFA, not in real life.

        • blitzen
          April 25, 2011

          ^ Exactly. People get too carried away with stats and forget that players have real personalities and issues.

      • Ryan
        April 25, 2011

        To Rooney’s credit, he has already stated that Iniesta is the best player in the world. All he’d have to do is include Messi and Xavi and he’d have the right mindset. 😀

    • Diego
      April 25, 2011

      Llorente would be a good buy, It’ll depend on his willingness to sit on the bench where in EE he will play as a starter.

      Rossi will add more goals to our tally but He’s the same as MVP, He won’t add new dimensions.

      Van der Wiel ? Alves renewed and Montoya will be playing for Valencia with a buy back clause.

      Coentrao would be really expensive and I’m starting to like Adriano as a LB.

      Ronaldinho and Drogba – /

  75. April 25, 2011

    A little present by Pep to remind you and me what this team is about and to get you ready for semifinals…

    It’s even more amazing watching now…

  76. blitzen
    April 25, 2011

    Off topic but funny:

    Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli has notched up nearly £10,000 in parking fines and had his car impounded 27 times since moving to the north west. (from the BBC)

  77. Miguel
    April 25, 2011

    A few things:

    1. Jose’s description of Van Persie was ****ing beautiful/brilliant. 😛

    2. Muniesa’s played well at left back for the Barca Babies. In my opinion he’s a good defender but does get caught out of position from time to time, and that’s mostly when he’s playing in the center. I don’t see him getting any action if Puyol is fit, though.

    3. I remember Puyi playing left back a few times in the Rijkaard era. He’d definitely get the nod to play there from me. Especially over Masche, who’s been playing the center back role wonderfully in his last couple of games.

    • soccermomof4
      April 25, 2011

      You know what? I think I’ve drunk a little too much of the Mascherano flavored Kool-Aid. I’m beginning to think the man can cure a rainy day. IF Puyol is there for CB/Pique-sitting duties, I’m quite content to let El Jefecito harass the living daylights outta TB at LB (I had originally said Puyi at LB and Masche at CB but if you guys thinks he can do it, I think it’ll be a blast to watch him try it). I look forward to hearing the announcers say over and over again, “another perfectly timed tackle by Mascherano.” What a signing! And I think that coming and learning our system has turned an already very good footballer into an outstanding one.
      Few teams can do better than our best XI-left-standing, our problem is going to be who do we go to on the bench if one of those XI get injured. Alves-Piqui-Puyi-sMasche= thou shalt not pass!

    • Miguel
      April 25, 2011

      I just listened to this thing like 500 times on repeat. I’m either at least mildly autistic or this is the most brilliant thing ever made. 😛

      • April 25, 2011

        I must be mildly autistic too.

        Best. Video. Ever.

        Until I watch a video better than that.

        I heart you, Miguel.

        • barca96
          April 25, 2011

          My God. It’s so addictive!
          I hope somebody uploads it on youtube.
          I want to download that video!

        • April 25, 2011

          I’m officially obsessed with this video. WHY ARE PEOPLE ON THIS VIDEO LIKE A JEDI KNIGHT?!

    • Barcaleya
      April 25, 2011

      OMG, Miguel. This is brilliant! Hahaha.

      Someone should totally record this. It could be another Barca anthem.

  78. Jim
    April 25, 2011

    I’m still in the Pique / Puyol camp for CB. It seems to bring the best out of Pique and it means Puyol is in the heart of our defence where he belongs. Happy to see Masch at LB but it’s asking a lot for him to mark Ronaldo for 90 minutes with his style. Puyol needs to make sure he gives him cover. With Ronaldo it’s all about your starting position. He’s actually not that good at beating defenders imo if he doesn’t get a head start. Too many stepovers.

    • Nik
      April 25, 2011

      Agreed. Masch should have OK starting position on Ronaldo, as I can’t see Masch getting too far forward to join the attack.

  79. blitzen
    April 25, 2011


    Right Now > Training session. Puyol and Milito training normally with the group. Maxwell recovering individually #fcblive

    Puyol training normally with the group. 😀 😀 😀

    • soccermomof4
      April 25, 2011

      I still want Alves, Pique, Puyol, Masch even with Milito available. Good to have Gabi healthy in reserve though!

  80. beeeef
    April 25, 2011

    I wonder if Mou will move Pepe back to CB to make up for Carvalho’s absence? Or just go ahead and play a Ramos/Albiol pairing with Pepe staying in his DM spot?

    Whatever the lineups, it would be great to get one or more away goals at the Bernabeu to take home. Very excited for Wednesday.

    • barca96
      April 25, 2011

      I don’t know about that beef. Im sure Mou knows that playing Pepe at DM has been a key to their lil’ success. So I don’t think he would change it.

      Yeah. The best possible thing to happen is to get an early away goal to make them (EE) get nervous and crack under pressure.

  81. bosnabarca
    April 25, 2011

    Hi, as an avid reader of this blog since the time it moved from the offside, I’d like to give some input on all the talk of a new striker. As crazy as this sounds I think you shouldnt just laugh it off, I think that our club should try to acquire Gonzalo Higuain. Seeing as ****** have benzema and probably will keep adebayor, I can see Higuain being the odd one out. He has decent height, good finishing, and would provide a good option either off the bench or a starter. just some food for thought.

    • April 25, 2011

      I admire Pipita, but he’s loyal to EE (the poor guy). It’s one of the reasons I like him, I guess. He’d be a quality signing, though, for all the reasons you mentioned.

      Also, welcome, bosnabarca! I have a couple of friends from Bosnia (if that’s where you’re from), and I even got one to be a casual Barca fan. 😉 😀

      • bosnabarca
        April 25, 2011

        thank you! this is probably one of the best communities on the web and there are some really intelligent people on the site. and yes i am from bosnia, northwest to be exact

    • blitzen
      April 25, 2011

      Oh yes! I remember when he was in Toronto a few years ago for the U-20 World Cup. There was a bit of controversy over perceived bias against Chile:

      Following the match Stark and his colleagues were surrounded by livid Chilean players who were restrained by members of the Toronto Police. Stark then had to be escorted off of the pitch and into the dressing room tunnel by police officers for fear that he would be attacked by the crowd and/or Chilean players at the National Soccer Stadium.[4] Chilean players, still angry after losing the match, fought with and were pepper-sprayed by police officers outside of the stadium. The players were temporarily held inside the stadium by the police for several hours and were released without being arrested.[4]

      So Di Maria will be able to dive all he likes and get away with it, then!

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