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.”

Hehehehe.

“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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227 Comments

  1. Vj
    April 24, 2011

    It could be worse..

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

  2. 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.

  3. jaymin
    April 24, 2011

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

  4. Miguel
    April 24, 2011

    This blog is hysterical. 😀

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      April 24, 2011

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

      • Miguel
        April 24, 2011

        I like your attitude. 😉

    • kinukinu
      April 24, 2011

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

  5. 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:

    http://www.barcelonafootballblog.com/7749/growing-pains-policies/

  6. ooga aga
    April 24, 2011

    2010-2011

    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

    amazing

    • 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?

  7. 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.
    -Treble
    -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:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZB9XLBsox78&feature=channel_video_title

    • 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…

  8. 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.”
    http://twitter.com/#!/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?)

  9. 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.)

  10. 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.

      • Jnice
        April 24, 2011

        Spot on as always, Jose.

      • 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 🙂

      • blitzen
        April 25, 2011

        You rule, Jose. 😀

  11. 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… 😆

  12. 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.

  13. 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:

    VV
    Alves Pique Puyol Mascherano
    Xavi Busquets Iniesta
    Pedro Messi Afellay

    Bring on Villa for Afellay later on, I guess.

  14. 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..?

  15. 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?

  16. 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.

  17. 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…

    Puyol/Masch/Keita?

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

  18. 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.

  19. 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 worldreferee.com]

    via Pep @ Barcastuff

    • Vj
      April 25, 2011

      Details:
      (YY-MM-DD)
      ’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)

      http://worldreferee.com/site/match.php?refID=494#

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      April 25, 2011

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

      Portuguese or Wolfgang…

  20. 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.

  21. poipoi
    April 25, 2011

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

  22. 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!

  23. 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.

  24. 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… 😀

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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..

  28. 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?

        Alves-Pique-Masch-Muniesa/Keita?

        or

        Alves-Pique-Muniesa/Fontas/Keita-Masch?

        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.

      • soccermomof4
        April 25, 2011

        Businiestavi? 🙂

    • 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.

  29. 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!

  30. 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!

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

    Negatives
    -$$$
    -Height
    -Bench
    -Temper

    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.

      • soccermomof4
        April 25, 2011

        Chicharito would be awesome!

      • thechaikid
        April 25, 2011

        i second chicharito 😀

      • 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 – /

  31. 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…

  32. 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)

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. blitzen
    April 25, 2011

    Barcastuff:

    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!

  36. 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.

  37. 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

  38. April 25, 2011

    Stark? As in, Wolfgang Stark?

    Fudge.

    • 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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