Homages to Our Little Genius and to Our Brilliant Team ft. Ray Hudson

You just know this’ll be good.

This was brought to our attention by reader Miguel and I feel it deserves a post of its own. I’m not saying this just because he’s my favourite player. This has Messi AND Ray-Ray Hudson, featuring Joaquim Maria Puyal. Greatness.

Whoever you are, The Wizard of Ox, I will be your Dorothy. Yes.

(A YouTube version is available here).

This second video is a very nice reminder. Forget my Adversity post, watch this and enjoy. And you can thank reader Humphrey Bogart for posting it in the comments and a guy called Lenny for making it.

So good. I can’t put how much I love both these videos into words, so I’ll just stop typing about it. I’ll leave you with this quote via barcastuff:

Mascherano: “No matter the opponent, the style isn’t up for discussion. If we have to die, we’ll die our way.”

And this video of Messi’s 50 goals so far by jackmcrobert:

A little blab on Wolfgang Stark (ref for Wednesday’s bloodbath game): We might be in trouble. Before you start saying, “Kari, why the flip are you going off on refs, that’s so not cool”, let me tell you a small story. Normally I’d agree with you, calling out refs is so not cool and Sport/EMD/Marca/AS worthy, but…

It was July 2007 and Argentina U-20 and Chile U-20 were playing in Toronto. Naturally, I was watching this match on TV seeing as Chile were playing really well (they had Vidal and Sanchez playing, as well as a goalkeeper that was awesome–forget his name though) and Argentina was the team I wanted to win the tourney (they had Kun, Zarate, Di(ve) Maria, Piatti and one cute little midget Maxi Moralez). However, two South American teams–ones that have a sort of rivalry at that—clashing in a semi final and you just know gamesmanship will be in abundance. Wolfgang Stark was the ref for this game and to say he handled it badly would be an understatement.

The rest is summed up here and here. A small excerpt:

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. 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.

Yeah.

I don’t have a good feeling about him and I am horribly biased against him due to the aforementioned semi-final. (I said that when he was announced to be the ref of the conveniently forgotten first leg against Chelsea in Camp Nou). I don’t usually talk about referees, because in the end, the players are the ones who decide it. I still feel that way, so here’s hoping the ref is a non-issue.

Mourinho doesn’t like him either, apparently, but when has he ever like a referee before a game? Or after? Or during? Or ever?

Also, Busi, I saw you during the Copa final: please don’t revert to Bad!Busi. Stay on the good side, even if it is the Evil Empire. Your father would have wanted the same. (What the heck are you talking about? His father’s still alive, idiot)

A sign to stop the Bad!Busi-ing is when no one comes to your press conferences.

Take the hint

And this is just for shiznits and giggles:

I'm scared too, Pep
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Just your neighbourhood Barca fanatic

157 Comments

    • Nik
      April 25, 2011

      Come to think of it, if any of us have doubts in this team, all we need to do is watch that clip.

      • April 25, 2011

        After all they’ve given us, all the trophies, the records, the goals, the beauty, there is still doubters? pity.

        • Nik
          April 25, 2011

          Agreed. Can’t really understand it, but to each his own.

      • irawan
        April 25, 2011

        Great reminder of how this team has given us tons of great moments and lots of ecstatic scream! Hope we’ll qualify to the final and experience such crazy feeling like Iniesta’s goal again.

  1. blitzen
    April 25, 2011

    Yes, Wolfgang “international incident” Stark. A friend of mine was at that U-20 game and he said it was absolute insanity. You could just tell there was going to be trouble afterwards, and the cops panicked and overreacted (not being used to that sort of thing).

    On the plus side, he is not afraid to send people off for violent challenges. OTOH, he doesn’t seem to know the difference between a legitimate foul and a blatant dive. Di Maria is going to have a field day.

    Look, he even inspired his own Facebook page:

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2429719016

    • ak
      April 25, 2011

      He was also the ref in the chelsea game at nou camp in ’09. He didn’t send off anyone, and that was a pretty dirty game.

  2. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 25, 2011

    oh, great… now I really don’t know which is better,
    the Portuguese ref (Pedro something) or Wolfgang “international incident” Stark…

    and why is the name Wolfgang Stark sounds so awkward to me?

    is it because the Wolverine and The Stark Hyperspace War, a conflict described in Star Wars?

    when we combine an X-Men and Star Wars, what do we get?

    • ak
      April 25, 2011

      The first thing that came to my mind after reading the name was Wolfenstein! 🙂

  3. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 25, 2011

    oh my God, Kari… you’ve Hlebbed me.. 😆

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      April 25, 2011

      huh, where’s Kari’s post with those scary pics?! I’ve been Hlebbed, twice…

    • April 25, 2011

      Have I? Have I really?

      We should replace #winning with #hlebbing. Not that that was random or anything.

      …It is in the actual post now.

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        April 25, 2011

        yes Kari, you have, really

        first Hleb, those pics are scary…
        second Hleb, I’ve posted a reply to your non-exist comment…

        is it just me or the more we getting closer to the game, the more random our comments? 😀

  4. blitzen
    April 25, 2011

    I like how Pep is doing the classic “protect your bits” pose in that last pic. Because that little gnome might just go for you!

  5. blaunero
    April 25, 2011

    Messi’s 50 goals so far this season must be compounded with the 23 assists he’s had. The true significance and dent that this player will have made cannot be assessed at present. It’s only in a few years’ time, when we look back, that we’ll be able to comprehend what’s being done now. I hope Messi steps up now that we need him the most, in the semis against Moby-Dick, err, Mourinho

  6. April 25, 2011

    This Barça team IS the best team in HISTORY. Period. Anyone who argues with that knows nothing about football or is blind.

    Come Wednesday it won’t be the ref who decides the game. So stop nagging about who it is or will be. Nobody is ever going to be “perfect.”

    When Abidal was ill this season many said “F*ck the season, I want Abidal back.” I still stand by that, not that I want to lose, but really I’d like to have our powerful squad back, back to playing beautiful football without having to worry about 1000+ other issues which should not influence our game or our trust in this team.

    That is all. Thanks Kari for the awesome videos found for this post.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      April 25, 2011

      Come Wednesday it won’t be the ref who decides the game.

      yes… or, no…

      if we’re gonna have a tight game like Copa final, then referee decisions can be very decisive…

      we were THAT close to the final at Bernahbeeeww last season…
      Bojan scored the goal, and then……

      but if we bring our A+ game, EE is going down, no matter who the referee is…

      oh hey, are you StephenVanH? 😀

      • April 25, 2011

        We should decide the game. with GOALS ! and by playing full 90 minutes not just 45 great minutes. If they get 4 penalties we should have 6 goals in their net. Its that I meant.

        and yes, that is me 🙂 and you are..?

        • BarcaGirl_Indo
          April 25, 2011

          yup, that’s should be our team spirit!

          I’m nanda59, you probably know me? from twitter? 😛

          • April 25, 2011

            Cool ! now you can read my thoughts (and vise versa) in more than 140 characters.

  7. Pyro
    April 25, 2011

    I love this team so much. Nothing in the world will change that. No matter how many times we are knocked down. No matter how many trophy droughts we endure. I will always love this team.

    Recordin Cules: TOTS UNITS FEM FORCA

      • barca96
        April 25, 2011

        How old are you Stephen if I may ask? Or how long have you been watching football?

        Cause your statement;

        This Barça team IS the best team in HISTORY. Period. Anyone who argues with that knows nothing about football or is blind.

        is kinda strong and will be perceived as arrogant by others. It’s with these kind of statements by our fans that makes non-Barca fans think that we’re all arrogant people.

        • Vj
          April 26, 2011

          Point taken, but why should we care what others think?

  8. Víctor
    April 25, 2011

    While I agree that we shouldn’t remain silent when it comes to referees, let’s not fall in the Mourinho’s game either.

    Stark may not be the best referee… but let’s hope that he’ll do a good job. People in here said that it was ridiculous that UEFA designed a Portuguese referee… well, now it is a german one? or should we complain because Madrid has Ozil and Khedira?

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      April 26, 2011

      it IS ridiculous, imo…
      see, the problem is UEFA appointed a Portuguese ref in last year semifinal, and that ref made controversial decisions which clearly on Mou’ team favor…
      (Pep was trying to stay classy at that time, eventhough I believe he must be really upset…)

      if UEFA wanted to do it again, then I say it’s ridiculous… why not trying to keep it safe from controversial headlines?

      even Pep Guardiola -who usually keep calm and refuse to make comments about ref- made a very sarcastic comment about this Portuguese ref issue…

  9. Dani_el
    April 26, 2011

    I read on Sport that this referee, was in the barça 4 arsenal 1 of last season, and that he even said Messi was the best player in the world ( a no-brainer) and that he wanted to exchange t-shirts with him at the end of the game…so who knows, I am not saying I want him to give us special preference, if he’s impartial and protects ALL players, I will be satisfied (and maybe if he doesn’t allow offside goals like the one the portuguese referee allowed last year on Milan and allows reglamentary goals like the one Bojan scored also in the semis… I’ll be happier .)
    Ja tinc bones sensacions! Força Barça!

  10. Nav
    April 26, 2011

    Re: referees.

    Mou is very intelligent. He knows that the way to beat us is to disrupt our game no matter what. If you can disrupt the passing exhibition put on by our midfielders and forwards, then you stand a chance against us. This is why he has Pepe in the DM position — he hardly ever plays the ball, his sole role is to disrupt. Whether it be fouling, tactical fouling, getting in our faces, or fouling when the ref isn’t looking. Whatever it takes. But how do you do this when you can get carded and sent off?

    You launch a systematic attack against referees and you start it well in advance of meeting us again. You play the victim, no matter what. Yeah it was ridiculous at first, but if you keep repeating something over and over then soon some people will start believing it. And then other people will start believing them. I have a friend who only really follows the EPL and even he commented how Mou always has men sent off and it’s ref favouritism toward Barca. ‘Mourinho is right though, he always gets men sent off against Barca’. If I recall correctly, they conceded five unanswered goals when they visited Camp Nou last before they got someone sent off.

    So you foul the ever living hell out of us, kick us, throw us down, and break our game in any way shape or form. When we make a mistake and lose the ball, you hoof it to Di Maria. Then you hope for the best. Yeah, Di Maria might miss nine times, but he’ll get it right once; you play the law of probabilities, and that’s enough. It’s a tried and true tactic that’s been employed against us in the past by various teams of various standings. The thing is, Real Madrid has really good players — Di Maria, Benzema, Kaka, Higuain, Ronaldo, Ozil are all very good and are full of indivudal skills. So while Hercules’ forwards try this against us and they miss nineteen times, Di Maria does it and misses nine times. And you can do this because you’ve shell shocked the Refs into going easy on Madrid’s players.

    It’s a very simple tactic and I have no idea why it’s being lauded in the press as a product of tactical genius. Everyone says ‘Mou beat Barca’. This is bullshit — Real Madrid beat Barca. Mou tried a simple paint-by-numbers counter-attacking tactic against us and due to Madrid’s quality, they managed to get a goal. Now all of a sudden it’s Mou’s achievement, and not the players. It’s pretty pathetic.

    Now, should we bitch about referees? Not too much. However it’s essential that Mou’s quips at the referees do not go unanswered and I don’t think Pep’s strategy of ignoring it was a good move. I’m very happy that Pep sarcastically commented on the Portuguese referee situation. I just hope the refs for the next two games are fair and card diving (Busi and Alves I’m looking at you) and excessive fouling.

  11. Eklavya
    April 26, 2011

    I still don’t give a damn about the refree. The only thing I’m worried of is that players might get suspended, that’s all.

  12. Jnice
    April 26, 2011

    barcastuff: Iniesta has a muscle strain and is seriously doubtful for the game against Madrid. He’s expected to start on the bench[sport]

    Huge blow, imo. His incisive runs and creativity is definitely going to be needed against his organized Madrid side. Keita isn’t going to do it.

    • Humphrey Bogart
      April 26, 2011

      I really do not know what we have done to anger the football gods like this. We have somehow coped with the absentees of Puyi and King Eric, sorted somehow out how to replace all 3 missing left backs, have no back-up striker anymore and now this. Why, oh why and Iniesta of all people? Are we cursed too life through last year all over again when we missed him so much against Inter?

      • Jnice
        April 26, 2011

        It truly is bad luck right now. I mean, Iniesta has been healthy all season, and now of all times to get injured, it happens. Sucks.

    • Jnice
      April 26, 2011

      are* definitely…. and this* organized….

      How amazing would it be if Thiago started, was MOTM and had 3 assists?

      I’m dreaming. Time to wake up.

    • Whatever
      April 26, 2011

      It seems that the long season has started to catch up on Iniesta. He played the whole season relentlessly… I just hope he recovers for tomorrow. He is vital for us. Having Xavi and Iniesta in the midfield is of enormous importance. Having Keita in the team is good, but he can’t replace Iniesta.

  13. 145culegirl
    April 26, 2011

    I think EE will play more cautiously and will avoid to try aomthing foolish.Most of the players are just one card away from suspension and they cant afford to miss the second leg at Camp Nou unless they have a huge advantage from the first leg.Mourinho cant even rest those players in Wednesday’s game.So I think we have a bit of advantage.
    I hope Iniesta is fit.We all know the consequences last year against Inter when we had no Iniesta.

  14. Jnice
    April 26, 2011

    I also fear that a lack of Iniesta in midfield will make Messi feel as if he has to continuously drop deep to get the ball and dictate play. So upfront, we may see an isolated Villa again with Pedro to his right or left.

    Not trying to be overly dramatic, but I really do think this is a big problem (not saying we’ll lose, just that it will negatively affect our play).

  15. flyzowee
    April 26, 2011

    Wow, its increasing looking like our objective going into this game should be to come out unscathed.

    With the loss of adriano and iniesta, madrid can even afford to not play a RB, such is the influence and drive those two bring to the left side of our attack.

    We are basically limping into the CL semi with one kidney and one lung and whats worse is that we can only blame ourselves.

    So its either keita, thiago or afellay.
    I really dont know who to choose.

    • Jnice
      April 26, 2011

      So its either keita, thiago or afellay.
      I really dont know who to choose

      Pep will go with his most tried and trusted. Seydeezy Keita. He should help us on counter attacks, but offensively (I know he makes great runs into the box)?

      Maybe Euler will elaborate more on the positives/negatives of Keita in for Iniesta against Madrid.

  16. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 26, 2011

    I’m trying not to be negative or annoy people here with my nervous breakdown…

    but losing Iniesta is a HUGE blow…

    he’s been healthy for all season, and now when we’re entering the most crucial game in UCL, he got injured?

    what have we done? why the Footy Gods hate us?

  17. Eklavya
    April 26, 2011

    Losing Iniesta changes everything. Again. At least now we know either Thiago or Afellay will start. I hope.

  18. Eklavya
    April 26, 2011

    ???????

    Barcastuff: A source of Barcelona’s coaching’s staff says Iniesta is doing fine.

    • Jnice
      April 26, 2011

      The same journalist (who’s with the team right now, btw) says Iniesta is just a bit fatigued. He won’t rest tomorrow (meaning he’ll start).

      • Jnice
        April 26, 2011

        According to Edu Polo and Alfredo Martinez (the journo who spoke to the Barça source), Iniesta has a knock, but they both seem to think he will play tomorrow. Edu Polo says everyone is calm.

        Check out @EduPolo and @Alfremartinezz on twitter. They might have more updates throughout the day. And we should find out more (or less lol) when Pep has his press conference later.

  19. Para
    April 26, 2011

    Does anyone know which players are a card away from being suspended for the second leg of the semi-final? (for both teams)

    • Eklavya
      April 26, 2011

      Not just one card away, but also 2. I want ALL the data!

      • Para
        April 26, 2011

        Two doesn’t technically matter though, does it? If a player gets two yellows in the first leg, they’ll miss the second leg anyway (ditto for the second leg and the final), whereas if they get one in the first and one in the second, I thought it was all wiped clean for the final anyway. I could be wrong though.

        • Eklavya
          April 26, 2011

          Que?

          I said 2, because if some gets one yellow then we’ll be asking the same question again before the 2nd leg. I want to who all are how many cards away from suspension so that I can keeo count.

          I don’t think cards are wiped out before the finals, we played in CL final two years ago with Abi and Alves missing.

          • footballfan
            April 26, 2011

            They wipe it out for the final, starting from last year.

  20. Lev
    April 26, 2011

    yoooooo those first two videos are WICKED!!! does anybody know if I can find the first one on youtube also?

  21. soccermomof4
    April 26, 2011

    They HAVE to be flippin’ joking, right?!?

    FSC, who is showing the ManU/ Schalke game live today, is playing a rerun tomorrow at 3:00 and showing our game at 5:00!!!

    3:00 PM Barclays Premier League
    Liverpool v Birmingham City
    5:00 PM UEFA Champions League
    SEMIFINAL: Real Madrid CF (ESP) v FC Barcelona (ESP)

    • April 26, 2011

      Check Fox affliates, especially HD ones. In the States, the match is moved to F/X, the Fox high-definition affiliate with a much wider reach than Fox Soccer Channel. That’s a very good thing.

      I would imagine the match is being carried live in your market. It’s only a question of which Fox affiliate is broadcasting it.

      • soccermomof4
        April 26, 2011

        My hero! 🙂

        Found it. Now I should be able to watch it before work (my laptop is where streams go to die, soooo much better for me when the game’s on TV).

  22. April 26, 2011

    Ladies and gents, get a grip.

    Does it really matter who the referee is? Good question. Yes, the ref disallowed the tie-winning goal vs Inter last season. Boo! Did the ref make Krkic push the wide-open header wide of a gaping net? Nope. Double BOOO! And that happened before the disallowed goal. Did a ref make us play like crap at the San Siro, or be ineffectual for most of the home leg? Nope. Triple BOOOOO!

    Refs don’t decide matches, players do. Any match that comes down to a “pivotal” call usually doesn’t have to, because one side or the other screwed the pooch long before that. If we play our game, we are the best team in the world. Period, full stop.

    The Copa? Thuggish? Yep. Did they kick us any more than in the 2-0 home win, in which Messi was wearing shinpads on the backs of his legs? Nope. Did they thug it up any more than in the 2-6 whipass in their house? Nope. Ramos cost Henry a season with a cheap shot. Nobody cared, because we won.

    Worrying about referees, and what players are are aren’t going to be there, does our club and coach a disservice. We have to have faith in Guardiola, and the qualities that have made him an amazing, championship-winning coach, and dance with the players that have gotten us this far.

    We have had scads of injuries this season, and we are still on pace to set a Liga points record, and in the semi-finals of the Champions League. I don’t get the worry. All we can do is play our game to the best of our abilities, and live with the result.

    Teams have been kicking us for years, and will continue kicking us, in the hopes that the ref won’t allow the match to take about 3 hours by calling every. last. foul. If you watch the video of all of the Copa fouls, almost all of them were called, which brings that match down to what? We didn’t play our game to the best of our ability. Even at that, it took a late, late goal and a systemic breakdown for them to cop a win.

    Am I nervous about the match? Yes. I’m nervous about almost every match except for Copa, because I’m on the record as thinking that’s a worthless competition, good only for filling out the trophy cabinet in cases of trebles.

    But I’m also confident in our team, in our coach, in our system. If that all works, we can’t be stopped, irrespective of referees, being kicked, or who is/isn’t on the pitch.

    • Vj
      April 26, 2011

      IIRC, the ref officiated in the 0-0 round robin tie against Inter and not the Semifinal..

      Agreed on the rest of the points. People are thinking way too much about the Copa loss..

  23. Josep
    April 26, 2011

    Can we take down the part about the referee? Do we want to look like petulant twits? Yeah, the Portugese referee might have been a bad choice, but it was theirs. They apparently fix it and we’re not satisfied. Who do we want a Spanish ref? yeah, right. our team is mostly spanish, no matter what we won’t get a “favorited” referee.

    These refs jobs are to remain unbiased and maintain the game. we’re all turning into little Mourinhos. and all you said was that there was an uproar after the match of the U-20s. Okay? You didn’t give any insight if it was confounded or not. He could’ve had an amazing match for the official, and Chile were just bitter.

    and stephen you’re the most optimistic cule of all. To say a team, that could still yet get Leverkusen’d, is the best of all time is an insult to the history of the sport.

    all this ref crap is annoying, Pep said one little thing and that was fine but all this is nonsense.

    • blitzen
      April 26, 2011

      and all you said was that there was an uproar after the match of the U-20s. Okay? You didn’t give any insight if it was confounded or not. He could’ve had an amazing match for the official, and Chile were just bitter.

      Why don’t you do a little research, Josep? The referee was shocking in that match, and I say that as an unbiased observer. There were serious questions raised afterwards about his performance, and the consensus was that he a) completely lost control of the match, and b) sent off a Chilean player after an outrageous and obvious dive from an Argentinian player. These are issues related to his competence, rather than bias, and there is nothing wrong with talking about them. We dissect every other part of the match before the actual game, including the state of the pitch and whether Shakira’s music will be played, why not the ref as well?

      (And for the record, concerning my own bias in this matter: I am half German, like Chilean and Argentinian wine equally well, and am favourably inclined to people named Wolfgang due to a relative of that name. 😛 I still say that was a shocking performance.)

      • April 26, 2011

        Try a little less coffee in the morning, Josep. You’ll live longer. 😀

        You’re right in that important calls will always leave rancor, and which side decides to do what depends upon how aggrieved they are. It also isn’t beyond the realm that referees improve. Like us, they learn from their mistakes.

        We will always feel as though we get the short end of the stick from refs because we don’t really do anything that requires a ref’s intervention. “Hey! Stop passing the ball so much, or I’ll call a foul! Unfair!”

        We don’t really foul, hack or kick, preferring to play a clean style that places ball movement at its fore. So of course, opponents will try to disrupt that style by kicking. Faster player and ball movement resolves that.

        It’s all going to be fine. Funny how nobody’s mentioning the state of the grass in their house, something that can indeed have more effect on a match than any referee. It’s probably knee-deep by now! Messi might get lost. 😀

        • blitzen
          April 26, 2011

          Quote from Pique today:

          “The grass is long but I’m not going to cry about it,” the Spanish World Cup winner told daily El Pais of the pitch at Wednesday’s Bernabeu venue.

      • April 26, 2011

        Oh, snap. Bad morning, Josep?

        It’s as blitzen says. His handling of this game wasn’t just atrocious — it became an international incident. Did you not read the link I provided? Or blitzen’s FB link? The insight is there. Why shouldn’t I talk about it? Heck, the grass is talked about. This person’s incompetent refereeing–I watched the match—caused Prime and Foreign Ministers amongst others to get involved.

        My last line on the issue says, in case you missed it, “I don’t usually talk about referees, because in the end, players will be the ones that decide it. I still feel that way so here’s hoping the ref is a non-issue.”

          • April 26, 2011

            It’s your fault your name causes dyslexia! Like Affellay Affelay Afellay.

          • blitzen
            April 26, 2011

            Through the magic of editing you have me look like the dyslexic one. Well played, iKar, well played!

        • Josep
          April 26, 2011

          all the facebook links me to is a bunch of legal issues between chilean players and police. I’ve heard about this before, but never seen footage and what not. refs make mistakes.

          look at ovrebo before the chelsea match. he screwed up a Euro game pretty badly.

  24. April 26, 2011

    From Abidal, via Facebook:

    This weekend, I was in Lyon and I trained to return to fitness at the Bor Club: I thank the staff who welcomed me so well and did a great job with me!!!

  25. April 26, 2011

    There are always many reasons that produce a result in a match.

    There were several reasons why Barca lost the Copa finals. The biggest one was their astonishing lack of movement – both off the ball in possession and on the press when defending.

    The referee has no control over how much or how hard Barca decides to move off the ball or close down players. None.

    The other team wants to kick you off the pitch – there’s a very direct solution.

    Move the ball faster and more directly than the defense can handle.

    We’ve seen this club do that time and time again.

    And that’s what they’ll need to do again tomorrow.

      • April 26, 2011

        We’ve never argued about the refs before. Pep never does so there’s no reason to start now.

        Saw your comment after my post – completely agree.

        The team can’t control the refs. They can only control how they play and their level of movement and execution.

        RM played a nasty game in the Copa finals (Arbeloa in particular). No surprise.

        Barca’s lack of movement was far more shocking than Arbeloa stepping on Villa intentionally and he and Ramos hauling him up off the ground like thugs.

        • April 26, 2011

          Exactly. They were intending to kick us in the manita. They just couldn’t catch us. 😀 They still got a few in, though.

  26. Para
    April 26, 2011

    I am excited about tomorrow! Ultimately, if both teams play to their full capacity, it will be incredible to watch–regardless of the result.

  27. April 26, 2011

    For me, it would be, assuming Ghostface isn’t with us:

    Valdes
    Alves Pique Puyol Mascherano
    Xavi Thiago Busquets
    Messi Villa Afellay

    Or, if I’m feeling really whimsical (I’ve mentioned this lineup before)

    Valdes
    Alves Pique Puyol Mascherano
    Thiago Messi Busquets
    Xavi Villa Afellay

    Messi as playmaker, Xavi as attacker. Mmmm, hmmm. Give-and-gos with Messi, anyone? Yep. Daddy likey.

    • April 26, 2011

      IMO having both Thiago and Afellay in this match means “losing possession and losing control” Simple as that.

      I’d put both Keita and Pedro far ahead of them both at the moment, especially while playing abroad (Outside Catalonia! – And yea I wrote it in English, the way you don’t like!)

      In another news, I read the following at Barcastuff:

      “Pedro-Messi-Villa (33games) have scored the same number of Liga goals as Messi-Ibrahimovic-Pedro (38) last season: 62”

      Thats interesting right? Now the more interesting question is: Did Messi-Ibrahimovic-Pedro play 38 liga matches together last season?

      • April 26, 2011

        Catalunya, troublemaker! 😀

        I’m envisioning more attacking than possession, Ramzi. And I think that Afellay can pass well enough to maintain possession. So can Thiago, once he stops with the fancy stuff.

        I think that answer to the second question is “No.”

    • Dani_el
      April 26, 2011

      I really like the last one, like the first goal in last year’s manita, messi giving the assist and xavi making the goal! that line-up would blow mou’s mind, and afellay giving us width! a mascherano being ‘eljefecito’ on the left..with ronaldo! In Pep we trust.

  28. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 26, 2011

    Mourinho, about Pep and the referee issue :

    “I don’t want mistakes to go in our favour, but hope both teams are happy after the game,” he added.

    “However, it’s not possible for Pep to be happy. The referee must be wrong. Guardiola’s comments see us move into a new era where only a small group of coaches don’t criticise referees.

    “This is the first time I see a coach criticising the referee even before a game. When I complain about referees I do it honestly, and if he makes the right calls I will say that without problems.”

    this guy is amazing… 😀

    “The statistic is out there. Barcelona will be happy with referee Iturralde Gonzalez and Real Madrid will be unhappy,” Mourinho said as quoted by the Boston Herald, Sunday, November 28, 2010.

    • blitzen
      April 26, 2011

      Don’t blame him. He has a terrible case of Selective Mou-mory. 😛

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        April 26, 2011

        blame him? nooo… that’ll be unfair…

        you can’t blame someone for having a severe amnesia a.k.a selective Mou-mory disease… 😀

      • soccermomof4
        April 26, 2011

        Mou-mory? Ugh! 🙂 Is the 3rd clasico of the Apocalypse (credit the offside) getting to you?

    • April 26, 2011

      BarcaGirl_indo is there any chance you have that statement by the “psychotic one” in spanish? or could you please give me a link of where you found it? Thanks!

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        April 26, 2011

        I got that from goal.com (the shorter version), you can also read it here, more complete :

        =fbbarcelona.blogspot.com/2011/04/guardiola-rightly-criticizes-referee.html=

        for Spanish article, I think you can find it in =www.as.com= …

      • April 26, 2011

        Sorry I must clarify I meant the sentence where he talks about Iturralde Gonzalez 🙂

        • BarcaGirl_Indo
          April 26, 2011

          oh… *facepalm*

          =www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/nov/28/jose-mourinho-real-madrid-barcelona-referee=

    • soccermomof4
      April 26, 2011

      The Star Wars pic just became my laptop wallpaper (imageek)! Thanks!

  29. blitzen
    April 26, 2011

    More Guardian goodness, from Barry Glendenning:

    Unlike other media outlets we can think of, the Rumour Mill isn’t one for quoting footballers out of context to suit an agenda. Oh no. However, we were intrigued to learn this morning that Sergio Ramos has slammed his own team’s strikers ahead of Wednesday night’s Champions League semi-final first leg against Barcelona by suggesting they’re so inept, Real Madrid’s best hope of scoring in the Bernabéu rests with the paying punters. “It’s the fans who have to score the first goal for us,” raged the handsome, lank-haired full-back in an interview that’s bound to have team-mates such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Gonzalo Higuaín and Kaká bristling. “Our fans are essential to us and they are the ones we are really grateful to,” he continued, having last week shown exactly how grateful he is to the Bernabéu faithful by reducing the first trophy they’ve had to celebrate since 2008 to mangled scrap by dropping it under the wheels of a moving open-top bus.

    😆

    • Eklavya
      April 26, 2011

      Blitzen you’re half German? That explains your name! It makes is even weirder actually. Are you lightening fast? Or do you have a “lightening” temper (if that means anything)? 😀

      • Para
        April 26, 2011

        I always thought of her as a reindeer ^^

      • blitzen
        April 26, 2011

        It’s actually my real last name (internet stalkers take note). Well, it’s Blitz, but I prefer blitzen as an online name.

        My first name, which I will not divulge, means “crown” or “crowned one”, albeit in a different language. So you could say that I am “Crowned by lightning”. Cool, huh?

        • BarcaGirl_Indo
          April 26, 2011

          oh, wow… I was wondering where that blitzen come from…

          The Curious Case of Blitzen solved… 😀

        • Eklavya
          April 26, 2011

          That was waaay too easy. I already know your first and family name. Mwahahahaah!

          • blitzen
            April 26, 2011

            Well aren’t you a bright little stalker? Coming over for dinner, then? 😀

          • Eklavya
            April 26, 2011

            Haha, I’m not a stalker, I just know how to use the Internet 😀

            I will drop by sometime yes, I want my personal Blitzen Beer and Award 🙂

        • Vj
          April 26, 2011

          Take that oh Special one! We have the Crowned one in our ranks!

  30. footballfan
    April 26, 2011

    Off-topic: Does anyone know any website to download football matches? I know fbtz.com is one but they are not receiving registration at all. Thanks for the help!

    • Para
      April 26, 2011

      http://rojadirecta.es/ if you click on the ‘download matches’ tab. I’ve not tried to download any old matches though, only the recent ones just after they occur. I recall Jnice saying a while ago that your best bet for old matches is torrent.

    • Extreme barca fan
      April 26, 2011

      Yes Pep played and assisted Romario’s 1st goal, and Romario had a ha-trick

  31. Miguel
    April 26, 2011

    It was time for a spot of role reversal for Madrid and Barcelona on Saturday night. Pep’s Dream Boys were the team grinding out a narrow home win and scoring with their only shot on target, while the Forces of Mordor had whipped off their kit and were merrily running naked through the sprinklers of surprise with wonderful passing and six goals away from home.
    http://fourfourtwo.com/blogs/laligaloca/archive/2011/04/26/good-day-bad-day-golden-gonzalo-angry-unai-and-awful-arizmendi.aspx

  32. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 26, 2011

    Evil Empire have 4 players who have a yellow card in the CL: Ronaldo, Di Maria, Ramos y Albiol…

    should we take this opportunity? 😛

  33. Miguel
    April 26, 2011

    An article on the Champions League comparing it to the NCAA:
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704677404576285293533784476.html?mod=WSJ_hp_MIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsThird
    FC Barcelona
    Barcelona, soccer’s stylistic kings, use a dizzying touch-passing system that reduces the game to keep-away.

    This year’s squad, coached by Josep Guardiola, includes seven members of the Spanish World Cup champions. Barcelona striker Messi leads the Champions League with nine goals, and goalkeeper Victor Valdes has conceded just 16 goals in his past 21 Champions League games.

    Still, Barça’s attack leaves it vulnerable to quick counters, and it has saved just 65% of shot attempts. A loss last week to Real Madrid and a draw the week before has many wondering if Guardiola knows how to beat Madrid.

    NCAA Equivalent: North Carolina

  34. blitzen
    April 26, 2011

    Right Now > Training session. At the Bernabeu. Iniesta started individually and left the pitch after 10 minutes. #fcblive

    This can’t be good. 🙁

  35. BA
    April 26, 2011

    for those wondering where the game will be shown tomorrow live, it’ll be on at 2:30EST on *FX*

    FSC will be showing a replay of United v. Schalke at that time.

  36. April 26, 2011

    If Iniesta can’t play tomorrow, RM is going to focus on Xavi even more to try to mark him out of the game by clotting up the entire middle of the pitch.

    Unless Pep decides to go for a defensive formation and try to play the away leg to a draw, Barca are going to need another player on the field who can both carry possession and also make incisive passes while not losing the ball.

    If they don’t then Messi is going to be forced to spend the entire game in midfield away from goal to support Xavi.

    The squad has four players who are gifted with special close control the ball – Messi, Xavi, Iniesta and – Thiago.

    The issue with Thiago however is that he’s still prone to give the ball away despite his level of skill. It’s just part of his age.

    They could and likely will play Keita if Iniesta can’t go – but that is just going to put Xavi under great pressure.

    Playing Afellay in midfield would be an interesting option as it would offer then the possibility of having Afellay drift outwards to enhance their width on the left while also playing Pedro in front of him. That would help make up for the less of Adriano and would also help move the ball to the left flank which is where the barca attack should focus. But Afellay also has not been as careful with the ball as required – it’s part of his adjustment to the system.

    • blitzen
      April 26, 2011

      Afellay is the best option here, IMO. He is most comfortable in midfield anyway and can help set up plays for Pedro, Messi, et al in front of him. I love Thiago, but he lost the ball far too much in his last game, and is less good at defending.

      OTOH, we may be worrying for nothing. Maybe they just wanted Iniesta to get a feel for the pitch and then work in the gym not to overstrain himself? *clutching at straws*

      • Humphrey Bogart
        April 26, 2011

        I just cannot believe that this happening again. Last year it was all Mou and his genius conveniently forgetting that we were without Iniesta and King Eric, and this year the same, Why, f**** why, it is just not fair.

        I would go with Keita, Affellay and Thiago both give the ball away cheaply and against a team counter-attacking so well and fast like EE this could be Inter last year all over again.

  37. blitzen
    April 26, 2011

    D*MN!!!

    Guardiola: “Iniesta is 100% certainly out. He won’t play tomorrow.” #fcblive

  38. Vj
    April 26, 2011

    Guardiola: “Iniesta is 100% certainly out. He won’t play tomorrow.”

    Ain’t that a kick in the head..

    • Whatever
      April 26, 2011

      We’re looking at:

      Valdes
      Alves – Pique – Puyol – Mascherano
      Xavi – Busquets – Keita
      Pedro – Messi – Villa

      Probably.

  39. Eklavya
    April 26, 2011

    Barcastuff: Guardiola: “Iniesta is 100% certainly out. He won’t play
    tomorrow.”

  40. Alex
    April 26, 2011

    Sorry guys, but listening to the press conference live, Pep said 80% chance he Iniesta doesn’t play.

    Pep also sent a very clear (FORGET YOU) message to Mou for mis-interpreting his “accusations” about the ref…. Pep is awesome.

    • Alex
      April 26, 2011

      Now RAC1 says 100% out, gosh golly darn! (No, this epithet wasn’t used, but for those who insist on swearing, you’ll be edited. If you don’t want the words I choose, then choose your own …. carefully.)

    • Vj
      April 26, 2011

      You sure? Pep over at Barcastuff is pretty accurate..

      ‘Pep Guardiola ha respondido contundentemente a Mourinho y ha descartado a Andrés Iniesta para el partido de este miércoles‘ according to SPORT..

      • Alex
        April 26, 2011

        I recorded the good bits, if anyone wants me to email them the snippet, let me know.

  41. providence
    April 26, 2011

    oh! whats happening to our team? Abidal out, adriano out,maxwell out iniesta out! ah! copa loss, octopus predicts against us, puyol is a doubt, Everyone wants us out, so are we going earn nothing after all the hard work this season? oh! God!
    the God of Barca show your power tommorow

    • footballfan
      April 26, 2011

      Which octopus? 😉

      Worse comes to worst, we still have Liga title, it ain’t a disaster if we lose, though it will hurt as hell.

      I was thinking of playing messi in iniesta role, and playing afellay villa pedro. Though most likely pep will use keita.

  42. blitzen
    April 26, 2011

    Before we all start tearing our clothes into tatters and preaching DOOOOOOMMMMM on street corners, let us remember a few things:

    –Iniesta is brilliant, but so is the rest of the team. We can and have won without him. We beat Shakhtar in the second leg without him. We won lots of games last season without him.
    –Puyol will be playing and that makes an enormous difference to the entire team.
    –this is a game of two legs. Nothing that happens tomorrow is final.
    –Breathe. Believe in your team. We are going to do this.

    • Eklavya
      April 26, 2011

      WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!! 😀

      It seems there’s a very heated(?) press conference going on with Pep. At least sid lowe is going crazy.

  43. Alex
    April 26, 2011

    Pep said that Mourinho “es el puto jefe y el puto amo en esta sala”

    Wow that’s hard to translate, especially since cursing now seems to be edited….

    He basically said that Mou is the “F****** chief” and the “F****** man” in Madrid and the Bernabooo and that Pep awards Mou the champions league title off the field….

    • Miguel
      April 26, 2011

      Ha! I can’t wait for tomorrow!
      😀

  44. blaunero
    April 26, 2011

    I’ve never seen Guardiola that nervous before a game. Has Mourinho gotten to him?

    • Alex
      April 26, 2011

      Were you listening?

      I didn;t think he sounded nervous, rather annoyed, but “cool as a popsicle on a hot summers day” (yes Ray Ray, you can use that).

      • blaunero
        April 26, 2011

        I don’t know. He seemed nervous to me. He never, I mean ever, says stuff like that. That is Mourinho territory, and we all know that he does it to distract the media and leave his players in peace. Unfortunately the Portuguese Moby-Dick has more experience in these kind of games, since on the pitch he knows most how to defend.
        Does this bode well for tomorrow?

        • Alex
          April 26, 2011

          I for one was getting pretty sick of the backhanded insults and insinuations from Mou and am glad Pep stood up for all us Cules.

          • blaunero
            April 26, 2011

            But that’s what Mourinho has wanted all along, some what he can say to his players that we are cracking. A better way, I think, would have been to ignore him altogether and beat him on the pitch–preferably by using Mourinho’s own tactcis. (But that’s just moi.)

    • Jnice
      April 26, 2011

      Wow, you’re just like Marca and As calling Pep ‘nervous’.

      Basically Mourinho used his name in his press conference today, so Pep responded. Mourinho usually takes shots at the club and Pep without directly saying his name, today it was different and Pep finally got to responded.

      Has Mourinho gotten to him?

      This annoys me. Questions such as this one should come from the rags in Madrid, not a Barcelona supporter.

      • blaunero
        April 26, 2011

        Why? Why should “questions such as these” come not from Barcelona supporters?

          • blaunero
            April 26, 2011

            Oh I see. Well that’s me down to a T; stupidity personified.
            From now on there will no questions allowed, lets the Should Police intervene.

  45. Vj
    April 26, 2011

    Calm down people! The game is tomorrow, and we have plenty of options for Iniesta. We’ll have to play out of our skin but that is a given for a CL semi. Have faith..

  46. Alex
    April 26, 2011

    I recorded the good parts, if anyone wants me to email them the snippets, let me know.

  47. Diego
    April 26, 2011

    WE ALL GONNA DIE !

    Anyone else feels like that ? 🙁

  48. providence
    April 26, 2011

    am finding it hard to believe Andres is out, i nearly cried when i saw it on Barcastuff, it pains me, last year out in San siro he wasnt there wen we lost, and it was this same mourinho on tuesday 20th april. but i hope the story will be different this time round
    the God of Barcelona show your power tommorrow

  49. April 26, 2011

    Am thrilled Pep is giving as good as he gets. It’s about time. I love his class and grace, but all that gets you is crap decisions from refs put under pressure by Mou and his bullying.

  50. providence
    April 26, 2011

    what is goal.com reporting about Guardiola and Mascherano? did they really say that?

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