The Fourth Clasico: A Return to Semi-Normalcy

This article was originally posted at Soccernet by Isaiah. Visit there to read more of his thoughts that aren’t posted here on BFB. Do it!

Well, it’s over. The Champions League semifinal, the four clásicos in 3 weeks, the whole thing: kaput. And I’m immensely relieved to have survived. Or at least I think I survived. I’m not all here, mentally, so maybe I didn’t. But was I ever mentally all here? Next time I write a preview while hopped up on chocolate, you should feel free to point out the extremes of my not-being-here-itude.

The match itself was, like Aitor Karanka said, almost an afterthought thanks to the first leg’s recriminations and hoohaw, but like Kevin pointed out in a tweet, if it was an afterthought, why bother showing up? And, really, Madrid didn’t show up completely, which is nice because when they did, when they attacked with some intent, like they were actually interested in doing something (anything), they looked decent enough.

The moments of magic are what I remember most, I think. There are full match narratives in all of these encounters, but yesterday was about the little flashes, about Messi being Messi in that Manny kind of way, but where he’s simply good instead of talented and petulant. And, truth be told, the best flashes were Casillas’ responses to Messi’s flashes. He failed just the once, on Pedro’s slippery run and Iniesta’s great pass (dummied, it must be said, by Messi, which froze part of the defense), which was harsh on his full match and harsh on his full series. He won them the Copa del Rey and, had his team been at all interested in attacking, might have won them the whole shebang. Instead, he’s got his one trophy, one kiss at the Cibeles, and the replays of how he tried his very best, only to be beaten by the best. No shame in that, Iker.

I mentioned petulance before and I’ll admit to some petulance at the end of the match. I wanted them to get a red, just to continue the streak, just for Mourinho’s sake, just because it would be fun. Carvalho was my pre-match pick and here nearly came through, but de Bleekere was lenient to a fault and let the Portuguese cleatster and Adebayor—the Togolese Tangler?—get away with a few bookings. Adebayor, it must be said, was looking for his, while Carvalho was just shown to be the slow kickboxing artist we all knew he was. There were no straight reds to complain about, unless you take extraordinary exception at Ade’s first tackle on Busi, which I don’t but I was fairly pissed he didn’t get some form of card for it. But that’s Busi’s reputation coming back on him. That’s the previous dives, the previous face clutches saying hello in a ref’s mind. Sure, guy got kicked, but was it really contact?

And, to make sure that no one accuses me of anything other than what they’ll accuse me of regardless: Mascherano was Divey von Divenbrau throughout. I think he was legitimately fouled a couple of times, but the one called against Xabi Alonso was a Villa-esque “leave-the-foot-behind and trip” type of crap. It wasn’t in a dangerous position and it wasn’t all that important, but it was true. When Cristiano Ronaldo fell on his foot—after his own dive—Masche went down a half second later, but that was an embellishment, not a dive. He was knocked off his stride by illegal contact and even if he wouldn’t have made it to the ball before Higuain, he would have at least challenged for it and that constitutes a foul. Go ahead and ask yourself this: had Masche not fallen down there, would any ref have called what was a legitimate foul? I doubt it. So Masche goes down and earns a freekick and keeps them off the scoreboard. Eric Wynalda should watch the game instead of making unequivocal statements about “that’s a goal.”

Lassana Diarra was also rather immense, for the second time in a row. I’m surprised because very time I see him play, I think about how not up to par he is. But he sure was yesterday and even out raced Messi for a ball at one point, (legally) shouldering the Argie to the ground in the process. But he had no real support because Albiol is defensively disciplined like a wounded panther is docile and Carvalho was forced to pick up an early card through no real fault of his own (he was left out to dry and had to chop Messi down or risk a 2 v 1 with Albiol as the 1 and Villa the other half of the 2. That would have been a goal.

All of this about their team is to say that we played just as you’d expect: controlled, calm, and simply. No over-complication, fewer needless turnovers, and tons of possession, though not as much as you’d expect (68.7% to 31.3%). Barça attacked too, of course, with 6 shots on goal to RM’s 2. And those 2 came on the same play, so they’re effectively 1 (I also count shots off the post as shots on goal). So it was just our game, played out at the almost highest level (Wembley will be that) and, oddly, it was relaxed and felt like a foregone conclusion. The type of foregone conclusion with a rock in the pit of your stomach, but one nonetheless.

The one thing we didn’t do was take full advantage when they got tired at the end of the first half. They were lagging just a bit, having put in a brutal effort, and we should have been able to pinch one, but again: Casillas. Then we left it until the last couple of minutes to use substitutes, even though Afellay might have brought some added energy to the field. Pedro did look strong throughout, though: FIFA 12 creators, you need to up his stamina!

So, then, to Wembley. To the final part of this whole story. We face Espanyol at home this Sunday (1pmEST) in a match that is anything but a foregone conclusion, but hopefully we see Abidal from the beginning and a return of actual center backs playing the center back position. Fontas, perhaps, but more likely we’ll try to put the league to bed with a full on Pique-Puyol duo protected on the sides by Abidal and Alves.

If this post doesn’t come off as happy, rest assured I am and rest assured I’m looking forward to what will in all likelihood be a rematch of the 2009 Roma final. Let’s hope it’s just as epic.

By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater Philadelphia area.


  1. Read it already and commented on it on Soccernet, yay me!

    For PhepheSa

    Sky Sports Broadcast

    Pre Match Match – UCL – Barcelona v. Real Madrid – 03-05-11.avi Match – UCL – Barcelona v. Real Madrid – 03-05-11.avi

    First Half Half – UCL – Barcelona v. Real Madrid – 03-05-11.avi Half – UCL – Barcelona v. Real Madrid – 03-05-11.avi

    Second Half Half – UCL – Barcelona v. Real Madrid – 03-05-11.avi Half – UCL – Barcelona v. Real Madrid – 03-05-11.avi

    Post Match

    Credit to Pakman at

    Time to go and read.

    1. Well it lacked pace in the first 300 or so pages but it still is quite good, though so far it’s not as good as the first…I’ll definetely read all 5 books though and boy they are huge!

      Are you watching the Tv series as well?

    2. kariiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

      kxevin have made all of us sad today, at least he shd have put the club first, Busi is a young player, all though he erred Kxven must have at least remember your post ” ADVERSITY TEST LOYALTY” to err is human and to forgive is divine. now who will be the loser? BARCELONA FOOTBALL BLOG. we always come here to have fun and now… WHY? KXEVIN WHY?

      by the way i need my name KARIIIIIIIIIIIIII back!

    3. ?

      Kxevin’s taking a breather. This is a sensitive issue for him, even if others don’t see what the big deal is. He’s earned a rest and I think we need to respect his position.

      As for the name, you can still call me Kari if you want, but XavIniestAbidaLeo stays until the end of May. I said one month. It was in the Adversity post.

    4. I watch the show with my 14 yr old sister. I have to stop myself from making incest jokes all the time. 😀

      I hear Pep was at the Man U game today. I’m surprisingly not as freaked out over the final as I thought I’d be.

    5. Yeah i saw him during the broadcast, can’t believe he has started preparing for the match already. He’s just… can’t put it into words.

    6. Thank you so much, couldn’t watch the match cos of some family stuff. Thank you again Jnice.

    1. Great stuff there!

      It made me think of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans in Harry Potter. 🙂 Poor Mou and his confused taste buds…

  2. You know, I always found it funny that @barcastuff swears Sid is a closet Madridista, but after this clasico series I don’t think Sid is as objective as he’d like to think. I

    The first thing he talks about is EE’s disallowed goal, there was that whole “best team in years” after the Valencia win, as well as his reaction after the Copa. Add the messing up of Pep’s quotes re: Busi incident…

    I’m not saying he’s a Madridista, but I’m a little suspicious.

    Still like Sid anyway though.

    1. ask jnasty for his take. I think Sid tries to be unbiased at all costs, but likes to play both sides.

      He’s a journalist, if he pisses off Madridista’s with his columns, they respond in the posts. It’s all yarn for the cats, and he plays both sides which he has to do. His stuff has to be read.

    2. Agree with that to a certain extent. He certainly likes to play the narratives and as a journo he like the Mourinho controversy. However I still haven’t really forgiven him for the Pep quotes. Didn’t expect that from Sid.

    3. Agreed, Sid Lowe is likely a Madridista (his tweets are a dead give-away IMHO), but I don’t see anything wrong with a journo preferring one team over another as long as he can keep his articles objective. Which to Sid’s credit, he has, except maybe the one on Pep’s quotes. His tweets, not so much, (they’ve been particularly grating over last couple of weeks) but twitter might not be the best place to judge professionalism.

    4. I was very disappointed with the Pep quotes as well and kept hoping i’ll see an apology from him that he made a mistake. I really love his writing and of all the journos he’s my favourite.

      I agree also that he tries too hard to be unbiased. I don’t believe that you can be a neutral in the Barca-EE rivalry so i don’t buy that he doesn’t support either. The problem is that he can’t just come out and say he supports EE cos then everytime he criticizes Barca it will always be “that’s because you have your EE glasses on”.

  3. So since we lost to Arsenal I haven’t trimmed my pinky nails, one of them broke but the other one is going pretty strong. Should I upload a picture?

  4. sid lowe is very good.

    he tries to be as objective and sensible as he can be.
    thats what i want from the journalists.objectivity and sensibility.

    and he has at times criticized and praised both real madrid and barca.

    in my opinion,

    he is leaned towards madrid but he cant but love our football.

    PS his favorite player is messi,xavi and alves

  5. OK, here we go with a rather subdued version of the blitzen awards, in keeping with the tone of the day and my own state of mind (did I mention sick and grumpy?):

    Maybe We Should Sign Him? Award: Jimmy Jump, for his spirited race across the field. It took several defenders security personnel to bring him down, too. And he would work for cheap, no doubt, as long as we paid off his legal bills.

    Who Needs a Pitch When We Have a Slip ‘n’ Slide? Award: Check out the goal celebration where Villa brings down Pedro with a huge splash, then Iniesta surfs in on his own wave, followed by Dani. LOL.

    Iker Face Award (I like this award so much I may give one out every week): Cristiano Ronaldo. Again! For his expression of disgust after his tumble onto Mascherano’s legs caused Higuain’s goal to be disallowed. Special bonus award for his classy “we wuz robbed!” gesture at the airport.

    MOTM (Man Of The Marsh) Award: Iker Face! He really was brilliant, especially in the first half and under tough conditions. You could just see in his eyes that he was determined no matter what else happened on the field, that there would be no manita last night.

    Messi Is Not a Chair Award: And he’s not a rag doll, either, Carvalho, so stop trying to drag him up after you have put him down!

    Right-Hand Man Award: Tito Vilanova. We talk all the time about Pep, his tactics, and how he manages the team, but we don’t mention this man nearly often enough. He has been with Pep since they brought the B team back up into the Segunda B league, and IMO is a large part of his success as a coach. Pep has the vision and the innate genius, but Tito has the experience and the calming influence.

    He Ain’t Heavy, He’s Our Brother Award: Abidal flies through the air with the greatest of ease. I cried. Thank goodness they didn’t drop him!

    1. I remember wanting a gif of Ramos sitting on Messi, and I found it when someone linked the disappointment xavi tumblr.

  6. @jnice and missingpage,

    finished the girl with the dragon tatto.

    r the sequels as good as the first one?

    1. Very good, but comppared to the conspiracies described there the UEFA-Unicef-Barca conspiracy is kindergarden

    2. I actually liked the second book more, it was better written in my opinion and the third..well I’ll tell you when you finish the second 😉

  7. Thank you for this Isiah, it was needed, so we can go on with our lives
    I thought and still think that we were holding back a lot yesterday, i could almost say that Alves didn’t cross to their half in the 2nd half.
    So, we are in the final, Abi is back and next week we might win the LIGA.
    Kxevin: we will miss you, come back soon, come back stronger.
    Visca El Barca, Visca BFB.

  8. These are some quotes of the great article (as usual) from Ruben Uría’s blog, I tried to translated the best I could, here is the link :
    “Not only Guardiola has accomplished making a Barça that wins trophies, but above all, that Barça is been acknowledged as the best football team in the world without winning (most of this season, it was considered the best team in Europe, although Inter is still Europe’s champion), and it is because he’s game style rises son much awe in a national and international level, and it is this admiration that has made that in the capital of Spanish football, they lose their mind supporting complaints of a coach, that wherever he goes, repeats and repeats the same unfounded arguments as long as he takes some kind of an advantage from them.”
    “I know that I said that I was going to try NOT to talk about the media, but in spite I quote them, whom I am really quoting is Florentino Pérez and Mourinho, two leaders of dirty game, and “evilness”, the intellectual authors of “winning by legal or criminal ways” (this is a Marca reference), the ones that in this hour, nobody, and I mean absolutely nobody, asks explanations for their failures. Mourinho has made a histerical little one from a historical great one.”
    “This is what It is gentlemen. What this team has accomplished is a heroic deed , because having to put up with this, 7 years ago, is exhausting, but in days as last night, and days as today, we can enjoy ourselves much. We know what they do. Lets not give them more advertising and let’s enjoy their defeat, THE DEFEAT OF EVIL AND THE VICTORY OF GOODNESS.”

  9. Lol, Kari, I tweeted Sid several times today asking him why is he still talking about referees. You wake up in the morning and your first tweets are about refs?

    I think he does a good job of being objective in his articles and on podcasts he’s great, but as the great Ramzi once said, “it shows up in his tweets (where he doesnt take as much time painting his bias with objectivity brush.”

    His tweets just seem to annoy me more and more.

    1. I also found it funny that he was still talking about refs again today especially after he said a spanish referee confirmed that the Higuain goal wasn’t legal cos of the foul on sMasch. After the match he was also going on about how Mou was vindicated for playing for a 0-0 last week as they could have gone through with the 1-1 scoreline. Surely he must have known that if the first leg score was 0-0 then we would have been sharper yesterday instead of slowing down after scoring the goal we needed. I couldn’t understand his logic.

    2. Surely he must have known that if the first leg score was 0-0 then we would have been sharper yesterday instead of slowing down after scoring the goal we needed. I couldn’t understand his logic.

      Yeah, that applies to everyone thinking that way including Casillas. What kind of logic is that? Beats me.

    3. ZonalMarking pointed out that we obviously weren’t interested in scoring another. At least some people noticed it.

  10. For all you lazy people who haven’t clicked on mohit’s link.

    Revista De La Liga 05-04-11


    / De La Liga – 04-05-11.avi


    / De La Liga – 04-05-11.avi

    Credit to Pakman at

  11. Prepare for the thousands of articles entitled – “Can Man Utd learn from their mistakes in Rome?” The British press have already started. So many articles, with the same silly lines coming our way. Can’t wait! (sarcasm)

    1. Ughhhhh. Paul Hayward of The Guardian is already starting (he’s an open Man Utd fan, right?). Just look at the MBM of our game against EE.

      Well, whatever. We want this one — just think of how awesome it would be if we won at the place where we first won our first CL! Also, this is Villa’s first CL final, as well as Alves and hopefully Abidal, so that’s extra motivation. I’m a little nervous because I hate coming into games as favourites — although Xavi’s already trying to push that tag on Man Utd — so I hope there are plenty of articles hyping up Man Utd so I can laugh at English delusion. It’s their beloved Man Utd after all (I don’t have anything against Man Utd, but sometimes the media do fall over themselves for them. Not to mention the infamous Fergie Time). We gotta watch out for Chicharito though. Park Ji-sung’s endless energy could be a problem, as well as Valencia’s pace.

      I haven’t watched any Man Utd this season though, but from what I’ve heard, they’ve been meh.

    2. You must thank your lucky stars for not watching. I’m a part time Man U supporter and i’ve watched some of their matches and i’ve failed to watch a single from start to finish.

      On Chicharito i don’t think they’ll start him in that match, he’ll come on as a sub. I think they’ll prefer Berba as he knows how to protect the ball.

    3. Part time man u supporter, and you think they will start Berba over Chicharito. No No. Its either Chicharito, or Rooney alone up top. I think Fergie is scared shitless of us and may play a 4-5-1 with Park playing in the Pepe role, marking messi. Iniesta will shin in this game.
      Even in a 4-4-2 Rooney will be forced to drop deep to get the ball, making it a quazi 4-4-1-1 anyways. We will likely posess the ball 65% or more. I have full confidence!!!!!

  12. I have an interesting theory regarding the CL final.

    Remember the 08/09 season when we had all the “hard” draws in every round, like we faced Lyon, Bayern, Chelsea on route to the final. We had no “easy” opponent.

    Well, I have an admission to make: before the Copa I felt that EE had a bit of an edge coming into the game. They faced Pathetico, Sevilla, etc. to get to the final while we had an easier draw with Almeria, Betis, etc. We didn’t struggle against those teams, but I felt that we weren’t really tested either.

    Now that we’ve beaten EE, I think that we’ve faced the biggest obstacle and passed with flying colors. I never felt that we were under pressure during both these games against EE, and in my mind, EE > Man Utd team wise.

    The CB pairing of Vidic – Ferdinand will be tough to crack, but with us rounding into form and having Iniesta and Abidal back, well, I can’t help but feel excited. I really feel there is a good chance Abi will play in the CL final. He was (unfairly) suspended last time against Man Utd and it’d be 18 ways of awesome if he could start the game he should have 2 years ago.

    1. I thought exactly the same, but about the part that Spain and Holland played in the WC. While the latter didn’t seem to have any problem getting to the final (even against Brazil), Spain were always on the edge winning every game by just a goal, facing Portugal, Paraguay and Germany, where for me Germany > Holland (despite extra time in the final). Despite not having an all-unbeaten record, Spain wins the final (with all goals scored by Barça players :D)

  13. Living in London I have been subjected to most of Man Utd’s games this season and they are nowhere near the force they used to be. They are pretty solid team that tend to get the job done, but they are by no means spectacular and tbh I think the RM team we just beat are far superior, especially in midfield.

    If you look at the game they just lost to Arsenal, they looked pretty poor and were completely dominated in the middle of the park and Arsenal didnt even have Fabs on the pitch. They are dangerous on the counter, but so are a lot of teams we have faced. They are certainly no more dangerous than Madrid. Of course in a one off game anything can happen but I think if we play our game we will just be too much for them.

    1. spot on, Hilal…

      I watched MU many times this season,

      and I always said MU are NOT spectacular, Madrid are far superior…
      but I’m gonna say they are effective…
      they can have only 2 shots and got 2 goals from it…

      of course we’ll dominate the midfield and ball possession, but we also need to be very effective with our chances…

      and sloppy plays in the backline must stop, we can’t afford that in the final…

  14. I do miss how in 09 we were basically written off and seen as the underdogs in the final. Now everyone claims to know so much about us as if they’ve watched more than the Clasicos and the matches against Arsenal. Please.

    1. Don’t worry cos by the week of the final they’ll be telling us how good their team is and that we are divers, cheats and whatnot which will definately piss messi off which would be perfect for us. Trust me they’ll find a way to make their darling Man U look superior to us.

      Anyways, was watching the Sky post match analysis(thank you Jnice) and how annoying is Jamie Redknapp! And why did he have to bring in Arsenal in it. No wonder the Arsenal fans hate the brit media.

    2. Can’t stand Jamie. Terrible. I kind of like Souness, partly because of his accent and partly because he likes us a lot lol.

    3. Yeah ilike him too, he’s a huge fan of our play. The other day he said if he lived in Barcelona he’d have a season ticket so he can watch us all the time.

    4. my fave is Souness of course, he just like us very much…

      keep saying we’re the best team he’s ever witnessed in his life… 😀

  15. I’m probably late but I want to share my opinion on the previous issue.

    I’ve never witnessed a racist incident, or saw racism in my real life so I’m not going to pretend how people feel, the closest I can get is some remarks on the internet when people find out that I’m Arabian/Middle Eastern.

    Kxevin says Innocent till proven guilty but he deals with Busquets as he already guilty. I won’t defend Busquets or attack him, I’ll just wait for things to get clearer, but here are my views on the topic :

    -Marcelo had no reaction whatsoever, If it really was an insult, look no further than Zidane, one of the greatest players ever, on his final match, A World Cup final with the whole nation behind him and Extra time ahead and penalties, When faced with an insult, He reacted.

    -Busquets played with Keita,Henry,Yaya,Abidal,Eto’o,etc and this is his 3rd season, how come we haven’t seen this supposed behaviour till now ?

    -If this was an individual video, it would have some credibility, but we’re taking about an institution that filed an official complaint, said that our wins was because of UNICEF, photoshopped a player to make Alves look offside, Why wouldn’t they use this ?

    -This approach is unfortunately succeeding, People are calling us Cheats, Divers and now racists. Just look at Valencia’s celebration against Schalke04 today, Was this a message to Busq ? I don’t know.

    -Marcelo scored against us, but his celebration was normal. Unlike Eto’o against Zargoza.

    IF proven guilty, measures should be taken by fans and the club. The club can decide what they’ll do, “Keep the player and make him apologize, Sell him, Deny it and have a word with him” and the fans can decide what they’ll do “Hate him forever, Forgive him after apology and charity, Hate the club all together for him”

    1. Not true, Diego. I am treating the incident as one filled with doubt and ambiguity for me. I don’t care whether Busquets said it or not. I do care how the club that I have loved and supported for all of these years deals with it. There is doubt not just in my heart, but in the hearts of many others. It’s up to the club to resolve it. This isn’t a matter for closed doors, it’s a matter to be resolved in public, so that many cules can go back to being proud of the club, and sticking our chests out.

      It’s doubt for me, and that’s the chilling part. Is Busquets guilty or innocent? Don’t know. Might never know. But in some way, the club has to deal with the allegations.

      You don’t have to be a racist to use racist language. If it happened, he was probably trying to wind Marcelo up, and Marcelo didn’t take the bait, which would explain his reaction or lack thereof, if the offending word in fact was used.

      Do I think Busquets is a racist who used a hurtful word? No. As I said, innocent until proven guilty. But he and/or the club have to take steps to wash away the doubt. At least for me, they do.

    2. assume for sake of argument that busquets DIDNT say it, do you think the club might just ignore the allegations because its like, are you really gonna respond to everything lie publicly? thats what madrid ostensibly wants, for us to be on the defensive.

      at the same time i understand that this is more serious than most allegations. the club needs to denounce the lies, if those are what they are, the same way they denounced the UNICEF claims by moumou.

      apparently our new contracts with players have an “anti-racist” clause, we should back that up….

  16. WHAT!? Kevin is leaving?! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
    Isaiah´s previews and Kxevin´s reviews are what drew me to The Offside. It won´t be the same. I am always refeshing the page every game night waiting for your review. I will miss you. I have been watching the clasicos here in Venezuela and I dont know how to use this freakin keyboard, but I had to leave a comment on this. Yep, “When a win becomes a loss”…

  17. Wanted to ask something earlier while i was watching the match. Why wasn’t the Barca anthem played when they walked in on to the pitch. Has it always been like this for champs league matches? I haven’t really noticed. It felt weird when the players walked in without the sound of our anthem.

    1. because for UCL matches, UEFA will play the Champions League anthem after both teams enter the field…

      but they played the anthem after match…

    2. They played the anthem, but the players were still in the tunnel while it was playing. They came out after.

    3. Oh thanks guys, can’t believe i’ve never noticed that. Our studion analysts here usually talk forever and only stop when the champs league anthem starts so maybe that’s why i never noticed it.

    4. LOL, I didn’t know this… usually my local channel started to broadcast the game when the players left the tunnel…

  18. Best quote from the Sky (English) post-game:

    On Messi: You’d struggle to get the ball off him in a telephone box.


  19. I saw on video the one with Messi and Pep, he was organizing the reunion in the center field, and he told the team to give a “vuelta olímpica” a run around the field, to thank the campnou for their support, this team really rules!

  20. Just watching the 2nd half again. You know, I struggle to remember why Kaka won that Golden Ball…

    1. to be fair, Blitzen…

      I watched the entire 2006/2007 season of AC Milan…

      I can say it’s almost impossible Milan won the UCL without Kaka…

      if you see the semifinal highlight at Old Trafford, you’ll know what I mean… 😀

    2. I was sad that year because Barcelona went out early to Liverpool, but that image of Kaka’s rain soaked figure putting ManU to the sword at the San Siro was the most memorable moment of that year’s CL.

    3. exactly… it feels so great after Britsh media hype about All England final, Milan burnt their dream….

      unfortunatyely, in 2008, they got their All England Final dream… the end of Rijkaard era… 🙁

    4. Was very mad when he left Milan but i kinda feel sorry for him now. He was actually very good back then but then he made the biggest mistake of his life. I hope he leaves EE and try to salvage what’s left of his career. Reminds me of Schevschenko.

    5. yes, same here… now I kinda feel sorry for him…

      I just knew he would end up like Sheva…

      cause when a player hurt milanisti’s hearts, bad things will happen to him… 😛

    6. LOL, I hope one day(hopefully soon) Milan will regain it’s status as one of the most feared team in Europe. Right now all that’s left is the name only.

    7. In my view back in the day i.e. 2007:

      Messi > Kaka > my Grandma = Thong Boy

      (Slight variation to a truth… 😀 )

      The biggest travesty was how Kaka was 3rd or 4th in the 08 WPOTY when Xavi was 5th. Unbelievable. He was there because of reputation only and I say this as a person who likes Kaka’

    8. What’s hilarious is that analysts try to explain away not recognizing Xavi before 08-09 by claiming that Guardiola’s arrival somehow transformed Xavi into a great player. Gits.

  21. Have now watched the Higuain goal half a dozen times. The ref had his arm up to stop play before Higuain reached the ball. Play stops when the referee decides it does. No goal.

    1. It was never a goal. All people are whining about, at most, is the potential goal scoring opportunity was taken away. Once the ref blows his whistle in that situation, it’s either a FK to us or EE. If you go through what happened it’s almost comedic:

      1) Pique touches Thong Boy on the shoulder whose leg inexplicable buckle. I say it was a dive, but for arguments sake, say he was fouled. Also, it was not a pass to Higuain, TB overran it and then looked for the FK after he realized it.

      2) He falls on sMasch’s right calf, causing him to fall as he was going to clear the ball. sMasch then starts rolling around. (He needs to cut that out.)

      3) The refs blows his whistle here before Higuain even gets the ball, let alone put it in the net.

      Ref makes the correct decision. It doesn’t matter that TB couldn’t control his movement — he impeded the last man who was in a good position to clear the ball.

      If TB was fouled (which he wasn’t IMO) ref should call it back for an EE FK. He isn’t fouled and sMasch is, so it’s FK Good Guys. As it should and was.

      As for Kaka’, he was the reason Milan won the ’07 CL. I know because I was following them and Milan are my Italian team (not so much now that Kaka’ is gone. I still like Pirlo though.) Oh, how far Ricky has fallen. He was never better than Messi though, even in ’07. IMO.

    2. the review from Barça The Offside pretty much sums up what I think about the goal…

      Piqué touched –TOUCHED, not fouled- CRon, who went down, which prompted Masche falling like a game of demented dominoes.
      So, first to dive, first to lose?

      it was a very typical TB’s dive… unfortunately, Masch’s fall is the highlight of the incident…

      and yes, Kaka was the main reason Milan won the 2007 UCL, UEFA Super Cup, and FIFA Club World Cup…

    3. You are right, blitzen. It was never a goal: had CRonaldo not been spinning on the ground and impeded Masch, he would have gotten the ball.

      And the post-match reaction has been the same as the Pepe red card. That is, in the minds of deluded fans these instances have become the “red card for Dani’s dive” and “ruled out legal goal due to a Masch dive”. Repeat a lie to yourself (and amongst yourselves) enough and it becomes fact.

      Yet the real objective fact is that these were, at best for RM, controversial moments of refereeing decisions. For every analyst of the game that tells you that those were refereeing errors, you can find as many (if not more) that will tell you that the ref got it right… off the top of my head, Hiddink, Dalglish, accredited referees, and some British commentators at Sky Sport have all called the Pepe red card the right call for dangerous play, regardless of whether Pepe actually made full contact to break Dani’s leg. Leg straight, high up, studs up, looking away. That’s a red card, sorry he didn’t actually get to injure Dani. Likewise for the Higuain call back, an analyst at El Pais (the only neutral take on Barca and Madrid in Spain) looked at the sequence of events. His take was that the only mistake the ref made was that CRonaldo should have gotten a free kick, but that it was never a goal because Masch was tripped by a rolling CRonaldo, and that right there ended the “advantage” originally granted to RM.

      I believe both calls by the ref were the correct one, Pepe’s more than Higuain’s. Moreso, if Pepe didn’t get carded, Marcelo should have for the Pedro stamp later on. And that’s important: Madrid were deservedly down to 10 at the Bernabeu and they rightfully shipped those two crucial goals.

    4. There’s a whistle after Mascherano went down. You will also notice that Valdes went out from the PB, to check on Mascherano. But Higuain continued to run, got the ball then kick it.

  22. Dang. Minute 69. Mr. Classy aka Xabi Alonso putting the boot to Messi’s ankle nowhere near the ball and then berating the ref when he gets carded. I’m disappointed in you. 🙁

  23. Adebayor is worse than a thug. He’s a bully. How did he not get sent off? Lass was at least playing football.

    1. Adebayor is a complete f*n retard. I hated that grin on his face everytime he got caught fouling.

    2. Just hit the bit where Adebayor almost kicked Pique right in the face. How did I miss that the first time around???

    3. I’m surprised you’re rewatching the games. I haven’t rewatched any of them because watching Real kick the shit out of our players and then beg and plead like they did nothing wrong disgusts me. F*k that team, seriously.

    4. I still watch November’s clasico from time to time. Gives me the chills how good we were.

    5. Dont forget trying to drag our players up after they foul them.Drove me mental.

    6. ^This! (jordi’s comment) a million times.

      Fudging Carvalho. You don’t take Messi’s legs from behind and then have the gall to try and drag him up. Don’t get me started about Villa and those other p*icks. Man just thinking about it makes me so angry. 😡

    7. I felt bad for Madrid after the 5-0 humiliation, because, well, I really liked Iker and Alonso. But not this time. Mourinho have turned them into something else. The best thing about yesterday for me was not reaching the CL finals, it’s reaching the CL finals by stomping all over Madrid and Mou’s faces.

  24. This is a little off-topic, but…

    I started wondering about how I will cope with Barcelona withdrawal this summer after all this heightened emotion. And suddenly I realized: Man U and Barcelona are playing an exhibition match in July in DC. Interesting how one way or another, this will be a rematch of the Champions League final(!) Anyway, something to look forward to when all the drama has subsided….

    1. My ticket for that game just arrived in the mail! 😀

      I might have to create a BFB sign and take it to the game….

  25. Some takeaways from the Clasico series, in hindsight.

    -The Messi goal at the end of the first leg was the best goal scored in the series, probably the best goal the Clasico will see in years. The CRonaldo header, though, was the second best, for sheer clutch-ness of it. CRonaldo gets some guff for not showing up to big games, but the composure and presence of mind to blast that past Pinto was impressive. CRonaldo reminds me of A-Rod in many ways… Pedro’s goal yesterday was the third best, if only for the Iniesta assist that carved Madrid’s defense like a turkey. A big white Turkey.

    -We should be thankful that Mourinho mismanaged the Clasico series. Before the first match, the talking heads of the English media warned about how Mourinho would out-coach Pep by managing the series of matches better than “rookie” Pep. But it was quite the opposite. Mourinho showed his biggest tactical maneuver (Pepe as DM) at the La Liga game, and it took us 3 halfs to actually start dealing with it. By the time the CL Bernabeu match came along, Pep knew what to expect and answered RM’s counterattacking tactics.

    -I am so thankful that we met Moudrid in the CdR final and the CL semis. I think had we met Mou at Wembley instead, we could be lamenting how their negative nasty football beat us at the one-off final.

    -San Iker was beatified for a reason.

    -RM is getting better and better. Amazing what a little institutional consistency and youth development big sweaty wad of cash can do for a team.

    -Next year, we have to get better. Our depth issues have to be resolved, so we don’t have a makeshift defense like we built for this series. I’d like to see another attacking option that we feel confident rolling out against bottom half La Liga teams and still get the job done, whether it comes from the present, squad, the market, or the cantera.

    -I see it as Villa is having issues adjusting to our system in his freshman year, like Henry and Ibra did. They were all still damn good for us those years, but I expect Villa will explode in form for us next year. Drool.

    1. For all of EE’s talk about getting better next season, we will too. A striker and couple of more choice signings and voila! We won’t have players amassing so many minutes because there’s no one to replace them.

    2. Plus a whole summer of rest for the core of our squad, minus Messi who will play the Copa America (hopefully to the final!) but will skip the preseason. Back in 2009 they were saying we couldn’t get better, but I think our team has been getting better every year. We will this summer too 😀

  26. P.S. Can we get them gravatars back? Presumably traffic should be back down to pre-Armageddon levels…

  27. I don’t care what no says I love Shakira even more after she stopped in her performance yesterday to celebrate Pedro’s goal!!!

    Also gotta love how Pep invited Preciado to the Nou Camp to see the Madrid game, I somehow expect to see more relations with Sporting and us dealing with our youth players i.e Botia. Anyone seeing similar cases with Barta or Fontas?

  28. I know that football is not decided by history or statistic record, football is decided on the field…
    this just an interesting fact that there’s some kind of ‘pattern’ for the last 6 years…

    UCL Winners

    2005 : England (Liverpool)
    2006 : Spain (Barcelona)
    2007 : Italy (AC Milan)

    2008 : England (MU)
    2009 : Spain (Barcelona)
    2010 : Italy (Inter)

    2011 : England/Spain (?)

    oh, and SAF had a consultation with Mou about how to beat us…
    is this mean we’re going to see ManU players kick and stomp our players’ leg, and then drag them up like a *&^$@!^^&$#%#?

    1. sorry, I read Indonesian article with a bad translation first…

      it’s “will”, not “had”

      “We will depend on our own knowledge of Barcelona, it’s not like we’ve never seen them before. (But) you always take information from him (Mourinho) because he’s always helpful like that.” – Alex Ferguson comments in a press conference.


    2. Yup I been following this record a while now but whats pleasing to see is that only Barca is constant on that list. I say we will start our own record of 2011-Barca, 2012-Barca 2013-Barca lol….A fan can dream right lolzz

  29. off topic, I admit I didn’t watch Bundesliga, so my knowledge about Nuri Sahin is very limited…but how good is he?

    we’re still the better side than EE, no doubt, but the gap is getting closer than before…
    smart transfers in the summer will help us a lot…

    1. Go read my article 😀 I’m a Dortmund closet fan!

      *awaits the congrats on the bundes liga*

      And no, didn’t start supporting them now, i used to enjoy them during the days of dede, Rosicky and the mountain Jan koller

    2. I just read your article, that’s why I made that question here… 😆


      as a neutral fan of bundesliga, I feel sad they will play on UCL without their best player… I wanna see how far Dortmund can go WITH this season’s squad…

      it’s really funny, in the middle of the season, long before now, I remember there’s a Madrid fan on bigsoccer forum who kept mention Nuri Sahin over and over again, and get a very harsh replies from the other Madriditas… they mocked and laughed at him… 😀

    3. I have been following Sahin since he was 16 years old, and seeing him develop the way he did was really nice.

      You can check the video’s i have to see him if my writing didn’t paint a good enough system.

      I called for Sahin before we actually got Alonso, but admitted he was too young at the time. I’m glad the club is going in a direction of following what the coach wants and not just the expensive player. If only Pelle had the charisma to impose himself on the management like Mou is doing. It was the downfall of Pelle.

    4. He is very very good. Player of the year in the Bundesliga this season. Sorta like Schweinsteiger in combining the active, holding and creating qualities from what I see. Would be an improvement to their midfield, but not a DM so that’d probably mean they’d have to switch to a 4-3-3 to accomodate him and Alonso as well as an outright DM, which means only three of Oezil, Di Maria, Kaka, Higuain, Benzema, Ronaldo can start up front.

      Odds even as to whether this is gonna ruin his career…

    5. Sahin is not a DM? He is a perfect partner for our midfield. He is deep lying, and has great passing skills and vision. If anything, in big games, he will add creativity and a creative outlet to Alonso who tends to be pressured in big games.

      I have watched around 20 games for Dortmund this season, and he IS a DM. He used to play more of a box to box midfielder and in a more advanced role when he was younger, but in the last two seasons he transformed into a deep lying midfielder.

      I personally think he would be a perfect partner for Alonso! Very happy about the transfer!

    6. By DM I mean outright defensive midfielder. Way I see it if he plays with Alonso, RM would still need a more outright defensive presence in midfield as well wouldn’t they? Playing in a 4-3-3?

      I do think a 4-3-3 with Alonso, Sahin and a DM would improve your side enormously.

      My question is then what happens to the rest from among Higuain, Benzema, Oezil, Di Maria, Kaka, etc.

    7. To a certain extent, you have a point. But look at the team right now, do we have an actual DM? Sahin is more of a DM than Khedira IMO. While i would like us switching to a 4-3-3 (its my favorite formation), i do believe that Sahin fits perfectly well with the 4-2-3-1 that we have right now.

      I don’t know how much you watch Dortmund, but they have the same exact system that we have. And Sahin plays next to Bender, who is a deep lying midfielder, behind the 3.

      What is most interesting is the rumor, which seems to be a reality, of getting Callejon. Part of the plan Perez has to get back all the talent that Calderon sent out with buy back clauses. While a 5 m deal is a steal, it might mean that the team is, as you said moving to a 4-3-3. With that said, I believe Ozil can drop deeper to play the same role that Iniesta plays in the Barcelona 4-3-3. At the start of the season he rarely dropped deep to get the ball, but lately he has been doing a better job.

    8. But Bender is an outright DM right? Unlike Alonso who isn’t that strong defensively? From what I’ve seen at least, and I’ve seen only about half the number of the 20 games you’ve seen. Would Sahin and Alonso have enough defensive talent between them?

      I can also see Oezil eventually playing a floating Iniesta role in midfield, forming a 4-3-3 eventually.

      But as we’ve seen now, Real are already strong enough to blitz most teams outside the very top bracket playing their current 4-2-3-1. So the addition of Sahin SHOULD be to increase chances in the bigger games, right? Where you guys usually play 3 in midfield?

      Would Sahin-Alonso-Oezil or Sahin-Alonso be strong enough defensively to cope in those situations, against a big European power? So it’d most likely be Sahin-Alonso-Outright DM and three forwards again right?

      My overall point being it seems like there seems to be way too many players for the four of those front-six (whether a 2-3-1 or a 3-3) positions that aren’t untouchable (ie. the other four slots except Alonso and Ronaldo). Oezil, Di Maria, Kaka, Higuain, Benzema, Sahin, whoever Mourinho gets as your third striker, Khedira, outright DM?

      Who’s gonna miss out and be a permanent benchwarmer from the current starting line-up? Khedira/Lass would seem to be the weakest of the players, but would sacrificing them keep balance in the side?

    9. Not deep-lying midfielder. For example, Pirlo is a deep-lying midfielder who plays at the base of midfield but not a defensive midfielder right?

      So if Sahin comes in into a three-man midfield then who’d be the three forwards? Ronaldo would definitely be one. Oezil would probably be favorite for one of the remaining two slots, but then there’s still like five other top quality forwards in RM right?

    10. You’ll probably know better than me though. But do you see him playing in the usual 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3?

    11. If Mou stays this summer he’ll get to construct the team he wants. According to my brother who is a EE devotee and a Mou lover..the real reason Mou didn’t win the CL or La Liga is because this team was assembled before his reign. And in a way I can see the logic in it because today I suffered through an entire episode of Punto Pelota and someone on there made an interesting point. According to one of the commentators(a EE follower) EE did not loose because of the ref’s, they lost because they played with 9 men. How is this possible you ask? This guy went on to make the argument regarding the “9 men” statement basically putting the blame on poor choices from Mou for starting an unfit Kaka and Higuain when he had Benzema on the bench. I could not agree more. Kaka is damaged goods and unable to contribute a single thing to the team. Higuain is over hyped IMO.

      Now regarding all the madness that continues on despite Barca having prevailed. EE will never be satisfied, ever. I’m not sure what they truly want out of this crying of conspiracies. Is it that they wanted a biased ref making calls in their favor?(which is ironic because they are claiming that the ref’s are biased and in favor of barca) Or is it that they want a fair ref to officiate all clasicos?
      They got their wish in the CDR. And more or less they got their fair ref in Tuesdays game. Reds were not handed despite certain players making dangerous fouls. Fouls were not called on both sides. What more could you possibly want? Hypothetically speaking..if Higuains goal had been allowed..they still would have lost on aggregate. Why the fuss? Why? Whyyyy?(I sound like Mou now >.<) EE has benefited from biased ref's making calls in their favor thanks to their divers in La Liga. The only thing I can think of that would make EE happy would be if UEFA would let Mou be the ref, then they'd have absolutely nothing to complain about.

      In respect to Barca. Things need to change besides acquiring new players. We should ignore what ever comments EE makes from now. They don't deserve an answer from us, they are not worthy. Let Mou make a fool of himself next season by not acknowledging his comments. Let's go about our business and win titles. Players need to be reprimanded for their diving shenanigans. We talk big about being the better team, so let's act like it next season. They are children, we are adults. That's the difference between us and them.

      Defenders are needed desperately because some of ours are up there in age, they are not immortal as much as we'd like them to be.
      We need a back up striker incase Villa turns out to be flop(we need more time to asses that though). Bring Llorente, his height would be welcomed.
      Basically we need a little bit of everything. EE can and will be a threat at some point, we need the proper ammunition next season to fight back if this whole ref situation is settled once and for all.

    12. Since this is Madrid related, let me quibble. Yes, Mou made a mistake. His mistake was the purchase of Khedira. Similar to the Germany vs Spain game, Khedira proves that he is good at doing the running and defending, but offers very little in possession and attack. His only target is to give the ball to Alonso, who is usually double or triple marked.

      Kaka should not have started, but Higuain, had he been more fit, would have caused much more problems. Euler would tell you this, since I’m sure he pays attention to it like i do, Pipita has exceptional off the ball movement. He is the type of player that does not need the ball at his feet and can score from one touch of the ball. He just needs service. To add to all this, he pressures very well up front. When i hear Barcelona and Pipita in the same sentence, all i can remember is his goal against you guys during the Pasillo game! He made juked Puyol in a beautiful way.

      Unfortunately, he has been injured for 4 months with a very nasty back hernea. Wasn’t expected to be back by now, but here he is getting slowly but surely into shape. The doctors say he would come in to train at 10 pm some days.

      Benzema, while more fit than Higuain, did not match the style of game that we were hoping to play. Benzema plays best in a team that has a lot of the possession. Against Barcelona, Real Madrid were hardly going to get most of the possession. If it was up to me i would have started without a striker and then introduced Pipita in as an impact sub. But what do i know, I’m not the bloody special uno.

    13. To add, Higuain is very UNDER rated, both in the world and among many Real Madrid fans. For me, he is a pseudo canterano. Joined the team when he first turned 19 and spent two season growing and then hit the big scene. I love the player!

    14. Word. I hated how so many fans online (and apparently Marca/AS as well, according to online journos) turned on him so much after that game against Lyon in the CL.

      Maybe the pressure got to him. Or gets to him. Dunno. He’s what, 22? Guy is still a class player, usually one of the highest finishing rates in Europe, and his ‘reputation’ as a big-game choker is pretty BS too, he has saved RM so many times in clutch situations especially in the La Ligas you won in 2007 and 2008. I remember against.. Espanyol was it? Most especially.

    15. Yes, he saved our ass in 2007 against Espanyol. He tackled a player. Won the ball, one two with Reyes and then scored a great finish. He won my heart right then.

    16. Do you think Benzema will be given the boot? Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t FP hand pick him and actually go to Benz’s house to ask him to sign with Madrid? That would be one heck of a fiasco if Mou wanted Perez’s golden boy out.

    17. Khedira proves that he is good at doing the running and defending, but offers very little in possession and attack.

      Then he’s a perfect fit for you guys! 😉

      (Sorry, couldn’t resist. You left yourself open! 😛 )

    18. Higuain is highly underrated, and mostly by those who should be his biggest fans. He is my favorite EE player. I had a few other EE players that I used to like before this month (still like Iker). Dang, but it’s gonna be hard to watch my Furia Roja for a while.

    19. I don’t think Higuain is underrated. I know my lack of experience playing/watching soccer means my evaluations carry less weight, but I think he’s one of the best strikers I’ve seen and possibly the best in terms of poaching.

      I mainly saw him play for Argentina this year, though. Before the injuries.

  30. Did you guys watch the Revista de la Liga episode? They talked about the disallowed goal incident. I was surprised to see Graham side with Real Madrid on this one. He also mentions that he talked to Pique who mentioned that Ronaldo is deadly once he gets past you, and that he had to body check him to stop him. (Again, not my words, this is what Graham said).

    For me, it was more of a 50/50 situation. Mendiata said that it was right to be disallowed but then call a foul on Pique, Graham said that he thought it was a soft call and Mascherano was “clever”. Hence, a 50/50. Anyways, if there was a situation to complain about the ref in, it wasn’t this one for me, it was more of the whistle on Di Maria and Puyol when nothing actually happened. This incident was really weird, and i think i read Isiah mention it on twitter.

    With the above said, i thought the ref had a good game. A couple of calls our way, a couple of calls your way, and not too many of them. He probably should have sent off Carvalho. Other than those incidents (And adebayor of course, don’t get me started on him), i think the ref did a rather good job. Kept the game even while keeping control of the game. I think most Madradista’s that complained were still living in the ghost of Clasico number 3 and were still bitter over the Pepe red card.

    Final note: Does anyone else miss Kxevin? 🙁

    1. “With the above said, i thought the ref had a good game.”

      yes… not perfect, but good enough for El Clasio level, certainly better than the last three games…
      like Iturralde Gonzalez in the 1st El Clasico, I think he done great…

      but really, if there’s any Madridista said Carvalho deserved to be on the field for 90 minutes, the he/she is biased to death… 😛

      I do… I do miss Kxevin… please come back soon, Kev… we miss you here, I really do… 🙁

  31. @outerspacedout: Against normal opposition, as you stated, the Alonso-Sahin/Khedira combo should be fine. Di Maria is usually trusted in doing enough tracking back and Ozil has been working on that department of his game.

    Against stronger opposition, i see us using a three man midfield. It might not even have to be a true DM, but rather an Alonso-Sahin-Khedira/lass. Pepe is also an option there.

    The biggest problem will be adjusting to the two attacking full backs the team has. With two attacking full backs, you need more cover. This is why i repeat it over and over again, Abidal is very instrumental for you guys in how Alves attacks. This is why in the games with Adriano, who although was great, Alves was not as effective as the games that Puyol was DM.

    In the future, i do see is switching to a one attacking full back, with Ramos shifting to the center to take over Carvalho’s duties and Arbeloa switching to the right (look for a similar shift in the Spanish national team when Puyol hangs his boots). I do think that we will stick with the 4-2-3-1, and if it switches to a 4-3-3, i can see Ozil being used in the middle 3.

    As for the 3rd striker that Mou wants to bring in, my only wish is one: Not Adebayor. Adebayor was not Mou’s first choice, it was his only choice. Mou’s first choice was RVN. And Mou likes Higuain A LOT! He loves his off the ball movement and his pressing, something that Benzema fails to do.

    But none the less, we will have a third striker. Who that striker is? I believe it’s Morata. Mou said he will be training with the first team next season, but i’m not holding my breathe. Wishful thinking i guess. He is a great talent though. It’s really interesting, we have a great batch of youngsters coming through, and with Toril (our B team coach) in line to take Mou’s job after he leaves, we might actually see Real Madrid talent play… in madrid!

    This goal is from last week. The guy is huge. 1.91 m.

    1. since I’m not good at all about tactic or stuff, I just want to comment on this one :

      As for the 3rd striker that Mou wants to bring in, my only wish is one: Not Adebayor.

      are you sure? Adebayor is the perfect player for kicking and bullying our players, while forgetting he is a striker, not a bull your team… 😛

      seriously, what’s wrong with that dude? The Togolese Tangler is the perfect nickname… 🙄

    2. Hmm so lemme see if I get this correctly:

      You think Sahin will fill in for Khedira, playing a more creative double-pivot in a 4-2-3-1 against not-elite opposition, with the usual front four- Ronaldo, Oezil, Di Maria, and Higuain/Benzema- so in 80% of the games Real plays in the season, their most talented creative/attacking players get major playing time.

      However in big games, it reverts to a 4-3-3 but a more creative midfield triumvirate than the very negative one you guys only have the option to use now, with Alonso and Sahin along with a more defensive player like Pepe, Lass, etc. With three forwards. So Sahin, Alonso, Ronaldo, Oezil/Di Maria play in most vital games, Higuain Benzema and Di Maria still get plenty of playing time in the less vital games, and overall both the Normal Gameplan (4-2-3-1) and the Big-Game Gameplan (4-3-3) become stronger as a result of Sahin being available?

    3. egg-sactly! For me, the biggest weakness was Khedira going forward. I don’t know why, but he was too awkward with the ball at his feet for me.

  32. Don’t understand why Sahin would move this summer and not next, considering his team will get a chance to enter next season as defending champions as well as compete in the Champions League for the first time since he’s been on the team.

    Boyhood club and you can’t give them another year? He’s young, he will have an opportunity to move next season. I don’t get it. I suspect the fact that he and Özil share an agent has something to do with it.

    Also, I don’t think you’ll see Alonso and Sahin together on the field much, but that’s just me. Disagree that he’s more defensive than Khedira. Sahin isn’t a good defender at all. I see him being more of a substitue for Alonso.

    Good for him, I guess, but it’s the wrong decision, IMO.

    1. I should add that seeing RM get some deals done early makes me excited for who we’ll be signing in the summer.

      Guillem says we’ll offer 30m for Rossi. Don’t understand the logic in that, so I hope not.

    2. Rossi is not worth 30m. He’s good but he’s not THAT good. 10-15m would possibly be more reasonable.

      I just hope we don’t go through another attempt at courting Cesc and end up paying a ridiculous fee.

    3. In this over inflated market (thanks to us and then Citeh), 30 million for Rossi is not “that” much. He is one of the top 10 players upfront ATM in the world. Plus he would fit your system very well. He is very short after all 😉

    4. “Plus he would fit your system very well. He is very short after all ;)”

      is that supposed to be an insult?! 😡

    5. if Andy Carroll worth £35m, then Rossi should be no less than £50m… 😛 *joking, of course*

      Rossi is pretty impressive though, 31 goals for this season?
      that’s a good statistic…
      but yes, I don’t want us to spent too much for a back up striker…

      I’m still worry they will use that money to buy Cesc…
      rumour says Arsenall are willing to sell him for £35m…
      by EPL standard, you can say that’s ‘cheap’…

    6. I didn’t mean to mention that he is more defensive. But i will say that with him on the pitch, the team will track back much more. From his team selection, Mou has been most iffy about who plays next to Alonso. Yes Sahin isn’t the best defensively, but he is 22, with a lot of room to grow. If anyone can bring the defense out of a player, then its Mou. Hell, even ronaldo was tracking back!

      The Rossi for 30 million is really surprising for me. For a player that you want to put on the bench, do you really want to pay 30 million? I always hate that my club has all these players that they pay for millions on the bench.

      What is the possibility of Affellay being converted into the center of midfield? Because if he does, there is one player that i can see fitting your team, and thats Eden Hazard.

      While he might not be the obvious choice, it would give a stronger presence for your team on the left and then convert Villa back to the position he used to play for Valencia, and thats upfront and not on the left.

      I know most of you have called for a pure striker, but the options there are not as numerous as those on the left wing. Any thoughts?

      One thing is true for you guys, its going to be one hell of a transfer window!

    7. Afellay played holding midfield in PSV and I think he’s more a midfielder than a winger anyway.

      Messi plays in the centre, and he’s really good at it, so moving Villa to CF would reduce the insane goal threat and creative threat that Messi as a false 9 gives us.

      Far as I see it, the reason most people here on BFB want an extra striker is one to provide depth and also an extra option, ie. height and strength or the like. Which Rossi doesn’t provide, btw, and which Villa in the middle with Hazard on the left doesn’t either.

      The role the management foresees for Rossi I don’t know is exactly what though. Replacement for Villa in the long-term as he is aging? Bench for now as depth? What?

    8. He’s probably worth 30 mil on the market, just not worth it for us I guess. He is probably the best striker in La Liga outside of the Big Two, after all.

      For teams that really need a striker 30 mil is probably a good deal. For us though, spending 30 mil on a non-starter would be silly. Same as us spending 40 mil on Fabregas would be silly.

    9. exactly how I feel…

      though it’s very predictable that it’s only a matter of time Dortmund will lose their best players,
      at least I wish to see them competing with their full strength for next season…

    10. *By isn’t a good defender, I mean the type to go and fetch the ball, pressure opponents, etc like Bender. He can tackle, though.

  33. Don’t be a ***** Kxev!
    Just because someone said that and we’re not even sure of it and you want to get all emotional?! He didn’t even say to you for goodness sake!

    1. This is really not helpful. I understand it’s supposed to be some form of reverse motivation – but it’s just not appropriate.

      Please watch your language. This is not or soccernet. This is unacceptable.

  34. That was my post hoping to motivate Kevin and bring him back from the dead.
    Now the emotional post.

    Don’t do this to us Kxev. Don’t leave us por favor!!!!
    We need you baby Kxev.

  35. Kaka should not have started, but Higuain, had he been more fit, would have caused much more problems. Euler would tell you this, since I’m sure he pays attention to it like i do, Pipita has exceptional off the ball movement.


    I very much agree with you. Starting Kaka was honestly bizarre. Busquets completely marked him out of the game. Now Busquets has done much the same to Ozil when he plays in the middle so I guess this limited Mourinho’s choices – but I didn’t understand Kaka at all.

    Tactically for you guys one of the most interesting changes you made was when Di Maria moved centrally in midfield. While his ball control skills and passing really don’t fit the central/attacking midfield role – his pace gave Busquets difficulty – and that change was a key to that period when you scored that goal.

    Regarding Higuain – again completely agree. In fact this is what I wrote in my tactical preview regarding Barca’s vulnerability at CB and how Mourinho should have played it:

    Similarly, Mascherano has limited experience playing at CB. A pacy striker who can make intelligent runs to try to split Mascherano and Pique by dragging them out of position would have been a powerful weapon to use. Higuain and Benzema are exactly those kinds of players. For most of the game Madrid played without a true striker who could test the Barça CB pairing. And when Mourinho put one in it was a target man who wound up playing isolated up top by himself. When Adebayor did knock balls down there was no one around him to collect.

    An in form Higuain would have been a near ideal striker to use against a Mascherano – Pique pairing given Mascherano’s limited experience and Pique’s limited pace. That said – even a relatively out of form Higuain would have been my preferred choice over Adebayor once a substitute was needed in leg 1.

    Also, while I agree with you that Benzema is better with ball to feet and in possession, I still think his general movement and intelligence would have been better utilized to try to split the Barca CB’s than Adebayor. He just would have made himself dangerous in different ways than Higuain – more with ball to feet play which would in turn create more open space for C. Ronaldo and Di Maria to move into.

    After the Copa I knew that Pep and the Masch/Pique would make adjustments to deal with Adebayor who while tall is fairly static (and perhaps even more problematic for you guys – a very poor defender on the press).

    We’ll have plenty of time to discuss transfers – but I really like Sahin. You’re club is finally making intelligent purchases. This is why I disagree with your characterization of buying Khedira – he’s a very good purchase given what he costs and his skill set. It’s just that he wound up being overutilized and playing too much.

    All that said – and this might sound crazy – if you guys want to take that next step forward – I really think you are going to need to either sell Alonso or at the very least, no longer start him and only use him situationally. I like Alonso as a player. But he is a specialist and his skill set is not what you guys need at that position. It’s just not.

    It’s extremely difficult to fit Alonso and Ozil into the same midfield. It’s even more difficult because both players are not good fits to play against pressing defenses. Ozil needs to play in the center left and in an advanced position where he can move in a band laterally. To do that he needs to players behind him to free him up. It’s difficult to do that with Alonso – even paired with Sahin.

    Ozil – Sahin – and a dyanmic holding player – that’s the combination you need.

    But overall your player acquisition strategy is improving rapidly. I don’t think Mourinho did a particularly better job than Pellegrini would have if Perez had actually allowed Pellegrini to do his job. Mourinho’s biggest contribution to the club was off the field.

    1. I’ve always thought that Higuain is deadly. I don’t know why Culegirl said that he is over rated. Over rated is someone who is hyped up in the press.

      Just look at their “disallowed goal”. One chance one goal. That’s the kind of striker Higuain is. The guy hardly misses chances.

      Bassam, what’s your take on Adebayor? Why is he so violent whenever he is on the pitch against us?

    2. I have no clue why he is so violent. I was completely shocked. All i know is i don’t want to see him at my club next season. For once i agree with Marca.

    3. He’s just a dick. Was at his previous clubs as well. Remember the infamous celebration and stomp on Van Persie?

    4. Not just that too. Everything he did all that time seemed so self-indulgent and immature, like the school bully with a rich dad. You know the type, the huge rich kid who you expected you to treat him with ‘respect’ and life served up to him on a plate because he was huge and could bully people around? And gets angry or whines and makes childish insults (such a baby, such a fag, doesn’t have the guts to fight me) whenever something doesn’t go his way and tries to sneakily hit and punch and snitch on you to massage his ego.

      So he complains and then tries to just hit the players and get that little thrill of vindication ‘ha, nobody can mess with me!’ that bullies get when they’re in trouble but get back at the kid who got them in trouble with the teacher by doing sneaky little nasty things to them.

      Okay, guys like Bellamy or Balotelli may be weirdos sometimes, but Adebayor always just seemed unpleasant.

      I just really really dislike Adebayor.

    5. Agree. As i mentioned above, the downfall for Pelle was not having the courage/power to tell Perez: Hey, this is who i want and not Kaka. I really don’t enjoy seeing Perez in power. A lot of people credit him for the Galactico success, when the foundation was set for him before. The stretch from 1997 till 2003 was one of the best in the teams history. Great football + winning titles. Then in 2003 it all went wrong and only one person is to blame for that and thats Perez himself.

      While i was happy with the Khedira signing when it happened, i was not as impressed on the pitch. My main concern was his awkwardness on the ball. I think he was told that he needs to aid Alonso deeper down the pitch, which is a situation he was not used to. Having the ball that deep in the area gives you less space, and hence why for me, he looked really awkward on the ball. But as you mentioned, for the price paid, he was a really good deal.

      I understand where you are coming from with the Alonso thing. Again, if i was a manager, the big holding midfielder is the most important one for me. That is why M. Diarra was one of my favorite players. He sits right in front of the CB pairing and he does the dirty work. Put two creative midfielders in front of him and its all set to go. Unfortunately, there are very few players of that mold these days. I wonder why that role is becoming extinct. People are opting for more of the Lass-esque DM’s that harasses players rather than the one that sits right in front of the defense.

      My thought on the Alonso-Sahin partnership might be a much reduced role for Alonso. Sort of the deep deep lying midfielder that rarely pushes forward (even less than he does now). Sort of forming a conveyor belt of Alonso-sahin-Ozil. This would be interesting since most of our conceded goals are from Pepe stepping out of position to come at a defender with no one covering his space. Maybe Alonso will start playing that role?

      But in the end, as you said, its still too early for transfer talk. We might, as outerspacedout mentioned, revert to a 4-3-3.

      For the Clasico games though, i will like to add one thing. Despite Adriano playing really well in the first two games, Puyol really gave you guys a huge edge. He completely shut off that left side. Props to him. It is going to be really really hard for you guys to find a replacement for him, something that is more immanent than cules would like to think.

    6. Even more than his ability is his fearless, inspiring leadership. Guy makes the whole team better, more focused, more fearless, more confident, makes sure they don’t slip up, makes the rest of the defense line better, everything.

      I don’t see anyone in the current squad who can be quite that King Leonidas type. And could somebody bought from outside be as visibly bleeding the colors and willing to die for the shirt esque as Puyol? It seems his exact role is pretty irreplaceable in any way or form. We might get a good leader or a good captain in Xavi or later Pique, I dunno, but they aren’t quite that either.

      I’ll be so sad when Puyol has to retire. I imagine you guys would have felt the same when Raul left.

    7. Puyol remind me of Maldini…

      his presence was so important to Milan…
      brave, strong, fearless, willing to die, the King Leonidas type…
      no one in the present squad can replace him …

      I wish we can have Puyol for 3 years or more…
      Maldini was able to play until 41 years old, you know…

    8. Maldini had insane longetivity.

      Puyol as an all-action defender, most probably wouldn’t play into his late thirties.

      Xavi though, I see no reason why he can’t last as long as Giggs and Scholes have lasted- and at the highest level- for United too, right? They’re 37 and 36 respectively. If Xavi can stay with us for another 6 years, even if it’s with regular rest against weaker opposition but being available for the big games, we should be favorites to scoop another couple of CL finals at least, right?

    9. I think like Pep said, if he’s body (especially his ankle) can hold it, Xavi will be with us for long time…

      in Spain NT, they will have Cesc to replace him, while for Barça…. hmm… ❓

    10. My God how many emoticons do you know Nanda. I didn’t even know half the emoticons you use were possible or existed.

    11. Note that if you want to figure out how somebody made an emoticon on this site (i.e. how you uncover all of Nanda’s secrets 😛 ), there is an easy way.

      Highlight the text around the comment, right click it and press “View Selection Source” or something like that, it varies according to your browser (I use Firefox).

      You’ll see something like:

      img src=”” alt=”:arrow:” class=”wp-smiley”.

      The bold part is what the commenter wrote to get that emoticon to appear 😛

    12. how dare you, Jose!!!

      just because you’re The Special One, it doesn’t mean you have the right to uncover my secrets in public!

      Por qué, Jose? Por qué? Por qué? 😥

    13. jajaja, the people have a right to know, Nanda!

      First, BFB emoticons; next, the UEFA-UNICEF-Lalilulelo cabal…

  36. My take on the Busi affair.
    Like I said before, I really do think that Busi said something to provoke Marcelo. When I saw that video, he really reminded me of those childish boys who wanted to get attention from other people. Say something and then run away. I really wish I could slap some senses back into Busi when I saw that video because he really did remind me of those immature kids.

    If what he said really was monkey then why didn’t Marcelo react?
    I guess it’s a normal thing already by the players in La Liga or Busi until Marceloa doesn’t give a damn about it.

    No matter what, I don’t think Busi should be exiled from the squad. Don’t tell me other players (not necessarily from Barca) don’t provoke other players on the field?

  37. Great post Isaiah.
    Glad to see we got by our toughest opponents.
    What was up with Villa trying to rip of Pedro’s head? I guess he was just happy.
    So pumped to see Abidal back! Is Adriano expected back, ever? He’s just hurt right?
    I’ll be excited to see what the club does this summer with transfers. It’s great to see how versatile our players are, but I’m sure we need at least another attacker and more depth at the back. Abidal and Masch can fill in at CB but that still leaves us thin. If Maxwell leaves we only have Adriano as backup to Left and Right Back.
    Great to see Pique returning to form and I’m so glad that most of our players will get the long overdue rest they need.

    Who would be a good striker to bring in? Doubt we’ll get Llorente and I think more than anything we need a fast and strong striker (like Eto’o)

  38. I’ve taken myself out of semi-commenting-retirement to issue a statement about the previous article from Kxev.

    At this point, I think it has now been four years since I first visited the Offside version of this blog, and I have visited regularly since. Once, I commented quite often. Today, I work too much to pay the same attention to Barca and to BFB that I once did, and maybe one of the veterans could look back into the archives to see when my last comment was (and one of you probably will, God help you!).

    All the same, when I read yesterday’s post, at a time in my sports-watching life when I don’t read every single post, I felt that the fates drew me to the time and the place (post). Kxevin, my heart is with you, and I would say that I speak for everyone when I write that I hope you return to blogging soon, if so many haven’t said so already. Your dedication to your writing and the detailed analysis that no other blog can showcase has been a joy in my sports-reading life for a long time now, and if you break your keyboard and never blog again, I will miss you.

    Furthermore, I must admit that I have/had quite latent feelings regarding the Busi incident. This probably has to do with the fact that, again, I work too much, and that I don’t watch or think about the game as much as I once did when I was commenting 20-times per-day. It only really hit home when I read your post. Man, why didn’t I have more of a visceral reaction to such an obvious show of racism? I saw the clip, I knew what he said, and still, I couldn’t help but jitterbug, thinking “2-0! 2-0!”, and so on. It was not until I read your post that I reflected.

    I have a close African friend that texted me after the first leg and told me, “I don’t know how to say this, but Barca are a disgrace to soccer!” He was, in fact, talking about the diving, and I had to agree that I hated the crowding of the referee, and especially Busi’s dive, yet still I had to brag (Poor guy, life-long Arsenal fan; in these past two years we’ve had some fights over footballing and fan-ship matters). Now that this clip of Busi has come out, I have to agree with my friend, and I wonder how, if he felt the way he did before the clip surfaced, he feels now about Busi and Barca.

    God…ahead of a CL final and on the cusp of the Liga, the FC Barcelona organization and fanship should feel unequivocally ashamed of itself.

    1. I thought you were the commenter ‘Alex’ and had just shortened your name.

      Guess you don’t have time to read through the comments of previous posts, but what exactly he said is still a matter of quite considerable doubt.

      Innocent until proven guilty for me. My argument in a short summaru:

      EE said it was a racist comment, but their ‘proof’ for this was apparently hired lip-readers they got. Which seems odd that if they’re actually going to accuse someone of being so, and they have the ‘witness’ ie. Marcelo, then it’s just strange to not include a response by Marcelo to this.

      His silence in the matter seems strange. When you consider the fact that Real Madrid the institution has actually said that they AGREE with and stand by Mourinho, ie. his suggestions that UEFA and referees favor Barcelona, that there is a conspiracy, etc- when their official stance is so, along with a doctored video of the Pepe incident- the idea that surely Madrid wouldn’t have accused so were it not true doesn’t hold much water.

      As for the argument that SoMa makes, which is that Marcelo probably didn’t speak out cos players face racism a lot and most of them don’t talk about it after the game- well yeah, normally okay a player may not talk about it. Cos it happens so often and talking about it is pointless, some players seem to feel, apparently.

      But when your club officially accuses someone of having made a racist statement to you, you stay silent? Now it’s no longer a staying silent cos talking about it is pointless situation. Now it’s a direct accusation being made, it being talked about a LOT in the media etc, and no comments by Marcelo about it being mentioned. Even in the actual accusation by Real Madrid, who have the player on their books, and thus would normally have just asked him and confirmed instead of taking the route of hiring lip readers to look at the video.

      I’m saying this trying to be as objective as possible. In light of circumstances, I find the whole situation with the accusations fishy. I do agree with Kxevin that Barcelona should clear up the accusations, and say whether it is true or false. However I do also think that it’s not true.

      I end with: Innocent until proven guilty, remember.

    2. I remember Alexinho from last year. If Im not mistaken he is an Arsenal fan too.

    3. I remember Alexinho as well. I just thought that the current commenter ‘Alex’ was the same person just using a shorter nickname now, until this comment.

    4. Nope, my comments are typically brief. When are those gravatars coming back?

    5. Correcto! I’m still an Arsenal fan as well but really ever since the inception of Philly Union, all Euro-ball just feels a little more distant.

    6. okay now, diving is not good thing… I’m not proud of it, at all… it’s embarrassing…

      but saying Barça are a disgrace to soccer? because some players were diving?
      was that really the worst thing ever happended in football history?

      no one said Real Madrid is a disgrace to football when Maria and CR dived again and again in the same match…

      and because one player is accused as a racist (still unproven, mind you), than the whole club is a disgrace?

    7. I agree with you.Just because of two clasicos where Barca playacted and dived does’nt mean that they are cheaters.

      ThongBoy(very nice name.I’d love to know how you hit upon that).I felt sorry for him in the III clasico but he’s just as big hypocrite as his “godfather” Mourinho when he said that sMasch learnt diving at Barca.As master,as disciple.Hypocracy at its best:)

    8. Cos of the way he stands back when he’s about to take a free kick looks like he’s wearing one lol. I think that’s where the nickname came from originally.

  39. So EE & Moanrinho – even though we are in the Champions League Final & about to win La Liga – have you all being introspective & ‘ashamed’!? Grow up! Barca are the greatest team in the world & EE are a bunch of whining, lying, cheating ****s. For Gods sake BE HAPPY!

  40. As a colored man myself (not that it should make a difference or matter) I feel to be quite unsure on this matter and I can completely understand where Kevin is coming from.

    My thing is… This is a very dangerous accusation for one to make even Karankar Madrid’s second in charge repeated the racist allegations in his press conference yet no one in Barca’s camp has responded to this, which tells me there might be some truth to the racist remark?

    Personally seeing Busqeut on the field vs Madrid I felt kind of funny about it, I was never that big of a fan of him considering we in my humble opinion had a superior player in Yaya and I felt much safer when he was there protecting the back 4.

    I hope we get a response and not brush these serious allegations under the table and act like nothing happened.

    But if indeed it is true I would suspend Busquets make him apologize and even than I’d still feel a way about him.

    On a better note it was good to see Abi and the celebration with him and the team mates in the end, brought a smile to my face.

    1. – IMO, I don’t think we’ll hear any more on this because Pep has already given an answer. It’s not his fault that the answers were taken out of context, indeed out of order, by the press as it used the reply from one question as the answer to another. Pep has the tendency to be laconic anyway, he won’t say more than is necessary, and is prideful enough to expect that when he’s given an answer it is the end of the story.

      – I also agree with SoMa that we will not hear any more of this because NONE of the players, black, white, or green for that matter, really want us to know what crap is said during a game. I don’t think for a moment that only white players insult black players during the course of a game. Would we have been up in arms had Marcelo insulted Busi’s color, nationality, etc…I imagine that during a game the insults are flying and there’s more ammunition than just skin color to be hurled. For every incident we hear of, I’m sure there are 100 we don’t (doesn’t make it right, just means that I expect there to be less choir boys out there on the pitch). Again, people should go elsewhere looking for there role models.

      I’m looking to Dani, King Abi, Adriano, and Keita for my answers. because that’s all I can do. Alves and Busquets shared a huge hug after the game on Tuesday. I don’t think that Alves is gonna hug a proven racist. I’m following the lead of our players of color and not the speculations.

      – So, short answer, I’d be surprised to hear any more on the subject.

  41. Real Madrid have not reacted well to their Champions League exit to Barcelona, with conspiracy theories, videos of dubious calls and disparaging tweets from the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Rory McIlroy all employed as their PR machine went into meltdown.

    Here, ESPNsoccernet selects a list of some of the other teams who have jettisoned their pride in the face of defeat.

    Yeah, we’re in that list as well…

  42. Also LMAO at the most recent Soccernet poll:

    Who is the world’s best manager?
    Pep Guardiola
    Arsene Wenger
    Sir Alex Ferguson

    I wonder who’s name is so conspicuously missing. HAHAHAHAHA.

    1. they didnt miss anybody.dont u know greatest is 3/ 4 level below special?

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