CL Final Interview with the Enemy: Corey Dowlar

The Final
Luke’s Note: Corey Dowlar is a Florida State University alum (where I just graduated law school) and currently works as a blogger, writer, and editor for Noles247, a website that focuses on all Florida State Seminoles sports, but specifically American college football recruiting, which I could explain is extreme detail, but will let Wikipedia do the legwork for me. Anyway, Corey has graciously agreed to do a short interview with us and give a Manchester United fan perspective on the match, specifically that of an American. You can follow Corey on Twitter if you are so inclined at @cdowlar. And remember kids, be nice in the comments, Corey is a guest, and as a Seminole, he’s better people than you anyway. 🙂

Firstly, how did you become a Manchester United fan?

Well, must admit it was arbitrary as many followers are on this side of the large pond we call the Atlantic. Back in 2006 during college at Florida State, me and my roommates all selected teams and chose to follow them with the rule being everyone had to have someone different to make things interesting. I found myself taking a real liking to the game. Now I’d have to say it dominates my thoughts in the realm of sports. I have taken a lot of time to research on the youth teams, club history, and other facts, so I feel justified in calling myself a supporter these days.

You seem to be a prodigious follower of soccer, or as our blog title snootily calls it, “football,” on Twitter, even though your from Amurka, did you ever play the sport?

Competitively, no. On the Florida State IM fields, yes. Was a big target man forward that was less skillful than brute and I have a nice unrepaired torn ACL in my left knee to show for it.

As we all know, this is a rematch of the 2009 final, what is your most vivid memory of that final?

Has to be Park’s miss in the opening minutes. United fielded a squad built to hit Barcelona on the counter attack and had a golden opportunity. Park was unable to convert and soon the Spaniards did. It was probably all over at that point. Ferguson’s army had to chase the game – and the ball too. It was never going to happen then, was it?

Do you hold any animosity toward Barcelona over that final? Or are you one of those fans who just generally hate Barcelona for their “tapping up” and diving?

Not towards the final, but their tendency to mix scuba diving into the fray is quite annoying at times. I understand all teams do it, even Manchester United. It is reality. The most annoying part, for me, is the swarming of the referee. Four, five, and six Barcelona players will all have their say and quickly. I’m not inclined to agree completely with the self-proclaimed special one that there is some conspiracy, but there is a large amount of evidence that something is giving Barcelona the benefit of the doubt on a lot of crucial decisions. Could be based entirely on reputation, who knows.

Moving forward to today, what do you see as the key matchup in Saturday’s final?

A lot of it depends on what team Sir Alex intends to employ. It’s no mystery how Barcelona will play, I don’t think. It isn’t broken after all. I think it would be safe to assume Ji-Sung Park will be closely marking the Argentine wizard as he normally keeps tabs on the opposing dangerman on European nights. Two-lung Park has completely taken players out of the game before and will be expected to do the same – to the best of his capabilities – in the final. I think we’ll see two tired footballers at the final whistle.

Other than Messi, which player worries you the most? I’m assuming Messi worries you most, you are a mortal correct?

Well, I think I touched on this previously. I think Xavi/Iniesta actually hold the real keys to the carousel’s effectiveness. Those two will have to find ways to spot runs and use their creativity to unlock an organized defense. Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic against Villa will be an interesting battle as well.

If you’re Sir Alex and you’re looking for a big advantage, which Barcelona player do you attack and overload, and why?

Anyone in the back line. None of them are that overwhelming on the back foot and we have first-hand knowledge of Pique. Fortunately for Barcelona, they usually don’t need to be as they hold the ball for 60-75% of contests. I don’t think you will see much ‘overloading’ at all. Most of the attacks will try to hit back on the break.

As Barcelona fans, who should we worry the most about exposing the team’s super porous (right commenter’s, right?) defense?

Has to be the boy Wayne. He is certain to play in some type of trequarista role whether in the odd-man midfield or the two forward system. He has a keen eye for the killer ball wide or through the middle, and can score himself, you know. Also possesses the ability to win a header in the air and find the back of the net.

Even if you don’t answer “Chicharito” to the previous question, I will assume you did. If he scores, which part of his body will he do it with? I’m looking for a “nose of god” moment myself.

Does he play? I don’t think it is a certainty yet. Ferguson said after the last final he knows how he would beat Barcelona if they played again – that was before Hernandez arrived. It will be an interesting headache leading in. The 4-4-2 counterattacking system has been extremely effective of late, but does he use it? We’ll see. If he scores, has to be a back heel, right?

What is your prediction for the game? A Manchester United victory? Iniesta causing another Catalan baby boom?

I have zero feel for it this far in advance, I really don’t. It is going to come down to whoever scores first, that I am very comfortable in saying. It is absolutely essential United score before Barcelona if they want to win this one, or it might be a very similar one to the Rome affair. I guess you will force me to say something though. Barcelona have to be considered favorites, I think, given the perception of the club and the most recent contest. But I have a good feeling about this one, for whatever reason. It has been a special year for United. Hasn’t always been pretty, admittedly, but they’ve figured out ways to get things done. Might be biased, might be delusional, but 2-1 to the England side.

Looking then to the offseason, what position are the Red Devils most in need of upgrading for the 2011-12 season?

Obvious answer is the goal keeper. Edwin van der Sar will retire and certainly be missed. He’s been tremendous, absolutely tremendous since his arrival. Keepers don’t grow on trees, especially ones that stop shots in the biggest games. It looks like it is going to be Atletico’s de Gea, but don’t rule out the Ajax man Steklenburg either.

Beyond that it is midfield, midfield, and midfield. Owen Hargreaves, I am convinced, will never return to fitness. Paul Scholes very well may retire this summer. Tom Cleverly could be treated as a new signee when he returns from a successful loan spell, but I still think there is a need for a legitimate boss in the midfield. Modric has been mentioned often, but big money moves like that typically don’t happen at Old Trafford with the exception of a Ferdinand, Rooney, or Berbatov.

Varane of Lens in France seems a certainty, an 18-year old defender that can play in a defensive midfield role. Wouldn’t expect him to play straight away, and could very well be loaned back to France at a club such as PSG.

Finally, if you can only choose one Man U jersey and one player’s name to be on the back of it, who are you going with to celebrate the 19th English championship?

Must shake my head at the term ‘Man U’ but will forgive you. I think it is going to be John O’Shea. He’s been a loyal servant of the club, played a big role in the last several titles, and I am Irish.

Thanks Corey!

Categorized as Barcelona

By Luke

We calls 'em likes we sees 'em.


  1. Hi Corey! And welcome.

    If Ferguson doesn’t play Chicharito, he is nuts. He is intelligent, can open spaces, is superfast, and is absolutely fearless. IMO he is the most dangerous player ManU could field against us. Well, except for Scholes, but that’s only because the Ginger One is liable to mistime a tackle and send someone to hospital.

    Re: Barcelona players swarming the ref: Oh, please! Rooney is one of the absolute worst for trying to intimidate officials! And he’s nasty about it too.

  2. nice interview! thanks Luke and Corey! 😀

    about Man U, I remember Piqué congratulated MU, but he used the word ‘Man U’… LOL, the kid surely didnt learn the history of his former club!

    by the by, congratulations to Evil Empire!! They are the La Liga champion by 1 point lead according to Marca !!! 😯

  3. Nice interview. I quite like Man U for their determination and work ethics. They’ll never give up, even if they’re 2 goals behind.

    In other news, Fabio Coentrao has confirmed his transfer to EE. He’ll be introduced 22nd June.

    1. PS. Source:

      They also report EE have signed their former youth player Callejon from Espanyol. They are on fire… This must be the end of Adebayor then?

    2. It sure does, though I’m in doubt now. A Benfica fan in the comments section, who speaks Portuguese apparently, says that the website has made a translation error. According to him, nothing is offical yet and these are nothing but rumours.

      Let’s hope the guy is right! I would love the see Coentrao at Barça in about 2 seasons.

  4. so EE has signed Coentrao?

    dammit, I like that guy!

    they are on fire, aren’t they?

    it’s like, everytime I sneeze, they sign a new player… 😛

    meanwhile we still keep everything quiet… cause we still have one massive match to focus about!

    the summer transfer will be very interesting!

  5. Mmh… I would have loved to see Coentrao at Barcelona, not for the upcoming season, but from 2012/13.

    First of all, congratulations EE for signing him, and also for having signed Nuri Sahion who’s just been voted the Bundesliga player of the year. They are both in the early 20s, as are Ozil, Di Maria, Khedira, Benz, Pipita etc.
    Madrid will stay very strong for the next 5 or more years (unlike other clubs, say Chelsea…). Even more than that, they will become stronger. They certainly do everything do surpass us in the near future.

    BUT I wonder why players like Sahin and Coentrao go there at all ?!?
    Do they think Real Madrid can play with 15 starters next season?
    Why do they buy Coentrao although Marcelo has been quite terrific this season, is at the same age as Coentrao and a similar, i.e. very offensive type of left fullback?
    Why did they buy another defensive MFer although they’ve got Xabi and Khedira? Maybe Sahin has more offensive power, but there’s already Ozil and Sahin cannot be used on the flanks either, because there are CR and Dive Maria.

    The transfers that EE have made are great ones, no doubt, but I wonder how they’ll use them. For sure, EE will be even stronger in team depth next season. But players like Sahin, Coentrao, Alonso, Marcelo deserve to be regular starters.

    1. What makes you say that? I don’t follow the politics associated with RM at *all,* so I’ve obviously never heard about it.

  6. Guys, Coentrao isn’t confirmed yet. I’ve read he’s on a shortlist, but there is no deal yet. Not really bothered with who they sign, though. They’ve done well to sign Sahin, but signing players like Altintop and Callejon make me laugh.

  7. Back to the CL final.

    I think a backline of Dani Alves – Pique – Mascherano – Puyol is the way to go, rather than playing Puyol in the center and Abidal at LB.

    Unfortunately I don’t think Abi has been playing at his pre-operation level yet since he returned. What do you guys think?

    1. Unfortunately I don’t think Abi has been playing at his pre-operation level yet since he returned. What do you guys think?

      I don’t see why we should play a back line with Puyol at left back and Mascherano in the middle. I really don’t.

      Against Malaga he played at a very high level. Recovered several balls and shutdown a couple of counters. Of course he isn’t going to be at the level he was at before the surgery, but he hasn’t played poorly enough to suggest that Puyol should start over him at left back. Not for me, anyway.

    2. Abi should start, even if we knew already that he will score a hat-trick of own goals leading to a defeat.

      Still I won’t regret it!

      (In another news, he is the best option even with his current form thats not 100% Abidalistic)

  8. EE always made great signings for the past ….. (?) years.

    some say EE are like a fantasy football or FIFA Manager team…

    your question is similar with non-cules question, hehe…
    example : “why the hell Afellay go there?!”
    “why the hell Cesc wants to go home? he can’t get a place with Xaviesta in it!”

    1. Nah, I don’t think that’s comparable.
      Simply because our squad is much smaller than theirs 🙂

      If we sign Cesc this season, I’ll have to change my mind, because that signing is at least as dispensable as EE signing Sahin or Coentrao.
      But I don’t think we’ll sign Cesc. We should rather sign another top striker and defender.

  9. I am surprised at people who figure that Park can stop Messi. He seems good marking oposition wingers but Messi now plays in the centre. can he play DM or CB?

  10. – I have to agree with Corey, Hernandez is not a certain starter. Its not about the qualities of the player, but the needs of the match. So it won’t be a surprise for me if Sir Alex save him to the second half.

    – I can’t care less who RM signs. They will not get much stronger than they were this season anyway – unless if they signed a world class 9, which is highly unlikely. What I’m more concerned about is Barcelona’s transfers (Barca can improve massively if we pick smart transfers). As long as we do our homework, its all good. So far I am not so relaxed about what I’m reading (though all rumors in a silly season). After CL final we know more.

  11. Coentrao for 25m to Madrid isn’t confirmed. They’re the only club willing to pay that much, and thats why you keep hearing it. It’s interesting though because Marcelo had an amazing season, but I still HATE how he celebrates drawing yellows, reds (crouch), and penalties..

    I’ve gone from really liking Coentrao to him being the enemy. 🙁

  12. Been doing some thinking:

    In: Valdes, Pinto, Puyol, Pique, Alves, Abidal, Botia, Cote, Adriano, Fontas, Iniesta, Xavi, Thiago, Afellay, Keita, Busquets, Mascherano, Messi, Pedro, Villa, Jeffren (I think we keep him, and deal Krkic), Rossi, Alexis Sanchez

    That’s how I see our roster next season. It’s a 23-man roster with depth at every position, via versatile players or out-and-out position players. Note that the Rossi and Sanchez names are the two most often linked to us, but the names at those positions can change. I do think we are going to sign a forward and a midfielder of some type, just not exactly sure whom yet.


    1. Cote is the nickname of Jose Angel.

      In your proposed roster, I still feel we lack pace in the centerback spot. I would exchange Rossi for Sakho, keep Bojan, and sell Jeffren if I had a choice.

    2. And the reason I would sell Jeffren is because I think muscle injuries will continue to plague him throughout his career. Maybe because of how fast he runs. I don’t know.

    3. Not sure if I understood it right, but if you are suggesting to buy both Rossi and Alexis I beg to differ. One of them is more than enough. Especially that I strongly agree on keeping Jeffren. We need a proper 9 that none of them -or villa- is. We may end up using Messi as a false nine while Sanchez,Villa,Rossi,Pedro, and Jeffren fighting for two positions on the flanks. (Oh I forgor Afellay as well)

      And I heard about the midfielder thing. Again, cant see why we’ll need another midfielder. We have by far the most complete midfield in the world -and dare I say in the history of the game considering quality and depth. Busquets and Mascherano offer all the deferent needs required for holding midfielder role. Iniesta and Xavi need no explanation. Keita is a world class tactical player who also provide steel and offense threat. Thiago one of the most talented young midfielders, and Afellay is pending any opportunity to prove my point A.K.A. he is better in the midfield than the flank. Needless to look toward the youth. With quality offense even Messi can play in the midfield (where he’ll end up playing after Xavi’s era).

      Rossi+Sanchez may cost up to 50 M or more. I bet we can spend that money in a better way.

    4. I like it…

      But I will like it more if we sign Sakho…

      Also I think we’ll buy a midfielder, don’t know who… let’s pretend he’s not exist

      and no Bobo a.k.a Cuddly Toy? sad really, but yeah, I think he needs to go on loan, for his own sake…

  13. Thanks Corey and Luke.
    I’m glad Iniesta and Xavi are recognized for their work, but I think Messi is essential for us, with the uncertainty of Villa’s performance, if Messi is not 1000% on Saturday, this will look very ugly.
    Don’t see Manchester United being very dangerous, I think if anything they had it easy this season, they haven’t been truly tested I don’t think.

  14. A very nice interview! Always nice to hear from the enemy, better still if you get an insight into them. Nice job, Corey (and Luke for the questions)!

    I really really want to win this one. I know that everyone does — it’s the freakin’ UCL final — but I don’t think I can be one of those people who will get over the night after and be happy with La Liga. Me too competitive. 🙁 So we’re gonna win this for my sake! 😀

    — I confess that I haven’t watched much (read: any) Man Utd this season, or much EPL period. The general consensus, that probably includes the opinions of haters unfortunately, is that they were quite poor, and more than a little lucky, this season. The ol’ sports adage of winners win and losers make excuses comes into effect here.

    — Chicharito. If I were a Utd fan, I’d be in love with this guy. So, so clutch — a real poacher. However, I don’t think he’d start either. To utilize him and his skill set fully, he’d have to be a super sub. I hope he starts. :mrgreen:

    — Park. He’s like Dani except a RM (?) and less controversial. Just doesn’t stop running, does he? One thing I particularly like about him is that he isn’t a dirty player — as in, if he gets the ball off of you, it’s because he hounded you to death without stepping on your tendons. Me gusta.

    — Barca. As a team, we come into favourites. I hate coming into finals as the favourites — it’s why Xavi tried to push the tag on Man Utd after the semis, to no avail. I know many people have said we only have to play our game, but one thing we always do is adjust a bit in tactics depending on the opposition.

    –This leads me to Man Utd. Our tactics adjust to how they’ll come out to play — if they will at all. I think all of us are expecting an open game, but if you listen to Wenger, you’ll see a defensive Man Utd that will pack the midfield. I need to find the exact quote, but it was something like that. I need to watch that Arsenal – Man Utd game a month (?) ago to make sure, but I’ve heard Man Utd sat back. Arsenal play the closest football to us in the EPL, so it’d be nice to see scout the opposition to get a little idea.

    — I can’t say I’m surprised re: Jose Angel. I thought it was incredibly random — a transfer out of nowhere. I didn’t even know who that guy was, let alone if he was on our radar. The only reason I though maybe it was true is this new boards tendency of quick transfers on the hush-hush.

    It’s also why I also say I only believe a transfer if I see their smiling mug posing with the shirt.

    1. “I can’t say I’m surprised re: Jose Angel. I thought it was incredibly random — a transfer out of nowhere. I didn’t even know who that guy was, let alone if he was on our radar. The only reason I though maybe it was true is this new boards tendency of quick transfers on the hush-hush.”

      That’s what I was saying about Afellay in the LiveBlog the other, when I was told off because everyone knew him and I was the only one who didn’t (I’m exaggerating).

      These out of the blue transfers are the best! JA! 🙂

  15. —- Do you hold any animosity toward Barcelona over that final? Or are you one of those fans who just generally hate Barcelona for their “tapping up” and diving?

    Not towards the final, but their tendency to mix scuba diving into the fray is quite annoying at times. I understand all teams do it, even Manchester United. It is reality. The most annoying part, for me, is the swarming of the referee. Four, five, and six Barcelona players will all have their say and quickly. I’m not inclined to agree completely with the self-proclaimed special one that there is some conspiracy, but there is a large amount of evidence that something is giving Barcelona the benefit of the doubt on a lot of crucial decisions. Could be based entirely on reputation, who knows. —–

    they bark they whine… ’cause we ride. like we say in spain.

    Everyone does that tappin swarming scuba diving not only FCB this is so crazy, most spanish teams “swarm” the referee asking for cards. Besides, if he watches the CDR game I think he’ll understand why FCB did those things in the CL games. EE players were harassing the ref and kicking legs FACES AND MORE PARTS OF THE BODY like crazy. FCB acted as a team, late (they should have done it in that same CDR game) but acted as a team. They had to do something about how EE was beating our players hard in every single play. I loved how they acted in the CL games, which are the ones everyone complains about. Arbeloa or Pepe should not have ended the earlier game and they got like 0 cards from the spanish ref. the CL ref sure watched that game we played with that also, pepe out!!

    This is disgusting, is it all envy? I won’t talk bad about MANU they are an EQUIPAZO, a great team. one of the two best right now, maybe the best. Why all this hatred? we trashed them so hard in ’09 it may be that I guess. I respect them a lot, and now without thong boy they are better for sure 😉 viva manchester but enough of that please, it’s like rio ferdinand and his constant anti-FCB comments… he must have nigtmares with us on them I guess.

    1. And it won’t be like that, like they want us to be (act cheat dive swarming) we don’t hate manu at all not like we do with EE… MANU is a well respected club in catalunya. We will only play footy me thinks no need for acting unless you start the street fighter moves, don’t think manu will do that. Que partidazo!

  16. Noooooooo!! I missed Pep’s presser didn’t I?! Aww, snap. 🙁

    I don’t really trust journalists anymore; they leave out 95% of what a manager says and misuses the 5% they want. Some even take those 5% from other sites and make their own interpretation of them as facts in their native press (ahem).

    1. I use @barcastuff and @CanalBarca as my sources…

      they seem to watched the press conference, and surely understand spanish…

  17. @Simply_Juan

    “Accorrding to Onda Cero, @evilempire will announce the signing of Sergio Aguero on saturday.”

    good grief!! I really really really like Kun Aguero…

    now he forces me to hate him? 🙁

    1. NO way in hell Kun is going to do that to Atletico no matter how pathetic they are.

    2. Marca TV are saying that Kun has signed for EE…

      I don’t care about Sahin, Altintop or Callejon…
      but I do care about Kun, I like him a lot…
      I was hoping if he leave, he will sign for Chelsea or City…

  18. I don’t care what The Other Team does. I focus on Barca and what Barca needs. We have a final to talk about, not rumors from radio stations about another team.

    — We all know we’ll be using our first choice lineup for the first time since December, but I was wondering what the first subs should be. Me thinks Afellay would be the obvious choice, but would we ever put Keita in since the bigger question is who we’d take off. Abi will play the full 90 (it seems, he played 71 minutes agaist Malaga) but would we ever sub anyone off and put Adriano in? Doubtful, but something to chew on.

  19. Two-lung Park
    Don’t we all have two of those things? Not a very glorifying epithet really

    1. lol. maybe it was a racist comment meaning everyone that happens to be asian has sold one of his lungs who knows, that way it would make sense.

    2. I laughed at that as well. I’m guessing Corey just mis-spoke(typed?). Park’s nickname is “three-lung”, much more of a compliment. To my knowledge he has all his kidneys as well.

  20. Wait a minute …. Sahin, Altintop, Coentrao, Aguero …. all those rumors can’t be true, and if they are, EE will have to either petition the Liga/UEFA to play with a 15-man starting XI, or they’re going to be doing a lot of selling. Does Coentrao supplant Marcelo? Aguero comes, and who sits? Thong Boy or Di Maria? Or is your starting 9 a midget? And a full-on midget, not a superhuman one like Messi.

    And as others have noted, even if they do, I won’t worry until they sign Llorente.

    1. And as others have noted, even if they do, I won ’t worry until they sign Llorente.

      you’re absolutely right…

      I prefer they sign Aguero than Llorente…

    2. Sahin altintop and Callejon are already confirmed. other two are just rumors.

      sound, based, strong rumors.

    3. IMO, agüero is a top five player no doubt, llorente has to show it still, besides llorente is pure 9 no playmaker agüero I think can do it all from trequartista to winger to 9 … ALL!!! I used to think awero was more complete than messi because of his absolutely insane repertoire… not many players can dribble captain caveman like kun has done.

  21. Terrific interview. Nice to hear another perspective.

    Man Utd is an excellent team. I’ve been more and more impressed by their play as the season has gone on. Their tactics and style have evolved in very interesting ways. They are a very flexible unit, one that has gotten stronger as the season has gone on. They are peaking at the right time.

    It’s unfortunate for them that the Glazer’s debt has tied Ferguson’s hands in the transfer market. A player or two in midfield would have made an enormous impact.

    It’s going to be a very difficult, close match.

    Finally, on the issue of diving and circling/ yelling at the referees – I do find it odd that so many Man U fans are forgetting that Roy Keane actually played for them and is considered a legend.

    1. If you watched MU’s match against Blackburn then you would remember

      1)Chicharito dives for a penalty when they are a goal down.

      2)The referee takes his time and three MU players hound the the linesman

      3)They get a decision in their favour

      4)They win the league with a 1-1 draw.

      That kind of forbids any MU supporter from accusing Barca of diving and hounding the referee again.

  22. So there are more Seminoles in the blog? 😀 … Luke, do you still live in Tallahassee? In that case, what’s your plan for watching the final?

  23. I would not be surprised to see RM sign Aguero, Coentrao and Llorente. They could get all of those players for 115M. They can spend that much easily.

    Nothing you can do about it. Once Aguero’s release clause decreased with his new contract from 60M to 45M the writing was on the wall that he was going to go to RM. Reportedly they are the only ones willing to pay that much for Kun.

    And by decreasing the release clause Atletico can essentially claim that they did not “sell” Aguero to RM. RM simply activated the release clause of a want away player. Atletico had no choice.

    I have no idea how they will fit in all those players – but Mourinho operates on two year plans. And it was always going to be this summer when he really tried to reformulate the roster as he wanted it, especially with the late start due to the WC last summer.

    Nothing anyone can do about it. They are always going to spend money. They are spending it more wisely over the past two seasons – but it still cannot cause cohesion to form.

    1. Is that what he said? It’sjust such a weird situation. You never, ever see that – a huge superstar in the making talent at the age of 22 has their release clause decreased?

      That just doesn’t make any sense. None at all. His release clause should have been upped to 100M or so. Instead it went down to exactly the figure you’d think he could be sold for on the market.

    2. Well from what I read, Atletico de Madrid will NOT negotiate with EE for Aguero, so EE will have to pay the entire clause, plus taxes, that’s close to 70 million euros. If they’re willing to pay that much for Aguero, well…

    3. If Atletico sells Aguero to Real Madrid, (I think) they will have to pay around 15 M taxes on sale. If RM will pay that, the transfer value jumps to over 60 M. Thats why, I still feel they will prefer selling the player to an EPL team if they can (they dont have to pay the tax this way because they are selling to a forign team).

      I dont think they can buy Aguero and Llorente. Financially, it doesnt work after the recent fair play regulations. They won’t be able to recover the books in two years. But most importantly, will Llorente accept moving to Real Madrid after they buy Aguero? Everything is possible, but its highly unlikely for me.

      Ironically, both RM and Barcelona need the same two players (Sakho and Llorente) but may end up buying everyone else beside them.

    4. The tax issue is a very good point. I do think that’s a real issue.

      The problem with the EPL is whether or not Aguero wants to go there. But I’m sure Atletico would much prefer to do that for a whole host of reasons.

      I also agree with RM and the central defense. That really is the position they should be improving.

      I’m still going to hope that Barca will buy Sakho.

  24. Baby Kxevin is calling bollocks on this one:

    The most annoying part, for me, is the swarming of the referee. Four, five, and six Barcelona players will all have their say and quickly.

    United, in the club’s title-clinching draw, did the EXACT SAME THING after the dive that earned the penalty that sealed the deal. Or is it not ref-swarming when English clubs do it? Vidic was screaming as if the ref killed his puppy. Chelsea also did it during that Champions League semi-final match.

    EVERY CLUB swarms the ref.


    1. You’re too fast on the draw for me Kari!

      It’s just kind of amazing. United and Keane were great innovators in this whole tactic of pressuring the refs.

    2. Yup, my thoughts as well. There was no moral outrage then. Anyway, ref swarming should come after potential injury-causing tackles and diving.

    3. I guess this is like when someone else violates taffic rules and you get pissed and the very next day you do the same.

      I think that it is just mind games. Other people have started using what they pioneered.

  25. Pretty irrelevant and completely useless thing I noticed today watching Guardiola’s press conference: I remember that in the press conference before the final in Rome (on the Open Media day or whatever they call the thing that they are doing today) he was wearing a yellow sweater because some journalist asked him if he didn’t think that it would be bad luck. Pep laughed about it, and Barca won the final. Today at his presser he was again wearing a yellow shirt.

    I wonder if that was a pure coincidence or if Pep is superstitious? (Coincidence is more likely, I guess). Either way I should actually be studying for my exams instead of contemplating Pep’s wardrobe choices. 😀

    1. Nice catch 🙂 I think no one can help being a little superstitious (if we want to call it that).

  26. With the way this sport is, if Kun goes to Madrid, Atleti will probably finally win derbi nex…

    Nah, who am I kidding, its Atleti 😀

  27. To be honest, two things scare the shit out of me about Man Utd. Valencia and Rooney. Hernandez is good and all that jazz, but Puyi will put him in his back pocket and keep him there. Valencia absolutely DEMOLISHED Ashley Cole in the last Man Utd vs Chelsea match, and Ashley Cole is widely regarded as one of the best left backs of the game. With Abidal just coming back from injury, i fear that will be the best avenue of attack for United. Rooney scares me for a whole host of reasons, but primarily because i think if Man Utd go for a 4-4-1-1, Rooney will play as the 1 playing off the striker. That gives him the ability to hound the shit out of Busquets, especially with the stamina that guy has. People always rave about how Xavi and Iniesta control Barca’s midfield, but it is Busi starting the midfield movements. Everytime sMasch has played instead of Busi, we have noticed quite a drop in quality in terms of build up play (not to take anything away from sMasch). Couple that with the fact that Busi has been slightly off colour and seems to lose the ball when pressured, it scares me that Rooney would be able to generate lethal counter attacks with his insane cross field crosses after taking the ball of Busi.

    This is just my analysis of the thing, and i’m no football guru, so pinch of salt and all that?

    1. Busi is very good at circulating the ball. sMash is not at Busi’s level in that department, mostly because he is not a la Masia graduate. sMash has other strengths like ball recovery, and good positioning sense for a defensive midfielder/defender to recover a ball, and ball passing skills, given the extra time on ball.
      Busi is too good for Rooney, Rooney will not be able to take the ball away from him. He is the most improved player this year, and that will make all the difference for Barca. Most people will try to take on Messi, Xavi, and Iniesta; and this is where Busi will be super important. He will be open and have all the freedom in the world to make any kind of play he wants.
      At the same time it is not one player that makes the difference for Barca, the match will be won or lost based on how quickly Barca move the ball as a team.

  28. “Valencia absolutely DEMOLISHED Ashley Cole in the last Man Utd vs Chelsea match, and Ashley Cole is widely regarded as one of the best left backs of the game. With Abidal just coming back from injury, i fear that will be the best avenue of attack for United.”

    Valencia is a good player, yet Abidal running on one toe is ten times better than Cole. So it won’t be as easy for Valencia.

    1. I’m sure it wont be easy for Valencia. That still doesn’t take away from the fact that Abi is short on game time, and Valencia is in really good form.

  29. Wish I could watch more of this:

    Too bad Pep only allows cameras for the first 15 minutes of training. During the Rijkaard era, I subscribed to BarcaTV online and I used to love watching the players train. They shutdown BarcaTV online awhile back too. There were some good videos in the archives.

    1. I can understand why they don’t allow media for the whole training, but that was mega fun. Thanks. 🙂

  30. Any news on the travel plans for the first team? When will we be traveling to London, who will be coming along?

    If our players have to endure a bus-Chunnel-bus ride to get to Wembley…

    1. Tee hee. I Hectored you.

      If we have to, Pep will have us travel by plane tomorrow or Wednesday to get there early. We won’t be taking a bus or train or whatever.

  31. Interesting thoughts on Park being used to neutralize Messi. I had been thinking that Park would be used as a left midfielder to neutralize Alves and try to attack quickly in the space he leaves, but I can see the logic to using him as an anti-Messi.

    The problem with moving Park to the middle for United is who do they play on the left midfield/wing position? Valencia is about as 1-footed as they come, so he’s out. Nani? He’s not bad defensively, but I have a feeling Alves would give him nightmares on the flank. Who else is there? One of Fabio or Rafael played put of position? Playing Park in the middle gives old Fergie a serious selection headache

    1. Giggs? He’s played that position plenty of times this season. But Alves is way faster than him, so he might not be able to track Alves’ runs as well as say Nani.

  32. It’s funny how fans of other clubs criticize Barca for diving and harassing refs after the semi-finals, apparently none of their players have done such things before. I guess Mou’s strategy did work after all. If he can’t win, he will damage your reputation. This time he tried diving, UEFA conspiracy, and racism. Wonder what he will invent next season. It’s pathetic though to see a lot of blind people are into his bullsh*t. See how everybody is talking about Barca’s acting. But it happens everyday to every team and EE has a few best actors.

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