Overcoming The Obstacles: What The 2010/2011 Season Meant To Me.

[Note: this was written on June 11, 2011. It has not been edited since then.]

[A/N: I wasn’t planning on posting this — it was meant for something else that didn’t work out — but since the international break is here and we have pretty much nothing to post about, I thought I’d give you guys something long to read. For me personally, it was hilarious reading this after a couple of months. It starts off all normal, hits a certain point and then disintegrates into venting frustration. 😆 Anyways, here it is.]


So…where to begin?

It’s a good question, y’know, because there’s just so much that I don’t even know, but I guess I have to start somewhere, so I’ll give you this quote. It’s one I had admittedly forgotten about, lost in all the hubbub, but one that I’m sure never left the minds of our players, and especially our coach:

“We should have been somewhere [on May 22, 2010], but we didn’t make it. We owe you one, and these players won’t fail.”

-Pep Guardiola during the 09-10 celebration at Camp Nou.

He was speaking about the CL of course. How we should have been playing at the final — at the Bernabeu — and that because we weren’t, he and our players owed it to us to win the CL at another symbolic stadium, Wembley.

From the beginning, as usual, our goals were to win it all, so this season was all about overcoming the obstacles, the roadblocks to our path to glory; but unlike previous seasons of the Guardiola reign the obstacles we had to overcome this time around were larger and harder, starting with the most irritating of them all: the media.

Jose Mourinho rolls into Madrid, fresh off winning the CL with Inter, and a perpetual whiner with a legend and Barca complex plus fawning, hyperbolic dimwits with endless column space to fill and too much power to wield equals somebody make it stop. From the get-go, he starts his usual thing, the same thing he did in Portugal with Porto, England with Chelsea, and Italy with Inter: he ranted about referees, schedules, bias. But this time around, with existing morbo between the teams, it was much more poisonous. The insinuations, the dirty play, everything was toxic and meant to do far more damage.

However, we had even bigger issues than an egomanic. Much bigger ones. We had:

  • The Ibra fiasco. When it started, I almost couldn’t believe it. In my mind, there was no way we’d sell a player with such a high transfer fee after one season, especially when said season was decent-ish for a tall man in a new team and, more crucially, system. But he was sold, and at the very end of the summer transfer window. It left us a man short in a crucial position and without time to replace him. It didn’t help that his agent, who looks like an evil pudgy character out of a Disney movie, and Ibra himself took it upon themselves to make sure the bridges weren’t burnt, but incinerated and then stepped and spit on for good measure. Did Pep plan to play without Ibra, deciding that the so-called Plan B wasn’t working? I don’t think so. Contrary to popular belief, Ibra the player wasn’t the failure, the person was. Team harmony is crucial in this Barca side and he wasn’t happy that the team wasn’t going to play his needs. And so off he went to a team that would.
  • World Cup fatigue. Much has been made of the fact  seven of Spain’s starting eleven are Barca players and that we had 8 players start the WC final. Iniesta and Busquets were the only two players to play every single game at the WC for Spain. Something to proud of if you’re a cule, for sure. However, there is no doubt that that is a problem for Barca. Xavi, Iniesta, Villa, Busi, Pique, Puyol, and Pedro! for Spain, then add Messi, Abidal, and Alves for Argentina, France (ahem), and Brazil respectively, and that’s our entire starting eleven clocking up extra minutes at the world’s largest sporting event. They had no rest this summer, coming off a gruelling 50+ club season, and others hadn’t had breaks in years. Dealing with this was an extra headache for Pep.
  • Injuries. As a direct consequence of those extra minutes, we saw Xavi struggle with tendinitis, inflammation in his ankles due to overuse. He hasn’t had a summer break since 2007 (Euro ’08, Confederation Cup ’09, WC 2010) and it was showing. There was a time of uncertainty, if he would be able to finish the season, if he’d require surgery. It wasn’t looking good, but, just like every other crisis we’ve had, we managed. (It helps that we have a beast like Messi, and a healthy!Iniesta.)

After a bright start in Liga, the three bullets above reared their ugly heads and pierced through our team like a 5.66mm Le Mas. We lost 0-2 at home to Hercules, David Villa was struggling to score goals, often directly compared to Ibra, who had started so brightly. Passes that used to be second nature were missing its mark, posts were being hit at a perturbingly high rate, late goals were being conceeded. We looked a tired team, like we hadn’t had a break in forever and with the WC, that wasn’t too far off. The hallmark match of this tired Barca was the home game against Mallorca. We peppered the Mallorcan goal, leading by a slender 1-0, but we couldn’t seal that game. A lax pass and lackadaisical defending gifted Mallorca a 1-1 draw that was not undeserved, but avoidable. So, so avoidable.

Like every feel good story with a happy ending, or any story really, there is always a turning point. The turning point of the season for me was the home game against Valencia. The 5-0 served its own purpose, of course and I’ll get to that later, but the Valencia game was a game of two halves. The first half showcased everything that was wrong with the season so far, every issue was exposed like Ryan Giggs on Twitter. Losing 1-0 at HT, things looked bleak. However, whatever Pep said in the locker room did the trick and the team that came out of the dressing room was a reborn one. Goals from Iniesta and Puyol won us the game, but more than three points, we got self belief and confidence. The remuntada, or comeback, did wonders for moral and from that game on, we only went one direction: up.

A 5-0 against Sevilla, with Villa breaking his duck and adding another, a 3-1 win in the second best game of the Liga season, in my humble opinion, against Villarreal, and that 0-8 win against Almeria prepared us for the one of, IMO the best, team performance in football history: La Manita, the 5-0 demolition of the Evil Empire.

The treble winning team was a special one. Messi, Eto’o, and Henry formed the deadliest of tridents, games were over by half-time, and trophies were won in the most exciting of ways. The ’09-’10 Barca was also something to behold, continuing the record breaking and has its place in the record books after cumulating 99 points in the league. Neither team, however, was like ’11-’10 Barcelona, simply because those teams were collections of highly talented individuals willing to play for each other; 2011 Barca is one single organism that annihilates everything in its path in the most artistic and hypothesizing fashion imaginable.

On its off days, it’s hard to beat. On its day, it’s unplayable, as EE found out. Our starting XL had 8 canteranos, and all five goals was scored by and/or assisted by canteranos. It was a performance of a lifetime, one that will stay in the memory forever. From that game until the winter break, Barca was unplayable. It didn’t matter how hard you tried, or how far you ran, you’d be outplayed and outscored.

After the winter break, our issues flared up again. The magic of December was lost and we stumbled into January. The deciding leg of our tie against Athletic Bilbao at San Mames was rainy, muddy and as epic colossal as any game in San Mames usually is. To add to the drama, we were Xavi-less. Only fitting our resident King, Eric Abidal, would see us through it.

February, or rather Hlebruary as we like to call it, came and our form left. It’s the time of year where our fitness and form always dips, just how November and April are the times where our form and fitness peaks. This Hlebruary was worse than every February before it. We were three times more tired than we usual are for one (thank you WC 2010! You’re too kind!), and injuries to Xavi and Puyol to bursitis in his knee (also due to overuse) meant we had players playing even more minutes because there was no-one to replace them.

It is in Hlebruary that the most painful loss of the season for me came: the away game against Arsenal in London. Yes, it was more painful than the Copa loss, so much more. Unlike the Copa game where we were one wrong finger tip away from winning, this game we lost due to carelessness and a lack of effort — a lack of effort that stems from fatigue. Losses are easier to take when you are outplayed and lose due to the other team being better than you on the day, not because you were too lazy to close down your opponent and gifting balls in dangerous areas. The image that I can’t stop from coming into my head is Messi, tired and unable to move or press the opposition, and how if we had a deeper squad, if we’d have rested our players more, this loss could and would have been avoided. It hurt. And it couldn’t be made better until the return leg three weeks later.

When the return leg arrived, I was nervous and excited (nervecited). I couldn’t wait for us to make the wrong right again, but our fearless caveman of a leader was out of commission with that blasted bursitis.

Arsenal started off defensive and as the clock ticked by, I wondered when we’d get the break through. I was screaming and yelling at the TV, willing the team to get that go ahead goal. Half time inched closer and closer, and with each passing second I willed the team on. Finally, after a backpass from Fabregas under excessive pressure from our players, we got the goal, and what a goal it was. Messi controls the ball, lobs the goalkeeper, before volleying the ball into the net. The celebration after was so apt for my feelings; the joy and relief mirrored my own to a tee.

We were so dominate in the return leg, we had to score for them to keep it interesting. I joke about it now, but at the time I was so worried we’d lose this match — again, of our own doing rather than the other team’s — but this team under Pep doesn’t roll that way. Messi, Iniesta, and Xavi (yes, in that order, rather than the usual reverse) linked up in typical Barca fashion and it was 2-1. Messi adds another from the spot and we’re through to the quarters.

Things were looking up again, but our final obstacle decided to reveal itself, and it was the most challenging of them all. Eric Abidal, our POTSOTM (Player Of The Season Other Than Messi) was diagnosed with a tumor in his liver. It was out of the blue, and so crushing for me. It wasn’t only that it sidelined our best defender, a player who was having the best season of his career, for the rest of the season depleting our backline further; it was much more than that, a human life was in danger. All I could hope for was that it was benign. The uncertainty gnawed on me, but the season continued, and the team decided at that point to dedicated all victories and trophies to Abidal.

Fatigue prevented us from recovering our form when we were supposed to, but we kept our lead in La Liga. The jornada of truth was matchday 30 when we went away to Villarreal and EE were away to Osasuna. It was the match-day we were meant to lose and the lead would be cut to 2 pts, but we all know what happened: we won, and EE lost. It gaves us that much needed breathing room.

The Clasico Apocalypse, the 4 El Clasicos in 18 days, defined the month of April. The first match was a draw that set up for the second match in the Copa final. Contrary of what Madridistas try to assert, what EE did in Clasico II was not defending, it was defendo. (And yes, you may pause your reading of this article and Wikipedia that shiznit). Did we moan about their defendo and Pedro!’s offside? (Correct, and by a hair. Much more closer to “onside” than Ryan Giggs but that’s neither here nor there). No, we picked up our heads and the way we played the second half made me proud. We dominated, forced the issue, and were unlikely not to score. By extra time, it could have gone either way. We’d score from the run of play, or they would score against it. The latter happened, and, well, at least it wasn’t on penalties.

Besides, we may have lost the Copa, but the trophy was so crushed to be back in EE’s hands that it committed suicide, jumping for the bus and literally crushing itself under the bus’ tire. Hehehehe.

We wouldn’t be letting the cup with the big ears suffer the same fate. The CL semis this year weren’t the normal, highly competitive games; this time,  it was personal.

My favourite Pep moment of the season was the press conference. We had to deal with those insinuation and jabs in the media from Mourinho and EE. The annoying bee buzzing in our ear made a nest and started reproducing at an exponential rate. Pep took all the baggage built up and unleashed it in the most Messi (read: ultimate, amazing, perfect, etc.) way possible. All the Mourinho fan boys saw it as Pep losing his mind, that the mind games got to him, but we all know better. Pep never lost his cool; every word was intended, carefully thought out, and executed flawlessly.

We gave Mourinho and EE a taste of their own medicine. Just like how every EE player surrounded the Copa ref  in “outrage”, protesting every time they were whistled for their defendo, we did the same, except in reverse. Was it right? No. Was it justified? Heck yes.

After being one-upped in his own petulant game, Mourinho did what he makes other coaches do:  he lost the plot, as you know. It was affectionately dismissed by many as “Mourinho being Mourinho”, but that is hogwash. If you’re unaware, Mourinho has it in for Barca. It goes back to the time when he worked for us a translator for Sir Bobby Robson and realized he’d never manage us. “Mou” wants to be considered the greatest manager of all time. He couldn’t make it as a player, and so he placed all his hopes in being remembered as a coach — the best coach to ever grace the sport.

The paranoid rant after the first leg was him desperately trying to discredit Pep and Barca. Why? Because they are his greatest threat to that pursuit of immortality. Pep’s won six trophies in his maiden year(s) as coach, and the way Barca is playing is enthralling. If Pep’s Barca win the CL again, it would overshadow everything Mourinho has done. He, Mourinho, epitomizes the thought of “it’s ugly but who cares, it gets the job done”. What Barca under Pep do is win and win beautifully — greatly damaging Mourinho’s ability to claim greatness and place in history in the process. After all, what’s so special about playing 10 men behind the ball and counter attacking? Nothing coaches of Malaga, Almeria, and Sporting haven’t done and executed before. Playing fantasy football others, like Arsenal in the EPL, are ridiculed for being unrealistic and winning is something that will stay in the memory for a long time. Just think Inter’s campaign last season. Do you really remember it, or more pressingly, their CL final win? Unless you’re an Interista, probably not. (I didn’t watch it, by the by. Heard it was horrible game though).

It was after the Clasico Apocalypse that I really and truly hated EE. Before I disliked them due to the rivalry and such things, but I never hated them. I had a sort of begrudging respect for them; they are one of the great teams of Europe and a worthy rival.  This all changed after those 18 days. They couldn’t get it done on the pitch, so they took it off it. And that propaganda was taken to such despicable levels that it even immersed cules into it and pited some against their club.

Let me say now I don’t have a problem with people asking for transparency from Barca. It was one of RoSELL’s “promises” during his campaign, and it’s what we do on BFB — we call out the club’s mistakes and the other sketchy things they do. We do it because we hold the club to a higher standard, because we want to make the club better, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It doesn’t make you less of a fan if you ask legitimate questions of the club. You ask because you care and want fix the faults that you see. The club has a responsibility to the fans, and likewise the fans have a responsibility to the club. We give the situation the benefit of the doubt until we get the answers we’re entitled.

Or at least, that’s what we should do.

If there’s one thing I learned from the Busi fiasco is people are easily manipulated, and they believe what they want to believe. (Okay, that’s two things. Whatever). Nothing I didn’t know already, but it was alarming how quickly people turned on Busi just based on a video with no audio that was released solely to damage the club and Busi’s own reputation. Just because someone does a crap job of embellishing contact doesn’t make them a racist. What kind of logic is that? This is a person’s life and career that is affected by this, and it’s why Xavi’s support of Busi during the Liga celebration really got to me (I love that man). If racism is so serious, then the holding back in judgment is crucial, because in my view condemning an innocent man of being racist is just as bad as being racist. You become one of those pecksniffian reactionaries, as I like to call them, and no-one wants to be a pecksniffian reactionary.

You don’t need to “believe” in the player/club like it’s a hopeless situation, like he’s already guilty, and believing means you’re a true fan. No, you should believe in the sense that there are reasons to think, to believe, the person is not a racist. Mourinho’s created an environment where there is only accusation and defense with regards to Barca (and EE, I guess). It doesn’t and shouldn’t have to be that way. We can discuss Barca without having to “take sides.”

At the end of it all, I won’t lie, I felt drained. Happy, oh-so-satisfied and proud that we went through to the final, but drained nonetheless. We had to deal with so much drama, so much nonsense, and that’s just as fans. I can’t imagine the toll this must have taken on Pep and the players, the ones that actually have to deal with it all every single day. I can turn off my laptop for a day or two, and I won’t have to worry about seeing anything on TV [Thank you, HockeyLand], but the team can’t. The radios, the TV shows, the papers, the public and friends; everyone is talking about it or mentioning it. They are surrounded and hounded by the nonsense. If they respond to it, it’s lowering themselves to their level; if they ignore it, it creates doubt. A classic damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

Before the whole Busi fiasco, I wanted to win the CL badly. After it, I wanted it like Messi wants his legos after a week away from home.

And so Wembley came, and I still can’t put into words how absolutely elated I was, still am, after that match. It was the performance that made the toxic atmosphere created go away with a poof. Only Barca can do that to me. After the win, I felt like I was on cloud nine. When I saw Puyi give Abidal the armband and lift the CL in his place, forgoing his [Puyol’s] own place in history, that was the last straw. It was so….perfect.  I had never been more proud to be a cule, and so I decided, no matter what happens next season, not matter what crap they throw at us next, I’ll just remember that moment when Abi lifted the CL after a monstrous match on the left, and all the negative feelings will go like Thong Boy in big games and disappear.

They owed us one, said Pep. And the players didn’t fail.

To continue winning trophies while still keep the attractive football, to become a reference and take its place in history, Barcelona had to get better every season. And better they got. We overcame our obstacles,and won the trophies that mattered.

I couldn’t be more proud.

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  1. September 5, 2011

    I know, this is long as all get out, but it at least gave you something to read, right? 😀

    Just as an aside, guess who started that important Villarreal match away? Yup. Thiago. He’s such a boss.

    (IMO, Villarreal is to Thiago as Bilbao was to Bojan).

    • September 5, 2011

      So I read Kari’s post, went to my bedroom window and pushed the curtains aside, saw the sun beaming….and then, then I saw the goals- The manita, that messi goal, the wembley goals, abidal lifting trophy, pep’s presser, the parade in the streets of barcelona…it was all flashing back like in a giant screen… And it was beautiful!

      I shook my head, and then they’re gone. But just thinkin bout those moments was magical…..

      🙂 okay,soppiness and drama aside, this is a beautiful piece Kari.
      Thank you. Made my morning…

      • September 5, 2011

        Wow, that’s really sweet. Put a smile on my face! :mrgreen: Thanks for reading!

  2. Jnice
    September 5, 2011

    Long, but I enjoyed it. Enjoyed it because I felt the exact same way about almost everything you touched on. It was a really draining season, but well worth it in the end.

    I’m really optimistic (shocker!) for this season.

    • September 5, 2011

      Yup, me too. (Well, tbf, I’m almost always optimistic, cautiously or otherwise). Depth that includes Thiago and Alexis? I wouldn’t even try to resist. 😀

  3. Judas Pissed
    September 5, 2011

    Great piece – and mirrored my feelings throughout the season exactly. Plus, living in England where mourinho is still worshipped, I hate him even more as I have to put up with his bile repeated everyday by the media & fans of teams like manyoo & arsenal who happily label Barca ‘divers’ & ‘cheaters’ to cover up the fact that we are brilliant & their own teams pale in comparison!

    • September 5, 2011


      You have my pity, man. I love London and I’d like to live there someday, but I don’t think I could take the media. Haha.

  4. September 5, 2011

    Ahahahaha! I just realized I called Mourinho a translator instead of assistant (which is what he actually was). 😆

  5. hammeronmessi
    September 5, 2011

    your moment of the season is also my moment of the season.simply put pep out moed the por que poking finger translator.

    great to read but i didnt like the inter part.that was totally unnecessary and disrespectful.there are many ways to play football and inter played what they can in accordance to their strenghts.

    We gave Mourinho and EE a taste of their own medicine. Just like how every EE player surrounded the Copa ref in “outrage”, protesting every time they were whistled for their defendo, we did the same, except in reverse. Was it right? No. Was it justified? Heck yes. this paragraph nails why barca acted,dived and faked in that match.definitely my favorite paragraph.

    in another note,i m going to see messi play tomorrow.lets hope the spectacle is worth the 250 dollars i paid for this match and that there is no rain tomorrrow.

    • September 5, 2011

      Unnecessary how? I was using them as an example of a type of football I described a sentence previous.

      I never said they weren’t allowed to play that way, or that by playing that kind of football they were committing some horrible crime. What I am saying is that there was nothing groundbreaking about it. It’ll be memorable and historic for them, but I’m not so sure it will be for other people.

      As for disrespectful, it probably is. Doesn’t make it any less true, IMO.

      • hammeronmessi
        September 5, 2011

        I never said they weren’t allowed to play that way, or that by playing that kind of football they were committing some horrible crime. What I am saying is that there was nothing groundbreaking about it. It’ll be memorable and historic for them, but I’m not so sure it will be for other people.

        very true,but we are discussing bout barca,not what people thought about inters cl victory,right?

        • September 6, 2011

          Which is why you take into account the paragraph as a whole. I was talking about Barca — what else would I be talking about? The football we play, which contrasts Inter, is groundbreaking, memorable and historic for everyone.

  6. hammeronmessi
    September 5, 2011

    this new coach of argentina seems to be a wise man.lets hope he can build a team for 2014.impressed by his english in the press conference.

    • mani
      September 6, 2011

      Agreed! It’s just too bad Riquelme will probably not be around for 2014 or else his play-making ability a-la xavi would have made for an interesting cup. Is Pastore the man to assume that role? It’s almost strange that a team as talented as the Albiceleste have had to rely on GAGO to do the job and God is he awful at it.

  7. Ryan
    September 5, 2011

    I’ll admit I watched the Bayern-Inter CL final, hoping to see Inter somehow lose. There was no stopping Milito that year, and he duly grabbed two goals. 😛

    The plain fatigue displayed by the team was tough to see, especially when we tied or lost games not because of tactics or ability, but because our guys were running on a nearly empty tank. It should be interesting to see how February plays out this season!

    OT: Anyone else watching the Brazil-Ghana friendly? Dani is back at RB and Ronaldinho is playing! The commentator mentioned the rumor I saw on BS.com though, that we somehow have Neymar ready to come in 2013. And here I thought we were finished with silly season…

  8. Dani_el
    September 5, 2011

    Thanks for this Kari. I’am somewhat amazed what they accomplished with almost no game-changer subs. I’m way more excited this season, because of Cesc and SĂĄnchez.
    So somethings I read;
    Bojan got a dog! to keep him company in Rome.
    And a great article of Ruben UrĂ­a (As usual) for you all spanish speakers, where he explains how Florentino Perez has made a deal with Madrid’s municipality, in order to get ground surrounding the bernabeu, to improve it making a hotel, a convention center, and a mall and some restaurants, that supposedly will get them earnings of 100M euros a year. That’s surprising, if they get that kind of budget what else can they buy? Still we have the better squad this year.

    And in an interview for ElPais, Cesc has said that he’s so happy in this team that sometimes he has to hide it with the squad, and that training work is way more fun than even games. And Cruyff did an interview for ElPeriodico de Catalunya, where he said that he’s suspicious of Rosell’s administration, that he believes that once Pep resigns, Rosell will find a coach brazilian/portuguese, and he will sign more brazilian players, and that if it was for him, they would have fired Rikjaard and that Rosell would have never chosen Pep as coach. He also said that the current administration owes his foundation money.

      • Dani_el
        September 5, 2011

        Yep! He seems proud of Pep and the team’s accomplishments. I like his “let’s keep the titles coming” attitude. No jealousy there. Still he gives a pretty good argument about Rosell. I’m somewhat surprised about how he’s dealing with ultras like the boixosnois.

  9. September 5, 2011

    Some quotes out of the Cryuff post (loosely translated by moi, so sorry for any mistakes):

    “I’m seeing the club’s obsession is not just to win trophies, but also get a lot of money. For me, it should be in reverse.

    “The futbol at the stadium is nice, but at the institutional level, there are very few things that I like about what they’re doing.

    “If you have no money, well you’ve got no money and you have to accept that, but this doesn’t seem very coherent.

    “The QF deal? I don’t like ads on the shirt, but if it’s a necessity, you got to do it. But if there was such an urgency, why didn’t they do it last year, when, according to them, things were so much worse?

    “The club is in line with expansion, to enhance their solidarity image. As they did with Gates Foundation, and Shakira too, and it seems perfect. But here in Catalunya, they do nothing. My foundation, which does things in Catalunya, hasn’t been paid. No consistency between one thing and another.

    [Says more stuff, but I’ll get to the Pep part]

    “Pep’s won more titles than me? How can I be jealous of someone who’s keeping my prestige? What else do you want? The more, the merrier!

    “I’m really proud. Pick up any newspaper in the world and there’s an article talking about the great style, always mentioning my name.Pep is making me even more famous. Lasting, lasting. (Talking about his lasting image).

    “Pep’s guarantee that will never change? Scary to think of what will happen when he’s not. Rosell’s always been against guys like Pep and Rijkaard. He’s always been more Brazilian and Portuguese (players and coaches). Rijkaard would have been off the job in 6 months under him.

    Says bunch more things. how Rosell & admin are trying to turn Barca into a corporation, lying to poor kids by not giving grants… Scathing. Cryuff really lays into them.

    • blitzen
      September 5, 2011

      It’s a fascinating article, but I have to say it was really tacky of Cruyff to mention Shakira. It’s not like the club is paying her to date Pique or anything. That’s Pique’s private life and he can butt out.

  10. mom4
    September 5, 2011

    Thank you, Kari. That’s all I can think of to say.

  11. adopted cule
    September 5, 2011

    Fantastic take on ’10-’11, Kari. Your passion and intelligence show through, as always.

  12. Xingxian
    September 5, 2011

    Kari, thanks so much for writing this. Cheering for FC Barcelona has been a constant respite in a very stressful year and a way to bond with my father. You captured the season beautifully. The first game (and my first Barca game) was the 0-2 loss to Hercules. And, now I’m just going to start rambling if I don’t shut up. Enough about me and what this team means to me and… just… thanks. Thanks for capturing all of that wonder again. It was a great and welcome read before I head to bed to try to put in some hard work tomorrow 🙂


  13. Barcaleya
    September 5, 2011

    Kari, great post!

    Felt almost the same as you…

  14. outerspacedout
    September 6, 2011

    I’m sure Villa didn’t break his duck at 5-0 Sevilla but did score in the first league game of the season. Messi and Villa both scored and we won 3-0.

    • K_legit
      September 6, 2011

      that was breaking his duck at the Camp Nou, the goal against Sevilla was him first goal at home

      • blitzen
        September 6, 2011

        First competitive goal. Didn’t he score in the Gamper last year?

      • Sheena
        September 6, 2011

        But he had already scored at home in the 1-0 win over Gijon a few matchdays earlier.

  15. Gogah
    September 6, 2011

    thanks for giving us something to read.
    cant tell you how much i relate to how you felt too during the past season.
    it was mentally very draining and that villa goal at wembley washed away all that dust that had gathered the whole year.
    well pointed out – the ibra fiasco, WC fatigue and injuries – it makes the victory all the more sweeter as we overcame all those odds in addition to mourinho’s constant whining. i cant imagine the toll it must have taken on the players if we, the fans felt so burdened. i like ur posts.

  16. BarcaGirl_Indo
    September 6, 2011

    Jnice, you can’t be an optimist!
    last season you were a pessimist and it worked 😛

    Contrary to popular belief, Ibra the player wasn’t the failure, the person was.

    It is in Hlebruary that the most painful loss of the season for me came: the away game against Arsenal in London. Yes, it was more painful than the Copa loss, so much more.

    At the end of it all, I won’t lie, I felt drained. Happy, oh-so-satisfied and proud that we went through to the final, but drained nonetheless.

    It was the performance that made the toxic atmosphere created go away with a poof. Only Barca can do that to me. After the win, I felt like I was on cloud nine.

    agreed with all sentences above.. heck, I agree with pretty much everything you wrote.. thanks, Kari.. I really enjoyed it.. 😀

  17. Triplo Volanti (formerly Cesc Pistol)
    September 6, 2011

    This is what Bartomeu actually said
    David Dein said the Barcelona has bought champagne for the price of sparkling wine. What is Cesc’s actual value?

    It was a very good operation. His price in an open market was not €29 million but he decreased it by saying that he only wanted to leave to Barça. And now the price wasn’t set by the market. His real price is what Arsenal asked for, a minimum of €60 million.

    How do leaks affect negotiations and what role does the media play?

    The perfect negotiation is the one where nothing goes out for the journalists. This, without a doubt, is impossible given the number of parties involved. Under these circumstances you should try to have the news to your side. Negotiating is like playing poker. When you want to buy you have to try, whether truth or false, as if the player does not have other offers. That’s what we got in the cases of Alexis and Cesc who said they only wanted to leave for Barça. At the same time, you have to make clear how much you are willing to pay. The fact that we announced a while ago that we would only have €45 million went well for us because the clubs already knew our position. If you’re selling, the position changes. In this case, you will try to have many offers.
    from: totalbarca

    I don’t see how honesty is taken as arrogance or making fun of the other party. he could have landed the blow softer by saying thank you to Wenger, saying we were lucky that players helped etc. but it does not change the truth. I’d rather have a director who is honest rather than political. It’s ridiculous that I even have to defend this.

    Furthermore Cruyff talks about what this management actually does wrong. Sure he is biased the other side and comes out far too scathing, it must be said the issues concerning Rosell & Co are deeper than “Ooh he said we’d be a small club without the QF deal” which he didn’t really say.

    With FFP rules, the TV revenues revolution and Madrid getting govt. favours (no surprise there) we will be hard pressed to compete with Madrid financially. QF deal gives us a strong position to do that. Plus it gives us funding for important purposes like improving the stadium. The way it was done was not right, it should’ve had a new approval before. We could’ve gotten more money. But the ruining of the shirt is bullshit. We ruined it with Unicef. And the memebers agreed in Laporta’s time that the club could use that option. The key here is Laporta said he would only use it as a last measure and in the end did not use it.

    While what should be in question is not the urgency of this deal which in my view, it was high time we get money for ruining our shirts. Unicef deal was worse than the current one. It served it purpose to enhance our image when we really needed it, we do not need it now. Infact I would not be surprised if we are almost as equally known in our key markets and our image is spectacular. The Unicef deal was redundant. We needed a better deal. Rosell got it.

    Further there is hardly any better quality sponsor we could’ve gotten given the amount. This is much better than tobaco/alcohol/betting companies.

    Cruyff does get at what really needs to be criticised: One of his main points against Laporta was ignoring of the sections, yet he does the same and worse. He cuts of the unprofessional ones. Reduces budgets of others. Again here IMO, the decision is the correct one, they must generate more revenue comparable to that of their competitors. And some sections are not much important to the society. Yet the way things have been done is sudden, without mercy or warning and in contrast to what was promised. That is what irks about this administration.

    They do the right things but in a very bad way

    Yet we must look at the whole and moderate our expectations. Does this board do the right thing for Barca. Yes it does. Can it guide it to a successful, secure future through these uncertain times. The answer leans greatly in their favour. Does the board have the right philosophy to guide their actions? No they do not. And that is the danger.

    • The__K__Man
      September 6, 2011

      I might agree to most things but the cutting of say the Baseball section whose budget I think was somewhere around 700000 (yes, less than a million) was really uncalled for and done very sudden. It may not be important to us but still it was important to a group of people and we did it completely wrong.

    • September 6, 2011

      So what Bartomeu actually said is what he in fact said, which is equivalent to thumbing his nose at Arsenal and its fans. Sorry, but it is. Did we get the best deal that we could for the player? Yes. Was that price significantly below market, same as Sanchez, because there was only one option for the player? Yes. That, in my estimation, is where the grace comes in. The comment could have been a lot more graceful with:

      “His price in an open market was not €29 million but he decreased it by saying that he only wanted to leave to Barça. And now the price wasn’t set by the market. For that we are grateful to Arsene Wenger, and the player.

      Voila. Class and grace.

      As for your choice that you would rather have a board that is honest rather than political, that is your choice. I’d rather have a board that understands the value of both, and when to use them. Sometimes, a lack of political tact makes a deal that much more difficult. It also means that when times aren’t as flush, when we actually need people to deal with us and treat us with respect as we might not be in a position of strength, things aren’t coming back to haunt us.

      And again, this is my opinion, just as the above is yours. The “ridiculous” part of having to defend the board is needlessly aggressive, and doesn’t fit the tone of this space. Fact of the matter is that some think Bartomeu’s comments were out of line, some don’t, others don’t have an opinion. Simple as that.

      As for the Qatar Foundation deal, the club needed a sponsor about as much now as it did a year ago, or two years ago. More money? Sure. But at what price? We’re talking about 26m per annum, which isn’t even the cost of one overpriced Chilean. If the lack of that 26m is going to put the club into administration, or some other dire state as Rosell alleges, then things are a lot worse off than has been previously stated, and his transparency should make the situation clear.

      But, he’s talking about how we turned a profit, the subtext being that he’s undoing the harm of all the Laporta crap. And to me, the vendetta continues.

      As for your view of the “ruining” of the shirt being nonsense, again, that’s your opinion. But you have, to the more romantic cule, two situations:

      1. The club pays a sponsor whose name is synonymous with humanitarian aid/relief efforts on behalf of the world, to carry its name on the front of the shirt.

      2. The club is paid by a sponsor, a sponsor from a region with situations that raise eyebrows. Whether those allegations (human rights, FIFA bribery) are right or wrong isn’t for discussion. But what a sponsor presents in a situation such as ours certainly is worth discussing.

      It’s why my vast preference is a unified, more reasonable distribution of the TV wealth. The amount gained from a collective bargaining of TV rights, even were we to accept a reduced percentage, would dwarf the 26m that the club got for selling its philosophical soul, even assuming that many say the shirt front was already sold with the Nike logo.

      It is well known that I am not a fan of this board and the way that it does things. I believe they bring disrepute to the club. I have given them credit when they have done well, and called them out when they haven’t. That won’t change.

    • Diego
      September 6, 2011

      I agree with you. I don’t think the shirt is ruined.

      Bartomeu is right and he did say the truth. Would they have been less offended if he said that 29m is the real price market for Cesc ?

      I don’t want to talk about Kxevin’s point about “a region with situations that raise eyebrows.” I will only say that if you had an American sponsor, you would have a large part of people would not be satisfied with “a region that has problems with a large part of the world.”

      • September 6, 2011

        I won’t argue with your American sponsor comment for a second, Diego. You’re absolutely right. But it doesn’t change the content of the supposition.

        Yes, Bartomeu spoke the truth. The player’s market value, in the current world, is at least 60m. But sometimes, the unvarnished truth isn’t always the best tactic, is my point.

        Here’s an example of a humor piece spawned by the Bartomeu comments:


        • blitzen
          September 6, 2011

          That piece is ridiculous! Cesc would never make an omelette with truffles–he hates mushrooms! Truffle oil, maybe… 😛

      • The__K__Man
        September 6, 2011

        I was about to comment on that part to Diego but thought I shouldn’t turn this into a political debate but I’m glad you brought it up because I really don’t like the whole “Qatar is not good enough for Barca”. And as you state there are about 1.3 billion Muslims (1/5 of the Earth’s population) who aren’t quite happy with the US.
        So let’s just keep it about the 110 year old tradition and not about different countries.

  18. outerspacedout
    September 6, 2011

    “I miss everything that surrounds the club,” Krkic said to Catalunya Radio. “I miss my colleagues, my friends and everyone who cares for Barcelona. I miss a lot of things. I love everything I have here and will always have this feeling of nostalgia. That’s not a bad thing though.

    “There’s not a single club out there that can compete with Barcelona. They always aim to win La Liga, the Champions League and everything else.

    “The group of players that you see in the Barca dressing room is unique. There are a lot of homegrown players and others who really care for Barcelona a lot as well. The current situation is largely down to them.”

  19. The__K__Man
    September 6, 2011

    So Neymar has been on El Mundo Deportivo’s cover for 2 days now. Someone seriously tell these people to chill out! We just got out of a 3 year transfer saga and now they want to enter another one since Neymar’s “supposed” arrival should be in 2013! I just..can’t anymore :'(

  20. can_we_go_Xalvies
    September 6, 2011

    Damn I really really hate this international break, it seems all we talk about are the bad things. Im not saying we shouldn’t talk about this stuff, we must talk about these things. But man I really want this season to kickoff already :S

  21. Sheena
    September 6, 2011


    • Sheena
      September 6, 2011

      Ok so apparently it isn’t the original Barcastuff, but this account seems just as informative.

  22. Olufestus
    September 6, 2011

    Messi is really tearing my countrys national team apart…has two assist to EE’s playes now

    • Ezequiel
      September 6, 2011

      Not bad… but could he do the same thing on a cold Tuesday night at the Britiannia Stadium?

      • Ryan
        September 6, 2011

        If we win the CL and Stoke wins the Europa League, we’ll finally be able to settle this debate!

    • Xingxian
      September 6, 2011

      I’ve been there man. I saw him in person at East Rutherford carve the US defense to pieces over and over again. It hurts. So much different than when the little man is championing our side.

  23. blitzen
    September 6, 2011

    So Fabio Capello thinks Arsenal’s medics are rubbish too:


    Regarding Wilshere:

    Asked whether he was surprised that Wilshere had been allowed to depart on holiday rather than begin rehabilitation or preventative work immediately after suffering the kick against the Swiss, Capello said: “I don’t know. It’s not my job to say what happened, but he suffered against Switzerland and then went on holiday for a month.

    • outerspacedout
      September 6, 2011

      Their medics ARE rubbish. It should no longer be a theory but a fact.

  24. mani
    September 6, 2011

    It’s cruel, even malicious, to have an International break after only one Liga game 🙁

    Though the big game against BANGS and Co. is almost upon us!

  25. mani
    September 6, 2011

    Kari- your post nicely refreshes the ups and downs, the highs and greater highs of last season. It was indeed a draining year in blaugrana but the team, if it was even possible, seems more united for it this season.

  26. hammeronmessi
    September 6, 2011

    Returing home after watching the match of argentina.the stadium was full and each time messi touched the ball we all screamd messi messi.

    all 3 goals were the by product of messi yet ppl say he is a flop in the nt.the ignorants.

    • mom4
      September 6, 2011

      Happy for you that you saw Messi live. That run before the second goal was something wasn’t it?

      • Eklavya
        September 6, 2011

        You join the elite group of people who’ve seen Messi live! 🙂

        • Vj
          September 6, 2011

          I’ve seen Messi live too. He’s living as we speak..

  27. Olufestus
    September 6, 2011

    Yet some delusional bunch will still open their thrashbin and say messi is a flop for nt…though my countrys national team stepped up in the second half before the own goal killed them off

  28. Blaugranes
    September 6, 2011

    Nice article Kari. It echoes my feelings of the last season.

    As the season was ending, I was afraid we might not win any title last year. But I was very proud for how well we played.

  29. September 6, 2011

    I know this is really long. Thanks for reading it all, and for the kind words, everyone. :mrgreen:

  30. hammeronmessi
    September 6, 2011

    people please checkout the 2nd goal of the argies.it was all messi

  31. mei
    September 6, 2011

    Kari ill be blunt here – in the beginning I thought that you are not such a good writer , but your later articles are BFB brilliance.
    Good work

  32. culegirl3
    September 6, 2011

    Do my eyes deceive me or did VDB actually leave out Torres?
    Miracles do come true!

    If only he’d remove Arbeloa and Albiol permanently and give VV a chance to start in official games 🙁

  33. Dani_el
    September 6, 2011

    First half is over on the Spain – Litchtenstein, nice movements of Iniesta, Villa, Xavi, Mata (although he could have done more)
    Surprising goal of Xavi on a free kick, he almost didn’t celebrate, the shot wasnt that cornered. Rooting for Cesc, Pedro and Thiago (or maybe Montoya) on the second half.

  34. The__K__Man
    September 6, 2011

    Xavi gave 23 assists to 17 different players. More than any other player in Spain’s history. (MrChip on twitter).

    I always wonder why Xavi and Iniesta wear each other’s numbers with the national team?

    • Diego
      September 6, 2011

      Bonding ? Xavi is more of a 6 and Iniesta an 8 IMO.

    • blitzen
      September 6, 2011

      From what I understand, they both wanted to wear the number 8 for Barça, and came to an agreement that Iniesta would get the number, but when they played for the NT they would switch. And so they did. It’s a cute story. 😀

      • The__K__Man
        September 6, 2011

        Sound interesting and cute too. 😀

      • Jnice
        September 6, 2011

        I forget the story, but I think it was more because that’s the number that was available when Iniesta became a regular for Spain. And Iniesta only became the number 8 for Barça when Guily left. Xavi had been the number 6 for several years up to that point and wasn’t going to switch to the 8 for Barça.

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