Happy Birthday, Smasch!

This dance competition has a wiiiiiner! (Getty Images)

It’s Javier Mascherano’s first birthday in blaugrana and his 27th as Javier Mascherano. Or is it his 26th birthday and his 27th year? Whatever, I don’t care, he’s younger than I am and he’s got almost as many trophies as I do. Except that intramurals didn’t give out trophies, just knowing pats on the back.

Stats from his first year at Barça: 27 league matches, 7 Copa del Rey matches, and 11 Champions League matches. No goals, but like 80,238 bajilliontyfour intense tackles. And he totally schooled Pepe so bad in the dance competition that Pepe couldn’t stand up. He tried to act like it was a break dancing move, but the judges rightfully awarded the points to Smasch and the rest is history.

By Isaiah

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


  1. It’s his 27th birthday, actually (and his 28th year).

    Signing of the year, no question (with apologies to David Villa, who is excellent as well). Not only did he pick up the “Barca philosophy” right away, he has proven to be a very intelligent player and willing to work hard and play anywhere Pep asks him to. And he is a good guy who gets along with everyone in the dressing room. What more could we have asked of him?

    Best Moment of the Season: That tackle on Bendtner.

    Runner-Up: Making Ryan Giggs look like an idiot by getting him so twisted up in his own legs that he fell on his ass. 😆

    Happy birthday, Masch! Long may you stay!

  2. This was published in Sport:
    It says Sanchez’ agent went to Madrid to negotiate with EE. If that’s true, do we really want a player that allows his agent to have a meeting with EE? I certainly don’t, he will end up costing way more than his actual value, which according to transfermarkt is 18.500.000 €
    Also in his profile says that his prefered position is a 9 or false 9, Messi’s position, as he needs competition..
    I hope all this talk in Catalunya’s newspapers, are only to draw atention from real negotiations with other players, that are not overvalued and dont negotiate with EE at the same time they negotiate with us.

    1. Wouldn’t surprise me at all since Sport is running a story of how Jorge Mendes the agent of Mou,Thongboy etc is keeping an eye out in the transfer market for any of our movements and is reporting back to Mou and that club.

    2. I think it’s not about what the player wants, I am a fan of the club not of Sanchez, it’s about what the club needs, and how to accomplish those needs without spending too much, there is another article that says that Mou has send his agent to spy on Zubi, to make more expensive any negotiation the club does to sign a player, Barça is probably the best football team in football in this century, and seeing Mou’s ego, he would find joyful to beat this team with any strategy, I cant find unbelievable that he would do such a thing, as Laporta said (even Laporta!) any player to sign for this club has to say in public, he would not negotiate with another club, especially EE! well, I support what he said. I dont think Rosell or the club wants to have an auction to outbid EE with all their millions for Sanchez, or any player for that matter.

  3. Since I got *ahem* hectored

    Its 13 mill + Ngog for Henderson, which even then is overpriced

    And I get what you mean, if Henderson *all due respect* an unproven Intl can demand a transfer of that quantity, surely Cesc, a top 5 midfielder is worth thrice that, at the very least twice that…insane policy

    and now Arsenal are facing the prospect of Nasri leaving for Utd, that will be a body blow to them I feel

    1. Nasri leaving may cause Cesc to forcibly push for a transfer, which would help lower Arsenal’s asking price, right?


    I love Robbo Robson.

    He used to have a column at BBC but it’s gone now. He usually writes about English football but also writes about other European teams especially on Champ League games.

    He’s super funny.

    Check out his post on Barcelona’s CL win:

    And look at this prayer he made:

    ‘Our Barca,
    Who Art in Heaven,
    Lionel be thy name.
    Thy kings shall come,
    Thy Wembley won,
    On turf by the best eleven.
    Give us this day our Abidal,
    And forgive us our Messi-passes,
    as we forgive those that Iniesta against us,
    Lead us not into Tottenham, but deliver us from Arsenal,
    For thine is the Pique, the Puyol and the Pedro,
    for Alves and Valdes, Amen.’

  5. Poor Allas got his YouTube channel removed! Now he’s wondering if he should make ANOTHER channel. The Métacafé is still there, although it doesn’t have many videos.

  6. So now that the Luis Enrique to Roma deal is confirmed anyone see Bojan going on loan with him?

    1. No.

      Lucho has never, not once, worked with Bojan. I could see him taking Scoriano, Montoya, and maybe… JDS. But Bojan? He has no ties to him.

    2. Interesting idea, I wouldn’t mind it, although like Josep pointed out, he’s never worked with Bojan really and who knows if he’ll get much playing time there anyway. I think Bojan will get intimidated in a club like Roma. 😛

    3. Yeah but all this talk about loaning Bojan wouldn’t it be better to loan him under the guidance of Lucho than some stranger team/coach. If Lucho does indeed remodels Roma in the way he did the B team then Bojan can feature heavily a team like that.

    1. Pick a nick, log in,
      If you have any question you want to ask Sid Lowe, /msg ChubZee

    2. Whoa! My question went through! I didn’t even know, I’d gotten bored and logged off! WOOT!

    3. Any chance you could ask somebody at Barca to arrange a pre-season friendly at Stoke on a Tuesday night, so we can settle that argument?
      [01:31] i would love it so so so so so much if Barcelona played at Stoke on a wet wednesday night … and thumped Stoke. If only to put that to bed
      [01:32] Haha, it would certainly be a sight to see.


    4. It mind-boggles me that neither Stoke nor Barca have turned this classic argument into a pile of cash from ticket sales. You’d think they would have scheduled a stop on there way to the States for that series of money making friendlies.

    1. Couldn’t resist given the last post. However I did try to research it and can’t find a good set of statistics on their goals. Keep finding the overall number but not the breakout. It is a good question because more strike force off of free kicks would be a real benefit.

  7. Just for fun, I was looking at Barca’s financial statements and there are 2-3 key points that need to be noted:

    1. The first team, standalone, is a profitable enterprise.

    2. All other aspects of Barca are not.

    3. The first team’s salary is only 165 million Euros while including the youth team’s slalry as well makes it 176 million. All quite reasonable and much less than reported in sources like Tom Johnson here and Swiss Ramble (pre-results by him)

    The 70 million differnce is because of other sports and activities.

    Furthermore last year’s cash flow statement is quite healthy. Short term debt was 360 million euros (of which the first team had 51M) while long term debt was 44M. About 61M in provisions. Current assets (cash payables etc.) are 160M while long term assets(buildings, team and such) are a measly 350M which is obviously grossly undervalued since 125M of intangibles includes the value of all our players plus Barca’s brand etc.

    Hence, even despite RoSELL’s excessively prudent accounting manipulation, we are quite safe and there is no need to panic. The only worrying aspect may be short term cash requirement to pay off short term debt. But even this is minor as interest expense is only 3% of revenue.

    Our Wages-to-turnover, which required to be maintainted below 70%, was 50%.

    So all this scaremongering by RoSELL and “experts” around the net is quite pointless. Further, let me re-iterate just how ridiculous the suggestion of cutting down salaries was:

    Imagine a company that wants to become big and get lots of consumers, like Samsung in the last decade. They spend much more than they earn and take large amounts of debt to do this. If you could tell samsung that because of extraordinary spending in 4-5 years will get them dedicated consumers (fans) who will buy products and bring revenue (watch matches both TV and in the stadium, buy merchandise etc.) for decades (as is the case with loyal football fans), they will be ready to spend billions. That’s exactly the reason why billionares are buying clubs and spending as in Chelsea and Manchester City. However realise that Barca can get much more by spending much less. Asking it to jeopardise one of it’s best periods for a few million is being penny wise pound foolish to a ridiculous extent. It’s the sort of advice that not only gets a consultant fired but also looses a client for his company forever.

    In this decade and the next, the marketing buzzword is ‘consumer loyalty’, with consumers being absurdly (or rather rationally) fickle. Football on the other hand is a complete opposite to this trend as the saying goes “You can change your car, you can change your house, you can even change your wife but you can never change your Football Club”

    Put that into the equation and a strong brand in football becomes more important than in any other business.

  8. @Barcaleya

    I love this quote from Robbo Robson :

    Fergie had the good grace to more or less shrug at the defeat. Cos to be honest what can you do? No other team in Europe would’ve fared any better. You almost sympathise with Mourinho’s tactics:

    ‘You won’t have much of the ball and yet you’ll still have the desire to kick something. In the absence of any alternatives, kick them.’ 😆

    1. Hi! Yes – hahaha. Isn’t he just so funny?!

      And that’s exactly Mou’s tactics too.

    2. so funny, yes, I like it…thanks for sharing it… 😉

      you know, I imagine myself as a footballer, it must be highly frustating to be on the field but not able to touch the ball much,
      because your opponent is so annoying, they are so good in keeping the ball, they just want to keep the ball for themselves, and once you have it, they chase and haunt you to get the ball back…

      therefore, we must sympathise Mou’s way of thinking :
      “kids, if you can’t kick the ball, just kick the hell out of their arses, after they down on the ground, stomp their feet, that way you can get the ball and enjoy your time out there…” 😀

    3. Hahaha. Indeed!

      “And don’t ever admit to kicking them. When you get carded, complain to high heavens that the referee is in their pockets. Kick away!”

    4. It really must be frustrating for opposing teams. even when i’m playing my roommate on FIFA 11 on PS3, i try to imitate Barca’s style of play and just hold the ball all game (80% ball possession), i’m worried he’s going to throw something at me in frustration

    5. Oh, that’s mean 😀

      That’s why everyone calls us selfish. Hogging the ball and all the trophies.

    1. OMG. Terrible. Hahahaha. Yuck.

      Whoever this guy is is trying to be like Ray Hudson but completely fails.

      WAAWAWEEWAH??!!! Deuce??!!

      ***cringe ten times over***

    2. Deuce chills.

      I think these are the guys who do the English voice over of La Liga 360?
      This may be deserving the emphasis of an “epic” failure.

    3. The commentator is Juan Arango of GolTV, so he hangs out with Ray all the time. Guess he thought he’d try his hand at being creative like Ray. Didn’t work out too well.

    4. @just listenin – wrote another long response to the Villa topic in the previous post. Don’t know if you’ve read it as it’s been hectored 🙁

    5. @Barcaleya, I did. Thanks – and couldn’t agree more. Especially the “we should appreciate more” aspect.

  9. And one more thing on Mascherano while it’s still his birthday:

    I honestly can’t remember when I have seen such a skillful and clean tackler. Some of his tackles are truly beautiful. It’s amazing to look back now and think how worried we (some of us) were that he would be a red card magnet.

    1. Yeah. Was very impressed with him in the 2006 World Cup.

      So happy his career has gone well and he is now in Barcelona.

      Can’t believe he’s only 27. Why do I think he’s been around forever?

  10. A few sources are reporting we have the third highest bid for cesc, behind Chelski and City. But Cesc will only accept a move to us.

  11. he talked schnap after the clasico, so i’m gonna post this lol:


  12. If we only have 45m to spend, then I wish we buy Fabregas. We can buy him for that money, and we should. Depth will be the problem, but Pep will probably combine and use the youngsters.

    1. Tom really used to go against common sense and sense of economics in the business world so I doubt his explanation would shed any light on this summary.
      The numbers are highlighted by faus to be provisional until the official audit at the end of the year,anyway.

    2. Am I invisible or something? I just shed some light on the stuff from last year’s annual report. Not a single reply. lol 😛

      Provisional-before approval by assembly and an-audited results.

      Expected loss 21 Million.

      While reaching the finals increased revenue by 23M to 62M due to bonuses and other expenses it increased cost by 27M thus giving 34M revenue totally, 4 less than expected.

      Gross debt reduced by 49M to 483M and Net debt reduced by 67M (BIG! Good result) to 364M (from 431M)

      Non-football related sports sections caused a loss of 43.5 Million Euros (as expected from the budget proposed last year)

    3. haha!no cesc pistol.But thats just the summary of the numbers , provided by the official sources -yet they are the same that have every interest of presenting the best picture of it.
      More thorough analysis and an explanation of how each number adds up is probably what missingpage is after,probably.

    4. Naah you are not invisible but what I’m really wondering is has the debt actually been lowered or is it just he fact that

      A. 15 mil from Qatar
      B. Ibrahimovic deal (45+samu) was done in late july and has been attributed to last year financial balance(2009-2010)
      C. I’m not sure BUT I think Villa transfer (Laporta’s term of service) was attributed to last year (2009-2010) as well since it was done at the begining of June!
      D. We got read of several heave contracts Ibra + Henry + Marquez!
      Not to mention that they give us the “lessened” debt while our team hasn’t done any transfers yet!!

      So are our economics actually better?! Or is this yet again a trick?!

    5. Well missingpage, depends on what your definition of economics being good is.
      Barcelona is not really a company that needs to present massive profits yearly in order to be characterized as successful.
      In fact its better if it has a sustainable debt for various reasons.
      Main issue is to keep growing and taking advantage of the popularity they can attract due to sporting section’s recent huge line of success, so to establish itself as a solid worldwide figure that has a global reach , and we are on course of that.
      My liking would be at the end of the year, when the final numbers are out, bigger numbers on income/expenditure with the percentage of the debt level to stay put, or fall slightly(in other words,to have grown).
      Plus a solid plan, with a timeline and specific objectives that include predictions accompanied with specific numbers to build on the profound success we had this year as well.
      No 5 year plan of breaking into india for example.Tell us what will for each of these 5 years the investments are gonna be and how,when and what are they gonna attract.

    6. Basketball alone causing 30 Million of it. Then it goes on to compare cost and average attendances of Basketball to other teams in Europe.

      Panathinaikos which has almost the same cost as us, gets more than twice as much attendance while the other clubs with lower cost also get more attendance.

      A similar story persists for the other sports except indoor football.

      As expected then, it goes on about costs need to be cut, separation between amateur and professional sports, the need to cut cost while staying competitive etc. Finally, they explain why the baseball section was cut.

      Mundo deportivo has a cartoon calling Rosell “scissorhands” for cutting down sections entirely and reducing budgets of others.
      An article on the same:

      However, I’ve never been pro-Rosell but IMO this is the right decision to take. 43 Million is alot of money to steal from the football team and donate to others who are much more inefficient to their competitors and budget cuts should force them towards greater efficiency. Which they can achieve simply by replicating successful models.

    7. Er.. sorry must have entered before I was finished.

      Given above is all that is there from the presentation.

      I don’t think those questions asked by you can be thoroughly answered until a full report is out.

      However there are a few things to be addressed:

      1. I think the deal with Qatar is about 34M per year.
      We also did a deal with SAIKO between the year. Not sure how much that is worth but it’s not significant.
      2. The proceeds from the sale of Yaya, Chigy went to the accounts of this year. As did of Ibra. Villa’s cost was included in last year’s “adjusted” accounts.
      3. Yes, heavy salaries have reduced but they are still quite alot:
      Messi – 10.5M
      Xavi 7.5M
      Villa, Iniesta, Alves -7M
      Valdez – 6M
      sMach – 4M

  13. Updates from silly season:

    –Krkic angry at being discussed as a makeweight, says he’ll dig in his little heels and try to stay with the club.

    –Udinese and we are talking about Sanchez. It is said that Udinese is willing to accept Krkic, who doesn’t want to go to Udinese. This has to be a rumor, as it is impossible for me to think that anyone who really watched Krkic play last season, can be all that excited about him coming. Not a barb, just an observation. Unless they’re thinking that a change of scenery will make him blossom.

    –We’re meeting with Darren Dein, Fabregas’ agent, to discuss their position, and ours. Our bid is the lowest that Arsenal has received, but he only wants to come to us. One rumor is that we started at 30, they started at 50 and the “happy” number will probably be 40.

    –Mino Raiola says that Maxwell isn’t leaving. Of course, he also said that Ibrahimovic wasn’t leaving. Stay tuned for that one.

    1. You forgot my favourite WTF rumour:

      Red Star Belgrade coach Prosinecki wants to meet with Zubizarreta and Guardiola to discuss the transfer of Barcelona players. [pelikano]

      I really don’t think we’re going to be selling players to Belgrade! Not unless they enjoy a steady diet of riots, sanctions, and harassment.

    2. – We should keep Bojan, the kid is only 20-21? and should play the CDR games as striker. We should sell Jeffren in the Sanchez/Rossi deals. Bojan has potential, otherwise do a buy-back clause thingy to avoid another Fabregas situation. Besides, he´s catalan and the faithful Barça catalan supporters love him. Give him another season to prove it in CDR games.

      – No Fabregas, not this year. We have a super limited transfer kitty. Get him next year, he will not extend his contract at Arsenal and he will eventual come to Barça. It´s destiny but with a much lower price.

      – Maxwell.. If he goes I hope we get some money for it to help out in buying another young, promising LB (& RB!).

  14. I feel we’ll end up getting Rossi. Udinese’s owner seems to be doing his best to start a bidding war, which of course is well within is right. But if he’s saying “”A team talked about 35M for Sanchez, another included interesting players.” right after saying “No club is favourite to sign Alexis Sanchez. So far, no team has really pushed hard for him.”, I shudder to think what he’ll cost us if he does come here.

    Personally I would prefer Rossi (or even Forlan, since he’d be much cheaper) since they seem to be more natural goal scorers.

    And also: Don’t. Want. Cesc. It sends the wrong message to our youth.

  15. Abidal is foregoing his holidays to train for the coming season. Says he owes it to the fans and the club. Wow.

    1. WOw wow wow.

      Adriano too came back to Barcelona.
      But I think it’s for holidays though but still.
      Our players really love the club and the city.

    2. I believe that Abidal is an exemplar of the precise kind of attitude necessary for champions to continue as champions. Adriano also is in for extra training. They understand. Should everyone do this? No. But key players making that kind of statement makes everyone in the organization say “Last year was last year. This is this year. Let’s go.”

      Between him, and Puyol chomping at the bit to get started rehabbing, the right message is being sent.

      And THAT, is what I love.

  16. Rumor came out last night, via their president that we offered Bojan to Udinese. Not gonnna be good.

    Also can we segregate BFB? or Venn Diagram everyone?

    With the groups;
    Wants Cesc
    Stay Bojan!
    l8r brojan

    1. ahaha. Venn diagrams are awesome- without a doubt my favourite part of Language Arts in elementary school.

      It would have to be multi-circular though, including all those groups in one diagram. Perhaps we could make a general transfer-rumour diagram, with *everyone* we have been linked to in it.

      Is that even possible? This could get very complicated.

    2. – Bojan stays!!!
      – Jeffren out in deal with Rossi or Sanchez (sorry jeffren, much appreciated)
      – Thiago stays!! duh
      – IN = Young, promising, skillful, attacking fullbacks for cover (LB & RB)
      – Fabregas no!! not this year!

      Sell the deadweight for good money. Done. Less salaries, cutting down the debt, winning everything again = more income, just being the super, fantastic & ..eh.. best club in the world. 😛

  17. Pozzo has become extremely talkative over the past few days about Sanchez and not being very professional about it.

    To specifically mention Bojan’s name in an ongoing negotiations is just inappropriate.

    He seems to have now shifted into negotiating through the press to try to create some kind of leverage.

    That may be because he’s not happy with any of the offers.

    Or it may be because he himself is boxed in by what Sanchez wants.

    This isn’t going to be a deal where Udinese gets to pick the highest bid – because that’s already likely to have been rejected by Sanchez.

    There’s no way any of these teams could match what Man City could offer. But they’ve already publicly pulled out of the Sanchez bidding. And they’ve done that because Sanchez didn’t want to play there. So City are likely out. That Pozzo keeps mentioning them speaks to how he’s trying to create fake leverage.

    Inter hasn’t really been a huge money spending team in the recent past. Moratti has more looked for relative bargains. Supposedly their offer is very heavy on players.

    And ultimately Sanchez is going to have significant say in where he goes. Despite what Udinese claim – it’s very unlikely they are going to keep him.

    This posturing in the press may be to get Barca to bid against itself.

    On another note – Rossi’s agent is putting up some major come and get my client flags. He told Sky that Rossi is not looking for a guaranteed starting spot (via barcastuff).

    There’s only one club where that’s a message a big money transfer has to send.

    1. Rossi is not looking for a guaranteed starting spot

      How great is that? That is similar to what sMasch said last summer.
      I’m leaning on ROssi more and more. And I didn’t even watch the Rossi vs Sanchez video by Allas yet. Too bad it’s been taken down. What are you gonna say now Mourinho?

    2. Euler, I believe you nailed Pozzi´s character concerning negotiations in a nutshell there. Barça should hire you for a small consultancy fee during these negotiations.. the agents and Pozzi would be thinking to themselves “damn it, who is this guy? He figured me out in 2 seconds!”

    1. He’s been trying to hammer home that Thiago and Pep don’t have a good relationship for months now.

      More figments of his imagination.. he gets criticized a lot for not sourcing or using quotes and I’m starting to see why.

  18. I’m curious guys. How many of you prefer Rossi over Sanchez and vice versa?

    (On a related note, it would be great if this blog had polls)

    1. Ditto with messi_fan.

      But I gotta say, all I’ve seen of Sanchez was youtube clips. But not liking the step overs and all, looks like a one trick pony to me. Likes to dribble. I wouldn’t want two dribblers in the team=higher chance of turnovers.
      But, Ramzi and Jnice are raving about him and they’re experienced guys. So he must be something special. But my heart still goes to Rossi. Seen him last season and the season before. Always felt positive. And I think he would fit in nicely. Add to that, he wouldn’t mind not having a guaranteed first team spot.

    2. I don’t get a mention? All I do is talk about Sanchez 🙁

      I’m telling you guys, don’t judge a player based on YT vids. Go watch him in some matches, especially versus Palermo.

    3. But you also can’t judge a player based on one match alone Josep :p
      BUt yeah, people always forget about you!! I remember you were talking up about this particular player, can’t remember who, a long time ago but nobody seemed to take notice until Euler mentioned him. I think it was Coentrao. Poor you hehe

    4. No real preference. I think that whoever comes, Guardiola will get the most use out of. On the who I’d like to see added to the roster note, promote Fontas, buy back Botia, and I’d like to see another hybrid-type player added (Willian is an example), who can do left back or left wing duties. The defender side is covered by Abidal and Fontas, but I think that some attacking flair on the left, similar to what we have on the right, will be of immense value.

      At first glance, you’d think that because Sanchez often functions as a false 9, a spot that we already have covered, you wonder about how smoothly he would integrate into the side. Rossi, on the other hand, would probably bump Pedro to the bench, which is where I’d like to see him anyhow, as that first, match destabilizing sub. I think such a player is crucial to our having a successful season next year. We need a player who will be able to take advantage of tired defenses. Whether that’s Pedro or Rossi is immaterial to me.

      Afellay is close, but he isn’t enough of a direct scoring threat. But whether you’re considering a front line of Messi/Villa/Rossi or Messi/Sanchez/Villa or any permutation involving Pedro, it’s depth, quickness and striking power that will make us immediately better.

    5. I don’t want Fontas to be our “defender side LB” if thats what you’re insinuating.

    6. But whether you’re considering a front line of Messi/Villa/Rossi or Messi/Sanchez/Villa

      Last season people including you were pushing Pedro out of the starting XI too when we thought that Villa would come and Ibra would stay. I really don’t understand. Last season I thought that Pedro already proved that he is a starter. Why do you think that Pedro would be relegated to the bench? Why do people still under rate him? I’d bench Villa before I bench Pedro!!

    7. In Guardiola Land, I don’t know if, in his ideal world, there is ever an etched-in-stone starting XI. Bench players are every bit as valuable as starters. Look at Keita and Mascherano, by way of example.

      For me, who starts isn’t as important as who has the biggest effect on the match. There are times when that first player off the bench will have a larger, and more direct effect than the player he replaces. Who do you think people were talking about after the Bernabeu Champions League leg, Pedro or Afellay?

      And had Ibrahimovic stayed, Pedro would have been on the bench. Recall that I’m always the one saying he has almost as many goals as Villa, on much fewer shots. I don’t think anybody is selling Pedro short. He’s an excellent player. But he’s also an excellent player because of who’s around him. We see this when he’s playing with Krkic, for example.

    8. This is a tough call, and difficult to do the math in one’s head.

      I tried to lay out a few of the factors like; fit with the club, attitude, vision, finishing, goal scoring record, passing, impact on existing players (the list goes on adaptability, ball control, etc., etc.) Then the problem is you can’t just make the factors equal, you need to weight them for what is important to success of the club (I did this myself, but it would be best if you average multiple points of view on the factors) I came up with a slight but significant enough edge to Sanchez.
      Being from Jersey, having Rossi on the club would be a boon, but the math didn’t work that way for me if we had to choose. Ideally both, and I still think we’ll find money in a drawer because the public reiteration of our spending constraint seems like a very public piece of the negotiating strategy. I’m betting we’re going to try to string negotiations along and go for broke in a single raid so we don’t lose leverage and no one can figure out how much we had to spend.

    9. Alexis is my boy, I love him. I like Rossi too, but prefer Sanchez. He knows how to keep the ball and is good at dribbling. I saw him at the WC. He does ressemble C.Ron, but he’s shorter (than Messi!) with a better work rate and technically gifted. I don’t like his stepovers much, but unlike a C.Ron they seem work and lead him forward. Note that Afellay also used to do stepovers at PSV. I think Guardiola will sort that out, not that stepovers are bad, but excess is.

      He’s more of a tricky winger, whereas Rossi is more of a goal scorer from what I know. The best thing about Rossi is that we would have a constant english speaking Tweeter! (Great reason lol)

    1. My subscription with Time and Readers DIgest expired in May. So to the people who bought it and saw a piece on Barca please let me know. I’ll go to the newspaper store asap.

  19. wow what a fantastic commercial. our semifinal win over Madrid couldn’t have been easier:


  20. At first glance, you’d think that because Sanchez often functions as a false 9, a spot that we already have covered, you wonder about how smoothly he would integrate into the side. Rossi, on the other hand, would probably bump Pedro to the bench,

    You’re concerns on how Sanchez would fit are ones I also have.

    I’ve heard many people referring to Sanchez as a winger with the notion that Barca could use a true winger so he’s the right fit. Rossi on the other hand is similar to Villa so he’s not needed (which is odd as Rossi is not particularly like Villa much at all).

    Sanchez is not a “winger” per se. His game really blossomed this season when Guidolin restructured how Udinese play in very innovative ways. He went to 3 at the back with two wing backs and shifted Sanchez into in the hole behind di Natale. Sanchez was sort of playing as a modified trequarista. And it was in that role where he really exploded. Sanchez had a poor first half to the season. Moving centrally is what really changed his game.

    This creates two issues for Barca. In that trequarista type role Sanchez was playing in the exact space Messi plays in as a false 9. That’s a big deal. The second is that when Messi drops deep as a false 9 he often needs a point of reference to draw in centrally for him to link up with. That’s why we saw Villa pinching in so often. Sanchez is used to playing with a striker in front of him – not behind him.

    And when Sanchez plays out wide for Chile their offense tends to get shunted through him. He plays out wide mostly as a way to get away from the central defenders. Even in a wide position he’s not truly a winger. He’s an attacking striker positioned wide.

    Sanchez is a more talented player than Rossi. He offers more potential – if Sanchez comes to Barca and clicks with Messi it would be spectacular.

    That said – Sanchez also represents more risk. His adjustment is going to be much larger than Rossi’s. He’s going to have to learn how to play in new space and he’s going to need to learn how to link up with a player that is even more creative than his is behind him rather than in front of him.

    Finally, right now while Sanchez is better on the ball than Rossi – Rossi is better off the ball. And that raises a real question of what skill set Barca most need given their current strikers. Sanchez could very well learn to improve his off the ball game – but it’s an adjustment he’ll need to make.

    On the whole, I’d probably role the dice and go with Sanchez. But there’s real risk involved. He’s going to have a significant adjustment period and will need to learn to play in a significantly different way.

  21. barcastuff:

    English Premier League club Bolton Wanderers have made a 4M bid, including a buy-back option, for Barcelona B midfielder Thiago (20). [md]


    Oh, I needed that. 😆

    1. At least they’re taking notice and want to play more attractive. But still, it’s funny. 😆
      This would be impossible if Sam Allardyce was still their manager.

  22. Thanks for all the responses guys. Reading your comments, I’m very excited about the prospect of getting either of them.

    1. I hope it is Rossi, he’s already adapted to the spanish league, he scored 32 to goals to sanchez 12, well is pretty clear to me, and in top of that, Rossi takes advantage of the space better than Sanchez, I think it’s the same problem Pep saw with Kun (according to catalan newspapers) Sanchez asks the ball to his feet, he likes to drible more so he’s more individualist, and he plays the position already occupied by Messi, and we already know Rossi would take a sub position, like Masche, and that’s the kind of attitude I think is valued in this team, I pray for Rossi, and that Cesc asks for his transfer so he costs less, he has to do something like that, I remember seeing him boeed in campnou the last time arsenal went there, if he’s too expensive, the pressure will be hard for him. Rossi and a good price for Cesc for me, and Jeffren and Milito out, and if the club sells Bojan, I would like William Borges, I dont think he’ll cost more than 15 million, his contract ends on 2012.

  23. Can’t we just bring back Ibrahimovic and pay him an extra 5m in wages to keep his mouth shut? It would save a lot of problems… sigh, if only Ibra wasn’t such a problem off the field. a culé can dream.

  24. If i could chime in on the little laugh that Blitzen was having. While i don’t believe loaning out a player or giving him a buy back to outside of spain is good, the price of 4 mill is not a bad one at all. Not that Thiago isn’t worth more than that, but because you have to keep the buy back clause in mind. I haven’t heard of much activity from Barcelona in the buy back business (except for Botia), but as you can see, RM are the kings in that. Last season we sold Rodrigo for 8 mill and Marcos alonso for 4 mill (both from the Cantera) and used that money to buy Ozil.

    The reason why we were able to get so much money for them, especially Rodrigo (those who followed spain’s U19 last year would remember him), is because we sold outside of spain. Rodrigo went to Benfica, who treated him as a star. Two month later he was loaned out to Bolton, who he started a hand full of games and many sub appearances. His buy back to bring him back is a hefty 14 million (some say its 12). The higher you sell, the more you have to pay to bring him back. Usually buy back clauses are 1.5 the original value. There are exceptions though. Negredo was sold for 15 mill and his buy back is 18. But rarely do you see a player leave with a buy back who is that expensive.

    If the club is serious about Thiago, and the loan/buy back is only so he gets some experience under his belt, then loaning him to a spanish side is best. You can see the example of De La Red, who had it not been for his condition, would have been one hell of a player for us right now. He was sent to Getafe, a small team in spain with an attractive brand of football. He was sent to a team that was going to offer him a starting spot.

    Sending a player to an english club is a huge gamble. The demands are different and more emphasis is put on physical strength than on actual technique. Barcelona and La Liga in general concentrate more on a short passing game and on technique. Anyways, just my two cents. I also watch La Liga more so than EPL, and i can’t say he isn’t a player that i would like to observe reaching (or not reaching) his potential.

    1. I wasn’t laughing because of the price, I was laughing because it was Bolton. As if. If we were serious about selling Thiago, there are at least half a dozen first-rate teams that would jump at the chance.

    2. Bassam makes sense. I’d want a price in the 6-8m range though, with a very low buyback, in the Botia range (2m). But the Prem isn’t the place for Thiago, unless someone is thinking the lad needs some toughening up.

      But if we want to get him some significant playing time, and there are a lot of teams he would start for, that deal would be a good option. But as blitzen notes, Bolton isn’t a good fir for his skill set.

    3. IF, hypothetically, we were interested in selling Thiago (with a buy-back option, obviously), my top choices for him would be (in no particular order):

      Roma (I’m sure Lucho would love to have him)
      Sevilla (they could use him desperately and he could potentially be huge for them)
      Real Betis
      Udinese (as part of the Sanchez deal)

      I’m still against it, though.

    4. It´s an interesting tactic. Sell Bojan & Thiago with decent buy-back clauses to a La-liga side (In this case Villareal for Rossi). It would make Villareal a strong opponent, though.

      If we are going for both Sanchez & Rossi (doubt it) then sell Jeffren full-out to Udinese to try and get the asking price for Sanchez as low as possible.

  25. Just listened to Graham Hunter on TalkSport talk about our finances and transfers:

    -He says we will sign 4, maybe 5 players. He says it’s possible we might sign Sanchez, Rossi, & Fab.

    -If he had to pick 2, he could see Fabregas and Sanchez. Sanchez is the closest to us right now. And he thinks total spending will be at least 70 million euros.

    -He says Pep sees Cesc as a potential captain and as part of a future plan. He really wants him.

    He says people are focusing on that 45m number, but player sales and player exchanges can and will augment it. He also said if there was an exceptional deal on the table, the number could be surpassed.

    -Maxwell definitely available.
    -Bojan is a possibility and he feels he should move on.
    -Pep wants to keep Thiago, but if a deal could be turned with the inclusion of Thiago, he might be off.

    About the Cesc captaincy thing, I asked him on twitter if he really thought Pep sees Cesc as captain before Pique, his response was: “Not necessarily before. But captaincy material, leader, tough & talented. What a mix. I think @cesc4official is uttrly world Class”

    1. I’ve become a fan of Graham Hunter from reading his tweets. He’s very funny and always has something interesting to say.

    2. Hmmm… good stuff Jnice. I’m in the sign all three camp. One has Barca DNA, one very talented but needs to adapt, and one can probably have a quick impact in attack.

      Our challenge and the trade off is short run depth with respect to style options/injury coverage to sustain us at the highest level across multiple competitions versus long term development of youth system. I think the Fabregas signing is every bit as much about risk management as it is bringing home the wayward son. People get mad at Fabregas for leaving but he played and developed to a level where he can lead and carry the weight of competition at very high levels. Pique left, came back quicker, but left. Xavi talks about being tempted to leave at one time – it’s challenging, there isn’t room for everyone, it’s curse of riches. It is not a bad option to let them go if they see a way back – set them free, if they come back they’re yours, if they don’t they never were – isn’t that how it goes? They have to develop somewhere. Now it would be nice if we had a network of clubs where we could entrust their care and feeding, and didn’t have to gamble too much (like future Roma perhaps, and friendly Liga clubs)

      With 45M we’re willing to admit to and the potential to sell upwards of 5-7 (Jeffren, Bojan, Thiago, Maxwell, Milito, others?) at an average of about what?, 7M? (with a couple of by-backs) – we’d be close to 80-90M we have line of sight to. Cut the non core sports budgets, leverage the market value down to size on a couple of the transfers into the mid-20’s (where they belong, and what rumor says we’re actually proposing in some cases) and we’re within spitting distance of three big signings. I think what he is saying makes sense.

  26. Seems like Rossi’s agent is getting impatient/desperate for his commission?

    Pastorello (agent Rossi): “If Barça want top players, they sign Rossi and Cesc. If they want more simple transfers, a defender and Sanchez.”

    1. Definitely worried that we’re not interested anymore, which would seem to be the case if we haven’t spoken to him since the CL final as he claims.

      Rossi is probably anxious as well. I’m guessing if Villarreal came down off of their 30m money only valuation, we would be in for him again, but they don’t seem to be interested in doing so.

    2. Spot on, Jnice. Rossi is ready for the next level. But when a big club comes calling, the selling club loses its mind. 30m cash only is a lot for Rossi, a player for whom you still don’t know if this past 30+ goal season was an aberration.

  27. By the by and completely off-topic, anyone who hasn’t been to Google today, should. And just drag your cursor over the strings. You’ll thank me later.

  28. Rossi’s agent really does seem desperate. It seems like he feels the deal is slipping away.

    Makes no sense knocking Sanchez. Sanchez is a brilliant talent. If he comes he’ll have to adjust – but he could add a tremendous amount to how the team plays both in attack and defense.

    I agree with Graham Hunter. Next season is going to be brutal. Even the Supercup is going to be very difficult.

    Right now by my count the team has 16 near certain players for next season + Puyol coming off injury. Those 17 players include Afellay (assuming he will not be sold) and Fontas.

    Then there are players who may or may not still be here next season:


    I don’t think Thiago will be sold so he’s 18 – but for right now he probably should be included in the perhaps list.

    The team needs absolutely no fewer than 21 players and that’s with Afellay being part forward/ part midfielder.

    The really should have at least 22 players. And that’s 22 players they are confident can all contribute in meaningful ways. That’s not 21+Jeffren.

    If they have confidence in Bojan to contribute then that’s fine. He can be one of those 22 players. But if they have doubts about what he can offer then that’s a separate issue.

    So right now they are working with a base of 17 players + 4 players who may or may not be here. And they need to get to 22 players (B team players can rotate in from there).

    If they are going to build sufficient depth for next season they are going to need to likely sign at least 3-4 players. I don’t think the club can be confident that 3 out of the 4 borderline players will all be able to contribute significantly next season in a deep squad rotation, especially given that Xavi, Puyol and Abidal are all over 30.

    1. And that’s the argument for selling Krkic (buyback?), Jeffren, Maxwell and loaning Thiago. Figure Milito also goes. But that then means that the acquisitions have to be top class. Not starting quality necessarily, but as Euler notes, they have to able to come in make significant contributions.

    2. It’s a difficult situation. But that’s the standard of success this team has now reached.

      The fact is – they may only have Messi playing at a high level for another 7 years. They have to take maximum advantage of every one of those years. The club is not going to have this opportunity again.

      And that means competing in all competitions to the maximum you can within the limits of feasibility.

      They again have the chance to be the first club to defend the champions league trophy. That’s a big deal.

      And it was just so clear during the second half of the season that the club was exhausted and that’s why their goal scoring plummeted from the Nov/Dec levels.

      They need 5 forwards + Afellay. All of those players need to play. David Villa probably should not play more than once a week next season.

      The big question is whether Bojan is one of those 5 forwards. If he is – great. If the club has doubts then he should be loaned – there will just be too much going on next season for him to fit in if the club has doubts about his production.

      But that also means they will need two forwards then – which is a very difficult task given funds. And it will be very difficult to integrate them into the system – one forward is hard enough. They would then have the two forwards the’ve acquired over the summer + Afellay to fully integrate.

      This is going to be very difficult.

      And the biggest problem of all is how to give Xavi some rest. Pep clearly sees Xavi as integral to Barca’s defense. That’s why he so rarely ever leaves the pitch even when they are ahead. His ability to hold possession is the best way to prevent the opposition from scoring.

      If I had to guess – I think it’s likely that the club is going to wind up short handed again next season. I don’t see how they are going to build required depth without some surprises e.g. buying a player like Jose Angel and he turns out to be a major contributor, etc.

      And if they do wind up short handed winning La Liga is going to be a real challenge. They will be playing so many games and Madrid is going to be a much deeper squad.

    3. A lot depends on what order Pep values his current strikers.
      Messi is obviously number 1.
      Pedro & Villa are on a similar playing field but we don’t know who Pep prefers. Example, a forward line of Villa, Rossi & Messi offers little width, well less width than Villa, Sanchez & Messi.
      If his preference is Pedro over Villa then Rossi becomes a more viable purchase than Sanchez.

      If we get Rossi then I could definitely see Bojan leaving on loan

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