Thiago re-ups ’til 2015: I credit Rosell, do not spontaneously combust

Hug it out

This morning, Twitter was abuzz with the fact that Thiago Alacantara has signed a new agreement to stay with FC Barcelona through 2015 with his buyout requirement being raised to a rather healthy 90m Euros. This caps off a rather eventful few weeks for the MF wunderkind: he played a pivotal role in Spain’s U-21 Euro win, scoring a goal in the Final; he recently made a number of ill-timed and grossly over-read-into quotes to the media regarding his status with Barcelona due to the Cesc negotiations, which are ongoing at all times, even if you think there is a break); and is now recovering from nasal surgery to repair a deviated septum (this obviously means he had a nose job).

Thiago has just turned 20 and is legitimately considered the best youth product for the club and one of the best under-21s in the world. He will be expected to play a lot more for the parent club next year, filling in for Xavi/Iniesta, giving them breaks, and hopefully making his break. Now before you ask, we have no idea how this will affect the pursuit/lackthereof of Cesc Fabregas. Currently, Thiago’s father, former Brazilian world champion, Mazinho is saying all the right things as reported on Twitter, that he’s not worried about Cesc possibly coming in because they play different positions. It may still be possible, I am not sure.

However, this brings up one tiny fact that a lot of people are overlooking: Sandro Rosell is damn good at doing businessperson. Please note this giant, huge, Puyol’s-hair-sized warning: I do not endorse him as a good person, I think he’s xenophobia regarding outsiders among Barça socios and ideas about Catalan independence are wrong. Remember this when you misquote me on your witch hunts. Let’s go through his business decisions:

-Signing Afellay for 3m
-Signing Adriano for about 9.5m
-Signing Mascherano for 19m
-Signing Villa for 40m (Ed. note: This was a Laporta signing according to Isaiah)
-1 starter, 1 spot starter/fill-in at CB, 2 for depth
-Loan of Ibrahimovic, with sale-option this year: Pep said he had to go and we had limited buyers, did the best with a bad situation
-Toure to Man City for 24m: Yaya wanted to go, his agent made that clear, he made that clear
-Gaining the highest shirt sponsorship deal in the world: not arguing the merits, just the business, good deal.

Granted, this does not include the Chygy debacle, which I stated my opposition to at the time, and which Pep was not fond of, but I think the rest speaks for itself. Not all of these deals were popular, but they were all helpful for either goals, depth, or behind-the-scenes issues that we don’t all know about. Also, the commentary about how he’s handled deals this summer isn’t useful yet, since we do not know how they will come out or what the actual parameters are, since it’s all being reported by third-party rags.

Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images Europe

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174 Comments

  1. Eklavya
    June 29, 2011

    So the Kari post was removed because Luke had already written one?

    Anyway, did anyone notice Thiago had a tattoo with something written in Hindi on his forearm. What’s that supposed to mean?

  2. blitzen
    June 29, 2011

    Finally! And here I thought the mods weren’t listening to me. 😉

    I don’t know why anyone would be surprised, though. We already knew Thiago was being promoted to the first team, ergo he needed a new contract. With Thiago’s star skyrocketing after the Euro and all the speculation in the press, Rosell would have to have been a moron of epic proportions not to get a deal inked now. It is also a very public display of faith in Thiago before any official announcement about Fabregas, and I am very pleased about that. I actually have to say I think Rosell did well here.

    Awww, Kari’s post with the cute pic of Thiago went away. 🙁

    • mom4
      June 29, 2011

      “With Thiago’s star skyrocketing after the Euro and all the speculation in the press, Rosell would have to have been a moron of epic proportions not to get a deal inked now”

      Emphasis on the word “now”. As in they didn’t even let the poor boy heal from his surgery before gettin’ it done.

      • blitzen
        June 29, 2011

        “Quick! Make him sign now, before the painkillers wear off!”

    • blitzen
      June 29, 2011

      This was just before Zubi dragged him off to the dungeon where they keep Messi in the offseason. We’ll never let you go!

      • mom4
        June 29, 2011

        Oh, the dungeon where they keep all the legos?

  3. Humphrey Bogart
    June 29, 2011

    It seems that the E.E. was actually really interested in Thiago (his father did hinting at that). Are they the most shamless c**** ever? Take your filthy hands off our canteros

  4. Ryan
    June 29, 2011

    Hooray for Thiago!

    You forgot to mention the selling of Chygnasty as one of Rosell’s actions. We are seriously lacking depth in crazy defender hair now, with Puyol aging and Milito probably gone.

  5. June 29, 2011

    Great news indeed. First signing for the next season and the future. Credit there for the club from Rosell (wrote it properly) to Zubi and everyone.

    Hate to talk passivelly about Rosell (not really) but lets keep things in the right perspective. He still far from deserving a praising post, and the evidance is the list of achievements provided with most of it being actually catostrophic:

    -Signing Afellay for 3m: Nothing special about the price, keeping in mind he was in his last 3 months contract, but the buying decesion was a good one. I give that for whoever decided to buy him- lets call that person Rosell.
    -Signing Adriano for about 9.5m (it was 9.5 M plus variables pushing the price up to 14 M, which is not a steel by any mean). Good player though. Just a normal transfer.

    -Signing Mascherano for 19m (Great transfer. Asif I’ll say anything else 🙂 Yes this one was good)
    -Signing Villa for 40m (Ed. note: This was a Laporta signing according to Isaiah): This was a Laporta signing indeed, and there is again nothing great about it. The player is well known for his quality, so it is not that we discovered hot water. The achievement here is to get him for a good price -that wasnt the case.

    -Ibrahimovic: Cant imagine anyone putting this one anywhere beside the disgrace list. A club representetive making an official announcement at the end of a season that ibra is as untransferable as Xavi, closing the doors in the face of any bidder, then at the last moment of the season Milan come for a gamper cup and you know what? Take Ibra with you. If Laporta paid 10 to 15 M more than the actual value of Ibra, roSELL sold for 30 M less than that value.

    -Toure to Man City for 24m: Yaya wanted to go, his agent made that clear, he made that clear (this was a good business)
    -Gaining the highest shirt sponsorship deal in the world: not arguing the merits, just the business, good deal. (Please… it was the first sponsorship in the clubs history during the best era in the clubs history and the deal was barely higher than the most recent Liverpool and Bayern sponsorship agreements. Anyone want to bid that in 2 years we will be -at best- the 7th best sponsorship agreement. Dont let the big banners mislead you. Very pooooor business deal).

    So he is still roSELL for me.

    • June 29, 2011

      I agree wholeheartedly that Rosell has yet to do anything that deserves special praise. On the other hand he has been terrible on many other issues, starting with the Laporta witch hunt (which has stalled because the idiot now realizes that if Laporta goes down so do the other members of his original board, namely Rosell himself and several others of the current board – genius) and the Cruyff situation at the beginning of his term. Imagine if Cruyff would have remained honorary president during this season, with his media presence he could have engaged Mourinho and the Madrid Press onslaught to take pressure off of Pep. Of course Rosell himself could have done that, but in every difficult situation this season, from the Osasuna travel fiasco, to the made up doping rumors, to Mourinho’s conspiracies, he hid under his desk. Then came “Fausteridad” and the shame of parading supposed money problems in front of the entire footballing world, making our club a laughingstock.

      I really do not like the man.

  6. Burke
    June 29, 2011

    Yeah, say what you will about Rosell’s verbal diarrhea with the press, he’s done well for the club so far. Holding onto Thiago is huge. Cesc is a now a luxury. We’ll let Pep work out the lineups but I suppose Thiago could still be sent out on loan if Cesc comes (which is apparently close). Do you think Rosell will also get Sanchez or Neymar (bit surprised they put a bid in for him)? Or is that too greedy? Now if he is able to get the club’s finances in order within a couple years, I’ll really be impressed!

  7. June 29, 2011

    I wouldn’t care if RoSELL limboed from Barcelona to my house, with a million dollars balanced on his belly, just for me. Damn him for selling the shirt.

    The end.

    • nzm
      June 29, 2011

      Agreed.

      The shirt deal was a tragedy in all aspects – tradition-wise and price-wise.

      30 million per year for the next 5 years? Give me a break. If the shirt is to be sold, FCB should be holding out for at least 40-50mill per annum.

      Not only that, in exchange for selling out to the Qatar Foundation, FCB also gave them one of the yearly allocated “friendlies” for the QF to organise and from which to take the profits for the next 5 years. Usually, FCB makes about 2 million from each friendly, so take at least 10 million off the deal.

      That’s just from the football team. There’s rumours about the QF logo appearing on some of the other sports’ camisetas, so who knows what deals have been done there, if it becomes a reality.

    • Noslehcimretep
      June 30, 2011

      ^this, exactly. (But he can still go to your house Kxevin.)

    • June 29, 2011

      Well Kari, I know you needed to set up the punchline, but I think you may be hard pressed to find a person on ths board who wanted to use Thiago as a make-weight for Cesc. Even if it was with a +5 Millon Euro buyback, I cant see anyone wanting to do it!!!!

      • June 29, 2011

        I’d have to smack a lot of sense into people on this board if they were thinking of cash + Thiago for Cesc. It was a general statement directed at other people — namely fans of opposition teams that saw Thiago during the u-21 and said, “Give us 50 + Thiago” and other such variations.

  8. Artur
    June 29, 2011

    You know why I love this blog? Because we have so many DIFFERENT people with DIFFERENT opinions posting, having friendly debates, disagreeing with each other, raising conversations, and all in a mature matter. How many other blogs will let a mod write up an article that even the owner disagrees with?

    Btw I completely agree with Luke with regards to Rosell being a solid businessman, and I’m actually quiet interested how he’s going to handle the summer transfers.

    2 days ago a friend of mine posted Thiago’s goal on my FB page (he’s an EPL fan) and asked why the hell are we persuining Fabregas to which I just shrugged… Now I was happy to tell him he renewed :). What a star.

    Btw gonna use twitter more often now! @qatastrophe if anyone wants to follow/friend etc.or post yours ill follow you.

    • June 29, 2011

      Actually, referencing your comment about mods disagreeing. We’re going to have Luke killed, FYI. We have ninjas now.

      And I’ll tell you how RoSELL is going to show that he’s an astute businessman. By jacking up little clubs over a piddlin’ few million, then overpaying for players we don’t have to.

      Jose Angel is worth 4m, easy. Pay Hee Hon, and let’s move on. We worked Hercules over for months. Not a fan of such behavior. It makes us look like a bully.

      • June 29, 2011

        It makes us look like a bully.

        We don’t look like one anymore, we are bullies. Which is sad because we get on well with Gijon. smh.

      • Artur
        June 29, 2011

        I wouldn’t jump the gun making any assumptions and throw hands in air just yet. Sure it’s taking time, but why are we all assuming 1.8 really is our final offer due to some leaked sources? Maybe there really is an under the table deal about keeping Botia as someone mentioned on last thread, who knows? Let’s wait and see how it pans out. If Sanchez deal does go through for 27+11 as it is currently being leaked out, it’ll be a great example of how being patient can pay off (instead of, in this case, of going into bidding war).

        • June 29, 2011

          “A great example of being patient” how? We have a player who only wants to come to us, and we’re probably going to throw down about as much as we did for David Villa for said player? I rather see it as an example of a club pushed to the brink by the threat of losing a player that its coach wants.

          And that’s fine. Maybe in 2-3 years, we’ll all be saying that 40m for Sanchez was a steal, compared to what he’s doing with the club. I hope so. Because right now, I don’t like the numbers I’m hearing for Sanchez or Fabregas.

          • Artur
            June 29, 2011

            Not disagreeing with you as you raise a good point, but being the devil’s advocat, I wonder if there’s a reason for the low offer/stalling time from Rosell”s point view

    • Barka
      June 29, 2011

      Indeed Kxevin. Now according to the Guardian we are going to pay £35m for Cesc which is nearly 40 million Euros – which was the offer last year. Remember Rosell said that we’re going to pay less for Cesc this year? I thought he meant in millions not thousands.

      The way we deal with Sporting is sad. I hope the Preciado doesn’t feel “insulted” by this because I sure would. All those weeks negotiating only for 200 thousand euros?!

    • PhepheSa
      June 29, 2011

      I love this blog and am just amazed at the level of discussion here. I don’t post much but i read it every single day. Great job guys!

  9. Zain
    June 29, 2011

    Check this out !

    The writing on Thiago’s forearm in Hindi actually says ‘Manita’ 😀

    How cool is that !

    (And to think that EE were trying to pull a Figo with him. They must not have known about it. That would have led to an awkward locker room scenario) 😉

    • Eklavya
      June 29, 2011

      So that’s what it says! I could read the M and N, but was thinking something like “Mars” was written lol.

      • Eklavya
        June 29, 2011

        It reads “Ma-r-s-na” Marsna?… what the hell is that?

        • Para
          June 29, 2011

          Dunno! I read hindi because I speak Nepalese, but my hindi comprehension is rubbish.

        • Vj
          June 29, 2011

          I think it reads Ma-si-na i.e. the first character is Ma (as in Mother), 2nd and 3rd combine to form si (as in sit) and na as (naaa).

          And I also think there is something written in Roman alphabet above the tattoo to the tune of Lib….

          But hey, what do I know, its a small pic and I’ve speaking the language for all of 22 years..

          • mom4
            June 30, 2011

            How cool is it that we have people from all over the world here? How cool is it that I get to talk to people from all over the world? Something written in Hindi? No problem, we have people who can handle this. Something said in Catala? We have people who can handle that. You younger people have grown up this way, but this forty-something mom is still constantly amazed at this internet thing 🙂

  10. blitzen
    June 29, 2011

    Apparently Frank Rijkaard is off to coach the Saudi Arabia NT. Huh.

  11. Xingxian
    June 29, 2011

    As someone who started following club soccer this year, and only got to see Messi once he had already taken off (yes, I know I’ve heard this is his best season yet and he may very well do even better for the next who-knows-how-many-years), I’m really happy about this, because I want to see Thiago work his way into a starting spot and say I saw the journey from start-to-finish. Except, Thiago first played in the A-team in 2009, right? So I guess I should keep my eye on Rafa Alcântara instead :3

  12. blitzen
    June 29, 2011

    From Evan Fanning, of the Guardian’s Fiver:

    Man City would like it to be known that they’ve ended their interest in Alexis Sanchez, but that they were definitely the ones who called it off first so don’t go saying that maybe he never really fancied them in the first place and only flirted with them to make the other boys jealous. Right?

    😆

    • Artur
      June 29, 2011

      We all know you danced with joy when you read the news, JNice 😀

  13. Artur
    June 29, 2011

    By the way, I really really SINCERELY wish there was a mobile version for this blog. It’s practically only thing I read whenever I’m on my phone (bus to work, breaks, free time) and my blackberry (crappy) browser crashes almost every time I make a post (which really discourages me from doing so) especially if there’s large images or GIFs on the page. I love TotalBarca’s site for example, but GOD there’s such a huge difference in quality of comments here compared to there… I rarely visit their gorgeous website.

    /sniff

    P.S. An app for Blackberry/Android/Appstore would be even more freaking awesome

    • Eklavya
      June 29, 2011

      It works perfectly fine with Opera.

      • Artur
        June 29, 2011

        Eklavyaaaaaa you’re awesome. Opera is perfect. Will replace my browser for sure. Thank you!

    • June 29, 2011

      I can open the site on my mobile. Not sure about the blackberry but on HTC it is working well.

      In the other hand, if they provide you with the blog feed (or you can make one and bookmark it) this can do.

  14. June 29, 2011

    From the Twitterverse, via @PedrithoFCB:

    Dicen en @onasportnit que el Barça podría anunciar el viernes los fichajes de Cesc Fàbregas y Alexis Sánchez.

    Friday announcement, eh? Don’t think so.

    • Eklavya
      June 29, 2011

      Why not? I dunno about Cesc but I think that Sanchez will get by done then if it gets done. Otherwise, it won’t.

    • June 29, 2011

      Seems reasonable, although I’m not crazy about either signing (for the price).

      The Copa America starts on Friday, so they’re looking to get it all wrapped up before he has to focus on Chile for the next month.

      The official Arsenal preseason starts Tuesday (Wenger and co. start their tour), so they’ll likely be looking to be done with this godforsaken transfer before Cesc has to report to London.

    • June 29, 2011

      Really? I think so. The Fabregas transfer’s done. Sanchez very close too.

      The prices make me want to puke. Ughhhhhh. Austerity, my arse.

    • June 29, 2011

      Yay indeed. Best contract deal of the summer for me. So no more 🙁 faces Thiago!

  15. June 29, 2011

    I really dont get why so many people are bothered by the prices for Cesc and Sanchez. I actually think we are getting a pretty good deal on both, and I am pretty sure any other club in the world would have paid a lot more for either of them. The only reason we are getting better deals is because both players only seem to be willing to move to Barca.

    For the record I have always been against the purchase of Cesc because I dont think we need him, that being said if we are going to buy him now then the sum being mentioned in the press is about right for a player his age, with his quality and with the years remaining on his contract.

    Are the prices inflated? Yes, but that is the market and that is the reality, we either pay the price or we miss out. All season long people have been demanding quality depth, well quality depth is expensive. You cant have it both ways, either you are willing to pay for the quality or you get somebody cheaper who may or may not be good enough to play with the big boys. With Cesc and Sanchez we know we are getting two players who can sub on and play at the highest level, matching what we already have on the pitch. On top of that they are both young, both have a huge desire to play for Barca and can both be cornerstones of the team for the next 5-6 years. Well worth the money spent.

    By all accounts these are the two players that Pep wanted the most and it looks like we are going to get them both and at prices that are not over market value. Chelsea or Utd would have paid a lot more for Sanchez had he been willing to go to either of those clubs.

    I for one am extremely excited about next season…

    • Blow-Grenade
      June 29, 2011

      Totally agree with all your points. It would be fun to watch games with players like Cesc and Sanchez added to the team. Cesc has an amazing shot. Would be cool to see some long range goals. I believe we lacked width up front on the left which Sanchez will fix. This will make it much easier for Xavi Iniesta to open up defences as well.

      • Nav
        June 29, 2011

        Highly doubt Cesc is going to displace Xavi 😛

      • June 29, 2011

        Im gonna start counting Xavi’s days in the first team the day Cesc comes to Barca.

        I wouldn’t. You’ll be counting for a while. 😉

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        June 29, 2011

        lol, Xavi is still HOT…

        if his achilles can hold it, he’ll play for our best starting XI maybe for the next 2 years…

  16. BarcaGirl_Indo
    June 29, 2011

    I think so, Kxevin…maybe not both will be announced on Friday…

    because if there’s a done deal on Sanchez, surely Barcelona will announce it before Copa America, right?

    and regarding Cesc Fabregas, it will be before Tuesday, when Arsenal starts their pre season training….
    IF they reach an agreement…

    and if this is a strategy to avoid the buzz about Thiago leaving when Cesc’s signing announced,
    then this is a smart strategy from Rosell… 😆

  17. Blow-Grenade
    June 29, 2011

    Thats excellent. Party time. Now time to get an attacking player, get the Sanchez deal done.

  18. Judas Pissed
    June 29, 2011

    We are the biggest & best club in the world at the mo – & one of, if not THE greatest of all time. Do we have to be humble, considerate & look after the little clubs too? Do we bollix. Let’s buy all the worlds best players for less than Liverpool paid for Carroll & ENJOY IT!

  19. blitzen
    June 29, 2011

    Zubi on Thiago:

    According to him, “after the season he’s had, both with the first team and in the reserves, and even more after his showing with the Under-21’s, it’s normal that he will have received more than one offer……but I also want to add that neither he nor his agents have used, at any time, any offers, to pressurise the Club. Something else we can thank him for” he said.

    Why do I think this is a poke at Dani Alves? 😛

    • Xingxian
      June 29, 2011

      🙂
      That smiley notwithstanding, let it be said that Dani Alves is not a La Masia alumni. I don’t blame him for taking a professional approach towards a job.

  20. BarcaGirl_Indo
    June 29, 2011

    from @PedrithoFCB :

    “BBC said the signing of Cesc for Barça is closed at 35M and will be formalized on Friday. Gentlmen, the Fabregas novel is over.”

    it’s BBC, ladies and gentlemen… welcome home? €_€

    • June 29, 2011

      I never liked the idea of buying Cesc before his contract was up or we could reach a Pique-like transfer fee. I’m still not happy about it, nor the Sanchez transfer, but I’m sure I’ll get over it by the time the season rolls around and Pep surprises us with all sorts of different uses he finds for them. That is, if the reports are true.

      That being said, in this transfer market, getting Cesc Fabregas for 39M euros is highway robbery… not two ways about it. But that’s what having a player that wants a transfer and will only go to one club gets you. Badly played by Arsenal.

  21. blitzen
    June 29, 2011

    I have been reminded, and believe me I would prefer not to remember, that a certain Bojan Krkic also renewed his contract back in December. Until 2015. And now seems almost certainly on his way to Roma. Hmmm.

    Not that I think their situations are really comparable, but still….

    • blitzen
      June 29, 2011

      I know! I cringed at the hug and the little backpat from Thiago. So it wasn’t just me. 😆

      And yeah, Mazinho is all “This is MY boy right here signing a senior team contract with the BEST TEAM IN THE WORLD!” <3

  22. June 29, 2011

    At this point I don’t buy the idea that both of the Sanchez and Cesc transfers are done to the point where the team can plan on an announcement.

    The Sanchez deal is very complicate because the issue they are working through now isn’t the total value of the player but how the money will be structured, especially the variables.

    Those kinds of negotiations can just go on and on and on because there are so many factors to potentially haggle over.

    This is especially true when you are exchanging proposals rather than getting together in a room with an intention to have a deal done by the time you leave. Barca may be saying this is their “final” offer but there are so many different issues that can be tweaked I doubt that’s the case.

    The Fabregas deal obviously has it’s own complexities. So who knows.

    I find the Sanchez deal still unclear regarding it’s completion because there’s been almost no news out of Italy regarding Udinese’s reaction to Barca’s latest proposal. If they were ok with it we would hear some kind of leak that the deal was going to completion.

    Udinese may still be weighing whether or not they should hold onto Sanchez and see what they can get if they sold him in the winter. They know how much City and Chelsea would buy him for. They clearly aren’t happy with Barca’s proposal. Do they risk it and see what they can get in the winter and whether Sanchez will be so motivated to leave that he will accept going to the EPL. If I had to guess, I’d guess that’s what they are thinking through right now.

  23. BA
    June 29, 2011

    yes, Cesc is an outstanding player. he’s got everything it takes to succeed in our system and take his place as the Next Big Barça Midfielder.

    yes, Sanchez is a marvelous young player. he too has all the ingredients to make it big at our club and add to our attacking options.

    HOWEVER,

    the objection i have to these deals is that there is an inherent contradiction between the reality of them and the narrative that Sandro Rosell has been trying to sell since he was elected: that the club is broke and has to maintain rigid fiscal discipline. IF that is the case, then surely we cannot afford to splash what by all accounts is near €70,000,000 on TWO players in our first action of the transfer market. is that what a club teetering on insolvency does?

    either Rosell has been right all along, in which case these huge transfers are hugely reckless in light of a club so strapped for money that we can’t use coloured ink in the printers at the main office; OR we’ve had the money to spare and our elected president has, at best, been wildly misrepresenting the financial status of our club and used that to further his political agenda.

    look, i’m American, and such behavior is hardly alien in my elected representatives of late. however, this is also my club. that makes it personal. one way or another, should these transfers go through at anything approaching the reported figures, we need to have the truth.

  24. Ok, tying Thiago to a longer contract is credited to Rosell? let me ask why? The kid and his father has expressed time and time again that they want to stay in the club. So the real question is why we never offered him the contract early considering his talent. Come On it took a rather freaky goal in the final for Catalan media to finally acknowledge the talent of Thiago and after that this signing was on the cards. But still you have to wonder whether Thiago rushed into signing the contract extension? I mean the Cesc pursuit still continues and if Cesc come he will never get any quality playing time and could become the next Bojan.

    If Rosell is going to pay 40 Million(including the variables) for that kid named Sanchez, this very much would become the Ibra moment for Rosell. Atleast Ibra had the reputation to demand such a fee(eventhough it was foolish) but this kid at the moment looks like a one season wonder.

    As far as the shirt sponsor deal, it’s total nonsense. The only decision that had to take was whether to sell the shirt. Do you really think that any other President wouldn’t have been able to get that big price. The cash we got has nothing to do with Rosell’s ability(ok, his decision to sell mattered) but has only to do with Club’s reputation. I hope you all remmeber that when the UNICEF deal was first announced there were huge rumours about a possibility of an enormous shirt sponsor deal with Chinese Olymic comitee. So the only decision that had to make was whether to sell the shirt. So if you seriously wanna praise him, go ahead that’s your choice.

    The Afellay signing was good. he came cheap… He is not going to be a match winner. Ok, agreed he changed the game against Madrid. but as the Osasuna striker said he is a one dimensional player who gets the ball and sprints. That is not going to do much in long run. But he is a good back up choice. Mascherano emerged as the signing of the season, mostly because we had Abidal unfortunately going for an operation in the middle of season. Had Abidal has been fit, Mascherano would have emerged as the wasteful signing of the season. he is still a truck load of crap when he is played in our midfield. He is at his best when playing with a two holding midfielder formation, but we don’t use them. Having said that he was sensational in the defense when demanded. So Rosell was more lucky with this signing than anything else. Adriano looked like an unwanted luxury when signed but emerged as a good buy. I would say the best buy by Rosell till date, as he established himself in the positions for which he was bought for.

    Everyone credits Laporta with the Ibra debacle and because of that they forget the enormous signing he did during his tenure. The most important was signing Pep when the whole world and the board was favouring that idiot Mourinho(for some stupid reason). He made enough mistakes with signings but all the important signing of this team belongs to him. Icluding our decent back up option of Keita, Maxwell etc. The main culprit for the Ibra signing was Pep, who did that only to get Eto’o thrown away. Laporta did ha ve the option to block that but how on earth are you going to say no to a coach who won everything available in a single year. If he has done that many here would have been shouting saying that he didn’t give what the coach demanded. That signing was a double edged sword in any case.

    • Jnice
      June 30, 2011

      Had Abidal has been fit, Mascherano would have emerged as the wasteful signing of the season. he is still a truck load of crap when he is played in our midfield.

      Wow.

  25. barca96
    June 29, 2011

    -OMG. You don’t know how happy I am. Maybe Jnice knows considering the multiple times I nearly got a heart attack for the past month every time Thiago’s name came up in the rumors.

    -Another hater

    With regard to Lionel Messi, he is a great player at the club level. His tactical play is questionable, however. He did not do well enough at last year’s
    world cup. Diego, his former coach, got
    fired because Messi did not do so well.
    Messi is definitely not the world’s best (at least not yet). He doesn’t see the field of play as well as
    he should; when he dribbles, his head is down most of the time. His teammates seem to be in the background
    when he dribbles in the attacking third.

    As
    incredible as Messi is with Barcelona, he has not been outstanding when he puts
    on the Argentinean jersey on (it seems as though the “albiceleste” is too heavy
    for him). His brilliance seems to be
    muted. His spark is put out. Stop comparing him to Maradona and Pele. He does not come close to these superstars of
    international play. Maradona and Pele
    won world cups in more than one occasion.
    Messi has not even come close to it.
    Argentinean fans often wonder why Messi struggles when he plays for
    their national team. Is it unreasonable
    to expect Messi to perform as well for Argentina as he does for Barcelona? Of course not, if critics say he is the
    greatest ever to play the game, then he should show it. No excuses.
    Copa America 11 in Argentina is going to be
    demanding and highly physical. Batista
    should line up Messi as an attacking mid and leave him there. Messi tries to play on too many roles and
    here is where his confusion lies, as to who he is and what he can do. Good luck Argentina.”

    He does have a point that Messi is taking on too many roles in the NT.

    • Artur
      June 29, 2011

      I stopped reading at “he doesn’t see because his head is down all the time” LOL!

      • Neel
        June 29, 2011

        “Artur says:
        June 29, 2011 at 11:45 pm
        I stopped reading at “he doesn’t see because his head is down all the time” LOL!”

        same here…

      • Jim
        June 30, 2011

        How many players dribble with their head up? Can’ think of any . Move with the ball, yes but not dribble – possibly Dinho?.

        I’m old enough to have watched Pele play throughout most of his career. He played in one of the best international teams of all time whereas Messi has so far played in a very average, often badly managed, one.. Pele ( one of my favourites btw, ) was not a sensational dribbler, he wasn’t quick, not tested consistently against the European defences and if you’re not careful you end up in the old trap of comparing different generations. Bottom line imo, if you put Pele into today’s game he would struggle, if you put Messi back in time to 1970 he’d be even more sensational due to the increased speed of today’s game.

        I would argue that George Best was one of the best of all time but because he never got the international stage he isn’t regarded as one of the all time greats. That doesn’t mean one is better than the there but let’s not belittle Messi who is the best player I have seen at his age. Whether he has the longevity remains to be seen.

    • Dani_el
      June 30, 2011

      I can’t agree, Messi is the world’s best for me, and Diestefano and Cruyff are considered in the top 5 players in football’s history without ever wining a world cup, and Maradona won the 86′ world cup with argentina, that’s once..! Still they say Maradona was more important for Argentina that year, because Pele had an incredible team, and Maradona not so much…To see Messi playing in this Barça is something I’ll tell kids some day…

  26. Pyro
    June 30, 2011

    Yeah that dude is dumb.
    I’m just worried about Cesc Fabregas fitness. If the deal can be payed properly without any heavy repercussions for the club, I say let’s do it. Cesc Fabregas is an amazing player, but the only thing about him that I’m wary of is his tendency to fall to muscle injuries, maybe the Arsenal physios are idiots, but that man has had at least one major injury in the last three years.

    Sanchez, I wonder what his role is going to be in the team. I don’t want to spend 45 million on a bench warmer, because that is what he is going to be if Villa is fully fit and firing on all cylinders.

    • Jnice
      June 30, 2011

      Sanchez, I wonder what his role is going to be in the team. I don’t want to spend 45 million on a bench warmer, because that is what he is going to be if Villa is fully fit and firing on all cylinders.

      It’s about rotation.

  27. Dani_el
    June 30, 2011

    I think if Pep wants both of them, Rosell should give ’em both. I like Cesc I think he’s an excepcional player, we will add depth to our team, and he may learn a lot from Pep and Xavi, I just wish he wouldnt cost so much, I dont like Sanchez, not for 30 to 40 million, he isnt worth more than 30 to me (and to transfer markt). I dont think that half a season (half a great season) is worth 40M. But if Pep wants him, well he must be worth it. He deserves all the fan support, without him I don’t think this team would be so awesome, in their style of playing and the overall values… So if Sanchez does come, I hope he’s everything most people hope of him..and more.

  28. can_we_go_Xalvies
    June 30, 2011

    -As for the Messi debate, ask Casillas what he is like on the field, ask every defender that has come up against him in the last three years, I can almost predict what they will all say “he is almost impossible to stop” there is no question about how good Messi is, because he has already prooven it. Its up to the coach to decide how he is going to use Messi to win matches for the team. If a coach sits there and just puts messi out there with no real gameplan, that doesn’t make messi look like a better player, that makes the coach look like an idiot.

    -MASCHERANO signing failure?, hold on Mascherano as a signing was a success, despite certain injuries from other players, Mascherano showed he could adjust to spanish football, he could adjust to not being a yellow card magnet, he adjusted to becoming versatile, he adjusted to being technically competent. Above all that he reinforced the fact that he is a defensive marvel, he showed that when playing DM almost everytime he had the middle of the park in complete shutdown Ala Yaya Toure days when he ate up space.

    -THIAGO and CESC compatible?, Hmm my original thought on this was Cesc->Xavi Thiago->Iniesta. But the more I think about it the more I realise both Thiago and Cesc can play a deep lying playmaker role and a direct attacking midfield role. Its upto Pep to decide who plays where, but If the Cesc signing goes through, boy will it be interesting how these two players will grow into their roles.

    -SANCHEZ, Im both excited, yet still skeptical,
    but I think if he does end up signing for us, he should continue to work hard on his pressing game and slowly work his way into a definite role, his ball skills are amazing but that is not going to make him effective until later on.

    -Afellay, he is definetly a game changer as a substitute, though when he starts games he doesn’t seem that effective, but upfront he always a scoring threat which is what we need. He is a very good signing.

    • Neel
      June 30, 2011

      Continuing from your point, About MASCHERANO, He is a good example which shows that the headless chicken attitude in EPL can be changed for more elegance with and increase in efficiency rather than the other way around.

  29. Judas Pissed
    June 30, 2011

    I loved Laporta – but I also love Rosell. Rosell is a businessman first & foremost – no silly risky deals.

    We are getting Fabregas for less than we paid for Caceres, Henrique & Keirrison. And we are getting Sanchez for less than we paid for Hleb & Chygrinsky. Or to put it another way we are getting both for more or less the same as we paid for Ibra.

    Sounds like good business to me…

    • Neel
      June 30, 2011

      Is the price finalised yet? I keep on reading contradicting figures. Could you please write down the finalised price for both players, in case you know.

      • Olufestus
        June 30, 2011

        Offtop- i watched some borrusia dortmund matches yesterday and i tell NURI SAHIN is good at passing and very good at PEPE-LIKE KARATE KICK, he sure knows how to kick opponents heel.

  30. can_we_go_Xalvies
    June 30, 2011

    NO WAY!!! :S

    Barcastuff:

    Barcelona Juvenil A forward Gael Etock (17) signed a 4-year contract with Chelsea. Next season he’ll play on loan at Sporting Portugal. [as]

    • can_we_go_Xalvies
      June 30, 2011

      This is terrible news, would have been a good prospect for the future. Good luck to him though.

      • barca96
        June 30, 2011

        WTF? Why all of a sudden? There were no rumors at all about him.
        And he was supposed to be our 1st striker from La Masia.
        Did something happen last season?

        • Leckan1
          June 30, 2011

          Dongou is the more talented player/striker and the only La Masia African from what I’ve seen that has first team potential. Etock was always over-hyped so this is not a surprise.

      • Jnice
        June 30, 2011

        Not terrible news at all. Every time I’ve seen him play he’s been average.

        He wasn’t supposed to be our first striker from La Masia. He had extra hype because he was the first kid from the Eto’o foundation. This is not a big loss at all.

  31. June 30, 2011

    I’m thinking I am agreeing with everyone. Cesc/Sanchez price makes me go ulp!/”broke…WTF! But I’ll be giddy when they start playing.

    Something about “silly season” feels just like the real season: bet on the offence/let the defense work itself out; keep/get possession (of canteranos and players with buzz.)

    As long as we don’t start doing the silly season equivalent of endless back passing it’ll be fine.

    And watch, defensive transfers will appear magically in Abidalesque fashion at the last minute.

  32. Rao
    June 30, 2011

    Is Fabregas really “Our next Xavi”?.I’ve always thought that he looked in Iniesta’s mould.He played as an attacking mid in Arsenal.Will he able to play as Xavi does?.”Why is she raising these questions whilst we’ve been listening to this saga from last year.Must be mad” you’d be thinking.But one thing which has started to disgust me and I’m gonna rant over it./start rant.
    Whenever Fabregas saga gets a new turn,Cules(though the amount decreased) are always saying that “Fabregas is an ideal replacement for Xavi when he retires” and what-not.And this is what which disgusts me.

    Why are we always thinkg Cesc as Xavi’s replacement?.Can’t he play in any other position?.Some comments are as if they want Xavi to retire immediately so that Cesc can come and play.If Xavi’s tendonitis permits,he’ll play for another 3-4 yrs.Till then can’t Thiago manage?.

    Xavi is a legend in Barca shirt and I think that “ideal replacement” is a wrong usage.His position needs to filled.Not Xavi himself.I can say without any second thoughts that any of the current players cannot replace Xavi.He himself said that he does not think about retirement.Why do we seem in hurry to replace him?I know that it’s good to be ready by then but it’s not like as if Xavi will suddenly say “Hey,my tendonitis pain is unbearable and is not allowing me to play.It’s time I hang up my boots”.We all know that he’ll never the club stranded like that.So,no hurries.

    My above comment applies to players like Puyol who are unreplaceable.He’s older than Xavi and defence is considered a weak link in Barca.Why are’nt we thinking about Puyi’s replacement or a player who can fir in his position?.Why aren’t we hyping poor Muniesa or someone else to be next player to play in Puyi’s position?.There are many reasons for it and my take is that we leave it to the time.Player who will play in Puyi’s position will be a La Masia player and time will decide.Why can’t we think like that in Xavi’s position.I know that his position is the most important in Barca’s lineup.But we can’t change destiny,can we?./ rant over.

    I can sense that I’ll get a lot of flak for my comment but I wrote what was in my mind.I could’nt bother to give it any other site because this is the site which had the most sensible discussions and not plagued by trolls.

    • Rao
      June 30, 2011

      As it was long in my post,this comment is my reply to Vj on previous post on download of CL and Manita games.

      I could’nt able to get the games in either of the sites.It gives some names and says CSE IIT Mumbai.

      Out of curiosity,Do you study in IIT Mumbai?.Wow.I’m really impressed of that because I have’nt met anyone studying in that University and I’ve heard that only top ranked students get into it.Is the most prestigious college in India.

    • xavi
      June 30, 2011

      Hi Rao, I’m from India too. Whcih part of India do you belong to?

      About your rant… Stop bothering yourself. It’s a Catalan thing and they ain’t going to listen to any body when it comes to Fabregas. It’s their silly romantic dream to see one of the most famous Catalan players right now to represent Barcelona, that’s all. It’s not a sporting decision.

      About the names you see when you go that link, there’s a chance it’s them who thanked the user for providing the files 🙂

      • Rao
        June 30, 2011

        I am a South-Indian.i live in Hyderabad which is in Andhra Pradesh.Where do you live?

        Xavi too is a Catalan.But these “replacements” were in sites like Total Barca which has some non-Catalan fans too.

        • xavi
          June 30, 2011

          nenu kuda Hyderabad nunche 😛

          oh btw on those links Vj provided, there are links again… for the files you need

  33. xavi
    June 30, 2011

    Holy fuck Vj is from IITB… which year buddy?

  34. June 30, 2011

    Whoa! AS says Krkic to Roma for 12m? If we pull off tthat staggering bit of business, I won’t slag RoSELL for a whole week.

    Yes, it’s more fiction, but still….

    • Blow-Grenade
      June 30, 2011

      Glad you are turning a corner on your perspective of Rosell. I was not a fan of his until the day he sold Bangs. I think that he has been good for the club so far.
      Regarding the transfer business, a lot of it depends on Pep, Zubi and the scouts. Even though Rosell holds the final say on any signing, I believe Rosell is more or less the final stamp, and between Zubi, Pep(includes Tito and trainers) and the Barca scouts, they more or less recruit the new signings.

    • Blow-Grenade
      June 30, 2011

      Just reading some of the earlier quotes on the blog, I see where your hatred for Rosell comes from. The shirt sale. Fine you can hate him.

  35. blitzen
    June 30, 2011

    Since no else has posted it yet:

    Pastorello (agent Rossi): “The chance of Rossi joining Barcelona is over. He can still join another top club, or stay at Villarreal.” [sky]

    Looks like we have Sanchez in the bag, then. Excellent.

  36. Josep
    June 30, 2011

    Guys Clichy looks like he bound for City

    good news now we can sign Kolarov and complete our team!1

  37. Leckan1
    June 30, 2011

    Jose Enrique guys, Jose Enrique.

    Kolarov can barely be called a defender. A good left foot is all he has. He’s cant defend, nor is he fast, and that’s a bit of a problem for a fullback eventhough he’s more of a side-midfielder. Not Barca quality. We shouldn’t look at City rejects. We’re better than that.

    Jose Enrique has only on year left on his contract. What are we waiting for especially if we aren’t signing Jose Angel (who still has a lot to learn and improve upon) then we need someone else.

    • June 30, 2011

      Jose Enrique has Liverpool name written all over him. But never say never…

  38. K_legit
    June 30, 2011

    Former Almeria coach Juan Manuel Lillo has been linked to the post of technical director for the All Indian Football Federation (AIFF)
    Discuss..

  39. Lou
    June 30, 2011

    From barcastuff:

    Xavi: “Thiago my successor? It’s not good to label young players. They said I was the successor of Guardiola and it didn’t help me.” [tv3]

    Wise man that Xavi.

  40. Larm
    June 30, 2011

    Can someone explain to me why we are willing to spend like 40 million on sanchez or rossi, when we could recall Ibra for free? If pep is the truly a great coach he should be able to tame the beast. If not, why dont we shop him to city for more money than milan are willing to pay.

    Personally i still think a Bangs, Villa Messi front line would be really deadly. Have Messi move wide right, Villa left and Ibra do the false 9, which would free him up. That was one of his complaints about his time here, being stuck in the middle waiting for crosses.

    • messi_fan
      June 30, 2011

      That ship has sailed and sunk. Move on

    • blitzen
      June 30, 2011

      Because this is real life, not Football Manager? Because he couldn’t integrate fully with the team and couldn’t handle Messi being the undisputed star? Because the false 9 position is clearly where Messi plays best and why would Pep want to change that? Because he has said too many nasty things about Pep and the rest of the team for anyone to be inclined to forgive and forget? Because he is a gigantic raging a-hole with a tendency to randomly kick his teammates? Pick one.

      /snark

    • mom4
      June 30, 2011

      Much of Messi’s effectiveness as a false 9 hinges on his ability/willingess to drop back deep and help bring the ball forward. Messi’s a forward/striker/attacking midfielder/creative midfielder all in one package when when he plays that role and has the skill set and work rate to pull it off. I don’t see BANGS with the range of skills nor the work rate for a false 9, he’s just a 9(granted, a very talented one).

      • June 30, 2011

        Irrespective of the philosophical/personality/ego complexities attendant to such a move, Ibrahimovic would work best with our club as a Plan B match changer. He is one of the best, if not the best striker on the planet at taking the pass and creating a chance. No running, no screwing around. Ball. Shot. Goal. Drogba is also extraordinary at that in a way that Villa (or even Messi for that matter) isn’t.

        Whether that is a skill set that has value in Guardiola’s Barca side remains to be seen. But the attendant baggage is just too much to deal with. Put another way, Villa got one more goal than Ibrahimovic did, with a lot less crap that the team had to deal with, right?

        Villa also knows when to get out of the way and hang out the Genius At Work sign. He understands his role in a way that Ibrahimovic did at first, but increasingly grew less comfortable with.

        On paper, it’s a good idea. In reality, not so …. Ibrahimovic would have to be comfortable sitting on the bench in an “in case of fire, break glass” kind of role, or as a starting striker against certain teams. His style fits Serie A better than La Liga. He’s happy, we’re happy, and that’s that.

        • mom4
          June 30, 2011

          “in case of fire, break glass”

          That was one expensive fire alarm!

          Do you think we’re still in the market for a cheaper/older yet still talented (thinking Drogba-like or Kanoute-like) plan B?

          • blitzen
            June 30, 2011

            Much as seeing Drogba in a Barcelona jersey would be hilarious, I would have to vote no. We already have a reputation for diving, no need to add to it!

          • Blow-Grenade
            June 30, 2011

            Does Sanchez sound like plan B. Barca already seem to have a Villa Messi Pedro front line.

          • June 30, 2011

            I would love for us to get someone of that ilk, who just wants to do a second-tier Henry (“Whatever you need, just give me some silver.”) for a season or two. Kanoute is out, I think Drogba is as well, though for the right price I’d love to see him in the colors. I don’t think Forlan is adept enough at creating space, a la Kanoute or Drogba.

            Do I think we’re in the market for such a thing? Dunno. We should be, if we aren’t, in my opinion. We take too long to score sometimes. I watch the way Drogba scores goals, and marvel. Often you think, “Where the hell did THAT come from?” Yes, like all great strikers, he’s a handful, personality-wise. Dude’s also a stud. All day and all night.

          • mom4
            June 30, 2011

            Drogba-like! Not f***ing shame, Drogba himself, girly 🙂

            Sanchez is about as short as Messi if not shorter. We have an exciting front-line rotation next year if it all goes through, but still no big tall dude to head in crosses( although with our recent success with playing players out of position, trying Pique as a plan B striker wouldn’t surprise me at all)

          • mom4
            June 30, 2011

            Besides Drogba is pretty cool on the humanitarian side of things as well. He may fit in. But is it late enough in his carreer to accept this secondary role?

          • blitzen
            June 30, 2011

            That’s disgrace, lady, not shame. (And I actually really like Drogba, just not for us.)

            And Thiago seems to be pretty good at getting those headers, as does Keita. Even Messi scored with his head this year, remember? As did Villa, Pedro, and even Dani.

          • mom4
            June 30, 2011

            Yeah you’re right ofcourse, My misquote 🙁

            We’ve got people who head well, but no one that Pep can put in 80 minutes into a scoreless, bus-parked game and say, go in there, wait fo the ball, and be tall.

          • blitzen
            June 30, 2011

            Keita is 6 feet tall, and those 10 minutes are reserved for him, since he won’t be likely to start many games next season. Why do you want to take away his precious few minutes of playing time? Don’t you want Keita to be happy?

          • mom4
            June 30, 2011

            NO *sniff* I wuvs Keiteeee. He can *sniff* have the minutes. Now I feel just awful *crawls under rock*
            Hand me a tissue, would you?

            Yeah, although Pep doesn’t usually send him in to be tall and score headers but to shore up the midfield, that could be a good future roll for Keita. He’s one of my favorites btw. Love how he’s always ready, never complaining, always giving 110% for however many minutes he gets.

          • blitzen
            June 30, 2011

            I knew you would see sense. Keita forgives you. He’s cool like that. 😀

        • Xingxian
          June 30, 2011

          in case of fire, break glass
          Am I off base in thinking that’s the best phrase to describe FCB’s approach to Keita?

  41. Lev
    June 30, 2011

    talkin bout no 9s…am i the only one here who is afraid that Bojan will fail miserably at Rome? Wouldn’t it have been better to find him a club where the pressure will be a bit less?

    • mom4
      June 30, 2011

      Shhhhh! Your gonna make Kari cry.
      Bobo will be just fine, Lucho just has to remember to pack plenty of lollipops…or was it rocket pops?

      Yeah, on the human level I’m worried. I want him to do well. On the cule level, as callous as this may sound, he’s no longer ours to worry about (that did sound callous didn’t it?).

      • June 30, 2011

        If we can actually sell him (as opposed to loaning him), I don’t care how he does at Roma. Once a Barca player becomes an ex-Barca player, I pretty much stop caring.

  42. blitzen
    June 30, 2011

    From barcastuff:

    Poll result: “You like the renewal of Thiago?” Yes 97% – No 3% #fcblive [md]

    I have to wonder who on earth the 3% are???

    • mom4
      June 30, 2011

      I have to wonder who on earth the 3% are???

      Yeah, it’s like the commercials where they say 9 out of 10 doctors recommend… And you’re thinking, “dang, that 10th doctor must really be an imbecile”

    • Xingxian
      June 30, 2011

      People who lack hand-eye coordination to correctly click the right answer.

    • Josep
      June 30, 2011

      The 3% arsenal fans who think this now means, because his buyout is 90m, that we think he’s worth more than Cesc.

  43. Josep
    June 30, 2011

    Okay I keep reading Cesc is the Xavi role heir, no thiago! no busi!!!

    Can we all get one thing straight? Xavi role is called the Xavi role. Makelele role is the Makelele role. Roles are named after players for a reason, and NO ONE will ever be able to clone what they mean to that role.

    Tactics evolve people. After Xavi retires, no one will be in the Xavi role. It might even be obsolete, and whoever was apparently groomed there will have different duties, role, etc.

    • blitzen
      June 30, 2011

      I completely agree with you. Clearly the end is nigh. @@

    • mom4
      June 30, 2011

      AMEN, preach it bro!

      There will never be another Xavi and we should be thankful we are around to be seeing him and the way Barca is with him (I could say the same for other team members as well). This is special. This can’t be exactly duplicated again. Enjoy it while we got it!

    • Whatever
      June 30, 2011

      I agree. Guardiola probably has something in mind… That’s why he wants Fabregas. A new, different system…

  44. flyzowee
    June 30, 2011

    Count me in as someone who aint convinced by this fuzz over the ‘xavi role’.
    If this is some kinda attempt to further idolize an already ‘legend bound’ player then its unnecessary Imo.

    Hes a deep lying playmaker that specializes in tiki taka.

    He will be remembered folks so no need to make up stuff……. Or what say ye?

  45. astrosa
    June 30, 2011

    Does this “upgraded” contract renewal mean that Thiago is officially a first team player, or will he continue to play for the B team and get called up on occasion (only moreso than before)? Half a year ago I understood that he was to be upgraded this summer but everything coming out of Barcelona is a bit ambiguous about this. When Fontas was upgraded, there were a slew of official announcements and he was added to the first team roster page on fcbarcelona.cat.

    • blitzen
      June 30, 2011

      He is officially a first team player. It was announced back in January that he would be promoted at the end of last season. No need to announce it again.

      • astrosa
        June 30, 2011

        I don’t know. If the announcement back in January was *the* official announcement, why don’t any of the reports from Barcelona, or for that matter news articles, mention that this contract renewal supplements an existing agreement that he will be playing first team football next season? The fact that they haven’t done so is suspicious to me. He also still wears #30, when there are and will be lower numbers available. I’m thinking that there might be another announcement down the road…

        • blitzen
          June 30, 2011

          He wasn’t officially promoted until the season ended, hence the high number. He will probably wear a different number this year.

    • Whatever
      June 30, 2011

      😀

      Those Brazilians are crazy, in a positive way.

    • Blow-Grenade
      June 30, 2011

      I can never get bored of watching Messi. What can I say. I can only imagine what it is like to watch him play in person, or share the playing field with him.

  46. blitzen
    June 30, 2011

    Speaking of shirt numbers, the most important question is, does Sanchez get the 9 (assuming Bojan to Roma is a done deal)? And if so, does this doom him to failure? Or will he take Jeffren’s possibly available 11?

    Aside from that we have the 12 available, and the 4, which is clearly Fabregas’ birthright and will burn anyone else who dares to wear it.

    Does Thiago snatch up the 12 or stick to his 30? Or does he modestly take a number in the 23-25 region?

    • mei
      June 30, 2011

      Thiago will get the “4” and this will solely cause Cesc’s transfer to collapse!

    • June 30, 2011

      19. He has to take the 19.

      Messi had the 30 before, then switch to the 19, and finally, the 10. Thiago must do the same. #yes.

      • blitzen
        June 30, 2011

        Maxwell currently wears the 19 and he hasn’t been sold yet, so….

        • June 30, 2011

          Then Maxwell will have to cough it up, or get gone. I WANT MY LEGACY.

    • ciaran
      June 30, 2011

      The ’11’ seems more suited to Sanchez. Saying that Pedro may possibly get a lower number than 17.
      I’d like if Montoya got promoted then he would probably take the 12.
      Thiago might get something like 18 from Milito who I assume will be shipped off somewhere.

      It is strange that we haven’t sold a few players.

    • mom4
      June 30, 2011

      Busi should get the 4 but won’t.

      P!! should upgrade to the 11! He knows to avoid the 9.

      Sanchez will get the 9, doesn’t know to avoid it. Maybe he can handle it.

      Cesc should get Busi’s 16, seniority should count for something,but will probably get the 4.

    • Whatever
      June 30, 2011

      I would give Sanchez the 9 and Pedro the 11. Fabregas naturally gets the 4.

  47. Humphrey Bogart
    June 30, 2011

    There are rumours that Clichy and Nasri are both off to Shitty, take Cesc and Arsenal may loose 3 of their most important players. When I started to follow the EPL they were my favourite team, we had some relation ship problems during the two last seasons during our CL encounters but I always cheered them on in the EPL. I know that Wenger can be a moron but he also did bring some much needed innovation to this island and this whole development makes me really sad it is like he is deserted by everybody. I really hope that he invests this money wisely and they come back stronger than ever.

  48. Soto
    June 30, 2011

    Sid Lowe’s recent column on SI.com has a nice discussion of the issues that have been discussed above and in previous posts. I particularly like how he shows the age progressions of our mid-fielders and how it highlights a long term strategy by Guariola.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/sid_lowe/06/30/thiago.barcelona/index.html?eref=writers

    Although this comment is a priori hectored, I think it belongs here in this post. Hopefully some of you will see it.

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