Copa America 2011: Argentina draws first match, I discuss how to fix it.

So I was watching the match with my brother yesterday because he has a 50” plasma and I don’t. Below is a basic transcription of our conversation during the game.

Brother: Man, Argentina are terrible.

Me: [cringes after another defensive ‘play’] Yeah. I know.

Brother: And it’s not like a ‘oh, their defense is sh*t’ terrible; they are collectively crap. And for a team that has Messi on it, that takes some doing.

Me: [cringes after another DiveMaria dive] Yeah. I know.

Brother: This is just like the Germany game, ain’t it? A bunch are attacking, and the rest are sitting back. Messi trying to link them together while also dribbling past x players and trying to score. Argentina ain’t gonna win shiznit if they keep this up.

Me: [cringes at the awfulness of it all] Yeah. I know.

Brother: You seem to know a lot of things. Care to share some of the knowledge? How exactly are Argentina gonna fix…[waves to screen] that?

Me: It’s simple, really. Just a case of the wrong tactics. They need to change their formation to a 1-2-7. [calmly sips drink]

Brother: To a what?

Me: A 1-2-7. Well, a 1-2-X-6 would be ideal, but that might be a bridge too far.

Brother: And how, pray tell, will that work?

Me: Easy. Romero’s in goal because we can’t kidnap Buffon and force him to be a naturalized Argentine, so he will have to do. Also, he cut his hair, so he gets bonus points for that.

Mascherano forms the ‘1’ because really, who needs anyone else? He’ll slide tackle anyone who dares cross the halfway line, get all ball and leave a “sMasch was Here” on their calves to boot. Maybe snarl at them too.

Brother: [holds hand up] Whoa, wait a second. How can he get all ball while also leaving a mark?

Me: That’s the beauty of sMasch, bro. He gets it done. 8)

Banega and Pastore form the ‘2’ in the formation. They feed the seven forwards up top.

Brother: What about Cambiasso? Isn’t he, uh, one of the best DMs in the world? I mean, he does play for Inter and I’ve never really heard of Pastore.

Me: Hlebbed Pastore* takes a seat on the bench. We don’t need defensive midfielders, remember? That’s what sMasch is for. Pastore does whatever Hlebbed Pastore was attempting to do about a million times better.

Moving on to the forwards, Dive Maria will run towards the byline and fall. Lavezzi will hit the ball in front of him, chase after it, fail at whatever crosshot he attempts, and snarl at the referee for doing something to the ball’s trajectory. Tevez will pass to himself, lay an Apache smackdown on all defenders that come near him, before letting out a beastial roar, ripping off his jersey to reveal an “I Love Boca y Argentina” tattoo on his chest.

The crowd goes wild.

Aguero takes on defender after defender mano-a-mano before smoking a que golazo carajo past the helpless keeper. Higuian is there to tap in whatever doesn’t get done by someone else.

Diego Milito is there just because. We have seven forwards, yo. And we can so play them all.

Brother: …Okaaay. What about Messi?

Me: [blank look] Who?

Brother: [raises eyebrow] Err, Lionel Messi. The Messi you’re always fawning over?

Me: [snaps fingers ] Ohhhh. You mean XavIniestaLeo Carles Pique of Dahveed Rodriguez. He plays three positions at the same time but can also help Mascherano defend when needed. When we need width, he’s there. When we need someone to dribble, he’s there. When we need a goal, he’s there. When we need someone to fix something someone else messes up, he’s there.

XavIniestaLeo would have been the X in the 1-2-X-6, because you can’t really label him a number, but I figured Pastore and Banega would struggle a bit if someone was doing everything before them, so he’ll just have to settle being another forward.

Brother: …..

Me: Besides, if XavIniestaLeo plays behind the forwards, we wouldn’t need any more players because he’d do everything. I don’t think we’re allowed to field a team of 7 players. Well, eight, because I think I’d play Romero just because.

With this lineup, the Copa America would be Argentina! Argentina! Argentina!‘s.

How could it possibly fail?


*Credit: Ramzi for this wonderful term. Perfectly describes Cambiasso’s weird arse role. I’m calling him that from now on.

For those who want to see it, Messi vs Bolivia by the indomitable allasFCB2:

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Just your neighbourhood Barca fanatic


  1. y2k156
    July 2, 2011


    As for Argentina, they are screwed. Messi will simply never be popular in Argentina till he single handedly wins WC, which lets be honest,is not a high possibility.

    Messi is hyped through the roof and one of the unfortunate consequences is that people expect too much from him. His only choice is to just do his best and accept that he will most probably not be considered as highly. Similar to DiStefano, who i think, is more highly rated in Europe as compared to Argentina.

  2. Vj
    July 2, 2011

    Cambiasso’s weird arse role.

    Nasty! For a moment there, I saw an ‘h’..

  3. mom4
    July 2, 2011

    Argentina doesn’t deserve Messi. Nuff said.

    • mom4
      July 2, 2011

      If that sounds harsh, let me clarify— You don’t deserve what you have if you can’t appreciate it.

  4. ciaran
    July 2, 2011

    Argentina need to pick a system that suits Messi and stick to it.
    They have great forwards, a shit defense and average midfield which makes things difficult.
    The other thing that complicates life is that Tevez doesn’t compliment Messi at all. Tevez needs to be nothing but a substitute to Messi. He isn’t good out wide even though his work rate is brilliant I don’t think he can fit in the same XI as Messi.

    The width from the attackers is still an issue in my opinion so maybe they should try Di Maria at left back and see how things progress from there

    • blitzen
      July 2, 2011

      But how will Di Maria get into the box to dive for a penalty if you put at him LB? No entiendo!

        • blitzen
          July 2, 2011

          Oh, man. That last one. And RM have the nerve to call out Busquets for simulation. At least Busi only does it once or twice a season.

        • mom4
          July 2, 2011

          World’s worst cheater or world’s clumsiest footballer. Hard to decide 🙂

          • blitzen
            July 2, 2011

            The poor boy obviously has an inner ear problem affecting his balance. He needs help!

          • July 2, 2011

            You know, I’m getting this strange suspicion… I think maybe… nah, but you think possibly… well, does anyone else think that maybe RM and madridistas are being a little dishonest and, dare I say, hypocritical when it comes to diving?

            No, no surely I must have misinterpreted their stance on the issue. Right?

          • mom4
            July 2, 2011

            Jose, why would you think such a thing? ¿Porqué? No entiendo porqué!

          • July 2, 2011

            I don’t know! I don’t know if it’s its relationship with the bwin betting company or the influence of Flo Perez… It’s just been a niggling suspicion I’ve been having lately…

          • blitzen
            July 2, 2011

            Surely not, Jose. They are los blancos, remember? I mean, they wear white for a reason.

          • July 3, 2011

            Of course, blitzen, of course! I don’t know how I could have doubted them, really… they are los blancos, men of this world that choose to don the color of purity and good. May they continue to be our guiding star of morality.

        • Nav
          July 2, 2011

          No Jose, Madrid players *never* dive. They play the man’s game with honour and dignity.

          • July 3, 2011

            I know, I know, I apologize for questioning that… I can admit, here amongst friends, that it is precisely their manliness that intimidates and scares me. When I see them take the field against our frilly imps, I shudder at the sight; those brave, stoic vikings of the pitch, never they feign nor theatricate.

  5. blitzen
    July 2, 2011

    Grudging kudos to the US Women’s team for their 3-0 victory over Colombia today. They played really well. Rapinoe’s goal was especially lovely. Dammit.

    • mom4
      July 2, 2011

      Um…thanks for that…um… heartfelt congrats!

      • blitzen
        July 2, 2011

        Don’t mind me, I’m just bitter about Canada’s lousy performance. We have a really great team and they just didn’t show up. They should at least have played better even if they couldn’t beat the admittedly excellent German and French teams. 🙁 They got a very difficult group, but still.

        • mom4
          July 2, 2011

          Germany and france in their group? Dang girl, no wonder they’re having a hard time. So sorry 🙁

  6. July 2, 2011

    Btw, if anyone watched: Colombia vs. Costa Rica was an awful, awful match. It did put Collombia ahead of Argentina provisionally, but neither of these teams looked like they could win the group.

    • Jnice
      July 2, 2011

      Yeah, it was terrible. I had high hopes for Colombia, but they didn’t impress today at all.

    • Para
      July 2, 2011

      I thought it was pretty horrendous too. Did they (Colombia) not play as dynamically because they were coasting at one-up to ten men? I’ve only ever seen them play Spain in a friendly before, so I wasn’t sure.

    • Dani_el
      July 2, 2011

      I think it iss disrespectful to the copa america (the oldest tournament in the world according to what I’ve heard) and to conmebol, to accept an invitation to play against teams that have won the world cup 9 times! and send their b team, as costa rica and mexico have done, If conmebol should invite another national team, they should honor their commitmment sending their best team, the game was boring, though I like the way Colombia play sometimes, a lot of passes like Peru and Brazil (sometimes) maybe if they get more pegada (more abilities to score goals) they’d find their game. About argentina I think sometimes people are ungrateful, Messi is a hell of a player, but without a functional team he cant do his magic, the same happen with peru with Pizarro, he has accomplished more than any peruvian player in europe, and he still is underrated.

      • July 2, 2011

        The Olympic squads sent by Mexico and Costa Rica are enforced by CONCACAF, not by the respective FAs. CONCACAF has to give permission for these teams to play in the Copa America. This year, they did so on the condition that they send Olympic squad (U-23 with reinforcements), because they were worried that Mexico/Costa Rica would send lower strength squads to the Gold Cup.

        What needs to happen is for CONCACAF to find a better time in which to hold the Gold Cup… they still haven’t really settled into a good placement within the four year calendar, holding it every other year and having it conflict with Copa America and Confederations Cup.

        Also, Copa America is the oldest international soccer tournament.

      • Noslehcimretep
        July 3, 2011

        The only reason Costa Rica are there in any capacity was because Japan had to bow out due to continued problems from the earthquake. Japan would have sent a stronger side than Costa Rica can manage, B players or not. Also give them a break, as their (IMHO) best defender from the Gold Cup, Dennis Marshall, died in a car accident the day after they were eliminated.

    • nzm
      July 3, 2011

      Thank you, Para – that article on postres is absolutely sublime!

  7. July 2, 2011

    The width from the attackers is still an issue in my opinion so maybe they should try Di Maria at left back and see how things progress from there

    One of the very fundamental problems for Argentina and a core reason why the cannot play like Barca is that their full back are so limited and cannot provide any width.

    This is why the way Batista is structuring midfield is such a particular problem.

    Because his midfield has so little creativity the Arg forward line keeps dropping deep to create. Messi does this the most – and this is not the true purpose of a false 9. Right now he’s neither a false 9 or a true 10. He’s playing in a muddle.

    But when Messi drops deep the other forwards pinch in. This is particularly true of Tevez who likes to play a free role in the central as well.

    But there are no full backs to overlap and provide width.

    Part of why playing Pastore is the right move is that it would allow Arg’s wide forwards to stay wide. Without those forwards staying wide there is no width whatsoever as the full backs don’t join the attack.

    And Tevez cannot play on the left. He will not provide width.

    • blitzen
      July 2, 2011

      Because his midfield has so little creativity the Arg forward line keeps dropping deep to create. Messi does this the most – and this is not the true purpose of a false 9. Right now he’s neither a false 9 or a true 10. He’s playing in a muddle.

      Yep. I was amazed at how deep Messi had to play in that game because no one else was bringing the ball forward. By the time he got the ball into a good position, he was surrounded by 5 or 6 players and couldn’t do anything with it. An incredible waste of his talent. If only Dani Alves was Argentinian he might have had a chance.

    • ciaran
      July 2, 2011

      Tevez needs to be benched and get Kun to stay central. Lavezzi should also be benched for Higuain.
      Messi to play in behind with Pastore AND Banega.
      Di Maria at left back allows something like this…
      The other thing is Mascherano really needs to be playing central defense for them. At least Cambiasso & Gago are decent, Burdisso, Milito & Garay are all pretty average and I haven’t seen much of Pareja since he left Espanyol although he was impressive for them.

  8. Jnice
    July 2, 2011

    Cesc required to report to pre-season? This is looking like it did last season. Dunno about him coming this summer….

    • Nav
      July 2, 2011

      That would be unfortunate. But for some good news:

      Larini (sports director Udinese): “Many teams were interested in the player, but Sanchez said he wants to go to Barcelona. It’s Sanchez’ decision to stay with us or join Barcelona. We can only take note of that” [radio sportiva]

      via barcastuff of course.

      • Jnice
        July 2, 2011

        That would be unfortunate.

        Not for me. 🙂

  9. July 3, 2011

    I love how Kari pimps her posts by going to the last post and ‘informing everyone’ there is a new post…..glory hound lol….Said with love and admiration of course!!!

    • July 3, 2011

      Nah. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but every time there’s a new post, the writer of said new post always goes back to the old post to notify people.

      • Vj
        July 3, 2011

        That’s a good thing. Helps people avoid getting Hectored for no reason at all..

  10. Olufestus
    July 3, 2011

    Van persie set to hand down a transfer request if star players are sold.GAWD! I love arsenal,but the emirates foundation seems to be crumbling…

  11. Olufestus
    July 3, 2011

    If At the end of the season,you expect players like denilson,diaby,rosicky,almunia and the world best striker in training-BENDTNER to go,you now face the exit possibility of team best players…cesc,nasri,clichy,rvp…its pathetic.

  12. July 3, 2011

    Some papers are saying the Coentaro deal with E.E fell through, if this is the case, forget Cesc, this guy would be my #1 target. It helps on two levels, ovbiously at LB, and also @ CB…We could move Abidal there. This would also allow Adriano to backup both Coentaro and Alves next year. I really love this guy and want him baaaaddddd!!!!!!!

  13. y2k156
    July 3, 2011

    Slightly away from topic but i saw another game in which movement and space was important for victory. I was in Budapest last weekend and saw the Hungary v Greece water polo match. Hungary is number 1 team in water polo and it was interesting to see what made them better. Key was same thing as we have with Barcelona, space and movement along with pressing.

    Hungarian players were always trying to find space and move the ball quickly so that one of them could get clear shot at goal. Their best moves in the game when they moved the ball quickly near greek goal and found space for one of their players to take a shot. It was so reminiscent of Barcelona for me:). Similarly when Greek’s had the ball, hungarians were making sure that they always had someone in close attendance to greek player. As it is waterpolo and with only 6 outfield players, the pressing was one to one compared to one to many that Barca has. As against that Greeks were not so diligent in pressing and hence Hungarians were usually able to bring the ball forward without much trouble.

    I have to say that only reason i could make this was because of all the discussions on forums like this. I was in fact sitting next to president of hungarian water polo association (who was former olympian) and was explaining him on how their system was closer to Barcelona:).

    • nzm
      July 3, 2011

      That’s why Barca has water polo and handball trainers/experts as part of the coaching team – they draw from the tactics of other disciplines.

      To watch Barca play live is a wondrous thing because you can see the movements of all the players on the pitch, and not just the ball carrier.

      We watch quite a bit of handball too – and Barca plays like a handball team, except with their feet. You see them pass the ball around the edge of the penalty box, running the opposition in circles and waiting for that moment when they can send in their best-positioned and undefended player to shoot for goal. (That tactic can frustrate the hell out of me sometimes, when the gameplay demands faster play and getting into the box quicker than they are doing!)

      Valdes plays like a handball goal-keeper. Watch him come out to confront the ball carrier, and he spreads himself out like a starfish – just like the handball keepers do. He makes himself very big in the goal.

  14. mom4
    July 3, 2011

    Not every news outlet is blasting Messi. At least Fox Soccer figured it out, mostly. Somewhat comforting to this cule who feels bad for our Leo:

    “Lionel Messi was left frustrated, again unduly relied on for link up play that took him away from goal.”

    “Messi was expected to drop deep into his own half to collect the ball at times, leaving him far from where he is most effective. It seemed the perfect game to introduce Javier Pastore, permitting Messi to move further forward, but the Palermo midfielder sat out the whole game.”

    Problem is… probably nothing will change…there seems to be too much pride, posturing, and politics in football sometimes.

  15. y2k156
    July 3, 2011

    Nadal Djokovic is getting better every minute. Longer it goes, better it becomes for Nadal.

    • blitzen
      July 3, 2011

      It is good, isn’t it? I have no real preference who wins, but I want Nadal to win this set so we can have a 5th. I’m supposed to meet some people later for brunch, but I’m going to have to tell them I’ll be late. 🙂

      • y2k156
        July 3, 2011

        Well, Nadal simply fell away in final three games. Good game by Djokovic. Both look set to dominate for coming two three years at least.

        • barca96
          July 3, 2011

          Really bad match by Nadal.

          Oh crap. Barca is interested in Lavezzi.

  16. The__K__Man
    July 3, 2011

    So the fat that Rosel is at the Copa America means Sanchez is about to sign?

    • Jnice
      July 3, 2011

      No, not really. He’s there because he was invited by the Argentine and Brasilian federations. He isn’t even going to see Chile play.

  17. Lev
    July 3, 2011

    el vinotinto drew with brazil!!! not a bad start for venezuela

  18. July 3, 2011

    Said it on twitter and will say it again: Messi (at NT) is like a jewelary in a vase of marbles.

  19. blitzen
    July 3, 2011

    These Copa America games aren’t exactly ripping it up so far, are they?

  20. blitzen
    July 3, 2011

    And I would just like to say: <3 Marta.

    And Rosana ain't half bad, either!

  21. July 3, 2011

    Brazil and Argentina’s first matches speak volumes about what has happened has happened to creative midfield play in South America during international play.

    It is really difficult to believe what’s happened. Argentina – the home of the enganche, the country where the position is adored, is playing with almost no creative flair in midfield in support of Messi.

    And Brazil – as it has been for many years now – echoes the same pedestrian play in the middle of the pitch. The country that produced Didi, Rivelino, Socrates and Falcao has more or less lost interest in midfield play. It’s all workman like effort as the midfield is simply a zone to transit through to get the ball to the front line.

    Ganso is a superlative talent. The best young player in Brazil. But on the NT he simply has no support in midfield. He was just isolated. It’s all Ramires and Lucas playing workmanlike roles as runners. It’s just so unfortunate.

    What’s so ironic about Batista and Menezes is that both were in theory brought in to bring change. Both have talked a lot about change.

    And when push came to shove both reverted back to many of the safe choices and mistakes that Maradona and Dunga made. It’s just remarkable.

    Menezes is playing Ganso but the midfield is still a pedestrian zone to get through. It’s about hard work and running and playing conservatively to protect the back line.

    And on top of that he plays Lucio at the back rather than David Luiz- and Lucio is just deteriorating rapidly as a player. Venezuela offered little in the way of threat – but he’s still not playing Luiz.

    Then what does he do to change the game? Go to his safety blanket target man in Fred. This is Brazil. Their plan “B” is a target man who is an extremely limited footballer.

    Brazil’s problem was in midfield and Menezes tries to fix it by inserting a target man up top. Unbelievable.

    Watch how Brazil now plays in midfield and you’ll see why the notion of Neymar playing for Barca under Guardiola is fantasy.

    Brazil’s major issue isn’t talent – it’s the system. Forwards in Brazil simply have almost no defensive responsibilities. It’s just not their job and they don’t really do it.

    Given that they want their full backs to both make runs forward that means that one manager after another is forced to strip the midfield of creativity. The forwards don’t defend and in the contemporary game that’s difficult to support. This is why midfield play just withers away. Menezes team is reminiscent of Dunga uninspiring squad tactically in midfield.

    Barca can afford to play one holding player and three very creative players in midfield because their forward line defends fiercely. Without that hard work Barca would be forced to make painful choices.

    • blitzen
      July 3, 2011

      I agree 95%! The 5% is the part where you think David Luiz is a better defensive choice than Lucio. I’m not convinced. Luiz is quite inconsistent really.

      • July 3, 2011

        It’s not even that I’m a big David Luiz fan – I’m really not. He really still has a lot to prove and I think there are real limits to his game.

        Messi gave him fits in the last Arg-Brazil friendly and I’d bet that’s why he’s not playing.

        That said – Lucio has been very poor this season. He looks like he’s entering one of those phases where an older player deteriorates very rapidly.

        Part of why Brazil looked so pedestrian is that they turned into a broken formation. Part of that is due to the fact that they can’t stay very compact because Lucio has no pace (not that Luiz is a grey hound).

        And what Menezes should be doing is preparing his team to win the world cup. Lucio is not going to help.

        This is a great opportunity for Silva and Luiz to develop better understanding in their partnership and instead Menezes is wasting the opportunity.

        Finally, very few teams if any are going to push Brazil back and force them to defend deep – that’s really all Lucio is good for now. Having Luiz’s ball skills would help them build play form the back. And they could really use that because Ramires and Lucas just can’t build play from the back. It’s part of why they end up as a broken formation.

        Lucio is the lesser issue though. It’s that midfield that was just awful – and it’s not Ganso.

        Brazil has almost no options for midfielders that can create on their squad. That’s the state of their NT. Outside of Ganso all they have is 18 yo Lucas. Great talent – probably not ready. Hard to get over, but this is been how they’ve played now for years. Central midfield is just an afterthought.

        How Menezes could have left Hernanes off the squad just boggles the mind, especially after the season he had at Lazio. Hernanes is a marvelous player. Just wonderful. He would be perfect for this Brazil team. He would be the ideal link from a deeper central midfield role to join the back with Ganso and the front line.

        How many boring holding midfielders does he need on that squad?

        But players like Hernanes don’t seem to be valued much in Brazil anymore. Such a shame.

        • Jnice
          July 3, 2011

          How Menezes could have left Hernanes off the squad just boggles the mind, especially after the season he had at Lazio. Hernanes is a marvelous player. Just wonderful. He would be perfect for this Brazil team. He would be the ideal link from a deeper central midfield role to join the back with Ganso and the front line.

          But players like Hernanes don’t seem to be valued much in Brazil anymore. Such a shame.

          This, and I think Vickery said something about Menezes not forgiving players easily. I think Hernanes’ red card against France ruined his chances of playing for Brasil while Menezes is coach.

          • mom4
            July 3, 2011

            While I appreciate you breaking it down for us Euler, I think you’re missing the point. Brazil tied today all because of Daniel Alves’ inability to duplicate his club form for his national team 🙂

            Seriously though, I was amazed at how centrally Dani had to play in the second half. It rather reminded me of Messi having to play more of a midfield role because of Arg.’s lack of decent creative midfielders. Dani helped there but it forced them to sacrifice the width he could have given them on the right.

            Anywho, can’t decide what is more distressing: Dani’s hair or Brazil’s white socks.

  22. BarcaGirl_Indo
    July 3, 2011

    so we are the only European top club who haven’t signed anyone in this transfer season yet… lol… I’ll give some transfer updates from La Liga…

    (?) 😀

    Evil Empire
    Midfielder : Nuri Sahin | Dortmund | £8.8M
    Winger : José María Callejón | Espanyol | £4.3M
    Midfielder : Hamit Altintop | Bayern Munich | Free Transfer
    Defender : Raphaël Varane | Real Madrid | £9.03m

    Defender Adil Rami | Lille | £10M
    Goalkeeper Diego Alves | Almeria | Fees Undisclosed
    Midfielder Dani Parejo | Getafe | 4.4m

    Striker : Manu Del Moral| Getafe | Fees Undisclosed
    Winger : Piotr Trochowski | Hamburg | Fees Undisclosed
    Defender : Martin Caceres | Barcelona | £3m
    Defender : Jorge Andújar Moreno | Rayo Vallecano | £1.5m

    Goalkeeper : César | Valencia | Free Transfer
    Midfielder : Borja Valero | WestBrom | Fees Undisclosed

    Athletic Bilbao
    Midfielder : Ander Herrera | Zarazoga | £7.4M

    Pethetico Madrid
    Defender : Silvio Pereira | Braga | Fees Undisclosed.
    Midfielder : Gabriel Fernández | Zaragoza | £2.7m

    Striker : Juan Angel Albin | Getafe | Fees Undisclosed
    Centre Back : Héctor Alfredo Moreno | AZ | £3.5M

    Defender : Martin Demichelis | Bayern Munich | £3M
    Striker : Ruud Van Nistelrooy | Hamburg | Free Transfer
    Left back : Nacho Monreal | Osasuna | £4.4m
    Defender : Joris Mathijsen | Hamburg | £2.1m
    Midfielder : Jeremy Toulalan | Lyon | £9.7m
    Defender : Sergio Sánchez | Sevilla | £2.5m
    Midfielder : Joaquin Sánchez | Valencia | £3.6m
    Midfielder : Diego Buonanotte | River Plate | Undisclosed Fees

    Winger : Diego Castro | Sporting de Gijon | Free Transfer
    Goalkeeper : Miguel Angel Moya | Valencia | Loan
    Midfielder : Mehdi Lacen | Racing Santander | Free Transfer
    Defender : Alberto Lopo | La Coruna | Free Transfer
    Def. Midfielder : Juan Rodríguez | La Coruna | Free Transfer
    Defender : Michelangelo Albertazzi | AC Milan | Loan
    Midfielder : Pablo Sarabia | Real Madrid | Loan?

    • Srini
      July 4, 2011

      Barca have more or less completed the Kiko Femenia signing for Barca B from Hercules (2M + 2M variables) acc. to barcastuff via Diario Informacion. All that remains is the Rosell-rubber-stamp-seal. So scratch Barca from the doing nothing-twosome (alongwith Racing) for the summer.

    • blitzen
      July 4, 2011

      Wow, Malaga! I will be fascinated to see how they do this season with an almost entirely new team!

  23. tutomate
    July 4, 2011

    @ Ramzi or Euler,

    Regardless of your personal opinion of wether Cesc should come or not i wanted to get your input on a tactical issue.

    There have been some reports that seem to indicate that Guardiola is planning a three man back line (Alves, Pique, Abi) in order to incorporate Cesc to the starting lineup. I have been thinking about this. I partly believe this is hardly true and that Pep really wants Cesc to share minutes with the otrher midfields because of the long season and Xavi’s potentially tired legs and tedonitis. But I was wondering what would be the tactical advantages of such a line up. for example a


    I can see obvious advantages like even more dominance in the midfield. But wouldn’t this take away some of the width that Alves creates as a FB?
    I could also see Alves continuing to go forward and Alexis on the other side while Busi could drop back to keep a three man back line.

    Anyway, discuss.

    • July 4, 2011

      First thing first, General observation:

      I am one of the rare fans of the 3-5-2 (customized). First time I arrived to Sweden the Sport director of the 4th division team I coached was shocked with disbelief when I told him -after few training sessions- that I’ll base my tactics on that. Sweden is a very Rigid 4-4-2 country.

      My version of 3-5-2 has specific requirements though, which makes it inapplicable for many squads. you need a LB/LCB player who can do both. And you need a RB/RCB player who can do both. A Libero, and a holding midfielder capable of dropping to a CB position. And you need two offense oriented wingbacks or you have to train wingers to play as wingback (That’s a normal procedure in football).

      If you hold a checklist and tick boxes, you can safely say Barca has it all (Beside the forwards complexity). And that’s why I mentioned many times that I would like to see us playing this system sometimes. The main flaws for such system are:

      1) Overlapping the wingbacks or playing the ball in the space behind them creating a confusion where the opponent striker intentional move toward the CB closer to the offense process. For example when a team attack the right flank, their free forward movement is planned in a way to force the RCB to check him instead of opening to the right flank, keeping the SW and the LCB unemployed.

      To solve this, I used to change the traditional consept where the left wingback is the first to check his flank when the ball is lost (most of the time opponents attack the flank where the wingback is too advanced to track back). I used to ask the wingback on the opposite flank -closer to the defense line- to act as a fullback (say left back), giving the RCB the chance to open to the flank directly as a right back and leave two center backs (creating a 4 defense line similar to the 4-4-2) regardless of the opponent tricks. and Vise versa. As an emergency option, if both wingbacks are not ready to step in, the DM move to defense to force the RCB or LCB to play as a fullback without concerns in the center. In this case a CM move to DM role assisted by the retreating wingbacks to create a line of three in front of the defense line

      That’s why you need Center backs capable of playing as fullbacks.

      2) The excess of defenders: Most of the times, teams like Barcelona need to deal with one forward while in possession. It is waste of resources to have three center backs to check one forward.

      Thats where a libero prove being useful as in such cases he can move forward to the holding midfield aria leaving the RCB and the LCB to check the forward. This help closing spaces in the midfield and make the libero and the holding midfielder in the receiving end of the opponent’s defense clearance, which minimize counters threat.

      Based on that, I won’t mind to see this(sometimes -not always- just to avoid the predictability of the standard formation and when the game requires):



      *Though you need a Llorente type here

      And for the record, this is a very offense oriented selection, don’t let the lines mislead you.

      Yet, I dont think the selection you suggested is realistic. Alves is not a RCB, so the team will not only lose his offense contribution but will also put him where he can safely perform catastrophically. The idea of releasing him to offense from that position is not possible either as the defense will be two exposed to counters.

      In the other hand, if we track Iniesta’s scoring records, it is safe to know why I prefer to keep him closer to the box than that selection suggest. Regardless of the fact that Xavi,Iniesta, and Cesc are too many and too similar for the central role needed. If one of them would be able to create areal threat in the box I would consider. Keita in many ways is better than Cesc in that selection. But generally speaking, I cant see Pep going for this one.

    • Gogah
      July 5, 2011

      Add Coentrao in there for another 30 million for EE..
      Jesus Christ!

  24. According to reports from Ucraine we’re very close in signing
    Yaroslav Rakitskiy Shakhatar 21 year old defender! In wikipedia they have him as a player of Barcelona!

    Here is a video of him..ehm scoring goals ;p he seems fast but i cant really tell

    and here’s an aarticle with Pep’s opinion about him

    Does anyone remember him from the two games against us?!

  25. July 4, 2011

    As for the above post, I think it looks great on paper, but may be to attacking. Usually in a 3 defender formation, 2 if not 3 ar CB’s. Asking Dani to stay back is difficult. It could work if Busi dropped w/ Pique, and we always kept one FB back, but then I think we lose a mid field stopper, who connects the mids w/ the defense? Xaxi? I think that is to deep for him.

    Also for Euler, I was impressed w/ the LB for Brazil today, he is stronger offensivly that Abidal, and seems a capable defender…your thought on his performance today, would he fit w/ us?

    • tutomate
      July 4, 2011

      That’s what I was thinking. Good points.

  26. Vj
    July 4, 2011

    Santos? No way. Abidal is waaay more stronger offensively. Case in point, against Athletic in the CdR 2nd leg..

    • barca96
      July 4, 2011

      I didn’t watch the match but if Im not mistaken the LB for Brazil is Bastos.

        • July 4, 2011

          I disagree, Abi (who I love) is not more offensive in my opinion. Plus I was assuming Abi playing more central next year. To point to one game that Abi is more offensive than Santos is nuts. With Fenerbache, Santos has scored 9 goals in 52 games….Come on, it’s not even a competition offensivly. Having said all that, Abi is a lockdown defender, and fits into our system perfectly. Also he is humble and loves Barca, not to mention he is an emotional leader. I LOVE ABI, but Santos is a more offensivly proficient player.

  27. To mods :
    Is there a reason why you erased my post about the shakhtar defender?
    too many links?

    • Eklavya
      July 4, 2011

      If your comment contains more than one link, then it awaits moderation.

  28. flyzowee
    July 4, 2011

    You really wonder what Pozzo and barca are talking about…..
    These guys have been negotiating forever.

    So frustrating……

  29. K_legit
    July 4, 2011

    I am currently partially intoxicated on the fermented malt extract we synthesized in the lab (read: lab scale beer) and I have to say this: WE HAVE WON TEN TROPHIES IN THREE SEASONS..BE HAPPY..WE WILL WIN MORE!
    There has not been a better team in which to be a Culé and that is the truth

    Visca Barça!!!

    • mom4
      July 4, 2011

      Ah, better living through chemistry. Our professors never let us brew any beverages 🙁 I do remember having fun freezing things in LN2 and breaking them on the organometallic chem lab’s floor, though. Good Times!

      And Happy 4th of July to all BFBers in the US!

  30. barca96
    July 4, 2011

    An American woman football player just appeared on EspnNews channel called “Hope Solo”. She really looks like one of the Kardashian girls.

    What on earth is wrong with Bellerin? How can he spend half his life at Barca but idolize Ronaldo instead of someone who is like him, brought up the Barca way, Messi??? It really baffles me. Out of all people, he idolizes someone who really is the opposite of Barca.

    Here is the excerpts thanks to Barcastuff
    Bellerin (youth Arsenal): “My idols? Cristiano Ronaldo, and off the pitch Iniesta. Since I play as full-back, also Alves and Gareth Bale.”

    • Eklavya
      July 4, 2011

      Man, you’re annoying. A person is free to idolise whoever he wants. It’s not a crime against humanity to be a fan of Ronaldo.

      • Noslehcimretep
        July 4, 2011

        Indeed. He already has 2 idols from Barca, and one undisputed baller in Bale. If I was a professional footballer I’d see a lot to idolize in TB as well. Truth be told it doesn’t matter how much he dives around, the left middy in me will always have a soft spot for Di Maria when he’s playing in crosses.

  31. Sheena
    July 4, 2011

    via barcastuff: Barcelona have made a 12M bid for Shaktar Donetsk centre back and UKR international Yaroslav Rakitskiy (21). [ukrainian media via sport]

    Well that came out of nowhere. Probably just a rumour, but this feels like Chygrynskiy all over again.

    • Jnice
      July 4, 2011

      Impressed with what I’ve seen of Rakitskiy besides his tenacious defending, he has a great left foot. Really great technique and touch for a defender, but his contract expires in 2013. Shakhtar’s president would never sell one of their most promising Ukrainian defenders for 12m. Smells like a rumor to me.

  32. mom4
    July 4, 2011

    Wagner Ribeiro (agent Neymar): “Rosell is in Argentina to see some players. But as for Neymar, now it’s not the time to discuss talks.” [iq]
    For the love of all that is messi in this world, NO!!! Not Neymar #keepvestuariohappy

    Barcelona have made a 12M bid for Shaktar Donetsk centre back and UKR international Yaroslav Rakitskiy (21). [ukrainian media via sport]
    Things that make you say… hmmmm?!

  33. Xingxian
    July 4, 2011


    “The Maradona Myth

    Ever since I have been an adult I have heard that Maradona won the 1986 World Cup all by himself. The tall tale gets taller with every single generation. “Maradona played with ten bums.”

    Oh really?

    This myth has been promulgated too long. It’s their blind romanticism with Diego that has led them to such ignoramus remarks. I guess Jorge Valdano was such a bum, Real Madrid wanted him. Jorge Burruchaga was the leading scorer of the 1983 Copa América as well as a Copa Lib and Intercontinental Cup winner. Oh, by the way he scored the game-winner against Germany at the Azteca.

    Even Batista was a top flight midfielder for Argentinos Juniors when they won the Copa Lib in 1985 and took Juventus to the limit in Japan. José Luis Brown was plying his craft at Atético Nacional and people forget his injury in the Germany match where he played with his arm stuck to his body to give that final push. Oscar Ruggeri was one of the finest central defenders in the game. His play at River Plate helped solidify that team into a Copa Lib winner in 1986 and would then move to Real Madrid.

    Other players that were not necessarily starters like Claudio Borghi were among some of the best players in the Argentine league as well. Also players that had little influence as was the case with Ricardo Bochini and Daniel Passarella were on that side. Passarella was just along for the ride- a torturous ride at that- to the finals.

    This myth is so ingrained into Argentine football lore that they now expect Messi to single-handedly win games. If he has not won games in that manner at Barcelona, what makes Argentines really think it’s going to happen on a team that literally sits and waits to see what he is going to do next?”

    Are there any Argentines here who can weigh in on this?

    • July 4, 2011

      I followed Argentina 1986, and I’m obviously a fan of Maradona’s talent.

      They wouldn’t have won it without Maradona, that’s a given. But it is true that there were quality players, and most importantly an established system- in that team.

  34. blitzen
    July 4, 2011

    Official: Centre back Andreu Fontas is definitely promoted to the first team this summer. His buyout clause is now 30M. #fcblive

    😀 😀 😀

    • blitzen
      July 4, 2011

      So with the promotion official, we have a core CB team of Pique, Puyol, Abi, & Fontas, with Milito’s exit still unconfirmed (and if you believe the quote I saw earlier, he may be staying after all). Busquets and Mascherano can also fill in as needed, plus Bartra can be called up at any time. That’s not too shabby.

    • astrosa
      July 4, 2011

      Remember our dialogue a few posts back on this topic of announcing first team play for Fontas and Thiago? Turns out you were right regarding Thiago, as he’s now posted on the official squad page of the first team:

      “For the 2011-12 season, Thiago has been made a full first team squad member, after signing a contract renewal in June 2011 which will keep him at the Club until 2015.”

      My face lit up to see both of their faces there!

      • astrosa
        July 4, 2011

        Also interesting that it says:

        Number: to be decided

  35. Jnice
    July 4, 2011

    The Bojan to Roma deal seems to be a wrap.

    Walter Sabatini (Roma) explica en @lagraderia que hoy o mañana se cierra definitivamente el traspaso de Bojan a la Roma via EduPolo

    Sabatini (Roma sports director) told Ona FM that the transfer of Bojan to Roma could be finalized today or tomorrow.

    See ya later, Bobo.

      • Xingxian
        July 4, 2011

        Kari, is the possibility of a toughened (and possibly physically bulkier [which I just find funny to imagine]) Bojan coming back to our team with new abilities/attributes to deal with physical defenders any consolation? I know I can’t count on it but I like the potential…

        • tutomate
          July 4, 2011

          If a Bojan that doesn’t fall at the slightest of touches returns I’ll be happy. Note that I don’t think Bojan dives he just falls because he is small and has a defetist boyish attitude. He needs to become a man.

        • July 4, 2011

          Bojan coming back to our team with new abilities/attributes to deal with physical defenders any consolation

          That’s if he does well and that’s the thing — I don’t think he will.

          It’s not a secret that offensive players struggle in Serie A. That’s why when there is a forward that scores many goals there (many goals in Serie A = >15) they are hailed as the Next Big Thing. It’s more tactical (read: defensive) than La Liga. If Bojan’s being pushed off the ball by u-21 defenders who’ve got nuthin’ on Italian defenders….

          Not to mention Luis Enrique won’t be using the exact same system as Barca, so the “knows the system” argument is null. Things like that need time, and everyone has to buy into it. As Lou pointed out a while back, Bojan comes as Lucho’s player and the veterans there who may oppose Lucho will target him.

          True, it gets him out of the pressure at Barca but it doesn’t really matter because he’ll be under even more pressure at Roma as he’ll be starting every game and people will look to him to score. Gives him more responsibility? Sure. Too much IMO? Definitely. The “he came from Barca so he must be some attacking monster” tag will weigh him down.

          The positives is that he’ll get playing time and he won’t be babied, but under pressure to score and do well, it’ll either make him or break whatever’s left of him.

          If he sold, I don’t think he’ll be coming back. That makes me sad. But that’s how it is in the world of football, I guess.

          I hope he does well and tears it up. I really do. Bojangles has so much potential.

          • July 4, 2011

            I should add: a Liga team, Villarreal to be more specific, would have been a much, much better move. I’d actually have endorsed that if they were the team being talk to instead of Roma. CL football + the direct nature of Villarreal would have really suited Bojan. Although I don’t think Barca would strengthen their direct rivals like that, nor do I think Bojan would want to play in the same league as Barca.

          • blitzen
            July 4, 2011

            as he’ll be starting every game

            I very much doubt he will be anywhere close to starting every game. At least, Totti, Borriello, and Vucinic may have something to say about that. He will be very much a junior member of the squad. The idea is for him to grow and learn, not to be dropped into another deep end.

            • July 4, 2011

              The idea is for him to grow and learn, not to be dropped into another deep end.

              Again, that’s what I think will happen. I really hope it doesn’t, but I think it will.

              Roma are desperate and really are a club in crisis; they aren’t even playing CL football this year. More than that, the Sensi family (the owners) have changed hands with another owner and it’s that transitional stage. It’s just a mess, and the new owners hope to breathe new life into the team. That’s why they’ve decided to take a gamble and hire Lucho, hoping he’ll be their Pep. There are problems with that reasoning.

              Bojan needs playing time. That’s his big issue and the only thing I can see him agreeing to go to a club in a different country that operates in a different language is that guareentee of regular playing time. How will he grow and learn if he doesn’t play? His entourage will no doubt be using that argument and it’s an argument similar to this one that got Bojan in this mess in the first place (when the B team got relegated to the third division and they threatened to leave if the club didn’t promote him).

              He won’t be a junior member. That’s what he was here. People want him to be a “man”; he’ll be given the responsibility of one. Is it fair? Depends on which side of the debate you’re on.

              At least, Totti, Borriello, and Vucinic may have something to say about that

              That’s the problem. They are the veterans (well, Totti definitely is, and Vicinic can be considered one, methinks) that need to buy into what Lucho does. Of course they won’t want change or anyone endangering their playing time. They are big figures in the dressing room. Mehopes they let Lucho do his thing, but there is gonna be some resistance. Will their egos allow what’s best for Roma? I can see Totti doing it, but Vucinic and Borriello? Nope.

              I’m skeptical. I wish I thought this would be a good move, but there are just too much misgivings. [insert a long suffering sigh here]

          • Xingxian
            July 4, 2011

            It’s more tactical (read: defensive)
            I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO ASK WHAT THAT WORD MEANT IN THIS CONTEXT, so thank you VERY much for answering. *exhale*

            I kept reading/hearing that Serie A focuses on ‘tactics’. The ‘most tactical’ league. “They” said: English soccer focuses on physicality (which I interpreted and saw on my own as more leniency from refs on contact), Spanish soccer focuses on technique (which I interpreted and saw on my own as a bigger focus on getting the most out of a star’s individual moment of brilliance), and Italian soccer focuses on tactics (which I interpreted and saw on my own as… wait, what?)

            I didn’t really get it. I’d watch Serie A and see no more great tactics OR strategy. Just a lot fewer goals. That didn’t seem like there was more intellectual genius, just more defensive play. Though I did wonder if maybe I was just ignorant and being too new to soccer to appreciate the subtleties of catenaccio. As offensive as this may perhaps be to fans of Serie A, I seriously hope your statement is correct (that ‘tactics’ is slang for defensive play) because it’d make something that’s confused me for a few months make SENSE.

          • Xingxian
            July 4, 2011

            (from wikipedia)
            “Real Catenaccio is no longer used in the modern football world…
            One frequent mistake is to define Catenaccio as any defensive tactical system used by a football team. This is actually untrue, because Catenaccio is just one of the possible defensive tactics which can be used.”

            Oops. Definitely made that mistake in my post, because that’s what I meant. I feel extra silly because I HAD read some time ago that Catenaccio wasn’t synonymous with defensive football and I guess my brain just deleted it, so I can’t even really use ignorance as an excuse. Gogo being forgetful!

          • ak
            July 5, 2011

            Although I don’t think Barca would strengthen their direct rivals like that

            Not really direct rivals nowadays. And not really strengthening.

  36. beeeef
    July 4, 2011

    Serie A is a whole other world.

    From the way the Italians play the game to the culture surrounding the sport; it’s just different from Spain.

    Bojan is going to need to learn quick. That being said, I think he’s going to get plenty of chances. Totti is a great player, but he’s 34. One potential injury away from retirement. Menez is a talented attacker, but a better diver, and will possibly move on this summer. Vucinic has been at odds with the fans for some time now, and his notoriously inconsistent form, combined with reports that he wants to leave, mean that he might be gone as well. Borriello may have a strong ego, but I think L.E. will do his best to tame that.

  37. Dani_el
    July 4, 2011

    This a great story about Hugo Sotil, former striker for Barça in the 70’s, he scored in the 0 – 5 victory of Barça against Madrid in the Bernabeu.

    It says that Sotil escaped from Barça, seeing that they didnt have a game that weekend, to come to south america to play for Peru, winning the final of the Copa America against Colombia, he also explains that in those times, the club decided if they gave permission to the player to go represent their national team, in that particular time, Netherlands had a game against Italy, and Cruyff wasnt given permision to go. Sotil also explains that he didn’t do it for money, in those times they didnt earn anything by playing in their national team (today the peruvian federation pays each player to represent our national team). Sotil scored the wining goal for Peru that time. Sotil went back to Barcelona expecting some kind of punishment, instead the directive congratulated him for the Copa America, and gave him 2 days off. Peru vs Uruguay in less than 2 hours! .)

  38. Judas Pissed
    July 4, 2011

    Fontas being promoted is brilliant news. A 21 year old 6ft 1in ball playing centre half from one of the top Liga Adelante sides with extensive experience of Barcas system & play. He is THE best centre half we could have signed!

    • Jnice
      July 4, 2011

      He is THE best centre half we could have signed!

      Nah, not really. Big fan of Fontas, though, and I already counted him as permanently promoted, so this news doesn’t surprise me.

      • nzm
        July 5, 2011

        Yes – it wasn’t surprising at all.

        Fontas has been listed as a first team member on the FCB website for a few months now.

  39. Judas Pissed
    July 4, 2011

    Perfect for the first team & will stop fans whinging that we are not spending a fortune on a defender who won’t fit in…

    • dennise
      July 4, 2011

      hm, I have YET to see, what stops fans from whining… 🙂

  40. Dani_el
    July 4, 2011

    Guerrero scores for Peru! Peru 1 Uruguay 0!

  41. July 4, 2011

    GOOOOOL de Peru!

    Yeah! It’s because I wished them luck! 😀

    Too bad I can’t catch the rest. Vamos Peru! Get a second!

    • Dani_el
      July 4, 2011

      Nicely done, and on the counter attack! that doesnt happen a lot with peru! Beautiful assist from Guevara.

  42. beeeef
    July 4, 2011

    Hmm.. if Sanchez doesn’t perform brilliantly, I blame Jnice.

  43. simple_barcafan
    July 4, 2011

    must say, even though Mexico is playing with a depleted squad, Chile are playing quite well…One of the more entertaining games of the copa so far…

  44. simple_barcafan
    July 4, 2011

    Mexico scores!!!against the run of play..

  45. July 4, 2011

    It’s the Copa de Underdogs, eh? Bolivia, Peru, and now u-22 Mexico.

    It’s all Sanchez’ fault for missing that early chance! Take 4m off his transfer fee! 😀

    • outerspacedout
      July 4, 2011

      You forgot Venezuela, who drew Brazil.

      • July 4, 2011

        No, I didn’t. Venezuela didn’t score, so I didn’t include them, but it was a great defensive performance though.

  46. Nav
    July 4, 2011

    Grondona (president ARG federation): “Messi never plays bad, those who are playing bad are the players around him.” [radio la plata via efe]



  47. July 4, 2011

    That was sexy, Chile. #secondtimeI’vesaidthat.

    Chupete Suazo, GTFO.

  48. July 4, 2011

    Yo, this Mexico u-22 is pretty boss for a team that had EIGHT players suspended last minute.

    Gio, oh, what could have been…

    • July 4, 2011


      Go-freakin’-lazo by Vidal! Who played in the U-20 WC in 2007!

      He Puyol’d the hell out of that ball.

  49. July 4, 2011

    Matias? What happened? Why are you off? NOOOOOOOO. #hasasoftspotforMatigol

  50. tutomate
    July 4, 2011

    So its 2-1 Chile at the 81st minute and though Alexis has not been having a great game their is a lot to like about him.

    I did not expect too much because the first game of every tourney is very hard to gauge because the players are nervous and most teams come out not to lose rather than to win. Which is why I think the opening games in each group have been so poor.

    First I as Jnice has said more than once. The pressure he puts on teams when he does not have the ball is tremendous. In this game alone he recovered balls high up the pitch just from pure pressure and tenacity. This will be something very useful as our entire front line has to pressure.

    Second even though he is quite small he is also very strong and he uses his center of gravity quite well.

    Third his first touch is very good to good.

    His passing is very acurate.

    He is fast.

    And he can more often than not get passed his man.

    Now this Mexico team is definitely not the best team to rate anyone against.But even so there were many positives in his game.

    He also had some instances where he lacked concentration, became desperate made some bad decisions. Their were a few occasions where I felt he should have passed it to someone in a better position instead of taking the shot and there was other times where he should have shot instead of making an unnecessary pass. Also his first chance at goal where he missed was unforgivable. He needs to put those into the back of the net.

    • July 4, 2011


      He plays out wide for Chile, so it’s nice to get to see him there rather than in the centre where he plays for Udinese.

  51. July 4, 2011

    FT 2-1 Chile. Best game of the Copa America by far. (I’ve only seen a handful).

    Chile are so nice, but I’m still going with Argentina. If I wasn’t…

    If you watch this game, you’ll get an idea of how Sanchez will link up with Dani (sub him for Isla in your mind). His workrate is incredible as well. He’s been taking his Pedro!! pills today, it seems. I also like how he maintains discipline out wide, resisting the urge to drift central. Some very nice passes as well.

    A misgiving is his tendency to try to dribble his way out of a mess rather than side foot a pass to a teammate, but he’ll learn. And then there’s the finishing. But the upside’s huge.

    We want him for 26 + 11m variables? Make it 20m + 6m and we have a deal…

  52. July 4, 2011

    I love Fontas, I see him as a Pique type defender (positioning on the ball & Ability to bring the ball forward) and Busi (calmness on the ball, cool under pressure).

    • Jnice
      July 4, 2011

      I saw that earlier and I also just saw Sport portraying Wenger as the evil traitor. 😀

      I said the same thing to someone on twitter, it’s just like last summer. Wenger and Cesc will have another talk, Cesc will be too afraid to take a stronger stance and poof, he stays.

      Looks like I may win my bets….

      • July 4, 2011

        Oh, Sport. 😆

        Still, he might have learned from last year and say, “no, this time I really want…to….yes. Yes, I do love Arsenal but…fine. Okay. I’ll stay.”

        The convo will take approx. 5 min. longer.

        • July 4, 2011

          The most ridiculous aspect of this whole transfer saga is how Arsenal fans still believe that Fabregas has shown exemplary character throughout this whole thing. Cesc’s behavior has been nothing short of irresponsible and immature. He is primarily to blame for most of the sickening drama surrounding this ordeal. He could have put the kibosh on all the rumors by coming out like an adult and making some clear god-damned statements. Except his behavior can be summed up thusly:

          1) Tell friends and family that I want to move to Barcelona. Father/friends/teammates (both Spanish and Arsenal) “Cesc wants to go back home to Barcelona.”
          2) Tell British press that I am happy at Arsenal. “I owe so much to Wenger and this club.”
          3) Avoid making a firm decision either way. “Gee I hope everyone still loves meeeeeee.”

          It’s obvious he wants to appease Gunners, and he’s been apparently quite successful in avoiding seeming as two-faced as he actually has been over the last few summers. You’re a grown ass man, Cesc Fabregas, and if you do indeed transfer to Barcelona, you better start acting like it, Legos notwithstanding.

  53. Blow-Grenade
    July 4, 2011

    Chile is an exciting team. I had fun watching their game tonight. It was their midfield play, and work rate that was amazing. They played like a complete team with every player pitching in. Definitely not impressed by Sanchez, especially for the amount that is being mentioned for his transfer.

  54. July 4, 2011

    I really hope people aren’t going to jump to quick impressions on Sanchez based on a sample size of 1 match where he had a bad miss.

    He’s 22. Not 28. His game is far from complete.

    Right now he is not a pure goal scorer. Cule’s should not expect that. His strength is the array of physical and technical skills he has both offensively and defensively. He’s a wonderful creative player – but he’s not a dead on finisher right now.

    Pep is wagering that Sanchez is going to grow into that goal scoring role as he matures. He’s gambling that he’s going to get a player with tremendous physical talent, high work rate, technical talent and creative vision on the pitch who will ultimately become a strong goal scorer as well.

    But Sanchez is not a finished product by any means. And if he does come he’s going to have a major adjustment period this season. It’ll be good for him to come off the bench and integrate in a controlled fashion.

    Another point I keep seeing around the internet is about Sanchez’s position – central vs. wide.

    It is true that he really blossomed playing centrally behind Natale in the second half of the season.

    But just because messi is here doesn’t mean that Sanchez will be forced to stay out wide all the time.

    Barca does not play traditional wingers in any way. Sanchez is going to pinch in as it is to make room for Dani on the overlap.

    And on top of that he is going to likely play a right-center role. He will spend a significant time in the center of the pitch as a point of reference to link up with when Messi drops deep.

    If you want to make a big deal about one game Sanchez has played I suggest you take a look at the game he played against Lazio at the end of the season. It was a huge game because Udinese’s spot in the CL was up for grabs. That game demonstrated Sanchez’s game very well.

  55. July 4, 2011

    One other thing on Sanchez’s miss – it was clearly a poor finish.

    But on that play look at how he timed that run. And then look at the separation he got from the defender as he just ran right by him through the channel. He burned through the backline with his pace.

    Barca don’t have a forward who can do that right now.

    Combine that kind of pace running the channels with Messi’s ability to thread diagonal through balls from deep… It has a great deal of promise.

    If he comes Pep is making another wager to drive Barca to another level of greatness rather than trying to fit a more immediate need.

    • Blow-Grenade
      July 5, 2011

      Sanchez does have good pace. He is able to exploit his pace when he finds room to run. That is clearly his strong point.
      Let us see how it all pans out. Barca still have to officially sign him.

  56. simple_barcafan
    July 5, 2011

    I can’t believe this cesc saga…I seriously can’t…The thing to ponder is :Is he so important/ do we so desperately need him, that an extremely successful club (currently arguably the best) like Barca, season after season pursue him (with enormous amounts of money) earning the wrath/annoyance of both fans of both clubs involved, which might tarnish the club’s image in the long run…I have heard people say a club is greater than any player, but…

  57. culegirl3
    July 5, 2011

    I’m over Fabregas! Sanchez and Aguero are the people we need to get our claws into 😀

    This Fabregas saga needs to come to a close. IMO if he doesn’t come this summer then FORGET HIM for good. This kid obviously lacks the cajones, he must be delusional if he thinks everything will sort itself out without him lifting a finger. He doesn’t want to piss anyone off by putting in a transfer request or holding a press conference and announcing to the world that he wants to go back home but surprise surprise he’s pissing people off anyways. Put your big boy pants on Cesc, be a man and admit what it is that you wan’t or just shut up. Either way if this kid isn’t doing his part, I don’t see why we should chase after him. We’ve got Thiago, the heir apparent to the Xavi throne anyways!

    Something totally not Barcelona related but I just had to ask for peoples opinion…I’ve read on various Spanish sites that the useless one is supposedly going to take the captaincy away from Casillas. I’m in no way a EE fan but am a great admirer of Iker….its kind of an insult to that holy madridismo isn’t it? Taking away the captains armband from the one player who came from the cantera and wasn’t sold to buy a superstar. EE has a really messed up way of treating the greats…look at how they treated Del Bosque…and the way Guti and Raul left(more like forced to leave with a foot kicking ’em through the door), without even being able to give the fans a goodbye..I’m ALMOST embarrassed for EE and their minions.

    • barca96
      July 5, 2011

      the useless one

      Who do you mean is getting it? Cristiano is the only one I can think of getting the arm band but he wasn’t even the vice-captain wasn’t he?

      • outerspacedout
        July 5, 2011

        I see Ramos as a much much much likelier captain for EE than Ronaldo. He’s been a vice-captain for years now and he’s one of the longest-serving members in the team. Ronaldo is their star, not their captain. Ramos or maybe even Alonso I see as likelier a choice for them than Ronaldo.

        Of course I personally don’t think they’ll take the captaincy from Iker. I really doubt it. It would not go over well with them at all.

        • July 5, 2011

          Xabi Alonso would be a better bet, Ramos is too hotheaded and, lets face it, dumb to be a captain.

    • blitzen
      July 5, 2011

      I don’t believe that story about Mou taking the captaincy away from Casillas. He may prefer to have a field player wear the armband, but he’s not stupid enough to do something like that. It would be a public relations disaster. The fans would turn against him. Casillas is THE symbol of RM now in the way Raul used to be.

    • Ryan
      July 5, 2011

      Just so you know, the word you’re thinking of is “cojones.” Unless you think Cesc lacks furniture rather than manly anatomy. 🙂

      • culegirl3
        July 5, 2011

        lol I should have just typed balls! I had one too many celebrating the 4th yesterday:-D

  58. I have asked over on twitter and I want to ask here as well since blogs do allow more collaborate answers..
    So what do we do if Arsenal+Udineze stand firm? Do we do the same and make a point while losing our prime transfer targets or do we pay up??

    • barca96
      July 5, 2011

      I would just pay up to give us more chances to get another CL. In the summer of 2009 we didn’t really make good additions and we paid the price for it, CL-wise.

      Cesc and Sanchez could make a great difference.

    • can_we_go_Xalvies
      July 5, 2011

      If thats the case, if you are to go over budget to buy these players then we are taking a big risk there.

      In my opinion, its best we weigh up the risk of paying over budget for a player or risk buying an alternative player who is less desirable and has less certainty.

      Either way we are taking a risk, whether it pays off or not is up to the team, Pep and staff.

  59. Judas Pissed
    July 5, 2011

    Pay up. We earned over €100million apparently just by winning the Champions League & that was not included in the budget at the start of the season.

    • Vj
      July 5, 2011

      We blew most of it on bonuses. So there’s that..

      • outerspacedout
        July 5, 2011

        I don’t believe that. Rosell is doing some creative accounting to make us seem faaaar more in the red than we actually are. The we made a loss from winning the CL cos of the bonuses we had to give out I do not believe that not one bit, it’s just an excuse to not have to account for ‘but won’t that influx make the current debt not as oh so horrible as before so we dont have to cut costs everywhere else’ questions.

        I’m not saying that out of blind optimism. See, Rosell and co made a promise that Barcelona would be debt-free, the most financially healthy club in the world and able to make 100mil transfers if they wished in years. Of course that is exaggerated, but a lot of his entire point depends on that he will get us in the black and sustainably so.

        And with our outlay and transfer spending and wages and everything, there is no way in hell our revenue is going to increase so radically and so enormously, that the cutting costs on toner is going to cut our costs so hugely, that we’re going to go from the oh-noes mountains and mountains of debt to rude health in a couple of years or even four years. It’s impossible. Our financial situation is definitely much much better than they let on. They’re bullshitting to look like heroes who pulled off a literal miracle job when it’s actually probably more like just some steady cuts and our increasing revenue due to our huge recent success and enormous increased exposure eventually and soon making us sustainable.

        Clubs that are actually in a pinch are the ones making broke-ass signings, like United in the past couple summers, Liverpool before the new owners, or Milan until last year or many other big European clubs. They’re huge, massive clubs. We have a 50mil transfer kitty because we have money, period. And it’s not because of our socio system or Spain propping us up because we’re one of the big two, because even some years back we actually didn’t have a good financial situation so we made much less costly signings regularly than say Madrid at the same time period.

  60. K_legit
    July 5, 2011

    Love how this post is cataloged under ‘Tactics” and “Nonsense”.

    • blitzen
      July 5, 2011

      But why am I seeing it twice? Why am I seeing it twice?

  61. y2k156
    July 5, 2011

    Sid Lowe is reporting that Coentrao is snapped up by Madrid. I guess he will mainly play as left back and Marcelo most probably move up to compete with Di Maria as winger in 4-2-3-1 formation. I think its a smart signing.

    So EE has gotten stronger in two of the positions where it was weak last year. God forbid Cronaldo actually starts to pass to his team mates and they can even challange us.

    I do not like EE and hate Mou but have to say that they have played the transfer market well. As against the protracted sagas in which we have been involved in.

    • I don’t think that both Marcelo and Coentrao can play together except only when they face Barca.

    • outerspacedout
      July 5, 2011

      They are weird. Marcelo was very good. Okay the argument that much of their season most likely counts on their games head-to-head against us especially in CL and thus even making their LB spot that leeetle otherwise-unnecessary bit stronger is a good one.

      But who do they play? After such a good season for Marcelo does he become a benchwarmer now? Di Maria is much more dangerous as a forward than Marcelo and also has a high workrate, so does HE get benched? Does Coentrao play somewhere odd like right-back with Ramos moving to the middle? What about the problem of juggling Kaka, Di Maria, Oezil, Higuain, Benzema, Callejon, etc for three of four available forward spots (Ronaldo fixed in line-up)? Especially if they buy another big-money forward as is being said, then? Especially since the whole point of all these big-money signings is to beat the big boys since their current team can smash everyone else and against the big boys such as us they play a destroyer in midfield so that’ll be Di Maria, Oezil, Kaka, Higuain, Benzema, possible big-money forward etc all fighting for only two of three forward spots (Ronaldo still fixed starter)? Do they sell Kaka and one of Higuain or Benzema, which seems ridiculous considering Higuain’s history and Benzema’s form last season? What about Sahin? Even without any anti-Madrid bias that team seems like a massive bloated mess right now unless a LOT of people are sold.

      • blitzen
        July 5, 2011

        I see Ramos as definitely moving to the middle. Mou already played him there a bit last season. I don’t think it is his best position, mind you, but I don’t see how else they can all fit into the team.

        Pretty sure Kaka is on his way out. Too much competition for his position, and he hasn’t impressed since he came back from his injury.

  62. outerspacedout
    July 5, 2011

    Benfica confirm agreement in principle with Real Madrid for Coentrao.

      • some other sources say its 30 mil but Benfica will pay 10 for Garay so its actually 20… If thats the truth then benfica continues to be giving money in madrid all the time..after the 7 mil for a castilla CF that they immediately shipped to Bolton on loan…now the are willing to give 10 mil for injury plagued Garay?

  63. blitzen
    July 5, 2011

    Paul Scholes on Barcelona:

    Barcelona exert something of a monopoly on brilliance and Scholes was brutally frank about the disappointment of United’s defeat in the Champions League final to the Spaniards in May. “It was bad. We felt we were a million miles away from them. Bridging the gap with Barcelona is definitely the manager’s biggest challenge now.

    “The biggest thing about Barcelona players is their unselfishness. Messi is the one who scores 50 goals a year but, among the group, he is not the big star. They are just an unselfish team in which not one of them is out for glory.”

    From the Guardian.

  64. blitzen
    July 5, 2011

    Tim Stannard: Slow news month at the Camp Nou. Only story of money changing hands and a Barça player involves Jonathan dos Santos. 😆

    Seriously, though, I don’t know why everyone is freaking out that we haven’t signed anyone yet. It’s only the beginning of July, there is plenty of time left. Right now the club seems to be tying up loose ends with current players (has Abidal signed his renewal yet, btw?). Pedro, Thiago, Fontas, all nailed down. Roma deal for Bojan almost done. Jeffren’s situation under discussion.

    Yes, RM has jumped into the transfer market with both feet, but as outerspaced mentioned above, that team currently looks like a bloated mess. Out of their 5 transfers, only Nuri Sahin and Coentrao are really top quality players. Neither of whom we were interested in. Barça has identified a few key transfer targets and is working steadily to make them happen. Rosell has made it clear that he is not going to just throw money around. You may not agree with his negotiating style, but at least he hasn’t wasted money on players who were never likely to be good enough for the team in the first place (Henrique, Keirrison).

    Be patient. I expect we will have some concrete news by the end of this week.

  65. Olufestus
    July 5, 2011

    Let ’em buy anyone the want to buy,and play the 4:3:3 against the malagas,getafe e.t.c,and when they meet us,all this KAKA,SAHIN,CONTREAO,HIGUAIN will all be benched in favour of the ARBELOAS AND PEPES’ in mou’s favourite 6:3:1 formation .

  66. Jnice
    July 5, 2011

    Wish we had Galliani as our negotiator. Our negotiators have sucked for years.

    • mei
      July 5, 2011

      Way too harsh imo.
      If galliani is responsible for milans current team , I wouldnt say thats a job well done no matter how well some deals have gone because of him.

      • Jnice
        July 5, 2011

        He knows how to get deals done. I’m not judging the quality of their players, just saying that when he is told to go and get a deal done, he does.

        And it’s not harsh at all. Our guys aren’t good negotiators. Sorry, but it’s the truth.

        • Eklavya
          July 5, 2011

          Yeah, and I thought Rosell was supposed to be a good negotiator.

        • mei
          July 5, 2011

          I dont really think it works that way, thats what the “harsh” tag is there about.
          Galliani,isnt solely the negotiator ,thats just one part of his job description.
          His overall responsibility is the final outlook of the squad. Thats what he should be judged upon , me thinks.
          If you got yourself a couple of great deals,some so so and a couple of bad ones(for example papastathopoulos 14million-5overall appearances) and still find yourself with an aging and not particularly sparkling squad, well the “being a good negotiator” attribute has gone obsolete.

    • July 5, 2011

      I would say that our two biggest transfer fiascos of the last few years (Ibra/Eto’o and Chiggy) were more due to the nasty nature of the Laporta/Rosell transition than poor negotiators.

      • blitzen
        July 5, 2011

        I agree. You can’t make any kind of declarations about Rosell’s negotiation skills or lack thereof when no one has actually been signed yet and we have no details on any deals. Based on last season (Adriano, Mascherano, Afellay), he did pretty well.

        I hate that I’m defending Rosell, but have you considered that the protracted nature of the negotiations for, say, Sanchez, may actually be a good thing? Laporta would have just come up with the cash. Rosell is not going to do that and is looking at alternative ways to satisfy all concerned parties. Just because it’s not happening fast enough for the people in here doesn’t mean he’s not doing a good job.

        • tutomate
          July 5, 2011

          If Rosell can get Sanchez and Cesc for the kind of money we have been rumored to have offered then I would say he did a good Job.

        • Jnice
          July 5, 2011

          Didn’t say Laporta was a good negotiator, did I?

          Our negotiators have sucked for years.

          I stand by that.

          • Jnice
            July 5, 2011

            And when I say negotiators, how is that taken to mean Rosell only?

          • blitzen
            July 5, 2011

            Oh, I’m not targeting your statement specifically. It’s just that added to the general whining around here about how we haven’t signed anyone yet, and all the other kids are getting the best toys and there won’t be any left for us is getting a bit much for me. I hate Silly Season!

  67. blitzen
    July 5, 2011

    Official: 8 Juvenil A players are promoted to Barcelona B: S.Gomez, Oriol, Dalmau, Balliu, Gustavo, Espinosa, Rafa, Deulofeu #fcblive

    Great news!!!!!! Especially Rafinha, Espinosa and Deulofeu. 😀

  68. Humphrey Bogart
    July 5, 2011

    I just can not imagine that the club would be prepared to let Bojan and Jeffren leave if we have not somebody in the bag. It would not be stupid, it would be downright criminal if that would be the case.

  69. blitzen
    July 5, 2011

    If we are having this much trouble finding a buyer for Soriano, who had an excellent season, we are never going to offload an injured Hleb.

    • ciaran
      July 5, 2011

      and Milito… with Fontas promoted one must assume that we have absolutely no interest in Milito.
      We could nearly field an entire team of players who we don’t want.
      Henrique, Milito, Maxwell (rumoured), Hleb, Keirrison, Jeffren & Bojan.
      If we could get money for each of those and bring in some reasonable players then I’d be happy.

      If anyone has looked at Marca today, they have a hilarious article about the profitability of Real Madrid’s youth academy in comparison to ours cause they use buy back clauses better. The flip side of that is 3 champions leagues in 6 seasons. I’ll keep our talent thank you

  70. July 5, 2011

    Hleb will leave on a free. Bank on it. Problem children are also Gone Adriano and Keirrison. That’s some 60m that didn’t work out in any way, shape or form. We’ll be lucky to get 10m back from that trio.

    And when a big club buys, that’s a risk. We can’t really afford to speculate as Udinese can. If we had the kind of season that they were giddy over (4th, Champions League qualification), we’re looking for a new coach and selling players, because something clearly sucks. Even second place isn’t good enough. The mandate is silver.

    For me, and those who follow me on Twitter, my contention is that the market can only do two things:

    –Get more expensive
    –Get depleted

    There aren’t that many players that can fit into our system, and have talent sufficient to actually help the club. Players that want to move are thinking about it now, and making choices. They have to.

    Who knows what’s going on behind the scenes, it must be said. For all we know, at this same time tomorrow we might have bought Sanchez, Fabregas and two defenders. Who knows?

    But prima facie, we are chasing two players, and all of our eggs are in one basket (well, two). If one or both (yes, that’s a reality) deals don’t pan out, then what? “Um, sorry Mr. Rossi, can we talk now?”

    Again, prima facie, delaying doesn’t just cost time, it costs options. It also costs the kind of time that (potentially) a player can be spending to bond with his teammates and learn the system. It’s hard to play for us. The physical and mental demands are super intense.

    You see things such as clubs saying “We tried to buy Montoya, but he’s earmarked for the first team,” and you wonder. Because he isn’t ready right now.

    To my view, we need two separate lineups. That’s at least 22 players, and roll out a Copa lineup with, say, Keita, Pinto and 9 non-starters. Then see where the chips fall. That kind of an approach argues for depth. We’re deficient on the back line, and in the attack. If we believe anything about what we read, we’re only addressing one of those two needs.

    Our club needs depth, complicated by the fact that it needs to be quality depth.

    I don’t presume to know whether RoSELL is a good negotiator, or if he is even involved in the process. I rather imagine it’s ZubiZa and Bartomeu, should things get that far. RoSELL probably comes in to deal jefe to jefe, with club presidents.

    But all we’ve done so far is sold Krkic, promoted Fontas and Thiago, renewed Pedro, lost Jose Angel because of dickering over a million or so. Logically, we have to be at work, trying to make signings, and not just the two names most often linked with us these days.

    And for me, even if we sign Fabregas AND Sanchez, it won’t be a good transfer season if we don’t sign at least one defender.

    The club had a very good transfer season last year, so it’s clear we can do it. As of right now, there are no Keirrisons or Hlebs. Let’s keep that qualitative track record going.

    • ciaran
      July 5, 2011

      I’d love a defensive signing but I don’t foresee one, especially if Pep sees Mascherano as CB next season.
      Alves & Montoya for right back
      Pique, Puyol, Masch & Fontas for CB
      Abidal & Adriano & potentially Maxwell for left back.

      Midfield isn’t bad either,
      Busquets & Keita at DM
      Xavi, Iniesta, Cesc and Thiago for the 2 attacking midfield positions.

      Up front then, Jeffren and Bojan are gone so
      Messi, Pedro, Villa, Afellay & Sanchez which, IMO isn’t enough.
      I don’t really see us signing anyone else though, which would mean that we are potentially short, unless we move Iniesta out wide on occasion which will create it’s own problems in midfield depth.

      If this is the case, I expect to see Deulofeu getting bench-time by March//April due to rest/injury/suspensions. I have big hopes for him but it wouldn’t be the first time that youth didn’t pan out.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      July 5, 2011

      But prima facie, we are chasing two players, and all of our eggs are in one basket (well, two). If one or both (yes, that’s a reality) deals don’t pan out, then what? “Um, sorry Mr. Rossi, can we talk now?”

      exactly… Blitzen said above that general whining around here about how we haven’t signed anyone yet is too much for her…
      but there are reasons to whine…

      pre season is getting closer, delaying costs time and options…
      I really hope before pre season matches we already signed the players we NEED…

  71. messi_fan
    July 5, 2011

    I agree with Kxevin about the disadvantages of the drawn out negotiation process. One thing in particular that frustrates me is when it happens like this:

    1) We make it known that we no longer count on a player
    2) Everyone knows we want to offload the player so we get less money. This really hurt us with Ibra, Dinho, Eto’o etc. and will hurt us with people like Hleb and Milito
    3) Now we are without a player at a particular position
    4) Everyone knows we NEED a player at that position so we end up having to pay more.

    • mei
      July 5, 2011

      Well, thats one way of looking at it.
      Another one is that we mostly dont sell people that work in our system, as simple as that(as long as they want to stay with us too).
      People that are getting sold most times simply dont work out in the system, have little time on their contracts left and get paid too much.
      Ibra dinho and etoo ,the players that you mentioned all tick the above boxes.
      Dinho, in particular was a pretty good deal considering form,attitude and wages.

  72. beeeef
    July 5, 2011

    If we couldn’t even cough up a measly 4m for a talent like Jose Angel, I’m not sure that indicates the club is putting defensive reinforcements high on their priority list.
    Too bad, since lack of depth could have caused us to lose the double this season.

    Might get lucky again. Or Fontas has a breakthrough season or something.

    • can_we_go_Xalvies
      July 6, 2011

      Everything over the Fabregas saga has been discussed really, nothing really left to say, your opinion is yours and I assume there are many Arsenal fans sharing that opinion.

      The currect rumored bid from us seems to me like a bargain, but in all honesty ideally no player in the world should cost 35+ mil and that is the beauty of marketing and bargaining. The problem with Cesc is for ever the time he stays at Arsenal there is always going to be only one potential buyer (Barca). For that reason Arsenal may or may not ever get a better price than what Barcelona are offering now. As time goes by, the price is only going to go down.

      IMO 35mil is a potential win/win for both clubs in terms of the amount Arsenal can ‘really’ make selling Cesc, and what Barcelona are paying for a quality midfielder, compared to other players/clubs.

  73. outerspacedout
    July 6, 2011

    Rather unrelated but I laughed so hard at this comment on a article about Brazilian Ronaldo saying Neymar has to go to Europe to become the best in the world, by ‘sexxxy blue’ from ‘port harcourt’:

    the boy looks a bar tender from Bolivia. he must must visit the babar and deforest his head before head to west euroupe

    Every. Single. Bit. Of that comment is so brilliant. A bartender. From Bolivia. Maybe Bolivian bartenders are known for their ridiculous hair. And deforest his head. Deforest. I keep reading that comment then thinking of his ridiculous hair then repeat. Oh my God.

  74. outerspacedout
    July 6, 2011

    “Barcelona are an excellent team and have been in great form recently. However, Real Madrid have been chosen as the best club of the century by the football authorities. Therefore, Madrid are still the best club in the world,” Sahin was quoted as saying by AS.

    I love his logic XD

    • K_legit
      July 6, 2011

      isn’t the century over? #Fail logic

      • privateeye
        July 6, 2011

        Maybe the last time he read something was in the last century?

    • Cam
      July 6, 2011

      Also a fan of:

      The Ottoman Empire
      Steam power
      Spontaneous Generation

    • Xingxian
      July 6, 2011

      What the hell is he supposed to say? “Barcelona, the rival club of the one I play for, is better than mine?” Fernando Gago tried to be honest and look what that got him.

  75. Judas Pissed
    July 6, 2011

    Barca are an attacking force of nature – we defend by retaining possession. Doing this we have won 3 European Cups in 6 years. We are the favourites to sign the best available attacking midfielder & forward in the world. We have secured the services of one of the most promising young midfielders in the world & have added the services of one of the most promising young defenders in the world.

    We don’t need to spend money on a defender – there is nothing to keep moaning about!

    • Blau-Grenade
      July 6, 2011

      Ditto. You echoed my sentiments. We have the core of Champions/Primera League winning team, intact, and that is a thing of beauty in itself.

  76. y2k156
    July 6, 2011

    Being reported the Pablo Piatti is snapped up with Almeria. I really like that player so happy for him. In Valencia, he will be great. I think Valencia is preparing to let go Juan Mata and for me, it is smart decision. I think Piatti is a better player than Mata.

    • blitzen
      July 6, 2011

      I’m happy for him too, although I really wanted him for our Barça midget front line. 😛

  77. K_legit
    July 6, 2011

    The first liga clasico to be on December 11 in madrid, right about when we should somewhere playing the CWC /facepalm

  78. Lou
    July 6, 2011

    So the new schedule for La Liga has apparently released and Barcelona starts away to Malaga, sandwiched between the second leg of the Spanish super cup against RM, and the UEFA Super Cup against Porto. Not an easy start.

    Other tasty fixtures in the first weekend (around August 22nd) include Betis vs Sevilla (I’ve missed those derbies), and RM vs Athletic.

    • mom4
      July 6, 2011

      Yeah, barcastuff says we can view the whole league schedule at the rfef site but I can’t make heads or tails out of the very unfinished looking pdf.

      By the way, how cute is this pic of Thiago? Courtesy of barcastuff:
      Ya know what? My kids played soccer from the time they were 3 and it NEVER crossed my mind to put a goal INSIDE the house.

      Sign some people already, Barca! Hate Silly Season!

      • blitzen
        July 6, 2011

        This is why your kids don’t play for Barça. Lack of commitment on your part. 😀

        • mom4
          July 6, 2011

          Silly me 🙂
          Maybe when I have grandkids I’ll let ’em do rondos in the dining room.

  79. Olufestus
    July 6, 2011

    We face Valencia,villareal and pathetico in the space of 6wkees, WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!!

    • July 6, 2011

      Haha, I bet they are all a hell of a lot more worried than we are!!

    • Lou
      July 6, 2011

      Though if you look at the results from last season

      Lost to: Hercules, Real Sociedad

      Drew with: Mallorca, Sporting Gijon, Sevilla, Real Madrid, Levante, Deportivo La Coruña

      It’s the less highly ranked teams that they usually drop points to.

      Same thing for Madrid, they beat Valencia, Villareal, Atletico, and Sevilla home and away, but lost their chance to challenge for La Liga by drawing at home to Depor and losing to Sporting.

      • blitzen
        July 6, 2011

        They also lost to Osasuna, didn’t they?

        • Lou
          July 6, 2011

          Thanks, I’d forgotten about that!

          Actually it’s really amazing to how much winning La Liga comes down to not dropping points against lower ranked teams.

          I think most of the times where Madrid dropped points was when Ronaldo was either injured or rested. They were very dependent on Ronaldo and Alonso, but their depth will certainly be much better next year.

          Barca dropped points mostly early in the season (due in part I suspect to tired World Cup players) in the usual February/March doldrums, and then late on when La Liga was won.

          Hopefully the team picks up some quality signings as there will be more even more games this year.

  80. can_we_go_Xalvies
    July 6, 2011

    I’m most worried about our opening game against Malaga, they’ve made a lot of key transfers this summer for both defence and attack. Its going to be a difficult task because we won’t be familiar with a completely changed Malaga side, plus with Pellegrini in charge they should be feared by many.

    I don’t like our early fixtures being very difficult and clustered, but the upside is that it keeps us focused and ready. As long as we don’t get games like Betis or Bilbao away early in the season, we shouldn’t have much to worry about. Gijon away will be a tricky task too they are the lucky ones getting both us and real madrid at home in the first half of the season, unlucky for Osasuna they have to vs both of us away.

    • Roz
      July 6, 2011

      Same with me. Our early fixtures are are a bit tough. Im not worried about Malaga though. You can not buy a bunch of expensive players with no playing experience together and expect them to win(or even tie) against Barca.

      Looking at the EEs’ fixture list and imo they have a much easier schedule then us. At least we have home advantage for the classicos though.

      • blitzen
        July 6, 2011

        Countdown to Mourinho’s first complaint about the fixture list begins…NOW!

  81. Lev
    July 6, 2011

    i dont really fret about the order of playing against certain teams. we have to play them anyway.

    sport en emd reporting that Cesc is refusing to train with the team. Brit media says he has a hamstring injury. mmmmmm….

  82. Cesc Pistol
    July 6, 2011

    Someone care to explain this:
    Alves: “I didn’t renew because of financial reasons. If it was for the money, I wouldn’t play at Barça now. I took everything into account.”


    • blitzen
      July 6, 2011

      Seems pretty clear to me. He is saying he could have gone to another team for more money. That’s no secret. He stayed because Barça offers him other things besides money—trophies, a great team, a great coach, a city where his family is happy.

      • Cesc Pistol
        July 6, 2011

        Thanks. For a moment there I thought he didn’t renew, due to financial reasons. Weird how that got in my head guess cules just need something to worry about 😆

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