In Case You Were Wondering: Argentina vs. Costa Rica U-22 LiveBlog

Today, regardless of afflilation (unless you’re Costa Rican in which case I understand but you’re still The Enemy so you can just sit in the naughty corner over there wherever you are), we stand by Messina…! Argentileo…? WHATEVER. It’s Leo Messi Doomsday: Argentina Copa America Riot style ft. some sMasching. Kids should stay home and play with their Legos and Yaya action figures. The rest of us? Let’s do this.

Argentina lineup looks something like this OMG NO TEVEZZI!: Romero; Zabeleta – The Terrible Twosome* – Zanetti; Fernando Lady Gago – Mascherano – Messi; Aguero – Higuain – DiveMaria

*Burdisso, Milito

Vamos Messi carajo!

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Just your neighbourhood Barca fanatic


  1. outerspacedout
    July 11, 2011

    The line-up looks a bit of an improvement, much better considering Batista’s refusal to play Pastore. Still don’t see another outright creative player aside from Messi, but at least with Aguero needing man-marking, Di Maria having raw pace, the midfield not just being ball-carriers, and Higuain occupying the CBs so Messi won’t be swamped, seems an improvement.

    Of course, you all know this means Messi could dictate the game and create three goals for the others cos he’s playing as an AM but he’s still gonna get loadsa hate.

  2. July 11, 2011

    Argentina better kick some ass. My soul’s on the line.

    And Batista — screw you. I wanted you to take over and you start Lady Gago and sit Pastore on the bench? $*(@)$#($*)(#

    Do some damage Messi – Aguero. We’re already down to 8 (7) men with this starting lineup.

  3. Manish
    July 11, 2011

    Calling upon all football GODS please bless Argentina.. please Argentina.. it’s time to show up..

  4. Lev
    July 11, 2011

    having trouble logging into the the live blog

  5. Lev
    July 11, 2011

    am i the only one who cant get into the live blog? 🙁

  6. outerspacedout
    July 11, 2011

    WOW Argentina are actually NOT being awful! 9 minutes in.

  7. Dani_el
    July 11, 2011

    How many almost assist for Messi? what else to they want? that he give a pass to himself and scores too? (he can do it..)
    (Dive maria on the floor again)

  8. Judas Pissed
    July 11, 2011

    Messi has created 217 chances in the first half & his team mates have conspired to fluff every single one…

  9. Lev
    July 11, 2011

    yeah messi is pretty friggin awesome. dani_el & judas can you guys get in the liveblog or do you have the same problem i have?

  10. mom4
    July 11, 2011

    Take that, haters! Yeah, I know I’m preaching to the choir.

    50 bizillion chances created and MotM(according to our TV station).

    Plus, the first game to sate my hunger for football since May!

  11. y2k156
    July 11, 2011

    At half time, I was saying that maybe Kun shaded in MOTM but at full time, there can be only one MOTM and that is Messi. He was spectacular tonight. Agureo was excellent as well.

    And i know Higuain missed a few 🙂 chances but he, along with Aguero and Di Maria were instrumental in the difference in Argentina tonight. I was really impressed by the pressing and tracking back. Gago was quite good too. Finally a performance that as a fan, i can be happy about.

    I second Kari that Barca should go for Kun 🙂 though that seems unlikely. He is a fantastic player and in right setting could be even more effective.

    Now on to QF’s and it will get much tougher. I would have loved to see Masch in defence but that is not likely to happen now.

  12. kinukinu
    July 11, 2011

    “Of course, you all know this means Messi could dictate the game and create three goals for the others cos he’s playing as an AM but he’s still gonna get loadsa hate.”

    ^outerspacedout, you pretty muched called it!

  13. BarcaGirl_Indo
    July 11, 2011

    nuff said… 😀

    oh, wait… like I said on twitter, and many agreed with me :

    Kun Aguero and Lionel Messi play together is too cute to handle.

    • mom4
      July 11, 2011

      Kun Aguero and Lionel Messi play together is too cute to handle
      I think we could learn to handle it. Let’s go for it. Oh, but he won’t come cheaply and there’s that supposed austerity thing that only allows us enough funds to go after Sanchez and the prodigal one. Dangit!

      • BarcaGirl_Indo
        July 11, 2011

        forget the prodigal one, I want Kun! 😆

        and you’re right soma4, we’ll learn how to handle their cuteness… 8)

        a girl can dream, right? *sigh*

        • mom4
          July 11, 2011

          Me too. We have midfielders aplenty, Jeffren and CT are leaving so two new, high quality forwards would be nice please. We have cover for our back but a CB or LB wouldn’t hurt. Oh, and as long as I’m being picky, obtaining them in time for a decent(as decent as you can get with this copa thing going so late into the summer) preseason would be nice too! 🙂

          • BarcaGirl_Indo
            July 11, 2011

            oh yes, ditto, I want two forwards and CB/LB.

            this transfer season is one of the silliest ever.

            every single day I read, “the deal could be closed tomorrow/weekend/Tuesday/Friday”

            and nothing happened except Kiko Femenia. 😕

  14. July 11, 2011

    ARG was very wasteful – Higuain in particular, though given how little football he’s played that’s not surprising.

    But on the whole ARG were so much better tonight. Just much more fluid and dynamic.

    The degree to which Tevez’s game hurts Messi’s is remarkable. Enough of the player of the people nonsense. Just quit the identity politics once and for all and play the best team. Batista knew it too – it’s why he wouldn’t put Tevez on the team but then caved to public pressure right before the Copa. Horrible decision.

    Messi was just spectacular tonight. Created one goal scoring chance after another. And despite how bad the finishing around him was Messi never got selfish at all. Easily man of the match.

    Argentina played a very different, interesting shape today. It was not the 4-2-1-3 people were expecting. ARG played a dynamic 4-2-2-2 that differed in the first half and second.

    ARG played Masch-Gago deep then Messi-Di Maria and then Aguero and Higuain up top. The formation was asymmetric with Di Maria and Messi moving between inside and outside. ARG struggled in the first half often becoming too narrow.

    Messi played more centrally in the second half and there was much more position switching between him and Higuain and Aguerro in front of him. That was a very good move as it drew messi in as the focus of the attack and also made him harder to mark.

    I have to say – Gago played very well. He added more fluidity to the deep midfield compared to cambiasso. That was a positive move from Batista. Given how little Gago has played I was surprised to see him play so well.

    Don’t know how a 4-2-2-2 will work for the rest of the tournament. It makes them very at risk for getting narrow and being boxed in because their full backs just don’t provide enough width.

    But in the second half the ARG attack became so much more fluid that the internal movement made up for the lack of width and helped them finally break costa rica’s shape.

    ARG can still get better. It is painstakingly clear what Batista needs to do. He must play Pastore in midfield with Messi in front of him. That will help them better organize their attack and control possession. With Tevez and Higuain being so ineffective there is no reason not to play messi in front with Aguero and Di Maria and Pastore behind them.

    Kun was very good tonight. Very active. He plays very hard. He and Messi could form a very special partnership for ARG. Difficult to believe Batista wasn’t playing him prior.

    But as good as Kun was – tonight was Messi’s night. He showed ARG how wrong headed those whistles were. He crated goal scoring opportunities by the basketful. Once he had more sensible talent around him – talent that understands off the ball movement – he thrived.

    Very good to see. But ARG will need to get better. Let’s see if Batista plays Pastore – I doubt he will which is a shame because it’s painstakingly clear that ARG best chance at a the WC is Messi-Aguero-Pastore.

    • momo
      July 11, 2011

      Excellent points. Your analysis is always a joy to read.

    • Xingxian
      July 11, 2011

      Euler, I always love reading your posts here and at zonalmarking. Thanks to that site and this one, when watching games I’ve started to observe players off the ball a lot more and think ‘wait, why is he/she doing that?! is that good? maybe it is, I can’t see the whole field…’ instead of just watching the player and anyone who ‘looks open’.

      I was so incredibly happy when Aguero, after scoring the goal, emphatically pointed both fingers repeatedly at Messi even after Messi had turned and was walking away to let the crowd know who they should be cheering for.

    • Manish
      July 11, 2011

      Even though Higuain was wasteful in front of goal, his movement off the ball was great.. we all know he can finish better…

  15. July 11, 2011

    How much is Mario Yepes worth. He seems good, and went to Milan on a free. Maybe he is not any good and has only been impressive in the Copa. Give me Yepes and Falco for Barca anyday

    • outerspacedout
      July 11, 2011

      He’s been pretty good for Milan when he did play, though he’s strictly backup and quite old now. He might not be a good fit for us, cos sometimes players who are great defenders in other systems are not good here because our system asks a lot of other things from defenders. See: Caceres.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      July 12, 2011

      Yepes is a great back up, however, he’ll be 36 years old in January…

  16. outerspacedout
    July 11, 2011

    Aguero on his Facebook/Twitter update right after the match:

    Había que ganar y lo hicimos. Que grande Lio, no? Con el apoyo de todos seguimos adelante. Vamos Argentina !!!

    Translated via Google Translate:
    We had to win and we did. How great Leo, right? With the support of all move on. Come on Argentina!

    He’s awesome

  17. July 11, 2011

    I got the feeling Argentina had one too many attacking players on tonight. Their ideal team would be this team but with Pastore in for Higuain. Play a straight up 4-3-3 with Messi playing centrally and Di Maria on the left, Aguero on the right, Pastore in front of Gago/Banega (who I still like better than Gago but will concede Gago played well today) and Mascherano, and that’s a real lethal team.

    What was key today was how often Messi had the ball in that danger zone, 35-40 yards out, and CENTRALLY (most important) where CR had to send 4 guys his way and opened up space for Aguero, Higuain and Di Maria to run into. Too often in the first two games the poor guy was 50-60 yards out and he can’t do anything from there.

    What’s bemusing about Argentina’s form in this tournament is that post WC they’ve been so good (or at least better than this). I watched their games against Albania, USA, Ireland, Brazil, Spain and Portugal, and every single one of those performances was better than the rubbish we saw in the first two games. Have no idea what forced Bastita to abandon the team he was building and put in guys like Tevez at the expense of Di Maria, but whatever it was, it was dumb.

  18. July 11, 2011

    BTW what are our chances of getting Kun if Sanchez doesn’t work out? I know Sanchez has his fans on BFB but man oh man Kun would be awesome.

    • Jnice
      July 12, 2011

      Very little, I think. Rosell wouldn’t be willing to pay 45m for Kun. Like I said in the LiveBlog, several people, including myself, picked out Kun as a dream transfer back in May.

      It would be nice, but it’s very unlikely The Sanchez deal seems to be close, but we’ll see what happens.

      • July 12, 2011

        I’d rather pay 45 for Kun than 40 for Sanchez, but that’s just me.

        • Jnice
          July 12, 2011

          Well, we aren’t paying 40 straight up to Udinese. Atletico would require 45m cash. I don’t see Rosell doing that at all. This is the same guy who didn’t want to pay 4 or 5m for Jose Angel without the complex variables.

        • BarcaGirl_Indo
          July 12, 2011

          if our president still Laporta, Kun arrival won’t be impossible…

  19. July 11, 2011

    It is so crazy obvious that Kun is perfect for us. Not even just based off of this game. He has the scoring that we wanted in Rossi, and the speed and flair that Sanchez would give us. He is the perfect mix of what Villa and Pedro highlight. He has crazy speed like P! And the skill of Villa. He also is not an offsides monster, and is probably one of the 3 or 4 best finishers in La Liga. Plain and simple, let’s pay the buyout clause or give them 35M plus Jeffren and call it a deal. Also, Athleti are motivated to sell to us and not let him go to E.E, so we may get a break.

  20. lea_terzi
    July 12, 2011

    And 10 minutes for Pastore. Did Batista just throw fans a bone, or is it a sign of things to come?

    • Diego
      July 12, 2011

      You’re talking about the 1st half penalty ? It wasn’t a dive at all, It was a penalty but too soft to be given, Watch it again.

      Refereeing expert in JSC said it was a penalty.

      • Jnice
        July 12, 2011

        He definitely embellished. Shouldn’t have went to ground.

    • Actually, although I also thought it was a dive, there was another camera angle for the tackle, an angle they showed only for a second during the break and it was indeed a clear penalty as Calvo cluttered into Messi.

  21. barca96
    July 12, 2011

    In yo’ face b****s (the Arg fans of course).

    I am pretty sure people will still be complaining because he didn’t score.
    And Im pretty sure the BritPress will just look at the score and come to the conclusion that Messi disappointed yet again.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      July 12, 2011

      well, actually I know a madridista who said Argentina played well because of Gago, not because of Messi.
      gimme a break!

      I know that Gago played well and helped me Messi a lot, credit for his performance.

      but really, biased idiot is biased idiot.

      • outerspacedout
        July 12, 2011

        Gago was the reason? Oh dear.

        Messi was relentless today once he eased into the match. He had one of those no-frills ruthless games. Chance after chance after chance on a plate for the forwards, of which Higuain wasted half a dozen (pity, he was good aside from his finishing).

        I expected Madridistas to talk about how Argentina only won and Messi only played well when THEIR two strikers, Higuain and Di Maria, came into the side, and how it was their players and not Messi who did well and Messi is a flop without them etc. Well I have to say Higuain and Di Maria in for Tevez and Lavezzi WAS a huge improvement, to be honest. Higuain (and Aguero) could actually be there so all the CBs wouldn’t swamp Messi, Di Maria has loads of pace, both of them had far more tactical discipline than the previous options for forward, stuck to the gameplan and didn’t get in Messi’s way unlike Tevez. But that’s not them being better, it’s those two very good players coming in for what were the roadblocks to Messi shining (Tevez, Lavezzi, and an overly defensive midfield).

  22. barca96
    July 12, 2011

    Nice gesture by Aguero. I guess he knows that Messi has been taking a lot of crap from the fans and media alike and he wants to them to show Messi some appreciation.

    Love Aguero…
    But don’t know why Pep is not interested.
    Aguero asked Messi 2 years ago to help him move to Barca.
    But I don’t think Aguero would fit our system and he can’t play on the wings.

    • “Love Aguero…
      But don’t know why Pep is not interested”
      “But I don’t think Aguero would fit our system and he can’t play on the wings”

      Did you just answer your own question or is is it me? 🙂

      I agree with you I don’t think kun can fit in out system…Sancez’s work rate is essential plus no way Kun can take the bench and he shouldn’t really players like him need to play for the good of the game

  23. K_legit
    July 12, 2011

    So, Messi obviously sung the national anthem loudly today..

  24. outerspacedout
    July 12, 2011

    Villareal confirm signing of Zapata from Udinese. Good buy.

  25. outerspacedout
    July 12, 2011

    Also, I remember people talking about signing Willian as backup forward, for 15-20mil. Arsenal just got Gervinho for just 12mil, didn’t they? I’d have made that deal any day of the week.

    • outerspacedout
      July 12, 2011

      Gervinho for 12mil I mean, not Willian for 18mil. I like Gervinho more anyway to be honest. Except for his unbelievably awful hair.

      • Jnice
        July 12, 2011

        Twitter hiatus, ey? Does it have to do with you not wanting to get too addicted to things?

        • outerspacedout
          July 12, 2011

          No it’s just so much work logging in and seeing mentions and stuff…

          • outerspacedout
            July 12, 2011

            I’m completely serious lol I’m just too lazy. When I went on Twitter regularly I remember after waking up in the morning scrolling down past eight hours (apparently a habit Jason also has) and then the updates are actually important stuff unlike Facebook where even if you’re on it all day there’s no information overload cos the updates are mostly vague ole stuff not discussions and news and information. So basically I got lazy. Some day or the other I’ll get back on it and then I’ll probably get re-hooked.

  26. flyzowee
    July 12, 2011

    I would really like to know how much pozzo made villareal pay for zapata…
    And it was such a quiet transfer too despite interest from liverpool.

    • Josep
      July 12, 2011

      He said he didn’t see Liverpool as a step in the right direction, or something similar to that.

  27. blitzen
    July 12, 2011

    Wenger is coming off as increasingly delusional:

    I’m picturing him sitting around in his dressing gown clutching a bottle of wine and a picture of him and Cesc in happier times, whispering to it “You still love me, don’t you, Cesc? I know we can make it work if you give me one more chance.”

    Even the diehard Arsenal supporters are starting to say they should let him go, but Wenger just refuses to move forward.

    • Reaper
      July 12, 2011

      Completely agree – although there’s a huge difference in his comments as compared to last year. He sounds very philosophical when it comes to Cesc.

      Just let the kid come home already..

    • Srini
      July 12, 2011

      Ha ha. Cesc’s situation reminds me of the film Casablanca. Where Rick (Arsene) calls up Sam (the media… “play it again”), tells him, why does Ilsa (Cesc) get him back to the same situation as before? Why? Por Que?

      Ilsa (Cesc) is torn between her (his) lover (Rick/Arsenal) and husband (Laszlo/Barca – whom she/he thought she/he had left for good, but is back in her/his lives).

      I hope Arsene/Rick does the right thing and lets Ilsa/Cesc go with her/his idealist/Cruyffist Laszlo/Barca.

  28. mom4
    July 12, 2011

    Barcelona are looking for an opponent from Italy or England for the Joan Gamper Trophy game on Monday 22 August. [el mundo deportivo]

    PLAY STOKE, put the debate to rest(mostly)- Rory Delap would struggle in a hot night at the Camp Nou

    • blitzen
      July 12, 2011

      But then we have to have a return leg on a rainy night at the Britannia, or it wouldn’t be fair!

      • mom4
        July 12, 2011

        A return leg for the Gamper? Are you channeling teh Ramos? 🙂

        • blitzen
          July 12, 2011

          Shut up or I’ll drop a trophy on your head! 👿

          • mom4
            July 12, 2011

            Sell Ek…

            for peanuts…
            or a goat…
            or loan him out with an option to buy over the next 3 years or something like that but NO buy back clause…

  29. July 12, 2011

    Sanchez timeline, via Twitter, mostly @barcastuff:

    –Barcelona owner Gino Pozzo and Barcelona executives yesterday evening reached an agreement on the transfer of Alexis Sanchez (22). [as]

    –Barcelona will pay 40M plus variables for Udinese attacker Alexis Sanchez (22), who will sign a 5-year deal with Barcelona. [as]

    –Barcelona sources deny there’s a deal with Udinese on the transfer of Alexis Sanchez (22). The negotiations are still ongoing. [ona fm]

    –At 7pm, there’s a final meeting scheduled on the transfer of Bojan to Roma. Roma sports director Sabatini will travel to Barcelona [rac1/md] (Recall that Krkic is the other shoe dropping. If we have a Sanchez deal, the Krkic sale goes through, sources say.)

    –Vice-president Bartomeu is in constant talks with the Pozzo family, the owners of Udinese, on Alexis Sanchez. A 26M+11M deal is close. [md]

    –Barcelona spokesperson: “In the last hours, progress has been made regarding the transfer of Alexis. The positions have come closer.” [efe]

    –Udinese representatives: “There are only a few details left before we can close the transfer of Alexis Sanchez.” [ona fm]

    –Barcelona are looking for an opponent from Italy or England for the Joan Gamper Trophy game on Monday 22 August. [el mundo deportivo] (Hmmm, bet it’s Udinese, for a big chunk of the proceeds.)

    –Quique Pina (representative Udinese in Spain): “It’s not yet a done deal, but Alexis Sanchez will end up playing at Barça.” [via marca]

    To my view, the signing is all but done. Once the official statements came from us and Udinese about the progress, stand back. I still wouldn’t believe until he’s kissing the crest, however.

  30. July 12, 2011

    A few more things:

    –We’re crazy if we sign Fabregas this season. Afellay is ready to develop into that kind of a role, as is Thiago. Waiting until the last year of Fabregas’ contract gives us time to see how his various injuries develop long-term, as well as the luxury of watching two brilliant prospects develop. Also brings the price WAY down, as there’s no way he will renew with Arsenal.

    –The Gervino over Willian comments, I would quibble with. Willian would be around 10m right now, maybe less (for us). Faster, transitions to defense better, and until Gervinho gets in Alves’ butt or owns Roma/other CL opponents the way that Willian did, I will continue to quibble. 😀

    –Anything more than 20m for Sanchez is stupid. I know we will pay probably twice that. And it’s stupid. That’s as much as Villa cost. Yes, Sanchez has a big up side, blah, blah, blah. He could also end up as another very expensive almost.

    On the other hand, we’re probably thinking that you can’t NOT take the chance. That’s one hell of a risk, though.

    • Josep
      July 12, 2011

      I still don’t see what Willian did special against us, or Roma. On top of that Roma’s defenders are Juan and Burdisso, and also was Mexes. if you can’t beat them with just pace alone…

      Anything more than 20m is stupid? You’ll take offense to this, and then come up with some response but, 20m for a player of his potential, obvious skill, and coming off a great season, with his age, is worth more. You need to understand the transfer market better.

      • July 12, 2011

        So Sanchez is worth as much as Villa? I understand the transfer market in real and fantasy terms. It’s like EBay. A hot item goes up, and the price reflects that heat. Sanchez is hot. But he still hasn’t done anything.

        He’s had a half of an exceptional season at Udinese, and they finished 4th in a weak Serie A. So I remain unconvinced.

        The Fantasy Transfer Market has Sanchez priced at what we’re about to be stupid enough to pay.

        The Real Transfer Market, in a world that makes sense, would value Sanchez as the bright prospect that he is, and that price would be about 20m.

        He wants to play for us, and only us. If he stays at Udinese for another season, allowing us to get the price that we want, where’s the harm. Instead, we’re saying, fiscally, that a 22-year-old kid is worth as much as David Villa, one of the acknowledged best strikers in the world, who has produced 20+ goals for season after season, and won a World Cup.

        If I don’t understand that transfer market, I should probably drill a hole in my head and let some brains run out, then I’d have a better grasp on it, maybe. 😀

        • Josep
          July 12, 2011

          The current market is one of the last few years that clubs can tout those ridiculous fees with the amortization rates kicking in for the FFP. which who knows how much it will crack down..

          Sanchez and Villa are different players. Villa is proven, and great, yes, but he’s aged. In his prime, yes, but Sanchez can get even better. Udinese know the potential of their product and have every right to drain every penny.

          you say Sanchez is worth 20m, but in a previous post claimed 20m for Willian.. who’s contract expires in 12 months.

          How can those two be the same? Isn’t Willian a hyped product, and for my money, extremely overrated by a few people on this board? The man plays the left wing, or so I’ve been told. I thought he was more central but I do confuse him with the players at Shakhtar.

          Maybe thats the problem? Everyone thinks Jadson, Willian, and Luiz Adriano are one player? I don’t know, I just don’t get it.

          Sanchez isn’t “worth” 40m but its extremely hard to determine “worth” in the transfer market. he’s worth what a team will pay.

          him only wanting to come to us only helps with the wage packet. Udinese doesn’t need to sell him, he’s put in no transfer request. They can take what they want, or keep him. yes, his price will probably never be this high again but clearly Udinese are willing to take that risk, no?

          I asked earlier when are the best placed playoffs for the CL going on, and is there a possibility Sanchez is being held till then? To verify Udinese makes the group stage?

        • Josep
          July 12, 2011

          Also, Mr. Revok, he had more than half a season. On top of that a “weak Serie A” is a pretty bold statement.

          Roma aren’t weak when Willian is brought into the equation of “tearing them up” but its weak when you look to undervalue a different player for their team’s position in the table?

          • July 12, 2011

            Roma was weak, but Willian rocked it against every side that I saw him against, including us and Arsenal, who beat us in their house.

            And they’re independent arguments. The one point is Willian’s price vs Gervinho. The other is Sanchez and his absurd (to me) price. I’m happy that people think Sanchez is worth the 40m we’re probably going to pay for him. Reckon that means we underpaid for Villa, who suddenly seems a great piece of business.

            If Sanchez turns out to be “the next Messi,” I’m happy to eat my words. If he turns out to be another Krkic, I hope that others will be, as well. 40m is a lot of money for a prospect.

          • Josep
            July 12, 2011

            but its not that black and white, there’s more between Bojan and Messi, and I’m sure that’s not what you meant.

            the club looks at the Sanchez signing in a smart way, they know this is a talent. they know this is a player who has the defensive capabilities as well as offense. they know he’s an insane threat one-on-one, but I think the biggest aspect is they know that no one like this will come out of La Masia for a while, if ever.

            we’re paying 40m as a fee of being barcelona. its something we’re going to most likely have to accept. it sucks, but its almost fair.. I mean the best get better for 20m? I’d feel bad for other teams.

            like the Sahin signing for 10m..thats a great deal, but if you look at it that sucks for others. No longer are Madrid overpaying (okay, coentrao..) for transfers. if the big clubs are able to get bargains as well, and not pay inherited fees just for being big teams, well, selling clubs lose out. it no longer becomes a means of income.

          • July 12, 2011

            My real point is that we don’t know. And 40m is a lot to pay for uncertainty. Villa, at the same price, was as close to a lead-pipe cinch as you can get. And irrespective of one’s views on his value to the endeavor, we bought him and almost did a treble again.

            I watched Udinese and Chile, and saw a talent in need of development. I just didn’t see a 40m player. That price should be reserved for players who come in and make a difference. A player who started and came up huge in the CL final (Mascherano) was half that price, right?

            For me, it’s karma. Afellay would have been around 15-20m in a right world (no last-year contract stuff, or situation in which we were the only real suitor). So I can look at Afellay and Sanchez, see about 40m, and feel that the world makes sense.

            That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

          • Josep
            July 12, 2011

            No one is a lead pipe cinch, there were concerns Villa couldn’t keep up with the physical rigors of this team, and some of that proved right with all the subbing and the clear wear on his part he still had a tremendous season..but at times looked like a dolt.

            Yes, we don’t know for certain how well he’ll fit in. What we do know is that he certainly has these aspects that are unrelated to the system;
            Great One-On-One ability
            Decent Passing.
            insane work rate.

            He’s young,those are some pretty good attributes which he’d be carrying over. The only thing he’s not proven in is playing with actual good players. Udinese overperformed one might say, and Chile has 1-2 household names. When you say you “watched” him at Udinese and Chile how many games are we talking? 4 or 5? I’ve seen him enough in the past few years to know that I’ve wanted him to come to this club for a while now and saw him as an idea fit on the right wing…

            which somehow hes become even better centrally. A player who excels at two positions, and may add a third on the left? 22 years young, on top of that he will certainly sell shirts in Chile for us without a doubt based on the whole mining incident it seemed a lot of Chileans love them some Barca. Shirt sales windfall?

            We weren’t the only suitor for Afellay, btw, other clubs were looking at him and we were seen as greedy for nabbing him up.

            What is a 40m player then? A villa? A player who has shone he can perform but is arguably hitting the downswing of his career? So 40m for a player who has been at his peak and can’t get better, or 40m for a player who is hitting that meaty part of his career, and can only get better? Who has 8-9 years he can give his all to the club before he starts to decline?

            Also something you’ve mentioned is he wants to come here, much like Villa did, and you know damn well he’ll give his all to the club. That’s something you can’t put a price on.

  31. dennise
    July 12, 2011

    Kx, all this is very risky business, there is no foolproof recipes.

    Fabregas stays in arsenal, FCB knows it and therefore – no hurry, no worries.

    Sanches – on the other hand he can go anywhere anytime and he has many suitors.He can change his mind, FCB knows it very well. For FCB it is now once in a lifetime chance to get Sanches, either take him now or…

  32. outerspacedout
    July 12, 2011

    I don’t want Madrid to get Aguero. They are looking for another forward they say, if they wanna spend 45mil on one let them get Neymar or Tevez or someone. Doesn’t scare me. Them with the only player has troubled our defense as far as I recall, someone who actually has in spades something they lack in offense which is working in very tight spaces or taking out players with Messi-esque close dribbling while being bullish enough to not just get muscled off the ball, and at a world-class level (not potential, but product). And someone who I actually really like and do not want to see in Merengue colours. Is an unpleasant idea.

    • Josep
      July 12, 2011

      I think this is the general concensus here, I know I believe this and JNice as well if I’m not mistaken.

      45m for Neymar? Go for it. Tevez? Have at him. Kun? well, now, wait a second there sure you want to buy him..?

    • flyzowee
      July 12, 2011

      Take a deep breath and visualise aguero running around all game without the ball……

      Its a wonderful thing – possession that is.

      They can buy messi for all i care.

    • Helge
      July 12, 2011

      Well, not to forget that Aguero has a great understanding with Messi on the pitch.

      Actually, if I were the president of FC Barcelona, I would buy Aguero for 50m and let Cesc remain at Arsenal forever 🙂
      Because for me, he is the best striker in the world atm. If he doesn’t go to Barca, he shall stay at Atleti or go to the Premier League (but not to ManCity).

      • July 12, 2011

        If I were going to overspend for a striker, I’d wave that 45m at Bilbao and try to snag Llorente, rather than another Munchkin.

        • barca96
          July 12, 2011

          But Llorente isn’t worth that much is he? Hehe

          I agree on you on Sanchez though. Been wondering all summer long how he could cost so much.

        • July 12, 2011

          If I was going to overspend on a striker I would drop that same amount on Falcao way before Llorente. The man is a machine.

  33. barca96
    July 12, 2011

    Barcelona will pay 40M plus variables for Udinese attacker Alexis Sanchez (22), who will sign a 5-year deal with Barcelona

    40mill?? Aguero please. We need GOALS. That was the problem we had last season and the season before this. Chances were always aplenty.

    I have always preferred Aguero but since he can’t operate on the wings, and he doesn’t track back, I didn’t mind Sanchez but 40mill for a possible one-yer wonder is really too much..

    • Vj
      July 12, 2011

      Source? Please don’t cite one of the rags..

  34. flyzowee
    July 12, 2011

    Im sorry but aguero isnt a wide player even if he does drift into that space.

    As far as his understanding with messi goes i still think its too early.
    Its not like its reached telepathic levels like MV.

    I wouldnt bet on him benching villa either.

    And based on what do you refer to him as the best striker in the world?

      • Helge
        July 12, 2011

        Well, I think he is the best striker in the world with respect to dribbling skills.
        He’s a proven goal scorer fot Atleti since 3 or more seasons.

        Maybe I said that he’s the best striker in the world because I like him personally and his style to play football 🙂

        Anyway, it would be better to pay 2m and have Aguero in our team than Sanchez.
        I’m not against Sanchez per sé, but he’s not worth more than 25m. Whereas Aguero is for me the most valuable striker on the market (above Tevez, for instance).

        I don’t think the connection between MV has already reached a telepathic level. Only Xaviniesta share that level. Villa is technically less gifted than Aguero. And I think the interplay between Aguero and Messi has already been quite good at Argentina, imagine it at Barcelona where there will always be more movement and space around them…

        • Helge
          July 12, 2011

          *…better to pay 2m more

          although just 2m would also do 🙂

  35. Alex
    July 12, 2011

    Ill try to keep you guys updated via RAC1 about Alexis

  36. Cesc Pistol
    July 12, 2011

    If we buy Sanchez for 40+ we will come to regret it. And Sanchez will as well, the pressure that he will be under will crush him.

    A good season or half for a talented but not earth shattering prospect is in no shape or form 40M+.

    I suspect Sanchez will come back and apply pressure on Udinese.

  37. Lev
    July 12, 2011

    Agree with those who say 40 million for Alexis is madness.

    Problem is that EPL has raised the transfer rates. Well, them and EE and Barça. It is one thing to lay down a crazy amount of money for superstars like Crynaldo or Ikeamovic, but doing so has inadvertedly raised the price of less talented players.

    And once teams started paying 35 mil for Caroll, 20 mil for Henderson and 25 mil for Chiggy (!), teams like Udinese are loathe to let Sanchez go for the 20 mil that would otherwise seem reasonable for a relatively unproven talent.

    (btw, not buying the Aguero is the best striker in the world hype, and not yet buying the Argentina hype either, regardless of their world-class performance….against a sub-class Costa Pobre 😉

    But boy o boy did Messi rock! 🙂

    • Alex
      July 12, 2011

      The $40M in question is $26 upfront and $14 in variables.

  38. kinukinu
    July 12, 2011

    A few questions for the experts (Euler et al) regarding Argentina:

    I am so very happy that Messi as a NT player was vindicated last night–for that matter, several of the Argies proved their worth as individuals. But does anyone else feel that Argentina as a team hasn’t proven anything yet at all, and that the future still threatens to be quite grim? Sure, Batista’s long overdue changes made a big difference, but against a Costa Rica U23 that parked the bus and rarely threatened in the Arg half.

    Is there really much of a difference between the Argentina that beat Costa Rica last night and the WC Argentina that beat Nigeria, Greece, South Korea, and Mexico (pre-Chicarito awesomeness), only to be annihilated by a far superior Germany? Would they look nearly as good as they did last night against a more organized, attacking team? Methinks they really haven’t been tested at all and I’m bracing myself for a repeat of last year’s quarterfinal disappointment. Last night’s game showed definite improvement, but it seems there’s much more work to be done.


    (1) What do you think Batista needs to do?

    (2) Do you think he can/will do it?

    (3) Can it be done in time to really make a difference? After all, even with a more cohesive system, isn’t the weak defense still the underlying problem, and does this team have the ability/resources to improve in that area?

  39. July 12, 2011

    There are clear risks associated with Sanchez. For me the biggest is that he his still developing as a goal scorer. He has not shown that he is a world class finisher. Forwards for Barca must score because the midfield doesn’t. That said – he’s only 22 so there’s no reason to expect him to be a finished product.

    Two points I’ll raise regarding his transfer fee:

    1. Although his valuation may be 40M or so, that’s not what Barca is paying for him in terms of net present value.

    They are paying 26-28M + 9-14M in variables. That is an enormous percentage of his fee tied up in the variables. Udineses is going to be carrying significant risk in this deal – which means that Barca is carrying less risk. In turn that means it’s not a straight 40M like it was in the Villa deal. The structure of the money is very different.

    For example, reportedly Barca had a clause in the variables that said that Sanchez had to start over 50% of games for one of the payments to get activated in the variables. That is not a trivial contingency. And it does protect Barca – not completely. But much more than if it was a true straight 40M cash deal.

    And the structure of the deal isn’t being reported the way it usually is. 40M is the absolute max barca can pay. It’s not like say the Alves deal where it was 35M or whatever it was + potential additional variables.

    2. Signing a 22 year old for 40M is significantly cheaper than signing a 28 year old for 40M. You get to amortize the signing fee over many more years. That is a major issue.

    Now the flip side is that you are generally going to absorb more risk with a 22 year old. But when you buy a 28 year old for 40 million you are basically buying 2-3 years of potential top performance. That’s it. With the 22 year old you are buying 8-9 years of maximum performance.

    That’s the flip side to absorbing more risk on a player with less of a track record. If he works out, it becomes a much better deal than the 40M for an older player.

    Now the rub to all this is the player “working out.” That really gets down to Barca properly evaluating his talent and ability to fit into the system. They can’t be wrong on deals this large. That’s just the bottom line to this kind of business.

    • Lev
      July 12, 2011

      “There are clear risks associated with Sanchez. For me the biggest is that he his still developing as a goal scorer. He has not shown that he is a world class finisher. Forwards for Barca must score because the midfield doesn’t. That said – he’s only 22 so there’s no reason to expect him to be a finished product.”

      That is what worries me about Sanchez. Finishing is one of the skills that is most difficult to develop, imo, because it has more to do with poise and instinct than technique.

    • privateeye
      July 13, 2011

      Evaluating a player is very complicated thing isnt it? But surprisingly a point most people are missing the be is the player’s attitude. Talent+attitude – thats what determines a playres future.Nothing has been ever spoken of about Sanchez’s mental makeup. (Other than people near him nobody else would know I guess.)I think this is where Barca will be taking another big risk. If he puts his head down and works hard, evolves he will be worth everything. Otherwise ….Unlike in the case of Villa Barca need him to evolve and if he does not then it will be his undoing.

      This why I think players like Messi, Iniesta, Thong boy can command any transfer fee. They w ork hard, adapt and contribute. Over time they will make it appear that any fee was justified. If EE had paid 150 m even that TB would justift over time.

      On the flip side players who are unbelievably talented but dont adapt well like Ibra, Bojan are a big big risk. If by luck they succeed great. Else…

      And players like Neymar, Tevez , Robinho who have serious attitude problems are just not worth anything.

  40. Helge
    July 12, 2011

    Pozzo (owner Udinese): “I understand Barcelona are in a hurry and it’s true progress has been made but we didn’t sign anything yet.”
    2min ago, via @barcastuff

    He wants the 40m without variables, I suppose. And maybe RoSELL will even do him the favour *argh*

  41. mei
    July 12, 2011

    Too much speculation for my liking.
    No roSell didnt cave into anything , and thats that.

  42. Ryan
    July 12, 2011

    So is Sandro really out of the tournament due to an injury? Surely we’ll see Adriano playing then? With 2 Barca starters I might have to start cheering for Brazil after Argentina…

    • Jnice
      July 12, 2011

      Que? Sandro is a defensive midfielder. You might be confusing him with the left back, Andre Santos.

    • July 12, 2011

      Mano has stated that Maicon might be starting over Dani Alves next match.

      • Jnice
        July 12, 2011

        Back to the myth that is Maicon. Wouldn’t be surprised if Elano plays either. Quickly regressing back to Dunga’s Brasil relying on crosses, corners, and free-kicks. That’s the only reason why those two would be starting.

        • Josep
          July 12, 2011

          For the life of me never understood how Elano ever held a spot in the XI, Lucas too. And now Ramires. What is going on there?!

          I like Sandro, in fact I’ve been saying he needs to start ahead of either mid. He’s pretty much a monster in snuffing out attacks, and has a decent pass.

    • Ryan
      July 12, 2011

      Blargh, you’re right! I thought something was fishy when I started getting my hopes up that Adriano would get some playing time.

  43. July 12, 2011

    Please tell me he’s kidding.

    Conte (coach Juventus): “If I look at Barcelona, I see seven players who don’t know how to defend. And yet they win, and how.

    “Seven Barça players are focused on going forward. They defend with three, plus the goalkeeper. I want my Juve to have that spirit.” [la stampa via barcastuff]

    Are coaches really this clueless?

    • Ryan
      July 12, 2011

      Better for us that they think our midfield and forward line does not defend. 😀

      Surely most coaches aren’t that blind though?

    • Lev
      July 12, 2011

      I wouldn’t say he is clueless, but rather that it depends on your point of view. It is very possible that those players of ours would be clueless on how to defend – the Italian way.

    • Helge
      July 12, 2011

      Well, the coach or president of Santos FC thinks the same 😀

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      July 12, 2011

      well, he’s Italian so, maybe that’s his point of view…

    • Helge
      July 12, 2011

      Both teams are playing with a b line-up, both are already qualified. Could be a boring match. Sanchez, Vidal, Isla, Valdivia, Guerrero an Vargas are all not playing :/
      Since it’s 0.20 am here right now, I’ll go to sleep ( maybe I’ll stay up tomorrow to keep my fingers crossed for Ecuador against Brazil! 🙂 ).

      • Ryan
        July 12, 2011

        True, but I’ve gotten in the habit of watching every game, so I’ll be watching it anyway.

        • Helge
          July 12, 2011

          So you probably don’t live in Europe or West Asia, right?

          • Ryan
            July 12, 2011

            Not anymore! (Was in Japan for 3 years, but now on the USA east coast) Barca games are during the afternoon, it’s amazing.

      • Ryan
        July 12, 2011

        It’s ok, Helge was right: it’s a pretty boring game. 😆

        El Chupete just can’t do anything right.

  44. July 12, 2011

    Not sure why everyone thinks that 40m for Sanchez is madness. First of all its not all cash, secondly thats the market. If you want a quality player than you have to pay, simple as that. In fact if Sanchez wasnt so damn set on Barcelona then he prob would have ended up at City for closer to 50m.

    Comparing Villa to Sanchez is also a bit unfair. Villa is much older and at best has 2-3 years left in him, in which he is very unlikely to improve and it is fair to assume he will slowly decline. Sanchez is one of the hottest prospects in world football, he may not be the finished product and he may still have a lot to learn, but he is definitely a player that has the potential to play at the highest level for Barca for 4-5 years. I know a lot of people think that he isnt worth 40m because he isnt the finished product yet, but if he was the finished product, if he was a sure bet then he would cost 60-70m, not 40m. So we pay 40m now and hope we can mould him into the player we want him to be instead of waiting for him to blossom at another team and then pay 20m more.

    He has all the attributes to be a great Barca player; First touch, skill, speed, strengh, passing, fitness and workrate. In the right hands (Pep) and with the right players around him I think it is a reasonably safe bet to make.

  45. Judas Pissed
    July 12, 2011

    In 2003 we took a chance & paid €30million for Ronaldinho – who had scored 17 goals in 55 games for PSG but was unproven at the highest level. This fee was based on his POTENTIAL.
    At the same time EE paid €35million for David Beckham – the former UEFA Club Footballer of the Year, Champions League Winner, 6-time Premier League winner & England captain.

    Who got the best deal?

    I say Hola to Sanchez – he could be our new Ronaldinho…

    • Lev
      July 12, 2011

      haha i had actually wanted Ronaldinho to join Barça ever since I’d seen him score his first ever goal for Brazil 🙂

  46. outerspacedout
    July 12, 2011

    To continue the whole Sanchez price thread with Kevin and Josep up there. Kevin, when Josep points out that Sanchez is worth way more than 20mil in the current market as you said, that’s not the same as saying he is worth 40mil. So arguing that no he’s not worth 40mil has nothing to do with that he’s worth way more than 20mil. There’s 25mil, or 30mil, or 35mil, or a whole load of stuff between 20 and 40. So making your argument for how he’s not worth more than 20mil by saying he isn’t worth as much as a proven top top player like Villa was or not worth 40mil is just silly or obscuring the point.

    When someone says he’s worth more than 20mil, that might be 28mil or 32mil or 25mil or 34mil or anything. It’s not either 20mil or 40mil no other options, so arguing he’s worth no more than 20mil by saying he’s not worth 40mil is a whole unrelated set of arguments.

    Personally I think a fair value would be around 28mil or so, considering his upside and demand and youth and clear ability, but also considering the pros to getting him. Not worth 40mil in my opinion. Worth more than 20mil for sure, also, in my opinion. Recall even before the Galactico II market inflation and City coming on into the scene, Milan were paying 25mil for a great prospect but unproven outside of Brazil and raw like Pato, and Fiorentina was paying 15mil for a reliable but not great goalscorer Gilardino in a non-inflated Serie A, for example. It’s not like transfers pre-City/Ibrahimovic/Galacticos were 10mil for a good player and 20mil for a great prospect. By those standards even, 20mil for Sanchez would have been considered a steal after his WC and club season- now market has inflated and his price is supposedly around 40mil which is way too much, but even his ‘fair’ price is definitely clearly above 20mil.

  47. Dani_el
    July 12, 2011

    And once again as a tradition Peru loses the game on the last minute, with an own goal from a corner. Shame on us.

    • Lev
      July 12, 2011

      hey man, if i were from the country where they prepare olluco, ceviche and papa a la huancaina i am would not even be sad over what is indeed a “doh-not-again” football tradition :p

      best food in the world, bro, word!

      • blitzen
        July 12, 2011

        I have a friend from Peru. Last summer I watched her eat a suicidal snake that threw itself into our campfire. Just saying.

        *cough*guinea pigs*cough*


        • Dani_el
          July 12, 2011

          Guinea pigs —> cuy cchactao (it’s suppose to be a well known dish, but I have never tried it)

      • Dani_el
        July 12, 2011

        It is great food! nice of you to say that, thanks! Coach Markarian said in the press conference he was angry that some people in media made statements saying that the peruvian squad now, plays defensive football (we were known for possession, and attacking football before). I think Markarian is doing a great job, building a disciplined team, that with squad full of subs, could give a fight to a great time as Chile. With Guerrero, Pizarro, Vargas, Farfan, Zambrano, Ramirez, Cruzado, Balbin, and Fernandez (all of them didnt play today) we may had another story. I hope this is the beginning of something freat!

      • July 12, 2011

        ceviche! i love ceviche! especially yellow fin/blue fin tuna or blue marlin.

    • July 12, 2011

      thanks for this blitzen…was just there. its neat to see our players having their own site.
      His and iniesta’s are pretty cool!

      • blitzen
        July 13, 2011

        I find Iniesta’s site hilarious. That picture of him with the toothbrush! 😆

    • mom4
      July 12, 2011

      Fan of Valdes?…inasmuch as he’s my favorite keeper…but not a fangirl of him. You know that I’d only go fangirl over Xavi 🙂

      That being said, some of those personal pics…dang! Thanks, Blitz. And I’ll visit any of our guys’ sites.

      Someone talk Xavi into fashion shoots…nah, that would ruin the whole sports-geek xaviesqueness of him.

  48. Ryan
    July 12, 2011

    Uruguay are missing a whole host of chances. Imagine if Mexico sneak a goal in and tie it up?

  49. Ryan
    July 12, 2011

    Argentina plays Uruguay in the next round. They just barely beat Mexico, not exactly looking convincing.

  50. July 12, 2011


    Sorry – didn’t see your question before on Argentina. I posted some thoughts over on zonal marking that are relevant to your questions. I’ll repost them here just to make things easier:

    Argentina’s shape was very interesting. Given the limitations of their full backs in getting forward an asymmetric 4-2-2-2 was a surprising way to play. It puts them at risk for losing width, especially on the right hand side as ZM points out.

    One can imagine a tactically astute defense playing very narrow against Argentina and finding success with that approach. Even against Costa Rica that was a problem, particularly in the first half – ARG became too narrow and that played into Costa Rica’s own defensive shape.

    But ARG made up for that lack of width with their fluidity and dynamism. Yesterday’s match was a good example of how the dynamics of a system can compensate for it’s structure. The interplay between the front four was impressive, as was the support by Gago.

    Whether or not they can thrive with that shape and that selection of players against better teams is an open question. Their midfield play will be especially tested – they could functionally lose numerical equivalence against a three man midfield due to how much movement is needed up top (especially with Di Maria being required to support play out wide on the left flank in addition to his central role). Batista needs to reconsider using Pastore as it would give them better control and focus for circulating the ball in midfield.

    Higuain has hardly played much at all this past year – and from his finishing it showed. He was useful in occupying the full backs. But I think Argentina would be best suited to playing Aguero, Messi and Di Maria in a front three with Masch, Gago and Pastore behind them. Di Maria could provide width on the right and support Zabaleta defensively. Aguro and Messi could link up in more central regions. When Messi drops deep Pastore could exploit that open space through runs forward. If Batista wants to enhance his system’s dynamics that set of players would perhaps provide the greatest opportunity for playing in that style.

    I don’t think Messi playing in an advanced central role for ARG can be deemed a failure based on how he functioned alongside Tevez and Lavezzi. Tevez and Messi is a poor combination given overlaps in their game and the space they seek to play in. And Lavezzi is better on the left. Messi was brilliant in controlling play yesterday but ARG missed his ability to finish from more advanced positions.

    • dennise
      July 13, 2011

      I do not think – teams concentrate on 1-2 players. Media does.

  51. From @Barcastuff : Benaiges (ex-youth coach): “Cesc didn’t want to leave but his parents decided. Arsenal took advantage of the elections at Barça.” [la sexta]
    That could be true especially if we consider that Pep send him a no4 shirt of his signed when cesc moved to london. You probably don’t do that to someone who wanted to leave…
    *raisingsomecesclove* 🙂

  52. y2k156
    July 13, 2011

    So it will be Argentina v Uruguay in QF’s of Copa. Its a mouth watering clash.

    Even with last result of Argentina, i have to say that Uruguay have the edge in this one. They have been a good team for quite some time and have excellent fire power up front. I would say that Argentina has better attack, both teams have similar midfields and Uruguay has better defence.

    I would in fact like to see same formation as against Costa Rica with Milito replaced by some one/anyone else. I do not think Batista will make the change though. I think having Higuain up front is a requirement so that defenders do not crowd Messi out, at least for now. Maybe in long run, Pastore-Messi combo will be better but it needs time and QF’s of competition against strong opposition is not the time to experiment. I just hope Higuain brings his radar with him this time.

    I hope we get a open match but likely it will be a tense derby as always between two neighbours.

    • Lev
      July 13, 2011

      True. Higuain is not finishing his chances right now but he is creating space with his runs. And to be fair, he can’t keep missing them all, now, can he?

      The bigger question remains how will they play against a strong opponent? Last World Cup they looked greeeat until Germany destroyed them. This does lead us to a maybe even bigger question: could it be that for the first time in South America’s history, there isn’t really a “strong opponent”? Honestly believe that both Brazil and Argentina don’t match up against Europe’s powerhouses right now (being at the moment, Spain, Germany and Holland I guess)

    • kinukinu
      July 13, 2011

      Re: Euler’s response to my questions above:
      Wow—thanks! I aspire to know half as much as you someday…

      Using Messi as a playmaker certainly takes away from his ability to score goals, but he created more chances than perhaps any of his teammates might have been able to. Kinda reminds me of the everyman/superhero duality of Clark Kent/Superman and Peter Parker/Spiderman; he can contribute something of value from either vantage point but one role takes away from the other, as, sadly he can’t be in two places at once.

      It was fascinating to watch him adapt to this (dare I say?) almost Xavi-like role for Argentina, and in some ways it was an even more gratifying response to the cynical Argie fans than if he had scored a hattrick all by himself. His unselfishness in feeding opportunity after opportunity to his teammates proved his skill and his loyalty in one fell swoop.

      if he continues to develop in this role, I wonder if/how it will affect/add depth to his Barca game?

      I’m both nervous and excited to see how it all plays out against Uruguay. Both teams controlled their last respective games but squandered so many chances to score. And both teams have gotten a psychological boost from sudden drastic improvements. Would love to know your thoughts on how they will approach this potentially electrifying matchup…

      Euler? Euler?

      • Lev
        July 13, 2011

        “It was fascinating to watch him adapt to this (dare I say?) almost Xavi-like role for Argentina”

        some people try to say that Xavi is better or more important to Barça than Messi, but I have always maintained that if he played at Xavi’s position he would be even better than Xavi. Problem is we would have no-one to replace Leo.

        • Ryan
          July 13, 2011

          I would say that Xavi is still a tiny bit better at keeping the ball and distributing. But not by much, and considering Xavi is the best at what he does, Messi being that close when it’s not his position is pretty crazy.

          • Nav
            July 13, 2011

            Messi’s passing would be as accurate but I’m not sure he’d see the game as well as Xavi does.

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