Author: Kxevin

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.

November 4, 2009 / / Team News

Ye gods, there’s a lot going on in the world, such as:

Strike? A strike? Labor action by a bunch of pampered, overpaid athletes?

You betcha.

There is more assuredly precedent, at least in America, so people shouldn’t be horrified by such things if you know your sports history. But the prospect of no La Liga because of tax issues, frankly put, has my bloomers all in a bunch.

But my bloomers wouldn’t be the only ones in a bunch. Thong Boy, for example, would probably have his string turn into a cowlick, so high would his dudgeon be. Why? Because if the Spanish government has its way, the tax rate for furriners would rise to to 43 percent, from 24 percent.

Starting in 2010.

November 2, 2009 / / Barcelona

Sure it was a draw. But MOTM doesn’t have to be. [polldaddy poll=2198071]

November 1, 2009 / / La Liga
Um .... sorry 'bout that. No really .... so sorry.
Um .... sorry 'bout that. No really .... so sorry.

Yes, I want it huge. I want everyone to be able to return to this post, look at this picture and remember how it feels when we don’t play as a team, when we let a match that we should have won going away, slip away. Yes, it was a draw, but for me it feels like a loss. It certainly was celebrated like a win down in Osasuna, which is the story of the Barca life. A team will kill themselves just to draw with us, and we aren’t matching fire with fire.

October 31, 2009 / / Barcelona

Barca/Osa liveblog

October 30, 2009 / / Team News
In case you were wondering who I am
In case you were wondering who I am

So Thierry Henry is the best player in the world right now? Well he is according to the Castrol FIFA Rankings system, a complicated edifice that involves enough numbers to make even Isaiah tremble in terror, voodoo, live chickens and a chipmunk. It doesn’t bother weighting all that stuff that we fans value, such as clutch performances, match-winning efforts, etc, etc.

And you throw all that stuff into a hat, fire up a supercomputer or two, and out comes a numerical ranking that rates the best players across the top 5 leagues in Europe.

October 29, 2009 / / Copa del Rey
Marti Fradera/REUTERS
Marti Fradera/REUTERS

If it’s another tight, sloppy match, it must be Pedro! Time. Anyone who wonders why his name carries the exclamation point need look no farther than today’s Copa del Rey opener, against a Cultural Leonesa side that really didn’t have much interest in the attack. Those thinking this would be a wide-open match as the Segunda minnows were buoyed by the giant killing yesterday, were to be bummed.

October 28, 2009 / / Team News
That's right. I make these stripes good good, baby!
That's right. I make these stripes good good, baby!

Yes, it’s early days, but our very own BANGS, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, is co-pichichi with Valencia’s David Villa. Each are on 7 goals. But did you also know that he was 4 of 4 with his shots vs Zaragoza, every last one of ’em being on target? This is very different from our performance against Rubin Kazan, in which some might have been buoyed by the fact that we had more than 20 shots, but I think you’ll find that their keeper will say that he had an easy night of it.

Which means what?

That our big Swede is making a liar out of some people.

October 26, 2009 / / La Liga
Because it's just like that. That's why.
Because it's just like that. That's why.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you our Man of the Match, Seydou Keita, whom we all affectionately call Keiteee! He was absolutely, spot-on brilliant tonight in a crucial match for the side, against an opponent who was perfect.

Because they were about as threatening as a puppy, and we knew that going in. But more importantly, we went in rested. This team would have given Rubin Kazan the hiding that Isaiah predicted in his preview. The movement was sharper, the passing crisper and the energy was much, much higher. Tonight, this club would have beaten pretty much any club in the world, because for the first time this season, it played as a full-on team. Not individuals working toward a collective goal, but a team. The difference was crucial.

October 23, 2009 / / Team News

[polldaddy poll=2158549]

–In the “great news!” category, Carles Puyol has reached an agreement in principle for a renewal until 2013. Final details are yet to be hammered out but as you can imagine, his negotiating position was immensely enhanced by Marquez’ performance against Rubin Kazan.

But even before that, this dude deserves to retire with the club. He started here, he grew up here, and any notions that he would be happy anywhere else, or that any self-respecting cule would be happy seeing him somewhere else are the purest insanity.

Everybody and their mamas gave our Capitan a standing ovation at word of the news, as do I.

October 22, 2009 / / Polls

Yes, it hurts. But we still have to vote, so suck it up. [polldaddy poll=2154211]

October 21, 2009 / / Champions League
If only I had bent the ball ....
If only I had bent the ball .... if only ....

I’m not customarily one of those “I told you so folks,” but when everyone was predicting destruction for Rubin Kazan, a few folks were cautious. Last year, when we were sweeping all before us, that prediction would have been easy. We would have wiped the floor with them. This year, in the wake of iffy team displays that have been bailed out by individual brilliance, we were ripe for the picking.

What did it take? A resolute team with absolutely nothing to lose, poor finishing on our part and two plays, both facilitated by a defender who has a contract on the table, but shouldn’t have been on the pitch.

This picture of Pedro! says it all. He was the beneficiary of our absolute best chance of the second half, a half filled with hope until it was cruelly snatched away by a casual stab at the ball by Bojan Krkic, who did a Busquets, directly into the path of an attacking Kazan player. The Yaya tried a sliding tackle ….

October 20, 2009 / / Team News

In the wake of a series of fascinating recent matches in which opponents have essentially tried to kick us off the pitch, it’s interesting that we can look to the rough-and-tumble Premiership, to show us how it’s done:

–In Spurs v Portsmouth, Jermain Defoe steps on a downed defender who had just given him a hard challenge. Straight red, no debate, no argument.

–In the Liverpool/Villa match, the ref who allowed the “beach ball” goal, Mike Jones, will be officiating in the Championship next match weekend. Yes, refs can be relegated for poor decision-making, and frankly, should be.

Contrast that with the stiff-lipped gits who run the Liga, who decided that the dimwit who let Weligton kick, swing at and stomp his way though that Maulaga match, is all good in the hood. It was a shameful display then and it’s even more shameful now, in light of what I think any Liga devotee would say was a “no blood, no foul” league, cracking down on behavior that might injure a player, while also making sure that bad officiating does indeed get its just desserts.

Not that the aforementioned two decisions will do anything at all to make the Liga stop being run like a local indoor league, that doesn’t care if anyone shoves their way into the 127-person capacity gym to watch the matches.

That “hee haw” sound you hear is jackasses, braying en Espanol.