Archive | Thoughts

An example is made, aka “Baby can’t go shopping? Now what!”

gucci

The expected happened today as FIFA, the organizing body that handed down the two-window transfer ban to FC Barcelona for violating youth player strictures, denied the club’s appeal. So the transfer ban remains intact, affecting player movement in the winter and summer 2015 transfer windows.

The club’s next step will be to (again) head for CAS and an appeal.

Typically, the club issued a huffy statement full of dudgeon and indignation:

“FC Barcelona cannot accept an affront to the spirit of our Masia, a world renowned example of academic, human and sporting education.”

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Posted in Supposition, Team News, Thoughts, Transfers16 Comments

And here we go again … Gamper Trophy time, aka “Much ado about … what”

gamper

Is it that time already? The Gamper Trophy match, the traditional festivity that is also a Friendly That Matters, is a herald for a new season at FC Barcelona. Liga starts next week, but the Gamper shows off the squad and its new signings, sets up a festive atmosphere and has, of late, rolled out a patsy for the boys to beat up on.

This year, it is expected that Leon, a club out of Mexico, won’t put up too much of a fuss. Nobody is expecting the 8-0 that Santos took last year, but let’s be serious about this whole friendly business — what team wants a friendly in their home stadium that has the potential of leaving egg on faces?

It also gets away from the point of the Gamper, which is a celebration. At this time of the season, right before footballs are kicked in anger, it seems a perfect time to take stock of what has happened.
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Posted in Gamper Trophy, Match comments post, Preseason, Thoughts, Transfers/Transfer Rumors54 Comments

A case for the defense, aka “Not just any old defender, but almost”

Iniesta only comes up to here on me. No. Really.

Iniesta only comes up to here on me. No. Really.

The most fascinating debate of this summer and its transfer window, has been the debate raging about our two centerback signings, Jeremy Mathieu and Thomas Vermaelen. A respondent on Twitter said to me that Vermaelen was fine, but that he was expecting a “spectacular” signing.

So of course, precisely because I am guilty of thinking too much, I started thinking about Barça, defense and conceding goals. Then I started looking around at goals that the team conceded, and came to a rather surprising conclusion: if the system is working, it pretty much doesn’t matter WHO is playing at CB. Stick a dead dog or a squirrel out there, and off ya go.

The reasons why this is so are fairly obvious: the elegant possession game that the team plays minimized opponent possession. No possession, no chances, no goals. Couple that with an effective press and your keeper had better have excellent powers of concentration, for the 1 or 2 times per match that he might actually have to do something.
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Posted in Analysis, Thoughts, Transfers137 Comments

Mmmm, so satisfying, aka “A look back at transfer history”

toure

This will be a short one, in part because chocolate donuts await, but with the news of Thomas Vermaelen being all but done and the attendant wailing and rending of garments, I racked my brain to think of the last Barça transfer that satisfied everyone, and you know what? I came up with two, possibly: Toure Yaya and Henrik Larsson.

The former was because he was young, a giant who doth bestride the earth, and the price was right. Larsson came to us on a free, so that price was definitely right.

Let’s run down just a sampling of some, to give everyone a picture:
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Posted in Team News, Thoughts, Transfers, Transfers/Transfer Rumors80 Comments

McKuler is not impressed, aka “The summer of our discontent”

mckayla

Whatevs …

Summer is here, and after years of neglect of the sporting project, transfers are being made, players coming in that people — most notably the folks whose asses are on the line — hope will improve the team. Finally!

Whatevs … not good enough.
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Posted in Thoughts, Transfers, Transfers/Transfer Rumors357 Comments

GOATS, success, failure and Lionel Messi, aka “Be here now.”

messi

The World Cup is over and now the debates begin about Messi, roiling tempests that reduce the actual winner of the tournament to a seeming afterthought.

And they are so predictable that it’s almost lazy, as if by rote the same lines are drawn by the same groups of people:

– Look at the stats. He’s the best.
– He failed on the big stage, so he isn’t the GOAT.
– Y’all need to leave him alone, he is still the GOAT.
– Etc, etc, ad infinitum.

The truth is that there is no truth. It’s all immaterial.
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Posted in Messi, Thoughts, World Cup280 Comments

Anything to win, aka “Benvingut, Luis Suarez!”

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suarez

Let’s be clear about this:

The Luis Suarez transfer is a vile, disgusting act by desperate men, a board trying to save its power-hungry asses and a new coach who doesn’t want to be like his predecessor. It’s at the terminus of an arc of lies and neglect of a sporting project.

At the end of the mountain of bollocks strewn by this board in the name of furthering its project is just the latest piece of crap in a veritable deluge of the stuff. Those sluggards didn’t even have the nerve to say to their new coaching hire “Yes we are supposed to just get you the players that you ask for, but we have to draw the line somewhere.”

The Luis Suarez signing was completed today, for a fee that nobody will ever know, ironic from a board that steeped its initial pitches in “transparency.” It’s also just one more bit of skullduggery from a group that is ostensibly running an organization for the good of the entity. But there is nothing good about this deal, not even the goals that Suarez will score because they will be tainted, smeared with the disgusting effluvia of soulless men.
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Posted in Team News, Thoughts, Transfers149 Comments

Misunderstanding Messi, aka “You don’t get it, but that’s okay. Hardly anyone does.”

clasmess

Messi doesn’t care. If you want to understand Messi, understand that.

It took a while for me to figure that out, but this most recent World Cup brought a lot into perspective for me regarding Lionel Messi. There have been some excellent articles on him: a piece that goes back to Rosario, a statistical breakdown that concludes Messi is impossible. And even before that, a lot of writing about a person, an entity, a thing that is impossible to put into words and next to impossible to be neutral about, because DID YOU SEE WHAT HE JUST DID??!!.

But I don’t think anyone can understand Messi because there’s nothing to understand. He just wants the ball.

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Posted in Messi, Supposition, Thoughts208 Comments

Ugliness in the beautiful game, aka “This is a man’s world”

zuniga

“I never meant to hurt anyone. I was defending my shirt.”

The beautiful game wasn’t at all today as Brazil faced off against Colombia in the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup. The sad part is that you could see it coming even before the match started as the coach of Brazil, “Big Phil” Scolari, went on at a presser about no more Mr. Nice Guy, and people are going to see a different side of Brazil.

Against Colombia Brazil came out kicking, a tactic facilitated by the appalling refereeing display by Carlos Velasco Carballo, a ref who, it will shock no one, plies his trade in La Liga. He did nothing, called nothing, and rewarded the increasing violence with a series of stern gazes, but no cards. Then Colombia started kicking back.

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Posted in Neymar, Thoughts89 Comments

Gracies, Equip, aka “Thank you so much for being superhuman”

atmbusi

These are tough times. Poor babies that we are, we have to suffer through a team that finished second in the Liga, in it until the final match, made the Copa final and Champions League quarterfinals. In a sport in which a two-year cycle is extraordinary, our team has been at or near the top since 2008. Six years.

The club has been, and is under assault from every direction from media to its own supporters and people who have been lined up, waiting for Barça to fall as “I told you so” rings throughout the halls of the Camp Nou, shrieks from the fronts of newspapers and websites, a conga line of people who are lining up to kick dirt on the face of the prom king.

So this post is going to start and end saying what I think every last culer needs to say, right here and right now: Gracies, equip. Thank you for the fun, the joy and tears, taking kicks and various fouls, scoring goals and making the effort to do the colors that we love proud. Thank you for everything.
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Posted in Analysis, La Liga, Thoughts345 Comments

The value of something worthless, aka “The Cesc Fabregas saga continues”

Cesc

Value:
noun
1. the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.
verb
1. estimate the monetary worth of (something).

Value is a fun notion to contemplate. I like to think of it as two cars that passed through my possession. One was a big ol’ red sedan that looked really cool, but had … erm … mechanical complexities. It stranded me once, and I drove from the mechanic’s about a half-mile to the local Subaru dealer to trade that thing the hell in. Didn’t get max value, but part of that value was in having that thing GONE.

The other car, a hotted-up Subaru, I sold for something around 2k over its value, a price I could demand and hold out for because really, I didn’t want to sell it. It was one of those, “If you want to give me this much for it, okay.” And someone did.

Which brings us to players, transfers and in particular, Cesc Fabregas.
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Posted in La Liga, Thoughts, Transfers, Transfers/Transfer Rumors179 Comments

The “best available athlete” dilemma, aka “Hammering nails with a banana”


Immense thanks to Allas for the Sanchez video.

Alexis Sanchez is ready.
Alexis Sanchez is a problem.
Neymar will be something if he ever learns how to play the Barça way.
Alex Song was a waste of money, and isn’t anything approximating Barça quality.

A quartet of interesting statements that raises a complex matter with its roots in a notion that some American sports sides (particularly NFL teams) subscribe to, which is to pick the best available athlete. The thinking is that you can train a player to play a position, but you can’t train ability and talent. So you draft a speedy cornerback, and figure you can train him to run pass routes and play wide receiver.

In the footballing world, are we seeing its contemporary in the “difficulties” that three players, Sanchez, Neymar and Song, are having in the blaugrana?
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Posted in International Friendlies, Neymar, Thoughts193 Comments

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