September 18, 2009 / / Team News

It’s been busy these past few days, and we wanted to let everyone grok the fullness of the Champions League run-in. But it’s back to business, and here we go:

–If anybody is broke Leo Messi is the guy to hit up for a loan. No numbers are available as of yet, but he’s signed a new contract that will keep him with us until 2016. The buyout clause is (are you sitting down?) 250 million Euros. Citeh will probably still try to pay it. ­čśÇ

The deal guarantees that he will be the highest-paid player at the club which, in the aftermath of the arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, was temporarily not the case.

–As expected, the Puyol business is getting a prominent spot in the news again. Pep Guardiola has said, without fear of equivocation, “My wish is that he stays,” our coach said to Sport. But he also told his captain that his continued stay at Barcelona is “up to him.” Read MoreBarca news you can use: Messi, Puyol, cranky Titi

September 17, 2009 / / Champions League

Please: 0.40

Put it a different way: 11-1.

Those numbers are, of course, from a very small sample, but would you take those numbers as a ratio for the entire season? I would because I know that the first one is Ibrahimovic’s current scoring rate (5 appearances, 2 goals) and the second goal is our total goals scored to goals allowed. Feel free to extrapolate that to how many goals would be scored in an entire year: 16 goals for Ibra if he makes 40 appearances, 113.67-10.33 in a 62-game season.

My point is, of course, that we need to take a moment to look at the overall picture, the picture that keeps in mind not the price paid for a particular player, but the value of that player within the greater framework of our club and our club’s future. Yes, we’ve had some “funky” displays over the last few games, but during those “funky” displays, we’ve successfully won five out of six matches and we drew the other one. We’ve allowed one goal. We’ve scored 11 from six different players. We’ve incorporated a major new piece of the total footballing puzzle and have been attempting to change our tactical approach in every match. This is not a momentary effort, a light switch that goes from off to on.

zlatancrowd
No pressure or anything… Read MoreA Question of Time: The Zlatan Ibrahimovic Story

September 16, 2009 / / Champions League
Dude. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. Gimme that ball.
Dude. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. Gimme that ball.

I’m a little irritated right now, so pardon me if a bit of it seeps into this review of a match in which only one team came to really play football. And that’s fine. We should expect that. Why, oh why would any side in its right mind come out to play against us? All that awaits is death. So Inter took the same route as Chelsea, and Deportivo, and every other inferior side.

Keep 9 or 10 behind the ball, and stick your legs out.

Read MoreInter 0, Barca 0, a.k.a. “60+m for THIS!?”

September 15, 2009 / / Champions League

milan-duomo

Champions League Preview: Inter – Bar├ža, 2:45pmEST Wednesday, Fox Sports en Espa├▒ol (FSE).

I flew into Milan on a bright and beautiful morning in November 2006, having left Berlin early enough to catch the sun’s raise hitting the streets for what looked like the first time that day. As we swooped into Malpensa Airport, I was met by the panorama of a city that is know world-wide for being cosmopolitan, for being the nexus of fashion, design, and, lately, aging footballers. It looks stunningly gorgeous, as Italian as it gets, and certainly a welcoming destination. I never did see the Stadio Guiseppe Meazza, though, because I quickly boarded another plane to head to Florence for a week of unadulterated sight-seeing and Tuscan sun basking. On my way back, thanks to an unrelenting bank of fog that closed the Florence airport, I was taken by bus by Alitalia through twisting mountain roads and tunnels and finally back to the airport late at night for a then-delayed flight to Berlin.

None of this was Milan’s fault, of course, but I was left, after my 14-hour travel day that should have been 5 hours long, semi cursing the city for having the temerity to be in my plans on a fairly obliterated day. That I still didn’t get to see the monumental stadium that is the San Siro was merely an added bonus in a long list of pejoratives that I used to describe all things northern Italian for a day or two, when I was able to refocus my distaste for transit authorities and metropolitan areas on the MTA, who, as luck would have it, delayed me a few hours in getting home because of random track work in New Jersey between Newark and Penn Station.

Read MoreOf Visigoths and False Duels: Internazionale and Barcelona

September 15, 2009 / / Champions League
September 14, 2009 / / Champions League
Hey, a boy could get used to this....
Hey, a boy could get used to this....

–The Cecs Fabregas and Javi Mascherano rumors will not die, probably because Hector keeps SMSing Txiki B. “Dood. Masch=$$$$! Bet!” Txiki B. says that the signing of either member of the midfield tandem of joy is “something the club has left for later.” He said that fiscally, it just didn’t make sense to try nabbing them in the climate set up by some Evil Empire tossing Euro banknotes about like confetti. Hmph.

Benitez still says that Mascherano isn’t for sale, and Arsene Wenger is said to be working up a “right smart” Gallic snit, before he comments further. Personally, I think that all the club has to do is send him the above picture from his Barca past, with a note: “Still winning, you could be here.”

Read MoreFabregas, Mascherano still linked, “go time” for Puyol

September 14, 2009 / / Barcelona

While we wait for today’s news, individual highlights from the Getafe game of three of our players have come out on the youtubes. My personal favorites were Chygnasty’s crossfield passes and Zlatan’s long pass to Pedro which I somehow totally missed during the game. What about you? Enjoy:

Read MoreGetafe Game Individual Highlights

September 13, 2009 / / La Liga

ibragetafe

Get used to seeing this picture, folks. Because the best football club in the world, by sending a player and a significant pile of dosh to Inter Milan–a move that had everybody on the planet questioning the logic of our Powers that Be–is now significantly better.

Yes, we took care of Getafe, at about half-speed as guys worked out cobwebs from Internationals, etc. Yes, they could have been up 3-0 before halftime. But that isn’t how it’s supposed to go, and so it doesn’t. When Messi tries a bicycle, it’s with the conviction that the shot has a chance. When a Getafe player tries it, it’s a “Well, let’s have a go” kind of mentality that isn’t as sharp as it should be. So one player’s slides inside the post, the other player’s bounces off it.

It’s just that simple. Luck? I don’t buy it. Skill and conviction decide matches, and aside from their zeal in committing fouls, Getafe didn’t play with the confidence that matched their advance, “We can beat these guys, blah, blah, blah” nattering. And so they didn’t. Because they didn’t really believe it. Read MoreGetafe 0, Barca 2, a.k.a. “The future is so bright.”

September 13, 2009 / / Nonsense

ibramessi

Whatever your thoughts on the match, you can’t help but laugh at Ibrahimovic surrounded by a pack of joyous midgets after both goals. I certainly did, but check out 4:24 and 6:08 in the below video to see for yourself:

Read MoreGiants in a Land of Midgets: Random Thoughts

September 12, 2009 / / La Liga