October 22, 2009 / / Transfers/Transfer Rumors
October 22, 2009 / / Polls
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 ….
Read MoreBarca 1, Rubin Kazan 2, a.k.a. “I saw it coming.”

October 20, 2009 / / Champions League
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.
Read MoreMatch day news, Barca edition

October 19, 2009 / / Champions League

CL Preview: Barça – Rubin Kazan, Tuesday 2:45pmEST, Fox Sports en Español

He is out there. Waiting, watching, listening to metal.
He is out there. Waiting, watching, listening to metal.

There’s a man standing in the beautiful wilds of an untamed jungle. He is forty feet in the air, balanced easily on a branch, surveying the scene. His blond locks shimmer and dance in the spotted light seeping through the canopy top. Both camouflaged and elegantly obvious, the man is one with his surroundings: poisonous and beautiful, stealthy and skilled. He has been here for a thousand years, you would imagine, motionless and watchful. There’s movement nearby and his eyes swing to the side, his head never moving, his muscles tensing ever so slightly.

There are words to describe the flurry of movement, the screech of pain, and the scene of horror, but those words are lost in the fear that ripples through you as watch a master hunter at work. He has taken another scalp for his bountiful collection. There is murder in his eyes as he turns his gaze upon his next victim. Be wary, traveler, for there is a killer on the loose and he is approaching another milestone in a career of milestones: Read MoreNever Let Your Guard Down: Barça – Rubin Kazan

October 17, 2009 / / La Liga
I have some vexing to do.
I have some vexing to do.

Did anyone know that bats are the only flying mammal?

I know, right? We all figured that all they did was give us the willies, flitting around church spires in small European towns, screeching and entangling themselves in hair and whatnot. But no. They pollinate, disperse fruit seeds and do all kinds of good things.

But bats also do baaaad things, such as get knee-deep in your ass, keep you on your heels and make you rely on superhuman efforts from your mop-topped captain and a goal keeper who I don’t want to hear anyone give shit to this season. Period, full stop.
Read MoreValencia 0, Barca 0, a.k.a. “I HATE bats!”

October 17, 2009 / / La Liga
October 16, 2009 / / La Liga

Liga Preview: Valencia – Barça, Saturday 4pmEST, GolTV

A return to the Mestalla brings with it Phil and RayRay and the hyperbole without which many of us could not survive. Also, it brings us back to La Liga, which, thankfully, is going to dominate my life for while and get the pesky memories of World Cup qualifiers out of there. I like the World Cup itself, but give me continuous Barça any day over trivial international fair like “win or go home” European qualifiers. And yes, I stayed up to watch several matches this time around. Shush.

Today is the 5th anniversary of one Lionel Messi’s league debut with the first team. He came on for the final 8 minutes against Espanyol on October 16, 2004, and though he didn’t score the above goal until May 1, 2005 against Albacete, you knew big things were in store for this little guy. Little guy is relative, of course. We can expect a lot more out of Messi against Valencia this weekend, I would think, than we did in that match oh so long ago. Thanks for the memories so far, Leo, and let’s hope they keep on coming.

The title of this post explained, after the jump. Read MoreA Strength of Feet: Valencia – Barça

October 15, 2009 / / Team News
Paarl, South Africa
Paarl, South Africa

The international break is long and boring for most of us Barça fans, especially if we don’t have a dog in that World Cup race (as a USMNT fan, we squared away against Honduras on Saturday). If you were an Argentina fan, you were probably glued to your TV for most of last night while Maradona attempted to lose whatever dignity he had left*, but otherwise, there was this little ditty from the Honduran radio announcers (which warmed my heart), but that was it. Other than, of course, hoping our boys were fine. Read MoreNews of the Day – October 15, 2009

October 15, 2009 / / Nonsense