September 22, 2009 / / La Liga
September 21, 2009 / / La Liga

MessiSantander0809
There’s no way he can…not a chance…oh. my. god.

Racing Santander – Barcelona: Tuesday 4pmEST

Here’s how you suck at life: show a repeat of Vitoria vs Internacional from the Brasileirao on Saturday or show an also not-live “Jorge Ramos y su Banda” for 3 hours. If you chose the first option, you’re GolTV. If you chose the second option, you’re ESPN Deportes. Seriously? You choose to show those instead of live Barcelona action? Jerkoffs.

No, seriously, you’re a bunch of jerkoffs.

Of course I’m pissed off by that fact, even though it shouldn’t be particularly surprising. I’m still going to DVR both of those shows in order to see if they weren’t just messing with me because ESPN Deportes is showing “Futbol Español” from 2-4pm and might just change their programming if they can get the rights. No doubt Jorge Ramos and his frickin’ Banda will draw more viewers…It’s possible that it’s actually RFEF’s fault because they’re constantly messing with times and dates and don’t have a collective bargaining agreement, but whatever, I’m going to fault the TV stations right now cause I want to. Read MoreYour Equinox Be Damned: Racing – Barça

September 19, 2009 / / La Liga
Gaze ye in wonder! Ibracadabra, beeyotches!
Gaze ye in wonder! Ibracadabra, beeyotches!

Dammit, I can’t make this picture any bigger! So it will just have to do. We all know the moment, just after one of the most sublime goals I have seen was struck, by one Zlatan “That was way too much money, we’re stupid for having done it” Ibrahimovic. His price seems like more of a bargain with every bit of magic, doesn’t it?

And I will tell you right now, that I am calling nonsense on the Phil Schoen nattering about that being a goal that Eto’o could never have scored, because they are very different strikers. Eto’o also scores goals that Ibrahimovic could never score.

Now that that is out of the way, great galloping Jesus, what a golazo! Read MoreBarca 5, Atletico Madrid 2, a.k.a. “Turd in the punch bowl.”

September 19, 2009 / / La Liga
September 19, 2009 / / Team News

messilaporta

Cha-ching! Lionel Messi has warmed hearts and minds by saying that “I want to spend all my career here, in Barcelona.” Which, admittedly, is the right thing to say after a club has just decided to give you something around 12m per annum for kicking a football around better than anyone else on the planet. We’ve all applauded the new deal, and it would be the height of churlishness to even question whether it’s deserved right? Read MoreThe News, Saturday edition, a.k.a. “All about the Benjamins?”

September 18, 2009 / / La Liga

La Liga Preview: Barça – Atletico Madrid; 4pm GolTV

AtletiBarca1
This is what playing Atleti is like.

When two sides with extraordinary talent meet, anything can happen. When Atletico Madrid and Barcelona meet, goals happen. There hasn’t been a scoreless encounter between the two in lord knows how many seasons, and I don’t expect this to be any different. There have been 0-6 and 6-0 lambastings as well as 4-3 goalfests like the last time the teams met in the Vicente Calderon. The Copa del Rey last year was a 1-3 and 2-1, both for Barça. Read MoreBring on the Mattress Makers: Barça – Atletico Madrid

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. 😀

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 – Barça, 2:45pmEST Wednesday, Fox Sports en Español (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