CL Preview: Barça – Dynamo Kiev, Tuesday 2:45pmEST, Fox Sports en Español
In the 10th century, Русь, or Kievan Rus’, controlled what we know as the Ukraine, Belorussia, and eastern Russia. There were notable figures like Vladimir the Great and his son Yaroslav the Wise and Kievan Rus’ ended up controlling a vast swatch of Eastern Europe that extended into eastern Russia. They wrote the Russkaya Pravda and made the Dnieper a major trading route. Modern Kiev probably owes much to those centuries of rule.
It’s easy, of course, to get lost in the ramblings of history, to find ourselves connecting Kievan Rus’ to the present in a direct line, and, what’s more, to think about the Ostrogoths that came before that as somehow connected to the fairly ridiculous historical comparison we made last time with Visigothic maraudings in reverse. We could continue that and say that we are fighting the next battle in our made up war, moving from Italy to the Ukraine (with Barcelona as a proxy for the actual Ukraine), and ending up in Russia on Matchday 3, but that, of course, seems even more far-fetched than it did the first time I went about it.
Whether Lobanovskyi ever tried to channel Vladimir or Yaroslav, we’ll never know–perhaps there are better historical equivalents, but, again, I never did study Europe and I’m far too lazy to do a truly in-depth look at the history of these countries–but certainly there are connections between the Ukraine of footballing antiquity and our modern Barcelona-based juggernaut. Valeriy Vasylyovych Lobanovskyi, for those of you who are unaware, is one of the fathers of modern football. There are, of course, disputes about who developed what or influenced who, but it’s generally accepted that Lobanovskyi was one of the first to push players into that realm of physicality that allowed them to run for 90 minutes, to play, in essence, Total Football because they could stand the pace and no one else could. Read MoreThree Golden Points: Barça – Dynamo
As match-changing moments go, this one was huge. Thierry Henry’s thigh injury necessitated a substitution, and thankfully the healing powers of Zlatan Ibrahmovic had him ready and available for duty.
And we all know the rest, right?
But the important part about this match isn’t any refereeing, or missed decisions, or dirty plays. It’s about how we won, and that we rolled up man-style, returning dirty play by putting the ball in the back of the net. Read MoreMaulaga 0, Barca 2, a.k.a. “Way to man up.”
So, Boat Forever and others have been wondering: Why haven’t we seen The Yaya in two consecutive matches now? Worries about a rift between he and Barca managment have cropped up, etc, etc. And now there are the latest rumors, that Citeh will come charging in with a pigpile of money for The Yaya who, if you believe the Britpress, is “desperate” to play alongside his brother Kolo (who isn’t Toure Kolo, as he is Toure Yaya …. but that’s another musing). Read MoreSaturday musings: The Yaya and being in the crosshairs
La Liga Preview: Málaga-Barça, Saturday 2pmEST, GolTV
Well, it’s back to more La Liga action as we roll into the weekend for a trip to typically sunny Málaga on the southern coast. It’s a big travel week for our boys, who were up in Arctic Circle Santander on Tuesday (I think every American sports fan reading this just laughed at Santander to Málaga being a big travel week).
Remember last time we were in Málaga and it wasn’t quite so sunny? Yeah…I watched the game at Downtown Bar and Grill in Brooklyn, home to wonderful beer and, well, just me that day. Empty as could be, but it had GolTV and I wasn’t headed to Nevada Smiths. It was quite amazing to watch that game and get progressively more sloshfaced alongside our boys getting progressively more and more, well sloshed on the field. It was early November and the weather was unusually nice outside in NY, but in Málaga, not so much. Hopefully this time will be a bit drier. Read MoreA Return to the Pond: Málaga – Barça
Every now and then a goal comes along that highlights some important concepts in our philosophy and tactics. In my arbitrary opinion, our second goal against Racing does exactly that. So, follow along as we break down that goal second by second. Read MoreAnatomy of a Goal: Racing Edition
Hey, whoa, that was fast. After training normally with the squad yesterday, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been given the green light to play against Malaga, and is named in the squad list. I reckon it wasn’t that bad, after all. Good news.
—Dmytro Txigrinski is expected to start against Malaga, as the Ukranian hair man makes his way into becoming a more regular fixture in our lineup. Um, and by the by …. Captain Caveman and Kaiser, we have some contracts for you both to sign. We’re just saying. No pressure or anything, though. Nope. 😀 Read MoreIt’s the Friday news, in brief: BANGS is back!
All right, you caught me, I admit it. I hired a private detective agency to make sure that Hector, Kevin, and Tarun weren’t up to no good during their free time. It was well worth it, of course, and totally above board. Except I didn’t tell anyone and I had the detectives comb through their garbage and open their mail in order to find out that 1) Hector spends his evenings punching a voodoo doll of Maradona in the face, 2) Kevin can outride my poor detectives on his bike, and 3) Tarun plays soccer in the evenings with, er, me.
Seriously, though, I didn’t do that. I wouldn’t have. Because that is just crazy.
Barça’s General Director Joan Oliver would like to point out that it isn’t at all crazy. It’s a natural and accepted part of figuring out who should stand for president in the next election. Here’s all that I’ve gleaned: In March or April one of the many vice presidents, Joan Franquesa that Barça has thought that he was being followed by someone. Creepy, right? So Oliver assigned a detective agency to find out what was going on…and also assigned that agency to follow 3 other VPs whose only crimes were the ability to stand for president in the upcoming election cycle. Read MoreNews I Found By Looking Through Your Garbage and Mail