April 19, 2014 / / Barcelona
April 18, 2014 / / Analysis

clasney

Neymar has a problem.
Neymar IS a problem.

Whichever (or both) of those sentences you think true, there is one thing we can agree on: Neymar is a galvanizing figure on the world football stage. When he came to Barça at the beginning of this season for a pile of cash, nobody knew what to expect.

Cruijff said that Neymar and Messi were incompatible. Others cried luxury purchase, that the club needed a CB more than a Brazilian with malleable hair and an Instagram fetish.

Still others said that he was one of the best players in the world even at the tender age of 21, with associative play of the type that could fit in very effectively at Barça.

He came, and then came the contract, an ongoing legal wrangle that makes both of this piece’s opening sentences true.
Read MoreGoldilocks and the Camp Nou, aka “The case for Neymar”

April 16, 2014 / / Copa del Rey

copafirst

Someone who knew once said to me, “You have to do 100 things exactly right to win a bicycle race. Do 99 of them exactly right, and you finish second.” Margins are like that in athletic endeavor.

You push, you shove, you train as hard as you can, doing efforts and intervals until you actually vomit. You wipe your mouth, rinse it out with Gatorade and get back on the bicycle as soon as you stop seeing double.

You do this because you want, more than anything else, to win. Every athlete wants to win. Winning is the absolute best thing that can be experienced. Once you get it, it’s like the most addictive drug. People lie, cheat, dope in an effort to keep doing it. As the saying goes, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

For athletes, this is true. That FC Barcelona, our amazing football club, has been able to win and keep winning for so long, is an astounding accomplishment. It is one that, when I sit here in front of this keyboard, I really can’t even begin to fathom.
Read MoreRM 2, Barça 1, aka “The inexorable inevitability of defeat”

April 16, 2014 / / Barcelona

Madrid

The 3rd clasico for the season. Well – technically not, because that term only really exists for the Liga games, but has now become synonymous with every meeting between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Read MoreValència!

April 14, 2014 / / Barcelona

dorisHow one feels after a match has nothing to do with what happens during the match and everything to do with what one thought before the match. Say three guys are sitting in a bar aprés loss:

“I never thought we could win silver,” says the first. “But I’m grateful for the run.”

“I didn’t know if we would win,” says the second. “But I’m bummed we lost.”

“I was sure we were going to win,” says the third. “Now I’m having an existential crisis.” Read MoreQué será, será …

April 12, 2014 / / Analysis
April 11, 2014 / / Barcelona
April 10, 2014 / / Analysis

atmlead

Well doesn’t THIS feel weird, this feeling of coming home on a big match day from wherever you watched, with that empty feeling, that difficult-to-describe sensation of having watched your team lose.

Seems like just yesterday that we were capering about in glee through throats made hoarse from screaming as we swept the Classics, beating RM in their house.

But today, the best team from the capitol city, without two of its best players, beat us. And today, in another bit of empty-feeling weirdness, our team didn’t have any answers. Make no mistake, however … Barça didn’t lose today. It was beaten by an opponent with a better plan, its own naivete and institutional failure.
Read MoreAtletico 1, Barça 0 (2-1 agg.), aka “That fist to the face … who put that there?”

April 6, 2014 / / Team News
Image via fcbarcelona.cat
Image via fcbarcelona.cat

Armageddon happened yesterday, set to the sound of cloven hooves clad in Gucci loafers. Or not. It all depends.

FC Barcelona is a lot like sex, or a hot fudge sundae — pretty hard to mess up. So when socis went to the polls on Saturday to vote for … something or other that was going to cost, more or less, EUR 600m, the logic was in fact rather easy to see:

— Boy, do we need a new stadium
— We’re a big club, and need one of those fancy big-club stadium complexes
— Barça will be fine
— What’s Twitter and tweeting? What do bird sounds have to do with Barça?
Read MoreMes que un stadium, aka “Truth, social media and what we know”

April 2, 2014 / / Nonsense

Been a while since we had one of these standard nonsense posts. Let’s see how it fairs, especially after the greatness that is SoMa. Read MoreFly on the Wall

March 31, 2014 / / Barcelona

 

freize

When the gods want to punish you, the saying goes, they answer your prayers — and the Gods of Football have, of late, been especially punitive. Looking to draw a soft penalty to finish off the clásico and the league along with it? Why, here’s three! (You take one, and your archrival will take the other two.) Praying that your club president will finally come to his senses and ship that mean ol’ coach back to the miserable island from which he came? Presto! (What are you sulking about? You’re still captain!) Ever daydream that one day you would be the Zamora-winning first-string keeper between the posts of a world-class team? Done and done! (No, I mean done. Right now, mid-match, of a derby, with a Champions tie in two days. No sweat, right? You’re at least pumped for another Copa final!) Read MoreEpic