May 7, 2014 / / Videos
May 4, 2014 / / Barcelona
May 2, 2014 / / Team News

silva

What if dating was like silly season?

Newly single Biff Majestic is in the market. Rumor is that he has a pre-contract with the barista at the town coffee shop but when pressed for details, Mr. Majestic said no comment. The barista has been scouted by Majestic’s mother, who has glowing reports of her calmness under pressure and ability to “Bang out a perfect latte in 3 minutes.”

Majestic linked to co-worker! The previously reported barista signing is still a possibility, but there have been new developments. Majestic was spotted at lunch with an assistant vice president at his firm. Sources say there were smiles, and the VP was spotted at the coffee shop that Majestic is said to favor. Majestic’s Mom says, “We can’t say anything at this time, but I can report that Biff and I love our lattes.”

There are few things in football more irrational than transfer talk, where people are idiots not because of what they do, but because they won’t do what supporters WANT them to.
Read MoreI want one of those, and two of those, and a chicken, aka “Transfer talk rocks”

May 1, 2014 / / Champions League

bus

This has been the Champions League and week in which football has taken it on the chin.

— Chelsea beat Liverpool.
— RM stomped Bayern

It has also been a week in which the phrase “parking the bus” has acquired a heretofore unseen malleability as counterattacking football has become “parking the bus,” for reasons that are certainly valid in the heads of the folks who misuse it.

“Parking the bus” is when an inferior team stacks 10 behind the ball, with no real interest, barring some fluke, in scoring. You see it in league matches sometimes, when a team has an unlikely lead in a knockout tie. You might also see it when a cynical coach tactically misplays the first leg of a Champions League knockout tie (cough! Mourinho. cough!) A parked bus doesn’t want anything to happen as differentiated from counterattacking football, which wants something to happen but waits for an opportunity.
Read MoreBuses and institutional arrogance, aka “Barça take planes, not buses”

April 25, 2014 / / Team News

vilanova

What makes you weep for a complete and total stranger?

Some people wonder that as we reel from the punch in the gut that was the news that our Mister, Tito Vilanova, succumbed to cancer at the age of 45.

It’s one cell. One cell that you can’t see with the sharpest eyes decided his fate. One cell that is causing culers, socis and anyone who loves FC Barcelona to weep, pay tribute and spend the day like me, doing ordinary things while feeling that lump in the throat, that notification that tears are right there.

So you try to do stuff … work, play, hanging with friends … you don’t want to give in somehow, as if to acknowledge the grief is to also acknowledge yet another bit of cruelty from fate.
Read MoreFarewell, Tito Vilanova, aka “The ‘boat’ loses an important plank”

April 25, 2014 / / Barcelona
April 21, 2014 / / Analysis
"D-oh!"
“D-oh!”

So. Barça ended a 3-match losing skid with something that wasn’t as much a comeback as a bit of common sense rearing its head.

“Hey, what say we stop hitting the ball directly AT the keeper.”

Messi scored a goal so all is right in the culer world again, but for me something more interesting happened — not for the first time, but for the first time a confluence of happy events conspired — two players who are objects of scorn had the temerity to have very good matches. Song and Mascherano.

For me yesterday’s match was different because I didn’t watch it live, instead choosing to take advantage of a picture-postcard Chicago day to log 60 miles on the bicycle. This gave me the rather extreme pleasure of being able to watch the match, and scroll through my social mad-ia timeline as things transpired and quite frankly, laugh.
Read MoreThe malleability of absolution, aka “If one is responsible, then everyone is”

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!