The Great Player Debate: Who is Better?

We’ve all been there: someone says something asinine about how so-and-so is the best player in the world and it’s just so wrong it’s like someone brought a knife to a gunfight. They’re ill-equipped to handle either the thought-provoking discussion or the flamewar that they’ve opened themselves up to. How in the world can they survive as long as they have while also being able to think this idiotic of a thought? Is it just dumb luck that they keep getting their underwear on inside their pants or is there someone helping them each morning?

It’s not the hardest question in the world, but it seems to stump an inordinately large number of people. Who is better, Cristiano Ronaldo or—and I honestly can’t believe we’re even having this so-called-debate again—Dani Alves? I mean, seriously, really?

A few days ago, there was a little kerfluffle in the media when Alves spoke a little disparagingly of Cristiano and the Portuguese retorted in kind when asked about it. Alves then tweeted this out and certain parts of the Internet melted. Apart from the racist responses (seriously, what the hell, people?) there were a few replies like this one and this one that got me thinking. We cling to our partisanship, sure, but if the response to a whole bucketload of league and tournament trophies is individual awards, what are we really measuring when we say “the best”? What do we actually want out of our players and wait a minute, what do they want out of it?

The thing is, in comparing two players so different in approach and position, we find ourselves in the constant bind that so many people have in the past: how do you quantify how good a player is in a team sport with so many variables? When you try, you end up with the Guardian’s 100 best footballers list and it’s about as laughable as you’d expect. Carlos Tevez is better than Sergio Busquets? Really? Really really? Ivan Rakitic is better than David Alaba? How in the [censored for your own good] is Thiago Alcantara 81st while Harry Kane is 38th?

Here are some fun facts:

Cristiano Ronaldo has amassed 15 trophies in his career. 4 league titles, 4 domestic cups, 2 Champions Leagues, 2 Club World Cups, and 3 Super Cups/Community Shields/whatever. Dani Alves has won 28 trophies (he’s 2 years older). 5 league titles, 4 domestic cups, 3 Champions Leagues, 2 UEFA Cups, 3 Club World Cups, 8 Super Cups/Community Shields/whatever, and 3 Campeonatos in Brazil that I’m not sure how to categorize. 28 is clearly larger than 15. Even 25, if you for some reason discount the Brazilian trophies, is larger than 15. If you’re going to choose a career based purely on those 2 numbers, you’re going to choose to be Dani Alves every single time. That’s why we play the game, after all.

Except, it isn’t necessarily. It may be the reason we watch the game, but to play the game requires intense focus and an almost psychotic drive to succeed. Here are some other facts:

Dani Alves has been awarded 10 major individual honors. 4 UEFA Team of the Year, 5 FIFPro World 11, and 1 league Team of the Year. Cristiano Ronaldo, on the other hand, has earned 34 such individual honors. 10 UEFA Team of the Year, 9 FIFPro World 11, 6 league Team of the Year, 3 Ballon d’Or, 4 Golden Shoe, and 2 UEFA CL Team of the Season. 34 is clearly larger than 10. If you’re going to choose a career based purely on those 2 numbers, you’re going to choose to be Cristiano Ronaldo every single time.

There are so many ways to skin a cat that they even made it into a saying. While football is a team sport, there isn’t anything inherently wrong with working toward personal gain even in the context of that team sport. Kobe Bryant is a fantastic basketball player whose personality lends itself towards working insanely hard to break individual records and earn tremendous amounts of money, even if it means handicapping his team with a massive salary that keeps them from signing other stars that would increase their likelihood of winning a title. That’s okay because Kobe Bryant doesn’t really need to look out for the team—that’s the general manager’s job. The same is true with Cristiano Ronaldo, whose exercise regime is probably second to none and whose age is the only real detriment to him staying near or at the top of the goalscoring charts for years to come. If that comes at the cost of titles, that is a decision that Cristiano is allowed to make and one the management of Real Madrid get to make. Dani Alves is unlikely to ever win individual awards like the Ballon d’Or, so he has clearly dedicated himself to being a teammate rather than an individual superstar. However, given his amazing lifetime haul, he’s clearly really freakin’ good and the tradeoff is one Dani Alves might be making: money and fame for trophies.

Cristiano Ronaldo earns a huge salary, gets paid in bags of cash with dollar signs written on them by corporations to hold their products, and lives a life of luxury. That is okay if that’s what he wants. Dani Alves likes to play his guitar and stick out his tongue a lot. If you’re a GM and you’re designing a team, would you rather have Cristiano or Alves on your team? I think either answer is fair and it will depend on your approach to the rest of the squad you’re building. At some level, having Cristiano might necessitate having Arbeloa on your team and we all know where Gerard Pique stands on that.

But don’t take my word for it. Let’s ask the players themselves.

Dani Alves likes to post things on Instagram where he, well, yeah, he sticks out his tongue. No, seriously, he kind of has a problem. Ronaldo also has an Instagram account, wouldn’t you know it. On it, his problem appears to be with shirts. He can’t seem to wear them very often. He also posts lots of pictures of hanging out with his kid, which is nice. And one time just before New Year’s he posted this.* In case you can’t look at that picture long enough to read the words, it’s Cristiano playing poker and quoting himself as saying “Who wins is all anyone remembers.”

Well, I guess that answers that then, doesn’t it?

*One of the comments that I can see on this post is this: “U’re Better dan d word best.i like cristisno.”—what is wrong with people?

Categorized as Statistics

By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater Philadelphia area.


  1. Ha, ha, for a moment I thought, what again, that too in BFB. and then, I couldnt help smiling.
    I read an interview by some American writer who followed a day of CR7. He asked CR7, what was his most important match of all these years.. and CR7 promptly answered,– the one in which I score 5 goals!
    The interviewer had to ask him again, what about his 2 CL finals and only then CR7 could think about those games.
    I think that says a lot about CR7, one of the best goal scorers in the history of football. He lives for goals.

  2. As the post is about great players i want to say happy birthday to one of the best:I miss u Xavi:-)

    1. Seconded ! Best midfielder ever in my book. Think I’m gonna go and look me out some old Xavi YouTube videos for old times’ sake.

  3. .
    i honestly believe that mr. penaldo is one of the most over rated sports persons of all time. if a footballer’s value had to be assessed by how easily he can substitute for an underwear model, i will concede that he will be one of the best. but i honestly can’t, with even my objective hat on, come to accept that he is even better than folks like Ibrahimovic, Aguero, Suarez, iniesta, silva, and many others that i don’t care to name right now. He is so unbelievably full of himself which doesn’t really translate to exploits on the field. I’d rate Dani as a far better footballer, given that a footballer does not play by himself like a tennis player or a F1 racer, but rather in a team.

    I actually get annoyed when his name is in the conversation of all time greats because really, he is nothing more than a product of marketing and constant noise. I accept that we need personalities in sport, and just like mourinho, it’s good to have him in the game, but it’s about time we started having the right kind of dialogue. I really like that he is being compared to someone more at his par in this article like Dani.

    Winter is coming.

  4. They were showing his goals during MU period and i watched them until 30 or so goals scored by him from the very first one.
    Not even once and i repeat not once he ran to celebrate a goal with the player who assisted him. Incredible.

  5. What i believe is happening:Lucho asked board to sign one or two players.His number one is Nolito.Yes he is 29 yes many people think we dont need him.I dont care.Give the money to Celta and bring him.If u run the second richest club in the world and u dont have money for transfers well better hire some managers from USA to run the club.I am not a board hater so i am trying to be objective many times with them.But they cant find sponsor,they cant make transfers.And u know what?If they cant sign Nolito why all that time they did not found an alternative?Robert travels all europe to watch games.Whats the point?To watch Pogba?

  6. I m sure we have money, Luis, but what do you want to spend it on ? He’ll cost us at least 21m and there’ll be a pretty good salary as we’re chasing him and it’ll be his last. He may well take a season at least to find his feet ( even Neymar did) and he’ll get precious few minutes if the front three stay healthy and determined to play.

    We also have coming up by my reckoning renewals for players who finish their contracts the season after next to tie them up early. That’s Busquets, Messi, Neymar, Iniesta, Rakitic, Pique if I remember correctly. How much is that gonna cost us ? We need to start looking at a better mixture of costly and home grown for our squad. We may need a CB as well as Mathieu is 31, Bartra doesn’t seem to be trusted and the jury is out on TV. Hopefully we’re not gonna be stupid enough to chase Pogba for the position we have far too much cover for but even that apart this is gonna stretch us way beyond our means.

    For me, we need cheap cover which won’t drop our standards too much. That’s Samper promoted for a start ( he can play any midfield position but mainly cover for Busi, Suarez if folks think he’s up to it ( I’m not convinced but others rate him) and Munir up front. ( Again, wouldn’t be my choice – I’d bring back Deulofeu in a heartbeat. ). No, he’s not great at defending but he’s the best deliverer of a dangerous ball I’ve seen in European football this year. Nobody puts action on it like him. I’d love to see Suarez, Messi and Neymar making their quality runs for his crosses. If he is prepared to accept reduced minutes. MOTM again the other night and that was on the losing team. He needs intelligent players on the end of his passes, not Everton. At the end of next season we have a good long look at Hallilovic who although young and needing to put on some weight strikes me as the real deal as well.

    Anyway, you get my point . We have some tough decisions coming up and can’t really afford to have more than one bit of main cover for each position. Personally, I’d move on Adriano, Masche, Munir, Sandro and maybe even Rakitic. Are we really gonna bump his salary considerably for what he gives us ? If running is his main attribute , and he’s by no means quick at the moment , what will he be like at 30 ? I know not many will agree and I wouldn’t push that one but we’re gonna have to start looking at ways of cutting down the salaries.

    1. Jim, I do not see much of PL, so cant say anything about Deulofeu. But I trust your thoughts, definitely, except that we are not that much of a crossing team, are we?

      But Halilovic, I cant wait to watch him with us. Kid reminds a lot about Messi. His decision making, vision etc may not be anywhere near Messi at his age, but there is something electrifying about him. Playing with Barca, with the quality around, he should improve a lot.

    2. I agree, he has similar moves in a sense, but he does not have the speed and often is too eager to dribble, from what I’ve seen. Eager to impress, perhaps? If he can grow passed that, and improve his defence, he has potential to become a great AM for us.

  7. I’ve watched most of Everton’s games this year, Fotobirajesh,and for me there has been a big change in the guy. Don’t get me wrong. He’s still awful in defence in the sense that his hate of it comes screaming through the screen at you. He’s going through the motions of doing it because he knows Martinez will drop him if he doesn’t but it’s not a strength of his game. So if what you’re after is a runner who will chase back all the time with a vengeance, he’s not your man.

    However, acc to Squawka, in 21 appearances, and many have been partial he has scored 2 and created 29 chances. He seems to have gone from a bit player who the others were reluctant to pass to to someone who creates a buzz in among the crowd every time he gets the ball. I would argue that this is despite Everton being a team which naturally plays down the left far too much. Stones invariably turns left to pass and Berkley is poor at shifting the ball to the right as well.

    What’s different about him is the speed and action he gets on the ball as well as the accuracy. Lukaku should have had a whack more than the many goals he has scored this season from the service he’s been getting.

    If we look at what we need it seems to me he’s an ideal fit. More than likely he’d be used as a sub coming on about the hour mark to relieve one of MSN so energy levels not a problem. Usually we’ll be in front at that point and looking to put the game to bed so there’ll be a bit more space. At the moment he’s performing with close attention from opponent defences because of his reputation and he doesn’t have our quality on the end of his deliveries. If by some chance we’re chasing a game you couldn’t hope for better. Neither Dani nor Vidal can put in a ball like this despite both often find themselves with time and space . Give him that space his ball will kill you. Think the ball Rakitic put in for Munir and he does that five or six times a game.

    I think more likely though is that he wouldn’t be satisfied with playing second fiddle. If he was okay with it we get him cheap, not a big wage, he’s not a downgrade on Munir, that’s for sure and there’s an outside chance that eventually he’ll improve enough to be a decent player going back as well as forward ( not holding my breath on that one though).

    1. Oh I am sure about that, he will definitely be an upgrade on Munir, even if he wont press like Munir.

      Think the ball Rakitic put in for Munir and he does that five or six times a game. – thats a big recommend coming from you. But I think, he wont have much love left for Barca by now from all what happened, he may not want to sit again in our bench.

  8. Jim did u see that Messi have a condition that his salary will go to 39.4 m next season?Neymar will renew.They want to uprise Busi Raki and now Bravo.I am sorry but if we continue like that,money for transfers will be less than 50m.

    1. Yeah, Luis, thanks for that. I didn’t know the figures but I knew they’d be huge. For me, we probably have to throw silly money at Messi and now Neymar because of their very precious abilities to carry a tram but that in turn has ramifications further down the squad. The Bravo one is interesting. The guy has undoubtedly deserved it with his performances but with TS it may be that we can’t afford such a good backup. Do we let TS, the future, go or Bravo who probably has maybe four or five top years left ? For me, just now, I’m much more comfortable watching Bravo keep goal than TS. That’s just how I feel but I can see the arguments for TS.

      Whatever, you just know ere are some quiet conversations in the board room about the problems this will cost us and there may be some hard hitting decisions. They wouldn’t be doing their job if there weren’t.

      Fotobirajesh, some Deulofeu for you. Remember, YouTube can make me look like Messi in a certain light. . . But look at the lack of backlift yet amount of action on these balls. Along with the accuracy and the ability to hit them on the inside as well as outside of the FB that’s priceless. The position he hits most of these from is precisely the position that makes me usually want to strangle Alves !

  9. EBITDA has the board terrified, and rightly so. Don’t forget the auto-elections clause in the club bylaws if that number isn’t at a certain ratio. Here’s what you have brewing:

    — New stadium
    — Renewals of Busquets, Neymar and Messi
    — Probably a sweetening for Suarez

    Those are all fiscal bombshells that, if the rumors are to be believed, are complicated by the fact that the board has screwed the pooch on the Qatar business, and might have to find a new principal sponsor. This is why they were wanting a loan for Nolito, with some shiny trinkets now, and more in the summer when the club sells some players. Celta is right to refuse, even as they are also kinda silly to refuse, because Nolito is 29 years old. His shelf life and value are defined by an egg timer.

    The club will have some hard decisions to make this summer, over some high-salaried players. Alves? Mascherano? Will be interesting.

    — Deulofeu isn’t coming back because as Jim notes, he doesn’t defend. The XI already has one player who doesn’t track back (though he does on the big occasions) in Messi. Enrique didn’t ship Deulofeu off because of his offense. Aleix Vidal is a much more effective answer to that “different than Alves” question than Deulofeu, because he also defends, and stretches the pitch in both directions.

    Watching Deulofeu on the ball and you think, “My heavens!” Watch him off the ball, and he’s just standing around until he gets the ball back. Barça, the way that its back line plays, can’t afford that.

    His crosses are so good because he gets space to make them. No player at Barça gets that kind of space, and never will. The real question is how will he do with a defender in his grille? The Premiership grants players a lot more space than Liga does. Barça gets even less. Deulofeu coming back is a non-starter, which is why there aren’t even rumors about it.

    There ARE rumors about Denis Suarez coming over in the summer, which are very interesting. Hell of a player, if he doesn’t mind being a sub.

    — At keeper, either Bravo or Ter Stegen will leave in the summer, because Ter Stegen is tired of being Pinto and Bravo won’t accept it. The technical staff will have to decide which one to keep. My personal, and very strong preference is for Ter Stegen. His passing out of the back is better, as is his command of his area. The team gets into attack faster when he plays, and he rarely hoofs it, which Bravo consistently does under pressure. Bravo is an excellent traditional keeper who has gotten pretty good at playing with his feet. Ter Stegen much superior in that regard.

    Bravo gets the Liga nod because he earned the spot, and has done nothing to lose it. But the club will have to make a call on future vs present. Keepers such as Ter Stegen don’t come along very often and for me, it would be a shame to lose him. But I don’t think that will happen.

    1. Celta might be right to refuse if the rumour of a 2m penalty clause is true – that would be a cheap loan for Barca if they would not want to buy him for 18-20m, and Celta would lose their star for the crucial second half of the season…

      TS had issues in the beginning of the season, but so did the entire team. I think Bravo is solid, but no spectacular in any sens. TS is with his feet, and seems to have the ability and mental strength to become very good overall. Easy choice, if forced.

      Have seen very little of Deloufeu, but I simply can’t stand his face – that arrogant look of his reflects well the playing style you describe…

  10. No argument over Deulofeu’s defending, Kxevin, and under LE I agree a comeback is unlikely given his liking for physical effort.

    A couple of points I would dispute. Deulofeu doesn’t get space in the EPL compared with the space Alves and now Vidal get. We get loads of space that side precisely because they know we can’t hurt them there. In fact in the last Everton game Davie Provan, a decent commentator, observed that that side was being double teamed precisely because they were scared of the balls he could put in.

    Do we need his defending if we’re ahead and don’t need Alves / Vidal overlapping ? If they stay there is no gap. Can we afford Munir if we’re behind and require creation ? For me, for that limited role, he’s ideal. If the situation demands a runner leave him on the bench. Simples.

    The key for me is that if you’re behind I’d like to be able to bring on someone who can create a goal from nothing. He can do that. Look at the video. There is no chance on when he gets the ball. Can we honestly say Munir could create something from nothing ? Alves doesn’t create any more although his interplay with Messi is good and Vidal so far hasn’t shown he can. In fact he’s disappointingly negative considering his pace. Now that could be just finding his feet but at the moment if we needed a goal with half an hour left I’d tell the RB to stay at home and give Deulofeu a chance. Who are we gonna get at his price that could carry a goal threat ?

    I’d agree TS is the future but no way he’s the finished article. Tbh, he makes me nervous every time he takes to the field precisely because he has this sweeper keeper thing in his head. Bravo will hoof it if there isn’t an easy pass although as you say he is getting better. T S will try to pick out passes which aren’t on and lose possession. In the last game look at the times Bravo hoofed it. More often than not we regained possession, not from the kick but when their defender headed it back. That’s not sacrificing anything. TS also, for me, comes too far out from his goal. Again, in the last game, you can look at a couple of times the defender had the situation under control and the fact he had come out complicated matters. It’s not something he can’t learn but it’s why he is currently number two. It will be interesting. I don’t want to lose him and I’m not sure what I would do.

    It’s gonna have to be an net resting summer, though.

  11. It s official:When our coach wants a player our board is Uncle Scrooge.But for salaries we are a bank gifting money everywhere.Ok it s 2012 again when Villa was out of season and we did not signed anyone and we lost everything.But then Pep did not pushed enough.I hope Lucho dont be mad from this and leave the summer.

  12. Tbh, Luis, I think our front three are so good that as long as it’s only one of them missing we don’t need anything else. If you have the best players the priority and in the lng run cheaper, option is to keep them.

    1. Jim i agree that we have a squad that can win all.It s just that sometimes a board must do what coach wants to make him happy.A matter of trust.Just that.Sometimes as a South European i am very passionate when i comment here,in the heat of the moment.I must be more calmer:-)Many times the next day i look here for the other people comments and when i read my comment i am like:wtf i said,that was stupid:-P

  13. OK, who was watching and didn’t well up there at the sight of Klopp’s beaming smile at the rendition of YNWA ? So genuine. Damn, what is it about that song and why is ours so crap ? Either Liverpool or Celtic it’s a showstopper. How can you lose after that ?

    1. I have a friend,he is a LFC fan and i told him many times that if Barca had at Camp Nou 90000 fans like the fans of LFC stadium,we would be unbeaten at home for ever;-)

  14. Enter Your Comment…Have watched Deulofeu for Everton too this season. He is massively improved. He is still a one tricky pony but he has become very very effective. So Jim is right there and for me he is Everton’s chief threat.

    In the same vein Kevin is also right that his coming back is nearly impossible. Even if his defensive work improves exponentially his coming back would not be ideal because of our style of play. We face parked buses every time that limit the time and space he needs to show off his talents.

    Massive improvement by Gerrard, exciting to see delivering those wicked balls to Lukaku but coming back to Barca will likely resurrect the ghost of Fabregas.

  15. Proof that Messi is funny within his friend circle.
    barcastuff ‏@barcastuff 2m2 minutes ago
    Ig Messi: “How’s your quadriceps, Geri??? Hope it’s fine. !!! Congrats with your award !! ” [leomessi]

    I didnt understand that at all and clicked on the link. and Pique, well he is really checking it out, right? its funny.

  16. What s going on with world football?The leaked documents about Doyen are interesting.And now we have China to start involve in European Football with Portugal teams.Agents like Mendes,companies,rich oligarchs with quilty past,countries who support terrorists.Thats the future?Can our club stay clean and away from all that?Qatar now are sponsor of Bayern.Who cares where the money come from?Thats modern football.

  17. Only caught final 35 minutes or so, but… what’s wrong with Messi? Team as a whole seemed to regain control bit by bit, but he was completely off during those 35 minutes. SR looked good, and Mathieu.

    Part of me was feeling a loss would not be catastrophic, as the team looks battered and in need of more rest, rather than two more mid-week games. But if you want to win a second treble…

    Still, always happy with a win, hoping the winning mentality will overcome fatigue!

  18. Hint to Lucho: the next time, tell the team how you want them to play BEFORE the halftime break ; )

    Again a very bad first half, it was painful watching Pique and Vermaelen pass the ball around in a dangerous area with neither Sergi Roberto nor Rakitic (not to mention Messi and Neymar) doing enough to help them play the ball out the back. I’m still not sure what changed tactically in the second half except for Bilbao tiring and Sergi Roberto getting into the game a lot better (in fact, while he was very anonymous the first half he made an Iniesta-like pass in the second while keeping possession at the back and intercepting balls all the second half).

    I like Vermaelen for defending, but it’s obvious he can’t play the ball out the back too well, and when the left back is Mathieu who is also not too good at it there’s nothing happening offensively on the left side. Left back might be the one spot where we are currently a bit short, there are enough players who can play there (Adriano, Mathieu, Sergi Roberto) but I don’t like any of them for that position.

  19. At halftime it was like the end of the world…21 wins and 4 draws in our last 25 games(with 3 against Espanyol and Bilbao in one month,away at Madrid,Valencia,Malaga e.t.c)but it makes me wonder what the fans want from this team.The expectations are unreal and out of any logic.I start to believe that there are a lot of people who wait a mistake from Mathieu,a bad pass from Vermaelen,a mistake from Bravo to start the whining and the crying.And ok i understand the criticism sometimes.But we are top of LaLiga,SF of CDR and in 16 of CL.What more we want?Rotation is good because we can rest players but also bad because players dont play games in a row and there is a lack of chemistry.That s ok for me.What matters now is to win.

    1. Agree… No one could play top of the game all the time. That is why there is rotation. What else you want from the team which is doing well in all competition. I dont think Atlethic could score 2 goals without conceding in Camp Nou. Well, for other team facing Barca, you can choose between these two option… to press hard on the first half and we beat you on the second… or not to press and we beat you since first half.

  20. Whatever man. Celta took care of Athletico Madrid. Real Madrid, well, took care of Real Madrid.

    I reckon the cup is ours for the taking now.

    Don’t tell me about the threat of Celta, we would have been the favorites even if we faced Athletico or Real in finals. There is no way we will lose our way from here!

  21. A bit OT. Most of the Lucho’s signing are generally old Players. Is it because Lucho is more concerned with immediate success given that he would stay maximum for 4/5 years and reap the benefit by his own?

    We have to replace most of his signings within 2/3 years. Its worrying. Even Nolito wouldn’t give us a good 3/4 seasons.

    1. Lucho concerned with immediate success? Perhaps. But hardly without some “minor” pressure from club and zillion fans who will not accept anything less than at least two trophies a season…

      Vidal and Rakitic are not too old, and considering we have young or fairly young players like Neymar, SR, Rafinha, TS, Alba, Busquets maybe Bartra (though looking less likely) and few prospects (Samper, Halilovic, Denis Suarez, etc, maybe even Munir. and Deloufeu, some day) possibly on their way, I think there might be a balance after all. Not too many young players good and composed enough to play at Barca.

      Players like Arda and Suarez have at least 3 seasons of good football left in them, and looking at other top clubs, this is quite normal, I would say.

    2. I agree with you mostly Davour.
      But looking at our present trend of offloading our youngsters, who maybe or may not be upto Barça standard, I don’t see half of Halilovic, Samper, Deulofeu, Denis, Munir or Adama will make the senior squad for for future.
      We do not know the internal issue but Gundogan or Koke type of players would give us a stable run atleast 7/8 years. Just my opinion.

    3. Yes, but how many of these offloaded youngsters are really good enough? I see you point on long term investments, but I fail to see how Gundogan would offer this. Koke is a very good player, but has yet to convince me, from what I’ve seen, that he is good enough to run our midfield (he could replace Rakitic, but not Iniesta).

      I guess it is hard to balance immediate success with long term planning, but I simply reacted to your suggestion that this had to do with Lucho’s personal ambition separate from the club. I think he is simply looking for players who fit his plan.

  22. Yes the copa is in our reach as well as the liga, am not affraid of any team in the liga this season. Our only main enemy is our own complacency, we must be ruthless and play every game as if its a final, a mentality I would like lucho to implant in the players! BTW Our way of sustaining pressure from opponents really sucks. We aren’t comfortable without the ball like previous season. We misplaced many passing and put our selves into trouble in so many occasion. The 2nd half was a joy to watch with many chances wasted sadly. I wonder what lucho inject into the players during the half time break. This is the 2nd match in a row in which we sucks in the 1st half then returned to our old selves in the 2nd half and wins games

    Sergi robero was just wow!! He was shaky the first 30 min. But he got better eventually.
    What an Epic week, man united, arsenal, mancity, sevilla, villa real, real madrid, ATM all drop points in the league. While only barca won.

  23. We need to really protect Pique and Busquets, especially the latter. Without him, the whole system is in disarray.
    I think, originally we took it a bit easy and Athletic made good use of it. Anyways, they are never an easy opponent for us. But yet, it was painful to watch, the first half.
    I adored the diagonal run by Inaki Williams for the first goal. However, anybody with me that TS should have dived for the ball, instead of trying to chicken pick it.

    Davour, do not worry about Messi now, lets see if he is any good against Atletico. Messi, I think, has matured to a stage wherein he values the big game more, may be. He just saved us in the first leg, and do not forget the equaliser came out of an excellent and run and assist from him.

    1. Ok, I won’t! I was simply unnerved by some misplaced passes and decisions that were uncharacteristic of him. And I would argue that this, when trailing 0-1, was a big enough game to show up in… but I guess I must reluctantly resign to the fact that Leo, too, is human… I guess sometimes there is, too, a discrepancy when the mature Messi has lost some of the predatory instinct of the young, however gained something else..

    2. Somebody was telling me today, that Messi must be feeling a lot more relaxed by the presence of Suarez and Neymar. The whole pressure to carry the team is not on him anymore. Were you not surprised, when in an open one on one chance yesterday, when we were all expecting him to chip, he passed the ball for Suarez?

    3. That might be true – but might it also cause him to be less focussed in some aspects? Probably a casualty of his general team play development, which is of better use now. You don’t get something for nothing!

    4. Yes. Especially in these games in which he looks less interested in, his finishing is nothing like his old self, could be lack of focus. A kind of collateral damage may be, when you care more about play making, you focus less on killing it, may be..

  24. Some numbers about our transfers spending with the current board and Laporta:From 2003-2009 we spend 413m for transfers.Same time we earned 137m from sales.From 2010 until now we spend 484m and we earned 258m.So the net spending of Laporta era was 276m in 7 seasons(39.5 m average) and Rosell-Barto era 226m in 6 seasons(38m average).So in last 13 seasons we spend 502 m aka 38.75m).For a big club like us i believe that this numbers are normal and we never did something crazy and out of logic.I must note that Villa buy was the last of Laporta but i put it to 2010 summer as Rosell buy.

  25. I took the numbers from transfermarkt.They have Neymar price 88.2 m.So i believe most numbers are accurate.What i found interesting is that Rosell board made a lot of money from sales but also Laporta and for a club not selling like us we made some good sales.Maybe one day i check the numbers of other big clubs to make a comparison:-)

  26. Net spending of madrid in last 13 season is:919m pounds(our numbers are in Euro,madrid in pounds)for transfers-410 from sales aka 509m pounds.

  27. Going back to the topic of the article, I find it really interesting comparing CR and Alves. The CR vs Messi are atleast gone and CR bandwagons are defeated long time.

    Everyday when I saw fanboys saying CR scored 60goals a season, he is the best ever etc etc.
    IRRC, those 16 goals of CR comes from 9 games àgainst minnows and he is scoreless in 12 games including against all bigboys.

    Another interesting thing is that if you take out all his 16 goals, RM drop only 2 points in the league this season. Ridiculous.

  28. Fun fact: Barca has not won against ANY of the teams still in the Copa in league play this season (all were away games though). Should make for good semifinal matches…

    Valencia would probably be the easiest draw. I watched their game and they have many good players and lots of creativity in attack and midfield but their combinations seem just a bit off, as if they have lost their confidence in themselves and the other players. I would be glad to have them return to former levels of competing for Champions League spots.

    1. Indeed. On second thought, their return to former levels can wait until after the 10th of February.

  29. I’m just noticing that Atlético has conceded a total of only eight goals in 21 league matches this season. Barca has twice that, M*drid even more. We will need both Neymar and Messi on fire to score one (or even more) tomorrow I think…and I believe that is going to happen.

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