A Night of Fun: Joan Gamper Trophy

AC Milan come to town tomorrow to play in the Joan Gamper Trophy match, a preseason ritual that is more run-out than hotly contested match (though Puyol and Eto’o two years ago would have called me a series of names for such an insulting statement). I’m not one to get too excited about it, but whereas last year it meant Ibra’s home debut (which was fun despite the 0-1 final scoreline), this year it means the return of Ronaldinho. I miss Ronnie in that nostalgic way where his presence on the field remind me of a time when I was watching all the matches from Central America and Mexico, typically while sweating and swearing in equal measure. I enjoyed those years and so–despite the modern era being much nicer for a myriad of reasons (the main one doesn’t typically read the blog, so I don’t have to worry about offending her)–I’m looking forward to seeing this one.

I expect a full round of cheers for Ronnie, what with this not being a competitive match after all, and a generally pleasant atmosphere throughout the the game. I’d rather see Ibra play with Villa and maybe even see them misfire a bit than play a serious match with serious consequences. We have Racing on Sunday, so there’s no reason to put our boys at risk for more than 45 minutes apiece (I can never remember how many subs we get, but I’m assuming infinite). That said, I certainly want to see us win this one because, as Guardiola says, it’s a good test of where we are as a team.

The starting lineup shouldn’t be replete with regular starters simply because there’s no reason for that. The squad just played on Saturday against Sevilla and could use the cool down period before the league starts, so why not let the young ones get a run out at the Camp Nou, which they weren’t able to do against Sevilla? And then you put Villa and Ibra on together at halftime or a few minutes after, along with Messi and Xavi, and see what they can do.

Everyone is talking about Ibra out, Mascherano in at the moment, so my quick thoughts on that: Ibra is staying and Masch is way overpriced for us. He may (or may not) be worth €28m, but to us, he’s not worth half that. €15m is pushing towards highway robbery for us simply because he’s going to sit on the bench behind Busi. It’s the same concept as why Cesc didn’t make any sense at more than €20m (that difference of €5m comes from Keita being there). So if we can’t get Masch for less than €15m total, there’s no point in doing the deal. And yet the rumors are picking up steam that we’re going to put Yaya money on him. More than Yaya money, perhaps. And that, of course, leads me to believe one of several things: I’m a complete moron and that Pep valuates Masch higher and I should accept this; Rosell is trying to play God with signings and put a serious mark on his era (which means we should all bellow with rage);  or the reports are completely full of baloney. I tend to think it’s the last reason rather than the first two, but it really could be any of them.

One thing that is pure baloney is the Ibra transfer rumor. Adi-Oula Sebastian puts some maths together for the rest of us that I think is pretty compelling despite knowing that any economist worth his salt would yell “sunk cost!” immmediately after reading it. It’s the concept of giving up on a player after one successful year that irks me, especially if we have to pay 40% of his salary anyway. Might as well pay 100% of it and get 21 goals from him.* So, then, getting rid of Ibra would be a fantastic waste of talent and, I think, would finalize Guardiola’s exit at the end of the season. And yes, I just said that. Chygrynskiy was one thing, but Ibra too? That’s just too much meddling.

So anyway, you’ll want a prediction, won’t you? 1-2, Milan because we’re going to experiment. Because we’re going to go wild with finding out what will end up being the perfect combo. And I’ll be doing a liveblog the whole time

Also: join the Fantasy League I created on Yahoo!. Join it now. The password is barcelona. The prize for winning is yet to be determined, but it will be awesome, there’s no doubt about that. When you join, please send me an email (info at barcelonafootballblog dot com) with your team name and I’ll write it all down so that we don’t lose who our winner is (who was our winner last year!? You never claimed your prize!). Edit: the group ID is 3093 and is named Barcelona Football Blog.

*A quick side note: the world’s favorite striker of the moment, Edin Džeko, scored 29 total goals last year; if that is the mark for an extra-successful year, then 21 goals is still pretty freakin’ good, especially considering that Ibra only scored 1 less goal in Europe and shared goals with Lionel Messi who had 47. Nevermind that Pedro also had 23 and his season was considered fantastic…and he only scored 12 league goals. 4 of his goals came in Super Cups and the Club World Cup, meaning Ibra’s Supercopa goal most certainly counts for him this year.

By Isaiah

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


  1. I honestly might tear up for Ronaldinho return to the Camp Nou.
    the heart strings will definitely be pulled.
    That said, I hope we see a grown up line-up destroy Milan.

    1. isaiah, it should be against the rules for you to ever predict a barcelona loss. even if you think privately we will lose, you must always predict a win. love ya

  2. Excited to see Dinho as well as my boy, Kevin Prince. Still, I hope we whoop their ass and win the trophy.

    I also hope Thiago, Jonathan, and Fontas get time next to the big boys.

  3. I dont know about too many youngsters. The official site said only the 22 members of the a-team practiced yesteday.
    It will probably be one half each for all of the 22 a -teamers.

    1. update

      Oier, Miño, Fontàs, Thiago and Jonathan Dos Santos have joined the 22 men for training today ahead of the two games in 5 days.

    2. Me too. I watched the last Gamper match the other day and everything he did was gold.

      Thing is, I want to see him next to Xavi or Iniesta, see how he operates. It would be nice to see him and Jonathan together, but I imagine he would be better with a veteran next to him, kind of how it would be like if one of them got hurt.

    3. Well, he played against Racing for about 15 minutes or so last season and I thought he was great. Bagged a goal to boot!


      I would like to see him with the full team, preferably beside Xavi in the midfield since I think he’s more like Iniesta.

      Thiago >> Canales BTW. (Just remembered that kid after seeing those awful Racing kits in the above video)

    4. Yeah, I watched that game the other day too haha. Seriously though, he was better than Canales in the Euro tourney they were just in.

    1. Not LOL. I wanted to see them qualify! 🙁 But they only have themselves to blame.

      Ah, well. There’s always Valencia…

  4. One word to Sevilla’s exit from the CL:
    You probably know about this UEFA coefficient that is assembled over the past 5 seasons and decides about the number of direct CL spots etc. (link to the current status: *http://kassiesa.net/uefabackup/data/method4/ccoef2011.html)
    The points are awarded for wins (1 point) and draws (0.5 points) plus some bonus points for qualifying for a next round etc.
    Given the fact that Sevilla’s chance of winning more matches during the process of the EL than they would have done in the CL, the elimination can be seen as a positive thing for Spanish football. There is no difference between EL and CL matches, concerning the point system. Naturally, for Sevilla itself it’s a financial loss of 15m or more, so they won’t be consoled by the UEFA coeff.
    Same goes for Sampdoria, bad for them, good for Italy (although Italy would have to surpass Germany by 5 points to keep their 4th CL spot).

    I also doubt very much Valencia’s quality to succeed in the CL group stage, they’ve lost Silva, Villa, Marchena and now also Alexis.

    But watch out for SC Braga, they were very solid at the back last season in the Portuguese League. Due to their lack of European tournaments, they will probably be in pot #3 or even #4 for the CL draw. I don’t want to be drawn in their group (we should still be strong enough, but the team from pot #2 could have massive problems to survive the groupstage against Braga and a top-seeded team).
    In 44 hours, we will know who is doomed and has to face Braga 🙂

    1. don’t use the link.
      once you’ve started a team.
      Group ID#: 3093
      pass: barcelona

  5. Ibra is staying. Mascherano (or another quality DM, if available) is a must. Especially that DM is the only position where we have no player to compete and rotate with the starter. Adding that Busquets is considered by Pep as an option for CB if needed, as he pointed out today. He can also play as a CM. So -theoretically- no worries regarding playing time, nor even for Romeu chances to get his promotion when he is ready. That makes it a completely different case compared to Cesc (Whose price -demanded-is much more than 25+5 million). But I agree that 25 is a bit too much for a player with an expiring contract and who is not considering staying as an option. Yet, for LESS than 15 M we can only buy you 15 copies of cloned Hlebs, Isaiah.

    1. “Yet, for LESS than 15 M we can only buy you 15 copies of cloned Hlebs, Isaiah.”

      Last I checked, 15 x 0 does not equal 15.

    2. Or maybe I was too quick to post and didn’t really read what you wrote.

      Hleb Hlebbed my brain. Fudge!

    3. I don’t see any definitive word about Ibrahimovic staying anywhere, so I will wait until something definitive happens. Prima facie, since Milan can’t really afford the freight and the only two teams that can, Chelsea and Citeh, are done, it would seem that he is staying.

      But I just don’t put anything past anyone. I just keep thinking that someone up there wants to see them some more Pedro!, which means that, since that same someone wants to see them some Villa, and Messi isn’t going anywhere, it isn’t that hard to see who the odd man out will be.

  6. LOL look what Guardiola had to say about “Fabregas shirt incident”


    1. “Pique is a little… turn in the head” All with a grin of his face 😀

      Amo Pep!

      What a dumb journalist though. Of course it’s the actions of the player–the club has nothing to do with it. Bah.

  7. Here’s my question on the Mascherano thing (and I say this as someone who would want him here, if it took less than 20 mil + Hleb):

    Would he start? I don’t mean on a rotational basis, I mean as part of the first XI in a Clasico or CL knockout game or something similar?

    It seems to me that if everyone is fit, and we stick to a 4-3-3 or a quasi 4-1-3-2, then the set-in-stone starters are Valdes, Alves, Puyol, Pique, Abidal, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Villa. Let us assume Ibra is staying in this scenario. That means between him, Pedro, Busquets and Mashcerano, only two can play at any one time. Leave aside Pedro because he is young, won’t cause problems in the locker room, and will do anything, anything, Pep says.

    Now we’re left with 3 for two spots. If Ibra plays, then it’s a straight fight for the DMF spot b/w Mascherano and Busquets. Given Pep’s love for Busquets, where does that leave Mascherano?

    Or if Ibra AND Pedro don’t play, then David Villa becomes the front man, Iniesta gets slotted into that LW role that we all hate him in, and Busquets+Mascherano both play in a sort of Spanish WC style 4-2-1-3. This does not seem a very Pep style team, sorry.

    So I ask again, would he be in the first XI? And given that the answer is ‘probably not’, then what are we risking in terms of strife and bitching in the locker room? He’s an established star, one of the world’s best players. He’s not from the youth squad like say Busquets, where all these guys probably grew up with Pep’s poster in their rooms.

    I’d rather get two squad players than one Mascherano, but that’s just me.

  8. Yes! Isaiah’s preview is back! wait, is this one a Gamper review?

    Pep answering some asshole Brits press about Pique in English:

  9. ahem…

    It may not be the best among all the compilations out there, may not even be good, but here it is, my first ever compilation of any sportsman on Youtube. I dedicate it to BFB!


    That’s Eric Abidal:

    It’s a shame that I don’t have high quality footages at my disposal to make it better. Still, take it for what it is, for now…

    1. Haha, I like. Novel attempt at a compilation for a player who doesn’t get much attention. I like the shoutout to this blog and the funny captions, too.

  10. Ahead of the Gamper tomorrow, here a comp. of David Villa’s debut with us.


    I hope to see Villa/Ibra/Messi at some point. And some Xaviniesta as well!

    1. Did you notice that every time he got the ball .. he cut inside with his right foot and never tried to cut outside and send a cross ?

    2. Yeah, it seems to me that he’s right footed, which is okay since we have this habit of playing right footed players on the left and lefties on the right (Messi and Henry/Villa are a case in point).

      What surprised me most about Villa was how well he passes that ball. At 1:25 in the video where his cross field ball was cut out, and again at 2:55 and for the goal.

      I underestimated him. Holy crap. Can’t wait to see more maravilla tomorrow.

    3. Villa can shoot with either foot. The story is that he broke his right leg as a 4-year-old, but he insisted on practicing anyway, so his dad taught him how to shoot with his left foot while his right leg healed.

    4. He can shoot with either foot, but it seemed to me that he favors his right foot when passing and crossing.

      But who knows. I’ve only seen him play one game for us. He may pleasantly surprise me again tomorrow.

    5. Indeed he favors his right foot when passing and Crossing .. Just like Messi favors his left .. and He can shoot with his left but only if it’s his only option

  11. Im just hoping to see both ibra and villa on the pitch at the same time.

    The point made in the previous post about them not being compatible interests me a lot, and im eager to see what all the fuss is about

    Gr8 ronnies back
    A nutmeg on ya boy messi for me pls.
    Thx Ron.

    1. It’s possible since Messi does play defense nowadays. Ronnie, of course, has a 0% chance of being nutmegged by Messi since he’ll never be near an opposing player with the ball.

  12. Can Anyone provide me with Links for All of our goals last season or at Least a Special Report how Barcelona captured the Liga or Anything of that kind ..

  13. Idk about Ibra and Villa not being compatible due to Ibra moving to the left a lot. Guardiola seems like the kind of coach who can tell Ibra where to move or not. Ibra seems like the kind of player who wants to succeed.

    Clivee that compilation of Abidal was wicked! I kept hoping for the part where he juggles the ball against Sevilla and YES! it’s in there, lol. Very nice how you used the cheetah footage and the eating the pitch and can you fly too comments. Only thing missing in my most humble and very personal opinion is a shot of him praying before the match but I liked it anyway and I am gonna watch it again right now, lol!

  14. Thanks for the love, people!

    But too bad, the quality of the pictures are just shamefully low. I wish I had all the matches in sweet full 720p or whatever HD sizes. hmmm, guess I need to be more patient and download them one by one.

    Goals and assists are always easy to find, but defending and space eating simply demand me to have all full matches watched and marked to edit. Clearly I didn’t have all of them. But yea, I’m glad some of you like it and enjoy my little bit of humor too. By the way, I couldn’t find greyhound hunting, but cheetahs are just as beastie, but just not in dark skin.

    My next target is either VV or Puyolllllll. Very tempted to do a Keita who is also way too underrated. Since I am really trying to focus not on the goals and assists which makes people neglect the more important of some players’ game, I will have a hard time downloading all full matches and pick those I think important plays to include. Also,things such as shutting down passing lane, blocking a spot on the field, winning a header are, from another Youtube viewer’s standpoint, not exciting to watch as a highlight. Things like that look, and are, much better and much more important when you watch the full 90.

    Well, actually, I also wanna do a Busquets… I am surprised, too. Coz less than a year ago, I am one of the haters… His game has the same effect as Keita or Abidal, and also Maxwell. Maybe I should skip VV and Caveman and give the unsung hero some credits they deserve.

    If you haven’t watch my ABBBIDDAAAALLL Video yet, click my name!

    1. Good vid clive-wouldn’t know how to make one myself. What kind of music is that?WEIRD
      Good job thou

    2. I liked the video, but I’m afraid I had to mute the music, it just wasn’t for me! Hope you do a Keita one.

  15. Id rather than etienne capoue to mascherano, seems to be better on the ball. Taller, cheaper good passer

    1. and if we took a single player from Liverpool this season it’d be Daniel Agger for center-back cover, not Mascherano. but if wishes were fishes…

    2. Agreed Agger very similar to Pique.Fine player. Vertonghen guy who someone keeps banging on about here looks descent as well

  16. The most reassuring Ibra related news so far comes from the club’s PR Officer, and Pep’s bestfriend, Manel Estiarte:

    “I don’t know where all the rumours about Ibrahimovic are coming from. There’s little to say”

    “I see Ibrahimovic every day and although he wants to play more, he’s very happy, very motivated to do well this season”

    “Can I say Zlatan will stay 100% sure? I can’t say that about any player but we need him so I think he will stay”

    Considering the fact that he rarely speaks up on matters – despite being the ‘PR’ officer – I am thinking these quotes haven’t been fabricated. Besides, I doubt any scum journalist would pull his name out of a hat since he’s never been the most vocal club rep.

    It seems almost as though he felt it necessary to step up and fill in some of the gaps which Pep’s been skipping in his pressers. My favorite bit was this:

    “Maybe Ibra’s agent should be a bit more careful with his words. He talks too much and that hurts the image of his client.”

    (Taken from Pep’s twitter – you know, the ‘other’ Pep, our Pep of the blogging world)

    PS. How do I italicize? :s

    1. Go here: *http://www.ehow.com/how_2135530_italicized-text-simple-html-programming.html

      and follow steps one to three

  17. by the way Milan have looked like absolute shit this summer (aside from Pato), i was at the game in the silver dome and would have rather been captured by somoli pirates

  18. Regarding Masch move, i keep on reading that he would not fit in our best 11. Maybe he will not but since when did Pep have first 11. I am not sure if Pep has even repeated his line up in last 100 matches, i seem to think not. In addition, if there are any guarentees for the team, i think they will be Valdes, Pique, Xavi and Messi. Other than these, i think no one else has any guarentees. Pep has benched Puyol in some important matches during 08-09 run (and i think we also discussed if Puyi would leave at that point of time) and he has also left out Iniesta. Ibra was benched more than few times last year and Yaya, who was automatic starter was relegated to sub role as Busi played well. So from where i sit, Masch has as much chance as Busi to be in first 11.

    Of course, Masch will have to prove he is better than Busi and Busi is quite good so thats a challange. I do think that Pep does not go with first 11 concept that i see lot of you following.

  19. Funny thing about todays game is if Ibra ends up putting on a show like we knw he can, u can be sure it will be seen as an attempt to impress milan by them s**t papers.

    Permit me to ask
    when was he last time Vv caught a penalty?

  20. Hehe, Real Madrid is only in pot #2, so they might face Chelsea, Inter, Bayern or ManUtd in the groupstage 🙂
    We cannot face them, so possible opponents are Werder Bremen, AS Roma, Benfica, Shakthar, Olympique Marseille from pot #2, and toughest opponent from pot #3 should be SC Braga (plus maybe Schalke 04 and Spurs, if they make it). Rubin Kazan is in pot #4.
    Anyway, looks like a way easier group than last year!

    1. Unless if our group will be: Barcelona, Shakthar, Braga, Rubin.
      Heading east is a sour yeast. Annoyingly Hlebbing.

  21. After this, Zlatan is definitely gone:

    I’d almost like to kill this moron of an agent :/

    To be honest though, I also don’t get why Ibra doesn’t fire him, Zlatan seems to be a nice and intelligent guy, but his agent belongs to the worst type of men!

    1. Zlatan doesn’t fire him because his work got him a 12 million paycheck a year.

      That said, I’ve only seen this on goal.com, so who knows how accurate it is.

    2. well, Ibra’s agent is doing exactly what Yaya’s agent is doing.

      He wants his big pay-day 🙁

  22. Is Raiola trying to drive Zlatan out of town? There is no other way to interpret his most recent statements.

    I get the feeling from the aggregate of interviews and nonsense that Zlatan is beginning to have worries about how much playing time he will get at Barcelona and so is trying to engineer a move elsewhere so he will get playing time.

    1. This isn’t down to Rosell. It’s down to Pep’s decision 🙁

      I can see it now, everything points to Ibra’s agent. for what reason? To pressure Pep giving Ibra more playing time (here we go again, another Yaya saga)

      here is what I see things-

      -Why Milan? well Ibra’s agent wants to make sure he gets the message across.

      -it so happens that Milan are playing Barca tonight, well what a better time to start a big transfer saga, that flocks all over the news, not just in spain, it goes all over Italy and Europe.

      -This then makes the issue very important, now Pep has to adress it.

      -Why are Milan playing along?

      -well, Milan are going with it because if there is a slight chance that Pep ends up refusing Raiola’s message and no longer wants Ibra, then in the end milan get a player like Ibra on a really good deal (I would assume).

      -plus, Milan’s president is slimy enough to go with it, because he is that kind of a businessman anyway (my opinion).

      -Where is Man city?

      -nowhere to be seen, man city are not negotiating for Ibra because.
      (1) they dont need him
      (2) Barca don’t want to sell Ibra

      ***let me note it again, this is my perception, I could be wrong***

  23. I will say the same thing that I said about The Yaya: If you aren’t happy being on the best club in the world, get out. Fast. We don’t need rhe bullshit from you or your asshole agent, who would, as with The Yaya’s agent, not be saying ANYTHING without the approval of the player. If a player, I don:t care who, doesn’t want to be here, then leave. And don’t let the door hit you in the ass.

    If, at this point, we don’t do everything in our power to get Ibrahimovic the hell out of town, we are crazy. He clearly is unhappy here, and wants to leave. This feels like a rerun, in which we last heard smilar bleating from the mouthpiece of The Yaya, and our payoff was a half-assed season. Don’t want it from Ibrahimovic, and sure as hell don’t need it.

    So be gone, and take your scumbag with you. This club is facing serious challenges, and doesn’t need distractions. You play when you play, and you earn that time with quality. I would rather lose with players who are fully committed to the cause, than win with a player who doesn’t want to be in the colors.

    So for the final time: Get out. And thanks for last season.

    1. i actually want ibra to stay. i still believe attacking trio of messi-ibra-villa can work. but this recent statement makes me think that it’s better he leaves.

      on another topic, does anyone know any sopcast link to the match later? really appreciate it.

    2. I could accept a deal in the region of 35m – 40m, but what’s written in the press these days is completely non-sense. Loan him out to Milan but still pay 6m of his wages? Sell him to Milan for a maximum of 15m?
      My only hope is that Rossell is really taking care of our financial situation and will consequently not agree to such a ridiculous offer from Galliani & Co.
      Even if someone pays 35m for Ibra, it’s still a non-profit deal for us. But at least we wouldn’t have made any financial deficit either.

    3. tbh, I have not seen one negative word from Ibra himself. Maybe he is smarter and lets his agent be the scumbag or maybe his agent is so far beyond human recognition that he acts on his own, which leads to the question raised above about why Ibra don’t act.

      What I have seen, is Ibra praising both Pep, the team and the club during the whole summer and explicitly during the last international friedly.

      I smell a rat, but I not sure who’s rat it is. It is all very confusing and it does not help the club.

  24. And another thing: Liverpool are as dumb as we would be for keeping Ibrahimovic. If a player doesn’t want to be with your club, you only hurt the club by keeping him. You can try to extract maximum value based on the situation, but it’s tantamount to a lover saying to someone who doesn’t love them, “I’ll make you stay, and love me.”

    It never works.

  25. Hey guys,

    I’m looking for good photos of Oriol Romeu for a project I’m doing. Preferably I’d like images of his face like:


    minus the trademark of course.

    I’ve pretty much exhausted google images for pictures of the guy, but maybe those of you with fcbarcelona.com accounts have access to pictures I don’t?

    If anybody could help me out with several images, or even the link above without the trademark, it would be greatly appreciated.


  26. Mmm I remember when Ibra left Ajax it was very ugly as he transferred to Juve at the laaaast minute of the trade deadline and so left Ajax with a huge hole. I honesty don’t understand what the fuss is about. Raiola is, like commented above, just looking for a fat paycheck since those dudes make millions of dollars off of each transfer. Just cause he talks shit doesn’t necessarily mean that this should distract the club, as long as Ibra’s attitude is right and so far I haven’t seen any real signs of him not being happy (not saying that there aren’t, just saying that up until now it is his manager changing his tune every day, a manager with a history of being a scum bag at that)

    The situation with Mascherano is quite different because it has been over a year that he wanted to leave, primarily because his family is unhappy in Liverpool (can you blame them?). That doesn’t mean that his club should sell him at a loss, though. I don’t see why Barça shouldn’t pay $20 million for him. After all they have $40+ million to spend, right? So buy Masch and keep the rest for next season, I say.

  27. I don’t know how the rest of you feel, but the most frustrating aspect of this issue to me is the fact that I really have no idea what is going on.

    I really wish there was a little more transparency at the club right now. I understand that opacity is necessary at times to protect people at the club (maybe Pep for example), but one of the big criticisms of Laporta was the fact that there was no transparency at the club. Rosell said he wanted to change thatm and I was hoping he would.

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