Barca 1, Milan 1 (3-1 pens.), aka “If a match falls in the forest, and ….”

Hey, I knew I’d find something that Pinto does badly, since it ain’t stopping penalties. We won the Gamper Trophy match today, a desultory, half-speed affair that nobody really cared about, because the real news was being made off the pitch. You’d have to have been a cave dweller not to know that Milan is throwing its hat in the ring for our BANGS. Ick.

It was difficult not to think of happier times, what with Joan Laporta grinning that unctuous smirk of his, and Ronaldinho running around, just grinning. But there was business to attend to, both on and off the pitch.

Ibra no canvis el pa amb tomaquet per el pasta Italiana, read a hastily lettered sign being held up in the Camp Nou during the match. “Ibra, don’t exchange p’amb tomaquet (irresistible Catalan appetizer) for Italian pasta.” Sure, Ibrahimovic can be forgiven for thinking, “Where the hell was the love when people were calling me shit for ONLY scoring 21 goals and notching 9 assists,” but that would be churlish of him. Besides, we have an excuse of a match to deal with.

This won’t be a traditional review, because of the half-assed nature of this endeavor. We played two separate units, starting with Pinto, Adriano, Puyol, Milito, Abidal, Maxwell, Iniesta, Dos Santos, Jeffren, Ibrahimovic, Villa, with the second being Pinto, Alves, Krkic, Thiago, Messi, Keita, Busquets, Pedro!, Pique, Fontas. And the curiosity was obviously whether Ibrahimovic and Villa could demonstrate a capacity to play together. Well, if the feeds and interplay were any indication, hellz yeah. Ibrahimovic was one of the sole bright spots of a pretty lackluster first half, and if the ref had a heart, he would have let his crazy-sick goal stand, coming as it did off an inch-perfect cross from Adriano, and this body-twisting, bottom of the foot ninja thing that had the ESPN Deportes announcers giggling, and nattering about jiu-jitsu.

Yes, he was offsides by a hair, but the intent was clear: “Find me somebody else who can do THAT shit, and not rupture something.” Interesting.

Even more interesting was how Villa and Ibrahimovic cleared out space for each other, sliding the ball back and forth in a sort of great striker mutual admiration society. Anyone watching that, and thinking those two can’t play together is clearly out of their minds.

The match itself was scattered and wide-open, but with little chance of too many goals being scored because neither side was all that sharp. There were two goals scored, one from an excellent ball into the box that was slid just inside the near post by Villa, a beautiful play. And hats off to one hell of a golazo by Inzaghi, who took full advantage of Alves being caught up the pitch.

At any rate, here are some general impressions of players that I thought really stood out:

Pinto Excellent play, bailed out by some pretty stanky Milan penalties. The only one who seemed serious about it, Yepes, banged it right past him. Still, his reflexes and ability to guess right and move quickly, we’ve seen before when it actually did matter, in the Copa del Rey on a crucial penalty save.

Adriano Um …. okay …. I know that Dani Alves is our Sonic the Hedgehog, but a case could be made for figuring out some way to get he and Adriano on the pitch together. His crosses were more accurate than Alves, both from the right and left sides of the pitch. He also has pace to get back on defense, and a wicked crossover/dive for the line to create space. I like this transfer more and more. Killer assist for the Villa goal.

Dos Santos This kid has something special, folks. He was playing almost a DM role rather than playmaker, demonstrating a maturity in his ball movement and sensing the flow of the match. He was a little too ambitious with a couple of passes, but you got the sense that he wouldn’t have been were he the actual playmaker, rather than Iniesta. He needs first team time to fully develop, but I really like what I see.

Maxwell He continues to impress. He’s been exceptional in the early season, and is looking like the steal of the transfer season last summer.

Jeffren Jeffren reminds me of a colt who outruns its legs. He has pace, but wants to make everything happen too quickly, to his eternal detriment. Once he calms down and lets the match come to him, he will be a formidable player. I don’t know that he will ever be a starter, but he will be an excellent squad player. And I hope that Guardiola talked to him about ignoring an excellent Ibrahimovic run in favor of a shot that didn’t have a prayer.

Villa Once he gets rid of the tendency to flash the fancy bits, what a player. The delayed run for his goal was classic Villa, occupying space against the run of play. And what a finish off a ball from (guess who?) Adriano. He has an excellent touch, moves beautifully off the ball and understands how we play. And it was his first of what promises to be many, many goals for our beloved club.

Ibrahimovic Sorry, but if we sell this player, we are out of our minds. His movement on and off the ball is vastly improved this season, and we are recognizing the runs that he makes. His skill at maintaining possession with a defender at his back, facilitating our possession attack, is unrivaled. And I won’t even get into the absurd shots from crazy angles. At the end of the match, you saw Galliani and Rosell making plans to meet on Thursday, so we’ll see. But what a player.

Krkic Effort and work rate are off the chart, and he is getting very good at reading the ball and its movement, then putting himself in the right spot.

Thiago Looks like more of a playmaker than Dos Santos, frankly. Calm and composed on the ball, aggressive and slick without it. Once he matures, he’s going to be really hard to keep out of the lineup. He has a nose for goal, and isn’t shy about taking on anyone, anytime. But he doesn’t do it rashly, rather in a way that makes sense. His shot from distance needs work, but he was really, really impressive today.

And oh, yeah …. the Camp Nou bid a fond adeu to some dude named Ronaldinho, who did a thing or two for the club. I’m on record as not being all that fond of the way he left the club and what happened during his last season, but his efforts on our behalf are undeniable. With that in mind, I leave this with something positive, instead of more Ibrahimovic blather.

By Kxevin

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


    1. Thanks, Pyro. It isn’t really a traditional review, because I just didn’t feel like that mess of a match warranted one. It was one of the sloppiest, dullest Gampers I have ever witnessed. I’m sure much of it was all the off-pitch stuff.

      This Galliani quote is interesting:

      “We do not want to deceive anyone. It’s almost impossible we reach an agreement. We certainly won’t include players.”

      Personally, I can’t condone what Ibrahimovic did after the match. You celebrate with your teammates while they are your teammates, period. He and Guardiola need to have a serious heart-to-heart, though I think it’s too late. I would guess that after that, tomorrow’s negotiations got a little easier.

      And recall that The Yaya didn’t celebrate with his teammates after a big match, and was gone not that long thereafter. I just don’t think that Guardiola thinks very much of such things. And frankly, I don’t think much of the way that Ibrahimovic has been treated, by fans, press and the club. Many of the same people who were slagging him and talking about how much he stank up our play are now saying we’re silly for selling him, etc, etc.

      Just bad business all ’round.

    2. Yeah the match was pretty dull. I wonder why Pep and Ibra havent talked in 6th months. I love the player, he is extremely skilled and I was impressed with what I saw today. I always look up to his ability to play with his back to goal because my coach told me I have to work on mine. Villa and him seemed to be doing just fine playing together, but villa playing at CF wasn’t bad at all either, the guy is quick with great feet and makes all the right runs and gets himself into great positions.

      I hope Ibra stays and also that him and Pep fix their issues. I used to feel confident on the directors and people that used to run our club. Now all I feel is uncertainty and fear, this big eared man Rosell has always given me a horrible vibe

    3. me too pyro, I feel that too, but it was sure nice to see Ronaldinho’s infectious smile, swagger in the camp nou again!

  1. Man, this Ibra saga has me seriously depressed. I agree with you Kxevin: if we let him go it will be the first really big blunder of the Pep era.

    1. I have worries about Guardiola and the way that he deals with players. It was easy to dismiss Hleb as a whiner. He also had complexities with Eto’o and The Yaya. Now Ibrahimovic says that he and Guardiola haven’t really talked in 6 months. I dunno what’s going on, but I’m a little bummed out right now that my club can’t seem to resolve matters in a way that doesn’t leave hurt feelings and bad blood.

      And karma being what it is, as with last season, it wouldn’t shock me at all to see AC Milan at some point in the Champions League.

    2. Oh good to know. I thought I was the only one feeling this way. I am seriously bummed. There’s a bad feeling about it all, no joke on that word here. Something deeper, larger, structural is at work.

    3. Not only that, and forgive me for saying this but Pep can’t just release everyone just because he has no feeling. This are players that have a worth to the club and every time the team lets them go for pennies on the dollar it hurts the club. And in the end the welfare of the club is most important.

      What Pep needs to do is salvage the relationship, which he said he would do if he stayed, but he needs to do that as a first option not as a last resort. If Ibra had only 1 year left in his contract I would say sell him but right now he has 3 years left.

      Now it may be Ibra the one who is in all the wrong but usually it takes two to tango.

    4. You can’t really blame Yaya’s case on Pep, can you? I mean, first he was injured, then he was kept out by an excellent Busquets, then his manager kept talking shit, in the end he was getting 200K/week from Man City, which is the same as Messi earns. I don’t think that even if Pep had arranged for him weekly dates with Jessica Alba, it would have mattered much.

      Ibra case is equally ridiculous. So he says that he has spoken to Pep only twice in 6 months. Well, first he said that Pep always takes good care of him and now it’s he has only spoken twice with Pep. Well, one was a long ass talk after the summer and how many times has Pep had personal talks with Xavi? Plus, he isn’t going to make things better by having his agent talk to the press all the time and what not. I mean, in the end, should we give the benefit of doubt to the guy who has been with Barca all his life and won 8 titles in 2 years or Zlatan? Just saying…

    5. I think I’d take a sniper to the roof for weekly dates with Jessica Alba.

      I think Yaya would have stayed, and not even made noise, with more starts. Not to bring that all up again, and not to say there weren’t a few tactical or form-related reasons why he was on the bench, but I think part of the reason was Pep just saw a bit of himself in Busi and wanted him in the team more.

    6. I’ve thought that too, Kxev, regarding Guardiola’s dealing with certain players, and don’t shoot me for jumping to conclusions, but damned if it isn’t only the non-Spanish-speakers (and, well, Portugese-speakers). Native, I mean, of course. I’m sure someone’s pointed this out before and been laughed off the board. I’m not saying he’s a racist (or ethno-nationalist as the case may be), but he seems to not deal with the South Americans and Spaniards in the same way as the Belorussians, Swedes, and various Africans. Keita will be the control, looking forward, but the kind of language of the leavers has been very interesting, and the language of Guardiola has always been, well, kind of too dismissive. Even when we think of the language of Hleb and his loan (brought him to China and didn’t play him? Consider him not a man but a child), and the language of Caceres/VicSan and their loan (no buy option), these are things to wonder about, and a plus side when the day comes that Pep leaves. Perhaps the only plus side…

    7. yeah, aehm, Abidal, Keita, plus his time in Qatar with all the Arabs and Africans…obviously the guy just has a problem with some ethnicities. Couldn’t you come up with anything more stupid than that? Just wondering.

  2. Cave dweller eh? Meh. I’m down with that. I live under a rock anyway.

    -Adriano completed more sucessful crosses in one game that Alves probably had all of last season

    -I love Villa

    -Pinto: The Force is strong in this one

    -I love Thiago

    – I repeat that I say JDS is a Keita (or has the potential to become one).

    -CL draw is tomorrow at noon EST. I’ve really interested in the draw (even moreso) this year. EE could draw United which would be very, very tiresome. I could just see the headlines of the BritPress now: Mourinho v Fergie, CL Edition; Ronaldo back to his former club; The DRAMA

    I just hope we don’t have to travel very far or to someplace cold.

  3. Thanks for this timely review because we really need something positive for the moment. Ronaldinho’s smile makes me forget the sad thing going on for now.

  4. Hello all. I made some comments a while back, but unfortunately, I had lost the link to this blog. I’m glad to have found it again.

    Hope no one minds if I leave a few comments every now and then 🙂

    Oh, and great review as always, Kxevin

  5. I just can’t see the transfer happening even with all the drama that’s going around .. Think of the possibilities :

    1-Loaning him while paying a percentage of his wage .. Unlikely

    2-Selling him (The Price has to be Over 40m) which I don’t think Milan can or would do .. They should spend that money to reinforce their Backline .. They’ve Pato , Boriello , Huntelaar , …

    3- A Swap and I don’t see anyone from their team that we want ..

    I’m 90% Confident that Ibra will stay .. but If he Leaves .. So be it .. We’ll move on

  6. yeah I remember shaun. Oh god what are we going to do. Rosell just brings insecurity to this club

  7. I meant to write this about Krkic after the last game, but never got around to it.

    It is good to see (or hear in my case when it comes to this game) that Bojan is working on his off the ball movement, the timing of his runs, and his notion for where there is space on the field. I think these are aspects of his game that are improving, albeit slowly.

    While there are other aspects of his game that need improving, these are the most important. If you’re the other team and you see a front line of Bojan and two of Messi, Villa, Ibra, or even Pedro, it is obvious who is the least dangerous: Bojan. Therefore while teams are double marking the other forwards, Bojan has the advantage that he will be flying under the radar. All of the other forwards (Pedro maybe a bit less) are skilled at moving defenders around, and this creates space. Bojan needs to learn to utilize the space created by his teammates and sneak into good positions. His effectiveness in the next year, and maybe next several years, will depend on how well he is able to exploit the space that his teammates have created for him.

    We’ve seen that Bojan isn’t the type of forward who thrives with his back to the goal (this may be a skill he develops later, or not, but he isn’t effective in the role now). However, if he masters his ability to exploit space and lose defenders, he could find himself in great positions facing the goal often.

    For an example, think of the second leg semifinal against Inter last year. Kevin likes to refer to the header he pushed wide, but why was he able to win a head ball in the Inter box when someone like Ibra had been struggling to do that all night? The answer is simple – he wasn’t as closely marked as Ibra had been, and so he ghosted into space unnoticed.

    So it’s good to see him trying to make diagonal runs in behind the defense, and trying to time his runs with the moment Xavi passes the ball. It’s not there yet, but imagine how effective and dangerous he could be if he mastered his movement off the ball.

  8. As a side note: I don’t know if it has been mentioned, but there is a distinct possibility that Victor Sanchez will go on loan to Getafe. I hope he does, I’d really like to see him succeed.

  9. This might be a bit off-topic, but does anyone else think Ibra’s offside goal today looked very similar to Cruyff’s phantom goal for us way back when?

    Ibra’s: **

    Cruyff’s: **

  10. While Pinto is quite the gangster when it comes to stopping penalties, the rest of his game is heart attack inducing. The constant coming off the line and the passes that leave his defenders out to dry really worry me, but I guess that’s why he’s the backup.

  11. I am pretty sure that the Victor Sanchez to Getafe loan has happened. No reel surprise their.

    As to Ibra and Pep: If it’s true that they have not talked in six months, that’s really embarrassing. If Ibra is not getting the Barca system (as some of the media are claiming Pep has said) then not talking to him strikes me as a poor way of solving this problem. I am generally a “In Pep We Trust” sort of fan, but in this case it makes no sense to me that Pep would give up so quickly on such a talented player. (God, I can not wait for silly season to end and we can move on with whatever happens.)

    On a happier note: our new signings, Villa and Adriano, look amazing.

  12. on a purely squad-based note, why would we sell Ibrahimovic? if Messi or Villa goes out with a long-term injury, say, our only replacements in forward positions are Bojan and Pedro (Jeffren still not The Business); both of whom are promising young players but who just aren’t going to cut it against top European or even Spanish teams. Pedro is a remarkable goalscorer and i’m thrilled he’s come into the side but both his vision and passing are limited (the opposite of Ibra’s, Messi’s, or Villa’s), while we’ve seen how easy it is for proper defenses (notably Inter but also Villareal) to render him invisible. to sell Ibra now would leave us with 4 strikers for 3 positions; and that’s just not acceptable even if 2 are very top quality.

    so even the financial and moral problems with the transfer aside, it just doesn’t make sense in the context of our squad, which was ALREADY light and has been lightened over the summer.

  13. Damn Catalan press and Rosell, using Ibra since their Cesc efforts failed. F*** Rosell. That bastard is not stupid or a bad businessman. His intent is to either ruin this club or make it his complete image: a F’n rat. Look at the guy. The same guy who brought the offer for 100m for Ronnie to Laporta with a 10% kickback. Yea. I’d stick to Laporta. I firmly believe Rosell is using Ibra, probably without his knowledge, to try to turn fans/press against Pep WHILE appeasing most of them at the same time. The press loves this. The fans didnt like Ibra. Look at what is happening. Either way, media is damaging Pep’s image. (Ibra’s statements, press BS). Rosell has destablized Barca. Why? Personal Ambition. Revenge? Branding? I hope it’s the second, however members were gullible enough to vote for this dude and overwhelmingly. Chygwimpy, Ibra, …Pep …….Puyol, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi… I firmly believe Rosell is evil. Don’t believe me? They will all fall under his presidency. Great job Catalan members. You’re idiots. Best case scenario: our books are even, but we’ve lost all our virtues, youth, and soul. f*** Rosell

    1. Agreed, the “we are broke” thing, that just couldnt remain behind closed doors?? Evidently the club isnt about to be sold or ‘shut down’ because we are selling players for less than we paid (Yaya being the special case because citeh owners are idiots, Yaya wouldve gone for a lot less), obviously profit isnt a concern.
      I do believe Rosell is about his own endeavors and not the club’s in anyway and this is evident, even from Guardiola’s declarations.

  14. According to AS, we are negotiating with Sevilla regarding a Caceres loan deal.


  15. This Ibra situation is appalling… like I explained in the last thread, we are in a lose lose situation thanks to Rosell and Co.

    He goes, we are WAY fucking screwed… Ibra is our #9, he is F’n great.
    He stays, and we are left with a striker feeling like he isn’t wanted by the execs, a Coach that now knows he has no support from the Execs and has no say in the commings and goings of players.

    I think Pep and Ibra stay, but only for this season. The Joan/Txiki/Pep team worked so well because it worked together. Now we have Rosell in a power struggle with God knows whom??? but he is using EMD as his mouth and has taken down Chygrinski, has cut off Guardiola, and has his sights aimed at Ibrhimovic.

    Today for the first time, I felt insecure about our club’s future.

    Again, this deal has so many more implications that the transfer of 1 player. It goes so much further than us losing one of the best Strikers on the planet, and leaving us extremely short handed for this very difficult upcoming seasons. This transfer is Rosell pulling rank letting everyone know who is boss. It’s Pep losing control of his project that has worked so well. Its Rosell using EMD to manipulate quotes to cause rifts as he sees fit.

    Up to now, Pep had ran our players ragged under the philosophy that there is no fatigue when you are winning, winning well, and getting those trophies. The last thing we need is locker room issues which is what Sandro is brewing up regardless of the result of these negotiations.

    Today a very real chill ran down my back. Rosell might derail a dynasty just as it was being born. I never new until today how much of a Laportaist I was.

    may Calm, Tranqulity, and Solace Rest In Peace until August 31st…

  16. That said… Jeez… does Pep have selection problems set up for him at the full back positions… Alves is great, but… so is Adriano. Maxwell has been so dynamic, and everywhere (in a good way) so far, but you can’t bench the greyhound…

    quick question… how in the hell were Maxwell and Adriano not starters at Inter and Sevilla???

    Thiago and JDS are the fucking business. I like JDS more, but he really needs to gain some confidence and audacity. He is calm, reserved, precise, and a bit refined. But he needs a spark.
    Thiago on the other hand is a Livewire, he is audacity and fearlessness personified. He’ll gladly jump head first and learn from mistakes. He isn’t affraid of taking on anyone, or shooting at anytime. Most of the time when it doesn’t work out, you can’t help but think, “yeah, It didn’t work out, but damn what if it did…” This kid is a keeper for sure once he gains some calm and composure and refinement. JDS and Thiago are complte opposites, which is why i think they complement eachother so well for Barca B.

    Ibra… frankly. I have no words. He was soo good today.
    All of the people that hate him will not be convinced.
    All of the people that love him already know everything that he was doing out there.
    He was dropping back at every play since the midfield wasn’t clicking. He would grab the ball, dish it out, make good runs. Make space for Villa, use the space used by Villa. I frankly thought h was our best playmaker in the first half, and had any of his teammates had the skill to but the ball in front of his runs, he would have had more shots on goal.

    I’m thinking Xavi’s exclusion means he’ll play 90 against Racing, which, I Like 🙂

    1. Thiago reminds me of a pedrito, he was rushed which lucky for him was only positive rushing, and like you mention on Thiago, pedrito wasnt afraid to shoot and make funs, he just lacked accuracy, NOW that he learned other key components, he’s Pedro!

  17. Why is the viciousness directed at Sandro Rosell?

    Acc to the newspapers, Pep stopped talking to Ibra SIX months ago. Rosell was nowhere in the picture then. So why target Rosell, cos he’s an easy target?

    I’m a lawyer by profession, he’s innocent as long as he hasn’t been proven guilty w.r.t to any of the allegations made against him. I’m not his biggest fan either and I hoped Ingla would win the election.. but give the guy a little time.

    This looks really messy! We all know that Ibra is a character and managing him is an ask. Seems like with Pep, everything is either Black or White, Yes or No, no room to sulk and whine if things aren’t going your way. whether that’s a good thing.. well, we’ll find out

    1. It goes further than Ibra-Pep relationship, if we are so “broke” why sell a huge asset to the club? He’s damaging the club’s image and the clubs pockets, single-handedly ruining all that Laporta built for us.

  18. Few more days and silly season will finally come to the end and so will Ibra drama (though yesterday it was more like a horror movie). I don’t know what will happen in the end but if Ibra leaves I can’t blame him. Dude was working his ass off every day in practises and matches and no matter what he did, Sport and co. rewarded him with “sell Ibra” headlines time and again. Just imagine how he feels.
    A year ago I was furious when we bought him, that egoistical idler, but he proved me wrong and I will be even more furious if we will be so dumb and sell him now. It would be a mistake, a huge one.
    Pep is a genious but he is also very stubborn. The way he solves issues with players is not cool at all. Hope this time will be different.
    And I have no words for Rosell, he is acting like an ass.

  19. Woah.I seriously didnt expect that one .
    So they havent spoken for six months , and you are still associating this with rosell?
    I would really go for an ibra sale after these words.
    Forget the money.
    Forget the options he provides with the attack and the stupid agent that talks shit to the press 24/7.
    Wed better offload a player that has that kind of a problem with the coach , or even creates such a cloudy atmosphere around him.We sell him , less reasons for disruptions in our lockerroom and less press attention pointed at the club , simple as that.

  20. AHEM:

    Actually, Pep and Ibra have spoken to each other twice in the 6 months.

    Can’t we do a NO CONFIDENCE VOTE for Rosell already?!

  21. Alright I just need to clarify something about this “never talked to each other” statement. They talk to each other on daily bases. Thats something we can all be sure about. Or else Ibra wouldnt have started matches (not even training sessions). What does the statement mean exactly? I dont know. Maybe “they haven’t talked about his position in the squad after two attempts during the last six months (summer vacation included)”. At least we know one of the two times, which was before his first training session this season. I remember the press coverage for that meeting.

    If there are “issues” from 6 months that make the club sell Ibra, then the transfer story sound even worse. We should have offloaded him the day the season ended. When Man city were willing to pay a zillion or two. When Chelsea were sniffing around Torres. To wait till the last hour when a replacement is impossible. To wait till Milan come with a loan offer in hand (regardless of the final output). That’s crazy.

    Regardless of all Ibra/Sandro/Pep chaos. One thing to think about that matters most:

    How are we expecting the team to win titles with a front line consisting of 3 starters picked from only four possible options: Pedro-Villa-Messi-Bojan. Who are the starters and who are the game changers? What if one of them got injured for couple of weeks? What kind of difference can Bojan make in a game where Pedro, Villa, and Messi fails? And hope no one mention Jeffren. he may end up being new messi next month but at the moment and based on the game we just played, he is far from being ready. Even as a sub.

    It is not about blaming Sandro. But If Pep wants to keep Ibra (and I do think he does)then why are we selling. If Pep had Issues with Ibra since last season, then why did we wait that long, picking the worst moment to sell? In fact, we were not even encouraging any bids. I am sure those who paid to get Balottelli would have paid more to get Ibra.

    Its normal to try to find reasoning behind unreasoning. Thats what RM fans tried to do for years. Thats what we used to do before Laporta, and I always had the nightmare that we will start doing again after him. Get used. Or wish for miracles.

    Welcome back to the typical life of being a Barcelona fan. Hope you enjoyed the 6 seasons’ vacation.

    1. Too pessimistic , ramzi!
      What happens if all men of our front line fail simultaneously?
      Well firstly , game changing players dont really have to be solely forwards.
      Iniesta , xavi, even busquets ,alves pique and lately alves can provide such a surprise when the ball doenst fell into the back of the net.They can all be gamechangers of the same value as our frontline since we are talking about things not going the normal way.
      Sure they are not great goalscorers , some of them arent even goalscorers but they dont have to be.
      They just have to ignite the turn of events in a game that things dont work out for us.
      Pique has done it , repeatedly!
      Alves has done it. Xavi and ghostface certainly have done it.
      Dont press the panick/disappointed button already.

      After the 2008-2009 season we were all talking about the necessity of a plan B , highlighted by the chelsea much when we almost didnt make it.
      Well without discounting the transfer of ibra and the tactical plan that it accustomed in the 2009-2010 season we seemingly had the plan B but we didnt make it.
      Not as if crashing out of a competition in the semis is a failure, implying that ibras transfer should not have been made or that tactical variations , searching for other solutions is not vital for our clubs continuing to be successful but its not as if having the famous plan B means that we are obliged to use it.Because , you know sometimes it may also fail(and even more miserably than using the first) and above all plan a will probably work like a charm in most cases.

    2. “Iniesta , xavi, even busquets ,alves pique and lately alves” They are all starters. Game changers are players who are on the bench when the game kickoff. In front, we have none. Sorry for Bojan fans (and I am an admirer), but in tricky situations I feel more hopeful to see Keita -the midfielder-stepping to the field than Bojan -the forward. Too early for the boy to carry this responsibility. We made the first crime promoting him early, and now we are doing the second one by considering him a van Basten.

      Regarding plan B and options, dont let me start…

      I’m not a pessimist, nor easy to panic. But we need to be realistic here and pint out this is a disastrous resource management.

      Will we still win titles? I dont care. I want this club to be managed properly. Being a joke is not something that fits my unconditional support.

    3. Couldnt agree with you more, and more specifically about the RM thing, this is exactly where Rosell is taking the management of the club, for instance Valdano and ANY coach Madrid gets, its their last word and not the coach’s, is this where people want to end up?
      I highly doubt Guardiola would stay for more of it.
      Game changers, you are right we have none, we still need a DM and if Mascherano is going to come, he needs to get to it already.

  22. What a goal by Inzaghi though. Marco Van Basten eat your heart out.
    Don’t like the fact we’re giving Victor Sanchez to Getafe- Real Madrid B
    Michel and Guardiola are friends supposedly but most Madristas want Michel as a future coach. I have a great suspicion he bleed Sanchez for information about Barca tactics, youth system etc
    Anyway do like this idea that Ibra and Guardiola don’t talk bit Roy Keanish management were things are black or white.

  23. I hope Milan is not doin all this public talk just to save face against there supporters since everyone feel Milan been buying low-key players n nit spending. So they start things they cannot finish known Barca won’t sell cheap n therefor
    Blame us fo the signing not happening in time.

    All the talk Zlatan is doin is just a way to force barca little bit lower on there demands n it’s good tactics cause imagine Milan sayin thanks but no thanks. N there u have a player clearly not getting along with the coach n even so it’s public. All that talk during the season can’t be good.

    Spec with Mou already actinlike he’s best buddy with Zlatan

    Ps. I luv me Jds

  24. And no more do we boldly go where no blog has gone before. Just a reminder that if you don’t close your HTML coding with the backslash in front of the command, everything below it assumes that command. Hence all of the bold type.

  25. I am not interested in apportioning blame. This situation isn’t Rosell’s fault any more than it is Guardiola’s or Ibrahimovic’s. There is a presumption that players want to be at the best club in the world. Who wouldn’t, right?

    But with that presumption often comes a degree of hand holding that big, successful organizations often neglect. But successful managers don’t. Laporta was a glad-handing little weasel, which worked. Could Guardiola have salvaged the situation with The Yaya with a few more heart-to-hearts? Or used the same methods to get Hleb to the player that he was, pre-injury? Maybe. Maybe not.

    Superstars need coddling, and every player needs a different management style. This is true in the workplace, as well. ANY workplace. Irrespective of truth, if there is even a perception by an employee that a manager is aloof and uncommunicative, then that manager isn’t doing his job to the fullest.

    This situation is another success pang. Expectations have been defined by the Triplete. But clubs don’t win titles a lot more often than they do win them. We forget that.

    The most difficult managing is not after failure, but in the aftermath of success. Expectations must be managed, as well as personnel. In this, we have failed, as evinced by the fact that many think that “only” winning the Liga is no longer sufficient. Please.

    As far as front-line players, when we were just trying to sign Villa, and Pedro! hadn’t even become what he is yet, everybody was happy. Suddenly, we need Ibrahimovic AND Villa, or we’re doomed? No.

    Every top team, at every position, is a series of “what ifs” away from being screwed. Comes with the territory. If we have to roll with Villa, Krkic, Messi and P!, then we will do the best that we can with the personnel that we have, because that’s what champions do.

    1. don’t forget Iniesta also an option in the LW position aswell, oh yeah I went there but if we really are trying to sign Mascherano then seems like Iniesta has a not so fixed position.

    2. “As far as front-line players, when we were just trying to sign Villa, and Pedro! hadn’t even become what he is yet, everybody was happy. Suddenly, we need Ibrahimovic AND Villa, or we’re doomed? No.”

      I am not included in this category for sure. If you mean last summer, we had Henry there as well. If you mean this summer, It was obvious we need a forward who can play on the flank AND keep the ones we have.

      Its not about serious of “what ifs” in this case. The initial state is not fitting. Besides, I dont care about other teams. Moving from the belief that we need to get better to the argument that we are as screwed as others is not a joy to share. Besides, for the system we play, we are more fragile than any other team with the resources we (they) have.

      Everyone carry responsibility. But the main decision maker here is the president. He either started this mess in the first place, or created a mess by responding too late to a problem that was as bold as a coach wanting his main striker out (thats if we buy this assumption, and I dont). Staff do mistakes and should be responsible for it. But it’s the leader’s job to control it and make the right fixings in the right time. He failed. Thats why it was in the first place Laporta’s responsibility when he didnt change a coach one year earlier-and I voiced that mistake. The decision maker is the one who take the major share of responsibility in good and bad. We all know who wear the pants at the Camp Nou these days.

      The club is a joke at the moment, regardless of how you see it. Two days before the season starts we blow the dressing room with this. That’s a failure. The only one who was able to avoid this mess was the one who had the authority to tell Milan “sorry, not interested” the moment they made the first attempt yesterday, or tell Man city “I have something to show you” a month or two ago. He didn’t. He failed. Period.

      Besides, its a RULE in negotiations (I am in a position to preach about it), DO NOT ALLOW sit-in negotiations! It means you will get dragged into the heat of the moment and may take positions you regret later! At least send Zubi to Miami to get some tan and tell galliani “I will come back to you after talking to Zubi” Give yourself a breath to reconsider. Milan came with all the tool kit and dragged us to bring all the decision makers to the table. We will receive the offer, negotiate the offer, and make a decision while our counter negotiator breath in our faces. That’s naive!

      I can see your position. I would like to be the devil’s advocate as well. But at the moment, it is not appropriate. Maybe after one game or two, when we get used to accept what we cant change.

    3. Duh…Now you know how mentally broken I am 😀 . And I am supposed to work today.

      This club really tune my daily mood.

    4. It isn’t a question of being devil’s advocate. It’s Management 101. I have a staff. Every member of that staff needs something different. I have to understand that, or I’m not doing my job as a manager. Simple as that.

      It’s too easy to blame Rosell for everything, and I am on the record as being nothing approaching his biggest fan. So why didn’t, for example, Ibrahimovic and Guardiola “talk” for 6 months? Was Ibrahimovic waiting for Guardiola to tall him? Good question. Was Guardiola waiting for Ibrahimovic to call him? Another good question.

      As for negotiations, I would rather imagine that the style and tone of the talks shows how much we’d like to get rid of Ibrahimovic. “Let’s just hunker down and get this done.” Doesn’t augur well for his future with the club, frankly.

      Middle managers define how a company is perceived, often, more than the true high-ups. If Guardiola wanted to keep Ibrahimovic, he should have strolled in to Rosell’s offices and said “No. This is stupid. I can’t coach a hamstrung team, and if you sell this player out from under me, as you did Txigrinski, it makes the situation impossible for me.” No way in hell is Rosell not going to accede to that demand.

      This means that Guardiola wants Ibrahimovic gone. So now what?

      Last season, we had Henry/Messi/Krkic/Ibrahimovic as a front group. Nobody knew what Pedro! could do yet. This season, we have Villa/Messi/Krkic/Pedro!. Note that I assume that Ibrahimovic is gone by the time the season starts. So Villa runs around in the Henry role on the left, Messi plays the false 9 and Pedro! does what Pedro! does. Is that ideal? No. Is it what we have because of mismanagement at all levels? You betcha.

      Now we move forward from there.

  26. Meanwhile, after a lengthy meeting with Galliani, Rosell et al, Ibrahimovic, Galliani and Raiola are having dinner at Ibrahimovic’s house.

    Stay tuned folks. This is going to be a wild one.

  27. I went ahead and typed up a long thought about the Ibrahimovic situation, but then I realized I could sum up the 4 paragraphs I wrote in one sentence:

    This whole situation pisses me off

    1. Signed!

      I bet this will piss us off until the very last second of the transfer period, I doubt there will be a decision any earlier than that 🙁

  28. I loved the fact that pep made play JDS as DM and Thiago as OM. If they play more and more this year and become full 1st reamers the list is not that short. To for what I saw yesterday JDS is ok can be great thiago is great already. Yesterday we could see two good teams on the pitch, one with JDS iniesta maxwell the other one with Busi Kieta Thiago… and both of them with great attack tridentes. The only problem can be that if ibra leaves we would be one more shorter, and jeffren doesn`t seem to be very very good.

    “At the end of the match, you saw Galliani and Rosell making plans to meet on Thursday, so we’ll see.” yes I also saw that, galliani was smiling and rosell just cut the bullsh.t and got right to the business. Galliani stopped smiling and went like “yes yes, yes. can`t you just take it easy?!” rosell is really creepy, I dunno if his creepiness will be good or bad for us.

  29. I feel like talking more about the match now

    I actually really like JDS playing right now. Pep is giving him a really tough job, very tough, tougher then what Thiago is given. But we can see him picking some things up as he goes along. there was also a time in the second half where JDS moved back to his usual midfield position and he looked a lot more confident, apart from a few passes which were not meaty enough, but this guy spent a hole half working as a deep lying creative midfielder and well you could see him running everywhere all the time. no rest for him, he was constantly in the game. Hats off to him, he didnt have a nice polished performance, but you could see him working things out every second never giving up. good on him.

    as for Jeffren, thank goodness he finally gets a taste of some minutes. He was nervous and clearly out of his league, but if he keeps working at it, he will soon keep defenders worrying when he will come on the field lol.

    Also Fontas! finally played, didn’t do that much, but he didnt look out of place either. good on him

  30. More mismanagement: The club would like Ronaldinho to become involved with it when he’s done as a player, yet it bollixed up the Cruijff situation. Yes, Cruijff was made an honorary president by Laporta, which doesn’t mean that the incoming folks get to say “What the hell is that crap? No way, dudd!”

    Of course Cruijff is going to have hurt feelings. The way to do it would have been to approach Cruijff quietly, and say “As you know, we hate the ground that Laporta trods. But we love what you did for the club, and recognize your value. So why don’t we figure out so palatable way to make this thing work?” Ding! Problem solved.

    Instead, Cruijff is stomping into the Camp Nou offices, flinging his honorary badge at a receptionist, in front of the press, of course. Ick.

    –Rosell should have said nothing to Galliani during the match, or afterward. You never, ever know, as a club president, when the cameras are on you. That he and Galliani were clearly seen making arrangements for more meetings when the match was barely over was classless. Base and classless. Are you really that desperate to get rid of Ibrahimovic?

    –I wonder if the club impressed upon Hleb the value of learning the language. Recall that the club got Txigrinski a tutor, etc, etc. Did he ask for it? Good question, and not one that I have the answer to. But if not speaking the language is going to be held against a player, he should understand the importance of it. Yes, it’s stupid to show up somewhere that you are planning to work and not be able to speak the language. Monstrously so. But players, who have been coddled and taken care of their entire lives, are pretty stupid sometimes.

    I could go on and on, but you get it. There are so many ways for big clubs for deal with situations to keep them from becoming messy. With a very active (and often compliant) world press following pretty much our every move, I wonder sometimes why we act like a small club at times.

  31. Had there been problems like this in barcelona offices before? Im pretty sure. I miss the way the club handled things, it made us proud, it brought us APART from all the crap other clubs were doing, it felt great, Now we are no better than the Real Madrid’s.
    So rosell will “learn”? yes sure, but after how much damage?? This isnt about a single player anymore. We need him, but at this point, I’d never blame him for leaving.
    So what if he has a strong character, Guardiola even said (front page of that he has no complaints on his playing and training, we don’t care if they dont want to hold hands after practice and have tea sunday afternoons.

  32. I just want to say regardless of whether ibra stays or goes there is a larger problem at hand. And that problem is Rosell. Laporta was a coniving, arrogant weasel, BUT everybody knew that and we proceeded with business as usual. Hell a lot of people (myself included) grew to love Laporta because of his napoleonic tendencies. The thing was when you saw him, you knew what you were getting. What really bothers me in all of this is Rosell’s attitude of trying to seem like a savior we don’t need, when in reality I personally see every move he is making right now as a personal pissing contest trying to outdo laporta. Sure you need to make some controversial descisions as president. It wasn’t that long ago we were moving with a vote of no confidence in Laporta. Yet, Rosell is doing everything under the guise of “Oh I will SAVE this club from financial ruin! I will secure this loan and sell players to make sure we are fiscally sound!”

    Please. The worst part for me is these are only the first few months, and I feel we have only seen the tip of the iceberg of his ego. Pep will most assuredly be gone after this season (which is good, he needs to conquer other leagues to become an indisputable legend), were going to lose valuable players, and who knows how this will affect silverware. But all that notwithstanding, what really worries me is what this says to me about our club. If we truly are més que un club, and we rapturously voted this guy into power, what ideals, ethics, and values are we really promoting? Will we continue being the only club that pays for the name on the shirt? Or will we consider options to help us out of this “monstrous debt”. Once again lest we remember laporta was no saint. But I always felt his actions were always made with the intention of making the club better (and perhaps making him a little grander in the process) and like I said we knew what we were getting with him. I am just disheartened by the looming future under Rosell, and as a cule I truly feel a tad sick to my stomach.

    *but I ain’t going nowhere, this captain goes down with the ship!

    1. Noooo and of course I’ve been vectored after my first lengthy post in a while! Haha it’s all good just had to get that off my chest.

  33. “Welcome back to the typical life of being a Barcelona fan. Hope you enjoyed the 6 seasons’ vacation”

    Aaaargh this is so true. All of y’all who jumped on this here wagon in the last 5 yrs or so y’all are in for a world of pain!

    I was against buying Ibra last year. I don’t think that he was worth 56 mil. Hell, I don’t think he was worth trading Eto’o for in a straight swap. And I don’t think he is worth being the 2nd best-paid player in our squad.

    But for the life of me I don’t know why we would sell him now. Not this way. Not without getting a decent replacement. And not at the last fucking minute, getting a dime on the fucking dollar and looking like a fucking amateur side through it all.

    If the problem is between Pep and Ibra I don’t see why they wouldn’t be able to resolve it. If the problem is the agent then I hope that after they sell Zlatan they will proclaim publicly that they never want to do business with Mino Raiola ever again.

    I do not think it is right that Ibra did not celebrate with his teammates, but it kind of indicates that he is pretty upset about the whole situation also. Think about it, if he would genuinely want to leave Barça then why not celebrate the trophy? Most likely he is really pissed off about what is happening – would you want to celebrate if you feel like you are being booted out the door?

    All in all, not a good start for Rosell.
    – selling Chiggy against Pep’s wishes? check
    – throwing out our dirty laundry (or should i say, dirtying our laundry some more and then throwing it out) in order to make the previous president look bad? check
    – throwing out the honorary president, a man without whom Barça probably wouldn’t be Barça (football-wise)? check
    – disrespecting our club and opposition by not showing up at an away game only so he can Cesar it up in the Camp Nou? check
    – working on selling our striker 5 days before our season opener in a manner that defies amateurism? check

    Why? Why would he destabilize a sporting project that could give us so much beauty and success if only we continued it? What the F is wrong with him? I think he has heard of the saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”. Somebody should tell him “IF IT AIN’T BROKE THEN DON’T FUCKING BREAK IT!!!!”

    I swear the f-ing Glazers have more class than him. At least they didn’t try to kick Bobby Charlton out of Manchester Utd…

    Excuse all the expletives.

  34. I loved Laporta. I loved that little round narcissist. I loved that he went wino on outrageously expensive wine … that he smiled a smug little smile every time his team scored against another big club … I loved that he practically clapped with glee at an easy tournament draw … I loved his Caso Gürtel suits and his ridiculous TV appearances and his grandiose political ambitions …

    And I can’t stand Rosell. He’s such a weasel. He’s got that weasely little smirk and what’s sure to be a limp handshake. Who on here said he reminds them of the ‘2 1/2 Men’ guy? Jon Cryer (Google if unfamiliar)? Well, Ducky has more pluck. He doesn’t have to be MoJo JoJo. But a little less crass, more class. I can’t figure the numbers and I can’t manage to get my toddler in bed before eleven. SoMa’s no boss, this business is personal. But how did this guy win at politics being such an uncharismatic person?

    Oh and yes agreed on Adriano maybe I just crush on Brazilian ex-Sevillista fullbacks.

    And little note: ‘pasta’ is slang for ‘cash’, too, so the pro-Ibra banner has a pun there too (‘Dont leave us for Italian money’). ‘Pan’, too (you ‘earn the bread’) but it’s more of a stretch.

    Recipe for pa am tomaquet:
    Peel some garlic cloves and smush slightly with broad side of kitchen knife.
    Slice some fresh tomatoes in half, keeping juice inside if possible.
    Brush some crusty thick bread slices with olive oil.
    Grill (or broil) bread on both sides, 2 minutes per side.
    Rub garlic on top of bread until garlicky.
    Rub juicy tomato slices onto garlicky bread.
    Drizzle a little more oil and season w/ salt and pepper.
    (Place 1 anchovy slice on each bread and then duck as Catalan purists throw hot cazuelas at you).

  35. I think the main issue with this whole Ibra controversy is that both parties are too stubborn. Let’s play with the thought that there actually was a split between Messi and Ibra through Guardiola, seeing as Ibra is quite outspoken and needs some space himself. Guardiola practically responds with “He’s untouchable, learn your place Ibra”. That doesn’t go well with such a huge ego that is Ibra.

    = no talking for “6 months”

    But no matter the case, this is a disaster. How can they drift apart to the point where the player is even considering leaving after one season? That is just sick. There has to be quite a rift if Ibra is willing to take a step back career wise, he usually never does. And he knows Barca is the best club in the world and the best club to be in if you want to win CL. Of course he WANTS to stay.

    But the rift might just be too deep for his ego.

    Guardiola/Barca on the other hand feels that the club is bigger than the player which is quite natual. But in this case it feels like a “the club AND ALL THE LA MASIA PLAYERS are bigger than you” in which case a huge ego like Ibra will be pretty pissed off.

    You can’t bring great players over there and then treat them like some second hand coat. Just like you can’t come over there and start whining about Messi being a selfish cunt which everybody loves.

    So again, they are all too fucking stubborn but the irony is that EVERYBODY in the whole situation is suffering.

    Dudes, get your shit together. Sit down, shake hands and start over. Hi Im Ibra, hello Ibra I’m guardiola. Welcome to Barcelona, let’s rape some madridistas? Sure.

    Leaving just before the second season starts after having a great first season is complete bullshit.

    Selling your most expensive player ever after one season is complete bullshit.

    Get over your ridiculous “I’m the world” attitude Ibra and start working hard if you want to earn a spot in one of the greatest teams EVER. Prove everybody just how good you are.

    Get over your sore feelings and favorism of La Masia Guardiola. I’m the first one to applaud the fact that so many sick players are being created at Barca, but if you buy outsiders you h ave to fucking show them some respect and not throw them away like used condoms when you’re done with them.

    Romario? Rivaldo? Ronaldo? Ronaldinho?


    This is so stupid.

  36. Your argument about “the club AND ALL THE LA MASIA PLAYERS are bigger than you” doesn’t cut really. In his first season at Barca, the one player that caught the most shit from Pep was Piqué. Likewise, last season the one player Pep kind of publicly most criticized was Busquets. The one attacker who has to convince Pep most is Bojan. The one defender Pep last season told that his place isn’t guaranteed at all and he needs to fight for it was Puyol.

    I don’t buy this shit that Masia players get any kind of special treatment. It’s rather that these guys simply live the club more and know about the privilege to play for their favorite club and the chance they got to make history. If Pep had any of the kind of outburts he had in the first season with Pique with say Hleb or anyone else, the player would have walked away way before.

    Now, I don’t expect a random supporter of an English club to understand this, but if you’re a culé, I’m expecting not to read any kind of BS that Masia players get special treatment. They are just the ones working twice as hard as others.

  37. I’m not a random english club supporter, I’m first and foremost a fan of the beautiful game. That means I like Barcelona, and started doing so in the Ronaldinho era and so on. I guess that means I’m not a true fan of any club.

    What exactly are you suggesting? That if I’m a fan of Barcelona I shouldn’t criticize them? Sorry that’s not what I do. If you like someone/something you give constructive criticism in order to fix what you percieve as “flaws”. I am not going to give my blind and unconditional consent to anything. If that’s what you do then grats on beeing a sheep. I suggest opening your mind.

    I do not have foolproof evidence that this is the case with Ibra/Pep. I don’t have evidence that this is the case at all, which is why I said it was just my feeling that La Masia players are favored.

    It is not a secret that Barcelona axe their foreigners every now and then. Coincidence? Who knows. What I do know is that the blame always seems to be placed on these players, or at least alot.

    Of course Pep publically whines at Pique or Busquets. He has been stupid all-in-all on this ibra thingy, but to publically criticize him just like he did to the two La Masia players you mentioned would have him qualify as retarded. Of course it’s easier to slap his “family” on his fingers rather than a newcomer.

    You don’t go around picking on the new guy in your football teams every day do you? Doing so on La masia players is safe, they know their place. Ibra and others, however, do not when they just got there.

    Interesting idea that La masia players work twice as hard as others. Are they biologically different from the rest or something or are you just pulling stuff out your ass? That’s what I thought.

    In anyyyyyyyy case, this whole situation could have been avoided or at least it could have been vastly different. It seems Guardiola keeps failing at the psychology and/or his signings in general.

    1. “What exactly are you suggesting? That if I’m a fan of Barcelona I shouldn’t criticize them?”

      No, I just ask you to not say some BS and suggest that Masia players get special treatment from Pep, because they are homemade. They have to prove themselves more than anyone else, it’s just they are willing to work harder.

      “Interesting idea that La masia players work twice as hard as others. Are they biologically different from the rest or something or are you just pulling stuff out your ass?”

      No, I pull it out of my dick, it’s called exit polling. But anyway, maybe have a look at people like Valdes, Puyol, Pique, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi and how they work their ass off, train, behave in public, have their agents shut and care about the club and then stop wanking off to Yaya and Ibra. How about that?

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