Barca news you can use: Messi, Puyol, cranky Titi

It’s been busy these past few days, and we wanted to let everyone grok the fullness of the Champions League run-in. But it’s back to business, and here we go:

–If anybody is broke Leo Messi is the guy to hit up for a loan. No numbers are available as of yet, but he’s signed a new contract that will keep him with us until 2016. The buyout clause is (are you sitting down?) 250 million Euros. Citeh will probably still try to pay it. πŸ˜€

The deal guarantees that he will be the highest-paid player at the club which, in the aftermath of the arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, was temporarily not the case.

–As expected, the Puyol business is getting a prominent spot in the news again. Pep Guardiola has said, without fear of equivocation, “My wish is that he stays,” our coach said to Sport. But he also told his captain that his continued stay at Barcelona is “up to him.”

Now, I’ve nattered about this before, but will again. It’s difficult to know the truth in such situations, but there is a shard of it in there. Pique has become a for-real stud. And we’ve signed Txignasty. So Puyol is wondering, rather correctly, what his future is with the club. It ain’t as an automatic starter for much longer, I’ll tell you that much. So the question for him is really a simple one: Does he want to retire with the club that he loves, in which his deep-seated roots lie, or does ego want to make him flit off somewhere, in search of regular playing time?

Yes, I said it: Ego. But don’t let the loaded definition of the word vex you. Every athlete has an ego. Each of them wants to be the best. But being the best is hard, and Father Time inexorably chips away at the qualities that make that player “the best.” It’s up to each player to decide that balance between ego and longevity. Maldini was a rare and special case. He was ooooold, and retired with AC Milan. But that club plays a more static defense that enables a player with a high initial skill set to stave of challenges. Milan also committed to Maldini in not really offering him any significant challenges.

Guardiola has taken a very different tack, of “Nobody’s place is guaranteed.” His detractors will say that such a stance is disloyal, and doesn’t reward players for long and faithful service. I say that if a club wants to keep winning, turnover, and high-quality turnover, is essential.

We all love us some Captain Caveman. And I feel as Guardiola does, in that my wish is that he stays. But there will be caveats attached to that, and they will up to Puyol to accept. Here’s hoping.

–Thierry Henry was mightily vexed at being taken off in the Champions League match on Wednesday. He felt as though he was removed right when he was getting the better of his defender, and he was right. But you can’t suck the whole match, suddenly decide to start playing and expect your coach to think that’s the trend, instead of your ineffectiveness. He admitted that it was a momentary thing, and he’s fine now. Whew!

Guardiola admitted to Sport that Henry had a point, that the Frenchman had a right to be annoyed because as a former player, Guardiola understands. He also admitted that maybe he didn’t make the right decision.

Samuel Eto’o’s agent said that the striker still had “more to give” to Barcelona, blah, blah, blah. “We don’t agree with the decision, but we certainly respect it, said Josep Maria Mesalles.

Dude. Let it go. No. Really. From me, to you. Consider it my gift. Let. It. Go.

–We’ll be getting us a big-ass pigpile of Txikgrinski, as he will be playing the next three Liga matches. Who his defense partners will be remain to be seen, but it’s a good move, every bit as important as taking the Ukranian strongman to the Champions League matches, even though he wasn’t going to play. There’s no better way to integrate a player into the club. Those of us (well, most of us….some weren’t at all impressed) who watched him via Getafe, came away mightily impressed with that we saw. It was almost as if he’d been raised in our system from day one.

–Finally, I leave it to Inter supremo Moratti to sum up the Champions League tie on Wednesday: “There is a difference (in class) between us and Barcelona, but I insist that we can reach equality.”

Dream on, baby. Dream on.

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. Henry should quit pouting. Like Kevin said, he spent as much time on the pitch as he did in Inter’s box.

    1. I don’t think he was pouting, jnelson. He was vexed at the time, and as Guardiola admitted, for good reason. He was really coming into the match. I think it’s just a competitor’s instincts coming out. I also like that Guardiola said “Hey, maybe I screwed up.”

  2. Kxevin I will not be so quick to dismiss moratti’s claim , this inter team has a lot of potential its the most balanced one we’ve had for a while , when cambiasso returns and arnautovic incorporates ( he is the guy everyone calls the new ibrahimovic , he is as strong as skillful and as smart as ibra and is only 22 ) and then there is that brazilian phenom, coutinho who we’ve bought last year he is 17 right and will join us in january kinda like the way the pato deal went for milan , check him out on youtube he has some messi type skills on the ball , and ronaldinho esque vision That said It will prolly take us years to reach barca’s level but it IS possible

    1. I’m thinking more short-term with my “dream on” quip, E. I think you all are one of the best clubs in Europe, and will come out of the group along with us. By then you’ll be clicking, and a real danger.

      I’m really looking forward to seeing, live and in person, the Camp Nou group stage match. It’s going to be massive. I was cheated out of some goodness last year when we’d already closed out the group last season, so the Shakhtar Camp Nou leg was irrelevant. So the kids and subs played.

    2. O I see kxevin , that you’re right about and I don’t think that’s what our prez meant he knows that even barcelona have not reached this level in one day

      And you gonna be at the camp nou for the return leg ? Are you allowed to bring another person with you ? If so can I be your best friend

    3. Only have one ticket, E. Sorry. I lost sleep for the shot at getting Clasico and CL tix. Successful on both counts. But it’s worth checking the official site for tickets, just in case. Tix also come available a few days before, if you just happen to find yourself in Barcelona.

    4. Kxevin congrats on those 2 tickets must have been pretty hard to get those since the sites get jammed up when those are available my dad is a real madrid socio even he had a hard time getting clasico tickets last year when he finally did we didn’t have good seats ! Yes sorry I was rooting against your boys that day because even though I’m not a true madridista I have to rep them when I go to the bernabeu since madrid is where I was born and raised till I was 5 anyways enjoy your games my friend

  3. Id say rest Pique and bring on Puyol and Chignasty for the hairiest centerback partnership in the world. Rest Yaya for Marquez.

  4. I’m with resting Yaya. Ramadan is almost done…only a day or two left. Me thinks we should be seeing the best of Yaya in a couple of weeks when he hasn’t been fasting all day.

    1. i think i remember reading somewhere that yaya, keita, and abidal all decided not to fast for Ramadan this year.

  5. I know this has nothing to do with Barca or football or anything we normally discuss here, but I just had to share this…


    (its not spam i promise)

  6. so evidently Maradona was in an Italian spa trying to lose some weight brought on by stress, when the Italian police barged in and confiscated his earrings (worth about $6,000) as partial payment on the nearly €31,000,000 in debt he owes in back taxes from 20 years ago when he played for Napoli. the idea that this guy should be managing a national team when he’s such a fuckup in his personal life is a joke. sadly, the joke is on Argentina if they fail to qualify for the World Cup as a result of him in charge.


    1. Good grief! This guy is a terrible mess. But those in charge are even worse if they still have him as manager. 😐

  7. Anyone want to provide a quick summary of that Puyol-Chgrnsky skit abvove? And is that Spanish, Catalan or some combination?

  8. As Hector best put it, a budding rivalry was derailed when both men discover that they share a fondness for tending sheep.

  9. pep said ‘maybe i was wrong’ to make good with his player. even a cyclops with a bad eye could see taht henry was ineffective. “hey boss, hey, why ya takin’ me out? i had that guy on the ropes! on the ropes i tell ya!”

  10. so is that henry’s game plan///wear down his opponent with his futility, then start doing a couple not-so-disappointing things when the 70th minute rolls around?

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