Saturday, 23 May 2009

Match discussion: Osasuna

This evening at 9:00 pm bt,
Barcelona plays the 37th league game against Osasuna.

Osasuna squad list:
Ricardo, Azpilicueta, Monreal, Miguel Flaño, Hidalgo, Nekounam, Cruchaga, Héctor Font, Portillo, Puñal, Pandiani, Juanfran, Roberto, Josetxo, Javier Flaño, Masoud, Plasil, Kike Sola, Echaide

Barcelona squad list:
Valdés, Pinto, Puyol, Piqué, Botía, Muniesa, Cáceres, Abidal, Sylvinho, Xavi, Víctor Sánchez, Abraham, Xavi Torres, Touré, Busquets, Keita, Gudjohnsen, Messi, Jeffren, Eto'o, Bojan, Hleb, Pedro

Read a match preview here

Re-live the first round game here


From two hours before until two hours after the game you can join a match chat (read more here)

Before (what are your expectations, what's your prediction, what should be the line-up,...), during and after the match, you can also comment on the game here.

Real Madrid considering bid for Hleb

You're sure that the Barça player we should go for is Hleb?

Yes, my friend Wenger gave me some good scouting reports.

(click the cartoon to enlarge)


see more cartoons here

Bojan has received almost twenty loan offers

Spanish news site El Confidencial claims that Barcelona forward and Spanish youth international Bojan Krkic (18) has received close to 20 offers from Spanish and foreign clubs to go on loan next season.

Although the Catalan striker prefers to continue at Barcelona, he wouldn't yet have totally excluded to leave on loan in the summer because of the few minutes he has played this season.

Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola would like the player to stay with the club next season. A decision on the future of Bojan will be made in the next two to three weeks. Catalan sports paper Sport claims that the player wants to stay but that some people within the club would think that a loan is a better option.

Asked about his future, Bojan said in an interview with Catalan radio station Rac 1 that he has accepted his role this season: "Every player wants to play. You always want to play more but I'm happy with the time I've been playing this season. I'm kind of living the other side of football, but I understand my situation and I'm also learning from this."

In an interview with Uefa's offical website, Bojan said that Guardiola believes in him: "Although I haven't started many games, the club have shown confidence in me. When I've had chances, I've scored goals, so I keep growing in confidence. The coach tells me he believes in me, that I'm an important player and that I have to keep working to improve."

Read more:
Chelsea considering Bojan transfer
Poll result: Bojan's future
Bojan linked with loan move to Deportivo and Betis

Barcelona-Manchester United (season 1998-1999)

UEFA Champion's League Group D Matchday 1
Manchester United FC vs FC Barcelona
Old Trafford, Manchester
Wed 16th Sept 1998
Referee: Stefano Braschi (Ita)

Manchester United:
Peter Schmeichel,
Gary Neville, Denis Irwin (Phil Neville, 79'), Jaap Stam, Henning Berg,
David Beckham, Roy Keane(c), Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs (Jesper Blomqvist),
Dwight Yorke, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Nicky Butt, 55')

Raimond Van Der Gouw, David May, Nicky Butt, Andy Cole, Teddy Sheringham, Phil Neville, Jesper Blomqvist

Ruud Hesp,
Michael Reizger, Abelardo, Cocu, Sergi,
Luis Enrique, Giovanni (Xavi), Zenden,
Luis Figo, Sonny Anderson, Rivaldo

Vitor Baia, Oscar, Dragan Ciric, Okunowo, Roger, Xavi

Ryan Giggs 17'
Paul Scholes 25'
Sonny Anderson 47'
Giovanni (pen) 60'
David Beckham 64'
Luis Enrique (pen) 71'

Red Cards:
Nicky Butt 70'

Manchester United FC 3 -3 FC Barcelona

UEFA Champion's League Group D Matchday 5
FC Barcelona vs Manchester United FC
Camp Nou, Barcelona
Wed 25th Nov 1998
Referee: Gunther Benko (Aus)

Ruud Hesp, Michael Reizger, Albert Celades, Cocu, Sergi,
Giovanni, Xavi, Zenden,
Luis Figo, Sonny Anderson, Rivaldo,

Dragan Ciric, Okunowo, Roger, Arnau, Mario, Cuadrado

Manchester United:
Peter Schmeichel,
Gary Neville, Jaap Stam, Wes Brown, Denis Irwin,
David Beckham, Roy Keane(c), Paul Scholes, Jesper Blomqvist,
Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole

Raimond Van Der Gouw, Nicky Butt, Phil Neville, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Henning Berg, John Curtis, Mark Wilson

Sonny Anderson 1'
Dwight Yorke 25', 68'
Andy Cole 53'
Rivaldo 57', 73'

FC Barcelona 3-3 Manchester United

Watch more Barcelona-Manchester United games:

[Henrique] Cottbus-Bayer Leverkusen

Bayer Leverkusen played this afternoon their last league game of the season, losing 3-0 against Energie Cottbus.

Leverkusen finishes nineth in the 2008-2009 league but can still win the German cup next weekend when they play the final against Werder Bremen.

Brazilian central defender and Barcelona loan out Henrique (22) wasn't available because of an injury.

Barcelona bought Henrique last summer and decided to loan him out to Bayer Leverkusen for one season (read more here). This blog follows Henrique's performances during this season.

Sunday 10 August - Cup round 1: Rot-Weiß Oberhausen-Bayer Leverkusen 2-3
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 120 minutes.

Saturday 16 August - Bundesliga game 1: Bayer Leverkusen-Borussia Dortmund 2-3
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes.

Saturday 23 August - Bundesliga game 2: Vfb Stuttgart-Bayer Leverkusen 0-2
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes.

Saturday 30 August - Bundesliga game 3: Bayer Leverkusen-Hoffenheim 5-2
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Right back.

Saturday 13 September - Bundesliga game 4: Hamburg-Bayer Leverkusen 3-2
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Right back.

Friday 19 September - Bundesliga game 5: Bayer Leverkusen-Hannover 4-0
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes.

Tuesday 23 September - Cup round 2: Augsburg(2)-Bayer Leverkusen 0-2
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Yellow card.

Saturday 27 September - Bundesliga game 6: Bochum-Bayer Leverkusen 2-3
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes.

Saturday 4 October - Bundesliga game 7: Bayer Leverkusen-Hertha Berlin 0-1
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Yellow card.

Saturday 18 October - Bundesliga game 8: Eintracht Frankfurt-Bayer Leverkusen 0-2
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes.

Friday 24 October - Bundesliga game 9: Bayer Leverkusen-FC Köln 2-0
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes.

Tuesday 29 October - Bundesliga game 10: Werder Bremen-Bayer Leverkusen 0-2
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes.

Friday 31 October - Bundesliga game 11: Bayer Leverkusen-Wolfsburg 2-0
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes.

Saturday 8 November - Bundesliga game 12: Karlsruhe-Bayer Leverkusen 3-3
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Yellow card.

Saturday 15 November - Bundesliga game 13: Bayer Leverkusen-Schalke 2-1
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes.

Saturday 22 November - Bundesliga game 14: Bielefeld-Bayer Leverkusen 2-1
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes.

Saturday 29 November - Bundesliga game 15: Bayer Leverkusen-Bayern Munich 0-2
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Yellow card.

Saturday 6 December - Bundesliga game 16: Borussia Mönchengladbach-Bayer Leverkusen 1-3
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes.

Saturday 13 December - Bundesliga game 17: Bayer Leverkusen-Cottbus 1-1
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes.

Wednesday 28 January - Cup 1/8 finals: Bayer Leverkusen-Cottbus 3-1

Saturday 31 January - Bundesliga game 18: Borussia Dortmund-Bayer Leverkusen 1-1

Saturday 7 February - Bundesliga game 19: Bayer Leverkusen-Stuttgart 2-4
Substitute. Henrique replaces Castro in the 66th minute (0-2). Assist.

Friday 13 February - Bundesliga game 20: Hoffenheim-Bayer Leverkusen 1-4
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes.

Sunday 22 February - Bundesliga game 21: Bayer Leverkusen-Hamburg 1-2
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Yellow card.

Saturday 28 February - Bundesliga game 22: Hannover-Bayer Leverkusen 1-0
Suspended. Henrique cannot play because of five yellow cards.

Wednesday 5 March - Cup 1/4 finals: Bayer Leverkusen-Bayern Munich 4-2
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes.

Sunday 8 March - Bundesliga game 23: Bayer Leverkusen-Bochum 1-1
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes.

Saturday 14 March - Bundesliga game 24: Hertha Berlin-Bayer Leverkusen 1-0
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes.

Saturday 21 March - Bundesliga game 25: Bayer Leverkusen-Frankfurt 1-1
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Yellow card.

Sunday 5 April - Bundesliga game 26: FC Köln-Bayer Leverkusen 0-2
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Right back.

Sunday 12 April - Bundesliga game 27: Bayer Leverkusen-Werder Bremen 1-1
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Right back.

Saturday 18 April - Bundesliga game 28: Wolfsburg-Bayer Leverkusen 2-1
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Right back.

Wednesday 22 April - Cup 1/2 finals: Bayer Leverkusen-Mainz 4-1 (aet)
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 120 minutes. Right back. Yellow card.

Saturday 25 April - Bundesliga game 29: Bayer Leverkusen-Karlsruhe 0-1
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Right back.

Saturday 2 May - Bundesliga game 30: Schalke-Bayer Leverkusen 1-2
Injured. Henrique has a muscle injury in a knee.

Friday 8 May - Bundesliga game 31: Bayer Leverkusen-Bielefeld 2-2
Injured. Henrique has a muscle injury in a knee.

Tuesday 12 May - Bundesliga game 32: Bayern Munich-Bayer Leverkusen 3-0
Injured. Henrique has a muscle injury in a knee.

Saturday 16 May - Bundesliga game 33: Bayer Leverkusen-Borussia Mönchengladbach 5-0
Injured. Henrique has a muscle injury in a knee.

Saturday 23 May - Bundesliga game 34: Cottbus-Bayer Leverkusen 3-0
Injured. Henrique has a muscle injury in a knee.

1. Wolfsburg 69
2. Bayern Munich 67
3. Stuttgart 64
4. Hertha Berlin 63
5. Hamburg 61
6. Borussia Dortmund 59
7. Hoffenheim 55
8. Schalke 50
9. Bayer Leverkusen 49
10. Werder Bremen 45
11. Hannover 40
12. Köln 39
13. Frankfurt 33
14. Bochum 32
15. Borussia Mönchengladbach 31
16. Energie Cottbus 30
17. Karlsruhe 29
18. Bielefeld 28

1st and 2nd place: group phase of Champions League
3rd place: third qualifying round of Champions League, winner enters the group phase, losers enter the Uefa Cup
4th place: qualifies for 4th qualifying round of Uefa Cup
5th place: qualifies for 3rd qualifying round of Uefa Cup

Preview : Osasuna

Venue : Camp Nou, Barcelona

This week kamikaze kontiki could not do the preview again so I will once again be filling in for him. Barcelona's last home game of the league season comes off today and what a season it has been. This article is a preview article but since most of the focus is towards the Champion's League final on Wednesday with several players already rested last week, I think it appropriate to take a small look back at what has been accomplished in the league this season before we look at the game.

What a Difference One year makes

It seems somewhat like a dream to be honest, it's hard to believe the position that Barcelona were in last year at this point. By this stage of the league last year Real Madrid had already been crowned La Liga Champions, Barcelona had just endured the humiliation of the pasillo and followed that up with an abysmal display being bent over by Madrid for a 4-1 demolition.

There was talk of the Barca dressing room being split into factions with a Ronaldinho faction, an Etoo faction and a Spanish faction. There was talk of black sheep in the Barcelona dressing room and accusations of heavy partying and faking of injuries. Sid Low a, Barcelona leaning, columnist for the Guardian of London described it in the following way in his post match article saying

"After giving Real a guard of honour, Barça followed up with a display so complete in its patheticness, so utterly gutless, that it summed up their season."

as well as

"It was Real Madrid versus Barcelona, the clásico, but it was all about the pasillo - the guard of honour that beaten Barcelona had to hand the newly-crowned champions. As the chant runs, it was time for "¡Barça, cabrón!" to "¡Saluda al campeón!"; for Barça, you bastards, to salute the champions."

and finally

"Worse still, it was a performance so complete in its patheticness, so utterly gutless, that it summed up Barça's season, "the final brick in our wailing wall" as El Mundo Deportivo put it, "the final stab in the supporters' back", according to a mourning Sport, whose front cover this morning is completely black and reads: "Tragic End: You have dishonoured the Barcelona shirt". "

Just a few short months on coach Frank Rijkaard removed and local club legend Josep Guardiola (up to that time manager of the B team for 1 season) installed. What a master-stroke that proved to be. Guardiola promised in a news conference to “to try to seduce my players because I believe in the power of the word,”. “They’ll have to learn that they’re not worth much alone, that talent and inspiration can only become great when they are at the service of the team.”.

In that vein Ronaldinho, Deco, Edmilson, Zambrotta, Thuram, Dos Santos, Ezquerro and Oleguer were sent on their way and Keita, Pique, Dani Alves, Hleb and Caceres were brought in.

Few could have predicted the turnaround that was about to occur. In their first pre-season friendly Barcelona demolished Scottish team Hibernian in a display that had Barcelona fans suddenly feeling surprisingly optimistic. Barcelona went on to demolish all opposition on their pre-season tours of Scotland, Italy and the United States scoring 25 goals in 5 games. Suddenly the fans were starting to become optimistic again even though the wins were against smaller opposition teams.

But one of the most telling games of the season would come up next and it would show the fight that Pep had instilled in this team. The Joan Gamper trophy is the traditional curtain raiser to the season that usually takes place between Barcelona and another "big team". Boca Juniors came to open the season and after a cagey game Boca took the lead in the 72nd minute. The good start to the season seemed to be slipping as memories of the previous season came back.

-Joan Gamper Trophy-

Desperately needing a goal just to equalize Barca kept pushing forward until in the 92nd minute (sound familiar?) up stepped Captain Carles Puyol planted a corner into the top corner of Boca's net to send the Barca fans into celebrations. The joy was not over yet as in the 95th minute Etoo nodded in a cross to send the Barca fans into raptures and give Barcelona the unlikeliest of victories. The team had shown its steely resolve which would be shown again to devastating effect on a cold London night later in the season.

Still, the season did not start in the most convincing of fashions. Barcelona hammered Wisla Krakow 4-0 in their first Champion's League qualifier, but when Guardiola decided to rest players for the return leg in Poland the weakened Barca team lost 1-0. That loss seemed to throw off the Barcelona team and they opened the season with a 1-0 away loss to Numancia and followed that up with a 1-1 draw at home to Racing Santander.

Suddenly the panic button had been hit, as Barcelona with 1 point from a possible 6 and no wins in the 3 games having scored just 1 goal in the process seemed to be haunted by the ghosts of the previous season. But as so often this season Pep and his boys got the result they needed when the pressure was at its greatest. Barcelona beat Sporting Lisbon of Portugal in their next Champion's League game and followed that up with a 6-1 humiliation of Sporting Gijon in front of Gijon's home fans.

The team was well and truly off and running and they never looked back. A small blip in January aside, the team has played fantasy football for most of the season scoring goals for fun and running opponents off the pitch. What a difference a year can really make.

Barca Play for the record books

Barcelona have nothing to play for again this season in the league except perhaps the record of the most goals in a season which stands at 107 set by Real Madrid in the 1989/1990 season (38 games). Barca currently have 104 so 4 goals in the next two games would make them the highest scorers in a single season ever in the history of La Liga. Another record that the team could still break is the most wins ever in a season which stands at 28 set in a 38 game season by Real Madrid in the 1987/1988 season.

The Blaugrana currently have 27 wins so victory in their next two could see them win the most games ever in a single season of La Liga. The final record that they can extend is the most points ever for a 38 game season with 3 points awarded for a victory. Real Madrid got to 92 points in the 1996/1997 season but they did it in a 42 game season. With two more wins Barca could tie the most points ever amassed in La Liga despite playing a full 4 matches fewer than that Real Madrid team.

Osasuna Play to survive

While Barcelona attempt to erase all records set in the modern era, Osasuna are desperately battling relegation and are currently in 17th place on 37 points tied on points with 18th placed Sporting Gijon and just 2 points clear of 19th placed Numancia. With Osasuna being just 1 point behind 16th placed Getafe and 3 points behind 15th placed Real Betis they are in the fight of their lives to stay up as any of the bottom 6 teams could go down.


Barcelona have stumbled over the La Liga finish line not winning in their last two and just winning once in their last 4 games. They have not needed to win however and the last loss was played after the title had been decided already and players had been rested for the Champion's League Final

Last 5 La Liga games

Barcelona 4 - 0 Sevilla
Valencia 2 - 2 Barcelona
Real Madrid 2 - 6 Barcelona
Barcelona 3 - 3 Villareal
Mallorca 2 - 1 Barcelona

Osasuna meanwhile have not won in their last 6 La Liga games and are in abysmal form. Things get no easier for them as they have Barcelona at away next and Real Madrid at home for the final league game of the season. Their one consolation is that Barcelona will rest players for the Champion's League final and Real Madrid have nothing to play for but pride on the last day of the season. It will be a difficult task but their players will know it could have been worse if Real Madrid and Barcelona were still battling for the La Liga crown

Last 5 La Liga games

Osasuna 2 - 3 Malaga
Valladolid 0 - 0 Osasuna
Osasuna 1 - 2 Recreativo Huelva
Getafe 3 - 0 Osasuna
Osasuna 0 - 0 Sevilla

Tactics and Lineups

I wont attempt to predict either of these as this is not an ordinary game. It has already been reported that Valdes wont play in La Liga again this season and Messi has said he will be resting before the final. Etoo while chasing the Pichichi (named after famous Athletic Bilbao player Rafael Moreno "Pichichi", not pikachu the pokemon) should get some time off even if he does start the game in an attempt to regain his best form.

We should see some who have played less such as Bojan, Caceres, Hleb Sylvinho and Gudjohnsen get some more minutes in before the Champions's League final. We could see some more of youngsters Jeffren Oier and Xavi Torres who trained with the first team Friday. Also training with the first Friday team were Abraham, Botia, Gai Assulin and Marc Muniesa. Muniesa who was recently profiled on this blog as one of fast the rising stars of the Barcelona youth academy was mentioned by coach Pep Guardiola Friday.

Guardiola said

"Despite the fact that I know most of these players from last season, it is god to give them the step up to see how they cope at first team level against first division teams. Just look at what happened wit Sergi Busquets. Marc Muniesa? He is a young player who everyone speaks very highly of. He is a left-sided central defender that has come back from a serious injury and done well and is someone we have to nurture."

The Barcelona website has hinted that Muniesa could be set for a debut and you can see what Marc Muniesa looks like below

-Marc Muniesa-

You can also check out more of Barcelona's young stars that could be making the jump to the first team in the coming years here : Barcelona's Spanish U-17 Stars.


Barcelona are set to have their Camp Nou party with reports that "Musicians will perform before kickoff, and Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola and captain Carles Puyol are scheduled to express their thanks to supporters by addressing the crowd after the game. The team will then make a lap of honour accompanied by a firework display, with fans giving Barcelona an enthusiastic send-off for the final in Rome." Osasuna still have something to play for but the Barcelona players that do play will be anxious to prove to Guardiola that they are in form in the event that substitutes are needed in the Champion's League final. Overall a celebration of a fantastic league season even though Guardiola has stated that the team will play to win you get the feel that this game will be more about avoiding injuries than crushing Osasuna.

Prediction Barcelona 3 Osasuna 2


Five youth players in Osasuna list

Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola announced earlier today a list of 23 players for the league game against Mallorca this evening at 7:00 pm.

The list:
Valdés, Pinto,
Puyol, Piqué, Botía, Muniesa, Cáceres, Abidal, Sylvinho,
Xavi, Víctor Sánchez, Abraham, Xavi Torres, Touré, Busquets, Keita, Gudjohnsen,
Messi, Jeffren, Eto'o, Bojan, Hleb, Pedro

Milito, Márquez, Henry, Iniesta, Jorquera and Alves are recovering from injuries. Barcelona Atlètic players Botía, Xavi Torres, Abraham and Jeffren and Juvenil A player Muniesa are part of the match squad. Five players will have to fall from the list. Before and after the match there will be celebrations for the league title and the copa win.

On Wednesday, Barcelona Atlètic players Xavi Torres, Jeffren, Abraham, Espasandín, Botía and Oier have been training with the first team. On Thursday, Xavi Torres, Abraham, Oier, Jeffren, Botía and Fontàs took part and on Friday, Xavi Torres, Abraham, Oier, Jeffren, Botía and Gai. Juvenil A central defender and Spanish youth international Marc Muniesa trained with the group on Thursday and Friday.

Live Match Chat: FC Barcelona - CA Osasuna

(original post by OmarX)

FC Barcelona - CA Osasuna
(Saturday 23 May 2009 @ 21:00 barcelona time)

Chat Link:

Chat starts around 19:00 - 7:00 pm

Have you ever sat infront of your TV or computer while you were watching a FC Barcelona game and hoped you could share your excitement, feelings, and opinions with other fans LIVE as it happens?

We are proud to present you the new FC Barcelona Match Chat. Now you will be able to communicate before, during and after the match. The chat will be available from two hours before until two hours after the match. In the future this could turn into a 24/7 chat.

The chat is designed to be very user friendly and just requires you to enter your desired nickname and join (no registration required!). It is open to everyone, therefore make sure to invite your friends and spread the message. If you encounter any troubles or difficulties please put them here in the comments section or contact omarx in the chatroom.

To make all this work, we're setting up a moderator's system. Until that's in place, please keep in mind the following basic rules:

- on the public chat the main language is English

- you can hold private conversations by using the appropriate button you find below at the right of your screen
(mark the person you want to have a private talk with and click the button)

See you there!

Barcelona willing to pay Forlan's buyout clause

Spanish television channel Intereconomía TV claims that Barcelona wants to sign Atlético Madrid forward and Uruguay international Diego Forlán (29) in the summer (read more here).

If needed, Barcelona would be willing to pay the 36 million euro° buyout clause of the Uruguayan striker.

It's unclear what a possible transfer would mean for the future of Barcelona forward Samuel Eto'o, who wants to continue at Barcelona next season. Manchester City, Liverpool and Real Madrid are also said to be interested in Forlán.

Read more:
Forlan first option to replace Eto'o
Verbal agreements on Aguero transfer
Atletico B goalkeeper De Gea sounded out

Pique: "I will be down there, for the fans"

Barcelona player Gerard Piqué gave an interview to Catalan sports paper Sport.

This Champions League final is different than last year's one?
Yes, and for different reasons. First because this time I will really play for my team, which is Barça. I've been a culé since I was born, I've experienced this club since I was little and my whole family consists of Barça fans. On a personal level, this final is more emotional. It's the dream I had my whole life. It's coming true. Ask anyone who will be in the stands of the Olympic stadium in Rome with a Barça scarf or who will be at the Mini Estadi in Barcelona watching the game on the big screen, what they would feel if they would be on the pitch. I will be down there, for them, feeling the same.

And at a professional level?
At a professional level it's different because in the pre
vious final I wasn't part of the match sqaud. This time I feel fully involved.

Let's talk business. As a double agent, are you willing to explain me how Manchester United prepares a final?
I will try.

When does Ferguson give the starting line-up?
Normally he waits for the last minute. If they play at home, he tells it in the dressing-room at Old Trafford. If they play away, including the finals, he gives it in the hotel.

In the morning?
Yes, in the morning, although all along the week, in the training sessions, it's clear who will play. He always trains with the team that will start. He doesn't need to tell you anything. From the beginning of the week you know if you will play, it depends on the shirt you wear.

The opponents are analyzed using videos?
Yes. In the hotel there's a video session, but it's not Ferguson who presents it. Carlos Queiroz, who's the field coach, gives the explanations. I guess it's still the same now.

What's the role of Ferguson then?
During the week, he doesn't appear a lot during training sessions. His assistants are basically in charge of the training and he's the one who leads the important sessions before the games.

In the coming days, you will be able to read the second part of this interview with Piqué looking forward to the final.

Read more:
Quote of the day: Pique
Keita: "I cannot start a final as left back"
Pique: "Classical music makes me fall asleep"

Barcelona-Manchester United (season 1994-1995)

UEFA Champions League Group A Matchday 3
Manchester United FC vs FC Barcelona
Old Trafford, Manchester
19 October 1994
Referee: Ion Craciunescu (Rom)

Manchester United:
Schmeichel, Parker, Irwin, May (Bruce), Butt (Scholes), Pallister, Kancheslskis, Ince, Keane, Hughes, Sharpe.

Busquets, Abelardo, Koeman, Sergi, Nadal, Bakero, Guardiola, Luis (Eusebio), Begiristain (Jordi), Stoichkov, Romario.

Hughes, Romario, Bakero, Sharpe

UEFA Champions League Group A Matchday 4
FC Barcelona vs Manchester United FC
Camp Nou, Barcelona
2 November 1994
Referee: Jöel Quiniou (Fra)

Busquets, Koeman, Abelardo, Sergi, Ferrer, Guardiola, Amor, Bakero, Jordi Cruyff, Stoichkov, Romario

Manchester United:
Walsh, Parker, Irwin, Bruce, Butt, Pallister, Kanchelskis, Ince, Keane, Hughes, Giggs

Stoichkov 9, Romario 45, Stoichkov 52, Ferrer 88

Watch more Barcelona-Manchester United games:

[2008] The short list

this post was published exactly one year ago:

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that Barcelona has drawn up a short list of ten players. At least seven of those players would come to Barcelona in the summer.

Will certainly come:
1. Gerard Piqué
2. Seydou Keita
3. Daniel Alves

Will most probably come:
4. Fabricio Coloccini
5. Alexander Hleb

One of the following two will come (in order of preference):
6. Florent Malouda
7. David Silva

One of the following three will come (in order of preference):
8. Karim Benzema
9. Emmanuel Adebayor
10. Dimitar Berbatov

Read more 23 May 2008 news:
Silva first choice for left wing
Guiza willing to return to Barcelona
Almeria's Diego Alves to rival Valdes
OFFICIAL: Edmilson to Villareal
Keita passed by the Camp Nou
Pique is in Barcelona
Top meeting with Milan to close Zambrotta deal

Pichichi and Zamora (day 36)

With Barcelona players competing for the trophies of best goalscorer and best goalkeeper of the Spanish league, this blog will follow the events during the second round.

29 Eto'o (Barcelona)
28 Forlán (Atlético Madrid)
25 Villa (Valencia)
23 Messi (Barcelona)
20 Higuaín (Real Madrid)

0,89 Víctor Valdés (Barcelona)
1,03 Palop (Sevilla)
1,23 Aranzubía (Deportivo)
1,29 Toño (Racing Santander)
1,31 Casillas (Real Madrid)

Friday, 22 May 2009

Quote of the day: Messi

I'm dreaming of Barcelona becoming the Champions League winners. And, at least until 27 May, no-one can take that dream away from me.

Lionel Messi, Barcelona player

ReLive: Osasuna-Barcelona 2-3

Barcelona-Manchester United (season 1990-1991)

European Cup Winner's Cup 1991 Final
Manchester United FC vs FC Barcelona
Wed 15th May 1991
Feijenoord Stadion, Rotterdam
Referee: Bo Karlsson(Sweden)

Manchester United:
Les Sealey, Denis Irwin, Clayton Blackmore, Steve Bruce, Mike Phelan, Gary Pallister, Bryan Robson(c), Paul Ince, Brian McClair, Mark Hughes, Lee Sharpe

Gary Walsh, Mal Donaghy, Neil Webb, Mark Robbins, Danny Wallace

Alex Ferguson

FC Barcelona:
Carles Busquets, Nando Munoz, Jose Ramon Alexanco(c) (72 Antonia Pinilla), Ronald Koeman, Albert Ferrer, Jose Mari Bakero, Ion Andoni Goikoetxea, Eusebio, Julio Salinas, Michael Laudrup, Txiki Begiristain.

Jesus Angoy, Ricardo Serna, Miguel Soler, Sebastian Herrera, Antonia Pinilla

Johan Cruyff

Yellow Cards:
Jose Mari Bakero 76', Bryan Robson 78'
Red Cards:
Nando Munoz 84'

Mark Hughes 67', 74'
Ronald Koeman 79'

Manchester United 2 FC Barcelona 1

Watch more Barcelona-Manchester United games:

Barcelona following Belgian talent Witsel

Italian sports paper Il Corriere dello Sport claims that Barcelona is following Standard de Liège midfielder and Belgian international Axel Witsel (20).

When the player was fifteen years old, he would already have received an offer to join Barcelona, but preferred back then to stay with Standard.

Witsel has a contract until 2013 and his Belgian club would ask at least 10 million euro for the player. Real Madrid, Ajax and Arsenal are also said to be following the midfielder.

Read more:
Barcelona is following Dutch League striker
Barcelona interested in Serbian striker Jovanovic
Barcelona looking for left back in Dutch league

Watch a video of Witsel here:

Medical: Henry rejoins group training

Barcelona player Thierry Henry, who is still recovering from a knee injury, rejoined the group training today.

The Frenchman took part in the warming-up with the team, after which he did individual exercises. Barcelona player Andrés Iniesta meanwhile has been training apart from the group.

Henry strained the posterior cruciate ligament of his right knee during the league game against Real Madrid on 2 May and was expected to be out for at least three weeks, while Iniesta torn a quadriceps muscle on the front of his right thigh during the league game against Villarreal on Sunday 10 May.

Read more:
Medical: Henry and Iniesta available for Rome final

Man United training focuses on defensive tactics

* A Manchester United training session... *

Something tells me that there won't be scored many goals in this final.

Van der Sar:
A little more...
A little more...
A little more...

(click the cartoon to enlarge)


see more cartoons here

Ex-Barça: Koeman to AZ Alkmaar

Dutch club AZ Alkmaar has earlier this week officially announced the appointment of former Barcelona player Ronald Koeman (46) as their new manager.

Koeman signed a two-year deal with the Dutch champions. Former Barcelona assistant coach Tony Bruins Slot also joins the technical staff of AZ. In april of last year, Koeman had been dismissed as manager of Valencia (read more

Ronald Koeman played six seasons for Barcelona, arriving in 1989 from Dutch club PSV Eindhoven and leaving in the summer of 1995 for Dutch club Feyenoord Rotterdam. From the summer of 1998 until the year 2000, he was the assistant coach of Barcelona manager Louis van Gaal.

With Barcelona, Koeman won four consecutive Spanish league titles from 1991 to 1994, a Spanish cup in 1990, three Spanish Super Cups in 1991, 1992 and 1994, one European Super Cup in 1992 and one Champions Leauge in 1992, when he became a Barcelona legend scoring the winning free kick goal that gave Barcelona it's first European Champions Cup. As assistant, he won one league title in 1999.

Read more:
Ex-Barça: Van Gaal to Bayern Munich
Ex-Barça: Giovani to Ipswich Town on loan
Ex-Barça: Stoichkov to Abu Moslem

Barcelona will take part in Wembley Cup

Barcelona will this summer take part in the first Wembley Cup, a two-day pre-season friendly football tournament (read more here).

The Wembley Cup will take place on Friday 24 and Sunday 26 July 2009 at the Wembley stadium in London and will see four teams compete for the trophy: Tottenham Hotspur, Celtic Glasgow, Al-Ahly and FC Barcelona.

On Friday 24, Barcelona will face English Premier League club Tottenham (kick-off: 8 pm local time) and two days later the team will play against Egyptian club Al-Ahly, the winners of last season's African Champions League (kick-off: 1:15 pm local time).

Each team will play two matches, with three points awarded for a win, one point for a draw and one point for any goals scored, encouraging attacking football. If the scores are still even, the winner will be decided on the most goals scored, then the least goals conceded and then fastest goal.

You can find more info on The Wembley Cup here

Read more:
Pre-season will start in London
There won't be a post-season tour
Pre-season tour in United States confirmed

Barcelona-Manchester United (season 1983-1984)

Cup Winners Cup 1984 Quarter Final 1st Leg
FC Barcelona 2 Manchester United FC 0
Camp Nou, Barcelona
Referee: Vautrot

Urruti, Gerardo, Moratalla, Alexanco, Julio Alberto, Victor, Schuster, Rojo, Marcos, Maradona (Alonso), Carrasco (Clos)

Manchester United:
Bailey, Duxbury, Hogg, Moran, Albiston, Moses, Murhen, Robson, Wilkins, Staplenton, Hughes (Graham)

Carrasco, Rojo

Cup Winners Cup 1984 Quarter Final 2nd Leg
Manchester United FC 3 FC Barcelona 0
Old Trafford, Manchester
Referee: Paola Casarin

Manchester United:
Bailey, Duxbury, Albiston, Wilkins, Moran, Hogg, Robson, Muhren, Stapleton, Whiteside, Moses

Urruti, Gerardo, Moratalla, Julio Alberto, Victor, Alexanco, Alonso, Schuster, Rojo, Maradona, Marcos

Robson (2), Stapleton

Vidic on top of Barcelona's target list

British sports site Sky Sports claims that Manchester United central defender and Serbian international Nemanja Vidic (27) is on top of Barcelona's transfer target list (reaad more here).

Barcelona would have identified the centre back position as an area of weakness and would like to sign a left-sided centre-half who in the future can grow into playing next to Gerard Pique.

It's unclear if Manchester United would be willing to sell but Barcelona could move for the Serbian defender after the Champions League final next week. With Vidic's wife apparently unsettled in England, Barcelona is hoping to tempt the defender to Spain.

Read more:
Vidic offers himself to Barcelona
Manchester United wants to sign Valdes
Barcelona preparing bid for left back Evra

Poll result: Bojan's future

This is the final result of this blog's What should happen with Bojan next season? poll:

68% should stay
29% should leave on loan
3% don't know / depends
1% should leave permanently

Read more on Bojan's future here

Barça B: Thiago rejected Chelsea offer

Asked about the future of Barcelona Atlètic attacking midfielder and Spanish youth international Thiago Alcántara (18), the player's father Mazinho has said in an interview with Catalan radio station Ona FM that the player has no intention to leave:

"We still didn't sign a professional contract but there's a lot of chance we will be able to sign one. We're calm. Myself, Barcelona and the boy are happy here and we're surely continue here for a long time.

When Thiago turned sixteen, he received a serious offer from Chelsea but it didn't interest us because Barcelona always works very well with the youth. I don't have any doubts that he won't leave. Rafa, the little one, is also being followed by a lot of foreign clubs but we're happy at Barça and they're happy with us.

Rafa might be a more complete player from a coaches' point of view because he's tactically very disciplined. He fulfills what the coach is asking him. Thiago, who is technically very good and has more self-belief, sometimes wants to do a little too much. I think it's a player who can make it and who has everything to play at whatever team.

I'm very happy that my son isn't compared with me, the former world champion. Because normally people tend to make comparisons with the fathers. I don't like it but it's normal. But Thiago Alcántara has come this far because he's Thiago, not because he's the son of Mazinho. I think that's clear for everyone."

Read more:
Barça B: AC Milan sounds out Thiago
An introduction to the coming stars
Barça B - Youth: Chelsea talks with father Thiago

[2008] Luis Enrique to coach Barcelona B

this post was published exactly one year ago:

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that former Barcelona player Luis Enrique (38) has accepted the offer to succeed future Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola as head coach of Barcelona B.

Luis Enrique therefore rejected an offer from Fernando Hierro, the sports director of the Spanish football association to become the head coach of the U-19 and the assistant coach of the U-21 (read more here). It was Guardiola who personally asked for Luis Enrique as his successor, being able that way to work together with a person he fully trusts. Luis Enrique was before also rumoured to become the assistant of Guardiola (read more here).

Although no official statement has been made yet, Catalan sports paper Sport thinks that Luis Enrique suggests on his blog that he indeed has found a deal with Barcelona by saying: "To all those who are concerned about my future, I can assure them that there is nothing to worry about: I will be at home, that’s crystal clear." Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain admitted on Monday that Barcelona made the former Barcelona captain an offer (read more here).

Luis Enrique obtained his coaching degree in 2006, doing his internship at the Barcelona youth academy. Since he retired as an active player in 2004, the former Barcelona right wing attacker has mainly been involved in participating in marathons and triathlons. Like Guardiola, he will have no experience as manager when taking charge of Barcelona's second team. It is expected Luis Enrique will sign a two-year deal.

Read more 22 May 2008 news:
Caceres too expensive for Barcelona
Deco top target for Bayern
Youth: Douglas Costa de Souza (Gremio)

The Ultimate Game: Get Inside Guardiola's head

With Frank Rijkaard you couldn't get any honour by predicting Barcelona's starting line-up. Even hockey moms could. But this has dramatically changed last summer. Until this very day, nobody has been able to crack the code of Josep Guardiola's brain. Nor has anyone got inside his sleeves.

So this is your chance to prove not only your knowledge about the game of football but also your psychological insight:


This is not (as in: N-O-T) a place for discussion on team tactics or personal player preferences. You just give the system and the eleven names you think will start the game against Osasuna on Saturday.

You put them in the right position, so using the 4-3-3 (or whatever you think they will play) and putting the players from the right to the left, so the right back defender is your first name after the goalkeeper. If your line-up isn't clear, my interpretation counts.

Don't forget to add your (nick)name by clicking Name/URL under the comment box and fill it in, otherwise your after-game claim to glory will be dismissed.

You can give your starting line-up until four hours before the start of the game, in this case: until 5:00 pm barcelona time.

If you give your line-up before Guardiola announes his match list (or if at least 20 players are included in the match list or if I decide so), you get one point for the correct line-up. If you do it after that announcement, you get half a point. Who will have the most points at the end of the season, can call himself the winner.

This is the 50th time this game is organized.





B. Beltrocco
mario ch



Dan R

Cali Socis
Cristi M


Barca nike

Knives Out

Barca nerd-fan
kamikaze kontiki

blaugrana poland

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Video of the day

We are our precision.
We are our effort.

We are attackers who defend,
we are defenders who attack.
We are our speed.

We are the respect for our opponents.
We are the recognition by our opponents.

We are every goal we score.
We are the ones who always look for the opponent's goal.

We are one.

Blackboard of the day: Barcelona

Blackboard left behind in the dressing room Barcelona used during the cup final at the Mestalla stadium in Valencia last week.

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that it shows some trap set up to tempt Toquerro and Llorente to come out by starting the built up at the own goal-line. The three crosses on the goal-line would represent Piqué, Pinto and Puyol, with Busquets and Touré having to offer themselves.

Quote of the day: Pique

In 2006, I was at the stadium in Paris with the Arsenal fans because I got tickets from Cesc. So when Belletti scored I couldn't jump because I still had to get out there alive. I had to celebrate it in silence.

Gerard Piqué, Barcelona player

Number of the day: 600


number of passes given by Barcelona players during the cup final

Medical: Iniesta optimistic about recovery

In a post on his personal blog, Barcelona player Andrés Iniesta (25) showed yesterday his optimism regarding his recovery from a muscle tear:

"My injury is going better. Since I injured myself against the Villareal, in the last match in the Camp Nou, I have tried to put all the senses to recover myself for the next Wednesday...

Today I can say that I've already been doing work during two days in the mountains with Emili Ricart, my physiotherapist, to improve my muscles and my physical training conditions. I shortly hope to be able to begin to run and to touch ball. I am convinced that I will arrive at Rome in my better conditions to be able to help the team."

Barcelona's medical staff has announced today that Iniesta and Henry carefully started training with the ball earlier today. The sensations were good and during the weekend both players will undergo a series of tests to see if they will be available for the final of the Champions League in Rome next Wednesday.

Henry strained the posterior cruciate ligament of his right knee during the league game against Real Madrid on 2 May and was expected to be out for at least three weeks, while Iniesta torn a quadriceps muscle on the front of his right thigh during the league game against Villarreal on Sunday 10 May.

Read more:
Medical: Henry and Iniesta available for Rome final

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