Saturday, 15 August 2009

Quote of the day: Guardiola

I think there are still things we can do better
and that fills us with enthusiasm.

Josep Guardiola, Barcelona manager

Guardiola ends Cesc speculation

Asked about reports linking Arsenal midfielder and Spain international Cesc Fabregas (22) to Barcelona, manager Pep Guardiola has said at a press conference that a transfer this summer will not happen:

"Cesc Fabregas will not come to Barcelona because Wenger has already sold Kolo Touré and Adebayor, two very important players.

We have to stay focused and in my opinion, it won't be possible to sign Cesc this year. He's a great player, he comes from the youth academy and gained experience in London but it's a fact that he will play one more year in England."

Read more:
Last offensive for Cesc
Arsenal asking 45 millions for Cesc

Henry included in Athletic list

Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola announced earlier today a list of 19 players for the super cup game against Athletic Bilbao tomorrow evening at 10:00 pm.

The list:
Valdés, Pinto,
Alves, Maxwell, Abidal, Puyol, Piqué, Fontàs, Muniesa,
Touré, Keita, Xavi, Gudjohnsen, Busquets, Jonathan
Bojan, Pedro, Jeffren, Henry

Milito, Iniesta, Ibrahimovic, Márquez and Messi are recovering from injuries. Henrique and Jorquera are left out of the squad, while four Barcelona Atlètic players make the list.

The team will travel tomorrow to Bilbao, leaving the Camp Nou at 11 am.

Transfer Cicinho could be closed in coming days

Italian television channel Sky Sport 24 claims that the transfer of AS Roma right back defender Cicinho (29) to Barcelona could be closed in the coming days (read more here).

Barcelona would have shown concrete interest in the Brazilian player, with Roma reportedly asking a transfer fee between 8 and 10 million euros° for Cicinho.

Read more:
Eboue tops right back target list
Cicinho and Grygera also options for right back

Barcelona has 60 more millions to spend

Spanish radio station Cadena Ser claims that Barcelona still has 60 million euros° the club can spend this summer.

The main transfer objectives would be Arsenal midfielder and Spanish international Cesc Fàbregas (22) and a right back defender.

Read more:
Eboue tops right back target list
Last offensive for Cesc
Cicinho and Grygera also options for right back

Athletic coach Caparros: "We will have chances"

Athletic Bilbao manager Joaquín Caparrós commented at a press conference on Sunday's super cup's game against Barcelona:

"If we want to surprise them, we will have to play a good game in every way possible. We have to be solid at the back. And we have to be efficient because we will have our chances. We have to transmit belief. This game will have to make us grow. The opponent gives us extra motivation and a positive result will strengthen us.

Barcelona is giving me the same feelings as three months ago before the cup final. They're continuing with their way of playing, of intensity, of concentration. I don't know if it's better to play agaisnt them now. Last year, when players like Iniesta or Messi didn't play, others replaced them and they nonetheless won difficult away games. That's why Barça did what they did and they're still keeping the same line.

This chance to win a trophy is a reward for what we performed last year and it helps us to remember how important last season was both at a sporting and at a social level. Now we have to think only about the super cup. If we already start to think about next week's uefa cup game, that would be a bad thing. We have to have all our five senses focused on Barcelona."

Read more:
Llorente: "Barça is the best club in the world"
Bojan ready to start in the super cup
Medical: Messi will not play super cup game

Transfer summer 2009: Overview


former club: bayer leverkusen
age: 22
country: brazil

official announcement: [wednesday 15 july]
contract duration: [4 years]
transfer fee: -
note: the player comes back from loan, barcelona paid last summer 8 million euro (plus 2 million euro variables depending on the qualification for the champions league in the four years after his return from loan)

former club: inter milan
age: 27
country: brazil

official announcement: wednesday 15 july
contract duration: 4 years (plus an option for one extra year depending on games played)
transfer fee: 4,5 million euro (plus 0,5 million euro variables)

former club: palmeiras
age: 20
country: brazil

official announcement: thursday 23 july
contract duration: 5 years
transfer fee: 14 million euro (plus 2 million euro variables depending on games played with the first team)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
former club: inter milan
age: 27
country: sweden

official announcement: monday 27 july
contract duration: 5 years
transfer fee: 66 million euro (plus compensation for non-loan of hleb)
note: barcelona player eto'o joined inter milan as part of this deal and was valued at 20 million euro


new club: ...
age: 35
country: brazil

barcelona player since: 2004
barcelona contract until: 2009

official announcement: wednesday 3 june
contract duration: ...
transfer fee: -
note: the contract of the player expired

Samuel Eto'o
new club: inter milan
age: 28
country: cameroon

barcelona player since: 2004
barcelona contract until: 2010

official announcement: monday 27 july
contract duration: 5 years
transfer fee: 20 million euro
note: the transfer was part of the deal on inter player ibrahimovic

new club: benfica
age: 20
country: brazil

barcelona player since: 2009
barcelona contract until: 2014

official announcement: tuesday 28 july
contract duration: 1 year
transfer fee: 0 euro
note: the player leaves on a one-year loan deal

Alexander Hleb
new club: stuttgart
age: 28
country: belarus

barcelona player since: 2008
barcelona contract until: 2012

official announcement: tuesday 28 july
contract duration: 1 year
transfer fee: 0 euro
note: the player leaves on a one-year loan deal

Martín Cáceres
new club: juventus
age: 22
country: uruguay

barcelona player since: 2008
barcelona contract until: 2012

official announcement: thursday 6 august
contract duration: 1 year
transfer fee: 0 euro
note: the player leaves on a one-year loan deal, juventus has an option to buy the player next year for a transfer fee of 11 million euro plus 1 million euro variables

Víctor Sánchez
new club: xerez
age: 21
country: catalonia, spain

barcelona player since: 2005
barcelona contract until: 2010 (2012?)

official announcement: friday 14 august
contract duration: 1 year
transfer fee: 0 euro
note: barcelona can sign back the player for free before 30 june 2010

check last summer's transfer overview here

West Ham coach trying to convince Gudjohnsen

Asked about the rumours linking Barcelona attacker and Iceland international Eidur Gudjohnsen (30) with a move to West Ham United (read more here), West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola is quoted by British tabloid The Daily Mirror as saying that he is trying to persuade the player to join his team:

"He's playing for Barcelona. He's playing in the Champions League and although he is not playing regularly he is there.

The alternative is to come and play for West Ham, which is obviously a smaller club. I can understand his concern. He is human. We are a good club with a good future but this is me saying that. Maybe he doesn't see that. But we will see what happens in the next few weeks."

Read more:
Gudjohnsen still didn't make decision on future
West Ham confident about signing Gudjohnsen

[2008] Contract renewal for Eto'o

this post was published one year ago:

French sports paper L'Equipe claims that Barcelona forward and Cameroonian international Samuel Eto'o (27) is on the verge of signing a contract renewal after a meeting yesterday morning between the player and Barcelona officials.

The contract of Eto'o, that now expires in 2010, would be extended until 2012 and the year salary of the player would rise from 7,5 to 9 million euro.

Asked about the rumour, sources close to the player confirmed the meeting to Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo but denied the deal and said a renewal was not the subject of the meeting.

Eboue honoured by Barcelona rumours

Asked about the rumours linking him with a move to Barcelona (read more here), Arsenal right back defender and Ivory Coast international Emmanuel Eboué (26) has said in an interview with British sports site Sky Sports that he feels honoured:

"It is an honour to be linked with the best team in Europe, that means I am valued by people. I have lost my Arsenal place, and, while the papers talked about Fiorentina, nothing happened. So I don't know about Barcelona, let's wait and see."

Read more:
Eboue tops right back target list

Keirrison: "I think and execute very quickly"

this is a first contribution by benfica blogger fumas, who will follow for us the performances of barcelona loan out keirrison with benfica during the season. you can also check fumas' personal blog with a lot more news (in english) on benfica:

Shortly after landing in Lisbon, Keirrison gave his first interview to Portuguese football daily "A Bola".

In this interview, published on the first of August, Keirrison talks about choosing Benfica, how he was welcomed the first couple of days, and the team's potential for a good season. He touches on some of his qualities, his idol, and his ambition to make the canarinha.

Always keeping a certain humility, Keirrison's dialogue is simple, and focused on the task at hand this year, he knows that his stay at Benfica will be brief and will serve as an apprenticeship to the European game, but even knowing that, his conversation rarely deviates from his only goal for this year - to help Benfica win titles.

Below is the transcript of the full interview translated into English (note: part of this interview was already published on this blog)

What did you mean with in your press conference with the statement: "It was me that picked Benfica"? Did someone try to choose your destination for you?

I just wanted it to be very clear how much I value this club. My agents had other propositions, but I didn't even want to hear about them when I found out about Benfica.

I know the club, I watched a lot of Benfica games in Brazil along with other European leagues, and the information that was given to me about Benfica was very good.

What were your first impressions?
Firstly, Lisbon is a beautiful city. Then the Estadio da Luz
(smiles) no comments, it's perfect. In addition, Benfica's training center is very good and I was treated very well at my arrival.

Not going to Barcelona right away is what's best for you?
It was a joint decision, to obtain European experience in my first year. Benfica is the right club to evolve in Europe and in two days I feel that I have already adapted.

What can Benfica gain with you?
I'm going to try to help my team mates, in all aspects but in a collective way. You can't win anything by yourself, even if you have the world at your feet. I came to help Benfica win titles

Benfica is betting everything on this season. Are you prepared for the pressure?
There is always pressure in big clubs. Benfica is aiming high, and I am sure with all these excellent professionals, Benfica has every guarantee to be able to fight for titles. It's a a new group but we will be very strong very soon.

What did you think of coach Jorge Jesus?
He is very friendly, he told me what the team wants from me. I feel that with him, I'll have the freedom to talk about all aspects of the game.

What was the feeling like to be applauded by 1500 people in your first training session?
I have had similar experiences, but never with so many people. I could tell how the fans feel Benfica, and that gives me more motivation to work hard. It was good to hear my name being called. You know, I look to have a quick connection with the fans, and unlike some other players, I look to tend to them every time I can. I have been on the other side, I know what it's like.

Are you aware of your worth?
I never try talking about myself. I leave that to other people. I respect opinions, and I always look to do my job. I try to perfect myself everyday, but I know that I will never be perfect.

But you have the notion that Benfica fans saw your arrival as a big "acquisition" right?
Yes I do, I'm always going to have a big responsibility because of the fact that at 20 years old I've arrived at a club like Benfica.

Do you believe that you will soon be scoring goals for Benfica?
I'll be ready for that.

What opinion do you have of the main opponents of Benfica?
I know FC Porto and Sporting. I know that the fans want titles, and we do too. We have the conditions to win.

Will it be easy to score with the team mates you have assisting you?
Without a doubt. There is a lot of quality in this squad. I'm not going to say that it'll be easy, but I was born with a gift that God gave me.

Is being in the 2010 World Cup an objective for you?
Yes. Being at Benfica, I have every chance of being called. I know that Dunga will be watching. But if it's not in 2010, it'll be in 2014, as I am still young.

Do you believe you will be the future forward of Brazil?
That's the reason why I came to Europe.

Your playing style? Is it more talent or more work rate?
Both. Players that have the gift and don't work, and are not able to make sacrifices, they will get nowhere. As an example, I will be very far from my family, but I love football.

What is your safe haven, when things don't go well?
Faith in God and a lot of patience. I know how to wait for better moments.

Are you also patient on the pitch?
A lot. Sometimes I can be without touching the ball for 80 minutes, and I have to be prepared to score. That's happened to me quite a few times.

Do you like playing in the box, or do you like coming out of the box?
A mixture of both, I like to have the ball, but I also like to finish.

Better with your right foot?
I'm righty, but since I was a little boy, I have worked on my left. I have even scored nice goals with my left foot.

Does your aerial game still need to evolve?
It's not at the same level as my feet, but I have been working a lot on that aspect.

Do you like taking penalty kicks?
I am a specialist. But I am also becoming a specialist in free kicks. I try to be a complete forward, because I know some games you can't score in running plays, so you have to look for other ways.

In Brazil it's said that you have a strong personality. Is that true?
I have always had a strong personality, since I was a little boy.

Have you ever lost your cool with a tighter than usual marking?
I might get mad once in a while, but I have learned to elude defender's markings. Besides, it makes no sense to use violence against another player, I have never been thrown out like that.

What is your strongest trait as a player.
Coolness at finishing. I don't take too long to think about what I am going to do when I'm in the box, I think and execute very quickly, most of the times with one touch. I'm very decisive, and seldom am I left with the idea of having chosen the wrong option.

Is that why you admire Romario? He would often score with his toe, with only one touch.
Exactly, Pele is also my idol, but I have only seen Romario play. I grew up watching his game, and wanting to do like him. Romario scored a lot of nice goals, but his specialty was the first touch and to toe the ball. His playing style was simple, and mine is also. The fact that I played futsal helped me. I look to simplify myself, because in Europe there is no time to showboat. I have always tried to play simple with the thought of coming to Europe. And now i'm here.

The Other Side of K11:

If you weren't a footballer you would be...
A Physical Education teacher. I studied until 12th grade, but I didn't continue to college.

Your main quality is...
Sincerity, I don't beat around the bush, I am direct.

Your worst trait...
I stress more than I should.

What kind of a politician would you like to be?
I wouldn't like to be a politician, it's a class for which I have no admiration, even though I respect it.

What charms you about Europe...
Manners, mutual respect, clean streets and beauty.

Favorite movie...
"Pursuit of Happyness" with Will Smith

"Never give up on your dreams"(Nunca desista dos seus sonhos) by Augusto Cury, a Brazilian writer.

Read more:
Ten things you should know about Keirrison
Keirrison makes Benfica debut
Possible first option on two Benfica players

Ex-Barça: Romario to play with America

Brazilian second division club América has on Thursday officially announced that former Barcelona striker and Brazilian international Romário (43) has agreed to come out of retirement to play some games with the club.

In a reaction, Romario told journalist that his father was a supporter of the club and would have wanted his son to join them at some point in his career: "I'm preparing to play and should be registered next week. I will feature in one or two official matches to realise my father's dream."

Romarío is currently sports director of América. Last year, the Brazilian striker announced his retirement as active football player after his contract with Brazilian first division club Vasco da Gama had expired.

Arriving from Dutch club PSV Eindhoven in the summer of 1993, Romário played one and a half season for Barcelona. Due to disciplinary problems, "O Baixinho" (the little one) left for Flamengo in January of the year 1995. Romário won the Spanish league title with Barcelona in 1994, becoming that same season the top goalscorer in the Liga with 30 goals. In the same year, he won the Spanish Super Cup with the team.

In 1994, Romário won the World Cup in the United States with the Brazilian national team and was awarded the FIFA World Cup Golden Ball. At the end of that year, he was chosen FIFA World Player of the Year.

Read more:
Ex-Barça: Romario retires
Ex-Barça: Luis Garcia to Racing Santander
Ex-Barça: RIP Sir Bobby Robson (1933-2009)

Last offensive for Cesc

Both main Catalan sports papers claim today that Barcelona has launched a last offensive to sign Arsenal midfielder and Spanish international Cesc Fàbregas (22).

Since Arsenal will play a Champions League qualifying game against Celtic Glasgow on Tuesday, it is generally believed that if Cesc takes part in that game, a transfer becomes imposible because that would mean that Cesc cannot play with another team in the Champions League this season.

Both Sport and El Mundo Deportivo report that Cesc wants to return to Barcelona, with the latter claiming that Cesc will personally try to convince Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger.

Cesc would have received a message of Barcelona manager Joseop Guardiola saying that the rumours about the coach not wanting Cesc in his team are false and explaining him his tactical plans about how to integrate the Catalan midifelder in the current team.

Cesc's agent Darren Dein would now be pressuring Arsenal to close a deal before Tuesday or to, at least, convince the club to leave Cesc out of the squad or on the bench for the first game in Glasgow, so there would be one more week for the transfer negotiations. Sport claims that Barcelona president Joan Laporta wants to bring Cesc home before the end of this term next year and is therefore willing to spend big.

Read more:
Arsenal would only accept Bojan in Cesc deal
Cesc will not leave Arsenal this summer

Litmanen expected Guardiola's success

Speaking to Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo, former Barcelona player Jari Litmanen has said that he expected the success of Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola in his first season as head coach of Barcelona:

"Yes, of course. Pep was one of the best players in the history of the club. He won everything he could win with Barcelona. He knows the philosophy of the club, he knows the people. He knows everything about Barça and the local people admire him.

It might have been easy to start but of course later you have to prove your qualities as a coach and the results were very good, they actually couldn't have been better. It's obvious that he had some great players to count on, but that of course doesn't mean things are easy."

Read more:
Guardiola invited to forum for top coaches
Ex-Barça: Litmanen to Lahti
Guardiola will have 'new board' clause in contract

Grygera agent leaves Barcelona door open

Asked about the rumours linking Juventus right back defender and Czech international Zdeněk Grygera (29) with a move to Barcelona (read more here), the player's agent Mino Raiola kept the door open for a possible move in an interview with Italian football site Tuttomercatoweb:

"At this moment the situation is calm, despite the fact that there are many interested clubs.

The player is feeling good at Juventus and they have said that he is not for sale. However, the transfer market is still long, and as you know, in football anything can happen."

Read more:
Looking for a right back defender
Cicinho and Grygera also options for right back
Eboue tops right back target list

The Front: Sport


Barça has until Monday to sign Cesc

Wenger: The Arsenal coach doesn't allow him to leave

Guardiola: The coach thinks he's the most needed signing

Laporta: The president is the main backer of the transfer

Messi won't be able to play the super cup

Contract renewal for Iniesta coming up

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that Barcelona attacking midfielder and Spanish international Andres Iniesta (25) will sign a contract renewal soon.

The player's agent would already have held the first talks with the club and there would be a prinicipal agreement on the main issues, but the deal will only be finalized when the summer transfer window ends.

The duration of Iniesta's current contract, until 2014, would not change but the Spanish midfielder would get a pay rise. Iniesta signed his last contract renewal in January 2008.

Read more:
Iniesta wants to retire at Barcelona
Barcelona's wage structure
Iniesta gives away Stamford Bridge boots

Eboue tops right back target list

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola will decide on the transfer of Arsenal right back defender and Ivory Coast international Emmanuel Eboué (26) (read more here).

If Guardiola accepts that Barcelona won't buy a central defender but a right back defender this summer, Eboué will probably be the number one target of a list of 20 players managed by Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain.

Eboué was reportedly already the back-up option last summer in case the transfer of Barcelona right back defender Dani Alves wouldn't have gone through.

The agent of Eboué, whose contract expires in 2012, would already have had indirect contacts with Barcelona and has let the club know that the player wishes to join Barcelona, because of the way of playing and his friendship with Barcelona players Yaya Touré and Seydou Keita.

If Guardiola gives the green light, Begiristain would start moving this week for Eboué, who is waiting for a call and who knows that Arsenal is willing to let him go. Barcelona could sign the player for a transfer fee between 8 and 10 million euros°. Catalan sports paper El 9 Esportiu claims that the fee could be 5 million euros°.

Read more:
Transfer of Arsenal right back Eboue close
Cicinho and Grygera also options for right back
Brazilian right back Mattioni has been offered

The Front: El Mundo Deportivo


Barça and the player are pressuring Wenger to convince him before Tuesday

Fàbregas knows that Pep wants him, but the Arsenal coach says 'no'

In England, they confirm that Bojan could be part of the deal

Guardiola will let Messi leave with Argentina

Eboué, waiting for a call by Txiki

Henrique could return to Brazil

Catalan sports paper El 9 Esportiu claims that Zaragoza has sounded out Barcelona about a loan of Barcelona central defender Henrique Adriano Buss (22) (read more here).

Zaragoza manager Marcelino would nevertheless not be impressed by the Brazilian player because of his lack of experience, which leads to Henrique only being the last option of a long target list.

Barcelona would therefore be looking at alternative options. Bayer Leverkusen, the club Henrique played for last season, had asked at the end of last season about a renewal of the loan, but after Barcelona initially rejected the request, the German club has now already strengthened their centre-back and is not interested anymore.

Aragon regional newspaper El Periódico de Aragón confirms that Henrique most probably will not join Zaragoza because Marcelino isn't convinced by the qualities of the central defender. The paper claims that Henrique could return to Brazil this summer.

Read more:
Ajax interested in Henrique loan
Henrique still hopes to convince Guardiola
Zaragoza interested in Henrique loan

Wenger: "When I see Barcelona, to me it is art"

Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger gave an interview to British newspaper The Times. An excerpt:

He starts slowly, picking his way through questions on politics, the arts, globalisation and culture. He is reasoned, well-read and imbued with deep moral seriousness. Then the conversation turns to football and it is as if a switch has flicked in his soul; as if a lightning bolt has surged through his body.

The question raised is: "Is football art?" Wenger's eyes flash as he warms to the theme. "I believe that anything in life, if it is really well done, becomes art," he says. "If you read a great writer, he touches deep inside and helps you to discover something about life. Life is important on a daily basis because you transform it — you try to transform it — into something that is close to art. And football is like that. When I see Barcelona, to me it is art."

But is there sometimes a conflict between aesthetics and success? Are there times when Arsenal have created great art on the pitch but at the expense of results? "I agree with you," Wenger says, "but at the end of the day, I ask you: who is the most successful team in the world? Brazil. What do they play? Good football. Who won everything last year? Barcelona. What do they play? Lovely football. I am not against being pragmatic because to be pragmatic is to make a good pass, not a bad pass. It is as simple as that."

read the full interview report here

Read more:
Mourinho or Wenger
Cesc will not leave Arsenal this summer
Laporta: "Mourinho was a more secure option"

How not to be anonymous on this blog?

Apparently some new readers have difficulties finding out how not to be marked as "Anonymous" if they are posting a comment on this blog. I indeed would recommend it that you choose a name when you comment here, because that makes everything more personal. Of course everyone is free to choose what he wants, but if you don't want to be marked as "anonymous", this is the way to do that:

- You click on "post a comment" or "... comments" under the post. Then there appears a pop-up, on the bottom of which you have a box where you can write your personal comment.

- Under that box, there's a "Choose an identity" section. If you don't do anything, you will be marked as anonymous. When you don't want that, you can click next to "Name/URL". Then two new boxes appear and in the "Name" box, you can type your real name or a fantasy name. If you have done that and you publish your comment, it will appear under that name.

I jump to the occasion to ask that people would refrain from personal insults on this blog, towards each other, the club and the players. This blog focuses on Barcelona, we all like the club, we want to share our thoughts about the players and the games, we're all having our own opinions and we all think that we're right and that all the others don't know anything about football but that doesn't mean we should lose our heads.

There are people from almost 200 countries visiting this blog, all have their own culture, tradition and sensibilities. Besides that, every person has its own character and way of expressing himself. I'm not always there to remove unappropriate comments, so just behave a little. Not too much, but let's try to have a basic respect for our fellow Barcelona fans, the players and the club.

Victor Sanchez hopes to return next year

Former Barcelona midfielder Víctor Sánchez (21), who has joined newly promoted Spanish first division club Xerez yesterday (read more here), has said in an intrview with the club's official media that he hopes to return next year:

"I leave FC Barcelona with a great feeling, because during the four years I have been here I lived the promotion with Barça B after winning the league title, and last year the treble. I cannot complain.

I think it will be a good year for me. It's a change so I can have more minutes in the first division, adapt to the league, which is the most important thing at my age: to play and to get more confident, so the coach sees that I can return next year. I hope this is a 'goodbye'."

Read more:
OFFICIAL: Victor Sanchez to Xerez

Eto'o: "I've defended the shirt as my life"

Speaking to Catalan radio station TV3, Inter Milan forward Samuel Eto'o looked back at his time at Barcelona with gratitude:

"Thanks to my former team-mates and the fans, I have been able to live all those dreams and to defend the Barça shirt as if it was my own live. I arrived at Barça and I met team-mates, but when I left I had friends and another family.

Despite all the talk about the fans not wishing me the best, I take this chance and I say that this is not true: the fans have always showed me their affection, in a different way. I've played five years at the Camp Nou, at Barça, and I'm one of the few players that got boed. Only once, and it wasn't for football reasons.

I felt comfortable in Barcelona. That's why I will keep on living in Catalonia. I think that when I retire, I will be living between Catalonia and Mallorca."

Read more:
Iniesta thinks Eto'o deserves a statue
Thank You Samu - Remembering Eto'o at Barca
Xavi says that Eto'o made deep impression

Messi will miss first league game

Speaking to Catalan radio station RAC 1, the president of the Argentinian football association Julio Grondona has said that Barcelona attacker Lionel Messi won't be able to play the first league game with Barcelona:

"This is something that has already been agreed upon between Guardiola and Maradona. There's no problem about that."

Barcelona will play against Sporting on Monday 31 August, while Argentina faces Brazil on Saturday 5 September. Players should be at the disposal of their national team five days before a game. This way, Barcelona right back defender Dani Alves could also miss the first league game.

Read more:
Maradona on Messi and Xavi
Messi rejects blank cheque of Manchester City
Messi could miss first league game

Friday, 14 August 2009

Mascherano disappointed about failed transfer

Asked about the rumours linking Liverpool defensive midfielder and Argentine international Javier Mascherano (25) with a move to Barcelona (read more here), Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez has confirmed at a press conference that the player is disappointed that the deal didn't went through:

"Javier has a very good friend in the national team and that is Messi. Messi was on to him every day and that is not easy, but Javier knows what we think of him and he will be okay.

I talked with Javier, his agent and Barça. It is normal they see him as such a good player, and an option for them. We told Javier he was so important for us and we wanted to keep him. We were not talking about any price. He was a bit disappointed as it was a fantastic opportunity with a big club. But he is happy here, and as a player and a person you can trust him 100 per cent."

Read more:
Mascherano won't join Barcelona this summer
Barcelona has been in contact with 22 players
Meeting on Mascherano in Barcelona

OFFICIAL: Victor Sanchez to Xerez

Barcelona has today officially announced the transfer of Barcelona midfielder Víctor Sánchez (21) to Xerez.

The Catalan player joins the newly promoted Spanish first division club on a permanent transfer, although Barcelona has the right to sign Víctor Sánchez back without having to pay a transfer fee before 30 June 2010.

Víctor Sánchez joined Barcelona's youth academy in the summer of 2005, arriving from Spanish fourth division club Europa. In 2008, he promoted to the third division with Barcelona Atlètic. Last season, the player was promoted to the first team. With Barcelona, Víctor Sánchez has won one Spanish league, one Spanish cup and one Champions League.

Read more:
OFFICIAL: Caceres to Juventus on loan
OFFICIAL: Sylvinho will leave
OFFICIAL: Hleb to Stuttgart on loan

Barcelona to play friendly against local club

Spanish fourth division club Reus has yesterday issued an official statement announcing that the club will play a friendly game against Barcelona this season.

Reus president Ramon Alabart would have met with Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola on Wednesday - ahead of the club's friendly game against Barcelona Atlètic - and the coach would have confirmed him that Barcelona's first team will face the Catalan club in a friendly game later in the season. The exact date still has to be determined.

Read more:
Barça B - Friendly 2: Barcelona-Reus 2-1
Barça B - Official: Urbano to Reus on loan

Llorente - "Barça is the best club in the world"

Athletic Bilbao central defender Fernando Amorebieta (picture) and forward Fernando Llorente looked at a press conference forward to Sunday's super cup's game against Barcelona.

"We think we're capable of defeating Barcelona. If that wasn't the case, we wouldn't play this game.

We cannot relax just because they have several injuries. Like we have seen during the pre-season, they have excellent youth players and they will be very motivated. I think it will be important that we keep a clean sheet."

"Barça is the best club in the world. They have some incredible players and it will be very difficult but in football, you never know. At home we have more chances to win because of the pressure we can put, but even with a good result, nothing will be decided. It's a chance to win a trophy and we will give everything."

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Bojan ready to start in the super cup
Medical: Messi will not play super cup game

Cesc will not leave Arsenal this summer

Asked about the rumours linking Arsenal midfielder and Spanish international Cesc Fàbregas (22) with a move to Barcelona (read more here), Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has said at a press conference that his club will not let the player leave:

"Do you really think we sell now our players one day before the championship starts, players who are basic players of the team? There is no chance.

You cannot stop people from having a lot of creative imagination during their sleepless nights, but that does not mean we will do it.

I believe that in life you are committed to clubs with contracts and in no contract is the colour of your blood described. I am more committed than ever to my club, not only this season, but since I have arrived here. We are the beginning of a new season now, and it is important that everybody focuses. Me, Fabregas, everybody else, just on being successful for the club we love, and the best way we can do that is to do well."

Read more:
Arsenal would only accept Bojan in Cesc deal
Cesc father thinks transfer is unlikely
Arsenal asking 45 millions for Cesc

At which hour will Barcelona play this season?

Due to the changes in the ownership of Spanish television rights,
this is the schedule of the hours Barcelona will play their league game:

- 8 league games will be played on Saturday at 10 pm

- 8 league games will be played on Sunday at 9 pm

- 22 league games will be divided between Saturday at 8 pm and Sunday at 7 pm

Barcelona - Real Madrid (match day 12) will be played on Saturday at 8 pm or Sunday at 7 pm
Real Madrid - Barcelona (match day 31) will be played on Saturday at 10 pm

The top ten football managers of all time

author: Matt Dickinson
source: The Times

date: 9 August 2009

1. Rinus Michels
The Dutchman, who died in 2005, was named coach of the century by Fifa in 1999. Think Ajax of the late Sixties, think Holland of the 1974 World Cup, think Total Football. Barcelona won the Champions League in May with tactics he introduced to the Nou Camp 30 years ago. Now that’s influence.

2. Sir Alex Ferguson
After knocking over the Old Firm in Scotland, he has built a modern-day monster out of Manchester United. The trophies matter but so does the attacking intent of his sides.

3. Ernst Happel
A man of few words but many trophies, the Austrian won league championships in four different countries (the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Austria).

4. Sir Matt Busby
He faced the most difficult of all rebuilding jobs when he lost a brilliant team in the wreckage of Munich.

5. Brian Clough
No doubt he would put himself top of the pile and his feats were truly extraordinary. He turned Derby County into league champions and Nottingham Forest into the best team in Europe.

6. Bill Shankly
The builder of another of football’s great institutions, Shankly would surely have shared in Liverpool’s later success in Europe had he not retired prematurely.

7. Bob Paisley
Still the only coach to have three European Cup medals the son of a miner would have been too modest to boast about his great signings.

8. Arrigo Sacchi
A one-time shoe salesman, he built one of the greatest club sides at AC Milan and did so with innovative tactics.

9. Helenio Herrera
With an ego the size of the San Siro, the French-Argentine cast a big shadow over European football in the 1960s. A great motivator and disciplinarian who imposed rigid catenaccio on his teams, he enjoyed his greatest success at Inter Milan, where he twice won the European Cup.

10. Arsène Wenger
Ranked above managers who have won more and with good reason. Wenger resolutely defends the game’s most precious values, building sides of dazzling beauty.

read the full and original article here

Read more:
Guardiola has restored the philosophy of Cruijff

Paperwork postpones Victor Sanchez loan

Asked about the rumours linking Barcelona midfielder Víctor Sánchez (21) with a loan move to Xerez (read more here), the player's agent Eladio Pereiro has again confirmed to Andalusian regional radio station Canal Sur thata deal is close:

"We've already reached a economic agreement with Xerez and now we are still waiting for some burocratic issues, the paperwork to be done by Barcelona.

Once we can get a look at the papers and it's correct, we'll take the player to Jerez. We hope things to be resolved today, so he can arrive in the weekend. If not, it will be for the beginning of next week.

Víctor is just waiting for my call saying that everything has been solved. He's very motivated. He knows it's a newly promoted club, that the whole city is behind this new project and he wants to have more playing time compared to last season in Barcelona."

Read more:
Victor Sanchez agent confirms Xerez loan
Victor Sanchez still unaware of future

[2008] Valencia, Sevilla and Villareal want Jeffren

this post was published one year ago:

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that Valencia and Villareal are interested in signing Barcelona Atlètic winger and Spanish youth international Jeffren Suárez (20).

The Valencia technical staff would like the Venezualan-born player a lot and it is suggested that this could play a role in a possible transfer of Valencia left winger David Silva to Barcelona.

Aragón regional sports paper Equipo claims that Jeffren is high on the wish list of second division team Zaragoza, that hopes to get the player on loan.

Barcelona Atlètic coach Luis Enrique would want Jeffren to stay with his team but Barcelona thinks it's a better option to let the player leave on loan to a Spanish first or second division club.

Valencia regional sports paper Super Deporte meanwhile claims that Primera División teams Sevilla and Getafe, second division teams Levante, Tenerife and Hércules and some English clubs are also following Jeffren, who has scored twice during the pre-season he's doing with th first team this summer.

Jeffren's brother would have done a trial with Villareal which was seen as an attempt to attract the winger. Jeffren, his father and his agency would nevertheless prefer to stay linked with Barcelona and leave on a loan deal.

A source from the player's entourage is quoted as saying that Jeffren is not planning to stay with Barcelona's second team this season: "The goal is to play in the Primera División, but if that's not possible we would consider the Spanish second division if there's a good project. He'll certainly not return to play with Barcelona Atlètic in the third division.

Now we're waiting to talk with Barcelona. After that we'll look at all the options that are on the table and make a decision. At this moment the door is open for offers to come in from interested clubs."

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that it will be Barcelona Atlètic coach Luis Enrique who will decide what will happen with Jeffren. Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola won't promote the player to the first team and Zaragoza has made a formal loan offer.

Read more:

Ajax interested in Henrique loan

Madrid sports tabloid Marca claims that Barcelona is looking for a club for Barcelona central defender Henrique Adriano Buss (22).

Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola reportedly thinks the Brazilian player doesn't have the qualities needed to play at Barcelona.

The club would therefore have started looking for an exit for Henrique, on loan or permanently. Dutch club Ajax Amsterdam would have shown interest in the centre-back, who played last season on loan with German club Bayer Leverkusen, and would want to sign the player on loan.

Read more:
Henrique still hopes to convince Guardiola
Vertonghen unaware of Barcelona interest
Zaragoza interested in Henrique loan

San Mames not an easy pitch for Barcelona


Barça's first competitive match this season will be at San Mamés, a tough venue where Barça have always found it hard to win.

So far Bilbao and Barça have gone head-to-head 92 times at San Mamés (78 times in the League, 13 in the Spanish Cup and once in the Super Cup), with the Catalans coming out on top on 26 occasions. The Basques have won 47 times, with 19 games ending in draws.

Though the overall record is against Barça, the Catalans have had the better of more recent encounters: they have won 11 of their last 20 games at San Mamés with another four ending in draws. Barça's last defeat against Bilbao at San Mamés was on 14 May 2006, when the Basques won 3-1.

read the full and original story here

Cicinho and Grygera also options for right back

Catalan radio station Catalunya Ràdio claims that Barcelona is interested in AS Roma right back defender Cicinho (29 - picture) and Juventus right back defender and Czech international Zdeněk Grygera (29).

Together with Arsenal right back defender and Ivory Coast international Emmanuel Eboué (26) (read more here), the two players are reportedly on a three-names short list managed by the technical department of the club.

Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola would now have to decide which of those three players is his first option, after which Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain will start negotiations with the player's club.

Read more:
Transfer of Arsenal right back Eboue close
Looking for a right back defender
Brazilian right back Mattioni has been offered

Henrique still hopes to convince Guardiola

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that Barcelona central defender Henrique Adriano Buss (22) isn't thinking about leaving Barcelona.

The Brazilian player would be aware that he will have to improve but still has the hope to convince Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola of his qualities.

Henrique wouldn't have problems if he would have to start the season as last centre-back option, even behind youth players Muniesa and Fontàs.

Barcelona nevertheless would plan to let Henrique leave on loan for a second year, although the player hasn't yet been officially informed. No one from the technical staff would have informed Henrique about the decision and Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain didn't yet contact the player's agents Marcos and Naor Malaquías on the issue. It is believed Barcelona could be waiting to see what happens during the last weeks of the transfer market.

Read more:
Future of Henrique at Barcelona uncertain
Zaragoza interested in Henrique loan

Cesc would give Guardiola more options


With his versatility, Fàbregas would offer Guardiola several options in midfield.

Barça B: Cadiz interested in Oier

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that Spanish second division club Cádiz is interested in Barcelona Atlétic goalkeeper Oier Olazabal (19).

Cádiz manager Xabi Gracia has reportedly asked his club to sign the young goalkeeper after a strong showing at the end of last season. At this moment, Oier nevertheless looks like staying.

Oier told the paper that he is happy at the club and hopes he might get a chance with the first team: "Last year went badly, but at the end of the season I felt better and when I got my chance to play I felt that I did well. With Guardiola, you know that you will get the opportunity, but to me what is important is the improvement from year to year, above anything, from a psychological point of view."

Read more:
Barcelona wants Jorquera to leave
Barcelona planning six transfers

Youth player Riverola invited for training

Barcelona's official website reports that, because of a lack of available players, Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola yesterday afternoon called-up for the first time Juvenil A midfielder Martí Riverola (18 - picture right) for the first teams's training session.

Juvenil A midfielder Sergi Roberto (17) and Juvenil A right back defender Albert Dalmau (17) also trained with the first team.

Read more:
Youth player Sergi invited for training

The Front: Sport



The transfer of Cesc would give a lot of options to Guardiola, who thinks he can play together with Xavi and Iniesta

Messi is doubtful for Bilbao

Arsenal would only accept Bojan in Cesc deal

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that Arsenal would only be willing to include Barcelona forward and Spanish youth international Bojan Krkic (18) in a possible deal on Arsenal midfielder and Spanish international Cesc Fàbregas (22).

Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger would like to count on the Catalan striker, who is nevertheless untouchable for Barcelona manager Guardiola.

Barcelona would have offered Arsenal a transfer fee of 40 million euros°, which was rejected by the English Premier League club, as was the possible inclusion in the deal of Barcelona attacker and Iceland international Eidur Gudjohnsen (30) and Barcelona central defender Henrique Adriano Buss (22).

Although Cesc reportedly supports the efforts of Barcelona trying to sign him and his agent Darren Dein is acting as go-between between the two clubs, the player wouldn't be willing to force his exit. Cesc plans to talk with Wenger in the coming days to discuss the situation, but it is unlikely that Arsenal will change their position. A transfer this summer seems almost impossible.

Read more:
Arsenal interested in Bojan
Cesc father thinks transfer is unlikely

Deal with Racing on transfer Jeffren

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that Barcelona and Racing Santander have reached an agreement on the transfer of Barcelona Atlètic wing attacker Jeffren Suárez (21).

Racing could sign Jeffren this summer for a price the club can freely choose, with Barcelona having the right to buy the player back for the double of the transfer fee later.

The agreement will nevertheless only become effective if Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola decides not to count on Jeffren, whose contract expires in 2010, for the coming season. The winger, who would accept to join Racing if he won't be promoted to Barcelona's first team, would be close to staying although the Super Cup game against Athletic on Sunday could be a last and decisive test.

Read more:
Racing president contacts Laporta on Jeffren
Jeffren wants to stay

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