Saturday 25 October 2008

Match discussion: Almeria

This evening at 10 pm bt,
Barcelona plays the seventh game of the season against Almería.

Last weekend, Almería lost 4-0 against Sevilla, playing with Diego Alves; Bruno, Chico, Pellerano, Mané; Juanito, Natalio; Uche, Julio Álvarez, Solari; Negredo.

Central defender Chico played last season from January to June (on loan from Cádiz) with Barcelona B in the fourth division (read more here). Brazilian goalkeeper Diego Alves was last summer linked with a move to Barcelona (read more here).

Almería is ranked sixth in the Liga, Barcelona fourth. You can read a preview of the game here

Almeria squad list:
Diego Alves, Esteban, Bruno, Carlos García, Pellerano, Chico, Mané, Guilherme, Juanito, Soriano, Julio Álvarez, Corona, Juanma Ortiz, Ortiz, Negredo, Natalio, Uche, Crusat

Barcelona squad list:
Valdés, Pinto, Jorquera, Alves, Márquez, Piqué, Puyol, Cáceres, Abidal, Sylvinho, Xavi, Touré, Busquets, Iniesta, Hleb, Víctor Sánchez, Messi, Eto'o, Bojan, Henry

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

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

Barcelona scouting Hoffenheim's Carlos Eduardo

Italian online sports paper ItaSportPress claims that Barcelona is interested in Hoffenheim attacking midfielder and Brazilian youth international Carlos Eduardo Marques (21).

Barcelona would be one of the many European top clubs that are closely following the player and that have sent scouts to Germany to watch the Brazilian in action.

Carlos Eduardo, whose contract with Bundesliga club Hoffenheim expires in 2012, would cost 7 million euro°.

Read more:
Barcelona following Brazilian striker Dentinho
Hernanes could come next summer
Barcelona in pole position for Keirrison

Watch a video of Carlos Eduardo here:

The Arabic tattoo of Busquets

When scoring his first official goal as Barcelona defensive midfielder and Spanish youth international Sergio Busquets (20) against Basel on Wednesday, Busquets celebrated this by kissing the tattoo on his left fore-arm and pointing to the sky.

Asked about it, Busquets explained the dedication to journalists after the match: "The phrase of the tattoo is a personal phrase and I especially dedicated the goal to my grandfather."

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that the tattoo is an Arabic phrase which means "A thing for you, the life in my country" and that only Busquets knows the meaning which will never be revealed.

The paper also explains that Busquets was very close to his maternal grandfather, who recently passed away and who used to take him to football training sessions and matches when he was young because his father, former Barcelona goalkeeper Carles Busquets, usually didn't have time to do that.

Read more:
Difficult renewal negotiations with Busquets
First international call-up for Busquets
Busquets wants to renew despite Milan interest

[Crosas] Celtic Glasgow-Hibernian

Celtic played this afternoon their tenth league game of the season. The Scottish champions defeated Hibernian 4-2.

Former Barcelona midfielder Marc Crosas (20) was not available due to a hamstring injury he suffered last Saturday and that will keep him sidelined for about one month.

Marc Crosas joined Celtic Glasgow in 2008. Since Barcelona can buy Crosas back in the summer of 2010 for two million euro (read more here), this blog will follow the performances of the midfielder over the next two years.

Sunday 10 August - League game 1: Celtic Glasgow-St Mirren 1-0
Non-selectable. Crosas has signed his contract and is presented to the fans before the match.

Sunday 17 August - League game 2: Dundee United-Celtic Glasgow 1-1

Saturday 23 August - League game 3: Celtic Glasgow-Falkirk 3-0
Substitute. Crosas replaces Brown in the 73rd minute (3-0).

Sunday 31 August - League game 4: Celtic Glasgow-Rangers 2-4

Sunday 14 September - League game 5: Motherwell-Celtic Glasgow 2-4
Starter. Crosas starts the game and is replaced by Nakamura in the 80th minute (2-4).

Wednesday 17 September - Champions League group stage game 1: Celtic Glasgow-Aalborg 0-0

Sunday 21 September - League game 6: Kilmarnock-Celtic Glasgow 1-3
Starter. Crosas starts the game and is replaced by Hartley in the 74th minute (0-2).

Tuesday 23 September - League Cup 1/8 finals: Celtic Glasgow-Livingston 4-0
Not selected.

Saturday 27 September - League game 7: Celtic Glasgow-Aberdeen 3-2
Starter. Crosas starts the game and is replaced by McDonald in the 72nd minute (1-2).

Tuesday 30 September - Champions League group stage game 2: Villareal-Celtic Glasgow 1-0

Saturday 4 October - League game 8: Celtic Glasgow-Hamilton 4-0
Starter. Crosas starts the game and plays for 90 minutes.

Saturday 18 October - League game 9: Inverness-Celtic Glasgow 1-2
Starter. Crosas starts the game and is replaced by Hartley in the 95th minute (1-2). Yellow card.

Tuesday 21 October - Champions League group stage game 3: Manchester United-Celtic Glasgow 3-0
Injured. Crosas has a hamstring injury.

Saturday 25 October - League game 10: Celtic Glasgow-Hibernian 4-2
Injured. Crosas has a hamstring injury.

1. Celtic 25
2. Rangers (9) 22
3. Kilmarnock 16
4. Dundee (9) 14

Marquez (2): "Guardiola admires my style"

In an interview with Catalan sports paper Sport, Barcelona central defender and Mexican international Rafael Márquez talked about the season so far.

(read the first part here)

Many things have changed with the arrival of Guardiola, some things as small as being required to stay to eat after training sessions...
The manager has imposed his own set of manners and rules, in the same way in which there was a set of rules with the old manager that helped us win two league titles and a Champions League. Now, things run differently and I feel that there's a better sense of discipline and responsibility.

And all of this is reflected on the field?
Yes. Guardiola has introduced a lot of discipline and ambition into the team and wants us to always be on top of things and to be at our best. He says that he forgives errors because we're human, but that he won't forgive us for not doing our best.

Do you agree with him?
Yes, this is something that everyone should feel.

Guardiola confessed that he wouldn't understand the successes of Barça under Rijkaard without you. He said that you were a part of the core of that team. He holds you in high regard.
I'm aware. The first time we talked, he told me that he admires my style and that he wants to count on me for his new project. I was amazed that he thought of me like that. I'm aware that he speaks of me in high regard and I have nothing but gratitude.

Guardiola also says that tactically you're an important part of the team and that very few players in the world have your long ball.
I always do my best and try to play in my position as well as possible in order to help the team.

The manager thinks of you as a silent leader on the field. Do you also think of yourself like this?
It's a part of my personality to not be considered the protagonist or to attract attention. I don't intend to be a leader, but if the manager thinks that I should assume a responsibility, then I will. Although I feel that the leadership that he talks about is something that comes from my understanding of the sport.

Or because of your character.
Those who know me, know that I'm serious and quiet, and that I don't like attention.

But you can smile?
Of course, man!

Translated by: AL

This is the second part of this interview with Márquez talking - amongst other things - about the offers he received last summer.

Read the first part here:
Marquez (1): "I want to make history at this club"

Live Match Chat: CF Benidorm - FC Barcelona

(original post by OmarX)

Dear Culés,

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?

Having started last weekend, 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.

Last Saturday, 181 people joined throughout the session,
with a peak amount up to 34 users at the same time.

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!

Chat Link:

CF Benidorm - FC Barcelona
(Tuesday 28 October 2008 @ 21:00 Local time)

Chat starts around 19:00 - 7 pm

[Henrique] Bayer Leverkusen-Koln

Bayer Leverkusen played yesterday their nineth Bundesliga game of the season. Bayer defeated FC Köln 2-0.

Brazilian central defender and Barcelona loan out Henrique (21) started the match and played the whole game in the centre of the Bayer defense.

Barcelona bought Henrique this summer and decided to loan him out to Bayer Leverkusen for one season (read more here). This blog will follow 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.

1. Bayer Leverkusen 18
2. Hamburg (8) 17
3. Hoffenheim (8) 16
4. Hertha Berlin (8) 14
5. Wolfsburg (8) 13
6. Schalke (8) 13
7. Stuttgart (8) 13
8. Borussia Dortmund (8) 13
9. FC Köln 13
10. Werder Bremen (8) 12
11. Bayern München (8) 12


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

Barcelona asking 3 million from former youth player

Catalan radio station Catalunya Ràdio reports that Barcelona has taken Espanyol B player Raúl Baena (19) to court asking an indemnification of 3 million euro° for breaking an agreement he signed when he played for Barcelona. The court is expected to pass judgement next Tuesday.

In the summer of 2007 Barcelona Juvenil A midfielder Baena left Barcelona for Espanyol paying the 30 000 euro buyout fee of his amateur contract to the club. The player had nonetheless also signed a pre-agreement for a professional contract which stated that the player should pay 3 million euro° if he decided to leave Barcelona.

Read more:
Youth: Pacheco explains Liverpool move
Youth: Chelsea confirms monitoring Deulofeu
Youth - Official: Valles to NAC Breda

Watch a video of Baena here:

Messi: "I am very grateful to the club"

In an interview with Catalan sports paper Sport, Barcelona forward Lionel Messi talke about the season so far.

Do you feel as though you won the long awaited face-off with "Kun" Agüero the other day?
No, no... There was no such face-off. At the least I did not see it that way. That's something the Television and Media said... I like "Kun" a lot, he is my friend and I'm happy, because he is having one heck of a performance with Atlético. His performance has been outstanding. Besides I don't like comparisons. Each player has his own attributes.

Does this Barcelona excite you?
A lot, just like the fans. I don't think about individual achievements but rather that we can continue growing and winning as a whole. I am very grateful to the club for everything they have given me, we have a great team and we need to win titles, which is the goal of the entire squad. We are not complacent, we want to improve.

Does it bother you that there is talk of "messidependencia", messidependence?
I don't think that exists, in Barcelona we are all equals. I am young and I must continue learning things and working in order to give my best to the team. If the team is doing well, then I am happy. Everything turned out perfect against Atlético Madrid. We need to continue down that path. When one has the Barcelona jersey, one has to come out determined to win the match from the first minute.

You were almost able to score another one of those maradona like goals that day, right?
And the ball went so close to the goalies right post, huh? So close... I didn't plan it, the play just developed that way.

The truth is, this season you've come out the blocks guns blazing...
Yeah, I have eights goals, and lately I've been fortunate with the last touch. But what's important is not who scored the goals, what's important is that the team continues accumulating points, in Liga and Champions League.

After almost four years of your official first division debut, how do you feel when you look back?
That I've experienced some really beautiful and unforgettable things, that I have played some important championships and that there is still much ahead of me. The afternoon of my official debut against Espanyol at the Montjuic, October 16 2004, I wasn't nervous at all because I didn't expect to debut. That's why it caught me by surprise that the mister call me and tell me to jump onto the pitch. So I went on to the playing field very calm.

So is the challenge now, to be chosen as the best player in the world?
No, the truth is I'm not going crazy over that. As always I am calm. If it happens it happens and of course that would be wonderful, but I would rather win things with squad of my team and with my national team. That is more important!

Translated by: MARIO

Friday 24 October 2008

Ramzi Rambles: Barcelona Tsunami, who is next?!

Barcelona Tsunami, who is next?!

Well… let’s make this one short, we already had a long week with lot of games and goals, and the last thing you need is to read a long thesis of text and numbers.

What kind of teams are we going to face this week? A humble team that Barcelona will crush with no mercy? Or a team that defeated Athletic Bilbao in San Mames and gained a draw 2-2 against Valencia?

May be a strange way to start this but I found a website listing the market value of Almeria players, the squad value is 82 Million euro, on the same site, the market value of only Messi and Henry together is that much, now how reliable these numbers are, is not my problem, probably Messi alone is worth that much, the point is: nothing acceptable less than three points, and attractive football Saturday night!

But the night is spoiled already, Pablo Piatti will not be there, he failed to get back to form on time for the game against Barcelona, which is something I was excited about, who is this guy?

Ok, he looks like Messi and lot of talks about how talented he is – and in my opinion he is definitely a talented Argentinean – but calling him “New Messi” is something I don’t like.

He made the right decision going
to Almeria to play and polish his talents, rather than jumping to a giant team bench forever, Almeria had beaten Manchester United and Juventus to the signature of the Argentinean starlet The 19-year-old left Estudiantes for Almeria, and became the club’s most expensive signing in the history. Piatti won the Under-20 World Cup in 2007 alongside Atletico hero Sergio ‘Kun’ Aguerro.

So what? He is not even the most dangerous player for Almeria! Negredo! That one is definitely the threat!

In july 2007, Negredo was sold to La Liga promotees UD Almeria, with Real Madrid having the option to rebuy. He finished his season as Almeria top goal scorer with 13 goals as Almeria surprisingly finished 8th. In this season he netted 5 goals already in 6 games.

But let’s not make a big deal of it, to cause threat Almeria need to hover around Barcelona area, which is not going to be that easy, and may be not possible.

One of the characteristics of this new Barcelona is their ability to gain back the ball in a blink of an eye. To be able to hold possession while having the ball is terrifying enough for your opponent, but to be able to gain back the ball a moment after your opponent finally kidnapped it is a nightmare, it means you will be generating attacks after attacks all match long! Waves of attempts crushing the bay of the opponent defense sinking there ships and turning the net into pieces, isn’t that what’s happening recently?

I promised not to make it long, so here I list a selection I hope Pep Guardiola pick, NOTE, this is not a prediction of what he will actually select, because to do that seriously you need to be there in the training each and every day to monitor form, moral and fitness. Of course I distributed the players in an offense situation, because that’s how the game will be approached from the start, till the end.

Me, Passing the Stick

In the past few days, while promoting on facebook and some other places, I communicated with some Barcelona fans whom we don’t know here, but will be around from now and on as I hope, there was always a question about how can they express their thoughts here through posting there own side of Barcelona story, and that’s what actually encouraged me to suggest what I was thinking of since a while, and here we go…

This season is long, and it will be too much for one fan to make previews about all the games, and when I say too much I mean it will suck lot of his time – it happened with me - and it will not be fair through not giving the chance to everyone, I believe in the posts I made already I expressed myself enough, so its time to pass the stick to another player, rather than making it a marathon.

In the rambles I made, I am aware that some of you found things they agreed with, others may not be even interested, but there are two facts I am sure about, the first one is that I have a clear conscious that I tried my best, which is satisfying enough for me, and the other fact is that we are all gathered here for the love of this team, so no bad feelings for disagreements.

So, for those who were wondering how to play a role, yes including you Taurean Tito Philpott J, you need to communicate with Pep. I am back to square one. But no need to do so at the moment, enjoy the game first!

Quote of the day: Deco

The Barcelona team which won the Champions League played a stylish brand of football for two seasons that any team would find hard to match.

Deco, former Barcelona player

Barcelona in pole position for Keirrison

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that Barcelona is interested in Coritiba forward and Brazilian youth international Keirrison de Souza Carneiro (19) (read more here).

Barcelona's good relations with Brazilian sport marketing agency Traffic could bring the striker to Barcelona in the future.

The paper also claims that Keirrison is on a ten men short-list of former Barcelona sports vice president Sandro Rosell who will take part in the presidential elections of 2010. Keirrison would be one of the players Rosell will promise to bring to Barcelona if he's chosen as the new president.

Based on reports in Brazilian news paper Lance and Brazilian sports site Globo Esporte, the situation today is that sports marketing agency Mais Sports of the brothers Naor and Marcos Malaquias has yesterday sold 80 per cent of the transfer rights of Keirrison to sports marketing agency Traffic. Mais Sports keeps on representing Keirrison and will have a part of the future transfer fee.

The other 20 per cent are owned by Brazilian first division club Coritiba. Because Keirrison's contract with the club expires next April, Coritiba prefers to sell their share now. Traffic wants to buy the 20 per cent and then transfer the player to local fourth division club Desportivo Brasil, that is owned by Traffic.

Desportivo Brasil would then loan the player out to Brazilian first division club Palmeiras. Keirrison would join Palmeiras in January in order to gain more experience before he makes the move to Europe in the coming years.

Read more:
Possible deal on Brazilian striker Keirrison
Hernanes could come next summer
Barcelona following Brazilian striker Dentinho

Watch a video of Keirrison:

Marquez (1): "I want to make history at this club"

In an interview with Catalan sports paper Sport, Barcelona central defender and Mexican international Rafael Márquez talked about the season so far.

It’s known that you’re the only remaining player within the signings from 2003 that remains with the club. What does this tell you?
That the club believes in me and that I’ve done my job well.

This is already your sixth season as a Barcelona player.
It’s a period in my professional career in which there have been highs and lows. There have been successes, disappointments and injuries. I've had many great moments here and I've also had moments in which injuries have held me back.

You're 29 years old, and your contract ends when you're 30. Do you know what will happen in your career after this?
One always looks for stability and the less change you deal with in life, the more stability you'll have.

Have you ever thought about hanging up your boots at Barça, or living in Barcelona afterwards? Or you wish to finish your career in your home country of Mexico?
I'm already European in my way of life, therefore my priority is to stay here and if I can renew my contract, I'll be very happy. And maybe, I'll even remain living in Barcelona afterwards.

Do you hold the same motivation that you've had since day one?
Of course, without a doubt. The important thing about this profession, and in many others as well, isn't simply to reach goals but to maintain oneself. Remaining at a high level and playing regularly isn't easy. Even the best players have both good and bad moments. I don't know of any player that has always been a regular. A player can often feel fatigued and weakened as this is a very demanding sport.

The physical trainers and the coach at Barça talk about the famous "invisible training". Do you utilize this and do you take care of yourself?
I'm very aware of my responsibility as a professional and I'm also in the final stage of my sporting career. If I wish to finish at my best level, I have to take care of myself more than ever. I do it effortlessly. There's nothing I have to lose.

Many things have been said and written about you. Many have said that the problem with Rijkaard's team was the lack of ambition to win titles.
I'll talk about myself only. Rafa Marquez wants to make history at Barça and when I leave this club, I want to write a beautiful page in this club's history and I want people to remember what I've done.

Would you like to become an important player in the history of the club?
I aim to do my best job possible without doubt and to win as many titles as possible.

Translated by: AL

This was the first part of this interview. The other parts will follow in the coming days with Márquez talking - amongst other things - about Guardiola and about the offers he received last summer.

The Video: Basel

No Almeria match list today

Like he did three weeks ago before the game against Atlético Madrid (read more here), Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola has decided not to announce today a match list for the Liga game against Almeria tomorrow. He will give the list of 18 names tomorrow, probably after the training session that will start at 12 pm.

After that last training, the players will lunch together and are then free for the afternoon. At 8:30 pm they are expected back at the Camp Nou, with the match against Almeria starting at 10 pm.

Medical: Gudjohsen and Pedro return to the pitch

Barcelona attacker and Iceland international Eidur Gudjohnsen (29) and Barcelona wing attacker and Spanish youth international Pedro (21), who are both recovering from injuries, returned to the training pitch today to do some running.

Both players have a hamstring injury (read more here and here) and are expected to again be available in one and a half week time.

Read more:

Poll result - Man of the match: Basel

This is the final result of this blog's Basel-Barcelona: Who was our man of the match? poll:

1. Bojan 31%
2. Messi 22%
3. The whole team 15%

See other poll results here

Iniesta (3): "Guardiola is an example for me"

In an interview with Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona midfielder Andrés Iniesta talked about the season so far.

(you can read the previous parts here)

At the start of the season you went to see Guardiola to gave him your support. He was going through a bad time?
Since the moment I was informed that he would be the new coach, I felt an incredible motivation. With him, I have a lot of confidence and I feel extremely well. He knows that he has the support of myself and the whole team. If we succeed in playing how he wants us to play, in the end we will win what we have to win.

Why is Guardiola so special to you?
For me he's a real example, not only as a player but also as a person, as a symbol, as someone who lives for Barcelona. I think he has to be one of the most important persons for this club. I hope he will have a great time as a coach because that would mean that we achieve what we want to achieve.

You're good performances this season are partly because of the new coach?
I'm sure of this because Guardiola gives me a lot of confidence. Having the confidence of the coach is essential and a great motivation. I'm very happy to have him as my coach. He wants us to show unity, dedication, that we do things properly. He's thinking about football 24 hours a day and I don't think anyone knows more about the game than he does. As a player he already showed that and this has only been growing since then. He'll be important for the team this season.

Things are going fine in the Champions League.
If we'll win the home game against Basel, we'll almost sure go through as group winners and that says a lot. If we can do that, the first part of the Champions League will already be behind us, which could be important now the Spanish cup will also start and we'll have a full calendar until Christmas. That's why it will be important to win that game.

When people now talk about the Rijkaard era, it seems you didn't work at all.
I think people only remember the last part of a period that generally was good but was disastrous at the end. We still felt the impact at the start of this season. Little by little people are again getting more involved and the team is giving reasons to be positive. Rijkaard and Guardiola have nothing in common, but that doesn't mean that Frank would be better or worse than Pep. With Frank, we always worked at the same level and maybe that was the problem, that you should change things if they don't work, but the past is the past.

If you always worked at the same level with Rijkaard, this means that the players were to blame?
I believe more in the player than in the coach. The first years, we won trophies, later we didn't and I think the players are mostly responsible for that and that we didn't do what we had to do. That was our main mistake. If you have to work, you have to work. Every player should know what he needs. Even if you only train one hour, you won't have any problem during the matches if you do it intensely. But if you train one hour without doing what you need to do, you will get weaker in some aspect.

What happened last year had an influence on the start of this season?
It's normal that people don't trust the team after the terrible times we went through. I felt hurt by all that, so for the people who came to the stadium or watched it on television, it could only have been worse. Because of that, I think it's normal that less people came to see the games. But we know that this will change if we play well and give everything from the start.

This was the third and last part of this interview.

You can read the previous parts here:
Iniesta (1): "I prefer to play on the left"
Iniesta (2): "I need to improve my scoring"

Difficult renewal negotiations with Busquets

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that the renewal negotiations with Barcelona defensive midfielder and Spanish youth international Sergio Busquets (20), that started last week, aren't going smoothly (read more here).

Although the player, whose contract expires next year, wants to stay with Barcelona and both parties want to reach an agreement as soon as possible, talks were suspended this week. The salary issue would be the main problem.

Madrid sports tabloid Marca claims that Busquets and Barcelona agree on the duration of the new contract, four years, but that they have conflicting positions on the fixed share and the incentives share of the salary. Catalan sports weekly paper Gol claims that Barcelona will probably have to pay five to ten times the salary they would have paid if a new contract would have been negotiated last summer.

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that several European top clubs would have shown interest for Busquets. Italian Serie A club AC Milan would be one of those clubs, with AC Milan sports director Arido Braida already having contacted the entourage of the player by phone.

British tabloid The Daily Mirror claims that Arsenal and Juventus are looking to sign Busquets. And Catalan sports paper Sport claims that Spanish national team coach Vicente del Bosque has recommended his former club Real Madrid to make a move for the Catalan midfielder.

Read more:

The Points: Basel

Valdés 6___6___6___8___6

Alves 7___8___8___7___7
Márquez 6___7___7___5___6,5
Puyol 6___7,5___7,5___7___7
Sylvinho 6___7,5___6,5___5___6

Xavi 8___8,5___8,5___7___7
Touré 6___7___6___6___7
Busquets 7___8,5___7,5___7__7,5

Messi 8___9___9___9___8,5
Bojan 8___8,5___8___5___7
Hleb 7___7,5___7,5___8___7

Cáceres 6___6___6___*___6
Henry 5___6___6,5___4___6
V. Sanchez 5___6___6___*___6


If you have seen the match, you can give your own points. If you know other papers or sites that give points, you can let me know. See previous points here.

Thursday 23 October 2008

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 this 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: NOT) 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 Ameria 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. Note: the central defenders should also be put in the right position (centre right and centre left). 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 6 pm barcelona time.

If you give your line-up before Guardiola announes his match list, or if all the available player or at least 20 players are included in the match list, you get one point for the correct line-up. If you do it after that announcement, you get half a point. Who will have 10 points somewhere down this season, can call himself the winner.

This is the fourth time this game is organized.
Until now, nobody gave the correct line-up.

Quote of the day: Gross

What happened to us, will happen to a lot of teams this season.

Christian Gross, Basel manager

The Pictures: Basel

(click on the pictures to enlarge)

(click on the pictures to enlarge)


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