Saturday 1 November 2008

Pique (1): "Messi is more decisive than Ronaldo"

Barcelona player Gerard Piqué gave an interview to Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo.

How do you look back at your transfer?
I'm very grateful to Manchester for giving me the chance to return to Barcelona without too many difficulties. My contract expired in 2009 and although they had a higher bid from another club, they accepted the offer from Barcelona. I keep good memories about my stay there. I became a man in Manchester: I arrived when I was 17 years old, I grew, I gained experience and strength.

You keep in contact with your former teammates?
Yes, I talk with some players and manager Ferguson calls me every now and then. The atmosphere in the dressingroom and the club were extraordinary.

Everything was positive?
Barcelona contacted us in February and we informed Manchester about it. In the beginning, they wanted me to stay but Rio Ferdinand and Vidic were Ferguson's first choices. It was normal he counted more on them, but I also wanted to play. The season before, I played with Zaragoza and I proved that I was able to play in the Liga. When we played the semi-final of the Champions League against Barcelona in the Camp Nou, I expected to start the game. Vidic was out at the last minute, but after the siesta Ferguson came to see me and told me that I wouldn't play, that it wasn't possible because of the interest of Barcelona. In the end, Wes Brown played and I was extremely disappointed.

You have any special stories?
Well, not so long ago some English guy pretended he was me and asked tickets for the games, six to Rio and six more to Wes. And he did it every game until one day they called me to say I could buy my own tickets from now. I told them that I didn't know anything and so we wanted to know who that guy was. We made a setup and the guy was caught when he came to collect the tickets. I still don't know how he got my telephone number...

You have played with both Ronaldo and Messi. Who should get the Golden Ball?
I went along very well with Cristiano Ronaldo. In the beginning we both didn't speak English very well, so we talked in Portuguese and Spanish. He's a great player, like Messi, although they are different. Cristiano is decisive, but Messi even more.

How about Guardiola?
When I signed, I didn't know who would be the coach. When I haard it would be Guardiola, I thought "perfect". But if it would have been somebody else, that would have been ok too cause whoever it would have been, I needed to start from scratch. So I didn't even ask who would be the coach. I just wanted to return to Barcelona. I knew I would come back one day or another and the circumstances were right.

Things are going well since you returned?
The truth is that I didn't expect to play so much. That has been a pleasant surprise and I try to give my best so Guardiola keeps putting his trust in me. I connect well with him. I saw him when I was young and as a player he already was a great coach.

He has the English style?
No, his style is "Barça style". I nonetheless think it's important that we have many players that have played in the Premier League. It's a perfect mixture with all those youth academy players.

Your return was complicated?
I was aware that there were people who wouldn't understand my transfer or my return home. I knew that they would closely follow me, that there would be criticism but I was prepared fot that because it was logical that there would be doubts. People don't know how and why I left the club. But little by little they could see who I am and what I can offer to the team.

This was the first part of this interview. The second part will be published tomorrow with Piqué talking - amongst other things - about his youth idols and about a possible transfer to Real Madrid.

Barça B - Liga 11: Barcelona-Badalona 1-0




Xavi Torres
Longás (88)

Nolito (88 Rayo)
Maric (67 Rochina)
Gai (64 Rueda)

29 Maric


yellow cards

Marc Martínez Aranda

injured/ill/coming back from injury
Víctor Vázquez

1. Villarreal B (10) 22
2. Badalona 21
3. Sant Andreu (10) 18
4. Alcoyano (10) 18
5. Lleida (10) 16
6. Gavá (10) 16
7. Sabadell (10) 15
8. Terrassa (10) 15
9. Benidorm (10) 13
10. Gramanet (10) 13
11. Barcelona Atlètic 13
12. Denia (10) 12
13. Alzira (10) 12
14. Orihuela (10) 12
15. Ontinyent (10) 11
16. Santa Eulalia (10) 11
17. Valencia Mestalla (10) 11
18. Eivissa (10) 9
19. Osasuna B (10) 8
20. Atlético Baleares (10) 8

The bottom four teams are relegated to the fourth division. The 16th placed team enters into a relegation playoff with the 16th placed team of another group of the third division.

o s e

Arsenal, Liverpool and Juventus monitor Xavi talks

British tabloid The Daily Mail claims that English Premier League clubs Arsenal and Liverpool could be interested in Barcelona attacking midfielder and Spanish international Xavi (28) in case the renewal negotiations with the player, whose contract expires in 2010, would fail.

Xavi would have had seven meetings with Barcelona officials about a new deal but no offer has yet been made. The Catalan midfielder, who is paid less than players like Lionel Messi, Thierry Henry and Carles Puyol, is looking for a significant improvement with any new contract.

A source close to Xavi is quoted as saying that Barcelona doesn't seem willing to pay him enough: "Barcelona seem to think that because he is Catalan he would never leave the club. This is a dangerous and arrogant attitude. He is one of the best midfielders in the world but Barcelona do not seem to realise his value."

Turin sports tabloid Tuttosport claims that Juventus is also still interested in Xavi and will try to sign the player if Barcelona would decide to let him go. The transfer fee would be at least 25-30 million euro° although article 17 of the FIFA transfer regulations could be used to lower that fee.

Read more:
Juventus interested in Xavi for next season
Barcelona makes official statement on Xavi
Xavi renewal talks advancing slowly

Match discussion: Malaga

This evening at 8 pm bt,
Barcelona plays the nineth game of the season against Málaga.

Málaga is ranked sixth in the Liga, Barcelona second. This week, the team drew one all with Mallorca in the Spanish cup. Last weekend, Málaga defeated Sevilla 0-1, playing with Arnau; Gámez, Rosário, Wellington, Callaja; Miguel Angel (86 Luque), Apoño; Eliseu (74 Fernando), Baha, Nacho; Adrián.

Málaga goalkeeper Francesc Arnau came through the Barcelona youth ranks and was during two seasons part of the first team squad before he left for Málaga in 2001. Central defender Ivan Cuadrado (1998-2001), defensive midfielder Miguel Angel (1996-1999) and wing attacker Albert Luque (1989-1997) also played with Barcelona youth teams.

Málaga squad list:
(not yet announced)

Barcelona squad list:
Valdés, Pinto, Alves, Márquez, Piqué, Puyol, Cáceres, 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)

Bojan (1): "I'm waiting for my moment"

Barcelona player Bojan gave an interview to Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo.

The last time you gave a press conference, you said you weren't worried about not scoring goals because you were sure they would come. Soon after, you scored two against Basel and one against Benidorm...
I was relaxed because I was satisfied with my performances, both at training and during the minutes I got to play. The goals were just a matter of time and it turned out that way.

You seem to be patient. You don't score but you don't lose confidence. You don't play and you don't complain...
We're a team, there are a lot of players. You need to have patience and grab your chance when you get it. That doesn't mean I'm accepting every situation, the opposite is true. If it was up to me, I played every game. I enjoy playing football. But I'm aware that I have great players ahead of me and I'm waiting for my moment to come.

You have a lot of self-esteem?
I believe in myself and in my talents and things are going well that way.

You have an objective, a goal, a dream?
Yes. To play every game and to retire at Barcelona. To be here forever and to win a lot of trophies.

The team is doing well and you're taking advantage of that. It wasn't like that last year. How do you explain that radical change while almost the same players are playing?
Last year is last year and I prefer not to talk about that. I'm doing very well at the moment and the team is winning.

How did you change yourself?
The fact that I'm now part of the first team squad for one year and a half has made me learn a lot, both as a person and as a player.

You like to play on the wing?
I feel good at all three positions up front, and even playing behind a centre forward. I'm not feeling uncomfortable on the wing.

This was the first part of this interview. You can read the following parts in the coming days with Bojan talking about his closest team-mates and about his life outside football.

Barcelona wanted to keep Chico this summer

Almería central defender and Spanish youth international José Manuel Flores "Chico" (21), who played last season on loan with Barcelona B in the fourth division, has said in an interview with Catalan sports paper Sport that Barcelona wanted to keep him this summer:

"Once the season ended, Guardiola offered me to start the pre-season with the first team but Barcelona and Cádiz, the club I still belonged to, couldn't reach an agreement.

At the same time, I received a proposal from Almería, that gave me the chance to play in the first division, and I accepted that. I would have been delighted to stay with Barcelona, although for me everything in the end also turned out well."

In an interview with Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo, Chico said that the initial plan was that he would play with Barcelona Atlètic: "I talked two or three times with Barcelona Atlètic coach Luis Enrique and his assistant Joan Barbarà. They told me back in June that they counted on me for their new project and I told hem that if I wouldn't find another deal, I would be happy to continue, but in the end things changed.

Everything has gone really fast over the last months. I didn't expect this because I went from Barcelona's second team to a first division club and I knew the competition would be hard. But I immediately had playing minutes, I scored my first goal and I was called-up for the Spanish under-21 team. I cannot ask more but this is not a time to relax. I'm delighted but the most dificult things is to keep this level now.

In the first division you have more space so in that sense it's more easier, but on the other hand the quality of the players is very good. You're playing against the best players of the world, so it's a big change. Although the level of Barcelona's second team was already quite high and almost all of them could play in the first team. And Guardiola knows that, that's why he already promoted Busquets, pedrito and Víctor Sánchez.

Barcelona has been a very positive experience for me. I developed as a player, although I came from a higher division. We won the league and promoted, I got to wear the Barcelona shirt and I got to know a lot of people, players and members of the technical staff.

When I said goodbye to Guardiola, I told him that it was a pleasure to have known him and to have learned so much from him. Guardiola wished me luck. I knew him as a player, but as a person and as a coach he's even better. He knows how to deal with a group and how to treat the players. I wish him the best. He has very clear ideas, he's a winner and he can transmit that to the group. Barcelona made an excellent choice."

Read more:
Barça B - Official: Chico to Almeria
Seven B players taking part in pre-season
Barça B: Chico could continue and be promoted

Live Match Chat: Malaga CF - 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?

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 time 218 people joined throughout the session
(with a peak amount up to 36 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:

Malaga CF - FC Barcelona
(Saturday 1 November 2008 @ 20:00 Local time)

Chat starts at 18:00 - 6 pm

Dentinho unaware of Barcelona interest

Asked about the rumours linking him with several European top clubs amongst which Barcelona (read more here), Corinthians forward and Brazilian youth international Bruno Ferreira Bonfim "Dentinho" (19) has said to journalists that he wasn't directly informed:

"I heard about it through the press. I haven't been personally contacted, nor were the club or my agent. I'm not thinking about it now. If one day there arrives an offer that is good for me and for Corinthians, we can sit around the table and talk.

I don't think it's bad for my career that I'm playing in the Brazilian second division. Corinthians is still a big name. Which player, even from the first division, wouldn't like to play here? I actually think I'm ready to move to Europe. No league is more difficult than the Brazilian second division. The fields are bad, the stadiums as well. But I'm feeling good here. I have a contract until 2012 so I'm calm about all this."

Brazilian sports paper Gazeta Esportiva claims that Dentinho, whose contract with Brazilian second division club Corinthians expires in 2012, has a buyout clause of 40 million euro°. The Brazilian striker would himself own 20 per cent of his transfer rights.

Read more:
Possible deal on Brazilian striker Keirrison
Barcelona following Brazilian striker Dentinho
Barcelona interest got Douglas new Gremio deal

Watch this video of Dentinho:

[Henrique] Bayer Leverkusen-Wolfsburg

Bayer Leverkusen played yesterday their eleventh Bundesliga game of the season. Bayer defeated Wolfsburg 2-0.

Brazilian central defender and Barcelona loan out Henrique (22) 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.

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.

1. Bayer Leverkusen 24
2. Hoffenheim (10) 22
3. Hamburg (10) 20
4. Bayern München (10) 18
5. Hertha (10) 18
6. Schalke (10) 17
7. Dortmund (10) 17
8. Wolfsburg 16
9. Stuttgart (10) 16


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

Friday 31 October 2008

Quote of the day: Arnau

Víctor Valdés is a great player, he's already playing many years as Barcelona's first goalkeeper and if nothing bad happens he will make history at the club just like Andoni Zubizarreta did.

Francesc Arnau,
Málaga goalkeeper and former Barcelona player

Barcelona makes official statement on Xavi

Barcelona issued today an official statement denying rumours about the situation of Barcelona midfielder Xavi:

"Futbol Club Barcelona denies reports in the press that in recent hours have been claiming that the club was considering the transfer of midfielder Xavi Hernàndez this summer.

Both the technical secretary and the current coaching staff, and with the full support of the Board of Directors, are convinced that Xavi Hernàndez is an essential part of the team’s new project.

There is such a conviction on this issue that the player and club are in discussions regarding the extension of the contract that currently binds the two parties until 30 June 2010.

Having joined the club’s youth system more than a decade ago, Xavi has enjoyed an impeccable career in the first team of FC Barcelona, his football talents are widely recognised and his implication in the club’s project and values are not up for discussion."

Asked about the rumour saying that Barcelona would have be willing to let Xavi go this summer in order to buy Arsenal midfielder Cesc (read more
here), Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola said today at a press conference that this even cannot be discussed: "While I am Barcelona manager, Xavi stays here. This is non negotiable and there's nothing more to say."

Read more:
Xavi renewal talks advancing slowly

Busquets agent optimistic about renewal

Asked about the rumours on difficult renewal negotions of Barcelona defensive midfielder and Spanish youth international Sergio Busquets (20) (read more here), the player's agent Josep Maria Orobitg has denied in an interview with Italian football site Tuttomercatoweb that there are serious problems:

"Talking about difficulties with the renewal is not correct and does not correspond with the reality. We are still talking, for now there has only been one meeting, so to speak already about problems seems out of place.
On the other hand, it is true that he's an interesting young player who, as his contract expires at the end of the season, could be signed for a very low price.

That's why he is followed by several Spanish, English and Italian clubs, although I won't give you any names. Because the talks with Barcelona are still ongoing, it wouldn't be right to give the names but I can assure you that I'm not involved in any type of negotiations with any of those clubs.

We're talking about a very young player but above all a player who has been created, so to say, by Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola, who is also represented by me. So I don't only think he will stay in Spain but I'm very optimistic about his continuation in Barcelona."

Asked about the renewal negotiations with Busquets, Barcelona president Joan Laporta said earlier this week at a press conference that he's also optimistic about a contract renewal: "The relations between the club and the player are excellent. He has made an incredible progress, something we thought could happen when we promoted him to the first team.

We're talking with his agent but we're also in contact with his father, a former player who is part of the technical staff of the club, and we know that his entourage thinks that Barcelona is the best club for him to keep making progress."

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that Barcelona wants to close the renewals of Busquets and Xavi as soon as possible, preferably in the coming days, so the club can then start working on the cases of Márquez, Puyol and Eto'o.

Read more:
Milan offers Busquets twice as much as Barcelona
Busquets not listening to offers by other clubs
The Arabic tattoo of Busquets

Sylvinho replaces Abidal in Malaga list

Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola has earlier today announced the list of 18 players for the nineth game of the Spanish league against Málaga tomorrow evening at 8 pm.

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

Sylvinho makes his second Liga list of the season.

Jorquera is not included, like Gudjohnsen and Pedro who only got the green light of the medical staff this morning. Milito, Keita and Abidal are not available because of injuries.

Medical: Green light for Gudjohnsen and Pedro

Barcelona attacker Eidur Gudjohnsen (29) and Barcelona wing attacker Pedro (21) received this morning the green light from the Barcelona medical staff.

Both players were nevertheless not included in the match list for tomorrow's game against Málaga.

Gudjohnsen got injured during an international game with Iceland on wednesday 15 october (read more here). He had a slight tear in one of the hamstring muscles in the back of his left thigh.

Pedro got injured while training with the Spanish under-21 national team on wednesday 8 october (read more here). He suffered a fibrilar rupture in one of the hamstrings muscles in the back of his right thigh.

Read more:
Medical: Gudjohnsen and Pedro join group training
Medical: Abidal out for one week
Medical: Keita probably out for two weeks

Coritiba receives part of Henrique fee

Brazilian sports site Globo Esporte claims that Brazilian first division club Coritiba has received 314 000 euro° for the transfer of Barcelona central defender Henrique (22).

Henrique joined Barcelona last summer from Palmeiras and was immediately loaned out to German Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen (read more here).

In January of this year, Henrique left then second division club Coritiba for Palmeiras and the fee is a consequence of the FIFA solidarity mechanism.

FIFA rules state that a proportion (5%) of any compensation paid to the previous club will be distributed to the club or clubs that were involved in the training and education of the player. This distribution will be made in proportion to the number of years the player has been registered with the relevant clubs between the age of 12 and 23.

Brazilian sports paper Lance claims that Brazilian local club Colombo and Brazilian first division club Palmeiras will also receive a part of the five per cent.

Read more:
How is Henrique doing at Bayer leverkusen?
OFFICIAL: Henrique Adriano Buss
Henrique will be loaned out to Leverkusen

Barcelona wanted Cesc-Hleb package deal

Catalan radio station Ona Fm claims that Barcelona wanted to bring Arsenal midfielder and Spanish international Cesc Fàbregas (21) to Barcelona last summer.

A few days before the start of the European championships in June, Barcelona president Joan Laporta, then Barcelona sports vice president Marc Ingla and one other unidentified Barcelona official met with the entourage of Cesc somewhere in the south of Catalonia to discuss a possible transfer.

Barcelona wanted a complete renewal of the squad and would have been willing to sell Barcelona midfielder Xavi (28) and Barcelona midfielder Eidur Gudjohnsen (29) in order to convince Cesc to join Barcelona in the summer.

Because the Barcelona fans wouldn't accept that Barcelona would pay a high transfer fee for a former youth player, Barcelona planned to include Cesc in a package deal with Alexander Hleb and to only make public one transfer fee for the two transfers. In the end, the Catalan player preferred to stay with Arsenal.

Read more:
Barcelona monitoring Cesc situation
Cesc dreams of Barcelona return
Barcelona could throw in players for Cesc

Bojan and Busquets nominated for Golden Boy

Turin sports tabloid Tuttosport has drawn up a shortlist of 40 candidates to win the Golden Boy trophy for players born in 1988 or later.

Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets (20) and Barcelona forward Bojan Krkic (18) are included in the list. The winner will be announced in December.

Barcelona player Lionel Messi won the trophy in 2005, former Barcelona player Cesc Fàbregas won it in 2006. Last year, Atlético Madrid forward Sergio Aqüero was elected.

The 2008 shortlist:

Adu (Usa)
Agüero (Arg)
Anderson (Bra)
Balotelli (Ita)
Bale (Wal)
Banega (Arg)
Bendtner (Den)
Boateng (Ger)
Breno (Bra)
Busquets (Spa)

Capel (Spa)
Derdiyok (Swi)
Di Maria (Arg)
Di Santo (Arg)
Giovani (Mex)
Jovetic (Mon)
Kaboré (BFa)
Kalinic (Cro)
Kroos (Ger)
Krkic (Spa)

Marcelo (Bra)
Mata (Spa)
Michedlidze (Geo)
Okaka (Ita)
Özil (Ger)
Papastathopoulos (Gre)
Pato (Bra)
Piatti (Arg)
Pjanic (Bos)
Rakitic (Cro)

Ramsey (Wal)
Renato Augusto (Bra)
Richards (Eng)
Sarpong (Net)
Sánchez (Chi)
Sidnei (Bra)
Simão (Moz)
Sulejmani (Ser)
Vela (Mex)
Walcott (Eng)

Messi (2): "We want the Liga back"

Barcelona player Lionel Messi gave an interview to Italian sports paper La Gazzetta dello Sport.

(read the first part of the interview here)

You can win the Golden Ball this year?
I don't know but I sure would like to be the first Argentinian to win it. Di Stefano won it being a Spaniard, Sivori being an Italian.

Your great friend Ronaldinho is not one of the 30 candidates.
I hear him often, we're sending text messages. He's glad in Milan, he's adapting. Ronnie is a phenomenon, also as a person. When you start to know him better in Italy, you'll agree with me.

Who would you give the Golden Ball and the FIFA World Player award to?
To Agüero. But Torres and Xavi deserve it more. From Cristiano Ronaldo to Kakà, from Ibrahimovic to Rooney, they're all in the running. Iniesta is missing and I do not understand why: he's an excellent player."

Cristiano Ronaldo is the favourite?
He's a great player. Lastyear he was ahead of me in the Golden Ball and I was ahead of him in the World Player. It will be again a good fight.

There are very few "Italians" on the list. Ibrahimovic has a chance?
He scores incredible goals and he improved a lot since Mourinho arrived at Inter. You can see that he enjoys himself.

You prefer to win the Liga or the Champions this season?
We didn't win the Liga for two years and we want it back. The Champions is a different story: you should take it match by match and you need some luck.

Who is the most dangerous rival in Europe?
If I have to choose one: Liverpool. They have Torres, Gerrard, Kuyt, Mascherano, it's a difficult team to play against. Perhaps there are teams that play better but I see them reaching the final in Rome.

And in Spain?
Real Madrid. But Valencia and Seville are also very effective teams. And Villarreal plays the best football, together with Barcelona.

Giuseppe Rossi plays with Villareal.
I saw him against Atletico Madrid the other day. He always scores, he has a great future ahead.

This was the second and last part of this interview.

You can read the first part here:
Messi (1): "I'm not going to change my style"

Guardiola chases euphoria away

Go away!
Stay out of here!

(click the cartoon to enlarge)

see more cartoons here

Thursday 30 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 Málaga 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 three hours before the start of the game, in this case: until 5 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 sixth time this game is organized.

Zeli 1 point

Quote of the day: Ferguson

Real Madrid, as General Franco's club, had a history of being able to get whoever and whatever they wanted, before democracy came to Spain.

Sir Alex Ferguson,
Manchester United manager

Medical: Abidal out for one week

Barcelona's medical staff has announced after a series of tests that Barcelona left back defender and French international Eric Abidal (29) has a meniscal cyst on his right knee.

The French defender had to leave the training session this morning with pain in his right knee and a series of tests by the medical staff determined the extent of the problem.

Abidal will certainly not be available for the next two games and will follow a recovery program in the coming days. If the injury doesn't get better after one week, the Frenchman could undergo an arthroscopy, a minimally invasive surgical procedure to examine the damage.

Read more:

The Video: Benidorm

Xavi renewal talks advancing slowly

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that the negotiations on the contract renewal of Barcelona attacking midfielder and Spanish international Xavi (28), whose current contract expires in 2010, are still going on (read more here).

Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain has yesterday held another meeting with Iván Corretja, the agent of Xavi.

The negotiations are advancing in the right direction but, although both parties are willing to close a deal, there are still important differences. The offer of Barcelona wouldn't be enough for the player. There would be different opinions about the real status of the Catalan midfielder within the Barcelona squad.

Barcelona wants to close the renewals of Xavi and Busquets as soon as possible and preferably in the coming days, so the club can then start working on the cases of Márquez, Puyol and Eto'o.

Read more:
Juventus interested in Xavi for next season
Xavi renewal talks still going on
Xavi could be offered contract for life

Medical: Keita returns to the pitch

Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita (28), who is recovering from some muscles sprains in his left leg, returned to the training pitch today to do some running and some exercises apart from the group.

Keita got injured during the game against Athletic Bilbao one and a half week ago (read more here) and was then expected to again be available in two weeks time.

Read more:

Poll result - Man of the match: Benidorm

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

1. Bojan 66%
2. Guardiola 7%
3. The whole team 6%

See other poll results here

[Crosas] Kilmarnock-Celtic Glasgow

Celtic won yesterday against Kilmarnock with 4-0 and qualified for the semi-finals of the Scottish league cup, that will be played in January.

Former Barcelona midfielder Marc Crosas (20) was not available due to a hamstring injury he suffered last week 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.

Wednesday 29 October - League Cup 1/4 finals: Kilmarnock-Celtic Glasgow 1-3
Injured. Crosas has a hamstring injury.

Asenjo not considering foreign offers

Asked about the rumours linking Valladolid goalkeeper and Spanish youth international Sergio Asenjo (19) with several European top clubs, amongst which Barcelona (read more here), Fernando Redondo, one the player's agents, has said in an interview with Spanish news agency EFE that the goalkeeper will certainly not leave in January:

"There's not a chance that he will leave during the winter transfer window. First, because he cannot legally join another Spanish club at that time and second, because we didn't even look into the legislation in other countries since we're not considering that option.

There are no negotiations going on at this moment. Another thing is that clubs are maybe fiddling around, waiting to make a move, but at this moment there's nothing concrete. We're now focusing on doing our best for Valladolid.

The future of Asenjo is in the fridge until the end of the year when we will hold talks with the club to see if a higher buyout clause is possible. We shouldn't put extra pressure on him or make his losing his head."

Read more:
Asenjo candidate to be back-up for Valdés

Messi (1): "I'm not going to change my style"

Barcelona player Lionel Messi gave an interview to Italian sports paper La Gazzetta dello Sport.

In Spain, many people say that Messi is too individualistic.
I play like that since I was a boy and I'm not going to change. I'm an instinctive player, an individualist who nevertheless works for the team. Rijkaard and Guardiola have understood this.

Guardiola is different from Rijkaard?
Guardiola likes a lot to be between the players, to make us feel his presence, to speak with us. He still seems a player.

You feel liberated from the shadow of Ronaldinho and Deco?
Without them, Barcelona's way of playing has changed and everyone has benefited from that: the ball is doing more work now.

What is your role in the team?
I got used to playing on the rigth wing, close to the side, although I always try to cut towards the center. I also like to play as centre forward with more freedom of movement, like I often do under Guardiola.

Maradona has critiziced you.
Things have been said at the time. I know that Diego respects me and I don't hold anything against him.

Who were your idols when you were young?
Aimar above all, when he played with River Plate. But also D'Alessandro and the Colombian Angel.

Not Maradona?
I've only seen him play once, when I was five years old. My father took me to the stadium of Newell's Old Boys, the club he was a fan of. But I don't remember anything.

Now he'll be your coach at the national team.
No problem, it's a great person. I admire him for what he has given to the Argentinian football.

Argentina is in chaos...
But I am optimistic: the generation that won the Olympics is coming. If in 2006 we would have been more fortunate in the quarter finals against Germany, we could have won the tournament. Argentina didn't win the World cup for too long.

This was the first part of this interview. The second part will follow soon, with Messi talking -amongst other things - about the opponents in the Liga and the Champions League.

The Points: Benidorm

Pinto 6___6

Alves 6___6,5
Piqué 6___6
Cáceres 6___5
Abidal 6___6

V. Sánchez 6___5,5
Touré 6___6
Busquets 6___5,5

Hleb 6___5,5
Bojan 7___5,5
Sylvinho 7___6

Abraham 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.

Four Barcelona candidates for FIFA World player

FIFA has yesterday announced the names of the nominees for the title of FIFA World Player 2008.

Four Barcelona players are included in the list:
Samuel Eto'o, Andrés Iniesta, Lionel Messi and Xavi.

The list of 23 candidates has been drawn up by football experts from the Football Committee. The final decision will now be made by the captains and head coaches of the national teams.

At the beginning of December, FIFA will announce the names of the three players who have received the most votes and the winner will be revealed at the 18th FIFA World Player Gala at the Zurich Opera House on 12 January 2009.

The 2008 shortlist:

Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo)
Sergio Agüero (Argentina)
Andrei Arshavin (Russia)
Michael Ballack (Germany)
Gianluigi Buffon (Italy)
Iker Casillas (Spain)
Deco (Portugal)
Didier Drogba (Côte d'Ivoire)
Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon)
Cesc Fabregas (Spain)
Steven Gerrard (England)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden)
Andrés Iniesta (Spain)
Kaká (Brazil)
Frank Lampard (England)
Lionel Messi (Argentina)
Franck Ribéry (France)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
John Terry (England)
Fernando Torres (Spain)
Ruud van Nistelrooy (Netherlands)
David Villa (Spain)
Xavi (Spain)

Wednesday 29 October 2008

Quote of the day: Hleb

Maybe I don't score enough, but I prefer giving the last pass over shooting on goal.

Alexander Hleb,
Barcelona player

How to follow this blog?

Last week this blog suddenly had two "followers". Apparently there exists this thing where you can add yourself as follower of a blog.

There are several ways to become a follower of a blog, but the easiest ways is to click the "Follow this Blog" link under the "Followers" widget you see at the left on your screen.

To become a follower, I think you should have a
Google Account. Which is easy to create and will make it for example more easy to post comments on blogs (since you don't have to fill in your nickname everytime). A Gmail account comes with a built-in Google Account.

When you become a follower of a blog, the blog will also be added to the Reading List on your Blogger dashboard. Additionally, you can become a follower of any blog or URL.

Since a while, you are also able to subscribe to this blog. This way you get informed when new content has been posted . You can subscribe through the "Subscribe To This Blog" widget at the left of the screen (scroll down one inch).

The Pictures: Benidorm

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