Wednesday 30 September 2009

new barca reading material

under the title "fc barcelona 2010. covering the race to the presidency of the greatest sports club in the world", i have launched a small niche blog that will focus on next year's presidential elections

we will follow all pre-electoral movements and will start with a series on the espionage case that was made public last week

you can visit the new blog at:

former collaborators and readers of this blog have meanwhile set up "totalBarca", a new fc barcelona news project.

you can read them at:

Saturday 5 September 2009

The End (final draft)

Today, I have to basically repeat what I already said a little two months ago. Some changes in my personal life mean that I won't have the time anymore that I think is necessary to keep up the level of this blog nor to get things organized for people to join in and deliver more of the same. The quality of the content has always been our main concern and quality asks time.

We didn't only bring the big stories that attract the most readers. We didn't only check the main sources and took the most sensational stories from there. We actually checked my sources. We didn't take advantage of the work of others by copy-pasting stories from other sites. But so all that asks a lot of time.

This started as a little personal blog to keep track of what really was going on and it has been growing ever since until the peak we have today. I'm pretty sure that the experts wouldn't have given a cent for this ugly duck without 2.0 stuff but I think we have shown that with a sense for quality and hard work alone you can become the number one and attract the most readers.

And still there was so much more to do. We were perfectly aware of the weak points of this place but knew at the same time exactly how those could be solved. It's a little frustrating to have the blueprint of the perfect Barça fan site in your head but knowing at the same time you won't be able to make it work.

It should have become a combination of :
- a Barcelona news and opinion machine (independent from the madridista-controlled spanish and english language -and so international- media),
- a charity machine (this gives me the chance to inform you that because of the growing number of visitors and benefits - and a little contribution from my side - we will be able to let two African children finish the primary school, thank you for that!),
- a place for people from all over the world to meet,
- a place for young and/or talented people to develop some skills in an international environment.

Will I miss it? Yes. I already do and I will even more if I start reading stories that are mistranslated, misinterpreted, twisted or sensationalized. Or if I read stories that won't be picked up by the mainstream media. I will have to do without my continuous Barcelona news shots and with the knowledge I won't be any longer the probably best informed Barcelona fan in the world.

Will this blog be back? Never say never, but don't count on it. Will I be back? Maybe with some little things in the margin that don't ask a lot of time. If it's good, you will hear about it. If you cannot wait, you probably should follow things on twitter. Men or women with a plan who think I can be of any help, know where they can find me. In general, I will from now on be among the millions of anonymous readers out there and maybe in the future contributing behind the scenes to the greatness of the club.

I saw that last time many people asked about where to go to now. Regarding the news in English, it is probably best to combine the well-known football news sites and the club's official website with the stream. To know more, you should start learning Spanish and Catalan.

Regarding the discussion side, I first think that this blog was mainly a news source and wasn't really the most suited place to discuss things. There are many thousands of places out there where you can discuss Barcelona --- blogs, sites, forums, social networks, in English and/or your own language, focused on Barcelona only or on football or sport in general.

After the treble successes, some people have jumped on the Barcelona band wagon and new projects have been launched in the past weeks. And some more projects are being prepared and are expected to start off soon, so I guess the brainstorm sessions to attract you as reader are already going on. And the disappearance of this blog will probably lead to some more projects being set up. You can only benefit from that. Every place has its own vibe, so just google a bit around and I'm sure you will find yourself a new spot.

The live match chat will go on, bookmark it now. Besides that, I just want to point out this little hidden pearl and – because I still owe someone something – this forum, the grand old lady of Barcelona sites in English and run by people who are only in it because of the love for the club and not to satisfy an oversized ego or to win some easy money. My kind of culé basically.

This blog will stay up as a remembrance of the best year ever in the history of the greatest club. If you're going through a bad time, you can come and get some renewed energy here.

I want to thank all the people who have been involved with this blog, writing things, translating things, looking for things, sending me suggestions, offering their help. They made this blog to what it was. Over the past weeks, I couldn't keep everything turning anymore like I should, some plates went to the ground, except my apologies for that.

I want to thank you for reading, commenting and spreading the word. I have enjoyed the ride, I hope you had a good time too. It has been a pleasure serving you, take care.

Visca'l Barça!

Latest news

The Front: Sport

The Front: El Mundo Deportivo

Txiki: "It's difficult for Barça to sell players"
Estiarte: "Pep cannot say that he's the best"
Cesc talks about Barcelona exit
Youth players take part in training sessions
Inter Milan has first option on Messi

Quote of the day: Pinto
Cocktail of the day: Chygrynskiy
Music Video of the day: U2
Student of the day: Messi
Book of the day: "One year in paradise"
Getafe-Barcelona kicks off at Saturday 12, 6 pm
Messi scores best goal of Champions League
Barça B - Transfer summer 2009: Overview
Riera confirms Barcelona interest
Youth: Nelson Mandela and Camara (FundEsport)
Iniesta not worried about contract renewal
Shakhtar winger Willian on winter target list
Chygrynskiy: "Barcelona is a religion"
Guardiola wanted to replace Henry this summer
Barcelona scouting French third division club
Messi: "Everything is the merit of Guardiola"
[2008] Ribery was on top of Guardiola's wish list
The Front: Sport
Barcelona keeping an eye on Robinho
Iniesta writes treble book
The Front: El Mundo Deportivo
Vilanova: "There are no doubts about Ibrahimovic"
Pique rejected Madrid approach this summer
Tickets for Club World Cup on sale
Laporta satisfied with transfer summer
Milito: "I am looking forward to face Barcelona"
Contract duration problem for Marquez renewal

The Front: Sport


Messi: "This is a very special game to me because it is played in my hometown. We will win."

Maradona: "Messi is better than ever. He should now stop being a boy and turn into a man."

Iniesta: "I want to retire at Barça"

Puyol, Piqué and Xavi starters

The Front: El Mundo Deportivo


Argentina-Brazil, 2:30 am - Argentina plays for the world cup

Argentina counts on the magic of Leo against Brazil

Messi faces Alves in the dramatic shock of Rosario

Txiki: "It's difficult for Barça to sell players"

Speaking at a press conference, Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain looked back at the summer transfer window.

The squad
"Having a shorter squad is not a risk. You can have a larger squad but then you have the problem of managing all that and that carries some risks too. I don't see a problem compared with next season.

The exit of Jorquera won't have an effect because we just return to the situation of having two goalkeepers at the first team. Chygrynskiy will have more minutes than Cáceres. The minutes of Hleb will be for Pedro. And both Jonathan and Tiago could take advantage of the sale of Gudjohnsen. Maxwell will probably play more than Sylvinho and Ibrahimovic replaces Eto'o. And the club also hopes that Milito will have recovered soon.

It's true that Pep has said that the squad is rather short but he has also said that he has a lot of confidence in the youth players, who adapt easily to the way of playing. We have played with a lot of home-grown players in last season's Champions League final, we ended the Super Cup in Monaco with eight home-grown players on the pitch and during the pre-season we have seen that there are talented youth players coming through. We are starting the season with a good and secure feeling, and we are very satified with the current squad."

The winter tranfer window
"Although we don't really like the winter market, we will be monitoring things over the coming months since we haven't been able to do everything we wanted this summer because of the very high and actually shocking prices."

"We have a great relationship with Manchester City and during the talks the name of Robinho came up. We didn't make a concrete bid because every time we talked about it, they made clear that he was not for sale."

Selling players
"It's difficult for Barça to get money for the players we sell. We basically sell because we don't want the player anymore. We don't need them anymore and the other teams of course know that too. The salary is one of the other problems when selling players. In any case, we don't want to be the best sellers. Our first objective is to buy players and to improve what we already have."

Read more:
Transfer summer 2009: The Final Overview

Estiarte: "Pep cannot say that he's the best"

Barcelona head of external relations and close friend of Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola gave an interview to Catlan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo. Some excerpts.

Tell the truth. Did you and Pep ever think about winning the treble before you started?
Not at all.

What did Pep thought when he took over the team?
Before I joined Barcelona, he spoke highly about this Barca. And sometimes, at dinner and after drinking a glass of wine, he jokingly he said that he sensed something. And that feeling grew as time went by.

In Rome , when the celebrations were almost finished, the giant screen captured you at the time that you embraced, exited, like brothers. What did Pep say to you at that moment?
It remembered me of the Copa del Rey in Mestalla. There he said to me "We're rolling Manel".

And in Rome ?
Well, he said "We rolled". That is his phrase, that is so him, he repeats it often when we win, it's his way to express his happiness, like when we won 2-6 in Madrid. The thing is that there in Mestalla he exclaimed it with deep joy, watching so many people happy, celebrating the first title.

How did he experience it? Because it seems as if he internalizes things.
Pep is aware of things, he often says when nobody is around that he is so lucky to be able to live this. Even in Rome, in a moment of maximum joy, with thousands of people cheering he never, I repeat to make it very clear, never something like "Oh, I'm so good", not even something like "How good we are!". No, he expresses things differently, he says "This is beautiful, how lucky we are, let's enjoy the moment". Always with modesty. It is not a show, because at those moments you are yourself, you can not hide your feelings or reactions. Although of course nobody could blame him if he would say "I'm the best", he cannot do it.

What is clear is that he seems quite sure about what he is doing.
Sometimes he comments how he will approach a particular issue and he says to me "Manel, I see it like this". I remember Soria, after losing the first league game against Numancia, he was silent for two hours on the bus. When he finally opened his mouth it was to say that he was not going to change anything, that he would continue with his ideas. If he strongly believes in something he will go all the way.

But there will be moments of doubt.
Well, he always tries to reason a lot. And before deciding, even though it seems that he gets carried away by instinct, he's thinking about things. Sometimes you're talking to him and you see that he is not listening because suddenly he is pondering something in all his aspects.

If Pep is sanctioned, he asks you to sit besides him in the stands. Why does he prefer to have you near at that moment?
He asks. As in the field of Bayern. He tells me to fix it with protocol to be together. Why? Well, he talks to me about football. And talks. I guess it's a confidence problem. There I felt that my presence helped him, especially before the game. UEFA forced him to be there an hour and a half earlier. Lonely moments, without being able to go to the dressing room, which was close. The nerves ate him and I tried to distract him until the game started, then he relaxed. It was the longest half hour of my life.

How are you with the players?
The "capi", Puyol, asked me to sit with him at Stamford Bridge too. And he said what would happen! Incredible! When Essien scored, his comment was "Manel, don't suffer, we will score when they won't be able to react". His words comforted me, yes, but the minutes kept going. When there were only 10 minutes left, he repeated that I should not worry. After 90 minutes, I didn't say anything and in the 92nd minute when Iniesta scored he shouted "I told you! I told you!". These are unrepeatable moments, Andrés ran down the sideline and I embracing the captain who even gave me kisses.

What is the goal now?
The same. We have something that we didn't have a year ago, the certainty of knowing that this Barça is a great team individually and collectively. The team knows it. That's positive. Half of the work is done, the quality football is there now. There is quality, there is work, there is security and confidence.

translated by: barcagirl

Cesc talks about Barcelona exit

Asked about why he left Barcelona in 2003, Arsenal midfielder and Spain international Cesc Fabregas (22) has said in an interview with television network Gol TV that the club didn't really believe in him:

"At Barça, they used to renew your contract every year and there were players like Leo, Piqué and others who they really believed in.

I was average, not good, not bad. I was there but I wasn't one of those they expected to have a big future. They believed more in others than in me. So I decided that the best thing was to move, to change."

Read more:
Cesc could arrive in June...or December
Arsenal fearing to lose Cesc on the cheap

Youth players take part in training sessions

Over the past two days several youth players have joined the training sessions of the first team.

On Thursday, Barcelona Atlètic players Jonathan, Masip, Nolito, Ilie and Montoya and Juvenil A player Gustavo joined in, this morning the selected ones were Barcelona Atlètic players Luque, Nolito, Ilie and Armando and Juvenil A players Etock, Gustavo, Terrón and Balliu.

Inter Milan has first option on Messi

Italian sports paper La Gazzetta dello Sport claims that Inter Milan has an informal agreement with Barcelona right wing attacker and Argentinian international Lionel Messi (22).

Inter president Massimo Moratti would have closed a verbal deal with the player's father and agent Jorge Messi that they will first negotiate with the Italian club if Messi would have to leave Barcelona in the future for whatever reason, also because the player would prefer to join Inter in that case.

Read more:
Messi and Iniesta until 2016
Messi: "Everything is the merit of Guardiola"
Renewals for Puyol, Marquez, Iniesta and Messi

Quote of the day: Pinto

Ibrahimovic doesn't just shoot hard... He hurts people! Somebody should tell the president about this and I should get a pay rise.

José Manuel Pinto,
Barcelona player

Friday 4 September 2009

Cocktail of the day: Chygrynskiy

The Boadas Cocktail Bar in Barcelona has made a cocktail named "Chygrynskiy", in honour of Barcelona's new signing.

The cocktail consists of two-quarters vodka, one-quarter lemon juice, one-quarter cranberry juice, some ginger ale, a couple of cucumber slices and a cherry.

Barkeeper Jerónimo Vaquero, who invented the cocktail, explains: "I analyzed the person, who is tall and strong. So we needed a powerful combination, and we couldn't leave out the vodka of course. You should drink it slowly, little by little, without hurrying. It's very fresh and digestive, ideal for the late afternoon. It's a big glass and the price is 7 and a half euros."

Music Video of the day: U2

One of the two videos that accompanies "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight", the new single of Irish rock band U2, is a live-action video filmed at the Camp Nou in Barcelona on the 360° Tour.

watch the music video here

Student of the day: Messi

School report of Barcelona player Lionel Messi when he was 12 years old and studied at the Las Heras primary school in Rosario. Messi got a 10 for Physical Education, an 8 for Plastic Education and Musical Education and a 6 for most of the other courses.

Book of the day: "One year in paradise"

Barcelona player Andrés Iniesta presented today his book
"One year in paradise. My diary of the treble."

read more about the book here

Getafe-Barcelona kicks off at Saturday 12, 6 pm

The kick off time for Barcelona's second league game of the 2009-2010 season has been announced earlier today. Barcelona will play away against Getafe on Saturday 12 september at 6 pm.

Saturday 12
18.00 Getafe-Barcelona
18.00 Atlético Madrid-Racing
20.00 Espanyol-Real Madrid
22.00 Sevilla-Zaragoza

Sunday 13
17.00 Deportivo-Málaga
17.00 Villarreal-Mallorca
17.00 Tenerife-Osasuna
17.00 Sporting-Almería
19.00 Valladolid-Valencia
21.00 Xerez-Athletic Club

Messi scores best goal of Champions League

The goal of Barcelona player Lionel Messi against Olympique Lyon at the Camp Nou was last week chosen by UEFA as the best goal of last season's Champions League. Iniesta's late equalizer at Stamford Bridge in the semi-final against Chelsea finised second and the free-kick scored by Lyon player Juninho against Barcelona was third.

Barça B - Transfer summer 2009: Overview


Edu Oriol
former club: sant andreu (3)
age: 22

official announcement: wednesday 17 june
contract duration: 2 years

former club: villarreal c (4)
age: 18

official announcement: thursday 16 july
contract duration: 2 years

former club: cartagena (3>2)
age: 24

official announcement: friday 17 july
contract duration: 2 years

former club: las palmas b (3)
age: 21

official announcement: wednesday 22 july
contract duration: 1 year

Jaume Sobregrau
former club: huesca (2)
age: 22

official announcement: thursday 23 july
contract duration: 1 year [?]

Jonathan Soriano
former club: albacete (2)
age: 23

official announcement: thursday 30 july
contract duration: 1 year

Elvis Onyema
former club: ceuta (3) through bellinzona (swi, 1)
age: 22

official announcement: thursday 13 august
contract duration: 1 year


Abraham González
new club: cádiz (3>2)
age: 23
barcelona player since: 2007

new club: Sporting Gijón B (1) (back from loan)
age: 22
barcelona player since: 2008

Goran Maric
new club: Norwich City (eng, 2>3)
age: 25
barcelona player since: 2008 (also between 1999 and 2001)

Xavi Torres
new club: málaga (1)
age: 22
barcelona player since: 2007

Héctor Verdés
new club: ...
age: 25
barcelona player since: 2008

David Córcoles
new club: recreativo huelva (1>2)
age: 24
barcelona player since: 2007

Sergio Urbano
new club: premia (4)
age: 23
barcelona player since: 2006 (last season on loan at Sabadell and Reus)

Alberto Botía
new club: Sporting Gijón (1) (on loan)
age: 20
barcelona player since: 2003

new club: Orihuela (3)
age: 23
barcelona player since: 2008

Dani Toribio
new club: malaga b (4)
age: 20
barcelona player since: 2006 (last season on loan at Terrassa)

Antonio Longás
new club: cartagena (3>2)
age: 24
barcelona player since: 2008

José Antonio Solano
new club: ecija (3)
age: 23
barcelona player since: 2008

Riera confirms Barcelona interest

Asked about the rumours linking him earlier this summer with a move to Barcelona (read more here), Liverpool left winger and Spanish international Albert Riera (27) has confirmed in an interview with Madrid sports tabloid As that Barcelona was interested:

"I will not deny that there was something going on. It's true that they were interested in me. But I play at Liverpool, which is a European top club. One day I nevertheless would like to return to the Liga, when the time is right.

I don't want to think about the rumours that I didn't start two league games because I studied an offer of Barcelona. Benítez is an extraordinary coach who defends what is his. I know he counts on me because he has told me that."

Read more:
Barcelona monitoring situation of Riera
Guardiola wanted to replace Henry this summer
Barcelona interested in Liverpool winger Riera

Youth: Nelson Mandela and Camara (FundEsport)

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo reports that FundEsport youth players Nelson Mandela (11) and Cámara (probably 10) will join Barcelona.

Both players will arrive this month in Barcelona and will start the new season with respectively the Alevín A and the Alevín B youth team.

FundEsport is the foundation of former Barcelona player Samuel Eto'o, with which Barcelona has a co-operation agreement since the foundation was founded three years ago. With Mandela and Cámara, there would now be 15 Cameroonian players in Barcelona's youth academy.

Read more:
Youth: Barcelona signs Cameroonian goalkeeper
Youth: Cameroonian youth player joins Inter Milan
Youth: Young Cameroonians will stay

Iniesta not worried about contract renewal

Asked about his contract renewal (read more here), Barcelona attacking midfielder and Spanish international Andres Iniesta (25) has said at a press conference that he is not worried about the issue:

"I won't lose sleep over it because I feel loved here and because the club has always valued me in a correct way. I hope to retire at the Camp Nou.

The only thing I want now is to be given the green light - which I think is very close - to go to the stadium of Getafe and to play again. I have suffered a lot lately, it has been a hard summer and I want to feel like a football player again. My leg has recovered and I want to start playing as soon as possible."

Read more:
Iniesta publishes treble book
Messi & Iniesta until 2016
Renewals for Puyol, Marquez, Iniesta and Messi

Shakhtar winger Willian on winter target list

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that Barcelona is still interested in Shakhtar Donetsk winger Willian Borges da Silva (21).

The Brazilian player would be on the list of possible winter transfers, but with a contract until 2012 and a buyout clause of 30 million euros° a transfer seems difficult.

Last year, Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain would already have met once with Nikola Franco, the agent of the Brazilian attacker, in the Camp Nou offices (read more here), but this then didn't lead to any concrete result.

Read more:
Barca asks about Willian
Srna agent confirms Barcelona contacts
Deal with Shakhtar Donetsk winger Willian

Watch this video of Willian:

Chygrynskiy: "Barcelona is a religion"

Speaking at a press conference, new Barcelona player Dmytro Chygrynskiy has commented on his transfer to Barcelona:

"Adapting will depend on me. The language can be a problem because my English is quite basic. And although it's clearly an international team, all the players speak Spanish and the majority of them Catalan.

I am already looking forward to return there and to start working with the team. In Barcelona, the club is not just sport, it's a religion and it has an influence on the whole culture. People are crazy about Barça.

Has my status in the national team changed because of my transfer to Barcelona? I don't like to talk about status, but about being committed to the national team and thinking about our common interest. We are four steps away from the World Cup."

Read more:
Chygrynskiy: "This transfer was destiny"

Guardiola wanted to replace Henry this summer

Madrid sports tabloid As claims that Barcelona wanted to replace Barcelona forward and French international Thierry Henry (31) during the past summer transfer window.

Because Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola would have had enough of the clash of the egos of Henry and Eto'o, he reportedly asked the club to look for a new left winger.

Although it was Eto'o who took all the hits from the press and Henry came out of it fairly undamaged because of his good relationship with the media and the entourage of the club, Guardiola would have wanted to get rid of both players.

Barcelona would therefore have been discretely sounding out the market over the last months and contacted among others left wingers like Riera, Robben, Robinho, Mata and Silva. But although those players would have agreed to join Barcelona, it was not possible to close a deal with their clubs. If Barcelona would find a new left winger next year, Henry will probably leave the club at the end of this season.

Read more:
Robben confirms Barcelona interest
Henry wants to play in the US one day
Barcelona keeping an eye on Robinho

Barcelona scouting French third division club

French sports paper L'Equipe reports that three Barcelona scouts have asked French local club US Luzenac for tickets to assist the club's league game later today.

Newly promoted amateur club Luzenac is the surprising leader of the French third divison and will face Troyes tonight at 8 pm.

Read more:
Barcelona scouting Hoffenheim's Carlos Eduardo
Youth: Liverpool intensifying Deulofeu scouting

Messi: "Everything is the merit of Guardiola"

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

Tell us something about Barça. What is Guardiola adding to this squad?
Everything. What he transmits, what he knows, the attitude he has, the desire with which he is working with us, everything that is happening is his merit, the five cups are his merit. I admire Guardiola, I admire his ability to lift up a squad that was humiliated, a squad that was doing really bad. It's a unique coach.

And Maradona?
He's the idol of the Argentinian people. The only time I saw Maradona play was when I was a kid. My father and my uncle took me to the stadium of Newell's. I had already seen the goals of Diego so many times at home... In Argentina, when there's some gathering, people always end up watching the goals of Maradona against England. I don't remember almost nothing of that game at the stadium of Newell's, but now he's here, as national team coach, of a team in which I am the number '10'. He's a great motivator. If Diego talks, everyone is listening because we know we are hearing the voice of football.

Brazil-Argentina: what a game!
Yes, and at home. Of course we have the qualities needed to beat the Brazilians. The team is united, Rosario is involved with the team and we need to win because we want to be at the World Cup. The Brazilians also play good football, they can count on my friend Dani Alves who is a phenomenon. But this has to be our game.

Let's talk about another coach, José Mourinho.
(laughs) I never had problems with him. I keep on saying what I have always said. It seems a great coach, who makes his team play in a very disciplined way, a winner as he has shown with several teams. And he's a lucky guy because he can now count on a centre forward like Samu. The games against Inter will be entertaining. I really hope Samu will do great at Inter. We all want him to have a great time, a lot of us still have a great relationship with Samuel.

There's someone in this Barça who is irreplaceable?
We live as a team and we work as a team, but if there is one then maybe the captain, Carles Puyol. As a person, as a captain, how he helps the team in every moment. He has helped me a lot. And well, as a player I don't have to reveal anything, there's nobody like him, he's a '10'.

Read the first part of this interview here:
Messi: "I am great because of my team-mates"

[2008] Ribery was on top of Guardiola's wish list

this article was published exactly one year ago:

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that Bayern Munich wing attacker and French international Franck Ribéry (25) was on top of the wish list of Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola to replace Ronaldinho as left wing attacker.

Barcelona sounded out Bayern officials who were nevertheless not willing to start talking (read more here).

The second name that was proposed by Guardiola was that of Real Madrid left winger and Brazilian international Robinho (24). After talking with agent Wagner Ribeiro, it soon became clear that Madrid didn't want to sell the player to Barcelona (read more here).

Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain then proposed trying the transfer of Valencia left winger and Spanish international David Silva (22), who in the end chose to renew his contract with Valencia.

Barcelona finally looked at the option to sign Zenit Saint-Petersburg forward and Russian international Andrei Arshavin (27) or Sevilla left winger and Spanish international Diego Capel (20). Although Guardiola wasn't totally convinced of their qualities, both players could have partially solved the left wing problems but a deal was not found.

Read more 4 September 2008 news:
Iniesta wants to spend whole career in Barcelona
Renewal coming up for Pedro and Victor Sanchez
Manchester City will launch bid on Messi

The Front: Sport

in Argentina

The classic against Brazil, on red alert

The return of Messi to Rosario exceeded the expectations of the federal police

Ibra top secret

This is how he lives in Barcelona

His new tattoos

His dressing-room mates

Barcelona keeping an eye on Robinho

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that Barcelona is still interested in Manchester City left winger and Brazilian international Robinho (25).

After the failed last-minute attempts of last month - officals of both clubs would have met to discuss a transfer both in Barcelona in the margin of the Joan Gamper game as in Monaco last week - Barcelona plans to monitor the situation of the Brazilian winger, who could still take part in the Champions League if he would join Barcelona in the January transfer window.

While Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola would be fond of the player, Manchester City coach Mark Hughes wouldn't have a good relationship with Robinho and could count less on him this season. This might lead Barcelona, that failed to strengthen the left wing this summer, to make a new move in the next months if the English Premier League would be willing to sell at an acceptable price.

Read more:
Manchester City rejects 40 million bid for Robinho
Robinho agent confirms player is not for sale
Laporta on Robinho, Gudjohnsen and Henrique

Watch this video of Robinho:

Iniesta writes treble book

"One year in paradise. My diary of the treble" is the title of the book that Andrés Iniesta has written with journalists Sique Rodriguez and Dani Senabr.

Iniesta did not want to loose the chance to explain all experiences and emotions that he has felt during the past wonderful year.

In the book people will be able to find a revision of eight - because of his number - moments that have marked his season and that Andrés has lived with more energy: the goal at Stamford Bridge, the arrival of Guardiola, his injuries, the 2-6 againt Real Madrid, the cup final, the league win, the final in Rome and the treble celebrations.

The book, that will be available in Catalan and from next week on also in Spanish, will be presented at the Camp Nou later today and is described as "a unique opportunity to be closer to all the emotions Andrés has lived in the last season, the most magical one in F.C. Barcelona's history. A real diary full of curiosities, jokes and exclusive images taken by Andrés."

Read more:
Messi & Iniesta until 2016
Medical: Iniesta and Marquez ready for next game
Iniesta thinks Eto'o deserves a statue

The Front: El Mundo Deportivo


Barça keeps an eye on the Brazilian who is liked by Pep and not wanted by Hughes

The attacker would be able to play the Champions League, while Willian is another back-up winger

Interview with Messi (2): "The five cups are the merit of Pep"

Mundo Deportivo in Sweden - Ibra challenges Inter: "We are better"

Vilanova: "There are no doubts about Ibrahimovic"

Barcelona assistant coach Tito Vilanova gave an interview to Catalan radio station Ona FM. Some excerpts.

"People think that the first day you will already see the same level of performances as before. But it doesn't work like that. There are no doubts about his skills. He has won five leagues in a row in Italy, where it's not easy for a striker.

He will perform very well and he will bring us things we maybe didn't have before. I don't want to make comparisons with Eto'o. Eto'o had some extraordinary seasons at Barcelona and both are great players."

The new season
"It's impossible that we now already would be at the same cruising speed as we had at the end of last season. Besides that, one shouldn't forget that in our first league game, we played without Messi and Iniesta, probably two of the best players in the world."

"We have seen Chygrynskiy play a lot and we have been following him closely for several months. Because of the way Shakhtar and Lucescu have been playing, it will be easy for him to adapt here. He can build up very good, with both legs."

Read more:
Vilanova: "Shakhtar comes very close to our style"
Vilanova: "Pep and I are ready for the bad times"

Pique rejected Madrid approach this summer

Speaking to Catalan televsion channel TV3, Barcelona player Gerard Piqué has confirmed that Real Madrid tried to sign him this summer:

"Madrid has been interested for several years now. But that interest was nipped in the bud since the start. Now I just want to focus on Barça and I didn't think at any moment about leaving the club."

Read more:
Pique rejected Madrid offer
Piqué: "I hope to become a symbol"
Pique reveals dressing-room secrets

Tickets for Club World Cup on sale

With only 100 days to go until the start of the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2009 presented by TOYOTA, tickets for the tournament officially went on sale on 1 September.

FIFA and the United Arab Emirates Football Association (UAEFA) are encouraging fans to act quickly in order to secure their seats and avoid disappointment when this prestigious event comes to the UAE for the first time in December.

Tickets for the tournament, being held at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium and Zayed Stadium between 9-19 December, can be purchased by logging on to or calling 800-5425 or +971 2 449 9955 (if you are calling from overseas).

The final match schedule will not be complete until November when the respective AFC and CAF Champions League finals are contested, but there is already great demand for tickets. The opening match will pit the UAE's Al Ahli FCD against OFC Champions League winners Auckland City, whilst the semi-finals will feature FC Barcelona in one tie and Argentinian side Estudiantes de la Plata, captained by Juan Sebastian Veron, in the other.

check here for more information

Read more:
Sponsorship deal with Arab telecom company
Possible future friendly game in Kuwait
Five friendlies in Asia postponed

Laporta satisfied with transfer summer

Speaking at a press conference earlier this week, Barcelona president Joan Laporta looked back at the transfer summer:

"We have brought everything that had been asked. The first objective was to find a new centre forward because of the exit of Samuel Eto'o and we managed to do that. Ibrahimovic was the first option and we managed to sign him.

We signed Maxwell to replace Sylvinho. And the finishing touch has been Chygrynskiy. I have the impression that the coach is very satisfied with his squad and also with our belief in the youth players.

I think with the new guys, Barcelona will keep the same motivation and the same work-rate and will be able to make the dreams of the fans come true. I want to thank the technical department because in a time of crisis, Barcelona has been able to spend 80 millions on players and to solve a complicated situation like the one of Eto'o. I think that we have acted with common sense and that we didn't overspend."

Read more:
Transfer summer 2009: The Final Overview

Milito: "I am looking forward to face Barcelona"

Inter Milan forward Diego Milito gave an interview to Catalan sports paper Sport.

What do you think about having to play against Barça in the Champions League?
It's always motivating to play against the European champions, it's logical that we are looking forward to it, we want to win this.

They have some weak points?
We all know Barça is a great team with a lot of top players. We will be informed about them when the games are coming closer.

You have talked about it with Messi?
No, not at all. We both will defend our colours and we will give everything for our team to win. It will be a very attractive game and I am sure that football lovers will look forward to it. I believe in my team, in my team-mates.

You are worried to have Messi as an opponent?
Well, we should be prepared for it.

How do you stop him?
Pfff, we know him well, it's an excellent player and we cannot relax one second. There's not one recipe to mark him. We are talking about a unique player here. Let's hope things turn out for the best.

Inter defeated Milan 4-0. Can you still get better?
The team starts to know each other little by little. There's still a little left. But Inter is doing very well.

You are looking forward to the game against Barcelona?
We all like this kind of games, the ones against Brazil or against Barcelona. It's special to play against one of the best teams in the world. So we will have to be prepared.

Read more:
Diego Milito was again sounded out this summer
Messi: "I am great because of my team-mates"
Milito writes letter to the fans

Contract duration problem for Marquez renewal

Catalan sports paper El 9 Esportiu claims that Barcelona is working on the renewal of Barcelona central defender and Mexican international Rafael Márquez (30).

The renewal negotiations with the player would have been intensified over the past days and although the talks would be well-advanced, the duration of the new contract would remain the main obstacle (read more here).

While Barcelona would have offered Márquez, whose current contract expires at the end of this season, to renew for two more years (one year plus an option for a second year), the player would want to extend his contract for three more years (two years plus an option for a third year).

Read more:
Marquez wants to renew for three more years
Renewals for Puyol, Marquez, Iniesta and Messi
Marquez confident about contract renewal

Thursday 3 September 2009

Quote of the day: Messi

Abidal always gets me the latest mobile phones. I love them. If something new is launched, I can relax because I know Abidal will get it for me. I have a lot of fun with Abidal, he's a very witty guy.

Lionel Messi,
Barcelona player

Student of the day: Chygrynskiy

On 27 July of this year, Dmytro Chygrynskiy received a Master's degree in Intellectual Property at the Donetsk State University of Management.

Who will be the next president of FC Barcelona?

In May or June next year, Barcelona's club members will appoint a new president. After two terms, current president Joan Laporta cannot run again. Who are the candidates to succeed him?

1. The continuity candidate
The current Barcelona board wants to put forward one candidate who should continue the current project. In recent weeks and months, this seemed to have become a struggle between marketing vice-president Jaume Ferrer and recently appointed board member Xavier Sala i Martín.

While Sala, a professor of economics at Columbia University in New York, would have the support of president Laporta, Ferrer would be backed by the majority of the board members. First vice-president Alfons Godall, who first had said that he would not run, has put himself back on the map in two interviews earlier this week and could become the consensus candidate. A decision is expected to be made in December or January.

2. Sandro Rosell (former sports vice-president, board member 2003-2005)
Rosell is until this moment the only one who has publicly announced - in the summer of 2008 - that he will run for president. He has started to prepare for the elections shortly after he resigned as vice-president in 2005.

Rosell has long been seen as the favourite to become the next president although this could have changed because of last season's sporting succeses of the team. Rosell is seen as the architect of the team around Brazilian player Ronaldinho that won two league titles and one Champions League under coach Frank Rijkaard.

3. Ferran Soriano (former economic vice-president, board member 2003-2008)
Until he stepped down together with several other board members last summer, Soriano was considered to be the most likely "board candidate" for the elections. Soriano is seen as the architect of the current healthier financial situation of the club, compared to the situation when Laporta took office back in 2003. Because of his new job as chairman of airline company Spanair it has become uncertain if Soriano will run.

4. The Others
Several other names of people from the "entorn", the club's entourage, are rumoured to try to set up a candidature. Former presidental candidates like Jordi Majó, Josep Maria Minguella or Jaume Llauradó could again make an attempt, although none of them are expected to have a serious chance and they might try to link up with one of the main candidates trying to get a place in the board.

(vaguely based on an article in Catalan sports paper Sport)

Piqué: "Xavi-Iniesta-Cesc best possible midfield"

Barcelona player Gerard Piqué gave an interview to Spanish radio station Onda Cero. Some excerpts.

"Of course I would do anything to have him with us. At the national team we have a great time with Cesc. A midfield with Xavi, Iniesta and Cesc would be a five-star midfield. You cannot find a better midfield."

The renewal of Messi
"The best player in the world should be the best paid player too."

His own renewal
"It seems as if everyone is getting a pay rise lately... Let's hope it's my turn soon."

"It's normal that Ibrahimovic was a little nervous. He arrived at a new club, he cost a lot of money, he's a star. It's also normal that he still has to adapt to the way of playing, and a forward is getting confidence by scoring goals."

"I'm not afraid of the competition, no. He's a great player. If they've signed him, if Pep has asked for him and has pushed so much to have him, there should be a reason for that. He has great qualities. He will adapt quickly."

Read more:
Video Interview: Piqué living the dream
Barcelona's wage structure
Pique could be an option in midfield

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