Saturday 24 January 2009

Match discussion: Numancia

This evening at 10 pm bt,
Barcelona plays the twentieth game of the league against Numancia.

Numancia squad list:
Juan Pablo, Diego, Juanra, Felipe, Pavón, Sergio Ortega, Boris, Palacios, Bellvis, Juan Carlos Moreno, Nagore, Dimas, Del Pino, Quero, Barkero, Brit, Goiria, Aranda

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


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

Re-live Numancia-Barcelona:

match data

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

Puyol: "Tattoos are one of my passions"

Barcelona player Carles Puyol gave an interview to Catalan sports paper Sport.

The training sessions have moved to the sports complex. What do you think about that?
I truly think it's a good thing, I'm delighted. I think that a club like Barça needs a place like that and I'm convinced it will be good for us.

With all those games, it seems that the team takes the cup like the minor of the three competitions...
We cannot take anything lightly and even less after two years without winning anything. Every title is important and you have to fight for all of them with the same spirit. It has been a long time since Barça has won the Copa or even reached the final, although we have come close over the last seasons. In the dressing-room we think it's a very important competition.

The system of the competition should be changed to make it more attractive?
They have tried some things but I think for us it's attractive and important the way it is. If you play one game the smaller teams will have better chances but for them it also has an advantage to do it like this since they now have the chance to play a game in the Camp Nou or the Bernabéu.

Barça has a psychological advantage these days in the sense that the opponents are scared or is it an added pressure for the team?
We've always had to win. When you are as strong as we are this season, the opponents respect you more. It has been the same in the past. In general, the bigger teams are more respected although the rivals are also more motivated.

You seem to be a balanced and calm person. Does that has something to do with your relationship with Tibet?
There are things about the culture and the religion that I like a lot. Besides that I am close with the members of the Tibetan house in Barcelona.

Do you meditate?
I've tried it several times but it's very difficult. For now I'm just doing some exercises to relax and I look for peaceful moments, but it's complicated to make my head totally empty.

You also have the image of being hard and solid.
I'm surely not insensitive. I have some memories that make me cry.

Are you superstitious?
Well, when I step on the pitch, I always do it with my right foot and I don't touch the lines.

You have any passions outside football?
I admit that I'm addicted to my mobile phone. New York and tattoos are two of my other secret passions. Now I have five tattoos, all on places where you can hide them. The last time I had three on the same day and next time I'll have some more. I want some symbols of Polynesia and Tibet. I'll look for a free day to put them.

Why did you launch your own line of watches, CP5?
So I don't get late.

This was the third and last part of this interview. Read the previous parts here:
Puyol: "At the end, the best team always wins"
Puyol: "Leo is above the rest"

[Crosas] Celtic Glasgow-Hibernian

Celtic Glasgow played this afternoon their 23rd league game of the season. The Scottish champions defeated Hibernian 3-1.

Former Barcelona midfielder Marc Crosas started the game and was replaced ten minutes before the end.

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.

Sunday 2 November - League game 11: Hearts-Celtic Glasgow 0-2
Injured. Crosas has a hamstring injury.

Wednesday 5 November - Champions League group stage game 4: Celtic Glasgow-Manchester United 1-1
Injured. Crosas has a hamstring injury.

Sunday 9 November - League game 12: Celtic Glasgow-Motherwell 0-2
Injured. Crosas has a hamstring injury.

Wednesday 12 November - League game 13: Celtic Glasgow-Kilmarnock 3-0
Injured. Crosas has a hamstring injury.

Sunday 16 November - League game 14: Hamilton-Celtic Glasgow 1-2
Injured. Crosas has a hamstring injury.

Saturday 22 November - League game 15: Saint Mirren-Celtic Glasgow 1-3
Injured. Crosas has a hamstring injury.

Tuesday 25 November - Champions League group stage game 5: Aalborg-Celtic Glasgow 2-1
Injured. Crosas has a hamstring injury.

Saturday 30 November - League game 16: Celtic Glasgow-Inverness 1-0
Injured. Crosas has a hamstring injury.

Sunday 7 December - League game 17: Hibernian-Celtic Glasgow-Inverness 2-0
Injured. Crosas has a hamstring injury.

Wednesday 10 December - Champions League group stage game 6: Celtic Glasgow-Villareal 2-0
Injured. Crosas has a hamstring injury.

Saturday 13 December - League game 18: Celtic Glasgow-Hearts 1-1

Sunday 21 December - League game 19: Falkirk-Celtic Glasgow 0-3

Saturday 27 December - League game 20: Rangers-Celtic Glasgow 0-1

Saturday 3 January - League game 21: Celtic Glasgow-Dundee United 2-2

Saturday 10 January - Cup 1/8 finals: Celtic Glasgow-Dundee 2-1
Starter. Crosas starts the game and is replaced by Robson in the 64th minute (2-1).

Sunday 18 January - League game 22: Aberdeen-Celtic Glasgow 4-2

Saturday 24 January - League game 23: Celtic Glasgow-Hibernian 3-1
Starter. Crosas starts the game and is replaced by Robson in the 78th minute (3-1).

1. Celtic Glasgow 54
2. Rangers 50
3. Dundee United 35
4. Hearts 38

Injured Keita not in Numancia list

Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola has earlier today announced that 19 players are called-up for the twentieth league game of the season against Numancia this evening at 10 pm.

The list:
Valdés, Pinto, Jorquera,
Alves, Puyol, Piqué, Cáceres, Abidal, Sylvinho,
Xavi, Touré, Busquets, Gudjohsen,
Messi, Eto'o, Bojan, Henry, Iniesta, Hleb

Keita has some troubles with a bruised right knee after the Espanyol game and was not included in the list. Milito and Márquez are also not available because of injuries. Pedro and Víctor Sánchez will play with Barcelona Atlètic later today. One goalkeeper will still have to drop from the final list.

Barcelona had a last training session this morning. The players have now the afternoon off and are expected back at the Camp Nou at 8:30 pm, one and a half hour before the start of the game.

The alphabet of Bojan (part 2)

Barcelona player Bojan Krkic gave an interview to Catalan sports paper Sport.

Where I have spent a ;ot of time during my childhood. My home, together with the Camp Nou. I have lived great moments there and I have grown as a person. I only have good memories of La Masia.

Navidad (Christmas)
For me it is the best time of year. I love Christmas, meeting with the family, being together. Although I also try to do that during the year, Christmas is always special.

Obsesión (Obsession)
I only have one in my life: to win titles and to do it at Barca. I really want to win my first trophy with this team.

He is an extraordinary person with whom I'm lucky to be able to share the same crest. He is a phenomenon as a player and as person

Quiosco (prensa) (Kiosk (press))
Something necessary in the world of football. The press does its job like we do ours. We're trying to live together.

Recreativo Huelva
I could feel how it is to score at the Nou Camp. It was my first goal in the stadium and it was something very special

Salvador Pérez
I could say many things about "meu padrí" (his grandfather who lives in Lleida).

Tatuajes (Tattoos)
I like them, but I prefer not to have any. I've never considered it and I think I'm fine like this.

Universidad (University)
I want to study at INEF (the Faculty of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences}. I think it's good to continue studies despite playing at Barca. It's something that my parents have always emphasized.

Vestuario (Dressing-room)
There's a great atmosphere in the dressing-room this season and I think that's one of the keys to everything functioning and going so well this season.

Wisla Crackovia (Wisla Cracow)
It was the first step toward winning the third Champions League. I hope they will become a historical team for our club that way.

Xenofobia (Xenophobia)
I am totally against racist attitudes. I don't understand it and I don't agree with it.

Yo (I)
I think I am a humble person, happy inside and outside the field... And also a goalscorer.

Zambudio (Gerard, de la cantera) (Gerard Zambudio, youth academy player)
The youth players should be the future of the club. We are many in the first team now and I think it is very positive for everyone that it's like this.

Translated by: Riis

This was the second part of this interview. You can read the first part here.

Live Match Chat: FC Barcelona - CD Numancia

(original post by OmarX)

FC Barcelona - CD Numancia
(Saturday 24 January 2009 @ 22:00 barcelona time)

Chat Link:

Chat starts around 20:00 - 8 pm

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

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

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

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

- on the public chat the main language is English

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

See you there!

Messi will never join Real Madrid

Asked about the rumours that the presidential elections in Madrid in the summer could cause Barcelona right wing attacker and Argentinian international Lionel Messi (21) to join Real Madrid, the player's father and agent Jorge Messi has rejected the idea in an interview with Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo:

"Leo is doing good, he feels happy and appreciated at Barcelona and he's one of the leaders of the team.

He has the last word on this and he's happy at the Camp Nou. So they can talk all they want in Madrid. I'm just saying that Leo is the only one who will decide on his future and he feels very, very, very comfortable in Barcelona. Leo is happy in Barcelona and he will never go to Real Madrid."

pep's opinion:
there was some buzz on this story for a few days but since it all started with an irrelevant quote of arrigo sacchi saying that if florentino pérez will be candidate in the madrid elections, he sure will go after the best players in the world (including messi, mister sacchi? well, he's one of the best at the moment. ok, thanks for that, xavi, what do you think about messi possibly becoming the next figo? pep? mister laporta?), i didn't report on it so far. the same goes for the guardiola-eto'o story, by the way.

Read more:
Messi has no plans to leave Barcelona
Another contract renewal coming up for Messi
Messi and Eto'o on Manchester City wish list

Pichichi and Zamora (day 19)

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

18 Eto'o (Barcelona)
15 Villa (Valencia)
12 Forlán (Atlético Madrid)
12 Higuain (Real Madrid)
12 Messi (Barcelona)

0,68 Víctor Valdés (Barcelona)
1,32 Diego López (Villarreal)

1,37 Aranzubia (Deportivo)
1,42 Casillas (Real Madrid)
1,47 Diego Alves (Almería)

Leverkusen wants to keep Henrique one more year

Asked about the rumour that Bayer Leverkusen central defender and Barcelona loan out Henrique (22) will have to return to Barcelona (read more here), Bayer Leverkusen sports director Rudi Völler has said in an interview with German tabloid Bild that the club wants to keep the player for one more season:

"I don't know anything about it, we keep on waiting and we'll do everything to keep Henrique until 2010. A decision will be made in the next four to six weeks. Of course it's clear that it will Barcelona who will decide on his future."

Asked if Barcelona central defender and Uruguay international Martín Cáceres (21) could join Bayer Leverkusen on loan if Henrique will return to Barcelona (read more here), Völler said that option is not on the table right now: "We sure know the player Cáceres. But we don't know anyhting about the possibility of him joining our team."

Read more:
Decision on Henrique's future next month
Caceres not thinking about January exit
Henrique to return and Caceres to leave on loan

Friday 23 January 2009

Number of the day: 141


number of balls recovered by Puyol during Liga games so far this season

Barcelona best team in modern football era

The International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) has put together an all-time club world ranking.

For reasons stated below the ranking only covers the period from 1 January 1991 until 31 December 2008.

1. Barcelona (Spain) 757
2. Manchester United (England) 678
3. Juventus (Italy) 621
4. AC Milan (Italy) 611
5. Real Madrid (Spain) 605
6. Inter Milan (Italy) 567
7. Bayern Munich (Germany) 563
8. Arsenal (England) 550
9. River Plate (Argentina) 503
10. Chelsea (England) 442
11. Liverpool (England) 435
12. Porto (Portugal) 425
13. Boca Juniors (Argentina) 420
14. AS Roma (Italy) 405
15. Ajax Amsterdam (Holland) 400
16. Parma (Italy) 373
17. São Paulo (Brazil) 367
--. Valencia (Spain) 367
19. Glasgow Rangers (Scotland) 364
20. Lazio Roma (Italy) 342

See the full ranking here

An All-time Club World Ranking can only be meaningful and useful if it can be determined by taking account all the results of the national championships, the national cup competitions, the club competitions of the six continental confederations and the FIFA. It is therefore only possible to determine an All-time Club World Ranking from January 1st, 1991 – when the Club World Ranking began taking all these details into consideration.

The period from 1872 to 1990 can only be asssessed subjectively, mostly by using national and international champions as a guide. It follows that teams placed in the individual competitions cannot be taken into consideration, even if their titles were won easily or in spite of many defeats. It is simply not possible to establish a basis for giving all participating clubs an equal opportunity for the period 1872 to 1990.

The IFFHS has therefore has decided, logically, that the All-time Club World Ranking should be determined from January 1st, 1991 using the annual Club World Ranking (the situation at 31st December annually). For this it will take into consideration the "Top 50 Clubs", annually and award them points from 50 points for the top club down to 1 point for the club in 50th place. Adding the points from the individual years for each club will provide the All-time Club World Ranking.

Valdes: "I like the quietness of the countryside"

Barcelona player Víctor Valdés gave an interview to Catalan sports paper Sport.

Are you as cold as it seems?
With people I trust I joke around more. My way of being on the pitch seems cold but a game of football just isn't a funny thing. The laughing comes with the results.

You don't laugh during a game?
I'm not very cheerful because of my position. Being a goalkeeper doesn't allow me to smile. In normal life it's different.

You enjoy watching this team play?
I don't have time for that. Only when we score. You have to be aware of a lot of things, you cannot relax.

You watch your own games at home afterwards?
I did that more in the past.

You're especially hoping for a trophy?
All three are the same. Even the cup although I'm not playing. It's important that people see that Barça wins no matter who is playing.

The opponents are scared of you?
The opponents wait more for us at the back so they can play the counter-attack. They're alert, cautious.

Which Pep did you discover?
I knew him but now I know how he works. Over the past months I have learnt a lot about football, things I didn't think of before. I like it.

For example...
Because of my position, I didn't know a lot about the tactics. I was concentrating on my things. Now I know more. Guardiola works on the little details that make us big.

You'll end up as a coach?
Only as a goalkeeping coach. To see a young goalkeeper train makes me feel proud. It's difficult. I would like to be at his side if he needs me. I know how difficult it is to be a goalkeeper because you suffer a lot.

Which goalkeepers do you like?
Gorka (Athletic Bilbao) for his risky style. There are others that are also playing very good, like the ones of Valladolid (Asenbjo) and Villarreal (Diego López). Or Asier Riesgo (Recreativo).

What is the price one has to pay to be a Barça player?
The sacrifice since childhood. If you get to be a professional, you're rewarded with a privileged life.

You're close with Iniesta.
I'm not someone who has a lot of friends but Andrés is always by my side and he's one of my best friends. He seems calmer but, despite the age difference, I don't think our characters really are that different.

What kind of person are you?
I'm rather relaxed. I don't like big crowds, but I'm neither avoiding things because of the fact that I'm more famous than others. Being popular doesn't limit my life so if I have to do something or go to a public place, I don't leave that because people will recognize me otherwise.

How do you relax?
I like to spend hours close to the sea and I also like the quietness of the countryside. That's were I can truly disconnect. Don't think I'm a farmer or anything, not at all. I just like the silence, the peace, the calmness. I also adore to go out fishing or kitesurfing. I'm lucky to live close by the sea so I don't need to travel far.

This was the third and last part of this interview. You can read the previous parts here:
Valdes: "I'm not only looking at the money"
Valdes: "Winning games doesn't mean anything"

Poll result - Man of the match: Espanyol

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

1. No one 32%
2. Iniesta 12%
3. Puyol 12%

see full results here
see other poll results here

Statistics 2008-2009: Goals, assists, cards

21 Eto'o (18 + 3 + 0)
21 Messi (12 + 5 + 4)
13 Henry (11 + 2 + 0)
7 Xavi (4 + 3 + 0)
5 Bojan (0 + 3 + 2)
4 Gudjohnsen (3 + 0 + 1)
3 Keita (3 + 0 + 0)
2 Iniesta (2 + 0 + 0)
2 Busquets (0 + 2 + 0)
2 Alves (2 + 0 + 0)
2 Márquez (1 + 1 + 0)
1 Touré (1 + 0 + 0)
1 Sylvinho (0 + 1 + 0)
1 Piqué (0 + 1 + 0)
3 own-goals opponent (2 + 1 + 0)

16 Xavi (13 + 3 + 0)
14 Messi (10 + 3 + 1)
11 Alves (8 + 2 + 1)
7 Henry (5 + 2 + 0)
6 Iniesta (3 + 2 + 1)
6 Eto'o (4 + 2 + 0)
5 Bojan (2 + 2 + 1)
4 Puyol (4 + 0 + 0)
3 Gudjohnsen (1 + 2 + 0)
3 Hleb (3 + 0 + 0)
2 Touré (2 + 0 + 0)
1 Sylvinho (0 + 0 + 1)
1 Keita (0 + 1 + 0)
1 Pedro (0 + 1 + 0)
1 Víctor Sánchez (0 + 0 + 1)
1 Busquets (0 + 1 + 0)
1 Márquez (0 + 1 + 0)

yellow cards
7 Busquets (5 + 1 + 1)
7 Márquez (5 + 2 + 0)
7 Eto'o (7 + 0 + 0)
4 Touré (3 + 0 + 1)
4 Alves (4 + 0 + 0)
3 Cáceres (0 + 0 + 3)
3 Xavi (2 + 1 + 0)
3 Henry (2 + 1 + 0)
3 Piqué (2 + 1 + 0)
2 Valdés (2 + 0 + 0)
2 Abidal (1 + 0 + 1)
2 Puyol (2 + 0 + 0)
2 Iniesta (1 + 1 + 0)
1 Víctor Sánchez (0 + 0 + 1)
1 Messi (1 + 0 + 0)
1 Keita (0 + 1 + 0)

red cards
1 Piqué (1 + 0 + 0) revoked

total (Liga + Champions League + Copa)

Barcelona has played 32 official games (19 in the Liga, 8 in the Champions League and 5 in the Copa)

The first round one by one (part 1)

With the first Liga round completed, Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo evaluated Barcelona's coach and players individually.

Guardiola: Visionary
He took very risky decisions before gaining the confidence of all: the reassignment of Samuel Eto'o, Messi's Olympic games, the faith put into Sergi Busquets, the insistence in Thierry Henry, a tough internal code... Everything has come out well to him. Lover of detail, demanding in daily work and with a privileged vision of football. He continues to connect with players because he never stopped being one. Barcelona is a machine on the field and a family outside it. And the best thing is: they know that they still have not won anything.

Valdes: Secure
The goalkeeper that has less conceded in the league. He's on his way for his second Zamora (Spanish best Goalkeeper award). He quickly adapted to Pep's system that demanded him to put more attention outside of the area. He transmits confidence.

Alves: Cheap
The most expensive defender in the history of Barcelona has turned out to be a bargain. His association with Messi is priceless, his physical leaves an impression and his quality is undeniable.

Puyol: Gigantic
Puyol started from zero with Guardiola, a manager who admires more technical central defenders, but the character of the captain is irreplaceable. Also impressed as full back.

Pique: Serious
One of the keys of the good atmosphere in the team by his good humor,
when entering the field he turns serious to demonstrate that he is the central defender for the future.

Márquez: Commited
Closely looked at because of his poor performance over the last two seasons, the mexican has refound under Guardiola his best form and his starting spot in the centre.

Caceres: Uncomfortable
Due to his youth and characteristics it is costing him to adapt to a so demanding Barcelona at a technical and tactical level, although he has the correct attitude to grow as a player.

Abidal: Sharpened
Very difficult to surpass in defense. He advances up the field little so that he does not uneven the team in defense, because Alves has the freedom in the other wing. Physically better than under Rijkaard.

Sylvinho: Professional
Has played less than anyone in the league. When Abidal was injured, Guardiola opted for Puyol on the left wing. Not one bad expression and one certainty: when he plays, he furfills.

Víctor Sánchez: Made responsible
An error in the Mallorca game playing as a central defender cost him excessive critics. Guardiola publicly defended him. Against Athletic Bilbao he furfilled as a midfield player.

Touré: Immense
Doubted at the beggining, did not get used to the new Barcelona system and Arsenal were closely watching. Pep talked to him and returned to the beast that intimidates and commands in the midfield area.

Busquets: Bold
The revelation. He has the tactical sense of a veteran, the quality with the ball and the agressiveness needed in football to prevail. And his margin of improvement is enormous.

Translated by: Nite

This was the first part of this evaluation. You will be able to read the second part on this blog in the coming days.

Guardiola extremely satisfied with Copa draw

Awesome! A draw against the reserves of Barça!
Not in my wildest dreams!

Finally we didn't win a game!
Now I will be able to explain them that we should go out there with modesty!

(click the cartoon to enlarge)

see more cartoons here

Youth: Russian goalkeeper joins Barcelona

Russian sports paper Sport-Express claims that Barcelona will sign Lokomotiv Moscow youth goalkeeper Timur Akmurzin (11).

After Barcelona had received excellent scouting reports on Akmurzin, the club closed a deal and the Russian goalkeeper has recently moved to Barcelona, where he isstudying and playing with the youth teams.

Once Akmurzin has turned 12 later this year, Barcelona will offer the youth player a contract and pay him a scholarship.

Read more:
Youth: Barcelona interested in Croatian talent Coric
Barça B: An introduction to Ruben Rochina
Youth: Chelsea interested in two goalkeepers

The Points: Espanyol

Pinto 6__6,5__6__7

Puyol 6__7__5,5__5,5
Márquez *__4__*__*
Cáceres 5__6,5__3__5,5
Sylvinho 6__6,5__5__5,5

Gudjohnsen 5__5,5__3__5
Busquets 6__6__5__7
Keita 6__7__3__5,5

Hleb 5__5,5__4__5
Bojan 5__6,5__4__5
Iniesta 6__6__5__5,5

Víctor Sánchez 6__6__3__5,5
Xavi 5__5__*__6
Messi *__5__*__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.

The Pictures: Espanyol

(click a picture to enlarge)

(click a picture to enlarge)

Thursday 22 January 2009

The Ultimate Game: Get Inside Guardiola's head

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

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


This is not (as in: 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 Numancia on Saturday.

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

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

You can give your starting line-up until four hours before the start of the game, in this case: until 6 pm barcelona time.

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

This is the 23rd time this game is organized.




mario ch

Dan R

Barca nike
Cali Socis
B. Beltrocco

blaugrana poland

Number of the day: 70


number of crosses into the box by Alves during Liga games so far this season

Referee mistakes reduce Barcelona lead

Madrid sports tabloid Marca has drawn up an alternative Liga table, taking into count the mistakes made by the referees this season.

1. Barcelona 50 (=)
2. Valencia 36 (+2)
3. Real Madrid 35 (-3)
4. Málaga 35 (+4)
5. Villarreal 34 (+1)
6. Sevilla 32 (-6)
7. Atlético de Madrid 31 (=)
8. Deportivo de La Coruña 30 (=)
9. Athletic de Bilbao 27 (+1)
10. Almería 24 (+3)
11. Osasuna 24 (+11)
12. Recreativo de Huelva 21 (+1)
13. Racing de Santander 20 (-5)
14. Sporting de Gijón 20 (-4)
15. Valladolid 20 (-3)
16. Numancia 20 (=)
17. Betis 19 (-2)
18. Espanyol 17 (+2)
19. Getafe 16 (-5)
20. Mallorca 14 (=)

The Video: Espanyol

Medical: Marquez out for one to two weeks

Barcelona's medical staff has announced that Barcelona player Rafael Márquez (29), who was substituted after ten minutes in yesterday's cup game againt Espanyol, did not get injured.

The Mexican defender suffers from an overburdening that caused a strained soleus muscle in his left calf. Márquez is expected not to be available for the next one to two weeks.

Read more:
Medical: Marquez uncertain for Atletico game
Medical: Overview 2008-2009
Medical: Green light for Victor Sanchez

The alphabet of Bojan (part 1)

Barcelona player Bojan Krkic gave an interview to Catalan sports paper Sport.

I have good memories of that game. It was my first team debut with Barcelona, which I had been dreaming for many years. And I managed to score, so it was perfect.

It's my life, the club of my life. Barça is the club which I have always wanted to play for. I am culé since childhood and I am where I want to be. Playing here is a dream come true

Camp Nou
If Barca is my life, the Camp Nou is my home. I feel very comfortable. I have seen many matches as fan and now I can enjoy them from the pitch. I am very proud to play at a scene so special.

Dream Team
It's a team to dream about! When they were triumphing I was very young (he was born on 28 August 1990), but even so I still have some memories because they been one of the biggest teams in the history of Barca

España (Spain)
My national team, the one I chose to play for and with which I hope to achieve many successes.

Fama (Fame)
It is complicated because it comes overnight. We must learn to manage it. It has its good things and bad things, although, as always, you get used to everything.

Gol (Goal)
The goal is an image of beauty, a gift to a job well done, a feeling of indescribable joy.

Humildad (Humility)
Something that, as a footballer and in any circumstance of life, we must always have. Only humility can lead us to continue to grow as a person and a footballer.

Infancia (Childhood)
I have been fortunate to have a unique childhood. I enjoyed these years a lot, both at home in Linyola and as a part of Barça's youth teams.

Juventud (Youth)
At this moment, I cannot enjoy my teenage years a lot. Although, despite that, I do not complain about anything. I am privileged and I'm still very young anyway.

He's one of my childhood idols. He's a player I always have appreciated a lot, especially when he played at Barca. I set it to improve as a forward like him. He had a great quality. His era was great.

It is my village, the place where I feel best. When I have free time, I always want to be be in Linyola because I find tranquility there.

Llorar (To cry)
If I have to cry, I can hope it will only be of happiness. Crying because you have won a big trophy is something nice.

Translated by: Riis

This was the first part of this interview. You will be able to read the second part on this blog in the coming days.

Read more:
Barcelona rejects loaning Bojan to RS Belgrade
Bojan: "I'm not planning to give up studying"
Ajax wants to buy Bojan in january

Blackburn Rovers interested in Gudjohnsen

British tabloid The Sun claims that Blackburn Rovers is interested in Barcelona attacker and Iceland international Eidur Gudjohnsen (30).

Blackburn Rovers manager Sam Allardyce, who worked with Gudjohnsen at Bolton Wanderers in the 1999-2000 season and who already tried to sign Gudjohnsen when he was Newcastle manager in the 2007-2008 season, is determined not to sell striker Santa Cruz until he has found a replacement and would therefore be checking on Gudjohnsen.

With the Icelandic striker not being guaranteed first-team football at Barcelona, Blackburn hopes to have a chance to sign the player. Gudjohnsen, whose current contract with Barcelona expires in the summer of 2010, could be available for 2 million euro°.

Asked about the rumour, the player's father and agent Arnor Gudjohnsen said in an interview with British sports site Setanta that Gudjohnsen will certainly not leave Barcelona in January: "No there is nothing, he is not going anywhere, 100 percent. Guardiola said at the start of the summer that he wants to keep him for the whole season so he is at least staying until the summer.

In the summer he has one year left on his contract, then we will see what happens but I think he would like to play his contract out in Barcelona. There has always been interest from different clubs, but you know, nothing that he has even looked at or thought about. I have to be honest with you, I have not heard from Blackburn. There is nothing going on."

In an interview with British sports site Sky Sports, Arnor Gudjohnsen repeated the same message: "There been no contact with Blackburn Rovers regarding Eidur. Eidur is happy at Barcelona and is concentrating on helping them win silverware this season. There is always interest in Eidur, but I have not heard from Blackburn. I don't think anything will happen in January as Eidur wants to stay and Barcelona want to keep him."

Read more:
West Ham again interested in Gudjohnsen
Barça B: Plancheria testing at Blackburn Rovers
Gudjohnsen: "Guardiola has changed my life"

Manchester City preparing a move for Henry

British newspapers The Independent and The Times claim that Manchester City is interested in signing Barcelona forward and French international Thierry Henry (31) next summer.

The Independent claims that Manchester City have accepted they won't be able to sign a star player this transfer window but will consider returning to Barcelona for Henry this summer, having received an indication that the Frenchman did not feel January was the right time to leave Barcelona.

Manchester City manager Mark Hughes and Manchester City executive chairman Garry Cook would both like to sign Henry and the failed transfer of AC Milan's Kaká earlier this week has not put them off the idea of high-profile signings this summer.

Henry appears to fit Manchester City's profile of a player whose broader image rights could have value. The French striker would also understand Garry Cook's notion about maximising footballers' intellectual property rights, an issue that is believed to have caused the collapse of the Kaká deal.

Manchester City wouldn't have been left with the impression that their pursuit of the striker is a lost cause. Henry's age could be a bigger problem than his willingness to abandon the prospect of Champions League football next season. It is believed that the transfer fee for Henry, whose contract at Barcelona expires in 2011, could be around 15 million euro°.

The Times claims that Manchester City have already taken the first steps in their attempt to bring Henry back to the English Premier League. After the failed bid to sign Kaká from AC Milan, Henry would be next on Manchester City's list of transfer targets with the Frenchman both fitting the club's need for an iconic signing to raise their commercial profile as well as their prospects on the pitch.

City didn't yet approach Henry or Barcelona directly but has made preliminary moves to sound out Henry's availability and whether the player would want to return to English football as part of the club's new project. The contacts have just started and City will continue the process over the coming weeks.

If a transfer next summer seems possible, Manchester City will then decide if they will meet Barcelona's asking price, which is expected to be around 10,5 million euro°, and match Henry's salary, which is thought to be at this moment more than 5,5 million euro a year.

Read more:
Messi and Eto'o on Manchester City wish list
Manchester City will come after Henry in January
Bid from Manchester City for Toure

Poll - Man of the match: Espanyol

Copa 1/4, 1st leg: Espanyol-Barcelona 0-0


Márquez (10 Víctor Sánchez)

Gudjohnsen (68 Xavi)

Bojan (74 Messi)


yellow cards
Víctor Sánchez


out of match squad



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