Saturday 21 March 2009

ReLive: Malaga-Barcelona 1-4

Milan coach Ancelotti wants Eto'o

Italian sports paper La Gazzetta dello Sport claims that Barcelona forward and Cameroon international Samuel Eto'o (28) could become a top target for AC Milan in the summer.

AC Milan manager Ancelotti would have demanded the Italian club to sign at least one central defender and one centre forward this year, which should enable Milan to again compete with the Italian and European top clubs next season. Eto'o and Adebayor would be the two options the coach has put forward for the striker position.

If he doesn't get what he asked for, Ancelotti will consider leaving at the end of the current season, with Real Madrid, Chelsea and Bayern Munich then being possible destinations for the Italian coach whose contract with Milan expires in the summer of 2010.

Read more:
Agent Eto'o met with Milan
Barcelona wants to renew Eto'o
Milan and Madrid not interested in Eto'o

Messi best dribbler in world football

Sports site Bleacher Report has put out a list of the best dribblers in world football.

Barcelona attacker and Argentinian international Lionel Messi (21) tops the list: "The 1.69-meter-tall winger has a unique gift of dribbling. His height and quick feet allow him to quickly change pace and direction right in front of and between defenders.

His ball control is simply phenomenal, with the ability of running as quickly with the ball as he does without it. This natural ability allows Messi to ghost through defense; easily and frequently able to beat three opponents with three touches."

Barcelona attacker and Spanish international Andrés Iniesta (24) finished 8th: "The list wouldn't be complete without a mention of his name. His main advantage lies in his ball control which complements his intelligence. This allows him to read the defense and move around them. He has used this to win numerous penalties."

This is the complete Top-10 :

1. Lionel Messi (Argentina - FC Barcelona)
2. Ronaldinho (Brazil - AC Milan)
3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal - Manchester United)
4. Robinho (Brazil - Manchester City)
5. Juan Roman Riquelme (Argentina - Boca Juniors)
6. Arjen Robben (Netherlands - Real Madrid)
7. Ronaldo (Brazil - Corinthians)
8. Andrés Iniesta (Spain - FC Barcelona)
9. Kaka (Brazil - AC Milan)
10. Sergio "Kun" Aguero (Argentina - Atletico de Madrid)

Read more:
Manchester City planning record bid for Messi
Madrid fans want Iniesta
WAG: Lionel Messi

[Henrique] Bayer Leverkusen-Frankfurt

Bayer Leverkusen played this afternoon their 24th game of the German league. Bayer and Franfurt drew one all.

Brazilian central defender and Barcelona loan out Henrique (22) played the whole game. He got booked after twenty minutes when he stopped an opponent who played on after a whistle.

Barcelona bought Henrique last 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.

Saturday 8 November - Bundesliga game 12: Karlsruhe-Bayer Leverkusen 3-3
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Yellow card.

Saturday 15 November - Bundesliga game 13: Bayer Leverkusen-Schalke 2-1
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes.

Saturday 22 November - Bundesliga game 14: Bielefeld-Bayer Leverkusen 2-1
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes.

Saturday 29 November - Bundesliga game 15: Bayer Leverkusen-Bayern Munich 0-2
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Yellow card.

Saturday 6 December - Bundesliga game 16: Borussia Mönchengladbach-Bayer Leverkusen 1-3
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes.

Saturday 13 December - Bundesliga game 17: Bayer Leverkusen-Cottbus 1-1
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes.

Wednesday 28 January - Cup 1/8 finals: Bayer Leverkusen-Cottbus 3-1

Saturday 31 January - Bundesliga game 18: Borussia Dortmund-Bayer Leverkusen 1-1

Saturday 7 February - Bundesliga game 19: Bayer Leverkusen-Stuttgart 2-4
Substitute. Henrique replaces Castro in the 66th minute (0-2). Assist.

Friday 13 February - Bundesliga game 20: Hoffenheim-Bayer Leverkusen 1-4
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes.

Sunday 22 February - Bundesliga game 21: Bayer Leverkusen-Hamburg 1-2
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Yellow card.

Saturday 28 February - Bundesliga game 22: Hannover-Bayer Leverkusen 1-0
Suspended. Henrique cannot play because of five yellow cards.

Wednesday 5 March - Cup 1/4 finals: Bayer Leverkusen-Bayern Munich 4-2
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes.

Sunday 8 March - Bundesliga game 23: Bayer Leverkusen-Bochum 1-1
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes.

Saturday 14 March - Bundesliga game 24: Hertha Berlin-Bayer Leverkusen 1-0
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes.

Saturday 21 March - Bundesliga game 25: Bayer Leverkusen-Frankfurt 1-1
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Yellow card.

1. Hertha Berlin 49
2. Bayern Munich 48
3. Wolfsburg 48
4. Hamburg (24) 45
5. Hoffenheim 44
6. Stuttgart 42
7. Bayer Leverkusen 38
8. Schalke 04 (24) 37
9. Borussia Dortmund 37

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

Medical: Green light for Jorquera

Barcelona player Albert Jorquera (30) has received earlier today the green light from Barcelona's medical staff and will be available for the league game against Málaga tomorrow.

The Catalan goalkeeper sprained the external lateral ligament of his left ankle during a training session on Thursday 12 March and was then expected to be out for seven to ten days (read more here).

Read more:
Medical: Puyol out for three weeks
Medical: Abidal out for two months
Medical: Jorquera out for at least one week

Medical: Pique uncertain for Malaga game

Barcelona's medical staff has announced that Barcelona player Gerard Piqué (22) couldn't take part in this morning's training session due to fever.

After a medical check at his home, Piqué was given rest until tomorrow. The evolution of his physical condition will determine if he will be available for the game against Málaga.

Read more:
Medical: Puyol out for three weeks
Medical: Abidal out for two months
Medical: Jorquera out for at least one week

Villa first option to replace Eto'o

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain and Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola have decided that Valencia forward and Spanish international David Villa (27) will be the substitute of Barcelona forward Samuel Eto'o if the latter leaves in the summer.

Olympique Lyon forward and French international Karim Benzema (21) and Liverpool forward and Spanish international Fernando Torres (24) were the two other candidates on the list but didn't make it for different reasons.

The paper claims that Begiristain met two weeks ago in Barcelona with Villa's agent José Luis Tamargo. The two talked about how to deal with Valencia and discussed a first draft of the contract the Spanish striker could sign. Although both parties had a good feeling about the talks, Villa and his agent nevertheless want Barcelona to take a clear stand before the end of the season. A final decision should be made before a new meeting that should take place shortly.

Asked about the new rumours, Tamargo hinted in an interview with Catalan radio station RAC 1 again at a possible move to Barcelona: "I don't know what will happen in the future, but we have a contract at Valencia and we're not worried at this moment. Valencia is going through a difficult moment. The club tries to solve things and should be able to do that in a calm way.

I've said already and I will repeat it thousand times that for Villa it would be fabulous to play with an absolute quality player like Messi. It would be spectacular to see them together, Messi and a finisher like Villa... Now one of them is at Barcelona and the other at Valencia but you never know what can happen."

Read more:
Valencia puts Villa and Silva for sale
Torres not thinking about leaving Liverpool
Txiki talks about the summer transfer market

Pichichi and Zamora (day 27)

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.

23 Eto'o (Barcelona)
19 Villa (Valencia)
19 Forlán (Atlético Madrid)
18 Messi (Barcelona)
16 Negredo (Almería)

0,89 Víctor Valdés (Barcelona)
0,96 Palop (Sevilla)
1,15 Casillas (Real Madrid)
1,15 Toño (Racing Santander)
1,22 Roberto (Osasuna)

[2008] Marquez wants to stay

this story was published exactly one year ago:

Every time when a season is coming to its end, the speculation about his possible departure starts, but Madrid tabloid AS claims that Barcelona central defender Rafael Márquez (29) will again not leave this summer, despite new rumours about an upcoming transfer (read more here).

Because of his relationship with Mexican model Jaydy Mitchel (picture), who is living in Madrid where Márquez visits her regularly, the player has again been linked with a move to Atlético Madrid. Márquez nevertheless thinks that there's no better place for him now than Barcelona and the Mexican international is therefore motivated to play a good end of the season and show his worth to the team.

Read more 21 March 2008 news:
Everybody loves Michael
Coloccini story unfolding

Interview with marketing vice-president Ferrer (2)

Barcelona marketing vice-president Jaume Ferrer gave an interview to Catalan sports paper Sport.

At what phase is the American football franchise? (note: the interview dates from before the announcement of the withdrawal of the MLS bid)
The people at MLS will contact us soon if they accept that and the conditions that we have asked. And there are many.

MLS is sponsored by Adidas and Barca wears Nike. Is that a conflict of interests?
Nike also sees it as an opportunity, but it's something that needs resolving, of course. We can't do anything unless Nike also agrees.

And how will it be solved?
It may be that the team won't wear the Barca crest or that it won't be called Barca, or won't have our colors... All of this we will consider and we will analyze once they give us the franchise.

It won't take off until 2010...
And that would already be soon. We need to create the club, find the players... it's a long process. Once we get the franchise, we will always have it.

Why the USA?
We know how to make the club grow past the 450 or 500 million euros worth of income. After this, the ideas end. The only way is from a strong international expansion. We've always thought that the USA is one of the places where we can grow the most.

You think so?
There are 40 million Hispanics that like football, there are television channels that specialize in it - ESPN and FOX - and it's the country where the world's most important companies are.

Within a year and a few months, the elections for the presidency of FC Barcelona will take place. Will the current club board present your candidacy?
I think that our management that we've done has been very positive. We are willing to continue and we need to present a candidate with a serious project. And that will be decided within the next few months. We'll keep on working for the club and we will prepare ourselves in similar fashion.

Laporta won't be able to present himself. A candidate must be from the actual board...
There are many members of the board, more than two, three or four, that will make great presidents of FC Barcelona.

Is Jaume Ferrer preparing himself for being president of Barca?
I see myself working for FC Barcelona, within a directive board, with much hope. After that I don't see myself doing anything.

And have your fellow members asked you?
It's something that I woult then definitely think about but we'll see what happens. Right now we can't make any prediction but we should think about finishing the season in the best way possible. We can't distract ourselves from all of this.

What must a Barca president have?
He must be a person capable of handling pressure and must have very clear ideas.

How will Joan Laporta be judged after a few years?
History will recognize Laporta as one of the best presidents that FC Barcelona has had. All you have to look at is how the club was and how it is now. In 2003 it was losing money, and now we make more than we spend. We had a roster that couldn't qualify for the Champions Leage and now it's fighting for titles. From 100,000 socios we now have more than 160,000. And most importantly, we have recovered the pride in being a Barcelonist.

Translated by: Al

This was the second part of this interview. You can read the first part here:
Interview with marketing vice-president Ferrer

Alves dismisses Chelsea and Madrid rumours

Asked about the rumours linking him with a move to Chelsea (read more here) and with a possible future interest of Real Madrid presidential candidate Florentino Pérez, Barcelona right back defender and Brazilian international Daniel Alves (25) has said at a pres conference that he's not thinking about leaving soon:

"I'm not thinking about the future. For me, there's nothing better than being happy and I have found here in Barcelona happiness for me and my family. When one is happy at a place, there's no need to change. So I'm not worried about the Chelsea rumours.

About Madrid, I have the same opinion as players like Iniesta and Messi who owe a lot to this club: when you play at a great club like Barcelona, it would be a very serious mistake to move to Real Madrid. I would like to retire at Barcelona. You never know what can happen in football, but if the club and the fans continue to like me as they do now, that would be my wish. And I don't want to be just another player in the history of the club. I want to leave something good behind."

Read more:
Chelsea and Manchester City sound out Alves
Dani Alves launches personal website
Alves denies Premier League rumours

Friday 20 March 2009

Song of the day: El Vals Del Obrero

Monday, a little before 2 am. The team flies back to Barcelona after winning the game against Almería, the plane got off half an hour too late and will land in fifteen minutes, people are sleeping.

Suddenly someone shouts "Viva la revolución!!!" from the back of the plane and the song "El Vals Del Obrero" from Spanish anti-establishment ska punk band Ska-P blasts out of the speakers.

With the help of a stewardess, Gerard Piqué had connected his iPod to the sound system...

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: N-O-T) 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 Sunday.

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 3:00 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 or if I decide so), 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 36th time this game is organized.



mario ch
B. Beltrocco

Dan R



Barca nike


Cristi M
kamikaze kontiki
M4V3R1K's blog
Cali Socis

Knives Out
blaugrana poland

Quote of the day: Antic

Barcelona has gotten better at set pieces, although I still don't understand why they don't cover certain zones at corner kicks. It happened against Lyon, they make mistakes and then they point at that poor Valdés who's not to blame at all.

Radomir Antic, Serbian national team coach

Barça Classic: Barcelona-Osasuna (february 1994)

Uploaded by odn-barca4life

How much does Guardiola earn?

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola (38) currently earns a fixed year salary of 1,5 million euro.

Besides this fixed fee, Guardiola's contract also includes the following incentives:

- league title: 1,1 million euro
- league finish between places 2 and 4: 0,5 million euro
- Spanish cup: 0,4 million euro
- Champions League: 1 million euro

Like when he signed his contract as Barcelona Atlètic head coach in 2007, the emphasis lies on the performance-based incentives. There would also exist a verbal agreement between the club and the manager that Guardiola could receive an extra incentive if the club wins two or more trophies in one season.

The contract besides stipulates that Guardiola takes with him to his second season the incentives he earns in his first year. Guardiola signed last summer a two-year contract as Barcelona head coach (read more here). Although the club seems willing to extend the deal, Guardiola don't think this is the moment to talk about a renewal.

Read more:
Guardiola could quit as manager in 2010
Barcelona plans to offer Guardiola new contract
Guardiola signs two-year deal

UEFA and clubs have no plans for Super League

author: Darren Ennis
source: Reuters

date: 17 March 2009
editor: kamikaze kontiki

European soccer's governing body UEFA and the continent's top clubs have no plans to create a "Super League" to replace the Champions League and UEFA Cup. UEFA officials told Reuters a European Super League is a "non-starter" for their president Michel Platini, playing down media reports it was mulling plans for such a competition.

Platini was quoted by France Football as saying UEFA was prepared to discuss plans from European teams to create a continental league to replace the Champions League and UEFA Cup. Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport said the project also had some backing from within UEFA.

"He (Platini) is always open to dialogue and to look at ways of adapting and improving UEFA competitions in line with the times. But he has his own philosophy and beliefs about the game and one such belief is that he is dead set against a super league," a senior official close to Platini told Reuters. France Football quoted Platini as saying: "If it was up to me, I would revert to European Cups as they were at the beginning, with just knockout rounds. But we must listen carefully to any suggestion. If clubs come and talk to us, we would listen to them and then decide."

The French publication also said the ECA talked about a "Super League" during a meeting last week in Nyon, Switzerland. But a spokesman for the European Club Association said the organisation - representing 137 clubs - "is very happy with the existing European competitions. ECA regrets these unfounded rumours which can only damage the harmony in the European football family," he said after the ECA executive discussed media the reports at a meeting in Amsterdam on Tuesday. "We have never had any intention of implementing such a competition. We have never discussed it and it has never been on our agenda."

The Super League would be made up of three divisions with 20 to 22 clubs in each tier, the two newspapers said. Promotion and relegation would occur between the divisions each season. Gazzetta said the global economic crisis had prompted the often-mooted Super League idea to resurface but gave no indication over when advocates wanted the tournament to start.

"Nobody in UEFA is working on a super league. It simply has not been brought up as a matter," another UEFA official said. The official, with knowledge of a recent meeting of UEFA's strategy committee - comprising of representatives of the ECA, leagues, players and UEFA - also confirmed that the issue of a super league was not raised by the clubs at the meeting.

read the full and original article here

external links:
ECA website notice
Now is the Time for a European Super League

Read more:
Europe could approve FIFA's foreign player's limit
UEFA wants transfer ban for youth players
Proposal to limit spending on transfers and salaries

Dani Alves launches personal website

Barcelona player Dani Alves launched yesterday his new official website.

You can visit the website here:

Henry not thinking about return to Premier League

Asked about the rumours linking him with a return to the English Premier League (read more here), Barcelona forward and French international Thierry Henry (31) has said in an interview with British tabloid The Sun that he is now only focused on Barcelona:

"It’s funny but it seems like every day or every week people talk about me going back. It is very flattering and the Premier League and the fans will always have a special place in my heart. But I have a job to do in Barca and that’s not finished yet. When you play for one of the best teams in the world you must do all you can to win everything with that team."

Read more:
Henry will be put for sale in the summer
Henry: "Catalonia is not Spain"
Manchester City preparing summer bid for Henry

Barcelona faces Bayern Munich in quarter finals

Today at 12:00 pm, the draw for the rest of the Champions League took place. Barcelona will play the quarter-finals against Bayern Munich. If they qualify, the next opponent will be the winner of the Chelsea-Liverpool tie.

Barcelona-Bayern Munich

Manchester United-Porto

pep's opinion:
we avoid the english teams, bayern cannot be a problem if you want to win this competition. but we're clearly in the most difficult part of the table with a possible game against liverpool or chelsea coming up and we're not having the home advantage, which has proven to be very important in the champions league over the last years and could be decisive in the 1/2 finals. in general a rather dull draw, seems like the 1/8 fnals had more clashes.

Sporting left back Cote closely followed

Asturias regional newspaper El Comercio reports that Barcelona is closely monitoring Sporting Gijón left back defender and Spanish youth international José Angel Valdés "Cote" (19).

Asked about the player, Barcelona scout for Asturias Emilio Gutiérrez confirmed to the paper that he has been keeping an eye on Cote for a while now: "I have been following him for three years. I know him since he was playing for the Juvenil team.

It's a sensational footballer, you won't easily find a left-footed player with his qualities, so I'm not surprised he's doing that well in the Liga. With José Angel and Canella, Sporting has actually two good players for that position. Both are interesting players although I cannot go into details about my scouting reports."

The paper claims that Barcelona has been given the advice by the scout to sign Cote. The Spanish left back, who made his league debut with the first team last month against Barcelona, signed in February his first professional contract with Sporting, including a buyout clause of 18 million euro°. Real Madrid, Valencia and Atlético Madrid would also be following the player, while Villarreal and Sevilla could also be ready to join the race.

Read more:
Sporting Gijon wants Gai Assulin on loan
Barça B - Official: Joni
Sporting will try again for Jorquera

Watch a video of Cote here:

[2008] Negotiations with Coloccini to start soon

this post was published exactly one year ago:

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that, after the deal with Racing Santander central defender Ezequiel Garay (21) could not be concluded (read more here), Barcelona is now interested in Deportivo La Coruña central defender Fabricio Coloccini (26).

Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain would already have talked with the Argentinian international and the negotiations with his agent Marcelo Lombilla are expected to start soon. Although he has three more years of contract with the club, Coloccini considers his stay with Deportivo as finished and has given his agent the permission to arrange a transfer to Barcelona, where he could play alongside fellow compatriot Gabriel Milito, or to any other interested club.

Since last summer, when Deportivo turned down a six million euro (°) bid for Coloccini from Zaragoza, who wanted to replace Milito who had left for Barcelona, a buyout clause of 10 million euro (°°) was agreed upon between the player and Deportivo president Lendoiro.

Read more 20 March 2008 news:
Jaaskelainen is on the list
Youth: Gai Assulin

Plans to create a statue of Kubala

On Thursday, FC Barcelona and the Barça Veterans Association unveiled a project to commission a statue in memory of Ladislao Kubala (1927-2002).

The monument to Kubala is in recognition of what he represented to the Club and to Catalonia, especially internationally. It was partly thanks to him that a new stadium was built to replace the old Les Corts, as it had become too small for the large crowds. In addition, Kubala combined his leadership skills with extreme generosity to his most needy former team-mates.

read more and see the statue here

Poll result: Who do you want to avoid in the CL?

This is the final result of this blog's Which team you want Barcelona NOT to face in the Champions League 1/4 finals? poll:

48% Liverpool
19% Manchester United
12% Don't know/Doesn't matter
7% Porto
5% Villarreal
4% Arsenal
3% Bayern Munich
3% Chelsea

see full results here
see previous poll results here

Barcelona possibly interested in Higuain

Madrid sports tabloid Marca unconfirmedly claims that Barcelona could be interested in Real Madrid forward and Argentinian international Gonzalo Higuaín (21).

Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola would like the qualities of the striker and with elections coming up in Madrid, Higuaín's future seems uncertain. AC Milan and Zenit Saint Petersburg would already have asked for the Argentinian.

Read more:
Madrid presidential candidate approached Eto'o
Robinho agent admits contact with Barcelona
Madrid fans want Iniesta

Thursday 19 March 2009

Quote of the day: Messi

If it would depend on me, I would stay my whole life at Barça. There are things you cannot buy with money, like the happiness and the great feeling I have here in Barcelona.

Lionel Messi, Barcelona player

Hleb not looking to leave

Asked about the rumours linking him a summer exit (read more here), Barcelona attacker and Belarus international Alexander Hleb (27) has said at a press conference that he's not looking to leave although he's not satisfied with his performances so far:

"I don't regret to have joined Barcelona. Barça is one of the greatest clubs in the world, they offer me the chance to win trophies and I'm learning from this experience every day. It's true that not being a regular is a new situation for me, but at this moment I'm focused on giving everything during training sessions to be able to have more chances.

I recognize I'm having a difficult season. I'm at a team where every player is fantastic and can be a starter and it's even difficult to have playing time. I would like to but I have to admit that I'm not playing at the same level as with Arsenal. The system of Barça is a little different. It's not easy to explain why things are the way they are.

Before Christmas, it wasn't easy. I was disappointed because I wanted to play and I couldn't. I didn't understand what was happening. Now I'm better because I understand that I need some more time to adapt. It hasn't been easy to adapt. The language sure is an obstacle. I'm having trouble learning Spanish. I understand it, but it's hard to speak it."

Read more:
Hleb not looking for a summer exit
Aguero, Cesc and Asenjo could join this summer
Hleb could be part of Ribery deal

Guardiola opens training for the press

For the first time since the move to the new sports centre earlier this year, Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola allowed the press to assist the entire training session.

A look at Barcelona's defence

author: Nzuu Ranwaha
source: The Bleacher Report

date: 13 March 2009

Throughout the history of FC Barcelona, beautiful, one-touch, attacking football has been part of the culture, earning them adoration and plaudits from across the world. However, one part of Barcelona has trailed behind in terms of effectiveness and reliability, and that is defence. The 2008/2009 season has been no different, with the soft underbelly of arguably the best attacking club in the world once again exposed. So why do Barcelona seem to concede so many?

The quality and form of a keeper in a team like Barcelona must be consistently good. Victor Valdes, the man who stands between the Barca sticks, has been under the microscope for a long time. Though he has improved in recent years, his handling and positioning are still not on par with the reputation of a club like Barca. With just two clean sheets since the turn of the year, his performance and consistency are questionable.

Alves Factor
Barca's Brazilian full back has been in scintillating form this season, providing no fewer than 13 assists. Unfortunately, no part of Barcelona's backline has been as impressive in fulfilling their defensive duties as Dani Alves has been going forward. Alves' running helps the team score more goals, but, unfortunately, when Barcelona lose possession in the final third, the defence are vulnerable to counter-attacks.

Set Pieces
Without a doubt, Barca has one of the most vertically challenged squads in world football. The only players who are 6 feet tall or over are the three keepers, Gerard Pique, Aliaksandr Hleb, and Yaya Toure. When Barca face corners, this lack of height causes them serious problems. Freekicks cause yet more concern. The wall is flimsy and experienced dead ball specialists can take advantage of that.

Injuries, Rotations and Suspensions
Barcelona have been hampered by many injuries and suspensions to important figures at the back. When Dani Alves is suspended or being rested, Barcelona use a center-back (Puyol) as his replacement on the flank. When the defensive minded full-back Eric Abidal is injured, Sylvinho usually fills that gap. Sylvinho, like his Brazilian counterpart Alves, enjoys his forays forward increasing the vulnerability on counters.

What Can Be Done For The Remainder Of The Season?
With Victor Valdes in goal, Barca might have to accept that, at some random time, things might go wrong. Players like Valdes need adequate motivation to do well, which is why the least cules can do for him in the middle of the season is to stand by the guy. Trying to conjure a less aggressive approach from Alves is almost like trying to convince a shark to live in a lake (even if the lake is salty). However, Alves having become an irreplaceable component in the Barca system they will have to live with this. Barcelona usually score way more goals than they let in (117 scored and 41 conceded this season alone, a 2.85:1 ratio). As long as they keep scoring until the end of the season, conceding (especially from dead-ball situations) won't be as bad.

Transfer Season
Sergio Asenjo, the young and vibrant Valladolid shot-stopper, is expected to move this summer, and one of the biggest favours Barcelona can do for themselves is to get his signature. What better way to motivate Valdes than bringing in someone who is younger and more talented than he is? The option of bringing in Philipp Lahm to strengthen the left side of the defence does not seem to be the solution to any problem. He is shorter than all the members of Barca's defence and thus will not provide any more resilience when defending setpieces. Also, he is as attacking as Alves, and that's why Abidal, with his height and discipline, is still a very good option.

Barcelona's defensive problems cannot be resolved right now, maybe not in the next two seasons, maybe not ever. Every club has its strengths, and for Barca, their prowess is in attacking opponents, which is why they score so many. The reason Barcelona has the greatest fanbase in Europe is due to the quality it shows in attack and possession. But the question in many fans’ minds is: "With their unsteady defense, can Barcelona cope against European teams and win the UEFA Champions league?" Well… They did it three seasons ago.

read the full and original article here

Read more:
Alves second best player in the world
Barcelona Is Winning With Style
Why are Barcelona scoring so many goals?

Possible new bid for Silva

Italian newspaper La Stampa claims that Barcelona could make a new bid for Valencia left winger and Spanish international David Silva (23).

Due to the club's financial problems, Valencia would have dropped the intitial asking price from 30 to 20 million euro°, a fee that should be paid immediately (read more here).

Juventus would already have put a bid of between 16 and 18 million euro on the table but because Barcelona would still be interested in the Spanish winger (read more here) and could therefore raise that bid, the Italian club now wants to close the deal as soon as possible.

Read more:
Asenjo, Zhirkov and Silva main transfer targets
Txiki talks about the summer transfer market
Valencia puts Villa and Silva for sale

Puyol: "I think I could play until I'm 35 or 36"

Barcelona player Carles Puyol gave an interview to the offical website of Powergym, a brand of dietary supplements that also sponsors Puyol's website.

What is the secret to keep so many years in the elite of a professional sport like football?
Many things, first try to be very professional, to take care of yourself, to train hard and off the pitch it's very important to be aware of your diet.

It costs you more now than before to stay in shape?
No, more or less the same. Just as the years pass you must change training a little, you should be more careful and selective when you do the training. At the moment I am very well and I hope it lasts for many years.

Until which age do you see yourself playing at the highest level?
I think until 35 or 36, but I don't know, we'll see.

Throughout your career you didn't suffer majo
r injuries... That's thanks to what?
Besides everything I do to prevent injuries, luck plays a role because football is a very physical sport, with a lot of contact and sometimes there are injuries that are inevitable.

Do you work with a personal coach?

How does he help you?
I have a number of people around me apart from the club's coaches, who are very good for sure. Anyway, I'm happy with the results I get with the help of people from outside the club.

How are you feeling this year, physically speaking?
This year I'm very well, last season was more complicated because I was injured. This year I was able to relax in summer, I had a good pre-s
eason and I feel really good.

How many hours a day do you train?
It depends, because when you play at Barca, you have at least two games a week and sometimes you cannot train a lot, since t
he games are though and you have to recover.

The physical preparation is hard for a professional player?
No, I don't think so. The hardest thing are the games and that you get kicked at training every day because there's always contact and you'll never going to training without feeling pain somewhere. I think that's the hardest thing about football.

Translated by: Riis

This was the second part of this interview. You will be able to read the following part in the coming days and you can read the first part here:
Puyol: "I don't want to become a coach"

Read more:
Puyol launches official website
Does Puyol has the wackiest football hairstyle?
Puyol wants to cut recovery time in half

Madrid fans want Iniesta

Presumed Real Madrid presidential candidate Florentino Pérez is been holding polls to know more about the wishes of the Madrid fans ahead of the official announcement of his candidacy in the coming weeks.

Madrid sports tabloid Marca has turned the questions into an own poll and when asked about which players their team should sign, Barcelona player Andrés Iniesta was chosen by the Madrid fans as the Spanish player they would prefer to see joining their team. With Iniesta and Messi, only two Barcelona players were included among the poll options.

Which Spanish player would you like to sign?
1. Iniesta 30%
2. Villa 25%
3. Cesc 17%

Which foreign player would you like to sign?
1. Cristiano Ronaldo 37%
2. Kaká 16%
3. Messi 13%

[Valiente] Sevilla B-Las Palmas

Spanish second division team Sevilla Atlético, the second team of first division club Sevilla, played last weekend their 28th league game of the season, drawing two all with Las Palmas.

Former Barcelona Atlètic player Marc Valiente (21) started the game on the bench and entered in the second half.

Because Barcelona has the right to buy Valiente back at the end of this season (read more here), this blog will follow the performances of the central defender during the season.

Sunday 31 August - League game 1: Albacete-Sevilla Atlético 2-1
Injured. Valiente has pubis problems.

Sunday 7 September - League game 2: Sevilla Atlético-Salamanca 1-1
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Central defender.

Sunday 14 September - League game 3: Córdoba-Sevilla Atlético 1-1
Injured. Valiente has an ankle injury.

Sunday 21 September - League game 4: Sevilla Atlético-Rayo Vallecano 0-0
Substitute. Valiente plays the second half. Defensive midfielder.

Sunday 28 September - League game 5: Levante-Sevilla Atlético 2-0
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Defensive midfielder.

Sunday 5 October - League game 6: Sevilla Atlético-Real Sociedad 1-0
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Central defender.

Saturday 11 October - League game 7: Las Palmas-Sevilla Atlético 2-0
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Defensive midfielder.

Saturday 18 October - League game 8: Sevilla Atlético-Zaragoza 0-4
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Central defender.

Sunday 26 October - League game 9: Las Palmas-Sevilla Atlético 2-0
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Defensive midfielder.

Sunday 2 November - League game 10: Sevilla Atlético-Hércules 1-2
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Central defender.

Sunday 9 November - League game 11: Alavés-Sevilla Atlético 2-2
Starter. Valiente starts the game and is excluded in the 87th minute (2-2). Central defender. Red card.

Sunday 2 November - League game 12: Sevilla Atlético-Elche 0-2
Suspended. Due to red card.

Saturday 22 November - League game 13: Sevilla Atlético-Xerez 1-2
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Central defender. Yellow card.

Saturday 29 November - League game 14: Girona-Sevilla Atlético 1-0
Injured. Valiente has an injury.

Sunday 7 December - League game 15: Sevilla Atlético-Castellón 1-0
Injured. Valiente has an injury.

Sunday 14 December - League game 16: Gimnástic-Sevilla Atlético 3-1
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Defensive midfielder.

Sunday 21 December - League game 17: Sevilla Atlético-Eibar 0-0
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Defensive midfielder.

Sunday 4 January - League game 18: Tenerife-Sevilla Atlético 2-1
Starter. Valiente starts the game and is replaced in the 65th minute. Defensive midfielder.

Saturday 10 January - League game 19: Sevilla Atlético-Huesca 1-1
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Defensive midfielder.

Saturday 17 January - League game 20: Celta Vigo-Sevilla Atlético 2-0
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Defensive midfielder.

Sunday 25 January - League game 21: Sevilla Atlético-Alicante 2-3
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Defensive midfielder. Yellow card.

Saturday 31 January - League game 22: Sevilla Atlético-Albacete 1-1
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Defensive midfielder.

Sunday 8 February - League game 23: Salamanca-Sevilla Atlético 6-0

Saturday 14 February - League game 24: Sevilla Atlético-Córdoba 0-2
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Defensive midfielder.

Saturday 21 February - League game 25: Rayo Vallecano-Sevilla Atlético 1-0
Injured. Valiente has an ankle injury.

Sunday 1 March - League game 26: Sevilla Atlético-Levante 1-2
Injured. Valiente has an ankle injury.

Sunday 8 March - League game 27: Real Sociedad-Sevilla Atlético 1-0
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Defensive midfielder. Yellow card.

Saturday 14 March - League game 28: Sevilla Atlético-Las Palmas 2-2
Substitute. Valiente replaces Cabral in the 56th minute (1-2). Defensive midfielder.

1. Xerez 51
2. Hércules 49
3. Tenerife 49
4. Rayo 46
5. Zaragoza 45
6. Castellón 44
7. Salamanca 44
8. Real Sociedad 42
9. Huesca 40
10. Levante 40
11. Gimnástic 38
12. Girona 38
13. Albacete 36
14. Murcia 35
15. Elche 35
16. Celta 34
17. Las Palmas 32
18. Córdoba 32
19. Alavés 31
20. Eibar 27
21. Alicante 23
22. Sevilla Atlético 11

The top three are promoted to the Primera División. The bottom four are relegated to the Spanish third division.

Madrid gets all the support they need

*Canonball Man*

We have taken off and Van der Vaart is right. Six points is nothing and ALL* together we can get there!

*Board, fans, squad... and of course the referees

(click the cartoon to enlarge)

see more cartoons here

[2008] Inter is monitoring Marquez

this post was published exactly one year ago:

Italian television channel Italia 1 claims that Inter Milan is closely following the situation of Barcelona central defender Rafael Márquez (29).

While the arrival of a new central defender in Barcelona could lead to the departure of the Mexican international, Inter is looking to bring in at least one important player to strengthen their defensive department, that was upset this season by injuries and sudden dips in performances. Márquez is said to be on the list of Inter manager Roberto Mancini for many years. A transfer fee of 10 million euro (°) is being put forward.

Read more 19 March 2008 news:
Mbia has a large choice
Manchester City is eyeing Giovani

Torres not thinking about leaving Liverpool

Asked about the rumours linking Liverpool forward and Spanish international Fernando Torres (24) with a move to Barcelona (read more here), Antonio Sanz, a spokesperson of the player's agency Bahía Internacional, has said in an interview with Catalan radio station RAC 1 that the striker is not considering an exit:

"Fernando feels good about the fact that the Barcelona fans want him to join their club, but he's not considering to leave Liverpool at this moment. He has four more years left on his contract and he's very happy in England."

Read more:
Torres first option to replace Eto'o
First contacts with Ibrahimovic
Agency Torres denies talking with Barcelona

Atletico B goalkeeper De Gea sounded out

Madrid sports tabloid As claims that Barcelona is interested in Atlético Madrid B goalkeeper and Spanish youth international David De Gea (18) (read more here).

Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristan has excellent scouting reports about the player and the club would have sounded out De Gea for the first time a few days ago.

Barcelona has let him know that they are looking for a young player who can act as second goalkeeper next season and asked the player for his situation. Arsenal would also be interested in the player.

De Gea, who signed last year his first professional contract that links him to Atlético Madrid until 2011, prefers to continue at his club although this could change if he wouldn't be promoted to second goalkeeper next season and if the club signs another young goalkeeper.

Atlético Madrid would want to sign a new goalkeeper in the summer, with Real Valladolid goalkeeper and Spanish youth international Sergio Asenjo (19) being the main target. Barcelona is also interested in Asenjo (read more here) but the player prefers to move to a club where he can be first goalkeeper and Barcelona's interest would have dimished after Asenjo suffered a serious injury earlier this season.

Read more:
Barcelona sounds out Juventus goalkeeper Buffon
Agent Asenjo confirms Barcelona contact
Barcelona speaking with Cech and Buffon

Barcelona could invest in Philadelphia MLS team

author: Tripp Mickle
source: Sports Business Journal
date: 16 March 2009

FC Barcelona is exploring an investment in MLS’s Philadelphia expansion franchise, which has been seeking new capital for months in an effort to further strengthen an ownership group fronted by iStar Financial CEO Jay Sugarman.

Joan Laporta, president of FC Barcelona, visited Philadelphia on 28 February and toured the site of the franchise’s future stadium being constructed in Chester, Pennsylvania. The tour took place days before FC Barcelona announced it wouldn’t pursue an expansion franchise in Miami.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber declined to comment on the visit but said: "FC Barcelona has expressed for some time an interest in Major League Soccer financially and strategically. They spent a great deal of time with us looking at Miami and are continuing to look at opportunities around the league."

MLS Philadelphia CEO Nick Sakiewicz said he didn’t discuss investing in the franchise with Laporta but acknowledged that the Philadelphia franchise is still looking for strategic partners. "That’s always been part of our plan and it hasn’t changed," Sakiewicz said.

FC Barcelona is just the latest in a string of potential investors to look at the team over the last few months. Looking ahead, there’s concern in MLS ownership circles about operating expenses and losses once the franchise begins play. FC Barcelona or other minor investors could alleviate some of that concern. Details about the size of any future investment remain unknown.

FC Barcelona has been seeking entry into MLS since last fall when it partnered with cell-phone magnate Marcelo Claure to bid on an expansion team in Miami. The club and MLS pulled the plug on the bid in early March because of "adverse market conditions" in Miami. But investing in Philadelphia would offer the Spanish club an easier, more affordable entry.

The Philadelphia franchise already has been approved by the board, secured a stadium and established a small staff headed by an experienced MLS veteran in Sakiewicz, who said that the continued interest from investors spoke to the strength of the club’s ownership group and deal with county and state.

read the full and original article here

Read more:
FCB Miami: Bid for MLS team withdrawn

Barcelona will open youth academy in Brazil
Sponsorship deal with Arab telecom company

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