Saturday 2 May 2009

[Henrique] Schalke-Bayer Leverkusen

Bayer Leverkusen played this afternoon their 30th league game of the season, defeating Schalke 1-2.

Brazilian central defender and Barcelona loan out Henrique (22) wasn't available because of an injury.

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

Sunday 5 April - Bundesliga game 26: FC Köln-Bayer Leverkusen 0-2
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Right back.

Sunday 12 April - Bundesliga game 27: Bayer Leverkusen-Werder Bremen 1-1
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Right back.

Saturday 18 April - Bundesliga game 28: Wolfsburg-Bayer Leverkusen 2-1
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Right back.

Wednesday 22 April - Cup 1/2 finals: Bayer Leverkusen-Mainz 4-1 (aet)
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 120 minutes. Right back. Yellow card.

Saturday 25 April - Bundesliga game 29: Bayer Leverkusen-Karlsruhe 0-1
Starter. Henrique starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Right back.

Saturday 25 May - Bundesliga game 30: Schalke-Bayer Leverkusen 1-2
Injured. Henrique has a muscle injury in a thigh.

1. Wolfsburg 60
2. Bayern Munich 57
3. Stuttgart 55
4. Hertha Berlin 55
5. Hamburg (29) 54
6. Borussia Dortmund 52
7. Schalke 49
8. Bayer Leverkusen 45
9. Hoffenheim 45
10. Werder Bremen (29) 39

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

Match discussion: Real Madrid

This evening at 8:00 pm bt,
Barcelona plays the 34th league game of the season against Real Madrid.

Real Madrid squad list:
ICasillas, Dudek, Sergio Ramos, Metzelder, Cannavaro, Heinze, Torres, Lass, Gago, Javi García, Faubert, Drenthe, Parejo, Marcelo, Robben, Van der Vaart, Higuaín, Raúl, Huntelaar

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

Read a match preview here

Re-live the first round game here


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

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.

How nervous are you?

Ok, ok, I admit...
I'm a little nervous.

(click the cartoon to enlarge)


see more cartoons here

Bojan wants to stay for many more years

Asked about his situation at the club and the rumours about a loan exit in the summer (read more here), Barcelona forward and Spanish youth international Bojan Krkic (18) has said in an interview with Catalan television channel TV3 that he hopes to be able to continue at the club:

"I would like to continue here for many more years. Now I'm just focused on the team so I don't want to talk about a possible loan.

We're at the decisive stage of the season and I'm only thinking about football. I try to enjoy the moment. It's true that I didn't expect to play this little. I thought I would have more minutes. But Guardiola believes in me.

I nevertheless can assure that I will never join Real Madrid. I'm practically born at Barça. I love this club and because of the rivalry it's unthinkable to go and play for Madrid. I'm happy to receive the support of the Barcelona fans and I want to return that by scoring goals for the club that has given me everything."

Read more:
Bojan wants to continue next season
Arsenal interested in Bojan
Almeria wants Bojan on loan next season

Live Match Chat: Real Madrid CF - FC Barcelona

(original post by OmarX)

Real Madrid CF - FC Barcelona
(Saturday 2 May 2009 @ 20:00 barcelona time)

Chat Link:

Chat starts around 18:00 - 6:00 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!

[2008] Meeting with Poulsen

this post was published exactly one year ago:

Spanish local radio station Radio Sevilla claims that Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain met on Wednesday at the 'El Boticaria' hotel in Alcalá de Guadaira (near Sevilla) with Sevilla midfielder Christian Poulsen (28) and Bayram Tutumlu, the Turkish go-between who brought Poulsen to Sevilla (read more here).

Poulsen, whose contract expires in 2009, would be one of the main candidates to strengthen the Barcelona midfield. The Danish international, who has a tense relationship with his club because the player is rejecting all offers to renew his contract, has a buyout clause of 10 million euro.

Read more 2 May 2008 news:
Personal agreement with Alves
Giovani close to Manchester City loan deal
Eto'o not giving credits to exit rumours
Gudjohnsen could be the first to leave
Porto's Lucho Gonzalez to replace Deco

Special shirt for the cup final presented

Barcelona has yesterday presented the shirt that the players will wear during the Cup final against Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday 13 May and that is put for sale from today on.

A few changes are made to the shirt that has normally been used during the current season. On the chest, the logo of sports supplier Nike is added at the left as is, in the centre, an inscription containing the opponent, the place and the date of the game below the 'senyera', the Catalan flag:

Copa del Rey 2009
Athletic Club vs
FC Barcelona
Valencia / 13 mayo

Barcelona coaches instruct Vietnamese children

News site Look At Vietnam reported earlier this week that Barcelona coaches were in Vietnam to give training to local coaches and youth players:

Three coaches from the Football Centre of Barcelona club will stay for three days in Ho Chi Minh City to teach football skills to 30 coaches and 250 children at Hoa Lu ground, District 1.

They will participate in a three-day football festival, called 'Just for Kicks', from April 24-26. The event aims to encourage children between the ages of 10 and 14 to play football. This programme will also be held in India.

Barcelona's international business development director, Joshua Thomson, said that this is an interesting programme for coaches of the Barcelona Football Centre. "We have never had football training activities in Vietnam and India. We know that there is a big community of Barcelona fans in Asia and this will be a good chance for us to meet them," Thomson said.

This project firstly took place in Singapore in 2007, when over 400 kids played football under the instruction of coaches from Japan. The success in Singapore urged the YKK Asia to expand this programme to other countries. 'Just for Kicks' is co-organised by Japanese group of manufacturing companies YKK, FC Barcelona and the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF).

Read more:
Barcelona president visits India
Barcelona popular in Palestinian territories
Youth: Cooperation agreement with River Plate

Pichichi and Zamora (day 33)

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.

27 Eto'o (Barcelona)
25 Villa (Valencia)
23 Forlán (Atlético Madrid)
21 Messi (Barcelona)
19 Negredo (Almería)

0,79 Víctor Valdés (Barcelona)
1,06 Casillas (Real Madrid)
1,10 Palop (Sevilla)
1,28 Aranzubía (Deportivo)
1,28 Toño (Racing Santander)

ReLive: Barcelona-Real Madrid 2-0

Match data

1 2

Friday 1 May 2009

Preview : Real Madrid

Venue : Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid

El Superclasico, the biggest game of the year in Spain and one of the most anticipated events in European football.

Few other matches can compare to the rivalry and the passion that is El Clasico. Celtic Rangers, River Boca and Milan Inter also come to mind but still there is something magical about the Clasico.

I'm not going to go into Spanish history in this preview as I neither think I am qualified nor do I know enough about it to truly describe the political situation that adds to the rivalry. One of major incidents that did help to infuriate the Barcelona faithful was the case of Alfredo Di Stefano. Barcelona claimed a deal with Di Stefano, however through a series of complex events (to this day the whole matter is not entirely clear) Real Madrid proceeded to also sign Di Stefano. With both clubs claiming to have signed the player, the Spanish Federation decided to allow Di Stefano to play four seasons in Spain, two for Madrid to be followed by two for Barcelona.

With the fans outraged at the decision (that had been agreed to by the Barcelona and Real Madrid Presidents) the Barcelona President resigned and the interim board agreed that Real Madrid could have Di Stefano (who had not been playing well in his first couple of games) for 4 million pesetas. Hindsight proved what a blunder that turned out to be as Di Stefano scored a hat-trick against Barca in his first game against them and then went on to lead Real Madrid to 5 consecutive European Champions Cups (scoring in 5 consecutive finals) and 8 La Liga titles including back to back titles on two occasions (54, 55 and 57, 58) and 4 consecutive titles between 1961 and 1964.

In all he scored 216 goals in 282 games for Real Madrid. To this day there remain claims that the pro Madrid government of Franco had forced Barcelona to allow Di Stefano to move to Madrid, but Madrid claim the Barcelona acted voluntarily. Top Barcelona players continued to defect to Real Madrid with Bernd Schuster leaving Barcelona for Madrid in the 80's and Laudrup leaving Barcelona for Madrid in the 90's. However the incident that really caused things to boil over occurred in 2000 when Luis Figo left Barcelona for Real Madrid.

Figo had always had problems with contracts, having signed contracts with both Juventus and Parma in 1995 and being banned from Italian football for 2 years. He joined Barca in 1995 and enjoyed great success winning league titles and European trophies rising to the role of Captain in the process. At the height of his powers in 2000, he decided he wanted to move to Arch Rivals Real Madrid resulting in outrage and indignation in catalunya. Figo would later go on to say in an interview that he never wanted to leave Barcelona but he would have had to pay Real Madrid a huge sum of money had he not done so because he had signed a pre-contract with them.

So Figo left Barca in the summer of 2000 for somewhere between 39 and 53 million pounds, much to the anger of Barcelona. Things would come to a head in the semi-final of the 2001/2002 Champions League Semi-final when fans launched objects at Figo as he took corners and throw-ins including a pig's head which resulted in Barcelona being penalized by UEFA. Not all players have moved from Barcelona to Real Madrid though, Barca signed former player Luis Enrique who went on to become a Barcelona legend and Samuel Etoo famously played for Real Madrid B before joining the Blaugrana. Several other prominent players have played for both sides including Brazilian superstar Ronaldo, Gheorghe Hagi, Javier Saviola, Robert Prosinecki and also Ricardo Zamora after whom the Zamora trophy for the best goalkeeper in La liga is named.


The Key Men: Higuain vs Etoo and Casillas vs Valdes
Real Madrid's joint top scorer with Raul, Higuain has been key to Madrid's success this year. 4 goals in the last 7 games, Higuain has tended to pop up with crucial goals this season as was proven with his spectacular winner over Getafe. A testament to his importance to Real Madrid came earlier this season when he scored all 4 goals (on the same day etoo netted 4 goals in 45 minutes) in his team's 4-3 victory over Malaga. Barca will need to keep a close eye on Higuain to ensure that they do not pay the price in the Clasico.

27 league goals in 31 games this season have seen Etoo return to his best this year, he has hit a bit of a quiet period recently however scoring just 1 goal in his last 5 games in all competitions. Quick, Strong and always with a point to prove against his old team Etoo should have no problem finding any motivation for this game. Barca need him to rediscover his scoring touch quickly if they are going to get their season back on track after the last two draws.

The best goalkeeper in Spain statistically comes up against the man whom many consider to be the best goalkeeper in the world right now. Valdes has conceded 10 fewer goals than Casillas and despite being much maligned by Barcelona fans (myself included) he has rebounded well and made two crucial saves against Drogba in the midweek game against Chelsea. He has conceded just 5 goals in his last 12 games in all competitions and before last week's game against Valencia had not conceded for 7 games in La Liga.

Casillas meanwhile had a stretch of 4 games without conceding a goal before he conceded 4 goals in Madrid's last two games. He has saved Real Madrid more points in the past two years than any other player and is a vital part of this Madrid setup. Valdes will need to be at his best if the Blaugrana are to get anything from this game while we know that "San Iker" has saved Madrid and Spain more times than anybody could remember.

Injury worry and fatigue
Real Madrid has a host of injuries and suspensions which have seen them shift around their tactics in recent games. Pepe is suspended for the rest of the La Liga season, while Sneijder (torn hamstring muscle), Guti (ankle ligament injury), Robben (pulled muscle), have all been recently ruled out with injuries. Add in the long term injuries of M. Diarra and Van Nistelrooy and Madrid have some serious injury concerns. There are some bright spots however for Madrid with Gabriel Heinze ready to return from injury possibly being able to play a part on Saturday.

Barcelona meanwhile has their own concerns with Rafa Marquez having been ruled out for the rest of the season and still no sign of Milito. But Barca's biggest concern undoubtedly has to be the thought of fatigue setting in. The Blaugrana have not looked themselves in the past two games and they need to raise their game for the biggest game of the season. Pep should not have any problem motivating the players for this game but the real question is if the player's tired legs will be able to keep up.

With all of these for injuries Madrid we should see Metzelder continue at centre-back, while Marcelo could move to left back as Madrid look to be more attacking in a game from which they desperately need 3 points. In the middle of the park we could see Gago, Diarra as the ball winners and Van der Vaart trying to create the spark in midfield with a trio up front of Raul, Higuain and Huntelaar.

For Barcelona they will want to break up the Madrid attacks in the midfield and we could once again see two of Toure, Keita and Busquets start in the middle. With Marquez out, Puyol and Pique should start at the back and the front trio of Messi Etoo Henry should start although the case can be made for Henry to start on the bench and Iniesta to run the left flank to allow Barca to have two "enforcers" in the middle of the park.

Predicted lineups
Real Madrid : Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Metzelder, Cannavaro, Marcelo, Gago, Diarra, Van der Vaart, Raul, Higuain, Huntelaar

Barcelona : Valdes, Dani Alves, Puyol, Pique, Abidal, Xavi, Toure, Busquets, Messi, Etoo, Iniesta

There has been a great deal of talk leading up to this Clasico starting with Etoo announcing that he wants to stay at Barcelona and continuing onwards. "Winning the Clasico is the key," former Real midfielder Zinedine Zidane said on Real's website. "Beating Barcelona would send a signal and create a great chance to be league champions," he added. "If Real Madrid win everything will be different and the league can have a new frontrunner." Madrid midfielder Marcelo added "If I was a Barcelona player I would be very scared to see a team like Madrid breathing down my neck," in Thursday's As newspaper.

Leo Messi stated "Let's hope we can win in Madrid and that will be a big step toward winning the title," at a media event in the Catalan capital on Wednesday. "If we win, we'll be able to go to Chelsea (next week) feeling more relaxed," he added. "We are a very close-knit team and are all very motivated to win a title for Barca after two years without one."

Andres Iniesta meanwhile told Barca TV that coming into the match, form and statistics count for nothing. "There are no favorites. It’s very difficult. There have already been cases where the team that is worse going into the match ends up winning it. It's such a different match that statistics and form don’t count," he explained.

Finally news has broken today that Real Madrid may be considering selling Arjen Robben with Manchester City and Inter Milan supposedly interested. There has been a great deal of talk and rumour leading up to this Clasico, on Saturday all of the talking will cease and the La Liga title race could be blown wide open or shut tightly in Real Madrid's face once and for all.

Last 5 Matches

B. Munich 1 - 1 Barcelona
Getafe 0 - 1 Barcelona
Barcelona 4 - 0 Sevilla
Valencia 2 - 2 Barcelona
Barcelona 0 - 0 Chelsea

Malaga 0 - 1 Real Madrid
Real Madrid 2 - 0 Valladolid
Recreativo 0 - 1 Real Madrid
Real Madrid 3 - 2 Getafe
Sevilla 2 - 4 Real Madrid

Real Madrid are on a 7 match winning streak in La liga and have won an incredible 17 of their last 18 games with their only blemish being a 1-1 draw at home with Atletico Madrid. Their last lost in La liga came at the Camp Nou in Barcelona when they were beaten 2-0 earlier this season.

Barcelona meanwhile are unbeaten in 8 in La Liga and have not lost in 13 in all competitions with 9 wins and 4 draws. Barcelona's form over the last two games has gotten a little shaky with 2 consecutive draws. Barca's worst stretch of 5 games without a win between the 14th of February and the 4th of March. Perhaps worrying for the Blaugrana these winless games have tended to come in bunches when they did come this season.

At the start of the season Barca endured a 3 game winless streak losing to Wisla Krakow and Numancia before drawing with Racing Santander, the 2nd winless bunch came when Barca drew with Betis, lost to Espanol, drew with Lyon, lost to Atletico Madrid and drew with Mallorca. Pep will need to act quickly to ensure that this 3rd winless stretch does not extend any longer than the current 2 games and Barca's title charge is not derailed by this last patch.

Real Madrid on the other hand are due a winless game you would have to feel having won so many games straight. They have not been convincing by any means and have rode their luck on several occasions, however they have refused to go away and have fought back every time they have been down.

Real Madrid have scored an amazing 36 out of 77 goals between the 31st and 60th minutes which implies that they score almost half of their goals either just before halftime or just after half time which can have a very demoralizing effect on teams. Barcelona's will want to stay awake particularly just before HT and just after HT as well.

Madrid also have the joint (with Barcelona) best home record in the league losing just once all season at home and drawing two others in 17 games. Barcelona though have been very impressive on their travels this season losing just twice and drawing 2 others out of 16 games.

Barcelona have scored a startling 25 goals between minutes 16 to 30 and 21 between minutes 76 to 90. Those two statistics will trouble Madrid as those two time periods are when they have conceded most this season. Conversely, Barca have conceded 8 of their 26 goals (twice as much as any other time period) between mins 46 and 60 when Madrid have tended to score most.

03/04 Real Madrid 1 - 2 Barcelona
04/05 Real Madrid 4 - 2 Barcelona
05/06 Real Madrid 0 - 3 Barcelona
06/07 Real Madrid 2 - 0 Barcelona
07/08 Real Madrid 4 - 1 Barcelona

Barcelona have won 2 of the past five games at the Bernabeu with Madrid winning the other two. While winning in Madrid has traditionally proven difficult but not impossible, Barca will know that 90 good minutes could effectively kill off the title race while 90 bad mins could drag up the traumatic memories of the 06/07 campaign for Cules. They will also want to put in a good performance before their Champions league semi final 2nd leg against Chelsea on Wednesday. The funny thing about the next two games is that two draws can be considered good results as they would keep Madrid and bay and possibly take them through to Rome.

Strange then that we could all be celebrating in 6 days time that Barcelona are winless in 4 games. I predict a tight game in the Saturday, Madrid are missing players and while they have beaten virtually everybody else in the league, they have not faced an opponent of Barcelona's class. Barcelona are wounded after the draw against Chelsea with questions pouring in over their real quality and statements about Barcelona being over-rated being made. In the end the two teams in this game will be too close to separate

Prediction : Real Madrid 2 - 2 Barcelona.


Quote of the day: Guardiola

I want pressure. I don't share the 'it's just another game' talk. It's not, there's a lot at stake. We can come very close to the title. We need to feel the pressure.

Josep Guardiola, Barcelona manager

Manchester City monitoring Eto'o and Henry

Greater Manchester regional newspaper Manchester Evening News claims that Manchester City is still closely monitoring the situation of Barcelona forwards Samuel Eto'o (28) and Thierry henry (31) and could act if the players become officially available during the summer transfer window.

The English Premier League has neverthless not yet made an official bid for the Cameroonian striker, for whom Barcelona could possibly ask a transfer price of close to 40 million euro° (read more here).

British sports site BBC Sport meanwhile nevertheless also claims that Manchester City and Barcelona officials met on Monday to discuss the possible transfer of Eto'o despite the meeting being described by Manchester City manager Mark Hughes as a contact-building exercise (read more here). Eto'o is said to be rated 45 million euro°.

Mark Hughes insisted at a press conference yesterday that Manchester City and Barcelona haven't been talking about a transfer of Eto'o but confirmed that there has been a meeting between Barcelona president Joan Laporta and Manchester City chief executive Garry Cook:

"I thought that was clarified. It was basically a meeting between Garry Cook and Laporta of Barcelona basically to try and build relationships with clubs at all levels business-wise and football-wise. I think the explanation of the meeting was well documented in the papers. It wasn't talking about individuals, it was about talking about relationships with both clubs.

People will always mis-interpret the message that we are trying to put out there and make their own interpretation of what the meeting was about, but it wasn't to discuss players, it was to discuss things in the future that could complement both clubs. We still have ambitious transfer targets, but that isn't the reason why Garry Cook and Laporta spoke on Monday."

Read more:
Barcelona offers Eto'o to English clubs
Manchester City and Barcelona holding talks

Real Madrid-Barcelona (november 2005)

Real Madrid:
Salgado, Sergio Ramos, Helguera, Roberto Carlos,
Zidane, Pablo Garcia (67 Julio Baptista), Beckham, Robinho,
Raul (58 Guti), Ronaldo

Oleguer, Puyol, Marquez, Van Bronckhorst,
Edmilson, Xavi, Deco,
Messi (Iniesta 70'), Eto'o, Ronaldinho

Yellow Cards:
Robinho, Pablo Garcia, Salgado, Ronaldinho, Deco

15 Etoo
59 Ronaldinho
77 Ronaldinho

Watch other Real Madrid-Barcelona games:
february 1974
april 2004

Which brand of boots do Barcelona players wear?

FC Barcelona has been sponsored by American sports goods manufacturer, Nike since 1998.

The sponsorship contract due to expire in 2008 was recently extended by 5 years in October 2006. The new deal, valid till 2013 and with the option of another five-year extension, is reportedly worth 150 million euros ($ 189 million) plus bonuses and royalties.

Besides this deal on a club lever, most Barcelona players also have individual contracts and endorsement deals with sports suppliers. The players from Barcelon's first team are listed below under the icon of their corresponding shoe sponsor.

Víctor Valdés
Martín Cáceres
Eric Abidal
Carles Puyol
Rafael Márquez
Gerard Piqué
Dani Alves
Andrés Iniesta
Yaya Touré
Sergi Busquets
Bojan Krkic

Gabriel Milito
Xavi Hernandez
Eidur Gudjohnsen
Lionel Messi

José Manuel Pinto
Seydou Keita
Alexander Hleb
Samuel Eto'o

Thierry Henry


Albert Jorquera

Victor Sánchez

kamikaze kontiki

Nineteen players in Madrid list

Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola announced earlier today a list of 19 players for the 34th league game against Real Madrid tomorrow evening at 8:00 pm.

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

Pinto, Víctor Sanchéz and Pedro are not included. The latter will play with Barcelona Atlètic this weekend. Milito and Márquez are recovering from injuries.

The team will travel to Madrid tomorrow, taking the plain at 11 am and arriving in Madrid one hour later. The players will then stay at their hotel until one hour before the start of the game.

Iniesta: "We have to play our game"

Barcelona player Andrés Iniesta gave an interview to the club's official media.

There are two matches left to round off all the good work already done.
We're at that time of the season when decisive matches come along. If we win on Saturday, the league title would be very close. Not losing is an important step towards it. And on Wednesday we have a place in the final at stake. The team is confident.

First there's the challenge in the Bernabéu.
We will go to the Bernabéu for a win. If there's one aspect that has characterized Barça this season it's that wherever we play we always keep the same style: attacking, looking to win the match and playing attractive and efficient football. We’ll go to win the match because a victory there will clear the path to the title.

What's the key to the match against Real Madrid?
The key is to keep on being ourselves and try and do things well. These matches are different from all the rest. Everyone's hanging on them, emotions are heightened. A match of these characteristics is different because of everything that surrounds it, the way people experience it.

Would a win on Saturday be an injection of morale ahead of the match in London?
What's clear is that a victory would help us to focus on Wednesday's match against Chelsea, a match that's life or death for us.

Is Barça the favourite on Saturday?
There are no favourites. It's very difficult. There have already been cases where the team that is worse going into the match ends up winning it. It's such a different match that statistics and form don't count.

How will the absence of Márquez in Madrid and London and Puyol in London affect the team?
The injury to Rafa Márquez is really important to us because the truth is he was having a sensational season. Rafa brings a lot of things to the team. It's a shame, I hope he recovers quickly. As for Puyol it's a pity but we have to overcome the situation and give confidence to the team-mate who replaces him and who I'm sure will do a good job.

You said earlier that Barça only knows how to play to win. Why?
We believe that playing well is the best way to achieve good results. Football is for enjoying and having a good time. Our fans wouldn't forgive us if we played the way Chelsea did last Tuesday, with all the respect in the world. We will maintain our philosophy to the end. Win or lose we won't change our ideas.

Did Chelsea get the result they wanted last Tuesday?
A goalless draw in the Camp Nou may be an important result for Chelsea because they didn't concede a goal but it could be a dangerous result because I'm confident we will get our chances to score at Stamford Bridge. We'll be brave and we know that if we score one or more goals we will have a good chance. As at all English stadiums, the fans will support their team throughout the 90 minutes and that's difficult for the visitors. But we're 90 minutes away from a final and we have to go there with the confidence that we can qualify for Rome. We have to play our game, keep possession and take our chances.

read the complete interview here

Read more:
Iniesta: "Each player must be a leader"
Real Madrid presidential candidate wants Iniesta

Swine flu could lead to tour in Asia instead of US

Catalan radio station Catalunya Ràdio claims that the outbreak of the swine flu in North America could have an influence of Barcelona's pre-season plans.

Barcelona has two offers on the table to play friendly games: the United Sates or Asia. Until now Barcelona seemed to prefer the American option because of financial reasons. The club would receive two million euro for each game played in the US, which was superior to the amounts offered by Asian organizers.

Barcelona first vice-president Alfons Godall had said after a board meeting last week that the club is planning a tour and that the United States was at that moment the most likely option: "No deal has been signed yet. We're analyzing several options but the most probable thing is that the tour will be in the United States."

Barcelona would have planned to play three friendly games in New York, Seattle and California, but the tour could now be cancelled because of the spreading of the swine flu. The Barcelona executives who are negotiating the tour in the US would have been ordered to stop the talks if the situation gets worse. This would leave Barcelona with Asia as only one option for the tour.

Catalan sports apper Sport claims that Barcelona had already signed a pre-agreement to play a friendly game against Japanese club Urawa Red Diamonds, the former club of Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain, between 5 and 10 August and most probably in Tokio. A new offer from the United States seemed to have left this agreement without effect but this could now again change.

Barcelona has also offers to play pre-season matches in China and South Korea. The club would at least try to close deals on two games in Asia (read more here). For each game, Barcelona would receive a fee of at least 2 million euro. This amount could get higher if Barcelona would win the Champions League later this month.

Read more:
Barcelona reconsidering pre-season tour
Chinese youngsters visit Barcelona
Barcelona plans new US tour in 2009

Happy birthday: Alexander Hleb

Barcelona player Alexander Hleb turns 28 today.

Total deal on Ribery transfer

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that Barcelona has finalized the transfer of Bayern Munich attacker and French intenational Franck Ribéry (26) (read more here).

Barcelona would have established the principles of the deal during a secret meeting with Ribéry's agent Alain Migliaccio at Ibiza, the Spanish island in the Mediterranean Sea where the agent has his official residence.

The transfer fee would be 25 million euro°, the same price Bayern paid two seasons ago to French club Marseille, plus one Barcelona player. Bayern would be interested in two players of the current Barcelona squad: Belarussian attacker Alexander Hleb (28), who is valued at 8 million euro°, and Icelandic attacker Eidur Gudjohnsen (30).

Bayern Munich, who had unsuccesfully tried to renew the contract of Ribéry that expires in 2011, would in the end have seen no other option than start talking about a transfer, despite earlier statements that the club had decided to hold on to the player this summer. The excellent relations between the two clubs would have helped to reach an agreement.

In an interview with French sports paper L'Equipe, Ribéry said yesterday that he will certainly leave Bayern Munich if his team doesn't qualify for next season's Champions League: "In those circumstances, it would indeed be very difficult to stay, that's obvious... That's why the club has to finish at least second."

Read more:
Deal with Ribery and pre-agreement with Bayern
Barcelona has a deal with Ribery

[2008] Guardiola backed by board but not by fans

this post was published exactly one year ago:

Although Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain said yesterday in an interview with the official club television channel Barça TV that Rijkaard has done "an extraordinary job" in the last five seasons and that he is "a man of the club", it seems almost certain that current Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard (45) will leave the club at the end of the season after the Chamions League elimination on Wednesday. This has been confirmed today by Jil van Eyle, a personal assistant of Rijkaard, on his Teaming blog. Which means that the final discussion on his successor is breaking loose.

All media seem to agree that Barcelona B manager Josep Guardiola (37) is being backed by the majority of the Barcelona board. Guardiola knows the club inside out and stands for an attacking, dominant way of playing. The former Barcelona captain has the strong support of Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain and Barcelona president Joan Laporta.

Madrid sports tabloid As even claims that Guardiola is already planning for next season under the supervision of Begiristain and is composing the new squad together with former Barcelona player Luis Enrique (37) and José Ramón Alexanko (51), the head of the Barcelona youth academy, who would act as his assistants.

The board is nevertheless divided on the issue and it is expected that the debate could be reopened in the coming days. Some board members believe that former Chelsea manager José Mourinho (45) is the best candidate to replace Rijkaard because he would bring organization and a strong hand to the team. They would now try to put the name of the Portuguese back on the table during a board meeting on Thursday, one day after the match against Real Madrid.

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that a third candidate is Villareal manager Manuel Pellegrini (54) cause of his experience, his handling of the Riquelme case and his choice for quality play. The paper estimates that the chances of Guardiola to become the next Barcelona manager are 50 per cent, the chances of Mourinho 30 and those of Pellegrini 20.

An opinion poll by Catalan television channel TV3 meanwhile indicates that around 80 per cent of the Barcelona fans would not support the choice of Guardiola. Catalan sports paper Sport says that the club itself is monitoring all kinds of polls to know the opinion of the fans. Mourinho is generally having a wide lead on all other candidates. Former Barcelona player and manager Carles Rexach supports Guardiola but thinks that the board has put his name out there to know the opinion of the fans and the press before they make a final decision.

As claims that the results of several polls have made Guardiola doubt if he should accept the job or not. El Mundo Deportivo says that Guardiola would have preferred another season with little pressure but that he could not say ‘no’ if the formal offer comes. Francesc Aguilar, sub director of El Mundo Deportivo, relaunched today the idea of making Guardiola the assistant of Mourinho.

Read more 1 May 2008 news:
How things stand: Right back defender
Deco can leave
The exit lists

Thursday 30 April 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: 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 Real Madrid 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 4:00 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 45th time this game is organized.





mario ch


B. Beltrocco

Dan R

Cali Socis


Barca nike
Cristi M

Knives Out

kamikaze kontiki
Barca nerd-fan

blaugrana poland

Quote of the day: Eto'o

I would trade all my goals and the awards of pichichi and Golden Boot for the league title.

Samuel Eto'o, Barcelona player

Toure: "We want to finish the league"

Barcelona player Yaya Touré gave an interview to Spanish weekly sports paper Don Balón.

What a season your team is having...
It's very good so far and not only because of the results. The way we're playing is valuable.

Is it hard having to play that much games in all competitions at the end of this season?
It's not easy to compete for three trophies at the same time. Every three days we have a game, that is every time more difficult.

That's why the whole world is jealous of your squad...
Yes, at this moment we have more than 20 quality players. Let's hope that leads to the three trophies at the end of the season.

Is it a disadvantage to play the second game away in the Champions League?
It's quite a bad thing but we're used to play this kind of games and we have a great squad. It would be a very great honour for the club and for us to win that game. It would be valued a lot. For me, this semi-final against Chelsea is an anticipated final.

Who would you point out from Chelsea's squad?
All their players. They have an impressive and large squad, although I think we're technically better.

You would put your money on the treble?
That's even bigger than a dream. It really won't be easy. All we can do is continue to work like we've done until now and later on we'll see.

The good series of Madrid is asking a lot from you...
The two teams are showing to be strong. If we want to win this league without many problems, we should win all the games left.

Defeating Real Madrid in the Bernabéu would be the icing on the cake of a wonderful season...
We can beat them on their stadium. They did the same last year with a goal of Baptista and we are motivated to get a win there to show we're stronger.

Are you surprised by Madrid's results since the arrival of Juande Ramos?
It's a team that doesn't play very well but mentally and physically they're very good. What they're doing is impressive but we want to finish the league and we're going for the win.

For Real Madrid it will be the last opportunity.
I've heard them say several times that they will beat us but I guess that will be quite difficult.

One of the keys of the resurrection of Madrid has been the arrival of Lass Diarra, a player who plays at the same position as you. What do you think of him?
It's a good player like all players of Real Madrid, although for me Raúl sticks out. But I'm most focusing on my own team. We have incredible midfielders like Xavi and Iniesta. I prefer the players of Barcelona over those of Real Madrid.

Read more:
Toure: "For me Iniesta is a 'Golden Ball' winner"
Several clubs preparing bid for Barcelona players
Touré wants a pay rise this year

Barcelona still favourites for the title

author: Ewan Macdonald
source: Goal

date: 27 April 2009

Barcelona may play a brand of football that's easy on the eye, but that was of little consolation to the fans as the Blaugrana picked up just a 2-2 draw at Valencia this Saturday night.

The late equaliser, though, that rescued a point turned out to be utterly vital, given that Real Madrid managed a 4-2 win at Sevilla the following evening. That leaves the gap at the top of the La Liga table at just four points heading into this week's Clasico. Yet to listen to some in the media you'd think that Barcelona were a dozen points clear.

Let's get one thing straight: the Blaugrana do lead the league, but the margin is narrow and is getting thinner. This is despite the fact that Europe collectively drops everything and flocks around the nearest TV when Barcelona play. Fans in England with little interest of the world outside the Premier League wax lyrical about the Barcelona style, and recognise the Culers as being genuine Champions League contenders. But this poetic mode of play has given the Blaugrana just a four point margin.

What's more, with five games left, things are looking increasingly precarious from a rotation point of view. Saturday saw Thierry Henry rested, and while Andres Iniesta filled in well at left forward, the midfield trio was easily swamped. Iniesta was out of the way and Yaya Toure was out - if such an incident occurs again, and the Xavi-Busquets-Keita trident lines up, Barcelona could well struggle.

Real Madrid have selection worries of their own, of course, and this is showing in their performances. Yet somehow they came through to win at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. Even with Pepe out for the rest of the season, the movable feast that is the midfield, and no Ruud van Nistelrooy, they managed four goals in Andalucia, three of them from a player - skipper Raul - who has been largely anonymous for weeks now.

Yet that he was able to return to form in such incredible fashion belies everything paradoxical about this Madrid side: their squad list is one blessed with talent, but talent that all too often doesn't show. Even when it doesn't, though, there is enough about one or two individuals, and enough of a fighting spirit from the rest, to see results ground out.

That's why the deficit is now so small, and why, when Barcelona come to the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday, they will be far less cocksure than the turn of the year suggested. Yes, they may dazzle, they may score, and they may win the plaudits. But Madrid, scrambling away, are once again the type of side that can quietly grab a result, almost without others noticing.

My take on it? I've said it before and I'll say it again: the Liga's over, and Barcelona have their names ready to go on the trophy. But I'd be lying if I said that Madrid weren't making a real chase of it. For that we must be grateful: the Liga race is going to be an exciting one right up until the last ball is kicked.

read the full and original article here

Eto'o wants to continue at Barcelona

Asked about the renewal of his contract that expires at the end of next season (read more here), Barcelona forward and Cameroon international Samuel Eto'o (28) has said in an interview with Catalan television channel TV3 that he wants to stay at the club:

"I've talked with Laporta and I told him that, with everything we're playing for now and out of respect for my team-mates, it would be a lack of respect if I would go to his office now to talk about salaries or ask for a pay rise or to talk about the duration of a contract, five or six more years.

When the season ends well, I'm sure Pep will tell me: "Hey, black guy, I'm happy, go and talk with Jan" (Barcelona president Joan Laporta). For me, Barça is my future. If I wasn't happy, I would already have spoken about it with Jan. If it was for him, we would already have sit down and talked. I want to stay at the club and I hope to play many more years here. When I decide to stay and shook Guardiola's hand, that wasn't only for one season. One thing is clear: I will never return to Real Madrid, although I'm grateful for the chance they gave me.

This is my best year of the five years I've been at the club, the year in which I'm enjoying myself the most. Winning any trophy is always difficult but it's already a privilege to be were we are. The two seasons before were very hard, but now there has only been happiness. After having suffered two major injuries, I kept on scoring but it's only now I've started to feel important again."

Read more:
Barcelona offers Eto'o to English clubs
Several clubs preparing bid for Barcelona players
Eto'o repeats his intention of staying

Time to play the doubts away

Listen... I don't want to be pessimistic but...
No, right?

No... I don't think so.

Customer a:
If what I don't even want to name happens...

Customer b:
You don't name it, you don't think about it, and if it happens...
I promise never to watch football in my life ever again

(click the cartoon to enlarge)


see more cartoons here

Messi not thinking of other clubs

Asked about the rumours linking him with a move to Manchester City (read more here), Barcelona attacker and Argentine international Lionel Messi (21) has said in an interview with Britsh men's lifestyle weekly magazine ShortList that he's not considering to leave Barcelona:

"I only think of Barcelona and not of any other clubs, including Manchester City. Of course, such interest from other teams is flattering but my place in the world is in Barcelona with this club. Even though interest from England makes me feel good, my feelings for Barcelona haven't changed and I wish to stay here.

Barcelona have a better history, so it seems difficult to me that a club like Manchester City could ever be as big as Barcelona. Maybe after a period of time it could be achieved but I don't believe it is something that will happen overnight. In Spain for example, Villarreal are now competing with the biggest teams in Europe and the club is widely respected. So it is perhaps not impossible for Manchester City to achieve something similar, but they will have to be patient. "

Messi repeated his wish to stay at Barcelona during an award ceremony yesterday night: "I'm very comfortable at Barça and I have everything I need in Barcelona. My family is also feeling very good here. I wouldn't change Barça for anything. Money doesn't make you happy."

Read more:
Manchester City planning record bid for Messi
Several clubs preparing bid for Barcelona players
Messi repeats wish to retire at Barcelona

Real Madrid-Barcelona (february 1974)

30 Asensi 0-1
39 Cruijff 0-2
54 Asensi 0-3
65 Pérez 0-4
69 Sotil 0-5

Poll result - Man of the match: Chelsea

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

1. Iniesta 32%
2. Toure 17%
3. Valdes 15%

see full results here
see previous poll results

The Pictures: Chelsea (part 3)

(click a picture to enlarge)

(click a picture to enlarge)

see more pictures:
1 2


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