Saturday 18 July 2009

Video of the day: Ronaldo vs Ibrahimovic

Ibrahimovic denies Twitter statements

Inter Milan forward and Swedish international Zlatan Ibrahimovic (27) has denied to journalists that he has posted statements on his Twitter account suggesting that he wants to leave Inter Milan to join Barcelona.

Ibrahimovic would want to trace the author of the posts and find out if it's possible to obtain a financial compensation.

On Ibrahimovic's supposed official Twitter account, there were two quotes posted earlier today. One said: "Time to learn Spanish :)". The other one read: "I have won everything in Italy, its time to move on! I want the champions league title!"

Read more:
Principal agreement on Ibrahimovic transfer
Report: Ibrahimovic deal reached

Agent Poulsen confirms Barcelona contact

Asked about the rumours linking Juventus midfielder and Danish international Christian Poulsen (29) with a move to Barcelona (read more here), the player's agent Jorn Bonnesen has confirmed in an interview with Italian football site Calcio Mercato that there have been unofficial contacts:

"For now there have been no official talks with Barcelona. We only have been sounded out by a Spanish agent linked with Barcelona and that's all for now.

To this date, the only offer I'm aware of is the one of Fenerbahçe, but we didn't even talk to them abiut the economic aspects since Christian immediately rejected the idea because he wants to stay at Juventus.

I don't like to talk about hypothetical cases so I don't know what would happen if Barcelona would make a concrete offer. Christian is for now only focused on his job and on Juventus. If the Barça option would become concrete, we'll sit down and discuss what is best for Poulsen. Since Juve is very big club, it's clear that for him leave, Christian really should be attracted by the offer. We'll look at it if there's something concrete on the table. For now, he'll fight to get a place in the team of Juventus."

Read more:
Juventus wants Caceres-Poulsen swap

Barça B: Juan Antonio Nevado (Alcorcon)

Galicia regional newspaper La Voz de Galicia claims that Barcelona was interested in Alcorcón attacking midfielder Juan Antonio Nevado Fernández (23).

Barcelona would have wanted to add Nevado to the squad of Barcelona Atlètic for next season but the Spanish midfielder reportedly rejected the offer and signed yesterday a contract with third division club Pontevedra.

Read more:
Gai has his Spanish passport
Barça B: Ivan Benitez (Las Palmas B)
Barça B - Official: Espasandin renews until 2010

Defending Eto'o AND Barcelona. Part 2.

Defending Eto'o AND Barcelona. Part two.
By: Ramzi Tanani
Part One: Here

The Eto’o Case, what’s beyond the smoke?

The fake emotional battle:

Many emotional statements were thrown on the table by the player’s agent, Barcelona board, and the club fans.

For the fans, it is an emotional situation. Some fans worship Eto’o as the one and only. Without him Barcelona relegates. He loves the club and the club betrayed him. He has the right to be angry. The board just lost it! They made a huge mistake and now they are squeezed in the corner, fair enough! And what’s more to say about Barcelona board of directors? Racists!

Some other fans prefer to have other players in place. There is no way to promote a new name without damaging Eto’o image, right? He lacks quality and class. Barcelona made him and now the evil man is refusing to move to another club so Barcelona earns money to buy someone else. He just wants to ruin Barcelona! Want to go for free next season, Mercenary!

That’s the fans island. For Eto’o there is nothing emotional about it, neither for the club. It is business, pure business. He is seeking his own interest as a player, as any player. Knocking his 29th year’s door, he is aware that his following contract is the most important one in his career, and rightfully he is working for what suits him most. The board of directors is seeking their own interest for being responsible of the club by doing what they believe it’s the best for the future of the team.

If he will leave, he will not leave because he is angry (emotions). It will only happen if he finds a better contract that suits him more, somewhere else. Last season the Coach and the board boldly informed him that he is not wanted; he didn’t get angry, nor he left. There were some interested clubs, his contract demands were too high to meet, so he stayed. This season, no one announced that he is unwanted. Instead all the options were (and are) opened. So if he didn’t get angry back then, he won’t now.

Barcelona for him is a team he likes. But the team he loves is Mallorca. The moment he finds a better team to join, his heart's mood will switch. The same as I will not believe if Henry claims that he loves Barcelona, and that’s why he plays there. I am not even sure if Messi's first love is Barcelona or Newell’s Old Boys. Though, no one can doubt his commitment toward Barcelona. There is nothing insulting in that. It doesn’t damage the player value and contribution toward the club.

Next summer there is an election at Barcelona. The current board's popularity between the fans will decide the destiny of the following election. Eto’o agent is simply pressing that bottom, using the fans against the board to put some pressure. Dirty, but Fair game.

The Barcelona Board in return, holds nothing personal against Eto’o. In fact, Eto’o was always labelled a Laporta man, while Ronaldinho was the Sandro Rosell signing. Till this moment, Laporta has only made positive statements about Eto’o, as a player and as a person. At the same time, if they renew Eto’o deal it will not be because they like him (emotions), But because he ended up being the best option to take. Being a team legend or a key player guarantees you no contract, nor does it assure your survival with the team. Ronaldinho? You stay as long as you are the best alternative for the club. And that’s the right question to ask, is Eto’o the best forward for Barcelona? It’s an emotionless case-study to analyse.

Eto’o and Barcelona paths, where they concurred and where they clashed:

When Laporta era settled in place, there was a need to sign a new striker. The former cards (Kluivert and Saviola), though being popular to an extent, failed to convince the new regime. The board signed that guy from Mallorca, and the adventure began.

After a short slow start, Eto’o started to prove his worth. He dissolved in the team dynamic and became a must for the team machine to keep on going. That hungry talented group succeeded to create a golden era in the clubs history.

After the Champions league victory in Paris, the club was heading toward the following season with lot of hopes.

Eto’o's contract was secure back then, with three years to expire. The season turned to become a flop, the title was lost in the last moment.

The board of directors decided to stick to the old guns that brought success for the team. Eto’o had no intention to leave as well. At least he didn’t mention it. The following season started, and it was worse than the former. The dressing room collapsed. The team performance turned to be the shadow of the glorious days. And the season ended in the worst catastrophic way possible.

Pep Guardiola became the new coach. And he was clear about Eto’o, Ronaldinho, and Deco situation. He wanted them out. Deco became a clear liability, and so was Ronaldinho. Regarding Eto’o, there were a mix of tactical needs and personality concerns toward the player. Yet, selling Eto’o and buying a new striker had to go in parallel. That was the basic difficulty. After a year where Eto’o showed his ugliest face both on the pitch and outside, no team was willing to take the risk of spending lot of money on him. Neither to buy him, nor to offer him the contract he demanded. Barcelona were not willing to decrease the player price enough to encourage the other teams to make offers, specially when the transfer targets to substitute him became more and more expensive.

With no team willing to bid for him fairly, and when the hopes to sign a different striker started to fade, there was no other option for the team and the player but to stick together. Yet, it was impossible to start a renewal negotiation last summer. The board can’t make an attempt to renew a player contract if he wasn’t originally needed by the Coach. The Coach still had doubts about the player. And the player was not settling enough yet to accept an extension, Regardless of all the parties intentions back then.

The season kicked off, Impressively, Generating magic and charm week in week out. If we want to suppose that Barcelona wanted to renew Eto’o contract, that was the worst time to make the attempt. The player, as the whole team, was extremely motivated, focussed and in the mood. The last thing recommended is to interrupt his workflow by contracts and conditions that may end either way. Eto’o himself repeated again and again that he does not want to talk about renewal till the season ends. So there was no way to talk about it till the summer.

Here we are, summer 2009. Eto’o has one more year in his contract. He didn’t buy out the contract, so the first (and worst) threat vanished. If he did so, then we can talk about catastrophic condition. Imagine the team with no striker and ten millions in hand earned through Eto’o contract cancellation. The other teams will abuse our desperate need for a striker like never before, and we have no choice but to buy. He didn’t do it for a reason. It opposes his own interest. And it was for the best of the club as well.

Eto’o has all his options open now. The best scenario for him is actually to stay with the club till next summer, then go for free. He will get a decent amount of money to sign (for another club) and will earn a decent contract. It’s also for the best of the other teams to wait one more year. The accounting is simple:

At the moment any team interested in Eto’o need to pay an average of 30 M to Barcelona, and at least 8.5 M annually for Eto’o as a salary for, say five years.

The whole Eto’o deal will cost the team 72.5 M for five years.
Eto’o will earn 42.5 M for the following five years. He will be 33 years by then.

If the deal didn’t take place now, next summer any team will be willing to offer Eto’o 10 M to sign plus 10 M annual salary contract for the following four years.

This deal will cost the buying team 50 M during the following four years, saving 22.5 M by waiting one season. A season where Eto’o will get an international call for one and a half month anyways.

Eto’o will earn 50 M in four years plus the money he will earn at Barcelona playing with them one more season. All in all he will earn in the following five years 15 M more if he stayed with Barcelona for one more season than if he leaves right now.

That’s why, he is not in a hurry. He will only leave this season if he got a very attractive offer, both financially and as a sport project. If I will be in his place I will think the same, you?

Eto'o betrays Barcelona if he decided to stay next season before going for free. Wrong.

There is a contract. It says that Eto'o will play with Barcelona until the end of next season. To change the contract conditions both parties need to agree on that. It is as simple as that. Eto'o was even able to buy out his contract only by informing the club two weeks before the transfer period takes place. Even that wouldn't be considered a betray. That's the system and everyone is aware of it. He has the right to stay. It's more appropriate to say that Barcelona are betraying him by trying to offload him before the agreed date (next summer) than to say Eto'o is playing it bad. Eto'o is only committed to his contract conditions, without any further obligations.

Barcelona board, so stupid dealing with Eto’o case till it went that Far. Wrong.

First, as mentioned above, we reached this stage as a result of what happened during the previous two years. The board had to do more regarding some other issues surrounding the club in the past two years but they hesitated. The Eto’o mess is more a side effect of that. At the moment, the board will not sell Eto’o till they insure a secure transfer to fill his place. If we sell Eto’o fast, we will be in a weak negotiating position while shopping for a new striker, we can’t afford not buying. Inter and Valencia know that as well. That’s why they are demanding 35 M. No team will pay that amount of money for a player with an expiring contract. When we buy a new striker, Barcelona will drop a price gradually. The right price for Eto’o is the price that makes the transfer cost for the buyer sounds slightly higher than waiting till next season to get him.

But why are we going to offload a quality striker like Eto’o in the first place?

March 18, 2009, when Eto’o contract renewal was as certain as a done deal, while Henry future was in doubt, I wrote This Article Explaining why things may not be as certain as it may look. I recommend reading the reasons why I think Barcelona board hesitates to renew Eto’o's contract.

Any striker is a mixed dose of Finishing, decision making, strength, altitude, pace, positioning, Motivation (driven personality), techniques.

Eto’o is the dynamic type of forwards. He count mostly on his stamina, pace and physical strength. His finishing and positioning are good, but not first class. He scored lot of goals no doubt, but there is a reason why he did so, even though he is not the most lethal finisher. Lets compare him to the clinical type of Strikers (Klinsmann, Inzaghi, etc…) without considering the clinical as better, because definitely Eto’o is a better striker, at least compared to Inzaghi.

Yet, Inzaghi may vanish for the whole game. His contribution with his teammates building up offense may sound negligible, defensively he does not exist. Yet if he gets three scoring opportunities he will score two goals. Eto’o in the other hand is more a team contributor. His continuous runs and the way he links with his teammates generates him six scoring opportunities and he may score a hat rick. So in terms of finishing quality the clinical striker is better, but in terms of performance efficiency Eto’o is the leader.

Now that’s another prove that offloading Eto’o is stupid, right? Wrong. Because we need to install the most two crucial factors in this analysis, age and motivation. Finishing, positioning and decision making improves with age. In fact the clinical strikers hit their peak performance when they are between 30 and 33 years old. It’s not the same for dynamic strikers, when they approach their thirties, their offense dynamics start to fade gradually. Without his continuous runs, Eto’o loses a major slice of his quality. He can definitely keep being a quality striker for next season, but renewing his contract for four or five more years means that you will count on him till he run the down hill of his thirties.

Motivation wise, a very general question is appropriate in this analysis: How many strikers were able to keep their peak performance with their teams for ten years? For a player like Eto’o, Motivation and offense dynamics (runs and continuous pressure) are interrelated. When he is motivated he runs, when he feel fit he gets more motivated to push himself to the edge by applying mean, continuous pressure on the opponent. If his fitness level drops, his body will start giving warning calls and will have a huge mental impact on his motivation and over all quality as a striker. When he gets less motivated, his offense dynamics will automatically decline.

One of the reasons that motivated Eto’o to perform brilliantly last season was actually proving a point after last season chaos. Now the question is: What will motivate a 30 year old Eto’o with 2 CL or more in his first pocket, and 3 Ligas or more in his second pocket and some pichichi to push himself to offer more? Specially being settled by a lifetime contract with his team. Though he is a driven person by nature, but that’s not enough. This is why a new striker who needs to win the CL at least may prove a smart idea. If a new striker set an objective for himself to break Eto’o's scoring record with Barcelona, that will be more than enough to keep him motivated for at least four seasons.

Here we are definitely not recommending a pure clinical striker. That will not be a good option for Barcelona. But I used the Clinical striker argument to point out Eto’o's strength, and weaknesses.

Get me a new 22 years old Eto’o and forget about any other transfer target. The only concern will be then will be parked buses. But there is always a way to crush the bus without a tall striker. Eto’o's life cycle with Barcelona is heading to its end, better ends it at its peak than waiting till everything collapses then we try to fix. With another team he will have a new challenge to motivate him. He will do great to an extend that I hope we don’t meet him in CL.

Besides, Eto’o can’t finance any bit of his salary demand. He does not sell shirts. It may sound like a small detail, but it all counts when you make a decision.

There is a risk of course that a new striker may not raise to the expectations. That’s an ever existing risk. It was there when the team offloaded Kluivert and bought Eto’o. There were no guarantees. The risk of offloading Ronaldinho was huge as well. The guy kept being a scoring machine even during his worst season with Barcelona. He was a money generator as well. We took the risk, and no one can complain about the output now. You can’t demand perfectly secure decisions in management; risks are a part of the game. You take a risk, you may improve or fail. You don’t take risks, you will fail for sure.

Eto’o case is a crisis that may lead to catastrophic results. Wrong.

Having an Eto’o in his last year contract next season may bring on the table a better Eto’o like performance than a performance of an extended contract Eto’o. I believe a motivated Eto’o is always better than the settled one. Motivation is important for any player/person. But with Eto’o its something extra. When this guy is motivated, he is a monster!
Playing with an expiring contract will give him an added reason to prove himself. For the next employer, whom he will discuss with at the end of the season. But most importantly, he will be extra determined to prove that Barcelona was wrong (even stupid) not to renew his contract. Can you imagine what kind of Eto’o we will have then?

I am saying that just to point out that I am not over concerned by Eto’o's case. If he stays with expiring contract, he will perform next season. If he leaves, I don’t think the team will collapse because the board will have to buy another quality striker with pluses and minuses compared to Eto’o. If he extends his contract, it means both parties (club and Eto’o) turned the old page, there will be other challenges but we discuss it then, if it happens.

On the economic fold, I don’t think we will be losing a lot as well. With the current market inflation any player will cost 15 M more than his fair price. Next summer we will not have a similar craziness unless if Man City secure a spot for the CL. Even then I doubt they will automatically generate the image to sign big names. But it’s all unlikely.

So, if we failed to sell Eto’o for 25 M (Barcelona are demanding 35 M), we will simply lose him for free next summer and buy a new striker for almost a fair price. All in all, it will cost 10 M more than getting that new striker now and selling Eto’o straight forward. Now evaluating the two options of either buying a new striker next summer for 10 M more or making a panic desperate buy at the moment and offloading Eto’o makes the risk of both options too close to consider one of them as brilliance and the other as catastrophic. Really.

I believe the third option of extending Eto’o contract so he turns to become the long term option for Barcelona till he is over 32, with the type of strikers he is, is the more complicated option in its plus and minus than the first two alternatives.

That’s why, I understand continuous discussions about this matter, but I don’t see the catastrophic results both sides are panicking over, if he leaves, or stays.


As a person who doesn’t take any press speeches seriously, I think no one really knows how it went indoors. This man can only put himself in every party's shoes and try to predict. Laporta and co. joined Pep and co. to discuss this matter. Even if some of them are naïve (and I doubt that), it’s unlikely that they are all stupid. So, the output of their discussion was definitely based on reasonable bases. Agree on it or disagree, that’s a personal opinion; do not turn it to a permanent judgement.

Ramzi Tanani

Read More:

Jeffren could be promoted this summer

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that Barcelona Atlètic wing attacker Jeffren Suárez (21) could be promoted to the first team this summer.

Like he did last year, the Venezuela-born player would start the pre-season with the first team on Monday and will travel with the squad to England and the United States.

If Barcelona doesn't sign a left winger this summer, Jeffren could in the end stay with the group for the rest of the season. In the other case, the winger could leave for another club. Deportivo La Coruña and Tenerife, among other clubs, would already have shown interest in Jeffren, whose contract with Barcelona expires next year.

Read more:
Celtic and Spanish clubs interested in Jeffren
Deportivo interested in several Barcelona players
Barça B: Celtic target Jeffren can leave

Maxwell: "My biggest hobby is playing football"

New Barcelona player Maxwel gave an interview to the club's official media.

When you arrived at the airport, you were met by loads of cameras. Are you starting to realise what Barça is about?
Yes, you start feeling the climate, people coming up to you, cameras coming up to you, that's when you realise how important this club is. I was just hoping to pass my medical and be able to officially become a Barça player. It's a great feeling.

How did your transfer come about?
I had heard I had a chance of coming here some time ago. The final stages were finished very quickly, but it all started months ago and I was always interested in coming. I was delighted to come. I didn't think twice. I want to thank everybody that has made this possible, the lawyers, the president, everybody that formed part of the project.

Who has given you references about Barcelona?
I have to publicly thank Koeman and Figo, who told me the most about the city, the club, the footballing tradition here, it all helps with my adaptation.

What did you learn in your time at Ajax?
I was very young back then, a novice. We played big games, in the Champions League, against big clubs, and I gained experience. In European football I learned a lot, about tactical discipline in your game, the technical qualities of passing, it has made me a more complete footballer.

Barcelona play a similar game to Ajax, because Cruyff imposed his style of play. Do you think that will help you adapt to Barça?
I hope everything I learned at Ajax will help with my adaptation. I expect a similar kind of game. Of a different quality, but the style of play will be similar. And I'll have to concentrate because of the quality of football and the speed as well.

You were originally a midfielder and then moved into defence. How did that change happen?
At Cruzeiro and Ajax, depending on the game, the coach sometimes opted to play me at full back. I started adapting and learned more about defensive duties and it made me a more complete footballer. Always learning, trying to get better. I ended up adapting to it and now I play as a full back much more than I do in midfield.

Such an attack minded player as you ended up playing in the very defensive Italian league like the Italian. Did you learn much there?
In Italy you learn a lot about defensive aspects, especially tactics, and that's basic for a defender. The first thing you do is learn, the first two years were mainly about adapting to Italian football.

You’re taking over from Sylvinho, a player that liked to move up into the attack. Are you similar to him?
I am a Brazilian full back, and we generally like to support the attack. Of course, I have learned a lot about defending, so I am going to try to use both options: attacking and defending.

What kind of a person is Maxwell?
I am a quiet, reserved person. I try to spend my free time with my family at home. I hope to make lots of friends here.

What are your hobbies?
My biggest hobby, crazy as it sounds, is playing football. I like fishing, doing sport on the beach, by the sea. But my biggest hobby is playing football. When I meet my friends, it's what we do, it's what I get most fun out of.

read the full interview here

Barcelona plans to sell the Miniestadi

Catalan newspaper El Periódico claimed earlier this week that Barcelona has reached an agreement with the municpal goverment of Barcelona for the re-qualification of some pieces of land belonging to the club.

Barcelona would want to sell the land, including the Miniestadi, to get funds for the remodelling of Barcelona's Camp Nou stadium.

Although Jordi Hereu, the mayor of Barcelona, would have given his approval to the plan, the other party in the left-wing coalition that governs the city of Barcelona is opposed to the re-qualification, which will force the mayor to look for support with the main opposition party. The people living in the neighbourhood are also opposed to the plans and are expected to undertake legal actions.

Read more:
Works on new Camp Nou to start next year

Missing the Barça train

You've also missed the Barça train?

I'm an expert in missing trains.

(click the cartoon to enlarge)


see more cartoons here

Henrique will get the chance to prove his worth

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that Barcelona central defender Henrique Adriano Buss (22), who played on loan with German club Bayer Leverkusen last year, will have his chance to prove his worth from next week on.

If he can convince Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola during the pre-season, then the Brazilian defender could stay with the team next season. In that case, Barcelona is expected to give up the search for another central defender (read more here).

Read more:
Henrique: "I think I can become a starter"
No final decision on Henrique
Henrique will start pre-season at Barcelona

Villa decides to stay at Valencia

Despite the statements of Barcelona president Joan Laporta yesterday saying at a press conference that Valencia striker and Spanish international David Villa (27) is still an option, Valencia regional sports paper Superdeporte claims that Villa has decided to stay at Valencia.

Villa would yesterday have informed Valencia president Manuel Llorente by phone about his decision not to leave Valencia this summer.

The club and the player would now have agreed that they will give a joint press conference next week to explain the events of the coming weeks. Valencia will reportedly say that they had been putting the player on the market and that Villa never pressured the club to let him go to Madrid or Barcelona.

Read more:
Villa could help fund transfer?
Valencia rejects new Villa bid
WT* is happening with Villa???

picture: made by hieifcb

Ex-Barça: Ezquerro leaves Osasuna

Former Barcelona winger, Santiago "Santi" Ezquerro (32), has become a free agent after Pamplona-based Club Atlético Osasuna officially announced an agreement releasing him from his contract.

He was originally committed to the Club until June 30, 2011, with an option to extend for another season. Ezquerro is expected to receive a 400,000 euro compensation from the deal.

Ezquerro joined Osasuna on a free transfer in 2008 after his three season stint with FC Barcelona. He made twelve appearances for the Club, scoring one goal, and was Osasuna's highest paid player.

Asked about the contract termination, Club president Pacho Izco, said: "It was something that he brought up on his own but we have reached a satisfactory agreement with him. Ezquerro said he did not want to be here as a burden and as such, we managed to reach a resolution." Ezquerro is yet to comment on the deal and reveal what his future plans are.

Read more:

Barça B - Official: Armando Lozano (Cartagena)

Barcelona has yesterday officially announced the transfer of Cartagena central defender Armando Lozano Sánchez (24), who will play with Barcelona Atlètic in the third division next season.

Armando, who passed the medical tests yesterday, signed a two-year deal. The Spanish defender, who joined newly promoted Spanish second division club Cartagena last year, played for Spanish first division team Levante during the 2007-2008 season.

Armando is, after Edu Oriol and Luque, the third signing of Barcelona Atlètic this summer.

Read more:
Barça B - Official: Edu Oriol (Sant Andreu)
Barça B: Armando Lozano (Cartagena)
Barça B - Official: Miguel Angel Luque (Villarreal C)

[2008] Why was Eto'o yesterday in Uzbekistan?

this post was published exactly one year ago:

Barcelona forward and Cameroonian international Samuel Eto'o (27) was yesterday in Uzbekistan, an Asian country who shares borders with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan.

Due to some unclear messages on the official website of Uzbek club Kuruvchi and statements made by Kuruvchi officials, there was since Monday a wave of speculation about an offer the Uzbek club would make to Barcelona and a record contract proposal for Eto'o. Some even claimed that Eto'o came to sign his contract and be presented.

The principal reason for Eto'o to travel to Uzbekistan was to give a master-class to some youth players of Kuruvchi. Josep Maria Mesalles, the agent of Eto'o, already made that clear before the trip in an interview with Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo:

"I can't say anything about a transfer, I can only confirm that Samuel will give a master-class at this club. I won't say anything to the club's officials for having leaked some information about a possible transfer. If I would do that, I would show the whole world that they were lying. And I don't think that's a wise thing."

Eto'o nevertheless confirmed yesterday at a press conference in Uzbekistan that he had received an offer from Kuruvchi and that he would take it into consideration when deciding on his future:

"Kuruvchi is interested and that's one of the reasons why I'm here, to know more about the people of the club and about this wonderful country. I have received a formal offer and I will think about it. At this moment I have several good offers from interesting clubs and I will choose what's best for me. When I have made my decision, I will inform Kuruvchi first about it."

French sports paper L'Equipe, who seemed to have good inside information all week long, claims that Eto'o has rejected a dazzling 50 million euro° offer (40 million euro salary and 10 million euro signing bonus) to play for one season with the leader of the Uzbek competition.

Read more 18 July 2008 news:
Robinho agent admits contact with Barcelona
Henrique will be loaned out to Leverkusen
Negotiations with Drogba

POLL: Next season's left back

Barcelona still looking for central defender

Asked about the transfer summer, Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain has said at a press conference yesterday that, besides a centre forward, Barcelona is still looking for a central defender:

"We're also working on signing a centre-back. If we can sign someone, fine. If we can't, nothing happens. Henrique will also be around.

We're aware that everything has to calm down. During two weeks we have seen mad transfers and fees and now we want everything to calm down first. If the market offers us more options to sign players, we'll do that. We would like to have some more new faces before 27 July. We'll do what we can but it will also depend on the exits and that's not easy either. We're a buying club and we have players with high wages for whom it's not easy to find another club."

Read more:
Chygrynskiy approach rejected
Agent Vidic dismisses new transfer rumours
Barcelona preparing strong bid for Bruno Alves

Caceres very close to Juventus loan

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that Barcelona central defender and Uruguayan international Martín Cáceres (22) could move to Juventus.

Barcelona would want Cáceres, whose contract expires in 2012, to have more playing minutes and, after having looked at an offer by Turkish club Galatasaray, a deal with Juventus on a one-year loan would now be very close.

In contrast to what had been previously mentioned (read more here), Juventus midfielder and Danish international Christian Poulsen (29) would not be part of the deal.

Read more:
Juventus wants Caceres-Poulsen swap
Galatasaray interested in four Barcelona players
Cáceres to Juventus in 10 days

Barça B - Official: Botia to Sporting on loan

Spanish first division club Sporting Gijón has yesterday officially announced the transfer of Barcelona Atlètic central defender and Spanish youth international Alberto Botía (20).

The Spanish defender will join Sporting on a one-year loan. Barcelona has officially confirmed the deal.

Madrid sports tabloid As claims that Botía had first extended his contract with Barcelona, that expired next summer, with two more years. Sporting would get a fee for the loan if the centre-back plays at least ten games next season, as well as a part of the transfer fee if Barcelona decides to sell Botía next year. A second loan year would also be a possibility.

Read more:
Barça B - Official: Espasandin renews until 2010
Barça B - Botia to Sporting Gijon on loan
Barça B - Official: Corcoles to Recreativo

The last stage of Eto'o

* We present you the last Barça stage of the eTo'ur... *

(click the cartoon to enlarge)


see more cartoons here

Friday 17 July 2009

Principal agreement on Ibrahimovic transfer

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has said at a press conference that Inter Milan and Barcelona have found a principal agreement on the transfer of Inter Milan forward and Swedish international Zlatan Ibrahimovic (27), which would include Barcelona players Samuel Eto'o and Aleksandr Hleb. A deal would now depend on the players involved.

Josep Maria Mesalles, the agent of Eto'o, is meanwhile quoted by Catalan radio station Ona FM that he talked by phone with Inter president Massimo Maratti on Thursday nigth after the two clubs found a deal. The agent said that he was delighted to be able to negotiate with a great club like Inter although he said that a final deal can only be closed face-to-face, not through the telephone.

Mino Raiola, the agent of Ibrahimovic, denied a deal in an interview with Italian radio station Radio Radio: "Regarding the talks between Barcelona and Inter for Ibrahimovic, I can only say that there's no deal yet because I don't see the signature of my player under a contract that I have read. I can guarantee you that I didn't even start to discuss a deal because I'm busy with the transfer of Maxwell. Maybe it will be a done deal next week or next month, there's still time until 31 August. There's time as long as the market open. We can negotiate until the end of August."

Ibrahimovic told to journalists after today's training session that he was calm about the whole situation: "I knew that Barcelona and Inter have been talking but I thought it was about Maxwell. If the offer of Barça would become concrete, that would be an interesting option. I wait calmly to see what happens. I spoke with my agant Mino Raiola and at this moment, I'm happy to be an Inter player."

Read more:
Report: Ibrahimovic deal reached

Barça B: Ivan Benitez (Las Palmas B)

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that Barcelona is interested in Las Palmas B central defender Iván Alejandro Benítez (21).

Barcelona would have been holding talks with the player's agency, Bahía Internacional, for a week. A deal would now be very close and a transfer could be agreed upon in the coming hours.

Iván Benítez, who has already made his debut with Las Palmas' first team in the Spanish second division, could that way become the third transfer of Barcelona Atlètic, after Edu Oriol and Luque.

Read more:
Barça B - Official: Edu Oriol (Sant Andreu)
Barça B: Armando Lozano (Cartagena)
Barça B - Official: Miguel Angel Luque (Villarreal C)

Luis Suárez: "Ibra is a Culé"

Asked about the current negotiations between Barcelona and Inter, Barcelona legend and Inter Milan scout Luis Suárez has told French sports site So Foot that Inter Milan forward and Swedish international Zlatan Ibrahimovic (27) will be a Barcelona player this season.

“I did not lead the negotiations myself, but yes, I can tell you that Ibrahimovic will be a Barcelona player this season. It seems ready for Eto’o to join Inter, too. I am not so sure about Hleb”

Read more here.

Read more:
Report: Ibrahimovic deal reached
Laporta in Milan for Ibrahimovic
Inter asks Cristiano Ronaldo fee for Ibrahimovic

Maxwell officially presented

Brazilian left back defender Maxwell has today been presented as new player of Barcelona. Maxwell spoke at a press conference about the transfer:

"This is one of my dreams come true, a dream I already had for a long time. I'm sorry that I cannot express myself in Catalan, but I will make sure to learn the language quickly.

This is one of the happiest days in my life. I join one of the strongest squads in Europe and I hope to be able to help the team to get as far as possible in all competitions.
From the moment the chance to come here was there, I was very open for it to happen and I told my agent to reach an agreement.

Everybody knows that I'm arriving to replace Sylvinho but I nevertheless hope to be able to play regularly. I think the competition with Abidal will be good for the team. The way this team plays is spectacular. Last season, thye played great games. I have the advantage to have experience with Dutch football, which is very similar. I hope to be able to adapt quickly to the style wanted by the coach."

Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain explained the transfer: "We took a series of decisions. The first one was not to renew the contract of Sylvinho, because we thought we should strengthen the position. We worked on several options and Maxwell was one of them.

Maxwell is Brazilian but his first team in Europe was Ajax, a club with a similar philosophy as ours. Later he joined Inter Milan, a top team. I'm sure he will help us. It's a quality player with a great technique. The duration of the contract is four years plus an option for one more year and the buyout clause is 50 million euro."

Defending Eto'o AND Barcelona. Part 1.

Defending Eto'o AND Barcelona
By: Ramzi Tanani

He’s standing there, on the top of the world. The clouds crown his shoulders, his glory shines bold. Sparking like a flame, while the nation chants his name.

The eyes seek the pride, of staring at him. The cheerful throats exploded, burning the lips rim. The trees, the breeze, the rocks, the blocks, the streets, the suites, women and men from infants to ancients, all were there to sing, the name of the king!

Then the dark wings of night, spread and squeezed the light. The king rested his eyes, waiting the sun to rise. Tomorrow? Will be the same. More praise, and blaze, and fame. What the poor soul forgot, when euphoria wine clot, the brilliance turns to blot.

The moon slowly dived, and a new day arrived. The same previous gathering, was taking place again. But he can sense a change. The joy turned to pain, the tone sounded strange. He steps out to balcony, the screams turns baloney. He is the jerk, he is the freak. A dagger that lurk, an evil geek. He is a dumb, he is a slump. He is naïve, he has to leave. A hopeless case, a crisis to face.

One heart beat, was long enough to delete, his entire feat. After being the Ace, now he is a disgrace.

Isn’t it strange?

How gods become devils at a blink of an eye. Then get dragged out, through the backdoor, no matter how they try.

That’s the story of Eto’o, Laporta, Txiki, or even Pep. It depends on the crowd you join and the hymns you chant.

There is a case to discuss, No doubt about it. Eto’o and Barcelona, his agent and the board, what’s next to predict or to expect. All that worth debating about. Yet, It’s the approach, not the perspective, that makes all this issue a case of disgrace.

Talking about the approach first, how would any Barcelona fan hate Eto’o? Insult him, underestimate his achievements with and for Barcelona. How is it possible to doubt the quality of a player who contributed in winning more Champions league titles for the club than the club had ever won? How is it possible to understand calling one of the team’s greats as mercenary? What is the message that we are sending for any player we are targeting to join this club? What is the image, the culture, and the ethical platform that we are promoting about this club that we truly believe it is more than a club?

Let me pass an early note now for what I will discuss later. I have supported and will support the idea of making the change, and having someone else to lead the front line. I have my reasons. But for the past two weeks I had to drag myself to read the wave of essays and opinions written about the guy, and this man started to wonder if I was dreaming about the night of May 27, 2009 or it’s something the entire world witnessed. I am not pointing toward the fans debates, but more the articles written by some journalists in Spain. The least to say is that it’s unacceptable.

We have a Belletti shoe at the club museum for the goal he scored at the last Champions league victory. The Brazilian was hailed when he represented Chelsea against Barcelona this season at the Camp Nou. That was a great sign of gratitude. Yet, no offense, Belletti, but its not even fair to compare Belletti's contribution in the club success, to that of Eto’o. So, Can we -at least- respect the guy? Can we, while saying whatever we feel it’s the right thing for Barcelona- at least-do some effort to pick the right words? This disgraceful free fall must stop.

Then, what about the board of directors’ quality? I can understand that sometimes the public get fooled once, but twice in less than a year is too much for my taste. One year ago we heard the same noisy voices that Laporta and co. lost it. They are flops. They have no quality. They must leave. A new board is more than needed. Luckily (it was pure luck, not common sense) that the destructive camp aiming to ruin Laporta era failed. That’s how we won the treble. Again, That’s how we won the treble. How is it possible to hide in a bush waiting for any tiny chance to punch the chin of the best board of directors we had in the club's modern history? Not only for the achievements and titles the team won, but most importantly for saving the club from being a Valencia mess. For the youth who do not know, Barcelona situation was worse than the current Valencia situation when Laporta and his board made their move. For those who were following that period, it’s always the right time to remember. Some of that first board's pioneers left the ship afterwards, true. But it’s not a reason to give them any credit. When things turned bad some ran for their lives, others faced the tsunamis and guided the club from one glory to another. The ones we have now are the ones to hail. Period.

I refuse to worship anyone just because he achieved greatness. Whether that person was Eto’o, Txiki, Laporta, Pep, you name it. But I demand that Barcelona community to be aware of the value of the people we are throwing on the table. Not only because this community has a responsibility toward the clubs present and future but also for its responsibility of recording the current era fairly in the history book of this club.

Mistakes happen. Eto’o may do it, the board of directors, the coach, or the fans. But it’s important to point out the mistakes – if they exist- without ruining everything we are proud of. This generation of Barcelona fans is luckier than they may think. Ten years ago, it was a very painful experience to be a Barcelona fan. Now it’s a carnival. Always appreciate the men who contributed in this, even while pointing out their mistakes, if they exist. So let’s pack the insults in a dark room, avoid the heat of the moment debates so we talk with some sense.

Ramzi Tanani

Read More:
What to do to stay
Barcelona wants to postpone return Eto'o
Eto'o decides to leave the club

FCB Finance Report

FC Barcelona’s Finances

I would like to start off my first contribution to the blog, by thanking our dearest PeP for all his hard work and contributions to this blog we all read almost on a daily basis. I can only hope to bring his professionalism and dedication to my first contribution to the blog.

This report is centralized around two key figures, they both have very key roles in the finances of the team. The first of which is the jackass himself, Joan Laporta. He is the Presidente of this current regime. I know he catches a lot of flack for his antics during the summer; however it is only because he is a nerd in the books and numbers. You have to realize that the Treble was not the result of a fluke season, but instead meticulous planning that began at the very onset of this regime. For any business to be successful it takes effective management to properly dictate the course of the business. It turns out our president behind closed doors has been building an effective business model based on sustained growth and paying down debt. What this effectively means is that throughout Laporta’s tenure, he has been focused on increasing revenue for the team while paying down debt so that the team can self-finance its own ventures.

The Second figure Joan Boix. He is the financial Vice President of FCB. These are a few quotes he had to say in regards to the finance of FCB when giving the financial presentation to board members and socios for the 2007/2008 fiscal year. This information has been taken directly from

Solid economic ground

According to Boix, “FC Barcelona’s economic situation is very solid. Revenue has increased for the fifth year in a row and we have made a profit again”. The financial vice-president has described the financial year’s final accounts as “excellent”. Revenue grew for the fifth year in a row and currently sits at 308.8 million euro, while expenses account for 297.6 million euro. In other words, the financial year 2007/08 closed 16.1 million euro in the black with a profit of 10.1 million euro.

Boix pointed out two areas in which revenue had grown most significantly: the media (increase of 9.5 million euro) and the stadium (increase of 7.3 million euro). He also said revenue from club members had increased by one million euro, with 6,365 new members. “Ours is a sustained growth”, he said.

Control over expenses

With regard to expenses, which came to 292.6 million euro, Joan Boix said that “once again expenses were controlled and followed parameters as set out in last year’s budget”. The most significant increases came in two areas: amortization of players, with an increase of 5 million euro, and players’ salaries, which increased by 14.3 million euro. The club sets aside 52% of income for players’ salaries. “We are still below recommended parameters within the footballing industry”, pointed out Boix.

End to bank debt and more club funds

In relation to the accounts, the financial vice-president wanted to point out two things: the reduction of debts, both bank and in general, and an increase in the club’s own funds. On the first point, Boix revealed that during last season FC Barcelona paid back 26 million euro, reducing the debt from 39.8 million to 13.6 million and that “the bank debt will be wiped clear on 30 October”.

The other aspect which has affected the books is an increase in the club’s own funds. “We now have 12.7 million euro of our own funds. In the five years of this administration’s management, we have generated a total of 88 million euro, going from 75.3 million euro in the red to 12.7 million euro in the black”. And he added: “They are figures which endorse the effort of all those involved during the last five years”.

This is a summary of the financial Statement:


Trading income: 308.8 million euros

Operating costs: 292.6 million euros

Ebitda (Earnings before tax and depreciations): +68.8 million euros

Operating profit or loss: +16.1 million euros

Income / financial expenses: -8.0 million euros

Operational profit or loss: +8.2 million euros

Extraordinary income / expenses: +0.4 million euros

Before tax profit or loss: +8.6 million euros

Tax payments: +1.5 million euros

Net profit or loss: +10.1 million euros


Trading income: 380 million euros

Operating costs: 355 million euros

Operating profit or loss: +25 million euros

Financial and extraordinary profit or loss: -10 million euros

Before tax net profit or loss: +15 million euros

All these figures were passed at the Ordinary General Assembly held on September 24, 2008.

Effectively what the report is indicating is that Barcelona is currently a self-sufficient team free of debt. Turns out Laporta has been doing an amazing job.

2004 FCB Revenues= 169 million Euros

2005 FCB Revenues= 208 million Euros

2006 FCB Revenues= 259 million Euros

2007 FCB Revenues= 290 million Euros

2008 FCB Revenues= 309 million Euros

2009 FCB Projected Revenues= 380 million Euros

In conclusion, certainly there is two ways of doing business, the way Real Madrid does business and the way Barcelona does business. Barcelona has worked so hard throughout the years to get in the position they are currently in, and I can now greater appreciate the journey to the treble. Remember the Treble was not the result of a fluke season, but instead years and years in the making.

Keep in mind these reports are based on last year's earnings. Deloitte, one of the leading accounting firms in the world, publishes a report called the Deloitte Football Money League. In the 2009 report these are the top 5 teams:

Numbers are (In)Millions-Euros

1.) Real Madrid Revenues = 365.8

2.) Manchester United Revenues= 324.8

3.) Barcelona Revenues= 308.8

4.) Bayern Munich Revenues= 295.3

5.) Chelsea Revenues= 268.9,1002,cid=246693,00.html

-Je me'appelle Samuel

Read more:
Premier League Clubs Deep in Debt
A profit of 16 million euro halfway the season
Barcelona third richest club in the world

Maxwell has arrived in Barcelona

Brazilian left back defender Maxwell has arrived in Barcelona around 1 pm today. After the medical tests, he will be officially presented as new Barcelona player.

watch a video here

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