August 19, 2012
July 14, 2012
Sandro Rosell, Barcelona president, has reignited the controversy that surrounded the La Liga campaign last season by saying: "We all know that the last edition of the Spanish League was very strange"
Rosell is alluding to the conspiracy theories doing the rounds in Spain and, allegedly, the power of five key men.
July 8, 2012
Javi Martinez is the missing piece in Barcelona's puzzle ahead of the 2012/13 season. I believe that adding the 24-year-old Basque midfielder to our squad would be sufficient to challenge for all titles next season. Especially after completing the transfer of speedy left-back Jordi Alba for a mere €14 million, which, as you can read here, was an absolute bargain!
July 2, 2012
Jordi Alba has finally achieved his dream of coming back to Barcelona. After months of negotiations, the Cules have agreed to pay Valencia a total of €14m despite the fact that Alba only had 12 months left in his contract. Some argue paying that much for a player who would have been free next summer is a waste of money. Keep reading to find out why they are wrong.
June 16, 2012
I must admit I am increasingly annoyed about the obsession the Catalan media seem to have towards signing of Thiago Silva from AC Milan this summer. It really feels like one can simply not read any Barcelona-related news without the Brazilian centre-back's name popping up at some stage. Is he really the only central defender on Earth?
June 10, 2012
Barcelona's season collapsed after a horrendous week which included defeats to Real Madrid in La Liga and Chelsea in the Champions League. While the other 4 titles lifted this year can't be overlooked, it must be said that Barcelona were unable to beat teams who opted for ultra defensive formations at crucial points of the season.
May 27, 2012
Pep Guardiola walked away from Barcelona. While I am obviously sad to see him leave, the Camp Nou will continue to stand strong without him. Many greats have left in the past, many greats will leave in the future.
The show must and will go on.
Since Guardiola announced his departure, I have heard a variety of rivals and so-called football experts arguing Barcelona's winning cycle is over. For me, it is clear those who doubt don't understand how our Blaugrana club works behind the scenes: Barça is much bigger than one person, whatever their name is.
May 23, 2012
Barcelona never stops. The Catalan media is full of a variety of transfer rumors, people within the Blaugrana community regretting Guardiola's departure, David Villa missing the Euro 2012... Am I really the only Cule out there who remembers Barcelona still have a major trophy to play for this Friday?
May 19, 2012
Pep Guardiola decided to leave his post as Barcelona manager in what was a highly anticipated and expected decision. The Catalan Master had been signing one-year contracts since he landed the Blaugrana job back in 2008, always arguing his time at the Camp Nou was limited and dependent on the 'feeling' he got from the players - which brings out the question: What really happened that made him leave?
May 7, 2012
Barcelona are only 2 matches away from closing the 2011/12 season. Despite having already won 3 titles (Club World Cup, European Supercup and Spanish Supercup) and having the chance to add La Copa del Rey in a couple of weeks, I can't help but feeling we missed a golden chance of retaining La Liga and Champions League this season.
January 21, 2012
Éric Abidal signed a new contract on Monday, January 16, keeping him with the team until at least the end of June 2013. Two days later he scored just his second goal for Barcelona; his other goal, against Athletic Bilbao, was in a January Copa del Rey match last season.
Since that goal in San Mames, Abidal has suffered and recovered from a liver tumor that sidelined him for more than a month. He returned in the Champions League semifinal second leg against Real Madrid at the Camp Nou, subbing on for the final few minutes to rapturous applause. When the team won the Champions League a few weeks later, it was Abidal who was given the armband and the right to lift the trophy in front of the obligatory volcano of blue and red confetti.
August 9, 2011
Flying under the radar this week was the annual Copa Catalunya. What used to be a fairly prestigious regional tournament has become a trophy available to the B teams of the major Barcelona clubs: Espanyol and Barça. Certainly other local teams - Sabadell, Girona, etc - compete in the cup, but with the 1st division teams given byes to the semi-finals and backed by massive sums of money, there is little hope for the “minnows” even in this most meaningless of competitions.
The cup was founded in 1903 and its winner used to compete in the Copa de España until 1940 when Franco took power and banned it, along with a myriad of other local tournaments and expressions of autonomy. It wasn’t until 1984 that the cup returned and not until 1993 that it was once again called the Copa Catalunya.
June 5, 2011
One team was assured of promotion and the other assured of remaining just where they were. Conventional wisdom would say that the first team would win, especially since they were at home, but conventional wisdom would have been wrong: Barça B defeated Rayo Vallecano 2-3 to end the 2010-11 Segunda Division season in 3rd place. That would typically mean a playoff place and a chance to be promoted, but as the reserve side of a first division team, the B team has to stay in the lower league and surrender its position to another team. Still, it is the highest the team has ever finished in its entire history and that is worth praising.
It also means that Jonathan Soriano, a 25-year old from El Pont de Vilomara, a Catalan town of just over 3,500 inhabitants near Manresa, will end the season as the Segunda's leading scorer with 31 goals. The symmetry with Lionel Messi is interesting, but ultimately meaningless, just like the scoring award. Jonathan Wilson has already made the point, however, so I won't labour the point.
May 27, 2011
Given his sudden yet expected departure, Jorge Valdano has ignited a conversation on sporting directors. Jose Mourinho has unquestionably won the battle for control of Real Madrid, replacing the Argentine with Zinedine Zidane, but the question that now arises is whether or not giving the manager maximum power is a good idea.
The differences between Real Madrid and Barcelona are, on the surface, extraordinary: Mourinho and Valdano appeared to war throughout the year while their counterparts, Pep Guardiola and Andoni Zubizarreta, have been friends for decades. But the relationship between coach and sporting director (or general manager, depending on title) is not the only relationship that makes a difference. Given the soci model that both clubs employ, the relationship between president and sporting director is also highly important.
May 16, 2011
Race is not the easiest of topics to tackle, especially not across borders and cultural barriers. It is hard to have a an open and informative dialog about race when so many have had so many varied experiences with it in various countries around the world, but it is worth discussing and it is worth keeping out in the open.
On Sunday, the UEFA disciplinary committee, or at least the chairman of that committee, acquitted Sergio Busquets of the charge of racially abusing Marcelo during the Champions League semi-final first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid. UEFA’s official statement can be read here.
March 26, 2011
He's only 40, but it seems like he's been around forever. He's a hero to many, a man who has revitalized a team and made them into a coherent and significant force, and most cules want him to stay for a good while longer. I've written about him in the past, in the build-up to the most recent match with Sporting Gijon, but Luis Enrique deserves more of my time than as a simple introductory gimmick.
He was first a player (for Sporting Gijon, then Real Madrid, and finally for Barça) and now he’s a manager. He won every domestic title available at least once, won a European Cup Winner’s Cup, scored the opening goal of the European Super Cup (which Barça won), and garnered a gold medal at the 1992 Olympics. He retired in 2004 after having played in 558 competitive matches over a 15-year career. 300 of those matches were at Barça (leaving him 96 short of Juan Manuel Asensi, the player with the 10th official appearances.
February 24, 2011
Children are a fickle bunch. They'll high five you one moment and bamboozle religious figures the next. Also, there's a 4-month old living in the apartment beneath me and he or she has a 6:15am morning ritual screamfest. Perfect alarm clock. So yeah, children are a blessing and a curse, even when they're not yours. And Barça has a lot of them and they come and go depending on a lot of factors, including whether or not they've got offers from other places that are more immediately lucrative than the one offered by their "parent" club. And no, we're not talking about Cesc Fabregas. We're talking instead about Jon Miquel Toral Harper. That he is being "taken" by Arsenal is merely a coincidence that caused this to become something of a story in the press.
December 7, 2010
Rubin Kazan come to town on Tuesday and it's going to be odd. You see, they're third in our group and fighting for qualification to the knockout stages, which we denied them last year with a late winner in Russia. We're settled securely into first place with no chance of losing our spot, so we don't even have to field 11 players (I mean, I think we actually do have to field 11 players, but you know what I mean) and so we're leaving out Dani Alves, Xavi, David Villa, Pedro, and Seydou Keita along with Milito, who is missing through injury. We're also including Marc Bartra, Andreu Fontàs, Thiago, Jonathan dos Santos, and Víctor Vázquez from the B squad.
October 15, 2010
|Som la gent Blau Grana
Tan se val d'on venim
Si del sud o del nord
ara estem d'acord, estem d'acord
una bandera ens agermana
|We're the blaugrana|
It doesn’t matter where we’re from
From the south or the north
We all agree, we all agree
One flag unites us in brotherhood.
The words of the FC Barcelona anthem ring a little hollow today following the announcement by Barça VP Jordi Cardoner that there will now be restrictions on club membership. These restrictions limit membership to those who are already members, were members in the past and would like to rejoin, 1st and 2nd degree family members of current members, and those under 14 who would like to join.