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Showing posts with label F C Barcelona. Show all posts
Showing posts with label F C Barcelona. Show all posts

Jul 14, 2020

The prospect of a trophyless season is very much on, but Quique Setién ain't going to go down quietly. The entire focus will be shifting to the Champions League very quickly.

Barcelona have never won a Champions League title without lifting the League title before-hand. That's usually something their arch-rival Real Madrid forte to perform. For Barcelona, Champions League is usually a reflection of the exceptional form they show throughout.

With already knocked out of Copa del Rey, and almost at the verge of surrendering the League title to Real Madrid, Barcelona's only hope for saving this season is in Europe.

Jul 13, 2020

On the onset, it looks like a decision that has happened in far-away England. But both the clubs have too many connections in recent times, to overlooks!

Latest FC Barcelona Breaking News

From the time the news broke out of CAS over-turning of a two-year Champions League ban of Manchester City, the social media sphere has gone into overdrive. The complete overturning of the ban came as a surprise even for City fans, most of them expected a reduction of the ban. Even though a 10 million fine has been imposed, that will not affect the Manchester side's prospects.

Some may say it's preposterous to link this news with a crisis in Barcelona. But this event may have huge ramifications in Barcelona! Let's look at the Why's and How's of it below.

Jul 1, 2020

FC Barcelona was held to a 2-2 draw at home by the other side from Spanish Capital, Atletico Madrid. The game was as intense as it gets and strangely saw three penalties and one own goal. Messi scored his 700th goal of career from an unbelievable panenka penalty.

Check out the highlights below:

Jun 25, 2020

The management has steadily destroyed the squad with stupid transfers and non-actions. Despite that, the team had put up a good fight. Do they have enough to fight out for the title this season?

Barcelona's Squad Strength is a Worry for Everyone

As a Barcelona fan, it was difficult not to assume that the League was playing a joke with us when the announcement of 5 substitutes in a game was made. No one disagrees that it was the need of the hour! But it somehow felt the entire system and even Gods were conspiring together to make fun of us.

Most of the teams welcomed it as a balanced move, considering the epidemic attack we are facing. Fc Barcelona also welcomed, only God knows why? We were struggling to find three quality players to be substituted! What difference it will make if it is increased to five?

Jun 24, 2020

For the purist, this wasn't a match to remember, but these are the kind of victories that will decide a season. And Barcelona hopes this is one of those!

Rakitic Scores against Bilbao

Once again, Barcelona looked jagged, lagged and all other things and to make matters worse, at their own home. An extremely scrappy goal from the much-maligned Rakitic was needed for Barcelona to secure three vital points and move back to the top of the table. Now we need to wait to find out how many days that promotion lasts for?

Lionel Messi once again was instrumental in the goal. It was his pass which resulted in the opening which Rakitic converted. But to be honest, I doubt it was a pass from Messi. It was a brilliant turn from Messi which got converted into an assist, all thanks to Rakitic who unlike his fellow teammates made the run into the box!

Jun 22, 2020

Is Barcelona management capable of understanding the actual need of the Barcelona squad. It's just a couple of signings we need, an overhaul of the current squad is the demand of the hour. Will they ever understand?

Does Barcelona have a Viable Plan to Strengthen the Squad?

Every Barcelona fans and sports pundits will vouch for one thing – Barcelona needs a lot of signing and probably in every position this summer. Whether it is in midfield or attack or defense, Barcelona needs new ideas and personalities to regain their lost luster.

Due to the struggles of this season, we have been hearing a lot of rumors related to impending marquee signing. But these noises should be discounted as mere attempts by panicked management to dampen the anger surrounding the club. At least that’s what we have been taught by the circus of last season!

Jun 21, 2020

The summer re-shuffle is going to be extremely important in deciding which way Barcelona turn, not only for the next couple of years. Maybe even for the next decade.

These Two Midfielders Must be Sold b Barcelona this Summer!

There is already much anticipation about how Barcelona will react in the coming summer transfer market. The squad needs immediate reinforcement, and that too in almost all roles and positions. Apart from Messi and Ter Stegan, no one is sure to continue the next season.

It still needs to know whether this Board is good enough to make those transfers happen. So far we haven't seen anything that makes us confident of them getting things done. The usual pursuit of highly improbable targets is on, and is guaranteed to end the same way as last season!

Dec 4, 2015

Apart from the jaw dropping thumping displayed by Barca players at the Santiago Bernebeu, this season's first Clasico delivered an even greater joy to fans - the return of Lionel Messi. After his return, he has already played two full matches - scoring three goals and assisting one. His hunger is mostly understandable especially when you return to action after almost a two month break. There also is a matter of personal pride, especially with Neymar and Saurez guiding the team brilliantly in his absence. Some people, mostly critics questioned whether Messi's return could complicate things for Barca and Luis Enrique. Messi in the last two matches defined why his return will elevate the team to another level and also showed that class which separated him from a brilliantly performing Neymar and Saurez.

Aug 1, 2013

Perseverance is a big word. An online dictionary defines it as "steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement." or may be more philosophically as "continuance in a state of grace to the end, leading to eternal salvation.". You still didn't get it, then Look at Jonathan Dos Santos. Yes, the same guy who was told in unequivocal terms last season that he was a surplus to the requirement; one who was referred to by club management as the one who refuses to leave; one whom the then coach Tito Vilanova refused to look up as an option even when injuries were mounting; one who in many Barca fans' opinions was destroying his career by staying at the club against the club wishes; also one who was eating club's money and doing nothing! Oh, yes! I have heard that many times. To be honest Jonathan Dos Santos was not responsible for people arriving at conclusions about him. He wanted to succeed at the club and he wanted to do it on his own terms. So he stayed back, waiting for a call which never arrived; hoping for a chance which went to everyone else. There were instances where Sergi Roberto made it into the squad but Jonathan stayed in the player's box. That was intended to send a firm message to him; he refused to accept. And now at the end, against all odds Jonathan Dos Santos stays. Jesus! it just happened.

Sep 15, 2008

There are early signs of desperation from FC Barcelona fans across the globe. Their desperation can be justified as the first two results of the season is not what they have hoped for. Especially the pre-season tour with Guardiola gave huge hopes of a complete revival. I have earlier written in those pre-season match reports that FC Barcelona may be flattering them by going by those matches. In all those matches they have showed huge defensive weakness; I do agree they scored more than twenty goals, but all of them were against weak defenses. Then came the Numancia match which went completely wrong for FC Barcelona. FC Barcelona was supposed to destroy Racing and show his intention; but that also does not happen. I have been criticized by many Barca fans for being too negative on Barca; but this time I feel rather positive about the draw against Racing Santander.

Racing was expected to play a defensive style and to Barcelona's credit they did break it on a number of occasions. Yup, you can argue that there was no end product to show for that. Guardiola did the right thing to give a wake up call for Henry and surprisingly Iniesta. Iniesta has been Barca's consistent performer since last season; but completely disappeared in the Numancia match. That looked like done the trick as Iniesta came as a substitute and was roaring down the left flank. Pedro and Busquests were simply revelation. If we analyse the match the best part of the match for Barca came after the break till the goal. FC Barcelona relentlessly attacked Racing and there were some frantic scenes at the Racing Goal mouth. All credits to Racing for not succumbing to that kind of pressure. But on a second analysis we can find that it was the tempo at which Barcelona played in that time made all those pressure. The pace was back and since they are the masters of one touch football they terrorised the defense. I have written in my earlier post titled Watch Out, Pep that if Guardiola is expecting to bring back the glorious times, he first need to bring back that pace and tempo. And we saw first signs of that in the Racing match. Sporting tie in Champions League can be seen as a test to whether they can consistently do the same.

If I am right, Barcelona won almost nine corners. But they could not make a decent chance out of the majority of them. Pep cannot allow this to happen for long. He should make sure that the opposition defense should concede a corner against Barcelona as the last option; not as the first option like it is happening now. Secondly he needs to encourage his players to get into the box more often. Many times very good crosses from Alves found no one as there was only Eto in there. At this moment I don't think we can do anything in the defense. The only option to make sure the defense is solid now is to keep the ball in the opposite half.

Sep 12, 2008

Rijkaard's two acquisition from the English Premier League was aimed at providing a genuine back up for the club's perennial poacher Samuel Eto. In the first case, that is arrival of Eidur Gudjonsen Rijkaard managed to upset Samuel Eto. In Henry's case it did upset Ronaldinho more than Samuel Eto. I am not stating here that Rijkaard brought these gentlemen to unsettle Eto. Eto was on all occasion one of Rijkaard's favourite; but these moves indeed did upset him. But very soon everyone understood clearly that these Gentleman cannot play a strikers role. Hnery's acquisition baffles everone as he prefers to play as a second striker or in the wide left. The wide left option was filled by Ronaldinho at that time and Henry could only be expected to play a second fiddle to him.

But these all are things in the past. Ronaldinho has moved to A C Milan since then and FC Barcelona have made a series of acquisition to strengthen the squad. Keita, Pique, caceres, Alves all joined the new Barca of Guardiola. But the question in everyone's mind would be - "Is that enough for Barca?" Mr.Txiki has indicated that FC Barcelona essentially needs to strenghtenn the far left position with the departure of Ronaldinho. Arshavin, Silva etc were discussed as a possible signing to cover that void. But my firm belief is that the void which was left was at the front of the formation. Simply put we don't have anyone to look up to in that substitute bench as a replacement for Eto. There is no one who can be called a genuine centre striker. Bojan is nearest we have in that position; but then he is too young and inexperienced to handle the role alone. If Eto is able to remain injury free for the majority of the season, FC Barcelona may not even find the need for a replacement. But in these hectic schedule that could be like asking too much. Bojan needs his time to learn the full aspect of the game. If you look at the squad we have replacement for almost all the position baring Centre Striker and Right Back. Atleast in Puyol we can have a make shift RB who can do the job atleast 50% of the time. But we canot ask the same to anyone in that Centre Striker role. Henry is no good and looks much more comfortable in far left; Gudjonsen looks more comfortable in midfield; Messi, his position is far right and there is no sense in making a move to centre of the attacking formation. A Pavylichenko or a Berbatov would not have hurt; but then atleast till the mid season transfer market opens we cannot expect a decent centre striker. For that to happen, the management should change their Transfer Policy. They should concentrate on the best player they can buy for that position, not the best star they can buy for the club. We really have enough stars already.

Sep 2, 2008 reports that Guardiola gave the players a piece of his mind after their dissappointing performance at Numancia.Guardiola is reported to have understood from early on that the players were not performing according to the plan. he was mostly worried about Messi who drifted to the centre to anchor the attck. Now this surprises me as Messi was forced to shift his position after he was losing all the one on one with Numancia defenders from the right. Guardiola was also critical particularly about Iniesta, who according to him completely lost his positioning sense and Alves who didn't come forward enough. Its good to hear that Guardiola is taking these seriously and trying to solve the problem as early as possible. But he needs to add a bit more versatility as I mentioned in my last post The way Forward.

But sadly for Guardiola he only have a limited number of his players to work with now - Valdes, Pinto, Alves, Víctor Sanchez, Sylvinho and Eto'o. Messi has already joined the Argentinian squad; Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol and Bojan were called up for Spain; Henry and Abidal for Spain; Hleb, Gudjonsen, Caceres, Keita, Toure all are been called up for their respective teams. The pleasant fact is that mostly Bojan would make his debut for Spain this time around. Seeing the way Ronaldinho performed in the last match for Milan; let's hope all these players get enough motivation to play well for their country and club.

London based media centers were too happy to pounce on to FC Barcelona's defeat to lowly Numancia. Now that reaction from a media dedicated to a different league does reiterates the fact that a FC Barcelona revival is one thing these guys really fear. All these media houses were more than happy to see FC Barcelona failing to carry forward their pre-season form. For all the flair of the best team in England, Manchester United did fear a completely out of sort FC Barcelona last year. To the build up of that game the analysts actually predicted a drubbing of FC Barcelona by Ronaldo and Company (These are the same guys who equated Rooney to Pele, now which does not surprise isn't it?). So it is better to discard the match report and analysis these guys are bringing.

But there are some worrying signs for FC Barcelona. Firstly it comes from the Manager itself. Guardiola attributed the failure to a system Numancia played - "they put ten man on the ball and it is hard to break". I do agree that this was the truth and Numancia's game plan. But doesn’t he know about this? For the last two season every team whether big or small are doing this to us with very great success. In Camp Nou we were able to use the width of the pitch and the home crowd’s passion to overcome this, but away from home we simply failed to do anything about it. This has been happening for the last two seasons and is looking like to continue for some time also.

FC Barcelona under Rijkaard always played the fast, silky kind of football. This became the trademark of our style and no one wants the team to discard this style. Barcelona as a club always believed in playing football in a particular way and that connot be and need not be changed. But Guradiola cannot for once put everything behind this style. The problem with FC Barcelona attack is that they are very predictable. None of the players will try something new. So it becomes easy to defend. Look at what Numancia did; the moment Barcelona goes forward they crowd themselves in and around the box. There is a 90% guarantee that FC Barcelona midfielders or defenders will not try the long range shots even though they have guys like Marquez, Xavi and Toure who can do that well. This were Guardiola needs to immediately look into - he needs to make sure that there is a plan B which can be used when nothing else is working. Some long range shots would at least draw some defenders out of the box and that could open up the space.

The second matter Guardiola needs to look into it is the lack of tempo on attack. FC Barcelona during the early part of Rijkaard era played the most exciting style of football. One aspect of that was the speed with which it was played. They regularly caught the defense off-guarded through their skill and most importantly speed. The Ronaldinho goals in Bernabeu were prime examples of these. He needs to look into thios in training session. In the Numancia match also the moment Bojan and Hleb came we looked more potent in attack; because they were able to instill huge pace into proceeding. In this aspect he has to make a decision whether a not so full fit and agile Henry needs to start or not? These two aspects need to be addressed in the training grounds. There is no need to panic about this defeat; but there surely a need to introspect the team. I haven't touched upon the defensive issues here as it does not look like is going to have an easy solution. A replacement for Abidal needs to be looked in. But for the time being FC Barcelona needs to concentrate more on the offensive versatility. Our strength always has been the amount of clear cut chances we created and they look like drying up. Pep, its time to act now.

Aug 29, 2008

Barcelona's Champions League OpponentsBarcelona could not have asked for more. They along with Chelsea got the easiest groups. I would say Barcelona's group looks like the easiest of all. Barcelona is in Group C along with the likes of F C Basel, Sporting Lisbon and F C Shakhtar Donetsk. The draw looks like a cake walk for Barcelona but then we should never forget what Wisla did to us. In contrast to Barcelona, the other Spanish sides were not so lucky. Real Madrid is placed in a group which could become very tricky along with Zenit, Juventus and BATE. If Zenit and Arshavin can recreate some of the magic which made them UEFA cup champions, then that group surely is destined to see some surprise. Villareal who finished 2nd last season ahead of Barcelona also got into a messy group along with Defending champions Manchester United, Celtic and the Danish side Aalborg BK. Celtic has shown it many a time recently that they are very capable of competing against the best in Europe. Athletico Madrid is paired with Liverpool, PSV and Marseille. This is also a potential trouble some group especially considering the way Liverpool qualified. Let’s take a look at Barcelona's opponents in group stage.

F C Basel is the defending Swiss Super League champions; Their Home jersey is almost same as the present Barcelona Home jersey. F C Basel was knocked out of the Uefa Cup tie last season by Sporting Lisbon. They usually play a 4-5-1 formation and are renowned for playing a attacking style of football. That should make it easy for Barcelona. Their major players are Marco Streller, Franco Costanzo (gk), Carlos Alberto Alves Garcia commonly known as Carlitos and Ivan Ergic. Sporting Lisbon along with Benifica and Porto formed the big three of Portugal. But in contrast to Benifica and Porto, they were never that successful in Europe. They finished second to F C Porto in Portuguese League. Like Barcelona Sporting's youth academy has churned out some serious talents like Figo, Ronaldo, nani, Quaresma etc. Their squad includes the likes of Moutinho, Postiga, Vladimir Stojkovic, Fabio Rochemback, Anderson Polga etc. FC Shakhtar Donetsk is the defending Ukranian league champions. Their major players include Brandao, Darijo Srna, Vyacheslav Shevchuk and Luiz Adriano.

At least on paper we have almost got a place booked for knock-out stage. But complacency and lack of attention could be Barcelona's greatest enemy. As Laporta said "On paper it looks like a manageable group, but we have enough experience to know we need to be attentive and not over-confident. We have to respect all our rivals and work hard."

Aug 20, 2008

The way our defense conceded the goal against Boca Juniors raises many questions. The biggest of it all will be whether our defense will stand tall against quality opponents. If we look carefully at the personals employed in Barcelona defense namely Puyol, Marquez, Caceres, Pique, Alves, Abidal, it is really hard to understand this defensive mess. Most of them are the best you can get in their respective position. But even then when they form the haunted Barcelona defense they start to make the silliest mistakes. I don't think Guardiola could hire anyone more to strengthen the defense. But still he cannot afford to look away to these inherent problems.

Our defense was one of the weakest in terms of defending the aerial ball. It was like that for some season. Even when we won the Champions League and the La Liga title in 2006, we were very susceptible in air. To overcome that Rijkaard bought Zambrotta, Abidal, Toure and Thuram. Rijkaard went but the defensive susceptibility to aerial ball remained intact. These all gentlemen when they play for their respective national sides looks so assured in air but not with Barcelona. If you add to this the way we have conceded goals against lesser known opponents in the pre-season, we could be in for more trouble. But the way we conceded the goal against Boca Juniors raises serious concerns. In that goal the entire defense moved to cut off one person opening up two Boca Juniors players who only had Pinto to be beaten. A similar goal was scored in our pre-season also; I don't remember which team scored against us. In that case also the entire defense moved together to cut off a cross from left apparently leaving players unmarked in the far right post. These problems did not feature in any reports as Barcelona was comfortably out-scoring other teams. But against quality opponents this could be the difference in winning and losing the match. So the first task for Guardiola is to install some discipline in defense in terms of man-marking. It is easier said than done. But he needs to address this to turn this team into world beaters again. This should also some what negate the serial vulnerability.

The second problem for Barcelona especially last season was our inability to score from corners. Many top notch sides were content in conceding corners against us. Manchester United semi final clash was a prime example. Will they do the same with other teams like Chelsea, Milan etc? Absolutely not. Usually any defense concedes a corner only if they have no other option, but against Barca that is their first option. In majority of last season game the number of corners ran to two digits. But their conversion rates were appalling. Another problem was the lack of an alternate plan. Everyone knows how Barcelona plays - a series of slick short passes. But sometimes this comes as a cropper, in such a scenario the team lacks a secondary plan which can be at least used to unsettle the opponents. Guardiola seriously have to decide who is going to take those free kicks. He has to designate the task to two persons so that they can take more effort in getting those on target.

Aug 18, 2008

VXavi HernandezXavi Hernandez Creus today is celebrating his tenth anniversary of debuting for Barcelona. On 18th August 1998, Xavi made his first team debut against Mallorcain the first leg of Spanish Super Cup final. He capped the wonderful debut with a goal. Xavi has been with Barcelona all through his life. He joined Barcelona at the age of eleven.He started receiving attention pretty early. He was a key member in the F C Barcelona B team which won promotion in to Second division in 97-98 seasons.At present Xavi is one of the three captains Barcelona is having. His significance and contribution can be judged by the fact how Barcelona played against Boca with and without him. He created both the Goals which ensure Barcelona's hold on John Gamper trophy. So in other word he gave that as a present to himself and the fans for celebrating his tenth anniversary. Xavi has to be said is at the peak of his career. He is a worthy successor to his coach Joseph Guardiola and was adjudged the best player of Euro 2008. He was instrumental in organising Spanish defense and along with his team mate Iniesta led Spain to a well deserved European Championship. Xavi was instrumental in the Barcelona side great run from 2004-06. One of the most remembered goals of those times was the one he scored against Madrid to take Barcelona to second and start a revival.

Any hope of Barcelona revival and dreams of achieving the heights of 2005-06 seasons could only be possible on this rather short man's shoulder. Ronaldinho and Deco have gone and he needs to form a great partnership with Messi, Iniesta and Eto to take Barcelona again to those heights. One thing that can be guaranteed is his commitment and hard work for the same. As one of the captain he needs to marshal other team mates around him for the same. Then considering Xavi's nature and will, it has to be said that Barcelona's future lies in safe hands. Let's wish him the best so as to continue the good works for the time to come.

Jul 14, 2008

Should Ronaldinho go to Beijing?My friend Nic, from has written a post about Ronaldinho's decision to skip the first team training and instead join the Olympic preparatory camp with a very controversial title More Indiscipline from Ronaldinho. Barcelona has stated from the start that they will not let their star players leave for low-key affairs like Olympics. Many Barcelona fans at FCBNews also hold on to the same argument of Olympics being a low key affair. They point out that why you should represent your team when football is not going to take the centre stage. This is pretty odd, what are they calling a low key affair; Olympics - It is the biggest sporting spectacle in the world. If football takes a backstage in Olympics then that is precisely because of the enormous scale of the event. With the same argument why should a player like Hleb participate in World cup or Euro qualifiers, when he precisely knows that his team is the weakest in the line? Do these stop them from fighting for their country?

Let me conclude about the situation in Barcelona before getting into the bigger picture. Who is responsible for this Olympic mess? I have only one answer - Pep Guardiola. He was the one who insisted that he will not let Messi join the Olympics. He made it so tough for the kid, that he could only conjure the courage to state his decision when he was in Argentina. Pep's statement of not including Ronaldinho, Deco and Eto in the scheme of things did add fuel to fire. Till that statement was made, Ronaldinho never stated any intention of going to Beijing. Pep is giving a great impression of being an absolute disaster in man managing. If his idea is to bulldoze through his troubles, I have to warn him now that he could be in for some troubled ride. He needs to be decisive but in matters he can control. His insistence for not letting Messi go to Beijing was stupid, as the club was bound to let him go. The club's and coach’s insistence should have made life somewhat miserable for Messi. But Ronaldinho's case is somewhat tricky. It cannot be judged or analyzed in the same way as Messi's case. Barcelona as a club does not have to release Ronaldinho to national duties. But does Barcelona have the moral authority to ask him to stay? Absolutely no; especially when it is been publicly stated that he is not in the future plans of Barcelona. The club has been insisting insane amounts for his departure. Ronaldinho might have been two time world champion but his present form is a shadow of the past. He is over weight and not fit. Instead of trying to off load him to the best place which can afford him, Barcelona still insist on high price. They conveniently for got that this is the same player who in just three years turned back the club once again in winning ways. A player of Ronaldinho's capabilities should not be insisted to play reserve games and it looks like that could be in Pep's scheme of things. Ronnie has been indulged in excessive partying last season and precisely that was because of Barcelona's inability to discipline the player. But now its clear that he could only renovate himself at some other place. Ronaldinho by making the decision to stay in Brazil could be sending a signal to Barcelona to lower their asking price with Milan. He will be fined for sure, but if they can't off load him that is going to split the dressing room. Now is Barcelona justified for asking that high price? Again the answer is no. Why? Because he is a shadow of the WPOY. So Milan obviously will have doubts about going for him; if he was that good now, will Barcelona ever think of selling him? Barcelona fans have been asking Ronnie to show loyalty and report back to club. Yes, I do agree that he is bound to do that by contract. But this cry of loyalty is same as the one we heard when Santos signed for Totenham. You have to show loyalty at places where you are respected. In both these players case Pep and company never showed any kind of respect. If Barcelona is paying insane amount to Ronaldinho, that is because they wanted to keep him here a year ago. Don't portray a scene of Barcelona doing some kind of charities to these players. In this backdrop I completely disagree with the post titled More Indiscipline from Ronaldinho by Nic. We all are fans of this wonderful club, but that should not make us shut our ears on the other side of the story.

Now to the bigger picture, if you look the whole scene there are a number of players who are insisting that they wanted to represent their countries in Olympics. In Europe and South America it's the U-21 and U-20 championship which serves as the qualifier for Olympics. In rest of the world they have Pre-Olympic tournament which serves as qualifiers. Brazil and Argentina qualified from CONMEBOL. From Europe it was Serbia, Italy, Netherlands and Belgium who qualified. The tournament it its form is an U-23 event and allows a maximum of three players who are over the age of 23 to be included in the squad. Surprisingly In South America, there is a rush of seniors trying to get into the side, whereas their European counterparts are least interested. This makes the entire event a low key affair as far as Soccer is concerned. The usual reasons given by the senior players in Europe are of course the stress it is going to cause them. But surprisingly more and more players from South America see it as a pride to represent their country at the Olympics. There is no sporting spectacle as big as the Olympics. If there is a concept of a sporting event being "More than just some sport or games" it is this. The likes of Federer and Nadal are jumping into the Olympics squad. Federer sees it as a moment of immense pride to carry the National flag at the Olympics. Most of the stars of other team events would die to represent their countries at the Olympics; but not the footballers - especially the Europeans. They all are interested in playing for their clubs and making sure that they have an injury free season ahead. Europeans club are fighting among themselves to see how many players they can stop from going to Olympics. On this backdrop the International Olympics Committee should take steps to counter these greedy clubs. They should make it mandatory for FIFA to get the three over-aged players listed in the squad released from club duties. Actually try to raise the number of over-aged players; then we will know the real spirit of European footballers. These over-paid players will never like to share and stay with other mates in an Olympic Village.

Jul 8, 2008

End of Road for LaportaIt looks like Laporta escape from the "No Confidence" motion is going to be short lived. has broken an exclusive story in which they claim that Laporta will resign from his post on Thursday. This is after the majority on the board threatened to resign if Laporta continued. First vice-chairman, Albert Vicens is expected to take over from Laporta. This is done to ensure that there is no instability in the club especially considering that Guardiola is building his team from scratch. An election now will put on hold all the transfers and that could seriously jeopardise Guardiola's plans. On that backdrop this comes as a sensible decision, even then one is left to wonder whether the Board has no responsibility in all this mess. If 67% disapproves of Laporta, it effectively means the same does about the Board. I firmly believe that Once the season commence the Board should resign and commence fresh elections. Otherwise this board may not have the moral authority to take tough decisions.

What are the other news - the biggest is the announcement of Zenit about the end of negotiations with Barcelona for Arshavin. Barcelona offered 15 million euros for the Russian star, but Zenit valued him at close to 25 million. In an interview to 'Sport Express', Arshavin confirmed this fact; but he also reiterated his decision to leave Zenit. Soon we could find Arshavin playing in English Premier League. Meanwhile Hleb has launched an amusing attack against Wenger and Fabregas. Hleb said his first preference is Barcelona and was very unhappy with the way Wenger has handled him. Hleb's rebuke against Fabregas should be justified as he has no right to poke his head in other's business. He accused Barcelona for going after Hleb and Adebayor; but looks like conveniently forgotten the way he signed for Arsenal. But Hleb's outburst should give enough indication of him being moving to Barcelona pretty soon.

Jun 5, 2008

Martin Caceres has officially become the third player Barcelona have signed this season. The young Uruguay defender was signed for a whooping 16.5 million euros. The 21 tyear old signed a deal which will keep him at Nou Camp for the next four years, which also include a buy-out clause of 50 million euros. Caceres becomes the 11th Uruguayan player to represent Barcelona. Caceres started his club career with Defensor Sporting Club in Montevideo, Uruguay. In february 2007, he was signed by Villareal for five years. Villareal subsequently loaned him out in the 2007-08 season to Recreativo de Huelva. His performance at Recreativo was enough for Barcelona to take notice of him.

For Barcelona he represent a long term investment. Usually defenders improve with age and this 21 year old is set to guard Barcelona defense for sometime. With his signing Barcelona can consider to have covered the void left by an injured Milito.

May 28, 2008

Gerrard Pirue Signs For BarcelonaGerrard Pique Bernabeu signed a four year deal with Barcelona which sees him back in the club where he started his youth career. It’s rumoured that Barcelona has to pay a fee of 6 million Euros in order to sign the defender. Gerard Pique has traditionally played in the centre back but can be used as a Left Back or a Defensive Midfielder. His height should give him superiority in the air, which Barcelona is lacking for some time. Pique is the grandson of former Barcelona director Amador Bernabeu. His surname did confuse me because of the similarity with former Madrid president Santiago Bernabeu. Pique was a member of the Barcelona youth team and grew up along with Messi and Fabregas. In 2004 Barcelona was reportedly unhappy and furious with Manchester United snatching him from their hands. Pique dismissed Barcelona's frustration saying that he was ill treated by the club after he decided to move away from Barcelona. Has anybody assured him about a better treatment this time needs to know :-)?

Gerard Pique went after the money when he decided to sign for Manchester United. He actually was convinced by Ferguson to sign up for ManU ahead of Arsenal. In the next season he was loaned out to Zaragoza and stayed back in ManU getting a little bit of first team action. Ferguson considered him as a good back up for his defenders and Pep also has to use him the same way. There was huge debate among Barcelona fans circle about Barcelona not getting anything from Pique's signing with Manchester United. But now Barcelona has to cough up 6 million to get him back. Barcelona still has to sign a quality defender as a back up for injured Milito. I don't think Pique could fill in his boots. But he could be a good back up player. His buyout clause is set at 50 million baffles me, is he that good player? Anyway as far as Manchester United is considered he was a good business, they made money from him while loaning him out and now selling him to Barcelona. Is this a good trend, I don't Know?

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