On Monday, Carles Puyol, FC Barcelona’s former captain, appeared at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper. It was his first day on the job as assistant director of sport. Henceforth, Puyol will be working closely with Andoni Zubizarreta. Puyol was shown around the offices and introduced to the other members of the department.
The board held a meeting earlier this week in which various aspects of the club’s operations were discussed. Along with the unanimous decision to honor Tito Vilanova at the Ciutat Esportiva, the club had several other announcements. Firstly, the money. The 2014/15 budget was approved, where the revenue target was set at 539 million euros, a 9 million increase, while costs are budgeted at 509 million, a rather hefty 27 million increase. The projected profit figure is 18 million euros, so despite the large increase in operating costs, the club is expected to still make a comfortable profit. At the meeting approval was additionally given for new Head and Shoulders sponsorship agreements in India and the Phillipines (leveraging off Lionel Messi) as well as the development of a video game with Japan’s CWS Brains. Also, the partnership with Mediapro in regards to digital advertising at Camp Nou was extended till the end of the 2015/16 season. Finally, two new FCBEscolas (schools/academies) are planned for São Paolo and Istanbul.
Nike and FC Barcelona have unveiled a new third kit for the 2014/2015 season. The T-shirt is similar to the famous away kit of the 2005 season with an all yellow kit of blue lines dividing the two yellow shades. The kit will go on sale from the 25th of September 2014 and the team will wear it for the first time in the game against Paris Saint-Germain F.C. on the 30th of September.
The defender who can seemingly do no good in many eyes continues to be honest about his need to elevate his game. “I still have a lot to improve. Playing with such a top class team makes you better. I’ve improved a lot of things since I got here but there are so many other aspects. I’m constantly getting better.” However, as he has mentioned before, Piqué continues to be plagued by that nagging hip injury that is improving and allowing him to be mostly pain free but he still experiences pains during contact and landing after jumping. Nevertheless, he’s excited another edition of the game’s elite competition begins once again. More after the jump.
Lionel Messi’s boot sponsors, Adidas, have always placed great weight in his kicks. The ‘Flea’ has worn many different boots for special occasions, such as the birth of his child or his fourth Ballon D’ Or in 2012. This time round, the Barça number ten will sport his new boot design for Barcelona’s Champions League opener against APOEL Nicosia. A better look at his new weapons after the jump.
The wait is finally over. FC Barcelona are hours away from facing Cyprus’ APOEL FC in this season’s first Champions League game as Luis Enrique and his players start their journey towards glory. The coach has called upon the fans to come and support the players at Camp Nou ahead of the long-awaited return to the European stages. “We need our fans and we’ll try to give them a spectacular game … Three points against APOEL FC would be very important for us.” Continue reading for more.
The FC Barcelona striker, Pedro Rodríguez, spoke to the press ahead of the first game in the new UEFA Champions League campaign beginning against APOEL Nicosia FC and stressed that the team is motivated and eager to do better than last season. Pedro is yet to score but he is optimistic, “I might not be getting goals, but I’m happy with the way things are going and I’m sure they’ll start coming. The important thing is that the team is working well”.
The Canary Islander spoke of Luis Enrique’s ideas saying that “the basic idea is still the same. Perhaps we should try to get closer to the area and not play so wide. But we feel comfortable with our game, we’re doing fine … The boss has asked us to create pressure up front, to win back the ball and keep it for ourselves. We’re doing that well and teams don’t create many chances against us. But there’s a lot we have to improve”.
Who’s the goal threat? Have have APOEL faired in Europe until today? All that and more after the jump, and don’t forget about the totalBarça exclusive profile.
When the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League campaign kickoffs tonight, visitors APOEL Nicosia will become the third Cypriot side to battle against FC Barcelona in Catalonia. The previous two visits occurred in the now defunct UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup, a predecessor of the UEFA Cup, now the Europa League. The first encounter was in September 1982, when Barça smashed Apollon Limassol 8-0 with a hat trick from Diego Maradona and brace by Bernd Schuster. Fast-forward 14 years later and actually on Espanyol’s Montjuic pitch (with the Camp Nou being resurfaced), in September 1996 the original Ronaldo scored both goals in a 2-0 win over AEK Larnaca.
Eighteen years on, can Luis Enrique engineer a winning managerial debut and make Barça’s home record against those from Cyprus three for three?
While many in Catalunya certainly cheered or breathed a sigh of relief at the announcement of Cyprus club APOEL FC drawing FC Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League group stage, Barça boss Luis Enrique likely raised a concerned eyebrow. For it was but three seasons ago when APOEL, battling a group consisting of FC Porto, Zenit St. Petersburg, and Shakhtar Donetsk, finished top and advanced two more rounds before being ruthlessly dispatched by Real Madrid in the quarterfinal. Minnows of that group and the 2011/12 tournament, the Cypriots advanced at the expense of more experienced clubs through conservative tactics, a good mix of experienced and explosive players, and biding time until home advantage presented itself. Could a surprise be lurking in the grass for the blaugrana, who squeaked by Villarreal, or could this be an opportune time for Lucho to do some tinkering as more big games loom?
Wouldn’t you love to join Andrés Iniesta for dinner? He owns a winery too, you know. He is shown here making an advertisement for knife company, Arcos. Iniesta admits to being an amateur in the kitchen who makes many mistakes but means to do well. I’m sure he can do well enough. Click to see the making-of video.
September 15, 2014
September 14, 2014