The final training session of the year took place this morning at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper. Able to work with the group today was Alexis Sánchez, who spent the last few sessions working separately on the sidelines. Also present were the players who participated in the friendly between Catalunya and Tunisia (0-0).
totalbarca writer Nossiter wrote eloquently on Thursday about the pitfalls of supporting a popular team, and there are signs that the Barcelona phenomenon is bleeding into more general Spanish culture outside of sporting competitions. Spanish tabloid Interviu published the results of a recent poll of young women in the country in which it was revealed that Pep Guardiola had been voted the most desirable Spanish man [despite being Catalan and married]. Guardiola beat out Real Madrid keeper Iker Casillas and actors Mario Casas and Miguel Silvestre. Somewhat surprisingly, however, Pep received more than double the votes of any of the other pretenders to this title.
So what do you say ladies [and or gentlemen]: a night with Pep or a night with Iker?
A PARTY WITHOUT GOALS
“La selecció” deserved more than what they got against a serious and tough rival
Cruyff’s team tried to win until the very last minute, but they were unlucky
36.500 fans vibrated in Mounjuic despite the cold weather
Catalunya 0 – 0 Tunisia
The 12 challenges for Messi’s Barça on 2012! The fifth Champions, the fourth Liga in a row and the fifth “Zamora” won by Valdés, among others
Leo is acclaimed and recognized in Rosario
It was a smaller group that gathered on Friday afternoon for Barça’s second training session of the day, with a number of the players absent to play with the Catalan national team. Missing were Valdés, Fontàs, Piqué, Busquets, Xavi, Cesc, Cuenca, Muniesa, Montoya, and Sergi Roberto, who had trained under Guardiola on Friday morning.
On the eve of his team’s match against Tunisia at the Lluis Companys Stadium, in Montjuïc, Johan Cruyff, Catalunya’s coach, appeared on Catalunya Radio to say that with over 30,000 tickets sold “the aim is to give a show so the people that come can have a good time,” and he thanked the gesture of the players who are willing to “come without pay as a treat, and all because they love their country.”
Barça held the first of two training sessions this Friday morning at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper. In the first session of the day, the coaching staff were able to work with the footballers called up to the Catalan national team, that will face Tunisia at 19:00 in Montjuïc.
Captain Carles Puyol, however, won’t take part in this afternoon’s game and spent this morning’s session working on the sidelines. Puyol has some discomfort in the adductor muscle of his left thigh and will be rested as a precaution. Also working this morning on the sidelines was Keita, as a precaution, as he is experiencing some discomfort in his left knee.
The statisticians over at OptaSports have released their own unique version of the 2011 Team of the Year. Their squad is based on the Opta Index which objectively measures a player’s performance in over 300 different areas. Opta team members have each spent at least 2500 minutes on the playing field from 1/1/2011 and 12/23/2011. And while FC Barcelona is well represented, some of the team members will likely surprise you. On the bench: Bruno, David Barral, Gabi, Joan Verdu, Roberto Soldado, Vicente Guaita and Xabi Alonso.
Stats & Image: OptaSports
THE CHAMPION IS BACK
A very intense beginning 0f the year 2012 with 12 matches played in 38 days waits for Guardiola’s team
Barça started the trainings again without Messi nor Alves
Half of Barça’s team will play today wearing Catalunya’s jersey
A sign to Barça. Neymar: “Before 2014 many things can happen”
In a recent article published in British paper the Daily Mail, writer Simon Jones explores the keys to Barcelona’s success at youth level, speaking with Barça’s director of youth, Jordi Mestre. The spotlight once again returns to the youth teams, specifically Juvenil A, as the quarterfinals of the NextGen tournament approach, with the blaugrana set to face Ajax.
Some excerpts from the article are after the jump. The original can be found here.
The first team returned to work this Thursday afternoon after almost a week off in which the players were able to enjoy the holiday break with their families. At today’s training session, Pep Guardiola had 15 players from his squad to work with, along with four players from Barça B –Cuenca, Muniesa, Sergi Roberto, and Montoya.
Speaking at the 6th Dubai International Sports conference yesterday, FC Barcelona’s president Sandro Rosell said UEFA’s proposed financial fair play regulations are needed to keep billionaire-funded clubs in check, and provide a level playing field for other clubs that are run as an association with an elected head.
Marca has today claimed that Oriol Romeu’s agent has made a statement quashing rumours of the player’s return to the Camp Nou this summer. While no official statement has come forth from FC Barcelona stating its desire to bring the former cantera player back, speculations about the club’s supposed intention were rife, with most reports citing Seydou Keita’s pending move, in his search for more playing time, as the reason.
GUARDIOLA THRASHES MOURINHO
FIFA will name Pep the best coach of 2011
Pep will continue one more season because he feels strong enough to and knows that the team is motivated
Mou will leave Madrid at the end of the current season if he doesn’t win any title
The most stay-at-home Christmas. Messi is spending his holidays in Argentina with his family
“Thinking that Pep could leave is terrifying”. Cruyff assures that “things would change” if Guardiola wasn’t the coach
FC Barcelona has today been named as Best Team of 2011 by the International Association of Sports Press (AIPS) after garnering 43% of the total votes submitted by 363 journalists from 80 countries, beating the likes of New Zealand’s rugby team, All Blacks, and the Brazilian national volleyball team.
NEXT YEAR’S BARÇA
1 – The greatest inversion will be in defence. Bale, Thiago Silva and Jordi Albà, possible options
2 – More “cantera”. Bartra, Sergi Roberto and Montoya will be in the first team
3 - Players who might leave. The club will not stop Keita nor Maxwell if they want to leave
Cruyff: “For Barça, Löw would be more dangerous than Mou as the Madrid coach”
MD report. Neymar already knows what he should improve to succeed in Barça
“Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are truly exceptional players. But it all depends on how you view the game. The way I look at it, Xavi deserves it not because he’s the best, but because he’s the type of player whose hard work allows others to come to the fore.”
Barca legend Johan Cruyff explains why the FIFA Ballon d’Or should go to the Catalan club’s majestic midfielder, Xavi.
Dani Alves accompanied by Dinora at an event recognising his achievements at his hometown last year
FC Barcelona defender and Brazil international Dani Alves today confirmed that the stories surrounding his separation from his wife of three years, Dinora @ Dina Santana are true. The couple ended their marriage through mutual consent just over three months ago.
FC Barcelona’s official website yesterday confirmed that work on a new pitch for Camp Nou has been put on hold at least until after the Copa del Rey match against CA Osasuna on January 4. The club has withdrawn its request made to the RFEF and Osasuna for a change in the order of the knockout round games of the competition.
MD shows what did Barça work to have the crack under control
Alves factor. Dani makes them talk using his phone
1- Guardiola is sure that he will fit perfectly in the team
2 – Personalized videos and spying
3- Importance of the family
Against Osasuna on 4th and new grass against Betis
THE NEXT BALLON D’OR WINNER
Iniesta has done a perfect 2011
Andrés: “Next year will be a very exciting one for all the fans”
Alexis “connects” with Messi. The Chilean assured on the press conference that Leo is “the only one who understands my jokes”
They’re already looking for a substitute. The German Löw could be Mourinho’s substitute
French football magazine L’Equipe named its annual best eleven and selected no less than six FC Barcelona players for the starting line-up. Right-back Dani Alves (28), center-back Gerard Piqué (24), midfielders Sergio Busquets (23), Xavi Hernández (31), and Andrés Iniesta (27), as well as forward Lionel Messi (24), were all featured in the Team of the Year.
Very relaxed and willing to answer everything put forth to him by reporters at a press conference in connection with the signing of his new sponsorship deal with Movistar in Chile, Alexis Sanchez left no topic untouched.
Asked if he’ll one day return to Chile to ply his trade there, he answered, “You never know but I’d like to come to Colo Colo some day. Who knows what may happen in the future. Perhaps I could end my career in Europe.”
Andres Iniesta has been awarded by his hometown, Albacete, the Prize for Excellence in Sports at a Sports Gala organized by the Provincial Government and the Sports Press Association held last night. Despite missing out on being named as a top three FIFA Ballon d’Or finalist this year, the midfielder’s achievements throughout the year are still recognised by his peers. According to fcbarcelonanoticias.com, such is the recognition he is receiving from them that from next year this award will be called the ‘Iniesta Award’.
“There’s no doubt for me, Messi is clearly the best player in the world. He’s a veritable phenomenon who has won everything but still wants more. His humility only makes him better in my eyes. I think he can become even more influential – he’s a born leader and should make his mark just like Diego Maradona did. I don’t mean just with Barcelona, but with Argentina too. He should win the Ballon d’Or award again. Not just for his skills, but for the Liga, Champions League and Spanish Super Cup medals he earned this year. He’s been a key figure for his team all season.”
Former Dutch international and Ajax and Milan player Marco van Basten tells fifa.com why he thinks Lionel Messi deserves the FIFA Ballon d’Or award.
WE SHOW NEYMAR’S CONTRACT
7 million euros
The Brazilian crack will earn one more million euros as a bonus if he wins the Ballon d’Or
Cesc wants to retire as a Barça player
Messi is better than Maradona
Six blaugrana players on the ideal XI
Turienzo Álvarez will referee the derby
Mou is thinking about leaving Madrid. The coach assured to BBC that his dream is coming back to England and coach a Premier team.
In an interview published in the magazine of the AFA, Argentina’s Footballing Association, out today, Lionel Messi said he is convinced that someday he will be able to lift the World Cup with the albiceleste.
“My ambition? It’s to be the World Champion and win the Copa America. That’s what is missing and I am convinced I’ll achieve it.”
”I hope Xavi wins the Ballon d’Or. As a Spaniard, I have to support Xavi! He’s had an incredible career and completely deserves it, even if the other two are also extraordinary players.”
Spain’s tennis star Rafael Nadal may be a Real Madrid fan but when it comes to the FIFA Ballon d’or he rather see his compatriot Xavi win it.
Viejito Pascuero, that’s what they call the jolly fat Old Man Christmas in Chile. And the unique difference between him and the usual depiction of Santa is that the Santa in the South American country is smaller in size, supposedly because the chimneys in Chile are smaller. This gift-giver also rides a reindeer-driven sleigh (allthingschristmas.com). Well, that suits Alexis Sanchez’s built just fine, and as for his sleigh, it was something else.