Guardiola has called up the same 18 players who traveled to Villarreal this past weekend (0-0) for Wednesday’s Copa del Rey semi-final match at the Mestalla. The list includes the 15 available players from the first team (now including Cuenca) and three players from Barça B: Sergi Roberto, Dos Santos, and Tello. The only players missing are Afellay, Villa, Fontàs, Pedro, and Iniesta, out with injuries, and Keita, away with the Mali national team at the African Cup of Nations.
As FC Barcelona’s official website has announced, the Club and Belarusian player Alexander Hleb (30) have reached an agreement for the early termination of the player’s contract, which was scheduled to end on June 30, 2012.
Hleb joined Barça in the summer of 2008 from Arsenal, playing a total of 35 matches with the first team during the 2008-09 season (18 in the League, 9 in the Champions League, and 8 in the Copa del Rey), when the blaugrana won the treble in Guardiola’s first season as coach. Afterwards, the player left Barcelona for loan spells with Stuttgart, Birmingham City and Wolfsburg.
FC Barcelona continues to prepare for the first leg of the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey against Valencia (Wednesday at 21:00) with two training sessions this Tuesday. The first session was held on Tuesday morning with 22 players working under Guardiola, namely the 14 available players from the first team and 8 players from Barça B: Isaac Cuenca, Jonathan dos Santos, Tello, Sergi Roberto, Marc Bartra, Marc Muniesa, Montoya, and Rodri. Injured players Pedro, Iniesta, Afellay, Villa worked in the gym as they continue working on their respective recoveries.
FC Barcelona have so far failed to win on seven occasions this season. On six of those matchdays, the team has played after Real Madrid has already finished their match.
Stats: OptaSports • Image: David Ramos [Getty]
GUARDIOLA CLAMPS DOWN
Double session for today and no promotional acts
Confidential: “I retook a league from Madrid as a player and you can do it, too,” Pep told his men
Tevez offers himself to Barça
The club has rejected him two times, after Villa’s injury and in the past hours
Madrid: The club asks for explanations
They point to Iker as the mole in the locker room
Seydou Keita’s Mali side failed to take advantage of some early chances, eventually falling to the superiority of Ghana in the second match of Group D play in the African Cup of Nations. The FC Barcelona midfielder played the entire match in Franceville, which ended 2-0 in favour of Ghana through goals by Gyan and Ayew. Keita was booked with a yellow card in the 40th minute.
FC Barcelona B move up to 10th place in the standings with their second consecutive win at home. After last weekend’s 2-0 win over Xerez, the blaugrana finished with a two goal lead again, this time 4-2 over SD Huesca, with goals from Riverola, Rodri (2), and Kiko. More match details and a video of the goals can be found after the jump.
Today we want to share with you two songs performed by Toni Beiro that are closely connected with FC Barcelona. In addition to the great videos, we have a little surprise for you, an exclusive interview with the artist. Toni agreed to share the ‘background’ story about his songs and some opinions about FC Barcelona. Click continue reading to enjoy the interview and listen to the songs.
“I think he’s certainly the best player of his generation. And I definitely believe not only that but he’s the best player in the history of football. To be perfectly honest, I thought I would never encounter anybody in the same league because Diego was a genius. One of the reasons I think Messi is better than Maradona and Pelé is evolution. People before say Pelé was running 5,000, 6,000 meters. Now they are running 9,000 meters. Now players eat better, train better, the pitches are better. So this is why I believe Messi is the very best ever.”
FC Barcelona wins 89% of the matches in which Lionel Messi scores. In games where Messi fails to score, the number drops to 52%.
THE COMEBACK IS POSSIBLE
10 REASONS TO BELIEVE IN THIS BARÇA
1. 13 titles out of 16 – 2. Guardiola’s mentality – 3. Messi’s genius – 4. Psychological victory over Madrid – 5. Recovery of those injured – 6. The reliability of Camp Nou – 7. A new challenge – 8. The motivation of Mourinho – 9. The style and the quality – 10. The spirit of the Dream Team
THEY WILL FIGHT UNTIL THE END
The locker room is taking the comeback as a passionate challenge – Guardiola, as a player, overcame three worse disadvantages
Why Messi is mad at the referees
The coach has already decided to go to the Premier League even if he wins a title, according to the English press
He doesn’t control the environment and the cub, divided, doesn’t pay attention to the improvements he asks for, says the Sunday Times
Cules, start polishing your prediction skills as totalBarça announces its first giveaway contest of 2012. During the period February 1 to 14, we will be accepting entries for The ‘TIKI TAKA’ Contest. This prize is sponsored by makers of fine football tees, 3Nil, who have once again been gracious enough to supply us with their latest t-shirt, TIKI TAKA, identical to the one 3Nil sells on its website, to be given away to the selected winner.
Read on for more details…
Global football pundits are buzzing with rumors that have Jose Mourinho leaving Real Madrid and returning to England this summer. The rumors all seem to have started with a column written by Scottish journalist Duncan Castles at The National, and although the story itself does not seem to cite any evidence for the claim, a companion piece in the Sunday Times quoted a Mourinho aide as saying: “José is sick and tired of this situation at Madrid. It doesn’t matter if he wins this season or not. It’s not about the money. He’s decided to come back to England and he will go in the summer.” The rumor has since been picked up by the Guardian, and other major football news outlets. Castles later defended his piece in a talkSPORT broadcast, assuring listeners that Mourinho was confident of finding a new post back in England.
I’ll throw this open to all of you: would you be happy to see the backside of Jose Mourinho? Who might replace him were he in fact to leave the club? Where would his next coaching job most likely be? Have fun!
You guys like Valencia? I hope so because you’ll be seeing a lot of them over the next month. Here’s the [brutal] schedule:
- Feb 1 Valencia v Barcelona • Mestalla • Copa del Rey (Semi-finals)
- Feb 4 Barcelona v Real Sociedad Estadio • Camp Nou • La Liga
- Feb 8 Barcelona v Valencia • Camp Nou • Copa del Rey (Semi-finals)
- Feb 11 Osasuna v Barcelona Estadio • El Sadar • La Liga
- Feb 14 Bayer Leverkusen v Barcelona • BayArena • Champions League (Round of 16)
- Feb 19 Barcelona v Valencia • Camp Nou • La Liga
- Feb 26 Atlético Madrid v Barcelona • Vicente Calderon • La Liga
FC Barcelona have so far dropped 13 points away from home in the 2011-12 season. Already, this is two more points than in the entire 2010-11 campaign.
Stats: @predritonumeros • Image: Alberto Saiz [AP]
Barcelona dropped yet another two points on the road in La Liga, this time with a 0-0 draw at El Madrigal. With this draw, the Catalans are now seven points behind Real Madrid, which significantly hurts their title hopes. Barca tried to find the winning goal until the very end, but it wasn’t their day.
Here are the ratings for today’s match.
FC Barcelona’s match against Villarreal CF officially marked the half-way point in the La Liga season and few would have expected the blaugrana to be in its current position. Five points behind league leaders Real Madrid CF and about six first team players injured, some for the long-haul, the Catalans were hardly dominating domestic competition as much as they would have liked. However, having recently knocked the reigning Copa del Rey champions, Madrid, out in the quarterfinals midweek, many were optimistic that the deficit in the league could be balanced. Unfortunately, another disappointing scoreless draw away from home will make this last half of the season even more difficult to complete successfully.
Head coach Pep Guardiola maintained his solid backline from the El Clásicos but mixed up the midfield and forward starters slightly. Valdés, Alves, Piqué, Puyol, Abidal, Xavi, Mascherano, Busquets, Cesc, Messi, and Adriano all made the first eleven against the Yellow Submarines.