FC Barcelona’s first team trained this Monday at midday following a convincing victory against Rayo Vallecano. Missing from the session, which took place at the Ciutat Esportiva, was Alexis Sánchez. The player has bruising on his left thigh and the injury’s progress will determine his availability for Wednesday’s match against Malaga at the Camp Nou.
Another player missing from today’s session was Víctor Valdés. The goalkeeper did not train owing to a fever and general malaise.
Barcelona postponed Real Madrid’s title celebrations for at least a few days and put an end to a bad week for the club with a resounding 7-0 win in Vallecas over Rayo Vallecano. The team looked like they had a point to prove and they did so in the most emphatic way possible, with one of the best performances of the season.
Here are the ratings for today’s match:
This Sunday, Dutch international Ibrahim Afellay played 20 minutes against Rayo Vallecano and returned to the football field after seven and a half months on Barça’s injury list. Speaking after the game with Barça TV, Afellay underlined, “I really like to play football. I’ve worked hard during the team’s training session and I’m very pleased.” He added that his great desire was to make a comeback. ”You know the moment will come someday but you don’t know when,” he said. ”I’m happy to return.”
Asked about Pep’s decision to leave the club at the end of the season, Afellay said that it’s a great pity because “Guardiola is one of the best managers in the world,” but he was pleased with the new appointment stating that ”Tito is almost the same. They’ve worked together all these years. I believe everything will be the same.” The Dutch player, who spoke to the press in Spanish, said he tried his best to learn the language and added “I hope to speak to you in Catalan next year.”
totalBarça is privileged to be part of the culé community. It is an even greater privilege when others who have passionate properties dedicated to FC Barcelona are willing to share with us their offerings.
Tom is the owner and operator of BarcaBlog.com and he recently approached us. We are pleased to share this article by him – it is a tribute to Andresito (Andres) Iniesto based on how Tom himself, and his cousin, were acquainted with Iniesta during their younger years.
We hope you enjoy the story and trip through Tom’s memory lane.
Josep Guardiola is the ultimate Barça boy. He grew up loving the club, he joined the youth system at the age of 13. He became famous when he as a 15 year old ball boy who entered the pitch to celebrate with his hero. He got promoted to the first team and became a vital player in Cruyff’s “Dream team”. He later became captain before leaving the club with tears in his eyes in 2001. Pep returned to coach the club’s B-team in 2007, and took over the first team in 2008. During his first season, Guardiola’s Barça would win six titles. Before he announced that he was leaving the club in 2012, he had not only helped FC Barcelona to win 13 major trophies, but he also made them the best football team in history and changed football and the way the sport is viewed forever.
It has been a tough week and a half for the football team from Barcelona. FC Barcelona lost La Liga, the Champions League and its coach within days of each other. In the first game against Rayo Vallecano during the aftermath of these events, it was unsure of how the team would respond to all of the disappointment. However, the team managed to put the off-pitch drama aside and focus solely on the game. The players provided a very satisfying result just when the club and fans truly needed it. It was a manita (and then some) to show that while the team may be undergoing changes, it is still capable of greatness.
In a piece for The Guardian, writer Sid Lowe enlightens readers about Tito Vilanova, FC Barcelona’s manager from July 1 onwards and Pep Guardiola’s assistant for five years. Lowe says that while Guardiola’s departure left the club’s supporters, directors and players sulking, the announcement that Vilanova will take charge has made everyone feel reassured that the future is in safe hands. Read excerpts from the piece, which covers Vilanova’s career so far as well as quotes from Barca players about their opinions of him, after the jump. The full piece can be read here.
THE LOCKER ROOM BLESSES TITO
Satisfaction in the squad
Puyol: “That Vilanova is the new coach is the best news that they can give us.”
Rayo-Barça – a victory to dedicate to Guardiola
Karanka: “The league will continue existing without Guardiola.” — Karanka devalues the figure of Pep and assures that “he is already history.”
THIS IS HOW TITO IS
The next coach of Barça in depth: his best phrases, his strategies, and his faith in the cantera
Puyol: “Tito is the ideal person.”
Iniesta: Andrés calls him ‘the encyclopedia’
Thiago Silva and Javi Martínez rise [on the list] and Bale intends to leave Tottenham
Rayo-Barça 21.30h – Barça wants to make the league longer for Madrid
Karanka: “The league has existed with and without Guardiola.”
Casillas, tempted by City – Iker thinks of leaving the white club upon the announcement that Mou is continuing
We call him Pep.
Oh sure, sometimes it’s Pep Guardiola, or simply Guardiola. But more often than not, it is simply Pep. You won’t often see this convention used among professional sports journalists. But the people working on projects like totalBarca, where the writing comes from the heart rather than for a paycheck, are all on a first name basis with the coach of the team they adore.
I read a lot every day about the world of European football. I don’t believe I have ever seen Sir Alex Ferguson referred to as “Alex.” Arsene Wenger is never “Arsene.” Even in Spain, it would seem almost disrespectful to refer to Mister Mourinho as “Jose.”
Cules in Asia consider Thailand as one of your holiday destination in 2013. After settling for a Euro pre-season tour this year given that most of its players will be busy during the summer break with national duties for Euro in Poland and Ukraine, London Olympics and World Cup qualifiers in South America, Barcelona will travel to Thailand next year after signing a three-year sponsorship deal with a Thai Beverage company. Confirming the tour, club vice-president Javier Faus spoke to The Nation and said the intention was to expand the Barca’s fanbase in Asia especially South-East Asia. ”Asia is a huge opportunity for us. We now have more fans in Asia than in Europe,” he said. ”So we’ll focus on the region for the next 10-20 years.”
This is your chance to prove not only your knowledge about the game of football, but also your psychological insight by cracking the code of Barcelona coach Josep ‘Pep’ Guardiola’s master brain:
Predict Barcelona’s Starting Lineup
This is not (as in: N-O-T) a place for discussion on team tactics or personal player preferences. You just give the system and the eleven names you think will start the game. Line-ups posted in the comments sections will not be considered as valid entries for the game.
Join us after the jump to take part in the game.
Sandro Rosell and Johan Cruyff may have well-publicized disagreements and different points of view, but the great Dutchman has supported the appointment of Tito Vilanova as the next head coach of FC Barcelona.
Despite initially stating that he is not certain if the departure of Pep Guardiola will mark the end a special era, as only in years to come with the results and trophies can the four-year reign be judged, Cruyff gave his vote of approval to Barca’s new manager. “Barca has a different [football] philosophy to which other coaches refer to,” said Cruyff. ”Coaches are not the most important choice, those are the players, as they are the ones that play, that win and lose. But, the coach does need to see football in the same way [as the players]. Because of this Tito Vilanova, if he wants to try, could be an excellent solution for the bench of FC Barcelona.”
Source: El Mundo Deportivo; Photo credit: Sport.es
“He knows the team better than anyone, the playing philosophy and he’s worked with Guardiola this entire time” were some of the many reassuring words of support from club captain Carles Puyol after the announcement of Tito Vilanova as the head coach of FC Barcelona next season. Speaking to the press ahead of Sunday’s clash against Rayo Vallecano, Puyol acknowledged that the squad wanted Pep Guardiola to continue and told him so. Puyol went on to express the squad’s sentiments on Pep. “We are eternally grateful to him [Pep], ” said Puyol. ”He marks a before and an after in football, which is very important. He gave us so much, more than anyone can imagine. Things like always playing to win, having the greatest respect for your rival… Now life goes on and we are intent to continue on the path that he started us on and to do it as well as he did.”
Josep Guardiola has named his 19 player squad for this Sunday’s duel in Vallecas. The coach has called up the 16 available members of the first team (everyone except his injured players: Fontàs, Villa, Abidal, Piqué, and Xavi) along with Montoya, Bartra, and Tello from Barça B. Before the match, one player will have to be discarded from those available on the bench.
PEP LEAVES BUT “GUARDIOLA” STAYS
Tito Vilanova, the natural substitute
Rosell assures that the football style will be the same, as well as the stability of the team
First decisions by Vilanova: He will sign Jordi Alba, a central defender and two strikers
Guardiola’s farewell: “I leave because the time has worn me out but I leave really happy. Tito will do very good.”