FC Barcelona central defender Javier Mascherano (29) spoke with the media this afternoon ahead of tomorrow’s game against Manchester City, eager to respond to the overwhelming criticism surrounding the team. “We’re not dead,” said the Argentinean defender as he insisted that the team is still aiming for the treble. Continue reading for more from Mascherano’s press conference.
FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has told the BBC that although the club had done nothing wrong in the Neymar Jr transfer, it has nonetheless been an embarrassing affair. The article gives a brief background to the unfolding drama, saying that ‘the club were formally accused of tax fraud in February, when a judge in Spain had ruled there was enough evidence to continue investigations into the transfer’.
Regarding the €13 million that Barça willingly paid in taxes as a ‘voluntary contribution’, Bartomeu said, “we paid because of prudence, because there is a possible different interpretation. So we want to be prudent. We don’t want to take any risks. Barça is a very well known brand name in the world and we have to take care of the club and doing this is prudent [for the] situation to keep the good image of our club. We don’t agree with the judge, of course. For us, this is an absurd and unfair situation because we did everything correctly in signing Neymar to FC Barcelona”.
After almost two years of nagging pain in his left knee, FC Barcelona forward player Isaac Cuenca (22) underwent surgery on May 31, 2012. He was then loaned to Ajax Amsterdam and played some minutes in early 2013. Now, in the last third of the current season, despite new problems including a torn hamstring, Cuenca believes that he is a completely new player. The forward who debuted in the dream team of Pep Guardiola is ready to prove that he has the talent and the capacity to join the first team. He recently spoke with Barcelona based daily Sport to share his dream of rebuilding his football career. We present a translation of this interesting interview after the jump.
ALEXIS: “YOU LOSE ONE DAY AND IT’S LIKE SOMEONE DIED.”
Mourner: “No one died…
“…but things are dying.”
INTENSITY / AMBITION / PRESSURE / HUNGER / PRIDE
Cartoon by Caye
In an interview with Manchester City’s web department, Manchester City’s coach, Manuel Pellegrini (60), said that he believes the Champions League tie against FC Barcelona is by no means over, as difficult as it may be. “I won with Villarreal at the Camp Nou, I tied there with Malaga,” said the Chilean manager. Manchester City recently lost to Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup quarterfinals, ending their hopes of a then-possible quadruple, while the Catalan club has also lost to Real Valladolid in La Liga after a disappointing performance. Continue reading for more from Pellegrini.
Spanish football columnist Sid Lowe has produced a wonderful article/interview with FC Barcelona’s best goalkeeper of all time, Víctor Valdés. Valdés is leaving in the summer, and for that, Barça will be a weaker side. But he’s been there a long time, been criminally under appreciated and has spoken several times about the immense pressure he has always felt between the blaugrana sticks. In this excellent Sid Lowe piece, we are afforded wonderful insight into Valdés’ thoughts and feelings.
FC Barcelona’s aspiring defender Marc Bartra sat for an interview with Catalan daily Ara, in which he underlined that despite poor results in last few weeks, the team works hard and is very concentrated. “I wish you could see the intensity of our training session, it’s spectacular, you can’t compare.” Speaking about the current squad and team rotation, Bartra underlined that “this season, with Martino we are 20 players with possibility of being in starting 11, you can’t acomodate everyone, we all 20 are in the game. There are games when I sit and wait on the bench in otheres I’m in starting 11, and we don’t know that until final hour before game.”
The UEFA assigned referee for Wednesday’s encounter versus Manchester City is Frenchman Stephane Lannoy. He has been a UEFA referee since 2006 and has overseen 59 European club games, 19 of those in the Champions League. Lannoy is quite experienced having worked his way up from the 2008 Olympics to being part of the latest two major international tournaments in 2010 and 2012.
Lannoy has refereed three Barça matches previously, and the Spanish club were victorious each time (3-1, Stuttgart 2007; 2-0, Copenhagen 2010; 1-0, Celtic 2013). He also oversaw Manchester City’s 2-0 win against Bayern Munich in 2011.
Alexis Sanchez was nominated as the Barça representative to speak to the press on Monday after the loss to Valladolid this weekend. The Chilean was direct in acknowledging the team’s failures but also emphasized the need to look forward, with key matches against Manchester City and Real Madrid approaching. Read on to see what Alexis had to say.
Another defeat came with another wave of critics. Barça lost against Real Valladolid and is now third on the league table with four points separating them from rivals Real Madrid. But as if the loss wasn’t bad enough, fans all over the world are showing their frustration with the team’s recent displays on social media. But FC Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu has spoken to AS and defended the players. Bartomeu called out for the fans to give the players their full support as the team enters the most crucial period of the season.
“There are many points still in play in La Liga and we’re very much alive in the other competitions,” he said. “It is normal that some are critical and others praise. The board, the club and the fans are with the players. There is still a lot of the season to go, we are coming to the stage we like so much, and we have to support the team. We have complete confidence in this team and we have to be by their side. I have no doubt that the fans are behind the team.”
totalBarça presents Coach Culé: The Ultimate Prediction Game. Brought to you by Footynews!
This is your chance to prove not only your knowledge about the game of football, but also your Blaugrana insight by cracking the code of Barça’s coaching. It’s time for you to…
Predict FC Barcelona’s Starting Lineup
For upcoming match: FC Barcelona vs Manchester City
More game and prize details after the jump.
FC Barcelona B left it late to score the winner in their match against SD Ponferradina, but all that counts for them are the three points. The reserves scored the only goal of the game in stoppage time, through a Sandro Ramírez penalty, yet that was just what they deserved. Eusebio Sacristán’s team was focused throughout the match, dominating proceedings, and the fact that the scoring was not opened sooner was down to the visitors’ keeper and their own wastefulness. All is well in the end though, as the B team has now climbed to 40 points and into the top ten, six points clear of the relegation zone. Read on for more.
FC Barcelona B midfielder Javi Espinosa is set to miss three weeks of action after injuring his knee in the B team’s victory against SD Ponferradina. The midfielder was stretchered off 43 minutes into the match following an awkward twist of the knee, and replaced by Adama Traoré, after he attempted to return to action following first aid. Medical tests carried out by the club have revealed that the 21-year-old has sustained a Grade 1-2 sprain to his left knee’s medial collateral ligament. Espinosa will undergo conservative treatment in the coming weeks, missing Barça B’s matches against Deportivo de la Coruña, Deportivo Alavés and SD Éibar.
Javi Espinosa has played 26 of the club’s 28 league matches this season, scoring 5 goals and setting up his team-mates for another 4.
Andres Iniesta spoke last Thursday during his presentation of Nike’s new ‘Magista’ boots about the team’s motives of the season, “There are high hopes for this season. We’re alive in three competitions, which is where we want to be every year, and we are as excited and motivated as ever about winning these titles. We’ll fight to the end to try to win the lot.” More from Iniesta after the jump.
Last week was a week of loss for many reasons; Puyol announced his departure, Iniesta and his wife lost a child, the team lost a seemingly simple match. But we are beginning a new week and, as Dani Alves put it, if you can’t support the team then get off the ship. So all aboard and let’s keep sailing.
March 10, 2014
March 9, 2014