With the first La Liga match of the season for FC Barcelona, the players are also back to giving their post-match comments in the Zona Mixta of the Camp Nou. Dani Alves underlined that “the team has taken on board what Luis Enrique wants and that’s important for our progress. If we put it all into practice, the wins will come. Things are in our grasp, so we’re all happy.” Speaking about a young teammate who not only had his first team debut but also scored a goal, Alves noted that “we have to look after Munir because he’s got a great future ahead of him. He’s humble, but hard work is getting him what he deserves. It’s a pleasure to have him in the team.” Read on for comments from Ivan Rakitić and Marc Bartra.
FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu speaking at 35th Congrés Mundial de Penyes [Supporters' Clubs World Conference] held at the Palau de Congressos de Catalunya yesterday, underlined the value of fulfilled promises. “At the end of last season I promised publicly to begin a profound transformation of the football team and the club and we have done this,” he said.
Bartomeu praised the new coach saying, “Our most important signing this year is Luis Enrique. He brings passion and leadership and sacrifice. He’s a real hard worker and we are expecting great things from him. He has the utmost enthusiasm and always transmits it.”
FC Barcelona midfielder Andrés Iniesta (30) underlined in a recent interview that captaining games is a thing to enjoy and that the moments “make you feel happy and proud.” As a former La Masia wonderkid and long time first team member, Iniesta values the privilege of wearing the captain armband. “For people who have been at home here for a long time and have been part of the grassroots here, being captain of the first team has always been in your dreams.”
FC Barcelona began preparing for the approaching 2014-15 season this morning with player medical tests and analyses. First teamers Marc-André Ter Stegen, Jordi Masip, Martín Montoya, Marc Bartra, Adriano Correia, Sergi Roberto, Rafinha Alcântara, Gerard Deulofeu, Ibrahim Afellay, Cristian Tello and Bojan Krkić were joined at the Ciutat Esportiva by players from the reserves team including Patric, Edgar Ie, Frank Bagnack, Diagne, Álex Grimaldo, Sergi Samper, Alen Halilovic, Munir El Haddadi, Sandro Ramirez, Dani Nieto, Joan Roman, Jean-Marie Dongou and Adama Traoré. Click for more details.
Here’s a collection of Gerard Piqué’s finest moments for last season.
Video: Barca.am / Youtube.com
As FC Barcelona announced via it’s official website, the Catalan club and Chelsea FC have reached an agreement for the transfer of player Cesc Fàbregas. The 27-year-old player has joined the English club on a five-year contract and will wear the no. 4 shirt. As official Chelsea FC website informs, Fàbregas said: ‘Firstly I would like to thank everyone at FC Barcelona where I enjoyed three wonderful years. It was my childhood club and I will always be proud and honoured that I had a chance to play for such a great team. I do feel that I have unfinished business in the Premier League and now is the right time to return. I considered all the other offers very carefully and I firmly believe that Chelsea is the best choice. They match my footballing ambitions with their hunger and desire to win trophies. They have an amazing squad of players and an incredible manager. I am fully committed to this team and I can’t wait to start playing.”
The Catalan club expressed its gratitude for Cesc by publishing the following thank-you lines within the statement. “FC Barcelona wishes to publicly thank Cesc Fàbregas for his professionalism and dedication during his years at the club, which will always be his home, and to wish him all the very best for the future.”
The deal is said (Guillem Balague) to be for 33 million euros which will increase depending on variables.
FC Barcelona first team coach Luis Enrique visits the Ciutat Esportiva consistently to work with his staff on preparing for next season. Yesterday Claudio Chaves photographed Luis Enrique jumping over the fence at the Ciutat Esportiva, and today a similar photograph was taken by Pep Morata at the Barça facilities. Hopefully the coach will transfer some of his energy to the team in the upcoming season.
“I am aware of the responsibility and the difficulty of the job, but I can’t wait to hear the Barça anthem and enjoy the feeling,” said Luis Enrique Martínez who was officially presented today as the new FC Barcelona first team coach. “This is a very special day. We are beginning the building of a new, exciting Barça,” he underlined, continuing to explain his plan: “my team will attack, we’ll play attractive and effective football – the kind of football that millions across the world have come to love – which means we need to defend well too. I’ll be laying out my plans to the players and talking to them so that they take them on board as their own. I don’t think I’ll need to impose very much and bark out orders, we’re in this together, though I’ll be demanding hard work.” So in general terms “the idea will stay the same, but we have to evolve, improve, so we can surprise the opponent.” Luis Enrique also added that, “If you want to defend, there’s nothing better than having the ball. And if you have it on the opponent’s half, even better.”
Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino, who announced his stepping down as FC Barcelona boss in the post-match press conference, spoke briefly about his time in Catalonia. “I thank the club for everything it has given me, I thank President Bartomeu, football director Zubizarreta and Sandro Rosell for having confidence in me.” He also had some words for the supporters. “I also thank the fans for their respect, and I thank everyone that worked with me and my staff, and I especially thank the players.”
“I profoundly lament the fact that I was not able to help the players to achieve the objectives of the club. We tried with dignity. I congratulate Atlético Madrid because they were our great rival this season, they did a fantastic job and I’m certain they will continue to do well.”
During this Friday’s press conference, FC Barcelona manager Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino mentioned that “this would be the first title for this team as normal people, with suffering, fighting, debates. The other titles were those of extra-terrestrials. I would like a lot to win the title for the effort the players have put in.”
He went on to say that “this team has had the best history in the entire history of football. [But] this season has been inconsistent, with ups and down, without giving the best impression of Barcelona. These games do not have a clear favourite. I would say the chances are exactly equal.” More from Tata after the jump.
FC Barcelona players Marc Bartra, Mascherano, Dani Alves and Adriano shared their opinions after the La Liga draw (0-0) against Elche. Marc Bartra underlined that he is “very positive, we’re going to go all out, we are going to win a very competitive league.” Other players are also optimistic about last game of the season. “The match against Atlético will be a final, we know that we need a victory, but we’re very eager to play it. We want it to be a true party,” stressed Mascherano. “If we truly deserve the title, we have to prove it against Atlético, we have a chance to win La Liga,” continued Dani Alves. He also added that motivation and hard work is the key saying, “We have to give everything we have.”
It’s not a secret that the upcoming game is the most important game of the season, both teams will give everything and “it will be a match full of nerves and anxiety, but we have to control our emotions – we will have a very tough rival in front of us, we have to chance to win a very important title” acknowledged Adriano. Continue reading for more statements from players.
As FC Barcelona informed on its official website, “Next Thursday 15 May at 13.30 in the Auditori 1899, the club is holding a farewell event to honour captain Carles Puyol’s retirement as an FC Barcelona player. The event will be attended by president Josep Maria Bartomeu, and representatives of the Board of Directors, the first team squad, coaches, friends, relatives, executives and other dignitaries.”
We expect to have more concrete details as the event approaches. The totalBarça team will keep you informed about this special farewell ceremony.
FC Barcelona’s Andrés Iniesta and Samuel Eto’o celebrate a goal against Chelsea FC during the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg match at Stamford Bridge May 6, 2009. Iniesta‘s 93rd-minute goal sent ten-man Barcelona into the final against Manchester United FC on a night of incredible drama in London.
As we informed earlier FC Barcelona has lodged an appeal before the FIFA Appeal Committee against “the decision of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee that sanctioned the club for breaches relating to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18.” Together with this appeal, the club also requested that its appeal be granted suspensive effect.
Today the following statement was released: “The chairman of the FIFA Appeal Committee, Larry Mussenden, took into consideration the sanctions imposed against the club, the complexity of the matter, the start date of the next registration period – 1 July 2014 – and the fact that the FIFA Appeal Committee does not seem in a position to take a decision on the main issue early enough so that an eventual appeal of the club against its decision before the Court of Arbitration for Sport would still be decided before the beginning of the next registration period. Consequently, the chairman of the FIFA Appeal Committee considered that the appeal lodged by the club is to be granted suspensive effect. In view of the foregoing, the chairman of the FIFA Appeal Committee assures that proper and adequate appeal proceedings will take place and, at the same time, that all rights of the club will be respected.”
After medical tests carried out, Real Madrid’s medical services have announced that Cristiano Ronaldo has a muscular injury to his left hamstring. In official statment there is no information about estimated time of recovery, only the phrase that the club is “awaiting developments.” It’s still unclear if player will be able to play against FC Barcelona in Copa del Rey final, scheduled for next Wednesday, April 16, 2014.
FC Barcelona’s Gerardo Martino spoke on the eve of Champions League quarter-final clash with Atlético Madrid that will be played in Madrid tonight. Speaking about the team’s chance to qualify for the semi-finals, Martino underlined, “I don’t like to predict what the result might be. What we need to do is to play better than Atlético and to win the game. These teams know each other very well, and they play with completely different styles. All I know is that Barcelona haven’t gone ahead in any of the meetings this season.” Asked about possible tactical approaches, the manager said, “we need to see if we can do that and to try to control the match. Atlético are not the type of team who will allow us to control the game for the entire 90 minutes, but we’ll try to do that as it is how we like to play.” He also strongly stated that Barça’s objective is very clear, “is to qualify for the semi-finals in 90 minutes. The prize is progressing to the semi-finals of the Champions League.”
FC Barcelona midfielder Andrés Iniesta in an interview with Sport published today shared his opinion about tomorrow’s game against Atlético Madrid, as well as thoughts on La Masia and his 500th game in the blaugrana jersey. “The road to semifinals leads through a perfect match. We know that we will play against a very tough opponent, we experienced it in every game we played against them. We have to score a goal and be very concentrated,” said Iniesta. He also underlined that team “comes with the confidence to play a great game , to win the tie and with the hope of qualifying to the semifinals. We know it will be difficult, but the team is able to do so.”
After a spectacular game at the Camp Nou last night, FC Barcelona managed only to draw the match. According to Xavi Hernández, “The tie is wide open. We have to try to score goals there and that will lead us to victory… The result isn’t good for us but Barça played well enough to win. We had more goal scoring chances but they are well organised in defence and they don’t leave any space.” Speaking about the return leg (Wednesday 9 April at 8:45 PM CET), Xavi underlined that Barça will “have to be very patient” because Atlético “are an intense team and it was very difficult for us to find space in the first half. In the second half, we had three or four good chances. Unfortunately, they scored a great goal.”
Andrés Iniesta, who entertained us with pure magic on the pitch, stated, “The game was very intense. From start to finish there has been high pace.” Iniesta agreed that such a performance was “a game worthy of a quarter-final” and we saw “a very strong Atlético” but stressed that “the tie is still open.” Andrés expects that the return leg will be “a similar game. That is good, to compete and face these challenges.”
Continue reading for the post-match statements made by Marc Bartra, Neymar Jr. and José Manuel Pinto.