The president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, and FC Barcelona president, Sandro Rosell, signed an agreement that extends the ‘FutbolNet’ project in Africa until 2016. The collaboration between the IOC and the FC Barcelona Foundation started last April and made possible the organisation of sports tournaments in 23 different African countries. Both parties encouraged by the success of said partnership have decided that the initiative will be extended until 2016 and to now 34 African countries. Project leaders expects the participation of almost 100,000 children aged between 12 and 15.
FC Barcelona defenders Jordi Alba, Dani Alves and Gerard Piqué are among the 20 candidates in the defender category of the 2013 FIFA/FIFPro World XI.
The other names on the list are those of David Alaba, Jeromé Boateng, Dante and Philip Lahm (Bayern Munich), Leighton Baines (Everton), Ashley Cole, Branislav Ivanovic and David Luiz (Chelsea), Matts Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Vincent Kompany and Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City), Marcelo, Pepe, Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Thiago Silva (PSG) and Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United).
After having the day off, FC Barcelona’s first team players returned to training Tuesday morning at the Ciutat Esportiva. FC Barcelona defender and Spanish international Jordi Alba (24) joined the squad despite still recovering from a left leg injury he suffered during a training session on October 10. See footage after the jump.
FIFA and FIFPro have announced the goalkeeper shortlist for the 2013 FIFA/FIFPro World XI. FC Barcelona keeper Víctor Valdés is nominated for that honor alongside Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Petr Cech (Chelsea) and Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich). Check out a little video from FIFA below. Spoiler alert: it’s terrible.
Last night in Madrid, the Spanish football association (Liga de Futbol Professional (LFP)) held its annual awards for the best players of the previous season (2012-13). FC Barcelona as a club celebrated three awards in total. Lionel Messi won both the Player of the Year and Best Forward awards and sent a video message of thanks from Argentina where he is currently following his recovery programme.
Andrés Iniesta was named the Best Attacking Midfielder and was in attendance to collect his trinket. Club President Sandro Rosell and board members Manel Arroyo and Toni Freixa, director general Antoni Rossich and sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta were also present at the event. Zubizarreta collected Gerard Deulofeu’s award for the Second Division Player of the Year, as the young winger is on duty in Liverpool with Everton. Continue reading for the full list of winners.
FC Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets when asked about his opinion on the key factor that contributed to defeat, he said, “Maybe Bilbao pressed better than us – they are stronger than us and that’s normal.”
It was Barça’s first league defeat of the season but Busquets assured, “There’s no need to be alarmed, we just have to carry on. We have to win the two games left to play this year and learn both from our errors and the things we are doing well.” Busquets also pointed out that in the case of controversial foul on Neymar, “ The ref made a mistake. It was a one on one and Neymar was clear on goal – he just got it wrong.”
Continue reading for reactions from Javier Mascherano and Andrés Iniesta.
FC Barcelona defender Adriano Correia (29) picked up a knock during yesterday’s first La Liga defeat against Athletic Club Bilbao. The player will undergo further medical tests this morning to determine the extent of the injury. Adriano, who just recovered from injury and got the green light on Saturday, is again unavailable, and will probably miss the next league fixture against Villarreal.
With the first stage of his recovery complete, Lionel Messi will fly to Argentina tomorrow (Friday, November 30th), as scheduled. In Buenos Aires he will follow the second phase under the supervision of a FC Barcelona Medical Services member. Dr. Ricard Pruna and trainer Elvio Paulorroso will join him in mid-December to supervise the player in the final stages of recuperation. According to latest test results, Messi is progressing as planned.
There was a similar message from each player interviewed after FC Barcelona’s 2-1 defeat against Ajax Amsterdam. FC Barcelona captain Carles Puyol underlined the motivation of the opponent: “They came out more intense from the start and were up for it more, particularly in the first 25 minutes or so. If we want to win in Europe, we can’t start games like that.”
He also added that “the idea is to have the ball, but when you have a team up against you which is snapping at your heels and also know how to play the ball around, this is what happens. If you aren’t up for it enough, they’ll walk all over you.” Puyol said that at half time the players knew that they “had to change and we had 45 minutes to turn the result around. With the red card and the penalty, Ajax just went into their shells and we couldn’t get the equaliser.”
The blaugrana captain summarized that “you have to learn from every game and if we want to win things, we know we have to get better.” Continue reading for comments from Gerard Piqué, Xavi Hernández and Cesc Fàbregas.
FC Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino faced the media once again prior to Barça’s Champions League game with Ajax later tonight. Speaking about his plans for the upcoming game he underlined, “We aren’t thinking about anything other than winning.” Asked about possible rotations in the squad he said that he “will either play a centre back as full back, or I’ll field Patric from the start. Those are my options for the full back places.” He also reassured an FC Barcelona fundamental that “good results alone aren’t enough. We have to win while also doing all we can to play more convincingly, in keeping with the excellence required of this club.”
FC Barcelona team traveled yesterday to Amsterdam, where they play this evening match-day five of the UEFA Champions League group stage against Ajax. All players participated in last night’s training session at the Amsterdam Arena. The players from senior squad traveled with four youngsters from the youth teams: Adama Traoré, Jean Marie Dongou, Patric and Sergi Gómez.
“We are keeping to the same philosophy. Maybe we have added a couple of things, but that is because every coach sees the game in a different way. We try to play well and get the points three by three. I’m not interested in the debate some people are trying to have – just let the numbers talk for themselves.”
– FC Barcelona goalkeeper José Manuel Pinto on the Barça TV programme “El Mirador”
Neymar Jr and Alexis Sánchez finally joined their teammates after returning from international duty for Thursday’s training session. Xavi Hernández, Jordi Alba and Cristian Tello followed a specific recovery routine. Jean-Marie Dongou (Barça B) and Adama Traoré (Juvenil A) joined the senior team again for today’s session. Gerard Piqué and Cesc Fàbregas exercised with the group but have still not been given the medical green light by the medical staff.
Quite a few players who were on duty with their national teams returned to Barcelona and participated in the team training session on Wednesday afternoon. Alex Song, Sergio Busquets, Andrés Iniesta, Pedro Rodríguez, Marc Bartra, Sergi Roberto and Javier Mascherano all rejoined routine training.
Gerard Piqué, who had been doing recovery exercises the last few days, trained with the group for the first time, while Jordi Alba still trained apart. Xavi, suffering that minor thigh strain in his left leg, and Cristian Tello, who has sprained a ligament in his right ankle , followed their recovery plan. Juvenil A player Adama Traoré and Barça B’s Jean-Marie Dongou joined the first team.
FC Barcelona medical services informed the public hours ago that midfielder Xavi Hernández ”has a thigh strain in his left leg and over the last few training sessions has been given specific work to help his recovery, which will determine his availability for Saturday’s game against Granada”.
Jordi Alba and Gerard Piqué continued recovery excericises, while Lucas, Denis, Agostinho Ca, Calvet and Sandro, from Barça B and Adama from the Juvenil A joined first team at training session this morning.
“I’ve gone through a bad time, a really bad time. I’ve never been injured before and then I pick up one that rules me out for three weeks and now this one for six. Now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, I’m feeling better every day and I’m eager to train and start playing with the rest of the team”.
-FC Barcelona player Jordi Alba
Barça players returned to training Monday morning after a weekend off. The players in Barcelona had a double session yesterday and Cesc Fàbregas, who suffered a tendon sprain in the last game, participated in the evening training session for the first time since injury. Jordi Alba and Gerard Piqué continued recovery work apart from the group. Xavi Hernández also followed specific training.
Today the FC Barcelona first team returns to routine after a rest over the weekend. Some key players are still away on international duty and they are expected to rejoin the squad on Wednesday.
This evening the team starts preparations for Saturday’s game against Granada at the Camp Nou. The game is scheduled for Saturday at 16:00 local time and Gerardo Martino decided that his players will spend the night before the match at the Princessa Sofia, a hotel very close to the stadium. After the weekend game on Sunday, players will perform a recovery session. Continue reading for this week’s full training schedule.
“Those who are outside the club want to be inside, because it is a privilege. Those who are inside, when they leave, want to return. So there are always people throwing sh*t at Barca. There is never calm. The one year there was, we won six trophies. In Madrid, there is social peace. They are all united. Here there are Rosellistas, Laportistas, Guardiolistas…I am with Barça — I could not care if the president is Sandro or Laporta, if the debate continues, it does not help the team. Here in Barca, there are always people throwing out negatives.”
-FC Barcelona and Spanish international Gerard Piqué showing some frustration with recent times on RAC1 Radio
This morning 14 players participated in the first team training session. Alongside the eight first team players -José Manual Pinto, Oier Olazábal, Carles Puyol, Martín Montoya, Adriano, Xavi Hernández, Isaac Cuenca and Cristian Tello - Barça B players Patric, Masip, Denis Suárez and Ilie and Adama and Sanabria from Juvenil A also worked out at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper. Cesc Fàbregas and Gerard Piqué continued to work apart from the rest of the group. Leo Messi, Jordi Alba and Ibrahim Afellay were doing phsyio as part of their recovery schedule.
FC Barcelona manager Gerardo Tata Martino led the training session yesterday only for Carles Puyol, Xavi Hernánez, José Manuel Pinto, Oier Olazábal, Cristian Tello, Martín Montoya and Isaac Cuenca. Cesc Fàbregas continued the treatment for his knee ligament and Gerard Piqué followed his workout program to recover from his groin problem. Leo Messi performed on his own specialized treatment. Adriano, who trained alone on Tuesday, was given permission from the coaching staff to miss that session because of personal matters.
Yesterday, FC Barcelona forward Lionel Messi thanked fans for their support via his Facebook fan page. He wrote:
“As many of you know, over the next few weeks I will be working full-time on the recovery of this new injury, for me it is a pity not to play with my team right now… Now the most important is to recover well in order to help my teammates and to giving back all the love you’ve given to me in the best way I know how, playing football. Thank you for your messages and support!”.
Messi also added a picture of a handwritten note that reads: “Thank you all for being by my side during these times.”
This week 11 FC Barcelona first team players joined their national teams. Nearly all of them will feature in friendlies, while only Alex Song and Sergi Roberto will play official games. On November 17, Alex Song’s Cameroon will play a World Cup qualifier against Tunisia. Sergi Roberto will feature in the U21 Spanish team for European qualifiers against Bosnia ( Nov. 14) and Albania (Nov. 18). Barça B’s Sergi Gómez was also named to the U21 Spanish team.
Víctor Valdés, Sergio Busquets, Andrés Iniesta, Pedro Rodríguez and Marc Bartra have been called up to the Spanish national team by Vicente del Bosque for the friendlies against Equatorial Guinea (Nov.16) and South Africa (Nov.19). On November 19, Neymar and Dani Alves’ will play for Brazil against Honduras (16) and Chile (Nov.19). Alexis Sánchez joined the Chilean team and before playing against his blaugrana team mates (Brazil), will take on England (Now. 16). Lastly, Javier Mascherano was called up to albiceleste and will feature in friendlies against Ecuador (Nov.15) and Bosnia-Herzegovina (Nov. 18).
A large part of the FC Barcelona squad is currently with their respective national teams. For those remaining in Barcelona, Gerardo Martino has planned only a few training sessions this week at the Ciutat Esportiva. The available players will train on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The group will also get the weekend off and then return to a normalized training routine starting Monday evening.
The FC Barcelona squad participated in training session this morning in the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper. Like yesterday, Gerard Piqué worked separately due to his groin trouble while Sergio Busquets, who trained apart from the group on Thursday, joined the normal session.
In today’s training only first team players took part. The final training session before heading for Sevilla is scheduled for Saturday morning. The team will travel for the match against Real Betis on Sunday morning.