Alba suffers hamstring injury

Alba suffers hamstring injury

In what would prove to be a disappointing game, Jordi Alba suffered an injury to the biceps femoris in his right leg in the first half, and was subbed off during the break of the Copa Del Rey final against Real Madrid. The extent of the injury will be evaluated on Thursday.

Alba was one of the most threatening players during the first half, with the exact moment of his injury still unknown, making his entire performance admirable for being under physical duress while on the pitch. Continue reading »

Copa Del Rey Final Review: FC Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid

Copa Del Rey Final Review: FC Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid

The Copa del Rey final kicked off as a potential saving grace to a disappointing FC Barcelona week, and what might prove to be a disappointing season, at La Mestalla in Valencia, and ended with a painful loss.

With this defeat, the chances of winning any title has dwindled down to La Liga, where the team trails in 3rd behind their Champions League vanquishers, Atlético Madrid, and tonight’s winners, Real Madrid. It has been a heartbreaking week indeed, yet tonight’s game was even more so because there were moments when a fan couldn’t be faulted in believing that it could have turned out better.

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Match Preview: Granada CF vs FC Barcelona

Match Preview: Granada CF vs FC Barcelona

Back to La Liga action after being unceremoniously thrown out of the Champions League, FC Barcelona take on Granada with only a handful of matches remaining in the season. With the unconvincing performance given out by Gerardo Martino’s men in Europe, questions have been raised to whether the team can keep up with the final dash to the finish line.

What had started out as a promising campaign with theories of how the team will gel over time under Martino’s guidance, and adopt alternative forms of play to take on opposing teams’ defensive tactics, has turned into unpredictable showings that don’t guarantee when they will play at the level they are capable of, and when they will fail.

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Match Review: RCD Espanyol 0-1 FC Barcelona

Match Review: RCD Espanyol 0-1 FC Barcelona

It was an ugly match, with moments of brilliance few and far in between. Espanyol hosted FC Barcelona at Estadi Cornella-El Prat in a highly physical and tense encounter, which stayed unsettled till the last 15 minutes, although there weren’t many signs before that of the fixture ever ending well.

When Barça were able to reach the opposition’s goal, their attempts were wasted, otherwise, they were just bullied and beaten off the ball in plain sight of the officials. The match was a counter-tactic to the one employed by Celta Vigo, whom were rightly hailed as an example of attacking play and sportsmanship.

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Match Preview: FC Barcelona vs Celta Vigo

Match Preview: FC Barcelona vs Celta Vigo

Following a spectacular clásico, FC Barcelona quickly welcome Celta Vigo to Camp Nou in round 30 of La Liga in their quest to regain the top spot. They are now one point short of top spot leaders Atlético and Real Madrid, and need to win their nine remaining games for any chance to win the league.

The game against Real Madrid is a clear message that Barça are out to take down any team that stands in their way of winning the treble, even when the odds and the predictions say otherwise. However, the problem was never the games against the big teams, or the small teams for that matter. The shocking defeats and draws that brought Real Madrid back into the running came from sudden drops of form, and an unreliability that the team would maintain a high run. So will this bad form resurface against Celta.

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Match Review: Real Madrid 3-4 FC Barcelona

Match Review: Real Madrid 3-4 FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona went to the Santiago Bernabéu with the hope of closing the gap with a highflying Real Madrid, and take their last chance at possibly winning the league, as Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino said in his prematch press conference. They managed to accomplish that in an exciting 7-goal game, that ended with the visitors claiming all three points in a spectacular and nerve-wrecking contest.

Iniesta and Messi were the absolute stars of the show, with the former pulling off some of his best illusionist moves, leaving behind some of the greatest players like a child leaves rag dolls behind. With this win, Barça managed to end Real Madrid’s 31-game unbeaten run that extended back to the last Clásico, when the blaugrana defeated their rivals 2-1 at the Camp Nou. Also, with this win, FC Barcelona reaffirmed that they are not done with the league yet, and sent out a clear message to the strongest teams in Spain and in Europe that they can still dispatch any pretender team around. Continue reading »

Bartomeu tweets praise to Atlético

Bartomeu tweets praise to Atlético

FC Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu wasted no time in praising the level of the Champions League after Friday’s draw. He took to his Twitter account and hailed the quality of FC Barcelona’s opponents, writing two posts, one in Spanish and another in Catalan. In English, here’s what he said:

“Atlético Madrid, a very strong rival for the quarterfinals. It is the greatness of the Champions [League]. Together, anything is possible. Força Barça!” 

It’s tough to call any of this season’s quarterfinal games anything short of exciting, because of the quality of the eight teams involved, regardless of how much different teams wished to draw Manchester United because of their under performance this year. However, drawing Atlético gives the Catalans another chance of producing a win this season after only tying their past three encounters with them.

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Bartomeu: “We don’t want to take any risks”

Bartomeu: “We don’t want to take any risks”

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.” Continue reading »

Xavi: “I’d like to remain in football forever”

Xavi: “I’d like to remain in football forever”

During the international break, FC Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernández (34), sat down for an interview with Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher, now a sports writer for the Daily Mail, and a longtime admirer of the diminutive midfield maestro. In it he talked about the team’s dominant era, his evolution as a player and the future.

Manchester City

Barça were surprised by the set up of Man City because they have players whose playing style is more like Barcelona, and thought that they would want to have more of the ball. Xavi said that they were not strictly defensive, but they weren’t going forward either.

He described Pellegrini’s teams as usually attacking, possessive of the ball, opening up the game down the wings and pressing high up, which they didn’t do in the first game. Read more from the interview after the jump.

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Quote of the Day: No way José? Something nice to say?!

Quote of the Day: No way José? Something nice to say?!

“Messi is great, I don’t think he needs to win with Argentina to be great. Ronaldo is great, I don’t think he needs to be world champion with Portugal to be great. But Maradona did it and Zidane did it and Ronaldo Nazario and Rivaldo did it. Many of the big guys did it, so everybody’s waiting for them to do it.”

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Match Preview: Real Sociedad vs FC Barcelona

Match Preview: Real Sociedad vs FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona head to the Anoeta once again to try and end a winless streak on that ground that extends all the way back to 2007. It is a critical moment for the Catalans to finally get a win away against Real Sociedad because there is no room for error with Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid tied with Barça in first position.

The last attempt to leave San Sebastián with a victory was ten days ago in the Copa Del Rey semi-finals, and it almost did happen. However, Antoine Griezmann managed to level the result in the 87th minute. Although the blaugrana managed to advance to the final of the competition on aggregate, in tomorrow’s league game they will not have the reprieve of another match to secure three points and retain pole position.

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Match Review: FC Barcelona 6-0 Rayo Vallecano

Match Review: FC Barcelona 6-0 Rayo Vallecano

This Saturday night saw FC Barcelona host a smooth-playing Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou and serve them an early appetizer, a four-part main course, and a super sweet dessert at the end. With his two goals, Messi managed to match the record of legendary striker Telmo Zarra’s of 335 goals for the same Spanish club, and also be 24 goals short of breaking the all time La Liga goal scoring record.

This 6-0 drubbing was a pleasant return to effectiveness after some lackluster displays in front of goal, and serves as a good lead to Tuesday’s Champions League game against Manchester City, away at Manchester’s Etihad Stadium. Continue reading »

Match Review: Sevilla FC 1-4 FC Barcelona

Match Review: Sevilla FC 1-4 FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona headed to Sevilla with the ambition of reclaiming the top spot after Atlético Madrid fell to Almería on Saturday. With that in mind, no flooded pitch or tenacious opposition was going to stop them from redeeming themselves from the underwhelming performances that they had displayed in the latest La Liga games.

What started as an apprehensive display, with many dangerous chances by Sevilla, and wayward passing by the Catalans, transformed into a dominant display by the visitors from the latter part of the first half onwards. Los Rojiblancos remained a constant threat, but Barça managed to rally together and emerge victorious with a 1-4 drubbing of the home side.

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Bartomeu getting in touch with Cruyff

Bartomeu getting in touch with Cruyff

Mundo Deportivo is reporting that Josep Maria Bartomeu has started acting on his words to clear up the air with Johan Cruyff by initiating contact with the Dutchman. Although the new FC Barcelona president has not spoken personally with the Barça legend, the Catalan sports newspaper says that he has had a conversation with someone very close to the former first team manager.

Since taking up the post after the resignation of former president Sandro Rosell, Bartomeu has repeatedly voiced his admiration for Cruyff, and his willingness to smooth out the bad blood between them. One of the points of contention is the perceived disrespect shown to the Dutchman, when Rosell removed the Honorary President title from Cruyff that Laporta had assigned, because it did not exist in the charters of the club. Continue reading »

Team Update: Puyol to miss Sevilla game

Team Update: Puyol to miss Sevilla game

FC Barcelona has released a statement saying that captain Carles Puyol is suffering from a bad back, and is withdrawn from the 18-man squad. Because of his ‘lumbago,’ he will be replaced by Ibrahim Afellay in the match day team.

After formalizing the membership of his newborn daughter Manuela following Friday’s training session, he is now back on the recovery table with yet another setback. With Mascherano and Alba suspended, this certainly means that Marc Bartra will be starting in the centre of defence alongside Gerard Piqué. Get well soon Capi.

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FCB online store now on Nike.com

FCB online store now on Nike.com

Starting this week, the online FCBotiga will be part of Nike.com, and will give supporters a new experience of reading stories about FC Barcelona players and events while they shop. Other than displaying the entire branded seasonal products, the store will offer free delivery and returns for purchases over 50 euros, and well as the ability to personalize shirts and other products.

One of the biggest achievements of the online store integration is the agreement to translate the entire Nike website into Catalan, as a new language option.

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Alba and Mascherano suspended for Sevilla game

Alba and Mascherano suspended for Sevilla game

To add insult to injury, Jordi Alba was sent off in the 2-3 defeat of FC Barcelona to Valencia CF, after collecting two yellow cards. This saw an end to 52 straight matches with no Barça player being sent off.

Because of this, Alba is suspended for next Sunday’s Sevilla game, while Javier Mascherano will join him in staying behind in Barcelona after picking up his fifth booking of the season.

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Player Reactions: FC Barcelona 2-3 Valencia CF

Player Reactions: FC Barcelona 2-3 Valencia CF

After the first shock defeat of the season at home, a lot of questions have arisen on how the team handles the games as the 90 minutes progress. After 30 minutes of controlling the game, creating chances, and scoring a goal, the team went into a decline that resulted in their loss.

Dani Alves commented on the defeat by saying that the team became predictable after the first goal and the early, controlled stage, and that the team gave a lot of chances to Valencia, who were ruthless.

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Match Preview: FC Barcelona vs Valencia CF

Match Preview: FC Barcelona vs Valencia CF

Valencia CF arrives at the Camp Nou for the 22nd round of La Liga in the hopes of ending their run of five games without a win. In the meantime, FC Barcelona will look to put a few points difference between them and joint-point leaders Atlético, and spread the difference with Real Madrid, hoping that they both stumble against Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao respectively.

The Catalan club seems to have dealt well with the administrative drama surrounding the club and Neymar, and as the Brazilian nears a return to action, it will take the players even more effort to keep the ongoing trouble away from their football.

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Match Preview: FC Barcelona vs Málaga CF

Match Preview: FC Barcelona vs Málaga CF

FC Barcelona welcomes 15th placed Málaga CF to the Camp Nou for the 21st round of La Liga after falling to two consecutive draws in the league. Although the Catalan team had managed to triumph over Levante on Wednesday in their second clash in three days – for the Copa del Rey – the question is whether the happenings of the last couple of days will negatively affect Barça’s performance on the field of La Liga.

With the public battle for information regarding Neymar’s contract raging on, Sandro Rosell has decided to step down as President of FC Barcelona, fearing for the security and safety of his family (as stated in his farewell speech). This continues the tradition of seasonal shocks and blind punches that has plagued the club for the past four seasons, and the team’s performance on Sunday will show whether they have been affected yet again.

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Match Review: Levante 1-1 FC Barcelona

Match Review: Levante 1-1 FC Barcelona

It was a game that turned out to be as unpredictable, as it was frustrating. FC Barcelona managed to draw 1-1 against Levante at Estadio Ciudad de Valencia, after having beaten them 7-0 at the Camp Nou in the first game of the season. They went into the match knowing that Real Madrid had tied up with them in points after beating Real Betis the day before, and that Atlético take on Sevilla at home later on. Luckily, the Andalusians managed to draw in Madrid, and so the blaugrana managed to hold onto the top of La Liga.

Piqué became the hero of the night after he managed to level the scoreline after going behind to a Vyntra header. However, the comeback could not be completed with many players not performing at their usual standard, and some questionable tactical moves. Continue reading »

Match Preview: Atlético Madrid vs FC Barcelona

Match Preview: Atlético Madrid vs FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona head to the Vicente Calderón to take on Atlético Madrid in what will be the winter champion decider of La Liga. The blaugrana currently lead on goal difference alone, and will aim to seize the chance to leave Atlético behind. However, with Diego Simeone revolutionizing “the other” Madrid outfit, it will be the hardest test Barcelona has yet faced this season.

Barça’s previous two meetings with Atlético this season were for the Supercopa, which the Catalans won on away goals (1-1), and the tactics this time will be pretty similar, with Atlético sitting back and waiting to hit on the break. At the same time, several things set this game apart from the previous two, and things look pretty good for the visitors.

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Simeone vs Martino: playing day shenanigans

In what might be a foretelling to what will happen during the FC Barcelona vs Atlético Madrid game at the Vicente Calderón, Diego Simeone told Argentinian television that he once got Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino sent off during their playing days through play-acting. The incident happened in a Newell’s Old Boys game against Diego Simeone’s Vélez Sarsfield in the 1987-1988 league season. Simeone had faked a foul and Tata was sent off as a result. As fate would have it, although Vélez Sarsfield ended up 2-1 winners, the current Atlético manager was also sent off later in the game.

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Sanabria move to AS Roma imminent

Sanabria move to AS Roma imminent

FC Barcelona are about to go through a familiar story yet again. Another La Masia player is about to leave with the promise of stardom elsewhere, and this time it’s Antonio Sanabria heading to AS Roma in the Serie A.

The news of the young Paraguayan player leaving Barça has been going around since November, with Andoni Zubizarreta having to negotiate with his representatives to stay, while he worried about the contracts of more important players such as Andrés Iniesta and Marc Bartra. Continue reading »

Match Preview: FC Barcelona vs Elche CF

Match Preview: FC Barcelona vs Elche CF

2013 was an extremely testing year. It stretched the team, and tried to cut it at the seams, to wear it out and tear it out. Players by the dozens fell to injury, and when not hurt, they were in grief. It’s not easy to watch a friend relapse again, feeling helpless in aiding them, and not be sapped of strength yourself. 2013 was an extremely testing year, yet we won La Liga, and under the guidance of a new coach, managed to end the year leading the table, with most of our starters going in and out of injuries.

The turn of the year sees the team return in a positive atmosphere, with most of the injured back to fitness. FC Barcelona hosts Elche at the Camp Nou for the 18th round of La Liga, in hopes of extending their home league game winning-streak to 24.

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Amor: “Youth system guarantees success”

Amor: “Youth system guarantees success”

Guillermo Amor, technical director of youth football, has hailed Barça’s youth policy saying that it “is what has given us, and will give us, success.” Being himself a graduate of FC Barcelona’s fabled La Masia, having joined at the age of 13, and then starring in the first team for 421 matches – the fourth highest appearances for the club – he knows all about the motivation that local players display in defending their team.

We should always look for local players. The best players can be found here. When you give local people the chance, they respond and defend their team to the end,” said Guillermo, as he discussed the ambition of the youth team players in an interview with Barça TV program, ‘Promeses.’
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Hometown gives Pedro a hero’s welcome

Hometown gives Pedro a hero’s welcome

Pedro was welcomed by his hometown in the Canary Islands as a returning hero over the Christmas holidays, by being presented with a gold medal for his sporting achievements. Upon receiving it, he said, “I’m proud to belong to this island and I hope to continue portraying a good image of my homeland for many years to come.“ More below.

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Match Preview: Getafe CF vs FC Barcelona

Match Preview: Getafe CF vs FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona return to La Liga action in the 17th round of the competition away in Madrid, against Getafe CF. It seems that the drama of a few weeks ago has disappeared with the recent wins of the Catalan team, showing how reactive and easy-to-condemn a lot of sports journalists are. Not to say that the team is firing on all cylinders, but apocalyptic talk of the team’s demise had always seemed too excessive, and I’m sure it will return once we suffer another upset.

The six goals of Neymar in the last three games helped to up the results, but we won’t have his goals against Getafe because of his mind-boggling fifth yellow card of the season against Villareal CF. However, with our recent experiences away at Getafe, history tells us that if we win there, we will win the league.

More after the jump.

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Quote of the day: Zanetti on Messi

Quote of the day: Zanetti on Messi

“We always expect great things from him when he’s on the field because he is the best. But Leo has always been a great, not only for what he does on the field, but also off it.”

- Javier Zanetti, ex-Argentina captain, and Inter Milan legend gave his thoughts on Leo Messi in a documentary called “El Mundo Leo”.

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Match Review: FC Barcelona 2-1 Villarreal CF

Match Review: FC Barcelona 2-1 Villarreal CF

After the 6-1 thrashing of Celtic, FC Barcelona defeated 5th placed Villarreal 2-1 in a highly possessive game at home. Neymar continued to rise to the occasion, and scored both goals, the second of which was worthy of the blaugrana reputation. Although the majority of play was in the Catalan’s favor, that was not enough to mask the most dominant feature of the game: the misplaced passing. The ball was lost around 21 times in the first half alone, marking an existing trend of overlooking the basics of the Barcelona philosophy, which is precise and accurate passing.

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