Pep Guardiola may be the recipient of an avalanche of plaudits, having just recently won the Bundesliga in record time (seven games to spare), and over this campaign broken a host of Bayern Munich and Bundesliga records. Of course, you can’t please everyone, Munich legend Franz Beckenbauer included, but nevertheless former Barça star Samuel Eto’o seemed to go over the line recently with some comments in a BeIN SPORTS interview. There have been many thousands of words printed on the relationship between the pair and a host of theories as to why Guardiola let such a fantastic and productive player go, yet it seems that for Eto’o, it is not water under the bridge. I did some fact checking into this (and it appears legitimate) simply because I’ve always believed and maintain that Eto’o got an unfair rap regarding his personality in Barcelona, and therefore was rather shocked and disappointed with these very unnecessary comments.
Beloved former FC Barcelona player Éric Abidal, currently playing for AS Monaco, took to Twitter to squash some disturbing rumors that had been circulating about his health. Says Abi, “Good morning, rumors in Twitter are not true. Training in La Turbie thinking about next match. Daghe Munegu (Go Monaco).”
Former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola is backpeddling on statements he made regarding the supposed lack of motivation at Barça. “The players at Barça motivate themselves… I did not teach Xavi or Iniesta how to play. Coaches are there to lend a hand but after 20 years, they play very well,” Pep clarified after Bayern Munich’s latest win, which won the Bundesliga in record time. “Maybe I didn’t explain it well. (The reason for my leaving) was a purely personal matter, it felt like the moment had come. (The players) are responsible for all the successes they have had… They play well enough without me.”
Here we go again; in the wake of Neymargate, we now have Villagate. Andrés Sanchis, a lawyer and Valencia CF shareholder, has made a complaint against Valencia’s former club president Manuel Llorente, and former club vice-president and current director general of La Liga Javier Gomez questioning possible problems with the 40 million euro transfer of David Villa from Valencia to Barcelona in 2010. This complaint is focused mainly on Valencia’s end of the deal that brought Villa to Barça after the 2010 World Cup. More details after the jump.
Sport is reporting that Catalan journalist Bernat Soler recently spoke with Tito Vilanova and the former FC Barcelona coach is doing well. “[Tito is] well, lively, entertaining, watching a lot of football and often visiting the Camp Nou.” This is good news for the man who had to leave his position with Barça to continue treatment for cancer.“[The treatment] was very difficult until the month of December,” reported Soler, “[but now he feels] serene and tranquil.”
totalBarça wishes Tito health and happiness in his continuing recovery.
Former Barcelona player and manager, Dutch legend Johann Cruyff, is set to receive the 2013 UEFA President’s Award this weekend. The award was created in 1998 “to focus on the true protagonists – the players – and the invaluable contribution that they have made through their careers to the development and success of football in Europe and beyond.” Michel Platini, president of UEFA, will travel to Amsterdam this weekend to present the award.
Real Valladolid have signed Sporting Lisbon and ex-Barcelona player Jeffren Suárez. The winger has returned to Spain after three seasons in Lisbon and signed a contract until June 30, 2016. Jeffren underlined during his official presentation that he joins Valladolid to “help the team in fulfilling it’s objectives.“ “In football terms, I think here I will improve again,” said the player, who since last summer was training with the second team of Sporting Lisbon and has not played in an official match since April 1, 2013. Asked about his time in Portugal, has stated that it was “pretty bad” and he expressed his joy in returning to Spain, ”for me it is wonderful to be here.”
José Luis Aragonés Suárez, or Luis Aragonés, El Sabio de Hortaleza (The wise man of Hortaleza) passed away early this morning in a Madrid hospital. Aragonés was a football man, spending near the entirely of his life in the game. Certainly a man of controversy in his later years, but one whose vital importance and role in Spain’s historic success since 2008 will be unbeknown to most. He spent but a brief time at FC Barcelona, but irrespective a man of his legacy in the Spanish game merits a proper tribute.
Former FC Barcelona president Josep Lluís Núñez, who was in office for 22 years from 1978 to 2000, has been sentenced to two years and two months of prison for the embezzlement of 13 million euros in public funds. However, it is unlikely that the 82-year-old Spaniard will serve any time behind bars because of his age.
Similar events occurred back in 2011 when Núñez was sentenced to six years in jail following conviction on a series of fraud charges, but he ended up getting an appeal for the sentence and was allowed bail. Now Spain’s Supreme Court upheld a finding from a lower court last Thursday that Núñez had been a main part of a conspiracy that saw tax inspectors maintain “a pact of silence” while being paid millions of euros to accept returns they knew to be false.
Ex-Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita (34) will join Valencia CF until the end of the season. Keita will sign his contract, that has an option for one extra year, with the Valencian club later this afternoon after he has passed his medical tests. The Mali international who played for Dalian Aerbin FC in the Super Liga China was part of the Sevilla squad in 2007-2008 before joining FC Barcelona for four seasons.
It’s seems like the game against Barcelona will come too early for Keita as he is not part of Valencia’s match squad for the game this Saturday.
Luis García Sanz’s time at FC Barcelona was far too short. Born in Badalona, part of the Barcelona metropolitan area, Luis García was brought up at La Masia between 1997 and 2002. While still contracted by the club, between 1999 and 2000 he went on several loan spells to Valladolid, Toledo, Tenerife and Valladolid again. It was during that time he actually made his La Liga debut at 21 years old. Barça was unfortunately well and truly a mess during the years players want to step up to the first team, so following his impressive time at Valladolid (the second time), it was Atlético Madrid who offered him his big break with a 3.6 million euro move.
Former FC Barcelona trainer and head coach, Tito Vilanova, was able to watch FCB beat Getafe yesterday from a private box at the Camp Nou. Tito (top center in the above photo) was accompanied by his son, Adria, who plays for Barça’s juvenil B team. Although he tried to keep his presence at the match unknown to spectators, cameras caught him looking thin and pale. Tito is still recovering from treatments for cancer, the illness that forced him to give up his position as head coach of Barça.
Everyone at totalBarça wishes Tito a continued recovery and the best of health.
Former French international winger Ludovic Giuly, who spent three full seasons with FC Barcelona between 2004 and 2007, has not been in the news as of late after his decision to retire from professional football. However, the 37-year-old decided to call off his retirement to help the team where he took his first steps as a footballer, Mont d’Or Azergues Chasselay. This week Giuly hit the headlines after achieving something unique by scoring a goal in the stadium that bears his own name.
Juan Antonio Pizzi (45) has been handed his shot in the big time after taking the reigns at Valencia on December 26th, 2013. Pizzi, a forward, was at Barça between 1996 and 1998 and despite scoring only 11 goals in just short of 50 appearances, he was popular with the fans though certainly not at all a historic figure. Details below.
Canchallena is the sports section of well established (since 1870) Argentinian paper, Diario la Nación. They ran a piece on the 50 biggest personas of 2013, and FC Barcelona legend Pep Guardiola made the list.
Below is a totalBarça translation of the words written by the ever-intelligent Javier Mascherano. It is a wonderful eulogy to a great man and manager and someone who fundamentally impacted Mascherano’s life. Enjoy.
La Masia product and current defensive midfielder for the American MLS Cup champions Sporting Kansas City, Oriol Rosell (seen here earlier this month with the MLS Cup and the Catalan flag), will play in the friendly match between Catalonia and Cape Verde today alongside FCB players including Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Cesc Fàbregas and Gerard Piqué.
“I am happy that Uri will have the opportunity to play alongside some of the world’s best players,” says Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes. “This is a tremendous honor for both Sporting Kansas City and for Major League Soccer and this is a great way for Uri to cap off what’s been an excellent year for him.”
Coming back to Barcelona is always a moment of happiness for Thiago Alcántara (22). Normally, the Alcántara family travels back to Brazil to celebrate Christmas but not this year. This year the Alcántaras are staying in Barcelona. Thiago just won the Club World Cup for the second time in his career and even managed to score in the final. His first milestone for FC Bayern Munich. The player shared his first moments at home with Catalan newspaper Sport as he was doing a workout organised by “5-hour ENERGY”, an energy drink. Read the translation of his interview after the jump.
Pep Guardiola, when asked why he chose Bayern Munich as his next team, promptly answered that it was not a matter of money. Yet a recent study conducted by the Brazilian agency Pluri revealed that not only does the 42-year-old coach receive a rather modest salary, but that he is actually the world’s highest paid coach, having a €17 million gross annual income. He leaves Chelsea’s José Mourinho in second place, with the Portuguese being paid €10.3 million a year by Roman Abramovich. In third place, Pluri has veteran Italian coach Marcello Lippi, who works for Chinese powerhouse Guangzhou Evergrande, and earns, according to the study, €10 million a season.
Ex-Barcelona striker Henrik Larsson (42) will coach Falkenberg FF next year when they will play in Allsvenskan, the highest division in Swedish football, for the first time in their club’s history. It will be the first time “Henke” coaches a club in Allsvenskan after he previously managed Landskrona BoIS in the second division.
FC Barcelona legend Henrik Larsson made a surprise appearance for his boyhood club, Högaborgs BK, to which he is also assistant coach.
As the team prepared to fight for survival in Division 2 (in the 4th tier of the Swedish league), they suffered problems with injuries and readiness, so the 42-year-old Larsson kitted-up and took to the field as a starter.
On this day, October 28 but 40 years past (1973), Johan Cruyff made his official debut for FC Barcelona. His debut was delayed over two months as Real Madrid tried to hijack the deal. Thankfully by this time the capital club did not have the power they once did within the Spanish football federation and could not pull off an Alfredo Di Stefano style treachery.
In his debut match, at the Camp Nou, Barça beat Granada 4-0 with two goals from the Dutchman. From this match onward, FC Barcelona went on a 26 game unbeaten run and secured the league title with five matches to spare. The league was eventually won by an eight point margin over Atlético Madrid with an incredible 75 goals scored and only 24 conceded over the 34 match campaign. The next closest scoring rival was Real Zaragoza with 51, 24 goals back. It was the first league crowning for the Catalan club since 1960. During this season was the infamous manita at the Santiago Bernabéu, Cruyff got one.
October 28,1973: A day to remember and savor.
FC Barcelona and AC Milan have a lot in common. They were both founded by foreign businessmen, and have been at the very top of their respective national championships numerous times. The connection most people are likely to know about, however, is the fact that many great players have played in both the blaugrana and the rossonero shirts. Mundo Deportivo selected the most prominent of these players, and we present them to you below.