Crossfire: Manchester City ready for Eastlands revenge

Crossfire: Manchester City ready for Eastlands revenge

As part of our cross-network coverage ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League clash, fellow Football Collective member and resident Manchester City experts Typical City gave us valuable insight into the opposition. I sat down with TC’s Alex Timperley to chat about both teams’ chances, tactics, and what viewers could expect to witness. Be sure to pop on over to their site for some expert analysis on Manuel Pellegrini’s club, as well as some cross-network collaboration with totalBarça including their own Q&A: Inside the Opposition!
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Match Preview: Can Barcelona bounce back against confident City?

Match Preview: Can Barcelona bounce back against confident City?

Fellow Football Collective member and resident Manchester City experts Typical City contributed to this match report. Be sure to pop on over to their site for some expert insight into Manuel Pellegrini’s club, as well as some cross-network collaboration with totalBarça including an ‘Inside the Opposition’ Q&A!

To dismiss Manchester City FC as a weakened side given the absences of creative workhorses Yaya Touré and James Milner does nothing to lessen the fact that FC Barcelona faces one of its toughest tests of the season. Barcelona’s recent stumble in La Liga to Málaga and Man City’s struggles early on in the group stage will certainly make for a tense affair at the Etihad Stadium. Both clubs are hungry to prove they belong in the next round—something’s got to give.

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Freeze Frame: Athletic Club vs. Barcelona

Freeze Frame: Athletic Club vs. Barcelona

Sometimes, it’s not enough to watch the game once. Sometimes a moment is so brilliant or fascinating that you need to pause it, repeat it, or slow it down. With that in mind, I present what will hopefully be a new series, Freeze Frame, in which I present interesting gifs I make of Barcelona’s most recent matches. Without further ado, let’s get to the explosive, extraordinary performance that was Barcelona’s Sunday trip to New San Mamés.

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Crossfire: AtléticoFans on the long road ahead

Crossfire: AtléticoFans on the long road ahead

FC Barcelona hosts Atlético Madrid on Sunday with second place in La Liga in the balance. The blaugrana and the rojiblancos have both been going through very remarkable seasons for completely different reasons, which could make for an interesting clash. In order to give a little insider perspective on the match, totalBarça and fellow Football Collective partner AtléticoFans engaged in a Crossfire-style interaction, answering questions from behind enemy lines. We posed questions to AtléticoFans’ assistant editor Billy Edwards to get his take on what’s been happening at the Vicente Calderón and what could happen when Simeone’s men come to town. And check out AtléticoFans for totalBarça’s response.Click for more

Crisis is in the eye of the beholder

Crisis is in the eye of the beholder

In the middle of so much drama, it’s tough for fans to stay positive these days. Lately, I find myself online, searching for some kind of explanation as to what the heck is going on with our beloved club. Mostly I find rumors and BS journalism. So it was nice to come across a piece that offers some perspective amidst the madness.

Manel Bruña, a writer for Mundo Deportivo, reminds cules about the other side of the coin. His translated piece is below.

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Breaking: Bartomeu announces 2015 summer elections

Breaking: Bartomeu announces 2015 summer elections

In the still ongoing press conference, Josep Maria Bartomeu announced that the board will call early elections for this coming summer. This is a huge and historic moment for the club and one that will have many millions of culés celebrating.

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Live: Josep Maria Bartomeu’s press conference

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Breaking: Carles Puyol resigns

Breaking: Carles Puyol resigns

Carles Puyol has announced via his official Facebook page that he is ending his professional working relationship with FC Barcelona.

A full translation of his announcement after the jump.

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Breaking: FC Barcelona terminate Zubizarreta’s contract

Breaking: FC Barcelona terminate Zubizarreta’s contract

Whether Andoni Zubizarreta already knew or his comments last night were the impetus, minutes ago FC Barcelona confirmed they have terminated the director of football’s contract. I ask totalBarça readers to take caution….champagne corks can be dangerous objects. President Josep Maria Bartomeu will stage a press conference live tomorrow afternoon on this action and likely others. Official statement below:

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The Year That Was: Memorable moments of 2014

The Year That Was: Memorable moments of 2014

2014 has been a tough year for FC Barcelona, with the club’s image shattered by the bans put on it and the death of Tito Vilanova. Still, there were happy moments during the year and we hope 2015 will be the exact opposite of its predecessor. Below are the favorite and most important moments for Totalbarca’s writers.

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Acing it or failing? – Mid-season Report Card – Midfielders & Forwards

Acing it or failing? – Mid-season Report Card – Midfielders & Forwards

While not technically the mid-point of the 2014/15 campaign, the Christmas break and coming of a new year presents the perfect time to mull over FC Barcelona’s season thus far. There’s a new man in charge, familiar stalwarts and a host of fresh faces hopeful to make their mark in Catalonia. So who’s been making an impression and who has left us concerned or wanting more? totalBarça offers up opinions from writers  and  on whether players are acing it or failing.

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Acing it or failing? – Mid-season Report Card – Goalies & Defenders

Acing it or failing? – Mid-season Report Card – Goalies & Defenders

While not technically the mid-point of the 2014/15 campaign, the Christmas break and coming of a new year presents the perfect time to mull over FC Barcelona’s season thus far. There’s a new man in charge, familiar stalwarts and a host of fresh faces hopeful to make their mark in Catalonia. So who’s been making an impression and who has left us concerned or wanting more? totalBarça offers up opinions from writers ,  and  on whether players are acing it or failing.

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Barça’s midfield offers the path of least resistance

Barça’s midfield offers the path of least resistance

Martin Ødegaard is the “beautiful bride.” Reminiscent of a starry-eyed yet rather absurd pack of singles vying for one woman’s carefully choreographed affections on ABC’s The Bachelorette, a bevy of Europe’s most eligible suitors have been swooning the 16-year-old Norwegian in the hope of receiving his final rose and becoming the “fortunate groom.” Karl-Heinz Rummenigge’s child-bride metaphor aside, the meticulous courting of Ødegaard would be commonplace in America’s well-oiled collegiate recruitment machine but it’s unprecedented in the European club market.

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Luis Suárez: “I have a great relationship with Messi”

Luis Suárez: “I have a great relationship with Messi”

It’s been an intense 2014 for Luis Suárez, to say the least. From the controversy at the World Cup and his subsequent four-month suspension, to his transfer to Barcelona and finding his footing in a new system, the Uruguayan has been through a lot. Over the holiday break, he gave an exclusive interview to Sport 360°. He spoke about what it’s like playing with Neymar and Messi, the differences between the Premier League and La Liga, and why he believes he can be successful at his dream club. Read the full interview after the jump.

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Exclusive picture of the day: Dining with Xavi

Exclusive picture of the day: Dining with Xavi

December 23, 2014, a day I will never forget. Sitting at home waiting to go and play football, I received a call from my brother telling me that he got us an invitation to dinner with Xavi  Hernández. I was mesmerized and couldn’t believe that it was really happening. I quickly called my friends to tell them that I won’t be joining them for football. Wearing my Barça tie, I entered an elegant gala filled with Egyptian players, ex-players and actors. I couldn’t concentrate on them as my eyes were set to see one person only, Xavi. I cruised through the crowed in search of the maestro and there he was, sitting with his family, a normal humble guy. My brother and I couldn’t take our eyes from him so we ran to the nearest table and luckily it was a table exactly one meter away. With the music playing, he was always going with the music and clapping, he is a typical maestro, on and off the field. For three hours we couldn’t stop looking at him and when the music stopped for a couple of seconds, we shouted “Xavi! Xavi!” and he turned and saw us holding his t-shirt. He then waved for us with a smile and gave us a thumbs up. Minutes later, I gave him the t-shirt and he signed it. It is a day to remember. We went home feeling victorious and thankfully he looked happy, so hopefully it won’t be his last visit to Egypt.

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Merci, Roi Eric

Merci, Roi Eric

Yesterday an FC Barcelona legend retired. This player began his Barça journey in the 2007/08 season under coach Frank Rijkaard. 193 official matches and two goals later, this player would see himself win 15 trophies with the club. Not only that, he would be a very integral part of what I believe, without question, is the greatest team ever. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that he is one of the most tactically and positionally aware defenders that I’ve seen play the beautiful game. However, none of this really matters because all these trophies amassed are insignificant in the face of the other victories this superhuman achieved. This player’s name is Éric Abidal.

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The totalBarça Project: UNICEF Contribution #10

The totalBarça Project: UNICEF Contribution #10

totalBarça is pleased to announce that it has contributed its 10th donation to UNICEF in the amount of $500 via The totalBarca Project. This brings our tally to $5,000 in a span of just over two years.

We could not be more proud of the culés, partners, and staff that make up the totalBarça community. We hope you will all continue to support this site and its vision to support such meaningful projects as UNICEF.

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How to score 74 Champions League goals

How to score 74 Champions League goals

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The view from our seat: Lionel Messi

The view from our seat: Lionel Messi

To those of you who watched the game against Sevilla, you witnessed history in the making. You got to watch a 27-year-old do the impossible and achieve what others only dream of. Lionel Messi is now La Liga’s all-time top scorer with  253 goals, surpassing the legendary Telmo Zarra, and we had the pleasure of watching his journey up until this moment.

What Messi does cannot be put into words. It’s not about the goals alone because seeing Leo on the pitch wearing the Barça kit ignites a warmth of its own, a feeling that only very few cúles could actually describe. We here at totalBarça would like to take a moment to appreciate having the greatest footballer player of all-time on our side, and being lucky enough to watch him do what he does best week in and week out. Because there’s only one Leo Messi.

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EXCLUSIVE: Interview with football expert Ángel Iturriaga

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with football expert Ángel Iturriaga

A few days ago, totalBarça’s own Hady Ezzeddine, managed to have a lengthy conversation with prominent Spanish historian and writer, Mr. Ángel Iturriaga. Iturriaga is an expert on Spanish contemporary history, including football.

He has a great passion for the sport and specifically for FC Barcelona about which he has published several works including the Diccionario de jugadores del FC Barcelona (2010), the Diccionario de técnicos y directivos del FC Barcelona (2011) and the Diccionario de jugadores de la selección española de fútbol (2013). He also co-wrote the biography of blaugrana legend, Paulino Alcantara, ‘Paulino’.

In this exclusive interview, Iturriaga gives great and unique insight on things probably known to only a few, on FC Barcelona’s past, shares his views on the present and gives a small outlook to the future of the club.

We hope our readers enjoy this read as much as we enjoyed the interview. Read more…

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Faus threatens action against Benedito

Faus threatens action against Benedito

Current Vice President of FC Barcelona, ​​Javier Faus, has threatened action against Agustí Benedito for accusations made against him in the midst of the buildup to the 2016 elections. Learn more after the jump.

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Sneak preview of 2016 elections

Sneak preview of 2016 elections

Agustí Benedito, who lost the 2010 election to Sandro Rosell, has taken it upon himself to take the pulse of Barça’s socios (members). Using a survey circulated on the day of FC Barcelona – Celta Vigo on November 1st, we now have a picture of what the 2016 elections may look like. It’s been exclusively translated by totalBarça after the jump.

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On patience, fatigue, and the long haul

On patience, fatigue, and the long haul

Only once the final whistle blew did the red haze start to fade from cule eyes. Looking at the scoreline, it was hard to fathom the bile and spite that had been spewed for the previous two hours. But as the rage started to subside, some questions started to come forward. Would Luis Suárez have been as effective if he had started the game against a fresh, hardworking and disciplined Almería side? Did two away games three days apart, including an unexpected overnight delay in Amsterdam, play a factor in Luis Enrique’s choice of lineups? The international break was put forward as a boon – no Barcelona games for Enrique to worry about – but these fixtures have always been more ache than break for Barça’s players, most of whom have tremendous responsibilities in their national teams.

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Claudio Bravo: “The Bernabéu motivates you”

Claudio Bravo: “The Bernabéu motivates you”

Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo is preparing for his first clásico as a Barcelona player rather late in his career, at the age of 31. The Chilean, who has managed to keep 8 clean sheets in as many matches in La Liga, spoke to Gol TV about his opinion on the biggest game of the season, his teammate Luis Suárez, and his feelings after almost 3 months with the Blaugrana. Read the full translation of the interview after the jump.

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He’s literally impossible

He’s literally impossible

On the 1st of July Nate Silver’s ESPN statistics and analytics blog FiveThirtyEight published the “Lionel Messi is Impossible” piece. Over social media recently I stated that it’s not the numbers that prove Messi is the best player in the world. What does then? To shorten what is complicated and longwinded reasoning, it comes down to a simple statement: you can just see it. Then a follower reminded me of the aforementioned FiveThirtyEight piece, though he ironically implied that Messi isn’t about stats and figures when the entire premise of the article he cited is stats and figures. Which is precisely the beauty of “Lionel Messi is Impossible”. Even though his genius is exponentially more than the box score, measurables are handy because there are no “yeah, but”s. These are hard, inarguable analytical facts which as I will go through to fortify Messi’s unmatchable grandeur. Now quoting the author Benjamin Morris:

By now I’ve studied nearly every aspect of Messi’s game, down to a touch-by-touch level: his shooting and scoring production; where he shoots from; how often he sets up his own shots; what kind of kicks he uses to make those shots; his ability to take on defenders; how accurate his passes are; the kind of passes he makes; how often he creates scoring chances; how often those chances lead to goals; even how his defensive play marking compares to other high-volume shooters. 

And that’s just the stuff that made it into this article. I arrived at a conclusion that I wasn’t really expecting or prepared for: Lionel Messi is impossible.

What I particularly loved about this piece was its scope. Morris crunches a ton of numbers to gives us a perfectly fair representative sample that analyses the gauntlet of football. It’s also a handy source to squash any annoying Ronaldo versus Messi debate. So let’s get into it.

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First Impressions: Goalkeepers

First Impressions: Goalkeepers

A pause in club football for the international break provides an opportune moment for some reflection and projection. With about a sixth of the season over and done with, the totalBarça writing team looks into “First Impressions” of the Luis Enrique tenure. The series dives into each positional unit and considers whether there is novelty, areas for improvement, issues of concern and more that may factor into how the 2014/15 season could play out.

Considering how little time the two spent together, Alex Song and Marc-Andre Ter Stegen can hardly be remembered as Barça teammates. Yet perhaps Song’s clumsiness in training on August 11th will end up the beginning of the end for Ter Stegen’s FC Barcelona career. If that sounds extreme, it’s because it is. But is it possible? Most definitely. The Cameroonian’s knee into the German’s spine almost certainly stopped Ter-Stegen beginning La Liga as the number one following his excellent pre-season performances and Claudio Bravo’s gaffe against Napoli. So often in professional sports one’s misfortune is another’s blessing. Coincidence, especially timely ones, can seem innocuous at the time nonetheless prove anything but so at the end. With each additional minute Bravo remains unbeaten his roots between the sticks dig in deeper and Barça’s goal keeping situation becomes increasingly nuanced.

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A very Messi decade

A very Messi decade

9+25+36+40+51+53+55+60+50+46+9 = 434. 1+8+17+16+38+47+53+73+60+41+7 = 361. 0+3+3+13+17+11+24+29+15+14+7 = 135. 434 games played, 361 goals scored, 135 assists given. 434, 361, 135. That’s Lionel Messi’s decade in the FC Barcelona first team by the numbers, for on this day, 10 years ago Messi officially took the pitch in blaugrana for the first time.

Had Newell’s Old Boys or another Argentine club committed to paying the medical expenses a young Messi critically needed, nothing would have been the same. Had Carles Rexach not fought against the majority at the club week after week and Joan Lacueva not personally paid for Messi’s treatment while the club foundered in disagreement before eventually signing the player on a napkin, nothing would have been the same. Anyone who has ever wished more from Messi, or even worse wished him elsewhere, should feel entirely ashamed. That Lionel Andrés Messi Cuccittini found his way to Barça is the most fortunate of occurrences a football fan could ever dream of. So feel lucky, feel appreciative, feel blessed and more you’ve been around to witness history unfold, that one day you can say you and I saw Leo Messi, the very best there ever was.

To relive the highlights of Messi’s 10 years, FC Barcelona have put together this excellent interactive timeline.

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The little big Dane: An interview with Allan Simonsen

The little big Dane: An interview with Allan Simonsen

If you have been a long time culé, or simply a Dane, the name Allan Simonsen would ring a bell. The former Danish international spent three years of his career in FC Barcelona. Born in 1952 in Vejle, Denmark, Allan quickly showed his potential as a footballer and by the age of 20 he signed a professional contract with Borussia Mönchengladbach, which resulted in three championships in a row. In 1977, Allan joined the company of players such as Johan Cruyff and Franz Beckenbauer by winning the Ballon D’or, the first and only Danish footballer to achieve this prize.

In the summer of ’79 Allan joined FC Barcelona and he quickly proved to be a fan favourite. With the same characteristics of some of today’s Barcelona players, Allan was named “El pequeño gran danés,” meaning the little big Dane. He was a small but quick footballer who wasn’t afraid of taking on defenders. In 1981, Barcelona won the Copa Del Rey and the year after, Allan scored the decisive goal in the 2-1 victory over Standard Liége to help Barça win the European Cup Winners Cup final. Barcelona brought in Diego Maradona that summer and because of the regulations on foreigners, Allan decided to leave the club. Allan Simonsen is said to have played some of his best football in the Blaugrana jersey and totalBarça had the opportunity to have a talk with the Danish hall of famer, or “the gentle man of football” as he is called back home. Read more after the jump!

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First Impressions: Midfielders

First Impressions: Midfielders

A pause in club football for the international break provides an opportune moment for some reflection and projection. With about a sixth of the season over and done with, the totalBarça writing team looks into “First Impressions” of the Luis Enrique tenure. The series dives into each positional unit and considers whether there is novelty, areas for improvement, issues of concern and more that may factor into how the 2014/15 season could play out.

Over the past few years, FC Barelona’s midfield has arguably been the most consistent and strongest in the world, providing the fans with one less thing to worry about. What in the world is better than having Xavi Hernández, Andrés Iniesta, and Sergio Busquets as your midfield trio? And along the way, we’ve seen amazing players like Cesc Fábregas and Thiago Alcântara come and go with both claiming they were’t utilized correctly. What they didn’t know was that change was imminent, and Luis Enrique has already begun reforming his midfield.

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FC Barcelona reiterates support of right to vote

FC Barcelona reiterates support of right to vote

FC Barcelona have sent an official letter of support signed by club president Josep Maria Bartomeu to Joan Rigol, the former president of the Parliament of Catalonia, in which the club reiterates its support to the National Pact for the Right to Decide (Pacte Nacional pel Dret a Decidir) campaign, of which Rigol is the figurehead. By now, that Catalonia as a region wishes to vote for independence from Spain on November 9th is global knowledge and make no mistake, the fervor in the region is the hottest it’s ever been since the end of General Francisco Franco’s rule and the start of democracy. The issue is very nuanced, paralleling intimately to the country’s financial crisis, and is obviously one involving extreme emotion. Not to mention the fact the referendum vote itself is currently under review by the national constitutional court for legality and that the Spanish government is uncompromising on its view that independence is not an option for Catalonia.

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