Éric Abidal is one of the most beloved former FC Barcelona players in recent memory. ‘Abi’ recently announced his retirement from professional football and Barça fans are wondering what his next step will be and if he will return to Barcelona in some capacity. totalBarça translates the Mundo Deportivo interview with Abidal published this week in which he answers questions about his past and his future.
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.
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.
Saturday night was a joyful night for all cules in the world. Barça beat Sevilla 5-1, Messi broke Telmo Zarra’s record, and the critics have been shut once again. While Leo got all the attention, Saturday night’s game was a special one for Ivan Rakitić , who scored a header against his former team from a beautiful assist from Suárez , and chose not to celebrate out of respect. Rakitić spoke to El Mercador after the game, and highlighted that the team really needed the boost after a few hard weeks. “We needed a good game like this to get our morale back and win the fans’ confidence. We needed to make sure they’re on our side.”
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…
Lionel Messi’s recent comments hinted that his time at FC Barcelona may come to an end in the near future, and so when Javier Mascherano entered the press room Wednesday, he had to deal with a lot 0f Messi-related questions. “I’m not here to talk about Leo. I don’t think he has said anything odd. He said what all footballers think. In football – or in life – you can’t map out what will happen in six or seven years, because you don’t know.” More from El Jefecito after the jump.
Denis Suárez is one of the most discussed names at Barça today. The Galician, who will spend this season and the next on loan at Sevilla, is having a spectacular first season at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, and this coming weekend he will get a unique chance to prove his worth to his parent club, with Sevilla visiting the Camp Nou for La Liga. Denis gave a lengthy interview to Mundo Deportivo, and spoke on all things surrounding his career. Read the full translation of the interview after the jump.
The alarm bells are surely ringing now, and what every culé took for granted for the past eleven years has now come back to slap us in the face. Lionel Messi, who just celebrated his eleventh year at Barça, has hinted that he might leave the club in the future. Let me repeat that once again; Lionel Messi, a La Masia made phenomenon who grew up to raid all records in football and rewrite FC Barcelona’s history, is uncertain of his future at the club he gave everything to.
“I was about to turn 17. We were both called up [to the Argentina U-20s] for some friendlies. We were at the AFA training complex. I got sat at the table with him, [Ezequiel] Garay and [Lautaro] Formica. I was sat beside him. I looked at him but I didn’t know who he was. They were talking about some football boots. Then Leo sad, ‘They’re from the USA’. So I started thinking, ‘Where’s this guy from?’ I couldn’t resist and I asked him, ‘What’s your name?’ He said ‘Leo’ and I asked, ‘And what’s your surname?’ He said ‘Messi’ but it didn’t mean anything to me. I asked him again to see if it sounded familiar, and he again said ‘Messi’. He laughed and then we all laughed. Later I was thinking and I remembered that there was this kid everyone was talking about, who arrived at Barcelona when he was 12. That’s when I realised it must be him!”
FC Barcelona player Sergio Busquets, on the radio show on Radio COPE ‘El Partido de las 12,’ shared some of his views on the current situation in the club and the national team. “Football is evolving” said Busquest. “It is impossible to make everything the same way. We will not see the best-ever Barça nor the best Spanish NT again.”
In his recently released autobiography, Luis Suárez criticized the absurdity of FIFA’s “all-football activity” ban and explained how the punishment had taken a toll on his daily life. The Uruguayan expressed that he is fully aware of the mistake that he made, but once again believed that he was used as a scapegoat and was made an example of. Continue reading for quotes from Suárez’s autobiography.
Few people know that Denis Suárez actually belongs to Barça. The Galician was loaned out to Sevilla with the plan being that he gets the minutes he needs to develop into a useful player for FC Barcelona’s first team. The 20-year-old is doing great so far, and the time is almost here for his biggest challenge yet: facing his parent club at Camp Nou. Speaking to Esports Cope, Denis made his priorities very clear. Read the full translation of the interview after the jump…
While the players are busy with the international week, Xavi Hernandez attended his new football camp in Cairo, Egypt. The midfielder, who was honored to transfer his project to the north african country, used the conference to comment on the team’s latest performance. After the team bounced back with a win against Almería after suffering two consecutive league defeats, Barça suffered a lot of criticism on their performance and the new coach has been treated as bait for it all. “Luis Enrique’s trademark is to play well and win, that’s the philosophy at Barça,” said Xavi on Monday morning in Cairo. “It’s the same style with a few changes, but the philosophy hasn’t changed at all.”
“We would like to be at our best in every game and for that to happen as soon as possible… But we started the season with a new manager and new players. All the same, we are going about things the right way.” More from the Barça captain after the jump.
Sergi Samper is the ultimate La Masia product. Having been with Barça since the age of six, the 19-year-old epitomises what La Masia aims to do. This season, Sergi Samper is living through some of the best moments of his short professional career. On Monday evening Samper attended the third Stars Gala of the Catalan Football Federation in order to receive the award for the ‘Most Promising Catalan Player of the Year,’ after finishing first in the voting procedures carried out by Catalan clubs and a jury, ahead of Gerard Deulofeu and Espanyol’s Joan Jordan. Before the gala, Sergi gave a very interesting interview. Read the full interview after the jump…
The jury is still out for Luis Enrique’s first months in the Camp Nou hotseat. The grace period is over, and as ‘Lucho’ is facing his first crisis, many have come out to completely level him with criticism. Yet a man who is held in the highest esteem amongst culés, Pep Guardiola cast a vote of confidence for Lucho along with his vote in the Catalan Referendum on November 9th.
FC Barcelona coach, Luis Enrique spoke to the press ahead of the game against UD Almería and said he is focused to get the win with no exceptions. However, he knows that Almería this season “are an improved side with regards to last season.” and added that it will not be a walk in the park for the Catalans, “they will sit back and try to hit us on the counter,” adding that “they will make life difficult for us.”
Wednesday night’s win qualified Barça to the next stage of the Champions League with two games still in hand, thanks to two goals from Lionel Messi who is now on par with Real Madrid legend Raul Gonzalez’s UCL record with 71 goals. The team didn’t play so well, yet they secured three crucial points after losing two consecutive games in La Liga against Real Madrid and Celta Vigo. Xavi Hernandez along with Marc Bartra, Ivan Rakitic and Javier Mascherano, spoke to the media in the mixed zone after the game; check out what they all had to say right after the jump.
It’s been a rough period for FC Barcelona after losing two consecutive games in La Liga and falling out of top spot. However, the team reacted well against Ajax after winning for the first time a UCL game in Amsterdam, with two goals from Lionel Messi in each half which brought his total to 71 goals – equalling Raul Gonzalez’ Champions League record. The coach was all smiles in the post press conference on Wednesday night and admitted that he was relieved to have qualified to the next round of the Champions League with two games in hand. “It is important to have qualified with two games in hand. I’d like to stress the way the players behaved. I have no complaints about their attitude tonight.” More from the coach after the jump.
We all know ‘Tata’ Martino. Perhaps not the best coach around, but definitely a man who isn’t afraid to speak his mind, especially when he is acting as the voice of logic. The current national coach of Argentina came out in defense of his team’s best player and captain, Leo Messi, in response to the harsh criticism Leo has been receiving all these years.
FC Barcelona’s newest striker Luis Suárez spoke at the press conference ahead of tonight’s UEFA Champions Leauge group-stage game against AFC Ajax. He discussed a numbers of topics including the team’s current situation, playing alongside Lionel Messi and why he will not celebrate if he scores. He has already debuted as a Barça man in La Liga, but his blaugrana European debut is still ahead. Tonight he will have a chance to play against his old club and while this may stir media attention, Suárez himself remains focused and underlined that he is “delighted to be back in Amsterdam – it’s a special match for me. I’m always happy to play here. Ajax were the most important club of my career, I learned a lot here both personally and professionally. Thanks to Ajax my dream of playing in the Champions League with a top team has become reality.”
I’m sure I have, but right now I cannot think of a bigger overreaction in the Barça nation than over the recent successive defeats, a sentiment I clearly share with Luis Enrique. “Everything is being questioned at the moment, I understand that, but I will remain faithful to my ideas. I will not change due to one loss, or many losses. We make judgments at the end of the season, on whether the objectives have been achieved. That is my way, and has always been at other clubs I have coached. I am not concerned about the mood, I am just focused on preparing my players. We look to improve on some things, and praise other things we did well. There is nothing else to do.” More after the jump.
AFC Ajax coach, Frank de Boer, talked in the pre-match conference and stressed that his team should not fear FC Barcelona. “We have to be very focused at the start of the match, which we failed to do at Camp Nou. You always have to respect your opponents, but you shouldn’t fear them” before adding, “We always play confidently, whether that’s in training or league matches, and now we have to apply the same to the Champions League.”
The premier of the documentary “The Last Match”, based on his move to the club, may have been on FC Barcelona ground and with current FC Barcelona board members in attendance, but Johan Cruyff was as ever frank with his words. The crux of his comments was that the blame, which is absurd to even try assign after a couple of defeats (the horror!), does not lie with the new manager. “Barcelona had two coaches in nine years, and now three in three. There are more things going on that are not seen. There is no point to this social division…Luis Enrique has something in his favor. I signed him [in 1996], although they kicked me out and I could not coach him. He loves this sport. It is difficult to give advice to Luis Enrique. I am not inside, I cannot advise him.” More from the one time honorary president below.