FC Barcelona Vice President of Sport Josep Maria Bartomeu has ruled out any chance of seeing Barça striker and Argentine international Lionel Messi take the pitch for the remainder of 2013.
“He does not have medical clearance and we will continue to watch his situation closely,” Bartomeu said. More after the jump.
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.
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.”
In my humble opinion, José Manuel Pinto is a pretty commendable 38-year-old goalkeeper. Once again, as he has many times before, the veteran put in a solid performance Saturday night. The injury of Víctor Valdés is clearly a blow, but thankfully the work done prior has all but secured first place in the Champions League and the La Liga scheduling computer has produced a favorable run until 2014.
Over the weekend Pinto was a guest on Barça TV’s El Mirador during which he discussed the methods he uses to keep him happy and motivated. He was also selected by the club to be the pre-Ajax match speaker.
Before the FC Barcelona team boarded the plane for Amsterdam, Andoni Zubizarreta, Director of Football for FC Barcelona spoke to the press.
He said: “We are travelling with the intention of securing the top spot and continuing with a phase that has gone very well so far. Our aim is to win every game. We want to compete with a historic team like Ajax at a historic venue. This is a top level Champions League match and we have to be up to the occasion.”
On the 23 November Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino spoke to the press after the 4-0 victory against Granada.
He began by saying: “We controlled the pace of the game, knowing when we had to play more directly and when we had to slow the match down. This side know[s] how to play in different ways when they need to. We have a commitment to play attractive football and I think the fans enjoyed themselves today.” You can read more quotes from Martino after the jump!
“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
Brazilian defender Adriano Correia (29) is experiencing his best season at the club. For the first time since arriving at the Camp Nou in the summer of 2010 he has managed to play 10 consecutive games, something that was unthinkable in previous campaigns when the defender struggled a lot with muscle injuries. In an interview with Catalan daily El Mundo Deportivo, Adriano confessed some of his secrets. Read everything after the jump.
At a recent press conference, FC Barcelona goalkeeper Víctor Valdés was asked to appraise the sporting performance of his teammate Lionel Messi. The ever-diplomatic Valdés was somewhat reserved in his assessment of the Argentine star: “Messi is God. He is the best and will always be the best, for everything he has brought to this team and to me as a friend. I think Barcelona will always depend on him because he is the best player in the world.”
As you can see, Víctor Valdés does not beat around the bush.
Is he drinking Coke, ahem, I mean Pepsi again? Did he play too much? But this never happened with Pep. Was he rushed back from injury? Has Messi been lazy with his training? Is it because of a rift with Juanjo? Perhaps the 120,000 pre-season kilometers? All theories, none definitive answers for Lionel Messi’s repeated injuries. Well, the man himself has spoken and his message is forceful and crystal clear.
“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
Few players will have the impact on sport like Lionel Messi already has. And it all started on this day, November 16, ten years ago. It would be easy to go into a soliloquy of Messi unbelievable records and milestone or his jaw dropping displays but it’s not necessary. Words can never give justice to his genius. Yesterday FC Barcelona published over two hours of video collected during this decade and that’s certainly worth a watch on this day.
Barça TV will broadcast a special program called “The Day Number 10 Will Debut” on Thursday at 21:00, then repeat at 23:30. It will then run three times each day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Check out the source link below for a two-minute clip of Messi speaking about the moment, including saying: “November 16th 2003 is a very important date for me, because that’s when I was able to make my childhood dream come true. It was a very happy day for me. I’d fought hard to make that moment happen and it was really special.”
Marc Bartra is certain to make his full Spanish debut either in the controversial friendly versus Equatorial Guinea or against South Africa. He was one of the players selected to sit with the media and obviously being called up by Vicente del Bosque was a “dream” come true for the emerging defender.
An avid reader of totalBarça recently contacted us in sharing the release of his new book dedicated to the inner workings of La Masia. In this edition of We’ve got mail, we get to know the author and his newly published book, which is available on Amazon.
FC Barcelona defender and Brazilian international Adriano Correia has proven to be quite the stalwart in Gerardo Martino’s side. With starting left back and Spanish international Jord Alba suffering back-to-back injuries this season, Adriano was forced to step up and has fit in swimmingly. His link up with Andrés Iniesta, Neymar, and Barcelona’s center backs has calmed the nerves of many culés who feared Barcelona was in a defensive crisis that would cause it to lose crucial points to both Madrid sides.
The Curitiba-born defender has come a long way since arriving in July 2010. His abilities and ambidexterity made it easier for him to fit in whenever there was a defensive injury, but first-team football has seldom been a luxury he has enjoyed. Several outstanding performances over the last two seasons however, has made the Brazilian a regular appearance on the team sheet, and he claims his abilities are beginning to show for it.
Few players in football perform a role as perfectly and crucially as Sergio Busquets. Yet, in a recent interview with Espacio Reservado de Canal + Liga, Busquets said that if he could reincarnate, he would ”like to return as Leo Messi.” Follow the jump for an in-depth interview with Busquets in which he discusses his career prospects, managers past and present and issues concerning the Spanish national team including the highly debated Diego Costa narrative.
Barcelona B hasn’t had the best of seasons so far. The reserves are 20th on the Liga Adelante standards, in the relegation places, having just won four of their first 13 games in the league. Coach Eusebio Sacristán has been heavily criticised by Spanish press, with reports regarding a fall out with some of his players coming to surface last week, at a time when Barcelona’s B team has won just one out of seven matches.
FC Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino handled the press after Sunday’s game against Real Betis. He started off saying that the first 30 minutes were not to his satisfaction: “We played the game that Betis wanted to play in the first 30 minutes. They left a lot of space and their pressure forced us back.” He also praised the opponents by saying: “[They] deserved a goal in the first half hour of the game.”
Read more statements from Tata after the jump.