Sant Jordi, or Saint George, is the patron saint of Barcelona, and has been so since the 15th century. The Cross of St. George stands proudly on the FC Barcelona crest and is a day intrinsically woven into the makeup of Catalonian culture. Today to celebrate Sant Jordi Day, the club will distribute 2,500 roses to members and fans that pass by Camp Nou.
As we informed earlier FC Barcelona has lodged an appeal before the FIFA Appeal Committee against “the decision of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee that sanctioned the club for breaches relating to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18.” Together with this appeal, the club also requested that its appeal be granted suspensive effect.
Today the following statement was released “the chairman of the FIFA Appeal Committee, Larry Mussenden, took into consideration the sanctions imposed against the club, the complexity of the matter, the start date of the next registration period – 1 July 2014 – and the fact that the FIFA Appeal Committee does not seem in a position to take a decision on the main issue early enough so that an eventual appeal of the club against its decision before the Court of Arbitration for Sport would still be decided before the beginning of the next registration period. Consequently, the chairman of the FIFA Appeal Committee considered that the appeal lodged by the club is to be granted suspensive effect. In view of the foregoing, the chairman of the FIFA Appeal Committee assures that proper and adequate appeal proceedings will take place and, at the same time, that all rights of the club will be respected.”
Barça defender Gerard Piqué had a lot to say during the presentation of the tenth edition of ‘Relats Solidaris de l’Esport (Sports Solidarity Stories).’ He spoke about the up and downs of the current season, Lionel Messi, Cesc Fàbregas and Tata Martino. Read on for Piqué’s comments.
In a season when things have not been going very well for FC Barcelona, one would expect that the coach would turn to the club’s endless conveyor belt of youth talent for the answer to the team’s lack of fresh legs and fresh ideas. Instead, players from FC Barcelona B have only seen 72 minutes of first team football this season. Read more after the jump.
Daniel Alves played his 293rd game yesterday, giving him the second-most appearances for a non-Spanish player at FC Barcelona. He surpassed Dutchmen Phillip Cocu, who was a staple of the Barcelona midfield from 1998-2004, but is still a distant second to Lionel Messi’s incredible 421 games. This milestone serves as a reminder of just how important Alves has been to Barcelona at a time where many fans have made him a target for criticism and even advocated his sale. Hit the jump for a few of Dani’s recent stats.
The past couple of weeks have been horrid for culés. We’ve seen our beloved team lose the Champions League, the Copa Del Rey and the Liga (most probably, given the other contenders’ form) in three matches. We needed our team to respond, to show some signs of life. Well, if a response is a true exhibition of fighting spirit, then the game against Athletic was the perfect response. FC Barcelona came back from behind to beat a team that is challenging for Champions League football. They provided enough reason for optimism by playing their finest football for the final 15 minutes. Jump for more.
Barça’s Alevín A team (players born in 2002) have been crowned champions of the Mediterranean International Cup (MIC). The boys beat Ajax comprehensively in the final of the ‘D’ category of the tournament, with the scoreboard at the Palamós stadium reading 5-0. The boys in blaugrana couldn’t open the scoring until the second half, but when the first from Gerard Fernández went in, the goals started raining in. Fernández himself bagged a brace, as did Pablo Moreno, with Antonio Roca adding a fifth.
Congratulations to the boys!
Ernesto Valverde’s Athletic Bilbao will prove a test for FC Barcelona at Camp Nou. Despite defeating the Basque team in Catalonia 68% of the time historically, including their last nine visits, Valverde’s Bilbao are undefeated on the road in 96 days, stretching back to January 5th. Since then they have won at Osasuna, Betis and Levante, while drawing in Celta, Valencia and Elche. The key? Defense. In these last seven away trips, Bilbao have conceded only four goals.
During the Copa loss to Real Madrid, Neymar Jr. suffered an injury that caused an edema in his right foot. In an interview with Globo TV, Neymar said that he had the injury for a while and just worsened it in the Copa final. “It was an inflation that I had already had for some time. It got worse after I played. It was injured enough that I walked with difficulty after the game… I knew it would be a medium long period (that he would be out), but always with a little fear, first to be out, which I do not like at all in any form, and then, of course, for the World Cup. But within three weeks I’ll return and I hope to play Barça’s last match (this season).”
With the Copa del Rey and the Champions League gone, Barcelona must turn their attention back to La Liga. While hopes of finishing higher than third are slim at best, they must give one hundred percent for each of the five remaining games of the season. Athletic Bilbao will probably represent the Catalan’s greatest challenge until the final day of the season, where they will of course take on leaders Atlético Madrid for a potentially title-deciding match.
But first, the Basques. They handed Barça their first league loss of the season back in December at the New San Mamés, which has been a nigh-impregnable fortress this season. Undefeated in their last seven away trips, though only one win of the last four, Bilbao have ample motivation going into this game. They are currently in fourth with a six-point lead over Sevilla FC, but that lead is surely not enough to be comfortable – a loss to Barcelona and Sevilla next week would open up the battle for Champions League football. Athletic will be eying Barcelona as wounded giants, an opportunity to gain points from what used to be a certain loss.
So many injuries. Gerardo Martino is unable to call upon key members Víctor Valdés, Gerard Piqué, Jordi Alba and Neymar. Jonathan Dos Santos and Isaac Cuenca are also injured, but inconsequentially. The one piece of good news is Marc Bartra received medical clearance. Full squad:
Pinto, Olazábal, Montoya, Fàbregas, Xavi, Pedro, Iniesta, Alexis, Messi, Mascherano, Bartra, Song, Afellay, Tello, Adriano, Dani Alves, Sergi Roberto, Sergi Gómez.
FC Barcelona B midfielder Pol Calvet looks set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines. The 20 year-old’s operation was completed successfully on Thursday by doctors Orava and Cugat for treatment of his hamstring muscle syndrome. Recovery time is set between four and six months.
A story from Sport that Alexis Sánchez angrily confronted Gerardo Martino following the Copa del Rey loss and refused to collect his second place medal picked up some traction over social media yesterday. Alexis has come out and refused all such class. Not a user of social media himself, the Chilean had his agent, Fernando Felichevich, tweet out the following:
“Having just finished speaking with Alexis, he asked me to flatly deny the story of his altercation with FC Barcelona’s manager. In more than a 10 year career [Alexis] has never had a problem with any of his managers. Alexis did not confront his manager, much less insult him. He has always had an exemplary attitude.”
As happens annually, an apparent version of the upcoming season uniform has been published by both Sport and Mundo Deportivo, using the leaked image from footyheadlines.com. In fairness, the leaks over the last few years have proven true. This one looks, well, let’s say hurriedly put together. But, it could be it or a close version. Thoughts?
One of Barcelona’s principal dailies Mundo Deportivo asked in a poll “who is the most responsible for the bad state at Barça?”. From the 2,153 votes, 49% place the blame on the board, 23% on the players, 17% believe it’s the technical staff [aka manager and staff], 9% point the finger at Andoni Zubizarreta and 2% said other.
Barça B continued their impressive form in the Liga Adelante this past weekend with a comfortable 3-0 win over strugglers Real Jaén. This win lifts the Blaugrana reserves into 5th place. On 51 points, Eusebio’s team is just 9 points adrift of leaders Deportivo and 4 behind second-placed Eibar. Read more after the jump.