totalBarça presents Coach Culé: The Ultimate Prediction Game. Brought to you by Footynews!
This is your chance to prove not only your knowledge about the game of football, but also your Blaugrana insight by cracking the code of Barça’s coaching. It’s time for you to…
Predict FC Barcelona’s Starting Lineup
For upcoming match: FC Barcelona vs Almeria
More game and prize details after the jump.
“UEFA’s control and disciplinary body has banned Manchester City head coach Manuel Pellegrini for three UEFA competitions games, one of which is under probation for two years.” Thereby Pellegrini is prevented from accessing the dressing room at Camp Nou or partaking in any kind of communication with any of his players or staff during the match. He will be suspended for a second match, either if Manchester City turn a home 2-0 first leg deficit around and progress, something that has been done only once (last year by Barça), or otherwise the match will carry over to the 2014/15 season. The probationary match will only come into effect if the manager breaches rules again in the two year span.
18-year-old Juvenil A striker Munir El Haddadi has been called up by Eusebio Sacristán for Barcelona B’s match against Mallorca on Saturday, his first ever summons to the B team. Equally adept as a winger and a striker, Munir is widely regarded as one of the best attackers in La Masia, and he is a regular feature on Barcelona’s weekly top five goal videos from the youth teams. In addition to his extraordinary left-footed shot, the youngster has a seemingly endless reserve of creativity and dribbling skills, drawing comparisons to a Barcelona legend, Rivaldo. This excellent news comes just a few days after Munir received his first call-up to the Spain U-19 team for a friendly against Holland, along with fellow Barcelona youngsters Adama Traoré, Alex Grimaldo, and Sandro Ramirez. A great week for Munir El Haddadi, and a great sign for Barcelona’s future.
Vicente del Bosque has announced his 22-man list for the international friendly against Italy next week. The coach picked up the following seven FC Barcelona players: Víctor Valdés, Jordi Alba, Xavi Hernández, Andrés Iniesta, Cesc Fàbregas, Sergio Busquets and Pedro Rodríguez.
Gerard Piqué didn’t make the list because of his calf injury, while it was said that despite the coach leaving out Carles Puyol, Del Bosque claims that he is “not writing him off” and that there will be no doubt in the Barça captain’s participation once he goes back to being fit and playing regularly. A somewhat surprise inclusion was former Barcelona player Thiago Alcántara, who has been sensational in Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich and looks likely to be selected for the World Cup in Brazil. Full squad below.
17-year-old Dinamo Zagreb midfielder Alen Halilović has confirmed a move to FC Barcelona on his official Facebook and Instagram accounts. The young Croatian is regarded as one of the best midfield talents in the world, drawing comparisons to Andrés Iniesta and even Lionel Messi, due to his excellent left foot. He has made 48 appearances for the Dinamo first team in the last two seasons, becoming the youngest goalscorer in the Prva HNL, the second-youngest player to ever feature in the Champions League, and the youngest ever player to debut for the Croatian national team in the process. The transfer fee is rumored to be somewhere between three and ten million euros, and Halilović would play a year with the B team before promotion.
Following Iniesta and Xavi‘s press conferences on Tuesday and Wednesday, Cesc Fabregas spoke on Thursday with similar encouraging words, self-criticising himself and the team’s performances in Anoeta against Real Sociedad. “We’re the first to know that we didn’t play a good game. We lacked mobility, intensity and precision, things that are vital to win a game.” The midfielder also added, “We’ve analysed the game, we know where we made mistakes and now we have to recover everything that we didn’t do.”
La Masia hosts a huge number of talents. In this pool of talent, some bright stars are still able to shine. If La Masia had a Ballon D’Or equivalent for its players, this boy would be at the podium, to say the least. He is a 16-year-old who admires Neymar (who was a nightmare for Barça before signing for the club) and is a regular fixture for Spain’s U-16 team. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Carles Pérez.
Culés have already received the happy news of Marc Bartra’s contract renewal, which the club announced on January the 15th on the centre-back’s birthday. Bartra had been reluctant to commit his long-term future to the club, due to his little playing time last season, and of course due to the rumours of a new centre-back signing. In the end he agreed. Nevertheless, the 23-year-old has not put pen to paper yet, and that has made some Blaugranas worried. Fortunately, there won’t be a reason to worry any more, as the Masia graduate is set to sign the new contract this week. Reasons for the postponement were simply because of the club’s heavy schedule as well as the string of legal issues.
Bojan Krkić’s story is a sorry one. The 23-year-old striker experienced a fast track to the FC Barcelona first team after becoming La Masia’s highest ever goalscorer, but couldn’t make it, and has been since touring Europe on loan. Yet if English newspaper ‘The Mirror’ is to be believed, Liverpool is to give the striker, who is now loan to Ajax, a new lease of life in the summer transfer window. Read more after the jump.
Xavi Hernández spoke at a press conference on Wednesday to discuss the team’s situation where he was both self-analytical and optimistic of Barça’s season. The loss against Real Sociedad in Anoeta meant that the Catalan club will be chasing the title with three points between them and their bitter rivals, Real Madrid. But Xavi understood the situation and is well optimistic of the future outcome. “Everything is at stake and we have to be positive. We are training hard, in an unusual week, without a game. Because of last Saturday we’re angry with ourselves. We know it’s the hour of truth, and we can’t fail any more.” More from Xavi after the jump.
February 27, 2014
February 26, 2014