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.
After the defeat against Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final, many pictures have been leaked of Los Blancos’ No.7 Cristiano Ronaldo comforting four-time FIFA Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi. It was probably the first time we’ve seen these two legendary rivals make any sort of personal contact, that and the Ballon d’Or ceremony earlier this year. And it makes you think, their fans loathe each other, while the two rivals are able to show respect to one another. Probably sportsmanship at its best.
Even though Carles Puyol has not been able to be on the field much this season, never discount the work that he does as captain of the team. There were numerous pictures of him consoling players and even hugging it out with Tata after yesterday’s loss. Here we see him comforting his young protege, Marc Bartra.
When Gerardo Martino was signed as FC Barcelona’s manager in July, the prevailing attitude was one of cautious optimism. He was an unknown quantity, and less rigorous media made his lack of European experience a major talking-point. But more level-headed fans did their research, got to know Martino’s bielsista heritage and pragmatism and welcomed him. Nobody expected an all-conquering winner; while Tito Vilanova was considered a continuation of Pep Guardiola’s project, Martino was an outsider, the first non-Masia coach in five years. Cules hoped, however, that an outside perspective would revitalize the team, diversifying and strengthening the famous Barça DNA, now a stagnant gene pool. In short: not titles, but transition.
12-13 April 2014
This week’s video is somewhat special, as it includes Munir El Haddadi’s two strikes in the UEFA Youth League final, with his second from the halfway line, of course ranking first, while the team’s second, for which Munir combined with Adama, ranks second on the list. The compilation is completed with goals by Fode Fofana and Pablo Moreno, of the Alevín A, and Pablo López, of the Benjamín A. Enjoy!
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.
Marc Bartra, the player who gave FC Barcelona fans a reason to smile yesterday, has now taken part in 50 games with the club’s first team. Yesterday’s was his first clásico and Spanish Cup final, where he managed to restore hope for a short period of time with a towering header from a corner to bring things level against Real Madrid. Unfortunately, the promising youngster was injured while attempting to catch up with the incredibly fast Gareth Bale, as he explained later: “I got cramp and hurt my hamstring.” Bartra won 12 balls, completed 31 out of 36 passes, shot twice at goal, cleared 15 balls, and played 87 minutes.
Bartra has so far played 16 games in La Liga, 4 in the Champions League, and 6 in the Copa del Rey, totaling 26 games out of a possible 50. The future looks bright for our young Spanish defender. Will he be given the chance to shine?
Neymar Jr. will be out of action for four weeks after suffering a foot injury against Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final. Neymar sustained a contusion that caused an edema in the fourth metatarsal of his left foot, and will miss the league games against Athletic Bilbao, Villarreal CF, Getafe CF, and Elche CF. The Brazilian, however, may recover in time for the final league game of the season against Atlético Madrid if treatment goes well.
This is Neymar’s second injury of the season after sustaining a tendon sprain three months ago.
“WITHOUT” MESSI 1 – 2 WITHOUT CR7
R.I.P. The greatest team in history
Thanks for the best years of our lives
Wise up, Zubi!!!!
Cartoon by Caye
“Everything that he knows is standard. He hasn’t had to learn it.” That is the way in which most people who know Munir El Haddadi define the youngster. The 18-year-old of Moroccan descent, who was born at El Escorial near Madrid, won promotion to the Juvenil A this year, made his Barça B debut and proved to be the catalyst for the Juvenil A’s triumph in the UEFA Youth League. Munir’s story after the jump.
Out of the Champions League. Looking from behind in the league chase. Out of the Copa del Rey. The last time Barça lost three times in a row was in the first months of 2003, and even then it wasn’t as bad as it is now. But who’s to blame? The coach? The players? Messi?! or perhaps the board. After 5 years of success, last night’s match truly marked the end of an era at the Catalan club. Poor results, thin squad and awkward tactics, things haven’t been this bad for some time.
A Copa del Rey final defeat against eternal rivals Real Madrid added to Barça’s miserable week and reassured that this season will end without a trophy to add to the cabinet. After Marc Bartra equalised with a wonderful header, it was hard seeing Gareth Bale score and watch the season slip away. Read after the jump what Marc Bartra, Xavi Hernández, Andrés Iniesta and Dani Alves had to say after the match.
“It’s a really tough blow because the expectations are so great.” Gerardo Martino is correct on both fronts, particularly the latter. FC Barcelona are now their own worst enemies, having set the standard so high, it’s what too many assume to be the norm. Martino kept it short post match, but whether truthful or not, the Argentine felt his future hasn’t particularly changed. “As I have said for one, two, three months now, I don’t feel that my future has changed because of all that we lost, and nor do I think it would be different if we had won.” The part that is likely to prove true is that even if Barça had won, Martino’s future wouldn’t have been any different.
Commenting on the winning goal, Tata was annoyed because he felt “the game was going our way after we had leveled until that counterattack”, but also was impressed to see someone “sprint like that at that stage of the game.”
“Obviously this is not a good moment. It has been a hard week on all fronts.” But Tata also stressed the need for perspective, to look at the bigger picture, to trust in the fundamentals of the squad and look to build for the future.
One month remains in the season, and there is only one competition to focus on. The league isn’t over as both Madrid sides have a very real distraction in Europe. Martino has to implore the players to muster one final push and finish the season undefeated.
In what would prove to be a disappointing game, Jordi Alba suffered an injury to the biceps femoris in his right leg in the first half, and was subbed off during the break of the Copa Del Rey final against Real Madrid. The extent of the injury will be evaluated on Thursday.
Alba was one of the most threatening players during the first half, with the exact moment of his injury still unknown, making his entire performance admirable for being under physical duress while on the pitch.
I think this picture sums up how most of us feel at this point in the season. Go to your happy place, Leo. Or think about hedgehogs.
FC Barcelona’s title hopes for this season have faded away after a painful 1-2 loss against Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey’s final. The loss came after a shocking league defeat against Granada CF and a goodbye to the Champions League following another loss against Atlético Madrid, and tonight the losing streak has gone up to three. Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino was disappointed after losing the title to our bitter rivals, but insisted the team must keep on moving forward. “It’s a very difficult blow because of our expectations. We wanted to win, but what I’m taking away from this match is the team’s intention. We must continue forward and keep on fighting for the league,” he said. More after the jump.
April 17, 2014
April 16, 2014