In memory of Josep Sunyol

In memory of Josep Sunyol

On August 6, 1936, FC Barcelona president Josep Sunyol was tragically murdered by a squadron of General Francisco Franco’s rebel fascist army during the Spanish Civil War. Today marks the 78th anniversary of his tragic passing and in memory Barça’s captain will wear a black armband in tonight’s match against Napoli.

The legend of his event has grown and is often cited in the eternal Barça-Real Madrid debate, the ultimate encapsulation of good vs bad. Stories have gone so far as it being a planned assassination. Tonight’s news is actually rather interesting as many over the decades have been unimpressed with the club’s effort to keep alive his memory. Those interested in all this and a lot more should invest in Sid Lowe’s terrific Fear and Loathing in La Liga. The chapters dedicated to the Civil War and Sunyol’s fateful last day are impeccably researched and written.

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Replay: The last Barça-Napoli meeting

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Bravo: “We are all under Luis Enrique’s orders”

Bravo: “We are all under Luis Enrique’s orders”

FC Barcelona’s new goal keeper Claudio Bravo gave a press conference along with Barça’s left-back Jordi Alba before the game against S.S.C. Napoli.

Claudio Bravo was first to talk during the press conference starting with “they are all important” he insisted, adding that “I don’t think this game will necessarily be an indicator of who’ll be playing when we start competition.” More after the jump.

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Bartomeu: “There is no no-biting clause”

Bartomeu: “There is no no-biting clause”

Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu gave a length interview to CNN yesterday to discuss all things FC Barcelona. The piece centers around the mes que un club slogan, a widely misinterpreted phrase, as is the case again with CNN. During the interview, Bartomeu discusses the year gone by and this new transition phase for the club. All that after the jump.

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Video of the Day: Messi, Masch and Dani train alone

While the rest of the team rested ahead of their trip to Geneva, Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano, and Dani Alves trained alone in their second training session of the day. The trio rejoined the group on Tuesday and will not be traveling with the squad to face SSC Napoli. Neymar Jr., Adriano Corriea, Jérémy Mathieu, and Xavi Hernández also joined the second session but worked on recovery programs and special fitness routines. Feeling a bit lonely, boys?

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Xavi replaces Puyol as captain

Xavi replaces Puyol as captain

According to Esport3, Xavi Hernández was yesterday chosen by his teammates to carry the captain’s armband following Carles Puyol’s decision to retire. The players voted on it with each one writing his preferred three candidates on a piece of paper. Andrés Iniesta will now become the team’s vice-captain while Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets follow him respectively.

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The Front: Mundo Deportivo (6.8.2014)

the front MD aug 6 2014

XAVI CONFESSES THAT HE WON’T GO BECAUSE OF LUIS ENRIQUE

“I thought that my time at Barça was finished, but he changed my mind”

HE LEAVES THE SELECTION: “I think that my cycle in La Roja is finished”

FRIENDLY: BARÇA-NAPOLI, The one from Terrassa (Xavi) and Mathieu won’t go to Geneva

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The Front: Sport (6.8.2014)

the front sport aug 6 2014

THE NEW MESSI

HE SURPRISED WITH HIS HAIRCUT

Leo started the pre-season with a double session of training

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Picture of the day: Calm down, it’s just a haircut

Picture of the day: Calm down, it’s just a haircut

When I woke up this morning and checked in with social media, all I saw from the football sites was, “Leo’s new look!” Really? It looks like a normal haircut to me. At least he doesn’t pick his hair styles like he does his suits. That would really be news.

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Ruiz: “I invented the Barça method”

Ruiz: “I invented the Barça method”

The name Laureano Ruiz doesn’t get the instant recognition it should. Johan Cruyff, Pep Guardiola, even Rinus Michels register, but it can be argued the Ruiz got the primordial FC Barcelona/La Masia/tiki-taka ball rolling. Readers can get familiar with Ruiz in this previously published totalBarça piece. After the jump is an exclusive translation of a recent interview, the last carried out by Olé’s Jorge ‘Topo’ López (who passed away in an automobile accident during this summer’s World Cup) with the legendary Ruiz himself.

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Xavi: “I can still be important here”

Xavi: “I can still be important here”

Xavi Hernández gave a press conference today, in which he announced that he is staying at FC Barcelona and will see out his contract despite initial hesitations about continuing following a rough end to the 2013/14 season. The press conference was revealing and honest and the Barcelona legend seems to be assured and comfortable under the management of former teammate, Luis Enrique. However, el Maestro has announced that he will be retiring from the Spanish national team. Read on below to hear what Xavi had to say about his two big decisions.

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Bartomeu: “We learned a lot this past year”

Bartomeu: “We learned a lot this past year”

In an interview with The Times, FC Barcelona’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu admitted that the club’s image suffered a lot this past year. The club faced legal problems over the signing of Neymar Jr. as well as issues with FIFA that led to a decision to ban the club from the transfer market for two windows, although the ban is suspended for the time being. “We have learned a lot this past year. Maybe our image has suffered, but you have to learn when things are not as good as they can be, and we have.”

While some view the arrival of Luis Suárez as another blow to the club’s image due to the Uruguayan’s recent biting incident, Bartomeu believes that Suárez has done enough for people to forgive him and move on. “Everyone, including him, knows that what he did was wrong, and that is why he apologized. For us, that is enough,” said Bartomeu.

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Rakitić: “It’s clear that I’m at the best club in the world”

Rakitić: “It’s clear that I’m at the best club in the world”

Earlier this week, new FC Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitić appeared on the TV show “Party of Twelve.” He covered a variety of topics, including his new teammates and coach, and cleared up a misunderstanding from a few years back. Read on for details.

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Medical: Neymar recovering well

Medical: Neymar recovering well

Upon his arrival today, Neymar Jr. underwent a check up on his back injury that he sustained during the World Cup. Neymar suffered a fractured vertebrae with Brazil but has been recovering well ever since. He will now follow a specific training program selected by the club doctors, who were pleased with his healing progress, to ensure a safe return to the pitch.

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21 to Geneva to face SSC Napoli

21 to Geneva to face SSC Napoli

Luis Enrique has confirmed a 21 man squad that will travel to face SSC Napoli tomorrow evening in Geneva, Switzerland. Those that miss out are Xavi Hernández, Jérémy Mathieu, Patric Gabarron, Alex Song and all four (Lionel Messi, Neymar, Dani Alves, Javier Mascherano) of the senior players that just began training this morning. The first three all miss out for minor medical reasons whereas Song, because of his family emergency, is not deemed physically prepared for action. However, Ibrahim Afellay also doesn’t make the list and he is not injured. The Dutchman wasn’t involved against Nice either. These are usually signs a deal is in the works.

The full list of those eligible to face Napoli after the jump.

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Barcelona B win second friendly 2-1

Barcelona B win second friendly 2-1

Barcelona B were victorious in their second preseason friendly beating L’Escala 2-1, through goals scored by David Babunski and Rodrigo Tarín. The match served as a test for Eusebio’s ideas in terms of tactics and team strategy, as well as providing the perfect opportunity for the coach to test the abilities of his new goalies, Fabrice Ondoa and José Aurelio Suárez. In addition, several Juvenil A players having preseason with the reserves were handed their unofficial Barça B debuts by Eusebio. Read more…

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Ex-Barça: Rafa Márquez signs for Hellas Verona

Ex-Barça: Rafa Márquez signs for Hellas Verona

Ex-Barcelona centre-back Rafa Marquez has returned to Europe. While the veteran defender had returned to his homeland of Mexico for Club León, he has opted to return to European football in order to sign with Hellas Verona of the Italian Serie A. The ‘Kaiser of Michoacán’ will sign a three-year contract with the team that finished eleventh in the Italian top flight last year. The 35-year-old’s transfer means that he will miss the chance to return to the Camp Nou as an opponent, given that Club León will be Barça’s opponent in this year’s edition of the Joan Gamper trophy. Read more…

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Training: Messi, Masch, Ney and Dani back

Training: Messi, Masch, Ney and Dani back

The final first team members (save obviously Luis Suárez) hit the training field this morning. Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano, Neymar and Dani Alves joined the squad in the AM and the four will also have a second training in the afternoon whilst the rest of the squad is given rest time.

Xavi Hernández and Jérémy Mathieu, hamstring twinge, trained separately and both are ruled out of the Napoli friendly tomorrow.

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What to expect when you’re expecting

What to expect when you’re expecting

The season’s first official game against Elche CF is 19 days away, and I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited about a new campaign as I am now. But things have changed, a lot, and so must we. Last season, many culés, including myself, expected a lot from the team. The first half of the season was incredible and the team was moving in the right direction. And then it all fell apart. We’ve blamed the coach, the players, and the board for the unsuccessful, trophyless season but we deserve some of the blame too.

Ever since the treble season we have been spoiled with spectacular football. We became used to watching the one and only Carles Puyol raise trophies up in the air as we celebrate yet another victory. But bit by bit these same players grew tired, and we just couldn’t accept that. I was furious at Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino for the way he managed the team by the end, I was disappointed at how the players showed so little hunger, and I despised the board for choosing to watch from the sidelines while football’s greatest ever generation neared its end. But then again, we always expected too much.

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The Front: Mundo Deportivo (5.8.2015)

the front MD aug 5 2014

ON THE WAY

From today, Luis Enrique counts on all of his cracks: Only missing Luis Suárez

MESSI: Lucho could regain the best version of the number 1

NEYMAR: Will undergo medical examination to discern his condition

MASCHE: Important man in the trainer’s plans

ALVES: The winger will speak with the coach and make a decision

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August 5, 2014

The Front: Sport (5.8.2014)

Picture of the day: Playing in the sprinklers

Cartoon of the Day: Sport


August 4, 2014

Video of the Day: Messi – Back in Barcelona

Song explains leave of absence

Ex-Barça: Oriol Romeu loaned to Stuttgart

Training: Song and Adriano return

Medical: Xavi suffers calf strain

On this Day: 40 years since Neeskens’ debut

Medical: Montoya gets away with a bruise

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