Argentina’s coach Alejandro Sabella has urged the fans and the team to aid their main man, Lionel Messi, ahead of the upcoming World Cup. Many have criticized Messi for his performances when he puts on the Argentinian kit, accusing him that he does not value his national team as much as he values FC Barcelona, but Sabella was there to defend him. “There is a team which must help Messi. We cannot put all the responsibility on his shoulders. He is happy. He feels sheltered by his teammates,” said Sabella. More from the Argentinian coach after the jump.
FC Barcelona player Gerard Deulofeu (20) said that he had no idea he was to be included in La Roja‘s World Cup 2014 squad for this summer until his club’s sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta hinted at it last week. In a press conference from the Spain camp in Madrid, Deulofeu said: “I finished up on May 12 with [Everton manager] Roberto [Martinez]. I was on my holidays already. I received a call from Andoni on Tuesday. He told me I had a chance to come with national team, so I started training again on Wednesday.” Read more of Deulofeu’s words from the press conference after the jump.
Luis Enrique’s opening remarks on this summer’s transfer business were carefully prefixed with the words “try” and “best possible”. He also remarked “there is a market and there are negotiations.” Reading between the lines one would probably discover a frustrated story of targets not acquired in summers past. These are however the realities. In times gone by, only a decade ago, the best global talent found it’s way to six or seven historical powers. Now those scarce resources are shared by at least a handful more, and these handful draw upon limitless wells of riches, until very recently without restraints. FC Barcelona contends not only with new forces of equal or greater financial might, but also clubs with vendettas and clubs rich in ambition either planning to return to previous heights or conquer the status quo.
This is the world we find Andoni Zubizarreta, for all effective purposes a symbolic figure for Barça overall. And this is the world I am imagining myself in, in a little game called “If I were Zubi”, and let me tell you, it’s hardly a holiday.
On this day, 18 years ago, May 27th 1996, he made the unforgivable switch: Real Madrid to FC Barcelona. Over the course of history, 33 footballers have played for both clubs, but only 21 have made direct moves, and of those just three went from the capital to Catalonia. One of those three, and the last man to do so, was the new Barça boss Luis Enrique Martínez García, also known as Luis Enrique or Lucho.
Lus Enrique initially signed a five year deal, which he fulfilled then played another three seasons before leaving Barcelona and retiring from football is 2004. A decade later, he’s back.
AFTER SEEING THE GATES OF HELL OPEN IN LISBON, AFTER ENDURING THE LAUGHTER OF THE DEMONIC BLANCOS, A NEW ERA BEGINS, THE CYCLE OF A NEW BARÇA, STRONG, POWERFUL, WITH HUNGER TO CONQUER EUROPE ANEW. IT IS TIME TO BE REBORN FROM OUR ASHES AND TO RECREATE… A CHAMPION BARÇA
“I’m not turning water into wine here, but don’t you forget… this new Barça is up to me to create.” – Zubi
The deal was agreed and announced in March, and today Alen Halilovic signed his FC Barcelona professional contract. The young Croatian signed a five year deal and as previously announced, will begin his time in Barcelona with the B side.
Speaking quickly with Barça TV, Halilovic said, “This is a great day and I am very happy. I’ve always been a Barça fan and I know a lot about the club. I’ve been watching Barça B this season, they are a young team who play great football.” He then switched quickly to Catalan, “I can speak a little Catalan. I’m very happy to have been given a chance to play the biggest club in the world. Hello to all the Barça fans and Visca el Barça!”
Gerard Deulofeu, who recently returned to FC Barcelona following a loan spell at Everton FC, has been called up by Vicente del Bosque to join Spain’s international squad ahead of the friendly game against Bolivia. Deulofeu was one of Spain U-21′s top players and it seems like he has successfully grabbed del Bosque’s attention: “I have a lot of confidence in him. He did very well at Everton and he could be a good solution if somebody gets injured.”
The young Spaniard will join seven Barça’s players who also earned call ups for Spain’s provisional squad. The game against Bolivia will take place in Seville on the 30th of May, and Del Bosque will announce Spain’s definitive World Cup squad on the 2nd of June.
After a long and painful season, here’s a look back at the individual stats in the league campaign from the first team players. With the statistics broken down to 14 categories, we could see who former coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino favoured all throughout the season and the reasons that may be behind it. Take a look at the stats provided by Opta Sports after the break.
Gerard Piqué reached an agreement with the club nearly a week ago to renew his contract with FC Barcelona till June 30th, 2019. If the Catalan defender commits to his contract, he would have played 11 years for Barça at just 32. “Knowing that I could live out my career here is a big boost for me”, he said. “I hope we can enjoy as many successes as we have had already.” President Josep Bartomeu added “it is very important to consolidate Gerard Piqué at Barcelona. He’s the best centre back in the world … He is a core part of the new project here at FC Barcelona”.
Marc-André Ter Stegen had a big week last week. He signed and was presented for FC Barcelona, made his first appearance on the pitch at the Camp Nou and now must prepare to take on the pressure of joining the blaugrana team and all that that will bring. Follow the jump for his first interview for the club.
Following the failed La Liga decider, Josep Maria Bartomeu declared FC Barcelona would begin a period of “profound change.” Profound suggests a certain magnitude, yet I believe there will be less change than it implies. Much of the profoundness has already happened. The symbolic heart and soul of Barcelona, decade-long club captain Carles Puyol, has called it quits, and Barça’s goalie in shining armour, Víctor Valdés, is moving on after twelve years of historic success. That is already rather profound.
Then another not so minor change: Former club captain and fan favorite Luis Enrique is named manager, and blaugranas feel an odd, fluttering sensation for the first time in eons. Hope. Lucho took to his press conference like a fish to water. He was good natured and calm, but confident and assured. After a quick four to five minute speech, he answered questions from the press for another hour.
May 26, 2014
May 25, 2014