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?
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.
The Copa del Rey final kicked off as a potential saving grace to a disappointing FC Barcelona week, and what might prove to be a disappointing season, at La Mestalla in Valencia, and ended with a painful loss.
With this defeat, the chances of winning any title has dwindled down to La Liga, where the team trails in 3rd behind their Champions League vanquishers, Atlético Madrid, and tonight’s winners, Real Madrid. It has been a heartbreaking week indeed, yet tonight’s game was even more so because there were moments when a fan couldn’t be faulted in believing that it could have turned out better.
totalBarça welcomes you all to Copa del Rey final match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid!
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 @ 21:30 Barcelona time - Convert to local time
Tonight the Copa del Rey final broadcasters RTVE will have one of their 24 cameras solely focused on Lionel Messi for the entire match. There will be another lens on Gareth Bale, and the footage will eventually be used to produce a special program on the two players. However, while one enjoy the match on the TV, tonight is will be possible to follow every step Messi takes live at www.rtve.es.
Goalkeeper José Manuel Pinto did an extensive interview with El Pais this week. Pinto is many things. Besides being a goalkeeper, he is a music producer and somewhat of a philosopher. He meditates, practices yoga breathing exercises and has a very positive view about football and life in general. Read on for an excerpt of his thoughts about today’s Copa del Rey final.
Pros: Gerardo Martino is 2 for 2 against Real Madrid, Marc Bartra appears set to start, Leo Messi might be feeling in the mood for proving a point and tonight genuinely is Barça’s best shot at silverware. Cons: Carles Puyol and Gerard Piqué are effectively ruled out and Cristiano Ronaldo is unavailable. More pros than cons then, but of course, football is not won with a pros and cons table. Thus far Tata has had Carlo’s number, but Ancelotti is as experienced and able as any, it would be some feat for Martino to make it 3 for 3. But that’s what he must do, operative word being must.
World Cup winner Andrés Iniesta spoke in Tuesday’s pre-match press conference ahead of Wednesday’s Copa del Rey final against eternal rivals Real Madrid. A horror week in the Catalan club caused an earlier than usual UEFA Champions League exit at the hands of Atlético Madrid, followed by a disappointing away loss against Granada CF which lost Barça’s grip on the league title chase.
But now the team is solely focused on bouncing back by beating Real Madrid for the third time this season in the very same stadium where they lost in 2011. Iniesta reassured the fans that “The team is able to play well and win.” He also added, “It would be a huge joy for our supporters. We only have thoughts of winning the trophy.” More from Don Andrés after the jump.
THE SAD REALITY OF THE CULÉS
Only six says ago we dreamt of a treble, but considering how things have gone, we’ll gladly sign off on this…
Cartoon by Caye
FC Barcelona head coach Gerardo Martino argued that his team still has what it takes to defeat Real Madrid for the Copa del Rey title, while acknowledging the disappointment of recent results. Make the jump for more details.
Today Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti officially ruled Cristiano Ronaldo out of tomorrow evening Copa del Rey final. Winning will still need a fully focused and committed performance from FC Barcelona, particularly considering the last several days. But with Ronaldo out, Gerardo Martino’s team’s task has markedly improved. Less excuses now, lads.
Those heading down to the Mestalla in Valencia to see FC Barcelona take on Real Madrid for the Copa del Rey should be sure to stop by Barça Zone Valencia. From 10 am to 7:30 pm, the club have organized a fan zone for the estimated 20,000 supporters that will make the midweek trip. Set up in Parc dels Tarongers, Barça Zone with have a range of activities on offer. Four bands will be performing live: The Uppshitters (apparently) (2 pm), Itaca Band (3:10 pm), Pirat’s Sound Sistema (4:25 pm) and Dr Calypso (5:45 pm), there will be various activities for children, foosball, mini-arena football, Catalan billiards, video games and of course plenty of food and beverages.
After medical tests carried out, Real Madrid’s medical services have announced that Cristiano Ronaldo has a muscular injury to his left hamstring. In official statment there is no information about estimated time of recovery, only the phrase that the club is “awaiting developments.” It’s still unclear if player will be able to play against FC Barcelona in Copa del Rey final, scheduled for next Wednesday, April 16, 2014.
The Real Federación Española de Fútbol (RFEF) have announced that the Copa Del Rey final between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid shall be played at the Mestalla on April 16th, and will be overseen by Mateu Lahoz of the Valencian Committee.
The decision to appoint Lahoz was taken by the Federation’s board today, though it has been rumoured that the man from Valencia should have been put in charge by Thursday, with sources claiming that the announcement was postponed given FIFA’s controversial ban for FC Barcelona. Read on for Lahoz’s refereeing style.
FC Barcelona take on Real Madrid in Valencia for the 2014 Copa del Rey final on April 16th. Aggregated in 15,479 requests, 36,323 Barça members have requested tickets for the match at 45 euros a pop. However, only 13,158 tickets are available for the culé contingent, so only just over a third are going to be able to attend. The club will do a random draw today.
The RFEF announced today, after a meeting with Barça and Real Madrid representatives, the date and venue for the Copa del Rey final. The final, in the end, will be held on Wednesday 16th of April in order to make space for any potential Champions League semi final for either club. The final will be held in Valencia’s home stadium Mestalla in a match that almost seems like a replay of the Copa del Rey final back in 2011.
POSSIBLE LINE-UPS FOR THE COPA FINAL
Barça: Pinto, Alves, Piqué, Masche, J. Alba, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Pedro, Messi, Neymar
Real Madrid: Mateu Lahoz or Undiano Mallenco and 11 others
Lahoz: “Play on, play on,” / Mallenco: “Amen”
Cartoon by Caye
Speaking at the press conference following the 1-1 draw in San Sebastian, FC Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino praised his team that “completed its objective.” He said that “there are three objectives this season and we fulfilled one of them today. We completed our objective. These players always play in finals.” Answering questions about the result against Real Sociedad, the blaugrana coach underlined that in general terms the team played “a good match.”
Later he added that he is aware of some mistakes saying that “we can still play better, we still have time to improve – we can do it for more than 50 or 70 minutes.” Asked what exactly was missing during the match he simply stated that “we could have scored more goals.” Speaking about final of the Copa del Rey against Real Madrid Martino stated that knowing what rival awaits Barcelona in the final “we had the obligation to qualify, we couldn’t miss it.”
Lastly on Andrés Iniesta, the Argentinian manager stated that “Iniesta has quality, he had the liberty to move around the pitch.”
FC Barcelona are through to the Copa del Rey final after a 1-1 draw with Real Sociedad (3-1 aggregate), with now Real Madrid remaining the only obstacle between another trophy. It was expected we would witness another clásico final after last week’s results, but now it is confirmed, and Barça fans can start thinking about vengeance. Continue reading for reactions from Gerard Piqué, Andrés Iniesta, and Sergio Busquets after the Catalans’ qualification for the cup final.
You’ve had your chance to rate the performance of the Blaugrana and the results are now tallied up. Take a look at how the totalBarça community ranked the squad and see how the ratings played out.
Image: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images Europe
Although they weren’t able to get the win, FC Barcelona earned a 1-1 draw away against Real Sociedad and a 3-1 victory on aggregate to advance to the Copa del Rey final, their fourth in six years, where they will play Real Madrid. Despite coming into the match with a 2-0 lead, Gerardo Martino took the tie very seriously, as Real Sociedad are famously difficult for Barcelona to play against away – the last time the Catalans won at La Anoeta was 2007. Martino named a largely first-choice lineup, but opted to play Andrés Iniesta as a fourth midfielder rather than a winger like Alexis Sánchez. Martino has experimented with this formation a couple of times lately, but this was the first time he used it for his starting lineup, and I think it merits some focus.
FC Barcelona advanced to the final of the Copa del Rey after Wednesday night’s draw against Real Sociedad with a 3-1 aggregate. This means that, come 19th of April, Barça will face eternal rivals Real Madrid for the seventh time in the Copa del Rey final. Out of the past six encounters, Barça and Madrid overcame each other three times each to win the cup. The most recent clash came in 2011 which Barça lost 1-0 against then-Mourinho’s team back when Pep Guardiola was in charge.