It has been a rather difficult season for FC Barcelona. The illness of Tito Vilanova and the injuries suffered by many key players have made the season more or less a battle for survival, even though the Liga title has already been secured. We all know that some things can’t be controlled, such as Tito’s unfortunate illness, but could we have done something differently to prevent the injury problems we’ve faced this season? Could we have learned more from the previous seasons when the same problems occurred, though to a smaller extent?
This past weekend, the Boixos Nois released a statement on their official website denying all involvement in the lighting of the flare at the Camp Nou during the Copa del Rey 2nd leg loss to Real Madrid. The Boixos Nois are an official FC Barcelona peña for lets say the more forceful and passionate of supporters. Basically, they are the ultras of FC Barcelona. As well as refuting being any party to the flare, they also deny any sort of involvement and/or cooperation with the FC Barcelona board, something that was being reported in several media outlets. In fact, when former President Joan Laporta came into power, one of his most forceful initiatives was the marginalization of the Boixos Nois in terms of any official capacity with the club, something the group has always been very disappointed in.
Mundo Deportivo has published an article on its website in which some of the problems of FC Barcelona are highlighted with possible solutions.
1. Problem: Messi is caged and Ronaldo has too many one on one chances. When Messi was far away from the penalty area, both AC Milan and Real Madrid placed many players around the attacking midfielder position. That is why Messi always had to deal with three or four defenders. Ronaldo, on the other hand, was allowed to play his preferred game. He had 50 meters of space to run into and only one defender to beat.
Solution: More movement in attack and help in defence. If Messi is being covered by three defenders, then there are two players who are unmarked. If Barça’s players are moving well, then this should be an advantage. Regarding Ronaldo, reviewing old videos will do some good. In the past, if he escaped from Alves or Puyol, then Piqué was there to help.
For Tuesday’s second leg Copa del Rey match against Real Madrid, interim manager Jordi Roura made the decision to ignore recent form and keep David Villa on the bench in favour of Cesc Fabregas, leaving the home side toothless in attack once more. Barcelona has been failing to turn possession into goals in recent games but once again it was decided to field a team very short of attacking options.
totalBarça welcomes you all to the Copa del Rey game between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid!
(Tuesday February 26, 2012 @ 21:00 Barcelona time - Convert to local time). We also have the return of the Match Countdown Timer at the right side of the main page above the Search bar!
This Tuesday at midday, Barça held its final training session before the second leg of the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey against Real Madrid. The squad trained at the venue for tonight’s Clásico, the Camp Nou. The 23 players of the first team trained normally in the cold temperatures currently being felt in Barcelona.
Tonight, Real Madrid travel to the Camp Nou to decide the Copa del Rey semi-final, after a hard-fought 1-1 in the first leg at the Bernabeu. In that first leg, a depleted Real Madrid defense, spurred on by a masterclass and tying goal from 19-year-old phenomenon Raphael Varane, managed to hold Barça at bay in a thrilling match. Both sides had plenty of missed chances, but in the end Madridistas celebrated the draw, while cules were a bit disappointed not to seize a lead in the tie while their opponents were vulnerable. Nonetheless, Barcelona might be said to have a slight edge going into this match, having home field advantage and an away goal – but then again, advantages mean nothing in a Clásico, and Barça has not kept a clean sheet for 11 games in a row.
Real Madrid coach José Mourinho responded with irony to comments made by Jordi Roura about Undiano Mallenco, the referee who was assigned to the Copa del Rey game, who recalled the permissiveness in the Copa del Rey final between Barcelona and Real Madrid. The Portuguese coach, whose presence in the press room of Valdebebas was a surprise to everyone, responded in his style: “I’ll stick with the lessons received in the past from Barcelona, of sportsmanship, not to pressure the referees, not to simulate faults, not to search for cards for opponents … and also to play good football. I prefer to humbly follow this line,” Mourinho said.
FC Barcelona coach Jordi Roura remains optimistic ahead of facing Real Madrid in the 2nd leg of 2012/13′s Copa del Rey clásico series. The assistant of Tito Vilanova believes that the team has moved on from the fiasco against AC Milan in the Champions League. “The first step was to win against Sevilla on Saturday and from now on every win will strengthen us.” Roura also said that he expects José Mourinho to play with an aggressive and attacking team: “Madrid has to score and from the start they will try to find opportunities for scoring, but we are prepared for every option, also when they will defend and wait.”
Barça continues to prepare for the second leg of the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey against Real Madrid. The team trained this Monday morning at the Ciutat Esportiva at a closed session led by Jordi Roura. The assistant coach was able to work with 23 footballers, including Adriano, who trained with the group after spending the last few days working on his own as he recovers from a hamstring injury in his right leg. The injury picked up during the Granada match has caused the Brazilian defender to miss Barça’s last two games against Milan and Sevilla.
Just hours after the comeback against Sevilla and two days before the decisive Clásico in the Copa del Rey, Barça held a training session this Sunday morning at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper. The session focused on recovery for the starters in Saturday’s League match. Alexis was able to train normally after being substituted against Sevilla for precautionary reasons, owing to a knock and some bruising. Adriano continued to exercise separately on the pitch.
The Spanish Cup semi-final second leg game between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid is officially scheduled for February 26th at 21:00 at the Camp Nou. This means that the Copa match will be played just a few days ahead of the league Clásico scheduled for March 2nd at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Source: fcbarcelona.cat; Image Credit: Getty Images
FC Barcelona defender Dani Alves (29) spoke to the press on Thursday following the game against Real Madrid. As expected, the issue of racism in football arenas took center stage and Alves shared his opinion, terming the fight against this issue a ‘lost cause’. He also answered questions on the result and conduct of players as witnessed during the Copa del Rey quarterfinal clash.
The Madrid press released several reports Wednesday following the match between Real Madrid and Barcelona on the conduct of one player in particular. This time they are targeting none other than the best player in the world, FC Barcelona forward Lionel Messi (25).
According to La Sexta, Messi yelled at Real Madrid Assistant Manager Aitor Karanka immediately following the match at the Santiago Bernabéu on Wednesday. According to the TV network Messi said: “What are you looking at, fool? You’re just a puppet of Mourinho.” The incident remained unconfirmed by actual, named sources until Friday when José Callejón confirmed the comments directed at Karanka during a press conference.
FC Barcelona’s director of football took some time to answer some questions after their Copa del Rey clash with Real Madrid CF. The former “Dream Team” goalkeeper said that he felt “lucky” to have the two teams in Spain competing, adding his feelings about the match and the result. He also responded to some questions over Raphaël Varane and the frequent comparisons between the Copa del Rey and La Liga. Continue on to read the full translation of the interview conducted after the match.
The Bernabéu was full of controversy Wednesday night, but not for the sporting reasons that we have come to expect when these two sides clash. Audible racist chants, lasers aimed at players and referees alike, as well as other derogatory chants were seen and heard during yesterday’s semi-final match in the Copa del Rey. There was even an instance of a cigarette lighter being thrown at FC Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué after a last ditch challenge on Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo. After the increasing reports of racial abuse toward players throughout the world, one wonders how this can and should be dealt with.
Tito Vilanova’s assistant manager, Jordi Roura, speaking at press conference after 1st leg of Copa del Rey semi final game against Real Madrid, admitted that Barça lacked effectiveness at Santiago Bernabeu and said that the 1-1 draw “comes up a bit short”. Despite not winning, Roura underlined that he was very pleased with the performance of his players: “We played a very good match. Piqué was exceptional. We only failed to increase our lead.” Real Madrid even when missing key players on defence and no Casillas in goal, presented a great challenge: “I said that they have a great squad and those who played have shown why they are in Madrid” said Roura and added that “we were expecting that kind of pressure from Madrid, in fact we were expecting it to be a bit more intense at the start of the game. They waited for us in our own half because they are a physical and strong team and it’s always difficult to hold onto the ball, especially at the start,” and added that “in general we were the superior side.”
This image maps the frequent of possession based on areas of FC Barcelona versus Real madrid. The final possession statistic at the end of the game was 62% from 664 passes, but what we see from the map is the areas in which the ball was held most, based upon the darker red color.
Image Credit: fcbarcelona.es
Trailing fifteen league points behind their arch rivals Barcelona in the league Real Madrid had a lot to prove tonight in the Copa Del Rey semi final. Their team was ravaged by injury and suspension and they took to the Bernabau with a steely resolve to avoid further embarrassment. Jose Mourinho must have been fearing for his job and reputation he hoped that his second string would answer his prayers.
totalBarça welcomes you all to the Copa del Rey semi-final between Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona!
(Wednesday January 30, 2012 @ 21:00 Barcelona time – Convert to local time). We also have the return of the Match Countdown Timer at the right side of the main page above the Search bar!
When Queen Maria I of Portugal first came to power in 1777, her first act resulted in the dismissal of the Secretary of State. Within a decade and a half, she was unfit to rule and “Maria the Mad,” as she had become known in Brazil, was declared mentally insane. Francis Willis, the English physician who treated King George III after he lost the American colonies, wanted to bring Maria to England in the interest of her health and well-being, but was ultimately blocked to keep her on the Iberian Peninsula. The ill-fated ruler spent the remainder of her life in perpetual unhappiness, her wails and screams echoing throughout the corridors of the handful of esteemed palaces she would occupy until her death.