Number of the Day: 9

Number of the Day: 9

Gerard Piqué’s goal in the Champions League against APOEL was the Catalan centre-back’s ninth in the elite European club competition, and his seventh with Barça (he also has two with Manchester United). Although that figure hardly seems to be anything close to record-breaking, it is in fact the third highest number of goals scored by a defender in UEFA Champions League history. The centre-back only trails Roberto Carlos and Christian Panucci, who were both attacking full-backs, and is therefore the highest scoring centre-back in the history of the competition. Way to go, Geri.

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Piqué: “I still have a lot to improve”

Piqué: “I still have a lot to improve”

The defender who can seemingly do no good in many eyes continues to be honest about his need to elevate his game. “I still have a lot to improve. Playing with such a top class team makes you better. I’ve improved a lot of things since I got here but there are so many other aspects. I’m constantly getting better.” However, as he has mentioned before, Piqué continues to be plagued by that nagging hip injury that is improving and allowing him to be mostly pain free but he still experiences pains during contact and landing after jumping. Nevertheless, he’s excited another edition of the game’s elite competition begins once again. More after the jump.

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Picture of the day: Visca Barça and Visca Catalunya!

Picture of the day: Visca Barça and Visca Catalunya!

Gerard and Milan Piqué joined the crowds in Barcelona to make a huge yellow and red ‘V’ to represent their desire for a vote to be held in Spain for Catalan independence. “I had never experienced anything like it! Simply unforgettable!,” said Piqué on Twitter.

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Picture of the day: Piqué judges dunk contest

Picture of the day: Piqué judges dunk contest

Gerard Piqué is crazy about all sports, not just football. FC Barcelona’s defender got to judge some basketball greats in a dunk contest yesterday in Barcelona. Charles Barkley, former NBA star and member of the American Dream Team that competed in the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics, was also on the judges panel.

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Quote of the day: Piqué on la Roja selection

Quote of the day: Piqué on la Roja selection

“I want to thank Del Bosque for the gesture he has made, because I asked him, personally, not to count on me for the game, because I still had some issues. I want to thank him for his decision.”

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Luis Enrique: “Every game is a new test”

Luis Enrique: “Every game is a new test”

Luis Enrique spoke to the media on Saturday morning regarding Sunday afternoon’s game against Villarreal in El Madrigal. This is the team’s first away game this season, and the coach believes that they are “one of the strongest teams in the league.” Lucho added, “We know the opponent and the venue. They have a good coach who has made good signings. It’ll be an attractive game for us and we’ll have to get things right in attack.” 

The team will travel Sunday morning without Andres Iniesta who will be left out as a precaution after hurting his left knee. However, Neymar Jr will be included after the coach confirmed that he is fit and ready to play. He also added, “Every player offers something different. I already have the team picked, but not even the players know what it is yet.” More from the coach after the jump.

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Picture of the day: “Dream Team”

Picture of the day: “Dream Team”

Model Alessandra Ambrosio posted this picture of herself and some familiar faces on her Instagram today. Luis Suarez looks like he’s got someone’s jersey stuck in his teeth. (I’m sorry, that was just too easy to pass up.)

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Piqué & Shakira accept the Ice Bucket Challenge

Gerard Piqué gets a little extra ding on the head for his effort.

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Have the fabled centre-backs arrived at last?

Have the fabled centre-backs arrived at last?

As promised, Andoni Zubizarreta and Josep Bartomeu seem to have at last delivered the signings that have been demanded for years, giving Barcelona four natural centre-backs for the first time since 2010. Jérémy Mathieu was signed for €20 million, while Thomas Vermaelen has been brought in for a rumored €15m + 4m in add-ons for winning the Champions League. As is inevitable, following both of these signings cules all over the world and online have immediately broken into debate about whether they are good enough for Barça. Mathieu is too old and not a natural centre-back, the argument goes, Vermaelen is old, injury-prone and benched due to poor form, and both are too expensive. While there are some valid points, they are shrouded in the overriding negativity and unrealistic expectations that has surrounded every Barcelona transfer in the last decade. But what happens if you take those criticisms and apply them to Barcelona’s greatest teams?

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Cartoon of the Day: Sport

Cartoon of the Day: Sport

PIQUE WANTS TO BE THE BEST CENTRAL DEFENDER IN THE WORLD AGAIN

PIQUE: “I want to be the best so I can repeat… amazing photos like this one”

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Piqué: “I’m not among the best defenders”

Piqué: “I’m not among the best defenders”

Gerard Piqué admitted during his press conference yesterday afternoon that he hasn’t been enjoying his best football lately, saying that “at the moment I am not among the the best central defenders in the world.” The defender was disappointed at his performances with FC Barcelona during the past season and Spain during the World Cup, but he is convinced that “with Luis Enrique’s help I will recover a high level.” Piqué also said that he sees it as a challenge and if he plans to continue playing with Barça, he must become one of the best once again. Continue reading for more.

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Picture of the day: Winners

Picture of the day: Winners

Both Sergi Roberto and Rafinha posted this picture of the winning team during their practice game on Thursday. The team is a great mix of veterans (Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba), young players (Rafinha, Gerard Deulofeu, Sergi Roberto, Alen Halilović) and new signings (Marc-André ter Stegen, Ivan Rakitić), which is a reflection of this season’s squad as a whole. It’s going to be exciting to watch what happens.

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Luis Enrique: “We’ll be in good shape for the season”

Luis Enrique: “We’ll be in good shape for the season”

FC Barcelona’s new coach, Luis Enrique, talked about how the pre-season is going so far before heading to England. The team will be staying at St. George’s Park for six days before embarking for their friendly matches. Lucho started his tenure as Barça coach with a win against Recreativo Huelva (0-1) and on the 2nd of August the team will play their second game in France against OGC Nice. After that, the team will face SSC Napoli and HJK Helsinki before playing the last game against in the Joan Gamper trophy against Club Léon de Guanajuato on August 18th. The thoughts of Luis Enrique below.

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Piqué: “We needed Mathieu”

Piqué: “We needed Mathieu”

In an interview with La Sexta Deportes, Gerard Piqué hailed the signing of Valencia CF’s former defender, Jérémy Mathieu, after the Frenchman decided to join FC Barcelona saying that the team’s centre-back position needed reinforcements. “We needed to fill the position. When Mathieu played as a central-defender for Valencia he always did well and I am delighted with his move,” he said. More after the jump from Piqué regarding Xavi Hernández and Cesc Fàbregas.

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Eight internationals start preseason

Eight internationals start preseason

FC Barcelona players who were knocked out of the World Cup’s group stages have today arrived at the club for their first day of training. The players completed the same medical and fitness tests their teammates went through on the 14th of July and will soon join them and Luis Enrique on the pitch.

The eight internationals are Gerard Piqué, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Xavi Hernández, Andrés Iniesta, Pedro Rodríguez, Alex Song and Ivan Rakitić.

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Video of the Day: Gerard Piqué Season Review 2013-14

Here’s a collection of Gerard Piqué’s finest moments for last season.

Video: Barca.am / Youtube.com

Number of the day : 8

Number of the day : 8

Sadly, there are eight FC Barcelona players heading home after being eliminated from the World Cup. The World Cup comes every four years so it is painful to leave the biggest football tournament early. Those eight players : Gerard PiquéJordi Alba, Sergio Buquets, Xavi Hernández, Andrés Iniesta, Pedro Rodríguez, Alex Song and the newly signed Ivan Rakitic.  More information about how they performed after the jump.

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Piqué misses last Spain training

Piqué misses last Spain training

The Spanish national team will play what will be their final match in this year’s World Cup today against Australia. FC Barcelona’s Gerard Piqué missed the last group training because he is suffering from muscular problems. A statement on the Spanish Football Federation’s official website said, “Gerard Piqué had to withdraw due to pain in the adductor (hip) muscle region.”  That means that Piqué, at age 27, has possibly played his last World Cup match.

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El Pivote: Summer Holiday Report Cards (Part 1)

El Pivote: Summer Holiday Report Cards (Part 1)

El Pivote (The Pivot) is a totalBarça column by Anoop Jethwa, a fully licensed coach in UK, about the trials and tribulations of FC Barcelona. From the positives to the negatives, this piece will dive deep into the living fabric that is blaugrana.

The dust has settled on the season. Now that we have the last few games of the season out of our minds, a quick reflection on the players’ performances over the course of the entire 2013/14 season is a good starting point for focusing on what we need from the players for the new season.

We had the Christmas report cards (part one and part two) for the players in January, and I will be using the same grading scheme again. In brackets will be what the player received in the winter break. (A quick reminder — here’s the simple grading scheme: A = exceptional, B = good, ticking along nicely, C = progress required next term to get back on track, D = struggling.)

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The Netherlands put Spain to the sword

The Netherlands put Spain to the sword

That’s exactly how I thought that would go. Obviously not guys. Spain was welcomed to their title defense with a 5-1 mauling at the hands of an expertly prepared Netherlands side. The game is an odd one because Spain’s first 44 minutes may not have been spectacular but they’re were good enough and had David Silva done better with his first half opening, Spain lead 2-0 and the football match takes an entirely different path. Such are the fine margins of top-level competition. Pedro Rodríguez was bright in his cameo but the rest of the Barça guys had rough evenings.

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Picture of the day: Joker Gerry

Picture of the day: Joker Gerry

I wonder if Cesc Fàbregas has forgiven Gerard Piqué for his ‘accidental’ slip of the tongue in letting the world know that Cesc is (probably) leaving FCB.

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Your Barça World Cup Guide – Group Stage

Your Barça World Cup Guide – Group Stage

The moment we’ve all been waiting for has finally come, the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil begins this Thursday 12th of June with the Barça boys spread out over five national teams: Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Cameroon. Nine players from the Catalan club lifted the trophy in the last World Cup in South Africa with our golden boy Andres Iniesta scoring the winner in the final. Will we see others in the Blaugrana squad achieve the same feat? Will the same players hold onto the crown? Or will another team get their hands on the trophy? Maybe it’ll be your nation, who knows? Tell us below who do you think will win and check out the Group Stage dates for our beloved players right after the jump!

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Something or nothing?

Gerard Piqué was caught on cameras telling Spanish national team manager Vicente del Bosque that Cesc Fàbregas has already secured a 33 million euro deal.

He sits down, saying: “[I'm going to] defend Cesc a bit,” then he rather loudly whispers to Del Bosque that “He [Cesc] already told me it’s done.” Del Bosque says, “Him?“, and Piqué replies, “He’s going. He told me 33 million.

It appears clear, but is Piqué to be taken at his word? Was he really so oblivious to what he was saying? I have my suspicions.

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The bantering Alba

FC Barcelona’s left-back Jordi Alba, who was selected for the Spanish squad ahead of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, showed some of his lovely skills as he nutmegged not only his Barça teammate Gerard Piqué during training, but he also got the Brazil-born striker Diego Costa, who was recently called up by Vicente del Bosque for La Roja despite his injury. Take a look at both nutmegs in the video above!

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Official: 7 Barça players with Spain in Brazil

Official: 7 Barça players with Spain in Brazil

After much suspense about the final 23-man squad list that Spain’s Vicente del Bosque kept audiences in suspense with, the list has been finally announced. Seven players from the blaugrana family will pack their bags for the trip to Brazil this summer, the same seven who were selected for the initial 30-man squad. These seven are Gerard Piqué, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Xavi Hernández, Andrés Iniesta, Cesc Fàbregas and Pedro Rodríguez.

But what the headlines will read tomorrow morning will have nothing to do with Barça players, they will however mention the exclusion of several great Spaniards and the inclusion of Fernando Torres. With Víctor Valdés injured, Carles Puyol retired and Marc Bartra still too young, Barça’s seven were always going to be safe. What do you think of the squad-list? Can Spain make it two in a row?

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Picture of the day: Large, medium, small

Picture of the day: Large, medium, small

FCB’s center back, Gerard Piqué, walked to the Spanish National Team training yesterday with his teammates Ander Iturraspe and David Silva.

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2013/14 individual league stats

2013/14 individual league stats

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.

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Official: Piqué puts pen to paper

Official: Piqué puts pen to paper

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”.

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FIFA’s Handshake for Peace

FIFA’s Handshake for Peace

FC Barcelona players Gerard Piqué and Neymar Jr. are the protagonists in a new campaign sponsored by FIFA and the Nobel Peace Center called Handshake for Peace. The campaign uses the gesture of a handshake to demonstrate peace, friendship and respect between people, no matter their backgrounds. FCB first team players Piqué and Neymar almost certainly would have never met if it had not been for the common denominator of football and, as Neymar stated, “Football has shown me you can achieve anything in life.  You can get things moving, so it’s our duty to use our popularity in a good cause.

The article in FIFA Weekly contains some wonderful insights into these two players and some great photography. You can read the entire issue of FIFA Weekly here.

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Official: Piqué renews to 2019

Official: Piqué renews to 2019

FC Barcelona have reached an agreement with Gerard Piqué to extend the defender’s contract until 2019. Piqué’s former deal with the club was set to expire on the 30th of June 2015, and now has been renewed for another four years.The Spaniard returned to his home club in 2008 following spells at England’s Manchester United and Real Zaragoza, and has made since then 266 appearances for the club, scoring 20 goals and winning 16 trophies in the process.

You can find everything Piqué here.

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