Gerard Piqué caused some confusion when he played with FC Barcelona against Villarreal last month two days after being released from international duty because of injury. He told Spanish daily AS that he is dealing with a hip injury and has had injections of painkillers in order to play for the club. “What happened was that Luis Enrique, who also knew about my situation, felt I was needed by the team to play against Villarreal… But I was being treated by the doctors, who prescribed me [the pain-killer] Voltaren, and during the international break I had to receive injections.” More after the jump.
A pause in club football for the international break provides an opportune moment for some reflection and projection. With about a sixth of the season over and done with, the totalBarça writing team looks into “First Impressions” of the Luis Enrique tenure. The series dives into each positional unit and considers whether there is novelty, areas for improvement, issues of concern and more that may factor into how the 2014/15 season could play out.
Gerard Piqué took the time to dismiss recent rumors that suggested the departure of the 27-year-old, assuring everyone that he’s extremely happy. “I’m at the best club in the world. I’ve always dreamed of playing here and have no intention of losing. I’ve just renewed my contract and want to finish my career at Barcelona, although you never know.” The defender believes that FC Barcelona is indeed more than a club, and that is why he loves it. “I love the club for its history, style of play, and identification with Catalonia.” Continue reading for more.
Gerard Piqué followed in the footsteps of Lionel Messi in contributing to the gaming industry, as he helped Ivanovich Games develop their most famous smartphone app, Final Kick. The game allows users to practice special shots, trick opponents, play around with special effects and dazzle with the ball just with their fingertips. Click for more.
Spanish ‘jefe’ Vicente Del Bosque has announced his squad list for the upcoming 2016 UEFA European Championship qualifying matches, with the following five players from the Catalan club included: Gerard Piqué, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Andrés Iniesta, Pedro Rodríguez. The Spanish national team will play against Slovakia on October 9th, and again against Luxembourg on October 12th.
Barça’s Gerard Piqué admitted in an exclusive interview with FourFourtwo that he feared former Manchester United player and current assistant manager of Aston Villa Roy Keane more than his former boss Sir Alex Ferguson back when the Catalan played for the Premier League giants. “I wouldn’t say I was scared of [Ferguson]. Roy Keane? Well, maybe that’s different!”
“I remember we were in the changing room at Old Trafford and my phone started vibrating. Keano could hear the vibrations and went crazy trying to find out who the phone belonged to. That’s who he was.
Jordi Masip(25) who suffered a fracture in his finger four weeks ago, has been given the medical green light and is training normally with the group.
Neymar Jr. and Douglas Pereira did specific training apart from their teammates while Barça B players Munir El Haddadi, Sandro Ramirez, Grimaldo and Sergi Samper trained with the first team.
Luis Enrique has already chosen his squad for the trip to Paris on Tuesday; with players such as Gerard Pique, Douglas Pereira and Jordi Alba, who were omitted from the squad against Granada, back in the squad. Barça B strikers Sandro and Munir are also included, while the injured Rafinha and Masip staying behind. The boss also left out Montoya and Thomas Vermaelen, who still hasn’t made his debut for the Blaugrana just yet.
Here’s the full squad list: Ter Stegen, C. Bravo, Piqué, Rakitic, Sergio, Xavi, Pedro, A. Iniesta, Messi, Neymar, Mascherano, Bartra, Douglas S., Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto, Adriano, Dani Alves, Mathieu, Sandro and Munir.
Barça boss Luis Enrique has announced his 18-man squad list ahead of today’s game against Granada CF, with Malaga absentees Dani Alves and Jeremy Mathieu included once again in the squad. However, Lucho have omitted the likes of Gerard Piqué, Douglas Pereira, Jordi Alba and Thomas Vermaelen who just recently got the all clear to make his official debut.
Barça B’s Sandro Ramirez and Munir El Haddadi, while Jordi Masip and Rafinha still haven’t recoered from their injuries. The squad list is as follows: Bravo, Ter Stegen, Montoya, Rakitic, Sergio, Xavi, Pedro, Iniesta, Messi, Neymar, Mascherano, Bartra, Sergi Roberto, Adriano, Dani Alves, Mathieu, Sandro and Munir.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.