International Break Round-Up

International Break Round-Up

With the International break over, we look at how FC Barcelona players fared  with their respective countries. Below is the round-up for the International break. Read more…

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4 Blaugranas involved as Spain breeze past Belarus (3-0)

4 Blaugranas involved as Spain breeze past Belarus (3-0)

The Spanish National Team had a very easy game against Belarus last night in Huelva, beating their guests 3-0. 4 Blaugranas, Piqué, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and Pedro, were involved from the very start, while Marc Bartra watched from the bench as the hosts dominated throughout to earn their third victory in four UEFA EURO 2016 qualifiers.

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Picture of the day: Nope

Picture of the day: Nope

“Barcelona is my life and I do not plan to leave. I will keep fighting to earn a spot,” says Gerard Piqué. “I think that not playing two or three games is inconsistent with proposing that I leave.”

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Cartoon of the Day: Sport

Cartoon of the Day: Sport

XAVI: “PIQUÉ IS ESSENTIAL, VITAL, AND BASIC FOR BARÇA”

PIQUÉ: “Something tells me that Luis Enrique does not have the same opinion”

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Picture of the day: Defenders past and present

Picture of the day: Defenders past and present

Suffering in the stands during yesterday’s match: Andoni Zubizarreta, goalkeeper 1986-1994; Carles Puyol, central defender 1997-2014; Gerard Piqué, central defender 2008-Present. And some random guy. Oh, right. I almost forgot that Barça bought Thomas Vermaelen.

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Cartoon of the Day: Sport

Cartoon of the Day: Sport

PIQUÉ 2010 VS. PIQUÉ 2014

FIND THE 5 DIFFERENCES

Solution: for the moment we don’t have one, but hopefully Lucho will find one quickly

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Picture of the day: Three generations

Picture of the day: Three generations

“Three generations on the pitch,” said Gerard Piqué, who with his father, Joan, and his son, Milan, took pictures on the pitch of the Camp Nou before FC Barcelona’s win against a scrappy Eibar.

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Picture of the day: Beautiful Barcelona

Picture of the day: Beautiful Barcelona

This photo of Gerard Piqué showing off his beautiful city makes me want to jump on an airplane.

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Piqué: “I play with discomfort”

Piqué: “I play with discomfort”

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.

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First Impressions: Center-backs

First Impressions: Center-backs

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.

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Cartoon of the Day: Sport

Cartoon of the Day: Sport

DEL BOSQUE: “Are you sure that your hip is fine?”

PIQUE: “My hip is fine, now the pain is in my tongue… …from chewing so much pine.”

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Cartoon of the Day: Sport

Cartoon of the Day: Sport

DEL BOSQUE, CALM ABOUT THE CONTROVERSIAL RETURN OF PIQUÉ TO LA ROJA

DEL BOSQUE: “I”m not concerned that they whistle at Gerard. I am convinced that they will not do so for various reasons… …and the first is that we are playing away.”

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Picture of the day: Mushroom hunting

Picture of the day: Mushroom hunting

Gerard Piqué and his partner, Shakira, spent this past Sunday engaged in a popular autumn activity in Catalonia, gathering wild mushrooms.

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Piqué: “I’m at the best club in the world”

Piqué: “I’m at the best club in the world”

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.

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Video of the Day: Virtual Piqué

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.

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Five Barça players called up for La Roja

Five Barça players called up for La Roja

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.

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Piqué: “Roy Keane still scares me”

Piqué: “Roy Keane still scares me”

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.

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Jordi Masip back in training

Jordi Masip back in training

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.

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Picture of the day: 123 Jump!

Picture of the day: 123 Jump!

Gerard Piqué looks all arms and legs as he jumps a hurdle during training yesterday.

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Squad named for Paris-Saint Germain game

Squad named for Paris-Saint Germain game

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.

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Alves and Mathieu back in squad

Alves and Mathieu back in squad

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.

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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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