Cuenca: “The innocence is gone”

Cuenca: “The innocence is gone”

After almost two years of nagging pain in his left knee, FC Barcelona forward player Isaac Cuenca (22) underwent surgery on May 31, 2012. He was then loaned to Ajax Amsterdam and played some minutes in early 2013. Now, in the last third of the current season, despite new problems including a torn hamstring, Cuenca believes that he is a completely new player. The forward who debuted in the dream team of Pep Guardiola is ready to prove that he has the talent and the capacity to join the first team. He recently spoke with Barcelona based daily Sport to share his dream of rebuilding his football career. We present a translation of this interesting interview after the jump.

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Cuenca out for four weeks

Cuenca out for four weeks

Isaac Cuenca picked up an injury in yesterday’s afternoon training in Ciutat Esportiva. The Spanish winger who just recently recovered from a long-term injury has now torn the biceps femoris in his left leg, and will be out of action for the next four weeks.

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Martino: “Messi can play as goalkeeper”

Martino: “Messi can play as goalkeeper”

After winning the first leg against Levante 4-1 away in the Copa del Rey, Barça now faces the same team for the third time in ten days, this time at Camp Nou. Gerardo’ Tata’ Martino spoke in a press conference where he gave his thoughts regarding the events that have transpired this past week and its effect on the team. He also spoke about Neymar’s presence in the teams, Lionel Messi’s recent lack of goals, and Ibrahim Afellay’s return, all after the jump.

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Navigating the Transfer Market Madness: Departures – January edition

Navigating the Transfer Market Madness: Departures – January edition

Navigating the Transfer Market Madness: Arrivals and Departures makes another fleeting return during the January transfer window. It’s the least active of the windows and not particularly well known for good deals, but nevertheless, the mill never stops turning. So totalBarça returns to roundup all the stories over the past weeks and chart a path through the nonsense. Once again, agree or disagree, that’s what the comment section is for. (Remember all numbers in euros.)

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El Pivote: Christmas Holiday Report Cards (Part 2)

El Pivote: Christmas Holiday Report Cards (Part 2)

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.

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It’s that time of year, new Audis

As happens every year, German car giant and premium FC Barcelona partner Audi delivered new cars for the entire first team squad and Gerardo Martino.

They also played the “Audi Mind Race,” a technological challenge which features miniature cars the players move through their own mind with energy generated by the players’ brains. Isaac Cuenca ended up the winner.

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Navigating the Transfer Market Madness: Departures – Special November Edition

Navigating the Transfer Market Madness: Departures – Special November Edition

Navigating the Transfer Market Madness: Arrivals and Departures makes a fleeting return during the final international break of 2013. As football shifts from club to country, papers shift from mostly reporting to mostly speculating. So, totalBarça returns to roundup all the stories over the past week and chart a path through the nonsense. Once again, agree or disagree, that’s what the comment section is for. (Remember all numbers in euros.)
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Several injured players return to training

Several injured players return to training

Barcelona had a training match today against Catalan club Sant Andreu while the majority of the team is away on international duty. Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano, both recovering from injury, were able to play a few minutes of the match.

This is great news, in addition to the reports on Tuesday that youngster Isaac Cuenca was able to train with the group for his first time since having knee surgery in June. Lionel Messi continues to train separately.

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Isaac Cuenca spotted training at Ciutat Esportiva

Isaac Cuenca spotted training at Ciutat Esportiva

FC Barcelona players who are missing out on the international break resumed training this week at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper. Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano and Jordi Alba all worked separately in the gym to recover from their various injuries, while nine other first team members, including the long-absent Isaac Cuenca, worked with manager Gerardo Martino.

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Training and squad list for Wednesday

Training and squad list for Wednesday

On Wednesday, FC Barcelona will play its first Champions League match of the 2013-14 season against Ajax at the Camp Nou. For this debut, coach Gerardo Martino has decided to call up all of the available members of the first team, 20 players in total. Pedro is back in the squad after sitting out Saturday’s match against Sevilla, while injured players Jordi Alba, Puyol, Cuenca, and Afellay will miss Wednesday’s match. Goalkeeper Oier Olazábal’s name is also absent from Martino’s latest squad list, by decision of the coaches.

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Cuenca and Afellay assigned shirt numbers 23 and 19

Cuenca and Afellay assigned shirt numbers 23 and 19

FC Barcelona’s coaches and the directors for sport have decided that Ibrahim Afellay (27) and Isaac Cuenca (22) should be assigned squad numbers for the 2013-14 season, as confirmed by Barça on Monday.

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Navigating the Transfer Market Madness: Arrivals and Departures (13)

Navigating the Transfer Market Madness: Arrivals and Departures (13)

Transfer rumours have a polarizing effect: either the start of hope (or dread), or simply a nuisance. As papers worldwide scramble daily to fill the pages, they conclude that in fact 2+2 does equal 5. And yet, while some stories are so clearly garbage, people imagine truth anyway. So, here’s a summary from totalBarça taking gossip and passing it through a sieve.

Navigating the Transfer Market Madness: Arrivals and Departures is a new weekly series that rounds up the transfer gossip and rumours of all potential (sometimes hopeful) outs (Tuesdays) and ins (Thursdays) at FC Barcelona – though it’s not of the run-of-the-mill variety. Agree or disagree, that’s what the comment section is for.

The series will come as a consolidated post every Thursday for the remainder of the transfer window which shuts on August 31.

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Alves to wear number 22

Alves to wear number 22

According to Mundo Deportivo, Brazilian fullback Dani Alves (30) will wear the number 22 next season in honour of Éric Abidal. Youngster Martín Montoya will take the number 2, Pedro will get Villa’s number 7 and Alex Song will wear number 17.

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Wednesday morning training session

The second day of training at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper is underway. The 12 available members of the first team, under the orders of Tito Vilanova and his coaching staff, continued to train and build their physical conditioning, while doing the usual rondos and working with the ball as well.

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Second training session of the day

It’s the first day of training for the 2013-14 season and Tito Vilanova’s squad held its second training session of the day this Tuesday afternoon. The team will have double sessions through Friday at 9:00 and 19:00 each day.

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First training session of the season

First training session of the season

FC Barcelona’s first team held its first training session of the 2013-14 season this Tuesday morning. The session took place on pitch no. 1 of the Ciutat Esportiva and 12 players took part: Pinto, Oier, Montoya, Bartra, Mascherano, Adriano, Song, Sergi Roberto, Dos Santos, Messi, Tello, and Alexis.

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El Pivote: Summer Holiday Report Cards (Part 2)

El Pivote: Summer Holiday Report Cards (Part 2)

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 last 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 2012/13 season is a good starting point for focusing on what we need from the players for the new season.

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Keeping the youth on a short leash

Keeping the youth on a short leash

Barcelona is reportedly planning on loaning out some of the young stars this summer, such as Gerard Deulofeu, Rafinha and Sergi Roberto. No decisions have been made and no official talks have taken place but rumours are strongly suggesting that at least two of these three will not play in a Barça jersey next season. A loan could be an important boost for these young men’s career and would allow them to develop in a great environment, however, Barcelona must learn from the past and be careful to make sure that these players won’t be let go of for good.

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Navigating the Transfer Market Madness: Departures (2)

Navigating the Transfer Market Madness: Departures (2)

Transfer rumors have a polarizing effect, either the start of hope (or dread) or simply a nuisance. As papers worldwide scramble daily to fill the pages, they conclude that in fact 2+2 does equal 5. And yet while some stories are so clearly garbage, people imagine truth anyway. So here’s a summary from totalBarça taking gossip and passing it though a sieve.

Navigating the Transfer Market Madness: Arrivals and Departures is a new weekly series that rounds up the transfer gossip and rumors of all potential (sometimes hopeful) outs (Tuesdays) and ins (Thursdays) at FC Barcelona. Though it’s not of the run of the mill variety. Agree or disagree, that’s what the comment section is for. (Note: all amounts are euros)

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Isaac Cuenca out for several months after knee surgery

Isaac Cuenca out for several months after knee surgery

FC Barcelona player Isaac Cuenca underwent knee surgery today. His recovery will last from three to four months. The Catalan winger has had problems with his knee injury before, missing the entire start of the 2012/2013 season at FC Barcelona. After recovering from the injury he was sent on loan to Ajax Amsterdam in January, where he only played five matches due to more struggles with his knee injury.

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Cuenca: “I would tell Sergi and Marc that Ajax is a great option”

Cuenca: “I would tell Sergi and Marc that Ajax is a great option”

In an interview with El Mundo Deportivo‘s Oriol Domenèch, Isaac Cuenca discussed his season, his future at the club, and the possible future of other Barcelona youngsters.

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The Barça B problem

The Barça B problem

With speculation abounding over who will stay and go this summer, another question often slips through the cracks, a problem specific to FC Barcelona: who will get promoted from Barça B? Every year, a couple of the club’s youngsters are given first team contracts and a chance to prove their worth. Last year, Cuenca, Fontàs, and Thiago joined the team. This year it was Dos Santos, Tello, Bartra, and Montoya. Next year, likely candidates for promotion are center-back Marc Muniesa, whose season was disrupted by a severe muscle tear this fall, midfielders Sergi Roberto and Rafinha Alcântara, and winger Gerard Deulofeu, crown prince of La Masia. Read on after the break to find out what challenges these youngsters might face in their development.

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Mundo Deportivo speculates on next season’s transfers

Mundo Deportivo speculates on next season’s transfers

Mundo Deportivo published several articles today about possible transfers for next season. Read our overview of all the transfer rumours after the jump.

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Cuenca to stay in Amsterdam next season?

Cuenca to stay in Amsterdam next season?

If it’s up to Isaac Cuenca, we won’t be seeing him in an FC Barcelona kit next season. The winger wants to stay on loan at Ajax next season.

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El Pivote: Neymar or Moneyball?

El Pivote: Neymar or Moneyball?

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. We welcome your thoughts and feedback in the comments section.

El Pivote is taking a look at the transfers that may or may not occur this summer, the value of stats and science versus an eye for talent and overall what history can and should tell Zubizarreta about players joining Barcelona.

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How to know if a youth player will go all the way?

How to know if a youth player will go all the way?

I’ve been following youth football at Barça for a while now. And there have been many talents produced, many “safe” stars for the future. However, most of those “safe” future stars, those everyone thought would make it, didn’t. In other words, they didn’t live up to their  potential. Instead, a few of those no one really paid much attention to, did make it.

But how can we really know that a youth player will make it? That he will go all the way to the first team or even become one of the best if not the best in the world one day?  This task might prove impossible. Because the ball is round and everything can happen in football, and everything can happen in life. Even the most talented lad can drop his focus for one reason or another or get injured or take the wrong decision at the wrong time. We simply cannot predict who will make it big.

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BREAKING: Cuenca loaned out to Ajax for remainder of season

BREAKING: Cuenca loaned out to Ajax for remainder of season

FC Barcelona forward Isaac Cuenca (21) completed a loan move to Ajax on Thursday that will see the La Masia youth at the Dutch club until June 30. The left winger had only recently received his medical clearance after an injury that saw him sidelined for eight months.

Jordi Roura helped to inform Tito Vilanova, who remains in New York City, throughout the operation on the final day of the January transfer window, which was primarily carried out through FC Barcelona Sporting Director Andoni Zubizarreta, Director of Football Raúl Sanllehí, and Ajax Sporting Director Marc Overmars, who wore the blaugrana colors from 2000-2004.

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Training, Cuenca cleared to play

After a day and a half of rest, Barça returned to training this Monday afternoon with a session focused on preparing for the second leg of the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey at La Rosaleda (Thursday, 22:00). For the first time this season, 25 players from the first team were present at training. Villa, who has spent the last few days doing specific work in the gym, was able to train with the group at the session led by Jordi Roura. The other good news from this afternoon was the medical clearance for Isaac Cuenca.

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Cuenca trains with the group

Cuenca trains with the group

This Tuesday, Tito Vilanova has been in charge of the second training session of the week, with all the available members of his squad present, plus Barça B’s Sergi Roberto. Isaac Cuenca was back on the pitch, working with the group, while defender Adriano trained on his own.

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Penultimate training session before Espanyol

FC Barcelona’s first team continued its preparations for Sunday’s match against Espanyol (19:00) with a training session this Saturday at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper. The session was directed by Tito Vilanova, who was absent from yesterday’s open training session at the Miniestadi as he preferred to work at his Camp Nou office so the spotlight could be fully on his players.

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