The people have spoken. Neymar, along with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Benfica’s Nemanja Matic, are the three finalists for the 2013 FIFA Puskás Award, i.e. the best goal of the year.
FC Barcelona released a behind the scenes video of a recent photo-shoot with official club sponsor Replay, a fashion line that makes some rather interesting denim suits. Watch Dani Alves, Neymar, Gerard Piqué, Cesc Fàbregas, and a very out-of-place looking Andrés Iniesta try their best modeling faces and pose in their new threads.
The FC Barcelona Foundation and the Neymar Jr. Project Institute, a social project in Brazil promoted by Neymar, have signed a contract to promote sports as a tool for social integration among young people. The agreement will benefit all children who are part of the Institute as well as the kids present in all South American countries where the Barcelona Foundation is active.
Via the mathematical algorithms utilized by football stats pioneers OptaSports, FC Barcelona player Neymar is statistically the most probable top goal scorer at the 2014 FIFA World Cup with a 13.6% chance. Not far behind him is Lionel Messi, with a chance above 12%. There is then a large probability gap to Rademel Falcao and Cristiano Ronaldo, both around 7%.
It’s really worth a read when Dani Alves speaks. Not one to answer politically, he is candid on all subjects. Below is a full translation of his latest interview with El Mundo Deportivo.
Neymar left Santos FC, his Brazilian club, for FC Barcelona in hopes that he would live up to the expectation that was created for him. Many wondered how he would fit into the club. His playing style was seen to be different to the tiki taka style of Barca and with Lionel Messi being the star at Barcelona, people speculated just how well he would do.
”May God bless and protect us” was the caption on this image released in Neymar Jr’s official Twitter and Instagram feeds after Saturday’s match against Granada. Neymar hardly needs divine intervention, but after the beating he took in that match we hope someone powerful is listening.
Image: official Neymar JR Twitter
Neymar has been busy taking care of business at Barça. The assist leader, a FIFA Ballon d’Or nomination and a fourth year in the running for the Puskás trophy. And in spite of having managed all that, Neymar is also the most fouled player in La Liga.
Sport ran a story claiming Diego Costa trumped his compatriot (or not) to the unwanted honor, comparing Neymar’s 43 fouls received to Diego Costa’s 45. But if one dives deeper into the numbers, as I did, on a per minutes converted to approximate per game basis, Neymar is officially the most targeted man in Spain. Diego Costa has thus far played 1, 118 minutes in the league and therefore is fouled on average 3.6 times per game. Neymar has been on the pitch far fewer minutes, 813, but gets hit 4.8 times per game. That’s 22% more often.
Website WhoScored.com, who use OptaSport data in their analysis, published a starting eleven of the top rated players 21 and under in Europe’s top five leagues (England, Spain, Italy, Germany, France). Occupying the left forward role and with the highest rating (8.07) on the field is FC Barcelona new man Neymar. While far from the greatest honor Neymar will win in his career, it’s pleasant to see that his terrific start to life with Barça is being acknowledged elsewhere and furthermore is supported by statistics.
Brazilian defender Adriano Correia (29) is experiencing his best season at the club. For the first time since arriving at the Camp Nou in the summer of 2010 he has managed to play 10 consecutive games, something that was unthinkable in previous campaigns when the defender struggled a lot with muscle injuries. In an interview with Catalan daily El Mundo Deportivo, Adriano confessed some of his secrets. Read everything after the jump.
The injury to Lionel Messi leaves a giant-sized hole in the center of our attack for the next eight weeks. The injury, however, comes at the best possible time for FC Barcelona as Barça have already qualified for the knockout stage of the Champions League and have relatively easier fixtures in La Liga over the next two months. The main focus is to get Leo fit for the all important encounter against Atlético Madrid on 12th January. In the meanwhile, the question still remains – who will lead the line for Barça?
Neymar Jr.’s fantastic marketability shines brightly on comic book covers in kiosks and stores around Brazil. Though the comic already exists in Portuguese for the Brazilian market, Neymar jr will soon be all over the newsstands in Barcelona with the announcement that the series will now be published in Catalan, edited by Panini.
Neymar made his comic debut earlier this April in his own gibi (mini comic) under the umbrella of Maurício de Sousa’s famous Mônica family in his native Brazil. De Sousa, who is known as the Brazilian Walt Disney, has drawn cartoons aimed at a younger audience since 1959.
This week 11 FC Barcelona first team players joined their national teams. Nearly all of them will feature in friendlies, while only Alex Song and Sergi Roberto will play official games. On November 17, Alex Song’s Cameroon will play a World Cup qualifier against Tunisia. Sergi Roberto will feature in the U21 Spanish team for European qualifiers against Bosnia ( Nov. 14) and Albania (Nov. 18). Barça B’s Sergi Gómez was also named to the U21 Spanish team.
Víctor Valdés, Sergio Busquets, Andrés Iniesta, Pedro Rodríguez and Marc Bartra have been called up to the Spanish national team by Vicente del Bosque for the friendlies against Equatorial Guinea (Nov.16) and South Africa (Nov.19). On November 19, Neymar and Dani Alves’ will play for Brazil against Honduras (16) and Chile (Nov.19). Alexis Sánchez joined the Chilean team and before playing against his blaugrana team mates (Brazil), will take on England (Now. 16). Lastly, Javier Mascherano was called up to albiceleste and will feature in friendlies against Ecuador (Nov.15) and Bosnia-Herzegovina (Nov. 18).
Only one FC Barcelona player is in the running for the latest FIFA Puskás Award for best goal of the year. FIFA announced the top 10 nominees yesterday and for the fourth year running Neymar features. That’s an impressive feat. Neymar’s amazing individual goal against Flamengo won in 2011 while last year he finished in third place. The Brazilian is nominated on this occasion for his thunderous half-volley against Japan during the 2013 Confederations Cup. The complete list reads:
That was easily one of the most entertaining games of the season. While the final 4-1 score-line suggests the match was comfortable, viewers knows that to be untrue. Real Betis were brilliant during the first 35 minutes, completely prohibiting FC Barcelona from playing their game. However Betis’ gung-ho mentality, which I respect deeply, was unsustainable and as both mind and legs tired, the home side succumbed to defeat. For Barça, it’s a great way to go into the two-week international break still undefeated.
When the Spanish national football team plays Equatorial Guinea and South Africa next week, five FC Barcelona players will be on the roster. Víctor Valdés, Sergio Busquets, Andrés Iniesta, Cesc Fàbregas and Pedro Rodríguez have been called up for international duty. Xavi Hernández and Gerard Piqué are being rested and will, therefore, stay in Barcelona during the coming international break.
FC Barcelona player Adriano Correia spoke recently at a promotional event in Gavà and told media that “we’re [Barça] close to excellence. I’m pleased and satisfied with the result against Milan,” but he also added that “there are times during games when we lose possession and we’re hit with a counterattack. We have to be careful when we have possession.”
Asked about his current situation in Barça’s defense, the Brazilian underlined “I approach competition normally. It’s a shame to have two injuries back to back, like Jordi has had. We’re always encouraging him. I know what it’s like, because it’s happened to me and I talk to Jordi a lot.”
This news will bring with it a fair share of moans and groans, but Andoni Zubizarreta today signed a contract extension as FC Barcelona director of football until the end of the 2015/16 season.
This was never going another way, as I had mentioned many months back. Zubizaretta was always going to hold that position until club presidential elections in 2016. At that point, Sandro Rosell will bring in fresh faces to the directive and possibly a new director of football then.
After the UEFA Champions League game against AC Milan, FC Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets had this to say, “We aren’t a tall team, most of the time we play the short option on free kicks and corners. But we managed [to score from a header] this Wednesday and I’m happy.” With the 3-1 win, Barça have qualified for the next round of the Champions League and Busquets underlined that “we’ve reached our goal. I think that we played a good first half, it’s a shame that we conceded an own goal. Even though we had some trouble in the second half, the match was played well and I’m pleased that we won and that we have a spot in the next round.”
Asked to make a short analysis of the opponent he explained that “they varied their tactics and it was difficult for us to cover the wings. Abate went deep and Muntari covered the middle. I think that’s when Milan were most dangerous, but everything was easier when we got our third goal.” Speaking about his team he said that “we knew it [goal scored by Messi] was only a matter of time because he’s decisive and in front of goal he’s always on form.” He also added that the team “are not at 100% and it will be difficult to replicate the form the team showed during the Guardiola years, both because our level and the level of our rivals, they didn’t know us back then.” Read more statements made by the players after the jump.
November 6, 2013 marks a mini-milestone for FC Barcelona. Today is the date 100 days since Neymar’s debut for the club. The Brazilian starlet made his debut on July 30, in a friendly match against Lechia Gdánsk in Poland, when he replaced Alexis in the 78th minute. He has since played 15 official matches for the club, scoring three official goals and assisting another seven for his teammates, while demonstrating a wonderful understanding with the world’s number one player, Leo Messi.
Neymar and Alexis Sánchez are both poised to start alongside Leo Messi in the Champions League match against Milan, given their fine form and large contribution to Barça’s derby win against Espanyol. The two still miss a significant landmark in terms of their stats: scoring in the UEFA Champions League (UCL).
The preliminary 23 man shortlist was published by FIFA for the 2013 edition of the Ballon d’Or. Of the 23, four are FC Barcelona players, one of our lowest tallies in quite some time: Andrés Iniesta, Lionel Messi, Neymar and Xavi Hernández. Details of the other candidates and the ten nominated managers after the jump.
Neymar’s goal in Saturday’s Clásico may not have been a technical marvel, but it was certainly one of the turning points in the contest, and an exciting moment for Barca fans following the match. This video features commentary on the goal from around the world: Argentina, Russia, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Asia and even the Middle East. We love the passion of these announcers [although the Russian broadcaster is laughably casual, in contrast to the histrionics from Cadena Ser]. After you watch the vid, sound off in the comments on who your favorite was.
Stepping into the shoes of his illustrious Brazilian predecessors – Romario, Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho – Neymar is set to face Real Madrid for the first time. Brazilian magic has decided many a Clásico for Barça in the past, including the legendary Ronaldinho performance at the Santiago Bernabéu.
Neymar says that this is the match every player wants to play in. Rest assured, there will be no grander stage in Europe for Neymar to announce himself.
It’s the big one. El Clásico. The biggest fixture in Spanish football, for my money, and the largest in the sport. On Saturday, 18:00 local time, nearly 100,000 culés will pack into the Camp Nou. There will only be a few hundred madridistas. It will be the first time since 2003 that each team’s manager will experience this for the first time. For Gerardo Martino, a win would crystalize an incredible opening act to his Barça career, expanding his team’s points advantage to six. For Carlo Ancelotti, it would steady the rudder and equal Barça’s 25 points. Now we just have to see what happens.
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.
Apologies for taking so long to write another column, new job and all that………but what better time to swing back into action than, simply put, the biggest game in world football bar none. El Pivote will pick out the key tactical battles where the game may be won or lost.