Everyday Spain’s near 20 million football fans visit their local news stand, pick up their preferred periodical poison and either delight or disgust in the latest happenings of their favorite club. And whether Marca in Madrid or Mundo Deportivo in Catalonia, a café con leche is always part of the morning football ritual. So pour one yourself and find out what’s happening today in Barça nation.
You’ve probably had a miserable weekend watching Barça throw away the game against Celta Vigo after wasting so many chances. Well, we’d thought we’d make matters worse for you and list a couple of facts about Saturday’s loss.
If Xavi Hernández doesn’t start, Andrés Iniesta will captain the side Saturday evening in Madrid, so it was fitting the magical midfielder was the player sent to meet the media pre-clásico. “It’s hard to predict what we’ll find on Saturday , you don’t know how they’ll be and often it all comes down to little details. There is a lot of quality in both teams and the game could go either way.” What will be his 13th cláscio encounter, Iniesta insisted “we will be going there with the intention of winning. It’d be a big mistake to think that we’ve got a four point lead and even if we lose we’ll still be top. We’re just thinking about playing well, winning and stretching our lead in the table, which would be important, but not decisive at this stage of the season.” More after the jump.
It has been a while since we have had something submitted to share with the totalBarça community. This one is a good one, it is different, and it is dedicated to Neymar Jr.
Luis Enrique has named his 19-man squad list against Málaga this evening, and it includes Neymar Jr and Ivan Rakitic, both who picked up knocks after the game against Levante. Barça B players Munir El Haddadi and Sandro Ramírez are also included in tonight’s squad once again.
With the match congestion, Dani Alves and Jérémy Mathieu were omitted from the squad list to rest, while the injured list reads: Rafinha, Jordi Masip and Thomas Vermaelen. Obviously, it doesn’t need to be repeated that Luis Suárez is suspended.
After last night’s game against Athletic Club, FC Barcelona’s Brazilian brace-scorer Neymar (22) spoke with the press about his combination play with teammate Lionel Messi, the team’s performance and a great effort by their Basque opponents. Neymay lauded the provider of his goals by saying that, “Messi is the best in the world, a ‘crack. I am getting better with him. We are recovering as a team and improving. I came back from the travelling a little tired, it was a long journey.”
Read more from Neymar after the jump.
Dani Alves had the media salivating with the sheer amount of sound bites but hopefully also left them feeling twinges of shame during his no holds barred press conference yesterday afternoon. The Barça man spoke on a wide range of subjects, particularly the way he believes he is perceived and treated by fans, the club and the media. He also confirmed, though its been blatantly obvious for some time, that he is staying at the club and in fact has a contract until 2016, not 2015. All the very juicy stuff after the jump.
Not long ago FC Barcelona announced Neymar was medically assessed after discomfort in his left knee following yesterday’s training session and tests uncovered a grade 1 strain. There is no further information at this time regarding recovery time or when he will return to training.
This is truly a pity after the Brazilian’s excellent display in the Gamper.
Neymar Jr. has been called up by second time around Brazil coach Dunga for friendlies against Ecuador and Colombia in early September. Dunga famously left a teenage Neymar behind for the 2010 World Cup, but with the Barcelona superstar given the medical all-clear after his injury, there was no reason not to pick him. Dani Alves, however, was left out of the Brazil squad for the first time in years as a result of his declining performances for both club and country. Adriano also does not make it and looks unlikely to ever again.
Barcelona teammates Claudio Bravo, Javier Mascherano, and Lionel Messi have all been called up to their respective national teams for friendlies as well.
FC Barcelona’s Neymar has added his voice to the “Ice Bucket Challenge” phenomenon. Two and a half weeks ago, Pete Frates, a 29 year old inflicted by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, posted this video on Facebook, which has inspired the likes of Bill Gates, Lebron James and most recently Barça’s young Brazilian to share a message and donate to the cause. If you check out Pete’s video, you’ll notice he cannot speak any longer. Lou Gehrig’s is a disease that attacks nerve cells and eventually leads to entire body paralysis, despite the mind remaining active, with a life expectancy of two to five years. The infliction itself is named after one of the most famous New York Yankee’s of all time, who on the day of retirement gave one sport’s truly inspiring speeches, calling himself the “luckiest man on the face of the earth” despite his diagnosis. He passed away two years later.
The Ice Bucket Challenge has now been shared over 1.2 million times via social media channels, in which a person posts a video of themselves dumping a bucket of ice water over their head and challenging friends to do the same or donate $100 dollars to the ALS Association. Clearly, a great deal of people have done both and deep pocket celebrities have donated a fair deal more. In fact, since Pete’s original video, the ALS Association has received $ 13.3 million in donations, versus the 1.7 million received last year over the same period. Neymar himself challenges Brazilian bud Robinho, a few others and Carlos Zúñiga.
Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu gave a length interview to CNN yesterday to discuss all things FC Barcelona. The piece centers around the mes que un club slogan, a widely misinterpreted phrase, as is the case again with CNN. During the interview, Bartomeu discusses the year gone by and this new transition phase for the club. All that after the jump.
The final first team members (save obviously Luis Suárez) hit the training field this morning. Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano, Neymar and Dani Alves joined the squad in the AM and the four will also have a second training in the afternoon whilst the rest of the squad is given rest time.
Xavi Hernández and Jérémy Mathieu, hamstring twinge, trained separately and both are ruled out of the Napoli friendly tomorrow.
Disgraced former FC Barcelona president Sandro Rosell gave his testimony in the Neymar proceedings on July 22 and it must be said he did nothing to redeem himself. For the most part it appears his declarations added next to nothing to the case. Rosell continued to maintain that the transfer fee for Neymar was 57 million euros and explained the difference to the total 86 million of the entire “operation” in exactly the same manner the club did in January (10 million – pre-contract, 2.5 million – agent commissions, 4 million – publicity payments, 2.5 million – charitable amounts, 7.9 million – options on three Santos players and 2 million – legal costs for Neymar’s father’s company). The baffling part comes after the jump.
As scheduled, FC Barcelona medical personnel flew to Brazil to collaborate with the Brazilian federation’s doctors regarding Neymar Jr. The club medics are in total agreement with the injury diagnosis as well as the recovery plan. Neymar will return to Barcelona on August 5th, three weeks after pre-season training has officially started and continue his recovery in Spain.
“My dream isn’t over. It was interrupted by a play but it continues. I’m certain that my team-mates will do everything possible so that my dream, which is to be a champion, comes true. My dream was also to play in a World Cup final but this time it didn’t work out. I am sure they will win this cup and be champions, and I will be with them, and all Brazilians will soon be celebrating all of that.
“It’s a very difficult moment, I have no words to translate what is going through my head and my heart, I’d just like to say I will be back as quickly as possible, when you least expect it, I’ll be back.”
FC Barcelona’s ace attackers Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr have taken the 2014 World Cup by storm. Both men have inarguably been their national sides’ top performers. Messi has 24 goals in his last 24 Argentina caps, or 32 goals in 36 games in 2014, with 10 assists. In canary yellow, Neymar has outrageously good career statistics, 22 years old, 52 appearances, 35 goals and 20 assists. After the jump are their group stage performances in numbers, including an impressive 92% shot accuracy from Neymar.
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.)
FC Barcelona’s three best dribblers, Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr and Andrés Iniesta, will feature on the widely read New York Times Magazine that is to hit the stands tomorrow. The renowned magazine will feature exclusive photo- and video-shoots before the action kicks off in Brazil.
What’s more is that Leo, Ney and Cristiano Ronaldo will feature on the cover of The New York Times (newspaper) this week. Starting this Sunday, the NYT website will publish the videos of the players from the photo-shoot.
Here we are, many thousands of words later, the third and final part of “If I were Zubi.” Having covered Luis Enrique and goodbyes in Part 1 then the goalkeeping and defensive situation in Part 2, naturally it’s time for the midfield and the attack. Having spent an estimated sum of between 50 and 70 million euros of the soft 100 spending cap on the defense, Part 1 left the remaining lines as follows: