Dani Alves might not have the pace he had when he first signed for the club in 2008 at 25 years of age, but he still remains a vital player for FC Barcelona. He has been criticized a lot this season, in part unfairly so, and blaming the defensive issues on him is unreasonable. Despite all the critics, I see Alves as one of the best Barça players this season. His ineffectiveness in attack at times or the space left open on his wing isn’t always his fault, yet in some people’s eyes, the blame is placed solely on him.
FC Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets spoke at a press conference on Wednesday. He began by stating that “we’re ready to win the match on Sunday, but if [the league title] comes before then, it’ll be just as important. Winning a title is special and the league even more so.” The La Liga title, however, won’t be Barça’s just yet. Real Madrid’s 6-2 victory over Málaga at the Santiago Bernabéu means Barça will have to wait to celebrate the title. Sergio underlined the importance of the title, saying that “the league is the tournament of regularity and the most important. What’s more, it would be the fourth league title in five years and that would be spectacular.”
Éric Abidal and Sergio Busquets have both been cleared to play by FC Barcelona’s medical staff following training on Sunday morning, which was the final session before the visit of Betis this evening (21:00). The two players, along with Messi, were able to train normally with the rest of the group. Pedro, meanwhile, did specific training work separate from his teammates.
FC Barcelona’s first team was back at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper this Saturday morning. Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets were both able to train normally with the group. Defender Abidal was also able to continue working at the same pace as his teammates, as he had during Friday’s training session.
If there’s one man in this FC Barcelona side who rarely gets the credit and appreciation he deserves, it’s midfielder Sergio Busquets. The old saying “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone” applies perfectly to him. In the match against Bayern Munich, he wasn’t literally gone, but he was effectively marked out of the game by the opponent. We witnessed the result.
FC Barcelona’s first team held a session this Sunday at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper focused on recovery. The starters from Saturday’s match at the San Mamés (2-2), plus Adriano and Messi, did post-match recovery work in the gym and physiotherapy, while the rest of the players trained outside in the rain in Sant Joan Despí. Four players from Barça B joined the first team for today’s session: Joan Angel Roman, Ie, Gus, and Oier.
“Sergio Busquets is a key player for Barça. There are others who get more headlines, but this Barça team have won so many titles thanks in large part to him. Sergio Busquets is the key player for Barça. He always keeps his position and sets up players like Xavi and Iniesta who can go forward knowing that their backs are covered.”
- National side teammate and Tuesday opponent Javi Martínez had these words of praise for Barça midfield genius Sergio Busquets. The two defensive midfielders, though quite different in style, will play important roles over the semi-final series with Bayern Munich. An additional quote is after the jump.
For many years now, people have speculated over Xavi’s replacement. It’s well known that Xavi isn’t getting any younger, and as much as we’d all love for him to keep playing forever, his time on the field is coming closer to its end. Speaking of replacements, many have seen Cesc Fàbregas as one, many even think that he was brought from Arsenal to fill in for Xavi. During the last year or two, however, we’ve seen that Cesc is a very different player to Xavi. Luckily for us, we have another young La Masia graduate in the team who has loads of potential and looks likely to be able to fill Xavi’s shoes when the time is right. And that young midfielder goes by the name Thiago Alcântara.
We’re now at the time of the season when injuries seem to pile up, one after the other, with the recoveries being replaced by freshly received physical damage. The FC Barcelona website reports that the latest to join this conveyor belt of heroic-wounded is José Manuel Pinto with lumbago (lower back pain), and Sergio Busquets, who has a groin injury. More after the break.
On Saturday night, Barça went out and trashed Mallorca 5-0. They did it without Messi, without Puyol, Xavi or even Busquets. Sure it was Mallorca and not Man United, Madrid or PSG. But still, it is one of many games that have proved that Barça is not dependent on one or a few players. Of course, Messi is important for Barça, but the team has never been dependent on him. There are games when he came to play from the bench and contributed to a winning result, changed the outcome of the game, like the other day against PSG or like that cold night in Ukraine against Shakhtar in 2008. Let’s make this clear: Barça without Messi wouldn’t collapse. The team isn’t built around Messi, it’s built to get the best out of Messi. The Barça style isn’t dependent on him.
With the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers quickly approaching, the members of the Spanish national team naturally are grilled in front of the press over a multitude of issues. On Wednesday, Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos (26) was asked, “If you were to sign one player from FC Barcelona, who would it be?” His answer, quite surprisingly, wasn’t the cliche Iniesta or Messi. No… he chose Sergio Busquets.
Busquets is undeniably FC Barcelona’s unsung hero. Recently, he has finally been getting the recognition that he deserves. Most often praised whenever he is not playing, his immeasurable talent often falls under the radar; difficult maneuvers, accurate passing, and exceptional positional awareness have all become so routine that it is easy to forget their difficulty. Against AC Milan, Busquets was everywhere.
Andrés Iniesta and Mireia Belmonte were the big winners at the 65th Grand Gala of El Mundo Deportivo, the Catalan sports daily. Iniesta was named the Best Male Athlete of 2012 and Belmonte was named the Best Female Athlete of 2012. During the gala, which was held at the Congressional Palace of Catalonia, Sergio Busquets was awarded with the Best Team Player trophy and Éric Abidal received the Extraordinary Repsol Award. The Barça players were accompanied by Sandro Rosell and a large part of the Board of Directors.
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.
Video Credit: silkyskills4bf
Video Credit: dervyx3
El Pivote (or The Pivot) is a weekly totalBarça column by Anoop Jethwa 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.
Here is the second instalment of El Pivote’s Christmas Holiday report cards! The first instalment can be found here.
On a triumphant evening for the city of Barcelona, the number of consecutive defeats for Atlético Madrid at the Camp Nou extended to seven. And while it wasn’t at the level of humiliation as some of the spankings in recent memory, a 4-1 victory this evening leaps FC Barcelona 9 points ahead of the Mattress-Makers. A 2-2 draw earlier in Madrid, inspiring the fans of the Camp Nou to sing “We love you, Mourinho stay”, has widened the gap from Real Madrid to 13. The match started shakily enough but the spirited response to going behind was simply too much for our opponents.
L’Onze Mondial FIFA/FIFPro 2012 is an award that honors the best 11 players during the past year selected by fellow professional footballers globally.
FC Barcelona has 10 total nominees: 5 defenders, 4 midfielders, and 1 forward. That is the most players of any team in Europe. Below are the nominees per category:
In a special five part series, totalBarça will feature each of the FC Barcelona nominees from the 23-man shortlist for the 2012 FIFA Ballon d’Or. Over the next week, a different contributor will present a nominee and argue for why he should win this year’s prestigious award before the announcement of the final three contenders on November 29th. To start the series, doris86pl highlights the debutant on this year’s list, Sergio Busquets.
Our Ballon d’Or series this year begins with Sergio Busquets. One might say that with players like Messi, Iniesta and Xavi on the squad, it’s very difficult for a player like Sergio to get proper recognition from fans. Since there’s some truth to this, I’ve decided to search for words of wisdom about Busquets from football players and coaches, the professionals who see more than the average fan can from one’s couch.
Prior to the weekend’s tie versus Real Zaragaoza, Xavi Hernández became the only player in Europe’s annointed top 5 leagues to successfully complete over 1, 000 passes in domestic competition. This was completed in 11 league matches. In those matches Xavi attempted 1, 054 passes and completed 1, 007 giving him an incredibly success rate of 95.54%.
FC Barcelona have other representatives in the top 10, as well as some ex-players. Former La Masia graduate Mikel Arteta was 2nd with 994 successful passes, Yaya Touré was 4th with 934, Sergio Busquets was 6th with 841 and Cesc Fàbregas sat in 8th position completing 796 passes.
FC Barcelona has five players in consideration for the 2012 FIFA Ballon d’Or. This Monday at noon, the list of 23 players up for the award was announced, which includes Barça players Leo Messi, Xavi Hernández, Andrés Iniesta, Gerard Piqué, and Sergio Busquets. It’s worth noting that all five candidates were formed in La Masia, the club’s youth system. The winner will be announced on January 7th, in a gala held in Zurich, Switzerland. Before the ceremony, on November 29th, the names of the three finalists will be made public.
FC Barcelona will present a case on Thursday challenging the red card issued to midfielder Sergio Busquets, appealing the two match ban the player received earlier this week. Busquets saw red during the Champions League match in Lisbon against Benfica for an act of aggression towards Maxi Pereira. The club had initially decided against an appeal but have apparently changed their minds.
Image: Ignasi Paredes
FC Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets has been punished with a two match ban by the UEFA Commission on Control and Discipline for incidents that occurred during Barcelona’s Champions League match against Benfica in Lisbon. Busquets was issued a straight red card for apparently raising his hand during a scuffle with an opposing player. Busquets could have been issued a more severe three match sanction, but was given a lighter punishment because the incident did not involve a violent action, only the suggestion of one.
There was good news at Barça’s training session this Thursday afternoon at the Ciutat Esportiva. Andrés Iniesta, who strained a thigh muscle in his right leg on the 12th, and Sergio Busquets, who missed training on Wednesday with back pain, were able to train normally with the rest of their team-mates. In addition, Carles Puyol, who strained the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, was able to spend part of the session with the group.