Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Kevin McCarra on Ballon D'Or winner Ronaldinho

Why Ronaldinho made the right move going to Barca. 'dinho would also like Thierry Henry to join him at the Camp Nou. I really can't see him staying at Arsenal, now that he's broken Wrights scoring record. The only thing that is left for him to do now is win the European Cup and it's unlikely to be with the Gunners.


Monday, November 28, 2005

Nothing sounds quite like an 8-oh-8

With predicatable efficiency and no small amount of flair, Barca dispatched Racing 4-1 last night. They could even afford for Ballon D'Or winner (to be presented tonight) Ronaldinho to miss a penalty early on. Barca have won eight games in a row now, scoring 28 goals and conceeding 3. Both Messi and Eto'o scored fabulous goals, Eto'o picking the ball up in his own half and beating four players to slot past the Racing keeper, the wonderfully named Dudu Aouate.

In other less sunny news, Espanyol keeper, Carlos Kameni was the subject of some horrible racist abuse at the Athletico Madrid game. In the same fixture last year a banana was throw at him. Athletico were of course fined the massive amount of 600 euros for racist chanting last year. Expect this to be similarly brushed under the carpet by the Spanish FA.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Belletti and Ezquerro back in the squad

So seriously do Barca take the threat of Racing that Santi Ezquerro is back in the match squad for this evenings game (he's on the bench and it's already 1-0, Eto'o on thirty one minutes) The Real match has just finished 2-2 with goals from Bravo and Zidane in the 87th and 88th minutes. Who'd have thought they had a spirited comeback in them?

Friday, November 25, 2005

Simon Baskett on the contrast between Barca and Real

Reasonable article on the differing approaches at the Camp Nou and the Bernabeu.
Racing

Third from bottom with only 2 wins out of 12, a top scorer (Aganzo) who's only netted twice (they've only scored 6 in total), having lost their two best players, Yossi Benayoun and Juanma, in the summer and with the only arrivals of note being waster midfielder Stephaine Dalmat and his brother Wilfred, Racing Santander come to the Camp Nou on Sunday evening.

Masters of the dull draw and narrow defeat, the chances of them pulling off an upset are remote indeed. With both Xavi and Eto'o having sat out the midweek Champions League game against Bremen, expect both to be restored to the line up, with a possible start for either Belletti or Gabri on the right in place of Oleguer. Other than that it will be Barca as usual as they look to notch their eight win on the trot.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

You on point Tip?

1nce again Phife! 3-1 against Bremen last night and Ronaldinho was 1nce again on fantastic form, scoring one and setting up the other two goals. There were quite a few changes to the starting lineup, Gabri, Motta and Larsson were all on for the beginning and there was a welcome return for Julio Belletti late on. Even the whatever happened to.. Santi Ezquerro came on in the second half. Great to see Gabri get a start and score. The same goes for Larsson, who'd I'd really like to see given more of a run out.

The balanced Reuters match report is here and the sensationalist fcbarcelona.es one is here.

Incidently, Barca have now won seven matches in a row. With Racing Santander, a side that managed two own goals against Depor in their last match, at home on Sunday one wouldn't bet against them making it eight.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Phil Ball on the derbi

A fine article on Soccernet by Mr. Ball on the politics and football that played out in the Bernabeu on Saturday.
Maxi to be loaned out to Betis?

He would seem to be on his way. I really like Maxi but because of Eto'o fantastic form and fitness he's never really gotten a look in. Along with Jorquera and Damia, he's only member of the squad not to play a first team game this season. Look for Santi Ezquerro to be farmed out in January too, possibly back to Bilbao.

In other news, it appears that Samuel Eto'o won't be going to play for Cameroon in the African Cup of Nations if El Mundo Deportivo is to be believed. This would fit with the Maxi story.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Casillas to leave Madrid?

Wow, look for Real down the bottom half of the table if this happens. Far and away their most important player in the past four seasons, I can't think who they'd get to replace him. Gigi Buffon perhaps?

In other Real related news, Raul, who limped off in el derbi will be out for at least 2 months with a knee injury. With both Ronaldo and Baptista still struggling for fitness, it leaves Robinho as the only fully fit forward to face Lyon. It's at times like these they could really do with Michael Owen. And some defenders. And a midfield anchorman.

As I type this I see Sid Lowes article about Saturdays game has just gone up on The Guardian site. Have a read.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Gol Eto'o! Gol Ronaldinho! Gol Ronaldinho! 0-3 Barca

Florentino Perez, David Beckham, Arrigo Sacchi, Wanderley Luxemburgo, Ferenc Puskas, Alfredo Di Stefano, Fernando Hierro, King Juan Carlos, Ivan Zamarano, Raul Gonzales Blanco, Jorge Valdano, Lorenzo Sanz, Santiago Bernabeu; your boys took one hell of a beating!

What a performance! Ronaldinho was simply sensational, Messi (playing licence yet to be annuled) turned Roberto Carlos inside out, Eto' scored a fantastic opener to silence the fascista crowd who'd been booing him from the beginning. Xavi and Edmilson ran the midfield against the hopeless Pablo Garcia whos only contribution was elbowing Deco in the face. Puyol and Marquez dealt effortlessly with a fat unfit Ronaldo, an over-hyped, overly elaborate cry baby in Robinho and a non-entity in Raul.

Real were awful. Their best player by a mile was Casillas who kept the scoreline somewhat respectable with great saves from Eto'o and Messi in the first half to esure it stayed 0-1 at the break. Chica gordo Sergio Ramos was appaling, with Ronaldinho blowing past him for both his goals like he wasn't there. Helguera was crocked and slow. Zidane and Becks were poor, though Becks did at least try.

From the jump off the game was Barcas, Real never once (bar an offside goal from fat Ron late on) threatened to make a game of it, they looked beaten from the moment Eto'o scored. The goal, created by Leo Messi cutting inside past Carlos, came on 15 minutes. For the next half hour Barca battered their way past Real and created several openings without putting them away, Deco, Xavi, Messi, Eto'o, Ronaldinho all had a go.

The second half was more of the same, Barca amazing, Ronaldinho powering his way through Reals all-at-sea defence, Messi being fouled out of it everytime he got the ball, Real huffing and puffing and never getting close to the blaugrana. Raul came off injured mid way through the half and Guti came on to very little effect. Ditto Baptista, who replaced the rubbish Pablo Garcia.

The result, coupled with Osasunas 0-0 draw puts Barca top on goal difference (+19) and even after 12 games, it's very hard to see them being caught by anyone, especially not Real who are in need of an almighty kick up the arse after this shambles of a performance.

So there you have it folks, Barcelona put Real to the sword with brilliant ease. Forca Barca!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

It's the return of the...

Beast. And the Phenomenon. And Zidane and Helguera too... In fact bar the forever crocked Woodgate and Gravesen, Real are pretty much full strenght. Gah!
Everytime you close your eyes...

Lies! Lies! I was reading a short interview with Ivan Helguera (who's rated as 50/50 for el derbi) realmadrid.com this morning. One of the questions he's asked/ statements made is "So far in the season they (Barca) have lost against some big teams." Barca have lost 1nce this season, to Athletico Madrid. Real on the other hand, have lost five games...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Messi may not play again until January

Could Barca possibly have made any more of a mess of this? Yesterday the Spanish League asked the FA to annul Leo Messis playing licence. Given that his Spanish citizenship was granted late September (almost a whole month after the transfer window had closed) and the Barca completely botched his registration (previously had been a member of the youth team and thus regulations restricting each team in La Liga to three non-EU players, Ronaldinho, Marquez and Eto'o, did not apply) they don't have a leg to stand on and quite honestly I'm surprised he's been playing up to now.

What isn't clear is whether Barca will face any penalty, financial or otherwise as a result of this. With regard the results of games that Messi played in, what happens there? Do they stand? Of course the other conern is that the only games Messi will be able to play between now and the opening of the transfer window are the two remaining in the Champions League. If his licence is annuled I don't think he'll even be able to play Barca B games as they can't re-register him as a youth teamer until January either...

More on this spectacular balls up from the BBC

Monday, November 14, 2005

USA! USA!

Apparently Barca are looking to launch an MLS club in the US. Expect this to happen around the same time the Barca shirt carries a sponsor (ie: never) That said, I'm off to register barcelonabandits.com just incase...
Arabian nights

It seems that Al Ittihad (all in Arabic) are looking to sign either Samuel Eto'o or Kaka on a ten day loan for £3.4 million to play in the World Club Championship. It will of course never happen but with there being a whole five days until el derbi, actual news is thin on the ground.

Speaking of which, Real are apparently looking to rush back not only Ronaldo, but also Zidane, Baptista and Helguera back for the game on Saturday. All of which is great news being as all of them, in particular Baptista, are completely crocked. There's no news on the Real website as to how they're progressing, so we shall see.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Barca TV on your digibox?

Plans are afoot to expand Barca TVs reach which ought mean that it will make its way onto Sky Digital in the UK and Ireland. From what I've seen of it BTV is as bland and boring as MUTV (without Roys rants) but if it's a wet Wednesday evening I'd sooner watch a Barca B game than crap like The 70s House...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Van Bommel injured

He will undergo an MRI scan today on his ankle. Hopefully it's not too serious. I know there's not been much news in the past few days but it is international week so aside from rubbish like "'I am happy with how the team is playing' says Rijkaard" or other such hot air there's not much to report.

Update

Van Bommel is out for up to two months having torn ligaments in his ankle. Good thing Deco is on the mend.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Belletti back in training, Van Bommel called up to the Dutch Squad

Julio Belletti was back in light training today. He should be back training with the rest of the squad before the Real game.

Also, Mark Van Bommel has been called up to the Dutch squad to replace Wesley Sneijder for their game against Italia at the weekend.
Fucking stupid racist pigs at Getafe

Once again Samuel Eto'o is the victim of stupid, ignorant racist abuse from piece of shit Getafe fans. Sammy was on the end of moronic monkey chants in the same fixture last year. Credit to Getafe who made announcements on the PA requesting the abuse stop and flashed no to racism on the scoreboard. Perhaps their facist neighbours in the Bernabeu will take note.
Benefit game for middle east peace process

November 29th, a game to be played against a joint Israeli Palestinian side. Hope it's well attended.
Woodgate out for four weeks

To no ones surprise Jon Woodgate is injured again, this time for four weeks (or maybe four months, one never knows with JW) This of course rules him out of el derbi. Nice one.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Another comprehensive win and my subject lines become evermore like fcbarcelona.com

3-1 away win against Getafe, I didn't see any of it and so will just have to read the hyperbolic match report tomorrow. Motta got his first start of the season though, scored a super free kick. Deco came off the bench late on and seems to be back to (or at least approaching) full fitness. Barca are still second behind Osasuna (who beat Sociedad 1-2 on Saturday)

I did catch a little of the Real game this evening (1-0, a 79th minute Roberto Carlos penalty) and from what I saw of the first half Real were rather awful. With Helguera out and Woodgate coming off injured (Woodgate? Injured you say? I've never heard such nonsense...) the Real centre backs were, for most of the game, the frankly hopeless Pavon (more famous for Perez "Zidanes y Pavones" statement than anything else) and midfielder Mejia (while right back Sergio Ramos incredibly continues to play in the centre of midfield) Whether the hamstring injury is so bad as to keep Woodgate out of el derbi remains to be seen.

Also caught the second half of Villareal - Valencia (1-0 to the yellow submarines) and Aimar and Miguel aside, Valencia were quite poor. Barbosa did make some excellent saves from Villa and Baraja but Villareal always looked the better side with 20 year old Santi Carzola (dreadful mullet aside) excellent throughout, albeit against the 40 year old Amedeo Carboni. This result leaves Valencia ninth and on this form (one point from a possible nine and that was against Santander) I'd be very surprised to see them mount a challange for the title.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Deco back training with the rest of the squad

Good news, Deco is back in full training and may be back in time for el derbi. The official team photo (1.2 Megs jpeg) is up on the Barca website today too. Er, yeah, hardly news but...
Puyol and Xavi in Spanish squad for Slovakia game

No place for Valdes or Oleguer, the only two other 'spaniards' playing regularly for Barca. The full squad is listed here

In other international news, Mark Van Bommel has been left out to the Dutch squad. Considering the form he's been in and that the likes of 'boro waster George Boateng and the 35 year old former Barca man Phillip Cocu are included it's rather surprising. No place for Davids or Roy Makaay either.
Good news for el derbi

With Baptista definitely out and Ronaldo unlikely to recover in time for el derbi on the 19th there's more good news from the Real camp this morning, Ivan Helguera (thigh) is out too. Helguera will be sidelined (there must be a better phrase than this for players who are injured) for three weeks so in all likelihood it'll be crocked racist Jon Woodgate and gobby tosser Sergio Ramos in the centre of defence for the Barca game.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Let's not get carried away, actually no, let's

I only caught the goals of the Panathinaikos game last night and Barca were simply masterful. Eto'o hat trick was superb, his header for the first probably the best. The Getafe (check out their webiste, it's quite brilliant, particularly the Instalaciones section) game is on Sunday and considering their form (up and down) and Barcas (unbeatable) I'm going to go wild and say that the blaugrana will probably win. Looking over the Getafe squad, they have some decent players, the 1nce very promising Cosmin Contra, Celestini and Nano in midfield plus Rafa Benitez target and former Real Madrid youth teamer Riki up front. They also have ex-BCN player Bernd Schuster as coach who got off to a great start with Levante last season before going on a dreadful run, getting sacked and seeing Valencias other team relegated on the last day of the season.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

A L'Eto'o, a L'Eto'o!

Eto'o hat trick, Messi playing like Diego, an absolute riot of attacking football. I'm just back from dinner so I'll have to check the full highlights and post more in the morning but Forca Barca! Incredible!
Squad for the Panathinaikos game

Marquez is back for tonights game though both Giuly and Maxi are out. Apparently Maxi is being 'rested', but considering that he's played about as many games for Barca this season as I have I can't see why they'd leave him out. His attitude seems to be good and he certainly offers a different option to Messi or Ezquerro so why not give him a go. There has been talk of loaning him out at Christmas but I think he's good enough to hold down a place in the squad. Forgotten man Gabri is back tonight too. With Belletti out until after Christmas and Oleguer not a natural right back the oppertunity is certainly there for him.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Barca bulldoze la Real

What with it being a bank holiday weekend I've rather slacked off on posting. Thankfully the team have not taken my lead as they powered past Sociedad on Sunday, 5-0 including the first goal the Carles Puyol has scored in over three years. Barca are now second (by a point) to the woeful Osasuna (see Barcas 3-0 thumping of them last week for evidence of same) and with the faltering Getafe up next before el derbi at the Bernabeu on November 20th.

Last week Oleguer made a comment that when Barca were playing well they were unbeatable and I don't think it was a throwaway remark, when they're in this form I can't see anyone coming close to them, Juve or Chelsea are their only real rivals for the European Cup and with regards La Liga, it's Real or Valencia at a stretch.