Saturday, July 22, 2006

It's bin along since I hit you with freestyle...

... high tech selections from the vaults of the Ice files. Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the latest in a long line of openly biased, semi-regular FCB postings here on blog that's all Barcelona, all the time. So Ice, what's going on? All types of shit homie, all types of shit. Let's begin shall we?

Thuram y Zambrotta

The Juventus fire sale has begun in earnest. On Thursday evening Bar
ça signed both Gianluca Zambrotta and Lillian Thuram from the bianconeri. Thuram, 34 and recently retired form international football with France (again), has signed a two year deal while Zambrotta, 29, has signed a four year deal. Earlier in the week Fabio Cannavaro, Italian World Cup winning captain and all round Superman signed for Real along with old man Emerson.

I'm delighted with the arrival of Zambrotta, he's one of the best right backs in the world (he can also play down the left) and one of Italia's best players. He's been with Juve for the past six seasons and is a model of consistency. He's simply brilliant and a huge improvement on Belletti, who's heart probably sank when he got wind on Gianluca's signing.

As for Thuram, I'm less enthusiastic. While he's far from finished, his performences in the World Cup were fantastic but I wonder how long his legs will hold up. He's certainly a better defender than Gio but I'm curious to see how much he'll play. Rijkaard really likes Gio (lord know's why, he's a liability in defence) so it shall be interesting to see how this one plays out.

Election time

Thanks to a ridiculous ruling by a local judge (essentially because the FCB year runs from July to June and as Laporta became president on June 22nd 2003, the ruling stated that his first eight days in office constituted a whole year...) Barcelona will hold presidential elections in the next month or two. Laporta will of course stand again and most likely win. While he has his critics he has also delivered the La Liga Championship two years in a row (with a second place finish the year before) and the European Cup and a Barcelona team playing their best football since the Cruyff (coaching) era. Baring some extraordinary happenings, there's no way he can lose.

La Liga schedule

Next season's schedule has been announced. Details are here [pdf]. The first game of the season is on August 28th, a Monday, away to Celta Vigo.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Forza Italia, Giuly, Damia and shirt sponsorship

The second half of the final is just about to start so I'll keep this quite short. Ludovic Giuly has signed a two year contract extension that will see him stay at Barcelona until 2008.

Damia (currently on loan at Racing de Santander) is recovering from his hip injury back at the Camp Nou. He'll still play the next season in Santander but considering his good form there I hope that he'll be back at Bar
ça after that, he's a decent defender and very good at coming forward.

On to the major news of the last few days, Barcelona and shirt sponsorship. Though it has yet to be confirmed officially (there's an article about it on though), FCB will, for the first time wear sponsorship on their shirts this season coming. In a deal that will apparently announced on August 11th, FCB will sport the UNICEF logo. In an interesting twist, Barcelona will donate 0.7%, about £2 million per season to UNICEF. Més que un club eh?

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Four more years

Rafa Marquez extended his contract with Barcelona on Thursday until 2010. Marquez has been pivital in the Rijkaard revolution, excelling at both centre back alongside Puyol or in the holding role in midfield.

Deutschland uber alles

I'm sitting here watching England and a Deco-less Portugal bore each other into submission of a Saturday afternoon. Jesus Christ but if Gerrard wellies another pass fifty yards over Joe Cole's head and out for a throw in... Or if Hargreaves fouls anyone else... argh, Pauleta is some donkey. This is brutal. Anyway...

I haven't blogged about the World Cup mainly because I haven't seen a great deal of it with my crazy working hours. It's on in the office but I can hardly give the games my full attention. That and what I have seen hasn't been all that great (Argentina's 6-0 walloping of Sebria and Montenegro being the highlight) It was a shame to see the
Albicelestes bow out yesterday, they've played such wonderful football, Tevez, Riquelme, Ayala, Crespo and of course Leo Messi, who didn't see any action yesterday.

I'm still backing Italia to win, especially with Luca Toni, my bet for top scorer, getting off the mark last night. Speaking of Italia, my thoughts have been with Gianluca Pessotto, who tried to commit suicide on Tuesday, falling from a window at Corso Galileo Ferraris, Juve headquarters in Torino.

The Azzurri have had a lot to deal with between the match fixing scandal, the gambling accusations leveled at Gigi Buffon and now poor Luca's attempt to take his own life. It seems as if Luca's injuries are pretty serious and he may not make it. It rather puts crap games of football in perspective.