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Fabregas scored a freekick!
https://vine.co/v/ME1zid1EDTd

:/
Nice to see him take a freekick, its been a REALLY long time
LUKAKU GOES TO EVERTON!!

I'm so happy for Everton and for Romelu; no more frustration at Chelsea, Mourinho doesn't get what he want (Lukaku on the bench) and Everton, a club I really like, get their biggest signing ever!
+7
I think chelsea and mourinho would be happy with this. He's going for £30m bro!! To compare Sanchez ditched Barca for the same amount..and Sanchez is a proven world class talent and much better than Rom (who was benched by an unknown 18 year old)
+3
He was benched by Origi for two games... Hardly proof he's a lousy player. But if that helps you sleep, feel free to believe your logic. He scored more than any teenager ever in the Premier League, more than Messi and Ronaldo at his current age even, but I guess having a mediocre world cup makes you a bad player. By the way, Eden Hazard is an even worse player then, and so is Ronaldo.

He'll continue to shine in a team that suits him with a manager that really gives him confidence instead of one who's demanding unreasonable things and breaks his spirit. £30m is a lot though, I'll give you that. Chelsea's Emenalo is a transfer market genius.
Yea I'm not denying his potential. But to get £30m for someone who doesn't want to play for the shirt and has a shitty attitude is a great deal for Chelsea and Mourinho. Also £30m can buy ready made world class players (which Lukaku isn't atm). I don't think many from the Chelsea camp would be unhappy with this.
+3
I must admit Chelsea got a good chunk of money out of him. They pretty much swapped him for Fabregas.
F#(k the Barca Board
Sure, you guys might be happy he went for a lot of money. But I really don't understand what you Chelsea fans expect from loanees who perform staggeringly well in other teams.

De Bruyne was one of the very best players in Germany when he was on loan to Werder and he doesn't even play once every ten games under Mourinho. Lukaku was phenomenal for West Brom and Everton and you guys expect him to be content with the bench at Chelsea. Courtois is arguably the best goalkeeper in the world and you all said Cech and him should be rotated to see who's best...

These players have proven themselves worthy to be starters ANYWHERE they go, but somehow Chelsea fans still expect them to smile while being benched for guys like Ramires and Torres. You're either not aware of how important playing time is for young top players, you're spoilt with choice at Chelsea or you're not realizing how good those guys are.

Should Diego Costa start on the bench and compete with Torres too? The only reasoning why Lukaku shouldn't be given the confidence by Mourinho to start straight away that I can agree with, is that he's not the sort of striker Chelsea needs. He's great at exploiting space, but not at creating chances in tight areas, which is what you need.
1.Lol dude If lukaku was confident in his ability he would not have requested a loan last season. If he stayed he could have easily been first choice and potentially helped chelsea to a title. And besides all of Chelseas strikers had 30+ appearances last season, so he would have been guaranteed that as a minimum. Bench does not equal no game time bro lol...

2. Courtois will start ahead of Cech guaranteed.

3. Ramires is a CM, Courtois is a GK, Lukaku a striker and De Bruyne a CAM. No idea why you bought him up.

4. De Bruyne had a good season in Germany, but he wasnt good enough to replace Oscar and Mata at the time. Mata was the second choice and De Bruyne was after Mata. Mata had 1000 minutes in premier league and played a couple of champions league games, so logically that leaves no playing time for De Bruyne.

5. Chelsea is a club where winning is everything. There is not much opportunity to nurture young players and give them time.
The thing is, if you are good enough to play for Chelsea, than you will start for Chelsea, regardless of your age.
+3
Put it this way. Chelsea sold Lukaku for £30m and De Bruyne for £18?
Barca sold Thiago for £16m, Sanchez for £30m and Fabregas for 25m
The players sold by Barca are way way way better than those sold by Chelsea.

And the funny thing is all those players were regulars for Barca, where as De Bruyne and Lukaku were not starting ahead of other players.

P.s. im pretty sure you're trying to spin this into "mourinho screwed up" lol. I can understand why you hate him but try thinking logically man
+3
Raj,

Nothing to do with Mourinho. Jeroen is Belgian, so he thinks very highly of Lukaku, and doesn't like you downplaying his worth.
Jrat, read his comments again.
+4
It's a good news by the way,Everton well suited him rather than Chelsea.he can grow and Everton could make some serious money by selling him in future..
Not sure who said lukaku was sold for 30m. What I've read, he was sold for 22m -25m which seems appropriate for him. Chelsea bought him for around 11m. Reasonable fees considering Everton really want him. Thiago was sold for 25m€ which is more like 20m £. Thiagos transfer happened because pep came to get him which caught barca by surprise and his price was reduced due to a technicality built into his contract. We are overloaded in the midfield area so it was always going to happen. Look at kroos - Madrid got him for nothing.

There is no doubt barca doesn't make good sales but we are not a selling club. We also buy specific type of players which we think will suit the club style. That's why we end up paying more because everybody knows we buy when we need a player.

CFC has done well in the transfer market recently especially with the Belgian loanees and the sale of luiz to PSG. But one has understand that clubs like CFC that buy big also end up with surplus players often. CFC has the financial muscle to keep surplus players on the bench so negotiations are difficult and that have the upper hand. Look at Madrid and how well they do with player sales. But look at their net transfer values for the past few years (I posted it on the Madrid board recently). They've bought so much talent that now they can recoup their money. It's good for the club but it is a revolving door policy which offers little in terms of continuity for the club. So you win some and you lose some. CFC bought Torres for 50m. His salary is around 10m per year. He cost CFC about 90m until now. When they sell him (to atletico) he will fetch around 10m. Plus I can guarantee you the buying club will force CFC to pay half his salary because no other club will play him 10m per year. So that's 100m spent on Torres, a player who has scored 45 goals for CFC.

For all those complaining about barca transfers- our current core players cost nothing. Alves has repaid his value in full. Alba too. Pique had been pretty good especially since we got him for 5m €. We made a messy transfer deal for zlatan. It was partially because eto and pep weren't getting along and pep wanted him out. At the moment, because of the transfer ban, the club is in a tight spot and everybody knows it. So every player we buy is going to cost more than his MV.

Fabregas wanted out and he wanted to go to England. The only club wanting his signature was chelsea because arsenal turned him down. Alexis could have been sold to Liverpool for a lot more money but he didn't want to live in Liverpool and the club had to respect his requirements. We allowed villa to go for less than 5m because that's what he wanted and the club decided to assist him in his quest for more playing time. Plus we made a mistake not selling him to arsenal in January for 20m.
raj i dont think it's a case of not liking chelsea or not wanting to play for the shirt. he's not a 25 year old striker making a selfish decision, he's a 21 year old striker thinking about whats best for his career and development.

he's basically saying he has ambition, as a professional, to be the best that he can be. staying at chelsea, as a 2nd or 3rd option, does not suit his ambition as well as being the main man (in terms of the main target for development) at another club under a manager who has demonstrated committment to his development already.

chelsea want to win, and he would be being asked to wait until he's good enough to start, and bide his time as a roleplayer...but that day might not come if he isnt given regular playing time.

to me, it's not about him having a s**t attitude (though i agree he does display this at times during games, showing frustration at older teammates if things dont go his way etc) but thinking about whats best for him and choosing an option where his expectations are most aligned with the coaching staff and the team. at chelsea it's about winning and showing you are good enough right now. at everton it is about developing as a player and as a team. chelsea = instant result, everton = constant improvement.
+3
Yea fair points, pretty similar to what I said. I don't disagree.
So apparently we're close to signing Daniel Agger, the man who has a Liverpool tattoo and who had a rotten season last year.

I feel bad for us for not being able to get anyone good and I feel bad for Liverpool that they'll lose a fan favourite who apparently isn't as dedicated to 'pool as he always said he was.
Barcelona sources deny reports about signing Liverpool centre back Daniel Agger. Player was rejected weeks ago. Marquinhos or Vermaelen [md]
Yup. Reports say he is willing to take a pay cut to join Barcelona. His reported transfer fee is 15 million. But reports also say that Barcelona sources deny reports about signing Liverpool centre back Daniel Agger. Player was rejected weeks ago.

In other transfer news, PSG rejected our final offer of 43m for Marquinhos and has decided to offer Marquinhos a contract upgrade instead.

In other other transfer news, Cuadrado's agent confirmed Barcelona are interested in him and are preparing an offer that will keep both parties happy. This offer is rumoured to be made this week.
TBH 43 M for marquinhos is crazy when balanta ( equally talented ) is moving to Valencia for mere 7M . I just wish we bid sane amount for benatia :/

I would have loved to have agger 2 years back , he was good back then but now injuries and form lost have placed him quite low in Liverpool's pecking order , same goes with Verm , I'd rather pay 10M for balanta then buying either of agger or Verm
Cuadrado is a spectacular player, potentially a fantastic right-back for us but equally likely to be as much a liability in defense as Alves has been in recent years. I don't know how to feel about the rumours he'll sign for us soon. Let's hope he's still able and eager to learn how to defend from the mighty Puyol if Puyi sticks around as a mentor.

I really do hope the Agger rumours are not true as well. There literally are dozens of CBs in Spain who cost €12m or less and are equally good or better AND a lot younger. Oh, and if we honestly offered €43m to PSG for Marquinhos, why not do the same for one of the very best? Mats f'in Hummels! Why the hell does Barça never go after the best defenders straight away? We should've bought either Kompany/T.Silva/Hummels/Vertonghen years ago already.
Jeroen,

Well, we never know what the discussion between BvB and Barca was. Maybe it was a straight Never when they went knocking for Hummels. If Barca does get Cuadrado, we might see a 3-4-3 with Mathieu on the left and Cuadrado on the right, with Cuadrado pushing up and dropping down as appropriate.
@J , some news in Barcelona is that Enrique will prefer 2 dmf of busi & masc , if that happens then Cuadrado at RWB will make perfect sense & rakitick will be superb in cam role but that will leave both xavi & iniesta with no place
+1
Iniesta always has a place mate. He's equally great as a wide attacker as he is at the AM spot or even the CM spot. Xavi though, he'll have to play the Pirlo role more, but last year I was disappointed he never could leave his mark the way he so often used to.
+1
^Xavi will most probably a sub most of the season, Iniesta is vital, one can't drop him.
I just realized that Keita plays for AS Roma now. He defeated Real Madrid yesterday woohoo!! :)
Almost got into a fight with pepe at the start of the game too lol
Apparently Pepe spat on him:

https://twitter.com/gh8stmode/status/494321584274817024

Pejvl,

Sure, if by protested you meant spat at Keita.
+1
Apparently Keita refused to shake his hand and after Pepe protested he threw a water bottle at him.
+1
There was no spitting. Pepe is the bad guy in most of the situations he gets in,but not this time.
Pejvl , there was spitting , keita just confirmed with twitter :https://twitter.com/skeitaofficiel/status/494393987927900160
+3
If there was spitting,it was from both side. Look at Pepe at the end pointing at the spit on his shirt.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x22f06p_pepe-refuse-shake-hands-with-seydou-keita-real-madrid-vs-as-roma-international-champions-cup_sport

Also notice how everybody is twinsting things up. Just look at the titel of the video I posted: "PEPE refuses to shake hands...". Not Keita,but Pepe refused. Unbelievable. Pepe's not a nice guy,we all know this,but Keita is not better,he still holds a grudge from years before,this time he's the reason all this happened.
Pejvl,

Check the vine in posted with sound on. Would be a crazy thing to lie about.
Pejvl,

At the end, Pepe is wiping himself down because Keita threw a water bottle at him and it splashed over him. Did you watch what I linked to? You're honestly saying that the journalists lied when they said that the 4th official confirmed that Pepe spit at Keita? Do you have any source disputing what's being said in that Vine I posted?
+5
Yep it was all Pepe's fault,poor Keita had nothing to do with this. Damn Pepe is a monster.

And I never said he changed or that he's a nice guy. I never defend this guy when he gets into trouble,but blaming him for all this is ridiculous,when its clear Keita had a lot more to do with this. Im out,everything always turns into an argument here.
+1
Pepe is a saint you guyz. He would never do anything bad.
+3
@Jraty

He will blindly refuse anything bad against Madrid until YOU provide proof. Just look at the series of posts he made in this topic. he went from, "There was no spitting" to "If there was, it was from both sides"

Just add him to your 'ignore' list and carry on. We all know Pepe is one of the biggest c***s in football. He hasn't changed, like Madrid fans claim he has, nor will he ever. You know what they say.. once a dog, always a dog.
+2
Pejvl's source is his ridiculous bias which finds ways to defend a guy like Pepe.
No pepe ain't any saint , his new name is " pepe the redeemed one "

Apparently Ketia didn't shake hand with the redeemed one because he racially abused Ketia back in 2011 , after which redeemed one lost his mind and spat on Keita & then kieta started the "hit the asshole" game

Keita will burn in hell for this s**t
+1
lol so you people thinks its ok to not shake someone's hand and then throw a water bottle at him (something which should result in a red and a suspension any normal day) but to spit at that person is the real problem?
+1
LOL so you think the player you racially abused have no right to be upset with you and if he refused to shake hands with you should spat on him ? ( racism which should have no place in football and should be punished severely ) but to not shake a hand is the real problem ?
+3
So Marcelo should feel free to spit on Busquets? Lol had to come back for this.
@pejvl , stop making a fool of yourself

If Marcelo feel that busquets have hurt him and haven't cleared the issue or said sorry for that then why not , marcleo should have evey right to ditch the hand shake , but you won't have busquets spitting on Marcelo for that ditch .

P.S - before your next replay just try to establish who did what
+1
Acording to your logic,just because Keita had a problem with Pepe 3 years ago he can feel free to react in witch ever way he likes. We dont even know what really happened,do you really think Pepe just aproached him and spit?

And you're righ,Im making a fool of myself for coming back here after I said I was done.I wont make the same mistake twice. Keita was an inocent bystander and Pepe was the monster that attacked him,done argument.
Pejvl,

There's a *big* difference between not shaking someones hand and "reacting in witch every way he likes". And if you want to believe that Pepe had a legitimate reason, if that's even possible, for spitting at Keita, then you'd better show sources describing them. Because all we know is that Keita didn't shake Pepes hand, that Pepe spit at Keita according to journalist who spoke with the 4th official, and Keita then threw a water bottle at Pepe.
+2
Dagaza,

Yes, it's OK to not shake the hand of someone who racial abused you, and it's OK to throw a water bottle at someone who spit at you. What world do you live in where that isn't OK? The bend over and take it dry nation?
+3
DaGaza,

So running to mummy UEFA is how grownups handle things? Keita didn't make a big deal of it, because it was a personal insult. It simply meant that Keita thought of Pepe as the bigot he is. Why would Keita then go on and shake said bigots hand? Calling simply ignoring someone throwing a tantrum shows exactly how biased you are. It's ridiculous. Ignoring someone is about as far from throwing a tantrum as possible.

Now, throwing a water bottle is making more of a scene, but still less than punching Pepe in the jaw which is what most grown-up men would do if someone spat at them. But not DaGaza. He'd call up the spitters mother and tell on them like a big boy.

By the way, class act calling Keitas behavior that of a moneky. I see why you don't have any problem with Pepe. You're two of the same bigoted cloth.
+2
pepe was wrong to racially abuse anyone and should have been severely punished... he wasn't and keita didnt write any letter or make any sort of professional complaint against pepe so refusing a little handshake years later is something silly for little children not for grown ass men...

Marcelo was racially abused by busquets... nothing didnt happen to busquets though there is proof on film that busuquets called him a monkey, yet marcelo didnt file a complaint and he certainly hasn't behaved like a child years later because of it

having little tantrums, throwing water bottles at player's faces, indeed he behaved like a monkey last night
+1
Wow DaGaza.. Bravo! Keita didn't write a letter complaining about racial abuse so if he doesn't want to shake Pepe's hand it's childish behavior? My, my. I just realized I got my morals completely wrong.

You have to understand something about people's behavior - they don't follow a format prescribed by you. Marcelo is free to react to racism however he wants because he's the victim. Keita is also free to not react like marcelo because they are two different people. Have you ever faced racism? I have. It's a moment when you want to smash the other person's face to bits but you avoid it and move on. And please don't equate spitting on someone and throwing a water bottle at someone after getting spit especially when the same person has racially abused you in the past.
+2
Tevez' father was kidnapped and is being held for ransom in Buenos Aires. #crazy
whoa, what?
They released him after a ransom of 3000£ was paid.
well that's Latin america for you. I was once almost kidnapped in Mexico city, and a friend of mine was kidnapped, but escaped.

+1
Good thing people NEVER get kidnapped in the Western nations... cut the s**t you prick.
+1
You know what's the worst part about kidnapping? You still get punished if you manage kill your kidnapper. They call it excessive self defence, ridiculous indeed.
Actually I heard that the most dangerous place in the world is the city that Che is from...I forgot its name :P
@Che Maradona

Where did I say "Good thing people NEVER get kidnapped in the Western nations... cut the s**t you prick."

Look I am from Russia, and I can say that we have a big briebery problem in here. and if someone alse say something bad about my country I wont't call him prick. Especially if that person has some right in in hip opinion.

You know they say, to change something you have to recognize the problem first >.>
+4
I thought £3000 was a pretty good deal. Lol the kidnappers seem like reasonable fellas. Tevez was like, "£3000? You're embarrassing me guys. I just made that much while talking to you pieces of shi. T about your frickin kidnapping. You call that ransom? I call it beer money."
+1
I read it was for $400,000
You generalized in a way that made you a prick. latin America sure knows how to kidnap people...
It was his step father by the way
On another news, Atletico got Griezman. Damn with the purchase of him and Mandzukic, Atletico look even scarier. Hopefully they don't lose anymore players and find a good replacement for Courtious.

Aaaandd Bojan scores his first goal for Stoke :)
Atletico signed Jan Oblak to replace Courtois.
+1
If atletico can hold on to the rest of their players, or at least most of them, they will be even better this year. They already got a better striker than Costa, and one of the best young players in the world :D
+1
Oblak is a masterful replacement for Courtois.
Is a better fit for Atleti now than if Courtois stayed.

Mandzukic SHOULD be better than Costa, but this is a different league for him, though he adapts quite well.

Griezmann signing came form nowhere.
Really enjoying Simeone, what an amazing coach he is turning to be. Its ALMOST as much fun to watch as his career was lol
+1
Mt, mind giving us a little more info on Oblak? I haven't heard much of him.

And a few days Simeone came out praising Griezman saying he would be an amazing addition, I knew they would get him for sure then.
+1
@Sanchez Played for Jesus at Benfica.

http://youtu.be/staK6hNEJ1M

Has the best hands in all of football (catches quite a few shots that most other keepers deflect away).
Quick.
Reads and anticipates as if Slovenia were an autonomous community of Spain.
Played in the amazing Europa League final v Sevilla where him and Beto were masterful.
Now that atleti have mandzukic and griezmann, i'm assuming atletis favorite son isn't going to return from London? Or will he considering atleti have to replace Costa, Villa and Adrian.
Off-topic: Eid Mubarak Everyone :)
+5
We have many muslim Cules :P Not off topic at all
+2
Ronaldinho being a free agent. I mean, would it be possible to see him back at the camp nou again? Maybe a chance, just for one more year? Please papa?
Yep cause Barca don't want the best anymore. We are willing to settle for mediocre by bringing Ronaldinho and Agger. I love Ronaldinho but no, I don't want him playing for us if we want to win titles.
I was only saying play as sub, from time to time, but i dont think he would like that :/
Ronaldinho is a free agent. Sign him and play him at CB!!!!

http://tinyurl.com/lyzkra9

In other transfer news, Lazio agree €8,5 million fee with Feyenoord for Stefan de Vrij who had a very good WC and is only 22 years old. Meanwhile, we spent 20 on a 31 year old LB who is more comfortable as a CB.
+2
Might have had a decent enough WC, but also has ever only played for Feyenoord. About as unproven as they come, and not what Barcelona needs. There's a Puyol sized hole in the back four, and no 22 year old is likely to fill that.
ESPNFC did a little bit on Madrid and Barça. They wanted to see what would happen if you would combine Madrid and Barça and get the best XI and they came up with this:

Lopez
Carvajal Varane Mathieu Alba
Masch Khedira
Bale Messi Ronaldo
Suarez

Personally, I agree with 10/11 of these at the moment. I am just not convinced by Mathieu yet because I didn't watch Valencia play too much last season, but I also found it hard to replace him with Ramos, Pique, or Pepe. Or maybe slot in Kroos for Khedira because Masch is good enough in CDM as a lone CDM.. but depends on the opposition I guess.

And to me, honourable mentions go out to Neymar (Bale/Suarez) and Iniesta (Bale) from Barça, and Modric (Khedira), Kroos (Khedira) from Madrid. Your XI?
I don't think that would work well at all. Needs a proper CM to link play.
That's why I thought Kroos should fit in that CDM'ish spot and play more of a CM ahead of Masch.. but that front 4 don't contribute to defence too much, if at all.
Needs more Iniesta.
+7
Badge

Where would you put him?
Are you being serious st1or? Khedira over Iniesta?
Iniesta as CM instead of Masch or Khedira.
I would put Modric in for Khedira and Bravo in for Lopez
Modric in for Khedira IMO and Navas as keeper assuming he is signed.
I guess an Iniesta+Masch/Khedira partnership could work in theory.

@hikmat

I like Modric as much as the next guy but if we were to choose a CM+CDM partnership instead of a CDM+CDM, I'd like to think Iniesta would be the easy choice over Modric.

Well St1or, it depends on perspective. If we solely assess players based off of last season, it would be criminal keeping Luka Modric off this 11.

These line-ups are fun and all, but so many factors have to be taken into consideration when forming them. It depends on what kind of structure you prefer, what kind of tactics you'll implement, and how you generally want your team to play.

Call me crazy, but I think the best way to devise a balanced and complete line-up would be one without Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Or of course, simply using the Real Madrid 11 of last season. That'd work too.
Here's mine. It was quickly thought up so I've probably overlooked a thing or 2.

...............Diego Lopez...............

Carvajal....Varane.....Ramos..Coentrao...

............Modric.....Alonso............
..................Kroos..................
...........................di Maria......
...Bale..................................

..................Benzema................

Looks pretty good, right guys?

Everyone on that line-up is made to work. Anyone who's one-dimensional in their skill-set is left out unless of course they offer compensation by way of attuning to defensive responsibilities (i.e. Gareth Bale).

They are all generally selfless, but pose a multifaceted threat all the same. There is creativity in midfield without forsaking steel and physicality. The midfield, with the exception of Xabi Alonso, is mobile, flexible, and can adapt during the run of play, especially when Angel di Maria drops deep.

Benzema is simply the most intelligent forward I've ever watched in these last few years, so having him brings fluidity and finesse up front to compliment the directness Bale and di Maria can offer. This way, you don't just have a forward who craves goals...and flesh...you have one who offers other dimensions to his game too.

But this squad needs a name. I think...Real Madrid?
+1
When Real Madrid played Barcelona in the league, they made the mistake of trying to play a pressing game using a 4-3-3. Problem being was Barcelona would always outnumber Real Madrid in midfield, especially since Cristiano Ronaldo wouldn't drop deep as often. So that deterred Real Madrid's ability to maintain control. It only happened in patches.

Even so, Barcelona were hardly the better side, if at all. If memory serves me well, Barcelona were quite fortunate to get away with 6 points. Great for Barcelona, but I really do think Carlo Ancelotti played his cards wrong (and he could've still gotten a result too).

Fast forward a bit and you see improvements. Real Madrid changed their approach. Result? Narrow victory against Barcelona in the CDR final, but against a similar side, but one much stronger in Bayern Munich, a convincing 5-0 aggregate score-line.

Bayern Munich of Jupp Heynckes was almost a complete team. Perfect blend of technical quality and physical superiority. With such a balanced squad and a tactician in Jupp, they were the ideal team.

I think Real Madrid of last season is trying to emulate them. Hopefully this coming season too.
+1
I am gonna go ahead and ignore that first post. And to be honest, with the right tactics, any squad has a good shot at beating the better side. i.e. Atletico, despite having a seemingly 'worse' squad than Madrid and Barca over all, won the league. So that argument is pretty pointless imo.

And another thing you have to realize is that by the time Bayern got to where they were, they took the time, season after season, to improve on their imperfections. That's something Barca have failed to do. We have needed a new CB for a few seasons now but our incompetent board has failed to bring in.
@Asasiyun

Agreed on the Modric bit, though I think Di Maria deserves an honourable mention as well. I only put him out of this because PSG will sign him for 100 billion or so.

What would a balanced XI without Messi and Ronaldo look like? I'm curious to know.. This is just the best over all XI, not the best XI against certain teams.

As for your last sentence, I could hardly agree. Madrid's best XI couldn't take a point from Barça in La Liga last season :p by that logic, Pinto should feature as GK :D

Atletico Madrid's title-winning run was an anomaly. They deserve every bit of credit for winning the league, but it was an anomaly regardless. They shouldn't be used as template so often since most of their game-winning matches weren't based off of tactical ingenuity so much as it was through perseverance and resilience.

And a load of 1-0 wins scored at the 86th+ minute.

But, unfortunately, that only gets you so far if you're up against a side who want it just as much as you, but with a more balanced squad. Their road-block was Real Madrid, if anything.

It isn't just about getting your tactics right. There are many great tacticians in this sport. Its about building a balanced squad that can adapt to any circumstance. I think that ensures long-term success.

Real Madrid were close to achieving it last season, and I'm worried things won't go as smoothly this season, but Carlo Ancelotti gives me reason to be optimistic.
+1
Asasiyun: I'm not sure why you think atleticos wins weren't tactical ingenuity? I do agree that in sports, the extra bit of motivation is what helps you cross the finish line in first place but Simeone's team got their tactics right over the course of the season. And speaking of last min wins, the difference between Madrid's "successful" season vs a very disappointing one was a couple of last min face saving plays which by the way had little to do with tactics and more to do with, well, just sporting luck.

You can very well say that Madrid's has a balanced squad but in in spite of the lack of depth or equal talent atletico almost managed to pull off a win. I'm not sure where you saw a balanced side in Madrid. The team clicked in the middle of the season, slacked off a bit towards the end and scraped through the finish line. Compare that with bayern the previous year or barca or inter, who managed their trebles with absolute authority and several lengths to spare from their closest competitors. That isn't to say that Madrid didn't or doesn't have the talent to do it this year again. I think you are understating atleticos achievements and overstating Madrid's. A win is a win is a win. But not every win tells you the story.

We've about this earlier and I still believe Madrid will struggle in defense this year. Most people ignore defense when they analyze teams because it's not a glorious task to tackle and clear the ball. They say, "Offense wins you matches, defense wins you trophies." I do believe in that. You could win trophies through offense too but that becomes the anomaly. Almost every world cup winner has allowed 2-3 goals throughout the tournament. Germany allowed more this year and that is an anomaly statistically. Madrid's wins last year with the amount of goals they allowed is also a statistical anomaly. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to belittle Madrid's wins but there are times when teams like barca, united, bayern have won it all and then there are times when chelsea comes out as a winner. Don't assume atletico's league victory was a fluke. I don't expect them to win again this year, not because they aren't good enough but because barca and Madrid will be more prepared.
I think you slightly misunderstood. This is what I said:

"They shouldn't be used as template so often since most of their game-winning matches weren't based off of tactical ingenuity so much as it was through perseverance and resilience."

If you notice, I said "most" not all.

They were quite fortunate to take advantage of a completely uncharacteristic mistake by Iker Casillas to score the opener in the Champions League final, but afterwards it was predominantly their resilience that kept in the game as long as it did.

They were set-up in their usual defensive structure, but their tactics played but a small role, especially in the second half onward, as they were broken through multiple times.

Sergio Ramos' header, which was something that was seen many times leading up to that game, can't really be attributed to "luck" if it's been reproduced so often.

The difference between Real Madrid of last season and the CL winners of previous seasons is that Real Madrid had won the competition not only during their transitioning stage, but with the fact that they had suffered from many injuries/suspensions throughout the campaign. The balance wasn't achieved until midway through the season, and it only faltered near the end due to the injuries to key players. Coincidentally, they would occur during opportune moments too, hurting not only the first 11, but depth as well.

I think I'm not understating Atletico's achievements and overstating Real Madrid's. I can see why you'd make the former suggestion, but I'm a bit puzzled as to why you'd suggest the latter.

- Real Madrid conceded 10 goals last season
- Bayern Munich conceded 11 goals the season before
- Chelsea conceded 12 the season before
- Barcelona conceded 9 the season before

In what way is Real Madrid's win an anomaly? Seems consistent with past winners of the Champions League with respect to goals conceded.

And no, I'm not assuming Atletico's title run was a fluke. I'm saying it was an anomaly.

Anomaly: "something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected"

Atletico weren't necessarily lucky. They were persistent and made the most of what they had. If you had followed them all of last season, you would know that while their tactics were solid, this wasn't always the case. It was very evident during their struggles. They were breached many times.

Yet they persevered and went on to win the league title.
By the way, Bayern Munich had some difficulties the season prior to last. Didn't look nearly as commanding in the group stages, and only really destroyed Juventus and Barcelona in the knock-out rounds. Had a difficult final against a very good Borussia Dortmund side.

Barcelona found it difficult during their last Champions League win too. Struggled against Arsenal, weren't as good against Real Madrid, and only really destroyed Shaktar Donetsk while making Manchester United look very bad too. I've decided to leave out the controversy.

Fans sometimes forget that their CL runs weren't always with "absolute authority"...
I'm sorry but Madrid has been in the "transitioning stage" for 4 years now...just because you get a new coach and a couple of new players, it doesn't make it a transitioning stage. By that logic Barca has been in that stage ever since Pep left. But it's not true just like it's not true with Madrid. I think a lot of the fans use that as an excuse when their teams don't win trophies and it's not just the Madrid fans, it's every fan around the world including us.
St1or, whether you choose to accept my opinion or not, at least understand the point I'm trying to make.

First and foremost, nowhere in my response did I discredit previous Champions League winners. That wasn't the point. Franky4finger's response seemed to imply that Real Madrid's Champions League triumph (and on a different note, Chelsea's) was different compared to the triumphs of Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, and Inter. The difference being absolute authority. Or at least, this is what it sounded like.

So my point was not meant to prove Real Madrid didn't face any hardships or struggles. My point was to demonstrate that the aforementioned CL winners, just like Real Madrid, went through similar struggles. Its actually quite common.
Asasiyun: When I spoke of goals allowed stat, I was talking about Real Madrid's overall season (league included) because to me that is what shows what a "balanced" side is all about over a period of a year. Madrid had a strong showing even in the league but in spite of depth and overall superior talent they faded away towards the end while Atletico got stronger.

As far as goals allowed is concerned, Madrid allowed 38 goals in La Liga while Atletico allowed 26. Even Barca with its makeshift defense allowed 33. Compare that stat with previous UCL winners like Bayern (18) and Barca '11 (21). The previous Barca UCL winner from 2009 allowed 24 goals in La Liga. I misspoke about Inter because they allowed 34 in Serie A in their treble winning season although you can't compare that Inter side with Real Madrid considering the talent gap is enormous.

What you're calling "persistent" is what I consider tactically organized. They have limited tools to work with compared to Barca or Madrid who boast the top of the top players in the world. Atletico also had a tougher path to the UCL final compared to Madrid who I think had a stroke of luck with the sides it faced on the way to the final. Even then, Atletico allowed 7 goals and were 2 mins away from completing a UCL win with 7 GA if they had managed to keep Madrid out.

Also, about Ramos and your luck comment - You said Ramos' equalizing goal wasn't luck. Well, up until last season, Ramos had scored 4 goals in 8 seasons with Madrid in the UCL. Then he scored 3 in 2 games. A goal off a corner in injury time isn't "planned". It happens in sport but please don't tell me you were relaxed and confident that Madrid was going to score even though the clock showed 90+1 min.

As for absolute authority runs - I think Madrid had a better run in than most of the previous UCL champions but like I said earlier, I was talking about their overall season because to me you can measure a balanced team by their performance all year since cup competitions tend to produce wayward results with skewed numbers in addition to having teams face completely different opponents.

Do I think Madrid can win a treble this year? Quite possible though historical trend says otherwise. However, I still don't think Madrid is a "balanced" side at least on paper unless Ancelotti manages to devise a scheme where his not-so-stellar-defense can keep up with his out-of-the-world talent up front.
@Asasiyun

Out of all the biased gibberish you spoke, I am going to just pick out the CL win.

Against Shaktar, you said it best. Against Arsenal, we were the better side both halves by a mile. Arsenal just capitalized on their chances in the first half while we were wasteful. Against you guys, we were dominant and comfortable in our win. Against United, it was one of the most 1 sided finals I've ever seen.

It's funny how you say that in your last sentence.. I could easily say the same about Madrid. Almost lost to Dortmund and should have lost to Atletico. But it makes me sound like an asshole discrediting Madrid's deserved CL victory. Sound ironic?
SanchezAlexis, when a club signs a new manager who plans on implementing a different way of playing football coupled with some new signings, 'transition' is the correct term.

Real Madrid, during Jose Mourinho's first season, went through a transition from Manuel Pellegrini's Real Madrid. Carlo Ancelotti's first season under Real Madrid was a transition from Mourinho's Real Madrid.

Excuse or not, it is what it is. It has a very real impact too.
Asasiyun:

"Franky4finger response seemed to imply that Real Madrid's Champions League triumph (and on a different note, Chelsea's) was different compared to the triumphs of Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, and Inter."

what I said was:

"I'm not sure where you saw a balanced side in Madrid. The team clicked in the middle of the season, slacked off a bit towards the end and scraped through the finish line. Compare that with bayern the previous year or barca or inter, who managed their trebles with absolute authority and several lengths to spare from their closest competitors"

Nowhere did I say that I was specifically talking about UCL. Again, a "balanced" team isn't about running through a cup. You consistently produce same results all year, that's balance. Honestly, if Barca hadn't made transfer blunders in its defense department last year, we would not have lost the CDR to Madrid nor would we have lost La Liga. At the beginning of last year when Barca was signing Neymar and Madrid signed Bale, I had said on this very board that even though Barca's leaky defense is well documented nobody is talking about Madrid's defense. And the figures show exactly that. The trophies however blur the story which is why I said that what I said about balance.
We can both play the 'if' game, but with all due respect, I don't have the motivation to delve too deep into that kind of discussion at the moment.

As for your clarification - I understand. That's why I made sure to mention that Real Madrid didn't find their balance until midway through the season, which is when they started performing at a higher level. That's understandable. After all, this was a transitioning period for the club. The balance, or the nearly-reached balance I'm speaking of, was evident in the results that followed.

The end of the season came with its difficulties, but the injuries Real Madrid had to deal with played a critical role.
@Franky4fingers

I think it would be more appropriate to judge a team separately in each competition due to the emphasis that is placed on them respectively, and also due to the different nature of these competitions. Otherwise, you get misleading information and many confounds.

But I definitely understand where you're coming from in comparing a club in all competitions. The difference wasn't substantial. Real Madrid only finished 3 points from first in the league and managed to win 2 major titles.

Also, the top 3 positioned clubs in Spain all struggled towards the end of the season. At least in the league. Form faltered and results became inconsistent. Just look back on the last few results of each respective side.

We should agree to disagree with our viewpoints on Atletico Madrid and "persistence". Its been reiterated many times yet I don't think either of us will come to a standstill if we continue.

Sergio Ramos' goal wasn't luck. Reason being? Because he scored similar headers prior to that final. Actually, he scored 2 against Bayern Munich in the Allianz, and a couple more sometime before that too. The corner wasn't planned, and even if preparations for taking corner kicks weren't planned, the skill factor in Ramos' aerial superiority and heading ability is definitely evident. That's using your skill when it matters, not luck.

I wasn't relaxed. Doesn't mean it was luck though.

Even if we do compare Real Madrid's season holistically and not in components based on different competitions, they were just as good, if not better, relative to their 2 domestic rivals.

- Won the Champions League title
- Finished only 3 points below first
- Won the Copa del Rey title

Also, I never said Real Madrid were well balanced. They had a relatively balanced squad, yes, but there were still many parts that needed fine-tuning. They did reach a state of 'balance', but it was loosely demonstrated. Close enough, like they say.
+3
I was just responding to you saying that atletico got that far with grit and determination and that gets you only that far until you meet a more balanced side like Madrid. I am just arguing that part of your statement.

Counting trophies as a measure of "balance" in a team is rather faulty method of analyzing a teams abilities. Barca lost two trophies in the last game. Does that make our team balanced too? Hardly.

Nobody is questioning whether they were good or not. It's a given that they a very good side. Madrid already had immense firepower and they loaded up even more. They are a front heavy side. Your new season, IMO, depends more on how varane plays than any of the front stars. His development also will dictate whether Madrid will enter a cycle of winning seasons.

My prediction for the other Madrid stars is this:

Cr7 will struggle with injuries this year. Since he is the superstar of your team ancelotti has to make the tough decision when to drop him in favor of someone else who's in form. That's not going to sit well with cr7. That's where ancelottis skills as a manager will come in. On the defensive side, as you mentioned before, the key lies in your defensive midfield. Illara has to come out playing like a champ or its going to be a long season because your creative and attacking midfield side is covered well with kroos and modric. If they can convince khedira to stay for one more year, Madrid would be unbeatable for me, at least on paper. That's where the "balance" in your team lies, not in the james and bales of your team.
@Asaiyun I have to stop you right here:
"Atletico Madrid's title-winning run was an anomaly."
and
"They deserve every bit of credit for winning the league, but it was an anomaly regardless. They shouldn't be used as template so often since most of their game-winning matches weren't based off of tactical ingenuity so much as it was through perseverance and resilience.
And a load of 1-0 wins scored at the 86th+ minute."

NOT an anomaly.
They used the Levante template, albeit with quality upgrades at EVERY position plus manager.
That's how we've performed the way we have.

Atleti might be better this year, but they'll need time (which will cost them the title), and they still don't have depth to compete in all competitions.

And IRONICALLY, it's how your club ended up having the season it did.
Out-gritted Atleti. Ground down Barcelona.
You learned from the best. Don't stop learning.
+1


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Primera División Table

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D
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0
0
0
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1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
3
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
4
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
5
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
6
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
7
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
8
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
9
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
10
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
11
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
12
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
13
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
14
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
15
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
16
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
17
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
18
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
19
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
20
C/L  C/L Qualifying  UEFA Cup  Relegation 

UEFA Champions League Table

Form
PTS
GD
GA
GF
L
D
W
Pl
Pos
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
3
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
4
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
5
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
6
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
7
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
8
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
9
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
10
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
11
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
12
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
13
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
14
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
15
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
16
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
17
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
18
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
19
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
20
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
21
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
22

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