lunes, 31 de octubre de 2011

Talking Barça Podcast 4 - Mallorca, Plzen and Athletic

In Talking Barça Podcast 4, we look back at Barça and Messi's so-called 'mini-crisis' that finished on Saturday with the 5-0 victory against Mallorca with a hatrick from Messi included. We expect a comfortable victory against Viktoria Plzen on Tuesday and look forward to a tough match against Athletic Club in Bilbao next weekend.

Listen to Talking Barça Podcast 4 - Mallorca, Plzen and Athletic

Download Talking Barça Podcast 4 - Mallorca, Plzen and Athletic for your Smart Phone from iTunes

FC Barcelona v RCD Mallorca

Messi 123!

Messi 123!


A convincing 5-0 victory over Mallorca with a hatrick from Messi proved that Barça's so-called crisis and Messi's reputed poor form was just hot air coming from the Madrid Press.

The truth is that FC Barcelona dropped 2 points against a defensively strong Sevilla Fc and despite putting in a poor performance against Granada in Los Cármenes, came away with three points in the bag and were never seriously ruffled by the Andalusians.

Poor old Lionel Messi went a whole three games without scoring and committed the heinous crime of missing a penalty.


Both of us would also like to see Messi in the middle of the attack rather than struggling out to the right, and are adamant that Srgio Busquets should be in the starting line-up for every game.

Viktoria Plzen v FC Barcelona

The Long and Winding Road to the Czech Republic!

The Long and Winding Road to the Czech Republic!


Given the tactical variations used by Guardiola this season, predicting the starting line-up against Viktoria Plzen is something of a guessing game.

Nic favours a back four made up of Alves, Piqué, Puyol, Abidal with Xavi, Busquets, Fabregas in midfield and Villa, Messi, Iniesta in attack.

Simon is going for a 3-4-3 of Abidal, Mascherano and Alves at the back, Busquets, Iniesta, Fàbregas and Xavi in midfield with Cuenca, Messi and Villa up front.

The only thing that either of us is sure about is that Valdes will be in nets and we'll win by a convincing margin of 3 or 4 goals.

Athletic Club v FC Barcelona

The Basque Cantera is brimming with talent!

The Basque Cantera is brimming with talent!

 For both of us, next Sunday's game against Athletic Club is definitely a big one, and we expect guaranteed entertainment.

Historically, Athletic Club de Bilbao are, along with Barça and Madrid, one of La Liga's Big Three. They've never been relegated to the Second Division and only field Basque players - impressive in this modern age of petrodollars and footballing mercenaries!

With Iraizoz in goals, Javi Martínez in midfield and Muniain and Llorente up front and a lot of players who've come up through the famous Basque Cantera, Athletic Club are always a force to be reckoned with.

We'd like to think that Barça will come away from San Mamés with the three points but aren't prepared to make any predictions.



Don't miss the next Talking Barça Podcast, when we will be reviewing Barça's game against Athletic Club and discussing the role of FC Barcelona players with Spain and the other national sides.

Listen to Talking Barça Podcast 4 - Mallorca, Plzen and Athletic

Download Talking Barça Podcast 4 - Mallorca, Plzen and Athletic for your Smart Phone from iTunes

martes, 25 de octubre de 2011

Talking Barça Podcast 3 - Sevilla Report and Granada Preview

In Talking Barça Podcast 3, Nic and Simon take a quick look at the Viktoria Plzen game and then analyse FC Barcelona's 0-0 draw against Sevilla FC in depth. The pros and cons of the 3-4-3 system is a central topic once again, and the Barça pundits finish on an optimistic note regarding tonight's Liga tie against Granada.

Listen to Talking Barça Podcast 3 - Sevilla FC Report and Granada CF Preview

Download Talking Barça Podcast 3 - Sevilla FC Report and Granada CF Preview for your Smart Phone from iTunes

FC Barcelona v Sevilla FC


Javi Varas - Confident Against Iniesta

Javi Varas - Confident Against Iniesta


The difficult 0-0 draw against Sevilla FC in Camp Nou didn't worry us overly as far as the players' performance was concerned but we both have doubts about Pep Guardiola's current changes in tactical system.

The 3-4-3 set up clearly didn't work for the first 25 minutes against Sevilla, but Guardiola was canny enough to make the necessary changes. So although Barça didn't bag the three points, the positional play certainly improved throughout the rest of the game.

The 3-4-3 system has obvious potential, especially if Cesc Fàbregas is in the starting line-up, but doesn't allow Alves in particular to play at his full potential and when Puyol and Piqué are fully fit, it's difficult to see how the two Catalan cracks can adapt.

Both of us would also like to see Messi in the middle of the attack rather than struggling out to the right, and are adamant that Srgio Busquets should be in the starting line-up for every game.

Granada CF v FC Barcelona


Granada CF v FC Barcelona

Granada CF v FC Barcelona


Following a few words about last week's opening ceremony for the New Masia - FC Barcelona's incubator for future talent - and an overview of promising players that are coming up through the ranks, we turn our attention to the match in Los Cármenes against Granada CF.

As this Granada side is more or less the same one that finished fifth in the second division last season, they are unlikely to cause to many problems for this FC Barcelona side, but as Pep always warns, it's not a good idea to count your chickens before they're hatched.

We expect Pep to be back experimenting with the 3-4-3 system, but nevertheless predict a comfortable 0-4 win for Barça over the Granadinos.

Don't miss the next Talking Barça Podcast, when we will be reviewing Barça's game against Real Mallorca and previewing the return leg of the Champions League clash against Viktoria Plzen.

Listen to Talking Barça Podcast 3 - Sevilla FC Report and Granada CF Preview

Download Talking Barça Podcast 3 - Sevilla FC Report and Granada CF Preview for your Smart Phone from iTunes

domingo, 23 de octubre de 2011

Barcelona Sightseeing Trips and Tours

Here are a selection of Barcelona Sightseeing Trips and Tours available on the Viator Website.

Barcelona Card with Guidebook

Barcelona Card with Guidebook
  • 4 star rating: Recommended based on 353 reviews
  • Duration:  Varies
  • Location:  Barcelona, Spain
  • See and do everything Barcelona has to offer with this great value city sightseeing and discount card. ...  More info ›
From 27,50

Barcelona Hop-on Hop Off Tour: North to South Route

Barcelona Hop-on Hop Off Tour: North to South Route
  • 4.5 star rating: Recommended based on 977 reviews
  • Duration:  Varies
  • Location:  Barcelona, Spain
  • Utilize the Barcelona City Hop-on Hop-off Tour which has three different tour routes to explore the ...  More info ›
From 20,70 €23,00 Save: €2,30 

Barcelona City and Coast Helicopter Tour

Barcelona City and Coast Helicopter Tour
  • 5 star rating: Highly Recommended based on 2 reviews
  • Duration:  10 minutes (approx.)
  • Location:  Barcelona, Spain
  • See Barcelona's famous landmarks from the air on an exhilarating 10-minute helicopter flight. You'll ...  More info ›

From 85,50 €95,00 Save: €9,50 

miércoles, 19 de octubre de 2011

FC Barcelona v Viktoria Plzen Trivia

► This is the eleventh time Barça played a Czech team. Until now, they have won six, drawn three and lost once. They have never played Viktoria Plzeň.

2011-10-15_PARTIDO_26.JPG► Current Barça manager Josep Guardiola was one of the goalscorers the last time a Czech club, Sparta Prague, played at the Camp Nou. Barça won 5-0 in the 1999-00 season.

► Barcelona are unbeaten in home European fixtures for eleven matches. The last team to win at Camp Nou was Rubin Kazan (1-2) in the 2009-10 season.

► Despite losing at AC Milan (2-0) in their last match, Viktoria have been doing well away from home in this competition. In the qualifying rounds they won 0-4 at Pyunik, 0-1 at Rosenborg and 1-3 at Copenhagen.

► David Villa made his European debut against a Czech club, Sigma Olomouc, in the UEFA Cup of 2004/05.

► Nobody scored as many goals (7) or won as many corners (22) as FC Barcelona on the first two days of Champions League action. As for shots on goal, Barça are tied with Madrid and Chelsea (19 each).

► Dani Alves is one yellow card away from a suspension.

► Viktoria Plzeň is one of the sides that has received the most yellow cards so far, a total of six.

► The referee tonight will be Macedonian Aleksandar Stavrev, in his first game in the Champions league, although he has whistled 41 games at UEFA level. He has never taken charge of a match involving either of these teams.

martes, 18 de octubre de 2011

Talking Barça Podcast 2 - Racing Report and Viktoria Plzen Preview!

In this second Talking Barça Podcast Nic and Simon discuss Barça's comfortable 3-0 win over Racing Santander focusing on Thiago new role, Piqué's injury, Messi's return to the right of the attack and Iniesta's triumphant return. Nic also gives an overview of the history of Viktoria Plzen - Barça's next rival in the Champions League - and we make a few predictions about the game.


Listen to Talking Barça Podcast 2 - Racing Report and Viktoria Plzen Preview

Download Talking Barça Podcast 2 - Racing Report and Viktoria Plzen Preview for your Smart Phone from iTunes

FC Barcelona v Racing Santander


FC Barcelona 3 Racing Santander 0

FC Barcelona 3 Racing Santander 0

The comfortable 3-0 victory over Racing Santander in Camp Nou left us happy that Barça remain at the top of La Lig but slightly frustrated that Pep Guardiola's side took their foot off the accelerator when they might have bagged quite a few more goals.

Both of us were impressed by young Thiago Alcántara, who Pep fielded as the defensive midfielder in a return to the 4-3-3 set up - it looks like Guardiola has big plans for Thiago.

Despite Piqué's injury, Barça were not overly hit by the FIFA Virus, partly because Messi started the game and put in such an excellent performance. It was interesting to see him return to his old position on the right of the attack, aided and abetted by an Andrés Iniesta, who is back from injury in fine form.

FC Barcelona v Viktoria Plzen


FC Barcelona v Viktoria Plzen

FC Barcelona v Viktoria Plzen

Nic has put in some work to research on the background to Barça's rivals in the next two Champions League matches - Czech Champions Viktoria Plzen. Despite being founded in 1911 and having produced Pavel Nedved and Peter Cech, they haven't done a great deal over the last century. Two seasons ago they got to the final of the Czech Cup and qualified for the Europa League, and last season they won the Czech Championship for the first time in their history.

If everything goes to plan, they are unlikely to cause to many problems for this FC Barcelona side, but as Pep always warns, it's not a good idea to count your chickens before they're hatched.

In the next Talking Barça Podcast we might be eating our words (or not) but we will review this game and preview Barça's exciting match against Sevilla FC scheduled for Saturday.



Listen to Talking Barça Podcast 2 - Racing Report and Viktoria Plzen Preview

Download Talking Barça Podcast 2 - Racing Report and Viktoria Plzen Preview for your Smart Phone from iTunes

Talking Barça Podcast 1 - FC Barcelona v Racing Santander Preview and More!

In this first Talking Barça Podcast Nic and Simon discuss the Barça v Racing game, aspects of Guardiola's 3-4-3 system, Real Madrid v. Betis, Levante v. Málaga and reflect on the Mourinho/Vilanova Finger In The Eye Incident!

 Listen to Talking Barça Podcast 1 Here

Fc Barcelona v. Racing Santander

 FC Barcelona v Racing SantanderIn theory, Racing shouldn't create too many problems for Barça. Hector Cúper's sides are always well-organised in defence and midfield, but this Racing Santander seems inacapable of scoring goals - only 1 so far this season by Adrián, who is a midfield player. Veteran striker Munitis and his probable partner Stuani are going to have their work cut out against this Barça.

Our main concern this week is the 3-4-3 tactical variation. Both of us think that Guardiola will play a three-man defence, but neither of us are too sure who will play. Despite Puyol and Piqué both having had a run out for Spain this week, both of us think that Guardiola isn't too happy about having Gerard Piqué as the central defender in the three-man set up.

Real Madrid v. Betis and Levante v. Málaga

Despite wanting Betis to beat Real Madrid, both of us are aware that the most likely result in Santiago Bernabéu is a win for Los Blancos.

Both of us have been impressed by Málaga this season. Their game against Getafe was particularly entertaining - with a scorching overhead goal from Baptista that clinched the game. As so much money has been invested, we feel that Los Boquerones could well qualify for Europe this season and a Champions League place looks a strong possibility.

Mourinho's Finger In The Eye Incident

As Barça supporters, we consider Mourinho's attack on Tito Vilanova to be pretty pathetic. The Portuguese coach

Jose Mourinho Pokes Tito Vilanova In The Eye

Jose Mourinho Pokes Tito Vilanova In The Eye

claims he was provoked but whatever happened in the tunnel at half-time doesn't justify such childish behaviour.

We also feel that Mourinho is setting a very bad example for Spanish youngsters and when violence is perpetrated by coaches and players, there's always the concern that the fans will be incited to similar stupid acts.

If you you would like to comment on this week's Podcast, please visit the relevant thread in the Liga BBVA section of the FORUM.


Download Talking Barça for you Smart Phone from iTunes

jueves, 13 de octubre de 2011

Barcelona Airport

All the major airlines fly to Barcelona Airport

All the major airlines fly to Barcelona Airport

Barcelona-El Prat Airport is located 10 km (6.2 miles) southwest of Barcelona city centre on the edge of the metropolitan area, between El Prat de Llobregat, Viladecans and Sant Boi. It’s close enough to Barcelona and is very convenient for Sitges and the rest of the Costa de Gavà.

About Barcelona Airport

As the second largest airport in Spain after Madrid Barajas, Barcelona-El Prat is by far the largest in Catalonia and the most important airport on the Spanish Mediterranean coast.

European and North African destinations dominate but Barcelona Airport also handles flights from all of the major airlines and receive some traffic from Southeast Asia, Latin America and North America. El Prat is also a major hub for Spanish airlines Spanair and Vueling, and a focus city for Air Europa and Iberia.

The Barcelona-Madrid air shuttle – the Pont Aeri in Catalan, Puente Aéreo in Spanish, literally Air Bridge in English – used to be the busiest air route in the world.

The Air Bridge recorded its high of 971 flight operations per week in 2007. However, after the AVE rail connection between Barcelona and Madrid was opened, there was a slight slump in air traffic – this high-speed train covers the distance between Barcelona and Madrid in 2 hours 40 minutes, and with train stations closer to both city centres, it’s a convenient option for many.

In 2008, Barcelona Airport dealt with 30,208,134 passengers – a slight decrease from the peak of 32,793,897Barcelona-Airport-T1 in 2007. However, with the new T1 terminal being added the original terminal – renamed T2 A, B and C – Barcelona Airport is equipped to receive more visitors in years to come.

Public And Private Transport To And From Barcelona Airport

Rail – Barcelona Airport is connected to the city centre by the local RENFE commuter train Line 2 Cercanias North (follow signs for Rodalies Barcelona Line 2 Nord). This train goes up north to Maçanet-Massanes from where you can get a connection to Girona and the Costa Brava. It normally stops at Barcelona-Sants railway station and the fairly central Passeig de Gràcia – both of which are on the Barcelona Metro system. This year, however, a new railway station – which will connect Barcelona Airport to the Spanish high-speed train AVE network, and Line 9 of the Barcelona Metro – is being constructed in La Sagrera. For this reason, El Clot has been the main RENFE and Metro station for airport passengers during the summer of 2009.

Bus - TMB – Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona – bus line 46 will take you from the airport to the relatively central Plaça Espanya, and a scheduled private bus line – the Aerobús – goes Plaça Catalunya, and stops at both Urgell and Plaça d’Espanya. If you’re planning on staying in Barcelona for a few days, it’s well-worth paying €7.70 for a T-10 ticket, which will give you ten journeys on TMB buses, the Metro and RENFE Cercanias.

Taxi – There are taxi ranks outside both terminals T1 and T2 and a ride into the city centre shouldn’t cost more than €30. The main road into both Barcelona and if you’re heading south is the C-32B. This highway connects the airport to a main traffic interchange between Barcelona’s Ronda de Dalt ring road and major motorways but depending on the time of day, taxi drivers may choose to drive into Barcelona city centre on the Ronda Litoral or Gran Via.

Barcelona Airport is easy by car!

Barcelona Airport is easy by car!

Car Hire – Five car rentals companies provide car hire at Barcelona-El Prat Airport – Avis, Hertz, EuropCar, National Atesa and Sol-Mar, so you shouldn’t have any problem getting a good deal. You’ll also find that they’ve also got drop-off points in Barcelona, other major Catalan towns and along the the Costas Brava, Daurada and Maresme.

Visit our Barcelona Airport Car Hire Booking Engine

Airport Parking – Divided evenly between terminals T1 and T2, Barcelona Airport has excellent parking facilities. The multi-storey car park directly in front of Terminal 2C has over 2,000 spaces and connects to the airport via a covered corridor. Another multi-storey car park in front of Terminal 2A gives another 2,600 more spaces. The remainder of the parking spaces are distributed in front of the terminal and office buildings within in walking distance of Arrivals and Departures. There is also a long-stay car park between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.

miércoles, 12 de octubre de 2011

!0 Years Since Ronaldo Nazario's Goal Against Compostela - 12/10/96

It's great to look back on wonderful football moments and this goal by Ronaldo on October 12 1996 was definitely one of them.

I was in Bar Bierzo in Sant Andreu with my mates and this incredible piece of football woke me from my joke telling and alcoholic stupor.

The great Sir Bobby Robson was Barça manager at the time. He had the difficult job of living up to the expectations that Johan Cruyff's Dream Team had created. He did an admirable job and that Barcelona side played some magical football.

This goal from Ronaldo was one of the high points, as was the magnicent 5-4 win against Atlético de Madrid in the Copa del Rey.

Ten years on this is still one of the best pieces of individual skill ever seen.


domingo, 9 de octubre de 2011

Phil Ball's Spanish Culture excerpt from Morbo-The Story of Spanish Football

I just picked up Morbo-The Story of Spanish Football by Phil Ball last night for the first time in ages. I hope he doesn't mind but I wanted to let you read part of his definition of Spain. I LOVE IT!

"In some ways it (Spain) is a much odder place in reality than it seemed to me when I was a kid. Many Spaniards are still formal and conservative in both dress and manner, but at the same time, wildly anti-authoritarian, giving the poor police and referess a hard time of it. The nouveau middle-classes flock to their gyms to work out, then relax afterwards in the bar in their tracksuits surrounded by plumes of cigarette smoke. Men, women, children and grannies all swear like proverbial troopers, invoking their muse to soil every garment of Catholic sensibility imaginable, only to dress up like Lord and Lady Muck on Sunday morning and stride head high into church as if the Lord had never heard them. Guilt is a grey area, and is consequently a no-go area for the Spanish. Pity the poor outsider who dares to throw into a conversation a mere suggestion of doubt. He or she will more than likely be howled down. To the average Spaniard, publicly at least, there is black and white, and anything in between is limp-wristed and feathery."

Click Here to Buy Morbo by Phil Ball on Amazon

jueves, 6 de octubre de 2011

Racing de Santander Background

As Barça's next game in Camp Nou - on the 15th October (I think!) - is against Racing de Santander, I thought I'd do a bit of research on Los Verdiblancos!

This YouTube Video Covers :-

  • A Look At El Sardinero
  • Foundation Year 1913 - Patrick O'Connell
  • International Tournament in Paris
  • El Racing of the Moustaches
  • Dimitri Radchenko, Dima Popov
  • RACING 5 - BARCA-0

Not a great video but hat's off to a Real Racing fan. It gives a nice overview and makes me want to go and research some more!

miércoles, 5 de octubre de 2011

FC Barcelona - Liga BBVA 2011-12

FC Barcelona 2011-2012

Visca el Barça - More Than A Club!

Even for FC Barcelona, 2010-11 was . . .

. . . More Than A Season!

Playing trademark 4-3-3 football, the Catalan giants thrilled stadiums across Europe with their intelligent midfield possession game combined with thrilling individual talent.

Pep Guardiola remains at the helm and will continue to put his trust in the same players, same system.

The first team newcomers - Alexis, Cesc and Thiago - all have Barça DNA and their a number of younsters waiting to step up their game to first team level.

There's no reason why Barça shouldn't repeat one of their most successful seasons ever - Liga, and Champions League - in 2010-11.

The star performers of this extraordinary side are undoubtedly Lionel Messi and Andrés Iniesta.

Playing on the right of the attack but with freedom of movement, Messi's dazzling individual runs, dribbling, dummies and superb goal tally make him odds on favourite for European Golden Ball and FIFA World Player once again this season.

Football Club Barcelona


FC Barcelona Club Badge

Camp Nou
C/ Arístides Maillol, s/n
08028 Barcelona


Barcelona Province


Fixtures 2011-12



FC Barcelona Squad
2010-11 was another great Liga season for Andrés Iniesta.

Capable of playing on the left of the attack but even more dangerous in midfield, the Manchegan is not only a defender's nightmare but is also giving opposing goalkeepers bad dreams as well.

His 92nd minute scorcher in the Champions League Semi-Final against Chelsea went down in history as dis his winning goal against Holland in the World Cup final.

After a difficult first season at the FC Barcelona, David Villa is back at the top.

No longer a straight centre-forward, he now plays on the left of the attack and without losing any of his consummate elegance, has become a much stronger team player.

With the transfer of eternal promise Bojan Krkic, Barça's new killer in the area for 2011-12 will be Chilean international - Alexis Sanchez - his stylish play should create more opportunities for the other forwards and attacking midfielders.

These three are supported by Dutch international Ibrahim Affelay and Canary Islander Pedro Rodriguez - both of whom play with a great deal of confidence and are capable of scoring decisive goals at crucial moments.


Coach: Josep Guardiola
1. Victor Valdés (Goalkeeper)
2. Dani Alves (Defender)
3. Gerard Piqué (Defender)
4. Cesc Fabregas (Midfield)
5. Carles Puyol (Cap. Defender)
6. Xavi Hernández (Midfield)
7. David Villa (Forward)
8. Andrés Iniesta (Midfield)
9. Alexis Sanchez (Forward)
10. Lionel Messi (Forward)
11. Thiago Alcantara (Midfield)
13. José M. Pinto (Goalkeeper)
14. Javier Mascherano (Defender)
15. Seydou Keita (Midfield)
16. Sergio Busquets (Midfield)
17. Pedro Rodriguez (Forward)
19. Maxwell (Defender)
20. Afellay (Midfield)
21. Adriano (Defender)
22. Eric Abidal (Defender)

The Real Maestro of the FC Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, though, is Xavi Hernández - The Professor.

Xavi's intelligence, precision and almost telepathic ability to read a game earned him MVP at the Euro 2008 and many fans wanted to see him win the European Golden Ball this year but he was just pipped by Messi..

The Xavi-Iniesta doubles partnership makes the Barça midfield the most clinically efficient in the world.

Xavi Hernández - The Professor Salutes The Fans

The dynamic duo are ably supported by the extremely capable Sergio Busquets in the defensive midfield position with the excellent Seydou Keita capable of substituting any of the first team trio at a moment's notice.

We're also really excited about the potential of young Thiago Alcantara, who if this summer is anything to go by could turn into an FC Barcelona legend before the season's out.

And after an endless transfer negotiation, Cesc Fabregas has returned home from Arsenal to complete FC Barcelona's awesome midfield lineup.

Eric Adidal, whose fight against a tumour last season turned him into a local hero, is ably supported by Maxwell and Adriano.

The two central defender positions are covered by three mighty players.

The Great Captain Carles Puyol is the soul of Guardiola's Barça, and at 33 still has plenty of football left in him.

He is accompanied by the mighty Gerard Piqué - Piquenbauer, who along with being Shakira's boyfriend is also tipped for both the FC Barcelona and Spain captaincies when the time comes.

Xavi Hernández - Josep Guardiola Relaxes Before The 2009 Rome Champions League Final They're accompanied by el 'Jefecito' Javier Mascherano.

Mascherano turned out to be last season's best signing and, although more of a defensive midfielder, did a marvellous job alongside Piqué when Puyol was out through injury last season.

The Back Four is completed by samba-loving Dani Alves - the best Brazilian back since Roberto Carlos. His surging runs both serve to release Messi's genius and his own imperious designs on the opposing team's area.

Victor Valdés is the FC Barcelona goalkeeper and won the Zamora Trophy yet again last season. Pinto - his substitute - is more than capable of holding the fort in minor competitions.

There's been a lot of concern that the squad is a little small.However, President Sandro Rosell and Technical Secretary Andoni Zubizaretta have both stated that Guardiola has all the players he asked for.

I suspect that throughout the course of the season we'll see quite a few youngsters moving up to the first team - Jonathan Dos Santos and Fontàs have already been assigned first team squad numbers, so expect them to be household names before the season's out. Pep Guardiola's Barça has already got everything it takes to make history for the fourth season on the trot.



Jimmy Burns' Barça: A People's Passion is an excellent history of FC Barcelona taken from two perspectives.

Beginning with a Barça-Real Madrid Clásico from the fan's point of view, the main text traces the history of Football Club Barcelona from its founding by a group of foreigners through the repression of the Franco regime right up to Cruyff's Dream Team and centenary year in 1999.

FC Barcelona is much more than a club - it's a political and social phenomenen.

Barça: A People's Passion is much more than a book about football - it's the story of one hundred years of obsessive national pride.

lunes, 3 de octubre de 2011

Maldito Barça - Cuanto Te Amo!

I just received this article by email from a friend - great stuff!

Maldito Barcelona, cronica de un diario argentino... (El Grafico)


Hemos aprendido a admirarlo, a esperar sus partidos casi más que los de nuestros propios clubes. Vivimos elogiándolo, hablando de sus jugadores, de su escuela, de su fútbol, de su filosofía. El Barcelona nos invade en la cotidianeidad, se nos mete en nuestra vida diaria con la misma pasmosa parsimonia con la que demuele al Man Utd en la final de una Champions League o le mete cinco al Real Madrid de Mourinho en una visita guiada por el Camp Nou. Ni nos damos cuenta, pero de repente tenemos a Xavi en nuestro living y a Iniesta picando al vacío en nuestro patio. Ese equipo vive con nosotros. Se retroalimenta a partir de nuestro interés por él.

En facebook debemos elegir que el Barcelona “nos gusta” sólo porque no podemos elegir que nos encanta, que nos enamora, que nos hace suspirar de una manera estrepitosa. Es el amor por el fútbol, hoy simplificado en un amor por el Barça. Porque una cosa y la otra son lo mismo.

En la edición de este mes de El Gráfico, reflejamos las virtudes de este Barça, su dominio aún inacabado de una liga y un continente, su legado para el fútbol mundial en todos los estratos posibles. Es uno de los mejores equipos de todos los tiempos, porque a veces es difícil ser terminante y afirmar lo que en realidad no admite discusión: que es el mejor de siempre.

Festejamos cuando nos enteramos que La Masía había abierto una sucursal en Argentina. Llévense a nuestros talentos, transfórmenlos en fotocopias de Messi, por favor. Nosotros ya no sabemos cómo hacerlo. Ni en Argentina, donde los juveniles dan pena, pero tampoco en México, Brasil o Venezuela. Jugamos a otra cosa.

En México, la camiseta azulgrana se vende más que la del Atlante; quizás también en Argentina más que la de San Lorenzo o en Italia más que la del Genoa y el Bologna juntos. No nos hacen falta los números de ventas. Las vemos por la calle, con total naturalidad. Las vemos en las playas, donde ya les hacen frente a las del fútbol local, con un crecimiento sostenido que se repite en Mar del Plata, en Dakar o en Phuket. Y cuando no son las blaugranas, están las otras, esa paleta monocromática que incluye anaranjadas, amarillas flúo, gris o verde agua. Son todas del Barça. Un equipo al que lo único que le queda por conseguir es la independencia de Catalunya. El resto, lo ha hecho todo.

¿Pero saben qué? Quizás haya llegado seriamente la hora de empezar a odiar al Barcelona. Sí, acaso sea una propuesta demasiado arriesgada; si se quiere, incluso tirana, pero no se me ocurre nada mejor que hacer con este equipo que se transformó en un castigo para todos. Con la lógica excepción de sus propios hinchas, cabe preguntarnos: ¿No estábamos todos mejor hasta antes de sufrir el efecto Barcelona?

Porque también está el Lado B, lo que nos hace sufrir a nosotros, los consumidores de su fútbol, y a sus propios actores. Indirectamente, el Barcelona carga de forma negativa todo lo que toca. Messi no es en Argentina el extraterrestre de más de un gol por partido. Ni de enganche ni de wing, tampoco de centrodelantero. Le falta el resto de su equipo para serlo. Y entonces, se desespera. Y sus hinchas se desesperan con él, por él. No sé qué pensarán los aficionados del Barcelona. Quizás hasta sufran ellos también, a la distancia, por las incontigencias de su niño mimado.

Pero el efecto Barça no termina con el mejor del mundo, al contrario, empieza con él. O acaso nos olvidamos de lo que han criticado a España en el Mundial, por no haber sido el Barcelona. La derrota contra Suiza en el primer partido, el posible desastre ante Paraguay, la sucesión de cerrados 1-0 y su falta de cambio de ritmo hicieron sufrir a Xavi, Iniesta y compañía. Ellos no tenían a Messi. Y España no podía ser como el Barcelona. Sólo el título mundial pudo cubrir los gastos ocasionados en el trayecto. Trayecto como el que cubre Dani Alves en todos los partidos del Barcelona: ¿es un wing? ¿es un lateral? ¿Es un avión? No, es un brasileño que cuando se pone la de verdeamarelha, también se desespera. La pelota no le llega igual. Las coberturas de sus compañeros no son las mismas. Tampoco el pressing alto o las devoluciones al vacío. Y entonces, lo vemos ante Venezuela y el twitter explota con mensajes tipo: ¿Pero es este el mismo Dani Alves que juega en el Barcelona? Y la respuesta, como de costumbre, es que no, que esa es una copia borroneada de Alves.

El modelo del Barcelona admite la destrucción de sus piezas cuando no están sometidas a su escudo galáctico (¿se permite usar ese término en un texto que no sea sobre el Real Madrid?), pero también contempla la sanación automática al regresar a casa. O cuántas veces pensamos en que el Messi que les devolvíamos, devastado por las críticas y actuaciones indolentes de las Eliminatorias o el Mundial, sería como una especie de virus informático en el sistema operativo del mejor equipo del mundo. Lo hemos pensado nosotros, lo han pensado en la selección española, en la brasileña o en la camerunesa (Eto’o no pateando aquel penal con Camerún ante Egipto, por ejemplo). “Uy, ahora después de esto, el Barcelona no será igual”. Y sin embargo no, allí siguen, dando cátedra como si nada hubiera pasado, con la moral alta, la cabeza levantada y la pelota pegada al pie.

Guardiola aún no ha decidido irse porque sabe que si cruza esa puerta, comenzará su declive. Podrá ganar títulos en 7 ligas distintas, pero siempre, siempre, le endilgarán cuánto le falta para que su Milan, o su Bayern Munich, o su Manchester United o su Dynamo de Kiev jueguen como aquel Barcelona. Como este Barcelona, que ahora también exporta su know-how. Y ahí va la Roma, decidida entonces a que el técnico del Barcelona B, Luis Enrique, se transforme en el Guardiola de la Serie A. Fichemos a Luis Enrique, entonces. Traigamos, también, a Bojan Krkic. Repliquemos el modelo Barça. Fracasemos estrepitosamente. No lo lograrán. Nadie lo hará.

Y así podríamos seguir, con todos y cada uno de sus integrantes, por separado, convertidos en jugadores mortales, sin los superpoderes que confluyen sólo en un punto del universo, con una camiseta azulgrana y con Guardiola en el banco. Los planetas se alinean sólo en el Camp Nou. El resto es un gran agujero negro que se consume a sí mismo. El Barcelona es el Big Bang. Ni siquiera logramos entenderlo cuando ya cambió de forma y apunta a otra dirección. Estamos a años luz de él y sin embargo nos sentimos tan cerca.

Ahora nos enteramos que mientras todo el mundo intenta imitarlo, sin el menor grado de éxito, Guardiola ya piensa en reformular su módulo y seguir innovando. Sueña con aplicar un 3-4-3 sin perder fidelidad ni resultados. Hoy Pep se sienta a la misma mesa que Steve Jobs. El decide y el mundo corre detrás, para tratar de copiarlo, sin poder hacerlo. Si todo sale bien, a la orquesta catalana se sumará Cesc, quien aprendió la partitura cuando aún no estaba escrita la ópera. Quizás en la próxima temporada, Mascherano nos sorprenda jugando de centrodelantero. O Messi se transforme en el líbero. Y entonces los haremos jugar de lo mismo de este lado del mundo. Y no será lo mismo. Y volveremos a hablar de lo que hacen allá y lo que no hacen acá.

Maldito Barcelona. Nos invade hasta dejarnos insatisfechos con todo lo que antes no habría requerido un juicio tan demoledor. Nos hace creer que el fútbol es simple, que los jugadores pueden ser etéreos, que las defensas más férreas son conos que se derriten durante los partidos.

Maldito Barcelona. Desearía no haberlo visto jugar. Pero después, pienso y digo, no, es imposible desear eso. Como un amor platónico adolescente, se disfruta en el dolor de no tenerlo. De no poder lograrlo. Nunca seremos el Barça.

Maldito Barcelona, cuánto te amo,!!.

      Si la envidia fuese tiña ¿cuantos tiñosos hay en el Mundo?

sábado, 1 de octubre de 2011

Updated Barça Fixtures and Tickets Liga BBVA 2011-12

Finally, got round to updating the FC Barcelona Fixtures, Results and Tickets for la Liga 2011-12 - the strike was a real pain!

FC Barcelona Fixtures

Spanish Primera Liga 2011-12

This FC Barcelona fixtures for 2011-12 page deals with the Liga BBVA games - please visit the Champions League page for European fixtures and results.

This year we have to wait until December 11 for the Clásico versus Real Madrid in the Santiago Bernabeu followed two weeks later by the Barcelona derby against Espanyol.

FC Barcelona Club Badge
Liga de Fútbol Profesional Logo There's a nice advantage to way FC Barcelona fixtures work out this year as the first Real Madrid game is away whilst the Barcelona-Madrid Clásico in Camp Nou is in Week 35 on April 22 - just as the seasons 'make or break' final straight reaches its peak.

The FC Barcelona fixtures against last years the other top Spanish football clubs - Valencia CF, Villarreal CF, Atlético de Madrid and Athletic Club - are very evenly distributed throughout the 2011-12 Liga season apart from the tough test of having to play Valencia and Atlético on consecutive weeks.

It's also nice to see that we'll be playing Espanyol in the penultimate game of the 2011-12 Spanish Primera División season - so the Pericos will hopefully have congratulate the Barça for being Liga champions for the fourth consective season as the team runs out on to the Camp Nou pitch.

If you want to buy tickets for FC Barcelona fixtures, you'll find links to the FC Barcelona Tickets sales pages.

Please note that the Liga de Fútbol Profesional doesn't confirm dates and kick-off times until two weeks before the game, so at the moment the fixture dates and prices are only provisional.

Please click through to find the most up-to-date FC Barcelona tickets and FC Barcelona fixtures information.






28 Aug 2011

FC Barcelona 5-0 Villarreal CF


Buy Tickets For FC Barcelona Games in August 2011



11 Sep 2011

18 Sep 2011

21 Sep 2011

25 Sep 2011

R.Sociedad 2-2 FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona 8-0 Osasuna

Valencia 2-2 FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona 5-0 At.Madrid


Buy Tickets For FC Barcelona Games September 2011



02 Oct 2011

16 Oct 2011

23 Oct 2011

26 Oct 2011

30 Oct 2011

Sporting Gijón vs FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona vs Racing

FC Barcelona vs Sevilla FC

Granada vs FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona vs RCD Mallorca


Buy Tickets For FC Barcelona Games October 2011



06 Nov 2011

20 Nov 2011

27 Nov 2011

Athletic Club vs FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona vs Zaragoza

Getafe CF vs FC Barcelona


Buy Tickets For FC Barcelona Games December 2011



Sun 6

Sun 13

Sun 20

FC Barcelona vs Levante UD

Real Madrid vs FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano


Buy Tickets For FC Barcelona Games December 2011



08 Jan 2012

15 Jan 2012

22 Jan 2012

29 Jan 2012

RCD Espanyol vs FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona vs Real Betis

FC Barcelona vs Málaga CF

Villarreal CF vs FC Barcelona


Buy Tickets For FC Barcelona Games January 2012



05 Feb 2012

12 Feb 2012

19 Feb 2012

26 Feb 2012

FC Barcelona vs R.Sociedad

Osasuna vs FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona vs Valencia CF

At.Madrid vs FC Barcelona


Buy Tickets For FC Barcelona Games February 2012



04 Mar 2012

11 Mar 2012

18 Mar 2012

21 Mar 2012

25 Mar 2012

FC Barcelona vs Sporting Gijón

Racing vs FC Barcelona

Sevilla FC vs FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona vs Granada

RCD Mallorca vs FC Barcelona


Buy Tickets For FC Barcelona Games March 2012



01 Apr 2012

04 Apr 2012

11 Apr 2012

15 Apr 2012

22 Apr 2012

29 Apr 2012

FC Barcelona vs Athletic Club

Zaragoza vs FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona vs Getafe CF

Levante UD vs FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid

Rayo Vallecano vs FC Barcelona


Buy Tickets For FC Barcelona Games April 2012



02 may 2012

06 May 2012

13 May 2012

Barcelona v Málaga

FC Barcelona vs RCD Espanyol

Real Betis vs FC Barcelona


Buy Tickets For FC Barcelona Games May 2012

Guardiola on Sporting and Cesc

“I am worried about particular things, but not the recent succession of muscle injuries. There are always injuries in football and there always will be”, said Guardiola, who does not feel Cesc’s hamstring injury has anything to do with the other injuries suffered by the team.

Strong Sporting defence

The first time Guardiola faced Sporting as a manger, his side won 6-1, but it has not always been so easy to break down Preciado’s teams. “It is one of the games we have found the hardest and the scores have always been close. We always find it hard to beat Sporting because they defend very well and have an intense ground where the fans help them a lot. But we even find it hard to beat them when we’re at home”.

This has not been a great season so far for the Asturians, but Guardiola doesn’t think his counterpart’s job is on the line. “They won’t sack him. If anybody has done things for that team, it’s him. He’s saved them every year and they’ve been in some very difficult situations. He always pulls it off and this year will be no exception.”

Cesc out

2011-10-01_ENTRENO_03.JPGGuardiola admits that it’s always a setback to lose players to injury, but knows that is all part of football. Describing what happened to Cesc, he said “he was going in for a cross and overstretched himself, he scored the goal but got hurt. But luckily it’s not too serious and he’ll be back once the international break is over”.

He added that Cesc usually takes exceptionally good care of himself and works hard on injury prevention, but that all the same, these things can happen. He doesn’t think there are any more injury worries at the moment than there were this time last season.

Puyol and Alexis

Carles Puyol is back in the side after taking a nasty knock in Minsk, while he insisted that although Alexis has been given permission to return to Chile to recover from his injury, that does not imply that he can play for his country. “At first it was important for him to be here, but at the current stage of his recovery he can go to be with his family and one of the club’s physios is travelling with him. He has permission to go to Chile but not to play for the national team”.