In Talking Barça Podcast 6, Nic and Simon take on an irreverant tone! We take a critical look at Spain's Friendlies against England and Costa Rica. The Hospitalet game saw the debuts of Tello and Rafinha but the excessive ticket prices lead Simon takes to extol the virtues of his other love - Hospitalet's rivals in Segunda B - UE Sant Andreu. We then have a dig at Barça President Sandro Rosell and wind up with a confident overview of game against Real Zaragoza and a more enthusiastic preview of next Wednesday's Champions League tie against AC Milan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Spain Internationals against England and Costa Rica
Spain's International Friendlies against England and Costa Rica have been something of a disappointment this week.
The 1-0 defeat against England showed Spain getting the better of the football but without Messi's killer instinct in attack, Spain struggled to put the ball in the back of the net.
We weren't impressed by England - according to Simon, 'a bunch of blond Italians who also play rugby' - and express our concern that Vicente del Bosque bases the national side too much on Barça.
The 2-2 draw against Costa Rica was also frustrating, particularly for Iker Casillas who made a dreadful mistake in the first goal and so marred his record-breaking 247th international appearnce for La Roja. It was nice to see David Villa get another international goal, though.
FC Barcelona News
Next we turn our attention to Barça's Copa del Rey tie against Segunda B side L'Hospitalet last week. It was an efficient performance from the team in quite difficult circumstances. Playing against lower division sides who are fired up is always tough.
We were disappointed by the turn out at Feixa Llarga, and Simon takes the opportunity to sing the praises of his other great love - UE Sant Andreu - who also play in Segunda B Group III. Compared with the 45 Euro that tickets cost for Hospitalet v Barça, prices at Sant Andreu are a lot lower for this kind of game add that to a great ground, a great shirt and great fans and the result is a full stadium!
The next piece of FC Barcelona News this week was President Sandro Rosell's interview on Arab telivision channel Al Jazeera in which, amongst other things, he talked about the decision-making process at the club and the issue of programming games at 12 o'clock lunchtime. Rosell's snobbish attitude irked Nic on both topics.
Nic takes issue with Rosell when he talks about the 'club' taking decisions when in actual, fact as President of the Barça, it's Rosell and his cabal that take the decisions. In a similar vein, Nic also complains about Rosell's reasons for being against 12 o'clock kick offs. 'That's not the way things are done here in Catalunya!' says the Barça President. Nic things that this rule apllies to a small group of upper-middle class Catalans, but there are many ways of enjoying football - down the bar or a lazy morning and then going to the match and being back home in time for lunch.
FC Barcelona v Real Zaragoza
Simon and Nic close Talking Barça 6 with a look at FC Barcelona's forthcoming games.
We feel pretty confident about Barça's chances in Saturday's game against Real Zaragoza in Camp Nou. Zaragoza are one of our favourites for the drop, and the Aragones club have only spent half a million on new players this season.
That 500,000 went on Portuguese International Helder Postiga whilst the other new signings either came on free transfer or are at Zaragoza on loan. Although a number of these players are internationals, the club has serious financial problems and will have difficulties paying them. It's hard to see where the motivation to beat Barça will come from.
We wind up this week's podcast by looking forward to next Wednesday's crucial Champions League tie against AC Milan in San Siro, and once again recommend listeners NOT TO BUY Zlatan Ibrahimovic's book!
Don't miss the next Talking Barça Podcast, when we will be previewing Barça's Champions League tie against AC Milan and looking forward to the game against Getafe in La Liga next weekend.