Clock Is Ticking on Xavi’s Storied Career at Barcelona

April 8, 2015

“Andrés Iniesta and Xavi Hernández have played tiki-taka since childhood. They have grown closer than brothers, can find one another with a pass in their sleep and have won every honor in the global game. Their days together are numbered. They do have unfinished business because Barcelona still might win, three more trophies this season to add to the 24 that they have won as integral parts of both their club and the national team, Spain.” NY Times


The Fun in France: Are We Set for a Boring End to the European Soccer Season?

April 3, 2015

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“Can you believe it’s April already? While there have been times over the past eight months when the season’s felt like an interminable drag — those weeks of domestic cup games, the handful of international breaks, consecutive weekends in which the best game involves Newcastle — we’re finally here. With just about two months left in most leagues across Europe, it’s the stretch run, where the rubber meets the road, the standings approach finality, and things become truly exciting. Except, maybe not this year.” Grantland


Barcelona and Real Madrid are on board, but Spain’s new television revenue plan is still stalled

April 3, 2015

“Share the wealth, we say, but when you’re as wealthy as Real Madrid and Barcelona, it might not pay to take that stance. La Liga’s upper class is strictly limited to those two clubs, and they each pocketed close to $174 million in television revenue last season. Leading the middle classes was Valencia, with $59 million, while league champions Atlético Madrid only had $51 million to show for toppling El Real and La Blaugrana.Soccer Gods


Barcelona 2-1 Real Madrid: both sides threaten but Barca superior at finishing

March 28, 2015

“Barcelona moved four points clear at the top of La Liga thanks to Luis Suarez’s winner. Sergio Busquets was only fit enough for the bench, so Javier Mascherano played in the holding role, with Jeremy Mathieu the left-sided centre-back. Otherwise, the team was as expected. Xavi Hernandez had surprisingly started over Ivan Rakitic in the reverse fixture, but Luis Enrique didn’t replicate that error, so we had the unusual sight of Barcelona without either Busquets or Xavi, the two players who usually control this game.” Zonal Marking


Poor top-level management will eventually see Córdoba relegated

March 27, 2015

“At 90 minutes, when the pitch invasion started, Córdoba were staying in the Segunda Division for another year as they trailed Las Palmas 1-0 in the play-off that would send the winner to the top flight for the 2014/15 season. At 99 minutes, when order had been restored, Córdoba were heading to the big league as Uli Davila tapped in an away goal that made history; for the first time in 42 years the club from Andalusia would be among football’s elite.” backpagefootball


Tactical Analysis: Barcelona 2-1 Real Madrid | How Barca exploited half spaces

March 24, 2015

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El Clasico has become perhaps the most high profile fixture in club football. The historic rivalry between the clubs, the battle for supremacy between Ronaldo and Messi along with a star studded supporting cast, the possible implications in the title race all combine to form a heady mixture of apprehension and euphoria. The world waits with bated breath for kickoff only for it to be taken away by the plethora of talents on the pitch.” Outside of the Boot

Luis Suárez’s Validating Strike Lifts Barcelona Past Madrid
“Last October, Luis Suárez made his debut for F.C. Barcelona in a disappointing 3-1 loss to Real Madrid. He was substituted during that game after a long ban that had prompted questions over whether he could return to form and justify the record transfer fee that brought him here. On Sunday, Suárez repaid at least part of Barcelona’s investment by scoring a spectacular and decisive goal in a 2-1 victory over Real Madrid in the latest Clásico between the two giants of Spanish soccer. With the win, Barcelona opened up a 4-point lead over Madrid at the top of La Liga, with 10 games remaining in the season.” NY Times


Lionel Messi Is Back on His Game

March 24, 2015

“It has been a pleasure to watch Lionel Messi playing with Barcelona during the past week, in a way that it hasn’t been in a long time. When I profiled the Argentine superstar for the magazine in June of last year, just before the World Cup, he was in a bit of a funk. As one Argentine writer told me at the time, ‘It’s like he’s tied up.’  Messi had been having a (relatively) poor year with Barcelona, his club team in Spain, and there was a noticeable lack of spark in his play. He was hurt earlier in the year, and plagued by drama off the field at Barcelona, but nobody knew what the real root of the trouble was. He just didn’t look like himself.” NY Times


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