Is it time for Rafinha Alcantara to have his Barcelona moment?

August 14, 2015

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“Following on from Rafinha Alcantara’s goalscoring performance in the Uefa Super Cup final, the 22- year-old will be hoping for and expecting more opportunities in the Barcelona starting 11 this coming season. The final was a feather in the cap of Rafinha as he started such a high profile, important game in a position that is usually taken up by the great Neymar. However, due to the extraordinary condition of mumps that the member of last season’s record breaking forward trio was diagnosed with, Rafinha was somewhat surprisingly called upon to take his place as a left sided attacker alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.” Outside of the Boot


Here’s how the 2015-16 La Liga season in Spain will pan out

August 11, 2015

“Season previews are the worst kind of sports content. They’re so lame. They tell you nothing because we know nothing. It’s part of the beauty of sports that we basically don’t know anything going into something. Soccer is especially difficult because the margins of victory are just much thinner, so unlike baseball or basketball, where over time you can make accurate predictions based on statistical models, in soccer you just can’t. But since La Liga is always pretty much the last of the leagues to start and since it’s pretty much been all quiet on the Western front for the past few weeks, we’re going to shove some pukey, cliche’d season preview content down your throats.” Fusion


Dynamic Pedro Rodriguez Far More than a Mere System Player

August 9, 2015

“It’s August 18, 2013, and Tata Martino is watching on from the bench. It’s the first time he has taken charge of Barcelona in a competitive match, and the signs are good. His selected eleven are already three goals ahead of the less illustrious Levante, on home turf at the Camp Nou, and it’s about to get even better. Lionel Messi has dropped off the front line and is assessing his options. Out on the left-hand side, he sees his trusty sidekick, Pedro Rodriguez. The two have spent many years together at Barcelona, and their understanding is verging on telepathic. As a consequence of this, Pedro prompts a pass from Messi by sprinting in behind the Levante defence.” Licence to Roam


England Rules: Four Questions That Explain the Summer Transfer Window

July 27, 2015

“While there’s still more than a month remaining, something about the current transfer window just seems … off. Most of the big clubs — Chelsea, PSG, Arsenal, Barcelona, and Real Madrid — have been relatively quiet, and the star we all expected to leave looks like he might stay put in Italy for another year. Now, there’s been plenty of movement in Munich, Manchester, and everywhere else, but even those transactions have been underpriced, overpriced, or seemingly out of nowhere. In short, the silly season’s gotten weird. Here are four questions to sort through all the mayhem.” Grantland


Lionel Messi’s idol just retired

July 17, 2015

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“Pablo Aimar, the curly-froed magician, and the one player who could make even the great Lionel Messi blush, has retired at 35 after a series of debilitating injuries. Aimar recently penned a farewell letter to his River Plate teammates after he was left off of the team’s Copa Libertadores squad by coach Marcelo Gallardo. The past few seasons had been torrid for Aimar as he underwent three ankle surgeries, a sadly recurring theme in what’s been a career hampered by injuries. Though younger fans of the game may not be know him well, it’s not hard to see why Messi idolized Aimar, an effortless player who seemed born to dance on the field. An entertainer rightfully nicknamed ‘El Payasito’ (the clown) for his effortless ability, Aimar was a fan favorite everywhere he went.” Fusion (Video)


Sergio Busquets – the underrated key of Barcelona’s success?

July 11, 2015

“When you think of Barcelona’s successes from 2008 onwards the three players who immediately come to mind are Lionel Messi, Andreas Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez. There’s another player though who is rarely spoken about that should receive equal praise in relation to how Barcelona perform. His name is Sergio Busquets.” backpagefootball


The Barcelona presidential elections, explained

June 30, 2015

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“It’s election season at FC Barcelona. On July 18, tens of thousands of Barça fans will hit the ballot box to choose their fearless leader. Will it be the quiet incumbent or the charismatic challenger? Because let’s face it, no one else has a chance. Barcelona is one of the handful of clubs (along with Real Madrid, Athletic Bilbao, and Osasuna) in which the fans vote for the president. But not just any Barcelona fan can vote. You have to be a paying socio, or member.” Fusion


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