Barcelona might not be able to afford Lionel Messi, so get ready for a long, long summer of transfer rumors

March 9, 2015

“You can imagine Barcelona’s directors cackling like Vincent Price at the end of Thriller as they signed off on the $309 million release clause in Lionel Messi’s contract last May. ‘No one will be able to afford that,’ they probably laughed, lighting cigars. ‘Messi will be ours… FOREVER!’ That was before the English Premier League signed a new TV deal worth precisely 1.5 gazillion pounds, though. (That converts to approximately 3.8 bazillion dollars.) Hence, with Financial Fair Play looking about as toothless as a three-month old baby, the idea of a club meeting that release clause and Messi moving on from Barcelona does not sound quite as crazy as it did a couple of months ago.” Soccer Gods

FC Barcelona’s Race is On for the Treble

March 4, 2015

“… A 3-1 scoreline has given FC Barcelona a bit of breathing room heading into the second leg of the Copa del Rey but it would be foolish to underestimate the quality Villarreal possess. Marcelino’s men are perfectly capable of surprising the upper echelon of Europe with the likes of Vietto, Uche and Cherychev among others at his disposal. Estadio El Madrigal is regarded as one of the toughest away grounds in Spanish football however the Catalans should expect a result sufficient enough to book their seat in the final where they would face the winner between Athletic Bilbao and Espanyol.” Barca Blaugranes

Juventus must find a way to cope with Dortmund’s pressure

February 25, 2015

“The greatest aspect of top-level European competition is the opportunity to witness contrasting footballing styles face one another; pleasingly, despite the globalisation of football and the increased movement of players and coaches across borders, obvious differences remain between Europe’s best leagues. The obvious example from this week’s set of Champions League fixtures is the clash between Borussia Dortmund and Juventus in Turin on Tuesday night. Whereas some of the second round ties are frustratingly familiar — Manchester City vs. Barcelona, PSG vs. Chelsea, Schalke vs. Real Madrid — these two sides haven’t met since the European Cup final of 1997. The clash of styles should be fascinating.” ESPN – Michael Cox

Javier Mascherano: Barcelona’s Voice in Defence?

February 23, 2015

“Mascherano’s quality is not in doubt. He is one of the best defensive midfielders in the world and proved that in last year’s World Cup in Brazil as one of the best players in the tournament. So highly was he rated as a teenage talent that he prodigiously made his senior Argentina debut before his senior club debut for River Plate. The bite, aggression and intensity that he plays with is married to leadership and an exquisite level of tact that comes from his perceptive game-reading ability. Allied to all that is the technical ability and technique to contribute positively to his team’s build-up play from the back, which was one of the prerequisites to him joining Pep’s Barça.” Outside of the Boot

Barca woes return, Real Madrid extend lead: Five things we learned in La Liga

February 23, 2015

“Things are not well at Barcelona again after a defeat to Malaga, while in Madrid, Real are firing on all cylinders and Mario Mandzukic and Antoine Griezmann are impressing for Atletico. Here are five things from the weekend’s La Liga action.” ESPN

Luis Suarez shines as Barcelona provider for Lionel Messi & Neymar

February 23, 2015

“With just seven goals in his first 22 games for Barcelona, at first glance it appears former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez is struggling to adapt to life with his new club as he prepares for Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 first leg at Manchester City. Indeed, with just four goals from 15 La Liga appearances, in terms of scoring this has been the least productive domestic campaign of Suarez’s career.” BBC

Riquelme’s reminder: There’ll always be a place for art in soccer

January 26, 2015

“Call me old fashioned, but Juan Román Riquelme is my favorite kind of player. Riquelme was never the fastest, strongest, or even remotely close to the most athletic player on the field. But somehow, the Argentine midfielder made a career out of the remaining scraps, relying exclusively on technique, awareness, and an ability to read the game with such precision that at times he came off as a master puppeteer. The other 21 players on the field frequently looked like extensions of Riquelme, only there to be manipulated by his thoughts and movements. Riquelme created exquisite art. Last night, Riquelme announced his career as an artist was over. Eight weeks after his final appearances, the Argentine virtuoso announced his retirement. His work is done.” Soccer Gods


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