12 August 2011

Cesc travels on Sunday

Cesc Fabregas is now a Barça player. The club already has a verbal OK from Arsenal and only expected to reach him by fax with written confirmation.

History rocambolesca the one that has lived this morning Cesc Fàbregas. By mid-morning he received the call that so long awaited. Call it confirmed that the transfer to FC Barcelona was closed. Barca had already received the verbal OK from the Arsenal and was just waiting to receive fax with written information. In fact, the player was already presumed from a few hours. So this morning, when as each day went to the sports Arsenal finally took the opportunity to leave his coach, Arsène Wenger and his companions.

As has been the call of OK has enough time to take the car and travel to Heathrow airport to catch the first plane to Barcelona. But failed to reach the airport. Earlier, received a call on his mobile phone. He was someone very important in Barcelona and asked him please not to travel today or tomorrow so as not to distract the team for the first leg of the Supercopa of Spain against Real Madrid. In the end, it was decided that the trip is made on Sunday, just hours before the game. Thus, the front pages of Sunday newspapers focus more on the game. Cesc has been ignored and returned to his London home. But knowing that you can breathe easy. (via SPORT)

Cesc, signed!

Cesc Fabregas is now a Barça player. In the absence of official confirmation, the player has already taken a plane to Barcelona.

Cesc Fabregas has taken a plane this afternoon from London to Barcelona after confirming his move to Barcelona. The player was already with the bags ready and just waiting for the OK you confirm your transfer to move to Barcelona.

Cesc will come this Friday evening at Barcelona and will be presented Saturday. It is likely to travel with the team to Madrid, to pineapple, but not likely to play a single minute of the first leg of the Supercopa of Spain.

The Catalan player signed for five seasons. (via SPORT)

Valdés: “The Supercup is a vital trophy for us”

Víctor Valdés said today that the Spanish Supercup “is a vital title for us, it’s the first official trophy of the season and of course we want it”.

Sunday’s game with Real Madrid is all the players are thinking about at the moment. The Barça keeper said the squad “has worked hard on fitness” throughout the preseason, and is ready “to go for it. Finals are finals, and they are decided by little details”.

Valdés agrees that the Supercup is particularly special this year because it’s between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, but “it’s special whoever you play against.” He didn’t want to comment on which side is the most ready for Sunday’s challenge, preferring to say that all he wanted was for “Barça to end up winning it”.

The holidays are for reflecting on the season gone by and celebrating success with family and friends. But Valdés says that “when the preseason starts, you have to turn the page … We can’t live from memories. Now is the time for new challenges and expectations”.

On new signing Alexis, he said “I sense he wants to learn, he wants to adapt as quickly as possible to our ways. He’s fast, he likes to score, he’s good at the one on one, and is adapting well to things the boss wants from him. He is very good in front of goal, he has innate qualities.”

Víctor Valdés also spoke about his international team mate Cesc Fàbregas: “He is a great player, with tried and rested abilities. He could bring a lot of quality to our midfield, which is already a quality one. He has loads of talent, he is ideal for our style of play.”(via FCBarcelona.cat)

[Selection Under-20] Tello: "Facing Brazil is always something special"

"to be strong in team, to join very behind, and it arrives to continue with the line that we come working in this World cup", they are the keys that Tello points to win to the 'canarinha.'

The player of the Spanish U-20 Cristian Tello said he is from the second round "when the World Cup really begins," once Spain certified his pass to the quarterfinals, where they will face Brazil, a rival "special" .

"For me, and the same for the other fellow, being in the quarterfinals of the World Cup is incredible, and we want to stay here. Let's try to move on. From round is when the World Cup starts truth" , Cristian Tello said in remarks to the Royal Spanish Football Federation, and also stated that "hard time" to win South Korea and now we must "fight equal" against Brazil.

The Catalan player also spoke about the Brazilian team and noted that "for any player, facing Brazil is always something special," and stressed that the Spanish team wants to move to semifinals "yes or yes."

In addition, Tello also wanted to discuss what could be the key to beat the South Americans. "Be strong team, back together well, and follow the same line up we have been working in this World Cup," he said.

On the other hand, FC Barcelona footballer admitted that after the match against South Korea ended "pretty tired", but said he fought "until the last minute by dialing". "We were lucky in the penalties, and we are very happy," he said.

On the penalties to the South Korean team, Tello said he had "good feelings". "The truth is that I never imagined the situation with Spain in second round of World Cup and throwing a penalty. I was sure of myself and knew I was going to get," said the player born in Sabadell.

"The pitchers were quite successful. We were all convinced we would win, because whatever happened we had to be in the quarterfinals," said Tello, who also said they did not want to leave the World "with a bad taste in mouth pardes on penalties. "

Finally, Cristian Tello was able to celebrate its twentieth birthday after the move to the Spanish quarters. "It is a pleasure and a dream to turn 20 in the World Cup Colombia," he said. (via AS)

Wenger: "I hope nobody leaves the club"

The French coach, Arsène Wenger, is still in its heels on Cesc Fabregas, though not summoned him to Newcastle and said he is "disappointed" this attitude.

Arsenal coach Arsène Wenger spoke at the press conference after the match against Newcastle on the status of Cesc Fabregas and would not clarify whether the Arenys will leave the English club. "I hope no one leaves the club," Arsène Wenger started sharply but slowly, spoke and answered questions about the specific case of Cesc: "I'm disappointed with the attitude of Cesc and Nasri have been professional." And the player has discarded Arenys for the call at Newcastle but has acknowledged that "not injured but is out of shape."

About the fact that there does not exits, Wenger added: "There is currently no news. What we want now is to focus on players who can help." But remember that it is the only club to sell players, "Manchester United sell Ronaldo. Does that mean you are not a big club?" (via SPORT)

Piqué partly trains with group

The centre back is overcoming his problems and was able to join in with some of Friday morning’s training session.

Barça had the first of two training sessions at 9.00 this morning, featuring the same 14 players as on Thursday plus Gerard Piqué, who was involved in some of the group work. Barça B’s Martín Montoya and Jonathan Dos Santos also joined in.

Meanwhile, Sergio Busquets worked out in isolation as he recovers from a knock, but Xavi Hernández trained as normal.

The next training session will be on Saturday morning. Afterwards, Josep Guardiola will speak to the press ahead of the Spanish Supercup, and then the team will be travelling to Madrid. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Wenger rules out the call for Cesc to debut in the Premier

Arsene Wenger has announced in a press conference that leaves out the call for Cesc Fabregas for the first game of the Premier League against Newcastle .

Despite the exclusion of Arenys expected in the call due to his impending move to FC Barcelona , the coach reiterated Alsatian "I hope not to leave anyone." (via MD)

Agreement for Cesc for lack of the 'yes' official of the Arsenal

The English club discusses the technical details of the offer and suspicious even of the variable.
Barca just waiting for a call to make official the signing, it will not break.

Yesterday was expected to be the ' Day Cesc 'final. The date (August 11, 2011) had to go down in history, following the completion of a soap opera more than three years. But no. Or not quite. There is agreement, but the official photo of Cesc Fabregas dress Barca will wait. One day, the sources most optimistic, for several days, according to other information. The fact is that Barca and Arsenal , after the latest talks had already set from yesterday about terms of the agreement satisfactory to both. Missing just defined as those terms are reached through the variables and that the operation continues to run aground, yet that these latter differences limen, but with a 'Yes' unofficial Arsenal to the general conditions of operation.

Barcelona club sources were over yesterday, ensuring that the offices of Camp Nou expected only a letter from Arsenal to give official status to the agreement with the English club. The board of Arsenal would not accept in any case, less than 40 million euros, the figure that the Barca did not want to go. The differences have been filed on the one hand, by the sacrifice of the player, who has given up five million (one for each year of his contract with Barca ) for the club, could be allocated to increase supply, and secondly by the variables that can go up to those 40 million total investment, provided that the result of Barcelona the next season are satisfactory. It is, as yesterday unveiled MD, winning two league and Champions in five years to reach 40.

The need for Arsenal

The expected response to the suspicions of Arsenal on these variables. The board of the English club you need to announce to shareholders the sale of 40 million (initially wanted it, but pounds) and looks exactly the details of the operation seems to make the final photo more than 40 million of 34 , which is the fixed amount that has closed the deal.

The Barça has not pressed to Arsenal yesterday to give officers the transfer, despite the fact that Guardiola would have wanted him on the expedition to Madrid, but was not playing. Negotiations have been tense since the first contacts and will be until the last day. The Barca do not want to fall in precipitation, knowing that the English club needs the money to complete the remodeling of the template Wenger and the official start of their season is imminent.

Wenger is still doing the lazy
By midafternoon, Wenger made a statement-included audio-web of Arsenal on the status of negotiations for Cesc. "I hope their future is decided quickly," confirming that talks were still fluid. Then, however, added: "In one way or another we'll know soon." Wenger has already given its approval to the offer of Barcelona, ​​fulfilling the promises made to Cesc in the sense that the day you received a leave starting conditions. The bad guy is the CEO, Ivan Gazidis, squeezing the top shareholder of the club, Stan Kroenke, to demand more money to Barca. (via MD)

Thiago secures the reign of Barça in the selection

His debut shoot the most international club (122) has provided the absolute.

In addition to printing their mark on the style of play that catapulted the Spanish to conquer the European Championship and World Cup-2008-2010, with the debut of Thiago Alcantara in the absolute, the FC Barcelona on Wednesday endorsed its hegemony as more exporting players to the 'red' in its history. The new pearl formed in the quarry Barca, 23 th international born out of state, the number 122 is also acting with the Spanish team being both player of Barça . Therefore, even further in the ranking is the Real Madrid , with 115 international. Athletic (92), Atletico Madrid (80) and Valencia (66) are the following clubs that have most contributed to the Royal Spanish Football Federation .

The case of Thiago is the fourth in the last two years of a product of the 'quarry' of Barcelona . Sergio Busquets scored his first twisted the April 1, 2009 in Turkey, Pedro did the same against Saudi Arabia before the 2010 World Cup and Victor Valdes fulfilled his dream after a friendly against South Korea . The three won the title in South Africa. Andoni Zubizarreta remains the leader of caps (126) but being goalkeeper Barca played 75 games. Xavi (101) and Puyol (94) than him in this chapter. Behind, are Iniesta (58), Victor (58) and Sergi (56). (via MD)

Cesc is the protagonist of another trip and return

Like his friend Pique, Fabregas sights and return after leaving for England.

His close friend Gerard Pique wrote the book "A round trip '(Edicions 62, 2010) after successfully returned to Barcelona after four years of leaving Manchester United in 2004. A year earlier, Cesc Fabregas had emigrated to England after accepting the offer from Arsenal. Arsène Wenger insisted much that boy of 16. His mother, Nuria, accompanied him to El Prat September 15, 2003. Began more than a school year. It was a trip and perhaps no return. With a suitcase and a backpack, climbed a flight of 'low-cost' for an adventure that neither in their wildest dreams have imagined so fascinating.

When Joan Laporta, vice-president Sandro Rosell to sport, won the elections, had already said yes. He promised he would play in the first team the Gunners. Barça was all in doubt when the club came to invest fortunes in Geovanni and Rochemback inhumane. He left home two years of Mrs. Noreen in Barnet, north London, in central Switzerland's Philippe Senderos, youngster like him. At six weeks of arriving, debuted at Highbury in the Carling Cup against Rotherham and in August 2004 and started in the Community Shield against ManU won. His progress was brutal. No one longs for Vieira when he inherited his role at age 19. Capital in the Champions-2006, where he lost in the Paris final against Barca, he assumed leadership go further 'Titi' the Camp Nou. Captain and idol, the title drought since the FA Cup in 2005 ended up weighing. Champion Euro-2008-2010 and the World Cup with his friends Catalans, it was time to return and raise trophies Barca. Wenger kept him last summer but its time seems to have arrived. As happened with Piqué, this trip has already turned.

Wenger promised to play and went with 16 years in 2003. (via MD)

Even the rivals of Alexis they surrender to their football

Blanc described it as dream player after France-Chile and big praises of Benzema and Abidal.

In responding to reporters at the Stade de la Mosson, which hosted yesterday night France-Chile, took off their hats to Alexis Sánchez three members of the 'Les Bleus', which suffered the full flow of Tocopilla football striker. Barca coach with a past Frenchman, Laurent Blanc said after the friendly (1-1) that "has elements to make any fan dream" and "talented", referring to the whole range of qualities that led him from Udinese Pozzo Barça.

"It's a great player"

Karim Benzema, who to be changed in the 65 minutes of the meeting of Montpellier only 20 minutes coincided with Alexis on the field, for his part said that "it is a great player" and praised "the art" of a man as Real Madrid will front again in the classic supercopero morning at the Santiago Bernabeu, always depending on the role that Pep finish giving the new '9 'squad.

"It will go well at Barcelona"

Éric Abidal And he had to make Alexis Sanchez forming the left side bolt with Clichy. According to Captain 'blue', "has done a great match and we will be very useful in Barcelona." 'Abi' speaks knowingly, as the '7 'in Chile spared no efforts in a crash resulted in recital at your expense, and '10' Valdivia

Three heights, much greatness
In the video of Barça TV with Alexis checkup is how to check your blood when the crack gives 168.7 cms. tall. And while the chips of FIFA, for example, 1.68 m. attributed, being so close to 1.69 this is the height given Barca's official website. In his personal web page out 1.71 m. According to Chilean newspaper, is Fernando Felicevich, his agent, who takes the page, there appears striker grown. What is certain is that Alexis Sanchez is very, very large. (via MD)

"Today could be a great day"

Sang this way it Joan Manuel Serrat and seems that he is the watchword of August 12 among the players of Barça.

"Today could be a great day, well ...", plantéatelo verses begin and Joan Manuel Serrat of his famous song. We have not gone mad, but with these words we have raised two players of FC Barcelona.

Dani Alves and Gerard Pique have taken this slogan to say good morning to his followers on twitter and have sparked speculation.

It may be because many people start Friday holiday, but it seems more than likely arrive on Friday itself Cesc Fabregas FC Barcelona is the reason for his comments that morning read as follows:

@ 3gerardpique: Today is a great day! Today is gonna be a great day!

@ DaniAlves2: Preparing for trein! Hoje hein rsrs tivemos up early! Great day to all! (via SPORT)

Thiago: "Barça will win this Supercopa"

Thiago no dreads Bernabéu because always was daring. Before the Madrid dreams of being a hero and maintain the level of a preseason splendid.

Thiago Alcántara live happy days. Of those where you feel almost invincible because the money always comes up heads. Renovated recently by Barcelona, ​​Barca star of the preseason, the absolute newcomer ... the largest of the Alcantara walks grinning from ear to ear.

"The renovation has been the dream of my life. Has been to collect the fruits of these years I've been in the quarry, enjoying with others. One of the happiest moments of my life. " So it is. It is all optimism, so do not get it in your head a bad result against Real Madrid. Even the great moment of the white dude makes. "I think simply that Barcelona will win and will win the title," he says without blinking.

It is no pose. It is trust. The same with the opponents and draw facing impossible passes. Opposite is the greatest rival. The set of Mourinho gets more ro Barcelona and in all world hunger. To Thiago formula is well known. We must apply the logic Cruyff: if you have the ball it is impossible for rivals to mark goals. The best way to defend is dominating possession. "Madrid is to control when you control a game when you control all aspects of offensive and defensive, you're always in favor to win games."

Barcelona arrives at meeting short preparation, a situation that reflects the plan Guardiola. The goal was off a very demanding course and reach back into the best condition at the time of truth. Real, however, seems to have spent the entire preseason this double confrontation. The numbers also say that the second season Mou are the best.

A Thiago does not seem unduly concerned about. "The statistics are to be broken and changed, so have no fear of anything." The important thing is not on track. "We realize that with work and with the gameplay we're having so far we have achieved the successes we've had, so we will stay the same."

The hispanobrasileño have options to leave the Bernabeu in the team. It would be their debut an exciting challenge. The seventh classic 2011. For some abuse. "It is the illusion that you play against Real Madrid, playing against the biggest rival, so do not lose the desire. Yes, it is very often clear. " The classic double supercopero be the first adventure of a season that has particularly demanding. Full of opportunities that awaits star Thiago. "I hope to help keep winning titles that Barcelona has gained over the years. There is the desire to win everything. "

To do Thiago will do its part. That's audacity and the hunger for any young person who is good at what he knows and wants to make a name. "We all want to eat the world but to go slowly," he said last week. His speech has not changed. "I come to bring my football, the enthusiasm and the joy of playing, the happiness that convey I think is my best." A joy that it transmits to those around him, also the fans who know Thiago prefers adventure to platitudes. It's so unpredictable that sometimes raises as many accessions as animosity, but with him the show is assured. Sunday will have the opportunity doctorate at the Bernabeu. (via SPORT)

Cesc already knows that the Arsenal will give OK

The top management of the Arsenal gave the green light to the proposal of Barca and Cesc knew that today, finally, will Blaugrana.

Such is the ascendancy of Cesc Fabregas at Arsenal that both the club as coach, Arsene Wenger refused to accept his departure until the last minute of the game, knowing that the battle is lost. Arenys midfielder will Barça, but the Emirates have wanted to rush the injury-time to the end and delaying the official announcement of the transfer while earning time to find alternative markets. But there is no going back.

Arsène Wenger explained publicly today that Cesc signed for Barça. And the player knows that finally the doors of the club Catalans are open to him. Arsenal reported it yesterday personally and for the first time since the interest of the boat was at the offices of the English club, the player is relieved. The final chapter of the saga, this announcement which has so longed Cesc is falling.

Arsène Wenger was the star of the plunge. Surprisingly, almost moved a final message through the website of the English club. "I hope everything can be fixed very soon, one way or another. We'll find out very fast, "he said when asked about the status of Cesc in the official media of his club.

Also revealed that his last contact with the player belonged to the afternoon of Thursday. And tip was assumed that the transfer of Samir Nasri to Manchester United also be resolved before the weekend, so the Arsenal lost in just 48 hours the two players most creative staff. Wenger should start to rebuild their team from today.

Glimpse as the only possible solution was to accept the offer the club and let go of Cesc, Arsenal had initially imposed a deadline their league opener, tomorrow at 18.30 at the stadium of Newcastle. And before the team 'gunner' jump into the field to start the Premier League, Cesc will be officially Barça.

Wenger today offered more details of 'if Cesc' at the press conference that will bring ten o'clock (nine in London), pregame Newcastle. But the technician came forward yesterday to begin preparing for the fans to the inevitable outcome. He chose the club's official media to communicate your message very brief, but illuminating: usually cautious coach Alsatian expressly referred to Cesc and assumed that the solution is immediate.

French coach's words were the result of the meeting that the 'board' (the top management of the Arsenal) continued to study the final offer the club. The club chairman Peter Hill-Wood, chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, and maximum shareholder Stan Kroenke, discussed the proposal Blaugrana (34 million euros in fixed concepts and 6 variables) and ended up polishing the details of fringes that have delayed the 'yes' final, referring to the variables.

Those six million dependent on performance of Cesc (the player dispute about half the games in each of the five seasons he signed for Barca) have been the big subject of discussion in the negotiations because Arsenal does not normally to accept such variables, even when sold or when buying players.

Finally, Cesc will leave Arsenal without having to resort to 'transfer request', a legal equivalent to filing absentia, but the player wanted to avoid at all costs because it would have meant leaving the club that has led to world-class by the back door. The balancing act of Fabregas has not been easy: to show his absolute willingness to sign for the club without offending the Arsenal, Wenger and the fans Gunners, who worship him despite his move has become a serial endless.

His position has been determined to solve the case: not only because he has given up five million euros (one per season), a figure that has gone directly to swell to 34 million pay fixed Barca Arsenal, but because their attitude every day has been suggested to Wenger that it is time to go home. The Frenchman has struggled weeks to understand it, but finally came down arms. Ivan Gazidis, who also was the work to transfer, has also had to yield to the desire of the player.

It was a preseason unusual for Wenger and Cesc, who has not played a minute of the friendly at Arsenal. Now, the English club has to implement its plan B. Among the list of candidates to land the Brazilian appears Jadson Emirates, Shakhtar Donetsk, and Juan Mata, Valencia's international footballer. Even some reports suggest that Wenger could go for Karim Benzema. But that it will be another story. (via SPORT)

Wenger: "hope that of Cesc is solved very quickly"

Arsène Wenger "expected to be resolved very quickly".

Arsène Wenger said on the website of Arsenal Cesc's fate will be announced shortly and that he has spoken with the player on Thursday at noon.

"Hopefully it is resolved very quickly in one direction or another. We'll find out very quickly," said the coach on the Arsenal website .

Alsatian coach also said "true" to be resolved before the weekend. (via SPORT)

[Ex player] Laurent Blanc: "Alexis Sanchez has elements that make you dream"

The French coach Laurent Blanc analyzed harvested by a tie against Chile in Montpellier France and praised the work of the combined Claudio Borghi.

"I would have preferred to win. We had opportunities, but also Chile. Both teams have good players and a draw was good, "said the World Champion in France 98 to L ^ Equipe.

Former Barcelona player and Manchester United had words of praise for the Blaugrana Alexis Sanchez, who said "has elements that make you dream to any amateur or European representative. He's very talented," he added. (via SPORT)

[Youth] Quique Álvarez substitute of García Pimienta in the Cadete A

The former footballer and now assistant to Oscar Garcia in the Junior A will substitute Javier Garcia Pimienta in front of the Cadet A FC Barcelona.

This season will coach Quique Alvarez Cadete A Barca replaces Javier García Pimienta, which this year happens to be the Junenil B coach following the departure of Sergi Barjuan. Quique Alvarez passes to lead the Cadete A after a season in the Juvenil A as second Oscar Garcia. Victor Sanchez continues to exercise coordination tasks in football training. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Players back for training

Pep Guardiola was finally able to train with the majority of the squad this evening, with the return of his international players. Puyol, Maxwell and Afellay worked apart from the rest of the group and Piqué and Busquets received medical treatment.

The available first team squad were in the main group, joined by Barça B players Cuenca, Lobato, Dalmau, Montoya and Dos Santos and the Youth team player Dongou.

The boss will be working hard to get his players ready for Sunday night’s Super Cup game against Real Madrid and this evening’s session will be followed by two more tomorrow, as well as a further session on Saturday morning before the trip to Madrid.

Following medical tests, Piqué and Busquets are both doubtful for Sunday’s game afater picking up knocks on international duty. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Sergio and Piqué availability depends on response to treatment

Both players came back with slight injuries from the Spain game on Wednesday night and will undergo specific treatment to try and make sure they are available for Sunday’s Spanish Super Cup game.

According to the Club’s medical services, Sergio Busquets has a bang on his right side and will undergo specific treatment. His reaction will determine his availability for Sunday’s game.

Piqué suffered a muscle strain and like Busquets will be treated by the Club doctors who will decide on his availability for the Madrid match. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Mascherano: "Super Cup won’t lay down a marker for the rest of the season"

Speaking at a press conference before this evening’s training session, Javier Mascherano insisted that the result of the Spanish Super Cup would not lay down a marker for the rest of the season, whilst accepting the importance of the clash.

A game between Real Madrid and Barça is always important, no matter at what point in the season it happens and although the Argentinean accepted that the squad were still a bit short of pre-season preparation, but insisted: “regardless of the form we might be in, this is a derby game and there is a title at stake”

Mascherano himself didn’t come back from his summer break until this Monday after figuring in the Copa America, and not until this evening will he have the chance to train with the complete squad, as a result of this week’s international games.

Sunday night at ten o’clock sees the 2011-12 season kick off with the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup at the Bernabeu, but Mascherano reckons the result: “won’t be a big influence on the rest of the season, though a victory will give whoever takes wins a boost”.

Although he’s only been under Guardiola’s orders for less than a week, Mascherano is keen to assure the boss that he’s ready to play on Sunday and even slot in at centre half if needed: “I feel good because even though I only came back a few days ago, I did a bit of training on my holidays”. Javier also commented that his friend and fellow Argentinean Leo Messi: “looks like he’s not been on holiday at all –he’s feeling perfect in training”.

With the possibility of Cesc Fabregas joining the Club one of the big talking points in the media today, Mascherano was naturally asked for his opinion of the Arsenal man, who he faced a number of times when he was at Liverpool himself and after explaining that he was confident the Catalan would indeed join the Club, he commented: “you can’t question his quality as a footballer. He’s a great player”.

The protracted negotiations for Cesc brought back memories of his own transfer just a year ago and Mascherano explained: “from the first moment that Barça showed an interest in me, I was clear that I wanted to come here and last season showed that I was right to take the step that I did”.

As for the big signing Barça have already made this summer, Mascherano is sure that Alexis Sánchez will adapt quickly to his new Club: “my experience is that he won’t find it hard –he’s going to come into a spectacular group and he also has the advantage of having worked with Bielsa who is similar to Guardiola tactically, so he’ll know our system”.

Players’ Strike
The Spanish Professional Footballers Association (AFE) announced today that they had declared a strike for the first two weeks of the Spanish League season in an attempt to get their collective agreement signed. Mascherano told reporters that captain Carles Puyol, who attended the meeting that decided to take the action, would be explaining the situation to the rest of the squad: “but let’s just hope that we can reach a solution quickly and the league can start as planned”. (via FCBarcelona.cat)