14 September 2011

Xavi: "We’re annoyed, but calm”

The Barça midfielder said that the team are "angry and exasperated" at the 2-2 draw against Milan. At the same time, he stressed: "We have total belief in the team, we know we have a great squad, and there is a good atmosphere in the dressing room.

Xavi Hernandez was the guest, this Tuesday, on the Barça TV program “El Marcador”, where he analysed FC Barcelona’s debut in this season’s Champions League, which ended in a bittersweet 2-2 draw. In this sense, Xavi said the players feel "exasperated" over what happened on the pitch, to a Barça team that, in his opinion, played "at ease, like we usually do, controlling midfield, and having most of the ball possession….it’s pretty clear that we could have done without the first and last thirty seconds of the game, but sometimes football is unjust like that, and this time we were on the receiving end" he added.

With this situation in mind, Xavi said that "we have to carry on, because this has just begun", and he encouraged his teammates to "win now, starting with next Saturday's game against Osasuna". In the same vein, Xavi explained that "the team is a bit down, we can’t explain it…..but we have to carry on, and think that the Group Stage is pretty long. We’re playing good football, but we have to play with more intensity at certain times”, adding that: “We tried everything, but it was tough to get past them, because they were very tight in defence".

When asked if the draw on Tuesday against Milan is comparable to last Saturday’s match at Real Sociedad, Xavi answered emphatically: "What happened on Tuesday is pure bad luck, totally unfair. The other day we dropped our intensity in the second half of the game, but this time the team played well, we pressurized them until the 90th minute, and we had possession of the ball". At the same time, he showed his ambition, and he’s already thinking about the next game: "We have to win, now, this Saturday". He added: "We’ll battle on. We know we have a great team to carry on winning things, and we're competitive. It makes us very excited, and every year we start from scratch, without looking back".

Without a doubt, the worst news of the night was the injury to Iniesta, who’ll be out for four weeks due to a hamstring tear in his left leg. In this sense, Xavier pointed out that Iniesta’s injury "is a shame because he was playing really well…..he felt good physically, and comfortable on the pitch, and then…" he added. Considering Iniesta’s injury, together with the absence of Alexis, Xavi commented that "they’re two players we’ll really miss, because they take on defenders, which is so important in the game today. Alexis gives does this on the wing, and Andres in the middle".

On the other hand, Xavi commented on the contributions of Thiago and Cesc Fabregas in midfield: "There’s real quality in midfield. Every year there’s more competition for places, and those of us who have been here longer are there to help. Thiago is brutal, and he makes a difference. As for Cesc, we all know what he can do. He was brought up here, and knows how Barça play. The most important is that players understand our game, and Cesc does that. He came already brought up on it". (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Recovery session thinking Osasuna

FC Barcelona first team has returned to work after the tie against AC Milan on Wednesday morning. He has done in a session that has been used to recover from the effort at the premiere of Champions.

The Barça squad does not rest. After Tuesday's match against AC Milan (2-2), Josep Guardiola players have returned to exercise, starting at 11 am in field 2 of the Ciudad Deportiva. As usual in the days after the party, has been training softer than usual, thinking about the physical recovery of the players who were starters. Only three injured, Piqué, Iniesta, Alexis and have not participated in the session.

The training session has also had the presence of four players from Barça B They are Javier Espinosa, Balliu, Muniesa and Oier. The goalkeeper, precisely, has received strong applause from all his classmates at the beginning of the session, and this Wednesday is its 22 th anniversary. Congratulations, Oier! (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Puyol: "If we work like that, the results will come"

Carles Puyol has it all quite clear: "Results will come, because the first team work is very good". In the press room of the Ciudad Deportiva, the team captain sent a clear message of reassurance to members and fans.

Carles Puyol has it all quite clear: "Results will come, because the first team work is very good". In the press room of the Ciudad Deportiva, the team captain sent a clear message of reassurance to members and fans.
Despite the two draws in the last two official matches, no doubts exist in the dressing room. According to Carles Puyol, "we’re aware of what we have in hand, the bar is very high, and what we’ll do is continue working as we have up to now, and not listen to what’s said from outside". He added: "Sooner or later the results we want will come. We’re in no doubt whatsoever".

For Puyol, the draw with Milan "was really unfair, and left a bad taste in our mouths. It was unfortunate, but we must move on and think about the next game". About his feelings, in his comeback after more than three months inactive, Puyol said he "felt very well and the sensations were all very good. I was out for eight months and now I have to start getting into the rhythm of games".

Puyol was very forthright in declaring, "The praise we’ve received over the past few years doesn’t affect us, neither for better nor worse. Just a short while ago we were the best team in the world, and now, some have lots of doubts about us. It’s neither one nor the other. We know where we are and it’s normal that in a football team there are times when we're up and other times when we’re down".
Regarding the various muscle injuries, Puyol indicated that "it’s never good news, but it can happen to anyone….I have to say that we’re doing the same preparation as in other seasons. It’s football and we have to accept it" he added.

Puyol believes that the fact that Barça let in 4 goals in 2 games is mainly due to the "merits of the opposition, more than our failures…….here we all defend and attack together, and, therefore, it’s not fair to say that the defence, or the defenders, are to blame” he said. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Agüero: "Barcelona won't dominate forever"

"There is no doubt that Messi is currently the best player in the world. He has won the Ballon d'Or last two years. My dream is also to that level," he says.

Unless Mancini decides the opposite, Sergio Omen it will debut today with City in Champions. The Argentinean has given an interview to the newspaper 'The Guardian' in which he confesses that one of his dreams is to occupy the throne now belongs to Lionel Messi, while ensuring that the cycle of Barcelona can not be eternal.

"They take four years demonstrating that they are above others. They are however still only a football match with Atletico beat them three times in our stadium. They may not always be the dominant team they are today. Other teams have potential to achieve, "he says on the squad.

And along with the team 'FC Barcelona', Kun refers to its big star, Lionel Messi, who dreams of relieving the best player in the world someday. "There is no doubt that Messi is currently the best player in the world. He has won the Ballon d'Or last two years. My dream is also to that level, and work every day with the goal of winning the trophy and to say: 'Yes, I am the best player in the world'. "

On changing the city that has experienced this summer, Aguero believes that "it was more difficult to go from Buenos Aires to Madrid because he was 18. When you get to Manchester the first week I took, but then I started to adapt and now everything is good. " Asked about the role of Maradona in the transfer to the City, the striker says his father never spoke about it: "There was a period in which we do not talk, when negotiations were taking place. Only days before coming calls, and I said, 'I wish you all the luck and hope it goes well'. "

On the role of City in the Champions League, Agüero says they have "much chance of winning as any team, though a very tough competition." Also notes that "although the club has no experience in the Champions League has many players who do have."

Finally, in terms of competition with United in the Premier League, Argentine believed to have a real chance to beat their rivals: "They have dominated for a long time, but now we have a real chance to beat them. I've never won a national championship, and we really hope to do here. " (via AS)

[Barça B] Kiko Femenía will return to Rich Pérez of azulgrana

One of the great attractions of the Hercules-Barça B this Friday (21h) will be the return of Kiko Femenía in Alicante. The right-wing of the subsidiary is expected to be well received in the stadium where he played the last two seasons.

"I can not wait to play this game." The forward of Barça B Kiko Femenía had marked in red the fifth day of League, one day where it will return to the one that has been its house in the last seasons.

These days Kiko Femenía works with a different feeling than other times. The Hercules field trip will involve a lot emotionally to Sanet and Nagrals boy: I cannot deny that it will be a very special party for me, I have always played with the shirt blanquiazul and now to return to Rich Pérez of azulgrana will be made very strange ".

Kiko expected to be received positively by a hobby you've always had good vibes, "I wonder why I think pitaran I have always valued but that never know until you find it, in principle expect a been well received than my club. "

Kiko Femenía has started the first three league games. Against Cartagena, also debuted as a scorer. The competition for a position is extremely high since Tello, Gerard, Cuenca, Lobato and Espinosa can act on both sides with guarantees. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Barça breaks hamstring

Iniesta will be one month of low for the same lesion of Afellay, Adriano and Alexis.

Andres Iniesta will be four weeks sidelined with a hamstring tear in his left leg he suffered in the 38th minute to try to reach the baseline with the ball under control. Without suffering any physical contact, he felt the pain and stopped. Requested change instantly and he was replaced by Cesc Fabregas. He will miss at least four league games (Osasuna, Valencia, Atletico and Sporting) and one Champions League (BATE Borisov). Racing reappear before the league on October 16 after the international break matches your selections.

The various medical tests you conducted the club's medical services immediately Iniesta revealed that it is an injury to the same area that has already forced Afellay, Adriano and Alexis to go through nursing and a half month low has elapsed since the start of the preseason: the biceps femoris, a muscle located in the posteromedial region outside of the thigh.

Afellay reappeared yesterday after suffering a hamstring tear in his left leg on August 1 on a U.S. tour friendly against Manchester United. Adrian already has the discharge, but has not played since the same injury (and the same leg) played in the Super Cup against Porto on 26 August. And Alexis Sanchez broke Anoeta last Saturday in the biceps femoris, although in his case the right leg and with greater severity, for eight weeks is low.

Piqué, the injured muscular recruit of the season, a figure that is already alarming, suffered a break fibrilar in the twin of the left leg during a training that took place August 23. not still under conditions of reappearing.

Guardiola has now three low (Piqué, Iniesta Alexis) in a staff of 21 players, so that the calls will be alone 18. Maxwell, suffering during the tour of an abdominal injury, is fit again and ready to take minutes. (via MD)

A corner that should not be taken out

Before the 2-2, Nocerino was not necessary a whistled to Abidal.

It was the only occasion of Milan in the entire second half but rules in hand, or reach should not occur. The final 2-2 Thiago Silva who scored in the 92nd minute of the game came at the exit of a corner kick by Clarence Seedorf and thrown out unfairly by the English referee Martin Atkinson.The midfielder 'rossonero' Antonio Nocerino pressed Eric Abidal until the bottom line but it finished demolishing him clearly without its lack was penalized by the collegian and yes the corner serve to play the ball ultimately in the French defense. Barca captain Carles Puyol saw it very clear from the area and protested the decision knowing that Atkinson could play finally saw a yellow and in the Champions League can be costly because the third party would be a suspension. In vain. (via MD)

New contact of Barça for Neymar

The club sent a couple of emissaries to Brazil to expedite an agreement with Santos.

FC Barcelona is very seriously by Neymar. The Catalan club's technical services are convinced that Santos striker may mark an epoch in world football and they do not want to let him go, and less if Real Madrid will sign him crazy. In this context, it is unquestionable the new journey that has made this week to Brazil two emissaries Barca qualified with the commission to expedite negotiations with the Santos and the crack to reach an agreement that should be in force from 2013.

As reported last Sunday the newspaper Estado de Sao Paulo, Santos on Monday expecting the arrival of Raul Sanllehí, football manager of FC Barcelona, ​​to close a deal by Neymar. In the same vein, the program 'Futboleros' is also echoed this information, the journey of an executive and a lawyer Barca Brazil. According to MD yesterday unable to confirm sources of FC Barcelona, ​​it is true that the director of football has been this week in Brazil trip that returned yesterday. Last week, Sanllehí in that country was also an agreement Neymar speeding.

The intention of Barça is to block its pass to Madrid and to make sure a purchase option once in 2013 one has seen if it has been consecrated as crack. (via MD)

[Selection Under-17] Fright of Grimaldo in the concentration of the under-17

The great promise of the soccer bases blaugrana he had to retire of the training of the selection, but it was only a measure of caution.

Those responsible for the Blaugrana grassroots breathe easy after confirming that the accident suffered by the last bead that debuted with Barça B, Alejandro Grimaldo, not serious. The sleeve is one of four Barcelona who participated in the concentration of three days organized by the Spanish Federation with the under-17 to prepare the next official tournament which takes place from 18 to 24 October in Montenegro. Samper, Sandro and Roger Riera are the other three players who are located in Las Rozas on the orders of coach Santi Denia.

Grimaldo, only 15 years, opened the branch in Cartagena, although this time he returned to the discipline to confront the Junior A Manlleu. The left side is a footballer Eusebio Sacristan is following closely and will more often with him throughout the season. Carles Planas's return after his involvement with the under-21 Grimaldo advised to return to the discipline of Oscar Garcia set to continue enjoying continuity.

The left side is a position lacking in the Spanish team and technical officials are watching developments. So he went to training, where yesterday had an accident that triggered the alarms muscle. However, after inspection of Dr. Jorge Guillen confirmed that only suffers a hamstring contracture in the left leg advised to leave the training. The under-17 have now scheduled a new session in which they will reassess the leg. The boat will be very aware of their status as Oscar Garcia has the young player to play the second game on Thursday of the 'Next Gen Series', the recently released Youth Category Champions in England against Manchester City. In principle, Grimaldo Samper must travel with sleeping directly from Madrid and Manchester, and tomorrow be in the game. The side has not yet ruled out and could move with the rest of the class.

In any case, the Blaugrana technical managers do not want to rush to the player after the great media coverage that had its debut with Barça B with only 15 years and will trabjando with Oscar Garcia. In addition, Marc Muniesa recovery is well under way and Eusebio Sacristan would have a new cash for the left lane, as well as Carles Planas and Cristian Lobato. (via SPORT)

[Player ratings; UCL; Group H] FC Barcelona - AC Milan (2-2)

Global rating of the team 6.


Zubizarreta: "That of Iniesta is a misfortune, but there is insole"

Zubizarreta regrets the lesion of Iniesta, but it highlights that there is trust in the group. The sports director praised the actions of Milan.

Iniesta stopped in dry and Camp Nou was withered. Fuentealbilla The field became distressed and lamented how the other lesion, the fateful last one week in this regard. Andoni Zubizarreta could not hide the disappointment. "It's the worst news, for sure. From there we have a template to fix it. I wish the change had been for a tactical question. "

The athletic director said that this group is prepared to overcome and would not get wet on whether there was a common denominator in the lesions. "I'm no doctor Do you point is it a disgrace what Alexis, Piqué and Andres but for that we have this template. Zubi was sympathetic with the team's defensive mistakes in the first half. "It has taken us into the match on the first play because we have scored a goal with an excellent move by Pato. It's hard when you have not warmed to react to this type of plays. " He stressed the team's ability to react to adversity against a team who knew how to defend themselves. "Milan has taken away space with two defensive lines. It was difficult. Messi's goal is a move of faith with a guy like Peter who then is here. " Zubi was the team For more opportunities, "When we learned to press high up have come opportunities." (via SPORT)

Neymar da Silva Santos: "If Santos leaves us, we will talk to Barça"

Neymar da Silva Santos not rule out signing your child for Barcelona and is open to negotiate.

Neymar The future remains an enigma. The noise generated by the player's environment do you speak around the world and each with versions that change even within hours do they make it very difficult to decipher the end wearing the shirt front. The father of footballer, Neyman da Silva Santos, denied yesterday they are negotiating an improved contract does the Santos player offers a renewal until 2015 and increase its provision ¿while it was open to talk to Barcelona if the Saints are for the work. Anything could happen these days if they are true the rumors that are now in Brazil two representatives of Barcelona. One of them could be Raul Sanllehí, executive football area. "I do not know if there is someone on the boat in Brazil. Talk with Barcelona if authorized by Santos, "said the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo. He confirmed that the player will not change of pace in January and will play with the Brazilian club in 2012, "the centennial year." Santos president Luis Álvaro Ribeiro, also reiterated that no change of plans Neymar and, despite interest from Barcelona and Madrid, the player will not now. This was made ​​clear in an interview with the newspaper 'Lance'. "Neymar not come because they want to leave, and Santos not sell because they want to sell." Ribeiro also recognized that in recent times has been in contact with the presidents of Barcelona and Madrid, but "between telling and selling is a great distance."

Santos president also highlighted the importance of football to the fans and the disappointment that his departure would. "The Santistas are very happy and growing number of fans." In Brazil also remember that Ribeiro did not want to compromise their future in the entity do you play your presidency in the upcoming elections With the sale of football in January.

Ribeiro also re-emphasized that right now there is no favorite in the race for the signing is there anything that contradicts what he said a few weeks ago when he said that Barcelona was better placed ¿. "If we ever leave the club would take the team to pay more money." The will of the player, which remains clear preferences will be crucial for its future. "First we must respect the will of the player and then defend the interests of Santos," admitted Ribeiro. The player while still dazzling in Brazilian football, which is the undisputed star. Also with the selection has been made a place in the starting lineup.

Neymar reiterates that won't leave Santos next month of January

Despite interest from Barcelona and Madrid, Neymar is excited about the idea of ​​following in the Santos, at least this season. Aware that the Santos will live a very special season (played on club Mundialito) Neymar want to enjoy in the Brazilian team. "It is definite, I will not leave the Santos in January," said the Brazilian. Also in the Brazilian media came to light that a document that specifies Neymar should be 10% of the transfer. In addition the contract also specifies that this amount is independent of the money that brokers can receive the operation.

[Former player] Riquelme: "I would pay to see Messi, Iniesta, Xavi... they are the best"

"Spain has an advantage, Barcelona has many players and a coach smart".

The program "Planet America" ​​on Radio Marca, presented by Lopez Pablo Montoya and Mono had the first player Juan Roman Riquelme. Boca Juniors star talked about his current time: "I'm happy because we are fortunate in this first with Boca.'s Playing better every game. Doctors prefer not to play with Argentina to Brazil to my discomfort does not increase."

On Sunday there is a great match in Argentina: "We will play against Lanus. They have good players and hopefully give them a great joy to our fans."

Schiavi said Boca is 'Riquelmedependiente': "The team as they gained confidence has picked up. The results help. We have the illusion of making things better every day."

Boca will be in contention for the title: "We depend on the next three games. If we do well we will fight until the end. We know that people are going to help much. On Sunday we have a very strong opponent as Lanús."

Riquelme has again been called up by Argentina: "When I called Sabella was a rare moment, enjoyed it very much and hope I can be in the playoffs. I want to help the team to go to the World Cup."

Riquelme know who would pay for a ticket to see a football game: "If I have to choose I would put Barcelona. And a player would choose Iniesta, Messi, Xavi.'re Different, you'll quickly see them play, play better every day . When there are no really good way to mark them. "

And at the selections: "Spain has an advantage, with many players of FC Barcelona. It has a clever technique and I come out well. We have the illusion that Argentina make a good team. It has the best player in the world is Messi and hopefully we can put together a great team to enjoy. "

Riquelme also spoke about the current situation River: "For our football is troubling. Not been done well.'d Always be on top. I hope to return soon and play again Superclásico, a feast for us ".

In 1996 came the costume Boca talented guy and few words. Time has become an unforgettable player: "It gives me great joy to talk with Mono Montoya. The only shirt I asked my mom is the goalkeeper. The has saved and is a memory that I can not forget" . (via Marca)

Draw in the other party

The other Group H match concluded with a tie to a goal. Bakos has advanced to Viktoria Pilsen in the 45th minute but a goal on 70 minutes Bressan has matched the meeting to BATE Borisov. Thus, distribution of points here, too, a point for four. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Bartomeu laments bad luck

The vice president for sport, Josep Maria Bartomeu, was sorry to lose although “we played well and had opportunities. The ball didn’t go in, but another day it will for sure … It was a shame to draw and if we want to finish top we’re going to have to work a bit harder.”

But he also said it was time to “forget about this game and turn our thoughts back to the league”. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Guardiola: “It was a more than acceptable performance”

The Barça manager felt his side played well this evening. “They worked hard in terms of structure and play, Milan couldn’t get across the halfway line” he said.

Pep Guardiola was happy with his team despite the cruel outcome of the game with AC Milan. “We were Barça, we played as we always have done, trying to play football, shooting … everything we were supposed to do to win”.

He added that “we managed to hold Milan back. It was a more than acceptable performance. Only little things were missing, and they did score in the first minute. They only attacked two and half times, but these things happen in football … we have to be more careful and we’ll be looking to correct things.” But he was happy to accept that Milan is a quality side. “They are able to stick eight men in defence and carry on doing that when they’re losing 2-1” he observed.

On his squad, he said “I have no doubts about these players, you know that … If these players have shown one thing it is that nobody works harder than them. I sense that they know how difficult this is. It gets harder every time”.

On the draw he at least conceded that “we didn’t lose and there are five games left.” But for now his mind will be focused on the league game with Osasuna. Guardiola knows that “Saturday will be different. Mendilibar’s teams come right at you”. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Xavi: "The result is totally unfair"

Barca midfielder admitted that football was "dishonest" with the club tonight, after the tie against AC Milan.

FC Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez, admitted after the draw against AC Milan, who deserved to win. "We played a pleasure, what we play normally. They have left us confused and we play two times. Football is so unjust, has no explanation. Today we experienced the other side of the coin," he said.

In addition, Xavi reiterated that football would not be fair to the club. "We made a point of failure. The result today is totally unfair. The other day at Anoeta not." Right now, the Terrassa just wants to "win, win and win."

On Iniesta's injury was blunt. "It's a shame because it was a very high level. Hopefully I can come back in two or three weeks because it is very important to us."

Finally, the Terrassa declared: "This must change now. We have to win now." (via SPORT)

Allegri: "We have surely had some luck"

The Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri, acknowledged that "probably" have had "a bit of luck" to draw in the Camp Nou (2-2) after scoring a goal in the first minute of play and another in stoppage time the second part.

"Football is nice about this, because sometimes you lose and do not deserve it, sometimes you win and do not deserve it." With this mission statement at a press conference summed up the Milan coach what happened in the Nou Camp on Tuesday.

Allegri openly admitted that his team was fortunate to win the tie face before-he said-"the best team in the world."

Allegri praised the work of his players and said this is a point "important" to start the league and were rewarded for their work at the end of the match. "Our team has not collapsed after the 2-1, and finally we have been awarded this corner," said Italian coach on a goal by Thiago Silva, which came after a corner in the last minute.

For the coach 'Rossoneri', Milan played a good first 25 minutes and remained "compact" to the end. "We started quite well, but then the club has taken control of the game. My kids have been very good in not granting spaces, but the second time we have done little," lamented Allegri.

Milan coach said that despite the club tie remains "the strongest team in the world," as said in the previous reiterated that he signed the tie obtained.

On the other hand, on the great absent, Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Allegri said his team has not changed tactics or the style of play, and he just put Antonio Cassano in place and play with two ends to do damage the Barca defense. "Barca played very well the ball because you have equipment for it, but Milan has played as a team and I am very happy," said one who declined Allegri detract from yours. (via SPORT)

Valdés: “We need to pick ourselves up quickly”

The FC Barcelona goalkeeper knows there is no time for lamentations, because “the season has only just started … we have to analyse and learn from our mistakes.”

The Liga and Champions League have only just started, and Víctor Valdés doesn’t think there is any cause for alarm. “It was not a result we liked and the draw certainly came as a disappointment” he said after the game with Milan. “We need to learn and even more so in dead ball situations. We have to analyse and learn from our mistakes and make sure they don’t happen again”.

Football never stops, and Valdés said “we need to pick ourselves up quickly because we have a league match to come. This has only just started”. Barça’s fixture on Saturday at 8.00 at the Camp Nou is against Osasuna

Valdés was also sorry about what had happened to his friend and colleague Andrés Iniesta, saying “it was the worst news of the day. It was nasty shock but I hope he recovers as quickly as possible”.

The following are other comments made by the players:


“Getting there is hard but it’s even more difficult to stay there because everybody wants to beat us.”

David Villa

“The teams suffers a lot when we draw or lose and we’re all upset today.”

“We deserved to win but it wasn’t to be.” (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Carles Puyol plays again

Carles Puyol has played an official match at the Camp Nou after recovering from a knee injury.

Puyol came on in the 67th minute of the game with AC Milan as a substitute for Keita and was welcomed with a huge ovation from the Camp Nou faithful. After several months on the sidelines recovering from an knee injury, everybody involved in Barça was delighted to see the captain back in action.

Barça have been without Puyol since the Wembley final 110 days ago, when he came on for the last two minutes of the 3-1 win. It was only a brief return after a long period of treatment, and before that his last appearance had been on May 16 in the Champions League semi final against Real Madrid.

Carles Puyol was immediately handed the captain’s armband by Xavi and played on the left of a three-man defence alongside Mascherano and Alves. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Iniesta suffers hamstring injury

Andrés Iniesta has torn the femoral biceps in his left leg. The Medical Services have examined the injury and confirmed that he will be out for about a month.

In the 38th minute of the game the midfielder, in an individual action, felt pain in his left leg and called to be substituted. Cesc Fàbregas came on in his place.

Andrés Iniesta was subjected to a series of medical tests and the verdict is a torn femoral biceps in his left leg, which will mean he misses about a month of football.

He therefore joins Alexis Sánchez and Gerard Piqué on Barça’s injury list. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

[Champions League; Group H] FC Barcelona 2 - 2 AC Milan

Barça have started their European title defence with a bittersweet draw with the Italian champions. Pedro and Villa neutralised Pato’s shock opener after 25 seconds, but when Barça looked assured of a 2-1 win, Silva headed an injury time equaliser.

What we saw at the Camp Nou tonight was evidence that the best team doesn’t always win. The 2-2 draw between Barça and AC Milan was a fine example of how what can happen in 88 minutes is not always enough to win a game. The Catalans suffered defeat to an Italian side that scored within seconds of the kickoff and then again just before the final whistle. In between, FC Barcelona were the vastly superior team, with Messi outstanding and Pedro and Villa getting a goal each, but none of that was enough to get their Champions League campaign off to a winning start.

The two dropped points were not the only negative news for Barça fans to digest, for Iniesta will be out through injury for four weeks. But Barça have overcome much greater difficulties in the past, and their European challenge is still very much alive.

It only took 25 seconds for Pato to score the fourth fastest goal in UCL history, losing his marker brilliantly and slotting the ball through Valdés’ legs. The Camp Nou was stunned. Barça hadn’t even touched the ball and they were already playing catch-up. It was going to be an upward struggle, and against an AC Milan side that defends exquisitely, but Barça didn’t panic and patiently created a series of chances that visiting keeper Abbiati did well to deal with.

The Argentinian was causing the most problems for the Milan stopper, and having already hit the post from a free kick, on the half hour he combined skill and speed to leave rossoneri defenders Nesta and Abate standing before laying the ball on a plate for Pedro, who wasn’t going to make the same mistake that he made at Anoeta and made it 1-1.

The half ended with two players being replaced due to injury. For AC Milan, Boateng made way for Ambrosini, while for Barcelona, Iniesta was replaced by Cesc after picking up an unfortunate injury while sprinting down the left wing.

Barça stepped things up a gear after the break, and were soon celebrating their second. Villa placed the ball for a long-range free kick and then sent an absolute humdinger of a shot past Abbiati, the ideal way to make up for his error that led to Barça conceding an unexpected second goal at Anoeta on Saturday.

Villa’s goal did little to awaken any new ambitions among AC Milan’s veteran set of players. Despite creating the occasional danger on the counter attack in the first half, the Italians found the Barça possession game far more difficult to deal with now that it was them who needed to score. It looked like Barcelona’s first Champions League game of the season was going to end with three thoroughly deserved points, and as well as the result, the fans were also able to celebrate the returns of Puyol and Afellay from long injuries.

But against Italian teams, and especially AC Milan, it is never a good idea to celebrate until victory really is certain, and despite the lack of chances they were creating, there was always the danger that they might sneak a late equaliser. And following an injury time corner, for which Puyol was booked for protesting, Thiago Silva rose to beat the Barça defence and head home a last gasp leveller. The game ended as it had begun, and despite playing the best football for the 88 minutes in between, Barça came out of this with the same reward as their Italian guests: one point that really should have been three. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

[Technical Data]
FC Barcelona: Valdés; Alves, Mascherano, Busquets, Abidal; Keita (Puyol, m.67), Xavi, Iniesta (Cesc, m.39); Pedro, Messi and Villa (Afellay, m.84).

Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Nesta, Thiago Silva, Zambrotta; Van Bommel (Aquilani, m.78), Seedorf, Nocerino; Boateng (Ambrosini, m.33); Pato and Cassano (Emanuelson, m.62).

Goals: 0-1, m.1: Pato. 1-1, m.35: Pedro. 2-1, m.50: Villa. 2-2, m.90+2: Thiago Silva.

Referee: Martin Atkinson (ENG). Mostró cartulina Amarilla a Van Bommel (m.18), Villa (m.52), Nesta (m.57), Alves (m.70) ya Puyol (m.90 +2) .

Incidens: First group match of the Champions League group H match at the Nou Camp before 89,861 spectators. In the first half, Boateng and Iniesta had to be replaced by paths injuries. The goal by Pato, the 24 seconds of the match, is the fifth fastest in the history of the Champions League.