13 April 2012

Guardiola: “The only way we can extend our league challenge is by winning”

The Barça manager isn’t resting any players with the Chelsea fixture in mind because “given our situation, the game with Levante is more important”.

He believes they have to win at the Ciutat de València because otherwise “we’ll have no chance of winning the league when we face Madrid”.

Josep Guardiola is treating Saturday’s clash with Levante with the utmost importance. He knows that the next league fixture, against leaders Real Madrid, will be much more difficult than people seem to think and therefore “I’ll playing what I think is the strongest team and that can adapt best to the opponent and the ground”. Although he has a crucial Champions League semi final against Chelsea to worry about in addition to the clásico, he is not even contemplating the idea of resting any of his stars. “We know it’s difficult but we want to extend our league challenge and to do that we have to play the best team we can … if the difference was ten points we could make one competition a priority, but given the situation we are in, the game with Levante is more important”.

In La Liga, he believes it is essential for his team to stay within at least four points of the lead. “If we don’t win the game against Levante, we’ll have nothing to play for against Madrid” he said. “We would lose the little chance we have … There is only one way to extend competitions, and that’s by winning”.

The manager also spoke about Carles Puyol, who turned 34 today. After congratulating his captain, Guardiola said “he’s the kind of player whose fitness will tell him when he has to stop. His desire has hardly changed at all since the day he started. If injuries are kind to him, his career can carry on for some time”.

He was also pleased to welcome Afellay back from a long-term injury. “It’s one more man for the cause. Now he’s got to work hard to get back in the team”.

And finally, words for Abidal, who is recovering from his liver transplant. “The information we have received says that everything has gone to plan, that there have been no nasty shocks. That’s the best news”. (via FCBarcelona.com)

Alves and Piqué, convened against Levante

The full-back and centre-back are the main news from the list of 18 players for the match FC Barcelona against Levante.

By contrast, Keita is low as a precaution due to a mild discomfort in his right thigh.

Good news for the coaching squad. Looking to the game this Saturday in the field of the Levant (22 hours, TV3 and La Sexta), Barça recovered two members: Gerard Piqué and Dani Alves. Both have been discharged after they had passed their muscle problems. The centre-back had missed the last two matches of the season and the full-back, the final against Getafe.

Moreover, Seydou Keita could not enter the list of 18 because of some mild discomfort in his right thigh and is low as a precaution. Mali's absence adds to Villa, Fontàs, Abidal and Afellay. The Dutchman was discharged on Wednesday but not yet in the notice. Among the players chosen are the subsidiary of Cristian Tello and Martin Montoya.

The training on Friday morning at the Ciudad Deportiva Joan Gamper started with a standing ovation for Carles Puyol, the day of its 34th anniversary. Then Dani Alves and Piqué would work normally with the group. Keita, however, has exercised outside on the lawn for the inconvenience. Tello and Montoya completed the Barça squad, which has finalized the details of the visit to Levante on Saturday. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Happy birthday, Carles!

FC Barcelona’s captain Carles Puyol celebrates his 34th birthday this Friday .

FC Barcelona’s captain Carles Puyol was born 34 years ago today. The captain has a lot to celebrate as he completes another year with Barça’s first team. For Guardiola, Puyol is the centerpiece of the team’s defence, in the last 7 matches he’s figured in the starting line-up 6 times; of the last 30, he’s led the team 24 times.

It’s worth noting that Puyol has played the second most matches in Club history (552), the only player to have played more official matches for FC Barcelona is his teammate Xavi Hernández (621). In fact, Puyol reached this mark recently. It was when he played in the Champions League quarterfinal against Milan (3-1).

Despite his age, this has been a fantastic season for the Catalan captain. While proving to be dependable on defence, the player has also shown to be dangerous on offence as well. In fact, Puyol has set a new personal record this year: he’s scored four goals this season - two in the Liga and two in the Cup - besting the his personal tally set in the 2001/02 and 2006/07 seasons, where he scored two goals. Happy birthday, Puyol! (via FCBarceloona.com)

Jordi Alba is bespoken if Bale can not come

Escape clause would have to renew in Valencia.

Gareth Bale is the first in the list in Barça's technical preferences to reinforce the left, but the club azulgrana has hedged its bets with Jordi Alba.

The side of Valencia is even aware of this and so it has already advanced more than renew with the team 'che', provided that includes an escape clause at a fixed price that allows you to sign for Barça.

Alba, a former canterano at La Masia, is prepared to wait that time among other reasons because it is at home in Mestalla and does not care to continue as 'che' with a substantial improvement contract if Barça was done with Bale, who by his enormous potential is greater consideration in the transfer market than a single side, something like a Dani Alves opposite field.

The economic effort involving the operation 'left side' determine its name. If Bale, number one on the list, he will be the star signing of Barça 2012-2013.

If the Welsh international goal becomes inaccessible, then the whole operation would be activated Jordi Alba with this renewal with Valencia CF until June 2016 that would always leave the door open to its affordable wholesale FC Barcelona. (via MD)

The arrival of Neymar is planned for 2013

If no last minute changes, today is not contemplated that Neymar da Silva arrives next summer at Camp Nou. FC Barcelona has the initial idea to pursue their landing a year later, in 2013.

And Mundo Deportivo reported that the club azulgrana in a timely management to disable the interest of other teams, advanced 10 million euros in pay and signal to Santos, club owner of the rights of skilled Brazilian forward, who should pay twice if Barça break his agreement. (via MD)

All you will get sales for reinforcements

The Barça's transfer strategy is marked by the economic availability. The club is in diposición to invest 50 million euros and this must be added the proceeds from hypothetical transfers, which will be present. Will be grown players who do not see them fit into the first team or even a big name, assumptions not be excluded.

We must also be aware of the offers received if they are good. It has, for example, the pull to have players like Adriano Correia, Seydou Keita and Ibrahim Afellay. (via MD)

Barça make a transfer pump this summer

Barça have on your list to four names among those who elect to transfer stellar 2012-2013.
Bale and Van Persie are international options, but attentive to the way Basque: Javi Martínez and Muniain.

Barça already working on a template reinforcements in itself very difficult to improve the quality of a championship team. But there are always areas for strengthening and that the club azulgrana is now focusing its efforts on finishing the season fighting for three titles, yet without neglecting the planning of next year.

In the Barça 2012-2013 will transfer pump, make no mistake. In principle, get out of a list that runs the club with four big names. Both are from the Premier League, Gareth Bale and Robin van Persie, and the other two are the sensation of the year with Athletic, Javi Martínez and Iker Muniain.

Logically, unless their status as players have nothing to do with each other in terms of tactical performance. And as the economic context is one that is, the equation between market and technical need tell which of them can land at the Camp Nou.

The amount that the Barça prepares to sign around 50 million euros, it would have to add any transfers. The greedy pieces of the market is not cheap, exactly.

The first one, Bale is a very long journey left back who plays for Tottenham. His attacking qualities like much in a while, but Barça has always considered that district was covered with Éric Abidal flawlessly until it was confirmed that the French had to stop again.

Circumstances force and Bale is more like the lefty market. His problem is under contract with Tottenham until 2015 and that its value exceeds 35 million euros. Its advantage is that Bale just said that "if I called the Barça, I hear."

Van Persie is a temptation on the market. The Dutch top scorer in the Premier League takes months and months stalling Arsenal to renew his contract, which expires in 2013. Its disadvantage is in the 28 years of his ID.

The Basque route also takes account of Barça. A Javi Martínez is seen as the alter ego ideal of Sergio Busquets, capable of exercising midfield or central. A contract until 2016, a buyout clause of 40 million and the little will to do Athletic rebates are their problem.

The same is true of Muniain, the star also plays Athletic 'to Barça'. The skilful playmaker is under contract until 2015 and a progressive clause that would reach 45 million. (via MD)

The directive polls the renewal of Puyol

The club will poll the environment centre-back to its plans for the future. The goal is to hang up the boots dress azulgrana.

Barcelona has already moved part of the renewal of Puyol. The centre back his contract ends in June 2013 and the club azulgrana wants to expand the relationship with the footballer, which is already made ​​known to the player's agent. Contacts have already been started but both the player as Barcelona took time to get the best deal possible. Understand Zubizarreta, Barça's sporting director, it would be good for the club to end his career at Barcelona and the feeling you have is that Puyi is for the work.

The centre-back is delighted with his role in 'Pep Team', which is a key player in the team's defensive gear, and Guardiola has only praise for a player of legend. Barcelona already has its particular Maldini. "He says he wants to play until 40. Not bad, huh?. Depends solely on him. For as caring for and living the profession, until his physical will say enough. With this prodigious physical will and the people of La Pobla because your body will decide, "said the coach.

The centre back will be 35 on June 2013 but no doubt still has physical and motivation to continue at the highest level. Nor did his teammates. "The key to Puyi is playing with the motivation of youth," said Cesc in the mixed zone. Also the younger generation what a player is capital. For young people is a mirror for football level and commitment to the club. "I made ​​a special illusion to coincide with Puyol on the computer. For me has always been a benchmark, "says Muniesa, which came against Getafe in the final minutes. It is not the only one subsidiary that is set to Puyol. So do Bartra and Sergi Gómez, azulgrana captain with the same eyes that made Carles with Maldini.

In the first team there are many who admire the constancy of the master and the new hallucinate with him despite the good reputation that precedes it. "I see him running and I feel like running to me too," says Alexis. Thiago also admires the central and understand that this is a capital player in the locker room. "He's a character that motivates us, going to balls that no one could get. There is a dependency, but it is a vital player for the team. "At 34, Puyol remains the same in the field, but has learned to tune out most of the football in his spare time. The arrival of Piqué, a brother to him, was very important in this regard. Gerard is one that believes it will not be easy to fill the void the day you leave. "I can not imagine, but it will happen. Puyi has taught me much, "he said in an interview to 'El Pais'. They form one of the best couples avenues of world football. Also this season. A course that Puyol is being wild again on defense. Right back. Left back. Central. No matter if a defense of three or four. He is always ready.

The best Puyol is back after a season, 2011-12, in which he had to deal with a serious injury that dogged much of the season. (via SPORT)

Maradona to Pelé: "Neymar is the best in the world, if Messi is from another planet"

Maradona has no doubt that Messi is the best in the world and takes the opportunity to lash out at the last words of Pelé.

Diego Armando Maradona is his particular war with Pelé but this time with Messi as the protagonist.

A few days ago the Brazilian star said Neymar was the best in the world saying that if Messi wants to hold that status "you first have to beat him."

Well, when Maradona was asked about Pelé's words, not his tongue and came out in defense of his compatriot: " What nonsense! Neymar may be the best player in the world, but only if he says Messi is from another planet, "added the coach of Al Wasl. (via SPORT)

Ardiles: "Messi is better than Maradona"

Former champion Argentine Osvaldo Ardiles admitted Thursday that the Barça player, Leo Messi, "better" than Maradona.

"I played with Maradona seven campaigns and magnificent era. I ended up thinking that there would not be another same player, but I have to admit that Messi is better, declared the now coach of Japanese Machida Zelvia.

Ardiles trusts fully in that the blaugrana will also achieve successes with the one combined Argentinean: "Messi has not achieved results with the national selection, but they will come, I am sure."

A national evolution "exists and the current players are every better time. Messi is for a lot the best, added. (via SPORT)

[Former player] Maxwell: "I talked to the doctor Abidal and gave me reassurances"

Maxwell, for a long time partner of Eric Abidal and now in the PSG, admits his relationship with the French player.

In a news conference with his current team, PSG, Maxwell explained that "we are friends with Eric. I called his doctor who gave me reassuring news." Some might think that since they both played for some time a starting spot at left full-back of Barça could have a bad reason. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Brazilian insists that "I support and I hope to visit soon so that we can go to Barcelona because it is a true friend." (via SPORT)p

Farinós: "Barcelona has lost away from home, why not again?"

Francisco Javier Farinós, Levante midfielder, said his team does not forfeit the match on Saturday against Barcelona and said that if the azulgrana side has already lost away from home this year, may do so.

"Barça know what it is and we will not discover. Has lost games away from home and why not do it again. Of course it's possible to beat Barcelona," he said.

"Do not throw the party at all, we think we'll win and if we do have many more options to play in Europe," he said.

Valencia midfielder acknowledged that winning at Barcelona "very difficult" and said that to have choices imposed on Pep Guardiola will make a "few bugs".

"It's hard to beat the Madrid and Barcelona, all I want to do is think of ourselves, doing things and having almost perfect failure. We will suffer because we played the week, but we can hurt the counter" he added.

Farinós would not comment on who is favored to win La Liga and also declined to say if the best player in the world is Leo Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.

"The war with each other (Madrid and Barcelona) does not depend on us. Both are show. Messi and Cristiano are the two best in the world, the two are very good," he said.

Juan Ignacio prepares duel with Barcelona without Koné, Sell or Farinós

Levante the staff of again this afternoon to work to make next Saturday's game against Barcelona and did so without Arouna Kone, Francisco Javier, or Javi Venta Farinós.

Sale is not exercised because he suffers a blow in the fifth left toe by a stamp in the game against Sporting Gijón on Wednesday.
Farinós, with a small overhead, made a recovery treatment and Koné, with physical complaints, has undergone physical therapy, according to sources with the club Valencia.

The staff of Levante morning exercise Friday at the Ciudad de Valencia stadium in camera and will be the team's final training session before the game against Barcelona. (via SPORT)

[Ex president] Joan Gaspart: "A Champions League final Barça-Madrid would infarction"

The ex president of Barça Joan Gaspart has ensured that a hypothetical final between the Catalan club and Real Madrid in the Champions League would be "stroke."

"Infarction. It would be a dangerous end to the health of many culés, and I suppose many Madridistas, besides it would be a historic final and would last many years in the memory of each other, especially the winners," he said the former president, who has warned that first have to beat Chelsea and Bayern.

Gaspart has performed in Barcelona Jordi Mercader journalist's book "A blanc to culer born" (A blank in the nation culé), which questions whether a Catalan can be Real Madrid, as in the case of the author. The ex president has explained that it is curious that you have chosen to present the book of Madrid, as it is the only person who has been declared non grata by the club blanco.

Also Gaspart has reviewed the current football and has indicated that there are still Liga and they will probably be decided in the clásico of Camp Nou. "It's a league that is not yet finished, I think Barça-Madrid match will be decisive, the winner that game proves to be the best," he argued Gaspart, who said that if the blancos win at the Camp Nou be fair worthy of the league.

On the controversy of the Cup final, finally at the Calderón because at the Santiago Bernabéu-Gaspart works will be carried out has indicated that it is not expected to have in memory the episode in which the Barça anthem rang five times consecutively in the feud blanco, when Barcelona beat Real Betis the Copa. "I hope this is not the reason, I think there are toilets that have to be fixed, there are some essential works, which is a shame because it is a stadium with many conditions," he said.

Referring to the renewal of Pep Guardiola, has no doubt Gaspart "continue", but stressed that the coach will wait to make it official at the best time for the club because it is "consistent" in his nature. (via SPORT)

Together against Chagas disease

The campaign ‘Beat the silence. Beat Chagas disease,’ which features Leo Messi, was unveiled today.

The FC Barcelona Foundation, the Catalan Agency for Cooperation and Development and the Leo Messi Foundation are working together in his joint project.

This Thursday the “Beat the silence. Beat Chagas disease” campaign was unveiled by the FC Barcelona Foundation, the Catalan Agency for Cooperation and Development, the Leo Messi Foundation, the BID (Interamerican Development Bank) and the Catalan’s Institute’s International Health Program (PROSICS); with the support of the Neglected Disease Department of the World Health Organization (WHO), FindeChagas, ISGlobal (Barcelona Institute for Global Health) and the Healthy World Foundation.

The presentation took place in the Sala Roma at the Camp Nou. FC Barcelona President Sandro Rosell, FC Barcelona Foundation’s first vice president Ramon Pont, director general of the Generalitat de Catalunya Cooperation and Development Agency Carles Llorens, coordinator of Tropical Medial Unit and International Health Drassanes of the Catalan Institute for Health Dr. Jordi Gómez and campaign spokesperson Miguel Baltasar García were present.

During Mr. Rosell’s presentation, the president praised Leo Messi’s exemplary behaviour. “I believe that Barça will never have a player like Leo Messi ever again. Messi’s greatness is both on and off the pitch,” he said. Mr. Rosell then went on to evaluate the Foundation’s initiative: “we believe in the Foundation and we’re very convinced by their mission.”

During the event, led by the journalist Rita Marzoa, attendees were able to see the debut of the campaign’s promotional video which features Migual Baltasar García and Messi.

The campaign’s goal is to raise awareness amongst the population of the danger of Chagas disease and the importance of getting tested, and in the event the disease is contracted, the importance of receiving treatment (both pharmaceutical and psychosocial). Chagas disease is normally an asymptomatic condition that, without treatment, typically leads to sudden death. In fact, according to the latest studies only 10% of Chagas disease cases have been diagnosed. It’s a silent disease that has gained a fearsome reputation.

The campaign released a video that explains the story of Migual Baltasar García, an 85-year-old retired rail worker that was infected with Chagas who currently lives in Barcelona. Migual was born in Charapa, in the province of Chaco, Argentina, a part of the country that is endemic to the disease. He’s a living example of how someone can survive Chagas. He was tested at a young age and he started treatment soon there after. Thanks to his fighting spirit, Miguel has managed to beat the disease, have a good quality of life and realize one of his biggest dreams: to meet his countryman and idol, Leo Messi. (via FCBarcelona.com)

Welcome back, Ibrahim!

The Dutch player, after almost seven months on the injury list, has recovered from his ACL injury.

Ibrahim Afellay received the news that he’s been eagerly awaiting for most of the season on Wednesday afternoon. The Club’s Medical Services gave the Dutchman medical clearance to play after being injured for 6 months and 21 days. The player is back in Josep Guardiola’s team ahead of the most decisive stretch of the season. (via FCBarcelona.com)

Iniesta closing in on 400

Barça’s Spanish midfielder is just one game short of the 400 mark and he could make that with the game against Levante or Chelsea

Already amongst the top ten players with most appearances for the Club

Andrés Iniesta will pretty soon play his 400th official game for Barça - most probably away to Levante on Saturday or at Stamford Bridge next week – as he now stands at 399 appearances for the Club. What a way to mark 400 it would be if he did it the Chelsea ground – where he scored perhaps the most famous of his 40 goals for the team.

His 399 appearances have come in the following competitions: 266 in La Lliga, 77 in the Champions League, 40 in the Spanish Cup, 3 in the UEFA Cup, 2 in the European Super Cup, 6 in the Spanish Super Cup and 5 in the World Club Cup.

The 27 year-old has just broken into the Club’s all time top ten and should become the eighth player with most appearances for the Club this season, as he is just one short of José Ramón Alexanco and three behind Joan Segarra, who lie ninth and eight respectively.

Iniesta is one of four current first team players in the Club’s top ten, alongside Xavi (who has played more than anybody with 621), Puyol (second on 552) and Valdés (fourth on 452).

Andrés Iniesta came to La Masia in 1996 when he was still only 12 years old. He made a quick rise through the various youth teams and made his first team debut under Louis van Gaal in October 2002. He came to greater prominence under Frank Rijkaard, where he showed his versatility in helping the team to two Leagues and a Champions League title.

With the arrival of Pep Guardiola Iniesta confirmed his place as a leader of the team and a first choice in one of the Club’s best ever sides. In the 2010 World Cup Final he also showed his worth to Spain, scoring the goal that gave them the trophy in the final against Holland. He’s recognised for his talent, class, reading of the game and ability to beat a man as one of the very best players in the world and it is only some unfortunate injuries that have ever dented his consistently high performances. (via FCBarcelona.com)