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Archive for the ‘Barcelona’ Category

He pretends the shaving cream is his critics

On Soccernet.com yesterday, Didac Peyret had an article about the rough year Thierry Henry has endured at Barcelona. The story is speculative, draws specious conclusions, and contradicts itself (paragraph 3 questions Henry’s spirit while paragraph 7 is a quote from the Frenchman in which he asserts his willingness to ride the bench if it is in the team’s best interests.)

However, Peyret drops this unsourced bombshell at the end of the story:

Yet, long-term, Henry’s future certainly appears to be away from Barcelona and Major League Soccer now appears the most likely next step

Thierry Henry is having a tough year at Barcelona. Hampered by injuries, the French star has only two league goals to his name and he is probably considering calling Raul to ask where he can buy the most comfortable bench cushions. Even if he’s not in top form, Henry is less than a year removed from a 26 goal season in which he was a key cog during Barcelona’s unbelievable campaign (League, league cup, Champions League winners). The major reason Henry is riding the pine this year is five letters long and has 15 goals this year: Pedro. The Barcelona academy graduate has been spectacular, and his form has been the most prevalent factor in relegating Henry to a sitting position. But be not fooled: Even at his current pace (15 goals in 32 appearances), Pedro would not equal Henry’s 2008-09 output (26 goals in 42 games). As a French soccer journalist version of Mark Twain would have said, the news of Henry’s death has been greatly exaggerated. Despite what Peyret would have you believe, great players like Henry routinely resurrect their careers on top-level teams (see: Ruud van Nistelrooy, Ronaldinho, Nicolas Anelka, Robinho, Wesley Sneijder, Yoann Gourcuff, and Roman Pavlyuchenko (in 2011)).

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Barcelona Baby

It's what all of the cool babies will be wearing this spring.

Barcelona fans had much to celebrate the first week of May in 2009. First, on May 2nd, they kicked the bejesus out of Real Madrid 6-2, effectively ending any questions as to who would be La Liga champs. Then, on May 6th, Andres Iniesta scored a screamer of a goal in the last seconds of stoppage time against Chelsea, thus advancing to the Champions League final where they then thoroughly dismantled Manchester United.

Celebrations for many no doubt went on long into the night. For most, the after effect was probably no more than a hoarse throat and lingering hangover. For some, it seems, the celebration of these momentous events will be more lasting.

According to the results of a survey by Barcelona radio station ComRadio of local hospitals and clinics, requests for beds at maternity hospitals have gone through the roof. Births this week, and those expected for next week, are 45% above average.

The El Mundo newspaper quoted Mercedes Rodriguez of the city’s Quiron Clinic as saying, “When we notice some sort of surge we look for the reason and it’s evident that the cause of the increase this week is the euphoria of Barca fans thanks to the huge win (against Real) and Iniesta’s goal.”

According to the paper, in Barcelona the baby boom is popularly referred as “the Iniesta generation.”

No word yet on whether there has been a spike in naming babies “Andres” or “Andrea.”

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Pedro saves Barcelona

Soccer and snow – not so good together. So I’m stuck indoors today, watching a brilliant display by Barcelona as it comes from behind to defeat Estudiantes de la Plata in the FIFA Club World Cup.

It was one thing to see Pedro score the equalizer in the 89th minute on a header that just barely floated over the head of goalkeeper Damian Albil, who had some great saves in the game but couldn’t stop that one.

But then Lionel Messi sneaks into the box to score the game-winner with his chest? Are you kidding me? Just a brilliant goal to cap a historic 2009 for his squad.

The shame is you wonder how many people actually followed the match in what’s often an overlooked tourney. (Even I briefly forgot about the one match I knew I wanted to see today, but that’s because I was I gleefully watching Fulham pummel Manchester United.)

As good as the UEFA Champions League is, it’s just that – a club title for Europe.

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I’m telling you, the trophy is this big!

Barcelona winger/striker/wunderkind/noted mullet Lionel Messi won the Ballon d’Or on Tuesday. Messi is the best of the Argentinian young guns who will be stumbling into South Africa under the cocaine-residue-fueled guidance of national hero/mess Diego Maradona. Behind Messi’s emergence as the sport’s best player*, Barcelona captured the league title, the league cup and the Champions League title. Messi led the team in overall scoring (38) and in Champions League goals (9).
Messi received only seven points less than the highest possible score a player can receive from the Ballon d’Or jurors (European footy journalists), an outstanding total from any perspective. What makes this achievement even more stunning is that four of the top five vote-getters were Barcelona players.
Remember how everybody said Al Gore would have won in 2000 if Ralph Nader hadn’t split the vote? Messi had four teammates trying to split his vote and he zipped by them like they were wearing Manchester jerseys in a final.

*Best offensive player. As with all Best of… and Most Valuable… awards, the offensive-minded players get the most props. As the BBC article linked above correctly notes, Messi was given a lot more freedom when Barcelona purchased Dani Alves in 2008. He runs the wing and allows Messi to hold his nose to defensive responsibilities without looking like a poor teammate (cough-cough Cristiano). Who was the best defensive-minded player last season? Any nominations?

Posted via web from The Philly Soccer Page

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