Well now! A lot has gone down with the Barca boys during our little hiatus, from Gerard Pique
coming out number two in Don Balon's sexiest Spanish footballers - hell yeah! - to Argentine fans
deciding that Leo Messi should go Maradona with his hair - the thought of which is making us
We once read that Pep takes to calling his players at their homes at random hours of the night, to
make sure they're tucked away in bed getting their much needed rest and not off partying somewhere;
and he's also prone to forbidding them from attending endorsements and other events when there's a
tight match schedule.
We all saw the players celebrating on the Mestalla after the match, but just like when they'd
qualified, the party continued after that in the dressing room and beyond...
Gerard Pique, Xavi Hernandez, and Victor Valdes led the celebrations, and things were looking
pretty wild as various people who came to greet and congratulate the players, including former
Generalitat president Pasqual Maragall, Barca president Joan Laporta and his vice Rafael Yuste, as
well as the president of the Catalan Parliament, Ernest Benach, were met by the shouts of
Last night we read that Rubin Kazan's manager had instructed the Russian club's groundskeeper not
to trim the grass in the stadium, so that it would slow Barca down. Now, it is quite
flattering that other teams feel the need to go to such measures when facing us, but really, it's
starting to get a bit old.
The latest buzz circulating around our Blaugrana world is that four of Barcelona's vice-presidents
were being spied upon by the club, or so they claim - they being Joan Boix, Joan
Franquesa, Rafael Yuste and Jaume Ferrer.
The club's side of it - the club here being general director Joan Oliver - is that they were not
spying on them, but providing them with protection.
Poor Gerard - his feet must be aching from all the tough work Pep is putting the boys through. All
in preparation for tomorrow's Supercopa match... okay, we're not going to pretend there's a point
to this post, because there isn't any, other than to drool over the boys as they train. Zlatan is
really freaking us out though.
With most of the players off with their national teams, Barca's sqaud is looking scanty with only
Valdes, Pinto, Jorquera, Henrique, Maxwell, Victor Sanchez, Iniesta, Pedro, Bojan, Henry and
Ibrahimovic left; along with B-teamers Fontas, Muniesa, Jonathan and Jeffren.
Training goes on however, and Ibrahimovic worked right along with the rest of the players for the
first time, after recieving his greenlight from the medics.
Barca's final stop in the United States is San Fransisco, having arrived there earlier today. The
team went straight to the Intercontinental Hotel where they'll be staying for two days (apparently,
Spiderman star Tobey McGuire is also currently staying there), with a double training
session planned for today - pictures from their arrival here.
The team held their last training session in Seattle yesterday, with the focus mainly on recovery
following the match. Marquez and Iniesta alone couldn't train, because of their injuries, while
Puyol and Jeffren trained apart from the rest.
Ibrahimovic continues to train with the group despite his injury, but apparently he's exerting
himself a bit too much - his decision to do a bicycle kick ended badly when he came down on his
injured hand, causing Pep to grab his head in his hands and yell out, "No Ibra, don't do that!
The team departed yesterday from Los Angeles, destination Seattle, their bus escorted to the
airport by several police cars and motorcycles. They arrived in the afternoon and went straight to
the Four Seasons Hotel where they'll be staying, before heading out again for a light training
session just to loosen up tired muscles.
The first training of the season with Barca's full squad took place today, with all the first team
players attending except Hleb, who is awaiting his loan out to Inter Milan. Most of the youth
players have rejoined the B-team, except for Muniesa, Jonathan, Jeffren and Fontas, who continue
training with the senior squad (remember that Sanchez and Pedro have aleady recently been confirmed
as part of the first team).
While most of the Blaugrana world was caught up in the excitement of Ibrahimovic's presentation, an
odd training session took place yesterday with Barca coach Pep Guardiola and ten players in
attendance: Pique, Puyol, Iniesta, Xavi, Busquets and Dani Alves returning from thier international
leave; as well as Marquez, Maxwell, Henry and Hleb who are recovering from injury.
The Barca boys who were on international leave have finally rejoined the team! Dani, Iniesta,
Puyol, Xavi, and Busquets all came back to Barcelona and reported this morning along with Pique,
who arrived a few days ago, to take their physicals (photos here).
These six held a special training session earlier this evening, while Pep had given the rest of the
players the day off.
They're back! The team held their first training yesterday on the Ciutat Esportive, and we get a
first look at this season's new outfits. The neon yellow training shirts are a tad too bright and
flashy we think, but they're reminding us of the away kit of 2005-2006 in which Barca won the
Champions League, so we're not complaining!
Following the respective cups and qualifiers they participatred in with their national teams, Barca
coach Pep Guardiola is letting each of Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, Pique, Puyol, Dani Alves and Messi
prolong their vacation. These seven gents won't join the team right from the start of the preseason
Following the U2 concerts on Barca's home stadium, Camp Nou, the pitch is now being replaced with
new turf, imported from Bordeaux; a favorable type of grass the players have become used to over
the last four years. The renovation will begin on July 7, and should be completed by the 25th. Read
more about the process here.
After completing the most incredible season in history, the important thing now is to prepare for
Barca's preseason will kickoff with a friendly against English club Tottenham Hotspurs on July 24,
however the team will be assembled before that to begin training, and all players will undergo
physicals on July 20.
That's exactly what we're going to have for the match in Rome. There has not been a match as
important as this one all season, it's the friggin Champions League final here, and we must play it
without both our fullbacks.
.Why? Becuase the UEFA have again refused to admit the protests against the respective cards shown
to Dani Alves and Abidal, saying that the protests were submitted not on time and with no real
grounds for contesting the referee's decisions.
So, we're confused. The Catalan authorities at Sport claim that Barca wants to appeal the
cards given to Dani and Abidal in the second leg against Chelsea, which would keep them from the
final, just as we expected they would. And yet, the UEFA has given an official statement declaring
that they have recieved no appeal from Barca concerning Abidal.
In light of the hectic match schedule ahead, and the importance of the coming matches, Pep has
forbidden the players from attending any promotional events or advertising for the forty eight
hours preceding every match. He wants them to simply concentrate and rest up for these decisive
games. As a result, Bojan, Messi, and Pique were all kept today from events where they were
supposed to be promoting their sponsors; they're all abiding by their coaches orders nobody's
Just as we expected they would, the club is going to appeal to the UEFA against Pep's sending off
from the stadium and also the yellow card given to Messi in the recent UCL quarter final against
Bayern Munich. However, the it may be a few days before the decision is announced, because of the
Easter holidaysâ€”the UEFA will probably not rule until next Tuesday, the day of the return leg in
Catalan paper Sport has recently featured secrets from inside Barca's dressing room, where
Pep continually strives to instill team unity between the players and blend all their personalities
and egos into harmony.
From the more withdrawn players like Abidal and Keita to pranksters Pique and Dani Alves, the
players get along great and there's always a friendly atmosphere in the locker room.
The dudes who run La Liga, otherwise known as the LFP (La Liga de Futbol Profesional) just dished
out all the player awards for last season, and naturally, it was all about Barca, with seven spots
out of nine going to our boys: .Best Player: Lionel Messi
Best Coach: Pep Guardiola
Best Defender: Daniel Alves
Best Midfielder: Xavi
Best Attacking Midfielder: Andres Iniesta
Best Striker: Lionel Messi
Best Breakthrough Player: Sergi Busquets
Meanwhile Iker Casillas of Real Madrid came off with Best Keeper, and the Fair Play award went to
Deportivo's Juan Carlos Valeron.
Yeesh, we're away for a bit and what's happened? Barca has gone through so much in these four days,
from winning awards and cups to new signings, and we're frantically catching up with it all...
first off, we tackle the UEFA realated:
- You have to be proud of Messi and Xavi, who were named best striker and best midfielder,
respectively, of the 2009 UCL.
Barca training in Los Angeles, a.ka. once the squad is complete the romance is unleashed...
Pique leaping onto Puyol and smothering him - our Spanish centerbacks have missed each other!
Geri's face is just begging for some love. Has anyone seen Bojan? He must have been watching from
his ingenious hiding place behind Yaya, ready to leap out and snatch his boyfriend back from
Offseason's over and preseason's begun! We're so happy that the boys are final back and in action.
We've missed them!
The B-team lads as well as a couple of first-teamers all reported to take their physicals
yesterday, while the rest of the team are due back today - that is, except for those who have
permission to stay later and won't return till the 27th: Dani, Pique, Puyol, Busquets, Xavi, and
We're so overjoyed, we're coming close to tears here. Barca are La Liga Champions for the first
time since 2006! It's bigger than winning the Copa Del Rey, it's such a huge acheivment and we're
exceedingly proud of the team, every part of it, from players to staff to even the ball boys...
Not just because the Liga is won, but also because the team won it so greatly, with three matches
and nine points to spare.
The team took up training again yesterday after returning from their Copa Del Rey victory, and
though some of the boys arrived late, the session was completed with all the uninjured players
present, save for Gerard Pique who left to undergo special recuperation after just a few
Nothing has been reported about his having any form of injury, so it's probably just a minor glitch
from the last match.
Barca's plane arrived in Los Angeles earlier today! "Australia" was the in-flight movie the lads
enjoyed during their twelve hour flight, also biding their time by playing cards or catching up on
The team had departed yesterday from El Prat Airport in Barceona, and the peoplke there just
wouldn't leave Ibra alone.