FC Barcelona News
One competition that flies completely under the radar is the Copa de Catalunya, which on Wednesday was won by FC barcelona against Espanyol.
The cup has none of the prestige of other competitions with Barça fielding a squad mainly comprised of B-team players and a few years ago the final was cancelled when it became apparent that Barcelona did not intend to send the main squad to play.
The main question is why the competition continues to exist. While it might be prestigious enough for a second division team to win the title, FC Barcelona just can’t be bothered. It must be more to do with being overcommitted, with the league, Champions League and Copa del Rey. Many players also have commitments to national squads.
While the match ended goalless after full time, the match went to penalties. Barcelona walked away the winner after beating Espanyol 3-2 from the penalty spot.
Luis Enrique hosted his first press conference since being named as Barça coach on Monday, where he answered a number of questions about the style of the New Barça.
He talked about playing the kind of attacking football fans have come to expect of Barça but also emphasised defence. This is one area the team has been weak on for a number of years and it is surprising that the weakness not addressed previously. Now that Puyol has left the club though it is essential.
You can watch five minute highlights of the press conference below (overdubbed in English), in which he explains how he sees the club developing under his leadership:
You might also want to read Top 10 statements from Luis Enrique’s first press conference on the FC Barcelona website.
Barça has unveiled its kit for the 2014-2015 season with a return to the darker red and blue of the original shirts bold stripes.
According to the club, the crest has been updated too and for the first time the shirt features the yellow and red stripes of the Catalan flag at the front of the collar.
The new kit is designed by Nike and features a number of high tech features designed to offer players optimal comfort while playing.
Gerard Pique yesterday extended his contract with FC Barcelona by four years to 2019. Pique’s contract was due to run our at the end of next season but has come to an agreement with the club and will sign the new contract shortly.
At the same time Cesc Fabregas is reportedly being made available, with the club looking to see how how much they might be offered. His current valuation is around €40 million. Other players the club is open to offers for include Mascherano, Alex Song, Pedro, Alexis, Tello and Dani Alves.
FC Barcelona has inked an improved deal with Lionel Messi that will secure he remains with the club for the foreseeable future. A provisional deal was agreed at the end of last week and finally signed yesterday.
Although details have not been released it is reported the contract will earn Messi the equivalent of £16.3 million a year, making him the best paid player in the world.
In exchange for the higher payout from Barça Messi has given up a proportion of his image rights, which will be paid to FC Barcelona instead.
As well as announcing the signing a new coach yesterday, the board of FC Barcelona also announced that Marc-André Ter Stegen had been signed to replace Victor Valdes in goal, with José Manuel Pinto let go after more than six years as the reserve keeper.
Ter Stegen is just 22 years old and so has the potential for a long stint ahead of him at the Catalan club. He previously played at Borussia Mönchengladbach from 2011, making 107 appearances for the club after previously playing for the club’s reserve team.
Following the well signalled departure of Gerardo Martino following Barcelona’s defeat by Atletico Madrid on Saturday, the club has been quick to sign up a new coach.
Former Barça player Luis Enrique was widely tipped for the position after talks with club officials and has previously headed Barça B. The 44 year old former player has signed a two year contract as he steps into the shoes of Martino. With the departure of Carles Puyol and Victor Valdes the club is in a period of transition although the club has also signed Marc-André ter Stegen from Borussia Mönchengladbach to replace Valdes.
Enrique played for Real Madrid between 1991 and 1996, when he stunned many by switching to arch-rival Barça on free transfer. He was with the Catalan club for eight years, becoming captain.
The final match of the season saw Atletico Madrid take the title after drawing with FC Barcelona. The top of the table ended with Atletico on 90 points followed by FC Barcelona and Real Madrid on 87, while Athletic Bilbao took the fourth spot with 70 points.
Gerardo Martino confirmed he was leaving FC Barcelona in the press conference after the match following a season in which the club has not taken any of the major trophies. Next season will see a very different looking Barça, with a new manager on board and after having said farewell to both Carles Puyol and Victor Valdes, longtime stalwarts of the club. They will be missed. Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
It all came down to the last match of the season. Few titles are decided in such a dramatic fashion, with the only two teams to remain in contention for the league title squaring up for the last match of the season and while a win for Barça would earn them the title, any other result was failure.
Atletico Madrid has been Barcelona’s main competition throughout the season and while Real Madrid showed some ambition for the title late on, their chances were dashed with a number of poor results. In fact both Barça and Atletico too suffered from the same thing and after a start to the season that was exceptional, both suffered points drops in the second half that really should not have occurred.
The visitors were unlucky to lose to men to injury early on, when first Diego Costa and then Arda Turan limped off the pitch within a few minutes of each other but despite high possession for the Catalans, the visitors held their nerve and made sure Barça had few options.
The opener was scored by Alexis 32 minutes in, with a goal set up by Cesc and Messi to be volleyed by Alexis into the Atletico net. The goal hardly seemed like it had happened and it took a moment for many Barça fans to believe their eyes.
Back on after the break with Barcelona ahead Atletico still looking sharp and quick to counter-attack. The equaliser came five minutes into the second half from a corner, when Godin headed the ball beyond the reach of Pinto, who looked to react a fraction too late. It looked like Barcelona had taken the lead again when Messi put the goal into the back of the net and for a moment the hopes of the crowd soared before it was clear that the goal had been ruled offside.
The final minutes saw both teams looking tense and as the minutes ticked down in extra time it could only take a miracle for Barcelona to win the match. When the final whistle blew it was over for another year for FC Barcelona as Atletico Madrid took the title.
1-0 Alexis (min 32)
1-1 Godín (min 50)
Both goalkeeper Victor Valdes and captain Carles Puyol are saying their goodbyes to FC Barcelona at the end of this season, Valdes to move on and enjoy his matches more at a club with less pressure and Puyol due to injuries taking their toll.
Victor Valdes, currently recuperating following the operation to repair a knee injury, has published an open letter to fans, which you can read on the FCB website here. And next Thursday there will be an institutional event for Carles Puyol, to honour his contributions to the club.
It is a little surprising that more isn’t being done to honour Valdes, who was a superb goalkeeper during his time in the first team and showed leadership and determination from the goal mouth.
We wish both players the best of luck wherever and whatever they find themselves doing next.