FC Barcelona News
Our congratulations to Lionel Messi, who has become the first ever player to win the FIFA Ballon d’Or four times after being crowned the 2012 winner yesterday. What adds to the magnitude of the achievement is that those awards were won on the trot.
Messi was up against Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and team mate Andrés Iniesta, who came second and third. Last year Messi created a new record for goals scored in a calendar year, beating Gerd Müller’s long standing record, which perhaps made the choice automatic for many voters.
Alex Song yesterday completed his move from Arsenal after passing his medical and signing on the dotted line. The player, who originally hails from Cameroon, signed a five year contract with the club, which payed €19 M to Arsenal. Song was presented at the Nou Camp on Monday night at the Gamper Trophy, which this year was played against Sampdoria.
It is reported that Song has been staying with former team mate Cesc Fabregas, who will help settle him into his new team, where he will replace Keita in midfield. His first test may come on Thursday when Barça plays Real Madrid in the Spanish Supercup.
FC Barcelona defender Marc Muniesa will be out of action for six months after it was confirmed that he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in the match against Hamburg on Tuesday. Muniesta, who last season played for the main squad three times, was stretchered off the pitch in agony and the injury was immediately suspected. His treatment will require surgery followed by months of rehab that will continue into 2013.
Following a session in the heat of Barcelona on Wednesday, Tito Vilanova had 12 senior squad players and eight B-team players back on Thursday morning. Joining the main group were David Villa, Dani Alves and Andreu Fontas under medical supervision, while Thiago and Cuenca are reported to be continuining with their recuperation programmes in order to get fit for the start of the season. Following today’s morning session, tomorrow the players have two sessions scheduled at 09:00 and 19:00.
The FC Barcelona website has confirmed that Seydou Keita will be leaving the club after four years there, in which time Barça has won a total of 14 titles. It is not currently known what club the 32 year old player will be to, or even if he will continue his career, although there is some speculation that he is headed for China.
Here at Simply Barcelona Tickets we’d like to extend our congratulations to Lionel Messi and Pep Guardiola for being recognised by FIFA as the best player and best coach in the world right now.
Last night at an award ceremony is Zurich Leo Messi was awarded the FIFA Ballon d’Or, in its second year of existence after the FIFA Player of the Year and France Football Magazine’s Ballon d’Or were merged. In its previous incarnation only Michel Platini had been awarded the Ballon d’Or three years straight, and he is joining Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo who were both three time winners of the old FIFA award.
Messi received 48% of votes, with Cristiano Ronaldo on 22% and teammate Xavi on 9%. Upon receiving the award the Argentine player thanked “my teammates, trainers, physios, the coach and everyone at Barcelona” before adding “I want to share this honour with my teammate, Xavi… He deserves it, too. I want to share it with you, because you deserve it as much as me. It’s a pleasure to be here alongside him and to play with him.”
In addition to Messi, Barça coach Pep Guardiola won the Coach of the Year award ahead of Sir Alex Ferguson and Madrid’s motormouth Jose Mourinho. Ferguson, who received FIFA’s Presidential Award for his success over three decades as manager said “Messi could play in any generation… The Barcelona team right now, with Lionel in their side, are an extraordinary side.”
FC Barcelona kicked-off preseason with a goalless draw against Croatian team Hadjuk Split on Saturday night. Guardiola called on a number of B stars, who performed ably alongside established first-teamers such as Andrés Iniesta, David Villa and Sergio Busquets. The game represented a useful workout for the players, as they take their first steps towards regaining peak-fitness.
Barcelona assumed control early on, retaining possession with relative ease against a Hajduk side that was happy to withdraw to the edge of its area. Split’s game-plan was to try to catch Barcelona on the break down the wings, but they had little joy early on against a young, energetic side that was quick to close down space to win back the ball. It was a pattern that would characterise the match.
David Villa went closest in the opening stages, lashing a swirling shot from outside the area, which beat Hajduk’s keeper but slammed against the post. This chance prompted the home team to embark on a couple of offensive forays; winger Marin Tomasov cut in from the right flank on the counter and found himself one-on-one with Valdés, but Barça’s keeper dealt easily with a tame near-post shot.
A few minutes later David Villa could only turn a near-post Dos Santos corner into the side-netting, before Afellay ducked inside from the left, beating a number of defenders but shooting straight at the keeper. Young midfielder Thiago was looking increasingly lively – his most remarkable contribution was to jink past two Split defenders before driving a shot straight at the ‘keeper
The second half saw a changed Barça XI, with Busquets, Iniesta and Abidal joined by Barcelona B players such as Jonathan Soriano and Isaac Cuenca.
Jeffrén spurned a couple of openings, while Iniesta and Soriano linked up for the best move of the match, but once again the Split keeper was equal to the task. Isaac Cuenca also went close late on, but the match finished 0-0.
As a fitness exercise it was a successful encounter for Guardiola, who was able to field 22 players and avoid any injuries. The coming weeks should see the return of more established stars, while new signings will also be added to the fold.
Among the new faces is Chilean forward Alexis Sánchez. The 22-year-old joined from Udinese for an initial €26m and will bolster Guardiola’s options both on the wings and through the middle. Alexis found his best form last season playing as a shadow striker, in a role not too far removed from Messi’s at Barcelona.
There have been departures in recent days as well. Bojan Krkic has joined Serie A side Roma for €12m, although Barcelona will have an option to buy back the player for a similar fee in two years time. Another deal with a buyback clause should see the promising central midfielder, Oriol Romeu join Chelsea in the coming days.
Barça’s big signing of the season arrived in the Nou Camp yesterday to be greeted by more than 60,000 people, more than those who had turned out for Ronaldinho and Henry’s presentations combined. Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrived at the club yesterday morning, where he underwent medical examinations before signing his contract.
Some fans have been waiting outside the stadium all day and in the end the gates were opened early to avoid anyone being injured in the crush outside.
Ibrahimovic wore the number 9 shirt, where to the Barça anthem blaring over the tannoy he showed off his ball skills to the crowd, eventually taking the mike and finishing in Catalan, always guaranteed to set off a great response – “Gràcies a tots. Visca el Barça!” – Thanks to all. Long live Barça.
Afterwards he compared the experience with the birth of his children.
If you want to see Ibrahimovic playing for Barça at the Nou Camp, keep an eye on our homepage for availability of FC Barcelona tickets.
FC Barcelona has just said goodbye to its third highest goal scorer ever, with the departure of Samuel Eto’o for Inter Milan.
The player moved to Barcelona in 2004 and made an immediate impact by scoring 25 goals in his first season. Every time he sets foot on a pitch he is a potential goal-scoring machine and well respected for his commitment to the team as a whole – but for some reason, not by Pep Guardiola, who didn’t seem to be able to handle the player.
His remarkable career with Barcelona saw him score 108 goals in 145 league matches; and in Champions League he played 40 matches and scored 18 time.
While many supporters will miss him play, it was made abundantly clear to him that he was not welcome in the squad; one of Guardiola’s first announcements when taking over as Barça coach was that he would sell Eto’o; and this year he has been clear that he wants him out.
With Zlatan Ibrahimovic arriving in Barcelona for a medical this week, let’s hope he can reproduce even a fraction of the goalscoring capability Barça has decided it just doesn’t need.
According to Italian news reports today quoting his agent, Samuel Eto’o has today reached a deal with Inter Milan.
While no official announcement has been made, Josep Maria Mesalles went on to say that Eto’o's exit agreement with Barcelona was still not finalised, but he would arrive in Milan early next week. With him goes Alexander Hleb, on loan for a year, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic will join Barça from the Italian club.
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