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Barça-City: What a difference a year makes

December 17, 2014 – 17:00 | Comments Off

Neymar and Messi have joined up with Suarez this season / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
Both FC Barcelona and Manchester City have made changes since the two met at the same stage of last season’s Champions League.

Barça brought in nine new faces over the summer, plus new coach Luis Enrique, whilst City signed five players.

With Barça and Manchester City again drawn together in the last 16 of the Champions League, we take a look at the changes at the two Clubs since their last meeting.

Changes across the board

Barça: Thirteen of the players who were in the squad to face Manchester City last season should be in the reckoning to play against them again in February. Here are the changes at the Club since last year’s game:

  • Coach: Luis Enrique took over the team in the summer and oversaw the signing of a total of nine new players across all areas of the team.
  • Goalkeeper: Ter Stegen,Claudio Bravo and Jordi Masip all came in over the summer, with Ter Stegan so far taking on European duties and Bravo the keeper in the league.
  • Defence:  Jérémy Mathieu, Douglas and Vermaelen have all joined, but Luis Enrique has also kept the same basic structure at the back.
  • Midfield: Sergio Busquets, Xavi and Andrés Iniesta continue to boss the Barça midfield, with summer signings Ivan Rakitic and Rafinha also getting plenty of game time.
  • Forwards: Luis Suárez was the summer’s headline signing and he has formed a fearsome front three with Messi and Neymar – the three have bagged 13 goals in the six group games they have so far played together upfront – more than the totals for six of the teams in the knockout round.

Fewer changes at City

Manchester City: After taking the Premier League title last year, Manuel Pellegrini chose to consolidate his side as he entered his second season in charge, bringing in five new faces:

  • Goalkeeper: England number 1 Joe Hart continues as the main keeper, with ex-Malaga keeper Willy Caballero joining up with his ex-boss as back up.
  • Defence: Sagna and Mangala have been brought in to strengthen City at the back, where Kompany and Demichelis – the two centre backs who played against Barça last season – continue.
  • Midfield: With Touré Yayá, Fernandinho, Kolarov, Navas, David Silva, Milner and Nasri  still forming the backbone of the midfield, Pellegrini has also added Frank Lampard and Fernando, who both played a big part in the team’s final two group stage wins.
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Barça v Man City: What a difference a year makes

December 17, 2014 – 17:00 | Comments Off

 Barça v Man City: What a difference a year makes
Both FC Barcelona and Manchester City have made changes since the two met at the same stage of last season’s Champions League

Barça brought in nine new faces over the summer, plus new coach Luis Enrique, whilst City signed five players

With Barça and Manchester City again drawn together in the last 16 of the Champions League, we take a look at the changes at the two Clubs since their last meeting.

Changes across the board

Barça: Thirteen of the players who were in the squad to face Manchester City last season should be in the reckoning to play against them again in February. Here are the changes at the Club since last year’s game:

  • Coach: Luis Enrique took over the team in the summer and oversaw the signing of a total of nine new players across all areas of the team.
  • Goalkeeper: Ter Stegen,Claudio Bravo and Jordi Masip all came in over the summer, with Ter Stegan so far taking on European duties and Bravo the keeper in the league.
  • Defence:  Jérémy Mathieu, Douglas and Vermaelen have all joined, but Luis Enrique has also kept the same basic structure at the back.
  • Midfield: Sergio Busquets, Xavi and Andrés Iniesta continue to boss the Barça midfield, with summer signings Ivan Rakitic and Rafinha also getting plenty of game time.
  • Forwards: Luis Suárez was the summer’s headline signing and he has formed a fearsome front three with Messi and Neymar – the three have bagged 13 goals in the six group games they have so far played together upfront – more than the totals for six of the teams in the knockout round.

Fewer changes at City

Manchester City: After taking the Premier League title last year, Manuel Pellegrini chose to consolidate his side as he entered his second season in charge, bringing in five new faces:

  • Goalkeeper: England number 1 Joe Hart continues as the main keeper, with ex-Malaga keeper Willy Caballero joining up with his ex-boss as back up.
  • Defence: Sagna and Mangala have been brought in to strengthen City at the back, where Kompany and Demichelis – the two centre backs who played against Barça last season – continue.
  • Midfield: With Touré Yayá, Fernandinho, Kolarov, Navas, David Silva, Milner and Nasri  still forming the backbone of the midfield, Pellegrini has also added Frank Lampard and Fernando, who both played a big part in the team’s final two group stage wins.

Barça-City: What a difference a year makes

December 17, 2014 – 17:00 | Comments Off

Neymar and Messi have joined up with Suarez this season / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
Both FC Barcelona and Manchester City have made changes since the two met at the same stage of last season’s Champions League.

Barça brought in nine new faces over the summer, plus new coach Luis Enrique, whilst City signed five players.

With Barça and Manchester City again drawn together in the last 16 of the Champions League, we take a look at the changes at the two Clubs since their last meeting.

Changes across the board

Barça: Thirteen of the players who were in the squad to face Manchester City last season should be in the reckoning to play against them again in February. Here are the changes at the Club since last year’s game:

  • Coach: Luis Enrique took over the team in the summer and oversaw the signing of a total of nine new players across all areas of the team.
  • Goalkeeper: Ter Stegen,Claudio Bravo and Jordi Masip all came in over the summer, with Ter Stegan so far taking on European duties and Bravo the keeper in the league.
  • Defence:  Jérémy Mathieu, Douglas and Vermaelen have all joined, but Luis Enrique has also kept the same basic structure at the back.
  • Midfield: Sergio Busquets, Xavi and Andrés Iniesta continue to boss the Barça midfield, with summer signings Ivan Rakitic and Rafinha also getting plenty of game time.
  • Forwards: Luis Suárez was the summer’s headline signing and he has formed a fearsome front three with Messi and Neymar – the three have bagged 13 goals in the six group games they have so far played together upfront – more than the totals for six of the teams in the knockout round.

Fewer changes at City

Manchester City: After taking the Premier League title last year, Manuel Pellegrini chose to consolidate his side as he entered his second season in charge, bringing in five new faces:

  • Goalkeeper: England number 1 Joe Hart continues as the main keeper, with ex-Malaga keeper Willy Caballero joining up with his ex-boss as back up.
  • Defence: Sagna and Mangala have been brought in to strengthen City at the back, where Kompany and Demichelis – the two centre backs who played against Barça last season – continue.
  • Midfield: With Touré Yayá, Fernandinho, Kolarov, Navas, David Silva, Milner and Nasri  still forming the backbone of the midfield, Pellegrini has also added Frank Lampard and Fernando, who both played a big part in the team’s final two group stage wins.

Xavi has his eye on every trophy

December 17, 2014 – 15:45 | Comments Off

Xavi Hernández was speaking at a commercial event on Wednesday / PHOTO: FCB ARCHIVE
At a commercial event involving the FC Barcelona first team, the captain said he is as excited about his football as he was on his very first day at the club

Ivan Rakitic added that “we want to end the year well by bringing a bit of joy to the Camp Nou supporters”

Ten Barça players attended a commercial event on Wednesday, and some of them used the occasion to discuss the team’s current situation and the games to come. Xavi, Rakitic, Jordi Alba, Ter Stegen, Douglas and Rafinha of the first team and Adama, Halilovic, Munir and Sandro of Barça B were speaking the day after the comfortable victory in the Spanish Cup.

Xavi Hernández described his optimism for the rest of the season. “We’ll be going for every trophy” he insisted. “We know it’ll be difficult but we’ll be going for them all. We are on good track, the team is working hard and things will go well.” On a more personal note, the first team captain admitted that “I’m nearing the end of my career … But I’m as excited as I was on the very first day. Passion for football and playing for the best team in the world is what keeps me motivated.”[[CITA_1]]

He also discussed how impressed he is with the way the younger players are progressing. “You only have to look at yesterday’s match to see that” he said, referring to the 8-1 win against Huesca. One of those youngsters is Adama, who spoke about how much it meant to him to have scored his first official goal for the club. He also revealed that his boyhood idols were Ronaldinho and Ronaldo, “but for any player in the B team, our role model is Leo Messi”.

Two of the summer signings, Ivan Rakitic and Ter Stegen, discussed the upcoming fixture list. Next Saturday, the last game of 2014 sees FCB entertain Cordoba at the Camp Nou. It is very important to end the year well” said the Croat. “We want to win and bring some joy to the supporters.” The German goalkeeper looked further ahead to the Champions League meeting with Manchester City. “It’s one of the hardest games we could have drawn” he admitted. “We will have to be focused and work bravely if we want to qualify.”

For any player in the B team, our role model is Leo Messi

Agreement in principle with Xavi Pascual

December 17, 2014 – 13:30 | Comments Off

Xavi Pascual is extending his contract until the 2016/17 season/ PHOTO: VÍCTOR SALGADO - FCB
FC Barcelona has agreed to extend basketball coach Xavi Pascual’s contract until the end of the 2016/17 season

FC Barcelona can announce an agreement in principle with basketball head coach Xavi Pascual to extend his contract until the end of the 2016/17 season. His current contract is set to expire on June 30, 2015.

Pascual has held the position since February 14, 2008 and this new deal has been reached just before he is set to manage the team for the 500th time in Friday’s Euroleague game with Panathinaikos in Athens. The new contract will be signed over the next few days.

6 years and 16 titles

Xavi Pascual came to FC Barcelona in 2004 to work as second team coach and director of the youth system. In 2005, he became first team assistant coach under Dusko Ivanovic, and when Ivanovic was sacked in February 2008, he became head coach. The following season (2008/09) he became the youngest coach ever to win the ACB League.

The year after that he also became the youngest coach to win the Euroleague, also winning the Spanish Cup, Catalan League and ACB Super Cup. He has gone to enjoy plenty more success in the form of 16 major trophies in just six years (1 Euroleague, 4 ACB Leagues, 3 Spanish Cup, 3 ACB Super Cups and 5 Catalan League). He has won the ACB Coach of the Year award three times, and in 2009/10 was named Best Coach in the Euroleague.

Facts and figures from the Huesca game

December 17, 2014 – 12:00 | Comments Off

Sandro scored against Huesca on Tuesday night / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
Sandro has now scored in the League, Champions League and Cup competitions

Adriano and Adama’s goals mean 15 different players have scored for the team so far this season

  • Pedro’s last hat trick came on December 22, 2013 against Getafe in a 2-5 win, when he also got all three in the first half.
  • It was his third hat trick for the Club – his first came against Rayo Vallecano on September 21, 2013. Pedro also scored three for Spain in their 0-4 win over Belarus.
  • The early rounds of the Cup certainly suit Pedro, who bagged four at the same stage against Cartagena last season.
  • Sergi Roberto scored his third goal for the team, following his earlier strikes against BATE Borissov (Champions League) and Osasuna (Spanish Cup) in the 2011/12 season.
  • Iniesta’s goal was his second of the season – his first came in the first leg.
  • It was Iniesta’s first goal at the Camp Nou since 16 March, when he bagged one of the goals in the 7-0 win over Osasuna
  • Adriano Correia scored his 15th goal for Barça – his first this season – and his fourth in the Cup.
  • Masip made his official debut and Douglas played his first game for the Club at the Camp Nou after figuring in the first leg in Huesca and the league game away to Malaga.
  • Adama scored his debut goal in his debut Cup appearance. He played for the first team against Ajax in the Champions League last season and in the league against Granada.
  • Adriano and Adama’s goals mean 15 different players have scored for the team so far this season
  • Sandro Ramírez became the first player to score in all competitions this season.
  • Sergi Roberto finished 90 minutes for the first time this season – the first time he’s done so since the 5-1 win over Levante in last season’s Cup campaign.
  • Luis Enrique has now used 27 players so far this season – 22 from the first team squad and five from the B team (Munir, Sandro, Samper, Ié and Adama).

Rafinha: “you have to take every minute you get”

December 17, 2014 – 11:00 | Comments Off

Rafinha fetaured on the Barça TV programme  'El Marcador'  / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
After 90 minutes against Huesca, Rafinha stressed the importance of making the most of every chance to shine

Speaking to ‘El Marcador’ on BarçaTV, he explained: “I felt fine, but the team result is the most important thing”

Keping an eye on Celta

Rafinha played on loan at Celta last season and he admitted that he still keeps a close eye on the Galician team’s progress: “I always take a look and see how they are doing and hope they do well”. Celta made it through to the next round of the Spanish Cup on Tuesday night with a 3-1 win over Las Palmas.

 

Rafinha didn’t get on the scoresheet in the 8-0 win over Huesca, but as he told Barça TV’s ·El Marcador” programme: “you have to take your chance with every minute you get on the pitch and all of the players did that tonight. The team is playing well and full of confidence and we have to try and go for everything”.

Rafinha’s been out of action for much of the season with injuries, but he insisted: “I’m feeling confident – I’m in one of the biggest teams in the world and the most important thing is that I am learning from my teammates and continuing to grow. I’ve always been a midfielder, but I’ve even ended up playing at left back at Barça – the most important thing is to be playing, it doesn’t matter what position”.[[CITA_1]] :

Looking to the future, Rafinha made it clear that victory was the only thing the players had on their mind for Saturday’s last league game of 2014 against Cordoba at the Camp Nou: “we want to close the year with a win”. There’s also the next round of the Champions League waiting in the New Year and Rafinha believes: “City are a very strong team, but so are we and we are full of confidence – if you want to be Champions, you’ve got to beat the best”.

I’m in one of the biggest teams in the world and the most important thing is that I am learning from my teammates and continuing to grow

Five more great goals from the academy

December 17, 2014 – 10:00 | Comments Off

Aitor Cantalapiedra scored a cracker this weekend). PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.
The best five goals from the academy teams from the weekend of 13/14 December

It was a chilly weekend in Barcelona, but the young stars of Barça’s academy gave the fans plenty to warm their hearts. The Barça TV programme “Promesas” chose these five goals as the best of the bunch:

  • Number 5: Marcel Céspedes, (Aleví B). Lovely control with his left foot before firing home
  • Number 4: Isaac Padilla, (Youth A) Playing against San Francisco, Padilla rounds off a lovely one-touch move with an unstoppable header.
  • Number 3: Xavi Toldrà (Cadet A). A quicker counter ends with a well taken strike against Lerida.
  • Number 2: Juan Antonio Ros (Youth A). Well struck drive from the edge of the box.
  • Number 1: Aitor Cantalapiedra (Youth A). A spectacular effort from outside the area gives the keeper no chance

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: FC Barcelona’s 8-1 victory over Huesca

December 17, 2014 – 09:00 | Comments Off

Pedro Rodríguez led a flurry of Barça goals in their 8-1 rout of SD Huesca on Tuesday night at Camp Nou. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.
All the top plays from Barça’s return-leg rout over Huesca in the Spanish Cup at Camp Nou

The FC Barcelona v SD Huesca match in the last 32 of the Spanish Cup turned out to be a night for scoring as the game ended with an 8-1 Barça win. This video has all the top plays from the return-leg rout over Huesca at Camp Nou.

Luis Enrique says a better game ‘hard to imagine’

December 17, 2014 – 01:40 | Comments Off

Luis Enrique was delighted with his team's play at both ends of the pitch against Huesca on Tuesday night / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
The coach lauds his players’ mentality against a Huesca side that is actually ‘much better than the division they’re playing in’

Luis Enrique had a hard time hiding his satisfaction with way his team played against Huesca. “It’s hard to imagine a game better than this,” said the coach, who emphasized the’ “mentality, attitude and defence” his players showed on Tuesday night. Barça’s 8-1 victory sent them into the last 16 of the Spanish Cup.

The coach explained that these types of games “are not easy,” and even less so against a team like Huesca, who were “much better than the division they’re playing in.” He had special praise for his team’s defence tonight. “We played a great game on defence. Very good.”

He was also very happy to see the 45,000 spectators who shrugged off the late start and came to Camp Nou to see the match.

Adama Traoré ecstatic after scoring first goal

December 17, 2014 – 01:26 | Comments Off

Adama Traoré scored his first Barça goal in Tuesday night's 8-1 win over Huesca at Camp Nou / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
The Barça B player couldn’t contain his happiness after netting a second half goal, his first ever

Next training session on Thursday

The team will have an off-day on Wednesday and will return to training on Thursday morning at 11.00 AM CET at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper.

[[DES_1]] Barça B player Adama Traoré was delighted after getting his first goal for FC Barcelona’s first team at Camp Nou against Huesca on Tuesday night. “I am happy for the opportunity Luis Enrique and the coaches gave me. It’s a great feeling to play with the first team.” He said “it’s exciting for any youth player to debut with the first team and share dressing room with such great players.”

Adama acknowledged that the way he plays and his skills can help the team in the future: “I bring speed and power to the team, but I know that I have to keep improving to be a complete player and be able to compete with these guys. I will do my best with the B team and if Luis Enrique calls me I’ll be happy to help.”

Finally, Adama also talked about the attitude of his team against Huesca at Camp Nou: “I think Barça’s philosophy is that if the team wins and scores a lot of goals we should respect the other teams on the field.”

 

FC Barcelona v SD Huesca (8-1): Barça roll into last 16

December 17, 2014 – 01:18 | Comments Off

Pedro Rodríguez had a wonderful night with a first-half hat trick as Barça beat Huesca 8-1 / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.
The Blaugrana beat a brave Huesca side at Camp Nou with a convincing 8-1 victory

Pedro’s first-half hat trick leads the way as the Catalans march onward and upward in the Spanish Cup

Pedro Rodríguez scored three times in the first half as FC Barcelona had no trouble eliminating SD Huesca from the Spanish Cup while heading into the tournament’s round of 16. Sergi Roberto and Andrés Iniesta also added first-half goals as Barça, who won the first leg at Huesca 4-0 last month, easily went through on aggregate.

Big first half

In a game that saw many of Barça’s regular players sitting and watching, it was one of their stars, Pedro, who did real damage. The scoring opened in minute 19 as a Barça counterattack saw Munir El Haddadi send one into the goalmouth, where Pedro calmly headed home. He then added his second just six minutes later, this time on a wonderful feed from Iniesta.

Sergio Roberto’s goal came in the 28th minute after a pass from Martín Montoya to make it 3-0 Barça and then Iniesta joined the party, courtesy of Sergio Roberto, ten minutes later to make it 4-0. Pedro then closed out the half by completing the hat trick in the 42nd.

With a 5-0 at the start of the second half, Barça were able to add to their lead. Adriano scored in the 66th and Adama, who had come on for Munir in the 74th, scored his first career goal after just three minutes on the field to make it 7-0. Sandro then added Barça’s eighth of the night.

Huesca honourable

Huesca battled hard all night long and, despite the lopsided score, managed to get back a bit of their pride as Gaspar Gálvez redirected a corner kick to put his side on the board just three minutes from time.

Tonight’s win also provided two other milestones for Barça. Javier Mascherano played in his 200th career game with the Club while goalkeeper Jordi Masip was making his official debut.