June: busy month for meetings

Sardana blaugrana at the Girona Sud meeting
With competition over, the movement is keeping the Barça flame alight all around the territory

June has traditionally become one of the most active times of years for the supporters club movement. The weather is great, the competitions are over and so it’s the perfect time to hold regional meetings and celebrate the end of the season.

From the last week of May to the last week of June, there have been 10 different regional meetings from Galicia to Slovenia. The first was the eleventh congress for clubs from Andalusia, Ceuta and Melilla, which is held every two years. President Josep M. Bartomeu attended what doubled as the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Peña Barcelonista Montillana.

The same weekend also featured a meeting of clubs from the Counties of Castellon, held in Alcora, as well as the one for Vallès clubs held in Montcada i Reixac. Both were attended by vice-president Jordi Cardoner i Casaus.

Galicia celebrated its traditional Xuntanza a Moaña, in Pontevedra, on occasion of the host club’s 20th anniversary. The Penya Blaugrana de Roda de Ter i Les Masies, which was celebrating 25 years of existence, was the venue for the Osona i Ripollès regional meeting.

On June 8, the Penya Barcelonista de La Selva del Camp hosted the 14th edition of the North Tarragona meeting. Player Sergi Roberto, whose grandparents are from Selva del Camp, represented the club, along with Camp Nou announcer, Manel Vich.

Les Terres de l’Ebre also held its meeting at La Sènia on June 13, on the 30th anniversary of the local club. And over in Castilla Leon, the Peña Barcelonista Albense hosted the regional meeting in Salamanca.

One of the biggest events was the first meeting of clubs from Central and Southern Europe, attended by hundreds of supporters from different countries in Slovenia, hosted by the Penya Blaugrana Eslovena Triglav.

Camarasa was the venue for June’s final meeting on the 29th, attended by clubs from the Ponent Nord region.

Charity meeting

In mid-June, the Camp Nou forecourt was also the venue for a very special meeting held by the Penya Barcelonista de Col·leccionistes de Plaques de Cava, a club that groups cava bottle-top collectors. The profits from the event were donated to a project in Chad to construct a school.

FC Barcelona and Switzerland

Barça and it's Swiss links.The Club history is well known.
Although he has Croatian nationality, new Barça player Ivan Rakitic was born in the Swiss town of Möhlin. This fact helps to remind us of the strong ties between Barça and Switzerland in the Club’s early years

The Club history is well known, but it’s worth remembering again. Born in Winterthur, a Swiss man named Hans Gamper, together with his compatriot and friend Walter Wild, founded FC Barcelona, towards the end of the nineteenth century.

Three Swiss at the Club’s foundation meeting

When FC Barcelona was founded in the Solé Gymnasium, on 29 November 1899, of the twelve founding members who stamped their signatures on the memorandum of association there were three Swiss, as besides Wild and Gamper there was Otto Kunzle, another buddy from the area of Sant Gervasi de Cassoles, where Gamper lived. In that meeting Walter Wild was appointed president of FC Barcelona, the first in its history

Swiss in the early years

At the beginning of the last century it was common to see Swiss players in the ranks of FC Barcelona. Besides the aforementioned Gamper (1899-1903), Wild (1899-1901) and Kunzle (1899), history records the presence of Schilling (1899), Viderkehr (1901-02), Meyer (1901-04), Gass (1902-03), Fischer (1902-04), Gaissert (1902-03) and Fonquernie (1909).

Amongst these, in addition to the extraordinary figure of Joan Gamper (120 goals in 51 games), it’s worth highlighting George Meyer, a superb midfielder from heroic times who played with a glass eye.

The case of Luis Cembranos

A great leap in time takes us to the 1994/95 season, when midfielder Luis Cembranos, born in Lucerne (Switzerland) but raised in Leon, got to play in six official matches (three in la Liga and three in the Champions League ) for the FC Barcelona first team, before being transferred to Espanyol

VIDEO – Did you miss Rakitic’s presentation today? No problem, here’s a 100 second recap of the player’s intense day

Rakitic, al Camp Nou
Medical, contract signing, posing with the Barça strip at the Camp Nou, press conference and interview with Barça TV, were all on the agenda of FC Barcelona’s new midfielder today

This Tuesday was very intense for Ivan Rakitic. After arriving in Barcelona on Monday afternoon, the Croatian midfielder started off this Tuesday with attending his medical at the Ciutat Esportiva. Upon passing the medical exam, he signed his contract, posed for photos in the Barça strip at the Camp Nou, held a press conference and was interviewed by Barça TV.

Here’s a 100 second overview of the player’s intense day.

Messi and Di María take Argentina to the quarter-finals (1-0)

Messi takes on three Swiss defenders / PHOTO: FIFA.com
Lionel Messi provided the assist to Ángel di María in the dying minutes of extra time to send Argentina through to the quarter-finals of the Brazil 2014 World Cup

Argentina will face off against the winner of the USA v Belgium match

Leo Messi and Javier Mascherano’s Argentina took on Switzerland in the Round of 16 World Cup match this Tuesday afternoon in Sao Paulo. The Argentinians, led by the FC Barcelona forward, struggled in the first half against a plucky and dangerous Swiss side, but took control of the match in the second half. Try as they might, neither the Argentinians not the Swiss were able to score until the 118th minute. Messi took on his defender, charged on goal, teed up Di María who fired past Benaglio to send Argentina through to the quarterfinals.

Deadlock in the first 45

Switzerland and Argentina locked horns in the first half, both teams looking to net the opener from the start. But it was the European side that enjoyed the lion share of chances in the opening 45 minutes. Argentina keeper Romero, halfway through the half, came up with two great saves to keep the Swiss off the board. Meanwhile, his teammates tried to breakdown Switzerland’s defence, and came close on a couple of occasions. Leo Messi – flanked by Di María, Lavezzi and Higuían – was Argentina’s danger man but the halftime whistle blew before the Albiceleste could muster a serious threat on Benaglio’s goal.

Nervy second half

The second half started off just as the first half ended, with Switzerland trying to take advantage of Argentina’s seemingly porous defence. The Argentinians slowly took control of possession and started to apply pressure to the Swiss back line. On 57 minutes Messi freed up Rojo with a through ball in the Swiss area, the left back fired on goal but Benaglio averted the danger with a quick save. Four minutes later it was Higuaín who was denied by the Swiss keeper. Messi tried his luck from range on 67 minutes but the attempt was inches above his intended target.

The FC Barcelona forward would try again 10 minutes later. Messi got possession at the top of the box, muscled past two defenders and unleashed a shot from just inside the area. But Benaglio came up big once again. The referee blew the final whistle with 0-0 on the scoreboard.

Extra time drama

The two periods of extra time were nervy for both teams. The Swiss, defending deep, looked to hit Argentina on the counter. The Argentinians, conversely, held possession and pinned their European counterparts back. Both sides enjoyed chances to score the winner, but it wasn’t until 118th minute that the breakthrough came.

Messi, who was just past the halfway line, charged toward goal with defenders in toe, and set up Di María in the Swiss area. The Argentinian forward squared up and fired a clinical shot past Benaglio to send his country through to the quarterfinals of the World Cup.

Masip to sign on Thursday; Bravo to be presented on Monday

Jordi Masip. PHOTO: Archive FCB
The Catalan keeper will sign his first team on Thursday, July 3, and he will remain a Barça player until 2017

Chile keeper Claudio Bravo will be officially presented on Monday, July 7

Jordi Masip will sign his FC Barcelona contract this Thursday, July 3. He will remain a Barça player until June 30, 2017. Masip, who will be a first team player, will have a buyout clause of 35 million euros. The agreement was made public on May 20 of this year.

It’s worth noting that Masip featured in 34 of Barça B’s matches this year, and has participated in a total of 74 games during his time with the reserve side.

Bravo to be presented on Monday

This Tuesday it was also announced that Claudio Bravo, keeper and captain of the Chilean national team, will be presented on Monday the 7th of July. Bravo, who was signed from Real Sociedad, featured in all four of Chile’s World Cup matches but, despite saving a penalty in the penalty shootout with Brazil, his national team were eliminated.

Rakitic: “I gave as strong an ‘I do’ as I did the day of my wedding!”.

Zubizarreta, Mestre and Rakitic. PHOTO: GERMÁN PARGA / VÍCTOR SALGADO -FCB.
The Croatian is hungry for success and is certain his versatility will help the team

“I wanted to leave Seville on good terms and take a step forward in my career”

Guardiola’s number 4 shirt

Ivan Rakitic will wear the number 4 shirt and he explained: “it’s special for me to wear the same number as Pep Guardiola. I loved the way he played the game and everything he did as a coach. I hope I can be as successful as him”, Ratikic also mentioned his country man Robert Prosinecki, who played for Barça: “ It was great to see him play – it was as if he danced with the ball at his feet”.

[[DES_1]] During his presentation as Barça’s latest summer signing, Ivan Rakitic made it clear that he’d come to the Camp Nou to achieve success: “I want to win more titles. Last season’s Europa League really whetted my appetite. I want to make history. I want more. I’m hungry for success”.

Accompanied by Club vice-president, Jordi Mestre and sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta, Ratikic thanked the Club for the interest they showed in him and joked that when he got the call from Barça “ I gave as strong an ‘I do’ as I did the day of my wedding!”.

The Croat believes: “the most important thing for a footballer is to feel comfortable and know that a Club is counting on you. I wanted to leave Seville on good terms and take a step forward in my career. Now it’s all down to me”. Rakitic also revealed that he had spoken to Luis Enrique and explained: “I’ll give the same football I did at Seville. I play with a lot of intensity, I train hard and work hard on the pitch, but I know I can improve”.

“I’ll play wherever I’m needed”

Rakitic is a versatile player, having played in the hole behind the strikers at Seville and also as a holding midfielder at Schalke 04, and he explained: “it’s important to know what the boss wants from me. What is best for the team is best for me. I am available to play wherever I am needed”.[[CITA_1]]Ivan Rakitic also reckons he’ll fit in easily at the Club: “I know Barça and their style well, I just need to train and work hard. There is a midfield full of talent and everyone who has played against them know that Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets are reference points in the game. At this Club you always have to win every game and fight for every title”.

There is a midfield full of talent and everyone who has played against them know that Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets are reference points in the game

Ivan Rakitic to wear number 4 shirt. Signs contract at the Camp Nou

Rakitic, Bartomeu and Mestre shake on the deal / PHOTO: VÍCTOR SALGADO-FCB
Barça’s latest signing puts pen to paper at the Camp Nou for five-year deal.

26-year-old Ivan Rakitic is officially a Barça player after signing his new five-year contract with the Club at the Camp Nou this morning . The Croat passed his medical at the Ciutat Esportiva before signing the contract in the presence of Club President  Josep Maria Bartomeu, Vice-President Jordi Mestre and his family who accompanied him all morning.

In the official photo at the signing, Rakitic revealed he’d be taking the number 4 shirt in the squad, following in the footsteps of players such as  Ronald Koeman, Josep Guardiola, Patrick Andersson and  Rafa Márquez.