Koeman is also playing his future these months (Toni Padilla)

Those who know Ronald Koeman say that the Dutch coach is enjoying his first year on the Barça bench. After suffering a fright with a heart attack, he has learned that it is time to worry about important things. Alien to social media, he does not waste time in the intense debates that arise after each match but last a few days. His gaze is long and that is why he does not understand the disappointment of many Barcelona players with the performance of his team. Koeman believes that the season lasts a long time, that the marks are put at the end of the course and that it should be borne in mind that they have not made a sad signing. It lacks some reason.

But after the first half of the season, Koeman has failed to give stability to a project that needs it. His Barça, like the tide, is now moving forward, now retreating. And when the important appointments arrive it demonstrates a worrying emotional fragility, added to the problems of the Dutch technician to modify the course of the parties with the changes. Against Athletic, again, it took a long time to make substitutions even though his team had only shot once in the goal in 70 minutes. Marcelino García Toral won the tactical battle for him, as other coaches have done on important match days, such as Zidane in the classic, Simeone against Atlético and Pirlo in the match against Juve at the Camp Nou. The victory against the Italians in Turin is one of the few blows of authority of Koeman’s Barça after the first six months of adventure. And against Real Sociedad in the semifinals of Córdoba was played with fire. Ter Stegen turned it off.

The duel against PSG, key

The return to the Camp Nou is Koeman’s great opportunity to continue relaunching a coaching career that was withering away after an encouraging start. With the selection of the Netherlands he began to recover his optimism and Barça is now a dream come true for Koeman, despite having to speak with a provisional management board that cannot give him a single signing. Koeman, however, knows that, beyond the results, he will be judged by the evolution of his team’s game, if he wants to stay on the bench. The coach knows that football, a sometimes very cruel sport, will not guarantee that he will have a job next season unless he manages to get a very good grade this season. If his Barça face the next important dates, especially the duel against PSG, playing as he did in La Cartuja, the president who wins the elections will surely choose not to give him power next season. Now, in this strange officially frozen election campaign, the candidates are giving him public support. But if Koeman doesn’t generate consensus, changing coaches would be a weapon the new president would have to cheer the fans on and start a new cycle. There will be no shortage of candidates to occupy the local bench at the Camp Nou.

Tusquets is left without a title

After the first half year of adventure, his Barça is neither meat nor fish. He has improved in attack, especially when Messi has regained the laughter he lost again in Sevilla. Barça have won 15 official matches, but have not won in 11. And in defense it fits too well, partly because of Piqué’s loss. Koeman, making his way, seems to be betting on some young people, but not all. From time to time he gives minutes to La Masia players, but he does it more out of necessity, as with Araujo or Mingueza, than out of conviction. Sometimes it is ordered through the ball in a style similar to the 4-3-3 and sometimes it is closed in defense, more garrepa. It often seems that he will be able to face the big clubs in Europe, but when the important dates come, his Barça is more like Quique Setión’s than the proposal for the future that he should symbolize himself. The Dutch coach is playing a lot, in the coming months. And he won’t make excuses. It will depend on him if he is a coach to cover the hole of a season or if, as he did as a player, he overcomes a bad starting point to end up touching the sky.


from Cruyff’s leading student to world-renowned technician (Albert Nadal)

This Monday Pep Guardiola turns 50 years old. Half a century of a life linked to football and commitment to an idea and a school that, without demeaning all those who have also contributed to it, has been christened the cruyffista model. Guardiola, who landed at the hands of Oriol Tort in La Masia when he was 13 years old from Gimnàstic Manresa, could hardly have imagined then that he would end up being Johan’s leading student only a few years later.

Although the story had begun earlier, with Cruyff’s always attentive gaze on the young footballers in the house, it was on December 16, 1990 when Guardiola made his debut, in Cádiz, with the first team. It was the beginning of a unique communion in football, a combination that would change the history of Barça. The first pages of the club’s most romantic story were beginning to be written, which would end up excelling years later, when Santpedor’s, without ceasing to be that privileged student of Johan’s, would end up becoming the coach with the most titles, joys and pride. they would take to the windows of Barça.

Cruyff’s intuition, combined with Luis Milla’s departure to Real Madrid, opened Guardiola’s doors to the first team, in which the position of 4 it was already beginning to be a hallmark of Barça football. “From this position I had a privileged vision of the game. It was very important for us, to always find the best way out of the ball. Quickly and intelligently. He had an exquisite technique,” he recalls in a conversation with ARA Miquel Àngel Nadal. Barça’s central midfielder between 1991 and 1999 was one of Guardiola’s first roommates at Barça. “Only on the road, eh! Not every day, he wasn’t my type,” jokes Nadal, who has kept a great friendship with the coach since the years that coincided with both Barça and the Spanish national team.

“Pep, despite his youth, was a footballer who identified a lot with Barça and his environment. He represented exactly his place in what was the whole football structure of Johan. Since he came from home, the his arrival on the team was like the missing piece to finish fitting all the parts of the puzzle together, ”Nadal describes. “It was like the extension of the coach on the field, because his position was where most balls went. His main function was to choose the best option where to get the ball and, that, in the philosophy of the game “Apart from that, Pep was very demanding. He always wanted to win and he always thought about football: he asked a lot, he was interested in both his position and that of his teammates, what was the best way.” to place ourselves, what movements we could make … You saw that it was his passion “.

“Together with Sergio Busquets, he is the best player Barça has had in this position”

Miquel Àngel Nadal Barça central (1991-1999)

Nadal, who defines Guardiola as “the person who has best captured Cruyff’s message,” also recalls the importance and ancestry of the Dutch coach in that group of players who would be christened the Dream Team. “His winning mentality was entrusted. We didn’t go out to speculate. We were ambitious and we played very offensive football. Apart from being a coach that the players had a lot of respect for who he had been as a player, you saw that everything he told us he came out naturally, he believed in it. He also knew when you had to stop and encouraged you when you needed to. He was a breakthrough in many ways. “

Evolution as a coach

Guardiola would end his career as a footballer away from Barça, where he returned in 2007 to re-float the subsidiary, which had just been relegated to the Third Division. Only a season later he was commissioned by then-president Joan Laporta to take the reins of the first team to begin the most glorious era of a coach on the Barça bench. “Pep is the son of Barça and Barça was his home,” journalist and ex-athlete Martí Perarnau told ARA. “As a coach he put on the field all those tools, instruments and knowledge that he learned for so many years at the club. To put it in some way, he didn’t have to make any substantial changes in his way of understanding. What he had done as a player, he took to the field with some footballers – Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets … – who have the same football language and practice the same style “. For four seasons on the first team bench (2008-2012) Guardiola won 14 titles out of 19 possible.

As a Barça coach, Santpedor showed his commitment to an idea and a model, with the ball always as the protagonist of the discursive axis, which amazed Europe and made him one of the most sought-after coaches on the planet. . His time on the bench would continue in 2013 at Bayern Munich. “Pep is planted in Germany as the 16-year-old dwarf who leaves home for the first time to see the world. In the Bundesliga he finds himself with the icy fields of the winter months, the game on the counterattack of any team and at any time , passionate stadiums like Borussia Dortmund … And, at Bayern, a very different culture in which they speak another language, both linguistic and football “, analyzes the author of books such as Mr. Pep (2014) i Pep Guardiola. Metamorphosis (2016). “In addition, there is the circumstance that when Pep is hired, Bayern was doing badly. But when he arrives in Munich, he does so after they have won the treble and this makes it difficult to adapt.”

In favor, Guardiola found in Bayern players eager to learn from the stamp of the Catalan coach, such as Lahm, Kroos, Boateng and Alaba. “Unfortunately, Thiago’s injuries make him unable to help spread this way of playing,” Perarnau adds. “Pep also adapts to players who do not have this profile, such as Robben, Ribéry or Müller, and makes a very important move: he places the sides inside, helping the midfielder and creating a line of three with which he breaks the rival counterattacks “. After dominating his main rival, Borussia Dortmund, and winning the Bundesliga with authority, Guardiola signed in 2016 for Manchester City.

“With Messi fake 9, Pep surprised. But the concept already existed. His great contribution to football is playing with the sides inside “

Martí Perarnau Journalist and former athlete

“In Manchester he is no longer the Pep who only knows Barça’s style in depth: he has already applied several variants thanks to his time in Germany. Apart from studying a lot like the Premier League, his first year in England was “It was a complicated course, but during which he learned a lot from another type of football,” said Perarnau. “It was a difficult course, with other circumstances in the process of making the team to measure.” “In his second year he would win the Premier League, breaking the 100-point record and continue to add titles. He has also had obstacles, but he has accumulated experience that allows him to speak very rich football languages ​​and master many variants, which he exposes according to matches.”

It is in Manchester where Guardiola will turn 50 this Monday. Al City, with the complicity of Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain within the structure of the club, as well as the confidence of President Khaldoon al-Mubarak, is living its longest stage on a bench: in November it renewed until 2023.


the hot notes of the Super Cup final (Xavi Hernández Navarro)

A final trailer. Jordi Alba gasped, for lack of passing lines, every time he had to serve as a winger. Messi, a starter despite the inconvenience, appeared very little. Pedri, surrounded by opponents whenever he received, was not right either. In two weeks in Bilbao, Marcelino has made Athletic an uncomfortable team. With a couple of clear ideas, and after beating Real Madrid in the semifinals of the Super Cup, the Asturian coach won the tactical battle against Koeman, who did not do too much to prevent his Barça from waiting at home less talented rival. What exactly did Barça play in the first final they played in a year and a half? To survive? Victory would not have justified such a poor proposal. Defeat, he portrayed it.

Frustrated turning point. Granted, the Spanish Super Cup does not have the glamor of the Champions League, but it is impossible not to see in the defeat of Barça in Seville (from Duckadam, a city of lost finals) features that evoke the triad of European defeats (Rome , Liverpool, Lisbon) of the last courses. Against Athletic, Barça made children’s mistakes on set pieces, just like at Anfield or Olimpico. They also suffered the effects of a physical inferiority and a lack of plan more typical of the times of Setión than of the Koeman era. Messi, present in the three painful precedents, also found no holes. After Villalibre’s goal to go into extra time, the 10 not only did not gather his teammates to try to lift their spirits, but ended up expelled, a victim of the purest impotence. I had never seen a red one. He has noses that the first one has arrived in what could be his last final as a culer …

The best center of the staff. To draw some positive conclusions, Araujo’s performance minimizes Barça’s penalty for not being able to advance Eric García’s arrival in the winter market. When Piqué was seriously injured, the arrival of the Martorell center-back became even more necessary, but the Uruguayan’s step forward has reduced the drama. Araujo is taking advantage of the opportunity to the point that right now he is and not Lenglet the benchmark of the team. Imperial in aerial play and correction, he only has to improve – in relation to his teammate on the axis – in the ball output, an art that develops over time. It is no coincidence that in less than a year it has quadrupled its market value. However, he will not be able to sustain the entire defensive line.

Antoine’s empty hands. Griezmann cost more than $ 120 million to decide major matches. And he was on the verge, despite the poor collective performance, of justifying part of the effort in the Super Cup. If the day of the Real Sociedad, with Messi injured, provided assistance for De Jong, in the final against Athletic, with the 10 on the pitch, he scored two goals as a professional finisher. Too bad they were useless. Williams, with a goal in overtime, erased his smile suddenly. Pay attention, by the way, to the Basque’s career against Barça. Last year he was the executioner of the elimination of the Catalans in the Cup. And this year he has raised the bar to give his club the second title in six years.


Barça lose their heads and bounce back from the Super Cup (2-3) (Toni Padilla)

The journey through the Barça desert continues. In Seville, the city where he had lost the Cup in 2019 against Marcelino’s Valencia, Koeman’s team was left with a silly face and lost the Super Cup against Marcelino’s Athletic (2-3). A final that seemed to be won, but Barça did not know how to protect the treasure that were the goals of Griezmann, one of the few footballers who knew how to live up to a match in which Barça did not deserve to win. Emotionally unstable, soft on defense and with no ideas on offense, Barça were on the verge of winning by playing poorly. But not like that. And he ended up losing the roles as Messi, sent off in the last minute of the match. The image of a hurtful defeat. As much by the result, as by the script and the game of the equipment during good part of a end where the Basoues, sometimes hard in defense, had more heart.

Winning a penalty shootout in the semifinals had sparked the adrenaline of a hungry Barça. Hungry for titles, hungry for glory. But the euphoria of the semifinal did not last long and hunger turned to anguish. Koeman’s team was caught in the defensive web of a reborn Athletic with the change of coach. Marcelino’s first game on the bench for the Basques, against Barça in San Mamés, turned out to be a testing ground that allowed the Asturian coach to improve his defensive system. And Athletic managed to get absolutely nothing to happen for 30 minutes. Only Ander Capa, with a shot that tested Ter Stegen, broke the monotony of a match that Barça started as if they had no esma, as if they had given him kryptonite. And that played Messi, recovered from his physical problems. But Marcelino knew how to isolate both the Argentine and his great accomplice, Pedri, well enough from the game. Barça got lost in the labyrinth of the Basques, waiting for someone to pull a thread to get out of the trap.

And the thread, of course, was pulled by a Messi who did not have the day. But the Argentine knew how to find Jordi Alba alone in the band in one of the few mistakes of the disciplined Basque defenses. And with a bit of luck, after a rebound, Griezmann managed to beat Simón with Barça’s first shot between the three posts. But what Jordi Alba gives you in attack, Jordi Alba can also take you out on defense. The winger always goes face to face, attacking. And sometimes they win his back. If scoring a goal just before the break seemed like a psychological blow for Barça to the Basques, Athletic Club did not take even 60 seconds to tie and leave Ronald Koeman with a slap in the face. Williams invented a pass to the back of the Barça defense and Óscar de Marcos overtook Ter Stegen, after escaping the surveillance of Jordi Alba. As in the semi-final against Real Sociedad, after giving the first blow, Barça was forced to start again. Then chewing sand.

A scare with Raúl García

Koeman, to try to give balance to his team, sacrificed Sergiño Dest already at halftime and brought in the right winger Mingueza. The idea was to be able to tie in short the always naughty Muniain and, incidentally, give back order to be able to risk attack. Barça needed their most talented players, but Messi, Pedri and De Jong were still in a cage. Griezmann did appear, touching the ball judiciously every time he got a space in the front. But Dembélé did not help him. The extreme is how Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a footballer with two faces. And in La Cartuja the Frenchman didn’t get one right. He was not the only one. The tactical battle between the two teams was accompanied by a lot of individual mistakes, bad controls and passes to the emptiness of the giant stadium of La Cartuja, where the desperate cries of the two coaches resounded. And also the cries of happiness and frustration of the Athletic players when they celebrated the second goal, the work of Raúl García after finishing off a cross from Muniain, who had won a foul precisely from Mingueza. But the VAR caught the Navarrese offside for a short time and pardoned Barça. A few minutes later, not even the VAR would save a defense that suffers too much with side centered face.

The goal disallowed at Athletic served to stretch the ears of a Barça that finally settled around the ball and closed an Athletic that plays everything in the counterattacks of Iñaki Williams, who collided more than once with an imperial Araujo. The young Uruguayan central defender was one of the few who took a step forward in a final with little football, without Koeman being encouraged to make further changes. And yet, Barça seemed to have the cup in their hands when Griezmann dressed as a hero with 15 minutes to go and finished off a cross from Alba. The Frenchman, playing the role of fake well new, slipped inside the area to beat Simon with a cross shot. Once again, Alba became Barça’s can opener. And in the second shot on goal, Griezmann scored the second goal. Unai Simón had not stained his gloves to make stops, but to catch the bottom ball of the net.

Williams decides

The final seemed decided, but Barça is a work in progress, a team still with doubts that reminds him of the fateful nights of recent years. And almost in the last play Asier Villalibre equalized again in a lateral foul badly defended by a Barça that has one of its heels of Aquilles in the plays of strategy. The goal brought the final to an overtime that started in the worst way, when Iñaki Williams invented a beautiful goal by sending the ball to the only place where Ter Stegen could not reach. The German could not act as a hero, he could not help a team that began to desperately attack the Basque defense, already with Riqui Puig on the field alongside Pjanic. A sterile domain, with Athletic taking advantage of Mingueza’s mistakes to go wrong with cons that hurt as much as needle punctures. A slow torture that was punishing a Barça that could have tied thanks to a shot by Griezmann. But the Frenchman is so unlucky that not even scoring two goals in a final is the hero of a club doomed to chain two years without winning titles, while Koeman, thoughtful, wonders how he missed a Super Cup that would have reinforced. Instead, it returns weakness of Seville.

Messi’s unprecedented loss of roles: the hot notes of the Super Cup final


Laporta sweeps the signatures to be able to preside over Barça

As advanced in a triumphant photo that he distributed through his social networks, Joan Laporta is confirmed as a great favorite in the elections to the Barça presidency that, if the pandemic does not prevent it, will be held on January 24. In the absence of official counts, the one who was president of the Barça club between 2003 and 2010 more than doubles the support obtained by Víctor Font, his great rival in the elections.

Laporta announced the presentation of 10,257 partner signatures at the Barcelona offices. A very high number in current conditions and if one takes into account that he needs 2,257 to be validated to be proclaimed an official candidate. In a symbolic way, he wanted to present a round number, just eight thousand more signatures than those required to start from the ‘pole’ in the electoral campaign that Barça leads in the Estimem candidacy.

“We have to vote now,” proclaimed Laporta euphoric, convinced that he will make the predictions count and will have no rival in Víctor Font, Toni Freixa or Emili Rousaud, the other candidates who, theoretically, will pass the signature cut. His number of endorsements exceeds the one he obtained in the 2015 elections, when he achieved 4,807, and is even above the winner of those elections, Josep María Bartomeu, who managed to agglutinate 9,093 signatures. It also surpasses by a landslide the 5,725 signatures that Laporta collected when he won in 2003.

“Barça could not be more misgoverned,” remarked the former president, before requesting a second effort from the partners: “We have played the first phase of the match focused on getting the largest number of signatures and we don’t think about whether we are favorites or not. But we are going with winning morale and now it depends on the second part, on the campaign. I hope to debate the programs with the rest of the candidates and that they make me president because of the experience, the preparation and the determination to restore the illusion to the Barcelona fans, “he explained. And he joked when asking him if Leo Messi has supported him. «I have not checked the signatures, I do not know if I have Messi’s. You have to ask him, ”he said.

Font, the main favorite until Laporta broke in forcefully, is the second of the candidates with the most signatures of support for the elections. He anticipated early in the afternoon that he would show up at the club with more than enough to make the cut. Font, accompanied by several members of his still pre-candidacy, said that he had 4,710 signatures, that is, 2,453 more than necessary. Good figures but overshadowed by the massive support for Laporta, much more media than the candidate who has Xavi Hernández for the bench as a great claim.

As expected, those who would not pass the signature cut are Agustí Benedito, Pere Riera, Xavi Vilajoana, Lluis Fernández Alá and Joan Farré. All, except for Benedito, who excused his absence with the argument of municipal confinement, had planned to go through offices to deliver them to the club and have them validated.


Barça postpones the elections and will try to hold them on March 7

Shortly before 7 pm, Joan Laporta and Víctor Font were right in front of the Barça offices. A little later, Toni Freixa arrived. Offices that Laporta knows well, because he worked there for a few years. The offices where Font wants to go in to start changing a club that continues to drown in a season that is being chaotic. The offices where Freixa wants to return if he wins an election that remains undated, although the three candidates have already marked one in red: March 7. Then, if the pandemic allows it, Barcelona will finally choose its new president in a historic election, as for the first time the postal vote will be used.

The elections scheduled for January 24 have been postponed. “There is a legal report that guarantees that the electoral process will stop at this time and that it will not have to start again from the beginning. What is done is done “, explained Laporta after the meeting with the members of the Barça management board. Both Laporta and Font i Freixa, the three partners who got enough signatures to run for president, heard the news of the postponement of the elections in the morning. It was no surprise, in fact.

And in the afternoon the club’s management board met with the three candidates. They reached a consensus on March 7 as a new date, as long as the Generalitat first modifies the sports law to allow voting by mail. “We will work to expand the voting points considerably and so that postal voting can be implemented. It is important to have the support of the government here, because it is necessary to modify the law of the sport ”, explained Font. The candidates, faced in the elections and with opposing positions until recently on whether to vote on January 24, highlighted the climate of cordiality at yesterday afternoon’s meeting.

However, the idea is to be able to vote as quickly as possible once there is the legal framework to guarantee both face-to-face voting in different venues and, for the first time in the club’s history, postal voting. “Events can be held and programs can continue to be promoted among Barça members. What is certain is that there is a legal report that guarantees that the electoral process will not have to start again from the beginning. What is done is done. And from there we must continue “, said Laporta.

“With Carles Tusquets, Barça is in good hands,” said Toni Freixa, referring to the chairman of the management board. “I am at your disposal for consultations and for exceptional decision-making in a framework of exceptionality for the coronavirus,” added Freixa, who was in favor of an “exercise of responsibility” by the candidates. At the meeting between Tusquets, who will remain in charge of the club, and the three candidates, the possibility of voting on February 28 had also been considered, but a report endorsed by experts advised against it because he did not anticipate that the epidemiological situation would be favorable enough. .

Marathon day

The day, marathon, as usually happens in a club accustomed to legal turmoil, had already begun in the morning with a telematic meeting between Barça officials – the chairman of the board, Carles Tusquets, and the chief executive, Òscar Grau -, the trustee of the club member, the general secretary of Sport and Procicat in which the decision was taken to postpone the elections and look for a new date. The club confirmed this in a statement in which it accepts that now opens an unprecedented scenario in the history of the entity, as, statutes in hand, the manager should not be able to extend its term beyond the on January 24th.

Once the number of candidates running in the elections was resolved on Thursday, it remained to be seen whether the date of the elections would be maintained despite the situation of the pandemic in Catalonia. The Generalitat has already said it is closing the door to facilitate safe routes so that members can travel to vote in other cities, so with the municipal confinement extended until January 25, many members could not go to the polls. “More than half of the electoral census could not vote due to the limitations of movements”, they justify from the manager.

“It’s not an issue that harms one or the other, who is harmed the most is Barça. The club can’t be with this misgovernment any longer, it needs a president “, complained Laporta, who defended being able to vote on January 24th. The Minister of Health, Alba Vergés, had already made it clear that the final decision on a possible postponement of the elections would be on Barça. And the club’s manager defended that, with this scenario, she could not guarantee an election with a minimum of security and participation, a fact that already provoked criticism from Laporta, but also from Font, who considered that the manager had enjoyed enough time to organize the elections on the 24th guaranteeing maximum participation. Therefore, the manager asked the Generalitat for legal coverage so that voting could also be done by mail. Doing so, however, should mean modifying Catalan sports law. According to sources consulted by ARA, the proposal will be accepted.

Tusquets continues to command

Candidates, therefore, had to look for a new date, which should be March 7, as long as voting by mail is guaranteed and more polling stations can be opened in the territory. The election campaign, however, does not stop. At the meeting it was made clear that Tusquets will remain in charge of the club but will not be able to make major transactions due to lack of money, such as signing players. “At the sporting level we have not agreed on anything, because we have been told that there is no money or room to do much,” said Font. That is, Eric Garcia will have to wait. Also Leo Messi, who will not know until March with which president he is negotiating his future.


The Super Cup graduates Araujo and Mingueza in a rejuvenated Barça (Albert Nadal)

Marc-André ter Stegen, for his decisive stops both during the match and in the penalty shootout against Real Sociedad, and Riqui Puig, for marking the decisive throw and coming out of ostracism, were the two names for Barça who they monopolized all the headlines after overcoming the Super Cup semifinals. But in a choral sport such as football, other players, until recently almost unknown to the general public, also signed a notable performance. These are Ronald Araujo and Óscar Mingueza.

The Uruguayan center-back, who reached the semi-finals after suffering an overload in his hamstring muscles in his right thigh, started out as a partner with Clément Lenget. Araujo is demonstrating the qualities that the current technical secretary, Ramon Planes from Lleida, saw in him to insist on taking him to Barça. Planes already had the Uruguayan defender under control before entering work for Barça. He has been following the player since he saw him make his debut in the Second Division of Uruguayan football with CA Rentistas, when he was 17 years old. Araujo’s strength and mentality were key factors in capturing the attention of the technical secretary, who was convinced that the power station had to be taken to Barcelona, ​​where the branch began to be set on fire. Real Madrid were also interested in him, but the white proposal came late, a few days before the final signing of Barça closed in exchange for 1.7 million euros more variable in August of the year 2018.

After the frustrated signing of Eric García at the gates of the closing of the last transfer market, the long-term loss of Gerard Piqué and the dubious physical condition of Samuel Umtiti have opened the doors of the first team to Araujo. The Uruguayan, who has 13 appearances this season (nine in the League, three in the Champions League and one in the Super Cup), has become the leader of the defense, even ahead of Clément Lenglet, who has had some ups and downs this course. Araujo has a black spot in his brief but promising history with the first team: the mistake he made in the draw against Eibar at the Camp Nou in the last game of 2020. After the match, the Uruguayan did not he hid and wanted to give his face: he explained that he cannot make mistakes like the one of that day, proving that wounds make him grow. Personality exercise at just 21 years old and a handful of matches with the Barça shirt.

Mingueza takes advantage of opportunities

In fact, if Araujo has not played more it is because he already suffered an injury that left him out of action for a month in November. This loss, together with the same conditions that catapulted the Uruguayan to the first team, gave the opportunity to add prominence to Mingueza, a footballer who has gone through all categories of football training at La Masia. Although Mingueza is central, the injury of Sergi Roberto -who is expected to return between the end of January and the beginning of February- and the discomfort of Sergiño Dest have also opened the gap for him to add minutes as a right-back.

In fact, one of the first times Ronald Koeman saw Mingueza live playing an official match was on the first day of Group E of the Second Division B, at the Johan Cruyff Stadium, which pitted the subsidiary against Gimnàstic de Tarragona. In the season of its debut with the first equipment it accumulates the same participation that Araujo this course: 13 (nine in Liga, three in the Champions and one in the Supercopa). Although the Uruguayan has played more minutes: 1,013 against 905.

Whether out of urgency or necessity, both are counting on Ronald Koeman in a rejuvenated Barça. The team that in the duel against Bayern Munich in Lisbon was close to 30 years on average came out with an eleven against Real Sociedad that did not reach an average of 26 years.


Koeman will no longer look the same as Riqui Puig, right ?: the hot notes from Real Sociedad

Ter Stegen fa de Messi. Without his best player, Barça was ashamed. You couldn’t tell. And less against one of the best-matched teams today. The change of drawing had led Barça to play better, but we only had the test with 10 in the equation and with Pedri as the main partner. With the captain unavailable, the Canary did not connect with a match that had excess of chaos. Dembélé became more involved and Griezmann did not know how to play the role of playmaker that touched him. Without Messi emerged the other out of this team. He wears gloves, is German and not only stopped two penalties in the final round, but saved his team from losing after 120 minutes with spectacular stops.

Discovering new facets. De Jong has scored three goals since Koeman brought him closer to the area with a very warm 4-3-3. Barça are discovering the arrival of the Dutchman, who has already surpassed his goals from last season. At the end of a very awkward first half against Real Sociedad, a header in a top position undoed the initial equalizer. De Jong still does not govern the wide area as expected, but in return he is getting used to deciding otherwise, paying more homage to his compatriots like Van Bommel or Cocu than to Sergio Busquets, whom in theory had to replace.

A catwalk penalty. What De Jong achieved just before the break he twisted himself shortly after the restart by committing a silly penalty, but a penalty in the end. The former Ajax player rejected with his elbow a lateral cross from Real when he had enough time to correct the position of his arm. The referee followed the current fashion and had enough of a slight hint of voluntariness to point the eleven yards, from where Oyarzabal, who is the best penalty kicker in the league, once fooled Ter Stegen. In the second, the German got it right.

The responsibility of a veteran. After seeing that Trincão was not able to contribute too much as a shocker, Koeman had to put Riqui Puig in overtime. The Dutchman would have preferred Depay’s place in Matadepera to the team, but as the club has no money he had to use it in an emergency. Once again, the young midfielder showed that he has enough quality to play for Barça, that his ostracism doesn’t quite match what he leaves on the pitch. Not only did he add one more march to the three-quarters of the field, but he resolved the responsibility of the last penalty with the serenity of a veteran. Will Koeman finally look different?


Madrid fa figa i es que sense final of the Super Cup (1-2)

Real Madrid lost again, lost to Athletic Club (1-2) and will have to watch the Spanish Super Cup final on television. Two goals from Raúl García during the first half left a team coached by Zinedine Zidane against the ropes that took a long time to react. Karim Benzema scored the goal for the white team with 15 minutes left.

Marcelino’s approach surprised Zinedine Zidane in the first half, with a high pressure that did not know how to beat Real Madrid. The Basque team punished two errors by Lucas Vázquez playing on the sidelines. A loss of ball allowed the first goal of Raul Garci’a in minute 18 of party. His shot came in from the right hand side but Íñigo Martínez managed to save it with an unbelievable reaction stop. In addition, Varane was injured and was replaced during the break.

The scoreboard was able to move at the start of the second half, when Muniain wasted a good chance for Athletic Club and when Marco Asensio sent two balls to the post. Madrid adjusted the result with a goal by Karim Benzema (75th minute). A few minutes later, the VAR canceled out a second goal from the French striker for a clear offside.

Without energy and without the confidence of the first minutes, Athletic Club suffered to maintain the result during the last minutes of the semifinal in which Madrid desperately sought to send the game into extra time with a second goal that did not come . Athletic Club, then, will be Barça’s rival in the final.

Jovic torna a Frankfurt

A few hours before the semi-final, Real Madrid announced that Luka Jovic will return to the Eintracht in Frankfurt to finish the season. Signed a year and a half ago as a goal scorer, the Serbian striker has only scored two goals in the 32 games he has played with the white team. He has not played a minute since November 8 and has since been sidelined due to covid-19 infection, injuries or simply because he does not have the confidence of Zidane.


The Barça elections, postponed to March 7

The candidates agree to agree on decisions and rule out the arrival of Eric Garcia in winter.

There have been no surprises and the elections of Barça the same day the Catalans were postponed. The script stated that the luck of some was linked to that of the others. And, even though there were those who resisted postponing the appointment with the polls, in the end the dark clouds that had already loomed since the beginning of the week have ended up forcing both consultations to be suspended, lengthening the interim of Pere Aragonès and Carles Tusquets in office. While the elections to the Parliament are postponed to May 30, if the covid allows it the culés will vote the 7 of March.Tusquets’ famous’ as soon as possible ‘would arrive two weeks before the elections that Josep Maria Bartomeu had called for March 20 and 21, before his forced resignation by motion of censure.

Barça assumed early in the morning that the postponement of the elections was inevitable and is working on alternatives to be able to put ballot boxes as soon as possible. At the meeting between representatives of the club, the Procicat and the General Secretary of l’Esport no special safe-conduct has been authorized for members, with which only those who live in one of the five points enabled by the club in Catalonia could participate. The municipal confinement would prevent, for example, that the residents of L’Hospitalet could cross Riera Blanca street to go to the Camp Nou. In the appointment with the Government, it has been raised the modification of the Llei de l’Esport so that voting by mail can be activated, which is not included in the Barça statutes. An option that Tusquets already raised in November when he called the elections but that he had not activated in all this time, despite the fact that the indicators already threatened the storm that has been unleashed, bogging down a little more the delicate situation of the club.

“The club has verified the inability to hold elections on the scheduled date due to the mobility restrictions decreed by the Government in the current pandemic context, so the date of the elections will have to be delayed “, explained the Generalitat and Barça in a joint statement. Tusquets, accompanied by the club’s CEO (Oscar Grau) and the Catalan Ombudsman (Joan Manuel Trayter), has proposed the modification of the sports legislation so that it can be voted on a new date, an option that government representatives have committed to studying. The Generalitat has ruled out making exceptions in municipal confinement “given the high mobility that this would entail.”

The manager set five voting points in Catalonia (Camp Nou-Barcelona, ​​Girona, Tarragona, Tortosa and Lleida) and five more in Madrid, Valencia, Seville, Palma de Mallorca and Andorra. Without exceptions to be able to break the municipal confinement, half of the 110,000 members would not vote Unless the entity enabled more ballot boxes in the rest of the Catalan territory. Of the 95,298 who had to vote at the Barcelona headquarters, only half (46,740) are registered in the Catalan capital. A point that the manager has committed to with the presidential hopefuls to work on.

After the morning meeting with the Generalitat, Tusquets met for two hours with the three candidates to finally decide what to do, since Barça, as a private entity, has the power to make its own decision. “The elections will not be on January 24 and they will try to be on March 7. It is unfortunate that the one that is harmed the most is Barça, we all agree that it cannot wait any longer to have a president, “has valued Joan Laporta, the most reluctant to postpone the appointment with the polls, but who has acknowledged that before the position of the Government the manager had little margin. “It’s not the virus, it’s the mafia #DictaduraFCB”, Josep-Ignasi Macià, a member of the Laportista candidacy, had tweeted before. Víctor Font and Toni Freixa had been in favor of postponing them if the right of participation and the health security of the partners were not guaranteed. “The pandemic situation is expected to be better in late February and it takes time to implement vote by mail. We are aiming for the beginning of March “, Font explained after the appointment, which has indicated that the priorities are to expand the number of voting points and activate voting by mail. The club will make official March 7 as the new appointment once the The Generalitat confirms that the parliamentary procedure for the reform of sports legislation may have been passed. Only the three who made the cut will attend, according to the legal report that the manager has provided to the applicants in which it is stated that the postponement freezes the electoral process (so the collection of the guarantees would not have to be started again).

Barça’s interim position, without a president since Bartomeu’s resignation in October and with a manager whose term ended on January 28, will remain until at least March 7, leaving the club out of the game, with urgent folders such as the problems of liquidity and the winter market. “If there are important decisions, they will be made with our opinion and with the maximum consensus”, Font pointed out. In this sense, given the lack of consensus in the signing of Eric Garcia the arrival of the canterano could be postponed until summer, when he is free.