The Weekly Review: Week 32 ǀ The FC Barcelona mass exodus edition. Adios Jeffren & Gabriel Milito

ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 06: (L-R) Forward David Villa #7 of FC Barcelona takes a shot against Oscar Rojas #4 of Club America at Cowboys Stadium on August 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Exodus, that’s the theme of the week. Whether it is players departing the team, the team departing the US or writers returning from…well, temporarily exile. While Andrés Ehrli has left the Barca Blaugranes staff, we have added Emile Avanessian to our core group of FC Barcelona aficionados while celebrating the return of lost sons and joint-third most elusive Blaugranes member on Twitter, Paul Udani & Shehryar Khan. For those keeping track, Jose lost his 1st place tag to the even more elusive, but always reliable Bostjan Cernensek. Nevertheless, we wish Andrés the best in his future endeavors and thank him for his contribution at Barca Blaugranes. With that in mind, Shehryar could and will probably make Thursday’s his own. So look out for Shehryar Thursdays! Anyways, we are always looking to add writers to our team so feel free to submit an application. Email, not spam me, at barca.blaugranes@gmail.com or get in touch with my Senior Editors. You know, the elusive bunch of people listed on the masthead below.

 

 

But let’s kick-off this Weekly Review with Emile’s debut piece on Barca Blaugranes. A self-proclaimed nerd, he made up for lost time (he is from and grew up in the US of A) in being an avid student of the beautiful game aka football. Though Barca Blaugranes belongs to SB Nation I refuse to call it soccer. Sue me.

Pleasantries, Messi Thoughts & My Road To Camp Nou

As is the case with many neutral novices, I hitched my wagon to the Brazilians’ star. In doing so, I aligned my interests with those of a veritable "who’s who" of the world’s best. Amid the collection of superstars, one that featured Ronaldo and Rivaldo, Barcelona’s former and current (but soon to be former) attacking stars, a young midfielder named Ronaldinho, captured my attention. To claim that I knew then that in a year he'd move from Paris Saint-Germain would be a lie. However, his imagination and the way in which he commanded the ball, magical if still a bit raw, eliminated any question in my mind of future superstardom. 

Though everyone can become a (hopefully) lifelong and devoted FC Barcelona fan, not every player, not even the La Masia graduates, can become a Barca success story. One of the aforementioned players to depart FC Barcelona this summer, Spain U21 international, Jeffren. The former Barca B player has joined Portuguese giants, Sporting Lisbon.

Goodbye Jeffren: Why I’m also happy to see you leave FC Barcelona

Who knows what the future holds for him. For now we just wish him the best of luck and perhaps he will finally showcase the potential that made him a FC Barcelona in the first place. At any rate, he has already won all available club trophies at club level. What’s left to say, two down and one left. Let’s hope FC Barcelona can get rid of Gabriel Milito too. Unlike Bojan, Jeffren or Oriol Romeu, the Argentine international has absolutely no future with FC Barcelona.

Sticking with the future of Spanish football, our resident La Liga columnist, Michael Doran, shared some insights on the best and brightest prospects La Furia Roja has to offer. And of course no list of immensely talented youngsters would be complete without a La Masia canterano.

Introducing the next generation of Spanish talent

Gerard Deulofeu, FC Barcelona – Girona-born Deulofeu was the consensus star of the tournament and is the latest fantastic prospect coming off the La Masía factory line. The ease with which he tore apart the Serbian defence as Spain qualified for the semi-final showed the type of age defying skill and quickness of thought that followers of Barcelona's youth sides will have been more than familiar with in recent years.   Deulofeu hit the headlines at the beginning of the summer with British media reports of Catalan "fury" as Arsenal attempted to 'poach' the youngster a la Fabregas

 

Those who aspire to join the ranks of the first team will have to hone their skills in the reserves, or otherwise known as FC Barcelona B. And just like he did last season, Paul Udani will once again cover everything newsworthy about FC Barcelona’s next crop of superstars.

Barcelona B: Twiddling My Thumbs (Seriously)

And finally, from the "this could be a load of junk" files Keirrison Remember him? The biggest waste of €14 million ever? Well, according to Sport (other words, take it with a grain of salt), Keirrison will train with Barcelona B to start this season. Keirrison had recently been "let go" by Brazilian giants Santos FC. I mentioned that Barcelona B needed a striker/center forward, he might be it. I mean, he should be good enough to score goals with the B team right? Right?

A player who definitely will not return to FC Barcelona B is, sadly enough, Oriol Romeu. SB Nation's Chelsea Blog, We ain't go no history's Graham MacAree addressed the buy-back clause in Oriol's transfer and the surrounding controversy.

On Buyback Clauses And Oriol Romeu - We Ain't Got No History

The Oriol Romeu acquisition has now been confirmed by Chelsea, and more or less everyone is praising it as a good bit of business. The only downside, as far as the Blues are concerned, is the fact that Barcelona can buy him back twice in the next two years if he excels, and for fairly low prices, at that. In some quarters, this is being painted as an insult of some kind - that the European Champions are sending off a midfielder to Stamford Bridge to develop as though Chelsea are merely a finishing school for the Catalan club.

Hopefully there's none for Gabriel Milito who has been released by FC Barcelona.

Goodbye Gabriel Milito: Why I’m ecstatic to see you leave FC Barcelona, for good

The inevitable happened. FC Barcelona has released Argentine international Gabriel Milito, on a free it appears. It’s August 2011 so this news has been long overdue. As a matter of fact, Gabriel Milito should’ve been released two years ago.

 

On another note, it appears as if FC Barcelona fanboys have championed Pep Guardiola as the next best thing since…(insert whatever, or better yet, whoever here). In their eyes, the Santpedor –born manager is beyond reproach. Though it speaks volumes about the regard in which he is held, it gives me cause for concern. Having faith is one thing, being a blind follower is another. Nobody is right ALL the time.

Even FC Barcelona's Golden Boy Pep Guardiola can be wrong

Moreover, no man is exempt from criticism, and no matter how well you do, criticism is always justified. After all, there is no such thing as perfection, and to borrow the new maxim of the San Francisco 49’ers, "You are getting better or you are getting worse. You never stay the same."

 

Quite frankly, Pep Guardiola has too much power and influence for my taste. Though Manchester United’s Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsenal FC’s Arsene Wenger enjoy near unrivaled power at their respective clubs their success on the pitch, the yardstick for any manager, couldn’t be any contrasting. After an initial period of success Arsene Wenger appears to have lost the plot. Heading into the 2011-2012 campaign without any defensive reinforcement, Pep Guardiola seems to embark on the very same as the Frenchman. According to resurfaced Shehryar Khan, Pep Guardiola should spend less time chasing Cesc Fabregas and sign a quality center back.

FC Barcelona Transfers: £40 million for Arsenal FC's Cesc Fabregas? Thanks, but no thanks

Dani Alves and Eric Abidal were outstanding last season, but playing them all season long without cover could prove to be fatal.. Get them a decent back-up!  In my opinion, Cesc Fabregas should be left alone for yet another season and major quantity of that 30-35 million quid should be spent on fixing up the defense. And finally the brighter side of things, oh Alexis you are the man! Wonder signing.

 

The lack of depth in defense is apparent. FC Barcelona have had their (insert vulgar expression for a human rear end here) handed to them by South American side, Chivas. Altough it was "only" an exhibition match, the spectators were let down by the world’s best club side. Not to mention, these folks paid top Dollar only to witness an underwhelming FC Barcelona side. C’mon, playing Jonathan dos Santos as a right-back? What’s next Pep? But let’s see what Jose A. had to say about FC Barcelona’s supposedly embarrassment of riches in squad depth.

USA Tour Results: C.D. Guadalajara demolish FC Barcelona 4-1

4-1 Yes, you read it right as I'm sure you've been counting, was the count, and Chivas deservedly embarrassed Barcelona and gave them an F for effort and an F for the total Fiasco that was. If Pep is serious about a pre-season and even has slight respect for the record crowds that come to see the ever popular Barcelona, then he's now forced to field a strong lineup and win the last match of the tour if he is to avoid another lopsided scoreline that not only embarrasses his team, but gives the fans a poor showing for the good money they pay to come out and see the best team in the world.

 

Why not buy a defender? It’s not like Andreu Fontas is likely to become faster anytime soon. I suspect even my chain-smoking friends could outrun him over 50 meters. However, there are several defenders who’d fit the bill perfectly.

FC Barcelona: Potential Defensive Targets: Mats Hummels and more!

Mats Hummels The personal favourite of our Editor-in-Chief, Hummels is one of the best young defenders in Europe, so surely it’s a no-brainer? Well, first off, Puyol is an automatic starter, as is Pique, meaning that Hummels would have to sit on the bench. Something tells me he would object to that.

 

Unless buying a central defender has been deemed unnecessarily. By all accounts, that seems to be the case in Barcelona. Somehow the notoriously short-on-quality-defenders side managed to safe face and defeated Club America 2-0 before ending the US Tour and leaving for the more familiar shores and climate of Barcelona.

USA Tour Results: FC Barcelona bid farewell to the USA on a positive note defeating Club America 2-0

FC Barcelona today achieved victory in their last game of their USA tour after defeating Club America 2-0 at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas. Goals in opposing halves by David Villa and Seydou Keita sealed the win for Barcelona in an encounter that at times seemed more difficult than the modest scoreline seems to suggest.

 

Fc Barcelona vs Cf America 2-0

That’s it for me. I’m exhausted and in dire need of a prolonged vacation, preferably without a notebook or BlackBerry.

Yours truly,

Sebastian

 

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