Inside El Clásico
400 million watched, but only for 90 minutes. Even with the excessive coverage from the Spanish press, so much is lost in the build-up to one of the biggest spectacles in world football. With access a reporter could only dream of, FC Barcelona released a video of the scenes before and after the big match at the Camp Nou. The nerves, the fans, the hundreds of cameras, they’re all captured. Watch the full feature here. [Posted by Eric]
The FC Barcelona Island
Real Madrid may be building an actual island, but it can’t be better than the imagined land of FC Barcelona. Piqué welcomes you in. Puyol keeps you safe from danger. Iniesta paints murals by kicking a ball against a wall. And Neymar just goes around winking at people. Those football-loving billionaires in the Middle East must be tempted to make this a reality. Never mind the fact that Barcelona is already close to a paradise for fans and players. Watch the full spot here.
Keep fighting, Tito
FC Barcelona have confirmed the unbearable news that their manager Tito Vilanova must take a leave of absence and continue his fight against cancer after a relapse. It’s a sad day for football, and as the battle goes on, we’re all behind you, Tito. [Art by Luke. GIFs via. Posted by Eric]
Through Ryu’s Lens: Messi lifts Barça, PSG bows out
Fingernails were bitten, but the Camp Nou crowd saw their side edge another excellent performance from PSG. Barça were second best until Lionel Messi came on and despite playing at 60% or so due to an injury, the Argentine led the Catalans into the back of the net. Ryu was in Barcelona to see the mighty Zlatan go silent as Pedro stole the show.
Welcome home, Tito
It’s difficult to understate just how important Tito Vilanova is to Barça. From his irreplaceable position as Pep Guardiola’s assistant, forming ideas and helping tiki-taka evolve, to his unbelievable record in his first season as Barcelona manager, the man has been a silent staple of the club’s success year after year. So when Tito was diagnosed with cancer and forced to go to New York to combat it in January, the team lost its unsung leader. Clásicos were lost and doubt filled Catalunya after a defeat to AC Milan.
Now, nearly four months after entering the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center where he received radiotherapy and chemotherapy for throat cancer, Tito Vilanova returns to Barça. The Champions League awaits. The La Liga title awaits. The man behind the scenes in back. It’s time to step foot in the Camp Nou, Tito, and we’re delighted to see you again. [Posted by Eric. GIF by Dale con Comba.]
Andres Iniesta: “You learn fast that possesion is king. And that never changes.”
Many began their development on the streets or in a playground, a stage which would then take plenty of aspiring footballers to the next level, the 5-aside arena, where futsal is played. A style of football religiously practised throughout South America and Spain, where illustrious names such as Redondo, Ronaldinho and Iniesta mastered the art of this game that revolves around fast touches and controlling the ball in small confined areas. It became a key influence behind their technical abilities and the widely praised ‘tiki-taka’ performed by Iniesta on a weekly basis. And as he points out, possession is key.
To celebrate Iniesta’s style of play and the launch of the new mint green Elastico Finale II shoe, Nike took Iniesta back to his roots, to Fuentealbilla, his hometown and to his ground. Where a much younger talented kid mastered the game of futsal, before jumping into the Albacete youth set-up and then joining Barcelona at the age of 12.
Although the game changed from 5 men to 11 as Iniesta grew up, his style and ability hasn’t, they remain loyal to futsal, which clearly shaped him into the world class player he is today. This is my ground. [Posted by Dom]