Barcelona: Frightening one week and criticisms from every corner

Barcelona has indeed been passing through a bad phase, especially in the last seven days when they were not only thrown out of the Championship League but slept to the third place in La Liga as well. If this was not enough, they also lost Copa del Rey final to arch rival Real Madrid. These fallouts require an emergency solution as none of the world class Barca strikers could score against their opponents in last one week and a demand has now being raised from every corner that there is something seriously wrong with this combination of manager, coach, and teammates. One man, who is expected to rejoin the defending champions, is Pep Guardiola who had been one of the most successful coaches for Spanish giant in recent era. Johan Cruyff, a former Dutch footballer and current manager of the Catalonia football team, has suggested Barca bosses to immediately call Guardiola back as only his experience can streamline their performance on the ground. He, in fact, has asked to call former president back as well since he used to have a fine tuning with Guardiola in the past which brought them some magnificent feats. Actually, the demand for a serious change is being made after Spanish media bashed Camp Nou side for its bad show off late, in fact, many channels lambasted not only players with headlines like ‘This cycle is cover — another must begin,’ but team’s think tanks too for the overall failure in recent days.

Cruyff told about his suggestions during an interview where he said, “The best thing for Barca would be for Guardiola to come back. He is a magnificent coach and there is nobody better. If Laporta is president again I am going to say that the best thing would be to sign Pep, and as he is an intelligent person, I am sure he will do that.”

More importantly, some of the media houses purposely targeted Messi for his failure in these matches despite the fact that he performed quite decently. Xavi Hernandez, the fabulous center back, has raised the intentions to raise a voice against Messi only. He said, “It is not about looking for individuals to blame. The guilty party is the team, all of us, starting with the players and the coach. We made mistakes and Madrid damaged us on the break. Obviously we are leaving here very down, but we must lift our heads. Some day it will happen, but I have been hearing all this about the end of a cycle for five years now.”

Pellegrini defends his decision to include “injured” Kompany for Liverpool showdown

Playing with an injured player is not a new thing in contemporary soccer, in fact, there have been cases when a not so fit player played brilliantly and saved his side. After allegations that Real Madrid manager played with injured Bale just because he is the biggest star in the side, Premier league is following the trend with rising contention over City manager role just because he included Vincent Kompany for high profile derby with Liverpool. Since, both Liverpool and City are among the top four and fighting to take home the English crown, each of their faceoff is highly awaited by fans across the world as everyone knows a win at this stage can upraise their lead decisively. The Sunday defeat cost City full three points and a trail of seven good points from the closest rival. Moreover, even after criticism from left, right and center, Chilean football manager is not ready to accept it was his fault he picked an unfit player and said this is mare a coincident he imparted in all three goals City conceived at Anfield. Notably, Kompany got injured during training session on Saturday and visibly not fit to be played in the high profile match like this one.

Pellegrini is continuously claiming that Belgian footballer was perfectly fit to play this game irrespective of his injury state. He, however, avoided censuring his captain while defending his choice over the selection. He said in a press meet that “He started the game because he is the captain. He proved before the game, he said he was okay and the doctor said that so I don’t regret that.I don’t like to analyse the individual performance with the media. I talk with the players and when we win or lose, it is the responsibility of the whole team.”

City would have to win their remaining matches if they really want to win English title and their next match is with Sunderland on Wednesday, and more importantly, they would have to play without midfielder Yaya Toure who sustained a muscle injury on Sunday. Pellegrini believes he has enough meat in his side to win remaining matches hence there is no need to worry at least about lack of enough talent. He added, “I have a lot of confidence because I know what those players can give. We have played the whole season with a lot of injuries. Now we’ve Yaya, we’ve had Kompany, Aguero, Nasri. But we have a squad and must replace him in this moment. I am sure we are going to do it with no problem.”

Barcelona’s shocking loss to Granada edges Real on the table

Every soccer region is known for at least two of its main sides, and most of the time, these sides are famously known as the arch rivals. It holds true in England where Manchester City and Manchester United are age old rivals, and similarly, Spanish sides Real Madrid and Barcelona enjoy the cold war every season both in domestic and European front. Defending La Lag champion Barcelona has been ruling the La Liga table until Atlético Madrid snatched the spot from them and then Real Madrid suppressed them on the leaderboard shunning their chances to defend their high profile title. Yesterday, Granada defeated Barcelona against all the odds and put a strong dent on Barca’s title hopes, and more importantly, it was Real who thrashed their hopes almost completely by crushing Almería by 4-0. In fact, it was Real’s third successive win in the Spanish league along with an unmatched feat of having thirteen unanswered goals! Comparatively, it helped Real sustained one point’s edge with equal number of games, however, Atlético has still played one lesser game to Carlo Ancelotti side. Analysts are taking Barca’s unforeseen defeat as a major cause of possible demoralization of Camp Nou side ahead of their Wednesday’s Copa del Rey final between the arch rivals.

The Vikings Coach Carlo Ancelotti is playing down the shocking defeat of their arch rival and admitted Barca clearly have had an edge over Granada, however he called it the excitement of the league where everyone is like a champion. Talking about Gerardo Martino side, he ‘cleverly’ said, “It was a surprise because Barcelona has more quality than Granada, but at this time of the season all teams are fighting for a goal and those fighting for salvation are the most dangerous,” he said at his post-match press conference.

“I think Barcelona are thinking they can still win the league. There are many surprises in this league, and I think they will fight to the end. It will not change the dynamic of Wednesday’s match.

“In our heads, we do not consider what will happen with the other teams. We must look at our games. We have an incredibly important match on Wednesday, and we don’t have time to think about anything else.”

If we look at Barcelona, it was their second consecutive defeat after losing to Atlético Madrid by 1-0 and that is why they are struggling on the leaderboard as well. Anyways, fans are still confident for their favorite team to comeback anytime thanks to their army of world class players!

Martino regrets missing Champions League but praises Messi for his class

It is generally believed that star players enjoy best of both worlds, but not many are aware of the fact that these crowd poolers become the biggest rivals if they do not perform in any important game. Champions League is indeed in the crucial stage where almost each team of last sixteen is trying to escalate to the nest level hence no fan wants to see their performer fails in the quarterfinals. Messi, the four time player of the year award winner, is one such Barcelona forward who faced lots of criticisms for his failure in much talk about showdown with Atletico Madrid after they defeated La Liga champion by 1-0 in a nail biting affair. More importantly, Barca lost by 2-1 on aggregate as well that took Atletico in the last four. If we look at Messi performances in the CL matches off late, he has been a magical performer for Spanish giant with so many memorable feats to his name, in fact, every fan knows about him and how dangerous he could be for any side. But this time, he failed and Barca could not reach to the semis finals – the stage they had been enjoying since last six consecutive years.

Amid severe criticism coming for left, right, and the center, Coach Gerardo Martino has come in support of Argentinean and said it takes whole life to be like Messi and those, who are bashing him for his overall failure this season, don’t know how difficult it is to live the life of Messi. Martino, who comes from the common place in Argentina, backed his countryman and added, “It is so hard to be Leo Messi in this life and playing football. Basically because everything is so unfair. When he doesn’t play as well as people expect him to he ends up being criticised very strongly. I think it must be very hard to be him.”

Even if we look at domestic Spanish league La Liga, Atlético is ruling there as well with equal points to that of Real Madrid while Barcelona is just one point adrift, however, Atlético have played one game less and if they could overcome at Getafe on Sunday, they can enjoy the decisive lead for the remaining six games. Talking about the failure in Europe, Argentine manager added, “I will be happy if we win any other tournament but for me being the new one playing in Europe and the expectations I had for the Champions League this was a failure and will remain a failure no matter what happens.

“After what we went through a team cannot be on top emotionally speaking, but we understand there is no time for grieving. What happened happened and now we must focus on what comes next.”

Moyes feels no regret using ‘injured’ Rooney for CL quarterfinal

Every manager wants to enter into the field with his full strength and sometime he uses his star but injured players in this process because he does not want to lose psychological impact such players’ presence can put over opponents. Manchester United, who could not be as rocking in the English topflight this season as they had been in the last one, was doing decently on European tour but when they got to face defending champions at the Allianz Arena, which was their last chance to qualify for the semis, manager David Moyes took a brave step and played with Wayne Rooney who was apparently injured. He had broken his toe during the first leg quarterfinal with Bayern Munich and for the second leg; he used some pain killers and entered into the field. United faced the consequences as he missed some crucial opportunities that cost them the entire match and they lost the game by 3-1 sinking any hope to progress into the next stage. Now, Moyes has defended his decision to play with Rooney despite the fact that he has had difficulties in kicking the ball freely, he said in a press meet, “I was concerned that Wayne had not trained all week and he had taken an injection. At times it looked like it was a struggle striking the ball. He is so vital a player to us. He is so important especially with Robin van Persie out just now. He had a couple of opportunities but couldn’t quite take them.”

Even if we look at United’s sinking boat in the English topflight, they would not qualify for the next season of the Champions League since they can never reach among the top four now, or in other words, they would have to enjoy the European event from the stands for the first time since 1995-96. Significantly, Moyes has no regret of using rather a useless player for a high profile match, but other teammates do not think so. Though, none of them has said anything in public, but behind the scene, almost everyone is annoyed with the Scott and is criticizing his foul play.

Phil Jones, the 22-year-old defender took some initiative and talked about the inclusion, but in mixed tone, he said, “It’s hugely important we get back in it as soon as possible. Manchester United need to be in the Champions League. Nights like these do not come around too often. They are the ones you look back on and think: ‘What a time that was.’ You want to play against the best and you want to test yourself against the best.”