Welcome to the first edition of “From The Mind of Xoel” This will be a new weekly segment that I will do on Bleacher Report. It’s a weekly editorial on FC Barcelona, world football and sports in general.
Essentially, it’s me giving you my opinion on all things sports in a “non-article” type of format. Think of it as a "Pardon The Interruption" type of talk.
Since this is the first editorial, let me just say that everything that I say is strictly just my opinion. If you disagree on something I say, that’s ok.
It’s just my opinion. I’m not saying I’m right; I’m just giving you what I think about the topic at hand.
But I’m usually right.
The EPL makes for great drama.
Paris Saint-Germain being the best thing to happen to French football...well, maybe ever.
FIFA 13's latest trailer as well as other quick hits.
It looks like Ibrahim Afellay is essentially done at FC Barcelona as he was sent on loan to Schalke 04 last week.
To be honest with you, I feel bad of Afellay.
What a great situation he came into a few years ago. Ibrahim was sold from PSV to Barcelona for a steal of a deal at €3 million. I'm sure he thought he would get plenty of playing time and would become a solid Barça player for many years to come.
So what happened?
Issac Cuenca and Cristian Tello happened.
If the rise of Cuenca and especially Tello never occurred, Afellay would have a secure job at Barcelona instead of being “that guy the team is trying to sell.”
Don’t get me wrong, I like Afellay. I think he’s an excellent midfielder/winger and he would be a huge asset to any team.
Just not this team.
Afellay is like a shirt or pants that you bought at a discount and you end up never wearing it. You don’t want to just give it away—even though you should—because it was such a great deal and it’s still good. But you know that you don’t use it and you probably never will. All it’s going to do is hang in your closet or at the bottom of your drawer, never seeing daylight.
That’s kind what Ibrahim Afellay is.
Yeah, I just compared Afellay to unused clothes. And?
This is all in good fun.
Now with Alex Song in the mix, there is no room for players like Jonathan Dos Santos, perhaps Sergi Roberto and of course Ibrahim Afellay in the first team. They’re good players, just not good enough to be first-team players with FC Barcelona
My hope is that Afellay has a fantastic season at Schalke and next summer he goes to a team that truly needs him. He deserves to be a starter.
I hope Barcelona can get at least €8 million for Afellay next summer.
It seems like Jonathan Dos Santos is getting teased at Barcelona.
The team tells him they want him on the first team. Then they either send him to the B squad or plan his loan out.
It’s not fair, but what can you do?
I hope Jonathan realizes that he’ll never be consistently on the first squad and that if he wants to be a starter in a football team, he needs to leave as soon as possible.
Of course Jonathan did not want to leave Barcelona. But what is he gaining being there right now?
Sorry “Johnny Two Saints” but you are stuck in “the friend zone” with FC Barcelona. You’re not going anywhere with them. You continuously dream that one day, things are going to change in your relationship. But your emotions are just going to continue to go back and forth and it’s not going to change. Barcelona is just not that into you. Stop wasting your time, Jonathan, and move on.
Don’t end up like your brother Giovanni who doesn’t get any playing time in any club he joins and is essentially a disappointment when he’s not wearing a Mexico national team kit. At least Giovanni will get playing time now at Mallorca.
Go start at another team if you can, Jonathan. Surely you’ll have a better shot of winning a starting position at almost any other team not named Barcelona or Real Madrid in La Liga.
I know Barcelona has been Dos Santos’ life, but let’s be honest; he’ll never be a regular player with the first squad.
Like Jeffren, Giovanni Dos Santos, Bojan and others before him, Jonathan Dos Santos is talented, but not talented enough to be a regular first-teamer at FC Barcelona.
La Masia has so much talent, it’s scary. But part of the downfall of too much talent on one squad is that some players have to be left out.
For FC Barcelona, having too much talent at La Masia is never a problem. It just makes for young players to have to fight their way to make it to the first squad, which is tough to say the least.
But staying on the first squad is the toughest part.
Let me just say that even though I’m an FC Barcelona fan and I love La Liga, I love the drama of the English Premier League.
This past weekend, I watched Queens Park Rangers vs. Manchester City as well as Manchester United vs. Southampton. City continuously keeps their opponents in games and bless them for it. It makes watching QPR tolerable. Of course we all remember what happened last season as Sergio Aguero’s late goal defeated QPR and won the title for the Citizens.
There may never be a more dramatic day in world football league play again.
But as dramatic as Manchester City and other teams’ games can be, it may be Manchester United who are the kings of EPL drama.
I really thought Southampton had the game. It was the 85th minute for crying out loud. But former Mr. Arsenal, Robin van Persie, was at the right place at the right time and put the ball into the back of the net to make it even at two. A few minutes later, a fantastic header from RVP sealed his hat trick and sealed a United win.
I'm sure Piers Morgan was mad at the result.
After watching the United game, one thing ran across my mind: Why can’t La Liga have some of this drama?
Don’t get me wrong, I love La Liga, their style of play and the players in the league. But the EPL has such late drama that it’s tough not to say it’s the league that is the king of late-game drama.
There are plenty of great games in La Liga, some of which have late-game drama. Many Liga games go back and forth with plenty of goals, which is what I love about La Liga. But it's more often to see late drama in EPL than in La Liga.
But I’m a sucker for those EPL games that come down to the wire. Part of the reason for this is just the style of play in England leads to late drama.
I think if I had a “favorite” EPL team, I may feel differently about the late-game drama in the Premier League. I’d have too much invested in enjoying it. But since I’m a Barcelona fan, me and all football fans whose teams are not in England get to sit back and enjoy the drama.
Please continue to give us late drama, EPL.
BTW: Can I just say that I really like Manchester United’s road kits. The all-black crest with the white looks good.
I love what Paris Saint-Germain are doing: buy as many players as possible. Why not?
This past week, PSG sporting director Leonardo and manager Carlo Ancelotti brought in Dutch international Gregory van der Wiel from Ajax for €6 million. For me, I think that’s a good deal.
With Thiago Silva, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Lucas Moura and Ezequiel Lavezzi already purchased this summer, the total tab for PSG for the summer of 2012 is €146 million.
All that money to try and buy a winner sooner rather than later.
While many people do not like what teams like PSG are doing, I’m all for it. Why?
Because I want to see if this works.
We've seen Roman Abramovich spend a fortune at Chelsea since he bought the London club. It took a while, but Roman finally got the Champions League title he dreamed of last season. Manchester City are following suit at spending money for not just a EPL title, which they got last season, but of course for a European title as well.
Will PSG win the UEFA Champions League soon? Don’t count on it.
But having another “All-Star team” in Europe is not a bad thing for us fans. It’s not bad for France as well, because let’s face it, Ligue I needs a mega-team like PSG.
Sorry, but Olympique Lyon and Olympique Marseille are big clubs (for France), but they obviously don’t have the funds that PSG has to truly compete in the Champions League anytime soon.
In the totem pole of European leagues, Ligue I falls behind the EPL, La Liga, Serie A and Bundesliga. Ligue I officials may not want to admit it, but PSG makes football fans who normally don’t watch the French league want to watch their league. More viewers mean more buzz and more buzz means more publicity for the league.
All of which usually leads to more money. And who doesn’t want and love more money?
Just ask Paris Saint-Germain.
Keep spending, boys. I’m sure they’ll win Ligue I soon enough. But a Champions League title, not so fast.
You can buy players, but a bunch of All-Stars with no team chemistry will not win you a Champions League. Roman Abramovich can tell you, it takes time, building team chemistry, a bit of luck and for your players to finally become “a team” to win a UEFA Champions League.
We all know Lionel Messi graces the cover of FIFA 13, out September 25 in North America and September 27 worldwide.
Take a look at an awesome FIFA 13 trailer for PlayStation 3 starring Leo Messi.
Real Madrid's Karim Benzema, former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart, Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and New York Red Bulls' Tim Cahill appear on the video as well.
It's 1:36 of pure magic. Check it out.
One last news note: for those in the US who have DirecTV, as of September 13, GolTV will be dropped from DirecTV’s Sports Pack package. The troubled channel will now only be available on their “Más Latino” service. So Bundesliga fans, be aware.
That’s all from me for today.
Thanks for reading my editorial. Always appreciated. If you liked my editorial, great. If not, it's ok. Just don't be cruel about it. It's just my opinion.
As a new way of interacting with my readers, I will begin “FIFA Thursdays”. Every Thursday beginning on September 27, I will be online from 10 p.m. – Midnight ET playing against some of my readers.
So if you want to play against and beat me at FIFA 13, I'm on Xbox 360 and my username is Xoel7. Find me there. I look forward to beating many of you on FIFA 13. And you can guess which team I’ll always pick.
It’s a small way of saying thanks for checking out my articles and thanks for reading Bleacher Report.
Xoel, The Voice of FC Barcelona on Bleacher Report.
Don't forget to check out my other columns: