In Defense of Barça: Written With Catalan Pride for Everyone Else

Josep Vernet-RieraCorrespondent ISeptember 5, 2009

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 02: Carles Puyol of Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team's third goal during the La Liga match between Real Madrid and Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium on May 2, 2009 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

This article is intended to proportionate a clean and fair discussion. People who only read my side of the story because their culés or Deep's side, because their Madridistas, should forget about commenting on this debate.

To all Madridistas,

My Madridista colleague said that he only went through the transfer fees from the two years "because Laporta's comments were recent. I just wanted to show what he was doing and what he was saying".

Well, Laporta has been in the office since 2003, so what has he really done:

In his first year he signed seven players for €44m.—27m. for Ronaldinho, 6m. for Quaresma, 5m. for Rafa Márquez, 4m. for Luís Garcia, 2,4m. for Mário. Both Rüstü and Gio van Bronckhorst came for €0. Later on in January Edgar Davids arrived on a loan from Juventus.

In the coming season Barça let go 16 players and bought nine others for aprrox.€64m.—Eto'o, Deco, Edmillson, Sylvinho, Giuly, Belletti, Larsson, Maxi López, Albertini.

In 2007 Henry arrived alongside Abidal, Yaya Touré, and Milito.

(The rest of the purchases can be read in Deep's first article.)

Do I really need to say what Florentino Pérez has done over the years?

Let alone the signings of Figo, Zizou, Ronaldo, Beckham, and Michael Owen cost around €200m.!

That is much more than what Barça spent to build the team that won the treble and dismantled Real Madrid 2-6 at the Bernabeu.

On the "only expenditure matters" thingy

Sorry, but it does not. This is how you spot a Madridista—for them football is business only. 

So if I would say that Real Madrid's recent moves (past seasons) are a failure, in the eyes of Deep they would not be a failure since, from an economical point of view, Real Madrid did not lose that much money. Well, Sneijder, Van der Vaart, Huntelaar and Robben weren't exactly "best buys" were they? 

They were terrible additions to a squad that led to a humilliation of "los merengues."

Michael Owen—benched. Nice addition? Oh yes, since we still profited from it.

This expenditure matters attitude is completely wrong, since you have to see who will Barça be buying and who they let go of.

Deep forgot to mention the departure of Cáceres (€16m.) and Gudjohnsen's €2,5m.

After going through the official website of Sport (one of Barcelona's newsapers) I found out that Ibra cost €66m., Keirrison €14m., Maxwell €4,5m., and Chygrinskiy €25m..

With Keirrison being loaned out, Cáceres being sold, like Gudjohnsen, Barça has a net expenditure of €61m.!

So, the difference is now of: €59,3m.!

A little more than the €20m. mentioned in D's article.

The target profile issue

I will stay loyal to my statement: Real Madrid prefers well established players over developing talents. 

There I said it: Just two examples—Figo and Ronaldo.

Figo was developed at Barcelona, who bought him when he won the FIFA WPOTY award? Real Madrid did.

Ronaldo was developed at PSV Eindhoven and Barcelona. Then he went to Inter and when he was already really well established who bought him? Real Madrid did.

When Real Madrid, under Calderón, decided to buy young talents (the Dutch squadron) they just collapsed. So do not throw sand at my eyes with net expenditure.

Barcelona also buys established players? Yes, but Henry was 30 at the time when he transfered, Gudjohnsen is no young man, is he? Hleb was bought for the bench basically, Ronaldinho was seen as a rough diamond back in the day. If he owes his quality to someone it is to the staff at Barcelona. 

On Ibrahimovic:

He is one of the top strikers in the world, but he can be much better and everybody in here knows that. I firmly believe that he can improve much more after these years at Barcelona.

On Chygrinskiy:

Young talented player from the Ukraine and that is his problem. If he came from Brazil then nobody would open his mouth, but since the man comes from the Ukraine and the unknown Shaktar Donetsk (they won the UEFA Cup, remember?) everybody likes to attack him.

On Keirrison:

He'll be a great player in a few years and certainly when other people list great players developed at Barça they will talk about Keirrison.

On Maxwell:

A solid player that will be great to fill in for Abidal or Alves when needed.

Dream Teams:

Firstly, I do not know how much you're into Spanish history, but I would just like to say, that Real Madrid's success during the mid XXth century is owed greatly to the Spanish dictator General Franco. So that was one reason for counting out those rosters.

Of course, Real has had successful teams since then, still it would be nonsense to compare teams from the eighties for the purpose of this discussion, which bases on the transfer policy of both clubs.

As I have already mentioned, not long ago the transfer records were held at some €5-10m. So, I decided that for the good of the discussion I should compare Real Madrid's Galácticos and FCBarcelona's Dream Team.

Just like you were thinking Barça has a tradition with youth players.

The "Dream Team" from '92 battled for dominance with "La Quinta del Buitre" and won four consecutive league titles, one Copa del Rey and the first CL title for Barça.

The squad led by Cruyff, the manager, counted with La Masia graduates like Guardiola, Ferrer, Amor, Calanderé, and Eusebio. Alongside a number of Spanish players that developed at the club (Bakero, Begiristain...)

Which bring us to...

La Masia and the Cantera

Pepe Reina (Liv'pool), Xavi Hernández(Barça), Iniesta(Barça), Fernando Navarro(Sevilla), Gabri (Ajax), De La Peña (Espanyol), Valdés (Barça), Sergio García (Real Bétis), Fàbregas (Arsenal), Leo Messi (Barça), Gio dos Santos (Tottenham Hotspur), Carles Puyol (Barça), Bojan Krkic (Barça), Piqué (Barça), Sergio Busquets (Barça), Pedro (Barça), Mikel Arteta (Everton), Albert Luque (Málaga CF), Fran Mérida (Arsenal).

And since we're feeling so funny let us throw in some fun facts about Barça's youth players: 

Fun Fact 1: Six players from the Euro 2008 Spanish roster (the one that won with some great football) played in the Barcelona youth squad.

Fun Fact 2: The first Spanish player to win an individual award in an international competition came from La Masia - Jesús Maria Pereda was the top goalscorer in the 1964 Euro.

Fun Fact 3: The second Spanish player that won an individual award in an international competition also came from La Masia - Xavi

Fun Fact 4: Leo Messi has won three FIFPro Youn Player of the Year awards (three in a row)

Fun Fact 5: Three Barça youth team players have made it five times to the FIFPro World XI—Puyol, Xavi, and Messi

Fun Fact 6: Barcelona holds the record for more former youth team players in the UEFA Team of the Year: Three (Xavi, Puyol, Messi) or four if you want to count with Cesc.

Oh, what a riot, I'm laughing my pants off!

Fun Fact 7: A former Barcelona youth team player is the second player with most appearances in the UEFA XI—Carles Puyol with four.

Your tummy hurts? Hold on because there's more!

Fun Fact 8: Lionel Messi is the only player that won the UEFA Club Football World Player of the Year Award and came from a Spanish cantera.

Fun Fact 9: Lionel Messi and Xavi Hernández won the best Forward and Mifdielder award of the season.

This one is reeeealy funny:

Fun fact 10: According to the official website of the Spanish FA 3 FCB players have been called up for the latest U-19 tournament, thus being the club with most players in the roster. 


Players that developed at Barça

Well, instead of writing a nice long text, I will stick to the fun facts (thanks for the idea Deep, this is really funny!)

Fun fact 11: There is only one Real Madrid player that won the award for a season at Madrid. (Di Stefano)

Fun fact 12: The first Spanish player to win the Ballon D'Or was playing for Barcelona at the time (Luís Suárez). For the ceptics, that might think that he was a star when he joined - he joined Barça at 19-years-old.

Fun fact 13: Fabio Cannavarro, Ronaldo and Figo have won the award after they signed for Madrid, but the award was given relatively to the season before they joined Real. Which means that Figo actually won the award for his season at Barça.

Fun fact 14: Barcelona has seven players that won the Ballon D'Or - Luís Suárez, Stoichkov, Rivaldo, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Figo, and Cruyff. 

Fun fact 15: Barcelona players have won the coveted award nine times, which breaks the record held by Juventus.

Note: The Wikipedia article has an error in the record table, since they forgot about Cruyffs two Ballon D'Or trophies. These nine trophies count with Figo's that officially belongs to Real Madrid.

Fun fact 16: There isn't a player that has won the trophy after leaving Real Madrid.

Fun fact 17: The only player that won the award after leavin Barça is Ronaldo. All the others have left Barça at an age that would be impossible for them to compete for such an award.

Fun fact 18: Barça has only bought one player that won the award before joining the squad - Cruyff won the award whilst playing at Ajax.

Fun fact 19: Except Di Stefano, every Real Madrid player that won the award, has received the award for a season in another club.


Fun fact 20: If you want to count out Cesc, then you should count out virtually every player that Deepak mentioned as products from Real's cantera, since most of them never made it to the first team

Fun fact 21: I really find it funny, that some "Madridistas" come out on a "witch-hunt" for Barça fans. Especially foreign Madrid fans, that like to nurture this unfounded hate for Barcelona. I do not know why, but come on. How can fans from Asia say they hate Barça? On what ground? Is it because they're against the autonomy of Catalonia and the language? Or is it because you support a united Spain with its centre of decision in Madrid? 

I ask that every foreign anti-barcelonista to give me five good reasons to hate Barcelona.

P.S.: My name is RODRIGUES not Rodríguez, that is a typical name from Castilla. Veiga Rodrigues is a Portuguese name.

P.P.S.: I wonder, how many Real Madrid grown players, played for a size as big as Barça? How many of them won a trebble?


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