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Messi, Cruyff and my trip to Barca

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Dan Walker | 16:10 UK time, Thursday, 15 April 2010

Regular readers of this blog will know I went to Barcelona last week to interview the president Joan Laporta for Football Focus, which you can watch by clicking the link.

Sadly, the second leg of the journey to Milan did not come off. No matter, the visit to Catalonia was incredible. We got our meeting with El Presidente - eventually - but along the way we also encountered Lionel Messi, half the Barcelona squad, Eusebio, Sir Bobby Charlton and Johan Cruyff.

This is part one of the story of our trip - part two will follow next week.

Producer Andy Fraser, camera wizard Jonathan Gout and I all left for Barcelona (via Madrid) last Tuesday morning. Both my travel companions are interesting characters. Fraser looks like Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Robbie Fowler all at the same time while Gout is a martial arts expert who once almost killed me with his index finger!

On the hallowed turf of the Nou CampGetting a feel for the Nou Camp

The plan was to get accredited for the Barcelona v Arsenal game and then start filming the following morning. When we arrived in Spain, we learnt that the game was hideously oversubscribed and there was no room at the Catalan inn.

Rather than kick up a fuss, we decided to watch the game with some locals in a little bar off Las Ramblas. When Nicklas Bendtner scored, several pieces of chorizo were thrown at the telly. Once Messi started doing silly things to the Arsenal defence, the locals became far friendlier.

The owner was so happy I think he forgot to charge us for one our our 17 plates of patatas bravas. He had two dogs that strolled around the joint - one called Messi, the other Cruyff. Messi got a treat every time his namesake scored a goal... he looked considerably fatter than Cruyff!

On the way to breakfast the following morning, I had one of those conversations that only ever takes place in a foreign country after getting into the lift with an old Spanish guy holding a paper.

"Messi, ohhhh!" he said, pointing to the front cover. Aware of my linguistic limitations, I responded in kind with "Messi, ohhh". I thought that would be it but he took it up a notch... "Messi, Messi" he said smiling.

I smiled back, lifted my shoulders into the universally acknowledged "how do you stop him?" position, and hit him with my own double "Messi".

He seemed to find this hilarious and kicked an invisible ball with his left foot before announcing the inevitable "Messi, Messi, Messi". Just when I thought this could go on for the rest of my life, the lift went "ping" and the doors opened.

Fraser, Gout and I headed for the Barca training ground. Gerard Pique was holding a news conference to launch his autobiography while there was also talk of an interview with Yaya Toure.

When we got there, the club's press officer took us to one side to explain that Pep Guardiola had cancelled all interviews because he didn't want players talking about their next game - El Clasico against Real Madrid. Our faces dropped until he told us that our one-on-one with Toure would go ahead but in a quiet corner away from the rest of the press. We were ushered into a little room overlooking the training pitches.

Practising were Messi and Xavi - the night after the destruction of Arsenal. Standing four feet away from them was an upside down stool. Try to visualise this if you can: they had to chip the ball into the legs - first with the right foot and then the left - before they could shoot at the keeper. Despite the temptation... neither took a shot at goal until they had landed two balls in the stool.

It was a fascinating exercise to watch them do it time and time again and a real insight into the attention to detail that has made Guardiola's team so good to watch.

Toure turned up 30 minutes later and was a true gentleman. He reminded us that the boss would kill him if he mentioned the Madrid match so we talked at length about Barca, Messi, his own career and, of course, his brother, Manchester City defender Kolo.

You can watch the interview here, as well as a behind-the-scenes piece from the Nou Camp...

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We thanked Toure for his time and were told that Pique's press conference was about to start and to expect one or two surprises! As we made our way to the room, we were followed by a guy who looked a lot like Thierry Henry... it was Thierry Henry!

Behind him was Carles Puyol, Andres Iniesta and Victor Valdes, then came Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Bojan Krkic and Messi. Soon the entire squad and coaching staff were in attendance, cheering Pique along.

I had been told the Barcelona team spirit was something special. This was clear evidence that it was. The players sat there for 30 minutes, laughing and joking, before giving Pique a standing ovation when his conference was over.

I remember turning to Gout as the players were leaving and saying "this is bonkers", but the press conference we attended the following day made that one look positively dull. If you want to read about that, as well as a tale of cancelled flights and a bizarre interview with Charlton and Cruyff, you'll have to come back next week.

Barcelona is a wonderful and peculiar club. Lots of people seem to think it's a framework for others to follow but history and local politics have provided a special bond in Catalonia - a bond that is centred upon the Nou Camp. Support comes not only for the brand of football but for what Barcelona represents. I am not sure it could, or would, work anywhere else. As always, your comments and thoughts are most welcome.

You can follow me on twitter at twitter.com/danwalkerbbc

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Nice blog Dan. The Nou Camp is nice isn't it! Definitely my favourite ground.

  • Comment number 2.

    Excellent Blog Dan, well done. The story about the Messi! Messi! guy is brilliant, he is either left footed himself, or has his playful mimic down to a tee. Barcelona is a tremendous club and I caught the Pique press conference and was shocked and impressed that the rest of the squad turned up to cheer him on.

    A lot of the credit must go to Guardiola, who inherited a stale-looking Barca side and injected and nurtured the Youth that surrounds Messi et al at the moment. It made me wonder why so few (especially the big clubs) sides promote stalwart players from within these days. These people get what the club is all about and know the people, and are familiar with the set up. Liverpool had great tradition with this throughout the 80's but not so much these days. I think we should promote this within England, and although the youth structure in Spain is a lot more competetive, we could possibly learn from their example.

    I have to add how underwhelmed I was with Camp Nou, the San Siro is the greatest stadium I have ever visited...but for Goodison that is. I think that is mainly to do with my nostalgic view of Italia 90. Focus could possibly do a piece on "Stadiums Greatest Moments" ones that detract from their usual domestic games (I'm thinking Zidane's volley at Hampden, 66 World Cup at Goodison etc etc)

    Chorizo - A poor continental Sausage

  • Comment number 3.

    you are lucky! you have a great job. can i please come on board as some sort of assistant or something? cheers

  • Comment number 4.

    good blog, messi messi messi = comedy gold!

    I think Camp Nou is the greatest stadium I have visited...but for Goodison

  • Comment number 5.

    Excellent blog Mr Walker. On a side note, what do you make of the match day food at my beloved Bramall Lane if you have ever experienced it? thanks and keep up the great work!

  • Comment number 6.

    Maybe I am naive with the greed of the modern day footballer and all, but one gets the impression that playing for Barcelona is even a notch above that. They play such beautiful football and work so hard as a team that they deserve to win everything in sight. Xavi for me is a really special talent.

  • Comment number 7.

    Cracking stuff as usual Dan. The lift guy story had me chuckling had a very similar 'conversation' with a taxi driver after my own visit to the Camp Nou. All about Rivaldo as memory serves but it ran along similar lines to yours!

    I found the atmosphere at the Nou Camp more like going to the theatre than a football match. Maybe just because of the size of the place but a great experience, and a fantastic place none the less.

    Keep up the good work

    Gary Ablett

  • Comment number 8.

    Chorizo - A poor continental Sausage

    You what!

  • Comment number 9.

    A bit underwhelmed when I did the Camp Nou tour personally. Seemed to e falling to pieces but of course what it lacks in aesthetics it makes up for with that je ne sais quoi that only the great old stadia have!

  • Comment number 10.

    Afternoon / early evening all...

    I hope all is well blog comrades. Thanks for the comments so far.

    Tomefccam (#2) You are right about Guardiola. It was a big gamble appointing him in the first place but he has woven that side together brilliantly. Also happens to be the coolest manager in world football.

    I like the idea about 'Stadiums Greatest Moments'. The only thing that will restrict us would be the dreaded footage rights. Other than that it's a beauty.

    I have to disagree with the chorizo comment though. It's right up there with a bratwurst.

    boomshakalak (#3) I shall try and smuggle you in via hand luggage on our next trip abroad.

    SirDigbyChickenCaesar (#5) I have been to the mighty Bramall Lane on many occasions. Last time I went it was just sandwiches which is always a huge disappointment.

    Keep them coming.

    Mark Bright (who is sitting across the office and wearing a red belt)

  • Comment number 11.

    Loving the somewhat 'Fawlty Towers' encounter with the guy in the lift, definately proves football truly is THE universal language! Question was if he was 'Messi' did that make you 'Manuel' Almunia?

    As for Lionel knocking the ball into the stool. Its amazing what 160k Euros a week can buy nowadays isn't it? You should have had a go after your exploits with Kevin Davies the other week on Footie Focus.

    Did the Barca fans used to chuck Diego Maradona a treat every time he scored I wonder...Messi better be careful, might pile on the pounds...the cunning little dog that he is! ;)

  • Comment number 12.

    lorus59 (#6)
    I think a lot of people forget about Xavi because he plays in such a great side but he is golden. I saw a stat recently that said he misplaced 1 pass in the course of an entire game. Spikey hair wizard.

    TotteringHotspurts (#7)
    Lawro said the same thing about the Nou Camp atmosphere last week. I think a lot of the sound disappears in an arena that big. Huge pockets of the ground can be making noise but you just can't hear it. When you stand at the top you feel like a little tumble could lead to certain death.

    Boonting (#8)
    Great to see some support for the Chorizo.

    Mark Bright (he's still here)

  • Comment number 13.

    The City of Barcelona is known for two sporting prowesses - football and basketball, as Pique & Co showed in the game vs Chelsea. With a little bit of help from the UEFA via the now infamous Ogrebo !! It remains to be seen how well Mourinho's rugby tackling Thiago will fare against the basketball prowess of Pique, hopefully the referee (and UEFA)-will have no axe to grind against Premier League dominance in Europe now that no PL teams are involved any more. The ref who done the Fulham/Wolfsburg match should be promoted.

  • Comment number 14.

    14th!

    Can't believe the anti-chorizo angle from some quarters. I mean they'd come second to a good Cumberland ring, but not much else...

    The Chorizo and rocket rolls at Borough Market are legendary.

    Now I'm really hungry.

    Shaka Hislop

  • Comment number 15.

    For atmosphere, its hard to beat those grounds in Germany. You're generally pretty close to the pitch there (although they do have nets at either end to stop the ball flying into the crowd) and with the terraces there it all adds to a great sound. With being able to enjoy some German beer and the proverbial and aforementioned bratwurst but without the fighting, it really makes for a different atmosphere.

    The way the stadium announcers in conjunction with the crowd work together when reading out the crowd favourites and the special songs the teams seem to have makes for quite a unique feeling.


    Manuel Neuer

  • Comment number 16.

    Its something to do with the spirit of the Bernabeu. The way the whole team moves, its like the same player cloned 11 times. I reckon even Valdes can do the Messi-esque (til catch on!). Look at the way Puyol plays, compare it to Xavi. They've got their strengths yes, but its the way their movements and style of play is so similar that you'll think you're facing the same player. I recall when Keita was introduced in the Arsenal game. His passing was sublime and it looked no different having Xavi off.
    I'm a reds fan but sometimes you have to give credit when its due.

  • Comment number 17.

    Mr Walker

    There appears to be a 'party line' in the BBC that fan-ownership in the UK is 'unrealistic'.

    I'd like you to ask you a few questions:

    1. Do you pay to watch football matches or as a BBC Pressman, are you let in for free?
    2. Would you therefore agree that, in the case that you don't pay, that you are beholden to the current owners of UK football clubs and therefore possess a 'conflict of interest' when discussing this matter?
    3. Would you agree that your organisation is, by and large, funded by
    the taxpayer, many of whom also PAY to go to football matches?
    4. Therefore, would you agree that, whilst paying fans might be worthy of rejecting such a concept, you as a free-entry watcher and fan-funded BBCite, most certainly are NOT????

    I don't want to raise this with national politicians, but if I had to it would be on the lines of wholescale sackings within large parts of BBC Sport and lifetime bans on free entry to sporting grounds for all of you to teach you your proper roles in society and the boundaries of what it is appropriate for you to comment in a judgemental manner about....

    Now I think you were writing in a measured way about the most successful manifestation of fan ownership in sport.......

  • Comment number 18.

    Fascinating blog as always Dan. What the paying public really want to see though is a "bicycle-kick-off" between Monsieur Messi and the proven, televised ability of your good self..! Sure he can chip into a stool from a few yards, but can he smash in an overhead from a Kevin Davies cross?? Messi is unproven on the big stage until then for me.

  • Comment number 19.

    Bringing up the chelsea second leg AGAIN?? Try watching the first leg. Okay, not quite as hard done by as Chelsea in the second leg, but a stonewall penalty, and a stonewall sending off (plus a completely unfair sending off for barca in the second leg) makes the overall tie far from being worthy of a conspiracy theory. If there had been a conspiracy, barca would've had a penalty, and played against 10 men at nou camp, in a game where they were running riot against 11 men, it wouldn't have been pretty. Besides, the conspiracy theories regarding anti-epl bias are so ungrounded and illogical that they aren't even worth discussing.
    Chelsea were hard done by overall, but taking the first leg into account, it wasn't that bad.

    It's nice to see xavi get some recognition in England. I remember arguing with many,many people on 606 that xavi deserved a place ahead of fabregas in spain's starting 11 during euro 2008 (although fabregas isn't far behind), but the EPL bias wouldn't allow them to accept it, despite playing fantastically through out the tournament. In fact, most responses seem to be along the lines of "fabregas and alonso are easily the best two spanish midfielders as they play in the EPL'. Both fantastic players, but xavi and senna fully deserved their places ahead of them.

  • Comment number 20.

    #17 as the BBC (and other broadcasters) pay for the rights to screen/air events would it not be a bit bizarre if they then had to pay to attend the matches as well? Technically, these are guys and gals are there to work rather than simply having a jolly. Now I'm sure in many cases they will be enjoying themselves, and there's nothing wrong in enjoying your work if you are fortunate enough to be in a job you like, but its not like they're just kicking back and watching the game, etc. If you object to the media receiving free entry to the matches, perhaps you should try and become a sports journalist yourself. You do sound little like you have been consuming some slightly sour grapes this evening...?

    Why should there be wholesale sackings in BBC Sport? In applying your logic, should the same not apply to ITV and Sky? I would like to argue that that would be illogical.

    You might like to recall whats happened with Ebbsfleet, which has received plenty of media coverage due to their fan ownership experiment. Hasn't turned out amazingly well, although perhaps the underlying business model wasn't solid enough. Something that the Red Knights of Manchester United are proposing, you would hope for that club, would be far more solid. I don't think, in my opinion anyway, that there has been any particular bias either way at the BBC, although they do seem to often get beat with that stick across many areas like politics and Israel!

  • Comment number 21.

    Decent blog Dan. Someone got it spot on earlier in that the locals treat the Nou Camp as a theatre. The noise it generates at full tilt is different to our smaller and more compact stadiums....it's like a rumbling thunder rather than an incessant noise like we get over here. It's just a different way of watching the game.
    Re chorizo.... Only bettered by Aberdeen Angus and mustard from one of our finest supermarkets.
    Cheers
    Chrsitopher Wreh

  • Comment number 22.

    @rjagger - as one who has reviewed music events for publications and websites, I feel it would be ludicrous for press to be asked to pay in order to do their work... Do you think camera people, stewards, st johns ambulance etc should pay? Whatever the politics of the organisation, the press are needed in order to cover the events...

    @Mattski - great idea. Messi vs Slater. Two men enter, one man leaves.

    Peter Beardsley

  • Comment number 23.

    Stewart Robson

  • Comment number 24.

    ok, dan, good. can't believe there are not more posts to this blog. this is good stuff where one can actually LEARN something. can't believe a cfw post w/ nothing to learn in it gets hundreds of posts and this has so few??? there IS more to sport than supporting your own club, peeps.
    #14 possible. easy on the apetite bison fan
    #15 aforementioned? proverbial? really? not the neuer i met in gelsenkirchen...

  • Comment number 25.

    Sad pitiful cheap..."journalism". You & BCC should ashamed of yourselves.

  • Comment number 26.

    #24 aforementioned as in mentioned earlier in this blog, and also by me previously. Proverbial as in its virtually the done thing to have a bratwurst at a German football match... in my opinion.

    Manuel Neuer is simply continuing the theme of leaving a footballers name at the end of a message on here.

    #25 not a regular reader then...? You should read what the theme behind this blog is, i.e. lighthearted! I don't see why the 'BBC' or Dan Walker should be ashamed of themselves. As you can see, most of us who leave a message on here enjoy his blog so it can't be all bad...?

  • Comment number 27.

    Jason Lee

  • Comment number 28.

    Cruyff in the bar with you. Hope they dont put him down now that the poor name sake isnt scoring any goals.

    Guess Messi's been scoring enough for both of the dogs.

    Brilliant Blog. Keep it up.

  • Comment number 29.

    #26 hahah thanks- i was making a comment my friend and former foe shaka would understand. and having interviewed neuer, i was certain he didn't write that! i didn't know about this blog and it's customs, however i will try and reciprocate...

    marco van basten (not really but as long as were pretending...)

  • Comment number 30.

    Paulod,

    This is a blog, not an article. You don't judge blogs the way you judge articles. This one is particularly enjoyable because it is funny, informative on a casual level, and doesn't really raise any contraversial subjects.

  • Comment number 31.

    #29 ah I see now! On that kind of theme, I wonder if any top footballers have genuinely contributed to Dan's blog's? Are you a journalist yourself then, having interviewed Neuer?

    Kevin Kuranyi

  • Comment number 32.

    LOOOOOL sorry but the way yaya toure talks isssss sooooooo funnny i couldnt stop laughing hes soooooooo freshhh!

  • Comment number 33.

    not sure about dan's blog, but i can promise you SOME pros will read blogs to kind of get the feeling of the fans sometimes. other times it's just for joking around w/ their teammates. there is much time to rest the legs when profi and players curiousity will get the better of them sometimes. most don't take it too seriously, though, just another part of profi life...yes i do work in broadcasting but have a hard time referring to myself as a "journalist"...

    ivan rakitic' (he tried to converse w/ me but my croation colleagues had been waiting 2 days!)

  • Comment number 34.

    #19
    Good comment about EPL bias
    I remember people not taking Hargreaves seriously when at Bayern, although he was a European Champion at the time

  • Comment number 35.

    Aren't Phil Munishall's blogs on Spanish football enough? Why do we have to have these giant football brands rammed down our throats by the BBC?

  • Comment number 36.

    Guten nacht! Some nice fruity comments to get into.

    JoC (#11)
    Excellent Fawlty Towers summary.

    Paul Faithfull (#14)
    I like your sausage ratings. 1) Cumberland sausage 2) Chorizo but where is the rest of the top 5?

    Surreybloke123 (#15)
    I am with you on the German crowds. I have only been to 2 games over there but the atmosphere was great at both.

    Rjaggar (#17)
    I think you have misread me here partner and gone off on something of a tangent. I like your 4 point plan but I am not sure one follows the other. I don’t pay to go into football matches because it’s my job. I think the Barcelona model is unrealistic in the UK because it is very specific to Catalunia. That is not to say that fan ownership won’t work.
    As for your lifetime ban why not go the whole hog? I propose that the entire BBC sport department be burnt at the stake.

    Mattski (#18) I like your plan but I am not sure it’s going to come off. Paul Faithfull (#22) seems to be confusing me with Matt Slater. Very worrying.

    Twinklebathat (#19)
    No problem with bringing up the Chelsea thing again and glad you are enjoying the Xavi love in.

    MarkWaltersstepovers (#21)
    Good rumbling thunder analogy. Can I ask... did you pay full price at the Nou Camp? If you didn’t I think you should fired immediately and reported to the FBI (I’m kidding of course).

    Used2beprofi (#24)
    Glad you are enjoying the blog although not everyone shares your opinions especially Paulod21 (#25)
    It would be nice to hear why this is sad, pitiful and cheap and I should be ashamed of myself. I would be very interested to find out. I was going to make a point about the difference between a blog and an article but cpeskett has done it for me (#30).

    Hookers_armpit (#35)
    Barcelona is a big story at the moment and I think that an insight into how the club ticks and they manage to do what they do on the pitch is of interest to the vast majority of football fans. Happy to hear what you would have rather seen on Focus. Suggestions always welcome.

    Right. That’s enough for tonight. Thanks for all the comments so far. See you tomorrow everyone.

    Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg

  • Comment number 37.

    #17 rjaggar - you have a good point. But the BBC website is brilliant. Whilst the BBC news coverage and biased politics is a good reason to slash BBC funding, the sports website is without comparison. The millions of browsers each day would be hugely punished if it no longer existed.

    Great blog here too. I'm looking forward to the next episode. Where does Bobby Charlton fit in to this I wonder?

  • Comment number 38.

    He's not "El Presidente"; he's "El President". And his name's Joan (roughly pronounced "jwan"), not Juan (the Catalan j is pronounced the same as in English).

  • Comment number 39.

    Great stuff as usual, Dan!

    The lift incident reminds me of when I bought a takeaway (fried chicken of course!) on holiday and they told me the price en Espanol. Granted I'd had a few ales! Thinking I was learning the lingo I repeated it to myself only to have the guy go mad at me and point at the menu repeating the price over and over. Que? Cinco ciento cincuenta cinco! Gotta love the Spaniards!

    Top 5 sausages tho... tough

    1) Cumberland (I have to agree with the previous post, they are immense!)
    2) Kabanos
    3) Bockwurst
    4) Can't remember the name, it was wild duck sausage I bought at our local continental fair (was feeling flush that day)
    5) Chorizo

    The butcher at the end of my street made all those special Burnley FC sausages... might have a try now, although I hear the Coyle sausages have been made into voodoo dolls...

  • Comment number 40.

    first time comment on here but the bit with the man in the lift reminded me off every Sunday morning out here in Korean. being the only foreigner on the team, which only one guy can speak recognizable English is tricky, i just smile and nod when they point at me and call me either Torres if i'm upfront or Van Der Sar if i'm in goal.

  • Comment number 41.

    Spanish Chorizo is the best! I guess that I am biased, my mom was born and raised in Barcelona. I was born and raised in the US, but on my visits to Barcelona over the years I have fond memories of food, family, soccer and the city my mother called home. I am a Barça Club member, I could not miss the opportunity when LaPorta eliminated the fee to join and just made the annual dues reasonable. Even though I live in the US and can not attend games unless I visit, I am very proud to be half Catalan and a Soci member. Just the class act the organization is and the Johan Cruyff influence, I have been a fan since my first visit to Spain in 1970 and my first game in 1974 to see Cruyff play with my Grandfather.

    History aside, I like your story of my club, and I will have to follow it now that I have stumbled across it.

    Xavi is the play maker and he has such a strong influence on the game. He and Messi work so well together. Xavi just has the vision and the skill to put the ball where it needs to be. Messi has fantastic skills and control of the ball.

    Guardiola is a Cruyff protege and was a general on the field, it is no surprise that he has the vision and coaching ability the he has demonstrated.

    I am so happy that the club has treated you so well, I would expect nothing less!

    Cheers!

  • Comment number 42.

    A good read, well written, interesting stuff. You don't take yourself too seriously which is a refreshing change from most of your bbc blogging colleagues who seem to think it's all about them and their opinions, often based on a poor understanding of the game. I don't really want to know what formation some journo thinks Capello should play. The bit about Messi and Xavi chipping into the upturned stool, great stuff which most of us don't get to see or hear about. Looking forward to read how Cruyff and Charlton fit in.

  • Comment number 43.

    More than a Club...More than a Game...Arsenal v/s Barcelona...Check my blog at
    http://samsmemopad.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 44.

    Walker, nice blog, very well written for debate and opinion, i knew Barca is a fine team, but you have penned it precisely, waiting on part 2.

  • Comment number 45.

    Dan great blog as always and loving the sausage chat!!

    My top 5

    1) Bratwurst
    2) Bockwurst
    3) Currywurst
    4) Walls
    5) Richmond

    The top 3 were devoured at regular intervals during my childhood whilst growing up in Germany (Dad was a soldier) the Currywurst was shaped like a curly lincolnshire (didn't have the spicy twang though) and was lavished with tomato sauce mixed with curry powder, let me tell you it was a joy to behold!!!

    Brian Pinas

  • Comment number 46.

    Ermmm.. if we are talking sausages I think most have a fatal flaw in their lists already.. allow me to demonstrate..

    1, HOT DOG!!!!
    2, Square Sausage (Lorne)
    3, Lincolnshire
    4, Richmond
    5, Smoked Sausage

    BOOM!

    I too remember having a conversation with a German chap that followed a similar pattern.. The culprit being talked about though was Georgios Samaras and the smiles were upside down.. :(

    Massimo Taibi

  • Comment number 47.

    A few points. Firstly, Hookers_armpit is potentially one of the grumpiest ever contributors to BBC blogs. I forgive the man though, on the assumption that he is a prop forward and therefore has got his name from where he spends much of his weekends. Further to this, as many will know, a rugby side can only people in the front row who have been specifically trained in that area. This training takes approximately 5 days. The first day is given over to the technique and strategy in setting a scrum. Day's 2-5 are given over to drinking pints of mixed spirits and aftershave and techniques in being as grumpy and unapproachable as possible. Would have thought he'd appreciate the sausage-focus of the comments though!

    Secondly, I'm concerned to see so much foreign representation in people's favoured sausages when we have so much to offer that comes from our own shores. There is also a glaring omission: do people not realise that black pudding is a sausage? Here's my top five for what its worth:

    1 - Cumberland (as per previous comments)
    2 - Lincolnshire (very similar to Cumberland, but none the worse for that)
    3 - Black pudding (particularly relevant in this blog, as it is a favoured sausage in Catalonia as well)
    4 - Any sausage in a sausage-roll when eaten on a cold day (doesn't matter if its a cheapy effort - sometimes its just right)
    5 - A smoked pork sausage. Not easy to get hold of but worth the effort. Brilliant with spicy relish.

    Some general sausage rules that should be observed, in my humble opinion:
    - Don't naff about with your pork and leek/apple efforts. Sausages should not have vegetables/fruit as a main ingredient. It is wrong.
    - Similarly, don't be sidetracked by venison sausages and their ilk. Sausages should be made from pig. Nothing against deer, cows and our other wonderful native animals, but sausagemeat they aint. Cut em into steaks or roast them. They'd thank you for it. If they weren't dead.
    - I'm not suggesting that foreign sausages have nothing to offer. Chorizo is a gem and I don't think any of us would fancy being without those Italian slicing sausages that we've become so used to.

    Cheers.

  • Comment number 48.

    Hi Dan,

    I always love reading and looking at what other people think of this extraordinary club as I have been following them for the past 15 years along with my English team Arsenal. There is always one thing that disappoints me when reading english articles is the writing of the stadium name. It is the Camp Nou. It is only a little thing, but everyone always pronounce our stadium names correctly, why can we not do the same for other countries.

    A really good article as usual and am looking forward to part 2 next week.

  • Comment number 49.

    Nearly roared laughing at the conversation in the lift. I live in France and have had a few like that in the last 7 years. As for the Barca model, there is a lot more to Europe than meets the eye. Many places around the borders of European countries have groupings that want independance. Nice were I live has been French, Italian, Austrian during it's history and they have their own language. There are places in Italy with a German influence, and of course there are the Corsican clubs Bastia and Ajjacio. I could see a team from Northern Ireland or Palestine benefitting from the set up a Barca too. Perhaps there is something in it for footballers like Messi when they retire to work for world peace????

  • Comment number 50.

    Great blog, Dan. Have always enjoyed reading these, but have never quite got round to commenting to say so (probably because I should be working...oops).

    It's interesting to hear about the inner workings of a club like Barça, because there seems to be such an intrigue about how legendary sides work, due to the fact that their methods seem to be benchmark that all other teams strive to reach (to "play the Brazilian way", for example). Having read through this, it just seems like so much emphasis is put on the sense of community, not just at the club but also in the city, and when a team is properly gelled in such a fashion, they play so much better together. This is why, in my view, the current Real Madrid model, with its constant chopping and changing of staff, is never going to bring as much success.

    Especially liked the "Messi, Messi" incident and bits regarding Chorizo - just brilliant. I also echo most of these guy's Top 5 sausage choices. However, I think it should be extended to a Top 10 - there are just too many good ones to choose from!

    I'm interested to find out how well the other club in Barcelona, Espanyol, is supported - do they receive as much of a local backing from Catalunya? Or are they seen as a club that people should have nothing to do with, due to their Royal roots?

  • Comment number 51.

    lots of people never tasted Figatelle then, or copa, or sauscison? Can't believe the rubbish sausages been mentioned in some posts :-)

    Zico! And who is pretending?

  • Comment number 52.

    Enjoyable as always Dan

    I'm surprised by the comments from some saying they were 'underwhelmed' by Camp Nou. I have been several times to games there now, and on the contrary, have to say I was in awe of the place. I'm glad there are still a few of these classic old stadiums in use, because as time goes on they are becoming a dying breed. Those who have been on the tour will have seen the model for the plans to modernise and update the stadium, so hopefully they can paper over a few of those cracks you came across Le Gooner! ;-)

    Would have loved to see the Barca players training with the stool, how many goes did it take them to get it in?

    Ian Woan

  • Comment number 53.

    Dan, great blog, have been to the Camp Nou, its incredible, the holiday to Barca was a prize but the three quid tube from city centre to the stadium was well worth it, even more so was the cheap beer in the local bars!
    Fan ownership...Exeter City- back-to-back promotions, league one and surviving, almost out of businss 3 years ago...enough said?
    And the chorizo, god it's good! It may be just me but anything sausage and spice cannot be ignored!

  • Comment number 54.

    You're in Spain, yet have chosen a shirt and trousers combo - Do the BBC forbid the usual I'm-British-so-I-wear-shorts-abroad attire and have a smart dress code requirement?

    Are you wearing jeans or trousers during the Toure interview? If they're trousers then I'm not so sure your choice of 'scene' belt 'goes'.

  • Comment number 55.

    A few comments on here made me wonder, what would the Barcelona faithful consider their greatest ever team, and more importantly, would any of the current crop make it??

    Messi you may say is a shoe in, but in terms of left sided forwards, they have had both Maradona and Cruijff, not to mention Rivaldo and Stoichkov all of whom were considered amongst the worlds best at some stage.

    From all the comment on here is would seem that Xavi is a certainty, however Xavi would be the first to admit he modelled a lot of his game on crrent coach Guardiola, who was a phenominal player in his peak. Koeman may even have something to say about the holding midfield spot.

    Would Puyol oust Nadal, is record breaking goalie Zubizaretta happy to play second fiddle to Valdes. Is Ibra a more potent striker than Lineker and Romario? Iniesta is fantastically creative, but more so than Laudrup?

    Interesting, anyone have any thoughts?

    In terms of Sausage, a good old reliable Richmond will never let you down, on a base level the Peperami is a personal favourite, especially the spicy one.

    Adie Moses

  • Comment number 56.

    tomefccam:'Chorizo - A poor continental Sausage'

    Rubbish, you don´t know what youre talking about, its much more like this

    Sausage - A really very poor continental chorizo

  • Comment number 57.

    The Messi guy in the lift makes me visualise a Spanish version of Timmy off South Park, with his only conversation being the repetition of his own name.

  • Comment number 58.

    #55 tomefccam

    Very interesting point i think a certainty would have to be Ronaldo (Brazilian) i know he went on to play for their hated rivals but my god what a player!!

  • Comment number 59.

    "we also encountered Lionel Messi, half the Barcelona squad, Eusebio, Sir Bobby Charlton and Johan Cruyff"

    Why did you provide a link about Eusebio? If for some reason some youngster reading this blog hadn't heard of him, they could look him up anyway (and it's equally likely they wouldn't have heard of Johan Cruyff or possibly even Sir Bobby Charlton).

    Otherwise, a good read and looking forward to part two.

    One more question though - did Pep/some other big cheese give you permission to talk about the upside-down stool drill? Because they didn't want you to talk about the rest of the training regime...

  • Comment number 60.

    Great blog Dan. To all the people moaning, if you don't like it, don't read it. I would guess from the posts that the majority love it.

    Loved Barcelona ever since Gary Lineker played for them as he was a boyhood hero. Parents bought me a Gary Lineker biog once when we were shopping to keep me quiet and the front cover was a picture of him playing for Barca.

    Got to love those sausages, especially Chorizo.

    Nicky Banger

  • Comment number 61.

    Morning all. I shall join the debate shortly but feel free to keep it going in my absence. I am being delayed by some volcanic ash! Chorizo for prime minister!

    Oliver Bierhoff

  • Comment number 62.

    Couple of things
    1)Camp Nou is so devoid of atmosphere that the club(Against FIFA rules) has to play recordings of songs over the PA system to get the fans going.
    2) how much more Cliched could you get ? tapas bar Off Las ramblas,think Burger bar off Oxford street
    3) Barça fans are notorious for turning against their star players. Messi might be king now but give it a year or so and then see their true colours. See Rivaldo,Ronaldinho,Maradona etc
    4) If you go to a man U press conference or Old Trafford and you saw Man U players would you be surprised ?.
    Don't mean to be mean ,dan but this piece is just another sucking up to Barça piece. Bet you didn't ask Cryuff about his demands when he was made honorary president,despite not speaking a word of Catalan .
    Want to see how Football fans in the City get behind their team go to the Derby on saturday and watch Espanyol fans put Barça to shame.

  • Comment number 63.

    ok, lets go sausages. . .
    Farmers choice
    sk sausages

    Lets not get confused, this Barca side is really good but not close to those of the past years, not any of the current side players can feature in an all time Barca team. . .

  • Comment number 64.

    It made me wonder why so few (especially the big clubs) sides promote stalwart players from within these days. These people get what the club is all about and know the people, and are familiar with the set up. Liverpool had great tradition with this throughout the 80's but not so much these days. I think we should promote this within England
    --------------

    Do you think you can magically turn average players into good ones by promoting them?

    The truth is that Barcelona have been immensely lucky over the last 10 years that so many great players have fallen into their laps via their youth system. Look at their team 15 years ago and next to none of them wee youth products, that's how it goes, it's pure luck whether you get players talented and dedicated enough. Sure you have to make the most of them when you get them but there is only so much that can be done.

    Man United had a period like this of course, Giggs, Sharpe, Scholes, Butt, The Nevilles and Beckham all in short order. Liverpool had Gerrard, Carragher, Redknapp, McManaman, Fowler and Owen with less success. Most clubs have stages like that, it's not sustainable as a model though, not today when standards are so high anyway.

  • Comment number 65.

    Wazza for PM.

    scrap the parties or I head-butt you all to floor.


    Zinadine Zidane.

  • Comment number 66.

    "Once Messi started doing silly things to the Arsenal defence, the locals became far friendlier."

    Brilliant Quote!

  • Comment number 67.

    Great blog again Dan.

    I watched the Toure interview on the site yesterday afternoon and he seemed like a great guy. I was intrigued as to the training methods too. No wonder they are so precise with their passing and movement.

    The story of the guy in the lift is class. I had a similar experience once in Milan, whilst on a mates stag do. The morning after the first night there, me and a mate headed to Maccies for a breakfast and a coffee (probably a bit naughty really as we probably could have found a nice little coffee shop being in Italy) but we opted for the Sausage and Egg McMuffin (more on the sausages later).

    On our way back to the dodgy hostel we were staying in we were stopped by a tramp who looked remarkably like Gianluca Vialli. That in itself was amusing. But bearing in mind we were a group of lads from Liverpool (I'm a red, the mate I was with at the time a blue) and this was about 3 weeks after Istanbul and looking very British, the Vialli lookalike starts talking the language of football. "Me, Meelan" he says, "You?" I was quite scared really as Vialli looked a bit menacing. (it was 10am and he was drinking a can of Heineken) I wasn't sure whether to reveal I was a red or not for fear of being stabbed or something given what we'd done to his team 3 weeks earlier. But I went for it and told him I was a Liverpool fan. I'll never forget his reaction. He looked at me and shook his head. "Gol, Gol, Gol" he said, kicking his feet as if he was scoring the goals and jumping up as if to head the ball for Gerrards first. He then ruffled my hair and called me a Ba$7ard! My Everton mate was roaring but the last laugh was on him as Vialli didn't know who Everton were.

    As you say, that can only happen when you are abroad.

    Can't agree with someone above that the San Siro is better than the Nou Camp. I've been to both (albeit stadium tours) and the Nou Camp is exactly like a theatre or cathedral like someone earlier mentioned. Have been to the Bernabeu to watch the El Classico in 2000. It was when McManaman was there and it was a great experience. Real won 3-0 and Roberto Carlos scored one of them freekicks. Fantastic. Never heard so much noise when the Barca players came out for the warm up, most of it directed at Luis Enrique and interestingly Figo, who would go on to sign for Real 4 months later. Have been to Stadio Olympico in Rome too but didn't think much of that to be honest. Very hostile.

    Probably going off topic here so just my take on the chorizo. Fantastico cooked in a red wince sauce or cider. Not very kind to you the next day though if you catch me drift.

    Finally, Dan, you have a great job mate. Can I get involved, I'll do all the research for you!

  • Comment number 68.

    You are very lucky Dan. You have such a wonderful job with all the excitement in the world.

    Can you please tell me what are the pre-requisites to get such a job. I want to work on things that involve football in any of the European countries (England,Spain,Italy,Germany,France,Portugal etc). I have been watching football from 1994 where Roberto baggio led the Azzuri's to the final to the Didier Deschamps led Les Bleus win in 1998 to the treble of MUFC to the Euro 2000 with a golden goal in the final to the Ronaldo and Rivaldo rejuvenation in FIFA 2002 to the all Italians final in UEFA champions league in 2003 to the Azzuri triumph in 2006 to the Spanish team that won the Euro with the inspiring David Villa. Almost everything in country and club football in Europe.

  • Comment number 69.

    There's been a lot of chat on another thread about Michael Owen and on this one about Barca.
    I find it always interesting to get the other sides’ view on stuff so when on a holiday visit to Barcelona 3 years or so ago I took the tour of the Camp Nou. They have first class totty to take you around so at the risk of an evil from Mrs BBW I tried engaging the young miss in conversation.
    MO had been getting terrible press in the UK so I asked what she thought about it especially as they were to play RM the following night in Madrid.
    She was desperate for RM to sell him. His goals per minute ratio made him the top striker in Spain as he always scored when coming on as sub.
    Apart from being very impressed with her grasp of the facts (better than mine for sure) and her patent pride in the stadium she was proved right as when they were thumped 3-1 the following night Owen came off the bench to score 2.
    Proves it’s all about perspective really. Owen had an entirely different profile in Spain and Barca is much more than a football club. It’s a statement for the region. When RM are involved too it’s like Shankly said – more important than life & death.

    Charlie Cooke

  • Comment number 70.

    almost forgot...

    Roy Wegerle

  • Comment number 71.

    UK Airspace and all UK Airports are closed due to a large dust cloud over the country. Authorities are blaming the cleaners of the Tottenham trophy cabinet.

  • Comment number 72.

    almost forgot too......

    Rene Van Der Kerkof (and his brother Willie)

  • Comment number 73.

    Hello Danny boy, good read as per.

    When I was younger, I went to Spain with a mate. We played the 'Foreigner Lift Game'. It basically involved getting in a lift, similar to yourself. We then said 'English?' to the other person/s in there, and if we received a 'no' or headshake, the game began.

    Then we just talked complete nonsense to them for remainder of the journey, which ended in all of us leaving laughing! To be fair, they could be doing the same to us! Try it next time...

    Ian Ormondroyd

  • Comment number 74.

    Really enjoyable blog (how could any football lover not enjoy that little detail about Messi and Xavi?)Reckon there'll be a few football dads using that.

    Very refreshing to read something, erm, 'joyful' about the game. Made me realise just how rare that is, oddly. And still there are axe-grinders attracted to the fray! 'Don't forget who paid for that laminated pass of yours,son, and oh how much broadcasting improves when it's commercially driven'

    My own enjoyment peaked when I thought Gary Ablett had left a comment.

    Nayim (Not sure about my first name)

  • Comment number 75.

    Mottie Dan!!
    Sad as this may seem I have actually been waiting for your blog this week! And then when it is posted I am called away from the computer until late at night and have to catch up the following morning. Barcelona is a great city. Catalonia a superb region. I can relate to your man in the lift situation. Once I was at a fish market 30 miles north of Barcelona and this old Catalan woman, who looked like she might have fathered Franco, stood next to me repeating the name"Gawee Linekar" time and time again with a smile on her face. Glad you had a great time in Spain, and am eager to find out what went down in Italy.

    I'm not sure that I am going to go along with all this veneration of F.C. Barcelona though. Are they a very good team? Sure they are. But they have their off days too. Ok they were (or rather he was) phenomenal against Arsenal. Even here in America almost all the Sports reports on the various channels reported on the four goal exploit.

    I miss good sausage over here. Most of what you get is Polish or sweet/ hot Italian sausage.
    My dream list is
    1) Leak and beef sausage,
    2) Venison, pork & Italian herb, venison harvested by your's truly.
    3) Black Pudding
    4) Good old Lincoln
    5) Cumberland.
    4)

  • Comment number 76.

    Cumberland sausages are indeed very tasty and a worthy English competitor to the German Bratwurst. The humble hot dog also has its place but generally its a bit of a poor substitute for a proper sausage.

    Clarence J Boddicker

  • Comment number 77.

    Right…

    Hello again good people. Let's see what we've got going on.

    Timothy Barton (#38)
    You are correct sir with your El President but I threw a extra 'e' on there to add a little style. I called him Juan in the behind the scenes piece but managed to get it right by the time we got to the programme. Thanks for pointing it out though.

    Col029 (#39)
    Interesting combination of international sausages in your top 5 there. Here's mine…

    1) Simple pork-based breakfast sausage
    2) Cocktail sausages
    3) A pork and stilton one I had in Scotland once
    4) Chorizo
    5) Lincolnshire

    Koreanalex84 (#40)
    welcome friend. Good to have you on board.

    LABSAB9 (#45)
    Has gone all German inspired for his top 3 and slips the Richmond in at number 5. Interesting teutonic influence.

    Mikey (#46)
    has brought it right in there by promoting the Hot Dog to top spot! Inspired.

    Deep-heat (#47)
    Good name, good comment. Danke schon.

    Collie21 (#51)
    brings some much needed culture to the sausage debate including one that sounds like a French second-row from the 6 nations!

    Woodforthetrees (#52)
    Messi actually did it first time and Xavi had a few goes before landing it. Messi got most of his in with the left foot and about 50% with his right.

    The Duke (#54)
    I had union jack shorts on underneath. You're right about the belt… a bit too spangly.

    Tomefccam (#55)
    Good shout on the best ever Barca side. Koeman was there last week as well and they love him over there. I had forgotten that Lineker scored within a few miniutes of his debut and got a hat trick in 32 minutes in his first El Classico. I like the way you sounded all continental and then brought us all back down by claiming that the Peperami is top of the shop.

    Tiovara (#56)
    What you've got there my friend is bordering on sausage philosophy! Remarkable.

    Supersubag (#59)
    I can plead ignorance on this one. It's all organised by the blog uberfuhrer so I have very little idea why Eusebio has a link. I shall endeavour to find out for you. With regards to the stool… (whisper it quietly) I think we got away with it.

    Tamudios (#62)
    It's never a good sign when people number their points… I know it's going to be negative. It's not sucking up to Barcelona it's a reflection on the workings of one of the world's biggest clubs.
    Points 1 and 3 I will accept but point 2!!! Of all the criticism I have received that has got to be the most bizarre. I get accused of being cliched in my choice of food! That is madness.

    And as for point 4… ask any journalist who has been to Old Trafford that question and the answer would be 'yes'. No-one would expect the whole squad to turn up. I've consulted the referee and he's given you 8 out of 10 for rage.

    Hackerjack (#64)
    You are correct about the fortune side of things. Barcelona have had some wonderful players come through the ranks - just as United did with the 'you can't win anything with kids' bunch.

    Just off to watch some pieces for the programme so I will come back after a spot of lunch.

    See you soon and thanks for all the comments so far. I might just go and get a sandwich with butter on the bread… how cliched!

    Devon White

  • Comment number 78.

    Great blog as always Mr Walker (can we call you Des?)

    Can't believe Gerard Pique has 'written' an autobiography at his tender age.

    I suspect I'm more likely to buy the Pauline Prescott autobiography the book supplier people brought in to my office the other day than the young defender's life story, and just to clarify, that's not very likely.

    Mikhail Kavelashvili

  • Comment number 79.

    Clarence J Boddicker...isn't he a character from Robocop? Great film...I'd buy that for a dollar.

  • Comment number 80.

    tomefccam - An all time Barca XI, the amount of outstanding players they've had makes this a little tough, here is my quick suggestion excuse my ignorance of exact playing positions and lack of knowledge!

    Zubi
    Migueli-Puyol-Nadal-Koeman
    Pep Xavi
    Laudraup
    Messi - Ronaldo - Cruyff

    Subs include; Maradona, Romario, Ronaldhino, Rivaldo, Eto'o, Luis Enrique, Stoichkov. Who needs defenders??

    Currywurst for the best sausage based snack. Pop down Lidl (other British based German supermarkets are available) grab yourself a bratwurst, cook, chop it up and mix in with ketchup and curry powder and away you go!

    Romeo Zondervan.

  • Comment number 81.

    IN MY LIFETIME, THE BARCA DREAM XI (1980`S- PRESENT)

    GK:Zubi(spain)
    cb;Koeman(holland)
    cb:Puyol(spain)
    cb:f.de boer(holland)
    dm:guardiola(spain)
    cm:xavi(spain)
    cm:luis enrique(spain)
    am:maradona(argentina)
    ss:messi(argentina)
    cf:ronaldo(brazil)

    subs:valdes,d.alves,sergi,cocu,figo,rivaldo,stoichkov, laudrup, romario, ronaldinho. WOW!

  • Comment number 82.

    79. At 12:15pm on 16 Apr 2010, Onside_Ian_Rush_Goal wrote:
    Clarence J Boddicker...isn't he a character from Robocop? Great film...I'd buy that for a dollar.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I'm glad someone else recognised this. Excellent shout, swaying from the obscure footballer theme but brilliant all the same. Your compatriate then supports you with the greatest quote from the film. Robocop signifies everything that was great about the late 80's.


    #80 Jurynow - how could I forget Ronaldinho??? Enjoyed a remarkable 3 year period at Barca 04-07. That Madrid game where he scored 2 breath taking goals and was applauded by the Real faithful must go down in history.

    An all time 11 must be impossible. An all time 11 of forwards perhaps?

    Ronaldo, Romario, Messi, Maradona, Lineker, Stoichkov, Ronaldo, Laudrup, Cruijff, Ronaldinho and Eto'o??


    Wayne Jacobs

  • Comment number 83.

    Dan
    Thank you man for the story as am a keen and fanantic fan of Barca and whenever I hear or read any story about Barca I feel uplifted and so excited that I would really need to read that story till to the end.

    Dan you are a good writer, so I need you to post me a History of big players who had plyed at Nou comp, players like Cruffy, Koeman almost my name sake as am Komani, Figo, Romario and others,

    Take crae man.

  • Comment number 84.

    great blog. I cant even begin to tell how jealous i am, to get to go there, see all that and actually get a glimpse of them training would be brilliant.

    Is Messi as small in person as he looks on TV?

    you must be a pretty big guy, because Toure looks like a giant and you looked bigger than him haha!

  • Comment number 85.

    #82

    So you agree about Ronaldo then?? i see he features twice in your all time 11 forwards because he was that good!!!

  • Comment number 86.

    Good blog...

    Messi, fantastic. Be interesting to see what he was like in a normal team.

    Fat Ronaldo was the man in his day. Won a bit of silverware too. :)

  • Comment number 87.

    85. At 1:05pm on 16 Apr 2010, LABSAB9 wrote:
    #82

    So you agree about Ronaldo then?? i see he features twice in your all time 11 forwards because he was that good!!!
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Touche, swap him with Figo please...not a bad replacement

  • Comment number 88.

    I like comment 67, and yes, Dan should recruit you. . .

  • Comment number 89.

    71. At 11:33am on 16 Apr 2010, hook_gooner wrote:

    UK Airspace and all UK Airports are closed due to a large dust cloud over the country. Authorities are blaming the cleaners of the Tottenham trophy cabinet.

    ------------------------------------------

    I actually heard the same joke, but it was about Arsenal.....haven't Tottenham won something in the last few years??... ;-)

    Dan, excellent response to #62 tamudios. I'm not sure where some of these people get their rage, but I wish they could vent it elsewhere. It also seems to have a strange effect on their comments. Nou Camp devoid of atmosphere?? What rubbish! As for sucking up to Barca....what else was he supposed to write about whilst spending time at the club??! ....Strange indeed!!

    Jan Åge Fjørtoft

  • Comment number 90.

    87. At 1:31pm on 16 Apr 2010, tomefccam wrote:

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Touche, swap him with Figo please...not a bad replacement



    Agreed another great player.




  • Comment number 91.

    82. At 12:35pm on 16 Apr 2010, tomefccam wrote:
    79. At 12:15pm on 16 Apr 2010, Onside_Ian_Rush_Goal wrote:
    Clarence J Boddicker...isn't he a character from Robocop? Great film...I'd buy that for a dollar.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I'm glad someone else recognised this. Excellent shout, swaying from the obscure footballer theme but brilliant all the same. Your compatriate then supports you with the greatest quote from the film. Robocop signifies everything that was great about the late 80's.

    Agreed, the late 80s were the best. Mainly for football reasons, but the movies then were pretty good too. I have another favourite line from that film, delivered by Boddicker..."8itches leave." Gets me everytime.

    Can I throw Hagi into the mix for great Barca forwards please?

  • Comment number 92.

    #91

    Agreed, the late 80s were the best. Mainly for football reasons, but the movies then were pretty good too. I have another favourite line from that film, delivered by Boddicker..."8itches leave." Gets me everytime.

    Can I throw Hagi into the mix for great Barca forwards please?

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    8itches leave is another classic line. Two excellent mentions here, Hagi, how did I forget him. Is there any toher club in the world that has had such a wealth of talent during their peak, we are talking the very best of the best. Yes your Baggios, Van Bastens, Gullits, Ruminegge's were good but in Maradona, Messi, Cruijff and Ronaldo we are talking players who are considered the best players ever

  • Comment number 93.

    1. At 11:33am on 16 Apr 2010, hook_gooner wrote:
    UK Airspace and all UK Airports are closed due to a large dust cloud over the country. Authorities are blaming the cleaners of the Tottenham trophy cabinet.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I had the same joke about Newcastle, at least that was semi-accurate, how many years without a trophy now for Woolwich Arsenal? Oh well, at least you didn't get beaten by your rivals recently..........

    Another sausage to throw into the ring. Mortadella. Mmmmmmm lovely.

    Vinny Samways

  • Comment number 94.

    Afternoon.

    I went a bit posh at lunch and opted for the £1.35 bread and butter pudding. Excellent choice.

    Onside_Ian_Rush_Goal (#67)
    Good tramp story and well told. I could do with someone to do my research!

    ManuMilanBarca (#68)
    There are many different ways to get into this line of work. Some people go straight from school and work their way up and others come in with qualifications coming out of their ears. The key is to take your opportunities when you get them and try and make yourself irreplaceable in the shortest possible time frame. Most places are looking for qualfications these days and the best thing to do is work at a local paper or radio station and go from there. I hope that helps.

    BlueBlueWhite (#69)
    Great insight although I have always disagreed with Shankly's statement about life and death. A step too far me thinks.

    Some great footballers names being produced… Roy Wegerle is a classic so to Rene Van Der Kerkof and (although outside the world of football) Clarence Boddicker is award winning. "Dead or alive you're coming with me!"

    Licecapades (#84) He is tiny. He has had stacks of growth hormone treatment and is still small. Not bad with a ball at his feet though.

    The list of great Barcelona players goes on and on. Can anyone name any stinkers?

    Thanks to King-Dion, Aaron, Tree, codzie85, Richard hamilton, dave mathieson, Hendry's Superhuman, Mbachi and KTID for your kind comments. All very much appreciated.

    See you soon.

    Sarah Connor

  • Comment number 95.

    cheers for taking the time to answer all questions! Does anyone else think Guadiola is the coolest looking manager in world football right now?

    Anyway, another question, can i get your job when you're done with it?

  • Comment number 96.

    Let's try again, as my last comment got removed... You refer to Laporta as "El Presidente", but "El President" would be more appropriate, that is, the Catalan word for "president", not the Spanish word.

  • Comment number 97.

    Dan,

    Fantastic read as always, figured I'd actually post a response for the first time 'cos, although some of the more apoplectic respondents seem to blow their tops whenever the conversation strays away from the EPL for 20 seconds, I for one love a bit of La Liga talk and Barca get all the column (or blog) inches because they're just so unique and interesting.

    Nice to see the Beeb getting treated so well on their travels to the continent - can't imagine Canal, ZDF or RTVE (confession time - did have to look the last one up to complete my 'list of three' there!) getting quite the same treatment at Old Trafford or the Emirates - or am I just being cynical? Very much looking forward to the next part.

    Coming late to both discussions, here's my top 5 sausages and my Barca dream team...

    5 (ascending order for a bit of old-fashioned suspense!): Lincolnshire
    4: Chorizo
    3: Wild boar sausage... can't remember the name, had them in France once and I kick myself every time I get a craving for not jotting down what they're called!
    2: The sausages in those tins of Heinz sausage-and-beans
    1: Cumberland

    And the XI (heavily influenced by having not witnessed some of the more 'legendary' players at my comparatively-young 23 years of age)...

    GK - Andoni Zubizarreta
    RB - Migueli
    CB - Carles Puyol
    CB - Frank De Boer
    LB - Ronald Koeman
    DM - Pep Guardiola
    RM - Ronaldinho
    MC - Xavi
    LM - Leo Messi
    AM - Diego Maradona
    FW - Gary Lineker

    Bit of a soft spot for Lineker, so he's my fox-in-the-box while the 4 behind him supply him with ample tap-ins and will doubtlessly produce their own magical goals too. Subs will include Ronaldo, Romario, Rivaldo, Stoichkov, Deco, Bakero, Figo, Valdes, Iniesta, Marquez.

  • Comment number 98.

    I'm glad my mention of Clarence has gone down so well! I'd like to propose him as having possibly the best villian's name in a film - certainly in the eighties anyway!

    One of my favourite quotes... "you have ten seconds to comply... you have nine seconds to comply..." I think you know the rest!?

    Douglas Quaid

  • Comment number 99.

    I missed this one too...

    "I'm cashing you out, Bob."

  • Comment number 100.

    "I get accused of being cliched in my choice of food! That is madness."
    Read it again,nowhere does it mention a specific choice of food,i was making a comparison over the location of your chosen bar.
    woodsforthetrees-Obviously never been to a game there but still quick to judge. FYI even Barça fans(Real ones who go to games,not keyboard experts) complain about this hence the current play to copy Espanyol's Curva Jove.

 

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