Zubizarreta signs Puyol

Zubizarreta 2013It seems our defensive problems are over! With the transfer window now closed Sporting Director Andoni Zubizarreta gave a press conference this lunchtime alongside Vice-President Josep Maria Bartomeu to explain Barça’s activity, or rather lack of it, in this summer’s market. Zubizarreta stated that the club had tried everything to try and sign Thiago Silva both last summer and this, but the Brazilian had preferred PSG. Zubi then defended the decision not to incorporate another central defender with the usual excuse of the difficulties of finding the right player to fit the Barça system. He went on to talk about Carles Puyol, saying “there were 24 hours to go before the transfer window closed and yesterday Puyol went out to train. This is our signing.”

Now, nobody needs an introduction to Carles Puyol. As captain of our best ever team he has won every cup possible at club and international level. A blaugrana living legend. However, given his recent bad luck with injuries it is difficult to expect the 35-year-old Puyol to play too often or to offer the same level of performance as in previous seasons. Zubizarreta tried to justify the decision by stating that last season we achieved the best first half to a season ever with the same group of defenders even though we suffered injuries. However, Zubi failed to remember that last season we conceded 70 goals in 60 matches in all competitions, a poor record when compared to the previous four seasons under Pep Guardiola (2008/09: 55 goals conceded in 62 matches; 09/10: 41 goals in 59 matches; 10/11: 36 goals in 60 matches; 11/12: 48 goals in 64 matches).

The current situation only goes to magnify the foolishness of the decision not to offer Eric Abidal a new contract. With every day that passes Abidal proves his fitness, playing regularly for Monaco and being called up again for France. You might expect that when the decision was taken to let Abidal go, the club would have had somebody ready to sign as his replacement. But no, the club was thinking only of Thiago Silva who had already turned down the chance to join Barça in 2012. As Zubizarreta said today when talking about the Brazilian defender “not every player gets up in the morning thinking how wonderful it would be to play for Barça”. If Silva chose PSG over Barça in 2012 I think you can be pretty sure it is because they offered him more money. The club should have realised that the only way to get the player was by matching PSG’s wages. If this didn’t agree with Barça’s wage structure, then fine, don’t sign the player, but at least have an alternative ready before letting a player of Abidal’s qualities go.

Zubizarreta also spoke of the confidence the club has in Marc Bartrá. Now, Bartrá is still a promising player and he may still prove to be the answer to our defensive problems. However, last season when the first moment came to give him a chance, Tito Vilanova preferred to play Alex Song and then Adriano in central defence. Later in the season when Bartrá was thrown in at the deep end against Bayern he didn’t look quite ready for the job. The player needs playing time in some of our easier matches to continue to develop. So far this season he is the only fit outfield player who has still not played a minute, which also means Piqué and Mascherano are the only players who haven’t had a minute’s rest. At the moment it seems as though Bartrá could still face problems if suddenly needed against tough opposition.

On paper, Barça have started the season well. The first trophy of the season is in the bag and we are top of La Liga with the maximum nine points. However, there is a feeling that having failed to sign anybody apart from Neymar this summer, we may have to rely more than ever for good fortune regarding injuries if we are to challenge for the top trophies next May.

This entry was posted in Carles Puyol, Champions League, Eric Abidal, La Liga, Marc Bartrá, Opinion, Transfers, Zubizarreta and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Zubizarreta signs Puyol

  1. layibiyi says:

    Zubi is becoming more unpopular day by day

  2. Fredegar says:

    I totally agree. There’s a strange feeling about the team this year with big positives (Valdes, our pressing, Martino’s rotation policy, Neymar’s integration, the first trophy), unknowns (Martino himself) and huge negatives (our best defensive line up is not up to the task and any injury to one of our CBs could see us sink, our attack has not so many numbers either and still has to meet its potential, the way we won this first trophy).
    If Martino is able to make the team progress as the season goes, this can be a great season. But for now my feeling is that this will be a transitional year. The championship should be open with Madrid needing to gel quickly and our problems in defense, but I really don’t rate our chances in the CL as last years failings don’t seem to have been adressed.

  3. barcacentralnic says:

    Check out Pedro’s goal in training with the Spanish team – https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=9UyDwVIYsko -We could do with some more like that this season!

  4. Alice says:

    The issue at hand is that Rosell, Zubi and their football scouts are absolutely worthless. They continue to see player acquisition as a business strategy and not a football strategy. The next time that Rosell or Zubi sign or recruit another Messi, Xavi, Puyol or Iniesta will be the first time. I’m amazed that so many Barcelona supporters give these idiots a free pass each and every day. They seem to work on the principle that every player wants to move to Barcelona, which obviously isn’t the case. If it were the case, every CB in the game would be demanding a transfer to our club. Sorry but that isn’t reality, it’s a day dream that Rosell and Zubi have sold the supporters. WAKE UP YOU IDIOTS!!! These guys have no commitment to improving the football club, they simply look to improve their own futures and nothing else.

  5. barcacentralomer says:

    I’m one of the harshest critics when it comes to Barca’s transfer market deals on this blog. I’m going to summarise my take on this transfer window. The No. 1 priority at the beginning of the summer was to bring in a world class CB. Barca’s attack was toothless minus Messi in the CL last season so there was a need to reinforce that area also. However, Barca’s mgt. and to a lesser extent even Tata is to blame for this because I don’t see Barca winning the CL with our current CBs (both starting and the backups). The rather stupid decision to let Abi go might come back to hurt us with Abi proving his fitness and health condition by playing for Monaco on a regular basis.

  6. ewe_gb says:

    what a delusional gang the president, the board and especially this “sport” director is.

    here is what some other guy has to say on this topic:


    but who minds as long as you believe your own propaganda…

    more rationally, I agree with alice’s and barcacentralromer’s analysis and may add the club-political aspect too:

    I think this is actually all about politics and about Rosell trying to strengthen his position. Starting with the dismantling of Cruyff, the on-going quarrels with Laporta and his non-relationship to Guardiola, being a “Cruyff & Laporta-man”.

    It is not about Zubizaratta’s achievements in the transfer department, he is quite simple a Rosell-man and of Rosell’s board and as such he will stay as director of football as long as the Rosell presidency lasts.

    I think this might well result in a disaster-like waste of the massive talents at disposal: Messi, Iniesta, Busquets, Neymar and (Cesc if he continues like that) by not investing in the defence and I expect the next transfer-disaster to happen when it comes to bring in a new goalkeeper.

    As such this is of course a hypothesis and open to discussion but I have the feeling that Zubizaretta will only have to leave if Barca gets spanked in the CL knock-out stages and they will not succeed to get into the semi-finals; plus Real becomes national champion.

    Only then will Rosell fire Zubi to “save his ass” otherwise he will back Zubi’s back being “his” man.

  7. barcacentralomer says:

    I agree with Ewe that the keeper situation is something which if not addressed during the Jan window is the next in line in the Barca transfer blunders. At the risk of repeating myself, we will probably have not one but two keepers in Valdes and Pinto leaving next summer. I’m not convinced by Oier who will probably remain third choice next season.

  8. ransae says:

    Reblogged this on Ransae's Blog.

  9. Barca4LiFE says:

    Holy crap!!! I hear Montoya could be leaving soon as the management is reluctant in offerring him a new contract. I really hope he doesn’t leave. Montoya needs to stay. Montoya needs to be starting atleast 35% of Barcelona games this season. Dani is not at the age where he could be fit the entire season anyway. Dani will need a few rest in between. We should expose Montoya and play him either as a RB or a makeshift LB occasionally. It is my opinion that Montoya has a bright future at Barcelona….a very strong replacement for Alves in the near future. I will be gutted if Farking Rossel lets him go!!!

  10. Pingback: Zubizarreta signs Puyol | K. C.

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