1. Iniesta helped to define a generation for Spain - he will be missed

    Greatness has followed Iniesta throughout his career and his reputation had already taken on a life of its own by the age of 15-years-old. By impressing the senior coaches at Barcelona, in which he joined the renowned La Masia just four years previous, the young, frail Iniesta was asked to join in the first team’s training session. 

    Even at the tender age of 15, the young Spaniard didn’t allow his stature, size or clear deficiencies get in the way of showing the senior players what he can do with the ball at his feet. Pep Guardiola, the then-captain of Barça, told 19-year-old Xavi Hernández, “You’re going to retire me [but] this kid is going to retire us all.” 

    After that training session, Guardiola addressed the group of players and said: “Remember this day - the day you first played with Andrés.”

    Quite the compliment. 

    Many players would be ecstatic with 1/10th of what Iniesta has achieved in the game of football. Now, at 33-years-old,

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  2. Why La Liga is miles ahead of the Premier League - and will be for some time

    The age old debate of whose league is better has been a familiar one in the new age media world. Which is unfortunate for Italian fans, who ruled supreme before the turn of 2000, trailblazing their way through Europe and winning major trophy after major trophy. But with Serie A’s decline, it has paved the way for La Liga and the Premier League to battle it out to be Europe’s number one.

    Both leagues have plenty to offer for different needs when watching football, but there are a number of factors which lead one to think that Spain’s league is far ahead of their competitors. 

    European football 

    When you take a look at the last 15 winners of a European or international trophy, ranging from the Champions League to the Europa League to the Super Cup to the Club World Cup, 14 have been from Spain.

    That doesn’t just include Barcelona and Real Madrid, but also Sevilla, who dominated the Europa League and won it three consecutive times under Unai Emery.<

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  3. Barcelona 2008-09: Story of the Kit

    For most football clubs, the motto is fairly unimportant. Even the most ardent of fans could be forgiven for not knowing theirs. If visible at all, it usually sits on or around the club crest in small font. The motto is out of sight, and out of mind. Barcelona aren’t most football clubs, however. Indeed, according to their own motto, they are ‘More Than A Club’.

    These words – ‘Mes Que Un Club’ – aren’t trivial; they have embodied the club throughout its long and storied history and are considered to be so essential that they are painted into their stadium’s seats. Fans can’t help but notice the motto when they enter the Camp Nou.

    Barcelona are more than a football club in the sense that they represent something beyond the pitch. They are, for many, a cultural symbol of Catalan nationalism. Hence, following the fallout from the Catalan independence referendum in 2017 that saw voters beaten by Spanish police, former Barca captain Xavi Hernandez came out publicly to state h

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  4. Marc-André ter Stegen: Is He Europe's Number 1 Goalkeeper?

    14th December 2017.
    A goalkeeper's job is often a thankless one. As the last line of defence, they represent a team's final hope of thwarting an opposing striker who has evaded the attention of the defence, with the odds almost always stacked against them.

    They also spend every minute on the pitch operating with a greater degree of jeopardy hanging over their head than any other player. A striker can fluff his lines all game then become a hero if the ball rolls in off his shin; one mistake from a keeper invariably leads to a goal conceded, whereas even the most glorious save merely maintains the status quo.

    But there is a vanguard of custodians demanding more from their role, a greater involvement is their teams' prospects with the ball, rather than focussing solely on keeping it out of their net. The role of sweeper-keeper a goalkeeper who occupies an advanced station when their side is in possession, ready to contribute to passing moves and race forth to nullify

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  5. Samuel Umtiti: Barcelona's unassuming star becoming La Liga's best defender

    8th November 2017. By Ryan Baldi.
    Barcelona's transfer dealings over the last couple of years have left a lot to be desired, with overspending on under-qualified new arrivals, the unfortunate and unexpected enforced sale of superstar Neymar, and an apparent lack of joined-up thinking within the club's hierarchy regarding player acquisitions.

    But, despite a series of transfer market missteps, there is one recent Barcelona signing that can only be regarded as a stellar piece of business.

    He didn't arrive to any great fanfare and, aside from Ligue 1 aficionados, many would have had to resort to a Google search to find out exactly what Barça were getting for their €25 million outlay, but, since his arrival in the summer of 2016, French centre-back Samuel Umtiti has become the bedrock of the Camp Nou backline.

    "He passed all the filters," Barcelona

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  6. Denis Suárez The Ambitious Barcelona Midfielder Ready For A More Prominent Role

    20th September 2017. By Ryan Baldi.
    Denis Suárez is a confident and ambitious young man. He returned to Barcelona last summer having left the Catalan giants' B team in 2014 first on loan to Sevilla, then permanently to Villarreal in search of regular first-team football.

    A full international with Spain, the young midfielder impressed with the Yellow Submarine, convincing Barça to exercise their buyback option on the player, re-signing him for just €3.5million. Suárez didn't go back to the Camp Nou to merely make up the numbers, however; he returned because he believed he could fight his way into the starting XI and stay there.

    "I left always having the idea of returning," Suárez said upon being unveiled as a Barcelona player for the second time.

    "I am fulfilling a dream -- to play for the best team in the world, which is Barça. I will give everything for this team. I want to thank the president, the board, and Robert [Fernández, the club's sporting dire

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  7. Jean Michaël Seri: The Midfield Creator Interesting Liverpool and Barcelona

    16th August 2017. By Ryan Baldi.
    In a summer that's seen the transfer market reach giddier heights of inflation than previously imagined possible with Neymar's switch to Paris Saint-Germain doubling the world transfer record and talk of €200 million bids for Kylian Mbappé ­ it's puzzling that a player of Jean Michaël Seri's quality, said to have a measly €40 million release clause, has not been snapped up.

    The Ivory Coast midfielder shot to the attention of the wider European football-viewing public with his stellar displays for Nice last season, pulling the strings in midfield and guiding the Côte d'Azur club to a third-place Ligue 1 finish.

    Having initially attracted interest from Barcelona, Roma and Arsenal, Seri is now being linked with a potential move to Liverpool as the Reds eye up an alternative to Naby Keïta. But the fact that no potential suitor has yet stumped up the asking price for the 26-year-old playmaker remains baffling, with inferior players switc

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  8. Dani Ceballos should succeed Iniesta at Barcelona

    5th July 2017. By Ryan Baldi.
    Spain's impressive European Under-21 Championship campaign ultimately ended in disappointment, with La Roja outplayed and outthought by Germany in the final. But there are plenty of positives to be drawn from Albert Celades' side's run in the competition, not least the emergence of Real Betis midfielder Dani Ceballos as a truly elite-level talent.

    The 20-year-old playmaker demonstrated the full gamut attributes desired of a player in his position: technique, vision, awareness discipline and creativity. Although Atlético Madrid star Saúl Ñíguez stole the headlines in the semi-final victory over Italy by bagging a spectacular hat-trick, it was Ceballos who stood out most, pulling the strings in midfield and putting in a men-against-boys kind of performance.

    The 20-year-old's displays in Poland along with his form over the last 18 months with Betis have marked him out as one of the most promising young players in La Liga. An

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  9. Coutinho could fit in to the Barcelona team if they sign him this summer

    7th June 2017. By Ryan Baldi.
    Picked up from Inter Milan for Just £8.5million in January 2013, Philippe Coutinho has to be considered one of the greatest signings in Liverpool's recent history.

    In his three-and-a-half years with the Anfield club the Brazilian playmaker has 42 goals in 182 appearances, marking himself out as one of the Premier League's finest creative talents along the way.

    However, the 24-year-old's superlative form on Merseyside is a double-edged sword for the Reds; his performances have helped elevate Jürgen Klopp's men to Champions League qualification for next season, but they have also drawn the attention of Barcelona, who are reportedly considering a big-money summer bid for his services.

    Liverpool will be reluctant to part ways with their star man as they look to build towards a title push next term as well as aiming to be competitive in

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  10. Three Contenders to be the Next Barcelona Coach

    11th January 2017. By Ryan Baldi.
    After seeing their side slip to third in the table following a 1-1 draw with Villarreal at the weekend, many Barcelona fans are beginning to wonder if manager Luis Enrique is the right man to carry the team forward.

    It may seem harsh to question a coach who won the treble in his first season in charge of the Catalan giants, before following that success up with a league and cup double last season. But, after a summer of heavy investment in the playing squad, Luis Enrique has too often been found wanting tactically - relying on the brilliance of Lionel Messi to drag his side out of the mire - while his team selections have often been confounding.

    So with the possible exit of the former Roma and Celta Vigo boss at the end of the current campaign, rumours are already beginning to circulate over who will be brought in as his successor; here are the three leading candidates.

    Jorge Sampaoli


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