This blog will be dedicated to the beautiful passions of life: Food, Film, Football (Barça), Philosophy, Literature, Art and Humanity.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

8 August 1984

That was the day I moved to Sweden. That I left my country and I now can return for the very first time for Christmas.
I have to admit I am very excited, not sure if I look forward to Svið and Hangikjöt, (sheeps head and smoked lamb), but yes to the Brenna (the bonfire at the beach), obviously freezing cold, the Nordic Lights and fireworks.

On top of that, I will watch the Clásico, not sure if I should watch it in town, where people tend to get extremely drunk on the 23rd or if I should go and watch it in the Old People´s Home, with old sailors and fortunetellers.

It is such a shame that Messi won´t be playing, but I do think the team won´t embarrass anyone and I think that in some way Messi´s injury will keep the team on their toes. It would be a good, if not wonderful feeling if Eiður would score the winning goal. After all the crucade against him started with his miss against Madrid.

I will try to add some anecdotes, while I am away, although I suspect my mother will keep my schedule tight, baking cakes, cooking and bla bla bla.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

After a broken heart you look for the opposite

It is curious to see that what one most loved about Rijkaard what now annoys you. It is almost like a lover, where what ends up irritating you is exactly what you fell for in the first place. In the well known battle between him and Mourinho one could do little else than defend a man who assembled gentleman-ness itself. It was almost a crime not to. There was a responsibility towards the fans and humanity itself. How could one even think of taking Mourinho’s side? Unless you were Chelsea supporter. How could Mourinho’s authorative methods be something to long for. Mourinho seems like a man who thankfully is only a football coach, as otherwise he would have been a very dangerous man(as a friend said). His power is just. The two men are almost its opposites, although they aim for the same goal, as so often. Even if I guess that one of them is prepared to go further in order to achieve it.

It is not really that strange that Barcelona fans are longing for what doesn’t exist in their own house. I wonder how long it would take for the fans to want a different cuisine. The opposite of the next opposite, how long would the fling last, or marriage in an optimistic case. Remember that even if Van Gaal had a certain success, (although without the perverse charm of Mourinho) he was never really loved by the fans, much due to his complicated personality. He was completely unaware of the need of some diplomatic skills in order to dance around “el entorno” and his aggressive personality slowly had every one against him. This damned “etorno” who has so much power. The problem with Mourinho is exactly that he needs to proof that he is right, his ego actually need comforting and reassurement. He might be funny and his pressconferences ARE entertaining, but after some time they also become a little bit tedious. His crusade, exhausting. If you are not with him, you are against him, and therefore the enemy.

It wouldn’t really be that long, until the press would be awaiting the bad results in order to attack him, attack his arrogance and ego. He wouldn’t have that safety net that Rijkaard got himself, a safety net that saved him from criticism for a long time. It is also true that he is probably a better coach, that he has a more profound tactical knowledge, he does seem to be able to control dressing rooms, as players do stand by him at any cost, but then again, people do want to be associated with winners at all cost.

Personally I would love to see Rijkaard being the Ferguson of Barça, with the right coaching staff, who actually supplement him I believe that would be possible, it is very likely though that he would really want to. It seems that he has that personality who has no need to constantly prove themselves, who seems quite content with who they are, and being the coach of Barcelona must be extremely tiresome and one must wonder why one has entered into the petty battles of “el etorno”. Mourinho would really thrive on that battle, he would love to show Cruijff that he could be a more successful coach at Barcelona, but it is exactly that personality that is also quite poisonous, it is a personality that would sooner than later divide the public and make the situation unbearable for anyone not on a crusade.


I think that Rosell, who is preparing his candidacy, would love to have Mourinho as a part in his campaign, in order to have something entirely different than what offer. In that sense, signing Mourinho now is quite a clever little move, as you are killing your main competitor of his trump card. Unless of course, he has made far too many enemies.


Barcelona in training.
The Whalestation in Iceland.

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Bacalao from now on?

Prenote - I woud like to note that this article was written some weeks ago

It all began with Henrik Larsson, a player that was not a semi-god at Celtic, but a God. Larsson was extremely appreciated at Barcelona even well before the Champions League final, where he had a crucial impact on the game when he came on (he gave passes to both Barcelona goals in the game). It was almost a mystery to the press in Barcelona how much the fans loved Larsson, as his goal scoring record was good, but not as good to justify his status, perhaps it was his work rate, that he compared to many other players did not arrive to semi retire and live a good life in the south, but that he came there to work and work hard. He proved to be hungry to prove himself and became a real role model for both Eto’o and Ronaldinho, admired by both players and they always mentioned how much they lurnt from him.

Back to Gudjohnsen, it is never easy to substitute a semi-god (which Larsson became at Barcelona), but he was believed to be a sound signing. Someone who at least would have the same work mentality as Larsson and who had a good record for Mourinho and Chelsea (but as a midfielder). Gudjhonsen started very well, creating goals and scoring goals in his first games when he came on as a substitute. Before he had to chance to truly adjust to his new team he was thrown into the limelight, as Eto’o became injured. Eto’o is a player that who had an amazing record, scoring almost a goal every two games. A player that was not just important for his goals, but he was tactically extremely important, as the defence started with him chasing the opposite players like a lunatic. Gudjohnsen who is a very different players, was suddenly the one who had not just to be the new Larsson, but also the new Eto’o. A task impossible for any striker, only that Gudjohnsen is perhaps more suited as a midfielder.
Gudjohnsen’s track record up until Christmas last year was nothing to be ashamed of, perhaps he was crucified for missing that open goal against Madrid and the fans never really trusted him after that.
It is never easy to come to a team that has just won everything and were now showing alarming signs of complacency everywhere and I mean everywhere. The team never really got going and one title after another was lost and in those circumstances it is extremely difficult for a newcomer to adapt and it was not made any easier, having to be the player supposed to score goals and win games.

January came, and the Spanish Cup season started, in those games it is normally the opportunity for teams to play their second or third choice players. Saviola who at that point was the third striker, started scoring goals, a lot of goals, only that they were against second or third rated teams. A massive media campaign started with everyone shouting for Saviola to play. Saviola is another of those players who is or rather was (as he went to Madrid) loved like their own child by the Barcelona fans. The campaign claimed that he was not being played as he was a burden from the past, a player that was not played due to political reasons (a signing from the past board), that he was much better than Gudjohnsen, oblivious to the fact that Gudjohnsen scored against most major teams (Werder Bremen, Liverpool, Chelsea) and that Saviola had to my memory never scored in an important game. He was simply thought by the media and fans to be a much better player than Gudjohnsen.
Rijkaard seemed to have been influenced by that campaign, a

The campaign led to that Rijkaard, a man who perhaps can be influenced or rather does not want any trouble, started to play Saviola. The opinion amongst Barcelna fans has been divided between those who think that Gudjohnsen is not good enough for Barcelona, even a bad player and those who think that the title was lost when Saviola took Gudjohnsen’s place in the starting team. That the campaign sank Gudjohnsen and his self confidence and if Rijkaard would have trusted in his capabilities (as a striker) the team would have won the league. Those fans think that the club and coach have been unjust to Gudjohnsen and he was never really allowed a chance to really prove himself, that he was discarded far too soon.
When Deco was playing awfully Gudjohnsen should have been given a chance in the position that is probably his best position, an attacking midfielder, but for some reason he was never tried in that position.
From being el bacalao, he became Badjohnsen, and the club seemed to be more than willing to sell him in the summer. He might not be good enough for Barcelona as a striker, even if I am sure they could use him there, but he is definitely a player that could be important in certain games. Like the one at Ibrox Park
With Deco out and only Xavi and Iniesta available, Rijkaard had no choice but to play him. Rijkaard who had hinted at the difficulty of Gudjohnsen getting any minutes (as two teenagers were even ahead of him as strikers) had to trust all his faith in Gudjohnsen. In Glasgow perhaps as the other stars did not shine at all, Gudjohnsen was Barcelona’s best player. Football can have that beautiful turn, when one day you are a nobody and the next day you are a semi –god, or at least someone who is much needed. It is obvious by now that Gudjhonsen is no Larsson and it was a big mistake by the club to flag him as the substitute for Larsson. It won’t be easy to be Deco, but at least his qualities are better matched as a Deco type of player, or he could well be the substitute for a player that perhaps was not much appreciated by the fans, but a player that is essential in the Champions League, especially the hard physical games. A player who probably contributed more than he is grated for as an important part in winning the Champions League. Mark Van Bommel. It could well be that the club and fans will realise that Gudjohnsen is a better player than Van Bommel and that his part is much needed in the midfield, when games are both physical and aggressive.
The kind of player that all teams who aspire to win the Champions League have, look at Gerrard, Van Bommel and Seedorf.
Gudjhonsen is probably not as good as Gerrard or Seedorf, but at least he is of that profile. It is just a shame that it has taken the club one year and a bit to discover and try his real qualities and that is more due to an accident (injuries) than observation.

Here is one of my favourite Bacalao recipes:
Here is one of my favourite Bacalao Recipes, for four people.
Bacalao, celery, tomatoes, diced, raisins, black olives, onion coarsely chopped, pine nuts. Salt and pepper.

De salt the fish (think for 48 hours, changing the water four times). Cut celery to slices, and parboil in boiling salted water. Sauté onion in a little oil and add tomatoes. Add fish after a few minutes and simmer for five minutes.
Add celery, pine nuts, raisins and olives. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes. If necessary, add a little wter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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Monday, December 03, 2007


Messi and Zambrotta, it is true that it is not a connection that is working. I believe that perhaps Zambrotta is used to having someone covering him, when he attacks and as no one does, it schizofrenizes him. A solution to the problem, could well be switching Xavi and Eidur. At least then you will have one player who defends one either side, someone helping out and covering the full backs runs. It is also true that Messi sometimes forgets that there are players around him, and on occasions Zambrotta is free, but Messi tries one of his slaloms. I guess that is fine, when he is winning games, it will be another story and another worry on the days when he doesn't.

This moment has finally arrived, Eto'o is backed. I admit that I fear that he won't be himself. That two crucial injuries will both slow him down and somehow tame him. He needs to be the Lion we all know and want to be. With him, it won't be a problem that Messi doesn't defend (as you can have one player with total freedom, but not more). I sincerely have missed him, he is one of these players that scores at that crucial moment. I remember all these matches when the team played badly, especially away, but we had that goal from Eto'o. That goal that won us so many games. His character can be discussed forever, but it is something the team needs. Someone who never takes a game lightly, someone who has something to prove, every day, every hour, every minute, every second.

It has long been thought that Zambrotta simply doesn't perform well enough at Barcelona. That going forward he doesn't bring much more than Oleguer, that Puyol is so much better and should play in Zambrotta's position. That said Puyol is very good in that position, but against Espanyol he was exposed for the goal that Coro scored from (the person he was supposed to mark Riera's pass). I would like to put the blame further up the field. In previous year the other side was the open motorway and teams used that flank to attack, in some sense a solution has been brought to that by playing Iniesta, who does track back and defend, and Eidur or Deco when he plays. On the other side, the full back is extremely exposed, as Messi defends extremely well, it is just that it is very sporadically and Xavi does run back, but little more than that, he seems totally inefficient at defending. Perhaps he should open his eyes and learn a little more from players such as Cocu, Touré, or Deco.

Is the neurotic moment finally over. Will we be spared those frantic runs by Puyol when he is gesturing the air. Will he be able to impose his captaincy. Will we see Rijkaard shaking his head in that special motion way that he does? Will he holds his hands in front of him hoping to be living a nightmare?
Or has the moment arrived when he shows his balls?

ps. sometimes the scans make the picture better, but int he case of Eto'o/Rijkaard it actually made it worst. It is a nice little drawing. The other ones are so so. Puyol and Rijkaard if you did not notice. Zambrotta and Messi in a moment of intimacy. Rijkaard and his balls. I am still awful at maing faces, shadows are slightly overdone (although fun to do). The main thing I dominate is colours, chose of pictures. I guess the rest is practice, practice and practice.

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