Scholes : Barça are bored

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Scholes : Barça are bored

Post by BarrileteCosmico on Fri Dec 05, 2014 4:13 pm

Paul Scholes column: Barcelona seem bored to me, they are a ghost of their former selves

Barcelona could be a soul-destroying experience, and I should know: I played in two Champions League finals against them and lost both times.

It was not only the fact that we lost a European Cup final, although that still hurts, it was also that at times you did not feel you were in a position to do the things that came naturally as a Manchester United footballer. By that I mean having plenty of the possession, setting the tempo and controlling the match. When you played Barcelona, they did all that themselves.

Even when we beat Barcelona in the 2008 Champions League semi-final second leg at Old Trafford, my main memory – the goal aside – was that they had possession for long periods. We did not go toe-to-toe with them, but instead contained them as best we could and defended our lead.

In that era Barcelona were special. They were undoubtedly the best team in the world and so I was interested to see them in person this season with that attacking combination of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar. I went to see them play away at the Mestalla on Sunday with my old team-mate Phil Neville, as guests of Peter Lim, who owns Valencia and has an investment with us in Salford City.

I watch Barça as much as I can on television, and this was just a snapshot of their season so far, but for much of the game I felt they were a ghost of the side they had once been. They still pass the ball relentlessly, but that old drive and tempo are not nearly as urgent. The breathtaking speed and penetration have gone. They won the game in injury time but even in those final stages they hardly created chances.

When I try to find a way of summarising the attitude of the team, and of some longer-serving individuals, I keep alighting on the word “bored”. It is not meant to sound flippant, but it just seems the most accurate way to describe the way the team seem to treat the style of football that once made them the best side on the planet – and some of them have been playing that way a long time. The midfield on Sunday was Xavi, Javier Mascherano and Sergio Busquets.

This was not one of Barcelona’s finest days, one in which Suarez struggled and Neymar looked a bit lightweight. At right-back, Dani Alves seemed under the impression he did not have any defensive role to play. Valencia were well-organised and they should have won the game.

To put it in context, Barcelona have only dropped eight points in the league this season and they are second, just two points behind Real Madrid. But in terms of the way they are playing it feels like something is missing.

As for Messi, his achievements put him in a different category to the rest of us who played the game. But even so, in him, as much as anyone, I detected that mood of boredom. He has never been a player given to chasing the full-back when his team lose the ball, but now, more than ever, he keeps his movement to an absolute minimum.

For a young manager like Luis Enrique, it will be hard to change the way Messi, and the rest of the stars in this team, play the game. They have won it all. They have conquered the world. Now Enrique has to find a way of persuading them to do it all over again, on his terms. You could see him on the touchline trying, and largely failing, to get them to play with greater urgency.

It made me think about the great years at United and how we, as a team, would pick ourselves up year after year. First of all there was our manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, who would push us on. Also, as a United player, you always feared the summer arrivals in the transfer market and how they might affect your place in the team. I can see the parallels between United without Ferguson and Barcelona without Guardiola.

When we came back for pre-season in late July of 2009, you could sense that Sir Alex was still angry even then about the defeat to Barcelona in the final in Rome the previous May. There were always matches to win, targets to achieve.

Watching Barcelona, albeit just one game, I felt the era of the great team Guardiola built was coming to an end. That does not mean some of those players will not go on to be part of another great side, just that they need to find another way of playing. The game moves on and Real Madrid and Bayern Munich have found new ways of playing, especially against Barcelona.

On Sunday they were without Andres Iniesta, a fine player who would be a miss for any side. I still have Iniesta’s shirt from the 2011 final. He asked me to swap at the end of the game. His shirt is in my garage somewhere. I mean no disrespect, it is just I have never been one for memorabilia from my playing days. There is nothing of mine on display at home, apart from my 2008 Champions League winning shirt, which my oldest son has on his bedroom wall.

There would have been more Champions League triumphs for United were it not for Barcelona. I do not begrudge them their success. They were a wonderful team. I just wonder if they need a new direction if they are to hit those heights again.

http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/paul-scholes-column-barcelona-seem-bored-to-me-they-are-a-ghost-of-their-former-selves-9904796.html

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Re: Scholes : Barça are bored

Post by futbol on Fri Dec 05, 2014 6:29 pm

@BarrileteCosmico wrote:At right-back, Dani Alves seemed under the impression he did not have any defensive role to play.

Scholes should analyse more Barca games. Top pundit.

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Re: Scholes : Barça are bored

Post by windkick on Fri Dec 05, 2014 6:47 pm

Over all I agree with his points.

We need to restart with fresh ideas. Like when Pep took over for Rikjaard. Got rid of some players, brought players he liked for HIS system, and we took off. Now, the club is convinced to try to find managers that are similar to Pep, but this team isnt the same team Pep had. I think we should find a guy that did what Pep did, brought in a new system and the right players for it, as oppose to trying to find managers that want to recreate what Pep did.

As i mentioned before, all of our best players this season are guys that weren't around under our glory days and are hungry to reach that level we once had (Mathieu, Rakitic, Bravo, Neymar). All of our vets from that era are the ones that dont have the energy from before or aren't consistent (Messi, Pique, Alves etc).

One thing Scholes needs to point out, is that Luis Enrique was at fault for that match big time with that horrid midfield set up he had. I'm convinced we would of looked balanced with a trio of Bus-Xavi-Rakitic vs the Bus-Masch-Xavi set up

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Re: Scholes : Barça are bored

Post by neuro11 on Sat Dec 06, 2014 4:39 am

It made me think about the great years at United and how we, as a team, would pick ourselves up year after year. First of all there was our manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, who would push us on. Also, as a United player, you always feared the summer arrivals in the transfer market and how they might affect your place in the team. I can see the parallels between United without Ferguson and Barcelona without Guardiola.

some important notes out there which probably many already pointed.....same old legendary squad who have little to no motivations and does not afraid of being cleared. I just have one complain here that while Ferguson did that toughest task year in year out, Pep failed (to motivate and have control over such an all winning squad)and left with honor. Thats why i personally would not compare him with Ferguson.


Watching Barcelona, albeit just one game, I felt the era of the great team Guardiola built was coming to an end. That does not mean some of those players will not go on to be part of another great side, just that they need to find another way of playing. The game moves on and Real Madrid and Bayern Munich have found new ways of playing, especially against Barcelona.
agree. some players need to be part some other great squad but not here. and Barca also need to build a system without some old integral parts. For that reason, i think its time for Barca and Messi to be apart for the good of all.(himself,team,fanz,football)

On Sunday they were without Andres Iniesta, a fine player who would be a miss for any side. I still have Iniesta’s shirt from the 2011 final. He asked me to swap at the end of the game. His shirt is in my garage somewhere. I mean no disrespect, it is just I have never been one for memorabilia from my playing days. There is nothing of mine on display at home, apart from my 2008 Champions League winning shirt, which my oldest son has on his bedroom wall.

why it was necessary to be told???? the media asked ??? what was the question then??? I feel utter arrogance here...

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Re: Scholes : Barça are bored

Post by neuro11 on Sat Dec 06, 2014 5:23 am

Valencia were well-organised and they should have won the game.

the way you did in 2008 ?? Laughing

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Re: Scholes : Barça are bored

Post by The Franchise on Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:24 pm

Fußball wrote:
@BarrileteCosmico wrote:At right-back, Dani Alves seemed under the impression he did not have any defensive role to play.

Scholes should analyse more Barca games. Top pundit.


And yet you was telling us how there was little to be gloomy about after the Valencia game. Which one is it, Scholes is right or wrong?

In any event, I have carefully watched for what Scholes has said since his retirement. As a player he never said a word, and now in his pundit days he obviously has opinions to be said...as he did about Wilshere for example.

And just like what he said then, this is the same...he isnt totally wrong, but I also think he is out of the loop on some issues and doesnt have the best overall picture of what he is speaking about.

His analysis of the game is just fine, but you can tell he clearly doesnt watch Barca often. You feel now its coming to an end? You feel now we arent a great team? Dude, your 2 years late, at least.
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Re: Scholes : Barça are bored

Post by futbol on Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:44 pm

@The Franchise wrote:
Fußball wrote:
@BarrileteCosmico wrote:At right-back, Dani Alves seemed under the impression he did not have any defensive role to play.

Scholes should analyse more Barca games. Top pundit.


And yet you was telling us how there was little to be gloomy about after the Valencia game. Which one is it, Scholes is right or wrong?


He doesn't contradict me. Barca were not playing Valencia off the park as Scholes might expect after the last 2 CL finals he has witnessed live against Barca but it was a solid away performance from a top team that isn't quite a great team anymore.

I think we 2 are still not on the same wavelength. To make my point clearer. If Barca had played like it did in this game 3 years ago I would have said "shit game". But I'm taking the current level of the squad into consideration and I can't expect Busquets and Rakitic and 35 year old Xavi to dominate Valencia on their home soil. That is a simple reality for me. I'm viewing Barca as what it is for now. A top team à la Chelsea that can win titles with a bit of luck and effort, not a juggernaut that is clear favourites in any competition.

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Re: Scholes : Barça are bored

Post by The Franchise on Fri Dec 12, 2014 3:00 pm

Thats not what he said. He said we looked bored and the team is finished (in other, less painful words) based on that game..you said we shouldnt be upset with that performance.

I get your point, but it dont make sense to me. Either we play well or not. There is differing levels of that depending on who we are (your point, which I understand) but no matter what level Barca are..that performance is not supposed to be good enough.

Result maybe, performance not at all.
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Re: Scholes : Barça are bored

Post by futbol on Fri Dec 12, 2014 3:26 pm

Yeah, but "bored" and "finished" isn't something absolute in this context. The term "finished" itself implies a comparison with the past ("finished" from which reference point?) and Scholes quite clearly keeps making comparisons to the Barca of old. Context is always required. To illustrate the point in a more extreme way: If Getafe played the exact same way, dominating possession, high passing accuracy, keeping ball high up the pitch etc. and won like this against Valencia no one would say they looked "bored", everyone would praise them to heavens. For "Barca standards" however this might look "bored", "finished", "shit", whatever. But I can't ignore that this isn't only a shit midfield compared to the Pep days but also a shit midfield compared to the Rijkaard days.

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