Tito Vilanova's most utilised players: @1victorvaldes, Messi and @3gerardpique

Messi, Valdés and Piqué
The manager has used FC Barcelona 18 players in the team’s five official matches of the season. Valdés and Messi are the only players that have played every minute of every match


450 minutes: Valdés i Messi
402 minutes: Piqué
380 minutes: Xavi
370 minutes: Pedro
360 minutes: Mascherano
354 minutes: Busquets
326 minutes: Alba
318 minutes: Alves
316 minutes: Iniesta
284 minutes: Alexis
208 minutes: Adriano
199 minutes: Cesc and Tello
141 minutes: Puyol
109 minutes: Song
64 minutes: Montoya
40 minutes: Villa

Valdés, Messi and Piqué have enjoyed the most playing time in FC Barcelona’s five official matches this season. The keeper and the Argentine goalscorer have played every minute of every official match so far this year. Piqué, on the other hand, has played a total of 400 minutes this season. He featured in Barça’s starting line-up on four occasions and played the second half against Real Sociedad.

Xavi, Iniesta, Pedro, Sergio and Alba have also featured in Barça’s five official matches this year. In total, Vilanova has used 18 players between Liga and Spanish Super Cup fixtures.

Jordi Alba in the Top 10

Alba, who joined the Azulgranas this summer, has enjoyed a lot of playing time since he arrived at the Club. He’s played a total of 326 minutes, more than Iniesta, Alexis or Alves. On the other hand, Puyol and Villa haven’t had a lot of playing time so far this year due to injuries.

Overview of Barça's summer signings

Bartomeu and Zubizarreta / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
Vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu and director of football Andoni Zubizarreta said that the transition from Guardiola to Vilanova has been successful

On Puyol’s contract renewal: “We’ve had a first meeting to address the issue and I don’t think we’ll have a long negotiation process”

It’s time to evaluate how the team fared during the summer transfer window. This morning, Club vice-president and Sports Area director Josep Maria Bartomeu and football director Andoni Zubizarreta talked about FC Barcelona’s current roster, Barça new manager and the team’s two signings. “Tito embodies the success of the project, the decision was made to maintain normality within the Club. We’re very pleased,” said Zubizarreta. The question on the new FC Barcelona manager was the last in a 45 minute long press conference. “The fact that it took you so long to ask me about him is good news. It means that things are going well,” said the football director.

Satisfied with the new players

Bartomeu praised both Jordi Alba and Alex Song, FC Barcelona’s two summer signings, for how we’ll they’ve performed since they arrived at Barça. “Alba has made a quick transition. Perhaps he had a bit of an advantage because he plays for the national team, he knows the Liga and he was a Barça youth player,” said Bartomeu. On Song, the director noted that “we’re very pleased that he’s been able to learn our system so quickly.”

Puyol and Messi

Zubizarreta also talked about Puyol and Messi’s contracts. On the Barça captain, Zubizarreta recognised that “we’ve already had a first meeting and I don’t think we’ll have a long negotiation process,” he added that Puyol’s contract renewal process “needs to be delicate, because of the player’s age and his dedication to the Club.”

On Messi, whose contract is up in 2016, Zubizarreta was clear that the Club “is not worried” and that “any Barça fan would want Messi on the team.”

Bartomeu also cleared the air in relation to reports about David Villa. “We haven’t received emissaries from any club” asking for Villa. He added that Barça showed no interest in signing Fernando Llorente this summer. Bartomeu also noted that Alex Song “was always the Club’s first option,” ahead of Javi Martínez.

AC Milan: option to buy Bojan

The vice-president also talked about Bojan, who was sold to Roma last season, and was loaned to AC Milan this summer. “We can’t talk about numbers, but we signed an agreement with Milan that gives us an option to buy the player, we also have have an option to block the transfer of the player to another club,” said Bartomeu. It’s worth noting that Bojan was sold to Roma for 12 million euros and that FC Barcelona can buy back the player next summer for 13 million.

A carbon copy of 15 years ago

L'equip és líder en solitari / FOTO: ARXIU FCB
It’s the first time since the 1997/98 season that Barça has stood alone at the top of the league table after the first three games. As now, Mallorca were also in second place.

Aquell curs també s’havien fet vuit gols en les tres primeres jornades i es va acabar sent campió

Match day 3: the stats

11/12: 3rd with 7 points
10/11: 6th with 6 points
09/10: 2nd with 9 points
08/09: 9th with 4 points
07/08: 5th with 5 points
06/07: 2nd with 9 points
05/06: 8th with 4 points
04/05: 3rd with 7 points
03/04: 3rd with 7 points
02/03: 4th with 7 points
01/02: 8th with 5 points
00/01: 5th with 6 points
99/00: 1st with 9 points
98/99: 6th with 5 points
97/98: 1st with 9 points

The start of the 2012/13 season is turning out to be a carbon copy of the league campaign 15 years ago, with FC Barcelona leading the rest of the first division as the only team to win all three opening matches. Fifteen years ago, the first season under Dutch coach Louis van Gaal, Mallorca – who are currently tied on points with Malaga and Rayo Vallecano – were also in second place.

Campaign kicks off against Real Societad

But the similarity between the two seasons doesn’t stop there. Both league campaigns started in the Camp Nou with a comfortable win against Real Societad (3-0 in 1997 and 5-1 this season). And Barça had also played Valencia, although 15 years ago it was a 0-3 away victory in the Mestalla stadium in the second match day. Just as this year, FC Barcelona had scored eight goals in the three matches, conceding just the one then compared to two so far this season.

Three wins in three

Barça have not made a habit of getting off to such a perfect start since then, winning the first three matches on only five occasions – 1997/98, 1999/00, 2006/07, 2009/10 and 2012/13.

Tito Vilanova is only the seventh manager in the history of the Club to have guided the team to three wins out of the three at the beginning of the season, following in the footsteps of Bellamy (1929/30), Brocic (1960/61), César (1963/64), Olsen (1965/66), Venables (1984/85) and Van Gaal (1997/98).

First session without the internationals

Fontàs and Puyol / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
Barça have begun a week of training that will be marked by the absence of the 17 players called up for international duty

Just five senior players were on hand for this morning’s training session -Puyol, Thiago, Fontàs, Pinto and Dos Santos – plus 10 from Barça B

Training resumed on Tuesday morning after Sunday night’s narrow victory over Valencia and a day’s holiday on Monday. With the league programme taking a break in favour of the international fixtures, just a handful of players were available.

Ten players from Barça B

With only five players reporting for training from the first team squad-Puyol, Thiago, Fontàs, Pinto and Dos Santos- Vilanova took the opportunity to include ten youngsters from the reserves: Quintillà, Miguel Angel, Masip, Gustavo, Patric, Roman, Luis Alberto, Sergi Gomez, Espinosa and Dongou.

The next training session will be on Wednesday at 10 am. However, Tito Vilanova will be away in Nyon at the 14th UEFA Elite Club Coaches Forum.