The Barça B side return to training

Barça B return to work after the Christmas break / PHOTO: VÍCTOR SALGADO - FCB
The B team returned to training on Monday with a session that included 20 players and with Kaptoum returning to training with the squad

Barça B returned to training on Monday after the Christmas break as they prepare for Saturday’s game at the Miniestadi against Las Palmas which kicks off at 8.00pm (CET). The good news was the return to training of Cameroonian Wilfred Kaptoum for the first time since recovering from a hamstring problem.

20 players in the evening session

The session saw 20 players present with Adama and Halilovic absent playing in the League Charity game ‘Champions for Life’ in Madrid; Ondoa and Diagne were also missing with the club’s permission; Maxi Rolón is away with the Argentine U20 squad for the South American Championship and Munir who will join the first team when they return to training on Tuesday. Lucas Gafarot did train but apart form the group as he recovers from an ankle injury.

Eusebio Sacristán’s B squad will train every day this week ahead of Saturday’s clash with Las Palmas at home in the Miniestadi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four FC Barcelona legends retired in 2014

Rivaldo, Carles Puyol, Thierry Henry and Éric Abidal.
Rivaldo, Carles Puyol, Thierry Henry and Eric Abidal all decided to hang up their boots

In 2014 there were four ex-Barça players, legends in fact, who retired from football. The four were Rivaldo, Carles Puyol, Thierry Henry and Éric Abidal. All of them won over the crowds at Camp Nou, finally hanging up their boots at the end of long careers. Only Puyol retired while still with the team.

VITOR BORBA FERREIRA ‘RIVALDO’
Rivaldo said goodbye last March at the age of 41. From 1997 to 2002, the Brazilian was one of the best ever to wear the blue and claret. The left-footed forward was graceful yet powerful, winning two league titles and a Spanish Cup. He won the Ballon d’Or in 1999. After leaving Barça — where he scored 136 goals — he globetrotted his way through Italy, Greece, Angola, Uzbekistan and Brazil, his career coming to a close while playing for Sao Paolo.

 


CARLES PUYOL
The curtains came down on the career of this legendary defender at the end of the 2013/14 season, when he was 36. Despite his many injuries, Puyol played for FC Barcelona for 15 seasons, and was captain for ten of them. Among his greatest virtues were his leadership, positioning, strength and speed, making him one of the greatest defenders on the planet for a large part of his career. His courage was one of the many faces of the greatest Barça team in history. He retired as the Club’s second all-time leader in games played.

THIERRY HENRY
On December 16th Thierry Henry called it quits at the age of 37. While playing for Arsenal in the Premier League, Henry became known for elegant goalscoring while winning two Golden Boots in 2004 and 2005. In 2007 he came to FC Barcelona and, after a difficult first year, ended up helping the team to a historic treble as a part of a highly feared forward line that also included Samuel Eto’o and Lionel Messi. From 2010 to 2014, he played for the New York Red Bulls.

ÉRIC ABIDAL
Just three days after Henry’s announcement, 35-year old Éric Abidal retired as well, in one of the more moving episodes in Barça history. After coming to Barcelona in 2007 from Olympique Lyon, he stood out as a technically brilliant lateral defender with unmatched physical attributes. However, in 2011, at the peak of his career, he was diagnosed with liver cancer and became a symbol of survival. He left the Club in 2013 as one the most beloved and admired players to have ever been a part of it. Abidal last played for Monaco and Olympiacos.

 

The top ten most read stories of 2014

Messi, Luis Suárez and Neymar all made headlines in 2014. But what was our most read story of the year? / FCB
This has been an intense year for many different reasons at FC Barcelona

But which ten stories attracted the most readers to fcbarcelona.com in 2014?

The next ten

11. Top 10 best goals of the season 2013 2014

12. Ten things to know about Marc Andre Ter Stegen

13. Ivan Rakitic to join FC Barcelona

14. Chelsea to sign Cesc Fabregas

15. Messi, Eto’o & Munir nominated for best UEFA goal of all time

16. SSC Napoli v FC Barcelona match highlights

17. Detailed figures of Neymar transfer

18. When and where to watch R Madrid v FC Barcelona

19. Leo Messi on shortlist for FIFA Ballon d’Or

20. Luis Enrique signs as new Barçaa manager

[[DES_1]]2014 has produced no shortage of big news stories at FC Barcelona, and as the year draws to an end, here’s a countdown of the ten most viewed articles on the English language version of the club website at www.fcbarcelona.com.


10. Barça stars in Shakira video

In tenth place came Barça’s Piqué, Neymar, Messi and Fàbregas appearing in Colombian singer Shakira’s World Cup song La La La. The video, released in May, also featured former Barça player Eric Abidal, Man City’s Argentinian star Sergio Agüero, and Shakira’s compatriots Falcao and James Rodríguez.


9. Testing the new FIFA 2015 game

The ninth most viewed story showed Messi, Neymar, Alves, Piqué, Jordi Alba, Rakitic, Bartra and Munir trying out the new FIFA 2015 game in October. All eight of them chose to play with FC Barcelona!


8. New Nike home strip revealed

The release of the new home strip is always a much anticipated moment at the club, and May 2014 was no exception. Marketed with the slogan Crafted to Win, “this distinct new design provides Barcelona fans with their most authentic and truest identity of the modern era.”


7. Messi and Neymar display their skills

Recorded at an Audi presentation in November, this video showing Barça’s South American superstars battling it out in a unique game of keepie-uppie got a huge number of hits on our website.


6. Tito Vilanova, eternally remembered

In April 2014, the announcement of the passing away of former FC Barcelona first team manager, Tito Vilanova, was one of the saddest moments in club history. This article announced that a space for condolence would be made available in the main grandstand at the Camp Nou, and thousands of supporters came to the club to pay their last respects to the man who guided the team to the 2012/13 league title with its highest ever points tally.


5. The first four new faces

The summer transfer market always generates a huge amount of interest, and 2014 was one of the busiest close seasons ever at Barça. When this article was published in June, Rakitic had just become the fourth new arrival, following on from the signing of Ter Stegen and the returns from loan of Deulofeu and Rafinha.


4. Ter Stegen in and Pinto out

On a similar theme, the fourth most read story of 2014 concerned a change of faces in the Barça goal. Pinto was leaving after six and a half years of service and German keeper Ter Stegen arrived from Borussia Mönchengladbach.


3. Valdés says farewell

Another goalkeeper featured in our third most visited story. Victor Valdés had already announced his retirement, but when he missed the end of the season through injury, he was unable to say goodbye to the fans the way he might have hoped. Instead he penned this farewell letter to the fans in May.


2. New crimson strip revealed

The Barça first strip always features the same basic colour scheme, so the release of the second strip often generates more interest due to the use of different colour combinations. The 2014/15 crimson kit was no exception, and the response was so enthusiastic that this story was the second most read of the year.


1. Suarez signs from Liverpool

The rumours were finally confirmed. Luis Suárez was on his way to FC Barcelona! The official announcement by the club in July was one of the media stories of the year, not just in Catalonia but all around the world. So it should come as no surprise that the signing of the Uruguayan striker was the story that the drew the most visitors to www.fcbarcelona.com in 2014.

Messi and Neymar named in L’Équipe Ideal XI

Messi & Neymar have both been included in L'Equipe's XI. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.
FC Barcelona is the third most represented club in the French sports daily’s team of the year

Leo Messi and Neymar have been included in the 2014 team of the year announced today by French sports daily L’Équipe. The full XI is as follows: Neuer (Bayern Munich), Lahm (Bayern Munich), Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Ramos (Real Madrid), Alaba (Bayern Munich), Xabi Alonso (Bayern Munich), Di María (Manchester United), Kroos (Madrid), Neymar (Barça), Messi (Barça) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Madrid).

That makes Barça the third most represented club in the list after Bayern Munich Madrid, who have four and three players respectively.

Speaking about Messi, L’Équipe says “his merits, which have been dissected and debated, and even questioned over the year, still lead to the same conclusion in December. Of all forwards, he is way above the rest.”

Midfield trio show off their skills

Amazing skills from Xavi, Iniesta and Sergio
Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets were the stars of this stunning display of ability as they prepared for a training session

Xavi Hernández, Andrés Iniesta and Sergio Busquets were warming up for a training session earlier this year at the Ciutat Esportiva. They decided to see how long they could keep the ball in the air by passing the ball amongst themselves, but touching the ball with both feet each time. The result was captured on video and makes for incredible viewing.

Trying out ball tricks like this is nothing unusual in football. It’s the kind of thing you’ll see people trying out in playgrounds all around the world. But rarely, if ever, will you see the exercise performed so exquisitely as Xavi, Iniesta and Sergio do here. How long will they be able to keep going? And what about you and your friends? Why not give it a try!