12
Apr

Iniesta ignores young pitch invader while she hugs him

We’re sure that Andres Iniesta normally loves the support of his fans, but when a young girl ran onto the field to hug her idol after Barcelona’s loss to Granada on Saturday, we can’t blame him for trying to brush her off.

Her timing was less than ideal: it was during a TV interview. After a loss. To a team that hasn’t defeated your club since 1972.

Come on, kiddo. Not cool.

You have to give her credit for her commitment to the hug. That girl has a death-grip on Iniesta’s waist. But was it worth the inevitable months of being grounded?

6
Mar

Nike Soccer unveils new Magista football boot

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BARCELONA — With the help of hometown hero Andres Iniesta, Nike lifted the lid on the radical new design in Barcelona unveiling their latest addition to its Flynit technology family: the Magista Football boot.

The Magista features a Dynamic Fit collar that rises past the ankle, an almost sock-like feature. “With Magista, we’ve designed a shoe that feels like an extension of the player’s body. This isn’t a boot that just goes on your foot, it’s a boot that works with your foot,” Nike’s VP of Sport Performance Footwear Phil McCartney said during Thursday’s event. “By eliminating distractions, players are free to unlock their potential and creativity.”

Barcelona’s star midfielder was equally impressed as well.

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13
Jan

FIFPro World XI consists exclusively of Bayern, PSG, Real and Barca players

imageLast year, for reasons we’re still trying to comprehend, every single member of the FIFPro World XI came out of La Liga. This time around, there thankfully was a little more diversity, though some will undoubtedly still complain over an apparent La Liga bias amongst the players who voted.

The biggest gripe will probably come over the inclusion of Xavi — over the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger or Arturo Vidal — who for his standards experienced a down year, and was completely taken apart by Bayern Munich’s midfield in last season’s Champions League.

Liverpool fans, too, will be frustrated that Luis Suarez was not rewarded for his fantastic form, although you can’t argue against Zlatan Ibrahmovic either. Meanwhile, Sergio Ramos keeps getting a spot in the World XI (it’s his fourth inclusion) despite probably having been sent off for challenges on every player who voted for him.

The 2013 FIFPro World XI:

GK: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)

DEF: Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Thiago Silva (Paris St-Germain), Dani Alves (Barcelona)

MID: Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Xavi (Barcelona), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich)

FWD: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris Saint-Germain), Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

Photo: Getty Images

11
Dec

Great players take each other to school

Even some of the greatest players in the world are made to look like fools at times.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Alessandro Nesta and many more are given a some footballing lessons by their fellow greats. Nutmegs, rainbows, cuts and flicks are just a small part of the arsenal these players use to trick their illustrious opponents. Sit back, relax and enjoy watching these seemingly untouchable soccer stars get taken to school.

(H/T r/soccer)

14
Nov

Iniesta, Dempsey wanted by Premier League heavyweights

In terms of soccer transfer stories, they don’t get much bigger than what we present you today. The latest rumors link Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta to Manchester United, whose creative midfield problems have been only too documented in the past.

As well as that though, we bring you the news of a true soccer legend nearing his own return to the Premier League. Clint Dempsey has previously turned out for Fulham and Tottenham in England, and those two sides, as well as Aston Villa and Everton, have expressed an interest in bringing the Seattle Sounders stars back on loan. Read all about the above rumors and many more with a simple click.

15
Oct

Manchester clubs interested in Barca midfielder Iniesta

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Andres Iniesta’s future at Barcelona remains up in the air which means one thing - transfer interest! Iniesta is in the process of negotiating a new contract, but as yet nothing has been agreed. The UK press reckon that both Manchester clubs are interested in the Spain midfielder, although the man himself is confident he will stay at Camp Nou.

We’ve also got the latest rumors on Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba amid interest from a Premier League club, so click here for the best gossip in town.

9
Oct

Special Inside Look: Spain’s Ciudad del Futbol

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Image provided by Dermot Corrigan / FOX Soccer

MADRID, SPAIN

Wednesday evening in Madrid — and hundreds of kids are training at the Spanish football federation’s Ciudad del Futbol campus. Their sessions over, they grab a quick drink of water, then quickly gather in the small stand beside the suburban facility’s biggest pitch, to watch national coach Vicente del Bosque run his World Cup holders through their paces ahead of their crucial upcoming qualifiers for the 2014 finals.

The young spectators cheered and squealed as their heroes completed a light warm-up, then a series of ‘rondos’ — piggy-in-the-middle-style exercises where good technique is key and a sense of humor helps. Being a public session, no tactical secrets were displayed, but Gerard Pique and Andres Iniesta had recovered from minor knocks to take part. Spain looks ready for the clashes with Belarus in Mallorca on Friday, and then Georgia in Albacete next Tuesday, when four points will seal qualification for Brazil next summer.

 If, as expected, Spain win on Friday, del Bosque may use the Georgia game for experimentation and give Swansea city attacker Michu a first cap. The Swansea attacker told reporters at the Cuidad de Futbol on Wednesday morning that he’d been a little awestruck at first when training alongside so many world champions — but was now ready to stake his claim for a regular squad spot.

Image provided by Getty

“When you step out on the grass, with the [World Cup winner] star on your chest, the sensation is indescribable,” Michu said. “I was a little nervous to be playing with the best players in the world, but you settle down quickly. I am here to make the most of the opportunity — and to help Spain qualify for the World Cup.”

The gap between Michu’s press conference and training left time to visit the impressive campus’ excellent museum — which shows visitors just what soccer means in Spain. The exhibits begin with a search for the sport’s origins in ancient China, Egypt, Greece, Mexico and Scotland, then fast forward to the early 20th century as young king Alfonso XIII oversees its introduction here.

Xavi Hernandez, Iker Casillas and Fernando Torres — dressed in period gear — guide you through a time tunnel to a 1930s pre-Civil War dressing room. Among the other life-sized dioramas is a 1950s film-set from when General Franco’s regime “persuaded” Real Madrid’s Alfredo Di Stefano and Barcelona’s Ladislao Kubala to star in feature length propaganda pictures.

Big sections cover the 1964 European Championships, which Spain won; and the 1982 World Cup, which Spain hosted but flopped at. The tour ends on a high — with the Henri Delaunay [European Championship] and Jules Rimet [World Cup] trophies on display, alongside jerseys and footballs from their victories in the last three major international tournaments. There’s also the actual 2010 final locker-room flipchart, with del Bosque’s detailed handwritten instructions for defending Holland’s set pieces.

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Image provided by Dermot Corrigan / FOX Soccer

Once qualification is assured for next year’s tournament, del Bosque can ponder how to best retain the trophy. Selection decisions must be made on players including Michu, Casillas, Torres, David Villa, Carles Puyol, Juan Mata, Koke, Isco and – most controversially – Brazilian-born Diego Costa.

But all that can wait for now. Wednesday’s session ended with a friendly mini-game, before the sun set behind the nearby Sierra de Guadarrama mountains, and the players, children and journalists headed home for their suppers.

Another day at one of world soccer’s most important nerve centers — with Brazil 2014 on the horizon.

27
Aug

The Land of FC Barcelona

Who wouldn’t want to go hang out on an island with Lionel Messi, Neymar, Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol? Well, except for Real Madrid fans.

This fantastical world only exists in the dreams of Barcelona fans, but that’s exactly what Barca and Qatar Airways created in their latest advertisement: The Land of FC Barcelona. It seems like a pretty wonderful place to go take a vacation, especially with Pique as the customs officer, Neymar making sure you don’t lose your luggage, Messi giving lessons in the performing arts and Iniesta creating beautiful wall paintings with a soccer ball. Also, who could turn down tickets to a showing of Das Golden Boot? Not us!

Better start saving up that vacation time now just in case this dreamland ever becomes a reality.