30
May

Lionel Messi surprises fans with completely adorable hugs

Ever since shows like Candid Camera and Punk’d came around, people everywhere are skeptical when presented with a situation that seems too good to be true.

This is especially true when a person is surprised by their sporting idol.

Head and Shoulders filmed a stunt in which people were dared to hug whatever came out of a special box. A knight, an astronaut, an elderly women; you name it, it came out of that box.

But then, a surprise guest made an appearance:

You can see the gears turning in their heads. "Is that really Lionel Messi? I mean, really? It can’t be. Maybe? YES IT IS LIONEL MESSI!"

Eventually, everyone accepted it was truly Messi standing in front of them, and they hugged him like they’ve never hugged before. D’awwwww.

(H/T SB Nation)

21
May

Barcelona unveil new home kit for 2014/15 season

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After introducing their new manager (Luis Enrique) and new starting goalkeeper (Marc-Andre ter Stegen) this week, Barcelona have now unveiled their new home kits for next season. And guess what? They feature blue and red vertical stripes. Imagine that!

Jokes aside, the new shirt looks fresh to death. The vibrant yellow collar from this past season gives way to a unique blue one with a Catalan touch - the Senyera flag in the open v-neck. It’s the first time the Catalan flag has been placed there, and it adds for a little spice!

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Another change from this year is the center stripe will now be red instead of blue, which is also a good thing because then we can tell Barca’s shirt apart from Bayern Munich’s new kit.

Well done, Barca, well done.

Images via FCBarcelona.com

19
May

Shakira makes Gerard Pique forget of Barcelona’s shortcomings

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How do you get over losing the La Liga title on the final day, in your own stadium no less?
  • Step 1: Fly to Vegas
  • Step 2: Visit your lover, who happens to be Shakira, at the Billboard Music Awards
  • Step 3: Receive a giant smooch from Shakira and all the sadness mysteriously disappears
Man, it must be nice to be Gerard Pique.

Image courtesy of Getty
19
May

Barcelona shut out of La Liga Best XI

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Trivia question: When was the last time Lionel Messi was excluded from La Liga’s official ‘Team of the Year?’ Better question: When’s the last time nobody from Barcelona made the Best XI?

Well, since the Liga Nacional de Futbol Profesional (LFP) only introduced that distinction in 2008, the answer to both questions would be ‘never.’ Until now.

Yup, this season the LFP have shut out Barca completely. Even stranger, only one Real Madrid player made the team: Cristiano Ronaldo. In place of the usual pack of players from the two La Liga behemoths? A whole gang of Atletico Madrid stars; seven of the eleven come from this year’s champions, while two Athletic Bilbao players also made the cut. Here’s the full squad:

GK:  Thibaut Courtois, Atletico Madrid

DEF: Luis Filipe, Atletico Madrid; Diego Godin, Atletico Madrid; Aymeric Laporte, Athletic Bilbao; Juanfran, Atletico Madrid.

MID: Koke, Atletico Madrid; Ander Iturraspe, Athletic Bilbao; Gabi, Atletico Madrid; Ivan Rakitic, Sevilla.

FWD: Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid; Diego Costa, Atletico Madrid

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Weird, isn’t it?

Images: Best XI (LFP) & Messi (Reuters)


15
May

Iniesta, Guardiola and other Barcelona greats pay tribute to Carles Puyol

With nagging knee injuries dragging him down, Barcelona legend Carles Puyol reluctantly called it quits on Thursday.

As the curtain closes on a memorable 15-year career in the top flight, Barcelona put together a touching video to thank the shaggy captain for his services.

Barcelona legends, current and former, all got together to pay tribute to Puyol in the video above. Watch and enjoy.

(FC Barcelona)

30
Apr

"We are all monkeys" banana selfie trend was pre-planned

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It turns out the social media explosion after Dani Alves’ brilliant act of eating a banana thrown at him by a racist fan wasn’t as spontaneous a reaction as we all thought.

According to Spanish newspaper AS and the Associated Press, his Brazilian teammate Neymar, who has been the target for racial abuse often this season, hatched a plan a couple of weeks ago with the help of a team of advisors, including Neymar’s father. The plan was that next time Neymar had a banana thrown at him — something that would inevitably (and sadly) happen — he would eat it.

It turned out that Alves was a target of this disgusting act before Neymar. The act of eating the banana was spontaneous, as Alves said he was “just trying to use a positive attitude to counter a negative attitude.”

But Neymar jumped at the opportunity to launch the campaign, posting a photo and the pre-planned hashtags #weareallmonkeys and #somostodosmacacos, conceived by Brazilian marketing firm Loducca.

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Guga Ketzer, a partner at Loducca, said:

Actions speak louder than words. A gesture needs no translation and what we’re seeing is that this has gone viral, globally. The concept was for Neymar to eat the banana, but in the end it was Alves, and that works just the same.

The best way to beat prejudice is to take the sting out of the action so it is not racist repeated. We created #weareallmonkeys #somostodosmacacos, with the gesture of eating a banana, and it has been turned into a movement.

Following Dani Alves’ impulsive on-field meal and Neymar’s pre-planned reaction, soccer players, fans and even politicians around the world began uploading pictures of themselves eating bananas to help take a stand against racism. These were not planned.

The fact Neymar’s reaction wasn’t as impulsive as we originally thought shouldn’t matter much. Though the ‘Banana Selfie Movement’ may have lost some of its romance, it still managed to get the word out against racism in a positive, sweeping way.

27
Apr

Dani Alves shows everyone how you combat racism

How perfect is this?

In the late stages of Barcelona’s 3-2 win at Villarreal on Sunday, a banana was thrown at Dani Alves as he was getting set to take a corner kick.

Unfazed, the Barca defender picked up said banana, peeled it and took a nice big, satisfying bite before going on about his business.

After the match, Alves said humor is the best way to kick racism to the  curb.

"We have suffered this in Spain for some time. You have to take it with a dose of humor. We aren’t going to change things easily.

"If you don’t give it importance, they don’t achieve their objective."

That’s right, bigots. Dani Alves eats your racism for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Ain’t no thang.

25
Apr

Soccer world reacts to sad news of Vilanova’s passing

As the soccer world mourns the loss of Tito Vilanova, numerous players, managers and clubs offered their condolences:

25
Apr

This dog does NOT approve of Lionel Messi, Barcelona

Real Madrid versus Barcelona is always a must-see affair. All you need to boil Spanish football’s most intense rivalry down to is this: Cristiano Ronaldo against Lionel Messi.

If you want proof, look no further than the pooch in the video above.

Mention Cristiano Ronaldo and the pup is as calm as can be. But Lionel Messi? That gets the dog quite agitated. Clearly this canine is a huge Barca hater. It even growls at Sergio Busquets’ name!

Wow. We knew the bad blood between Barca and Real ran deep. But who knew the blood was rabid?

(h/t Deadspin)

23
Apr

Barcelona-themed candy confiscated because they’re full of drugs

A master candy maker was arrested along with eight other people as part of a big drug sting involving chocolates in the shape of the Barcelona shield.

But what do candy and drugs have in common? A whole lot:

The national police of Spain nabbed the makers of these treats in a an operation to take down a drug ring in Alicante and Valencia region. Not only did the bust find gourmet chocolates filled with weed and hallucinogenic mushrooms, but lots of cash, speed and cocaine as well. That’s quite the haul.

So, if you’re in Spain looking for Barca chocolates filled with drugs, you’re out of luck.

(H/T SB Nation, Story via The Local)