In the build up to Saturday’s Champions League Final, Redflagflyinghigh decided to speak to leading Barcelona site totalBarça to get the Catalonian point of view.
In the first of our two part interview writers Maria Ines Fernandez and Hady Ezzedine were kind enough to answer our questions on everything from the whole Busquets Marcelo incident, to whether this is the greatest Barcelona side of all time and just how confident they are of victory.
Q. First of all, tell us a little bit about your site and why you started it?
Maria: totalBarça is an international community of culés, or Barça fans, around the world, who volunteer to contribute to the administration and operation of the website. Most of our work is dedicated to keeping our visitors informed about anything Barça related. News about the first team, the B team and our younger divisions are posted on a regular basis, along with opinion pieces, polls and articles. tB is a growing community and we are all involved in making it bigger. I am based in Santiago de Chile and I contribute as translator and occasional writer. I have been devoted to Barça for half my life now.
Hady: totalBarca is more than a blog, more than just a www, and even more than a .com. We are a global community with talented members from all around the world. We have visitors from all corners of the world. Our staff is formed of a highly diverse background of members, who have one thing in common – their talent and their dedication to FC Barcelona.
totalBarca was started around 2 years ago and our main goal is to deliver all Barca-related news R20;as they happens” to our readers – fans of football. Our mission is to develop into the ultimate online destination for all who have an interest in FC Barcelona. The organization’s vision is to be socially responsible while contributing profits to a charitable foundation via the totalBarca Project.
Q. The current Barcelona side has been labelled the ‘greatest team in history’ by some in the media, what do you make of this?
Maria: People who have been Barça fans for over ten years know that nothing is absolute in football, especially in our team. I reckon Barça has evolved into one of the strongest teams in the world for a few years now, but I do not tend to label them as the ‘greatest team in history’ since that title sounds a bit temporary. I have the impression that this team has even more potential to keep growing.
Hady: I am proud to have witnessed this team and to be able to watch every game they play.
I’m sure this Barca side is among the greatest teams of all time yet, there are other teams who’ve been great such as Cruyff’s Barca, Sacchi’s Milan, Di Steffano’s Madrid etc. so I think that this Champions League final will determine if they are the best side ever or not but they have certainly earned their reputation for being among the best… But if they win the final, then yes, I would say they are the best ever.
Q. Which Barcelona player- other than Messi – has impressed you this season?
Maria: I think Victor Valdes has had a fantastic season. He has made some crucial saves, some of them quite incredible. He has become a keeper that not only protects the goal but also wins points with his amazing saves. In defense, Dani Alves is having a great end of the season, being more attacking than ever, and Javier Mascherano seems to be adjusting quite well.
Barça is a very attacking side and sometimes there are only 3 defenders holding our back, one of them usually a midfielder. In this part of the season, Mascherano has proved his value on this, being crucial stopping counter- attacks. People had doubts about his quality at the beginning of the season, but he has endeared himself to the crowd in just a few months.
His experience as an Argentina international and in Liverpool is a warranty. Other players I would name would be Xavi (my personal favourite), who manages our football to perfection, Andrés Iniesta, who has had a fantastic season after last season’s injuries, and David Villa. Villa has been criticized by some Barça fans for not scoring that much but I think he has added a new air to our attack. The attack looks much more dynamic than it was last year.
Hady: Every single Barca player has impressed me this season because in Barca everyone works as a team and for favour of the team. They all have had their moments but in my opinion, it has to be Eric Abidal. He is still our team’s warrior despite undergoing surgery for a liver tumour. Barely 2 months from the surgery, he came back to support the team and play again. He’s back in action now and better than ever. He scored his first Barca goal too this season and I’m sure he was a key player in all of our success this season. He is truly one of the greatest defenders out there currently.