Sigue el «ciclón Munir»: a las nuevas declaraciones del futbolista Rakitic –»Munir no tiene techo«–, la presencia de su representante, Antonio Gabaldón, en «El Larguero» de la Cadena SER y nuevos reportajes en Mundo Deportivo y Marca sobre la renovación de su contrato, se une un hecho con escasos precedentes: también ha sido portada de la sección de deportes en The New York Times con el título de «A Revamped Barcelona Has Its Sheen Back» (Un renovado Barcelona vuelve a brillar»), artículo cuyo texto ofrecemos íntegramente al igual que el de las otras noticias.
El centrocampista del Sevilla, Ivan Rakitic, elogió a su compañero Munir durante su rueda de prensa en Can Barsa y dijo que no le sorprende su irrupción: «No me ha sorprendido. Se ve desde el primer día que tiene mucha calidad, trabaja mucho y tiene la cabeza en su sitio. Nos enseña día a día lo que puede dar. Es muy joven, le queda muchísimo y nos va a dar muchísimas alegrías. No tiene techo».
Por su parte, tras la entrevista del representante de Munir en Marcagoles.com, Antonio Gabaldón, contando los pormenores de su descubrimiento, le han llovido más peticiones de los medios, según nos desvelaba durante el Torneo de Fútbol de juveniles y cadetes que está teniendo lugar en el estadio de La Oliva de Majadahonda y que concluye este domingo.
Rob Hughes (The New York Times)
“Messi stays, no matter what,” Bartomeu assured me back in April, when the playmaker, handicapped by injuries, looked a little dispirited by what was going on around him. “Whoever comes and goes,” Bartomeu had reasoned, “Messi is the identity of our club, our academy, our way of playing football. There is no price that could tempt us to sell him.” Even before it let its old coach go, Barça knew then who its new one would be: Luis Enrique, a contemporary of the former captain and coach Pep Guardiola. Both had come up through the coaching ranks with Barcelona’s youth team, and Enrique would be the man tasked with rebuilding the club to the same success it enjoyed under Guardiola from 2008 to 2012.
Six senior players have arrived at a cost of nearly $240 million over the summer transfer window. Six other players, including Cesc Fàbregas, Alexis Sánchez and Bojan, have left at a combined cost of approximately half that. The difference between the outlay and recoupment was the $124 million or so it took to buy out Luis Suárez’s contract from Liverpool. How Liverpool spent all that money, and more, on virtually a full starting eleven shows just how much big money is recycled among Europe’s big teams. It will be a relief, for all of us, when the window shuts at midnight next Monday and we can get back to assessing performance and not finance. Sunday at the Camp Nou was an appetizer of that. Munir made the transition from the B team to the top team with the beautiful innocence of youth. He does not yet know fear or the burdens of expectation. He wears his hair like Neymar, but is more of an apprentice to Messi.
Their first night together in the claret and blue shirts was reminiscent of when Ronaldinho — Old Smiley himself — ushered in the Messi era by setting up a goal for the then-17-year-old Argentine in the Catalan stadium. As Messi now nears the all-time record for goals in the Spanish league, there is another layer to the rebuilding of the team around him.
What Barcelona was lacking was defense and midfield solidarity. Guardiola, when he was in charge, never saw it as a problem so long as the players worked the ball majestically and chased to win it back the very moment they lost possession. Enrique is looking for sterner stuff to blend with the artistry. The Croat Ivan Rakitic is now more of an enforcer, a gifted one, in midfield. Jérémy Mathieu and Thomas Vermaelen have arrived to add defense. But still, on the evidence of Sunday, passing and moving are the essence of the team. They are the hallmark made in La Masia, more than a club.