Guillem Balague on Manuel Pellegrini, Barcelona and Michael Carrick
Guillem Balague blogs on the virtues of Manuel Pellegrini and why the Barcelona we know is dying.
Last Updated: 04/04/13 1:58pm
He has perfect English and could move anywhere, but he has not signed for anybody yet and will listen to what Malaga have to say first.
They cannot pay his wages because they want to become a different sort of club so both Pellegrini and the club will have a difficult situation in the summer with regards to the future.
Pellegrini told me that Pep Guardiola had used a couple of his ideas from Villarreal - playing without wingers and some defensive concepts - and he is a man who can govern a team in difficult situations but whom is also tactically astute.
If there was any proof that Real Madrid don't care about the league, it was the draw against Zaragoza at the weekend.
The board are frustrated that when some players, including Kaka, Michael Essien and Jose Callejon, are given a chance they are long way off the top 11 or so players in the squad.
Iker Casillas has been training with the first team for the last few weeks but Jose Mourinho's words suggest he is going to have a difficult time getting into the starting line-up, and if Diego Lopez does not make any mistakes he will stay in goal for the rest of the season.
This will be Mourinho's way of proving, before he leaves Madrid, that the war with Casillas affected his authority.
As for Barcelona, this is a swansong for the team that Guardiola made special; they are not consistent away from home in the league and in the Champions League they had to come back from behind against AC Milan as they were so poor in the first leg.
It is the end of the line for Xavi, Carles Puyol, David Villa and even Pedro, although he has a good goal-scoring record for Spain; all these players are set to move on or soon retire.
They are still one of the best teams in the world and have got enough quality to win the Champions League and keep on winning, but they will do it in a different style, so enjoy them while you can.
Guillem answers your questions...
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BOUND FOR THE BERNABEU?
Hey Guillem, I was just wondering what your views are on the possibility of Andre Villas-Boas being considered for the Real Madrid job? Personally I think AVB is an excellent coach and I don't doubt his ability but I feel that he has become a manager too quickly and left Jose Mourinho too soon (even Mourinho said that when AVB went to Academica). Does he really have a genuine chance of getting the job? You could look at it and say he did a brilliant job at Porto which is a footballing institution like Madrid when it come to the fans and the politics from the board room. But we've seen that his man management is still very poor and this was his downfall at Chelsea and Mourinho has even struggled this year with some of the egos in the Madrid dressing room. I feel Madrid should be looking at somebody like Carlo Ancelotti, Jurgen Klopp or Antonio Conte, who are still young enough managers with a lot of experience in the game and have been consistantly winning trophies. Thanks, Darragh Shevlin
GUILLEM SAYS: You are using a lot of the old criticisms of Villas-Boas but he came into coaching at a similar age as Mourinho, Guardiola and Juventus manager Conte and is doing very well at Tottenham. I don't think it is a matter of quality and I think he will be at the top for a while, even though he wants to remain there for just a decade and try other things. Is he ready for Real Madrid? There are a lot of demands at Real Madrid and I think the next manager will be someone like Ancelotti who will give freer rein to the players than someone like Villas-Boas, but I am pretty sure he will have the chance to manage Real Madrid or Barcelona at some point.
NOT SO MIGHTY MIKE
Hi Guillem, Loving the blog as usual. Just a quick question on the Spanish and European view of Michael Carrick as a midfielder. It's certainly been his most productive year for Manchester United and I as wondering how he is viewed in Spain. Up until the current season it has often been noted how underrated he is in England. It seems as though he has more of a continental feel to his game with a great range of passing and breaking up play with intelligent interceptions rather than the all-action approach we see in the Premier League. I know that Xavi and Guardiola are two prominent names that heap praise on United's elder statesman Paul Scholes and would like to know if Carrick is held in similar esteem? Thanks, Red United
GUILLEM SAYS: I think this week with England you saw that Carrick has defensive problems and is not consistent enough and I don't think it is a coincidence that he has been in and out of the squad over the last two or three years. It tends to be in England that you are either overrated or underrated and there is no in between, someone who appears in every game, perhaps discretely, and makes no mistakes, like Sergio Busquets. If Carrick reached Busquets' level he would be seen as world class but at the moment he is not.
Hi Guillem, With all the talk of Neymar coming to Barcelona, could Alexis Sanchez leave? Thanks, Steve Jobson (Barcelona fan)
GUILLEM SAYS: The Neymar to Barcelona story is one we broke on Revista a year and a half ago. It is up to Neymar if he comes now or the summer after, and his agent says he would be willing to come now, perhaps as a replacement for David Villa. As for Alexis Sanchez, he offers something different and just needs goals; he is happy to run into space and in behind defenders, whereas someone like Neymar wants the ball to his feet. If he does leave Barcelona it won't be because of Neymar.