Blogs & Opinion

Guillem Balague:

Most Popular Posts:

Recent Comments:

Cem Takaci on Making his mark

"Hi Guillem, all of this hype sourounding jose mourinho and the saying that the wave is swinging for real madrid right now. But once Jose leaves and it does seem that he will if not this... " View all comments

Siyavuya Zamxaka on Awesome foursome

"wonderfull column as always...I think Madrid have a better chance of winning the Cup game in all of these 4 games. This is because Mourinho can play any system and not worry about how ... " View all comments

Barcelona: New manager Gerardo Martino will make alterations

Guillem Balague - Guillem Balague Posted 19th August 2013 view comments

It was fascinating to see Lionel Messi replaced and Neymar on the bench for Barcelona's 7-0 win over Levante because in his first conversation with the players new manager, Gerardo Martino, said nothing was going to change.

I would imagine that little by little Martino will try to impose his ideas; he wants to maintain the same style but he also wants to recover the essence of Barcelona and press high.

That is down to attitude and he is getting the right attitude from the players but Levante were a poor team who didn't really work hard enough and made a lot of defensive mistakes.

There are some fascinating stories developing at Real Madrid, meanwhile, and the big one is obviously the goalkeeping position; I think Iker Casillas and Diego Lopez will rotate with Casillas being the number one in the end.

Karim Benzema is also the only number nine, so will Real buy another one? Depending on what happens with Gareth Bale, they might, but as it is late in the transfer window there are not that many players available.


Real also don't have a defensive midfielder and are going to have to work with Xabi Alonso and Casemiro - though I think Casemiro will have a really big season - while the players feel that without Jose Mourinho nearby they can relax a bit more.

There is still a difference between what Carlo Ancelotti wants and what the Real players are delivering.\n\n

Guillem Balague
Quotes of the week

Relaxing, though, means that they will leave lots of gaps, not pressure and rely on the guys up front, so there is still a difference between what Carlo Ancelotti wants and what the players are delivering.

Finally, I am going to suggest some young players that are going to make an impact in La Liga and I would like my readers to let me know their opinions after watching them on Sky Sports.

These players are Casemiro (Real Madrid); Patrick Ebert (Real Valladolid); Juan Bernat (Valencia); Joan Verdu (Betis); and Beat Etxebarria (Athletic Bilbao).

Let me know what you think and we will talk about them in more detail in the weeks ahead.

Guillem answers your questions...

Got a question for Guillem? Then send it in using the feedback form below, and then look out for his answer next week...

Hi Guillem, Can you not see the talented Cesc Fabregas as an immediate replacement for Xavi? A talented footballer who is determined to be a first-choice player at Barcelona and has been from such a young age, despite the recent talk of a move to Manchester United. Alan Bogle

GUILLEM SAYS: Cesc is not a Xavi, he never has been, not even when he was a youngster. He has to play further forward because his influence is in the final third and you could see that against Levante when he was fantastic. He appeared on the right, on the left, everywhere and could have scored. Yes, he is talented; yes, he is determined to become a first-choice player; but he is not a Xavi replacement. He is more offensive and a mixture of Andres Iniesta and Messi.

Hi Guillem, Being a Barca fan I am worried about the whole club. Why are they not buying an established centre-back? Haroon

GUILLEM SAYS: Barcelona have tried to sign established centre-backs in David Luiz and Daniel Agger but they do not want to spend more money than what they have already offered. It might be a strategic move, but Martino has said they have Adriano, Carles Puyol, Javier Mascherano, Gerard Pique, Marc Bartra and Frank Bagnack, a young player from the youth team. Plus, he wants to develop a Barcelona that defends high up the pitch and not in the centre-back positions.

Is there any chance the Spanish clubs excluding the top two, could put a unified front up and challenge the poor structure and cash distribution in the Spanish league. I ask this with some interest as not only does it lower the quality of La Liga but distorts the transfer market (admittedly assisted by a handful of billionaire boy's toy clubs) or is there no hope for a fairer system? Stephen

GUILLEM SAYS: I understand that the distribution of television money is really key but you have to understand that not everything is down to that. For 10 years Spanish clubs have been getting more television money but the debts keep growing at a bigger rate, which means clubs have been badly managed and have not known how to use the money. Now, though, clubs are trying to reduce the debts and that means the level of the second-tier teams in La Liga will diminish for a few seasons, but there is still a lot of quality at Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, Valencia and Real Sociedad and they will make an impact in Europe.

Hi Guillem, What are Southampton getting in Roma's former Espanyol striker Pablo Osvaldo? Thanks, Pete Russell

GUILLEM SAYS: Osvaldo has been a bit injury prone but he is a finisher who is very fast and full of character. He is a top striker but he only showed that for six months at Espanyol and not consistently at Roma. However, he is back with Mauricio Pochettino now who really likes him.

Comments (1)

  • Page 1 of 1
  • 1

Nick Viney (Valencia fan) says...

As a UK based Valencia fan I have followed Bernat's progress for the past couple of seasons. Felt Valverde held him back through there were appearance/contract payment rumours. Also believe we are trying to mould him into an Alba mark2 when he has much to offer further forward. As with most of our best players a sign of his talent may be recognised when he becomes a future big sale unfortunately (after Banega next summer I fear),

Posted 21:53 20th August 2013

  • Page 1 of 1
  • 1

Add Comment*

Send us your views

Are you a Sky Sports subscriber?

*All fields required, your email address will be kept private

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Jamie Redknapp

Toffees come unstuck

Man Utd's men with a point to prove can take advantage of Everton's midweek blow, says Jamie Redknapp....

Paul Merson

Merson's predictions

Paul Merson says Liverpool WON'T beat Norwich - and Chelsea and Man City will close the gap....

Jamie Carragher

Bruce almighty

Steve Bruce deserves a mention when this year's managerial awards are handed out, says Carra....

Latest News RSS feeds

Premier League preview

Super Sunday provides a triple bill of Premier League action featuring massive games for Liverpool, Arsenal and Everton.

Derby win makes Burnley wait

Derby County beat Doncaster 2-0 to keep the heat on Burnley in the race for automatic promotion to the Premier League.

Terry nears new Chelsea deal

John Terry will hopefully agree terms on a new contract in the next two weeks, says Chelsea coach Steve Holland.

Rooney fit to face Everton

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has been declared fit to play his old club Everton on Sunday.

Burnley on brink after win

Burnley moved to the brink of promotion to the Premier League after beating Blackpool 1-0 at Bloomfield Road.


PFA awards

PFA awards

Ramsey but no Henderson? Do you agree with the PFA Player of the Year nominees? Have your say.

Welcome back?

Welcome back?

David Moyes could be in for a mixed reception when he returns to Goodison, writes Vinny O'Connor.

Luis on Liverpool

Luis on Liverpool

We catch up with Reds cult hero Luis Garcia ahead of his Anfield return on Easter Monday.