shirt ain't hiding those pecs very well

this week, our boys flew to prague for game 4 of the champions league group stage.  for his 200th game as our coach, pep chose VV + a killer back four with dani, pique, puyi and abidal + thiago, cesc and busquets in the middle + messi, cuenca and adriano up front.  no masch?  no villa?  no iniesta?  NO XAVI?  the mister didn’t look worried.  before the match, someone in my twitterfeed said that if the team scored 4 goals, they would reach the 500-goal mark under pep — and that’s exactly what they did🙂

pep looking eerily calm while posing in his purple sweater

well our boys know records, and they sure know how to break them!  congratulations to our #1 for his ninth straight clean sheet, and a record 877 minutes of keeping the net safe.  eight hundred and seventy-seven minutes.  that’s longer than all the songs on my shuffle put together.  with this game, he beat miguel reina’s record which was set in the 72-73 season — excellent work!

good thing he didn't get confused by the red-and-blue kits🙂

from VV’s facebook – “to the knockout stage for one more year! happy with the record.  i dedicate it to my defenders and to the team in general.  força barça, friends!”

this game reunited the stars of la masia batch ’87 in the starting lineup — and boy did they shine!  cesc with the third goal (using his hair!!) and messi with his hat trick, the last goal coming from a PHENOMENAL backheel from pique.

they’ve come along way since their canterano days, but obviously whatever brainwashing they got back then is still working.  a lot of players can communicate well on the field, but what these guys have is sometimes more of ESP.

it's a good thing their days of bad hairstyles are over. oh wait. they're not.

messi was such a cute little critter!

indeed a reunion worth waiting for.  but more importantly (for me at least), the game was also the long-awaited mocmoc reunion on the pitch and in the starting 11!!  woohoo!!  i bet it wasn’t what cesc expected, what with puyi yelling all over the place the whole time :)  at least pique now has someone to share it with.

hello everyone. happy to qualify for the knockout stage, now to continue fighting to be first in our group. cheers! -- captain's facebook ***pinto evidently still in halloween mode

some time ago, pique described puyi as someone who, even with a 4-0 lead with 3 minutes left, would still demand that everyone be on their toes.  well, last night, they had a 3-0 lead with 3 minutes left, and puyi once again showed that he leads by example —

to quote my commentator -- look at the hunger of the captain, chasing the ball...

he really plays each game like it’s the champions league final, a great example for our ucl debutantes:  20-year-old isaac cuenca who started, and 22-year-old alexis sanchez, who is back from injury and came in as a sub.  cheers, guys!

did he practice this gameface in front of the mirror? it's intense!

we have 2 more games remaining in the group stage, one away against milan (which dani alves will miss due to accumulated yellow cards) and one at home against bate borisov.  since we’re assured of our slot in the knockout stage, i hope our other players get to start/play.  PLEEEEEAAASE pep, we want some fontas!  i also hope pinto can play so he can get some ucl minutes and get some copa practice at the same time.  while you’re at it, throw in a few canteranos as well!  just make sure to sub in puyi before the game ends, so we can have the usual celebrations🙂

the man doesn't disappoint! did i mention it was 2 degrees and windy that night? even the czech players looked cold!

***

the morning after:  puyi shared this photo —

today i started reading the book by dani martin, "dreaming is not for the crazy", and i'm enjoying it a lot. i'm sure i'll have a good time reading it, and i'll tell you about it...

***

the ballon d’or nominees have been whittled down to 23, and sadly puyi and alexis aren’t in the running anymore.  good luck to our remaining 8 —

vv was asked about the nominees, and he said he never pays attention to the list because messi’s sure to win it anyway :)  here’s our superstar in a tourism ad for his home city, rosario.  enjoy!

till next time!  my next post will be about the game against athletic🙂

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