Even though Barcelona failed to capture Neymar over the summer, his spectre lives on in the Camp Nou dressing room.The Brazilian’s much-debated possible return dominated the transfer talk in Catalunya and, now that the window has shut, the aftermath of months of rumours, speculation and failed negotiations will be long felt. All other subjects of conversation at Barca took secondary status to the hope – or fear – that Neymar would be rejoining the Blaugrana ranks. That feeling was stoked by the club itself. Article continues below Editors’ Picks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream Barca made every single move public in their pursuit of the Paris Saint-Germain forward. The press also gleefully dissected the comings and goings from Barcelona to Paris and back again, to varying degrees of accuracy. A few prestigious market specialists went as far as to say the deal was closed, an assertion eventually proved false by the facts themselves.But until the smoke cleared and deadline day passed, tensions within the club continued to grow and, now, one must ask whether Barca’s failed chase was worth all the trouble. Unless, of course, the objective was never to sign Neymar – but rather to be seen to be trying to sign Neymar.Whatever the truth, all eyes are now on Ousmane Dembele and Ivan Rakitic.If the pair really did hold the key to Neymar’s return as transfer makeweights, then their refusal to leave will not sit easily with those who wanted Neymar back, chief among them Lionel Messi. Dembele, in particular, remains on shaky ground after allegedly hiding the full extent of the injury he suffered in the season-opener against Athletic Club, but Rakitic is a standard-bearer for the club thanks to his six years of sterling service. The Croat has every right to be furious with Barca’s hierarchy.Distracted from footballing matters, Rakitic has dropped out of the Blaugrana first team and also missed out on a call for the latest international games.Philippe Coutinho’s agent had an identical complaint when he was told his client still had a place at Camp Nou at the very moment he was being used as a bargaining chip with PSG. Without Jordi Mestre or Pep Segura – both of whom have left the Barca staff – president Josep Maria Bartomeu took the lead in negotiations. But the club chief has racked up more mistakes than successes in his bid to take the Champions League back to Catalunya before his term ends in two years. He seems not to have grasped the consequences of his actions. If the intention was to bring Neymar back at any cost, he has failed, and damaged relations with the dressing room by trying to offload players that did not want to leave.Bartomeu stressed over the weekend that his intention really was to try and sign Neymar, denying claims that he offered players in part-exchange.”An ‘extra’ became available at one moment of the summer,” the president told Barcelona’s official club website. “We heard Neymar wanted to leave PSG and there was a moment when Leonardo opened the door to negotiations – for other clubs too. We didn’t arrive at a deal because we could not match PSG’s demands.”Barca never put names on the table, they are players that PSG put there. We could not match their demands.”Whatever Bartomeu’s intentions and actions, he certainly comes out of this messy episode looking very weak.PSG are living proof that it takes much more than money to win a Champions League; you also need a plan, but did Barcelona have one?They are the club that all others aspire to be, but right now the Catalans are divided at every level, from the dressing room to the boardroom – not to mention amongst a restive support. While it may be true that coach Ernesto Valverde has a better squad than one year ago, the team’s prospects are much reduced.Neymar has risked splitting Barcelona in two, a poor omen for a team that only triumphs in Europe when everything goes their way. Only time will tell if Valverde has room to manoeuvre and take Barca out of this pickle. He’s done it before, of course.Valverde’s first days as Barca coach were overshadowed by the sudden and surprising loss of Neymar to PSG. He went on to lead the Blaugrana to a domestic double.Back then, though, the dressing room was united in shock at Neymar’s departure. Now, they risk being divided over his failed return.
Windstar Cruises President John Delaney to Join First San Juan Sailing of the Season in Show of Support Small Ship Cruise Line Pivots to New Ports and Value-Driven Itineraries to Encourage Tourism Seattle, WA, November 10, 2017 — Resurrecting tourism after a natural disaster isn’t easy. There’s the perception that everything is destroyed or closed, with the second wave of damage then hitting in economic form when tourists are hesitant to return. Windstar CruisesPresident John Delaney wants to fight that negative narrative after the recent storms by revealing, in person, that San Juan and the Caribbean are open for business. As a show of support, Delaney will be sailing on Windstar’s first cruise departing from San Juan this season on November 25. “Although areas of the Caribbean are still rebuilding after the recent hurricanes, so much of the Caribbean is open and welcoming visitors to their wondrous islands,” Delaney said. “Travelers should not be concerned about beginning or ending a cruise in San Juan, where the cruise terminal has been operational for weeks, along with the airport. I’ll be personally making the trip, arriving the day before my cruise to enjoy time in Old San Juan, giving updates on my Twitter account, and sharing first-person stories on Windstar’s Facebook page.” To encourage guests back to the tropics, Windstar is offering a special Caribbean Is Open Cruise Package with significant savings, a $200 shipboard credit, and free onboard Wi-Fi, with rates starting at $1,499 per person. Part of helping is just showing up. With smaller yacht-like vessels (some of which still boast sails), Windstar can avoid overcrowded waterfronts and bring the much-needed vacationer to smaller islands and more intimate ports of call, contributing to the greater economy of the region. For example, Windstar just announced it will call at Anse Mitan in Martinique and Deshaies in Guadeloupe. While many ships will chart a course towards familiar harbors in the Western Atlantic and Western Caribbean, Windstar is going in the other direction to smaller, rarely visited jewels of the Caribbean islands. “Windstar can offer experiences and destinations others logistically can’t,” said Delaney. “We also do things many travelers think are long gone, like our open bridge policy, private beach barbecue experiences, and a water sports platform to jump right into the blue waters the Apollo astronauts swooned over from space. Not everyone has to chart the same course. Caribbean-bound vacationers should check out the new Star Collector Voyages in the Caribbean, which are cruises 14 days long that also include complimentary daily laundry. Additionally, Windstar added its popular Jewels of the Windward Islands itinerary to its 2017/18 Caribbean sailings, with the journey being a “fan favorite” of past Windstar guests. The cruise sails to the rugged natural beauty of St. Lucia and little-known isles that are off the tourist radar, like Bequia in the Grenadines. Bet most people have not been there before. For more information on cruising with Windstar in the Caribbean, contact a travel professional or Windstar Cruises by phone at 877-958-7718, or visit www.windstarcruises.com. About Windstar Cruises Windstar Cruises operates a six-ship fleet of small sailing and all-suite ships visiting approximately 270 ports in 2018 sailing throughout Europe, the Caribbean, Costa Rica and the Panama Canal, Asia, Alaska and British Columbia, Canada and New England, and cruising year-round in Tahiti and the South Pacific. The boutique cruise line is the Official Cruise Line of the James Beard Foundation, and the small ships are known for offering an intimate private yacht-style experience, exceptional culinary experiences, immersive itineraries, and exclusive access to the world’s best ports and small harbors. Windstar Cruises is a part of Xanterra Parks & Resorts®, known for “Legendary Hospitality with a Softer Footprint.” Xanterra’s entities also include lodges, restaurants, tours and activities in national and state parks, as well as resorts, railway and tour companies. More information: at WindstarCruises.com. Sail along with Windstar online: Facebook / Twitter / Google+ / YouTube / Pinterest / LinkedIn / Instagram / Blog
For Sale: A Treehouse in the Suburbs Designed by John Lautner Live Out Your Westworld Dreams at Casteel Creek Retreat Editors’ Recommendations This Little House in Washington Has Big Personality Is It a Home of the Future or a Nod to the Past? On the Rocks is Both Close Desert Wing’s Sharp Angles Bring Drama to the Desert Live the High Line Life at This Zaha Hadid-Designed Penthouse Is this a glimpse into what the homes of the future will look like? Or have we stepped back to the mid-century modern era of avant-garde spaces? This home is both, a playful design that is at once futuristic and retro.The brainchild of Paris-based architect David Tajchman, On the Rocks offers a perch high above the ocean (the intended location has not been disclosed) in which one can indulge in luxury living. The undulating roof feels sculptural and yet natural, mimicking the waves of the water and curving out to match the ridgeline of the rocks. It’s an impressive and inventive residence from top to bottom. But Tajchman is no stranger to designing inventive spaces, rethinking everything from parking garages to an elevated train station.Tajchman is known for his “Futures from Natures” philosophy, which he has taught in universities around the world since 2009. This approach implements 3D drawings, hand-crafting, and digital fabrication to rethink the concept of space. The results are innovative new forms that offer a futuristic shape while still providing a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere that feels familiar.David TajchmanFor On the Rocks, Tajchman seamlessly blends old and new. There are classic mid-century modern elements throughout the home, including a covered carport entry, sunken living room with panoramic views out to the water, and clever incorporation of natural elements like the jagged stone outcropping that is turned into a fireplace. These timeless touches are offset by curving forms in the floors that swoop around to become built-in bookcases and the steps leading down to the living room. A contemporary kitchen with a massive island clad in wood overlooks the living room. Thanks to the changing floor levels, the kitchen is also treated to panoramic views of the water. The island extends and transforms to become the dining table which is surrounded, again, by mid-century modern-inspired seating. In the back of the kitchen, a large window looks out to the carport, turning the classic car parked there to serve its turn as a work of art. David TajchmanOutside of the family room, a sweeping south-facing covered patio lets the owners relax while listening to the sounds of the ocean. Take a glass-enclosed staircase down to the lowest level, and you’ll find an infinity pool that matches the curves of the patio above. There are many concepts at play in On the Rocks — a blending of old and new, contemporary materials meeting natural elements, a unique form that manages to hide among the hills — but all of it works together and beautifully highlights Tajchman’s ultimate design philosophy of “Futures from Natures.” While the site and the surrounding natural elements informed many of the design decisions, On the Rocks used this to look to the future at what homes could be. Want a look at another futuristic home? Check out how Wave House rethinks the classic log cabin.