Catalonian Hatorade

Even a Real Madrid fan can appreciate the waning Barca dynasty
Share |

{Photo by dersportmanager, used under a Creative Commons license}

The world has this pretty messed up view of Americans as drone-loving imperialists who want to win at any costs. In reality, Americans are much more complex. We do love to win (who doesn’t?), yet many of us hate winners. For every Yankees fan, how many folks despise the pinstripes? How many of your favorite companies have gone through the Department of Justice anti-trust ringer? Thus, for the past few years, many Americans, myself included, have looked upon the success of FC Barcelona with suspicion and disdain. Now that the sun sets on the Catalan reign, we must ask ourselves: were we suspicious of monopolies, or just a bunch of haters?

Spanish soccer is the new Cold War. Instead of the Soviet Union versus the United States, we have FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid. They are the two superpowers with massive amounts of revenue thanks to slanted TV deals. They've won a combined 54 La Ligas (out of 82). That number is even more skewed if you only look at La Ligas won since 1950. Both Real Madrid and FC Barcelona are also heavily in debt. Why? Well, instead of ICBMs, the teams invest tens of millions in South American starlets. Some excel. Some flame out. It's Neymar instead of nukes. Instead of the Bay of Pigs, Barca fans tossed a pig's head at a player, Luis Figo, with the audacity to change sides.

In American baseball, we've invented jinxes and curses to explain a team's failure. In Spain and soccer, it's easier to point to the referee. Every time a referee blows a call in a clasico, one set of fans views him as inevitably part of a vast conspiracy, an Illuminati who wanted their team to lose. Never mind the fact that most referees in Spain and Europe are only part-timers.

Thanks to my chicano roots, I learned to love Real Madrid in the 1980s, during Hugo Sanchez's heyday. Flash forward to the mid-2000's, and things had changed considerably. Real Madrid no longer looked down their noses at FC Barcelona. Rather, starting with Johan Cruyff's dream team of the 1990s, the Catalans had caught up with Madrid financially and sporting-wise. Real Madrid has still won more Champions Leagues than any other club, but in the last decade Barca has closed the gap. Mixing a Spanish midfield nucleus with South American flair, first Ronaldinho and then Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona has looked unstoppable at times. During their 3:1 demolition of Manchester United in the 2011 Champions League final, a novice fan and friend asked me: why doesn't the red team try and kick the ball?

When a team mounts a sustained period of greatness, a hater’s line of attack thins considerably. You can't contest results. Normally, you can complain about a few players with a sour attitude. Near the end of FC Barcelona's first run of titles, Ronaldinho started to overindulge in the nightlife. However, he was never crass with fans or the media, just a bit lazy in training. During the Pep Guardiola era, Samuel E'too's ego threatened to explode, but he was promptly sold. Even Zlatan Ibrahimovic only lasted a year in the azulgrana colors. Barca’s Spanish stars have always been good soldiers, speaking in the third-person at pressers. Leo Messi has shined on the field but largely avoids the media. I know I would be a colossal prick if I'd scored that many goals, so his absence may be a good thing.

Because Barca kept such a happy locker room and won so consistently, the only true line of criticism was style. Since Cruyff's tenure as coach, Barcelona has emphasized retaining the ball and patiently attacking the opposition's goal. This requires highly skilled defenders and the sacrifice of a forward for a fifth midfielder. Barcelona still scores a lot of goals and wins many games by high margins. Thus, my line of attack was akin to a college basketball fan's disdain for the NBA: a methodical half-court offense appears slow to fans accustomed to a full court press or fast break offense. Yes, Barca wins just as a boa constrictor will inevitably suffocate a mouse by strangulation, but there are prettier sights to be seen.

That argument was and is still mirrored by many segments of the UK press. Some say Barca lacks a "cut and thrust." Arsenal's manager has even labeled tiki taka as overkill. The premise for this argument, though, is flawed upon closer inspection. Statistics show that Barcelona completes a ridiculous amount of passes-per-game. The conclusion is that Barcelona passes too much. The assumption is that they pass instead of shooting. However, Barcelona regularly peppers the opposing goal with shots. Thus, one cannot genuinely say Barca is boring because they pass instead of shooting. In reality, they do both. They just do it much, much better than your team. Even if you're a Real Madrid fan. It just sucks to be on the losing end.

Still, all good things must come to an end. Time and tragedy have taken their toll on FC Barcelona. Their bedrock defender Carles Puyol has lost a step and is now perpetually injured. Their now ex-coach Tito Vilanova and former star left back Erib Abidal both suffered from two bouts of cancer. Their midfield nucleus has stayed off the trainer's table, but time has robbed Xavi and Iniesta of their once-quicksilver first step. The team lacks a star striker ala E'too or Villa to lead the line, and increasingly depends on Messi. Fabregas has proven to be anything but an heir to Xavi, and Thiago Alcantara left for Bayern Munich. They signed Brazilian starlet Neymar, but, if history is any guide, he'll need at least a year to adapt. Barca may be great again before long, but it won’t be the same team. A few bright rays of light may illuminate the horizon for this incarnation, but only briefly.

Part of being a fan is learning how to hate without crossing the fine line of tact. I think I've balanced dislike for a rival with respect. However, in juggling these two balls, I dropped another: appreciation. All sport involves artistry. If you've ever played soccer, you marvel at Barcelona's first-touch extended passing sequences. If you don't hate them, that is. Thanks to YouTube, we can now watch the greatness of the past from the safety of the future. I look forward to re-living Barca's greatest moments. After all, scars heal. We can pour out the hatorade and lift a glass to a ridiculously talented team. We no longer have to worry about a rival beating us to a title—it already happened.


Share |

Comments

Great post! I am actually getting ready to across this information, is very helpful my friend. diamond cutting Also great blog here with all of the valuable information you have. Keep up the good work you are doing here.

very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. Travel nurse jobs california

This is my first visit to your web journal! We are a group of volunteers and new activities in the same specialty. Website gave us helpful data to work. recipe

actually found this blog and that is amazing thing I enjoy reading this easy to understand stuff. Keep it up.
cartella piquadro

Climbing Mount Rinjani comes with risks. It is important that before you decide to choose a trek company for your adventure on Mount Rinjani you have to get the right and accurate Mount Rinjani Trekking information. click here

coaching your mind often goes to the elite end of the game and teams of coaches facing a bank of laptop screens. However,
Anaheim Dental Work

her position as assistant director, Spencer ably shepherded the processes of alumni and donor engagement through the HNC’s highly visible and successful 25th anniversary celebration.
slatki pelin

I feel really happy to have seen your webpage and look forward to so many more entertaining times reading here. Thanks once more for all the details.
Final Cut Pro X Effects

This is also a very good post which I really enjoyed reading. It is not everyday that I have the possibility to see something like this..
Motion Effects

If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.
Final Cut Pro X Effects

artists are employed by a range of institutions and also companies, such as military, churches and also synagogues .
Final Cut Pro X Effect Tutorials

Such a very useful article. Very interesting to read this article.I would like to thank you for the efforts you had made for writing this awesome article.
Tech Gadget

I feel really happy to have seen your webpage and look forward to so many more entertaining times reading here. Thanks once more for all the details.
iPhone

Thanks for sharing this interesting blog with us.My pleasure to being here on your blog..I wanna come beck here for new post from your site.
drones for sale 2016

I discovered your this post while looking for some related data on online journal search...Its a decent post..keep posting and overhaul the data. online-kreditvergleich24.de

First You got a great blog .I will be interested in more similar topics. i see you got really very useful topics , i will be always checking your blog thanks.
Concourse Optometry

jenis anis cendana jenis ikan hias air tawar jenis burung lovebird jenis ikan hias air tawar burung ciblek
Laguna Niguel Optometry

They emphasise creativity and fancy equipment - rather than results. Of course, a creative, professional-looking corporate video is important. But if it fails to solve a problem or drive action, you have wasted your company's time and money.
Pixel Film Studios

know is that the growing number of corporate client devices in use are prime targets for attackers to gain entry onto corporate .
ako sa zbavit stresu

This seems to be more interesting than I've been reading below, excellent and get more via
covet fashion cheats

very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article.
Traffic Violation Lawyers San Antonio

given the advances in technology surely there are now things out there for grassroots coaches? That is exactly what we set out to discover earlier in the year and the results were encouraging.
Posts Lights Outdoor

very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. Eye Care Center Optegra Krakow

very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. lasik atlanta

very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. lasik atlanta

Pour tous vos besoins en location de voiture à Marrekech et tout le Maroc. Nous mettons chaque jour à votre disposition notre parc de véhicules ainsi que des agents expérimentés.
Dentist Missouri City

This is my first time visit here. From the tons of comments on your articles,I guess I am not only one having all the enjoyment right here!
Fort Worth Criminal Defense Lawyer

I had an excellent time reading this. This is one of the best things that I've read on your page in a long time. Thanks a lot for writing this. I really appreciate this. Cheers!
HOUSTON SEO FIRM

coaching your mind often goes to the elite end of the game and teams of coaches facing a bank of laptop screens. However, given the advances in technology surely there are now things out there for grassroots coaches? That is exactly what we set out to discover earlier in the year and the results were encouraging.pelin

I would recommend my profile is important to me, I invite you to discuss this topic...How to Make Money Online

Very good written article. It will be supportive to anyone who utilizes it, including me. Keep doing what you are doing – can’t wait to read more posts.
child daycare center Houston

Which may deliver the results short-term, nonetheless it’s not much of a worthwhile long-term resolution to get males who would like to often be start a person distinctive female people can’t prevent pondering. geometry dash meltdown

Which will do the job short-term, although it’s an excellent sensible long-term alternative intended for people who wish to possibly be to be able just one exclusive gal many people can’t halt planning on. clash of clans cheats

That will operate short-term, nevertheless it’s not only a workable long-term option pertaining to folks who want to always be achievable one particular particular young lady that they can’t end thinking of. showbox android

Beautiful article. I had an excellent time reading this. This is one of the best things that I've read on your page in a long time. Thanks a lot for writing this. I really appreciate this. Cheers! best boxing head gears

Enjoyed reading this very much. This certainly is one of the best things that I've read on the internet recently. Thank you very much for posting this. I will be looking forward to reading more posts like this in the future. http://www.nocreditcheckme.com

You're the best to share us about this overhaul. Trust you won't get tired on making posts as educational as this. The Woman Men Adore

Thanks for a wonderful share. Your article has importaciones your hard work and experience you have got in This field. Brilliant reading .I love it.
Harsh SEO Consultant

America's Online Curtains Superstore, Swags Galore, has the largest selection of discount curtains at the lowest prices. Free shipping is available and all orders ship with in 24 hours.Lace Curtains

Awesome blog. I enjoyed reading your articles. This is truly a great read for me. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work! dress

YokosFashion is the best UK fashion Jewellery wholesaler offering a wide range of costume jewellery, fashion necklace, necklace set, handbags,Necklace set wholesaler

I am always searching online for articles that can help me. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also. Keep working, great job!

Towelroot download

Lucknow Escorts I am very happy to read this article .. thanks for giving us go through info.Fantastic nice. I appreciate this post. girlfriend system system

Hello! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this page to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing! modern family

Beautifully written. This could not have been written more better. You've explained the topic excellently here. Please, continue to give more stuff like this on other topics as well. Cheers! Ducati store

Great information. I was in dire need of some information on this topic and you've given me just the perfect amount of information that I needed. Thank you very much for writing this. Cheers! dental office Nepean

Greetings from Idaho! I'm bored to tears at work so I decided to browse your site on my iphone during lunch break.
SPEEDING TICKET ATTORNEY in HOUSTON

First You got a great blog .I will be interested in more similar topics. i see you got really very useful topics , i will be always checking your blog thanks.
houston drunk driving lawyer

Set your own level of insurance required for all removals to Alicante. Free personal visits / help and advice and reasonable fixed quotations.
Emergency air conditioning repair Houston TX

First You got a great blog .I will be interested in more similar topics. i see you got really very useful topics , i will be always checking your blog thanks.
Emergency AC Repair Pearland TX