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

Much obliged for setting aside an ideal opportunity to examine this, I feel firmly about it and affection adapting more on this subject. lotto2000.com

Which are a fitting complement to our rose gold engagement rings and setting. We also create fine quality sapphire engagement rings in gold and diamonds We carry a fine selection of other Sapphire colors in all shapes and sizes. Cleanse 9

I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. Name Analysis

I just got to this amazing site not long ago. I was actually captured with the piece of resources you have got here. Big thumbs up for making such wonderful blog page!
rolex service

Hjerting Rejser I am very happy to read this article .. thanks for giving us go through info.Fantastic nice. I appreciate this post. Hjerting Rejser

Thanks so much for sharing this awesome info! I am looking forward to see more postsby you! Alex

I am impressed by the information that you have on this blog. It shows how well you understand this subject. bell train blueprint results

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!
best multivitamin for women

My friend mentioned to me your blog, so I thought I’d read it for myself. Very interesting insights, will be back for more! how to lose weight in 1 month

Easily, the article is actually the best topic on this registry related issue. I fit in with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your next updates. Infographic

I found your this post while searching for some related information on blog search...Its a good post..keep posting and update the information.
Financial Advisors Whittier CA

Your knowledge of this subject comes through clearly in this article. I love to read this kind of articles, I hope you will update it. Thank you for sharing it with me.
electrobeaute.fr/epilateur-lumiere-pulsee

very interesting keep posting. Nokia D1C

Please share more like that. hasee toh phasee full movie

I as of late discovered numerous helpful data in your site particularly this website page. Among the heaps of remarks on your articles. A debt of gratitude is in order for sharing. His Secret Obsession

I did enjoy reading articles posted on this site. They are impressive and has a lot of useful information.
wickford bouncy castles for hire

http://www.blackwolfcorp.com A very awesome blog post. We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. I was exactly searching for. Thanks for such post and please keep it up. Great work. fastelavn

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!
Web Design Services

Thank you so much for the post you do. I like your post and all you share with us is up to date and quite informative, i would like to bookmark the page so i can come here again to read you, as you have done a wonderful job.
Divoom outdoor 2 review

As a SEO militia pledged to moral SEO services, all our tactics are person hat. We decide our playacting relationships earnestly and aim to hand long propertied. Seo services | web2.0 creation

I have bookmarked your website, the articles are path superior to anything other comparable sites.. a debt of gratitude is in order for an extraordinary online journal! Puertas Madrid

Villas for rent in Cyprus I am very happy to read this article .. thanks for giving us go through info.Fantastic nice. I appreciate this post. 41 SEO Malaysia Techniques & Tips

It appears as though spent lots of time and effort in your blog. I’ve saved it and i’m searching toward reading through new articles. Xmod apk

I researed valuable information on this point as I am working on a class project. Thank you posting useful information and its now becoming easier to accomplish this task.
SEO Services Preston

I love the humor your post has offered. I enjoyed this site a lot. Keep posting article like this. It is fun. Nice photography too!
slibeskiver

I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work!
cool stuff

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. Eincar

i read a lot of stuff and i found that the way of writing to clearifing that exactly want to say was very good so i am impressed and ilike to come again in future
hvac service

News Bucket 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! buy web hosting

here I researed valuable information on this point as I am working on a class project. Thank you posting useful information and its now becoming easier to accomplish this task. Lovers Day Messages 2017

an Illuminati who wanted their team to lose. Never mind the fact that most referees in Spain and Europe are only part-timers. loftplan

I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work!
investment property

Excellent Blog! I would like to thank for the efforts you have made in writing this post. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. I wanted to thank you for this websites! Thanks for sharing. Great websites!stop cheaters

I am discovering everywhere.Me and my companion were contending about an issue like this! Presently I realize that I was right. www.domyeyelashesgrowback.com

I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work!
wedding photographer in singapore

Typical complement as a way to effectively pay for itself by using serving to your overall well being and avert continual ailment. tamarzizt.com/colliers/

We will buy your house irrespective of how beautiful or ugly in almost any location. Rangoon Movie

Best Licensed Moneylender Jurong I researed valuable information on this point as I am working on a class project. Moneylender Jurong Thank you posting useful information and its now becoming easier to accomplish this task. Best Moneylender Jurong

binbotpro legit
A very awesome blog post. We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post.

Just seek to say ones substance can be as unbelievable. This clarity with your post is magnificent and that i may believe you're a master for this issue. weapons

This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing blog that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free Dofollow Blog Comments

This is very educational content and written well for a change. It's nice to see that some people still understand how to write a quality post.! Dwayne Corbitt

I would like to say that this blog really convinced me to do it! Thanks, very good post. bob proctor abundance meditation

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. double din car stereo

A very awesome blog post. We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. I was exactly searching for. Thanks for such post and please keep it up. Great work.
moving company miami

I am very happy to read this article .. thanks for giving us go through info.Fantastic nice. I appreciate this post.
Web Developer

visit site I researed valuable information on this point as I am working on a class project. Thank you posting useful information and its now becoming easier to accomplish this task. tesco helium balloon

Desert Safari . Anyone who visit Dubai and looking for a Emirates desert safari, UAE desert safari Dubai is the best ride for you to enjoy with your friends and family.dhow Cruise Dinner Dubai

yet many of us hate winners. For every Yankees fan, how many folks despise the pinstripes? How many of your favorite Locksmith Bromley

This seems amazing to see this kind of educational as well as distinctive content articles in your web sites. breast cancer diagnosis