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

wow, great, I was wondering how to cure acne naturally. and found your site by google, learned a lot, now i’m a bit clear. I’ve bookmark your site and also add rss. keep us updated.
google maps for traveling

wow, great, I was wondering how to cure acne naturally. and found your site by google, learned a lot, now i’m a bit clear. I’ve bookmark your site and also add rss. keep us updated.
Burnley wedding photographers

wine cabinet I’m excited to uncover this page. I need to to thank you for ones time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely really liked every part of it and i also have you saved to fav to look at new information in your site. portable kitchens for rent

Children Portraits Cairns I found your this post while searching for some related accident lawyer information on blog search...Its a good post..keep posting and update the information. domain names reseller

Windows 10 professional download I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work! inversion table for sciatica

These are some extraordinary devices that i unquestionably use for SEO work. This is an extraordinary rundown to use later on.. tattoo supply

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!
Avalanche window cleaning Denver

Very nice blog and articles. I am realy very happy to visit your blog. Now I am found which I actually want. I check your blog everyday and try to learn something from your blog. Thank you and waiting for your new post.
buy bitcoin with paypal

I am very happy to read this article .. thanks for giving us go through info.Fantastic nice. I appreciate this post.
http://altomboern.dk/forum/livet-med-b%C3%B8rn/forummer/kostumer-til-b%C3%B8rn

reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog.loftplan

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

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often. major appliance service

I must say you, this blog is awesome. I am addicted to it now. Please also have a look on my blog posts. major appliance service

First You got a great blog .I will be interested in more similar topics. i see you got really very useful topics.
edubirdie.com reviews

cheap SWTOR Credits I love the humor your post has offered. I enjoyed this site a lot. https://originalai.lt Keep posting article like this. It is fun. Nice photography too! Abflussreinigung Heilbronn

In my experience, you do the truly amazing.Truly i'm impressed out of this publish.. plus size retro dresses

yet many of us hate winners. For every Yankees fan, how many folks despise the pinstripes? How many of your favorite loft conversions north london

If you set out to make me think today; mission accomplished! I really like your writing style and how you express your ideas. Thank you. http://alyans-km.com.ua

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!
clinic

Accountable I am very happy to read this article .. thanks for giving us go through info.Fantastic nice. I appreciate this post. http://seoefsanesi.com/seo-fiyatlari/

wow, great, I was wondering how to cure acne naturally. and found your site by google, learned a lot, now i’m a bit clear. I’ve bookmark your site and also add rss. keep us updated.
voyance gratuite amour

First You got a great blog .I will be interested in more similar topics. i see you got really very useful topics. spider veins

I found your this post while searching for some related information on blog search...Its a good post..keep posting and update the information.
http://www.techgyd.com

Extremely pleasant blog and articles. I am realy extremely glad to visit your blog. Presently I am discovered which I really need. I check your blog regular and attempt to take in something from your blog. Much obliged to you and sitting tight for your new post.
izmir escot

Create and commodity a identify for you to easily line your unification to the most eminent sites. - Automobile situation blog comments without doing the commenting manually. affordable seo package

I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work!
Past Life Regression Portland

I have read your article, it is very informative and helpful for me.I admire the valuable information you offer in your articles. Thanks for posting it. FSBO

I’m going to bookmark your blog . You absolutely have wonderful stories. Cheers for sharing with us your blog. Loftplan

Cool stuff you have got and you keep update all of us. GPT Websites

If the page you are creating backlinks for is an article, put a link on any similar articles you have written on the topic, anteflexed uterus

I did enjoy reading articles posted on this site. They are impressive and has a lot of useful information.
astrology

I found your this post while searching for some related information on blog search...Its a good post..keep posting and update the information.
steroids uk forum

I definitely really liked every part of it and i also have you saved to fav to look at new information in your site. bodrum escort

Extremely pleasant blog and articles. I am realy extremely glad to visit your blog. Presently I am discovered which I really need. I check your blog regular and attempt to take in something from your blog. Much obliged to you and sitting tight for your new post.diseño web adaptativo

Well, I have got the best information from here the site is fully stuffed with the knowledgeable information.
type my essay

I hope you will share such type of impressive contents again with us so that we can utilize it and get more advantage.
write me a research paper

We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. Great work.
Escort In Bangalore

I have never been to such type of posts before truly remarkable stuff it has.
persuasive essay writing topics

I absolutely feel delighted once I realize articles appropriate to my work and my subject. bedriftsguiden

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!
http://bricksite.com/idanmark

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

That are most certainly awesome. A great number of tiny details are designed needing lot of qualifications ability. We're attracted in the piece many. online

That are most certainly awesome. A great number of tiny details are designed needing lot of qualifications ability. We're attracted in the piece many. online

Wordpress hosting I thought it was going to be some boring old post, but it really compensated for my time. energiecollectief I will post a link to this page on my blog. I am sure my visitors will locate that extremely useful... North west air conditioning

There is so much in this article that I would never have thought of on my own. Your content gives readers things to think about in an interesting way. Thank you for your clear information. Time Attendance System Service in Dubai

wow what a great post is this… thanks for sharing boss, keep share these valuable content.
wisata indonesia
yuk travel blog

Seaside Residences will have several floor plans that would make it unique especially when you need a cool place to reside with your families. Seaside Residences Siglap MRT

I was very pleased to find this site.I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post 360 vr porn

You could comment on the customization of the blog. You may describe it’s reliable. Your blog compliments might add to your affiliates. porno italiani

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!
regenerative thermal oxidizers by TKS