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

Excellent post! I had been fed up for a long time searching lots of sites, but now I have come on the right place. Thanks
shopping

website hosting in india I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work! c serum for face

I read your blog frequently and I just thought I’d say keep up the amazing work! SATTA MATKA

new york asian escort Why do you need New York Escort? You have been working so hard day and night,you deserve to have time to relax your body,After this,You must wanna meet one hot girl in street or in the nightclub and have a perfect encounter.When you want it come true so hardly,it will come true.New York Escort would be the best choice for you guys.Just image it,Hot New York Escort walk through the street or drink in the bar with you,You can see the jealous face from people.Every New York Escort have the Devil’s body and Angle’s face.

Someone Sometimes with visits your blog regularly and recommended it in my experience to read as well. The way of writing is excellent and also the content is top-notch. Thanks for that insight you provide the readers!
voyance sans cb

Your website is really cool and this is a great inspiring article. Thank you so much. bodrum escort

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!
free money

I was looking at some of your posts on this website and I conceive this web site is really instructive! Keep putting up..
Top 10 Best Basketball Hoops in 2016 Reviews

Protaras Summer Film Festival After the great success of last year's first Summ...
Villas for rent in Cyprus

This course used 4 phrase mantra which is combined to get the clear mindset to wash the data out of your recollections.

Corporate Gifts Singapore

I was looking at some of your posts on this website and I conceive this web site is really instructive! Keep putting up..
forskolin extract

I feel very grateful that I read this. It is very helpful and very informative and I really learned a lot from it. sunway lagoon package

I had been trying for the good information and having come to your blog I have found everything which I wanted.
type my essay

This article is an appealing wealth of informative data that is interesting and well-written. I commend your hard work on this and thank you for this information. You’ve got what it takes to get attention. Gojek

This article is an appealing wealth of informative data that is interesting and well-written. I commend your hard work on this and thank you for this information. You’ve got what it takes to get attention. Gojek

These articles and blogs are certainly sufficient for me personally for a day.
academic writing services

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. transfer Zug

Awesome blog! Now In anticipation of a follow-up ….
best essay writing site

Yes, great US Military force. Also, in his post you have given a chance to listen about US Military. I really appreciate your work. Thanks for sharing it.
man and van pitsea essex

Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. credit card validate

I read your complete survey. It's really great & amazing presentation. Thanks a lot for providing this marvelous information which i need so much Email Check Online

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!
dish tv recharge uae

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.
Haftpflichtversicherung Quadrocopter

I want more and more articles and blogs please post soon such informative information.
dan dasilva

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! windows installers

This one is good. keep up the good work!.. l300 van

oktoberfest Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon. artikel om fodbold efterskole

Nice Informative Blog having nice sharing.. transport and logistics

It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained!
roofing jobs

Really a great addition. I have read this marvelous post. Thanks for sharing information about it. I really like that. Thanks so lot for your convene.
Artra Condo Valley Point Tang Group

I really appreciate the kind of topics you post here. Thanks for sharing us a great information that is actually helpful. Good day!
Artra Condo Tang Skyline Register Interest

Guys you did great work. I’m very pleased to say that these are wonderful articles and blogs. Thanks for this.
Chris Walker - top SEO services

Nice information, valuable and excellent design, as share good stuff with good ideas and concepts, lots of great information and inspiration, both of which I need, thanks to offer such a helpful information here. Hoffenheim Predictions

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. Villarreal Predictions

Some people are very fond of reading books will be able to distinguish the best book as a guide and a book that is not good. It all depends with your reading experience. Everton Predictions

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.
versace jeans handbags

This is a smart blog. I mean it. You have so much knowledge about this issue, and so much passion.
Pets

oktoberfest I love the humor your post has offered. I enjoyed this site a lot. fastelavn Keep posting article like this. It is fun. Nice photography too! artikel om fodbold efterskole

You make so many great points here that I read your article a couple of times. Your views are in accordance with my own for the most part. This is great content for your readers. website development Singapore

I knew this blog post was existed someplace. Thanks to post such articles. Will unquestionably be using it very soon.
top rated paper writing services

BepiColombo 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. ESET

Hey guys, I really interest to create free landing page. I have new website that you can create free landing pages,blogs and tools to build your page for free. Here the Landing page

Excellent read, Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting?I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work.
janam kundali

dating The most complete portal in the world at this Special adult time. The most beautiful and sexy porn stars. Millions of free porn from all categories, meetings for sex, the most beautiful escorts around the world and more. Do not waste time looking elsewhere. Enter on our website and with just 3 clicks you can find everything you want in adult and porn categories. Here you will find the richest collection in the world.

Porno İzle Turkey Porno İzleme Sitesi icin aciklama yapmaya gerek yok izle ve gor.

Gives you the best website address I know there alone you'll find how easy it is. harga pakej umrah murah

I wish more authors of this type of content would take the time you did to research and write so well. I am very impressed with your vision and insight. Success Accounting Group

I will prefer this blog because it has much more informative stuff.

canada merchant account

I am confident you've got a great enthusiast following there.

canada merchant account

Incredible learning, do anybody mind only reference back to it Aquarium Wizards