This world has two kinds of people. The one that supports Barcelona, and the other that supports Real Madrid. Or so you would believe if you saw the line of cars parked outside the sheesha joint we visit. There were enough people there to fill up some north stand of a stadium. Trust me, I had to park my car and walk for about 5 minutes, when usually I park just next to the entrance. The usual fanfare of replica jerseys, flags all adorned the open air place. There was also the buzz of horns.
Oh, the idea of nationhood surrounding football. A true unifying idea, spread across the place where fans celebrate even though they couldn’t understand each other much.
El Clasico kind of lived up to its reputation. A goal in 24 seconds was what I think really undid Real Madrid. It lit up the fuse for Barcelona to go and find their rhythm to explode later. The cheers of the Madridistas in that first minute would not be heard again. Messi in those three seconds of brilliance took almost four players off the equation and Alexis fired home to prove to his manager it was indeed wise picking him above Villa. Even though the second goal was sheer luck, it was thoroughly deserved. And oh what a move, what a weighted cross to score the third that killed off the tie.
The few things I learnt from this tie is that, Messi even on a bad day can shift the result of a match. And what was that debate again, Ronaldo vs Messi? That’s like pitting Laurel (of Laurel & Hardy) against Mike Tyson. Laurel might win a round. Maybe even a bout. But Tyson will knock out Laurel the other 99 times. Ronaldo is a great player but Messi is the greatest of our times. Ronaldo is Business Class – flat beds and the works. Messi is First Class – wood finish and a personal bar. The Shower Spa even.
Did anyone notice Barcelona defenders showing the outside and then instantly falling to the ground and scooping the ball off Ronaldo’s legs as he tried to dribble? Guess Pep’s been doing more of the tactical work as Mourinho shoots off his mouth again.
Barcelona stayed true to their philosophy of playing total football and passing their way out if possible, even if it meant giving away a goal (Valdes kept trying to be Xavi for the rest of the night even after the initial disaster). While there’s all the talk of being fearless by different parties, which is what it means, doing what you want to do with no concern or regard for the opposite.
That debate of the gap diminishing between Barcelona and Real was an utter hoax. It has not really budged a great deal. Real might go on to win the La Liga, but it would have been after losing to Barcelona, and you can ask any Madrid supporter how they’d really like to win the La Liga.