Liga Preview: Barcelona – Racing Santander, Saturday 2pm EDT, GolTV
Yeah, yeah, I know. They are, indeed, strong words, but they’re the truth. And truth is what I bring to the table. Sometimes the truth is buried under layers of nonsensical ranting or hidden in forests of statistics, but it’s always in there. Like the time I said that Atleti would be good. Or the other time I said they’d be good. Anyway, we’re doomed. I know this because it’s so obvious.
The other team, Real Racing Club de Santander, S.A.D., have a real hero in their midst. A hero of such epic proportions that you probably think he retired several years ago. You see, 36-year old Pedro Munitis Álvarez plays for free. He refuses wages and is playing purely for the love of the game, for the adrenaline, and the club that he calls home. Racing was his youth club and now it is his final club. So he’s playing without a salary.
Except that isn’t strictly true, in a sense. When he transferred from Depor in 2006, he signed a 5-year deal that would pay out over the next 7 years. That is, he could have retired and continued to collect his paycheck for 2 more years while he drinks beer and grows fat or transferred somewhere else and double dipped, but is instead playing for his hometown club. It’s a noble gesture, certainly, but the original gesture is perhaps the more important one: saving Racing from a few taxes and spreading out their liabilities over the course of a few extra years. That he’s still continuing to play is a testament to both his physical abilities and his love of the club and that’s totally awesome, but it is also a strange mark of how bad Racing are. They rely on a 36-year old forward who has scored just 3 goals in the last 2 full seasons. But a hero he remains.
How they managed to stay afloat last year is somewhat beyond me. They were just 3 points out of relegation, yet they also finished in 12th. Such was La Liga last season. They probably didn’t deserve to go down relative to the other teams (I mean, Almeria got 30 points, after all), but they weren’t really any fun either. They’re a dour bunch, with just 4 goals scored so far this season and 9 goals against. Only their goals scored is relegation worthy–3rd worth, but they have also drawn with Real Madrid, which is fairly impressive for a side that lost the week before 4-0 to Atleti.
Both Messi (10) and Cesc (4) have sored as many or more than all of Racing combined. Barça as a team has scored 19 more than Racing. Hector Cuper has good reason to call the team the best ever, I suppose. And tomorrow it might be a slaughter, or it might be a well handled goalless draw. Were I an oddsmaker I’d give a decided advantage to Barça, of course, because they’re at home and with a record 3-0-0 and 18 GF 0GA, you can’t really imagine that Racing is going to do super well. Can you?
With Iniesta returning to the lineup, it almost doesn’t matter, does it? I mean, Iniesta. The Ghostface Killer. The [bleep] [bleeping] SPF 45. The Iniestazador. The Kingmaker. The Kingunmaker. He is The Andres. And he is our cerebro. He will blow your mind.
Predicted lineup: Valdes, Alves, Pique, Puyol, Adriano, Busi, Xavi, Iniesta, Pedro, Messi, Villa.
Going all out against some fools, with the exception of a potentially injured Abidal.
Official Prediction: 3-0, goals by Messi (2) and Pedro.
It might be after a FIFA week, but it doesn’t matter, Barça is better than Racing.