Last time we faced Granada, it was a much closer affair than some might have expected. This time the game is at home, in front of Barça’s fans, and there is the added incentive of getting the lead at the top down to 5 going into Madrid’s game at Villarreal tomorrow. Last time we played them, Kevin could only come up with this apt description:
…it was again a club in disarray, a tired, disjointed, disinterested-looking club that played not only the worst match of this season, but the worst match that I can remember a Guardiola side playing.
Icky-poo is how I would describe such a thing, personally, but I’m not the wordsmith around these here parts, so it’s fortunate I have the adept stylings of Baby Kxevin to keep me humble. Keeping the FCB squad humble is Guardiola’s job, of course, and he seems to be doing a bang up job heading into the the Champions League
semifinals quarterfinals [well spotted, reader Josep; apparently I’m ahead of myself] against Milan by saying that our league chances are done and dusted. Kaput. Fallen from this mortal coil. No more.
Will we take Granada seriously enough tonight? Given what the team has done over the last couple of weeks to other teams in similar positions, I say yes, it will be a different match to the one that Granada probably should have earned at least a point from. What’s important, once again, is for us fans to enjoy the spectacle that is Lionel Messi and company. And what a spectacle it is.
Tonight we specifically have Messi gunning for Cesar’s all-time FCB record, whatever the total really is, it doesn’t matter because Messi will beat it at some point in the near future. Celebrate it now or celebrate it later, whatever, it’s fun to celebrate a player who has gone beyond what anyone thought possible–and done so repeatedly to the point where the impossible has become an expectations. I’m not old enough to know if Wilt Chamberlain or Pele had the same aura about them and even Maradona is something before my time (though as a child all my friends were huge Maradona fans since he was at the peak of his powers and they were soccer nutters), but Michael Jordan springs to mind. It was never really a question of if he was going to blow your mind, but when. It’s what Kobe lacks, it’s what Cristiano Ronaldo lacks: there’s no aura of invincibility, no knowledge, sure as I sit here today, that you will not believe your eyes next time they play.
Watching Messi can be infuriating sometimes, such as when he doesn’t pass to an open man and instead takes on an extra defender and loses the ball, but mainly he’s just a joy. Simply put: he’s thrilling. Xavi and Iniesta are arguably more soccer intelligent, some have suggested Sergio Busquets is too, but it doesn’t matter. They can’t hold a candle to Messi’s slaloming runs, to his head down bull charges that somehow end with him reading the entire field perfectly. Eyes on all sides of his head, you could say.
So when he passes Cesar, it will be worth celebrating simply because of what we’ve been able to witness these last 7 years. The growth of a dynamic and brilliant player for whom records were apparently made to be smashed into smithereens. It’s only March and he has to be the odds on favorite to win the Ballon d’Or, FIFA World Player of the Year, and about 30 million new hearts.
Maybe Granada will put out a ridiculous bus, park it in their area, and say “Come get some.” Okay. And Messi will be there, slinking and powering through the defense in search of that little bit of joy we call Making History. It’s not if, it’s when.