blitzen awards, now in their own post!

You asked for it. You begged for it. You got it! blitzen awards in their own sexy post! I’m sorry it couldn’t be longer, but I’ve had a very busy day. Do feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments!

That’s Zamora Award: “When the ball hits your eye like a big pizza pie…” Victor Valdes is still on track for his fifth Zamora, but the three goals conceded last night didn’t do his coefficient any good. It has gone up from 0.70 to 0.79 (although Marca still hasn’t updated their stats, seemingly). Saving penalties is the one area where Victor is inferior to Casillas, and he should practice them more, especially if we are going to give away silly ones like that.

MOTMOTM Award: Who says the Man Of The Match has to be the best player? I’m giving this one to Dani Alves, who singlehandedly (see what I did there?) changed the momentum of the game and gave Granada a glimmer of hope that they could get a result. I can actually give Dani a bit of a pass for the second penalty—it was dumb, but it was also a totally reflexive brain-fart moment that could happen to anyone and probably will. The foul that led to the first penalty, though, was completely moronic. What on earth was he thinking?!? Ridiculous. Props to the Granada player who led him into it, mind you. Great gamesmanship.

Look Behind You! Award: I can’t be the only one who saw the t-shirts the Barcelona players were wearing in honour of Fabrice Muamba and had flashbacks to Panto season? (The shirts said “Fabrice!!!! We are behind you!” in English.) Expressions of support, or creepy stalkers?

Reduce. Reuse. Regift. Award: And speaking of shirts, I asked about this on twitter but no one answered me—what do they do with all those supportive t-shirts after the game? Surely the players don’t keep them to wear again. Are they recycled? Donated? Are there little kids in Africa running around with “Anims Abi!!!” shirts?

Movin’ On Up Award: Xavi started his senior career at Barça as a defensive midfielder, coming in to replace an injured Guardiola. Later his coaches moved him further up on the pitch to a more attacking role. Pep in particular has encouraged Xavi to move forward into a scoring position more often.  Now Xavi seems to believe he is a central forward, and scores like one! He has 10 league goals already this season, more than either Fabregas (9) or Alexis (8). Como un jefe.

Rosell-Cruyff Award For Running Your Mouth: Keita! After receiving a ludicrous yellow card for a foul that wasn’t, he not only presented the ref with his patented “Who, me?” face, but went so far as to put his arm around him in a “This must be a joke!” gesture. Good effort for a first-time winner in this category.

Stolen Thunder Award: Poor Cuenca. He had a brilliant match, the best we have seen him since he crashed awkwardly into the spotlight last summer. He used the left wing to great advantage, outmanoeuvred his opponents and sent lots of great crosses into the box, two of which resulted in goals. Then Tello comes on and scores another goal and he’s the bright young thing once again. It’s OK, though. I noticed that everyone, and especially captain Puyol, went out of their way to congratulate Cuenca on his assists, so they know how good he was. Suck it, Tello. (I kid! Tello is awesome.)

It Rains But it Pours Award: Adriano. Injury. ‘Nuff Said. At this rate we will be calling on the Cadete B players. Anyone know what position Tito Vilanova’s son Adria plays? 😀

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Canadian, cule, corporate wage slave. Came late to the beautiful game, but fell under FCB's spell in 2006 and never looked back.

174 Comments

  1. hansh
    March 21, 2012

    Hey, can anyone link me to a picture of the players wearing shirts for Muamba? I came to the match just a minute late and I’d like to see them.

  2. March 21, 2012

    I just want to point out that Alves also totally changed the moment of the match offensively. I’m pretty sure he assisted Messi’s first goal and he definitely assisted Messi’s second which put us up 3-2 and in control.

    I won’t lie, I actually thought Alves had a pretty good match yesterday. The team didn’t funnel attacks through him as much as usual since Cuenca was dominating the poor guy marking him on the left. However he still got forward to good effect and found space and nice passes at crucial times. He will get a lot of flack for the penalties, but thats just a danger of his playing style. 96.4% of the time he gets away with his playing style. Two glaring errors from a match where he played well the rest of the game? He gets a good rating from me.

  3. March 21, 2012

    As for the one-off shirts, what they should really do is collect them up, auction them as limited edition collectors items, and donate the money to charity.

  4. Jafri
    March 21, 2012

    Yay, Blitzen awards get their own post! Good evolution for the team as a whole indeed!

    Also, the EPL is as boring as sin. All the hopeful long balls, big loopy crosses, and that panic that seems to come over the strikers as they approach the opposition penalty area and can’t wait to smack the ball within two seconds and pray it goes in… My La Liga heart hurts when I see this kind of untechnical Neanderthal-esque play.

    Messi might be the greatest player in the World, but I don’t think he would have been able to realise even half his potential in any team in that league.

  5. March 21, 2012

    Yaaaay Blitzen awards without having to trudge through a gazillion comments!

    Agree with you on poor Cuenca. Like having the hot girl in class talk to you only to have a young stud swoop in and steal her away. Though Cuenca had a pretty good game yesterday. A couple of good crosses, that one shimmy-shammy where Messi played him through. Offside. You could tell he really wanted a goal.

    Tello really loves that curler though doesn’t he? Great finish. Hit first time with good speed and accuracy.

    Cuenca or Tello, Tello or Cuenca- just glad they’re both ours.

    • March 21, 2012

      I’m with you, I don’t think it’s a question of either/or when it comes to Cuenca and Tello. I think of them as a package – most effective when they are both there. It might be because they came into the squad around the same time, or because Tello comes on for Cuenca so often, but I think it may have something to do with their contrasting playing styles.

      They play a very different game. Cuenca’s skills revolve around being able to beat a man and make a dangerous cross. Tello relies on his speed and ability to get behind a defense in space. If it seems like I’m painting them as a bit one dimensional… I am – I think both Cuenca and Tello are. That’s not a dig, I think they both have a lot of room for improvement. But right now they are being used to play very specific, specialized roles in the system. That is why they are both so important – they offer different solutions to different challenges.

      One of the most interesting aspects is a trend that has been emerging – Cuenca starts and Tello comes on for him around 70 minutes. It is a very interesting tactical move – Cuenca likes to be able to run at an isolated defender and beat him, then get a cross of. As the match wears on and a defender gets beat a couple times and starts to get tired they start to play closer to Cuenca to try to stop him from turning and running at them. Then Tello comes on, the defender continues to play closer as they have been, and Tello beats the poor tired guy to 3-4 balls in behind (which may not have happened if the defender was standing off like they often do early in the match).

      It’s very interesting to watch, and I think it’s a deliberate tactic from Guardiola. It may also point to how important both players are to each others success.

      • March 21, 2012

        You’re right, they are a bit one-dimensional the two of them. Tello more so I’d say, as Cuenca is very comfortable with close control of the ball. Almost reminds me of Iniesta with his dribbling at times.

        Again, their age is the obvious reason and they have tons of room for improvement. I’d be interested to see how well they go about their business once most defences have had a look at them and try to work at stopping them. Though with Messi attracting the lion’s share of the opposing defences for many more years to come, I suppose it’s safe to say the two of them will have ample time to up their game and add more elements to it.

      • Dani_el
        March 21, 2012

        I believe Tello entered the game replacing Sanchez, and Cuenca changed sides, from left to right, but I get your meaning, that’s actually a pretty smart move. I am wondering about Ibi’s return and about David Villa. Will the club sell Villa and Keita this season? I hope not. I wish for Villa to return to his usual self, so this summer could be the first where we DON’T buy any strikers. We do need a signing on the defense though. A good and confident central striker who can play on either side on emergencies. A Puyol/Abidal clone.

  6. March 21, 2012

    Haha, nice post!

    Poor Cuenca, had a good game, but Tello came on, scored, and all of a sudden his performance was forgotten. Well, if anything is to take out from the Pedro and Bojan conundrum is that there will be a dip in form due to a variety of factors including but not limited to the following: Injuries, a new signing/canterano, complacency, dumbassery, Shakira etc. So one must be able to keep working hard and keep being prepared for whatever plan that may come up in that bald pate of Pep’s.

    Also, wasn’t Keiteeeee’s expression the ‘Huh, what?’ variety?

    This is amazing: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/17460781
    Wish a recovery of this sort happens for everyone.

    And if we were to sell every injury-prone guy, Messi? Iniesta??

    I dunno if people already know this but when it comes to the internet, one should develop a cool, thick head. Kxevin takes a lot of crap for his somewhat different opinions. If you don’t like his opinions, ignore them. I’m sure with the variety of epic writers on the site, I’m sure you’ll find something interesting. Like SoMa’s posts which should be part of school curriculum by now. Take the loveblobs. They’ve singlehandedly ruined the experience of watching a game for me. No game is fun without them. So much fun!

    Even if I disagree with the author, say about the two penalties which I don’t think were – IMO Dani Benitez pushed himself back onto Alves, and had no intent to create a chance. The other was simply hand to ball. No intent on stopping the ball. Even if you interpret it as a PK, the yellow was too harsh – I wouldn’t go so far as to call blitzen anti-Dani or being too critical or not posting enough (:P swidt?). It would accomplish nothing.

    But in the grand scheme of things, none of what we say really matters. What happens on the pitch does. Solely. It’s time people cared less about what other people think as Ramzi pointed out and just enjoy this epoch making team..

  7. Ryan
    March 21, 2012

    I’m not sure about those shirts, but I remember listening to an NPR story once about how companies will produce shirts proclaiming the winner of a Super Bowl prior to the game. The eventual losing team’s shirts get sent overseas as donated clothing.

    It’s pretty criminal how bad City look with the glut of great players they have. I think this loss will mean that Barca has the best home league record though. 🙂

  8. messifan
    March 21, 2012

    Thanks Blitz for the post!

    OT: Levante are still in fourth place. Amazing! If they get the CL spot, they’ll get more money but I don’t know if they can get through to the group stage, and that is not good for the league coefficients.

  9. J.Clouseau
    March 21, 2012

    Offtopic :
    Vicente Forés Agent of Jordi Alba denied the predeal rumours between Barça and VCF.Pretty sure he is going to stay @Valencia and extend his contract.

    Imo Barça needs more a tactically astute type of Lb like Abidal is but it’s going to be tough replacing him one day since he is such a uniqué fullback who is able to shut down a huge defencive radius on his own!

    @Villareal vs Real Madrid
    So far so good! But Villarreal are so wastefull should have scored already. Playing like that makes you wonder how they get themselves at 19th Place..

    • J.Clouseau
      March 21, 2012

      Credits to @XimoVcf for the Alba News.

    • Ryan
      March 21, 2012

      Injuries to Nilmar and Rossi really hurt them, not to mention selling Cazorla. They’re putting up a fight, but if EE get one in the 2nd half I’m afraid it’ll be a wash. Come on Senna, you can do it!

      • J.Clouseau
        March 21, 2012

        Yeah agree but i feel they perform better against the bigger Guys more committed, more focused etc. but yes those Injuries as well as some personnal decision did hurt them.

        2 Guys Villarreal players already booked and a upcoming fatiguenes works beneficial for madrid.

        • Ryan
          March 21, 2012

          Pepe is carded, and they had to sub out one of their subs. Have hope! (unless Kari starts watching 😉 )

  10. simple_barcafan
    March 21, 2012

    Arbeloa tug of Neymar…Another penalty call that should be given against EE? ….i know i know..i shouldnt talk abt ref’s and pk’s and that bad stuff but…

  11. Nav
    March 21, 2012

    Villareal has to do better in these 2 v 3 situations if they wish to get a win out of this game.

    • J.Clouseau
      March 21, 2012

      Yeah for the fourth Time this Season!

  12. March 21, 2012

    Sorry but this league is a joke, the refereeing is so obviously favouring one team over another it is laughable. The pens not given yesterday to us and the pen not given to Villareal today. It really is awful. It is one thing to lose the league to a team that is better than you, I can accept that, but to lose the league to a team that just gets decision after decision going their way, its just not right.

    • J.Clouseau
      March 21, 2012

      The Ref’s are horrible since the 90ties unfortunalty all La Liga Medias and Fans are busy complaining about stupid Conspiracy Theories than discussioning that specific Problem..

  13. Ahmad
    March 21, 2012

    SENNAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
    1-1 WITH 7 MINUTES TO GO

  14. jordi™
    March 21, 2012

    Senna.His children.I will have them.

  15. jordi™
    March 21, 2012

    Ramos red.Is this real life? *rubs eyes*

    • Ryan
      March 21, 2012

      Refs have gone insane! Reds for everybody!

  16. jordi™
    March 21, 2012

    ajaja Ozil too.Madrid lost the plot

    • blaugranaDOOM
      March 21, 2012

      The pressure is getting to them for sure. Practically the whole coaching staff has been sent off. Ramos makes a crazy challenge with two forearms and a knee high foot…Ozil…ha ha

  17. simple_barcafan
    March 21, 2012

    hahaha..I love free kicks!!esp against EE!! 🙂

  18. simple_barcafan
    March 21, 2012

    its raining…no pouring cards in El Madrigal!!!

  19. jordi™
    March 21, 2012

    Mou probably in the car park already with a switch blade.

  20. J.Clouseau
    March 21, 2012

    @Ryan
    Haha ”Senna you can do it!” Yes he can! 🙂

    • Ryan
      March 21, 2012

      He won my respect at Euro08 – he was a close second to Xavi’s man of the tournament. 😀

      • J.Clouseau
        March 21, 2012

        Same here!Classy player.Amazing performance back then.

      • Ryan
        March 21, 2012

        I was hoping we’d get him on a free/small amount a few years ago, before Masch came in, but it’s nice to see him still causing damage in la Liga.

        • J.Clouseau
          March 21, 2012

          Preferred him too over Jefecito but yeah it all worked up good for both parties.

          If only he’d be younger.Could still rocking at La Roja! In replace for Xabi of course 😉

      • Anonymous_69
        March 21, 2012

        I actually thought Senna was by far the best at the Euros that year. I didn’t know much about him then, but he caught my attention. Xavi was getting all the plaudits (rightfully so, Spain couldn’t have won without him), but damn, Senna was amazing, unbelievable. And different from the way he plays for Villarreal. He was a real DM, destroying all the attacks near him.

  21. mom4
    March 21, 2012

    Oh my gosh, I can’t believe this. I love Marcos Senna.So glad he’s healthy again. OH MY GOSH 6 POINTS.

  22. March 21, 2012

    YESSS!!! We trail by 3 6 points. We can at least take this to the final round!

  23. lea_terzi
    March 21, 2012

    Wow. what a week 🙂
    2 penalties and a red against Barca. Messi smashes record. 2 reds against RM. Liga suddenly wide oppen. Hope the Submarines survive and bring us more joy in the years to come!

  24. simple_barcafan
    March 21, 2012

    I pray that they wont get relegated..

    • J.Clouseau
      March 21, 2012

      Me too would be a sad loss for the League!
      Esspecially since they represent what you can ashieve with less mone.One of the rare well-runned Club’s in La Liga.

    • Ryan
      March 21, 2012

      I think they’ll stay up – their home form is decent at least.

  25. ooga aga
    March 21, 2012

    chinks in the armor showing for EE. we are going to drub them when we play them at home.

    and no ozil. no ramos. no moumou. against sociedad this weekend.

  26. simple_barcafan
    March 21, 2012

    lol..Messi breaks a record and everything shatters…Everything…

  27. TITO
    March 21, 2012

    Wow, just wow. Actually, i loved the RED’s more than the draw, enjoyed. 🙂
    Just shows how pathetic losers they are when things dont go their way.

    • mom4
      March 21, 2012

      Good girl. Please resist the urge to watch the EE v R. Sociedad game this weekend we implore you. We thank you and the Basques thank you in advance.

  28. TITO
    March 21, 2012

    Though i think one of Villareal players got 2 yellows in each half but wasnt shown the red. I think i saw it like that.

    • Ryan
      March 21, 2012

      Yep, Ruben got one in the ~20th and ~50th. The ref was pretty horrid on both ends.

      • Jackieboy
        March 21, 2012

        Don’t think he got the first one, seemed as if it was the TV editor’s mistake.

      • Ryan
        March 21, 2012

        Ah, okay. I know the folks at GolTV and Goal.com thought it was him. Thanks for clearing that up.

  29. March 21, 2012

    Well at least they dropped two points. Still doesnt excuse the awful refereeing in this game. Ramos deserved his second yellow, but im not sure what Ozil could have possibly said to get a straight red. He barely speaks Spanish! Villareal could have had two penalties, definitely should have had at least one. How many games is that now, how many points? I am not one of those people who believes in conspiracies I just think the quality of the refereeing is really poor and when you combine that with the constant pressure from Mourinho and his mob (as witnessed today) then you end up with weak refs who dont want to call decisions against them. Look what happened today, on top of that there will be a week of incessant complaining about the ref from Mou. What ref wants to deal with that? The only way it can be stopped is if the RFEF clamp down on this sort of behaviour and that wont happen. You have to fight fire with fire. If they are going to put pressure on the refs then we have to do the same to balance the scales otherwise the refs will always favour them. They should have dropped 3 points today.

    It is nice to see Madrid lose the plot like that though. The pressure is obviously getting to them. We are peaking at the right moment and they seem to be running out of steam. I just hope that this poor officiating doesnt end up making the difference.

    • nzm
      March 21, 2012

      Obviously the Spanish that the dressing room boys have been teaching Oezil just backfired really badly on RM! 😀

  30. Laurentiu88
    March 21, 2012

    Isn’t Mourinho a recidivist a second offender … he must get more than a game suspension!

    Not only the penalty calls went RM’s way but so many free-kicks. I think this time the pressure strategy backfired miserably for them. Maybe referees are not taking it anymore?

  31. Helge
    March 21, 2012

    lol?

    It’s not the first free-kick that Marcos Senna smashes past St. Iker! I’m lovin’ it 😀

    Now our trip to Mallorca will be the most important league match since a very long time. If we win there, with only 2 healthy defenders, I might consider the title race to be not finished yet.

    • Laurentiu88
      March 21, 2012

      true that! 🙂 so unlucky for that second yellow card, but Montoya is a good player. again we will play before RM maybe there’s a chance for more pressure 🙂

      some games we have next!! mallorca, milan, bilbao, milan… hope everybody will be fully fit for this marathon.

      EE after the trip to Cyprus have an interesting trip to Pamplona. they didn’t have a decent away game since sevilla! 🙂

      • Montoya should start against Mallorca. I think the suspension of Alves is not a bad thing considering he will be fresh against Milan. The problem is with Adriano’s injury. That leaves only Puyol as the only Left Back against Milan. Now that means we may have to rest him also against Mallorca. But to start with both Muniesa and Montoya away from home against Mallorca could be very dangerous.

        If the injuries going to pile up, then it’s not only going to afffect the first team but also the B-team.

    • J.Clouseau
      March 21, 2012

      Teneriffe!….Teneriffe!…Teneriffe! *sing* 🙂

      Yeah, Team gotta work their socks off for the win. I’m not sure but didn’t Mallorca always played with a 4-1-4-1 Formation? If yes, a 3-4-3 wouldn’t that bad of a choice.

    • nzm
      March 21, 2012

      Mallorca is playing very well right now. They were robbed of a win/draw against RM at home.

      I’m a tad worried about this game against them – especially given our much weakened backline.

      • J.Clouseau
        March 22, 2012

        Agree with the backline!Their Winger are pretty good so i guess it’s about time for Muniesa starting playing as LB.

  32. icemel
    March 21, 2012

    Blitzen in the BFB starting 11 at last! Cuenca-esque post!

    ..and what a great pleasure to get the news of “6” here!

    League-ON!

  33. March 21, 2012

    Reports coming in that Pepe also got a 2nd yellow in the tunnel for swearing at the ref..

    • nzm
      March 21, 2012

      Yup – Spanish TV just showed the ref’s report.

      Pepe yelled, “Vaya atraco, hijo de puta” at the ref in the tunnel! 😉

      So that’s Pepe, Ramos and Oezil off the pitch for the next game, and Mourinho and Faria off the bench against Sociedad.

      Sociedad also had a player red-carded tonight. 😀

  34. J.Clouseau
    March 21, 2012

    Now it’s time for Mou to do usuall Buisness : Complaining about the Ref!I don’t like that and yes that include Barças Administration too..

    Pepe also got his second Yellow for yelling @ the Ref : It was a robbery. Son of a..

    Needles to say how I’m happy for that Draw never thought they could make it.

    Good Night everyone 🙂

  35. blitzen
    March 21, 2012

    Just reading the news now. This is amazing! Not just for Barça title hopes, but OMG my Yellow Submarine got a point from Real Mordor!!!!! And it was my lovely Senna who scored!!!

    If there are any gods up there who care about football, please don’t let Villarreal be relegated. The Primera needs them and they are too good to go down.

    Hay Liga! 😀

  36. I won’t get my hopes high about La Liga title, but damn, how good was that?
    Ramos, Ozil, Pep, and Mourinho with red.. If you create drama, you get karma.. 😀

    So happy for Senna and Villareal.. Please don’t get relegated!

  37. nzm
    March 21, 2012

    Talk about controversial games tonight.

    The Valencia-Zaragoza match was a humdinger.

    Valencia score first through Pablo Hernandez, then a Zaragoza player is sent off (2 yellows) in about the 20th minute. A Zaragoza cross is handballed by another Zaragoza player, but Valencia gets pinged and a penalty is awarded to Zaragoza for their own handball! 1-1.

    2nd half – and another Zaragoza player hits the showers early and they’re down to 9 men. But they score – to win the match 1-2!

    Emery and the Valencia team are given a pañolada by the crowd for their (lack of) efforts and booed off the pitch.

    The referees are uniting and closing ranks! 😀

    • Blau-Grenade
      March 22, 2012

      Wow, things seem to have gone wild!!!

  38. mom4
    March 21, 2012

    Blitzen, I think Senna deserves a Blitzen award.

    • blitzen
      March 21, 2012

      I don’t know about an award, but I am trying to trend #SennaSeleccion on twitter! 😀

  39. Helge
    March 21, 2012

    So… Pepe and CR saying they were robbed.

    Can someone who watched the match explain to me why?

    I only read about a not given penalty for a foul on Nilmar, so at first glance Villarreal was robbed.
    Or have there been several goals wrongly disallowed for offside, several penalties not gifted to EE?

    Otherwise it’s very brazen to claim that EE was robbed.

    With apparently up to four players missing the next game, can’t they prepone the Osasuna match to this weakend? 😀

    • sd
      March 21, 2012

      I watched from about 30 minutes onwards of the game. They were not robbed. Madrid dominated possession but they didn’t have that many great chances. In fact the goal that they scored was the best chance they had. Villareal dint really deserve the draw but they sure as hell dint deserve to loose either and Madrid did not play all that well. Nilmar should have had a penalty. I am not entirely sure whether Ozil should have been sent off or not but Ramos should have been. Them saying they were robbed is their typical obnoxious behaviour. Ronaldo didn’t even do that much in the game. The goal was made by Benzema and Ozil yet he ran away like he just scored the most awesome goal. Madrid were far from robbed. This is their typical behaviour. Even on some of the most obvious calls they are up in arms.

      • Laurentiu88
        March 21, 2012

        they were robbed, since the new rule is that not only there won’t be penaltys against them but neither free-kicks!

        did Pepe get a red? or just mentioned in the referee report?

        • sd
          March 21, 2012

          Ahh yes! I was not aware of that. My bad.

          Apparently it was a second yellow so its a red. Not too sure what happened though.

  40. nzm
    March 21, 2012

    Big thunderstorm and heavy rain in Barcelona right now, and today it snowed in Madrid.

    I’m taking it as an omen! 😀

  41. messifan
    March 21, 2012

    There’s no holiday in Madrid tomorrow or tomorrow after, right?

    I love watching them implode 🙂

    Seriously, if they want to win, they should behave better. The ending drama was like the super copa stuff minus eye-poking.

    Who wants to bet that this ref will never officiate RM matches again?

  42. nzm
    March 21, 2012

    Madrid walked out of the stadium straight onto their bus after refusing to attend the after-match press conference.

  43. mega_tajh
    March 21, 2012

    The Lotina effect is strong!!!

    Villarreal played so well in the first half, had many scoring chances but they tired in the 2nd.

    And imagine he had only around 3 days to prepare his team.

    • mega_tajh
      March 21, 2012

      To note they have also drawn the big 2 of La Liga at their home. Don’t think any other Spanish side has done that feat in a while.

  44. mom4
    March 21, 2012

    For those with acsess to GOLTV, they are showing a replay of the Villareal v EE right now. It’s in the 34th.

  45. March 21, 2012

    RM developing the petulant victim mentality. Their star player saying, “robbery, robbery?” Shameful. Could be very costly in the future.

    Let this whole snafu be a warning to those cules who want Pep and Barcelona to play the ref game: this is the result.

    Sure you’ll get favourable calls for a season or two, but at what cost? Complete capitation at all levels. Conceded an equalizer; coach and two players sent off. What kind of response is that?

    No, I didn’t watch the match; no, I can’t say I feel any sort of pity for RM; but I sure am glad we didn’t buy heavily into this ref stuff. Whatever if the fans do it; club should be bigger. And I’ve said the same for Barca if you remember.

    Frankly, it’s embarrassing. Typical of Mourinho and RM under him as we all know but so freaking embarrassing.

    Six points is all well and good, but we’ve got our share of problems too. Away to Mallorca without Alves, Adriano, Abidal… We can’t afford to drop points. It’ll be tough. The gap is much closer but Liga is still RM’s to lose. Not to be a Debbie Downer or contrarian to the mood or anything – just saying.

    We’ll still awesome however. 8)

    • mega_tajh
      March 21, 2012

      We shall win La liga once we get our jobs done in every game. I never gave up and i expect another draw from madrid come sat. Over-confident? No but I believe in my team and the signs are all for us.

    • Puppet
      March 22, 2012

      I agree, six points is great, but we have too many hard matches ahead of us to get overly excited. Barca has what it takes, definitely, so let’s just see what we can do with this opportunity.

      Also, the officiating was ridiculously awful, but Real had it coming. The mixture of their hot-headedness, the constant pressure they put on the ref, and Mourinho’s reputation made something like this inevitable. That said, the ref had better be able to defend his decision to book Ozil and the general lack of control he had with the game, or he’s gone from the Primera Division.

  46. Srini
    March 21, 2012

    Karma comes to hurt back like a Butch for Madrid.

    If RFEF lets the red cards stay (yeah it will come down to this), then EE would be facing Sociedad in a couple of days from now without Ramos, Pepe(need confirmation), Oezil and Lassana Diarra (for getting to 5 yellow cards so far, if I am not wrong). They still have Di Maria injured. And possibly Mourinho will not be at the sidelines as well along with Redder than anyone else, Rui Faria.

    It is going to a tough one for them, even if they are going to face Real at home. Sociedad has flattered to deceive generally this season – with a combination of bad luck and ineffectiveness – but they have the talent to scrap out a draw at least. Very unlikely than likely, but odds have improved a tad little because of the suspensions.

    Still a Long March for Barcelona being behind 6 points. But if Barca keep doing their end of the bargain – not dropping points, who knows?

    All said and done, this has been a tremendous slugfest of a season.

  47. March 21, 2012

    Just properly dawned on me that Ozil got sent off. How the heck did that happen? Ghost of Villa b*tch slap him?

    • Ryan
      March 21, 2012

      He must’ve said something bad to the referee, because he was booked soon after Ramos’ dismissal. Not sure why he would complain – Ramos smashed Nilmar to the ground, and he was already on a yellow!

  48. nzm
    March 21, 2012

    Wow, that ref – José Luis Paradas Romero‎ – in the Villarreal-RM match sure is card-happy.

    Look at how many he’s dished out: http://es.soccerway.com/referees/jos-paradas-romero/63238/

    Hit the “Anterior” link to view his entire history.

    He given out 330 cards over 55 games in which he has refereed on the pitch – an average of 6 per match!

    The most that he’s given out in one match has been 14: once on 11/11/09 Espanyol vs Getafe (14 Yellows) and again on 21/12/11 Levante vs Deportivo (12 Yellows and 2 Reds).

    Incredible!

  49. After some initial delight I won’t say a word until the Mallorca game. Much as I love the club when it comes to football I’m superstitious about karma and stuff and I refuse to be optimistic until/unless we have played Mallorca and hopefully- I hope though I’m super nervous about it I really hope- won. I have this theory that whenever fans start getting cocky they then get heartbroken in the most unpleasant ways (read: City and Spurs this season alone) so I completely absolutely refuse to even consider the possibility of overhauling the gap yet YET.

    I still think they’re huge favorites. I’m optimistic of winning at Camp Nou and if we get past Mallorca unscathed- and ONLY THEN- I will dare to dream. After their next game at Sociedad Madrid go to Pamplona, entertain Valencia, go to the Calderon (where much as I like Atletico I am sure their curse will continue, sadly), play a relegation-battling Gijon at home, play at the Camp Nou, and then host Sevilla. Their last two games are a safe Granada and Mallorca which I won’t bank on, but if the gap doesn’t increase after the next matchday I will have some hope.

    Either way we need to start being perfect.

    Also I really really hope Villareal stay up, they’re arguably the most universally likable club in all Europe. I literally don’t know anyone who hates or even dislikes them. And of course they’re a model of how to run a club well, build steadily, and play lovely football. La Liga, Europe and football will be worse without them.

    • Ryan
      March 21, 2012

      You’re forgetting that they have to go away to play Bielsa’s Bilbao. I know they’ve had a string of losses after their fantastic result vs. United, but I have high hopes that they’ll trouble EE.

      • Puppet
        March 22, 2012

        Didn’t RM win 1-4 at San Mames? I think they have yet to host Athletic though, hopefully the Lions can get them there.

          • Puppet
            March 22, 2012

            Well that’s good! Athletic have been inconsistent, but i think when they’re playing a great team, they are extra focused and motivated and find a higher gear (like against us and Man Utd).

  50. March 21, 2012

    Excuse my utterly bitter and totally cynical/disillusioned cule self but you guys do realize that this just means against Sociedad at home, it’s likely they’ll get a million penalties, no red cards and the like because of media storm, right? According to Hunter, some referees watch Punto Pelota.

    Let me repeat that.

    Punto. Freakin. Pelota.

    That’s hilarious.

    I’m so cynical; it’s pretty sad.

    • mega_tajh
      March 21, 2012

      We shall see. Remember they play in the CL on Tuesday. I don’t believe in this ref business so for me I only see a weaken Madrid team vs a Sociedad team who will be smelling blood. Anything can and will happen. Same for us also against Mallorca.

      • March 21, 2012

        The non bitter, cynical, disillusioned self (i.e. the majority) believes the above.

        Really, I saw the Valencia – Zaragoza game today; the refereeing in that game was just depressing. Even when the usual Liga standard is taken into account. Don’t think I’ve ever seen a player get a penalty after they handballed it…

    • it’s likely they’ll get a million penalties, no red cards and the like because of media storm, right?

      eh, my utterly bitter and totally cynical/disillusioned cule self believe that too.. 😛

  51. blitzen
    March 21, 2012

    I am so confused! Exactly how many RM players will be sitting out their next game and for what reasons (cards, injuries)? Summary please!

    • mega_tajh
      March 21, 2012

      Lass 5 yellow cards. Ramos 2 yellows, as with Pepe( got 1 after the game) and a straight red for Ozil.

    • Ryan
      March 21, 2012

      It also looked like Altintop injured himself, so he’s probably a doubt for the game.

      • kinukinu
        March 21, 2012

        Also, Higuain is on his 4th yellow, thanks to the one he got after the game for mouthing off.

  52. Ryan
    March 21, 2012

    It looks like Cazorla’s the best free kick taker among the top leagues this season. But Xavi’s number three, having scored 2 out of just 10 attempts. Please no more Dani FKs!

    http://i.imgur.com/CTPWF.jpg

    • March 21, 2012

      TB highlighted at the bottom. 😆

      Awesome Xavi! Wonder if Iniesta is any good at FKs… (possible Dani replacements)

      • Ryan
        March 21, 2012

        Yes, the TB part was my favorite. 😀 And yet prior to any FK he takes the commentators love to praise his FK taking ability.

        I don’t think I’ve ever seen Iniesta take a FK. He does alright with long range shots, why not have a go at a FK eh?

    • G6O
      March 22, 2012

      And one has to point out that Messi hit the post at least 3 times from FKs so he was really unlucky not to have more than 1 goal.

  53. Dani_el
    March 21, 2012

    Cr7 as usual with him went out of the stadium implying “robbery” with his hands. Pepe said “some robbery, you son of a b****” to the ref, I expect the comission to do something about it. Mou and his whole technical staff walked out the press conference, he hides like he’s used to in tough times. The sad part, is that this is most usual with Madrid’s culture right now. That is why is disgraceful to lose this way.

  54. Megster
    March 21, 2012

    I am just happy as everyone else Madrid drawing with Sevilla, but we also have crucial games that will decide our Liga’s chances. If we lose to Mallorca or any of our games, I think it’s really over for our Liga hopes.

    But again, I am HAPPY they drew and all the circumstances around it. Like Nelson Muntz would say: Ha-ha!

  55. Comment on Soccernet-

    GoTPLATANOS
    How ignorant and irresponsible are Mourinho and his agent Eladio Paramés? “El fútbol murió de ‘Paradas’ cardiacas” which translates to “football died of a cardiac arrest” with a play on word of the referee’s last name, Paradas.
    Fabrice Muamba not even a week ago had a heart attack on the pitch and almost died. For this idiot to say something like this is inexcusable. I know he’s not referring to Muamba but to use “cardiac arrest” and “football” to complain about a phantom robbery done by the referee last night is both childish and out of line…

    That’s really not cool at all. There’s no way he doesn’t know about Muamba and all of course considering Real (as well as Barca, Sevilla etc) were giving messages of support and it was big news too.

    • culegirl3
      March 22, 2012

      Coincidental? maybe but its still suspicious.

      In bad taste? Definitely…but look who we’re talking about here, its JM..that in itself is self-explanatory.

      • I highly doubt that was a coincidence. RM players had lots of signs of support for Muamba on their shirts in the previous game if I recall correctly and the whole footballing world knows about it, there is no chance in hell that Mourinho didn’t know about Muamba’s heart attack. It just seems like a jerkwad comment which really does not surprise me.

  56. Srini
    March 22, 2012

    The funniest part was Pepe getting carded for diving when he really took a good hit on his face. As I said earlier, Karma coming to bite back badly. It was hilarious watching the thug indignantly showing his swollen lip around the stadium. Even more funny was that he got him yellow carded again *after* the game. There is justice after all in this world, I suppose.

    Just to say it again. EE is going to miss the following players the next game – Lass Diarra (gets his fifth yellow in the fifth minute of the game), Sergio Ramos, Pepe and Oezil (all for red cards) apart from Mourinho and his designated fall guy Rui Faria who has been assigned duties of taking the hit for Mourinho’s constant berating of the referees this season. Faria has got his fourth (need to confirm) Red Card this season, can you imagine? That is how much pressure Mourinho’s staff is heaping upon the referees.

    All said, 6 points is still a large gap with 10 very tough games and a heavy schedule to go through. But it is heartening to see that the wheel is turning toward justice and that the footballing gods are taking notice (this from an atheist). No way in a fair world, does Mourinho’s evil behavior deserve any honors this season – as much as one must admire the way that so many of EE players have played so well all along.

  57. K_legit in Oz
    March 22, 2012

    Madrid se quema, se quema Madrid,
    Madrid se quema, se quema Madrid!

  58. yassir (Formerly Extreme barca fan)
    March 22, 2012

    I dont watch EE matches, but a friend told me that while on the field, Pepe shook the ref hands and was all proffessional, then in the tunnel he verbally attacked him, class all over.

    • Nik
      March 22, 2012

      It was definitely a strange (even unnerving) sight to see Pepe shake the ref’s hands and shepherd his teammates away from the ref when they arrived to give him a piece of their mind. The universe returned to normalacy after he stepped off the pitch it seems.

      • kinukinu
        March 22, 2012

        I don’t think he was being a sportsman when he shook hands with the ref–his posture was exaggerated–he sort of bowed to the ref as he did it in feigned reverence, as if it was a sarcastic gesture.

        • nzm
          March 22, 2012

          Agreed. He was milking it and it was all a farcical act which he couldn’t maintain after he entered the tunnel.

          • kinukinu
            March 22, 2012

            He should have stuck with the first tactic–it would have been hard to get a second yellow for sarcasm. But he can’t help it. It’s in his nature.

  59. Sam M
    March 22, 2012

    A few weeks ago I remember hearing Ruud Gullit enthuse about Messi during some post-match commentary on television. The rest of the commentators (Gary Lineker, et al.) were talking about how Messi’s mental discipline, confidence, vision, and mind-spinning creative and technical abilities combine into a lethal package. They were especially impressed by how Messi never loses his cool even when he’s being hacked and fouled. Gullit chuckled and basically said, “That’s because he’s in control.” The sub-text of Gullit’s remark seemed to be about how few teams and players actually attain control over themselves.

    I’ve been thinking about this issue of control with regard to Real Madrid especially after today’s FREAK OUT AT THE REFS Part XXIII against Villareal. As we know, after conceding the goal the entire team melted down with Mourinho leading the pack. Ramos kicking out for his second yellow, the coach expulsions, Ozil sent off for dissent, Ronaldo’s petulant “we wuz robbed” gesture, Pepe yelling at the ref in the tunnel, post-match accusations of referee conspiracies, all point to the fact that this team is not in control.* It’s certainly not in control of its temper and may not be in control of its destiny in La Liga. As long as Barcelona continues to play well, the six-point advantage Madrid currently holds certainly looks well within grasp.

    One final point on the issue of control. Despite occasional flashes of brilliant football like today’s first goal against Villareal, the Real Madrid of the Mourinho era looks to me like a very fast, hyperactive, and possibly rabid dog racing around a yard. The pace of their game is usually frenetic and even when it’s not there’s an impatience to their style of play. For me, the hallmark of the Guardiola era (aside from the ecstatic and elegant football on display) is an overall discipline that manifests in mental toughness, possession of the ball, intelligent passing and movement, and utter authority over the pace of a match. When everything is clicking and we are in control we are almost impossible to beat.

    * For the sake of contrast, remember how Puyol roused his teammates after conceding to Madrid in the first 30 seconds of the first Clásico?

    • Ryan
      March 22, 2012

      You can also contrast how we acted when our game vs. Villarreal ended in a draw. We certainly didn’t lash out at the Yellow Submarine, refs, et al.

    • March 22, 2012

      Great comment! Agreed on all fronts. Was thinking something similar yesterday.

  60. Dani_el
    March 22, 2012

    Jorge Valdano, en la Cadena Ser, fue explícito: ‘Si alguien puede quejarse por el árbitro, es el Villarreal, por el penalti no pitado por agarrón a Nilmar en el primer tiempo’.
    Jorge Valdano was pretty clear to Cadena ser: “If someone needs to complaint about the referee, is Villareal, because of the uncall penalty to Nilmar in the first half”.
    In another matter, I read this from another source but now, Sid Lowe confirms it:
    “Messi’s three took him past César Rodríguez as Barcelona’s all-time top scorer. Some question the validity of the record, because Paulino Alcántara – the man they called Romperredes, the net buster – got more. The problem is that Alcántara’s goals, scored in competitions like the Catalan Championship between 1912 and 1927, are not classed as official; the solution is that Messi will probably end up breaking his 364-goal tally anyway.”
    I read Paulino Alcántara was originally from the Philippines and a catalan journalist called him the best player to ever leave asia. So yay! another record for Messi! Pep will be pretty excited!

    • Srini
      March 22, 2012

      Valdano getting a chance to get at Mourinho, IMHO.

      The Cesar/ Alcantara record breaking suggests that Messi is not just an once in a generation player, but once in a century player or even more. Puts our luck to be born in the same era in perspective.

      • Chiu
        March 22, 2012

        As much as Valdano personally dislike Mou, he wouldn’t say something bad about his beloved club. I think he just couldn’t resist to “defend” the situation which EE not even legit to complain.

        Agree, that might hint right that Messi is once in a century talent.

        • Srini
          March 22, 2012

          Indeed.

          Some info on the upcoming schedule in the La Liga –

          Both Barca and Madrid have 5 home games and 5 away games.

          Barca has a relatively easier away schedule as compared to Madrid and vice versa.

          Average pts garnered by teams that Barca faces in away games – about 33.8, and for Madrid – 40.2. (Average opponent positions – 12 and 9 respectively). Home games though see Madrid facing teams with 34.6 pts and 12th position on average, and Barca – 42.7 and 8 respectively.

          But it is going to be game by game and factors that would matter would include schedule which contains Champions League games (and Europa) as well. Considering all three squads from the Europa also face EE and Barca, it is going to be one intriguing end to the season.

          Taking a step backwards and looking at the Liga – without ref controversies etc – this has been as advertised, a terrific duopoly in a strong footballing league. Spain should be proud of its football.

          • Chiu
            March 22, 2012

            – A well-managed rotation of key players would be one of crucial aspect to cruise this stormy schedule unscathed. Couldn’t think anything more complex than two games vs. Milan and potential two games vs. Chelsea sandwiched between every decisive league matches. Maybe only last season 4 classico series can be put on par. We better concentrate on the very next game at a time. Must win in Mallorca!

            – I am quoting nice statement from Thiago yesterday “Hoping is the last thing you lose”. So keep hope Cules!

  61. Chiu
    March 22, 2012

    Some words:

    – Finally, blitzen award make its first appereance as BFB official post. Always love the casual views on your award. Thanks you Blitz!

    – On the subject of Xavi to move closer to goal, I think the beneficial aspect would be his exceptional positioning when he’s around the box. I recalled some Xavi goals from open play came when he place himself just right and set to shoot. He doesn’t possess kind of ability to dribble past defenders ala Iniesta, but he is proficient in making himself accessible to create goal-scoring threats.

    – We are trailing by 6 points now. 4 points was cut back within two matches span. I feel EE give away their lead cushion quite quick and early than many Cules could wish. It could be a mix of minor complacency, fatigue (they don’t rotate regularly) and the pressure Barca put by keep winning the 3 points lately. Hopefully their downward tendency would continue for a moment, at least until we’re within points range (read: less than 3 points) to topple them if we win the Camp Nou classico.

    – EE still have much better prospect to win this league. But I dare to say too, that our probability has been improved from hair thin chance to 20%. 6 points is still a comfy lead in any major league. But the race is far from over for the 2nd place car, too. The chequered flag is still many laps to go and whatever thing can change the final order. With 10 games remaining, probably it’s a last favorable momentum for Barca title hope and wouldn’t come twice if we allow the gap widen again. I trust this team will respond accordingly. One game focus at a time and WIN in Mallorca.

    – Thank you Marcos Senna. Your beautifully taken free kick provides Cules with a glimpse of hope. We wish your team will still stay in the Primera Division next season.

    – EE was showered with red cards and Ramos’ foul deserved a second yellow. Their defense line would be seriously tested without Ramos, Pepe and Lass against Sociedad. And Mou have effectively set a brand new sore losers standard by escaping the official press conference. I never seen this disrespectful attitude from any top coach. I suppose with many key absences; Sociedad could potentially present a tough clash for EE. A draw wouldn’t appear unattainable. Cazorla and Senna have shown they could beat Casillas from free kick. I hope Griezman of Sociedad could give a try too. GO SOCIEDAD!

  62. Gogah
    March 22, 2012

    After our win against Granada, I said that if Villarreal could get a point or three, the league race is back on.
    I am not superstitious at all, yet when it comes to Barcelona, I’m not strong enough to fight it and so, I completely ignored the madrid match. Didn’t check the scores, nothing, and i woke up to one of the most pleasant mornings.

    6 points.

    Now is when we cant get all excited and blow it. now concentration is more important than ever and We cannot drop another point. And its going to be tough, considering the competition we have drawn for the champions league and piling up injuries.

    But now there is hope and i admit to being one of the people who ‘knew’ the league was over. Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t or maybe at some level i was also playing the pep mind game with myself (assume the worst and something better is most likely to follow).

    But now i’m really hoping Simeone of atletico and Bielsa of Athletic will get some points off ee.

    Visca Barca!
    p.s – what about pedro at left back.

    • Chiu
      March 22, 2012

      – Agree! We must not overly excited. We must remain composed and concentrate on the next game. Just think about the next 3 points and don’t ease any pressure from EE shoulders. They still have the upper hand.

      – Disagree about Pedro on left back. I doubt his defensive capability and would be an extreme gamble at this phase. I sometimes think Keita could play LB. Remember the CL final vs. United in 2009; Abidal was suspended and option of Keita playing LB came to surface. I think Keita is the most balance player in the context of defensive and offensive skill set. He could do both averagely proper.

  63. TITO
    March 22, 2012

    Couple of things:
    I think the demise of their run of victories came after we won our away games – tough ones recently, and RM was hoping that we will continue to drop points as we did all season long.
    That had effect on them and the wining mentality and they started dropping points and they will continue so. Their opponents smelled blood and fear and will take full advantage of it.
    While we started to peak and show some displays which were our trademark during the wining seasons, and you could see disappointments in the faces of our opponents when they face us.
    I’m sure with Mallorca will be the same, not overconfident but almost certain that we will take the 3 points there, just a hunch.
    And the most important thing: The latest 4-5 games we are playing ahead of RM which is crucial in putting pressure on them after they see our results. On saturday is going to be the same.

  64. G6O
    March 22, 2012

    We shouldn’t get too carried away with this – it is still 6 points and they need to either lose a game (all hopes on Bilbao) or draw twice for us to be in control. And we need to win all our remaining games which is far from guaranteed. But still, finally some reasons to be hopeful 🙂

  65. Chiu
    March 22, 2012

    Anyone think that tommorow Pep would say in pre-match conference that “We will not win la liga” ? 🙂

    Keep saying it Pep, it works to jinx EE. jk/

  66. Laurentiu88
    March 22, 2012

    http://www.goal.com/en/news/1717/editorial/2012/03/22/2983353/real-madrid-all-at-sea-as-self-destruction-and-stubborn

    stupid goal.com editorial: the game was highly controversial, the referee incompetent. he lost the game, he could not control the game.

    are these people limited? the whole tone of the article is that RM was a victim of a bad referee.

    “The players, partly stung by their own inability to carefully close out the contest, mirrored the indiscipline offered by their mentor. Instead of maintaining an air of calm, they embraced the opportunity for rebellion. Sergio Ramos’ head-high challenge on Nilmar, following through with his elbow, saw him collect a second yellow. Mesut Ozil quickly followed for his protestations. Romero, who had also failed to acknowledge a blatant tug on Nilmar in the first half which should have resulted in a penalty for the hosts, had lost complete control by this point, brandishing bookings like a get-out-of jail-free card against the crime of his own incompetence”

    but the only arg for this is that he did not see a penalty against RM!! then he blames the referee for loosing the control of the game! what? he lost control of the game because he showed cards? Oh, i guess he didn’t use his special powers and chose instead to show cards!! What an idiot! So RM couch and co. protest and put pressure and it is because you show cards that you loose the game! No mention that having that physio as an attack dog is a strategy – 4 sending offs? – can any reasonable person assume that any one acts there without direct orders? Does he even try to assess the facts? Were RM right to protest? (my Portuguese commentators were right in observing that Altintop’s tackle was dangerous, coming in with raised foot).

    “but Romero’s only saving grace lies in the impartiality of his ineptness. Both sides were burned by his decision-making, yet Madrid were the ones that took it personally.”

    can he point to the times where RM were ‘burned’? before they ‘took it personally’?

    The conclusion seems to be that RM were a victim of a bad referee and that the only difference with Villareal is that the later ‘did not take it personally’.

  67. just listenin
    March 22, 2012

    Incompetent ref in the RM game last night?…I must live in bizarro world where up is down and down is up. I thought he was one of the first competent refs with respect to tone of the match I’ve seen all year. Sane man appears crazy in an insane situation syndrome I guess. Sure, blown call or two (those consistently violent, brazen and dangerous challenging backs still not conceding a penalty), but he held a line and said, “no, not tonight, we’re not playing like this” and they ran his stop sign, and he carded them, and then they compained and hie said, “I’ve made myself clear, you’re carded too”. If that’s incompetence, bring it on. He sent a clear message to the bench early to quit their harassment, sent off the least influential of the peanut gallery as a warning, and they kept pushing. Spoiled, bullying, entitlement mentality, the epitome of brat-dom, if I might invent a word. One big problem with refereeing in la Liga is that this hasn’t been happening all season on a regular basis to EE because their style of play warrants it.

    Doesn’t matter if it has an impact on the title in the end, but I must say I take no greater joy than watching a bunch of spoiled brats not get their way and imploding like a 3 year old temper tantrum, lying on their bellies kicking their feet, pounding their fists and holding their breath. EE hissy fits and Iker face always make me smile regardless the impact.

  68. J.Clouseau
    March 22, 2012

    Abel Resino is interested in loaning of at least one of three Barça B Midfielders (Riverola,Sergi Roberto and Jonathan Dos Santos) till the end of the Season.

    I think for either Riverola or Sergi R. that short term lone would be a useful experience since they won’t be promoted. For Barça B on the other hand…

  69. BarcaOwl
    March 22, 2012

    Thanks a lot, blitzen. Fun awards! Here’s hoping the boys will keep breathing down EE’s neck.

  70. nzm
    March 22, 2012

    So it turns out that Pepe did not get a second yellow in the tunnel, but his outburst was recorded in the ref’s report and there may be a hearing into his actions. Well, it’s the RFEF so don’t hold your breath about that one.

    Looking at the match stats for the game, the ref was quite equal in his cards given to both teams: http://www.soccerway.com/matches/2012/03/21/spain/primera-division/villarreal-club-de-futbol/real-madrid-club-de-futbol/1140923/

    It was Real Madrid’s lack of composure and discipline that did them in and turned 1st yellows into 2nd ones and then reds, and in Oezil’s case a straight red. Villarreal’s players who received yellows didn’t make second serious offences.

    Referee Paradas is known to be card-happy. Any team’s management, worth its salt, will do homework on the referee and advise the players on how to behave accordingly with certain match officials.

    • Chiu
      March 22, 2012

      Not much to expect from rfef. If they let stomping hand and eye poking last unpunished, how would they take action for the less violect act: bashing at referree.

  71. blitzen
    March 22, 2012

    So at least two Spanish media are reporting that after the game yesterday some Real Madrid players entered the Villarreal dressing room, rebuked them for celebrating the draw too loudly, and even challenged them to fight. They say their source is Diego Garcia from Villarreal, who phoned up various media to denounce the “deplorable conduct” of the RM players and staff. If this is true, it is absolutely appalling! Shameful. As Xavi says, RM don’t know how to lose. And they didn’t even lose!!!

    http://www.elperiodico.cat/ca/noticias/esports/jugadors-del-madrid-van-entrar-vestidor-del-vila-real-per-amenacar-els-seus-jugadors-1574468

    • Nav
      March 22, 2012

      I must say, even though we are not likely to win the title, seeing EE descend into behaving like 13 year old spoilt princesses causes me much amusement. Thank you Villareal!

    • Chiu
      March 22, 2012

      EE is keep lowering their street thuggery signature. Mind boggling for a team as huge as EE to fall into self destruction circle since Mou arrived. Nobody can calm the team??? Do they need to call raul,zidane, hierro or morientes back?

  72. Laurentiu88
    March 22, 2012

    YOU know… they might win this league it does not even matter that much. After this behavior winning seems less important. Remember the episode from G Hunter’s book when after the CDR final our players were made to stay on the pitch and congratulate RM.

    Winning is not only about only about being better than your opponent, but doing it in the spirit of the GAME! As an affirmation of the virtues the sport (ever since the Olympics when wars were stopping. Of course that lapses from such norms may happen as emotions and tensions run high. But such a general degradation is hard to accept, especially when directed at the other players.

    What is the purpose of winning anymore if it’s done like this? The value of winning comes from the way the victory is achieved too. At the end of the game players congratulate themselves, it is a nice image that usually reminds me that in sports there are no losers.

    Maybe our players are guilty too, but there is some control from the coach. There is nothing like that quite the opposite from RM and JM. This has made the recent games between us something quite toxic: notice friends from national team hitting each other, stepping on each other… notice the finger in eye, stepping on the hand, such free aggression… Can we wonder then that Marca had to close the commentary section on the news with Abidal due to the nature of comments? If this is how much they want to win, I could’t care less if they did…

  73. blitzen
    March 22, 2012

    What has been lost in the discussion about the refereeing is this crucial point that Sid Lowe makes in his Guardian article:

    Madrid had conceded an equaliser against Villarreal. But rather than use the 10 minutes remaining to chase the winner, rather than thinking that their lead at the top of the table, while shortened, remained a hugely significant six points, rather than contemplating the fact that Barcelona dropped points there too, or recalling that they dropped points two games in a row earlier this season and still pulled away from Barcelona, there was a kind of implosion.

    And this is exactly it. There is something deeply wrong with the mentality of this Real Madrid team. Sure, we joke about it, but for a team to melt down this spectacularly at the slightest hint that a decision has gone against them is indicative of a very warped mindset. And what were they complaining about, anyway? They didn’t think a foul should have been given. A foul. Not a card, not a penalty, not an allowed/disallowed goal. A simple foul that led to a free kick. Villarreal wasn’t gifted a goal, they still had to score it. The defense could have prevented it, maybe. Casillas could have saved it, maybe. And even when they did score, RM had another 10 minutes to rectify the situation. Did they attack their opponent relentlessly, looking for an opening, working their butts off for a goal? No, they didn’t. They attacked the ref, threw a tantrum, and took their ball and went home. It’s madness. Literally. I cannot understand it.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2012/mar/22/madrid-la-liga

    • nzm
      March 22, 2012

      Their onfield behaviour was a reflection of what they are learning from the bench.

      With Mourinho and Faria off, Karanka didn’t have the necessary skills to rally the team, control them and put them back on track.

      Sanity gave way to emotions. Unprofessionalism won over reason.

      • Megster
        March 22, 2012

        Really shameful. But what’s shameful, these behaviour will go unpunished. If they will be punished, it’ll be like a slap in the wrist. Then life goes on…

      • kinukinu
        March 22, 2012

        More importantly, with their coach and leader setting the example for immature and unhinged behavior, how can they be expected to do any different? Discipline and composure need to be imposed and rewarded from above.

        As I said elsewhere, under normal circumstances, a player receiving a red would be admonished by the coach (for example, see coaching staff’s reaction to Pique’s outburst after his red card vs Gijon) Can’t exactly do that when the coaching staff is leading the effort in getting sent off left and right.

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