We won. 3-1 at home. No cow pasture, no physical play, no telescopic legs on veteran defenders. We won. 5 Champions League semi-finals, to square off against Chelsea or Benfica. That’s it, right. Well, not quite.
Two penalties, and a lot of howling. So now what? Well, this is what:
We can’t win everything, and expect everybody …. or anybody, really …. to love us. Or even like us.
13 of 16 trophies? What the hell do you expect everyone who isn’t a cule to say? Soft calls, divers, UEFAlona, ref help, etc, etc.
“After a little shirt pull in the box,” is what you hear about the second penalty. The first one is stone-cold, dead-on, set in stone. And here’s some news for ya: So is the second one. Was it “soft?” You bet. But it was still a penalty. So saith the rules. Do you call a penalty in that spot in the match, at that time? It’s the rule. Of course you do, even if some say you shouldn’t, which is silly as can be, almost as silly as cules expecting people not to hate on us whenever we win.
Rules are chronology based, or so some like to believe. If you watch American basketball in the playoffs, you know what’s going to happen. And you know that short of driving a car onto the court and running a player down as he is driving to the basket, the referee is not going to make a call. You know this. So players foul away. The fouled cry foul. The foulers say “This is a man’s game, we’re happy the refs let the players decide it.”
In football, on every set piece, there is shirt tugging. Every. Last. One. So when Nesta pulled on Busquets’ shirt in the box, by law and rule of the game, it’s a foul, and thus a penalty. Simple as that. Nesta fessed up, and said that he didn’t think the ref would make the call, indirectly implying “We’re men in Serie A.” But this isn’t Serie A, it’s Champions League, and rules are rules.
But there are complexities, because many say that “That goes on a million times, and nobody calls it.” So what. If you speed on the highway 99 times and get caught the 100th time, does that mean that the cop is wrong for busting you? Nope. You broke the rules. So fess up, and man up. Most of the Milan players said in effect hey, it was a soft penalty but we didn’t do what we had to do to win this match. And they didn’t. They got a 0-0 in their house, and rolled into the Camp Nou trying to take the air out of the match. It didn’t work, and they lost.
The end. But not. Because here’s something else: It doesn’t freakin’ matter what anyone thinks about us. We won. Help from the ref? Doesn’t matter. We won. We don’t need outrage. We won. And irrespective of who, what or how we think anyone says, it isn’t going to matter how much we explain, plead or bleat. They be hatin’, as the song goes. Because who doesn’t want the kind of success that we have had these past three seasons? And who doesn’t hate the rich, handsome kid who is also the straight-A student, dates the prom queen and is humble. Damn him! People hate the New England Patriots in American football. Their starting quarterback is handsome, charismatic and is hitched up with a supermodel. Are you KIDDING me? I hate that guy, and his team. They win too much.
So rise above. We can sit in our house and mutter all that we like. The world is going to hate us, going to say that we dive, get help, etc, etc. Get used to being hated. “They can’t win without refereeing help.” Those people don’t see the first penalty, or the beautiful third goal that we scored from open play. You can present them logic, that Milan should have played to the ref, and not pulled on Busquets’ shirt, that we scored enough to win without that penalty, “soft” or not.
Cules need to be a lot more secure. We take to social media, we are vexed when people say that we got help, we try to convince them that we don’t need help, that we can win on our own, dammit. But those people will not be convinced.
“Obama is a Muslim. He’s not even American by birth.”
It doesn’t matter what kind of evidence you present to someone. They believe this is true of a sitting American president. Crazy? Not to them. It’s the same with the people who say that we can’t do anything in Champions League without the help from the refs, and UEFA. The logic is absurd, but it doesn’t matter. They believe what they are going to believe, and we shouldn’t give a rat’s filthy patootie what they think. It doesn’t matter how much we protest, how much the opponent says we deserved the win …. people will say that UEFA wants us in the final, and if we advance to the final, even if we win both legs 2643-0 on aggregate, they will still point to the one dodgy call over the two legs, that one goal of dubious quality with a sniff of offside, and say “See? UEFAlona.”
So rise above. The view is best from the high road. Let the haters hate, if that’s what they want to do. Should we defend our club? Nope. Why? Minds are made up. Why bother? Let them hate. We can’t want or expect people to like us. Can’t happen. Too much success, too many fabricated quotes, too much piousness, perceived or otherwise, too many grand pronouncements from press, pundits, players and prognosticators. You’d get sick of it too if it was somebody else.
This doesn’t mean that we should look down our noses at them. Not as long as we’re looking up at that Evil Empire side, and not even if we have the great fortune to catch them and take control of the top of the Liga table. We should be thankful for our club and its success, and remember the very recent trophyless years, and how it felt to be on the outside looking in. And remember that people will mutter, and hate, and snarl ….
It doesn’t matter, because we won.