A Game Beyond A Game

The great day is upon us. Much has been made about this one simply because it is the title decider. Much should be made of it. Draw or lose and Barça has lost its shot at the league title. Win and there’s a fighting chance to take a 10 point deficit and drown it in the jubilation of a trophy. Guardiola knows this and Mourinho absolutely knows this. Both are consummate winners, both can see exactly how this could pan out.

The players will be ready in a few hours time, walking out onto the field to the blaring himno and the screams of thousands of adoring and simultaneously hateful fans. This is morbo, this is where Pepe jokes and men on their knees before altars to Messi come to rest at the end of a weary season. This is el clásico and this is why we play the game.

It might be a tremendously foul-tempered match or it might be a breathtaking reminder of why we’re all so in love with this sport. It might be foul after foul or it might be zig after mazy zag through defender’s legs. It’s likely to be both. It’s likely to thrill us and make us tear our hair out. We’ll scream and high five friends and strangers, we’ll curse the mother’s of men we’ve never met, and we’ll take to the streets of the internet win or lose to vent our delirious joy or uncompromising rage. This is where we are fans without perspective, following the cult of football of the cliff into oblivion. And doing so willingly.

El Clásico.

Say it out loud. Let the words remind you that there is meaning here even if it’s short-lived, even if it’s just soccer, you weirdo. It’s just 22 men playing on a field, for chrissake. Perhaps they’re even doing it in a foreign country, maybe speaking a language you do not. It’s just a spherical, inflated pig’s bladder being kicked by overgrown children. It’s just thousands of mindless people screeching at each other. It’s just a game being played out in front of millions. It’s just heart stopping action for 90 minutes, plus travel time and pre-match drinks. It’s just el clásico.

El Clásico.


Official Prediction: 2-1, goals by Messi and Xavi.

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.


  1. April 21, 2012

    Barçaaaaaaaaaaa !! that being said, Madrid will come out not to defend, not to attack… they’ll come out to hurt Messi.

  2. Bashir
    April 21, 2012

    It’s more then a game. It’s a thriller movie thats able to
    Inflict emotions natural fans would not understand.
    No matter how much one try at the end of the day you feel the tense in
    You gut. Countless previews and revista shows and no one was able to
    Say anything new. They all guessing while us barca fans are wishing.

    Personaly I hope Alexis plays. Cause we are very thin upfront
    and do I dare to dream bout Tello playing and being unpleasant surprise
    With his speed for arbeloa.

    Oh and my wish is saying sergio will score hahaha

    • Salia
      April 21, 2012

      note: according to spanish radio station ‘radio marca’ thiago and tello would start tonight, ahead of cesc and alexis

      Dont know how reliable this is but I hope its true because cesc is just a little bit tired and Alexis isnt fully fit and also because of thiago’s skills and tello’s pace

      • Salia
        April 21, 2012

        (official): Valdes – Alves Mascherano Puyol Adriano – Xavi Busquets Thiago – Tello Messi Iniesta

        Just like I predicted Tello and Thiago. Can never predict what Pep is thinking. Why oh Why is Iniesta on the wing

        madrid starts with coentrao as left back, rest expected line-up, kaka on the bench

        • messifan
          April 21, 2012

          No Pique. I wonder if the rumor of a rift between Pep and Pique is true. Or maybe he’s not fit to start.

          I’m glad Alexis doesn’t start; we need him for Tuesday.

          • messifan
            April 21, 2012

            Also, a big match for Tello. He’s our wildcard. Let’s go team, we can do it!!!

  3. BarcaRoja
    April 21, 2012

    I just watched Gladiator on HBO… hope that’s a good sign!

    • Megster
      April 21, 2012

      Me too!!!! When Russell Crowe said: At my signal, unleash hell… I don’t know whether it’d be for us or for them…

      Either way, Visca Barcaaaaa!!!!

  4. April 21, 2012

    The last time we played at this time while being 4 points behind EE at the Camp Nou, we lost 1-0.

    Time to correct the record..

  5. SoccerMom
    April 21, 2012

    “This is el clásico and this is why we play the game.”

    It is a clásico and it is a game. It is a game that is played twice a year and it is always played hard. One hopes it is also played well but it is not always played well and when it is not played well it is still great but it is not grand. When it is played grand and it is played for a win then there is fiesta and the fiesta goes on for two days and two nights or until the next puente, whichever comes first.

    It is a grand game and it is played for big game. The players hunt big game like Lions and Christians. The Christians have a saint and the Lion has don Andrés, who always plays grandly. There is a woman who goes about with the saint and she is beautiful but she is also hard and a bit of a bitch but all beautiful women are bitches and that doesn’t make them not beautiful.

    Later after the grand game and the fiesta we will meet in the bar which is both clean and well-connected, and we will drink manitas and we will talk about the big game and lift another manita to beautiful women who love saints and Lions that will not be tamed.


    • Miguel
      April 21, 2012

      SoMa got the party started a little too early and a had couple of blitzen’s manitas too many.

  6. mom4
    April 21, 2012

    Is there some kind of special event about to happen? We can’t all be waxing prosaic and poetic about nothing.
    I just want for us to play a really pretty game, finish our chances, escape unscathed, and beat the crap outta them,

    This is where we fight! This is where they die!
    Visca Barca!

    Oh, and we’re all gonna die!

  7. sd
    April 21, 2012

    So uhhh…Tello starts upfront. Thiago instead of Cesc.

    Official from barcastuff:

    VV – Alves, Puyol, Masche, Adriano – Xavi, Busi, Thiago – Iniesta, Messi and Tello

    Any thoughts whats going on?

    • Ben
      April 21, 2012

      Pep saw what fast wingers (Ribery & Robben) did to RM on Tuesday? Not that Tello is anywhere close to that level, but he does have some serious speed.

      Can Tello play on the RW? I think I have only seen him on the left. If he is on the LW, then where is Iniesta? Maybe Thiago is on the RW and Iniesta in midfield?

    • Blau-Grenade
      April 21, 2012

      Tello is there to provide width on the left, which I love. Question is who is going to provide width on the right, maybe Alves. Looks like Barca will play the inverted pyramid. There will be a carousel of players going into the forward position to score. We can see the forward line rotating between Thiago, Xavi and Iniesta. I have over time fallen in love Thiago’s game, his penchant for goal scoring and defending. Look forward to a super game.

    • mom4
      April 21, 2012

      Lineup full of win is what’s going on.

      When life give you problems, throw midfielders at it.

      In all seriousness though, could’ve used Pique(not at the expense of Mashe but maybe Adriano) and Pedro here. Did I miss something with Pique? I thought he’d be fit by now.

      • blitzen
        April 21, 2012

        Pep hates him and wants to sell him, remember? 😉

      • messifan
        April 21, 2012

        Rumor has it that Pique and Pep’s relationship is at a pause. Pep doesn’t like Pique’s lifestyle and thinks it’s been interfering with his on-field performance. Or it could be that Pique is not fit. But he’s been out for a while now, so i’m starting to think that the rumor might has some truth in it.

  8. April 21, 2012

    I high fived a 50 year old man in my local bakery this morning. We were both in our blaugrana. I love this game.

  9. K_legit in Oz
    April 21, 2012

    Time for a whomping and a stomping Camp Nou style! Venga!!

    • K_legit in Oz
      April 21, 2012

      Also, TELLO!!!
      Addendum: Iniesta on the left? Nooooooo………..

      • mom4
        April 21, 2012

        Thiago on the left and Iniesta back with Xavi. PLEASE?

      • nzm
        April 21, 2012

        Lineup had Ini on the right and Tello on the left. Weird.

        I think that we’ll see Ini and Thiago change position.

        But wary about Thiago. Hope he manages to retain the ball a lot more and not give it away as he can do.

        • mom4
          April 21, 2012

          classic hive-mind/amoeba formation
          or a 1-8-1

  10. Ryan
    April 21, 2012

    Game is on Deportes, ESPN3.com, and GolTV. Interesting since it’s usually an either/or sort of thing between ESPN and GolTV.

    I don’t care if it’s blurry standard definition, I’ll be watching it with Ray “aaaargghhh magisterial!” Ray. 😀

  11. nzm
    April 21, 2012

    San Jordi (St. George’s day) is on Monday and FCB has been giving out roses to all the women in the crowd. Ain’t that nice? I guess they’ll be printing in B&W for a while to come.

    San Jordi is like Valentine’s Day here in Catalunya. Women get flowers (typically a rose for love combined with a wheat sheaf for fertility), and men get books.

  12. K_legit in Oz
    April 21, 2012

    LOL so my Penya presi will be over the moon with this line-up..not only is Thiago (his personal favourite) starting, he is starting in place of Cesc and in addition, Sanchez isn’t playing too; the two new signings of this season have not impressed him at all for some reason!

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