Categorized | Thoughts

Sportsmanship and Dancing

In October 2008, Naples High School in Florida defeated a rival 91-0 in an American football game. In case you’re unsure, that’s a lot of points to score in a game and it’s indicative of an extremely lopsided competition. Two years earlier, in a high school girl’s basketball game, Epiphanny Prince scored 113 points by herself (in a 137-32 victory). A 2009 high school girl’s basketball game ended 100-0.

These and similar incidents sparked a lot of debate in the US (fueled mainly by ESPN’s need to have sports “news” 24/7) around “running up the score.” There was outrage that Naples High didn’t do more to curb the drubbing, despite having removed most or all of their starters early in the first quarter. The 100-0 game led to a coach getting fired. The winning coach, that is. He was dismissed for refusing to apologize for such an on-court beatdown despite having been ordered to apologize by his employer.

Cut to April 29, 2012 in Madrid, Spain. Jose Ramon Sandoval, manager of Rayo Vallecano, is speaking at a press conference after his side’s 0-7 home loss to FC Barcelona. He is speaking about Thiago Alcantara and Dani Alves, two Barça players who danced together in celebration after Thiago scored off a Dani Alves cross to make the score 0-5, “In your own house, they whip it out and piss on your face.”

Really? Epiphanny Prince was made to feel bad for accomplishing something no one had ever accomplished before. She was told she was unsportsmanlike for breaking a record. She was so much better than everyone else that she should have felt ashamed of herself for showing it. I’m going to assume, from her performances since then, that she did not take that feeling to heart, but was able to brush it aside. Good. She should have.

“Why didn’t they dance when Torres scored in the Camp Nou?” Sandoval intoned, patheticness dripping from his every pore. Maybe, Jose Ramon, for the same reason that Torres didn’t celebrate his—oh, wait, he did celebrate it. And no one said a damned thing because, well, no one should have said anything. It was something to celebrate, as was Thiago’s goal: two friends, two (mostly) countrymen, putting together a nice move, finishing it off, and going to celebrate. Did I mention that they’re professional athletes who are paid to score as many goals as possible? Did I mention that they danced amongst themselves, didn’t flash obscene gestures at anyone, and were happily celebrating? Not even one of those inflammatory celebrations like Ibra or Mario Balotelli do, but rather a grin-faced romp for a few seconds with some teammates.

But the point is that they did it with a 5 goal margin, isn’t it? That they were rubbing Rayo’s face in it. Except, what’s the difference between dancing when you’re up 1 and dancing when you’re up 5? Are you really rubbing someone’s face in it when you’re simply superior? Should Thiago and Alves have apologized instead of celebrated? Should they have said “Oh, we’re sorry, we won’t do it again”? No, of course not. At 0-1 it’s okay to celebrate, to dance, to make merry by the corner flag. But at 0-5 it’s not? Should FCB have passed the ball around the back for an hour after it was 0-3? Would that have been more sportsmanlike?

Rob McGill, a coach whose Christian Heritage team defeated West Ridge Academy 108-3 in 2011, has it right: “It was very insulting when teams slowed the ball down and just passed it around. That’s why I’d rather have a team play me straight up, and that’s why I played them straight up. Because I didn’t want to taunt them, I didn’t want to embarrass them, I didn’t want them to think we could do whatever we want.” The piece I pulled that from opines immediately after the quote: “McGill clearly believes this ideology given that some of Christian Heritage’s other recent victories have been by margins of 61, 56, and 54.” Playing better basketball than other teams is, of course, the whole point of, you know, playing basketball. That goes for all sports. If a team wins 108-3, it should probably never play that opponent again and one of the two should also attempt to find a league that is more appropriate for them to play in. But that is not because it was wrong to score 108 points on a team that could only muster 3. It is because continuing to play against such weak (or difficult) opposition is good for no one.

People are embarrassed by scorelines that aren’t in their favor because they have pride. That’s understandable. It was embarrassing for cules to lose 4-0 in the Champions League final to AC Milan, but Milan celebrated their 3rd and 4th goals with as much vigor as their 1st and 2nd. It was embarrassing for me to lose in a recent co-ed indoor league 18-5. Should the other team have refused to score? Refused to congratulate each other on their achievements? Absolutely not.

There is a difference, certainly, between purposefully showboating, purposefully embarrassing your opponent when they’re already down, and scoring because you can. There’s a difference between a layup and passing the ball off the backboard for a monster dunk by the trailing player. There’s a difference between finishing a move and nutmegging as many opponents as possible on your way to goal. Doing those things to a beaten opponent makes you a dick. But even so, it’s not wrong, it’s just, if you don’t want to be a dick, don’t do it. Going back to my co-ed league, it was 17-5 with 30 seconds left to play. The ball ricocheted off a player and bounced to one of their forwards, who was hanging out up front with our last defender. He controlled the ball, rainbowed our defender, and scored.

That makes him a dick. Next time we play them, that guy will get “accidentally” kicked in the knee a couple of times. So it goes. 18-5 is fine. If they could have scored 30, they should have scored 30. If they could have scored 30 goals doing rainbows and other fancy tricks to make us look dumb, they should have felt free. Yes, they would have been clobbered a couple of times in the attempt, but that’s our pride talking. I’d gladly rainbow that guy and make him look like an ass, if I could.

I refuse to accept the idea of “running up the score” in professional sports. I refuse to accept the idea that goals shouldn’t celebrated in happy manners. End zone celebrations in the NFL are awesome. Running to a corner flag and dancing with your teammates is fun. Not that I know firsthand, of course, because I’m never allowed in the dancing circles, but it looks fun. I also refuse to accept that there is an obligation to make your opponents feel anything at all. There are leagues where running up the score is not allowed (my hometown’s adult league allowed you to score 2 goals and then you couldn’t cross midfield) and there are leagues that are purely for kickarounds. But those rules are understood and if you sign up to play in a competitive league whose goal is for each team to try and win, how can you complain if someone is excited that they just accomplished that?

If feeling good about yourself is what drives a lot of players to do better–and that seems like the case a lot of the time–it only makes sense to also realize that not scoring, not doing your job, is going to make you worse the next time out. If Thiago doesn’t celebrate that goal, if he just shrugs and jogs back to his own half, and then Rayo scores 5 and ties it up, who gets the sharpened end of a hot poker for a pacifier from the fans? Thiago, that’s who. As unlikely as that is, weirder things have happened and you wouldn’t like it if it did.

Sportsmanship is not failing to celebrate. It’s treating your opponents like human beings you are competing with. Like Coach McGill said, when you start to pity people is when you start to be unsportsmanlike. Naples High wasn’t wrong. Christian Heritage wasn’t wrong. Epiphanny Prince wasn’t wrong. American Somoa probably still feels like crap from that 31-0 loss to Australia, but I kind of hope that Archie Thompson celebrated his 13th goal as heartily as he did his 1st. And I hope Thiago does a fancy shimmy next time he finds the net.

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72 Responses to “Sportsmanship and Dancing”

  1. Huckleberry says:

    It was not a question of the scoreline and not a question of celebration. It was a question of HOW to celebrate a goal.
    I do not know all the semiotic details of goal celebration in Spain. But certainly Puyol knew them as good as Rayo’s boss knew them. Thiago and Dani apparently didn’t know them…

    • hansh says:

      I agree completely with you. Isaiah is correct that celebrating a goal is not evil, even when you’re clearly better than the other team. I like the typical Barca style of a group hug and a thank you to the assistor (is that a word?), and it’s great to show your personality on the pitch, but if Puyol and Guardiola aren’t ok with a certain celebration then I assume they know better than us.

  2. blitzen says:

    Poor Isaiah, not allowed in the dancing circles. :lol:

    I agree with your basic point. This whole thing has been blown way out of proportion. Celebrating scoring a goal is not in itself wrong. Thiago is young and exuberant and hadn’t scored a goal for ages. That goal was important to him. We all thought it was cute when Abidal danced with Dani, so why object when Thiago does it? Nothing about the dancing was insulting or aimed directly at the spectators.

    The main objection seems to be that the team was 5 goals up at the time and it was perceived as “rubbing their noses in it”. OK, I admit it probably wasn’t nice for the Rayo fans to watch, but it wasn’t nice for them to watch the actual goal being scored either and no one apologized for that. It was a moment of silliness in a game that is supposed to be fun. Remember the 0-8 creaming of Almeria last year? Pep himself said after the game that he told the team not to ease up in the second half because it would be insulting to the other team. Pedro’s moustache celebration was also very silly (silly awesome!). No one said a word then. Of course the coach of that team at the time was Juanma Lillo, a very classy gentleman.

    I personally prefer it when our team celebrates goals with a thank you to the assister and a giant pile-on, but I’m not going to get worked up about a little dancing, or Pique’s 2-2 thing, or Abidal running backwards (I hope I get to see him do that again someday). Even Messi has had his moments. I don’t remember anyone having to apologize when he kicked the sound mics at last year’s CL final, and that was arguably much worse. I even remember a certain Captain Puyol making a heart gesture with his hands after he scored a goal last season. Now if I see any of our players directly taunting the crowd or opposition players, I will be the first to come down hard on them. That’s not right, and it’s not Barça. Thiago could and maybe should have toned it down a bit out of respect, but Sandoval was wrong to overreact, and Pep was wrong to apologize.

    • nzm says:

      What do you read into Pedro’s moustache celebration?

      He’s done it a couple of times.

      • blitzen says:

        At the time it was speculated that Pedro made the gesture as a symbol of support for Manuel Preciado, whose Sporting Gijon had just beat Real Madrid at home.

        • nzm says:

          Yeah – it’s never been explained.

          There’s a saying here that goes “Si, Señor!”

          It’s said whenever a good play is made. The Catalan guys that we play padel with say it all the time when there’s a winning shot.

          We all thought that it was just a visual representation of that saying.

  3. Kxevin says:

    Dick move. You’re up 0-5 in their house. Dick move that was, as Rayo’s coach noted, rubbing their face in it.

    Further, for me, it runs counter to the way that the team celebrates goals, which is group hug, then trotting back to reset and try to do the same thing again.

    Then again, I’m a curmudgeon. For me, those dances are tantamount to choosing to celebrate individual glory over team excellence. It’s one thing is Alves or Thiago score a monster goal and in their glee, breaks into an individual little samba. That’s spontaneous joy. Choreographed, “Hey, let’s do this” shimmies are just stupid.

    I know, I know. Alves is a happy-go-lucky guy, etc, etc. But for me and other denizens of Camp Curmudgeon (like Puyol and Guardiola), it wasn’t the right thing to do. The only thing I hate more is when a player scores a goal, and proceeds to shove his teammates away for a few moments of solo glowering, like “YEAH beeyotches, that’s right! I got all up IN that ass. YEAH!”

    Are there exceptions? If a player collects the ball in front of his box, then makes a mazy, crazy, once in a lifetime dribbling run that beats every other player on the opposing team, then scores a goal. Take advantage of those few moments and admire your handiwork. Then celebrate with your damn teammates.

    • caosanping says:

      Agreed. The part I don’t like the most was how awkwardly Pedro stood besides and didn’t know what to do when Thiago and Alves were playing their little dancing. It’s a team goal, then it should be celebrated as a team.

  4. nzm says:

    The first point that Isaiah makes about going all out is one that I agree with. Why should a team ease off just because they’re winning by a big margin?

    I don’t think that this is the issure here with what happened at Rayo. It could have 0-1 or 0-5, but given the circumstances, the little dance was inappropriate for a number of reasons:
    1. the team had just lost the semis of CL
    2. the team had just lost La Liga
    3. the team had just lost a clasico

    And they want to do a little dance against a minnow like Rayo, whose fans had been so respectful up until Alves came onto the pitch?

    I didn’t like the choreographed celebration between Alves and Thiago, and I didn’t like the ones between Alves and Abi either.

    I like our usual goal celebrations – acknowledgement of the assist (when it’s due) and the group huddle.

    Choreographed celebrations stop that from happening – look how awkward Pedro felt when he couldn’t join in and couldn’t celebrate with Thiago.

    It’s raised all sorts of issues within the press here. The Catalan papers are usually all over the RM players when they do their celebrations, so now Alves and Thiago gave the Madrid papers something with which to retaliate.

    Pep apologised because it was not the Barcelona thing to do as long as he’s been training the team so, for that, he was correct to do so.

    • Isaiah says:

      So I think that nzm and Kevin’s point about how one celebrates from a Barça perspective is completely legit. I don’t necessarily agree, but my larger point, perhaps lost in the taiga of my own ramblings, is that there is little reason to think that it was a negative type of dance from a Rayo perspective.

      They are up by 5, they are up by 50. Does it matter? No, it’s a goal, it’s fun, it’s something to celebrate. I celebrated all 7 of the goals, for instance. Had there been a Rayo fan in the bar, he or she would probably have been annoyed with the high-fiving and the manita chant. I loved the dance, but then again, I don’t really care how one celebrates a goal so long as it’s an actual celebration (no running around flipping off your opponents). I love Ochocinco’s touchdown celebrations, so I guess that’s my starting point.

      If Guardiola has a problem with it, then yeah, that’s a problem for Thiago and Alves, but not because it’s unsporting (even if Guardiola’s problem with it is that he thinks it’s unsporting). Puyol may simply know this better than Thiago or Alves (or care more), but I don’t think stopping their celebration was necessary. Though it was pretty funny to watch capi bust through them and shove them on their way.

  5. nzm says:

    Also, just to be fair to Thiago in this instance, I believe that Alves was the instigator of the dance. Thiago simply ran to Alves to acknowledge his assist. Alves then suggested that they do it.

  6. messifan says:

    I don’t have any problem with Dani and Thiago celebrating. They’re Brazilians and dancing is kinda in their DNA :)

    OT: Here’s a glimpse of Tito’s fashion. He looks good in jeans.

    http://fundacio.fcbarcelona.cat/detall/galeria-d-imatges/el-partit-per-la-marato-de-la-pobresa-making-of

    My recommendations to Tito would be: change the hairstyle (maybe color it?) and no A&F. I see a lot of footballers wearing that brand. Yuck!

    • culegirl3 says:

      I actually like Tito’s hairstyle and color, it suits him. But that scarf…I don’t like it at all, I hope he doesn’t make that a permanent staple in his wardrobe.

  7. Doors31 says:

    I can’t believe how blown up a little dance has become. Just completely blown way out of proportion. Must we cules over-analyzed everything to death?

    • Kxevin says:

      But Isaiah had some very interesting things to say about it, and this space hasn’t yet weighed in on the incident. I can’t think of another incident in which Guardiola apologized for the comportment of his players. And Puyol’s disgust was very clear, on the pitch. It’s an interesting question, the sportsmanship side of it, one that Isaiah tried to answer.

      Are we guilty of over-analyzing? That’s based on individual perspective, right? For me, if someone has something interesting to say about a situation, it’s worth reading.

  8. blitzen says:

    On a different note, Alexis (bruised thigh), Xavi (thigh) and Pique (messed up in the head) are all confirmed as not available for tomorrow’s game against Malaga. I think Pep will roll out a fairly strong lineup, as Malaga will be desperate for a win to vault them ahead of Valencia in the CL spots. Maybe something like:

    Pinto
    Alves Mascherano Montoya
    Cesc Busquets Thiago Iniesta
    Cuenca Messi Pedro

    Yes, I see a 3-4-3. Don’t think Puyol will start, as we will want him fresh (and uninjured) for the derby against Espanyol. Quite possibly Adriano or Muniesa instead of Montoya. That’s the only one I’m not sure about. Just possibly Afellay gets the nod over Cuenca.

  9. Kxevin says:

    And speaking of unsporting, I am not a fan of sitting Valdes so that he wins Zamora and breaks Ramallets’ record of consecutive Zamoras. Hell, next we’ll be feeding Messi the ball, trying to get him the pichichi.

    For me, individual awards come in the context of overall team play and achievement. When EE did what they could to get Wrongaldo pichichi last season, I wasn’t impressed. It wasn’t honest.

    • blitzen says:

      I would tend to agree, except that I think it is vital for Pinto to play these games in preparation for the Copa del Rey trophy. Lest you forget, the semifinals were all the way back in February. He needs to get match fit. I know this particular trophy doesn’t matter to you, but I guarantee you it matters to the team, who would like to present Pep with a going-away present. Valdes winning the Zamora is just a bonus.

    • nzm says:

      Yup – all in favour of Pinto getting some practice if he’s to play the CdR Final.

      As far as VV sitting out, it’s still playing by the rules of the award. A GK has to play at least 60 mins per game in a minimum of 28 games over the season, and VV has played more than that.

    • TITO says:

      They were trying that the entire game (feed Messi), i’m sure you noticed it.
      Even Busi mentioned that in a interview.

    • mom4 says:

      Playing in games is far better for Pinto than practicing every day to be ready just in case and is now a luxury that now we, unfortunately, can afford.

  10. Kxevin says:

    Sanchez defo out for tomorrow against Malaga.

  11. Ryan says:

    Put me on the boat of those who didn’t mind the dance, nay, I actually liked it! Let’s not forget that Thiago’s dad was part of the team that did the first baby dance decades ago. Certainly there are bad celebrations (Pepe’s “up yours” celebration) but a little dance doesn’t hurt anybody. Soccer’s a game and it’s great to have the no-nonsense Puyol to get people to focus, but if his seriousness ever made it so Messi saw it the sport as a grim, somber business then we would lose a lot more than just silly celebrations.

    • Kxevin says:

      But it isn’t “grim, somber.” Recall that Puyol didn’t break up the little dance that Alves and Abidal did in one match, in a very different situation. I think that the biggest problem here was the circumstances. When you’re kicking the crap out of somebody, you don’t need to spit in his face, even if you, as the person doing the spitting, don’t perceive it as such. I’m sure it was just harmless fun. Alves loves that kind of stuff. T’was the situation, however.

  12. Blau-Grenade says:

    For me the celebration was uncalled for. It was disrespectful of the hosts, and because of the reasons the blogger NZM mentioned.
    We also have to consider the cultural background of the people we are talking about. Both Alves and Thiago are Brazilian, and they celebrate their goals by dancing, so we can give them some slack for it.

  13. Helge says:

    I’ll miss Pep’s press conferences maybe more than the football, because the football may not change much under Tito.
    Guardiola: “Friendly game at Bernabeu one week after cup final while Madrid claimed there were works? Guess those works will be over then.” :D

    And could this be a hint that he’ll keep talking (or communicating in another way) with Tito about tactics and/or observations which he will make from the outside?
    Guardiola: “Although I won’t be there physically, I want Tito to feel that I’m there for in case he needs it.”

    • Laurentiu88 says:

      neah… once he’s no longer there adios… sure they can have general conversations but no meaningful communication beyond that extent.

  14. culegirl3 says:

    There’s nothing wrong with celebrating goals with your own personal choreography, people get elated and they go to town a bit with the celebratory dances. I do however think it was in bad taste for Alves and Thiago to do a little dance when the home team is being given a bath by Barcelona. This isn’t about easing up on a brutal a** whooping but about showing a certain level of respect to your opponent and their fans.

  15. nzm says:

    Heart-breaking watching Gijon crashing out. Fans and team in tears. Very volatile match with Villareal towards the end of it.

  16. blitzen says:

    I would have preferred if Sporting Gijon could stay up. Quick straw poll:

    If you could relegate any 3 teams which would you choose? (And don’t say RM, you know that will never happen.) My picks:

    Getafe Why are they even a team? They have no supporters and exist primarily on Real Madrid rejects.
    Racing Santander. Between their financial mismanagement, racist fans, and absentee owner, there’s not much to like.
    Granada. For no other reason than that I have no feelings for them one way or the other & would prefer Sporting Gijon and Zaragoza to stay up.

    And no, I wouldn’t pick Espanyol to go down. Cross-city rivalries are fun.

    • yassir (Formerly Extreme barca fan) says:

      Only Espanyol, the rest of the teams are decent.
      EE might go down be-cos of being too evil.

    • Vj says:

      Getafe fans are Wankers. No, literally. [NSF Work/Sanity]

      Absentee ‘owner’? Hardly. He’s purportedly a front man for the biggest mafia organization in India and no doubt is currently wanted here.

      And if Racing fans are racist, why should the ones at Zaragoza who made Eto’o storm off the pitch be any different? (Not that we’re any different mind you, monkey chants were heard in the Camp during the SuperCopa)

      And with the exception of last season, how did you manage to find anything fun in the derbies? For the parakeets, the league consists of two games against us, that too depending on whether or not there’s a title race. Between them and Atletico, we’ve got 12 points to EE without them breaking any sweat. I’d wish hell on them and their fans but that would be unfair to hell..

      • Kxevin says:

        Damn, Vj. You’re spot on, but damn. :D

      • blitzen says:

        “Absentee” in the sense that he is absent from Spain and has basically nothing to do with the club he owns. Absent meaning, “not there.”

        And yes, the Zaragoza fans are guilty as well, as are Pathetico fans and many others including, sadly, Barça fans on occasion. I’d still rather see Racing go down than Zaragoza. I think they have more to offer in terms of football.

        And at least the Espanyol fans show up for the derbies even as they turn their stadium into a seething cauldron of hate. Maybe “fun” is the wrong word, but at least it is passionate.

        • Vj says:

          On second thought, ‘absconding’ would be a better word to be associated with him.

          Espanyol HAVE to show up for the derbies. The two games are the beginning and end of their season ;)

    • Ryan says:

      Racing, Zaragoza, and EE (I didn’t say RM! Plus there could be the off-chance of a Spanish calciopoli :) )

      If not, then add Granada to the bunch.

    • mom4 says:

      Espanyol- remember when your little brother/sister wouldn’t leave you alone and had to get all in your business, tagged along everywhere, borrowed your stuff, cried because you were better at things being older and all that, and your mom still made you go play with him/her?
      Racing- hate the kits
      Rayo- had a point about the dancing but didn’t have to get all uppity about it, boring boring boring home kits, then again they have the most talented ball boys and a really fun looking stadium…

      Will miss Sporting Gijon but that’s what you get when you fire Preciado. Will miss Zara…the team that cared enough to grow flowers for us.

    • hansh says:

      Not Zaragoza! I’m still going there next year and they’re still missing the message that I want to see a real live Liga game! I want Rayo to have a spectacular collapse and Zara to have its best fun of form from now until the end of the season.

  17. Humphrey Bogart says:

    I would like to see Espanyol, Getafe and Patetico to go down: reason? 18 garanteed points for the EE before the first ball of the season is even kicked

  18. VermontAve says:

    Changing subjects, did anyone see Mourinho’s quotes from today. He suspended his self-proposed media ban from La Liga to drop a few parting shots:

    “I have been a coach for 12 years, and me being worn out will be in June when there are no games or training sessions. But everyone is different, and you have to accept that.I hope Guardiola enjoys his time off and I send him a big hug from here,”

    …..keeping it classy until the end, Mou

    • Kxevin says:

      Why would that shock you? He’s a bastard. Always has been, always will be.

      • VermontAve says:

        Didn’t say it shocked me. Just have to give him credit for continually finding ways to rile me up even when I know that’s precisely his modus operandi.

    • Richzorz says:

      lol I guess if you don’t bother doing any press conferences it’s an easier ride…and I’m sure I remember Jose leaving Chelsea at the start of the 2007 season and having a bit of a holiday until taking over at Inter in the summer of ’08…

  19. Kxevin says:

    Merde! Montpellier dropped points today. Potentially a 2-point gap if PSG win tomorrow, with 2 tough matches coming up (then one side battling relegation) and no Belhanda, which is not quite like us losing Messi, but it’s close.

  20. Vj says:

    So its okay to dance when you’ve scored against EE but not against Rayo? Despite what Sandoval says, dancing in the Barcabeu is 10x worse than rubbing it in against a mid-table club. But we don’t find fault with it
    do we?

    Or the manita? The ultimate insult. Should Abidal have apologized for waving his hand? Make no mistake, EEistas did not find it respectful. I don’t seem to recall any apologies then.

    It seems we have one set of rule for EE and another for the rest of the liga is a bit farcical..

    • nzm says:

      I did – as I mentioned above – certainly I didn’t like the Alves and Abi dance.

      The manita hands were touch-and-go, but you know what? It was a matchazo to celebrate AND it was in Camp Nou – the home ground.

      If it had been at the Bernabeu, then yes, the Madrid fans would have been right to get uppity.

      • Jim says:

        Purely personal viewpoint but I’m not bothered about whether or not it upsets the opponents. If they don’t like it they shouldn’t have let it happen. It would be different if it was directed in a derogatory way towards the crowd.

        However, after the week we’ve had when a season that promised so much ended up with so little I would be upset if I thought that they didn’t feel it as deeply as Puyol obviously does. It’s not as if 7 against a poor team makes up for that. They should be hurting and respecting the hurt the supporters feel.

      • Vj says:

        I don’t think it mattered to an EEista whether Abi waved the hand at the Camp or at their stadium. So its okay to ‘disrespect’ the visiting team at home?

        • nzm says:

          They didn’t disrespect the visiting team – no demonstrations of disrespect were made to any of the RM team members or their fans.

          At the manita match, the team ran to the sideline to celebrate with other Barça team members, and the hands were waved to the Barça fans in the main stand where season ticket-holders and friends and family are seated. The Madrid fans sit on the other side of the pitch, up high in the upper tier.

  21. nzm says:

    Linda’s good friend Duncan Castles is reporting that City has struck a deal for Van Persie: http://www.thenational.ae/sport/football/manchester-city-strike-agreement-for-arsenals-robin-van-persie

  22. Huckleberry says:

    Back to Guardiola. Perhaps he thinks the team, as a who, need a new challenge.
    He had the better team as three years ago, but it did not perform as expected… (besides of fatigue, complacency, injuries…)
    If Tito wins the treble with the team next year, it would be the greatest success of Pep!

    • Jim says:

      If Tito wins next year I don’t see how it has anything to do with Pep. He’ll be making his own decisions with presumably at least a couple of his own signings. Imo, it wouldn’t be fair to belittle that in any way. He’s been ill and he’ll be under more pressure than Pep would have been had he stayed.

  23. jordi™ says:

    For me its like when you are down 5-0, and you score to make it 5-1, unless that goal is keeping you in the division or winning you a title on goal difference you wouldn’t dance at that moment so why would you in the aftermath of losing the league and getting knocked out of the champions league.To ten men no less.And to top it off we loss our coach in the same week as well.I think that’s the angle Puyol was coming from.That it was 5-0 against a relegation team in their stadium probably only made matters worse.I certainly don’t mind dancing but context is important.Puyol was also stopping alexis’ knee slide when he tied the score against Madrid to hurry him back into position so its nothing new.

  24. njwv says:

    Sort of shocked that no one’s commented that Isaiah is comparing high school sports with professional ones. I’m fully in favor of criticism of running up the score in high school. This isn’t a self-esteem thing, it’s just that the point of youth athletics isn’t JUST winning.

    In the professional realm, I have no problems with running up the score. I do feel though that altering tactics (especially in the department of making substitutions) when the game is in hand is often smarter than just destroying the opponent. Soccer is tough here since you only have three subs. But it’s still something where you can play for possession and kill the clock rather than go all out for a goal. Unless, of course, goal difference matters…

    With regard to the celebrating thing. I agree with Kxevin. Never rub it in your opponents face unless you intend to show them up. We used to make fun of other teams/players (*cough* Robinho *cough*) for that crap. Act like you’ve been there.

  25. Larm says:

    I feel like once you make a living wage off of sports you should be able to deal with being embarresed.

  26. blitzen says:

    nzm–are you watching the tribute to Pep on esport3?

  27. blitzen says:

    Neymar gets just a little too fancy for his own good:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3wYA7PeqsA&feature=player_embedded

    :lol:

  28. zashaw says:

    One other issue is that it’s not pragmatic for Barca to incite opponents. Angering other players by dancing (whether it’s considered morally okay or not) adds a risk of injuries from overreacting opponents, I guess like your rainbowing co-ed league opponent. Also, I’d be very happy with Rayo fighting hard to defeat RM, and not being all that motivated against Barca, so again not in the team’s interest to rile anyone up with a dance.

  29. messifan says:

    About tomorrow:

    Obviously, we have nothing significant to play for, but we should do our part to prevent RM from celebrating their title at the San Mames. So if we win, Athletic needs to win or draw, right?

    Let’s hope karma will do Athletic a favor. Since Madrid refused to offer the Bernabeu for the CdR final, it’s only fair that they can’t celebrate at the Cathedral. Pray for divine intervention and a massive effort from the home team.

  30. K_legit in Oz says:

    You know the ‘construction operation’ that was supposed to be done at the Bernebeau and which is why they rejected to allow the CdR final to be played there? Well the scum at the EE have organised a post-season friendly between their ‘legends’ and Man Utd ‘legends’ on the 3rd of June, in the week that there was supposed to be ‘construction’.
    Lying douchebags

  31. Kimcelona says:

    Love this Isaiah! I agree with all of this. I just don’t understand the uproar.

    I cheered like it was our first goal even at the 7th lol

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