In the tradition of great Dutch masters before him, this not-so-great Dutch not-even-a-master will attempt to draw a journalistic self-portrait, or uhhmmm… an emotional sketch of a culé the day before, if you will, a Q & A between him and himself.
Hi, nice to meet you. You look great today, as always!
Yeah, yeah, stop flattering me. Everybody knows that already. Let’s get this thing started.
Great. So uhmm… this Copa del Rey thing… Who’s your daddy?
Ha! With twenty-six Cups in our trophy cabinet F.C. Barcelona are the record title holder, followed closely by Athletic Club de Bilbao who have twenty-three. How ironic that it should be the Catalans and Basques who excell at a tournament that honors the King of Spain!
Wow, yeah I guess it is! So this Cup is a big deal, right?
Rrrrrright. Not really. The League and the CL are way more important.
What? You don’t care about the Copa?
Mmmm…. the answer is probably somewhere in between too much and not enough. I care, and I don’t care. There are an x-amount of scenarios that affect how much I do or don’t and a y-amount of reasons I don’t wanna get into that right now. So there!
Ok, sorry I asked. No wait, you know what man, f___ you, I’m not sorry. Do you care or not?
Ok, ok, ok, I care, calm down, no need to get all up in my grill like that. God, what bonehead editor let you do interviews on this site, man? I care, all right? Or, no, wait, I don’t care! I mean I do! I mean I don’t know, really, I really don’t know. I just want us to win big shiny things, ok? And I hate losing, but if we do get knocked out of the Copa it’s not as if I’m left with that sinking feeling in my stomach for weeks on end like when we lost to Chelsea in the CL semis. Nor does winning it make up for losing the ones we really want.
Why thank you for answering my question. So I guess tomorrow’s game doesn’t really matter then?
(the interviewee grabs a mirror to give the interviewer a long, hard stare)…
Of course it does, it’s a clásico. When the hordes of Mordor are knocking on the Elven gates, does it matter? On whichever battlefield you tread, an orc is still an orc.
Uh, that’s a bit strong, isn’t it?
We must crush them, kill them, smash them, tear them up, rip them to pieces, suffocate them, bash their brains in, stain their pristine white little shirts with the bloo…
Slow down, take it easy. Jeeeez, and I thought I was the crazy one. Take a deep breath. It’s gonna be ok!
(takes a deep breath)
Wow. This really works. It’s like one of those self-help websites. Ok, I see now how to the uninitiated reader it might appear that I got just a little bit carried away. All I meant to say is, yes, it matters. We can get knocked out of the Copa, but not by them.
Well, for one, when things go well at Barça they go unwell at M*drid. And vice-versa. Things never go well here AND there. We are Ying and Yang, Tom and Jerry, Django and the Ku Klux Klan. Things can’t go well for both parties at the same time.
Come on… Isn’t that a litt…
Shut up, I’m talking here. If we lose, not only do we lose, but they win. And when things go well for them, they tend to go wrong for us. So yes, in the middle of the season, I would say that this Cup tie matters a whole lot more than some might think.
Can you give us an example?
Sure. Last season is the perfect example. We lost the league during the second leg of the Copa del Rey against M*drid. I have no doubt.
Huh? But didn’t we win the Copa?
Yeah, we drew the game 2-2 and we won the tie, but we lost the league in that game. That season we beat them in the Supercopa and in the league at the Bernabeu. For the first cup leg we went back to their house and embarrassed them. They hardly got out of their half of the pitch. Mourinho and his team were on the ropes. Their city was in full-on crisis mode. Their newspapers were crying shame and disgrace. Di Stefano said they played like a mouse. They were one blaugrana embarrassment away from having their trainer kicked to the curb, which at that point would have caused their season to unravel. No doubt, man, they were done for.
Right… But that’s not what happened, was it?
(starts choking up)
They came to the Camp Nou. And with a bit of luck on our part we went into halftime up by 2-0. But then we let them get back into the game. They might have ended up losing the tie, but they left the moral winners. Their resolve was strengthened and they won the league with a record total of points. So clásicos matter, ok?
I get it. So what do you think will happen tomorrow?
Hey, I don’t know. I don’t do predictions, you should ask that Isaiah dude whenever he’s not too busy to write previews. I do know that I was nervous as hell when we last met, you know, when we were missing half of our defense and all. And after the game we all said “well, let’s see how they do when they miss half of their defense”. Well, now they do. Plus their goalkeeper. And that ratface Di Maria. But that doesn’t mean squat to me. They might be even more dangerous like this. They got nothing to lose. An injured cat fights like a lion.
I see. Well, thanks for the interview, I really enjoyed that. We should hang out more!
Definitely. You should come over tomorrow so we can watch the game together!