Well, that was a heck of a game, wasn’t it? Worth getting up at 6 am for? (Yeah, yeah, I know Asian & Australian cules regularly get up at 3 am to squint at fuzzy streams while standing on one leg and balancing a bookcase on their heads, I don’t want to hear your sob stories! ) How about a few awards to tide you over, since for once we have no midweek game scheduled?
Airing Our Dirty Laundry Award: This one goes to Jordi “Quokka” Alba, for his poorly aimed backwards header that set up Alvaro for the Getafe goal. No clean sheets to be found at this club!
All Flesh Is Glass Award: Adriano, who after miraculously making it through his Brazil NT call-up unscathed, succumbed to a thigh twinge during the game against Getafe and had to be subbed out for Dani Alves. Someday we hope to get more than two full games in a row out of him!
Song Is Not A Chair Award: I had to retire the “Messi Is Not A Chair Award” recently due to unforeseen complications, but on Sunday Alex Song stepped up like a champ and did his best furniture impression, as opponents decided the only way to keep him down was to actually sit on him. Thanks for taking one for the team, Alex!
Fear No More The Heat O’ The Sun Award: At least where Chinese marketing interests are concerned, anyway! Sunday’s game was the first time since 1965 that Barcelona has played a game under the burning noonday sun, and how convenient that it happened to be scheduled to coincide with Chinese New Year! Such a perfect opportunity to trot out a couple of Asian mascots and lanterns and banners and so on. Almost like it had been planned in advance. Year of the Snake, you say?
Hey Big Spender Award: After being swindled by a fake sheikh from Dubai, and even parting ways with former sponsor Burger King, Getafe C. F. is looking for new sources of income. Hence the Chinese lettering on the back of the Getafe warm-up jackets, as a “come hither” to potential investors from the Far East?
MOTMOTM Award: Director of Football Andoni Zubizarreta described Iniesta as “a magician with orange boots”. I can’t think of anything to add to that.
Who’s Your Daddy? Award: Milan Pique, who attended his very first Barça game and was treated to the sight of proud papa Pique scoring him a goal. Pique looked as genuinely thrilled as I’ve ever seen him. (And I hope he thanked Thiago properly for the gift!)
Noel Coward Memorial Cocktail Shaker: So apparently Spanish people will go out in the midday sun as long as it’s to see a football game! The attendance at the Camp Nou was 85,610, the third highest it has been all season. And the children! So many children everywhere! It seemed like there was a great atmosphere in the stadium, and it was lovely to see whole families out a day of fun. I’d be quite happy to see more early games like this on the schedule, even it does mean I have to get up at 6 am for them.
De Boer Memorial Diamond In The Rough Award: Frank De Boer, that is. Sunday was also a special day for our very own Isaac Cuenca, who is on a six-month loan to Ajax and made his debut in the starting XI against Roda. I admit I only managed to watch half the game before I sloped off back to bed, but I was very impressed with Cuenca’s performance. He looked fit, alert, made intelligent runs, saw a lot of the ball, and seemed to have excellent communication with his teammates already. De Boer had nothing but good things to say about him after the game as well. I hope he makes a real impact at Ajax, and then comes back to Barça better than ever!