The Crusades of football opinion

Drama.

In contemplation of the remainder of this Champions League, the only available word is … drama.

Draw Juventus, and there’s drama about the bus. Draw RM and there’s drama about more Classics (even though the CL encounters aren’t Classics, but that’s another matter). Draw Bayern and the world implodes on its axis.

In anticipation of this last possibility, people are already staking out space, ground high and low, moral and more moral, real fan vs non-real fan, donning psychic armor for the battles to come. And this is before the draw. It’s like the football Crusades as supporters hoist shields and spears aloft, rushing to ideological battle. Over what?

We love this sport. Football is passion. It’s life. But it’s also supposed to be joy, fun. I see a number 10 Ronaldinho shirt and still remember the wonder of his time at Barça, not for the goals but for the fun. The game was fun, life was fun as joy was a single booty pass away. Today, in the quests for records, piles and piles of goals and conquest, it all seems a lot less fun as the team that we love prepares to face off against the best clubs in Europe. Exciting times lay ahead, whatever the outcome.

It’s a game. It’s passion. It’s life. But it’s a game, this thing that, it bears repeating, we have nothing invested in even as it feels like so much. I smile when I am in love. I don’t scowl, and I don’t argue because being in love means that I don’t have time to waste doing anything except loving. Which brings us to Barça.

Obviously, Barça will draw Bayern because of the ex-Barça factor in that team’s coach and star midfielder. Duh. But the issue and complexity for me is feeling, the lack of viability of an opposing view as supporters of the same team are ready and waiting to go to war for their cause, splitting the atoms of fandom. This can lead to grim places.

For those who aren’t familiar or heard about it second or third-hand, I was the target of abuse on Twitter because of a 2013 comment I made about Guardiola in this space. From that out of context moment came a torrent of rancor that was easy to deal with because people who know me know better, and those who don’t, matter not.

What interested me more was the reaction that people had to something that ran counter to their worldview, the sheer intolerance evinced in the reactions to a simple difference of opinion. “He’s a witch! Burn him!” The true beauty of the world is that there are a great many viewpoints, some similar, others widely divergent. And there is room for all of them except, it seems, in football. In that world if you don’t agree with someone else you aren’t a true fan, or are a “fanboy” (one of my favorite insults because it paints the abuser more clearly than the target).

On the other side of things is the “Can’t we criticize? What?!” implying that because someone feels differently, criticism isn’t welcome. Or “Why are you defending X or Y,” a misinterpretation that is often applied when an opposing view is aired. If someone says that “I support this club in this endeavor,” that doesn’t mean that someone who does NOT support that same endeavor isn’t a true supporter. It’s only the opinion of an individual. “You might feel this way, but I feel that way.” “Okay, cool. Now we know where the other stands. Visca Barça!”

In football, all opinions are welcome. I love respectful debate. For example, my view is that Thiago left for a better job as is his right, and the idea that the board snatched a player from the club that he loved and wanted to stay at, selling him for wampum and a few shiny trinkets doesn’t wash. And Pep Guardiola is a rival who will not hesitate for an instant to hurt the club that I love. My respect for what he did is immense, but I am under no illusion about what will happen if he has his way. This means that I am not torn by the potential of playing their team, nor will I feel any sort of wistful wooziness at seeing them, should things come to that point. I will want to destroy them, for Mascherano to leave cleat marks on their prone carcasses. And I will exult if that happens, and feel not a shard of pity.

The problem with that opinion is not the worldview but the idea that having and expressing it makes me someone who doesn’t have respect for what Guardiola did, doesn’t appreciate what he did for the club — that nonsensical, overused word “hater.” Further, that worldview makes me no more or less “right” than someone else who reveres Guardiola, believes that the board forced him out, thinks the world of what he is doing at Bayern and that the board screwed up because it could have, and should have retained Thiago. Both people support the same club, but have different views about a past situation. Okay.

What will be of paramount importance in this fraught time is respect, not only for each other but for our differences of opinion. We should be able to discuss things with RM, Bayern or Juve supporters as easily as with Barça supporters. Out in the world there will be name-calling, arguing and abuse, and it will be sad not only because none of it truly matters. Vehemence isn’t the point, and the last word doesn’t matter. Respect does, even in the black-and-white world of supporter opinion.

It isn’t the opinion. It’s the sheer vehemence of the opinion on blogs, message boards, comment spaces and social media as keyboard warriors face off in a humorless joust, but about what? The fate of a millionaire? The way a team plays or doesn’t play? People get defensive and will argue a point ad infinitum to what end?

What I would rather do, and I think this is important, is to remember that it doesn’t matter how someone feels about anything at all related to FC Barcelona. And that no matter what club they support that they respect me and my views. I don’t care if anyone agrees. Just respect the right to an opinion. And if that person is culer, they want the same things that other culers want, which is success for that football club. All the rest is semantics. And when Barça draws Bayern on Friday and the ramparts fill with battling culers, we should remember one thing that was a Nike ad campaign slogan but is so very true: som un.

But it isn’t just culers that are one. It’s every supporter of every team out there, top and bottom of the table, Atleti to Almeria, Barça to Cordoba, Chelsea to Stoke. We all getting our hearts ripped out or lifted to the heavens on a weekly basis. And even if we don’t see eye to eye on teams, tactics, players or coaches, we should at least, at the very least, be able to respect each other.

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Written by:

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.

70 Comments

  1. 42
    April 22, 2015

    Great post Kev. The worldviews of people nowadays are becoming more and more intolerant and “black-or-white”. You can’t constructively criticize something without being labeled a “hater”, which I find is absurd.

    I blame this on the modern internet tools that increasingly tailored to each individual. Whenever you follow someone on twitter or buy something on ebay or look up a song on youtube, you always get recommendations about “similar choices”. So you only stick to things similar to your taste and don’t bother look elsewhere because it’s easy to do.

    So, to summarize a typical twitter journey, first you follow some people who interest you; after a while you join in a group of people who share similar opinions by recommendation. Then you got the “block” button on twitter. If you don’t like his opinion, you just block him. Over time, it’s inevitable that your opinion becomes monopolized. You don’t listen to differential opinions or hear from another perspective, because, you know, why bother? Being on the internet is supposed to be about having fun, right?

    And finally, I think our education nowadays that put too much emphasis on individuality is also to blame. All the mainstream movies, music, TV shows are telling kids “if people tell you you’re wrong, just ignore them because they hate you, be yourself, you’re not wrong”. It really makes them too full of themselves and can’t emphasize with others.

    • georgjorge
      April 23, 2015

      Thanks for this great comment and a great article.

      In addition, though I sometimes debate a bit around here, I really can’t get too serious about it. Watching Barca games is great, and so is talking about tactics and strategy because it heightens my understanding about what is actually happening on the pitch. Discussing how things are off-pitch (what kind of person is Enrique, has Xavi more weight than Messi in the locker room etc) is rather boring to me. And I just can’t get worked up talking about what others are said to believe about these off-pitch antics (is commenter X a secret Guardiola fanboy? Does commenter y hate Messi)?

    • dl
      April 23, 2015

      I’m with you on that, gj. I like the ocassional random speculation about stuff, but really the only ‘true’ thing any of us can say about the behind the scenes stuff is ‘we don’t know’. I enjoy far more the discussion of tactics, strategy, etc. Lot’s of knowledgeable people here that I can learn from. I hope one day to be able to see and understand as the game actually unfolds, though that seems a distant goal.

  2. 42
    April 22, 2015

    About the draw, I really don’t care who we get in the semis, we have the ability to beat any of them.

    That said, I hope we get Bayern. To be the best you have to beat the best, and there’s no better time to revenge for 2013 than now, as our team has incredible unity and MSN is on fire. I want to see us beat Pep and Thiago.

    A Clasico in the semis would be boring but I think we can beat RM. Although it would mean that Bayern will get the easiest opponent again and I’d be pissed.

    Drawing Juve would be nice, although they have a very solid defense so it would be harder to get through than most people think. Watching Bayern-RM fight and burn will be fun, but if Bauern gets eliminated, we’d miss out on the chance to revenge them this year.

    • Inamess
      April 23, 2015

      Agree with a lot of your points 42 but isn’t there something to be said for revenge by proxy. Isn’t it better to let Real take out Bayern and then we can take out Real in the finals. To me, one of the most enjoyable moments in football this year was PSG taking out Chelsea at the Bridge. That we ended up being the direct beneficiary of Chelsea’s disaster made it all the more sweeter.

      I don’t deny that a Bayern-Barca semi would be fascinating and intense but it could also be a huge disappointment should we lose. In a way it would be like going on a meth binge: fun for about a week but ultimately self-destructive and painful. To me the idea that we must get our direct revenge could be as misguided as the idea that a tie with Bayern would be a nostalgic reunion. You can often get more than you bargained for and as I said before I just like the match up with us going to the Allianz again and Pep returning to the Camp Nou. Better to face them in a one game final if we have to.

  3. April 23, 2015

    Feliç Sant Jordi, everybody!

    Shame about yesterday’s game.

    • April 23, 2015

      Feliç Sant Jordi, Lev! (even thought they don’t celebrate it here).

      Whether it’s shame or not will be known tomorrow. Real could get a tough draw, which would mean they will have to play

      Celta away
      Almeria home
      Sevilla away
      Semi-final first leg
      Valencia home
      Semi-final second leg
      Espanyol away.

      Sure, Sevilla will be a bit tired after its second leg in Russia and then two games in the weekend and midweek (Rayo home, Eibar away), but if today they manage to win/draw/lose by one goal while scoring two they will reach the semi-finals, and they will be buoyed by that feeling, and the matter of the fact is that they can still grind out a point out of Real, especially if they manage to replicate their performance of the second half vs Barça.

      Valencia will play Granada home this weekend, Rayo away and then Eibar home, and then will have a whole week to prepare for Real Madrid. I don’t think there will be any letup, Nuno and his men were really really pissed they didn’t win against Barça, were robbed vs Athletic and they have a chip on their shoulder the size of Mestalla.

      The ride continues.

  4. lovell
    April 23, 2015

    We wont draw Juve.
    It will b a ‘Classic ‘ semi final.
    First leg 0-0 Camp nou. Second Leg 2-2 Santiago.
    We beat Bayern 3-1 in the final.
    A dish best served COLD.

  5. jsefutbol
    April 23, 2015

    I think this Internet era is marked by people’s undying need to prove a point, be “right”, show the world why someone else is “wrong”. In the end, why do any of those things matter? What is anyone going to achieve by rowing on the Internet with a stranger?

    I’m quite active in social media and just like you, Kevin, I appreciate debate. In fact, I love a good discussion. The problem is when it becomes personal, when a disagreement over a certain topic leads to someone feeling personally insulted. I think that happens quite a bit, especially with these strong characters (Pep, Messi vs CR, etc..) that people feel invested in.

    Anyway, I really don’t mind who we draw for the semis. I’d like a Barca-Bayern final so I hope we don’t face them now, but I think we’ve already seen this season that this side can compete against anyone and come out on top.

    • georgjorge
      April 23, 2015

      “What is anyone going to achieve by rowing on the Internet with a stranger”

      In theory, an enlightened exchange of arguments which will lead to a lot of people enhancing their perspectives on life.

      In practice, a lot of bandwidth wasted on petty insults and a growing divide of the population with regard to certain topics.

      I also would expect there to be much more energy spent on discussing, say, Ronald vs Messi than important socioeconomic issues on the internet.

  6. luisthebeast
    April 23, 2015

    Messi vs Ronaldo??Nah the only fair comparison is Messi vs Maradona;-)

  7. luisthebeast
    April 23, 2015

    A stupid question:If we win CL and Liga,and Brazil win Copa America,can Ney won the next Ballon d Or??

    • April 23, 2015

      Not possible, at least unless Neymar single-handedly scores in every single game of Brazil and scores the winner in both finals, and then scores the winners in the European and hopefully the Spanish Supercups, and then scores in El Clasico and is the leading goalscorer in La Liga at this point.

      But first and foremost, Neymar will need to become the goalscorer of the Champions League, which would mean scoring at least once in every remaining game, and Ronaldo not scoring in any game.

    • April 23, 2015

      Well, there’s the first half of next season as well, right? So if he shines in the semis and CL final, leads Brazil to gold this summer and performs well during the first months of next season leading up to the vote, it would be possible.

    • April 23, 2015

      bloody hell, that was for Luisthebeast. 🙁

      As for the article, that’s seems like a burn on Mourinho:
      “even as a rebel, it is Barcelona he is rebelling against.”

      good reading.

    • Jim
      April 23, 2015

      Yeah, enjoyed the article, Lev. Can’t really argue with it.

    • April 23, 2015

      It’s true, though. It might be the first time in history that a coach’s career has almost been defined by a club he has not coached.

    • Inamess
      April 23, 2015

      The Mou as Darth Vader meme is good rebelling against Barca is good, but I think the key to understanding his rise has to go back to Porto’s victory against Man U. Had he lost that tie then his career would have been completely different.

    • Jim
      April 23, 2015

      Had he lost to Celtic with Porto as he should have done bar for his disgraceful tactics his career might have been different.

  8. luisthebeast
    April 23, 2015

    Haha Peter i know it s difficult because if Portugal finish in 3d place in their group,they will face a team in play offs and Ronaldo will score and he will win it,no matter if he dont win anything with madrid;-)

    • Son
      April 23, 2015

      The Messi vs Ronaldo debate doesn’t seems ending in near future.
      Sometimes I think it’s irreverent knowing they played totally different roles.
      Leo mostly plays playmaker this whole season while Ronaldo the goal poacher.

      Of course people will keep comparing as long as both of them outscored the rest.
      For me, they compare because at this point, there’s no one else playing the level of Leo and the closest one is CR who only(?) play for goal.

      The most annoying part is that even majority RM fans clearly knew Leo is the better player but to many people and the rules of football favours goal, and there comes the fanboy.

      Yes ! CR is a great player. He knows where to positioned himself when his teammates are in good position to give away the ball to him. He suddenly ran inside the box and picked the weakest defender among many and bullet a tapin. I can go on and on…but let stop here. My point is that Leo plays to create chances for his team mates more than poaching and still grab enough no.of goals.

      And Kxevin, many times we forgot to thankyou for all the food for thought you have given us.
      I always enjoy reading your writings even when I do not comment.

      Also I really enjoy reading all comments from all the participants here and you all are like my family from another world.

      Keep on going… love this space more and more.

    • barca96
      April 23, 2015

      Luis, click the reply button. Makes easier read for readers.

  9. April 23, 2015

    Kevin,

    Thank you and congratulations for your article in Grup14 about the statvest. I wish I could afford one or had access to one. I work out intensely and now that am over 40 years, always wanted to know more about many factors, which you explain in this. I have always thought that could help me going forwards. You write about a power meter, how much does this cost. Whats the name of the brand.. If you dont mind.

    Once again, thank you for that article.

    Also am happy to see your photo!Know the face behind, now.:)

    • April 23, 2015

      The one that I use is a cycling-specific power meter, by a company named Quarq. It’s basically a strain gauge at the crank that measures power and cadence. From that data, it extrapolates other things. It also has built-in GPS, and works off satellites. It’s pretty much fun. I’m not a data whore, but information is useful.

      As a sprinter, I don’t care a whole lot about heart rate and stuff, just maximums: speed, cadence, watts. But it’s nice to have the information there if I need it. And heart rate is as easy as strapping on a chest monitor. All wireless.

    • deerwithwings
      April 23, 2015

      You racing track?

    • April 23, 2015

      Sure do.

  10. kosby
    April 23, 2015

    “What will be of paramount importance in this fraught time is respect, not only for each other but for our differences of opinion.” – Amen to that.

    Replace football with religion, nationality, caste, language and we really have the solution for half the world’s problems.

    But keeping to football,

  11. untoxgsd
    April 23, 2015

    First of all, great article Kxevin, the quote where every week we have our heart ripped out or we’re lifted in the heavens sums it all up. Personally i would love Barca to face Bayern in the semis, you can’t miss the opportunity to watch 180 minutes of great football with both teams that follow more or less the same philosophy. Plus it would be great if we had our revenge. The 7-0 last time was “unfair” if you take into account Tito’s tragic loss and Messi’s injury. Let Real get the easy draw, we’ll destroy them in the final. ( plus you never know if they’ll make it through Juve). In regards to the Ronaldo vs Messi debate my opinion is that it’s just a concoction by the media, especially goal.com who’se fanbase is mostly kids < 16 years old.. Ronaldo always looks for the easy goal, Messi creates, assists, dribbles, shoots from outside and is overall the more complete player. FULL STOP!!

  12. Inamess
    April 23, 2015

    A few thoughts on some topics of the day:

    1) I am a big opponent of the too easy retrospective analysis of games. The narrative of the Atleti’s loss is that Simeone was punished for playing too conservatively. The guy has beaten RM using more or less the same style with the exception of the 4-0 home win. Moreover, he was within a minute of beating RM in Lisbon and had Turan yesterday not gotten the red card may well have beaten RM again in their own stadium. Yes, they play ugly football and are often thugs but respect is due to a wonderful team that has owned our rivals all season and almost did us another big solid. Also, Simeone deserves huge respect for sticking with his club and trying to build for an uncertain future instead of becoming another mercenary gun for hire for one of the rich clubs.

    2) I am going to have to push back on this Luddite curmudgeon idea that we are living in age of football fans gone mad on the internet. There are amazing sites all over the online world catering to every taste from refined analysis to crude-offensive banter. The key is to frequent the sites that suit your tastes. It’s not fair to go to a slasher film and then complain that there was not an morally uplifting message. Yes, some people are offensive jerks. The fact that they can be even more offensive in the anonymous world of the internet should be news to no one. There was no golden age of football discourse and the fact that fellow fans can now talk to each other from all corners of the earth is a blessing that should be embraced and celebrated.

    3) I am no fan of Mourinho’s style of football but the fact that he has been the most successful football manager over the last twelve years is beyond dispute. The guy personally built five world class sides and his 2012 RM team was scary good.

    • ooga aga
      April 23, 2015

      What were the 5 sides that he “personally built”? I must’ve missed a few of them.

    • Inamess
      April 23, 2015

      Porto, Chelsea I, Inter, RM, Chelsea II.

  13. Cyclops
    April 23, 2015

    Nice article…Though i think football’s not just a game but an odd one that provokes the sternest emotion from people..You really cant divorce fiery passion from football , however you try..Hence, so long as football is concerned, they’d always be that ‘very serious reaction’ from people..Just as Neymar said ” Football’s a child game grown-up take very serious…
    On the so-called madrid derby, i think Athletico were dissapointing..For starters, they werent really at their defensive best..offensively, i was left wondering what the plan for gtting a goal was…I was beggining to think they were playing for the odd goal by any stroke of fortune, or maybe just playong the game out into penalties…Had really wanted them to go through, so that when we do meet in the league they’d be equally spent in energy..And also Real losing out, would have exponenetially increase their chances of dropping points in the liga, seeing as they w’d have been demoralised..Anywhich way, we can still get that if they are paired with a tough opponent in the CL
    Talking about the Cl, i really like our chances against the other guy’s in the competion, i really like the clout we’re beggining to pull as favorites for the title, and i think we’d get to the final..But i dont want to play bayern in the final, if it turns out that we cant beat them, its gonna automatically be their 6th CL title- and ofcourse the chances of me wanting that is as good as the chaces of me banging my head on my nicely-painted wall…I’d rather we face them in the semis, as i think we stand a better chance of beating them as compared to the other two clubs..But if it turns out as the eight wonder of the world that we dont beat them, they’d still be one more club waiting for them..
    For madrid, i honestly dont even want them in the final- else i think i’d never hear the last of it…So i think it would suit us all if they’re thrown out in the semis(madridsta’s , HIYA!)…But if they’re paired with Juve smart money would be oa a madrid win, and what i shudder to think of would end up happnning- madrid taking a nice catwalk on some redcarpet to the final…Logically either barca or bayern would more likely knock Madrid out..But problem with that is if bayern draw madrid or if we draw madrid, bayern could end up going to the final- somthing i dont fancy either(Now its starting to get exasperating)….Big reason i wanted Athletico to pull through, just so my permutations can be made easier…Now its all pretty dicey..making a choice seems really hard, especially knowing if Madrid draw bayern rather thanJuve, they are more likely to stumble in the liga…Way out, is to wish Juve would come to the party(And thats only if they dont draw us, hehe)..After all the long talk, my preferential UCL final is like this” FCBarclona vs Juvntus”, YAY!
    Whew, what with all the logic and permutations, i’m starting to develope migrane, think i’d go down some aspirin after all …….

    • Inamess
      April 23, 2015

      Fantastic post!

  14. April 23, 2015

    The more I think about it the more I want Juventus. I want the challenge of a low-block team.

    • Chiu
      April 24, 2015

      Besides, current Juve team is the least experienced compare to Bayern and RM (the winner of last two occasion) as they havent reach this far in the CL in this decade. I prefer Juve, too

    • April 24, 2015

      Yeah, so I’ve given it some more thought now that we now the outcome of the QF’s.

      1) I still want M*drid in the semis. I do not want to play M*drid in the finals and I’m pretty sure RM would beat either of Juve or an injury-decimated Bayern.

      2) Second choice is Bayern. If we have to face them, it’s better we do so while they’re still out half a squad. Meeting them in the final after they’re fit and well-rested is a lot harder.

      3) I’ve been wanting us to play Juve for years now. Amazingly the last time we met was in 2003. We played Internazionale a couple of times, beat Milan like a trizillion times in the last ten years*, but no sign of la vecchia signora, and both us of have what must be considered amongst the most beautiful football kits in the world. Ok, anyway, the point is I would love to play Juve, but for pure strategic reasons I think it is better we meet 1) M*drid or 2) Bayern in the semis.

      * for the “older” culers among us, just think about that and repeat it a couple of times:

      We beat Milan like a trizillion times during the last ten years
      We beat Milan like a trizillion times during the last ten years
      We beat Milan like a trizillion times during the last ten years
      We beat Milan like a trizillion times during the last ten years
      We beat Milan like a trizillion times during the last ten years
      We beat Milan like a trizillion times during the last ten years

      Pretty incredible, right?

  15. Cyclops
    April 23, 2015

    But then playing Juventus, means either of madrid or bayern is certain to go to the final..And i’m not comfortable with that, really…I’m just not comfortable with the idea of having anyone of them in the final, i dont know why- or maybe i do, lol whatever…Fact is, base on the teams left, its seems a sure bet that one of them will definately get to the final…So maybe i should just sit back and see who lady fortune pick out for us

  16. luisthebeast
    April 23, 2015

    Hm the second best team in German eliminated by a team who is 20 and more points behind Juventus….Bundesliga is so difficult…now i start to understand Pep s choice….in England is not so easy.

    • Son
      April 24, 2015

      Nice song.

  17. agar2515
    April 24, 2015

    t-2 hours
    I want Juve
    My heart can’t take facing Pep 2x or two more clasicos
    I want Madrid in the final, let us stop them from repeating f2f in a winner take all. Also, Bayern in a one off in what would essentially be a home game for them… naw.

  18. Tardigrater
    April 24, 2015

    That was a sweet ass article on Grup14 Kev. You guys should go check it out.

  19. barca96
    April 24, 2015

    I want Juve. With all due respect, they reached SF by beating teams but none of them were convincing. I do believe that it won’t be a walk in the park as they are good defensively and have a good hardworking midfielders bar Pirlo. It will be tough to break them through the middle as it was vs PSG.

    Anyhow, I’ll take Juve anyday.

  20. April 24, 2015

    Its Bayern. So let the drama commence.

    • georgjorge
      April 24, 2015

      Can’t wait for the games.

    • barca96
      April 24, 2015

      Worst thing is that 1st leg is at home. 2nd leg in Germany is going to be hell. Why oh why does Madrid always get an easier draw bar Atletico? How does this happen year in year out? I don’t believe it’s rigged but they are really lucky.

    • April 24, 2015

      I dont know what might happen to us. But am sure RM will reach finals.

    • barca96
      April 24, 2015

      Juventus are good but no way will they be able to beat Madrid. Even if they somehow get a result in the 1st leg at home, Madrid at home is very strong.

    • April 24, 2015

      they could score only 1 against Monaco!!! Still for the next few weeks they would be my second team.

  21. barca96
    April 24, 2015

    C’mon. When are we ever gonna get an easy draw?!

    • April 24, 2015

      Never my friend, never. Anyways, I will take Bayern over a 2 legged tie than a single one, any time.

    • April 24, 2015

      Not sure there were any easy draws at this stage. Given our style of play i would rather play a Bayern or a Madrid over a Juventus. We always struggle more against teams that can sit back and defend deep and nobody is better at that than the italians. I suspect Madrid will not have such an easy time either since they tend to also struggle against teams that don’t give them space.

      As for Bayern. Bring them on. On our current form, with the front 3 we have I am confident. Time for revenge.

  22. April 24, 2015

    Long back, somewhere, I read that there is a Latin American story about a football match. The game will be decided on penalties and just before the last kick, the game has to be stopped (dont remember correctly, sorry), which mean after some days the game will happen again, just for a single penalty kick. Then the story is about what goes in the mind of the penalty taker and the goalie.It goes something like- he knows where I will kick, so I can kick the other side, but he might think the same and may be I should do as always and like that. Same kind of thoughts for the goalie too.

    Wont similar kind of thoughts going to happen with Pep and our players like Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta, Messi and Alves as well???

    Just wondering..

  23. ams
    April 24, 2015

    English Champions —> Check

    French Champions —> Check

    German Champions -> Will Check

    Italian Champions -> Will Check

    As usual…we got the tough draw. We have discuss and dissected Lucho’s gameplan so many times over the last few months. Real test his now…its against the team that plays like us…may be little better than us…managed by a guy who was in our dugout…knows this team inside out. So real test is now…against Bavarians.

  24. Cyclops
    April 24, 2015

    Okay, great..Now are my suppose to weep ? cause the tears wont just come..i’m more iclined to taking off the heads of those cheating, lying , rigging son of a ……in uefa..
    I wanted bayern, but i never said we should play at home FIRST! DAMN uefa! Aarrghh..Uefamunich very nice job, eh, keep it up

  25. Kd
    April 24, 2015

    Fucking hell!!
    Those r exactly my thoughts. We always always get the tough draw. Bloody hell. Just hope Juve nick it against the EE.
    And foto… I agree with u too my man, I’d take Bayern any day over 2 legs. But again, atleast we couldhave had our 2nd leg at home.
    Also, i heard Badsyuber is injured again? Is that correct? anyone..??
    Cos then I think our chances r going to dramatically improve. If “Michael Jackson” from Porto could keep Dante out in the 2nd leg, imagine what Luis is gonna do to them…
    And I cant resist, so “Welcome Pep”
    It’ll be an emotional tie for a lot of us. Just that we’ll beat u!!
    Visca Barca

  26. Son
    April 24, 2015

    Imagine People! Just imagine.
    Knock Bayern out in semi final.
    Beat RM in final.
    What a day would it be.
    A historical moment that madrista or Culers will never forget again.
    I know the reverse could be damn painful but the positive side would be so sweet.
    Damn…..!
    Oh God please.

  27. indiancule
    April 24, 2015

    Looking forward for a football spectacle.. I dont mind facing bayern.. But we play 3 games in 6days like we played psg valencia and psg… On other side madrid gets 8 days… Lets hope we go through this tough time…

  28. Chiu
    April 24, 2015

    Bayern, bring them on. Neutral have been wanting the final of Barca vs Bayern. Now we could see two mini final in Camp Nou and Allianz Arena. 🙂

    Am sure we can make it to final, but the will be really tight tie

    Visca Barca

  29. G6O
    April 24, 2015

    Worst draw possible – home in the first leg, away in the second, while RM get Juve and play home in the second leg.

    Now we’ll really get a chance to see what this team is made of

    • April 24, 2015

      I disagree. Bayern have a lot of injuries at the moment, they play in a league where they don’t get challenged very often so much like PSG they are not used to playing really top quality opposition. I also think given what happened a few years ago the players will be more motivated than against the other two teams. Out of the 3 teams I think Madrid are the toughest draw, and personally I would have liked to avoid Juventus who would have sat very deep and defended very well. Organised and physical with good counter attacking players. Not really the ideal opposition for a team that plays our style. I will take a team that tries to play attacking football over one that prefers defensive football any day.

      I am also not that convinced playing the second leg at home is so big of an advantage. I actually think for an attacking team like ours it doesn’t really matter which leg we play first because chances are we are going to score away from home. The two games will be a slugfest and you know what I would take Messi, Neymar and Suarez in that fight over Ribery, Robben and Lewandowski (if they are even all fit). Wouldn’t you?

      As for the other tie, I wouldn’t rule Juventus out so quickly. They are a quality side who are built to frustrate and Madrid do not like playing against teams who sit deep and deny them space. I bet they would have much preferred drawing Bayern so they can counter attack into acres of space as they did last year.

    • April 24, 2015

      They did pretty well against Atletico’s deep defending last week, and unlike Simeone’s men, Juve pose let of a threat on set pieces (the defense against which is a weak point of the merengues).

    • G6O
      April 24, 2015

      I am not ruling out Juventus, I actually think they have very good chances, nor am I pessimistic about ours against Bayern, I just noted that the draw was not good

  30. Valdemar II
    April 24, 2015

    We would be favorites, if Bayern were also fighting for a league title. They’ve won it already and can rest 11 players for each leg. Ugly.

  31. lala10
    April 24, 2015

    There is little chance we will lose this match. We have superior players and Pep knows it. He is a stubborn coach as well and is most likely going to attack us. This surely plays in our hands as schooling City and PSG has shown.

    In addition they have injury concerns in defence and midfield. Even if the wounded are back then will they be fit enough for a game of this magnitude? Their situation is similar to ours when they crushed us.

    A lot can change in football over 10 days but however i look at it i don’t see the loss coming. Our biggest threat is managing fatigue and not conceding when they press us extremely high up the pitch in the first half of our home leg. Escape unscathed and i am convinced we will be set to progress.

  32. Cyclops
    April 24, 2015

    Yeah, if we ends up, END UP, winning the treble, really it will be less than we deserved, seriously …Looking at the kind of fixture we’ve gotten through this season., i think its damn commendable…And even at a point when the very nasty fixture started coming in thick and fast, and things began to look really bleak, we’ve emerge from that phase, two points clear in the league, vying for a place in the UCL final…Couple of months ago, merely looking at the games ahead, i was somewhat scared…Even then i thought if we should ever get to this stage we are at now, then they should probably just do the right thing and hand us the league and the UCL
    After coming through all thsoe monstorus fixtures unscathed, its looks like more thunderstorm awaits us:: Beat bayern, there’s a possibility of facing madrid- before we can even get within smelling distance of the trophy…And thats not to mention our upcoming fixtures in the league…Added to that we play bayern at home first- and really i think that naturally count, however you may want to deny it…It takes a team with class and quality to negate its effects- especially when they’re slugging it out with a quality opposition
    At the end, its definately crunch time, when the credentials of the team would be thoroughly tested..We stand tall and scale through, then posterity itself would celebrate this team
    If we do go on to win the treble, i think the mere trophy wont be enough…They should probably name LE the new UN secretary, and give the players executive office in FIFA..Problem is that too wouldnt be enough..hmmm, anyway we shall cross that pretty bridge when we get there

  33. Jim
    April 24, 2015

    Hmm, don’t see Juventus as any kind of threat to RM. They’ll sit back and lose to a single goal, I reckon ( prob scored by CR7 in the 88th minute of the second leg from a dodgy penalty).

    As a golfer I’m a great fan of the mind man, Dr Bob Rotella, who has made a career out of studying greatness and what makes the best the best. I’m reading through his books again atm. In one he quoted an old coach ( American Football I think but could be wrong) he went to listen to at the start of his career who instead of speaking for an hour told the audience he only had a minute and a half’s worth. To be the best he said, you need three types of bone – wishbone ( the dream and desire) , backbone ( to make it happen) and funny bone ( for when times go wrong ). Rotella reckons in thirty six years he has never heard a better synopsis of what you need to be the best. I reckon we’re probably only missing the third !

    • April 24, 2015

      Brilliant.

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