Xavi and the Qatar question

This isn’t a time for ranting, or moral high horses.

Nor is it a time for unquestioning fealty.

This is a time to discuss, to understand the Xavi decision and his destination even as it is a discussion that should be prefaced with “It really isn’t any of our damned business.”

In many ways it is symmetrical that Xavi leaves, controversially for some, for a cush gig in Qatar. He is blaugrana to the core and just like the club made a deal for its shirt with an entity that many supporters would rather it not, so did Xavi. That statement can stand aside from the all of the avarice, rancor and mistrust connected to the board. And when an inquiring culer wonders why, the obvious answer might be that Xavi took one for the team.

The idea of “taking one for the team” is an odd thing and make no mistake about it, if there is a shard of truth to rumors, Xavi took one for the only team more important to him than Barça: his family and its future. As the ultimate team player, this makes sense. We will never know if Barça made the deal with Qatar because that entity had the most money and the club had needs. We will never know if the board held its nose and dove in, or something else. We can’t know, even as we can castigate for that decision. It isn’t a stain on the shirt because it is Qatar. It’s a stain on the shirt because it is selling a chunk of the club’s soul. Does it nibble at the illusion that it isn’t all for money in ways that other prostitutes justify their decisions in mirrors an hour or day later? You bet. It was the stuff of romance, the “unsullied” shirt front. Even when there was no “Qatar Foundation,” there was the Nike swoosh.

But only the most gullible would suggest that there are not complexities with Qatar these days, related to its World Cup bid. Xavi going to play for Al Sadd isn’t the thing that makes eyebrows rise. Being the World Cup ambassador is something different. The aspects of the Qatar 2022 World Cup bid — the human rights abuses which have been well documented amid allegations of bribery and a corrupted process, make you wonder about that part of Xavi’s deal. No, sports and politics shouldn’t mix. But the 2022 WC problems aren’t politics. These are the occurrences of documented things that shouldn’t be going on, and Xavi is an athlete choosing to align himself with those things, directly or indirectly, for money.

I don’t know how and what Xavi thought about that process, whether there were heartfelt conversations around a table at the family home where the greater good was considered to outweigh any sorts of moral complications. The romantic in me wants to believe that, wants to believe that Xavi understands how complex this is, even if you don’t think politics belongs in sport. Because people are dying to create a World Cup in Qatar. Actually dying. One organization estimates that more than 4000 migrant workers will die by the time the first match kicks off in Qatar. A very recent Amnesty International report finds that despite the lip service being paid to improving migrant worker conditions, precious little is being done.

One website ran an intemperate screed that excoriated Xavi for his decision, using hyperbolic words such as “besmirching,” etc. But it just isn’t that easy, the decisions that people make. As an athlete, with the futures of the people you love at stake, what do you do? Athlete and idol, genius on and off the pitch with unwavering views on everything, Xavi is his own man. He is also the greatest footballer I have ever seen. And we need to put that into perspective for the people who scream “Fool! How can you watch Messi and say that! Stupid!”

Messi is a goalscorer who is growing into a great footballer. Xavi swears that Iniesta is a better footballer than he is, because Xavi understands. A footballer doesn’t just play in a game … he owns it, controls it even when he isn’t doing something to directly manage it. Messi at times drops in like a divine being, sprinkles stardust then jets off to wherever he goes when he’s being Taxicab Messi.

When Xavi plays football, he becomes football — the living, breathing embodiment of full involvement. The goal that he scored in the legendary manita is a goal that few players could have scored. The vision, the touch, the control and presence of mind were all otherworldly. He made it look so easy, but it really is one of the best goals you will ever have the pleasure of witnessing.

When an athlete … a genius athlete, makes a decision that causes us to wonder, it’s only natural to consider not only the decision but our own reaction. What would we do in that person’s shoes is one of the crucial questions. Holding the moral high ground in some situations is easy because it’s theoretical. “I would NEVER do such a thing. That’s disgusting.” It’s easy to answer questions that we will never be asked. That reality shades every last aspect of any move an athlete makes that might be questioned on non-sporting grounds. A player gets in a bar fight because some eejit prodded, pressed and goaded. “He should have shown restraint.” Easy to say.

This means that those of us who are bothered by the Xavi decision have precious little more than a theoretical leg to stand on. The hyperbolic ranting is over the top, and doesn’t treat the question, the situation, with the nuance that it deserves. Athletes are not role models. We don’t pay them to be role models, even as they are idolized and reap the benefits of that idolatry. Perhaps the broader question is whether being in the public eye in that way should be accompanied by an attendant awareness that “Hey, people look up to me.” Maybe.

Or maybe as private citizens, what athletes do is their business and theirs alone. Does it really matter to anyone who Tiger Woods messes around with, or how often? And if he was still hitting golf balls like he used to, would any of his peccadilloes really matter? Xavi is a Barça legend, a club icon who deserves the right to decide his future. But the question is the question: How do we come to grips with the decisions that our heroes make? To not discuss them is as incorrect as stomping around and hurling brickbats from staked-out high ground.

Xavi choosing to become an ambassador to the Qatar World Cup doesn’t mean that he endorses the appalling working conditions and tragic deaths any more than Guardiola did with his Qatar WC work, any more than buying an iPhone means that anyone is okay with the deaths that occurred at Chinese factories. But what does it mean? Maybe the ultimate value of asking the questions is that the process helps us come to grips with our own realities in crucial ways. You can’t say “I wouldn’t do what Xavi did.” You aren’t Xavi. This doesn’t mean you can’t be bothered by his decision, wonder what you might do in his place and hope that thinking about that will guide you in the next quandary that you might need to resolve.

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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.

37 Comments

  1. Davour
    May 22, 2015

    Thanks, an important post. I for one, as I have commented before, reacted with disappointment when Xavi chose this destination. I still feel the same. You are right, we are all buying Iphones and doing numerous things that affect the world negatively. But did he have to become an ambassador for the WC? On the other hand, every player who goes there to play in the tournament is, in a sense, just as “guilty”. And every fan who will watch these games is in on it, too. It is complex, and it is tragic. But there is influence, and then there is real influence. To me, Xavi could easily have made a better choice, and this choice would have mattered and, potentially, have had real impact. Can we ask our idols to become role models? Certainly not. But we can wish that they, as people, make the right decisions, especially when they are so vastly privileged and actually are able to pick and chose.

    Perhaps he there is some kind of return clause to Barca, connected to the sponsorship, that we know nothing of. Perhaps this seemed the most convenient choice for other reasons (though I can’t see how it would be, football-wise). But it is still unfortunate.

    • May 22, 2015

      I really like this article, although I do not agree with all of it.

      For full disclosure, I accepted money from Qatar for a commission about 20 months ago, for which I was paid $700. Some people I respect a lot refused the job for ethical reasons. Regardless of my choice back then, Davour sums up my exact feelings when he writes that a person who is so privileged he can pick and choose really should make the “right” decision.

      I’m boycotting WC 2022 and I am hugely disappointed that our captain has chosen to become its ambassador.

    • Inamess
      May 22, 2015

      Xavi certainly can’t be called naive. My sense is that he took everything into account and decided that the Qatar deal was too good to pass up. He and his family will make a fortune and he will probably work on some challenging business and sporting projects.

      At the same time, I find nothing wrong with criticizing Xavi for his decision and don’t really have a problem with the goal.com article if it raises awareness about the problems associated with the Qatar World Cup bid, rampant corruption in FIFA, and the almost slavelike working conditions for workers building the facilities for 2022.

  2. luisthebeast
    May 22, 2015

    I dont understand why the WC 2022 or the Russian WC are criticized so much.There is no country in the world who deserve to say that they are not made crimes against humanity in history.Did Qatar droped two atomic bombs to innocent people?Did Qatar killed millions in WWII like Germans?Did Qatar killed people in Central and North Amerika lika Spanish?Even us,small Greece in our history we made wars and crimes.Nobody can judge nobody.Thats what i believe.Leave the people of Russia and Qatar enjoy the games.

    • georgjorge
      May 23, 2015

      I don’t understand this argument at all. I am from Austria, which produced not one but two World Wars in the last century, but should that really keep me from criticizing regimes which commit atrocities in the here and now? Should I just stay quit on the likes of the Saudi Arabia government or ISIS? If nobody could judge nobody because of things done in the past, then every regime in the world could do whatever it pleased to its people (not that there’s much keeping them from doing it at the moment).

      I would love for the people of Qatar to enjoy their games, but I would also love for the migrant workers there not to die building their stadiums, or for minorities there to be accepted without having to hide who they are etc. Laissez-faire is not the answer to huge huminatarian problems in other states. Plus, I actually think sports and politics can’t avoid being mixed anymore, with entities like Gazprom sponsoring the Champions League and sports being used as a way to keep people happy and uncritical.

  3. luisthebeast
    May 22, 2015

    And we forget where the 2010 WC happened?In a country where black people suffered for years and years?And then nobody said anything.But ok Qatar is the problem in our perfect World.

    • May 23, 2015

      Plenty of people criticized WC 2010 and WC 2014. For so much money to be spent on building stadiums that do not benefit South Africans and Brazilians in any tangible way was a disgrace, and FIFA made hundreds of millions of dollars off of those tournaments.

  4. ChaoticReaper
    May 22, 2015

    Life is all about taking the biggest slice of the pie that you can get your hands on.

  5. Barcathegreatestever
    May 22, 2015

    Can it be true Alves will be paid 3 million per year at PSG and if so Barca won’t compete with that?

    • Valdemar II
      May 23, 2015

      That can’t be true. It’s less than 60k/week.

  6. IamXavi6
    May 22, 2015

    Yes it looks like Alves is gone as wwll. The nwgotiations have stalled as he wants a third year. PSG and City have offered more money and terms that suit Alves. My understanding is Alves has basicLly walked away from the negotiations.

    He isnt getting press right now about it only because eveeyone is focusing on Xavi

    • Barcathegreatestever
      May 22, 2015

      So they paid 20 million for Douglas and going to save 10 plus a year on Xavis salary then going to pay up for a real replacement and on principle won’t pay Alves what he’s worth on the open market. Wow the old days came back quick

    • May 23, 2015

      Just to be clear, they paid 4M for Douglas. At least that was my understanding.

  7. senyera7
    May 22, 2015

    Hey, maybe it isn’t so bad after all.
    What if Xavi’s only going there to perform his whole ‘Professor X’ routine and save the migrant workers? 😉

  8. May 23, 2015

    Am sorry about this long post. am afraid, all this is getting a bit too much, all this hypocrisy around Qatar.

    I come from a south Indian state Kerala, from which, millions work in the middle east including Qatar. Vast majority of these people are semi skilled or unskilled and spend thousands of Indian Rupees (to job agents; $1 = Rs.60) to get a chance to fly off to the ‘Gulf’, their dream land. They see the Gulf as the only way to bring out their families from utter poverty and millions of Indians have just done that. Even my own family got out of absolute poverty only when one of my uncle found a job in Saudi Arabia late in the 70’s and started sending money back to the family. There must be millions and millions of Indian families who have such stories, and there are even more millions and millions of families who wish or are striving hard to send at least one family member to Gulf.

    I personally know hundreds of people, near and far, who have improved their life with a job in Gulf. Even if they do have complaints about some issues here and there(nothing that they couldn’t manage, and normally expected in a foreign country) they are all extremely happy with the opportunity and have only commented how the facilities they got there – in simple terms boarding and lodging – were absolutely fine for their needs, which helped them to SAVE more money. They are also earning more than 10 times, at least, of what they can earn in India. And as I mentioned, most are unskilled or with little skills and work in construction industry, oil etc.

    I dont understand, why the West is not worried about the situations in the home countries of these labourers, which, if were anything close to good, these people would not have taken trouble to work in a foreign land, especially in a desert country.

    India have millions of bonded labourers, there are even millions of manual scavengers (people who have to clean and carry away human waste with bare hands, for a pittance; there are still dry open toilets in N.India) and there are even millions of child labourers. Forget these groups, even ordinary people work for a pittance. Our Govt absolutely dont have any idea about the number of home less people on streets, which must be millions too. During the ‘India’s pride’ Commonwealth games, the minimum wages guaranteed was Rs.131 per day (£1.4) and on an average the poor labourers got Rs.102 per day (just above £1). That was in the capital city, with lots of money to spend on labour, for the Games for which money was allotted in plenty. Imagine the situation outside the capital then.

    I have seen so many people in North India who still earn around Rs.50 per day (less than £1/$1), doing so menial jobs. No body care for them. For these people, Gulf is still an attraction and they will go there and work, for whatever they make in Gulf in one or two years would be much much more than what they can earn in India with a life time.

    My state, Kerala which now has a much better situation than rest of India (if Indian states were treated separately, Kerala would rank under 50 based on UN human development indices) is now considered like a mini Gulf, by lot of Indians who cannot afford to go to the Gulf, as the wage rates are the highest in India. A lot of these people also work in construction fields in my state, where the safety standards are even poorer than in Gulf and occassionally there are reports about North Indian labourers getting killed. There is no uproar on that. Is it because India is democratic and is a friend of the West?

    I havent heard about any deaths, in Gulf, among people I know. It is only occassionally even our local news papers report about some accidental death or anything, and really, a lot of media from our place have offices in Gulf. Its not that they miss such news.

    Am not saying, Qatar do not have any human right issues. But which country do not have? The human rights issues in Qatar would look so silly, if you compare it with that in India. No one seem to have problem when footballers going to US for their final career days. A country which occupied Iraq based on utter lies, and an invasion which ignited all around problems in the middle east, killing millions and millions of innocent in the middle East.

    How many of these western nations have decided to stop buying Qatari Oil?

    • Inamess
      May 23, 2015

      Thanks for the excellent post! I have to admit I find the entire Qatar World Cup situation bizarre and fascinating and would like to find out more about it by those who are more informed. Some questions I have are the following:

      1) Why does Qatar want to spend hundreds of billions to host the World Cup? Even if it brings a lot of attention to their country for future tourism and global branding, not much of the attention, at least these days, is very positive. World Cups and Olympics are also often huge financial disasters that don’t bring the promised rewards in terms of development and economic benefits. Hard to imagine most of their investment isn’t going to pay dividends.

      2) Who runs Qatar and how are its decisions made? From what I can make out a lot of power in the country is held by relatively young, well-educated members of the Royal family. Are these folks just football and sports fans gone wild as they can now afford to try to transform their nation into a global sports capital even though many Qataris don’t share their enthusiasm?

      3) Why is it that Barca got entangled with Qatar? It seems like their is this huge competition between Qatar and the UAE in terms of International Air Travel and Football. From what I can guess as soon as Barca won the treble in 2009, we became the hottest brand in football and I assume the club became instantly attractive to as a business partner to further their ambitons. The sad part for everybody is that their WC bid should never have went through for 2022 and perhaps everyone would have been better off had Qatar chosen a different way to further their national aspirations. Seems like a huge gamble and it could easily backfire.

      Given all these considerations you can easily see why recruiting the world’s most honored and respected footballer would be so important for them at this troubled time.

    • May 23, 2015

      Inamess, I cant answer all this very well. I have never worked there. But then, a friend who visited me just day before yesterday, who is a teacher in a school in Saudi Arabia mentioned he was spellbound by the frenzy around football there. During saturdays and sundays, he can see most European football shirts in his class. One of his student is a Liverpool fan and will be on absolutely red, even coming in red car, on a match day. My younger brother was working in Muscat for few years and he says he enjoyed being a football fan while there. He could feel the rage of El Classico by simply being there on a classico day!!. Really, people are crazy about football in middle east.
      And add to it the fact that Qatar has a strong team by Asian standards. If they keep building, who knows they wont be like S.Korea one day?

      And then, which country would not like to host a WC? Even my India, where most people and media believe, Cricket is the world ‘s foremost sport, is hosting the Under 17 WC in 2017!.
      My city too will be one of the venues, as our stadium can take more than 75,000, second largest in India. Now why? I really dont know. Some media thinks it will help develop football in India.

      The fact that hosting big games will not help develop situations in the host country is 50-50, largely depends on the host country and its Govt. Inspite of all the corruption and nepotism, hosting the 1982 Asian games helped improve the sports facilities in New Delhi in a big way. But, I still cant give a thurough answer on this. In my country the situation should be pretty same like in Brazil, probably terribly worse. When the govt spends little and further little on education, health and food, why splurge on games, which will be soon forgotten is a big question.

      Qatar has lots of money from oil. And its not just Indians or Philippinos or Bangladeshis who work there. You will find also lots of people from the west, who work for much bigger salaries than what they can make in UK or US. Am sure by 2022, world will see that Qatar will have some of the best football stadiums in the world. Its not that they have money, they also have talents from around the world, attracted by the big pay. Everything they do, they spend to get the best. If you ask me which airlines are safest – in terms of the best aircraft etc – I wont waste a moment in saying go for Emirates or Qatar or Etihad etc. These airlines have the most A380’s in their fleet. (I work in travel)

      From all the people I know, the only country which our people do not really appreciate working in (except for money) (and from which they will move to another gulf country if there is a chance) is Saudi Arabia. It is pretty very strict there. The eldest brother of my school friend learned medicine in USSR in early 80’s. Last decade he was working in Saudi and he came back without even completing 1 year. He said Moscow was a paradise compared to Saudi life!!! Now he is working in Dubai and he plans to settle there!!
      However, Saudi money is said to play a big part in US economy, so world wont discuss that much.

    • May 23, 2015

      Fotobirajesh, thank you for your excellent comment. Your point of view as seen from one of the countries workers leave in order to make money in the Gulf is a valuable one.

      I would like to counter with the following. To compare workers rights in one of the richest countries in the world to workers rights in South Asia is doing Qatar a huge favor. I think it would be fairer to compare it to other World Cup hosts, like Brazil and South Africa where, despite widespread poverty, workers did not die by the thousands in order to build stadiums.

    • May 23, 2015

      I didnt want to make a favour on Qatar at all Lev. I just wanted to give a view point, which is not discussed and at the same time I strongly feel there is no country who is a Saint.
      You are right, we did not hear about any deaths during Brazil and S. Africa. But the British media kept criticizing both these venues too. Now near to 2018, wonder what kind of stories will come out about Russia. I think they were pissed about not getting the WC for 18 and 22.
      I could say one thing though. As I said, owing to the large number of people working in the Gulf, our media covers Gulf news very widely, both visual and paper media. There are even special Gulf news editions in our TV (in Kerala)and lots of things are discussed. Every day there are reports in news papers on something about Gulf. (am more into news papers than TV). Honestly, I havent seen our news papers reporting the construction site deaths in Gulf. This inspite of having thousands or more (most unskilled labour from India should be here) of our people working in those sites. I dont know, either our media keeps mum on this or Indians are not dying in Gulf construction sites!!!
      But whenever an Indian is dead in the Gulf, it is a big news and political attention is sought to help the families to have the corpse back to home at the earliest and all. So, really, something is not right.

    • May 23, 2015

      From what I understand most of the laborers in Qatar are from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. Just last week a BBC crew working on a report in Qatar was detained.

      The criticism on Brazil and South Africa were just, in my opinion, and was not limited to the British press, nor do I believe it was / will be out of jealousy for not landing the WC themselves. In Brazil in particular, soccer mad as they might be, there were widespread protests against the World Cup.

      Then again, we might be getting to the point where we’ll just have to boycott every tournament organized by FIFA. Qatar is just the icing on the cake, and the issues with that venue are more than “just” the deaths of the construction workers.

    • georgjorge
      May 23, 2015

      Thank you for this very insightful comment! I didn’t know many of the things you wrote about.

      I guess most of the criticism of Qatar (as opposed to criticism of India) comes from them being such a rich country drawing such clear lines between the care with which they treat citizens and immigrants. It’s somehow understood that a economically poorer country such as India (though as you mention not Kerala, but we think in nationalistic categories) “needs to” have people doing work for almost nothing, but it’s hard to understand in a country with such a lot of money. And while there are distinctions between foreigners and immigrants in every country, few (at least no Western countries) are so strict about it.

      Having said that, I think if the next World Cup would be held in India and stadiums would be constructed under the same working conditions, I think there would also be criticism and demands for better working conditions.

    • May 23, 2015

      Two or three days back there was an article in Guardian about this, and they had a photo of a dormitory room, accommodation for these labourers. Believe me, if a job agent in India shows that photograph to someone who is approaching him for a job visa in Gulf, that poor man would grab that opportunity without a second thought. Because for a vast majority in India, those kind of accommodation looks fine, they dont have that in their present life!!! I think its because of the difference in perception of what makes good facilities for the rich west and the poor which creates this kind of criticsm, may be.

      There was lot of criticsm during the Commonwealth games in India too. But then how did it help? Whoever wanted to make money out of it made, the critics kept criticizing, the games went on. And The End was shown at the end.
      I think, a few officials were held responsible for some of the issues, were brought into public light, but even them are back to their normal lives and still continue to cheat. What change did all this make?
      The western media who shouts, ‘Not Safe’, about Qatar, I wonder what they would think if they visit an Indian construction site!

    • cule4ever
      May 23, 2015

      I respect your opinion that the British media might be blowing the whole issue out of of proportion. It could be because they lost the hosting rights or maybe for some other reason.
      But, I’ll have to vehemently and completely disagree with the way you made your point . You couldve mayde your point without appearing to denigrate India, especially by passing your opinion as a fact.

      There is no bonded slavery in India. To be a bonded slave, the so said slave should have a document of prime importance, say such as a passport/ land documents in the hands of the slave owner. Majority of poor people in India are not land holders, and they work as laborers. Also, the major difference being that India has outlawed such practices a long long time ago. Whereas in Qatar this practice of bonded slavery is “SYSTEMIC” under the name of kafala system. This very system is propagated by the Qatari government, and that makes it a huge difference to everyone.

      Also, nobody I mean nobody will pick Qatar as a destination if they knew before hand the number of travails they will undergo: extremely long hours under sapping heat, no pay, confiscation of passport, prison time unfer false charges in case of protesting, and lastly but not the least death!. And the list I gave does not even encompass the torture they undergo because of Qatari government propagated system.

      People live in cramped conditions and work terrible hours world over, but they do so wit the most basic right-as free people who have a right to quit and protest. You have no such thing as a right to protest in Qatar.

      That being said, a very tearful adios to a once in a generation player. Will miss you Xavi!!!! Farewell

    • May 25, 2015

      Really, Sir, no bonded labour in India? Even the Indian govt will be surprised to know that. Because even according to the govt counts, (which will be always less) the count is above 1/4th of a million. Different NGO’s rate it between 5 – 20 milliion. There is no need for a passport or ID card for someone to be bonded in India. Even today new and new ways of keeping poor bonded are coming out.

  9. MSN
    May 23, 2015

    Sadly the sport we all love is ruled by politicians. Fifa only wants money. I have attended wc games, fully knowing that I was giving money to a corrupt entity like fifa. Because I love the game and wanted to see Spain playing. Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets playing.

    I also own Barça jerseys with the qatar logo on it. This does not mean I endorse what’s happening with the workers in qatar. Hypocritical? No, I think the word is “complicated”. That’s the world we live on.

    Xavi surely has his reasons to go there, and to accept being an ambassador for the qatar wc. I wish he went someplace else, where I could still watch him play. I hope he does care about the workers situation there. Maybe he thinks he can make a difference at al sadd. No way of knowing. Like Kxevin, the romantic in me surely hope he does.

  10. Barcathegreatestever
    May 23, 2015

    The numbers of people dying in Quatar are shocking. More so because they are preventable with simple inexpensive monitoring for heat exhaustion. Treatment with fluid, electrolytes, rest and cooling is also cheap vs treating calamitous heat stroke and total organ failure, that is unless you don’t treat them at all which is what seems to be happening. Child labor and slavery in India 160million per NY Times is the worst of humanity. It changes nothing for Quatar taking advantage of people without any to build pyramids to a frivolous game. They have even more responsibility in the spotlight to show they care unless they don’t. They just don’t get it. People who believe that they are above others and aloof to their condition.

  11. luisthebeast
    May 23, 2015

    The truth is what fotobirajesh said:The problem is not Qatar.The problem is that there are a lot of poor countries in the world and the people looking for a better life.I live in Greece and every day thousands of people from Pakistan Syria and other countries come here and many of them die in the sea.We live in a sad world and the next years we will see worst things.Racism and facsism will grow in Europe.I dont blame FIFA that they are only care about money.Money is the god of our times.Sadly.

    • Barcathegreatestever
      May 23, 2015

      I had the privilege of visiting Greece as a teenager, backpacking and hitch hiking. It is such a beautiful country. I live in the US in a border town with Mexico over 50 percent Hispanic, also a beautiful place! We have similar and different problems as you and a lot less racism problems than other parts of our own country. Hatred begets hate but respecting rights to be treated with dignity is uplifting to everyone. Money is not God and Davour is right that we who do have a choice are responsible.

  12. barca96
    May 23, 2015

    Messi is in the squad. I hope he doesn’t play at all or at least play very very little making a cameo or just 1 half. Pique is another one that should sit it out.

    Bravo
    Montoya-Bartra-Matthieu-Adriano
    Rafinha-Masch-Xavi
    Pedro-Munir-Neymar

    Neymar, Vermaelen and Samper to make a cameo.

  13. ooga aga
    May 23, 2015

    Lineup per official site

    Masip,
    Adriano, Bartra, Vermaelen, Mathieu
    S. Roberto, Xavi, Rafinha
    Pedro, Messi y Neymar

  14. georgjorge
    May 23, 2015

    Must be the famous Catalan hospitality, offering their guests a much needed point on the plate…

    • Ryan
      May 23, 2015

      A shame for Eibar, who beat Cordoba by 3 goals but still go down because of the Barca-Depor result.

    • georgjorge
      May 23, 2015

      I know, I really would have liked them to stay up after their collecting enough money to actually get to play in the Primera from ordinary people in the town.

  15. georgjorge
    May 23, 2015

    Vermaelen thinks, “I wonder if they do that show after every game I play in”. Just joking, hoping he’ll play a lot more in his next season at Barca!

  16. G6O
    May 23, 2015

    It would have been fun if Messi had scored 5 goals, and he probably could have if he wanted to, not that it has any meaning. But the RM game is after ours so such heroics were doomed from the start. And now I am checking the livescore and I see that Cristiano is on a hatttrick already, in the 32nd minute…

    Anyway, I am not entirely up to date with the situation, but if I remember correctly, Eibar had problems with their stadium, which is too small for the league requirements, but they did not want to/did not have the means to expand it. Thus I am not 100% sure they completely wanted to avoid relegation and this result is OK for everyone involved

  17. deerwithwings
    May 23, 2015

    That was a funny game. My first time at camp nou in five years! However, it was the kind of game where the after party is better. Still, pretty cool to see messi score a brace. Xavi is a legend, and please don’t change the camp!

  18. Shaco
    May 24, 2015

    The world cup in Qatar was criticized heavily well before it became official, people said it would be too hot or worried about availability of alcohol. So, it is no shock that the media has been exaggerating issues in Qatar and misleading the suckers who don’t know any better.

    Construction of football stadiums in Qatar has been ongoing for years, the fact that hundreds of workers have died is in no way, unusual. That’s hundreds out of 1.2 MILLION, that is simply to be expected of any random group of 1.2 million! That’s not to say that some of the workers are not subject to poor living conditions, the people in Qatar who organize all of this certainly deserve their criticism. However, the media will never tell you that a lot of the poor conditions are of the workers’ own making! To keep it simple and to the point, a lot of the workers do not take care of their living space and it is filthy, which does not bode well for their health considering they share the space with other workers.

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