A View From the City: The 2015 Champions League Final

Kaiser Wilhelm

This post is a guest post written by Isaiah. He traveled to Berlin for the 2015 Champions League final and this is how he experienced it. He can be found on Twitter as @rockofthune.

The sanctuary is a contemporary building, its interior cooler than the broiling sun outside. I’m sitting in a chair in the back row, looking up at the giant, hanging statue of Jesus. It is a modern take on the millennium-old concept of crucifixion: there is no cross, just a floating Jesus. Maybe he’s ascending to heaven or just looking out over his flock, I don’t know, but he looks peaceful, his face longer than ordinary depictions, his hands and feet oversized. What’s truly impressive about this space, however, are the walls; from the outside it’s just a drab, gray building, it’s octagonal shape rising out of a triangular patch of ground between 4 lane roads near Berlin, Germany’s Zoologischer Garten, but inside, it is a vibrant blue, a thousand squares of color glass pouring light in.

I am not a religious man, so it is not prayer that has brought me here, though the calm and cool of the sanctuary is a welcome respite from the heat of this early June day. I’m seated in the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church and while I breathe in this gorgeous space, Barcelona fans are nearby at an officially sanctioned Fan Zone. This is June 6, 2015 and in just over 5 hours, the Champions League Final will kick off in Berlin’s Olympiastadion, a few metro stops away. The fan zone is in front of the original church steeple, its former beauty reduced to an oddly elegant ruin, the victim of multiple direct hits in the bombing campaigns of World War Two. Many of the fans have tickets to the match itself, but several us are not so lucky and have to make do with the sense of camaraderie, the legality of drinking alcohol freely on the street, and finding a place showing the game.

My companion for the day, CJ, a good friend of mine from back in the States who happens to be in Berlin writing her dissertation and provided me with a ready made reason to ditch my domestic duties over a weekend and take a train 400 miles to the capital, ushers me out of the church and back into the masses of sweaty cules; senyeras and esteladas wave over their heads on long poles, scarves are balled up around fists and pumped in the air, and a circle of drums forms the nucleus and loudest point of this raucous crowd. The energy is infectious, even if the area itself is a drab affair, the only bits of Champions League merchandise on display is over-priced Heineken (though arguably any price whatsoever is too high) under an umbrella. There are some portapotties and a single FC Barcelona stand where they’re giving out keychains and flashing LED team crest pins. Fans stream in throughout the four or so hours we stay there, all-in-all maybe 500 have made the journey to this momentary Catalan outpost.

There are Juventus fans heading away from the area, maybe to their own fan zone at Alexanderplatz on the other side of the city or to the stadium, but there is no animosity on display. Indeed, the Berlin police reported afterward that there were 0 incidents involving fans over the entire weekend. While black and white jerseys dotted the city, they were routinely consumed by oceans of blaugrana; the similar ticket allocation suggested there were just as many Juve fans there and anecdotal evidence from those in attendance suggested Juve may even have had more fans actually in the stadium, but any quick glance around the city revealed far more Catalans than northern Italians. Both sets of fans though, were happy to pose together under antimadridista scarves or chant a variety of anti Real Madrid songs, the enemy of my enemy concept being a powerful dispeller of animosity on this occasion.

And suddenly it was time to cross Berlin to take our spots in the movie-theater-turned-bar that houses the Berlin Penya throughout the year and which was hosting a blowout viewing party. The site is a rambling building with sand out front, bare stone walls inside, and the feeling of a rundown arthouse. They had set up 3 large screens and, according to one of the members running the show, nearly 700 people attended when they were expecting 600. 2 of the screens were outside, but CJ and I grabbed prime seats inside, where the screen was not only the biggest, but also not affected by the sun, which wouldn’t be setting until after halftime. The downside is that there is no air conditioning and it was hotter than a coal furnace in there.

We saved our seats by placing my hat and my undershirt on the long wooden benches that made up the seating. And then we naturally turned to grilled sausage, dark beer, and meeting the variety of fans that had made the trip. A single mother whose life had taken her from her hometown in Colombia to Catalunya and ultimately to Berlin and her 7 year old daughter whose ended with the inevitable tears of a tired youngster overwhelmed by the delirious scenes around her. A pair of high school buddies from Burgos who are now living together in Poland. A crew of Swiss and Catalan Redditors meeting in person for the first time, their mishmash of languages an enjoyable challenge at times and a fun way of learning about their countries. A pair of honeymooning Californians on fast tour of the country that fortuitously involved their favorite team. We sat in one of the bar areas and chatted and drank with a pair of divorced Catalans who had nevertheless traveled together. CJ and I flooded our friends Whatsapps with pictures of flags, selfies, and videos of chants; we stuffed our faces and talked some more.

Eventually the whole reason for being in Berlin in the first place had to take place. We piled into the theater, excitement coursing through the crowd, the chants resuming. El Cant was shouted out by the whole crowd and then the game got under way. And we all know how it went after that. We also all know how I’ve proclaimed myself beyond the grasp of fear, but at 1-2 and in the 85th minute or so, I got down on my knees and stayed there until the final whistle. I could see how that might be misinterpreted as some sort of nervous prayer to the footballing gods, but I wasn’t worried. Instead, I was reveling in this team, these moments, and, in the end, the third goal.

After the match, when we were all beside ourselves with joy, in between flag wavings and chanting, I was telling everyone that would listen that I never expected to see another triplete in my lifetime. It’s a one time deal, a thing that you tell your children and grandchildren about while you show them the souvenir shirts and commemorative hats you got. Of all the teams in the world, yours was one of a handful that had been capable of pulling off such a great feat.

But then, suddenly, it was happening again. It was Xavi’s sendoff (cue the Xaaaavi, Xaaaavi chants) and what better way for one of the greatest players the team has ever seen to go out. While he did not play a starring role, he still lifted the cup and there were big smiles everywhere I looked. Whatever political chicanery is coming our way this summer, for those minutes, they were all gone. We were all in love again and we couldn’t wait to let everyone know it.

As I sit in the Kaiser Wilhelm church, surrounded by the blue light and the clicks of visitor’s cameras, I can hear a slow rumble of voices coming through the church’s doors. The noise swells from time-to-time, the words coming in clearly suddenly: I si tots animen, i si tots animen, i si tots animen, guanyarem, lo, lo-lo, lo, lo, loooo. I stand and follow CJ out the door, to do my part for the team I love, win or lose. I’m doing that now, just like I will be again in August, just like I will be in June of next year, whatever the stakes.

Thank you, Berlin.

20150606_230045
The author, minutes after the final whistle.

 

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater New York City area with his wife and daughter.

42 Comments

    • barca96
      June 10, 2015

      I can’t believe that website still exists. Last time I visited that site was in 2009.

  1. Barcathegreatestever
    June 8, 2015

    Lucky! Thanks for sharing

  2. luisthebeast
    June 8, 2015

    I will start my comment with a non Barca related point:It s the last game of the season,you wait for your first time in La Liga and what a surprise the other team who fight with you win easy against the best team away.Poor Girona.And Congrats Betis,Sep Blatter is proud of you.Well move on.Welcome to our club Aleix Vidal.I hope u win a lot trophies with us!And happy for u Isaiah what a great experience u had!I hope next year in Milano you have the same chance;-)

  3. luisthebeast
    June 8, 2015

    About the final my view is that with all due respect to Juventus,if before the game they told us that we had to win by 4 goals to be Champions,we could do it.The team was not at its best,but it was obvious how much better we are from any team in the world.We had a little arrogance in the game and i understand it.I never felt nervous but i was excited by our brillance.And what a great GK Ter Stegen is!His passing is amazing!

    • Chiu
      June 9, 2015

      Ter stegen potential is immense. Considering his young age and his first season in CL. His performance in the final was like an experienced GK. Very calm and composed. I think the GK order for next season is clear. Ter stegen will be our first choice in liga and CL. Bravo could be utlised in CDR. Ter stegen is our future. A great signings from Zubi.

  4. georgjorge
    June 9, 2015

    Alves renews until 2017.

    I have to say I’m puzzled by that, as Dani explicitly asked Bartomeu for “more respect”, and it seems that hiring another right back right after the final is the opposite of that. But I’m very happy to have Dani stay, though I guess that Vidal guy didn’t expect that to happen at all. Hope he can still get enough time on the field.

    • agar2515
      June 9, 2015

      Such great news! Vidal can’t play till January anyway and He can learn under Dani. Poor Montoya and Douglas ( its never happening lets just say that)

    • Davour
      June 9, 2015

      True, but perhaps he can be patient enough to endure next season as a transitional one (considering he can’t play until Jan anyway), gradually replacing Alves (in theory).

    • Chiu
      June 9, 2015

      montoya and douglas could be loaned or sold.

      Signing Vidal is correct decision too, as you said for transitional period before Alves contract expired in 2017. Alves would be the mentor for Vidal. It’s a good scenario.

  5. Davour
    June 9, 2015

    Thanks for the report! Wonderful city, too.

    Dani has signed the contract. Vidal has signed for the club. Seems confidence in Douglas is not overwhelming… (nor Montoya, of course, and rightfully so)

    • Dar_vincy
      June 9, 2015

      Good news indeed.
      Are we also inhibited from selling players?
      If no, the best decision for all concerned is to sell Montoya and Douglas.
      Also, for those who have watched Aleix Vidal, what skill sets does he bring to the team?

    • G6O
      June 9, 2015

      If Dani is staying, he will probably play part time RB back up, part time RW back up.

  6. June 9, 2015

    Enrique has renewed until 2017. Will be announced later.

    • June 9, 2015

      So Enrique, Alves, Pedro all are there. We look quite allright.

      However, imagine Barto going to the election without having renewed Alves – ie with Vidal able to play only from Jan, and having just Adriano/Montoya for the RB. It would have been very difficult for him to justify the situation. Something seems to have happened – a kind of give and take – between Barto and Alves. Both must have loosened a bit in their stand. We will never know how much.

    • georgjorge
      June 9, 2015

      The amazing thing is: with Alves staying, this team would look to be a serious contender for another big trophy next season without even needing to bring in any new players (except a midfielder for rotation and competition). This is truly exceptional nowadays with every big club spending lots and lots of money every transfer window to have a shot at greatness. Our transfers from last summer gave this team not only explosiveness but also durability.

      This is not to say that someone like Pogba couldn’t make the team even greater, but the team is in pretty good shape even without such a transfer.

  7. TITO
    June 9, 2015

    Things going well, quite obvious Bartomeu wants to strengthen his positions prior to elections.

  8. ciaran
    June 9, 2015

    You have to commend the job done by Bartomeu. He moved quickly to tie up important people and deals before leaving office and on the back of the teams success you have to imagine that he is the favourite for the elections now.

    The team is in a good situation now for next year even taking the transfer ban into consideration.
    Bravo & ter Stegen have the goalkeeping position locked down and we are in the best position we’ve ever been in that regard. Bravo was faultless all season in La Liga and ter Stegen has become a top class keeper as well as probably the best passer of the ball who has ever played in goals.

    At right back we have Alves & Vidal along with possibly one or both of Montoya & Douglas although I highly doubt that both will be here come September. My choice would be to try to sell off Douglas and see how both Montoya & Vidal do at right back as understudies to Alves for the season.
    At centre back we are stacked with Pique (back amongst the worlds best), Masch, Mathieu, Vermaelen & Bartra who is due a good long run in the team.
    At left back Alba is indispensable to our first XI and Adriano is solid backup if not a viable starting option. Couple those with Mathieu’s ability to cover the position. Alex Grimaldo is a promising youngster too although it’s very hard to recommend promoting a defender from the B team with their disastrous defensive record last season.

    In midfield we should have enough to cope with the chasm left in the wake of Xavi’s departure. Rakitic & Iniesta are the clear options at either side of Sergio. Rafinha impressed especially in the second half of the season and looks capable of playing a much bigger role next season. Sergi Roberto looks to have found a role under Lucho too, at pivote. While he lacked a cutting edge further forward his sensible distribution of the ball and ability to cover ground quickly looks to have reinvigorated his chances in the colours. Denis Suarez had a good season with Sevilla and is rumoured to be in contention for an early return from there with Halilovic going on loan in his place. Sergi Samper should also be able to compete for a spot in the squad too.

    Up front, Pedro renewing is good news even if I don’t think he’s capable of ever displacing any of our magnificent trio. Munir is likely to either spend the season with the first team or going out on loan. I’d like to see him in the squad to be honest. For half this season we looked at our bench and only had Pedro as a striking option, I’d like at least another for next year. Deulofeu is another question. It’s rumoured that he won’t accept another loan and to be honest I can’t see another loan doing anything for him as a footballer or an asset to the club. I’d promote him and work him to the bone on the training pitch. If that doesn’t work then sell him but if it does work we’d have one hell of a talent with the attitude to finally match his potential.

    I can’t really see many other bits of transfer business going through. Presidential candidates may offer a star but trying to fit them in to our gala XI is impossible. There is not a single player in world football that I would replace a single member of our starting XI with.

    • Inamess
      June 9, 2015

      Thanks for this excellent post! The obvious question is who will be the fourth choice midfielder after Rak, Iniesta and Rafinha. Lucho could try both Mascherano and Busquets together in midfield again but it did not work that well this year. One bright spot in the final if I remember correctly is that Busquets was pretty good in a more advanced role.

  9. ciaran
    June 9, 2015

    Just an interesting stat; considering the connection between our front three progressing so much in the second half of the year I just checked the average goals scored by Messi, Suarez & Neymar after the Sociedad match.
    In 34 matches 82 goals were scored by any of those three giving a goals per game of just over 2.4. Extrapolating that to the whole season of 58 matches (38 league & 20 cup) that would give an unbelievable 140 goals. Whilst obviously they won’t play all 58 games it is incredible to see the growth of their connection.
    Incredibly it is possible that they might get even better….

    • Doug
      June 9, 2015

      Absolutely – I was just thinking the same thing. Barring injuries, of course, there’s ample reason to believe Barca will be better next year.

    • Chiu
      June 10, 2015

      The squad is basically still very strong. What concern me most is how Lucho could keep the motivation and hunger after this treble season.

    • TITO
      June 10, 2015

      To do the unthinkable.
      Repeat of a treble in a successive season.

  10. luisthebeast
    June 9, 2015

    After 2011 this is the first summer without coach change!Great!Now we must wait to see who will be our next president.Bartomeu or Laporta.The truth is i dont trust both and i would like a change.My prediction is 50-50.We will see.

  11. luisthebeast
    June 9, 2015

    But i have to admit that a win of Laporta will be a great point to show again that we are a club that we are not only care about trophies.Bartomey was part of a board who made damage to the image and philosophy of our club and i hope that socis dont forget it.But i dont want Laporta to bring back Cruyff and do what he did in the past.New people and new ideas we need.

    • barca96
      June 10, 2015

      What did Cruyff do wrong in the past?

    • June 10, 2015

      Yes, please. What wrong did he do?

    • Chiu
      June 10, 2015

      Perhaps “luisthebeast” referring to some critical Cruyff statement and attacking comment to the board decision in the public/media (Ney cant play with Messi, MSN trident full of ego individual, suggestion to re-hire Pep,etc)

    • June 10, 2015

      Am not saying Cruff can do no wrong. May be the tone of my comment wasnt right. sorry. But these are things that he said, after the hon.presidency was taken away from him. You can expect anyone to be pissed of by that. Imagine, it was Pele/Maradona in that position, what all would have they said?
      I was genuinely interested in knowing, if Cruff did any wrong, while he was inside the club.

    • luisthebeast
      June 10, 2015

      Cruyff is a legend.But i am not sure if his return to the club will be good.I am sorry to say that but he looks to me like a stubborn old man and Lucho will not have an easy job with Johan around.Just my opinion.

  12. Cyclops
    June 10, 2015

    So i want to return back to that Pogba topic, sorry if yo tired of seeing it by now
    All i just want to say is, in the last couple of days i’ve been really glad that i aint the only one who thinks what i think of pogba, there are couple of people out there who’ve stated the fact and nothing but the fact on who pogba really is

    Pogba, is simply not who yo think he is, its as simple as that…His talents like his transfer fee is blown way out of proportion…And really the comparison with Xavi should have send alarm bells ringing immediately..yes, he’s got talents, but to the level where he’s being painted by the media?? definately not…I just want to say, if yo really believe in this pogba hype, then i really really hope you are an ardent follower of the Serie A, cause if its turns out that you just one of the people who base their football beliefs on what the papers says, then its unfortunate…And if yo yo do watch the Serie A, and yo really think pogba’s so good that the about 90 euro tagged on him is worth taking a chance on, then, – there are some poeple with very strange opinions, when the right opinion is right there, they just simply go left and bark the wrong option, now i just see that as one of those inexplicable things that i cant really do anything about.. so if the above is yo stands on the pogba issue, then its probably one of those inexplicable things

    The mere comparison To Xavi, should have ticked yo off…
    Modern Xavi or whatever yo want to call it, its still the biggest lie, pogba is not even suited to playing a deeplying playmaker role talk less of doing that in barca
    Do yo guys really take time to consider this, or yo just swallow whatever the Media spoonfeed yo with?? “Pogba’s a Xavi successor” thats the line that really gets to me, its just upsetting…saying yo want to replace Iniesta with Pogba, atleast we can start an argument on that one, but replacaing Xavi with him?? Thats shouldnt even be an argument- if yo really watch football, i mean this whole successor thingie is just tiring

    Right now literally everybody’s a Xavi seccessor, Pogba is one, Phelipe coutinho is another, ArseNal Ramsey is another, Rox barkley is another, and even Micheal Fletcher could be another, jeez!!

    That word successor is being thrown about very loosely these days, and its really annoying..
    Iniesta is another who’s caught “successor flu”, practically everybody on the face of the earth is an Iniesta succesor irrespective of your profession and gender- yes gender…
    This is all just….exasperating

  13. Cyclops
    June 10, 2015

    “Bartomue is now the favorite” ?? so i’m just wondering what made him the favorite
    Early this year i read an article, where the writer claimed that if barca where to win the treble some people would clamour for Barto and his goons to stay, i was like hell no, people are not so ficke-minded..Apparently its was justifiable for him to think so..
    In the face of what this board has done, i still cant believe that some people would now want to see them as the good guys

    Everybody’s talking about how they’ve made good signings before stepping down, that dosnt even impress me one bit, if you’re to going down you’re definately going down

    But then, so much for ‘good business’ its seems these board just have the screwing up traits ingrained in their DNA…
    Barca, were apparently the front runners to sign Gungogan- which i honestly think should be a priority signing before any other signing..
    But now its seems that transfer has been put on hold for pogba’s.
    We could get pogba, i really dont care, but could they just first secure gundogan for chrissake..
    I’m tired of seeing this pattern over and over again, same mistake being repeated over and over again, just seems like they dont entirely know who to sign, who not to, the player to let go, the player to keep

    And we know how this would probably end; Juventus would probably not sell Pogba, and its needless to say gundogan would be gone by then, or maybe we get pogba, and the dude dont just cut it or maybe its realise that oh, ‘that wasnt the most important player we needed to get’
    and i wonder how many times that scenario has already played out in recent years

    Couple years back, if we wanted to get Gundogan, it would’ve been one hell of a tug of war, but right now, courtsey of injuries, this dude’s available on a platter of gold and the board’s what, just dilly dallying, dragging their feet about
    Xavi’s gone, and the guy who could probably be a viable replacement is out there almost for free, and suprisingly RM are not poking their nose in for once, bayern, Man city, chelsea not there, just a man ut’d who’s no competition, and alas, Pogba’s a better deal, when with his transfer tag, we could get beef up our squad better than he alone could have done

    Its tiring when someone keep repeating the same mistake over and over again, and i’m not talking complex mistakes, simply obvious ordinary mistake..
    For instance, somebody left his house the first day and make the mistake of wearing his top inside out, thats one very obvious mistake that atleast even if yo repeat it the next day, the third day yo shouldnt, but imagine someone repeating it the third, fourt, fifth day, i mean, you’d wonder if the person’s okay..
    Cheap and obvious mistakes they should be no problem dealing with, the boards keep on repeating them, and i’m given the unpleasnt task of watching them do it, so much that i just tends to look by my side at my Colt .38, if it its still loaded

    • ciaran
      June 10, 2015

      I find it amusing that you talk about people jumping on the Pogba bandwagon yet you contrast it with Gundogan. To give a hint on the difference in calibre between the two you merely have to look at the figures being bandied around about their respective transfers and the teams that both are being linked with. Pogba is a million miles ahead of Gundogan on current ability as well as having huge potential. There is an obvious question mark over Gundogan’s fitness as back problems are notorious for reoccurring.

      From reading the two comments you made it looks like you are deriding people who are gunning for Pogba’s signing but if you have watched him any number of times this season and watched Gundogan and his completely out of sorts Dortmund I wouldn’t imagine you would have the same opinion as the majority of journalists and commenters on the comparison.

    • Jim
      June 10, 2015

      I’m not clear exactly what your argument is, Cyclops. If you aren’t impressed by any new signings would the signing of Gundogan not impress you either ? Is the fact that as you say nobody seems keen to take a chance on him telling us something about his injuries ? I don’t know much about board politics but you must be happy with the signings made for last and this year which were brought about by the board.

      I’ll say again – I’m not sure what the arguments are against Barto ( as opposed maybe to Rosell), other than the selling of the shirt which is a virtual non event for me, the updated stadium which again for me is badly needed ( but also needs sympathetically done) and the link with Qatar which could lead us into endless ethical/moral arguments most of which could be laid at various countries’ doors.

      However, I’m sure as I write this that now the season is ended and we’ve all celebrated an unbelievable achievement ( personally I drank way too much on the Saturday, slept most of Sunday and spent Monday catching up on the net with the celebrations – what a change in Messi speaking btw – ) Kxevin is lining up another great article, this time on the elections. Looking forward to it as knowing how he likes to look at things from both sides I’ve a feeling that the balance has changed over the season, despite his often mentioned dislike of the present incumbents. Nothing like a fat juicy worm on the end of a line, eh ? 🙂

      Btw, just in the spirit of even handed ness and because I’ve been struggling to see straight since the CL win , I wrote at the start of the season that LE needed to

      – lose the macho approach, esp with Pique
      – treat the players better
      – get an established back pairing of Pique and Mathieu ( well that didn’t happen but tbf after a poor and costly start to the season Masche has played his full part in the last third)
      – cut out the defensive errors and ensure sufficient numbers back against breakaways
      – keep Messi wide
      – not discard Xavi
      – cut down on the reckless long diagonal balls which just lost possession – much better now getting it to the feet of the front three
      – win at least one if not two of the big ones because this is an unrepeatable team.

      As an end of term assessment for me, at least, he has come a long way from where he was in August, and I suspect has learned a lot more about man management do well done to him.

  14. June 10, 2015

    Vilanova, few days before he passed away, said to Leo – You wont find a better club than Barca. Now Leo said this to Dani. Hopefully, Dani will repeat it to someone else!!!

  15. Cyclops
    June 10, 2015

    Sorry, when i say i wasnt impressing, i’m not saying i dont think those are good signing, i’m saying; in my opinion the boards are well and truly in my black books, and making ‘nice’ signing wont change that…

    Ciaran, firstly, if i sounded derisive, my bad, i’d no idea
    Secondly, are you seriously using their transfer tag to judge their talents? thats amazing really…As i said, pogba transfer fee is way inflated, and you could say the same of his ‘talents’
    You mentioned something about suitors, and i know i also said we’re only having this nearly non-existent competition for Gundogan cause of his injuries, this guy was out for about a year, if yo remember- time sufficient enough for any sort of stock he has to take a downward spiral
    And i dont really think you know Gundogan, he was arguably the spine of dortmund when they got to the final of the UCL..
    He practically ochestrated their play, halts opposition team attacks on their tracks and he did all in superb fashion, you could go rewatch the Dortmund vs Madrid semifinals if want…
    Seems like you’ve forgotten the hype that was around Gundogan after the 2013 CL…its might not be as big Pogba’s but i can tell you he had lots of admirers
    Trying to rate pogba above Gundogan, that his what, “miles above him”?? i really dont think you’ve watch him play at his best..As for him being injury prone, well, Thiago is also injury prone right ? and yet we still cry about him going to Bayern, just wondering how come…
    And yes i’d tell you that Gundogan at his best is far better than hyped up Pogba at his supposed best

    And right now, just heard Messi appeal has been thrown out, he’s to stand trial..
    This sort of news are really chilling, really scary, the possibility of what could happen
    Just when you’re celebrating, you get a rude awakening from your fantasy to real life- a real life where really bad things happen, and the protagonist dosnt always end up winning
    But then again, this happening just when the team completed a treble?
    Why do i have this odd feeling that ronaldo’s behing this??

    • ciaran
      June 10, 2015

      Gundogan may never return to his best is more the point. Comparing Gundogan of 2013 with Pogba of 2015 is pointless. Pogba of 2015 is undoubtedly a better footballer than Gundogan is now and it would take a blind man to miss that.
      Dortmund had a shocking season and were in the relegation places at times. They sorted themselves out by the second half of the season and managed to finish in the upper half of the table. Gundogan wasn’t even close to being their best player so how is he supposed to demand a spot on our team?

      It isn’t even that he is injury prone, he has an injury that is likely to stick with him throughout his career and missed an entire season.

      To say that I don’t know Gundogan is quite dismissive and incorrect. I watch and watched Dortmund on a regular basis and while I appreciate his ability to control tempo and play a good passing game and get stuck in to tackles when needed he brings nothing that we don’t have already with more talented players without the question mark over fitness.

      Pogba is a different story. Every player on Mino Raiola’s books nearly has the same problem of being overhyped. That doesn’t take anything away from his talent and potential. He is currently a really dangerous footballer and was undoubtedly their biggest threat in the CL final. He can score from distance, beat players one on one, hold possession well, win the ball in midfield and has the physicality that we have sorely lacked at times since Yaya left. Add the fact that he is young enough to develop into a truly world class footballer then there’s no wonder that they are discussing massive transfer fees.

      As with every player with potential, it may go unfulfilled. If he does work out he will be the best midfielder on the planet and I would certainly prefer him to be on our books of that is the case. He would add a completely different dimension to our play.

      Lastly, markets are driven by supply and demand. Everyone wants Pogba so his price increases. Very few want Gundogan so his price is significantly lower. You have to ask yourself why Bayern, Madrid, Barca and every other big club in the world are sniffing around one and not the other. Maybe they all are missing something?

  16. Cyclops
    June 10, 2015

    Oops sorry, that was supposed to be, ” when i said i wasnt impressed”

  17. June 10, 2015

    If someone could please explain how can Casillas, Alonso, Nadal etc. walk way after paying the fine and interest, but Messi cannot, I will be glad to agree with those who are adamant that there is no RM/Spanish Govt behind all this, its just law taking its course.

    • Jim
      June 10, 2015

      And why exactly the news comes out just as we win the treble ?

      Sorry, but I’ve long felt that judicial processes in Spain are open to hijack by powerful individuals.

  18. luisthebeast
    June 10, 2015

    Thats the big difference between England and Spain.People want to say that La Liga is better than EPL and all that.As a Barca fan,i dont give a s… about Spain NT and the others spanish teams.In Spain nobody outside Catalunya give respect to us.We won the treble and already they are use propaganda.Next season will be tough.In England there is no politics in football.All the teams are equal.In Spain always the disgusting white team will be the system favourites.

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