Andres Iniesta, siempre con nosotros

“This is my last season here.”

Six words bring a coda to a life exquisitely lived, human cinema verite in which the real-life hero on a quest for truth and beauty battled, struggled and finally emerged victorious.

Tears when he came, tears when he left are the bookends of Andres Iniesta’s time at FC Barcelona, the only club that he has really known. But unlike when he arrived, and only his parents wept with him, this time millions more shed the tears of loss — actual loss.

This isn’t the death in the actual sense, but a part of football — the pure game that is nothing more than feet, a ball, exquisite skill and heart — died today with six words.

When Iniesta signed a “contract for life,” many of us understood that it would be a short-lived life, that it was the exact right gesture from the club for a player who exemplifies everything pure about the game. But we could also see it in the way he moved, the little bit of extra time it took for him to recover after a particularly hard challenge, the way he would look at a ball and start to move, brain still much faster than the vessel that carries it, and we wondered, even as we hoped beyond hope, because wonderful, beautiful things are never, ever supposed to come to an end.

Iniesta is simply the most beautiful footballer that any of us have ever seen, a beauty that encompases every aspect of his life. On the pitch he slides and glides from spot to spot, almost leaving you with the sense that the turf beneath his feet is barely touched, a glissando more than a run. His strides were short because longer ones would leave less time for contact with the ball. His feet and ankles almost functioned as cups, holding, caressing the thing that mattered most as he came upon more talented, more physically gifted humans time and again, and vanquished them all, because that is what beauty does.

Beauty also makes the soul of a person who you will never meet in real life, shimmer. We don’t know that he is kind and gentle, the normal-sized, anonymous man who was able to masquerade as an electronics store clerk for a television advert. Iniesta’s advertising life in so many ways echoed his footballing one. He was almost always the guy who just wanted to help, whether an electronics shop clerk, or helping a bear feel less pain, then ceding the critter control of the remote as they lounged on the sofa. Everyone was happy, and that is all that matters.

His face was always open, always a reflection of what was inside, from behind eyes that seemed to miss nothing. Iniesta is a player for whom you always wanted the best because of the completely selfless way that he lived, and played. When other players scored huge goals then strutted and preened so that the world knew who scored it, again Iniesta was different.

His Iniestazo at Stamford Bridge was one of the most extraordinary moments in football, again because Iniesta was us. He hit that ball and was overcome, so he just ran, and ran, in desperate search of human contact, someone to hug, to touch so that he would understand it was real, the moment corporeal. He waved his shirt like a flag of his native country, Barça.

When he scored the biggest goal of any player’s liftime, the goal that won his nation the World Cup, the biggest prize on the biggest stage, he ripped off his shirt to expose his heart. His base layer was inscribed, in almost childlike letters, “Dani Jarque, always with us.”

Dani Jarque was an Espanyol player who most would never know. He died of sudden heart failure in 2009, a moment that sent Iniesta into something of a tailspin, something that he never called dapression. Instead, in his book The Artist, he chose careful-but-perfect words such as “free fall,” and “something that terrified me.”

Footballers, athletes, deal with death in ways quite different than the rest of us in part because their lives are defined on so many levels by a struggle for immortality. The play, the goal, the moment, the shot. No matter what happens, they will live on in fantasy, in images that capture them at that singular moment. Fans will always remember them in that way. We wonder why the Barça team, in this season where it might be able to go unbeaten in La Liga, want this so much, but we can’t understand. Death comes for us all, but how will we be remembered?

During the first Arsenal match after Arsene Wenger announced that he would be leaving the club, the Emirates was festooned with banners that honored The Invincibles, the Arsenal team that went through an entire Premiership season without being beaten. It’s legend, and immortality, a vision quest achieved.

Jarque must have affected Iniesta deeply, but think about the vision quest that also imbued his spirit and soul. We think about the crazy quilt of seconds, moments that define our lives and leave us in spots where we can be what and who we are. Everything for Iniesta until that moment found him in that spot. How could he have known, as he was inscribing that shirt, that he would have occasion to display it for the world to see, the heartfelt tribute to his friend as he ran, still seeking that human touch that would make it all real.

He didn’t know, but he had hope, as do we all. When the hope became reality Iniesta was again mortal, again one of us, being stunned that wildest dreams could come true. That beautiful soul is leaving his club.

Our eternal Capita, Carles Puyol, left Barça while raging against the fragility of his weapon, the body that he tossed hither and yon, always in the service of the club. It hurt.

Another member of that generation, Victor Valdes, left awash in spite and anger, on a knee that failed him at a routine moment. Because we never get to know keepers as we do other players, we felt it, but not in that way.

Xavi was the first one to really hurt because Xavi epitomized everything about Barça, about a way of playing that spit in the face of the hulking brutes that stomped the terra, looking to overpower and destroy. Xavi was an artisan, even as the exquisite calm with which he played the game carried with it an inscrutability. We never really felt like we knew Xavi even as he was our everything on the pitch.

Iniesta is different. This one hurts. Bad.

The most difficult part of the Roma loss for many culers wasn’t the loss. It was seeing Iniesta on the bench, seeing the face that couldn’t hide the pain and emotion of knowing that he would forever be part of this, and knowing there was no redemption. It was almost as if he knew it even before the match was over, eyes that see everything looking at his teammates and seeing what was about to happen. And he was powerless to stop it, this player whose beautiful sporting life devoted to helping, assisting others achieve glory, could only sit and watch. We hurt with him.

He showed up at a pivotal Champions League match with a haircut that could only be described as unfortunate. No matter. Like the fathers who show up at work with painted fingernails, it was for his daughter. So of course Iniesta did it. We wondered what kind of madness possessed a player on the global stage of La Liga and Champions League to show up with a mangled haircut vaguely reminiscent of an anime character, then we found out. It was the kid. It was, as always, a gesture that he could make to bring something beautiful to someone else’s life.

A forgotten part of the season of tragedy that shaped the view of so many culers at that time was when the Iniestas miscarried, another brick of sadness in that impossible to surmount wall. We can’t imagine how that affected the family that Iniesta was part of in the locker room, a group already reeling from heartache. But we can imagine that Iniesta said to himself, if a child came, that he would devote his life, do anything for them. A haircut was nothing, but at the same time it was everything as we can imagine him thinking of her, watching Daddy and giggling with glee.

Iniesta wants the best for everyone. It is how he plays. His shots are usually weak plunks at goal, desperate last options taken with a shrug and the knowledge that nobody else was going to do it, so why not. You almost get the feeling that he feels a bit bad when he scores because it brings someone else a bit of pain. It’s a spirit that embodies everything that he does, a person so flawless he seems a digital creation. Nobody could, in real life, be that … that … everything.

We can’t, shouldn’t be sad for ourselves that we will never see him again in Blaugrana, performing the impossible. He has brought us so much, done so much, taken so much in selfless service that all we should do is thank him, and marvel at him. He got kicked, time and again, and knew he would get kicked, time and again. He would lay there and rub the spot, then get up and know he was going to get kicked again. But he had to help his team. In many ways, piles and piles of goals would have messed up his iconography. Iniesta is supposed to exist as this wisp of something, a wonderful thing that makes everything better, like the scent from a bake shop that brightens your walk to work. He scored in his last big match for a trophy, at the end of a logical move, a rapier of a goal that was all deftness and influence, at the end the ball prodded home, because why not?

He was subbed off during that Copa destruction of Sevilla, and Lionel Messi, the greatest player of them all, the greatest player any of us have ever seen, hugged Iniesta like a child sharing a moment with an idol. His eyes were closed, like he wanted to capture the moment, the feeling, the weight of a man so slight as to verge on ephemeral. You got the sense that Iniesta would have stood there and held the hug for as long as Messi wanted, because in football as in life, he is devoted to making everyone better, to bringing beauty.

Even now, his final, heartrending gesture is a selfless one. He understands what he has to do, understands that to help his club grow, he has to leave it because human nature is to cling to extraordinary things, as they are all that we know. But he also understands that this sojourn to China will help his family, set them up forever, enabling them to, one day soon, just be able to sit around and be together.

Some scoff at Iniesta going to sell wine in China while kicking a football around, but that isn’t the point. As with everything for him, you have to look at the end game. He cried because he left one family, cried at a press conference because he is leaving another. Week after week, match after match, he has to leave his real family, his flesh and blood, kids he hugs, a wife he busses gently. We can’t know, but we can imagine that a man who wants nothing more than to make the lives of others beautiful with his actions, takes this last one with his ultimate end game in mind. And it’s beautiful.

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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.

44 Comments

  1. mvarfi
    April 27, 2018

    Thank you Kxevin, even though you made me teary.

  2. passandmove
    April 27, 2018

    I wish I could add something, but…you said it all. I’ll miss him terribly.

    PS. The comments on The Guardian website have bern remarkable — hardly any trolls. I doubt there’s a more universally beloved player in the world.

  3. Half and Half
    April 27, 2018

    A pleasure to watch him for the last 15 years. Truly an all time great and a very sad day, another piece of our soul and foundations lost.

  4. passandmove
    April 27, 2018

    You may have seen this Sid Lowe piece, but here it is again. There’s no other player, not even Messi, who’s made me gasp in disbelief as frequently. Swish, swish.

    “Some years ago now, Iniesta was recording a video, explaining to the camera as he walked through the move where he shifts the ball from one foot to another and back. He came to the defender, a fellow Barcelona player, and went past him. Swish, swish, and he was gone. He was ‘walking’ everyone through it but it still happened so fast as to be almost imperceptible. There was something of that in Saturday’s goal; the ball doesn’t even change direction much; the defender does, as if Iniesta is controlling him too. That day, there were only five or six people there but there was an audible gasp – from professional players.

    ‘Bloody hell,’ one spat out.”

  5. Jim
    April 27, 2018

    No scoffing at selling wine in China from me. Balague on Sky Sports today talking about as well as his family employed on the vineyard there is also apparently half his village. Again, nothing done just for himself. Hauling himself and uprooting the family off to China isn’t something Iniesta would do for no reason.

  6. Doug
    April 27, 2018

    I’m gutted. I started watching Barça in 2009, after hearing my friends talk so much about Messi. And, while Messi is the best, I couldn’t help noticing #6 and #8 in the midfield, playing in a way I had never seen before. Andres has always been my favorite, as well as my sons’, my brother’s, etc.. A phenomenal player, and just seems like such a great guy. I knew this announcement was coming, but it doesn’t make it any easier – this is going to leave a mark. Good luck Illusionista.

  7. georgjorge
    April 28, 2018

    Messi seems like an alien with the perfect body for playing football, obsessed by football. I have a very hard time imagining Messi doing something which has no relation to football at all (the same is also true for Xavi).

    Iniesta always seemed an ordinary guy who just happened to be incredibly good at football. I can easily imagine him being, say, an electrician or working a vineyard full-time, only kicking around a ball once a week with some friends after work.

    But he became so good at football that he could easily play with the two above – watch some games from the post-Guardiola years, and you’ll see how often Messi’s non-Iniesta-teammates fail to recognize what he is going to do and where he’s going to put the ball.

  8. ChaoticReaper
    April 28, 2018

    For me Xavi is better than Iniesta. As soon as Xavi declined, Spain and Barca went to shit and Penaldo won Euros, 4 champions league and 4 ballon dor. We have nothing to brag about anymore. 2009 and 2011 are a long time ago

    • Arielfair
      April 29, 2018

      Interesting comment though I think it’s not the right time.
      This is Iniesta’s moment & we just need to enjoy it. Growing up & watching Iniesta in the pre-Guardiola era, I often wondered at that almost white player who would come off as a substitute & play so well even like Ronaldinho. Injuries hurt him a lot in the early stages but in Barça matches I always looked for that substitution so I could enjoy his masterful display. I remember always telling my friends that he was too good for the bench. Messi is Messi indeed but before I fell in love with Messi I loved Iniesta. He appealed to me as a child & still appeals to me today constantly reminding me how football can be played as a carassed prized possession rather than the brutal speed wrenching spitball that we have become used to in the EPL. Alongside Xavi, who offered a more stable entity & leader, u got the sense that Iniesta offered motherhood as Xavier offered fatherhood. U really got the sense that he was the shoulder to cry on & one to go to feel at home. I love my dad always but I have always connected to my mum more. We love Xavi always but losing Iniesta is as losing something like a mother. Losing Messi would be like losing a child.
      Iniesta is special, not only as a player, but as a human being. He projects a certain vulnerability that reminds us that we all are whiles riding out the challenges both on & off the field to our profound dismay & satisfaction.
      I am going to miss him.
      A true football lover knows this.
      I was going to wait to comment later after having followed this page for a long time. But I will comment for my Iniesta. Ciao for now

      • georgjorge
        April 29, 2018

        Welcome to the comments!

        I like your metaphor on “riding out challenges”. I just wish I was able to glide as gracefully past the challenges in my life as Iniesta does with those on the pitch. Then again, outside the pitch there’s usually no referee to limit the nature of challenges thrown at us ; )

    • Jim
      April 28, 2018

      Jeez, I wish I’d never seen that . . .

  9. Bruce Wayne
    April 29, 2018

    So… We’re champions.

    • georgjorge
      April 29, 2018

      …and we’re very happy about it!

      Or are we? Even the cook in my Catalan bar, who has supported FC Barcelona for about fourty years and tells me he remembers when they were glad to qualify for Europe or win a cup, says he doesn’t care about the league at all if RM win the Champions League again this year.

      I think oversized expectations are the only thing keeping us from fully appreciating the achievement of winning La Liga, which has always been close to the end in the last years, a full four rounds before the end. FC Barcelona is neither entitled to a Champions League trophy nor to a La Liga trophy, so I find it very nice when they get (either) one ; )

      So…thanks team!

  10. TITO
    April 29, 2018

    I’ve never bought and i never thought i will buy a club jersey with someone’s name on it, but i am hesitating about it this time.
    I might be tempted to buy one with Iniesta’s name and number on the back.

    And yes, we are Champions. And yes, it is a big deal, our seventh in the last decade.

    • Jado
      April 30, 2018

      I couldn’t help it and bought one a week ago. You won’t regret it.

  11. Arielfair
    April 29, 2018

    The sad reality is that most fans think winning La Liga is nothing. But the other reality is that it is because in their minds Real Madrid is winning the UCL again & Barça just managed a measly league cup. But I dare say that Valverde will receive less stick if Madrid loses on Tuesday & is removed from UCL. When did a good season become so cos our rivals did no better than us. La Liga is nothing now cos Madrid is winning UCL again and again?
    We have condescended to a place of comparison that is now frustrating our every turn when unfortunately we don’t realize that we just don’t have the material to do so even as our rivals realized it a few years back whiles we were on high.
    Let us not be disillusioned by the supposed success of our rivals so that we can’t now enjoy a well deserved hard fought league cup in which these same rivals were beaten at each turn. If Madrid does not win the UCL many say they will be pathetic but for me they may already be as they seek to cover up a miserable campaign with a UCL cup & campaign which comes easily to them.
    Let us enjoy this moment for it is a good moment whether Madrid wins UCL or not

    • ooga aga
      April 29, 2018

      Great comment Arielfair. I personally don’t take anything for granted (fan since 1999) and am very happy with the doblete. Congratulations equip! Gracies, illusionista! Thank you Kevin for this year’s narrative, which always transcends sport! Thank you Jim and the other commenters, especially the ones that keep positivity front and center! Criticism is fine — but encouragement and joy come first. Ive enjoyed the ride immensely, except the one match vs Roma! But I have no right nor any desire to complain. We are lucky fans. I wish the complainers realized how lucky they are. Name one other team you’d rather be a fan of?! That’s what I thought! Now, time to enjoy Andres’ remaining matches.

    • georgjorge
      April 30, 2018

      I don’t think RM are “pathetic” right now, because winning the Champions League is also not easy at all, even with neglecting the league. But what I don’t agree with at all, and which is an assumption I’ve heard many times, is that RM doesn’t care about the league so our title isn’t worth a lot.

      You can bet the players and fans of RM would very much have liked to win the league this season, with or without a Champions League trophy to go with it. It’s not that they don’t care but that they simply were never able to get close to our team, so they had no choice but to give it up. We shouldn’t let our joy be diminished because somebody is naming the league title sour grapes.

    • Grindelwald
      April 30, 2018

      I think most barca fans unhappiness in winning the league while Madrid wins the champions league stems from the possibility of Ronaldo winning another worthless Dick measuring contest called the Ballon d’or – It’s sad but its the truth, nowadays most barca fans are just Messi fans. What they fail to understand is that even if Ronaldo wins 10 more ballon d’or, history will remember Messi as the greater of the two players and that doesn’t diminish Messi’s greatness in the least. I wasn’t ecstatic about winning the league and copa, but that’s due to apparent lack of competition form both Madrid sides than anything else; we were never in danger of ceding the league title at any point in time in this season. Maybe I’ll be happier if we can do a Manita on Madrid in the classico and also go the whorl season unbeaten!

      • Arielfair
        April 30, 2018

        Maybe you are right. But then again I think the two Madrid teams were not competition enough because we were that good. A true football fan will undoubtedly admit that Messi is the greatest we have seen in a long time on the ball. However this world is heading fast into the depths of the information age at a staggering speed with no brakes. In this age statistics or numbers mean everything to people. 5 balon dors is not 6 balon dors! So for many, the holder of 6 is better than the one with 5 on the hindsight of statistical analysis.
        Nevertheless I still think that most Messi & Barça fans are quickly looking towards a future determined by a newly appointed starry football god whose prime emphasis this year & the year before is to thwart Barça & cause the unthinkable in the UCL. More so, just for a moment let us just presume that Madrid is ousted tomorrow, Liverpool also bows out of UCL & Brazil wins the World Cup! I know the last won’t make many culers happy but the first two surely would.
        We worry too much about the things we cannot really control when we can just enjoy a well deserved achievement.
        Barça is barça not because of Madrid but because of a love for football & a genuine spark of fire which many clubs don’t possess. This fire is not because of Madrid but is fueled more by our clashes with them & by the cheers of true fans. We are not in crisis but in a transition & I think Valverde deserves to be lauded greatly.

      • Rokke
        May 1, 2018

        I definitely believe a significant portion of culers would care less about Madrid possibly retaining the CL title if there were no Ronaldo to then probably win the Balon d’Or. I think it’s a ridiculous mentality to have because 1. the team is obviously above any player, 2. we know Messi is the greatest so why does the public perception matter, and 3. the Balon d’Or doesn’t mean anything. It’s not an a award for being the best player, it’s an award for being perceived as the best player and that’s a big distinction. The voters are inherently biased towards one or the other, and in recent years the Balon d’Or has basically developed to an individual trophy given to the most prominent player on the CL winning team, irregardless of whether he was the best player on the team. It’s an award based on 7 games of the season so why bother putting so much emphasis on it?

        I’m also a bit saddened to read that so many people are dissatisfied with the double and would rather trade 1, or even 2, of the trophies we have won with the CL trophy. While our performance in the tournament has been too poor in recent years, I think it’s dangerous to put the competition on a pedestal like that. In the end, to win the trophy you have to be at your best for the 6 knockout games and the final, and of course you also have to get out of your group, but that’s usually pretty easy for most of the teams in the running for the trophy. The season lives or dies based on 7 games if the CL is the top priority. I don’t know if RM prioritise the CL over domestic competitions, but they are certainly masters at coming out on top in those 7 games, however their shortcomings in the league and CdR are on the other hand plenty. As a fan investing so much time in watching Barcelona play every single game of the season, it makes no sense to me to let less than a quarter of the games I watch throughout a season determine my happiness come the end of May.

  12. April 30, 2018

    Congrats to team and all fans..
    Am wondering how motivated we will be for the el classico. I would love a manita and I will forget Roma..So would the bloody British media too.

    Suarez assist for Messi first goal was absolutely brilliant,not just for its technique, but watch it, when he is about to get the ball, Messi is so far away.. Their friendship seem to have built a great understanding, may be.

    This liga is all about team work and Messi is not about stats at all. But I cant remember another of our title win in which Messi figures were no.1 for everything – goal, assist, chances, key pass, through balls, dribbles… That must be setting history..

  13. They-said-thered-be-jetpacks
    May 1, 2018

    This has been the hardest moment for me as a cule. Just imagine how much harder it’ll be to say goodbye to Messi?
    But Don Andres though :'(

  14. Jim
    May 1, 2018

    Ok, serious question. Is that the most needless awful goal you have ever seen in the CL ?

  15. Víctor
    May 1, 2018

    Bayern Munich became a team of bottlers…

  16. G6O
    May 1, 2018

    And this is why a good goalkeeper is so valuable.

    Both goals they let in in the first game were of the cheap kind that you expect Neuer to have saved. And then this happens.

    • Rokke
      May 1, 2018

      Yeah we’re very priviledged to have a 2nd backup of Cillessen’s quality.

  17. Víctor
    May 1, 2018

    Bayern were the better team in this entire tie… mistakes knocked them away…

    People are saying that RM is just doing what they know to do and it works… well, to be honest, I doubt that it is really working… they got past Juve and Bayern thanks to luck… relying on luck is not exactly the best strategy… either way, I don’t expect neither Liverpool or Roma to win the final… they are gonna be all “tricampeones de UEFA” fuck…

    • Rokke
      May 1, 2018

      Don’t count Liverpool out just yet

  18. Víctor
    May 1, 2018

    With Bayern out of the competition then it means that this year’s UCL will be won by a side that isn’t champions in their own league… hell, it might be won by a team that won’t even end up as runner up.

    Not belittling the UCL Championship. It is, undoubtly, a big one and a difficult one to win… but it is clear that its outcome depends a lot on the each team specific circumstances when it is played… rather than domestic leagues which outcome is the result of 10 months work…

    And I guess that the same can be said about World Cups? Albeit at a lesser level and that’s because the players of that competition just focus on that competition when it is being played…

    • G6O
      May 2, 2018

      I would say that only something like 35% of the World Cups have been won by a team that was without a doubt the best in the tournament.

      The rest were decided by luck, refereeing errors, fixed games, etc. etc.

      Zidane will now win his 3rd CL in a row, and Cristiano might get a 6th Balon d’Or, and you know how they will be praised as the greatest thing ever.

      But the reality is that the game has changed in such a way that it is now only a very small number of clubs (Madrid, us, Bayern to an extent, City maybe some day, but not there yet) that can win it, and it has been like that for a while. So either we beat Madrid or Madrid wins it by default. And even then they are doing so with quite a lot of luck.

      Problem is we keep committing suicides in the CL year after year so there is nobody left to stop them…

      • Víctor
        May 2, 2018

        Sure thing, I’d also risk saying that many World Cups (about half of them) weren’t really won by the best team… examples: Netherlands deserved to win a World Cup in the 70’s and Italy didn’t deserve to win it on 2006, France deserved it more, but a stupid reaction from Zidane deprived them of that…

  19. May 2, 2018

    Sad to see Bayern lose like that.
    But hey friends, tell me how many of you are not happy to see how easily Bayern were creating chances. Madrid dont look like a great team at all. Am sure our players would be so excited to play them now.
    How wonderful it would be to close this season with a manita el classico.

    • Víctor
      May 2, 2018

      Fucking Bayern Munich, the fact that they created lots of chances just made me raise my hopes of them knocking out RM… didn’t expect their keeper to be just stupid and their forwards waste too much chances…

      And even some people at Barça twitter are “praising Madrid” for sticking to doing what they know best and it working (which isn’t exactly a praise, is a way to hurl at Valverde and the team) but fail to see that Real Madrid just got lucky again… and even there the referee didn’t call that Marcelo handball which should have been a penalty for Bayern.

      So, no, it’s not that Madrid are being a “masterclass” team at UCL, they are there because of luck and their rivals’ deficiencies (and still getting referees’ favor). If sticking to do what “you know best” includes ditching La Liga and CdR to prioritize the UCL and advancing because of lucky moments then maybe we shouldn’t copy that…

      I would, however, support ditching CdR in favor of the UCL… team should focus on La Liga and UCL next year… I won’t care that much if they get knocked out at “Copa del Rey” QF if the team plays mostly a reserve squad during that tournament…

      • May 3, 2018

        We are the only team who won 2 trebles. We should be able to win all3, if our coaches can manage a good rotation. I dont think we should really ditch any tournament.
        Its was sheer over confidence, complacency and a choking coach that made us lose in Rome. I wish we only won the first leg 2-1. We would have then definitely played better in the second leg, in hindsight..
        Looking at all these semi finals, feel bad that the only team who play really well was Bayern. RM is all about luck and ref. I dont see anything great in Liverpool except that they make lightning fast counters and can press well.
        Anyways no point anymore. Cant wait for the classico..
        Also on your comment about on 2006WC, Argentina was the best playing team in that WC, until Pekerman choked and decided to replace Requelme with a mediocre player instead of Messi. Requelme had to be replaced as he got tired, it was one trait of his, but wrong player went in and Germany equalised. That team, played beautiful football, until they lost in the 2007 copa final agianst Brazil counters, they were a joy to watch.

  20. TITO
    May 2, 2018

    It is incredible actually how many factors determine the outcomes of KO stages and the luck or whatever they have or had to get so close for 3 in a row.
    They dont even have a freaking team for one trophy, nevermind two or more. Incredible.
    If someone should have had a go on more titles in this last decade it was us or even Bayern considering consistency. But here we are. Maybe this is why so many of us are frustrated and pissed off. With the best team in our history we should had more CL titles. God knows when we will assemble so many great talents in the same time. Time will tell.

  21. Víctor
    May 2, 2018

    Liverpool, despite all the praise they receive for their offensive power, showed us why defending is important. They conceded 2 goals at Anfield that gave Roma some hope, and today they were crap at defense… they were bottling it…

  22. Víctor
    May 2, 2018

    I mention this because I see Barcelona fans moaning about “how could Barça lose against Roma? Look what Liverpool is doing”… well, my friends, Liverpool is a different team and, obviously, has different characteristics… they scored in an easier way against Roma, but they also conceded goals that led them to struggle…

    Roma, despite all the belitting they receive, showed us that they are mentally strong team… never gives up…

  23. hereiam
    May 2, 2018

    I think us cule should stop obsessing with whatever RM is doing. It’s unhealthy.
    Regarding luck, three finals in a row is definitely not luck in my book. Sour grape is not a helpful attitude in any competitive sport.
    We did the double this year. Not bad at all, when nobody gave us a chance.
    However, the future is still bleak regardless of the trophies. We became a buying club, and La Masia project that gave us the golden generation has been abandoned. We turned our back against everything that made us great chasing trophies, and at what cost?
    We should stop our unhealthy obsession with RM. They took a page right out of our playbook, focused on young talents and youth products, and reaped the rewards. It might be time for us to get our head down, rebuild and make us great again instead of chasing trophies at all costs.

    • georgjorge
      May 3, 2018

      Great comment!

      For some fans, we are now at a point where the games RM play largely seem to determine whether Barcelona had a good season or not, whether Valverde should be sacked or retained. Fun question: if RM and Barcelona managed a “division of labour” – Barcelona remains king in La Liga, RM in Europe – would that be a disaster? Don’t you think RM fans would like to win La Liga almost as much as Barcelona fans want to win the Champions League?

      I think it’s true RM have learned some things in the past years (not all necessarily from Barcelona): a style of play combining offense with possesion and playing out of the back, not changing the coach or half the players every season, focusing more on youth development. It has served them well. Which is also why I don’t see a bleak future for Barca – there may be one or two years with less titles than before, but in the end the club is as capable of learning lessons as any. Kxevin mentioned that with regard to Barca B, those lessons are already starting to be learned.

  24. luisthebeast
    May 2, 2018

    If Barca had,lets say,3 CL until 1990 so now 8 cules would be not so obsessed about what madrid is doing.
    They created their european mentality in 1950s when Barca back then lost Di Stefano,won so many Ligas so they could nt win CL.
    Barca never had that in Europe and i must say winning 5 CL in last 26 years is amazing.
    We could had win more with little luck but CL is about luck,form,injuries,refs,e.t.c.

  25. Old_Messi
    May 3, 2018

    Fed up with football because of this fraud team from the Spanish capital. Fed up too because Barca + Pep have had a big helping hand in Real’s CL pathways to the finals since 2014.
    Never seen such a lucky team like Real Madrid in the history of football.
    Lucky against PSG at home with fake penalty. Extremely lucky against Juve with fake penalty and conceding only 3 goals overall. Beyond lucky against Bayern with the mentally weak Muller, Lewadowsky, Ribery, Ulreich.
    But I have a feeling that Salah-Mané-Firminho are the type of players who will show no mercy on the 26th May. Liverpool deserve to win the CL 2018 because they thrashed all teams convincingly since the 1/8 Finals. Real Madrid have no right to win the CL again.

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