An open letter to my beloved club, aka “Shut up and play futbol”

Thanks to my good friends at Comcast, TV …. erm …. complexities spared me the joy of watching your meltdown on fancy-dancy high-definition. But even on a downloaded Web video feed, watching the Champions League match against Inter Milan leaves me with a number of thoughts, but one burning question:

Why do you need to say anything other than, “Well played, Inter”?

Whine, whine, ref, whine, whine, penalty, whine, whine, whine. Shut up, strap on a pair and play football because simply put, we got our butts kicked yesterday. The end. For the second match in a row, the other team wanted it more, and they took it.

–In El Clasic, Ramos put Messi on his backside with a man-sized foul. Messi leapt to his feet, started play and popped in a man-sized goal. Compare that with yesterday, when everybody is standing around, whining because Messi got whacked, instead of playing to the match. So Maicon waltzed in and scored a goal. Whine, whine, whine.

The referee was the same nationality as the opposing coach? I don’t care if you saw the ref tongue-kissing the opposing coach in the tunnel before the match. Man up and play above it.

Last season, we were the best club in the world, and we have the 6 trophies to prove it. Accolades rained from the heavens, and we became pretty sure that our dung was unscented. We had refereeing issues, and we played through them. The other team howled about some perceived injustices and we reminded them that referees are only human, and usually make errors in both directions. When we advanced through Chelsea to the Champions League final, that club and their fans screamed bloody murder about the match officials. We were above it all.

My, how times change.

This season, every club circled the match with us on the calendar, saying “We’ll show them.” And mostly, we’ve played above that. But there have been matches where we haven’t, and it is nobody’s fault but our own. Their third goal was offside? So what. They had an attack called offside that wasn’t. So what.

Did the referees make you cede midfield control? Did the referees make our gazillion dollar striker play like a cipher? Did the referee allow the club who wanted it more to control the Best Player in the World? No. You brought a scalpel to a sword fight, and you got stabbed. So bandage the wound and be thankful that you can live to fight another day.

Just shut up.

I want my club to have class, and pride, to show how the game is played, win or lose. What is the other side supposed to do, stand aside and let us score goals because we play the Beautiful Game, and any time we don’t win it’s a crime against mankind? Champions overcome adversity, even of their own making. You were loose, sloppy and looked tired. None of that is the referee’s fault. The three goals that we allowed weren’t the referee’s fault. Offside? So what. Play defense until you hear the whistle. Throwing up your arms as the other club knocks the ball into the net is what teams used to do against us.

And we would celebrate our goal as they surrounded the referee, crying about the injustice of it all. Have we become those teams? Really?

Being the Best Club in the World doesn’t just mean winning on the pitch. It means having class, style and dignity off the pitch. If you lose, it doesn’t really matter how you lost. You lost. Congratulate the other team and move on to the next match. Like men.

I hate to say it, but I think that players and fans have become spoiled. One small part of me hates to admit this, but in some ways I hope that Inter does knock us out next week. I think we need some humility, some understanding of how extraordinary last season was. Right now, I don’t think that we — club and cules as a collective — understand that. What we have is an expectation that it should continue, and it’s someone else’s fault if it doesn’t.

And when it doesn’t, we want answers. It’s X player’s fault, it’s Y player’s fault, we shouldn’t have sold Z player, we’re better without that Big Swede on the pitch, etc, etc. The Espanyol players each ran almost 2km more in the effort required to grab a draw against us. We as a team ran 10km less than we did while putting Arsenal to the sword. Yep, that’s the official’s fault. You bet.

Goals are a collective effort, just as losses or draws are.

But comportment is also a collective effort. Next week is the home leg. I strongly suggest that instead of whining about various things, none of which had anything to do with our inability to put the ball in the net more than once, that talk on the pitch and play the game that we know how to play, the way that we know how to play it. And if it isn’t good enough we say “Congratulations, good luck,” and move on.

Look to your coach, who offered no excuses, for guidance:

“Today was not our best game and Inter are not a team who let you play easily. I congratulate our opponents and hope we can do better in the second leg.”

I leave it to Jose Mourinho to ask the same question that I have:

“Why can Barcelona not act like champions and accept they lost on the night to a team that played better?”

Why not, indeed? Be proud, be Barca, and live up to the standard embodied in our motto, “More than a club.”

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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.


  1. Jose
    April 21, 2010

    “And when it doesn’t, we want answers. It’s X player’s fault, it’s Y player’s fault, we shouldn’t have sold Z player, we’re better without that Big Swede on the pitch, etc, etc. The Espanyol players each ran almost 2km more in the effort required to grab a draw against us. We as a team ran 10km less than we did while putting Arsenal to the sword. Yep, that’s the official’s fault. You bet.”

    I would like this repeated over and over.

    After the loss, I didn’t want to get involved in any of these online discussion regarding “whose fault it was” or “our poor losing attitude”. Because honestly, yesterday our behavior as a team and club was down there with the rest of them. Yesterday we were as human and as “typical” as Chelsea, Manchester United, Inter and Real effin’ Madrid. We weren’t mes que un club, we weren’t the exemplary club that we have been in the last few years–both with our on the field play and our off the field humility.

  2. Jnice
    April 21, 2010

    Truer words have never been spoken.

    Exactly what I’m saying. Whining like this only tarnishes our image and makes more dislike us.

    I’ll paste what I said in the last post:

    Disappointed that our players are such sore losers. All of them acknowledge Inter was the better team, but all of them are talking about the referees as if they have never benefited from bad calls, missed calls, whatever. Do they not remember what happened a year ago? Our image looks horrible right now. Instead of saying “Inter played a great game, but this tie isn’t over, we our confident we can overcome them at home” they fucking cry. It’s unacceptable to me.

  3. barca96
    April 21, 2010

    i was very disappointed as well with the comments.
    it was a painful experience to hear the sport news labelling us lucky last year bla bla blah and now complaining.

    messi got up and played all year, i didnt understand why last night he acted like a certain portuguese diva..crynaldo.
    was really surprised..

    • Jnice
      April 21, 2010

      Maybe all the praise and adoration is getting to their heads… Certain sense of entitlement they feel now.

      I like what Dani said, although on the field he should show this attitude more:

      “Sometimes the referees are biased but complaining is for losers. There is no need to dwell on the loss. We should only look forward to the return leg.”


  4. Jennifer
    April 21, 2010

    Great post. This will be the last Barca-related writing I read until next leg. This left me with a positive spirit and I don’t want to be dragged down to the filthy level where all these Kill-Ibra-everything-is-his-fault-hunters are. It really disgusts me, and makes me feel ashamed of being a Barca supporter..

    Barcelona knows that they can play on a level where no other team can reach them, and that’s the level to reach next wedensday if we are going to the final.

  5. fcbfan
    April 21, 2010

    Agreed Kxevin. A shame that Sport and EMD are shouting “robbery” like Chels last year.

    Pep may have got his tactics wrong, but he is one classy gentleman
    Visca Barca!

  6. April 21, 2010

    I share the disappointment. Regardless of the fact that it was at the heat of the moment, they had to know better. Complaining in two games in a row. The worst sign you can expect from such a club.

    P.S. I cannt share you that final wish though.In no ways I hope that Inter does knock us out next week. But I understand where you are coming from.

  7. Bebop
    April 21, 2010

    My feelings exactly. It’s one thing we lose this match, it’s another thing that a lot of fans and the players just could not accept this and appreciate it for what it is.
    It saddens me that Xavi told to Mourinho to hug the ref. And the post match conference I hear from the PLAYERS is all whine this, whine that. Only pep said that Inter were the better team, full stop.
    It’s easy to put the blame on the ref, on pep, the tactics, on X players. But the reality is we just lost because we didn’t play like Man and we think we could roll out with that.
    We are spoiled. You just can see it through the reactions of the players, the fans, the media. It’s strange to see that we were just outplayed but the headlines on the media was: ROBBERY.
    I just hope this is the match we can all learn from, if not, maybe, just maybe it needs the Liga and the CL for us to learns.
    I hope we can open our eyes before it’s too late.
    Visca el Barca!!

    • Mikel
      April 21, 2010

      I still don’t see where all this outplayed thing comes from. In the Uefa page I see that we had a LOT more possesion than them, and we had more shots than them, in their stadium, so in my book those statistics don’t say we were outplayed. What I saw was that Inter were extremely lucky to get a 3-1, but we are going to win at the Camp Nou.

      • Bebop
        April 21, 2010

        We can dominate any game and still lose and be outplayed. It’s not just about the possession. Just look at arsenal esp vs the other big teams. They have all the possession and chances in the whole premier league, but they don’t know what to do with it. So teams like chelsea, MU, can easily soak up their possession, and play effective straight pass football to devastating effect. Thats what Inter did against us.
        We were outplayed cause even though we have all the possession, we don’t know what to do with it. And you can see inter played the game of their life and played better and more effectively than we are. IMO the team that played better are the team that played with more passion, grit, and played effectively, not necessarily dominate the game. And in my view, even though we dominate the possession you can see when the other team plays better than you.
        In all fairness, IMO, yes we were outplayed, but it’s also because we let them to.
        If we played our A game and man up, just like the little things Kxevin mention in the post, we wouldn’t ever be outplayed. We can still lose, but not outplayed. But that’s not the case this time, so Inter made us pay.
        I believe we can still win a get through the final, but we need to put our Sh*t back together 😀

  8. vicsoc8
    April 21, 2010

    After all the extra games we’ve played this season, all the stress we’ve been under, and all the tired legs our players have the only way we are going to win trophies this season is by having the right outlook and attitude.

    Besides looking like whiny hypocrites and somewhat tarnishing the image of the club, the way the players comported themselves bodes ill for our title run-ins. When players start looking for excuses it shows that they aren’t willing to rise above all adversity, which we will have to in a week.

    That’s what makes this loss so upsetting, the actions and words of the players both during the match and afterwards. I won’t be upset if we get knocked out next Wednesday as long as we show up and give it our all and act with dignity.

  9. Anand
    April 21, 2010

    We might get knocked off.. But come next Wednesday we will show up on the field and play like a real Barcelona side… Mark my words

  10. April 21, 2010

    Nice to see you really vent one out Kxevin. Isaiah got his after the first leg in London, now you get yours.

    All of this fanatical weeping and accusatory comments come from the idea of having “blinders” as a fan. When things are great, everything is great. When things go sour, everything sucks. Just look at how we at this blog treat things. And yes, I mean WE. All of us. Anyone who pretends to be above it is in la la land, cuz everyone’s done it this year. Here are just a few examples.

    Dani Alves – When he tried that overhead kick that hit the post last week, everyone was on his cajones. But then after a match, people are shouting “we need a replacement.”

    Bojan – We talk about his inabilities pretty much 24/7, but when he scores against Athletic, people are goin ape sh** on him.

    Sergio – Yesterday was the largest indicator as to why YAYA needs to play, and we all agree on it. Sergio pretty much got torn a new one on this blog after yesterday, but earlier this season we all had that smelly stuff on our noses from trying to imagine him as the new Pep in the DM role.

    Ibra – I don’t even have to explain this one.

    All I’m saying, is that I admire you Kxev tremendously for putting it out there as it should be put out there. Same with you Isaiah.

    I think without your grounded sense of the sport, and the club, this blog community would be no more than a radically sensational brood or passionate fans who are as quickly swayed in opinion as the American public is with its political leaders.

    Myself included. I’m just as bad as the rest of us, but I wanted to point out our areas of “flip flop”edness.

  11. waleed
    April 21, 2010

    its your opinion, In my open letter I’d say : I’m proud of you, you played against all the circumstances and you tried your best…you can do it..we believe in you..etc
    I would never tell them to SHUT UP, too much for a team that have always made us proud!

    and now you think that they should learn from Mou how to act like champions?? really?? Mou is the biggest whiner in the history of football and had been banned like 1000 games now for his attacks on refs and football federation, and you think he should judge our guys?? really??
    i would ask if Mou had to travel to Barcelona by bus what you think he would say?? what did our guys said ?? WE HAVE NO EXCUSE.

    the guys were exhausted both mentally and physically for god sake! playing three games per week,missing key players, travelling for 14 hours, and suffering a huge amount of injustice , and in return we tell them to shut up!

    Forca Barca!

    • Kxevin
      April 21, 2010

      We can all acknowledge that they were tired. They looked tired against Espanyol, they looked tired yesterday. That isn’t my point. My point is handle adversity like men. Inter outplayed us. Nobody’s fault but ours. The whining has to stop.

      For the record, Mourinho is such a giant, festering douchebag that I’m sure his breath smells like vinegar and water. But his statement is spot on, as well as a subsequent one that we have been winning for so long that we have forgotten how to lose.

      Is he an exemplar as regards telling our players how to behave? Nope. Is he qualified to make an observation? Yes. And his point is a valid one.

      • Hilal
        April 21, 2010

        Yeah, but its still the pot calling the kettle black. If there is any coach who has no right to make that kind of observation it is him (maybe Benitez too). If he is so aware of it and how bad it is let him stop doing so much before he speaks of other.+

  12. Hilal
    April 21, 2010

    Hmmm. I agree with this but at the same time I can see why the players feel the way they do. We played like shit, that is for sure, but at the same time we were robbed. If you cannot ignore the fact that we played like crap I am not sure how you can ignore the fact that the ref officiated like crap. We didnt help ourselves by playing so poorly but when dives are constantly being called as fouls for Inter and not so for us, when obvious penalty claims go unanswered and offside goals stand, players get frustrated. I am sure they were as frustrated at themselves as they were with the ref. We all hold them to some high moral standard because they play for the club BUT they are all human and if we feel emotional about the team imagine how they feel. Players, a lot of them, that have grown up knowing only Barca. You can kind of understand how they might lose control after a game like that.

    What is important to me is that Pep remained comnposed and calm, he did not make excuses and he did not whine. He showed the way for the players and they will surely follow.

    Oh and Kxevin, Mourinho can f**k right off. Like he is one to talk about class or being a “good” loser. He is a worst of them all. The amount of times he has bitched, whined and cried after a game when things havent gone his way. There are dozens of youtube clips dedicated purely to that. Not sure why I would have to remind anyone of that.

    At least Pep has class. No mention of bus rides or refereeing or anything. I guarantee if the tables were turned Mourinho would say something ludicrous to the cameras like he has many many times.

    • Kxevin
      April 21, 2010

      We weren’t robbed. We gave it away. After scoring that goal we had the opportunity to tighten up and put the match to bed. Instead we conceded a schoolboy goal, then fell apart.

      I didn’t see any obvious, stone-cold penalty claims, and I’m a die-hard a cule as anybody alive. Offside goals were given AND taken away. It happens.

      None of which negates the fact that last season, we played through it. This season, we’re whining about it. And it’s nonsense. As noted above, just because Mourinho is a the moral equivalent of a blind squirrel, doesn’t mean he can’t find the occasional nut.

      • Hilal
        April 21, 2010

        We gave it away AND we were robbed. Which makes it so much worse and probably why it stings so much. We lost this game, but the ref made it twice as hard as it could have been. I am not saying we didnt bring it on ourselves or we arent to blame. We are, but so is the ref. If he officiated properly then it is 2-1 or maybe even 2-2. Which makes the second leg not so bad.

        The offside called against Milito didnt go in the back of the net so we dont know if that would have been a goal. He missed two one on ones so who is to say he wouldnt miss 3. The one that did go in the back of the net WAS offside though. The pen on Pique was stone-cold, nowhere near the ball, not even looking at it, obstructing the player from getting to the ball, in the box, in a goal scoring position. You wont get a much clearer pen than that. Even the english commentators on Sky, who are usually very tough on pen calls couldnt believe it wasnt given. Even the Alves one, 9 times out of 10, is given. How was it any different to the pen Fabs got in the first leg against us? Tackle from behind, no touch on the ball, in the box. Pen. Alves’s rep as a diving little assclown is why we didnt get that one.

        Also I am not sure you can say the players didnt whine about things last season either. Lets not forget all the whinging about parked buses and anti football after the first leg vs chelsea. We never experienced this type of game last year so I am not sure you can claim we would have played through it. Sure there were some dodgy calls in some games last year, but the biggest of them went for us not against us. Last night they pretty much ALL went against us. That is something new and hopefully they will learn from it and next time they will play through it. I cannot remember a game though which such poor refereeing against us that we played through….although feel free to point one out if it has slipped my mind.

        As for Mourinho, he can suck it. He has no right to say anything about anyone. He is the worst loser out there so really for him to be saying anything is just a joke. Not saying he isnt right, but coming from him, it sounds hollow. You would have been better off using Puyol or Alves’ words.. “Whining is for losers”

  13. Manish
    April 21, 2010

    I am keenly looking forward to the return leg. I am sure we will set the field alight that night. It will be a great night for the cules and football lovers. All the best Barca. Wishing you play like you do.

  14. Tyler
    April 21, 2010

    My only question now is how likely is 2-0 next week. I want to feel like we can, because we did the exact thing to them in our home last time. But I’m afraid that this Inter team is entirely different from then. I would hate to see our champions league hopes end because we didn’t show up to play. Beat us at our best and hats off to you, but we were not anywhere near our best yesterday.

  15. fcbfan
    April 21, 2010

    Actually Mourinho did say nice things about Barca after Inter 2-0 loss in camp Nou last Nov. He also said something along the line of if Inter were to play Barca in the semis he will be ready… and he was.

    Next is Pep’s turn!

  16. Plan B
    April 21, 2010

    So how is that whole [plan b deal looking for y’all now? Alot of you were salivating about spending a whole 66million for the plan b. When plan B doesn’t work, there isn’t the plan A to fall back on! Why, because hard headed Pep insisted on getting rid of a real striker for a fake one. ANd now, he benches great players like Yaya and Henry after they play great. It was always going to hurt the team. When the team scrapes by mediocre teams 1-0, while real madrid is brushing aside the same teams 4-1, you had to know something was up. Yeah yeah yeah. Some say last season was unique. We should have been allowed to prove that. You take away the best chemistry in the offensive trio the world has seen, what did you expect, same production? If the only change in that line up had been Pedro for henry, then the output wouldve been somewhat the same. But to get rid of Eto’o and then bench Henry right away means you destroyed great chemistry. Please don’t give me the henry has been shit story line. Henry and yaya have unfairly been benched regardless of their form, and regardless of how much Ibra, Busquets and Pedro have sucked at different times.

    Barca’s own worst enemy is Pep Guardiola. Everyone wants to label him a genius. In some areas, he is. But his player selections and treatment of certain players have not only sucked, but they have now come back to hurt the team. This will continue for a long time. A great team has been reduced from great, to just very good, not because they stopped working hard, but because key component of what made them great have been yanked or discarded. How do you replace Ibra with Abidal when down 3-1? When you have Henry and Bojan on the bench?

    • Tyler
      April 21, 2010

      If you think Pep is the enemy, you haven’t been paying attention closely enough. Thanks for the deep insight though. We’ll keep on winning silverware with Pep, kthnxbye.

  17. Bebop
    April 21, 2010

    IMO, I don’t really care what Mourinho is. What I care about is Barca. Of course maybe Mourinho is not the prime example for what he said, maybe he’s just playing mind games, but in all honesty, it is the truth. And truth hurts.
    I don’t really want to go this way, but when Thong Boy said we were the better team, but EE can still win, I appreciate that. Of course after that he said something bout Mourinho and EE. But he speaks the truth and accept it, so why can’t we? I think we should learn the positive sides of things first.

  18. Bebop
    April 21, 2010

    is that the real lucas? LOL. that cheer me up.
    “Few ppl in their pyjamas now. Either NGog has a baseball bat down there or hes one blessed, blessed boy. Jesús Christi its like another arm!”… LOL

  19. Rohanv
    April 21, 2010

    They have absolutely become spoiled, and it almost seems like the narratives are affecting them more than before. Xavi’s been complaining more. At El Clasico, Messi bounces up because he knows too much whining will bring out the Villarato-cries and not much else, less whining will show those merengues what Barca is and score goals.

    But in Europe Inter are the big, bad destroyers and we are the creators, so obviously the calls have to go our way, right? I can spare a thought or two for both Messi and Xavi, they’ve endured so much kicking and shoving around in the past month it’s ridiculous. But what did they think would happen to champions? Things get easier? No everyone is (literally) going to be biting at your heels.

    That said, I want Messi to be a False 9, proper, the way he did in El Clasico. Not behind someone else. I don’t care where Ibra is on the pitch, I think he’s a great asset and if used right and played well can score, but I want Messi looking for the space behind their back line (with Xavi looking to pass to him), not running at it. It’s clear he’s looking for the goal everytime he gets the ball, and we don’t have enough time to teach him to link up with Ibra. So if it’s two strikers up there, fine, but I want Messi to play where he’s turned in his best performances this year.

  20. Kxevin
    April 21, 2010

    For the record, we should be able to beat Inter 2-0 at home and advance. That away goal was huge. And with Milito out there instead of Puyol, I actually feel a little better. He stays home more, and is better at the attack starting aspects of play.

    Our excellence is rooted in the midfield, and we just didn’t have it there yesterday. We will have it at home, because we always do. And if Inter can put together two matches like that against us, they will be worthy winners of the tie. I just want us to do whatever we do with class and style, fighting like crazed wolverines.

    • Rohanv
      April 21, 2010

      I can’t agree with your sentiment about losing next week just for the sake of a lesson, but I can honestly say I would like all the decisions to go against us then as well, and still prosper. It’s not going to be a f*cking disgrace, it’s going to be a win or lose situation. And hopefully Pep can get everyone to play through whatever pain, and play to the whistle.

    • Tyler
      April 21, 2010

      You’re right Kxevin, after I typed my comment and then I thought of that first 20 minutes at Arsenal where we had like 20 shots on goal. We just need to be focused, determined, and hungry. I didn’t see any of that yesterday, but we can do this. I believe in Barca!

  21. stephen
    April 21, 2010

    Mostly agree. We have become spoiled and we have a right to demand excellence, I don’t think blaming X player or Y player is necesarily whinning, I think its demanding excellence. I’d accept the loss if i KNEW that we weren’t better, but we ARE better than that, and there’s no reason that game should’ve been lost.

    Inter did not outplay us, we UNDERplayed them.

  22. Bebop
    April 21, 2010

    Hopefully Inter would wear all white at the Camp Nou 😀

  23. Abhinav
    April 21, 2010

    i think blaming few players is hardly the reason for your defeat. As for fans expectations i believe that since winning the CL and sixtuple the fan following has been huge and many of these new fans have super huge expectations.
    The truth is half the journey is left and until than hold your heads high and believe in ur team and coach to turn the tide.
    I am EE fan and i believe my team can win the league .. i have faith in pelle.. now compare what barca with pep have done in the last 2 yrs how can u mistrust their will , desire and tactics….
    questioning yaya and ibra is ok but saying pep is fool is wrong bcoz he is good at what he does.
    Some times teams just lose.. its not their day…
    And believe me to barca fans this may seem out of the blues but inter beating milan at home was quite probable for me… maybe 3-1 is bit more but 2-1 wud have been considered by many neutrals….
    For me barca still can qualify … although i will support inter….
    Wish u all d luck…

    • April 21, 2010

      Thank you storm trooper Abhinav!
      Spoken like a true fan.
      May the EE remain a strong and and worthy opponent.

      • Bebop
        April 21, 2010

        Thanks for the comment.
        And btw, Why do you call your own team EE?? So you accept that your team is Evil.. hehe.. Just kidding. 😀
        Good luck for you, esp for pellegrini.

        • fcbfan
          April 21, 2010

          hehehe an EE fan introducing him/herself as EE fan made my day 😀

          PS:: Bebop, Re: Lucas Leiva tweeets, I believe that’s the real one.

          • Abhinav
            April 21, 2010

            well u got to talk to ppl in the way they understand u better if u want to make ur own point….
            also ee does mean its an empire and every empire is evil for some… so no problems… 🙂
            and we are way more grown up to be bothered by ppl calling names….
            but lets not go more off topic here….

  24. Vinod
    April 21, 2010

    Nicely written Kxevin. My wounded Interista ego is slightly assuaged after this. For the record, a lot of Barca fans who stopped by did acknowledge the things you wrote, but I can’t help feeling disappointed by some of the very public ‘we wuz robbed’ comments from the likes of Xavi – a player I idolize and expect to be above such comments.

    I also agree that Mourinho is the last person to hand out advice on ‘graceful losing’. He can get pretty nasty when we lose, the only exception being the game at the Camp Nou back in November, when he put up his hands and admitted we were bested. Looking forward to the second leg now.

  25. April 21, 2010

    Translate this to Catalan, Castillian and send it to the team, the papers, eveyone. Could not have been better put.

    When ever I see that pout-face of warriors like Puyol or Xavi, I know we’re in trouble. It’s bad enough to see it in the game…and I’m not even gonna watch thse post games whining. Hope we can turn the corner in 7 days time. It’ll take something like this letter from the mouth of Pep to turn it.

    May the champions become the champions, whoever that turns out to be.

  26. fcbfan
    April 21, 2010

    @Abhinab: thanks!

    “I am EE fan ” … 😀 you obviouly read this blog a bit.

    You might want to root for us to go through, cause if we don’t we are definitely going to go all out to win the league 🙂

  27. Helge
    April 21, 2010

    First of all, we’ve lost a match against a VERY strong side. One can argue about that our team was completely off yesterday (and I’m talking about the whole team in general here), but a part of it goes also down to Inter. I’ve had 4 favourites for this year’s CL since the beginning of the season: Barca, Real, Chelsea and Inter.
    Inter have out-classed a Chelsea side trained by Mr. Champions League Carlo Ancelotti, a side which consisted of almost the same players as last year and even our historic Barca team didn’t succeed to win against them. Now they’ve beaten us convincingly, gave us the first loss with more than one goal difference since Pep took over, this tells something about Inter’s class.

    We know the reverse, other teams being out-classed by us and then we say: “They weren’t particularly off shape, we were simply too strong”. I am certain the loss yesterday wasn’t all about Inter’s superiority, but maybe we felt a bit like other sides must have felt when playing against us: We were motivated, Pep tried everything to work out a good game plan, but somehow it went all wrong. Inter Milan this season, with Sneijder in midfield, the best centerback duo of the world etc., are capable of making you look poorly. And this can also happen to us.

    “I hate to say it, but I think that players and fans have become spoiled. One small part of me hates to admit this, but in some ways I hope that Inter does knock us out next week. I think we need some humility, some understanding of how extraordinary last season was. Right now, I don’t think that we — club and cules as a collective — understand that. What we have is an expectation that it should continue, and it’s someone else’s fault if it doesn’t.”
    History shows us that outstanding performances are particularly tough to be repeated, and even more, it is often followed by a huge decline. That’s why I didn’t expect it to continue, I was telling myself at the beginning of the season that a single trophy would practically be as valuable as the sextuple from last year. I wanted Real Madrid to get eliminated from the CL. It happened, thanks to OL earlier than I could have imagined. Then, we were 5 points ahead in la Liga, we beat Real Madrid twice. I gotta admit that this made my expectations grow.
    So I for myself am conscious about the “extraordinarity” of last season, but the development of this season until 1 week ago could lead to an ultra-high expectation. I have already learned my lesson now, there’s no need for Inter to kick us out. I should have sticked to my original expectations for this season, then I would be a VERY happy man. Instead, I’ve been devastated on Saturday and once again yesterday. Strangely, I was mentally more down on Saturday compared to yesterday…

    Let’s hope the team can focus on the essential things of our vintage Barça football for the next matches. Nothing’s lost yet, but even if we lose, we shall still be proud of our team. Even if we don’t win a trophy, I will still trust in Pep, in Barça, in la Masia. But I will be more disappointed than necessary, because in the last weeks or months, I’ve been misled by too high expectations.

  28. Abhinav
    April 21, 2010

    well i dont think we want it any other way… u go to the final or not, the league will be decided before that. So if CL can fatigue u it will…. coz i seriously doubt u will hand over the league if u go to the CL finals .. u r going to be even more ruthless than…

    The reason why i frequent this blog is that i have been a new football fan and EE appealed me… mostly bcoz every one else is a barca fan….
    And its always nice to have the views from ur side ….
    plus the comments after the inter defeat have been so heartening to read… i am seeing this on ur blog which i have seen on many EE blogs.. so may be the two sides are not so different after big defeats….
    Lastly one good thing the draught has done to EE is… fans have become patient… we enjoy every victory and accept losses easily(with desire to see us improve)…..

    What is good abt this defeat is that it has shown to other teams barcelona can be defeated…hope this had happened before clasico… bcoz i think that deep down atleast some EE players thot they could not overcome barca….this wud have been a gr8 morale booster…..and belief is the first step to success…

    • Bebop
      April 21, 2010

      Your a new football fan? that’s great! Maybe we can convert you to support Barca.. You already called the other team EE.. 😀
      Just kidding. ;D
      Here’s to more years being a football fan! 😀

      • Abhinav
        April 21, 2010

        hehe… i dont think its possible after the two heartbreaks u have given me this season.. but i will one day see real defeat barca and feel happy…
        BTW football is gr8… dont know why i missed it for so many yrs…

  29. Museum
    April 21, 2010

    My feelings exactly. Let’s hope Pep is expressing similar thoughts to the squad. There is absolutely no point in paying any mind to being “robbed” or anything like that. If we were robbed, we can’t complain because we let it happen. In fact, I was hanging out off Las Ramblas one night in Barcelona and a couple of guys cornered me. I knew they were going to try to go through my pockets while “distracting” me. But I only had a 10 Euro bill and some cigarettes, no wallet, no passport. So I let them rob me. What can I say, I was a bit drunk, and it seemed it wouldn’t be worth the trouble to put up a fight. But I didn’t complain. So let’s just remember what the score was the last time Inter came to Camp Nou and get ready for them to come again.

  30. Sal
    April 21, 2010

    The truth is the game is over and the result is 3-1 advantage Inter. No amount of whining is going to change that. All we can hope is that both players and Pep realise their mistakes and learn from them. The advantage is now they know what Inter is capable off so they will play very agressive like a wounded animal. And when messi has his night we all know what he will do.

  31. Tyler
    April 21, 2010

    totally off topic: but I wanted to take this game and this result to reiterate a thought I had mentioned a couple weeks ago. If we are going to stick to a small squad under pep’s reign and not splash a lot of money on transfers that’s fine. I prefer it that way. But, that doesn’t mean we can ignore the value of depth. If we are going to trust in our cantera system (which we should) we should start from the beginning of the season bleeding them into the squad. Once again, I know there is a huge talent gap between being a highly ranked cantera player and actually starting in a la liga game, but guess what? The way our team is structured THATS ALL WE HAVE. There are no Hlebs, Gudjohnsens, Sylvinhos, on our bench anymore and that’s fine. But if that is the case, someone has to step up. And it’s ludicrous to think we can play an entire season without suffering numerous injuries to our top players especially when they are playing as much as they are.

    It’s obviously too late in the season to do anything about it now, however; I think dos santos or thiago or any of those highly ranked cantera players should get some playing time against a team like Xerez on Saturday. Even if we can’t use cantera players in crucial matches, they can take minutes and stress off the legs of our most important players in matches that should be no difficulty, i.e. tenerife, zaragosa, xerez. this is just my opinion, take it for what it’s worth, which is not much haha.

    • Sal
      April 21, 2010

      totally agree, we lack depth and that is a fact, as soon as Xavi-iniesta messi or Alvez are injured we don’t have adequate replacements. Add an out of form Henry and comlete lack of trust from Pep in Yayha and we have a disaster waiting to happen. We need at least three new layers. A Deco-like technical attaicking midfielder (fabregas), a Leftwinger (Silva) and a central forward to compete with Ibra (Villa), add these three players and we dominate everyone.

      • Tyler
        April 21, 2010

        I definitely like all those players, but I think the current school of thought in our camp is that we don’t like spending a lot of money on a lot of players like other teams do *cough EE cough* so that brings me to my previous point. If we aren’t gonna buy them, let’s make ’em via our youth system. And in order to do that, we need to play them in real games and get them experience. Or we could just go buy all those players you mentioned and easily spend over 100 million euro for all three. And on top of that wait a year for them to adapt to our system which looks to be the time for the learning curve for new players (see: Henry, Keita, etc.)

  32. Kxevin
    April 21, 2010

    Another thing to give us hope: Inter’s away strip is white. Something about that color makes us kick ass. 😀

  33. Drew
    April 21, 2010

    Kxevin — Excellent write-up, and glad to see some honest perspective on the post-match blame-shifting. As an interista, I can tell you that my club have certainly been guilty of this sort of petulance a few times ourselves — perhaps it just goes with being so unacclimated to losing. Oh well, I guess everyone’s sports heroes can be whiny brats every once in a while.

    We might have had the match of our season yesterday, but literally anything can happen next week, and I wouldn’t be surprised by any result. Let’s just hope it’s a great match, and even if you guys knock us off I’ll be cheering for you in the final.

  34. Sal
    April 21, 2010

    I read Maicon is out for second leg, i hope not. We should be able to defeat the strongest Inter or just be OUT.

  35. cliveee
    April 21, 2010

    just finished watching the game from downloaded source after i knew the scoreline. so i felt more calm i guess.

    i think we did not play our best, but we weren’t that terrible. we had chances that we should have taken better, but we did not. and inter took their chances very well. so they were the better side, and i think that is the only thing they played better than us.

    we had 68% possession overall, just the same as the game we played against depor at home. and we were saying how dominated we were. how about last night? same possession, and to me, the ball movement wasn’t that bad either. we played pretty good tiki-taka in fact, otherwise the possession cannot reach 55%.

    and that’s why we were not short of chances at all:
    -on one play which pedro received a pass from xavi and his shot blocked by inter’s defense.
    -pique one on one against julio cesar was the result of our well circulated ball movement.
    -overhead kick by pedro controlled and lobbed by pique.
    -maxwell received a thru ball almost near the 6 yard box, only if he dared to turn around and face one on one with cesar.

    we did not play that bad offensively. we sucked at defense last night. it is a collective mistake. we expected the ref to protect us like any other la liga ref(which is not happening so often either). but when they don’t we are vexed and played badly. that’s like a child loses temper when the other boy is not listening to his words and then throw punches. what a shame. i did not appreciate what xavi had said to the media either and think we must move on.

  36. Bebop
    April 21, 2010

    Some of our best chances is at the end of the second half. It’s when we just realized how we should really play, like will smith says “this sh*t just got real!”. But it was to little to late.
    But if I can take comfort, even in our bad day we can still make chances, even if didn’t really try. 🙂

  37. Bashir
    April 21, 2010


    Whats with all this “end of the world” talk.
    If the players are spoiled they would have lost more games then
    they have this season..

    Its just ONE GAME on a hole season, and every team can have a bad day

    Alot of things went against us and we paid the prize.

    1. Prolly the players already talk about the ref before the match
    and they already had bad “feelings”

    2. The field were very dry (Mou made sure) so not only did it affect our passes and play, it also put mental presure on the players

    3. We did not RUN nor bring our A game

    4. Out of form ZLATAN

    5. Early goal ment false security


    In other words shyt happens, but to blame a surtain player
    or that they spoiled or full of succes is BOLOCKS

    The only thing that worries me is, leadin 2-0 at home, or even 3-0 is not so safe knowin how INTER PLAY the counter

    • Jim
      April 21, 2010

      It’s actually two in a row that has thrown our chances of winning anything this year into doubt but I take your point.

  38. Bashir
    April 21, 2010

    PPL say we had chances.

    WHAT CHANCES ? the last 10 mins with Pique up there dont count

    Lets face it, playin with out of form striker and no striker
    after the sub ment we were out of ATTACK options.

    Messi was movin away from inter goal area cause they were million men markin him and he did the right, move down n creat space

    no one used it… and thats a team issue not just zlatan

  39. Helge
    April 21, 2010

    LFP scheduled our away match @ Villarreal on Saturday, May 1, 22:00 CET.
    Wtf? CL match against Inter on Wednesday, so why the hell don’t we get to play on Sunday? It’s a tough away match against Villarreal, and we’ve got to play them only 3 days after CL match. Sucks!

    • waleed
      April 21, 2010

      every single team in the CL is getting all the support needed from their local federation, and its their right, Villar’s federation on the other hand, is making sure to screw us both in the league and in the CL!!. Leon , for example, got their league match postponed to another week! and you know that Inter played on Friday.

  40. E
    April 21, 2010

    Inter fan here , Kxevin i must say that you my friend are a class act , great write up

  41. Helge
    April 21, 2010

    hehe, seems like yesterday’s ref wasn’t the only bad one during the CL semis 🙂

  42. lovelymofo
    April 21, 2010

    Excellent piece, though personally I’d rather we skip losing out on playing a Champion’s League final at the Bernabeu. I’m sure Pep will find a way to shut down the complaining about the refs, etc. Humility? Sure we need it, but we also need astounding amounts of confidence and if that sometimes veers into conceit, I’ll cringe at it, but hope they manage it and continue their winning ways.

    Anyway, I was going to tell you my high school basketball story, but it was getting too long so here’s the gist – playing the same team repeatedly means that it’s likely they’ll beat us at least once. I’m confident that Barça will win at home – the only worry is that the team not allow any goals and that we score at least 3 (to be on the safe side). Something totally doable, though naturally, I’d feel more confident if Iniesta were in the side.

  43. Kxevin
    April 21, 2010

    Hey, whoa, there’s another match going on today! Imagine that. My favorite line, from the Guardian’s live match blogger regarding Ribery, who was sent off for a vicious challenge:

    “Word is he hasn’t been terribly clever off the pitch in recent times.”


    • lovelymofo
      April 21, 2010

      I didn’t see the red card incident. Was it deserved?

    • vicsoc8
      April 21, 2010

      Toulalan sent off for a second yellow as well. 10 men a piece.

      • lovelymofo
        April 21, 2010

        Crazy match. Funtimes! for a neutral observer.

        Also – Gomez, has he been any good for Bayern? He was out injured for a while, no?

    • Alexinho
      April 21, 2010

      Is it just me or is the Ribery scandal flying quite low under the radar?

      (“What scandal?”)

    • lovelymofo
      April 21, 2010

      Who did he used to play for? Heh.

      I probably shouldn’t be laughing, we’ve had a crappy few games, but still. Also – finally saw the replay for Ribery’s red card, totally deserved.

      • Tajh
        April 21, 2010

        idk what about EE that brings players down. Him and Sneijder has been amazing for their teams…I would love to see any of them in our ranks even of there Madrid past..

  44. Eklavya
    April 21, 2010

    Lisandro Lopez has a work rate out of this world.

  45. Eklavya
    April 21, 2010

    Robben moaning until Van Gaal calms him down… hehe

  46. Eklavya
    April 21, 2010

    The Yaya’s ad:



    • Alexinho
      April 21, 2010

      Just imagine a retired Toure Yaya, taking up the profession of a shoe cobbler, sitting at a table with shoelaces, leather, etc. strewn about. He squints, slams his fists against the table, and the shoes make themselves.

      Well found Eklavya-

  47. cliveee
    April 21, 2010

    red card for Ribery’s tackle is a bit harsh, but not undeservedly. still, Bayern played thru that adversity like men and they got a result they deserved.

  48. April 21, 2010

    The red was totally deserved. Most refs would have been half-assed about it and given him a yellow, especially fearing the crowd’s reaction. But it was technically the correct decision. If anything, the second yellow on Toulalan was a touch harsh, but even then I think it was technically correct.

    I like it when refs are tough but fair for both sides. He didn’t fall prey to all the jeers and whistles from the crowd, so good job ref. Still think Lyon take it though.

    As for us, don’t know what to say. I don’t think we’re capable of going through at this stage because there’s few managers out there better when they have to not concede and do nothing else. Of course I’m hoping I’m wrong, but without Don Andres, and a host of a other ailments/losses of form (Henry, Ibra etc), I don’t think it’s our year in the CL.

    This post was spot on though. I’m really annoyed that our players always blame the ref when we lose. We lost to a better team, end of. Applaud them and move on, and try to do better next time.

      • jordi™
        April 21, 2010

        Oops my eyes somehow read Andres as “Alves” lol 😀

  49. Helge
    April 21, 2010

    Reactions from Bayern about the red card(s) (no quotes, just summary):
    Louis van Gaal: Too harsh decision, it was only a yellow for him but the 2nd yellow from Toulalan would have been a straight red (lol!)
    Steffan Effenberg: At first glance, a hard decision. But after taking a closer look, an understandable decision.
    Bastian Schweinsteiger: It was a dirty tackle, so you can give it. But other refs had only given yellow. Then, he said that Toulalan’s sending off was also very harsh, because both fouls were within 120 seconds and he got a touch of the ball on his 2nd foul.
    Arjen Robben: Let me quote here “I can live with that” 😀
    Haha, interesting how Ribéry thinks about this statement. Robben also said he knows such fouls from other players on his own and if he had been in Lisandro’s place, he would have expected a red.

  50. Bill
    April 21, 2010

    Oh boy oh boy. The Ibra purchase enabled Inter to get Eto’o, Milito, Lucio and Schneider(putting back $$$ in EE’s kitty). Is there any more ways that piece of business can hurt us? 🙂

    But I’m not too worried about the loss. Instead, I look at it as an opportunity to show what we are made of. Will we just lie down and take it in the second leg or will we come back more motivated to kick some ass? Inter played very well. They pressured and they attacked. They didnt panic when a goal down and weren’t intimidated. But I’m hoping that long bus drive had something to do with the strange game we played. If it did, the real Barca will show up in the camp nou.

    If we win and advance, it will be another excellent story for this cinderella team, if not, well, good luck to inter!

  51. fc
    April 21, 2010

    Messi and Xavi should be rested against Xerez. If other players can’t win a home match against Xerez we don’t deserve the liga.

    • fc
      April 21, 2010

      What’s wrong with the footy gods? They had to keep Iniesta injured now! Well screw them, in Pep We Trust.

      • Kxevin
        April 21, 2010

        Iniesta would have been huge. His real value is that if a side marks Xavi, he swings into action. You can’t mark him, Xavi AND Messi. Something’s gotta give. Without a reliable Iniesta replacement, we’re too easy to control by a determined, hard-working team.

        Question is, what to do about the absence of Ghostface? I say unleash the World’s Largest Attacking Mid, who would also be able to help Busquets with DM duties. Keita becomes the super sub if needed.

        We are going to need the hell out of Ibrahimovic, because I just don’t see Mourinho not parking the bus if they get to halftime with a 0-0. We’re going to have to score early, to bring doubt and bring them out.

        We did beat them 2-0 at home in December, but we played a rare match that night, as Inter did yesterday. If they play that well and work that hard again, well, good luck in the finals.

        As I view it, we gave up three goals that when on form, we don’t concede. Naturally I would say that, but usually the defense is a lot more alert and together than they were yesterday. I would say that we would also score more goals, but without the midfield, nothing is going to happen for us.

        Both clubs are playing for their respective league championships, both have relatively easy opponents on the weekend. I like, I like.

        • Liza
          April 21, 2010

          Not sure I agree with you re: Iniesta. Maybe the scoreline would’ve been less daunting, but I still think Barca would have lost, playing the way they were. And Iniesta has been a little off all season, so I doubt his presence would have been a real game-changer.

          • Jim
            April 22, 2010

            I’m with Kxevin on this. Even not 100% you can’t get the ball off him, the ball sticks to him, even on a bad pass and you can’t leave him unmarked. He’s one of our creative players. We didn’t have enough different ideas against Inter.

  52. Nick
    April 21, 2010

    From the official website: “A pesar de dominar con claridad el juego, el Barça recibió cinco amarillas, tres más que el Inter.” Clearly dominating?! WTF are they talking about?!

  53. Liza
    April 21, 2010

    My response to Kxevin is a little late… but I’ll include it anyway!

    I stayed away from all footy news after the defeat, mostly to calm down and get perspective. When it’s a win, it’s fun to revel in it, but when it’s a loss, then dwelling on it becomes unproductive. I need a little time to lose the immediate emotions, otherwise I can’t look back (somewhat more) objectively. It’s disappointing to see some of the reactions, but I’m not about to get all sanctimonious and say that I expect all our players to respond to a loss like saints. No matter how well Pep tried to prepare them, the team bought into the hype, and it affected how they played and the manner in which they lost. It’s more disappointing that they couldn’t bounce back during the game, when it became obvious this wasn’t last year’s Inter, but I guess that’s why there are two legs!

    In many ways, a loss is good. It’s humbling for them and for us. This current team has always responded well to adversity, so I think they can turn it around in the next leg. Whether or not it will be enough to go through is something else, but it could happen.

    Last comment: If we don’t go through, I will be disappointed. If we don’t win la Liga, I will be CRUSHED. I hope the players don’t let the CL distract them from the league, whether we make it to the final or not.

    Err…. and thank you, Kxevin, for this post. Maybe we can’t put our team on that pedestal, but we can put you there! 🙂

  54. April 21, 2010

    This is incredibly Harsh. It is not that the team that needs to SHUTUP, it is us who NEED TO SHUT UP. To this date we are hearing about the Chelsea game, so we might as well talk about the ref. I don’t care what anyone says, The ref made bad calls overall some are bigger than others. The bus trip no way was a good thing especially that we played 2 bigs games in 4 days, and pep has some real problems on the team, Henry and Ibra are useless, Ineasta is hurt, Abidal has been hurt, and to top it all Dani does not how to cross the ball anymore… Give these guys a break… they are only human. We are way blowing their behavior out proportion. I just don’t think they were that bad. FUCK Mourinho… he is an ego maniac.

  55. Alexinho
    April 21, 2010

    In case you care to read more about the loss yesterday–


    • Alexinho
      April 21, 2010

      And as for my view on the loss, call me an anti-fan or what have you, but whatever. Wax on, wax off, I say. There will be more games and more competitions, so if Barca doesn’t make it through, they’re still going to be favorites next season. Still the best team in the world.

      • Liza
        April 21, 2010

        Why would declaring Barca the best team in the world make you an anti-fan? 🙂

        I agree with you. No team will win everything, all the time.

  56. vicsoc8
    April 21, 2010

    After reading Zonal Marking’s view, I completely agree. Pep got his tactics wrong. When he went to the formation he had been practicing with the last several games at the end of the second half we looked much better. However, for some reason Pep started Ibra who obviously wasn’t fit and whose presence forced us to adopt the wrong tactics in the game.

    I think the loss to Espanyol forced Pep to question himself, and so he decided to try the Ibra approach instead of trusting the formation he had been so carefully crafting for the situation.

  57. Bebop
    April 21, 2010

    Here’s Ramzi’s take:


    Btw, he also talks about the zonalmarking view,but in a different point of view.

  58. AceGhatge
    April 21, 2010

    All said.
    I expect Camp Nou to be like the deepest circle of hell to Inter Milan.
    I don’t know if we will win, or if we will win with enough goals, but

    I sure do hope Inter don’t get out of the Camp with a smile, cause it ain’t going to be nice son, it ain’t gonna be nice…

  59. SoccerMom
    April 21, 2010

    Touché, Monsieur MouMou!
    See you next week at the Camp Nou …
    And– oh, dare I hope– next year at the Bernaboo!

    It’s so lovely to love a win.
    But can we love a loss?
    Not to love a losing team (who doesn’t?)
    Or to love a team in spite of losing (who doesn’t? or try to?)

    I came to fútbol by way of a Hunky Spanish Soccer Junkie and an old-school schooling in ice hockey. The first match I peppered him with questions as all women watching sports with their men do. I got the general idea (projectile to net) and even some of the more specialized rules (off side). But my patience was taxed and my partner I vexed: ‘What is TAKING so long? … Oh my god now they have to start ALL OVER … How hard is it to get the ball in a net THAT big?’ The kind of chatter that you tavern-hoppers put up with from other cuties in the local because they are a) local and b) cute. (To be fair, Hunky Soccer Husband irritates me by suggesting that any Stanley Cup contender simply hire a sumo wrestler for goalie, thereby ensuring the perfect defense. But I digress. Let us regress to topic)

    ‘The entire point of soccer,’ he replied, ‘is to suffer.’

    Every season weekend everyone around the world except the self-excepting US gathers in pubs, patios, plazas and porticoes … to suffer. Who will win? Who will lose? Who will score a golazo and who will commit the sin of auto-goal? Who will lead the league? Who will go to Champions? to UEFA? win the derby? escape demotion? Who will stay and who will go?

    It is a myth, I think, that fans of the joga bonito follow their teams just for the bonito-ness of their joga (hence the anguish, the wailing, the gnashing of teeth) but also untrue that other fans follow their teams only to win. Otherwise the blaugrana would smother their Xavi with hugs for a single, glorious pass and fans of the EE wouldn’t watch a match until the very end, like people with no team on the pitch and hence no dog in the fight.

    So we suffer and relish the suffering. We like to think it makes us better fans of football (it’s not how you win it’s how you blah blah blah) or of our team (win or lose, mes que un club blah blah blah) or even better people (we must rise above our crappy performance to be, if not deportísticamente better, somehow morally so blah blah blah).

    Blah blah blah blah!

    But wasn’t that GREAT? Really? The suffering? The anguish? The sheer DRAMA of it all? After skating lightly over Arsenal, and pocketing Clasico (thank you, sir, and keep yer changes!) and a glorious week of Messi the Marvellous and Bojan the Bracer and Iniesta returns! and … and … and … down the coaster we go! … to the Derby of Danger! Through the Great Volcanic Belch — by Bus! … to the Belly of the Beast itself, San Sirio, home to the Great and Evil and Plotting Professor Mourhiarty, ex-Barça bosom buddy and translator when Pep was still in short blue and red pants on the pitch! The Technician vs. the Conspirator! Who will emerge as Champion? It’s unfair! It’s bloody! It’s a bloody plot worthy of Ridley Scott!

    This is the end of Act I. The hero, by the way, ALWAYS loses at the end of Act I. Beowulf gets smacked upside by Grendel’s mom. Oedipus succumbs to Circe. Luke loses his hand. Ouch, papá!

    Now it’s time for a retreat. Retreat to Barcelona. Retreat to self. This is Act II, with Xerez. And to emerge for Act III. Do you not LOVE it?

    If I were Pep I would not train. I would not even speak. I would sit everybody down right on the ground (which from what I can see on TVE makes up a lot of outdoor training anyway) and do nothing. We’re between acts. As the proverb says:

    “Before enlightenment: Chop wood, carry water. After enlightment: Chop wood, carry water.” – Zen saying

    It worked for Phil Jackson.

    • Miguel
      April 21, 2010

      the lakers winning yesterday was the only thing rescuing me from a total meltdown (^:

      • barca96
        April 21, 2010

        lol me too..
        was shitting in my pants when both kobe and gasol missing their first free throw shots.
        btw, did u guys watch any katt williams stand up? that shorty made fun of shaw like hell, even shaq’s baby got

    • Rohanv
      April 21, 2010

      Hopefully Xerez is the intermission, because aren’t you supposed to “Lose All Hope” at the end of Act II? Either ways, we win out in the end. It makes for a more fun narrative than smashing the opponent, I agree. (but it’s more fun to have that suffering in the past, so we can refer to it as a part of the tradition without ever having lived through it. Like the Civil War or the 11-1 Clasico loss)

      And I’ll bet Pep is the kind of person who would use Phil’s Zen techniques.

    • cliveee
      April 21, 2010

      someone must gather all the comments made by SoMa and then publish it as a book.

    • Tyler
      April 22, 2010

      Love it: ‘The entire point of soccer,’ he replied, ‘is to suffer.’

      I was wondering why for years, I sit and anguish over potential scorelines, injuries, signings, match-ups, copas, goals, penalties. Why the entire clasico match I wasn’t as much enjoying it as I was enduring it with knives in my stomach. But there it is, that’s the whole point. It’s beautiful, but it’s gonna make you pay for it.

      btw, Luke actually loses his hand at the end of the second act. but I wont count that against you ; )

  60. miz
    April 21, 2010

    we can make through to the final. i believe in cules.. in pep, we trust.:)rest few of our key players this weekend especially messi. we still have a good chance to win the tie. i still rate 50 – 50 chance for both team. camp nou never disappointing us in champion league since last year especially when the 2nd leg played at our stadium. we are going to play like hell… i’m expecting 11 men in their penalty box and don’t be surprise if pique will start up front together with ibra. we’ll cross continuously from left right by alves and maxwell…3 at the backline to standy for any quick counter which i want milito, abidal and toure.xavi and keita / busi control and distribute the ball from outside of their box. they will play deep inside their box.

    i believe, if they stick and think to maintain their formation as per previous game (before they scored 3rd goal), i think we still have a good chance. it will still have gap between their defend.

    but knowing mourinho a.k.a tactical genius, they will only bring their bus and park it in front of their goal…

    • fc
      April 21, 2010

      I will never understand why keeping all the players behind the ball and looking for counters is hailed as a genius tactic. I think the most effective way to breakup this tactic is to use a combination of swift agile players and physical ones. Luckily we have both sets of players. Messi has to get the ball near their defense and run straight towards the defenders a lot. Alves has to practice crossing 20 hours for next 7 days.

      • miz
        April 22, 2010

        i meant, during 1st leg until they scored the 3rd goal, they were all awesome.. but maybe also our player were not up to their normal level. anyway, i’m predicting they will put their man behind the ball in the 2nd leg.

        ur rite..alves need to pratice crossing. sometimes, he was not up to school boy level when he crossed the ball.. toooo stroongggg.. at one time (in the st leg), he over kicked the ball and almost drop it to the other flag side.

  61. miz
    April 21, 2010

    does anyone knows the injury status for iniesta?? will he be fit to play for the 2nd leg……….???

  62. Bebop
    April 21, 2010

    He is injured until the end off the season. hopefully he can play in the CL final if we get thru.

  63. Luna
    April 21, 2010

    I think Johan Cruyff captures my sentiments exactly:

    if you’re interested in reading.

    I don’t think the players are whining, they are entitled to an opinion. If it became something that happened week after week there’s an issue. Sure we don’t have to be happy with it, but I am trying to understand the deeper dynamics going on, reading tidbits here and there, trying to sleuth may way around as deep as I can.


    “Yo sí confío. Se puede llegar a la final del Bernabéu, pero no hay que correr y jugar con cabeza.

    El Barça es mejor y, con paciencia y otro árbitro, habrán oportunidades”

    I do believe, I do believe, hell bout to get cheesy here, Si se puede, si es pot, yes we can

    By the way is it me or am I the only one noticing the very interesting yet cohesive takes on Barca coming from distinct regions by pundits, commentators, bloggers and fans (ok yeah the English commentators well you can almost word for word say what they are about to state when it comes to non-EPL football)? You see in Texas, specifically West Texas football country, the shut up and play attitude is ubiquitous and it’s probably my own reading that imputes this to the narrative(s) above, but I also lived in places (oh bits here and there in Latin America) where it was/is more interesting to dig through the whys, the sufferings, the cries of our beloved heroes, and find the meaning in the defeat (and this really was/is about identity and futbol). Certainly generalizations, but nevertheless intriguing to me as I try to make sense of my own reactions versus those of others. It’s tempting to seek those spaces out filled with like minded people but not always interesting, eh? While we are like minded in our love of a club, I hope, our approaches differ, our understanding of the game, of the player, of our relationship is different, and that’s a good thing.

    And I will wax a little poetic…
    My passion for this club runs damn deep as I am sure for others. Barca growing up for me were HEROES, heroes that I looked to when faced with an insane inability to speak to power. Gathering around the radio to hear the commentators with their thick, yet unrecognizable accents narrate the game, crying, yelling, and all the while I listened wide eyed. Listening to the exiles from here there and everywhere that found unquestioned acceptance in my tiny paradise of home, get that look in their eyes, “Més que un club” And have these little moments affirm that beliefs, justice, in the face of incredible adversity is survivable, indeed that beauty flourishes.

    I think of the football club that is struggling to survive in my little corner of the world, where so much violence threatens to do away with it and those around it. And despite this, they play on and the fans come, because it is for those 90 minutes, a respite from the world that implodes just outside the stadium walls.

    As world cup approaches, I think of little kids every where gathering around tv’s, radios to hear the impassioned poetry that is great football commentary. I think of my own national team, the David, the poor, the disposable (for some) going up against the Goliaths, the first world, the powerful, and dreaming of my heroes defeating the Empire! Oh but for a Latin American nation to win the cup on European soil and to defend the cup when in the Americas!

    This is my love affair with football, with Barca. And it makes me strange to a lot of Americans where I live in work, but that’s ok. I’ve brought a lot of non-soccer fans into the fold 🙂
    I’d love to hear about other people’s stories of this club that brings us day in day out to share in these spaces, the beautiful game of futbol, and all things football. And that’s the thing about football, there are so many stories, so many “moments” when the game took over our hearts. I know you all can remember that. We Culés share in this devotion 🙂

    • fc
      April 21, 2010

      I was mostly a casual supporter a few seasons back. Then some terrible thing happened in my life. I started passing through depression, sleep deprivation, and all sorts of bad things for months. To compound my miseries I had very few friends at that time with whom I could share all these (sometimes that’s life for a new foreign student in US 🙁 ). The only thing that was giving me some joy in life was football and specially Barca. I used to eagerly wait whole week for the next match and read anything about Barca all over the web. Eventually I got past the bad time but Barca stayed like a true friend. Week in week out they keep giving me sheer joy through their heavenly football. Next time I feel bad about anything I know I’ve Barca to look forward to.

        • fc
          April 22, 2010

          haha I’m mostly a passionate fan without much tactical knowledge or understanding of the game. I come here mostly to educate myself and read sensible views of fans (which is rare in other sites).

          • Luna
            April 22, 2010

            FC *hugz*

            I know, I know, cheesy but I understand the joy of anticipating a match 🙂

      • fcbfan
        April 22, 2010

        Your story is similar to mine. I was going through some life changing things and made some decission. Then new country, new language, far from home, depression, then I found Barca and got stuck. I’ve never followed football closely wc aside and being a girl always thought my bros were silly for spending money buying jerseys. and of course those anoying boyfriends who can’t call you/go out on certain days or get moody for days just because of some team called Man U/Liverpool or whatever. But I found Barca when I needed something to hold on to most and now it’s life. For the first time I started following a team. and I read more, on the players, the club, history, then started learning spanish because info in english was not enough for me. That first time going home, my bros were surprised that I am a fan but disgusted I support a non EPL team lol. That Brazil 1982 and other great teams in the past may have introduced me to football, but it is Barca that made me love the beautiful game. To read historical accounts watch video highlights, is nothing, nothing compared to actually living in it and watch and experience the making of history, to share its joy and sufferings, even if sometimes it gives you stress/uncertainties/sleepless nights … wouldn’t have it any other way.

    • fcbfan
      April 22, 2010

      Luna, thanks for sharing! 😀 beautiful.

  64. fcbfan
    April 21, 2010

    We have to make it to the final for Iniesta!

    I probably gonna have “2-0 to qualify” in my dreams the next 6 days.

  65. Reagan
    April 21, 2010

    I watched the game with a highly pessimistic friend who also is a Barca fan and I couldn’t help but figure out how most believe we’re out of this one.

    For starters, Alves, Pique, Milito and Abidal as our back 4! That’s a stronger back four compared to Puyol being in there instead of Milito solely for the reason that Pique and Milito are both supreme with the ball distribution at the back. Most would have noticed how Inter rushed towards Pique when he tried to bring the ball out but Puyol had oodles of time. Chasing down the both of them with tire out the likes of D. Milito and his partners in attack.

    In midfield, it just HAS to be YAYA, Busi and Xavi! Keita will have to take one for the team. He’s awesome in his own way but we need power and panache for this trip.

    and Ibra just has to step it up!!! DUDE, if you’re reading this, MAN UP! Pedro! It’s nice that you’re doing the best you can everytime. whether that’s good enough to play for us is something else but we need you for a full 90 for now. And Messi, Just be yourself mate!!

    We can win this!! We can and we will!

    PS. It would help if Maicon isn’t fit in time for the game 🙂

  66. fcbfan
    April 22, 2010

    Why we will get the desired result in Camp Nou:
    – Alves crosses are better at home, especially after a week rest.
    – Abidal’s back
    – Messi will score. I’m pretty sure Pep will rest him for Xerez and he’ll want to score after none in several games now. and when he starts, he’ll just go on scoring.
    – Valdes will keep a clean sheet. 3 is the most he will concede in this tie.
    – Camp Nou! over 90,000 Cules cheering our team on and booing Inter will be too much for Inter. They won’t be able to hear each other let alone Mourinho’s instruction from the sideline or see anything blinded by the brilliance of Iniesta. Any other force conspiring against us will be handily dealt with by The Yaya regardless if he is on or off the field.
    – if Inter’s planning to wear white…

    • miz
      April 22, 2010

      -plus, if pep allows yaya to play…i pray for that…

      • barca96
        April 22, 2010

        lol iniesta is injured. he wont make it.

        • fcbfan
          April 22, 2010

          yeah he’s injured. what I meant him and Yaya have special powers so they can help without being on the field.
          just trying to cheer up ppl.

          • barca96
            April 22, 2010

            ah i see.
            more like yaya shutting mourinho the hell up

  67. jnelson
    April 22, 2010

    Recall Caceres!? WHAT ARE YOU? MAD!!!!???

    ……he is injured

  68. Steve
    April 22, 2010

    I’ve been reading this blog for quite a while now and I generally find it engaging, insightful, and funny. Here comes the criticism. Comments like “strap on a pair” or “man-sized” or “man the hell up” drive me crazy. The fact is if Barca played like a bunch of girls on Tuesday we’d be the ones up 3-1. Those girls being Marta, Abby Wambach, Kelly Smith and Birgit Prinz.

    BFB does a much better job than most men sports blogs at keeping the sexism out which is the reason I can make this comment without feeling it will be ignored. I’d just like one sports blog I frequent to be genitalia free. Is that a blog too far?

    • Kxevin
      April 22, 2010

      I’m going to disagree with you on that one, Steve. And assuredly if you’ve read this blog a long time, you’ve witnessed my vehement stance against any comments and the like that can be construed as derogatory of anyone, no matter their race, nationality, gender or sexual orientation. Sometimes you never see the offending comments, other times you’ll see me don the admonitory moderator’s hat and speak out in no uncertain terms about the comment or behavior.

      You can reference qualities of manliness without being sexist or implying that lack of said qualities automatically construes womanliness (as if that’s a bad thing). Sorry, but you can. To tell someone to “man up” does not in any way imply that he is “playing like a girl.”

      Those qualities of manliness, in the context of a male-occupied sport, can be legitimately referenced as valid points of comparision and observation. They simply mean, “Be a man,” with all the strength, grace and qualities of sportsmanship that are implied by such a phrase. One of the most ardent feminists that I know uses the phrase “strap on a pair.” Her meaning is clear, and sexism-free.

      In sport, “man up” doesn’t imply “because women are wimpy.” As anyone with half a brain knows, strength and courage aren’t gender-specific. And again in the context of a male-occupied sport, “manliness” or “strapping on a pair” does not in any way make an allegation of femininity. It means stick your chest out and play like the man that you are, in the context of your male-occupied sport, with the aforementioned qualities. Period.

      And an astute user of language who is as conscious of, and worried about hidden implications as yourself can surely see the complexity in calling someone out for being sexist, and then referring to Marta, Wambach, Smith and Prinz as “girls” instead of the women that they are. Things such as that drive me crazy. My aformentioned friend would hit the ceiling at that one.

      So we should both say that we are temporarily insane, but now understand more clearly the contextual and linguistic matters at issue here.

      Word. 😀

      • Steve
        April 22, 2010

        I was reusing a tired phrase “play like girls” I didn’t give you enough credit to put quotes around it, well played Sir.

        I’m still going to disagree, I think any of the positive things that have been attached to manliness have historically been attached to further subjugate women and more recently LGBT people.

        Anyway I’m not asking you to change history (that’s my job!) I was more interested in your defense which is coming from a non-sexist, actually anti-sexist, stance. Thanks.

  69. y2k156
    April 22, 2010

    Lot of excellent comments above. Guess losing just brings the tender side of a fan:).

    To be honest, I have read few players commenting on games as fans would and have not found things too objectionable. They should maybe give more credit to Inter but no one is shouting that Inter did not deserve it or that we were cheated. So lets lay off on players.

    For next week, we just need to fight as if our lives depended on it and not expect to win just because we won everything last year. At this stage, luck will play a part. We might win or we might not but as long as i see the team going out to play their hearts out for the colors, i am a happy fan. As for team, i think whichever 11 we put out there has the ability to do the job.

  70. cleareyes from sevilla once again–

    i really appreciate this post. as i’ve said around these parts before, as a fan of another club who watches you guys play because, frankly, you guys on your day play beautifully and it’s incredible to watch, i always want this team and its fans to hold to higher ideal in ways that don’t involve flawlessly moving the ball around the pitch.

    i wanted you all to win this week, and i thought dani was fouled in the box on that play, but somehow i was mostly glad he got carded, because his bitching and moaning and simulating are often the single turd in the delicious punch bowl the team is serving up. and this is coming from a sevilla fan who was bursting with pride all last season bc one of my own was doing so well! and i guess i feel the same way about you all…it’s not really reasonable, i guess, but somehow i feel that as fans of a club that ANYONE could love right now, you guys, the jersey-buying, blaugrana-bleeding public, ought to somehow be a bit more, a bit better, even as fans.

    anyway, thanks kxevin for the article. good stuff. and good luck to you all next week–i’ll be pulling for you.

    • Kxevin
      April 22, 2010

      It’s hard not to agree with you, cleareyesfullhearts. I usually (when doing reviews) subtract a point from Alves when he does that nonsense. Same with Busquets.

      I don’t know if it will ever stop, frankly. Some players are just that way. But when it hurts your team, it should make you look in the mirror and ask yourself some tough questions. And without question, it hurts the team. If Alves doesn’t cry “wolf” so often, legitimate fouls wouldn’t be ignored. I did, however, think that Sneijder pulled out of that challenge, and if he touched him at all, it wasn’t with sufficient force to warrant the agonized bleatings of Alves.

      Busquets is another matter. When you cede possession in the midfield, then curl up in an agonized ball as the other team runs away with the ball, again, you are hurting your side. I think that when that behavior at first got some yellow cards called on some folks, like that puppy who grows into a dog but doesn’t stop the cute puppy behavior, he doesn’t understand that his world has changed. Further, that officials are on to his act, which is why he is drawing a lot fewer cards on opposing players.

      And I guess that the outrage stems from the fact that we are increasingly, everyone’s favorite “other” club. We shouldn’t burn up that good paper by being classless. I will defend my club to the death, but I will also call them out when warranted. And when someone says “You played well, but the ref was really terrible” the implication, even outside of the gamesmanship that we see in comments about officiating, is “We would have won had the officiating not been so rotten.”

      Even more painfully, it gives Mourinho something to be sanctimonious about. 😀

      • re: alves’ foul–i think it’s fair to say sneijder didn’t clearly foul him, but as we obviously agree, at least the no-call, and certainly the card, were earned on reputation. if that had been xavi for example, i have no trouble believing the ref, from his angle, would’ve pointed to the spot. (and i’d say even more broadly that a team coming from a league that doesn’t have la liga’s tendency/rep to ref-badgering and light calls would have even more likelihood of getting a penalty call there.

        and re: busi, i think this touches on a different issue. this season i feel like in european football in general i’ve seen an increasing use of faking injuries (not fouls–injuries) as a means of killing a counter-attack. and i think that probably in busi’s mind he’s valiantly trying to help his club as he’s writhing in fake agony at mid-field while the other team breaks toward goal. i really hate this, because rather than fooling the ref, this tactic is designed to exploit one of the unwritten rules of good sportsmanship that, in my opinion, help to make soccer such a wonderfully unique sport. so cut it out, busi (and everyone else…CR9, i’m looking DIRECTLY at you, you little twunt)!!!

  71. Cesc Blanc
    April 22, 2010

    you should leave the game report business and write only stuff like that 😉

    well said…

    we were outplayed with and without the referee. guys really need to man-up.

  72. Lou
    April 22, 2010

    What do you guys think about using Pique and Marquez as centrebacks in the second leg? Milito is awesome but Marquez is a better playmaker, which might come in handy if Inter tightly mark Xavi. He’s also a pretty good free kick taker, which again could be useful against a parked bus.

    • Kxevin
      April 22, 2010

      No way. Inter is too dangerous on the counter. Marquez has been playing rather well of late, but not well enough where I trust him in the back line of such a crucial match. I still think his pace is a liability, as is his one-on-one defending.

      I also think that our back line is more stable sometimes without Puyol, who tends to rush hither and yon, doing his stalwart firefighter thing. Milito’s tendency to stay put and deal with the known threat is more reassuring at such a crucial time.

  73. fcbfan
    April 22, 2010

    I have no probem Marquez alongside Pique but would feel safer with Yaya n mf at the same time. or how about Milito/Pique cb and Marquez dm and Xavi/Yaya am

  74. fcbfan
    April 22, 2010

    Off topic: more of LucasLeiva’s tweets
    “Pepe refusing to speak Spanish to the locals.Telling everyone he was born in Liverpool & has lived round the corner from Jamies all his life”

    “Jamie and Stevie backing him up. They seem to have redefined his past. ‘His da worked on the docks and his ma was a nurse in the Royal’.”

  75. fcbfan
    April 22, 2010

    sounds likeMaicon will recover in time for 2nd leg.

  76. Kxevin
    April 22, 2010

    Sighhhhh. Now Spanish media are all over how the ref is pals with Mourinho, made a number of favorable decisions in his favor back in the Portuguese League days, and even identified himself as being from Milan on some television show.

    I’d say that somebody should write an open letter to the Spanish media, but I sometimes wonder if those half-cocked, gibbering maniacs have a shard of circumspection in their reactionary bones.

  77. April 22, 2010

    After almost 48 hours of being removed from my heightened rage after our visit to the San Siro, some daunting, and not-so-encouraging things crept into my mind.

    When we lost to Sevilla in the first leg of our CDR matchup, 1-2 at home, we knew that we were going to have to go out there and put on a show. We needed a scoreline of 2-0 to advance, and while we pressured like hell for most of the game, we simply couldn’t get the job done.


    I really, really don’t know how well we’re going to be able to break down their defense. Our goal was the product of a defensive atrocity by Maicon and a glorious finish. But an atrocity that likely won’t be made again with Mourinho reeming into his players before their visit to the Camp Nou.

    All I’m saying is, before we put on our “we are so mighty” pants, we need to realize that we faced a very similar situation at Sevilla, a lesser side than Inter, and couldn’t pull through.

    I’m not trying to diminish Sevilla by any means, but if we’re honest and realistic, Inter’s defense is well ahead of the Andalusians. I know in the tie against Sevilla, we had to play them at their place, and this match against Inter is at home, but I see a strong similarity to the difficulty in the two ties.

    Just want to make sure we’re level headed going into this match, but what do you think? Am I being overly cynical

    • Kxevin
      April 22, 2010

      Dunno, JMo. What I do know is that I was sitting in the stands during our 2-0 masterclass against Inter in December. And that was with a bunch of “withouts.” No Messi or Ibrahimovic. Our attack was Henry and Pedro! We did have us some Iniesta, and Busquets was playing like The Future instead of A Dimwit, something that, as already has been noted, wasn’t the case the other day.

      The question of the day was did Inter just sleepwalk that one, or were we that good? I was sitting in the stands. We were that good. Yes, they were without Sneijder, but we were that good.

      We played well as a unit, even if not every individual player upheld the high standard of the unit (cough! Henry. Cough!). I think that Inter’s level of play on Tuesday was more uncharacteristic than ours in December.

      So there are a number of questions coming up for Wednesday:

      Will Mourinho just park the bus?

      Dunno. I suspect if they can get to the half with a 0-0 scoreline, he’ll park it in the second half, with the Final in mind as a salve for any journalistic brickbats.

      Can we score enough goals to win?

      Yes. Hell, Messi can score three all by himself. But our midfield has to not be crap, and certain inept players (pretty much everyone from Tuesday last) have to raise their games to the level they should be at.

      Will we concede?

      If we do, we’re kinda screwed, because Inter doesn’t give up big scorelines. Remember that 2-0 puts us through, 3-1 gets extra time, then penalties if necessary. Eto’o will be chomping at the bit in the Camp, which should take him out of his game. Controlling Sneijder is key, obviously. We didn’t concede then, and didn’t really come close to conceding. I think we can control this team. All three goals given up on Tuesday were goals that, on form, we don’t concede.

      Will we advance?

      I think that we will, by a 2-0 scoreline. One thing that concerns me is that we seem to be in a collective performance trough right now. Too many “match of the seasons” in a row. Xerez will be nice to work out some kinks and hopefully, not stress everyone too much. This team has, almost without question, won the big matches that it had to this season, some way, some how. The only exception was the Sevilla Copa return leg, and it took some amazing play from their defense and keeper to do it. There again, as well, we were in something of a trough.

      But I am confident, and will be until the whistle sounds, because I believe that we have the best football club in the world, full stop. Two-legged ties give the best club the best chance to get the right result, and that “best club” is us. But what else am I going to say, right?

    • Colby
      April 22, 2010

      I appreciate the level-headedness, and I think you have a point Especially considering the fact that we had a healthy Iniesta for that game. The more I think about it, the more you have a point. Inter could mark Xavi tightly, and then double team Messi, and we would be in trouble.

      However, you could follow similar logic and say, “do you remember that time we beat Inter 2-0? That was a must win game for them and us because we weren’t sure if we were going to make it out of the group. AND we didn’t have Messi or Ibra. So if we have Messi and Ibra, we will win 4-0.” I think that logic would be false (mostly because this is a different situation and teams change.) But that is why I think there is no precedent for this game–it’s a completely different situation (semis at home in the CL) so I don’t think we should talk about precedent.

      That having been said, if the game goes well and we fight with everything we have, we will at least have a chance in the last ten minutes (just like the Sevilla game where luck didn’t go our way). If we can grab a goal somehow in the first 80 minutes, then the game will all come down to a lucky bounce or a referee’s decision (think of Stamford Bridge last year with the lucky bounce off of Eto’o that got by Essien right before Iniesta scored. That doesn’t happen 90% of the time. Or Pedro’s somewhat fluky goal in the Club World cup). If one of those things (lucky bounce, ref decision) goes in our favor we win, if it doesn’t, we lose. That’s the way it is. However, we have a lot of work left to do to be able to be in this situation.

  78. BeingFrank
    April 22, 2010

    I am going to be extremely honest with this post, but I wanted to be clear first that I do not intend to offend or insult anyone here, especially the moderators who do an excellent job of making this one of the best Barca blogs online.

    However there are certain things that need to be said, first of which is that a lot of you need to get off your high horses!

    First of all its clear that the bus ride had an effect on the players… and not just ours, but Lyons players as well. Sitting on a bus for 10 hours prior to one of the most physically demanding games of the year is going to have a negative effect. Bayern Munich are doing the smart thing and geting helicopters next week if regular flights dont return. For some of you to imply that our players simply decided not to show up to one of the biggest games of the year is both shortsighted and simplistic. We ran 10k more against Arsenal, but decided that against Inter, a far more agressive and physical team, we are going to take it easy. Yeah. Ok. That makes sense. When we have turned up to every single big game before this one. The bus ride played a huge part, whether you like to believe it or not.

    Mourinho knew it and so did his players and they took advantage of it and fair play to them. We knew it too.

    Can you imagine how frustrating that must be for the players? Knowing that they are coming into a huge game with a very signicant disadvantage. That on its own would have been very frustrating. Now add to that a ref who is too scared to call a pen when it is as clear as day or a linesman that is too damn lazy to get in line with play (it was shocking how slow he reacted to the play that led to the 3rd goal).

    Try and picture it for a second; u want to run hard, you want to play hard, your mind wants it, your heart wants it but your legs wont do it, they cant do it. Now add to that call after call after call going against you. You get fouled and the ref plays on, they dive and a foul is called. Nothing falls for you, the plays dont work, and runs arent being made cos the players are tired and jaded. Now be honest. Tell me you or anybody else you know doesnt lose their cool at that point. Now put yourself in the position of these players. Players that work and work and work for the colours, they have proven it over and over. There is no doubting them. They are passionate and competitive and they want to win more than anything. Do any of you really expect them to just say “Yeah ok,it happens, whatever. I will rise above it.” ITs never gona happen. These are men with real emotions, real passion and real reactions. They are not machines. As much as Barca is “more than a club” the players are not “more than human”.

    Also we didnt play a single game last year that came even close to the amount of shit that went against us in this game so I am not quite sure how you can claim we would have “played through it” and not said anything. Do you not recall all the bitching and whining about anti football and parked buses? What makes you think a game under similar circumstances last year wouldnt have brought about a similar reaction. We def didnt have any 10 hour bus rides before huge games last year.

    Saying things like “Man up” is ludicrous. Who here has played professional football at the highest level to be in a position to say something like that?

    Oh and using a quote from Mourinho about losing with class!?!?! Wow. Really? Why dont you just throw in a quote from Ronaldo about not diving?

    There is an idealism that surrounds the club and the fans. One that makes us “Mas Que un Club”, but some of you really need to get over it. Idealism is just as it sounds….IDEAL. It doesnt represent real life, real players or real reactions to the circumstances that sometimes lead to a loss.

    YEs the players lost their cool. Damn freaking straight. I want them to lost it, I want them to show that passion, that devotion, that desire to win. Every competitive sportperson in every competitive sport would do the same! Why shouldnt ours? Atleast we didnt pull a Chelsea and practically assault the ref or swear at the cameras.

    You say to the players “Shut up and play” well I say to the some of you fans “Shut up and support your players”. Players that have shown over and over and over that they will do whatever it takes to win. That they will fight to the death, no matter the odds. This is how they are repaid? With an open letter that basically says shut it, after everything has conspired to work against them. Fuck that. I am proud of every last one of em and I love that they are so frustrated and they are willing to show it. Xavi could have kicked Mourinho in the balls for all i care, he has more class than Mourinho and all his diving players combined.

    Let them come to the Nou Camp and see what football is. How it should be played. I dont want them on a bus, I dont want Mourinho to have excuses. LEt them teleport to the stadium, we will still kill them at home. I am sure of it. That passion, that love for the club, that desire to win you all saw manifested in frustration a few days ago will be transformed into an attacking force the likes of which “the special one” has never seen… And when it does remember this:

    Without the passion that overflowed and made the players lose their cool a few days you would never see the football that you do. You cannot have one without the other.

    Barca till I die…

      • Tyler
        April 22, 2010

        sorry but, being a supporter doesn’t mean you can’t be critical of your team. constructive criticism can be the most positive advice one can ever receive. bottom line is whether their bodies couldn’t do it or not, they didn’t show the drive or energy to fight until the last 15 minutes of the game. I don’t think anyone is trying to deride our players, but they got to show up bigger than that last game.

        • Hilal
          April 22, 2010

          I see your point but I kind of also see his. We expect so much from these players we forget sometimes that they are human. Originally I wasnt convinced the bus ride would make a diff but after seeing how flat Lyon were yesterday and hearing a lot of pundits and commentators who have played football comment about the effect it would have i have to concede it may have had an effect. Even if it was a small effect, at this level, it must make a difference. So maybe, just maybe, they couldnt show up bigger than they did. I would like to believe that if they could have, they would have. They have stepped up to the plate every single time in the past, why wouldnt they this time? Unless they simply couldnt.

          Plus, im sorry but the level of refereeing in general has become quite silly. The way Bayern progressed past fiorentina was shocking. YEs players should play through it and not expect favours from the ref and all the rest of it, but that doesnt mean the ref can officiate the way he did. There is a limit though and sometimes players are going to reach that limit. IT is completely unacceptable to have a linesman who is not fit enough to keep up with the level of play. With the offside goal the linesman was a good few yards behind the play so he couldnt call the offside. It wasnt that it was a close or contentious call, he just wasnt fast or fit enough to get there. That to me is completely unacceptable at the highest levels of football.

    • Kxevin
      April 22, 2010

      I haven’t played professional football. But I have competed in bicycle racing at very high levels, including two Olympic trials. So I am very aware of the body being willing, even when your coach tells you that the mind is more powerful than the body, sometimes it isn’t.

      It isn’t as if the players were jammed onto a Greyhound bus, being jostled over crappy European backroads. It’s contextual. For the first time last year during my visit to Barcelona, we linked by AVE high-speed rail instead of airplane. The train trip took almost 3x as long, but I was fresher when getting off. I honestly don’t believe that the bus ride affected the players. I just don’t.

      But even if it did, does that excuse some of the poor play that we saw? No. It wasn’t a bus ride that made everyone chase the ball instead of marking their men, so that Sneijder wouldn’t be left open. And the same fortitude that grabbed the goal after a hard foul on Messi in El Clasic, was “Hey, where’s ours” stagnance that greatly facilitated the Maicon goal.

      Call after call didn’t go against us. And even if it did, play through it. We aren’t supposed to get favors from referees. We’re supposed to show up, play our best match and let the chips fall where they may, withOUT howling about injustices after it is over. That was my point. Legitimate observations about the behavior of this club in no way indicate any lack of support. My heart, soul, back when I wear the colors and soci bucks, not to mention the level of effort required to run this site, visit and spend time to write the kinds of comments that elevate the discourse here, speak volumes about the passion and support that is present.

      But it doesn’t mean that we should stay silent when something comes up.

      • Hilal
        April 22, 2010

        I am not sure you can compare your experience as a cyclist to that of a full time, professional football player. These guys live and breathe football, it is all they know. All they do is train, train, train some more and then play match after match after match. Their bodies will all be accustomed to a very rigid, strict routine and breaking that, even slightly can have an effect. The bus ride itself may not have had a negative effect, but the 10 hours or so that were spent on the bus are 10 hours that might have been spent on training or fitness conditioning or even mental preparation. That could very possibly have had an effect dont you think? Before a game of this magnitude, against opposition of such high quality do you really think it had no effect whatsoever?

        I dont think it is a coincidence that both Barca and Lyon looked uncharacteristically flat this week and both had to travel by bus.

        • Kxevin
          April 22, 2010

          At the top level of cycling, it’s the same thing. Living and breathing cycling. It’s what you do, what you talk about, and you train, train, eat, sleep, and train. The routine is the same, as well with the scheduling rigidity.

          Any athlete working at a high level relies upon routine and the incessant, almost numbing repetitiveness of effort. That way you can take your mind out of the equation, and just function as the machine that you work to become.

          It actually exactly the same, except for the immense pay packets.

          I guarantee that all they did on the bus was get motivated, play music or video games, or watch movies. Same thing they’d do on the plane. But without the cabin pressurization that muscles don’t like, cramped seats (even on their fancy-pants planes), etc.

          No, I think that at that level, an athlete of that quality, unless you roll into town the day of the match, will be fine. You hit town, train a little bit to shake it out, get some food and a good night’s rest. Which is what they did.

  79. April 22, 2010

    Why do I get a “save as” pop up when I open a post. Not sure if anyone is having that issue, but I thought its better to report it.

    If we defend well, we will advance. Simply put.

    • April 22, 2010

      Hmm, I don’t know about the Save As thing. That is strange. Is it asking you to save the page or what?

      I think Abidal’s return will help us defend well.

      • Kxevin
        April 22, 2010

        I don’t get that prompt either, Ramzi. You’re right about defense, but man, do I wish that JDS were suddenly a couple of years older, with the attendant experience levels. We are best when we have our active, playmaking back line feeding a possession-based midfield. It’s why I’m not too bummed about Milito being in there instead of Puyol. I would totally dig:

        Alves Pique Milito Abidal
        The Yaya Busquets Xavi
        Messi Ibrahimovic Pedro!

        I think that Keita brings an advantage that we don’t need as much as need what Busquets can do when he isn’t making me want to fly to wherever he is, and jam a size 12 up his butt.

        This Xerez match comes at a perfect time for us. They have absolutely nothing to play for against us. They are last by two points, and in their battle against relegation, would be insane to look at us as a point gain possibility. So it should be something of a tonic for us.

        • April 22, 2010

          Regarding the message, it doesn’t come every time. Next time I get it I will copy the text I get before canceling it. If no one else is experiencing it, then it can be something with my pc.

          The Yaya-Busquets partnership if it will make Abidal move forward more than it will force one of them to play an advanced role (beside when they do the urgent runs to the box). When it come to offense contribution (and it even feels odd to think about it) Abidal contribution was less frequent but more accurate/efficient than Alves. And here I am not talking about contribution in the buildup, but in set offense. Alves really need to stop the fitness training he does with the rest of the squad (Does he need it?) and have a training to enhance his crosses instead. After his recent performance, If I get a permanent stomach pain for the rest of my life, I will sue him!

          • Kxevin
            April 22, 2010

            Ha! Yes, I like how Abidal has been coming forward of late. His offense is improving. Probably one more benefit of the presence of Maxwell. And I’m thinking The Yaya up, and Busquets back, as the destroyer rather than the creator.

  80. Helge
    April 22, 2010

    CD Xerez is actually not such a bad team since about 2 months.

    If you had to choose between CL and la Liga, which one would you pick?
    I pick la Liga over the CL because Real Madrid winning zero titles is priceless 🙂

    So yeah, we might advance in the CL if we play our game, but Xerez, Villarreal, Tenerife, Sevilla and Valladolid is more important! I’ll take the CL final as a bonus, but la Liga is the duty.

    • Tyler
      April 22, 2010

      For me I’m in the CL camp. We’ve beaten Real Madrid twice, (four times in a row if you count last year), there is no doubt in my mind we are the best team in Spain. Now Europe, that’s what I like to show the world. In the continent where the highest form of futbol is played we beat the best of the best. Especially considering all the teams we had to play in this competition, if we can win this thing, this team will be even more legendary than ever before. Another la liga and we will just get to rub it in Madrid’s face and I believe if we win out, it’s the most points for us ever, but CL is on a global level. And the final gets more viewers than the SUPER BOWL normally!!!

      • Helge
        April 22, 2010

        But the fact that we’ve beaten Real Madrid twice would make it particularly hard for me to see them winning la Liga. Because, as you’ve said, we ARE the better team and so we deserve this title.

    • Eklavya
      April 22, 2010

      La Liga. I just can’t imagine losing to EE. No way.

  81. fcbfan
    April 22, 2010

    Seriously Kxevin you should send this post to the spanish media. Obviously what they write is beyond our control. I’m sure they will continue to highlight misrefereing and portray Barca as victims when we lose cause that’s how they roll, to oversensationalise everything etc etc but at least ppl get to read something different. They can have those “robbery” “Mourinho’s friends with the ref” etc, Barca is tired and players are human, so why not this one as well. Hell would freeze before you see anything like what you wrote on Sport EMD frontpage. or you could start something opposite.

  82. fcbfan
    April 22, 2010

    I’m with Helge, the league and a trophyless EE after a 250 mil shopping hehe. Anyway, we’ll know by wednesday. If we qualify, then I want both. If we don’t we don’t really have a choice but to win the league.

    • Kxevin
      April 22, 2010

      Noted this above. I can’t see anything coming of it. Red herring, if you ask me.

  83. barca96
    April 22, 2010

    i know why the players looked weak out there.
    it’s the movie selection from pep.
    the invictus…that movie brought some players to tears apparently.
    damn..before the wednesday, pep should play some rambo or rocky movies..
    me against the world kinda movies lol or 1 vs 1000 soldiers kinda thing.
    man them the hell up! :p

  84. fcbfan
    April 22, 2010

    Actually reading Ramzi’s take one thing I can agree on is the lack of technical session due to the bus trip and that one little detail could have an effect. I mean they could talk/discuss and shown diagrams but didn’t really have the chance for field practice and even if there was time they had to conserve energy for the real game. Little things like that.

    • Jim
      April 22, 2010

      I just can’t see that. They arrived more than 24 hours ahead of the tie. They travelled in luxury. It was a CL semi-final for goodness’ sake. They did actually play quite well the last part of the game because the passion was there so they weren’t knackered. It wasn’t particularly pretty but it worried Inter.

      My worry for the second leg is where does the control come from? Xavi , Messi plus who? If we can get good control of the midfield we can do this. Goes without saying that we can’t concede.

      Last point we must play Henry first half at the weekend. We need his experience and movement and something for Inter to worry about apart from Messi. If he’s awful fair enough, that’s settled.

      I’m also totally torn about whether we play Ibra or not. That, for me, is Pep’s biggest dilemma. He is one of the most gifted players we have – no doubt, and neither bojan nor Pedro fill me with hope – but he’s not fitting in at the moment and we’re at crunch point.

      I think I’d go for Messi, Henry and Pedro – but not sure.

  85. Tutomate
    April 22, 2010

    When your married to Barça you support it in sickness and in health for richer or for poorer through the good and the bad through 2-6 and through 1-3.

    I agree they should stop complaining and just killing on the field but let’s not abandoned them morally when they need us most.

    • Kxevin
      April 22, 2010

      Right there with you, Tutomate.

      And for me, if there’s a choice to be made, I prefer Champions League. Nothing like us hoisting the big ears on their pitch, in their house, while they watch on TV. I’d happily sacrifice the Liga for that.

  86. Blow-Grenade
    April 22, 2010

    Cule for ever! I think it is in times like this that our club needs the Fan’s support. And they have mine. I will love this team for ever.

  87. catleo
    April 22, 2010

    Thanks to everyone, but esp. kxevin for giving me a rational frame in which to understand the game, the emotional fallout and the nature of suffering and the intense irrational love one can feel for this team! I was, like many of you, so upset I couldn’t even think about the game yesterday, much less read about it.

  88. December 6, 2010

    Very good written story. It will be valuable to anybody who employess it, including me. Keep up the good work – for sure i will check out more posts.

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