I just can’t hate Inter, aka “So, SO much bigger than that.”

So, at many Inter sites, people are hurling invective, calling us divers, dropping f-bombs, citing last year’s Chelsea referee, etc. And you know what? I just can’t do it. I can’t hate Inter.

It isn’t a question of respect. You can’t not respect a side that handed your butt to you in the first leg. It’s just that my needs from this match are bigger than anything I can think of, so big that I strive to make Inter transparent, so that I may see the glittering prize at the end of it.

Mourinho is right. The club is indeed obsessed with making the Champions League final.

Because it’s in the Bernabeu.

I know. Duh, right? But many Inter fans don’t understand. They think that this is just an ordinary Champions League semi-final match, and tournament. Not for us. It’s also another reason that I can’t hate Inter. It’s because I, and any self-respecting cule, hate That Other Spanish Team with pretty much every fiber of their being except for one. And that one is reserved for Espanyol.

Inter is a hurdle that I hope we cross to get to the final. If we can’t, I will mourn not being able to have the chance to dance the victory mambo on the sacred home ground of That Other Spanish Team, more than I will mourn the loss.


Obviously, not every fan of Barca understands the hatred, the culture and politics-based roots of the animus that made one ambitious cule hurl a pig’s head at that unnamed pinnacle of detestation who will be pond scumming his way across the Inter bench today. But if you do, then you understand why I can’t hate Inter. Part of it is that I don’t have any hate left. I’ve used it all up this season. But just as much of it is that they are just another opponent to me, a hurdle to be crossed along the path to history.

Yes, I’m worried about the match. Very worried. Messi hasn’t tallied in 5 matches now, Abidal is on the mend, we have no Iniesta or Puyol, Henry is a shadow of his brilliance of last season, and yet we face a 3-1 deficit against a side that doesn’t concede goals willingly or easily, a very different side than the one that we spanked 2-0 in December. The worry is definitely there. We might just as easily end up trophyless as end up with an historic double.

So the worry is there. But not the hate. Not for Inter. Mourinho winds up the fans, then wonders why they try to attack him. He makes gestures to our coach, makes comments in the media, we carp about the referee of the first leg, Motta calls us divers, blah, blah, blah.

For me, it’s all about the long view, and a glorious opportunity to kick dung in the face of a hated rival, the way that dogs do after they take a piss. “Here’s some for you. Let me spread this out.”

During a recent trip to the Spanish capital, we spent a loooong day there touring the museum. I wore my soci pin on my blazer lapel, and reveled in the many baleful glares that I got. I can only imagine that if we play the match of our lives and get to the final, and are lucky enough to be victorious in that final, that the stares I got would be about one one-millionth the intensity of the disgust that would be registered by us celebrating the biggest European trophy on their home pitch.

Some scoff at our appeal to the fans and our hastily coined slogan, Ens hi deixarem la pell. Let them. Because to understand this club’s history and its being owned by the fans is to understand the call to war for everyone, cules, socis, players, parents, dogs, you name it. It’s a collective, and that collective is Barca, the single-minded entity that strives to live up to the grand-minded motto “Mes que un club.”

We are more than a club for many. We are pride and power, ups and downs, a glittering bastion of football as many like to see it played. We’re a symbol of Catalan culture and pride, and a great football club.

But most importantly, today, we are as one. Som un. And as a collective, all pulling together, we can get this done. The players decide the match on the pitch, but I like to think that my boiling blood helps them in some way. We will leave our skins. We will give our all, because this match is bigger for us than the opponent. So much bigger.

It’s that obsession that Mourinho so aptly identified that makes it impossible for me to hate Inter. I respect them, even fear them and their potential to be an impediment to what we are so close to achieving. But I just can’t hate.

Forca Barca!

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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. Hilal
    April 28, 2010

    Hate is for the weak.

    I have nothing but respect for Inter and even for Mourinho. They are a great team with great players, which will make this comeback even sweeter!

    Visca BARCA!!!!!

  2. Jose
    April 28, 2010

    Inter: it’s not about you, it’s about us :p

  3. U7
    April 28, 2010

    Great Article Kxevin. I would fear Inter too, greatly. I understand Barca’s need/obsession with getting to play the final against Bayern in the home of the greatest rivals (a political statement too ???). However, I fear the tactical defensive genius of Mourinho will be too great an obstacle to overcome. They played like demons against Chelsea at Chelsea. As you say, the other genius Messi has not been firing recently, and even Pep’s undoubted free flowing tactical skills will not be able to overcome the Italian defensive Tower of Babel, Cataneccio style. Plus Inter have a BEAST who will man mark and nullify Messi to extinction. That Beast is a fellow Argentinian and utility playmaker come Def. Mid, Cambiasso….and then there is also the ‘Cyclops’ giant Lucio….

    It looks tough….very very tough…I fear…..

  4. Bojan
    April 28, 2010

    Glory for our epic team!!!!
    VISCA EL BARCA!!!!!!
    We will win and prove again that we are unstoppable force!
    Pep, we trust in you, indeed!
    Glory to all BFB bloggers and barca fans! No one can match us!!!!
    On to the next victory!


  5. barca96
    April 28, 2010

    we could do it against a strong chelsea in 99 or 2000, i cant remember.
    it was in a QF. but we also came back from a 3-1 deficit. it was one of the best match ive ever watched..
    we can do it again!!!

  6. vicsoc8
    April 28, 2010

    I’m proud and even slightly amazed by the outpouring of emotion and support from the Barcelona faithful.

    Unlike that hated team, we don’t whistle our players when they have had a rough patch, but instead we try to pick them up and carry them on our shoulders.

    Mes que un club, indeed.

    • Kxevin
      April 28, 2010

      Um, Txigrinski, Ibrahimovic and Henry would quibble with the “we don’t whistle our players when they have had a rough patch” contention, unfortunately. 🙁

  7. Reagan
    April 28, 2010

    Wicked post Kxevin! I only pray there isn’t any violence because everyone is so charged up and thereby discredit what we are trying to achieve here.

    My heart keeps telling me that this is a once in a lifetime match but brain asks, “dude, what if we have to play inter again in the semifinals next year too coming back from a deficit?” and I’m convinced this is one game we’re all going to be talking about through the ages whatever the outcome.

    So psyched!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. U7
    April 28, 2010

    Barca 96, the Chelsea side of 99/2000 was pre-Roman Abramovitch ‘Billionaire cash injection’ days. They were so poor that I believe they even played Jimmy Floyd Haisselbank as their main striker !…(:

    That’s how poor…

    • Dave
      April 28, 2010

      Hasselbaink on his day was a great striker. thou I do despise Chelsea

  9. Tutomate
    April 28, 2010

    If we wn it won’t be because of tactics it won’t be because f any particular player it will be because 98,000 fans screamn their hearts out pushing their team it will be the proverbial 12th man it will be you and you and me.

    ¡Visça el Barça, tots units fem força!

  10. Tyler
    April 28, 2010

    I have nothing but respect for Mourinho. I think he is one of the few coaches out there that thinks outside the box. He is arrogant, outlandish, and more often than not a general jerk. BUT, he’s got the numbers to back it all up. I love that type of person. The people who talk all the trash, but at the end of the day they have every right to do so. That’s why I don’t hate Inter or Mourinho. They beat us, not at our best, but they beat us. And if they beat us again today, well they are obviously the better team across the two ties. But at the end of the day, we will still be the best team in the world. We will be the only team that one six trophies in a year. We will still be the only team that is mes que un club.

    I have already prepared myself for the fact that our champions league dreams might end today. I had to. The odds are just not in our favor. That doesn’t mean I’m emotionally prepared for it, but I recognize that it is a possibility in the world of outcomes. However, I can see a 2-0 victory in my head. I’ve played it out a million times since last Wednesday when I started to believe in Remuntada. And to see the whole Barça nation rise up with this same hope is astounding. I’ve never seen anything like this in sports. Even when the Red Sox were down 3 games to none and they came back, it wasn’t like across the globe were talking about leaving their skin on a field. Like we said before: the point of futbol is to suffer. And we will suffer the whole match today. And if the outcome is not in our favor we will suffer even more. But I don’t think the point is win or lose today, it’s just about being Barça and showing the world who we are. I hope the fans cheer as loud from the beginning till the very end regardless of the outcome.

    I have looked into the future and I have seen Remuntada, now, let’s make it become reality.

  11. Nick
    April 28, 2010

    Kxevin, the slogan has not been hastily coined at all. In fact, it (and our “tattooed” players) first appeared on the official website in the beginning of this season.

    • Kxevin
      April 28, 2010

      It has less than a season of tenure. That, to me, is hasty. Plus, even PhotoShopped, Dani Alves doesn’t have a bicep. Just sayin’. He was one of the many players who, this season, have shown up on the site with the slogan faux-tatted on one body part or another.

  12. Blow-Grenade
    April 28, 2010

    Scoring 2 goals is not a problem. Obviously Mourinho will go for a defensive lineup. Also Barca will have over 60% possession. What needs to be seen is can Barca do something with the possession. I like the Barca formation against Xerez. 2 Players up front – Henry and Ibra with a free role for Messi and the usual positions for everybody else. I have seen Ibra do very well when he plays slightly to the right of the box as a striker and that gives enough space for Henry to run into from the left wing. Their defenders will own P! and Bojan. I do not think they are viable options. It is in the lineup that Barca will win or loose.

    Regarding defense – Abidal Milito Pique and Alves is a good combination.

    Looking at the current form of our mifielders a trio of The Yaya, Keita and Xavi should do the job.

    • Dave
      April 28, 2010

      Width will be key. We’ve got a big pitch so lets make it count- drag lucio out and let messi run at samuel

      • Kxevin
        April 28, 2010

        Width will be huge. It’s why Abidal is so crucial to this match. With him and his ability to go forward out there (and get back, more crucially), it’s a whole new ballgame. Keita also then becomes a lot more dangerous.

  13. Bill
    April 28, 2010

    I am not sure about players coming out with t-shirts and making videos. It puts undue pressure on them plus it riles up the opposing team, and if that team is not Xeres, then u might have a few problems. Id rather have Laporta, Cruyff and other notable fans and ex-players get the faithful going, while the team quietly goes about their business of preparing for the game then surprise inter on the pitch. Making videos and stuff can either be courageous or simply sets them up for a huge egg on their face.

  14. fcbfan
    April 28, 2010

    Even if deep down you don’t think we can make it you don’t believe in the come back, because of the odds Kxevin outlined, still you owe it to the team. It’s not about you. Focus on the team as a whole and not if Messi can score, or Abidal b fit, or if Yaya will start. Just one simple thing: believe in the football they have given us the past 2 years. and that is why they deserve our support. If you can’t bring yourself to believe, then you can’t. So believe in the belief the players have in themselves that they will make it to the final. /end rant to oneself..

    I feel better.

    Line up in 2 hours! Visca El Barca!

    • Kxevin
      April 28, 2010

      Exactly. For me, this season has already been a success. Because in the face of so much, we persevered. They parked buses, they fouled, they dove, they did everything they could to keep us from success and yet, we succeeded when so many predicted that we would fail.

      Is failure defined by trophies, or lack thereof? Not in my book. I think it is defined by thrilling football, a great season and so much joy from so many matches.

      Most importantly, as long as nobody does anything stupid this summer transfer season, we are prepared for many more years of excellence. Look at the nucleus of our club. The only folks who will be gone next season are Henry and Marquez (and maybe Milito). Everyone else is in their prime (except for Puyol). So Pedro, Ibrahimovic, Messi, Iniesta, Xavi, Busquets, The Yaya (that’s the “something stupid” reference), Pique, Abidal, Alves (who isn’t going anywhere), Keita, Krkic all have more than a couple of years of excellence in their blood and bones.

      Part of being a dynasty isn’t necessarily winning all the time, but carefully resetting so that the excellence continues. We did far better than I thought we would in this World Cup year, frankly.

      • Blow-Grenade
        April 28, 2010

        Yes, for me this season has already been a huge success. Its not a big deal if we do not play the last game in the Champions League. We are on top of La Liga and that is really cool. Plus I have got to watch amazing football this year.

  15. ermengol
    April 28, 2010

    Great post, Kxevin!

    About hate though, Crackovia’s Som Un take reserve a fiber or two for CRneuf. (Maybe they file it under EE?)


  16. U7
    April 28, 2010

    Dave – Haisselbank good ? Hmmm… I beg to differ (I thought he was an overpaid D*nkey). But I respect everyone’s opinion.

    I’m so NERVOUS 4 TONITE (Can somebody help me ???). Hope Barthelona can do it. Howeva,as I said, there is the ‘Beast’ Cambiasso…..and then there is also the ‘Cyclops’ giant Lucio……to deal with.

    I see this Contest as one of unstoppable force (Barca) vs Immovable Object (Inter). Fairy tales would say the unstoppable force always wins….however we don’t always get fairy tale endings 🙁

    Good Luck !!!

  17. April 28, 2010

    Well, I’ll be the blue duck here and say, I don’t have much respect for Mourinho at the moment.

    So now Inter is lecturing us about and diving!/dirty play and calling us obsessed maniacs. On top of that accusing us of pressuring referees.

    The most egotistical and narcissistic coach is talking about purity and spirituality. I don’t like anyone disrespecting us… and I do hope Mourinho goes home today with his tail up his ass.

  18. Museum
    April 28, 2010

    I’d just like to announce that I will not be eating an Italian sandwich like I did during last week’s match. And my baseball team that I follow, the Minnesota Twins, won 2-0 last night.

  19. kamikaze kontiki
    April 28, 2010

    Its a little rich from Motta to call Barça divers. When he was at Barça all he ever did was foul and dive and the rest of the time of course, he was injured. I was so happy when we got rid of him.

  20. ashu
    April 29, 2010

    I do not get it. I am a Barcelona fan for the football they play. Why should there be any HATE at all? All the culture, history etc. is not for the football field. I think this hate this is just hyped by “those people” who can benefit from it.

    No HATE please.

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