Barca 4, Valladolid 0, a.k.a. “Campions de Lliga!!!!”

Pere Punti/El Mundo Deportivo

No, it ain’t THE picture from this year, but it’s symbolic. So symbolic. Club. Trophy. Essential Captain. Celebration. What you have to ask yourself, is what more need be said, really? This image speaks with an undeniable eloquence that mere words can’t begin to express. Not that it will shock anyone that nonetheless, I’m going to give it a go.

This match was immense for so many reasons, not least of which was that everything was on the line.

–Us vs Them and Their Money in a battle for La Liga
–Naysayers ready, if we’d stumbled, to say “See, told you this season sucked.”
–Beautiful football, and what it means.
–And oh yeah, a stinkin’ Championship, our last shot at silver (and what a prize!) for this glorious season.

And we were at home against Valladolid, a side who were rolling under its new coach, enjoying a great string of results while fighting for its Liga life. And they came into our house and started the match by spitting in our faces, thanks to an appalling first touch by Valdes that gifted a glorious scoring opportunity to them. The ball fell to one of their attackers, who scuffed it off the pitch, allowing Puyol to block it with a flying leg ninja kinda thang.

If that goal goes in, it’s a little crazy, right? But it didn’t, because finally this season, luck was on our side.

This was rather an odd match, in that we were without a midfield engine room, due to the suspension of Xavi for having a big mouth, and Iniesta not really being match fit after his lengthy injury layoff. So Guardiola rolled out with Valdes, Alves, Pique, Puyol, Abidal, Keita, Busquets, The Yaya, Messi, Pedro! and Krkic.

So Valladolid flooded the midfield, got in our faces and raised all kinds of hell in an effort to save their lives (to no avail …. they will take the drop). For the first 15 minutes, they were all over us. They had more corners, more shots on goal and 10 minutes into the match, Messi hadn’t touched the ball. And after that early, heart-stopping chance, we began to slowly take command of the match, thanks to the World’s Largest Attacking Mid. And from then on, it was all over but the shouting. Messi got more involved, The Yaya began to control the midfield as Keita and Busquets did the dirty work, and it was off to the races, eventually.

Pedro! should buy a lottery ticket. Right now. Because he was a mess, scrambling hither and yon, chasing the ball, chasing the match, chasing his tail and anything else that he could. He took a ball, fumbled it as was his early wont today, and scurring toward the end line, accompanied by two defenders. Somehow, he comes out with the ball and decides to cross it into the box, despite the fact that nobody made a run, probably because they were all shocked by the fact that he came out with that ball. His cross to nobody deflects off a Valladolid defender for an own goal, a 1-0 lead and yet another example of why Pedro! is the luckiest man in Barcelona.

It was a goal not only out of nothing, but out of less than nothing, and Valladolid didn’t know what to do. The shock and horror on their faces, that this was their reward after playing their collective hearts out, was almost too cruel even for me to bear.

And from that moment on, the match was over. Because the footy gods had given them their one opportunity. Take it, and go for it. They couldn’t, so the footy gods snatched the match away from a side that didn’t look all that likely to score on us.

Then came our second goal, a piece of jaw-dropping brilliance that I will watch again, and again, and again, and again. It’s easy to write at this moment, but it happened so quickly, so improbably, that I had to rewind my DVR to see exactly how it happened. So here it is:

–Pique spanks a pass to Alves, who sends it back to Pique
–From there it goes to The Yaya who, facing some pressure, slides it back to Alves
–Then it’s back to The Yaya, before Messi decides that he wants to play, and rolls over to the scene.
–Alves to The Yaya to Messi to The Yaya to Alves to Messi, who begins one of those crazy-quilt runs of his, eluding both a defender as well as an in-the-way ref, who I’m sure was caught watching that amazing display of one-touch tika-taka, just like the rest of us.
–At the end of the run, Messi’s way is blocked, so he hits The Yaya with a pass to create some space.
–The Yaya back heels the ball back to Messi, who slots a perfect pass to Pedro!, who goes between the keeper’s legs for 2-0.

It was, for me, fitting that the championship would be in effect clinched on a goal so exquisite, one that showed off not only our attacking flair and passing ability, but ability to go from nothing to 2-0 in about 4 seconds. It was astounding, and now the match was really done.

But there were more goals, more moments in The Yaya Show. Our third goal came when he took a pass and rumbled forward, nutmegging the first defender, hurdling the second and knocking a perfect cross to Messi, who buried the shot.

Our fourth goal once again came from The Yaya, as he smacked a ball to Messi in the exact right spot for Messi to control and shoot back across the grain, beating the keeper while also tying, with 34 goals, the scoring record set by Ronaldo, El Fenomeno.

Here are some numbers to mull over:

–We dropped only 15 points this season, winning with a record-setting total of 99 points
–Only a single defeat, to those damned mattress makers]
–34 goals for Messi the Pichichi, who will add all kinds of golden shoes to his wardrobe
–Our 20th title

And here are some more numbers:

Team: 10. It was collective excellence that defeated Valladolid, even if individual players didn’t live up to that immense standard.
Guardiola: 10. At first it didn’t look like the right lineup, but it was. And I loved the substitutions, done with kindness at the forefront, particularly in the case of Henry.
Valdes: 5. Holy crap, did he about give us a heart attack, or what? Made up for it with some great saves, though.
Alves: 7. Indefatigable bundle of energy, who was a key component of our Xavi-less attack.
Puyol: 9. A key, brilliant intervention to keep Valladolid from scoring, and kick-starting us with his exhortations.
Pique: 8. Didn’t have a lot to do, but did it brilliantly. His play from the back makes me smile all the time.
Abidal: 8. That play in which he anticipated a pass, controlled it with his chest and started a break is why I love our French Greyhound.
Keita: 9. Majestic. Absolutely majestic in doing all the dirty work, attacking, defending and helping with possession. What a player.
Busquets: 8. Dude just wins balls. He’s been on a roll since the shame of his Inter dive.
The Yaya: 10. How can we even think of letting go of my Man of the Match? He was astounding, absolutely astounding.
Pedro!: 7. Really came into the match well after a wild-eyed start that found him trying way too hard. Nicely taken goal, too.
Krkic: 3. Verging on worthless. Pillow-soft passes that were easily intercepted, and not much else.
Messi: 9. What a match, not just because of the brace, but also the effort and sheer joy of his game today. Even late in the match, up 3-0, he’s still running at the keeper, trying to force an error. Wow.


Henry (for Krkic): 4. A nice gesture by Guardiola to give him a chance to play in his last match with us. But he really didn’t have a chance to do that much, though he should have had an assist.
Ibrahimovic (for Alves): 3. Might have played to a better rating had he had more time. And just head the ball, dude!
Iniesta (for Pedro!): 5. Boy, could you see how much we missed him. He moves the ball so beautifully. Again, would have played to a higher rating with more time.

Yes, this review is short. Deliberately so. We’re all busy celebrating, and I think the focus should be on us and our feelings about our wonderful, wonderful club. Thanks to it, the players and all of the personnel for a memorable year filled with beautiful, soul-stirring football. Can’t wait for next year.

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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. Jnice
    May 16, 2010

    First 15 minutes had me annoyed because we looked like we didn’t come to play. Fortunately, we scored then settled down into our game.

    Yaya had a monster of a match, my MOTM as well. That run for the 2nd goal… wow.

    I think everyone played pretty well after the initial 15 minutes.

    Loved the celebrations and everyone’s speeches even though I didn’t understand all of it.

    I did understand when Ibra told Pique, “Fuck you.” Hahaha. And Abidal had me cracking up when he was told his wife the girls were cold and needed their jackets. Dani was crazy like always, and all in all, great scenes from everyone. You could tell how much they valued the league and all the hard work and sacrifice they put into the season.

    It wasn’t a treble, but still a wonderful season nonetheless.


  2. Ethan
    May 16, 2010


  3. Bundy
    May 16, 2010

    I thought the team defended very well in the first 15 minutes. we made a few shocking mistakes at the start, but we managed to keep our composure and dealt with Valladolid.

    tbh it was the last 10 minutes which we played pretty sloppily, but who the hell cared anyway, we won the bloody league title!!!!!! hahaahah

  4. Museum
    May 16, 2010

    Anyone have video links and/or translations for the celebrations? My feed died and I missed the last ten minutes and all the translations.

    • Museum
      May 17, 2010

      “and all the celebrations,” that should read.

  5. Lev
    May 16, 2010

    relieved the league is ours. thank you barça for a wonderful season!

  6. Alexinho
    May 16, 2010

    Does anyone have a longer video of the second goal? Every one seems to start halfway through Messi’s run, and there was so much more to it…

    • barca96
      May 16, 2010

      yeah the build-up was amazing!
      so to me, yaya had 3 assists.

  7. Museum
    May 16, 2010

    Can’t believe we have to wait months to see them play again. Oh well, the World Cup is awesome.

  8. jnelson
    May 16, 2010

    VISCA EL BARCA!!!! I love this club. Another great season it is!

  9. Euler
    May 16, 2010

    Excellence is difficult to find in any field of endeavor.

    Excellence sustained is an very different, rarer matter.

    By taking La Liga again this season, sustained excellence is what the squad has achieved. And that’s much of the reason why this championship is of particular importance and satisfaction. The record point total required to provide continuity to that excellence only heightens the accomplishment.

    Too much emphasis has been placed on last season in many respects. Six trophies is not a standard for comparison or point of reference for performance. It is a gift.

    In turn, comparisons of this season to last which find winning of fewer trophies lacking somehow shortchange both the achievement of last season and this one. Such comparisons dull the continuity of excellence that the past two seasons achieve – together.

    Together is an important word in the context of this team and the achievement of the past two years.

    A great deal has been made of what winning La Liga means for Barca in the context of Real’s enormous spending over the past year. It’s been seen by many as the triumph of principle over money.

    But Real didn’t do anything particularly wrong. Ultimately international football is structured under it’s own idiosyncratic, free market rules and boundaries. And RM stayed within those rules. Good for them.

    Barca has it’s own considerable war chest to utilize. Just my opinion, but I don’t see this outcome as a story about finances.

    It was a story about two different strategies competing against each other. Real was hypothesizing that a football team could achieve excellence by knitting together a collection of individuals. They were hypothesizing that in football the whole is equal to the sum of its parts.

    Barca has made a very different strategic hypothesis. They hypothesized that if orchestrated correctly, the whole adds up to much more than the sum of it’s parts. And it’s that surplus which won La Liga for Barca this season.

    It’s that whole, that together, which was the advantage Barca always held. It was the space Real could see but never catch up to.

    This was a very special season once again. Special in an entirely different way than last season was because this season they demonstrated that brilliance isn’t a flicker, but real light burning in Catalunya.

    • barca96
      May 16, 2010

      we are all celebrating while you and kxevin find the time to write excellent

    • Stephen
      May 16, 2010

      “.. Six trophies is not a standard for comparison or point of reference for performance. It is a gift. ..”

      Love that. Especially since some of us, myself included, forgot this from time to time this season.

    • Blow-Grenade
      May 17, 2010

      I dont know much about literature. But if Iniesta was fit, we could have won all 6 tropies again this season.

  10. aku
    May 16, 2010

    Please give us the link for the speech with translation if you have. Really need to watch that.

    Its finally over!!

    • May 16, 2010

      go to the official FC Barcelona site and they have the speeches in english.

  11. barca96
    May 16, 2010

    for the first time i got the line-up right!!

  12. May 16, 2010


    Why would we ever THINK about selling this lad.

    2 good things come from his performance today.

    1 – Further proof to EVERYONE why he should stay.

    2 – If Pep and LaPorta (or whoever it may be) take their crazy pills ( and we decide to sell the Ivorian, we’ll at least be able to hike up the price for him.

    Visca El Barca, Visca El Catalunya, y Visca El YAYA

  13. up barca!!! can’t wait for next season; villa was not in their match list, i guess he is coming to barca today… i love barca

  14. Stephen
    May 16, 2010

    Kevin, I have to agree on the Yaya show. After the first 15 minutes, I think Pep or his own inner voice spoke loudly to him, and said “LET GO OF THE BALL!!” He began to move it much quicker, and thats when the front began to move forward, and Im glad he realized this in time. Im glad he was involved in the goals, it would be a shame to see him go.
    and Messi, couldnt have asked for a better match from him.

    Excellent review, Excellent season of reviews, and Ready for next year !!! (actually ready to see those transfer rumors unfold! Ibrah staying of course)

    Now lets get the third one !!!

  15. poipoi
    May 16, 2010

    we have finally witnessed the awesomeness of yaya’s dribbles as Of Mid, a cañito for the memories. yaya don’t leave this summer!!!

    I don’t wanna be a jerk specially in this moment but winning la liga was the least we could do the year after the triplete. madrid se queeema se quema madriiiiiid.

    enhorabuena atleti, double trouble for EE

    • poipoi
      May 16, 2010


      yaya we love you

  16. poipoi
    May 16, 2010

    and that dude called pedro! did you see what he did vs 5 defenders and absolutely no back-up? THE MCGYVER MOVE!!! lol The canario is far more than gifted. I first saw him as a one year wonder but now I can’t wait to see pedro! in a couple of years. he is the black smoke!!! he literally flies over the grass, plays with both feet, scores, passes, fights, wins balls… what an extremo we discovered this year. if it wasn’t for messi player of the season

  17. BA
    May 16, 2010

    you kinda shit on Bojan yet again there in the final rating of the season. i thought his energy and movement were excellent, particularly in the first half making some fantastic passes to find tight spaces including an over-the-top ball to Messi that was positively Xavi-esque. played a few bad balls towards the end of his time, true, but he was also obviously playing 2nd fiddle to Messi as everyone on the pitch wanted him to get those 2 goals, and was passed up on a couple of occasions when he was in a better position.

    everything else was self-explanatory.

    • poipoi
      May 16, 2010

      let’s not talk about ratings 😉

      was bojan playing?

      viva pedro!

  18. poipoi
    May 16, 2010

    watching the after-match speeches

    VV is a retarded monkey and messi is comic genius!! omg “este año no voy a decir nada raro … jajajaja …. simplemente darle las gracias a todos … visca el barça visca argentina … y aguanta argentina la concha de su madre”

    meaning ” this year I won’t say anything weird.. jajajaja… I just wanna thank you all … visca el barça visca cataluña… and hold on argentina for fuck’s sake”

    • ooga aga
      May 17, 2010

      thanks for the translation of messi’s speech; ive never heard the “concha de su madre” expression.

      • poipoi
        May 17, 2010

        literally “the punani of your momma”

  19. cliveee
    May 17, 2010

    VISCA’L BARCA!! It’s a historic victory! 99 points! NINETY NINE POINTS!!! Good fight, EE! but spend a couple more millions next time and try to get a point from us. We are playing the best football in the world right now in your face!

    no way in hell we want to sell Yaya Toure, just no freaking way. he is clearly in his prime right now and has some more good years in him. yes, there is no better time to sell, but we are not short on money. so, KEEP THAT MAN MOUNTAIN!!

    i am so happy to see Abidal back as well, it’s a joy to watch him play.

    The best signing of the season is really Maxwell. yes, he is not our first choice and it showed, particularly when we compare how Abidal can confidently start attacking and dribbling forward. but, Maxwell’s contribution in his FIRST year with us is much more than expected.

    all in all, amazing, record-breaking season for us, wonderful and super football. i can’t have enough of it.

    • jnelson
      May 17, 2010

      YES! KEEP YAYA!!!!

      I have to disagree about Maxwell, though. Although it was a surprise he has played very well in his first season, I still think our best signing was Ibra. Remember, Ibra missed ALL of the preseason after breaking his hand under f’n Mourinho, who knew he was going to be sold. I think Ibra started so hot in the league because of the positive energy of the team and the fact that Liga defenders did not know how to play him. However, once defenders gave up and started simply kicking and hacking him the rest of the year, he became annoyed. The toughness of the campaign took the team energy out of it as well. In other words, there were many matches in the middle half of the season in which our players were not having fun. All of that contributes to the team as a whole and Ibra’s assimilation. I was disappointed with Chygwimpy though. He still has time to prove himself though. Year 2 is the big one, especially since he also missed our preseason. All I want is for Pep to return. I have a feeling EE is bringing in Mourinho and will be purging the world for more extravagant talent very soon. Only with Pep, can we battle that monster.

  20. cliveee
    May 17, 2010

    Thank you for your guys’ hard work too, BFB. GOOD JOB!! All of you!!

    • jnelson
      May 17, 2010

      Agreed! Hats off to BFB for such an excellent site and awesome work! Good job guys. Thanks for the effort.

  21. Manish
    May 17, 2010

    What a wonderful season. Hope Barca wins trophies after trophies to be the biggest club there ever was. We had very very bad weather in Bangalore last night, and i missed the live chat and the last match of the season. But am happy Barca won and Messi equalled the Phenoms record.

    • Manish
      May 17, 2010

      And my comment would be incomplete if i do not thank the wonderful guys at Barcelonafootballblog. Thanks guys. Keep it coming.

  22. ooga aga
    May 17, 2010

    que liga…que barca…que futbol que hemos visto…que afortunados somos!

  23. JC
    May 17, 2010

    Amazing end to an exciting season. I was watching the post-match review done by Brainless Ex-England players, and some of them just find excuses to recognize Messi as the worlds best player. They kept saying, that records are meant to be broken and that he should have broken Ronaldo’s record.

  24. ashu
    May 17, 2010

    “Somehow, he comes out with the ball and decides to cross it into the box, despite the fact that nobody made a run, probably because they were all shocked by the fact that he came out with that ball. His cross to nobody deflects off a Valladolid defender for an own goal, a 1-0 lead and yet another example of why Pedro! is the luckiest man in Barcelona.”

    And when Henry did the EXACT same thing, it was the fault of the rest of the team not getting in the box ? ? ?

  25. May 17, 2010

    As much as we don’t want Yaya to leave, I fear he’s gone. Today was a fitting reminder that he should always get first team football and for whatever reason — whether you consider Busquets more appropriate for that position or some other reason — he hasn’t gotten it. Honestly ask yourselves, putting yourself in his position: would you want to stick around another year?

    But those discussions can be had at another time. Let’s celebrate for now. Another year of brilliant football, of watching the two best players in the world (Messi, Xavi) without major injury, and the best team in the world (4 of last 6 La Liga trophies, 4 of last 5 UCL semis, 2 of last 4 UCL trophies). We’re immensely lucky, it won’t always be this good, so let’s enjoy it and cherish it.

  26. May 17, 2010

    What a joy to watch this team play.

    I have collected about 5 quotes by Renaldo that he is confident Madrid will win the League. He is a wonderful player but does need to be more respectful. I am glad he gets to eat his words.

    Thank you Kxevin et all for running this blog. I do appreciate your work, knowledge and passion.

    Cant wait till next season.

  27. mike in africa
    May 17, 2010

    pedro’s our lucky charm. his poor football intelligence and awareness was prevalent especially in the beginning stage of the game; and we got a goal because of it.

    it was embarrassing when the first goal went it, cuz if it was henry (or anyone else for that matter), we never would’ve scored that goal…

    pedro – WAG!!! that’s all i can say.

    • Bundy
      May 17, 2010

      I think Pedro’s performance was mainly due to nervousness rather than stupidity lmao.

      the first goal was funny, I gotta say, but again it was Yaya’s brain power that forced the valladolid player to put the ball behind the net.

      • Mikel
        May 17, 2010

        I’ve been actively following Barca since the 88-89 season, first year with Cruyff as coach, and I’m pretty sure than in those 22 years there’s not been a Spanish-born cantera player who has scored the same or more goals than Pedro scored this term in la liga (12 goals). Closest that come to mind are Bojan a couple of years ago (10 goals) and Oscar Garcia (95-96, 10 goals). I daresay we have to go back to 1970-71 when Barcelona-born Rexach netted 17 goals in la liga.

        So i’m glad that the cantera is starting to produce good strikers. Pedro, plus actually the best scorer in Europe Messi, plus a very promising striker as Bojan, I hope more good strikers will be coming out of the factory La Masia.

  28. deepak
    May 17, 2010

    Great to see we winning La Liga.
    But we deserved Champions league too but luck didn’t
    play his role as he did in stanford bridge last year.

  29. Bojan
    May 17, 2010

    will bfb post during the world cup it will be interesting 😉

  30. Kxevin
    May 17, 2010

    Yes, we intend to be all over the World Cup. For me, it will be a lost cause, as my Bleus have immense suck. But for the last time, once Dumbenech hands over the reins to a real coach.

    –Sorry BA, but Krkic shit on himself with a worthless performance. I didn’t tell him to be almost completely ineffective. He did that all on his own. He also made a very eloquent argument against those ready to install him as the starter. What good is movement when the result is so awful. Surely you saw the passes and bundles off the ball. Or was that just on my TV, which rather than broadcasting in HD, does so in Anti-Krkic Vision.

    –ashu, bicker all you want, but Pedro! got lucky. The goal was lucky. I don’t care what Henry did. He wasn’t there. Had that cross not taken the lucky deflection, everybody would have been saying “What the hell was that?” Period. Yes, the result was good. But it was also incredibly lucky. No knock on Pedro! for copping to that.

  31. Kxevin
    May 17, 2010

    And thanks to all for the compliments on the space, but we couldn’t have done it without all of you. So thanks right back at ‘cha.

    Now we have various season recaps, including the “keep or dump” roster, the Ibrahimovic Question, Silly Season and World Cup. Then, of course, evaluating our signings and pre-season. So don’t expect things to be any less busy around here.

  32. vicsoc8
    May 17, 2010

    I’m feeling a certain amount of tension today. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that the season is over and I won’t be able to watch my beloved Barca for several months, the fact that silly season has officially begun, or rather an after effect of my celebrations last night.

    I have nothing to say about the game, as all that matters was the 3 points (and in the end they didn’t even matter).

    The election is coming up, so I’m hoping most of you who have been paying attention and want to argue about it, I have a whole backload of opinions I’ve been saving for the end of the league.

    On another note, we should put together a top 10 moments/events of the season. I’d like to put forward the emergence of Pedro and both Clasico wins.

  33. vicsoc8
    May 17, 2010

    Great News!

    Milito has extended his contract for at least one more year until 2012

  34. Helge
    May 17, 2010

    Damn, that was a shocking start to the match 😀

    But I have to criticize Lionel Messi, he’s getting worse as time passes and is on his way to the straight bottom of football spheres! If you take a look at our second goal, some might say it was brilliant and Messi made an nice run, Yaya a superb back heel pass etc.
    But the Messi from 3 years ago would simply have run past all defenders and scored the goal of the season. This was not a worthy finishing, we should sell Leo to the EE! 😉

  35. Lev
    May 17, 2010

    mmm so both Ibra and Yaya did not want to address the crowd during celebrations. i missed Ibra`s F you to Pique but I did see Yaya was very reluctant to take the mic, before eventually stepping up to receive the love. Mmmm seems to me those two players are definitely not happy despite winning the Liga. It would really be a shame for Yaya to leave us.
    btw after one year in Barcelona Chygrinskis Spanish is about as bad as my Ukranian. He really reminded me of his character in crackovia, lol, Pep cracked me up when he gave him the hand signals to please stop talking. Brilliant. LOL

  36. May 19, 2010

    I dont know much about literature. But if Iniesta was fit, we could have won all 6 tropies again this season.

  37. Hi HI First time hopped here on your site, founde on Google. Thank you for your response. I really appreciate the advice you have given me. It will help us through our journey together. Hope you and yours have a happy Valentines.

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