Maxim maximus

“One must go into a Clásico with respectful civility. From one lapsus headlines are made with nothing to back them up, when it’s only a football match. It would be nice for people to enjoy themselves,’ said [sports director of FC Barcelona Andoni] Zubizarreta.*

As Zubi says (our very own Erasmus),

Grow up and act like an adultus.

After all, by my calculus,

The season has not yet reached its terminus.

It’s exciting to think that ahead of us

we have of Barça-Reales a veritable omnibus.


There’s La Liga (which we dominus)

There’s la Copa (an appreciable bonus)

And then Champions (Clásico maximus).

Yet, to date, you habeas not the corpus.

It’s frustrating, scio, but that is the verus.


(Besides, such overreach may seem discourteous

To those like Bassam who, although White, is a true BFB amicus.)


So pay no heed to MouMouth, that pain in the gluteus.

Do learn from Pep, circumspectus Augustus.

Take brave heart in Barça, their operandi modus

The style, the flair embraced by each Masia alumnus.



For, inter pares, each player is primus.

Xavi. Puyi. And Leo, our footy Prometheus.

Our win last annus (by a manus) was bellus.

To win all the rest would be ultra, ne plus.

But the season moves swiftly and fugit doth tempus



So while we’re all here, by Deus, gaudeamus.



*’De cara al clásico hay que ir con respeto cívico. De un lapsus se hacen portadas sin nada a lo que agarrarse, cuando en realidad al final sólo es fútbol. Sería bueno que la gente disfrutará”, señaló Zubizarreta.



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SoccerMom obsesses over FCB and this blog instead of grading papers, burning dinner and/or raising her small children. She blames a Spanish husband and easy access to Hispanic-targeted cable sports channels for her football addiction and consequent failure as a professor, housekeeper and mother.


  1. April 13, 2011

    I have a man-crush on SoMa.

    I don’t care what you say about flawed logic and reason. And the genetic impossibility.

    • Eklavya
      April 14, 2011

      LOL, you could have left out the last sentence you know 🙂

  2. blitzen
    April 13, 2011

    *sigh* I say it every time, but…I love you SoMa! 😀

    (And I love me some Erasmus, too!)

  3. Miguel
    April 13, 2011

    Wow. I needed this. Thank you, profesora. It’d be an act of sheer folly to think everything was wrapped up already. Can I be your hunky trophy husband? 🙂

  4. mardia
    April 13, 2011

    This is AWESOME, and exactly what I needed to hear.

  5. soccermomof4
    April 13, 2011

    When lol literally, not just figuratively, means laughing out loud.

    That was just brilliant, SoMa!

    In circumspectus Augustus we trust!

    • Ryan
      April 13, 2011

      Haha, nice:

      “Mou, res – Perque en volem tres!”

      Mou, nothing – Because we want three!

  6. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 13, 2011

    beacuse I was the last one to comment in the previous thread, I’m gonna post it again for my friend, fcbvandrivel… 😀


    it made by one of our member here, fcbfandrivel

    please visit to have some fun and laugh…. 😉

    • April 13, 2011

      Thank you BarcaGirl_Indo! (blushing) That is Ramzi’s blog as you probably already know, and I just post there from time to time, at least till he fires me for posting too much drivel and making his reputation mud. 😛

      @soccerMom brilliant piece! It made me go back and read all your other articles. 🙂

      • ooga aga
        April 13, 2011

        “It made me go back and read all your other articles. ”

        highly recommended. for new initiates, this is done by clicking on soccermom’s name. each one is brilliant!

  7. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 13, 2011

    and SoMa, you’re just amazing…

    this is exactly what we need before El Clasico thriller and hysteria…

    a good laugh… 😆

    thanks, we love you!

  8. ak
    April 13, 2011

    Hey Kxevin, about the other day

    It was never my intention to nitpick. Trust me, I really appreciate what you and other bloggers do to create this wonderful space. I never knew too many other cules before I came to the Barca offside and then to here (I had celebrated our treble alone 🙁 )

    I never read to much into ratings. I am only disappointed in how easily the new and especially expensive signings are able to earn credit with the fan base. It was disappointing with how much easy support Ibrahimovich got last year even though his performances were pathetic and yes i feel a pinch when people say that Guardiola should start Mascherano in this match or that match even though Keita has been around much longer, is more familiar with our system and in my opinion, is a better allrounder and gives more to the team.

    Anyway, thanks for the reply. Keep up the great work.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      April 13, 2011

      celebrated the treble alone? 🙁

      your words made me realize that besides my dad,
      I don’t really have a cule friend around me in my daily life…

      well, I have actually, my very best friend, but she’s living in different city…

      at least I have my dad and you guys in my house… 😉

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      April 13, 2011

      did they? I didn’t watch the match, but that sounds painful to me… 🙁

    • dean
      April 13, 2011

      Could you link that Miguel, I always have a soft spot for heart…

    • Para
      April 14, 2011

      I think, although I could be wrong, they sing “When the spurs go matching in.”

      I did think it was great that they stuck around despite the obvious consequences of the match, though.

  9. simple_barcafan
    April 13, 2011

    Wow!!i loved it..even though i have have no idea wat it means…

    • dean
      April 13, 2011

      Amazing, it flows so well.
      I know hardly any Latin, and somehow I understood most of the phrases cept Bellus? Veritable Omnibus?

  10. Eduard
    April 13, 2011

    My favorite piece you’ve written. That was splendid.

  11. Barcaleya
    April 13, 2011

    SoMa, this is super! You got me thinking: amongst Xavi, Iniesta and Messi – would Messi be primus inter pares? Or as you said – inter pares, all players are primus. Haha. But because it’s a team sport it really goes back to the same question- whether Messi will be as good without the team. You’re probably right. Brilliant!

  12. April 14, 2011

    I have to say, the soccer moms on this board are awesomeness with chocolate syrup on top.

    And how thoughtful of you to think of me at that point. Again, chocolate covered awesomeness! 😀

  13. outerspacedout
    April 14, 2011

    Haha, I just read that the White Hart Lane faithful sang ‘A shit Barcelona’ at Real Madrid. Lol.

    • Para
      April 14, 2011

      If you would like a more accurate image, they sang it to the tune of ‘guantanamera.’ It was pretty epic.

  14. stowe
    April 14, 2011

    great article, thanks SoMa

    I think we might see an interesting CB pairing. remember how Adriano and Pique were switching in our last match? What if Pep rolled out this lineup:
    alves, pique(to play on ronaldos side), adriano, maxwell
    xavi, iniesta

    it would give us speed at the back and allow everyone else to play their normal position. Not so worried about this saturdays match. I want us to win the others though.
    Wish we played at home first. I like playing away second so you can always go all out for an away goal. I guess for us we always try to score so it doesn’t matter. just means the other team can lock down and hope for a 0-0 draw and then try to beat us on the away goal 1-1 draw.

    • Jnice
      April 14, 2011

      Pep would never play Adriano at center back. I could foresee many positional issues and other complexities that come with playing a position for the first time.

      I’m not worried about Saturday too much, but I think that if we get a good result, it would be a great boost for the Copa final.

      • stowe
        April 14, 2011

        on offense we often have 3 players at the back. if Busi or the DM doesn’t drop into the middle it is often that left back as part of that 3. If Adriano was played as a “CB” with Maxwell on his left playing more of a LWB position, I could see Busi dropping into the middle while we have the ball. This would give us more security against the counterattack. There would probably be some positional issues, yes. Milito has more positional awareness, but does he have the speed to get into the correct position? Either way, that position is our biggest weakness. Sometimes speed can cover for weakness, though. On set-pieces Busi would trade responsibilities with Adriano to give more height, he’s back there anyways.
        Whatever happens, Pep will have it his way and have the players doing what he wants. We control the ball, we control the game.

        Anyone know when Abidal is expected back or when he will start training?

        • Jnice
          April 14, 2011

          I see what you’re saying, but I really don’t think it’s a possibility. Pep was asked about Maxwell playing CB and he said no to that. Adriano has played on his wings all his life, asking him to move to the center, with El Clasico as his baptism of fire…. just don’t see it happening. I don’t think it would turn out well at all. We always control the ball, but it doesn’t necessarily mean we control all facets of the game. Counter attacks are going to always happen against us.

          My bet would be on Busi or Milito with Pique on Saturday, Mascherano with Pique on Wednesday and for the CL semis.

          Abidal won’t be back playing this season. As for training, I haven’t heard anything about when he’ll be able to train normally. He’s been walking for the past week or so and I’m sure they’ll probably up his walking pace periodically, but I’m not sure he’ll be able to properly train until the summer at the earliest.

  15. outerspacedout
    April 14, 2011

    The Ye-Ye team of EE’s won 9 La Ligas apparently. I’m seeing our current line-up and thinking that if all goes well we could very well be dominating for quite a long time more.

    Aside from Xavi and Puyol, a lot of our team is very very young.

    Valdes being a goalie can play for another eight or nine years.
    Pique is 23, Pedro is 23, Messi is 23, Mascherano is 26, Adriano is 26, Busquets is 22, Iniesta is 26, Alves is 27, Fabregas seems set to be coming eventually sooner or later much and is 24, Afellay is 24, Thiago is 20, Barta is 21, Fontas is 21, Bojan is 20. We have riches of at least a good thirty million a year to spend on transfers if we ever have a need, and most our players don’t have issues with big egos or lack of discipline.

    We SHOULD be able to look forward to a long fruitful era barring any weird screw-ups. The side is full of some of the best players in the world in many positions, all of whom are not even at their supposed peak age yet. I hope we can keep up this kind of play.

    I also hope Valencia return to being a European powerhouse. They have some great players, seem to be on the right track to being healthy, and are only beginning to recover but still good enough to have been very unlucky to not have made the CL quarters. They’re already very good, with players like Banega, Mata, Costa and Soldado.

    • outerspacedout
      April 14, 2011

      9 La Ligas in the sixties* apparently

  16. Jim
    April 14, 2011

    Agreed, Jnice. Pep’s not going to leap into an unproven CB pairing for this one. My own feeling is that Milito will get the nod, mainly as our best hope of defence is if Busi,Xavi,Iniesta, Messi can keep the ball away from Madrid for long periods.

    He may, however, tinker at FB. I’m torn between Adriano and Maxwell for this one. We need every ounce of pace we can muster but we need to keep the ball for long periods without mistakes. Will he repeat the Alves experiment? This is not a time for Ronaldo to get in behind Dani. We need something to keep Marcello occupied. He was doing well until the last Clasico destroyed his reputation as a defender. I think he is one of the main reasons Madrid are playing better atm. He seems to have Alves like capabilities to get up and back and has pretty good dribbling skills.

    The first ten minutes are going to be really interesting. Madrid have to come out and stop us playing our game so there will be some hard tackling going on. Good to hear Pique admit he went through a tired spell but is now feeling much better ( Barcastuff).

    Just wondering if Puyol might be bending Pep’s ear for a place on the bench? He seems to be closer to a return and it’ll kill him to miss a Clasico, even if there are more on the way. Might be a nice message to send to Madrid – you’ve got to do it here as he’s gonna be back for the next one.

    • Jnice
      April 14, 2011

      I could see him using Dani on the wing in one of these matches, although I didn’t think we looked good at all in the first half at their house last year. We didn’t keep the ball as well as we normally do, and Dani just didn’t look the same.

      Things were much better in the second half, when Dani returned to RB.

      We don’t have the depth of squad Madrid has, so the names on the teamsheets for each Clasico won’t be too different, however, I could see us using players in different positions, e.g. Iniesta or Dani on the wing or Mascherano at center back.

      Did you watch Revista yesterday, Jim? I tend to agree with them about what the first Clasico could mean psychologically. I also agree with them when they say Pep will use his best XI on Saturday. All this using the B team talk is pretty far fetched.

      • Jim
        April 14, 2011

        Yeah, I saw it. I’m not sure defeat would have the same effect on the two teams, ‘though. Madrid came into the first classic thinking Mourinho was enough to guarantee their victory and they were really truly spanked. Not only did that hit them with regard to where they stood ability wise. It also meant Mourinho’s invincibility took a pounding with his naive approach to it. Now they’re at it again saying how much they have improved. Defeat on Saturday would be bound to affect them badly mentally, especially as its at home.

        We, on the other hand, are coming in on the back of injuries and fatigue. If we lose this we can to some extent shrug it off and say wait till the important ones as we don’t lose anything on Saturday. They lose La Liga.

        The one thing that would worry me is if we started doubting in ourselves after a defeat. We’ve seen the pessimism around while we’re still winning everything – how would Cules react to a defeat – it’s been so long 🙂 I’d be worried if Mourinho came up with a plan that worked and got into our heads again that he is the special one. The worst kind of doubt is self doubt.

        As long as we believe in our style and our players – and as long as we play to our best – I’ll say it again. We’re better than them. Even if we lose the first Clasico.

        Can’t see the B team figuring other than as cheerleaders on Saturday. It’s a day for the whole squad on the touchlines. If, after all we’ve gone through, I see Xavi and Iniesta ruling that midfield the way they’ve done so far, I for one will probably come over all emotional. I love our style of play and want everyone to see that it’s the way forward.

  17. Extreme barca fan
    April 14, 2011

    Great Soma just great

    There’s La Liga (which we dominus)
    There’s la Copa (an appreciable bonus)
    And then Champions (Clásico maximus).

    We do dominate the Liga, the Copa is a bonus, but we must by all means defeat them in the CL.
    Also the only way i see B teamers in the Liga Clasico is in my dreams, other than that, i think Pep will go with a full strength line-up.

  18. Helge
    April 14, 2011

    Wow, this is seriously one of the best poems I’ve ever read.
    Why didn’t we analyze such poems in class ??? 🙁

    btw, Sport reports that Puyol will miss the first two Clasicos. Does anybody believe that he’ll be back for the CL Clasicos? I don’t, tbh…

    • Goo
      April 14, 2011

      I honestly believe Puyi’s out for the season and that the team knows it too, but is not announcing it publicly in order to keep the threat of a healthy Puyol alive. That he could come back perfectly healthy and prepared to kick the collective EE gluteus is part of the clasico mindgames.

      Hopefully I am wrong, and he’ll go all Captain Caveman and proceed to own TB. And score a goal.

  19. stowe
    April 14, 2011

    @outerspacedout, it will be interesting to see how this team develops and plays in the next 5-10 years. We are young and at the moment have great coaches.
    I’m curious about Afellay though. Do you think he’ll spend his prime years here? Could he become a box to box player similar to Keita (with better ball skills). I don’t know if he’ll stick around if Fabregas ever joins the team. right now he is learning and will get more time with aging Xavi and Keita.
    Or he could possible continue to develop as a wing player, that is where he’s playing most now. I think he’s got more to offer than Jeffren and offers something completely different from Bojan.

    I’m super excited that Mascherano can play CB. Would be pretty cool to see him be successful there in the long run because it would mean more playing time for him. I wonder if he could play at FB? Yea, i guess with the loss of Yaya (seems like forever ago) we lost another CB option, so really we lost 3 CBs last year and gained one in Abidal and maybe another in sMasch.
    still can’t believe we have 4 Clasics coming

  20. Lou
    April 14, 2011

    Mourinho complaining about how he isn’t allowed to tell his players to pick up yellow cards “but other coaches can”:

    Don’t be mean to Iniesta Mou: he just had a baby!

    Not looking forward to three weeks of him telling the world how there is one set of rules for Barcelona and another for Madrid.

  21. blitzen
    April 14, 2011

    From Paul Hayward:

    Life has a habit of bending José Mourinho’s way. Minutes before the end of this tie Gareth Bale followed a high ball towards the touchline and stumbled into the Real Madrid coach’s embrace. No one is saying whether Mourinho asked for his mobile number then or when he sought him out later for the fondest of handshakes. The tapping-up police, if such a force existed, would study recordings of this exchange.

    • blitzen
      April 14, 2011

      I’ve been singing it all morning. In Catalan! And I don’t even like the Pet Shop Boys! 😀

      • soccermomof4
        April 14, 2011

        I’ve never even heard of the Pet Shop Boys. Guess I’m old (or lucky?) 😀

        • blitzen
          April 14, 2011

          You should have heard of them, they have been around since the 80’s. The big hits were “West End Girls” and “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)”.

          • soccermomof4
            April 14, 2011

            You are absolutely right. I do remember some of their songs. They weren’t a band I liked though, and I only remember the bands that I liked.

            So how come I feel even older now?!? 🙂

  22. April 14, 2011

    Everyone should get their minds around the reality that we are not going to win all four matches. I don’t really care, results-wise, about Saturday or the Copa. We can lose Saturday and still win the league, and the Copa is second-tier silver.

    Puyol is done for the year, and for good as a full-time starter. Something else to wrap our heads around. If Guardiola reprises him at CB, his signing makea even more sense (remember when Ramzi was telling everyone what a good signing Mascherano would be?).

    With Puyol and Abidal, I would have full confidence that we were going to win all four. But both are gone, and Villa is crap right now.

    • Helge
      April 14, 2011

      Mmh… but Sid Lowe speculates that the first Clásico could indeed be the most important of them all, due to its effect on the other three. All speculations aside, the nearer Saturday comes, the more important this match gets to me. It’s a feeling^^

    • soccermomof4
      April 14, 2011

      * sticks fingers in ears and looks all kinds of petulant*

      lalalalalala not listening


      Of the 4, the first is the least harmful to lose. We will have Mascherano back for the others and hopefully Captain Caveman(did you read something about him being done for the season? *she asks timidly hoping for a reassuring answer*).

    • Barcaleya
      April 14, 2011

      Agree with this (and Euler) in terms of which results matters most. But I also said a couple of posts back that the first match matters because it sets the tone for the remaining matches. We don’t want to give them confidence coming into the the next three games. Sometimes, confidence acquires importance especially in games such as these.

      So….although we don’t require a win in the the Liga game, I wish we would at least draw. We, of course have to win the CDR despite it being a second-tier silver because again – to lose there would propel them to greater confidence for the CL matches. As for the first leg of the CL, what we need are away goals. I don’t care as much that we lose provided we get as many away goals for insurance in the home game.

      I know how difficult the next two weeks are, depleted as we are, but I also think that everyone will step up and find their form. Including Villa. I think that if we don’t tweak as much in terms of personnel, we will be tweaking in terms of who to give the balls to (which EE will not be expecting). There will be more deception to lure away defenders and open up spaces for unsuspecting players who will try to score. And we’ll be practicing set pieces like crazy.

      • Barcaleya
        April 14, 2011

        *unsuspected* (or unexpected) players

  23. Josep
    April 14, 2011

    just like we never stood a chance of winning in ukraine kevin

    Look we may not “win” every match, but I find it highly possible to “lose” none.

  24. Jim
    April 14, 2011

    That’s right, Kxevin. Set the mood !

    We’re not going to win all four
    Puyol is done for the year
    He won’t get a regular place in the team next year
    Villa is crap.

    Here’s hoping the team is kept well away from such pessimism 🙂

    • blitzen
      April 14, 2011


      I was going to say the same thing! I refuse to be drawn into the cule pond of despair.

    • April 14, 2011

      The team already knows it. 😀

      I wish it weren’t so. At the end of last season/beginning of this, I said that this would be Puyol’s last season as an automatic, full-time starter. I stand by that statement. Age and infirmity catches up to us all, even Cavemen.

      If we were in the form that we were around the first Clasic, I would be fully confident that we were going to win all four. Not three of four, and no draws. Four of four. But we aren’t rocking that kind of form, across the board.

      In addition, we have complexities at the back, and make no mistake, they are going to get into our half of the pitch. At this point, we find out about Adriano, and whoever Guardiola is going to put at CB to partner Pique.

      As for Villa, his drought and charitable qualities when he has the ball speak for themselves. Right now (again, would but that this weren’t the case) he’s crap, with nobody to bring in to freshen things. So we have to hope, and I’m too pragmatic to hope for magic.

      Pessimism vs pragmatism all depends upon perspective, right? I don’t think you’d find anyone on the club who would say anything different than what I’m saying. Couple this with the fact that if you give a team enough chances to beat you they probably will, especially with a good coach.

      Couple that with the Way of Cule, and you get an unflinching worldview.

      • Helge
        April 14, 2011


        I think exactly the same way as you, Sir 🙂

      • soccermomof4
        April 14, 2011

        As scared as I am about our back line, we have a couple of things going for us.

        Our midfield— EE couldn’t cope with our midfield in November and that’s still intact if Pep plays Busi at DM. They have to go through or over our midfield to worry our CBs.

        Villa— Villa was having problems before the first
        clasico. He didn’t even score a week before the clasico at Almeria. Even Bojan scored twice that day. Then he gets a brace against EE. Please, God, let this be Villa’s coming out( of a slump) party.

        Intangibles— We always show up for the big games. We work our tails off against EE. 11 players defend like fiends! 11 players attack! You won’t see 11 players defending for EE. We tap into our “dark side” where hate gives us that little something extra.

        Yes I’m scared. But I was scared in November, I was scared against Shakhtar, I was scared when we were down 2-1 against Arsenal. I don’t feel like we’re the favorites on Saturday, but we can still do this. And a draw would suit me just fine on Saturday, but I hope for the win!

  25. April 14, 2011

    I don’t think the first game is of any disproportionate value. Cruyff is correct – it’s the 2nd and 4th matches of the series that really matter.

    What separates Barca from so many teams down through the history of football that have played beautifully are trophies. It’s the combination of playing beautifully while winning which makes history.

    Madrid is highly unlikely to win the league. Even they are tacitly admitting that.

    RM only goal is to win some kind of silver to end their very long drought. It is imperative for Perez to win something. Functionally, they have 2 chances to do so. If they lose on Saturday that has minimal impact on their chances to win either of those two competitions.

    And if they do lose of Saturday the football media is going to automatically turn to their ready made narrative of Mourhino as the master tactician who can adjust to any situation. And if Madrid lose in the CDR the football press will then turn to their ready made narrative of Mourhino as the master of Europe.

    Barca losing on Saturday is not going to dull the clubs objectives. They know they are playing for history know. And that history means trying to win the treble again.

    It’s matches 2 and 4 that are going to matter the most.

    • Dalmar
      April 14, 2011

      Madrid fan, enjoy your tactical discussions very much.

      I think Mourinho will treat the series as war of attrition where the first two matches are gruelling enough to give Madrid the upper hand in the final two. I say this becuase Madrid has deeper bench. Mardid players also are really up for this.

      The player to watch for me is Ozil.

    • blitzen
      April 14, 2011

      Agree 100%. And no one can accuse Tim Stannard of wearing cule-coloured glasses.

  26. April 14, 2011

    I still think the first two games are almost as important as the last two. When talent is almost on an equal footing, psychological advantage plays a big part. I totally believe in what Pep said a couple of years back – “If we start to pick and choose which games have to be won and which games can be lost, we’ll end up losing everything” or something to that effect.

    • Barcaleya
      April 14, 2011

      Agree. I’ll be very optimistic here and believe that we’ll get the results we need. Meaning we will all three titles. Visca Barca!

  27. April 14, 2011

    Listen,why is ANYTHING but the awesomeness of this post being mentioned in the comments!

    This makes Run of Play look amateurish!

    Just. wow.

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