From the Heart

First of all, congratulations to Real Madrid and their supporters on today’s Copa Del Rey victory.  It was a brilliant game from the two sides who left everything out on the pitch. Well done.  We look forward to the coming Champions League encounters.

For cules, there is really no reason to be down or saddened by this.  It is part of the fabric of the game of football at large.  Though I am disappointed I am also extremely proud of the team in the way they transformed how they played from the first half to the second.

That first half Madrid played very well defensively, but Barca were also as lifeless as we’ve seen them in a very long time.  The key issue of note was the absence of off the ball movement.  The team has seen defenses such as the one Madrid implemented today.  They know what’s required.  They just didn’t exhibit the energy  needed to execute.

Barca bent that first half and looked on the verge of being overwhelmed at times but they were not.  And in the second half they completely changed the dynamics of the match and came very close to winning it in regulation time.  Changing a match that way against a side as talented as Madrid is no easy matter.

And the way they played that second half made me very proud and happy.  It once again reminded me of why I root for this squad and love it.

Watching that second half, I thought of one of my favorite quotes from Pep.  It was from another epic match that went tied for a long period of time –  the Estudiantes match that sealed the perfect season.  He said it in reference to Messi, but I’ve always thought of it as applying to the whole of the team:

“In fact at half time, I took Leo aside and told him I wanted a goal from him, that came from his heart. He scored that goal with his heart.”

-Pep Guardiola

Pep said that jokingly given how Messi scored that goal.  But there was an air of truth to it larger than the words themselves or the moment they were wrapped up in.

I would guess that at half time today Pep said something similar to the entire team.  To play with their hearts.

And they did that second half.  And that all that we can ask because that is perhaps the most wonderful and most difficult dimension of what greatness is.

Visca Barca!

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  1. Lev
    April 20, 2011

    and before i start commenting i want to say VISCA BARÇA!

  2. April 20, 2011

    By the way – the real intention of this post was to Hector brilliant comments from Kxevin – not once – but twice in one day!

    I’m going to take the liberty of reposting the comment in this thread as well:

    People, people, people. I haven’t seen the match yet, and have to work late so probably won’t even be able to watch until late tonight or tomorrow. So someone else will do the review, but I will say this:

    Lose the pessimism. Now.

    Glory runs in waves. And if you’ve ever watched a wave, you know that it swells, crashes and then ebbs. If you’re a surfer, are you enjoying that wave and then looking for the next one, or moaning about the wave that isn’t there any longer?

    This team has given us amazing, amazing football for season after season. I like that people are giving them credit for playing a good match. I got the rundown from a cubicle mate, and it sounds like Villa let down the side again which, given how Mourinho plays finals and big matches, doesn’t surprise me at all. He learns from his failures, and has the personnel to adapt.

    For us, it’s easy to see how things could have been different, again only from the sound of things. For the manita, we had a healthy Abidal and Puyol, the former for his overlaps at pace to provide width and open up the wings. Villa wasn’t suffering what every first-year Barca forward suffers, the late-season fatigue slump.

    The way they are playing Messi is how any coach with half a brain would play Messi, until it beats them. It’s why I referenced the Jordan Rules, from back in the Chicago Bulls. You stop the guy you know can kill you, and see if anyone else can. Villa and Pedro can’t. Sorry, but they can’t. And if anybody wants to call me a hater, I’ll take that. But watch the Spain WC match against Switzerland to understand how stranded Villa can be against a team that narrows the pitch and plays physically.

    And we lost. It’s a final I didn’t care about, don’t care about and never will care about, just as I will also never get down on this team. You can’t lose a match or a tie that you haven’t played yet. Support the side and love the team. There will be more adversity, because that’s how waves go. You do your best, and you accept the result.

    Now we have the Champions League tie. Guardiola will have to adapt, just as Mourinho has adapted. You do your best, and move on from there.


    • Noslehcimretep
      April 20, 2011

      Kxeven carries this blog on his freaking shoulders, I love it.
      Also, where did our gravitars go?

  3. Lou
    April 20, 2011

    Beautiful post Euler.

    Thank you.

    Bring on the Champions League!

  4. Jose
    April 20, 2011

    It didn’t go according to plan, but let’s move on. Let’s write a new plan. What we do over the next five and a half weeks is what matters.

  5. CuleFromLiveBlog
    April 20, 2011

    Euler. You’re a real masterclass man.

    In all simplicity, I think this is something for us to heed from. had we, say, won tonight. we would’ve gotten more and more complacent imho and our press + the catalan folks will take the champions league encounters lightly.

    Not to trying to make excuses out of thin air but we were extremely unlucky not to score in the second half. we did everything we could in that manner, pep’s talk was nothing short of miraculous. but again our finishing has let us down -coupled with iker’s brilliance- and tipped the odds back in their favor.

    As soon as we switched off EE got the decisive goal.

    As I said on the live blog, I would rather we switch off now and learn our lesson than lose ourselves in the CL(not to say this game didn’t matter at all).

    Love the spirit guys! keep believing!

  6. April 20, 2011


    El Clasic also means an immense spike in readership. We saw a more than 4x increase in readership from Friday-Sunday. Our I.T. guy, anticipating this, wanted to reduce the server load. Gravatars should return once we get out of this crazy Clasic per week cycle.

    And thanks for the compliments, folks, but I’m just stating the obvious: This team has given me so much joy that I can’t ever be sad about anything that it does.

    • PM
      April 20, 2011

      “This team has given me so much joy that I can’t ever be sad about anything that it does.”

      You said it the best, Kxevin!

    • Barcaleya
      April 20, 2011

      Agree! Well said, Kevin. Sometimes, they’re the only ones that make me happy. When everything else goes wrong, they win games in style and lift my world up.

      I love FC Barcelona!!! We can’t win them all. But they truly are the best, best team there is. (We seriously just need to add more players to the squad for next season).

  7. CuleFromLiveBlog
    April 20, 2011

    “This team has given me so much joy that I can’t ever be sad about anything that it does.”

    Sums up how I feel far more eloquently than I ever could. Thanks Kxevin from the bottom of my heart.

  8. Humphrey Bogart
    April 20, 2011

    And I know that in particular the catalans in the team, mainly Xavi and Puyi, will be furious and want revenge. I hope we will get our captain back, to drive them one.

  9. Víctor
    April 20, 2011

    No one is mad at the team. Nor anyone is disappointed. We lost, they were ‘better’, they won. Congrats to them, but Barcelona is still the best team of the world.

    This is gonna make the CL Semi-Final even more interesting. Now Madrid will have more confidence in themselves and that surely is gonna make the game more interesting.

  10. April 20, 2011

    Oh. Do you mind if I add in some stuff, Euler? I had a post ready, but you beat me to the bullet!

    We may have lost the Copa, but there is no need to enter crisis mode. We can’t win ’em all.

    First and foremost, I want to congratulate EE for their win. They really wanted this one. It could have gone either way, and ultimately their chance went in. Had Casillas not entered Beast-Mode, we’d won this one. We didn’t and now it’s our turn to pick ourselves up, and move on.

    Many positives can be taken from this game. The second half was brilliant. Dunno what Pep said at HT, but it served to be the tonic. We can improve. A lot. Iniesta needs to take more initiative, Puyi will be back, Messi will continue his Messi ways… Guardiola won’t need to motivate the team come Wednesday. And yes, Wednesday, April 27 will be El Dia de la Venganza: Part I.

    Mark your calendar.

  11. PM
    April 20, 2011

    Full revenge mode on an away pitch can be dangerous. Barca needs to play a cautious game next week. We should be happy with a 1-1 draw.

    It’s strange that right after the game I didn’t feel very bad but gradually I’m feeling worse. Can Barca bring back their A game so late in the season? Who knows, we need to wait for 2 more weeks.

    No matter what happens, like all of you I’ll be always proud of this team.

  12. Ian
    April 20, 2011

    Beautiful posts from kxevin and Euler… Struck me gut deep, if that made any sense haha. From the heart, thanks, and to all others who’ve cheered us up. And to Barca for the good times week in week out. FAITH, BROTHAS!!

  13. April 20, 2011

    First I want to say a big thank to Euler for the post. It made me feel like someone is taking care of me… 🙂

    Second its great to see madritistas showing that famous class of theirs…apparently only casillas went to shake hands with our players…well I can’t say I expected more from them anyway…maybe from Alonso but oh well I guess you see someone’s true quality in times of intense emotions…national team my a*se…I say we withdraw…

  14. April 20, 2011

    He’ll be back:

    And he will once again enter Beast-Mode:


  15. CuleFromLiveBlog
    April 20, 2011

    Exactly Kari, there is no need to panic over a loss like that.

    I mean, come on, we can’t breeze past 4 classicos flawlessly. no one in their right mind would expect such an easy ride.

    We just need to understand the fact that our complacency could turn a potentially orgasmic season into a sad one in a blink of an eye.

    Btw I’ve been a visitor on this blog for quite some time, and the articles here are such a joy to read.

    Good work cules!

  16. Lev
    April 20, 2011

    no gravatars? That’s i-ite y’all know I’m decked out in the blaugrana colors anyway!

    Echoing the statement that I am proud of how we came back to dominate the 2nd half.

    That being said, our dominance coincided with EE starting to foul us less. I for one am happy that EE didn’t get any red cards. Don’t want any ref to feel reticent about handing out one the next game, lol.

    One of the things that I have noticed over the last two games is that half of EE’s fouls occur once we have passed the ball to another player so that the ref either waves us to play on or overlooks it completely. That’s some nasty sh!t.

    2nd game in a row Madrid was the more dangerous team. Despite our 2nd half dominance we did not create any big chances, whereas did.

    Also, today I bought a Barça away shirt except that it is not mint green, but baby blue. Same design as the mint green one, though. It is friggin’ awesome.

    That being said, after coming up lame for the first 45 minutes I changed back into the blaugrana. Rest assured I will not where the away shirt during any more matches.

    Has anyone seen the blue away shirts? Are they official or is it just a very creative knock-off? I don’t remember seeing it before, but the guy in the store said we have worn it sometimes. I think he was lying but the shirt is NICE

  17. April 20, 2011

    Someone sent me this article on Twitter after the loss and it perfectly describes the tactic that we need to overcome:

    The game was anyone’s to win or lose after 90min were over,and unfortunately, Real took their chance and stopped Barca from taking theirs, so fully deserved win. I don’t have the bad taste in my mouth that I did when, say, Arsenal drew 2-2 against us last year in the Emirates. I don’t even feel upset the way I did when Inter beat us 3-1. It’s just…that in sport, as in life, you win some, and you lose some.

    Sorry for the long post,people,but I needed to vent!

    I really hated some of blame games that started near the end. Get over it, people. Pep trusts Villa? His prerogative. Adriano owned by Ronaldo? He was our savior on Saturday and is allowed to be outplayed by one of the best players in the world. Villa sucks? Maybe today,but won’t suck forever.

    I don’t know how many of the fans here have played any team sport for any length of time. But during my time in high school and university (played both soccer and cricket,and lots of it) – if I learnt one thing from playing, it was that it’s a team sport. The team wins the game, and the team loses it. Even if, say, the goal today had been easy to stop and if Pinto had made a Heurelho Gomes-level error, I wouldn’t blame him for the loss. Because Villa is also to blame. Xavi is also to blame. Pique is also to blame. Everyone is in it,together.

    That’s one thing that also ticks me off with some Mourinho fanboys. For god sakes, it’s not ‘MOURINHO MAGIC’ that created this win. It’s the brilliant saves by Casillas,the great defense by Carvalho,the inability of the ref to see stamps by Arbeloa that should have been straight reds, the sheer suckitude of our own team in the first half, the great cross by De Maria…I could go on and on. It’s not like Mourinho’s presence on the sideline effectively predetermines the result of the game.

    I have faith in this team. They genuinely tried hard. And as long as they can get some rest by next Tuesday (I seriously expect lots of young ‘uns to get a start vs Osasuna),then we should be okay at the Bernabeu. Carvalho will be out and Puyol should be back hopefully,two changes that will make a huge difference. Oh, and by then, I trust Pep and the team to collectively work out a way to thwart Mourinho’s plans. The only worry is that Mourinho hasn’t yet started either Kaka or Adebayor,and so he has more options than we do. Our small squad is hurting us,just like we all knew it would. Major reinforcements needed in the summer.

  18. gowtham
    April 20, 2011

    Hey guys and girls!

    Have a few points I would love to share:

    1) We were nothing like Barca in the first half, but the second half was a joy to watch. We could have ripped them apart in the second half if it were not for their GK. Some of our players are off form, but their are multiple reasons for that, but that shouldn’t be an excuse. Villa, Messi, Xavi, Iniesta are all probably exhausted right now, they need some kind of rest. And to realize that Messi has the Copa America this year is just…bad.

    2) Messi: People might hate on him, people might think that he is shit compared to Ronaldo, but this man is just…WOW. In the second half, he took the game by the scruff of the neck, and his run and pass for the first goal was mesmerizing. We need him for our next two games against Madrid, or else,struaght up..were fu*ked. He can do it, and on the belief I have on him, he WILL do it.

    3) Guardiola didnt get this one wrong, Mou didnt out-play him…This Barca only has one way of playing, no Plan B no Plan z. Just one straight up tactic. MAybe we shouldn’t have sold Ibra, he gave us an extra dimension, a dimension which Real clearlyy have; Ronaldo, Adebayor: Strong in the air, and just MASSIVE

    4) To be honest, just like Kxevin said…I don’t care about this competition, it was a side dish, nothing special. WOuld have been nice to win it, but I ain’t gonna lose sleep over this game. It’ll be interesting to see how the boys and Pep are going to react. Pep’s never lost a final, and The boys haven’t experienced a loss like this in quite some time

    5) ***** One more thing… Can we please have some respect for our proponents before the game as well. This EE, Thong Boy crap is just…bad. Fans shouldn’t be like this. The first rule to any game is to respect your opponents. WE should follow it. Mou is a great tactician, Real is still the most successful team in the world, and Ronaldo is a wicked player. (not as good as Messi though)


    • PM
      April 20, 2011

      Agree with you on everything except EE/thongboy. It is just for light hearted fun. Most people will not say those in front of an EE supporter or in their blogs to ridicule them. There are other ways to do that 😀

      • beeeef
        April 20, 2011

        As far as sport franchise fan sites come, this space is one of the most respectable around.

        Just look at the first sentence of this article, or the numerous comments offering congratulations to Madrid.

        EE/TB is seriously pretty tame when it comes to trash talk between rival teams.

    • Ryan
      April 20, 2011

      For all Adebayor’s “aerial strength,” tiny Mascherano was winning most of the headers against him.

  19. Dalmar
    April 20, 2011

    It could have gone either way. From the stand point of modern football it would be real injustice for Mourinho to win the series without passing the ball and relying on few chances. Anyone who stifles Xavi, Messi, Alonso, Ozil, Iniesta has to be anti-football in the classic sense of the word. If this guy wins he will ruin football. I hope for the sake of football this ugly tactics is brought to an end @ Camp Nou in the 2nd leg. (He will try to stifle it in Madrid that is for sure)

    Madrid fan

  20. PM
    April 20, 2011

    Points to take from this match:

    1. EE hold onto their record of collecting reds. Congrats to them!

    2. Puyol the lion will not eat anything until he swallows a full sized thong boy.

    3. Stage is ready for annual Iniesta golazo and subsequent dedication to valera. Doesn’t she deserve a CL goal, papa Iniesta?

    4. It looks like an exclamation ! isn’t far away from Pedro.

    5. Messi will miss the next league match for 5 yellows. Pep is a relieved man now.

    6. A certain Drogba would say now, ‘fu**ing revenge!’.

    • Ian
      April 20, 2011

      You have offiially put a big grin to my snot-slimed face. THANK YOU and VISCA BARÇA!! XD

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      April 20, 2011

      2. Puyol the lion will not eat anything until he swallows a full sized thong boy. 😆

      hell yeah!!! that’s the spirit!!!

  21. Barcaleya
    April 20, 2011

    I haven’t read the comments and I’m still trying to digest what happened. I just want to say that this is the time to show our team that we are here for them. I want to give them all a big hug for the massive 2nd half effort. And we should all unite in giving our team the support they need.

    Visca Barca!!!!

  22. barca96
    April 20, 2011

    😆 at kxevin already attacking Villa. And even Pedro now huh?
    It’s not Villa’s fault for making dozens of runs that would make him one-on-one with the gk but didn’t get any through balls.
    It’s not Pedro’s fault that EE’s players crowded him out whenever he gets the ball.

    1st half we were owned by EE.
    They beat us at our own game in the 1st half!! So many unnecessary turnovers. Sometimes without any pressure from Madrid players.
    Thank God Alonso and Pepe got booked otherwise they would’ve been aggressive in the 2nd half too.

    Now Im not sure that’s the sole reason that they became tamer in the 2nd half but we were clearly dominating them. Like Di Stefano said, we were the lions and they are the rats.

    Pep really should’ve made substitutions earlier on. Villa was totally dead. And why on earth was he playing in the middle?

    p.s. Albiol is the 2nd dirtiest player from EE without a doubt!

  23. Víctor
    April 20, 2011

    Wonder if Mourinho is gonna bitch about the referee this time.

  24. kinukinu
    April 20, 2011

    Please indulge some humble ramblings from a former lurker:
    Real Madrid started this match with a win-at-all-costs attitude—employing almost malicious psychological tactics rather than just trying to play better football. They weren’t just pressing Barca, they were stepping on them–sometimes literally. They didn’t try to just run faster or play better–they tried to incite. And it worked, for a little while. But Barca being Barca, they came out in the second half with an inspired performance, truly deserving of a win. It didn’t turn out that way, but that doesn’t matter.

    In football, as in life, purists are a dying breed. Barcelona (and their fans) are purists, and upholding such values means sometimes you must sacrifice a loss. Barca have proven that it is possible to be great and to win by playing the purest possible football. Sometimes, that has to be enough. For cules, the ends do not justify the means. Personally, I’d rather support a team that remains true to itself and sometimes pays a price, than one that tries to win at all costs. If I wanted the latter, I’d support Mourinho’s Madrid.

    The fact that Pep played the same starting lineup match after match at the beginning of the season worried some because of the potential for fatigue and sacrifice of squad depth. They may have been right, as we are beginning to see now. But the fact that he did that also meant that we have been privileged to witness some of the most breathtaking, magical football ever to take place on this planet. Imagine an alternate version of this season where starters were rested a little more, energy were conserved, and the bench players got a little more time to develop. How would things be different now? Instead of manitas there might have been 2-1 and 1-0 results. We might have had a little more fight in us on Saturday and today. We might have still had a shot at the treble. But we also might have missed the chance to see something so much more special. If Barca comes back from this and wins the league and the CL, it will be glorious. But even if they don’t, it will have been worth it. In a sport where money is counted in millions, and success is counted in goals and wins, I am grateful to have been witness to something that transcends all of that in a way that no trophy ever could.

    • April 20, 2011

      Nice comment, kinukinu. Agree on the purist part, especially.

      • kinukinu
        April 20, 2011

        Thanks Kari

        I would like to add that the class of barcelona is so aptly echoed by the members of this forum. Never have I seen such intelligent, mature musings from so many sports fans in one place. I’m so glad to have found BFB and hope to engage further as this beautiful–if sometimes heart-wrenching–season culminates…

    • April 21, 2011

      Welcome to this blog Kinukinu! Excellent post, it’s a shame I didn’t read it last night it would help me sleep 🙂

      That paragraph about purists was beautiful, filled me with pride and courage…Visca Barca!

  25. barca96
    April 20, 2011

    And all the commentators need to stop calling Messi and ROnaldo the world’s two best players!!! ROnaldo wasn’t even in the top 3!!! They need to show some respect to Xavi and Iniesta!

  26. beeeef
    April 20, 2011

    P.S. Sure hope the team takes advantage of the Carvalho suspension in the 1st leg to really rock Madrid’s defense and score several goals. It’s no coincidence that the guy has played for three different Mourinho teams. If MouMou’s tactical approach to the game gives defense precedence above all, than Carvalho plays a foundational role in executing his plans.

    I would like to see a complete B-team lineup for our home again against Osasuna this weekend. Our starting XI need all the rest they can get.

    • April 20, 2011

      True dat, beeeef.

      Also, EE’s overtly aggressive approach can only work for so long. Arbeloa is a disgrace.

      • flyzowee
        April 21, 2011

        Speaking of disgrace, did anyone of u guys see the dive by villa in the 2nd half. Pepe goes in to win the ball and puts in a tackle, but he misses the ball and is no where near villa but villa just drops like a leaf anyway.

  27. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 20, 2011

    “This team has given me so much joy that I can’t ever be sad about anything that it does.”

    this made my day… 😀

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