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 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.