El Clasico 2011: Through the Looking Glass

CL Preview: Real Madrid – Barcelona, 2:45pm EST, FX(HD) and Fox Deportes

Look out the window. I mean it. Or at least I mean it when you’ve finished this paragraph and maybe clicked on some ads. Find the nearest pane of glass between yourself and the outside and look through it. If you’re reading this outside and thus would be looking inside were you to press your face on a window, you should hire me to work with you because screw this inside crap. But okay, now you’re looking out the window, right? What do you see? Trees, maybe or perhaps a street with some cars, people walking, a bird or two. It’s spring here, so if it’s spring where you are, you should also be seeing sunshine and happiness. Well forget that crap. It’s not real. It’s a figment of your imagination. Just like there is no spoon, there is no “real world.” There is no Zuul, only el clásico.

And it is, once again, for better or worse, upon us. And it has obliterated the sun. And common sense. And all the other things we take for granted. Don’t believe me? Just ask yourself, if we lose, will the sun come up the next day? It might not. You never know. Yes, there is another clásico in just a few days time, less than a week, but will any of it matter if the first leg goes horribly awry? But what if it goes wonderfully well? Livers worldwide will collapse in upon themselves, obstinately refuse to do their duty. They’ll be on strike and rightfully so. If you’re not an alcohol consumer, watch the glucose and caffeine intake. If you’re too healthy for any of that, watch the heart rate anyway because no one is safe, least of all those who think they can handle it.

Sergio Ramos claims the fans will have to score the first goal. He has lost it. Pep Guardiola thinks we’re underdogs. He’s lost it. I think we should start Jeffren. I never had it to begin with. The weekly editors meeting at BFB is usually a calm discussion of the posting schedule; this week there were fireworks: Luke lambasting SoccerMom for suggesting we play Busi in midfield, Kari shaking uncontrollably in the corner while muttering something about YouTube videos being the key, Kevin voting to sell VicSoc (just cause), and me dutifully taking minutes that, when viewed later, turned out to be all work and no play make Jack a dull boy written about a hundred thousand times. And then, of course, Linda came with a collage of Riquelme pictures she refused to explain, but that’s kind of normal at this point.

Ah yes, clásico week #3. I miss you dearly, sanity. Mrs. The Lady refuses to talk to me, claiming that when I think I’m whispering about vacation plans I’m actually just shouting “venga Leo!”, “arbitro comprado eh!”, and “pass, move, offer!” Whenever someone bumps me on the subway, I curse their mothers and the height of the grass. When I finish a project at work, I whip off my shirt and leap over the wall to celebrate with my cubicle neighbor. Coffee is not a good replacement for Gatorade baths.

Are you still looking out the window? You can stop now. Unless you live at the Camp Nou, in which case you should definitely keep looking out the window at the greatest view in human history. It beats this and even the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. By a long shot. Because it is the only thing that actually exists. There is nothing else.

First they tell me Iniesta is injured, a serious doubt, has a calf strain. Then they tell me he’s fine, 100%, assured of scoring. Puyol is back, terror is back, there’s a run on diapers in Madrid. Stop messing with my soul, Internet. Like the Incredible Hulk, you have no idea what I’m capable of. You wouldn’t like me when I’m frazzled to the point of cutting out action figures and pasting them on my TV screen and half giggling, half mumbling fake commentary about how so-and-so scored a great goal and Mourinho pees in his pants and poor Ramos drops the trophy again, but it’s still the Copa one because the other one is ours, all ours mwahaha. See what happens, Internet?

Predicted lineup: Valdes, Alves, Mascherano, Pique, Puyol, Busi, Xavi, Keita, Villa, Messi, Pedro.

Official Prediction: 1-1. Goal by Villa.

But seriously, I think I’m cracking. This isn’t good. Why are there 4 of them? Who would do such a thing to us poor fans? Is this fun to them? Are the football gods enjoying watching us curl up into little balls, forget to bathe, and sing songs we only know half the words to? And no, no one on earth knows all the words to el cant. I am positive of this.

Són molts anys plens d’afanys, (Many years full of zeal,)
són molts gols que hem cridat, (many goals we have screamed,)

You don’t know that line. Don’t act like you do. You’re probably all “What song is that from?” cause you, like everyone else, just knows the first verse. And our name, of course. Like I said, cracking.

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater New York City area with his wife and daughter.

134 Comments

  1. yelèna
    April 26, 2011

    to watch or not to watch? haha, im kinna scared to watch this third one. I’ve been to the hospital twice after the first clasico.
    had an EKG and an X-ray, but doctors can’t seemed to find what’s causing it. Had difficulty breathing too but my lungs are fine, my heart’s fine, but does have arrhythmia. doc asked if i’ve been doin anythin stressful lately…told her, “nothin side from breathing blaugrana doc”.

    btw, was surprised that’s all pep said. he’s always got class. can’t imagine if it were me. those words(what Pep said and how he said it) are too kind for Mou.

    • Barcaleya
      April 26, 2011

      Hi Yelena! Hope you’re okay and that you’re only afflicted with the El Clasico fever 😀

      I support Pep for saying everything he said. Mou has been spouting all forms of distorted facts and innuendos with impunity. It’s about time he gets called out. And after hearing what Pep had to say – I feel so much more for our team (if that’s possible) who’s worked so hard to be at the skill level they are, to play in the manner they play and to play with so much spirit, giving us immeasurable joy week after week.

      Pep’s words were a call to arms. [ I am ready to fight. And to defend our style of play.] Our team will play in the manner they know how and not give in or stoop low to Mou’s disingenuous and base tactics. For this we should be proud no matter the outcome.

      We shall prevail. We are Barcelona. Visca Barca!!!!!

    • jaymin
      April 27, 2011

      well get some air between the halves, and remember, this will happen again (el clasico), make sure you’re healthy enough to see it : )

    • yelèna
      April 27, 2011

      i will jaymin, thanks.
      and ill have the medicines ready.
      usually the clasicos give us plenty of time to recover, but these ones are just madness.

  2. April 26, 2011

    New post up.

  3. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 26, 2011

    “I can give you an immense list of things [that we could complain about]: 300,000 things. We could remember Stamford Bridge and another thousand things but I do not have that many people working for me. Secretaries and referees and people writing stuff. So tomorrow, 8.45pm, we will take to the field and we will try to play football as best as possible.

    “In this room [Real Madrid’s press room], he is the chief, the f*****g man. In here he is the f*****g man and I can’t compete with him. If Barcelona want someone who competes with that, then they should look for another manager. But we, as a person and an institution, don’t do that. I could talk about [Olegario] Bequerença [the referee from last season’s Barcelona-Inter semi-final first leg], about the offside goal from Diego Milito or the penalty of [Dani] Alves, but I don’t. Well, until tonight!!

    =========

    Asked if this was just a tactic, Guardiola replied: “What? You think my players will run around more because I looked for Mourinho’s camera? It’s a semi-final!”

    he’s mad… just really mad… or… I don’t know…
    but this is the first time I see Pep talk like that as a coach…

  4. simple_barcafan
    April 26, 2011

    I am sensing with all the “300-kinda” shouts , a bit of calmness and cool thinking is required???

  5. yelèna
    April 26, 2011

    off-topic.
    love smasche’s interview at the official site. he’s been amazing so far. has wise words to say too. more than happy we signed him!

  6. Jose
    April 26, 2011

    The maturity of Pep showed in the press conference is sobering. Awe-inspiring even. I can listen to that 25 minute presser 10 times and not get tired of it… In all of Mourinho’s seven years in the limelight, no opposing coach has handled his behavior as appropriately as Pep Guardiola–his youth hiding what is personal wisdom clearer than for most of the men in football.

    It wasn’t snide. It wasn’t petulant. It wasn’t even mean. It was one adult to another, calmly correcting them and showing them how their behavior is completely inappropriate.

    • Jose
      April 26, 2011

      Que calidad de ser humano.

    • yelèna
      April 26, 2011

      well said Jose!

    • Barcaleya
      April 26, 2011

      Agree, Jose. Agree.

    • jaymin
      April 27, 2011

      Absolutely spot on. The presence, dignity, and bearing of that man is remarkable. Truly a great figure in sport.

  7. gogah
    April 27, 2011

    So glad Pep got that off his chest. It was long overdue. the message is clear to the players “Now you take it to Madrid”.
    I would love to see Pep play this formation tonight
    Victor Valdes (GK)
    Dani Alves (RB)
    Gerard Pique (CB)
    Carles Puyol (CB)
    Javier Mascherano (LB)
    Sergio Busquets (DM)
    Xavi Hernandez (CM)
    Thiago Alcantara (AM)
    Lionel Messi (RF)
    David Villa (CF)
    Ibrahim Afellay (LF)
    Keita and Pedrito as power subs

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