El Clasico 2011: Facial Hair vs Insanity

If I didn’t have this beard I’ve been growing for a couple of months, I would probably have scratched my face into tatters. Instead I tug on the hair nervously whenever I think about El Clásico Numero 223897 and how we’re all doomed. I don’t have the mange, okay? It’s just patchy. I’m not excited or anything. I’m not. Not at all.

But let’s have a quick poll: what are you doing for this one? Where are you watching, what are you drinking/shooting directly in to your veins? Who are you watching with?

Me, I’m watching 4 hours late at my house with a friend who is also unfortunate enough to have a job (preferable to the alternative, of course). It will be take a gargantuan effort to avoid all the soccer-related sites I read regularly, Twitter, and Facebook throughout the time. Fortunately 2 of those hours will be on buses, trains, and subways, but from 2:45 until 4:45, I will be focusing as much as possible on my job.

As for drinks, where to begin…

Categorized as El Clasico

By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater Philadelphia area.


  1. What am I doing for this one?
    Barca shirt on, Barca sweatband on and senyera wrapped around shoulders. (looking nervous, excited and proud)

    Where are you watching?
    Friends house, Glasgow, Scotland on a 48″ HD Plasma

    what are you drinking/shooting directly in to your veins?
    Imported Estrella Damm of course!

    Who are you watching with?
    A fellow cule.

    ¡Visca el Barça!

  2. I am also in the unfortunate position of having to work. I haven’t decided yet whether I will follow it online or shield myself from it until I get home. I’ll probably change my mind a dozen times before the actual game starts. It will take a superhuman effort not to at least check in with the LiveBlog, though.

  3. Today what we have in or hand is not just a match my friends,its a war, Its not a battle,its a war as it has bigger ramifications at hand then just winning or loosing the superiority. Its not a war of attrition as some would make you believe infact its even more significant than that. Its a war between the right and wrong,between darkness and light. A matchup bewteen aesthetic flamboyant spirit of guardiola’s men against an already somewhat evil empire who has now almost resigned to abrasive underhand tactics of mourinhio and his roguish excuse of players.
    Its not just a football match it defines the way football culture is going to appear. Whoever wins this tie will leave its imprint in football across the globe for years to come. Its how football is going to appear in near future,just like the last euros and worldcup.The way I see it,if you don’t like the way barcelona play then there is somEthing within you that is no longer alive, may that be the child like exuberancence or the very vindication for right. For who is right don’t need no excuse for right

    1. ^That. Except I watch with family and sometimes friends. I don’t like tea, I eat dinner instead.

    2. My Friends watch it together but I’m usually too nervous to do that.

      Congrats on answering a BarcaStuff Question, when I saw the people who answered, I told my friends I know that guy. 😀

  4. Game starts at 2:45pm and I have to go to class and turn in a finance paper that I’m still working on at 4:15pm. Not sure I can finish in time to watch the first half, plus I would definitely not be able to concentrate for 2.5 hours with the game in my mind!

    Probably end up watching a DVR later tonight. Go Barca!

  5. i hate jcrew and eklavya for calling out my 0 points in @barcastuff’s quiz 🙁 I try so hard

    1. I’ve actually gotten points myself. I think I came in third. On the easiest question – what is the first name of Jeffren 😀

  6. I’m a journalist who works from various locations, so thankfully, I stayed up until 2 a.m. editing stories and planning content the day. Thus, I’m capable of stopping work at 2:45 and watching the game live on FX in HD!

    My co-workers and are getting drinks at a local bar around 1 p.m., but mainly because we’re reporters, they could care less about El Clasic.


    This is going to be so nuts. I hope Peps words of fire can stir a rousing performance by our boys.

    We need Super SMach Brother to do a Falcon Kick on defense, that’s what I’m most nervous about. Madrid’s pride has always been their downfall, let’s hope we gave them enough confidence to start feeling imperial again before we wipe the pitch with white kits.

    1. Madrid’s pride has always been their downfall, let’s hope we gave them enough confidence to start feeling imperial again before we wipe the pitch with white kits.


  7. I’m in the same boat as JMo, but will be pretty much chained to my desk today, and will have to ignore EVERYTHING!!!!

    This is just as well, because when it comes to matches that I care about, such as this one, I am a comprehensive basket case while watching. Last time I streamed a match while at work, I fell to the floor on numerous occasions, trying to will the ball into the net. Sweating, screaming, swearing, it’s really something that nobody should have to witness.

    Luckily, the match is airing on FX in lovely HD, so when I get home I will be able to settle down in front of a 54-inch plasma, and take it all in. Yes.

    So there’s that to look forward to.

    I still want this lineup:

    Alves Pique Puyol Mascherano
    Xavi Busquets Thiago
    Messi Villa Afellay

    I know Ramzi and Euler say that balls will be lost hither and yon. I just think that the young’uns are ready to rein it in when necessary, and attack like wild dogs when necessary. Thiago’s trickery might be just the thing today, along with Afellay’s discipline in maintaining that space on the left wing.

    What we will probably see is:

    Alves Pique Mascherano Puyol
    Keita Busquets Xavi
    Pedro Messi Villa

    And Keita will work until they get serious about counterattacking at pace, which will happen. Alves will have to be on form. If we have width and movement, we will prevail. If we don’t, it will make Pepe look like a fortress again as the midgets hurl themselves against the castle walls.

  8. what I’m doing for this one:
    wearing my Xavi jersey, biting my fingernails bloody, praying to the football dieties and giving frequent “pep” talks to my cats (see below).

    where I’m watching it:
    here in Paris, France, on tv (for once we don’t have to rely on streaming!)

    what i’m drinking:
    beer, probably, and wishing i had a few xanax to wash down with it.

    who i’m watching it with:
    my wife (who will be wearing her Iniesta jersey and who will be cursing at the screen in French every time they show thong boy, pepe or norihno) and our two cats Xavi Purrnandez and M. Lionela Messita.

    where i *wish* we were watching it:
    at the little Catalan bar in my old Barcelona neighborhood where we watched Barça…i mean “Spain” win the World Cup last summer. the patrons seemed both surprised and pleased to have a french woman and american woman (both wearing Barça gear) shouting and cheering for the team. ah to be there tonight….

    1. thanks :). they were chosen before we got them, but strangely enough our little Messita is *insane* about playing with the kitty footballs we make her. she will play for hours (making joyous little noises all the while) and she is fast and furious like her namesake.

  9. I’ll be watching it with friends at an Italian cafe, or Brazen Heads in Liberty Village, Toronto Downtown.
    I’ll be drinking Innis and Gunn Original : http://www.innisandgunn.com
    I’ll be wearing my Barcelona Jearsey.
    I am usually very calm and composed, but currently I feel a little anxious. So I am listening to
    “Forever Cool” jazz radio station at live365.com while I work.

  10. Been away for a while, haven’t been able to use the laptop.

    I’ll be at home, it’ll be 2.35am so I’ll be waking up for then, and I’ll be watching it alone in the dark.

    Surprisingly enough BS.com actually had an editorial that presented Pep’s presser as calmly and properly as I’ve seen so far. Which is admittedly surprising from a site that is usually very much hysteria-driven.

    There was nothing casual about Guardiola’s rant in Madrid yesterday. The Barca coach didn’t finally snap, nor was he unable to control his emotions any longer. No, this was a cool, calculated and carefully planned strategy – a premeditated message: “We won’t be bullied any longer.”


    Soccernet’s headlines were disgusting though. I didn’t click the links, but ‘foul mouthed tirade against Mourinho’ and keeping on referring to it as a ‘rant’ gets on my nerves so much. I remember when I first started visiting Soccernet I liked it cos it seemed impartial and very professional. It’s deteriorated terribly into the hype machine type over recent months though, and I’m not just saying that for this headline but over general ridiculously twisted headlines/unprofessional presentation stuff.

    I am so proud of Pep and how he came out and defended us was so awesome. Pisses me off that people have to twist his words and whatnot for the headlines while eating out of the palm of Mourinho’s oh-so-special hand. His accusation of Pep being someone who blames refs for correct decisions and that ever since the Chelsea game in his first season he has had a dislike for correctly reffed games which didn’t favor him, was just disgusting. Even if I was a neutral I’d have found that disgusting.

    But all I remember is that what matters in the end, is our players, and history. Not the temporary matters of the headlines. Our players and club will be fired up and out for blood now. Heck, I’m fired up and out for blood now. And what is more, in history, which is when people put it down with perspective, it’s this Barcelona side and Pep with all his humility and honesty and not just that but who would defend us, who is so intrinsically wound into this Barcelona side, that people will wax lyrical about and remember as one of the all-time greats and tell their grandchildren about.

    Did I mention. F*** Mourinho.

    1. In that case we will all be going back to work and watching on a projected live stream in the cafeteria. The big problem is going to be that we will not be able to order drinks, or shout our lungs out when Messi scores.

  11. i’ve managed to take the afternoon off from work (in my eyes, the clasicos qualify as a mental heath day…), so i will be watching from home, with a bottle of vanilla rum at the ready in case of emergency.

    unfortunately, i might have my misguided housemate watching along. they’ve decided to root for you-know-who because they think it’s hilarious to see me get riled up. it’s not.

    it’s going to be so, so sweet if we take this one.

  12. -Watch game while LBing, maybe son# 1 will join me but the rest can’t handle my random outbursts (mostly PG rated). No eating or drinking… I don’t think I’ll be able to.
    -Go to work (part time).
    -Watch again w/ hubby (maybe then with a rum and coke (Parrot Bay) if we win( which, ofcourse, I’ll already know)
    -wearing 09/10 Campions tee shirt for luck until I leave for work (I couldn’t for the Copa final because of work and look what happened)

    Will there be a LB?
    How early do I have to get there to get a good seat?
    I swear that if I see the customary hugging/kissing/smiling between NT teammates in the tunnel before the game I’m gonna barf!

  13. Now that I’m back from destroying my local library, I will be at home, liveblogging, and desperately searching for a stream 🙁

    1. Ditto. At home, preparing lunch, searching for streams… I’m going to need to invest in some cable service for next season…

    2. you probably know it already, but myp2p has a ton of streams, and the veetle/sopcast ones are usually quite good. this being a CL semi, though, they may be shut down pretty quickly.

    3. Yeah. That’s why I hate streaming UCL matches. It happened to me during the Arsenal first leg this year. 🙁

    4. you should be able to get at least one on that site to work (we’ve watched in romanian, danish, german, russian and arabic….if you don’t mind not understanding anything but the players names, you’ll find one!)

  14. I know Ramzi and Euler say that balls will be lost hither and yon. I just think that the young’uns are ready to rein it in when necessary

    The point I was trying to make is that Keita, Afeally and Thiago all come with different trade offs. And who Pep will utilize will depend on which of those trade offs Pep is willing to make in the wake of Ghostface’s absence.

    As I said before – there are 4 players on this squad who are truly gifted with close control of the ball. Messi, Xavi, Iniesta and Thiago.

    That’s not to say Thiago is on the level of the other three. But from what we’ve seen from him he really looks like a potentially special player with the ball at his feet.

    And for me, Thiago’s most outstanding characteristic as a player is the ability to play in compressed spaces. He is very good in those conditions.

    So in many ways Thiago is the ideal player to utilize against Madrid because they are so focused on compressing space if you want to continue to try to move the attack through the middle.

    If you want to reroute the attack through the flanks then Afellay would be the most appropriate choice.

    If you want to try to enhance defense and composure on the pitch – then Keita in mid-field.

    Each of those three players are however prone to losing possession for different reasons. On some level that’s not saying much as there’s few players in the world comparable to Iniesta.

    It really is about what trade offs Pep wants to make.

    I think Keita will play. But it would not surprise me to see Thiago start.

    When you look at how little space Barca are getting between the lines, utilizing a player like Thiago may be the best way to not only counteract that pressure but to do so while allowing Messi to stay closer to goal. Using Thiago may be the best way to support Xavi without requiring Messi to live in midfield.

    1. Thiago would be perfect, but he loses the ball way to much. And we can’t let that happen in a game like this. So Keita will play, I agree with you.

    2. Just a question, Euler – isn’t Busi more gifted with close control of the ball than Thiago? Just a trivia I wanted to ask. Nothing to do with your assessment of who should play where.

  15. I’ll be watching he game while drinking 40s and ohhh yeah, I’ll be liveblogging too.

    On that note, I’ll expand on this more later, but I expect everyone to remain civil during the liveblog. I’m expecting heavy traffic and there are a limited number of people I can approve – so be patient as you might not get approved immediately (I watch th games as well you know).

    I’m also going to be much more strict than normal, so as much as you want to type them I suggest you mutter your profanities under your breath and express yourself more eloquently when you are blogging.

    1. Don’t think I can liveblog in a game like this. Say hello to the non-posting Liveblog regulars from me.

  16. 4 Madrid players are one yellow card away from missing the next CL game: Sergio Ramos, Albiol, Di Maria and Ronaldo [uefa.com via barcastuff]

    Of course, to make themselves feel better, Marca has a list of players that are TWO yellows away from suspension:

    Valdes, Pique, Milito, Puyol, Busquets, Iniesta

    Although apparently, there’s a new rule that you can’t miss the final due to suspension (as of last season).

    1. Yeah two yellow cards don’t matter at all. What they will miss is the first group-stage of next year UCL. Meh.

  17. The SoccerFam is once again VCR-dependent.

    SoMa and the SoBabies have been invited to a sorority BBQ for fave profas. I have promised the SoBabies some good old dairy-land ice cream and will be scamming for babysitters.

    The Hunky Soccer Husband is attending a reception for a system-wide teaching award. We are all very proud of him but must needs ice cream and babysitters. I suggested Pep quotes for his acceptance speech but he has declined.

    An honored guest of the guest of honor is a tenured prof. in our Dept. and, in spite of the his other stellar personal qualities, a Real Madrid fan. He has RSVP’d at twenty minutes past the ceremony’s start time, in order to not miss the match. He has promised, however, to remain appropriately expressionless and entirely silent upon his arrival until the end of the proceedings.

    Honestly I don’t think I can stand it, not even on tape. Maybe I’ll go party with the TriDelts until I’m too wiped out to care about the result.

    1. What is this “Vee Cee Arr” of which you speak? Is that like a shadowplay or something? 😛

    2. I think it means that someone that owes SoMa a favor watches the match and then tries to reenact what happened in front of the the SoMa fam. 🙂

    3. Vile Cristiano Ron…
      OK I’ll stop being mean now 🙂

      BTW- congrats to the SoFam on their invites, awards, and ice cream!

  18. First comment here.

    When the clasico begin, I will get on my treadmill running with my team and watching the game with my Barca shirt on.
    I will probably fall down again and be compelled running with my knees when EE goal (It happened before when Busi’s own goal v,s Arsenel , and my knees scraped )
    SO I guess i will survive with undamaged knees.
    It’s just too much clasico for a fist-year newbie to afford.
    Sorry for my bad english,it’s not my first language that’s why i have been a luker for about one year. I am sooooo nervous now , i must say something to distract my focus.

    1. Heya EvaDaniu! No worries about the language, most people here have totally lost their minds (me being the first), so what we say has no intellectual value. Except Euler, SoMa, Ramzi and occasionally Kxevin 😛

  19. I would use thiago as well.
    For two reasons : afellay has pace , which he wont really be able to use in such a congested midfield(anyway his pace is a blessing from the wings and less so from the middle).
    The second reason is that thiago will operate offensively from the middle , drawing their defensive midfielders on him(one less for messi) and his close control guarantees more fouls on him as well, dividing the number more equally to our players as well.

    1. if the game was at home you might see Thiago or Afellay. As the game is away I can’t imagine anyone othe than Keita starting in Iniesta’s position.

  20. For us people in the middle east, the match starts at 9:45pm, which to me is the best time ever, ill be watching at home with about 100 other cule’s (in the LB), So yeah Vicsoc and Kari, i’m definitely coming, keep a seat for me.

  21. Been figuring out how I can “disappear” for two hours and not remember or know that there is an important match going on. And wishing to high heavens that I reappear with a result to my liking.

    I might get my wish.

    I am waiting for a VERY important call and might be on that call during the game which means I have to prepare, review, study for it as soon as I’m done writing this.

    Essentially – I can’t read or listen to anything football related until I’m done with that call. If it happens before the game – don’t get my wish. If it doesn’t – then I’ll just pray now for the result I want and the result we need and will watch the taped game after.


  22. I’ve got the day off. Teehee. My bro’s leaving class early. We’re watching it at a South African pub by my pad. Shock Top’s on tap. Maybe play some golf afterwards at a course nearby.

    I’m getting wasted. This is either gonna be a really awesome day or a really bad day! 😀

    1. Yeah; I just noticed. Very interesting stuff, seems VdB has a lot of stuff to do in the summer.

    2. I have to agree with that. I get the feeling that RM’s Spanish players are getting more hostile towards Barca’s players (and maybe vice versa too) since Mourinho helms the team. Hopefully del Bosque can keep the team united.

  23. Here in Germany the game is airing on prime time. I will watch alone, with my Xavi-Jesey to be connected via phone with my dad wearing his Puyol jesery. For drinks I have argentine beer (to honour the atomic flea) and if things get ugly I will drown myself with gin tonic.

  24. I live in india so the match will be on air around 00:15.The whole country(barring Cules and Madridistas including me) would be in front of there TV’s,biting their nails and watching anxiously.

  25. here in Greece they are showing it in HD for the first time…
    But we probably are going to go watch at bar were no hd tv is available…as for drinking I don’t know yet maybe whiskey…but food no way! I can’t eat a bite during Barca games…

    Visca Barca cules!

  26. this is my first time here but i have followed you all for a while. what a wonderful job you all do. how refreshing to actually be able to talk about football in a civilized manner.

    watching it at home. like every barca madrid game. i always watch it alone. that way i dont have to hold anything back. drinking tea. i should be at work too, but they all know i dont come in when barca plays during the week. my professor is ok with it (hah!). i had nails when this series started. i dont anymore. the canucks came back after relinquishing a 3-o lead to the hawks to win in overtime and proceed to the next round. i feel it is a good omen, coupled with pep’s awesome interview, i am not so nervous anymore. besides this is the barca of guardiola! the barca that this season breaks records! the one that does things for the first time! that comes with the good and the bad (pep’s FIRST loss in a final)…visca el barca!

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