Evil Empire 0, Barca 2, aka “A shambolic El Clasic buoyed by a little genius”

This is what the world is going to remember of this, the tercera El Clasic, one that was on display in a significantly larger number of homes, thanks to the reach of Fox’s FX cable channel in the U.S., and other affiliates abroad.

This was an opportunity for two great sides to show what La Liga is made of, how the beautiful game should be played.

Instead, we got crap. Sorry, but it was crap. As a cule I am pleased that we won, and thrilled to death that we won on two immense goals. As a devotee of the game, one who cries with its downs and exults with its great moments, one who believes that there is no better sport in the world, as one who tries to be as neutral as possible in his evaluative template, this was a disgusting display by two teams that are so much better than what we got.

Don’t worry. If you didn’t like this part, you ain’t gonna like the rest of this review, either.

This is the rare match that I am reviewing after only one watching. For that, I blame the necessity of beauty sleep, as futile a task as it might be for me. Thankfully, there really isn’t much of a match to review. It goes like this: Neither team really wanted to play football, and both seemed comfortable taking a 0-0 to the Camp Nou. They defended, we played keep-away. Then two moments of individual brilliance, of astonishing football, shone through on a night of ugliness, like rainbows after a thunderstorm from hell.

The end.

The buildup was intense, and as calculated as everything about this tense encounter. Mourinho called out Guardiola. Guardiola responded with an astonishing display of cold-hearted putting the smack down that some say was a coach losing his cookies while others, who know the man and his actions better, rightly said that it was him drawing a line in the sand for his players, saying “Right here, right NOW, we are done taking crap from this club and its coach.”

It’s worth noting that Keita was the first player to get stuck in, bright and early, and it only went downhill from there. Guardiola rolled out with his best available lineup of Valdes, Alves, Mascherano, Pique, Puyol, Keita, Busquets, Xavi, Pedro, Messi, Villa, and right from the start it was clear how it was going to be. EE wasted a half of football. Flat-out wasted it in a defensive display that for this observer, is akin to buying a Ferrari and letting it idle in the driveway. As Thong Boy said (in a proper translation) “I don’t like to play this way but I do what I am asked.”

In other words, it was a tactic. Absorb pressure, play for the 0-0 and try to win it in the Camp Nou. This is a legitimate tactic in Champions League or any other tournament in which a two-legged tie decides who advances. And it would have been fine had the other club been some nobody side who were lucky to be there. But this was a team who spent hundreds of millions of Euros on the likes of TB, Di Maria, Ozil, Khedira, Pepe, Kaka, etc, etc, and let the Ferrari idle in the driveway.

They had a chance to go at us with our makeshift back line, on a team that was without ANY left backs. Why not gain possession and turn TB loose against Puyol, instead of letting us have the ball almost all the time, which minimized our weakness, which is defensive frailty? Good question. Both clubs had key players absent, Iniesta for us and Carvalho for them. Strangely enough, our absence might actually have worked out, as Keita was a wrecking ball in the center. It’s hard not to watch Ramos get owned by Messi, and wonder what Carvalho would have done differently.

Yes we tried to play football, when we weren’t playacting like schoolchildren on the playground. Pedro went down, clutching his face when he simply rubbed shoulders with Arbeloa. Busquets was particularly shameful as well with his antic and Alves might have been the worst of the lot, because his acting as though he’d been shot when he was barely touched by Pepe and earning this player a straight red card, has given the world even more ammunition against us and the Liga. Because it was a red-cardable foul even without the frosting on the cake.

Is this really the best that these two sides have to offer?

Yes, we know the subtext, the hatred, the Mourinho vs Guardiola face-off, the psychological wars that were being fought on and off the pitch. And you could legitimately be enthralled by them:

–Messi vs their entire defense
–Xavi vs their entire midfield
–Offense vs defense
–Passing vs a lightning counter-attack

This match was balanced on a bitter, brutal knife’s edge. I was actually trembling as I watched. And just when I would really start to get into it, somebody would dive, and roll around and act stupid. In the most telling episode Pepe was going for the ball, and went in at Alves with his studs up. And let me repeat that he was going for the ball. It would have been one thing had he come sliding in with studs flashing, sliding through after Alves had sent the ball away. But he didn’t. He went for the ball just like Alves did. Not the player, the ball. He missed, nicked Alves, who proceeded to act as if his leg would have to be amputated. Pepe received a straight red. Whether this was for an accumulation of offenses and the Alves nick was the last straw, or a justly earned decision will depend on what side of the aisle you sit. For me, the fact that Alves was stretchered off and trying to get off the stretcher so that he could get right back into the match, just didn’t sit well with me, just as Busquets’ game of peek-a-boo after his shameful playacting against Inter didn’t either. And such episodes never, ever will. We’re better than that.

Was the Pepe incident a red card? Yes, almost certainly. Hell, he should have gotten a red for being stupid enough to make that foul when Alves doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of doing anything with that ball except passing it to another defender. But. High leg, studs up at pace, that call is going to get made. Might it have been a yellow had the Copa not brought attention to their tactics in that match, had Pepe not been doing his bull in a china shop impersonation? Good question.

Do teams use incidents such as those to call attention to an opponent’s behavior? Sure. But they were actually playing straight up this match, defensive, physical football that was determined to keep us from scoring first, and if they could score, so much the better, but not really necessary. So there was nothing to call attention to.

For me, squarely on the cule side, I still have to admit that Pepe was hard done by, even as the foul was a red cardable offense. Make no mistake about it, this call changed the match. They went from having a fast, agile, physical defender in midfield who wasn’t going to allow Messi to have a moment of space, to having to figure out how to control us with 10 men. Yes, they did it in El Clasic No. 1, but we didn’t have to win that match, and we knew it. This time, with tensions ratcheted to the boiling point, things were going to get ugly, and did.

–Ramos laid a stupid, stupid foul on Messi to earn a yellow card and a suspension for the Camp Nou leg.
–There was a scuffle in the tunnel, for which Pinto earned a red card. Let’s hope Valdes doesn’t pick up a knock.
–Mourinho earned a seat in the stands for his bitter, apparently over-the-line commentary to the fourth official.
–Football suffered for it.

The game should have been remembered for this:

Instead it will be remembered by many for bickering, squabbling and two great teams acting, for too much of the time, like idiots.

No, the players aren’t supposed to play matches for posterity, it must be said. They play them to win. Mourinho chose the strategy that he chose, and it was ultimately a stupid one for so many reasons, not least of which that it let the club most likely to score have the ball for almost 80% of the time, attempting 788 passes and completing 713 of them. Think about that for a second. That’s an Almeria-like statistic, and a sign of a team that rolled out to play defense and to try to nick a goal off the counter, as it did in the Copa del Reig final. They attempted 263 passes, with 179 of them being successful.

Is Mourinho proud of that statistic? Good question. Perhaps his post-match rant was to get people talking about that, rather than a cynical, wrong-headed tactic that might have cost his expensively assembled team an opportunity to move into the Champions League final. They got physical with us, and for a change, we got physical with them. Di Maria came shimmying into our half, and Mascherano just put him on his butt. This was the kind of hard-edged, take-no-prisoners football that people were expecting from this tie, and referee Wolfgang Stark was right to not call anything on that one.

But he lost control of the match, as both sides surrounded him after almost every hard foul, waving hands in the “Give him a card” gesture, that was silly and unbecoming. Yes, I am naive in wanting the two sides to go at it like gladiators, and may the best one win. I don’t want any victory of ours, particularly one as sweet as this one, to be tainted in any way. But once again, people will say that they were cheated, that we were favored by the ref. History will forget that we had 22 fouls called on us, to their 18. It will come down to a wrong-headed red card, instead of what it should come down to, which is a great player deciding, like his coach, that enough was enough.

In a goal-mouth scramble created off a lovely passing sequence, Pedro twisting his knee may have been the best thing to happen to this match. When Guardiola substituted in Ibrahim Afellay, aka 3M, he knew exactly what he was doing. This was a fast, direct player who was good with the ball at his feet, could play on either side of the pitch, and liked to take the corner and throw in a cross. And it didn’t take long for him to have an effect, as he stood Marcelo up then dive-bombed for the end line, gaining just enough space to pop in a perfect cross for Messi, who took it and spanked it between the legs of a helpless Casillas.

It’s moments such as this one that tactics and pre-match discussions are seen for the irrelevancies that they are, because players do what they do, and great players do what they do at career-defining moments. “What’s the point of Afellay crossing, when our midgets can’t get to them,” many said during the pre-match buildup. But that was the point, an amazing player, the shortest one on the pitch, doing what he had to do to come up as the tallest. There isn’t a lot to even describe with the goal, as it was an interplay, two great plays, between two players.

At 1-0 with them down a man, the tie wasn’t over. A 1-0 result rolling into the Camp Nou is doable. A counter or two and voila, they’re right there. And then came a moment for the ages, when Messi took the ball in midfield, and proceeded to make a run that wounds its way around and through five of their players, before culminating in an oh, so delicate side-footed stab that winnowed its way into goal.

Casillas charged out to stop the direct shot, and his defenders seemed to have all of the angles covered except for the one, most unlikely one. Problem is that unlikely doesn’t mean impossible. Great players make a living out of doing the unlikely, and Messi’s astounding diagonal shot oozed into the goal for the 0-2 lead that might have killed this tie. One precious away goal against none for the opponent is a great result. Two away goals to none for the opponent is a soul-crusher.

Would that goal have happened with Pepe on the pitch? Hard to say, but probably not. Pepe would have just put Messi on his butt and let the chips fall where they may. Another example for people to call out the red card decision as one that unfairly influenced the match. Are they justified in doing so? Maybe yes, maybe no. Who knows? What I do know is this: That was an astounding goal, called by Sid Lowe one of the best that he’s ever seen in Champions League competition. I haven’t seen as many as he has, so I have to take his word for it.

But it was indeed a stunner.

"You carried us, let me carry you for a bit, sir!"

And I don’t mean to sound as if I believe that Messi’s performance was tainted by this match. Whatever stupidity occurred on the pitch, and there was plenty of it to go around, those two remarkable goals from a remarkable player can stand on their own. But I do think that this match, this occasion deserved better.

Mourinho says that the tie is over. Guardiola says that it still has 90 minutes to go. In less than a week, we will see which coach is right. In the meantime, I will salve my disgust with watching those two glorious, gorgeous goals in replay, as examples of what this game should be, and so often is.

Here’s another example, courtesy of the brilliant, brilliant Allas, whose YouTube compilations do every cule and Barca devotee an immense service:

Team: 9. A few loose moments, but played as a unit and stood strong, with the movement and runs that opened up space, even before they went down a man, particularly for Villa.

Guardiola: 10. He had his side ready to play, and his outburst yesterday was perfectly timed. How often do we have more fouls than an opponent, a stat that might be overlooked in the post-match rancor. We wanted this one. Bad. His post-match comments after Mourinho’s rant were …. well …. none. Because he’d already done his damage with press conference comments. Time to go back to ignoring the other guy.

Valdes: 9. Immense. Ginormous. The back-to-back saves on TB then Ozil in first-half injury time might not have saved the tie, but they sure as heck made it possible for us to win that match. Aside from that, he didn’t have much to do but did it beautifully. His strength of positioning and decisiveness were exactly what his defense needed, as well as his calm with the ball at his feet.

Alves: 5. Played to a 6, but lost a point for playacting. Wasn’t the offensive influence that he should have been, given that they were only interested in playing defense.

Mascherano: 8. Beast. I reckon the days of people arguing against his signing, saying he’s a card magnet are over. Positionally he was excellent, and in straight-up situations he took the ball time and again. The announcer that called him the back line’s weak link must have been joking.

Pique: 7. An excellent match, as he won every header that came near him, and brought the ball up from the back with style. Had a silly moment with Puyol that could have been dangerous, when they got in the other’s way.

Puyol: 7. Power, positioning and presence. Is he a lockdown LB? Nope. They had a number of opportunities that all came to life on Puyol’s side of the pitch. But Captain Caveman got it done ultimately, thanks in part to a negative, negative display by them.

Keita: 8. Wrecking ball. In thinking of ways to describe what he did, those are what come to mind. He was our counter to their Pepe, a destroyer who was also graceful with the ball at his feet. He might also have been more effective in this match than Iniesta would have been, it must be said.

Busquets: 5. Any number of Bad Busi! moments, in addition to his ridiculous sham. He had any number of good plays, but also many “What the ….” moments that could have been dangerous. It’s unlike him to be so loose with possession.

Xavi: 8. Majestic is the best way to describe his calmness with the ball, his probing passes that so often found their mark. He understood that not all the passes should be made against a packed, ball-hawking defense.

Pedro: 4. Lots of running to very little effect, and didn’t provide the width that he should have, at a time when Alves was playing tighter than usual because of Di Maria and Marcelo. And once again, a point is deducted for a silly, silly dive after a harmless Arbeloa challenge.

Villa: 5. Powerful and very active early, but faded at the match went on. Had a great chance early, that wasn’t off by very much. His movement was a threat that forced their players to react to him, but again, this quality faded as the match progressed.

Messi: 7. Too many moments of invisibility for my Man of the Match, but what a stunning, stunning accomplishment that just adds to the legend that is becoming our absolute delight of a player. I reckon he says that he runs at 5 men because he can, right? Both goals were amazing in their own right. Don’t sell his first goal short.


Afellay (for Pedro): 6. Probably would have played his way to a higher rating, but what an impact sub. He turned Marcelo repeatedly, and provided the width that opened up space elsewhere on the pitch.

Sergi Roberto (for Villa): incomplete. He just got a little taste of the atmosphere, and what must it have been like? Indescribable, I rather imagine.

Ultimately, here’s the thing: The best side won. People can carp, whine and howl about the refereeing, but the best side, the best team won. The refereeing didn’t make them sit back and waste the entire first half, fear and wrongheaded tactics did. They won the Copa. So what. If we can do the trick next Tuesday, we will be able to giggle about the fact that they spent all that money to win the Copa.

The psychological war, such as it was, is rubbish. The players decided this match on the pitch. Could Stark have called a better match? You bet. But people calling us divers should note their incidents as well. Neither side emerges from this one covered in glory, but it must also be said that Premiership fans crowing about their “man’s game” should just shut up. It isn’t as if diving and simulation isn’t a problem in that league, as well. It’s a problem everywhere, and the only solution for it is straight reds for simulation. Period.

Now it’s 0-2, coming into our house, and the rules are simple: Don’t concede more than two goals without scoring at least one. They will be without Ramos and Pepe for the return leg, which is huge. But odds are that they weren’t going to be playing much Pepe anyhow, since they will have to attack like crazy in the hopes of overturning the deficit in the tie. Mourinho says they have no chance. More psychological stuff? You betcha.

In a post-match press conference Mourinho, who called Guardiola out for whining about referees, brought up the ghosts of Ovrebo, last year’s officiating (which he conveniently forgets helped his side advance) and Stark. The omnipresent question was “Why? Why?”

The simple answer is because you sold your side short by not playing football. At least not European football. You sold them short by playing defensive, ugly football because that is what you do to advance in knockout competitions. Because ultimately, you can’t make the kinds of fouls that your players make and not pick up cards. That is why. If you call that much attention to the officiating, some of that blowback is going to hit you. You ask why? That’s pretty much what I see.

Meanwhile ….

"We're taking everything. Even the ball. Yes."
“We’re taking everything. Even the ball. It’s ours anyway.”

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Written by:

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. Víctor
    April 28, 2011

    I wouldn’t know if diving deserved a direct red.

    There are times when players actually trip but referees take it as they dove and throw them a yellow card.

  2. Víctor
    April 28, 2011

    Of course, I don’t defend diving and shame on Alves for that. Now that I see that he acted on that one, I really feel somewhat “dirty”… lol…

    However, I said it on the last post… ok, Alves acted… but still was a dangerous play. Should Pepe make contact to actually deserve a punishment? probably yes, probably not… guess that it depends on the referee’s criteria…

    Speaking of the referee… it was a quick play… he made a mistake (probably), but that doesn’t mean he was biased as Mourinho claims. Not to mention that there were fouls of them that weren’t called.

    In general, a crappy game with just a few moments of brilliance. However, Barca was better and deserved the win.

  3. Nikolo
    April 28, 2011

    Sums up my thoughts on this match. Very bittersweet.

  4. culeluvr
    April 28, 2011

    I have a little gem of a video I found. I’m not sure if anyone has brought it up yet. It’s more for chuckles really. Tomas Roncero, writer from AS, goes on a Mou-esque rant. He jumps on the UEFA conspiracy bandwagon, etc. Sorry I couldn’t translate the entire thing, the Spaniards speak way too fast despite me being a native Spanish speaker.

    Here are some tidbits:

    “Look at me in the eyes Pep. Where is your Portuguese? He was German wasn’t he? Is there any similarity between a Portuguese and a German? They aren’t alike are they? A German has officiated. And you didn’t want to talk about the ref why? Yesterday you did and today you didn’t. You are a person with much personality. You are very intelligent. Your commented to provoked an effect.”
    He goes onto complain about Madrid’s tactics and not attacking, TB not performing up to par, the people who were on the bench, and then he goes back to ranting about Pep and Barcelona.

    “Barcelona has bored me. I didn’t know they were going to put on a show.”

    “There’s no need to fake fouls/injuries. Win with your football. Don’t you play the best football in the world”

    ” Why the theatrics? Why fake it? Why gang up on the ref with 10 people including Valdes, intimidating him just to have someone sent off the pitch.”
    “They day you play 11 against 11 you will go down in history. I’m sorry but the cup is tainted….Please let us end with 11”
    He then says with Pepe on the pitch Messi sucks.

    I swear it looked like he was about to cry, which in turn made me laugh.

  5. mei
    April 28, 2011

    Well kxevin I gotta support mourinho on your last point : small teams cant cope with attacking football. Its not like they can play like valencia or villareal , that played aggresively and attacking football and managed to beat us.

  6. poipoi
    April 28, 2011

    Diving has always been a part of spanish football get over it guys. Just don’t let them have the chance to dive, which EE didn’t. I prefer diving to kicking in fact I have dived in the pitch… am I a bad person? Understand the culture even puyi has done it, or has exaggerated fouls 🙁 it’s part of the game, accusing other teams, their players or coaches of spooky stuff is not part of the game. Minds games with refs are not part of the game to me. Being all day with propaganda is not part of the game. Diving is. I would have loooved to win by an unfair penalty kick. It’s EE! it’s even nicer to win them with their weapons IMO.
    We attack they defend so they pick up cards. Silent crowd bernabeu 😉 you could hear all those o le le o la la ser del barça es el millor que hi ha.

    • chop
      April 28, 2011

      Why don’t they just fix it rather than getting over it? It’s really simple with post-match suspensions.

    • chop
      April 28, 2011

      Can someone tell me if Ozil was flagged offside? The commentators seemed to say he wasn’t and that a goal would have counted. Did they flag late or what?

      • nzm
        April 28, 2011

        Oezil was standing offside when Ronaldo took his shot. Valdes’ save ricocheted back to Oezil who then took a shot himself. At that stage, he was ruled offside because he played the ball coming from an advantageous offside position from the prior play. But he still didn’t get it in!

      • Para
        April 28, 2011

        It was flagged late, but it was flagged.

        • nzm
          April 28, 2011

          I don’t believe that it was flagged late – you can’t flag a man standing offside and not involved in the play. Oezil was flagged as soon as he played the ball. Until then, there was nothing to flag.

          • Para
            April 28, 2011

            Oh, when I said ‘late’ I didn’t mean inexcusably late. I just meant that it happened when he took the shot (which is when it should have been flagged), and some commentators were too busy talking about the shot and subsequent save to immediately realise that the offside had been called.

    • Jim
      April 28, 2011

      Sorry, poipoi but if you have intentionally dived in a game then yes, imo you are cheating.

  7. OSBAG
    April 28, 2011

    Nice of you kxevin to stay up to write this wonderful piece. yesterday’s win has only taught us that he who laughs last laughs best. Pique coMment on playing with fire pretty sums up my view.

    On mourinho lamenting his not been able to utilize his subbed as planned, I can only say so much for training to play with 10 Men

  8. poipoi
    April 28, 2011

    Rewatching on catalan tv… 1st minutes by keita rock solid he owned them so bad. Key performance IMO. Great match great player this keita 😛 a true pro. So much control! Too bad If p! and villa are not very ok, if they get better we can really harm them in camp nou.

    pepe and lass was too much no skill at all there so many “pelotazos”, I think their supporters may start to not like it… I mean look at their bench! What next? Carvalho comes in for alonso?

  9. Worddriven Bozo
    April 28, 2011

    You made a pretty bad miss there, Kxevin. Pedro didn’t twist his knee in a goalmouth scramble. After he missed (a bad miss) his header on the Villa rebound, Marcello stepped on him. (It was probably intentional, since the cameras had captured Pedro and Marcello jawing heatedly just minutes before.) After he went out, cameras found Pedro on the bench, and you could see the cleat marks on the side of his knee.

    There were divers on both sides. Real Madrid, though, was intent on playing the bully.

    Mourinho’s rant, meanwhile, was quite incredible. He said that Barca had beaten Chelsea unfairly in 2009, while forgetting that Barca had been playing with 10 men that game — Abidal thrown out for a real dive. He said that Barca played with 11 against Inter’s 10 last year, forgetting that an offside goal had given Inter a two goal advantage before the last leg. The man takes a huge club and makes it play like Stoke City. He and not Guardiola is a disgrace.

    • Lev
      April 28, 2011

      “Abidal thrown out for a real dive.”
      actually that wasn’t a dive. dude tripped on his own legs.

      Mourinho can play however he wants to play. We cannot because the Camp Nou would not accept it. Doesn’t make us “superior” even though it is a great source of pride. What is a disgrace is Mourinho’s rant afterwards.

    • PhepheSa
      April 28, 2011

      Good call on the Pedro incident, saw that too.

      Thank you Kxevin for the review. I don’t reall give a s&*t about what the world think of us. I probably should care but i don’t, they’ll always find a way to discredit us. Diving(rightly so), boring tiki takka, UEFA favouritism, Unicef, whatever they are always going to hate so whatever.

      I love football i really do but for the world to paint us as cheats for diving is just rediculous. Every club in world football have players who dive all the time it’s just that they don’t have to put up with thugs and hacks in almost every game they play. I’d rather have diving cheats on my team than leg breakers. Another thing i’ve realised is that the players don’t dive that much if it’s a fair game but usually do a lot of the playacting when facing teams who spend the whole match trying to hack us. And again i might soun like a loon, but i don’t have a problem with trying to get a player carded if that player has no interest in playing fair. Now the surrounding the ref part i really hate i wish we could stop that.

      Please note i’m not saying the diving is ok but when you play against very aggresive teams i think it’s the way we protect ourselves. I mean Pepe’s challenge was very dangerous, just because he didn’t touch Alves doesn’t mean it wasn’t deserving of a red card.

      Sorry for the long-ish post and if i seem like i promote unsportsman-like behaviour. I just think that the world will always find something to discredit our team and because there’s nothing really that they can use against us they then concentrate on the diving. They were hailing Mou as a genius for stopping us so now they can’t turn and say we are brilliant again so they’ll find other ways.

      Thank you again Kxev. Oh and LOL at Mourinho he has lost the plot and it’s a sad sight. EE fans have got to be embarassed by his behaviour really.

      • April 28, 2011

        “Another thing i’ve realised is that the players don’t dive that much if it’s a fair game but usually do a lot of the playacting when facing teams who spend the whole match trying to hack us”

        I agree with this. If you noticed the last two matches against EE, aside from the occasional Busquets exaggeration, the diving on our part was virtually nonexistent. I think what we saw yesterday was a direct response to Madrid’s thuggery in the last two matches. They- especially Pepe- had gotten away with so much and our players had enough of it.

        I hate the diving, but it is worth asking, what if Alves hadn’t twisted away in midair and gone down before Pepe could touch him? Pepe would certainly have made contact, studs up on Dani’s leg, and no one except Mourinho would be arguing with the red card. And Alves could have been seriously injured, that’s how dangerous it was.

    • Sam M
      April 28, 2011

      I agree that Pedro didn’t twist his knee but was stepped on by Marcelo. Tough to tell whether it was intentional or not, but the frequency with which RM players trod on their opponents makes me think it was not an accident. There is some wonderful karma in this episode as Marcelo’s stepping on Pedro resulted in the Affelay sub and Marcelo’s subsequent toasting.

      One more thing about Alves and the Pepe foul. While I think Pepe was being aggressive not malicious, as others have noted, had Alves not been able to get out of the way he could have easily been badly injured. Alves may have embellished but he also almost had his leg taken off. This sort of gamesmanship is inevitable in such a high stakes match (I’m not talking about Busquet’s face grabbing). It’s easy for those of us watching on television to forget how quickly the game is being played and how much adrenaline is flowing through the players. If you’ve ever watched professional matches from the sideline you will likely remember the unbelievable speed at which the game is being played. Similarly, the ref isn’t watching the match in slow motion like the post-match commentators checking out their replays. He is making a split second decision based on his particular angle of vision. Pepe came into the tackle studs up. For the ref it was only question of the color of the card he was going to issue.

      P.S. David Foster Wallace wrote an article on Roger Federer that discusses the speed of professional sports: “TV tennis has its advantages, but these advantages have disadvantages, and chief among them is a certain illusion of intimacy. Television’s slow-mo replays, its close-ups and graphics, all so privilege viewers that we’re not even aware of how much is lost in broadcast. And a large part of what’s lost is the sheer physicality of top tennis, a sense of the speeds at which the ball is moving and the players are reacting. … If you’ve watched tennis only on television, you simply have no idea how hard these pros are hitting the ball, how fast the ball is moving,how little time the players have to get to it, and how quickly they’re able to move and rotate and strike and recover.” http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/20/sports/playmagazine/20federer.html?pagewanted=all

  10. Lev
    April 28, 2011

    “In a post-match press conference Mourinho, who called Guardiola out for whining about referees, brought up the ghosts of Ovrebo, last year’s officiating (which he conveniently forgets helped his side advance) and Stark. The omnipresent question was “Why? Why?”
    The simple answer is because you sold your side short by not playing football. At least not European football. You sold them short by playing defensive, ugly football because that is what you do to advance in knockout competitions. Because ultimately, you can’t make the kinds of fouls that your players make and not pick up cards. That is why. If you call that much attention to the officiating, some of that blowback is going to hit you. You ask why? That’s pretty much what I see.”

    agree 100%

  11. ElJefe
    April 28, 2011

    Other than Busi deserving an 1/10 for his cowardice, nice review. You’ve got to assume Keita will be back for a more defensive minded 2nd leg, and he was almost Yaya today. Big question for me is do you leave Puyol out to be 100% for Finals, with Miltio in his place. That is the correct thing to do strategically, but dangerous to play with the heart of the team out.


    Is this completely irresponsible and arrogant?? Yes, but I simply can’t take any more of the officiating & Mourihno nonsense.

    Will Adriano be healthy? Abidal? Bojan? Does Affelay start? I think that also opens up Villa to convert his crosses as well vs. guessing the trap all day.

  12. providence
    April 28, 2011

    Diarra should have seen the red card, you didnt talk about that!



    • providence
      April 28, 2011

      Let me take this oppurtunity to thank God for our win!

    • ElJefe
      April 28, 2011

      My God the photos of Pep shaking hands with Mou getting funnier every time. This one says “I am literally shaking hands with the devil. I am currently trying really hard to use the power of my mind to blow up your head like in the movie Scanners”


      The Pedro one is even better. It’s like he literally was shot dead on the field, or dry humped his way a few inches into the turf.

  13. providence
    April 28, 2011

    all the odds were against us! the octupus, the injuries, their recent form, playing in bernabeu, and we did it against all odds!

    my man of the match was KEITAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

  14. G7
    April 28, 2011

    Mourinho Moan:
    Telegraph online: “Jose Mourinho claims Barcelona benefit from refereeing conspiracy after stormy Champions League loss
    Jose Mourinho, who was sent to the stands during Real Madrid’s 2-0 defeat on Wednesday night, risked an extended Uefa ban by claiming a refereeing conspiracy helps Barcelona to progress in the Champions League.
    I don’t know if it’s the advertising for Unicef. I don’t know if it’s UEFA. Congratulations for a wonderful football team. It must be difficult to get this power. They have managed to get this power. No-one else has any chance really. Arsène Wenger. Today myself. I don’t understand why. I hope one day I will find the answer.”

    I think these are Outrageous comments from Mourinho, talk about a Bad loser. As a neutral one could say some of the refeering decisions were strict, but to say there is a Conspiracy is below the belt imo.
    And Madrid were well and truly beaten even before the sending off and Messi’s genius (a top 5-10 goal of all time).

  15. chillipod
    April 28, 2011

    Sound summary of last night’s events.
    Not sure what, if anything, the manager can say to Pedro, Alves and Busquets re: their love of the theatrics. It has/does/will leave us open to cheap shots from the opposition and media. That said, we had clearly adopted a mindset last night of ‘kill or be killed’ and it was a leaf lifted out of Mourinho’s own “manager’s manual” in terms of our siege mentality approach last night. Don’t like the harassing of the ref anymore than the next cule but we had clearly decided to puff out our chests and give them nothing.
    JM’s quotes about how he would have hated to win the way we did is hilarious given his tactics in the last few years, which came unstuck last night. The rest of the world hates winning the way you do Jose, and after last night, I suspect you don’t even have the support of your own fans (or players). I laughed last night as some merengues applauded a back bass from fully 30 yards out.
    For me, Pepe deserved to go for making a studs up challenge when he didn’t have to, Alves was going nowhere.
    Masch, Keita and Puyol deserve special praise, and as for Leo, well, I’ll just leave that for the rest of the world to comment on.

  16. Vj
    April 28, 2011

    Did you see with how much force Pepe went in with that challenge? No way in heck Alves would’ve turned that much and fell on the ground like he did by himself. Straight Red, no contest!

    Simulations getting the same punishment as horrendous tackles like what Pepe executed? If that were the case then Dive Maria should be suspended week in week out!

  17. yelèna
    April 28, 2011

    excellent read! thank you.
    had to calm down before commenting…

    yesterday, i was nervous and equally excited about this match.
    i just had a good feeling that we’re gonna win. although i know anythin can happen but its just one of those nice feeling when you know you have a good chance of winning. i was excited to witness two great teams- loaded with individual talent- play mouth-watering football. you just knew it’s gonna be unforgettable…
    and it was indeed.

    however, not for the right reasons.
    a lot were said about the extreme physicality, theatrics, the diving, the malicious tackling, the whining, the ref, and all other ugliness you can think of that i dont wanna add more.
    both sides were responsible for that ugliness. two world class side that could have given more, could have played better, could have given more joy to their supporters had they decided to play like professional athletes and promote sportsmanship.
    probably, not everyone played badly. but that’s the thing bout team sports, they’re remembered as a team. i just hope both teams can do better next time…i always thought games, no matter the competition
    are meant to be enjoyed.

    -i’d like to remember this match with those sublime goals by messi and that beautiful cross by ibi…simply transcendent. AWESOME!

  18. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 28, 2011

    for me, it seemed like the players were desperate to get “justice”, which they didn’t get from the 2 previous El Clasico…
    that’s why they’re diving, whining, and moaning during the game…
    I’m not gonna let you get away this time, EE…

    in Copa match, EE players stomped, kicked, shoved, pulled our players and get away with it…

    I agree that it’s like we had clearly adopted a mindset of ‘kill or be killed’…
    not in a good way, and I’m not proud of it, of course…

    thank God Messi closed an ugly match with a fascinating and hystorical goal…

  19. K_legit
    April 28, 2011

    Let me put this out there:
    1. Busquets was disgraceful and I hope he gets an earful from someone..He dived and indiscriminately at that..I don’t believe that is conduct becoming of a Barça player.
    2. Alves made the most of the Pepe challenge..no way I think was it a straight red…but that does not mean that Pepe wouldn’t have been sent off in the game as I believe he was on a tightrope as it is..
    3. I cannot believe that Lassana Diarra and Adebayor managed to stay on the pitch and have only one yellow card between them.
    4. Afellay needs more minutes, I envision another start for him in both the Catalan derby and the 2nd leg of the SF.
    5. It is sad but true that Barça players are simulating more and more, it is a disturbing trend and one that takes the gloss out of what is a very important win.

    • K_legit
      April 28, 2011

      Oh my bad, the game at the weekend is at the Anoeta

  20. 145culegirl
    April 28, 2011

    The club are studying Mourinho’s post-match comments and can take legal action against him.What right has Mourinho got to insinuate Barca?.I feel sooo angry now.I feel like strangling him to death!!!.
    Coming to the match,It was very ill-tempered one and there were many dives and fouls from both the clubs.I was excited before these El Clasicos started but now its making sick.Thank god! there’s only one Clasico left and I seriously dont want an overdose of clasicos next season.
    Coming to players,Our boys looked very confident and I think Pep’s pre-game presser inspired them not to let their coach down.I wish Pep gives a good long talk to the players to avoid diving and especially arguing with the ref.But I think some of the arguments are good because they are fouling our players and our players are so small and look delicate and they are so tall and burly.They want the ref to punish them but some are just unnecessary.

  21. ermengol
    April 28, 2011

    all else aside, there is, in my mind, no way, just no way alves could have faked that 180 mid-air reverse spin from his starting position. if you can dig up an example of this where the person involved has kicked out into thin air in one direction, split second stops and without powering up goes directly in the opposite direction i’d like to see it.

    if what you’re bothered about re alves is how he rolled around on the ground, then maybe, but taking the impact into consideration, and i play the game, with shinguards, that hit by pepe at speed is going to hurt like …

    if anyone thinks that rolling around is what drew the red out of the ref’s pocket they need to reconsult the rules or check their eyesight. it was a straight red. alves’ roll on the ground is a different matter. pepe fouled him and was rightly sent off. end of.

    • Víctor
      April 28, 2011

      Well, apparently he did act well. Slow motion videos show that there was no contact… or, at most, minimal contact. Alves acted and that’s shameful on itself.

      It was probably a straight red anyways, but the fact that he acted just puts the spot light on that. Rightfully or not.

      • ermengol
        April 28, 2011

        like i said, i’d like to have someone explain to me how (alves left foot is not on the ground and his right foot is kicking out) how he manages to propel himself at speed in the opposite direction without powering up and without the help of wires and green screen? is alves jesus? can he walk on water? is it the unicef logo? what?

        also, if you’re basing your judgment on the punta pelota slomo video (which i’m not allowed to post here) i don’t buy it.

        what’s more “In an online poll more than 72% of Marca’s readers disagreed with Mourinho’s comments that referees favoured Barcelona. (Some 78% felt Pepe’s red card was correct.)”


        • Jim
          April 28, 2011

          Don’t know about Victor but I’m basing mine on 4 different angles on Sky HD on a 40″ inch set ( I know Kxevin, but we can’t all have 50″ sets 🙂 )

          No doubt – minimal contact maximum dive. Again as everyone has said, could well have gone anyway for high challenge with studs up.

          Sorry, but imo Alves is a disgrace to the jersey.

        • Víctor
          April 28, 2011

          Alves’ left is on the ground at the time. And watch the slow-mo replays, if there was contact, it was minimal.

          probably a red card, anyways… but Alves acted…

  22. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 28, 2011

    I just read the complete rant from Mou here (in case anyone hasn’t seen it) :


    “Instead I will just ask a question to which I hope one day to get a response: Why? Why? Why Ovrebo? Why Busacca? Why De Bleeckere? Why Stark? Why? We are talking about an absolutely fantastic football team, so why do they need that? Why? Why does a team as good as they are need something [extra] that is so obvious that everyone sees it?

    The question,” Mourinho continued, “is why? I don’t know if it is the Unicef sponsorship or if it is because they are nice guys. I don’t understand.

    We have to go there without Pepe, who didn’t do anything, without [the suspended] Ramos who did nothing,

    I would be ashamed to have won it with the scandal of Stamford Bridge and, if he wins it this year, it will be with the scandal of the Bernabéu. I hope that one day he can win a proper Champions League. Deep down, if they are good people, it cannot taste right for them. I hope one day Guardiola has the chance of winning a brilliant, clean championship with no scandal.”

    amazing, this guy… 😀

    I just hate him with fiery passion of one hundred thousand burning suns… oh Pep, you’re so patient… 😀

  23. can_we_go_Xalvies
    April 28, 2011

    Im not going to agree completely on the diving issue, because when a foul is a foul and a player hits the ground soft or not it is not a dive. For instance, Xavi almost always hits the ground after an opposition player closes in and attempts to take the ball, Xavi positions himself between the ball and opponent so well that Xavi “owns” the ball, whatever attempt a player makes to take ball ends up in a foul, if xavi hits the ground soft or not either way its a legit foul not a dive, Xavi just played the ball smartly. Thats football.

    Busquets and Alves do the same most of the time usually but they are not that good at it and they tend to try and exaggerate, thats our problem, But most of the time our players work the ball so that an attempt to take the ball by an opponent ends up as a foul, there is nothing wrong with that.

    I am however annoyed by the idea of certain players wanting to card the opponent. That is wrong.

    Was Alves wrong in the Pepe incident?, maybe yes, but again what if it ended worse?, Pepe really made a bad mistake that could have taken someone to hospital if certain limbs connected, Alves was going for the ball too, and an injury was inches away, Alves maybe over-reacted, but when your inches away from something dangerous you tend to not react well. Its up to the ref to interpret the incident. mobbing the ref and exaggeration was bad from us. But there are times our players play the ball smart and is seen as a foul which shouldn’t.

    • can_we_go_Xalvies
      April 28, 2011

      *and is seen as a dive/fake which shouldn’t

  24. Jnice
    April 28, 2011

    Did anyone notice Ramos attempting to kick Keita in the face when they tangled on the ground in the box?

    • ak
      April 28, 2011

      yep, and it’s not the first time his legs moved dangerously when in a tangle

      • Jnice
        April 28, 2011

        Yeah, he does that nonsense all the time.

  25. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 28, 2011

    a view from Craig Foster’s twitter :

    Oh my god, Messi is the king. And Pep’s reaction yesterday put team instate of mind to fight, Pep has beaten the provocateur at his game…
    Very big moment for Pep, he says enough is enough to Mou, stand up and responds, could have done without swearing, but seizes initiative..
    Mou loves to, and used to, controlling agenda in media. Pep takes control from him, puts him in his place, team reacts. Great theatre…
    In Barcelona, Pep is not just club coach but representative of Catalonia v Madrid. That’s why he needed to react yesterday to provocation

    Madrid had momentum after Copa, but rather than use the players’ energy & newfound belief, he pulled them back, did not allow them 2 play…Hence frustration of Ronaldo in first half, chasing ball, saying ‘come on, let’s go at them, why we sitting back, afraid to play?’
    To look only at Messi’s goal as individual misses the point. Why does he score? More space. Why is space? Madrid ran without ball, tired…
    Why 10 men? Destructing leads to destructive = red eventually. Then Messi finishes the story. But the game story makes the moment…

  26. Lou
    April 28, 2011

    Oh dear. According to Graham Hunter there were monkey chants being aimed aimed at Alves last night. Disgraceful.

    Hopefully UEFA is better about punishing these than RFEF.

  27. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 28, 2011

    talking about disgraceful, I’m worry about Busi…

    his acting was disgraceful, yes… I hate it so much…

    but there’s also another thing, Busquets is in a dip in form and being reckless with the ball…he’s been losing the ball a lot, giving up possession easily…

    maybe he needs a rest, or a serious PEPTALK…

    cause this war isn’t over, there’s still 90 minutes to play before Wembley…

  28. skyislm
    April 28, 2011

    so, here is the best summary of last night, from a commenter “johnnyringo” at guardian. The truth of the matter is that, this game should not be taken in isolation to look at player/manager behaviors or specific events at the bernabeau, rather we should look at what all passed in the recent past leading to the way things happened last night. Excellent summary. Please do read:
    “Some people seem to have the mistaken impression that this was a public spectacle and that the involved parties gave a toss about what we think. This was an extremely personal matter between two clubs/coaches/teams in which all they really cared about was sticking it to each other. Seen in that light it was actually quite entertaining.

    Barcelona (and the Spanish national team) present a problem: it’s very difficult to beat them by fair means.

    Madrid have a philosophy (so they keep saying) of playing pure and beautiful football; they are guardians of a proud heritage; but they desperately need to beat Barcelona. So, they hired Mourinho as the man who seemed to have most success against them but insisted he respect Madrid traditions and play attractive football.
    He tried, he really did, and got stuffed 5-0.

    So for this unprecedented series of four, very important matches he reverted to his more typical tactics; his team parked the bus, fouled the opposition and ran to surround the referee at every opportunity. It was quite successful in the first two matches as Madrid managed to stifle Barça and actually win one of the matches and, with it, the Spanish Cup; their first trophy in three years.

    Now, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking a more physical approach and stopping the opposition from playing; it’s not attractive but there’s no rule that says you have to let the other team do what they want. But Madrid were commiting a lot of fouls and getting away with it. They should have had at least two more red cards over the first two matches than they got. Mourinho’s endless attacks on referees seemed to be working.

    Then he pushed Guardiola too far with some more jeering insults in a press conference and Pep exploded.
    That was interesting. I’ve never seen him get wound up like that and many of us thought that maybe he’d lost it. However, it now looks like Barça decided to play Madrid at their own game and that’s why the match was, in terms of football, so crap. They’re no angels at the best of times, any more than Man U, Liverpool, Arsenal, Inter, Bayern etc. but they don’t normally play like that (OK, Busquets does) and they won’t in the final if they reach it.

    This was personal and not representative.

    By the way, having said that Bacelona represent a problem in that, how do you play them without fouling, Arsenal showed that it can be done.”

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      April 28, 2011

      but they don’t normally play like that (OK, Busquets does) and they won’t in the final if they reach it.This was personal and not representative.

      yeah, me think so too…if last night was the “normal” Barça, something they do week in week out, I probably wouldn’t end up as a cule…

      By the way, having said that Bacelona represent a problem in that, how do you play them without fouling, Arsenal showed that it can be done.”

      yes, you can win by attacking Barça and without fouling like hell… Arsenal did that, Villareal was so close to did that…

  29. K_legit
    April 28, 2011

    I just am recently getting the hang of this twitter thing..any you guys on it (I know you are, I just wanna know who) 😀

    • Eklavya
      April 28, 2011

      What’s your twitter name?

      Mine is @Eklavya_FCB

      • K_legit
        April 28, 2011


        High five for the Moby Dick reference 😀

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      April 28, 2011

      @nanda59… just followed you… 😀

      there’s also


      anyone else?

      • Eklavya
        April 28, 2011

        @Jawsytown [WARNING: Its Josep! Follow at your own risk!]

  30. Eklavya
    April 28, 2011

    Funny stat: Ozil completed only 2 passes.

    • chop
      April 28, 2011

      And that’s why RM lost. Their buildup play was a joke.

    • ak
      April 28, 2011

      Another funny stat: Valdes covered more ground than Ozil

      • Eklavya
        April 28, 2011

        Hahahahaa, thats the best stat ever!

  31. nzm
    April 28, 2011

    Great analysis, Kevin.

    I agree with you on the point of Iniesta’s ommission working in favour of the team. Lately I’ve been frustrated by the slowness of his play which allows the opposition defence to set themselves up to intercept his passes or even take the ball off him. Keita was dynamic tonight and a more than worthy replacement. His defensive efforts shone.

    Hugely disappointed in the diving antics of our team – Alves in particular. Spain’s GOL Television (different from the US channel) has shown the Pepe/Alves incident ad nauseum; what’s apparent from the extremely slow-mo angles that they’ve shown, is that Pepe did not even touch Alves. Alves’ pirouette was good enough to earn him a position with the Royal Bolshoi Ballet Company. His team-mates should feel aggrieved for going in to vigorously defend him, based on their beliefs that the foul was legit.

    If Pepe had been carded only for his studs-up play then fair enough, but if it was for a studs-up tackle with contact on Alves, then it was a sham.

    I wish that I could find that Gol Television clip, but I’ve looked to no avail. If I do find it, I’ll post it.

    Not a great game to watch, because of the ugliness, with 2 great goals soured by what happened during the other minutes of play.

    Still – I’m happy that the boys are carrying a +2 goal advantage into Camp Nou. 🙂

      • Vj
        April 28, 2011

        Nope, Pepe’s heel hit him.. You could see it turn as he hit Alves. Even if he missed, IT’S STILL A RED, you can’t fly it with your studs up..

        Anyone would’ve genuinely been hurt by Pepe there..

        • nzm
          April 28, 2011

          I’m not disputing the Red for the dangerous tackle, I’m just not convinced that there was any contact between Alves and Pepe, for Alves to react so strongly.

        • nzm
          April 28, 2011

          Sorry – there’s no way in which that tackle got Alves on his shin which he went down clutching, as he rolled theatrically on the ground.

          Pepe’s foot turned as he was trying to get it behind the ball in order to control it.

  32. Eklavya
    April 28, 2011

    “Royal Bolshoi Ballet
    Company.” 😀

    My TV showed the slow-mo replay as well. Sad.

    • nzm
      April 28, 2011

      Yeah – a mash-up of the Royal Ballet Co. and Bolshoi Ballet Co. – especially for football ballet stars. 🙂

      • Barcaleya
        April 28, 2011

        I don’t see anything wrong with Alves avoiding a potentially injurious kick from Pepe. If he must pirouette and perform world-class ballet to do so, he should. When one can see injury coming, an athlete should do his best to avoid it. What is disgraceful is to pretend he was hurt, if he wasn’t. But he might have been too. To contort so forcefully, at the last minute, and land awkwardly can be painful.

        No matter, a studs-up challenge at speed like Pepe’s is reckless and deserving of a card. That it did not hit Alves does not mitigate the offense. It is the act and the intent combined bolstered by the fact that he did not get the ball.

        • nzm
          April 28, 2011

          Again – not disputing the Red – if you read my original comment in its entirety, you’ll see that.

          And if Alves was that badly injured, he wouldn’t have been rolling around like that, or be able to come back onto the pitch so quickly.

          When players are genuinely hurt, they don’t roll around writhing like cut snakes. They go down and stay down. Look at Ramos’ yellow card challenge on Messi which hurt Messi’s shoulder. Messi doesn’t roll all over the ground – it’s too painful to do that. Instead he sits there and rubs his shoulder, trying to get the pain to subside.

  33. Jackieboy
    April 28, 2011

    According to sport.es, Messi suffered a small muscle injury and is out for the Sociedad game.

    • Para
      April 28, 2011

      The muscle injury (or ‘knocks’ as some journalists are saying it is) is not a good thing, but at the same time I would be happy to see him sit it out this weekend.

      • Eklavya
        April 28, 2011

        Good, he can rest. The only sad thing is that won’t be able to score a goal from the stands … I think…

        • Jackieboy
          April 28, 2011

          Yeah, playing only 30 minutes last weekend seems to have done wonders for him.

      • Jnice
        April 28, 2011

        Apparently it’s just bruises and the club will decide tomorrow if he will travel to San Sebastian. via @EduPolo

  34. April 28, 2011

    Great review, Kevin, thanks for that.

    I think a lot of us feel Barca should have stayed above it all and continued to do what they do better than anyone else in the world – play ethereal football. But they are human, and they were playing against a top team hell bent on just kicking them down. I know that’s no justification for repeated playacting & hounding the ref, but the only people talking of thuggery after the Copa finals were Barca fans, rest of the world was talking of Mourinho’s masterplan.

    Here’s the best depiction I’ve read in a while of Mourinho from Graham Hunter.

    “We’ve all had a kickabout, during our formative years, with the spoiled kid who can’t really play but whose parents have gifted him the newest FIFA replica football. When the game goes against his side or someone nutmegs him for the fifth time his response, always, is: “It’s my ball and I’m not playing.” Off he stomps, ball under arm and ego already starting to recover.

    So it was with Mourinho.”

  35. Para
    April 28, 2011

    Kxevin, thanks for calling out all the rubbish in this review. I like to think there is a place where I can support Barca, and be happy for the win, while at the same time not being satisfied with the behaviour of both teams on the field.

  36. soccermomof4
    April 28, 2011

    Thanks for the review Kxevin. Wow, you stayed up late.

    “I am naive in wanting the two sides to go at it like gladiators, and may the best one win. I don’t want any victory of ours, particularly one as sweet as this one, to be tainted in any way”

    The above sums up my feelings entirely.

    I, too noticed that the British announcer called Masche the weak link in our backline. I wonder what game he was watching.

    That second goal of Messi, I’ll leave the description to someone more eloquent like Kxevin or Ray. Esgota definicions!


    But the first goal might have thrilled me even more. 3M’s run and pass were things of beauty. Messi had what, 3 milli-seconds to react and nutmeg Casillas. The announcers said he poached a goal. I’m not sure I understand what that means. To me it implies a bit too much luck. The first goal was skill, timing and positioning. The cross was perfect but so was the finish.

    One request, Kxevin. Could you take all 5 of Busi’s points and give them to Messi so he can have a score of 12? That boy needs a good talking to.

    Finally, there will only ever be one El Pulpo Paul. Iker the Octopus might fing himself on a dinner plate soon.

  37. Jnice
    April 28, 2011

    Mourinho’s full press conference after the match: /http://www.megaupload.com/?d=16HZO6SP

    Pep’s full press conference after the match: /http://www.megaupload.com/?d=7O3ZFCWS

    Links from: http://www.masiablaugrana.com/

  38. Jackieboy
    April 28, 2011

    Can anyone provide me with a link to a report with passing statistics for specific players?

    I’m pretty curious about Valdes’ passes, it looked as if every single one hit the target precisely, even those mid-range lofted balls under pressure. Amazing.

    Alves couldn’t contain Di Maria in the first half, and even though it’s disputable whether he fouled or Di Maria dived, he was getting sprinted past.

    Busquets – geez this is getting really shameful, someone has to have a talk with him to stop that ridiculous playacting. It’s really embarassing.

    And Puyol! What a guy! Gone for few months, returns for key games, and makes everyone on the defence better. The difference between this game and the CdR final was huge.

    Just my two cents there.

  39. Lou
    April 28, 2011

    My opinion on Busi is that he needs a talking to from Guardiola and game off. He got like this at the end of last season too: I’m not sure if it is the mental fatigue or the high pressure games, but he needs a break, now.

    I hope Pep rests him on this weekend.

  40. Helge
    April 28, 2011

    From my point of view, you cannot really blame Barça for the lack of class in this match.
    Aside from the diving of Pedro and Busquets*, I think we played close to a perfect match (which is also what Kxevin’s team rating suggests).
    I wanted to see Keita for Iniesta, independant of Iniesta’s fitness. Patience (and width) was the key to beat Real Madrid, and a less hectic approach. Keita provides patience and more defensive security, although yesterday there was barely any offensive threat from Real Madrid. And I blame this on their super-passive attitude. Usually I would have expected them to be more aggressive, pressure us and go for counters. That’s why I opted for a more defensive approach. The typical Xaviniesta Busi midfield didn’t work in the 2 Clásicos before. It probably even helped Real Madrid, because Mou figured out how that midfield works and it supported their counter-attacking style. I think it was Bassam who said that he feared Keita’s presence the most, before one of the previous Clásicos (in which he didn’t feature in the end).
    Also note that Keita, when we were in possession, sometimes almost played as a typical center forward, giving us some height and physical presence. It didn’t lead to a goal, but Keita for me was the perfect switch in the line-up.

    And I don’t think that the world will remember this match only for sheer aggressiveness, unfairness and crappy play. Actually I’ve read lots of comments suggesting that it will be remembered for Messi’s goal. In 10 years time, the neutral observers will look back and remember his benini sculpture of a goal. Madridistas certainly will always blame this match and remember it for the ref. But Stark was strong yesterday. In such a heated atmosphere, he almost did everything right, and there was no blatant error in his decisions. Maybe could have gotten Messi and Lass yellow cards for amount of fouls, maybe Marcelo deserved a yellow for stepping onn Pedro’s leg, maybe Adebayor deserved a red, maybe Pepe could have come away with a yellow. But all of his decisions were reasonable.

    *Dani Alves did NOT dive, he was hit by Pepe clearly. Pepe put the heel straight into the leg of Dani Alves, I also think it’s impossible to play act a contact in that situation, just look at the spin at which Alves rotates and falls to ground afterwards. Maybe he did exaggerate pain, but in a replay some minutes after the incident it was evident – at least for me – that Alves got hit. And such tackles have the potential to break a player’s leg.

    • soccermomof4
      April 28, 2011

      Every time Keita has to replace a starter I’m worried. Mostly because I’m looking at what we will be missing in the starter and not thinking about what Keita brings to a game. And every time I’m worried about Keita starting, he proves me wrong. You’d think I’d have learned a lesson by now.

      • Helge
        April 28, 2011

        I have never been renowned as a Keita fan either, but for this match I had a feeling that he’d be the perfect solution to counter Mouringo’s tactic.

  41. April 28, 2011

    Did anybody manage to read what was written on Keita’s undershirt?
    I only found one picture but it was too small.. 🙁

    • El Tel
      April 28, 2011

      From barcastuff:

      Keita’s undershirt said “For you my friend, come back soon!”, dedicating his goal to Abidal #fcblive #anumsabidal [via @shnmrdy]

      • El Tel
        April 28, 2011

        Never mind! Keita didn’t score yesterday–it’s an old post.

  42. footballfan
    April 28, 2011

    I’m so sick of this red card, diving talk. And yeah, Mourinho should just be banned for life by UEFA. Really really hope that we can hammer Madrid at Camp Nou.

  43. Extreme barca fan
    April 28, 2011

    Thanks for the Review Kevin

    First things First: heheheheheheheheheheheeheheheheheheheheeheh

    OK, now, people can say what they want, i say we deserved to win, RM deserved nothing, they approached this series with foul first ask questions later from the get go.
    We played them 3 times in the past 2 weeks and all away from home, i just cant wait for the game at our place.

    Also, this brings me back to the ‘we are doomed’ cries, TRUST THIS TEAM, for it will deliver, i predicted a 1-2 win for us, happy to be mistaken.

  44. Para
    April 28, 2011

    Ramos is questioning his yellow card. While this is amusing as always, I think my favourite part of my twitter timeline during the match (am going through it retrospectively) was this from runofplay:

    Sergio Ramos clotheslines Messi, then complains when he’s carded. The smoking remains of Ray Hudson’s TV set spark faintly, then go quiet.

  45. Humphrey Bogart
    April 28, 2011

    With regards to Mous rant. It is one thing to try mind games by media, but do actually endanger the ref like this after what happend to Anders Frisk is downright lunatic. There are a lot of lunatics out there who actually believe this kind of crap. Did he learn nothing from this sad episode? Now he is doing it all over again.

    • soccermomof4
      April 28, 2011

      Real Madrid fans insulted and tried to attack referee Wolfgang Stark at a restaurant in Madrid after yesterday’s game #fcblive [sportyou]

      • Humphrey Bogart
        April 28, 2011

        It is really, really sad. This man did nothing more than his job. I can look over Mous antics with regads to media war, mind games, even struggling with other coaches and player, but that just goes too far. Anders Frisk had to quit refering after he got death threats to his and his family after Mou agitated against him after a Chelsea-Barca match. It is now the same situatin all over again and he did not learn anything.

  46. The day after and I don’t have much to add except:

    –re: Pepe, that’s a red all day for me. Others will say borderline yellow-red; that it tilted red is Pepe’s own fault. Studs up, high, going in with momentum, that’s all the ingredients of a bad break. Sorry, but it’s a red.

    –I don’t like VV coming out of his penalty area. It’s irritating, and that’s how he gets all his yellows. That’s not what I mean about protesting calls. But you know what, I don’t want to talk about this anymore.

    –We should be talking about Messi and his 52 goals in 50 games, but this is lost in the nonsense. It shouldn’t be. All I will do is replay his last goal over and over and over.

    As a football match, this was pretty crap. Both sides were quite petulant. I still don’t really care right now because Messi’s goals will live on.

    EE are forced to come out and play in the second leg so here’s to a better game in the second leg.

  47. Alex
    April 28, 2011

    Everyone talking about the Alves dive: he doesn’t contorted or do a ballet move to spin around like he did. The slow mo shows that if the ball had not been between Pepes studs and alvess leg, Alvess leg most likely would have shattered. Look at the slow mo video again, the ball contorts and flattens a bit from Pepes studs while it is touching Alves! So the force of the ball being pushed on by Pepe against Alves is what causes the reverse 180. Had the ball not been there, that would have been a major injury. No way Alves can fake a reverse 180 spin like that. His playacting after the fact was pitiful, but so was Pepes after Masch hard tackle on him. This stuff happens. Players will playact. Nobody likes it. It sucks. Pedro and Busi need a talking to though, horrible what they did.

  48. Diego
    April 28, 2011

    Everywhere I went today people were not discussing the match, They were discussing the referee’s performance. I refrained from talking and refused to comment on anything as some of the things I heard were ludicrous.

    We had 72% Possession and completed 718 passes because of the referee. Messi dribbled past 5 EE players and scored a goal, The referee should have disallowed that goal as it was clearly offside, The Referee did the best he could in this heated battle and the players decided the game.

    • Para
      April 28, 2011

      I keep watching the goals, thinking that they’ll (at some point) become less incredible.

      But it doesn’t happen.

      I sometimes fall over getting out of bed in the morning–how does a human being manage to do that?!

  49. Also, you know something is wrong when I actually kinda feel sorry for Thong Boy and actually agree with him (after giggling the first 10 times).

    He’s trying rally his teammates and is genuinely trying to win the game. He evidently didn’t get Mourinho’s game plan.

    –Last thing, whoever lost this game was going to make excuses. The hate runs that deep — at least, for me. I wanted this win for Pep, and I got it, as well as the two goal cushion I wanted. On the grainy stream without decent replays, I’m only going from what I saw live.

    If/when I watch it again, I might agree with you guys (not to say I don’t already, but I’m still partial to the other side, more “realistic” side.

    • Diego
      April 28, 2011

      Cristiano is competitive and Professional, He cut back on the diving, His arrogance and showboating are what annoy me.

    • soccermomof4
      April 28, 2011

      Kari…um… I mean the mod formerly known as Kari,
      I hate to say it, and I mean that I REALLY hate to say it, but TB was the only EE playor that didn’t annoy the heck outta me yesterday. He tried at least. Yes, I felt sorry for him too (just a little).

      EE gobbled up all that talent from the rest of the footballing world and it just sat on the bench. Just sat there! You could make a world-class club team from the talent that sat on his bench (or didn’t make the game squad). The talent that made it onto the field wasn’t allowed to perform. Defensive football has it’s place. But fugly, wasteful football belongs nowhere. TB has a right to be ticked.

      • blitzen
        April 28, 2011

        Totally agree. CRonaldo was actually trying to play football, and much as I love seeing him frustrated, I did feel for him as well.

      • Jnice
        April 28, 2011

        His words after the match were Mourinho-ish, though:

        “Messi?” he replied, when asked about the Argentinian’s two goals. “It’s easier against 10 men. I would like to play against 10 men too, like he does. It is no excuse but they always play against ten men.

        “I don’t understand why this always happens. I couldn’t talk to the referee because if I had I would have got a card for sure. The ref sent off Pepe: what more can I say? Every year is the same.

        “I feel bad for us and for Mourinho – because it always happens to him. Barcelona are a great team but these guys have a lot of power off the pitch too. Chelsea, Inter, Arsenal. It’s always the same. Is that a coincidence?”


    • April 28, 2011

      Ditto. Like I mentioned elsewhere, at least he has the right intentions, even if he has a funny way of going about it. 🙂

  50. April 28, 2011

    Sorry about the miss on the Marcelo stomp. I can only blame the lateness of hour. Now everybody sees why I watch twice. I can’t wait to watch again this evening, and will amend the permanent record accordingly. If the Marcelo stomp caused Pedro to go out and Afellay to come in, that’s even better. Hoist on their own petard.

    Other thoughts:

    –You can’t expect teams that have that much hatred to meet 4 times in 18 days and have football be the victor. Neutrals seem surprised by the poor quality of football. I’m not. This isn’t about football. It’s about hate. Could they play straight-up football and have a match with us? Good question. They haven’t ever. Maybe we’ll find out next week, as they will have to. Roll out with a front line of TB/Ozil/Di Maria and a real, creative midfield, and let’s see what happens.

    But I’m not holding my breath.

    –Pepe was hard done by. Was the offense technically a red? Absolutely. Is a match official supposed to show judgment in making those kinds of calls? Emphatically yes. Sorry, but he was.

    –Guardiola’s brilliance brings me joy. His pre-match rant was perfectly timed and correctly delivered. Now, his dignified silence is as loud as a jet engine screaming NIL-TWO! No reason to do anything else except play our game on Tuesday.

    –I hate to say I told you so, but recall my comments about the worthlessness of the Copa, and to trust in this team and this coach? Just sayin’. We are the best TEAM. And the more games you play, the greater the odds that the best team will prevail.

    –If not for Messi, Keita is MOTM, for sure. I look at it this way: With Keita’s influence, the match is still 0-0. Messi, on the other hand, created significant opportunities and grabbed the match by the scruff of the neck in a performance that would be career-defining, if he wasn’t already spectacular, and the best player alive. Hence his designation. People marvel at that second goal, but for me, the first goal is just as remarkable.

    • Blow-Grenade
      April 28, 2011

      I would agree with you and say the first goal is more remarkable. Here are some of the reasons I can think why that is so. Messi had to anticipate a cross from Affelay, Affelay had to beat Marcelo, Affelay’s cross, Messi had to beat the defenders to the ball and get on the right side of the defender to tap the ball in. And all this within a second or two.

      We all know that Messi is a genius. But the first goal is what should gives Cule’s like me hope for the future.

      • blitzen
        April 28, 2011

        Don’t forget Xavi’s gorgeous and perfectly accurate pass to Flyboy so he could make his perfectly accurate cross! Team goal for sure. The second one was all Messi.

        • nzm
          April 28, 2011

          And I think that it was Messi (recovering a lost ball) who first made the pass to Xavi!

    • Helge
      April 28, 2011


      And I generously admit that you have been absolutely spot on, Kxevin 🙂

  51. April 28, 2011

    Oh. Met a couple from Madrid while getting breakfast this morning. They were flying, and couldn’t watch the match, but knew the result. We had a very pleasant chat, even after it started with “You are the enemy.”

    • Blow-Grenade
      April 28, 2011

      The Madrid are fans just like we are. I assume they from the Zidane era, when Madrid actually played direct and good football. I would love for that kid of a team to be in the La Liga at the moment, so there can be good matches, and some lovely football play.

  52. Blow-Grenade
    April 28, 2011

    I posted this in the last blog… I guess this the latest one, so I’m posting it here again.

    For people who have not played soccer, that studs up foot into a player who is kicking the ball is a shin breaking tackle. It is a straight red. It should not be allowed in soccer. Correct decision.

    Having said that, Pepe should have received yellows and been sent off long before that, I saw him hacking Alves before that.

    I think we may have a star in Affelay. This assist should give him much confidence. Hopefully he will take players on more often. And hopefully Messi and Villa will match his runs to tap the ball in.

    Yesterdays match was shameful for its diving and playacting, from both sides, but especially with regards to the tactics that Madrid employed of hacking Barca players.

    Mou is a disgrace. Bad looser. He spoke too soon. He should have attended the press conference after getting a night of sleep to calm his nerves down.

    I could go on and on… goals aside, I did not like yesterdays match. Not gonna watch it again. Hopefully we will have a better game on the return leg.

    • Diego
      April 28, 2011

      Agree with the first paragraph. I suffered from a similar tackle with the opposition player stomping the ball and my foot. I lost my toe nail and it took 6 months to grow back.

      • Blow-Grenade
        April 28, 2011

        Sorry to hear about that toe of yours. I broke my toe as well, stubbed a soccer ball, but lucky never my shin.
        I know exactly what might have gone through the referee’s mind after seeing the tackle, and Dani wince in pain.

  53. Helge
    April 28, 2011

    btw, if anybody has a link to the Sky Sports / Al Jazeera (they say Al Jazeera uses Sky Sports feeds) post-match analysis, I would be very pleased 🙂
    I only found pre-match so far.

  54. April 28, 2011

    And something I kinda forgot to put in the review:

    52 GOALS

    Staggering. Is there still a debate on who the best player in the world is? If there is, there shouldn’t be. And Messi’s goals are so rarely pile-ons, the fourth goal in a 5-0 win. They’re huge, and match-changing.

    • Para
      April 28, 2011

      (And just because the numbers aren’t incredible enough, those 52 goals are in 50 games).

      • Helge
        April 28, 2011

        And just because those numbers are still not enoug – 😉 – I’ll throw in some more detailed numbers:

        52 goals, 27 assists in 4135min which pretty much equals 44 games (if you also consider an average additional time per match of 4 min.)

        That is 79 scorer points(!!!) in 44 matches.

        You could almost say that each match in which he doesn’t score and/or assist at least 2 goals is below par!

    • Ryan
      April 28, 2011

      And 36 Champions League goals! He’s already reached 1/2 of Raul’s record. Does anyone want to bet against him surpassing the Schalke striker’s tally in 4-5 years? 😀

  55. blitzen
    April 28, 2011

    I’m going to say one thing about Pepe’s red card:

    I watched that play half a dozen times and what struck me was that the instant Pepe made his lunge, the referee had his arm up in a “you’re off” motion and was dashing across to show the card. This was before Alves had any chance to start rolling about and embellishing, and before any of our players reached the ref to insist Pepe be sent off.

    So for me, the ref had a clear view of the challenge and judged it a straight red whether or not contact had been made. That’s all I need to know. Dani’s theatrics were actually irrelevant, except for the fact that they are what people will remember about the whole incident.

    Now I’m off to put together some blitzen awards. You know you want them!

    • April 28, 2011

      Just wonderful. It is amazing that after that operation he could be back to any kind of training so soon.

      • April 28, 2011

        I’m thinking that he’s thinking that he isn’t going to miss ANOTHER Champions League final.

        • Ryan
          April 28, 2011

          Most definitely. Gotta love that passion!

  56. April 28, 2011

    I thought this was one of the most telling things said after the game. Via barcastuff:

    Afellay: “We didn’t let the Madrid players intimidate us, that was maybe the most important thing.” #fcblive [sport-promotion.nl]

    You read this quote and then consider that pre-match news conference the pieces start to fit together with how Pep was viewing this challenge.

    For me, Arbeloa intentionally stepping on Villa and then he and Ramos yanking Villa up off the ground while having the audacity to yell at him was the crystallizing moment of this series of Clasicos.

    They did that to not only send a message to Barca but to embarrass them on the pitch.

    It made it very clear how Madrid wanted to play and likely how Mourinho wanted his team to counter Barca’s technical abilities on the ball.

    And Mourinho got beat at his own game by Pep’s strategy.

  57. Jnice
    April 28, 2011

    Long read, but for anyone interested in the calls Wolfgang Stark made, this guy knows his stuff when it comes to referees. In depth details:


  58. April 28, 2011

    From Sky Sports: UEFA open disciplinary cases against Real Madrid & Barcelona after last night’s UEFA Champions League tie.

  59. blitzen
    April 28, 2011

    Oh, and UEFA has officially decided to launch an investigation into Mourinho’s post-match comments.

  60. Vj
    April 28, 2011

    People seem to be forgetting the most important incident last night, and it wasn’t even reported anywhere!

    EKLAVYA GOT THE BOOT YESTERDAY. Yes that’s right he was shown a straight after a series of warnings from both Kari AND Vicsoc. Too bad he was let back in after being so whiny and only with an apology 😛

    I’m betting 5 bucks that Abidal will be ready for Wembley. Any takers?

    • Eklavya
      April 28, 2011

      NO! I was hoping it would get lost in comments! Stupid Vj! 🙂

      And I didn’t get a “series” of warnings, I just got one for saying “damnit” and got booted out for saying “sh*t”.

      Not that I’m complaining or anything…you wouldn’t have won without me 😉

      And I bet Abidal will be back as well!

  61. blitzen
    April 28, 2011

    As promised, here is the bumper Clasico III edition of the world-famous blitzen awards!!!

    How Much is Too Much? Award: Four Clasicos in a row are too much for my sanity, not to mention the players. It’s just going to get uglier, folks! Strap yourselves in for the next round.

    How to Keep a Good Man Down Award: Sergio Ramos finds out the only way to stifle Messi is to actually sit on him!

    At Least Buy the Guy a Drink First Award: Arbeloa gets up close and personal with Pedro’s bathing suit area in the first half. *phew* Is it hot in here? I think I need a gif of that as well.

    Oh Captain, My Captain Award: Was I the only one tearing up watching Puyol being, well, his amazing indomitable self again?

    MOTM (Man Of The Melee) Award: Gaby Milito! Did you see him in there breaking up stuff, getting between people and shoving his teammates out of the scrum so they wouldn’t pick up cards like Pinto did? He may not be the player he once was, but he has always been a rock for his teammates.

    This Wasn’t in the Job Description Award: Real Madrid match delegate Chendo, for trying to strangle Pinto not once, but twice!

    Bad Busi Award #1: Pedro. You know what you did. http://www.japemonster.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/28218.jpg

    Bad Busi Award #2: Busi. Why is such a brilliant player such a bad actor? If you’re going to do it, at least do it convincingly.

    Power of Three Award: Ibrahim “Flyboy” Afellay! That’s 90+M Euros of value packed into a 3M Euros player right there!

    Iker Face Award: Cristiano Ronaldo, who could not hide his disgust and frustration at the Mou-imposed tactics and lack of service from his teammates.

    Is it Armageddon? Award: Me, for feeling sorry for him.

    I’m Stuck in a Vortex Award: But not too sorry. http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lkccvnUPQo1qzec7o.gif 😀

    I’m Taking My Ball and Going Home Award: Mourinho, who else? Apparently he had a brilliant three-part strategy in place, but big old meanies Barca and that horrible man with the whistle (and also, somehow, Unicef) ganged up on his little angels and wouldn’t let him win!

    • Eklavya
      April 28, 2011

      Hahah, your awards really rock! The “Not in the job description” one is the best! The titles you give rock 🙂

    • Humphrey Bogart
      April 28, 2011

      The made my day-award: Blitzen, you know, for making my day

    • April 28, 2011


      “At Least Buy the Guy a Drink First.” Hey, that’s my line! 😛

    • Xingxian
      April 28, 2011

      I <3 the Blitzen awards like I <3 dirtytackleblog.

  62. blitzen
    April 28, 2011

    My last comment is stuck in moderation because I put in two links. Can one of the mods approve it please?

    • Eklavya
      April 28, 2011

      -Adriano looks like Jeffren 😯
      -The guy in the middle with the red shirt looks like Messi 😯 😯
      -Who’s fingers are it on top of Bojan’s face? They seem to appear out of nowhere!

      • blitzen
        April 28, 2011

        Ha! I’m not the only one who sometimes mistakes Adriano for Jeffren and vice versa!

    • footballfan
      April 28, 2011

      Abidal is still scary off the field.

  63. Eklavya
    April 28, 2011

    WOW. barcastuff:
    No Real Madrid player yesterday completed more passes than Barcelona goalkeeper Valdes: 24 #fcblive Marcelo 22 Alonso 21 [uefa.com]

    • mardia
      April 28, 2011

      That statistic is ASTONISHING. What the hell. And when you consider how little Valdes had to do aside from those saves in the first half–no words.

      Really, Mou-Mou? THIS was your brilliant strategy?

  64. culegirl3
    April 28, 2011

    New comer here, enjoyed this post very much.

    The game was interesting to say the least! After reading that UEFA will be investigating Madrid AND Barcelona, I was left a tad bit worried. Emotions are running high and there have been one too many clasicos but it looked like wild animals fighting out there. While surrounding the ref to make certain calls sometimes proves to be effective, some of them need to stay clear..especially VV.
    Busquets needs to be reprimanded for his theatrics. he’s a horrible actor anyways, so there goes his hollywood career.

    The boys should just keep quiet and try not to further incite things. Unless physically attacked, they should just walk away and not be engaged in any type of discussion by EE. Do the talking through how you play. All the fighting is a waste of precious time that can be used to create a few more chances, possibly even allowing Barca to give EE another 5-0 spanking.

    Does anyone know who the men in the suits that were fighting with Pinto and Barca’s technical staff were?

    • blitzen
      April 28, 2011


      The suited man who tried to strangle Pinto was Miguel Porlán Noguera (Chendo), a former RM player who was there as a match delegate. A match delegate, in case anyone doesn’t know, is there to promote fair play, to ensure the safety of the players, technical staff and referees, and to maintain a positive environment of all involved….


    • Helge
      April 28, 2011

      Welcome, another Barça girl 🙂

      How come that almost 33 % of the users here are female but I’ve never meet a female Barça fan in real life?
      I’ve actually never met a true female football fan…

      It’s not easy to walk away when you’ve been hacked and slayed in the previous Clásicos, when the atmosphere is boiling due to press conference, when 75,000 people yell at you and would probably like to see you suffering from a heart-attack.

    • soccermomof4
      April 28, 2011

      Hi and welcome,

      I was worried at first too, but the UEFA website says that the investigation into Barca is just for Pinto’s red.

      quoted from UEFA site:
      “Following last night’s UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg between Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona, UEFA has opened the following disciplinary cases against the clubs.

      The case against Real Madrid is in relation to the throwing of missiles, a pitch invasion, the red card shown to Pepe, the dismissal of coach José Mourinho, as well as the inappropriate statement given by Mr Mourinho to the media after the match (UEFA Disciplinary Regulations, Article 5 – Principles of conduct).

      The case against Barcelona regards the red card administered to José Pinto.

      Both cases will be heard by the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body on Friday 6 May.”

  65. Jackieboy
    April 28, 2011

    Barcelona will file a complaint vs Mourinho with UEFA’s disciplinary commission for damaging the club’s reputation.

    I guess that’s well deserved. He’s really gone too far this time.

    No Real Madrid player yesterday completed more passes than Barcelona goalkeeper Valdes: 24 #fcblive Marcelo 22 Alonso 21 [uefa.com]

    Now that is amazing. Shows how much did we control them, and also, how good Valdes’ passing was. Good job!

  66. April 28, 2011

    Once again, brave, plucky, strikerless, barely-moving-out-of-their-own-half-in-the-first-45-minutes Real Madrid had been foiled by UEFA’s ongoing plot to make Barcelona the bestest team in all the land and Champions of Europe forever and ever.
    That was the narrative spouted by José Mourinho after the match, and a rather rattled Mou caused gasps of both disbelief and excitement as he launched into a spectacular rant concerning Barcelona’s supposed favoured status with UEFA, complete with shoulder shrugging aplenty and Robert de Niro facial grimacing.


    • blitzen
      April 28, 2011

      I like this bit:

      “Football should be played with the same rules for everyone with the best team winning,” argued Mourinho, who is perhaps redefining ‘winning’ as ‘grinding out a goalless draw in front of your own fans’.

  67. no me jodes
    April 28, 2011

    In my opinion the integrity of the club is far more important than the result at the moment. To me there is no greater sanctioning of diving that can be brought forth from UEFA than by the coach himself. Pep should reprimand those habitual offenders, (I’m looking at you, Busquests, Alves, Pedro) and bench them! No, not for this meaningless upcoming La Liga match, but for the return leg of the Champions League Match on Tuesday. Hopefully this would send a clear message that the honor and integrity of the club is paramount and that this sort of theatrical behavior will not be tolerated by a club of this stature. I thought ‘we’ were ‘Mes Que Un Club’? If nothing is done then what does that mantra really mean? ‘We’ should be above all that – play physical, play hard, but with honor and respect not only for our opponent but towards ourselves. ‘We’ are far better than this.

    By continuing to act in the same manner we are only allowing Mou to sucker everyone in that ‘we’ are incapable of winning a match in a fair manner and worse yet that because we tolerate such behavior it tarnishes the reputation of a club like ours. As a born and bred cule I live and die with this club but last night’s theatrics made we want to vomit. I took no pride nor glory whatsoever from this ‘victory’. If this is how ‘we’ win I’d rather lose with honor than suffer such a disgrace.

    • April 28, 2011

      124′ — Jose Mourinho sends another note. This one reads, “Who is behind the Barca Champions League conspiracy? __ UEFA __ The Da Vinci Code __ Both” Kaka checks off “Both.”

    • blitzen
      April 28, 2011

      112′ — Sergio Ramos picks up Mesut Ozil in an attempt to build a super defender that Messi cannot get around. The Ramos then accidentally drops Ozil under the bus Real tried to park in front of their goal, mangling Ozil beyond recognition. He claims Ozil jumped.


    • Vj
      April 28, 2011

      128′ — Pepe runs back onto the pitch and viciously kicks Dani Alves in the head and back. The referee explains that he knew Pepe would do this, which is why he sent him off earlier. The referee reveals himself to be a Pre-Cog from Minority Report.

    • soccermomof4
      April 28, 2011

      276′ – Sergio Busquets arrives back at his house, turns on the TV, changes into comfortable clothes, makes himself a snack, goes to the bathroom, checks his email, then falls down clutching his face.

  68. April 28, 2011

    You know what. I really dont get what the big deal is about the diving from Alves, Pedro and Busi. Madrid do it, not only do they do it but they do it much better than us, maybe it is something they actually practice?? Point is, it was clear from the cup game that they had a tactic and that was to be overly aggressive and hope that we would try and be the better team and just try to get on with it. Thats what we did in the cup and they got away with foul after foul, over and over again. Pepe could have been sent off 3 or 4 times over in that game alone. If they want to play dirty then why shouldnt we? I would like to think we are better than that, but the truth is that it is not just down to us, it is down to the ref too and if Mou is going to influence them off the pitch then why shouldnt we influence them on it. Personally I think the players were told to exagerate, they were told to surround the ref at every chance, they were told to make sure every foul Madrid made was taken into account because it would make a diff. U know what it worked because Pepe go sent off and we won 0-2. Maybe if Alves doesnt exagerate Pepe doesnt get sent off, maybe he continues hacking at Messi every chance he gets and Messi being Messi just gets on with it. Maybe Messi doesnt end up scoring those two goals. Maybe we lose the game at the death due to some counter attack. Sound familiar? Pretty it was not, but work it did.

    When the dust settles nobody will remember the diving thanks to Messi and his incredible goal.

    We did what we had to do to win, just like Madrid did in the cup final.

    • Helge
      April 28, 2011

      And I think that dirty play, of which Madrid has shown plenty in all 3 Clásicos, is by no means any less deplorable!

      • April 28, 2011

        Quite the contrary, it is a hell of a lot worse! Diving, as ridiculous as it is, is never going to hurt anybody. You arent going to break anybodys leg falling over. Madrids tactics on the other hand, Pepe in particular, could easily have ended in long term injuries for several of our players. I actually think we are very lucky that they didnt. Pepe could have broken MEssi’s ankle with one particularly awful tackle in the CDR final.. a tackle he didnt even get a yellow for. Karma is a bitch!

    • no me jodes
      April 28, 2011

      So your argument is that diving, surrounding the ref and gesticulating for a card is perfectly acceptable as long as the other team does it? I could care less about Madrid’s ‘antics’, it’s not about them it’s about us and our reaction to it. The point of the matter is that we are currently the greatest side in the world and we don’t need to resort and stoop down to this type of ‘gutter’ behavior.

      The most telling (and sickening) part of it to me is that it’s primarily the younger players (Busquests, Pedro) who are the prime offenders. Is this how they are ‘taught’ to act in the youth academy? I certainly hope not. If nothing is done about it, and they are allowed to continue with their antics then it is deemed as ‘ok’ and part of the game. As I said before this isn’t just ‘any’ team, We ARE ‘Mes Que Un Club’! and those of us who have that in our DNA since birth understand the meaning of it. We don’t try to copy nor emulate anyone else, and we don’t ‘act’ in a certain way just because others (provoke us) to do. If Madrid want to play with a rugby-like mentality with uninspiring and unnatractive football then that’s on them and frankly I could care less ‘how’ they play as long as we don’t get suckered into doing the same. We are not Madrid and will never consider ourselves to be associated with them in ANY fashion football or otherwise! This again is coming from a Catalan so please bear that in mind.

      • April 28, 2011

        My arguament is that diving, surrounding the ref and gesticulating for a card is a part of the game and that EVERY team does it so why shouldnt we? I hate it, I really do, but if the other teams are going to do it, and its not just RM, then why shouldnt we. I get the arguament that we are more than just a club and that this sort of play is beneath us and in most cases I would agree, and in most cases it is and we dont usually resort to these tactics. However this is not most cases, this the semi final of the CL AWAY from home at our most hated rival. U do what you have to do to win. The history books dont remember who dived how many times in a game, the history books remember the winners.

        Untill something is done about diving in general, and I think it should. You get yellow cards for fouling, why shouldnt you get them for diving and simulation? It wouldnt eliminate it completely but it would cut it down. Untill something is done about this behaviour it is a legitimate part of the game, like it or not, and our players have every right to do it as much as anyone else.

  69. Jackieboy
    April 28, 2011

    “Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger insists Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho is wrong to claim that Barcelona have been the beneficiaries of biased decisions from referees.”

    “But I refuse to believe there is a script behind the stage and Barcelona is at an advantage.”

    “I feel they overreact certainly but they play the best football in the world and you have to give them credit for that.”


    Wow, Wenger actually acts decent for once.

    • Eklavya
      April 28, 2011

      Wow, that does change from the usual.

  70. mardia
    April 28, 2011

    One thing I’d like to note in all this talk about the EPL in comparison to La Liga/Europe is this–yes, La Liga has soft cards, but I have yet to hear about players suffering season-ending (potentially career-ending) injuries as results of bad tackles.

    I can think of TWO of those injuries in the EPL this season alone (never mind Aaron Ramsey’s horrific broken leg last season) and that’s just off the top of my head, there are probably more if I stopped to look it up.

    You can complain about soft cards, about diving, but that’s far better than having a player stretchered off the pitch because his bones are in actual pieces.

    (None of this is meant to defend the diving done by Barca players, because that was disgraceful and somebody needs to get them to stop. But as much as I enjoy watching the EPL, it’s hardly perfect, particularly in this area.)

  71. Lou
    April 28, 2011

    Wow this is crazy! Real Madrid have a post on the official website with “proof” that Dani Alves dived plus videos of other Barcelona players (Pedro, Busquets).

    And to top it all off they have posted on the same page various outraged tweets from sports people including Ferdinand, and Michael Owen.


    So I guess there’s no denying the UEFA conspiracy now. That’s the only explanation, right?

    • KevinO
      April 28, 2011

      Its ridiculous, and honestly so to their disgraceful level that i quite expected it to happen. Did the Fcb website post the stamp on villa? the admitted dive by marcelo? no, because thank Goodness we have some qualty.

  72. Diego
    April 28, 2011

    I won’t blame our players for diving just this once, When you’re faced with such hard tackles and kicks, that could be your only answer. When you’re playing football, the least of kicks or pushes is hugely felt, Imagine playing against a team applying that kind of physical approach, The players were diving to protect themselves, not gain an unfair advantage.

    I don’t dive, but I never played in a CL semi final against EE.

  73. no me jodes
    April 28, 2011

    I’m not saying that a player shouldn’t go to ground when being fouled but the Alves bit was at best 80% theatrics and he should have been yellow carded for it in my opinion. If memory serves me correct this would have been the second yellow he received in the match and he would have been sent off along with Pepe. Even if Mou screams foul play at least both sides are playing at equal strength. And it’s not just the diving but the ‘theatrics’ of rolling around multiple times at the slightest nip on the heels, that also needs to be addressed.

    I’m tired of hearing the defense that Madrid are more culpable than us and that hard tackling is a worse offense than diving. So in essence we ‘cheat’ instead of playing like men. Look, if they want to play rough so can we, but I draw the line at mimicking Ronaldo’s and Di Maria’s diving. I don’t care if for some of you it’s part of the game, the bottom line is that it shouldn’t be part of ‘our’ game. We are the greatest side around, why resort to such low-class behavior? Leave that to Mou and his minions.

    And to my knowledge (according to the rule book)only the captains of the two sides are allowed to approach the ref regarding a decision, not the whole side swarming around him. This is a UEFA rule and the ref has every right to enforce to the letter of the law. Of course had he correctly doled out yellow cards as stated there wouldn’t have been any players available on both sides for the return leg.

      • Jackieboy
        April 28, 2011

        That BBC article you linked is Last Updated: Friday, 24 November 2006, 15:23 GMT. I do believe that rule is now in place, found nothing to back it up yet though.

        • Para
          April 28, 2011

          ahahaha. That teaches me to post articles without checking dates. 🙂

          It’s the most recent thing up on BBC football under ‘laws and equipment,’ which perhaps says something about their website updating!

    • Humphrey Bogart
      April 28, 2011

      This is all very nice in a perfect world but it can only work if the ref is up to it 100% and is forbidding foul play. In the last 2 classicos this was not the case. So for you it would be okay that our players endure this crap, in Danis case maybe even a saison-ending injury. Because that would it have been, had he not reacted in just one second.

    • April 28, 2011

      I’m very conflicted about this because while I hate the diving, it was disgusting to see RM getting away with the fouls and dirty play of the last 2 Clasicos. Pedro’s and Busquets’ diving was a direct result of that. It was noticeably absent from our play in the last two matches, which made it stand out even more yesterday.

      But I do think the red card was different. If there was no contact, which it’s starting to look like, it must be asked what would have happened had Alves not twisted away. It could easily have been a leg-breaking, season-ending challenge, and no one except Mourinho would be arguing with Pepe’s getting sent off.

    • Ryan
      April 28, 2011

      Well, what did you think about the Spain v. Netherlands WC final? There too we saw one team want to play soccer and the other using physicality to their advantage. Spain then resorted to theatrics as a response and got a player sent off. If the ref isn’t calling the dangerous plays, what else can they do? Allow themselves to get injured? Lose gallantly?

  74. Diego
    April 28, 2011

    Before all of you attacking Busquets, He may be suffering from a medical condition, He could be allergic to Air and that’s why he falls down clutching his face.

  75. beeeef
    April 28, 2011

    I’m still processing the fact that we beat a Mourinho coached Madrid team 2-0 in the UCL semi-finals at the Bernabeu.

    Hardly an entertaining match for the neutral, but strictly from a result oriented point of view, an immense victory.

    There’s still work to be done, but a League + CL double is well within reach.

    Given the injuries and fatigue affecting Barcelona after a long grueling season, you can only applaud the collective mentality and ability of this team and their coach.

    Whether we win the CL or not, watching MouMou and Madrid limp through the rest of the season with nothing left to play for is kind of like a trophy in itself.

  76. no me jodes
    April 28, 2011

    I understand that under Mou’s instruction Madrid play a borderline ‘nasty’ brand of football and I’m certainly not excusing it. And if one of our players is fouled legitimately he has every right to go down. But this is like the boy who cried wolf. So what happens when Alves or Busquests or Pedro is legitimately fouled, say, in the box, and the ref doesn’t award a penalty or worse yet produces a yellow card for ‘simulation’ because these players have a history and reputation of doing as such? I certainly won’t shed a tear for them.

    Ok, ok, so eeeeeveryone dives I get it. But some have a repuation of doing so more than others (i.e. Alves, Busquets, Pedro) and it’s only a matter of time until it catches with them. Case in point. Don’t think that Pepe’s ‘reputation’ of being a dirty player didn’t affect the ref’s decision to send him off last night. Had that been any other Madrid player I seriously doubt the result would have been as harsh. I firmly believe that…well other than say, Diarra who was looking every bit to be sent off.

  77. Humphrey Bogart
    April 28, 2011

    From Barcastuff:

    Real Madrid will file a complaint against Barcelona for the unsporting behaviour of their players in yesterday’s game

    Is this some kind of Kafka novel?

      • Humphrey Bogart
        April 28, 2011

        Yeah, I want the 90 minutes back that I wasted to watch the s**** they dished out yesterday

  78. no me jodes
    April 28, 2011

    I think it should be the Madrid ticket holders who paid good money to see this match filling a joint lawsuit against the club demanding a full refund for ‘parking the bus’ at home no less! I’m sure few if any were made aware beforehand that this was all part of Mou’s ‘master plan’ going into the match. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of such a tactic before. Then again they say that ‘genius’ is born from insanity although delusional wouldn’t be too farfetched either if you ask me.

  79. blitzen
    April 28, 2011

    They contacted Unicef for comment on Mourinho’s conspiracy accusations!

    “I saw that,” said their spokesperson, Marixie Mercado. “Essentially, it’s a club matter, it’s not something we would comment on.”

    The only positive news for Mourinho is that any Unicef-provoked effect on referees will surely be less strong next season, when the logo of the not-for-profit but less children-of-the-world-friendly Qatar Foundation will join that of Unicef on Barça’s shirts.



    • Para
      April 28, 2011

      Doesn’t that already exist to some extent within the Spanish league as well though? I thought there was an alloted ‘allowed’ number of non-EU players. I don’t know what the numbers are, but I thought criteria already existed.

      • Para
        April 28, 2011

        Ah, I just read the article and I see the difference.

    • Humphrey Bogart
      April 28, 2011

      Wow, I mean lolo of all people. That is outright shocking.

    • Jackieboy
      April 28, 2011

      Wow, that is kinda disgusting really.

    • blitzen
      April 28, 2011

      Not surprised at all. For all their love of “liberty” and “fraternity”, there is a deeply racist/xenophobic undercurrent in France. Look at the justifications of the recent ban on the niqab and burqa.

      Mediapart has learnt that during a DTN meeting last year, Laurent Blanc suggested that a stereotype of player, which he reportedly described as “large, strong, powerful” needed to be changed. According to Mediapart’s sources, he told the meeting of DTN board members: “And who are the large, strong, powerful? The blacks. That’s the way it is. It is a current fact. God knows that in the training centres and football academies, there are lots.”

      Now I’m the first one to support recruiting more small, technical players, but that has nothing to do with their skin colour or country of origin. This is disgusting.

      • blitzen
        April 28, 2011

        And I had no idea Ribery was Muslim. Not that it matters.

      • Humphrey Bogart
        April 28, 2011

        I mean Lolo. he did play with Thuram, Henry, Desailly

    • soccermomof4
      April 28, 2011

      Disgusting. But not just disqusting, stupid in that it arbitrarily deprives you of access to a rich, continent-sized talent pool.

      • Noslehcimretep
        April 28, 2011

        Disgusting. If I’m reading it correctly at best their issue is that they don’t want to waste resources and roster spots on youth teams for players with dual citizenship who may not end up playing for Les Bleus on the senior level… at worst, it is downright xenophobic.

        As a USMNT fan, I can’t even imagine a federation willing to turn their backs on talent at any level, we’re willing to sell our souls to bring in washed up and disenfranchised Germans and mourn over Rossi going to Italy instead. At least it provides a nice segue to the Villareal discussion following this comment.

  80. blitzen
    April 28, 2011

    Anyone else watching Villareal/Porto?

    Hulk just got a card for diving in the box.

    • April 28, 2011

      No. 🙁

      I am DVRing it, though. It worth watching or am I just deleting it? Bleachers collapse or anything cool like that happen?

      • blitzen
        April 28, 2011

        It’s not hugely exciting so far.

  81. Vj
    April 28, 2011

    Tw Puyol: “After Pilates, enjoying the afternoon with Javi, friends are the most important thing. Hugs to all” #fcblive [via @carles5puyol]

    Puyol is into PILATES?

    via Pep @ Barcastuff..

    • KevinO
      April 28, 2011

      Haha, Hey, Pilates is honestly pretty hard! Good for posture and Core Work 🙂

  82. SoccerMom
    April 28, 2011

    So here’s a question for y’all.

    You are the coach of a brilliant passing side, with players great of heart but small of stature, with a few injured stars left to twinkle in the stands.

    You are about to face off with your nemesis, a coach who — regardless of the nature of the competition itself, just as long as the match is against you — routinely parks as many as 8 men behind the half-pitch mark, just to lay in wait for your MiniMen to dare crash the gate. He’s got a galaxy of superstars too, but they’re healthy and tend to hang out on the bench rather than the bleachers.

    Please consider, also, that another strategy of said nemesis is to bleat and moan about referree decisions in press conferences. Oh, he’s a pathological narcissist with a persecution complex to be sure, but he’s not stoopid, either. He doesn’t want to make your team feel bad, or his fans feel better. He wants to upset the officials, to put their nerves on edge, to make them split-second guess before spittle touches whistle, What did I see? Do I exhale? Should I make this call?

    Ah, do, too, ruminate: This pathological narcissist, with a persecution complex, a dominance of defensive tactics and a lockerroom full of multimillion-euro superstars with mouths as big as their muscles … well, he better pony up some silver draped in royal white this season, or he’s gonna lose his job.

    You are destined to meet this man on the pitch in as many as four games in as many weeks. You, with your twisted ankles and muscle aches and spinal-disk slips. You, who has to look twice at your bench mid-match: Are they all just short men, or are you really short men?

    What, in all likelihood, is the big ‘strategy’ that Barça was chided to ‘change their style’ for? Mou didn’t want to park a bus — he wanted to pitch a white-picket fence — with cleats. A real Madrid Thicket, if you will.

    So really, is it smart, is it tactical, is it even ethical to know, deep in the marrow of your narrow, well-proportioned little bones, that Mourinho is going to walk into the bowels of the Bernabeu and tell his players straight-up and out-loud, “Take them out.” After all, what does he have to lose? He spends half the season in the stands anyway. Is he going to face tough questions at some press conference? Are people going to whine that he’s not a nice person, once you get to know him?

    Or is it excusable — is it smart — is it necessary, to say, “All right, we know what we’re up against. A nasty coach and a frustrated team and a nervous ref. He is counting on bringing the pain. Not the ‘gain’ kind of ‘pain’. Real pain. Real, excruciating, end-your-season-if-not-your-career-if-you’re-lucky pain.

    “We do what we do, and we do it well. We will do that. But.”

    (Now looks at Alves. Then Sergi. Just a look. Then keeps looking around. Just looking at everyone, you know, making good eye contact with each player before the Big Game.)

    Meaning: You feel a breeze blowing Madridward on your leg hair, you fall like a rotten scaffold, you hear me?

    Forza Barça visca Pep.

    • blitzen
      April 28, 2011

      You, who has to look twice at your bench mid-match: Are they all just short men, or are you really short men?


      But wait! Fontas was on the bench too. He is at least two Messis tall!

    • April 28, 2011

      I think you’re probably right. Obvious playacting from Busquets, Alves, and Pedro yesterday seems kind of suspicious after lack of diving from Barça in the previous two Clasicos. It was probably intentional, a tactical decision.

    • April 28, 2011

      I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s exactly what happened. Especially considering the uncharacteristic way Pep & Valdes spoke out about the prospective referee for CL, and Pep’s calculated (in my opnion at least) pre-game ‘outburst’, it’s clear that Pep realized after the Copa final that something needs to be done in self-defense.

      That said, the way you’ve put it across would have even Madrid fans patting Busi’s head in sympathy and shaking Dani’s hand. This ought to be a separate post on its own so we can link people to it. 🙂

  83. Jim
    April 28, 2011

    Only just calming down now. So disappointed to walk into work today and find everyone talking about how we dived rather than the quality of our play or Messi’s goal.

    The good:

    We won !!!! Oh yes. This was Sooooooo important.
    Puyol is back and is as awesome as ever. His reading of the game is superb and I loved the bit where he ran across picked up the corner flag in his stride and then chucked it away like a spear.
    Xavi wasn’t daunted by facing the RM midfield without Iniesta ( although no question we lost a lot of our attacking threat without him)
    Pep has behaved well throughout and has shown Mourinho up.
    There is now a growing schism between Mourinho and some of his senior players. Ronaldo doesn’t like being shown up and won’t forget and Casillas is just biding his time.
    Affellay played well and showed some promise in a wing role and as a crosser of the ball ( sorry but some are going over the top unnecessarily again – for the goal Marcello slipped or he wasn’t getting away from him imo but I liked his aggressive attitude and the pace on the cross).

    The bad .. . . .

    I’m more and more embarrassed watching Alves and Busi has also regressed. If our sole ambition is to play football at RM’s level then I’m not interested. We have a team that can win without resorting to rubbish like that. I’m giving Pedro the benefit of the doubt this time only – he took a stamping but the other incident I’m not sure about at all.
    I’m gonna call Puyol out here as well. He should have prevented the crowd round the referee rather than being the chief culprit. If that’s the way we behave we will gradually lose admirers and come to be defined by that aspect of our play. It has started already.
    We showed little ambition at times in the game. Don’t like seeing us like that and I don’t believe we have to play like that to beat them.

    I hope that this has cleared the air – both camps must be embarrassed at the press it has received. It may just be that we get the game we have all been waiting for next week with both sides going for it in a clean game – if so they’re in for a humping 🙂

    • Humphrey Bogart
      April 28, 2011

      We may not have to play like that to win against them, but we may have to play like that to have at the end still 11 healthy players with all limps intact. If it would be after the EE player Dani would be in the hospital with a brocken leg and Pedro with a brocken ankle after Marcelo deliberatly stumped on him, the same goes for Villa (in the Copa final)

      • Jim
        April 28, 2011

        Having watched a series of Celtic vs Rangers matches over the past few months we maybe have a different idea of dangerous tackles. I didn’t see any leg breaking tackle apart from (maybe) Pepe.

        Imo, we need to leave it to the referee. I didn’t think, given the horrendously difficult nature of the game, he did too badly. Remember, this was against the backdrop of Mourinho’s rant against playing every game with 10 and it was in the Bernebeu. He denied Ronaldo a couple of reasonable fouls, he made a bold decision to send off Pepe – by no stretch was a red card a given in that situation – and it would have been easy to give into RM and book Messi.

        Alves took care of himself by launching into the air. If he’d left it at that I’d have no complaint with him. It’s maybe personal taste but I don’t want my team to indulge in cheating.

    • blitzen
      April 28, 2011

      I loved the bit where he ran across picked up the corner flag in his stride and then chucked it away like a spear.

      I forgot about that! I meant to give him an award for it! 🙂

      Also, this:

      Ronaldo doesn’t like being shown up and won’t forget and Casillas is just biding his time.

      ITA. Casillas in particular has seen so many managers come and go that he is just waiting it out. He knows Mou can’t last longer than another season at the most, and RM will still be there.

  84. blitzen
    April 28, 2011

    Oh, and Miguel, the Villarreal/Porto game is way more exciting in the second half, but I won’t spoil the score for you. Anyway, it’s not over yet.

    • Ryan
      April 28, 2011

      I tuned off after the first half. Without saying the score… holy crap!

    • April 28, 2011

      Rad! Thanks! Will have to wait until after Lakers game today, though.

  85. barca4eva
    April 28, 2011

    I think u are being naive with all your complaints about play acting, which is typical of those of us that sits in the comfort of our homes to analyze and pen punditry. May be you should put on your boot and smile while your ankles are being chopped down by a bunch of guys who have zero regard to the rules of the game. True, the game was ugly, but it was ugly because Mourinho and RM decided to turn a soccer fiesta into a street fight. We came to play, to get something out of the tie. But the other side had no interest in the football and instead where relying on diabolical antics to succeed.

    And what do we hear from Kxevin? How unseemly Alves dove (because Pepe has been a role model of fair play), the evil play acting of Pedro (with no mention of the stamping that he received from Marcello); the reprehensible misconduct by Busquets(since Adebayo’s arms were having uncontrollable siezure and the flailing should be excused).

    If there is anyone to take responsibility, it is Mourinho and RM. And, I for one, will not take any lecture on football morality when my team is clearly the victim. The moral equivalent argument doesn’t hold up.

    A very poor article by Kxevin who is usually very brilliant in his analysis.

    • Jim
      April 28, 2011

      Where to start? I have played football (at a low level) for too many years to remember and come across a lot worse tackles than the current RM team have perpetrated and sometimes in muck about games with no referee but if I ever acted like Alves or Busquets I’d have to leave town to avoid the mockery of my friends. Having had luckily only one or two more serious injuries in that time the one thing I can tell you absolutely is that if you think you have been badly hurt you do not roll about.

      Other teams have no responsibility to treat us with kid gloves. We are the best and they are there to give us a hard time. If we had let the referee deal with it instead of cheating and diving we would have had the moral high ground and that is what leaves the taste in my mouth.

      You’re entitled to your opinion on Kxevin’s article but I can’t agree. I thought it was a pretty balanced, fair attempt to make sense of a disappointing game (apart from the result !) and as such is much more appealing to me than a Barca-centric account of events where we never do anything wrong and they are the devil incarnate.

      • mardia
        April 28, 2011

        Agreed. I love Barca, I loved the goals and the result, but there’s no reason we can’t take our players to task for some truly unbelievable diving. As a club, we can and should do better than that. And frankly, I appreciate that the bloggers here do try to be as fair and balanced as possible, even on as heated a topic as this Clasico.

    • April 28, 2011

      My sole point is a semantic one: There is taste, and quality. People often confuse the two. You label the review “very poor,” mostly because it doesn’t hew to your worldview of matters.

      That is taste, and there is no right, wrong or “poor” in matters of taste. “Poor” is an objective evaluative standard.

      You can say you don’t agree with the review, and that’s fair. It’s your opinion. “Poor” makes a judgement that requires a standard, as in grading curves, points or numerical scales.

      As far as rolling in and calling everyone “naive,” that’s beyond the pale for me. Go back up and read the entire review, not just the parts that you disagree with. Whether you put on football boots or not has absolutely no bearing on the shamefulness of the displays of some of our players. Messi got chopped and hacked, and you didn’t see him rolling around and crying.

      Victim? Football is the only victim here. We shouldn’t whine and say that we were “victims” when we knew very well what was going to result, with all of the attention being called to the qualities of the referee: A tight match. And tightly called matches will ALWAYS benefit us. Naivete works both ways.

      As you might (or might not) have read above, in my estimation NEITHER side had any real interest in playing football. Both would have been content to take a 0-0 draw to the Camp Nou. That’s why we aimlessly stroked the ball around, taking the odd opportunity to give scoring a go, but we weren’t really serious about it, until Messi decided enough was enough.

      This place is going to have opinions that you don’t agree with. That’s life. But before you label things “naive” or “poor,” ensure that your house is beyond reproach, and that your argument, intellectual or otherwise, is rock-solid.

      In this case it isn’t. Not even close.

      • barca4eva
        April 29, 2011

        My disagreement with your piece boils down essentially to this: the moral equivalent argument you are making-treating RM and Mourinho’s diabolical antics as just as bad as any play-acting Barca players might have displayed. Rm approach to the game was a set up that is based on the philosophy of the end justifying the means that backfired on them big time.

        Do I like play-acting/diving/cheating? No. Not at all. But as deplorable as that conduct is by a handful of our players, it is in no way comparable to the diabolical design of an entire institution whose sole focus was to subvert the integrity of the game to gain an advantage over an opponent.

        This is not a game played under heavenly rules with angelic officials. In fact if that were to be the case, Barca would be the biggest beneficiary given our eternal commitment to playing this game the way it ought to.

        Am happy that we won and my joy would not be tempered by any of the incidents that occurred before, during and after the game. That is what Mourinho would want people to feel.

  86. Dani_el
    April 28, 2011

    EE will SUE Barcelona on the UEFA for apparently simulating, and anti-sportmanship conduct…

    EE also stands behind Mou’s press conference of yesterday..

    So If we thought behaviour like this would show EE’s president and directory how Mou’s conduct is disgraceful for the club, we thought wrong…

      • Noslehcimretep
        April 28, 2011

        you’d think with all the practice they get against us they might learn to be graceful about it. Practice makes perfect after all.

  87. April 28, 2011

    Let them roll in the mud…
    but it stupid really, we can show marcelo stepping on pedro, adebayor on xavi and busquets…
    what are they thinking…?

  88. PM
    April 28, 2011

    I have seen all Barca matches this season. Busquets, Alves, Pedro.. absolutely no one dived or acted like yesterday’s match this whole season. Why did they suddenly decide to do it yesterday? Well, what else you can expect… You spend two nights in a prison cell trying to act like an angel among bunch of thugs, on the third night, my friend, you become THE Devil, and all Hell breaks lose. ‘Fear not,’ my friend, a man of great faith, says, ‘God saves us at the end with two golazos!’.

  89. gowtham
    April 28, 2011

    Hey Everyone!!
    Just watched the game for the second time and their are quite a few things I would like to point out:

    -Diving/Playacting: Our Players, when playing Real Madrid, have always been treated hard. They have been kicked, elbowed, and they have even been sat on!(cough*Ramos*cough). There must come a time when our players tend to get scared as well. We are one of the smallest teams in the world, and when there are players such as Adebayor running around trying to body check them, then the team is bound to get intimidated. And that will lead to an excess of diving, and the team will do anything to try and get players sent off, just for the sake of fearing for their safety. Think about it, Your in THE most highly charged game in the world, and you know that the only way your opponents are going to play the game is by beating the crap out of you. It must be frightening. IMO this is why we’ve seen an excess of play-acting and diving yesterday. In no way am I saying that it is right, I for one, hate it. But tactics and theatrics such as these are part of the game, and unless a red card is issued for play-acting/diving/running to ref, then it won’t stop. I wasn’t extremely proud of Busi, and Pedro, but they knew about the treatment they were going to get, and they acted accordingly.

    -Red Card: It was a red card. No question about it. The minute you go in a challenge with your studs showing, your bound to be punished. From experience, it is one of the most brutal things to happen to you, I was knocked out for 11 months because some jacka*s broke my ankle:S. What Pepe did was wrong and he deserved it. Thinking about it, RM players deserved a lot more red cards then they have gotten in the past three El Clasico’s.

    -Mou: Don’t like him, Hate him, I think he’s disrespectful, egotistic, and selfish. It boils my blood when I realize that he once used to be part of this club. His UNICEF comment was just low…

    -Pep: He nailed his tactics. His outburst was timed perfectly, and the response he got from the players was just wonderful. His decision to bring on Affelay was wonderful. Marcelo has hardly played against him, and his pace just destroyed the RM left-back. He’s becoming a much better tactician…on and off the field (*smirks*)

    -Signings: Many people, including Cules, have criticized his signings. But I think that he is learning from his mistakes. Ibrahimovic, and Chiggy, were bad pieces of business, but this season’s signings have been wonderful. Four players were signed for the season, and all of them have shown us that they belong to be in the starting XI. And the highlight is that being one of the smallest squads in the world, versatility is key, and the signings of Adriano, Masch, and Affelay were key to he squad. Masch can probably play up to 5 positions, so can Adriano. Affelay can play up to 3. And Villa has proven that he can interchange between any of the forward positions. Wonderful!

    -Last but not least, I want to share my thoughts about the young bloke who scored our two goals yesterday. Seriously speaking, I started to tear up when he score the second goal yesterday. He’s just outstanding. His brain, his stamina, vision, pace, finishing are all unparalleled. 52 GOALS IN 50 GAMES! and 25 ASSISTS…WTF!!! He’s only 23, yet he’s 7th in all time CL goals with 36. He is the THIRD all time top-scorer for FC Barcelona. Already holds most goals in Spanish La Liga( All Comps ), and has the most assists ever made in La Liga. Top scorer in CDR (Joint), CL, and La Liga. Two Ballon D’Ors (record is 3). This man is special. He never ceases to amaze us, yet he goes one step further every god-damn time. Any one thinking 60 goals this season???

    -BTW: what do you guys think would happen to Ibra when he eventually returns at the end of the season? My Idea: Sell him to Man City for 35 Million…

    Sorry for the length of the comment:D:D:D I VERY VERY HAPPY AND PROUD

  90. Judas Pissed
    April 29, 2011

    We beat them at their own game – end of…

    Would any Cule REALLY rather we played like angels & lost 2-0? No we ruddy well wouldn’t…

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